“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

As with the Red Queen so too, it would seem, with Sinn Féin – who published their 2015 Westminster Election Manifesto today.

The BBC report notes

Deputy leader Martin McGuinness said that he does not believe any of the main parties in Northern Ireland will play a role in the formation of the next government and that any claims to the contrary were “misleading”.

Well, Sinn Féin will not play any role.  But other Northern Ireland parties might, depending on the result.  That’s just the reality of the situation, regardless of what Martin McGuinness may, or may not, believe.  But when you’ve made yourself mathematically irrelevant to the outcome, you probably have to pretend that everyone else is too…

There’s more magical thinking from the party in the Irish Times report

Mr Adams called for a “dedicated” Northern Ireland plebiscite on the EU in the event of the Conservatives winning the Westminster general election and David Cameron honouring his pledge to hold an “in-out” vote on Europe.

“If there is to be a referendum – and there is no certainty about this – then Sinn Féin believes there must be a separate and binding one here in the North,” he said.

Mr Adams said that if Britain were to vote to quit Europe and Northern Ireland voted to remain then the North should be allowed continue as a member of the European Union.

Well, we can.  After Northern Ireland declares independence and applies in our own right, and if we meet the Copenhagen criteria, we can join the other member states of the EU[And don’t fiddle the books! – Ed]  Until then, it’s all of the UK out, or none of the UK out.

It doesn’t stop there…

Mr McGuinness said that the first issue for Sinn Féin after the next London administration comes into power is to hold all-party negotiations with the British government on the current impasse over welfare reform.

[What do you call doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? – Ed]  But it worked so well for the party the last time!

Back to the BBC report

Sinn Féin is to seek an extra £1.5bn for Northern Ireland in negotiations with an incoming government.

What they’re going to negotiate with isn’t exactly clear… [Give us the money, or the bunny gets it! – Ed]

Or, as Liam Clarke suggested a few days ago

To a limited degree Sinn Fein must be hoping that MPs who do take their seats do have some influence. The republican party won’t want to lose seats, and probably won’t anyway. Yet getting more money from Britain is the way in which the Assembly is most likely to survive.

There is a caveat…

If the DUP and other Northern Ireland MPs have enough votes to sustain a minority government for five years then they might get something, but it would be through gritted teeth.

Both main British parties have made it clear that they intend cutting welfare further, £3bn in the case of Labour, £12bn from the Tories. Both have made it clear that if we want a more generous system then we can pay for it ourselves.

Changing that would be a major crisis and there would be complaints from other regions if they don’t get the same. Regions, that is, where British ministers and MPs are elected. The Scottish and Welsh legislatures would also be watching so bailing us out for busting our welfare budget could turn out to be an unexpectedly expensive decision.

And finally on Sinn Féin’s wish list, in case you’d forgotten…

Mr Adams also called for a Border poll on a united Ireland during the term of the next Northern Assembly which is due to start in May next year.

[“Economic crises, however severe, will come and go…” – Ed]  Time for another World Tour, then…

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  • Robin Keogh

    Its not something that will be an issue in any event. And James referring to half a million voters as people who simply do as they are told smacks of the old Unionist superiority affliction, or am I misreading u? My dream result in this election would be a conservative government in coalition with UKIP supported by the DUP. Its not gonna happen though ;-(

  • Robin Keogh

    Gopher, while many people crit Wiki and for good reason most academic institutions dont recognise it as a credible reference, it can be extremely helpful in directing one to more reliable sources.

  • Robin Keogh

    Nailed it !

  • james

    Fairly unlikely, but if it does happen….I take it we will have radio silence from you in terms of criticism of it’s every move. It being your dream result and all.

  • james

    I enjoy our little chats myself, Robin. But in all earnestness now and joking apart you did say did you not that there is no part any of our parties getting involved in national politics because we don’t wield a big enough stick in that arena. That is how I read your comment. Where do I err?

  • Robin Keogh

    Thats exactly true and a fair reflection of the opinions of most political science academics. However i never claimed that opposition was not a fundamental part of democracy nor did i suggest that republicans only participate on condition they form the majority. Thats a wild misrepresentation of what i said.

  • Robin Keogh

    Its unlikely the next SOS will call a referendum on the north in the next assembly term unless SF are in government in Dublin. If the Irish gov feel they are not ready to deal with a UI then there would be no point in having a poll. Also, bothe the census results and the election results would have to show both communities at least demographically at par before such an announcement could be justified. My own guess is that we will have a poll around 2022. Hopefully by then the 40% who say they would like a UI within the next twenty years will have swollen substantially.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Robin at last years Euro Elections the NI Electoral Vote split 48 Nationalist 52 Unionist. If this could be held in a border poll in 2022 then it would be seen has a success for SF and they could project a time line when they believed they could move it to a 51-49 win, but like I said in my previous post it also could be a miscalculation because in a straight Yes – No In – Out Vote will the 48 be held from the nationalist vote. The 48-52 only represents 60 of the electorate. How would the other 40 vote ? By all means I can see the SF position by consistently calling for a Border Poll because if I was on that side of the fence I would want to know what is required to get to the winning post but also it makes it difficult for a twin policy of unionist outreach and reconcilation ? It would be interesting to see a SF response if a Border Poll returned a 60-40 stay in UK. This would mean that the status quo would at least last for another generation (50 years)

  • SeaanUiNeill

    It would not surprise me. My grandfather commanded some of the anti-aircraft batteries in North Down and I remember him holding forth on the iniquity of governments in general. As I understand it, the pressure for the Dublin Fire Service to help in the Blitz started at grass roots in the service. Of course Warnock felt that many of the defence measures organised for England would be utterly unnecessary as Belfast was unlikely to be attacked (and such defence would be expensive). This was bitterly opposed by the soldiers consulted as typical politician ignorance of realities. In the event they were proved right.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Gopher, these issues, and the degree to which any action effected the war effort are still hotly argued, and are certainly not something to slap your hand on a table about and claim as any sort of final word. The ball bearing raids did fully stop a serious amount of war production at a critical moment (unlike Harris’s “inconveniencing” of production), and the oil campaign led, as one example, to the first German Jet fighters being pulled out to their runways by horses to conserve fuel. But such detail is quite irrelevant to the point I’m making, that Britain’s actual targeting of civilians unquestionably contravened the Hague conventions.

    I’m puzzled that you are claiming the Britain did not contravene the convention. Did they, or did they not carry out area bombing policies that ensured that civilian areas would be targeted? The 1907 Hague Convention (IV) clearly states:

    Article 25: The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited.

    Article 26: The officer in command of an attacking force must, before commencing a bombardment, except in cases of assault, do all in his power to warn the authorities.

    Article 27: In sieges and bombardments all necessary steps must be taken to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not being used at the time for military purposes.
    It is the duty of the besieged to indicate the presence of such buildings or places by distinctive and visible signs, which shall be notified to the enemy beforehand.

    The first article is clearly breached by Harris’s policy, and the others were so utterly ignored in his area bombing campaign that I do not know where to begin……

    The only nation who had flagrantly violated these agreements before harris started his campaign was Japan, whose terror bombing of Chinese cities in the Sino-japanese war particularly worried FDR, I’m told.

    Harris’s policy of targeting civilians really started in 1941;

    “The ultimate aim of an attack on a town area is to break the morale of the population which occupies it. To ensure this, we must achieve two things: first, we must make the town physically uninhabitable and, secondly, we must make the people conscious of constant personal danger. The immediate aim, is therefore, twofold, namely, to produce (i) destruction and (ii) fear of death.”

    How, oh how, does this not contravene the Hague Convention (IV)?

    The Nuremberg Charter, upon which the Nuremberg Trials were conducted declared such bombing a war crime. Article 6(b) states that:

    “wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity”

    is a violation of the laws or customs of war, therefore, making it a war crime. I know, you’ll claim “military necessity”, but so could the Germans for much of what their war criminals were hanged for (as they did in the event), with similar degrees of spurious “justification”.

    And to get back to the core of the point I have been making about the head posting here, so could the IRA! If they were unjustified (and I utterly contend that they were), so was Harris, and for similar reasons, having no other way to effectively wage war to the extent both wished to wage it. In the light of the Hague Conventions and even of Nurenberg Harris’s area bombing must be considered as a breach of international agreements, in its effect a war crime, and anything else is simply double think.

  • mickfealty

    In other words, they are having the electorate on?

  • Robin Keogh

    Not at all mick. SF are committed to the successfully functioning of the temporary playhouse 😉

  • mickfealty

    Playing along is the words you’re searching for there. Unless of course, that’s one of your six impossible things for today?

    Can’t have it both ways mucker…

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Which, Robin, is exactly why I’d cited it here. It’s generally pretty good on its pieces on the Area Bombing Campaign.

  • Robin Keogh

    The assembly is important of course in that it presented an opportunity for both sides of the community to prove they could in fact work together on the infamous bread and butter issues. But SF have never made it a secret that they see the arrangements as just another step towards complete unification and I would never honestly suggest that any SF member deliberately tries to prevent the institutions from working effectively. But the arrangements simply have failed to break down the antagonistic relationship between both sides. For as long as nationalists and republicans keep the issue of aUI on the stove, Unionists will always be unsettled. The answer of course is to agree to take the issue off the stage but as I mentioned before I think, that will only happen if it seems apparent that Unionists would be willing to settle for a watered down version of UK as it is. Given the battle over the Fleg, that does not seem likely. In the meantime SF can make the most of the assembly as a politcal training ground for their members to pick up the skills of logistic politicking and paliamentary culture. whilst they wait for their moment.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Indeed, Robin. And while I’m well enough known for using the term “voting by standing order” for my fellow citizens, actually seeing someone seriously supporting a Unionist position criticise SF for “brainwashing” is almost as puzzling to me as finding out that people still exist out there who think that the area bombing of civilians by the British in WWII is not a contravention of the Hague Conventions! But then I’m watching George Monbiot’s efforts (alongside others) to effect a citizen arrest of Tony Blair for war crimes with considerable interest. If only…..

  • Robin Keogh

    You have hit the nail on the head in some ways there regarding electoral tunout. We have no idea what the missing 40% think however as election results seem to throw up consistantly similar results and assuming its not the same people voting every time it should be safe to assume that generally speaking Nats and Reps have around 40% support, Unionists have 50% and others have 10%.

    In the Euro vote, turnout was down to 45% in CNR community and 53% in the PUL community which was reflected in the overall result. To be honest this gives me a bit of a squeeky bum because I am hoping …no, praying that it was an anomoly. We will have a better idea come May.

    As it stands the CNR community make up 42.5% of the actual electorate (those over 18) while the PUL community make up 53% based on 2011 census stats. Because of the higher birthrate amongst Catholics and far lower death rate the CNR elecotorate is growing by approx 7,000 per year. Only problem is that these little feckers dont go out and vote, however they most likely will vote in a border poll and if opinion polls are correct we know that the within the younger age cohort there is a much bigger Gra for Unity. On the flip side of all that we see the PUL electorate overall pretty static and in some areas in decline. Calculations suggest that sometime around 2020/21 there will in fact be a slim CNR electoral majority.

    In terms of outreach it cant be conditional. It would be unreasonable for Unionists to suggest that they will not respond to outreach so long as UI is on the table and I dont suspect that will be the case in any event. Equally if a UI poll is defeated or not called, Nats and Reps have no justification in using that to repel Unionist outreach. Whether the status quo remains for ten years, twenty years or as u suggest maybe 50 years, both side have an equal responsibility to engage in genuine outreach regardless of the situation.

    Aside, I think if a vote on a UI were to be beaten 60/40 in 2021 or therabouts it would be at least twenty years before its revisited, not fifty as you suggest.

  • mickfealty

    But you said it wasn’t important.

  • Robin Keogh

    Wouldnt be the first time i have contradicted myself and it sure certainly wont be the last xx

  • Robin Keogh

    Dire Consequences? Such as? In fairness all political party’s don’t ever really shine until they are in proper governemnt and have real power to effect change and impliment policies. Whether its right or left, their success depends on how the public prioritise sujectively. The conflictual relationship up North ia symptom rather than a cause so its important for me anyway to judge all political parties on my ‘best guess’ at how they might actually improve things rather than maintain a stale status quo. I believe Irish Unity with Unionist and Nationalist forming a new country, a new political culture and a new tied identity would present a phenomonal opportunity for Ireland inc to grow and prosper in a way we have never experienced or dared hope for before. I am not bothered about the flag or where the Capital is situated, I am not bothered about loyalists/Unionists the orange order or Republicans celebrating their history either, it can be accomodated if we are United politically and economically. It just means we have to think aoutside the box. For nationalists and republicans that means looking at Irish Unity differently and seperatly from the sentimentalilty of the past, and Unionists finding somewhere in their socio-political psychology a willingness to adopt a new Britishness, constitutionally garaunteed and protected. But this can only come about when both communities realise that for a permanent settlement to be achieved, one which can be never overturned, they have to let go of the mutual mistrust, tribal divisions and accusatory narrative.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “Dire Consequences? Such as?”

    The manner in which the approach matters such as ‘shared space’, ‘shared future’, ‘neutrality’ and the Irish language is dire.

    They don’t do or even consider what is pragmatic, they do what they ‘prefer’.

    Their use of the Irish language is detrimental to the aims of those who would like to see the language revived and used by all (including yours truly)

    http://amgobsmacked.blogspot.co.nz/2014/10/santa-isnt-real-and-hard-truths.html

    As long as they use in in the fashion that they do then it’ll be a totem pole for the fleggers and unDUP types to dance around.

    It’s that simple.

    Consider that SF want more Irish language schools. They have the power (or at least influence) to free up some cash by merging a few schools (not every mixed village in NI needs TWO separate schools).

    But they don’t and won’t. (But Georgesays they should: http://sluggerotoole.com/2015/04/23/senator-george-mitchell-recommends-integrated-education-queens-conflict-transformation-spring-festival/#disqus_thread )

    The apartheid is more important to them than pursuing their own stated goals even if it contradicts their own stance on the evils of ‘duplication of services’; http://sluggerotoole.com/2014/08/05/reducing-duplicity-within-the-education-system/

    O’Dowd was happy enough to attempt to close a Catholic primary school that attempted to switch to integrated status under the guise of ‘finance’ http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-32093222 .

    But he won’t swing the same axe of austerity when it comes to de-segregating just a small portion of the education system.

    Likewise, they’re happy enough to protest outside of Magee College Derry (in an area that badly needs investment) given that Farry’s dept doesn’t have the money to fund the expansion in question. http://www.derrynow.com/news/protest-this-afternoon-over-magee-expansion-plans-controversy/4286

    But what happened when Farry tried to claw back some money by sensibly cutting the funds to Belfasts TWO (repeat TWO) teacher training colleges?
    A squawking session of the first degree!!
    We don’t NEED two teacher training colleges but apparently we do need to ensure that themuns and usuns can’t be taught under the same roof.

    I could go on and on Robin but I’ll cut it short by asking you to reconcile the above actions with the fine sentiment of your last sentence:

    “But this can only come about when both communities realise that for a permanent settlement to be achieved, one which can be never overturned, they have to let go of the mutual mistrust, tribal divisions and accusatory narrative.”

    As far as I can see SF’s actions run right through the middle of your sentence and kick sand in your face.

    Like I say, they may well indeed be just what you guys down south need but up north they’re just as bad as our paranoid fundaMENTALists and they help to foster mutual mistrust, tribal divisions and the accusatory narrative.

  • Robin Keogh

    You are making a clear choice there, you are deciding that the way they do things and the way they approach problems are self centred and unreasonable. However, that does not mean u are correct, it simply points to subjective analysis because it is not going your way or not working out as you would wish.

    Education has far more to do with what parents want and less to do with the preferences of politicians. Your post makes it clear that u have no tolerence for what u percieve as a one sided and aparthied dynamic, but again thats your choice made deliberately to square your own ‘aparthied’ narrative.

    The problems you mention above are all part of logistical government good/bad decision making and have nothing to do with tribal divisions essentially,but are translated into a themmuns against ussuns out of habit rather that actuality.

    Unionism simply needs to own up to the realities of their own society which is no longer as British as Finchley and no longer a great contributor to empire. Nationalists need to work harder to find things that unite the communities, i accept that but neither side will move an inch off the bounce of a one sided narrative, which is exactly what yours is unfortunately, and ultimately proves my origional point.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    You say subjective but tell me that it’s not also logical:

    Do they have stated aims in terms of ‘shared society’, the irish language and budgetary constraints?

    Yes.

    Do their policies serve to hinder these aims? Yes

    They are not compatible.
    They want money for Irish mediums but won’t merge enough schools to do so.
    That’s a fact, not my interpretation or subjective analysis of it. It is a simple fact of Northern Irish life that a mixed village will have two primary schools to accommodate religious division whether two schools are actually required or not in terms of pupil population sizes.

    You infer they are constrained by parental choice.
    If that was the case then O’Dowd wouldn’t be trying to close the only Catholic primary school that wishes to become an integrated school (not to mention the other Catholic – Catholic, state – state school mergers).

    So clearly parental choice can be set aside at the behest of politicians, so your assertion that it’s less to do with politicians isn’t with a solid foundation.

    “The problems you mention above are all part of logistical
    government good/bad decision making and have nothing to do with tribal divisions essentially,but are translated into a themmuns against ussuns out of habit rather that actuality”

    Robin, they have everything to do with tribal divisions, it is part of the tribal-division-making-machine:

    ‘You have had your head wetted in this church ergo you go to this school, learn this version of history, play these sports and will have little opportunity to mix with other kids from your street who have had their heads wetted in other churches’.

    My God man, GeorgeMitchell has openly called for more integration. Richard Haass spoke of segregated schooling in a negative light.

    This is then clearly not just me twisting the current circumstances to suit my own agenda when I have high ranking diplomats taking a similar view, so kindly drop that notion please.

    “Nationalists need to work harder to find things that unite the communities, i accept that but neither side will move an inch off the bounce of a one sided narrative, which is exactly what yours is unfortunately, and ultimately proves my origional
    point.”

    So my narrative is one sided even though the previously mentioned high ranking diplomats share similar views?

    Trying to paint me with bias is an easy way out of this argument and only serves to ignore my points and indeed my original assertion that SF and their divisive eye-poking
    tactics (and strategies) have dire consequences for the land of my birth.

    That was my original point and one that you have side stepped and tried to throw back at me.

    Sorry Robin, you seem like a nice bloke and I understand why you find SF appealing down there in terms of social issues etc but up north they make very little real effort to
    bridge the sectarian chasm e.g. McCreesh Park undoes a hundred handshakes with the Queen.

    They have the tools for the job at their disposal but don’t utilise them.

  • Robin Keogh

    But you are obsessing on one single issue and if we know anything about the north we should be aware that there are dozens of issues which are divisive. My main point is that both sides are struggling to maintain positions that will asdist in their aims be it Irish Unity or maintaining the status quo. In terms of cathokic schools we have a similar issue in the south where the gov wants to take control of tge schools but the parents and the church want to maintain things as are, although we dont have the same divisions as u guys in the north we still have an affinity with the catholic school system culturally and socially.

    You mention mcreesh park and again as i said before we have to realise that all sections of the community might want to remember their heroes and we have to accomodate that somehow. Trying to eradicate anybodys version of history even if it runs contrary to your own beliefs just will not fly in a society like the north. The necessity for ethnic validation is simopy too strong and the percieved ‘sacrifice’ made by some is fundamental to the historical culture of their place.

    It doesnt take a genius to fifure out that integrated education would in the long term create a better social environment but how do u achieve that when u cant even get people to live on the same street together. Therein lies the issue at the heart of it all which is division that goes far beyond education or leisure activities. A division that was nurtured for centuries, it will not be resolved in a few decades.

    The north needs its own ems telegram, something that both traditions can unite around for a common goal that will eventually make them realise that they will all be better off if they work together. Or do we simply accept the self imposed apartheid society that exists. Victims, Place names, orange parades, education, peace walls, political instability, protestant emigration, irish language….. the list seems to be endless.

    I dont think for a second that SF are perfect but I do kniw they are willing to resolve all of these issues as part of a collective effort. They only have some of the tools. Everybody has to pick up their shovel if its going to workout.

  • What they’re going to negotiate with isn’t exactly clear… [Give us the money, or the bunny gets it! – Ed]

    Give us the money or its and failed Government and IT Systems get it, is the rabbit hole and quite magical warren you have to manage to do deals with, Ed.

    Deny it if you will, but it does not alter that austere fact to just a fabulous fiction and APCT*

    APT/ACT/APCT ….. Advanced Persistent Threat/Advanced Cyber Threat/Advanced Persistent Cyber Threat from a Virtual Arsenal of Programs Operating against Unconscionable Ransomware????

    And shared there with a number of question marks lest some imagine it Vapourware and/or a phorm of Virile and Viral IT and Ransomware itself ……. for Multiple Opposing and Competing Stakeholder Interface Use.

  • mickfealty

    Six impossible things before breakfast Robin… SF’s equivalent of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises, are they not? 😉

  • barnshee

    “the self imposed apartheid society that exists.”

    The key is “self imposed” ussuns don`t want anything to do with themmuns (well -might be friendly on a personal basis with one or two of themuns I work with but generally ussuns don`t want anything to do with themmuns )

  • Gopher

    I believe the Hague is in Holland which was neutral, for a while. Anne Frank lived there, might have heard of her, teenage girl, black hair, kept a diary.

    I would look up the “Zullieferungskrise” of 43 to see how Bomber Command “inconvienced” German war production.

    As for the Hague Convention it was signed in 1907, (Not sure they had Lancasters back then) which did not stop indiscriminate Zeppelin or Gotha bomber raids on London nor indiscriminate bombardments of the coastal towns by German Battlecruisers of North East England in World War I so its not as if the Germans did not have “form” previous to WWII. They even famously hit Paris with that super gun.The long and short of it from a legal standpoint is there is absolutely no agreement between nations on Strategic warfare by aircraft.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Ah Gopher, you seem to be unfamiliar with the concept of international treaties to regularise warfare! I quote Wikipeia again (it’s a good précis):

    “The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 are a series of international treaties and declarations negotiated at two international peaceconferences at The Hague in the Netherlands. The First Hague Conference was held in 1899 and the Second Hague Conference in 1907. Along with the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Conventions were among the first formal statements of the laws of war and war crimes in the body of secular international law. A third conference was planned for 1914 and later rescheduled for 1915, but it did not take place due to the start of World War I.”

    You may also find this useful:

    http://www.dannen.com/decision/int-law.html#C

    Although this draft treaty was never formally adopted as an international treaty, it formed the structure that governed decisions on ariel bombardment in the first years of the war, and was mined in the creation of the Nuremberg Charter.

    And the sections I’ve quoted from 1907 Hague (IV) above are pretty clear about bombardment of any kind. The were included in the 1923 paper almost verbatim. And Harris did clearly and unarguably contravene them in his Area Bombing policy!

    I really do not think that you can so lightly dismiss these international agreements, as they formed the foundation of the Nuremberg Charter, and the later trials! If they are dismissed, then there is no legal foundation for the current concept of war crimes as alter laid down at the 1949 Geneva Convention (again held in a neutral country, so perhaps you feel that too does not bind anyone in any way?)

    This whataboutery about German “frightfulness” in WWI does not wash. Germany carried out war crimes in both wars, I’m not a partisan in this, but then so did Britain. And Britain carried out theirs with impunity. This is utterly unacceptable to anyone not blinded by national partiality.

    As for the effect of Harris’s area bombing campaign, British “amour propre” is so marked that some British historians still eloquently defend the indefensible, and the idea that killing civilians was perhaps criminal, but contributed to stopping Hitler is an important plank of such attempts to wrap the nation’s involvement in Harris’s war crimes with some self respect. But indisputably German war production continued to increase, and to increase across the last years of the war, with the only noticeable stops attributable to the USAAF actions such as the attacks on Schweinfurt.

  • Gopher

    So have not heard of the violation of Dutch or even Belguim neutrality or Anne Frank. If you aint heard of them I assume you have never heard of the “Zullieferungskrise” or sub components crisis. Strategic bombing did not exist in 1907 there was absouletly no basis in law hence the panic in the thirties with casaulties of millions predicted.

    “I think it is well also for the man in the street to realise that there is no power on earth that can protect him from being bombed. Whatever people may tell him, the bomber will always get through, The only defence is in offence, which means that you have to kill more women and children more quickly than the enemy if you want to save yourselves…If the conscience of the young men should ever come to
    feel, with regard to this one instrument [bombing] that it is evil and should go, the thing will be done; but if they do not feel like that – well, as I say, the future is in their hands. But when the next war comes, and European civilisation is wiped out, as it will be, and by no force more than that force, then do not let them lay blame on the old men. Let them remember that they, principally, or they alone, are
    responsible for the terrors that have fallen upon the earth”

    Stanley Baldwin to parliament in 1932 and in the process creating one of the most famous phrases in military history.

    As you can see there is no legal limit on Bombing, deterence was seen as the only defence against bombing. Halifaxs, Stirlings and the forefather of the Lancaster the Manchester were all designed and contracted around 1935-36 to build a deterent force. Harris had abosuletly bugger all to to with it, it was policy. Why was it policy because Hitler and Goering had built up a big scary airforce and when war came wernt shy on using it indiscriminately.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “As you can see there is no legal limit on Bombing,” although the draft treaty I’ve linked to above was taken as a guideline for action by everyone but the proponents of “frightfulness” and no constraint. But even if there was “no legal limit on bombing” other than this gentleman’s agreement, the treaties clearly stated that there was definite strictures against the killing of civilians and the actual targeting of civilians (“area bombing”– was utterly illegal in warfare. those clauses applied unreservedly. Harris was ass guilty s any German general stepping outside of the a hague Conventions, even if he was, as you suggest, “only obeying orders.”

    The “scary” German airforce was built up for tactical support of ground actions, i.e.; conventional warfare, and had developed no heavy bombers as the systematic destruction of enemy civilians was not envisaged in their concept of aerial warfare. They did many foul things in the war, but Britain indisputably offered them the lead in this particular form of atrocity. I repeat Harris’s directive, which you d not appear to have read;

    “The ultimate aim of an attack on a town area is to break the morale of the population which occupies it. To ensure this, we must achieve two things: first, we must make the town physically uninhabitable and, secondly, we must make the people conscious of constant personal danger. The immediate aim, is therefore, twofold, namely, to produce (i) destruction and (ii) fear of death.”

    I feel it is only when we are adult enough to have grown out of having to automatically support the foolishness or wickedness of or own people that there will be any incentive to escape the nightmare that developed in the twentieth century and the actions of another British government recently in Iraq shows has “not gone away, you know”. The continued support of the gratuitous murder of civilians in the area bombing campaign is an outstanding example of such double think. The war crimes and atrocities carried out by Germans in no way cancels out those carried out by Britain. One belligerent paid for theirs, the other did not.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “But you are obsessing on one single issue and if we know anything about the north we should be aware that there are dozens of issues which are divisive. My main point
    is that both sides are struggling to maintain positions that will asdist in their aims be it Irish Unity or maintaining the status quo. In terms of cathokic schools we have a similar issue in the south where the gov wants to take control of tge schools but the parents and the church want to maintain things as are, although we dont have the same divisions as u guys in the north we still have an affinity with the catholic school system culturally and socially.”

    In fairness Robin I mentioned a few issues but as with most topics on here we were coralled down one particular avenue but the education sector is a big one and there has been next to no progress in this area at all unless one regards separating 4 schools on a single campus as ‘progress’.
    And on a side note, I’m all happy for the Catholic sector to remain, it’s important that we have choice for those who wish for a religious based education, I am just opposed to division being the path of least resistance (which it is presently).

    “You mention mcreesh park and again as i said before we have to realise that all sections of the community might want to remember their heroes and we have to accomodate that somehow. Trying to eradicate anybodys version of history even if it runs contrary to your own beliefs just will not fly in a society like the north. The necessity for ethnic validation is simopy too strong and the percieved ‘sacrifice’ made by some is fundamental to the historical culture of their place.”

    And in that single stroke the work and effort going into ‘shared space’ is undone.
    Simples.
    If you want shared society then work for it.
    You have to weigh up all the variables and ask yourself is it possible at present to have a shared society whilst at the same time lionising divisive figures?
    If it’s not, then choose which one is more important.

    “It doesnt take a genius to fifure out that integrated education would in the long term create a better social environment but how do u achieve that when u cant even get people to live on the same street together. Therein lies the issue at the heart of it all which is division that goes far beyond education or leisure activities. A division that was nurtured for centuries, it will not be resolved in a few decades.”

    This ignores the fact that many people do live together in mixed streets and estates but then have to get different buses to different schools.
    That’s how you begin to achieve such a thing.
    This can be ushered in under the guise of budget constraints. Shipping kids off to different villages for different schools when they have the facilities in their own town would also take strain off the rush hour traffic and roads.
    This is where we start.

    “The north needs its own ems telegram, something that both traditions can unite around for a common goal that will eventually make them realise that they will all be better off if they work together. Or do we simply accept the self imposed apartheid society that exists. Victims, Place names, orange parades, education, peace walls, political instability, protestant emigration, irish language….. the list seems to be endless.”

    Very good, now, where do SF rank in these categories?

    Victims – arranging parades and supporting memorials for victim makers?

    Place names – They can’t even say the words ‘Northern Ireland’ which is quite frankly insulting. Every time you do it, you’re offending some one. Fact.

    Orange parades – Well, I don’t know if there’s much they can do about that one, but I don’t think their involvement is helpful.

    Education – We’ve covered that.

    Peace walls – dunno really.

    Poltical instability – How’s about a common sense approach?

    Protestant emmigration, in fairness, this isn’t SF’s problem, in fact, it’s probably in their interest to encourage it.

    Irish language – easy, if they would back off a bit and allow the rest of us to spread the word then that hurdle may be jumped some day, but while we have to see posters with Gerry Adams or Kelly emblazoned with Irish slogans then it falls into the category of negative association (a major psychological barrier).

    “I dont think for a second that SF are perfect but I do kniw they are willing to resolve all of these issues as part of a collective effort. They only have some of the tools. Everybody has to pick up their shovel if its going to workout. ”

    Everyone has to pick up their shovel and just as important they have to not throw soil back into the trench they’re digging and SF do this constantly.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Robin, as I’ve said to Unionists on this thread before, the hagiographic approach seriously weakens what you would support. While it is perfectly correct to be critical of ones opponents( if you agreed with them you’d be in their party, would you not?), it is incumbent to grow out of the cheer leader mentality and to be even more critical of ones own people, and of the opinions which we hold in supporting them. Too much editing out of issues that any normal person would be at contention with, such as the contradiction of GA’s actual actions to tow women “within the fold” and SFs policy on abuse, etc, which he faces up discredits the sincerity of these policies.

    When parties paint themselves into corners, as SF is clearly doing in the north on any number of issues, it will be the party “outsiders” who always really believed liberal humanist policies such as a shared society who will lead it back from the wilderness, not those who have staunchly supported their party line and ignored the contradictions to keep the policy looking strong for the electorate.

    AG is about as open minded a Unionist as you’ll find anywhere on the net, if you cannot find real grounds for agreement in discussion with him, what hope for a “shared society” as a policy? Think about it!