jump to navigation

Shaking hands… June 25, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Sinn Féin, The Left.

Ruairi O’Bradaigh once said ‘I’ll shake the hand of any man’. The thought strikes that it’d be interesting to see what limit he had. I doubt somehow he’s too keen on a certain handshake later this week. There’ll be some rhetoric about it no doubt. But to be honest I think it’s over reified in both directions (and for once the term reify has an appropriateness it otherwise often lacks). Photo or not one M.McG will be far from the first Republican – in the broadest sense of the term – to shake her hand. For me it’s never been about the handshaking – I could care less about the Queen – but the conceptual doffing of hats and tugging of forelocks [and the class structure revealed] which even to this day seems to accompany such meetings. If that could be avoided that would be a victory in and of itself because handshake there will be.

In another way though I think it’s salutary, because it demonstrates the difficulties that the Republican project faces (let alone the left project) in terms of achieving further tangible outcomes. I don’t think that that’s a bad thing. For far too long Republicanism went down cul-de-sacs, sometimes of its own making, sometimes not, and evaded a core issue, that like it or not this is an island where a significant minority live who are simply not going anywhere and who already have a defined allegiance both political and otherwise. Partition was in some ways convenient because it concealed that behind a geo-political barrier as if the problem was geo-political. But it wasn’t, either before that, then or now. A lot of creative thinking and hard work lies ahead. Though how it all pans out is anybody’s guess.

Interesting week or couple of weeks for SF, running – or walking into some trouble, and seeing their poll ratings decline. More on that tomorrow.


1. Organized Rage - June 25, 2012

WBS your right there is nothing new about an Irish politician bowing to the will of an English monarch, whilst ‘her’ armed forces continue to hold part of Ireland by force of arms. I write ‘her armed forces’ because that is exactly what they are. For unlike most democratic States, the UK is almost unique in that rather than swearing allegiance to the State or its people, the military along with the judiciary and parliamentarians, swear allegiance to the monarch and her heirs.

You do not need me to tell you this is an extremely dangerous thing, when Hitler learnt about such an oath he thought I will have some of that. Why because he understood honarble men do not break such oaths lightly. For example after the July bomb exploded in Hitlers bunker, many officers refused to join the coup because they had sword an oath to the man, not the state or its people.

We still do not know exactly what role the English crown played in 1912, etc, although we do know Churchill and senior members of the military had talks on the home rule act with the then King. You mention the doffing of hats and tugging of forelocks [and the class structure revealed] which even to this day seems to accompany such meetings.

It cannot be avoided, the more so when it occurs as this meeting will out of the public light. SF have absolutely no reason to take part, instead of allowing large sections of the unionist working class to wallow in such buffonary McGuiness should be exposing it for what it is.

As I wrote on Organized Rage;

Leading members of Sinn Féin have sold this meeting as a move to offer the hand of friendship and reconciliation to unionism. I’m presuming they mean as many unionists support the monarchy it should be shown respect.

What balderdash, what nonsense, to hell with that! Its not for the membership of a radical republican party to help re-enforce archaic and reactionary institutions. Far from it, its their duty to help break the shackles of these chains of reaction, as Wolf Tone and generations of Irish republicans have always attempted to do. Far from showing unionist’s respect for giving their support to the English queen and all she stands for, Martin McGuinness should be challenging that support and not be cozying up to her behind closed doors.



2. Mark P - June 25, 2012

I will be looking forward to the photographs.


3. rockroots - June 25, 2012

Are we the only people (aside, perhaps from Israel/Palastine) where something as mundane as a handshake can prompt news headlines and extraordinary party discussions? It’s only as significant as observers want it to be and will make absolutely no tangeble difference whatsoever, much like the Queen’s visit. However, given how much the (Irish) republican movement values tradition and symbolism, I have to wonder about the future of Sinn Fein – they appear to be determined to prove how much they have changed since the ceasefire; they equate political maturity with abandonding long-held principles, and while some of these principles ought to be ditched, you have to wonder what they DO actually stand for today.


RosencrantzisDead - June 25, 2012

Election by any means possible?


Blissett - June 25, 2012

Things like armed struggle, having guns, and shaking or not shaking hands are not matters of principle.


Mark P - June 25, 2012

And neither, it seems are PFIs.


Blissett - June 26, 2012

Well indeed, no, PFIs are not a matter of principle. The principle at the heart of your opposition to PFIs may be an opposition to the use of public money to benefit private companies at the expense of the tax payer, or what have you, but generally I find that a principle is something altogether more fundamental than a policy. If you really consider the PFI model itself, rather than what you understand to be its outcome, to be a principle then you must have an ethical crisis every time you buy so much as a pack of tayto


Ed - June 26, 2012

“If you really consider the PFI model itself, rather than what you understand to be its outcome, to be a principle then you must have an ethical crisis every time you buy so much as a pack of tayto.”

That’s a truly inane remark, but giving it more respect than it deserves, the only way buying a pack of Tayto could pose an ethical problem for a socialist would be if a trade union trying to organise Tayto workers had called for a boycott until the company stopped locking out its members. Anyone who can’t tell the difference between individual consumer decisions, which have to be made in the context of a capitalist economy, and government policy that favours privatisation of public services, is going to find it very hard to keep their political bearings. That’s putting it very kindly.

‘What you understand to be its outcome’ is a nice euphemism for ‘what its outcome actually was’. The evidence is decisive at this point:







Nor can we draw a nice distinction between ‘the PFI model itself’ and its outcome – the outcome was a natural, predictable result of the model itself. This is not being said with the benefit of hindsight: trade unions, left-wing Labour MPs and left-wing journalists all predicted it when Blair and Brown rolled out PFI’s in the heyday of New Labour (Nick Cohen was especially good on this, in the days before he jumped the shark).

The list of things that are not a principle for Sinn Féin keeps stacking up: coalition with right-wing parties is not a principle, meeting with George Bush for a photo op on the eve of the Iraq war is not a principle, ditching your party’s policy on corporation tax overnight to make it easier to form a coalition with Fianna Fáil is not a principle, voting for the bank guarantee is not a principle, PFIs are not a principle . . . some people might start wondering what principles are left at this stage.


4. CL - June 25, 2012

-Mr Clinton said next week’s meeting would be a major milestone in Anglo-Irish relations.
“I think so. It is what I hoped would happen when all this (the peace process) started — that it would come around to that.”-

Its not too long ago that the man from Hot Springs, Bill Clinton, was gloating over the triumph of Anglo-American political economy.
The handshake symbolizes the completion of the ‘peace process’-the assimilation of the Irish republican movement to the rule of capital even though some people will be fooled by Sinn Fein’s populist/nationalist rhetoric.


5. Joe - March 10, 2013

Good timing on the resurrection of this thread. I see Nigel Lutton, the unionist candidate and Francie Molloy, the SF candidate, didn’t shake hands on the podium when the result of the Mid Ulster bye election was being announced. Presumably they didn’t shake hands anywhere else either. Although on the telly it said that they did acknowledge each other on the podium.
I presume that Molloy would shake Lutton’s hand but Lutton didn’t want to shake his. Something, again I presume, to do with the fact that Mr Lutton’s father was killed by the IRA during “the troubles”.
Those “troubles” and all the people dead and maimed and mentally disturbed as a result of them – we’ll all be dead and gone and they’ll still be remembered and shaking hands will still be a problem for generations to come.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: