Martin McGuinness leading his party to the promised land?

Sometimes you get more value out of the new social media revolution by actually telling people nothing. As mentioned before, Michelle Gildernew, Mary Lou McDonald and even Martin McGuinness have all had a run out on Twitter as possible candidates for the Irish Presidency, and the party has barely said a word abut what it’s actually thinking.

But as it turned out the high point of the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis was the public display of friendship between the Minister for 1st Derry Presbyterian Church and the Deputy First Minister on the Friday night (when the least number of delegates where in attendance). On Slugger, it seems, we could hardly speak about anything else.

Much of the focus, from a unionist point of view, was on the Minister, David Latimer (the memory of his namesake Hugh, no doubt prompting the fierce passion of some of his more fundamentalist critics).

But whatever the IRA campaign was (and it was composed of a lot of acts that many who support Sinn Fein today would rather not be reminded of), the modern Sinn Fein party is a successor to it, not a contemporary expression of it. Martin McGuinness was as tangible a part of that campaign as Gerry Adams, but he has also played critical role in his party’s decisive move away from it.

Yet, in some respects this was a rare moment when Sinn Fein was seen not so much to step away from something that had been in any case no longer viable but, perhaps, a tangible step towards something else.

To a party that’s grown accustomed to being pilloried and lectured to (and has developed an impressive array of defence mechanisms according), the Rev Latimer’s emollient words were no doubt something of a genuine surprise (and the party’s Ard Fheiseanna – generally as seamlessly curated as any Tory party seaside conference – don’t provide too many of those).

As Mary Kenny notes in the Indo, Mr McGuinness does not always come across as a charismatic in his televisual appearances. But in the personal space he has always been impressive.

Latimer’s appearance at the Waterfront Hall was no doubt good PR. But like all good PR, it was a long time in the making (the sincere sense of friendship between the two is hard to deny).

So what about this journey to the Promised Land? Well, it probably won’t have much effect in the race the Irish Presidency, whose voter population have never had to struggle to understand their fellow Protestant Irishmen, and are unlikely to see the pressing need any time soon.

But if this is belated reminder to his own supporters that the only people who will decide on whether there is to be a political union of the two parts of this island are the Protestants of Ulster, then he may have done his party and the much longer term cause of Irish unity some service.

So let the decency continue. But last word to the Poet:

It’s how we interact with one another, civilization. On the one hand, I’m interested in how we avoid tearing one another to pieces. Peace is not that, peace is the absence of that, peace is the absence of war: the opposite of war is custom, customs, and civilization. Civilization is custom and manners and ceremony, the things that Yeats says in “A Prayer for My Daughter.” We have a vocabulary of how to deal with one another and how to behave, a vocabulary of behavior, as well as things to say to one another . . . and out of that come laws and agreed ways of doing things . . . and that in daily life are a bit like form in poetry.

  • HeinzGuderian

    With all due respect Mick,if Marty was making a belated reminder to his own supporters,he didn’t need Latimer,or his cringe worthy performance.

    He just needed to tell the shinners how it is. Not the usual aul ballix about a new republic.

    Oh,and by the by,as long as the shimmers have the pira commanders leading them,they are indeed a contemporary expression to it. To say otherwise is nonsense !!

    The ‘Brits Out’ chants may have subsided. I fear the mindset has not.

  • Mick Fealty

    HG,

    I completely disagree. In fact, your attitude may be more injurious to your own cause than anything SF might be able to do on their own account.

    There is a qualitative difference between words and actions. Here’s what we had to say on the matter in our study of the future of Unionism, some eight years ago:

    Opponents frequently speak in code and may well be tempted to lie, but actions speak for themselves and cannot be deceiving. A punishment beating is an unmistakable breach of social norms, an unquestionable breach of cooperation, an action that drowns out all weaselling to the contrary.

    An arms cache deserves, as counter-intuitive as it may sound, to be taken somewhat less seriously than breaches of the ceasefire, however minor. Although illegal, it holds only the potential for violence, a promise that may or may not be fulfilled; while arms put ‘beyond use’ can easily be replaced.

    Finally, the suspicion that an ex-terrorist has not truly repented is a dangerous distraction. The strategist must face a hard truth: an opponent is not what he was, or what he thinks, but what he does.

    We have all, including Sinn Fein, have come a long way since 2003.

  • Into the west

    Heinz,
    I’m sorry but outside your bubble; to a wider audience
    the only thing cringe-worthy is reactions like yours :
    Allister(TUV), the reliable Greg Campbell, and our very own Turgon.
    The gift that keeps on giving ..
    Judging be the reactions on Nolan, protestant Ulster is split on Latimer.
    “A house divided against itself cannot stand ”

    MMG has been judged on his past actions, and cleared
    This is the view of USA, HMG, DUP etc
    so its realpolitik or “belches of bigotry” as the poet might say.

  • HeinzGuderian

    …….or what he doesn’t do.

    Sorry Mick,but I have yet to hear Marty use any words of remorse/regret/sorrow,for the pira,murder campaign ?
    I have yet to hear Marty tell his supporters just how it is. Unionists hold the key to a ui,or not.
    Indeed Marty reverted to form a mere few weeks ago,jumping up and down,fists clenched,at the temerity of the Police to arrest and question dissident republicans !!

    After 30 long years of republican murder gangs my friend,it will take a hell of a lot more than your subtle spin to convince this fella,that the wolf has turned into a lamb !!

  • Neil

    Sorry Mick,but I have yet to hear Marty use any words of remorse/regret/sorrow,for the pira,murder campaign ?

    Maybe he doesn’t feel any? In fact maybe he (and many of his colleagues) have spelled out their feelings on the matter saying that they were proud to be in the IRA and see it to this day as justified?

    I have yet to hear Marty tell his supporters just how it is. Unionists hold the key to a ui,or not.

    Dear me Heinz. Back to basics then.

    A Unionist is someone who supports the Union. The only way Unionists hold they key to a UI is if they cease to be Unionists or if their numbers reduce sufficiently.

    Indeed Marty reverted to form a mere few weeks ago,jumping up and down,fists clenched,at the temerity of the Police to arrest and question dissident republicans !!

    I would question the wisdom of Marty interfering in anyone’s arrest, however the individual in question hasn’t been charged with anything and is at this time, innocent of the slanderous charge you’ve suggested above (and if I’m not mistaken would be entitled to legal redress).

    After 30 long years of republican murder gangs my friend,it will take a hell of a lot more than your subtle spin to convince this fella,that the wolf has turned into a lamb !!

    I’m sure of two things in response to that. First he’ll be crying himself to sleep that he didn’t get to turn Heinz, intellectual and comedic heavyweight of Slugger.

    Second, Jesus himself couldn’t change your mind about Republicanism, so why would anyone else even try.

  • Mick Fealty

    Indeed HG. It’s not my job to spin on behalf of anyone. We never stint on calling SF on their actions, good or bad.

    But, as I said above, it is the actions of your opponents matter, not what they say or what they think. And, as a Unionist, you should have more of your own game at hand.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Neil

    What Jebus can,or cannot change,is neither here nor up there boy.
    Ya see,before Marty leads us all into this Promised Land,I am the very Unionist he needs to convince.

    Up to now,he is failing dismally !!

  • HeinzGuderian

    As a Unionist Mick,I freely admit I despair of the dup !!
    I have said on here before,and I will damn well say it again……..I would rather vote shinner than dup. Although I may have to cut off my right hand first !!

    The point I am labouring to make here is,Marty didn’t need Latimer to get a subtle point across to the shinner audience. He could have made the point himself if,as blogged here,he has finally seen the light about his fellow Islanders.

  • PaulT

    Heinz, technically only about 10% of unionists need convincing, although for critical mass 25% is probably a realistic figure.

    So good news – bad news

    Good news, you can hold unto your current beliefs

    Bad news, you need to ensure over 75% of unionists share your beliefs

  • Drumlins Rock

    Mick, they are having a go at you on Politic.ie about this thread, calling you bigotted, not very nice of them.

  • JH

    Why, do you need reassurance that it’s still there?

    I could understand your concern given the demographic changes on the City Council.

    But you shouldn’t worry too much. Nationalist politicians will never do to your culture and community what your politicians did to ours. Maybe when you look at the flag you might wonder whether it’s flying proudly or ironically!

  • Lionel Hutz

    I was thinking about some of his comments and it makes you wonder why Sinn Fein can say some things that the SDLP cannot.
    Marty says love unionists. Can you imagine if Margaret Ritchie said that – what would the reaction be?

  • granni trixie

    I think that there is much to be gained from going out of ones comfort zone (indeed I have done so myself in attending a few OO ‘educational’ events).Latimer however came across as ingratiating and insensitive. Why did he not use the opportunity to challenge as only friends can do?.Reconciliation work does not require one to “pretend” the past never happened or that one accepts ones friends version of events.

  • Neil

    Reconciliation work does not require one to “pretend” the past never happened or that one accepts ones friends version of events.

    Reconciliation work does not require every conversation to be about the past.

    Why do you assume Latimer would not accept that version of events? I paraphrase but the man said something like there are two stories regarding the past on this island, both stories are relevant, both stories are true to the person telling the story. What’s the problem?

  • “But in the personal space he has always been impressive”

    Here’s some evidence from two exponents of the ‘charm’ approach, Mick. You’ll not be surprised to hear that I didn’t fall for it 🙂

    “he has also played critical role in his party’s decisive move away from it”

    I’d have thought that the decision to change tactics would have been taken by the parent body, the PRM Army Council, not the political wing.

  • Mick Fealty

    Well, I’m not going to speculate on the latter, but I suspect they’d bottle Martin if they could.

  • HeinzGuderian

    “Maybe he doesn’t feel any? In fact maybe he (and many of his colleagues) have spelled out their feelings on the matter saying that they were proud to be in the IRA and see it to this day as justified?”

    neil/jh

    That’s the problem. If you can’t see it,can’t see what pira murder squads done to your community,you are further gone that I,at first,thought !!
    I’ve heard of turkeys voting for xmas,but this is beyond the pale !!! 😉

  • “I’m not going to speculate on the latter”

    Mick, your wording leaves the impression that the decision was taken by the political wing whereas it might be more accurate to say that the political wing endorsed the change of tactics taken by the parent body.

    I think its still important to draw a distinction between parapoliticians and politicians, between the likes of SF and the SDLP.

  • Mick Fealty

    Is this another round of ‘tree pointing’? Some ‘impressions’ can be very misleading!

  • “Is this another round of ‘tree pointing’?”

    I think I’ll leave the tree fetish to you and Gerry, Mick 😉

  • Into the west

    Mick, point of order please

    Heinz,
    I have to correct you re: what you allege as pira murder campaign

    From CAIN: Of the 1711 deaths attributed to IRA
    456 were British Army,
    271 were RUC
    183 were UDR
    495 Civilians

    Now that tells us, all of us, in clear terms,
    that the IRA were egaged in a war with the state,
    and its security forces, be they Army or Police.
    With the kind of civilian death toll you’d expect in any insurgency.

    It does no good in the long run to tell lies, or make up stories.

    Heinz once you grasp that one,
    you can judge MMG on what he’s been “doing” since the end of that war.

    Things begin to make sense.

    Even from a blogging POV it’ll calm you down
    and your responses will be more measured
    where less is definitely more …

  • granni trixie

    Into the West: Are the RUC etc not also human beings?- “if you prick me do I not bleed” as the Bard has it.

    What you say only holds if one believes in so called “legitimate targets” .

  • With the kind of civilian death toll you’d expect in any insurgency

    What a chilling rationalisation.

    Re the theme of the post, MMcG could bring the ghost of a repentant Sir Edward Carson onto the stage, it would have next to zero effect to moving Unionists over to the SF or UI camp. And SF are not that stupid enough to believe it would.

    The message was either for the more discerning of the ROI’s electorate( or at least the section who actually care) that the party is “reaching” out.

    Or just possibly it’s a message to the backswoodsmen in their own party:

    “Look lads, this is what a real life Prod looks like. It might make strategical sense to start pretending to be nice to them and see if we can finally kill off the SDLP”

    Bit like Robinson with integretated education, the target audience isn’t what it should be.

  • Limerick

    “Maybe he doesn’t feel any? In fact maybe he (and many of his colleagues) have spelled out their feelings on the matter saying that they were proud to be in the IRA and see it to this day as justified?”

    That is 100% correct. They are absolutely proud and delighted with what they did to this community. That is why you have creatures like Bic McFarlane, who machine gunned and bombed a pub full of civilian men and women, standing in front of them and rapping out “Unrepentant fenian bastard.” To rapturous applause. That is why all the outreach was knocked on the head by Uncle |gerry’s closing speech.

    That is why unionists utterly and completely detest them. If nationalism wanted people to convince unionists that their best interests lay in a united Ireland then they made a big mistake in letting themselves be represented by a bunch of murderous, goons.

  • Limerick

    “Now that tells us, all of us, in clear terms,
    that the IRA were egaged in a war with the state,
    and its security forces, be they Army or Police.”

    It tells us that the IRA murdered more people than anyone else.

  • “Sometimes you get more value out of the new social media revolution by actually telling people nothing.”

    Mick, Peter and Martin will be talking about the social and other media in California in the next few hours:

    Peter: “The entertainment and technology industries are now inextricably linked whether it is in the fields of special effects, gaming, mobile apps or social media the entertainment and technology industries are transforming how we consume media. As a result over the last four years the Executive has placed the technology and creative industries at the heart of its programme for government.”

    Martin: “Modern technology is moving forward at a great pace, extending our boundaries and offering greater consumer choice. Over half the population of the north use social media.”

    I wonder will anyone ask about this, er, programme for government, especially its current status. ‘Extending our boundaries’ is unlikely to be a declaration of intent to take over Louth or Donegal!

    It seems the NI Bureau in Washington has been telling folks nothing since the March 2010 visit of Peter And Martin 🙁

  • [contd]OOPs my time clock might be a day out. The BBC and OFMDFM are giving different dates. The morning after the night before the duo were/are attending a ‘digital media breakfast’. Sounds like an Ulster Fry with chips 🙂

  • ” perhaps, a tangible step towards something else?”

    It might be but the “something else” is not necessarily (and perhaps very unlikely to be) the “promised land”

    I dont think that there is as much symbolism in this story as journalists, such as Mary Kenny, would like to think. Is encouraging a Sinn Fein supporter to “Hug a unionist” a challenge? I would suggest that wearing a poppy, as Margaret Ritchie did, is much more of one. To me, this is a pure opportunistic stunt by a party which has generally been starved of success when it has previously attempted a “charm offensive” towards unionists.

    The reference to a “promised land” does suggest to me that there is a bit too much make-believe and a leap in the imagination when it comes to analysis. Let us not get carried away. There are very many forces at work that shape Northern Ireland’s changing society and when you consider that carefully Sinn Fein’s evolution is but a small cog in a very big flywheel. Without losing site of the generality of that point, it is worth reminding ourselves that an NILT survey a few months ago suggested a trend away from a desire for a united Ireland within the Catholic community. That was followed by Peter Robinson’s ‘the DUP will be a cross-community party’ speech.

    I suspect you will soon see stunts like this from the Unionist side. They wont be promoted by Tom Elliott, that is for sure but don’t be surprised if a GAA official turns up to the next DUP conference.

  • BluesJazz

    They (SF) should invite Ed Milliband next year. Nobody else will. Latimer may well be a contestant for Private Eye’s Order of the Brown Nose (OBN) award, but Christ, Millibands pathetic speech today at the TUC conference would have had his father cringing in absolute embarrassment along with the rest of us.

  • Comrade Stalin

    into the west :

    MMG has been judged on his past actions, and cleared
    This is the view of USA, HMG, DUP etc
    so its realpolitik or “belches of bigotry” as the poet might say.

    Where on earth did you get this idea ? You should not confuse the fact that people have agreed to bury the hatched, with the idea that any of the actors here have been judged – or cleared.

  • ..leading to the promised land..

    Doesn’t that take 40 years of wandering around in the wildness and the leader doesn’t actually get there?

  • Kevsterino

    I was just thinking about that, Joe. I guess that puts Martin in the role of Joshua, eh?

  • Alias

    “But if this is belated reminder to his own supporters that the only people who will decide on whether there is to be a political union of the two parts of this island are the Protestants of Ulster, then he may have done his party and the much longer term cause of Irish unity some service.”

    This is conflating acceptance and support. More specifically, it conflates increased acceptance of the legitimacy of the Shinner political party by the Protestant community with support by that community for that party’s claimed unity agenda.

    Latimer, as the token Protestant, at no point claimed that he intended to vote for the Shinners or supported the claimed unity agenda, so there is no basis to claim that the unity agenda has been advanced in any way by the attendance of Latimer at the conference.

    This increased acceptance of the Shinners by the Protestant community is based on the Shinners acceptance of the legitimacy of British rule, and is not based on the curious assumption that the Protestant community is no longer unionist.

    The more remote the prospect of unity becomes (and now only 16% of NI’s population support that agenda), the more the Shinners will come to be seen as Carson-like figures who were key to the maintencance of the union by alternative means. They may yet end up among the heroes of unionism!

  • John Ó Néill

    “…the only people who will decide on whether there is to be a political union of the two parts of this island are the Protestants of Ulster…”

    While I have obvious difficulties with how that is couched (is this what that daft p.ie abuse was about?), there is an inescapable truth of sorts at the centre of that statement. Whatever tactical means are employed, the two strategies with most potential for of a sustainable political achievement of a united Ireland would seem to be to source political support from within the *Protestant* community (if we want to use that label) and fundamentally transform the dynamic that has sustained the unionist project, or, detach London from its rather costly real estate on the island of Ireland. They aren’t mutually exclusive as tactics either.

    Whether you want to see Latimer as a dupe or as gutsy – the response of unionist politicians, by definition, is hardly of interest to republicans (you’d have to assume, by defintion, they aren’t going to be persuaded in the short term or they wouldn’t be activists). It is the reaction of those *Protestants* (in the sense Mick means) in the north that is of interest. Oddly, the excitable unionist commentary interpreting the event for their constituency is pretty entertaining.

  • Alias

    It still proves no more than Latimer has a good personal relationship with Marty, so if ‘hugging a proddy’ is to be extrapolated into a political strategy, then Marty only has to hug another few hundred thousand of them.

    It still doesn’t translate as support for their unity agenda since a shared political agenda isn’t a precondition to friendship. Most Catholics and Protestants in NI got along together – even when the Shinners were busy bombing the hell out of them – and didn’t need to share a relgion or an agenda to do it.

    If Marty can’t persuade his good ‘friend’ to endorse his claimed agenda, why does he think it will work elsewhere?

  • PaulT

    “…the only people who will decide on whether there is to be a political union of the two parts of this island are the Protestants of Ulster…”

    Micks statement is no different to the Irish voting on the Nice Treaty. The decision rested solely with the Irish people whether or not to vote yes.

    It took a few attempts, there was quite a bit of smoke and mirrors, regigging and rewording, but in the end the Irish delivered the required ‘Yes’

    OR

    Is it the recent AV referendum, well and truely kicked into touch.

    Its all very well for smug comments like this to come from the Slugger compound, but the regime should not be feeling too confident yet on the support of loyalists (or unionists)

    My advice to Mick is to wait and see what the question is first!
    Its simil

  • pippakin

    I don’t understand the debate. Its obvious that to gain a UI republicans need to get a considerable number of people of who are currently voting unionist to vote for them. The change won’t come if republicans continue to crow over the carcass of unionism like some kind of dung hill cock. It is a question of persuasion and it will take as long as it takes, currently delay is not a problem since the south is a financial basket case.

    Getting a presbyterian minister to speak at the Ard Fheis was a good idea, it has backfired because the speech was poor and aimed at only one audience.

  • Alias

    Pip, unionists aren’t going to stop being unionists just because ‘nationalists’ are jolly nice to them. It doesn’t seem to work in the converse, however, since more nationalists are now embracing the status quo as it continues to improve. So the ‘hug a taig’ strategy of the British state is working nicely…

  • pippakin

    Alias

    So nationalists can be won over to unionism but not the other way around? I don’t believe that! Perhaps the older generation will be harder to convince but the younger ones, growing in peace? It may be that some will hear non stop sectarian bile at home but when they go and meet new people in peace they will make their own choices and I believe a united Ireland is a natural and obvious choice!

  • michael-mcivor

    There are thousands and thousands of unionists who no longer vote for any unionist party- nobody seems to want there vote- nothing wrong if they give there vote to Sinn Fein- its up to them-

  • Alias

    Pip, it’s the insurmountable advantage that unionists have of being the beneficiary of the status quo. In reality, it was always absurd to claim that the best way of destroying the constitutional status quo was by improving it, That is the best way of consolidating it. Plus, giving up your former right to self-determination and accepting the legitimacy of British rule is also a rather absurd way of asserting a right to self-determination and rejecting the legitimacy of British rule.

    They have been meeting “new people in peace” although the Shinners’ sectarian murder camapign. Almost no sectarian murders were committed by those who were not members of the murder gangs. They were meeting “new people in peace” before the Shinners’ sectarian murder campaign, and that didn’t stop them from being unionists then either.

  • Neil

    Alias,

    you’re making the mistake of thinking that you can succesfully interpret the Shinner’s motives regarding Latimer, and given your contributions I would suggest that you’ve failed. I don’t think SF had Latimer talk to either advance unity (as you say Latimer does not support unity – we know that, SF knew it prior to any speech) or to win over Unionist voters (let’s have a teeny weeny bit of respect for Unionist voters and assume they won’t be swayed by a friendship between a Presbyterian and our DFM).

    So what could the motive be? Apply Occam’s Razor and where do we end up? Seems likely to me that the motivation is to display a sense of progress, from the 70s to peace to condemning Republican violence to having a Presbyterian Minister saying ‘We do not have to agree with one another all the time, but we can still be friends with one another. We have different versions of our shared history and we need to respect them because we want to share our future in a better way’.

    Do you think that SF didn’t know what the Rev was going to say? Do you think they invite people a whim, hoping for the best? Or do you think they investigate what’s coming? Because if it’s the latter we know Latimer said he doesn’t support unity, and he explicitly talked about respecting our different identities, not Unionism being consumed by nationalism in a pleasant fashion.

    And if the shinner’s knew what was coming your suggested motivations are clearly, demonstrably well wide of the mark. It’s simply a display of progress, a step on the journey from paramilitarism to respectability.

  • “It’s simply a display of progress, a step on the journey from paramilitarism to respectability.”

    Neil, it looked more like an attempt to portray parapoliticians as politicians. Mick has speculated that there was ‘the sincere sense of friendship’ whereas McGuinness may merely have been on a charm offensive. His reported bully-boy behaviour in the Executive displayed a distinct lack of charm.

    The journey from paramilitarism is hampered by divisions in the Republican family. I’ve already pointed out that in Moyle the first preference vote split SF 53%/Independent (Republican) 47%. The political wing will still be taking its political direction from the Army Council; members of the public are unable to freely bring charges against candidates or elected representatives; and the organised crime wing is still in business.

  • Neil

    Neil, it looked more like an attempt to portray parapoliticians as politicians.

    You say potato, I say potahto. I wouldn’t otherwise seek to defend Marty against the remainder of that paragraph, I think you’re probably on the money.

    The journey from paramilitarism is hampered by divisions in the Republican family. I’ve already pointed out that in Moyle the first preference vote split SF 53%/Independent (Republican) 47%.

    That may be, but the Shinners knew that this was coming when the provos left the stage. There were always going to be some who disagreed and split off to dissident parties/organisations and others who decide to stand on their own brand of Republicanism.

    The important picture is the province wide one, which suggests that the vast majority of people don’t want anymore tragedy. Some may decide to continue but without popular support they (IMHO) are doomed to a spectacular failure. Independent, peaceful Republicans are of course to be welcomed.

    The political wing will still be taking its political direction from the Army Council; members of the public are unable to freely bring charges against candidates or elected representatives; and the organised crime wing is still in business

    I don’t buy that personally, I suspect you feel you have evidence to the contrary or know something many of us do not. I don’t believe the A/C still pulls the strings, I think it’s like the bogeyman for Unionists, and conveniently leads them to the conclusion that SF and Republicans can never be trusted in case the big bad A/C decides to flex it’s muscles.

    As regards the organised crime wing, I don’t see the Tories sweeping anything damaging to SF under the carpet, in fact I’d suggest that if they could pull the rug out from under the assembly and install the UUP as their chosen partners in NI they’d do it. I just can’t see how it’s possible for the ‘organised crime wing’ to be still in business without the rest of us finding out about it.

  • Neil, I try to follow the decency route promoted by Mick but that Longley poem doesn’t fit our circumstances, it doesn’t deal with a context of opposing constitutional aspirations.

    I’m trying to encourage Moyle councillors to abide by their own Good Relations guidelines but some just can’t resist the opportunity for a cat-fight 🙂

    Mitchel McLoughlin has acknowledged that the Army Council is the ‘legitimate government’ so far as SFers are concerned and Ed Moloney and others have shed a reasonable degree of light on the inner workings of the PRM. That TUAS document explains that the PRM will forgo violence if progress can be made on the political front; it doesn’t eschew organised crime.

    The MSM doesn’t always publish all of the fruits of its research into paramilitary activity because of the threats to those who might wish to seek legal redress and I take the same line.

    London and Dublin are very keen to contain paramilitary excess as far as is possible to Northern Ireland. That’s why some folks have immunity from prosecution even though their misdemeanours may be quite recent. The Conservative/UUP link-up was a complete mismatch as all our major local parties can’t afford the luxury of restricting themselves to a Conservative, Labour or Liberal pool. The details about organised crime can be found in the reports of the cross-party Northern Ireland Affairs Committee and it’s currently investigating fuel laundering and smuggling.

  • PaddyReilly

    Its obvious that to gain a UI republicans need to get a considerable number of people of who are currently voting unionist to vote for them

    And to get a United Kingdom, we need to get a considerable number of people who are currently Republican to vote for the DUP? Please think before you post.

    To make a United Ireland practicable, one needs either 5% of those (Protestants) who are currently voting Unionist to change sides, or 10% of the same to stop voting at all, whether through

    1) loss of interest in politics, apathy or despair;
    2) migration;
    3) death by suicide or murder;
    4) death by natural attrition.

    Number four still remains the most likely. Studying past Unions (those of Scotland with England and Ireland with both of them) I find that bribery was an important factor in bringing them about, the expense of this being partly offset by the English bribing the voters with the voters’ own money.

    The number of people who need to be bribed is about 10% of the Unionist population: that is, 1% of the total voting population of Ireland, which doesn’t sound too many.

    If MMcG could persuade the Southern government to headhunt Northern Protestants to high paying jobs in the Deep South, or supply grants to enable them to migrate to New Zealand, they would be doing something practicable. But in all likelihood he will not even attempt such a course, and this is just talk, so as you were.

  • pippakin

    PaddyReilly

    And to get a United Kingdom, we need to get a considerable number of people who are currently Republican to vote for the DUP? Please think before you post.

    No they don’t, all they need do is maintain the status quo. Its a lot easier to hold what you’ve already got as any opposition party anywhere will confirm. If you add into that the number of people who are wary, even afraid of such major change it becomes even more of an uphill climb. Not to mention decades of violence…

  • son of sam

    If Martin Mc Guinness [in the words of the Rev Latimer] is one of the truly great leaders of our time,where does that leave John Hume?There must be a hierarchy of esteem or does £1 million fast track your status!What about some outreach to the man who brought investment to Derry when Martys associates were bombing it?

  • After 30 long years of republican murder gangs my friend,it will take a hell of a lot more than your subtle spin to convince this fella,that the wolf has turned into a lamb !! …. HeinzGuderian 13 September 2011 at 10:13 am

    Methinks from wolf into jungle king is more the reality, HeinzGuderian.

    A little something that requires more Active Progressive Party Spinning

    Truth Telling … with All of the Magic of the Blarney and Craic is an Overwhelming Fiction with No Peer or Boundary, only Fences to Clear into Virgin Pastures.

    You might like to enquire after Sinn Fein’s Cyber Wing, just in case they are working on something novel/revolutionary/incendiary for Public BroadBandCast Communications Systems?

    They do have a Cyber Wing, don’t they?

  • Alan N/Ards

    There is a programme on next Monday night (I think) about the man who I believe is the greatest leader that this island has ever seen. John Hume. As a unionist I wish political unionism had listened to this man and had been willing to compromise in the early 70’s. He didn’t need a gun to change things, just common sense and decency.

  • son of sam

    Where does common sense and decency get you nowadays?Eaten bread is soon forgotten.If more unionists had listened to John Hume in the 70s the province might have been spared a lot of heartbreak.But then Peter and Martin had their own agendas .At least most of the people of Derry still have respect for Hume,a man who wrecked his health trying to do the decent thing.

  • Limerick

    “If more unionists had listened to John Hume in the 70s the province might have been spared a lot of heartbreak”

    Son of Sam,

    If John Hume had been a bit more loyal to Gerry Fitt and a bit less determined to ‘trundle’ unionists into a united Ireland the province might have been spared a lot of heartbreak.

  • HeinzGuderian

    And to get a United Kingdom, we need to get a considerable number of people who are currently Republican to vote for the DUP? Please think before you post.

    Post of the Week Award……..or maybe that should be,post of the weak ? 😉