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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

The Next Step

Controversial political journalist and Revolutionary Unionist Dr John Coulter argues that the time has come for Provisional Sinn Fein to ditch its British House of Commons seat boycott.


Dr John Coulter • 19 February 2006

Its time for Shinners to take another historic step and ditch their daft boycott of sitting in the British House of Commons.

It certainly hasn't stopped Scottish and Welsh nationalists, or republican supporters within Labour from taking their seats – and it really boosted the profile of former Mid Ulster Unity MP, the then Bernadette Devlin, when she won the seat in April '69.

Besides, the Shinners already take their seats in the Dail, Europe, councils North and South, and the Assembly – so what is the big hurdle preventing Sinn Fein taking the oath at Westminster when the party has already voted substantially to support the PSNI?

SF needs to think ahead to the post Adams era. With a Dail General Election on the cards for June, the big republican war cry is SF is the only truly all-island party.

Even if the SDLP again avoids meltdown in the 7 March Stormont poll, as Spock would say in Star Trek, the only logical way forward for Mark Dunkan's party is a formal merger with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's Fianna Fail party.

If Durkan's Commons MPs merge with FF, then Ahern can outgun the Shinners by claiming to have elected representatives taking seats in two national parliaments – Leinster House and Westminster.

Even dissident republican candidates, such as Paul McGlinchey in North Antrim, who is the brother of former INLA leader Dominic, has said he would take his Stormont seat if elected.

But the big Shinner prize for Mad March is to hang the Paisley camp with its own electoral noose. Only the DUP wanted the Stormont poll and under the Scottish deal terms, it is the largest party – not the biggest designation – which will clinch the First Minister's post.

As the war of words hots up to political boiling point between the pro-deal DUP leadership and many in the anti-deal Paisleyite grassroots, there is the real danger that with Unionist fragmentation and voter apathy, SF could pip Paisley Senior as the North's biggest party in Stormont.

If Sinn Fein can fend off the electoral threat from dissident republican candidates, there is the strong possibility it will end up with 29 Stormont seats, one more than the DUP.

Ironically, Paisley Senior may need to pray dissident republicans put considerable dents in the SF vote in key constituencies, allowing Unionists to capitalise on republican infighting.

Then again, the real turmoil for Paisley could come after the election if Unionist voters return a DUP Assembly group, many of whom are anti-deal.

Paisley may then have to consider the unthinkable – asking UUP MLAs to join the DUP to combat dissident Unionists vehemently opposed to a power-sharing Executive with republicans by 26 March.

And as for the Unionist family, it must recognise it has a golden opportunity to screw even more cash out of the Republic by taking up their speaking rights south of the border.

Predictably, both main Unionist parties have dismissed the speaking rights in the Dail issue as yet more evidence of direct interference by Dublin in Northern affairs.

Once again, Unionism has tumbled head first into the quagmire and are on the verge of missing another terrific chance to return the serve and have a meaningful say in the running of Southern affairs.

Talk about Unionist political deja vu and turning the clock back two decades to the turbulent days of the Ulster Says No campaign against the 1985 Anglo-Irish Accord.

That Dublin Diktat established the Maryfield Secretariat near Stormont, which gave Dublin its first major influence in Northern affairs since partition itself.

And how did Unionists return the serve? Not by using their brains by forming a Unionist Embassy in Leinster House and demanding an equal say in the running of the Republic.

That would have been too easy a concept for Unionists to embrace. They preferred to spend month after month tramping the streets of Ulster, believing in some misguided vision they could march the Diktat out of existence. It flopped.

The South has already committed itself to pumping millions of pounds into Northern projects. Using Southern speaking rights, along with clever manipulation of the North-South bodies, the Unionist family could bleed the Dublin exchequer of billions.

The Achilles Heel of Ahern's Northern cash gifts policy is that it is based on the assumption, Unionists would never head south and demand more.

Southern nationalists milked the European Union cash cow dry and finished up with a thriving Celtic Tiger even more buoyant than the Northern economy. It is not a case of Unionists swallowing their pride and crawling cap in hand to Dublin.

It is a case of Unionism marching confidently into Leinster House and demanding billions in cash reparations to make up for republican terrorism's war crimes against the North.








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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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Index: Current Articles

22 February 2007

Other Articles From This Issue:

Litter & Glass
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Not Worth the Paper Its Written On
John Kennedy

Ballot Box Pressure
Mick Hall

Commission of Truth Needed, Says O Hara
Peggy O Hara

RSF Election News
Press Release

Help Sinn Feign
Brian Mór

British Policing Must Never Be Acceptable in Ireland
Francis Mackey

The Next Step
Dr John Coulter

Conclusions from the Ard Fheis
Brian Halpin

McAleese Should be Criticised
David Adams

The Best Woman to Succeed
Dr John Coulter

Fred A. Wilcox

The Critical History of (Irish pop) Noise
Seaghán Ó Murchú

No Clean Hands
Anthony McIntyre

13 February 2007

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
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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



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