Does Sinn Fein just prefer another election to another spell in government..?

Newton Emerson says more in one tweet than a dozen pages of fine tuned analysis or furious invective. After admitting it’s spent the last ten years having its eye wiped by the DUP, how exactly does Sinn Fein think these elections to nowhere are going to close in its favour?

To borrow from Orwell in another context,  “nine times out of ten a revolutionary is merely a climber with a bomb in his pocket.”

  • The worm!

    Firstly, whether it has or hasn’t, it is still the way things are, so you’re still going to have to struggle with that reality for a while longer.

    Secondly, considering the efforts that have been made to break it both physically and to a much lesser degree politically by a minority.,The fact that they are still a minority indicates that contrary to your opinion, it’s actually doing pretty darned OK.

    I’d start to deal with it if I were you!

  • The worm!

    Well forget it then!

    The majority of the protestant/unionist community will never trust Gerry Adams (possibly even the shinners themselves while Gerry is in charge), and quite rightly so.

    Keep it a bit more pragmatic and you might start to get through to people.

  • Jollyraj

    A reminder: whether one favours remaining in the UK, or not, is nothing to do with one’s religion.

    Tiresome to keep having to remind you of what should be a rather obvious truism.

  • mickfealty

    Really? It’s a disqualifier for anyone to admit they’re unionist? Jasus wept.

  • Jollyraj

    Doesn’t sound bad, but SF and DUP should remain in opposition until a new election a couple years hence. Had their chance and blew it for now.

    With a UUP/SDLP etc gov we might actually get somewhere.

  • Karl

    Agreements are made by two parties because they want something from the other. There is always a degree of compromise. This isnt a case a small business getting one over on a competitor and using the small print or legalese not to deliver on your side of the agreement.

    This is about societal betterment. Theres only so many times you can act in bad faith in the eyes of the other party before they decide its not worth making agreements. If your aim is short term oneupmanship its the way forward. If you aim is building trust and delivering for society as a whole then its the wrong way to go about it.

    It is clear that the spirit of the agreements has not been met. You can say that thats SFs fault and they should have been more cyncial, cleverer, legalistic, call it what you like, but if one side doesnt feel its getting its due then there will be no future agreements.

    Once again, unionists winning tactically and losing strategically.

  • Fear Éireannach

    I’m not sure the UU will hold their ground, but the SDLP should both do better on first prefs and provide attractive for transfers to the anti Brexit centre ground.

  • Fear Éireannach

    Theresa May blathering on about not allowing the UK become looser. Bad faith by the British will doom the Assembly and the DUP are merely exploiting this for very short term advantage. How will things go when the EU put forward mitigating measures for NI re Brexit and the British refuse to agree?

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    Partition is doing “pretty darned ok” is it? Name five positive things it has brought our society

  • Jag

    1. Momentum. demographics, have you seen the pics of Maseratis being driven by cowdung-covered RHI farmers?
    2. All other things being equal, you’d expect the same result as a month ago. Nothing significant has happened since to damage the so-called nationalist vote.
    3. Just you wait for another couple of days! Have you heard about the guy who fell off a skyscraper?!

  • Jollyraj

    “He may think it a strength that he had the power to appoint a woman Sf leader whom he effectively sidelines, but surely there is someone with backbone in the ranks who sees how ridiculous this is.”

    Indeed. Doesn’t really do anything for gender equality to have Michelle doing her lip-synching act as though Geraldo doesn’t quite trust her to write her own lines. No doubt there are progressives in SF who are embarassed by this, but who is really going to tell the Emperor he’s wearing no clothes? Even the much vaunted ‘talent’ in their Ireland division don’t seem to have the guts for it.

  • Jollyraj

    Indeed. Gerry Adams, personally, has no mandate in NI. Attempting to run it through Michelle as his proxy puppet is rather an arrogant gambit.

  • Redstar

    Think that was already tried and failed. Furthermore Mr Swanns already making noises that the UUP being the Dups bitch ( unionist unity) is his way to go

  • Redstar

    Neither has May or indeed any Tory/Labour British govt

  • Gopher

    It is precisely to do with his age and his unavoidable end which gets closer by the day. These dictatorial types can’t help themselves, it’s like a Salmon returning to the river of their birth to spawn and die the quest to achieve their aims. Every crisis is now seen as an opportunity. You will get no rational solution out of this man. He is like Wenger except without the trophies and the Emirates.

  • Deeman

    Unionists have changed their tune now they are starting to examine the changing demographics. Well done!

  • andrewjohn

    No, i think the reason he was embarrassed was because he spent the interview obviously criticising Sinn Fein up to the hilt. By the time Pat asked him what his own political home was it probably dawned on newton that the commutors listening in might possibly then dismiss much of his commentary. In fairness I think Newstalk sort of stuffed him up tbh.

  • andrewjohn

    “Well forget it then !”

    Good man.

  • the keep

    She is little more than an overqualified tea lady and sadly that is how she must be feeling right now.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well the coalition of the willing would effectively have to get the realpolitik sorted out by hook or by crook. If Sinn Féin want to sit out the Assembly until the Dáil elections, I’m giving them a good opt out clause, however they shouldn’t take their support for fools.

    They are quick to criticize the SDLP for oppositionalism and opportunism.

    Indeed this may be enforced by “a partial boycott” where they abstain from the executive only, and would only attend on legislative ones which require a petition of concern which would likely require a government party.

  • andrewjohn

    Nobody wants another election but it does seem that Unionists are turning into slow learners. Honour existing agreements or Unionists will not be allowed into the assembly. If that mrans pulling down the institutions and forcing an election; so be it. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat until somebody somewhere in Unionism steps forward and convinces their brethren that the croppy now has equal standing with just as powerful a whip. Can we hope.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    He’s not accountable to NI voters. Nothing against Louth but it’s not in this country.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Anti-GFA words again Ciaran? SF is committed to the GFA and thus making NI work as long as people want it to exist.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Something nationalist-leaning commentators are rarely asked on air to declare.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    The “Peace Centre” was a non-starter with the unionist electorate and DUP change on that was necessary and predictable. I can’t believe SF ever thought that would stick. The DUP mistake was in initially agreeing to it, they were right to correct that. But yes, cack-handed of them.

  • erasmus

    I often wonder, on reading certain journalistic analyses, if the objectivity of the analysis is subconsciously skewed by the political prejudices of the analyser.

  • Obelisk

    Are you serious? They struck a bargain and then welched on it.

    i don’t care that it was a non starter for the Unionist community. They should have made that clear at the start instead of agreeing then changing their mind when they got their side of the bargain. They couldn’t possibly have handled it worse.

    i am sure they got a cheap laugh out of it at getting one over on Sinn Fein. Finding creative ways to get what they wanted and then preventing Nationalists from getting their side of the bargain.

    Like the Irish Language Act, another example of a deal the DUP found a way to unagree once they got what they wanted. They must have been splitting their sides with glee at DUP headquarters.

    Not so funny now is it? Stormont in limbo and a Nationalist voter surge driven by their attitude that permanently shattered the psychological safety blanket of the eternal Unionist majority. No, I don’t think the DUP was amused by THAT one bit.

  • Jollyraj

    To be fair, with a lot of nationalist-leaning commentators, their political sympathies tend to be abundantly, embarrassingly obvious. Some of them are cringeworthy.

    Though, yes, as a journalist he shouldn’t really be asked.

  • mickfealty

    The people who really should be embarrassed are the ones who keep giving them a bye ball. The supposition that any of this is anything more than raw opportunism is a prime example. Ditto, those independent commentators who pass party talking points off as their own view.

    Gerry’s been spinning the outbreed the prods line since 1998. It was balls then and it’s still balls (latest results are still a fall back in nationalism’s vote share from 03). The other issue is the idea that there’s a strategy, or that Gerry is playing a long game.

    That was fine at 48 or 49. But at 69, no one has a long game in their gift. And yet, people get shamed or excoriated for pointing out what should be the bleedin’ obvious.

    The problem with indulging this nonsense is that the search for more serious roots to unification of the island are forgone or forgotten, and the sectarian hatred which developed the breeding story seeps into the failures of this Peace Process™ generation and it festers on.

  • Katyusha

    Why does Gerry being 69 preclude him from playing a long game?

    Pearse played a long game that only finally petered out nearly a century the 1916 rising, and it started with his death. He knew that both he and his volunteer army would be crushed at Easter 1916; he also knew that the effects of the rebellion would long outlive their deaths. Would it not also be in Gerry’s gift to lay the foundations for the next generation, especially in terms of the party and society he leaves behind?

    Also, your “outbreed the prods” spiel is just guff. How do you square that with SF’s support for abortion exactly? The demographics of Thai society are what they are, and it’s nothing to do with some ridiculous ethnic fertility strategy. It is the effect of large Catholic families who grew up in poverty 40 years now echoing though into the present day.

  • Gopher

    Castro achieved his goals in the flush of youth so all he had to do was sit around and wait for death whilst trying to maintain himself in a full time job. Gerry on the other has accomplished nothing in comparison. That is where the danger is now Gerry grasps at every crisis as an opportunity. Nobody associates being the honourable member for Huntington or Westminster Abbey with any spectacular achievements.

  • Katyusha

    If you treat it like a de facto border poll, then it is a de facto border poll. The Scots Nats will do the same.

    Step 1) “Vote for us if you want independence”

    Step 2) “Look at all the people who voted for us who endorsed our message if independence”

    Simple.

    As for SF “disenfranchising” their voters, if they’d gone back in to the same turgid stupid they’d have betrayed their voters. If the DUP aren’t prepared to live up to their previous commitments then there is no point in going into government, and SF’s grassroots do not WANT them to go into government on such terms.

  • Gopher

    Pearse was 36 when he died.

  • Katyusha

    Which MMG did an absolutely stellar job of doing while his various supposedly unionist coalition partners treated it with reckless abandon.

  • Katyusha

    DUP change on that was necessary and predictable

    Reneging in an agreement is “necessary and predictable” now?

    This is quite simple, actually. If the DUP is not prepared to honour the agreements it makes, then nobody has any business dealing with them. Because they cannot be trusted. It’s become clear that any deal the DUP make is not worth the paper it’s written on.

  • mickfealty

    Do I really have to spell it out kate? It tells us: one, he’s already been playing a long game for most of his relatively long life (and missed most of his self defined targets); and two, the road ahead is likely to be a lot shorter than the one behind him, so suddenly there doesn’t seem to be that much time left for SF to fulfill its big promises of the past…

  • Katyusha

    If he wants to fulfill it from personal ambition. If he wants to lay the groundwork for the children of his generation, then strategic and methodical is the way to go. There’s no point in acting like Connolly who became increasingly frustrated and radical in his old age. On this point I’m always amused by people proudly proclaiming that they will never see a united Ireland “in their lifetime”, as if what went on during their own life is all that matters.

    Gerry spent most of his life engaging in a disastrous long war; it should be clear enough to him that the next long game will be carried by his young party and not on his own shoulders. All he can do is lay the groundwork.

  • mickfealty

    Exactly. He has no strategy. There, it’s out now. So can we stop pretending he does?

  • Katyusha

    At least not one that could be fulfilled under his reign. But that does not mean his machinations aren’t strategic. What does it matter if he is there to see it out or not? Do you think Gerry is going to take bigger and bigger risks because he won’t settle for less than being Taoiseach of a United Ireland?

    Of course Sinn Fein are being strategic, and of course they have to change their strategy from time to time if the circumstances change or they balls something up. They’re not omniscient, despite the myth their opponents like to peddle

    What you are missing, Mick, is that SF’s strategy is inherently a strategy for Sinn Féin to take power, not a strategy for Gerry Adams.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I’m actually not arguing it’s ever a good way to operate to make an agreement like that and renege on it, if that’s what happened. My understanding though – could be wrong – was that it wasn’t some formal commitment they signed off, just that they had indicated early doors it would be OK then changed their minds.

  • erasmus

    Touché. I heard that interview this morning. It was ostensibly presented as an impartial, objective, analysis by an informed commentator; after a while it began to sound more and more like a party political broadcast on behalf of generic unionism. Interestingly the general listenership seemed to twig this. Kenny called him out on this in his own inimitably sotto voce style.
    I would agree with the general observation that some unionist commentators — rattled by the recent election result — are lapsing into reflexive, overblown, aggressively assertionist bluster.

  • the keep

    The truth often hurts.

  • SleepyD

    I disagree Ted. Brexit has changed everything. Scotland will likely torpedo the Union and a united ireland will follow that. SF understand this possibility with the DUP basking in stunning isolation. I’ve stated it before that pre Brexit we were a generation away from a UI. Now there is a very real possibility that we’ll have a UI within 2 to 3 years. It’s a “political” 3rd world war. Personally I’m bricking it.

  • mickfealty

    I do buy that that’s what it’s been about, and in that one regard he has been successful certainly. But he’s got where he has mostly by setting false targets. So the change in strategy is brought about by a series of tactical failures. “Ireland free in 73” ring a bell?

  • SleepyD

    You honestly don’t think the “reality” will change should a republican First Minister be appointed through a democratic process? God, I hope you are right, for once.

  • Katyusha

    Funny, I was about to bring “Victory ’72” and “Victory ’74” into the conversation myself ;p

    No, they are not tactical failures, Mick, though there were many of those. They are strategic failures, in the sense that they were failures of the pursuance of a wrong-headed strategy (though there were no doubt tactical failures as well, I don’t believe they had the same effect). I believe the “Long War” was an inherently flawed and damaging strategy to follow, and Adams is acknowledged as one of the architects of it, pursued no doubt for short-term tactical objectives,. As Lenin said, and I paraphrase, “If force is to be used to used in the pursuance of political aims, it must be carried out in the quickest and most energetic manner possible, for the masses will not tolerate the application of prolonged brutality”. Or, as Sun Tzu put it more succinctly, and I make no effort to translate from ancient Chinese, “There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare”

    In the present day, Sinn Féin’s strategy has held up. How else can explain going from a fringe party perceived as being mere spokespeople of a rebel army 30 years ago, to a mainstream party both north and south of the border, holding power in the north and looking increasingly likely to hold power in the south as well (they are, if nothing else, a permanent feature of the Dáil at this stage, which could not have been said a decade ago). Their decision to sideline the IRA and put Sinn Féin as a prominent independent voice was strategic, their decision to enter the power sharing assembly was strategic, the path they followed which led to IRA decommissioning and eventual winding up was strategic, the decision for Adams to move south of the border, (precipitating the change from a Northern nationalist party centered on Belfast to an all-Ireland party centered on Dublin) was strategic, and the current path they have taken to collapse the executive was strategic. And they have reaped the benefits.

    If they were able to grow the party from the tiny extremist base it was 30 years ago to the significant, cross border presence it has today without any strategic thinking, then they must have caught one hell of a series of lucky breaks.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    And yet his supporters seem to be left very anti-GFA. Great job by him.

  • Katyusha

    His supporters are overwhelmingly pro-GFA, though?
    Would you be referring to the merry band of criminals MMG referred to as traitors?
    If so, I can assure there is no love or affection between the two.

    (Of course, there is a whole other argument over what value the GFA has, in an era where the main unionist party renege on the agreements they sign, but we’ll leave that for another day.)

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    I think you’ll find it is in this country. It’s one of our nation’s 32 counties. You must be confused with Shropshire or Lemington Spa or one of them places. They are located in a foreign country

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    If partition has been a success then outline for us how it has been. We’re all ears

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Sssssh You or we will be getting another post from ‘Good Old Jude’ ffs let that buffoon stick to the Nolan and Crawley Radio Waves and keep the idiot well away from this forum of debate !

  • Anon Anon

    Show me a political party that hasn’t overpromised.

    I’m puzzled by this stance. If anything this election has been a major strategic shift by SF. Previously they were prepared to accept almost anything to keep the Assembly up; the Assembly itself was success. Now they have pretty clear indicated they are going to explore other options.

    There is no ur-strategy that is going to last 50 years. The best you can do is improve your strategic position and reassess. On that score SF have been doing alright.

  • hollandia

    On the contrary – “commentators” should make their leanings abundantly clear. Take, for example, Alex Kane, and Chris Donnelly (of this parish), whose party connections are well known, and as such allows the reader to parse their comments accordingly. Both, I hasten to add, are fine commentators, for knowing their leanings. It’s when a commentator poses, (or, committing the sin of omission, allows themselves to be seen) as a moderate/independent/objective analyst, then we have a problem. I’m looking at you Newton and Fionnuala.

  • Anon Anon

    Their positions are their positions. They definitely fall in the left / liberal / progressive end of the spectrum.

    You don’t have to like them. But some basic acceptance of facts is needed.

  • hgreen

    Get out of your political echo chamber. I know no one who wants another election.

  • Anon Anon

    No, I don’t. Why was that thread acceptable, exactly?

  • Granni Trixie

    “Progressive” is not a fact it is a matter of opinion.

  • John

    As a lorry driver, i’m seeing a lot of Sinn Fein posters left up all over the country????? Too lazy or expecting another election?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Well, crucially, the people in Northern Ireland have been able, for almost 100 years now, to choose what nation Northern Ireland is part of – so we’ve had almost a century in which several hundred thousand more people have been in the country they want to be in than would otherwise have been the case. That’s a huge one.

    During that time we’ve had the development of the welfare state and the NHS; billions of pounds of economic support pumped in to help alleviate the worst effects of the shifts in the global economy over the last century, from which N Ireland was always going to be hugely struggling. We were part of the fight against Nazi Germany, not neutral – for which Belfast in particular suffered greatly but for which we can be proud. We have a country where, for the most part, people are looked after when they are ill, treated fairly if they have a disability and so on. When people here have indulged in horrific and massive sectarian violence against each other, we have been supported with a huge commitment of armed forces personnel and intelligence time and effort to contain it and limit the terrorists. Around a thousand soldiers from across the country gave their lives in Northern Ireland so that we could carry on normal life in the face of the terrorist attacks on our democracy and our lives. I am not convinced if we’d been an all-island Irish Republic that the Irish would have been able to commit the people and money that our government did. In fact, I think there probably would have been a much worse breakdown into an actual civil war.

    So we all, regardless of our personal national allegiance, owe a huge debt to this country and its armed services in particular. That will I’m sure be uncomfortable to hear for some, but it’s fair.

    The bottom line on partition was and is that it couldn’t really be otherwise, without creating a bigger unionist minority within Ireland than the nationalist one within N Ireland. Anything but a partition of some sort makes no rational sense.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I meant actual country, not the one in your head.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Well, it seems not, judging by the ones that post on here. Very typical to hear them:
    – not recognising the legitimacy of N Ireland
    – declaring N Ireland has “failed”
    – refusing parity of esteem to British identity
    – advocating by-passing the GFA institutions in favour of ad hoc all-Ireland ones, and then hurling abuse at anyone insisting on using the GFA institutions
    Of course they claim they support the GFA, that’s a mantra. But many don’t appear to actually support what the GFA says, or its spirit. It’s not dissimilar to their double-speak approach to the IRA: ‘of course I don’t support them but actually they were heroes’ etc etc. Trump eat your heart out.

    In Republican discourse there is a kind of blare of words which loop around a parallel reality. It’s something beyond lying, it’s a baked-in assumption that the truth isn’t actually of much concern. Met with contravening facts or analysis, this Trumpublicanism just hurls abuse at the commenter and just keeps on going, unabashed – “it’s fake news, folks.” It can have electoral success for a time, as we’ve seen; but it will fail ultimately because it treats the public like idiots. That isn’t a strategy built to last.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    NHS
    Welfare state
    Standing up to terrorism
    Good Friday Agreement
    Massive economic support

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    Partition didn’t bring the NHS unfortunately. That was the Labour government after the second World War. The NHS would be deemed to be part of the welfare state so your first two points are actually just one. Wasn’t there opposition to the welfare state in these parts at the time of it’s introduction?

    Standing up to terrorism is a debatable point. Wasn’t the UDA a fully legal organisation until 1992, a mere two years before the ceasefires? By that time they had already murdered hundreds so the horse had pretty much bolted. In fact they are still a very active and organised terrorist outfit, their last murder victim coming just a few weeks ago. Their leaders are regularly introduced with their full titles on BBC Newsline and nobody seems to bat an eye lid in law enforcement circles. So I’d say that standing up to terrorism is a bit of a unicorn point in all honesty.

    The GFA is a good point to be fair but we’re still waiting on it being implemented in full 19 years later. It’s a bit like me saying I have the winning lottery numbers in my pocket but I just need them to come out in the main draw.

    And what massive economic support did partition bring? I must have missed that completely, which is a huge surprise to me given the fact I was born, raised, went to school, went to uni in and still live in Belfast. Just recently, I’m also pretty sure that nearly 20% of the value of the pound has been wiped away. I’m not a lawyer but that doesn’t sound like the definition of massive economic support, it seems to be the opposite in fact.

    If that’s the best argument that the proponents of petition can put up then you may need to dig a bit deeper

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    My cousin had the contents of a magazine of ammunition emptied into the back of his head at just 19 years of age from point blank range by one of those brave personnel you speak of. Now you’re on here telling us that we should owe the the people who did that, and hundreds of other similar murders a debt of gratitude? I’ll be sure to let the rest of family know. Given that my cousin had no involvement with any organisation politically, well, we’ll be sure to pass on our thanks to his murderers all the same. Would they prefer flowers or would a card just do? What about the brave RUC officers who called to my aunt and uncle’s house and goaded them on their son’s death? Would an Amazon voucher do them as a thank you? Do you think that would be enough or should we get them something a bit extra?

    What about the paras on Bloody Sunday? Will we get a cake and a bouncey castle for them? I know the RUC officers who watched Robert Hamill be kicked to death like bouncey things too so we should just get them one big present as a thank you for all their hard work in murdering us.

    We could throw a concert for the UDR and Glenanne Gang and give them the real thanks they deserve for the bombs they planted and people they sent to an early grave. It was all in our best interests you see. “We’re killing you for your own good Paddy, one day you’ll understand”.

    That is hands down the single most idiotic defence of the partition of this country I have ever heard in the entire 35 years which I have been a human being on planet Earth. That the main benefit of partition is that people should owe some sort of sick gratitude to those who murdered, shot, bombed, stabbed and maimed them from the moment the northern state came into existence is something else. That is on a level I didn’t even know existed in this place. There really isn’t any self-awareness in unionism at all like, is there?

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    The fake country is in fact “Northern Ireland”. Narnia or Norneverland as it’s regularly called now. The bigotted hole that is on its last legs. Be sure to tell your English neighbours that Ireland isn’t an actual country. If you could record their reaction then stick it up here for us to have a good laugh at that would be great. We could have another discussion on why people “just don’t get it”

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    I don’t want another election either. I’m just telling you that nationalists aren’t bored at present. Why would we be? We’re closer to reunification than at any other point since the formation of the northern state. Why would we get bored now? We’ve came off the back of our best ever election. But aye, we’re bored

  • Anon Anon

    Nope. There are political positions that associate you with the traditional left/right axis that can be fairly judged by an independent observer. SF are undoubtedly left liberal party. You could argue they are too in favour of centralising policies – they are – but that’s equally true of UK Labour and other leftwing parties.

    Again, you are free to dislike them. I suspect in your head you associate “progressive” with “the good guys”. But that’s not necessarily the case.

  • Granni Trixie

    You are actually wrong as regards what I mean by progressive. I don’t think I’m really progressive myself …but I knock about with a lot who do think of themselves as such. I think it is relevant to say that a political party to survive has to be relevant and adapt to current needs so maybe that tends to self define as “progressive”. It takes more than sticking up for gay peoples rights to make a party progressive.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Ask anyone about stuff they don’t know much about and you get an ignorant answer – hence the “Ireland” nonsense. Your approach seems to be to treat the person with the least knowledge or interest in Northern Ireland as the best analyst of it. I may be at the point of having spotted the flaw in that …

    Meanwhile your contempt for the terms of the Good Friday Agreement continues unabated. Just don’t tell me you “support” the GFA, because we’ve just seen definitive proof that you don’t.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I can’t comment on the facts of what happened to your relatives except to say they have my sympathy, genuinely, and that shouldn’t happen to anyone.

    At the same time, while I wouldn’t expect this thought to predominate when thinking of your own experience, many other people’s experiences were very different. The security forces saved many, many, many more lives – and themselves lost a lot more of their own lives – than they took. That is beyond dispute. And as a result many people in Northern Ireland, good people, non-sectarian people, are deeply grateful to them for the overall contribution they made to minimising loss of life.

    That is I’m sure hard to hear, from your experience. But these are true experiences too. You experienced the extremely rough end of it – what sounds like an awful attack – to a degree that is beyond words. And you are entitled to feel very bitter about what happened in your own case. I share your disgust for what happened to your cousin and your family and I hope you get some criminal justice for it one day soon. I would fully support you in that.

    But don’t be surprised or offended when you hear people paying tribute to the work of the security forces overall. It doesn’t mean they support what happened to you, quite the opposite. People do feel immensely grateful to those we relied upon to serve on the frontline against terrorism, whether in the police or the army. The vast majority did so with remarkable discipline and fortitude. We’re talking here about 20-30,000 people serving at any one time, over 28 years, in daily interaction with both terrorists and the public. The number of instances of personnel going off the rails as they did on Bloody Sunday or in your cousin’s case is thankfully relatively low. Too high of course. But they were not the whole story of Operation Banner. For what it’s worth, most of my negative experiences of the Troubles were to do with the IRA, including some quite personal ones. But I think the key is to acknowledge that none of us, even direct victims, experienced the whole of the Troubles. Other people’s experiences, good or bad, are equally true. So I’m standing by continuing to express those other experiences and views, without denying yours.

  • Anon Anon

    No, normally it takes broad support on a range of issues. The Conservatives legislated for SSM.

    But remove abortion – even with recent political shifts it remains different in Ireland (plus SF are less hardline on it than most) and you’ll struggle to find an issue where SF doesn’t come down on the progressive side of the debate.

    The Southern Parties routinely attack SF for being looney lefties. Whatever your friends are like, not everyone on the left is the same.

  • Katyusha

    Your desperate attempts to link Trump into unrelated issues is noted, and not for the first time. It’s the mark of someone trying to link whatever he wishes to denigrate to whatever is out of fashion at the time. Whatever Trump is doing has zero relevance to Northern Ireland, even by analogy.

    The North has been post-truth for a very, very long time, and we are much more sophisticated than that. Indeed, the state one of the key architects between constructing false narrative in Northern Ireland, a strategy they followed with zeal, their careful and deliberate use of information, and their compliant media. Sometimes their slander has been redacted long after it has served its initial purpose, such as in the Saville or De Silva inquiries, but in many other cases, the use of a convenient narrative to distort, obscure or replace the truth lives on. The strategies and tactics used to build mythology in NI by all sides are indeed sustainable; they have outlived the conflict they are deployed in and are a permanent feature of NI society. That’s just the way it is.

    As for your points, apart from point 1) the legitimacy of Northern Ireland, and 2) parity of esteem, I don’t see how the others are in any contravention of the GFA. The legitimacy afforded to NI in the GFA was not even applied retrospectively, so it is still perfectly valid to argue that its founding was illegitimate or at the very least undemocratic.

    I don’t see any reason why a document written 20 years ago would prevent Northern Ireland becoming or persisting as a failed political entity twenty years later. Does it somehow prevent our institutions falling apart or the dysfunctional development of our society. Are people prevented from calling NI out on its structural failings by the GFA – like some kind of blindfold or comfort blanket we use to delude ourselves into thinking everything is okay?

    I don’t see any way in which parity of esteem is not being afforded the the British/Unionist identity. On the other hand, we still haven’t implemented an Irish language act and the display of Irish symbols is still a sensitive issue. Sounds like more mythologising on your part, MU. Even on Slugger, lack of recognition and accommodation of British identity is exceedingly rare. That is remarkable, really, when this whole “British identity” thing is, and the special status it gets on our patchwork quilt.

    I also do not see, in any way, shape, or form, why cross-border or all-Ireland cooperation contravenes the GFA. It sounds like you just want to shut down fora of discussion that you don’t like.

    You’re not half bad at the old post-truth malarkey yourself, MU.

  • mooncoin

    There is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about for having Nationalist-leaning sympathies . For cringe-worthy try the BBC NI .

  • mooncoin

    BBC , correction

  • mooncoin

    As a commuter I see a lot of union flags all over the six counties , and has been thus in my living memory .

  • mooncoin

    Sinn Fein is not threatening a new election they are sticking to what they campaigned on before the election ‘ No going back to the status quo ‘ that position hasn’t changed nor will it change. The DUP are fully aware of that commitment , if the DUP continue to back-slide on element of the GFA , then the outcome is either direct rule or another election . simple as pal.

  • Jollyraj

    Their demand to, in effect, choose who the largest party be allowed to nominate as first party is a farcical, cartoonish demand. By sticking to something so obviously ridiculous they are inviting the natural consequence of another election and probably direct rule.

    I note they are now (laughably) trying to pin the blame for the failure of negotiations to the DUP not working on Sunday – though Geraldo himself decreed that there be no extension beyond Sunday.

  • Jollyraj

    Cringeworthy? Hmmm… Jude Collins?

  • Jollyraj

    And now with Michelle coming out and saying (Gerry told me to say)”Direct Rule is not an option” it looks imcreasingly like SF have painted themselves into a corner. Personally I think a new election might go well for everyone but SF – but what if the SDLP or Alliance or one of the unionist parties werw to boycott it…

  • john millar

    “The last election acrually saved money as the assembly came back with 18 less MLAs four years early. Thats a lot of saved wonga. Lets hope the DUP do not force another election.”

    Au Contraire lets have another election with a further cull 9/10 MLA`s thats a lot more saved wonga

  • john millar

    “I was born, raised, went to school, went to uni in and still live in Belfast. Just recently, I’m also pretty sure that nearly 20% of the value of the pound has been wiped away. I’m not a lawyer but that doesn’t sound like the definition of massive economic support, it seems to be the opposite in fact.”

    I suggest you (re) examine the history of the “welfare state” in NI and in particular the “subvention”

    The subvention and the provision of social security /education/ housing produced the current population levels and provided the support to ensure you were ” born, raised, went to school, went to uni in and still live in Belfast.”

  • john millar

    “Now there is a very real possibility that we’ll have a UI within 2 to 3 years. It’s a “political” 3rd world war. Personally I’m bricking it.”

    The ONLY way a United Ireland” can occur is for the Protestant to be outvoted . That is impossible with current community break down

    Any border poll will allow (amongst others) the repeating of the History of the IRA the collusion of the Government in the ROI with the IRA and the Role of the Roman Catholic Church in the elimination of the protestant from the ROI.

    Not too many Protestant votes there

  • MainlandUlsterman

    The similarities though between the SF approach to public discourse and Trump’s are quite striking. I know you think I was shoe-horning it in, but it wasn’t a passing thought, it’s something I’d noticed during the rise of Trump and indeed the Brexit campaign. The whole, “we know we’re putting some highly questionable stuff out there that offends some people, but (1) f*** them, and (2) our supporters lap it up so why wouldn’t we.” You have to hand it to SF, they were doing it before it was fashionable.

  • SleepyD

    Oh go away you silly person.