The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Big Snake Lake

“What do you want from me? They drove a big dump truck full of money up to my house. I’m not made of stone.” - Krusty the Clown

Eoghan O’Suilleabhain • 18 September 2004

It takes all kinds. But pragmatism, to borrow a euphemism, always pulls away at principle. And pragmatism mixed with the usual dash of opportunism is the recipe every where for rationalizing previous political goals lost or tossed.

So called practical politicians are legion for they are many. Former FDR New Deal Democrat Ronald Reagan was so vain and vacuous that he would have been a communist if communism were in vogue. As it happened, he got an unemployment cure from right-wing capitalist General Electric and like Krusty the Clown…he wasn’t made of stone either. Besides, his feet hurt dancing for dollars in Vegas. So in the spirit of an earlier George W., old Ronnie “…just seen (his) opportunities and took ‘em.” 1

When New York State Senator George W. Plunkett died in 1924 he was eulogized this way:

He understood that in politics honesty doesn't matter, efficiency doesn't matter, progressive vision doesn't matter. What does matter is the chance for a better job, a better price of wheat, better business conditions. Plunkett's legacy is to that practicality. 2

Truth be told, this is the dominant political ideology every where (if you can even call it an ideology). And if you don’t think so then what does a blank cheque-writing politician like Bertie Ahern stand for exactly? Like Garrett the Deefer’s Fine Dee before it, Fianna Dum has formally shed the Republican banner. No Mutha’s money (or nipple milk) to be gotten from that flag and besides it just unnecessarily excites a lot of people.

Moreover, Irish Republicanism will get in the way of ROI joining up with the British Commonwealth. After all, you can’t really be an Irish Republican on a bent knee to the British Queen. And think of all the jobs and honest graft opportunities there’ll be once ROI is in NATO!

Although ROI is not a member of NATO yet, it is squarely within the British and American sphere of influence. And so like a piece in their geopolitical puzzle it’s been subject to a vast array of manipulations by the Greater Powers in its internal affairs ranging from conquest to co-option. 3

Consider for instance that in 1986, Gerry Adams, a signatory of the 1998 Belfast Agreement (a.k.a. The GFA), wrote the following critique of SDLP support for the Anglo-Irish Agreements of 1974 and 1985 at Sunningdale and at Hillsborough:

No Irish Nationalist could support any treaty which institutionalizes British government claims to any part of Irish national territory. Indeed the term – “constitutional nationalism” – used by Mr. (Seamus) Mallon and his collegues (the SDLP) to describe their political philosophy is a contradiction in terms. The only constitutional nationalist in Ireland today is Sean McBride. He puts his nationalism within a framework of Irish constitutionality. Mr. Mallon, however, puts his within the framework of British constitutionality. Irish nationalism within British constitutionality is a contradiction in terms. 4

And speaking of contradictions, this passage is curiously missing from the 1995 edition of his same book. 5

So why the about face? Could it be that Big Gerry was taken in like so many other former Irish Nationalists? Is the Provo legacy like the F&F’ers “…to that practicality”? Was Brendan Behan right? Are we nothing but a nation of cute whores? If so, then who can blame Gerry Adams and company for selling out and doing their colonial Master’s bidding by calling it a day a little bit everyday?

Expecting small country nationalists like Adams to continue fighting the good fight against evil imperialist politics and all that it entails is like expecting slow swimming toads to have their way in a big snake lake where only the svelte survive.

Moreover, many Irish political and business leaders – given their junior memberships and associations in various elite American and British academic and policy making organizations – presumably share the same world view for the maintenance and protection of a stable Western European free trade market.

No organized conspiracy is even needed for this political economic photosynthesis to occur. A coincidence of dominant interests anywhere is generally all that is required for mass media reflection, academia’s genuflection and a small country nationalist liberation leader’s co-optation.

So what do you want from Sir Gerry and the boys?

They ain’t made of stone either.


1 Riordan, William L., George Washington Plunkett of Tammany Hall, (Bedford Books, Boston, MA 1963 & 1994) and The Project Gutenburg 2001 at

2 Wiles, David, Boss Tweed and the Tammany Hall Machine
Eaps 760 at

3 Ryan, Mark, War & Peace in Ireland, (Pluto Press, Boulder,
Colorado 1994), pages 20-25.

4 Adams, Gerry, The Politics of Irish Freedom, (Brandon Book
Publishers, Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland 1986), page 112.

5 Adams, Gerry, Id., 1995.





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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

19 September 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Get On With It
Dolours Price

Who Pulled the Strings
Eamon McCann

Can of Worms
John Kennedy

British Terror in Ireland
Kevin Raftery

Big Snake Lake
Eoghan O’Suilleabhain

'Ulster Britishism' or the Myth of Nationality
Liam O Comain

An Teanga Once Again?
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Converting Waste into Value
Liam O Ruairc

Scargill Speaks In Belfast
Anthony McIntyre

NIPSA, the Most Important Workers Strike in Northern Ireland in 20 Years
Davy Carlin

12 September 2004

Standing Down
Mick Hall

Life in the Party
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Is There a Peaceful Way to a Peoples Republic?
Liam O Comain

Rising to the Top of the Hate List
Fred A. Wilcox

Books Not Bombs
Mary La Rosa

Fighting for the Right to be a British Drug Dealer
Anthony McIntyre

Document Stamped 'Secret'
submitted by Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh

The Final Insult
Starry Plough Editorial Collective

Tensions Escalate as Loyalists March Through the Ardoyne
Paul Mallon



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