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MO MOWLAM (1949-2005)
People are often cynical about politicians but few would
disagree that Mo Mowlam was one of the good ones.
She was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in the
crucial period leading to the 1998 Good Friday agreement. Her powers of
persuasion brought the squabbling, difficult NI politicians together.She
was a brave and forthright woman who held down this important job (that many
predecessors had seen as a poison chalice), in a totally new way. And this
at a time when she was battling with severe ill health problems.
She had a brain tumour and the treatment made her lose her
hair and put on a lot of weight, but she battled on. In fact sometimes she
used this to 'persuade'. She famously tore off her wig during some
particularly difficult negotiations and got her own way in the end.
The press vilified her looks at first in the cruel way that they have, but she faced up to them. When her illness became public, they finally realised she was undiminished and joined the rest of the public
in loving her.
Once she was overheard saying to Gerry Adams during the
negotiations "Bloody well get on and do it, otherwise I'll head-butt you!"
She went to visit Loyalist prisoners in the Maze prison to persuade them that peace would benefit them and their community and she
Tony Blair said in tribute to her when she died.
"[She was] great company, utterly irreverent, full of life and
He said he'd miss her.
I miss her refreshing honesty and courage in present British politics.