Bertie and Tony: NI's social worker team?

Lindy McDowell kicks off her column with a morality tale which expresses her belief that violent men have been indulged under the aegis of the Northern Ireland peace process. She calls for some plainer speaking from government and excoriates what she terms the language of the Little Book of Patronising Pap. At bottom, she calculates that the two governments are daily losing trust and public credibility so long as the process of disarmament remains (apparently hopelessly) stalled.

The trust has gone between the people and those in authority who turned a blind eye to the continuing violence and the intimidation. Isn’t it time that Tony and Bertie publicly acknowledged this? That never mind the fact that we have lost all trust in the “good intentions” of the (still) most heavily armed terrorist organisation in Western Europe. Our trust in those who were supposed to oversee the disarmament of that terrorist outfit, has also taken a hammering.

  • aquifer

    In parts of America, a republic of rights and laws, arrest is virtually automatic in cases of domestic violence.

    A lighter sentence is repeated sessions of anger management, and the offender will usually be removed from the home.

    The failure by governments to adequately tackle or even verbally challenge the culture of threat victimisation and selective murder in this part of Ireland is an ethnic slur.

    In London or Dublin they would have set the dogs on the professionalised perpetrators long ago.

    Or thrown them in the – Paddywagon.

    We are all expected and permitted to act according to English anti-Irish prejudices.

  • aquifer

    And what of the victims used as bloody Post-it sticky notes for someone else’s amateur political scratchings. The book ‘Lost Lives’ about the victims should be put on the web for all to see, with additional material from their families.

  • Doreen

    An excellent analysis of the situation, I think. If only the powers that be would take note.

  • Jo

    Very insightful look at things.

    Agree with aquifer about “Lost Lives.”

    I went through a period of looking at what had happened to victims on the same day in previous years. There was never a day when someoneone somewhere was not remembering a loss.

  • Jo

    Very good piece.

    Agree with aquifer about “Lost Lives.”

    I went through a period of looking at it to read what had happened on that day in previous years.

    There was not a day went by that someone somewhere was not remembering loss.

  • beano; EverythingUlster.com

    Excellent piece and thought-provoking analogy.

  • mnob

    Aquifier, I have lived in England and met many English and have *never* encountered any anti Irish prejudices.

    Besides your post doesnt make sense – if this wouldnt be tolerated in Dublin is this because of their anti Irish prejudices ?

    No MOPERy here.

  • middle-class taig

    At a time when unionists know they are about to be offered a transformative gesture by the IRA, this self-pitying, self-serving guff is terribly unhelpful. This sick-making pseudo-narrative is about justifying the inevitable unionist intransigence in the face of yet another nationalist initiative.

    It is interesting, in the run up to the anticipated gesture, to see republicanism critically contemplate its past and take responsibility for some of its worst excesses. Contrast this with the ill-fitting mantle of victimhood which unionism is now trying to squeeze into.

    In deciding whether to accept the handshake with magnanimity, or to dash it away bitterly, unionists should be reflecting on how much their community has oppressed its neighbours.

    Battered wife, indeed! There are better analogies from the world of male-on-female crime.

  • mnob

    MCT – can’t you see you’re playing the same game. – its gonna fail – and its all the prods fault !

    You are acting on an anticipated response to an anticipated statement does that not seem a bit foolish ?

  • middle-class taig

    Not so, mnob. That’s not the game I’m playing. I’m challenging unionist hypocrisy and revisionism, not apportioning blame for anticipated failure. I say that there will be inevitable intransigence with regard to the IRAs initiative, but I hold out the possibility of unionist acceptance with “In deciding whether to accept…”

    Having said that, Paisley and Co have been preparing the ground for rejection for weeks. This article helps out on that front. That’s why the facile, dishonest analogy it rests on should be challenged. Unionists should look honestly at the past when contemplating the future offered to them.

    If a nationalist commentator wrote this you’d all be falling over each other to get the first accusation of MOPERY. How much more nauseating to hear this stuff emanating from the still-armed-to-the-teeth unionist laager.

    The success or failure of the anticipated IRA initiative is not to be judged on the extent of DUP intransigence towards it. It will be judged on the basis of the extent to which it stabilises and advances Irish republicanism, the democratic rights of Irish people and the cause of Irish nationhood; none of which matters are within the gift of Papa Doc. This initiative isn’t going to be a striptease for Ian Paisley’s delectation.

  • slackjaw

    Tis a rather lop-sided analogy all right.

    Perhaps the wife should be a bit of a bunny boiler prone to dishing out the odd headbutt to unsuspecting and innocent in-laws.

  • circles

    Who is the woman supposed to be in this particular piece? Who does she represent this hard done by, but ultimately strong woman? Every other character is clear – but the woman in the analogy? I honestly can’t identify her.
    Is it the civilian community? In that case there were a series of husbands giving her a kicking – some in uniform, some in balaclavas, some in track suits and stolen cars, and some in nice suits sitting in comfy offices and “doing government”.
    Is it the nationalist community (but surely then the husband would have been beating himself (or at least his on arm or so)
    Or is the damsel in distress an amalgamation of the forces of unionism – embodied in the dainty form of Little Miss Paisley who would only believe in a change when she saw it? This seems to be Lindy’s intention anyway.

    Which makes a nonsense out of the entire analogy. An extremely poor piece, not only insulting in its simplification of the situation and its one-sided representation of who the victims of the troubles were and are, but entirely ignorant of the reality.

  • circles

    Who is the woman supposed to be in this particular piece? Who does she represent this hard done by, but ultimately strong woman? Every other character is clear – but the woman in the analogy? I honestly can’t identify her.
    Is it the civilian community? In that case there were a series of husbands giving her a kicking – some in uniform, some in balaclavas, some in track suits and stolen cars, and some in nice suits sitting in comfy offices and “doing government”.
    Is it the nationalist community (but surely then the husband would have been beating himself (or at least his on arm or so)
    Or is the damsel in distress an amalgamation of the forces of unionism – embodied in the dainty form of Little Miss Paisley who would only believe in a change when she saw it? This seems to be Lindy’s intention anyway.

    Which makes a nonsense out of the entire analogy. An extremely poor piece, not only insulting in its simplification of the situation and its one-sided representation of who the victims of the troubles were and are, but also entirely ignorant of the reality.

  • beano; EverythingUlster.com

    Interesting that MCT jumps to accuse Unionists of MOPEry and defend republican terrorists. Not once was it mentioned that the husband was the IRA.

    Guilty concsience?

  • middle-class taig

    Beano, reality. Reality, Beano. I’ll leave you two alone to get acquainted.

    I won’t reply harshly. I know you’re just embarrassed at jumping in with your cringe-worthy “Excellent piece and thought-provoking analogy” before addressing any critical analysis to the article. Lindy obviously tickles your moperogenous zones.

  • barnshee

    “The success or failure of the anticipated IRA initiative is not to be judged on the extent of DUP intransigence towards it. It will be judged on the basis of the extent to which it stabilises and advances Irish republicanism”
    Pulezze!!
    The root causes of division remain in place and are reinforced by recent events. No amount pseudo-intellectual clap trap will disguise the fact that the two comunities are diverging at an increasing rate. If anything, the DUPERS policy lags behind the attitudes in the protestant community (perhaps Campbell and Dodds are closer) The painful lessons for all Ts (not just MCTs) is that if the prods in general don`t buy it then the DUPERS will not -and they sound the prod electorate extensively. Settle down for along long period of direct rule.

  • irishman

    Easily the worst example of MOPEry I’ve ever read.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Jo, Aquifier, Doreen, Beano

    Right enough lads, it’s a bit sad the way you jumped in there to praise McDowell’s piece as an excellent bit of commentary. I think what you meant to say was: “hear hear”. Which isn’t the same thing.

    I’d have thought some of you at least would have had sufficient intellectual self-respect not to praise this drivel as good commentary just because you happen to agree with its basic conceits. Without even getting into the details of McDowell’s argument, suffice to say it’s the poorest piece of commentary I’ve seen in the NI media in a long time – and let’s be honest here, that makes it pretty poor. Seriously: no self-respecting contributor to Slugger who has been posting here more than a couple of months would pursue such a pathetic analogy. It’d be beneath the humble blogger.

    There’s a decent argument to be had about the analogy of the two governments being social workers here, but although she inadvertently touches on it, McDowell doesn’t see it. The whole world knows our problem here is symbiotic – except Lindy. For her, it’s just that the fenians are evil and nobody will stand up for the poor oppressed prods ‘cause everybody’s agin us but we’re a hardy wee people so to hell with yiz all.

    And she gets paid for this shit.

    Loved her bit about the need for that magical elixir of “plain speaking”. Yep, that’s our problem: everybody’s too timid in their language.

    No, when Lindy calls for “plain speaking”, what she means is that she wants the two governments (the real powerbrokers here) to do what unionists want. Short of that, she says, unionism will stick to its failsafe position. “We trust nobody”.

    Frankly, all I can say is thank God for weblogs and websites like Slugger. Ten years ago nationalists read people like Lindy McDowell and, for want of any other information to hand, thought that’s what unionists were all like – now we know she’s just another among the ranting minority.

    Though I must say I’m surprised that Mick deemed an article of such wretched standard to be worthy of discussion on Slugger. (Not that the bar has to be set particularly high, but this article is EGREGIOUSLY bad. Howler of the Year.) One wonders would a similarly pathetic bit of dross have made the cut had it been pushing a nationalist line?

  • middle-class taig

    … or alternatively joint authority! Unionism can’t keep saying no forever.

    It always fascinates me how unionists love nothing better than teaching taigs “painful lessons”, bringing us to heel, housetraining us. Even now, nationalist vocabulary is about inclusion, respect and equality, whereas unionist vocabulary remains somewhere between that of the comedy camp Kommandant and the police dog-handler.

    A good statement by the IRA (and the tsunami of ensuing plaudits and “concessions”) would reinvigorate nationalism and rehabilitate republicanism in the eyes of the South, the UK and the US. Rejection by the DUP would further alienate the garden centre prod, restore the DUP’s pariah status and give the UUP a shot in the arm.

    Of course, if the RA balls it up, all bets are off.

  • TAFKABO

    Did I hallucinate that last post?

    Does MCT really boast about republicans seeking inclusivity in the first paragraph, and then launch straight into a rant about restoring the DUPs pariah status in the second?

    And they still wonder why people are writing articles about the lack of trust.

    Ho hum.

  • barnshee

    “… or alternatively joint authority! Unionism can’t keep saying no forever.”

    Brilliant!
    As soon as its mooted ask for money -no representation without taxation anyone? Plus even the (mythical) garden centre prods won`t swallow that one. DUPERS then garner all prod votes. Then actually propose transfer of Taigs to ROI. Collapse of stoit parties everywhere– bwown liquid runs down legs in the Dail –can`t wait

  • middle-class taig

    Restoration of the DUP’s pariah status alienation of middle class unionists and rejuvenation of the UUP would not be positive things. But the threat of them should have at least some cautionary effect on those who, left to their own devices, would reject the outstretched hand of the Virgin Mary beacuse there’s something a bit fenian about her. Sow’s litter anyone?

    Oh and for god’s sake quit your whinging about trust. It’s pathetic. Unionists have every reason to trust nationalism, which has bent over backwards to accommodate you, slaughtering every sacred cow in the herd. The trust issue arose because unionism wasn’t prepared to actually negotiate the deal it wanted, so tried repeatedly to bounce republicans into extra, unreciprocated gestures outside the agreement. Nationalists, and especially republicans, have no reason whatsoever to trust anyone from any quarter within unionism – unionism, after a brief hiatus, is all about rejectionism and supremacy once again. But still nationalists keep trying. As usual, any IRA statement will be unilateral nationalist gesture.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Barnshee

    “As soon as its mooted ask for money -no representation without taxation anyone? Plus even the (mythical) garden centre prods won`t swallow that one. DUPERS then garner all prod votes. Then actually propose transfer of Taigs to ROI. Collapse of stoit parties everywhere– bwown liquid runs down legs in the Dail –can`t wait”

    Jesus Christ Barnshee. Just because you want something to happen doesn’t mean it must be so. Sorry to wake you up from your wet dream where Taigs somehow cease to exist just because unionists shout loud enough. Your fantasies would be funny if it weren’t for the fact that genocide is very real and has its genesis in thinking like yours.

    It’s a classic right wing mistake to think that problems exist because someone isn’t being tough enough. In your case, you think there are problems here in NI because unionism hasn’t been sufficiently tough to stop the Taigs getting uppity.

    Come on back to the real world. Unionists CANNOT subjugate the Taigs any more. Those days are gone.

    So, you want to deal with the difficult challenges that reality presents, or do you want to keep relieving yourself with fantasies of a Rwandan solution?

    TAFKABO

    I think MCT was making the point that nationalists and republicans have talked and continue to talk in terms of inclusivity, respect and equality, and that if unionism continues to repeatedly reject the olive branches then its inevitable that pariah status will continue to be unionism’s lot.

    If unionism is to continue to be the pariah of politics on these islands and further afield, it must be the fault of either: a) unionism or; b) everyone else. I leave the decision to you.

    I thought MCT’s point was crystal clear. Where did you get confused?

  • TAFKABO

    I got confused at the bit where the republicans who couldn’t even get a meeting with a Kennedy at a St Patricks event accuse others of being pariahs.

    I was also left unsure at the argument that republicans think inclusivity means nothing more than allowing people to agree with everything you say.

    Perhaps it could also be explained for me once again how retaining a private army and engaging in criminality constitutes bending over backwards to accomodate unionists?

    Talking inclusivity and equality is about all republicans are fit for, they ought to try putting it into practice.

    (cue mass outbreak of whataboutery)

  • Vespasian

    Never mind the analogy, the truth behind it is that Bertie and Tony have spent the last 5 years trying to placate terrorists and in the process have achieved:-

    1. A belief that crime for all is OK since the terrorists are allowed to get away with it.
    2. A society that is more fractured than ever with the parties on the extremes in charge.
    3. Terrorist who are now gangsters pure and simple, whilst still able to hide behind the masquerade of freedom fighters or defenders.
    4. The chance of a devolved Government far in the future.

    I hope they and their advisors are happy with what they have achieved in the last 8 years anarchy and a police force which cannot cope even with simple day to day crimes never mind actually knowing what the gangsters are up to in the ‘big’ crime arena.

    They should hang their heads in shame at their maladministration in Northern Ireland.

  • barnshee

    MCT
    “Come on back to the real world. Unionists CANNOT subjugate the Taigs any more. Those days are gone”

    I have absolutly NO wish to subjugate anyone I equally have no wish to share my space with a murder gang and their supporters–as other threads have suggested we should divorce with dignity in an agreed repartition. (Its happening on the ground already where prods have already moved north and east)

    “you think there are problems here in NI because unionism hasn’t been sufficiently tough to stop the Taigs getting uppity.”

    On the contrary-I belive that the politicans/estblishment were criminally incompetent in their handling of the “uppity taigs”. The sheer inability to listen to the very sensible advice given (in my hearing) means that the politican/government class deserved all they got. The people who did not deserve “what they got” were the working class prods who carried the can for the failures of government.

    The other criminals were the so called “socialists” of the republican murder gangs whose actions have alienated another 3 generations of prods from any material co-operation with the rest of the Island, created a situation where the extremes feed on each others success and totally polarise the community.

  • barnshee

    MCT
    “Come on back to the real world. Unionists CANNOT subjugate the Taigs any more. Those days are gone”

    I have absolutly NO wish to subjugate anyone I equally have no wish to share my space with a murder gang and their supporters–as other threads have suggested we should divorce with dignity in an agreed repartition. (Its happening on the ground already where prods have already moved north and east)

    “you think there are problems here in NI because unionism hasn’t been sufficiently tough to stop the Taigs getting uppity.”

    On the contrary-I belive that the politicans/estblishment were criminally incompetent in their handling of the “uppity taigs”. The sheer inability to listen to the very sensible advice given (in my hearing) means that the politican/government class deserved all they got. The people who did not deserve “what they got” were the working class prods who carried the can for the failures of government.

    The other criminals were the so called “socialists” of the republican murder gangs whose actions have alienated another 3 generations of prods from any material co-operation with the rest of the Island, created a situation where the extremes feed on each others success and totally polarise the community.

  • barnshee

    MCT
    “Come on back to the real world. Unionists CANNOT subjugate the Taigs any more. Those days are gone”

    I have absolutly NO wish to subjugate anyone I equally have no wish to share my space with a murder gang and their supporters–as other threads have suggested we should divorce with dignity in an agreed repartition. (Its happening on the ground already where prods have already moved north and east)

    “you think there are problems here in NI because unionism hasn’t been sufficiently tough to stop the Taigs getting uppity.”

    On the contrary-I belive that the politicans/estblishment were criminally incompetent in their handling of the “uppity taigs”. The sheer inability to listen to the very sensible advice given (in my hearing) means that the politican/government class deserved all they got. The people who did not deserve “what they got” were the working class prods who carried the can for the failures of government.

    The other criminals were the so called “socialists” of the republican murder gangs whose actions have alienated another 3 generations of prods from any material co-operation with the rest of the Island, created a situation where the extremes feed on each others success and totally polarise the community.

  • barnshee

    MCT
    “Come on back to the real world. Unionists CANNOT subjugate the Taigs any more. Those days are gone”

    I have absolutly NO wish to subjugate anyone I equally have no wish to share my space with a murder gang and their supporters–as other threads have suggested we should divorce with dignity in an agreed repartition. (Its happening on the ground already where prods have already moved north and east)

    “you think there are problems here in NI because unionism hasn’t been sufficiently tough to stop the Taigs getting uppity.”

    On the contrary-I belive that the politicans/estblishment were criminally incompetent in their handling of the “uppity taigs”. The sheer inability to listen to the very sensible advice given (in my hearing) means that the politican/government class deserved all they got. The people who did not deserve “what they got” were the working class prods who carried the can for the failures of government.

    The other criminals were the so called “socialists” of the republican murder gangs whose actions have alienated another 3 generations of prods from any material co-operation with the rest of the Island, created a situation where the extremes feed on each others success and totally polarise the community.

  • barnshee

    MCT
    “Come on back to the real world. Unionists CANNOT subjugate the Taigs any more. Those days are gone”

    I have absolutly NO wish to subjugate anyone I equally have no wish to share my space with a murder gang and their supporters–as other threads have suggested we should divorce with dignity in an agreed repartition. (Its happening on the ground already where prods have already moved north and east)

    “you think there are problems here in NI because unionism hasn’t been sufficiently tough to stop the Taigs getting uppity.”

    On the contrary-I belive that the politicans/estblishment were criminally incompetent in their handling of the “uppity taigs”. The sheer inability to listen to the very sensible advice given (in my hearing) means that the politican/government class deserved all they got. The people who did not deserve “what they got” were the working class prods who carried the can for the failures of government.

    The other criminals were the so called “socialists” of the republican murder gangs whose actions have alienated another 3 generations of prods from any material co-operation with the rest of the Island, created a situation where the extremes feed on each others success and totally polarise the community.

  • WindsorRocker

    All in all it sums up how unionists feel this process has gone and the attitude to governments about it. Rewarding people for stopping something they should never have started.

    Lindy could have gone a bit further in her analogy.

    1. When social worker Tony used to stand up for the woman, the husband used to come round to Tony’s house and cause a lot of damage which annoyed Tony’s family because they felt it was nothing to do with them. From then on, appeasing the husband to ensure Tony’s house wasn’t touched, regardless of how morally corrupt this appeasment was, became Tony’s modus operandi.
    (Tony’s house = Financial heart of the city of London)

    2. Bertie thinks that the husband is so repulsive that he wouldn’t let him enter his own house. However, he expects the woman not to leave her husband!
    (Bertie’s view of SF/IRA in ROI govt vs his view on SF/IRA in NI govt)

  • WindsorRocker

    All in all it sums up how unionists feel this process has gone and the attitude to governments about it. Rewarding people for stopping something they should never have started.

    Lindy could have gone a bit further in her analogy.

    1. When social worker Tony used to stand up for the woman, the husband used to come round to Tony’s house and cause a lot of damage which annoyed Tony’s family because they felt it was nothing to do with them. From then on, appeasing the husband to ensure Tony’s house wasn’t touched, regardless of how morally corrupt this appeasment was, became Tony’s modus operandi.
    (Tony’s house = Financial heart of the city of London)

    2. Bertie thinks that the husband is so repulsive that he wouldn’t let him enter his own house. However, he expects the woman not to leave her husband!
    (Bertie’s view of SF/IRA in ROI govt vs his view on SF/IRA in NI govt)