For all students everywhere, at this time of year
For everyone embroiled in the search for justice
For everyone who thinks there’s method to the madness of the never ending circuit of the law courts and pointless mediocre ad hoc organs like the HET or its successor
Question 1: Discuss the grinding round and down of the Westminster millstone on Irish National expectations
Premise: Democracy, in Westminster terms, is on their side. They can say no or yes or, in reality, anything they wish.
Answer: parag 1 – state the obvious –
Legislators in Britain closely associate their interests with organised, vested interests of government. This has always been a fundamental deep-seated, part of the political values of Westminster and has a special place in the hearts of British legislators.
Government is much easier when it accommodates influential organised interests, as opposed to “ the people “ who are unheard, unorganised and easily exploited.
The contradiction between what the British establishment holds dear and what the Irish want – in terms of redress and justice – lies (and has always lain) at the heart of the problem. Accidentalism or the one ‘bad-egg’ hypothesis, which is beloved of Westminster, cannot excuse the failures of British vested interests in NI.
In fact, Irish nationalists/Republicans and ordinary decent citizens, who were in the wrong place at the wrong time and thus are victims, pay a heavy price for that attitude.
They fail to get justice due to a brick wall of British government obscurification as it keeps spinning the muddy waters, pretending to be listening, but never actually delivering.
For example David Cameron and senior members of the British army apologised for Bloody Sunday or the Finucane assassination but refuse to take the next logical step and bring those responsible for these killings before a court of law.
Furthermore, the clandestine activities of British Intelligence remain beyond effective scrutiny. Information regarding the Glenanne gang, Stakeknife, Dublin-Monaghan, the Stevens and Stalker-Sampson reports and more, has been swept under the carpet.
Britain’s record in Ireland is suitably cleansed – for the British and Unionist establishment
Parag 2 – state the consequences I
One pernicious effect of these values and attitudes in Westminster is the warm-glow of respect afforded to Unionist bodies by for example the press and media in Britain. It feeds an erroneous but pious sense of complacent British moral security.
They demonise the Republic of Ireland and they blame NI Republicans and Nationalists for being a continued drain on British resources.
To complicate the issue, besides complacent moral superiority a guilt factor underlines the insatiable demands of “sack-cloth and ashes” from the NI Unionist population. Since every communication is perceived as symmetric (for or against/good vs. bad etc.), NI Unionist institutions or organisations communicate via “guilt” and are locked into a “guilt-loop”.
Nationalists/Republicans buy into this “guilt loop” when they preface thoughts and feelings with something like “I don’t support Republican violence/ the IRA/ Sinn Fein but . . . .”
This is what Scottish nationalists call “the cringe factor”
On the other hand, please remember the Nationalist/Republican sector of the NI population was held in contempt by Unionists and UK media before the “Troubles” .
And it still is.
Unionists dump their losses, liabilities and bad ‘assets’ on to it, leaving it with the whole unpaid bill. For example former IRA members,
some of whom are OAPs today are brought before the courts for alleged crimes going back decades.
Others are silenced for citing thoughts from Republican orations of over 40 years ago.
Parag 3 – state the Consequences II
The actions of the Unionist parties over the past 20-odd years have ensured they’ve given the least amount of shared power possible to NI.
And they’ve given it grudgingly, with immense ill-will, and hedged about with caveats, booby traps and restrictions.
Which exposes the Westminster British and NI Unionist establishment for what they are. Reactionary institutions which have long passed their sell-by date and which have no place in a modern democracy worthy of the name.
Their real attitude to democracy is that it’s wonderful when it all goes their way, but as soon as one group of people in the great ‘Union’ decide on something that doesn’t suit the élite, they show their real selves.
Many of them “wish for a country which is simply not there any more” and are obsessed with demonising SF (and indeed the SNP) with spin and smear tactics at every opportunity so as to deter and neglect anything positive or progressive
Parag 4 – Discussion
Unionist thinking needs to step out of its own limiting preconceptions. Let’s leave aside the fact that NI, the province they have governed for decades, has always been a helpless basket-case.
It can’t solve any of its problems without running to the Republic of Ireland, the USA or the EU.
More important is that the Unionist parties offer no way out of this cycle of despair and circle of hell. They have no small ideas, never mind big ones. There are no dreams, no plans, no proposals, not even a suggestion.
Unionism’s gross failure of imagination was fully recognised with its reaction to the NICRA which opened the door to violence. NICRA offered Unionism the opportunity to re-envisage its “Britishness” but was glibly dismissed with conspiracy theories about the need to resist NICRA as a Republican (or Communist) plot.
NI Unionists are also culpable for the constitutional mess in the UK dragging on instead of being finally resolved. They do this by insisting that celebrating Orange “culture”, which they produce and generate,
is being “British” while refusing to admit that being “Unionist” is about keeping Ireland disunited and maintaining an Orange Order power base.
For example, when was “The Sash My father Wore” ever a rational justification of anything?
Parag 5 – Conclusions
But what happens when a Unionist/ Loyalist allows ‘I’m an Ulsterman’, “I’m an Orangeman “I’m a Unionist’, ‘I’m British’
to replace or rank higher than
‘I’m a father’, ‘I’m your friend’, ‘I’m your neighbour’
Are these choices based on someone else’s arcane and facile definitions of who he is?
Do they prevent him from genuinely considering the relevance of these choices to his life, and the lives of those around him?
Recommendation: Continue to vote DUP until you learn to think for yourself.