Alf McCreary, the Belfast Telegraph ‘religion’ correspondent in his weekly article on Saturday 22 April 2006, gave it the title ‘An Unholy Mess’ and in it he publicly expressed his dismay at and disapproval of the decision taken by the current Presbyterian Moderator, Dr Harry Uprichard not to take part in an ecumenical service linked to the anniversary of the awarding of the George Cross to the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
When Tony Blair became British Prime Minister his popularity and reputation grew rapidly thanks to the efforts of one man – Alister Campbell – who became known as his ‘spin doctor’. Mr Campbell made sure that the press and media were kept fully informed about all that would enhance the standing of Mr Blair with the citizens of the United Kingdom and even further afield.
Well, if the Dalai Lama ever needs his own ‘spin doctor’ then he should seriously consider Alf McCreary, ‘Religion Correspondent’ with the Belfast Telegraph. In November 2005 the Dalai Lama paid a return visit to Northern Ireland and any reader of the Belfast Telegraph would be entirely without excuse if they claimed to be unaware of his visit.
Each Saturday in the Belfast Telegraph Mr McCreary authors a page entitled ‘This Life’ and it is usually made up of a lead article and perhaps one or two smaller items. On consecutive Saturdays [19th and 26th November] the lead article for each ‘This Life’ page was devoted to the Dalai Lama. One article was called ‘A welcome visitor’ and the other ‘The Dalai Lama and an Ulster “Blackman”’ [the term ‘Blackman’ refers to a member of a particular fraternal organisation and has nothing to do with race or colour].