30 MARCH 1996, Page 25

Internment experts

Sir: How funny that Ruth Dudley Edwards should advise me, in her splendidly patron- 'Congratulations, Babe — I've got you the part of a sausage in a Wall's commercial.' ising way, to reread Conor Cruise O'Brien in order to understand 'the psychology of Irish nationalism' (Letters, 23 March). Days before she wrote, Mr O'Brien and I were on Radio Four's The Moral Maze: he called for the reintroduction of internment, saying: 'I think that terrorists cannot be defeated within the parameters of normal laws of democracies. That is to say, you can't fight terrorism through the jury sys- tem when witnesses and jurors can be intimidated . . . I'm suggesting that the laws be changed.' He went on to argue, as I have, that 'internment has been used suc- cessfully during the second world war and in 1957-62', and that the most effective method was to legalise the internment of suspected terrorists at the suggestion of police.

So might I suggest that instead of pedo- gogically setting texts for others, Mrs Dud- ley Edwards herself listens a little more carefully to the views of experts such as Mr O'Brien?

Andrew Roberts

2 Tite Street, London SW3