The Long War has failed*

The Guardian (Unlimited) continue to expand their on-line repertoire, with Angelique Chrisafis, in effect, audio-blogging on today’s developments[3min 18sec mp3 file]. At the press conference The Observer’s Henry McDonald interrupted the Decommissioning Body’s studied delivery by asking whether any weapons from after 1996 had been decommissioned. In his report he also notes a comment by The Blanket’s Anthony McIntyre that “the disposal of weapons smuggled into Ireland to fight the Long War had ‘made republicanism history’, rather than partition.” [*thread title stolen shamelessly from Henry McDonald’s report]

  • Robert Keogh

    I’m more than happy for unionists and unionism to trumpet the failure of the “Long War” – then it will mean they accept the PIRAs statement ending the campaign. that full and complete decommissioning has taken place. That it’s time to get on with running Northern Ireland without the appointed nannies from westminster.

    For something to be deemed a failure is it not a requirement that it has concluded?

  • middle-class taig

    One of the most comical things about all these somnambulant, reflexive anti-Shinners is the lazy, clique-ish, mutually-congratulatory way in which they quote and recipro-quote each other, each putting their lips to the nozzle of the other’s ever-inflating ego and blowing as hard as they can.

    For years they’ve told us that by engaging in violence the IRA was betraying the ideals and history of republicanism. Now that the IRA has moved definitively to put an end to political violence, we are told that they have thereby destroyed republicanism.

    Do these people think we’ve no memories and no critical faculties? They are consumed with loathing of SF, and have sacrificed any objectivity, clarity of thought or insight they might once have claimed to provide. Their visceral hatred of SF (funnily enough, the only thing which unites these otherwise political polar opposites) is what needs decommissioning next.

  • ulsterman

    There is not one ounce of evidence that any weapons have been decomissioned. Why has the IRA not disbanded?.Why are the extortion rackets still going on?. What about the Northern Bank money?

    Hell will have to freeze over before SF get their bums on British minister seats.

    Anyway there probably is more weapons.

    The DUP see through this bluff. No surrender and No compromise ever.

    Edited by moderator

  • ulsterman

    There is not one ounce of evidence that any weapons have been decomissioned. Why has the IRA not disbanded?.Why are the extortion rackets still going on?. What about the Northern Bank money?

    Hell will have to freeze over before SF get their bums on British minister seats.
    If their was any decomissioning the SAS should have been their to wipe the thugs out.

    Anyway there probably is more weapons.

    The DUP see through this bluff. No surrender and No compromise ever.

    Edited by moderator -please accept this as a warning.

  • ulsterman

    That should say no negotiations

  • reggie

    Have you had a bad day, ulsterman LOL

  • ulsterman

    I seem to remember SF celebrating the IRA ceasefire years ago. Yet today Northern Ireland is more steadfast within the UK than ever. We have demonstrated of late that we can bring the province to a standstill at a wink.

    We, the Unionist people are in the ascendancy.The Irish Republic does not want them. Bush could not give a toss about them. What they now face is a strong united Unionist party.The DUP will not be the white feather brigade the UUP was.

    The IRA will no doubt trip itself up. It will kill someone somewhere and we will be waiting.It hasnt disbanded.Why not I ask. As for SF mandate. 23% of the vote is not a mandate.

    A bad day I dont think so. The IRA have done a deed that they will hang on. The DUP will not be pressurised into any negotiations by anyone.

    There will be NO SURRENDER AND NO COMPROMISE with the enemies of Ulster.
    Edited by moderator.

  • greener fields

    It’s sad to admit but I guess there’ll be no real peace until mindsets like those of ulsterman are decommissioned.

  • Plum Duff

    What part of Ulster is Ulsterman from, I wonder? Monaghan, Cavan or Donegal? Must be all that Southern bile in his system.

  • Headmelter

    Just ignoring idiots like ulsterman should be the order of the day. Is there not a site called love ulster for people like this to preach their rhetoric and air their neanderthal views in their typical illiterate manner?

    I wonder has he not noticed his beloved britain would offload the six counties tomorrow if it could.

  • stiff_little_fingers_xxx

    ff

  • stiff_little_fingers_xxx

    Bout yezzzzzzzzz –

    See Gerry today on the tube lol – mr happy face! He lost … he’s a loser like the nationalist movement. How many years later is it now of bombing, shooting and arsing around … I’ve lost count. What great victory did they pull off ….

    1. Are the Brits still in Ulster …. YES
    2. Are loyalists still marching … YES
    3. Is United Ireland a reality …. NO
    4. Are there still inequalities … YES
    5. Are we still on Her Majesty’s sod … YES
    6. Is the Jack still flying … YES

    Hope you’re happy. Gerry is what now … Sinn Fein CEO – that it? And plump wee Marty is uh … Minister of Gaelic Monuments. Nice middle class lads. Paid off, cushy, enjoying the Old Bush and yarning about the old times.

    “Hey missus, do us another couple of rashers of bacon will ye.”

    Great eh …

  • Aaron D

    stiff fingers,

    When did anyone from the Nationalist community claim victory? When did anyone say that this is the end? This is the beginning. If the Unionist community are truly the winners, then they have a very odd way of celebrating.

  • Overhere

    Looks like the site has been infected with some “love ulster” virus. Now where is that antibiotic? Don’t worry you will only feel a little prick and then you will be fine and dandy again

  • Henry94

    If you want to look at it in terms of success and failure I would take the opposite view. For me the war was a manifestation of the weakness and failure of the republican movement. Armed struggle in our situation was by definition negative, defensive. It wasn’t about implementing our agenda but stopping other agendas being imposed on us.

    That we are in a position to face the future unarmed but organised and ready politically to move forward is the greatest breakthrough ever for republicanism.

    The future has never looked brighter.

  • spirit-level

    my thoughts exactly Henry94, I’d say we’re now entering the psychological phase of the struggle, where we ( Brit/Irish/US gov’ts + other parties ) are mentally “armed” to the teeth against the sectarianism of the DUP.
    We need to flush them out, and keep this World Toilet Summit going and going till the job is done.

  • the reality is

    Henry McDonald ‘interrupted’ nothing – it was the questions and answers bit of the presser which was entirely open to the floor.

  • red kangaroo

    Henry “For me the war was a manifestation of the weakness and failure of the republican movement. Armed struggle in our situation was by definition negative, defensive. It wasn’t about implementing our agenda but stopping other agendas being imposed on us.”

    Congrats for admiting it. The SDLP have been saying the same thing for 30 years. Now can NI move on and start arguing about real issues such as the economy, the environment, industrial relations, workers rights, health care, the environment etc, etc

  • Fraggle

    Red kangaroo, those things will still all be decided by other people over in westminster.

  • Henry94

    red kangaroo

    Now can NI move on and start arguing about real issues such as the economy, the environment, industrial relations, workers rights, health care, the environment etc, etc

    I’m happy to discuss any of those issues but I wouldn’t confine them to the context of NI. The environment for example is soomething we need to approach on an all-Ireland basis and our economic thinking needs to move in that direction too.

  • George

    Republicanism is alive and well in Ireland, all that has happened is that the Provisional IRA have finally accepted they aren’t the “protectors” of the holy Republican grail, whatever that is.

    Over 2/3rds of the island’s population (4.1 million) are already won over to the independent Republic idea and are working it, those of a militant tendency who advocate the rest joining have finally admitted this is a decision that has to be made voluntarily, not by coercion.

    Eureka ! You can’t create a representative Republic by coercion.

    So, if anything, Irish republicanism finally has its future back.

    And yes, people like Michael McDowell could be in the vanguard of this new republican future.

    I would estimate that there are already more people who subscribe to his view of representative republicanism than to the SF one.

  • Ginfizz

    “I felt it was more important to raise the question than to get an answer. Which was as well, because the general failed to respond, using up his words vainly trying to persuade me that the IRA had not surrendered. I felt it was vital to address the issue of trust because in my view Sinn Fein strategy is premised on ensuring that unionism can never attain the degree of trust necessary to allow it to settle down comfortably in government with the Adams led Provisionals.”

    Absolutely spot on.

  • willowfield

    Armed struggle in our situation was by definition negative, defensive. It wasn’t about implementing our agenda but stopping other agendas being imposed on us.

    Balls. It was offensive, and self-consciously positive (“Victory in ’75”!).

    Why not just admit it was wrong? Is that what you really want to say, but don’t want to admit?

  • Mickhall

    And yes, people like Michael McDowell could be in the vanguard of this new republican future.

    Posted by George.

    How could any future which had Mr McDowell in its vanguard possibly be Republican [in the Irish sense] if you are saying he may play a role in re-uniting Ireland fair enough I suppose [but unlikely imo] but the Irish nation re-united under such people would have nothing what ever to do with Republicanism, nor would it be an Irish Republic as Republicans understand the term. One only has to see the ever increasing gap between those with and those without in the southern State to understand that.

    All the best

    mick

  • United Irelander

    Mickhall,

    Define ‘Irish Republicanism’ for us.

    I define the Irish Republicanism of the Provos during The Troubles in the way John Hume defined it – as “sectarian genocide”.

    An insult to the Irish Republicanism espoused by Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen.

    The Sinn Fein/IRA strategy of ‘Long War’ has failed and the border has been strengthened immeasurably through the blood of murdered unionist civilians.

    How Sinn Fein are the voice of northern nationalism is a total mystery to me.

    The blind leading the blind…

  • Mickhall

    United Irelander,

    Without meaning to be rude, if you find it a totally mystery how the PRM have become the main nationalist political party in the north one wonders where you have been during the last thirty odd years. It is not rocket science, in a few sentences it can be summed up, mismanagement by the UK government post 1969 and an absolute dereliction of their duty by all UK governments prior to that date. Arrogance since its foundation from the SDLP, many of whose members felt they had a right to lead the nationalist community due to their class and formal education, the latter being something the emerging leadership of the PRM did not possess until of late due to the overwhelming majority being working class and having left school at a young age. The SDLP also felt clinging to the very people [ROI government and UK when LP in power] who were responsible for the sorry state of the nationalist community, would improve their status within the said same community. Finally, despite many people within the northern nationalist communities disagreeing with the PRM army, they always understood why they had taken up arms, admired, if perhaps secretly their commitment, steadfastness, stamina, self sacrifice and energy. Thus when the PRM recognized political reality and transfered the aforementioned attributes towards democratic politics, whilst gradually closing the armed struggle down it was a forgone conclusion the majority of the nationalist community would slide over into supporting SF.

    To go off thread slightly, there is a lesson in the above for the unionist working class. Post 1969 the UK government has seen the loyalist working class as little more than a ready source of street thugs, rent a demo; and hit-men to put the fear of god into the nationalist working class communities. The UUP and now the DUP believe they have a God given right to represent the loyalist working classes politically. Instead of resenting Adams and co whenever they see them on TV, it is time the loyalist working classes removed their orange sashes, produced a political leadership and linked up with there nationalist neighbours in demanding better schools, hospitals, jobs etc. To quote Joe Hill, “Don’t mourn, organize!”.

    All the best UI.

    Mick

  • George

    Mick,
    people like McDowell can and probably will play a huge role in uniting the people of Ireland and any Irish Republic has to have the support of, and represent, all its citizens.

    The true Republic has to deliver ownership of Ireland to all, not fit them all into some kind of “true” liberty straitjacket, decided by a cabal of “pure” republicans.

    If you asked the people of this island who is delivering more on the guarantees of religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and the pursuit of happiness and prosperity of the whole nation, Sinn Fein or Michael McDowell, I think you’ll find the Mullah ahead by a distance.

    The reality is that many of his views on how to deliver for the Irish people are held by the majority of this island’s population so any future united republic would have to include his world view.

    You may argue that the huge inequalities in the distribution of wealth in the Irish Republic today is evidence that his views aren’t delivering for all but despite this the overwhelming majority believe his type of government is the best way forward. FG and Labour won’t change much economically if they get into power and the overwhelming majority of Irish people are terrified at the prospects of SF deciding economic policy.

    SF have a crucial role to play in the future of this island but not the pivotal one. Their view of how this new republic will be is not necessarily the view of the Irish people.

    “would have nothing what ever to do with Republicanism, nor would it be an Irish Republic as Republicans understand the term”.

    This nearly seems to imply that your average Irish person living, working and voting in the Irish Republic isn’t a true Irish republican.

    That’s a big problem then because these people want to do exactly the same things post-unification as they are now. They don’t want a 32-county socialist nirvana.

    The other big problem is that it virtually implies that all the efforts and sacrifices of the last 80 years mean nothing according to the Irish Republican purist.

    When I think about the sacrifices the people here have had to make in the last 80 years to turn their 26 county-world into one of opportunity for their children, it makes my blood boil to think they aren’t considered true Irish republicans or they aren’t building a true Irish Republic.

    These people are the true republicans because they are living the reality of Irish independence as best they can, living in peace, paying their taxes and building their country.

    They vote FF, FG, Labour, SF, Green, Independent and PD.

    Not an all-island republic but a republic nonetheless. The only one they have and one they would defend to their last breath.

  • Mickhall

    George,

    I feel your post sums up the situation in the ROI pretty fairly, although I feel you overlook the discontent many people feel with the established parties which of course offers SF an opening. Myself I feel it would be a mistake for SF to make a head long rush for power as there strengths and duties in my opinion lay else where. Im going to give the points you make some thought and hopefully will come back with something latter.

    regards

    Mick

  • George

    I look forward to it Mick.

    In answer to your last post on SF’s position in all this, for me the greatest credit to SF south of the border is that they given hope to many who previously had none.

    They have gone into areas where the established parties have shamelessly given up. Many who vote for them had until now seen no point in voting or had given up on politics altogether.

    SF have told these people it is their republic too, and it is. However, they have not told them the state must go or that it is a failed entity.

    The natural corollary of this message is that there can be only one Army of the Irish Republic and the only way these people’s lives can be changed for the better is through legislation passed in Dail Eireann, the parliament of the Irish people.

    So while now may not yet be the time for trying to enter government, it has to be the long-term goal. People in the Irish Republic don’t vote SF so they can continue to be outside the economic and social Pale, they do so because they feel it is the best way to ensure they are no longer ignored.

  • barnshee

    “Don’t worry you will only feel a little prick and then you will be fine and dandy again “

    I am outraged at you description of Martin McG he is much bigger than he looks on TV . He only needs one cushion on hic car seat-shame on you