'Transparent nonsense'

In the Belfast Telegraph, Malachi O’Doherty is in no doubt as to why ‘photographs’ and ‘humiliation’ have been promoted as the sticking point for any ‘deal’ – “If choosing to abort the deal on the demand for a photograph of decommissioning seems trite and silly indulgence – and it does – that may not be because republicans are inordinately sensitive to humiliation but because, having been walked so far into a deal they weren’t ready for, it was the only eject button at hand.

  • The Devil

    For a wee man Malachi you throw a big punch.

  • AW

    The photographs are a red herring or different red herrings used separately by the DUP and SF. The Dup want them for verification or is it to use to political advantage? As for the other lot a photograph is merely a pictorial representation of the event so how can the photograph be humiliating unless the event itself is humiliating?

    The problem with this process and previous is that there is no sharp down side for all our cosseted political class. At a time when Libraries are closing and Education budgets cut we are paying for representatives who are unable to do their job. The whole lot should be suspended without pay or expenses.

  • James

    “having been walked so far into a deal they weren’t ready for, it was the only eject button at hand.”

    DUH!!

    “The DUP and Sinn Fein are not electoral rivals so it doesn’t matter how the DUP depicts the IRA. It is hardly going to endorse it as a fine body of principled people, whatever happens.”

    It must be all that sand the republicans kicked in his face as a kid. Electoral rivalry is a myopic concept here.

    What does Sinn Fein have to gain with a stable Northern Ireland? What does Sinn Fein have to gain with a triumphant Fianna Fail?

    Bleed the DUP, (maybe) get a narrow UUP majority and you have a teeder-todder that could destabilize Stormont until Paisley dies.

    Show Bertie to be a flip-flopping, damp squib in the “Northern Deal”, drive a wedge between FF and the PDs with McCabe and the Soldiers of Destiny might be looking for other coalition partners.

    Meanwhile the IRA still gets to control their areas with punishment beatings until they can cut a deal in policing.

    Lee Atwater lives.

  • AW

    James

    The DUP and SF need each other in a perverse way. They thrive on confrontation politics and for that you need a bad guy.

    The next government in the Republic will probably be FF Labour. After all Bertie is a self confessed socialist. However after the next election FF have probably 3 options and they will play SF off against the PD’s and both off against Labour. The master schemers here are FF not SF. As for the alternative rainbow coalition, they have no chance unless FF do something absolutely horrendous.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    The news today reports that Paisley has ruled out the possibility of himself as a witness.

    This shows me how ridiculous things are getting. If Paisley came back from a decommissioning trip and reported that he witnessed huge numbers of arms being cut up, who on earth would accuse him of lying?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    “that may not be because republicans are inordinately sensitive to humiliation but because, having been walked so far into a deal they weren’t ready for, it was the only eject button at hand.”

    What is the basis for this piece of information? Is Malachi in touch with republican grassroots? If there is one journalist(sic) who would have little or no insight into the thinking of republicans at this time then Mr o Doherty is the photofit.
    The fact of the matter is that there is a story out there, O Doherty hasn’t got a clue what’s going on and in order to honour his contractural obligations comes off with this inane piffle. Malachi O Doherty, the man with an insight into republican thinking, NOT.

  • Henry94

    AW

    As for the other lot a photograph is merely a pictorial representation of the event so how can the photograph be humiliating unless the event itself is humiliating?

    I’ve seen this point made a few times and I don’t see the logic in it. First of all it doesn’t follow as a general principle. Is there nothing you do in private that you wouldn’t be happy to have photographed and published? (We won’t even ask about the cleargymen witnesses)

    Second in this particular case there are clearly tactical considerations involved for the republican movement in the presentation of decommissioning. They couldn’t possibly allow to Ian Paisley (or anyone else) control over the meaning of the event. He wants to define it as a humiliation and the photographs are his choosen method. That creates its own reality and republicans must deal with that.

  • John East Belfast

    There isn’t one sentence in this piece about what Paisley said in Ballymena or his later sackcloth and ashes comments.

    How can O’Doherty right about the nonsense of humiliation when Paisley said that was exactly what he wanted ?

    Paisley certainly gave Republicans a chance to get off the hook (he should have at least tested them with the independent clergeymen) the real question is was he really about getting himself off it ?

    He either has incredibly poor judgement or he deliberately went out of his way to get himself out of a deal – now that is unforgiveable.

  • James

    AW

    “Bertie is a self confessed socialist”

    Thank you, I needed that. Those knickers had to be laundered anyway.

    “and the Soldiers of Destiny might be looking for other coalition partners.” my 5:12

    “The next government in the Republic will probably be FF Labour”

    I am a bit misleading in my 5:12 because I doubt that Sinn Fein wants to be in government since they would have to produce. Their strong suit is in destruction so if they can bring a government down somehow, they can control it.

    I do wonder how the average punter is going to handle Ivana Bacik helping Bertie on with his revolutionary tunic. Will he wear his old boss’s GUBU medals, I wonder?

    BTW, have you put the grocery money on this yet?

  • AW

    James

    I don’t buy a word of Bertie’s Socialist waffle. However looking at the next election in the Republic I cannot see the Rainbow coalition of Labour, FG and Greens making adequate gains to form the next government. SF is likely to gain some seats probably mainly at the expense of FF and the number of independents are likely to reduce. Oops left the PDs out but can’t see them doing much one way or the other perhaps if anything a few less seats.

    FF will be the largest party perhaps with a few less seats and will need a party of comparable size to Labour to form the next government. The deal will be done in the interests of stability. What are the alternatives? FF & SF possibly but a long shot. FF & PDs they may not have the numbers. FF, PDs and Greens hell will freeze over first. FG, Labour and Greens will not have the numbers as they are more likely to take seats of each other than FF except in a few constituencies where FF is over represented. The same rainbow with SF again highly unlikely and unstable. The rainbow with the support of independents again potentially unstable. SF gains will insure a FF Labour government and as you say it will suit SF to not have to produce and the quality of their TDs is plain dismal judging by their performance in the Dail. Hard to imagine any of them as government ministers.

    Wonder what are the odds on a FF Labour government?

  • AW

    Henry 94

    The point about the photographs is as follows.

    If someone takes a photograph of me taking a walk along the beach with friends and family there is no embarrassment as the event itself is not embarrassing and nor is public knowledge that I walk along the beach.

    If however it was common knowledge that I frolicked round the garden in the pelt at midnight trying to raise Lucifer that public knowledge would be embarrassing and humiliating (unless I was a raving extrovert). It is the public knowledge of what is done that has the potential to embarrass the photographs are merely evidence.

    Similarly the DUPs need for photographs has obviously nothing to do with clarification. The need is to serve different purposes.

    Both sides could have got round this unilaterally, and to their advantage, if they had so desired. The PIRA could have taken the position that they wanted to work together for the common good and of course wanted to reassure the Unionists of their intent. Where is the humiliation in taking such a stand? What would the DUPs get out clause be then? The DUP could have agreed to other forms of verification and if so we are lead to believe got full decommissioning. The fact that both found the issue of photos so difficult is obviously piffle and one has to question the intent of both.

    Hence I reiterate; dismiss the lot of them with no pay or expenses until this Assembly is up and running. Why should we pay for this nonsense. We need another way forward what about selecting the Assembly men and Women by a lottery can’t be any worse than what we have got. Can it?

  • Henry94

    AW

    dismiss the lot of them with no pay or expenses until this Assembly is up and running.

    It is the British who have suspended the Assembly. The MLAs can’t attend if it’s not on. It should be up and running now and let the voters deal with anyone who doesn’t turn up.

  • willowfield

    Pat McLarnon

    The fact of the matter is that there is a story out there, O Doherty hasn’t got a clue what’s going on and in order to honour his contractural obligations comes off with this inane piffle. Malachi O Doherty, the man with an insight into republican thinking, NOT.

    Do you, Pat, as a republican “sympathiser” (but not a supporter, of course), have such an insight?

    Posted by: Pat Mc Larnon at December 14, 2004 07:38 PM

  • AW

    Henry 94
    “It is the British who have suspended the Assembly”

    Yes and why?

  • willowfield

    Who else was going to suspend it?

  • Henry94

    AW

    Because of a PSNI coup to overthrow the institutions based on false charges, media grandstanding and total fabrication.

    Let’s remind ourselves what was alleged at the time.

    (The raid) brought a vast haul of thousands of secret documents purloined by the network, largely for sale or barter with foreign terrorist groups with whom Irish republican extremists have been long associated. The spies got hold of transcripts of confidential telephone conversations on secure lines between Tony Blair and President Bush, sending them to Belfast by means of ring members that included British civil servants and Irish Catholic politicians.

    Their activities were not confined to top-secret briefing materials laid before Blair on the political and military situation in Northern Ireland. They also went after intelligence memos and encrypted messages passing between the British and American leaders in their exchanges on military and intelligence preparations for the Afghan War, the campaign against Iraq, the post-Taliban situation in Kabul and highly sensitive data pertaining to the global war on terror, including anti-al Qaeda tactics.

    The PSNI briefed and spun a complete load of nonsense and have failed to even try to stand it up in court.

    Remember the alleged codename for Tony Blair “naive idiot”.

    I wonder whose codename it actually was?

  • willowfield

    Because of a PSNI coup to overthrow the institutions based on false charges, media grandstanding and total fabrication.

    Why would the PSNI want to “overthrow” the institutions?

  • Alan

    *Is there nothing you do in private that you wouldn’t be happy to have photographed and published?*

    The difference here is that what we do in private is no-one’s business; what the IRA do with their arms is everyone’s business.

    *They couldn’t possibly allow to Ian Paisley (or anyone else) control over the meaning of the event. He wants to define it as a humiliation and the photographs are his choosen method. That creates its own reality and republicans must deal with that.*

    It was SF who promoted the notion of humiliation by naming it in advance of the issue of photographs becoming the log jam. The republican movement have themselves allowed the meaning of the photographing of decommissioning to be usurped by the DUP.

    Rather than being a humiliation, it could equally be a responsible act to facilitate transparency in the necessary movement towards democracy and away from violence.

  • Henry94

    Alan

    It was SF who promoted the notion of humiliation by naming it in advance of the issue of photographs becoming the log jam.

    They asked the question. The response could have been that no humiliation was intended by it. The response was Paisley’s infamous speech.

    it could equally be a responsible act to facilitate transparency in the necessary movement towards democracy and away from violence.

    It’s one or the other and Paisley has made his choice.

    willowfield

    Why would the PSNI want to “overthrow” the institutions?

    Revenge for the name change? To help the UUP? Who knows

  • willowfield

    Neither is plausible.

  • Henry94

    willowfield

    Did you find the lurid plot reports at the time plausible? Did you find the televised seizure of two meaningless floppy disks plausible?

    Did you believe that “naive idiot” was Tony Blair’s codename?

  • willowfield

    I don’t know what “lurid plots” or “naive idiot” refers to.

    As for the seizure of 2 meaningless floppy disks, yes, that is plausible. I understood, though, that the charges related to a mole in the NIO who was photocopying documents and passing them to the PIRA death squads.

  • Alan2

    “The DUP could have agreed to other forms of verification and if so we are lead to believe got full decommissioning. The fact that both found the issue of photos so difficult is obviously piffle and one has to question the intent of both.”

    To do anything else would be a breach of the DUP`s electoral mandate. They are not about to “do a Trimble”. The DUP will win more seats at the upcoming election. They have the Paisley camp and Robinson and Donaldson will mop up the middle ground leaving Trimble to battle it out with Allaince / UUP voters.

  • AW

    There are issues surrounding the PSNI that do require some consideration but we will never get to the bottom of it all until the British government accepts its responsibility for past collusion. Until that happens the government is compromised.

    Alan2
    I agree with you the UUP (and perhaps more so the SDLP) are facing disaster and the Alliance are going to be severely squeezed. However there are other ways of verifying and to loose the possibility of complete decommissioning over a photo well sorry if I don’t buy it. It was a useful get out for both SF and the DUP but eventually the electorate will expect results.

  • Warm Storage

    Has the issue of who would own copyright of the photographs ever been raised? It’s been a while since I last looked at my McNae (the journalist bluffer’s guide to the legal system), but couldn’t the IRA have ownership of the photographs, thus controlling who sees them and, importantly if the DUP’s desire for the public to see them is to be satisfied, how often they are seen?

    The DUP are going to contuinue to try to “humiliate” Sinn Féin and the IRA, just as Gerry and co will always try to “humiliate” the DUP — albeit in a cuter fashion — so a one-off publication is hardly likely to inflict further “hurt” on the Provisionals.

    Although, given the way things are going, SF might then demand a veto over sub-editors’ headlines on any agreed publication day.

  • willowfield

    The PIRA, as an illegal organisation, could not have any legal ownership of anything.

  • Warm Storage

    Willowfield,

    But, given the right circumstances, you’re happy to allow them to govern the country by proxy, I take it?

    I was only making a suggestion on the current impasse. And it’s not like the Provos don’t own anything as it stands.

  • Millie

    Paisley said the other day that only ‘seeing is believing’ in regard to decommissioning. Strange words from a minister whose own Christian denomination is predicated on pure blind faith.

    Which leads to the next question, how can the visual decommissioning be overseen by two Christian clerics who between them wouldn’t be unable to provide visual verification for the God they worship, yet we’re supposed to believe these people when it comes the disposal of arms!

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Has the issue of who would own copyright of the photographs ever been raised?

    Yes.

    However, while it might mean IRA weapons pics don’t make it onto DUP election literature, there are plenty of less official publications that might publish them without permission.

    Not everyone puts an imprint on their literature!

  • willowfield

    But, given the right circumstances, you’re happy to allow them to govern the country by proxy, I take it?

    No. I’ll never be happy about Provos in government. But I recognise it is a political necessity.

  • Millie

    ‘No. I’ll never be happy about Provos in government. But I recognise it is a political necessity.’

    Don’t sweat it Willow, the Provos are merely following in the long line of colonial upstarts who one day were fighting the Imperial Crown, derided by all and sundry complete with the obligatory stint in jail, and the next, hailed as democrats who became involved in the new governance of the country, and in some cases went on to run the whole show. Provos in govt? As far as the British govt are concerned the Provos are following the script inch perfect.

  • Davros

    Paisley said the other day that only ‘seeing is believing’

    IF we are thinking of the same interview , he said something along the lines of -To the Man in the street seeing is believing.

  • AW

    Davros

    “To the Man in the street seeing is believing”.

    Sad as his canine friend has more sense and knows it is over.

  • James

    “However, while it might mean IRA weapons pics don’t make it onto DUP election literature”

    Flash back to when Ken Maginnis was on Larry King with Gerry Adams. The CNN show got a caller from San Francisco was dissing the republicans in terms no ordinary American could ever fathom just in time for Maginnis to hold up the newspaper he was secreting in his lap to show the headline that tied in with the tirade. Christ, I’d never seen rubes at these antics, not even in hayshaker politics.

    And we expect the DUP to be more restrained?

    The truth was, Adams could have really used that newspaper because I understand that at the time his zipper was broken in the open position. How’s that for a Freudian moment?