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Thursday, 28 June 2012

The Hands of History?

It's often said that violence doesn't achieve anything, but nothing could be less true to anyone with a passing knowledge of history. A more realistic assessment would be the rhetorical question that a friend asked me about the historically symbolic hand-shake yesterday between the supreme head of the UK State and a former IRA commander whose organisation deliberately murdered her husband's uncle. My friend asked:- "Isn't it amazing how violence can achieve political aims?"

Carl von Clausewitz
(1780 – 1831) has the answer neatly encapsulated for us. Clausewitz was a Prussian general and influential military theorist. He is most famous for his military treatise Vom Kriege (On War). He wrote:- "War is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse carried on with other means."

Just because we, as democrats, reject violence as a 'political instrument' doesn't mean that we should lose sight of its effectiveness nor should we fail to understand that those who practise political violence may in due course become successful, respected and powerful establishment type figures.

Here is how Reuters put it:-

"Former IRA commander and current deputy first minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness will meet the Queen for the first time next week, marking a milestone in the province's peace process.
The queen has never met a senior figure in the now-defunct IRA, which killed her relative Lord Mountbatten in 1979, or its political wing Sinn Fein. The party decided on Friday to sanction the meeting that would have seemed inconceivable a generation ago.

McGuinness, a hero among Irish nationalists who fought a bitter three-decade war against British rule, will meet the 86-year-old monarch on Wednesday during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

"Today's decision is the right thing to do, at the right time and for the right reasons," said Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, who, alongside McGuinness, helped end the years of sectarian violence and gave Catholics an equal voice in a power-sharing government with former Protestant foes.

"This is a very significant initiative by us. We don't have to do it, we are doing it despite the fact that it will cause difficulties for some of our own folk but we think it's good for Ireland."

Adams said the party's decision was not unanimous but that a clear majority were in favour of the meeting. He also confirmed that McGuinness would "of course" shake hands with the queen.

Northern Ireland's Unionist first minister Peter Robinson said in a statement the move represented a step forward and was glad that McGuinness had accepted the invite.

"We recognise that this will be a difficult ask for Her Majesty The Queen and a significant step for republicans...(It is) a step forward for Northern Ireland," he said.

The IRA ended its 30-year armed campaign against British rule in 1998, but small splinter groups have continued to launch attacks against British targets, prompting security concerns that have prevented the queen from publicly announcing trips to the province ahead of her arrival.

The June 26-27 visit was the first to be announced in advance since violence broke out in the 1960s and will see the queen and her husband Philip travel to Belfast and Enniskillen, scene of an IRA bombing that killed 11 people at a memorial service in 1987.

The queen, who last visited Northern Ireland in 2010, regularly meets senior Unionist politicians, who want Northern Ireland to stay inside the United Kingdom, but not Sinn Fein, the largest party representing Nationalists who want a united Ireland.

She will meet McGuinness, Robinson and Ireland's president, Michael D. Higgins, at an event organised by the cross-border, peace-building charity Co-operation Ireland.

Adams stressed that the event was "unconnected with the jubilee", allowing McGuinness to meet the queen on terms that were acceptable to his party.

Sinn Fein, which has become increasingly popular south of the Irish border as the main party opposing an EU/IMF bailout, has urged a referendum be held on whether Northern Ireland remain part of Britain where it deputies still refuse to take their parliamentary seats.

It also rejected invitations to attend events during the queen's symbolic visit to the Republic of Ireland last year, the first by a British monarch since Dublin won independence from London in 1921.

The queen has made powerful gestures of reconciliation for Britain's bloody past in Ireland, expressing regret for centuries of conflict, prompting one Sinn Fein mayor to break rank and became the first member of his party to shake the hand of the queen during the trip.

The party has softened its attitude to the royal family since then, agreeing last month not to block Belfast's government from giving the queen a present to mark the Diamond Jubilee, the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne.

Last year, the party refused to support sending a gift for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

"Today's decision reflects a confident, dynamic, forward looking Sinn Fein demonstrating our genuine desire to embrace our Unionist neighbours," Adams said.

"You can rest assured (though) that when Martin McGuinness completes this engagement, he will be as true and as staunch and as active a republican as he is now."

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin. Additional reporting by Lorraine Turner; Editing by Jon Hemming)"


  1. Mc Guiness has met his traitorous equal in the Queen, God bless her. They have between them, handed over sovereign nations to the banks and as fellow marxist apologists and eu citizens. accepted coin in return.

    Pity the poor Irish who have fought us tooth and nail for Independence and McGuinness and his murdering counterparts have traded that for mass third world immigration, debt and national ruin.

    The sad irony is that as the immigrants flood in the Irish leave in droves, probably to England.

    The Queen has totally renegaded the sovereignty of England with her un protested acceptance of the Lisbon treaty that made her no longer sovereign, but citizen, she uttered not a whimper of complaint. Her forefathers fought and rallied troops at the merest whiff of challenge.

    1. I heard recently that Dublin is to have the biggest mosque in Europe. Most people don't even realise there are muslims in Catholic Ireland. It seems that Dublin is going the same way as Brussels, Oslo, Stockholm, London, Malmo, Rotterdam etc. And until recently I thought the Republic was immigrant free but they have the same Marxist nutcases there as in the rest of Western Europe. As regards the banks, I see Mervyn King and Cameron are going to sort them out; but can they be serious. I always thought Mervyn King was a good egg; but is he just walking the walk and talking the talk?

  2. The Prangwizard of England28 June 2012 at 20:39

    I have written more than once 'I wonder who will be the first person to throw the first brick through the first window'. It would be a political act by someone whose cause was just and whose cause was being denied.

  3. Despite their histories Martin McGuinness and the Queen have done the right thing for Peace and stability in Ireland.

    If the people of northern Ireland want to join the South that is up to them democratically either way.

    When Scotland splits from the UK the UK will be finished legally, which will throw up changes in views dependent on the future economic roads that Scotland and Ireland travel along.

    We have to be pragmatic. Yes Sinn Fein has a history of terrorism via IRA, but now that is history, yes Sinn Fein is a Marxist tainted Party, but realities will change that. Britain will cease to exist in 2 years time, old Wars and old Countries fought and gone.

    Sinn Fein opposes the EU and Austerity this will put it in the hearts of the people both sides of the border no matter their religion.

    Good Luck to them all. : )

    1. I agree , 29 June

    2. Which people? Do you have any idea of Irish history.You post is almost entirely inaccurate.

    3. From the wording of Gerry Adams' statement it would appear that power-sharing is just a stepping stone in his eyes on the road to an Ireland-wide Irish republic and I wonder in what sort of an embrace he is holding his unionist brothers, is it one around the throat? I always think it amusing that the Ulster protestants came mostly from south-west Scotland but that the Scots came originally from Ulster anyhow. This makes me think that there might have always been in history a battle between the Irish ( the Scots ) of Ulster and the Irish in the rest of Ireland which is still continuing. If Scotland becomes independent, which I now doubt and Ulster is absorbed into the Repbulic then where do the Ulster protestants belong? I suppose it all depends on the date at which you stop the historical clock.

  4. Yes,it was a disgarce to see but look at the bigger picture.
    Sinn Fein have shot themselves in the foot (as we all expected them to)
    Their pipedream of a United Ireland looks further away than ever.
    A recent poll suggested that nearly 50% of Catholics are in fact closet unionists (I think it's more like 25 to 30% of them). Even though they vote Sinn Fein, if a vote came about for unification a large chunk of Catholics would vote no.
    Think about it, why would they want to unite now?
    The Republic of Ireland is bankrupt and utterly dependent on EU handouts (as it has been for decades)
    With a sort of peace in NI, prospects for Catholics have got better and with that the number wishing to stay in the union is growing by the year.
    So, the IRA/Sinn Fein may have got equality for Catholics, but their hope of a united Ireland has become a distant vision.
    The Catholics aren't as steadfast as the Protestants. 98% of Protestants want to remain in the Union, meanwhile Catholics seem a little split on the issue, I think there is definatly 25 to 30% of Cathilics that want the union.

    1. The Ira didn't want equality {loathsome word) for catholics, it wants a united ireland with the British kicked out, unfortunately the protstant Irish loyalists would not have it.

      With the collusion of the marxists in government the protestants have been sold down the river and with their victory the ira/ sinn fein have betrayed their own people - that is the whole of the indigenous irish by cow towing to their ideological masters in Brussels and beyond.

    2. A columnist in our local paper who purports to be left wing but seems to suddenly veer off to the right when he has got his gander up, remarked this week-end that the reason that the government has time to discuss such frivolities as gay marriage, bowing to pressure from the vociferous and powerful gay lobby he says ( his left-wing credentials proving worthless ) is that they now have no control over the economy of the country. He didn't say that our fate there rests with Berlin, not even Brussels, or New York but implied it. Money power now decides the fate of nations more than ever and if the Euro collapses then there will be one made rush from the Republic to the North, leaving behind probably Ireland's recent cultural enrichment as we know how Ulstermen deal with immigrants, just look what they did to the Roma gypsies. "They shall not cross" will be the cry.

    3. Very wise of Her Majesty to wear gloves when shaking the reformed? terrorist's hand. We wouldn't want her to end up with semtex on her mits. That would put Old Bill in a right quandry

  5. The rightful but ineffective Richard II was brutally deposed by a ruthless and daring Bolingbroke. 'The Hollow Crown' showed last night. Visions of England and fierce and warlike Englishmen bestrode the screen, loving England, praising England, cursing those who cursed the English,

    Where are you now Bolingbroke and Northumberland to stir our English blood!

    1. A local village was preparing for the annual county in bloom championship which they have won before. Two retired gentlemen were busy hacking all the weeds out of the gutters when two employees of a national telecommunications company parked their vans on the beautifully mown grass strip along the pavement. I pointed this out to one of the gentlemen who said they always do it. He said, chuckling, he would go and let their tyres down; but would not. This is the trouble. The country has been taken over by the yobs, the slobs, the devious, the greedy and liars and nobody dares to confront them or challenge them. Hence Mr Cameron can go on about sorting out the banks but everybody knows he is in their pay and of international banker/financier descent and works at the behest of the City of London and big business. As for Milli the Marxist he was just not worth listening to. And Hague the Vague says we are going to re-negociate our terms with the EU perhaps and perhaps have a referendum. They have suddenly realised that UKIP are pinching their votes but will do nothing. The diddy Scotsman, Liam Fox, the wily, says we must re-negociate and not become part of a more centralised EU. We have been meaning to or trying to re-negociate since 1975 but it is all talk as the EU would not allow us to, neither would they allow us to leave without a fight. As for a more centralised EU, fortunately I do no think it is going to happen. I heard the tale end of a programme on Radio 4 last night and the EU's political elite can see the rising tide of nationalism in Europe ( hurray!) and can only answer with more centralisation. They are hopefully stumped and we must now rely on our cousins on the Continent to bring the whole thing crashing down in a re-assertion of the old nation states and hopefully the end of the multicultural nightmare which will destroy them as well as us. But it will be very bloody. Meanwhile I spoke to lady this morning who works at the local approved school and was hoping to retire at 60. Thanks to the bankers stealing all the money and getting away with it, she is going to have to keep going in the madhouse until she is 64, if she survives that long. They say the US jails criminal bankers. Why have they not jailed that crew at Goldman Sachs and elsewhere.

  6. Were the bakers behind the hippie movement as a way of creating a globalized world? discuss. Mr Cameron has said we are not going to allow in any euro-zone refugees should the euro collapse. Not sure if that applies to Ireland as can't they come into this country whenever they want? As regards the rest, how will he stop them, surely they are free to come here and get all the benefits they want? So then we will go bankrupt and all head for Australia or Norway. The borderless rainbow world that the baby boomers have created is something they dreamed up whilst smoking a joint in a hippy commune in the 1960s or 1970s and that is what they have turned the world into a giant hippie commune ruled by "love and peace". We've all come to San Francisco. People in motion was their dream and that is what we have got. Suddenly we are ruled by Woolfie Smith and the Tooting Liberation Front. A pity their parents aren't still alive to tell them to grow up and that it will all end in tears. First the euro will collapse, then the EU and then there will be a bloodbath as Europeans are outbred in country after country, starting with the US and Sweden. This is the legacy of a spoilt generation that never grew up. Mixed up races and cultures only works in some hippie's dream and a United States of Europe was an unworkable concept never wished for except by those political classes born just after the War.

    1. He who wins the war re writes history, so who really won the war and who lost.

  7. Roger Hayes of the British Constitution Group has been jailed without trial or jury for witholding a part of his council tax to pr test at that part being used to fund the illegal wars in the middle east. Welcome to soviet Britain.