Adams says “Trust is not a pre-condition for making political progress…”

From http://xkcd.com/1195/

From http://xkcd.com/1195/

Ernest Hemingway once said that “the best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them”. Trust in business is often indicated by credit or belief. Currencies have no intrinsic value in and of themselves. We invest in them because our empirical experience rewards our belief.

So when Gerry Adams says “trust is not a precondition for making political progress”, what does that mean?

He adds this qualification: “Do you think the politicians in this government trust each other? No. People in business don’t trust each other. People who are married at times do not trust each other”.

Like when Sinn Fein extolled the virtues of Welfare Reform at their Derry Ard Fheis on Sunday and abandoned it on the following Monday?

Join me at 10am this morning when I will be trying to unpick the issue of trust in this and any other cases you might share on Periscope.

UPDATE:  Copy of the SluggerReport here:

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  • gendjinn

    It was nothing more than a statement of historical fact, responding to your statement that you’d rather not remain in a UI. Last time many others emigrated, moved with the empire or retreated into their own cultural cocoon.

    To answer your question, I would assume that the fate of a unionist in a UI would be precisely the same as if one moved to Dublin, Galway or wherever in the 26 today. It’s not 1922, it’s the 21st century. Europe has almost entirely been at peace since the end of WW2 – something unheralded in our history. We are all members of the EU with a shared set of laws & values. Religion is a broken force.

    The further we get away from the killing the more we are able to make a rational decision – Peacekeeping vs invading Iraq, Nuclear weapons/plants or no, Monarchy vs Republic, stuff like that.

  • James7e

    And given all of that, EU and shared values and whatnot, what would anyone possibly stand to gain from forcibly merging NI and Ireland into one new country?

  • Zeno

    I thought so. You don’t live here and have no understanding of Northern Ireland and are prone to insults, but never face to face obviously.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    The issue of internal conflict as an origin event is pretty universal, I’d agree. Many of these conflicts become institutionalised, as in the Englsih Civil war, where the eventual development of parties and the Whig victory in 1715 are now fully institutionalised in parliamentary “democracy” at Westminster. But the core issue of conflict is also institutionalised in an adversarial model, something very watered down now in the middle ground consensus at Westminster, but which has the ever present possibility of a flare up, as the events described in “The Strange Death of Liberal England”, and the current fear inspired by Jeremy Corbyn shows.

    But there are important differences here. Only a few of the parties at Stormont, the Alliance, the SDLP, and the Green Party of NI are fully constitutionalist in temperament. SF and the DUP may work together but their constitutionalism (arguably I’d admit) is contingent, and focused entirely on gaining advantage. Both parties have been until quite recently entirely oppositional in form and concept, SF has inherited from its Military Wing the revolutionaries habits of prevarication and outright deception in their dealings with the state apparatus, while the DUP have strongly ingrained habits of using any available method of utterly opposing any form of nationalist thought. The UUP seems a hybrid of strong decency and constitutionalism expressed in a few people such as Danny Kinahan while the older habits of the broader party draws them to something closer to the DUP’s approach.

    You are perfectly correct in your examples offered in both of the above postings, but the need to generalise in discussing broad issues inevitably lead us to discuss these issues in reifications, for the parties and institutions we are speaking of have no agency of themselves, but only in the agreed co-operation of the individuals that comprise them. And the example you are offering, Dominic Bradley’s Bill, is the expression of individual agency from someone steeped in the ethos of a constitutionally committed party, the SDLP. Such effort to strive for an objective all community stance is hardly to be expected in the near future from any of the other parties other than Alliance and the Greens.

    We have a long history of conflictual confrontation in our community in the wee six, something that has continued since the plantation defined two groupings, sometimes in simmering opposition, sometimes in hot conflict. While this is also the case in some eastern European countries where there is a mix of ethnic elements in the population that has sometimes existed since the middle ages, this is notoriously difficult to dampen down historically, as events during WWII and the break up of Yugoslavia show. This habit of side taking and recourse to conflictual solutions is bred into the bone of many in our community, and no matter how we attempt to out grow this (my own experience of NICRA and the PD was just such an attempt, echoed in the efforts of many others across the community at that time) it seemingly takes very little effort of the part of the adherents of conflictual solutions to crudely counter such tender shoots of whole community trust.

    Also, although I’d agree broadly with your numbered instances of particular situations of relative trust, there are many particular instances that I’d simply have to say “but…” over other things that qualify every one of them. Would the institutions here exist at all without some degree of coercion from outside? Hardly, and as I’ve said above, in any situation where any degree of coercion is required, the default seems always to shift to the control/coercion model that will always by its very nature inhibit or even destroy the instincts of all parties towards democratic solutions on public interest issues. We are currently governed by parties that have had institutionalised “reconciliation” thrust on them as a condition of power. the hope, I’d feel is that they would learn better ways. The current atmosphere of solid stalemate with claim and counter claim hardly suggests that institutions that might have worked with a chastened UUP and the SDLP in cooperation, building up the mutual political credit you so rightly describe as the material of trust, will ever work in the semi-institutionalised distrust culture that SF and the DUP appear to glory in. I wish with all my being for the evolution of structures that would l encourage public interest politics, but I simply do not see how this can come out of a system rooted in a several centuries long inherited culture of distrust.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I think we agree on many things G (apart from some historical interpretations…)

  • gendjinn

    Respecting the democratic wishes of a majority in Northern Ireland is forcible?

  • Catcher in the Rye

    That’s not really going to fly. If it’s a life or death matter, a dealbreaker, why not insist it’s in black and white ?

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I don’t remember Unionists committing to certain objectives. I remember everyone, both the DUP and SF, committing to a rather ambiguous promise to provide relief to those effected by it.

  • gendjinn

    You got me. Wouldn’t you be better off spending your valuable time engaging with the smarter folks around here. I’m just never going to be able to comprehend your subtle brilliance in the manner it truly deserves.

  • James7e

    “Respecting the democratic wishes of a majority in Northern Ireland is forcible?”

    I would say it isn’t but the Republican mantra and feeble justification by said Republicans for many terrorist acts over the final few decades of the previous century would argue that it is.

    As to a UI, there has never been a majority in favour of that in NI.

  • Zeno

    Indeed, I get do bored with snidey comments but I am fascinated how people with so little knowledge of Northern Ireland can pontificate on the subject.

  • gendjinn
  • gendjinn

    No, not yet. But when there is I’m not clear on realistically how you can define unification as forcible.

  • gendjinn

    Might want to go back and read the news articles from that week. SF came out of the “hothouse” talks with an agreement that said certain welfare cuts would be ameliorated. Then when the Finance Minister ie DUP put numbers on the objectives the amount of money fell far short of what SF believed had been signed up to by all parties.

  • James7e

    A majority in favour is realistically unrealistic in the next few decades – therefore the UI that you are so certain will happen in the next decade (and hasn’t it been the ‘next decade’ for the last 5 or 6 decades?) could only be forcible.

  • gendjinn

    I am certain that there will be a UI in the 2020s because I am certain a border poll around 2025 will make that determination.

    And I predict you won’t leave.

  • Zeno

    Well when some bloke who doesn’t live is so certain we better get ready. Oh wait.

  • James7e

    Grand so. I also asked what, in your view, we all stand to gain from a UI. What are the benefits of doing it to balance the possible costs? Am I to take it from the absence of a response that you don’t know? Or don’t care to share?

  • gendjinn

    In the 33rd Dáil SF will have the numbers to be the senior coalition partner. In a UI Unionists would have sufficient numbers to form a coalition government that would send SF to the opposition benches.

    In the next 10 years Unionism is going to see an SF First Minister and Nationalism becoming an outright majority on the Belfast CC amongst others. Faced with that catastrophe enough unionist community voters will opt for a UI to an SF “dictatorship” in the 6, for the reason above.

  • James7e

    So, to be clear… am I right in thinking that in your opinion the only real selling point of a UI is that it would be the lesser evil of having Sinn Fein as the main party in NI? Hardly an attractive proposition. What, if any, other benefits would it bring people generally?

  • gendjinn

    No. No it’s not the sole selling point. I’ve had this conversation many times with Unionists, and was trying out something new.

    After these conversations I’ve learned that there is not a single fact, alteration or aspiration that a Nationalist can articulate to a Unionist that is not disputed, dismissed, denied.

    There are no longer any good choices left for Unionism. Britain wants shut of the north, the Tories have abandoned unionism. The unionist community is no longer a majority as of this year. In 10 years nationalism will have a majority in the electorate and elected representatives.

    I don’t need to sell a single unionist on the merits of re-unification. Unionism desperately needs to sell nationalists on the benefits of staying in the UK. Something “curry my youghurt” and “McCreesh terrorist playground” kills dead in its tracks.

  • James7e

    Those are all push factors. Are there any pull factors? Anything at all you can think of to make a UI attractive to those opposed?

    And, on the sainted McCreesh – are you offended that we are offended?

  • gendjinn

    Unionists don’t understand the significance of hunger strikers (not just the ’81 10) in Irish culture. When you mock, belittle and attack them you only serve to slay the desperately needed Catholic unicorns.

    I can only tell you the things I like about Ireland as compared to the UK – PR vs FPtP electoral system, republic, that we have a written constitution that can only be changed by the people, many elements of that constitution, being neutral and not having any foreign entanglements, not having any nuclear weapons or power plants, not being a target of any terrorist group anywhere. Doesn’t make the south perfect by any means, and there are many things to improve and change for the better.

  • James7e

    Not being a target of any terrorist group anywhere? I guess that claim depends on whether the IRA do or do not still exist.

    As for belittling McCreesh, I find his being linked to sectarian massacres like Kingsmills, and membership of an illegal organization dedicated to murdering innocent people decidedly distasteful. Sorry if that offends.

  • gendjinn

    If the PIRA were dedicated to murdering innocent people, why did they phone in so many bomb warnings? I’ve never been able to come up with a satisfactory explanation for that contradiction.

  • James7e

    Ah yes….the phone warnings. Buried as they were amongst thousands of hoax warnings designed to terrorise the population, confuse the security forces, and cause as much disruption as possible, and were frequently garbled, deliberately misleading or plainly inaccurate. Phone warnings may have provided some cover for fundraisers in the US (at least until September 11th, when the US was jolted into awareness of what the IRA really were) and a handy chance to taunt the security forces, but had they really been intended to save lives, one suspects that many, many more lives would have been saved.

    And, to answer your blind mantra-like question with a question, if the IRA really weren’t dedicated to murdering civilians then why plant bombs in shops and pubs in the first place? Come to that, why use weapons (like the one Saint McCreesh was arrested in possession of) to shoot unarmed civilians at Kingsmills?

  • gendjinn

    The number of bombs that went off with no warning, inadequate warning, garbled warning or late warning is outnumbered by 2 or 3 orders of magnitude by bombs that did have warnings. For a group dedicated to murdering innocent people, they seemed to go out of their way to frustrate their goal.

    Kingsmills – what happened the night before the Kingsmills murders? What never happened again in that area after the Kingsmills murders?

  • James7e

    “Kingsmills – what happened the night before the Kingsmills murders? What never happened again in that area after the Kingsmills murders?”

    Hmm…so that’s ok then, is it?

  • gendjinn

    Come again?

  • James7e

    Perhaps I’ve misunderstood you. You seem to be saying that Kingsmills was a justifiable act. If I’m wrong, please correct me. But if so, what did you mean?

  • James7e

    So we should be grateful to the IRA for not deliberately killing more innocent people than they actually did?

  • gendjinn

    How do I seem to be saying Kingsmills was justifiable?

  • gendjinn

    How do you reconcile the contradiction between “The IRA was dedicated to the murder of innocent people” with the overwhelming majority of their bombs having a warning that resulted in no deaths.

  • James7e

    How do you reconcile your view that the IRA was not dedicated to the murder of innocent people with the fact that…..they murdered several thousand innocent people?

  • James7e

    Aren’t you? Ok then, perhaps you could explain what you meant with the ‘before and after Kingsmills’ comment?

  • gendjinn

    Sure thing, right after you explain how you got me justifying murder.

  • gendjinn

    Sure thing, right after you explain why an org dedicated to murdering innocents would give bomb warnings for the overwhelming majority of their bombs.

  • James7e

    1. To provide political and journalistic cover for their actions. Giving warning to some bombs muddied the waters morally, and allowed their apologists in Sinn Fein with the excuses that they didn’t really mean to kill people – even as the carried out their ethnic cleansing campaign along the border. Your continued blind adherence to it only serves to prove my point.

    2. The warnings served to ramp up fear whenever it was politically expedient to threaten the unionist community/keep the intimidation level up amongst the nationalist community.

    Your turn.

  • James7e

    I just have explained it to you several times. Am I feeding a troll here?

  • gendjinn

    Actually you haven’t in the slightest.

  • James7e

    Ok then…..seatbelts on…… Did you write: “Kingsmills – what happened the night before the Kingsmills murders? What never happened again in that area after the Kingsmills murders?”

    If you did, and it is very very easy to vetify that you did, please explain what you meant by it.

  • gendjinn

    With those two sentences you accused me of justifying murder. How on earth do you get justification of murder from that?

  • James7e

    Well, you do seem oddly incapable of explaining what you meant. I may be wrong, of course, but every time you duck the option of simply explaining what you meant by those two sentences it looks a little more like that is in fact what you meant. Ready for your explanation any time.

  • gendjinn

    What I meant is precisely what I said. It is you that refuses to explain how those two statements in any way convey justification for murder. Which on an Northern Ireland forum is a rather incendiary charge to lob at someone.

  • James7e

    “Kingsmills – what happened the night before the Kingsmills murders? What never happened again in that area after the Kingsmills murders?”

    That is what you said exactly. I’m saying I don’t know to what you are referring. You refuse to clarify what you mean by the above. The way I read it, your comment implies that Kingsmills was in response to something, which then never happened again. Whatever you were referring to, one could infer from that that Kingsmills, in your view, served some sinister purpose. I’m open-minded, but if you are unwilling or unable to explain your cryptic comment then we are left to guess at what on earth you are talking about. If you are not mature enough to clarify this point then you and I do not belong in the same dialogue. My request is simple, and I suggest that either you explain your statement or don’t bother to respond at all. Anyone else feel I’m being unreasonable?

  • gendjinn

    I really don’t understand how you see justification for murder in those sentences. You asked why it happened, I told you what the rationale of the perpetrators was. Understanding the why of an event does not in any way condone the event.

    I am fascinated by how you can infer understanding of the why as support for the act.

  • James7e

    Fascinated? For my part I find it extremely tedious when you fence with me, trying to avoid giving a straight answer – of which I have still only received half. Not sure I will waste any more time trying to coax out the rest of it. I think I understand you very well.

  • gendjinn

    With zero evidence you leap to attack me of justifying murder. When called on to explain how to you get from A to Z, you refuse point blank to explain your reasoning.

    It’s same old unionist trope – any slight deviation from foaming at the mouth condemnation of all things Irish is de factor apologetics for everything the IRA did.

  • James7e

    I explained it to you several times, and your evasions through about 20 back and forth posts with me as you tried to come up with a convincing excuse did nothing to convince me I was mistaken. In essence, again, I said Kingsmills was a terrible wrong and you responded with the cryptic questions asking (rhetorically one supposes) a. What happened just before Kingsmills, and b. What never happened again thereafter.

    As I have pointed out many times over, that looked to me like you were saying it was justified by whatever you are referring to that happened just before (you now refuse to say what you refer to), and the fact it never happened again shows it was effective and, presumably, therefore further justified. I think it is very obvious that you are avoiding the obvious implications of you wrote, and wasting your own time and mine. As I’ve already said, read what I have written and answer with integrity, or don’t answer at all:

    1. What are you referring to that happened just before and never thereafter?

    2. If you weren’t using that as a justification, what did you mean exactly?

    3. Do you really think Kingsmills was in any way a justifiable act?

    4. What purpose, in your view, does it cause to celebrate the suicide of an individual caught in possession of one of the weapons used that day?

    And, again for clarity, rant all you like but either answer the questions honestly, or don’t waste my time with elaborate evasions that you think are clever.

  • gendjinn

    1. O’Dowd & Reavey; No repeats.
    2. You asked why it happened, that was why – for more details
    3. No, do you?
    4. Hunger Strike

    I honestly do not understand how you see justification for murder in those two questions. I still don’t. You keep saying those two questions imply justification but you continually refuse to explain your logic of how those two questions equate to justification for murder. You just keep repeating that it does. Why is that?

    The thing is the HET report states the trigger for Kingsmills was the murders the night before, the reasoning of the perpetrators was that they were sick and tired of Catholic civilians in the area being murdered (in the previous 11 months 25 murdered Catholic civilians). They believed that if they murder a group of Protestant civilians it will bring an end to the open season on Catholic civilians. They were right. Are the PSNI now justifying murder?

    What I’ve been trying to get you to admit is that you leapt to an erroneous and incendiary conclusion based on nothing but something in you. It wasn’t in my words, it certainly wasn’t in my mind, it came from you. Perhaps if you can be brought face to face with that, it would help you have more productive and honest conversations with other Republicans/Nationalists.

    Next time you interpret someone’s words in such a malignant fashion you will pause for a moment, ponder and perhaps realise that the person you are talking to is not saying the vile & hateful thing you believe they are.