jump to navigation

Martin McGuinness retires from politics January 19, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
trackback

Genuinely sorry to hear this news. He’s going to be missed.

Advertisements

Comments»

1. dublinstreams - January 19, 2017

is he retiring from everything else?

Like

2. ivorthorne - January 19, 2017

Because of choices he made, lives were saved. And in all probability, however far off it is, Irish unity is more likely than if he’d pushed for an alternative path.

Liked by 1 person

Joe - January 20, 2017

True. Also true: Because of choices he made, people were killed. And in all probability, Irish unity (whatever that means), if it ever comes about, has been delayed by many generations because of those choices.

Liked by 1 person

ivorthorne - January 20, 2017

On that, I’m not so certain.

There are certainly specific individuals who died because of choices. But the IRA existed before him and their strategy of armed resistance to British occupation was in place before him. He was part of that movement and was part of a small group of influencers who shifted that strategy away from violence.

What I mean is that had he thrown his weight behind the peace process while in his mid twenties, it would probably not have made a difference. If he’d left the IRA before or slightly after Bloody Sunday, the overall body count would probably be similar. Another in his position might have made different choices but it’s highly unlikely that it would have meant that fewer people died.

As for Irish Unity, well, again, nationalism and Republicanism have always existed in NI. Even when the IRA were relatively quiet, it didn’t stop discrimination and division. If McGuinness had thrown his weight behind the AI agreement, I doubt it would have meant a 32 county republic would be any closer than it is now.

Like

WorldbyStorm - January 20, 2017

Over the years I’ve definitely shifted to an analysis similar to yours IT, re the time being suitable or not for changes. We know that 1970 was too early to break with armed struggle or even just try to reemphasise political activity because OIRA tried it and failed and indeed INLA came from OIRA relatively few years later so even OIRA wasn’t able to retain a hold on people. And even in the mid 1990s there was still considerable potential for a breakaway IRA to continue if it had gathered steam, albeit I think 9/11 would still have screwed them in the long run. Stopping conflicts like this takes years and years. There aren’t many obvious short cuts.

Roll forward how long did it take unionism to cut a deal with nationalism let alone republicanism, i.e. a deal that would stick. The DUP and UUP weren’t even able to do the former as late as the late 1980s.

None of which is to exonerate PIRA but there are so many strands involved. Just pulling one figure out doesn’t necessarily change the overall look.

Just on unity, I’d tend to agree too IT, we know that PIRA and OIRA and INLA didn’t come from nowhere. The sectarianism of Stormont MkI was such a fundamental problem. Elsewhere repressive regimes engendered various responses including armed struggle, why would it be different – even if one doesn’t agree with a.s. as a tactic – in Ireland?

Like

dublinstreams - January 20, 2017

was it all armed resistence? or was it some terrorism?

Like

EWI - January 20, 2017

was it all armed resistence? or was it some terrorism?

A question to be directed at the British government too, who after all operated death squads and pseudo-gangs (not to mention allowing the UDA paramilitary force – the UVF by day – to exist and operate openly for years).

Like

dublinstreams - January 20, 2017

yes but ivorthorne was talking about the IRA.

Like

ivorthorne - January 22, 2017

Calling something “terrorism” involves a value judgment. It is not something objective. All armed activities will cause fear and terror and few do not aim to cause anxiety, fear or terror in the minds of opposition.

The “armed struggle” of the PIRA etc. was, in principle and in general, morally justifiable given the absence of a viable, democratic means of achieving the goals of an oppressed minority. Specific actions were not morally justifiable and were, again in general, a predictable outcome of the kind of armed campaign Republicanism chose to engage in.

I’m not a SF supporter. I judge some actions of Republican militants rather harshly. But the rise militant Republicanism was the inevitable outcome of choices made after the war of independence. The Free State bought (relative) peace at the cost of northern nationalists.

Like

dublinstreams - January 23, 2017

terrorism is tactic you can choose to deploy or not

Like

EWI - January 20, 2017

True. Also true: Because of choices he made, people were killed. And in all probability, Irish unity (whatever that means), if it ever comes about, has been delayed by many generations because of those choices.

But the ‘choices’ that started the Troubles were principally made by people who weren’t from working-class backgrounds in Derry or Belfast. And that’s something that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Liked by 1 person

Joe - January 23, 2017

Ah yes. The kind of CLR conversation which makes me froth at the mouth and threaten to hit someone the next time I meet them. The kind of CLR conversation that’s not good for my blood pressure.
I reckon eamonncork went off in a hump cos he figured all of us on CLR were effectively Trump supporters.
I go off in a hump every now and then because I reckon ye’re all fooking Provos – neo, crypto, post-truth, take your pick.
I am now officially off in another hump and will be staying away (or at best, lurking) for a considerable period. And I hope ye’re all very upset about that 😦 :).

Like

WorldbyStorm - January 23, 2017

Hmmm… I think there’s a big difference between making observations about history and agreeing with, say, the course or even the practice of armed struggle. I doubt there’s one person in this conversation who would accept that armed struggle was appropriate today either. So that’s a long way from being Provos or dissidents. But it is fair to point to the dynamics in the North being a lot more complex than simply the Provos were to blame for it all. That doesn’t exonerate them, as I noted above, at all.

The issue over terrorism as a term is an important one. Of course aspects of the Provo campaign were terrorism but that wasn’t the totality of it.

Nor does it help much to think that conceptual short cuts or cul-de-sacs really help in progressing matters. There was a belief in the South and parts of the North that condemnation (and massive security pushback) was sufficient to move things forward. It didn’t work. It couldn’t work. The reasons for armed conflict were much much deeper and broader than the simple existence of PIRA.

And yes, I think it’s entirely fair to point to the abysmal record of political unionism before and after Stormont I. That doesn’t exonerate violence either. But I’ve always had the view that it wasn’t that it was the most oppressive regime in the world that was the problem but that the gap between reality and rhetoric, between the supposed democracy of it and the actuality behind that of the suppression of a significant minority actually heightened alienation that its own approaches made and made the responses worse than in other circumstances they should have been. I also think that a sectarian aspect to the mix made the political aspects more pointed and an agreement harder to achieve (sectarianism that wasn’t unknown at all on the nationalist/republican side but which was much greater on the unionist/loyalist side and accentuated by the fact of state power backing the latter both before and after Stormont I).

Liked by 1 person

3. sonofstan - January 19, 2017

A minor part of a genuinely history making career, but the take down of seanie trump never gets old.

Liked by 2 people

4. Ed - January 20, 2017

It’s funny to think how many people who were on the political scene at the very start of the Troubles, late 60s/early 70s, have only retired relatively recently. First Hume, then Paisley, now McGuinness; Adams is the only survivor from that generation, I guess.* Compare that with the British equivalents, Wilson, Callaghan, Heath, or the southern ones, Lynch, Cosgrave, etc.—the idea of them still being front-rank politicians into the 2000s and even beyond just seems absurd, doesn’t it? I guess one effect of the war was to extend political careers beyond their normal lifespan.

*unless you count Bernadette Devlin, who’s still around and about, or Eamonn McCann, who finally made it into parliament last year, almost fifty years after he was beaten by Hume in his first outing.

Like

6to5against - January 20, 2017

The war might have prolonged political careers, but it also brought very young men to prominence. Martin McGuinness is only 66. He was obviously a teenager when he first came to the fore in the IRA Derry.

I think Gerry Adams is only a year or two older – and I think he was 24 when he was involved in negotiating the short-lived 1972 (?) ceasefire with the British Govt, so he was presumably active long before that.

Bernadette McAliskey was 22 when she took her seat in Westminster.

Looking back at those ages, they astonish me.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - January 20, 2017

That’s a very fair point 6to5against. Enda Kenny was born three years later than Adams. So he must be McGuinness’s age. But the longevity is extraordinary though I guess they only really consolidated their leadership in the 1980-86 period.

Like

5. Jolly Red Giant - January 20, 2017

The cheerleader for privatisation will be badly missed.

Like

6. Aonrud ⚘ - January 20, 2017

Surprisingly gracious statement from Ian Paisley Jr. yesterday evening.

Jim Allister is the only one I’ve seen that couldn’t resist being outright hostile. True to form, I suppose.

Like

sonofstan - January 20, 2017

Was nearly going to post Paisley’s statement in Signs of Hope…..the other brother Kyle, has been somewhat surprising recently also.
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/life/a-twintrack-approach-we-profile-minister-kyle-paisley-30783354.html

Like

7. Michael Carley - January 20, 2017

In fairness to him, Ian Paisley has been generous and intelligent in what he’s said.

Like

8. irishelectionliterature - January 20, 2017

Yeah Paisley was very good.

video/1

Like

6to5against - January 20, 2017

Wow. just watched that. I’d heard he was gracious, so expected a bit of blah blah blah – and fair enough – but that is a really interesting exchange.

Like

9. GW - January 20, 2017

The GFA would not have happened without the enormous effort he put in before and during.

Like

10. Joe - January 20, 2017

I was a peace process sceptic. In the early stages I didn’t believe it would work – how could it, I thought, when the Provos want to kill the Brits and vice versa.
Then one night I was watching the telly and Martin McGuinness came out with this line (hope I’m not misquoting but the gist was this): “The unionist people of the six counties are British and I have no problem with that”. That’s how I heard it anyway. It stopped me in my tracks. I think I said out loud something like:”Well then why have you been killing them for the last 25 years?” For me, that changed my understanding – the Provos had changed, they were no longer the unreconstructed Irish nationalists that I thought they always had been and always would be.
So fair play to McGuinness, he was part of the leadership of the republican movement who brought the vast majority of that movement with them into relative peace.
I hope he has peace in his retirement. And I hope everyone up there holds onto the peace they’ve made.

Like

GW - January 20, 2017

That’s the crux Joe – people can change and change their minds.

Like

11. Gerryboy - January 20, 2017

Because of its colonial plantation history going back three centuries, Northern Ireland has a British dimension and an Irish dimension. This is clearly stated in the GFA and accepted by the parties to the agreement. Martin McGuinness and fellow negotiators led the republican movement on a long journey to that historic acknowledgment. Civil society and the political class have a lot of work to do to continue the spirit of the GFA.

Liked by 1 person

12. roddy - January 20, 2017

Jim Allister was joined in his crassness by none other than Mick Barry.What a prick!

Like


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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: