“no mandate whatsoever..”

Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, and MP for Mid Ulster, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, was on the Politics Show today repeating the argument that dissenting republican paramilitary groups should stop their activities because they have “little or no support in the community” and “no mandate whatsoever”. Although, leaving aside the moral vacuity of his position, the recent CJINI report on community restorative justice schemes might suggest otherwise for some communities.. Martin McGuinness’ comments came ahead of his appearance at a parade in Londonderry to commemorate Provisional IRA members from the city who had died during their campaign of violence. The annual parade was held the day after the funeral of Emmett Shiels, who was murdered in the city on Tuesday morning – both of the men who had presented themselves to the police have now been released without charge. RTÉ tells us that Martin McGuinness also used the occasion to claim that “he had joined the paramilitary group [the IRA] in his youth and said it was then supported by the people.” [Must have missed that referendum.. – Ed]. Here’s the clip from the Politics Show, which also contains his comments on the outcome of the Robert McCartney murder trial. Adds UTV have the quote

Mr McGuinness told supporters at the republican commemoration: “When I joined the IRA in this city it was an army of the people – sustained by the people – supported by the people – and answerable to the people.”

And armed with the “people’s guns”, no doubt..

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  • Greenflag

    rabelais .

    ‘What unionists want most is the union with the rest of the UK.’

    Correct.

    ‘Repartition would be a further diminution of the United Kingdom’

    True but of minor significance and probably of even financial benefit to the UK .

    ‘which is undergoing quite fundamental reforms anyway.’

    True but ‘devolution’ per se good , bad or indifferent is almost an irrelevance as regards the opposing parties in NI. NI is not Scotland where the SNP and Scottish Labour can give Scots at least a choice re government and opposition .

    ‘Also nationalists and republicans would continue to campaign for a sovereign united Ireland’

    A very few might but they would be so outnumbered in a smaller Unionist State that they would be better served by making political alliances with one of the Unionist parties which could give them some influence in a voluntary coalition as with the present Greens and PD’s in the Republic .

    ‘a ‘wee Northern Ireland’ would probably be pretty unstable.’

    Only if your accompanying assumption i.e ‘the UK crumbling’ is borne out in reality . The UK may yet find a ‘new ‘ format under a federal or other arrangement with which a smaller more Unionist NI would be comfortable .

    ‘As an independent state, I wonder what its economic prospects would be?’

    Albanian in the short term I’d guess . I can’t see a smaller Unionist State surviving outside the UK framework, and no Unionist or indeed Nationalist aspires to an Albanian standard of living .

    ‘there are loads of ideas that were once attributed to cranks, then a few years later you can’t find any bugger who didn’t claim to think of them first! ‘

    Indeed -the political history of Europe and the world is replete with them . The wheel never stops spinning and where and when it stops nobody can foretell . The ‘notion’ of an independent Ireland being able to survive as an independent State outside the British Union in 1918 would have been considered by most business people and industrialists as the nutty dream of extremist cranks or people who have temporarily lost leave of their senses .

    ‘Re-partition. Pretty grim notion though.’

    No more ‘grim’ than the first partition which as we see now in hindsight was a botched operation as it left the NI State with a ‘trojan horse ‘ within it’s gate.

    Unionists have ended up continually having to define themselves in relation to the presence of the internal NI Trojan Horse without much empathy from a changing Britain across the water .

    As to ‘northern protestants sense of difference from the rest of the island ‘ .What would be considered normal ‘regional ‘ differences that one finds in any european country have been elevated to something much more, because of the ‘different ‘ political histories of both States mainly since their foundation.

    ‘The UDA had a ‘doomsday’ plan, I recall, which invloved repartition by force’

    That IMO would not work as for Repartition to work means engaging the ‘opposition ‘ i.e Irish Nationalists and Republicans North and South to agree to a ‘new ‘ dispensation on this island . Additionnally it would mean getting a neutral international agency to oversee a ‘fair ‘ settlement .

    I’m not sure if any elected Unionist politicians from any unionist parties have the ‘cojones’ to openly pursue a ‘repartition’ settlement at this time . If the NI Assembly collapses once again as remains a strong possibility then some new ‘Carson’ may emerge . Seems unlikely now but who ever would have predicted Paisley sharing power with SF ?

    Que sera – sera. No point in spilling any more blood nationalist or unionist over it not that there ever was said he in hindsight :(.

  • earnan

    Ireland should not exist. It had no right, no mandate, only unrepentant terrorists for it to leave the union with the British Empire at all. Churchill and the likes were disgraceful when they even agreed to talk with the leaders of that murder gang, the IRA. The IRA had no backing from the people.

    Ireland will never flourish on it’s own.

  • willowfield

    Cladycowboy

    I, for one, won’t be betting against the movement away from ‘Ulster’ Unionism towards an ‘North-East Ulster’ Unionism should it become clear that the democratic wish of the NI people in a future constitutional referendum will deliver Irish re-unification.

    Oh, some will advocate it, no doubt, but it will be too late. As I said, no-one with the power to achieve or enforce it will be advocating it.

    However, the GFA is the will of the people and any attempt to seek repartition, should re-unification look likely, will remove, what would by then be revealed as, the delicate veil of morality that resonates among the Unionist position.

    There’s nothing “immoral” in advocating repartition: in the abstract, it’s an entirely legitimate goal. In the context of the GFA, however, and, indeed on 80+ years of “not an inch” and previous agreements over the last 30+ years, etc., it would be dishonest for unionists to renege on its promises and commitments. They’ve missed the boat on repartition.

  • Greenflag

    willowfield ,

    ‘They’ve missed the boat on repartition.’

    A possibility . They also missed the boat on outside investment, and on power sharing with the SDLP in 1974 🙁 They’ve missed so many boats that one is left to assume that have an aversion to sea travel

    I’m trying to think of a time when they did’nt miss the boat or shoot themselves in the foot ? Perhaps politics is not for Unionists.

    ‘it would be dishonest for unionists to renege ‘

    Well yes -former Unionists in Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan as well as Nationalists in Tyrone , Fermanagh and Derry are a reminder that when all is said and done -honesty comes very far down the list behind expediency when push comes to shove .

    Earnan ,

    ‘Ireland will never flourish on it’s own. ‘

    You got that right . This is true of all countries not just Ireland 🙂 That’s why Sean Lemass signed the Anglo Irish Free Trade Agreement and why Ireland joined the EU 🙂

  • cladycowboy

    willowfield

    “There’s nothing “immoral” in advocating repartition: in the abstract, it’s an entirely legitimate goal.”

    A legitimate goal for those with the brassest of necks and most fluid of ideology, as you rightly pointed out.

    “it would be dishonest for unionists to renege on its promises and commitments. They’ve missed the boat on repartition”

    So, are you worried as a Unionist for the future?

    Where would that leave your understanding of the notion of legitimacy of self-determination for the distinct people that are the Ulster Protestants/British in the event of re-unifying referendum?

  • dewi

    Willow – you were over the top. I suggested that a referendum was not required as the reaction to the Army killings was entirely inevitable and predictable – as the whole history of the troubles (and the Army’s own analysis) confirms.

  • picador

    Hmm, Bosnia? As mad as a bag of frogs.

  • rabelais

    Greenflag,
    As I said I wouldn’t rule repartition out as a possibility in the future. Its just it wouldn’t be my own preference and I think for northern protestants it would be a mistake under any cricumstances. If the UK does disintegrate further, far better they negotiate some settlement within an all Ireland context than end up as Albania (no disrespect to Albania but I think it has better options). But I’d be interested to read willowfield’s thoughts on this.

    The reason I think it would be a mistake for unionism is that it would be just one more in a long line of geographic and political retreats/defeats. Irish unionism became Ulster unioism which begat 6-county unionism, which failed to secure sufficient consent for NI and saw Stormont closed. Lately in the wake of the Agreement the DUP made its political demands insisting it represented a majority of a majority, which is effectively a minority. Repartition would only be another retreat in a long ignominious line of them. Were is it all to end? A final retreat into the Irish Sea or deportation/voluntary repatriation?

    To be honest, if I were a unionist I would think seriously about negotiating terms of unification with the South now. Better to do it now from a position of relative strength than to wait until your options have narrowed.

  • willowfield

    Dewi

    Willow – you were over the top. I suggested that a referendum was not required as the reaction to the Army killings was entirely inevitable and predictable – as the whole history of the troubles (and the Army’s own analysis) confirms.

    Not over the top in the least. That is not what you suggested. You said: “When your neighbours are mown down by an occupying army I don’t reckon you really need a referendum” – thus clearly implying that a terrorist campaign is justified “when your neighbours are mown down by an occupying army” (of course, there was no “occupying army, but I’ll not take you up on that). Disgusting and outrageous sentiments.

  • dewi

    So is armed response not justified when your neighbours are mown down by an occupying army? What would you have done in that situation? – I’d like to have thought I,d have turned the other cheek but say it was your brother, sister or cousin? These things ain’t black and white.

  • Just Wondering

    So Dewi, when your brother is ‘mowed down’ by the Catholic Reactionary Force, what is a ‘justified’ response if you can’t ‘turn the other cheek’?

  • Dewi

    So Dewi, when your brother is ‘mowed down’ by the Catholic Reactionary Force, what is a ‘justified’ response if you can’t ‘turn the other cheek’?

    That’s the tragedy – Personally I find it hard to not justify a violent response – luckily there are more saintly people than me in the world.

  • 0b101010

    Repartitioning won’t happen. It just won’t. It’s not a solution, it’s a finger in the dyke — just like the first time around.

    The political machine hasn’t bothered so far to fashion a strong independence, so I gather that it isn’t the long-term aim. A great shame, in my opinion, but their heart just isn’t in it.

    It’s largely unspoken, but Unionists understand that reunification is the eventual outcome. Politicians would be wise to negotiate the details sooner rather than later but, in all likelihood, it’s a decision that is not going to be played as “voluntary”. I can’t foresee a magical series of steps, short of abandonment, that would bring their base with them.

  • Frank Kitson

    ‘Catholic Reaction Force’ may be better read as ‘False Flag Operation’.

  • Greenflag

    rabelais ,

    ‘Repartition would only be another retreat in a long ignominious line of them.’

    True but strategic withdrawal sounds better than retreat .

    ‘Were is it all to end?’

    Like the horizon – never – the closer you come to it the further away it recedes .

    ‘ A final retreat into the Irish Sea’

    I would’nt imagine so . These lads have a genetic predisposition to missing the political boat so I’d say it’s a fair bet they’ll miss every other boat also .

    ‘deportation’

    Who would do the deporting ? It would be inhuman as well as illegal and against European Community Huaman Rights Charter as well as against International , UN and Irish Constitutional law which recognises Unionists as Irish citizens . They can no more be expelled from Ireland than they can be expelled from the UK . Only two countries have ever expelled ‘minorities ‘ against their will -one was Nazi Germany and the other was South Africa with it’s ‘bantustan’ forced removals . I can’t see any Irish or British Government ever following those examples .

    ‘voluntary repatriation? ‘

    After the War of Independence in 1922 many Southern Unionists left for greener pastures , mostly to the countries of the ‘white ‘ commonwealth Canada , Australia , New Zealand, South Africa and a few to to the UK and NI . Of course even more Southern nationalists left the Free State post 1920 with most heading to the USA and the UK . If you are interested in the detail Marcus Tanner’s book Ireland’s Holy Wars describes this little known side of the demographic history of the early Free State .At any rate the new Irish State was the loser from this ‘haemorageing ‘ of a large section of the artisan and small business class .

    Could history repeat itself ? Perhaps but I for one would hope not . In any event the Unionists of NI are as much ‘natives’ of this island as the rest of us . It’s also no longer easy for those without marketable skills to emigrate to the former colonies ,although the UK is still available as a last resort and so are EU countries .

    ‘To be honest, if I were a unionist I would think seriously about negotiating terms of unification with the South now.’

    That’s not the way ‘history’ works . Nothing is ever done in these kind of cases until the horse has well and truly bolted . It’s the human condition and not just a ‘unionist’ thing ;(

  • willowfield

    Dewi

    So is armed response not justified when your neighbours are mown down by an occupying army?

    There was no “occupying army”. And, no: “armed response”, as you euphemistically put it, was not justified in Northern Ireland because someone’s neighbours were allegedly “mown down” (whatever that means).

    What would you have done in that situation? – I’d like to have thought I,d have turned the other cheek but say it was your brother, sister or cousin? These things ain’t black and white.

    I certainly wouldn’t have gone out and murdered and disabled other people, or destroyed other people’s businesses and property, or abused their human rights, and the fact that you think it would be justifiable to do so is absolutely shocking and contemptible.

    Shame on you.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Willows,

    To many there was moral equivalence between Republican violence and state violence. For a clear indictation of support of this view outside of Non Iron see the international reaction to the hunger strikes and the international recogintion of SF as peace makers not to mention the terms of the GFA where the way for insurgents to enter government was engineeered. I would argue that yours and Unioinsts reason for rejecting this is the bitterness that (is totally understanable) form being in the front-line and ( less understanadbly) the unwillingness to accept that the behaviour of the non-iron state since it’s inception was a major contributory factor to the ‘troubles’.

  • willowfield

    McNally

    To many there was moral equivalence between Republican violence and state violence.

    To most there wasn’t. The “many” of whom you talk were wrong. An illegitimate terrorist campaign is clearly not the equivalent of lawful and legitimate activity by the armed forces.

    I would argue that yours and Unioinsts reason for rejecting this … is the bitterness that (is totally understanable) form being in the front-line and ( less understanadbly) the unwillingness to accept that the behaviour of the non-iron state since it’s inception was a major contributory factor to the ‘troubles’.

    The reason that I, unionists, and most other people reject the notion that Irish extreme-nationalist terrorism was somehow the equivalent of state security operations has got nothing to do with any of the reasons that you claim, and everything to do with the obvious fact that murders, maimings, bombings, etc., carried out by illegal, illegitimate terror gangs have no moral authority or legitimacy, whereas lawful activity by the legitimate security forces of a legitimate state is, by definition, lawful and legitimate. It’s not rocket science.

    The “international reaction to the hunger strikes” (support from Iranian and Libyan rogue states, far left groups in Europe and ethnic-Irish-American Brit-haters) does not alter the fact that murders by the PIRA were wrong.

    Ditto the “international recogintion of SF as peace makers”.

    Ditto the terms of the GFA.

    Under the GFA, PSF entered government on the basis of electoral support, not because they were “insurgents”. Had they not achieved sufficient electoral support, they wouldn’t have entered government.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Willows,

    the many/most debate is an interesting one though difficult to resolve. The moral legitmacy of the security force activity in Non Iron is of course debatable given both the means by which the state was established ( many viewing this as against the views of the Irish people ) and the subsequent behaviour of Unionists.

    Your chants of shame could easily be matched by someone on the other side of the fence who was outraged at the support or indeed understanding of the resason for state violence.

    How is your reading about the (Irish) War of Independence getting on?

  • willowfield

    McNally

    the many/most debate is an interesting one though difficult to resolve.

    It’s nor really difficult to resolve at all. The only people claiming that terrorists were equivalent to the security forces are the Provisional movement itself and its allies and supporters, plus a few far left groups dotted around the world, and Brit-hating Irish-Americans. Everyone else, including most importantly the majority of people in NI, recognises that the terrorist campaigns were illegitimate and wrong.

    The moral legitmacy of the security force activity in Non Iron is of course debatable given both the means by which the state was established ( many viewing this as against the views of the Irish people ) and the subsequent behaviour of Unionists.

    The moral legitimacy of some security force activity is debatable, and some security force activity was clearly wrong and illegitimate, without the need for any debate. In general, however, there is no equivalence between lawful, legitimate actions by lawful, legitimate security forces and illegal, criminal acts by illegal, illegitimate terror gangs. The “means of establishing the state” is not irrelevant, since the state was lawful, legitimate and universally recognised as such. The “subsequent behaviour of unionists”, by which I assume you mean discrimination, gerrymandering, etc., has no bearing on security force activity. The lawful arrest, say, of a rioter is not “illegitimate” because the boundaries of Londonderry Corporation used to be unfair, or because insufficient numbers of RCs were promoted to the most senior ranks of the Civil Service.

    Your chants of shame could easily be matched by someone on the other side of the fence who was outraged at the support or indeed understanding of the resason for state violence.

    Society requires protection from criminal and other assaults. That is why we have security forces. Security forces are often required to use force in order to protect society from such assaults. It is not “shameful” to protect society from terrorist assault: quite the opposite – it is the duty of the state so to do.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Willows,

    a few good points there and a few ommissions I will get back to you tomorrow if this thread if it still open.

  • Greenflag

    willowfield,

    ‘whereas lawful activity by the legitimate security forces of a legitimate state is, by definition, lawful and legitimate.’

    In theory yes -in practice what you are saying means that the actions of Zimbabwe’s Mugabe , and Stalin’s Russia not to mention Hitler’s Germany were ‘legitimate’ . If you were a member of the Matabele tribe in Zimbabwe , or a Kulak (small farmer) in the USSR or a Jew in Nazi Germany you would not be so ‘favourably ‘ disposed to the state’s security forces for ‘maintaining ‘ public safety .

    ‘It is not “shameful” to protect society from terrorist assault: quite the opposite – it is the duty of the state so to do. ‘

    I would argue that it is the FIRST duty of a State to protect it’s citizen’s for without security there is no State .

    The part you seem to have missed is the nature of the State itself . If a State does not command the support of the vast majority of it’s people and by that I mean a lot more than 55 to 60% of it’s citizens, then it’s at the very least questionable whether any of it’s laws are ‘truly’ legitimate other than of course in theory, or to the extent that they can be imposed by military force.

    ‘I certainly wouldn’t have gone out and murdered and disabled other people, or destroyed other people’s businesses and property, or abused their human rights’

    Good for you . Wish I could say the same but I can’t . I’d like to but I know somehow that if I had been a Bogside ‘resident’ and had seen the B specials/BA/Loyalists or others ransack my home and murder some of my neighbours I would have ‘enlisted ‘ in the Provos about four minutes after they left. . Had I been born on the Shankhill and seen friends and relatives murdered by the Provos my reactions would have been similar.

    For what it’s worth I agree re your point on moral equivalence if only because NI for all it’s defects and warts was not the equivalent of a nazi germany or stalinist russia or a modern zimbabwe . But NI was not and never had been a ‘normal ‘ democracy in the critical sense of having overwhelming consensus for it’s existence.

    For had NI been a ‘normal ‘ democracy then there would have been no ‘troubles’ and today there would still be an RUC and not the PSNI and a majority rule government instead of a forced power sharing one.

    Best to try and look forward Willow for on this issue there will never be ,and I mean never ,agreement between yourself and IWSMNWDI and like minded individuals from the other side.

    We all know in retrospect that the ‘troubles’ should never have happened . A bit of applied brainpower from Stormont in the matter of earlier reforms and a bit of give and take on all sides would have been enough to avoid the later descent to destruction imo.

    But you know that anyway eh? Best to work to ensure there is no possibility of a repeat performance .

  • willowfield

    Greenflag

    In theory yes -in practice what you are saying means that the actions of Zimbabwe’s Mugabe , and Stalin’s Russia not to mention Hitler’s Germany were ‘legitimate’ .

    Only if you consider Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany were legitimate states. I certainly don’t.

    I would argue that it is the FIRST duty of a State to protect it’s [sic] citizen’s for without security there is no State .

    Thank you (and note that the possessive “its” has no apostrophe – didn’t you learn that at primary school?).

    The part you seem to have missed is the nature of the State itself . If a State does not command the support of the vast majority of it’s [sic] people and by that I mean a lot more than 55 to 60% of it’s citizens, then it’s at the very least questionable whether any of it’s [sic] laws are ‘truly’ legitimate other than of course in theory, or to the extent that they can be imposed by military force.

    Says who?

    Good for you . Wish I could say the same but I can’t .

    Then hang your head in shame. You are saying that if your neighbours were “mown down” (and we still don’t know what that means) by the Army, you would have gone out and murdered and disabled other people. That is evil and despicable.

    I’d like to but I know somehow that if I had been a Bogside ‘resident’ and had seen the B specials/BA/Loyalists or others ransack my home and murder some of my neighbours I would have ‘enlisted ‘ in the Provos about four minutes after they left. . Had I been born on the Shankhill [sic] and seen friends and relatives murdered by the Provos my reactions would have been similar.

    Well, fortunately, those were not the reactions of the majority of people from either the Bogside or the Shankill. And those people from either district who joined the death squads and murder gangs engaged in appalling, disgusting and totally unjustifiable behaviour against their fellow humans.

  • Dewi

    “mown down” = killed.

  • cladycowboy

    willowfield

    “Only if you consider Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany were legitimate states. I certainly don’t”

    Hitler was democratically elected, that’s about as legitimate as we get at this stage of our development.

    There were many (a majority on the island) who didn’t recognise the legitimacy (at least when the threat of war was not imminent) of the UK in Irish counties.

    Some, rightly or wrongly, evolved their lack of recogonition of the legitimacy of the state into open insurrection.

    P.S You haven’t replied to my earlier question regarding the effect of a re-unification vote within the framework of the GFA and what this holds for your belief that the Ulster British/Protestant population are a distinct people who have the right to self-determination.

  • willowfield

    DEWI

    “mown down” = killed.

    So, fore example, a lawful and justifiable killing of your neighbour would lead you to go out and murder other people? Truly awful views.

    CLADYCOWBOY

    Hitler was democratically elected, that’s about as legitimate as we get at this stage of our development.

    He was a dictator. Go and re-read your GCSE history text books.

    There were many (a majority on the island) who didn’t recognise the legitimacy (at least when the threat of war was not imminent) of the UK in Irish counties.

    Well those “many” were wrong, because the state was legitimate.

    Some, rightly or wrongly, evolved their lack of recogonition of the legitimacy of the state into open insurrection.

    Rightly or wrongly?? I think you mean wrongly.

    P.S You haven’t replied to my earlier question regarding the effect of a re-unification vote within the framework of the GFA and what this holds for your belief that the Ulster British/Protestant population are a distinct people who have the right to self-determination.

    If you read my posts, you should ascertain the answer.

  • Richard James

    “Many people including many historians view the Provo campaign as a response to forced partition, Unionist misrule and British military heavy handedness.”

    Forced partition? I don’t think you would find many credible historians who would argue Northern Ireland had to be forced to opt out of the Irish Free State. On the other hand trying to forcibly intergrate a million Protestants into a Catholic state for a Catholic people would have caused massive bloodshed.

    “To characterise it as a murder campaign is understandable from a Unionist point of view but you should understand that even the British governement do not see it in these terms.”

    Rubbish. The PIRA is an illegal organisation, those convicted of involvement in it still have criminal records.

  • Dewi

    “mown down” = killed.

    “So, fore example, a lawful and justifiable killing of your neighbour would lead you to go out and murder other people? Truly awful views”

    Fair point – I was lazy. If innocent and unarmed neighbours were killed then I’d imagine an armed response would be inevitable.

  • cladycowboy

    willowfield

    “He was a dictator.”

    A democraically elected dictator. He took his country to war, turned it into a Police state and run it for the benefit of giant corporations, á la GW Bush.

    “Well those “many” were wrong, because the state was legitimate.”

    Your opinion. The majority of your fellow Irishmen thought the UK was illegitimate or we would have been at peace this last few centuries.

    “Rightly or wrongly?? I think you mean wrongly.”

    I’d imagine those who believed the state was illegitimate and non-pacifist would have thought it was rightly.

    “If you read my posts, you should ascertain the answer.”

    My reading is that you believe that the GFA was effectively the Ulster British surrender of their right to self-determination. Am I wrong?

    Does that resignation hold for future generations of Ulster Brits?

  • willowfield

    DEWI

    Fair point – I was lazy. If innocent and unarmed neighbours were killed then I’d imagine an armed response would be inevitable.

    Inevitable? First, inevitability is not the same as justification. Second, an innocent man was gunned down by police in London in 2005. I don’t recall any “armed response”. Would one have been justified?

    CLADYCOWBOY

    A democraically [sic] elected dictator.

    You consider a dictatorship to be legitimate so long as the leader was democratically-elected before he overthrew democracy and established the dictatorship? Your views are perverse.

    Your opinion.

    Not my opinion: the opinion of all those with an objective understanding.

    The majority of your fellow Irishmen thought the UK was illegitimate or we would have been at peace this last few centuries.

    If “the majority of my fellow Irishmen thought the UK was illegitimate”, they were wrong.

    I’d imagine those who believed the state was illegitimate and non-pacifist would have thought it was rightly.

    Al-Qaeda suicide bombers and their supporters think they are right, too. It doesn’t make them right. Just as “republican” terrorists weren’t right just because they thought they were.

    My reading is that you believe that the GFA was effectively the Ulster British surrender of their right to self-determination. Am I wrong?

    In practical terms, yes.

    Does that resignation hold for future generations of Ulster Brits?

    As I have stated several times already on this thread – yes.

  • Dewi

    “Second, an innocent man was gunned down by police in London in 2005. I don’t recall any “armed response”. Would one have been justified?”

    Again I’m being lazy. An armed response would not have been justified as a legal apparatus existed to provide justice.

    So I amend:
    If innocent and unarmed neighbours were killed then I’d imagine an armed response would be inevitable if no satisfactory legal apparatus existed to provide justice.

  • willowfield

    And there would be no other considerations?

  • cladycowboy

    willowfield

    “You consider a dictatorship to be legitimate so long as the leader was democratically-elected before he overthrew democracy and established the dictatorship? Your views are perverse.”

    No. I said Hitler’s Germany was legitimate, as in the German people granted it power. He used that power to create a dictatorship, the two are seperate issues. The fact that he was acting in a dictatorial manner before he was elected is more revealing.

    I don’t aim to come across as perverse or literal. Philosophically, every democratic (didn’t forget the ‘t’ this time) government become a dictatorship for the length of its term in office. GW Bush was democratically elected. GW Bush did some things that mainly dictators would do.

    “Not my opinion: the opinion of all those with an objective understanding.”

    If objective reasoning means that the UK wasn’t the first acquisition of the Anglophone empire..

    “Al-Qaeda suicide bombers and their supporters think they are right, too. It doesn’t make them right. Just as “republican” terrorists weren’t right just because they thought they were.”

    Nelson Mandela wasn’t right until those with an “objective understanding” changed their mind and decided he was right.

    ” In practical terms, yes.”

    What was all the fuss for then?

  • willowfield

    CLADYCOWBOY

    No. I said Hitler’s Germany was legitimate, as in the German people granted it power. He used that power to create a dictatorship, the two are seperate issues. The fact that he was acting in a dictatorial manner before he was elected is more revealing.

    Hitler’s Germany was not legitimate: it was a dictatorship.

    Nelson Mandela wasn’t right until those with an “objective understanding” changed their mind and decided he was right.

    Did Nelson Mandela engage in terrorism? He engaged in violence – as I understand it, sabotage against Government utilities, etc. Did he murder innocent civilians? If so, then he wasn’t right. And those “republicans” who engaged in barbaric acts of murder and violence were not right either.

    What was all the fuss for then?

    What fuss?

  • cladycowboy

    WILLOWFIELD

    “Hitler’s Germany was not legitimate: it was a dictatorship.”

    From the day the German people vote freely and democratically to elect the Nazis and during the brief period before he passed the enabling act, without question, ‘Hitler’s Germany’ was legitimate.

    The fact that Hitler was acting in a dictatorial manner before being elected muddles the implicit understanding also.

    “Did Nelson Mandela engage in terrorism? He engaged in violence – as I understand it, sabotage against Government utilities, etc. Did he murder innocent civilians? If so, then he wasn’t right. And those “republicans” who engaged in barbaric acts of murder and violence were not right either.”

    The ANC, of which he was a leader, used ‘terrorist’ methods, so yes, he was a ‘terrorist’ or supporter and harbourer thereof. Why did those who employ ‘objective reasoning’ make a complete u-turn on how they understood reality?

    “What fuss?”

    The Covenant. Larne. The reasons for fighting at the Somme. Gerrymandering. B-Specials. UDR. UDA. UVF- mark II. UFF. Ulster Resistance. Vanguard. The eternal hollering of ‘Lundy’. No surrender to violence.

    All done in the name of Ulster-British self-determination. All that existing alongside the threat of republican violence and then to surrender their ‘right’ to self-determination? It makes a lot of our history pointless to me, that’s all.

  • Greenflag

    willowfield ,

    ‘Only if you consider Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany were legitimate states. I certainly don’t.’

    Mugabe’s state was recognised by the UN and sits at the Organisation for African States . Stalin’s USSR had a seat at the UN Security Council and Nazi Germany was recognised by virtually the entire world.

    So in regard to your above consideration you are in the same position as a Northern Irish Nationalist/Republican in that the latter regarded the NI state( 1920 – 1972) & pre GFA as illegitimate.

    ‘by that I mean a lot more than 55 to 60% of it’s citizens, then it’s at the very least questionable whether any of it’s [sic] laws are ‘truly’ legitimate other than of course in theory, or to the extent that they can be imposed by military force. ‘
    ‘Says who?’

    Anybody who knows anything about human nature and democratic constitutional politics. Just look at the GFA . It was supported by 90% plus of the people in the Republic and by over 70% of the people within Northern Ireland . In total by over 85 % of the people on this island . Thus it can work and can be considered to have sufficient democratic legitimacy . The pre GFA NI never had that consensus , and never could have had that degree of support considering how and when the State was established .

    When any State is considered ‘illegitimate’ by almost half it’s population then such a State can only maintain it’s existence through repression , military force and/or a one party dictatorship /tyranny of the majority . As NI was within the UK the latter option was a non runner for Unionists from 1972 on .

    For some reading on this ‘subject’ I recommend Jonathan Schell’s ‘The Unconquerable World ‘ ‘Power , Non Violence , and the Will of the People. Also Tom Hadden’s /Kevin Boyle’s ‘Proposals for Northern Ireland ‘ which is now a bit dated but they go into all the reasons (from a 1980’s perspective )as to why the various purported solutions , Simple Majority Rule , A UI , Repartition , would not and could not work for NI .

    And it does goe back to the NI State pre GFA not having sufficent democratic cross community support for it’s continued existence .

    ‘You are saying that if your neighbours were “mown down” (and we still don’t know what that means)’

    I did’nt say mown down I said ‘murdered ‘ by the Army/B Specials /Loyalists etc.

    ‘you would have gone out and murdered and disabled other people’

    Not other people – I’d have gone out to shoot the Army/B Specials /Loyalists who murdered my family/neighbours /friends .

    ‘ That is evil and despicable.’

    No it’s not . It’s called fighting back -resisting tyranny etc.

    ‘fortunately, those were not the reactions of the majority of people from either the Bogside or the Shankill.’

    Good point. I’m no Gordon Wilson or Mr McGoldrick and I have huge respect for those people from the Bogside and the Shankill who did turn the other cheek . It’s just not in my nature to turn the other cheek 🙁

    ‘those people from either district who joined the death squads and murder gangs engaged in appalling, disgusting and totally unjustifiable behaviour against their fellow humans’

    Some of these people were certifiable ‘psychopaths ‘ as we now know from the records but not all were . Many were ordinary people caught up by grief or feelings of powerless /revenge etc etc .

    Anyway I got lucky and was born on the right side of the border so all the above is happily for me ‘conjecture’. Who knows in the final analysis what any one of us would do given the circumstances .

  • Greenflag

    picador,

    ‘Hmm, Bosnia? As mad as a bag of frogs.’

    Sorry I missed that quip picador 🙂

    BTW if Bosnia is as mad as a bag of frogs then how many bags of frogs would NI be ?:)

    I know you don’t have time to count 🙂

  • Greenflag

    Richard james ,

    On the other hand trying to forcibly intergrate a million Protestants into a Catholic state for a Catholic people would have caused massive bloodshed.

    ???????
    But ,

    On the other hand trying to forcibly integrate 600,000 Catholic nationalists /republicans into a Protestant State state for a Protestant people would NOT have caused massive bloodshed.?

    Are you for real Mr James ?

    The only reason it did not cause ‘more bloodshed’ at the time was because of the Civil War in the Free State and the fact that Northern Ireland’s Catholics had a miniscule number of weapons . Unionists on the other hand had no shortage of weapons /arms .

  • Greenflag

    Willowfield ,

    ‘If “the majority of my fellow Irishmen thought the UK was illegitimate”, they were wrong.’

    Indeed they were but that’s not what they were saying -they were saying that Northern Ireland (1920 -1972) was an illegitimate State .

    Although the UK currently may be going through establishing a new format for it’s democracy nobody In Ireland would doubt that the vast majority of Englishmen support the UK as their State . The Scots and Welsh have their regional Assemblies which may or may not develop into full independence parliaments but again nobody would doubt that the majority of Scots and Welsh support the UK until such time as they decide otherwise . If the Scots and Welsh were to withdraw their MP’s from Westminster and refuse to recognise Westminster’s powers in their countries then the democratic consensus underpinning UK democracy would be severely damaged .

    Northern Ireland was never like Scotland or Wales in that regard . From the very foundation of NI the State had insufficient support from it’s large alienated minority. Had the NI State in 1920 been confined to a smaller area with an 85% plus Unionist demographic then it’s claim to democratic legitimacy would have been stronger and the State itself would probably have avoided the last 40 years of troubles .

    NI post GFA has ‘legitimacy ‘ because over 70% of it’s population support the current constitutional dispensation . It would be better if the percentage were higher i.e closer to a 90% plus figure but hey it’s taken 40 years of false starts to get even this far . What gives the post GFA NI State an added legitimacy is that it’s internal settlement has been accepted by 90% of the people of the Republic .

    That 90% would have been less than 10% if even that , with Stormont Regimes pre 1972

  • Dewi

    OK Willow – I have to say you are good at logic and stuff. If I accept that I’ve lost the argument totally and you are absolutely correct in all aspects what does that mean? How can we proceed?

  • willowfield

    CLADYCOWBOY

    From the day the German people vote freely and democratically to elect the Nazis and during the brief period before he passed the enabling act, without question, ‘Hitler’s Germany’ was legitimate.

    Well, if you want to focus on that “brief period”, you can, but I wasn’t referring to it.

    The ANC, of which he was a leader, used ‘terrorist’ methods, so yes, he was a ‘terrorist’ or supporter and harbourer thereof. Why did those who employ ‘objective reasoning’ make a complete u-turn on how they understood reality?

    I’m unaware of the people to whom you refer, but if they said terrorism was wrong in the 1970s and 1980s and then said it was right in the 1990s, clearly they weren’t employing objective reasoning.

    The Covenant. Larne. The reasons for fighting at the Somme. Gerrymandering. B-Specials. UDR. UDA. UVF- mark II. UFF. Ulster Resistance. Vanguard. The eternal hollering of ‘Lundy’. No surrender to violence. All done in the name of Ulster-British self-determination. All that existing alongside the threat of republican violence and then to surrender their ‘right’ to self-determination? It makes a lot of our history pointless to me, that’s all.

    Only if you believe that (a) there’s going to be a nationalist majority in NI; or (b) a settlement with nationalism based on anything other than the current boundaries of NI was achievable.

    GREENFLAG

    Mugabe’s state was recognised by the UN and sits at the Organisation for African States . Stalin’s USSR had a seat at the UN Security Council and Nazi Germany was recognised by virtually the entire world.

    Indeed, but all were or are brutal dictatorships lacking legitimacy.

    So in regard to your above consideration you are in the same position as a Northern Irish Nationalist/Republican in that the latter regarded the NI state( 1920 – 1972) & pre GFA as illegitimate.

    Except the latter were wrong, yet those considering Nazi Germany to be illegitimate were and are not wrong. Big difference there!

    Anybody who knows anything about human nature and democratic constitutional politics. Just look at the GFA . It was supported by 90% plus of the people in the Republic and by over 70% of the people within Northern Ireland . In total by over 85 % of the people on this island . Thus it can work and can be considered to have sufficient democratic legitimacy . The pre GFA NI never had that consensus , and never could have had that degree of support considering how and when the State was established .

    Whatever you say, it doesn’t alter the fact that NI functioned as a legitimate state during that time, with free elections, free speech, a free press, an independent judiciary, etc. It was not “illegitimate” just because a considerable minority wanted a “united Ireland”. There was discrimination, etc., but in essence it was a legitimate, if flawed, state. No reason for a murder campaign, and no justification for one.

    Not other people – I’d have gone out to shoot the Army/B Specials /Loyalists who murdered my family/neighbours /friends .

    And how would you know who these people were and by what right would you shoot them? And to which murders would you be referring? And do you realise that the PIRA did more than shoot alleged murderers – they themselves murdered 1,800 people and maimed, disabled and injured many more. They planted bombs in shops, pubs and other public areas. They destroyed businesses and jobs. They destroyed people’s property and people’s lives. They beat and tortured people. They exiled people. They “disappeared” people. They ran criminal enterprises. They robbed from their own people. They intimidated people. Shame on you for seeking to legitimise them.

    No it’s not . It’s called fighting back -resisting tyranny etc.

    Murdering people is not “fighting back”: it’s murder. It’s wrong.

    Some of these people were certifiable ‘psychopaths ‘ as we now know from the records but not all were . Many were ordinary people caught up by grief or feelings of powerless /revenge etc etc .

    Whether they were “certifiable psychopaths” or not, they engaged in appalling, disgusting and totally unjustifiable behaviour against their fellow humans.

    PS. I see you’re still using an apostrophe for the possessive “its”. Can I ask why?

  • cladycowboy

    WILLOWFIELD

    “Well, if you want to focus on that “brief period”, you can, but I wasn’t referring to it.”

    It’s the moment of conception that is all important. A child born in wedlock is legitimate, if the child grows into a complete bastard, that doesn’t make it illegitimate.

    The conception of Ireland into the UK family was an illegitmate birth- we weren’t asked.

    “I’m unaware of the people to whom you refer, but if they said terrorism was wrong in the 1970s and 1980s and then said it was right in the 1990s, clearly they weren’t employing objective reasoning.”

    How about the British Establishment? Davie Cameron now says Maggie ‘A crime is a crime is a crime unless my useless, priveleged fuck of a son decides to take his game of Risk into global reality then it’s just foolishness’ Thatcher was wrong to label Mandela a terrorist.

    “Only if you believe that (a) there’s going to be a nationalist majority in NI; or (b) a settlement with nationalism based on anything other than the current boundaries of NI was achievable.”

    There was the boundary commission, a missed opportunity for Unionist self-determination. Stormont treated Nationalists like dirt and everyone knows that poverty and disenfranchisement breeds lots of breeding. Perhaps, ‘Unionists’ subconciously really want NI to disintegrate also! 🙂

    Objective reasoning is a very, very rare and precious commodity and no-one in public office in any country has even a whiff of it about them.

  • willowfield

    CLADYCOWBOY

    It’s the moment of conception that is all important. A child born in wedlock is legitimate, if the child grows into a complete bastard, that doesn’t make it illegitimate.

    We’re not talking about “legitimacy” in the sense of whether or not a child is born out of wedlock. We’re talking about legitimacy in relation to a state. Hitler’s Germany was illegitimate when democracy was suspended and a dictatorship imposed.

    The conception of Ireland into the UK family was an illegitmate birth- we weren’t asked.

    Illegitimate in your 21st century eyes and perhaps to the eyes of some in the 18th century. But it was legitimate to most in the 18th century. Completely irrelevant, anyway.

    How about the British Establishment?

    How about it? If the British Establishment said terrorism was wrong in the 1970s and 1980s and then said it was right in the 1990s, then it wasn’t employing objective reasoning.

    There was the boundary commission, a missed opportunity for Unionist self-determination.

    In retrospect, yes. At the time, unionists thought they had a comfortable majority in perpetuity.

  • Greenflag

    willowfield ,

    ‘all were or are brutal dictatorships lacking legitimacy.’

    I agree they were and are brutal dictatorships .But from their own internal perspective i.e from the point of view of their ruling parties they are/were ‘legitimate’ i.e the rule of law (their law) is/was on their side . Also the world at large recognised their rule . The USA and UK still have embassies in Harare . They also had embassies in Berlin and Moscow . The USSR had a seat at the UN Security Council . Zimbabwe still has a seat at the UN . These ‘powers’ won their ‘legitmacy’ through terror and brutality and through the one party state mechanism .

    ‘Whateveryou say, it doesn’t alter the fact that NI functioned as a legitimate state during that time, with free elections, free speech, a free press, an independent judiciary’

    Northern Ireland functioned as a State .It never had the willing support for it’s existence as say the Republic of Ireland has today or France or the USA or Germany or Poland , Holland etc. In all of these states there is opposition to the Government but whether or not the opposition wins will have no effect on these State’s ‘legitimacy ‘ as evidenced by the support of almost all their citizens for their State.

    Northern Ireland pre 1972 was never like that and even today there is still a great deal of ambiguity which is reflected in the ‘overwhelming ‘ support among the Irish Nationalist community for the present dispensation whereas it would appear to have the support of barely half of the Unionist community (based on GFA referendum results). Even so the present amount of consensus for the existence of a NI State is far greater than it was pre 1998.

    Pre the suspension of Stormont 1972 NI appeared to function as a normal ‘democracy’ Which is why it was accepted as a State ‘de facto’ by the Republic ,if not ‘de jure’ in terms of the Articles of the Constitution at that time.

    ‘There was discrimination, etc., but in essence it was a legitimate, if flawed, state. No reason for a murder campaign, and no justification for one. ‘

    The ‘flaws’ which you refer to ultimately derive from the NI State’s ‘botched ‘ foundation in which not enough democratic consenus was present to legitimise the setting up of 6 county NI State in 1920.

    BTW – I never stated that there was ‘justification ‘ for a campaign of violence against the ‘flawed’ State . I’m on record as stating that the whole of the troubles could have and should have been avoided . The fact that it was’nt is even more an indication of the ‘flawed’ basis on which the NI State was established . The NI State via the UUP could not from 1969 muster sufficient moral authority to continue in power . By 1972 Stormont was history. Despite a brief attempt to revive it via the Sunningdale Agreement sufficient cross community consensus could not be found to return self government to the province . Again this is further evidence as if any more were needed of the inherent undemocratic force majeure which gave NI it’s existence.

    BTW I’m aware of the apalling atrocities committed on all sides . There never was a ‘clean ‘ war and never will be . Which is why those entrusted with political responsibility for the governance of any State should make sure that their ‘rule’ is on behalf of all of the people and not just their ‘political ‘ supporters.

  • willowfield

    GREENFLAG

    I agree they were and are brutal dictatorships .But from their own internal perspective i.e from the point of view of their ruling parties they are/were ‘legitimate’ i.e the rule of law (their law) is/was on their side .

    But I’m not looking at it from the perspective of their ruling parties. I’m looking at it objectively.

    Also the world at large recognised their rule .

    Indeed it did. Realpolitik means that it couldn’t do otherwise. That doesn’t make dictatorships legitimate to those whose value system is grounded in liberal democracy.

    Northern Ireland functioned as a State .It never had the willing support for it’s [sic] existence as say the Republic of Ireland has today or France or the USA or Germany or Poland , Holland etc.

    The same could be said of the Basque Country, Catalonia, Britanny, etc. But those are all legitimate entities.

    The ‘flaws’ which you refer to ultimately derive from the NI State’s ‘botched ‘ foundation in which not enough democratic consenus was present to legitimise the setting up of 6 county NI State in 1920.

    They don’t. They derive from NI’s botched government/governance.

  • Greenflag

    cladycowboy,

    ‘Objective reasoning is a very, very rare and precious commodity and no-one in public office in any country has even a whiff of it about them.’

    Even if they do indulge in the practice they can’t hope/aspire to be elected if they ‘utter’ such thoughts in the media 🙂

    That’s why ‘objective’ reasoning is delegated to the mandarins of the Civil Service to which exalted office entry is gained through competitive examination . To win the Henley by election one does not need to have qualifications just wearing a blue ribbon will do quite nicely . Ditto for other locations in the reverse re red ribbon , or green or orange ribbons etc.

    ‘It’s the moment of conception that is all important. ‘

    To the nanosecond :)Otherwise you would not even be yourself -and ditto for all the parental couplings going back to whenever the first amoebic blob clinging to a rock cleaved itself and reproduced . We are all more ‘unique’ than we can imagine . Each one of us is a ‘lottery of life’ winner through no effort of our own .

    ‘ A child born in wedlock is legitimate, if the child grows into a complete bastard, that doesn’t make it illegitimate.’

    In today’s world there are no ‘bastards’ only the differently birthed . Once the numbers of those born out of wedlock rose to 30% in the UK slightly less in the Republic then the word ‘bastard’ lost it’s currency . It’s the old fallacy of composition again . If everybody is a bastard then nobody is 🙂 If everybody is a preferred car rental /hire consumer /frequent flyer etc then nobody is . One of life’s lesson’s .