Monday 29 May 2023

Arresting Developments

The United Kingdom is going to be the worst-performing economy in the G7 this year, so a lid needs to be kept on any popular dissent. It is time for a security emergency, thanks to one or both of the Loyalist paramilitaries and the dissident Republicans. If those did not exist, then our rulers would have to invent them. And at different times, those did not used to exist.

Republican and Loyalist paramilitaries have always been heavily involved in traditional organised crime in general, and in drug-dealing in particular, leading to generations of professional and social interaction of the kind that also takes place routinely among, for example, rival Mafia families, as well, as of course, the sort of merciless bloodshed that goes on in that world.

There has never been any secret that the Loyalist organisations were off-the-books arms of the British State, while the old IRA was also riddled from top to bottom with Police informants, MI5 assets, and so on, as was the Real IRA, and as at least has been the much older Continuity IRA, which goes back to the split over abstentionism in 1986. The recent documentaries about David Rupert, and about "Robert" by the superlative Peter Taylor, undeniably broke ground, and were a reminder of how good the BBC could be, but they could not have surprised anyone.

In March, four Protestants, at least one with known Loyalist paramilitary connections, were arrested in relation to the attempted murder of Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell, for which the New IRA had already claimed responsibility. Last week, there were a further 11 arrests, including of eight Protestants. There has always been a school of thought that the New IRA was a false flag operation.

There has never been any doubt as to the true nature of the likes of the UDA, the UVF, and Ulster Resistance, which provided the then Queen's Government with confidence and supply from 2017 to 2019. Across that ostensible divide, it is all heating up over there just as it is all threatening to heat up, by our standards, over here.

That is all unconnected to any sincere pursuit of a United Ireland. Sinn Féin is so shot through, so to speak, with British Establishment payroll voters that they have first swung it in favour of the EU and now, if only in all but name for the time being, they have swung it behind NATO, of which whether Ireland was in fact a member has always been the non-Yes-No question that British membership of the EU has also become.

In either case, if you think that the answer is a straight "No", or even "No" at all, then you are not in the club. Sinn Féin wants to be in the club. It has lately received the President of the United States before attending the King's Coronation, so it already is. It knows the rules.

But Sinn Féin still formally believes the Provisional Army Council to be the sovereign body throughout Ireland as the legitimate successor of the Second Dáil, although that Parliament's only surviving member in 1986, Tom Maguire, conferred legitimacy on the Continuity Army Council, so that it was the Continuity IRA that provided a firing squad at his funeral in, almost unbelievably, 1993, and so that it has been Republican Sinn Féin that has held commemorations at his graveside.

Anyway, that is what Sinn Féin believes. That the Provisional Army Council is the sovereign body throughout Ireland as the legitimate successor of the Second Dáil. For all practical purposes, it has functioned as such since 1998 in the Six Counties, whence hail most its members. Anyone doubting that need look no further than the funeral of Bobby Storey, followed by the decision of the Police that no Covid-19 regulations has been breached.

Storey's coffin was borne to its rest by Gerry Adams, Martin Ferris, Sean Hughes, Gerry Kelly, Martin "Duckster" Lynch, and Sean "Spike" Murray. At any given time, there are seven members of the Army Council. Of the deceased and his six pallbearers, only Ferris was from the 26 Counties. There, however, Sinn Féin might have entered government if it had fielded enough candidates at the last General Election to the Dáil. It will certainly field enough next time.

Handpicked for Leadership by an Army Council that was based almost entirely in what it never called "Northern Ireland", Michelle O'Neill as First Minister would be a detail, since that Council has effectively been in charge there for 25 years, regardless of how many votes its partisans, who had sometimes included its members, had obtained.

But handpicked for Leadership by an Army Council that was based almost entirely in what it never called "Northern Ireland", Mary Lou McDonald as Taoiseach of what that Council did not regard as the real Republic of Ireland would be a seismic event, effectively extending the exercise of the IRA's claim to sovereignty across the entire territory claimed, and to the means of a sovereign state's participation in international affairs.

Who would need a border poll? Why would the IRA want one? No referendum would ever endorse rule by the Army Council. Once that were established across the whole of Ireland, then the beneficiaries would never wish to give it up, and everyone else would find it practically impossible to make them. That day is now well within sight. But there will always be dissidents of one sort or another. They are too useful for there ever to be allowed not to be.

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