Paisley to meet with General

Ian Paisley is to meet with General de Chastelain today. The process of consideration begins for Unionists. And a potentially open-ended period of tight control for the IRA.

  • Ginfizz

    Millie

    “If you’re a Protestant reared on tales of how the state belongs to you, what’s the point in having a state where equality and social justice are the order of the day?”

    Oh yes I remeber manies a night on my mothers knee being told Ulster belonged to me and no matter how poor I was, I would always be superior to my Catholic fellow countrymen. What a f**king ridiculous thing to say. Maybe you were taught the history of Northern Ireland by a NORAID representative I dont know, but I can assure you I know of not one single Unionist who displays the mentality which you describe.

    Listen up folks. You are not black South Africans, this is not South Africa/the American South and Unionists are not Afrikaans/Dixie Racists!

  • G-man

    Just reading through the thread for the first time – top man Dr Snuggles – I so so wish we had a unionist leadership that spoke your kind of language.

    Yoda – not sure I like to be called “soft” but I know what you mean. For many years I have felt totally unrepresented by all shades of Unionisim. Voting SDLP is an alternative worthy of serious consideration but I have resisted because (although they are extremely nice !) they are, at the end of the day, Irish Nationalists and I am not.

    I dream that one day a social democratic unionist emerges who has no links with the “traditional” aspects of unionism and, instead, takes inspiration from the pluralist dynamic and tolerant society that is modern day Great Britain and who has a positive attitude to all things Irish.

  • Patrick Brown

    “What is it that stops you from voting the SDLP? What would it take to start?”

    As a moderate, left-leaning prod with no real emotional attachment to the union, orangeism etc, I would be happy to vote SDLP if it wasn’t for one essential thing: they are a catholic nationalist party who are out to advance the interests of their own community and have nothing to say to mine. This isn’t a “themens are getting everything” argument. I’d love to vote for a genuinely cross-community, social democratic party, but at the moment the SDLP ain’t one. I’d just be changing sides.

  • Robert Keogh

    Note the same people who say the IRA have completed decommissioning are the same people who said they were behind the NIB robbery. So riddle me this – why are they only right when they have something bad to say about the IRA?

  • Yoda

    G-man and Patrick:

    Thank you both for your contributions. Apologies if my poor wording of “soft” was a problem. Both of you seem to draw the line at what you see as the SDLP’s attachment to “Irish nationalism.”

    If “Irish nationalism” could be expanded or reworked, is there anything that you would like to see included in that redefinition that would make it possible for you to say that a party like the SDLP could represent you?

    Is there any ground for hoping for such a possibility at all?

  • DaithiO

    It makes me angry to hear the Reverend Dr. Bigot bleat on about transparency and the danger the PIRA poses to the wider unionist community when people in Papa Docs own constituency, who would once see that organisation as their protectors, are still being attacked for being catholics. Isn’t it about time the man showed some shred of Christian decency and allowed the full implementation of peace ?

    The only guns remaining in Irish politics are unionist/loyalist, many of which were brought to Ireland by Paisleys own Ulster Resistence.

    Whilst that man lives and breathes the cup of Ulster will remain half full.

  • Patrick Brown

    It’s not the SDLP’s “nationalism” as such that I have a problem with. I regard myself as Irish – there are two states in Ireland, and both of them are, geographically at least, Irish – and would have no problem with a united Ireland if that’s what people voted for.

    My problem is one I regularly struggle to make myself understood about. The SDLP is, historically, a party that exists to advocate the interests of the catholic/nationalist community, and fair enough, the catholic/nationalist community has needed an advocate and John Hume, in particular, did the job very well. However as an advocate for the catholic/nationalist community it necessarily doesn’t speak for or to the protestant/unionist community.

    I want to vote for a party that will advocate the interests of my community, in terms of employment, education, taxes, health, housing and so on, which none of the unionist parties have the slightest interest in doing. I would dearly love to vote for a party that advocates the interests of both communities in those areas, but if I were to vote SDLP I would be voting for a party which advocates the interests of the “other” community and not mine, which would, as I have said, be changing sides.

    Not to say I haven’t thought about it, and indeed done it – I voted for Hume in several European elections, partly because I admire the man, and partly in a vain attempt to get Paisley off the top of the poll. I even enquired about joining the SDLP at one point, but I couldn’t get past the “don’t speak to or for protestants” thing.

    I have no idea whether I’ve expressed myself any clearer, but I’m trying.

  • Dave

    Loyalists don’t need to worry about SF/IRA. It’s the people who live in Republican areas who need to worry about SF/IRA isn’t it?

  • Yoda

    Thanks, Patrick.

  • tiny

    I once had a coffee with Jack Hermon some years after he retired but well before his present illness, he told the story of how he had stopped meeting Paisley in his office, the reason was that the Doc would leave a meeting with Hermon and at his own front gates miss-quote him, ever since then I have taken Paisley’s version of events with a pinch of salt!

  • pol

    Is that the same Jack Herman who ran the shoot to kill gangs.
    Of the RUC.

    Just curious.

  • Robert Keogh

    pol,

    Jack Hermon didn’t run the shoot to kill gangs in the RUC – one of his Assistant Chief Constables did. Eventually it will emerge which one it was.

  • pol

    Did Jack Hermon not run the RUC.

    If you agree, well how can you say he didn’t run the shoot to kill gangs within that organisation.

    Where does the buck stop.

  • Robert Keogh

    pol,

    While I agree Hermon is certainly responsible for the actions of his officers that doesn’t mean he actively participated in the running of the gangs.

    After the Anglo-Irish agreement came into effect civil servants in the north were in regular contact with civil servants in the south. Once that happened a tremendous amount of information began to flow out of NI (I’m not talking classified or sensitive material – things like institutionalised discrimination in NIs civil service etc). One of the things the Irish govt found out was that one of the RUCs ACCs was up to his neck in collusion. They could never find out who it was (or at least never revealed they knew) but that is why the British govt would not promote any of the RUC ACCs to the position of CC.

  • roger

    Interesting stuff !

    Any links to any stories regarding this.

  • Millie

    Perhaps Paisley’s doubts about de Chastelain are the result of a dodgy family-tree connection, i.e. maybe the Doc’s done some research and discovered the disturbing fact that the good General has Irish Catholic blood in him. Ridiculous? Probably, but I remember John Stalker’s book about his investigations into the early 80’s shoot-to-kill, and he said when he met John Hermon for the first time, the Chief Constable more or less hinted that they’d run a ‘credit check’ on him, so to speak, and found that Stalker had a great-great-great grandmother (or something like that) of Irish Catholic extraction. Anyway, Hermon’s point was that Stalker’s lineage may have made him susceptible to Irish nationalist sympathies and that this should in no way cloud his objectivity into the investigation. Stalker thought this was an extremely bizarre point to make but reassured the CC that his investigation would be conducted in an impartial manner.

  • G-man

    Yoda

    Sorry for the delay – watching Bob Dylan on the box.

    I have mulled over the SDLP option for some years. I too am a long standing admirer of John Hume although it is a shame that his successor is unable to offer the same clarity of vision and leadership. I was/am impressed by SDLP’s concept of a UI which, as I understand it, proposes that NI would initially remain a self governing region of a UI and that Irish Brits could retain rights to British nationality etc. This seems an honest and constructive attempt to reach out to the Brit population in NI. I certainly wouldn’t rule out voting SDLP in the future.

    That said, I remain unconvinced that a UI is necessarily a better answer – having lived all my life in the UK (including several years in GB) it just seems more “familiar”.

    Also, I know it’s becoming a cliche but I really do think that Sinn Fein have put back the cause of a UI – ordinary punters just can’t stand the thought that they might get what they want.

  • pol

    Robert Keogh

    I’m not talking about collusion.
    I was referring to the shoot to kill policy that was carried out by members of the RUC.
    The same RUC that Hermon controlled.
    To say he was not involved, or even that he new nothing about what was going on is a little bit dis ingenious.

  • micktvd

    To G man and Patrick. As a left leaning ‘prod’ myself, who doesn’t live in NI any more, but who has lots of family still there, I appreciate your dilema in terms of who to possibly vote for. I assume you have never considered the Greens? When thinking about this I do think that Irish nationalism has failed in a sense if it doesn’t represent or potentially represent all the people of NI. But then it’s not the responsibility of Irish nationalists if political unionism has always adopted more right wing positions on broader social issues that its voter base would typically support if they lived in a more ‘normal’ political entity. This is also the legacy of British rule in Ireland.

  • Yoda

    Patrick, G-man and micktvd,

    Very interesting replies. Eye opening. Thanks.

    Anyone else?

  • Robert Keogh

    pol,

    I’m not talking about collusion.

    You are entirely correct. The shoot to kill policy is distinct from the collusion between security services and loyalism later but I am persuaded by the terminology Cory used when formulating his reports. Google up the Finucane report for details. In essence the shoot to kill is just one step in the road from Kitson to Nelson. Collusion seems the best term to cover the lot of it.

    I was referring to the shoot to kill policy that was carried out by members of the RUC.
    The same RUC that Hermon controlled.
    To say he was not involved, or even that he new nothing about what was going on is a little bit dis ingenious.

    I agree with you and I’m not trying to say he didn’t know what was going on. The truth is in the Stalker, Samson and Stephens I, II and III reports which will be released some time this side of never. My memory could probably be refreshed but as I recall the shoot to kills were down to the Inner Force which permeated the RUC. The govts knew that it went as high as one of the ACCs. Hermon didn’t need to be part of the conspiracy for it to succeed. If I’m wrong I’m always happy to be corrected.

  • maca

    G-man
    “ordinary punters just can’t stand the thought that they might get what they want.”

    But they won’t get what they want. They might get a UI but not the type of UI that they want.

  • Labour in Waiting

    “Very interesting replies. Eye opening. Thanks.

    Anyone else?”

    I think that many people have been confounded by the question of who to vote for. I believe that the Labour Party should organise here. It is our only opportunity of seeing a cross-community Party arise that has no baggage. We need to see the Labour Parties in the UK and the Republic agree to joint membership in NI and support its development.

    The issue of partition is something that can be dealt with at a referendum. We need to deal with inward investment, education, health, poverty and equality issues on a sustained basis. We need to bring together progressive people and the trade unions to work together. We should not be dividing people up into green and orange.

    The main obstacle to organisation is the SDLP. We have just read why the SDLP cannot act as a Social Democratic Party because it is a self proclaimed nationalist party. It cannot hope to represent all of the people. Yet it clings to its membership of the Socialist International and the PES for a credibility it does not deserve.

    It is interesting, too, that at the Labour Party Conference this week the SDLP are holding a fringe meeting on a UI, while local Labour members are holding one on integrating migrant workers. Let’s keep it real.

  • Brian Boru

    “It is our only opportunity of seeing a cross-community Party arise that has no baggage. We need to see the Labour Parties in the UK and the Republic agree to joint membership in NI and support its development.

    Really? What about the Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats, which I understand stand in NI elections? Anyway Labour and the SDLP are sister parties, explaining why Labour doesn’t stand in NI.

  • Brian Boru

    ” was/am impressed by SDLP’s concept of a UI which, as I understand it, proposes that NI would initially remain a self governing region of a UI and that Irish Brits could retain rights to British nationality etc. This seems an honest and constructive attempt to reach out to the Brit population in NI. I certainly wouldn’t rule out voting SDLP in the future. “

    I could accept this (while preferring a unitary-state), but if it happened I would like it if the border of the autonomous Northern zone was changed so most of the Nationalist areas would come under direct-rule.