Monday, 13 July 2009

Better The Devil You Know

Those making trouble in Ardoyne really just looked like tanked-up teenagers on a summer’s evening. At most, the whole thing was a cry of impotent rage by those whose party has given up, and joined the Establishment with bells on.

But they might consider that the overall control of the British State is their safeguard against rule by people whose own history on the matter is thoroughly ambivalent, and who think that it is normal British behaviour to march through the streets behind a Union Flag while wearing a bowler hat. In the heads below those bowler hats still simmers the idea of an Orange Free State, of “a Protestant Parliament for a Protestant People”, of Scots-Irish self-government approaching or even actually constituting Dominion status.

It was to protect the Catholics against something very much in that vein that the troops were first sent into Northern Ireland, where they were initially welcomed accordingly. More to keep the Americans sweet than anything else, any future exercise of overall British sovereignty would have to be made to look like a joint enterprise with Dublin. But no Dublin politician really cares tuppence about Northern Ireland, and they have not the resources to do anything even if they had the will.

It was always Stormont, and the accompanying failure of the mainland parties to organise (all of them, or there is no point in any of them), that was the aberration. Bloody Sunday, or any other grievance you care to mention on either side, could never have happened in any city where the inhabitants had a say in choosing or changing the Government.

As Sinn Féin struggles to survive as an all-Ireland party once the Adams-Maguiness generation steps aside (what do its contingents in the two states really have in common?), as the Republic secularises and casts off her Gaelic heritage even more starkly and rapidly than she has already done, and as the reality dawns that the Good Friday Agreement really means a permanent First Minister in the sash his father wore, Catholics might finally wake up to the fact that, at least if dressed up as a London-Dublin joint effort, a thoroughly activist role for the Government of the United Kingdom is exactly what they need, and is in fact their last hope.


  1. Well indeed.......tanked up teens on a summers evening. No big deal.

    It would save a lot of trouble if the 12 th July was simply moved to 12th January.

  2. They did look extremely young. And rather drunk. The Real IRA? Well, perhaps they were there. But if the figures shown in this instance were typical of their membership then they are nothing much to worry about. Of course, they were not, and are not.

  3. The rather laughable fact is that there was no trouble elsewhere because the entire Dissident membership seemed to hire a minibus and went to Ardoyne as a kind of day out ...., which was always the most likely trouble spot.

    The rather unprofessional nature of the Dissidents was exposed when a Catholic priest from the nearby Cross and Passion Monastery disarmed a gunman. He was claims the priest 16 years old.

    The (Provisional) Irish Republican Army is......I have absolutely no doubt...........still in existence.
    Every brigade, batallion and company.
    They are in constant contact with the PSNI.
    And say what you like about them......and I am sure you do.......they are much more efficient than that. Losing a rifle just is very unprofessional.
    It almost makes me think that the gunman was not 17 and was not disarmed by a priest.

    The incident did seem to send the Dissidents back on to the hired rather a hurry.

    The rather obvious fact is that there will always be an underclass for whom the process will be meaningless. But the triumph of Adams and the rest has not been to eliminate the underclass but rather take Mainstream Republicanism out of the underclass.