Speaking truth unto power gets awkward…

A free press is not exactly a prerequisite for a free society, but it’s absence is (or should be) extremely worrying. In all of the comment in the MSN last week, this aspect of the climbdown of the Andersonstown News after pressure was applied over an article the paper published from its erstwhile columnist/humourist, Squinter seemed largely to be missed. It’s all the more puzzling since Gerry Adams is sitting on the fourth safest majority in the House of Commons with a whopping 68.6 per cent of the popular vote. On Thursday Alex Maskey expressed the hope that the paper’s response to his party’s concerns should be an end to the matter. Over at the Guardian, I’ve argued that there that both reflects badly on his paper and raises questions about just how ready Sinn Fein is to live with the vigorous scrutiny of a courageous and free press.

  • KieranJ

    “A free press is not exactly a prerequisite for a free society”

    It most certainly is.

  • Dec

    about just how ready Sinn Fein is to live with the vigorous scrutiny of a courageous and free press.

    Mick

    Broadcasting Ban, ‘Edge of the Union’, editorial policies of Murdoch and O’Reilly-owned newspapers, etc? Yet, one (extremely) ill-judged move from Sinn Fein and you’re asking ‘how ready Sinn Fein is to live with the vigorous scrutiny of a courageous and free press?’

    April 1st is tomorrow.

  • susan

    Yes, I just about swallowed my own tongue when I read that, too, KieranJ. Other than that, excellent column, Mick. Thank you for writing it.

    I was feeling sick at heart early this morning thinking the whole issue of the censorship of the Squinter article was apt to be a non-issue before long. As I said on Rusty Nail’s threads, Gerry Adams has every right to protest and argue any and every aspect of the column he disagrees with. But for the column to be exorcised from memory? Whether or not the momentum for the censorship came from Adams, it isn’t right. It isn’t respectable. It isn’t good enough for the readers of ATN.

    And yes, I am aware how much else in the wreck of a past or the present imperfect is neither right nor responsible, but this is a small battle that can and should be won.

    There are plenty out there who call themselves republican that understand perfectly well that a free press allowing for strong and unfiltered criticism and comment of elected representatives is not an attack on republicanism, it is republicanism, in the classical definition of the term. I hope more of them are prepared to speak out and be awkward about this, because as it stands now it is a disgrace and an embarassment to all.

  • susan

    “Murdoch and O’Reilly-owned newspapers”

    Surely we can set the bar higher than that? Dec, you are right it is an “extremely ill-judged move,” but fortunately it one that can easily be corrected.

  • Jer

    Have to agree with Dec.
    I cant recall seeing any rants in southern papers blaming the local TD (and not the minister for justice) for the situation in Limerick. The problem was that Adams was the target of a rant rather than a review and suddenly became solely responsible any crime in his area. Where would that type of silly insinuation be published elsewhere. As you point out at 68.6% Adams clearly has the backing of the people of WBelfast. What do you expect them to do other than demand an apology when the basis of the article was so preposterous. Ignore the SF response and focus on the merits of the article. Then the SF response is reasonable.

  • Quaysider

    It would be interesting to see Roy Gleenslade’s opinion on this, given that he is the Guardian’s media commentator, a supporter of Sinn Fein and a friend of the Belfast Media Group.
    However, his previous response to awkward contradictions between all these interests has been to refuse to discuss them at all.

  • susan

    the problem was that Adams was the target of a rant rather than a review and suddenly became solely responsible for any crime in his area.”– Jer

    Jer, that isn’t at all what Squinters article stated about responsibility. This is what it stated about responsibility:

    “First thing to be said is that there are many people and many agencies to blame for the state of the lower Falls, to take that as an example: the Chief Constable, the Housing Executive, the courts, the Prison Service, the Probation Board, Social Services, certain local parents – the list goes on. But while Adams can and does point the finger at some or even all of the above, Squinter has to say that he has never heard Adams accepting any responsibility for the fact that large parts of his constituency are no-go areas, but without the bellbottoms, the parkas and the armalites, of course.
    It definitely wasn’t Adlai Stevenson who said: “You don’t drown by falling in the water, you drown by staying there.” Whoever said it had a point. Like every one of us, Bap McGreevy fell into the water when Harry Holland was slaughtered. It was hoped back then that the wave of community disgust and horror might be fashioned into a life raft which would carry us all on a tide of community solidarity and determination to a safer shore. Didn’t happen. What happened was that Bap McGreevy was left to drown – in his own blood – while the rest of us continue to flail around hoping that we won’t go under too.
    Who’s to blame for the failure to press home the Harry Holland momentum? Gerry Adams is to blame, that’s who. He’s not the only one to blame, of course. Squinter refers you back to the list above, and every one of us who complains and then pulls the curtains and turns up the TV when the sun sets is to blame in our own collective way. But Gerry Adams is the MP, has been for 20 years. He’s supposed to know how to marshal and direct; he’s supposed to give us the ideas and the leadership; he’s supposed to make things better. ”

    It’s perfectly valid for Adams (and any one else) to point out that it was not credible to state or to imply that one politician can make his constituency a safe (or unsafe) place to live and raise a family. Adams had every right to state so, and to provide and publish whatever examples he’s got of using his “clout” and his “contacts” to improve the lives of those who’ve elected him time after time. But for the ATN to erase all record of the debate and the discussion….I think the poster LURIG was the first to make the comparison to Pravda and as things stand it is an apt comparison.

  • Steve

    Yeah and anything Gerry might have done would have been thrown back as IRA bully boys taking up arms again or having not gone away or…. ad infinitum.

    The police and their inability to do the job for which they are paid for are solely responsible for this.

    it was promissed if the PIRA stepped down the PiSNIps would step up

    well the PIRA stood down when are the supposed world class police force going to stand up?

  • Dec

    Surely we can set the bar higher than that?

    Well yes. I winced at Gerry Adams’ cackhanded attempt to treat a newspaper column like internal Belfast Brigade dissent (like almost everyone else) and his bewildering naivety that everything would be hunky-dory if he did so. But Mick’s piece was seriously lop-sided, without any reference to the struggles SF has had with the ‘free press’.

  • Dec

    But Mick’s piece was seriously lop-sided, without any reference to the struggles SF has had with the ‘free press’.

    We have got very far from mainstream views, haven’t we? This is MOPE territory.

    The fact is that if you create a little empire, using all the brutality and violence that every other empire has used, someone will come along sooner or later and bring it down. Squinter put the dagger in the heart of Sinn Fein in west Belfast and Adams’ demise is imminent.

  • susan

    Dec, you are right of course that Mick F.’s piece makes no reference to SF’s decades long history of protesting broadcasting bans and censorship, but I’m not sure familiarity with that history makes the ATN controversy any easier to fathom?

  • Garibaldy

    Nor did it make any reference to PSF’s decade long habits of repressing dissent in areas they wish to dominate so what’s the point? The point is new situation, so act like it.

  • jake

    sinn fein has had a long history of exercising censorship and suppressing dissent under the adams’ leadership and the truth of the matter is that their opposition to official censorship, pre-peace process, was always fraudulent – they have no principled opposition to censoring the media and we now know from their behaviour since official censorship was scrapped that when they were campaigning against section 31 or the broadcasting ban it was really only because the targets of those laws were the provos – once they were removed from the target list, sinn fein embraced censorship and employed the same tactics once used against them by the british and irish governments, in their case to silence journalists who asked too many awkward questions about where and why sinn fein & the ira were going – pre-peace process, the governments encouraged self-censorship by accusing journalists of being sympathetic to the ira; post-peace process the provos silenced journalists by accusing them of being against the peace – in short sinn fein’s behaviour towards ‘squinter’is fully consistent with their track record – the only satisfying aspect of this squalid affair is that ‘squinter’ is getting a taste of the same medicine he used to dole out to others.

  • wild turkey

    ‘sinn fein embraced censorship and employed the same tactics once used against them by the british and irish governments, in their case to silence journalists who asked too many awkward questions about where and why sinn fein & the ira were going ‘

    jake

    any specific examples to cite on which journalists were silenced and how? in the absence of specific examples one can neither dispute nor endorse your assertion, just curious really… and probably ill-informed.

    Susan, dead on.
    Keep setting the bar high, or at least set it so it is necessary for some to reach beyond their grasp.

  • longlake

    Sinn Fein and the various ‘safety groups’ have a paranoid view of what constitutes crime or at least of which issues need to be publicised and highlighted. A prime example was the arrest of a man in Crossmaglen on Friday. He has been charged with G.B.H. with intent, threatning to kill and arms offences yet we haven’t heard one word from those usually so vocal when, for instance, a window is broken. Would it be because the man in question is a well known shinner? Surely not!! This is another example of S.F. censorship, when the facts hurt say nothing!!

  • Dec

    but I’m not sure familiarity with that history makes the ATN controversy any easier to fathom?

    Susan

    Perhaps so, but I’m baulking at the sepia-tinted line of vigorous scrutiny of a courageous and free press in relation to Republicanism.

  • jake

    wild turkey: yes, the same journalists who were intimidated by british/irish government accusations of pro-ira symapthies before the peace process, that is virtually all of them – unless you’re going to try to say that the governments didn’t intimidate the media?! one major difference exists between now and then – pre-peace process, the governments used public, up-front censorship laws not just to ban SF from the airwaves but to encourage the more insiduous practice of self-censorship while nowadays the provos move in the dark, whispering behind peoples’ backs, accusing this one or that one of dissident sympathies or anti-peace process sentiments – they acted in deifferent ways but their intent is the same and they are erqually repulsive and repellant. the sooner mugabe-adams goes, the better!

  • wild turkey

    ‘yes, the same journalists who were intimidated by british/irish government accusations of pro-ira symapthies before the peace process, that is virtually all of them – unless you’re going to try to say that the governments didn’t intimidate the media?!’

    jake, i have no doubt that before and during the peace process, journalists were manipulated and fucked around by governments…and all the other key players. However, there were also many journalists, and their editors, who were zipper lickers gleefully queuing up to spout the ‘party’ line. And I think we can agree, there were many parties to the conflict.

    Agreed. There was indeed gov’t intimidation of SOME journalists which, by one remove, I have personal experience of. It was not pleasant. Let us leave at that.

    However, again back to my question at point 14. Specificity please on journalist, articles, books etc. etc.?

    in the meantime, am i correct in summarising your point 17 as

    ‘Meet the new boss, same as the old boss’? now Who said that?

    Rumination. OK?
    How much of the ‘conflict’, ‘war’, ‘terrorism’, ‘troubles'( however one choses to characterise the tragedy here) was, in essence, a grotesque PR exercise in political handjobbery? I wonder. But then it would be of little surpise if journalists were compelled to keep their gloves on,

    ‘the sooner mugabe-adams goes, the better! ‘

    well by their own admission, they are both democrats willing to respond to and abide by the will of the people.

    Let’s see if in its next edition ATN reports a Mugabe election victory in Zimbawe?

    Celah

  • Pól Deeds

    Hi, thought I’d share with you most of a letter I wrote and which the Andersonstown News carried prominently in the same issue as the apology to Adams, although no commentators in these forums have chosen to note it.

    “…let me take a few of your main assertions, leaving aside the bar-room wisecracks about the republican movement:

    “…it’s time for Gerry Adams to shoulder his share of the blame for the mess we’re in”, ie. “the slow, steady decline into chaos…”. Strangely, your paper has only chosen to chart this “slow, steady decline into chaos” in very recent times, having spent most of the last two decades – throughout which you say Gerry Adams’ abject failure took place – eagerly promoting all of the many positive aspects of life in West Belfast, during times that were easily equally as challenging as ours, if not moreso.

    Regarding the perennial lack of investment and Adams’ apparent responsibility for this, I refer you again to your own paper’s archive, which has documented well both Gerry’s and other SF representatives’ concerted and ongoing attempts (with a good amount of success) to bring investment in to our community.

    To be honest, this one got me angry: “It was hoped [when Harry Holland was slaughtered] that the wave of disgust and horror might be fashioned in to a life raft which would carry us all on a tide of community solidarity and determination to a safer shore. Didn’t happen… Who’s to blame for the failure to press home the Harry Holland momentum? Gerry Adams is to blame, that’s who”. Here, I believe, you are in danger of losing any credibility your paper has enjoyed as ‘the voice of this community’. And again, I don’t think I’ll be the only person in this community to express their disappointment and objection to your assertions.

    In fact, ‘Squinter’, how dare you? Were you party to the emergency meetings (Sinn Féin and community meetings that is, not editorial brainstormers) that took place as Harry Holland’s life ebbed away? Did you cancel all your appointments, as we did, to ensure that all available information on the PSNI’s actions at that time would be collated and that local activists could assist the family at the time of the funeral in any way possible? Did you, as the local Sinn Féin cumann and Upper Falls Sinn Féin MLA Paul Maskey did, move decisively at that time to facilitate the setting up of residents’ groups in the lower Glen Road area to build community infrastructure and provide better means of holding the authorities to account? Did you, as Gerry Adams did, call a public meeting in the area soon after the event to seek opinions on community safety from residents and begin to formulate a plan? Did you, ‘Squinter’, apply to become a member of the West Belfast District Policing Partnership, as I and many other republicans did, so that we grassroots activists can get in there and challenge the PSNI on their pitiful response to crime in our community?

    No-one is as aware as us at the coalface just how slow and unsatisfactory progress with the PSNI has been, but you know well, ‘Squinter’, that hard, hard work is being done to tackle all of these problems. As one of the many republicans who have given up spending evenings with our families in order to promote community safety since Sinn Féin took the brave decision to try and make policing work – again, something which you, YOU called for us to do – I want to ask you to expand upon and justify your scurrilous remarks.

    Pól Deeds,

    Chairperson, Andersonstown Sinn Féin.

    * The Andersonstown News was embarrassed in to making that apology, not coerced. The community here was rightly disgusted at a ‘rant’ – as it has accurately and widely been described – against the very people who have done so much to bolster societal and economic progress in this city. Write what you want. The people know the truth. They may not all be part of your e-chattering masses, but they use their vote, and THEY will decide our future.

  • jake

    wild turkey: “jake, i have no doubt that before and during the peace process, journalists were manipulated and fucked around by governments…and all the other key players. However, there were also many journalists, and their editors, who were zipper lickers gleefully queuing up to spout the ‘party’ line. And I think we can agree, there were many parties to the conflict.”

    yes, there were such journalists back then and their equivalents now are playing the same role on behalf of sinn fein as was done for the governments back then;

    you ask for names and the fact that you ask that question shows that you don’t really understand how such censorship works nor, i suggest, does it show much awareness on your part of events here in the last decade or so – in the same way that section 31 or the broadcasting ban set a paradigm for the media and worked with astonishing subtlety to encourage self-censorship through fear of being labelled as a pro-ira synpathiser/fellow traveller, so the current sinn fein strategy of proclaiming criticism or questioning of the adams strategy as anti-peace or pro-dissident works to achieve the same result – there are individual examples, such as the smearing of writers like suzanne breen, ed moloney, richard o’rawe and anthony mcintyre, but it is not necessary to dwell on their individual experiences since the real point about how this censorship works is that it doesn’t need to be specific in order to work – all it needs to be successful is to create an atmosphere in which journalists know that to pursue a certain line or investigation carries a risk of being labelled as subversive. most of them wish to avoid such a fate and so we get tame journalism. the irony is that where once sinn fein were the victims now they are the perpetrators. okay now?

  • susan

    Pól Deeds: Thank you for your post. Sincerely. Presenting your own opinion and sharing your own experiences and asking “Squinter” to
    expand upon and justify” is a sane and democratic response.

    The response from ATN – Deleting all evidence that the column ever existed, as well as the comments from West Belfast residents who agreed with and/or dissented with Squinter’s op-ed was neither sane nor democratic.

    If the administration of Slugger O’Toole deleted all record of your post of 11:04 PM sharing your honest opinion and your relevant experiences, would it be censorship? Beyond all doubt. Emotional references to coalfaces and evenings away from the family — good on you, by the way, again sincerely — do not change the fact that the deletion of Squinter’s column and residents’ on-line discussion of it, both pro and con, was blatant censorship. It is a sign of weakness. It is an insult.

    Put the article back and let the residents of West Belfast have their say. Quite right their votes are their own; they don’t need protection from dissenting voices for their own good.

  • Pete Baker

    Very well articulated, Pól Deeds, Chairperson, Andersonstown Sinn Féin.

    But where does the ongoing community-based Restorative Justice project fit in to the new SF project?

    No criticism of that scheme there.

    In fact, it’s noticeable by its absence in the current Sinn Féin response, as compared to its previous prominence in the civic policing strategy.

  • wild turkey

    Jake
    ‘the irony is that where once sinn fein were the victims now they are the perpetrators. okay now? ‘

    A-OK. agreed and that was my allusion to the Who FFS.

    ‘you ask for names and the fact that you ask that question shows that you don’t really understand how such censorship works nor, i suggest, does it show much awareness on your part of events here in the last decade or so -‘

    ouch! but thanks you for your insight. although i may not understand the minutae of how such censorship works… i have an idea.

    ‘but it is not necessary to dwell on their individual experiences since the real point about how this censorship works is that it doesn’t need to be specific in order to work’

    fair enough, create the atmospherics and everything else follows. that said i am AWARE of the names you have mentioned, and, in some instances, the impact of censorship, from whatever quarter, on their professional and personal lives.

    Where I do differ with you is this. Individuals do matter. In my naivety, I do believe they can make a difference. If you did not share this belief, why do you post here?
    Who else can confront and combat the scenario you clearly, and rightly, describe? Movements, political parties ?

  • Steve

    Susan

    You keep talking about journalistic moral absolutes

    Why can’t you just understand that part of an editors job is to look at the balance sheet add up the positives, subtract the negatives and end up with more money than you started with. and sometimes that matters more than some imagined journalistic moral purity.

    I will allow that as some one here said that Mairtin O is a gazillionaire but if hes like the rest of the gazillionaires I know they got that way by holding on to every thin dime. at the very least this was partially a business decision, profit is a very strong motive among gazillionaires

    If Mairtin O was a benevolent publisher more concerned with doing the right thing regardless of cost or consequence he would have funded La Nua out of his own pocket.

    He’s a hoorible capatalist who is driven by profit over moral relevance. I can understand that and so can my banker

  • Gregory

    “I cant recall seeing any rants in southern papers blaming the local TD (and not the minister for justice) for the situation in Limerick.”

    Well when Jerome Brennan came up to Belfast from Limerick with his filthy repertoire, it was left to the Unionists to sort it out.

    The Reverend Martin Symth MP took responsibility for that ‘Limerick’ influx. He didn’t just say it was an NIO, police, UKIS, or WP-UK problem.

    Gerry Adams at Harry Holland’s vigil, stated that West Belfast was not out of control, one can’t complain at these things,

    but I thought at the time it is all well and good for those with bodyguards to tell us how not out of control the place we live in had become.

    G.

  • Gregory

    “The police and their inability to do the job for which they are paid for are solely responsible for this.”

    I don’t think so. Who trained them to throw stones & petrol bombs at PSNI landrovers?

    The PSNI are still routinely attacked by youths in West Belfast, that is quite normal.

  • Gregory

    “The people know the truth. They may not all be part of your e-chattering masses, but they use their vote, and THEY will decide our future. ”

    Far out,

    problem is maybe they don’t know the truth.

    and if trendy Ms Ruane says there are absolutely no sex offenders in our schools, it would presumably be a completely painless process to ban the sex offenders concerned, who are as SF would have it, are not in the schools anyway.

    I’m not actually asking them (if Ruane is to be taken at her word) to put any sex-offenders out of work.

    SF speak with forked tongue.

    Is my guess.

    G.

  • are you blind?

    If the administration of Slugger O’Toole deleted all record of your post of 11:04 PM sharing your honest opinion and your relevant experiences, would it be censorship?

    susan, the administration of sluggerotoole delete many posts everyday and do operate a kind of censorship

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>just how ready Sinn Fein is to live with the vigorous scrutiny of a courageous and free press.<

  • If Mairtin O was a benevolent publisher more concerned with doing the right thing regardless of cost or consequence he would have funded La Nua out of his own pocket.

    He’s a hoorible capatalist who is driven by profit over moral relevance. I can understand that and so can my banker

    As a former editor of La Nua, I would like to point out that the Belfast Media Group has funded the publication of the paper to a large extent – you’re talking upwards of £300,000 since purchasing the title in 1999. Sure it received grant aid from Foras na Gaeilge – eventually – but it was carried by the BMG/ANG and it wouldn’t have got through its most recent crisis except for the continuing generosity of BMG and other shareholders in the face of blind indifference from Foras na Gaeilge, the cross border body whose understanding of publishing is qualified by its abject failure to publish annual accounts and an annual report since 2003.

    It has to be pointed out that La Nua has carried articles tranchantly attacking SF’s failure to live up to its own promises re the Irish Language, the failure to legislate an Irish Language Act, the axing of the Irish Language Broadcast Fund on the watch of Sinn Fein being two prime examples of this, both of which were highlighted prominently in La Nua.

  • susan

    are you blind?, we’re all well aware some posts are deleted at Slugger. Most often it is because of legal concerns or violations of the site’s “play the ball, not the man” rule, but there are occasions when I find the enforcement of that rule arbitrary. Does that answer your concern?

    Pól Deeds posted under his own name, and gave specific examples of why and how he disagreed with the cut and thrust of “Squinter”‘s opinion piece. He then challenged the columnist and the ATN to “expand upon and justify” the claims that angered him and that he found unwarranted and unfair.

    In other words, Pól Deeds spoke to and for the residents of West Belfast as if they were adults.

    The ATN response — deleting all record of the column and all points of view of the West Belfast residents who sharply agreed or disagreed with the column — was the opposite. Call the response censorship, call the response Big Brotherism, call it intimidation, call it infantilising over-reaction, call it what you will — the deletion of the debate and discussion was wrong and unnecessary.

    A party that speaks for the people lets the people speak. Restore the deleted column and the deleted residents’ posts to the sites in question. Let the politicians have their say. Let the constituents have their say. Argue the answers fiercely, but agree on the right to ask the questions.

  • “Pól Deeds spoke to and for the residents of West Belfast”

    Susan, at most, Pól can speak for Andersonstown Sinn Fein.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>The ATN response—deleting all record of the column and all points of view of the West Belfast residents who sharply agreed or disagreed with the column—was the opposite.< >at most, Pól can speak for Andersonstown Sinn Fein.<

  • Mick Fealty

    Pol,

    Can I also thank you for your thoughtful contribution. Timely and much appreciated. I wish we had more contributions from real political activists on the site, it make make for greater civic and intelligent engagement.

    The issues this episode throws up are important, but there always the possibility (as some like Dec clearly believe I have done) that the case for press freedom can be overstated. Precision and truly open debate are of the essence.

    From my own personal point of view it’s critical that parties like SF, who have been a target of systematic state censorship in past, help (where it is practical) underwrite a new openness in the new dispensation.

  • Eoghan, I’ve already posted on the limitations of a ‘moral’ electorate 😉

  • “Precision and truly open debate are of the essence.”

    Some people daren’t take a chance on the legal cost liabilities, Mick. Consider the fate of Christine Alexander. I understand her freedom to speak freely has been severely curtailed.

  • willowfield

    Prince

    Who in turn are supported at every turn by a massive majority of the electorate.

    At the last Assembly election in West Belfast, the Provos received 23,631 votes out of an electorate of 50,792. Far from a “massive majority”, that’s actually a minority!

  • Steve

    Concur

    I realize that he has invested rescources into La Nua but it was recieving the grants that allowed it to continue publishing. He won’t sink untold amounts of money into a project with out the likely hood of a pay off at some point. That would be bad business

    Neither will he strip his existing papers of circulation and advertisers just to make some people who believe in the moral journalism hyperbole happy, of course thats just my opinion I could be wrong

  • Steve

    Sorry for the spelling of your name Concubhar O Liathain the remembery isn’t what it used to be

  • three wise monkeys

    In response to Longlakes comments:
    Sinn Fein and the various ‘safety groups’ have a paranoid view of what constitutes crime or at least of which issues need to be publicised and highlighted. A prime example was the arrest of a man in Crossmaglen on Friday. He has been charged with G.B.H. with intent, threatning to kill and arms offences yet we haven’t heard one word from those usually so vocal when, for instance, a window is broken. Would it be because the man in question is a well known shinner? Surely not!! This is another example of S.F. censorship, when the facts hurt say nothing!!

    Read about it at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7320375.stm

    It looks like Gerry Adams not only has the power to censor ATN but the BBC. A long standing SF member from Crossmaglen was arrested on Friday for GBH, threatening to kill, possessing an unlicenced AK47 rifle etc etc. He is rushed through Newry court on Saturday (obviously to avoid the daily newspapers getting hold of the story) Incredibly he manages to get bail for possession of an AK47!!

    The story appears fleetingly on the BBC NI News website on Saturday and is gone by Sunday. Other stories with lesser political implications for the ‘peace process’ remained on site throughout the weekend.

    Conor Murphy lost a lot of support in South Armagh as a result of the murder of Paul Quinn. His denials of SF/IRA involvement in the murder and his accusations against Paul Quinn were pathetic. No wonder this latest episode is being hushed up.

    Here we have once again a South Armagh Sinn Feiner doing what he knows best. The most pathetic and shameful thing of all is the silence from the press and politicians on the matter.

    Political censorship at its worst.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Eoghan, I’ve already posted on the limitations of a ‘moral’ electorate ;)< >At the last Assembly election in West Belfast, the Provos received 23,631 votes out of an electorate of 50,792. Far from a “massive majority”, that’s actually a minority!< http://www.ark.ac.uk/elections/awb.htm

  • Prince Eoghan

    Always have to think petty pedantry when dealing with yoursel Willow. So for the sake of completeness, and knowing you may well attempt to make a mountain out of a molehill. SF did indeed receive 23,631 votes out of an electorate of 50,792. However only 34,238 valid Votes were cast. Which in anyone’s language makes a massive majority.

    *groans*

  • Gregory

    “Of course what squinter had to say was much overdue, and perhaps in a back handed way forced Gerry Adams to take notice, but as a personal attack it was erroneous.”

    I don’t particularly like Squinter, but it was obvious at the Harry Holland vigil that Gerry Adams had simply lost the plot.

    We were given a group-think lecture, I fully accept that SF people may simply not be able to tell the difference anymore.

    It was exactly like Pravda making ‘a mistake’.

    and the party told a journalist is off to a party health resort in the Crimea for a few injections ‘to fix his head’.

    The funniest thing about it, was the sense of hurt, these doubleplusgood eejits, clearly swallow their own propaganda.

    G.

  • Gregory

    “Always have to think petty pedantry when dealing with yoursel Willow. So for the sake of completeness, and knowing you may well attempt to make a mountain out of a molehill. SF did indeed receive 23,631 votes out of an electorate of 50,792. However only 34,238 valid Votes were cast. Which in anyone’s language makes a massive majority. ”

    Gerry Adams is at best a Joe Devlin, he is a apparatchnik who was able to better the other party hacks to get to the top.

    Maybe the IRA can declare a ceasefire and we can beep our horns, and look forward to a forever and forever type of relationship with Big Brother No1, what do you think?

    Gerry Adams is an embarassment. Voting for him made me feel like a complete eejit. I had to stop doing that. SF need a little humility.

    G.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Maybe the IRA can declare a ceasefire and we can beep our horns, and look forward to a forever and forever type of relationship with Big Brother No1, what do you think?<

  • ‘Outlandish’ only in the eye of the beholder, Eoghan 😉

    The ‘moral’ electorate would vote for a donkey if it was decorated in the right colours – maybe even a turkey …

  • Steve

    Nevin

    That would certainly explain the unionists choices inandidates

  • Steve

    choices in candidates

    gees i think somebody moved the keys on my keyboard

  • Steve, I’m drawing no distinctions on this one – on the grounds of equality 😉

  • willowfield

    Prince

    So for the sake of completeness, and knowing you may well attempt to make a mountain out of a molehill. SF did indeed receive 23,631 votes out of an electorate of 50,792. However only 34,238 valid Votes were cast. Which in anyone’s language makes a massive majority.

    A “massive majority” of those who voted, but that is not what you said. You made a point of saying they had a “massive majority” of the electorate. That is quite something else, and it is not true.

  • Gregory

    “It was also told an unlicensed AK47 and rifle were found at Mr Cleary’s home during a police search on Friday.”

    There is progress for you, the sov squirt gun was apparently unlicenced, it is probably a bit like a BBC TV licence, I mean why get one?

    “Incredibly he manages to get bail for possession of an AK47!!”

    I have a great deal of sympathy for the view that the very last AKM ( the species is surely of that pedigree), in the entire north of our wee bog, not covered in concrete, should be preseved for future generations to gawk at.

    VW Beetles have killed more people than AK 47’s apparently, (Africa doesn’t count)

    Would we be hankering after a lynching if one of those was in his drive way?

    I think not, we’d merely feel confused by the casual vindictiveness of it all.

    We shouldn’t rush to judge.

    G.

  • Gregory

    “You are preaching to the converted if you are indeed arguing(somewhere amongst your posts) that SF and GA need a shake up. ”

    The point of politics is to bang it home. Two legs bad, four legs good.

    There is no point going forward half-believing in anything. SF have taught us that much.

    G.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Prince

    So for the sake of completeness, and knowing you may well attempt to make a mountain out of a molehill. SF did indeed receive 23,631 votes out of an electorate of 50,792. However only 34,238 valid Votes were cast. Which in anyone’s language makes a massive majority.

    A “massive majority” of those who voted, but that is not what you said. You made a point of saying they had a “massive majority” of the electorate. That is quite something else, and it is not true.
    Posted by willowfield on Apr 01, 2008 @ 05:57 PM<<*GROANS*I stand by everything I have said.Tell you what why don't you chap on everyone's door that never voted and take a record of who they would have voted for if they had bothered to go to the polls. better still ask around for someone to go with you as a witness. Then you can say I am wrong if all or the vast majority of those people intimate to you that they would not have voted SF.Or, you could more productively give yirsel a kick on the arse and stop being a nuisance, a pointless pain in the rectal passage. Knowing you though I guess that you will be looking for a witness to corroborate your door chapping. best of British and all that.*DOUBLE GROANS*Ok Gregory, I am going to have to hold my hands up and say that I have not an effin clue what you are on about. I don't know if it is me but most of the stuff I have read from you these past weeks bewilders me.

  • willowfield

    I stand by everything I have said.

    How can you, when what you said is untrue?

    Tell you what why don’t you chap on everyone’s door that never voted and take a record of who they would have voted for if they had bothered to go to the polls. better still ask around for someone to go with you as a witness. Then you can say I am wrong if all or the vast majority of those people intimate to you that they would not have voted SF.

    You are wrong. You said a massive majority of the electorate voted for the Provos and that’s not true. It doesn’t matter what people might say they “would have done” – if they didn’t do it, then they didn’t do it.

    You made a point of claiming that a massive majority of the ELECTORATE voted for the Provos: you didn’t say a massive majority of those voting. Just admit that you were wrong.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Just admit that you were wrong.< >You said a massive majority of the electorate voted for the Provos< >you didn’t say a massive majority of those voting.<

  • willowfield

    Prince

    Naw! Go and chap some doors and prove me wrong.

    I don’t need to “chap” any doors: the election result proves you wrong!

    By any accepted reasonable standards around about 70% of votes tallied your ways is taken as a massive majority of the electorate.

    Er, no it isn’t! It’s taken, arguably, as a massive majority of voters!

    That is a lie, as someone fond of labeling people as liars on this forum you do tend to do a bit yirsel.

    Er, it’s not a lie … you’ve even admitted above that you said massive majority of the electorate!

    Perhaps because any sensible reasonable person would have taken this as a given

    Why should anyone take as a given that when you used the word “electorate” you weren’t actually referring to the electorate??

  • Prince Eoghan

    Willow

    >>PE – Naw! Go and chap some doors and prove me wrong.

    Willow – I don’t need to “chap” any doors: the election result proves you wrong!< >PE – By any accepted reasonable standards around about 70% of votes tallied your ways is taken as a massive majority of the electorate.

    Willo – Er, no it isn’t! It’s taken, arguably, as a massive majority of voters!< >Willow – You said a massive majority of the electorate voted for the Provos

    PE – That is a lie, as someone fond of labeling people as liars on this forum you do tend to do a bit yirsel.

    Willow – Er, it’s not a lie … you’ve even admitted above that you said massive majority of the electorate<

  • Steve

    You made a point of claiming that a massive majority of the ELECTORATE voted for the Provos: you didn’t say a massive majority of those voting. Just admit that you were wrong.

    Posted by willowfiel

    If you dont vote you arent part of the electorate and neither do you count in the results

    Eoghan was is and will remain perfectly correct

  • willowfield

    If you dont vote you arent part of the electorate

    Yes you are. Check out the electoral register!

  • willowfield

    Prince

    Around 70% is a massive majority, not to you maybe, but to any sane bastard.

    Of voters … But only about 60% of the electorate voted.

    >>Willow – You said a massive majority of the electorate voted for the Provos

    PE – That is a lie, as someone fond of labeling people as liars on this forum you do tend to do a bit yirsel.

    ARGUABLY! God in heaven give me strength.

    I don’t see why you need strength to accept that it could be argued that 70% wasn’t necessarily a “massive” majority. It means 3 out of 10 people oppose you. It’s certainly a very big majority.

    You have missed out a word there Willow, starts with P.

    You said “Sinn Féin” had a massive majority of the electorate. If you weren’t talking about the Provos, did you mean Official SF, Republican SF, or who?

  • Garibaldy

    This thread has become pure pedantry, and I’m loathe to get involved. But…if the electorate is only those who vote, then when people say, for example, the turn out rate was 65%, then what was it 65% of, if not the electorate?

    Having said that, I think Eoghan is essentially correct about the overwhelming support that PSF enjoys in west Belfast, and pedantry does not change that fact.

  • Pól Deeds

    My contribution’s a bit out of date now, but I just wanted to say that I would back up the other calls for the squinter article to be returned to both the a’twon news site and to squinter’s. Its removal is indeed a form of self-censorship, and should not have happened.

  • RedHaze

    It appears to be a little more than self-censorship. Self-censorship is something someone willingly indulges in, I feel this was purely as a result of improper political pressure being exerted.

    And mores the pity. Squinter did, whether Gerry Adams likes it or not, articulate what a lot of people in West Belfast feel. What he articulated, as painful as it may be to Gerry and Pol Deeds, was supported by numerous people in the actual cortege of Baps, which I was in as it moved up the Falls and into the City Cemetary.

    It also reflected the opinions of a considerable number of those who left Baps graveside at the precise moment Gerry Adams began to speak.

    It might be painful but it doesn’t warrant it untrue, as the vast majority of blog entries can attest to.

  • Gregory

    “Ok Gregory, I am going to have to hold my hands up and say that I have not an effin clue what you are on about. I don’t know if it is me but most of the stuff I have read from you these past weeks bewilders me.”

    Dear Prince

    I have had dealings with SF over the years and they’re positively surreal, and they’re getting more Orwellian and group-thinkish by the day.

    I was BTW exaggerating ever so slightly about the VW Beetles. Thimble and bucket if I can paraphrse the Deputy First Minister. The Ak47 is way ahead of the killing game.

    If I did what Ruane or Adams do, I’d hire scriptwriters and a PR agency. It is nice to be able to simply make things up.

    Believing 100 percent is something is good, but not if you know it is bollox, which is the SF problem.

    They are group-thinkers, they’d have to vote at committee on whether the world was a sphere and if Gerry had reservations, they’d all officially (at least) have ‘global’ doubts.

    Gerry is their Pope, he’s right even when he’s obviously wrong.

    They’re a bit like the Vatican of the 1400s, the deal isn’t whether X is X, the issue is whether SF concede X is X.

    Other people do it as well to whatever extent.

    I can’t do the sort of thing the BBC do, the kind of fabricated news for a corporate ( news generating) client sort of thing. Take this sort of surreal report.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/mid/6968317.stm

    (A)

    A North Wales Police spokeswoman said the pupil was not cautioned formally but received a reprimand.

    (B)

    A Flintshire Council spokesman said: “We are not aware of any incident of this nature in a Flintshire school.”

    THe BBC still report it as a firm fact.

    A can’t be true without B, that’s the NEOST or IRSC guidellines,

    I’ll tell you what Ruane would do, she’d go for (A) and forget about the the NEOST or IRSC aspects because it doesn’t have to be true, official, authentic, legitimate, or lawful not for Ms Ruane. She’s a SF person,

    enough said.

    G.

  • Steve

    Honestly Greg the more you try to explain the less clear it becomes that last post is either messing with my dyslexia or its as nonsensical as a Dr. Seus Opera

  • Prince Eoghan

    Greg

    No offence ma man! I am with Steve here, I sort of understood only about half of that. However I am still not sure how it pertains to anything I wrote earlier.

    Willow

    >>I don’t see why you need strength to accept that it could be argued that 70% wasn’t necessarily a “massive” majority. It means 3 out of 10 people oppose you. It’s certainly a very big majority.< >You said “Sinn Féin” had a massive majority of the electorate. If you weren’t talking about the Provos, did you mean Official SF, Republican SF, or who?<

  • willowfield

    Prince

    You really need to get a life LOL!

    I’ve got one, thanks.

    Please could you point out where I made any claim about the Provos, except to say they weren’t standing.

    In response to a reference to Sinn Féin, you said they had a massive majority of the electorate. If you weren’t talking about the Provos, which SF did you mean? Official SF, Republican SF, or who?

    I take it now that you accept that they don’t have a massive majority of the electorate?

  • longlake

    crossmaglen arrest

    further to the arrest and bail of the Crossmaglen shinner the latest developement is that a placard was erected near Crossmaglen last night stating
    “FREE THE LISBEG ONE”
    “UNLICENSED TO KILL”
    “PLEASE RELEASE JIM CLEARY”
    Is that strange beast ‘the community’ starting to take the mickey out of ‘republicans’? Surely not, first the andytown and now people in Cross.

  • Steve

    Longlake
    I would think this would be a positive sign

    As obviously this person does not fear retribution so the provos have gone away, and the community knows it even if the poster here and the unionists dont.

    Heres a hint its past the sell by date for blaming the Provos for violence in the republican communities

    And willowfield while I know its part of the psychosis of unionism, Sinn Fein and the Provisional IRA are not one and the same so again prince is perfectly accurate saying the Provos didn’t stand because they didn’t, end of.

  • Garibaldy

    What you call SF is Provisional Sinn Fein. Part of the Provisional movement. Both are accurately described as Provos. To say it is accurate for one and not the other makes no sense.

  • Gregory

    “that last post is either messing with my dyslexia or its as nonsensical as a Dr. Seus”

    You’ve hit it on the head, all we need is the rhyming text and SF might become the party of Dr. Seuss. Two S in Seuss is the other bit.

    G.

  • “Sinn Fein and the Provisional IRA are not one and the same”

    Would you agree that they are two of the PRM ‘wings’ and that they are ‘governed’ by the PRM AC, Steve? I understand there’s an extensive interchange of personnel. Don’t forget the organised crime and civic justice wings …

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>You made a point of claiming that a massive majority of the ELECTORATE voted for the Provos:< >Both are accurately described as Provos.<

  • Garibaldy

    PE,

    If you look above, comment 11 on this page, you’ll see that I agree with your statement that PSF have overwhelming support, and that that is what you meant. Nevertheless, the term Provisional applies to the entire movement. It comes from the Provos themselves in the split in the IRA in 1969, and subsequently in SF. The dissidents, political and military, giving their allegiance to the Provisional Army Council. But continue to take your experience as representative of reality in NI and in Ireland since the start of the Troubles.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Garibaldy

    Look this is silly, Willow will be pissing himself laughing at what he is causing.

    I made a simple statement, if we look hard enough we can find a other little inferences, imagined or not.

    When I refer to SF, I mean SF. Anything else and I will specify. The Provos, have and always will be the IRA, should I mention the Provos in a conversation or in written word, no-one(willow apart) would find cause to stop me and ask for clarity, as it would be clear just what I mean. Whatever outworkings that are in the general organisation mean nothing in my simple little statement referring th SF.

  • Garibaldy

    You might mean the military side. But people often mean the collective entity. Or nowadays, just the political end. For example, Alasdair McDonnel of the SDLP will use it this way, as will Trimble. As will former members of the Provos, both the political and military end. E.g. RSF people or people from eirigi or whatever.

    So it’s clear what you mean. But equally what others mean too when they refer to it.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>As will former members of the Provos, both the political and military end.<

  • Gregory

    “When I say that SF receive massive amount of electoral support from West Belfast, all sane people know what I mean. ”

    Electorism is a disease. How take the Vatican, a restricted poll, you can’t leave until it’s done

    you get a quick pat-down, and a puff of smoke, nobody is going to do a Squinter on the Holy Father,

    crime in the Vatican is also down! We won’t count the banking stuff.

  • kensei

    Nevin

    Would you agree that they are two of the PRM ‘wings’ and that they are ‘governed’ by the PRM AC, Steve? I understand there’s an extensive interchange of personnel. Don’t forget the organised crime and civic justice wings …

    I’ll quote Jonathon Powell. This seems accurate to me:

    And yet it wasn’t as simple as the unionist claim that the two organisations were one and the same. In the early days I, like the unionists, would talk about the IRA/Sinn Féin in one breath. But the two organisations were different. There wasn’t a complete overlap in their membership and their political imperatives were not the same. Some in the physical force republican movement were not politically subtle and some in Sinn Féin were not engaged in physical violence

    But you know, knock yourself out with the conspiracy theories if it makes you happy.

  • Gregory

    IRA regattas are not a display of Big Brother No1’s naval power, unless..

    The International Rowing Association

    was apparently faresighted enough to skip the provisional stage.

    Your search – “provisional International Rowing Association” – did not match any documents.

    Suggestions:
    Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
    Try different keywords.
    Try more general keywords.

    I research my posts to da Slug

    :o))

    G.

  • willowfield

    STEVE

    And willowfield while I know its part of the psychosis of unionism, Sinn Fein and the Provisional IRA are not one and the same so again prince is perfectly accurate saying the Provos didn’t stand because they didn’t, end of.

    Maybe PIRA and PSF are not one and the same (I never said that they were), but they are part of the PRM and PSF stood in the election.

    PRINCE

    I made no such claim Willow. Perpetuating it by trying to get me to explain the obvious won’t work.

    You did. Hence the discussion.

    As you are fond of asking others to retract ‘scurrilous lies’ I would be neglectful if I didn’t insist on the same. please make my apology a massive one please!

    I haven’t told any lies, so I have nothing to retract, and nothing to apologise for.

    I have never, ever in my puff hear of SF describing themselves as Provos, never, the IRA have that nickname all to themselves. When I say that SF receive massive amount of electoral support from West Belfast, all sane people know what I mean. You are treading on the Willow’s territory by claiming that I could have meant anything other.

    I have never claimed that you meant that there was support for any organisation other than PSF (although, by extension, it could be argued that support for PSF translates into support for the other wing of the PRM: PIRA – but I accept that things aren’t as straightforward).

    I take it now that you accept that PSF don’t have a massive majority of the electorate?

  • Prince Eoghan

    Willow

    >>You did. Hence the discussion.< >I haven’t told any lies, so I have nothing to retract, and nothing to apologise for.< >I take it now that you accept that PSF don’t have a massive majority of the electorate?< >Maybe PIRA and PSF are not one and the same (I never said that they were), but they are part of the PRM and PSF stood in the election.<

  • willowfield

    PRINCE

    Really?

    Yes.

    well I think you have, and tried to excuse yirsel on the flimsiest of technicalities.

    Well, you’re wrong. And, in any case, I don’t believe that you really do think that I told any lies.

    I stand by my claim that SF enjoy massive support amongst the electorate of West Belfast.

    That wasn’t your claim: your claim was that they a “massive majority” of the ELECTORATE voted for them.

    Please show me a ballot paper or electoral list that shows PSF(sic) stood in the recent election?

    No worries – I’ll do that when you show me a ballot paper or electoral list that shows that the Tories stood in the recent election.

  • Garibaldy

    PE,

    To cut a long story short, and as you know, no organisation likes to refer to itself with a prefix. So when the dissidents left Sinn Fein and the IRA to form the Provisionals in 1969-70, both groups referred to themselves as Sinn Fein, and it was the media that came up with the term Official Sinn Fein. As I said earlier, it was however the Provos themselves who came up with the term the Provisional Army Council.

    If you look through the propaganda organs of both organisations from the 1970s, you will see occasional references by each organisation referring to itself as Official or Provisional, but once Sinn Fein became Sinn Fein The Workers’ Party, the Provisionals largely stopped using the term of themeselves as a means of claiming republican legitimacy. In the same way that supporters of the Real IRA refer to it as the IRA, and their former comrades as the Provisionals.

    If you want the proof, you can look it up for yourself next time you are in Belfast as little of it is online. However, you could check out this link at CAIN which references Provisional Sinn Fein

    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/othelem/organ/sorgan.htm#sf

    and you could also note the sources where it cites Peter Taylor’s Provos: The IRA and Sinn Fein. The book and TV show were made with cooperation from the Provos, and discussed PSF policy as well as military stuff. Inherent in that is a recognition that both were part of the Provisional movement.

    So it could be we are all making it up. Or it could be that the people you talk to take it to mean the military end only, while others take it to mean both.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Garibaldy

    What a pile of shite! Are you of the opinion that I know so little of the Republican movement that I need a schoolboy type lecture?

    Just because opponents use the term Provos in a disparaging way does not make it a legitimate term for SF. No more if I called Rangers the Huns, or the OO Orangies. Now show me where SF refer to themselves as Provos or gie’s peace. SF are not commonly known as the Provos. Btw I refer you to your opening remark about needless pedantry, far from killing it, you have fed some loon’s silly obsession.

    Willow Liar

    >>…… I don’t believe that you really do think that I told any lies.< >PE – I stand by my claim that SF enjoy massive support amongst the electorate of West Belfast.

    WL – That wasn’t your claim: your claim was that they a “massive majority” of the ELECTORATE voted for them.< >No worries – I’ll do that when you show me a ballot paper or electoral list that shows that the Tories stood in the recent election.<

  • Garibaldy

    PE,

    Frankly, your posts on the Famine and on other issues repeatedly show you don’t know as much as you think you do. Go away and read the stuff I suggested from say 1970 to 1977, tell me you find no references to people from PSF referring to the Provisional Movement, then I might take you seriously. I enjoy discussing things with you civilly (as happened with the famine) but if you’re going to swear and effectively accuse me of talking in bad faith and making things up, when you haven’t checked the originals, then I won’t bother.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Garibaldy

    >>Frankly, your posts on the Famine and on other issues repeatedly show you don’t know as much as you think you do.<

  • Prince Eoghan

    Back to basics.

    Garibaldy, perhaps I accord you with having a smidgeon of an idea concerning partisan politics, which is why I left some things unstated. Certainly you do not accord me with having a smidgeon of knowledge regarding the IRA, thus the convoluted lecture on what is common knowledge.

    So to get to the heart of the matter, Willow was seeking to denigrate, disparage if you like the credentials of the largest nationalist party in the six counties. Calling SF ‘the Provos’ harks back to a tried and trusted and largley failed Unionist campaign(remember SF/IRA speak)still used here on occasion by die hards. Said campaign seeks to undermine the legitimacy of SF by equating them with the IRA. Thus SF are not really a political party, just a mouthpiece propaganda material for the IRA etc. I really didn’t believe that it was necessary to relate this as I assumed you would be aware of this. In fact I’m positive you are aware of this, thus leaving it previously unstated. Nevertheless, subsequent events have led to the need for clarity.

    The fact that the born again IRA used the term ‘provisional’ to distinguish themselves from the old or ‘official’ IRA is neither here nor there when it comes to labelling SF as the Provos. I repeat this is a tag/nickname used by all and sundry for the IRA. Just because political opponents wish to use this in an attempt to smear or undermine SF, does not legitimise it. SF do not and would not accept that this is a fit and proper name for them.

    I asked you to show me evidence of your claim that SF sometimes referred to themselves as such. Instead I received a lecture on stuff which is pretty much common knowledge. I have yet to view anything that backs your point, which I have already stated if viewed I would be happy to concede. Now forgive my frustration from earlier, perhaps you might understand it now that I have been crystal.

    Willow has already noted his enjoyment in you having me jump through these needless hoops.

  • Garibaldy

    PE,

    I wasn’t intending to come across as patronising. You’ll see I said “as you know” in comment 84 but it’s possible others might be reading who don’t know the details. I had meant to take the frankly sentence out of the last post, but had forgotten.

    I said that members of PSF refer to themselves as the Provos, you said that they didn’t. On the basis that you had never heard anyone from PSF refer to the party as the Provos, only the military wing.

    I have had conversations with people I know in PSF refer to the Provos and mean the party. However, without taping such a conversation and putting it on the net, then the evidence I can offer comes from the period when they frequently called themselves that in public statements. Which is the significance of the originals. It’s proof that they have used the term of themselves, even if they don’t do it publicly any more. In the same way that the PIRA only ever calls itself the IRA, and hasn’t referred to the Provisional Army Council of the IRA formally in years.

    So in short, formally I agree that the party does not refer to itself as the Provos. But then again, formally neither does the military wing, yet you are happy to accept that its members and supporters describe it as the Provos.

    So what we’re arguing over is the way people talk about them in social and informal settings. The reason I’m coming across as irritable is that because you are effectively telling me that because you have never heard anyone refer to them as the Provos then I must be making stuff up. Which is a little hard to take as most people don’t like being called liars, and because it takes your experience as a visitor to NI to be more authentic than that of those who grew up and live here. Which strikes me as patronising and insulting, even if it wasn’t intended to be.

  • Garibaldy

    PE,

    We’ve both been posting when our tempers are a little short, but no offence intended on either side and no harm done I hope. I starting writing my last before your last appeared. We’ll have to agree to disagree on whether the naming of the new military organisation as the Provisionals has any importance for what we call the allied political organisation. What we can agree on is that in this day and age the party itself would not use the term Provisional.

    On Willowfield’s point, you’re totally right on the substantive point about the overwhelming support the party has among those who vote in west Belfast. He’s in the wrong on that substantive point. Whatever about some unionists, I have absolutely no problem recognising the legitimacy of their mandate, so if I refer to PSF it’s not an attempt to deny that.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>We’ve both been posting when our tempers are a little short, but no offence intended on either side and no harm done I hope.< >…on the substantive point…<

  • willowfield

    PRINCE EOGHAN

    Now show me where SF refer to themselves as Provos or gie’s peace. SF are not commonly known as the Provos.

    Just because PSF themselves don’t refer to themselves as PSF, doesn’t mean that it is not entirely legitimate or reasonable for others so to refer to them. The Provos have no more right to appropriate the name “Sinn Féin” for themselves as to RSF, 32SC, the Workers [sic] Party, or even FG or FF. In fact, if we are to attribute the name to the party which has deviated least from the 2nd Dáil, then RSF get the name.

    >>…… I don’t believe that you really do think that I told any lies.< <
    Did you or did you not state that I claimed the Provos had massive electoral support in West Belfast, or words to that effect?

    YOU stated that they had the support of a “massive majority” of the ELECTORATE. I pointed out that they got support from less than half of the electorate at the last election.

    Considering that I did not this is construed as a lie in anyone’s language, no matter how unimportant.

    This doesn’t make sense. Nothing I have said is untrue. All I did was take issue with your claim about PSF having support from a “massive majority” of the ELECTORATE.

    Your failure to retract the claim only serves to highlight something I’d have preferred to move on from.

    What “claim”??

    Please retract your accusation that I have lied. I don’t lie.

    Would one not follow the other though, ie my original claim makes a certainty of my following claim.

    Not necessarily: we do not know what proportion of non-voters support PSF.

    Still you don’t not think around 70% makes a massive majority Willow?

    It’s arguable whether you could say “massive”, but it’s certainly a very large majority (of voters).

    >>No worries – I’ll do that when you show me a ballot paper or electoral list that shows that the Tories stood in the recent election.< <
    Why should I?

    Because you’re arguing that you can’t refer to parties by any name other than the “official” name by which they prefer to be known. By the same token, we should never refer to the Tories (or, indeed the “Stoops”, or the “DUPes”, or the “Blueshirts”, etc.

    Where have I claimed the Tories have stood in West Belfast?

    Nowhere. Why do you ask?

    Put up or shut up, show me where PSF(sic) have stood in any recent election in West Belfast.

    Um, they’ve stood in them all since the early 80s!

  • Steve

    Willow

    It doesnt matter if your name is on the roles if you don’t vote you arent part of the electorate

    Participation is the point, if you don’t participate you arent part of the electorate

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Please retract your accusation that I have lied. I don’t lie.<

  • willowfield

    STEVE

    It doesnt matter if your name is on the roles if you don’t vote you arent part of the electorate

    Wrong. You’re part of the electorate if you’re on the electoral register. You can then choose whether or not to vote, but if you don’t vote it doesn’t mean you’re not part of the electorate.

    PRINCE

    Please retract your claim that I retract my many points stating the obvious that you lied!

    Claim? I asked you to retract your accusations: I didn’t make any claim.

    For the last time I did not make any claims electorally concerning the Provos, you claim I did, this is untrue.

    Zzzzzzzzz

    You know perfectly well that I was referring to Provisional Sinn Féin – or as you choose to refer to them “Sinn Féin”. And, even if you didn’t initially, it couldn’t have been made clearer in the subsequent discussion, and intervention by Garibaldy. Clearly you didn’t read my last post on the issue, but let me restate it: “Just because PSF themselves don’t refer to themselves as PSF, doesn’t mean that it is not entirely legitimate or reasonable for others so to refer to them. The Provos have no more right to appropriate the name “Sinn Féin” for themselves as to RSF, 32SC, the Workers [sic] Party, or even FG or FF. In fact, if we are to attribute the name to the party which has deviated least from the 2nd Dáil, then RSF get the name.”

    Faux ignorance about to whom I was referring doesn’t alter the reality that you claimed they had a massive majority of the ELECTORATE, when they don’t.

    An untruth that you have persisted in, thus it is now established as a lie.

    I told no untruth and no lie – as you know. This faux ignorance about what I meant is silly.

    That in effect, unless rectified with a grovelling apology and a bit of feet kissing makes you a big fat LIAR!

    It doesn’t.

    Now, stop playing dumb, and retract the accusation.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Now, stop playing dumb, and retract the accusation.<

  • Steve

    Willow

    Wrong again and as usual

    Democracy is a participation sport if you don’t vote then you aren’t playing and you arent on the team, you are just another spectator in the stands and your name doesn’t go on the team roster.

    Perhaps sports analogies will work on you

  • willowfield

    Retract the accusation, Prince.

  • Electorate Definition

    Steve
    ‘It doesnt matter if your name is on the roles if you don’t vote you arent part of the electorate’

    Maybe in ‘Steve-World’, but in the real world your definition of electorate is just plain wrong.

    From Wikipedia
    Electorate may refer to:

    * A constituency, the group of people entitled to vote in an election.
    * An electoral district, the geographic area of a particular election.
    * The dominion of an Elector in the Holy Roman Empire.

    From Collins
    ‘all the people in an area or country who have the right to vote in an election’

    Princeton Wordnet
    ‘the body of enfranchised citizens; those qualified to vote’