February 06, 2016

Unionism won, Ctd

The IRA murder decades were a catastrophic, monumental, spectacular failure. The IRA's only triumph was to further polarise Protestant-Catholic and Planter-Gael relations, and to further poison the ability of protestants to self-identity as Irish (see research here). It ripped apart the Planter and the Gael and left Northerners with the demented notion that unionists are not and cannot be Irish.
Before 1916 and partition unionists were Irishmen. Before the IRA campaign many unionists saw themselves as Irish, now many few do. Sinn Fein reps have been known to speak to Americans, called themselves Irish unionists as British.
I don't forget for a moment the unmitigated calamity of Ian Paisley and his Christian militiamen. It's deeply regrettable that Martin McGuinness in his interview with Eamonn Mallie on Irish TV has given two fingers to the protestant-unionist community and said "I don't regret it and would do it all again."

The deputy First Minister is hailed for his leadership but has abdicated on this point. The absence of remorse and regret helps to polarise relations and so prolong partition and poison Irishness for protestants. 

David Ervine said in a debate in Bangor just before the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement:
"I have spent twenty-five years watching the Provos and I am telling you, the war is over. They may never be defeated, but they will never win. Their recognition of partition is earth-shattering. I look forward to being part of the assembly with the Provos.”
Susan McKay wrote:
"A debate about the morality of war had been going on since 1988, and now the IRA had torn up its constitution."
Newton Emerson wrote acerbically:
"The connection between 1916 and the hunger strikes is that both produced a Stormont government."
Jeremy Corbyn opposed the Good Friday Agreement. He opposed it because it strengthened the position of the Union. He opposed it because it the Good Friday Agreement meant Unionists won. He voted and spoke against it in Parliament. He said:
"Does the hon. Gentleman accept that some of us oppose the agreement for reasons other than those that he has given? We believe that the agreement strengthens rather than weakens the border between the six and the 26 counties, and those of us who wish to see a United Ireland oppose the agreement for that reason."
David Trimble said in an interview with Alex Kane:
"The other thing that was quite sobering to see was how deep the feelings of sectarianism are amongst some of the middle class. Some of them give a very different impression, but when push comes to shove there are some very embittered people there. 
And it was frustrating because they didn’t realise that they actually had a victory. You know the old joke: republicans are too smart to admit they lost, while unionists are too stupid to realise that they won – although that’s not true of unionism as a whole.”
Trimble also said in a speech from September 2000:
"The Ulster Unionist Assembly Party reflects the best instincts of the broader Unionist community and the basic decency of the majority of the people of the province. However, these instincts and the decency of that community, were put on the rack by the Patten Report. It was an intellectually shoddy document: a product of third rate academic theorising about the best model for achieving a politically correct police force, regardless of the result in terms of police morale and effectiveness. Its political objective seemed to be to give republicans, who had lost their war to end partition, a symbolic victory over the RUC as compensation."
Paul Bew said:
"The IRA is too intelligent to admit that they have lost and the Unionists too stupid to realise they have won."
Journalist Mike philpott said:
"The problem is Loyalists generally, and the DUP in particular, sold the Good Friday Agreement as a surrender, whereas the Catholics sold it as a victory. Working class Protestant boys have been left with the belief that they have lost something."
Seamus Mallon said:
"The IRA was defeated by its own internal contradictions and demons. In fact defeat came with the first bullet fired without democratic mandate. It came with the first bomb primed without moral justification. 
All the injured, the traumatised, the bereaved; all the innocent dead - Jean McConville, Paul Quinn, young Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball, Garda Jerry McCabe, Omagh - young men in graves or jail for 20 years. Communities poisoned and made prisoners by the threat of violence. Bank robbery, money laundering - this, all of this, is nothing but abject and total defeat."
Gerry Adams said
"The reality is that the IRA was never defeated and that again and again it was Irish republicans, including the IRA leadership, which took bold steps to bolster the peace process and to maintain positive political momentum.”
David Cameron said
"British resolve saw off the IRA’s assaults on our way of life." (i.e that Britain defeated the IRA).
Ed Moloney said:
"In one sense, both men are right. 
When a war ends with victory for one or other side, the event is usually marked by a formal surrender ceremony and the signing of a surrender document in which the defeated side concedes their military failure. No such ceremony happened in 1994, 1997, 1998 or 2005. There is no piece of paper on which P O’Neill concedes with his or her signature the IRA’s defeat. 
So, in that sense, Adams is correct. 
But that doesn’t mean that Cameron is wrong either."
Ed Moloney then said defeat or victory at the end of a conflict is also measured in other ways. He gave three yard-sticks.

One, disarmament:
"If one party to a conflict surrenders its weapons, that is, disarms itself at the insistence of its opponent while that opponent holds on to their weapons, then there is no doubt that the former lost and the latter won. IRA decommissioning happened at the insistence of the British and by agreeing to it signaled that it would no longer defy the British with force or arms. It may have taken a long time to happen but happen it did."
Two, war aims:
"Not only did the IRA not succeed in overthrowing the principle of consent, its political leadership has accepted the principle and agreed to participate in political institutions based upon that principle and given its support to state institutions like the police force also created upon that basis."
Three, the treatment of the losing side’s leaders:
"In May 2014, the PSNI arrested Gerry Adams and held him, like a common criminal suspect, in a holding centre for four days and questioned him repeatedly about his alleged part in a murder committed by the IRA during the course of its war against the British… In the end, how one side treats the leader or leaders of the other side after a conflict has ended carries the real clue as to who won and who lost."
Moloney also wrote:
"The peace process was… A massive ideological compromise by Provisional leaders which would, inevitably, lead to IRA decommissioning and the transformation of Sinn Fein into a constitutional Nationalist party, not terribly different from the SDLP."
And also:
"Sinn Fein have lost all their defining characteristics in the sense of the IRA and Sinn Féin of the past."
David Trimble said in 2000:
"Despite the posturing of Sinn Fein and the DUP, that is the reality. In the Executive we are acting under authority that we receive from Her Majesty. 
When the Sinn Fein Chairman of an Assembly Committee reports out a piece of proposed legislation he is part of a process that ends with the Royal Assent. The antics of DUP with their rotating ministers do a disservice to the people of Northern Ireland. Yet they do not conceal the fact that at all levels of the system, from the taking of salaries and facilities, to sitting in committees chaired by members of Sinn Fein and running their ministries, the DUP is an integral part of the system they denounce us for having had the courage to create."
Des Dalton, President of Republican Sinn Féin said:
"For Ruairí Ó Brádaigh there could be no temporising on the issue of British rule in Ireland. Drawing on the lessons of Irish history he recognised that it constituted the root cause of conflict and injustice for the Irish people. In opposing the 1998 Stormont Agreement he rightly viewed it as a flawed document serving only to copper-fasten British Rule while also institutionalising sectarianism, thereby further deepening the sectarian divide."
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, the Republican Sinn Féin President, in his Presidential Address delivered in November 2008, said:
"The present situation in Ireland is essentially the same as that forced on us by the Treaty of Surrender in 1922 and 23: a country divided and weak and under England’s influence. We will not accept that Treaty and its Boundary Agreement of 1925 which ceded or handed over the Six Counties to the British Government. Neither will we accept the Stormont Agreement of 1998, which copper-fastened Partition and English rule here, nor the St Andrews Agreement of two years ago."
He also said:
"During the year Ian Paisley retired with his mission accomplished. He had strengthened British rule in Ireland. Interviewed on the BBC Radio One “Andrew Marr Show” on March 9, he said; “I did smash them (the Provos) because I took away their main plank. Their main plank was that they would not recognise the British government (in Ireland). Now they are part of the British government. 
They can’t be true Republicans when they now accept the right of Britain to govern this country and take part in that government”."
And also said:
"We went on record as stating that when Ian Paisley had completed his ceremonial year as Stormont First Minister, his successors would impose much more humiliating terms on the Provos. And so it has come to pass. The Stormont regime, which operates without an Opposition, stands halted in its tracks for almost half a year now."
Liam O Ruairc wrote in March 2008:
"However, the situation had reached not a stalemate as Adams argues, but the point where the British state had constrained so much the operational capacity of PIRA that the organisation had little option but to call a cessation. The IRA had to win the war. The British state only had to prevent the IRA from winning the war. In that sense there wasn’t a stalemate, the IRA’s 1994 cessation of operations can be interpreted as a victory for the British government."
Michael McKevitt, founder of the Real IRA wrote:
"The GFA was nothing other than Britain’s attempt to stabilise its rule in Ireland. They succeeded by successfully co-opting Irish republicans into administering British rule in Ireland. Clearly the so called Agreement fell far short of a democratic resolution of the Irish national question but it spelt the political and military capitulation of the Provisional movement. Their acceptance of and willingness to administer British rule in Ireland and the decommissioning of their weapons at the behest of the British is testimony to this fact. This is underlined by the presence of Martin McGuinness in his role of deputy First Minister of a British Executive attending the official State Easter commeration in Dublin yesterday; whilst other senior Sinn Fein spokespersons were espousing the usual mantra that the “countdown to reunification” had begun. Eventually the passage of time will see the demise of the 1998 Agreement and it will sit in the dustbin of history alongside the Sunningdale Agreement and the Anglo-Irish agreement. While the 1998 Agreement did contain short term stability, it did not represent a democratic resolution of the national question. 
My time in prison hasn’t altered my political analysis – that the GFA will never lead to a united Ireland; in actual fact it has copperfastened partition. The principle of consent was a very cleverly crafted strategic key inclusion of the Agreement that was non-negoitable, deliberately incorporated in an attempt to legitimise a British presence in Ireland and could never be accepted by any Irish republican."
He continued:
"I have no doubt there are many Sinn Fein grass roots people, who believe they are genuine republicans. However, in my opinion, they are brainwashed into believing that the 1998 Agreement will lead to Irish unity. They have been duped by their leadership who are active participants in a British Executive, administering British rule in a part of Ireland “for the foreseeable future”. This same leadership said that they would smash the union, would never sit in a British parliament and now we see they are happy to participate in that system. As I see it, many of them have carved their political careers on the graves of young men and women who gave their lives believing that it was for an end to British rule."
Read my previous post on this subject, 'Unionism Won' here.

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