Infantile politics

Just under the surface of Mark Devenport’s latest blog, an atmosphere of extreme nervousness is wafting across the water over the fate of the “ agreement” to devolve Justice – witness Nigel Dodd’s backhanded plea for UU support. Quite unnecessarily, unionism seem to be rushing once again to impale itself on a barbed wire fence on this touchstone issue and risking the fate of the Assembly for doubtful party advantage. “Pantomime” is indeed the word for it. The unionist public who want at least a measure of unionist unity are of course ignored. Does David McNarry speak for Reg, does anybody know, including Reg? Only Ian of the Damascus Road is rising to the level of events, a sentence I never thought I’d type. The Ulster Unionists are playing naked politics so blatantly that it’s hard to take them seriously. Let’s say it’s no deal and there’s an Assembly election, what’s the UU platform? A phoney equation between the devolution of Justice and the school selection deadlock – on which they haven’t got a practical position? And after the election, why should the cross community politics be any different? Do any UUs really believe that if by some chance they were restored as the largest unionist party that the political realities would be transformed? No deal on either and the Assembly falls would be the most likely outcome. Only this time, the UUs would be left holding the very sick baby. This is the politics of the rattle in the pram.

  • bohereen

    Maybe they don’t really care if the Assembly falls.

    I am pretty sure that the average small u unionist voter (or should I say, Non-voter?) thinks the Assembly is fairly useless.

  • ding dong

    Infantile politics or real politics?

    Brian the suggestion that a political party should play politics seems to be some sort of surprise to you – what do you expect? in fact what do you want?

    If the UUP had any balls, they would refuse to support the DUP and produce a programme for the electorate that sets out a new agenda, in fact they should have been doing that already. They should have been in opposition and not propping up a crap executive with no ideas or policies.

    The DUP are incapable of running Northern Ireland, by smoke and mirrors some of the DUP leadership duped the elctorate and a fair proportion of thier own party. Now that the real cracks are appearing the DUP can’t deliver so in any normal democracy they would go!

    BTW arrogant english based – “risking the fate of the Assembly for doubtful party advantage” is condensing, there is no imperative for any party to support the current mess out of guilt! Robinson and crew have ballsed it up.

    The electorate must decide – are there any politicians in Northern ireland that can make devolution work? if not then over to Westminster again, because we are incapable!

    Consequences may be bad but unless our leaders lead then nothing can be done and we should tolerate this crap.

  • David Crookes

    In the old days unionists would depict themselves as people who said what they meant and kept their word. But if the doctrine of unionism is truly mirrored by its present lot of politicians, then it is an unholy spasticated doctrine with the death-rattle in its throat. Why have unionist voters elected so many unwise, nasty, and destructive representatives? Deputy Dawds is being downright dishonourable. Does he speak for PR? Or does IP? Does DMcN speak for RE? For whom does GC speak? There is no discipline in any of the unionist parties. Anyone can say what he pleases. People sign agreements and then display their rigorous principles by reneging on them. At the same time, while the ship of state moves inexorably towards the rocks, Andy Pandy and Teddy thweaten to thwow the wattles out of their pwam.

    Maybe it will take a total collapse to persuade unionist voters that they need a new sensible more-than-narrowly-unionist party in which dark-souled empty-minded malignancy will be regarded as neither virtuous nor virile.

    Why are some unionist politicians pursuing a destructive course? I can think of only two reasons. Either they are helplessly stupid, or they have a repartitionist agenda. In recent days I have come across some sinister persons who believe that a return to the Troubles would not be the worst thing in the world.

    I don’t like the noises that I’m hearing. As everyone knows, the OO is starting to growl. ALL of our unionist MLAs should be saying to the OO, ‘No one elected you. Be quiet and promise to keep the law.’ But they aren’t.

  • “Why are some unionist politicians pursuing a destructive course?”

    David, I thought it was SF who threated to pull the house down and Brown and Cowen who had to come riding to the rescue. As for a return to the Troubles, the militant Republicans haven’t gone away you know.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    “The unionist public who want at least a measure of unionist unity are of course ignored”.

    But surely Mr Walker if the “nationalist” public wanted this unity, you would be among the first to label them sectarian.
    Does the Assembly matter?
    I suspect the symbolism of Stormont and Carsons statue and the Great Hall means more to DUP & UUP & TUV than it means to SDLP & SF-IRA.
    Certainly the latter are only in Stormont with much the same intention that Guy Fawkes entered Westminster.
    If the unionists collapse the Assembly……well it has been SF-IRA who have been complaining for 40 years about a failed statelet.
    Stormont has always been a symbol of unionist (sic) compromise. It satisfies both norn iron “our wee country” types the “Belfast is as British as Bristol” types.
    Forcing such types to choose is good tactics by SF-IRA.

    The whole point is that Republicanism has options. Unionism doesnt.

  • “The whole point is that Republicanism has options.”

    FJH, the Tactical Use of Armed Struggle document has been around for some time. If militant Republicans don’t get what they want from the political process ….

  • Project UCUNF the ridiculous project built in Tory Central Office and foisted upon the unsuspecting Unionists of Norn Iron is probably going to take a sound and deserved thrashing at the polls in the Westminsters. As we await the inevitable and embarassing collapse we now find out that the minor party to this alliance of right-wing ideologues is proposing to collapse the whole fecking Stormont arrangments. Rather like one of those crazy American guys who having failed at school decides to return to scene of his failure to kill as many teachers and pupils as he can.

    Cameron who by now must be in a state of near panic as his majority disappears as quickly as the other customers in a resturant when the Bullingon Boys club arrives, will no doubt be calling the diminutive Reginald into his office to give him a good arse-kicking for daring to present the Labour Party with a small but sharp stick to beat him with. The Tories had enough embarassment with an Alliance of a few mad Poles in Europe but lining themselves up with a bunch of Irish nutters who want to undo the good work of John Major et al will surely not be tolerated.

    ..and Brian you were doing so well and then you produced “This is the politics of the rattle in the pram” – the sooner there is an absolute ban on infantile metaphors the better for everyone as we have just recovered from the last 2.5 million aimed at SF when they threatened to collapse the Assembly.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Nevin,
    You are probably right. Thats how I believe they see it also.

  • FJH,

    Of course unionism has options. The problem is that unionist politicians are nigh unleadable. Paisley, for all his faults, had the force of personality to be able to impose discipline. I never thought I’d miss the old hypocrite until Robinson took over.

    MU,

    I doubt UCUNF was foisted on the UUP. It is looking more and more like a scheme to get the Conservatives to put a few token Catholics on the ballot in unwinnable seats in order to provide a “non-sectarian” fig-leaf for the UUP.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Mr Gallagher,
    The options for unionism are indeed limited by the lack of leadership…..or force of personality …and recent events have clearly wounded Robinson.

    But these are (to quote the title of mark Urbans book) “Big Boys Rules”.
    It is not in the interests of unonism that republicanism has choices.
    Its not in the interests of republicanism that unionism has choices.

    Beneath the Chuckle Brothers and bonhomie, this is a fight to the finish but without recourse to anything more dangerous than rhetoric.

  • Andrew,

    “I doubt UCUNF was foisted on the UUP”

    Perhaps sold to the UUP leadership in return for a vague promise of sitting in the cabinet and then foisted on the UUP members by the leadship would be a fairer way of putting it.

    Interesting scenario, in the very unlikely event that there is a UUP member (and he is in the OO or sympathetic to it) in the cabinet and a parade ends in chaos. Now, I’m not suggesting that the UUP might just be able to get some sectarianism going again on the mainland, but rather cause the rest of the cabinet severe embarassment – both at home and internationally.

  • Beneath the Chuckle Brothers and bonhomie, this is a fight to the finish but without recourse to anything more dangerous than rhetoric.

    It’s a filthy squabble over an argument that most of the us thought was settled twelve years ago, because neither side has the vision to move on.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Wouldnt Sylvia make a more acceptable Minister of Justice than David Ford? A lawyer by training.
    Friend of SDLP an all?
    How could DUP, UUP, SDLP, SF-IRA say no?

    Technically not a member of the Stormont but that could be arranged by a friendly resignation and co-option.
    Surely there is one UUP type who would like a seat in the Lords…..McFarland, McGimpsey….Empty?????

    And would be nice to see Alliance have that collective smirk wiped off.

  • Alan

    You have to ask, would the likes of Ringland and others be standing at all if UUP policy was to seek the demolition of the Assembly.

    It feels like the UUP are so disconnected from Westminster that the General Election has slipped off their radar.

  • ardmaj55

    dvid crookes 3 Speaking as a nationalist, it’s hard to dispute any of that critique you’ve just levelled. Some in the DUP [like dawdds and his unholiness, gregory are positively rabid, and shouldn’t be let anywhere near the reins of office.

  • David Crookes

    Nevin, of course you’re right (#4), but I really have in mind two distinct pieces of anti-police noise that we’ve heard from a member of the OO and a member of the TUV in the last fortnight. The hideous thing about the so-called dissidents is that although they can do nothing to bring about a UI, they can help to destabilize NI by strengthening the hands of hardline unionism.

    Andrew Gallagher (#9), yes: we need personalities who have a bit of geniality about them. The Cheshire Cat was all grin, but Deputy Dawg is all scowl. What’s the matter with the grim brigade? Were they not allowed to break any delf when they were young?

    Ardmaj55 (#15), many thanks for your post. More than thirty years ago I used to hear my republican friends saying that such-and-such a Protestant was ‘as black as your boot.’ Now I wonder if they were referring to actual darkness of soul.

    A luve ma ain folk.

  • ardmaj55

    Republicanisms has options, Unionism doesn’t.

    FJH..[5] That’s the only explanation for the bitterness of the likes of Campbell and Dodds [and his missus] They know that the unionist electorate is receding, and this harms them but doesn’t mean a referendum would be a threat any time soon. There is a conflict of interest between the UUP along with DUP with it’s stillborn offspring [TUVF]on one hand, and the Unionist electorate, who, if they thought the union was safe, wouldn’t bother with their politicians, on the other
    Nationalist voters have much the same view of their political parties, and although they vote for them, don’t share all their agenda.
    While it’s enough for most in the UUP that N. Ireland’s status remains as it is, and they don’t go along with the deeply sectarian DUP’s desire to keep themmuns in their place, most in the DUP aren’t content with just keeping NI in the UK, they want that NI to be Protestant dominated for all time. That’s the nature of the beast.

  • David, isn’t it ironical that hardline Unionism in the form of the TUV finds itself singing from the same hymn-sheet as southern constitutional parties when it comes to SF ‘parapoliticians’ in government?

    Dissident is a rather strange word to use in the sense that the PRM flipped pro tem, leaving other militant Republicans to carry on the struggle.

    The OO [cf Catholic Church in the pan-Nationalist family] is very broad church and provides a refuge for loyalist paramilitaries as well as for liberal Unionists.

    Spasticated? Is that an appropriate political put-down considering the medical ramifications?

  • David Crookes

    Nevin (#18), how principled is the attitude of the RoI’s ‘constitutional’ parties to SF, and would that attitude change if SF were to win enough seats in the Dail?

    The support of RoI politicians for SF involvement in NI’s government renders their home-turf policy altogether absurd.

    ‘Dissidents’ is a rather smarmy word. We use it to brand certain persons as hopeless weirdoes who reject the more-or-less virtuous arrangement that all ‘right-thinking’ people support. Let us say ‘terrorists’.

    The OO was ALWAYS a broad church. In the old days the big-house unionists used it as their hotline to the working class. They also regarded it as a potential force which could be brought into play in the event of serious conflict.

    Now to your final paragraph. When you call someone politically blind, when you say that some politician is deaf to public opinion, when you describe a political party as having been crippled by the actions of its leaders, or when you complain about the madness of destructive politicians, you intend no disrespect to blind, deaf, crippled, or mad people, so there are no ‘medical’ ramifications whatever.

    I get very annoyed when foolish commnentators talk about ‘weasel words’. Why attribute pejority to an innocent animal which doesn’t use words?

    Let’s move on. I wonder if it would be possible for the BBC to interview some Grand or Even Grander Spokesman of the OO, and to ask him the following question. ‘Does the OO undertake that in no circumstance will it ever break the law?’ A positive answer would be very ‘helpful’, if you know what I mean.

    Does anyone happen to know how many paid-up members the OO has at the moment?

  • Nevin, David,

    The attitude of RoI politicians to SF may smack of hypocrisy to some, but it does follow a certain logic. Coalition governments give disproportionate power to the smaller parties, so giving SF a place in government south of the border would be to give them increased influence. There are plenty of alternative coalitions available whose members’ unsavoury histories are a little further removed from the here and now. In the North however, Sinn Féin are (unfortunately) impossible to ignore. This is realpolitik at work.

  • David, who is never going to break the law? Loyalist and republican paramilitaries will often simply disregard the law but the ‘chosen’ will receive no sanction; they’ll be feted by London and Dublin and some will be rewarded at the ballot box. It’s a rather sick old world – much as spastic is a sick old put-down.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, Andrew (#20). Maybe the inability of certain unionists to countenance SF in government betokens a want of realpolitik as much as anything else. Our sovereign government has given us certain structures on the back of a referendum. The sensible thing to do is make the structures work. No one should ask us to practise doctrinal purity if that means going back to chaos, unease, and worse. The deal needs to bed down. When it does, dissident heroics will be even more pointless than they are now.

    Nevin (#18), if one stupid adjective of mine has caused you any offence, I’m sorry.

    Eamonn is saying on Twitter that RE and the UUP are not yet prepared to back the P&J thing. I wonder if RE will do a DF before next week’s deadline. It’s dangerous to play hard-to-get when nobody really wants to get you. (Apart from DC, of course, who wants to give you a seat in the cabinet.)

    Fun times, as the fellow says.

  • David Crookes

    Nevin, it IS a sick old world (#21), but the sickness may abate in our own corner of the vineyard if enough people exercise good will. Not everything has to stay the way it is in perpetuity. I see cause for hope when a ‘former’ paramilitary leader can advise the OO not to march where it isn’t wanted.

    People are funny. Addressing you as if you are helplessly stupid, they say, ‘SF will NEVER recognize the police.’ Then SF recognizes the police, but the opinionated people don’t come round to apologize for having been wrong.

    Hope maketh not ashamed.

  • Alias

    “David, isn’t it ironical that hardline Unionism in the form of the TUV finds itself singing from the same hymn-sheet as southern constitutional parties when it comes to SF ‘parapoliticians’ in government?”

    Well, they both support voluntary coalition with one having the luxury of it because it is a nation-state and the other being excluded from normal democratic structures because it is an abnormal bi-national state with two nations locked in a perpetual struggle with each other for control of that state.

    The Shinners like to delude themselves (or, rather their supporters) that they would be accepted into an Irish coalition government if they doubled or trebled their inconsequential mandate, but when all of the main state parties rule out the Shinners and FF uses diplomatic speak such “ideological differences” then it probably translates “C3 says that no touts need apply.”

    If you want normality in your political institutions then you will to consider repartition.

  • David Crookes

    Many thanks for your post, Aliaa (#24), but if the price of having normality in our political institutions is living in a tiny unionist Gibraltar, then let us learn to live with a bit of abnormality. Many ordinary people in NI want partnership government to work. Are they all romantically minded weirdoes, unfit for what a famous C&W song calls ‘the cold hard facts of life’? I don’t believe it.

    Let us make this place work in our own lifetimes. There’s a manifesto for the new sensible party.

  • ardmaj55

    David Crookes [16] No problem, David. My problem is with the Unionist Parties, not with the unionist electorate. When the ‘troubles’ first came to the world’s attention in ’68, I hadn’t a clue about the politics of it. I was thirteen the day after that march in Duke street in Derry and living twelves miles from there. I don’t accept the line from the shinners that their campaign had anything to do with civil rights. It had more to do with capitalising on it. I’m sure they couldn’t believe their luck when the UDA/UWC embarked on their campaign to end the Sunningdale plan in ’74. It’s been a law of diminishing returns for the unionist establishment since.

  • Alias

    David Crookes, it’s a bit like saying “let’s learn to tap dance like Fred and Ginger” when your feet are nailed to the floor. I point you to other failed states such as Belgium as the very best that you can look forward too.

    [i]”Belgians do not like their state. They despise it. They say it represents nothing. There are no Belgian patriots, because no-one is willing to die for a flag which does not represent anything. Because Belgium represents nothing, multicultural ideologues love Belgium. They say that without patriotism, there would be no wars and the world would be a better place. As John Lennon sang “Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do, nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too.”

    In 1957, Belgian politicians stood at the cradle of the European Union. Their aim was to turn the whole of Europe into a Greater Belgium, so that wars between the nations of Europe would no longer be possible as there would no longer be nations, the latter all having been incorporated into an artificial superstate.” – Paul Belien of The Brussels Journal[/i]

    Imagine all the people…

  • Alias

    “It’s been a law of diminishing returns for the unionist establishment since.”

    It depends on how you measure the returns. On the constitutional issue, that is now rock solid, so the return for unionism since ’74 has been a bonanza. The downside is that you had to recognise that there was another nation within your British state and that the state could not be managed exclusively by one nation in its own interests. So although you had your right to self-determination validated by your nation retaining sovereignty over the state, you were unable to exercise your right self-determination within the state de jure because another nation now holds a de facto veto over it. It’s a bit like marrying the woman your heart always desired but never getting to consummate the marriage…

  • interested

    It is ironic the UUP are threatening to not vote for P&J yet the reasoning being education is not sorted out? Which then begs the question that the UUP were willing to agree P&J from the records in 2005 with out Sein Fein even signing up to support the Police and the rule of law and without IRA decommissioning. The UUP also like to forget that the education mess actually started on their watch when the deputy first minister gave the order for the 11 plus to go before ironically the UUP collapsed the NI Assembly for the third time. People don’t forget and I don’t believe will take too kindly as the polls suggest they want the NI Assembly to collapse, and any Assembly election will have Sinn Fein as the largest party as there will be nothing Unionism can do to stop this as a pact will not be in place despite Unionism crying out for one. The UUP need to be very careful about their tactics as they could well back fire on them?

  • David Crookes

    Thanks a lot, ardmaj55 (page 2, #1). Unionists of my own advanced age have to do two things: come to terms with a new present, and then ask ourselves if we apprehended the past correctly when it was actually happening. Some mists are only now beginning to clear. In North Antrim ‘Cap’n Anneal’, as he is still called, remains a remote and incomprehensible figure, but Brian Faulkner emerges from Robert Ramsay’s book RINGSIDE SEATS as a decent and intelligent realist, much more accomplished than any of his detractors.

    When chaos and unease are caused by professing unionists, people on the mainland are not encouraged to support the union. If republicans engage in violence, everyone knows more or less what they want: but if ‘loyalists’ engage in violence, people on the mainland want to know what it is that the ‘loyalists’ are being loyal to. Many hardline unionists find this simple fact impossible to understand.

    Alias (page 2, #2), thanks for your post. Is it wise to allow a single journalist to characterize Belgium as if he was speaking from Sinai? Whenever I walk around Leuven early on a Sunday morning, listening to the gentle music of bells, I don’t meet people weeping over their own despicable nation. In many ways Belgium is a success story. No one tries to kill policemen, you have quiet streets after 10 pm, and there is no Great Garvacuity to torment the whole country every year.

  • ardmaj55

    Alias [3] In the ‘diminishing returns’ point, I was referring there to Unionism with a capital U. If it was simply a question in the UUP and DUP of NI maintaining the link with Britain, I would agree with you that the period since the sunningdale collapse has ensured the maintainence of NI in the Union, but the continued existence of the Orangefestering sore hows that the Union being maintain is not enough for a sizeable number of DUP/and to a slightly lesser extent UUP figures. They want the ‘croppies’ made to lie down again, Arlene Foster gave the game away at the election count in F/ST when Gildernew was elected the first time. Foster said, ‘they [catholics] can’t have parity of esteem in NI. Ulster is British and that’ it. Condemned out of her own mouth.

  • “I see cause for hope when a ‘former’ paramilitary leader can advise the OO not to march where it isn’t wanted.”

    David, I’ve noted your ‘former’. The PRM still has its Army Council aka the legitimate government of Ireland in place as well as its organised crime wing.

    Loyalist and Republican paramilitary godfathers don’t just exclude parades, they exclude folks whose faces don’t fit, often through the use of violence. They also organise their own parades, with or without the blessing of the Parades Commission, and you can’t expect Joe and Josey Public to voice any objections.

    Where you see hope I see the growth of a culture of lawlessness in which the agencies of the state are forced to participate by London and Dublin.

    The local community influence once wielded by say the Catholic hierarchy and the Loyal Orders has IMO largely disappeared. These groupings have their faults but they’re hardly in the same league as the godfathers when it comes to the enforcement of ‘civic justice’. I’m sure I don’t need to provide graphic examples.

    You might care to look at a body mentioned in last weekend’s papers, the Hanwood Trust, an exotic cocktail of developers, politicians and ‘former’ paramilitaries. A Google search will bring up links between Hanwood Trust, Government departments, Belfast City Council and Castlereagh Borough Council. I should imagine that there will have been a stream of FoI requests flowing from investigative journalists with regard to the activities of this trust.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, Nevin, the Hanwood Trust is a new one for me, so I’ll look it up. We all have to ride on a merry-go-round that involves both hopeful and despairing horsies, but I prefer the hopeful horsies. It’s always a shock for a sanguine soul to discover that nearly everyone is in nearly everything for himself. Good luck to the investigative journalists. It’s no use pretending that the passage of a generation will bring an end to institutionalized crime. Some things have to be faced down and defeated over generations, like the KKK, which was able to march in church processions when my oldest American friend was a boy.

    I have high hopes for the many members of the OO who have no desire to cause trouble. The OO will become a powerful force for good if it espouses the kind of broad unionist culture that can celebrate C S Lewis, Helen Waddell, Francis Chesney, Amanda McKittrick Ros, Barry Douglas, Michael Longley, and so on.

    Hereby hangs a tale which I must tell you. Forty years ago I was a sixth-former in Michael Longley’s English class. On an idyllic summer day ML played us an old reel-to-reel tape of Louis MacNeice reading his own poems about 1950 or so. One line of one poem — ‘Ulster will not be saved by bunting’ — caused all of us to burst out laughing. At that time Ian Paisley was working in tandem with a character called Ronald Bunting, who had styled himself ‘Commandant of the Loyal Citizens of Ulster’! Maybe we’ve come a longer way than we think.

  • David, I’m a mixture of optimist and realist and about forty years ago I got involved with the Corrymeela Community and in an inter-schools project in Coleraine.

    You speak of generations but I’ve flagged up the 2016 commemoration as a probable focus for further communal disruption. Sanguine souls might well sleep walk into the 2010s much as they sleep-walked into the 1960s. I presume you appreciate sanguine’s bloody complexion.

  • David Crookes

    Nevin, I’ve been worried about 2016 as well (it’s the triangular number of sixty-three). The only thing to do is get in first. Let’s try to have our agreed new world in place by 2014, the thousandth anniversary of the battle of Clontarf.

    The old humours like sanguinity and cholerity don’t seem to trouble our fellow-countrymen so much as a complaint that in Belfast is still known as ‘the jaundies’.

    I’m encouraged by what I hear from a number of Fresh Young Things who don’t see why they should spend all their time thinking about the Troubles. Infantile politics may wane if we can involve some younger persons who in terms of the old shibboleths are ‘unaligned’.

  • David, there was no shortage of ‘liberated’ Fresh Young Things in JCSS, the Coleraine group I once co-ordinated. We had a great time whilst the misFYTs created havoc. Coleraine certainly hasn’t improved since the departure of JCSS over twenty years ago.

    As for the ‘unaligned’, they are unlikely to play any part of any significance in the near future; they will join the ranks of the chittering classes. Consanguinity rules KO 🙂

  • Greenflag

    I’m not worried about 2016 😉 Why anyway . Is’nt the new ‘end ‘ of the world scheduled for 2012 ;)?

    The 1916 Rising will be remembered with pomp and ceremony and then everybody will just go back to work next day . By 2016 Unionist parties will still be at each other’s throats .The TUV will either be extinct or close to it. Hopefully the OO will have reformed itself and will become a religious and cultural organisation and refrain from political involvement . The RC Church in Ireland will be an even paler shadow of it’s former self and both North and South will be increasingly secular as younger atheists and agnostics outnumber those who remain tradition bound .

    There won’t be any UI in 2016. Infantile politics will remain part of the NI scene simply because it can not be other . You might as well try to separate the moon from it’s orbit around the earth as to hope that NI could ever become a bland little Belgium .

    People will continue to find new ways to ‘disrespect’ and annoy each other’s sense of community and identity . Not everybody of course but there are more than enough ‘thickos’ on both sides to keep ‘infantile ‘ politics going for another generation or two or three 🙁

  • Greenflag

    david crookes ,

    ‘Why are some unionist politicians pursuing a destructive course?

    It’s a kind of political inheritance thing 🙁

    ‘ I can think of only two reasons. Either they are helplessly stupid, or they have a repartitionist agenda.”

    Some have proved themselves ‘helplessly stupid’ in a political way and even when it comes to simple human common sense . But it’s always unwise to write off a whole tribe simply because of the failings of a few .

    I believe there is a repartitionist ‘agenda’ probably best represented by the TUV . There is no other logic to their stance i.e no power sharing with SF which effectively means no power sharing with the SDLP either .

    Elements within the TUV, DUP and the OO and to a lesser extent in the UUP are beginning to realise that the only way the ‘Union ‘ can be preserved longer term is via repartition . This will become increasingly obvious over the next decade .

    It would suit some of these pro-repartitionist Unionists to have a return of the troubles as this would speed up the ‘voluntary ‘ population transfers that have been effectively underway from West to East and from South to North East since the 1970’s /1980’s within NI. It would also provide a raison d’etre for ‘repartition’ as the resumption of violence particularly if it was seen as being dissident inspired .

    The only force within NI which would/could / counter the Gibraltarisation of NI is the current power sharing NI Executive . I’m not sure if I would want to bet the family silver on the political cohesion of the Assembly .The Assembly’s continuing difficulties do not inspire more than temporary confidence .

    If there is to be a ‘repartition’ then it would be better for all concerned if it was implemented by a neutral international organisation rather than after another bloody mess .

  • David Crookes

    Many thanks to Greenflag for a thoughtful pair of postings (page 2, #12 and #13), and to Nevin for bringing us up against the inescapable buffers of consanguinity (page 2, #11). I see hints of a repartitionist agenda, but its exponents are not thinking about international supervision so far as I can see, and they retain their belief in the infinite patience of the mainland British.

    Most unionists don’t want to go within a baigle’s gowl of repartition. Imagine having to express our gratitude to whatever bunch of politicians secured it for us by voting for them in perpetuity. Never mind being governed by people who think that culture is expensive clothes, expensive oversized cars, white dinner jackets, no libraries, and apartment blocks on See Finn. But maybe they wouldn’t want to keep the Mournes.

    We’re small enough already, and we all need each other. It’s great NOT to live in a place where everyone agrees with you. The biggest problem in music involves a strife between powers of the number two and powers of the number three. If every string on my spinet says NOT AN INCH, I won’t be able to play it. What tuners call ‘temperament’ solves the problem by giving and taking a little all over the place. Non-infantile politics, on the keyboard.

  • ardmaj55

    So, BW, It’s the same old story with Robinson. He signed a deal at hillsboro, which for the govts. and the US, it was a deal that was binding on him to stand over, but then the cavemen in his cabal, turned the screws on him again and now he’s moving the goalposts. After his appearance alongside Marty, Brown and Cowen left NI on the understanding the DUP ‘leader!!!!!!???????, would get it through. what’s PR going to look like now? and surely the two PMs are bound to conclude there’s nobody in Unionism to do business with. and pull the curtain down on the whole sorry lot of them.

  • David Crookes

    Ardmaj55 (page 2, #15), it is the cavemen in the cabal who are stopping everything. They don’t want to give us clean safe streets, full employment, a proper railway system, contented schools, forestation, a ‘responsible’ building code, or a tourist-friendly country. All they want to do is sprawl in their caves and growl.

    Most people in NI don’t agree with the cavemen’s agenda. Why should they have to suffer minority rule?

  • Greenflag

    ‘Why should they have to suffer minority rule?’

    Deja vu here again .

    One could say they suffered from ‘majority rule’ for 50 years and then one could say they suffered from Direct Rule interspersed with several half hearted attempts at voluntary coalition rule for a period of 20 to 40 years ?

    So they might as well give ‘minority’ rule a go to see if it’s any better .

    The use of majority or minority in the context of NI politics is debateable in itself . Each of the contending political tribes is both majority and minority depending on whether one views the North Channel as a wide river that connects or a sea that separates .

    ‘they don’t want to give us clean safe streets, full employment, a proper railway system, contented schools, forestation, a ‘responsible’ building code, or a tourist-friendly country. ‘

    A bit harsh I’d have thought . I believe they do . It’s just that they don’t want themmuns to have the same as well . They haven’t yet quite worked out that a donkey can’t wag it’s tail without a head ;)?

  • “I’m not worried about 2016 😉 Why anyway”

    A very typical Dub reaction, Greenflag 🙂 It’s all very well for the Guards to blatter a few heads in Dublin but in these parts it can create bedlam. A T Q Stewart’s ‘Narrow Ground’ would be a useful primer for the political establishments in both Dublin and London.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, Greenflag (#17)! Maybe I’m not hearing the cavement when they’re being constructive, but I had the strong impression not long ago that when grown-up people were thinking about P&J the cavement were thinking obsessively about parades.

    One of the reasons why wrongful supremacist notions still survive in the group subconscious of unionist hardliners is that the average age of our politicians is quite high. On my side of the fence we need a number of energetic young politicians who read books, travel about, have lives, and hold no brief for brotherhoods of unelected persons. Otherwise NI is going to be like A Million Years BC without Raquel Welch.