Tony Blair: “We were absolutely open with people.”

It’s worth noting Tony Blair’s response to Reg Empey’s claim that “We now know that the foundation of St Andrews was built on lie after lie.”

Here’s what Tony Blair told the Irish Times

“That’s absolute nonsense,” he retorts. “One of the things I have done in the book is that I have tried to be honest. Now what people actually sometimes say is that we want a honest politician.

“They say ‘hey, you are not a saint. That’s not what we expected. It’s not what we should expect’.”

“The St Andrew’s Agreement was not actually one of the examples I would give of stretching the truth at all. We were absolutely open with people. The reason we got the deal was because of the speech that called for acts of completion, which mean that in the end we did come to a very honest position.”

And he’s right.  Both NI parties knew exactly what was on the table at St Andrews.  And what wasn’t.

Despite Martin McGuinness’ later misunderstanding, his subsequent apparent understanding, his party’s then 5 month sulk as the generals looked over their shoulders, the further processing, and, more recently, threats of political consequences, the passing around of the same script, and, eventually, after another manufactured crisis, [in Feb 2010] the latest [Hillsborough] ‘indigenous’ deal.

In December 2006, post-St Andrews and around the time that Tony Blair admits to “stretching the truth, I fear, on occasions past breaking point”, Mick noted Gerry Adams’ position

Gerry Adams: “I am not in a position to call a meeting. Others are playing politics…” He needs a two thirds majority on the Ard Chomhairle to call a party wide Ard Fheis.

The problem being the conditions his own party had placed on the leadership for calling a special Ard Fheis on policing.

Nothing had changed by the end of the year.  At which point Sinn Féin’s Barry McElduff spelt it out

Barry McElduff, a Sinn Fein MLA, said yesterday that his party required a firm date for the devolution of policing and justice powers before it would formally endorse the PSNI.

And, with the smell of “panic” in the air, Tony Blair did the best he could to oblige.

To avoid any confusion, Ian Paisley Snr clarified his party’s position

“I do not agree with the statement of the Prime Minister when he claims that we, the DUP, agreed there could be devolution of policing and justice within a certain time limit,” he said.

“Sinn Fein have said there was a date … this is a completely untrue statement.”

But, as Gerry Moriarty said at the time, “Mr Adams has to jump”.

And jump he did.

Given how important having a deadline on the devolution of policing powers was to Sinn Féin – “British government’s commitment to the devolution of Policing and Justice Powers by May 2008 was central to the decision of republicans” – and the subsequent problems caused when they realised there wasn’t one, you might have thought that Tony Blair’s recent admission to “stretching the truth, I fear, on occasions past breaking point” around that time would have raised a few eyebrows within the party.

So far, they are the only party not to have commented on it.

At the time, of course, the US administration had accepted the DUP’s argument that support for policing was an integral part of any deal.

Cuckoo, indeed.

, , , , , , , ,

  • “Both NI parties knew exactly what was on the table at St Andrews. And what wasn’t.”

    Pete, I thought the change in the selection of First Minister was introduced after the St Andrews Agreement was signed.

  • Cynic

    “Both NI parties knew exactly what was on the table at St Andrews. And what wasn’t.”

    Pity the rest of us didn’t know the side deals

    “We were absolutely open with people.”

    Openly dishonest?

  • Doesnt matter how many links you put there, once a liar always a liar. Who would take TBs word for anything.

  • joeCanuck

    I have told quite a few porkies myself. None of those dresses made my good wife look fat.
    But I sometimes do tell the truth. The trick for listeners is to decide when.

  • joe

    And so have I, albeit with my fingers crossed! there are times when a white lie is allowed, for example would you ever agree to meet anyone you met on the internet. Talks cheap but I make sure my full address is never given! In TBs case his lies cost lies, and today there is another row as the COS of the armed forces at the time of Iraq etc. complains of Blairs moral cowardice. The truth about TB is not out yet but when it does arrive it will not be to his advantage.

  • Blair

    Tony Blair came into our political arena as a breath of fresh air. He will leave as a charlatan with the blood of hundreds of thousands on his hands. I suppose that, on the scale of things, the people who died here while his government turned their backs on ‘housekeeping’ will seem fairly insignificant in contrast to the swathes of deaths he caused in the Middle East.

    Except to their family and friends.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    All that pinhead dancing doesn’t change the essential fact that SF judged correctly that the British government would pressurize the DUP into moving on Police and Justice although it was clealry not in the DUPs political interests to do so.

    Gerry believed Tony and his party would deliver irrespective of what had been signed or agreed – as any brief inspection of the recent talks history reveals – and no amount of multifarious hyeprlinking changes the fact that Robbo – just like Trimble before him with decomissioning – was simply forcefed, another, of what was for Unionists a very unpalatable, chunk of the Peace Process.

    Great politics by Grizzly and his good friend Tony.

  • Blair


    Political brilliance by Grizzly and co to get their drones to sign up to policing alright. Genius in fact. I wonder who was guiding them?

  • Greenflag

    “We now know that the foundation of St Andrews was built on lie after lie.”

    Could somebody point out to Sir Reggie that the State of NI was itself built on a lie or indeed several lies . It had to be -otherwise it could never have come into existence in it’s present format . British politicians both Labour and Tory have always had to lie or somehow varnish the truth in their dealings with both sides in Ireland and Northern Ireland both prior to partition in all of Ireland and post partition in Northern Ireland . Northern Unionists themselves have always recognised that HMG could not be trusted to maintain NI within the UK which is why local power was devolved to Stormont in 1920 . Calling British Prime Minister’s liars or traitors appears to be the last card in the deck which unionists are left with to hurl at those who supply the province with 7 billion sterling every year to prevent the collapse of NI living standards to those of Moldavia .

    Time for ‘Unionism ‘ to put up and shut up and get on with the task of ‘sharing ‘ power with people they would’nt have crossed the road to spit at ( or perhaps the y would have ) 15 years ago .

    Had they listened to Faulkner at Sunningdale they might never have had to kow tow to HMG . Some political parties and movements are destined to be hopeless from their beginning and get nowhere quickly . Some seem destined for a long slow lingering slide into irrelevancy and extinction . No marks for guessing which path the UUP is on ;(

  • Cynic

    I agree. Political genius to force the Brits to accept SF sitting as Ministers in a British Parliament at Stormont, copper-fastening British Rule with a new constitutional settlement voted on by people in both parts of Ireland (separately).

    Yes, a political master-stroke to back the Brits into giving SF what the Brits wanted. Well done, good and faithful servants

  • joeCanuck

    The terrorism which attempted to force over half the population of N.I. into a united Ireland was never going to work. Unless, of course, the situation fell into total civil war. Wiser heads prevailed on both sides and the violence, although awful, was contained. As Pippakin has suggested a number of times, peace was going to happen. The present dispensation, far from ideal, does give guarantees of equality to all citizens. Have ETA also seen the light? Today, they have announced another ceasefire.

  • DC

    I reckon leave this one for posterity Pete, for ultimate judgement.


    Sin e – for this topic at least.

  • joe

    Not sure the cases, though just as bloody, are the same. There is light for a UI at the end of this tunnel. Is it the same for ETA? Im not so sure.

  • DC

    Welcome back Sammy.

    Cometh the hour and all that…

  • Pete Baker

    Just noting the actual details for posterity, DC.

    And since no-one involved in the decision is talking, or even asking questions…

  • DC

    Well it may well be details plus bluff as you might want others to believe, but the motives behind any ‘bluff’ will linger on and it will be in this shadow that posterity will judge whether it was worth it or not.

    Reflection and consideration will not be based just on those facts or reported ‘details’ but on outcomes. Perhaps motives that prolong peace and stability or even secure the durability of both will be the thing that posterity judges most.

    Neither you nor I Pete can interfere with that.

  • daisy

    ““They say ‘hey, you are not a saint. That’s not what we expected. It’s not what we should expect’.””

    Except he’s the only person that says “hey” in that patronising tone expecting us all to fall at his feet. I hope that all those who buy his book realise that they could’ve spent their money more fruitfully.

  • daisy

    So true, what a waste, but perhaps they’re short of loo paper.

  • DC

    Oh please!

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Whatever about the Republican/Nationalist merits or otherwise of the STA ( or the GFA) the party politics are clear – Unionists didnt want Police and Justice to be transferred (and is still rejected by the UUP as far as anyone can tell) and the DUP believed incorreclty that their much lauded triple-funny-lock would allow them to thwart SFs requirement for Police and Justice. SF needed the transfer in order to legitmize the Police and Courts by delivering them into Irish hands and Robbo and Deputy Dodsy knew that preventing the transfer would lead to serious political difficulties for SF.

    It was a really fascinating period (for me and Pete B at least) with SF correctly suspending the work of Stormo and threatening to collapse the whole show unless the DUP supplied the necessaries and Tony and El Gordo rowing in behind the reformed insurgents to drag the reluctant DUP, screaming and shouting over the finishing line whilst Wee Reggie tried to otflank the DUP on their right, Big Jimbo tried to cut them off below the knees and the frisky Iris set about destroying them from within. Spiffing stuff.

    So we Irish have much to thank Tony for – although the mad fecker should surely be locked up for his other foreign adventures. Ireland aside he really should have the full weight of international law, plus a sizeable quantity of footwear thrown at him.

  • joeCanuck

    It would be foolish to ignore the thoughts of someone you disagree with. That’s the value of SOT. You have to know where they are coming from if you want to counteract their arguments.
    Myself, I’m a bit cheap. I’ll wait until the book is remaindered in a year or so and pick it up for a fiver. I’ve read many great biographies and autobiographies that way.

  • DC

    Oh Please? Expensive I agree but what would you do with it, wrap chips….

  • joeCanuck

    Regardless of whether or not innocent people have their eyes put out from mis-aimed missiles?

  • Pete Baker

    “posterity will judge whether it was worth it or not”


    Noting the details is about recording the reality, not judging “whether it was worth it or not”.

    If you want to argue about that particular point I’d suggest to stick to talking to Sammy Mac.

    I’m really not that interested in that argument.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Creative Ambiguity ……..what crimes have been committed in your name.
    Reg Empey has been around a long time……he was in politics at least 25 years in 1998. Surely he spotted that th whole process was built on a lie….surely he knew that the British and Irish delegations were telling two different things to the Norn Iron politicians.
    Surely he knew that was the game.
    That at least one side…maybe two …was being lied to.
    Surely he knew that when he went out to “sell” the Good Friday Agreement.
    Didnt he know it when he was knighted in 1999?
    He didnt smell a rat in 2006 at St Andrews.

    “Fool me once ….shame on you. Fool me twice…..shame on ME”.
    So whats Reg saying?
    He was fooled twice.
    Shame on you Reg.

  • DC

    First of all why comment on the topic if it is ‘loo paper’ stuff, secondly no one can really doubt the energy at a personal level Blair gave to the issue of the Troubles in N Ireland.

    Perhaps if he had ditched Northern Ireland he might have had more time to make better judgements on Iraq etc.

    Also there has been a 60% increase in public money spend on NI, it has come from both the Treasury and Europe, via its peace money – the latter wouldn’t have come about without the work towards peace. The exposure peace got no doubt encouraged the money to come as it was a visible priority across Britain and Ireland because both PMs worked hard on it.

    So to discount it all, the work of Blair and his efforts etc, is tantamount to wanting to be seen somewhat cheaply as being grateful for nothing.

    Just wait till the work of Cameron and Clegg filters through then you’ll see. Compare and contrast.

  • joeCanuck

    Empey always struck me as being a sly opportunist who didn’t have any deep convictions. He was probably the weakest unionist leader of a generation.

  • DC

    Perhaps you should stick to science then Pete, it is more of an ‘exact science’ – where imprecise things such as human emotions and such likes can be easily discounted.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    The competition for weakest unionist leader is very intense.
    I think the next one will be even weaker. …whoever they choose.

  • DC

    The money, if that’s what it’s all about would have come anyway. The British part come from Labours inheritance from the Tories and would have been available regardless of who took the credit.

    Cameron and Clegg, not that Im convinced this coalition will go the distance have now got to deal with the appalling financial mismanagement of the previous government. Im not blaming that on Blair he seems to have ‘bottled’ at the mere thought of challenging Brown.

    European money is just that and they would have paid regardless of who, or almost what, happened in the north.

    Tony Blair is making a determined effort to ensure the north is his legacy. I say it is not. It was on the table before he arrived and would have been worked out without his lies.

  • DC

    If the money would have come why wasn’t peace secured when John Major was in charge of operations?

    Just wait, you’ll see. Like boiling a frog you have gotten used to the temperature that was – wait till the cold winds blow and the chills of a public sector recession kicks in, driven on by a strong dislike of subsidy from within government – a government consisting mainly of our Tory friends.

    I’m thinking of Komissar Kameron and his secret police pal – Andy ‘KGB’ Koulson.

  • Pete Baker


    No wonder that Brown, apparently, used every trick at his disposal to persuade Sinn Féin not to follow through on their [idle] threat to withdraw from the Northern Ireland arrangement.

    Regardless of what had gone on before.

  • Pete Baker

    What happened to “Sin e”, DC?

  • DC

    I agree hard times are ahead for the north, but remember we in the south have been living with those hard times for a while now. It is actually a bit irritating to know the north is being sheltered from the storm because they might kill someone! It would be no better, might actually be worse if it was one island one country now.

    The financial mess we all are in is also, at least partly, down to Tony Blair. If he left finance to Gordon Brown that was his choice. The rules in that caused the crisis were the rules he agreed to. Prudence? not so visible now is she.

    Sorry going to bed now.

  • Alias

    “SF needed the transfer in order to legitmize the Police and Courts by delivering them into Irish hands and Robbo and Deputy Dodsy knew that preventing the transfer would lead to serious political difficulties for SF.”

    So the Shinners were Home Rule advocates all along? The British state is sovereign, and non-sovereign “Irish hands” simply administrate the sovereign’s rule (who just happens to be Her Majesty).

    The DUP, as the largest party, made the Shinners’ early endorsement of British policing a precondition to the DUP agreeing to form a mandatory coalition that included the Shinners. While the British state intended to use the Shinners to ensure that the minority non-sovereign nation within NI endorsed its security services, one branch of that state (the government) was prepared to allow the Shinners – or, rather, their handlers – to determine when the time was most appropriate (with a few to bringing as many Shinner supporters to endorse its security services as possible).

    So while the DUP had the same agenda as the British state and its puppet party, the Shinners (fully legitimising British security services among all British citizens in the legitimised NI), the DUP disagreed with the British state and its lap dogs about timing of that endorsement.

    That was Round One, and the DUP won it when the Shinners capitulated to DUP demands, lying to their own supporters at the special ard fheis by telling them that a deal was done with the DUP that met the terms of their motion. As they secured the consent of their ard fheis to enter Stormont under false pretences, the leaders of the Shinners would have had no legitimate right to be there under their own party rules.

    Round Two was after the Shinners yielded to DUP demands to endorse British policing. The DUP stayed true to their electoral promise to only agree to the devolution of the limited justice powers from central government to its regional administration at a time of their choosing.

    That just wouldn’t do, alas, and the British state then had a ‘stroke of luck’ wherein some stories about the leader of the DUP and his wife made their way to a state-owned broadcasting service. There were allegations about breaches of codes of conduct wherein it could have been held by a non-friendly state official that the leader of the DUP was in violation. That would have been just terrible as such a finding would have been a resigning matter, alas. Fortunately, the impasse was passed and no more came of the unpleasant but rather expedient revelations.

    The lesson for the DUP must be never to disagree with the British state when it involves a matter of its national security. The Shinners, being neutered pups, learned that lesson from their masters long before. Now they have signed up to the legitimacy of British rule, renounced their former right to national self-determination and their former national rights, and have even encouraged that foreign state (Ireland) that made a territorial claim to sovereign British territory to give up its claim. They’re all well-behaved boys and girls now, DUP and Shinners alike.

  • In control of Police and Justice, can one subjectively decide on who is pursued to answer for their crimes and/or deeds.

    And that is easily abused whenever Police and Justice decisions are in the sway of governments, which are just dodgy self serving political parties usually, headed by warmongers and freedom fighters, who are the working man’s terrorists.And that all renders the Law such a pathetic Ass.

    And that creates great ripples and tempestuous waves which can easily travel around the world to the other side of the Earth ……. ……. for the truth always leaks out to confront its abusers.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    Most Republicans/Nationalists, including myself, believe that Grizzly and Co were right to go for the deal with the British(GFA). The DUP had some difficulty with that deal (and still do) and tried via the STA to stop one of the most important elements of that deal being implemented ie the transfer of Police as part of their declared policy of smashing SF.

    Those (e.g. Pete B and yourself) stilll smarting from the fact that the DUP failed to do just that and nearly smashed their own party rather than SF in the process still trot out the old favourite about SF lying to their party as if the memebers of SF at the Ardfheis could not read the STA for themselves and were not following events just up the road.

    The fact is that the Ard Fheis correctly trusted Grizzly and Marty to deliver the DUP and with the eager assistance of the Englezes they did just that – which rather contrasts with the DUP ‘lies’ to their party to smash SF and promises that the Police would not be transferred in a political lifetime – of which strangely we hear no further talk – except of course from the UUP and the TUV.

    Blair, Brown, Hain and Woodward, Grizzly and Marty all played a blinder(helped of course by Iris) and as good a political operator as Robbo may be, like Trimble before him, he simply stood no chance when he positioned himself on the wrong side of the Process.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    DC cheers amigo.

    It is very refreshing to piss off for a few months and find on your return that everything is just exactly as you left it.

  • “It is very refreshing to piss off for a few months and find on your return that everything is just exactly as you left it.” ….. Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit 6 September 2010 at 10:06 am

    Oh please, Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit, you cannot be serious, for such is absolutely pathetic, although sadly, all too probably par for the course and a fine match for the political intellect which blights and milks the Assembly and the people.

  • sammymehaffey

    Did George Bush not say HEY BLAIR? or was it Ho Blair

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    “for such is absolutely pathetic”

    guilty as charged.

  • This is turning into a superb exposition of the frailties of the unionist condition.

    Firstly – a quote from a unionist *leader* (and presumably a maddened silence from the other) that wonderfully illustrates an inability to grasp how politics work beyond “we know no other way”.

    Secondly – a detailed deconstruction of how Sinn Féin managed to develop their position while bringing along their electorate and increasing their share of the vote.

    Meanwhile, others are grappling with the whole Humphreygate* scandal and wondering why our ‘fledgling democrats’ appear so far off their game. If they can’t do politics, how on earth will they take on the big boys of the upper grades of the civil service!!!

    *Humphrey- is still available as a -gate prefix, I suggest we take it before it is gone.

  • fin

    possibly the way to sort out the winners and losers is to decide on the honesty of Dodds last Q&A in his NL piece

    “5) Could you accept a Sinn Fein first minister?

    I won’t have to because I have every confidence in my party and unionism to ensure it will not occur.”

    Is the union copperfastened with SF in Stormont, have the DUP won, why do the UUP want the rules changed back, why the nervous tic over the possibility of MMcG as first minister.

  • Greenflag


    ‘ It was on the table before he arrived and would have been worked out without his lies.’

    The Last Supper was on the table too but it did’nt stop the crucifixion . The simple stark truth is that were it not for the efforts of US Senator George Mitchell who travelled back and forth across the Atlantic for 5 years and for the constant effort of both British and Irish governments the ‘Unionist’ parties in Northern Ireland would still be talking to themselves . There are indeed yet many who would actually prefer that state of affairs .

    Without Tony Blair’s activist input it’s probable that the parties in NI would still be going around in ever decreasing circles .

    The ‘horrible’ truth is and this is something which no ‘unionist ‘ commentator or indeed blogger has admitted or faced up to is that no ‘unionist’ party by it’s own effort or ability was EVER going to reach an accommodation with the republican/nationalists.

    Only Brian Faulkner came close and he too was defeated by loyalist mobs . Paisley was finally able to do a deal simply because there was no other credible Unionist politician left to oppose him . But even Paisley would have got nowhere without Mr Blair’s constant effort.

    It seems Pippakin that your dislike for Mr Blair is clouding your judgement of what the man actually achieved in NI . We know that over the previous almost half century Prime MInisters Wilson, Callaghan, Heath, Thatcher, and Major ALL left office without a ‘settlement’ in sight!

  • Greenflag

    Cynic ,

    ‘a political master-stroke to back the Brits into giving SF what the Brits wanted. Well done, good and faithful servants’

    For a ‘cynic’ you are not living up to your espoused title

    The point is that what the Brits wanted is not really an issue for SF and the broad mass of republican /nationalists in Northern Ireland who are almost half the population. The point is that ‘unionists ‘ at least ‘unionist’ politicians did not want ‘power sharing ‘ ever in NI , some of them made a principle of their resistance to power sharing by even adding on the NEVER . And now some are accepting the possibility of MMcG as First Minister ?

    The fact is that the Unionist parties were forced to accept power sharing and even though some still object to the fact they are never going to see a return to ‘unionist’ simple majority rule within the present 6 county NI State .

    A cursory read of Tony Blair’s memoirs should be enough to convince anyone of the crass inability and sheer inability of ‘unionist ‘ negotiators to talk their way out of a paper bag 🙁 .
    This should not be a surprise to anybody least of all Sir Reggie who has first hand experience of unionit political failure ever since he left the old UP to join Bill Craig’s quasi fascist Vanguard only to return to the UUP when Vanguard ‘collapsed ‘ following the early death of it’s would be Fuhrer !

  • Greenflag

    ‘this is turning into a superb exposition of the frailties of the unionist condition.’

    Indeed . It often seems that ‘unionist’ politicians/supporters cannot throw tens tons of shite against a brick wall without twenty tons rebounding in their faces ;( Maybe they need to hire a quantum physicist from the Max Planck Institute to help them understand why it is that even ‘physics’ is not on their side 🙁

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    The fuss over who said what and who meant what and who signed up to what at STA is largely irrelevant as SF, with the help of the British, ended up inside the Stormo tent with the required powers agianst the wishes of all 3 Unionist parties.

    There is certainly a separate arguement that Unionism has benefited from having SF inside the tent pissing out but currenlty the vast majority of Republicans and Nationalists seem happy with the SF strategy as long as they keep moving forward in the process of the Irishifaction of Ulster.

    The DUP seem to have made a major blunder at the STA talks by facilitating the possibility of Marty as First Minister and the UUP and TUV will obvioulsy make political capital from that – looks like another spiffing election.

  • Big Maggie


    “Myself, I’m a bit cheap. I’ll wait until the book is remaindered in a year or so and pick it up for a fiver. I’ve read many great biographies and autobiographies that way.”

    It’s been available as a torrent for several days now. Not that I’d even be arsed reading it for nothing.

    If I want truth, I’ll reread Jeff Martin’s My Dog Ate My Nobel Prize, thank you very much.

  • Alan McKee

    He also has a verbal tick with the word “look”. Any Blair sentence prefaced with “look” actually means, “Look you obviously have the political understanding of the average four year old, so I’m going to spell out just why what I’m saying/doing is so brilliant”.

  • Alan McKee

    Is this the first case of a signed copy actually devaluing the book. Also, very poor aim from all the protesters throwing stuff in Dublin. Should have got some expert stone-throwers from the North onboard.

  • Alan McKee

    It was “Yo Blair” or “Yo bitch”, can’t quite remember.

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    As opposed to the state terrorism of varying degree’s before and during the conflict Joe.

    See these terrorists (sic) that you speak of, when did they do their planning for this task and what forces brought them together? Conversely are they just inherently evil and decided to spontaneously unite and picked on a randon subject to terrorise?

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    Can anyone beat the hypocrite Galloway’s take on Blair’s book?

    “I’m only a quarter of the way through it but I could save you shelling out the half price by telling you that this is the most vainglorious, narcissistic, delusionary, treacherous compendium of words ever compiled in the English language.”

    Gorgeous is probably jealous that he has been outdone, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned George.


    Glad you are back. Had a wee set to with yir pal Pete on Friday on the issue of whether Blair’s lie retold to the Republican community by Adams in all honesty was in fact gerry’s lie. Some people actually believe Pete’s view has been vindicated by these revelations.

  • Big Maggie


    Why do you consider George a hypocrite? Just curious.

    Also—”hell hath no fury like a woman scorned George”—you may be confusing him with a character in a Van Morrison song….

  • percy

    i don’t suppose there is any chance of peter letting this go,
    the thread must have taken 2/3 hrs to construct with all the hyperlinks.
    *shakes head*

    Hey ho,
    tony,the issue on the horizon is the SF First minister one,
    will peteb look to the future as well as the past.?

    at least we can say the hillsbourough agreement was one between the parties of the North, which hints that local devolution is working.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    Why thank you kind sir.

    re. ‘the lie’

    That was my initial thoughts also – surely it shows there was a firm basis for Grizzly’s faith in the Englezes – but as I have pointed out many many times to Pete the Englezes knew SF’s bottom line regarding the Police issue and were always going to meet it i.e. they were highly unlikely to watch the process unravel for want of giving the Unionists a kick up the jacksie – even Posh Boy Davey Camerom (after he was given an inter-contintnetal kick there himself from the quarefellah from Offaly ie Obama) distanced himself from his ‘own’ party UCUNF when Wee Reggie started to go all anti-agreement and making funny-anti-transfer-of-the-police-noises.

    But I am a massive fan of the boy George – irrrespective of whether he dresses up like a cat or tucks a few bob in his back pocket – anybody who blows cuban cigar smoke in the faces of American congressmen whilst simultaneously lecturing them on their gung-ho record in international affairs deserves to be cut considerable slack.

  • Munsterview

    I am no great fan of Bertie Ahern and the corruption he presided over, but all sides now admit that the unremitting stream of personal insults and abuse taken by that man from Unionists on all sides was completely outside the experience of partisan United States or UK political experience.

    Those in Blair’s Circle, no shrinking violets themselves when it came to dishing out abuse or dissing rivals were actually shocked. That outburst to Blair about his wife being ‘ a painted Jezebel’ must come close to political insult of the year offered to a European Government leader. Given the financial and other dependancy of the Six Counties on ‘The Mainland’ , it must also be in the running for the most stupid remark not only of the year but of the decade!

    Of course it all backfired as it got Bertie and co sympathy and understanding and also gave the South, US and UK an insight into the visceral hatred there was for Nationalists in some Unionist Quarters.

    Bertie for all his faults was also a good family man that had a close relationship with his parents, both Irish Independence Fight Veterans. The death of his mother occurred at a critical period and except for a few hours of private grief at the funeral, he stayed focussed on the talks so credit where credit is due, Bertie is high up there on the list and let us remember that for him !

  • joeCanuck

    One thing that amazed me was Blair’s admission that he didn’t anticipate the effect Al Quida (and Iran) would have.
    Did he really have such a short memory that he forgot how a few hundred irregular fighters could hold down thousands of regular troops for decades?

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    To Big Maggie and Sammy.

    It is a wierd one with Galloway. Sure Alan Maskey chased me up on this very issue a wee while ago. It is simple really gorgeous Goerge with whom I pretty much agree with on almost anything you would like to mention is dead against Scottish independence. This has forever puzzled and irked me in equal measure. The slack Sammy mentions cutting him had been stretched to the max and more. Why, when he is all for other wee countries self determination is he so vehemently against his own country enjoying that same ‘privilege’?

    Let’s look at the availlable evidence until very recently. He earned his keep in England via the downmarket and very right wing talk radio station that he has his own show on. He also makes a few bob from an Iranian news channel from London. He represented an English constituency and let’s just say that I questioned his motives completely and considered him just to be looking out for himself, lest he be considered a foreigner there post Scottish independence. Considering that he seemed to agree with almost everything the current SNP government have done policywise only adds to the murky waters and my confusion, despite the compulsory and cringeworthy caveats about ‘brigadoon’ etc.

    The sad death of Jimmy Reid recently, the fiery socialist and one time labourite turned SNP advocate caused Galloway to spill the beans and show him up for a petty spiteful individual. It turns out that whilst Galloway was Reid’s election agent for the labour party in a head to head fight with the SNP in Dundee in the 70’s he formed his detestation of the SNP. The fact that the SNP beat him allows me to infer that his personal vendetta and dislikes overwhelms reason over such a fundamental issue of what is best for the people of Scotland. Thus it has made me question his motives on other things. What other predjudices affect his positioning on similar fundamental matters?

    I imagine the slack that you cut gorgeous may not be so considerable Sammy if something as fundamental as Irish self determination had gorgeous on the side of yir ‘Englezes’ Sammy.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    Scottish affairs I have to admit are a constant source of bemusement to me particulalry in relation to independence (I have raised a few issues of puzzlement regarding attitudes with you previously) but the bottom line is if George is a Scottish Unionist then my slack extends to cover that.

    If he started to campaign in support of Irish (Ulster) Unionism then he might start to get on my mammaries as well but I still have him marked down as the most entertaining and able left winger who has the rare ability when in exchanges with those to the right of him to make them look deeply uncomfortable and less in line with the public mood than himself.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    ‘that he didn’t anticipate the effect Al Quida (and Iran) would have’.

    This is absolute self serving nonsense from the boy Tony -he must have been told that hundreds of times by the foriegn offfice in the run up to the war.

    It is bit like running over a pedestrian in your car and then claiming in court that you didnt realise pedestrians actually left the footpath to cross he road.