Feeney: no change ahead!

A promising start from the definative old pro, Brian Feeney, in which he argues that new benchmarks are needed to chart progress of the peace process. However, he adeptly keeps his own proposition hidden, suggesting instead that unionist backing of the DUP means that all bets should be called off.

Andrew McCann accuses Feeney of turning against an Agreement he once championed. He also links to a fascinating presentation on the political uses on of demography in Northern Ireland.

  • David Vance

    …and a promising end to this years “Feeney Watch” – Andrew McCann’s weekly analysis of what Brian has to say! Plus ca change.

  • mickhall

    I think this is a very interesting article, especially the following from Feeney, “More than 50 per cent of the nationalist population are under 30.” I would imagine much the same would be true of the Unionist community. He also points out another truth, i.e. the majority of those politicians who are the driving force behind the GFA are 50 and over. (he says 55) If a deal is not cut by these parties in the foreseeable future, then the GFA is going to be beyond its sell by date and perhaps that will be no bad thing.

  • Davros

    MH- good point. I suspect that peace will come from the younger generations, not those who lived through the 60’s and 70’s.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Brian Feeney – the nationalist Ian Paisley. Makes no attempt to understand, much less accommodate, Unionists of any variety. His Sinn Feinesque style of “we’re the only reasonable ones, those Unionists are just bigots” highlights his own intolerance.

    The last column of his that really make me feel ill was his critical analysis of the Polish Home Army’s “reckless beyond belief” rising against Nazis.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    You must get ill quite easily Michael or are you exaggerating ever so slightly.

    Also, Feeney has never advocated law breaking and violence. He also never formed his own paramilitary organisation never mind serve a jail sentence. Therefore your comparison to Paisley is a tad unfair.

  • mickhall

    Have you got a web address for that article, as I missed it and would be keen to read it.

  • Michael Shilliday

    it would be on the irish news website which is subscription only. i’ll try to get a copy if you have an email address to send it to.

  • Davros

    Michael, what date was it ?

  • Michael Shilliday

    August 4th

  • GavBelfast

    I’ll be all-eyes and all-ears if Feeney ever says anything thought-provoking.

    If he was in a pub, he would be a bar-bore.

    Is it a weekly competition between Jude and him to see who most easily and predictably reverts to type?

  • Davros

    Thanks Michael, I’ll dig it out.

  • Davros

    OK, I have a copy, it’s an unpleasant piece, snide even by Feeney’s usual standards. If anybody wants
    to read it e mail me at ivan.vet@virgin.net.

  • aquifer

    Feeney has a good point. The default here should be a committee of competent commissioners from North South East and West to show the local non-governing class how it should be done.

    Also, the hurdle for cross-community consent should be lowered, allowing an executive to be formed with as little as 25% of ‘the other sort’ as part of it. Any party not registering as unionist or nationalist could count as 60-40 respectively, so an Alliance party, say, could be in government with Unionists as 63% of an executive, or the SDLP with 26% without alliance. Or Sinn Fein with 41% Alliance or 25% UU.

    Why should numbers in an executive reflect party strength anyhow? The electorate will soon sort out any party getting too far above its station, or can reward one that breaks a tedious logjam.

  • mickhall

    I agree, it is a very poor article and I speak as someone who enjoys reading Feeneys work.
    His criticism of the Polish Home Army’s wish to liberate its own Capital is particularly thoughtless to say the least. They were only doing what the French Resistance did in Paris, an occupied people have their pride too. As to the British failing to give support to the Rising, they did what was politically and military possible and a fair number of RAF air crews lost their lives in the process. It is also thought by many these days that the Russian were not in the position many thought them to be as to giving the Home Army aid.

    No matter what some may think, for the generation who fought WW2, whether on the Home front or in the armed forces and the generation that followed them, WW2 really was Britain’s finest hour. It should never be forgotten that this generation also built the Welfare State and welcomed people from all over the world into their country to help in the rebuilding process; and although im aware of the problems that occurred, giant strides in community relations and tolerance have been made, many of which sprung from the war against fascism and the equality in outlook it generated. Especially amongst working people, the majority of whom came out of the war believing for the first time that people were not their betters, simply because they belonged to the middle or upper classes.…

    I have some sympathy with the nostalgia problem, but this has little to do with WW2, only today I have a German relation staying with me and he tells me mainstream German TV carries documentaries about WW2 on a regular basis, i.e. more than one a week. If used properly, WW2 should enhance support for the EU not reduce it. As to the UK government paying veterans to travel to Normandy, so they should, these men did their duty and if they cannot afford to travel to where their old comrades fell, then I for one have no problems with their former employer picking up the tab. As in England there are fewer of these old soldiers left alive in Germany, but the Government gives help to old comrades regimental association’s, It is what many old soldiers love to do, chew the fat about past days.

    As to Feeneys claim that it has been down hill all the way since WW2 for Britain, well for working class people it has been the reverse despite having setbacks. We no longer had the accursed Empire weighing us down and making us responsible for crimes that happened far away and in our name, from which we gained only hatred. Post war our health, housing and life style improved and whilst it may have been down hill for the wretched British aristocracy, this was not something they did not deserve. Finally if Feeney really believes England is a nation that hates foreigners, then he has no idea who we are,let alone taken a walk down the high street of an average town. Take the area I live in, the Thames Rim. There are few families who can go back more than four generations without finding incumbers blood, whether it be Irish, Scots and Welsh, Jewish, Indian sub continent, West indies and Africa, mainland Europe, middle east and Turkey, the list is endless. As I said we have a long way to go, but without the dead weight of empire around our necks we have started on a journey that will end, who knows where.

  • Davros

    Mick H, I find it worrying that Feeney is a history teacher.

    It’s also worth pointing out that the generation prior to WWI did a huge amount of good, especially in Ireland. Thinking here of the Introduction of Old Age Pensions across the Islands- as huge a leap in terms of improving the lot of the disadvantaged and vulnerable in society as the introduction of the NHS, and the Wyndham Act of 1903 and the Amended Land Purchase Act of 1909 which changed the face of Irish agriculture and gave rights to Irish tenants far in advance of rights of English tenant farmers.

    I have an excellent paper by Cormac Ó Gráda of UCD on the introduction of the Pension that I’ll happily forward.

  • aquifer

    Sure, arn’t all the politicians here history teachers.

  • BeanShide

    The machavellian Belfast disaggreement can never deliver peace, nor was it ever intended to, it simply provided the face saving excuse to call a ceasefire i.e. to end the war, and thus allow the real negoiations to start. Some would say it gaurantees national identity and equality, but where decommissioning is concerned there is no equality, and those well meaning politicians attempting to pressure the P.I.R.A. to kiss big Ian Paisleys ring are happy and content to allow the Loyalist factions to, not only keep their current stocks of munitions, but to actively seek to replenish their dwindling supplies. There should be simultaneous decomissioning without seeking to humiliate either side, and it should proceed with or without the DUP’s approval, just who do these people think they are? They are a tiny minority on the Island of Ireland and what we have is the majority ruled by the few. Ian Paisley is the Yassar Arafat of Irish politics, in his eyes peace and stable government would herald the end of his world, big Ian is nobodys fool, he knows fine well we’re all heading in the one direction, to Dublin, and he and all who are opposed to justice via democracy shall twist and turn doing all they can to derail the Dublin train, and he’s counting on the P.I.R.A. to refuse to pose for photographs to justify his stance. We’ve all see enough photos of big Ian and his mates in the past, we are all very aware of his pedigree and his hidden treasure, but we’re all prepared to take the word of honourable men when his mates begin long overdue decomissioning.

  • Davros

    it simply provided the face saving excuse to call a ceasefire

    The IRA ceasefire had been in place before the GFA was signed, July 20 1997.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Pat, interesting view on comparing Feeney to Ian Paisley. Have you ever wondered how Feeney and the SDLP came to part ways many years ago ? It’s something neither the SDLP nor Feeney have spoken about in public (compared with, for example, the recent resignation of Martin Morgan).