The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Humpty Dumpty

Which brings me back to Paisley. Increasingly I think we must need our heads examined. Just because he represents the largest party might entitle him to be First Minister - but, in truth, who could work with this one-man Executive? What an advertisement he would be around the world. We would be a laughing stock. We would be building on gas. Sinn Fein should go back to basics and demand the abolition of the failed assembly. - Danny Morrison

Anthony McIntyre • 24 May 2006

Our TV packed in a few days ago. The house is relatively quiet without one and we are enjoying the break while we wait on the replacement arriving. It would be easy to borrow one from the neighbours in the meantime but the temporary quietude has persuaded us not to. Going without television has not left us feeling deprived. It has certainly not caused us to be less well informed.

What we did not see but can hardly be said to have missed was the peculiar but not unanticipated spectacle of the Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams nominating Ian Paisley to serve as first minister of our partitioned statelet, so that he can administer unalloyed British rule from Stormont Castle. A friend rang to tell us how humiliating it was for him as a republican to have to watch it. Well, he didn't have to bother himself; news viewing is not compulsory. And why he should put himself through a humiliation he had no part in designing I have little interest in working out. Let those who sewed reap.

How anybody claiming to be a republican can remain in Sinn Fein beggars belief. Still there is no point in strutting down the path of self-righteousness pronouncing that all those left in the party are not republican even though the current leadership has long since abandoned republicanism. The value of such observations is often drowned beneath the raucous and berating theological tone used to express them.

What makes the current debacle all the more ridiculous are the attempts by some snake oil salesmen to spin it as revolutionary and subversive. That is where Sinn Fein is looking increasingly shaky. No amount of dialectical waffle can paint a picture of progressive Paisleyism or revolutionary peelerism. Nonsense about going toe to toe with the political detectives is believed only by those who would readily swallow, on condition that it was whispered to them, the suggestion that the British have left and are only pretending to be here to lull the unionists into a false sense of security. Describing calls for the sectarian theocrat, Paisley, to lead Northern Ireland as 'democratic and subversive' is as off the wall as descriptions of Harold Shipman as a doctor.

Those in Sinn Fein who are both more discerning and less duplicitous know there is nothing revolutionary going on. Their argument is that the radical tide is out and that the party is operating in conditions not favourable to forward momentum. Rather than liquidate it must, even though back peddling through necessity rather than design, firm up the defensive position; its retreat must be conducted in orderly fashion rather than chaotically, in the hope that somewhere during the plummet from the summit where a united Ireland once seemed visible, a toehold might present itself and allow for consolidation and reflection.

There is something much more dignified about this. It has an internal coherence and it can win some pragmatic understanding from republicans outside of Sinn Fein if hardly sympathy or support. Conversely, what comes out of the mouths of the revolutionary slurry tankers invites only ridicule.

There is a simple filter through which we can view the current state of Sinn Fein's position. It brings into sharp focus the disparity that demarcates goal from outcome. It explains more than any amount of dissembling by the fakers who exhort us not to be 'mesmerised by the tactical manoeuvring of the moment.' Consider it and reflect.

During the armed struggle it seemed a reasonable enough proposition for Sinn Fein to make that IRA volunteers would end up leading a transitional government and Paisley would be in jail. Today the point has been reached where Sinn Fein openly calls for Paisley to lead a partitionist government and IRA volunteers to be jailed. Even Freddie Scappaticci and Denis Donaldson could not have secured worse terms had they served as Sinn Fein negotiators.

Observing seasoned British media interviewers engaging with Sinn Fein spokespersons is instructive. They now express bewilderment and incomprehension that after decades of struggle and sacrifice republicans end up with Free Presbyterianism rather than a free Ireland. To which the limp response is, 'our objective has always been to take the gun out of Irish politics.'

Republicanism like Humpty Dumpty has fallen off the wall in front of our noses. And pretending to be like wise monkeys most of us neither saw, heard nor said anything. And just like Humpty Dumpty, there is no one able to put it together again.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



 

 

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Index: Current Articles



28 May 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

Humpty Dumpty
Anthony McIntyre

1981
Eamon Sweeney

Political Status
Geoffrey Cooling

Enough, Enough of Stormont
David Adams

Joined at the Hip
John Kennedy

Loyal to What
Fred A Wilcox

No Rest In Peace
John Kennedy

'Penetrated' Has Become the Sinn Fein Brand Mark
Anthony McIntyre

Code Red
Dr John Coulter

Review of the Field Day Review 1: Debut Issue, 2005
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Profile: Salman Rushdie
Anthony McIntyre

Freedom of Speech index


16 May 2006

'The Blanket' meets 'Blanketmen'
Anthony McIntyre speaks with Richard O'Rawe

Former Blanketman Speaks Out Against ‘Vitriolic Attack’
Richard O'Rawe

"What Future for Republicans?"
Public Meeting Announcement

An Open Letter to Gerry Adams and the IRA's Chief of Staff of the Army Council
Dr John Coulter

Paper Over the Cracks
John Kennedy

The Famine Season
Russell Streur

DUP Pressure Cooker: About to Blow?
Dr John Coulter

Oil Prices
John Kennedy

Profile: Ibn Warraq
Anthony McIntyre

The Muslims America Loves
M. Shahid Alam

Freedom of Speech index

 

 

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