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PC15: Ireland
(This accounts for the first half of the Ireland debate, from the bombing in Boyle/PM's address to the nation, up to the beginning of cross-party talks)

The first half of this cycle was dominated by a raging debate over the word "incompetence," more specifically whether the Shadow Home Secretary used it to refer to the RUC or not. Whether he did or he didn't isn't the issue, it was the vicious attacks from the likes of Brigham, McLeod and then eventually the Home Secretary himself, accusing Labour of attacking the police and desecrating the memory of the 8 killed, along with an indirect attack from Cardigan, urging the "utmost respect" for those who had died. Whilst some of these were more effective than others, the statement from Croft being the strongest in my eyes with the rest not making much of an impact, they were made more effective by the lack of a good response from Labour on this, with only Ruth Murphy coming to defend Preston and challenge the Tories to back up their claims. She also managed to get a good few digs in at William Croft, flipping the incompetence argument from the RUC to him, and accusing him of being untrustworthy.

The second half was dominated by the announcement of something unheard of, the government and opposition coming together to work on cross party talks. Despite this looking quite comical considering what happened afterwards, this was a great success for the government, making them look like the mature adults in the room, at the time that is. The unexpected star of the second half was Alex Cardigan, who is finally able to claim credit for something that the government has done, and his usual pitch about moderation, punch and judy politics ect. ect. made sense here.

Overall, this was a Tory win with no doubt about it. The repeated attacks on the Shadow Home Secretary with little response from Labour hurt the party, and was able to shift the narrative away from what could have been a fatal blow for the Home Secretary's career. The second half allowed them to claim a sort of moral high ground victory, with some help from the Liberals (who have experience in that sort of thing), and sadly for Labour were able to sideline them, despite Labour actually agreeing to the talks. XP for Croft, Murphy and Cardigan

One final note. Despite the joint operation being an abject failure, with 17 dead and little weapons recovered, it did end with the arrest of the IRA's head honcho, Kevin McKenna. This was something that I felt the Tories could have leant into more, but it was mentioned by Croft twice, contributing to this overall win.

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