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Date Posted: Sun, Feb 11 2007, 16:54:49 PST
Author: Anthony McIntyre - The blanket
Subject: Done & Dusted
In reply to: President-RSF-From The Blanket 's message, "Total collaboration with Brit rule" on Sun, Feb 11 2007, 12:28:32 PST


Done & Dusted

Anthony McIntyre 28 January 2007

Another historic event has come to pass in the land where historic events come to pass with more frequency than other areas of the globe are privileged to. The seismic Sinn Fein ard fheis, as predicted, courageously and imaginatively passed a motion effectively endorsing the British Police Service of Northern Ireland. Guided through by two former and consecutive Provisional IRA chiefs of staff, it is estimated that 95% of the delegates voted in favour. This is about a percentage point of a difference from the ard fheis that decided to endorse the Good Friday Agreement back in 1998. In that sense it is consistent. Nine years ago the ard fheis endorsed a partitionist arrangement which was tantamount to a British declaration of intent to stay, and today it gave its seal of approval to a partitionist police force which also happens to be British.

If I were to confess surprise it would be only because the vote was as low as 95%. I would not have been in the least astonished had it been passed by 105% of the delegates. It is the type of vote that occurs only in societies like North Korea. It belies the Sinn Fein claims of a thoroughgoing democratic debate having taken place within the party. Genuine democratic debates within parties around issues that are said to be deeply contentious simply do not produce that type of result. What discussion occurred was tutored and neutered.

I watched people at today's conference who I had first met in the prisons over 30 years ago. They were waving enthusiastically as they gave their backing to the PSNI. To say that I am angry or disappointed with them would be untrue. I know them to be decent people who tried republicanism, found it deficient and like many before them tried a less ambitious and more reformist approach. They would never isolate or shun those republicans who do not see it their way. When we next meet, it will the same as it was on the last occasion we met, free from animosity. To me it is just like bumping into friends who are in the Workers Party or the Official Republican Movement. With the exception of decommissioning they all believe in the same thing. Why be friendly with one and not another?

Others were there speaking on behalf of the motion. I recalled how they, a number of years ago, had spoken of their abhorrence at 'the army' being called into disrepute over the strategic direction the Adams leadership was taking the movement in. They promised to bring it to a halt. That was even before support for the British PSNI came on the agenda. The disbandment of the Assets Recovery Agency seems to have swayed it for them. They now have interests and empires to protect. Republicanism must not be allowed to get in the way of that. Consequently, 'the army' has been sent off to the knackers' yard and the only thing in disrepute is the character of those proclaiming that with a peeler in one hand and a bank balance in the other, they will take us to a united Ireland, socialist of course.

Sinn Fein embracing the British PSNI is not a sign of republican success but is a mark of its failure. Provisional republicanism has proved itself wrong and shown that it rather than the 6 county state has been the failed entity of Northern politics. To claim that there are more republicans in Ireland today than ever before because of the electoral strength behind Sinn Fein is on a ludicrous par with the claim that there are more socialists in Britain because of the Labour Party vote. Labour is as socialist as Sinn Fein is republican.

Ken Reid of UTV spoke of the sheer tedium of the debate as delegate after delegate swooned in front of the great leader, all saying the same thing, which amounted to 'we know it is the right thing to do because you told us so.' Watching, I thought it would prove to be like Friday prayer at the Mosque with the delegates lying prostrate in front of A, proclaiming 'there is no A but one A.' Last week A had publicly stated his opposition to idols when he berated Gerry McGeough with the words, 'I am the leader thou Gerry, there shall be no false Gerrys before me.' And there is only one IRA too, the one that A is so ashamed of he denies ever having being a member, never mind its chief of staff.

How many of those voting in favour of the motion, I further wondered, are currently agents of the PSNI and M15? And we all know that at least some of them are. Are we expected to believe that their handlers really told them to go in and vote against the motion to stop the advance of the republican struggle?

Anyway, it is all done and dusted. When those who voted for it are eventually hauled off to the station for doing the double or something, shouting 'up the PSNI' as they go, the penny might drop. It certainly won't be the pound; that is safely secured in the bank account of another. For, now there is nothing to mourn or grieve. Republicanism died a long time ago. Today was merely another trip back to its tomb.

Strangely I had an input into today's ard fheis. A relative who was going to the conference came over last night. She had bought a coat for the occasion but found the button had come undone. It fell to me to sew it back on. I was hardly going to stand on some principle and refuse to recognise the legitimacy of the button and sew it on the wrong side of the coat. She and her friend poked some fun at me over it and told me to watch the TV, as they would be giving me the one finger salute from the floor. It is nice to be able to laugh at these things and not get hot under the collar about it. I am relieved for them. As young people they will not be sent out by failed chiefs of staff to shoot police officers to further the political careers of others not used to going out themselves.

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