No camaraderie here

In an attempt to defend the BBC drama Rebel Heart, Paul Donovan alleges that Sinn Fein "has no argument" with the northern Protestants (Letters, 5 February). That is good news for those Protestants who are left, but unfortunately the message comes too late for the thousands shot and bombed in the various IRA campaigns since partition. As for the drama, Donovan's cosy assurance does not square with the reality that the only northern Protestants featured are a gang of vicious killers who massacre an innocent Catholic family. Hardly a basis for future camaraderie!

Donovan goes on to explain IRA violence as being directed not against the northern Protestants, but against the British. The purpose is "to see the British leave". This is such a dim-witted explanation that it makes Rebel Heart look like a drama with something to say. Who are the British in Northern Ireland? The Protestants, of course! That is the identity they claim and wish to preserve. Making them leave will require ethnic cleansing on the same scale as the Kosovo crisis.

Les Reid
County Antrim, Belfast

This article first appeared in the 12 February 2001 issue of the New Statesman, Exclusive: how Labour could lose