Talking to the Enemy

by | Jul 22, 2011

I listened last night to Jonathan Powell’s repeated Radio 4 programme on negotiating with terrorists. There were some great quotes to remember.  Jerry Kelly – IRA terrorist – on sitting down with the Unionists – “You can only negotiate, and move things forward, with opponents.  You can talk to friends all day”.  How to deal with anger and tension – “I usually let them shout for a bit then I say ‘I think it’s time we had a coffee and I think we are going to get there this way. And if you guys want to go back to war, go to it, it’s what you have been doing for 50 years.  But that’s not what this is about.”  And the bicycle theory – you have to keep it moving forward because if it falls over it’s very hard to pick up again.

It is still available on the BBC iPlayer. I shall be looking forward to next week’s final part.