The cost of losing the blame game?

Writing at the beginning of what has proven to be a hectic week, Malachi O’Doherty believes that Sinn Fein has finally lost Ulster’s long running blame game. The real cost, he argues, is not in votes for the party, but rather what the party can do with those votes when none of its democratic partners trust a word it says. For good measure, he also believes it’s not just Sinn Fein’s problem!

From this simple premise he extrapolates four implications:

The first is that there is no point in voting for Sinn Fein now if what you want is the fulfilment of the Good Friday Agreement and the restoration of the Executive. Gerry Adams’ problem is not that he doesn’t yet have enough votes to carry things his way, it is that he has no credibility with other parties.

Unfortunately there isn’t any other party that nationalists can vote for that can bring back the Executive because the SDLP is committed to the untenable, the inclusion of Sinn Fein.

The second implication of Sinn Fein’s losing the blame game and its credibility too is, therefore, that the Executive is not coming back.

The third implication is that if nationalists do give their votes to Sinn Fein they will be empowering a party which cannot adequately represent them. Not only will this party not take its seats in Westminster, it will not be trusted to play fair when it seeks to negotiate with others or represent nationalist community interests.

The fourth implication is that, having taken the blame for the collapse of talks and having squandered its credibility by planning a bank robbery during those talks, Sinn Fein has lost the moral advantage with which nationalism entered the long political conflict in Northern Ireland.

  • Alan2

    The answer being for the Southern parties to organise here.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    I wish he had simply cut to the chase and simply told us that the O Doherty theory for progress is that nationalists should not vote SF and vote for the SDLP.
    He left out the bit were Peter Brooke is reinstated as pro consul and the political leaders walk out the revolving door at Stormont for a photo opportunity.
    Had to check the date of the piece to ensure that it was 2005 and not 1985.

  • Alan McDonald

    Pat,

    I defer to your knowledge of 20 years ago, but what do you do with the stalemate of SF/DUP pluralities? I have to agree with O’Doherty in the obvious observation that elections that produce more votes for Sinn Fein and the DUP will not result in a working government in Northern Ireland. I also recognize that a non-functioning Northern Ireland is exactly what Republicans want.

    I think Sinn Fein voters know what they are doing, just as I think those who voted for Geroge Bush know what they were doing. I find the results in both cases to be negative, but that’s the price you pay for democracy.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    AlanMcD,

    I don’t think that the political situation is as grim as people are making out. I believe that simply because a complete deal was almost brokered only three months ago.
    I do believe that an executive with both the DUP and SF in it will work if the goodwill is there.

    All SF statements on the executive have welcomed the three strand approach, of course with particular emphasis on the North / South strand. That strand cannot take place without a functioning executive.

    O Doherty is only parroting theme that has already been taken up by the two governments and that is to try and breath life into the corpse that is the SDLP. It will fail. While progress is not possible pre May 5th the various obstacles that are place to discussions at this time will be overcome.

  • Alan McDonald

    Pat,

    I need you to explain this to me, very slowly for this naive American. What will happen on May 5th that will change the current stalemate?

  • Liam

    Alan McDonald:

    I also recognize that a non-functioning Northern Ireland is exactly what Republicans want.

    On what basis do you ‘recognise’ that? As a republican, I can assure you that our party wants nothing more than a functioning executive and the full implementation of the GFA. It is others who have resisted that!

    The fact is that a deal was reached in December after many months of negotiations, but unionism rejected that historic offer.

    Now, I think it is possible to put that back together if everybody acts in good faith. But you should not seriously expect a strategy of humiliating republicans to work. That will only prevent a deal. The opportunity was there in December, it should have been grasped. It will present itself again and next time it should be embraced!

  • Alan McDonald

    Liam,

    Forgive my impertinence in assigning motives to political parties of which I am not a member. I had thought that the Republican Movement was anti-partitionist and wanted the Northern Ireland state to fail and then go out of existence. In discussions with Irish Republicans here in the USA, I had been lead to believe that the policing issue, for example, could only be resolved after 36 county unification had been achieved.

    While I hear what you are saying, I also hear others, including Rep. Peter King, saying that the IRA must disband. This leads me to believe that the December deal is off the table and that the dissolution of the IRA has become a condition precedent to any future deals. I think Secretary Murphy just said something like that.

  • alex s

    Pat, you are missing the point, as far as 99% of unionists are concerned Gerry and the boys were in the December talks while their friends in the IRA were planning to rob a bank, now in the nationalist community the Northern may not have a great deal of sympathy, its differient for the bulk of unionism.
    You may dismiss the damage caused to the political process by the bank job, unionism won’t

  • lámh dearg

    Pat poste

    “I do believe that an executive with both the DUP and SF in it will work if the goodwill is there.”

    but surely that’s the problem, recent actions by the RM have given the DUP a cast iron, fully justifiable reason to not have any goodwill (whether there ever was any is now an irrelevance)

    If these two parties increase their votes, the stalemate deepens.

  • vespasian

    Anyone who thinks that the DUP will now do a deal with SF is living in another world.

    Ian Paisley has an electorate that will NOT now support it. When he says the IRA must go away, he really means they must go away and be denounced by SF and SF must wear sackcloth and ashes and repent for everything the IRA has done etc.

    I wouldn’t hold your breath for any progress towards devolution in NI for at least 2 or 3 years, we are in for more direct misrule from London.

  • Alan McDonald

    Pat,

    RE your comment above that a complete deal was almost brokered only three months ago.

    To paraphrase your comment from another thread,
    We are where we are now, not [three] months ago.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    AlanMcD,

    on the 5th May there will be Local Government Elections and there is a belief that a General Election will be held the same day. I believe the reality of those results will concentrate minds.

    All the parties are already in election mode so nothing will happen in the meantime. I believe the SF vote will increase, thus the reality for both Welsh MP Murphy and Bertie ‘I saw nothing’ Ahern.

    alex s,

    ‘You may dismiss the damage caused to the political process by the bank job, unionism won’t’

    I believe you dismiss the duplicity and the political ambitions of unionist politicians, I don’t.

    lámh dearg,

    see above reply to alex s.

  • Alan McDonald

    Pat,

    Thanks for the clarification about May 5. I assume that, unlike the Assembly, the local governments actually do work.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    AlanMcD,

    all the political parties work together on the committees that operate at council level. On a lot of the councils there is a rotation system allowing all the main parties to take the Mayoral seat at least once in a council term.

    Despite the odd sectarian rant this work continues unannounced year in and year out.

  • IJP

    Alan McD

    Like you, I cannot see what interest SF would have in a functioning Executive bringing peace, progress and prosperity to the North. Its whole argument seems based on the idea that NI is fundamentally incapable for working, and that the only way to solve that is removal of the State. But perhaps Liam et al can explain.

    Local councils have very few powers, however.

    Parties in NI are notorious for being all rights, no responsibilities, because they have never had to operate in a genuine, functioning democracy, even at local level. The idea that bad governance could lead to removal from government is not part of the tradition here, because people vote communally rather than by political philosophy or record in government.

    Even devolution with d’Hondt as outlined in the Agreement would not achieve that, but it may be a stepping stone. The theory is the more dialogue the more trust, and the more trust the more responsibility, and the more responsibility the more chance of stability. There’s something in that.

  • alex s

    Pat, I have spent a good deal of my time since the GFA was signed trying to sell it to fellow unionists, some bought it on sight, the vast majority if they were to be persuaded to support it did so on the basis of giving Sinn Fein a chance, they did once and were clearly ‘sold a pup’ by the republician movement, they won’t be as quick to trust the Shinners again and without trust the deal is finished, in short Adams and his mates blew it!

  • Liam

    IJP

    “…I cannot see what interest SF would have in a functioning Executive bringing peace, progress and prosperity to the North.”

    Can you really not see that? And how do you square that with Sinn Féin and the republican movement stretching themselves time and time again in attempts to restore the institutions, while unionism collapsed them 4 times on false pretexts?

    It really is nauseating to hear unionists talk about not being able to ‘trust’ republicans. Paisley wanted ‘evidence, evidence, evidence’ of decommissioning – he was getting it, from the IICD and 2 independent witnesses – but that wasn’t enough, he wanted more than that, he wanted humiliation etc. But when it comes to the bank robbery – he doesn’t need any evidence whatsoever – not a scrap!!??

    You people really need to face up to it: The IRA did NOT rob the Northern Bank and the more intelligent of you are beginning to realise this!! The killing of Robert McCartney was not an IRA sanctioned operation, it was a pub brawl – and this has never even been in question!

    So do not talk to republicans about a lack of ‘trust’ – what gives you the nerve to think that we have any trust in you??

  • lámh dearg

    Alan,

    Pat posts

    “all the political parties work together on the committees that operate at council level. On a lot of the councils there is a rotation system allowing all the main parties to take the Mayoral seat at least once in a council term.

    Despite the odd sectarian rant this work continues unannounced year in and year out.”

    Not true, the local councils in NI are a joke, powerless and meaningless, peopled by elected reps from all parties who are would be an embarrassment if anyone took them seriously.

    And yet they still manage to spend their time and our money fighting the usual fight, trying to embarrass each other and wind each other up.

    They do not “work” in any meaningful sense.

  • Alan McDonald

    To: Liam and IJP

    Your discussion exemplifies the problem I have as an American trying to understand how two groups with opposing, mutually exclusive views of what is happening, let alone what should be happening, can ever get together long enough to accomplish anything. After the GFA referendum passed, I thought there was a middle ground. Now I can no longer see one.

  • lámh dearg

    Alan

    You sre right

    The point about the GFA as I voted for was that neither side had won and neither side had lost, indeed that winning or losing were both impossible and that the only option was mutual tolerance and joint working.

    Unfortunately the extremists on both sides (SF and DUP) continue to try to persuade their side that they CAN win, using their mirror image on the other side as the the scary monster,
    “vote for us and we will win, don’t vote for us and they will win”

    It seems to those of us who want to move on and live in peace with all our neighbours that Northern Ireland is doomed to remain stuck in a Groundhog Day. Sunningdale and now the GFA.

  • Ireland Today

    Pat:
    You say: “… to try and breath life into the corpse that is the SDLP. It will fail.”

    If the SDLP is a corpse then so is the “by exclusively democratic means” approach to Northern Ireland’s problems because clearly you guys (Sinn Fein/IRA) have no intention of giving up the gun in your neighborhoods – your idea of policing and justice.

    Nationalists who voted for Sinn Fein got exactly what they voted for – gunmen in their neighborhoods. The McCartney family voted for Sinn Fein last time, that is one family at least who have learned a bitter lesson. I think next time they will vote differently.

    I hope you are wrong about the SDLP. I hope that decency is still alive and well in NI.

  • GavBelfast

    Any local administration here that includes Sinn Fein is years away.

    That suits an awful lot of people – the absence of a devolved government is hardly ideal, but it is preferable to subversives in power.

    We might as well get used to it.

  • Liam

    Ireland Today (pat flannery)

    Nationalists who voted for Sinn Fein got exactly what they voted for – gunmen in their neighborhoods. The McCartney family voted for Sinn Fein last time, that is one family at least who have learned a bitter lesson. I think next time they will vote differently.

    Nationalists who voted for Sinn Féin got a party that is committed to the peace process without STOOPING DOWN LOW!

    I see from your website that your ambition is for Mark Durkan to have some of the McCartney sisters stand as Stoop Down Low Party candidates – which proves the very point that its not really their grief that you people are interested in – its using them for your own political advantage.

    Despicable.

  • big white dove

    i am sick to death of this shit. Ireland Today do you want to tell me exactly how SF are denying the McCartneys justice and what exactly should they do next?
    I hope they stand for the SDLP in the elections as their claims to speak for the people of either Ireland or the Short Strand will be put to the test
    SUSPEND THE PEACE PROCESS MY ASS

  • lámh dearg

    BWD

    So sorry about your poor health

    What should SF do?

    Recognize the rule of law, recognize that the PSNI is the legitimate police force in Northern Ireland, stop their criminal activities, tell their other half (the IRA) to retire gracefully and let the rest of us, whether catholic or protestant get on with our lives.

    God knows we have all given them enough time and leeway, now it’s time for them to act.

  • big white dove

    LD

    “Recognize the rule of law, recognize that the PSNI is the legitimate police force in Northern Ireland,”

    The rule of law in the 6 counties? hardly a standard to live up to, even Judge Cory would agree with that.
    You do not answer my question what else can SF do in the absence of an acceptable police service?
    I for one do not buy into the nonsense that people are being intimidated from coming forward so what can SF do take a leaf from the RUC book and force confessions

  • Ireland Today

    White dove:

    You say: “tell me exactly how SF are denying the McCartneys justice and what exactly should they do next?”

    I’ll be happy to. You are denying the McCartney’s and everybody else in Northern Ireland justice by intimidating Irish nationalists from joining the PSNI.

    Adams clearly said (and has not withdrawn it) that SF/IRA should treat any nationalist who joined the PSNI as they have always treated those who joined the peelers (police) in NI. We all know what that means – death. Therefore by denying the McCartneys, and all nationalists in Northern Ireland, access to a police service (with or without nationalist officers) you are denying them justice. Reason: you want to be the police yourselves and dispense summary gun justice.

    What exactly should you do next? Again, very simple: withdraw the SF/IRA interdict on nationalists joining the police force. Then your justification for “mistrusting” the police is untenable. Of course that is why you will not do it. You know that policing is the key.

    Lastly if all those who support the PSNI are “stoopies”, aren’t the McCartneys already “stoopies”? They have gone to the PSNI and are asking for everybody involved in Robert’s murder to do likewise. Isn’t that the main difference between you and the SDLP?

    I think the American President, and we the American people, may yet have something to say about who stoops down low and who does not in Northern Ireland. And I suspect that what he will have to say will have a lot to do with policing, because we too know that it is the key to democracy.

    And don’t blame us when we do, it is you shinners who keep coming out here and crying on our shoulders about how badly you are being treated by everybody and anybody in the world.

    I think you may have worn out your welcome. Come as democrats or don’t come at all. We happen to have a little dislike going right now for terrorist gunmen. Or are you guys still billing yourselves as freedom fighters? Good luck with that one.

  • IJP

    Liam

    Well, as SF itself likes to say, ‘we all have our histories’.

    Your party’s is one of supporting the massacre of 2000 people for no legitimate reason, and then tactically giving up political violence (while supporting an organization that continued to threaten it, and which continued overseeing robberies, hold-ups, and the odd murder).

    Mine is one of supporting power-sharing structures assuring fair, genuine, representative democracy through anti-sectarian and non-violent means.

    The IRA which SF supports did rob the Northern Bank, it did offer to shoot people with no trial, and it does continue to hold guns and semtex ready for full resumption of terrorism.

    And yet the stupefying indignation that no one trusts it continues… it’s sickeningly pathetic, it really is.

    I’ve a message for the IRA that may be familiar to you: ‘Time for Peace – Time to Go’.

    Alan

    This is of course a contested society. Thanks for your interest and good luck in your attempt at understanding.

  • Liam

    Adams clearly said (and has not withdrawn it) that SF/IRA should treat any nationalist who joined the PSNI as they have always treated those who joined the peelers (police) in NI. We all know what that means – death.

    Oh get up to date and get your head out of your ass will you?

    IJP

    Your post is pathetic and you very noticeably dispense with facts and the truths of the situation.

    Might I remind you that the reality you must face is that as the voters in Meath proved – support for Sinn Féin is continuing to grow. So face it – the people see through your pathetic lies – you’re really going to have to deal with that you know!

  • exBangorBoy

    Liam –

    >>support for Sinn Féin is continuing to grow. So face it …ou’re really going to have to deal with that you know!

    Maybe so; the month of May will prove or disprove that.

    On the theme of dealing with things, when are SF going to deal with the reality that the vast majority of the Unionist community distrust and/or detest your party? By agreeing to the GFA, SF signed up to the consent principle. As in so many other things, their actions belie their words…..

  • cg

    exBangorBoy

    “By agreeing to the GFA, SF signed up to the consent principle. As in so many other things, their actions belie their words…..”

    The GFA doesn’t stop us pursuing our objective of a UI and if you thought it would more fool you.

  • Ireland Today

    Liam,

    Post where Adams withdrew his interdict on nationalists joining the PSNI so I can get my head out of my ass.

    Speaking of facts here are a few you may not like:

    “6,087 = 12.25% of 49,706 and 6,047 = 9% of 67,188.

    6.087 is the number of Votes Sinn Fein received yesterday out of 49,706 total votes cast while 6,047 is the number of votes they received in 2002 out of a total 67,188 votes cast.

    Sinn Fein/IRA are claiming that this represents an increase of 36% (in the vote they received in yesterday’s County Meath by-election to the Irish Dail). It doesn’t’, because 17,482 people who voted in 2002 did not vote yesterday. The truth is that Sinn Fein’s vote is up by 40 votes or 0.06%

    Two other important facts for Sinn Fein supporters to consider is that not all of those 6,087 votes are necessarily Sinn Fein “core votes”. Many are a personal vote for their candidate Joe Reilly who has been a very popular, hardworking County Councillor for many years. Irish people reward that sort of thing no matter which party you belong to.

    The other and perhaps more significant fact is that the Meath constituency is a fast growing commuter area. 22,000 new voters were added to the rolls since 2002, most of them refugees from Dublin’s high housing prices. Sinn Fein does not seem to have attracted any more than 40 of them.”

    When I blogged that a few days ago how far up my ass was my head? Please tell me where those figures are out of date so I can get my head back down into fresh air agian – or is it you who has your head up Gerry Adams’ ass?

  • Liam

    IT

    Sinn Féin have very comprehensive proposals on Policing and maybe you should just read them beforfe you attempt any sort of intelligent debate?

    I am glad that you recognise that Sinn Féin’s vote in Meath rose by 3.25%. A remarkable achievement against the media and political frenzy of attacks that all of the other parties have engaged in.

    Be assured that the vote will rise again in May!!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    alex s

    ‘Pat, I have spent a good deal of my time since the GFA was signed trying to sell it to fellow unionists’

    Good for you alex, the problem from my side of the fence is that you seem to be in a minority of one. In fact it was remarked upon that unionist politicians never even attempted to sell the GFA to their constituency.

  • IJP

    Liam and cg

    You still haven’t told us what you’re going to do with this huge vote you’re going to get in May.

    Nor indeed even why people should vote SF.

    Care to enlighten us?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    IJP,

    care to tell us what Alliance are going to do with the pathetic crumbs they will receive.

  • IJP

    Pat

    Alliance will continue to work politically towards power-sharing devolution with cross-border bodies and a fully independent policing/justice system (also, ultimately, devolved). Alliance will continue to work socially towards integration in opposition to mixed housing, duplicated leisure facilities and a divided school system. Alliance will continue to work economically towards a market economy which creates real jobs and real wealth and removes the dependency culture. Alliance will oppose any form of majority rule, any attempt to achieve political ends through violence, and any attempt to label people against their will. Plans for all this are contained in documents dating from Governing with Consent way back in 1988 to Agenda for Democracy just last year. An Alliance vote is a clear vote in favour of genuine, representative democracy with respect for the rule of law, and against violence, enforced segregation and colonial rule.

    Other parties irresponsibly continue to promote a biased view of history and a process aimed at dominance of their ‘own people’ at the expense of a genuinely fair society. This simply means maintenance of an unfair society under colonial rule where people are forced to choose between competing tribal camps and society remains dependent and divided enough to allow mafia-like violence to continue.

    Now, over to you…

  • IJP

    in opposition to mixed housing

    in opposition to segregated housing, of course…

  • Alan McDonald

    IJP,

    Thank you for explaining the Alliance position to me. As an American, I have always wondered where your party fit. It appears that Alliance is trying to be what I would call a normal democratic party as we have in the US.

    Best of luck to you.

  • IJP

    Thanks Alan.

    The very problem is that what constitutes ‘normal democracy’ elsewhere in the Western World is ‘abnormal’ here in NI.

    Alliance seeks progress to inclusive democracy run by all the people, not regress to a sectarian shouting match run by the mafia. We don’t always get it right, but we do get it right more often that we don’t, our sentiments are genuine, and our attempts are honorable.

  • samneilson

    Here, here IJP,

    I completely agree. We do live in a society where acts by criminals are taken and spun by political groups. Quite sad really – then we get thier propagandists on here backing up the outrageous crimes and talking up their election chances. How sad!!

  • samneilson

    Here, here IJP,

    I completely agree. We do live in a society where acts by criminals are taken and spun by political groups. Sinn Fein have seen a growth in their support, but seem to be keen on taking their votes for granted – asking people to respect their mandate when they have scant regard for the legitimacy of any other party on this island. People who’ve supported PSF in the past don’t necessarily have to vote for themin May.

  • Ireland Today

    Liam:

    You guys lie like other people breathe, it is the very breath in your nostrils.

    Everybody who spent a day in school can calculate that 40 is 0.06% of 6,047 not 3.25% as your Sinn Fein lying machine says. And you want to govern a country?

    Check with Tony Soprano, he may have a job more suited to your talents.

  • samneilson

    IT,

    clearly you are correct, but since when has the truth ever come easy to PSF. Any good propagandist knows that you keep making short and easy to remember statements and keep repeating these – doesn’t matter if it’s true or false. Trouble is for PSF, some members of the nationalist community are beginning to see through them – democratic nationalism needs the stoops to benefit from it

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    IT,

    the principle Liam applies is quite easy to understand. What you do is simply work out your vote as a percentage of the overall vote on the day.
    The SF % of the vote for Meath at the last Dail election was just over 9%. At the by election it was over 12%. Liam is therefore correct. He is in fact applying the formula that most political commentators use in the circumstances.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Lies, damned lies and statistics…

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    While statistics are open to interpretation to state, ‘You guys lie like other people breathe, it is the very breath in your nostrils’ simply because someone adopts the formula used by most political commentators does seem OTT.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Well I’ve not seen any independent commentator use the formulation, but I’d accept it’s well within the normal bounds of conventional political dishonesty.

    Of course he may have had other things in mind.

  • IJP

    samneilson

    Entirely correct.

    I should point out, however, that I know many people who felt they had no option but to vote SF because of the behaviour of Unionist representatives. The ‘sack cloth and ashes’ line was not the reason for the political breakdown, but it was yet another in a long line of gratuitously offensive remarks to our fellow countrymen.

    What I and others seek to do is to create an indisputably pro-inclusive, pro-democratic and pro-progressive party which communicates the vision of an integrated society to which we can all feel a sense of responsibility and (civic) allegiance. We will welcome voters of all parties, of all religious backgrounds, and of all national affiliation to join our cause.

    It won’t happen overnight, but as a much greater man than I once nearly put it, I have a dream that one day people will be judged by the content of their character rather than by the colour of their school uniform or how close together their eyes are perceived to be.

  • Ireland Today

    Liam, Pat and all other SF liars:

    Your lie is in claiming that because, to use your own words, “The SF % of the vote for Meath at the last Dail election was just over 9%. At the by election it was over 12%” means that your vote is up 3.25% when in fact your vote is up by 0.06% i.e. 40 votes on the previous vote of 6,047.

    It’s not that you do not know how to do the math it’s that you know how to lie better.

    No news organization said your vote was up 3.25%, they merely reported accurately that your % of the vote was up 3.25% because your vote remained virtually unchanged but 17,482 fewer people voted this time.

    You will not be able to lie your way into government, north or south, there are too many McCartney sisters and Ann McCabes who do not lie.

  • IJP

    IT

    Liam, Pat and all other SF liars:

    You may have a point, but I must be consistent and point out that labelling people does not help it.

  • Jimmy Sands

    IT,

    I agree. They spun a bad result to put it in the most favourable light. Much as I despise SF, I can’t see what makes them unique in this. Doesn’t everyone do it?

  • Jimmy Sands

    IT,

    I agree. They spun a bad result to put it in the most favourable light. Much as I despise SF, I can’t see what makes them unique in this. Doesn’t everyone do it?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘Well I’ve not seen any independent commentator use the formulation,’

    You obviously weren’t following any of the commentating of the Meath by election. All political commentators agreed that the SF SHARE of the vote had risen by over 3%.

    IT,

    The fact is, as you now admit, the SF share of the vote was up 3.25%, everyone seems to be in agreement and it is much ado about nothing.

  • Jimmy Sands

    IT,

    I agree. They spun a bad result to put it in the most favourable light. Much as I despise SF, I can’t see what makes them unique in this. Doesn’t everyone do it?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    All elections have different levels of turnout. For instance Westminster, Local Governemt elections and Assembly elections have fairly high turnouts. European and by elections have poorer turnouts. That is why commentators usually refer to the % share of vote on the day rather than the actual number of votes cast.
    Once you recognise that fact then you would have to agree Liam was absolutely correct.

  • johnhidd

    “In fact it was remarked upon that unionist politicians never even attempted to sell the GFA to their constituency.”

    (Posted by: Pat Mc Larnon at March 19, 2005 10:14 AM)

    More warped logic from SF/IRA.
    The Unionist Party destroyed its credibility and its electoral base trying to sell the so-called “agreement”. What more can a political party sacrifice?

    What do you want, blood? Oh yes, I forgot.

  • Clady Cowboy

    Johnhidd,

    How much blood was spilled to have the Union enforced?

    You will always lose the numbers game sonny, For every 1 Republican atrocity in our history i can give you 50 British atrocities.

    History will one day record this for your descendants.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘What do you want, blood? Oh yes, I forgot.’

    All statistics point to the fact that unionist paramilitaries have been responsible for the majority of violence in recent years. So in response we don’t want blood, we want political maturity.

  • Ireland Today

    Pat:

    You said: “That is why commentators usually refer to the % share of vote on the day rather than the actual number of votes cast.
    Once you recognise that fact then you would have to agree Liam was absolutely correct.”

    Liam said:

    “I am glad that you recognise that Sinn Féin’s vote in Meath rose by 3.25%.”

    He did not say “SF’s SHARE of the vote” he said “Sinn Féin’s VOTE”, therefore he lied and either you failed to see the difference or you prefer to uphold his lie.

    As I said the McCartney’s and the McCabes of Ireland are not fooled.

  • PS

    Ridiculous twisting of words by the anti-Sinn Féin brigade. We’ve all followed enough elections to know that the currency electoral success is measured in is the percentage of the votes cast gained in comparasion with previous shares of the vote. The only time I’ve ever heard people constantly use actual vote numbers as statistics is in this pathetic attempt to play down the excellent result for Joe Reilly in Meath.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Ireland Today,

    your posts are deliberately provocative and your use of language ditto. Liam was right and you were wrong and to make matters worse offensively so.
    BTW I was unaware you were the spokesperson for the Mc Cartneys and Mc Cabes.

  • Ireland Today

    Pat:

    Ooops. I forgot. Political comment is the sole prerogative of the Shinners. I suppose I “better be careful” too.

  • Clady Cowboy

    Ireland today,

    What would have been your comment if you’d been alive the day that ‘Northern Ireland’ was created against all recognitions of democracy and at the behest of armed insurgents?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Ireland Today,

    don’t be silly, political comment is not the sole prerogative of Shinners and you know that. Keep it factual and clean. Why do people of your ilk get so spiteful over the slighest thing?

  • Ireland Today

    Clady Cowboy:

    I would have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Michael Collins – for Ireland.

    Read the Treaty Debates:
    http://patflannery.com/IrishHistory/TreatyDebates.htm

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Ireland Today, yes any minute now Pat is going to sinbin you for being a troll. How dare you bring up facts and use them in this manner. We’re in the middle of a sectarian slanging match here.

    I and other people who oppose SF should be more than happy for Sinn Fein’s supporters to fool themselves into believing that getting another 40 people out to vote compared with before in a turnout numbering in the tens of thousands and where Fine Gael (not a pro-SF party by any description) substantially increased it’s share of the vote is a tremendous victory; if they believe that then maybe they’ll underestimate the amount of work they need to do to get their vote out in the future. However I suspect internally that SF is rather worried about the outcome of this election; they’re too smart not to be.

    Clady Cowboy, the majority of people in NI support the Belfast Agreement. The Agreement among other things sets all the stuff about the NI state and it’s legitimacy behind us all and agrees the framework for the first time under which the NI state will either continue or end. It’s meaningless to hark back to horrible vents years ago irrespective of whether they were inspired by republicans, unionists, British or Irish, or anyone else.

  • Clady Cowboy

    So any hope for the re-unification of the country died with Michael Collins?

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Clady Cowboy, the progress towards Collins’ objective in agreeing to the anglo-irish treaty has been a lot slower than he expected, but if you’re a republican who respects what he was trying to do you might consider the GFA another of his stepping stones. Depending on how you look at it, it provides the framework – agreed by unionism – under which partition may end.

  • IJP

    CC

    What would have been your comment if you’d been alive the day that ‘Northern Ireland’ was created against all recognitions of democracy?

    Really? Schleswig and the Tyrol were partitioned by precisely the same means, but I don’t see people saying that was undemocratic, nor do I see people fighting about it 80 years later.

    Quit the MOPEry, we can all play that game but it doesn’t get us anywhere.

    If you feel an all-Ireland State is the best way for us to make progress and normalize our society, argue for it. While you do this, it’d be best to show some respect for your British neighbours right here on this island whose view of history, perfectly legitimately, varies somewhat from yours.

  • Ireland Today

    Clady:

    Collins said he “would never coerce the northeast”. He was a realist. Something De Valera was not, to Ireland’s cost. Collins would not have waited 76 years to proclaim the principle of consent. If he had lived, we would probably have a united Ireland by now – BY CONSENT!

  • Clady Cowboy

    Roger/Ireland Today,

    All i say is that supporting Sinn Fein is not stepping away from Collins’ vision of the future.
    Catholics were in danger of renouncing their heritage as it brought them hardship. Sinn Fein provides an area that inspires confidence within themselves to see the foundation of a Republic as a just cause.
    Thank you Belfast agreement for post-dating the legitimacy of NI and offering me the hope of democratically erasing an undemocratic border.

  • Clady Cowboy

    IJP,

    Everything here is relative. I suggest if we were in each other’s shoes you would have taken up arms by now.

    MOPEry,nice one

  • Ireland Today

    Clady:

    I like your “Thank you Belfast agreement for post-dating the legitimacy of NI and offering me the hope of democratically erasing an undemocratic border”, I’m not sure I understand the rest of your post.

    Now if SF would just extend the same recognition of legitimacy to what they call a “state” but not a “nation”, the Irish Republic.

    Unionists are not the only ones who have a problem with SF.

    Neither the northern state nor the southern state will disappear without agreement. Now that SF have recognized the British state in the north they might start by recognizing the Irish state in the south. It is called the Irish Republic.

  • IJP

    CC

    To be fair, that’s an interesting point.

    The idea of mafia-style paramilitary groups defending communities may once have been understandable if not justifiable. No one should doubt that they achieved results for those communities, immoral though the method may have been. But even its day has unquestionably passed.

    And there was never any justification for seeking to achieve political ends through terrorism.

    Our country is currently occupied – by mafia and by sectarian poison. It’s time both were removed from the equation.

  • Liam

    IT

    Not to labour the point but you did say: “No news organization said your vote was up 3.25%, they merely reported accurately that your % of the vote was up 3.25%”

    Actually the Sunday Independent (of all papers!) said:
    “Sinn Fein increased its share of the vote in the Meath by-election yesterday by a dramatic 30 per cent. With only 45 extra votes, in a low turnout it went from 9.4 per cent of first preferences to 12.2 per cent.

    GOTCHA!!

    http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=9&si=1358242&issue_id=12210

  • Clady Cowboy

    IJP,

    ‘No one should doubt that they achieved results for those communities, immoral though the method may have been. But even its day has unquestionably passed.’

    I agree with you, and the simple laws in play meant that if the IRA had been more incisive in its use of violence then more results would have been achieved. I do feel that the IRA should disarm and have argued this( not here,only just discovered this site)for a long time.

    ‘And there was never any justification for seeking to achieve political ends through terrorism.’

    I don’t know about that. If you are suggesting that its the use of violence that is unjustifiable,regardless of the context,then your problems did not start with PIRA but with British Monarchial invasion. If its just the violence hand in hand with political ends that is wrong then surely The Ulster Covenant was the greatest exponent of the threat of violence to acheive political means.

    Obviously, terrorism as you label it and sectarianism need to be extinguished if there is to be hope for lasting peace and political settlement. What goes first though? Does terrorism breed sectarianism or vice versa?

    Some of my postings,(made admittedly under the influence of some fine Bavarian wheat beer) have caused you to remark that my mentality is still somewhere in our turbulent past. Some will agree,others won’t. It suggests you belong to the school of History that suggests our past was shaped by ‘Great’ men, like Cromwell and Napolean, rather than the constant conversation between the past and the present. I suggest we start this conversation at the starting point of our trouble which is Britain’s invasion of Ireland and its complete rule over it( at least in the 6 counties) until the present day.
    I also suggest that far from myself having to argue for an as yet untried Free, united and independent Ireland, the onus should be on supporters of the union to argue for keeping the 6 counties under British political control given that British rule in Ireland has been marked by divisions,hardship and a lack of peace.

  • IJP

    CC

    Glad we’re broadly in agreement, but to pick up on some points:

    your problems did not start with PIRA but with British Monarchial invasion.

    Why start there? Were not the O’Neills and Borus of this world just a little violent?

    Two World Wars moved us on from Nationalism and violent conquest to a world of the United Nations, Human Rights, and democratic consensus became the norm. On that basis, you can assume I’m referring to the era post-WW2, after all, few living today remember much before that.

    Obviously, terrorism as you label it

    It’s not me who labels it that. Terrorism is a clearly-established concept in academic and democratic thinking. As is the distinction between political violence and criminal violence which SF likes to try to gain mileage from.

    Terrorism is both the cause and product of sectarianism. I should emphasize, however, that we are all sectarian. What we should be seeking is a society where our political system is not fundamentally sectarian, and where choosing a ‘sectarian camp’ is made socially irrational rather than rational.

    I suggest we start this conversation at the starting point of our trouble which is Britain’s invasion of Ireland

    The suggestion here is that an invasion of Ireland was avoidable. It wasn’t. Ireland was already divided all over the place which is precisely what enabled the conquest. But none of this is remotely relevant.

    What is relevant is that there are British people on this island (most of whose ancestors arrived independently of the plantation and independently of any armed invasion, by the way, not that that’s really relevant), and there are Irish people on the island, and the deal cut in 1920, confirmed with amendments by the people of the island in 1998, was that there should be two jurisdictions until the people of both jurisdictions decide otherwise. That was the deal. Perhaps you were against it?

    The divisions between British and Irish would exist even if you had one jurisdiction, or more than two. It is easy to blame ‘British Rule’ just as it is easy to blame ‘Republican terrorism’, but neither holds up to objective scrutiny. After all, we haven’t tried a ‘free, united and independent Ulster’ yet, but I don’t see anyone arguing for that.

  • Clady Cowboy

    IJP,

    We are indeed in many areas in agreement.
    I think that we both want to see a more humanist society in Ireland.

    I believe though that with our new international rights etc we should seek to rectify past wrongs with humanist thought.

    ‘The suggestion here is that an invasion of Ireland was avoidable. It wasn’t. Ireland was already divided all over the place which is precisely what enabled the conquest. But none of this is remotely relevant.’

    As a humanist you would be abhorred at seeing one nation attack another and see the legacy of the aggressors still in place, ie the Union with Britain.

    Slavery ended over a century ago in the US but there are compensation suits filing through the Supreme Court.African-Americans are no longer slaves and are being compensated for that legacy.

    Where is the Humanism in display towards Native Irish in the 6 counties? We’ve had enough of your history, we did not bring this upon ourselves, we want out of this

  • Ireland Today

    Liam:

    GOTCHA? jeez … pathetic. Back to Sinn Fein spin school for you my boy or they will replace you on Slugger with one of those new Queens grad cuties. At least one could have some bad thoughts arguing with Cora Groogan. Deirdre Hargey? I don’t think so.

    The whole argument centered on SFs “share” of the vote versus the “number” of SF votes and you come up with this? Go back to your search and find any news organization (Daily Ireland is not a news organization and even they did not say what you are trying to say) that said that SFs “VOTE” was up 3.25% then you can say GOTCHA. Otherwise you just gotchyoself.

    BTW that Indo artcie also said: “However other political pundits declared that “it’s the same 6,000 votes he usually gets.” Reilly has contested the last seven elections.”

    You guys’ spin machine is really starting to sputter. All that money and spin and you couldn’t squeeze one extra vote for poor old Joe.

  • IJP

    CC

    But that would in turn require compensation towards the British by the ‘Republican Movement’. And round we go in circles.

    Invasions of Great Britain from Ireland, invasions of Ireland from Great Britain, invasions of Great Britain from France, invasions of France from Scandinavia and so on are constant factors in history. ‘France’ is nowhere near the seat of the ‘Frankish’ kings (as you will know if you’re in Bavaria), ‘Germany’ has moved somewhat to the west in the last century, as has ‘Poland’. And so on, and so forth. Who should be compensating whom? Had Great Britain been disorganized between competing tribes and Ireland been the united kingdom next door, are you suggesting the reverse wouldn’t have happened? History is all about the strong overcoming the weak by force. But what happened, happened, what is, is, the task is to learn from history and get on with it. Human civilization has moved on. Now is the time to put away violence, and resolve our differences by dialogue – just as they did in Schleswig, or the Tyrol, or many other places where land borders were originally enforced undemocratically.

    Quite aside from this: the fact is there are no ‘native Irish’. I have ‘native Irish’ ancestry, I’ll guarantee you have ‘non-native Irish’ ancestry. Then, some of my ancestry is from aggressors, some from economic/political immigrants – likewise yours no doubt. So who precisely should be compensating whom?

    So Nationalists might say ‘Ah but, we haven’t had 800 years evened up’; Unionists might say ‘Ah but, we haven’t had 30 years evened up’; neither helps. None of that works. So it’s time to put aside the bitterness, show each other some respect, and create a fair future for us all regardless of national affiliation, perceived heritage and religious background.

    If you can show how that is best done in the context of an all-Ireland state, people should listen. But don’t expect people to react kindly to MOPEry, we’ve all suffered and we’ve all been guilty.

  • Clady Cowboy

    IJP,

    I speak only of Ireland here.

    England invaded Ireland and put it under its political control(morally wrong no matter the time scale), and there has been no peace since.

    EVERTHING else are but mere footnotes.

    I suggest we first of all amend that original wrong and then have our debate on how best to live together. Because, i have to argue for a united ireland whilst still under the yolk of foreign tyranny-something unionists haven’t had to do

  • Clady Cowboy

    IJP,

    The Norman population in Northern France hasn’t denied others living in that region political union with Paris by forging a political union with their Scandanavian relatives.

    Everywhere else people move on as the invaders have assimilated, Unionists have been incapable of this. I, and others like me, pay the price for this daily

  • Henry94

    BTW that Indo artcie also said: “However other political pundits declared that “it’s the same 6,000 votes he usually gets.” Reilly has contested the last seven elections.”

    Be careful about believing annything you read in the Indo. O’Reilly’s vote in 1997 was only 2000 (3.53%). The 6000 (9.43%) votes in 2002 represented real growth. There is no usual 6000 votes even over two greneral elections never mind seven.

  • Ireland Today

    Henry94:

    Then where is this huge victory you are all clapping yourselves on the back for?

    I’m sure Joe O’Reilly earned every one of those 6,087 votes, not you SF spindoctors. I bet he could tell you exactly why every single one of them voted for him. He knew them all, he had to. Because he grafted hard for seven election cycles getting lazy county engineers to fix potholes and widen humped-backed bridges, getting some old lady a telephone or free coal. Every one of the 6,087 ordinary people who voted for him had some good reason to be grateful to him for clearing some logjam with the lazy lumps in local government. People knew he was too busy helping them to have anything to do with SF bank robberies or murders. I don’t have to read the Indo to know how that works. Irish people know how to vote. God bless them. And God bless Joe for being a good local representative, he is in the wrong party that’s all.

  • IJP

    CC

    I speak only of Ireland here.

    Why? My term of reference is the British Isles. Other people’s is Ulster. Other people’s is NI. Other people’s is Europe. Other people’s is the world.

    England invaded Ireland and put it under its political control(morally wrong no matter the time scale)

    Really?

    Sorry, but conquests are a fact of history. Had Ireland actually been a nation, it would have fended off the invasion. Had England not successfully invaded Ireland, it itself would’ve been invaded by France or Spain.

    EVERTHING else are but mere footnotes.

    No, everything else is entirely relevant.

    I suggest we first of all amend that original wrong

    So you suggest Ireland be split up into small units with their own taxation powers and taxes be paid to each in cows?

    While we’re at it, presumably you’re for ‘returning’ the Americas to their ‘native’ rulers? And Australia? And, for that matter, Ireland – the Gaels’ll have to go too, after their illegal invasions of 600BC.

    It’s utter nonsense, and I think you know it.

    whilst still under the yolk of foreign tyranny

    ‘Foreign tyranny’ – sorry, now you’re just talking rubbish.

  • Henry94

    IT

    I’m sure Joe O’Reilly earned every one of those 6,087 votes, not you SF spindoctors.

    I’m not a Sinn Fein spindoctor. I was just correcting you on a matter of fact.

  • Clady Cowboy

    IJP,

    EVERTHING else are but mere footnotes.

    ‘No, everything else is entirely relevant.’

    whilst usually,

    ‘But none of this is remotely relevant.’

    What exactly is your standing on History? What is your proposal for normalisation of Irish society?

    I suggest we first of all amend that original wrong

    ‘So you suggest Ireland be split up into small units with their own taxation powers and taxes be paid to each in cows?’

    No, i suggest that the people of this island alone decide its future.

    The Irish people haven’t been destroyed like the aboriginal people in US and Australia, despite great endeavours, so that’s why there is so much tension.

    You do read history as great forces destroying weaker ones and the supremacy of violence, is it any wonder that some republicans felt this the only way

  • Ireland Today

    Henry94:

    And what exactly was that “fact” you corrected? I’m delighted to hear that you are not a SF spindoctor so you will be able to correct my factual error without resorting to spin. So let’s have the plain factual correction, no spin.