“Do we really want to make this place we share a better place. Or is this as good as it gets?”

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It falls to Tom Kelly to state the bleedin’ obvious, again…

We don’t expect our politicians to be businessmen and we certainly don’t want businessmen to be running the country but we should have an expectation that our politicians should be business like. There was nothing business like about the decision of the unionist parties to withdraw from the talk’s process last week. As a public we witness these processes with little interest and even lower expectations. The decision to hold talks in the lead up to the Twelfth demonstrations was not only naïve but it was foolhardy. A ten-year old child could have forecast the forthcoming tantrums. To the outside world, Northern Ireland despite its pretensions to modernity looks and behaves like some kind of medieval, feudal theocratic principality, led by barking mad princes, shadowy wizards and secret covens.

All too obvious is the basic lack of trust between the mainstream parties. The thought that they could successfully host talks without some kind of facilitation was completely absurd.

Even more hilarious is the degree of seriousness with which some of the protagonists are trying to market themselves as peacemakers to the international community. Northern Ireland remains at best an unsettled place. None of the main players are actually content in their own identities. Sinn Fein is so haunted by the spectre of its own grisly past that it is spending a fortune trying to re-write the narrative and spin away the blood that was spilt in the name of militant republicanism. Unionism is politically schizophrenic and anchored to a vision of Northern Ireland that no longer exists. Mainstream unionism continually fails ordinary unionist voters and yet they wonder why so many fail to vote. The aspirations and ambitions of the economically literate unionist community seem to play second fiddle to the beat of the lambeg.

He notes…

It is time to ask some tough questions. Do we really want to make this place we share –a better place or is this as good as it gets? Often it looks like this is as good as it gets because our horizons are continually blinkered by the politically short-sighted.

Yes it could be worse- we could still be killing each other but are our standards for a shared future to be based on a threshold so low that most tin pot African basket case countries could pass?

And in the kicker of the week…

The Good Friday Agreement was of its time but it should not now be held up as some kind of untouchable shibboleth. Even Linus van Pelt in Peanuts finally stopped sucking his thumb by saying “It’s a good thumb but not a great thumb.” Which of our politicians will say the same?

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “And in the kicker of the week…”

    Hardly a kicker, more a whinge, as Tom makes no suggestions for a way out of the mire. The former SDLP vice-chair has a dig at SF and the unionist parties yet has nothing to say about the antics of his former colleagues.

    “All too obvious is the basic lack of trust between the mainstream parties.”

    Nothing to do with trust, more to do with opposing constitutional aspirations.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    The entire point of Sinn Fein’s existence is to ensure NI doesn’t work so we’re in a paradoxical situation where we all want a better NI but Sinn Fein are fundamentally against giving us.

  • redstar2011

    So you reckon your OO are doing their best to bring a better future for all in the North, eh Joe………!!!!!

  • Mc Slaggart

    Joe

    “The entire point of Sinn Fein’s existence is to ensure NI doesn’t work”

    Ezekiel 24:14

    It is the OO who would be one taken as making sure NI does not work.

    Ezekiel 24:14

    “according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.”

    KJB

  • Joe_Hoggs

    redstar2011,

    Orangemen by their very nature do vast amounts of good for NI via raising money for charity, voluntary work and help for ex-service personnel. Orange members are encouraged to play a proactive role in society for the betterment of all; Thomas Barnardo would be an excellent example of this.

  • http://fitzjameshorselooksattheworld.wordpress.com John Mooney

    It probably will get “better” but hopefully I wont be around to see it.
    I have seen the Future…and I dont like it.

  • redstar2011

    Joe-Orange members are encouraged to play a proactive role in society for the betterment of all;

    Love it Joe, satires not dead!!!

  • Joe_Hoggs

    redstar2011,

    Are you refuting the positive contributions Orange members have made to society, the vast amounts of money raised for charity, promotion of environmental issues and respect for fellow citizens?

  • redstar2011

    I have no doubt some of them do good works- whether it offsets the hatred and division they cause and promote however is an entirely different issue

  • Mirrorballman

    Joe_Hoggs

    “promotion of environmental issues and respect for fellow citizens?”

    Joe are you serious? Have you seen the bonfires littered around the country at the moment..Though I suppose the OO has nothing at all to do with those…..

  • Zeno

    “Do we really want to make this place we share a better place.”

    SF don’t. They say they do but their actions say different.
    DUP don’t. They say they do but their actions say different.
    It really is that simple.

  • HopefulPessimist

    Beautifully put Zeno!

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Joe Hoggs

    ‘…promotion of environmental issues…’

    LOL!

    Eleventh Night boneys are an annual environmental catastrophe, and apparently central to OO-KKK ‘culture’ (sic).

    ‘…and respect for fellow citizens…”

    Except for Catholics, obviously.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Mirrorballman,

    The Orange have nothing to do with the bonfires.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Zeno

    ‘SF don’t. They say they do but their actions say different.’

    What have SF done in, say, the past five years, that proves they don’t want this to be a better place?

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Billy Pilgrim,

    If Sinn Fein make NI work then their argument for a UI is over – keep up laddy.

  • redstar2011

    To be fair to Joe I reckon when he posts about OO being inclusive and especially having ” respect for fellow citizens”- he is writing tongue in cheek

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Joe

    ‘If Sinn Fein make NI work then their argument for a UI is over…’

    This isn’t even actually true, but even if it were; what have SF actually DONE in, say, the past five years that proves they don’t want this to be a better place?

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Redstar,

    We swear an oath to repect our fellow citizens it’s just that a minute few fail to comply.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Billy Pilgrim,

    This isn’t even actually true, but even if it were; what have SF actually DONE in, say, the past five years that proves they don’t want this to be a better place?
    —————————————————————————-

    Destroyed the education system, stirred tensions in flashpoint areas, threated the police and failed to take their seats at Westminster etc etc.

  • Big Island Exile

    Joe

    If Sinn Fein make NI fail, then the chances of a UI are equally damaged. Any future unification would need to be of economic equals, or near equals at least. Taking on a economic basket case wouldn’t be the southerners first order of business after digging themselves out of their own ballout problems.

  • Zeno

    “What have SF done in, say, the past five years, that proves they don’t want this to be a better place?”

    Billy Pilgrim.

    IRA Militaristic Parades.
    Trying to remove the flag at City Hall.
    Appointing convicted murderers as SPADS.
    Bobby Sands Scholarships.

    None of those actions are designed to make NI a better place.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Joe

    What a lame answer.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Big Island Exile,

    Sensible argument but Sinn Fein are not making NI work at present.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Zeno

    Sorry, but just listing all the things SF have done that have pissed you off doesn’t prove that SF don’t want life in this place to get better.

    You know what? Sometimes your political opponents make arguments and pursue policies that you don’t like.

    But none of what you have mentioned represented a direct challenge to the rule of law, or to the lawful institutions of this society.

    The march in Castlederg comes closest as evidence of your point, and I agree it was a blatant provocation. It was clearly designed to illustrate unionist hypocrisy on the marching issue, and though it was spectacularly successful in this regard, I still think it was indefensible.

  • Zeno

    “Sorry, but just listing all the things SF have done that have pissed you off doesn’t prove that SF don’t want life in this place to get better.”

    Billy
    None of that has pissed me off. You can paint the City Hall Green white and Orange and decorate it with Leprecauns while making Gerry Adams the only living saint for all I care.
    The Shinner indulge themselves in eye poke politics deliberately provoking the unionist community while talking about “shared future”. Everyone knows that.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Billy Pilgrim,

    As you’ve been told before the Unionist parades you have mentioned are not paramilitary led and the one in Castlederg was so it does not illustrate hypocrisy.

    Tell us more about this Robert Sands bursary.

  • redstar2011

    Joe unionists hold paramilitary parades for dead UVF men in both Belfast and Coleraine every year.

    Indeed the OO/ UVF had no problem marching with a band named after one of them. Add to that paramilitaries alongside OO thugs in sashes at Twaddell only recently and your hypocrisy is glaring

  • Big Island Exile

    Joe

    Generally there has been too much short term-ism and divisiveness by SF, but they are far from the only ones. The one area there has been some attempt at progress has been jobs and inward investment. How many trade missions have Peter and Martin been on, they must have some amount of airmiles between the pair of them. They do court business leaders very well, it’s about the only time they even attempt to get on together. Keeping up appearances.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Redstar,

    Joe unionists hold paramilitary parades for dead UVF men in both Belfast and Coleraine every year.
    ————————————————————————-

    Unionist politicians, really???
    ————————————————————————-

    Indeed the OO/ UVF had no problem marching with a band named after one of them.

    ———————————————————————–

    UVF of 1914 – 1918 one presumes?
    ———————————————————————-

    Add to that paramilitaries alongside OO thugs in sashes at Twaddell only recently and your hypocrisy is glaring
    ————————————————————————–

    Sashes really?? And were these men definitelty in the Orange??? We all know of the famous Catholic from Donegal who comes to the Twelfth every year complete with collarette and Union flag suspenders.

  • redstar2011

    Joe you’re struggling badly. Brian Robinson UVF, 1989

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m sure there are a lot of decent Orangemen who believe in charity and helping the community etc.

    But what we’re talking about here is compromising and stabilizing the country. The destabilization is, at the moment, coming from unionism with the Orange Order pulling the strings.

  • Comrade Stalin

    ‘…and giving Michael Stone a SPAD Job?’

    Unionism did this in Newtownabbey Borough Council a couple of years back when it elected Tommy Kirkham as deputy Mayor. Google him to find out about who he is.

    During his time in office representing the Borough, Kirkham was summonsed to court to give evidence on a sectarian murder that had occurred in the 1970s. Initially Kirkham refused to attend until he was threatened with arrest.

    ‘…introducing a Lennie Murphy Scholarship…’

    That’s a tricky one. The Unionist Academy never got off the ground.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    It would be utterly depressing to think that things can’t get better.
    There are people who are working hard to reduce bigotry in N.I. to the extent possible. There is a recent facebook page dedicated to that which was set up very recently. It spreads by word of mouth and I am reluctant to name it because of the usual danger of spamming or trolling from those who would wish it ill. I’ll give to anyone who is interested enough to email me. I should declare an interest – it was set up by two close relatives of mine.
    I checked the membership today and there are names there that will be familiar to denizens of Slugger.

  • drmisery

    Orange order, orange disorder, orange dysfunction Orange mobile?
    Which one is untrue?
    Is the Orange a charity? Cos I’ve really yet to ever feel the benefits of the Orange community action in a positive way. Oh right, fundraising for new Lambegs…so it’s the unionist view of community we’re following. Righty oh.brilliant

  • drmisery

    Cs,

    Touche. You wouldn’t be stating the small possibility of Unionist hypocrisy. Sweet jesus, say it ain’t so

  • Zeno

    ‘…and giving Michael Stone a SPAD Job?’

    “Unionism did this in Newtownabbey Borough Council a couple of years back when it elected Tommy Kirkham as deputy Mayor.”
    ————-
    That’s a pretty weak comparison Comrade. Top salary for SPADS who are unelected is 90k a year. Tommy Kirkham must already have been an elected Councillor before he could become Deputy Mayor. So an elected politician was elected to a job that pays a fraction of what SPADS get. Hardly the same thing, is it?

  • drmisery

    Suppose you’re right. I’ve some hairs that need splitting? Do you do homers?

  • ForkHandles

    Never mind the backward sectarian slugger shite. We’re not Northern Ireland we’re Brazil at the minute !

  • Son of Strongbow

    ‘Things’ are unlikely to get better. Too many myths are held, and held to be the ‘truth’.

    The correspondent from Tralfamadore is a keen exponent of this process. However given that the atmosphere is thick, bitter and green on that planet I suppose one has to accept a degree of vision distortion. God only knows what havoc it wreaks on the average Joe’s cognitive functions.

    The most recent example displayed fir our delectation is the Irish tricolour being “banned” in NI.

    It isn’t currently, nor was it ever.

    The, now repealed, Flags and Emblems (Display) Act 1954 did not ban the flying of the tricolour. It did place an “obligation” on the police to remove it if it was displayed in a “manner that was likely to occasion a breach of the peace” – a section of the Act utilised by one Mr Paisley to initiate an imbroglio back in the day.

    Throughout the life of the Act tricolours were flown in NI without let or hindrance by the police, for example at GAA sports grounds.

  • ForkHandles

    No idea what this thread is about but its certainly another sectarian tribal nonsense issue for the remnants of NI society that think that way.

    Oooooooooohhh, someone is a different religion from me……. On no !!!!!

    Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism are the major religions. Of course there are the atheists that want to live any way they want without consequence. lol.

    Anyway, I wonder does anyone have a comment on this topic that doesn’t involve blaming another faith?

  • drmisery

    Can I commend another faith? I think scientology could sort us.

  • drmisery

    Buddists wear orange sashs or at least the dalaI lama does. It’s a deeper orange less vibrant than the Orange breathern’s I must conceed

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Making life better is secondary to propping up ‘the quirks’ of each tribe.

    Life in Belfast would be better without the diseases of fleggery, hardline band parades and provocative murals.

    But they have now found sanctuary in ‘culture’.

    Culture in Belfast could be aided by the de-politicising of certain cultural activities, but the self imposed custodians of culture know best. Plus, it’s probably the fault of the prods anyway…

    Tourism and subsequent jobs in Belfast could be created if Belfast’s buildings were tidied up (or not burned down) and if they were complemented with an amicable streetscape..

    But no, they sit there and rot, not being used for anything.

    Developers aren’t encouraged either.

    Better to wait until the property market improves so that they can be knocked down and turned into ‘exciting new developments at the fore of city life’ (READ: “bland apartment blocks of the same faceless variety to be found anywhere else in the UK”).

    Making Belfast even LESS attractive; it still has a fair whack of impressive Victorian buildings, they should be cashing in on them.

    Certain parties like to harp on about heritage and culture.

    But only on their terms.

    Shall we merge some schools? According to Haass we should.
    But what does he know…?

    No none is willing to crack the necessary oysters to get at the pearls.

    The tribes have to be kept in a semi-permanent state of alarm so that their indignation can be harvested the next time a parade doesn’t go some one’s way or when the ‘dark forces’ in the police appear.

    If life was good, then people wouldn’t care so much.

    That’s what them on the hill are afraid of.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    drmisery,

    Yes Orange Brethren are encouraged to read a wide range of literature.

  • Republic of Connaught

    I don’t believe while the northern state exists it will ever be anything but an abnormal society. Partitioning a few counties off from the rest of the country on an island this small based upon a sectarian tribal headcount was always a recipe for disaster. The fact the Catholics now have nearly parity in numbers means the fight for dominance of the statelet will be perpetual.