Saturday, February 25, 2006


I'm disgusted at today's street rioting in Dublin perpetrated by supporters of the 'Republican Sinn Féin' splinter group during the Unionist demonstration in memory of the many hundreds Irish people murdered by Republican terrorists. Paint bombs, petrol bombs and building materials have all been thrown at hundreds of Gardaí, and several have been injured.

Obviously these idiots have no respect for their own fine country, let alone anyone else's. If, God forbid, something like this were to happen at a Bloody Sunday memorial event we'd never hear the end of it. I want to see Sinn Féin condemn the riot roundly and confirm it supports freedom of expression for all. No excuses. Are they Big enough?

[Update: Yes they are.]

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Come on, Conor!

Big hoo-ha in Sevastopol Street today, with Sinn Féin's British MP Conor Murphy complaining about his country's security forces carrying out surveillance activities on Republican activitists in south Armagh. Bit short-sighted, that. After all, it's in his party's interests for IRA members to be seen to be abstaining from crime. Unless there's something to hide, that is.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Ian takes the biscuit

Anyone with half a brain can see there's only one party blocking the way to fair talks leading to devolved government in Ulster - the DUP. Despite IRA disarmament, clear signals at Sinn Féin's annual conference (Ard Fheis) that SF can now see itself supporting the police force (in the right circumstances) and - above all - a convincing electoral mandate for Gerry Adams' party, the 'Democratic' Unionist Party is steadfastly refusing to engage with them.
Just when I thought the DUP had gone bananas yesterday, today's 'headline' statement by Ian Paisley is, "There will only be progress when Sinn Fein/IRA is told that democrats are going on without them and they no longer hold a veto".
Can you believe the cheek? Good Lord, it's the DUP that are veto-ing the start-up of political talks. It's the DUP that aren't embracing democracy, and it's the DUP who are in danger of being left out in the cold - if not actually, then certainly in terms of world opinion.
Actually, this isn't cheekiness. It betrays something much worse: a serious disconnect from reality. Reality is that
(a) the world of kingdoms and protectorates has long since given way to one-man-one-vote democracies,
(b) everyone else acknowledges Republicanism has committed itself permanently to democracy,
(c) The English don't give a stuff about Ulster, and their main parties know it,
(d) Éire is well down the path of shaking off the political grip of Rome,
(e) Ordinary Ulster Protestants just want to build a community of equals and live in peace and friendship.
The sad truth is that the DUP is living in a cloud-cuckoo land of 1950's Unionist dominion. They see themselves as the moral arbiters of Ulster society to whom everyone else, including the British government, must bow. Unless the people of Ulster give their votes to someone else, Unionism will die a long, screaming death over the next 20 years.
How much better, how much Bigger, how much kinder to our grandchildren it would be to evolve in partnership with equals.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Things that never happen in Garvary - Part 2

Continuing our theme ...

Naked rambler Stephen Gough has finished his second walk across Britain. Gough, 46, and partner Melanie Roberts, 34, completed the last 20 miles of their 874-mile eight-month hike at John O'Groats in temperatures of just 5C. He said, "It's nice to get warmed up again. The locals have been offering us whisky and all sorts. They have been very friendly. We passed a school and there were even parents coming out with video cameras."

Maybe someone can book him for this year's Easter morning walk up Topped Mountain.

Mummy's boy

Ian Paisley's really making a fool of Unionism. Peter Hain and Dermot Ahern are trying to get all of Ulster's elected political parties round the table for informal talks on devolved government and - guess what? - the DUP is refusing to be in the same room as Sinn Féin, insisting instead that the talks go ahead with Sinn Féin and then be repeated with the DUP after SF step outside the room. What kind of powder do these guys sniff? And who do they think they are to delay constructive discussions with their peers?
In truth, the DUP see themselves as peerless - the only true remaining exponents of a breed of conservative British elitism that died out 20 years ago.
No kindergarten would put up with behaviour like this. Having grown fat on Mummy England's breast for 80 years, the DUP is the spoilt child of modern Europe, straining its neck to suckle the receding nipple while Mummy thinks it's time it started playing with all the big kids.
Time to be Big, Ian. Time to engage the real world.

Monday, February 20, 2006

What a load of old Wieners

A court in Vienna has sentenced British historian David Irving to 3 years' imprisonment after he agreed before the court that he did actually suggest, in 1989, that there were no gas chambers in Auschwitz. He has since admitted this statement was incorrect, but cannot deny that, yes, he did say it. So off to the slammer with him.

As this eccentric, mistaken and possibly mildly demented historian spends his first night in jail, the good burghers of Austria may wish to reflect on the fact that, big holocaust or medium-sized holocaust, they helped make it happen, the cowardly turds, while David Irving's countrymen were being killed for the virtues they now say they espouse. For centuries Austria has been a hotbed of anti-semitism - in fact public life there is even today filled with people of hardline right-wing (if not neo-nazi) credentials like Jörg Haider.

Taking revenge like this on some hapless daft old English pseudo-academic has got to be up there among the great contenders for "Hypocrite of 2006". That's what you get like when you eat deep-fried pork chops all day.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Blogging break

I think I've got bird 'flu.  Whatever it is, I won't be blogging until Monday. If you need me I'll be in bed groaning. 

Monday, February 13, 2006

Oil and water do mix

Pat Finucane's widow and son met Ian Paisley today, and I'm very heartened to read that was cordial and constructive (background). Just goes to show that a nice cup of tea can surprise Protestant and Catholic Ulsterfolk with how much we have in common - certainly more than divides us.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Things that never happen in Garvary - Part 1

Here's a new Friday feature. You see, life's different in Garvary - peopled by solid, country folk in Co. Fermanagh for whom Enniskillen's just too pacey.
An Argentinian couple have been arrested for having sex opposite a mayor's office in broad daylight.
The man and woman, in their mid-30s, stripped completely naked to have sex on a bench by the Nahuel Huapi river in Bariloche. And when police officers arrived to arrest them, they demanded to be allowed to finish what they were doing.
A crowd gathered and cheered the couple on. Afterwards, the woman told police she had always fantasised about having sex outside the mayor's office while politicians were working inside.
(Politicians working? Don't get me started.)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Dirty money?

Parliamentary privilege in the UK means MPs can accuse and name names without fear of lawsuits. The DUP's Peter Robinson this week alleged a leading Belfast businessman was linked to "IRA dirty money" (funny, I thought laundering gave it a bluey-whiteness, but there you are).

What rubbish. We all know he's linked to Solidarność.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

You know how ...

... sometimes your left eye gets itchy?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Is Republicanism being blown apart?

The Belfast Telegraph, which is becoming more of a sensationalist tabloid with every day that passes, carries a 'revelation' story today alleging that MI5 and senior officers from the PSNI's Crime Operations Department were the source of intelligence information that "not all IRA weapons were decommissioned last September".
If it's true, the Republican leadership has lied and is unfit for government or any more political sops from Downing Street.
If it's false, the DUP heaps shame on itself every day it refuses to share power with Sinn Féin and - more worryingly - it means UK crown agencies are waging a concerted campaign to destroy Republicanism by political means through intrigue designed to stimulate in-fighting aimed at disintegration, as witness the deliberate and timely outing of Denis Donaldson and Seán Lavelle. The message to members of the Provisional movement is: you don't know who to trust, so don't trust anyone. The message of the MI5 'revelation' to the IRA rank and file is: senior members of PIRA have lied to you about weapons, forcing you to give up yours but keeping their own.
Are these time-honoured divide-and-rule tactics or justified acts by a sovereign state? For once, the answer doesn't depend on which foot you kick with, it depends on who's telling the truth: the IRA or MI5.
Republican commentators on the web and elsewhere in the media are playing down the threat, saying they're sticking together, but they're right to be frightened. Somehow they have to prove all their weapons are destroyed, but that's impossible. You'd think the intelligent strategists behind 'P. O'Neill' would have ensured inventory lists were published and agreed with the UK and Irish governments before decommissioning began. Inventory listings would have provided even more proof than photos. A real missed opportunity. It's not as if they can go back and do it again, is it?
If the peace process is to keep moving, the governments are either going to have to come clean about where these hidden weapons are, or drop the witch-hunt against the Provisional movement. Big move required, but it's a pickle they've got themselves into.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Political health

As we know, the state of male health in Norn Iron is pretty poor. No surprise that, us being the country that gave the world panady, boxty and the Ulster Fry, but I have the answer. The picture shows a trendy new residential complex planned for Bristol or somewhere equally undeserving. Bring it to Belfast, says I. It'd make a great new parliament building.

In the spirit of equality, the buildings are part orange part green, and politicians would have a full range of fitness facilities on hand, including an athletics track on the roof. Ulster politicians, as we know, have a penchant for going round in circles, and boy does this give them all they need. DUP members can huff and puff to their hearts' content, and Sinn Féin leaders can enjoy rooftop views again. Those who lean to the left can go anti-clockwise, those who tend towards the right can go round the other way. And David Ford can go straight on.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

IMC Report

Well, it's out. The long-awaited first report of the year by the Independent Monitoring Commission. Although the DUP and Sinn Féin will be issuing their usual inflexible rhetoric, the report contains absolutely nothing we didn't know or expect.

Durng the period under review, the IRA has committed no terrorist offences, no beatings, no bank robberies. But some of its members are still involved in organised crime (inexcusable). And the IRA's still gathering intelligence (which might explain why Peter Hain's actions over the last 3 months demonstrate a growing lack of it).

The most interesting nugget is the IMC's statement that the IRA has made no recruitments. How does it know, I wonder?