“I would prefer we were somewhere else but we are not..”

With Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams paying tribute at the funeral of Provisional IRA leader Brian Keenan in Belfast today there are a couple of interesting articles to note – Northern Ireland’s deputy First Minister’s tribute is here. First up the Independent’s David McKittrick on Keenan’s “paradoxical duality in that he first helped build up the organisation and then, decades later, helped shut it down.”

It was the combination of Keenan’s Libyan and English exploits that led Jonathan Powell, formerly Tony Blair’s chief-of-staff, to describe him in his recent autobiography as “at one stage the biggest single threat to the British state”. Keenan’s importance was further reflected in one writer’s assessment that he was “regarded by his friends and enemies alike as possessing the best organisational brain in the IRA”.

But Keenan was eventually caught, having left his fingerprints at bomb factories in Crouch End and Stoke Newington in north London. He was convicted in 1980 on 18 counts of planning terrorist acts including six killings, and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. He served a dozen years, emerging in 1993. Those killed by his unit included ordinary civilians who died in up to 50 bombing and shooting attacks on London railway stations, hotels, restaurants, pubs and other places designated by the IRA as “establishment targets”.

And at the Guardian’s Politics Blog, Henry McDonald on some of the false perceptions that may have been created

Another false perception created over the last 24 hours since his death from cancer was that Keenan decided that somehow the IRA’s “long war” had reached a stalemate in which neither they nor the British could win. This is an entirely bogus and dishonest reading of the political outcome in Northern Ireland.

Republicans such as Keenan set out to destroy the state of Northern Ireland and to force Britain to in turn eject the unionists from the union. This project has entirely failed.

Mainstream republicans have instead adopted the reformism so often derided by men like Keenan for decades. Rather than bomb the unionists into a united Ireland they now are set on love-bombing them into a new marriage, which is a courtship that will take decades and decades to bear fruit, if ever.

Shortly after the IRA and loyalist ceasefires, Keenan warned republicans from a Belfast graveside of one of their “martyrs” that they shouldn’t be confused by the politics of the situation, that the only thing that would be decommissioned would be the British state in Ireland.

Yet within a few short years after that prediction the IRA was forced politically to put most of its huge arsenal beyond use and a few years later again Sinn Fein had to recognise a British police force, the PSNI, as the price for Ian Paisley entering into power-sharing with republicans.

One of Oscar Wilde’s characters says: “Sooner or later in political life one has to compromise. Everyone does.” This is as true for Paisley in the latter stages of his life as it is for Adams. None the less, in his last interview Keenan did obliquely acknowledge that the campaign to overturn the state by force of arms had failed.

“I would prefer we were somewhere else but we are not and that is that as far as I am concerned. Revolutionaries have to be pragmatic; wish lists are for Christmas.”

The trouble is that once you start taking the pragmatic route that is the day that you, like everyone else in radical politics in the past and into the future, stop being a revolutionary.

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  • cynic

    “Jim Larkin’s famous quote should be engraved on every working class Protestants heart. “ the great appear great because we are on our knees, arise.”

    Ah yes Mick…of course, that was it. Proddies are just too thick to realise they are / were being duped / used.

    Isnt that just a little glib – a mirror image of MOPEry and post hoc jsutification?

    We were the Most Oppressed People Ever so we were justified in all the killing to life the yoke from our backs. And the Proddies were just too stupid to realise they were being manipulated by the Brits.

    Ergo …it’s all the Brits fault and none of us have to accept reponsibility. So that’s alright then.

    Unfortunately that doesnt fit with many of the facts on both sides. It was a squalid nasty little racist war fought by both sides with the Brits (certainly from the early 80’s onwards) largely in the middle trying to stop it. That propcess of seeking a political solution and negotiating with terrorists we now learn even started under the leadership of the hated Thatcher!!!

  • Comrade Stalin


    Comrade way to go, keep justifying the acts of criminals, typical Alliance crap.

    I didn’t justify Bobby Sands’ actions. I was referring to your point, specifically where you talked of the IRA’s “unionist victims”. The IRA killed a lot of people who weren’t unionists, but you don’t seem to care about that since it doesn’t suit your political narrative.

    And I’m glad, with your constant repetition of the “fish supper” thing, that you’re so au fait with loyalist drinking songs. That’ll do rightly round the (illegal) bonfire on the 11th. Will you be the guy shooting pistols into the air while downing tins of Stella ?


    I have to say that I have a of of sympathies with Mick’s post.
    Growing up on a Loyalist estate and getting into more than one argument for refusing to stand when the national anthem was played at the end of the evening in pubs and clubs, my argument was always that I’d stand for the queen when she stood in respect of a song played about me.
    My brief membership of the PUP was ended partly because Billy Hutchinson used his position as a member of the assembly to argue about the fact that the Queen Mother’s birthday wasn’t being honoured in a fitting manner, this from a party allegedly on the left of the political spectrum, instead of screaming and shouting for better conditions for working class people.

    It’s one thing to give your allegiance to the sate, it’s another thing to give blind allegiance and supine subservience.

  • CiderMan

    ‘Ergo …it’s all the Brits fault and none of us have to accept reponsibility.’

    Well…i think that ‘aul bollox Richard fitz Gilbert de Clare has a lot to answer for.

  • Turgon

    I am afraid I am getting fed up with Mick Hall’s constant explanation of the working class revolutionaries. The then pseudo explanation that the Shankill Road bomb was because of duped working class loyalists is also pretty sickening. The people killed at Kingsmills were pretty working class, they clearly took a minibus to work and did not have cars. The men murdered at Teebane were also in a van again clearly pretty working class.

    Even if by some chancve the IRA were socialist revolutionaries: tell me Mick hall was the murder of my wife’s school mate Marie Wilson okay; she was the daughter of a shop keeper (a pretty classic petite bourgeois occupation) or maybe Douglas Deering my father in law’s friend, he was a shop keeper as well. I suppose that makes their murders okay in your world view does it? Do not try to tell me those two were murdered because they were middle class, it was because they were Protestants.

    Would my or my family’s death be part of the class struggle just because I live in a four bedroomed house with a big garden?

    As ever Mick hall falls nay leaps enthusiastically into the lie that the IRA were class warriors and not the sectarian bigots they actually were. That pseudo Marxist nonsense is used by those who wish to justify revolting murder. Tell me Mick Hall do only middle class people own collie dogs?

  • Harry Flashman

    When I say that the Republicans never factored in the Loyalists Mick, what I mean is that by the 1990’s the Provos realised that offing RUC or UDR men in single digits every other fortnight was never going to drive the Brits out of the occupied Six so the only alternative was to bring the war to the doors of the British people themselves so they started bombing London on a scale which Keenan back in the ’70s could only dream of.

    They knew that the British mainland was the Brits’ Achilles heel. They never realised that they had a similar Achilles heel in the undefended Nationalist housing estates of North Belfast and villages of Tyrone and North Armagh. If the IRA could strike terror among the English civilian population then so could the Loyalists among the Nationalist population. It would then simply be a horrific war of attrition and we would see who blinked first.

    It is actually to the credit of the IRA (yeah, you don’t hear me saying that too often) that they blinked first. They stuck by their Republican tradition and did not go in for a 1970’s ‘tit-for-tat’ sectarian war again, though as you rightly point out the sheer horror and incompetence displayed by the slaughter at Frizzel’s fish shop probably showed that they hadn’t a chance of winning such a campaign anyway.

  • percy

    Dave aka the dubliner
    the problem with your analysis is you’ve backed yourself into a corner, where you suppose republicans are on their knees, and their only hope is to beg unionists to accede to their wishes.

    I have to say that I don’t feel that way at all.
    Republican self-esteem is well up; we were the ones who have educated ourselves about the conflict and didn’t go in for tatoos.

    We’re in the best position to play the end-game and win it.

    Arise Dave, otherwise I’m going to have to thrash you like the howling dog you are, and really give you something to cry about. 😉

    That’s with fine humour between us MODS, so pls don’t get your knickers in a twist.
    I expect a good comeback from Dave ok?

  • Jo

    Yet again Slugger becomes a venue for hatred spilling over as a result of a human tragedy, the death of one of us i.e., a human.

    Could the editors, however newsworthy and markable it is, not offer a permament forum for perpetual hatred of people which hurts those who have been bereaved.

    I have seen hatred of people gored to death, because they happened to be an elected councillor.

    I have seen hatred poured on a man who died by his own hand for his beliefs. In none of this there is any respect, nothing that would be said in person, to those immediately affected.

    So please, desist.

  • Jo

    For the record, I am sorry this man is dead.

    Like all of us, he did wrong and he did right, in his life.

    He is gone. AS will we all be, someday.

  • turgon

    For me your anger with me seems to have got the better of you, or perhaps it is just my stupidity in not understanding your point, beyond I’m an arsehole.

    If you could point out what you actually disagree with in my post, then I will do my best to either challenge you or say you have a point. As to the death of your friends, why you feel the need to lay them at my door only you know, but if you wish to use the deaths of these people in your rant against me that is for you, I would however ask you to provide some evidence that I supported these killings so that I can refute your filthy slander.

    As to your four bedroom home, great I hope you and the family live happily within it, I to live in a cottage that I’m more that satisfied with, although it only has two bedrooms I’m afraid. I also have a lovely garden and an allotment which my family help me keep. However if we continue down this, life is great road, we may begin to bore sluggerites, do you not think?

    Let me make a presumption, what really get up your nose about my posts is that I [attempt] to defend working class people like me and mine, whether they are Catholic or Protestant is irrelevant to me as I am neither. For some reason you give me the impression that you feel that a working class man should not talk up for his class, Do you wish us to leave it to our betters, who ever they may be, you know the type of people who ruled the north from its inception until 69 when the lid blew off. The type of chaps who illegally invaded Iraq etc. In your dreams old son.

    You write about pseudo Marxists, what ever that may be. As it happens I am not a Marxist, although I have read his work and agree with his theories on surplus value etc; and I think the Communist Manifesto is one of history’s great pamphlets. Nor am I an authoritarian socialist who believes all power should be centralized and invested in the State, far from it in fact. But carry on, why let facts get in your way, I suppose in some circles cold war era smears are still considered witty.

    you are spot on.

  • Turgon

    Mick Hall,
    No I object to you describing sectarian killers who killed people for utterly sectarian motives as acting from something else. They were not working class revolutionaries in the way that socialism understands and lauds: no they were sectarian bigoted murderers who just happened to be working class. Apart of course from some of the country ones who were pretty wealthy middle class sectarian bigoted murders. The person who murders his wife or someone in a bar is first and foremost a murderer: his social class has little relevance. Thus with the IRA and the alphabet soup. They were first foremost and last sectarian criminals.

    Somewhere in there they may have been something about class but it was pretty well hidden under the sectarianism. They may have tried to convince some with mumbo jumbo about class war but as I said even when they murdered middle class people I somehow doubt they were killing them on the grounds of class. Not that any reason for murder is justified to my mind.

    As to what gets up my nose: it is your nauseating worship of thugs because they say something vaguely left wing at some point. I have no problem with working (or any other) class people standing up for themselves. When they murder people, however, I tend to get a bit annoyed. Trying to say that I object to working class people standing up for themselves is pretty pathetic and below even your usual attempts at justification.

    As to your house and allotments I am pleased for you. Just remember because of the IRA and the alphabet soup there are people who cannot enjoy that today. That is what I object to. Those criminals whatever the explanation for the times they lived in are personally culpable for their crimes. Pretending they were forced by events to commit those crimes is exactly the excuse given at Nuremberg or after the Rwanda massacres. It does not wash except maybe in the socialist dystopia you might wish upon us.

    There is of course at least one other group apart from the IRA which mixed nationalism with pseudo socialism. I sometimes wonder how far removed from them the likes of them your views are.

  • picador


    Basically you seem to be arguing that the British government’s decision to re-arm loyalist death squads in the 1980s paid off handsomely (except of course you fail to give the war criminal Thatcher and her cronies the credit that they deserve for this).

    When you say that the IRA ‘blinked first’ you mean that they weren’t prepared to re-ignite the sectarian tinderbox of the mid-1970s as, asides from being contrary to republican tenets, this would have blown SF’s electoral project out of the water.

    It’s a reasonable argument though one that Turgon seems too emotive to give credence to.

  • picador

    The rumour mill links Brian Keenan to a notorious ornothological expedition to Latin America.

    Today the Colombain government reports, not for the first time I might add, the death – by heart failure at the age of 80 – of Manuel Maralanda, a.k.a. Tirofijo (Sureshot), el máximo jefe (big chief) de las FARC.

  • picador

    FARC has just confirmed the death of Tirofijo on 26th March.

  • turgon

    There is obviously no wish on your part for civilized debate so I will leave you with few thoughts to rage over. I was once speaking to the wife of a northern unionist doctor in some god awful place, Tunisia I think if my memory serves me. When her husband went to the toilet, she told me to ignore the veneer of civilization her husband displays, for underneath he and his friends back home are as bigoted, if not more so that the boys who march up the Shankill road.

    She was right and since that day nothing has made me believe she was mistaken about a majority of middle class northern Unionists. Whilst working class loyalists may have some harsh things to day about their nationalist neighbors, it is in your face, not dressed up in bullshit, which I prefer any day.

    Your failure to answer any of the queries in my last post simply confirms my low opinion of middle class unionists. Not all by any means, but most.

    You rant about the utterly sectarian motives of others, pseudo socialism, socialist dystopia, and that people pretend they were forced by events to commit crimes which is exactly the excuse given at Nuremberg or after the Rwanda massacres. None of which in my judgment is relevant to our exchange.

    In fact in my eyes you have revealed yourself as a whining self justifying bigot who some how has concluded that unlike the rest of us your excreta does not stink.

    Then for me you finally hit the nail on the head, all who disagree with you on the left are in your eyes fascists, which in itself is extremely revealing, for not only is the class you belong to historically the core support base of mass fascist parties, but your intolerance and political gait has a hint of old Adolf about it.

    Heil Turgon, sluggers very own Black-shirt.

  • cynic

    Ah well, Mick, there’s an objective source then ….comments about a middle cross prod made by his wife while he was away having a piss in a Tunisian toilet. So that proves it …all proddies are bigots.

    Mick, forgive me, but the context sums up the strength of your argument.

  • cynic,

    You seem to have as much difficulty understanding my posts as I have with turgon’s, perhaps we should both quit before we dig ourselves into a hole. 😉

    I’m off to watch Inspector Lindley, I hope that is marxist enough for turgon, wouldn’t want to give the old boy the wrong impression.

    regards to all

  • cynic

    Perhaps you are right Mick….its too nice day to waste on politics

    Have a good one…..

  • Turgon

    Well Mick Hall I see that you accuse me of failing to answer your questions. Except that I rejected your nonsense about me being annoyed that a working class person was standing up for themselves. Or was that merely a rhetorical piece of class nonsense? Other than that and some other nonsense about Iraq there was nothing to reply to; incidentally I was never a supporter of the Iraq war but then I am middle class so I must support it (sorry I forgot).

    You on the other hand have insulted working class unionists telling us they are stupid and that Jim Larkin’s words should be engraved on people’s hearts. Hardly a peaceful or respectful remark. Then we have a rant about middle class unionists telling us that because of what one person said about her husband they are all bigots, with the rather pathetic weasel worded caveat of “most not all”. So I confirm your view of middle class unionists. Well there is a sweeping statement completely lacking in objectivity since you have no idea of who I am.

    As to who are fascists yes I call the IRA essentially fascist. If you wish to support IRA criminals and tell us they were not criminals you must be judged by those you choose to support. You then after denouncing me for introducing the concept promptly accuse me of it. You do not really do irony do you Mick Hall: is it too bourgeois?

    Since I have actually answered your questions just not to your liking let me ask Mick Hall: Do you regard the killing of middle class unionists as murder? Do you regard the killing of policemen in NI as murder? Do you identify the IRA as sectarian murders or as some sort of freedom fighters?

    If the answer to the above is that you opposed the IRA you might try doing something other than justifying and excusing their actions on this web site and might try not eulogising them as fighting some sort of class struggle rather than describing them as what they were and are: cowardly, bigoted criminals.

    You Mick Hall have dug yourself into the hole of justifying IRA murderers and then have not even the intellectual honesty to admit to it. Instead you say that the conflict was all the Brits and the unionists fault, the IRA’s response was entirely predictable and understandable and they had no alternative. Yet you become distressed when someone accuses you of supporting them. Ironically you might be deserving of slightly more respect if you admitted up front that you support them.

  • PeaceandJustice

    Mick Hall – “Whilst working class loyalists may have some harsh things to day about their nationalist neighbors, it is in your face, not dressed up in bullshit, which I prefer any day.”

    It’s a pity we have to put up with your own bullshit e.g. “I would however ask you to provide some evidence that I supported these killings”

    Did you support the Sinn Fein PIRA murder of these Protestants or not? I think we all know the answer given the weasel words you use in order not to give a straight answer.

  • Turgon

    I must dissent from your analysis about the “Brits” rearming loyalists and sending them out to kill nationalists and that paying off.

    At the start I will say that I think there was indeed collusion: however, I do not think it was that much.

    Remember the RUC arrested vast numbers of loyalists, more than and certainly it seems proportionally more than they did IRA members. Hardly likely if widespread collusion were occurring.

    Then there is the frequent utter incompetence of the loyalists. If the government had been supporting them on a large scale surely they would have trained them and so made them less (thankfully) incompetent. They might also have provided decent weapons rather than the often (again thankfully) useless devices that loyalists used (remember the attempts at loyalist gun factories).

    Then on the government’s motives and I think this is the fatal flaw in your argument. The government have always just wanted the problem to stop. They would not have known that the IRA would “blink first” and not go into a sectarian bloodbath. As such encouraging loyalists would have been a completely wrong headed strategy. The risks would have simply been too great. If the government were already in negotiations with the IRA, encouraging loyalist killing would simply have made the governments task (of appeasement in my view) more difficult.

    As it happens in my view what the government did accidentally increase loyalist violence. By entreating with the sectarian killers of the IRA they made it clear that being a criminal got one results and thus unsurprisingly the loyalists killed people to try to get something as well. Remember the chilling and utterly immoral words “Our mandate is the silence of the guns”.

    I do feel that by entreating with the criminal murderers of both sides the government foolishly and probably unwittingly prolonged the conflict. That is, however, not the same thing as collusion. It is merely foolish appeasement.

    I will not deny that there was collusion; I just find it difficult to sustain an intellectual argument that it was a widespread policy in view of the accepted facts of what happened ie the actual actions of the loyalists.

  • Prionsa Eoghan


    The period that you mention was the only time that I had heard people purporting to be Republicans seriously calling for retaliation, effectively the onset of real sectarian warfare. Sure they were a tiny minority, but it angered me that this could even be contemplated. Perhaps the re-modelling of Manchester city centre and parts of London was a small price to pay in the long run.

  • Steve

    Turgon you are a bigot it only akes reading your posts too show that, you are also a classist. Not crimes of course but it blinds you to certain truths, the unionist both started and caused the troubles, there is no effective arguement against this as its historically documented.

    Second the IRA were not sectarian killers they were indescriminant killers who’s main enemy just happened to be universally of the same sect. But since that sect used their collectiveness to exclude the nationalist from jobs, housing and even voting it begs the question who is really the sectarians.

    And yes Turgon I do believe that the IRA did not have a choice but to fight brcause I subscribe to the idea of

    Its better to die on your feet then live on your knees

    Since 1922 the unionists had inumerable opportunities to treat nationals with respect and equality they eschewed every opportunity until they were forced to by their beloved english government. Even now you(Turgon) advocate a return to croppie lay down, that has busted flush and I believe there will never be a return to that dark age of Irish history. Even if Greenflag’s dream of repartition was to occur and the new unionist supermajority teritory I hope the english have learned their lesson and won’t let your type abuse the Irish again.

    In all of this it is the english who bear the greatest shame, they knowingly allowed the unionist majority to abuse the nationalist minority and when push came to shove they joined in the abuse of the minority. They above all have no claim to the morral high ground

  • Turgon

    I always find it amusing that you call me a bigot etc. and then blame “The English”. The Welsh and Scots seem to get off lightly.

    As to the idea of the state from 1922 being flawed. Yes of course it was and it was bigoted and also discriminated against working class unionists though not by as much as it did against nationalists / catholics. I have stated this in blogs before.

    However, there were opportunities to change that. The Civil Rights association asked unanswerable questions of the unionist state and had violence not erupted I strongly suspect Westminster would have forced Stormont into major concessions. Even as it was by the mid 1970s Westminster had changed the nature of the state here for the better. The problem was that the IRA happily carried on murdering people (as did the alphabet soup).

    Unionist misrule may well have created the back drop for the troubles. Loyalist criminals certainly started it (as I have noted before). However, that does not mean that those who killed people are any the less personally culpable.

    Personally I do not think a united Ireland nor the maintenance of the union were or are worth anyone’s death.

    As to my advocating croppy lie down: yes of course actually I want them all to do my garden and starve in work houses. Grow up steve.

  • Dewi

    Turgon – you are a supporter of a party whose leader does not believe in power sharing with the SDLP even.


  • Turgon

    Well let us see. I am a supporter of the TUV. Try page 2 columns 1 and 2.

  • Dewi

    Thank you:

    “It’s unrepentant terrorists in government we object to, not democratic nationalists”

    That’s a legitimate philosophy. Would the TUV share power with the SDLP then Turgon? What’s your leader’s view on that?

  • Turgon

    Yet again I am handicapped by my utter unimportance in the party and hence, failure to know what Jim Allister is thinking. However, I am pretty sure (indeed practically certain) that he would (share power with the SDLP). If he came out and said he was opposed to power sharing with the SDLP or RCs in general I would simply leave the party.

    However, I know such views may distress those who love to hate me so let me shout No Surrender and Croppies Lie Down: happy now steve?

  • Dewi

    “If he came out and said he was opposed to power sharing with the SDLP or RCs in general I would simply leave the party.”

    Very pleased to hear that Turgon.

  • Steve

    I don’t particularily let the welsh and scots “off the hook” but lets be honest the UK is a construct of the english ruling class for the english ruling class.

    When I say english I don’t mean the great unwashed masses I mean those that view themselves as above the great unwashed

  • Turgon

    So steve it is just some English people. Which ones pray tell?

    What about those Scottish and Welsh landowners: do they qualify for honorary (or in this case dishonorary) English status?

    In terms of Britain being a construct for the English ruling class: well as far as I know there is a clear majority for maintenance of the union in Wales and England and there is still one in Scotland. We will not venture into majorities in Northern Ireland lest it distress you.

    I have to admit to finding it a bit amusing to have a Canadian explaining the intricacies of Northern Irish political history (and indeed explaining my own views to me) and now the views of the people of the constituent parts of the UK.

    By the way steve please do remind me that I want “Croppies (to) lie down.” You have not told me that I want that for a couple of hours; I might forget.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>as far as I know there is a clear majority for maintenance of the union in Wales and England and there is still one in Scotland.<

  • Dewi

    Tony – I think I’d “bring it on” now. Almost better with this bunch in power than the Tories.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Dewi, the auld gaurd never really defected at the last election. Most of the new SNP votes came from other parties. Scots are too loyal, leaving Labour, a party that they feel an almost religious devotion too is a bridge too far. The ones I know who still vote labour are mostly pensioners, they will not change. Honestly they would feel like washing if they walked out of the polls not voting labour.

    Much better if a Tory government in Westminster is scaring the bejeezus out of them I reckon. Don’t get me wrong, despite what the polls say i think we would win if held soon. The SNP are on the crest of a wave at the moment, who is to say that that wave might not have hit the rocks even with a Tory government in London. Thing is Scotland is now experiencing a Scottish government who has our best interests at heart. Not one doing the bidding of a party based in a foreign capital with all the expediency that entails. People recognise the difference……….Thank God! Let’s hope that that overcomes the inevitable scare campaigns by the Unionist parties.



    Well this thread has well and truly kicked off, who saw that coming, oh that’s right, we all did.

    I am remined of some words by Christy Moore.

    Faithful departed, look what you started…

  • Dewi

    “Soar Alba”

    And with oil going to $200 a barrel I’d accept Wendy’s kind invitation….Seriously – what an astonishing bunch of useless jerks – Scottish Labour Party should be on prime time comedy TV.

  • Prionsa Eoghan


    Remember what you said the other week about your clever cousins 😉 …………Patience is a virtue.

    A labour pollster speaking [off the record] at the last election reckoned that almost all the young voters rolling up in their family cars or skateboards (their words) were invariably voting SNP. Whereas the blue rinse brigade were in the main voting as they always had done, for Labour.

    Cold hard facts tell us that attrition and the maturing of voters less imbued in Labour will sway things our way.

    Seriously, at present it is a what if. With Cameron and the cold reality of births and deaths it becomes a certainty.

  • Steve


    I expedct your failure to see your choice of croppie lay down as entirely willful. When you propagated the idea that unionists shouldn’t respect nationalist’s choice of elected representatives you refused to accept nationalist choice because they didn’t coincide with yours. so croppies should beg your forgivness for disagreeing.

    you can talk all the self depricating and self moralizing shit you want but you are part of the problem not part of the solution.

    You are right I am Canadian but I am not Catholic or Protestant, nor naturally nationalist or unionist. I come at this with unbiased eyes and only an idiot would claim absolute neutrality but frankly those of us outside direct involvement are the only ones who can claim any kind of dispasionate analysis and funnily enough we fairly universaly come down on the side of republicans.

  • PeaceandJustice

    Turgon – “I have to admit to finding it a bit amusing to have a Canadian explaining the intricacies of Northern Irish political history (and indeed explaining my own views to me) and now the views of the people of the constituent parts of the UK.”

    I think you’ll find that Steve’s roots are from that well known part of Canada called Northern Ireland! He’s simply a cheerleader for murder, torture and ethnic cleansing.

    Mick Hall went very quiet. He must be thinking of a new set of words to say ‘nothing’. Very working class.

  • Steve

    peace and justice

    I am from Manitoba, born in Saskatchewan to a Saskatchewan father and a Manitoban mother.

    Find where i chearleadered murder I dare you? I believe that the IRA were frreedom fighters trying to free the Irish from the tyrany of unionism, I still would describe them as murderers, would you do the same for the state forces and their alphabet killer stooges?

  • PeaceandJustice

    To Steve .. whatever!

    The security forces had a difficult job protecting people from your friends in the Sinn Fein PIRA murder gangs. Only a small number were involved in illegal activities – otherwise the Sinn Fein PIRA leadership would not be around today. I have never supported terrorism of any kind.

    You are constantly making excuses for the Sinn Fein PIRA death squads. You’re a cheerleader for terrorism.

  • Garibaldy


    Aren’t unionists Irish? Hasn’t that been the position of those who want an independent Ireland, that unionists are Irish but just haven’t fully realised the fact?

    As for the weight of international opinion. While it might be in favour of a united Ireland achieved by peaceful means, the Provisionals were ostracised until they went down the path of peace, by all western governments and – apart from the odd instance – by the Soviet bloc too while it existed.

  • Gregory

    “Turgon – you are a supporter of a party whose leader does not believe in power sharing with the SDLP even. Why?”

    Well FF doesn’t want to share power with SF, though given their (SF) poll results they clearly didn’t have to,

    it ain’t wrong to object to power-sharing, it can turn into a provincial warlord grabbing a local urban centre and the Mayor of Kabul having to bless the developments as his US allies need the drug-traffickers, I mean local pro-govt forces to bash the tally ho types in the hills.

    And hear we get, well, it is a bit of a mess in a more subdued fashion.

    Why would anybody want to share power? Is it a goodie two shoes thing? It is an idea, if you buy it, well far-out,

    I don’t happen to buy it and the party I supported ( UUP) got blitzed last time around. So it is not as if the mood of the moment has influenced my preference.


  • Dave

    “the problem with your analysis is you’ve backed yourself into a corner, where you suppose republicans are on their knees, and their only hope is to beg unionists to accede to their wishes.” – Perky

    Is it not so? The Unionist Veto never had any moral legitimacy until ‘republicans’ conspired with the British government to confer that legitimacy on it by elevating it to the status of a principle and persuading heir voters to unanimously endorse it in a referendum, simultaneously downgrading the status of the principle of self-determination to an aspiration rather than a principle and a right.

    By elevating the Unionist Veto to the status of a principle, you have consolidated the removal of the constitutional issue from resolution by the two sovereign governments. True, the British government still holds sovereignty over the constitutional issue because it can repeal the Northern Ireland Act 1998 if both sovereign governments agreed to unity (as they are both entitled to do), but it no longer has the moral authority to do that.

    Indeed, if you were going to endorse the Unionist Veto, then you should have left it with Northern Ireland’s parliament rather than with Northern Ireland’s people, because it is far easier to get a majority of parliament of ratify controversial constitutional changes than it is to get a majority of the people to ratify them. This was a fatal tactical error that you simply will not overcome.

    The new agenda of Sinn Fein is a Redmondite agenda. It is to undo the work of the original Sinn Fein (from whom those gangsters stole the name) and to undo independence for Ireland. Redmond’s de jure position is Sinn Fein’s de facto but undeclared position: both promote a dual national identity that embraces British nationalism and Irish nationalism wherein Ireland had a devolved parliament but where the Queen was head of state. In short, Home Rule. Provisional Sinn Fein does not accept the legitimacy of the Republic of Ireland. So, having inoculated that culture of rejectionism into its supporters (dismissing the Republic of Ireland as the ‘free state’ and the ’26-counties’ etc), those supporters are not loyal to the Republic of Ireland and have no problem supporting agendas that require it to be dismantled and replaced with whatever best suits their own expediencies. To this end, they have been encouraged to see the removal of the border as the end in itself rather than as a means to an end. If the end is removal of Irish independence and rejoining the Commonwealth and the monarchy as was the position pre-1922, then sobeit.

    The agenda is not to get unionists to accept the legitimacy of the Irish nation state but to replace the Irish nation state with a bi-national entity. Shinners never saw the Unionists as being British, so their ideology never needed to accommodate that nationality. Accepting that they are, in fact, British is a positive step. However, they are now being used by their paymasters to promote the propaganda that accepting that Unionists are British means that British nationalism must have parity with Irish nationalism; and that, ergo, the Irish nation state must be dissolved to accommodate the new recognition. Wrong, of course, since the overwhelming majority are Irish and will retain their nation state, sovereignty, independence, and right to self-determination irrespective of whatever self-serving agenda that a bunch of touts and their paymasters promote.

    That’s just my best guess, and nothing more. 😉

    “Arise Dave, otherwise I’m going to have to thrash you like the howling dog you are, and really give you something to cry about. ;)” – Perky

    You know, Perky, ordinarily I don’t engage in conversation with folks who have crisscrossed shoelace scars on their foreheads indicating recent frontal lobe surgery, but how exactly are you going to do that when I’m standing on your floppy clown shoes and punching your bulbous red nose so hard that your noggin is busy bouncing back-and-forth off the tarmac like a helium-filled basketball, resulting in you seeing more stars than Hubble’s telescope, hmmmm?

  • Turgon

    Care to answer any of my points about the unity of GB beiung supported by the majority of its Welsh, English (and yes even) Scottish inhibitants? Or is it just the “English ruling class” keeping them all down.

    I was interested in your description of the IRA as both freedom fighters and murderers. When were they doing which? This is a typical construct to allow people to say that some of their crimes were part of the “war” and others simply murders. In reality, however, all their killings were murders. You cannot cherry pick their crimes: one cannot be an a la carte supporter of terrorist organisations.

    Their “Freedom fighting” was actually criminal murder and was consistently rejected by the population of Ireland both North and South, both Protestant and Roman Catholic. Support for their murder campaign was always a minority. They were “freedom fighters” in exactly the same was as other revolutionary terrorist organisations. They sought to impose a specific perverted form of narrowly nationalist and sectarian socialism (Nazism by any other name) on all the people of Ireland. This plan was rejected at the ballot box and rejected by the people of this island. Thankfully they (the IRA terrorists) have now stopped at least for a time. That is a victory for everyone on this island of whatever political viewpoint apart from their fellow tavellers and members. Freedom fighters they certainly were not.

  • Steve

    P&J;You are correct the security forces did have a diificult job protecting people from the PIRA murder gangs, but their job was to protect EVERYBODY from murder gangs not become one. They failed utterly and should be remembered with ignominy and shame

  • Steve


    I never said that the locals for the most part don’t support the government they have I said it was a construct of the english ruling class for the english ruling class. It is

    As for how they are both freedom fighters and murderers? The murders they commited brought international attention to nIreland and finally forced the english to act instead of ignoring a situation thet would have objected to if it occured in any other country but their own.

    Why did the Nationals werlcome the soldiers so warmly when they first appeared on the streets of nIreland? Its because for the first time in 50 years they expected to be treated like human beings, too bad the army also squandered this opportunity to put things tight. The war would have been over before it had truly began.

  • Turgon

    So steve, what of the NICRA: they seemed to be highlighting the undoubted problems in Northern Ireland quite successfully. The British government (or English ruling classes to continue your bizarre turn of phrase) were already putting very considerable pressure on the Stormont government for change. Unfortunately a group of terrorists began killing people (yes indeed loyalist ones) and the IRA also started killing people. That prevented peaceful progress. It is not quite as simple as your rather florid / infantile analysis suggests.

    Why can you not understand that peaceful change was preferable? Does that offend against the romance of the rebellion?

    As to nationalists not being treated like human beings: of course there was utterly unacceptable discrimination. However, time after time the nationalist population of Northern Ireland opposed their “liberators” (the IRA) and supported parties such as the SDLP.

    It must be really irritating that you clearly “know” that the IRA campaign was necessary to free the nationalist population of Northern Ireland but that those to be freed time after time rejected the sort of “freedom” offered by the IRA. That they rejected that form of “freedom” is of course hardly surprising considering that most nationalists opposed the murder of their unionist fellow citizens and of course also the murder of other nationalists; something the IRA was very fond of. They also tended to be opposed to the narrow nationalist / socialist (fascist) dystopia promoted by the IRA. Again hardly surprising.

    Try to get your head round the simple fact that unacceptable as the Stormont regime was to most nationalists they did not want the IRA “liberating” them from it. Even if they wanted a united Ireland they did not want it via the sectarian blood bath the IRA envisaged.

    And please stop telling us about the “English” ruling classes. Actually our current PM (surprisingly I must be one of his few fans) is Scottish. Jim Callaghan was Welsh, so was David Lloyd George, Michael Heseltine and others. Harold Macmillian’s family were Sottish originally.

    Edward Heath was a carpenter’s son, Margaret Thatcher herself (not that I was ever much of a fan) was English but the daughter of a shop keeper, not really part of the “ruling classes.”

    I have no doubt there are those who see themselves as the English ruling classes. They may well still have much more influence than their numbers merit. However, to think of the “English ruling class” as homogenous is utter nonsense and this society is no longer some sort of feudal state. Also of course these “ruling classes” are English, Scottish, Welsh and even Northern Irish. I am sorry if that impedes your Braveheart typed analysis of the UK but sadly the world is a little more complex than that.

  • Dewi

    Can’t resist – Callaghan wasn’t Welsh – from Porstmouth I believe.

  • Turgon

    Sorry Dewi, I stand corrected on that one: my only mistake in the list, however, I think.

    They are hardly all “English ruling classes”, I think you will agree. Unless of course in Steve’s world you and I have been promoted to that as well.

    Which university / school did you go to? I am sure steve might be able to find a way by which you fit into the “English ruling classes” if he tries hard enough. I am waiting to see how he will do that for me.

  • Steve

    Turgon I can understand and do understand that peacefull change was preferable but in 50 years it had not been accomplished and there was little evidence that there was any change coming

    NICRA was an excelent try and its too bad we will never know where it may have lead but it only affected cosmetic changes in its short life. It is too bad that the unionists were so scared of change that they prefered to shoot 14 innocent unarmed civilians instead of giving the Irish the rights that should have been theres by right of birth

  • Turgon

    Well Steve try explaining why the IRA were freedom fighters fighting for the freedom of the nationalist population of Northern Ireland yet that same nationalist population consistently rejected the IRA’s use of violence and murder.

    Maybe it was because the nationalist population, opposed to Stormont and its manifest failings as they were and supportive of the NICRA as they clearly were, were utterly opposed to the IRA’s campaign of murder against their unionist fellow citizens and their fellow nationalists (the IRA did rather a lot of that).

    You see most nationalists seem to have been opposed to Stormont and indeed to the union. However, they did not want liberated by a bunch of national socialist murderers and did not want to be “liberated” into the state envisaged by the IRA.

    It must be most annoying that you (from Canada) know what was best for the nationalist population of Northern Ireland yet they kept objecting to what you knew was necessary.

    Incidentally want to explain all those non English ruling classes people whom I mentioned in my last post. Are they actually secretly members of the “English ruling classes”. Actually Steve your remarks make only slightly more sense than David Icke and the blood drinking shape shifting lizard aliens.

  • Garibaldy

    Steve says NICRA achieved only cosmetic changes.
    This is plain wrong. An end to discrimination in housing; one person, one vote; the redrawing of electoral boundaries; the disarming of the RUC; the disbandment of the B Specials. All this was achieved by 1970 as a result of the peaceful civil rights campaign.

    In other words, the state as it had existed since 1921 was gone – Stormont could no longer enforce discrimination. Unfortunately, the violence resulted in some of these gains being rolled back, and further division among the people.

    And I ask Steve again. People who want an independent and united Ireland consider the unionists Irish. Why do you talk about them oppressing the Irish? Do you really mean Catholics?

  • Steve


    You are confusing the people you elect with the people who choose who you get to vote for


    I too consider them Irish its they that say they arent.

  • Turgon

    Try answering my point about nationalists not supporting the IRA’s own special brand of “liberation” or indeed Garibaldy’s point that NICRA achieved rather a lot before the IRA and alphabet soup managed to destroy a peaceful society which despite its many faults was changing and for the better and had not suffered almost 4,000 deaths.

  • Garibaldy

    Fair enough Steve. It’s just that that language – of unionists oppressing the Irish – can give the impression that the unionists do not belong in Ireland. It risks sounding like a reactionary and racialist interpretation of the situation in Ireland. I also think it knocks out some of the complexity in the situation, such as the discrimination practised against all working class voters in giving business people more than one vote, before NICRA succeeded in overturning that situation.

  • Steve


    Its plain enough to anyone that the unionists are as Irish as the republicans are, well except to the unionists atleast


    You mean people don’t support violence?? I am shocked shocked I say. NICRA made a start but all they accomplished were paper changes the Actual real physical changes to this day arent fully integrated into the system. If what the IRA accomplished is not appreciated by the general national population then maybe you could explain the migration of voting from the SDLP

  • Turgon

    Yes I am afraid the nationalist population did not at any stage give majority support to SF until after the IRA ceasefires.

    Even now the majority of SF uspporters state that they were opposed to the IRA campaign; and as a matter of fact I believe them. As to why they do then vote SF I can only speculate: maybe getting the best deal by voting for the most hardline party, maybe they feel by voting SF they minimise the risk of the IRA going back to violence, maybe they feel SF have changed. Maybe they feel the SDLP are achieving nothing and are increasingly irrelevant especially in view of the government’s tendancy to give a greater ear to SF.

    I do not know and cannot comment. However, simple fact: prior to the IRA ceasefires and for some time after them, the majority of nationalists did not vote SF but voted SDLP.

    As I said before the nationalist population of NI seem to have been remarkably unreceptive to “liberation” by the IRA. Maybe that was because they saw them as murderers who had murdered their fellow citizens both unionist (and frequently nationalist). Maybe most nationalists despite opposing their unionist fellow citizen’s politics did not want to see them dead. Maybe most nationalists objected to the murdering, intimidation and general criminality of the IRA. Maybe they did not want to be “liberated” into a national socialist state.

    I cannot give you an exact answer: maybe you can, after all you being in Canada must be much closer to Irish nationalists than I am and as such can tell why this happened.

  • percy

    I think you could be a great cartoonist with that imagination. But you’d never get near me, as you’d keep tripping over your own vanity.

    You really are down in a hole there, I was trying to get you out of it, as it happens; but it seems you want to stay there, and punch the lights out of anyone who cares to bring you up any higher.

    So enjoy the hole Dave you’ve dug for yourself.

  • picador


    Ah, the old ‘criminals’ line again.

    Here’s a number for you: 30,493
    And if that doesn’t mean anything here’s another: 1981

    Of course you are right that only a minority of nationalists aupported the IRA. In fact the people who suffered most because of the IRA were working-class nationalists. But clearly they did not view them as criminals either.


    In other words, the state as it had existed since 1921 was gone – Stormont could no longer enforce discrimination.

    Undoubtably NICRA made a few significant gains but try checking out employment statistics at the time. You also talk of the disbandment of the B Specials but neglect to mention the formation of the UDR.

    In the end The First Batallion of the Parachute Regiment finished off NICRA on the streets of Derry.

    And another question for Turgon:
    Who were the Paras biggest cheerleaders on Bloody Sunday?


    Its plain enough to anyone that the unionists are as Irish as the republicans are, well except to the unionists atleast

    The point is not so much that Unionists are as irish as republicans, more that unionists are not Irish as republicans are.

    A subtle but important difference.

  • Jo

    It took some time for the Provos to match the death toll at McGurks or BS. But, enough.

    This man did bad things. He is now dead.

    If you believe in Judgement, he has now met his own. If you don’t, you think he is dead and thats that.

    At various times of my life I may or may not have been a *legitimate target* for this man. I survived, as did he. I did not hate him during his life,nor did I wish him dead. In fact, his life lasted long enough to do some good, some wider service. There are some alive who want more killing.

    That he did other things in his earlier life, is a matter of record. He was not to be hated, he was to be undeerstood. As usual, we see death (which affects man others other than the dead) as a vent for hatred. Stop the hatred.

  • Garibaldy

    I did say Picador that some of those gains were rolled back, by which I meant the formation of the UDR and rearming of the RUC, which were the consequence of the continued violence from all sides.

    On the employment side of things, there are numerous issues to consider. Discrimination in public jobs was clearly going to be much more difficult at local government level following the reforms. But most discrimination actually took place in the private sector, and the laws that came about against workplace discrimination were part of a general trend at the time as much as for local circumstances. There remains a gap in employment, which means we should probably look at other reasons for the unemployment gap involvimg the location of industry etc given that anti-discrimination legislation has been around for so long now.

    I agree that Bloody Sunday fatally damaged the project of mass mobilisation pursued by NICRA. Having said that, it was not the violence but the rent and rate strike and boycott of Stormont that finally brought it down. In other words, mass peaceful action.

  • picador


    I think you may be indulging in a spot of revisionism there.

    The UDR were formed as a replacement for the B-Specials. The intetnion (a rather naive one I migth add) was that they would be ‘cross-community’. As we all know unionists like to have a militia.

    Stormont did not collapse because of a rent and rates strike (in any case rent and rates were payable to local councils) but because the British government took away its prized ‘security’ powers after the twin fiascos of Internment and Bloody Sunday. They (the British) eventually realised that sending the army in to support a corrupt, repressive and bigoted regime had been an unmitigated disaster.

    The success of the UWC strike and the support that the UUUC achieved at the polls demonstrates beyond doubt that Stormont was irreformable.

    Surely you are not going to give the Provos credit for bringing down the power-sharing executive but den them credit for bringing down Stormont?

  • Garibaldy

    I never gave the Provos credit for bringing down the power sharing executive (by which I assume you mean 1974). That was the loyalists.

    When I say the rent and rate strike and the boycott of Parliament brought down Stormont, it’s because it demonstrated that non-unionists had completely rejected Stormont as it was, and would never return to it. The final straw was indeed when London took security powers.

    The UDR was intended as you say, but without the violence from all sides it would never have been established. Such decisions were no longer just in Stormont’s power, especially as the UDR was part of the army, and therefore under control from London, unlike the Specials. Had the necessary reforms been made before August 69, so much could have been avoided.

  • Jo

    Yes, Gari and the reson they took those powers, or said they intended to, was because of Bloody Sunday. Ironic, really. British solideers masscare people and the British government takes on full control of everything, directly.

    I dont think proroguing Stormont could reasonably be linked to the rent and rates strike. The withdrawal of all trappings of legitimacy, in terms of a governemnt commanding support of people, started a process which led to Direct Rule.

  • Jo

    I apologise for the typos above. I have once again, lost me specs 🙂

  • mark doyle

    I think you have lost your marbles aswell .

  • Bakunin

    Who the hell was Brian Keenan?

  • Dave

    Percy, it’s very simple. Now that northern nationalists are beginning to recognise the reality of British national identity up to 15% of the island’s population and have agreed that those who hold that identity have a veto over their own aspiration for self-determination and have further agreed that the two sovereign governments should not have a right to unify the island if that veto says otherwise, the agenda for those who favour a united Ireland should be to persuade unionists why their sense of national identity would be better served by joining an Irish nation state than it would be by remaining within the United Kingdom, why being a minority in a unpartitioned island is better than being a majority in a partitoned one, etc.

    While I think the facts show that those who hold British nationality or any other nationality do not suffer injustice in an Irish nation state (a quarter of a million British people have chosen to live in it), I don’t think that pointing out those facts will help in the persuasion. Northern nationalists don’t really think that either, which is why they make no attempt to persuade. The only selling point as far as they are concerned is that the Irish nation state should be disbanded as per the GFA and replaced with whatever the suits those who are British.

    Really, do you honestly think that the citizens of the Republic of Ireland are going to allow a bunch of ne’er-do-wells up north who have contributed not a penny in taxation to the state decide what their ‘shared’ future is to be? The fact remains that 85% of the citizens of the Republic of Ireland do not share a sense of British nationality and so whatever basis you sell unity on must not be on the constitutional level and must be discreet.

    You could try pointing out that being a comely maiden dancing at the crossroads for 4 hours a day is no longer mandatory and that folks are more inclined to watch Eastenders than make programs about Irish culture, but that won’t make any difference to the fact that you’d still be a damned fool to vote for Irish unity if you are British since your sense of nationality will be better served by remaining within a British nation state than an Irish one, just like you be a damn fool to vote to dismantle the Irish nation state if your sense of nationality is Irish.

  • Dave

    By the way, constitutional level means no compromise on Irish independence, sovereignty, self-determination, etc, and does no mean any safegaurds that minority identities may feel enchances their own position without compromising the leitimate rights of the majority.

  • dub


    So you believe in repartition?

    And why do you keep on repeating that northern nationalist ne’er do wells negotiated this ghastly GFA when actually the prime negotiator on the Irish nationalist side was the Irish Govt. ER… it was the Irish Govt which moved the legislation through the Dail for the referendum to amend articles 2 and 3… it was the Irish Govt which abandoned, as per your argument, the right of all of the people of Ireland so self determine as one unit… so why do you keep on blaming northern nationalists? Who elected the Irish govt?

    You have still failed to identify those parts of the GFA which support your argument that a future UI would have to governed with equal respect for nationalism and unionism. It has been pointed out to you time and again that the agreement implicitly contemplates a UI with devolved govt in Belfast. You have accepted that this is what the mandarins in the DFA contemplate too. You erroneously argued then that this would mean no difference to ni as it would need complete absorption into Ireland to achieve its economic potential. You see, dave, post this type of UI, there will be Dail represenation for denizens of NI in through parties of govt like FF (that’s why they are going up there) and so its levers on economic power will be the same as any other region. Irish nationalism can easily recognise a locally based Ulster Scots identity in parts of Ulster without destroying itself. Perhaps you have noticed that the unionist party which espoused an all uk british identity has now been destroyed. The ascendant unionist party is now openly championing a local Ulster identity in the context of the island of Ireland and Irishness. Or perhaps you have missed all of Paisley’s comments over the last 18 mmonths or so?

    You are not seeing the wood for the trees…

  • dub

    sorry for typos…

  • I can’t be bothered to read all this, most of it utter rubbish, but has anyone answered this question: Wasn’t Brian Kennan the other side of the bogus coin which had Captain Robert Nairac on the other side, and below the portraits of both, this inscription:

    “The Men Who Won The Troubles!”

    When actually Nairac and Kennan types only extended them for a most belated negotiated settlement.

    It was people like the FRU, Thatcher et al. on one side, and Adams, McGuinness, Padraig Wilson, ‘Steak knife’ etc., on the other who did the real work.

    Nairac and Keenan are everyone’s fallguys now.

  • percy

    well now we’re on civilised terms we might proceed. Good 😉
    Dub makes some good points, so I hope to hear from you in reply to those.
    couple of things:
    From a historical perspective you can hardly expect these “n’er do wells” as you cruelly call them to have had any allegiance to the wholly sectarian state that was NI.
    Abandoned by the South they tried in 68′ to protest civilly as was in the USA, and we know that was met by force ie Burntollet and catholic persecution.
    Then in 72′ such was the snobbish and arrogant attitude of the British and Unionists we had Bloody Sunday: ” to teach the little bastards a lesson”.. so lets not go over the origins of the conflict.
    The morality was wholly on the side of Catholics/Nationalists.
    As to the conduct of the campaign, war is boody horrid; and its best to be dispassionate, and see what the aims were and methods used by both sides.
    Clearly the IRA sought to intensify its campaign after internment towards the mainland UK in an attempt to get the British to withdraw.
    Thatcher resisted and continued with a criminalisation policy towards those involved in a political struggle. She outraged world opinion by allowing the hunger strikers to die.
    During the 80’s the IRA tried to up the ante with going for military and economic targets. But with the rise of the loyalist paramilitaries and their collusion with crown forces and infiltration Adams realised a military sruggle would not bring about the required result. And as one poster here said, it was either a continuing tit-for-tat killings here in the North, or another way had to be found. A political route. So SF stood in elections.
    When thatcher left and Major came in progress towards political recognition began.
    Then Blair took on the mantle and we have the GFA with IRA decommissioning, no mean feat and finally St.Andrews with recognition of the PSNI.

    As to the future, we have to bide our time; there are legacy issues to be dealt with like the victims comission, and new leaders to bed down.
    FF in the North, and economic realities of the global market to contend with.

    I expect you’ll start seeing a true debate next year on where do we go from here. Even unionists are not that happy with Stormont, there not being any opposition. So Republicans will have to make their case.

    Finally I don’t see the British ID thing as immutable. As dub said above unionists are opting now for a more “Ulster ID “, which is much better for them.
    They’ve little in common with the Brits, and are not really loved by Britisn, so its a wise move to reclassify their ID to promote a better sense of self-esteem.
    Paisley acknowledges his Irishness, and what with Scotland forcing the debate, we can start to see how devolution marks the road to final self-determination for Scotland , Wales and Ireland.
    All independant and all within Europe.

    So its a case of slow and steady wins the race!!!
    A united ireland is an evolutionary concept, and I see many signs that we are evolving into it.
    Alright Dave?
    Where did you get that moniker from I wonder 😉

  • Steve


    you have stated as fact the most basic of lies

    Unionists do not have a veto as long as they can maintain a majority they can frustrate united Ireland types but this does not constitute a veto as soon as it is a minority position unionism is done


    They’ve little in common with the Brits, and are not really loved by Britisn, so its a wise move to reclassify their ID to promote a better sense of self-esteem.

    I’m not convinced that a policy of patronisation is going to convince me to vote for a United Ireland.
    MAybe repubicans are just working through every methd that will fail, until they’re left with something that will work, or they’ll finally accept that Northern Ireland is part of the UK, and is gong to remain so.

    “I would prefer we were somewhere else but we are not..”

    At least Keenan was able to see the situation for what it is.

  • Dave

    “And why do you keep on repeating that northern nationalist ne’er do wells negotiated this ghastly GFA when actually the prime negotiator on the Irish nationalist side was the Irish Govt.” – dub

    It’s true that much of the GFA was rubberstamped by the parties in Northern Ireland, and that the ‘mutual consent’ angle was first included in the Downing Street Declaration which formed the basis for those negotiations, but that does not mean that nationalists did not endorse the Unionist Veto. They did. I agree that the Irish government sold northern Ireland’s nationalists down the river at the behest of the British government, since it was the British government insisted that the Ireland Act 1949 be honoured (the fudge was in the rebranding of it – and its veto – as the Principle of Consent, rebranded as the Irish Dimension in the DSD and later rebranded as the PoC). However, I fail to see how any of that is relevant, since I don’t support the GFA and, ergo, do not support the Irish government’s weakness or the foolishness of the nationalists in Northern Ireland who endorsed it.

    “ER… it was the Irish Govt which moved the legislation through the Dail for the referendum to amend articles 2 and 3… it was the Irish Govt which abandoned, as per your argument, the right of all of the people of Ireland so self determine as one unit… so why do you keep on blaming northern nationalists?”

    Who is blaming them? I’m blaming the gangsters they voted for and pointing out what they have unwittingly let themselves in for by trusting them. The Downing Street Declaration made the promise to Sinn Fein that they would be allowed into the talks if they gave up violence and agreed to the rebranding of the Unionist Veto as the being a positive new development for nationalists instead of being a straightforward acceptance of the Unionist Veto and a demotion in the status of their own right to self-determination to an aspiration. Indeed, not even the Irish government had the brazen cheek to refer to the Unionist Veto as a “principle” in the Downing Street Declaration – that elevation in its status came in the GFA talks wherein the governments were not protagonists but, rather, brokers.

    “Who elected the Irish govt?” – dub

    Who voted for the GFA? Hint: they weren’t the same electorate who voted to amend Articles 2 & 3, nor are they the same electorate over which the Unionist Veto is held.

    “You have still failed to identify those parts of the GFA which support your argument that a future UI would have to governed with equal respect for nationalism and unionism. It has been pointed out to you time and again that the agreement implicitly contemplates a UI with devolved govt in Belfast. You have accepted that this is what the mandarins in the DFA contemplate too.” – dub

    You are being disingenuous here. You accept that the GFA rules out Irish unity on any terms other than as a federation. It rules out integration because it can only be integrated if British nationalism is granted parity with Irish nationalism, thereby mandating the dissolution of the Irish nation state.

    “You erroneously argued then that this would mean no difference to ni as it would need complete absorption into Ireland to achieve its economic potential. You see, dave, post this type of UI, there will be Dail represenation for denizens of NI in through parties of govt like FF (that’s why they are going up there) and so its levers on economic power will be the same as any other region.”

    Northern Ireland can never be a viable entity unless it is fully integrated into the Republic of Ireland. No one in the Republic is going to vote for ‘unity’ where everything remains the same in Northern Ireland but changes profoundly in the Republic because the burden of raising an extra 10 billion a year in taxation to pay for it passes to the Irish taxpayers along with the jurisdiction. How exactly is Northern Ireland going to become self-supporting after unity but not before when nothing changes? Your logic here is non-existent.

    “Irish nationalism can easily recognise a locally based Ulster Scots identity in parts of Ulster without destroying itself.” – dub

    Then why hasn’t it done this in Northern Ireland? Remember, nothing changes post-unity in the federal entity as per equality of nationalisms within the GFA. The causes of the conflict are still there, just shifted slighty to one side from the other. You are talking about sprinkling magic pixie dust here and hoping for a miracle.

  • Dave


    “Perhaps you have noticed that the unionist party which espoused an all uk british identity has now been destroyed. The ascendant unionist party is now openly championing a local Ulster identity in the context of the island of Ireland and Irishness. Or perhaps you have missed all of Paisley’s comments over the last 18 mmonths or so?” -dub

    I agree with you here to some degree. Unionism is both a positive and a negative basis for national identity: it is predicated on being British and on not being Irish. However, I have been taken aback by Paisley’s comments but recovered my faculties when I noticed how quickly Paisley and his ‘new unionism’ was disposed of by old unionism. Irishness doesn’t have to be exclusive with Britishness. I don’t support any attempts to socially engineer a dual identity such as the ghastly British Council. In fact, I have absolute contempt for such engineering.

    My approach is to show that British national identity is compatible with living within an Irish nation state. So, I would see them as British (if that’s what they tell me they are), but I wouldn’t see that as meaning that the nation state is an oppressor or British nationality and that it should be dissolved. Indeed, they only reason we don’t laugh at that propaganda is because we are beginning to take it seriously thanks to British manipulation of our media and political system. British people, like Polish people, are just another ethnic group within an Irish nation state. The days when the main minority ethnic group was just British are long gone. They’re just one of many and nothing more. To misquote Father Ted, “Co-owners of the island, my arse.”

    “So you believe in repartition?” – dub

    That’s the only practicable outcome of the GFA, isn’t it? If you claim that British nationalism must have parity with Irish nationalism, then you can only have that parity within two separate nation states. Don’t forget how much of this GFA ‘peace process’ was just horseshit and fudges that had a short-term expedient purpose of enabling the surrender of a murder gang that was hollowed out from with. That horseshit isn’t a solid basis for a new philosophy or how humans are to live in peace, harmony and economic prosperity happily ever after – even if the jackasses who earn a living from the new dispensation insist on telling you that it is. Don’t forget that you won’t get anything unless British Intelligence want you to have it.

    Percy, I’ll agree with much of what you say because I’ve used up my typing quota on this reply. 😉

  • Dave

    “It was people like the FRU, Thatcher et al. on one side, and Adams, McGuinness, Padraig Wilson, ‘Steak knife’ etc., on the other who did the real work.” – Trowbridge H. Ford

    As a professor of politics, I wonder if you would see a purpose for Northern Ireland’s terrorist environment in relation to the project outline in the PDF file below, since all of the murder gangs seemed to be controlled by the British government, do you think their could have been an experimental purpose for it all?


  • I would be happy to answer your question, Dave, if my computer considered the download safe. Could you provide another link?

    I do believe that the British government infiltrated so many republican and loyalist paramilitary groups, ones that became increasingly involved in crime to fill their pockets, and keep their organizations afloat that the British authorities did so too.

    And, by the way, I am no longer a professor of politics of any kind. I gave that up in 1986 when I retired voluntarily from Holy Cross College because of its political correctness, limits on free speech, and calls for going along with colleagues I had no respect for, refusing even to have any emeritus status with the institution.

  • picador


    Good to see you back.

    I’m off to Portugal shortly. Would you be able to recommend any good restaurants over there? I like food of the Oriental kind.

  • Never left, picador. Just don’t see much to talk about here, given the poor fare the administrators generally provide, and then cut off if anything develops. They seem to want to avoid sharp discussions about almost anything.

    As for Thai food in Portugal, I would recommend Supatra in Caldas da Rainha. I see no reason for you to worry about what they might serve.

  • spelling_bee


    Why are you whittering on incessently about the Ireland Act 1949? The relevant provision of that Act, s.1(2), was repealed by the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973. Section 1 of the 1973 Act established the principle of consent and the provision is replicated by section 1 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

  • Dave

    Well, at least you don’t dispute my point that the Unionist Veto was rebranded as the Principle of Consent. The purpose of the change of name being to hoodwink the gullible into supporting that which was previously overwhelmingly rejected by nationalist Ireland, with Dáil Éireann making a cross-party declaration opposing the Ireland Act 1949 as a consolidation of partition:

    [i]”Dáil Éireann,

    SOLEMNLY RE-ASSERTING the indefeasible right of the Irish nation to the unity and integrity of the national territory,

    RE-AFFIRMING the sovereign right of the people of Ireland to choose its own form of Government and, through its democratic institutions, to decide all questions of national policy, free from outside interference,

    REPUDIATING the claim of the British Parliament to enact legislation affecting Ireland’s territorial integrity in violation of those rights, and

    PLEDGING the determination of the Irish people to continue the struggle against the unjust and unnatural partition of our country until it is brought to a successful conclusion;

    PLACES ON RECORD its indignant protest against the introduction in the British Parliament of legislation purporting to endorse and continue the existing partition of Ireland, and

    CALLS UPON the British Government and people to end the present occupation of our six north-eastern counties, and thereby enable the unity of Ireland to be restored and the age-long differences between the two nations brought to an end.”[/i]


    What has changed by accepting the Unionist Veto is that nationalist Ireland now fully accepts the legitimacy of partition, accepting that. It just shows how control of the media can work wonders when brainwashing the masses.

    Trowbridge, here is a link to the Google ‘Read as HTML’ link to the PDF file:

    If that doesn’t work, you might find it elsewhere as “Terrorism in Western Europe: An Approach to NATO’s Secret Stay-Behind Armies.”

  • Dave

    Truncated sentence: “What has changed by accepting the Unionist Veto is that nationalist Ireland now fully accepts the legitimacy of partition, accepting that [i] northern Nationalists do not have an inalienable right to self-determination whereas British people in Northern Ireland do.”[/i]

    Still, I guess it is less offensive if you vote yourself into the position of a second-class citizen.

  • kensei


    Well, at least you don’t dispute my point that the Unionist Veto was rebranded as the Principle of Consent.

    They aren’t the same thing. One is that Unionists can block the formation of an All Ireland state, as long as they are of sufficient number. The other is 50%+1 is required. The difference is important.

  • Dave

    They all amount to exactly the same thing. The Ireland Act 1949 gives the veto to Northern Ireland’s parliment. The Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973 gives the veto to the people via a poll. The Northern Ireland Act leaves the veto with the pople also via poll but elevates the veto to the status of a principle, and the nationalists endorsed it via the GFA. The Unionist Veto is now the only game in town.

  • Steve

    So dave unionists votes count 2 to 1?

  • Steve

    To me it sounds like the act gives the right to self detirminartion to all citizens of nIreland right now unionists ouut number nationalists but that does not constitute a veto by any stretch of the imagination

  • Dave

    Steve, I’m sure this is boring to most folks if they are operating within a mindset that informs them that the law is not relevant because they assume that rights exist independently of law, and that principles are really just pragmatic expediencies that may be held dearly when advantage is conferred and discarded when it is not. Ergo, as Groucho said, “These are my principles; and if you don’t like them, I have others.” Good luck with that mindset if you are afflicted with it (as are the majority of northern nationalists), but you’ll find that the law is absolute so you’re bound by whatever you agree to and make into law.

    You’re welcome to play spot-the-difference:

    [b]Ireland Act 1949 [/b]

    (2) It is hereby declared that Northern Ireland remains part of His Majesty’s dominions and of the United Kingdom and it is hereby affirmed that in no event will Northern Ireland or any part thereof cease to be part of His Majesty’s dominions without the consent of the Parliament of Northern Ireland.

    [b]Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973[/b]

    1. It is hereby declared that Northern Ireland remains part of Her Majesty’s dominions and of the United Kingdom, and it is hereby affirmed that in no event will Northern Ireland or any part of it cease to be part of Her Majesty’s dominions and of the United Kingdom without the consent of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland voting in a poll held for the purposes of this section in accordance with Schedule 1 to this Act.

    [b]Northern Ireland Act 1998[/b]

    (1) It is hereby declared that Northern Ireland in its entirety remains part of the United Kingdom and shall not cease to be so without the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland voting in a poll held for the purposes of this section in accordance with Schedule 1.

    [b]Belfast Agreement (GFA)[/b]

    (ii) recognise that it is for the people of the island of Ireland alone, by agreement between the two parts respectively and without external impediment, to exercise their right of self-determination on the basis of consent, freely and concurrently given, North and South, to bring about a united Ireland, if that is their wish, accepting that this right must be achieved and exercised with and subject to the agreement and consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland;

    Found any difference yet? There is none: the Unionist Veto is restated in all Acts, albeit in modified forms.

    Why do you think Articles 2 & 3 were amended? It was because Bunreacht na hÉireann laid claim to the territory of Northern Ireland. That claim ran counter to the Unionist Veto in the Government of Ireland Act 1920 because it did not say that the status of Northern Ireland was a discretionary privilege of its citizens: it said Northern Ireland was Irish, not subject to any veto. Those articles had to be amended in order to remove the conflict with the Unionist Veto – the veto that Northern Ireland’s nationalists endorsed in the GFA. Why do you think unionists love their veto? It’s because the majority of that illegitimate entity are British. Naturally, they want the consent of the majority (themselves) over others who are Irish. Now they have it, and you folks gave it to them.

    I can’t be arsed restating the principle of self-determination or why it is inextricably linked to a sovereign territorial entity, or why you renounce your right to self-determination when you renounce your claim to the territory, but I suggest you Google it.

  • Dewi

    Dave – what did you do with yourself on your break?

  • I just lost a long e-mail about Stay-Behind-Forces in Europe when Olof Palme was assassinated, thanks to the link breaking while I was writing it, so I will just give the short answer.

    Stay-Behind-Forces were involved in making the Soviets look like the culprit by the CIA tempting Soviet spy Stig Bergling to leave Stockholm when it occurred, but he declined, leaving the covert MI6 plot without a convincing suspect since the real assassin, Captain Simon Hayward, had already made his successful getaway.

    Then Stay Behind Forces played apparently the role of Soviet ones on the borders with Finland and Sweden until the attempt to blamed it on Moscow through Bergling had clearly failed.

    Then Oswald Le Winter, for NATO’s role in Stay Behind Forces, tried to make it look as if a Swedish business group, connected to the Stay-Behind-Forces, arranged it, but Le Winter’s documents, whether real or forged, contradicted themselves on this most important matter, making it look as if the Thatcher and Reagan governments were behind it.

    Enough said.

  • Steve

    Dave I dont see any veto implied or stated