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I used to be Editor of The Sun but
it was over 10 years ago so I hope
you won't hold that against me.
Anyway. Can I tell my story?
I am waiting in the Prime Minister'
s
office at Downing Street for T
ony
Blair to re-enter the room. I have
been in the room about an hour
and he has just been interrupted
by his private secretary
.
The door is still ajar and I can hear
him talking. The conversation is
muted and serious. This is clearly
a matter of some importance.
I edge closer to the door and peer
around. A smiling face greets me,
waving.
`H-E-L-L-O!' mouths Peter
Mandelson, `'H-O-W A-R-E
Y-O-U?'
The Secretary of State for Northern
Ireland is sitting on a desk, his
legs swinging free beneath him.
He is on the phone, with T
ony
Blair next to him, each sharing the
same line, listening to the same
conversation.It soon becomes
apparent they are talking to the
Irish Prime Minister about the
peace talks, then near their apex.
I remember thinking: this is a
piece of history. I was allowed
to listen for some time.
Afterwards, I told the PM a story
.
I don't know if he was listening,
especially at first, but it was true
all the same.
`I was adopted as a baby
,' I said,
`And my natural father was a
Galwayman, a peace campaigner ...
I recently met him for the first time.'
It was then his ears did prick up.
So the Editor of The Sun is the son
of an Irishman? A man of peace?
And nobody knows!
I nodded. `You'll have every ounce
of support for peace in Northern
Ireland,'' I said, `And everything
I just heard I will regard as off
the record.'
We chat briefly about the history
of the British in Ireland and about
the opportunity to bring
about peace.
Later I walk down the famous
stairs in Number 10, the ones
with the photos of successive
Prime Ministers.
Coming up the stairs, right in
front of me, as large as life are
Gerry Adams and Martin
McGuinness.
We pass in silence.
I'd like to say I asked them
"What are you doing here...?'
'
I dare say they may have asked
me the same question, assuming
of course they knew who I was.
But the fact is no words were said.
Not on the stairs.
Or in the paper.
So often, it is what is unsaid
and unwritten that makes
a difference.
David Yelland is a partner of the
Brunswick Group LLP
, author of
`The Truth about Leo' and a former
editor of The Sun.
twenty one
The Editor's Tale
by David Yelland
David Yelland is the Founder of
Kitchen Table Partners, author of
`The Truth about Leo' and a former
editor of The Sun.
T
his piece was originally scheduled to appear in
The New Millennium Tales earlier this Century...
But somehow, by mistake, the book went to print
without it. At the time David Yelland was extremely
gracious about this unintended omission and has now
given his permission for us to publish it, for the first
time ever. It is an amazing true story, which takes on
additional relevance with the recent death of Martin
McGuinness.
David Yelland is himself a living example of someone
who has changed his lifestyle for the better.
Martin McGuiness transformed his even more radically
- from IRA leader to Peace Promoter in Northern
Ireland, a fact recognised most significantly by private
condolences sent to his widow from the Queen herself.
Better late than never!
p