Jack twilley 2012-04-23 15:59:53
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I’ve been following the recent events in Northern Ireland, and I don’t
understand what’s going on.
Based on what I’ve read in RTE, the BBC, the Guardian, and other news
sources, a three-act play was carefully orchestrated — the
republicans were to announce a major act of decommissioning and make a
speech asserting that they would comply with the agreement and use
political methods to achieve their goals instead of violence, the IICD
was to confirm the decommissioning, and the unionists were to make a
speech similar to that made by the republicans.
But that’s not what happens. The first two sounded like they went as
planned, but the third didn’t. David Trimble’s speech appeared to
indicate surprise at the lack of transparency in the decommissioning.
It wasn’t immediately clear to me what he wanted but what was clear
was that he was prepared to give the speech he gave, and thus he knew
he was going to screw up everyone’s plans for happily-ever-after.
The Good Friday Agreement (which folks on this newsgroup encouraged me
to read) discusses decommissioning and refers to the IICD but does not
describe the decommissioning schemes in detail. Specifically, it
doesn’t say what level of detail is required to be made public with
regard to the arms that were decommissioned.
On the one hand, I can see why the unionists might want details like
how many weapons of which types were destroyed and what percentage of
the total weapons that number represents. On the other hand, it seems
rather immature for them to complain publicly about something to which
it appears they have already agreed.
What’s really going on here? Are the unionists trying to avoid a
peaceful resolution? Are the republicans trying to destroy as few
weapons as is necessary for the unionists to let down their guard? Or
am I missing something else entirely?
jmt at twilley dot org
http colon slash slash www dot twilley dot org slash tilde jmt slash
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Conor booze o 2012-04-23 16:00:11
Decommissioning is a nonsense issue that was invented by the British
and Unionists some years ago to make progress difficult.
It’s achieved that aim.
The problem is that now that people do want to make progress it’s
still there getting in the way.
The resolution of the issue was for Trimble and Adams to agree
privately on a way around this nonsense issue.
They did that.
Then when Adams and the IRA had played their part in this little game,
Trimble turned around and pretended in public that Decommissioning was
a real issue again.
That’s what’s going on.
Nik 2012-04-24 11:42:56
All of that is true but I’d add the suggestion that it is
electioneering being carried out by Trimble to make him look good in
Unionist eyes so that its the UUP not the DUP that triumphs, on the
Unionist side, in the upcoming elections.
F achad ir 2012-04-24 11:43:11
Scr obh Jack Twilley
You’ll fit right in then.
First there was a prologue. The British government announced a date
for the postponed elections.
So far so good, and there was an epilogue planned where Ahern and
Blair would pat everyone on the head.
Alternatively, act two (decommissioning) didn’t deliver all that was
expected, leading act three (Trimble) to cry foul.
There’s an act of parliament which goes into a bit more detail if
The key word is “appear”. Unionists say they thought they would be
given more detail.
What we have here is a failure to communicate, as Boss put it in Cool
Its plain old politics. Everyone wants as much as possible for as
little as possible.
“Ferr f or fertaib”
F achad ir
Conor booze o 2012-04-24 11:43:15
Yes, but it’s a double-edged sword that. There are as many think he’s
been fooled as think he’s being shrewd.
It could all backfire.
Nik 2012-04-24 11:43:23
It could. I’m expecting some sort of dramatic scripted development in
the week before the election that will make Trimble look great in the
eyes of the Unionist community…and the time will be too short for
the DUP to react.
Trimble must have known what the story was to be re: decommissioning
before it happened….
The happenings fit with my theory about the May election(s) being put
off, that is, the British and Irish government wanted to forestall the
possibility of the traditionally UUP voting public moving to the DUP
because they now feel that the GFA offers too much to the ‘taigs’ and
if the DUP were the largest Unionist Party in Stormount that would be
a disaster because Big Ian just won’t negotiate…you know yourself.
Soo….in order to head of the Donaldsons and the Burnsides in the
UUP, Trimble has to, now, appear strong but he now has to pull a bunny
out of a hat in a few weeks time.
Thats what I reckon anyway.
Conor booze o 2012-04-24 11:43:26
So it would have to be another Save Dave op.
He does get himself into some scrapes, does Dave.
There’s no doubt about that now.
Unionists are being quoted as stating that the transparency
requirement was “not nailed down”
It was only a “subtle” agreement.
This could mean a number of things.
There is a strong pragmatic element in the DUP and much of their
activity is about replacing the UUP as largest Unionist party.
They might be easier to work with than you think.
And there are benefits to SF working with them rather than the UUP, if
a working-with was possible.
Yup. Could well be.
Reb buidlear 2012-04-28 04:08:44
Waht’s it to you N*** boy?
You’re not irish, and you’re definitely nothing to do with northern
Eve rlive there?
Didn’t think so.
Nik 2012-04-28 04:09:05
Come back to us when you’re prepared to actually debate. As it stands
your utterance is worthless.
Bertie the bun 2012-04-28 23:14:03
So you say, but it’s you who’s not prepared to debate, n*** boy.
You lie and then run awya and call it debating?
Gavs_usenet 2012-04-29 18:20:01
I’ll see if I can clarify, Jack.
Yep – pretty much spot on. Looks like he expected a better
performance by General deChastelain in order to boost his own election
chances in the forthcoming forum elections.
He wanted to play the ‘hard man’ you see – the Unionist hero who
brought the IRA to book. Putting the taigs (slang for Catholics,
Nationalists or Republicans – Unionists don’t make much of a
differential) in their place is a common thread running through
Unionism and he used similar tactics before to gain the leadership of
the UUP when he was one of the main figures behind this (until
recently) annual festival of hate which has claimed a number of
innocent lives over the years. When Nationalist locals agreed a
compromise he danced a jig up and down the main street of the town and
proclaimed ‘victory’ for Unionism. Nice guy, eh?
His previous hard man credentials included being a member of the
early-70s ‘vanguard’ Unionist movement. A typical Unionist
quasi-military organisation, formed to gain concessions against the
threat of ‘trouble’. Another common Unionist strategy which they’ve
employed successfully right since the creation of NI..
Anyhow, when he didn’t get the words from the General that allowed
him to pose as victorious his inbuilt Unionist-politician-sense told
him to get belligerent and petty. Hey, it’s worked for them many
times over the years.
The GFA specifically mandates the IICD to handle the
decommissioning scheduling, monitoring and reporting processes. The
IICD have agreed terms with the IRA which obviously allow for a
considerable degree of discretion over what gets released to the
public regarding decommissioning acts. The reason they did this is
that the IICD seem to be a pretty knowledgable and experienced bunch
of people who know that the best way to get a undefeated organisation
to give up their weapons is by a sensitive approach that respects the
difficulties that decommissioning may bring to the group being asked
to do so.
Unfortunately, as ever, Unionists decided that the bits of the
agreement that they didn’t really like don’t need to be adhered to
after it’s signed and they’ve got the bits that they do like sewn up.
Hence the ongoing attempts by Unionists to dictate how the IRA will
decommission, ignoring the authority of the IICD who are actually
mandated to do so under the agreement *negotiated by the UUP*
,endorsed by the two governments and ratified by 70% of the electorate
when it was put to the vote.
They do it all the time. Nationalists often accuse Unionists of
not having the word ‘compromise’ in their vocabulary but with the
advent of the GFA (the first timeUnionists actually signed up to
something where they apparently compromised) there is now clear,
written evidence to support this.
Unionists have repeatedly taken the compromises given by
Nationalists and Republicans in the GFA and pocketed them, whilst
ignoring their own ‘compromises’ that they signed up to. The way in
which they are completely ignoring the authority and duties of the
IICD is a prima-facie example of refusing to honour what one signed up to.
Unionists are resisting change as much as they can. At the heart
of Unionism is a yearning for the days of the Unionist state, governed
With the GFA they signed up to power sharing to get Stormont back,
ever since then they’d been doing their best to wiggle out of the
‘power sharing’ bit whilst keeping the ‘Stormont is back’ part.
Republicans would of course prefer not to destroy any weapons at
all. There is a strong sense amongst them that their decommissioning
would be seen as a defeat and as an admission of culpability for the
However unlike the main Loyalist terror groups they have engaged
with the IICD and three substantial acts of decommissioning have taken
place. (The latest of which looks to be especially meaningful.)
That the very Unionist politicians who were howling so loudly and
at such length for decommissioning should turn around and find some
petty point about not getting an itemised list from the IICD once they
get what they said they wanted, should tell you all you need to know
about their bona-fides.
Chesney christ 2012-04-30 14:23:10
A certain Nik, of soc.culture.irish “fame”, writes :
But the republicans didn’t. This is the problem. I don’t necessarily
blame them for it either. It seems that people were afraid to nail down
exactly what was required from them. Either that, or what was required
was not effectively communicated to the right people.
I see your general point about DT benefiting (although I’m not cynical
enough to believe that it was his objective). But it is possible to
argue that Trimble benefits from either outcome, whether he’d have
accepted the deal with the IRA or not. On one hand, this situation makes
him look silly for dealing with the republicans. But another
interpretation of the same facts might suggest that he can be regarded
(by those who’d consider supporting him) as a safe pair of hands and
that he won’t sign up for anything he considers not to meet the grade.
Republicans who are quick to jump at Trimble’s problems in this
department might reflect on their position vis. policing. In broader
terms DT’s problems aren’t so far away from the problems that
republicans have with the Patten implementation (as it stands today,
post-revised Police Bill). Republicans insist that the current
implementation isn’t acceptable, yet they won’t allow themselves to be
pinned down on what is required before they’ll sign up. Even after the
Police Bill was altered and considerable concessions were made, they
still refused to sign on, and they won’t say exactly why. The reasons
for not signing up are more to do with how their membership & supporters
will react. If you can understand this, you can understand Trimble’s
This is probably the British government’s reasoning. I suspect they see
it as being pragmatic. Tony Blair is trying to do the right thing by
protecting all of the effort that has put into getting things to where
they are now. Unfortunately he cannot balance that with the sheer
arrogance of his position, and worse, how he is merely delaying the
If the UUP elects Donaldson and Burnside republicans can rejoice in the
street; if unionism can’t get signed onto an agreement (of some sort)
then it is truly finished.
“Jokes mentioning ducks were considered particularly funny.” – cnn.com