Hume kept eye on bigger picture
THE revelation, in the newly released state papers, of Sir Ken Bloomfield's waspish comments about John Hume, (when briefing secretary of state Douglas Hurd about the Airlie House conference in the USA in January 1985) are very revealing of a disappointing political bias and motivation which he had enough wit to conceal when publicly addressing a wider audience in those days.
There are not many with Ken Bloomfield's intellect and experience who would have compared someone like Peter Robinson so favourably - and in such glowing terms - to a man like John Hume.
One can only assume that he abandoned all other considerations in seeking to politically influence Douglas Hurd.
When he likened John Hume to a political bankrupt "who has lost a fortune by backing a particular number at the roulette table... (yet) continues to stare at that number," you have to wonder if he subsequently recognised, that John Hume's unwavering focus on that number (ie the need for an Anglo-Irish accord on N Ireland,) turned out to be the winning number, and led a few months later to the Anglo-Irish Agreement and to the subsequent peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.
(Perhaps he actually foresaw that the persistence of Hume and the taoiseach Dr Garret FitzGerald would lead to a wider and more balanced settlement which unionists might find very uncomfortable indeed.)
Far from succumbing to what Bloomfield describes unrecognisably as "skilful and sustained unionist pressure... to engage in talks about internal government", John Hume did not lose sight of the larger picture which transcends the "narrow ground" of N Ireland and a purely internal settlement.
Cookstown, Co Tyrone