Same horse, same problem

A pertinent quote at the end of this New York Times report on Adams’ speech, from Paul Bew, professor of politics at Queens University, on the tactics being deployed by Sinn Féin – “You have to say, ideologically, that it is selling the same horse twice.”

The call for “initiatives” can be seen as an attempt to return to the situation last December and the stated position of the IRA then, still available on SF’s website, and probably worth noting – if only as a comparison to whatever eventual response flows from their ‘internal consultation’ –

IRA statement – 9 December, 2004

“More than ten years ago, an IRA cessation publicly heralded the onset of the Irish peace process. Since then, the IRA has, time and again, demonstrated its commitment to sustaining and developing that process through a series of very significant and substantive initiatives.

In the context of the work to conclude a comprehensive agreement, the leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann decided:

– to support a comprehensive agreement by moving into a new mode which reflects our determination to see the transition to a totally peaceful society;

– all IRA Volunteers be given specific instructions not to engage in any activity which might thereby endanger that new agreement;

– the IRA leadership also decided that we will, in this context, conclude the process to completely and verifiably put all our arms beyond use;

– we instructed our representative to agree with the IICD the completion of this process, speedily, and if possible by the end of December;

– to further enhance public confidence we agreed to the presence of two clergymen as observers during this process.

The IRA leadership decided to contribute in this way to a comprehensive agreement to resolve all outstanding issues, including those of concern within unionism. For his part, Ian Paisley demanded that our contribution be photographed, and reduced to an act of humiliation.

This was never possible. Knowing this, he made this demand publicly as the excuse for his rejection of an overall agreement to create a political context with the potential to remove the causes of conflict. As the IRA leadership has said before, this is a context in which Irish republicans and unionists can, as equals, pursue our respective political objectives peacefully.

We restate our commitment to the peace process. But we will not submit to a process of humiliation.

We commend our Volunteers and the wider republican base for their patience and discipline in these testing times. Our commitment, like theirs, to our republican objectives is undiminished.

We thank those who have made genuine contributions to the efforts to find solutions to ongoing problems. While acknowledging these efforts, we reiterate our view that progress cannot be made by pandering to the demands of those who are against change.

The search for a just and lasting peace is a challenging one. The IRA leadership has risen to that challenge. The British Government and the leaders of unionism must do likewise.”

P O’Neill

Irish Republican Publicity Bureau
Dublin

And on that ‘internal consultation’, I must just link to this timely article on the new disease of consultation by the BBC’s Mark Devenport.

Also worth noting at this point, courtesy of Slugger’s own archives, we can see that the horse that was put up for sale then didn’t meet anyone’s requirements – More than one issue still unresolved

  • Tom Harding

    Hmmmn, Prof. Bew has inspected that nag’s teeth more than a few times before, and each time previously he told Ginger Dave, ‘sure go ahead and buy this yer honour, she’s a grand runner, no doubt about it’.

  • Jimmy Sands

    I know I am in something of a minority but I believe history will be kinder to Trimble than the voters are likely to be. There is a difference between treating the provos as credible and the tactic of treating them arguendo as if they were. He can point to real results by this tactic. It is ironic that his main critics come from an organisation which has over the years done more than anyone else to popularise SF. Sadly this election is likely to be a triumph for this rather perverse symbiosis.

  • Levitas

    I think this time is the endgame for the PIRA and the fact that what Adams is proposing is unconditional is what makes so many so sceptical but the mroe perceptive can see its a master move which will only confer benefits to the pro- democratic forces in Ireland. Hats off to GA and no surprise that Paul Bew is sceptical he is very anti-republican.

  • Alan McDonald

    Levitas,

    As a curious American, I wonder who is pro-republican other than republicans?

  • Levitas

    Well 300,000+ Sinn Fein voters on the island of Ireland…and that is likely to be larger figure after the UK elections are over-which is not a figure that can be just discounted as a lunatic fringe. On top of that there are many Fianna Fail voters in the ROI who would give Sinn Fein a strong second preference, since in the ROI there is proportional representation. Another point is that the media have their pet anti-republican talking heads, which are wheeled out with deadening regularity to allow a mutually self -serving Sinn Fein bashing agenda to predominate on the media.

  • aquifer

    For ‘anti-republican’ read ‘effective political opponent to armed irish separatism’. Its a term of flattery.

  • Chris Gaskin

    Anti-Republician = Twat

    Reads just as well 😉

  • NewYorker

    Levitas,

    What percentage of the 32 county electorate do you think the 300,000+ is? What about 10% to be generous. What percentage defines a lunatic fringe in your mind?

  • fair_deal

    “Well 300,000+ Sinn Fein voters on the island of Ireland…and that is likely to be larger figure after the UK elections are over-which is not a figure that can be just discounted as a lunatic fringe”

    Hitler and the Nazi party managed to get lots of votes, it didn’t make them sane.

  • Jimmy Sands

    NY,

    As one writer has pointed out, it’s about the same proportion as believe in alien abductions.

  • Chris Gaskin

    A lesson on sanity from NewYoker, HA HA, the irony 🙂

  • NewYorker

    Chris,

    What percentage of people are severely below average in intelligence in the 32 counties? What percentage of people are severe “under achievers” on the island? How do those percentages correlate with the 10% SF vote in the 32 counties? Are you able to work that out?

  • Henry94

    In charity we should ignore that post by NewYorker and hope that some reflection will lead to an apology. For his sake rather than ours.

  • Davros

    That was shameful NewYorker.

  • Levitas

    New Yoker may wish to reflect that attracting between 10% to 12% of the electoral vote in the space of a decade,coming from a position of being to all intents and purposes virtually banned is regarded by most impartial observers as impressive progress. I am also pointing out that as Sinn Fein increasingly succeeds in directing the aspirations of that section of the islands population who have refused to accept the undemocratic diktat that was, and is partition of the national territory of Ireland, in a peaceful and democratic direction;then it seems entirely feasible that the vote for Sinn Fein will continue rise. It is that trend after all that is at the root of all the hysterical neo-McCarthyite witch-hunting which has been blighting politics in Ireland since Uncle Ian decided that he wanted “sack cloth ashes and repentance” as well as IRA disbandment.
    Now the Republican movement is about to deftly remove the excuse for delay and “goal-post shifting” that the opponents of the GFA have clung on to since the signing of the Good Friday Accord, by calling their bluff by unilaterally and unconditionally disbanding the IRA. What will you be complaining about as you pass the port at your stateside dinner parties then? Or will you then turn your tones of “informed” righteous indignation towards the continued existence of loyalist paramilitaries who have hitherto not decommissioned a single weapon and are up to their necks in keeping Ulster free (for heroin, crack and ecstacy dealing).
    Somehow I don’t think that their continued existence will concern you too much,and those who do feel threatened by their continued (highly armed) existence will just constitute that “lunatic fringe” you referred to.

  • NewYorker

    In modern democratic politics it is important to know the profile of parties electorates. In the US I can find out down to zip code (city code) what the educational level, income category, age, etc. of the Democratic Party and Republican electorate. It is someting the public should know in a democracy. What is the profile of the SF electorate? I don’t know. Perhaps some of the sensitive posters do.

  • Chris Gaskin

    Let’s just put it this way NY, for your dirty right-wing mind.

    I am a law student who comes from a working class background. I can hardly be described as a “serial underachiever” or of “below average intelligence” and do you know what I am no better and my vote is no better than some bloke who is on income support with 3 kids.

    Grow up and get a life.

    I am aware Mick that my post may be seen as man not ball but do you know what I DON’T CARE.

    I will gladely take a yellow to put arrogant middle-class prats in their place.

  • franc

    Well said Chris

  • NewYorker

    If you don’t have party electorate profiles, I suggest you develop them. It helps voters make better decisions. I suspect the data exists, it is a matter of collection and analysis. You do want a world-class democracy, don’t you?

  • NewYorker

    If you don’t have party electorate profiles, I suggest you develop them. It helps voters make better decisions. I suspect the data exists, it is a matter of collection and analysis. You do want a world-class democracy, don’t you?

  • Levitas

    New Yoker has evaded saying anything about whether he is as concerned about loyalist paramilitaries as he seems to be about republican VOTERS- been listening a little too intently to that neo-con eugenics chit-chat over the canapes?

  • franc

    ‘You do want a world-class democracy, don’t you?’

    Tell that to your victims in abu ghraib

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    What exactly is a “world-class” democracy? Does one exist and if so where?

    New-Yorker, before you speak, the USA is far from a world class democracy.

  • NewYorker

    Levitas,

    Anybody who commits a crime should be charged, go before a judge and/or jury and, if guilty, receive an appropriate penalty. That’s anybody and everybody, which includes Protestants, Catholics, other religions, loyalist, SF/IRA, Real IRA, Continuity IRA, etc. Now that’s out of the way, what about electorate profiles? Do you have them? If so, where can I access them. If you do not, don’t you think it is important for voters in a democracy to have them? I suspect there is a great deal of speculating what the profile is of the major parties electoral profiles without any facts.

  • Weapons of Crass Instruction

    “Anybody who commits a crime should be charged, go before a judge and/or jury and, if guilty, receive an appropriate penalty”

    Including Presidents of ‘world class democracies’?

  • Davros

    Including Presidents of ‘world class democracies’?

    Especially Presidents of ‘world class democracies’!

  • Jo

    Yes, what about electoral profiles? I’d like to see how the SF vote breaks down, although I doubt that there is an official category called “inherited parental shoulder chip”. 🙂

  • George

    Newyorker and Jo,
    in the Irish Republic, in Dublin anyway, many of Sinn Fein’s voters are people who never bothered voting before or had given up voting.

    That’s the only profile you need. We don’t go into voter profiling that much in Europe.

    For me, it implies a desire to usurp democracy by means of manipulation of groups in society rather than confidence in convincing the voters of the merits of your arguement.

    All this ignorance of Europe reminds me of the American arriving in Cologne and asking “where are the ghettoes in this city?”

    “Eh, we don’t have any,” came the reply.

  • Colm

    What is New Yorker on about ?

    Electorate profiles may be interesting from a research point of view but why does he consider it so important that each voter should be able to access these before making a decision.

    Intelligent voters make a decision by studying the policies of a party and deciding if that is what most concurs with their own beliefs and desires.

    The only reason I can see for the apparent vital importance of seeing detailed party electorate profiles is if you want to categorise yourself and lump your vote in with the majority of your categorised group. Not much thinking or individual decision making required there.

  • Alan McDonald

    I feel like I got NewYorker going by asking Levitas who is a pro-republican. I can accept that people who vote for your party are either pro-party or pro-candidate (or anti-opponent) for that election. Here in the USA (besides having only two parties who split all the votes), we have core constituencies that vote in a consistent manner, election to election, and others that are more susceptible to vote switching.

    Having said all that, I can tell you that Americans, born and raised on the two party system of non-parliamentarian democracy, will always see a voter share of “10% for” as “90% against.” Ralph Nader and Ross Perot may have affected prior presidential elections, but they have no ongoing constituency of any importance in the USA today.

  • Jo

    Without necessarily siding with NY or his views, I merely thought that “profiling” could be taken to mean analysis of the current SF vote (and other parties) to see if there is indeed some social/class trends which would be of more general interest than the cynical manipulation of *focus groups* etc. The law student above might be more typical than he/she thinks, i.e. – an assertive young urbanite striving to do well and shake off the working class roots for the avenues of south Belfast/Dublin. A odd voting companion for a south Armagh farmer, but interesting nonetheless.
    Im sure there is some research somewhere which would shed light – particularly on the change in SF voter since the 80s.

  • NewYorker

    Alan,

    After the 2004 election I studied the in-depth profiles of those who voted for Bush. I thought it was some temporary insanity many voters were experiencing. But, sadly, even in the “blue” states, demographic groups I thought Kerry would carry moved into the Republican camp. One conclusion I draw is that it will be very difficult for a liberal Democrat to win in the foreseeable future. The shift to the right is well entrenched. You can tell a lot about the direction of the country by knowing who voted for which party.

    Jo,

    I would be most interested in the profile of those who vote DUP as the DUP is expected to garner the most votes. For example, I’d like to know what level of support they have/will have from the business community. Those who vote for a party have much influence on the policies a party adopts and the direction that party is likely to take.

  • kitty

    “In modern democratic politics it is important to know the profile of parties electorates. In the US I can find out down to zip code (city code) what the educational level, income category, age, etc. of the Democratic Party and Republican electorate. It is someting the public should know in a democracy. What is the profile of the SF electorate? I don’t know. Perhaps some of the sensitive posters do. “

    Well according to various UN and International Educational statistics etc. Americans are well behind must industrialised countries in Educational standards- INCLUDING Ireland, so maybe you could start your research there?

    And “You do want a world-class democracy, don’t you?”

    Well why should we surpass the Yanks in everything?:)

  • Den

    For all of you who are interested in every aspect of “The Troubles” and Northern Ireland, go to this thread which has been running for 4 years.

    http://forums.ebay.co.uk/thread.jspa?threadID=30477&start=0

    If you wish to participate in the discussion, it is easy & free to sign up for a posting ID.