“I never thought the Sinn Fein-IRA family and the DUP family would ever accommodate each other…”

Niall O’Dowd gleefully notes Kevin Myers’ mea culpa on Friday over the way he refused to believe (or his dogged determination to ‘future’ on the matter) a shift in attitudes amongst the DUP and Sinn Fein would ever be possible. Though as is often the case with Myers, the substantive secondary point he makes is worth noting:

I confess that I never thought the Sinn Fein-IRA family and the DUP family would ever accommodate one another, not least because I thought the former would never disarm, and the latter were too bigoted. I was wrong, of course; but many people have been wrong in the sorry history with which we are burdened.

Apportioning blame is easily done, but is seldom a useful exercise. But what interests me most of all is the social mechanism which enables the unthinkable of one decade to become not merely thinkable but achievable two decades later.

He argues that the Irish elected political dog – north and south – has an almost phobic fear of ‘the unelected tail’:

…fear of the tail has been an obsessive pathology of Irish political life, even though that tail usually comprises the violent, the unhinged, the hate-filled and the plain ignorant. Worse still, so powerful is the tail within the Irish psyche that almost all political parties have tried to appease it by anticipating its demands.

Ian Paisley was the classic tail, around which the entire dog revolved until, finally, he became the dog itself.

If you wag the dog in order to keep the tail happy, the tail simply gets uppity. I have never used the Adams-McGuinness leadership as an example of how things can be done, and perhaps for obvious reasons. But as the Irish Republic slides to economic and social perdition, what they achieved within the Sinn Fein-IRA family stands out even more starkly as a perfect model of vision and courage.

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  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    As a really big fan of Myers, in spite of his views on Norn Iron, it is really refeshing to hear him admitting he has been calling it wrong (post GFA) all this time.

    Being an excellent writer, which he undoubtedly is, does not mean that his judgement was not clouded by his D4-ConorCruise-FreeState ideology – but his penchant for presenting Republicans with very uncomfortable facts in very well written written articles may just have helped a little in bringing about the change he thought was not possible.

  • Seymour Major

    I find Niall O’Dowd’s commentary on Kevin Myer’s article rather triumphalist and childish. Anybody reading O’Dowd’s piece would think that Kevin Myers has received some blinding flash of light on the road to Damascus. That is an appalling misinterpretation of a very good article.

  • percy

    Its refreshing to hear someone having “wrestled with their conscience”,
    come out and say they were wrong.
    I hope it catches on for NI politicians..!!!

  • Panic, These Ones Likes It Up Em.

    Is Myers trying to finish Adams and McGuinness off.

    Anyway its refreshing to see a guy admit when he was wrong. I hope he is consistent with regard to a lot of other stuff he has git wrong.

  • “a perfect model of vision and courage”

    But was the vision theirs? They’ve not exactly got a track record for courage.

    It seems to me that the ‘vision’ was created by others and that once the referenda were completed the visionaries began moving to pastures new. They may currently be working with the dissidents and Gerry probably has to write his own scripts now.

    The DUP might like to claim that it pushed the PRM into decommissioning but credit for that surely lies with the USA post 9/11.

    The Chuckle Brothers routine lasted a year and the Brothers Grim are presently taking lumps out of each other; even the limp lettuce BBC is taking lumps out of both.

    As I pointed out at the end of September plans appear to be afoot to mothball Stormont and to hold elections to the current 26 local councils in May.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Where Myers now treads perhaps Nevin will soon follow.

  • Sammy, if Kevin got some of it wrong then, perhaps he’s got some of it wrong now 😉

  • Dave

    Myers idea of progress is regression to a time when the Irish nation served the British state, providing fodder for its wars. That regression to a pre-partition Ireland where Ireland was united as part of the United Kingdom is the core dynamic of the present process.

    Beyond doing as their handlers instruct them on the important constitutional issues, on the internal issues at Stormont the scene is not so much the lion lying down with the lamb as the scorpion on the frog’s back.

  • borderline

    Well Myers got it wrong, perhaps he should ask himself why.

    His bombastic hatred against anything Irish that is not a derivative of something English is all Myers will ever be remembered for.

    Adams changed, McGuinness changed, but the erudite doctor’s son from Leicester hasn’t moved an inch.

    Despite his protestations of loyalty to the Irish republic, his heart is Albion’s.

    He is Banba’s bane, a rapist of Róisín Dubh.

  • aquifer

    Thank god for truth loving traitors to their tribe.

  • Framer

    It is understandable, that if the Provos continued killing decades after it was going to achieve anything but the opposite of what they wanted, Kevin Myers could not see it coming.

    Similarly nobody recognised that Paisley once he had destroyed the UUP (at Wetsminster) would do any deal – especially as unbeknownst to most the Baroness wanted one.

    However praising Adams at this stage could be the kiss of death, perhaps Myers secret intention.

    Anyway he hasn’t bought much more than both volte faces were unexpected, Indeed Kevin’s relentless journalism pointing out the contradictions and hypocrisies might have had something to do with it.

  • borderline

    aquifer writes..

    “Thank god for truth loving traitors to their tribe”

    Au contraire aquifer, Mr Myers is no traitor – he is perfectly loyal to his tribe.