Gatherings of the Powell family must be riveting! Jonathan was chief bag carrier to Tony Blair for many a year – especially on Ireland - and unlike many of his contemporaries still frequents Downing Street with its new occupant, the rather hapless Mr Brown. His brother, Charles, was similarly in the inner circle of Margaret Thatcher and John Major. A relatively unknown (by comparison) third brother Chris is apparently ‘widely acknowledged as one of the most gifted ad men of his generation’ who was instrumental in putting Labour into power in 1997.
Between them a Powell has been a key insider in all important political circles for 25 years! (Maybe they should write one big book!)
Doubtless this is one of the reasons why Jonathan decided it would be a good idea to write a book and launch it around the Tenth Anniversary of the Belfast Agreement. It has contained a number of eye brow raising revelations.
Perhaps the most notable – and the least reported has been the claim that Gerry Adams essentially accepted that the process was not going to lead to a United Ireland. This has been commented on in political blogs but has been ignored by the mainstream media. Doubtless this will be fuel to fires of the dissidents and the conspiracy theorists (and the overlap between these two groups).
The fact that Blair helped re-draft Republican statements has caused more media controversy but frankly to anyone who has been following events closely the idea that ‘the opposition’ were given prior sight of, and asked for feedback on and alterations to, key statements, is neither new nor surprising.
Likewise the idea that their were people who had the ear and trust of both Sinn Fein and the DUP who could be relied upon to ‘test the waters’ or ‘floating ideas’ with ‘the opposition’ is hardly shocking. Whether or not these were official ‘back channels’ is a pin head that some may chose to dance on for a while but frankly it is both history and irrelevant. After all wasn’t Powell himself a ‘back channel’?