The Clash, Channel Tunnel, Bosworth Field, Chaos and Donald Rumsfeld

The Clash sang: Should I stay or should I go now. That is of course the question for both Peter Robinson and his party; for other unionists it is also a valid question. The TUV and UUP can claim no credit for bringing this disaster upon the DUP. Iris Robinson managed to dig this hole not so much with a JCB but rather having borrowed the equipment used to excavate the channel tunnel.If Robinson goes the new DUP leader will have been the third in as many years and will have rather less authority than they might like. This will be ensured by the apparently feudal nature of the DUP with the three great warring families (Paisleys Robinsons and Dodds) which calls to mind the Wars of the Roses. The latest battle seems almost like that of Bosworth Field with Peter Robinson as Richard III fighting bravely till the last (My Kingdom for a Horse?) Any new DUP leader will face a party riven with factions and paralysed by fear of further revelations as well as terror of the fast approaching verdict of the electorate. All in the DUP must surely know that in the process of their internal battle they are driving their ship towards the rocks, though none of the choices open to them seem likely to salvage the situation.

In all of this the other unionist parties look on completely powerless and whatever comes out of the current chaos it must be clear to all that there are dangers as well as opportunities. A massively weakened DUP or a DUP implosion could result in a surge for the TUV. However, it could also result in Reg Empey becoming the leader of unionism. Faced with that prospect maybe a save Peter campaign is not such a bad idea.

I have alluded to the concept of chaos theory in the past regarding politics. This theory suggests that in dynamic systems small differences in initial conditions yield widely diverging outcomes, rendering long-term prediction impossible in general. The only positive suggestion I can make is that I leave you with the poetry of Donald Rumsfeld (this being a known unknown surely)

The Unknown
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know.
—Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing

  • Comrade Stalin

    I was talking to Sammy Morse last night who had the idea of doing the whole Robinson dynasty story as an opera composed by John Adams.

  • Paul

    I think if the TUV make big gains and reg empey in effect leads Unionism both would be a disaster in my opinion.

  • Turgon

    Paul,
    I think whatever happens it seems to be a disaster for the DUP: a largely self inflicted one I must observe.

  • The DUP leadership is a poisoned chalice, whoever takes over is going to suffer big losses at the Westminster election.
    Dodds’ would be best served not going for it, because the public has had its fill of political dynasties after the Paisleys and Robbos.
    The fact that Dodds is among the top expenses claimers and his wife is an MEP won’t go down well.
    It’s looking increasingly likely that the UU/Tories will be the biggest unionist party come the summer.
    When Reg was writing out his Santa wish list even he couldn’t have hoped for this!

  • aquifer

    How should symptoms of political dysfunction manifest themselves? Would a paramilitary parade or some pyrotechnics or maybe a murder or even a prayer rescue SF or DUP?

    Is it time for the parties of the centre to put a new edge to their pikes and billhooks?

    Alastair McDonnell would look great in an Iron Hat.

  • Paul

    #

    Paul,
    I think whatever happens it seems to be a disaster for the DUP: a largely self inflicted one I must observe.
    Posted by Turgon on Jan 11, 2010 @ 12:07 AM

    Turgon

    My heart goes out to peter and iris your hate the TUVs hate for the DUP holds no bounds you wont stop will you until you have destroyed unionism you are no better than the sinners.I despise everything about the TUV dinasaurs who have nothing to offer us no future nothing I dont want my childrens future to be handed over to the TUV god forbid it etc.

  • Harry J

    i hope nigel takes the leadership.

    He should immediately make it clear he will not nominate for First Minster and tht the ensuing election will be for a mandate for negotiations to sort out the institutions makin them more democratic.

    Lets face it the DUP may be in trouble but the alternatives empey or allister is more frightening

    Policing and justice are now off the agenda for a LONG time.

  • Mr Crowley

    Sack cloth and ashes time for the dupers. As an act of contrition they should bring back Paul Berry and make him party leader.

  • abc123

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of this situation, perhaps everyone should take a step back ….

    We have a system of Government forced upon us which includes Sinn Fein P-IRA members – an organisation which murdered and tortured people.

    There are questions being put to Peter Robinson about the financial dealings of his wife.

    Yet, the DFM (joint First Minister) admits to being part of the murderous P-IRA terrorist group. He hasn’t spent any time in prison for any of his hate crimes. And the media are not interested in those he sent to their death.

    The leader of that party also has serious questions to answer about allowing his brother to be in a position of trust over younger people. Not to mention his own criminal past in the P-IRA.

    It gives some perspective to the whole Robinson financial scandal and shows the Sinn Fein P-IRA control of the media.

  • Paul

    #

    i hope nigel takes the leadership.

    He should immediately make it clear he will not nominate for First Minster and tht the ensuing election will be for a mandate for negotiations to sort out the institutions makin them more democratic.

    Lets face it the DUP may be in trouble but the alternatives empey or allister is more frightening

    Policing and justice are now off the agenda for a LONG time.
    Posted by Harry J on Jan 11, 2010 @ 12:34 AM

    Harry I am in agreement with you the alternatives for unionists are more frightening

  • Harry J

    The leader of that party also has serious questions to answer about allowing his brother to be in a position of trust over younger people. Not to mention his own criminal past in the P-IRA……

    when did martin mcguinness find out the child molesters in the Adams family and why did he not contact the police?

  • tacapall

    Yet, the DFM (joint First Minister) admits to being part of the murderous P-IRA terrorist group. He hasn’t spent any time in prison for any of his hate crimes. And the media are not interested in those he sent to their death.

    It was Tony Blair Prime minister of your Westminister parliament who told the world that the IRA were fighting for a political cause when Unionist tried to equate them with al queda. Both the DUP and UUP have long been associated with loyalist paramilitaries, David Irvine even publicly stating that the DUP advised them not to call a ceasefire while they were murdering innocent catholics. Lecture to someone else who would listen to your bullshit.

  • Mr Crowley

    It gives some perspective to the whole Robinson financial scandal and shows the Sinn Fein P-IRA control of the media.
    Posted by abc123 on Jan 11, 2010 @ 12:37 AM

    Wrong, the Brits control both the media and the shinners. Peter wasn’t playing ball with the Brits and the shit has hit the fan. There’s probably a wee lesson in there for future Unionist leaders.

  • tacapall

    Wrong, the Brits control both the media and the shinners. Peter wasn’t playing ball with the Brits and the shit has hit the fan. There’s probably a wee lesson in there for future Unionist leaders.
    Posted by Mr Crowley on Jan 11, 2010 @ 12:49 AM

    And spot on you are Mr Crowley, wasn’t the whistleblower connected to the British military establishment, they said he was a padre, they call them political officers in Russia.

  • Mr Crowley

    And spot on you are Mr Crowley, wasn’t the whistleblower connected to the British military establishment, they said he was a padre, they call them political officers in Russia.
    Posted by tacapall on Jan 11, 2010 @ 12:52 AM

    He was indeed, just like the one whom Martin McGuinness prayed for when he went off to guard the poppy fields in Helmand.

  • Lionel Hutz

    “We have a system of Government forced upon us which includes Sinn Fein P-IRA members – an organisation which murdered and tortured people.”

    Abc,

    It’s funny that because I was sure you all voted for it and renewed the mandate of unionist parties that proposed keeping it that way.

  • Eleanor Bull

    The Clash also sang of ‘Career Opportunities’ and had an album called ‘Give ’em enough rope’.

    As this soap opera unfolds, I’ll not even mention ‘Cut the Crap’

  • The Raven

    “And spot on you are Mr Crowley, wasn’t the whistleblower connected to the British military establishment, they said he was a padre, they call them political officers in Russia.”

    Are we not supposed to be being careful about mudslinging at the moment? How long has Selwyn been out of the “British military establishment”? Or indeed, perhaps you can provide some proof of him still being “in it.”

  • 0b101010

    Wrong, the Brits control both the media and the shinners. Peter wasn’t playing ball with the Brits and the shit has hit the fan. There’s probably a wee lesson in there for future Unionist leaders.

    It isn’t inconceivable given the timing of stories working to shake up both party leaders, but that might have required the assistance of individuals caught up in the events.

  • tacapall

    It was himself who put himself in the spotlight and judged Iris Robinson, Am I as an Irishman to believe an Englishman with past military connections who blew the lid on his former employer with revelations that could collapse the peace process done it in the interests of integrity. perfidious albion comes to mind in this case.

  • The Raven

    Oh is he English?

  • Mr Crowley

    It was himself who put himself in the spotlight and judged Iris Robinson, Am I as an Irishman to believe an Englishman with past military connections who blew the lid on his former employer with revelations that could collapse the peace process done it in the interests of integrity. perfidious albion comes to mind in this case.
    Posted by tacapall on Jan 11, 2010 @ 01:34 A

    The Brits don’t want to ‘collapse the peace (normalisation) process’; quite the contrary infact. The dupers have been obstructing the normalisation process and now they are paying the price. It is sad that Loyalists still harbour illusions that the Brits are loyal to them.

  • 0b101010

    Unrelated, but seeing as someone mentioned Selwyn, I honestly wonder what the final trigger was that made a theological physcologist who specialised in counselling blow the whistle through the BBC on an employer he must have known was mentally ill.

    (First-hand experience with compassion fatigue, perhaps?)

    He only resigned in December, right?

  • Lionel Hutz

    Yeah that interested me as well. Did the whistleblower proompt the BBC investIgation or was it vice versa. I’d imagine the latter which is why I think panorama have more than just blacks story. It’s also the reason I believe the press statement regarding iris was released tonight as an opportunity for what I believe will be peter robinson’s resignation tomorrow.

  • The Raven

    Was it he who came forward and volunteered this information? I’m asking because I don’t know, and may have missed the but where he said “I’m coming forward because…”

    Wasn’t he also a Methodist minister in Dublin? Perhaps he was spying. Wasn’t he also a lecturer in Counselling at UU, doing research on PTSD in Bosnia? You know, what? You’re right. It all fits. He’s a spook. And they’re everywhere, right?

    My personal belief is that the shit was going to hit the fan anyway, and when asked directly, the beans were spilled. I don’t believe this man blew the whistle, but at the same time, I think if directly confronted, he wasn’t going to lie either.

    Anyway, we’re off-topic.

    Turgon writes: “Faced with that prospect maybe a save Peter campaign is not such a bad idea” on the notion of Sir Reg being the leader of Unionism.

    I don’t share his fundamental fears. But then, as a Unionist, I don’t fear devolved P&J, a pro-active Irish Language act, full and meaningful power-sharing and errrr whatever else it is that we from this side of the house are ehhhh supposed to fear.

    What I fear is the continued stasis and lack of action that this Assembly has shown on so many OTHER issues that affect so many people. And frankly, I don’t believe any change of “unionist” leadership is going to make it anything other than a dead slow and stop institution.

  • al

    What would Joe Strummer think of this mess is what Im thinking now.

  • granni trixie

    Double standards: that’s presuming that the skeletons in the cupboard of the UU,mirroring those of the DUP, are not exposed in the media – I have heard many which I cannot repeat here.

  • Turgon, Hi,

    I would HyperRadioProActively support theorising chaos concepts and expand and virtualise/realise them into some actual physical action and intellectual property activation on the ground in the political civil theatre ….. and would refer you to Post #14 on Slugger … Posted by amanfromMars on Jan 11, 2010 @ 03:45 AM ….http://tinyurl.com/yaclreh … and would wish that you consider particularly the last paragraph, where CHAOS plays an Energising Role, and with Sterling Military Disciple able to Provide both a Security Monitoring and Administrative Mentoring Order in the Field to Civilian Forces and Remotely from CyberIntelAIgent Command and Control of Communications and Computer Centres in Clouds in CyberSpace ….. with Northern Ireland being AIMaster Pilot BetaTestBed for a Novel Phorm of Radically Different Virtual Governance ……. Sharing ITs Journeys and Programs and Projects Boldly and Openly/Transparently, in these New and QuITE SurReal Network InterNetworking Media Channels, for Live Dynamic Universal Peer Review Comment, for All are Enabled to Share their Constructive Progressive Views in CyberSpace, for Media to Follow/Lead with.

    Negative Destructive Views are also easily rightly ignored as they Add Zero Value to any Situation or Program or Project.

    [quote][i] “Wrong, the Brits control both the media and the shinners.”[/i][/quote]… Posted by Mr Crowley on Jan 11, 2010 @ 12:49 AM

    Mr Crowley, If that is the best that they can do with their control, they need to bring in new controllers. And ideally ones with viable new source imagination which works well with others, rather than everyone having to suffer along with the ones with obviously old and contentious ideas that aren’t working well at all, and are providing no secure future plan that can be fully articulated and freely shared.

    Problems are always caused by those sat right at the top of the heap, so whatever is there would need to be replaced/upgraded/AIMODified for an immediate change of fortune. It isn’t rocket science, NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive IT, it is just AI and a Different Beta Way of Thinking really, Virtually ……. for the Reality of Programs on Earth which Deliver Civil Control to Populations and Smarter Beings which Generate Power and Wealth for Sharing/Distribution via Global Operating Devices and Media Channels and Broad Bands of Communication.

  • The end of charisma?

    I’m a Richard III man myself, ever since, too many years gone, reading Josephine Tey for starters, with Paul Murray Kendall for the main course. Much later I discovered an ancestor dies at Bosworth: I trust he was on the right side.

    My point is that is where Turgon-the-Wise’s analogy comes adrift. Richard was the sympathetic character (which is why the Tudor propagandists did such a job on him) and Henry Tudor the cold, calculating machine politician (there’s enough evidence in the Michael Sittow portrait in itself).

    So I’m with The Raven @ 01:55 AM: the present condition of NI politics is extreme constipation. P&J apart (what is the point of devolution if the devolved authority does not administer its own streets?), an inert government may not be a bad thing: Belgium seems to prosper thus for long periods.

    Henry VII innovated a centralised personal rule: again, not something to be desired. The quest for a Leader has been the bane of Irish politics, north and south, for over a century. Not, of course, that the Brits are far behind in the cap-tugging stakes. The gain of recent weeks has been the dethroning of a couple of such figures.

    For me, the best hope is that the present system cracks open. In the short term, that might imply fissiparous political factions (itself dangerous for NI). Longer term, we might look to see coalescence around certain key concepts: I suppose I am looking for class politics with an ideological tinge.

    Nor do I wholly despair of the DUP reforming itself. Stranger things have happened. If this is the end of the age of ayatollahs and estate-agents, so much the better. Dodds may be an unknown quality, but he has an intellectual C.V. unmatched elsewhere. What he lacks in personal magnetism, he may provide in flexibility.

    Now what’s that other bee buzzing in my bonnet? Ah yes!

    I belong to that generation whose Shakepearean studies were in part appended to the work of Caroline Spurgeon. How did we cope in the days before CTRL-F? However, one of the motifs, those “trigger words”, in the travesty of history by Stratford Bill-the-Butcher’s son is “change”–

    Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
    Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
    Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
    Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
    Grim-visaged war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
    And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
    To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
    He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
    To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.

    And, in Act II:

    Second Citizen:
    Truly, the souls of men are full of dread:
    Ye cannot reason almost with a man
    That looks not heavily and full of fear.

    Third Citizen
    Before the times of change, still is it so:
    By a divine instinct men’s minds mistrust
    Ensuing dangers; as by proof, we see
    The waters swell before a boisterous storm.
    But leave it all to God.

    And:

    Farewell: the leisure and the fearful time
    Cuts off the ceremonious vows of love
    And ample interchange of sweet discourse,
    Which so long sunder’d friends should dwell upon:
    God give us leisure for these rites of love!
    Once more, adieu: be valiant, and speed well!

    Yeah: we’ll get through it. The personalities my change. Put not your trust in TUV or Sir Reg. Remember that, as with political leaders, women, and buses: don’t run after one — there’ll be another along in a while.

  • Turgon

    Malcolm,
    I agree re Richard. He did, however, lose. Can I be Henry VII? Or maybe another figure from a good few years later Our Chief of Men?

    By the way do drop me an email some time

    Regards