Alex Kane on terrorist rebranding

I discussed the police response to dissident republicanism below. Alex Kane’s latest News Letter column sees him analysing the whole approach to terrorism. He points to Dr Martyn Frampton, of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation’s recent extensive report on the dissidents (mentioned previously by Pete Baker)

Frampton concluded: “If the British state wishes to defend and preserve the peace process in Northern Ireland it must accept that the dissidents will not be joining that process.

Consequently, to invert the old adage, those who will not join, must, eventually be beaten.”

Kane refers to the recent suggestions of significant sympathy for dissidents (again covered recently by Pete).

Alex Kane goes on to say:

To be honest, none of this comes as any surprise to me. Back in 2005 I wrote about the continuing threat from those republicans who regarded Sinn Fein as the real dissidents — for accepting continuing partition and a role in the government of Northern Ireland.

And in July 2007, a few weeks after the DUP and Sinn Fein had concluded their pact, I warned that the dissidents would step up their campaign “in a bloody effort to prove that there cannot be peace while the British remain in this part of Ireland”.

So what’s the official response to the much greater threat posed by the dissidents?

Well, for starters, neither the secretary of state nor the chief constable has ruled out talking to them.

Which, of course, suits the dissidents, one of whom told Brian Rowan: “We think that a war will create the conditions for credible dialogue aimed at British withdrawal.

“Internal settlements are not what Irish republicans fought, died and went to jail for.”

In other words, they are preparing to bomb their way to a negotiating table around which the British have already placed the chairs.

Alex has also discovered the latest part of the strategy for dealing with the dissidents: if you cant / wont beat them; rename them.

Stranger still, the NIO has decided that if it rebrands the dissidents as residual terrorist groups it will somehow diminish them in the eyes of potential supporters and make them sound less scary for the
rest of us!

They believe that calling them dissident republicans gives them a status that they “intrinsically lack”.

According to a spokesman “it was important to try and get the language right”.

What nonsense. It doesn’t matter what you call them: all that matters is that they get pounded into oblivion.

Alex is, as always, equally clear about loyalist terrorists:

But what about the non-residual terrorists: like the UVF?

Last week it was Brian Ervine who said they needed help to turn their members into social workers, cultural attaches and politicians.

This week it was the turn of Presbyterian moderator Norman Hamilton, saying it was time “to bring together the political and civic leadership … to find a way forward for the men, their families and the area in general”.

Isn’t it interesting that the needs of the “area in general” are placed behind those of the UVF members?

You’d think that after 22 years as the minister of Ballysillan Presbyterian Church Dr Hamilton would have already brought together the people concerned.

Mind you, Presbyterian moderators tend to remind me of buses: if you happen to miss one you know that there’ll be another one along fairly soon – even if you have no idea in what direction he will be heading.

But hey, Norman seems to be enjoying his time in the media spotlight and I can’t imagine that his scatter-gun approach to socio/political matters will do any lasting damage: or good, for that matter.

The UVF serves no purpose. It has never served a purpose.

The very fact that it bullied, murdered and ruined loyalist communities explains why the PUP, its political mouthpiece, never made a signifcant electoral breakthrough.

Indeed, the pro-Union electorate has always refused to support the
paramilitary-linked parties which claim to be representing their interests.

Furthermore he sees no difference between the terrorists:

They have no interest in democracy and no interest in detaching themselves from brutal tactics and blinkered thinking: unless and until their demands are met.

But there is one aspect of the etymology of “residual” which does apply to them: they are both scum.

, ,

  • joeCanuck

    Turgon,

    I would disagree with only one of your statements above. I think talking is useful if they are talking terms of surrender.

    (PS Has your e-mail address changed?)

  • Sixstring

    Has Alex joined the TUV without telling anyone?

    Whilst agreeing with the notion that renaming them serves little purpose, there is little in the comment to suggest a real understanding of why they exist and what they are about.
    Dissidents are not a matter for national security per se. They are another symptom of our dysfunctional society.
    Surely we would all no doubt be relatively pleased to be termed a ‘dissident’ in our railing against the machine, and many of us would hope to be ‘radical’ in our thinking and political outlook.
    The real question re dissidents is about how to find a way of allowing the argument to be acceptable without the violence which accompanies it. To do that, dialogue is essential. None of us have the exclusive rights on what is right or wrong in a political sense, but if anything of our recent past is obvious it’s that exclusion is pointless and merely delays any kind of progress.

  • Stephen Blacker

    Dissident republicans will only be diminished by the lack of support from their own community. To talk about getting rid of these groups by having them, “pounded into oblivion” just proves that some people have not learned anything from our recent history. The Nationalist / Republican community need to cut these groups clean because it is only a matter of time before there is a violent reaction from Protestants & that could lead into a nightmare scenario. To condemn them for their actions and then praise the PIRA as hero’s will not be good enough to ostracise them, there needs to be a message that violence is wrong – end of!

    On the issue of the UVF I would not agree that they “never served a purpose” because the violence in the early 1970’s was overwhelming the security forces and some vunerable areas needed protection from attack and groups like the UVF filled that void. I would agree that that same purpose has long since gone and so should they.

    A Queen’s University Professor was on TV recently and he made a good point by saying that if you showed him 50 people that wanted things to stay the same he could show you 500 that have moved on. This comment was in relation to the efforts of people like the PUP and others who are doing good work on the ground in very difficult circumstances.

    So do you stop trying to influence people just because some are reluctant, I think every effort should be explored but it is obvious that patience from all areas are running thin.

  • Mark

    When did that report come out ? because Mcintyre’s senseless thrill has a similar piece out today ( sunday ).

  • Blair

    Stephen,

    The nationalist community is taking a long time to reject the dissidents. Their tactics are identical to those of the Provos in that they are trying hard to invite ‘oppression’ onto that community.

    It doesn’t take much for nationalists to feel that they are being oppressed as we saw post the Ardoyne and Rathcoole riots were the police were accused of double standards. Therefore the security forces have to tread carefully.

    At the same time there is always a danger that loyalist patience will wear thin and they will react to republican terrorism. Thankfully they seem to be intelligent enough to realise that this is exactly what the dissidents want.

    The challenge for the security forces is to strangle the dissidents at birth without upsetting the nationalist community. A tough ask.

  • Stephen Blacker,
    That is actually not necessarily the case at all. Whilst I can see that the nationalist community’s support is important it must be remembered that the stronger the dissident threat is allowed to grow the more intimidation they can exercise over nationalist communities. Then the support or opposition of nationalists may become less important than enforced and involuntary acquiescence by that community.

    Your views on the UVF are also completely invalid. During the Border campaign of the late 1950s and early 1960s there were no loyalist paramilitaries and no need for them. The security forces north and south were all that was required.

    Then the UVF reared its head in about 1966 (I believe that was the year Gusty Spence first became a murderer). Hence, the UVF and Spence were murdering people long before the latest IRA campaign.

    During the IRA campaign the UVF and the rest of the alphabet soup defended no one other than possibly themselves. they murdered very few republican paramilitaries. Rather they used the “Yabba Dabba Do, any taig will do” strategy along with a good dose of murdering protestants; drug dealing, racketeering, prostitution etc.

    The other point which gives the lie to the “need” for the UVF is summed up in one word: Fermanagh. In Fermanagh there was a vicious sectarian campaign by the IRA against local Protestants yet practically no loyalist terrorism. Loyalist terrorists were held by the unionist community in the same quiet calm, icy contempt as the republican terrorists.

  • White Horse

    Turgon

    What I think is important for the dissidents is that there is conflict and that people are forced to take sides. Peace makes them nervous that the flag is not being honoured.

    Peace also makes them nervous that the SDLP will be given credit for making progress and that the Sinn Fein project will eventually flounder. They like to be in control. Ultimately they desire to be in control of all of Ireland.

    However, the stronger they get, as I see it, the greater the imperative for the British to defend their western shore from this threat to regional stability. They are nowhere near that level of threat but, it seems to me, that one way to increase that threat would be to be to escalate this agenda by talking in terms that are not part of the moral ethos of the political institutions.

    Victory over the dissidents is simply not possible in my opinion because of the moral position of unionism. Without a strategy that serves to remove all threats to the peace – including the very central thesis of the unionists, their marching season – then sympathy will simply grow for the dissidents in the event of them being faced down by extreme tactics.

    Peace is not simply the goal but the way. Dissidents threaten the way and the goal. They honour the ways of the British past and tell us that they worked. The unionists back up that claim that such threatening behaviour as the marching season works.

    People tell them that it doesn’t work. Christian leaders try to involve themselves and they get the kind of treatment that Dr Hamilton has got from Alex Kane. He suggests that Christianity serves no purpose, neither good nor bad, in order to humiliate this man. This has been a clarion call from unionism partly due to its imperial past and partly due to its anxiety at its role in the Plantation.

    Of course Christian leaders must assert their allegiance to Christ in order that unionists put peace first. Thinking in terms of war at this time is unhelpful.

  • dennis

    White Horse, we have a plethora of churches here and yet the UVF still kills, it shows the influence they have.

    Its time the forces of law and order dealt with terrorists in the only way they understand – with the bullet.

  • Stephen Blacker

    Blair,

    I remember a policing task the PSNI faced was at last years Easter Rising event when people were photographed with petrol bombs waiting on the police but the police never came and the would be rioters were left frustrated.

    The PSNI took a lot of abuse from people who wanted arrests but I thought their tactics were sound and a good result overall. As you say, “A tough ask” an extremely tough ask!

  • Blair

    WH,

    Your solution to the dissident threat seems to be that unionists should appease them. Perhaps nationalists should consider that it is not all about them. If they could manage a little bit of tolerance then there would be a lot less trouble in this country.

  • White Horse

    Dennis

    The Churches have a role.

    To undermine the moral basis of this society at this time in such a manner as you express could have the serious consequence of taking us back to yesterday and beyond.

  • Blair

    Stephen,

    You present a perfect example of the tightrope they are walking.

  • White Horse

    Blair

    I am suggesting that Alex Kane does not understand the nature of the cause that these dissidents have if he thinks that he’s on the side of democracy and law and order and so on. They thrive on being suppressed.

  • Blair

    WH,

    Only to a certain extent. History is filled with failed IRA campaigns and they all ended when the IRA was demoralised and weakened by arrests and deaths. Indeed the Free State finished them off pretty pronto by tying them to their own landmines etc. They prefer to see their community being suppressed rather than themselves.

  • Not surprising that some posters wrongly believe that a security-led response to dissenting Republicans is the way forward……

    The reality is however, that reagrdless of increased activities by the British Secret Service, Mi5 and their allies in the RUC/PSNI and Gardai. Armed actions are still carried-out regularly by the various Republican groups…..Just as it was during the recent PIRA and INLA Campaigns.

    Whilst I’m decommissioned, I realise and acknowledge that so long as the denial of Irish National Self-determination and a 32 County Socialist Republic continues, so too will armed campaigns against these denials.

    The British government and her armed forces still occupy part of Ireland and therefore the struggle against that occupation will continue unabated until this failed British policy ends.

    Of course, I’d prefer that struggle to be solely a political one but as history has taught us, the military actions always take over. Why not end this immoral denial of an Irish national democracy afer all, it will also herald the end of armed Republican Campaigns?

  • Blair

    Ardeoin,

    All republican campaigns have ended in failure. The current one, to use the terminology of today’s youth, is by far the gayest effort ever. It has absolutely no chance of achieving anything other than tragic loss for a small number of families, and occasional inconvenience for the general public.

    Get a life.

  • Stephen Blacker

    Turgon,

    Every effort must be made to thwart all terrorist groups, from gathering information, seizing guns and making arrests but lessons from the past must not be forgotten. It does not take a lot of people to cause mayhem, terrorism is very difficult to fight, as the past shows us innocent people can find themselves drawn into the feud.

    I’m glad Fermanagh never had a problem with loylist paramilitaries. I do still stick by my opinion I stated earlier.

  • Blair

    In fact terrorism in Fermanagh came to an abrupt halt following the so called pitchfork murders, but resumed again when it was revealed that they had been carried out by Scottish soldiers.

  • Turgon
    The word scum is rather pejorative. It is, I am sure you agree, often thrown out by people with no argument. Several Provisional Alliance comments here have used it and worse. Interestingly enough, as one of the very few Connolly Socialists posting here, I have drawn their ire away from yourself and Peter Baker.
    What makes these people scum? Thoughts, words, deeds or mixtures thereof. Is Ruairi O’Bradaigh scum? If he is scum, are those who inspired him scum? How about those inspired in part by him who are now in PSF?
    Therein lies your dilemma, a chara. You cannot isolate them. And nor can anyone else. Consider militant Republicanism like a three card trick where the gullible has to find the lady. The hand is quicker than the mind’s eye. The piper and his orchestra entrap and groom youngsters to their way.
    What have Dave O’Connell, Rory Brady and Gerry Adams in common? None of their off spring ever did time. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
    White Horse: Meaningful Western Christianity is middle class and up, with the top “tier” serving royalty, new and old. Subversive groups seek to subvert: the history of PIRA, hijacking 15th August with 9th August and using Christian iconography to portray their martyrs for example show that. PIRA, for example, were involved in the murder of nuns and priests. Hey would call it manslaughter. But there is no doubt, that had they been ordered to, they would have put a slug into any priest they were ordered to whack.
    Joe Hendron was considered for assassination. Why? He had the temerity to borrow Gerry Adams seat, a seat which Mr Louth Mouth is now deserting.
    The problem, as I see it, when we discuss these things in an adult manner with Turgon et al is we are discussing different things ad the unionists acknowledge that. Killing UDR/RIR/PSNI people is very different depending on where you stand. If the unfortunate is Catholic, he/she is literally in mortal danger as recent events showed. Tom Williams, who was hanged instead of the sinister Joe Cahill, was put to death for killing Constable Patrick Murphy, a Roman Catholic father of nine children. Williams is intimately linked to the Cahill and Adams/Hannaway families.
    On 21 January 1919, the day the first Dail met, Sean Treacy, Dan Breen and the other counter gang members murdered Roman Catholic RIC Constables Patrick MacDonnell and James O’Connell. There is form, not only in the verbal abuse Catholics and Connolly socialists have to contend with on forums such as this, but also in the form of bombs and bullets.
    Support for such action will only gradually fade away. People like O’Bradaigh and there are still a lot of them with long, detailed and catalogued accounts look to what they see as the dark days of the 1940s when they could only kill a handful of coppers on both sides of the border as signs of a Continuity.
    When we consider what major players have got away with, they have more than a point. The three card trick is as old as the hills but it is a steady earner. There is one born every minute.
    Blair: If you read the other threads, you will see I am now enjoying music related to that jackass Bonnie Prince Charlie. You say all previous Republican campaigns ended in failure. All British battles against the Irish and Scottish clans ended in losses – except for Culloden and Kinsale;)

    Martin Meehan, Snr, when he was inducted into the IRA, said it was like getting into an elite. Certainly, at the time he joined, mid 1960s, O’Connell, O’Bradaigh and their type wanted to keep the riff raff out. Jumping the wives of prisoners would have meant a bullet in the head.
    Which brings us to Denis Donaldson, one of the more prominent PIRA socialists, who was there at St Mathews and who went on to do some heavy lifting for the Peace process. A true Provo. Is he also scum?

  • Stephen Blacker

    ArdEoin Republican,

    You say that you are decommissioned but the statement that follows leaves me thinking that you might as well keep your guns because you effectivly still support armed struggle.

    You also seem to blame the British Government and armed forces for the reason the armed struggle will always continue, you left me out and a lot of others that are British. Do you want me murdered too?

  • Blair

    “Blair: If you read the other threads, you will see I am now enjoying music related to that jackass Bonnie Prince Charlie. You say all previous Republican campaigns ended in failure. All British battles against the Irish and Scottish clans ended in losses – except for Culloden and Kinsale;)”

    Alan,

    The ones which counted.

  • Exactly, a chara. Now put a dunce’s hat on and pretend you are a RIRA strategist.

  • Well with a name like Blair, it’s not surprising you speak of failed campaigns, maybe U should tell the truth to the Afgan and Iraqi people……

    Regards getting a life, mine is quite content and happy thanks for asking chara…..

    On the other hand, U seem to be obsessed with this gay carry-on…..Sorry but I’m a happily married man!

  • Stephen, a chara

    When I read your name, I got the UVF connection even beforee reading your comment. Are you speaking with a slight UVF/OIRA sentiment?

  • Turgon, I’ve not seen any coverage by yourself, Alex Kane or Pete Baker of those community organisations/trusts composed of developers, politicians and loyalist paramilitaries which receive funds from an SDLP ministry and the International Fund for Ireland. The photo opportunities seem to leave out the paramilitaries.

  • Blair

    Alan,

    If I was a RIRA strategist then I would start murdering prominent loyalists. They won’t get anywhere without some form of oppression on the nationalist community and the police ain’t playing ball. They need the Prods to start murdering people too.

  • Why would I state clearly that I’m decommissioned if I still ‘support armed struggle’? Doesn’t your assumption defy logic mate? If someone accepts and acknowledges the continious armed campaigns against British Rule in Ireland – I’m promoting it??

    Of course its the blame of successive British governments, her armed forces and securocrats who have supported the protracted occupation of Ireland….

    I view ordinary British people who born and living in Ireland as my fellow citizens and as such have the right to the same rights and freedoms as all Irish people should have….

  • Blair

    Ardeoin,

    With a name like that it’s not surprising that you are stuck in a rather nasty cul de sac.

    I’m glad to hear that you are happily married. I trust that you won’t sentence your children to the same losers’ legacy that was forced upon you.

  • Stephen Blacker

    ArdEoin Republican,

    I’m sorry to say that my assumption does not defy logic, showing support for these groups will give them the oxygen to survive as your above statement indicates.

    The British Government would love to drop Northern Ireland like a hot coal but it is people like me that wants to stay part of the Union.

  • aquifer

    ‘What nonsense. It doesn’t matter what you call them: all that matters is that they get pounded into oblivion.’

    Sounds sensible doesn’t it. Practical common sense in the British empirical what works tradition. No namby pamby parsing of the meaning of words here, back to basics, howitzer loaded with a bit fat one in the breech. Men of action at the ready. None spare to be hanging around analysing precedents and paralysing themselves with theory and such.

    But words matter, and everybody including irish separatists educated at the expense of the british taxpayer can get to use them.

    ‘Dissident’ is a word distinguished by the suffering of Russian human rights activists under state oppression. Dissidents may also refuse to comply with dominant orthodoxies in democracies or religions, maintaining a coherent minority view by peaceful protest or campaigning, or perhaps by withdrawal from full participation in society.

    Use of the word ‘Dissident’, and ‘Repubican’ for that matter, for violent irish separatists flatters murderers and armed blackmailers.

    If words do not matter, then neither does democracy, so I say words, and the abuse of language, matter very much.

  • Blair: Ten seconds’ thought would put some very high profile targets into mind if they really wanted to upset the applecart. But I don’t think they really want to do that.
    As St Augustine might have said, Lord make my revolution successful but not just yet. At most, they could hope to get into a situation OIRA or PIRA have.
    But Liam Mellowes, a Connolly socialist railed against people taking positions of power.
    No wonder Bonny Prince Charlie ended up as a drunk.

    There is no strategy, only get the next fellow to do the time.

  • White Horse

    Sure its all the fault of the SDLP, Nevin.

    A contribution to peace in Ireland might be if the British government apologised to the Irish people and to the unionist people for the Plantation of Ulster and other plantations. It might begin to make the Planter aware of the evil that he is justifying in his marching et al and normalise the process of assimilation and integration that peace requires in the long term.

    I feel sure that the outbursts of the right of unionism on this thread are indicative of a people that sees victory, death, and humiliation as the essential ingredients of peace on this island. They seem blind to the reality that they are the people most at odds with the civilisation of societies on these islands. That blindness needs cured and it can be cured by the British government showing leadership.

  • aquifer

    So the Brits should apologise for exploiting the Island before the French or Germans?

  • JJ Malloy

    The UVF did not protect anyone from attack. They targeted innocent people and killed them, and not infrequently tortured them as well.

    Who exactly were they protecting???

  • joeCanuck

    Scum.

    To paraphrase a certain Judge, I can’t actually define scum but I know it when I see it.

    There is scum on Slugger and hopefully one of the moderators will soon come back from wherever they have gone to and take his scrubbing brush out.

  • Wilde Rover

    Stephen Blacker,

    “On the issue of the UVF I would not agree that they “never served a purpose” because the violence in the early 1970′s was overwhelming the security forces and some vunerable areas needed protection from attack and groups like the UVF filled that void.”

    Ironic that the security forces were initially brought over to protect nationalists from attacks by loyalist paramilitaries.

    Blair,

    “All republican campaigns have ended in failure.”

    I don’t know if you’ve heard this but the southern part of the island is called the Republic of Ireland. Also, I’ve some bad news for you about the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

    Alanmaskey,

    “On 21 January 1919, the day the first Dail met, Sean Treacy, Dan Breen and the other counter gang members murdered Roman Catholic RIC Constables Patrick MacDonnell and James O’Connell. There is form, not only in the verbal abuse Catholics and Connolly socialists have to contend with on forums such as this, but also in the form of bombs and bullets.”

    I hate to break this to you, but there is a slight chance that Connolly was involved in some kind of altercation involving guns. I’m pretty sure he was tied to a chair and shot. Also, have you heard of these new “horseless carriages”? It’s amazing what people are inventing these days.

    Aquifer,

    “Practical common sense in the British empirical what works tradition. No namby pamby parsing of the meaning of words here, back to basics, howitzer loaded with a bit fat one in the breech. Men of action at the ready. None spare to be hanging around analysing precedents and paralysing themselves with theory and such.”

    Indeed. Perhaps those fine chaps involved in the “British Abu Ghraib” could be drafted in for this very task. Beatings, electrocutions, sexual humiliation, death, with a few re-creations of satanic rituals are the way forward. If these men were allowed to show the same fortitude as they did when serving their country so bravely against the Iraqi aggressors then Britain would be again safe for right thinking people.

    joeCanuck,

    “To paraphrase a certain judge, I can’t actually define scum but I know it when I see it.

    There is scum on Slugger and hopefully one of the moderators will soon come back from wherever they have gone to and take the scrubbing brush out.”

    I envy you the omnipotence that allows you to decide who deserves a “scum” label. The scrubbing brush is delightfully Orwellian but perhaps you could run a few of the following ideas past your infallible scanner.

    People who don’t preview their comments and have them littered with typos should also be purged, as well as people who use those horribly inane emoticon things. Anyone who uses LOL, or any other such nonsense, should have their comments blown out of cyberspace, and anyone who admits to liking those X Factor type shows should receive a life ban, along with country and western fans.

    It is only then could be truly live in a cyber utopia…

  • Wilde Rover

    Wilde Rover,

    “It is only then could be truly live in a cyber utopia…”

    And this is the kind of thing that I’m talking about, no previewing.

    A lifetime ban is the only way forward for this reprobate.

  • Wilde Rover, James Connolly had been in a quick lime grave for the best vpart of three years when Catholic Constables MacDonnell and O’Connell were murdered. Other than that, not a bad post.

  • Michael McKevitt, brother in law of Adams icon, Bobby Sands, was given a very lengthy sentence some years ago for directing terrorism. Kevin Myers asked why similar legislation had not been used against PIRA when they were murdering gardai something, to be fair, the dissidents have not yet engaged in.
    Following the murder of Det Gerry McCabe by Limerick and Kerry PIRA thugs, there was a massive sweep of the country, rooting out the PIRA forgers form the attics and outhouses they were hiding in. After an old Donegal woman died of a heart attack, the campaign to round up the PIRA riff raff was halted.
    Why was it kids’ gloves for the Provos and the heavy hand for the dissidents? Who were the Provos really playing or?

  • WH, how does SDLP ‘support’ for paramilitary related projects improve the quality of life in those communities where paramilitary godfathers largely rule the roost?

    The SDLP signed up to the 1998 Agreement yet some of its apologists obsess on the Strand 2 relationship. This sectarian/racist tendency makes it more difficult to progress a shared society, not less.

    There are mainly two opposing aspirations to be accommodated, not one. Unionist and Nationalist myopia may well lead to further death and destruction.

  • Skintown Lad

    The ease with which republicans purport to cast their minds back to times their minds did not exist is frightening. You guys see justification as easily from the events of 1919 as from yesterday tea-time. Surely at some point you have to say the past is irrelevant, lets look at what we have today.

  • SimpsonInBangor

    Well, some really uplifting commentary on here.

  • Neil

    The ease with which republicans purport to cast their minds back to times their minds did not exist is frightening. You guys see justification as easily from the events of 1919 as from yesterday tea-time. Surely at some point you have to say the past is irrelevant, lets look at what we have today.

    Hmmm, not solely the preserve of Republicans though is it? After all some Loyalists are famously obsessed with the past, even leaving aside the annual burning rubbish anti fenian fest of the twelfth, I’ve heard mention of 1641 by Loyalists as an illustration of the blood thirsty nature of fenians generally.

    And many people, Turgon for example, Martin Og being another, myself yet a third, don’t need to think back ’til a time when their minds didn’t exist. My mind was in good working order when I visited a friend’s home in a Loyalist enclave not for from the ‘Doyne and we were beaten with meat cudgels by Loyalists for being fenians (they recognised one of our girlfriends as she was from Ardoyne, and that was enough to initiate a home invasion).

    Much like the time when the house I was in in Broughshane was pipe bombed as the guy living there was living with a fenian (and their 3 kids). Actually she was COI from Dublin, but southern accent = fenian to some folk, and again that was enough.

    Nor do I have to imagine the battlefield in 1690 to remember the RUC trying to arrest my great uncle James who I lived with at that time, on his deathbed, as they raided our house and found two rifles cunningly hidden in a corner of my bedroom, and the treatment that he was subjected to. He died within days.

    So try to come half way and admit two things: one Unionists aren’t exactly renowned for living in today, being as how they constantly reference the past up to and including the ridiculous 11th/12th July, and two some of us were alive for plenty, and experienced plenty at the hands of Loyalists and Republicans.

  • Skintown Lad

    Neil, my post was in response to what I was reading on this thread, more particularly comments by White Horse about the need for the British Government to remind unionists about the evils of the ‘planters’! And then others loosening up some phlegm from the early part of last century. That is why I referred to republicans and I’m sorry it caused you to say ‘yeah but whatabout youse ones’. For the avoidance of doubt I think the orange disease of harking back to ancient times like it was yesterday tea-time is equally unhealthy. You appear to have suffered at first hand the consequences of people being unable to let go of a violent past and thus you are better placed than I to confirm the danger of that affliction.

    The context of the thread is the rebranding of ‘residual terrorist groups’, which rebranding I think is correct, since is undermines the notion that they have embarked on something new or alternative. They haven’t, as they are trying to get to an unknown destination by walking backwards, eyes firmly focussed on what happened a long time ago.

  • Neil, the MSM seems keener to label attacks as sectarian and non-sectarian whereas IMO they should be considered equally serious.

    Sometimes the attacks are on ‘outsiders’ yet the MSM persists with its labelling. I can recall ‘fenians’ from Coleraine having to be rescued by the police when they were pursued by local ‘fenians’ in Ballycastle.

    ‘Orangies’ of various hues have had to be well separated in band parades when their heroes were from opposing paramilitary groups.

  • Neil

    The context of the thread is the rebranding of ‘residual terrorist groups’, which rebranding I think is correct, since is undermines the notion that they have embarked on something new or alternative. They haven’t, as they are trying to get to an unknown destination by walking backwards, eyes firmly focussed on what happened a long time ago.

    Regarding the term dissident, I’m of the opinion expressed above that it’s clear the dissidents are SF more than the crop generally referred to as dissidents, dissenting as they are from the traditional Republican methods aimed at re-uniting Ireland.

    I don’t think the Residual Terrorist Groups/Dissidents care much what they’re called and certainly I think the new suggested terminology is more threatening and condusive to fearfulness which is quite possibly the reasoning or part of it. If the word Terrorist is in there it will remind people quite clearly what that entails, death usually. Which is right as that is the inevitable consequence.

    Other than that I agree with you. The troubles are pretty much over. Like most people I value the well being of my kids over the flag.

    Nevin,

    indeed, I reckon it may come back to the cops handing over the evenings headlines to our lazy journos. A box has to be ticked somewhere I imagine determining whether an attack is a hate crime of some sort; it also helps keep the PSNI statisticians busy.

  • Neil, our Troubles flare up on a fairly regular basis, not least in relation to anniversaries. Policing resources are being depleted even as the threat of a return to violence increases.

    As for the PSNI statisticians it seems they have been directed to cut back on the publication of monthly manpower figures and to delete the Patten comparative figures for different ranks. This deletion helps to mask the 400 or so constable deficit.

  • Stephen Blacker

    Wilde Rover,

    The British Army was brought onto the streets to stop the two main communities fighting each other in certain areas during the very early 70’s. When I mention security forces I also mean the RUC. It was not possible to protect every area so there is a lot of people who would have been glad of the initial help from fathers, sons and uncles from vulnerable communities.

  • White Horse

    Nevin

    I think Alex Attwood on Hearts and Minds made it abundantly clear that he would fund areas in need but would not fund the godfathers or elite republican projects in urban areas.

    I like Strand 2. It’s worth pursuing.

    The SDLP possess the way to and the goal of a shared society. Others see the way but reject the goal and still others see the goal but reject the way. Sectarianism and racism is needed in other agendas, not the SDLP’s.

    There is only one agenda to be accomodated, and other agendas are subsidiary to it, and that is the agenda of peace. Where these other agendas threaten the peace, they provide opportunities for further violence, and further undermine the peace. Standing up for peace is important on the road to peace.

  • White Horse

    Skintown Lad

    I referred the evil of the plantation of Ulster rather than the evil of the planters. The marchers simply justify the evil by endorsing its methodology.

  • joeCanuck

    WR,

    Omnipotent and infallible?
    I think you may be mistaking me for that other JC and his CEO on earth.

  • WH, did the SDLP leadership protest when President McAleese endorsed the Finaghy Crossroads Project, a project headed up by loyalist and republican paramilitaries? Nope – so Attwood’s alleged assertions don’t really stack up.

    It seems the sectarian/racist tendency runs deep. When sharing is probed a little more deeply the party, which you have portrayed as one drawing on a Catholic ethos, talks about sharing the island, not about respecting the two aspirations. What we end up with is more or less the other side of the UUP coin.

  • White Horse

    Aquifer

    My main concern is that they apologize for exploiting the unionists, that they apologize to the unionists, and that, in so doing, focus the unionists on addressing their anxiety-driven Marching Season bullying that ultimately attempts to control the destiny of Northern Ireland by threatening the Irish people, including their own people, and by perpetuating conflict on this island that serves to endorse their own particular brand of identity. My concern is for the peace.

  • White Horse

    Nevin

    The SDLP is not the party of protest. They get on with their own business.

    I don’t see this sectarian/racist angle. The Catholic ethos is knitted into the fabric of the party and determine its goals. Universalism and the social conscience are ultimately what drives the party to see peace as the way and the goal. All aspirations can only be subsidiary to that goal, which is why the SDLP supports the consent principle as a means to an end, rather than as the final word which would deprive the Irish people of their natural unity.

    But the SDLP has suggested that unionism would be accomodated in the event of unity by continuing the three strands approach. Again the SDLP approach is to act for peace rather than victory, annihilation or humiliation.

    I think you’re position is that there are two agendas and so they must be equal. The agreement does make them equal, rendering them both simply aspirations as you say but the SDLP position is that they are the tradition of peace and stability, seeking unity of the people of Ireland and a socially just country.

  • Blair

    “Blair,

    “All republican campaigns have ended in failure.”

    I don’t know if you’ve heard this but the southern part of the island is called the Republic of Ireland. Also, I’ve some bad news for you about the Austro-Hungarian Empire. ”

    Rover,

    If republicans had set out to create partition then I would agree with you that getting the ROI was a huge success for them. I think though that they don’t regard it as such. They wanted a 32 county republic and in that they failed. Hence all republican terror campaigns have ended in failure.

    What is the bad news about the Austro-Hungarian Empire?

  • Blair

    Alan,

    I hope that you are right.

  • “I don’t see this sectarian/racist angle.”

    WH, you obviously don’t see it – yet you have no trouble describing it!!

    The social ethos of each of our major religious sects is fairly similar; the Catholic sect is probably the least democratic.

    SF draws from the same Catholic well. The Redemptorist ”Stepping Stones’ strategy for a New Ireland essentially superseded the earlier Hume/SDLP model and, in many respects, the Catholic Church transferred the mantle of leadership of the ‘society within a society’ in NI from itself to SF. Despite the PRM’s continuing role in organised crime the SDLP’s European vote dropped from 28% to 16% since the Agreement was signed.

  • “the SDLP position is that they are the tradition of peace and stability”

    Apart from that little matter of the politics of confrontation which helped set the place alight, WH.

    The 50%+1 resolution of the constitutional question is hardly a recipe for stability, more like a recipe for major conflict.

  • An Ceide

    Funny how the orange order do likwise and cast their minds back much further to justify costing us a fortune and causing mayhem every summer…..

  • Nunoftheabove

    Undermining the role of the churches would almost certainly enhance the moral basis of this society, White Horse.

  • Blair

    An,

    Is the mayhem not generally caused by the people who hate them so much.

  • White Horse

    Do I detect a joke or an argument, Nun?

  • White Horse

    To espouse universalism is sectarian, Nevin? When the goal of Nation State morality goes, the social conscience is the natural morality. The morality of the heart. Hardly sectarian either.

    The work ethic has been used to describe the morality of the other sects, clearly a nation state morality that honours the entrepreneur and GNP before Christ and Christianity. To refer to the Catholic Faith as a sect is to equate universalism with nation state moral positions.

    Sinn Fein has mixed feelings towards the Catholic Faith, denying Christ and honouring Nation State morality. Some in SF are friendly to clergy, but their sociopathic socialism, or Marxism, comes first for those who determine their strategy.

    In terms of % the SDLP has already requested that the governments stop protecting these parties in the mistaken belief that they are protecting peace.

    Civil rights are essential to peace and stability.

    50%+1 is the constitutional position. The only reason for the conflict that you predict is the failure of the British government to demystify unionism. The SDLP has no need for any conflict.

  • WH, the Catholic Church is the largest religious sect in NI but it’s still a sect. When it supported the Redemptorist proposals the SDLP was relegated to second place in the Nationalist family so it was hardly surprising that the SDLP dropped from second to fourth in the EU elections.

    You hail social democracy yet democracy is greatly lacking in the Catholic Church. Perhaps you need to put your own house in order before you attempt to persuade others of the merits of social democracy.

    London and Dublin are protecting certain paramilitary godfathers because they reckon that’s the best way to contain the excesses of paramilitarism to Northern Ireland. The SDLP-UUP spectrum has suffered as a consequence.

  • White Horse

    The “Sect” word is a part of endless begrudgery of the Catholic Faith and the SDLP.

    It is my opinion that the populist Redemptorists “proposals” were no more than the bringing together of the SDLP and Sinn Fein to discuss the ending of Sinn Fein ways and the furthering of SDLP ways. The way determines the goal in my view, and just because Sinn Fein have more votes now as a result doesn’t mean that it was down to the Redemptorists. THe reality is that Sinn Fein is fronting social democratic institutions and talking our language.

    I see the SDLP as an expression of the heart of Catholicism. Our democracy is underpinned by universalism and the social conscience. Other agendas failed to interest justice.

    Noted.