Have we the mindset required bring peace?

Eric Waugh, now a columnist for the Belfast Telegraph, was a BBC correspondent for most of the troubles. He recalls two gruesome episodes from the early stages of the ‘war’ with great (and disturbing) clarity, the IRA’s firebombing of the La Mon House Hotel in which twelve people were incinerated. And one of the earliest atrocities, the UVF bombing of McGurk’s Bar in which 15 perished in the run up to Christmas 1971. He wonders whether in decommissioning military materiel the mindsets have also changed sufficiently to bring a lasting settlement and peace.

  • GurnyGub

    I was at both of those places of shame for ‘legitimate armed struggle’. Psychopathy.

  • cheap international calls

    Of course there has been a change in mindset… the UVF have moved on from slaughtering catholics.. that was so 20th century.

    Now they prefer to kill each other, and sell drugs n stuff.

  • middle-class taig

    Fabulous narrative: Prods are good because the don’t vote for the utterly apolitical and sectarian UVF/UDA. Taigs are bad because the vote for SF, who have successfully removed violence from republican politics.

    Who says unionists can’t do irony?! Thank god mainstream unionism never sullied its lily-white hands with paramilitarism or murder!!! Out, out, damned spot…

    So, Eric’s solution is for permanent unionist-led government and permanent nationalist opposition until the demographic pendulum swings.

    I rather think that it is the mindset that Northern Ireland is best governed by unionists for unionists with the SDLP in a servile role as junior coalition partners and SF in a subservient role as Her Majerty’s Loyal Opposition is the mindset in most drastic need of decommissioning.

    Martin or Gerry or Catriona’s going to be running the schools, or the economy, or the cops, and people are simply going to have to live with it.

  • aquifer

    MCT

    “So, Eric’s solution is for permanent unionist-led government and permanent nationalist opposition until the demographic pendulum swings”

    Eric did not say all that in this piece.

    His points about a need for cabinet solidarity and a real political opposition are fair ones.

    It is almost impossible to create a non sectarian political dynamic when all the sectarian tribal heads are always in government as of right, no matter how anti-social their behaviour. Coalition should be voluntary to a degree, and a full range of opposition political voices should be available to push the ethnic big-noses to the grindstone of good government.

    Though whether Eric was looking forward to functional regional government or rosily backward to the olde Stormont only he can say.

  • pauljames

    the whole point of waughs piece is that the same persons who historically justify the legitimate use of violence are the same as those who will be running the schools , the economy or the cops. What sort of sick place is this to bring up my children.

  • Henry94

    The idea of the voluntary coalition is the most wonderful amalgam of straw-clutching and wishful thinking. At best it would buy the unionists the couple of years it would take for the SDLP to be wiped off the electoral map assuming the SDLP were dumb enough to go for it. Which they are not. So forget it. It’s a non-option.

  • GavBelfast

    Personally, IF Sinn Fein and the DUP ever get it together, I would be prefer if there was an option for the UUP and/or SDLP to assume an Opposition role.

    Of course there might be a danager would be that SF/DUP would govern for their own, leading to pfficial Balkanization of the place.

    But, that risk apart, healthy government needs to be kept in check and called to account, and I believe formal Opposition would be more effective than an assembly or committee as before.

    One drawback of course: as things stand, the legislation doesn’t allow it, does it, and there is effectiely an enforced coalition isn’t there?

  • victor1

    Given the mindset of those who would protest at a graveyard and threaten to dig up graves I would say there is no chance of peace here! These are the lowest forms of politicaly defucnt imbeciles who leave peace and equality buried in the mire of thier bigotry!

  • Jo

    I wonder was the link above made to a different article when MCT posted as when I just did? He doesnt seem to have read the article at all.

  • aquifer

    Mindsets:

    The answer is a United Ireland or Integration with the UK, depending on which foot you kick with.

    Now what was the question?

  • Paddy Matthews

    Jo,

    I’m assuming MCT was taking umbrage with this bit:

    I would add that the number of MLAs (108) should be halved and a means found to strengthen the current crazy machinery of government by introducing (a) Cabinet solidarity among Ministers and (b) a structure allowing for a formal Government and an Opposition which would subject it to consistent scrutiny.

    To avoid reproducing the sterile Stormont division between an indefinite Orange Government and a Green Opposition, nationalists and republicans would require to “do an SNP” – or a Plaid Cymru: (ie:, formally support a status quo of which they disapprove, while simultaneously working to change it).

    Now, I’m not certain what exactly Eric Waugh is trying to get at here – the piece is badly written, ungrammatical (nationalists and republicans would require(sic) to “do an SNP”), and apparently self-contradictory.

    But it’s not unreasonable for someone reading it to assume that what Eric is trying to say is that nationalists and republicans should agree to sit in opposition (as the SNP and Plaid are doing) until such time as they can obtain a majority.

    But how this idea would avoid “the sterile … division between an Orange Government and a Green Opposition” beats me.

  • aquifer

    Henry94

    ” . . Voluntary coalition . . . At best it would buy the unionists the couple of years it would take for the SDLP to be wiped off the electoral map assuming the SDLP were dumb enough to go for it. Which they are not. So forget it. It’s a non-option.”

    So voluntary coalition would in time be a boon for Sinn Fein, but is still a non option.

    Would that because a successful strategy of subversion would require SF to be in government as of right, at the same time as bringing the state down by territorial and cultural aggression and non co-operation?

  • Jo

    I think the whole point of SF/SDLP’s sitting in the assmebly is that they sit there, have excutive power but are aspiring to change it anyway? Or does EW think that they should have no executive seats at all. No power sharing then? Its all a bit confusing.

  • barnshee

    “Martin or Gerry or Catriona’s going to be running the schools, or the economy, or the cops, and people are simply going to have to live with it.”

    Another statement from an apparent economic/fiscal illiterate.

    “Martin or Gerry or Catriona ” going to have a say in doling out whatever cash the treasury sees fit to sent to N Ireland. With a bit of luck they will shit on the nest in the same way as their predecessors and antagonise (nearly) EVERYBODY.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The theory behind voluntary coalition is that it would encourage people to try to think outside of the sectarian tribal box. The interests of ordinary people are not served either by an artificial arms-length coalition or by opposing green and orange factions, but instead by creating a system whereby people are required to take their own initiative to get over their tribal differences in order to represent their electorate effectively.

  • BogExile

    NEW FORM OF GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCED:

    Speaking to reporters today the Minister for outside England, Peter Hain announced a new mechanism for restoring devolution to Left of Scotland.

    Basically D’Hondt is a wonks wet dream he said so it has no basis in reality for strong Government, merely the least worst government, a bit like what happens at Westminister but with more suits and interesting regional dialects.

    So from today we are replacing D’Hondt with a new formula called D’eath.

    All MLA’s are to be equipped with pocket sized tactical nuclear weapons which our friends in PIRA left on a shelf in Pomeroy.

    We anticipate that D’eath will ensure that mutually assured destruction will either completely paralyse the assembly into co-operation or anihilate it to make way for affordable housing. Either way, I have more teeth than is feasible.

  • barnshee

    MCT
    “Prods are good because the don’t vote for the utterly apolitical and sectarian UVF/UDA. Taigs are bad because the vote for SF, who have successfully removed violence from republican politics. “

    perhaps we could have head count -numbers of murderers, bombers ,thugs etc elected on each side? Perhps that would inform the who votes for what/who discussion ? er perhaps not

  • Dandyman

    ‘the whole point of waughs piece is that the same persons who historically justify the legitimate use of violence are the same as those who will be running the schools , the economy or the cops. What sort of sick place is this to bring up my children.’ – Pauljames

    Surely you’re not trying to argue that there is a realistic alternative, or that NI society is at the moment a normal, healthy environment in which to raise kids? And, er, wasn’t that 82-year-old pensioner turfed out of the Labour party conference last week making the point that Jack Straw and Tony Blair have been trying to justify the legitimate use of violence in Iraq for the last 2.5 years???

  • G.M.C.

    Well this site seems over fascinated with the deviances of what is normally speaking just the actions of the members of a few street gangs. Sometimes it is larger than this and one can’t help but feel that this comes from the over attention in a manner of obsession or blighted task-devotion redolent of “The Back Room Boys” to these seeming deviances or “oddly sighted indulgences”!!! Who knows. But the feelings linger beyond ignorance willed again and thus they described that there is at least something very odd, even if we don’t say wrong also, with this over attention found on slugger.

    Such attention points as categorical focuses are not themselves people. For foreigners looking in it must seem like an inspirational fascination. Perish the thought.

    This site is not the news and not the papers and I am sure people think this is more owned and personal and relevant and such a good medium for so much, and and important and, at times I hope, a place which is true, one may find where true is within here. Even if a good number of people would consider me wrong in some of this opinion, there is still the notion that “there’s more to life”.

    There used to be a very healthy detatchment, also natural distancing found within the local reporting of what may be termed disorder or well out of the ordinary expression of dissatisfaction by people of Ulster, going along with the recognition of seriousness. It showed the appreciation of normality, even complete normality to very high degrees, found always, beyond what was reported worldwide as notorious disorder.

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