Clinton: There are scabs and abcesses and Northern Ireland is a scab…

Nicely jaundiced quote from Bill Clinton in Bill Runciman’s article in the most excellent London Review of Books:

“Peacemaking quests came in two kinds: scabs and abscesses. A scab is a sore with a protective crust, which may heal with time and simple care. In fact, if you bother it too much, you can reopen the wound and cause infection. An abscess, on the other hand, inevitably gets worse without painful but cleansing intervention. ‘The Middle East is an abscess,’ he concluded. ‘Northern Ireland is a scab.’”

H/T reader John

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  • pinni


  • Drumlins Rock

    them dam scabs get so itchy at times though.

  • Clanky

    Why is anyone surprised by this? We have been treated like a scab by both the British and Irish governments for years.

  • wild turkey

    ‘We have been treated like a scab by both the British and Irish governments for years.’

    Perhaps the treatment would have been more efficacious if the Brits and Irish treated NI as a case of grade 5 hemarroids?

  • Drumlins Rock

    To be blunt turkey on the big scheme of things we arent that important, to most of the world we are just an annoying little thing that wont heal as quick as it should, only difference is we are a bit more visible than say an african intertribal conflict that claimed many more lives.
    Bill is no slow cookie, leave the thing alone and most of it will go away, and hopfully wont leave too big a scar.

  • wild turkey

    Drumlin rocks

    agree fully…

    except a lot of the political fuckers seem to be congenital and/ or compulsive scratchers.

    anyway, happy holidays D R

  • Drumlins Rock

    thanks turkey,

    keep running mate you might escape this year too!!!

  • pinni

    Looks like Slick Willy has his own scabs to worry about!

  • Alias

    A scab is part of a healing process; which implies wrongly that the cause of the infection has been cured.

  • Alias

    In terms of global relevance, however, NI is more of a pimple in a teenage girl’s armpit – nothing for anyone other than said teenager to worry about!

  • Fabianus

    I resent this! I’ll not have my country demeaned by being called a scab.

    It’s a full-blown tumour at the very least. And probably inoperable. We can only put it on a course of chemo and make it as comfortable as possible.

  • aquifer

    US to bomb Israel? How refreshing.

    It worked for Serbia.

  • Drumlins Rock

    couldnt resist looking this up though, i’m sure we are all familar with it

    “In a famous passage in a speech to the House of Commons in 1922, Winston Churchill characterised the aftermath of the Great War:

    Great Empires have been overturned. The whole map of Europe has been changed. The position of countries has been violently altered. The modes of thought of men, the whole outlook on affairs, the grouping of parties, all have encountered violent and tremendous changes in the deluge of the world; but as the deluge of the waters subsides and the waters fall short, we see the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone emerging once again.”

  • Fabianus

    “we see the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone emerging once again.”

    I resent this as well! What about the steeples of Antrim, Londonderry, Down and Armagh? Carbuncles all. Minarets are far more aesthetic.