|Labour Party [Britain]
|The British Left on Ireland
|Comments on this document
Please note: The Irish Left Archive is provided as a non-commercial historical resource, open to all, and has reproduced this document as an accessible digital reference. Copyright remains with its original authors. If used on other sites, we would appreciate a link back and reference to The Irish Left Archive, in addition to the original creators. For re-publication, commercial, or other uses, please contact the original owners. If documents provided to The Irish Left Archive have been created for or added to other online archives, please inform us so sources can be credited.
This document from the British Labour Party was issued in 1981 and came on foot of an eighteen month long examination by the NEC of the issue of Northern Ireland. As the introduction notes:
A study group set up early last year has examined in great detail every aspect of this vitally important issue. It has taken evidence from constituency groups and individuals in Northern Ireland. It has also held discussions with a wide variety of organisations, including trade unions, in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In all its deliberations the study group was very conscious of its responsibility to formulate a clear, credible, socialist policy on Northern Ireland.
It’s worth noting also the ‘possible constitutional structures’ for the North which were considered. These included:
(i) continuing with direct rule; (ii) establishing a devolved power-sharing government; (iii) negotiating the establishment of a united Ireland; (iv) restoring majority rule government; (v) an independent Northern Ireland; (vi) a confederation of the British Isles.
Each of these is considered in some detail, but the outcome of these deliberations will hardly be a surprise, unity by consent. But, there are aspects to this which are intriguing in terms of the details presented. Of particular note are the thoughts on Policing and Security and the Prevention of Terrorism Act
And it’s also interesting to find on page 26 a rationale for Labour not organising in Northern Ireland.