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Hot Water

By ATWadmin On November 2nd, 2006

Notwithstanding DUP attempts to pull off a con-trick of Del Boy proportions, it seems a sizeable chunk of the party faithful (and not only those who are part of the Free Presbyterian movement) are distinctly upset at the idea of Paisley entertaining the idea of joint governance with a Provo heavy.  The website, Burning Bush has been awash with cries of ‘sell out!’ since the DUP disappointed all those who believed it would hold the line in the environment of prostituted principles.  I even have it on good authority that DUP members opposed to the St Andrews Agreement were denied the chance to ask questions to the panel at the recent gathering in East Belfast.

Some argue that the appeasement process has a script.  I say it has a palimpsest.  The original script used by Trimble back in 1998 may have been erased, but what you have in its place is an identical format describing identical machinations, albeit with different Unionist players.  I couldn’t care less about the religion of the power sharing participants (give me a loyal Catholic over a separatist Protestant every time).  What incenses me is that Paisley is about to submit his entire past life into a folder marked ‘Fraud’!  He resisted power sharing before; why is he sullying his principles now?  Sharing power with people dedicated to the constitutional abolition of Northern Ireland is as wrong with Martin McGuinness as it was with others back in the 1960s and the 1970s.

Whatever difficulties republicans have in selling the idea of PSNI loyalty to their grassroots is of no interest.  It does not detract from the terrorist past and present of the IRA, nor does it change what Sinn Fein voters are!  What we are concerned with here are not the problems associated with a terrorist party and a base of terrorist-approving low-lifes.  We (and the DUP in particular) should be more preoccupied with the concerns of decent people who suffered (and still suffer) as a consequence of what the Provisionals did.  Allowing them into government destroys the integrity of all who would contemplate such a scenario.

60 Responses to “Hot Water”

  1. I can see where you and many others are coming from on this issue, but unfortunately the DUP are in a no-win situation.
    Several years ago the late Mo Mowlam, in one of her many gaffs, exclaimed that the peace train was leaving, with or without Unionism. She was rightly ridiculed at the time, but that statement could well prove prophetic.
    If the DUP pander to their hardliners and refuse to enter an assembly with SF, the rug will almost certainly be pulled from under their feet. The assembly will be mothballed, the Republic will be given an even greater scope to meddle and SF can hold up their hands to all and sundry proclaiming; ‘we did our best, but what can you do with Unionists?’
    Entering govt with SF is an unpalatable prospect. Quite apart from the terrorist aspect, they are masters of the art of black spin, handy in the intimidation dept and hold political views somewhat to the left of Karl Marx. Their stated aim is a United Ireland by any means necessary and in the long-term they expect their archaic Marxist Republicanism to hold sway over future coalitions in the ROI. They are in short entirely unsuitable govt partners.
    However, the British & Irish govts have staked the entire ‘peace process’ on this bunch getting into govt (albeit a limited assembly), and if the DUP won’t play ball, they will simply appease SF in some other way.
    Within an assembly framework, the DUP can demonstrate their political and moral superiority. They can help to drag the province into the 21st century when bread and butter issues can actually be discussed on doorsteps and win votes. In short, they can bring a semblance of normality to a province which has only begun to emerge from decades of pointless conflict.
    Standing outside saying no has served Big Ian and the DUP well in the past, but even at the age of 80, he has come to realise that politics must move forward.
    My message would be: give it a go — if it doesn’t work out and the whole thing goes belly up next summer, pull the plug and point fingers.’
    As it stands, the no party have nothing to gain and everything to lose by sitting on the fence.

  2. I suspect we’re not hearing something vital to this thing. What was said to Paisley that would shift his stance after all this time? Like it or not, I personally despise it with every shred of my being, SF have a democratic mandate and sadly not all of it is a result of the dead voting for them (amongst other electoral frauds they’ve perputrated). SF voters must be engaged but I’m sick, sore and tired of the appeasement. I suspect a far too tasty "carrot" has been dangled in front of Paisley but I doubt it’s money. I think it is something else that the unionist people regard very highly. (queue the music from the Twilight Zone). A conspiracy may be afoot?

    Or perhaps Paisley is doing this in his belief (faith?) that SF/IRA will do something post-devolution that will initiate their fall from grace? (again queue the Twilight Zone music). Stranger things have happened.

  3. Andrew, if you really believe what you wrote in the 2nd paragraph – that there should be never be power sharing with Nationalists – there would be no need to write the 3rd.

  4. So Andrew. Is it your argument that consensus politics in NI is a dead duck ?

  5. "We … should be more preoccupied with the concerns of decent people who suffered (and still suffer) as a consequence of what the Provisionals did."

    We should be more preoccupied with the concerns of decent people who suffered (and still suffer) as a consequence of what Paisley started."

    You see, Andrew, things always look a little different when viewed from the other chap’s perspective."

  6. Fanny

    The halacost looks different when viewed from Hitler’s perspective.

  7. "The halacost looks different when viewed from Hitler’s perspective"

    True, Aileen, but I don’t recall the Jews attacking the Nazis in 1933, do you?

  8. HUMANANIMALS

    Sinn Fein’s leftism will not survive contact with the reality of government north and south.

    The really interesting question is how strong will unionist opposition to a deal be. Not very, I suggest. Paisley is, rightly or wrongly, trusted to do the best deal possible.

    In reality of course it is Trimble’s deal but that’s they way history goes sometimes.

  9. Fanny

    I don’t recall Paisley murdering anyone either.

  10. Let us jump back from the Nazis/Holocaust analogies because (1) there is no comparison and (2) it trivializes that unique horror. I no neither of you would do that intentionally, but sometimes the rhetoric gets a little too heated to recognize what we are saying.
    Despite valid disgust at certain members of SF, hasn’t the shipped sailed on whether or not they ultimately will participate in the government? I recognize that the peace agreements have resulted in many going uncaught, untried, unconvicted and unpunished. It must in turn cause righteous anger and indignation. But aside from voicing distate for this course (which does not appear reversible) what course of action will realistically maintain the level of peace and provide for a government that respects the rights of all?

  11. >>I don’t recall Paisley murdering anyone either<<

    No Aileen, but he helped start what was practically a civil war.

  12. mahons

    Sorry but I totally refute the notion that the holocost cannot be used to illustrate a point. My point being that having a point of view that puts anything Paisley is known to have done in the same league as the murders of the IRA does not mean that that view poitn has validity.

    I also refute the idea that it trivialises the horror.On the contrary. It is precisely because it was horrific that it illlustrates the point. A non horrific event phenomenom would have been a weak example. It’s use is an implicit (at least) recognition of the extent of it’s horror.

    "Despite valid disgust at certain members of SF, hasn’t the shipped sailed on whether or not they ultimately will participate in the government?"

    That would not actually be relevant in terms of the duty to reiterate the difference between right and wrong. As they say the show ain’t over ontil the fat lady sings and I ain’t singing ;o)

  13. Paisley sniffs power, his major weakness. His history is of breakaway and control in party, church and orange order. Simplistic perhaps but tell me why its untrue…

    BUT, the main players in both St Andrews and the Belfast Agreement were the British gvt and the IRA. The Gvt is mainly concerned with a deal that is in THEIR interest, stopping IRA attacks on them, notice I did not say all violence.
    The Unionists valiently lobby and have done a fair job but the are mere lobbyists none the less.
    Sinn Fein and the Brit gvt will have their deal with or without Unionism. The question is whether Unionists should enter gvt with their noses held and influence or stand outside talking when few listen.
    Its a moral judgement but I favour entering gvt at some stage. (However my ideal would be no devoution at all and full integration at Westminster.)
    Sad but I fear true. Again simpistic and not taking in minute detail but please prove me wrong!

  14. <i>However my ideal would be no devoution at all and full integration at Westminster</i>

    I dont believe this can happen though. The minority against this is too large. Some people talk about the nationalist minority being disloyal because they look towards the ROI, forgetting that the nationalists of NI were given NO choice in the formation of NI. They were told they were part of it full stop. So its not an issue of loyality, who would be loyal to something they were given no input on. Same applied to southern unionists and the ROI, execpt the minority of southern unionists was much much smaller then the nationalist minority in NI.

    Is repartition an option. Originally when partition was first brought up in the 1900s it was a 4 county entity that was thought of (by unionist politicians), 6 counties was considered ungovernable because of the sizeable nationalist population.

  15. Aileen: Allow me to clarify. I don’t think it should be used as flippantly as it often is to score points. You are a serious person who has written quite eloquently on this site and I think if you reflect further you might reconsider using that profound historical event to illustrate a point in something, that while serious, doesn’t rise to the same level of gravitas. I’ll think about it as well.

    I think you are well within your rights in pointing out the nature of the SF crowd and deploring the deals made, but what is the realistic alternative?

  16. mahons

    I appreciate your good faith, but it is something that I have thought about a lot. Firstly I disagree that it not to the same level of gravitas. It may not be to the same scale but it is about the issue that mere viewpoint can make evil not evil. Anytime evil is the topic the holacost is valid to bring up.

    Indeed I go futher. It should be the default position that it be brought up. One of the dangers of Godwin’s law, apart from its illogicality of removing the option of the counterexample to a lot of arguements that fudge the distintion between good and evil, is that the holocast has rightly earned itself the position of being the ultimate example of evil. It should be used. It should not be forgotten. It is when it ceases to be used as the ultimate example that we should really be worried.

    As to the other, the atlernative to doing wrong is not to do wrong. I am rarely as concerned about the option that is settled on as long as the immoral ones have been ruled out.

  17. Aileen,

    Whatever you or I may think of the IRA, my point was that it’s a little myopic to blame them alone for the corpses that piled up in NI over several decades.

    Unionist animosity can (and should of course) be directed at them, but do not lose sight of the animosity which Paisley and his ilk generated in Nationalist circles and further, right from the moment this little rabble-rouser objected to an Irish tricolor fluttering over Divis Street way back in 1964.

    I’ll leave it to the historians to fill in the rest.

  18. Aileen: I am clearly not advocating that it be forgotten (on the contrary), just that it shouldn’t be constantly invoked by people to get across their point when there are plenty of alternatives. We’ll have to agree to disagree as the saying goes.

  19. Fanny

    "Whatever you or I may think of the IRA, my point was that it’s a little myopic to blame them alone for the corpses that piled up in NI over several decades."

    Fanny I am not blaming them alone. I also blame the UVF etc. However in the context that Andrew was talking about it is SF/IRA and the posibility of them being ingovenment so no other balme worthy group was relevant.

    "Unionist animosity can (and should of course) be directed at them,"
    Animosity whether unionist or not should be aimed at them and all murderers.

    "but do not lose sight of the animosity which Paisley and his ilk generated in Nationalist circles and further…"

    Fanny I do not lose sight of it but again, in the context of Andre’s post, anyone’s opinion of Paisley doesn’t register, in comparison with the murders of the IRA.

  20. Mahons
    The alternatives don’t measure up.
    I agree that this is one are where we aren’t going to agree. Infact It hink that it is one of those things where I we come to differenct conclusions precisely because we both agree about important the holocast is.

  21. Aileen, with respect I think you’re wrong. A great many people DO believe that Paisley’s culpability exceeds that of the IRA. I’m sorry but there it is.

    My father, a mild-mannered retired barrister, on learning that rabble-rouser Paisley had succeeded in reaching the top position in Northern Ireland, swore like a costermonger and exclaimed that "the lunatics have taken over the asylum."

    This is not necessarily the view from ALL Middle England but it’s close enough.

  22. Aileen – I surrender the field to you. I have to go home and paint my dining room. your last points to Fanny were quite good.

  23. Almost got away. Fanny, Paisley is a foul bigoted rabble rouser whose unfortunate longevity confirms that only the good die young. However, his diatribes and fanning of the flames of intolerance are a deck chair off the Queen Mary compared to the IRA thugs who waged the bombing campaigns in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s and who lack all shame for their hideous crimes.

  24. Fanny

    "Aileen, with respect I think you’re wrong. A great many people DO believe that Paisley’s culpability exceeds that of the IRA. I’m sorry but there it is."

    Fanny I’m not arguing that many people don’t beleive that. My arguemnt is that their believing it does not make it so.

  25. mahons

    The prozaic always catches up with us

    Andrew

    "the context of Andre’s post"

    sorry for frenchifying you !

  26. That may be, Mahons, but who let slip the dogs of war?

    Sometimes the footsoldiers are less odious than those who urge them to fight, whether by command or by actions that invite retaliatory measures.

    Bed time. Goodnight and God bless.

  27. Henry94:
    ‘Sinn Fein’s leftism will not survive contact with the reality of government north and south.’

    OK Henry, so what exactly will be the difference between SF and the SDLP (other than having a few members with something approaching a personality?)
    For the last year or so, the SF role has been to glorify the provo’s entirely pointless campaign whilst whinging at every opportunity about anything remotely Unionist or British.
    The recent firebombings on the Boucher Road serve as a timely reminder of just how sad and childish the Provo ‘armed struggle’ actually was. After 30 years of mayhem and thousands of deaths, the sum of the SF/IRA acheivements has been a place in Stormont and a few north-south bodies, whilst copper-fastening partition, and (as looks likely) accepting the ‘RUC Mark 2’ as their legitimate police force.
    The SDLP could have managed pretty much the same result simply by boring everyone senseless with their single transferable speeches.
    Having lost the weapons and the bad guy image, if SF lose the Marxist chic, how will we tell them apart?

  28. TEST

  29. We approach the end of days in this, our beloved province and homeland as the scurrilous, the vile, and the wicked money-lenders of the detested Blair government filled as it is to its putrid corners with adulterers, shamen, Sodomites and the very lowest, blackest and devious enemies of God. They have dazzled and put sweetened sickness down the throats of Ulster’s sons, then led them, naked and swaying, dancing provocatively with veils and dainty make-up to the top of the temple, a poppy between their teeth, and waved their jewelled arms at the poisoned banquet laid out aross the barren plains… Oh brothers, this is Ulster’s darkest hour, Dr Paisley has had the mark of Blair upon him, he wilts and weeps as the thieves and murdering blood-drenched monsters we are compelled to call our kith and kin are his suckling… Robinson! Robinson! Robinson! The malicious viper in the pile and his modernising malfeasants have sullied the soul of our brethren and brought about this deadly reckoning…Over the comong days, we will be subjected to deceit and treachery, lies and damnation til all that we love about this here province is immersed in a tide of verminous sin. A fight for the very soul of our country is taking place, deep in the black heart of the debauched and lawless west of Belfast, Adams and McGuinness are running their blood soaked fingers over a map of our homeland. It is TIME! TIME FOR A BATTLE FOR THE VERY SOUL OF THIS COUNTRY!!!!!! We CANNOT TRUST THE ILL AND AILING DR PAISLEY, WITH ADAMS AND CO AT HIS BOSOM, WE CANNOT TRUST THE MODERNISER ROBINSON WHOSE LOVE FOR MONEY AND FANCY SUITS AND EYE WORK DONE BY REPULBICAN SURGEONS FROM THE BOWELS OF DUBLIN IS THE GREATEST ACT OF TREACHERY OUR PEOPLE HAVE SEEN!!!!

    IT IS UP TO US!!! GO NOW, GO NOW, GO TO BROTHER FOSTER’S WEB PLACE FOR DIRECTION AND GUIDANCE ON HOW TO DEFEAT THIS, THE GREATEST THREAT TO OUR LIVES AND HOMELAND SINCE OUT BELOVED PROVINCE WAS FORMED!!!!

    ULSTER IS NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT FOR SALE!!!!!!!!!!! FOR TEN BILLION, FIFTY BILLION, A MILLION BILLION!!! OR THE SOUL OF THE DUP!!!!!!

    BE SURE ABOUT THIS; VOTE FOR THIS ACCURSED AGREEMENT AND A PLACE IN HELL WILL BE RESERVED FOR YOU…

  30. Aileen,
    many victims of the Holocaust would disagree with you that when evil is discussed it is alright to bring up the Holocaust.

    The Holocaust was an exceptional and unique evil where 6 million men, women and children were systematically exterminated and to compare it to the Provisional IRA total of around a thousand or two thousand people over 30 years is wrong.

    It actually belittles the evil of the Holocaust and reduces the horror of that event, in my view. You don’t have to accept that if you don’t want by that is my strongly held view.

  31. I see that Paisley was moved almost to tears last week when Bertie Ahern presented him with a wooden bowl carved from a tree grown on the banks of the Boyne as a wedding anniversary gift. He took it home, and he and her Ladyship proudly showed it to family and friends.

    It’s strange that people see a need to humour Paisley like that (Blair also gave him a gift), while detesting him politically.

  32. "many victims of the Holocaust would disagree with you that when evil is discussed it is alright to bring up the Holocaust."

    That disagreement does not make it wrong.

    "The Holocaust was an exceptional and unique evil where 6 million men, women and children were systematically exterminated and to compare it to the Provisional IRA total of around a thousand or two thousand people over 30 years is wrong."

    The most exceptional element of the Holocaust was its scale and that happened because the NAZIs had such power and control. To reduce it to numbers to my mind belittles it. Also to put it up as unique is in the same league as Holocaust deniers. If it is unique then there is less onus on us to learn from it. The main difference with regard to the IRA was that they were never in a position to do what the NAZIs did. To say you shouldn’t compare its evil and indeed the evil of the UVF is to my minds very very very wrong and I don’t just mean wrong as in mistaken.

  33. HA

    <i>OK Henry, so what exactly will be the difference between SF and the SDLP</i>

    I see two major differences. First, Sinn Fein is a national party and the SDLP is a regional party.

    Second, Sinn Fein is organisationally superior in every respect.

    Policy differences in the north between any of the parties are irrelevant as long as the key controls of the economy are in British hands. I expect Sinn Fein to be more pro-active in looking beyond current arrangements and promoting the all-Ireland agenda.

    <i>For the last year or so, the SF role has been to glorify the provo’s entirely pointless campaign</i>

    Is there any sense in trying to come to an agreement about the past when what matters is agreement about the future. Of course republican commemorations will remain part of the cultural landscape. Bertie Ahern still goes to Fianna Fails Wolfe Tone commemoration every year and Unionists are world leaders in commemoration.

    i test

  34. Just to clarify the compare is in the case of mindset not in scale.

    My use of the Holocaust when I did was in relation to perception not being reality and not equating the subject matter.

    I have to say that this has been enlightening. In the past when anyone has said something similar I have tended to be suspicious that they are really just miffed because it has been a counter example to their arguement. I now realise that they may well have honestly beleived that it is taboo.

    For me the acis test is that it is being used because it is important and non trivial and not in a way that says that it was in some way justifyable.

    I also use it to illustrate stupidity in terms of management response to things and equating this to how that mindset would have behaved if they had been in charge of the relief of the concentration camps. It is an extreme example which does not equate the horror of the concentration camps with any work situation.

  35. >>The most exceptional element of the Holocaust was its scale and that happened because the NAZIs <<

    That’s not true, Aileen. There are several other examples of genocide throughout the ages involving comparable numbers.

    The exceptional thing about the Holocaust was, IMO, its particular mechanical cruelty and that it was carried out in full awareness of its horrific effects, i.e. it was perfectly planned and executed with the aim of killing all Jews. Leading Nazis spoke about this "task" beforehand and, with a certain relish, while it was taking place. It was not a mindless slaughter for land or ethnic reasons, but was planned and implemented by generally educated men.

    >>Also to put it up as unique is in the same league as Holocaust deniers<<
    No. The Holocaust was unique at least for the reasons I mention above.

    >>The main difference with regard to the IRA was that they were never in a position to do what the NAZIs did<<

    Nonsense! The Nazi plan was to exterminate the entire Jewish people from Europe because they considered them sub-human and to use their carcasses for industrial purposes.

    The IRA wanted to end the British political and military presence in Ireland. The vast majority of those killed by the IRA were military/police, less than 20% were Protestant civilians. If IRA objective had been ethnic, the figures would look very different.

  36. Aileen,
    "Also to put it up as unique is in the same league as Holocaust deniers"

    Actually, it’s the opposite. To mention the Holocaust in the same breath as other atrocities is considered Holocaust denial because it downgrades this unique evil to the same level as everyday evil.

    That is the point which it is obvious you have missed.

  37. Indeed, any downgrading of the holocaust, whether deliberate or intentional is a very grave offence indeed.

  38. Felix,
    it feels strange to be in total agreement with you but I do here. It still amazes me how so many people seem incapable of grasping this point about the Holocaust.

  39. Paisley started it, eh? How about the various IRA campaigns against Northern Ireland long before Paisley came on the scene?

    Power sharing with people committed to the ending of the State over which they govern is wrong – PERIOD!

  40. Fanny: Paisley may be accountable for fanning the flames of hatred and unsavory rhetoric, but I am not aware of any direct participation by him in any actual violent acts. Let me make this clear, I can’t stand him and don’t excuse his actions. However, the wrong he has done has not approached the level of those who have engaged in actual violence or ordered such violence to be done. I won’t hold myself out as a full authority on him, and would review any information you have to the contrary, but I don’t see the case you are trying to make.

  41. Andrew, I think you’ll find that I was referring to the most recent round of idiocy, kicking off with Paisley’s campaign begun in 1964. And I didn’t know that men HAD periods.

    Aileen, our little discussion yesterday got slightly out of hand 🙂

    I was simply saying that the Paisleyites in power is just as repugnant to Nationalists as the Shinners in power is to Unionists. Unfortunately the middle ground has fallen away and doesn’t look set to return for some time.

    So it’s up to everyone to see that both sets of extremists somehow find a new middle ground. It’s possible, of course it is. An attempt at mutual respect would be a welcome start.

  42. >> but I am not aware of any direct participation by him in any actual violent act<<

    Mahons, Fanny is right. The one who in a very voltile situation stirs up racial hatred and encourages his followers to "safeguard their rights" is to my mind more guilty that a 16-year-old from the slums who throws a petrol bomb.
    He is certainly more responsible for the start of the Troubles, and was named as such by the British tribunal set up to investigate the explosion of violence in 1969, as far as I know the only person specified by name.

    Several of his erstwhile footsoldiers who found themselves in court (including the ones who set off the first bombs in the Troubles) confirmed that they had been inspired by Dr. Paisley.

    Apart from the many Catholics killed, the first policemen were also killed by Paisleyites. In 1970 a gang of the Shankill hard men tried to break through to the Catholic Falls shouting "Paisley is our leader" and "Let’s smash the fucking Popeheads" (See Bishop/Mallie). When they were blocked by a line of RUC they killed two of the constables.

  43. Cunningham: Thanks, I’ll dig in a little more on the research. I know that he is responsible maintaining a certain climate of hatred, and that his rhetoric may make his as morally culpable as soemone who throws a rock at a passing truck. I don’t think it makes hims as morally culpable as someone who places a bomb in a store or in a car parked on a busy street. As for his being an inspiration for certain lowlifes who have committed violent acts, well that strikes me as less important since crime is often committed by those who claim to be inspired by neuatral or even noble things. Again, I don’t like the old cretin, and the fact that his actions are not as bad as the actions of others is not an excuse.

  44. "Actually, it’s the opposite. To mention the Holocaust in the same breath as other atrocities is considered Holocaust denial because it downgrades this unique evil to the same level as everyday evil.

    That is the point which it is obvious you have missed. "

    Garfield "everyday evil" That is downplaying evil.

    Felix

    "Indeed, any downgrading of the holocaust, whether deliberate or intentional is a very grave offence indeed"

    I would agree too and I don’t accept that I have.

    Fanny

    Don’t want to nag at you as I have respect for your views but this is important to me..

    "I was simply saying that the Paisleyites in power is just as repugnant to Nationalists as the Shinners in power is to Unionists."

    If that is true then it should be to their shame that non terrorists are considered as repugant to them as terrosists are to us.

    "Unfortunately the middle ground has fallen away and doesn’t look set to return for some time."

    "So it’s up to everyone to see that both sets of extremists somehow find a new middle ground. It’s possible, of course it is."

    They are not equal and opposite. What is considered the "middle ground" in unionism fell away from the UUP towards people that were seen to take a tougher stand on terrorists.The equal and opposite match for SF is PUP and now to an extent the UUP!

    "An attempt at mutual respect would be a welcome start."

    If you mean mutual respect between those who desire to maintain the Union and those who desire a United Ireland (all other things being equal) but noone should be expected to respect terrorists.

    Mahons

    Re your last posts, Very well put!

  45. "If you mean mutual respect between those who desire to maintain the Union and those who desire a United Ireland (all other things being equal) but noone should be expected to respect terrorists."

    No, Aileen, it won’t do. Sinn Féin may not be our cup of tea but they are the party of choice for a sizable swath of the electorate. This is what I mean by mutual respect. Let Unionism respect the choices of Nationalism and vice versa. Then–and believe me only then–will Northern Ireland have a future.

  46. Aileen: Thanks.

  47. Fanny – I don’t think respect is the right word. Both sides should be free to be disgusted at the choices of the others. I think tolerate might be a better sentiment.

  48. Fanny

    I will never respect chosing terrorists. NI will never have a future if that becomes the norm.

  49. mahons,
    "respect" in the political sense Fanny used it means "accept as legitimate", e.g. to "respect the choice of the electorate", "respect the will of the people", etc.

    The historical context in NI is that for generations Unionists did not accept, and certainly did not respect, the democratic voice of Nationalism. Every effort was made to thwart it. (it’s also poetically ironic that Paisley himself led the movement that brought down the first power sharing experiment in 1974; Unionism’s partner then was the SDLP. Now Paisley’s being asked to take part in a much worse deal for Unionism, and this time not only with a rampant Nationalist electorate, but with former IRA men as partners! Slow learners, indeed.)

    The task for Unionists is to accept that Nationalists vote for a party that is hell-bent on securing a united Ireland, and for Nationalists to accept that the majority want to continue as part of the UK.

  50. "The historical context in NI is that for generations Unionists did not accept, and certainly did not respect, the democratic voice of Nationalism. Every effort was made to thwart it. (it’s also poetically ironic that Paisley himself led the movement that brought down the first power sharing experiment in 1974; Unionism’s partner then was the SDLP."

    Compulsory powersharing is undemocratic. The only party that has a right to demand to be in government is one who has gained over 50% of the seats.

    The democratic voice of Conservatism and the democratic voice of the Lib Dems would appear not to be "respected" either.

  51. Cunningham: I bow to your skills as a translator. I suspect you are right in regards to Fanny’s intentions. I also agree that the unionist community has not been historically generous to the nationalist community.

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you note that it is a task for both communities.

    One of the things that I have to wonder aloud is what if the nationalists got their way today. Does anyone in their right mind think the Republic has the will or the means to control NI? I have a nationalist perspective on the history of Ireland, but I have a concern about the present day reality.

  52. "I will never respect chosing terrorists. NI will never have a future if that becomes the norm."

    Aileen, do remind me when it was that NI was normal.

    I think we should be thankful for anything that even remotely approaches normality. Compulsory powersharing is indeed democratic but it beats the shit out of bombs and bullets. Or do you believe that Unionism would have ceded power without a fight?

    And no, Mahons, something more than mere tolerance is required. Do please tell me what it is about the SF electorate that cannot be accorded respect.

    Cunningham, you "translate" me so well! What’s your hourly tariff? 🙂

  53. "Does anyone in their right mind think the Republic has the will or the means to control NI?"

    Mahons, from what I know of the Republic I would say that the will is weak though the means are probably available. It seems to me that the thirty-two county state is the chimaera that is chased because of ancient ties and loyalties, but that the satisfaction lies in the pursuit rather than in the consumation.

  54. Fanny

    ""I will never respect chosing terrorists. NI will never have a future if that becomes the norm."

    Aileen, do remind me when it was that NI was normal."

    Your question does not relate to my comment.

    "Compulsory powersharing is indeed democratic but it beats the shit out of bombs and bullets. Or do you believe that Unionism would have ceded power without a fight?"

    Not sure if you meant to say undemocratic as it is followed by a but.

    Overthowing the principles of democracy to pay off those who use the bomb and the buttlet doesn’t beat the hell out of anything in a positive way. No majority should have to cede power to a minority.

    I know that you asked mahons but " Do please tell me what it is about the SF electorate that cannot be accorded respect."

    Voting for SF!

  55. >>Compulsory powersharing is undemocratic.<<

    Aileen, if political parties, each with a democratic mandate, voluntary enter into such a system then it is not compulsory.
    Besides, who are you are I or anyone to say what is democratic and what not. Remember old Maggie’s "Let-the-people-decide" doctrine? As it is, a large majority of people in NI* – practically everyone except people like you and the Real IRA, Bob McCartney and the UDA – sees power sharing as necessary for NI. That’s democracy for you.

    * And everybody in Britain except Andrew.

    >> the will or the means to control NI<<

    Mahons, your concerns are unfounded. Everyone now agrees that NI must control itelf, whether it wants to steer itself towards a UI is its own choice. But no coercion will be possible or – in the case of a UI – necessary.

    Fanny, from someone like you I would accept only payment in kind.:)

  56. >>that the satisfaction lies in the pursuit rather than in the consumation<<

    Mahons isn’t going to let you get away with that without a wisecrack.

  57. Cunnigham

    "Aileen, if political parties, each with a democratic mandate, voluntary enter into such a system then it is not compulsory."

    If there is any compulsion then it is not volentary.

    "Besides, who are you are I or anyone to say what is democratic and what not. "

    I hardly know where to start with a question like that. You may as well ask who is to say who is to say what is wrong with murder. Everyone should know what is undemocratic. It is not my fault if and that they don’t.

    "Remember old Maggie’s "Let-the-people-decide" doctrine? As it is, a large majority of people in NI* – practically everyone except people like you and the Real IRA, Bob McCartney and the UDA – sees power sharing as necessary for NI. That’s democracy for you."

    Total b****x. Any system which enshrines compulsory powersharing, where if a party gets more than 50% of the seats they will not be in power is profoundly undemocratic. A majority of people supporting something undemocratic does not make it democratic. I think that Hitler would probably have won a free election in Germany in the late 30’s, even if the jews etc had been allowed to vote on a platofrm of giving him perpetual power. That would not have been democratic. As I have said before Democracy is not about the majority dictating but to prevent the minority doing so. Democracy deos not mean the majority deciding what is right or wrong.

    I am ashamed to admit that if a majority of people in the UK were asked when the 3rd millenium started, I beleive that the majority would have said on the first of January 2000. That would not have made it true.

    "That’s democracy for you."

    I thought according to you noone can say what is democratic!

  58. Aileen, the DUP doesn’t have to sign up. If they do, it’ll be their choice. The other 3 biggies have already signed up. So it’ll be voluntary for all concerned.

    >>Everyone should know what is undemocratic.<<
    Well, they obviously don’t. In the sense that almost all people in all democracies favour democracy, yet there is no particular form of democracy acceptable to all.
    For example, the system in UK general elections, where a party that gets 30% of the vote can have over 50% of the seats and form a government by itself while the other 70% don’t get a look in, would be considered very undemocratic by some. Similarly in the US, where the President can form a government from his favourites, who dont have to be elected to anything, could also be considered undemocratic.
    I’m suprised that you seem to think the notion of democracy fell down from heavan. Who said that a 30% party can form the government? Who said that coalitions can be formed, even though most of the people who voted for the relevnat parties would be against it? These are all conventions that evolved to suit different needs and expectations.
    All democracy means, in essence, is that the people get to decide.

    Power sharing has been tried in several ethnically divided communities and has been found to work better than the majority rule you favour.

    By the way, if it had been shown that power-sharing was acceptable in NI to such an extent that all the parties would have stopped fighting and killing, would you have supported it?

    (But im off to bed now, so Ill read any reply tomorrow. G’nite)

  59. Cunningham

    "For example, the system in UK general elections, where a party that gets 30% of the vote can have over 50% of the seats and form a government by itself while the other 70% don’t get a look in, would be considered very undemocratic by some."

    and it is.but at least it accepts the principle that oer 50% of the seats means governemnt. The way the seats are decided is undemocratic.

    "Power sharing has been tried in several ethnically divided communities and has been found to work better than the majority rule you favour"

    No they haven’t. The are undemocratic and therefore do not work.

    "By the way, if it had been shown that power-sharing was acceptable in NI to such an extent that all the parties would have stopped fighting and killing, would you have supported it?"

    Of course not!!!. It is undemocratic and as you very clearly state would be appeasement. In that same way that f you ask. "If protection money was considered acceptable and the thugs would desist from thrashing the establishment if they were paid off would you support it?

  60. >>"By the way, if it had been shown that power-sharing was acceptable in NI to such an extent that all the parties would have stopped fighting and killing, would you have supported it?"

    Of course not!!!. It is undemocratic and as you very clearly state would be appeasement. In that same way that f you ask. "If protection money was considered acceptable and the thugs would desist from thrashing the establishment if they were paid off would you support it?<<

    So you are saying that a situation where over 1000 people were killed since 1974 is better than one where the "principles of democracy" were "overthrown" in the power-sharing experiment that year, even if there was a general consensus for power-sharing!