I have written about this before, and I am sure I will write about it again, but the betrayal of Ulster must stop. It is time to say that the decent, law-abiding men and women of Northern Ireland were shamelessly lied to by their Prime Minister and by the President of America. It may seem insignificant now, but it goes to the heart of the hypocrisy and deceit that is at the heart of our governing elite.
I was spurred to revisit this subject by reading about Mr. Clinton’s woes. He was worried, the article claimed, that he would have no legacy for the history books, and so he was concentrating on bringing "peace" to the people of the Middle East and Northern Ireland. As an Englishman and a subject of Her Majesty the Queen, I have no feeling on the Middle East aside from a natural affinity with Israel, and a gut feeling that the peace process will end in tears. Northern Ireland is different; I know its people and love its land. If the price of Mr. Clinton’s legacy is to betray these people to terrorists, then I wish him ill.
The "debate" on Northern Ireland has moved on since my last piece on the subject. The main change has been one of personnel. The far too honest pro-terrorist Mo Mowlem has been replaced by a homosexual ex-communist (I am not kidding, follow this link), Peter Mandelson. Mr. Mandelson has been wooing the Unionists with honeyed words, and then betraying them. He was instrumental in awarding the George Cross, one of the highest British decorations, to the Royal Ulster Constabulary. While they undoubtedly deserve this for their brave work, this was not Mandelson’s motive. Mr. Mandelson’s interest was to persuade the Unionists to trust him, and too many did. It was then that he betrayed them by disbanding the best defence against the IRA.
Mr. Mandelson is a man of whom a number of columns will be written of in the future. For a start he wants to be Foreign Secretary: he has made this clear since New Labour took office, and with his career now on track again he is supposedly studying for his intended brief. You will be hearing a lot more of Mr. Mandelson. Secondly, he is one of the most openly internationalist politicians around. After a flirtation with Communism in his youth Mandelson got in with the Atlantic Council, an internationalist grouping that had close connections with the CIA. He was also vice president of the openly federalist European Movement after he entered Parliament. The third reason why he is so interesting is that he is pivotal in the whole New Labour project. He has been a confidant of Blair for years; they were friends before Blair entered Parliament. Despite the loathing for him in the party, he is rooted in its structures. His grandfather was the Labour minister Herbert Morrison, and he was active in the far-left National Union of Students. He worked full time for the Trade Union Congress (the British AFL-CIO) and the Labour Party. Finally, Mr. Mandelson is breathtakingly corrupt, personally, financially and politically. The man is dangerous precisely because his relationship with morality is so tenuous. Unfortunately he wants to replace the inept Robin Cook as Foreign Secretary, so you will have to get used to his dishonest tones.
When I last wrote on the subject, I predicted that the government would in effect wind down any meaningful police presence in Ulster. I was right. Mr. Mandelson’s greatest betrayal was in accepting the Patten report. This report, by the former Governor of Hong Kong and present European Commissioner Chris Patten, bemoaned the lack of Catholic participation in the RUC. What it did not make clear was the major role of the IRA in stopping Catholic recruitment into the RUC. Instead, it called for the effective disbanding of one of the most effective anti terrorist forces with no alternative apart from a temporary peace process. Although there have been a couple of concessions to anti-terrorist fears, the basic thrust of the report has been to neuter the police service. Among other measures the British government will:
One must remember that the RUC kept Northern Ireland from the worst ravages of terrorism. To sign up to this force, especially if one was Catholic, was to offer yourself as a target to the IRA. The IRA saw their fight against the RUC as a war. Moreover, the effective disbanding of the RUC is an effective surrender to the IRA. When the IRA take up guns again, there will be no effective barrier apart from the British army. Imagine what effect the British army swamping Northern Ireland, well trained for combat but hardly model policemen, will have on the American friends of the IRA, like Ted Kennedy and Pete King.
The IRA has not been disbanded. Indeed, despite promises they have not surrendered a single gun. To an uneducated eye one would think that the IRA were the victorious army, and the RUC the defeated one. That is how it is. One must remember that the IRA did not win this by force, the RUC and the British Army had successfully penned them in; the Catholic community they claimed to protect shunned them. The IRA won this due to threats from Clinton and America. Every step of the way President Clinton insisted on giving the IRA everything they wanted. British governments under both John Major and Tony Blair knew that they would lose much of the "influence" that they had over the world’s only superpower, and Clinton knew that. Now we have two ministers in the Northern Ireland government, in Health and Education, who have links to a private army. Imagine if the Agriculture secretary in Texas were a Mafiosi hitman and the Attorney General was an Aryan Nation activist; then you just about have the picture. The American administration has forced gangsters in government upon one of its supposed allies; this is Mr. Clinton’s proud legacy.
The lowest blow is the betrayal of the wrong but romantic moderate Unionists. These people told their sceptical constituents that the agreement could work for them. They were told that the "consent principle" that no change of government was possible without the consent of the governed was cemented in by the peace process. It is for this reason that a narrow majority of Protestants voted despite their fears for the Good Friday agreement. Tony Blair promised them that Sinn Fein would disarm before joining the government; when they refused, he insisted that they got their cabinet seats any way. The moderate Unionists, such as the leader David Trimble and his ally Ken Maginnis, are now politically dead. They risked everything on the word of Messrs Blair and Clinton, and they were betrayed. Of course their political careers should end now: in trusting the British and American governments, and persuading their people to do the same, they have showed an immense lack of judgment. Nevertheless, I will not be the only one who regrets their failure, for they were decent and honest men who wanted peace and an end to sectarian bitterness. In Tony Blair’s phrase, they were prepared to shut their eyes and jump into the unknown, unknown only to them.
The peace process has potentially fatal consequences for the state of democracy in England itself. The promises on IRA guns, RUC disarmament and terrorist ministers have all been broken. The very issue of the government of Ulster lies as a future betrayal. The one thing that the people of Ulster do not want is to be subsumed into an Irish morass but that is what they will get. This sends a message loud and clear to any other political extremists who have no hope at the ballot box. Racists just need to bomb a few mosques and synagogues and the British government will wring its hands, condemn the violence and sit down with the scum. Violence is more politically profitable than informed dissent. A Government so contemptuous of its opponents really should not send this message out.
Ulster Unionism as we commonly understand it is probably dead. In that the Protestants desired a continued Union of Northern Ireland with Great Britain, this passion is dead. The British, it is clear, are not that interested in the continued union; they have "no selfish or strategic interest" in Northern Ireland. The British, at least the British elite, cannot be trusted. The Irish however are worse. The history of the Republic of Ireland is atrocious in regards to minority rights; and it was to all intents and purposes a third world country in living memory. The Irish improvement relies on two worryingly temporary factors, the new social liberalism and European largesse. Firstly there is the mood of liberalism that has swept Ireland in the last generation that has made Ireland a startlingly different place from before in less than two decades. There is no guarantee that this will continue, indeed in many ways it is destroying much of what makes Ireland unique and there is no guarantee that the Irish will wish to become a farming suburb of England. The other factor, which unlike the social liberalism is guaranteed to end soon, is the beneficence of the European Union. For every dollar sent to the EU seven goes back to Ireland, for the UK the figure is fifty cents. With the expansion to Eastern Europe, with their larger agricultural sectors and social problems, this is bound to fail, as there will be more agriculture to engineering and service companies.
So you can’t trust the British (especially with the Americans breathing down their necks) and the Irish state is unacceptable, what is Ulster to do? The only answer in the long run is independence. Semidetached Union is an open invitation to the Irish – "If you can be federated within Britain, why not with us?" (The answer – for the same reason you left the commonwealth is not allowed). Similarly full integration with Britain is not an option, not when Scotland and Wales are semidetached. An independent Ulster is now possible, with a British security guarantee (probably in return for stringent civil rights legislation for Catholics – this reduces the Irish interest in the province). Of course this is not a political option yet, because no one dares talk about it, including the leaders of the Unionists. This is up to the unionists; they need the imagination to take independence from the fringe, where nutty paramilitaries and British Israelites espouse it. But it also needs the support from Britain and the United States, Britain to see this as a way to get rid of a liability without developing a reputation as a soft touch for terrorists. America needs to actually get out of an area where there is no American interest, apart from the gratification of the IRA loving Kennedy clan.
Mr. Clinton must accept that his legacy will never involve anything other than misplaced cigars and flattened African pill factories. To try and expunge his perjury and murder he is forcing the British to betray some of their most loyal subjects to terrorists; it is no excuse that some of the British seem quite capable of betrayal by themselves. Like Kosovo and Iraq it sums up this terrorist of a President. What a little man.
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