Northern Ireland’s geographical proximity

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 1 (January/February 2014), Volume 22

Colonial counterinsurgency was generally practised at some distance from democratic oversight in London or Paris, usually against non-whites, and was serviced by compliant and self-censoring journalists. Yet such coercion against anti-colonialist resistance movements had proven consistently ineffective in halting British and French imperial decline. A British journalist once said that for some in the British ruling class the Foyle and Lagan were the last beaches of empire. Nevertheless, Northern Ireland’s geographical proximity to Britain and Europe, its accessibility to the mass media and the interest of an increasingly influential Irish-American diaspora would present a number of unique challenges in managing civil disorder.

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