Hain: activist turned honest broker?

Paul Dixon certainly doesn’t think so. Instead he argues that because the new Secretary of State has not attempted to put clear blue water between himself and his partisan past viz a viz Northern Ireland he cannot be claimed as an honest broker. Indeed that activism is not as dim and distant as Hain might like to contest:

Indeed that activism is not as dim and distant as Hain might like to contest:

He told an audience in India on November 20, 2000, that “the Protestant majority in the North ruling oppressively in a devolved administration and denying the Catholic minority basic human rights which it felt could therefore only be achieved by reunification with the independent Irish state in the South, an objective which some nationalists pursued by terrorism.”

  • Napoleon

    and Paul’s problem is what exactly?

  • fair_deal

    I’d like to congratulate Paul Dixon on some thorough research that has produced some interesting information.

    The NIO and government continually tries to present itself as neutral therefore it is legitimate for this assertion to be questioned both individually and collectively.

    Of the one interview I have seen of Hain on this issue his behaviour was decidedly dodgy.

  • Paul O

    If Hain came over in firm support of the continuence of the union Dixon wouldn’t raise any so-called ‘concerns’, and Fairdeal – I doubt you would describe his unimpartiality as ‘dodgy’!

  • fair_deal

    Paul O

    I know you are starting a whataboutery session here but

    “the continuence of the union Dixon wouldn’t raise any so-called ‘concerns'”

    Maybe Paul Dixon wouldn’t but somebody would it if the person had been a dyed in the wool Unionist or heaven forfend Loyalist.

  • Robert Keogh

    The quote attributed to Hain in this extract is not activism, it is an accurate statement of history.

    Not that anyone should be surprised at unionisms response to the SoS. Unless you love the union and despise nationalism, you are hated. Same happened with Mowlam.

  • fair_deal

    Robert keogh

    “Unless you love the union and despise nationalism, you are hated”

    Wrong. We just would prefer a SoS who doesn’t hate us.

  • Robert Keogh

    fair_deal,

    Wrong. We just would prefer a SoS who doesn’t hate us.

    Nice line, but history doesn’t bear your assertion out.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m surprised Hain’s move to revoke Sean Kelly’s license hasn’t become a Slugger article. The rather conspiratorial but nonetheless credible argument could be made that the revokation of Kelly’s license was some sort of effort to quash the complaints being made about Hain’s partiality.

    fair_deal, you can’t really blame successive secretaries of state for hating you. Unionism has by and large been characterised by a complete failure to understand any of the problems in NI or contribute anything constructive to trying to make the state work. Perhaps if unionists worked closely with the British government, instead of calling them traitors, lundies or terrorist apologists, they might find a more warm reception in future.

  • fair_deal

    Comrade Stalin

    I was surprised that the Kelly stuff nor has the riot at the Ardoyne protest made it on to Slugger.

    Possibly legal issues are limiting the discussion of Kelly – he is still due a hearing.

    On the republican riot the degree of myopia over the riot last year from republican commentators got so bad the debate was pointless – I know it made me give up on slugger for a couple of months because it was all so blinkered and sterile.

    On the Hain stuff if he had the balls to say I have and have had deeply held beliefs about Northern Ireland but I understand the duties of collective responsibility and will not let personal beliefs over-ride government policy – fair enough – then he can be judged on his actions. However, his less than frank manner on the matter has been a mistake.

    Also it has been the media (surprisingly) who has made more mileage of this than Unionist parties.

    Anyway if you have ways of making a political player uncomfortable then you use it, thats the game we are all in (or at least comment on).

  • Robert Keogh

    fair_deal

    Anyway if you have ways of making a political player uncomfortable then you use it.

    That’s the point I was making. It’s not whether or not the SoS is impartial or not, unionists want an SoS biased in their and the unions favour. Anyone who falls short of that in any way, is reviled.

  • prolefodder

    fair_deal
    I would have thought the fact that our SoS splits his time between here and Wales to top up his tan, would be at least as important as his past anti-Unionist ‘youthful indiscretions’. Perhaps next time he’s on Hearts and Minds, Noel Thompson should put it to him straight -“Mr Hain, are you or have you ever been an anti-Unionist?”. Unionists would do well not to make too much of this (publicly) – what sort of message was Blair sending when he appointed Hain, and on a part-time basis? Has the withdrawl begun…?

  • Alan McDonald

    ProleFodder,
    Has the withdrawl begun…?

    Good one! I hear that while the media was waiting for the Michael Jackson verdict, they had a countdown clock. After the hostages were taken in Iran back in 1979, we counted the days (444) until they were released.

    Why don’t you start a web site (if there isn’t one already) with a British Withdrawal Countdown clock?

  • Comrade Stalin

    fair_deal, a commendably civil comeback to my less than civil point. I must have been a bit cranky earlier on. Too much vodka in the dacha.

    prolefodder, I think Blair was making it rather clear that NI has been notched down a few levels in his list of priorities. Joint authority would sharpen a few minds – the DUP don’t want it and Sinn Fein definitely don’t want it going by their full-on propaganda assault on McDowell.

  • fair_deal

    Robert keogh

    I can’t see how you get the meaning from my comment at all.

    prolefodder

    The part-time stuff I personally viewed as a sign Blair wanted here sorted out not a sign of withdrawal. Anyway they can’t withdraw.

    CS

    We all have our bad days. I have been very controlled on here lately but I expect to lose my temper some day soon – hopefully I will have gained a few brownie points with mick when I do.

  • Gonzo

    Comrade Stalin said: “Blair was making it rather clear that NI has been notched down a few levels in his list of priorities”

    Maybe, but Blair hasn’t long left in office (he’ll want some kind of historical ‘legacy’ if the African debt thing doesn’t come off) and he has consistently undermined the role of NI SoS since he became PM.

  • prolefodder

    f_d

    “The part-time stuff I personally viewed as a sign Blair wanted here sorted out not a sign of withdrawal. Anyway they can’t withdraw.”

    This logic is not one I’m used to. Let me get this right: Big Tony wanted the sick counties sorted out so…he sends a part-time SoS?

    And as for that old chestnut, ‘they can’t withdraw’ – does anyone really believe that given half a change HM Government would exit from ‘norn iron’ quicker than the Alliance would slap an ASBO on anyone wearing a hood in the coffee houses of North Down. And lets not forget that there is absolutely no support, understanding let alone desire for the Union within the UK as a whole. And with a part-time SoS, what adminstrative links there are are being demonstrably weakened. They can leave, they want to leave and they are leaving…