I keep in touch with him on a frequent basis, writing every day; something short, nothing too taxing for me to write or tedious for him to read. Last time we spoke he told me had a shoe box filled with items of correspondence from here. When I wrote to him around the twentieth anniversary of the 1994 Provisional IRA ceasefire I did so with a feeling that his current circumstances are a snap shot of just how minimal republican achievements have actually been; that in order to plug the shortfall voluminous quantities of earth shifting falsehoods have to be quarried from the side of Mount Improbable and used to shore up Sinn Fein's reformist narrative. Danny Morrison might not have appreciated the validity of his own point that ‘you cannot win on the table what you haven't won in the field’, given his aversion to the valid, but it is pretty much staring you in the face if you have the cop on to discern. With the armed struggle having achieved so little in the field it would be strange for the table not to look pretty bare also.
As a former blanketman, Alex McCrory languishes in jail while viewing disdainfully other people who were on the blanket protest with him and who now visit the prison in some official capacity. To the republicans in prison today their one time comrades have crossed the line to the side of officialdom, having won the right to mimic those ever so British Board of Visitor types who used to turn up every now and then during the prison protests. Polluting our already polluted cells with their sickly sweet sanctimonious pong and plummy accents – all that was missing was the poodle - was for their ilk the good citizen’s burden. They watched, they winced, they waffled and they went.
Learning of former republican prisoners bedizened in the old attire of the BOV, it is a role that, before reflection, I could never imagine Bobby Sands or Mickey Devine slotting into. Their every act jarred rather than chimed with the British penal establishment. But then so too did the acts of Raymond McCartney, Seanna Walsh and Jennifer McCann. Recruiting the dead to current causes is fraught with tenuous assumptions. Best not to go there.
One of the imprisoned republicans in Maghaberry rang me yesterday afternoon for a chat. I asked him what he thought about the ex-prisoners in their seeming BOV role. He was scathing and hopefully his words carry across here accurately:
I could never sit down with those people. At least three of them are former jail O/Cs. When we are walking around the exercise yard we can see them coming through "the sterile" with the No1 governor and the screw in charge of security. It is revolting. Before they even reach that point they have been sitting down over tea with these people. I have been told they are livid that we snubbed them after their last foray in here. What do they expect? Imprisoned republicans have a history of shunning these people. They are on the wrong side of the table: they sit with the number one governor, the security screws and the NIO. We are republican prisoners who can’t identify with them.
On my very first journey through the grey landscape of Long Kesh 40 years ago this month, the most jutting feature was the string of banners fluttering along the razor wire of republican cages. Each boldly projected a name of some SDLP politician: Hume Cage, Fitt Cage etc. Today, the names of the politicians have changed: the names of the charges laid against the men behind the wire have stayed the same.
It is not that Raymond McCartney or his colleagues derive personal satisfaction from republicans being locked up. It is their politics that limits their demands to the minimalist framework of minor improvements within the prison regime. The same politics prohibits a call for every republican prisoner to be released immediately on the grounds that they were convicted in no-jury British Diplock courts. The party they belong to supports the use of this repressive war time judicial institution long after the war concluded. Sinn Fein supports it because in the new partitionist era it feels compelled to side with the British state’s insistence on a de jure right to jail republicans. It leaves Raymond McCartney et al denied the option of conscientious objection whereby they could maintain that although totally opposed to the armed campaigning of republicans, they recognise that they were once there themselves as a result of fighting not for equality but for an end to partition: because of that they are not going to stand shoulder to shoulder with British jailers of republicans, some of whom they shared prison wings with in the past.
It would be churlish to dismiss the efforts by former republican prisoners to improve the prison regime that current republican prisoners endure. Equally so it would be foolish to dispute that the need to make such calls strategically renders ever having gone to prison in the first place, so many times for so many years, a walk in the sterile.
|Séanna Walsh, Jennifer McCann & Raymond McCartney.|
That the glorification and veneration of a maladaptive quest for an all- Ireland republic results in continued injuries and casualties is sad; even more than sad and regrettable when a casualty is a close friend.ReplyDelete
A successful conquest of Mount Improbable was in the beginning ... is now and forever shall be ... an illusion ... an illusion maintained through continued deceitful veneration by successive parties who ironically themselves failed in their own attempts.
And having failed in their own attempts sought to frustrate those who persevered to achieve the original quest ... and whilst frustrating those efforts ... continued at the same time to pay lip-service to the original concept. Confusing, isn't it!
Wait to you see all the deluded fcukers outside the GPO in 2016 paying homage to a fcuked up ideation.
Delusion, deceit and denial or what?
Cogitation over; time for defecation!
Henry, I mean this with respect. Any chance of rewording what you wrote without trying to impersonate Freud..ReplyDelete
I seriously understand very little. Thanks in advance..
There once was a magic mountain ... a magic mountain that was difficult to climb ... but if only we kud climb that mountain everything would be grate ... everyone wud share their sweeties equally ... but der was a bully living on the mountain two but once the bad bully was gone every thing wud be just hunky dory.
Severill generations had tried and failed to climb the mountain and drive the bad bully back to his own mountain. But the bad bully had brought a gang of his own supporters onto the magic mountain too. Dease were littel bullies dat helped de big bully keep a handel on tings.
Den in 1916 de people who beleaved day really owned de mountain wrote a ting called de proclamation telling everyone dat de way tings were wasunt fair...Dat they were in de name of the dead generations claiming de mountain back ... den der was an awful bust up in de post office ... day really trashed it up for a hole week.
But de bad bully and his solgers put the uprising down. And den de bad bullies executed sum of de leaders ... even shootin brave James Konnoly in his wheelchair.
It tuk a cuple of years two get over dat but eventually dey managed to get the biggest part of de mountain back from de bully.
Dey were so happy to get dis part back ... dey writ loads ah songs about it ... u probably know loads of dem Frakie ... I noses your a great man for de music Frankie.
Anyways since dey didint get the hole mountain back der was a civil war between de people who wanted the hole mountain back and dose dat settled for most of de mountain. Sum said it wasnt fair dat day didnt get the whole mountain back ... and in partickular it wasint fair to de people left under de control of de bully and his gang on the nordern side of de magic mountain.
But de crowd dat settled for a dived mountain got all de big jobs in de bit day had won back ... day sayed dis was a steppin stone soluchon and eventually dayed get de hole shaggin lot back. Day sayed day still believed in getin the hole of de mountain back. But dayed do it der way and if day had to execute sum of dose dat were still inclined to fight for de hole mountain dat was two bad.
Most of dose dat cudent settle for dis eventually dumped der arms two and said day better get some big jobs as well. Day made a plan to get power in de new state ... dayed pretend to play de game of been part of de new state two. Day wudint forget about getin de hole of de magic mountain back and drivin the bully back accross de sea. Even dough dayed dumped arms dayed still call demselves soldiers. And day de solgers of destiney wud save de hole of de magic mountain back.
But not all ah de people wanted recognised or pretend to recognise de new state. Sum sayed dayed remain loyal to de wurds of de proclamation ... dat de republic was soveren and indefeesible ... dat the only way to true happyness was to get the hole shaggin lot back.
Daywd keep de fite goin .... but what de ya no dose f'ers in FF de so called holy mountain party sent dem to gail ... even shot sum ah dem two ... an let a cuple ah dem die on hunger strike, so day did.
An dats only the haf of it Frankie. Isle tell you de rest of de story an udder night. The most important thing to remember is dat nothing will be right until de hole mountain is put bank togeder!
So in case weed ever forget we hav all deese commemoreayshuns to remind us about de magic mountain and de hearoes of old.
But de strange ting dats hard to figure out is why dose dat true in de towel keep trying to stop dose that continue de fite ... and not only dat is con fusing ... day still want to keep the memory of the magic mountain alive all de same.
Henry don't be facetious I asked in good faith...ReplyDelete
I'll treat your reply with the contempt is deserves..
dey writ loads ah songs about it ... u probably know loads of dem Frakie ... I noses your a great man for de music Frankie.ReplyDelete
Henry I've probably forgotten more about music than you'll ever know. And learnt loads from it too. As a pup I'd listen to Johnny Horton sing about an illiterate mountain man called Jim Bridger who spoke Sioux, Black Foot and Crow. And tried to warn Custer he was making a big mistake at 'Little big horn.' Instead of reading up on Irish history I'd listen to Johnny Cash sings about the old west on a set called 'Ride this Train' where he sang about great Indian nations like the Apache.. And courtesy of TPQ I found out about St Patricks Battalion who sided with the Mexicans during the Mexican /American war..
And today I wonder if the Irish men who fought along side the Mexicans knew how the Apache were treated, would they have sided with the Mexican or joined up with the Apache..? What I know is the Apache were the only indian nation to have POW status because like the old IRA, Provisionals & INLA they were seen as a threat to the state.. Kicked off their land, starved, and almost decimated in Florida for 27yrs. And today I can draw lots of parallels between Palestinians, native Americans and Irish republicans..
If I ask again "I don't understand what you said".. Don't talk to me as a child. All you're doing is embarrassing yourself.
I learned about the Irish in Mexico from TG4 or T Na G as it is now.
They made a great documentary about it many years ago. Very interesting.
This was a great Tv channel and made very interesting documentaries.
In it they state that the numbers of Irish who deserted was greater than all the desertions in the American Civil war. World war 1 and 2 and Korea and Vietnam combined!!!!!!
from the US army.
@ Henry Joy.
I take it from that that you would have preferred Ireland stay under the Union Jack?
Just one question. How is Wales these days?
With Welsh coal and welsh steel been a central part of UK industrial revolution. Wales now finds itself today with massive unemployment. There are whole towns which exist on handouts and they reguarly trade places with the Wee 6 for propping up the bottom of the league tables on poverty. development etc.
Do you think Ireland should give up it's struggle for independence and take Wales's place on the bottom of the league tables..for infinity and beyond?
Tell me where I can sign up for this marvellous deal.
I am convinced.
I've eaten a good many more turkey dinners than I'm ever likely to eat again. The past is the past.
Time to move beyond the old brainwashing and mindless repitition of dogma.
Feel free to do what suits you Ozzy.
It's unlikely that we will agree on these issues.
Life isn't fair. It is what it is. The more accurate a model we can construct of how it works the more liklihood of satisfaction and success.
The republican rhetoroc leads only to more grief.
Ofc fairness doesn't enter into it.
I agree there.
As for Republicanism. Who says they have to "win" as such. The Brits are just as capable of making more mistakes than Irish Republicans.
If the British didn't execute the leaders of 1916. History would have been different. A Very serious British mistake. and it cost them.
So. What of the next Brit Mistake?
After Scotland voted. Will they choose a federal system? This will lead to a break up of the UK.
Will they let Stormont set taxes?
Who will support the "superior" services when they have to pay.
Experience tells us that when you ask the Irish for services or low tax.
They choose low tax. everytime.
There are still plenty of beartraps and pitfalls waiting in the wings.
And quite frankly I don't believe the Brit politicians are up to the job.
Of course the Brits are well capable of screwing up Ozzie.ReplyDelete
Yes, there's loads of pitfalls and bear-traps waiting in the wings. And yes the historical narrative would appear to suggest a preference for low taxes rather than improved services (though I'd suggest that's a product of the self-interest of a spineless and vision-less political leadership rather than of the electorate).
That the struggle for territorial integration has in the past become totally enmeshed with political challenges for reform is understandable and yet irrelevant in real time to the current needs of most people on the island.
To a large degree this assessment has been expressed clearly and validated in the plebiscites on the GFA agreement. If one were to factor in the change in position of the DUP subsequent to the referendums one could reasonably deduct that the goal of peace has trumped any desire for territorial integration. Factoring in changes by the DUP we could reasonably interpret that such preferences for peace over geographical unity are endorsed by a majority of more than 10 to 1 of the people on the island.
Ozzie do you really expect people will tolerate the risk that rhetoric, shibboleth and outdated dogma poses to a peaceful (though sometimes challenging) co-existence?
I'd propose that it's more likely that the vast majority of people will treat unsympathetically those that express views that have any possibility of pulling us back into the dark and merciless pit of senseless carnage that previously existed in our society.
What's required is an ethical political vision which prioritises the welfare of all the people, which recognises and promotes the value of equality of opportunity, social integration, social commitment and individual responsibility.
Outdated and potentially divisive nationalist ideologies do not serve that goal. They distract from the urgent tasks at hand.
Henry Joy , a democratic decision is just a method deciding, you are conflating this with moral legitimacy (a quick glance at history will show the prior often masquerades as the latter, but it isn’t the same thing). The Lisbon treaty is a recent example of how those in power view such polls, mere fig leafs. And they will keep asking the same question until they get the answer they desire, this too is legitimate?ReplyDelete
I hope modern republicans set their compass by partition and injustice, rather than precedence and expediency.
you as I, may hope for what ever you wish.
If modern republicans continue to set their compass by partition they will in all likelihood end up in similar places as older republicans, marginalised and ineffective or in jail.
The disinformation promulgated by both right and left wing nationalists during Lisbon 1 was eventually seen through in the second Lisbon vote and the treaty dully ratified.
It isn't and wasn't necessarily illegitimate of itself to put a treaty back before the people.
It is a matter of record as to the scare-mongering misdirection carried out by the various elements of the NO side during the first campaign ... hugely emotive declarations about euthanasia, abortion, gay marriage, involvement in military coalitions and the consequent threat of conscription were disseminated to a poorly informed electorate.
By the second polling most of these untruths and inaccuracies had been seen for what they were.
Given all of that I'd say it was legitimate enough to put it back before the people.
Henry Joy, it was still giving the public the illusion of making a decision, when the end result had been determined beforehand, just the route towards it needed to be navigated. Lisbon is but one example of this phenomena. There was scare mongering before the GFA too, it was ultimately framed as a choice between accepting it or further conflict. What about revisiting it again, since one side demonstrably used the most dirty propaganda? And surely there is a generation of Republicans not born at the time of signing, that shouldnt be beholden to errors made by others under such duress? It surely becomes a moral imperative to reject such a 'democratic' mandate.ReplyDelete
Personally I'd have no problem with giving the people another chance to vote on GFA (same applies to One Ireland, One Vote).ReplyDelete
I'd imagine there wouldn't be much change in the percentage in the 26 counties endorsing it and I'd predict an increase in acceptance of it in the North.
Sure there may be a small percentage of former Sinn Féiners who would vote differently than they did in '98.
And in all probability there is a significant disaffected section of the populace who didn't have a vote in '98 who would purport to be against the agreement. Some commentators might imagine that added together this could make a difference to the result in the North ... I'm of a different opinion ... such disaffected cohorts are notoriously difficult to motivate to participate in electoral processes. No major anti-agreement vote is likely to turn out on the day.
Furthermore, as previously outlined, the DUP opposed the GFA back in '98 but since PSF has effectively recognised the legitimacy of their Northern State and The Provisional IRA have verifiably decommissioned their arsenals I can't foresee the DUP opposing it.
With regards to posturing and scare-mongering before The GFA and The Lisbon treaty referenda there are significant differences.
I think it's fair to agree with comments made by Brendan Halligan and understand that a lack of salience attaching to the EU in our day to day existence allows for easy manipulation when it comes to such referenda as Lisbon and Maastricht.
"notwithstanding tangible benefits ... the EU remains a distant and little understood entity for the majority of people. Deep knowledge about the EU, either in terms of specific policy areas or the dynamics of its legal order and institutional system, is not spread throughout the political system or society. European issues have low salience most of the time” (Laffan, 2008).
Leverage exerted during the GFA campaign in depicting a vote against the agreement as a vote against peace did find some veracity and expression in the ongoing military opposition by physical force republicans subsequent to the implementation of the agreement. Those cautions did have some foundations.
However predictions made about imposed legislation with regards to euthanasia, abortion, gay marriage, military alliances and enforced participation by citizenry in European defence have all been found to be facile empty manipulative threats lacking in foundation.
As such you are trying to compare apples with oranges and your argument Daithi doesn't hold.
If you really really believe that referenda results are predetermined (sigh) rather than preferred outcomes and that consequently there's a moral imperative to reject such 'democratic' mandates then off with yourself and do whatever you 'feel' you have to do. I won't stand in your way Daithi yet I certainly won't follow your lead.
And please remember, as with all our choices, there are consequences.
Henry Joy, a small but crucial correction may be needed. I do no claim :ReplyDelete
”referenda results are predetermined (sigh) rather than preferred outcomes”
If this statement implies some impropriety (e.g. dead people registering to vote). I stated that the only results to be accepted conclusively are ones those in power desire, such that ratification of each proposed treaty is guaranteed.
“By the second polling most of these untruths and inaccuracies had been seen for what they were.”
Do you honestly believe a third wouldn’t have been initiated if citizens voted incorrectly again? Who decides when the public have been cleansed of any propaganda induced bias, rendering their decision valid?
PS you write just lovely Henry , I hope you don’t change your style (content could do with a few corrections!).
it's not my intention to misrepresent you. So here's your direct quote;
"...it was still giving the public the illusion of making a decision, when the end result had been determined beforehand, just the route towards it needed to be navigated."
predetermined - past participle of the verb - to determine - establish or decide in advance.
I'm sorry if I appear pedantic Daithi but I still read your words as meaning the result had been decided in advance. To me that smacks of yet another whackey conspiracy theory (hence the sigh).
What I was attempting to communicate was that yes the Government and the EU did indeed have a preferred outcome but that was all. They were not locked into relentlessly implementing a result that was decided beforehand (predetermined). This was an election in a first world alliance of states not one in a third world veiled dictatorship after all.
We move into the realm of speculation in considering if and could the Lisbon Treaty have been put before the people for a third time.
Though let me speculate none the less!
I really doubt that would have happened. I doubt if the Germans would have put up with much more bollixing about from the Paddies ... it would have only served to undermine the democratic narrative under-pinning the rest of the Union ... it would be the beginning of the end for the EU if a third vote were mooted and allowed.
Likewise any semblance of a democracy would be completely lost in the Free State. The risk to the stability of the state would have been cataclysmic. I doubt that any government could have countenanced rejecting a second consecutive vote against ratifying the EU treaty.
Possibilities of a third vote, like stories of a predetermined result are the stuff of bar-room commentators and don't hold up to serious scrutiny unless one's on a high stool too!