Further progress requires honesty

Former editor of the BBC’s Today programme, and now a regular columnist at the Spectator, Rod Liddle, says the one thing required from Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein is honesty. He makes an unfavourable comparison with Al-Qaeda:

…the main difference between these twin threats to our peaceful existence is in IRA/ Sinn Fein’s disingenuousness, the century of lies. The peace process would be easier to pursue and we would be more inclined to forgive the decades of murder, the IRA/Nazi alliance in the second world war, the bombs and the shootings and the beatings and the robberies, if they would simply come clean.

We know we have to negotiate, much as it may stick in the craw to do so. We know that a peace process or Stormont without IRA/Sinn Fein is a singularly pointless exercise. It grieves us to admit this but it is true.

We know, too, that Ulster is a historical anomaly and that we share some of the blame for the bloodshed, for the earlier unjust treatment of Catholic Ulstermen and for human rights abuses. We are even aware that there has been movement — too little movement, undoubtedly — from Sinn Fein towards a semblance of civilised behaviour.

Now, all we need is a bit of honesty and less of the flouncing off, stage left. As an international statesman, Gerry, do you think you can manage that?

  • ricardo

    Just on the topic of the Al Quaeda/IRA comparison:

    I was in a newsagents last week and saw the cover of a magazine (may have been Time) which featured hooded men with guns aloft, and the headline ‘INSURGENTS: WHO THEY ARE, AND WHY ELECTIONS WON’T STOP THEM’

    Guess where it rememinded me of?

  • mickhall

    I liked this quote from Anthony McIntyre in the Sunday Independent “Nobody is photogenic in a balaclava”

  • ricardo

    Dunno about that mick, there are quite a few politicians in NI whose appearance would be markedly improved by wearing a balaclava!

  • DessertSpoon

    Just in case any of the key players in what is laughingly referred to as our peace process (haven’t seen much process have you??)Here is a definition of honesty (because I know they struggle with it!)- a quality of character necessary for trust, respect, and honnor; a foundation value and fundamental requirement for successful leadership. So now you know try and apply it and get this mess cleaned up. Thanks!

  • Da McGlincheys Code

    I saw the photographs of the British army torturing Iraqs and it was all too familiar as hosts to these people in their former colonies know only too well.
    With their history of torture and murder it is long past the day when articles penned by the Liddles of this world speak to anyone other than the converted.

    Anyway good to see that Anthony has joined Eoghan et al at Independent Newspapers. Going on past articles he should be a success and might even get invited to a RDE dinner party.

  • Mick Fealty

    DMC:

    McIntyre’s been quoted widely in the press, particularly since his last (universally well received outside the RM) piece in the Irish Times. Not sure how that constitutes joining the Independent group?

    Unless you are simply playing the man, rather than making a substantive point?

  • Da McGlincheys Code

    The fact is has he not contrbuted an article to the Sunday Independent? The policy of that paper is quite rigid in who and what gets column inches. That is a very visible and toxic anti SF line.

    Would Mc Intyre have got those column inches if he was supportive of the SF leadership? Given that the answer is most definitely no, then he has in fact joined with the more permanent anti SF contributors like Eoghan et al. Indeed RDE takes to converts like Anthony, just ask Sean O Callaghan. so an invitation to one of her dinner parties might be on the agenda.

    The very substantive point is the degree of anti SF propaganda filling the news sheets at this time and the fact that a paper like the Sindo is prepared to offer Mc Intyre a platform. Is it not valid in pointing out the fact that a lot of previously diverse opinions are coming together at this time for the sake of convenience and to face down the common enemy?
    Definitely ball not man, i’ll leave that sort of thing to Mc Intyre who does a nice line of man not ball in his own article.

  • Mick Fealty

    Noting the strident anti Sinn Fein line in the Sunday Independent is fair enough. Trying to invalidate the view of someone who’s been asked to write for them simply does not follow.

  • Sluggerite

    Speaking of dinner parties. Perhaps he will run into Bangers at Ruth Dudley Edwards’ next soiree. I hear Ruth likes Morrison’s lasagne!

  • dave

    That’s the trouble with truth, it bloody well hurts.

    lets face it some people just can’t handle the truth, I have read and heard all the bad things the loyalist paramilitaries and British Army have done in the name of (whatever)

    Is it not time for Republicans/Nationalists to face up to the fact that SF/IRA do not represent the people of Ireland and that at large the Irish People are ashamed by them.

  • Davros

    It’s an interesting example of double standards – the people who are happy to demonise Paisley on the word of someone who had “heard of ” him are so dismissive of someone who was a member of the IRA and was in the Maze with many important figures in both the IRA and SF.

  • slug9987

    “Is it not valid in pointing out the fact that a lot of previously diverse opinions are coming together at this time for the sake of convenience and to face down the common enemy?”

    This is an interesting development in politics. If you read Malachi O’Doherty’s piece in todays BT it notes this.

  • The Beach Tree

    Davros, perhaps you might be a little less cryptic and explain what exactly is the accusation you are levelling, and at whom?

  • Jimmy Sands

    I’m a little unsure about the expression “previously diverse opinions” which seems to imply that those who take an anti-provo line by definition subsribe to the entire Sindo worldview. This is clearly not the case. Anti-fascism has always been the broadest of churches.

  • slug9987

    Indeed, what is interesting is the diversity of the views that are now ranged against Sinn Fein in Ireland as well as elsewhere.

    What role do people think that electoral competition plays in the realignment – in other words, might the all-Ireland strategy of Sinn Fein be working to create a new all-Ireland coalition against them?

  • The Beach Tree

    Slug9987

    I’m not entirely convinced that the word ‘diversity’ is justified in this context.

    An Irish election approaches, and in the face of a rising Sinn Fein vote the ‘traditional’ southern parties circle the wagons. Hardly surprising – with the exception of the PDs, who are congenitally predisposed to abhore Sinn Fein, all the other major players would have possible gains to make from the 5-10% who currently might be designated SF, either as a ‘respectable’ republican or left wing party (FF, Labour), or the usual anti-government ‘alternative’ vote (FG, Green).

    Most of the thumping is coming from ‘the usual suspects’ – there’s nothing particularly novel in this, nor terribly diverse.

  • alex s

    With regard to Gerry Adam’s honesty, does anyone really believe the 22 year old spirited out of Long Kesh to talk to the Brits wasn’t in the PIRA at the time, yet this is what Adam’s claims, if Adams can’t tell the truth about this can he be believed about anything

  • slug9987

    “Most of the thumping is coming from ‘the usual suspects’ – there’s nothing particularly novel in this, nor terribly diverse.”

    The thumping maybe, but there is a convergence of tone from a whole range of diverse groups. If you look at Malachi O’Doherty’s piece today, he notes that you have a group stretching from Anthony McIntyre, through Eoghan Harris, FF/PD, FG, Green & Labour (Ire and GB), SDLP, Alliance, UUP, and DUP all saying much the same thing at the moment.

    What is interesting here is that those traditionally opposed to Sinn Fein are aligning with those in electoral competition, which, to my inexpert eye, looks like a diverse alliance. How long it lasts I don’t know – Sinn Fein will know that they have to divide and conquer.

  • Davros

    Davros, perhaps you might be a little less cryptic and explain what exactly is the accusation you are levelling, and at whom?

    No accusation beachtree – an observation.

  • mickhall

    Da wrote,
    Indeed RDE takes to converts like Anthony, just ask Sean O Callaghan.

    Da
    You mentioned that previously diverse opinions are coming together in their opposition to the PRM, this is true and Da in the part of the post I have quoted above you have highlighted one of the main reasons some of us are beginning to think like this and are increasingly sick to death with the behaviour of some elements within that movement. A man who gave loyal service to the PRM for two decades, throughout some of the most difficult days, decides he can no longer support the politics of the PRM, nor its leadership strategy. He leaves PRM and being a freelance writer he puts forth his views where ever he can. Instead of accepting that’s life and part of the cut and thrust of democratic practice, you compare him with a self confessed informer/tout/whatever. Have you no shame, let me ask you a question, if you had the political power, would you have him dealt with in the same way the PRM has dealt with touts in the past? You see by your comparison between the two men, what you appear to be saying is, it is not only informers who betray your movement, but anyone who leaves it and speaks out against it also falls into the same category. Which for most democrats is pretty frightening stuff which needs opposing.

    As to your following statement, “Is it not valid in pointing out the fact that a lot of previously diverse opinions are coming together at this time for the sake of convenience and to face down the common enemy?” This response is laughable and once again displays the double standards, For it was only a short time ago that SF was itself part of such a media coalition; this time it also contained the British government. Or have you conveniently forgotten the fact that SF joined with New Labour, FF UUP, SDLP, along with others and publicly condemned all republicans who refused to accept the GFA, including those who supported the ceasefire but thought the GFA was a sham.

  • Davros

    out of Interest – was Anthony McIntyre ever a member of Sinn Féin ?

  • Da McGlincheys Code

    mickhall,

    ‘you compare him with a self confessed informer/tout/whatever.’

    I did not, the point I was making is that his very personal abuse of Adams et al (and few play man not ball better than the Blanketeers)has led to him joining RDE and Sean and Eoghan at the Sindo. As pointed out he was only asked to give his opinion because he follows the Sindo’s anti SF line. O’Callaghan also follows this line as do a cadre of core Sindo columnists. But at no time did I compare the two.

    ‘Have you no shame, let me ask you a question, if you had the political power, would you have him dealt with in the same way the PRM has dealt with touts in the past?’

    The ‘shame’ question can remain unanswered, your prickly defence of Mc Intyre smacks of people who can hand it out but get all defensive when a few are lobbed back. Can’t stand the heat? Are you now insinuating Mc Intyre was a tout, with friends like you? I’ll digress to your insider information on that one.

    ‘what you appear to be saying is, it is not only informers who betray your movement, but anyone who leaves it and speaks out against it also falls into the same category.’

    No one is saying that at all, posturing under the victimhood banner is quite demeaning for political commentators. By your friends shall you be known. Mc Intyre has joined a very well known stable.

    Your last paragraph is opinion on your part and as such cannot be challenged as it is based on a false premise.
    Mc Intyre the radical, socialist , republican commentator has now sold out to the Sindo, given the trend of recent columns by him it was a natural progression. But don’t be embarrassed when someone has the temerity to point out the fact.

  • Mick Fealty

    DMC, Yellow Card! That’s a warning, btw, not yet a fully fledged sanction. But a Red will follow in very short order if you cannot get yourself off the the man not ball thing.

    A Red Card is exclusion for two weeks.

  • Da McGlincheys Code

    My last post was a pointed rebuttal of a rather excitable piece by mickhall where me states,

    ‘Have you no shame, let me ask you a question, if you had the political power, would you have him dealt with in the same way the PRM has dealt with touts in the past?’

    He more or less invites me to state publicly that if I had the power would I execute someome. That point seems to have been missed by you and is perhaps telling.

    A trend on Slugger is the fact that posters of a republican leaning can be slandered and vilified and republican politicians and representatives can be put throught the mill, but to try and mount any defence brings censure. By all means morph into ATW, it is progressing along nicely.

  • mickhall

    Da,
    Mick’s the man with the cards, but I dont think victimhood sits to well on your shoulders, nor indeed any of us who believe we have a political argument worth pontificating about. Having said this it is true PRM members are often challenged firmly here, but so are others and in anycase surly you would not want it any other way. Some of the elists that come from a republican prospective, in my opinion are little more than group speak and notice boards. If you wish to win Unionists and others over you have to get amongst them and argue your corner, often not an easy thing to do in the north, so where better to do this than Slugger? I have noticed over the period I have been looking in on Slugger, that whilst disagreeing with their politics a certain respect has built up for republican posters like Pat, cg and others amongst some unionist regulars to slugger. I think they are regarded as genuine people with a strong belief in the own opinions.

    The argument you use to condemn McIntyre, i e he writes for the Independent outfit, etc, is an argument that has been directed at leftists down the ages. I remember when Paul Foot first wrote his column in the Daily Mirror, (Before this he had edited Socialist Worker) much of the non LP left, in England and Ireland where in uproar about him taking the bosses shilling and how by so doing he had sided with Capital. I think this is a daft argument, as a writer must use whatever opportunity is open to them, bar writing for nazi papers and of coarse he/she must have some sort of editorial control over their work. Funny thing, like you it seems, I still get these pangs of ultra leftism, the last time was when I heard Tommy McKearney had been offered a column in the Daily Ireland, I quickly returned such thoughts to where I keep such childish things, realising the best newspapers have columnists from across the political spectrum, sadly too few do. On this point do you feel Eamon McCann is wrong to have his work published in the Belfast Telegraph?

    Regards.

  • Da McGlincheys Code

    mickhall,

    understood 100%, although I thought your if ‘you had political power’ line was a bit over the top.

    As i was only standing in for my old boy while he travels to distant lands I will red card myself and shall not appear again.

    I do however have a lot of time for people like yourself and other posters who obviously put a lot of time and effort into the site, not forgetting the site mods.

    Unfortunately despite my best efforts, at 18, I can’t be arsed.

    Good luck all.

  • Liam

    We know we have to negotiate, much as it may stick in the craw to do so. We know that a peace process or Stormont without IRA/Sinn Fein is a singularly pointless exercise. It grieves us to admit this but it is true.

    Whats all this “we” and “us” business, who does this man think he speaks for, certainly not all of “us”?

    Fact is that Sinn Féin have over a third of a million voters on this island.

    “WE” already know that without Sinn Féin there would be no peace process.

    “WE” require honesty from others too, you know!

  • mickhall

    Da McGlincheys Code

    Unfortunately despite my best efforts, at 18, I can’t be arsed.

    Good luck all.

    Da

    Stop making us old folk feel sorry for ourselves, I understand your point and good luck in whatever you decide to do in life. Never forget us old farts no matter what our politics, can often be wrong and it does us no harm for us to feel the elbow of another generation coming through.

    Best regard’s

  • Concerned Loyalist

    As a young 20 year old I have only too often heard political apathy akin to that of “Da McGlinchey’s Code”. If I asked ANY of my mates who Anthony Mc Intyre was, they wouldn’t have a clue. Some of them didn’t even know who Mark Durkan was – they still thought John Hume was the leader of the SDLP.

    Until young people are politicized, sectarianism will be rife, and paramilitaries will always have plenty of wannabe recruits, on both sides of the political divide.

    For this reason I applaud the ULSTER POLITICAL RESEARCH GROUP, and to an extent the PROGRESSIVE UNIONIST PARTY.

    Instead of maybe following in family footsteps and joining the UDA or the UVF respectively, young loyalists now have an option to air their grievances in a legitimate manner.

    They need to understand that their grievances, such as the current inequality and discrimination Protestants face daily in trying to secure employment, (e.g. P.S.N.I.) can be best tackled by the UPRG, and not the UDA.

  • IJP

    CL

    Clearly anything that gets people away from violence and into dialogue is a good thing.

    Instead of maybe following in family footsteps and joining the UDA or the UVF respectively, young loyalists now have an option to air their grievances in a legitimate manner.

    Other than the PSNI, what are these grievances, in your view?

    Is there recognition also that with political representation comes responsibility for grievances caused as well as grievances felt, in your opinion?

  • Mick Fealty

    Da,

    Nobody likes public censure, but the body count on cards is decidedly unionist over the last two years. I can only put it down the heat of the last month or so.

    Believe me, there’s nothing personal intended in the censure of Yellow Card. In most cases it never gets to a Red.

    But if we can’t discuss issues rather than personalities, there’s little in this commenting business for me, or the 2500 + who read this site daily but choose not to comment.

    As I’ve said elsewhere: punch hard but cleanly!