More damage than years of British/unionist invective

Jonathan Freedland’s been in Northern Ireland over the last few days talking to people who have previously been considered well outside the normal track for visiting journalists. He comes up with two competing theories: 1 there’s a split in the Republican movement; and 2 there is no difference between the ‘suits and the boots’ with the latter simply policing the Belfast Agreement on the ground. Freedland himself falls short of buying the Adams is Arafat line that seems to be gaining ground in the US, but is convinced the current dynamic will mean the leadership of Sinn Fein and the IRA will have to make a decision to move one way or the other soon.

  • Richard Delevan

    Freedland’s conclusion — “Less sympathetic voices wonder if Adams suffers from “Arafat syndrome”, if he lacks the courage to make the final break with the past…But this situation cannot last for ever. Ultimately, if Adams and McGuinness are to be judged true peacemakers, their job is to deliver their hardmen – not to fight a never-ending battle against them.” — sounds a bit like wishful thinking.
    It’s been 7 years. Even Pete King is forced to admit that the IRA has no justifyable raison d’etre.
    At the ArdFheis, some were offered – basically a fantasy that securocrats were waiting in the wings to turn back the clock to 1930, take away voting rights, housing, jobs. It’s delusional.
    59pc of SF voters want total IRA decommissioning, but there’s no reason Adams and McGuinness can’t keep playing this game indefinitely.
    They had one job under GFA – stand down the IRA. They’re not going to stand down, but they’ll keep holding open the prospect, forever, to extract more concessions.
    It’s the rest of us who can’t afford more of this messing.

  • peteb

    It does seem like Jonathan Freedland is one of those looking for a silver lining

  • slug9987

    An interesting piece.

    The present crisis has been coming for some time. It is part of a directional historical process that delivers all societies to the same broad outcome.

    Hegel (I think) put his theory of history thus:

    Thesis -> antethesis -> synthesis.

    Marx picked this up and interpreted it as saying that history moves in stages. You have a stage that has some inherent contradictions that works well for a while but ultimately the internal contradictions become more apparent and sow the seeds of crisis, followed by change to a new stage of history. He thought that communism was the final stage – I susepect history now disproves him.

    F. Fukuyama has the same idea but thinks that market democracy is the final stage (End of History).

    Both thinkers believe in history as a directional process of development with an ultimate outcome the same for all human societies – regardless of local ‘culture’.

    Back to NI.

    Much of the present crisis can be seen as part of a process of history. The Agreement was a “stage” that contained the seeds of its destruction. Its internal contraditions were it was ambigious and seemed to be all things to all people. Eamonn McCann has made this point repeatedly.

    The Agreement has turned out not to be the End of History in NI (as some actually thought) but a stage towards normal market democracy.

    At the time 1998-2002 unionists were told that the trade-off was “you have the pain now, republicans suffer the pain later”. Nobody was sure that this was really going to come but true enough republican pain has now arrived.

    Why?

    Basically market democracy is not ompatible with an organization like SF&IRA in its present mode. People in the Republic, the UK, the US — all in mature democracies — recognize this. They now all have the same attitude.

    The McCartney sisters have exposed these contradictions with the Agreement. Republican supporters like Henry94 have now said that the IRA has to go. The IRA and Sinn Fein are in an uncomfortable relationship now.

    Thesis meets antithesis and the systhesis will follow. SF to become more like normal democratic parties in the final phase of history, losing the relationship with an armed group.

    This is where Friedlands piece comes in. He says:

    “most players agree that Sinn Féin would now need to make a very dramatic gesture to re-enter talks aimed at power-sharing with unionism. The move most people have in mind is the disbandment of the IRA. But, in the words of that British official, “How do you ask the racketeers and gangsters, who drive 4×4 cars and have nice country cottages, to give up all that?”

    That cannot be forced. Basically you don’t get the IRA to go away by crude government enticements (or appeasement to put it more bluntly) or by negotiation for concessions. Those approaches belong to the previous phase of history.

    The change will happen because that is where the forces of democracy will take us. The mechanism is that parties that keep a relationship with an army suffer disadvantages and contradictions. SF will survive if it adapts. It’s regard for its own self interest – a powerful force – will require adaption. There are many ways out but the destination is the same.

  • Circles

    I thought it was a fairly decent piece.

    Richard Delevan:
    “They had one job under GFA – stand down the IRA.”
    Absolutely not the case and a complete misrepresentatiuon of what the peace process is / was about.
    Before 1969 there wasn’t peace, and the IRA disappearing ain’t going to bring peace either (despite what some say).
    Trite though it might sound, the idea of taking the gun out Irish politics is a much clearer picture of what the GFA was about.

    This goes much deeper than simply disarmament, and right to the root of the problems of the north. The (perceived) causes that have made young loyalists and republicans reach for a gun have to go. The endless paranoia which has not dimmed in the slightest since ’97 has to be addressed.
    Thats where the disarmament needs to take place – in most peoples minds.

  • Mick Fealty

    Hot post Slugg!

    This appears to be an exact match for what Sinn Fein and the Republican/Provisional Movement at large is facing:

    “You have a stage that has some inherent contradictions that works well for a while but ultimately the internal contradictions become more apparent and sow the seeds of crisis, followed by change to a new stage of history”.

    What has been most notable during the crisis is one its length, and two the apparent unwillingness of Sinn Fein to issue any statement that adequately explains its position on any of the disruptive events that have followed the Bank robbery (or even the bank robbery itself).

    My suspicions (and they are only suspicions, I’m no more aware of the reality of the discussions inside that Movement than anyone else) are that its own internal contradictions are blocking their ability to do that.

    Interestingly, until recently Unionism was suffering under the weight of its own internal contradictions. Since the elevation of the DUP to a leadership role that has largely appeared to be resolved. The crisis that led to that resolution was painful, protracted and (almost certainly) necessary.

    Despite the sometimes apocalypical tone of much of the commentary recently, I don’t see this crisis necessarily leading to an end to Republicanism as a democratic force. But Friedland rightly detects the seeds of a potential cathartic crisis.

    Whether the movement makes it convincingly enough for both its core support and the rest of the two Irish polities in which it operates, is an open question. The outcomes could be very good, or too bad for any of us to seriously contemplate.

  • mickhall

    The tale of there being a powerful opposition within the PRM leadership appears to be the latest wheeze Mr Adams and McGuinness have come up with to get them out of their current predicament. I love the bit when MM explains away the unfortunate PIRA statement by putting it down to this disruptive opposition within the organisation, unfortunately his own daft statement which all but threatened the McCartney girls is on a direct par with the PIRA statement, Sad that Freedland failed to point this gaping hole out, still he probably did not want to upset his editor.

    Any opposition within SF, sadly was long ago filleted by the Adams leadership, to suggest otherwise goes against all that has happened since 1994. John Kelly got it spot on when he said the suits and the boots are one and the same, for the boots were used by the suits to police their movement and stifle anything of worth emerging from those who refused to bend the knee to President Adams. When you think about it this dangerous militants theory is almost racist, you can imagine the nods and winks going on here, “Mr Freedland they are another race down on the border, a law unto themselves. Still we are doing our best to ‘control’ them.”

    If anyone wishes to doubt me I suggest they name these PRM dissidents?

    To be blunt, the responsibilities for the PIRA move down the road towards becoming a Rafia lays with Gerry Adams, for he and his comrades held the majority on the Army Council when they placed the current Chief of Staff in office. I may be mistaken, but I think this man is the only individual whom the UK government has passed and act of parliament to stop him continuing with his scams, little good it did. Now this being so, he was never going to be the man who would discipline volunteers for getting up to the odd scam as long as the army got its share. Whilst the CofS is not, as the media claims personally corrupt, he has made little attempt to confront the criminal elements within PIRA, as he simply does not believe the writ of the ROI and six counties law is legal. Thus it is not morally or legally a crime to break it.

    Adams and CO have got to stop thinking they can lie their way out of all of this, but bite the bullet and stand the army down or go back to war, which in the latter case would be an open invite to be defeated.. There is no middle ground. Personally I do not believe they always lie for low reasons, just as Arafat did not. They have got to realise the game is up, the goal posts have been moved and new tactics are required. If they can only get there heads around this all is to play for. Have you ever come across a bunch of opposition politicians who the powers that be is gagging so much to believe. All they have to do is tell the truth.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Is it not a contradiction for dissident writers that as the RM moves more and more away from the armed struggle the popular vote increases?

    John Kelly can get all dewey eyed about times gone by and the status that the IRA had, but there has always been people who used the IRA for their own ends. They have always been a very small minority, but are not a new phenomenon.

    Some writers state that as the RM moves further away from the armed roots of the ‘struggle’ that the RM has become more corrupt and the leadership has been responsible for that. Unfortunately for them that is a status not recognised within the broad nationalist constituency. Surely the ordinary voter would be able to spot this drift as well or are they simply being led by the nose in a trance like fashion by Gerry Adams.

    In fact it is an indictment of those publicly opposed to the GFA and the direction taken by the current SF leadership that their sole role is confined to being invited onto TV shows and asked to pen articles that are basically character assassinations of the SF leadership. They are not asked to expound on any alternatives to the GFA they have thought up over the last seven years. They are not asked to developt any policies they have in place to give their vision of ‘leadership’ to the ‘beleagured’ nationalist community. Now they are warm up acts for Sean o Callaghan and the like and for them that must be a personal tragedy.

  • Richard Delevan

    Circles, “Trite though it might sound, the idea of taking the gun out Irish politics is a much clearer picture of what the GFA was about.” – you’re right, Circles. That does sound trite.

    “‘They had one job under GFA – stand down the IRA.’ Absolutely not the case and a complete misrepresentatiuon of what the peace process is / was about.” – first of all, what peace process? Second of all, if SF’s prime responsibility wasn’t to dis-establish the IRA under this peace process, please – do tell me – what is it? And spare me the fluffy-bunny hand-holding we are the world crap.
    The Republican Movement was offered a new social contract under GFA. Voters in both jurisdictions approved it overwhelmingly. To say Sinn Fein and the IRA have reneged is an understatement.

    Whether Sinn Fein is in a Hegelian crisis is intellectually interesting, but what is clear is that Adams and McGuinness can’t or won’t deliver the goods. Hoping they will isn’t going to make it happen.

    It’s time for a Plan B. I don’t know what that will be. I do know that SF’s leadership won’t like it very much.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    RD,

    ‘first of all, what peace process?’

    that may be a limp attempt at being provocative but it just comes across as dishonest.

    The SF role under the GFA was use its democratic mandate to work within the institutions and attempt to work an alternative to what had passed for politics here for decades. The consolidation of those institutions were to flag to ALL the armed groups that their actions of the past didn’t have a future (hope that isn’t we are the world crap).

    There are a number of factors that have fed into the present position where ALL the armed groups are still in situ. These have been well documented at at this juncture whataboutery is a tiresome exercise.

    Your comment on a Plan B is somewhat contradictory and a bit bizarre, suffice to say I believe any suggestion of it is just plain wrong.

  • Richard Delevan

    Pat, “that may be a limp attempt at being provocative but it just comes across as dishonest.”

    I’ll tell you what’s dishonest. It’s mouthing the same mumbo-jumbo for 8 years and pretending it’s progress.

    Standing down the IRA has been successfully deferred by republicans at innumerable stages since 1989. Now it’s devolved into a mere gang.
    The biggest threat to the human rights of northern nationalists at the moment is the provisional movement itself. It’s got to go and fully embrace democratic norms.

    Failure to recognise this moral, political and strategic imperative – no matter how gifted the sophistry to cloud the issue – is what increasingly damns the republican leadership and its apologists outside its own community. And if you haven’t noticed, that’s been a bit shaky lately as well.

  • mickhall

    Pat,

    I can well understand political activists getting angry with journalists/commentators/whatever the name is today, and your right it is power without responsibility, this is why we are at times called whores; and it is not a bad description. Nevertheless whether you like it or not, all Irish Republicans do not have to sing from the PRM song sheet and not to do so does not place people in the same camp as Mr O’Callaghan and you know it! You may feel John Kelly was getting all dewy eyed, but for me he was just pointing out a fact as he saw it. For what it is worth I believe it is vital for a movement like the PRM, which due to its military beginnings has a totalitarian bent, (with a small T) to have Republican critics who behave as die hard watch dogs for every snapping at its heals.

    The job of an intellectual, even the working class variation that most of the PRM’s Republican critics are, is to challenge authority; and as far as Irish Republicanism is concerned Mr Adams and CO are the authority. Now this does not stop us challenging State, Corporate, or any other type of Authority when the opportunity or need arises and when doing this we often find ourselves in the same trench as the PRM. But what would we be worth if we challenged Blair, Bush and Ahern, but turned a blind eye to what we know/believe to be an injustice committed by the PRM. We would be nothing more than a leaky vessel of no good to anyone. I would suggest this is just what the PRM own intellectuals like Dan Morrison and Jim Gibney have become of late and by so doing have been worthless as a tool that could help the PRM leadership chart a way out of there current predicament. No gods no masters Pat.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    RD,

    any statistical evidence you may wish to consult will confirm that there is indeed a peace process and the fact that it has been very successful, it is not mumbo jumbo. Your concern for northern nationalists is, unfortunately for the core of your argument, not believed by the majority of northern nationalists. At least not by those who use the secrecy of the ballot box to select who they want to represent them. Although maybe the reporters based in Washington writing articles for newspapers in Houston know more than the people who actually live in nationalist areas.

    mickhall,

    you have in the past recognised the lack of any type of political alternative weakens the case of republicans opposed to the Adams leadership. This is despite the fact that they have had seven years to cobble together something opposed to the GFA.
    As stated critics of the Adams leadership are not being invited onto current affairs programmes and invited to write for virulently anti republican newspapers to advocate an alternative republican philosophy to that proferred by Adams. The price of the ticket is to launch highly personal attacks on SF leaders and to back up the stories of any hood with a gripe. Dress it up as constructive criticism if you like but i’m sure you agree others have to call it as they see it.

  • barney

    Fair play to all the Unionist bloggers and Politicos who have rallied behind the McCartneys’ search for justice. Please keep it up. The question arises however, why do the same people go AWOL whenever members of their own community are badly in need of the same suppoprt.

    http://www.irishexaminer.com/breaking/story.asp?j=169141840&p=y69y4z7yz&n=169142718&x=

    The usual Norn Irony no doubt.

  • vespasian

    Pat/Barney

    ANYONE who operates outside the democratic legal system deserves to investigated to the fullest extent possible. It matters not from where the law breakers come it matters what they do.

    I only wish more people had the courage to face up to the terrorists gangsters , but it is not easy when the gansters have had the support of British, Irish and American governments who were only too happy to turn a blind eye when it suited them.

    It must be considered as to whether or not the McCartney sisters would have felt able to do what they are doing without the hostile criticism of SF/IRA by the various governments prior to the killing of Mr McCartney. It may never be possible to really know the answer but it may just have been the catalyst that allows the move away from gangsterism to democracy.

    Maybe now the Governments can look back and see the serious errors they have made since the GFA came into being and perhaps apologise to the democratic politics that they have helped diminish.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    vespasian,

    have you anything to say about the actual thread or about any of my posts, if not then please don’t annoy with your soap box oratory.

    Call The Samaritans if you need someone to talk to.

  • mickhall

    He (Marx) thought that communism was the final stage – I suspect history now disproves him.

    posted by slug9987

    Slug 9987,

    Surly it is a bit early to tell, most people have not yet got the full benefits of the French revolution. 😉

    Regards

  • vespasian

    Pat

    I see you are getting a tad irritable and uptight, however it must be hard work for an intelligent person such as youself defending the indefensible; my sympathies are with you.

    Maybe it has escaped your notice this is a forum for opinion, you may not like mine but then……….

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Vespasian,

    not irritable at all, follow any thread and I will do my best to answer any post put directly to me, as long as I find it relevant to the thread. Buy all means if you feels like making a speech then go on and relieve yourself, just don’t put it directly to me.

    However, if your want direct dialogue with me on this thread i’m happy to oblige. Start by what you mean by ‘defending the indefensible’ and we’ll take it from there.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Vespasian,

    not irritable at all, follow any thread and I will do my best to answer any post put directly to me, as long as I find it relevant to the thread. Buy all means if you feels like making a speech then go on and relieve yourself, just don’t put it directly to me.

    However, if your want direct dialogue with me on this thread i’m happy to oblige. Start by what you mean by ‘defending the indefensible’ and we’ll take it from there.

  • vespasian

    Pat

    ‘There are a number of factors that have fed into the present position where ALL the armed groups are still in situ.’

    This is where we part as do the Clintons’, Ted Kennedy, John McCain, the American government, the Irish government, the British government and just about everyone else who has an opinion on the matter. The time for the IRA to go is long past, just as it is for ALL terrorist gangster groups and the time is also long past where any democratic party should have severed it links with such parties.

    It is no longer enough to say ‘there are a number of factors’ no one outside the republican and loyalist families are buying this any more. It is indefensible to excuse the terrorists for still being in existence 8 years after the GFA.

    I, for one, supported the GFA and what I believed it could do for Northern Ireland. It has sickened me to see the travesty that Blair made of his promises to the people of Ireland that there was no place in the new government of Northern Ireland for people still wedded to violence. The result of his turning a blind eye? We now have large sections of NI ‘run’ by these gangsters and thugs and they are the effective unelected government in those areas, however without an opposition – that is until the McCartney family came along.

    So I think it is sad to see an obviously intelligent person defend the IRA for not having gone away and also SF when they are linked to them. I voted for an all inclusive democratic government containing SF, now I have nothing to show for my vote except a party linked to a group of terrorist thugs, who show no intention of going away, and who are using my vote for the GFA as a means to forward their cause.

    The GFA was based on trust, unfortunately many of those that I trusted to do what was right and proper have let me and many other people, of all sections of the community, down.

  • PaddyCanuck

    The IRA offered to Disarm and go away before Christmas.

    Unionism, the British and Irish governments said this was not enough, you must do so on bended knee.

    Republicans have played their part on numerous occasions. I think the difficulty is summed up by Richard D, unionists , securocrats and others (including Richard) see the Peace process as primarily as a method for making the IRA go away.

    Republicans see the process as a means to achieve conflict resolution, and as a means to build an Ireland of equals. They also see it as a stepping stone to achieving a United Ireland, and as the best way to remove all guns and the treat of force,whether it be state sponsored, paramilitary or other from Irish politics.

    the British Crown derived its sovereignty in Ireland by force of arms, and has maintained that sovereignty by weight of arms.

    Political progress cannot be stymied by any grouping. It is time for all groups to step aside. Republicans have always stepped up to the plate, they will do so again, its time for some true partners to step up with them.

  • vespasian

    PC

    Had the IRA done in 2003 what they had agreed to do in 2004 the photograph and sack cloth and ashes would have been irrelevant.

    What changed between 2003 when transparency was impossible and 2004 when everything except a photograph was possible?

    Do you really believe the IRA was going to stop its’s gangsterism in 2003/4 or 5 or anytime soon?

  • PaddyCanuck

    The deal in 2003 was delivered, substantial decommissioning, confirmed by the Canadian General. I put it to you if Unionism had not walked away in 2003, we would today be in position were the IRA, was fully disarmed, and the IRA would be in a new mode.

    They had a second chance in 2004, again they walked away… See a pattern here?

    It seems republicans are being blamed for the serial refusal of unionists do make deals and the GFA work.

  • Jimmy Sands

    They can disarm tomorrow. No-one’s stopping them.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    vespasian,

    parting of the ways or not the fact of the matter is that all the armed groups are still in situ, at least you don’t deny that. To state that fact is not to defend that position, it merely recogises the situation.
    Your reasons for voting for the GFA are your own concern and as such are for you to defend.
    I rather reluctantly voted for the GFA as it was an attempt to introduce democracy into the six counties in tandem with the three stranded approach. It was, I believed simply a stepping stone to an overall goal of the coming together of the peoples of the island.
    Coupled with that I expected major overhauls in policing the legal system as well as the complete decommissioning of all armed groups and also complete demilitarisation.
    To my great disappointment none of this has been completed.
    Democracy is dead, suspicion remains over the democratic credentials of unionists and there are more British Army personnel in the six counties than there are in Iraq. Most of these are posted in nationalist areas despite the fact that statistics prove the greater violence emanates from within the unionist community.

    If others want to try and finesse their own arguments down to a simple ‘it’s the IRA’ then that is for them. I prefer to point out that others had obligations under the GFA that they have failed to honour.

  • mickhall

    Pat,

    How do you see things developing in the foreseeable future, what needs to be done to turn this situation around in a positive manner, and by whom? (If that is it can be)

    All the best.

  • cg

    Demil is a huge issue for many people and until that is resolved along with collusion and the Patten report implemented in full I can see no republican support for policing IMO

  • vespasian

    PC

    You have avoided the questions – what changed from 2003 to 2004 and why did SF/IRA shun the chance in 2003 that they put forward as being OK in 2004?

    I see a pattern alright but a very different one from that you envisage!

  • PaddyCanuck

    The pattern Vespian, is that the Republican movement, has time and time again went the extra mile to move the process forward. Every time they do they are slapped in the face or new preconditions are set.

    What pattern do you see?

  • IJP

    cg

    Do you personally feel support for policing should wait until ‘demilitarization’ and ‘full implementation of Patton’?

    How do you define ‘demilitarization’?

    Do you recognize that Patton is a 10-year plan, thus waiting for full implementation inevitably means waiting until at least 2009?

    Who should police Short Strand, in your personal opinion?

  • cg

    “Do you personally feel support for policing should wait until ‘demilitarization’ and ‘full implementation of Patton’?”

    Absolutely

    “How do you define ‘demilitarization’?”

    The elimination of the Military character of the RUC/PSNI i.e. Joint patrols in places like South Armagh

    The removal of Military forces and Instillations from the North of Ireland.

    Replacing Military control with civilian.

    No more securocrat agendas

    “Who should police Short Strand, in your personal opinion?”

    Ideally a police service but since that doesn’t exist then something like CRJ as is done in other Nationalist areas.

    It is not a perfect situation.

  • vespasian

    PAT/cg

    It seems all those things were to be accepted in the 2004 but for a photograph.

    Why isn’t the PSNI acceptable now if it was then?
    Why isn’t demil. acceptable now if it was then?
    Why isn’t the legal system acceptable now if it was then?
    Why isn’t the status of the 6 counties acceptable now if it was then?

    In your version the only impediment was a photograph, or have all of the above now become impediments to progress again?

    I would remind you the GFA was never a road map to a United Ireland, the way to a UI is when a sustainable majority vote for it and to achieve that nationalists will have to sell it to Unionists.

  • Clady Cowboy

    Vesp,

    How could i sell a united Ireland to you?

  • cg

    vespasian

    You make a couple of fundemental errors

    “Why isn’t the PSNI acceptable now if it was then?”

    It was not acceptable then or now

    The party agreed to hold the Special Ard Fheis that was required to consider our position on policing.

    I firmly believe the membership wouldn’t have agreed then or now to the current policing arrangements.

    You also have to remember that the British made promises that would have changed the situtation.

    “Why isn’t demil. acceptable now if it was then?”

    This makes no sense, the party has always said only full demill would suffice.

    “Why isn’t the legal system acceptable now if it was then?”

    Again the British said their would be certain reforms as the deal was not just what republicans would do but what all players would do as it was a COMPREHENSIVE agreement.

    “Why isn’t the status of the 6 counties acceptable now if it was then?”

    The partition of this country was never and will never be acceptable.

    “I would remind you the GFA was never a road map to a United Ireland”

    In your opinion

    “the way to a UI is when a sustainable majority vote for it and to achieve that nationalists will have to sell it to Unionists.”

    Untrue

  • aquifer

    The ideology of the IRA is simply past its sell-by date. Nation states, let alone nation states in an economically powerful European Federation, have less and less power against both global markets and freely flowing cultural and social democratic ideas. A separatist island state you can drive a boat around is not worth the blood and distress, and would not protect the people of Ireland from market economic relationships or cultural pollution, as if they needed protection.

    The corruption of SFPIRA is not about money. Its about insisting at gunpoint that particular ideas have validity when history has plainly moved on. When the English said they had no selfish interest here they probably meant it at last, but that leaves the question of the relationship with 1M protestants in Ireland. Peace, powersharing, economic change, immigration, and intermarriage are uniting Ireland only obstructed by the IRA. The people of Ireland all voted for the GFA that included decommissioning, SFPIRA have not delivered. The IRA have thus lost the ability to conclude a credible peace, and cannot therefore morally return to war without the certainty of defeat and disgrace.

    Cultural monoliths such as the catholic church and state socialism could not withstand the demands of human beings for higher standards of treatment and liberty. Pretending to be a credible cultural monolith is now a dangerous and cruel fraud. Would-be cultural enforcers cannot also play a victims card without dishonouring and debasing the historic suffering and suppression of the Irish people and the continuing suffering of other races and places.

  • Clady Cowboy

    Acquifer,

    Those who have denied the Irish freedom for centuries did so by continually moving the goalposts, now you’re telling me that we are playing in the wrong direction, forgive me if i find this another subtler goalpost moment

  • aquifer

    Is that the freedom to have native oppressors now?

  • Clady Cowboy

    Freedom from any oppression

  • IJP

    cg

    Thanks for your direct responses.

    I’m moderately familiar with the Crossmaglen-Newry corridor but no more than that in South Armagh, and the people I know in the area support the police, imperfect though it is, but you lead me to believe that’s not representative. So can I ask: in your opinion:
    1. what do most people in South Armagh feel is required for ‘full implementation of Patton’? and
    2. would a clear timetable for the ‘full implementation of Patton’ and ‘demilitarization’ specifically of the Armagh and Newry/Mourne council areas be sufficient for a comfortable majority in South Armagh to support complete IRA disbandment with its ‘replacement’ by the PSNI as the only ‘legitimate’ security force in the area?
    3. Would you agree with ‘most people in South Armagh’ on such matters?

  • cg

    IJP

    “1. what do most people in South Armagh feel is required for ‘full implementation of Patton’?”

    Exactly that, the full implemination of Patton

    “2. would a clear timetable for the ‘full implementation of Patton’ and ‘demilitarization’ specifically of the Armagh and Newry/Mourne council areas be sufficient for a comfortable majority in South Armagh to support complete IRA disbandment with its ‘replacement’ by the PSNI as the only ‘legitimate’ security force in the area?”

    No because it is not just about South Armagh but the entire 6 counties.

    “3. Would you agree with ‘most people in South Armagh’ on such matters?”

    What do you mean?

  • IJP

    cg

    Thanks again for a straight answer.

    1. What parts of Patton remains outstanding, precisely?
    2. Does this mean even a minor UK military presence in Holywood would mean ‘republican’ opposition to the PSNI?
    3. I mean are your own opinions fairly representative of most people in South Armagh, in your view?

  • cg

    “1. What parts of Patton remains outstanding, precisely?”

    All the outstanding reccomendations that have yet to be implemented.

    Alongside a resolution to collussion, demil etc

    “2. Does this mean even a minor UK military presence in Holywood would mean ‘republican’ opposition to the PSNI?”

    I can’t answer that with certainty but full demil of the 6 counties is what is required.

    “3. I mean are your own opinions fairly representative of most people in South Armagh, in your view?”

    As a Republican, yes they are.

    Out of the 5 councillers in the Slieve Gullion ward (covers most of South Armagh), 4 are Sinn Féin and possibly 5 out of 5 in May.

  • IJP

    cg

    1. All the outstanding reccomendations that have yet to be implemented.

    Which are…?

    2. OK, I appreciate the honest assessment.

    3. Yes, but ‘republicans’ and even SF itself are divided. I mean, if even the SF Chairman says one thing and the SF President contradicts him, who’s to say who’s representative?

    You know, whisper it quietly on the odd occasion I’ve even been known to disagree with an Alliance colleague or two…

    I’ll leave the discussion now to let a few others get a look in in the morning.

    Oiche mhaith.

  • cg

    Oíche Mhaith

  • vespasian

    CG/CladyCowboy/PC

    CG

    Do you mean the SF/IRA agreed to nothing in December or that you didn’t agree with what they had agreed?

    In either case the mythical photograph becomes an irrelevancy for you and the IRA as you clearly do not accept what everyone outside the republican world accepts – the IRA now has to go away. The real world awaits republicans to catch up.

    Clady Cowboy

    I said nationalists and republicans had to sell it to Unionists, not to me. I would suspect that they would want to be convinced that it would represent a better future for them and their families in a UI than in the UK, both in an economic and social sense.

    PC

    You still avoid the questions I asked – what changed from 2003 to 2004 and why did SF/IRA shun the chance in 2003 for transparent decomissioning that they accepted as being OK in 2004?

  • Richard Delevan

    Well, I go off to get some productive drinking time and come back to this.

    Pat, your last post directed at me is crude by your usual excellent standards of sophistry (as well as incoherent) I’m beginning to wonder if you’re ghosting for P O’Neill these days.

    “any statistical evidence you may wish to consult will confirm that there is indeed a peace process and the fact that it has been very successful, it is not mumbo jumbo.” – again, what peace process? To take one just example, the IRA offer to shoot the killers of Robert McCartney is on its face a violation of the ceasefire and GFA. It’s over.

    “Your concern for northern nationalists is, unfortunately for the core of your argument, not believed by the majority of northern nationalists.” – really. Was ‘Richard Delevan is concerned with northern nationalists’ one of the motions at the ArdFheis? I was there, but I don’t remember seeing that one.

    “At least not by those who use the secrecy of the ballot box to select who they want to represent them.” – oh, right. Secrecy of the ballot box, not dead of night disemboweling forklift drivers and stealing CCTV evidence, then. If northern nationalists can’t be persuaded not to vote for a party that kills its own voters this time, the great news is that they have you speaking for them.

    “Although maybe the reporters based in Washington writing articles for newspapers in Houston know more than the people who actually live in nationalist areas.” – perhaps you’d like to direct this at someone who’s actually quoted “newspapers in Houston”. Not that intellectual honesty has been your strong suit from what I’ve seen here. But as far as US opinion writers go, you should be pleased, because most of them ultimately serve your agenda – which you’ve said is to get the Yanks to stop interfering in the internal affairs of Northern Ireland (sorry, the Rafia Statelet-let). They’d rather cut you loose and leave you to the tender mercies of MI5.

    Pure sophistry. Thanks for demonstrating my point so well.

  • Richard Delevan

    And from PaddyCanuck/FOSF Canada,

    “I think the difficulty is summed up by Richard D, unionists , securocrats and others (including Richard) see the Peace process as primarily as a method for making the IRA go away.”

    More sophistry. My comment gave my belief about what SF’s primary task was under GFA. I don’t put words in your mouth (there wouldn’t be room anyway what with your feet and bile).

    Spare me the SF press release bumpf. I get it better and cleaner from the real thing (unless anyone would like to admit being in the paid employ of Sinn Fein or an affiliated organisation?). Answer the queston: do you acknowledge that SF’s primary job under GFA was to deliver IRA going out of business sale?

    If not, what do you imagine the concrete steps to have been? Do you think your concrete step is the same one George Mitchell, Tony Blair, Bertie Ahern, other parties to the agreement and the vast majority of voters who approved it had in mind?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    mickhall,

    nothing will happen until after the Westminster elections. I believe that there is only one show in town and that show is the GFA. Even Ahern has stated that we were an hour away from a comprehensive deal pre Xmas. It as an imperative that we get back to that position.
    I believe that there is now a policy of trying to get the SDLP back into the vanguard of nationalist political opinion, facilitating a move by the SDLP to go it alone with unionism.

    As for republicans one does not do the right thing for political gain, one does it simply because it is right. As stated by Henry the IRA were on the verge of standing down for unionists and the British Government better now to do it for democrats.
    There is deep suspicion at the credentials of both unionists and the British Government, given their distinguished history. However. that is for any future talks and nothing should be allowed to give these people an escape clause.

    RD,

    I always find it isn’t long before the personal stuff starts but I thought as a self proclaimed ‘neutral’ (albeit a neo con American neutral) you would have resisted the temptation. However, the P O Neill jibe does you a great disservice.
    While not perfect the IRA ceasefire has by and large held. There has been a sea change on the streets of Belfast and that is recognised by most people who actually live here. I fully recognise that as someone who is hostile to republicans it is in your own interest to misrepresent the actual position that exists on the streets here but there have been tangible benefits in recent years. The fear factor, while existing to some extent, has diminished. The peace process is still in place and the GFA is the only show in town. Ramblings of a Plan B despite not knowing what it is, only that SF won’t like it is bizarre.

    ‘Was ‘Richard Delevan is concerned with northern nationalists’ one of the motions at the ArdFheis? I was there, but I don’t remember seeing that one.’

    Don’t be silly but it was Richard Delevan who yesterday posted ‘The biggest threat to the human rights of northern nationalists at the moment is the provisional movement itself.’ Unfortunately for that theory the majority of northern nationalists don’t accpet that, as they are voting in increasing numbers for the very people you say are the biggest threat to their human rights.
    Don’t be getting yourself upset simply because voters haven’t got your jaundiced view of how they are living. They simply live in areas like the Short Strand. You on the other hand are a southern based (neutral) American reporter and are therefore in a better position to judge events on the ground. I was associating your detached reporting with a previous thread where a Washington based reporter who carried a story of life in the Short Strand for a Houston newspaper.

    ‘Not that intellectual honesty has been your strong suit from what I’ve seen here’

    You never know how much it pleases me to get comments like that directed at me, thank you for the concession. RD you are not neutral as you claim to be, even a cursory reading of your site proves that. In that respect you are in no position to lecture on honesty.

  • Richard Delevan

    Pat,
    “personal stuff”? Pointing out that when you make groundless accusations, distort facts and positions and smear that it’s intellectually dishonest is personal? Wow.

    You suggested that my “concern” for Northern nationalists was rejected. Wouldn’t it have just been simpler to admit you used the wrong word, and said, oops, I meant ‘theory’? That’s intellectually honest.

    Likewise, the bit about a Houston newspaper.

    Now you impugn my personal integrity by trying to suggest I’m not neutral. If by neutral you mean an emasculated ‘objective’ writer, who’s afraid to come to conlcusions, change their mind or call it as he sees it, well no I’m not, thank god.
    If by neutral you mean I have no familial, economic, strategic, political or other interests in any particular community of Northern Ireland, then I’m neutral. Unless you’re suggesting otherwise? I’d like to hear you make a direct charge – rather than the usual innuendo, smear and sophistry.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    RD,

    your quip about P O Neill was personal, I imagine you have been in Ireland long enough to realise the implication of your smear.

    I am glad you have dropped your ridiculous assertions over the non existence of a peace process and by default the suggestions of a non existent Plan B that you were bizarrely able to predict SF would not like. Don’t know about your ‘neutral’ political stance ever but have you evertried astrology or reading tea leaves.

    You also seem to be in retreat regarding the baseless claims of your ‘concern’ re northern nationalists. Stating something as fact (which you did) when you probably couldn’t find a nationalist area with a map left you open to a charge that you were unable to defend.

    I don’t impugn your integrity at all , you do that all by yourself in that peculiarly intolerant way of the neo conservative.

    Try and be more open and objective in your posting it makes for more interesting reading for the vistors to the site. For all that i enjoy your blogging.

  • PaddyCanuck

    RD,

    No I do not believe Sinn Feins primary responsibility under the GFA was ro deliver IRA disbandment.

    It was to promote and deliver a new political reality for Northern nationalists, a new police force, demilitarisation, equality and justice, to block the minimalist tendencies of unionism and the British, in short the primary goal for Sinn Fein was to promote and safeguard the rights and aspirations of their electorate.

    It was the responsibility of all parties to deliver a peaceful society.

  • Mick Fealty

    “I believe that there is now a policy of trying to get the SDLP back into the vanguard of nationalist political opinion, facilitating a move by the SDLP to go it alone with unionism”.

    Interesting theory. What makes you believe that?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    It started with the failure of the deal before Xmas and the subsequent onslaught following the raid on the Northern raid.
    There has been an intimation from elements within the SDLP that it could go it alone and that the inclusive policy of that party may be off the agenda.
    Both governments realise that the ceasefire by the IRA is permanent and as such SF could be sidelined without any response but a political one. However, while SF are the dominant force witin nationalism trying to sideline them looks undemocratic and if only for the optics it is best if the leading party within nationalism is in any new political arrangment.
    The open season on SF has intensified after the Mc Cartney murder and looks to continue up until May 5th.