This is my first blog and I don’t even know if I should dip my toe in the bloggy waters, but a cartoon in The Irish Times the other day gave me such a pain in the bum, I need to vent my spleen somewhere. It showed a great oafish balaclava-ed figure peeling an Elastoplast strip from his arm, with underneath ‘Real’ and under that ‘Continuity’ and under that ‘Provisional’, all having the common ‘IRA’ as their noun. The little funny figure beside the oaf is saying: “That’s awful. These pointless mindless murders aren’t the same as the Provos’ mindless murders’.
It’s so typical of The Irish Times, which sets its face against all republican violence but has a soft spot for the violence of the First World War, particularly that involving British regiments and especially particularly British regiments in which Irishmen fought.
Of course all war is hell. Of course the taking of a single life is a kind of blasphemy, dousing a unique flame that God went to the bother of creating. But the selective condemnation of violence – Provo violence bad, British regiment violence noble – suggests that those who produce this kind of line are either unable to see the lack of logic in their position, or able to see the lack of logic but assume the rest of us are so stupid, we won’t. If The Irish Times made the same effort to understand the position of nationalists and republicans in the North as they do to understand the position of unionists, progress towards reconciliation and grown-up politics would be a lot more brisk.