Peter Robinson’s choices

It looks as thought the DUP have managed to again refuse to name a date for the devolution of policing and justice, a feat they have pulled off time and again since St. Andrews. There is no doubt that the British, Irish and even US governments would like them to do it but Robinson at least outwardly seems unmoved. The reality may be different but thus far Robinson has managed to hold the line quite well: assisted one might suggest by the other two main unionist parties opposition to the devolution of P&J; though Robinson might wish he was not receiving such help.Despite this there is a feeling that little by little Robinson and the DUP are being inched towards the eventual devolution of P&J. In an way although they provide a bulwark against P&J for the meantime, indirectly the UUP and TUV also provide a goad wielded by SF and the governments to force Robinson eventually into P&J devolution. This is of course because SF could threaten to pull down the whole agreement and hence, bring about an election: an election which would be very likely to result in a SF First Minister in the form of Martin McGuinness with Robinson reduced to the role of his deputy (in reality coequal but that is not how SF would sell it, nor how the would DUP feel). I mentioned recently that this possibility is the supreme folly visited upon unionism by Peter Robinson for party political advantage: that it is a folly which may be hurting Robinson is poetic justice; though that is cold comfort to unionists more interested in the advantage of unionism than the disadvantage of the DUP.

The recurrent danger now created by the DUP and to be fair given life by the TUV threatening to take a large slice of the DUP’s old vote is that if Sinn Fein fail to get their own way; McGuinness can resign and force an election: an election which will almost certainly see a large number of DUP MLAs lose their seats and Sinn Fein as the largest party. That of course thanks to the DUP’s negotiations after St. Andrews would result in a Sinn Fein First Minister. Hence, a collapse of the current situation and an election would be a personal disaster for a number of DUP MLAs (Jim Allister’s P45 comments comes to mind) and for Robinson himself forced to be second fiddle to McGuinness. Hence, despite their consistent defeating and stymieing of Sinn Fein’s agenda at Stormont, the DUP are always vulnerable to Sinn Fein’s “nuclear option” of collapse.

The fact that Sinn Fein have not collapsed despite plenty of provocation is, however, interesting and it is likely that the “nuclear option” is closer than the DUP think to mutually assured destruction and, hence, for unionism as a whole (if not for individual DUP MLAs or Robinson personally) collapse of the current system would be far from a disaster.

The most likely outcome of a new set of elections would, as I mentioned above, be SF as the largest party and, since the TUV would not take seats in the executive, a majority of nationalist ministers. In reality of course such a scenario would almost certainly be unacceptable to all unionists, and, hence, the assembly would be re-collapsed by unionists unless of course the British government stepped in to collapse it. Either way this would inevitably lead back to further negotiations and it is precisely that which holds out the hope of further gains by unionists. It is fairly clear that overall the current agreement is less satisfactory to unionists than nationalists and it is unionists who have the ideas and plans for modification: centrally around the possibilities for voluntary coalitions; a proper opposition and weighted majority voting. It is almost impossible to see Sinn Fein agreeing to such proposals within the current agreement and within the current agreement they have an absolute veto. Hence, collapsing the agreement and renegotiation is the only realistic option by which we can get to the possibility of a more normal, democratic (and hopefully more competent) form of government.

Of course negotiations are a two (or more) way process and republicans would presumably try to advance their agenda. However, at St Andrews unionism emerged with a superior state of affairs than it went in with: that despite the DUP’s at times foolish behaviour with idiotic side deals and the folly of further negotiations in Downing Street after the deal was supposedly done. If Robinson went into negotiations along with the other two unionist parties there is a high chance that unionism as a whole would come out with a better agreement. Robinson proved at St. Andrews that Sinn Fein were far from infallible as negotiators (in the process also underlining Trimble’s utter incompetence). With the help of Allister and some of the more sensible members of the UUP there is every reason to be confident that a superior deal could be achieved: even more confidence if unionists could try to avoid jostling for party advantage. A united front from all unionists under an effective leader has not been tried before but if Robinson had the strategic vision and nerve to attempt this he could achieve an enormous amount for unionism and would in the process become one of the great leaders of unionism.

All the above presupposes a degree of confidence within unionism; something I have previously argued there is good reason for.

There are of course fears in all this: fears sometimes in the past stoked by other unionists as a stick with which to beat their rivals. One is that every time unionism rejects a agreement the next agreement is less beneficial to it: that is one of the fallacies which has been repeated so frequently as to have become a supposed fact. Sunningdale may have been a better agreement for unionists than the Belfast Agreement though it is in honesty difficult to compare two agreements separated by over twenty years. However, it is fairly clear that St Andrews is an advance on the Belfast Agreement. In addition there is also the simple fact that republicanism has always been able to threaten a return to violence if it did not get its way. It is fairly clear that this obsession dominated much of British government policy towards Northern Ireland in the run up to the Belfast Agreement; it was also relevant in the Anglo Irish Agreement and probably also at Sunningdale.

Now clearly republicanism could go back to violence: whatever McGuinness or the others say should be taken with a large pinch of salt. However, the unionist analysis is that essentially the IRA lost and managed to get far more from its surrender than it should have. In addition now following 11th September 2001 the world (and especially the USA) has a very different view of terrorism; a view which would make a return to large scale violence by the republican movement much more difficult. As such the traction which this threat holds is much less potent. Clearly it still has some relevance and Jim Allister may well be correct in suggesting that mainstream and dissident republicans have more connection than is usually admitted. However, a major return to violence in the immediate future seems unlikely, would have relatively little community support and would massively isolate Sinn Fein. In addition if unionism is making decisions primarily predilected to avoid the IRA going back to violence, it is being blackmailed as well as conned.

The second concern is of course a return to Direct Rule. This was waved by the DUP as the dreaded alternative to their entering power sharing. It is, no doubt, correct that Peter Hain was threatening a series of unpleasant occurrences if the DUP had not entered power sharing. However, we need to go back and remember the context: devolution here was to be the fig leaf to cover Blair’s exit from power; an exit created chiefly by his involvement in the greatest British foreign policy debacle since Suez. We need to remember the dodgy dossier, the scandal around Dr. David Kelly’s death and the appalling fall from grace for “a pretty straight sort of guy” that the Iraq War represented for Blair. It is in that context that Blair, fatally weakened, needed a “success” with which to end his time in government; that success was to be devolved government for Northern Ireland.

If we returned to Direct Rule it is highly unlikely that Gordon Brown would have the authority, power or inclination to threaten unionists in the way which Blair did (via Hain). In addition although I am not predisposed to trust the Tories implicitly; it is highly unlikely that an incoming Conservative government (if that is what we have in June) will treat unionism in the way in which Hain threatened. Incidentally I very much doubt all or even many of Hain’s threats would have become a reality but that is a topic for another day.

Of course an additional danger for certain unionists in the collapse of the current agreement is the one I alluded to earlier: Jim Allister’s P45s for DUP MLAs and their assorted retainers. These people have a vested interest in advancing towards voluntary coalition in a much more gradual fashion or indeed in maintaining the status quo. However, the real dangers for unionism of the current agreement collapsing are colossally exaggerated. The potential gains for unionism are on the other hand very significant.

Even without a collapse of the current assembly, Robinson will be forced to face a Stormont election by 2011 at the latest and it seems unlikely, even in the most optimistic scenario for the DUP, that the TUV will have vanished or that the CUs will have fallen much further. As such Robinson is likely to be in a very difficult position by 2011. Hence, if he has the strategic vision (something I have never been convinced of) he should not allow the danger of a Sinn Fein led collapse of the agreement to worry him. Rather he should point all this out to Sinn Fein and indeed to the general public. He should state that he is unworried by a Sinn Fein collapse and that in such a scenario he would ,along with the TUV and CUs, seek further negotiations. This would at a stroke remove from Sinn Fein one of the few effective sticks they have to beat him with; he would expose the Sinn Fein threats as hollow. Indeed he could then goad Sinn Fein all he wants pointing out that if the current agreement falls Sinn Fein can expect to get a less good deal in the future. This would considerably strengthen his hand in the current negotiations, indeed it would also probably be an effective way of gaining back some of the softer TUV vote.

If the agreement did then collapse and further negotiations ensue Robinson would be the clear leader of unionism in those negotiations. If, in that context, he led all of mainstream unionism (DUP, CUs and TUV) into those negotiations he would be very likely to come away with more than unionism currently has. Robinson therefore has to make a decision. “To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.”

  • Thereyouarenow

    Does it ever occur to Unionists to share the powers that Stormont has and to try living in the world as it is and not the way that they wish it is.

  • elvis parker

    Despite some interest points this analysis is driven by the same delusion paranoid thinking that essentially believes Ulster Protestants (herein referred to as ‘unionism’) must band together to protect the Union. Apparently we must be ‘ourselves alone’ – supposedly because the idea of politically integrating NI into the UK mainsteam cant be done because you cant trust the English?

    Hence nonsense like
    ‘If Robinson went into negotiations along with the other two unionist parties there is a high chance that unionism as a whole would come out with a better agreement.’
    and ‘With the help of Allister and some of the more sensible members of the UUP there is every reason to be confident that a superior deal could be achieved: even more confidence if unionists could try to avoid jostling for party advantage. A united front from all unionists under an effective leader has not been tried before but if Robinson had the strategic vision and nerve to attempt this he could achieve an enormous amount for unionism and would in the process become one of the great leaders of unionism.’
    So the UUP should abandon its direct link with the Conservatives – who let us remember are likely to form the next govt and be central to any future negotiations in favour of allying themselves with the Nutters of NI Unionism!?

    The inconsistency and incoherence of this analyisis – and indeed Turgon’s inability to grasp the political significance of the ‘Conservatives and Unionists’ is seen at the end of his article in the following line:

    ‘If the agreement did then collapse and further negotiations ensue Robinson would be the clear leader of unionism in those negotiations. If, in that context, he led all of mainstream unionism (DUP, CUs and TUV) into those negotiations he would be very likely to come away with more than unionism currently has.’

    So Robbo is going to emerge from the GE as the clear leader of unionism – he will have less seats than he has now. David Cameron and the Conservatives and Unionists will have 350 to 400 seats but apparently the are going to trot into negotiations behind the DUP! Remember to that these negotiations (if they happen) will be hosted by a Conservative and Unionists Govt.

    Leaving aside the idea that ‘unionist unity’ is a. a good idea or b. ever achievable the idea that pro Union people in NI should eschew the opportunity to be on the inside of the next UK Govt reveals a shocking degree of a lack of confidence in the arguments in favour of the Union and he the ability of people from NI to build support and understanding within the UK political mainstream.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Turgon,

    a good analysis – but a few quibbles.

    It is difficult for you to argue that the DUP secured a better deal for Unionism with the STA when firstly, you are also arguing that they facilitated the possibility of a Nationalist First minister and secondly(perhaps I have got this wrong) but doesnt the STA contain a clause, that a Stromo collapse will be followed by an election – rather than a suspesnsion.

    Regarding violence, any attempt to row back on gains made by Nationalism in the GFA/STA in negotiations with the British government, and particulalry a Tory British government, which would be going against the agreed outcome of referendums in both parts of Ireland would be a very generous boost to Republican dissers (or some new grouping) now armed with the justification of the playing of the Orange card. Support for the police would crumble and although SF might suffer significantly we would be heading back down the slippery slope to disaster.

    You also have not considered the little matter of political, social and economic stability – persumably something the majority of people want and a United Unionism effectively telling the world an his wife (or at least the 3 governments) to feck off and shove the agreement where the sun dont shine would have a pretty detrimental impact on how Norn Iron as viewed by outsiders and community relations in general.

    With even the Tories agreeing that the GFA/STA is the only deal in town, I’m afraid the political equivalent of the Ulster Workers strike which you are advocating aint going to work unless the mad-dog-Tory-right are really in control of the party and PoshBoyDC is just a very good front man.

  • Turgon

    elvis,
    Actually that is a valid set of criticisms.

    However, the problem is that in future negotiations even with a Tory government there will be a pro union and a pro unity block. that is the nature of the current agreement and is what SF want. Now if we can negotiate away from that: excellent. The problem is that all unionism (and hopefully some of nationalism) needs to together agree that an ending to the designation etc. is what is needed.

    If the CUs take large numbers of votes of previously nationalist voters and can end the current system that way I would be delighted. however, I just do not think it is likely. Good luck however, in the attempt and I truly mean that.

    Finally elvis I am afraid I am old enough to remember the Anglo Irish Agreement imposed on us by Margaret Thatcher and also “No selfidh interest” etc. Now maybe the Tories have changed: if so good. I hope they have.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Turgon,

    one other related point which I mentioned to you on another thread – the growing electoral strength of the TUV is undermining Unionism’s representative (the DUP) in the ongoing talks with the Englezes and SF, and IF Robbo signs on the dotted line to taunts of Lundy wont their be the dreadful, nagging feeling, even in the minds of many in the TUV, that the person who opened really opened up the gate was Jimbo?

  • percy

    Brown to publish NI police budget

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8315528.stm

    Martin McGuinness described the talks as “a good night’s work”. He said devolution was achievable by Christmas: warning that his party would not accept any unnecessary delays.

    “I think it would be a mistake for anyone to try and inject further issues into the process which would mean that we would have further hurdles to cross,” he said.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Percy,

    does Marty actually use the D word – devolution, I think he only uses the T word – transfer, but in this instance it is not clear from the BBC report you quoted above.

  • Couldn’t comment – should’nt

    Interesting analysis but clearly flawed.

    The St Andrews negotiations have ultimately proved as useless as all the previous safeguards and committments. Minister still run amock in their feidoms, the Assembly is still doing nothing, there is little benefit on the ground from devolution and the calibre of our MLAs is totally embarassing.

    THe ongoing struggles for jobs, decent services, proper accountability leaves the Assembly and our so called leaders exposed as next to useless. Foot dragging over P&J isn’t impressing anyone and the general populace have totally switched off.

    At any next election the primacy of unionism as represented by the largest party will be lost due to Robbo’s greed and ultimately Sinn fein will have won the St Andrews round by virtue of being Northern ireland’s First Minister.

    as for realignments etc nothing will happen until Robbo realises and admits his mistake or the electorate turf him and his hangers on out and force a true realignment.

    Something genuinely possible under Cameron – but only if the UUP shed their deadwood

  • Dev

    The thing about these announcements that unionists of all hues won’t stand for a SF FM is that, while that might be perfectly true, no one outside of NI unionism is going to look at that & think it is a reasonable position to adopt. The IRA decommissioned, SF have signed up to peaceful democratic politics, why shouldn’t they have the FM emerge from their ranks if they end up being the biggest party after the election? It just looks as if unionism is saying they will only support power-sharing as long as they have most of the power to share, that’s not what the spirit or intention of the GFA was about. How do you think the Americans or mainland British would react to NI being thrown back into (potentially violent) political upheaval just because unionists can’t stomach someone from the largest nationalist party being FM?

    Also, I thought this quote from the DUP link was interesting:

    “No reasonable or impartial person could seriously suggest that devolution has been beneficial to Republicanism.”

    So is that the driving ambition of the DUP in regards to power-sharing govt? Stick up the Republicans .. does that sound like a sane or sensible way to ensure peaceful politics in this country, going out of your way to prevent accomodation with political rivals?

    Finally, if hard-line unionists had an ounce of sense they’d realise a SF FM would be one of the best ways to copperfasten the union – think of it, a man who for many years was willing to kill to end the “sectarian orange statelet” would then be the head of the govt of that which he sought to destroy, pretty good, no? Of course not, cos he’s a fenian & we can’t have that can we?

  • percy

    sammy, you’re right MMG didn’t use the d-word.
    Oh Lord, wheres peteb when we need him most for the detail 😉

  • fin

    Its amaing what comes out of Turgons mind and I always wonder how representative he is of unionism. Is he a stereotype created by Mick?

    For sure he can never step out of his own mindset rather he thinks what he would do in that individuals shoes.

    For example why would SF want to highlight been FM and the DUP dFM, SF have already promoted both positions as been equal and so preparing the ordinary unionist for a SF FM if it happens.

    Its disturbing the matter of fact manner of saying ‘and of course if a Taig got the top job we’d walk out cos you can’t be answering to a Taig’

    Rednecks abound

  • Mason Powell

    “It’s disturbing the matter of fact manner of saying ‘and of course if a Taig got the top job we’d walk out cos you can’t be answering to a Taig. Rednecks abound.” – Fin

    OK, so it’s SF 25% of the seats, SDLP 13% and the three strands of Unionism on 20%, 18% and 17%. Why do 25% get the top job? I can’t find that in my democracy rule-book. It’s in the Assembly legislation, courtesy of the DUP, but let’s limit our discussion to democracy.

    And at this point I’ll give our DUP friends another chance to tell us whether they WILL or WON’T accept an IRA commander as First Minister if the next Assembly election throws up a seat distribution something like the above scenario. (Please don’t waste our time telling us you won’t deal in hypotheticals: the European result makes the above scenario, or something similar, very likely.)

    By the way, Fin, if the next FM is a “Taig” (to borrow your expression) it would only worry me if he has blood and cordite on his hands.

  • fin

    Mason, possibly you need to take the attitude of nationalists, who, for the sake of bringing democracy to NI accepted 2 first ministers with paramilitary backgrounds, namely the Third Force and Ulster Resistance, UR have yet to decommission their HMG supplied weapons, and then there is Trimble and ‘The Committee’

  • Fabianus

    fin

    2 first ministers with paramilitary backgrounds

    Oh stop clutching at straws. There’s no comparison with Marty’s membership of an organisation that actually murdered all about them.

    Likewise, Trimble may have been a less-than-effective leader but he was no terrorist.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Fabianus,

    re. Trimble.

    You have to remember, that as he admitted in a recent interview, he was a member of Vanguard and stated that he would have been prepared to fight if the Ulster Worker’s strike had not brought down the Stormo democratic experiment of the time.
    Many people might therefore wish to use the word ‘Terrorist’ to describe Trimble in those circumstances as we all know what it means for Norn Iron’s Nationalists when Ulster Prods decide to ‘defend’ their country – ie sectarain killings.

    Like Unionists before and since – the trick is to threaten violence ie violence agaInst Nationalists and blackmail the British government to back down from ditching the mad feckers.

  • George

    Mason,
    OK, so it’s SF 25% of the seats, SDLP 13% and the three strands of Unionism on 20%, 18% and 17%. Why do 25% get the top job? I can’t find that in my democracy rule-book…. (Please don’t waste our time telling us you won’t deal in hypotheticals: the European result makes the above scenario, or something similar, very likely.)

    You seem to be the one dealing with hypotheticals with those figures.

    The European result was SF 26%, DUP 18%, UUP 17%, SDLP 16%, Allister 13%.

    Why should a party with just 18% of the vote get the top job?

    That’s certainly not in my democracy handbook.

    Even if you took all the so-called “unionists” together, they still don’t even make up 50% of the vote but a “unionist” should be guaranteed the “top” job?

  • fin

    Ian Paisley has had some very unsavoury acquaintances in the past.Men such as his homosexual bodyguard, and founder of loyalist paramilitary groups the SDA and RHC, John McKeague. British spy, founder of the paramilitary group TARA, Orangeman, British Israelite and child molester, William McGrath. While many other senior loyalist paramilitaries attended his church like the UVF leaders Ken Gibson and alleged Dublin bomber, Billy Mitchell, UDA psychopathic killer Davey Payne and UDA brigadier Tommy Herron. UPV leaders Noel Doherty, who set up Paisley’s ‘Protestant Telegraph’ and who was jailed for explosives offences in 1966 and Major Ronald Bunting who attacked Burntollett were also later disowned. More than any other single individual the Rev. Ian Paisley has done more to stoke the fires of sectarian hatred, engineer the outbreak of communal violence in the late 1960’s and incite decades of sectarian slaughter since then. In September 1975 the UDA leader Andy Tyrie said that he would blame Paisley and other unionist leaders for all future killings in Northern Ireland after they rejected voluntary coalition. Paisley has created or belonged to numerous paramilitary organisations beginning with Ulster Protestant Action in 1956, a group which stockpiled weapons and was later turned into a Paisleyite electoral machine. In 1966 Paisley became the founding chairman of the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee and the Ulster Protestant Volunteers. The UPV became the nucleus of the re-emerging UVF and played a major role in the sabotage bombing campaign which blew O’Neill out of office in 1969 as well as the ambush attacks on peaceful civil rights marchers in Armagh City in 1968, Burntolett Bridge in January and riots in Derry and Belfast in August 1969. In 1974 Paisley sat alongside the leaders of the UDA and UVF in the Ulster Workers Council committee whose strike brought down the Sunningdale agreement. In May 1977 Paisley’s United Ulster Action Council called another strike which failed despite renewed intimidation and three murders. In February 1981 Paisley launched his ‘Carson trail’ around the North by leading 500 men waving firearms certificates up a hillside in Co. Antrim. In November of that year Paisley launched a paramilitary ‘Third Force’ which attracted 15,000 people to a rally in Newtownards many dressed in paramilitary uniform. At it he said, ” My men are ready to be recruited under the crown to destroy the vermin of the IRA. But if they refuse to recruit them, then we will have no other decision to make but to destroy the IRA ourselves!…We will exterminate the IRA!”
    In 1985 many leading DUP politicians became members of the 20,000 strong paramilitary ‘Ulster Clubs’ founded by Alan Wright which had on its ruling committee the UDA Brigadier, John McMichael and the Mid Ulster UVF commander. At an Ulster Clubs meeting in Larne Paisley said “If the British government force us down the road to a united Ireland we will fight to the death…This could come to hand to hand fighting in every street in Northern Ireland. We are on the verge of civil war…We are asking people to be ready for the worst and I will lead them”.
    But the Ulster Clubs were merely a warm up for yet another Paisleyite paramilitary enterprise-‘Ulster Resistance’ which was launched in the Ulster hall on the 10th November 1986. This meeting was chaired by the future DUP M.P., Sammy Wilson and attended by Ian Paisley, Peter Robinson and Gregory Campbell among other DUP politicians. In 1988 members of UR were involved in a plot to smuggle arms from South Africa to be used by loyalist paramilitaries to murder innocent Catholics.Paisley and many of his followers have lengthy criminal records and have been arrested, fined and imprisoned on scores of occasions since August 1957. Rev Willie McCrea M.P. was a member of the Shankill Defence Association in 1969 (the group which was largely responsible for the anti Catholic pogrom in Belfast that August), in 1971 he was convicted of riotous behaviour in Dungiven, in 1981 he acted as a ‘county commander’ for the Third Force as did another DUP politician Rev. Ivan Foster. In 1975 he led a prayer service at the paramilitary funerals of Wesley Somerville and Harris Boyle who were responsible for Miami showband massacre and Dublin and Monaghan bombings. In 1996 he shared a platform at a rally supporting the UVF/LVF mass murderer, Billy Wright.DUP deputy leader, Peter Robinson MP, was the chairman of the Lagan valley UPV in 1966 and associated with the Third Force and Ulster Resistance. In August 1986 he led 500 loyalists in a cross border incursion to take over Clontibret, Co. Monaghan, which led to the injury of two gardai and his arrest. In a court appearance in Dundalk he again led a large loyalist mob into the town which led to a riot. At his trial the Judge described him as “a senior extremist politician”. In 1988 both he and his wife Iris were imprisoned at the same time.

  • fin

    Fabianus, if nationalists can hold their noses and work with people like this so can unionists, so less of your MOPERY

  • question mark question mark

    As Paisley himself said the DUP are the only unionist party. Anyone else who uses the label is a fraud, and has a tenacity that cannot be fathomed

  • Fabianus

    fin

    Men such as his homosexual bodyguard, and founder of loyalist paramilitary groups the SDA and RHC, John McKeague.

    Showing your true colours there, dear boy. Do keep your cretinous homophobia to yourself and out of politics okay?

    Sammy

    If guilt by association with terrorists were a crime there wouldn’t be any politicians in power anywhere in the world. Or would you prefer anarchy?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    fin,

    it is an impresive list, but I think it fair to make a disticnction between between the following three categories.

    Those that actually orgnaised or carried out violence – and lets include killing people in this category.

    Those that were prepared to use or threatened to use violence.

    Those that supported violence.

    As SF were to use the words of Berty the two sides of the same coin (it always came back to money with Berty) Unionists have more of a point than Nationalists, in terms of their concerns (if you look at it from their point of view) of having those in the first category in government.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Fabianus,

    since when did being prepared to use violence to subvert the democratic wishes of the government of the day become simply ‘guilt by association’.

  • Fabianus

    Sammy

    I said “guilt by association with terrorists”. For the record I happen to know a couple of (ex)terrorists but am innocent of any acts of subversion.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Fabianus,

    re. “I said “guilt by association with terrorists”. For the record I happen to know a couple of (ex)terrorists but am innocent of any acts of subversion.”

    Fair enough – but if you were a key player in an organisation that threatened to “liquidate the enemy” and which was ready to “fight” and helped organise a strike which utilised the paramilitaries to enforce it and collpase Stormo and blackmail the British government it would be reasonable to say that you were not innocent of acts of subversion – dont you agree?

  • Fabianus

    Sammy

    Yes, I agree. I have to go now but will return to this because it’s an interesting discussion.

  • fin

    Fabianus, don’t shoot the messenger (no pun intended) that was a cut and paste, I really didn’t see the need to write about the DUPs terrorist past myself when so much exists about it in the public domain.

    He was actually believed to be a Paedophile and has been connected with the Kincora paedophile ring along with a number of senior unionists.

  • fin

    Speaking of Kincora and the DUP here’s some detail, hold your noses everyone.

    For the first time in his long political career, the Rev. Ian Paisley has lost face with his own Protestant community. Even those who found his brand of Ulster loyalism unsavoury had to admit that his political instincts were usually unerring. In the past week, however, Mr Paisley has been drawn into the kind of sex scandal that puritan Ulster hates most–a homosexual scandal.Last December three housewardens pleaded guilty in a Belfast court to homosexual offences stretching back 20 years against teenage boys in Kincora, a Belfast boys’ home. Locals were soon calling the Kincora case Ulster’s ”Watergate” when it was suggested that the police had been prevented from investigating conditions at the home eight years ago and that the social services department responsible for Kincora had mounted a cover-up. There were also claims that British army intelligence officers had tolerated abuses at Kincora in the hope of gathering information to use against loyalist extremists.

    Rumours of a homosexual prostitution ring involving Kincora boys and men prominent in Ulster life quickly followed. All this was enough to make Mr James Prior, the Northern Ireland secretary, mount a private, independent inquiry.It was then that Mr Paisley, leader of Ulster’s largest Protestant group, plunged into the middle of the controversy. The Irish Times has been investigating allegations made by Miss Valerie Shaw, a former full-time missionary in Mr Paisley’s fundamentalist Free Presbyterian church. She claimed that in 1973 she had gone to Mr Paisley with evidence that one of the Kincora housewardens, Mr William McGrath, was a homosexual. She said she had raised the matter repeatedly with Mr Paisley, and had resigned from his church when he refused to act. Mr McGrath was a political associate of Mr Paisley.
    Mr Paisley told the Irish Times that Miss Shaw had never complained to him about Kincora. And there matters might have rested. Next day, however, he suddenly called a press conference at his church where he admitted that she had come to him with evidence of Mr McGrath’s homosexuality–but in 1975, not 1973, and unrelated to Kincora.
    Mr Paisley also admitted that he had known Mr McGrath for many years, that he had accompanied him on delegations to government ministers and that he had been aware that Mr McGrath was the suspected head of the Protestant paramilitary group, Tara. (Mr McGrath, who has been sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for sexual offences against Kincora boys, had set up Tara in the 1960s to work for ”the banning of the Catholic church in Ireland” and for the arming of Ulster’s Protestants.)
    Next day one of Mr Paisley’s chief Protestant opponents, the leader of Ulster’s Orange Order, the Rev. Martin Smyth, revealed that he too had been approached by Miss Shaw and had reported his suspicions to ”the relevant authorities”. Then it was Miss Shaw’s turn for a press conference. She repeated her allegations, whereupon, later that same day, Mr Paisley revised his version of events and said that Miss Shaw had come to him in 1974, not 1975 (or 1973).
    Several questions have yet to be answered satisfactorily. If Mr Paisley believed the evidence against Mr McGrath, why did he not go to the police? Why was Mr Paisley unaware that Mr McGrath worked in a boy’s home when, during all this period, Mr McGrath shared a house with an associate of Mr Paisley? And why did Mr Paisley revise his version of events?
    Such questions may not go away. Mr Paisley is in mid-squabble with his Protestant rivals in the Official Unionist party about a candidate for the Westminster seat made vacant by the IRA’s murder of the Rev. Robert Bradford, MP. The Official Unionists want the Rev. Martin Smyth to stand; Mr Paisley insists that Mr Bradford’s widow is given a clear run.
    At such a time the Kincora affair is obviously discomfiting to Mr Paisley, who led a ”save Ulster from sodomy” campaign opposing the reform of Ulster’s archaic homosexuality laws.

  • Fabianus

    fin

    Fabianus, don’t shoot the messenger (no pun intended) that was a cut and paste, I really didn’t see the need to write about the DUPs terrorist past myself when so much exists about it in the public domain.

    Sorry mate but you didn’t preface it as being a cut and paste job. And was there a need to include the homophobia?

    Sammy

    I think Trimble is interesting in several respects, not least in light of the stuff you accuse him of. Personally I think he’s a twat for dissolving the first Assembly (and I’m sure he thinks the same).

    And yes, I agree that he associated with some highly unsavoury characters, as did many members of his party. But I don’t think it’s fair to say he backed to the hilt Craig with his desire to “liquidate the enemy”. My own feeling is that Trimble toyed with shows of strength mainly because it was the right thing to be seen to be doing as a young UUP man cutting his teeth. He certainly showed little backbone when he finally came to power.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Fabianus,

    re. “But I don’t think it’s fair to say he backed to the hilt Craig with his desire to “liquidate the enemy”.

    He does not appear to distance himself from these remarks – interview below and – like most politicians he goes not admit he got anything wrong – though he is clearly struggling to pretend to his audience and perhaps himself that he made all the right choices.

    But the substantive point remains, that many mainstream Unionists both UUP and DUP seem, based on what we know of their past activites to have been quite prepared to ‘fight’ for Ulster and they advertsied this view in order to keep themselves British i.e. blackmail Britian by threatening to wage war against their Nationalist neighbours.

    That is the problem for Unionism – if Britain tels them to feck off then they cleary cant attack Britain so they would simply turn on those who would benefit (ie the Nationlaists) from British withdrawal.

    That may not make them ‘terrorists’ in some peoples eyes, but being a party to a conspiracy e.g. the Ulster Workers strike in which we have little doubt that if the government did not back down then Nationalist areas would have been under severe attack puts them in a category, at the minimum not far removed.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/bbc_parliament/7354883.stm

  • fin

    Fabianus, you withered on earlier about the poor unionist community faced with Marty as FM, I posted FACTS that are in the public domain concerning the the previous and current FMs involvment with several unionist terrorist organisations and your response is what !!!!!

    Fabianus, Mate, lets shortcut things, explain to me what right unionists have to preach about SF when they return the people I mentioned about as their political representives, as I’ve said if nationalists can hold their noses and get on with it I can’t see any reason why unionists can’t

  • Fabianus

    fin

    You posted homophobic rantings under the guise of cutting and pasting another’s work, even though you didn’t own up to it at the time of posting. Your cut and paste job was unnuanced as no doubt you intended it to be. Sammy was kind enough to point out that although there were dark deeds done on both sides the present DUP reps in government, though no angels, do not hold a satanic candle to the Republican reps now in office.

    If you can’t see the gradations then perhaps you should cut and paste this.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Fabianus,

    re. “Sammy was kind enough to point out that although there were dark deeds done on both sides the present DUP reps in government, though no angels, do not hold a satanic candle to the Republican reps now in office.”

    Not quite – I was agreeing that SF ‘reps’ had demonstrably more involvment in violence than their Unionist counterparts. The rights and wrongs of IRA violence and Unionist threats of violence is a seperate issue.

  • Mason Powell

    Most of the above contributions explain fairly graphically why the average voter in Northern Ireland wouldn’t give a stuff if Stormont were to collapse. (Many would be happy for that to be a real, physical collapse particularly if all members were inside!) I could live with Direct Rule: all of us equal under British law. (Note to DUP members jumping up and down and screaming about an Irish language Act: do you seriously think that having IRA terrorists and their apologists running government departments as a reward for their actions in the Troubles is a price worth paying to protect us from an extension of Gaelic?)

    By the way, why do we say “Direct Rule”? Did Yorkshire opt for “Direct Rule from faraway London” when the North East overwhelmingly rejected a Stormont-type Assembly a few years back? I grew up well aware that the Prime Minister was Mr Wilson and that government was in London. It came as something of a surprise to learn there was also a mini-government outside Belfast at a place called Stormont.

  • fin

    You posted homophobic rantings under the guise of cutting and pasting another’s work

    lol Fabianus, run rabbit run.

    for your next post, lets stop fucking around.

    I’ll call you to give an example of my ‘homohobic rantings’

    THEN

    I’ll expect an answer to the QUESTION I keep asking you, shall I repeat it for you.

    or are you just a bit of a random idiotic poster who runs away after coming out with a bit of racist crap.

    Racist crap been that unionists can be fragile when dealing with SF, however what issues should nationalists have with a political party and leaders who launched several terrorist organisations, assisted in the importation of weapons used in hundreds of murders, sheltered child abusers, etc, the previous FM is recognised by everyone (except you) as one of the architects of the last 40 years of violence.

    It is fucking amazing that you defend a Homophobic party by trying to muddy the waters with insults to me because I pasted the word ‘homosexual’

    Fabianus, piss or get off the pot. If you can’t answer the question than just walk away, cos you ain’t kidding anyone but yourself.

  • Fabianus

    fin

    It is fucking amazing that you defend a Homophobic party

    Which one was that? Can you point out where I defended this elusive party?

    Just admit you posted homophobia without comment (making you an accessory) and we can all get on with what remains of our lives.

  • fin

    http://www.anphoblacht.com/news/detail/2726

    and here you go Fabianus, I won’t cut and paste, not going to give you anymore excuses to dodge the question.

    Theres several quotes from unionist terrorists concerning the ex-FM

    So whenever your ready you can explain why these people are acceptable leaders and SF ain’t

    I came across it while searching for the Finance Ministers relationship with gun runners, you the people who supply guns that are used to kill people (granted from your point of view it seems as it was only catholics it wasn’t too serious)

  • fin

    Fabianus your defence of the DUP (or rather your refusal to admit there past)

    I did ask you to give answer the question, but I see your ducking it again mate.

    But then again I also asked for an example of my ‘homophobia’ but I see your ducking that asell.

    Well sorry, Fabianus, your boring me now, its obviously time for you to switch of the JCB you’ve dug quite a big enough hole for yourself.

  • Fabianus

    fin

    When did I defend the ex-FM? I have the greatest contempt for Ian Paisley sr.

    So whenever your ready you can explain why these people are acceptable leaders and SF ain’t

    I never said “they” were. It’s all in your head mate. I despise both the DUP and SF but if I had to choose I’d choose those who had less blood on their hands.

    But then again I also asked for an example of my ‘homophobia’ but I see your ducking that asell.

    Here you go:

    Ian Paisley has had some very unsavoury acquaintances in the past.Men such as his homosexual bodyguard…
    Posted by fin on Oct 22, 2009 @ 01:39 PM

    You did post that, didn’t you?

  • fin

    Fabianus, yes I did, the rest of the sentence been
    “…and founder of loyalist paramilitary groups the SDA and RHC, John McKeague”

    Hence my confusion because I (and I’d say 99.99% of people) would consider the unsavoury bit to be linked to the terrorism bit – that you decided not to paste (I wonder why)

    AND

    “Oh stop clutching at straws. There’s no comparison with Marty’s membership of an organisation that actually murdered all about them.”

    becomes

    “if I had to choose I’d choose those who had less blood on their hands.”

    And thats a stupid statement for even a child to make.

    Mate, you’re just ducking and diving now with silly games trying to avoid confronting/admitting your sectarianism,

    Try to understand going forward that the life of a Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Muslim, or anyone is of equal importance.

    Good bye

  • Fabianus

    fin

    Hence my confusion because I (and I’d say 99.99% of people) would consider the unsavoury bit to be linked to the terrorism bit – that you decided not to paste (I wonder why)

    No confusion here. You began with “unsavoury” then mentioned “homosexual”. You therefore linked the two. Did you want me to quote the rest of your rather long comment back to you?

    AND

    “Oh stop clutching at straws. There’s no comparison with Marty’s membership of an organisation that actually murdered all about them.”

    becomes

    “if I had to choose I’d choose those who had less blood on their hands.”

    No, the two statements are disparate entities. You made a foolish comparison between a man with no paramilitary background and a man with an active paramilitary background.

    trying to avoid confronting/admitting your sectarianism,

    Huh? You’re the one bringing sectarianism into it not me. Where did I make a sectarian statement (other than in your imagination)?