The threat is greater now than it has been for the last ten years…

Excellent piece from Newsnight the other night, in which Liz McKeen draws out some of the moral and political dilemmas facing the dissident Republicans who are backing a return to armed struggle. Gary Donnelly, formerly of Sinn Fein, now of the 32 County Sovereignty Committee: “‘It would be perfectly legitimate to target anyone who is promoting British rule in Ireland’. But when I asked him about targeting their families, after a long pause, he described that as a ‘thorny issue'”.

MacKeen notes there is now an average of one terrorist incident per day… and there is speculation but respondents like Norman Baxter in the piece that sooner or later they will turn their attention to Britain. But on the political question within Republicanism, Lorna Brady, sister of John Brady who died in PSNI custody in Derry recently is worth quoting: “People could say that Sinn Fein are the real dissidents because they moved away from their original opinion. To call other people dissidents because they didn’t change their view. Sinn Fein changed their opinion and other people didn’t”.

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  • slug

    General question. That Donnelly makes some staggering comments.

    Do nationalist ethos schools have an environment that is conducive to a dislike or hatred of us British?

  • Mick Fealty

    Not generally in my experience. If there is a sectarian effect in schools, it is the lack of contact with ‘de udder side’ rather than what people are taught… And it’s not a one way effect either…

  • Brit

    “Sinn Fein changed their opinion and other people didn’t”

    This is, of course, quite right. SF became constitutional nationalists, obviously a move in the right direction which a hard core of ‘dissidents’ are never going to follow until and unless there is a UI.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    slug,

    The propogation of ideology is very interesting and like most sociological/psychological phenomena very little understood. In essence the belief that the British state has no right to involvment in Irish affairs and that it should be resisted violently appears to survive irrespective of whether it it taught in schools but it is fair to say that Irish history from the classroom or picked up from witihn the community is a rich source of motivation for some.

    The best way to minimise the relevance of such history is to make sure the future is very different from it and in the case of the Northern Irish Territories that means making the current peace/political process work as set out in the GFA/STA.

  • slug

    Mick

    I am sure you are right. Just the sort of shameful things that Donnelly was saying makes me wonder where it comes from. There is still a lot of moving on to do (on both sides!) evidently!.

  • Chris Donnelly

    There is still a lot of moving on to do (on both sides!) evidently!.

    Slug

    I’d say making the comment in the first place indicates that perfectly.

  • slug

    Chris

    I can only wonder what it is that causes someone like Donnelly hate us so much!

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mick,

    contact with the other side or lack of it may help to encourage sectarianism but violent republicansim which is not an essentially sectarian ideology does not need a dislike for Unionists or Protestants to survive but simply a repitition of historical mistakes by the British or even lack of political will to undo these mistakes.

    As the SOS pointed out a number of times, and probably not much to Unionism’s liking, the transfer of Police helps to make the Republican disser job much more difficult by further distancing the politics of the Northern Irish Territories from those that gave rise to the troubles.

  • slug

    Professor Paul Bew has stated that there is essentially a strong well of historical resentment in nationalist society that is drawn on by people like G Donnelly. It is probably true that its not the schools alone that allow people to draw from that well and come out with such absurd positions has his statement in this blog piece. However I would imagine that if you mix up the children from both sides of the society then you are likely to have a more pluralist upbringing where all sides of the argument are put forward and people don’t have simple one-dimensional outlooks. This argument suggests that people getting maximal exposure to both sides of the argument would be important in making sure we don’t have too many more Donnelly-types.

    How old is G Donnelly?

  • Dec

    There is still a lot of moving on to do (on both sides!) evidently!.

    But especially themmuns, eh Slug?

  • slug

    I have just watched this Donnelly. He looks about 45 years old.

    A “thorny issue” indeed. (Targeting PSNI officers’ FAMILIES!).

    We have to deal with the threat from G Donnelly types in a multi stranded way. However as Paul Bew states the main thing in NI politics is always a fix at the top (i.e. we have not solved the troubles by integrated education we did it by infiltrating neutralising and bringing in the terrorists).

    However, that is not to say that some societal changes will not be important long term.

    A

  • slug

    Dec

    No not mostly by themmuns at all. I am just struck by the words of this G Donnelly.

    But I know that there are movings-on to be done by loyalists unionists British etc., for example Irish language is a good case where us British could change stance in NI.

    But this G Donnelly thinks its “thorny issue” to kill the wife or child of a PSNI guy! What sort of attitude is that!

    Personally my preference is that we all move to a more normal society in Western European terms where differences are accepted and enjoyed.

    As I am procrastinating here, I am sure I must move on myself and get back to work.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    slug,

    multi-cultural Britian has a large swathe of people of Asian extraction who believe that Britian’s actions in Iraq and Afghanistan are sufficently immoral/wrong that despite integration in British society they will carry out acts of violence agianst the British state.

    Although more integration may lead to more consideration for alternative viewpoints it does not necesarilly follow that those other viewpoints will be accepted – what is more likely to change those peoples view of the world is seeing that the world they are living in have changed or is in the process of doing so.

    Equally an invasion by Britian of another muslim state or re-deployment of British troops in an agressvie manner against for example protesting Nationalists could well set of a chain of violent events which a high degree of integration would have little impact on.

  • J Kelly

    The piece from Liz McKean was implying that these so called dissidents have or are gaining massive support. Donzo mumbled something about Sinn Fein members becoming disillusioned and moving towards them I am from Derry and can tell you without doubt that this is complete nonsense. If anything in Derry they are becoming a laughing stock. Gerry Kelly nailed this myth that Sinn Fein were seeping support to so called dissidents. Election results.

    Donzo hadn’t the b***s, not for the first time, to stand by their actions. If some young fella can plant a bomb or shoot up a house at least the spokepeople can do is have the b***s to state the reasons why.

    Were was Jeremy Paxman for that interview.

  • slug

    Would I be right to imagine that people like G Donnelly are a laughing stock in 95% of nationalist society?

  • J Kelly

    I’d say closer to 99%.

  • Brit

    “multi-cultural Britian has a large swathe of people of Asian extraction who believe that Britian’s actions in Iraq and Afghanistan are sufficently immoral/wrong that despite integration in British society they will carry out acts of violence agianst the British state.”

    Thats precisely correct, except that the words “large swathe” should be deleted and replaced with “tiny minority”. Maybe Sammy you should stick to writing about what you know.

    And the violent Islamists reference to Iraq / Afghanistan is just an excuse as it ties into a much wider opposition to those wars (by no means limited to Britain’s muslims) – dont forget they supported 9/11 which was pre Iraq / Afghanistan

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Brit,

    Yes, thanks for pointing that out what I should have said and what I meant to say was;

    multi-cultural Britian has a large swathe of people of Asian extraction who believe that Britian’s actions in Iraq and Afghanistan are immoral/wrong despite integration in British society and a very small minority of those will carry out acts of violence agianst the British state.

  • Brit

    Two more amends required Sammy. First a large swathe of the British population (of any extractions) believe that those actions are immoral wrong.

    Second those willing and attempting to carry out islamist inspired violence included non asians – whites, blacks, north afrians and arabs

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Brit,

    those amends are not accepted because they are not relevant to the point I was making i.e. a comparison between the impact of Britain’s actions on two groups (Nationlaists and Asians)who for different but related historical reasons would have a different world view from many mainland Britons with a different background.

    That is not deny the truth in both of your statements.

  • Issac Ball

    Good to see the wise guy giving us a laugh.Next time Bonzo goes on holiday at the state’s pleasure, maybe they should make sure he reads some history books and learn all about the 32 counties and all its beautiful past which he rightly chooses to defend. Start with some nice easy ones first then slowly put up some on political thought. Preferably those that deal with social, democratic and republic ideas. Then take the teaching off on a tangent by introducing some books on idealism,economics,gangsterism and the mafia.Then if anything sinks in,we can then get him to deal with reality. Maybe then he can answer some real questions on his prefered style of ‘banna republic’.Something out of Africa maybe with its self-proclaimed leader and jungle rules. Just like his own wee ideal re’pub’lic that he runs up in the poor mouth derry. An please get us more interviews, as many as possible from these spokemen cus then all their time will be taken up trying to look good and string a few words together to sound right on the airwaves.Then they will not have time to ‘fight’for the republic and we can get on with working and living for Ireland and enjoy the ‘laughter of our children’.Same as all other social democratic republics- peacefully.

  • Silver

    @Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    “violent republicansim which is not an essentially sectarian ideology does not need a dislike for Unionists or Protestants to survive but simply a repitition of historical mistakes by the British or even lack of political will to undo these mistakes.”

    When you break it down to it’s basics the only “historical mistake” needed for violent republicanism to survive is the existence of unionists and the demand that British nationalism and Irish nationalism have equal rights in terms of self determination. You may say that that is not hatred of unionists or Protestants, but if so it’s the same kind of non-hatred that the Han Chinese have for Tibetans – i.e. know your place, you are lesser than us and don’t have the same rights as us and must be subsumed to our will, but we don’t hate you because we love it when someone with your background comes out and supports our nationalism.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Silver,

    I think most people would agree that you have rather got the comparison between the Chinese and the Tibetans the wrong way round.

    p.s. British involvment in Tibet is another example of imperialist meddling in other peoples affairs.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Sammy: “contact with the other side or lack of it may help to encourage sectarianism but violent republicansim which is not an essentially sectarian ideology does not need a dislike for Unionists or Protestants to survive but simply a repitition of historical mistakes by the British or even lack of political will to undo these mistakes.”

    What a load of all-natural fertilizer, Sammy.

    Violent Republicanism is just as bigoted and narrow and Loyalism… they just wrap it in a better narrative and bigger words. They may not ‘need’ a dislike of Unionists or Protestants to survive, but they desperately need it to continue their violence — it is far easier to kill “themmuns” once you have dehumanized them and reduced them to a faceless enemy, where there are no individuals, just targets. Shellack the turd as much as you like, you’re not going to make it into anything more than a turd.

    The dissidents are laying the foundation for a resumption of violence, just as they have been grooming the populace to accept “no-go” with their “street theatre” of the road-blocks. You can tart it up in nicer terms and excuse them all you’d like, rationalizing as you go, but that isn’t going to change the basic reality that the Republican side of the equation is rattling sabres, as if they plan to resume the armed conflict, with all the down-side problems that that will entail.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Dread Cthulhu,

    We will have to disagree about republican violence.

    re. Disser violence – the best way to defeat them is to continue making political progress and there can be little doubt that a Stormo collapse would be a massive boost to them.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Sammy: “We will have to disagree about republican violence. ”

    Only if you can’t explain how Republican violence is bereft of bigotry or hatred of “the other.” Killing, however, is easier once the opposition has been demonized into a faceless enemy.

    Similarly, a parallax argument can be made — Loyalism doesn’t inherently require hatred, ethnic or religious — it simply requires loyalty to the political status quo and a willingness to kill.

    As I said, you’re shellacking a turd, Sammy. You casually demonize “themmuns” as bigots and narrow-minded haters, then, equally casually try to put a halo over the Republicans. When the bombs start gong off in pubs again, will you try to rationalize those, as well? Back shot cops? How about murdered children, slain because they were born to cops? Where will you draw the line? The most Donelly will say is that killing family members is something of a hard question — which sounds like “its too early to tell you we will” once you’ve unspun it.

    Sammy: “re. Disser violence – the best way to defeat them is to continue making political progress and there can be little doubt that a Stormo collapse would be a massive boost to them.”

    What a load…

    That theory only works if you assume events will take place in some sort of vacuum. Once the dissident Republicans decide to start killing on a regular basis, as opposed to limiting themselves to an occasional police officer or soldier, all bets will be off. We’ll start to see “dissident Loyalist” formations and it will all go back to skittles — all that will change will be that the alphabet soup.

    At this point, SF will pretend that “dissident Loyalist” violence is happening in a vacuum and the whole thing goes to skittles.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Dread Cthulhu,

    I have argued this many times before – so I’m opting out sorry – my only point is that the last previous mainstream Republican campaign was largely directed at the British state and not at Norn Iron Protestants although I would not try to suggest it did not have a sectarian element to it.

    re. “That theory only works if you assume events will take place in some sort of vacuum”

    I dont think that makes any sense – like the British secretay of State for Norn Iron I would suggest that political progress and particulalry on the transfer of Police is an essential ingredient in defeating the rebel dissers. Simples.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Sammy: “I dont think that makes any sense – like the British secretay of State for Norn Iron I would suggest that political progress and particulalry on the transfer of Police is an essential ingredient in defeating the rebel dissers.”

    Too bad the current system would appear to be designed to prevent progress.

    But your argument ignores the human element — once the dissidents start killing, those Loyalist groups who’ve recently come in from the cold will have members who will go back out into the cold as a consequence — why give up their arms when, in contradiction to the propaganda, the violent struggle in ongoing?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Dread Cthulhu,

    re. “once the dissidents start killing, those Loyalist groups who’ve recently come in from the cold will have members who will go back out into the cold as a consequence—why give up their arms when, in contradiction to the propaganda, the violent struggle in ongoing”

    I agree – I’m simply suggesting/hoping that things will move on politically and it wont come to that but gradually fizzle out.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Sammy: “I agree – I’m simply suggesting/hoping that things will move on politically and it wont come to that but gradually fizzle out. ”

    Like I said, too bad the current system would seem to be designed to prevent any sort of progress, innit?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Excellent self-serving, self-fulfilling arguement you have wrapped yourself up in there.

  • Brian MacAodh

    God that Donnelly guy…what an idiot.

    Can he even speak a sentence? Morons like him want to push NI back towards the abyss.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Sammy: “Excellent self-serving, self-fulfilling arguement you have wrapped yourself up in there”

    Are you suggesting that my comment is somehow inaccurate, Sammy? Forced coalition between the DUP and Sinn Fein has produced little more that grid-lock, with the closest thing to communication being the demands that the other side give way on this issue or that, be in parades, police or anything else.

    Both parties have found they’ve rivals more radical than themselves in the TUV and the dissidents. The up-shot of this is that the DUP has little to no room to maneuver, politically, whilst, as we see above, the dissidents are leaving open the question of soft-target attacks.

    Meanwhile, you ladle out the pablum, saying that “political progress” is the best hope of avoiding a return to the bad ol’ days.

    I freely admit to being cynical… that doesn’t make me wrong.