“A Battle A Day” Is Creating A Political Wasteland

“It will always be a battle a day between those who want maximum change and those who want to maintain the status quo”. Recognise the quote? It came from Gerry Adams’ speech calling for the IRA to permanently abandon violence in 2005.

Just a few days before the 2007 Assembly Elections that restored devolved government, Peter Robinson concurred with Adams’ assessment in a BBC Radio Ulster interview. Asked whether a government jointly led by his party and Gerry Adams’ could work in practice, Robinson continued ominously, “This cannot be a lasting and enduring form of government.”

Eight years into a power-sharing experiment that has never worked well and is now at risk of collapse, it’s worth remembering that the leaders of its two main parties were sceptical before it even began.

During The Troubles, the liberal peacenik theory of power-sharing was simple. With the central constitutional questions resolved, a government formed of moderates would slowly overcome Northern Ireland’s communal divisions, economic weaknesses and inequalities. They would marginalise the extremists, including the ‘men of violence’, the place would become a lot more prosperous, and we would all live happily ever after. The sadly too brief experience of Sunningdale was held as proof-positive that a power sharing government would work superbly.

The theory was bunk.

It would be easy for those in the political centre to blame the British and Irish governments in the early 2000s for holding out for a maximalist settlement involving Sinn Féin and the DUP.

Personal relationships between many DUP politicians and Sinn Féin are poisonous. There are a number of DUP MLAs who will still refuse even the most basic social intercourse with Sinn Féiners, not even speaking if they’re stuck in a lift together.

On the level of power politics, broken promises and pandering to the extremes are commonplace. Sinn Féin’s unagreeing to the Stormont House Agreement is the latest episode, but there have been choice examples from both parties over the years. For example, the DUP walked away from its agreement on a Parades Commission replacement in 2010 after pressure from the Loyal Orders and never looked back.

It’s easy, however, to romanticise the period of UUP-SDLP dominance between 1998 and 2003 as a golden age. Undoubtedly it was better than the years of stalemate and posturing since 2007. The Trimble-Mallon and Trimble-Durkan Executives made tough decisions and got laws through the Assembly. There was certainly a higher degree of trust, and sometimes a rather exciting sense that we were on a journey into a peaceful and better future.

Despite all that, there was never any modus vivendi, let alone meeting of minds, about what was then most difficult: decommissioning and marching. And it was those two issues that the DUP and Sinn Féin used to electorally beat their rivals into the ground. The supposed Golden Age seems to have been a conveyor belt to the current impasse, and the electorate has voted for the current balance of power at every election for 12 years. Maybe power-sharing just doesn’t work?

We have three possible short-term futures: the Stormont House Agreement is implemented; budgets are cut by a quarter or more and/or indirect taxes are raised significantly to balance the books; or the Executive collapses.

And for all the public like to moan about politicians, the last option is by far the worst. If the current arrangements collapse, then the only likely alternative is an extended period of direct rule from a reluctant Westminster government. Unlike the 1980s, when NI was spared much of Thatcherism, there are very few Wets left at the top table of the Tory Party. Few politicians in Britain know much about Northern Ireland, but among the up and coming ranks of Conservative MPs, many will quickly come to the conclusion, if forced to learn more, that a good dose of economic shock therapy is exactly what the region needs.

It’s hard to imagine a return to violence on the scale of the 1969-1994 period but then it’s always hard to imagine unpalatable things until they happen. Shock therapy will prompt an exodus of the young. Collapse of the current institutions, however flawed, is likely to condemn us to many years of gross irresponsibility as parties without power engage in grandstanding. More than that, the central idea that was always supposed to be Northern Ireland’s fix, responsible power-sharing, will have demonstrably failed.

I don’t see any Plan B isn’t just self-indulgent fantasy.

A battle a day at Stormont always risked creating a political wasteland. We might soon find we enter one.

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  • Robin Keogh

    I never claimed you had responsibility for anything….paranoia overload

  • Robin Keogh

    As usual you are a million miles off the mark. In terms of health in the south, the government has already embarked on a programme to deliver universal care, its national policy. All other services north and south are equally adequate or inadequate depending on your view. Except of course, standard of living in the south which is much higher.

  • Alan N/Ards

    The problem we have in Northern Ireland is that the hardliners on both sides do not want to be reconciled. They are the ones calling the shots and the rest of us have no say on how we move on. These people should take a trip to Rwanda and see real reconciliation and forgiveness in action. Maybe we all should take a trip.
    In Rwanda they have a 100 day mourning/remembrance period every year for the dead. Would something similar be a good idea here? They are moving forward under the motto; Remember, Unite, Renew ( I hope that’s right). We, on the other hand, are going backwards by just remembering.

  • Robin Keogh

    Catholic numbers grew as the birth rate eventually outstripped that of their Protestant neighbours who were emigrating en masse after school or college never to return. This stuff is well documented if you can be bothered to research it.

    I never claimed life was ‘so good’ anywhere for anyone, especially not the south immediately after partition. The state was an economic wasteland. Any wealth that had been in the country was mainly concentrated around Belfast.

    Protestant decline in the South has been attributed to a number of issues, not least the movement of people to the new northern statelet attracted by the offer of jobs in the public service. Thousands of British Military and security personnell left when the free state was created and returned to Britain.

    The majority of Protestants stayed behind and while the South was far from perfect they didnt have to put up with institutionalised hatred that the Catholics of the North were forced to put up with. The republics first President was a Protestant for goodness sake.

    Do some homework man will u please.

  • Robin Keogh

    The guns they imported murdered plenty

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Very difficult and hard to disagree with what you say John but all I will say is thankfully the younger people who did not get the last troubles (sadly their is still poor kids from the places you mention above still trapped by the conflict) never see or “get” the next troubles ! One can only pray and hope that such horrors inflicted on human beings within this part of the world shall never repeat itself and confined to the saddest days of history of this island !

  • barnshee

    Will they?

  • barnshee

    Politeness don`t mean that I have to share a table with anyone or engage with them in any way other than for the ” business”( I worked with people I despised I. knew it- more importantly they knew it)

  • barnshee

    Prior to 1966- I ahem “left girls home” to the “Falls” Shankhill East- West -South and North Belfast. You name it- no problem whatsoever.

    Religion was never mentioned then or on subsequent “dates “

  • sk
  • T.E.Lawrence

  • submariner

    Really is that why over 10000 people attended his funeral including some unionist politicians.

  • submariner

    https://youtu.be/QDpMXFIKvEc Yes have a watch of the funeral of UFF commander John McMichael and see if you can spot anyone.

  • barnshee

    repeats
    ” Unionists have never voted in significant numbers for those deemed to be terrorists.”

    Unlike the Roman Catholic murder gangs the Protestant murder gangs cant get elected

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Unfortunately people like me and you will never see Quango Land because civic society knows that the rain will always come and wash poor Incy Wincy Spider down the spout. But the sunshine always comes out to dry poor Incy out again – “And A Walking We Will Go” !

  • Zeno

    “Your graduates are fleeing the North (disproportionately Protestant) and not coming back. Those that do return are disproportionately Catholic. Where do u think this will all lead if its allowed to continue?”

    I’ll add that to the list.
    Any day now.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Great piece – shows the air of unreality around this, the sense that everyone’s just expecting it all to sort itself out. But time is running out.

    i know the UUP-SDLP era wasn’t a golden age, but it was a whole lot better than the current situation. There you had basically reasonable people who disagreed fundamentally on some basic things but lived relatively free of extremist ideology and fruit-cakery. Therein lay some hope.

    What you have now is all this being negotiated by, on the one side, ultra-nationalist extremists with murder records bent on ethnic oneupmanship, and on the other side a party still tainted by the atavistic sectarianism and Christian fundamentalism of its founder. Both have moved somewhat away from their worst incarnations, but nowhere near enough. We could do a lot worse than a return to the UUP-SDLP days, with a big dose of Alliance in the middle.

    The theory was that having the extremes inside the tent of the GFA settlement was the best way to secure it. Maybe that was necessary for a while. But surely, with the abject record of the past few years, it is time to feed the centre again? The DUF-SF axis is failing Northern Ireland.

    I see an opportunity now for some imaginative cross-community politics from the more centrist parties, which can be rewarded at the polls, and a change of mood music thereafter. They will have to be brave and risk looking like sell-outs – but surely they need it step up now? I suspect there is a bigger appetite for something refreshing and different and cross-community than is commonly appreciated. I have no evidence for that really – just a hunch.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I do think though SF can expect no better really. It’s not some political disagreement here, it’s terrorism – and it’s not like they are people who have disavowed and moved on from their terrorist past, they still honour, celebrate and justify it in the present. It is a really hard one though, as your natural instinct is always to be nice back to someone who appears friendly. But if you know this person has murdered your relative, I don’t think we are obliged to shake their hand or make small talk with them. SF do seem in a lot of denial over how bad what they did was. It’s like bumping into a cheating ex-partner and they try to greet you with a smile and hug – you think, I’ll be civil but I’m not going to embrace you like nothing happened. It’s worse when you know they’re partly doing it to enjoy your discomfort.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I’m with you on this, TEL – I’d still vote Yes (if I had a vote – those of us who have moved to other parts of the country of course don’t). The peace process has been morally vacuous and there are strong poisonous elements within it. But paramilitarism lost in a way that went beyond the wildest dreams of most of us. That is a huge plus and it enables us to kick on from here – if we can build the public will to.

    The next stage, having weaned ourselves off violence, is wean ourselves off those whose appeal comes from its echo: the apologists, the glorifiers, the sneaking regarders, the secret-keepers and former directors of terror. They need to be left behind now, as much the terror campaigns they still feed off.

    And people in the centre – have some courage of your convictions. Your ideas are better than those of SF and the DUP – believe in them and be bold about them. Too much cowering and not enough confidence. Go out there and inspire people.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    round, round, get around, he got around …

    I’ve always thought a bit of how’s your father is the best antidote to sectarianism, racism or any other -ism. Apart from possibly sexism. Perhaps even that.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I think you can recognise the mandate – and I think unionists on the whole do – while still objecting strongly to the organisation that has been elected. The parties over here in England have had to deal with this too, with the BNP at a council level (happily on a much smaller scale). How do you treat people who hold those kind of awful views, where it goes beyond mere political disagreement and into questions of decency? I think you have to be professional and calm but at the same time not treat their views as “normal” or acceptable. I think paying them as little attention as possible, or even ignoring them is all you can do really.

  • Nimn

    Don’t conflate “the vast majority of people in the unionist community” with Unionist politicians. ‘the keep’ and ‘Banshee’ are right. There is no such thing anymore (if there ever was) which you can point to and call ‘the unionist community’ There are many pro union people from a traditional unionist background and families who would have no truck with Loyalism and who despise Wright and Co and all loyalist paramilitaries. The actions of political unionism’s ambivalence to paramilitaries to shore up the parades dispute is obnoxious to many pro union people who would not go to the back door to watch an OO parade.
    That’s why tens of thousands of people here, many of them from a traditional unionist background and pro union still have no political home in any of the Unionist parties.

  • Trevorabh

    Nimn, why don’t these tens of thousands organise for themselves a political party? Or is the reality that they are lazy individualists who are easily brushed aside in all matters because they have neither the wit nor the will to stand as a collective?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    you can’t equate the attitudes of the constitutional parties with those of the paramilitary parties as regards terrorism. Are memories really that short? The DUP might be the one that has flown closest to the wind on that – though even SDLP politicians have been known to rub shoulders with the wrong sort too – but SF and the PUP are in a league all of their own. I mean, the political wing of a terrorist movement? That’s hardly the DUP, for all their ills.

    And I’ve pointed it out before, Paisley as leader consistently condemned Loyalist terrorism during the Troubles. If you look at both the Guardian and Independent obits on Paisley, they both acknowledge that. And I’m no Paisleyite.

  • Nimn

    I’m afraid that shows a lack of understanding as to how political parties are formed. It requires new leaders to emerge, galvanise public opinion, raise money, campaign and all the rest. Since 1998 only one new party emerged briefly -NI21 and died as quickly. The two power blocks in NI have been organising and campaigning since before partition, slowly over many decades.
    What you are suggesting is akin to some king of political ‘pop up’ movement. Not here yesterday but with tens of thousands of followers tomorrow. Maybe those tens of thousands have the wit not to waste their time and the will to get on with their lives despite the sectarian backwater this place remains.
    I’m not complaining about politics here, I’m simply ignoring it and getting on with my life, realising that I’m not going to be the one to fix it. That’s for the next generation in my own case. I’m just sick and tired of being politically ‘boxed’ for having my own views on society and the economy interpreted as being aligned to one tradition or the other.

  • Trevorabh

    The power of the charismatic leader, Nimn. Would the DUP have made the inroads they did without Paisley? The flip side of course is the rather strange SNP, who went from tweed jackets for most of their history to snappy suits with Salmond.

    To say that you are ignoring politics here rather than complaining about it seems a very moot point, considering that you were discussing political unionism and lack of a political home.

  • Trevorabh

    The removal of the block grant only suits one party’s purpose; making NI ungovernable.

  • Kev Hughes

    You know MU, I can.

    Whether it’s helping to form an illegal organisation whose weapons were never Decommissioned or handed in, or cheering on murder, or wilfully turning blind eyes to collusion, frankly I find it all distasteful (understatement of today) and beyond belief.

    Turgon noted the alleged principled stand of the DUP when dealing with ‘terrorists’, I very easily sunk that argument.

    What was it David Ervine remarked on Paisley’s wallpaper?

    Again, I refer you to my comment to Zeno, ‘your murderers aren’t welcome but I’m a ok with our murderers.’

    Try harder.

  • Kev Hughes

    Ignore all you wish MU, it’s called not being constructive or productive.

    You hold the view that SF are distasteful. This, of course, is your prerogative. However, you quite easily prove my point of actually not recognising a mandate, dealing with it and hoping for ‘nice’ taigs.

    I will choose my words carefully, but frankly, your head in the sand routine and that of unionist pols is why we’re here.

  • barnshee

    “round, round, get around, he got around ”

    Not as much as I hoped- one of those “dates” is still with me

  • MainlandUlsterman

    do you not find their view distasteful?

    And how exactly is the present pass my fault? As a Labour Party member and Alliance sympathiser?

  • barnshee

    Gregory would lose votes if he shook hands

    Martin was in charge of the organisation which tried to bomb Gregory`s car – a car containing Gregory and his infant child— I might take it personally too.

  • barnshee

    I suggest you (re) visit

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2015/05/27/truth-or-consequences-the-potential-impact-of-un-devolving-welfare/

    Identify where the axe will fall most (sort the table on family size and or cost / impact

    You will note the massive potential impact on West Belfast-Foyle –North Belfast -Newry and Armagh
    Explains a lot

  • Kev Hughes

    Large parts of their mandate I do not find distasteful at all frankly, whether it’s parity of esteem, recognition of marriage equality, creation of a language act or working more on an all island basis.

    Present pass? Do elaborate please

  • MainlandUlsterman

    None of the things you mention are what they are being shunned for, as I’m sure you realise. They’re being shunned for the murders and bombings.

    I agree with all your list too apart from the all-Ireland stuff, which goes against the GFA settlement. And on parity of esteem, SF likes to talk about it but the reality is anti-British ranting and the ‘othering’ and scapegoating of Protestants, which their discourse is riven with. But I wouldn’t refuse to shake a hand for that, bad though it is; I draw the line at their murder campaign though, which they have made virtually no effort to disown. Many thousands of people are still affected by it and SF’s attitude of “tough luck” is simply not good enough. They have a responsibility and need to step forward, big time, on this.

    By “present pass” I was referring to the current unsatisfactory state of impasse at Stormont

  • Kev Hughes

    The reality is anti British ranting? As much fun as it is discussing matters with you, the fact that we continue to have the UUP about, aka the North’s very own Ba’ath party, who oversaw a grossly sectarian exclusive statelet, who imported weapons to murder people based mainly on their religion, never mind the DUP and Ulster Resistance, who were happy to get assistance from loyalist led mobs who killed, or successive British governments involved in collusion, suggests to me a mote in your eye.

    Many thousands of people are still suffering from loyalist, unionist and Britain government acts of omissions, successive unionist attitudes of tough luck don’t cut it. The government has a massive responsibility and needs to step up, big time, whether for the Finucaines, the families of Bloody Sunday or Ballymurphy.

    To bury your head in the sand, saying ‘let’s ignore the largest nationalist grouping’ and then blame them solely for this impasse is so myopic I wonder whether you’re worthy of response if you continue replying in such a way.

  • kensei

    It might be understandable, but it’s still weakness to be exploited.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    That’s a fairly partisan take, but look I don’t disagree with a lot of the thrust of what you are saying, that unionists too need to come forward for wrongs they did. I might not quite agree with your summary but I get your point. Justice should apply to all and I would completely support you in that. Let’s get the buggers across the board.

    And yes, anti-British ranting. How do you think stuff like this looks to British people in Northern Ireland:
    http://www.cafepress.com/rsmshop/592257

    This kind of thing isn’t hard to find, I just googled it now in 2 seconds. These attitudes come from the same people who claim to be committed to parity of esteem and to accepting the birthright of people in Northern Ireland to self-identify as British. Parity means equality, but they don’t seem to see us Brits are real people, we are just cannon fodder to them.

    If you want to see some full-on anti-British ranting, it generally comes within a few minutes of engaging with a SF supporter on here. If you want me to dig out link to anti-British rants on here, I can.

    The wrongs of the Stormont era – serious though they were – were absolutely dwarfed by the violence of the Troubles. Northern Ireland needed reforming but no one needed shooting.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    I posted up a WW1 Clip only but fair I post this Clip Up to show the horrors of the NI Troubles.

  • Zeno

    1) Demographics (it’s not working out, but still)
    2) The Brits will withdraw because of the cost.
    3) The ROI is keen on Reunification and would love to have us.
    4) Brexit
    5) Scotland will exit the Union.

    6) Masses of nationalists don’t bother voting even though they would love a United Ireland.They magically don’t appear in any polls or surveys.

    7) We would get off our debts.
    8) The South coming out of recession makes it much more likely, even though during the Celtic Tiger years, no one in the South was mentioning it or offering to take on the basket case NI Economy.
    9) We would only be forcing half a million or so into UI, so that will be fine.
    10) We wouldn’t have to pay any Ireland’s debt.

    10) Masses of nationalists don’t bother voting even though they would love a United Ireland.
    11) The South coming out of recession makes it much more likely, even though during the Celtic Tiger years, no one in the South was mentioning it or offering to take on the basket case NI Economy.

    12) Graduates are fleeing NI in droves, but more Catholic ones are coming back than Protestants. (Thanks to Robin)

  • MainlandUlsterman

    you got the clap?

  • Kev Hughes

    Thanks for your reply MU, I’m on a short break now.

    Partisan take? Pot. Kettle. Black. Seriously, I actually laughed when I read that from yourself but let’s move on.

    You rightly say Unionism needs to come forward and admit it’s massive mistakes, and as far as I’m aware Declan Kearney wanted to develop discussions around reconciliation on Eamonn Mallie’s blog, yet unionism impolitely said no, not having this discussion.

    You are, as always, entitled to not believe a single word SF says, but when you don’t try to call their bluff then you lose the moral high ground immediately. As for ranting, sorry, I see very little of every day ‘Brits Out!’ Ranting from SF or their supporters. You don’t have to believe me of course, you can sit their content that they’re ‘all like that them Sinners’ but frankly they’re not. I could, of course, point towards the month of July and just leave it at that.

    And you know, you’re right, nobody needed to die because of the old corrupt stormont, but then, nobody needed to be systematically discriminated against in the public and private sectors either. Nor did the police have to basically treat large swathes of the population in certain parts as a fifth column, but they did.

    We see Martin shake the Queen’s hand, or Gerry with Chuck; your view that republicans see Protestsnts as cannon fodder is, tbf, warped, but in fairness maybe someone in your family or friends experienced a trauma and now you think so. Like I’ve said before, and to your credit you acknowledge it to a certain extent, it’s not one sided, most political parties have had some dealings with nefarious and murderoys people, either directly or with their consent, hence why I don’t get on my high horse over unionism, theirs no point.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Would you accept that SF as a vehicle for reconciliatory politics is problematic?

    I’m not writing it off for ever, I’m just writing it off so long as it retains its support of the IRA. If it wants to show imagination and move things forward, that’s the elephant in the room. Disown the terrorism and it becomes a whole different ball game in terms of the cordiality of relations.

    They also need to live up to what they agreed to in the GFA as regards parity of esteem and recognising Northern Ireland as a valid entity. They have slipped back into paleo-nationalist rhetoric about the “wrong” of partition and still seem to obsess about “Brits” and the Union being a problem. They agreed in 1998 “it would be wrong” to end the Union under current circumstances, because NI’s status as part of the UK is down to the choice of its people. Yet we still have to hear all this crap about partition and the UK being the root of all evil. That’s really poisonous, in a place where the job is to get on with British people. I think till they get back to the spirit of the GFA settlement they signed up to in 98 and stop manoeuvring for something greener, they aren’t really serious about reconciliation. They can campaign for a united Ireland when there’s a referendum. In the meantime, respect that most people want the Union and get on with politics that improves people’s lives.

    The agenda Kearney set out to much fanfare was the kind of mock outreach that does not actually reach out to the other side, but seeks to give the appearance of doing so for the benefit of your own audience. It’s one of those designed-to-be-rejected PR stunt offers, that SF frequently uses as a ruse to beat up unionists. It seems to please some nationalists but that’s just the problem. SF don’t seem to realise how transparently false their claims to have our best interests at heart are. They revere our killers, in some cases actually were our killers; and they miss no opportunity to paint us in a negative light. Yet a bit of ‘outreach’ and we’re supposed to jump to attention and greet them as long-lost friends? Something in that tells me they’re not serious about reconciliation yet.

    They seem too obsessed with and impressed by their own trickery to seriously engage in a proper process.

  • Kev Hughes

    Would I accept SF is problematic as a vehicle for reconciliation? Of course, though no more than the UUP (architects of a corrupt sectarian state) or DUP (lovely red berets in the Ulster Hall) are for me. You see, I don’t get to pick my opponents, nor do I pick whom I have to reconcile myself with, but you appear to want this privilege, good luck with that.

    As for your points about ‘greening’ of the North etc., a fantastic whine from yourself showing why you’re part of the problem I’m afraid. Parity of esteem means respecting my culture and affording it the same place as other expressions of culture. If you don’t like that, tough.

    You talk of people not being interested in certain nonsense, but you succinctly proved my point of unionism in general being unable or unwilling to acknowledge the mandate of SF or even nationalism in general.

    However, you continue to ignore a significant part of the community back home and let me know if it becomes governable, I’ll go get some popcorn.

  • barnshee

    Nope (she s sitting watching the tele)

  • barnshee

    ©not shaking hands with someone who tried to murder me and my child ?? and it can be exploited. sure can by Gregory

  • kensei

    That’s my point. Gregory could spin a handshake. The situation at the moment is much more easily spun by his opponents.

  • barnshee

    He has to shake the hand of the leader of the gang who tried to murder his infant child ?? are. U insane??

  • Catcher in the Rye

    The former MP for South Antrim, who was previously the MP for Mid Ulster, shook hands with Wright and joined him on a podium. No bargepole in sight.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    No, he means that David Ervine joined the UUP group, then led by Reg Empey, in the Assembly. Nothing to do with the forum.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    That is the way life is. It does not mean they cannot have successful careers or achieve for their constituents

    Nobody said anything about successful careers or achieving for their constituents.

    My point was about being civilized to those with whom you disagree. I think this is a very British characteristic, and a very positive one. And no, I don’t mean the entire 60 million population. I mean a characteristic in terms of the way the political discourse in this country is conducted. We saw it a few weeks ago when Prince Charles shook hands with Gerry Adams. That handshake took place because people understand that there are long term benefits to working to bury old hatchets, even when the worst kind of harm has been inflicted.

    Charles has a greater claim to victimhood than most Unionists who spend much of their time focusing on what SF did in the past and the victims they created, which is a reminder that victims are really just another political football for a lot of people.

    Your last paragraph is just a snide little snipe at me personally; pure man playing. It’s more than obvious that this is a concept that you don’t understand, and it’s no wonder that most people on the UK mainland outside of the Monday Club and the ranks of the BNP and UKIP find NI unionists to be completely alien.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Chris,

    Again with this narrative that the only people responsible for murdering people were SF and their mates.

    James Galway yesterday pointed out something that many people, especially nationalists, believe, which is that they regard Ian Paisley as being highly culpable. This is a man who made speeches in the 1950s naming the houses on the Shankill Road where Catholics lived and urging the people there to sort the problem out.

    So a lot of us have had to hold our noses. A lot of us continue to hold our noses on a daily basis, listening to people phoning the police over one flag and then demanding that their own flag be flown everywhere; or marching up and down the road outside churches yelling sectarian abuse and then demanding tolerance for these marches when people resist them. A bit more nose-holding and a bit more mutual understanding would go a hell of a long way.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Ian Paisley
    Jim Molyneaux
    Martin Smyth
    Harold McCusker
    Peter Robinson visible in the cortege (1:38-1:40 approx)

    And a few thousand mourners, all of whom probably voted for parties which have no paramilitary wing

  • Catcher in the Rye

    It is not necessary to be the person holding the gun to be culpable.

  • submariner

    Yep remember the Unionist anger when Adams carried the coffin of the shankill bomber.The video clearly shows the first minister Peter Robinson the leader of the DUP, the main Unionist party that gets hundreds of thousands of votes from the unionist community carrying the coffin of a dead terrorist leader, a man who was at the head of an organisation which was responsible for hundreds of murders. And yet the hypocrisy from some Unionist posters on this board and im thinking of the likes of MU, Turgon,Barnshee and others is absolutely breathtaking

  • barnshee

    “The most competent people have a balance of skills technical, social, personal, judgment.”

    Give me technical skills knowledge and judgement and you can stuff the rest The usual claptrap about balance social and personal is used to hide the absence of “technical skills knowledge and judgement” in the “great managers”

  • barnshee

    Man attends funeral of constituent?
    big deal Absence of SF and SDLP from burials of convicted murderers er no

    Carry coffin? er no -grave side eulogy for actions ? er no

    Check my posts I condemn ALL murder gangs
    Lock them ALL up and throw away the key