Monday, March 26, 2007

Well Done to Everyone in Northern Ireland

No matter what my thoughts are on Gerry Adams - and believe me, they're not for repeating on this blog - we must all be happy at today's outcome in Belfast. Let's just hope that this time the power-sharing administration will be more enduring. Congratulations must go to Ian Paisley for acting in a responsible and statesmanlike manner throughout this process. It's something many of us didn't think he had in him.

And while I'm at it, I'll pay tribute to John Major for starting the whole process and also Tony Blair for seeing it through. Blair has done many things throughout the last few years in Northern Ireland which not only stuck in my throat, but I suspect his too. But there is little doubt that we wouldn't have got to where we are today if he hadn't done them.

26 comments:

Pedant said...

But just where are we?

Anonymous said...

as a wise person once said 'Politics is the art of the possible'.

Perfection this is not, but it is a hell of an advance on the situation there while I was growing up.

On a similar note, go and see 'Catch a Fire' starring Tim Robbins. About apartheid era South Africa it covers similar themes of the struggle for a peaceful better life, and the 'one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter' issue.

Anonymous said...

Not wishing to be unduly controversial, but given what is happening in other parts of the world, maybe we should just save x-ty billion pounds and fast forward ten or twenty years and re-habilitate al-Qaeda into a political party and put them and their cohorts in charge in Iraq and Afghanistan. That sort of power - sharing is going to happen sooner or later - so why not sooner ?

jailhouselawyer said...

Ian Paisley acting responsibly...like a rabid dog no doubt?

machiavelli said...

I wasn't aware the population was so small so that "everyone" could be involved in the negotiation process?

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Look it's a fresh start. Stop being so negative

Cranmer said...

One train...two destinations.

United Ireland, or Ulster in the United Kingdom? The answer will be seen in whoever gets the Education brief in the devolved assembly...

Newmania said...

I wonder what will happen to N Ireland when the UK breaks up . Bagsy Scotland get lumbered with it !

I think Blair did do the best he could here and you point on Major is right .I also support Blair over Iraq it is in this country that he lost control and we swung back to socialism . It was bRown who was responsible and it will be interesting to see what he is going to do differently abroad

Yak40 said...

Who says continuous appeasement doesn't work ? The IRA have got just about all they wanted (for now).

javelin said...

I would wait for a few weeks before praising this agreement. Blair's tactic has been simple - "hopeful ambiguity".

When the negotiations reach an en passe he replaces the sticking point with an ambigious term, in the hope that the parties will be more conducive agreement once they are in power.

This may have been the best strategy - but it may be a while before the NI Government becomes a permanent fixture.

polly glott said...

Javelin, mon brave..

En passant, le mot est "impasse".

Plus ca change..

wonkotsane said...

Can I just remind everyone that now NI has got its Assembly back there is only one part of the British Isles that doesn't have any form of devolved government - England.

In fact, the bigotted Northern Ireland (and Welsh) Secretary, Peter Hain, has told us several times we can't have a devolved government like the one he has personally fought for in NI.

Tossers, the lot of them.

mister scruff said...

"And while I'm at it, I'll pay tribute to John Major for starting the whole process"

I think you do Margaret Thatcher a slight disservice there Ian. Although it was completely denied at the time, in the late 80s Thatcher began secret back-door negotiations, that Major followed through. This was revealed in the excellent series of documentaries by Peter Taylor on the events leading up to the Good Friday Agreement.

Of course Thatcher wasnt reluctant to use the SAS either. But you can trace the start of the peace process back to her.

Kloot said...

And while I'm at it, I'll pay tribute to John Major for starting the whole process and also Tony Blair for seeing it through.

John Major didn't start this process. It was started by John Hume, who then got former Irish PM Albert Reynolds on board. John Major became involved once the ground work had been done. His stewardship of the process was hampered by his dependence on the UUP to keep his party in government.

But it is a good day in my view. Lets just hope its given a chance.

uk-events said...

I'm not going to congratulate these loathsome bigots.

If it wasn't for their childish attitudes this issue could have been taken care of years ago.

They've been dragged (it would appear) into the 20th (yes, 20th) century by the people of Eire and NI.

They didn't lead, they followed.

As far as I'm concerned, they can both burn in eternal hellfire (if you believe in that kind of thing).

I just hope against hope they are never given any awards or recognition for this as they most certainly do not deserve it.

no longer anonymous said...

Ian Paisley may be a nutter but I always admired his refusal to compromise. The Unionists are in a majority and it's time that fact was recognised by integrating NI into the rest of the UK instead of treating it like a colony.

Kloot said...

The Unionists are in a majority and it's time that fact was recognised by integrating NI into the rest of the UK instead of treating it like a colony.

Theres a massive difference between an absolute majority and a marginal majority. Theres not a chance at all that NI will ever be any more integrated within the UK then it already is, there is just too sizeable a section of the community who do not want that. Thats the result of creating a NI state which contained to large of a non unionist community.

Anonymous said...

Statesman? Ian Paisley?

What it statesman like about delaying the process for 6 weeks, delaying democracy in the North of Ireland for no better reason than to prove your own power. Whatever you think of the parties involved, Sinn Fein seems to have come out of this all as the bigger people, bending over backwards to accomodate Paisley's hard-nosed idiocy.

mister scruff said...

my how times change. ten years ago if you had said to me that the DUP and Sinn Fein would be in a coalition government together I would have thought you were completely bonkers.

slugger o'toole has posted Ian Paisley's speech.

the best bit of it , in my view is this:

We must not allow our justified loathing of the horrors and tragedies of the past to become a barrier to creating a better and more stable future for our children.

In looking to that future, we must never forget those who have suffered during the dark period from which we are, please God, emerging. We owe it to them to craft and build the best future possible and ensure there is genuine support for those who are still suffering.

With hard work and a commitment to succeed, I believe we can lay the foundation for a better, peaceful and prosperous future for all our people.

mister scruff said...

"Sinn Fein seems to have come out of this all as the bigger people, bending over backwards to accomodate Paisley's hard-nosed idiocy."

errr. Paisley has a rather large democratic mandate. to NOT accomodate him would be a betrayal of the Unionist vote in Northern Ireland.

i'm glad this has happened - about 30 years too late, but its happened. we should all wish them well, and hopefully they'll get on with running Northern Ireland peacefully.

Little Black Sambo said...

Alan Clark said the only solution was to kill 600 people in one night. An elegant and economical approach.

mister scruff said...

Hain has admitted tonight on Newsnight that he has been talking to Gordon Brown about the tax situation in Northern Ireland , and that it is actively being looked into.

with corporation tax south of the border at 12.5% , while its 28% in the north, no wonder they're looking into it.

mister scruff said...

"Alan Clark said the only solution was to kill 600 people in one night. An elegant and economical approach."

Eliminate 600 and you get 6000 recruits.
Sadly, the lessons of Irish history seem to have escaped Mr Clark.

Considering that you had loyalist death squads , even *they* couldnt eliminate the 600 mentioned... so Mr Clarks idea was fanciful, but far removed from reality.

Anonymous said...

Adams is one of the most remarkable politicians in modern history. What he and McGuinness have done is amazing, They have brought the IRA to peace without getting themselves killed and without significant splits. They have been around for over 30 years, a hell of an achievement in its own right.

As for Blair - yes, he helps to end a 30-year conflict which cost 3000 lives but to make up for it, he launches another one which will last for 30 years and which has cost 300,000 lives already. There's your legacy, pal, now bugger off.

archduke said...

I agree with anon above. for Adams to bring the IRA this far is staggering. and for Paisley to bring HIS side over to this is even more staggering. i'm just gobsmacked with the sight of DUP reps being interviewed on British TV this evening,, standing next to Sinn Fein reps

if you had said to me ten years ago that this was going to happen , then i would have thought that you were mad. now its happened. long may it continue. hopefully it 'll make both sides realise that the other side are actually human beings with feelings, and hopes and aspirations.

Ross F said...

Terrorists should not be allowed anywhere near government and previously Ian Paisley's redeeming feature was that he recognised this. It turns out the DUP are keener on Assembly salaries than in anything resembling principles.