Tuesday, 15 April 2014


5 things we know after last night in Windsor

1. Nothing Martin McGuinness may do will ever be enough for unionist politicians. If he were to walk naked through the streets of Windsor, wearing only a placard saying “I am a mindless terrorist – please forgive my misguided campaign and lock me up for life”, there would those like Nigel Dodds, Arlene Foster and Mike Nesbitt who would say “While it’s good that Mr McGuinness has now accepted his own evil, it’s a pity he didn’t acknowledge it forty years ago”.  So this morning it’s “Never mind Windsor Castle, what about these guns that were being smuggled from America?” The terms ‘dead horse’ and ‘flogging’ come to mind.
2. President Michael D Higgins either doesn’t believe or is not prepared publicly to acknowledge that Ireland consists of thirty-two counties. Elegant and eloquent though his speech was, it danced around the fact that Ireland is partitioned. Northern Ireland was seen as a place apart, a patient that must be tended by Dr Britain and Dr Ireland (i.e., the twenty-six counties). The real Ireland was the southern state.
3. The most significant of the dozens of tweets I saw during the Windsor banquet last night was that by someone who asked “Have I just turned on the sixteenth century?” To say that the setting was palatial, the needs of guests catered to by an army of eager flunkies, would be to understate things. The movement of the two heads of state to the sound of the British national anthem, the white tie and tails, the massive jewels (they were real jewels, weren’t they?) draped around Queen Elizabeth’s throat – no expense was spared. This at a time of economic depression, and paid for out of the pockets of people in this northern part of Ireland as well as in Britain. Are tax-payers mad? Can  they not see the embarrassing luxury of their leaders and contrast that with their own thread-bare existence? It appears not. I didn’t see any other tweets suggesting they might have cut back a bit.
4. The idea that the English people will now see Irish people as intelligent workers, contributing to the British society they live in, is a delusion. Michael D Higgins made much of the contribution Irish people made and are making to British life. Yesterday afternoon on BBC Radio 2,  Paddy Kielty told a traffic-report woman that there are “just two things the Irish do well: drinking and gossip”. That’s nearer the benevolent view the British have of us. Grand talkers and sure don’t we love a drop of the hard stuff, ye -hoooo!
5. Last night showed that relations between Britain and Ireland have now entered the realm of the surreal. Even those with the faintest grasp of history will know that the quarrel between Britain and Ireland centres on Britain’s claim to exercise jurisdiction over Ireland. And anyone with the faintest awareness of current politics/geography will know that the exercise of British jurisdiction in the six northern Irish counties remains the single biggest bone of contention between the two countries. Yet not once, by anyone, was the problem acknowledged. Of course it’s complicated, of course it requires diplomacy and sensitivity. But to pretend that smelly bear seated on your hearth is either a gorgeous hearth-rug or doesn’t exist:  that’s just a wee bit mad.

38 Responses to Five things we know after last night in Windsor

  1. fra hughes April 9, 2014 at 8:36 am # 
    Astute to the point and correct. Its nice to hear the truth .
  2. paddykool April 9, 2014 at 9:47 am # 
    There’s part of me that is actually glad that the two nations, are at least on civilised terms. That the Irish and the English can at at least talk to each other and eat together without resorting to bile and bullets.I think that in the 21st century we have very much in common and that in general terms we rub along easily .Dare I say, there is much to share and enjoy between us. I’ve lived in England, variously in Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and London.The people I’ve met have similar dreams of a peaceful life.
    There is also a case to made that the English would get along a lot easier with that sort of Irishness that doesn’t howl at the moon over their flag , but rather enjoys sharing its poetry , its art and its music with them. The fact that we’ve ended up where we are now is a complicated old mess for sure.tangles of history , theft and violence that have stretched down to the present time through political fears and shenanigans that most ordinary folk had no real control over; any more than they could stop Tony Blair romping off on his Iraq adventures or stop Maggie Thatcher from steaming off to the Falklands. Most people just want a quiet peaceful life that isn’t in the control of despots.
    Most people looking on , feel like pawns in a game anyway and mostly watch it all happen through the lens of media commentators. In that respect there will always be a bias to everything we are allowed to consume. A lot will depend on who we choose to believe, in other words.
    At a gut level , I have no particular love for a family of privilige such as the Windsors who ultimately parasite on the backs of the population, when all is cut and dried, but that appears to be what a lot of our fellows want to happen. A lot of them, out there, apparently enjoy being ruled. Who can logically figure out the human need to be ruled by another person? ….it really doesn’t make a lot of sense when you lay it out, but there it is .A lot of people will continue to love the glitter and razzle- dazzle of the monarchy just as they love the X-Factor on television and think that what they are listening to is quality music.
    Poor and all as a lot of them are , they will continue to love the lowest common denominator, so it’s no surprise that they enjoy the glossy pageantry of the royal lifestyle.it’s certainly not for all of us.
    In some respects this is a huge step forward and a very public acknowledgement that far from the “No dogs, no blacks, no Irish”, of the past century the Irish , North and South had a huge hand in building the structure of Britain and had a massive influence on its popular culture and further afield. They built the motorways and cities. The Beatles, Johnny Rotten and his Sex Pistols , Boy George , Morrisey ,Dexys Midnight Runners , all from irish families ,created cultural revolution in England and throughout the world.
    My sister worked as a teacher in Manchester. She met a man from Kerry stock whose two old uncles I met at their wedding forty years ago. Those two old worn-out men had come over from Kerry to build the new motorways cutting through 1960′s Britain.These days my sister lives in Windsor,; sometimes the Queen’s deer stray into the bottom of their garden.They have more in common with the queen than someone living on the Shankill Road …
    …..Go figure…….
  3. neill April 9, 2014 at 9:50 am # 
    No it’s not the truth it’s judes opinion there is a subtle difference…
  4. madadh mór April 9, 2014 at 10:03 am # 
    Well, neill, show us where he is wrong. Give us your version so we can compare.
    • neill April 9, 2014 at 5:05 pm # 
      What about this you go and read the GFA which was voted on in the north and south and accepted by the majority of the population
  5. PW April 9, 2014 at 10:06 am # 
    I am not a Royalist by any means, but probably sound a bit like it here. The one thing I’ll give to Britain, when they throw a Royal party, they sure know how to do it. All the pomp and splendour is brand Britain and I’d say without it, the country would be of little interest abroad. The Royals generate a lot of inward investment and are good for their tourism.
    An issue which has now become very apparent by this visit. Articles 2 & 3 were negotiated away for the agreement, so the baseline is, the 26 counties has no call on the 6 counties and Britain does. To regain a united Ireland now, the only way out of this problem is for Sinn Fein to become the dominant power North and South. To gain the south, they will need to win a few more elections, especially in Dublin and that’s where they are heading. A large proportion of Dublin would join commonwealth at the drop of a hat, so to stand on the fringes giving the fingers to the Queen is a no no. That’s the reality. SF will gain the votes by playing the Royal ball and become acceptable in the southern media, i.e it wont be so easy to knock SF by the usual free state journalists. A united Ireland will never be gained by SF in the 6 counties. Only by a powerful 32 county SF political machine will this aspiration be realised. Good on Martin, hope he wore a decent tie.
  6. Iolar April 9, 2014 at 10:19 am # 
    May I suggest there are six things we know after last night in Windsor. The term, ‘culture’ would appear to have a different meaning on this island given the resignation of the Culture Secretary over her expenses. Equally interesting is the fact that the Culture Secretary had the support of our current Secretary of State, a keen supporter of welfare reform. The banquet in Windsor Castle was the epitome of power, wealth and class division. There was an absence of calls for ‘nuclear options’ when the minister was trying to salvage her political career. Instead she was allowed to do the ‘honourable’ thing and resign. Welfare recipients should take note.
  7. paul April 9, 2014 at 10:40 am # 
    The great only seem great because we are on our knees..let us arise. A great man said this and gave his live for a 32 county Ireland. While I have fully support M McG’s efforts in trying to build bridges and ‘work with anyone” to try and move the 6 counties where both traditions can live in haarmony and mutual respect, this banquet I can not accept. Michael D is just another in a long line of southern politicians who pay lip service to the noprth while espousing their delight in the “great” relations between Ireland and Britain. As president, Michael D it would be nice if you remembered that thelargest mass murder in your states history remains unsolved , partly because of Britains non cooperaton.
    No one grasped the nettle and stated the obvious, Britain control of and misrule of the 6 counties is the root of the current mistrust of the British. I hope SF does not forget this fact
  8. giordanobruno April 9, 2014 at 10:58 am # 
    The bone of contention as you call it was shelved having been thoroughly chewed during the Good Friday negotiations. Majorities of all interested parties have agreed to wait on the will of the people regarding the constitutional issue. What more is there to be said for now? Do you want Michael D to reopen negotiations?
    Talk about flogging a dead horse.
    • Jude Collins April 9, 2014 at 11:35 am # 
      Mmm. So are you suggesting that aspirations for a reunited Ireland are now not to be voiced? Was that part of the GFA? You know and I know that the six-county state remains the source of major difference between Ireland and Britain. Yes, the majority of those who voted N and S agreed to wait until a majority in Ireland north and south voted for reunification. Just as a matter of interest – supposing there was a vote where the majority in the N and S opted for reunification: what would your reaction be?
      • giordanobruno April 9, 2014 at 2:34 pm # 
        Maybe he could have said something aspirational but at this type of occasion it might have seemed a bit rude to bring up a centuries old conflict. Especially when, as I say,it would serve no purpose that I can see, other than to wind up the Unionists, which is always fun I grant you.
        As for my reaction to a yes vote, as I would be one of those who voted yes I would be very happy. Also a bit nervous though as I have no Idea if I would be better off economically socially or any other way. It would be a vote with the heart, not the head for me.
        I know I like to have a go at SF quite often on here, and maybe play devil’s advocate, but I am not a Unionist. Just contrary.
  9. paddykool April 9, 2014 at 11:29 am # 
    Jude :
    Yes, I know it all appears surreal .It really is in every way but it is also a very necessary playing out of things in a logical way.It’s taken so long for the Republic to distance itself from its own revolutionary past before these two old enemies and family members can sup together.
    This is not to be sniffed at. In the South the political parties are built on murder too so it’s no wonder they want to forget that their own very origins are steeped in bloody mayhem .Why they want to pretend their hands are clean and Northern republicans such as sinn Fein are not is a curiousity. i suppose these things will take time to settle.
    This is a step forward for Sinn Fein. When their current leaders are long gone and their future party members, born after the conflict, have none of those same distant memories of conflict that Southern politicians now don’t have, they will be in a position to conduct themselves as an all- Ireland political party with no similar stains of mayhem.
    That doesn’t get away from the fact that those in the south have all but abandoned the Northern nationalists long ago, so the only way to re-integrate their memory and aspirations is for Sinn Fein to do it on an all -Ireland basis. Without a conflict forever raging , this should be a purely political task. I think they figured that out a long time ago ….many years ago in fact….but they have to do it in tiny incremental steps. This accepting of an invite to Windsor should be seen as a part of that.
    In other words , they are taking as many of their number with them in strength, as is possible. If they don’t want to come , there’s the line in the sand.
    Will the next step be taking seats in Westminister while also working the Dail. They might then be pissing into the tent as opposed to pissing out?…Or is it the other way around?
    Re: the little squib by the other PK….Methinks our English cousins can hold their own in the quaffing ale stakes even if they’ll never be as loquacious as us windy buggers!!.
  10. paddykool April 9, 2014 at 11:29 am # 
    pS that’ll be Westminster there!!
  11. RJC April 9, 2014 at 11:31 am # 
    The continued partition of Ireland is the elephant in the room here. The problem hasn’t gone away you know.
    • paddykool April 9, 2014 at 11:39 am # 
      RJC : These things take time and much patience…..
    • giordanobruno April 9, 2014 at 3:47 pm # 
      The problem has been resolved in a way agreed by the majority in the Good Friday Agreement. What better solution are you suggesting?
      • RJC April 9, 2014 at 4:35 pm # 
        If I had a better solution than the GFA as it currently stands, I wouldn’t be posting in the comments section of an NI politics blog. I’m more interested in what can be done to convince people to vote Yes when the day comes.
  12. Gearóid April 9, 2014 at 4:17 pm # 
    “Yes, the majority of those who voted N and S agreed to wait until a majority in Ireland north and south voted for reunification”.
    No amount of clever phraseology will conceal the fact that the majority of Irish people voted in 1998 to retain the unionist veto over the democratic will of the Irish people.
    In other words, Britain will ‘grant’ Ireland its sovereignty when unionists become nationalists.
    Concurrently, the Irish state agreed by popular referendum to abandon its claim of territorial jurisdiction over the 32 counties.
    Result of 1998 referendums: British occupation legitimate – Irish sovereignty illegitimate.
  13. Pahdraig April 9, 2014 at 4:55 pm # 
    It is appalling that we have to continually witness people take the road of the Pollyanna. “An Ireland unfree will never be at peace”…was true 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 years ago and it is true now. Until Britain is out of Ireland, there will be no lasting peace. Even if the Brits pulled out today it would take a while for peace to be achieved for a new set of reasons. We can forgive the Brits but we should never forget that they have been playing these same games with us for hundreds of years. As for the GFA, that’s funny, have you recently reviewed how well the Brits and the government of the freestate have complied with said “agreement” I suggest you do as it is apparently a joke to them. Same old games. McGuinness should have never gone and it is an insult to Ireland’s Patriot dead and their families that he did. TAL32.
    • giordanobruno April 9, 2014 at 7:54 pm # 
      What Brits do you want out? All those who consider themselves British?
      The GFA is what we have. If you or Gearóid or RJC above can think of a better way forward then let’s have it.
      Otherwise I don’t see the point in moaning about it.
      • Pahdraig April 9, 2014 at 8:11 pm # 
        It is the British government that needs to give up any and all claims on Irish territory. The children, grand children, great grand children, etc., of the colonizers would not be forced off the land like we were. Stay if they want to be Irish or British ex-pats or go back to precious England. Britain should make financial and vocational arrangements for their people who choose to go back home. (And they would still be saving money compared to how much they invest to maintain the dysfunctional government of the 6 counties)
        Now, as far as a alternative plan, that isn’t difficult to think of a better way. However, being schooled in the art of forum posting and debating in general I am not falling for your strategy either. The GFA had a slim chance if all parties fully and freely complied. However, they have not…far from it. It may have ended the overt violence but it is turning out to not even begun to end the conflict.
        • giordanobruno April 9, 2014 at 8:29 pm # 
          None of what you say should happen is going to happen in the real world.
          It is of course easier to make grand statements about the evil Brits than to come up with real world solutions.
          At least we can agree that a return to violent conflict is definitely not the answer though eh?
          • Pahdraig April 9, 2014 at 8:34 pm # 
            We can certainly agree that violence is not the answer. It is only the continued and ever present dishonorable conduct of the British government that prevents a reunified Ireland. That is the real world. To understand history and current events any other way is delusional. Out. TAL32.
  14. ANOTHER JUDE April 9, 2014 at 5:35 pm # 
    The situation today is immeasurably better than when Martin McGuinness was a young man, or indeed the Queen was celebrating her silver jubilee. If the Unionists would stop shoving the fleg in everyone`s face, if the Twelfth could be watered down a bit, if the parties would agree to call the IRA `revolutionaries` and the Loyalists/British `counter revolutionaries` we would save a lot of bother. No more enquiries, total Amnesty for ALL those involved in the conflict, regardless of which side they were on. I want to see an independent Ireland and I want the Protestants to play their part, the ideal situation will be when Catholic Unionists and Protestant Republicans can argue about the country without any religious discussion at all.
    • Virginia April 9, 2014 at 9:18 pm # 
      That’s good.
  15. Chris April 9, 2014 at 6:32 pm # 
    If nothing he ever does is going to be good enough for Unionists then why doesn’t he stop Kowtowing to them and rubbing shoulders with British royalty, get on with Uniting the country and stop being a sycophant Marty, doesn’t grass roots opinion mean anything to SF?!
  16. Paul April 9, 2014 at 7:31 pm # 
    I agree Chris but I think the audience martin is trying to woo is the electorate in the south of ireland. Perhaps sinn fein will get a shock in the northern elections because of this sycophancy.
  17. wolfe tone April 9, 2014 at 7:52 pm # 
    As with any action that mcguinness gets praised with these days, there will be a price to pay-dirty dealings will have been done behind the scenes and i fear yet again republicans will bear the brunt of it. If being asked to windsor castle is viewed as an achievement[god give me strength] then prepare for the other side to be sated.
    Just for the record, any republican worth his salt shouldnt be looking an amnesty,they should be able to stand over their actions. To ask for an amnesty suggests they did something wrong. I suspect the main fans of an amnesty are the british govt and senior members of the provisional movement. Individuals are trying to clear their own deeds i suspect? Whether people like it or not the IRA operated on an army basis ie the foot soldier takes orders from an officer and woe betide he disobeyed an order. I suspect the british operated the same. So if the foot soldier carries out an order like bloody sunday,bloody friday or enniskillen for example, then the foot soldier knows his superior will defend him ie his superior must accept responsibility. Thats the bottom line and thats why the bloody sunday soldier who arrogantly admitted he shot several people wore an aura of untouchability-if he went down he would start a domino effect a bring others with him.
    Now on the other hand if the british want an amnesty for all then they would have to declare the IRA were as equal as them and therefore were soldiers in a war. The ‘terrorist’ language would have to be re-written. Alas with mcguinness doing the dealing its highly likely the republican movement will the british off the hook yet again.
  18. paddykool April 9, 2014 at 8:49 pm # 
    There’s always the possibility that the Sinn Fein leadership is moving too quickly and with too much sophistication than some of its more ardent followers.That’s what I mean about a line being drawn in the sand with this Windsor visit.
    This looks to me like Martin’s next logical step. I’ m sure he’ll survive the banality of the big dinner…Christ, the man doesn’t even drink……Imagine doing that cold sober!!!
    If republicans can’t get their heads around this , who else are they going to put their money or their bets on? I haven’t seen any other genius moves from any of the other parties or assorted political scallywags……
    This is the only show in town really. If unionism continues to carp in the face of this apparent republican volte face, well let’s face it that’ s exactly what the world and anyone with an interest, expects anyway. The point is Sinn Fein has shown the world that it knows the power of a compromise and their political partners obviously do not.
    Who looks reasonable?
    • PK April 11, 2014 at 11:38 pm # 
      @Wolfe Tone, I’m guessing you do not require an amnesty were one to be granted if you know what I mean, and I doubt you have borne the brunt of much down the years.
      Just saying
  19. Argenta April 9, 2014 at 9:20 pm # 
    Did you really think that Michael D was going to make a no-holds barred speech on the reunification of Ireland last night? Surely the role of President is circumscribed and he /she is barred from making overtly “political” speeches.Dare one say that even if Martin had been elected President, he would have been subject to the same restrictions! Is it not up to the real politicians to advance and make persuasive arguments for a United Ireland?
  20. Alan April 10, 2014 at 12:55 pm # 
    Dublin and London have agreed that the six counties in the north east of Ireland will only join politically with the rest of Ireland when there is a majority in the six counties who vote for that option.
    Until such time. Catholic Irish citizens in the six counties will be afforded complete and absolute equality from the British government; and no longer will the loyalists and unionists get to control Northern Ireland like their own little Orange fiefdom.
    What more can an Irish government do? The matter is settled until the border referendum arrives.
    • Pahdraig April 10, 2014 at 1:32 pm # 
      Indeed. That was the intention of the plan as written. However, it’s success relied on actually providing equal rights and opportunity to all citizens in the 6 counties as you said. This is not the case. All signatories of the GFA have fallen way short of the written word and it even looks like they have done everything in their power the ignore it. Political policing is common…July 12 and its surrounding issues remain almost untouched, the Irish language is discriminated against by the statelet, the gerrymandering of districts stands, and I still have seen no incontrovertible data that the economic opportunities for the Irish in the 6 have improved beyond a bump one would expect after a war ends. How about accountability for Bloody Sunday (and admitting that you were at fault in some way is not being accountable), how about a full investigation of the murder of Pat Finucane? I could go on and on and on with examples of how, in fact, “Catholic Irish citizens” have NOT been “afforded complete and absolute equality”. Did I mention “internment without remand”? So, Alan, I suspect you watch only corporate or state sponsored media otherwise, in all probability, you would not have come across the way you did. Had the GFA been adhered to by the signatories, perhaps a sumptuous tea with the queen could have been overlooked…maybe.
  21. Michael April 10, 2014 at 10:16 pm # 
    How ironic all the sopisticated talk, thease problems go historically back in time, back to the day’s of the illegal invasion of ierlandl,
    The British like there history but hate to recognise they are fault for ierlands demise,
    it is clear there will never be an outspoken appoigey for the tyraney opression and genocide caused,
    this matter of ilegal invasion should be brought to the hage for crimes against humanity after all was Cromwell not a tyrant dictator,
    did the British have right to cause such illegal invasion and the Genocide caused to half its estimated population of the period of around 1.5 million,
    yes denied religouse observation raped murderd and pillaged, homes burnt and people thrown to the streets,
    is this the peace process we want to lathed at further humilated by scum,
    whilst I see peace as a solution to many of our problems,
    sureley the British are a were there nearing getting a way with the shear brutality.
    I am of the view,
    after the period what came was retaliation further ierland was a 32 county state this was taken illegally crimes against humanity were committed,
    cold blooded murder, there can only be one kind of peace the Crown recognising as head of state its Genocide caused to thousands in ierland Norrh and South ierland is not British and can never be British,
    nether North or South,
    it is Irish republican countys ceased illegally,
    I to worked in England and hated the place it is racist against the irish and has always been a racist country,
    he political powers feel they are right to have done what they did, and enjoy the opulence of what they took from ierland, they have statues of Cromwell glorifying him,
    yet he was a tyrant dictator, the British feel they are right to have done what they had done and wish to be seen in the world as peace keepers yet they march into forigne lands humt down dicators, but fail to look in there own back garden of the shame they bestowed on innocents,
    no I dont belive for a moment, Martin Mcguiness r our president has done enougth they have failed the people by not asking the Crown out right for appoligey,
    in fact the Crown merley see them as pupets being pulled by strings,
    further to add insult to injury our president was he not a failure also two attempts in labour and failed missrabley to become elected,
    further ii was more pitty he was elected yet the people made a mistake making a man president who was a coalition exsteamist one of the junta’s who brought Ierland to its knee’s
    I dont condone violence of any kind and much prefer the pen to the sword,
    for it is mighty,
    but we should also recognise we would not be here today or Ierland would be some how diffrent had we not fought for independents,
    what really were we fighting for if we dont get appoligey for what rightley caused all this crap in the first place, yes the Illegal invasion caused by Cromwell,
    this the Crown is totaly responcible and the weight hangs around there very necks,
    I my not a great wrighter and dont claim to be,
    but we have gone to far all we ask is appoligeyyand ierland to be returned to 32 countys,
    the illegal invasion recognised an appoligey given.
    just like the black south affricans were given appoligey for the slave trade,
    in the united Kingdom in the late 1990′s its right and fitting the Crown recognises its failings.. e
  22. Ryan April 10, 2014 at 11:41 pm # 
    Jude, you may call me a bit dim but I honestly don’t see what Martin McGuiness was hoping to gain from attending this Banquet and toasting the woman who’s army he fought against and who murdered many Irish people during the troubles, not to mention the hundreds of thousands (maybe millions?) of Irish people over the centuries.
    Is McGuiness hoping to court some Unionist voters? He’s definitely pretty dim if he is. Is he trying to show that we’re “progressing”? (even though theres more peace walls in Belfast than before the 1998 GFA). Whatever McGuiness/SF’s plan is, it had better be worth it because he has basically, to many republicans that I’ve spoken to, “sold out” to them and did It in the most degrading way.
    I’m a SF voter but if the next step of SF is to sit in the British House of Commons, you can guarantee that i’ll be an ex-SF voter. I’m not a hard line republican but I’m still devoted to a United Ireland and I cant see how Martin McGuiness, one time IRA commander, who said on camera (footage can still be seen on youtube) that if anyone informs with the British Government they will be punished with death, has advanced the cause of a United Ireland one bit by sitting down and toasting the British Queen.
  23. PW April 11, 2014 at 7:35 am # 
    Ryan, perhaps you may not have noticed. The political landscape in Ireland is changing rapidly. If you were a unionist, you would make a good one. Never never, no no, the sash my father wore. Unionism is disintegrating by never changing and lacking the ability to do so.
    If Sinn Fein were to adopt a similar attitude to the British Monarchy, it would leave them isolated politically in the south, play to the orange card in the north and we would be no closer to building an Ireland of equals. This needs to be done, if we are to move closer to a United Ireland.
    • Ryan April 11, 2014 at 6:44 pm # 
      I honestly don’t know how you can compare me to a Unionist, I was basically reflecting the attitude of how many republicans think of McGuiness’s actions. You have to remember this is the man who has been to the forefront of the troubles for decades, had close association with the men who went on Hunger Strike to their deaths in an effort to rid the ill moral occupation of the 6 counties from British forces, headed by the very same woman who Martin decided to toast and pay respects to. Not to mention Martin, im sure, has had contact with the Bloody Sunday families over the years, who’s relatives were murdered by the parachute regiment who were later rewarded medals by, yes, you guessed it, Queen Elizabeth II, the same woman Martin has toasted and paid respects to.
      If you haven’t caught on to the point im making then i’ll put it bluntly: How would you feel if you were a relative of someone murdered by British forces or through British collusion seeing Martin McGuiness toasting the Head of the British State? I know how I would feel, absolutely sickened.
      As for Unionism, Unionism has shown time and time again they are not willing to accept Irish culture, nor do they have any respect for it at all, the 11th July bonfires prove that year after year, never mind refusing to support the Irish language bill. Just last night I was watching DUP’s Edwin Poots be asked his opinion of Martin McGuiness meeting (and toasting) his Queen and how did Edwin reply? “What was all those years of murder for?” clearly ignoring the murder of the British state and Loyalist paramilitaries and the collusion between them.
      If this is the “process towards Irish unification” its a very strange process to me.
  24. PW April 11, 2014 at 9:51 pm # 
    Ryan, I don’t disagree with the points you are making, all have validity, but here is the problem.
    Sinn Fein need to gain ground in the south and to do this they have to meet the Queen with the President of the Republic or they will be remain as objectors on the outside of mainstream southern politics and stay as total southern media fodder.
    Now Martin McGuiness and Gerry Adams wont be around forever and a new breed of politician without the ‘alleged’ baggage are up and coming, Mary Lou and Pearce etc. So a 32 county Sinn Fein needs to be set on good rails, I believe the current SF leadership are attempting to do this.
    Unionism will never change under its current leadership and indeed may never be able to change at any rate. The plantation mentality is a condition and has never diminished from their ethos. Perhaps, a bit like the old American wagon trail heading west, pitch the wagons in a circle and keep the native Indians out. The world and Ireland are changing around them and in the long term, its their lookout if they don’t budge, they will eventually find themselves standing in sectarian nakedness and will become a total embarrassment to Britain, its already happening bit by bit.
    Collusion and the past, is a difficult one. I’d love to see the culprits within the establishment brought to justice, but I reckon, like all things, there will be a 30, 50 or 100 year top secret stamped on the file or if there is a British withdrawal in the future, just like the withdrawal in 1921, they will load the lorries and take the lot with them to be destroyed.
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