It's Sinn Fein and the DUP's game now…

Brian Feeney makes the point that regardless of how people feel about it, Sinn Fein possesses an unimpeachable mandate as the lead nationalist party. He argues there are very few traces of UUP or SDLP suggestions in the final deal released by the two governments, because in a democracy, the winner takes all.

  • Keith M

    To misquote the Basil Fawlty….”Brian Feeney, specialized subject, the bleeding obvious”.

  • David Vance

    For a demolition of Brian’s column, I commend Andrew McCann’s column over on ATW – it sorts out the nonsense trotted out by Mr. Feeny…good and proper.

  • ulsterman

    Very interesting comment. In a democracy the winner takes all. If that were the case then the Unionists would be in power in Stormont.

    It is the denial of democracy that has allowed a situation to arise where IRA gunmen can become ministers.

    This time there will be no fudge. There will be no government unless the IRA disband.

    Time for a fair deal.

    Happy Christmas,

    Enjoy the Queens speech tomorrow,

    God Save The Queen.

  • aquifer

    The truth is that any deal will do nicely for UUP and SDLP, regardless of detail. Until a deal is done there is usually an electoral payoff for the extremes, unless people begin to get fed up with a joint Paisley/ IRA army council veto. The SDLP have sharpened their line of late and could begin to open up this possibility on the Nationalist side. What have the Trimbleistas been up to of late? Any sign of coherent criticism of DUP conduct? Will the firebomb campaign put any heat under them at all?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    First prize for DV in the brass neck category. Come over to my site and read the sectarian ramblings of a bigot, dressed up as political comment.
    We all had a taste of the poor Andrew before, who out-argued, tired and frustrated took his ball home via the letters page of the Belfast Telegraph. Yeah DV the turkeys really do vote for Xmas.

  • David Vance

    My My Pat…but you are bitter, aren’t you? Referring to Andrew as “a bigot” appears to past muster here – it doesn’t impress me. Andrew’s opinions are vas valid as Brian Feeny’s – or yours. It is a pity, though not a surprise, that you cannot articulate an informed response to what he argues.

    As for turkeys and Christmas, your recent hilarious ravings on the Northern Bank heist have even gained you a little reference from me on ATW. So, well done.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Ah David please don’t be hurt by the expose of your co pilot. Poor Andrew was even a laughing stock among the unionist contributors.

    On the Northern raid David i’m afraid all I did was highlight the ludicrous prejudices of people like yourself, MOPEing Unionists in search of a crime. Although I would welcome any FACTs you have on the case, indeed so would the KEYSTONES.

    BTW congratsulations on the 100k hits to your site, although i’m sure it keeps you and young Andrew very busy.

  • David Vance

    Cheers Pat…but it was visitors, not hits. 🙂

    As for me being a MOPE Unionist – great satire. You really should be on a stage.

    Final point – any thoughts on why the police raided houses in West Belfast? Just persecuting the beleagured citizenry of that part of the city?

  • Davros

    Final point – any thoughts on why the police raided houses in West Belfast?

    Is there a record kept of these raids in terms of the Orange/Green dichotomy ? Is there parity of raiding ? There hasn’t been parity of conviction , as a lower % of “green” crimes have resulted in convictions. I think we should be told.

  • David Vance

    Frankly, it strikes me that the entire securocrat apparatus of the oppressing British State has singled out totally innocent people in West Belfast, probbaly at random, to divert media attention from where the REAL criminals are to be located i.e. Ulster Resistance and its political front – the DUP.

    You see – I have learned many lessons from reading Slugger.

    Merry Xmas to all!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    DV,

    First of all apologies over the hits and visitors mistake, wouldn’t want to underestimate the power of ATW and Merry Xmas to your good self and to my old mucker Dav.
    As to why the Keystones raided W Belfast, well thats been covered on another thread and the line of them seeing to be doing something, rather than floundering is a common one. I thought outed DUPer Lowry might be a good source for transparency and neutrality on that one.
    As for persecution in W Belfast, well they were at one time all classed as a terrorist community, so maybe old habits die hard.
    Being dismissive of UR and the weapons held by that organisation was as predictable as your defence of new love Andrew and your past devotion of Sideshow Bob.
    Have a nice one

  • aquifer

    But anyway. To me local columnists have a profound problem, they cannot have an off day, and when the media are split along tribal lines what they write must pass the tribal correctness test most of the time, while being stimulating to read. So slabs of prose paid for, lots of tangents, but still the same two big sectarian circles exert their gravitational pull.

    Writers may score points against the other side, but rather pointlessly, as the other side don’t read their column. Neither will the other side rebut.

    How about the local papers write them new contracts, allowing each paper to copy and carry eachother’s columns from time to time. Call it quality control, or a cross-community reality check.

  • David Vance

    Pat,

    I notice the good people of Ballymurphy showed their legendary sense of the Christmas spirit by rioting and injuring several police officers. Plus ca change.I guess they were provoked by the very notion that republicans might somehow be up to their scrawny necks in stolen Northern Bank notes. And who can blame them – no wonder Adams is outraged. I share his pain, and yours.

  • Davros

    I disagree aquifer. The “other” side do read the columns, and do so in order to be educated or outraged- ATW’s David and Andrew are Keen readers of Brian Feeney. As with the identity of people, the papers do have a polar spectrum, with only some being at the extremes. Good examples of the extremes – ATN and the defunct Protestant Telegraph. But we have people like Eamonn McCann- and even Martin McGuinness getting space in the Belfast Tele. Then the Irish News regularly carries a spectrum of opinion from Roy Garland and Newton Emerson through to Jude Collins and Brian Feeney. The letters pages show that there is a cross-community readership.

  • IJP

    Most of what Feeney writes is bunkum. This is an exception – it is shameful bunkum. The idea that some people might take these views seriously is a cause of great concern.

    Sinn Fein possesses an unimpeachable mandate as the lead nationalist party.

    Nonsense.

    If it can’t commit itself to exclusively democratic means and to clearly legitimate points of view, then it is perfectly impeachable. (Dare I mention the NSDP? Was it ‘impeachable’?)

    because in a democracy, the winner takes all.

    Majoritarian claptrap. Majoritarianism is exactly what we are trying to get away from. It semi-works in societies where the ground rules are clearly established (e.g. GB or RoI), but cannot prevail where they are not (as in NI).

    That the documents were passed only to the DUP and SF is an assault on democracy and on the clearly-established need for general consensus in any divided society.

    The idea that majoritarianism suddenly becomes OK as long as it’s some of each side rather than just one ‘side’ needs to be impeached for a start.

    We live in a divided, contested society where consensus politics is the only way forward. In short, we need to learn to get on with each other, not how to get on without each other!

  • Davros

    Good post and Happy Christmas IJP. Just reading about an extreme form of Majoritarianism – Pro-Treaty savagery during the Civil War.

  • Henry94

    It is a strange brand of Majoritarianism when the two “excluded” minority parties will be in government as of right under the rules.

    I don’t think there is anything in the published deal that either of them have a real problem with (honourable opposition is no longer mentioned as an option) but of course they have a right even a responsibility to be critical and look for flaws in the deal.

    They haven’t come up with much.

    The real discrimination in the deal and in the Agreement is against the parties that don’t designate as either unionist or nationalist. Their votes count for less because they have no role in the cross-community decisions. That is a serious democratic flaw and while am no fan of the Alliance it should be sorted out.

    It could be done by changing the requirement for a cross-community decision to a majority on non-unionists and a majority of non-nationalists.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Dv,

    I do indeed share your pain, but am nonetheless amused at the floundering of yourself in search of a conviction and the PSNI in search of a culprit.
    Gone are the halcyon days when a few well aim punches or a verbal statement did wonders for the police clear up rate.
    Amazing that when the PSNI are asked to do normal policing using normal methods they aren’t really that good.

  • Davros

    Amazing that when the PSNI are asked to do normal policing using normal methods they aren’t really that good.

    Not really Pat – we are after all in an abnormal situation.

  • David Vance

    MMM…Pat,

    Have you seen that well-known organ of the British securocrats today – The Sunday Business Post? It suggest that it was the IRA wot done it.

    Now, you and I know know that this is because of the vast right-wing conspiracy – but others may conclude that this rather demonstrates that the poor old thieving criminal IRA is incapable of stopping doing what it does best.

    As for the PSNI – well, I too feel they fall short. So will you be launching a “Bring Back the RUC” campaign?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    In a UK context the PSNI have twice as many coppers per head than most other regions, surely they should be at least twice as good. Or are we now seeing the over reliance on their military colleagues coming to the fore. Is it a case of the military not seeing republicans as their enemy anymore? Thus the PSNI are on their own.

    DV

    The SBP is running with the crowd and quoting anonymous sources, a bit lame considering this is the biggest cash robbery in the world and nobody wants to be associated with it.
    BTW I never knew you were an admirer of the IRAs’ operational abitilities, shucks, where’s Freddie Scap when you need him.
    As for bringing back the RUC, i’m all for DIY, beat yourself up and hand yourself in. Thankfully that gang (the RUC), as you have admitted, are consigned to the dustbin of history. Forever to remain.

  • maca

    What are the biggest problems with the PSNI, management? resources? training? committment? esprit de corps? balls? All of the above?

  • Davros

    Maca- they were made to sever a lot of contacts with their informants – because informants tend to be criminals. (daft isn’t it ! )They supposedly also have lost a lot of their more experienced officers.

    Pat – if SF lifted the Omertá in republican areas, it would make crime-solving a lot easier. One of the most disgraceful things I find about SF’s position is that when sex attacks or child abductions occur in areas like Derry, people are forbidden to help the police. Bad enough that they won’t lift the ban over Omagh, but I can see a sort of logic as by their previous stance that would in their eyes have been a “political” crime, but in cases such as sex attacks on women and kids and attacks on old folks, the party that says it is for the vulnerable appears ( note that word, carefully chosen) to prefer to have these continue than allow people to pass on information to the police.

  • maca

    Thanks Davros.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    then why is crime so rampant in unionist areas, after all, these people have shown great devotion to their police force, is there omerta in these areas too.
    The police have made a whip for their own back, if nationalists don’t trust them it is simply because of their legacy of bigotry and sectarianism. The pictures of Xmas Eve raids and opened presents will make nice posters come the next election.

    I know of a number of sex attacks that occurred in N Belfast and the people involved were told by SF to contact the PSNI.

  • Davros

    Good Afternoon Pat.

    Yes, there is a Loyalist equivalent of Omertá in areas controlled by the UDA and UVF. There isn’t any equivalent amongst the Unionist community.

    Many Nationalists DO trust the police Pat, and the % is rising. It doesn’t help that the Police face a stream of negative propaganda from SF.

    As for the claim that you know of incidences where people were told by SF to contact the police, as it is you I’ll accept that as I think you are an honest chap, but in that case aren’t SF being hypocritical by not coming out and saying these things publicly instead of such quotes we see reported as the SF councillor who said only ever tell the Police lies ? It certainly didn’t seem to happen when there were a string of rapes and attacks in the University area of Belfast. people are still being told in Derry, again where there have been problems with sex attacks over quite a while, not to pass on information to the police.
    During a string of attacks on the elderly I remember SF putting their “principles” ahead of the welfare of the most vulnerable in society.

    In fact the only time That I can think of that the Police and army are welcomed is when SF reps are sent letter bombs etc. One as I recall even went to the length of phoning a TV or Radio station so that he could say that he hadn’t call the Brits – but he didn’t turn them away when they arrived.

    Cheers.

  • David Vance

    Pat,

    Given that I would like to see the IRA crushed into the dirt – along with all other paramilitaries – I wonder what your source for the allegation that I am “an admirer” of the IRA might be? Could it be the same source which assures you that the IRA has no hand in the bank heist? I guess so – your serial excuse-making for the Provos is indeed like the peace of god – in that is passeth all understanding.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Dvaros

    ‘Many Nationalists DO trust the police Pat, and the % is rising. It doesn’t help that the Police face a stream of negative propaganda from SF.’

    Rather than trust the survey figures put out by the Police Board etc I prefer to look at the facts. 12 visitors to Rosemount Police station in a whole year. If anything shows contempt for these people it’s that.

    DV,

    Your admiration for the IRA is there for all to see in your rush to land this meticulous and professional crime on their lap. After all no one else is capable for such a crime.
    I haven’t saisd the IRA was not involved, I am simply honest enough to state I don’t know.

    Serial excuse making for the IRA? An amazingly similar stance to the unionisrt paramilitaries who grouped all Catholics as terrorists. My My who would have thought it.

  • Davros

    Rather than trust the survey figures put out by the Police Board etc I prefer to look at the facts. 12 visitors to Rosemount Police station in a whole year. If anything shows contempt for these people it’s that.

    of course, that nationalists might justifiably feel at risk if seen entering a police station by a Republican activist has no bearing on this example 😉

  • John East Belfast

    Pat McLarnon

    “12 visitors to Rosemount Police station in a whole year. If anything shows contempt for these people it’s that.”

    You say the above almost with a sense of glee.

    Having said that I can’t see why anyone wants to visit their local police station unless you are presenting your driving licence because you didn’t have it with you when stopped for speeding. If you want to report a crime or provide information you would use the telephone.

    Anyhow Davros is right – the people are too frightened to go inside a police station – and it isn’t fear of the PSNI – get real.

    Overall people living in Republican areas (and also some in loyalist areas) have to ask whether they want civilised Law and Order or do they want the rule of paramiltiaries.

    Most sensible and reasonable people would favour the former. Any allegations about the past “brutality” of the RUC are completely irrelevant in 2005 in an ombudsman accountable 50/50 PSNI.

    The only reason that Republicans continue to have a problem with such law and order is a mixture of ugly ignorance and SF fuelled prejudice because it continues to suit the latter in its desire for power and control (and concession extraction) as well as to provide cover for the activities of its own ugly sister.

    Meanwhile so called republican ghettos become economic wastelands plagued by joy riders populated in an endless cycle of residents supported almost exclusively on state benefits.

    Not supporting the legitimate forces of law and order is a completely unforgiveable stance for any elected official to take.

    Think of an outside investor wanting to set up a factory, office or commercial complex in NI – what are the chances of them going to an area where the elected reps take pride in the lack of co-operation of the local populace with the forces of law and order ?

    No chance – and to some extent if that is how you wnat to live up there that’s your problem – except one way or another I end up payng for it.

  • Davros

    I think it worth making the point that to many in the unionist community SF’s contortions over policing – SF giving secret permission for some to pass on info is really, really sad Pat – is a major barrier to our acceptance of them as anything like a purely democratic party. Like it or not Pat and other SF supporters and members, SF are tainted with the perception that they are soft on criminality and that the only Laws, moral and legal, they want to abide by are those which they decide suit their hidden agenda.

    The point of the agreement is that we are supposed to be establishing a new NI with a level playing field so that people can choose their future – in the UK or in a United Ireland. Fundamental to that is the rule of law and order. IF SF are not seen to be supportive of law and order,especially when it goes against them, then they are not going to be seen as being serious about establishing a Fair N.I. By being seen as trying to destroy the Police
    they suggest, regardless of the reality, that they
    are only paying lip-service to the changes while continuing the classic destructive tactics of the past as seen in Ireland when the RIC were targetted and in Germany when a priority for the destruction of the Weimar republic was the control and corruption of the Police Force.

    SF’s position on Policing is, to me, more important than it’s position on decommissioning.

  • John East Belfast

    Davros

    “SF’s position on Policing is, to me, more important than it’s position on decommissioning.”

    I think a democratic political party’s position on the holding of illegal arms and its support for an accountable, fully available police service are equally valid in its support or otherwise for Law and Order.

    therefore I am not sure what point you were making there ?

  • Davros

    JEB- SF can (rightly) argue that The IRA and it’s weapons are outside of it’s control. They cannot use that excuse when it comes to SF’s ambivalence on criminality and Law and Order.

  • John East Belfast

    Davros

    “JEB- SF can (rightly) argue that The IRA and it’s weapons are outside of it’s control.”

    But if you asked SF should the IRA decommission its illegal arsenal immediately and without any pre-condition it would say no. No other political party would say that about any illegal weapon held in NI.

    ie saying “we have no control over IRA weaponary” is not a valid defence or response when asked the question of whether DC should take place.

    apart from that I don’t believe it has no control over the weaponary in the first place

  • maca

    JEB
    “But if you asked SF should the IRA decommission its illegal arsenal immediately and without any pre-condition it would say no. No other political party would say that about any illegal weapon held in NI.”

    Do words mean that much John?
    If SF said yes i’m not sure i’d believe them. I know I certainly wouldn’t believe Paisley if he said it.
    Actions say a lot more than words.

  • unionist_observer

    Given that Gerry and co don’t speak for the most dangerous element of the IRA (McKevitt etc in the RIRA), should we really have any faith in Sinn Fein, can they deliver peace or are they merely winging it?

  • maca

    UO
    If SF can at least persuade PIRA to take a path of peace it’s a very significant leap forward. RIRA are small (I wonder might they grow in future though?), without PIRA more focus can be put on these smaller groups.

  • unionist_observer

    Hopefully they won’t grow, however I have been reading a book about them (Black operations) and it seems they did take the cream of the provisionals when they formed, including most of the bomb makers which doesn’t bode well.

    Also with the recent firebomb campaign and if the rumours are true that they were behind the bank robbery we could see alot more action from them in the new year.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Occasionally though Pat, don’t nationalists sometimes forget that they’ve completely rejected the RUC (or PSNI) ? I seem to remember an occasion a few years back when Donegal Celtic made the fatal mistake of agreeing to – shock horror – a football game with the then-RUC.

    A few visits were paid to certain people by certain other people, and Donegal Celtic hastily withdrew from the fixture. Isn’t it a great thing that Sinn Fein were around to make sure the nationalist people stuck to their beliefs 100%.

    “I know of a number of sex attacks that occurred in N Belfast and the people involved were told by SF to contact the PSNI. ” – what’s this Pat ? Anonymous sources ? The dogs on the street in force again ? I’d have thought better of you.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Davros wibbled : “.. is a major barrier to our acceptance of them as anything like a purely democratic party.. “

    Who gave you the right to accept or reject anyone as a democratic party ? Couldn’t other people just as well reject unionism as a democratic movement ? There’s a stack of good reasons why nobody should.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The verbal contortions of some Unionists as they try to imagine why nationalists continue to see the PSNI as an essentially rotten force really is quite amusing. All the third rate psychology can never take the place of an ounce of real experience.

    On the wider point of peace alluded to by unionist observer. SF are not in a position to deliver peace. In case it has escaped your attentiion the majority of violence in the last decade has emanated from within the unionist community. It is for unionists to convince others that they really want peace.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘You say the above almost with a sense of glee.’

    How can you tell? Or is that another example of third rate psychology? It is however factual nonetheless.

  • Davros

    Roger- When Have I given The Unionist Party my approval ? Like it or not, SF’s ambivalent attitude towards law and order is viewed with suspicion on my side of the fence.

    And please note, that while I said that SF can (rightly) argue , I did not say that I agree with their argument.

  • unionist_observer

    “On the wider point of peace alluded to by unionist observer. SF are not in a position to deliver peace. In case it has escaped your attentiion the majority of violence in the last decade has emanated from within the unionist community. It is for unionists to convince others that they really want peace.”

    I entirely disagree with your analysis Pat. I agree that I don’t think the shinners can deliver peace but I think that because they are not as in control of republicanism as they like to let us all think.

    Dissident republicans are the greatest threat, people who will not lay down the guns until they have a united, socialist Ireland as it says in the original IRA constitution that the Real IRA are sticking to. The Unionists want peace and stability, it is republicans who are determined to undermine Northern Ireland and continue bombing and shooting until they get their own way. Unionism has proved now several times that we want peace and are prepared to make sacrifices of the things we hold dear in order to get it eg. allowing killers to be released from prison, allowing the police service to be overhauled.

  • Davros

    Pat- in the past decade we had Omagh and Canary Wharfe, neither of which came from the unionist community.

  • John East Belfast

    Pat McLarnon

    If it was proven the recent Bank Robbery was the work of the IRA what do you think the Sinn Fein response to such a revelation should be ?

  • John East Belfast

    maca

    “Do words mean that much John?
    If SF said yes i’m not sure i’d believe them. I know I certainly wouldn’t believe Paisley if he said it.
    Actions say a lot more than words.”

    I think if they said yes then it would be a monumental step in the right direction.
    For all my distaste of the Republican movement when it comes to them issuing words about their own long term future I tend to take them seriously.

    When they effectively say No to the immediate disarmament of illegal weaponary then it clearly illustrates their own criminality and unfitness to hold political office.
    This of course is the position of the Irish Constitution and Irish political parties

  • maca

    JEB
    “This of course is the position of the Irish Constitution and Irish political parties”

    Would you mind clarifying this…

  • John East Belfast

    maca

    private armies and all that

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Davros, on no side of any fence are there people who can point to other people and say “I won’t deal with those guys because they’re bad, instead I’ll stick with the status quo and try to get my own way later”. It is ridiculous when unionists take that position, and it is equally ridiculous when nationalists take that position (which the SDLP basically did throughout most of it’s history between Sunningdale and the GFA). I don’t think anyone who took the position “I won’t deal with the DUP until Peter Robinson apologizes to the people of Clontibret and Ian Paisley issues an inventory of Ulster Resistance’s weapons” would be reasonable, equally anyone who takes the same position with SF is equally unreasonable.

    I also mentioned that contrary to what Pat implies, most nationalists do not send their kids out to brick the police landrovers whenever they pass, certainly not in the lower-middle-class bit of North Belfast that I live in. Sinn Fein on occasion finds itself having to enforce it’s party policy of non-cooperation with the police on the population, as we saw in incidents such as the Donegal Celtic business years ago, or on certain occasions when (for example) police liason officers are working with local primary or secondary schools and the school head teacher comes under pressure from SF. It’s difficult to say how much of nationalist opposition to the PSNI is genuine, and how much of it is forced by SF and the IRA. By refusing to acknowledge that point, Pat exposes himself as a party political stooge.

  • Davros

    Davros, on no side of any fence are there people who can point to other people and say “I won’t deal with those guys because they’re bad, instead I’ll stick with the status quo and try to get my own way later”. It is ridiculous when unionists take that position,

    Why ? There’s biblical justification and historical evidence of the dangers. There’s a whole new generation of SF politicians with clean hands and most SF voters have clean hands. I have no problem in dealing with them.
    You are in fact encouraging violence when you insist that we, joe public, must dance to the tune of those responsible for atrocities because they still have guns and explosives.
    The improvements that have occurred at ground level are because Billy the P and Joe the T are making accomodations. If Paisley and Adams shook Hands tomorrow would it alter anything ? Nope.
    The future lies in Bottom Up Politics, or more elegantly “History from below”. IMO 😉