The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Sunday, March 06, 2005

Hand of History guided Blair wisely

There are many things to loathe and despise in Tony Blair. But the 'settlement' in Northern Ireland is - as it currently appears - not one of them.

Machiavelli could not have been more cynical in arranging the charade - recognised as such by all except the Sad Sack British voter - formerly known as the Good Friday Agreement (PDF). The key obligation of Sinn Fein (artfully painted as the political wing of the Provisional IRA (PIRA)) was stated on p25a (emphasis mine):
All participants...confirm their intention to use any influence they may have, to achieve the decommissioning of all paramilitary arms within two years following endorsement in referendums North and South of the agreement...

Sinn Fein was a participant; PIRA was not.

As everyone knows, PIRA and Sinn Fein are two parts of a single, if bicephalic, organism (with Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness in the leadership of both parts): a man might equally promise to use any influence he may have to keep his fist out of your face! It was always an in-joke - and the British media did its level best not to let the Great Unwashed - aka the Citizens of Britain - in on the joke.

Ever since, PIRA have continued all their terrorist activities except attacks on the mainland, and on the security forces. Thus - as far as we on the mainland are concerned - there is a cease-fire. Since, as Blair knows, we know little and care less about the denizens of Ireland, that amounts to mission accomplished.

A new generation of Republican terrorists, rested after ten, perhaps twenty, perhaps thirty, years of this kind of cease-fire will turn to killing Britons once again. But, meanwhile, Blair's charade will have saved British lives.

And, after 9/11, perhaps their friends in the NYPD will be a little less keen on filling the NORAID buckets to buy them their Semtex. (I'm sure they'll still be able to count on Rep Pete King, though - unless Beelzebub has taken his own in the interim.)

It's a nice little lesson in morality: cynical Blair saves (British) lives in Northern Ireland; True Believer Blair squanders (all kinds of) lives in Iraq.

The truce may be unravelling: the murder by, it seems, PIRA men, of Robert McCartney, has put the robotically smooth Sinn Fein PR machine into something of a spin. A new schism (as when PIRA broke from the Official IRA in the first few years of the Troubles) may come rather sooner than Blair might have hoped.

[The pols in the Republic have been sounding much harder than their UK counterparts. No wonder: the plan seems to have been to use the proceeds of the Northern Bank robbery to fund a Sinn Fein bid for the balance of power in the Dail (the Irish lower house filled by the STV voting system).]


In the lexicon of Blair's Nelson's eye policy to PIRA and its equivalent terrorist groups on the Protestant side of the peace line (aka 20 foot high wall), one might savour internal housekeeping - as where the mouthpiece of the former Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam was asked, in relation to PIRA killings and punishment shootings of Catholics in its area of control,
Surely the Secretary of State cannot continue to ignore the murder and mutilation of our people for political considerations?

The mouthpiece replied
The Secretary of State has to decide whether an incident is an internal housekeeping matter to the terrorist organisation or an attack on the entire community, ie the Omagh bomb, before making a determination on their ceasefire.

And Mowlam apparently said that
ceasefires will be judged 'in the round'
- amounting to very much the same thing.

A long piece on the Northern Bank raid and its sequelae.

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