Paisley and Prospero

At the end of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Prospero turns to the audience and says “Now my charms are all o’erthrown And what strength I have’s mine own.”

Now at the end, it seems, of his political career (I believe he is going next Thursday, though I here his farewell bash is tomorrow, so I had better hurry to get my ticket) Dr. Paisley is lauded at the Boyne along with Ahern. Paisley has received numerous accolades since agreeing to enter power sharing with SF (admittedly none weirder than Oldie of the Year). Paisley has been celebrated by both Tony Blair and George Bush, yet amongst some hard line unionists and possibly even some in his party his “charms are all o’erthrown.”
A vast amount has been written about why Paisley went into the agreement. Some who support the agreement have seen him as wishing to have a “positive” legacy, it has even been suggested that he now feeling that he will soon meet his Maker wants to “redeem” himself. I would suggest that the first might be true but more likely betrays a failure to understand the world view of people like Paisley and latter shows a complete misunderstanding of fundamentalist Protestant theology.

More cynical voices have suggested that Paisley was interested in power for himself alone and as such opposed every agreement until there was one which would leave him as First Minister. One might even see the change in the voting arrangements for the First Minister’s post as an attempt to ensure that unionists would have to make the DUP the largest party within unionism and hence give Paisley the first minister-ship lest it fall to Sinn Fein.

Dr. Paisley himself seems at times to have veered between two alternative though not necessarily mutually exclusive reasons for going into power sharing with Sinn Fein. At times he has said that this was a great deal for unionism and that his pledge to “Smash Sinn Fein” has been effectively achieved with IRA decommissioning and SF now supporting the police. At other times the explanation has been somewhat less triumphant and he has raised the spectre of Plan B which, we were told, would result in defacto joint sovereignty.

Unionist opponents of the current agreement have tended to be most suspicious of these Paisley explanations; most anti agreement unionists would probably accept that St. Andrews is an advance over the Belfast Agreement. However, this advance is seen as a small incremental advance and nowhere near the renegotiation which the DUP appeared to be seeking when they became the majority party within unionism and effectively took over negotiations on behalf of the unionist community.

Equally anti agreement unionists have been most sceptical of Paisley’s explanation of the dreaded Plan B. Jim Allister has pointed out that Paisley never told him anything of the substance of this Plan B when he (Allister) was arguing against the agreement from within the DUP. Others have pointed out that Paisley has never been one to waver before threats and blackmail from anywhere, including from the British Government. As such anti agreement unionists (often once amongst Dr. Paisley’s most ardent supporters) tend to feel that he was bewitched by the lust of power and was happy with an agreement which would make him leader.

There might be one other partial explanation as well, however. Paisley denounced the previous compromises suggested by O’Neill, Faulkner after Sunningdale or Trimble after the Belfast Agreement. He even denounced Jim Molyneaux as “Judas.” On each of these occasions, however, Dr. Paisley was on the outside. On each occasion the leader or leaders of unionism (but not Paisley) had felt the full weight of the persuasion of the British government, often backed up by the weight of Irish, and United States governments’ opinion along with the international pressure for a “solution”. On each of those occasions according to hard line unionists the leader of unionism had buckled and given ground, ground which should not have been given. On each occasion amongst the first to cry “Lundy” was Paisley himself. Each time when a unionist leader seemed like the defeated Shylock to say “Send the deed after me, And I will sign it” (Merchant of Venice IV, i) there was Paisley; seen by many as a rock, indeed a place of refuge. As once of my more lyrical friends once (almost blasphemously) put it “We are safe beneath Paisley’s wings.”

This time, however, it was different. It was Paisley who felt the weight of all the flattery combined with threats of Plan B. Jonathan Powell and others have recounted how Paisley was flattered by Blair, how Paisley gave Blair bible tracts for Euan Blair, how pleased Paisley was when the likes of George Bush telephoned him at the British government’s behest. It is also recounted that Paisley had numerous meetings with Blair without other DUP leaders. This was the very error I can remember Trimble saying that Jim Molyneaux committed with John Major and at least at the start of Trimble’s negotiations he always took the likes of John Taylor with him. It seems maybe that under this combination of flattery, charm and threats the old man buckled and bowed the knee to the agreement.

Certainly many previous unionist leaders have done much the same but it is hard to imagine Dr. Paisley in what rejectionist unionists would regard as his pomp being as receptive to that combination of flattery, bribery and bullying. Maybe age has wearied him and the years condemned: either that or he just wanted a place in history or the power or some combination of all these. I suspect no one other than Paisley (if even he) knows why he did his political somersault.

I will leave you with Prospero’s final words “As you from crimes would pardoned be, Let your indulgence set me free.” At the end of the play Prospero waits for the audience’s applause. Dr. Paisley has had much applause during his prolonged departure and I have no doubt he will get even more applause in the days to come but not always from the people who helped him in times past and not all of those who stood there when he boomed “Never, Never, Never, never.”

  • Turgon, I’ve put this to you before but I’ve not yet seen a reply.

    What could the TUV do to stop a ‘Plan B’? Their kinsmen didn’t stop Thatcher and Fitzgerald in 1985 and IMO they don’t have the leverage to stop their successors should they decide to leave Unionists outside the tent.

  • Turgon

    Nevin,
    I do not think a Plan B that is as bad as Paisley was suggesting was likely and is now, in my view, even less likely.

    In view of the principle of consent true joint sovereignty would seem utterly counter to what the two governments have promised.

    Also since such a Plan B would not involve terrorists in government it would have one colossal advantage over the current system in my eyes. a second advantage might be less non decisions. A third (which you might like) would be less access for developers and the like to politicians and less possibility for the fear of corruption.

  • graduate

    Jim Allister wasn’t arguing too hard about SF in government, he was arguing about timing to ensure their bona fides, as propounded by his Dromore candidate on H&M;some time back.
    As i’ve said on another thread TUV has some choice characters with dodgy backgrounds in its ranks so is it just republican terrorists you object to? Or would you agree that the UVF/UDA/et al need to pack away their guns and play nice with the other children?
    Also, if you look at any other peace process the terrorists always end up in government and in some cases become the most able ministers( I’m thinking of the Israelis here following their fight wiht the Brits just before Israel came into existence in 1948). Just out of curiosity is it not more accurate to say that the Shinners are FORMER terrorists rather than current (being pedantic, but it goes to the heart of the matter)
    How do you know the two governments wouldn’t have gone for joint sovreignty? Cos they’re the good guys and believe in the principle of consent? Yeah, right! LOL

  • graduate

    Jim Allister wasn’t arguing too hard about SF in government, he was arguing about timing to ensure their bona fides, as propounded by his Dromore candidate on H&M;some time back.
    As i’ve said on another thread TUV has some choice characters with dodgy backgrounds in its ranks so is it just republican terrorists you object to? Or would you agree that the UVF/UDA/et al need to pack away their guns and play nice with the other children?
    Also, if you look at any other peace process the terrorists always end up in government and in some cases become the most able ministers( I’m thinking of the Israelis here following their fight wiht the Brits just before Israel came into existence in 1948). Just out of curiosity is it not more accurate to say that the Shinners are FORMER terrorists rather than current (being pedantic, but it goes to the heart of the matter)
    How do you know the two governments wouldn’t have gone for joint sovreignty? Cos they’re the good guys and believe in the principle of consent? Yeah, right! LOL

  • ZoonPol

    May he have an interesting retirement.

  • Turgon

    graduate,
    I am a member of the TUV. I have no position of any sort in it and in no way have anyone’s ear.

    I speak for myself (indeed myself alone)

    In terms of my views on loyalist paramilitaries I have done repeated blogs denouncing them and all their works. I will not waste time providing you with the links but there have been at least half a dozen specifically on my utter rejection of them and all their works.

    In terms of the “peace process” you get to the heart of my disagreement with your analysis. I oppose this agreement and the “process”. That does not mean that I am in favour of killing people but it does mean I am opposed to the murderers and their godfathers being in government. It is perfectly democratic to say that I would not share power with them. That merely means that I would exclude myself from any government in which they were present. My judgement is that in any Plan B there would be less increase in Dublin involvement than people think. If there was increased Dublin involvement I would not be happy. However, I am more opposed to terrorists in government than anything else.

    This is not a new position for me. I have been arguing this in the comments section for over a year and as a blogger for almost six months.

  • Turgon, it would appear that the developers had plenty of access outside of devolution and that there were plenty of non-decisions.

    TUV is presented with a choice between terrorists in government and the two Governments dancing to the terrorist tune under joint Direct Rule. Which one do you think it could live with?

  • joeCanuck

    Turgon,

    I have seen you proposing those two alternatives for Paisley’s turnabout before.
    I think it is perhaps much simpler – he was outclassed and outmanoeuvered. A towering intellectual giant he is not. He was never anything more than a simple street rabble rouser. Pretty successful in that, granted. But not exactly the person Unionists were best off with in complex negotiations. Unionist has virtually destroyed itself by ignoring what other successful political parties have had to do as things changed in the world, for most part outside of their direct control. They have had to reinvent themselves; Unionism remained stuck in the 19th Century (and earlier). They have virtually no friends, either in the UK and certainly not in the wider world. The only leader of note that they had in the last 60 years, who saw the need for change, was Trimble, and we saw what happened to him. Without a complete change in mindset, they are going to become an anomaly in a united Ireland within the next 50 years.

  • The Raven

    Gosh. As someone from the P/U/L community, I guess I’d better leave now, cos it looks like there’s no place for me or me kin.

    Who’d have thunk it?

  • Driftwood

    I’m not a fan of TUV or Jim Allister, even if, like Bob McCartney he talks the talk sometimes. But I am a fan of bringing back direct rule. – Who cares if Dublin have an advisory role?
    Ruane is pathetic, and Arlene Foster almost matched her for incompetence on H&M;tonight. The rest of Stormont are , at best rabbits caught in headlights, more likely , expenses fiddling dunces. The global economy is in freefall, and these jokers are living the life of Reilly. Not saying Westminster or Leinster House are not living the high life, BUT, 106 dodos living behind closed mansion. Fuck it. It’s not worth it.

  • Driftwood

    Should have added
    DUP/SF/UUP/SDLP, *all* feathering their own nests for short term gain.
    I don’t know about Alliance, but they are hardly exempt from New Labours move to the right.
    There needs to be a good thread, started here, on the new economic outlook in which we find ourselves, in NI and further afield. Paisley is not going to struggle for fuel allowance FFS, nor or any of the prats on the hill.

  • joeCanuck

    Whatever do you mean, Raven? You’ve confused me for one!

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “Maybe age has wearied him and the years condemned: either that or he just wanted a place in history or the power or some combination of all these. I suspect no one other than Paisley (if even he) knows why he did his political somersault.”

    Perhaps like Prospero after a life of conjuring a Tempest over the land and it’s people, he drowned his book of spells and renounced his diabolical ‘black’ magic.

    Pragmatism won in the end!

  • McGrath

    Power sharing, the UUP, Alliance, SF, SDLP, the British Government, the Irish Government, the US Government and even the rank and file of the DUP were for it. All that stood in the way was a doddering megalomaniac and his eyes were easily clouded by GW Bush etc blowing a little smoke up his arse.

    The TUV-ites now recoil in the realisation that Mr Paisley never really had the moral stringency he bawled about all his career and they are sickened further to find out they were used for floatation and then traction in one individuals self serving ambition.

    I look forward to Peter Robinson.

  • aquifer

    Paisley’s sectarian rantings rendered the Union indefensible for the English, the people that mattered. Too many unionists were emotionally comfortable with his alienated intransigence when they really needed to get out, make friends, and influence people. His bluster and backstabbing of more competent unionists in the face of the systematic Provo armed propaganda onslaught was an irrelevant indulgence. His actions reinforced Provo political analysis by complementing it and probably prolonged their armed campaign. He is an emotive genius, but a political train wreck. Good riddance.

  • Wolfe Tone

    To draw further on the Prospero/Paisley analogy, I wonder how many of those who hung on the words of Dr. Paisley now look back and think, as Caliban did, ‘You taught me language, and my profit on ‘t / Is I know how to curse.’

  • darth rumsfeld

    Plan B- that would be B for bollocks

    Ah yes, well frankly my answer to plan B would have been to say “Bring it on”. There was no serious plan B, and any half-baked attempt to bring the smack of firm government onto recalcitrant Unionists would only put the Prods back outside the tent-even farther than in 1985.
    Where’s the tactics in that?
    Brown doesn’t have the attention span, or the troops to control an angry lumpen Prod rebellion, even on the scale of early Drumcrees.

    Of course we would all lose in such a scenario. It’s not to be sought, but since so much of the negotiations were predicated on different types of threat from all the parties except the poor old Unionists, is it any wonder Trimblea nd then Paisley were coshed?

    Ironically the government had no option but the Agreement after embarking on inclusive government with terrorists. Political strategists in an environment of supposed mutually assured destruction ought at least to have extracted some practical concessions instead of the cringeworthy climbdown post St Andrews

  • Aquifer, you beat me to it. The only good thing I could say about Papa Doc is good riddance. Sadly, there’s even worse still ensconced on the Executive suite.

  • observer

    Also since such a Plan B would not involve terrorists in government it would have one colossal advantage over the current system in my eyes. – Turgon

    Instead Sinn Fein would have direct access to governing NI through Dublin, unionists would be sidelined and it would be back to the bad days of the anglo-irish agreement but 10 times worse

  • “But I am a fan of bringing back direct rule. – Who cares if Dublin have an advisory role?”

    Driftwood, it had an advisory role prior to 1985. Since then it’s officials have participated in policy making and day-to-day decision making. Perhaps the BBC, as our public service broadcaster, should have fulfilled its obligation(?) to educate and inform its audience.

  • ulsterfan

    Paisley is lauded by Blair and Bush——that says more about their judgement than good sense.
    Whatever good he did in the last few years does no compensate for the harm done to the body politic in his earlier years.
    He “strut the stage full of sound and fury signifying nothing” that was good and wholesome for the entire community.

  • Joe, I’d phrase it differently. Decent folks here had no friends. London and Dublin adopted the nimby approach. They’ve put their trust in selected loyalist and republican godfathers and our ‘moral’ electorate have reacted by supporting the extremists at the expense of the UUP-SDLP spectrum.

  • Steve

    I thinbk you miss the point turgon

    With the knoiwn members of your party, even if they won 100% of the seats and formed the government themselves alone there would still be terrorists in power

    Same applies to every party

  • ZoonPol

    Nevin, your analysis is a very cynical if not without merit! Political winners are those with power – the root of power dwells with force and coercion – alas truth and trust are the first causalities of power.

  • Thanks, I think, ZoonPol. Power is like a balloon and the Paisley balloon was pricked by truth and trust ….

    My analysis is partly based on information gleaned from actors who perform behind the UK-Ireland curtain.

  • Rory

    I am more inclined to think that at this juncture in his career it is Paisley’s strengths (mainly sectarian intransigence) that have been overthrown and his limited charms that are sycophantically overblown in compensation.

  • ZoonPol

    I am a bit behind the days on this one but I have been informed from others that our First Minister designate’s (Peter Robinson) honeymoon is over, even before he officially takes over on Saturday thanks to his wife’s comments on the Nolan Show. Not only will the ‘John Lewis’ list be published about the Family Robinson lifestyle at Westminster but it will be interesting how, as first minister he thinks what his wife said is compatible with the rule of law that he now represents.

    Does any pro or anti DUPers wish to comment?

    When will the DUP walk out of government, out of principle, from their leader’s past several decades of ideologue?

    Was the demagogue a Judas all along, or was that just Molyneaux?

  • Greenflag

    Plan B or no Plan B there is no alternative to power sharing with SF. Thanks to Unionist political incompetence, lack of negotiating ‘intelligence’ ( where would they have learned it from in 50 years of one party rule ?) and failure of leadership going back at least a generation or more Unionist political ideology has only two roads to travel – one is the road to breakdown of power sharing and repartition – the other is what they have now .

    The TUV have like their dissident republican alter egos nothing to offer Northern Ireland apart from a repeat of the last 40 years.

    Graduate ,

    ‘Just out of curiosity is it not more accurate to say that the Shinners are FORMER terrorists rather than current (being pedantic, but it goes to the heart of the matter) ‘

    In the world of Turgon once a terrorist always a terrorist . It’s a black and white world based on so called ‘Christian’ principles . The fact that n every liberation struggle since 1945 and earlier the ‘terrorists’ eventually came to power with colonial governments in retreat is neither here nor there .Somehow Northern Ireland is ‘different ‘ -it’s ‘Unionists’ a special chosen people -who don’t have to accomodate to a changing world or demographic within NI.

    Turgon should of course be relieved that the former terrorists /freedom fighters ONLY share power in the NI Government with Unionists .

    From the Republic’s perspective our ‘terrorists’ eventually became the Government in 1922 and they’ve done a far better job in governing the Republic than any British Government ever did or could ever aspire to do.

    joe canuck,

    ‘Without a complete change in mindset, they are going to become an anomaly in a united Ireland within the next 50 years.’

    The inherent ‘contradictions’ within ideological unionism are emerging now that the realisation is setting in that the Union is not what it was and never will be again what it was.

    As for a complete change in mindset ? Forget it. Apart from a very small minority it’s not going to happen. If there is ever a UI it will be because increasing numbers of Unionists will pack their bags for the UK and elsewhare over the next 20 years simply because they’ll give up on the NI economy ever being able to supply/provide an economic future for their ‘educated’ children . In addition there will be the traditional antipathy to the prospect of a UI and horror of horrors becoming a ‘minority’ in their own country .

    As to Paisley ? It doesn’t matter any more – Robinson /Dodds / TUv or Daffy Duck the politcal game is sewn up . It’s called mandatory power sharing until such time as there is an end to the present NI State or it’s replacement post repartition .

  • Greenflag

    Plan B or no Plan B there is no alternative to power sharing with SF. Thanks to Unionist political incompetence, lack of negotiating ‘intelligence’ ( where would they have learned it from in 50 years of one party rule ?) and failure of leadership going back at least a generation or more Unionist political ideology has only two roads to travel – one is the road to breakdown of power sharing and repartition – the other is what they have now .

    The TUV have like their dissident republican alter egos nothing to offer Northern Ireland apart from a repeat of the last 40 years.

    Graduate ,

    ‘Just out of curiosity is it not more accurate to say that the Shinners are FORMER terrorists rather than current (being pedantic, but it goes to the heart of the matter) ‘

    In the world of Turgon once a terrorist always a terrorist . It’s a black and white world based on so called ‘Christian’ principles . The fact that in every liberation struggle since 1945 and earlier the ‘terrorists’ eventually came to power with colonial governments in retreat is neither here nor there .Somehow Northern Ireland is ‘different ‘ -it’s ‘Unionists’ a special chosen people -who don’t have to accomodate to a changing world or demographic within NI.

    Turgon should of course be relieved that the former terrorists /freedom fighters ONLY share power in the NI Government with Unionists .

    From the Republic’s perspective our ‘terrorists’ eventually became the Government in 1922 and they’ve done a far better job in governing the Republic than any British Government ever did or could ever aspire to do.

    joe canuck,

    ‘Without a complete change in mindset, they are going to become an anomaly in a united Ireland within the next 50 years.’

    The inherent ‘contradictions’ within ideological unionism are emerging now that the realisation is setting in that the Union is not what it was and never will be again what it was.

    As for a complete change in mindset ? Forget it. Apart from a very small minority it’s not going to happen. If there is ever a UI it will be because increasing numbers of Unionists will pack their bags for the UK and elsewhre over the next generationsimply because they’ll give up on the NI economy ever being able to supply/provide a decent economic future for their ‘educated’ children . In addition there will be the traditional antipathy to the prospect of a UI and horror of horrors an SF politician becoming FM.

    As to Paisley ? It doesn’t matter who is FM or DFM – Robinson /Dodds / TUV or Daffy Duck the politcal game is sewn up . It’s called mandatory power sharing. That’s what the game is until such time as there is an end to the present NI State or it’s replacement post repartition .

  • Greenflag

    Moderator -please remove Post No 3 on May 30, 2008 @ 01:35 PM-

    reason -duplication.

  • “there is no alternative to power sharing with SF.”

    Don’t tell Biffo, Greenflag 😉

  • Greenflag

    Nevin,

    Circumstances alter cases -especially reduced circumstances –

    Mr Robinson leads NI in the politics of reduced circumstances . Mr Cowan ‘s case is less constrained by circumstance and not at all constrained by HMG as regards his choice of coalition partner.

    Are’nt we lucky . Who said people make their own luck ? Might have been the same person who said life isn’t fair or law isn’t justice ?

  • Greenflag, hypocrisy is hypocrisy. Period.

    Where does luck factor? The Irish state did a runner to protect its own and the Catholic Church’s institutions.

  • joeCanuck

    Strange that no one has ever mentioned Plan C. You know the one subtitled “He who pays the piper calls the tune”.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I can’t believe that people are actually arguing that joint authority would be preferable to sitting in government with “terrorists”, even though the terrorists in question have completely disarmed and given that they have quite obviously ceased to use violence to pursue their political objectives. And it’s a major mistake to believe that the principle of consent precludes joint authority. There is nothing whatsoever preventing the British government from consulting Dublin on the day to day running of this place within the existing constitutional framework.

    I can’t think of any part of the sane world where people would seriously put pen to paper to argue that democracy is bad, that locally elected politicians should not be given a say due to their incompetence, that it is preferable for unelected bureaucrats (whose interests often diverge with our own) to govern this place. The way democracy works is that we get the government that we elected. We’re going to have to learn that if we want to improve the calibre of politicians who run the place, we need to ensure they feel that they will be held accountable for their mistakes on election day.

  • Gréagóir O’ Fráinclin

    According to the BBC Ceefax page 167 Paisley now is raising the idea of a Unionist merger. Why I wonder?

    The Frankenstein that is the modern Sinn Fein that was created by Unionists indifference to the late 1960’s NI Civil Rights movement is perhaps now soothed by the sweet lullaby music of the GFA/SAA. Music soothes the savage beast as the saying goes!

    But perhaps there was really never a reason to be ever fearful of Home Rule Irish Nationalism. Maybe it was a repeatedly unnecessary over reaction by Unionists that lit the flames and fuelled the fires of recent history that is to blame in part too. (Dialogue and reason was always the answer).

    I feel that the TUV is pursuing the same course in the ever decreasing circle! There’s kinda a sense of the same scaremongering. The pot is continually being stirred!

    Unionists should really have nothing to fear from Irish Nationalists either. No one will take their (in essence, much admired) Protestant faith, or their sense of Britishness away from them. People have moved on and if not, will in time. We live, we die and that’s life!

  • “the modern Sinn Fein that was created by Unionists indifference to the late 1960’s NI Civil Rights movement”

    Gragir, you did leave out that bit about adults being responsible for their own actions as well as the Irish government’s role in ‘decapitating’ the then socialist leadership of the IRA ….

  • Greenflag

    Nevin ,

    ‘Greenflag, hypocrisy is hypocrisy. Period.’

    I know and Unionism has been practising the hypocritical arts for so long now that their political opponents in Northern Ireland have become adept at same . Both Governments were forced to join the hypocritical fray through unionist politcal impotence and inability to negotiate a compromise directly with Irish Nationalism /Republicanism -thus the need for transatlantic diplomacy and pressure from Westminster and to a lesser extent from Dublin on ‘unionism’.

    ‘The Irish state did a runner to protect its own’

    Runner ? We pay our taxes to the Irish Goverment to protect us . Northern Ireland pays it’s taxes to HMG to protect them . If you are not satisfied with the service HMG has provided or ungrateful for what they have done for ‘Unionism’ and ‘unionists ‘ over the past almost two generations then you need to address this concern to your local Unionsit MLA/MP.

    The basic stability of the Republic is more than anything else the MOST important political factor on this island .

    We fought one stupid civil war over a senseless oath and over the North being excluded from the Republic . There won’t be another -not within the Republic anyway .

    ‘Where does luck factor? ‘

    Napoleon once commented that he did’nt care whether his generals were fat or thin -tall or short – meat eaters or vegetarians but he did care whether or not his generals were ‘lucky’ . No matter how capable or well meaning or visionary for a politician to be successful longer term requires a modicum of luck -correct timing and circumstance .

    Of all the Unionist leaders Paisley is the one who has had Fortuna smile on him for extended periods . Just think of the exit from NI politics of Carson , O’Neill, Chichester Clark , Faulkner , Trimble . Even Molyneaux must have practised walking under a ladder several times a day for all the ‘progress’ he made !

  • Greenflag

    Greagoir O Frainclin,

    ‘ Music soothes the savage beast as the saying goes’

    But it takes power and loot/dosh/the readies /kudos etc to sooth the political beasts of NI and elsewhere too

    ‘perhaps there was really never a reason to be ever fearful of Home Rule Irish Nationalism. ‘

    Probably not but in retrospect the RC Church was a much more potent political force in Ireland in the latter part of the 19th century and early 20th than today

    ‘Maybe it was a repeatedly unnecessary over reaction by Unionists that lit the flames and fuelled the fires of recent history that is to blame in part’

    No maybe and no surprise . The Unionist Party (1920) usurped power -suppressed it’s opponents (40% of the NI population) and became the State too. You can no more blame a dog for barking at a cat than you could expect the Unionist Party to do other than overreact to the CRA .

    (Dialogue and reason was always the answer).

    Is always the answer although this is a message which is alien to the TUV and their fellow travellers on the dissident republican side .

    ‘I feel that the TUV is pursuing the same course in the ever decreasing circle!’

    No question -deja vu is deja vu yet again . Lemmings don’t improve with age or experience 🙁

    ‘Unionists should really have nothing to fear from Irish Nationalists either.’

    Of course they have . Irish nationalists are NOT going to fork out 6 billion a year in higher taxes for the upkeep of this ‘failed state’ and Unionists know it .

    ‘ No one will take their (in essence, much admired) Protestant faith, or their sense of Britishness away from them. ‘

    Full marks for the obvious .

    ‘People have moved on and if not, will in time.’

    Moving on in the above context implies a positive direction . Not all moving on is positive . In NI moving on is often code for moving forward two steps while trying to retreat three or four at the same time . With two diametrically opposed political parties sharing power we should expect to see very intricate footwork as the lads strive mightily not to trip themselves up at the same time as trying to remember that if they have to tell a white political lie they must ensure that the second part of the lie does not conflict with the first part 🙁 . While political acrobacy of this nature has been second nature to Paisley , Adams and McGuinness the next generation may not have the ‘required ‘ skills to keep the boat afloat so to speak . We’ll know soon enough .

  • PaddyReilly

    The Unionist Party (1920) usurped power- suppressed its opponents (40% of the NI population)

    Greenflag, your ability to put so much faith in the r-word depends on your studied vagueness in the matter of the sectarian geography of Northern Ireland.

    The opponents of the 1920 Unionist party were nothing like 40% of the population: the Catholic population stayed between 33% and 34% of the total for nearly 50 years and the Nationalist vote never exceeded this.

    A ferocious policy of discrimination kept this percentage pegged for all that time and it was only the “Fair Employment” policy, implemented by the evil Labour Party in the 1970s, that allowed it to start growing.

    I remember well the time the Nationalist vote first moved into the 40s: early in the 1990s. By 1999 it had reached 45.4%. Obviously it is still growing, and obviously the r-thing will not prevent it from continuing to do.

  • darth rumsfeld

    Well last night we three News 24 viewers were treated to a live feed from the King’s Hall of the ould croc(k)’s farewell speech. And such a self-serving smug sanctimonious shovelful of …sibillant alliteration it was.

    We heard all about going to jail at the hands of evil judges, evil returning officers trying to nobble the elections for the UUP, weak and sinful leaders of Unionism selling the pass, and of course one beacon of immovable principle stood firm throughout. But modesty prevents the use of the first person pronoun, so “Paisley” saved the day.”Paisley” was written off- they were even digging his grave, but his chains fell off and with one mighty bound (away from his previous beliefs) he was free!!

    Those of us who have occasionally toodled down the Martyrs’ Memorial of a Sabbath evening checking out the talent will not have heard anything new here.

    But I bet it was quite an eye-opener to the other two viewers of News 24 in their care home- they have probably swallowed the NIO line about elderly statesman making peace as act of personal redemption and forgotten the old, bad Paisley who was a national joke.

    Here we had on display to the nation the hubristic ravings of a man whose personal ambitions were trumpeted, and used as a salve for the bitter disappointment of having been forced out by Ernst Stavro Robinson. For the last time the real DUP project was laid bare for all to see–“It’s the Doc, stupid!”.

  • Dave

    Well, Darth, whatever about his farewell to Northern Ireland’s parliament, I particularly like his succinct two-fingered farewell to the European parliament:

    “My Farewell To Europe:

    For the past twenty-five years I have been a Member of this Parliament of Europe.

    Its rapid growth of jurisdiction is the political mystery of the age, but I do not believe it is to the best advantage of the European peoples. Enlargement has triggered off the destruction of the cooperation of the sovereign states of Europe, and brought about the construction of the sovereign super-state of Europe, the new tower of Babel.

    The effects of the full battle between the voluntary cooperation of the European sovereign states and the dictatorial incorporation of those states into the European super-state have yet to be witnessed.

    In our history super powers have always been detrimental to peace. The wars in the Balkans in recent years have been conveniently forgotten, when fiery advocates of the all-mighty Europe tell us the new Europe has prevented war and stopped war. Some prevention! Some stopping!

    The present enlargement is bringing with it loads of difficulties, generally in the economic field and particularly in the agricultural field. Just how serious the reaping in Europe is going to be, remains to be seen. The day has yet to declare it. I especially welcome the fact that the United Kingdom will have its referendum, and that the ordinary European citizens in the United Kingdom will not be robbed of the right to pass their judgement on this momentous decision.

    The continent of Europe is not our Fatherland, and never can be. Our nationalities cannot be changed, for they are the creation of God. No matter what sinful man may do, God has enthroned His Son King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the King of the whole earth, and He shall reign and rule for evermore.”

    http://www.ianpaisley.org/article.asp?ArtKey=farewell

    The United Kingdom, alas, did not “have its referendum” on the Lisbon/Reform Treaty. Bunreacht na hÉireann, which holds that sovereignty resides with the people and not with the state, meant that only the people of Ireland, alone in Europe, had the undefeatable right to a referendum. I’m sure that Paisley had mixed feelings about that. If you believe in the nation state, as Paisley clearly does, then there are clear advantages to being a democratic republic.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “The continent of Europe is not our Fatherland, and never can be. Our nationalities cannot be changed, for they are the creation of God. No matter what sinful man may do, God has enthroned His Son King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the King of the whole earth, and He shall reign and rule for evermore.”

    Are there people out there who believes this stuff?

    Considering it’s always Irish Nationalists badgering Unionists about the merits of a United Ireland. About about Unionists do a bit of canvasing about the merits of the UK. Okay, probably not all Irish Nationalists would buy the royality bit or the somewhat dominance of England in all domestic matters. But if you ask me I think Ireland (the ROI) has never been more closer to the UK/England such is the great relationship that has developed in recent times. We have great ties, economic, culure, sport, etc… and yet we are both on an equal footing, something that Irish Nationalism always sought! An independance has been achieved yet we remain a close and loyal neighbour to Old Blighty!

  • Greenflag, perhaps you could outline those occasions from the 1880s onwards when Irish nationalism, in its various manifestations and alliances, was up for compromise.

    Had you been paying closer attention to my proposals et al you would have noted that I wasn’t making any requests on behalf of Unionists yet you continue to play the Unionist v Nationalist card. Why? Are you an irredentist Irish nationalist?

  • “we remain a close and loyal neighbour to Old Blighty!”

    Greagoir, are you thinking of their subservient role to the USA on the war against terrorism or their collusion with the right sort of loyalist and republican godfathers here in the war against decency – or both?

  • Dave

    Greagoir O Frainclin, what you see as progression is really just social engineering. If you want unity under the GFA, then the only way you can achieve it is advocating that Ireland is reunited under terms that are advantageous to British nationalism and detrimental to the Irish nation state. Effectively, the Sinners have made unionists out of the mugs who voted for them.

    Which begs the question: if Northern Ireland under the GFA is Nirvana, then why spoil your little slice of heaven by seeking to unite with the Republic of Ireland? It’s best that you stay exactly as you are, and let the world smile upon your little experimental hamlet, serving as a “beacon” to lesser communes. 😉

  • Steve

    Dave you do reach for the stars

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “Greagoir, are you thinking of their subservient role to the USA on the war against terrorism or their collusion with the right sort of loyalist and republican godfathers here in the war against decency – or both?”

    Basically, It’s called playing the game, the political game. It’s what brought an end to the Troubles!
    War against decency?
    I think people can be a bit hung up on this ‘decency’ or morality or ethics thing or what ever you wanna call it. Was there ever a time when ‘decency’ prevailed in Ireland or in Northern Ireland for that matter? Tell me if you know. Was there ever a time when ‘decency’ ever prevailed in any society, for that matter? Maybe by using the term decency you mean democracy.

    I know the main hang up with a lot of Unionists is the Adams family parading around in the NI government, but as the NI political landscape has had a great kick up the arse in the last while it’s now in a state of change; peoples opinions change, who knows but Gerry and Co’s popularity could possibly diminish with FF establishing a base in NI, hence why all the talk of the merger between the two main Unionist parties. Gerry & Co is in, Gerry & Co is out!

  • Dave

    Steve, there is space for engineering between seeing reunification as the end in itself and seeing it as a means to an end. Unification was seen as a means to an end, with that end being Irish self-determination, sovereignty and independence for all of Ireland. The engineering is in separating the end from the means. If you can engineer that separation, then folks can be encouraged to see the end of reunification as paramount and lose focus in its purpose as a means to the original end. That allows you the space to substitute an alternative end, using reunification as the means. So, the alternative end would be engineering a Redmondite solution wherein a form of Home Rule is restored to the island and Ireland rejoins the British Commonwealth, accepting its place within the ‘British Isles’ and the monarchy. Ireland would be reunited but reunited under British Rule. Effectively, the nationalists would become unionists while still (wrongly) believing that they are nationalists because they support Irish unity. They would beleive that their thinking is their own and that it is very progressive but the reality is that their thinking is the product of social engineering.

  • Steve

    Dave

    There is about as much chance of your theory occuring as I have of appearing on dancing with the stars.

    You honestly think the Irish state would give up self determination for rule by London and a chance to kiss the queens arse?

    If I know 1 thing about politics its that politicians do not willingly cede power especially to a foreign monarch.

    I am Canadian so I do belong to the commonwealth but I can tell you conclusively and with out doubt, if the queen’s representative in Canada did anything but what she was told Canada would no longer have a queens representative.

    And just for the parting shot Ireland is not a part of the british Isles

  • WindsorRocker

    [i]”Dr. Paisley himself seems at times to have veered between two alternative though not necessarily mutually exclusive reasons for going into power sharing with Sinn Fein. At times he has said that this was a great deal for unionism and that his pledge to “Smash Sinn Fein” has been effectively achieved with IRA decommissioning and SF now supporting the police. At other times the explanation has been somewhat less triumphant and he has raised the spectre of Plan B which, we were told, would result in defacto joint sovereignty.”[/i]

    To explain St Andrews and all that followed you need to totally mix these two alternative viewpoints. In every decision people make in life, there is the carrott and the stick. Paisley signing up to St Andrews was no different.
    Nobody can argue against the premise that the republican movement were well advanced down the path of politics from the point in 1999 when the UUP invited them into government. Policing was a step which was a deal maker for many people who previously opposed SF in government. The changes negotiated to the running of the executive and assembly was also something that the DUP could point to as an improvement on the Trimble years. Even the decommissioning question had been resolved although the methodologies were not to the liking of unionists.
    Ironically, it is the events surrounding the decommissioning question in the summer of 2005 that illustrate the stick that must have played just as much a part in the minds of the DUP as the gains that they had made on policing and the assembly.
    The fundamental reality of the peace process is that the broad parameters of how peace could be achieved was already decided. In my opinion it took people like Paisley to ascend to the leadership of unionism to realise the substance of what was going on. To all intents and purposes, until 2003, the DUP were on the outside. It is probably fair enough and human nature for those on the outside to feel that they can do a far better job than those on the inside. Historically, that had been the UUP and its leadership. When anti-agreement unionists looked at the political process before 2003, they saw 3 variables.
    1. An IRA pushing for peace on its own terms
    2. A government who seemed to be happy to accomodate that
    3. A UUP leadership who didn’t seem up to the job and only too happy to go along with 1 & 2 for an easy life.

    For me as an anti agreeement unionist, the change in the 3rd variable in autumn 2003 did make a difference but the course of events proved that it was variables 1 & 2 that would determine the general high level direction of the process. Whilst a change in the leadership of unionism was necessary, the events of 2004 and 2005 showed that even it could not change the broad thrust of the process.
    The “big picture” was decided between an IRA and a sovereign government who were only too happy to play along.
    Those in unionism who still hold to the attitude of “bring on Plan B” and believe that Brown couldn’t put down rebellious Prods would do well to remember the huge changes in this country in the last 10 years. Where were the crowds when the RUC were destroyed, when Sinn Fein went into government? The changes of the last 10 years have changed the outlook of a huge section of society who have been conditioned to accept those changes.
    One only has to look at support for Drumcree before and after the 1998 Agreement. The Drumcree protest post Belfast Agreement was a mere shadow of the mass unionist movement that had effectively staged a successful coup d’etat in 1996. Enough unionists are not prepared to engage in civil disobedience and risk arrest and imprisonment with all the disruption that would bring to lives that are now so dependent on stable incomes, careers, paying mortgages. They have no appetite for defeating a Plan B on the streets.
    So the only alternative is to do what the DUP did. Try to change the system but once you realise that you have failed, then you tweak the system as best you can.
    I’m not a Paisleyite but I think this little prayer sums things up nicely
    “God, grant me
    The serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    The courage to change the things I can,
    And the wisdom to know the difference”.

  • Wilde Rover

    And after one final march down the hill the Grand Old Duke of York took a bow and left the stage.

  • Greenflag

    Greagoir O Frainclin,

    “The continent of Europe is not our Fatherland, and never can be. Our nationalities cannot be changed, for they are the creation of God.’

    And God said let there be French and there were French and God said let there be Germans and there were Germans and God said let there be Orangemen but thranners that they are/were -said no can do for first you must create William of Orange and then you must ensure that he wins the Battle of the Boyne and only then can you let orangemen be created –are you listening to me God ? 🙂 .

    ‘No matter what sinful man may do, God has enthroned His Son King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the King of the whole earth, and He shall reign and rule for evermore.”

    Even though these may be Paisley’s words they could just as easily have emanated from the Spanish Inquisition’s Holy Office 🙁

    Are there people out there who believes this stuff?

    Yes -gobshites – alas some of them even well meaning gobshites 🙁

    ‘An independance has been achieved yet we remain a close and loyal neighbour to Old Blighty! ‘

    Well yes in one sense but Ireland can be no more equal to England than Denmark can be equal to Germany . Size matters when push comes to shove regardless of whether both countries share the same basic values , rights etc . Iraq is not equal to China and neither is Tibet.

  • Greagoir, it’s been my pleasure and privilege to work with decent folks from across the social, political and religious spectrum in building up what some might call social capital; the two Governments, sadly, pander to the demands of the paramilitary godfathers.

  • Greenflag

    Nevin ,

    ‘Greenflag, perhaps you could outline those occasions from the 1880s onwards when Irish nationalism, in its various manifestations and alliances—- ‘

    The failure to win Home Rule in 1886 sent Irish nationalism down the separation path . The vast majority of people in Ireland at that time mid 1880’s would have accepted Home Rule as ‘satisfaction’ of their national demands . Given the probable continuation over the next few decades of social and administrative reforms by a Home Rule Government in conjunction with Westminster then it is not unreasonable to believe that extreme separatist nationalism would have lost out and that Home Rule would have kept Ireland a part of the UK.

    Whether or not Home Rule in the end would have led to complete ‘separation’ is impossible to say but we do know in retrospect that the refusal to grant it (Home Rule ) over the 30 year period 1880 to 1910 certainly did push the vast majority of Irish people down the separatist path leading to the present Republic .

    ‘ Are you an irredentist Irish nationalist? ‘

    Are you an irredentist Unionist ?

    For the 30 years ? 1880 to 1910 in which Home Rule remained the Irish national demand the majority of Unionists allowed themselves to be terrified (shades of 1920 to 1969 to present) of the nameless fears of what would happen if Home Rule were granted ( Replace Home Rule by Power Sharing and you should as an irredentist Unionist get the picture) . Unionists in the 19th century consistently underestimated the demands of the common people of Ireland and we saw a repeat of the same phenomenon in Northern Ireland in the period 1920 to 1972 and later . Even now the TUV element is trying to convince Unionists that a return to 1920 or pre 1969 Unionist majority rule is somehow possible ?

    BTW Greenflag is an Irish Nationalist /Republican of the moderate school who has no desire to live under Westminster rule in Ireland ( but could happily do so were he resident in England ) because deep down he’s actually very well disposed towards England and the English also Scots and Welsh and believes that the best service we Irish can provide England is if we rule ourselves in such a manner so as not to be a burden on the English taxpayer . We IRISH nationalists in the Republic have achieved this much at least in our short of ‘ruling ‘ ourselves . Northern Ireland’s ‘Unionist ‘ administrations ‘ not once in 50 years of one party rule ever came close to not being a ‘burden ‘ on the English taxpayer .

    Oh I’m anti Unionist ( politically) as well in case you haven’t noticed :). However should Unionists favour a fair ‘repartition’ of NI, I would not oppose their wish for ‘ national ‘ independence . I’m also anti monarchist and I’m not at all impressed by the credentials of the religious clerics of any of the major denominations and all of the minor ones 🙂

    I have no great confidence in the present Assembly but realistically accept that it’s about the best that both Northern Unionist and Nationalist /Republican can aspire to for the forseeable future. They have both ‘lost’ out to the Republic over the past 30 years, and I expect a repeat of the same for the next 30 yrs or for at least as long as the present Assembly lasts . But there will be peace in Northern Ireland and Paisley’s request for the IRA Army Council to dissolve will I’m sure happen soon if it has’nt already..

  • Greenflag

    Dave,

    ‘Ireland would be reunited but reunited under British Rule. Effectively, the nationalists would become unionists while still (wrongly) believing that they are nationalists ‘

    Come on Dave -you can do better than that . There will be no ‘monarchy’ in the Republic or in any prospective UI . Commonwealth membership is neither here nor there and may even have some benefits in sports , cultural contacts and educational exchanges .

    The Irish have ‘wised’ up a bit in the past 25 years 🙂 We’ve stopped burnign everything english except their coal . We enjoy their TV sometimes and their sports and their ‘humour ‘ which is not dissimilar from our own .

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Nevin, none of us like the paramilitary godfather element in the NI equation, but the fact of the matter is it brought the peace to the country. Things are better now, are’nt they? despite SF & Co etc… strutting their stuff in the NI government! There is dialogue and ‘reason’ now; ‘Jaw Jaw’ instead of ‘War War’, and sweet Jesus is’nt that better than he last 30 odd years of violence?

    Greenflag, well read in Irish history, has cited and highlighted crucial factors of Irish Nationalism in the course of Irish history. Yet if the chips were down today in the light of any unfairness or inequality etc…,if there was ever an individual who would stand for Unionist folk in the context of Ireland, Greenflag like myself would voice their concerns! The Protestant faith and British identity in NI is safe and the GFA/SAA guarantees it.
    BTW, ah jesus, us ‘Irish Nationalists’ are not all bad folk, are we? Are we really that bad? Do we appear that bad to Unionist folk? Unionists can be Irish Nationalists too, given context. Think about it! Let’s all cheer for IRELAND, our home and country!

  • “stand for Unionist folk in the context of Ireland,”

    Greagoir, why not stand for Nationalist folk in the context of the UK? 😉

    None of this takes away from the Irish state’s nimbyism at the first time of trouble from a ‘commie revolution’ that was designed to sweep away the ‘conservative’ administrations in Belfast and Dublin. What craven cowardice, not to say hypocrisy.

  • Greenflag

    Greagoir O Frainclin,

    ‘but the fact of the matter is it brought the peace to the country.”

    Eh ?? What has that got to do with anything . There are some in NI who would rather have 100,000 corpses and a razed to the ground landscape that have an ex ‘terrorist godfather’ in Government . They call themselves as usual ‘men of principle’.

    ‘Let’s all cheer for IRELAND, our home and country! ‘

    It may be your home and country but Ireland is not Nevin’s home and country . The oul lad’s even prone to choking on his tonsils if the term Ireland is used ‘mistakenly ‘ for Republic of Ireland :).

    ‘Unionists can be Irish Nationalists too, given context.’

    Perhaps on the planet Mars . Here on Earth the moment one becomes an Irish ‘nationalist ‘ one ceases to be a Unionist – one may be an ex unionist -former unionist or even a demised unionist but Irish nationalist and unionist at the same time ? simply not possible within the realms of practical political feasability and could indicate the possible presence of a schizoid political personality ? . On the other hand considering the types of personalities that NI Unionism has thrown onto the political stage perhaps you have a – no – better not go down that road 🙂

    Unionists generally do not want to understand Irish nationalism for to do so means coming face to face with being the inheritors of a political ideology i.e ‘unionism’ which has been REJECTED by the vast majority of people on this island and only survives in the north east corner by virtue of financial life support from Westminster and by having a small declining local electoral majority.

  • “choking on his tonsils”

    Greenflag, I merely pointed out the varying and confusing uses of terms like Britain, Ireland and Ulster. There’s no need to get your knickers in a twist 😉

    Has ‘bugger’ Biffo a greater grasp of language than his predecessor, Bumbling ‘Bobby Burns’ Bertie?

  • Greenflag

    ‘merely pointing out confusing uses of terms like Britain, Ireland and Ulster. ‘

    Greagoir’s postings imo indicate a mind and viewpoint that is not confused in the least. He is probably much more optimistic re the unionist leopard changinging it’s outdated spots for the more fashionable shiny new nationalist stripes than I could or would ever be’

    If you are still confused here’s some help :).

    Britain : An island off the North coast of France includes three ‘countries’ England , Scotland and Wales .

    Ireland : Another island to the west of Britain composed of the Irish Republic (80% of the island) and Northern Ireland .

    Ulster : A province of Ireland which is divided for purposes of political jurisdiction between Northern Ireland and the Republic with six counties of the province included in Northern Ireland and three counties administered by the Republic .

    BTW – We don’t care about Biffo’s grasp of language . As long as he delivers good government . Midlanders are normally not noted for their verbal skills being in the main dour ‘****ers however as always the exception proves the rule.

  • “If you are still confused here’s some help :).”

    Greenflag, Greagoir appears to think you’re well read in Irish history. Reading and understanding are different things 😉

    Here’s a wee bit more reading from the political domain for you:

    Britain: shorthand for the United Kingdom of GB & NI.

    Ireland: 26-county state aka the Republic, RoI and Eire fka the Free State.

    Ulster: 6-county state aka NI.

    PS I thought ‘i’ stood for ‘ignorant’ – in the cafone sense of that word:

    “Cafone” is an Italian word that originally meant a peasant,but its meaning evolved to refer to rude, ignorant, uncouth people, particularly from the south. ..

    They can be found in the north too, Greenflag …

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Ah lads, lads, pistols at dawn!

    Pardon my contribution @ 04:56 AM, but I had a few jars. A man is entitled to a few sups of the black stuff!

    But I am more optimistic regarding NI. The old establishment is gone forever, can’t bring it back, so can really only look forward to the future. Why hark on about the good old bad old days?

    (Remember those days when a plethora of UTV newsreaders had combovers; Brian Baird & co etc.. and when RTE newsreaders spoke the ‘Queens English’; Charles Mitchell, etc…)

    ‘Unionists can be Irish Nationalists too, given context.’

    Yep sounds outlandish alright, but Unionists within the context of the UK fight for their corner of Ireland; Northern Ireland, ie funding, jobs etc…and their role within the island of Ireland is becoming more proactive too.

    “Greagoir, why not stand for Nationalist folk in the context of the UK? ;)”

    Unionist folk are doing that for us, not directly but rather indirectly!

  • Greagoir, that must have been bad poteen you slaked your thirst with 🙂

    The new establishment is no barrel of laughs and it looks as if organised crime has got strong roots.

  • Greenflag

    Nevin ,

    You asked earlier if I could
    ‘outline those occasions from the 1880s onwards when Irish nationalism, in its various manifestations and alliances, was up for compromise.’

    I answered your ‘request’ as best I could . So far your comments amount to
    a) Nimbyism in the 1960’s
    b) Semantics on nomenclature of the states /regions/countries in these islands
    c) Something about Southern Italy and cafes
    d) Biffo’s use of language

    And finally in a flash of revelation the remark that

    they (ignorant people )can be found in the north too, without making it clear whether you meant the North of Italy or Northern Ireland .

    ?

    Mr WindsorRocker above makes a lot more sense in his analysis of the political realities and options with which ‘unionism’ is faced at this time . He omits the ‘repartition’ option but then for him/her that may be a road down which he /she might prefer not to travel.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The new establishment is no barrel of laughs and it looks as if organised crime has got strong roots. ‘

    The old NI politcial establishment was as per numerous investigative reports carried out by HMG – no comedy act either.

    So far this new ‘regime’ may provide a lot more laughs longer term.

  • Thank you for your efforts, Greenflag. I’ve got some other distractions at the moment over on the NALIL blog!!