Tony Blair: “I took horrendous chances in what I was telling each the other had agreed to…”

From Mick’s linked chapter on Northern Ireland in Tony Blair’s memoirs [pdf file]

Such tactical manoeuvres were the warp and woof of the Northern Ireland peace process. Again at the last minute, after the negotiation over the St Andrews declaration of October 2006, up popped the issue of what oath would be sworn by those taking office in the reconstructed Assembly and Executive. All manner of permutations were gone through to find a mutually acceptable formula. Naturally the DUP wanted a very clear commitment to the police in the oath itself. Sinn Fein didn’t like the wording and wouldn’t commit until it was clear the Executive was in being, so there was a synchronising issue as well as a language problem.

In the end they agreed a timing and, roughly, a wording, but over the following weeks it started to fall apart.  Gerry Adams had agreed to call an Ard Fheis (a council meeting of Sinn Fein) to endorse it, but only if Ian Paisley had clearly stated in advance that such an endorsement would allow the institutions to be revived.  For once, roles were reversed, with Gerry Adams demanding clarity and Ian Paisley producing waffle. I then had the idea that I would reinterpret the waffle and so deliver Gerry his reassurance.

I had a Christmas holiday in Miami. The sun shone, but that was about it as far as holidaying went. Because of the time difference I had to start my calls at 5 a.m. Frequently the Paisleys would be out visiting friends so calls were missed. I took horrendous chances in what I was telling each the other had agreed to – stretching the truth, I fear, on occasions past breaking point – but I could see the whole thing collapsing because of the wording of an oath of office. Somehow, with creativity pouring out of every orifice, we got through it. [added emphasis]

Which, with their credibility at risk, might help to explain the kerfuffle caused by Sinn Féin back around May 2008…

Adds  But then, as the BBC notes

In the book he also wrote of strong relationships with Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.

“They were an extraordinary couple,” he said.

“Over time I came to like both greatly, probably more than I should have, if truth be told… they were supreme masters of the distinction between tactics and strategy.

“They knew the destination and they were determined to bring their followers with them, or at least the vast bulk of them.” [added emphasis]

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  • Mick Fealty

    Vindicated at last Pete??!!!

  • Anon

    Which, with their credibility at risk, might help to explain the kerfuffle caused by Sinn Féin back around May 2008…

    I seem to recall several people suggesting that SF might have got more from the British, or at least thought they got more from the British than they actually got. And both you and Pete suggested they were mental and it was all an SF plot to dupe their followers. And now… oh. That doesn’t excuse them of course, just highlights somewhat shortfalls in the approach taken here.

    The later quote adds little, if GA and MMG deemed Blair and Powell trustworthy and liable to deliver at the time. Which give previous context, isn’t particularly far fetched.

  • Anon

    Should be you and Mick, of course.

  • Mick Fealty

    I think you might be misremembering some of that… Some Sinn Fein folk pointed at Junior and said he’d told them they’d got the lot… But that’s not what came out in the wash…

    The duping of the membership came not because they wanted to do it, but because they had to sell them what Blair had promised them the DUP had agreed to.

    They could have learned from Trimble and called his bluff…

    All we did was point out that it had been left up to the DUP to decide when… it took the Mrs Robinson scandal to dislodge them…

  • DC

    The whole process had been created on constructive ambiguity – we didn’t need some pedant to point out late on in the closure stages of devolution the obvious black and white incosistencies – inconsistent for reasons of different constituencies..

    Gaps needed closed and the stretch was necessary to do that.

    I suppose I may quote one of your much used catchphrases on Slugger Mick that on this specific issue Pete Baker knew ‘the price of everything and the value of nothing’.

  • Alan Maskey

    A civil war was fought in Ireland over an oath, so some sheep obviously take that stuff seriously.
    http://oireland.tripod.com/conspibk.pdf

    This book hints that both Dev and Collins were controlled by HMG. Certainly, HMG could have gone in much harder on Adams, McGuinness and Paisley had they wanted to. Fr Faul called it The Long Game.
    The above link and informed commentators like Ernie O’Mally who was at the Treaty Negotitiations as McBride’s sidekick, noted all the praise LLoyd George heaped on Collins who, as the above points out, led a very strange charmed life in Dublin.
    The British pumped up Collins into something he was not. Is Tony Blair still doing it with Gerry and Martin? Martin, after all, was meeting MI5 agents all through the Troubles and Derry, ij PIR terms, did fall by the wayside. And all of Gerry’s circle seemed to be leading double lives. We are supposed to believe Denis D was turned because he was caught shop lifting (not shop bombing) and Gerry, who admits he comes from a dysfunctional family, had no Sticks the Britis could beat him with?

    Tony B has moved on to bigger gigs. Like George Bush 11, Stormont will be his crown. But, like that of Jesus, it will be a cheap and hollow one.

    All in all, HMG has to be happy with Stormonet Mark 2. I do hope that Tony does not over exert himself at the book signings between now and Christmas because, as Scarlett O’Hara and rnie have both said, tomorrow is another day..

  • Mick Fealty

    I don’t for a moment think that Pete would disagree that the whole exercise was tedious. Not least because everyone else in the MSM was so studiously looking the other way.

    But it was more as Tony *now* tells it than creative ambiguity, because there was nothing ambiguous about the outcome.

    He is as good as admitting that he misled the Shinners into a position where they felt they had to be economic with the truth about what had actually been agreed long after it became obvious to anyone who had read the detail, that it wasn’t.

    The value of Pete’s copious and monotone notes lay in the mere fact that he was reporting the reality… Everyone else was playing ‘let’s pretend’.

    As such the position was utterly irresolvable in ways the media were unable to explain, until, that is, Mrs Robinson unlocked the new possibilities of Hillsborough Castle…

  • Anon

    What, you are arguing on the basis on X said Y in public after the event, when the point is they are only half the story? SF can claim the almighty said it if they are confident that the British Government have given a commitment and will back it up and bring the DUP in line. People repeatedly suggested SF at least thought they got more than they did and were mocked for it. No! This was a concious effort for expediency! Where is your quote? We have many, with red links!

    SF thought they the British would pressure the DUP when needed. So they signed up. And jumped first as you may recall. At some point it became clear the British would allow things to drift. By this point returning were as tedious as go o’er. That is the point of being played. It’s no good playing someone when its easy to back out. Movement remained inevitable anyway, Mrs Robinson or no but giving the DUP control of precise timing caused them no end of pain. They should have learned lessons from Trimble, but not the ones you suggest.

    But this is beside the point. Forsenic he said she said and precise detail is very useful, don’t get me wrong. But if you are trying to understand why actors are doing something in real time, then you require also to take a few educated guesses and assumptions about things you don’t know. You can predict SF’s behaviour if you assume that they thought Blair and adminstration trustworthy and would pressure the DUP as needed. The alternative is a variation on conspiracy. I’m not sure that is a great assumption, myself.

  • Brian Walker

    Disppointing lack of anything much new, as Blair concentrates on forming ” principles ” of comparative international negotiations from the NI experience. He clearly sees it as job done.

    Slightly strange that Chistian Tony seems to have no problem with granting moral equivalence to Sinn Fein. This seems not to have occurred to him as an issue.

    His admission that he liked Martin and Gerry “more than he should have” is interesting. They would have much easier to like than the unnamed Orange bigot who called Cherie ” a painted Jezebel” etc. Blair should have thrown him out.

    Emotional intelligence is an important sub theme of the book becuase it was such a key part of Blair’s success as a politician. He searched for it in others and made it a bond. Brown, he says had ” zero. ” Emotional intelligence does not necessarily imply moral behaviour but it does entail knowledge of human nature and an instinct for connecting.

    Although Blair is careful not to make overt judgements about the local politicians, he hints that the Unionist sterotype so often lacks this vital form of intelligence. Is it because religion can be a bar to real sefl-knowledge?

    By contrast, SF has it EI in buckefuls – perhaps because they learned self knowledge the hard way, walking so long on the other side of the moon.

    Critics will be scathing about Blair’s moral neutrality without of course having an alternative approach themselves..

    Blair’s acts of completion speech in 2003 showed great emtional intelligence, when he called a halt to more substantive concessions to SF. In my book it was the best he ever made.He was telling the Provos -” come on guys, the game’s up, you’ve got to deliver” in terms they could accept -even though it took three more years to achieve..

    Did he give them too much rope? Could he have ” called their bluff?” A pity Blair doesn’t debate these questions. However his achievement here is incontestable. Unfashionably I remain an admirer.

  • DC

    To attach a fixed value on truth telling in NI peace politics is pointless given its variable nature. That’s democracy for you, never an exact science I’m afraid.

  • Mick Fealty

    Look, I am not sure what we are supposed to be differing on. Take this phrase:

    “SF thought they the British would pressure the DUP when needed. So they signed up. And jumped first as you may recall.”

    Now put in Trimble and IRA for SF and the DUP. Then tell me what pressure were the British in a position to apply? We heard a lot of loose talk that it would happen, but never a word about how it would happen.

    As for red ink, try putting “that would be a constitutional nonsense” into Google and you’ll see the problem was ‘bleedin’ obvious a very long time before Blair made all those fraught phone calls over the Christmas period.

  • Mick Fealty

    Agreed Brian. That Customs HOuse speech was in the first six months of Slugger, but it struck me then as now as masterful. Everything thereafter was icky compromising.

  • Alias

    It was nice of Tony to take the heat off Gerry over the latter lying to his special Ard Fheis about a timeline being the same thing as a timeframe. It now seems that Tony lied to Gerry and Gerry passed the lie onto the sheep. Gerry still lied to the sheep, of course, but he lied because he trusted the word of an official of the British state so its his judgement rather than his character that failed. At any rate, they endorsed the legitimacy of Her Majesty’s security services and that was aa agreed stop along the “destination” so all’s well that ends well.

    “They knew the destination and they were determined to bring their followers with them, or at least the vast bulk of them.”

    And yet Brian Cowen tells us that we’re all on a magical mystery tour with an unknown destination. As Margaret Thatcher stated in her memoirs: “The minority should be led to support or at least acquiesce in the constitutional framework of the state in which they live.” The “destination” being the policy since partition: that those who oppose the legitimacy of British sovereignty in the partitioned territory must reverse their opposition and accept the legitimacy of British sovereignty. They have now been led to do that, and it was Thatcher’s policy that they should be led to that position by their own leaders.

  • Alan Maskey

    Good comment about the human empathy, Brian.
    Ever watch When we were Kings? about the rumble in the jungle between Ali and Foreman? Watch the bit about Don King, who can quote apprpriate Shakespeare at the drop of a hat, who has done some time, who can mix with anyone, who is very convivial and who is a total rogue in a rogue’s game. Good politicians, Irish ones, I think, in particular, are like that; Sinead O’Connor’s ex hubby, who writes for the IT, certainly thought so when he wrote about politics in Roscommon.

  • Anon

    There is a distinction of selling something you think you are getting, and “duping” your membership for political ends. The latter is what was repatedly suggested here. If at the time, you suggest SF simply got more than they though, you were condescended to. By both you and Pete. Link link link, quote quote quote, ignore the bloody obvious answer in favour of machinations. Now it appears it was the former, which explains a fair bit of SF’s impotent rage subsequently.

    Anyhoo, The constiutional nonsense stuff misses the point. The British could compell the DUP in a variety fo ways to unlock the triple lock if they choose. Or they could produce a number of constitutional fudges e.g. create a Shadow Ministry while the Asembly dithered. Life could be made extremely difficult for the DUP in a way pressure could not be so easily applied on the IRA. This is precisely the type of nonsense I’m talking about. Build a straw man, demolish it, and prove approximately bugger all.

  • Anon

    And there’s another problem. The distaste for “icky compromising” as opposed to big bold principled telling the icky bad parties to egt in line.

    One of course works while the other tends to be… less successful. What’s the EI of Slugger, I wonder?

  • Tony, there are WMD in Iraq, lied to Gerry and everyone else. Gerry, I was never in the IRA, lied to the sheep and everyone else. It seems Gerry may have met his match.

    Trimble had his own batch of little sinners, including his ‘bunter’ performance to the hardliners at Drumcree, and rising above them all is the sinister and machiavellian figure of Mandelson. Someday someone else should write the book.

    I suppose what has to be said is: the mountain of lies and half truths have bought peace to the north. The difference between Adams and Blair is: Peace would have happened without Blair, it could not have happened without Adams.

  • fin

    “They would have much easier to like than the unnamed Orange bigot who called Cherie ” a painted Jezebel” etc. Blair should have thrown him out.”

    Brian, possibly revenge is a ish best served cold. Mick asks elsewhere what pressure was applied to the DUP.

    Firstly, I remember things differently from Mick, the attitude was not ‘when’ the DUP would move on transfer of Policing, it was more about them sticking two fingers up to HMG, I said several times on Slugger during this time that I thought it was foolish for nobody politicans to be trying to hold HMG to ransom.

    I think in future years there will be be some relevations about Mrs Robinson, timing is everything, the DUP been awkward, Adams underpressure, Policing not been transferred, and hey a Civil Servant pops up and tells all.

    Everything gets sorted and the Mrs Robinson thing slips away.

    And yes, I am wearing a tinfoil hat!

  • DC

    Unfashionably I remain an admirer.

    Not too unfashionable I hope as I am a fan too. Blair was very diplomatic and really suited to the NI peace maker role. A bit of mediation and manipulation was necessary to see an imperfect problem through to an imperfect peace. The devolved institutions are up and running and equally accessible to anyone who cares to bother with politics.

    On the economic front in Britain he was too hands off. For instance Bank of England independence came at the expense of poor regulation of the banking sector, a space which the FSA failed to fill. At a political level then the micro management was missing on big corporate finance and in terms of critical analysis was entirely ditched. Take Mandelson saying he was: intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich so long as they paid their taxes. Okay – but what if system failure as like the banking one actually cost more than the tax take?

    I am still left with the picture of Thatcher leaving Downing Street in tears but with irrevocable changes to UK life and economy made. Contrast that with Blair who left all smiles but Britain in trillions of debt at the end of the New Labour term. Think Ahern too, a sociable chap and very likeable – but Ireland pretty much bankrupt.

    Take even Blair’s main domestic theme: public service reform. Even if he had reformed that sector to the maximum limits he had in mind – what use that given that public money is about to pulled out of that sector killing of any such advancements made? He reformed such and such a service – very good but it’s gone now!

    In essence, it all goes back to the managing of the economy.

    Just as there is no research that suggests the most productive workplaces are the most happiest is there any proof that having always happy and positive politicians spinning on issues a productive and sensible thing. Take football, the winning teams and players aren’t all running around throughout the game with smiles on their faces.

    The likeability factor only takes you so far.

  • Pete Baker

    Indeed, Alias.

  • Pete Baker

    Possibly, Mick.

    What DC ignores is the fact that one of those parties was claiming certainty on their part and claiming bad faith on the part of the other.

  • DC

    Welcome to the Grubby world of politics Pete.

    The nature of the beast and all that.

  • JJ malloy

    Yes, it’s not as if Collins was almost captured on multiple occasions.

    If there was any evidence that Collins, or Dev, was a British agent it would have come out. It hasn’t. Additionally, his behavior after the treaty (guerrilla war against the North, kidnapping, assassination of Wilson) do not make him out to be the most loyal or reliable of agents.

    Was the British Cabinet walking out and threatening war all a big joke that Collins was in on?

    Give me a break

  • lover not a fighter

    Tonys problem is that he went on and on and on and on

    and he is still going on and on and on.

    Like all good conmen he got so good at it he has convinced himself and well when you dis-appear up your own jacksy there ain’t much upside. !

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    DC

    Ever read the BBC Business Editor Robert Peston’s scathing attacks on Blair in his book, Brown gets off lighter because Peston feels that he was railroaded into mortgaging the government along with Blair on the threats from big business to vacate London for the continent. Which in Peston’s opinion were highly inflated and easily assauged fears.

    Not forgetting the various aroma’s of corruption that surround Blair I believe that he was the right man for the peace process. And whether people think the process was/is flawed will matter little should violence and dominance truly be ended as a means of communication. Sadly that has not been achieved yet.

  • DC

    Alan

    Fintan O’Toole in the IT goes into more detail about the Irish politician and hones in on the issue of the rogue’s game.

    In political terms, tricksterism translates, at the personal level, into stroke politics and at the collective level into populism. The stroke – the concept, in this sense is uniquely Irish – is all about pulling a fast one. It assumes that the system is rotten and will always be so, and uses this assumption to justify the raising of low cunning to the level of hight art. The point id not to reform or change the system, but to exploit its weaknesses.

    …The Irish solution to the abortion problem – none of that filth here but, sure why not go to England? – is the ultimate manifestation of genius.

  • Pete Baker

    Still don’t get it, DC?

    I was pointing to the ambiguity in The Process.

    One party was claiming certainty, repeatedly, in the absence of any supporting evidence.

    Now we find out, apparently, that Tony told them it was just so.

    Bless their cotton socks. And all those they told it was just so.

  • Pete Baker

    Mick

    Also worth factoring in the acceptance by the US administration that Sinn Féin should endorse policing as part of any agreed deal.

  • DC

    A saving face device Pete, part and parcel of ego.

    People swallowed it because it was in the end worth swallowing.

    He said she said and we all said it was worth it in the end.

  • Its bothering me: Why the hell hasn’t Tony Blair named the bigoted, sexist, idiot who called Cherie Blair a ‘painted Jezebel’?

    People, especially unionists, should know who this certifiable creature is!

  • Anon

    Yes actor that can have a big impact on delivery and had pressured unionists previously told them it was so. How on Earth could they have believed it?

    Oh and that’s a different tune than before. Previous tune was they were duping their followers. Poor form Pete

  • Pete Baker

    Everything’s always done for the greater good, DC.

    Even the lying to party members and activists.

    Especially the lying to party members and activists. And anyone else…

    Always.

    And note that Gerry and co didn’t say at the time that it was Tony who told them it was just so.

    Or that the US administration had insisted that they complete on the need to support the police.

    *cuckoo* *cuckoo*

  • DC

    Not everything Pete but this trajectory seemed fixed in the right direction. The settlement train left the station and reached its destination in the end, the right one. Or well perhaps the best one we could hope for at a collective level given the competing views and takes on history.

  • Pete Baker

    No, DC, everything. Always.

    Just ask those who do it.

  • joeCanuck

    Don’t get exercised when a trolling conspiracy theorist spout his usual nonsense.
    Sure wasn’t the Holocaust a hoax, LBJ conspired with the FBI to murder Kennedy, the Israeli government subverted the CIA to destroy the twin towers (awesome fake video, btw), etc.

  • Pete Baker

    Getting back to the actual topic…

    What some don’t seem to get is how this recent escapade evidences the continuation of the Sinn Féin tactic/problem identified previously [quote from 1999]

    McLaughlin presented Sinn Fein as an indefatigable advocate for peace: ”We want to show all those who use arms that we can achieve our aims through political methods. We need to demonstrate to the I.R.A. that the peace process is bringing forward change. If it is not through an assembly, then the British and Irish governments must do it. But it must come.”

    The Sinn Fein position is thus clear. It is not embracing political methods for themselves, but insofar as they deliver a united Ireland.

    And when that doesn’t happen…

    There could have been an actual conversation about what they were making a decision on.

  • Damian O’Loan

    “What DC ignores is the fact that one of those parties was claiming certainty on their part and claiming bad faith on the part of the other.”

    All of the parties were doing this. Successive PMs didn’t make statements in the Commons about everything they had discussed. Nor did Bertie and the average Irish person have the same insight. All parties in any negotiation come away saying they did best or better. All parties misrepresent or lie about the deal to do so. Everyone takes advantage of ambiguity. Your focus is perhaps misplaced.

    I think this is probably the most revealing insight into Blair’s contribution:

    “Once you concede that terror does indeed lead to possession of the keys, they’re in charge. Keep the keys firmly in the hands of the peacemakers.”

    And with reference to Omagh:

    “Even at that point of supreme human tragedy brought about by evil beyond understanding, I had to think politically. We were faced with a choice: either to throw our hands up in horror and say, ‘These people will never make peace’, or to use the horror as the reason to go on”

    As you say, “Everything’s always done for the greater good, DC.”

  • Anon

    Mick

    He is as good as admitting that he misled the Shinners into a position where they felt they had to be economic with the truth about what had actually been agreed long after it became obvious to anyone who had read the detail, that it wasn’t.

    As Pete quotes later

    We need to demonstrate to the I.R.A. that the peace process is bringing forward change. If it is not through an assembly, then the British and Irish governments must do it. But it must come

    They didn’t feel they needed to be “economic with the truth”. They felt that the “British and Irish governments would do it”. I’m not sure that that belief can be readily publicly debated; simply the act of doing it might force public statements and back people into a corner. So it comes down to instinct and judgement. Which is what ultimately, what the SF membership backed. That isn’t a illegitimate choice, it as much a part of dealing making and negotiaion as anything else.

  • Anon

    And when that doesn’t happen…

    What happens is exactly what happens in every single party in existence when delaing with mistakes. For an example, see what the Obama Adminstration says about the stimulus which in retrospect was clearly too small. Or examine many of the things said by the outgoing Labour Adminstration ont he economy.

    It’s nto exactl unique to SF. One wonders about the wider climate taht forces parties to do it.

    There could have been an actual conversation about what they were making a decision on.

    I’m not sure it could. How you debate private statements from a British Adminstration that will deny them in public? How can you debate the belief that the DUP will honour the timetable? And so on. The mere fact of putting some of these things in public affects the outcome.

    SF as a party could have done it behind closed doors. That is not however, a conversation.

  • Briso

    “Gerry still lied to the sheep, of course, but he lied because he trusted the word of an official of the British state so its his judgement rather than his character that failed.”

    If you’re right, that’s not lying.

  • Alias

    “SF thought they the British would pressure the DUP when needed. So they signed up. ”

    So why didn’t they tell the sheep that there was no deal but that they believed that the British state would use its intelligence service to pervert the democratic process and blackmail a leader of a political party to make a decision based on personal interests rather than in the interests of those constituents that elected members of that party? Probably because some of the sheep might wonder if said intelligence service used similar methods to control the leaders of a different party, I suppose.

    At any rate, the leaders of the Shinners were happy to pass on Mr Blair’s lie to the sheep without seeking verification of it from the DUP, and without informing said sheep that it was unverified. If Mr Blair said he lied to Mr Adams, then we can more readily convict Gerry Adams of stupidity than deliberate deceit even if Mr Adams would have lied about a deal that met the parameters of the motion in order to endorse British policing and get into Stormont when no such deal was on the table at that time.

    If nothing else, the dealing and double dealing distracted the sheep from what they actually did at the special Ard Fheis, i.e. sign up to the legitimacy of the policing of British law and their subservience to it as British-born citizens. They crossed that Rubicon with a blindfold.

  • percy

    blow it out yer ass alias with all this “sheep-lies” repetitive snobbery.
    SF know the score; have always been a step ahead.
    Devolution in all parts of the UK is leading inexorably towards a break-up of the UK, and full sovreignty/independence for ireland, scotland, wales, and england, and an english parliament for the english.
    End of story.

    pour scorn, mock, and bore us all to death along with irascible bakerites.. you’ve nothing to offer except intellectual ball-scratching, tedium, stupid criticism, and condescension, as always the bus passes by and you guys never jump on.

    slan

  • Pete Baker

    Keep it civil, percy.

    Rational argument would be a bonus too…

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    percy

    All said and done…………………….nail on the head, and repeatedly!

    Funny how one persons lies gets cut to become another persons lie simply because it is repeated in all honesty.

    Where is Sammy Mcnally when ye need him?

  • percy

    too true prionsa, they’re cutting it like cocaine, each dealer cuts in some talc, and sells it as the lies as pure honesty.

    peteb
    rational ? you’re the turd-polisher not me.

  • DC

    You’re right about that you know.

  • Pete Baker

    Guys

    If you want to argue ex post facto that Gerry et al took their party across the rubicon of supporting the police on the basis of private assurances from ‘dodgy dossier war criminal’ Tony Blair – when they had failed to get any such assurances from the DUP directly – go right ahead.

    Don’t forget to factor in the US administration’s acceptance that such support for the police was a requirement for any deal on devolution.

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    Are you really telling a lie if you believe that lie to be true Pete?

    Since Blair, ex post facto ‘dodgy dossier war criminal’ (significance then?) was the guarantor if you like of the whole process at that time and had clearly highlighted that he was not prepared to put up with the usual unionist intransigence.

    Why wouldn’t the high heid yins in SF believe his guarantee’s? After all he had lived up to his promises in the past.

    The US administration imput is obviously a red herring from you because even though they were instrumental in supporting the deal, what mattered was whether the deal satisfied the requirements of the British government and to a slightly lesser extent nationalists and unionists.

  • This is a bit when is a lie not a lie within the RC Church re the abuse scandal.What did the RC all it

  • Pete Baker

    Prionsa

    You’re arguing that Gerry believed Tony’s lie?

    Constitutional nonsense.

    But, by all means, point me to the statement by Gerry [or anyone else] that it wasn’t the DUP’s agreement they were relying on, but the assurances of Tony Blair.

    “Why wouldn’t the high heid yins in SF believe his guarantee’s?”

    After all he was siging their cheques…

    And the US administration’s input is no ‘red herring’.

  • wee buns

    P E
    ‘Are you really telling a lie if you believe that lie to be true Pete?’
    It is called lying to yourself. Or ono-monism, the belief that your beliefs are the ultimate truth, (a whisker from onanism.)
    That’s TB Sheets for you.

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    It’s not really an argument because to believe otherwise is to claim that he deliberately lied to the republican electorate at large. How that can be proved I do not know, thus we speculate or go on what is most likely. You may choose to believe that Adams and co. would lie to his electorate I on the other hand reckon that he believed Blair and acted accordingly. I know of no evidence to prove otherwise, indeed as you and others have argued the toss now for years over SF’s consistant belief (mistaken though you claim and mocked them so you have) that it was the case, then what else are we to do?

    Also forgive me for pointing out the obvious but if SF were to wait for the agreement from the DUP or any other unionist grouping, freely given…………….then that would be a long bloody wait. Blair pushed and pushed and pushed until even unionists realised that there was no getting away from the new paradigm that Blair wanted, and Blair got.

    Oh and save the nonsense about “signing the cheques” as we know jaw jaw is supposed to be much cheaper than war war…………unless you are a peace process lawyer or a paid off UDR and RUC militia man.

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    If I knew what TB sheets were wee buns I’d be laughing. However my guess is you are saying Gerry was kiddin himself on………..how do we know that?

    Actually I’ve always been a semi- interested observer over what I have always considered to be a fatuous debate between the likes of Pete and Sammy Mc, wherever he is now.

    It is not my debate but reading the self satisfaction of Pete’s view (importantly not so much from him) was to me off kilt and Percy for once has grabbed the glory by articulating my thoughts more forefully and to the point than I could’ve.

  • Pete Baker

    “I on the other hand reckon that he believed Blair and acted accordingly.”

    Despite what the DUP told Gerry to his face…

    Still, as requested, the SF Ard Fheis did endorse the PSNI.

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    Aye right Pete!

    Let’s all join hands and shout;

    “NEVER, NEVER, NEVER!”

    Unionism as perpetual nay sayers are a spent force and beholden at the time to that fella Blair who you rightly said “signed the cheques”.

    However you can continue to kid yourself on all you like.

  • percy

    cheers tony ,
    I know your base-line is a solid one, and would urge peteb and others to reconsider theirs.
    Once ya start living and breathing this process in the North, things fall into place naturally.
    trying to pin it down all the time really is a fool’s charter.
    life has a habit in norn iron of leaping up and biting you in the ass..e.g mrs robinson.

    we’re gonna have to get the band back together.

  • Colin Carberry

    Remember we’re talking about a book written (or ghost-written) by Tony Blair, a charming apologist for mass murder, so let’s not treat is as some kind of revelation from on high. Blair and Adams and McGuinness came to a balanced and sensible decision which left Sinn Fein and Irish nationalism in the ascendency–it’s just a matter of time before the island is joined. The Brits would dearly love to be rid of the North, but the Irish government doesn’t have the political will or the capital to fund such a venture. So the ever pragmatic Blair and his pals in SF concocted an interim deal. SF will keep chipping away at the underpinnings of the northern statelet until one day the Unionists will wake up in a unitary Irish state. It’s inexorable. A unionist Gorbachev will step forward and work out a deal. As the Afghans say, The Americans have the watches, but we have the time. SF and their allies have all the time in the world…Soon come.

  • Oh for goodness sake!

    It almost has nothing to do with TB, SF or the DUP etc, etc. It has everything to do with the Brits wanting to get rid of the north, peacefully.

    Deals were done, people were elevated above their ability (each of us probably has a different idea of who that applies to) and their main, almost only, task was to keep the lid on things while everyone adjusted to the ‘new’ reality.

    Liars never hear good of themselves, and serve them right.

  • Colin Carberry

    No, Tony knew the game was up, but asked Gerry for some breathing space, which the canny Adams offered, that’s all. The northern statelet has fallen, like East Germany did, just not so suddenly or dramatically. Blair didn’t blink: he acquiesced in the process. Otherwise he’d be claiming outright victory and not claiming the heads of IRA as personal friends, would he? Time will bear this out. Be patient.

  • Colin Carberry

    I’m in broad agreement with you, but the natives played their part too: if the going was relatively easy, I’m sure the nostalgic Brits would have been happy to hold on to their Coconut colony a little longer: the financial drain, bombs in Britain, international pressure (not least from the White House that p baker claims did so much to force SF’s hand), and the extreme intransigence of certain sections of those who claimed dogged loyalty to the British state, all combined to leave them with a deep longing to leave. They were hounded, nagged, pecked to the negotiating table.

  • Colin Carberry

    I think the writing was on the wall for the north from the moment it became a ‘British’ problem.

    The Brits would no doubt have been happy to let things trundle along, after all they didn’t even notice the marked and aggressive inequality until it was o forcibly bought to their attention..

    The north has over time become a political graveyard, so called good politicians have foundered there. I think regardless of any outside influence the Brits are fed up with sectarian battles they dont understand. Oh they know the difference between Catholic and Protestant, they just dont understand why anyone would care, or how anyone can tell the difference outside a church….

  • Colin Carberry

    Actually, the Brits realized the game was up–it was the Provo campaign, among other factors, that brought them to the table. Top British bomb-disposal expert Peter Gurney (see his comments on YouTube) asserted that there was a direct relationship between the big blasts in London and elsewhere in England and the initiation of serious talks. There were no more “talks about talks” once Canary Wharf occurred, and what followed was a distinctly green-hued interim deal. This is not to say that Tony Blair doesn’t deserve his due, or that the killing of innocents is justified.