“that same glorious tradition of self-indulgence”

Whilst someone is telling Brian that Sinn Féin “will in effect pull the plug on powersharing next week” – and news that the party intends to table an emergency motion in the Assembly asking the Northern Ireland First Minister to answer questions about recent allegations suggests they’re in a trouble-making mood – in the Irish News Patrick Murphy provides some useful clarity on Sinn Féin’s latest manufactured “crisis” [further background here].

“With only a few exceptions in Irish history, republicans generally stood apart, and often aloof, from the people for whom they claimed they were fighting. It is a continuation of that same glorious tradition of self-indulgence which jeopardises the future existence of the Stormont assembly. Sinn Féin (SF) is threatening to walk away if a date for the devolution of policing has not been agreed by an ever-extending deadline. There is no popular clamour for Sinn Féin’s stance; no people’s manifestoes from the barricades on devolved policing; no riotous mobs on the streets chanting “Shaun Woodward Out”. Who controls the police is of little relevance to most people. But it is important to Sinn Féin. The party wants local control over policing because the leadership offered that prize (if that is the right word) to the rank and file in return for disbanding the Provisional IRA. So devolved policing is not a policy for the people, it is a policy for the party.”

Promised rather than “offered”, Patrick. Support for the police, and the subsequent disbanding of the Provisional IRA, was a political imperative for the party leadership at the time. But despite agitating being the apparent default fall-back position, beyond a “tough on the DUP” platform for the UK General Election, there’s little benefit to be seen in the suggested SF approach without sweeping reforms to the “indigenous” deal – as today’s Irish Times editorial indicates

Relations within the Executive between Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness have been dysfunctional for a considerable time. Despite, or perhaps because of that, Mr McGuinness and his senior colleagues made space for Mr Robinson when details of his family difficulties became public. Sinn Féin is well aware that the removal of the First Minister would not advance its agenda at this time. And Gerry Adams has his own particular family problems.

Those “particular family problems” already show signs of becoming a wider party political problem for Sinn Féin.

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  • wild turkey

    Pete

    it is difficult to consider and comment on Murphys Irish News article if it is not available in full (sorry a but bug bear here, I can readily access the NYT, Wash Post and Boston Globe, fuck if i will pay for the tedious glory of the Irish News [.. and yes, their mentality to charge says so much about the preciousness of the post-nationalist/ex-catholic park lodge white trash bourgeoisie, I piss down their throats].. but lets leave that rant for another time)

    question. why not take a page out of the Iceland (nation, not supermarket) book, and have a referendum?

    Within the next month Iceland will be having a nationwide vote on an issue of national importance.

    why not do the same here, and have a referendum on devolution of P&J… or is that what the plethora of local, regional and national elections will claim to address.. and solve?

    most of what confronts us demands a humanist engineering solution rather than an another electoral indulgence

  • “devolved policing is not a policy for the people, it is a policy for the party”

    So many commentators have been arguing along these lines I was actually surprised when the Belfast Telegraph’s poll on Monday came up with a somewhat different picture:

    “The fact that a majority of Catholics are prepared for the loss of the Assembly over the issue of devolved policing and justice reveals that deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has been accurately reflecting the level of frustration in the nationalist community. While some of his language may have been apocalyptic, the message is not apocryphal.”
    http://tinyurl.com/ycj8khp

  • If people still fail to understand the importance of the devolution of P&J for the nationalist community, they have no real understanding of what the long war was about. Having said that, it is a sad fact that few unionists and members of the British government seem to have any understanding about why a generation of young nationalist took up arms.

    Calling them blinkered would be an insult to Dobin.

  • Blair

    Why does the nationalist community think that it is all about them?

  • Banjaxed

    Thank you, Pete, for spotting the fundamental flaw in Patrick Murphy’s argument, vis-a-vis ‘offers’ v ‘promises’. The problem with *SOME* ex-Stickies is that they have never forgiven Sinn Fein for winning the argument with the electorate in what they, the former Worker’s Party, Republican Clubs, Official Sinn Fein, Unofficial Chameleon Party (sic!), considered their own back yard. It colours their whole view on present politics. However, if one of the partners in a relationship continuously soils his/her patch or even forgets where they live, it’s not really surprising that family loyalties drift. Murphy would be better served dealing with new wounds in today’s body politic rather than the old scars of yesteryear. Your war’s over, Spud.

    I’m not a Sinn Fein supporter but my impression is that they are trying their best to get the whole artificial edifice in Stormont to work despite the ‘what’s-today’s-excuse-to block-any progress’ strategy of the DUP.

    I also think that Murphy’s view of ‘Who controls the police is of little relevance to most people’ demonstrates his total ignorance of how the Nationalist people perceive the position of a police force in this new dynamic created by power-sharing. For a start, ‘control’ is the wrong terminology, IMHO. ‘Oversight’ I suggest, would be nearer the mark – and ‘Equal Oversight’ would be even better. But that’s probably hoping for the moon.

  • Driftwood

    Mickhall
    Westminster pays the bill for all those nationalist DLA claimants who keep the pubs and bookies open in their areas. They are hardly likely to take up arms when the (SE) English taxpayer is indulging their hedonistic lifestyle.

    Maybe the talk in the social clubs of Ardoyne et al at 11am is about whether Defence and Foreign policy should also be devolved?

  • LukeCass

    The results of the Belfast Telegraph’s poll confirm my thoughts on this issue. Good find Tom !

    Also, Mickhall, I fully agree with what you have said, excellent points, made clearly.

  • While it is a fact that Republicans are a minority group even within the Northern Nationalist community….

    We don’t yet trust or even respect the whole issue of policing & justice….

    As such, we couldn’t really care about these powers being devolved because at the end of the day. These ‘powers’ will undoubtably remain under the full and sinister control of the British Security Services and her armed wing, the British Army!

    Sadly, as Stormont has proved it’ll make little or no difference to Nationalists – especially the working-class.

  • Henry94

    Ardoyne Republican’s position is as he says a minority one. But fail to devolve policing and throw in voluntary coalition (which means, ironically, coalition without the volunteers) and his position makes a lot more sense.

    Is that what unionists really want to go back to. A humiliated and alienated nationalist working class who will have seen the efforts of Sinn Fein rebuffed. I think it’s a recipe for disaster.

  • All this talk of an indigenous deal is all very fine and dandy, but the reality is, that if the Britsh with the connivance of the South want to deliver another series of betrayals to Unionism like they have been doing for the last 30 years with the Anglo Irish Agreement the GFA and the STA in response to the republican violence then there is nothing that Unionism can do about it.

    The British seem to have made common ground with the South rather than with her own subjects in Northern Ireland and we need to see a reversal of that policy under a pro-Unionist conservative party that stands up to SF rather than appeases them.

    That is a gamble SF seems willing to make lets hope David Cameron will prove them wrong.

  • Critical Alien

    If the assembly does indeed fall, in a sense the north will be ungoverned. I think back over the past few years and wonder, though, about what governance there has been. Is the self-indulgent detachment, seen from republicanism and mentioned above, not present throughout the political caste more generally? The attitude toward, for example, the media from politicians here is rarely other than high-handed. Even now, amid this turmoil, the sad, half-hearted attempts at media manipulation continue as PR (or rather, his PR machine) tries to keep control what questions are asked of him.
    I suppose what puzzles me is exactly what difference having an officially moth-balled assembly will make as opposed to an actually dysfunctional one. It’s true there are real dangers in a collapse depending how it is spun by interested parties. The dissident threat’s growth is one, as hinted at by Henry94 perhaps.
    The problems this ridiculous Robinson situation have thrown up, however, were always present, just beneath the surface. The political processes are systemically ill-founded. The people running them are there on the basis of inherited mandates, ideology trumping political awareness. The extremes of this society shout the loudest, leaving the rest like John Hewitt’s ‘moths across a roaring hill’. Their relative silence looks like apathy, when in fact it’s alienation.
    At least one commentator in the south has already suggested the north is ungovernable for reasons such as these.
    The assembly is structurally unsound. The thing needs re-built, after some serious thought, from the ground up. Where’s a property developer when you need one?

  • Quagmire

    I have a radical solution. Why not get rid of the stupid border and create a new 32 county republic? Simple really. The reason why we have so much deadlock at stormont, is because the northern statelet wasn’t created with powersharing in mind. It was established via a sectarian headcount, and no wishy washy waffle revisionism can detract from this fact. The founding fathers of the northern statelt envisaged a protestant parliament for a protestant people, but the catholic rhythem method put the breaks on that idea. If stormont falls this time, it will be for the last time and will only go to prove that the 6 county project is over. It is ungovernable, unworkable and was simply a bad idea in the first instance. The Brits are to blame for all of this mess! It’s time to get serious and discuss the only real alternative that is staring everyone in the face, and that everyone is frightened to speak of. It’s time unionists, nationalists, business, trade unions etc, all get together to discuss, agree and map out a new 32 county model to take us forward. Its going to happen anyway, whether it be 10 years, 30 years or 50 years, so why not just bite the bullet and start now. You cannot reform the unreformable and there will be no going back to unionist majority rule, under whatever guise it may take.

  • Garza

    “I have a radical solution. Why not get rid of the stupid border and create a new 32 county republic? Simple really.”

    Not really, since the majority of Northern Ireland don’t want a 32 county “republic”.

    Pesky thing…democracy.

  • Quagmire,

    “You cannot reform the unreformable and there will be no going back to unionist majority rule, under whatever guise it may take”

    That will be a matter for HMG.

  • Quagmire

    Pesky thing…democracy.
    Posted by Garza on Jan 10, 2010 @ 01:14 AM

    1918 General Election anyone? We’ll see how democratic unionism is again) when Marty Mc G is returned as First Minister.

  • Quagmire

    “That will be a matter for HMG.”
    Posted by Moderate Unionist on Jan 10, 2010 @ 01:16 AM

    And the Irish Govt too chap, or have you forgotten that the GFA is an international agreement between two Sovereign nations?

  • tacapall

    1918 General Election anyone? We’ll see how democratic unionism is again) when Marty Mc G is returned as First Minister.

    Why do you think the British will listen to Nationalist vote Quagmire ? Remember 1918, as for the GFA being an international agreement, when have they, and the gaurantors, acted on or honoured their obligations that they agreed to in that so called international agreement.

  • georgieleigh

    Garza writes…
    “Not really, since the majority of Northern Ireland don’t want a 32 county “republic”.

    Pesky thing…democracy”

    Hoho Democracy.That’s where you lose the vote but get out a measure of treason, a HB pencil and a map until you win it.

  • wje

    “Criminalisation, Ulsterisation and Normalisation” was the policy pursued by the Brits/HMG since the mid 70’s. That policy is now obviously coming to fruition in all its elements.

    Furthermore, having got both SF and DUP to sign up to positions which were inconceivable for either party 5-10 years ago and from which, for either party, there is now no political retreat (except to admit pursuance of a wrong strategy by either party which is unlikely); it doesn’t surprise me that the Brits/HMG will now seek to poltically destroy both parties.

    It may take up to another 5 years (only a Westminster electoral term), but the Brits/HMG are proven to be masters of the long game.

    By then,the so-called “extremist” parties (DUP/SF), both of have committed to the political system to the international field, will have been so wracked with scandals that the electorate will return to the Brit/HMG favourites of SDLP/UUP and not lets forget Alliance.

    I don’t think that all the above is not an overall impossible scenario.

    Almost 500 MI5 agents in the North – for what purpose?

    Certainly not for “dissidents” but to ensure the completion of the outworking of Brit/HMG policy and strategy.

  • tacapall

    it doesn’t surprise me that the Brits/HMG will now seek to poltically destroy both parties.
    Posted by wje on Jan 10, 2010 @ 02:57 AM

    Perfidious Albion ! As countless countries around the world have learnt for 100s of years.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Would’nt it be nice to say that the DUP did’nt have it coming (assembly collapse and hopefully elections) but who can honestly say that they did’nt have it coming.

    It may be “circumstances” that done em in but that can happen to anyone and sure it only helps the immature to develope.

    Iris’s shenanigans have brought things to a head but sometimes it is time for things to reach that point.

  • Well would you adam & eve it, its the fault of the Brits (again). In case it has escaped anyones attention the Brits have been trying to push the Unionists toward a united Ireland for a very, very long time, every deal, every structure is geared toward a handover, which is why hardline Unionists are so distrustful of whoever is in power in Westminster. No way do those hardliners feel secure in their plush offices at Stormont.

    Martin McGuinness appears to have won the grudging respect of the unionist street. It is not so hard to believe, remember if he were loyalist, he would be a brave freedom fighter, rather than the filthy terrorist hardliners portray him to be. If S/F are sincere in their efforts to bring about democratic change they would be foolish to walk away from such a hard won gain.

    The Unionists are in a mess, not so much spilt as splintered in a myriad of ways. If S/F walk away now they give Unionists the opportunity to skuttle back to the bolt holes, regroup and rearrange what passes for their leadership, and who knows, I havent seen anyone but they may have a charismatic twenty something waiting in the wings to assert their position.

  • Scaramoosh

    The house of Unionism is underpinned by the notion of existentialist threat. The belief that under the grey skies of the Irish Republic, they will lose their tea towels, their tattoos and their traditions.

    The problem with a culture defined by an existentialist threat (as per Israel) is that it is not left with very much wriggle room. A stalemate (as per the assembly) is the preferred option. However, the problem is that political stalemates are ostensibly negative – they ensure that nobody benefits. They represent the ultimate act of negative self-indulgence.

    If and when Sammy Wilson, the great outdoor type, does take over the DUP, he would do well to broaden the scope of the debate. There have never been better arguments to be made against the notion of a United Ireland; the economy; the failings of the Catholic Church; the cost of shopping; healthcare etc. There are many many Cathoilcs who do not want a United Ireland, and is only when Unionist realise this that they will free themselves from the political and cultural desert in which they currently live. A siege mentality damages the health of everybody; stymies debate and erodes progressive thinking.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Some one had better dish some financial dirt on Martin McGuinness and pretty damn quick or soon even die-hard Unionists will be pushing him for First Minister.

    Paisley=gone, Adams=???, Robinson=???

    McGuinness=Probably the most respected Politician in NI.

  • Unfair!!! Adams has not been found guilty of anything! If it transpires that he was more personally involved in child abuse than trying to protect his family then fair enough. At the moment what I see is a man who was trying to do his best for his whole family not just one part of it. To that end trying to keep this horrendous child abuse a secret is typical of many families in the same position. See my blog http://pippakin-meiow.blogspot.com item Ten – the sins of the fathers for more detail.

    As for Robinson, if his hand was deeper in the till than we already know it to have been, no amount of sympathy for a cuckolded spouse will save him. His misfortunes are largely of his own making. The same cannot be said of Adams.

  • Cynic2

    “a man who was trying to do his best for his whole family not just one part of it”

    ie protecting his paedophile brother?

  • Cynic2. No not protecting his paedophile brother or even his possibly paeophile father, but extending his protection to his other brothers and sisters who were, or may have been abused by a man, I remind you, many people were afraid of. I dont want to self advertise but my blog http://pippakin-meiow.blogspot.com item TEN – The Sins of the Fathers goes into more detail on why I think he may be telling the truth.

  • Halfer

    Pippakin

    “Unfair!!! Adams has not been found guilty of anything! If it transpires that he was more personally involved in child abuse than trying to protect his family then fair enough.”

    By your flawed logic, the Catholic Bishops were only protecting the pedophiles in their family and have no culpability in church abuse.

    Gerry Adams is guilty of lying through his teeth with regards to his brother. In “protect(ing) his family” he allowed his child rapist brother to pursue a career in youth work for a further twenty years whilst his niece was allowed to suffer severe trauma and injustice. How on earth is that “fair enough”?

  • Henry94

    Halfer

    Nobody I have talked to would accept the comparison. Priests and Bishops are not family to each other and have no excuse for the persistent and serial cover-ups.

    But people do ask themselves what they would do in the position Adams found himself in. Call the police and have your brother arrested? I have yet to meet somebody who says they would do that. Not just republicans but everybody would try to fix it within the family.

    The right thing to do in a situation like that is a very hard if not impossible thing to do. So while people do believe that Adams made mistakes they certainly don’t put him on a par with the Bishops. That explains the lack of political fallout.

  • No, no, no! In no way are the ‘princes of the church’ to be compared to the shock and horror of finding out that a, presumably loved, member of a family, is an abuser. I am not saying he is not guilty of a further cover-up, if he is that is for a later date, after the trial of his brother. In the case of child abuse Im very democratic, I dont care where the trial takes place as long as it does indeed take place.

    I dont see a need to rush to judgement here. The truth may well destroy GA and if it does it must be the whole truth and not sneer and innuendo. I keep typing it but my blog gives a longer explanation of my views. http://pippakin-meiow.blogspot.com. See item TEN – The sins of the father.

  • tacapall

    The right thing to do in a situation like that is a very hard if not impossible thing to do. So while people do believe that Adams made mistakes they certainly don’t put him on a par with the Bishops. That explains the lack of political fallout.
    Posted by Henry94 on Jan 10, 2010 @ 12:51 PM

    Whilst understanding your point about trying to sort it within the family, It is also a fair point that he should have intervened to make sure his brother did not work with other children. This he did not do and this is what he will fall for.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    tacapall said

    “It is also a fair point that he should have intervened to make sure his brother did not work with other children. This he did not do and this is what he will fall for.”

    good point

  • Halfer

    It is not Adams failure to report the incident to the police that is the issue. It is his failure to prevent his brother from (a) facing retribution for his actions and thus allowing some closure for the victim and (b) from gaining access to work that allowed him unsupervised contact with minors. Openness and honesty would have been the best policies for Adams.

    Also……Spiriting away of pedophiles from within the PRM was common practise in west belfast. I know of two others who were caught inflicting horrible abuse on children and were ghosted off over the border.

    Pedophiles outside of the movement werent so lucky; namely a pedophile in Derry who had his leg blasted off and was allowed to bleed to death.

    Whilst I don’t condone this type of “justice”, it certainly underlines double standards.

  • Halfer. Agreed, it may well be his failure to intervene in his brothers career that will be his downfall. I know he had an unholy (Im not convinced by the way that ‘holy’ would be any better) influence in his community. Im not sure he could have prevented his brothers choice of employment without exposing his own family secret. It is this that we must wait and see.

    As for the terrible, terrifying claims about IRA protection for child abusers. I really, really hope this proves to be unfounded. My blog asks this question as well, address given above item FIFTEEN

  • Halfer

    Conscious that I may appear to be a rumour mongerer on the site, But I guarantee what i said above about two others is true.

    I’m also pretty sure that one of them will be brought up in future investigations

  • tacapall

    #

    Conscious that I may appear to be a rumour mongerer on the site, But I guarantee what i said above about two others is true.

    I’m also pretty sure that one of them will be brought up in future investigations
    Posted by Halfer on Jan 10, 2010 @ 01:25 PM

    I believe you have said this on other posts and I asked you to prove it, apologies for that as I understand thats not possible, but surely you can say when and where, otherwise its mere hearsy.

  • Halfer

    ….and hearsay it will continue to be. If we were leaning over a coffee table I’d be happy to indulge you. As we both know, this is not the arena.

  • tacapall

    #

    ….and hearsay it will continue to be. If we were leaning over a coffee table I’d be happy to indulge you. As we both know, this is not the arena.
    Posted by Halfer on Jan 10, 2010 @ 01:37 PM

    Point taken Halfer, Whilst I find it hard to believe, it would not surprise me after the revelations that have come to light so far.

  • Halfer. I so hope you are wrong, for what you are saying is that these paedophiles were ‘spirited’ over the border to continue their abuse here where we already had more than enough child abusers.

    I also note that the man who was shot was in Derry and whilst I dont condone what happened to him, it does at least show an attempt to punish and warn. It is beginning to appear that some in Belfast thought that being in the republican movement was a signal to do what they liked without fear of retribution from the law or anything else.

  • Actually Halfer, the thought occurs to me that you are in a unique position among us to know if the timeline fits.

    I find it hard to believe that your ordinary, everyday, person would do anything to help a paedophile so if someone in W Belfast did, well Im sure you see where this is going. To know for sure you would need to know the timeline and you do. It wont definitively prove anything of course, but it may well give further credence to the truth when it finally emerges.