Archive for the 'UK' Category

The UKSC Ruling on Article 50 and the Future of Northern Ireland

So the GFA and the subsequent agreements based on it were a way of guaranteeing (to the unionists) that NI would stay within the UK but also of guaranteeing to the Irish nationalist people that while they had to stay in (for them) the wrong country, their identity would be respected and NI would be linked to the RoI through a series of cross border talking shops and the role of the RoI state as a guarantor of the GFA.
So everything went relatively OK for a while. Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley developed quite the bromance and later even Mc Guinnness recognized Peter Robinson was doing his best in spite of the backwoods element in his own party.
All this allowed
Sinn Féin to deal with its own internal tensions, centered on the fact that they had settled for administering British rule rather than overthrowing it. Fundamental to this was the increasing irrelevance of the border in the context of ever closer union between the EU nations. The border would still be there but you’d never notice it if you didn’t want to
But Arlene Foster is not Ian Paisley or even Peter Robinson. She has, either through conviction or necessity, reflected the views of the Protestant supremacist elements in her own party. The DUP is basically UKIP in its culture and attitudes. Not an inch! is its attitude to things of symbolic importance to nationalists like giving some sort of legal status to the Irish language. So gradually Sinn Fein tired of this.
And then came the referendum and then the as for cash scandal and then Mc Guinessess’s health problems. And Sinn Fein basically said, “Fuck this for a game of cowboys” and brought down the executive. When this happened the SDLP, the moderate nationalist party in NI called for joint administration of NI by Dublin and London. That’s the SDLP eh, which was probably founded with a helping hand from MI5, back in the day. SF are in danger of being outflanked on their green side by the SDLP.
And now the UK Supreme Court has ruled that regardless of the GFA or anything else, Northern Ireland can be yanked out of the EU without consultation with the NI Assembly, that from the point of view of Brexit it’s no different from Essex. So, all that talk about not reintroducing a hard border etc NI is being dragged much farther away from the rest of Ireland than it was before and the courts have confirmed that there’s nothing the NI Assembly can do about that. And
So what would you do if you were in SF or the SDLP? What would your argument for going back into government with in NI be, given that one of the central planks of the GFA had been kicked away and that the principal unionist party was doing an ever more convincing imitation of being a Protestant/Unionist supremacist movement?
As long as the bulk of the republican people continue to support SF there’ll be no major upsurge in violence. But we’re now in totally uncharted territory and there’s good reason to very concerned.

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Farewell Martin McGuinness

So farewell then Martin. Your health seems to be letting you down and you’ve finally got tired of the DUP trying to turn Northern Ireland into  Protestant state for a Protestant people all over again. Small blame to you.  I guess your illness means you won’t be running for office again and that your political future, if you have one, will be to play the elder statesman in SF. No formal job but loads of influence, something like the role of Felipe González in the PSOE in Spain.

But maybe you’re for the high jump soon; we don’t know exactly what’s ailing you so it’s impossible to say. It’s been quite a life, you’ve had, no? You stood up for your people when it was extraordinarily difficult and dangerous to do so and were recognized a leader by all who came into contact with you. 22 was quite an age to be flown to London to negotiate with the Brits.

You kept faith with the armed struggle for far too long though and you countenanced horrible sectarian massacres. Unlike some others you did eventually see that it was  all leading nowhere, that it was impossible to impose sufficient costs on the Brits to make them rethink  their support for the Unionists and that the Unionists were not going to have their minds changed by killing any number of off duty UDR corporals. Some can’t get those facts into their heads even today.

There’d have been no durable ceasefire and no GFA without your personal credibility among the nationalist people to back it. And the devolved administration in NI wouldn’t have lasted until now without your pragmatic approach and personal humility, characteristics lacking in another top Republican whose name I won’t mention.

You probably won’t thank me for saying this but you remind me a lot of Arik Sharon: man of war and man peace, responsible for both foul and noble deeds, loved by (most of) your people and despised by those who’d like to see them go back to their previous condition of servitude.

So get well soon, and enjoy whatever time’s left to you.

Prediction for 2017, Number 1

Motorway pile up Brexit. The Brits will fuck us over on the CTA and the GFA, not because they are bad or hate us (mainly) but because they have no fucking idea what they are doing and imagine we’ll just say “ah, sure that’ll be grand your honour” to whatever madcap scheme they propose.

The Future of Brexit Britain

  1. A considerable part of the UK press is attacking the judiciary in the vilest terms possible. The first edition of one of those attacks contained an anti-gay slur
  2. The leader of a party that got millions of votes at the last election is organizing a mass protest designed to intimidate the Supreme Court and  warning (i.e., threatening) violence if the Court hands down a decision he disagrees with.
  3. The government has only made the most tepid noises to defend the judiciary and has been flying anti-foreigner policy kites. Some of the PM’s comments at the last Conservative conference wouldn’t have looked out of place in a BNP manifesto a few years ago
  4. Blaming the presence of immigrants for the supposed ills of the country has long been popular of the right; now some parts of the Labour party have decided that it would be best to  more openly pander to voters’ prejudices in this regard. Some clever leftist writers have started writing columns which, their exquisitely careful wording notwithstanding, carry essentially the same message as the Daily Mail; there are too many foreigners among us and they lack essential moral qualities present in abundance among the native population.
  5. There is currently no effective opposition to the government in parliament. The leadership of the Labour party thinks liberal democracy is largely a sham.
  6. No one in government seems interested in the possible effects on the peace and government of NI of Brexit.
  7. The government seems determined to sharply reduce  the number of foreign students in UK universities
  8. So you’re not a judge, not gay, have a UK passport and don’t look foreign. Well don’t think that will  necessarily protect you. Do you perhaps have a non-British name? Be prepared for more careful checks on your identity. Are you Jewish? Well, the hard left has long had it in for you and the nativist right may soon feel able to start letting you know what it thinks your real identity is and just how much it values your “Leave” vote? Are you a first generation Brit? At this rate how long do you think you think you’ll continue to be regarded as “truly British”?
  9. When subsidies to keep multinationals in the country post-Brexit mean there’s even less money than now for social spending and the NHS, who do you think those affected are probably going to blame? When those at the bottom end of the labour market are even more lumpenised and atomised than they are now, who do you think they’ll vote for?
  10. It looks like generations of social liberalisation and economic progress is in danger. There’s currently no one on the left-liberal side of politics to defend it

Brexit, Antisemitism and Progressive Xenophobia

Contemporary antisemites are quick to produce their Jewish friends and may even be Jewish themselves. Progressive Brexit xenophobes welcome foreigners of their own class but are concerned about (what they see as) the negative effects on the “indigenous” working class of poor EU immigrants. The former see the ills of the world as being produced by runaway Jewish power, the latter (with regret) see the problems of the “indigenous” working class as caused by the presence of poor immigrants. Both have forgotten a lot of basic things we used to know and react with outrage to any suggestion their views might have racist effects.



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