Monday, May 15, 2006

Northern Ireland

(BBC Online)
For the first time since 2002, Northern Ireland's politicans have taken their seats at Stormont.
However the prospect of a power sharing executive being formed is not immediately apparent.
Personally I doubt it will, if the fact that Ian Paisley is leader of the largest political party in Northern Ireland has anything to go by.
I can understand his anger for and distaste for Sinn Fein. I remember myself being a visitor at the 2003 Labour Party Conference and looking at the advertisments for the fringe meetings on Northern Ireland and feeling unable to go to the ones involving alleged political wing of the IRA.
But we cannot live by the past, and whilst many of us have painful memories of the Brighton Bomb and the murders of Lord Mountbatten amongst many other atrocities, Northern Ireland has to learn the art of comparable compromise if it is to move forward. In fact it has, it is up to the DUP however to learn that art. Besides which, it is an open secret that Paisley's hands are allegedly not entirely clean, which makes his condemnation of Sinn Fein a bit of a joke. However, those actions he committed are in the past and it is up to God to judge him!
Getting to this stage has required a lot of hard work and negotiation which, at no point that we know of, Paisley has been involved with. He sabotaged the Sunningdale Agreement, and pulled out of the Good Friday Agreement before it was even finalised, and which gave the system of Northern Ireland government we know today.
I hope that Paisley will change his tune, for the sake of the people of Ulster, but I do wonder!
Incidentally, Tim has posted on this recently, and holding similar views to me on this issue, his comments are worth noting!


Tim Roll-Pickering said...

He [Paisley] sabotaged the Sunningdale Agreement, and pulled out of the Good Friday Agreement before it was even finalised, and which gave the system of Northern Ireland government we know today.

What's even more saddening is the later revelation by observers that Peter Robinson and Nigel Dodds made no effort to hide their own view that it would have been better for the DUP to be in the talks and oppose stuff at the negotiating table. Imagine what the history of the last eight years would have been if Unionism as a whole (give or take Bob "Northern Ireland's answer to Kilroy" McCartney and His Ego) had been behind the Agreement actually made it would have done a lot more to create stability (and probably in the long term secure the United Kingdom).

Out of interest what's your take on the other stories in the post you link to? In particular hat's your view on a potential joint British-Republic Labour Party? Most of the Labour people I've had this discussion have hidden behind the pretence that a bunch of Fianna Fáil wannabes are somehow a Labour Party but you don't fit the stereotype (for a start you're prepared to say "Northern Ireland").

Paul Burgin said...

The British/Republic Labour Party is something I had not heard about until you blogged on it!
I am unsure about that and feel that Northern Ireland needs to develop it's own united identity before they start thinking about these things.
As for stereotypes, I don't :). Original New Labour of the Crosland/Healey/Jenkins variety would probably some me up to a certain degree. As for Northern Ireland, well it is. It's a part of the United Kingdom still and it is also most of the North of Ireland (well six of the eight counties of Ulster), so that's what it is!

Tim Roll-Pickering said...

Sorry the more general conversation is about whether the British Labour Party should organise in Northern Ireland and allow the local membership to take a decision on whether or not to contest elections. The usual response of Labour (GB) members to this is a claim that the SDLP is a Labour Party (even though most of the talk about it merging with a party in the Republic focuses on Fianna Fáil rather than Labour) and part of some international organisation or other, yet so is the Republic's Labour Party which makes it different here.

By the way which single Ulster county has been lost? There's a case that six have been abolished but they're the other side of the border!

Paul Burgin said...

Well one or two Labour MP's told me in 2003 that they want to see a Northern Ireland Labour Party, but, as you say, the standard view is that they have a sister party in Northern Ireland, the SDLP.

Paul Burgin said...

As for the counties, this should explain the demographics.

I did get it wrong though, apparently there are nine counties in Ulster.