The Stalemate: ‘Sayonara’ Stormont By Donal Lavery

My withdrawal from having written in a while has been down to wanting  to see how things would play out and take stock of all the latest developments in the political arena. There are after all years when nothing happens and weeks when everything happens. I don’t therefore pretend to know everything that is occurring behind the scenes, but here’s an analysis of where I see things as they are, and where they are heading, in “our wee country”.

In London, you have a discredited “zombie” government, clinging to power via financial backhanders with the Orange “Aristocracy” of “Ulster”; having failed miserably to win an election predicted to wield a Tory blue landslide. Across the water in Dublin, you have a weak minority government also, where the bourgeois intrigues have colluded in scraping together a coalition in parliament of every vested economic interest in Free State life. Of course neither administration has the wherewithal to last a full parliamentary term – which is why the DUP deal with the Tories and Fianna Fail’s parliamentary does tricky stuff with Fine Gael in order to create a few mere rotten budgets.

This has culminated in an intolerable situation whereby in the aftermath of the RHI fiasco, power-sharing could not be allowed to continue. No self-respecting nationalist politician is going to go into that good night; where the people charged with enforcing the Agreements are either in bed with or indifferent to the antics of the Unionist political junta. We always knew that the British government was not impartial but to see them wining and dining Arlene Foster as a Queen-maker really removed any possible ambiguity.
But the truth of the matter is, we (nationalists) as a community, don’t need Stormont in order to exercise leverage over the affairs of this part of Ireland. No no, we have a large and vibrant diaspora which spans the world over – upon which, unlike the Empire, the sun really will never set. We have allies and sympathisers in both legislatures in America and in every parliament on the continent, particularly following the Brexit vote. Unionism has no such card to play before the eyes of the world. They are an outdated relic of a bygone era when almost a third of the planet’s land mass was governed (by force of arms) from Whitehall – of course there is still Empire Loyalism, but it has no political clout they can capitalise on.

I mention that because we as a people have never truly flexed the full muscle of the diaspora; we have never had a Dublin government prepared to upset the balance of relationships with Britain, by doing so – until Brexit. Brexit has taken a match to a massive political tinder-box. And now that Britain leaving the EU is estimated to severely hit the bank accounts of the commercial class that dominates Leinster House, and who Mr. Varadkar chiefly represents, even the most ardent advocates of the status quo are having a serious rethink of our sordid constitutional set-up. For years we must admit that people spoke passionately of the inevitability of Irish reunification without outlining a clear and robust plan to establish it, waiting for something to happen to kickstart that process. It was chants of “Up the Republic”, while on the electoral football field the “Germans” (Unionists) always won. So, it would be a cardinal sin against the Irish people if those identifying as republican didn’t seize the moment now, when a desire has become a necessity, taking that tide fully at the flood.

What I’m saying is that if these talks prove a lot of the “same old song and dance”, then it’s time to simply walk away indefinitely from these negotiations. It’s time to take our quarrel to the court-room of the world, where to loosely paraphrase Kipling, ‘we ask no more than the right, to reap what we have sown.’ And given that event, where both Stormont and the outgoing power-sharing experiment fully collapses for all to witness, it isn’t going to be the British government rubber-stamping what the DUP tell them should go on here. Indeed, the Americans and Europeans will be drawn in to pull the two sides apart, fearing a return to the past. Every EU equality regulation and directive is being incorporated into U.K. law regardless. And what the DUP have discovered recently, with the latest episode of abortion legislation, is that even when their own MPs are required to help form a British government, they have no foot over the throat of that very government or parliament to act within its own perceived interest – when it wants to. Their “friends” are, in reality, their ideological enemies.

As it stands, anyone with half a brain can tell there is going to be another general election and soon, my own guess is it will be within two years at most. And if that should result in a Labour government coming to power, then there will already be serious bad blood between them and the Unionists as a result of the present stitch up. However, if a Tory government is returned and with a working majority, then Mrs. Foster and her colleagues are going to discover an English-led government acting within an English self-interest. After all, it was the Tories who abolished Stormont in the 70s, legislating for both Sunningdale and the NICRA demands. It was Margaret Thatcher’s government which started the line of communication with the IRA. John Major initiated what became the peace process. Their agenda is thus not one and the same. A British government will act within the British national interest and not the wishes of the Orangemen.

After all is said and done here, the crescendo and crux of our circumstances must be that we use every card at our disposal to bury for good the preceding approach and notion of “power-sharing” – gone, finished and never coming back! The nationalist people voted in overwhelming numbers for no return to that repugnant reality, which has to be and must be respected. For we, and the tax-payer generally, know the price of RHI (and all the other scandals) financially, but the price of treason against Irish best interests runs much deeper – without any historical dividends.



14 Responses to The Stalemate: ‘Sayonara’ Stormont By Donal Lavery

  1. pjdorrian August 28, 2017 at 11:54 am #

    The only way I can see The Assembly up and running again is with the Brits Govt installing an ILA from Westminster along with SSM and BoR. the unpaid chattering class that meets in An Culturlann on Tuesday’s and Fridays, have heard, through various filters, that SF realise that their supporters have no appetite for more of the same from the DUP. In the last iteration of Stormont DUPers did indeed break the trust of SF and others by running their departments for their own gain.
    Once trust has gone it is difficult to restore it without some massive act of demonstration that one is honest in putting in the partnership. So far there is no sign that the DUP have any interest in doing that.

  2. fiosrach August 28, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

    It’s an awful pity that we have to depend on the British British for an ILA and our own British Irish deny it. It’s a hard call. No ILA no Stormont. As I predicted, the tsunami of public outrage grows by the day to force SF back to the farce. Everything from delayed hip operations to Commonwealth Games to floods in Derry are blamed on SF ‘irresponsibility’ and the ‘stupid’ games they are playing with the wellbeing of the province.

    • Tam August 29, 2017 at 7:02 pm #

      The DUP has agreed to Irish language legislation. SF turned it down because it wasn’t “stand-alone”. Seems legislative protection for Gaelic isn’t actually what SF are really after.

  3. Eolach August 28, 2017 at 1:06 pm #

    PJ , in all honesty does anyone expect a change of tack from the DUP. They are a myopic and obstinately insular people. If they can’t be wrenched from their bibliographic flat-earth creationist beliefs or their 17th century ideas of racial superiority , how would one countenance them joining a 21st century world. No it’s best not even to have a post mortem over that bastion of intolerance. Stormont is dead ….lets begin now to confidently assert ourselves as true ,noble , Irish people and make a reunited country a reality. Whatever way Brexit evolves , there undoubtedly will be a myriad of opportunities to maximise support …’s not going well for the imperial one and the DUP should realise that the higher up the tree you perch the quicker you’ll be dislodged. With Stormont gone and an inevitable Westminster crash , the DUP would be devoid of a platform….there would be no “parliament” to base their 100th sectarian anniversary “celebrations” around and the reality of their insignificance in a modern world would finally become apparent.

  4. Brian Patterson August 28, 2017 at 1:11 pm #

    A rather rambling piece. If Dónal thinks Irish
    America is going to effect a United Ireland he is sadly mistaken. Irish-America, once resolutely Democratic, has drifted inexorably to the right with Paul Ryan and a host of Seáns now in the harness of the GOP. When the chips are down the Americans will back Britain as a certain journalist/ historian and numerous ex-paramilitary history reminiscers found to their cost after a Boston Rock the Boat memorabilia auction. The current administration will back the Tory right.. The piece was worth a read though for pointing out that Tories invariably sell the Unionists down the Lagan or even the Liffey. Also for the memorable phrase “the crescendo and crux our circumstances”. I intend to dine out on that one though I will reverse the order.

  5. paddykool August 28, 2017 at 4:37 pm #

    We all knew it might come to this. The chattering classes and the “Meedja” have so little to do without the Stormont circus that they are already running stories about the weather . What to do …what to do? It will be another long winter with no Big Stories ever again!Will the nation’s reporters be forced to send in reports about kittens being rescued by brave firemen instead of interviewing some dour politician with airs above his/her station?
    The last ten years were a test as far as I am concerned ….just to see if the impossible was really possible…..and the whole thing admittedly gave me quite a few dark laughs at the expence of some horrendously untalented and frankly stupid -as-a post “politicians” …one-trick ponies whose only visible talent seemed to be to syphon money out of our pockets …but in the end I knew that the DUP were unfit for power-sharing and never would be fit for it.There was no disguising it .They simply cannot do it , but everyone had to make damned sure anyway and we did . There is not a bone in their bodies….not a blood cell in their systems that understands at a base level what the idea of “equality” means for a people. So it didn’t work and it all ended in something close to political insanity and breakdown. Frankly, i never want to see it revived ever again. It was worse than (being current!)watching “the Texas Chainsaw Massacre”.It don’t want to watch “the Glums” from the ancient world of myth and magic ,spouting their lunacy any more. It has been something of a pleasure to have the voices of the likes of Mr Poots and company stilled and almost silent . The Meeja wheels them on now and then to glower and spout bile but it is too much to suffer any more and they are quickly wheeled away again..The trick will be to ignore all of it and watch it implode even more while Brokenshire ,or his scion, witters on with the incesssant non-speak that he is fabulously good at.. I hope that an entire political generation die on the vine . if Sinn Fein go back into power -sharing with these unreconstructed horrors, they deserve to lose all respect and all votes , which I imagine might just happen.The rights their supporters require are not unreasonable to reasonable people ,but they are to the DUP ,for some weird reason. ….and the reasons really do turn out to be really weird and based on some very odd magical thinking at base. What that amounts to is that the DUP want to interfere in the private lives of many of the citizens , which in the case of the gay community for one example, takes away their sense of equality .That’s not an option for a modern society and the DUP are fools to think they can hold back something like this forever.We can all remember when they and their ilk tried to force their never-on-a Sunday mantra on those who did not believe their nonsense…We know how that ended up too.
    At the moment the Meeeja is whistling up one story after the other in a pretence that we have to have Stormont revived or the world will end.That’s all smoke and mirrors. The world will not end.We had thirty or forty years of the Troubles to live through and the world didn’t end then either.Rather than that, many would say instead, that they really want all these politicians’ wages curtailed ….and finally stopped instead and can’t figure out why they are being paid at all . What are they supposed to have been doing all year? The best way to deal with them all is to stop the pay anyway, i’d imagine and let those who can survive outside the tent , do so . Most people would not give a fig either way…as they try to sort out something for their tea.I’m sure we will all survive , should we have to drink nettle soup ,but at least it will show us that life will and can still go on as we watch Westminster wriggle with Brexit and the huge sour sweetie that they have unwrapped and will have to swallow and let’s face it , we’ll all be worse off when they get their Brexit fairytale wish.It’ll be like living back in the 1960s…right? …Like it was before all that EU cash. Well ….we got through that too. Somewhere along the way we’ll stumble into the grand idea of the benefits of re-uniting Ireland as an economic whole and then having Norneverland being re-welcomed into the EU and returning to our place as the the furthest westerly outpost of the European nations.The other bigger neighour island will have to struggle with the memory of the good old days of long ago empire….. way back before the wars with Germany (remember them?) and when that great old long -ago time when the pound meant something against the euro and the great exchanges and friends they had as partners with the other vibrant and diverse countries of Europe ,who 52 per cent of the population wanted to part them from. .Ahhhh…the memories!

  6. Scott Rutherford August 28, 2017 at 10:39 pm #

    My prediction of how events might play out.

    Another election, DUP widen the distance between themselves and SF by a couple of seats.

    No agreement post election, same entrenched positions,

    Direct rule, it’ll be reluctantly but Westminster will be left with no option.

    Stormont put in cold storage I,e wages will still be paid etc.

    Direct rule lasting several years certainly well into a post BREXIT world.

  7. Brian Patterson August 29, 2017 at 11:44 am #

    I might remind you Scott that when the new boundaries come in the DUP is likely to lose at least one seat.

    • Scott Rutherford August 29, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

      In a General Election you might be right Brian within the First past the post system, but in a assembly election (to which I’m referring) which as I’m sure your aware is proportional representation the DUP will likely pick up a few seats.

      Assuming voting patterns that occurred at the GE are replicated again of course.

  8. huge Celt. August 29, 2017 at 6:24 pm #

    Sinn Fein spent 19 years demanding that we “respect the institutions”.
    Marty made a mantra out of it, and was hailed for it when he died.
    We were told we were undermining the Peace by even challenging the Stormont stagnation.

    But now, the Shinners are telling us that Stormont is repugnant, dysfunctional, broken, irreformable.
    It’s a massive U-turn.
    And they’re burning McGuinness’ legacy.

    Ho hum.

  9. Tam August 29, 2017 at 7:18 pm #

    The Tories didn’t legislate for “the NICRA demands” – the Unionist Government did.

    • huge Celt. August 29, 2017 at 7:47 pm #

      Neither did John Major initiate the Peace process.

  10. Donal Lavery September 2, 2017 at 8:10 am #

    The Tories did bring in the Fair Employment and equal voting legislation under Edward Heath and Thatcher, both part of NICRA’s demands. And it was the Major government which officially established the talks process which put everything on the table for a settlement – just as the Tories did under Heath and Willie Whitelaw in the 70’s. A bit of revision could work wonders for some!

    • Tam September 2, 2017 at 5:32 pm #

      The Fair Employment Act wasn’t a NICRA demand and it was brought in by Labour.

      ‘Equal voting legislation’ in local government was brought in by the Unionist government.