propaganda frenzy of the Sindonistas was as painful
as it was predictable. President McAleeses
unwise foray into 1916 territory got them revved
up but the recent Dublin riots sent them into almost
manic overdrive. One relatively minor adverse consequence
of the Dublin furore was the propaganda bonanza
it presented to unionist and Southern revisionist
spinmeisters. Interestingly enough the former have
been relatively restrained and balanced seeing (accurately)
a Southern state defined more accurately by the
brave young man and women of the Gardai than by
a lunatic fringe composed in no small part of invasive
northerners. On the other hand one relatively benign
consequence was that Kevin Myers mind was
finally being taken off 1916. The Sindonistas, however,
(of which group K. M. is a member in spirit, up
to a point, even though he operates from DOlier
Street) have stuck their snouts in the newly replenished
trough with almost indecent haste.
First out of the traps was Eoghan Harris with his
muezzin-like call for collective national self-flagellation
on national radio before the smoke had barely cleared
and and serious reportage from journalists at the
scene could afford a full picture. The riots were
used by him to tar the South with the brush of sectarianism.
By his mad logic the 1995 Lansdowne Road riots indicated
an understream of fascism in the British body politic
and Holy Cross signalled a closeted mass of Ulster
Protestant child victimisers.
The recurrent Sindonista flaw of double standards
was again apparent. From my fairly extensive readings
(and I find their psychology endlessly fascinating)
of most of the Sindonista output there was a general
comparative silence about Holy Cross with a tendency
towards tangential references. Not so with the Dublin
disturbances which had to be milked to the nth degree
to validate personal prejudices and spin-off pet
Harris is nevertheless interesting and makes for
a fascinating psychological deconstruction. His
life history reveals an intriguing metamorphosis
from doctrinaire Marxist through to Official Sinn
Feiner, FG adviser, UUP adviser, archrevisionist,
and Bush apologist. He could in other words be described
as a serial ideologue.
Having read his writings for years I see slow drift
from objectivism and a creeping intellectual sclerosis
where unionist equals goodie and nationalist
baddie and also a curious process whereby
the credibility he attaches to relevant material
(viz. Peter Hart/Meda Ryan) is directly proportional
to the extent to which this material substantiates
his own prejudices.
He has made frenetic attempts to give wings to the
canard of southern anti-Protestant sectarianism
and Hell hath no fury like a Sindonista when this
is flatly contradicted by actual Southern Protestants.
Specifically I remember some years ago an unfortunate
group of Southern Protestant Irish Times letter
writers who tried to make out their Catholic co-nationals
were not such a bad lot being labelled by him as
Uncle Toms. The Uncle Tom
concept, in other words that they are spineless
sycophants trying to keep in with their Catholic
co-nationals, is regularly pressed into service
by Mr Harris to explain away Southern Protestants
who spike his sectarianism leitmotif
- and this in what now is one of the most openly
self-critical societies in western Europe and the
Mecca of the radio phone - in angstfest. He still
seems to have remnants of Marxism swirling around
in his subconscious - i. e. his penchant for psychopathologising
those who disagree with him. The Marxists have the
concept of false consciousness to explain
away recalcitrants. Mr Harris uses the concept of
Uncle Tom spinelessness to dismiss all
those awkward ROI-loving Southern Prods. The revealing
irony is of course that he is probably the most
hostile (towards ROI Protestants) commentator around
being that he regularly demonises the broad mass
of this group who fail to show the desired level
Where Harris uses expressions like Uncle Tom
and happy Protestants Ruth Dudley Edwards
uses tame clerics in which group
I presume she includes the Reverend David Armstrong
- a Cork-based minister who faced down threats and
intimidation to take a stand against sectarianism
when based up North.
I read her book The Faithful Tribe
in the hope of getting fresh insights into Orangeism
- instead getting a pretty lame attempt at whitewashing.
Her objectivivity, and therefore her credibility
in calling for collective nationalist mea culpas,
must be in serious question in view the clear disdain
she holds for Northern nationalists.
The 500, 000 odd nationalists aggrieved at being
trapped on the wrong side of the border after partition
were described in The Faithful Tribe
as terrible losers. She described the
West Belfast nationalist community as being as
brainwashed as North Koreans. And an opportunity
is rarely missed to stereotype NI nationalists as
shifty circumlocuters. Among the first to the ramparts
in defence of Trimbles sectarian ROI
tirades she has been sadly lacking in cogent supportive
arguments for this contention and has had to do
the best she could with snippets like the Angelus.
I often wonder if the Harris/Myers/RDE troikas
1916 idee fixe relates to the distaste of Caliban
on seeing his own image.
Here we have an unrepresentative and self-appointed
cabal of superlative political propagandists who
have taken control of a major communication centre
and and are using this as a springboard to brainwash
the nation with their particular exclusivist orthodoxy.
Now what does that remind you of?!
There is an amusing irony about the Sindonista regime.
There is also a serious side. A small camarilla,
fanatically determined and persuasive, but at the
same time tunnel visionary and fixated have hijacked
and corrupted the whole ROI-based anti-SFIRA agenda
like the McCarthyites in 1950s America screwed
up mainstream anticommunism. Indeed there are similar
elements of witchhunting the McCarthyites
looked for reds under the bed - the Sindonistas
for anti-Protestant sectarians - past and present.
There is a described condition called addiction
transfer (e. g. reformed alcoholics becoming
morbid overeaters). Similarly the Sindonistas have
simply morphed from one form of tribalism to another.
Their intellectual dysfunctionalities are vaporously
seeping into and emasculating rational anti-provisionalism.
The creeping Sindonisation of the anti-SFIRA agenda
means that those who would otherwise buy into it
will be put off by their mantra of misbegotten contrition.
Or if the Sindonista worldview becomes predominant
it will lead to the effective marginalisation by
the ROI of NI nationalists - the adverse consequences
of which were all too clear during the Stormont
The virus of provisionalism has seeped into the
body politic North and South and needs to be confronted
by media analysts who can see all dimensions of
a situation and who are untrammelled by the need
to exorcise old ghosts and by the shackles of juvenile
manicheanism. Indeed it could be argued that the
negative spin-off from the Sindonista barrage perversely
contributed to the SF electoral rise in the South.
Thinking over the insidious progress of the provisional
virus against the background of Sindonistaism a
statement from one of my old medical school lecturers
springs to mind:
Gods sake keep the patient out of the clutches
of the quacks.