haul of Northern Bank notes is not the only thing
that has lost its trading value since PSNI boss
Hugh Orde issued a 'no longer legal tender' notice.
which for so long was held up as the indispensable
bartering chip of the peace process, now too is
considered dodgy currency.
Féin, which prided itself as the engine of
the peace process, has come off the rails. The price
it is willing to pay to be permitted to climb back
on, is way below what anybody else is prepared to
laissez faire forces of the political marketplace
are coming to displace the interventionist strategies
that have characterised the peace process since
the first Provisional ceasefire of 1994.
fudge subsidy provided by state benefactors is no
longer available. Sinn Féin is being told
to pay the same democratic price as the other parties.
Now the government doormen seem intent on letting
none bunk in for free.
much of the party's previous battles this one is
unique in that it places it head to head with the
Irish government, while the British stand back and
take on the look of a concerned but neutral party.
such circumstances it is well nigh impossible to
portray the 'struggle' as one of national liberation
Sinn Féin the prevailing image is that of
the Irish government determined to curb a widespread
internal crime problem.
current impasse has led some commentators, prepared
to believe anything as long as it is whispered to
them, raising the spectre of a return to war by
such a move stands to achieve is never explained.
or without armed struggle the current leadership
has singularly failed to deliver a republic. Nor
will it do so by 2016 or even 2036 without the consent
of the unionists.
today would bet on the unionists ever consenting
to anything the current Sinn Féin leadership
proposes? Consent is preceded by trust. And with
the bulk of nationalist Ireland not in the remotest
trusting of Sinn Féin there is no chance
that the current leadership, widely perceived as
endlessly lying, can ever win unionist confidence.
the direction in which the Provisional leadership
has taken the bulk of its movement, it remains true
that numerically the bulk of radicals and republicans
within the north, whatever its critics say, continue
to remain within the Provisional movement.
dissident alternative organisations continue to
be wedded in cult-like fashion to the tried, tested
and failed physical force tradition.
republicanism is to escape the pariah status it
is cultivating, its totalitarian leadership needs
radical democratic republicanism equipped with the
necessary organisational integrity to make any difference
is best positioned to emerge from within a Sinn
Féin free of the dictatorial stranglehold;
the physical force alternatives view democracy as
vast bulk of Provisional republicans are not criminals.
the descent into wanton criminality orchestrated,
sanctioned and tolerated by the leadership in pursuit
of its goal of expansionism can only leave republicanism
viewed through a prism of its current activities
and not the fearless sacrifices of the 1981 hunger
could venture to call Bobby Sands a criminal. Michael
McDowell fumbled while he did. But all of Ireland
is awash with allegations that republicanism under
the current leadership is a crime machine.
irony then, if the Sinn Féin leadership,
rather than Margaret Thatcher, succeeded in causing
the republican struggle to be remembered by posterity
as a criminal enterprise.