month marks the fifth anniversary of 9/11 when
religious fundamentalists demonstrated their awesome
power at inflicting indiscriminate mass slaughter
on a democratic nation.
clearly not on the same horrific scale as the
American genocide, the politicians preparing for
next month's planned 'hot house' talks in Bonnie
Scotland should ponder on the same awesome grip
which Protestant fundamentalism has over progress
in the peace process.
hard reality which Blair, Ahern, and Hain must
face is that the Independent Monitoring Commission
can give the Provos clean bills of health until
the cows come home, but Paisley's fundamentalists
need to believe its God's Will to enter a power-sharing
Executive with the Shinners.
high-powered Gang of Three must copy Northern
soccer hat-trick hero David Healy and devise a
three-point plan which will have the fundamentalists
singing and dancing to the song 'Oh when the saints
go marching in' on 24 November.
Gang of Three must focus on three seemingly unusual
phrases as their tactics God and Ulster,
party before progress, and restoration with revival.
will be Ian Paisley himself who will make the
final decision concerning 24 November no
matter how much pressure is applied to his MLAs.
Paisley will base this decision based on party
unity, not community progress. The DUP's powerhouse
is its ruling, yet emotionally volatile fundamentalist
wing. This influential faction has stood firmly
beside the Big Man right from the days he founded
his Free Presbyterian Church in 1952.
enter an Executive without fundamentalist blessing
will fatally split the DUP and there's every chance
the religious hill billies will retaliate by forming
their own ultra Right wing version of the defunct
Protestant Reformation Party.
the importance of the phrase 'party before progress'.
The DUP privately realises the importance of the
Executive to community and business development
in the North but not at the cost of Ulster
Dublin and London must understand is that these
religious Rednecks will not make their decision
based on party manifestos, discussion documents,
or even academic books on political science. The
King James version of the Holy Bible will be their
their prayer meetings and Bible studies, if the
fundamentalists do not feel in their hearts that
God if telling them its safe to enter an Executive,
there will be no movement. To them, Paisley's
decision has to be seen as the Lord's Will.
another of the phrases, God and Ulster. To fundamentalists,
Loyal Ulster will only receive God's Blessings
if the Lord's Will is clearly followed.
the 'hot house' talks in Scotland is a clever
tactic as it allows the DUP MLAs to negotiate
with Sinn Fein without fundamentalist constituents
monitoring their every move, ever watchful for
the hand of the Biblical devil, Baal, or the Anti
if a workable Sinn Fein/DUP blueprint is hammered
out, time must be allowed in the Scottish mists
to develop a strategy to sell the deal back home
to the North's fundamentalists. This phase of
the talks will be just as important as the content
of the deal itself.
so to the third part of the plan restoration
with revival. Spiritually, the fundamentalists
must come to see that the restoration of devolved
powers in the North will somehow trigger a religious
Blair and co. want to embark on a pre-24 November
lobbying and advertising campaign, let them focus
on the church leaders of the smaller, yet highly
influential, fundamentalist denominations such
as the Free Presbyterians, Baptists, Brethren,
Elim Pentecostalists, Church of the Nazareene,
as well as Free and Independent Methodists.
should not go unnoticed that in this month's edition
of The Revivalist, the magazine of Paisley's
Free P Church, there was a timely article entitled
Essentials for Revival, by Dr William Fetler,
the founder of the Russian Missionary Society.
stated: If a believer meets God's conditions
personally, God's blessing will be showered upon
him individually. If fundamentalists could
be convinced one of God's conditions was the Executive,
the spiritual blessings of revival will be showered
on the Northern community.
fight for the Executive will not be won at Blair,
Ahern and Hain's professionally spun Press conferences.
It will be won in the mission halls, church hall
and Gospel halls frequented regularly by fundamentalists
in the coming weeks.
truth, if its in the Bible ... the deal for 24
November is a winner!
then there's the case of the Labour leadership
and its effects on running the North. In my books,
either pro-Unionist Chancellor Gordon Brown, or
pro-nationalist Home Secretary John Reid will
decide the future balance of power in the North,
depending on which of the two rival Scots succeeds
Blair as Prime Minister.
though Blair has so far resisted pressure to confirm
he will step down as PM on 31 May, 2007, it is
already thought the battle to become the next
Labour leader and ultimately PM
is becoming a two-horse race.
Blair's biggest critics to date within his own
party have come from his Scottish and Welsh MPs,
with current Northern and Welsh Secretary Peter
Hain likely to be a key figure in deciding who
is crowned PM.
Blair does survive until May 2007, the date is
also significant as it is when the next Northern
Assembly elections are planned should a power-sharing
Executive be formed at Stormont before the November
if the Middle East conflict, Iraq and Afghanistan
were to force Blair to continue as PM after May,
he has emphasised this year's Labour and Trades
Union Congress conferences would be his last
so he will definitely be gone by October '07.
the next Westminster General Election is not expected
for another four years, elections to the Scottish
Parliament and Welsh Assembly are due within the
next year and the polls show Labour losing
considerable support to both the Scottish and
pressure could force Blair to name his departure
date even sooner than 31 May. At present, the
most likely successor is Brown. As a Protestant
clergyman's son, the tough-talking Scot would
be the favourite of the broad Unionist camp.
would be especially true of the DUP, where Ian
Paisley would attempt to draw political parallels
between himself as a fundamentalist preacher in
the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster and Brown's
own church background in Scotland.
the DUP would be unwise to assume a Brown administration
would initiate an immediate return of Stormont
should the Assembly fold after 24 November.
Brown is a supporter of devolved government, it
is believed he would follow Blair's current policy
of implementing joint authority of the North with
Dublin should the planned 'hot house' talks set
for early October fail to cook up a deal between
the Paisley camp and Sinn Fein.
the present Chancellor, Brown has acquired considerable
government experience in money matters and as
PM, he would ensure the North's 1.7 million population
paid as much of the estimated £9 billion
budget needed to run the North.
would include the introduction of hard-hitting
water charges, increased property rates, as well
as tough cuts in red tape. Brown will ensure he
gets value for money from the planned programme
of cuts in the administration of education, health
and local government scheduled to be completed
would be expected to implement proposals to drastically
reduce the number of health and education boards
in the North, as well as oversee the slashing
of the number of further and higher education
institutes from 16 to six so-called 'super techs'
by September 2007.
councils will also be chopped with the present
26 being reduced to seven super councils. Although
Brown is strongly perceived as supporting the
Union, he will make the Northern population pay
through the nose to remain in that Union.
if joint authority is implemented, Brown would
probably expect the Dublin administration to foot
at least part of the £9 billion annual Northern
especially in the SDLP, would welcome the election
of former Northern Secretary John Reid as PM.
The Celtic-supporting Catholic was viewed as being
strongly supportive of the SDLP's position during
his spell in the North.
Reid's economic policy would have similar effects
on the North as Brown's, the former's pro-nationalist
leanings would be a major factor in building the
role of the North South bodies, especially the
British Irish Ministerial Council.
if Stormont exists or not after November, if Reid
as PM considerably enhanced the powers and scope
of the North South bodies, this would be especially
pleasing to Sinn Fein, especially if the republican
party could treble its Dail TD's from five to
15 in next year's expected Southern elections.
could put Sinn Fein in a position where it had
two ministers on the British Irish Ministerial
other Labour leadership candidates have been mooted
for the race for Number 10 Downing Street
Education Secretary Alan Johnston, Environment
Secretary David Miliband and radical Left-winger
Johnston and Miliband would be viewed as luke
warm on the Northern peace process and would perceived
to follow a Blairite agenda if elected.
card McDonnell is the darling of the Labour hard
Left, and would be viewed as a supporter of Sinn
Fein, but is unlikely to attract more than a handful
of votes among present Labour MPs.
CHOICE TONY BLAIR'S TOP TEN ACHIEVEMENTS
FOR THE NORTH AS PRIME MINISTER: