carries an editorial attributed to Robin Livingstone
that reads very much like Jim
Gibney's recent Irish News piece (Nov 17)
regarding the alleged death threats against the
Sinn Fein leadership. One could be forgiven for
thinking that, along with the "news"
about this "latest" death threat, the
editorial is just another re-run of old hash.
When the story about the alleged threats first
surfaced, it was met with widespread ridicule,
and was pretty much universally disbelieved. Each
time it was repeated, it was disbelieved even
more. Now, it's down to the Andersonstown News
to beef the recylced story up with elaborations
from the President of Lies. It's sad to think
that the best that could be done when Jim Gibney
couldn't sell the story was to turn it over to
Robin Livingstone to try again. Surely that, if
anything, is an indication of the lack of confidence
in the bullshit being peddled that Robin Livingstone
is writing sloppy seconds.
the spirit of fun, let's deconstruct Robin's piece,
and compare it to Gibney's work.
Gibney waxing eloquent:
obviously for the well-being of those being
targeted and their families but concern also
that a group of individuals who live among us
and claim to be republicans fighting for Irish
independence have degenerated to the level where
they would turn their minds to such dastardly
reaction of both Mr Adams and Gerry Kelly indicates
that they are taking the matter extremely seriously
and are concerned about the intentions of certain
dissident groups. It is mind-boggling to think
that there is a single person in this community
who thinks that the killing of any republican
would advance the cause of Irish freedom one iota.
dastardly deeds is right. Where were Gibney and
Livingstone when the Provisional IRA shot dead
Joe O'Connor? Perhaps they cribbed notes from
and Gorman to save for a rainy day:
of republican by republican can never lay the
foundation for a just and lasting peace. We do
not believe actions such as the murder of Joseph
O'Connor will lead us into a United Ireland, transitional
or otherwise. We do not think the threats and
intimidation that have surrounded Republicanism
prior to Joseph O'Connor's death and those threats
sure to come indicate any hope for justice or
travels around the world to make his next point,
which is basically that conflicts "throw
up organisations and individuals whose primary
role is to sow the seeds of confusion, destabilise
the situation, demoralise people and delay change."
He namechecks South Africa and Israel before coming
home to the loyalists to make his point, "We
saw it here with the loyalist organisations being
used to serve the interests of British securocrats
through their murder campaign against Catholics
and their internecine feuds." Livingstone
goes cheap, and stays at home to write the same
thing: "For many years, men and women
who fought in the struggle and went to jail for
their beliefs were targeted for assassination
by the British government and their proxy agents
within the loyalist paramilitary groups."
None of that fancy "We Are the World"
shite for Robin, a fierce believer in West Belfast
being the centre of the universe.
his economy could come down to the needs of space.
Gibney obviously has a bigger column with more
words to play with; Livingstone needs to be much
briefer yet hit the same bullet points. This is
why the side-by-side comparison is interesting,
because when you boil it down, they are saying
the same thing. And to think people accuse the
Shinners of being dogmatically party line, making
jokes about the chips implanted in the back of
their necks to keep them on message.
Gibney takes his time suggesting that those behind
the supposed threats to the leadership are irrelevant
failures, desperate altogether, isolated, unpopular,
distorted (twice, even), nihilistic and infiltrated.
He doesn't lay it on thick at all. Livingstone
cuts to the chase and calls them drunken louts
with tins of spray paint in one hand ... and nothing
in the other (because they are such losers). I'm
paraphrasing but Robin has never been one for
love this bit:
scrawling graffiti on the Falls Road, hysterically
berating anyone they disagree with, and now discussing
the assassination of senior Sinn Féin figures
is their idea of a strategy for freeing Ireland,
then theyre in for a long wait.
can't help but get a campy image of some overly-passionate
individual with spittle flying from his mouth
swatting someone's head with a newspaper as they
hysterically lose the run of themselves making
their point. However, I would put forth that the
only discussion going on regarding the assassination
of the SF leadership is about how daft they are
talking about these made up threats. Of course
Robin is entirely correct in pointing out that
sort of talk is not going to free Ireland, but
then, some would argue, nor is supporting the
British police presence in Ireland.
two conclusions are slightly different, with Gibney
noting that "Those responsible for this threat
are so bereft of argument that they cannot produce
credible spokespersons or even spokespersons
with which one could debate," and
"[The threat] should not only be withdrawn
the people involved should desist from their activities
goes about it from the other direction. He acknowledges
that there are vocal republicans (whom one could
presumably debate with, albeit hysterically?),
but that they aren't being vocal enough in this
instance. Whereas Gibney wants them to cease from
their activities (threatening the SF leadership),
Livingstone assumes because he hasn't heard any
condemnations from them that they must be up to
there are any within that vocal republican rump
which objects to the Sinn Féin strategy
who disagree with the threat to Adams and Kelly,
then they have remained untypically silent.
And that speaks volumes.
leads one to wonder who exactly this republican
rump is made up of. I think its fictitious myself.
Obviously, he can't be referring to any of the
republicans who are in The Blanket, who
have been speaking out against this sort of thing
republicans threatening, intimidating and
using violence against other republicans
for years now. From well before the
statement referred to earlier, to the No
More Lies statement, right up to the
vox-pop last month regarding the so-called
threats to the SF leadership, republicans from
all over the spectrum (except, that is, Sinn Fein),
many of whom have been threatened, intimidated
and/or attacked by the Provisional Movement for
their political views, have been to the fore in
speaking out against those sort of tactics. That
Livingstone feigns ignorance about this also 'speaks
A bit of disclosure: The similarities between
the two articles caught my eye because I had previously
addressed Gibney's piece in a
letter to the Irish News.