“they are wondering how long they can support us..”

The comment by retiring Sinn Féin MLA, Francie Brolly..

“The thing is we have a constituency out there, they are wondering how long they can support us beating our head against a wall, not getting anywhere. They want us to get places.”

..re-inforces what Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson said.

[Peter Robinson] “Well, if Sinn Féin oversold what they thought they could achieve then they are answerable to those to whom they sold that package. The reality is they weren’t entitled to sell it.”

, , ,

  • Or alternatively…

    He could of course be speaking more generically. Remember Pete, there are ten new 18-year-old voters for every old lag that abandons ship…

  • bigchiefally

    As far as I see it there are broadly 3 paths northern nationalists politicians can take in a divided Ireland.

    One is to advocate in and personally participate in physical and violent resistance. The problem with this one (any morality aside) is that unless there is going to be a proper Balkan, Rhwandan, Turkish/Armenian style genocide of a lot of the 1 million odd unionists it is never, ever, going to work. Shooting the cops, judges, MLAs or whatever is just going annoy the “brits” who live here, definitely making them more resolute to stay out of a UI and possibly making them retaliate against whoever they believe the other side are. Which brings us all back to about the past, which, for those who cant remember, wasnt great, and now has NI with even less constitutional ties to the South.

    A second option is to accept partition for at least the time being, make the best of what is a bad job for any one island sensibilities. Nudge NI closer to the republic as much as you can within the context of a constitutional link to the UK and a unionist majority. At the same time use the existing political structures to ensure that if you are a nationalist irishman in NI you are no worse off than a unionist is and that as many nationalists irish priorities that don’t amount to unification, whatever they may be, are pushed.

    A final option is much like the third, except added to this is that they would be constantly selling the idea of a united ireland to the one group of people in the world who can actually make it happen. Northern Unionists. Paradoxically this might mean toning down the rhetoric on marches and the Irish language, which the core nationalist voters may not like.

    SF seem to have decided that option 1 didnt work but I am not convinced they are completely happy with the other options. They need to have the guts to say to the electorate that bombing and shooting got then nowhere. They have pretty much said to the electorate that the only options for northern nationalism is political but they also need to state that in politics nothing is guaranteed, that 10 years from now we probably wont be in a United Ireland.

    The SDLP they seem very much set in option 2.

    I’ve yet to see any party go for option 3 and whilst I can see how this makes sense from a grassroots point of view, it makes no sense from a big picture one.

  • eric

    “SF seem to have decided that option 1 didnt work but I am not convinced they are completely happy with the other options. They need to have the guts to say to the electorate that bombing and shooting got then nowhere.”

    You are completely right. However Sinn Fein would rather commit suicide than do this – which in the long term is exactly what is the logical conclusion of their political strategy.

    I have no doubt Northern Nationalism will find comfort eventually in option 2 or 3. However the SDLP is organisationally bust and Sinn Fein can never be honest about “that the only options for northern nationalism is political but they also need to state that in politics nothing is guaranteed”

    There will be some re-alignment down the line where the Provo baggage is left behind and a new force can articulate a cogent political case and supplant the SDLP.

  • Greenflag

    bigchiefally

    ‘A final option is much like the third’

    I think you meant to write much like the second ?

    ‘added to this is that they would be constantly selling the idea of a united ireland to the one group of people in the world who can actually make it happen. Northern Unionists. ‘

    You can talk to the grass or to a stone wall but neither will the grass grow any faster nor will the wall fall any sooner .

    There is a fourth option which will remove at a stroke any need to make grass grow or walls fall by talking , and that is a fair Repartition of Northern Ireland . The NI State as it’s presently constituted can never be a proper democracy .It’s people are forever locked into a sectarian defined state with no escape . Whereas Unionists are happy enough to tolerate and live with that situation and comprise at least half the population . Irish nationalists and republicans don’t have to put up with that situation . BUt they do need to forget the ‘dream ‘ which has now turned into the longest ever nightmare for both communities in NI .

    The forced ‘marriage’ can’t work . Unionist ‘majority’ rule is unconscionable for Northern nationalists just as a UI is unconscionable for the vast majority of Unionists . Bring in the divorce lawyers and the cartographers and return to 1920 where the ‘error ‘ was first drawn up and try to get it right next time !!

    ‘They (SF) need to have the guts to say to the electorate that bombing and shooting got then nowhere. ‘

    They can’t because it is patently not true . It’s true that they have not achieved their UI and it’s probably even more true that they have alienated an even larger number of unionists from a UI than ever . But they are ‘sharing ‘ power with Unionists and have a practical ‘veto’ over Assembly business .

    The fact that it’s perceived as being non productive is neither here nor there . The same perception and an even stronger one is perceived by unionists re the performance of their ‘political’ elite .

    Roll on Repartition and be done with the eternal horse shite of a failed political entity

  • PeterL

    “SF seem to have decided that option 1 didnt work but I am not convinced they are completely happy with the other options. They need to have the guts to say to the electorate that bombing and shooting got then nowhere.”

    I think you’re quite wrong here. To me SF’s view seems to be that the GFA is better than the Orange state. Therefore the armed struggle did get somewhere, moved the situation forward, but could not deliver the complete realisation of republican aims.

  • igor

    Peter

    Yeah ….3500 dead for a constitutional guarantee on the status of NI, the abandonment of the Irish claim to the territory and seats sitting in a Stormont Parliament with the Unionists.

    Some leadership youse have got there.

    How long do you think it might have taken to get to that position if they had used constitutional means?

  • JoMax

    Greenflag, I don’t think you live in this place, do you? An an SDLP supporter, I say that re-partition would be an explicit acknowledgement of the validity of first injustice of dividing the island and its people.

    Do you really believe in anything? Do you even begin to understand that the tricolour means amity and peace between green and orange?

    How on earth would you, say, disentangle the different communities in Belfast? The forced movement and balkanisation of people would be horrendous, costly and would probably lead to many more deaths as the ‘hard men’ (whom, I acknowledge, 60% of people voted for) would seek to maximise their communitarian positions in advance of the partition date by force. It would lead to even more deaths for a bit of land here and there and, frankly, I’m with Daniel O’Connell, who said that Ireland’s freedom wasn’t worth a drop of blood.

    The lesson of Yugoslavia is that internecine violence can erupt with terrifying speed.

    Greenflag, I have a question to put to you. Do you agree with John Hume that the Provo campaign of killing unionists in order to unite with them or of Loyalists/Brits killing nationalists in order to prove how good an idea a United Kingdom is, was buck stupid?

    Also, the wounded, dying animal that is the Assembly was not worth the all the killing. We had better than that on the table in 1974 with Sunningdale and a strong Council of Ireland. Only your mates in the Provos, and the loyalists, destroyed that. Remember, knucklehead????

  • Driftwood

    JoMax
    or of Loyalists/Brits killing nationalists

    I’m assuming you do not mean the British Army in that post. By all means compare the competing paramilitaries, but the Army were neutral, non-sectarian and not comparable to terrorists.
    just wanted to clarify your post.

  • JoMax

    Greenflag, just re-read your post and an Irish seanfhocal (proverb) came to mind. That idiot “General” Tom Barry mis-appropriated part of it for a crap book. The seanfhocal says:

    “Is furasta codhladh ar chne an duine eile.”/”It’s easy to sleep on another man’s wound?”

    Does the unique value of human life mean anything to you and your ilk?

    Just heard a while ago the puke-inducing Sinn Fein West Tyrone MP, Pat Doherty, on the radio shedding crocodile tears about the McElhill family and calling for a public inquiry to fatten the purses of more lawyer.

    All without the least irony about what his former associates did with the Omagh bomb in 1998,etc. though of course that was all right and Wolfe Tone-proofed: it took out Protestants, Catholics and Dissenters, didn’t it?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    GF: “You can talk to the grass or to a stone wall but neither will the grass grow any faster nor will the wall fall any sooner .”

    Actually, talking to plants has been shown to cause them to grow…

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-478558/So-Charles-right–talk-plants-scientists-discover.html

    GF: “There is a fourth option which will remove at a stroke any need to make grass grow or walls fall by talking , and that is a fair Repartition of Northern Ireland . The NI State as it’s presently constituted can never be a proper democracy .It’s people are forever locked into a sectarian defined state with no escape .”

    Which, for reasons we’ve ground into dust in the past, isn’t a viable solution at present and would require a great deal of preparation of the political ground to pull off. Both sides partisans would have to have their mythologies pried out of their hands, aspirations diminished, etc. Likewise, it wouldn’t be an end — the “26+6=1” bumperstickers would be replaced with “29+3=1” bumperstickers and the same old same old would start up again.

  • JoMax

    Driftwood

    You don’t do irony either, do you? Ever read about 30 January 1972?

  • Driftwood

    JoMax
    That was an error of judgement. The army also killed loyalists. Their task as ‘piggy in the middle’ was (and is) a thankless one.
    For the record, the British Army is made up of Protestants, Catholics and Dissenters, and Muslims,and Buudhists and atheists.

  • Peter

    ‘We had better than that on the table in 1974 with Sunningdale’

    Really? Is that an official SDLP position? Will ‘back to Sunningdale’ be a slogan at the next election?

    One important flaw in your arguement about Sunningdale is that unfortunately it was only ‘on the table’ in 1974 because it was clear by then to a section at least of the British establishment and unionism, that there was no going back – in the short term at least – to what had gone before – it was not I’m afraid the skilful lobbying of the SDLP that made it so.

    As it turned out the table only had two legs – both of which were wobbly. Sunningdale was based on the politics of exclusion and as such it failed.

  • bigchiefally

    Greenflag – You may be totally correct in everything you say about the NI state being a bad idea, I dont have any real interest in commenting on that. What I am interesting in talking about is how this repartition of Ireland you mention going to happen? Are you not going to need unionists to agree to it? In a non hypothetical, non morality based real world can you honestly see a political solution where they are just ignored and your repartition can happen?

    I dont. I think that even if it is morally fair, right, correct or whatever it is totally unrealistic.

    Does this not all bring it back to my option 3? (you are correct about the mistake in there) It may seem implausible that enough unionists will ever be won over to a United Ireland but the last 30, 40, 90 or whatever years has proved that threatening them, bombing them, lecturing them, setting up a catholic constitution for a catholic people to the south has done nothing to move us towards a UI. Maybe, just maybe, it is time for nationalists to try a different track. Many unionists used to be happy to be called Irish. They were happy in a United Kingdom but considered themselves as Irish as anyone. Far less do these days, as the Irish name is now heavily associated in many minds with catholicism, gaelicness and, lets be honest, anti britishness. If nationalist politicians could start painting a united ireland as a place where unionists could be happy and not threatened, where if they wanted and with sensible restrictions they could still march, where the catholic church doesnt run things, where they dont have to learn gaelic to get a large number of public sector jobs and where the queen is welcome to visit, even perhaps has a small ceremonial role in stuff and return to the commonwealth without the queen as head of state, then who knows what would happen.

    It probably is unlikely but I do know that every effort so far to force unionists into a UI has worked out badly for northern nationalists and nationalism as an idea.

    As for the IRAs campaign working, I really have doubts about that. The IRA campaign was undoubtedly good for SF but for northern nationalists and the idea of a UI? I have major doubts. Is the lot of northern nationalists better now than it was in the 1960s? Undoubtedly yes. Was there justifiable anger within northern nationalism over their treatment by the majority and the state around the time of the start of the troubles? Yes. Was the IRA killing of soldiers, cops, judges and others the reason for this improvement? I doubt it. A 30 year social campaign would almost certainly have brought the same benefits, in face I would argue it would have brought them sooner and without expanding the social divisions in the 6 counties. The last point there is an important one, as a result of this social division we have a parliament where SF and the DUP both hold a veto over everything. If we had reached a more normal point through peaceful means it is hard to see us having a parliament that is so intrisically divisive. Overall the world has changed enormously since the 60s/70s and NI would have changed too, maybe grudgingly, kicking and screaming, but it would have and we didnt need 3500 people to die for it to happen.

  • Greenflag

    Jo Max,

    ‘I don’t think you live in this place, do you? ‘

    I live 70 miles miles from ‘this place’ and frankly thats already far too close . Repartition would push it a further 30 miles away .

    ‘re-partition would be an explicit acknowledgement of the validity of first injustice of dividing the island and its people.’

    The first ‘partition’ was an injustice not because of ‘partition’ itself but because it was a ‘botched ‘ operation which was unilaterally imposed by Unionists in 1920, while the rest of the island was involved in a War of Independence . Repartition would be repairing the ‘botched ‘ operation of 1920 and would need to be administered and implemented by a neutral international organisation such as the UN or EU .

    ‘Do you even begin to understand that the tricolour means amity and peace between green and orange?’

    Yes and the theory works well enough in practice in the Irish Republic . However in Northern Ireland the tricolour is seen by one half of the population as a rag to be burnt on festive occassions and the union jack is seen by the other half as a combustible ‘symbol .

    ‘I’m with Daniel O’Connell, who said that Ireland’s freedom wasn’t worth a drop of blood.’

    He had a point in 1829 . By 1848 his message was lost and by 1918 long forgotten as the majority of Irish people came to believe that they could no more trust the word of Westminster re Home Rule than they could trust a starving cat from refraining from devouring a plump roasted mouse delivered on a silver plate with all the trimmings .

    ‘The lesson of Yugoslavia is that internecine violence can erupt with terrifying speed.’

    True which is why I advocate neutral and international involvement BEFORE any on the ground repartition . The Czech and Slovak separation would be ideal and theres no reason why that model could not be replicated at least in its outcome . NI I think has had it’s ‘yugoslavia’ moments and doesn’t want a repeat which sounds sensible to me !

    ‘Do you agree with John Hume –etc’

    As regards those statements you quote above -100%

    ‘the wounded, dying animal that is the Assembly was not worth the all the killing.’

    Probably not -but then thats all that could be delivered given the circumstances and given the circumstances and limitations of the current NI State that’s probably all that can ever be delivered . For all their faults both Unionist and non Unionist politicians are only human and are not ‘Supermen ‘ If a politcal system or state by definition is flawed and can’t work then after a certain number of efforts to fix it via amendment or reform it has to be accepted that the ‘problem ‘ is not resolvable by systemic means and a new ‘departure’ is needed via abandoning the ‘previous ‘ system . And ‘system’ in that instance has to include the borders of the State itself which no longer reflect the political and economic realities of the State .

    ‘ We had better than that on the table in 1974 with Sunningdale and a strong Council of Ireland.’

    True in theory -In practice Unionists would’nt have it and it was iirc the UDA and UVF and Paisley’s mobs who destroyed the Sunningdale Agreement . The Provos did’nt have to bother .

    ‘Only your mates in the Provos’

    I don’t have any mates in the Provos.

  • Peter

    bigchiefally – the problem with counterfactual speculation is that when we dream up an alternative reality it tends to be an idealised one.

    There is no internal reason why change would have come about automatically as the first 50 years of the history of the northern state demonstrate. The ‘troubles’ started with unionist violence, largely directed against vulnerable nationalist communities in Belfast, in response to peacful marches in Derry and elsewhere.

  • fionn

    igor

    “How long do you think it might have taken to get to that position if they had used constitutional means? ”

    with unionists? never would have happened … never, never, never, never!

  • Peter

    ‘I’m with Daniel O’Connell, who said that Ireland’s freedom wasn’t worth a drop of blood.’

    The other point about this is that it has to be judged against historical events. When O’Connell backed down – to prevent the shedding of blood -his campaign failed. Not long after that, around a million Irish people died in a famine which it is difficult to believe that an Irish legislature would not have done more than its British counterpart to prevent. As I said above I don’t have much time for ‘what might have beens’ but our inactions can have consequences that are as bad or worse than our actions.

  • bigchiefally

    Peter – I am sorry, I genuinely have no idea what you are trying to say with the “the problem with counterfactual speculation is that when we dream up an alternative reality it tends to be an idealised one. ” comment. Are you agreeing with the repartition comment? With my doubt over it? Or something else? Would you mind elaborating?

    Nothing would have happened automatically, I agree with you, and you have a valid point about unionist violence. I still maintain that in 40 odd years we could have achieved a much better result if there hadnt been 3500 deaths. The changes across the west in the same time – gay rights, race rights, rights for women – are obviously far better than they were and whilst they might not be perfect and they certainly werent won with inaction, they didnt require 3500 deaths.

  • Greenflag

    bigchiefally,

    Sorry our posts crossed but your number 14 above deserves a reply .

    Your comments on option 3 are fair enough again in theory . You also seem to assume that I aspire to a UI . I don’t . If one ever happens I’ll cross that bridge when , if or ever I have to cross it.

    But as you state yourself quoted below and I could’nt agree more .

    ‘It probably is unlikely but I do know that every effort so far to force unionists into a UI has worked out badly for northern nationalists and nationalism as an idea. ‘

    Your last paragraph I don’t find much to disagree with perhaps some emphasis here or there but it is of course based on the hindsight view . History doesn’t move forward learning the lessons from the past .

    I’m an Irish nationalist small n – not anti british and not even anti unionist except in their vain attempt to maintain the ‘indefensible’ . I’m not interested in persuading ‘unionists’ of the benefits of a UI nor would I ever try to persuade somebody who sees themselves as british, or irish, or british irish or anglo irish or ulster scots or irish gael or any other combination or lack of combination that they should or ought to be something else .

    I don’t believe the current NI Assembly is going anywhere except into extinction sooner or later . If I’m wrong I’ll be the first to swallow my tonsils if I had any 😉

    But if/when it does collapse and it’s DR again then I’m saying that in that situation SF and the SDLP should either push for repartition or else take their seats at Westminster and represent ‘Finchley on the Bann or Blackwater and put all thoughts of any UI behind them and be honest about it . Any further attempts to resurrect the several times dug up corpse of the 6 county state will be just more of a waste of time and money .

  • Peter

    My problem, bigchiefally, is that while you are right that the world has changed a lot in the last 40 years or more it hasn’t happened in the way you like to imagine it.

    If we take racism, for example, the driving force in the relative rolling back of racism in recent decades was decolonisation – an utterly progressive but extraordinarily violent process. The struggle against aparthied in South Africa involved massive levels of violence both inside SA and in neighbouring Angola. Civil rights in the US was secured when the overwhelming force of the federal troops was deployed to intimidate the southern segregationists thus preventing a wider social conflict.

    None of this is to glorify or belittle violence and every loss of life is a tragedy. We all have a responsibility to work to prevent it but I suppose I’m saying that we cannot simply wish it away.

  • JoMax

    Peter (post 13), you’re a prat talking about the “politics of exclusion” in 1973. The only people who excluded Sinn Fein from the political process were themselves. They were always a political party. They were the ones swearing on a stack of bibles that they would never fight elections. The time for playing the victim card is gone.

  • Peter

    JoMax

    Sunningdale was designed to defeat republicans. The SDLP calculation appears to have been that the Brits would indeed militarily crush the republicans in the end, but that the strength of their campaign made it possible that an anti-republican alternative, seen to be willing to help the British achieve this aim, might be able to extract some concessions for itself. Had things turned out like that I doubt if the SDLP would be where they are today.

    Unfortunately a large section of unionism still believed that it was possible to crush republicans without having to pay anything to the SDLP and with powerful elements in the British establishment believing the same – they were not likely to be disabused of that notion.

    Even if the executive were to collapse tomorrow, Good Friday has already achieved far more than Sunningdale ever could.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Peter: “Civil rights in the US was secured when the overwhelming force of the federal troops was deployed to intimidate the southern segregationists thus preventing a wider social conflict.”

    A trifle wall-eyed lens. Civil Rights was secured with a legislative act supported by the Northern Democrats and the Republicans in Congress, vigorous application of Federal law enforcement to those who actively resisted the change and the occasional deployment of Federal assets at specific flash-points, not to mention the peaceful efforts of men and women of goodwill working together.

    There were a few minor clashes — the “Insurrection at Oxford” comes to mind, but it was far more peaceful than even “successful African nations.” I mean, look at the glories that de-colonization have wrought in Zimbabwe, the Congo, etc.

  • Peter

    JoMax,

    Oh yes, I forgot to add that, unless I’m very much mistaken, Sinn Fein were illegal up til May 1974 – ie. after Sunningdale had failed.

    Dread Cthulhu,

    Quite right on the US – as I said – ‘preventing a wider social conflict.’

    Unfortunately the opposite happened here where the response to Civil Rights was akin to if the federal troops had instead been sent in to back up the southern segregationists.

  • Greenflag

    Dread Cthulhu,

    ‘Likewise, it wouldn’t be an end—the “26+6=1” bumperstickers would be replaced with “29+3=1” bumperstickers and the same old same old would start up again.’

    29 + 3 =32 and 29.5 + 2.5 or 28.5 +3.5 have the same result .

    As for the same old same old . I don’t believe so. Both ‘new ‘ minorities post repartition would be bereft of the support they would need to mount any restart of violence or to achieve their political objectives .In any event both governments would reintroduce ‘internment ‘ in a flash before the sound of any gunfire had died away .

    A 29 or 30 county sized Republic can be just as politically stable and successful as a 26 county Republic and the same would apply to a 2 county approx Unionist State which would have a better chance of establishing a more credible democratic legitimacy than it’s 6 county parent /predecessor

    Posted by Dread Cthulhu on Dec 09, 2009 @ 02:17 PM

  • Panic, These ones like it up em.

    Has anyone tried tickling every one on both sides until they say “Stop I give in”

    Thats the answer a mass tickling competition.

    The best tickling resisters get their way until the next tickling contest.

    To be held every 5 years until the end of time.

  • JoMax

    Peter (post 23), your syntax is so garbled that I find it almost unintelligible and I’m seeing that other people also have difficulties with your English.

    I think what you are saying is that the SDLP knew and said that the Provo campaign would fail (true) but that they were happy to take the “gains” of killing and maiming all those people to build Sunningdale.

    The Provos denied all this, repeatedly said their campaign would succeed-each succeeding year was “the year of victory” until Adams began subtly changing the message from 1985 onwards (for which cunning I, truly, give him credit, given the weight of historical lunacy he had to deal with).

    Read the recent book which Brian Feeney helped Gerry Bradley, a senior IRA figure from the 1970s, write. This clown (Bradley) literally envisaged himself and his mates firing shots at the British Army as they disappeared up the gangway of the Liverpool boat. Sophisticated, what?

    Danny Morrison used to say that “the IRA were the cutting edge of the SDLP”-yeah, all those “gains”, remind me again-and then, after the 1994 ceasefire changed the record to say that the IRA ceasefire was the most destabilising thing that had ever hapened to unionism.

    Danny soon shut up when it was pointed out that if the laying down of guns destabilised unionism, then a logical corollary of saying that was that taking up arms strengthened unionism.

    You are right to say that the proximate cause of bringing down the Sunningdale Executive was the UWC strike. However, during the life of the Executive “republicans” killed just one person less that loyalists during their murderous spree.

    Could I also remind you (even Paisley acknowledged it) that the Good Friday Agreement was based largely on an SDLP blueprint, interlocking relationships, police reform, all Ireland referendums to get the Provos off their own stupid hook and fixation with the 1918 election. Yeah all the boring stuff which Hume repeated ad nauseam and which the Provos so derided at the time.

  • paddy

    so brolly wants to get places.if he wasnt running about with x orangeman x peeler leonard he might get somewhere.the only place sf is going is home

  • JoMax

    Oh, yes, I forgot to add, Peter, just another example of your half-truths peddling. Yes, the Brits banned Sinn Fein until the hapless Merlyn Rees “legitimised” you in May 1974.

    Touching to see that you apparently feel your desire for British approbation prevented you from entering electoral politics.

    But, Peter, Sinn Fein had a self-imposed policy of abstentionism, not revoked until 1986 and every party which fought elections up to that point were sell-outs and traitors to the Irish people.

    For God’s sake (and I’m outta here now) stop playing the victim card and grow up.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    GF: “As for the same old same old . I don’t believe so.”

    Your “belief” is neither here nor there, GF, or, at least, it isn’t persuasive, in and of itself.

    GF: “Both ‘new ’ minorities post repartition would be bereft of the support they would need to mount any restart of violence or to achieve their political objectives .”

    Optimistic. A successful urban resistance requires very little support. Likewise, there will be those self-same minorities will find themselves targeted by the less-enlightened members of the newly dominant populaces.

    GF: “In any event both governments would reintroduce ‘internment ’ in a flash before the sound of any gunfire had died away .”

    Which, in turn, with further excite certain passions… and here you are saying it like t’is a good thing…

    GF: “A 29 or 30 county sized Republic can be just as politically stable and successful as a 26 county Republic and the same would apply to a 2 county approx Unionist State which would have a better chance of establishing a more credible democratic legitimacy than it’s 6 county parent /predecessor”

    Oh, sure, because partitions always work and settle everything… India / Pakistan comes to mind.

    Likewise, you assume Ireland wants the bulk of the economic basket-case which is N.I.

    Contrary to popular belief, compromises that leave no-one happy aren’t the best, esp. when folks with a history of violence are involved.

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathy C

    I find it interesting that with Francie Brolly stating there is unhappiness amoung his constiuents…sinn fein’s leadership position is to pick an ex orangman for the position. Must make the loyal republicans working for years on the ground…very happy-not. But it shows instead of the greening of the north…sinn fein under adams/mcguiness has become more orange. First adam’s comments that orange order parades have a place in an united Ireland…and now an orangeman picked to represent republicans. Yep…the oranging of the north as painted by adams/mcguiness

  • Gerta

    And the next from our American contributor; more dumb sh*t.

    I’m with the latinos – yank go home!

  • John O’Connell

    Sinn Fein are misguided in their desire to pull the plug on Stormont government.

    It seems to me to be a bit like the Eleven Plus debacle they caused – they simply do not know what replaces Stormont.

    Perhaps the scenario will be a bit like this. The last time we heard from the paramilitaries the loyalists were claiming victory because their violence had tamed the republican leadership by targetting them. The last time we heard from the IRA they told us that they had brought the British government to the negotiating table.

    Well, with all these “successful” paramilitary organizations around, isn’t it likely that this conflict will accelerate to a very serious outcome very quickly.

    There will be no slow hiss of the tyre of Christian values this time. It may simply explode. It may be a case that we reach a Bosnian or Rwandan situation very quickly as a result of the logistics of the two main protagonists, who both “won” last time and will expect that they will “win” again this time. It will just be a matter of applying pressure quickly to suppress all in front of them.

    But both sides can’t be right. In fact both are wrong, but with the SDLP weakened, the British government discredited, the Irish government bankrupt, and the Americans focused on other things, this time we are likely to see a complete collapse of faith in politics in the North very quickly.

    It’s probably therefore not a good time to threaten the collapse of the institutions unless you can take responsibility for the consequences. As no-one, only God, can take the consequences of a Bosnia, is Martin McGuinness bluffing or is Sinn Fein too desperate to know any better?

  • Peter

    JoMax, sorry that you find the syntax troubling but to be fair, your argument seems a bit confused.

    First you took exception to my suggestion, that one of the reasons Sunningdale fell was that it was based on ‘the politics of exclusion’ insisting, ‘The only people who excluded Sinn Fein from the political process were themselves.’

    I responded that ‘Sinn Fein were illegal up til May 1974’.

    You concurred, adding ‘until the hapless Merlyn Rees “legitimised” you’. I assume from this that you not only except that Sinn Fein were excluded, but that you support such anti-democratic practices and wish that this had been continued.

    Then follows some befuddled stuff about elections and abstensionism:

    Having accused Sinn Fein of a ‘fixation with the 1918 election’, you bizarrely claim that until 1986 it labeled ‘every party which fought elections up to that point…sell-outs and traitors to the Irish people.’

    Apart from the obvious contradiction in your own statement, perhaps you are unaware that Sinn Fein stood in elections in the 1950s winning seats and stood in the next attempt at an assembly in 1982. Maybe you’ve heard of Owen Carron.

    I think my original point stands.

  • Dave

    John, civil war among wealthy social groups? Too much stake in the society and too much to lose. Also, while the possibility of a civil war scared both governments into acting to diffuse that threat in the past, how real is such a threat in the future? The method the government chose was to diffuse that threat was to bring the violence under the control of a small number of organised murder gangs who could be controlled by the state from a distance and who would keep the violence at an acceptable level until a political solution became possible. Remember, that 99% of the population did not engage in any violent act against the other social group, and I see no reason why that violent 1% of the population present anymore of a threat now than they presented then. If anything, the threat is much less since part of the government’s plan was to invalidate the dissenting nation’s claim to the state as a key part of that political solution. The dissenting nation complied and it now has no legal or moral claim to make to control of the territory that was formerly disputed.

  • Dave

    In other words: a civil war by proxy. Instead of actually engaging in such a war, the citizens watched it on telly as it was played out between the organised murder gangs. That’s is brutally simplistic to those who watched in played out on the streets, of course, but by what other means if not proxy murder gangs could the latent threat of a civil war have been diffused? The dynamics then were competing claims to sovereignty over the state by a particular nation. And as I said, the competing nation no longer makes that claim to sovereignty – making, instead, a different claim of proportionate political control of government administration as an ethnic/cultural social group within the legitimised British state.

  • Greenflag

    Dead Cthulhu ,

    ‘Which,(internment ) in turn, with further excite certain passions… . Not at all . It would excite as much passion as the internment camps in the Free State did 1939 to 1945 . Apart from some minor public disquiet at a few hangings of irredentists there was no support for the inmates . And the same would be true on both sides of any ‘new’ border ‘ effected by a neutral international organisation .

    ‘you assume Ireland wants the bulk of the economic basket-case which is N.I.’

    No I don’t but I would reiterate that the Republic has a moral and practical responsibility to those of it’s citizens in the present NI who wish to be part of the Republic (even if it’s a 29.5 county one ) rather than the ‘purist ‘ ideal of a 32 county Republic .

    ‘Contrary to popular belief, compromises that leave no-one happy aren’t the best, ‘

    I did’nt say they were . All I’m saying is that such a compromise is all that’s realistically achievable for the next several decades or longer or ever and as such it makes sense to opt for slightly more than half a loaf than wait until domesday for Godot’s full loaf which will never arrive and even if would be stale on arrival !.

    ‘when folks with a history of violence are involved.’

    I don’t doubt the capacity of the IDF to do the same job to any current crop of dissidents (loyalist or republican ) that their forbears dished out to the irregulars in the 1920’s .

  • John O’Connell

    Dave

    John, civil war among wealthy social groups? Too much stake in the society and too much to lose.

    What about Bosnia? I was there a few times and if you travel through the countryside you’ll some very large homes of wealthy people who annihilated each other. Indeed it was the wealthy who led the war, viz the psychiatrist Karodic leading and controlling the Serb army.

    Remember, that 99% of the population did not engage in any violent act against the other social group

    You obviously live at a distance. Most people supported either set of killers, empathised and provided sustenance.

    If anything, the threat is much less since part of the government’s plan was to invalidate the dissenting nation’s claim to the state as a key part of that political solution.

    The government invalidated nothing, only got lucky with the economic crisis. The reality is that the Irish constitution was amended as a gesture to soothe unionists. It was not capitulation.

    But how much do you think that you can humiliate Sinn Fein and get away with it? Inequality provoked Bosnia and Rwanda ultimately and it will have a similar effect in the North. Another factor was population percentages where in Bosnia the rise of the underprivileged Muslims to high 40s percent led to insecurity of the Serbs. We’re nearly there and we’ve got a real crisis on our hands.

  • John O’Connell

    Dave

    And as I said, the competing nation no longer makes that claim to sovereignty – making, instead, a different claim of proportionate political control of government administration as an ethnic/cultural social group within the legitimised British state.

    Is this your Pontius Pilot moment as you try to wash your hands of the black North?

  • granni trixie

    Jo-Max: the same thought crossed my mind when Pat Doherty was speaking of “an enquiry” as I do when SF poltiicans are calling for throwing the book at say road abusers. But I am trying to wheen myself off ‘casting up’ thoughts – because I believe that this is what is required if we are to live up to ‘a new beginning’.

    But at the same time I am often reminded of the price of the GFA – as Shakespere has it “fair is foul and foul is fair” ie values have been turned on their head….and what are we to tell our children about what is right or wrong?

  • granni trixie

    Kathy C: Personally, I have no time for the OO. However I can quite understand how the OO has a place in the the new NI/Ireland. I mean, if we are to have a clean sheet as regards, say, SF, why not assimilate the OO into what is acceptable as of cultural interest?

  • slug

    To Northern Nationalists: what about the option of being a bit less concerned about whether NI is in the UK or in the ROI?

  • Sam Thompson

    ‘But how much do you think that you can humiliate Sinn Fein and get away with it? Inequality provoked Bosnia and Rwanda ultimately and it will have a similar effect in the North’

    not getting your way is not inequality. is it inequality when unionists cant get voluntary coalition? never heard so much drivel. you sign up to mutual veto, you take the consequences

  • Peter

    In a strange way I think you’re right, Sam Thompson. The DUP can block policing, Sinn Fein can pull down the assembly – that might be considered an equality of sorts.

    I think the stormont institutions are about two things or they are about nothing: equality and partnership. If the DUP cannot demonstrate that they are interested in those things then I am not clear what benefit the institutions bring or what difference they can make to anybody’s life, in that case they should go.

  • Guest

    “you sign up to mutual veto, you take the consequences ”

    Indeed,we shall.