>> 19 Sep 2004

Beyond the Bullshit

I think it is important to pause for a moment, peer beneath the cloak of spin and counter-spin put forward by the media, and actually look at what was on offer to the Democratic Unionist Party at the farcical gathering in Kent. After this stock-taking exercise, one can hardly blame them for turning the package down.

Stories of armament munificence from the IRA terror machine came purely from the mouths and pens of newspaper hacks: they did not come from 'P O'Neill', the Joseph Goebbles of the the republican movement. In creating a political forum where illegal weaponry is traded for political concessions, HM Government has implicitly bestowed an air of legitimacy upon a terrorist network operating within its borders. Concessions should not be given in return for nugatory gestures on decommissioning. The ultimatum given to the Provos should have been a simple one: decommission and disband or else the full might of the British State will be brought to bear in a process of annihilation. That the DUP should have been expected to swallow patently unfair governmental arrangement in return for a small-fry surrender of weapons is insulting to Northern Ireland's democrats.

Nationalists in Northern Ireland are a MINORITY of the population. I know they have never quite managed to reconcile themselves to the fact but that's the way it is. Why should Northern Ireland be almost unique in the Western World in granting equal power to a group of people whose demographic status does not warrant it? As Professor David Held says: 'While majorities rarely, if ever, rule, there is an important sense in which they nonetheless 'govern'; that is, determine the framework in which politics are formulated and administered.' Northern Ireland is different in that the majority community there is continuously denied the opportunity to have the greatest say (as of right) because the political classes in mainland Britain (egged on by the irredentist Irish) have bought into the massively exaggerated legend of 'Unionist misrule' prior to 1972.

Democratic Unionism must resist attempts to continue with no executive accountability. Either changes are made to the internal structures of Stormont, or else Direct Rule persists. Moreover, Unionists must not allow themselves to be threatened by expostulations on a 'Plan B' from Phony Tony: threatening Unionism to be acquiescent is something which has been tried many times before - with no success.


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