Corbyn’s dialogue with Irish republicans shows the strength of diplomacy

Paisley-McGuinnessJeremy Corbyn’s supporters are often accused of only ever talking to people they agree with. It is fair to say that nothing gets accomplished by disengaging from disagreement. Parties need to negotiate, and when at negotiating tables parties need to behave as equals. That’s why Corbyn the peace-lover’s willingness to stretch a hand out to some of Northern Ireland’s warmakers shows his commitment to meaningful peace. That’s why it’s right to say, as John McDonnell did, that one will often need to treat an adversary, no matter how unpalatable, with a level of dignity and respect. That’s why McDonnell’s argument that resisting loyalist terror helped effect a conclusion to the Troubles is not condoning horrific bombings, it is acknowledging facts of history in a way phrased to offer dignity to an organisation that had then renounced violence. It’s not ‘Britain-hating and terrorist-sympathising’, it’s pragmatic peacemaking. Continue reading