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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

The Foreman

For the issue is not merely the police as a force. It goes much deeper than that. The police are the visible marker of the state. If you support the police, you support the state ... Northern Ireland remains part of the British state. Its taxation and administration are, and after devolution would remain, in the ultimate, British-controlled. Vitally, it is the same with the police. It is British law they enforce. Anyone whose memory goes back as far as 1968-69 can be in no doubt where ultimate sovereignty resides in Northern Ireland; and - even under devolution - it is not at Stormont.
- Eric Waugh


Anthony McIntyre • 12 February 2007

It is said that the evening before the Sinn Fein ard fheis on policing the IRA was pulled together and its volunteers told that whatever reservations they had on the matter, they would have to set them to the side and vote in favour of the motion to back the PSNI. One knowledgeable observer estimated that the IRA contingent would have made up half of the delegates.

If so, faced with such a compliant audience, Martin McGuinness must have felt comfortable claiming that those attending the conference came from the IRA tradition; the IRA being the organisation, he told his admirers, that had fought the RUC and British Army to a standstill. Watching Mary Lou McDonald benignly gaze upon him as he spoke it was difficult to see how his comments gelled with her Fianna Fail tradition. But there we go. In a totalitarian world what can be made to count as true is more of an imperative than what actually is true.

The more time elapses since the IRA cessations of the 1990s, the more people just smile when they hear the IRA described as the undefeated army. When the IRA was at war, had its volunteers been presented with what it has currently settled for, it would have provoked a reaction from them that would have left little room for doubt in the minds of their leaders that they could stick their finely tuned blueprint for defeat right up where their heads are today.

Martin McGuinness likes to put a brave face on the ignominious debacle he helped lead his organisation to. Since the ceasefire of 1994 the IRA has been changed much more than the RUC. But few would claim it has been disbanded. Considered against this backdrop it is difficult to argue that the RUC has been disbanded. McGuinness claims that his nationalist party is now the boss; it will ensure that the PSNI will even arrest MI5 operatives who break the law. Rubbish, all of it.

Let McGuinness go out and try to arrest a peeler and we shall see who is boss. The PSNI can arrest and jail Sinn Fein members but neither McGuinness or his colleagues can do likewise to the PSNI. Sinn Fein has been forced to recognise that the PSNI is a legally constituted force while the PSNI still claims the Provisional IRA is an illegal terrorist or criminal organisation. The Provisional IRA has for the most part been disarmed because its weapons were judged to be illegal but the PSNI has been allowed to maintain its armoury.

Just to underscore the point, within days of the ard fheis two members of the Provisional movement were jailed for between six and seven years for their involvement in the attempted abduction of Bobby Tohill in Belfast three years ago. Both men, Provisional colleagues of Martin McGuinness, had earlier been arrested by McGuinness's new colleagues in the PSNI after McGuinness had called on them to hand themselves over to the Diplock courts so that they could be sentenced to the time that they are now serving. So far the boss has not ordered their release.

The open if unintended invitation from the Derry Catholic to heap ridicule on his party's claims is being taken up with gusto by its republican critics. Slogans are daubed throughout nationalist communities, Sinn Fein offices have been targeted by graffiti sprayers, sketches and pictures are flying around cyberspace as fast as the jokes meeting them come from the opposite direction. Music aficionados are being urged to rush out and buy Londongerry's new hit single, The Men Behind The Liar.

Informers too, now hard pressed to tell the difference between their own activities and the leadership which banished them into exile, are demanding that they be repatriated forthwith. Raymond Gilmour wants to return to his home town of Derry. His view presumably being that as his work to promote the police is now being emulated by those leaders who condemned him, he should be welcomed back as a hero of the peace process. Gilmour, if he has enough of the gyp about him, may demand that in the interests of equality, Sinn Fein leaders should spend some time in exile away from Derry given that both he and they now share the same basic assumptions about the British police in Ireland.

Martin McGuinness's claim to be a head honcho in the British state's pecking order in the North is hot air. At most he shall be a foreman, operating to the agenda of the real boss, the British state; a whip hand keeping the underlings in line and his comrades in jail.


































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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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Index: Current Articles

13 February 2007

Other Articles From This Issue:

Compromise, Compromise, Compromise
Helen McClafferty

Martin Galvin

The Heart of Collusion
John Kennedy

Bad Tactics
Anthony McIntyre

The Clothes Make the Man
Mick Hall

Follow the Leader
John Kennedy

Dry Your Eyes
John Kennedy

The Foreman
Anthony McIntyre

Mc Cain and Northern Ireland
Fr. Sean Mc Manus

Rumours of Retirement
Dr John Coulter

Liam O Ruairc

If MI5 rules, What was the 30-year war all about?
John Kelly

PRUC Service
Brian Mór

Nationalists Divided Over Sinn Fein Support for British Policing
Paul Mallon

Remember the B Specials?
Dr John Coulter

The Boyne Harriers
Brian Mór

Coming Full Circle
Seaghán Ó Murchú

The Need for an Anti-Imperialist United Front
Philip Ferguson

28 January 2007

Done & Dusted
Anthony McIntyre

Once Again, The Big Transition
Dolours Price

Plastic Bullet
John Kennedy

Provos Embrace Total Collaboration with British Rule
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh

British Policing is Not an Alternative
Francis Mackey

$F Hats
Brian Mór

Policing Problems
Tommy McKearney

SF Seeks to Curtail NI Policing
David Adams

Digging Up the Truth
John Kennedy

State Terrorism Par Excellence
Anthony McIntyre

Collusion: Dirty War Crime
Mick Hall

Repeating the Pattern of the Top Brass
Eamonn McCann

Collusion revelations: disturbing but not shocking
Brendan O'Neill

England's Legacy to Ireland: State Sponsored Terrorism
Richard Wallace

Application for Service in HMPRUC
Brian Mór

The Revolution is the People
Michéal MháDonnáin

Rates and PFI Payments
Ray McAreavey

Reviews of 'Century'
Roy Johnston

A Peacemaker at the Start and the Finish
David Adams



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