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Anthony McIntyre • 26 November 2006

Listening to the BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan show on Friday morning it was refreshing to hear so much air time given to a caller whose suggestion was simple but appealing. What was needed, he suggested, was a big stick with which to literally beat the Stormont MLAs out of the Assembly. He delighted his listeners. Later the same day when Michael Stone made his move, ostensibly to achieve a similar outcome, things no longer looked so funny.

Although Sinn Fein leaders had earlier been flagging up a threat they claimed to be under, it seems they got the source of it wrong. Dissidents may have had Sinn Fein leaders in their sights, but by dint of Friday's actions they were of a loyalist not a republican hue. One former internee from the Lower Ormeau Road humorously threw some light on the confusion. Stone, he claimed, was the closet thing to a republican in the building last Friday, being the only person trying to achieve the traditional republican goal of bringing down Stormont.

Stone has since been charged with attempting to murder Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness. But how much of an actual murder attempt was it? From the TV viewer's perspective, the only thing Stone set about with murderous intent was a revolving door. Sinn Fein's concerns, however, are somewhat understandable. They more than most would feel at risk from Stone given his previous assault on them.

There are some willing to explain away the storming of Stormont as Hugh Orde did - "a sad publicity act by a very sad individual." The PSNI boss is probably right. Still, it is an expensive price to pay for publicity. The length of time Stone will spend in prison for Friday's 'gimmick' will be no less than the stretch he would receive were he to have killed Sinn Fein leaders. His life sentence imposed for the Milltown murders will kick in. A further life sentence for the murder of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness would prove negligible. As well swinging for a sheep as a lamb, it makes little sense for Stone to have himself punished through the imposition of a life sentence for the Stormont operational debacle when he could have 'earned' it for the most high profile assassinations of the Northern conflict. And what better site for it than one saturated with the glare of the international media?

As it transpires, it was a case of tragedy repeating itself as farce. In appearance, although hardly substance, it was the most ridiculous coup spectacle since 1981 when Lt-Col Antonio Tejero Molina stood brandishing a firearm while delivering a fascist rant in the Spanish parliament. Current images of Stone depict a pathetic figure trapped in revolving doors alongside an unarmed woman who having seized a gun from him proceeded to rap him around the head with it. Even the text message wags were quick off the mark. 'The revolving doors at Stormont have now been fixed. There was a big stupid Stone jammed in them.' A different sort of wit suggested it was proof that gunmen and bombers could indeed get into Stormont without being elected. Unlike his Milltown foray, this time round the notorious Stone had shrunk to a pebble.

At the time of the Milltown attacks the thought crossed my mind that Stone did not really intend killing the IRA and Sinn Fein leadership figures he claimed to be seeking. It was not malign intent he lacked so much as nerve. With a touch more courage and a little less dedication to self-preservation, he could have got closer to his targets. He opted to launch grenades and fire shots from a distance, confident that he could keep the mourners at bay long enough until he was captured by the state. The unarmed IRA volunteers who captured and disarmed him before being cuckolded by the RUC showed more courage than he did. It seemed he was content to be credited with making the effort to wipe out the leadership of the Republican Movement in full view of the media's cameras. After that, few in the loyalist underworld were going to accuse him of a botched operation. His hero status was guaranteed.

In similar vein he launched his Stormont operation. The purpose of writing anti-Sinn Fein graffiti on the wall before going inside was to allow himself to be spotted so that he would never have to complete his mission but hope to take the credit for having attempted it. Anybody serious about launching a crucial operation does not compromise it by stopping to daub walls. Even West Ham's football thugs used to leave their calling card after, not before they did the business of battering and gouging some opposing fan

If it is gimmickry, then as soon as the buzz withdrawal symptoms kick in Stone will feel the need to trump his Stormont assault. What can he do but turn to cannibalism or something equally grotesque? Initially fearful of broadcasting such sentiment in case it put ideas into his head, the fear abated when the thought emerged that perhaps he could eat Andre and Ihab Shoukri and die from food poisoning as a result.


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



 

 

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Index: Current Articles



3 December 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

Forensic Framework Unravels
Martin Galvin

RUC Killing of Irish-American To Become Issue in New Congress
Fr. Sean Mc Manus

F's All Around
Dr John Coulter

Loose Ends
John Kennedy

The People of No Principle
Geraldine Adams

Policing, a Bridge Too Far for Republicans?
Willie Gallagher

Conway Mill Debate
Anthony McIntyre

Not Too Late for a United Front
Mick Hall

Afraid of the Voice of the People
James Bradley

Ideals Live On
Dolours Price

Liberalism
Ray McAreavey

Poetry in Motion
Lord Falls

Michael Pebble
Anthony McIntyre

Action Required to Stop Bullies
Dr John Coulter

O'Shea is Right on Aid Policy
David Adams

Ministerial Own Goal
Anthony McIntyre

‘Beyond the Veil: Perspectives on Muslim Women in a Western Secular Context’
Maryam Namazie


19 November 2006

The Bogeyman
Anthony McIntyre

Believe It Or Not
John Kennedy

Contra Con Artists
Anthony McIntyre

The Wrong Kind of Republican?
Ivan Morley

Equality Agenda: British Rhetoric and Reality
Martin Galvin

A Deal Done By Quislings
Mick Hall

Realignments
Dr John Coulter

Deadline? Pull the other one!
David Adams

Political Policing
Martin Ingram

It's Not The Taking Part
Anthony McIntyre

Who Can Get Dr No to Say Yes?
Dr John Coulter

Equality or Equity
Michéal MháDonnáin

Federalism
Michael Gillespie

Revolutionary Unionism
Dr John Coulter

Who Needs Enemies
John Kennedy

The King's Threshold
Robin Kirk

 

 

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