What a funny little fellow Kevin Myers is. As a young man he was a reporter in Belfast for The Irish Times and he has never got over it. Ever since he seems compelled, at weekly intervals, to take a verbal trip to the north and West Belfast in particular. There he cocks his leg and sprays his contempt of all things nationalist.
He was in energetic leg-cocking form the other day in his Irish Independent column, describing the mood in West Belfast as one of “semi-permanent hysteria sustained by a diet of mood-altering myths”. That’s odd – I was in West Belfast last week and I completely missed the hysteria – disappointingly everyday, in fact. Mind you, I don’t understand how something can be ‘semi-permanent’ anyway – isn’t permanent supposed to be like pregnant – it either is or it isn’t?
Anyway, little Corporal Kevin was in this particular lather because West Belfast had had the temerity to elect Gerry Adams to Westminster. Well yes, that’s democracy in action, but if the population are in a state of hysteria and not right in the head (all those mood-altering myths), surely they shouldn’t be allowed to make important decisions? Better leave it t to some insightful, intelligent person like, um, leg-cocking Kevin.
The heart of his column was that neither the men of 1916 nor the IRA during the recent Troubles had achieved their goal of a united, independent Ireland. The reason, Corporal Kevin figures, was because they acted violently. Between them and Paisley, he says, a futile period of blood-letting was endured. I’m still trying to digest the wisdom of this notion when, in his last paragraph, the Independent’s sage produces his crystal ball:
“All they [nationalists] need is another Paisley and another triumphalist 1916 commemoration. They have the latter, slated for 2016. Is another Paisley gestating in Ulster’s toxic womb? We have six years to find out.”
I hate to say it but sometimes even a little leg-cocker can stumble on a truth. Because what Kevin seems to be saying, after you’ve washed away the toxic spray, is that Ireland unfree will never be at peace. I doubt if Pearse could have put it better.