Gerry Kelly: “we’re not living in the past, we’re not living in the past”

The Belfast Telegraph has a transcript of what happened when BBC NI’s Martina Purdy asked Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly about his party’s recent “mixed messages”[Another ‘stupid’ question? – Ed] Indeed.  From the Belfast Telegraph report

Ms Purdy ‘tweeted’ after the interview that Mr Kelly had been “exceptionally annoyed” with her, but did not want to comment further yesterday.

A Sinn Fein spokesperson said: “Martina Purdy chose to take this opportunity to insult Ireland’s patriot dead as republicans across the island were commemorating the sacrifice that these men and women have made. Sinn Fein will always, strongly and robustly, defend this sacrifice against those who attempt to demean their memories, or the families and friends of Ireland’s patriot dead.”

A BBC statement hit back: “Our BBC Northern Ireland correspondent was asking a legitimate question about the impact of commemorations of this nature on young people in the context of current events.”

And, along with more mixed messages, another Sinn Féin candidate has been encouraging that political psychosis…

[Pat Sheehan] said that Sinn Féin is trying to send a positive message by building organisational and political strength in Ireland. 

“We see no partition on this island, we see it as one country and that’s the way this project will continue,” he said.

[“I can’t see anything”? – Ed]  Indeed.  Again.

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  • Fraoile

    It’s a legitimite question and the response about the Orange Order and the army is both nonsensical and a ham fisted attempt to avoid answering the question.

    SF have every right to commerate the dead as much as anyone else and they should be credited with their response to the dissidents. I don’t see any confusion between their commerations and the idiots spouting their sectarian hatred behind masks in Derry but for some young people in might be misconstrued.

    In any case just answer the question and calm down dear.

  • An interview handled badly by both parties. Does the reaction, young and not-so-young, not depend on the nature of the commemoration? Here’s some RTE coverage of the Irish state commemoration with a brief snippet from the one Gerry Adams attended in Louth.

  • Pete Baker

    Guys

    The “mixed messages” go beyond the commemorations themselves.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Fraoile,
    “I don’t see any confusion between their commemorations and the idiots spouting their sectarian hatred behind masks in Derry”
    Ummm … how about the fact that the people they are commemorating were a few years ago the idiots spouting sectarian hatred behind masks in Derry? The hypocrisy would be staggering if we weren’t so used to it from Sinn Fein.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    It’s a bit like the Latvian Waffen SS parades, isn’t it. You can sort of understand it on one level, it makes sense to them in a myopic kind of way, but it’s just so WRONG in 2011!!!

    You can’t be honouring the “patriot dead” when that includes sectarian murderers. Sorry, you just can’t in this day and age. Private grief for the families, fine, public approval of their “sacrifice” (i.e. in attacking us Brits) not fine – it’s an anachronism and worse, rubs salt into the wounds of their victims. Equal respect please for British and Irish on this island. I’d say the same about ceremonies for dead UVF and UFF criminals. Keep it to yourselves.

  • Fraoile

    Mainland Ulsterman

    Can’t disagree with you but again in the context of the present situation at least SF are being openly hostile to the dissidents.

    Don’t get me wrong any right minded human being would condemn these morons but credit where it’s due.

  • Cynic2

    “I don’t see any confusion between their commerations and the idiots spouting their sectarian hatred behind masks in Derry ”

    …… but many of those they commemorate might be described in just those terms ……. racist sectarian killers

  • Cynic2

    ” SF are being openly hostile to the dissidents ” ….. because they threaten their power base

  • Scáth Shéamais

    Equal respect please for British and Irish on this island. I’d say the same about ceremonies for dead UVF and UFF criminals. Keep it to yourselves.

    Would the same rules apply to the British military and the police?

  • Fraoile

    Cynic2

    I don’t doubt for one second that many republicans dead, alive, dissident and main stream where/are sectarian and indeed racist thugs however we cannot deny people the right to commemerate their dead however distasteful, pompous and frankly sometimes idiotic it may be.

  • Fraoile

    Oh and by the way Mr Kelly by the very fact we are involved in this conversation shows we are all living in and trying to deal with the past.

    Commerating dead people is the past no matter how you try to dress it up.

  • peacetrain123

    How were the IRA sectarian, please enlighten me? They killed more catholics than protestants. I am all for celebrating the IRA dead and all those who have died in the pursuit of Irish independence free from British rule. Call me old fashioned but why should the republican community feel guilty over our commemorations, while, the British army carried out many dubious operations on Irish soil over the years. I’m all for forgive and forget and I look forward to a good relationship with Britain once Irish independence and unity is complete. Enough of the attempts at revisionism, it is really pathetic

  • roadnottaken

    I’ll admit that was handled badly by both Kelly and Purdy.. however, I’d disagree with Martina Purdy’s implication that SF are somehow misleading Nationalist/Republican youths by commemorating the dead. That is tactless to say the least.

    Pete, Mick, etc.. why is no one on Slugger reporting the resignations of the SDLP 12 in West Tyone? I’ve been unable to find much out about this incident as I haven’t seen the Herald article. Perhaps Slugger should address this gap?

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Scáth Shéamais,
    “Would the same rules apply to the British military and the police?”
    No. What with terrorists and the police / army trying to stop them not being the same thing – and all that.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    But, You can’t be honouring the “patriot dead” when that includes sectarian murderers.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    roadnottaken,
    “I’d disagree with Martina Purdy’s implication that SF are somehow misleading Nationalist/Republican youths by commemorating the dead.”
    Why? If their “leaders” are commemorating dead terrorists, what does that say to nationalist youth about how they are supposed to regard terrorists? If I was a nationalist growing up today, I’d be mightily confused by the flip-flop.

    Fraoile,
    “Credit where it’s due” indeed for SF stating the obvious, that terrorism is wrong. Well done. A massive leap forward for them, but a walk in the park for anyone normal. Forgive me for not falling over in gratitude to them.
    But also discredit where it’s due, because they’re still trying to argue the last terrorist campaign – the one they did – was somehow OK. This is the problem. They are of course masters in doublespeak but I can’t imagine it washes too well with those of a traditional Republican bent. Doublespeak is meant to dupe the Brits, not their own, surely?

  • roadnottaken

    Mainland Ulsterman
    “Why? If their “leaders” are commemorating dead terrorists, what does that say to nationalist youth about how they are supposed to regard terrorists? If I was a nationalist growing up today, I’d be mightily confused by the flip-flop.”

    I don’t think SF refers to ‘terrorists’. As a Republican/Nationalist youth myself, I see no contradiction. The IRA fought in a very different context. Dissidents are simply trying to derail the process which we have successfully built to right the wrongs which the IRA fought against. The Dissidents are deliberately damaging their own community.

  • Fraoile

    peacetrain123

    “Call me old fashioned” – your old fashioned.

    I don’t want you to feel guilty about commemorating dead people but dressing up and walking up and down roads is a bit pathetic whoever you are trying to remember. But if that’s what rocks your boat then I have no objection to it, it just seems a bit silly to me. Call me modern!!

    However if we thought as much of the living as we do of the dead in this place we wouldn’t have had to go through years of pathetic squabbling over a turf of land.

  • Balor-Vy-Ysbaddaden

    You can’t be honouring the “patriot dead” when that includes sectarian murderers.-Iraq?Afghanistan?Civilian death figures?RIR Trumpin’ through irish Streets…….

    I was born in dublin in 1974,the year the UVF bombed Dublin.In 1994 the UVF again tried to bomb Dublin.Pearse Street to be precise.Fine Gael leader John Brutal condemned the tri-colour that was placed on the coffin of the man who saved 300 lives….he later gave the american president a green jelly bean….
    Enda Kenny at least had the common courtesy to offer a bowl ‘o shamrock to obsama ……
    Gerry kelly has some neck to complain about golf.

  • grandimarkey

    Mainland Ulsterman

    “If I was a nationalist growing up today, I’d be mightily confused by the flip-flop.”

    Well you’re not.

    I’m a young nationalist growing up today and I am not confused whatsoever.

    I’m smart enough to realise that the conflict during the later half of the twentieth century took place in a very different Northern Ireland and in a very different context.

    Please have more respect for young Nationalist’s out there. We’re not all running to join one of these outdated, unnecessary and (internationally) embarrassing organisations.

    If you’re gonna tar us at least use a different brush.

  • Balor-Vy-Ysbaddaden

    It’s a bit like the Latvian Waffen SS parades, isn’t it.
    MeMe?-RIR?Yes.i suppose it is….

  • Billy Pilgrim

    I don’t understand the confusion. Does anyone seriously have difficulty with the proposition that certain actions are fair enough in one set of circumstances, but not fair enough in another set of circumstances?

    The RAF has not once attacked Germany since 1945. Presumably if some gang of BNP types planted bombs in Berlin, the British government would condemn them. Perhaps this proves that Britain was wrong to fight the second world war.

    Of course there is no confusion here, only mischief and fanaticism. (eg MU’s 1980s-style rhetoric.)

  • Balor-Vy-Ysbaddaden

    u can’t brush all the tar into the same pot-hole.it will cause traffic conjestion..

  • Cynic2

    “I’m smart enough to realise that the conflict during the later half of the twentieth century took place in a very different Northern Ireland and in a very different context.”

    Really? Pray tell us just how?

  • Cynic2

    “certain actions are fair enough in one set of circumstances, but not fair enough in another set of circumstances?”

    ….. it depends doesn’t it. Sometimes it can be wrong twice.

  • Cynic2

    “The IRA fought in a very different context”

    Really? Aside form the fact that we are here today because they lost the war, please explain what you mean?

    And is it me or do we seem to have suddenly had an influx of new names whom I haven’t really seen before all mouthing the same SF platitudes? It couldn’t be that SF are worried that yet again Gerry Kelly is digging himself into a hole that he needs pulled out of?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Cynic2

    “Really? Pray tell us just how?”

    The passive-aggression of your question demonstrates a pretty deep hatred for your nationalist countrymen. I mean, you may not agree with the nationalist analysis of the old NI state, but it’s pretty extreme to pretend that you are not even aware of it.

    So there’s one major change. People like you, motivated by a brutal hatred for nationalists, no longer have unfettered control of the place. That’s a pretty big change.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Cynic2

    “….. it depends doesn’t it. Sometimes it can be wrong twice.”

    Indeed. Presumably that is your analysis, but presumably you are aware that it is not the analysis of Sinn Féin. You may not agree with that analysis, but you cannot claim that it is inherently illogical.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    peacetrain123,
    “why should the republican community feel guilty over our commemorations?”
    Cos you were terrorists. Not fair? Tough, you made your bed.

  • Balor-Vy-Ysbaddaden

    The IRA have only killed 6/7 uniforms since 1992…

    How many civilians have the British Army Killed?

    Bowyer Bell puts the ‘russell strategy where it belongs in ‘the secret army’ when he emphazises the stupidity/futility of a ‘mainland campaign’,as the germans couldn’t beat the english into submission with a five year bombing campaign..the IRA he says will never bomb their way into/out off england….The fenians failed in this regard in the 1880s…the IRA campaign in the 70s-90s was irrelevent because the GFA wsa Framed before it was agreed….
    As Major and Renolyds said in 1993…’The british have no interest in ireland…political/economic…strategic…
    Tory/UUP coalition would beg to differ….200 million on increased security….

    The british are masters of double speak…

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Mainland Ulsterman

    “Cos you were terrorists. Not fair? Tough, you made your bed.”

    Presumably they do not regard themselves as having been terrorists. What other arguments do you have?

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    roadnottaken,
    Perhaps as a nationalist youth you weren’t around when the Republican Movement was tearing the place up. “The IRA fought in a very different context”? Correction, they didn’t fight at all. They were terrorists. And the main injustice during the Troubles era was them.

    The “very different context” did not justify the loss of a single life, let alone the 2,000 deaths the Republican terrorists gave us, not to mention the rest of it. Please. No excuses for these people and their apologists, they deserve only contempt. Luckily most people in Northern Ireland have longer memories than you seem to.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Billy Pilgrim,
    So you’re taking their word for it as definitive on the matter then?! ;)) Novel approach … Does that make a dog a ‘woof’ then?

    A terrorist is a terrorist, whatever self-justificatory nonsense they spin for themselves around it, however many flags they drape themselves in and noble causes they evoke.

    They are terrorists because they fall within the dictionary definition of terrorist. You can linguistic relativism only so far before it becomes absurd. To argue that the IRA was not in any sense a terrorist organisation would be to stretch language, as commonly understood, to beyond breaking point.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Oh and Billy Pilgrim,
    “I don’t understand the confusion.”
    Bless. How about: terrorism is wrong, no matter who does it. Simple enough?

  • vanhelsing

    This is an argument that we all knew was coming when the dissident terrorists started the campaign.

    Not sure about the morality of murder changes much when it’s one group or the other

    LVF – UDA
    PIRA – RIRA

    Purdy was right to ask the question and the difficulty that Kelly had in answering it will not go away for others.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Balor-Vy-Ysbaddaden,
    I’d respond to your post if I could understand it … Did you attack your keyboard? Hope it was a legitimate target.

  • Blissett

    If the actions of the past are to be attacked (and thats a perfectly natural and defensible thing to do were you so inclined) they must be done so on their owns merits. This idea that it is wrong now so it must have been wrong then is simply nonsensical and ahistorical. If it was wrong in 70, then that argument should be made by reference to the political context, and the opportunites for opposing what was going on in a democratic manner. Equally with 1980, or 1990. If it was wrong then, show how, not by reference to what is going on now. Thats puny logic. its perfectly possible to believe something is justified in one context and not in another. I can understand Kellys frustration with someone who cant grasp that.

    Leaving that aside, and thinking out loud to some extent, consider this – perhaps it is in the interests of the peace process for these to continue. From 69 on, FF stopped the bulk of their commemorations, stopped putting IRA experience on election literature (yep they used do that) and toned down, albeit not entirely, the republican rhetoric.

    Now whether you agree with it or not, that was a history which the irish people had a great grá for, and felt ownership of. Its clear to me, that this opened up a gap for SF and other republicans, to use commemoration, and to effectively take up the mantle of the republican tradition. This was a very significant mistake by FF, and gave SF their very first foothold in the south, long before elections, SF could be seen in many towns and villages with crowds ranging from big to small for such commemorations, and making a great play of irelands republican tradition. FF recently have tracked back a bit, with the republican party slogan, and commemorations etc. But its worth considering that was not an opportunity they needed to give SF.

    Similarly, and in a pragmatic sense, it may be worth considering that it isnt in anyones interests for SF to do the same. While the northern conflict isnt exactly analagous in that many, perhaps even a majority of northern nationalists and ambivalent and even hostile as regards their view of it. But nonetheless, a sizeable degree of people consider it right, and consider it part of their history and as something worth commemoration, and indeed something which contributed in the long run to their welfare (whether or not that is correct is neither here nor there). Most of these self same people dont support what is going on currently, and draw the same distinction(s) kelly and mcguinness do.
    Leaving right and wrong and moral evaluation aside for a while, Is it wise for SF to simply drop that tradition? Indeed more pertinently, is it in the interests of peace for SF to do so?

    By stopping such commemorations, SF would fall into the same trap as FF of surrending a tradition to which people fell attached and with which they are associated, to newer groups.
    I think that there is no question but that such groups would be very very glad of such an opportunity and would not be slow to make use of it.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Talking of the Waffen SS reminds me of that Mitchell & Webb sketch where they are Waffen SS men and, looking at the death’s head insignia, it dawns on one of them: “Could it be that … we’re the baddies?” Some people on Slugger might want to have a look at the murals of hooded men with Armalites and have the same thought.

  • Fraoile

    Blissett

    I agree if SF dropped these commerations the dissidents would be onto them like a tramp on a bag of chips.

    It’s a pity Kelly couldn’t have made this well thought out response instead of spitting his dummy out.

  • qwerty12345

    Meanwhile in London the crowds cheered as Prince William in his Irish Guards tunic watched a fly by of a WAIT FOR IT lancaster heavy bomber.

    Who exactly is living in the past?

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Blisset,
    “If it was wrong then, show how, not by reference to what is going on now.”
    It was wrong in 1970, that’s the point. No one’s trying to say we’ve only just discovered it was wrong. People were saying it was wrong all the way through. It was the planting bombs and shooting people dead that kind of gave it away as a bit morally dubious.

    As for commemorations, if a sizable number of nationalists regard a 30 year terror campaign as a part of their history they want to celebrate, then they should be challenged, exposed and ostracised by the decent majority of nationalists and unionists. Again I say the same about Loyalist terrorists. Part of history yes, but so is The Spanish Inquisition and smallpox.

    What we choose to celebrate is not dictated by history, it is a present choice and we are responsible for it.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Blisset,
    “If it was wrong then, show how, not by reference to what is going on now.”
    It WAS wrong in 1970, that’s the point. No one’s trying to say we’ve only just discovered it was wrong. People were saying it was wrong all the way through. It was the planting bombs in built up areas and shooting people dead that kind of gave it away as a bit morally dubious.

    As for commemorations, if a sizable number of nationalists regard a 30 year terror campaign as a part of their history they want to celebrate, then they should be challenged, exposed and ostracised by the decent majority of nationalists and unionists. Again I say the same about Loyalist terrorists. Part of history yes, but so is The Spanish Inquisition and smallpox.

    What we choose to celebrate is not dictated by history, it is a present choice and we are responsible for it.

  • JH

    Mainland Ulsterman:

    They are terrorists because they fall within the dictionary definition of terrorist. You can linguistic relativism only so far before it becomes absurd.

    Please.

    Most British people I know wouldn’t even back that line.

    The term ‘Terrorist’ has lost all currency precisely because it has been used to selectively over the last 20 years or so to describe anyone the USA and Britain doesn’t like or agree with.

    Which is why it’s Libyan Rebels we’re hearing about rather than Libyan Terrorists.

    Of course the British Army would fit well within the definition of ‘terrorist’ having brought terror and oppression to people here on a scale at least on a par with that of the IRA.

    So the relativism is really coming from you and your inability to look at the situation rationally.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Sorry, duplicated post for some reason – I’m posting too much, must get on with my life.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    MU

    “So you’re taking their word for it as definitive on the matter then?!”

    No, I’m just not taking your word as definitive either. You use the word “terrorist” as nothing more than a curse word, in your mouth the word doesn’t mean anything.

    “A terrorist is a terrorist, whatever self-justificatory nonsense they spin for themselves around it, however many flags they drape themselves in and noble causes they evoke.”

    But why should I take your word as definitive as to who is, and who is not a terrorist?

    “To argue that the IRA was not in any sense a terrorist organisation would be to stretch language, as commonly understood, to beyond breaking point.”

    I have made no such argument.

    “Bless. How about: terrorism is wrong, no matter who does it. Simple enough?”

    I completely agree with this statement. You, however, do not. You simply refuse to accept that British armed forces could be guilty of terrorism.

  • Blissett

    It was wrong in 1970, that’s the point.

    Ok thats fine. I disagree with you of course, but thats neither here nor there. What isnt really fine, or logically sound is that what was wrong in 1970 was wrong because whats going on now is wrong. The point im making is that there are commentators who dont think its possible to hold different views as to the morality of armed actions in 2 entirely different contexts.

    ”It was the planting bombs and shooting people dead that kind of gave it away as a bit morally dubious.”

    Am I to take it from that that you are a unconditional pacifist, and you do not believe in the concept of a just war? If so fair enough. If not, well no, actually the violence isnt what makes it morally wrong, its the violence in the absence of an alternative peaceful means. Other than in the case of unconditional pacificists, the notion that violence is in and of itself immoral is, well, ludicrous. Its the context.

    ”As for commemorations, if a sizable number of nationalists regard a 30 year terror campaign as a part of their history they want to celebrate, then they should be challenged, exposed and ostracised by the decent majority of nationalists and unionists. Again I say the same about Loyalist terrorists. Part of history yes, but so is The Spanish Inquisition and smallpox.”

    Well, Ill delay responding to the above until you can answer by what do you mean by the (frankly banal and useless) word ‘terrorism’.

    Do you mean
    a) those who use violence in pursuance of a political end (independent of any moral judgement and contextualisation)
    b) those who use anti-state violence
    c) as a word to pass moral judgement on these actions?

    im open to alternatives, but none spring to mind immediately.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    And that indeed they have been and continue to be guilty of terrorism on countless occasions, not least in this corner of Ireland.

    If one who commits act of terrorism is, ipso facto, a terrorist, then every member of the British armed forces is a terrorist.

    I do not believe you are remotely ready to consider that argument. Therefore your rhetoric about “terrorism” is utterly worthless.

  • Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    Is there an alert button in Connolly House that is pushed when a SF mouthpiece puts their foot in said orifice? The button-push must light-up drones’ keyboards across the country summoning them to action to defend the hive. A sort of Ministry of Truth intranet kinda thing.

  • AGlassOfHine

    How were the IRA sectarian, please enlighten me? They killed more catholics than protestants. I am all for celebrating the IRA dead and all those who have died in the pursuit of Irish independence free from British rule. Call me old fashioned but why should the republican community feel guilty over our commemorations, while, the British army carried out many dubious operations on Irish soil over the years. I’m all for forgive and forget and I look forward to a good relationship with Britain once Irish independence and unity is complete. Enough of the attempts at revisionism, it is really pathetic

    …peacetrain

    …………………………………….

    Is it just me,or is there something quite horrific about wanting to celegrate a terrorist organisation who murdered more Catholics than anyone else ??

    Twisted logic at its finest!

    As for the Army being on a par with pira death squads…………..well no actually,pira death squads were 10/1 ahead in that league !!

    The shinners may want to airbrush history,but thankfully some of us look on a brighter side of *history* than Gerry !!

  • Dixie Elliott

    The fact that Kelly had to hum and haw and get into a verbal game of tennis with Purdy instead of defending straight out the right to commemorate the Republican dead, says it all about just how shackled they are to the system.

    They can only say what is expected of them. And before long commemorations will be seen by the shinners as a hindrance to politics anyway.

  • ThomasMourne

    The IRA killed and injured many innocent people – just like the UDA/UVF as well as the RUC and British Forces. So they were all guilty of terrorism at some time.

    The British Armed forces currently terrorise supporters of Gaddafi while the Americans terrorise Pakistanis and Afghans with their drones.

    Most Irish nationalists did not support the IRA during the troubles. Shamefully, a majority of them now do support Sinn Fein – the apologists for IRA violence.

    Based on their past actions, Sinn Fein cannot justify their condemnation of the violent activities of IRA remnants. It is understandable that their leaders get themselves in a bind at this stage as they try their best to be ‘respectable’ politicians.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Much as I enjoy watching Kelly and his ilk tie himself in knots there is something disingenuous in the implied premise that there is anything he could possibly say or do which would have the slightest impact on the pondlife.

  • Cynic2

    “So they were all guilty of terrorism at some time”

    Nonsense. At attempt at an apples and pears comparison and you totally ignore intention and motive

  • Cynic2

    ” I look forward to a good relationship with Britain once Irish independence and unity is complete. ”

    Well, sorry but not in your lifetime, I am afraid, so you will have to keep watin’ and hatin’,

    and

    “Enough of the attempts at revisionism, it is really pathetic”

    I agree. SF’s revisionism has been disgraceful and the rise of the Dissers has really exposes it for what it is …blatant lies to attempt to eulogize murders and child killers

  • Cynic2

    “says it all about just how shackled they are to the system.”

    I think it says more about how weak poor Gerry is. When an awkward question is asked hes just not fast on the old feet and gets himself in no end of trouble

  • Alias

    “Is there an alert button in Connolly House that is pushed when a SF mouthpiece puts their foot in said orifice? The button-push must light-up drones’ keyboards across the country summoning them to action to defend the hive. A sort of Ministry of Truth intranet kinda thing.” – Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    Priceless.

    “It’s a simple question, have you ever done it? Have you ever asked the question of a British politician? Now we’re very clear, I am very proud of my history, I am very proud of it, I will always be proud of it, I will die a republican. And people in this area have suffered massively…”

    Ms Purdy said: “I didn’t ask you that, I asked you should you rethink it.” Mr Kelly responded: “And you think that I should not come here and praise the people who stood against sectarianism?”

    Kelly has to pretend that the sectarian murder campaign had the aim of ending sectarianiam (a strategy of putting manners on protestants by the expedient of randomly decapitating them or of promoting civil rights by violating human rights) because if they say that the aim was to end British sovereignty over the jurisdiction then they have, rather obviously, failed abysmally in that aim, given that they are now useful idiots promoting the legitimisation of British sovereignty and the normalisation of it – and being well-paid by the British state for the privilege.

    And that’s the rub for their supporters. They have traded their former right to national self-determination for a few extra comforts within the British state, and are left with the de facto acknowledgement that they supported a murder campaign that was, they assert, about internal reform. That strips them of the fig leaf of asserting a right to national self-determination by violent means, and leaves simply as supporters of murder gangs with nothing more idealogical to justify thousands of murders other than vulgar sectarian self-interest. They’re not republicans at all – just a catholic murder squad that was of invaluable assistence to the British state in consolidating its sovereignty over NI.

    They now pose as a localised version of Martin Luther King with Semtex – with nothing to justify it other than some sick claim that they were entitled to free houses from the British state and entitled to cause mayhem until they got them.

  • Brian

    “They’re not republicans at all – just a catholic murder squad that was of invaluable assistence to the British state in consolidating its sovereignty over NI.”

    They didn’t do any such thing. Their campaign didn’t change the fact that NI would be part of the UK until a majority of the 6 counties wants otherwise. Your hatred is distorting your perception.

    I know you’re gonna talk about Eire’s constitutional changes, etc, but that was just pointless words. The situation is as it would have been without the Provos….

  • Brian

    Mainland

    Terrorism is a tactic. It has been employed by the British Army, the American Revolutionary Army, the Red Army, even the Salvation Army.

    Some terrorist acts obviously are much more evil than others, some aren’t evil at all, and some can be justified if they stop further deaths/violence.

    So calling someone a terrorist without going further may be true, but it doesn’t help anything. Grouping the PIRA with Al Queda makes as much sense as grouping the British Army with the PIRA.

  • Rory Carr

    I think, Cynic2, that in response to Thomas Mourne, it is you who ignores the intention and motive of those Crown agencies who promoted, permitted and even participated in actions whereby Loyalist gangs murdered innocent Catholics solely for the purpose of terrorising the Catholic population as a whole. Or am I wrong and you believe that their actions had a higher purpose? If that is the case perhaps you would like to tell us from what purity of intent their motivation sprang.

  • Pete Baker

    “if they say that the aim was to end British sovereignty over the jurisdiction then they have, rather obviously, failed abysmally in that aim”

    Indeed, Alias.

    And a reminder of what Sinn Féin’s position previously was, as articulated by Martin McGuinness

    During Martin McGuinness’s early days as head of the IRA’s Derry Brigade in the early 1970s, he is said to have made the city’s center “look as if it had been bombed from the sky without causing the death of a single civilian”; while a decade later he sat on the IRA’s army council while it approved the bombing of the hotel used by the British Cabinet for 1984 Tory Conference and, two years later, he told delegates at a Sinn Fein conference that the party’s “unapologetic support for the right of Irish people to oppose …in arms the British forces of occupation… is a principle… it will never, never, never change, because the war against British rule must continue until freedom is achieved.” [added emphasis]

    No respect for ‘mandates’ there…

    And, as I said in that post

    In the interview Danny Morrison also suggests, when asked about the difference between the stated “chief goal” of the Provisional IRA – a united Ireland – and the current situation, that now people “feel that they’re able to look forward to a united Ireland at some stage in the future” and that “in a sense, the guerillas fought and the guerillas are in government”.

    Neither of which points addressed the question.

    And leaves another hanging in the air – what happens when that feeling goes away?

    Now that “the guerillas” are “the people in power”…

    As I’ve mentioned previously, if “No one in this small, enclosed biosphere ever told them this project was never going to work in the first place…

    It looks like we’re beginning to find out the answer to that question.

    “But we believe that we are in the countdown to a united Ireland.” [Martin McGuinness 20 April 2011]

    And how long does Martin McGuinness, et al, think they can keep repeating that line…

  • “And how long does Martin McGuinness, et al, think they can keep repeating that line…”

    How long have they been repeating it already, Pete?

    Robinson and McGuinness appear to be quite relaxed about their current mutual vetoes. The all-island bodies continue to evolve whilst the links to the rest of the UK are not being developed in tandem; they’re being allowed to wither. If SF is getting it a bit tight a few words in the right ears will lead to a few more sweeties from London – in co-operation with Dublin. It will be interesting to see what happens if Dublin is forced to renege on its financial promises.

    The rest of us can thrash around but unless the MSM are prepared to a bit of heavy lifting our efforts will go largely unnoticed by the public.

  • Pete Baker

    “How long have they been repeating it already, Pete?”

    It looks like we’re beginning to find out the answer to that question.

  • fordprefect

    So, Martina Purdy chose to insult Irelands patriot dead, is this a joke? The only people that insulted Irelands patriot dead were the SF’s that stood on their graves and told (any idiot that cared to listen), that the way forward was “British democracy”. The people beneath their well heeled shoes (suits, holiday homes, villas in Portugal and Spain etc.) were fighting for a united Ireland, NOT an internal settlement that would see “Stormont” up and running again, with SF’s cosying up to the DUP, which will see cuts in jobs across the board (watch and see) and SF venerate a bigot like Paisley! My heart goes out to the famillies of those dead young men and women that listened to these traitors in the first place! I would still like an answer from any member of what I call the “Stoop Further” party, what was the difference between what happened to Ronan Kerr and what the Stoop Furthers military wing did in the 70’s 80’s and 90’s. Are SF’s all idiots, have they never read 1984? Doublespeak and Doublethink and so on. I wish more journalists had the balls that Martina Purdy has, and keep putting these wasters (with plenty of money) on the spot! Kelly, like the rest of them, (Adams, McGuinness et al) don’t like it when a direct question is put to them, (just like their mates in Westminster). I just hope the next time it’s a question about Jean McConville, ask any one of the above, or their underlings, to condemn her killing, call it murder, condemn the people that did it, call it a crime, and ask people to tout to the cops about the people that carried it out. To this day, not one member of SF has ever done so!

  • Nunoftheabove

    fordperfect

    “The only people that insulted Irelands patriot dead were the SF’s that stood on their graves and told (any idiot that cared to listen), that the way forward was “British democracy”.”

    – When did they do this ?

    “The people beneath their well heeled shoes (suits, holiday homes, villas in Portugal and Spain etc.) were fighting for a united Ireland, NOT an internal settlement”

    – How do you claim the right to speak on their behalf ? You don’t and can’t know that some of them wouldn’t have come to the same conclusion.

    “My heart goes out to the famillies of those dead young men and women that listened to these traitors in the first place!”

    – Indeed, embarassment rather than anger might be a more appropriate response. Maybe what some of them realise was/is that they were wrong to begin with, politically if not morally, that what they killed and died for wasn’t worthwhile (a conclusion they may well have come to even had ther effort resulted in ‘victory’) and that, given the chance to relive it, they’d have realized that it was a waste of time, life and energy.

  • Cynic2

    “the links to the rest of the UK are not being developed in tandem; they’re being allowed to wither”

    have you any examples?

  • Cynic2

    “not one member of SF has ever done so!”

    Given who ordered it that might be a wise decision. More importantly, the Police have the evidence in Maloney’s book and other sources but have never even questioned certain key people about their roles. Why not?

    Well, we all know the reason for that.

  • Cynic2

    “So there’s one major change. People like you, motivated by a brutal hatred for nationalists, no longer have unfettered control of the place. ”

    Look dear Billy, the general rules of a discussion here are:

    1 someone makes a comment
    2 others analyse and sometimes expand or challenge
    3 the other poster responds

    This is called ‘a conversation’ .

    You made a post in which you made sweeping assertions. I asked you to explain and your response is to call me names

    1 that doesn’t work here

    2 it doesn’t answer the question

    3 it reflects more on your character and beliefs than mine

    You also accuse me of a ‘passive / aggressive’ response. By that I assume you mean that I dared to question your logic and analysis. Well guilty as charged on the challenge but if you dont want to be challenged here your posts just amount to a rant.

    Now, I suggest that you either stay and engage with the rest of us or try venting your anger by spraying SF (or perhaps even just Anti Unionist) Graffiti on walls.

    And just for the record you say that you assertions are based on the ‘nationalist analysis’ of NIs situation in the past. That again is a pretty sweeping statement. Is there just one such analysis? What on earth makes you think that all ‘nationislsts’ think the same way about a 35 year murder campaign by those whom I assume (my assumption you note) you support? What makes you think they all share the same political analysis?

  • Cynic2

    “the guerillas are in government”

    A nice piece of sophistry by Danny.

    The ex-guerrillas (he left the first part out for electoral reasons) are in Government because they had the wit to realize that they were beaten and chose a political path instead.

    And they were welcomed supported and actively encouraged by the Brits as part of a sophisticated strategy to try to create a long term peace and marginalize those who would still want violence.

  • Cynic2

    Rory

    Let me make my position clear, Murder is murder. If they did as you suggest they should be investigated and, if there is the evidence of what you allege, charged and brought before the courts. Period.

    But so should those politicians who committed murder and ordered others to murder.

    There should be one law for all.

  • “It looks like we’re beginning to find out the answer to that question.”

    There are an awful lot of trees there, Pete! Can you give us a guesstimate, please?

  • 241934 john brennan

    The royal wedding party is over, but the PETER-AND-I party is set to continue after the anniversary of Bobby Sand’s death.

    Of course, the irony of this is lost on erstwhile physical force republicans and loyalists, who supported death and destruction to destroy the power-sharing Sunningdale government, and is also lost on the present first and deputy first ministers until they, themselves, got crowns of office – after outright obstruction of the present Stormont Assembly. Remember the “brawl in the hall” –“no guns, no government” – “not a bullet, not an ounce” etc.

    Oh! The sweet irony for the erstwhile SF/DUP opponents – “with not even a wafer thin cigarette paper now between them – all now happily joined at the hip in the PETER-AND-I party.

  • “the PETER-AND-I party.”

    It’s an arranged ‘marriage’, jb; it has lasted longer than the DAVID/SEAMUS-AND-I one. The latter pair lacked the qualities and capabilities of dictators 😉

    I’m sorry we didn’t get to see a ‘brawl in the hall’ between Declan O’Loan and John Dallat re. the Rathlin saga. Perhaps they’re too civilised to indulge in fisticuffs!

  • 241934 john brennan

    Nevin: Verbal disagreement is the stuff of politics. Violence is for thugs. No matter the cause, deliberate fatal violence puts a permanent badge of shame on the perpetrators. The mark of Cain is never erased

    As the murderous Lady Macbeth said: “Here’s the smell of the blood still; all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand”.

  • jb, I suspect some of the violence is never just as simple as that; I wouldn’t be surprised if some who were responsible for heinous crimes came from homes where violence was never advocated or practised.

    We’ve had a very turbulent past where careless, never mind dangerous talk could lead to the loss of lives. Those who sought to provoke a fight – to let the world see who the real aggressor was – are also culpable.

  • 241934 john brennan

    Nevin: Yes. Words can be dangerous. So can the words of “rebel” songs, like “My sons have sons.” I have known such songs to beguile young bar-room republicans into losing their lives planting a bomb, while not quite sober.

  • Cynic2

    John

    You forgot the Daddy of them all

    “Ulster Says No …No….No”

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Blisset,
    “What isnt really fine, or logically sound is that what was wrong in 1970 was wrong because whats going on now is wrong.”
    I really don’t hear that point being made by any one, so you’re pushing at an open door there. You’re right it would be facile. Murdering people was wrong then and is wrong now.

    “Am I to take it from that that you are a unconditional pacifist, and you do not believe in the concept of a just war?”
    No. I believe in a monopoly on the use of force within democratic countries by the police and armed forces of the state, elected by the people. Pretty much everyone does, unless you’re a survivalist in Utah doing target practice on cut-outs of FBI men, or a supporter of some weirdo violent extremist group. Same as in any country in the world, including the Republic. No democratic state can tolerate private armies, for good reason – it’s a subversion of the will of the people and of basic political and human rights to have armed groups seeking to influence government in this way, not to mention the obvious harm they do to their victims. Yes, the state can be responsible for extra-legal violence and this obviously shouldn’t happen, but it does not make the state a terrorist organisation. I can see why Republicans, drowning in ignominy, would want to portray some kind of moral equivalence between the two, but it is legally and morally vacuous, I’m afraid. I’m sure you’ll claim Northern Ireland wasn’t democratic because Republicans kept losing elections now, or people in Cork weren’t allowed to vote, or whatever. But it was and is democratic, imperfectly so – but not in a significant way. The unionist party in Stormont were in power because they won the elections and the cheating that did happen made little or no difference to the outcome. Nationalist parties didn’t get into government because nationalism was wildly unpopular with most people, that’s the hard truth of it.

    “… actually the violence isn’t what makes it morally wrong, its the violence in the absence of an alternative peaceful means.”
    You mean, I think, what is morally wrong is violence in the presence, not absence, of alternative peaceful means. That was the situation with the IRA throughout the Troubles – there were always alternative peaceful means available. But as Republicans, they believed in taking a violent course. Their choice – and they must take full moral responsibility for it.
    I’m not saying all violence is immoral, of course – pacifism is absurd in my view. Liberal states have to reserve the right to allow their police forces to use reasonable force. And when they are up against terror gangs, that force will even be lethal sometimes. There is such a thing as a just war, such as that against the Nazis (the IRA’s allies). Though in the Troubles, we’re obviously not talking about a “war” situation, but ultimately one of violent crimes motivated by ultra-nationalist hatred (on both sides). Violent protest is just not acceptable in a liberal democracy, even an imperfect and discriminatory one, if other avenues of peaceful protest are available. The SDLP showed there was another way and most nationalists supported them. None of the violence was necessary.

    Then you refer to the “(frankly banal and useless) word ‘terrorism’.”
    We’re used to apologists for terrorists objecting to the use of the word terrorist. This is exactly why it is important to keep using it.

    Whatever the penumbra of greyness around this word (it’s in the nature of language), the activities of Northern Irish paramilitaries fall squarely within any definition of it. I am aware of the attempts to stretch “terrorism” to cover police or army violent crimes, where they have acted in excess of their powers. To not use the word terrorism for state violence is not to condone it; but few people without a stake in the outcome would describe security force action in NI as “terrorism”. It’s just not how the word is commonly used and understood.

    We reserve the more pejorative word “terrorism” for systematic violence by non-state groups because there is a moral difference between state and non-state use of force. It boils down to this: the state has a DUTY to use force to protect its people and the rule of law where necessary. Non-state groups are not so obliged and have other options available. If they choose to use violence, they are morally culpable. Apart from anything else, they are claiming for themselves superior bargaining power in democratic debates, over people who don’t use violence. This is clearly unfair.

    It cannot be an excuse that the state also uses violence. The state has to, because it needs to be able to protect society from the violent. All states do this, this isn’t some victimisation of Irish Republicans. They just feel the brunt of it because they believe in the use of violence against the state – in which they are both wrong and morally bankrupt.

    Even if you stopped using the commonly understood term for paramilitary activity – terrorism – you’d only be changing the signifier, not the signified. We’re not so angry about language as innocent people getting killed – so semantic debates are fine but are a bit of a sideshow. The fact is Republicans killed loads of people and still try to justify having done this. Call it what you want: the crime remains the same.

    But it is important that we do have a strong element of moral judgement when we look at paramilitary killings. I’m afraid apologists for Republican and Loyalist killers exploit the indeterminacy of language to obfuscate for their own ends. Moral relativism had an easy ride for 20-30 years, but the Al Qaeda phenomenon has, thank God, changed things in the public discourse now around terror. Arguments like yours sound very pre-9/11 now. We know conflicts are complex – but the days of indulging glib pseudo-academic evasiveness around words like “terrorist” are over. People have got sick of letting people who use “political” violence off the hook. So I’m calling it terrorism and most English speakers are with me, which is all that really matters linguistically.

  • fordprefect

    Nun,
    I never once claimed to be speaking on behalf of dead volunteers. But I knew a few vol’s and never once did I hear them say that they were fighting for an “internal settlement” every one of them to a man and woman, said they were fighting for a UI before they were killed. As for you asking me about SF saying “British democracy” was the way forward, well, do you live in a cave? Have you not got a tv or radio? Any of SF’s Easter commemorations I had the misfortune to see on tv or hear on radio were full of the platitudes you usually hear from the likes of the SDLP, the peace procezzzzzzzzzz, the only way forward… and lambasting people for doing what they doing only a few years back. And no, I’m not embarrassed, but I am angry. Angry at listening to lying hypocites.

  • fordprefect

    Nun,
    By the way, the people I see using images of dead vol’s more than anyone is SF, so how would they know if James Connolly, Bobby Sands etc. would support their actions now?

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    “how would they know if James Connolly, Bobby Sands etc. would support their actions now?”
    Important to stay true to the values of those jokers … question is, would Bobby Sands support the actions of Randy Lerner?

  • Nunoftheabove

    fordperfect

    Now you’re making some sense. Appropriation of the dead makes for very bad politics and there is opportunism galore in play here. Some of the language used is also highly suspect and is always a bit of a giveaway I think. It can be argued legitimately for example that the hunger strikers gave their lives for the 5 demands and, in a sense, for their jailed comrades; it can’t in reality be said that they did so for anything else though. Message manipulation left, right and centre.

    Someone who lost their life wgile on active service did not give their life at all; their life was taken from them. They may have been in pursuit of a military objective at the time and the military organization of which they were a part would have had political objectives. To say though that they died ‘for Ireland’, that’s another argument entirely.

  • Nunoftheabove

    ford

    Haven’t been living in a cave but as I suspected you’ve been unable to cite when SF have said that “British democracy” was the way forward. That may be your take on what they’re doing but my point was to what they have been saying and I don’t recall them every saying that. I don’t think you can recall it either.

    I can well understand you being angry but isn’t at least part of that anger self-disappointment i.e. that you allowed yourself to be conned by these guys in the first place and that you feel fairly foolish about it ? You’d only be human if you were angry and a bit red-faced about such a misjudgment.