29 JULY 1972, Page 24

Sir: I wondered what your next Northern Ireland proposals would

be, after your long-advocated perfect solution showed itself beyond a shadow of a doubt to be an unmitigated failure, leaving the situation even worse than before. (If that was the Government's 'only statesmanlike act ', God preserve us from any more). At last we have it: the ' inevitable ' United Ireland. All right, so that's your latest only possible answer — we could see it coming a mile off — but don't expect us to be convinced by the reasons you have thrown together.

You say the IRA and UDA are "the two sides of the same coin ". What's that supposed to mean? It seems intended to suggest that both are as bad as each other, but what's that (arguable anyway) got to do with it? If a force such as the IRA arises in a country, the inhabitants are • either for it or against it, and whether they're all of the same race (' two sides of the same Coin') or no, is neither here nor there. If you're against it, and it looks as if your interests aren't being safeguarded (and if you're a person of any spirit — this is not exclusive to the Irish, though the English have sadly lost it), you'll attempt to safeguard them yourself. It is the British Government's fault, no one elses, that the UDA exists. The UDA would not have arisen if they had not seen evidence that the British Government was on a path towards a sellout. You seem to regard it as incredible that the Protestants in Northern Ireland should not trust Mr Whitelaw. But it is an inescapable truth that if someone promises something, then breaks that promise (no matter how good the reasons), people are liable not to trust him. Talking to the IRA is only the latest example. You seem to think it incredible that the Protestants can suspect that the British Government will betray them, after the Prime Minister has promised that Ulster will remain part of the UK as long as the majority so wants it. But you of all people ought to sympathise with this. The Prime Minister promised he wouldn't take Britain into the Common Market against the will of the British people.

As for the mean remarks elsewhere in your paper, about the appearance of the UDA showing that the 'loyal Ulsterman' was a myth — how would 'you react if your country was at stake? There's a difference between disloyalty, and declining to be led to the slaughter.

A. Parh,es 61 Cops Road, Netherton, Dudley, Worcs