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Pondering Ulster

In the last couple days I have written, and then deleted unpublished, several articles about the IRA’s much ballyhooed decommissioning (or ‘decommissioning’, depending on what you believe to be the truth) of its weapons. In short, I am not sure what I think.

To try and make head or tail of what is going on, I have been hanging out at Slugger O’Toole.

And I still cannot figure out if it is cause to celebrate or just another ploy.

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25 comments to Pondering Ulster

  • John K

    Nice to know that an unofficial deal has been made with SF whereby they can keep their pistols for self-defence as these do not threaten the state. Shame the serfs in Britain don’t get the same privileges. Is it just me, or are we actually living in Bizzarro World?

  • Midwesterner

    I’m sure it’s just a matter of time, John. Incrementalism works both ways.

  • Steve P

    Midwesterner: If only.

  • Dave M

    Don’t believe a word of it. The IRA will never give up 100%, or even 75% of their weapons. They need them for crime and drug wars on their turf, and to prevent the likes of Johnny Adair from taking the trade. Nothing will come of this, as there will be splinter groups who will continue their activity. Let the SAS take them out and have done with it.

  • Ted

    More window dressing by a PM who is desperate to piant himself into history as one of the ‘great men’.

    de Chastelain’s press conference was pathetic. Where were the photos ? Oh…the IRA wouldn’t allow the process and weapons to be photographed. Where was SinnFein/ IRA ? Oh …this is a press conference without them. Who witnessed the destruction of the weapons? Um…these two priests. What type of weapons were they ? Old ones. Some old russian rifles. I handled one myself.

    Absurd, ridiculous and dangerous. Our politicians and diplomats are failing us. The fact that they know all of the IRA extremists and where they live, as well as knowing that an attack is inevitable, tells the real story. This is appeasement and it doesn’t work – see Hitler, Bin Laden, Al-Sadr, Fallujah as recent examples.

    I say send in the SAS and eliminate the leadership, just like Israel does in Gaza and the West Bank. Then bulldoze their houses. Make every young man out there think about what joining the IRA means in the new millenium.

    Brutal – but it works.

  • Pete_London

    Dave M, Ted

    Agreed. For any credulous dopes who believe that the IRA has disarmed, I have a nice shiny bridge for sale.

  • One enemy – Loyalists – remain armed. The other enemy – the British – still patrols (‘occupies’) the streets. And the IRA gave up all its arms? Not likely.

    We don’t even know how many weapons they had just prior to decommissioning – surely a vital pre-requisite to judging whether they actually had decommissioned – so the whole thing is a bit of a charade.

  • zmollusc

    I fail to see the problem.
    A secretive organisation who armed themselves despite efforts to prevent guns getting to them, is claiming to destroy an unknown proportion of that weaponry as a political bargaining tool.
    Nothing wrong with that, it is just politics.
    If the ploy works, and they get their political advantage, then it just shows that ‘our’ politicians are performing to their usual and expected level. Nothing to see here

  • ruben

    Spam deleted

  • Julian Taylor

    Yeah right … the British Army is going to disarm because a bunch of dated communist terrorist thugs ‘claim’ to have ‘put their weapons beyond use’.

    Oops duck everyone, a pig just went past on the Heathrow flightpath.

  • John K

    I’d like to thank ruben for his contribution to this debate.

  • Luniversal

    The IRA are no longer capable of mounting a serious campaign of terrorist opposition to British rule in Norn Iron. The majority of RCs accept that partition is never going to be ended, and that nationalism is a dead duck because the new trendy EU-titsucking South doesn’t want a lot of Shinner psychos flooding into its politics.

    The only time Ireland was ever united was under the Crown anyway. Who wants a 32-county marxist republic these days?

    After 85 years the IRA has managed to add the following amount of territory to the Free State: 0 square inches. This has to be the most unsuccessful terrorist campaign in history.

    Sure, the gunmen can still run rackets in their hideouts and still possess the expertise to make bombs, but compared with their strength in the 1920s, the 1950s (when they raided British army barracks for arms) or the early 1970s, they’re a ‘remnant’, as US generals would put it. They are not recruiting enough young lads to keep up their strength. They peaked 20 years ago when Bobby Sands was on the blanket.

    Overall, despite the organised paramilitary gangs, crime is better in NI than in English inner cities and the morale of the population has soared. Constitutionalism has won, and the greatest credit belongs to Ian Paisley, who kept the Prod backlash within democratic machinery. No surrender!

  • If I’m completely wrong, just say so, but here’s my take on the whole deal: the IRA is not the problem, it’s just a symptom of the real problem: the Irish.

    Even at my local Irish pub in Holland there’s a continued hatred against anything British or English. Not when there’s football of course, as that brings in a lot of money, but I merely have to mention that I actually enjoy my trips to London and the Irish (and Scottish) look at me as if I’m pure evil.

    And that while I really don’t care about Northern Ireland or whatever religion people support. I’m not a huge fan of royalty either. I just happen to like Britain, which apparently is a big no-no even while the British are far more effective at keeping independence from Brussels than the Irish.

    So basically I think a fair share of Irish people are immature, zealous, irrational people who can’t forget about the past and probably wouldn’t know how to handle the present where they actually a major player in the world or region. Or to be more polite: whatever their problems, I wish they’d just get over it.

  • If I’m completely wrong, just say so, but here’s my take on the whole deal: the IRA is not the problem, it’s just a symptom of the real problem: the Irish.

    You are completely wrong.

    So basically I think a fair share of Irish people are immature, zealous, irrational people

    And the country in which “immature, zealous, irrational” would NOT describe a large proportion of the population would be…?

    I’m not a huge fan of royalty either.

    What does royalty have to do with anything in Ulster? The British monarch has less real political power than the mayor of Ipswich.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Constitutionalism has won, and the greatest credit belongs to Ian Paisley, who kept the Prod backlash within democratic machinery.’

    Excellent! It’s good to see a weblog dedicated to comedy.

    Of course, it’d be more difficult to claim that Nationalism is a dead duck and that the unionists are giving away all the concessions to nationalists, but I’m sure if that particular circle could be squared it would be managed here.

    Have ye thought about taking the routine on the road?

  • JD

    Where do you people come from? Do you all walk around in your right wing little bubbles? Grow up. The SAS were here since 1974 and could not defeat the IRA, in fact they also lost a few members in the process I seem to remember.
    The peace process will proceed despite DUP attempts to derail it and Ireland will indeed be re-united.

  • gravid

    Smcgiff, you beat me to it !
    Get him a booking in Poleglass community centre and take a seat at the back, should be fun to watch.
    Giving up arms, sure the supply routes are still open as there are plenty of drugs coming into the country and smugglers don’t care what they smuggle. Oops, satting the obvious again, tsk.

  • I am inclined to agree with smcgiff… Constitutionalism has won? Really? And so the reason Sinn Fein is in government these days is because of their attachment to… Constitutionalism? How does that work?

    JD: “…and Ireland will indeed be re-united”

    And how is that going to happen? Will you wave your magic wand and the Unionists will just disappear? Explain the process in which you see Unionism just saying “Oh, right then, lets have a United Ireland”.

  • enda johnson

    Explain the process in which you see Unionism just saying “Oh, right then, lets have a United Ireland”
    obviously “Unionism” will always be unionist, but unionism isn’t an intrinsic property of the people in the six counties. people who currently vote for unionist parties (55% of ballots cast at the latest count) might stop voting altogether, or at some future point become people who vote for nationalist parties (42% of the ballots cast at the latest count).

    one possible reason for this might be if the southern economy continues to grow and generate wealth at a previously unimaginable rate, while the northern economy stagnates even further as the british state becomes increasingly unwilling to fund the spongers in the elephantine public service. unionists might just decide to vote with their wallets. conspiracy theorists might even see a design in the Peter Hain’s recent announcements regarding cutbacks in the british subsidy!

    in 1974 the percentages of the ballots cast for unionists and nationalsits were 66% & 27% respectively, so who knows where we’ll be in 30 years?

  • @Perry: fair enough, I have no idea what the British monarchy has to do with it, but the people I talk to seem to hate it. I dare not ask them why because they already get angry when someone mentions London (so you can imagine I wouldn’t come close to mentioning Westminster – makes it hard to try and come to an understanding).

  • James Flynn

    So basically I think a fair share of Irish people are immature, zealous, irrational people who can’t forget about the past and probably wouldn’t know how to handle the present

    Robert, that’s plain and simple prejudice and bigotry. Don’t blame the “Irish People” because down your local Irish pub, there are a few thick idiots. The vast, vast, vast majority of people in Ireland get along just fine with the English. Get out more.

  • Jeremy

    Robert – You only have to mention that you enjoy your trips to London and the Irish and Scottish look at you like you are pure evil!! I am Irish and I think London is a great city. Read over your post a few times and think about what you wrote.
    You say you live in Holland. Bent u een Nederlander of een buitenlander. Als je een Nederlander bent dan misschien stem je voor Nieuwe Rechts, if you are not Dutch then how can you be so intolerant of other foreign people. I reckon your full of Shi* and thats why people look at you funny.

  • Matt O'Halloran

    The Irish hate the English all the way to the DHSS office. The Scotch hate the English all the way to most of the seats in Cabinet.

  • gravid

    Mr O’Halloran, Scotch is something to drink, not a race of people who are Scots.

  • @Jeremy: I prefer James Flynn’s interpretation where the Irish I run into at the pub do not represent their country or only represent a minority sentiment. I should have phrased my post more carefully without giving the impression that I think this is true for all Irish.

    Maybe I *should* find another pub.