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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
The Possibilities with Brown

Dr John Coulter maintains it is Gordon Brown - not Tony Blair - who has the skills and ability to kick start the Ulster peace process after the expected Westminster General Election in May. Indeed, Coulter controversially argues that a Brown Premiership would be good for the North.

Dr John Coulter • 2 February 2005

Move over Tony Blair; the time has come to let 'Iron Chancellor' Gordon Brown become the catalyst to kick start the peace process after the May elections.

For too long, political progress has limped along since the suspension of Stormont in October 2002 when all it required was unionism and republicanism to get a size eight boot up their backsides.

Brown is the only heavyweight in the British Cabinet who has the brains and the guts to crack republican and unionist skulls and get them to see sense by cementing the peace deal once and for all.

Indeed, Brown is the man to lead the United Kingdom as Prime Minister during the latter years of this first decade of the third millennium. Blair may be the man to win New Labour an historic third term, but he has had his day and should step aside for the man of the moment.

True, Brown has missed the leadership boat on at least three previous occasions. Firstly in 1992 when he did not challenge the late John Smith; then in 1994 by not challenging Blair himself. He also missed another golden opportunity last summer when the Blair clique wobbled badly over the Iraq crisis.

What the Ulster peace process needs is a solid dose of good, old-fashioned Traditional Labour truth and values, washed down with a healthy mouthful of Church of Scotland rhetoric.

Brown's great strengths are his steadfast Scottish socialist roots and Presbyterian background. The massive influence in his life was his late father, John, a devoutly religious man and Church of Scotland minister.

Image-wise, Brown may be branded as boring, dour, ruthless and prudent, but he is a breath of fresh air compared to the stench of spin generated by the present Blairite administration. Furthermore, Brown has immense political skills and decisiveness.

After all, he is the longest-serving Chancellor in modern history and last year demonstrated his 'no nonsense political killer instinct' by making 84,500 civil servants redundant in the spending review.

The Scottish Parliament is determined to take the loyalist and republican marching issue head on with its new legislation on religious parades. Brown, as MP for East Dunfermline in Fife, would similarly not tolerate the pussy-footing or side-stepping antics of unionist and republican politicians.

Indeed, given his clearly strong Scottish roots, he would be more in tune with the problems which religious sectarian tensions can cause than other mainland MPs from the Tory Shires or inner cities.

Not only could Brown be the expert political catalyst needed to fuse the peace deal between unionists and republicans, he could also be the power broker who brings a successful resolution to the parades disputes which have dogged the North since the Obin Street chaos in Portadown in the mid 1980s.

If Scotland is successful in slashing many of its 2,000 plus parades during the Marching Season, that process will be a dry run for the North. Hopefully, Brown would have enough Scottish savvy to be able to distinguish between Loyal Order parades and loyalist band parades.

If the Northern Ireland Parades Commission is given additional powers to limit the number of Protestant marches under any new religious offences legislation, then Brown - with his Church of Scotland upbringing - would be knowledgeable enough to understand the role of the annual divine service and church parade in the life of an Orange lodge, Royal Black Preceptory, and Apprentice Boys club.

In this respect, Brown could become a key player in persuading the Protestant Loyal Orders to adopt a number of alternatives - cut the number of their parades, enter direct face-to-face negotiations with nationalist residents' groups, or even merge the Orders to form a single movement known as the Protestant Loyal Order.

If Brown can stamp his authority on getting the peace process to fall into place with a return to legislative government at Stormont, the parades issue will fall into line behind it like a row of political dominos.

Brown will tell the Paisleyites that once they have killed off Trimble's Ulster Unionists at council and Commons level in May, there must be no more stalling over photos. The Big Man will be ordered - do the deal with the Shinners!

Brown will not suffer DUP fools lightly if they try to delay getting a concrete agreement until after the traditional loyalist and Orange summer marching season.

For republicans, Brown is the one Scottish socialist they will not soft-soap. Brown has the political nerves to tell the Shinners - mothball the Provos, or lose your places in government.

True, Blair recently told a Sinn Fein delegation that IRA criminality had to be eradicated. But the Provisional republican movement know that behind Blair's chest-thumping media releases, his policy on the North is one of accommodation, not confrontation.

Brown's sentiments are clear-cut. There is no need for clarification and no room for misinterpretation. A Prime Minister Brown who tells the Provos to disband is not a PM who can be bargained with, or indeed bullied into turning a blind eye to republican or loyalist criminality.

And republicans and unionists should not make the mistake that because Brown has gained himself a reputation as being an 'Iron Chancellor', they can simply apply the same pressures as they did on another premier who had a similar notoriety - the 'Iron Lady' Maggie Thatcher.

There is a deeply caring personal side to this political Terminator. Who can forget his public emotional torment in January 2002 when his 10-day-old daughter Jennifer died after being born two months prematurely. Some time later, Brown and his wife, Sarah, launched the Jennifer Brown Fund to raise cash to finance research into premature deaths.

After May, the timebomb will certainly tick louder than ever under Blair's premiership. If Blair has the balls - and Brown has any sense - then the former should step aside as soon as possible after the General Election and let the latter become PM.

In the meantime, behind the scenes, as Paisley and Adams prepare to annihilate Trimble and Durkan, the 'Iron Chancellor' should be flexing his muscles ready to get a firm grip on the North.





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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.
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Index: Current Articles

4 February 2005

Other Articles From This Issue:

Burdens Unbearable
Anthony McIntyre

The Generals' Dance
Mick Hall

One Year After the Kelly's Incident: Bobby Tohill Speaks
Liam O Ruairc

Loyalist Elements Feuding with UVF - Blamed for Attacks at Unity Walk
Sean Mc Aughey

The Possibilities With Brown
Dr John Coulter

Report of Bloody Sunday Commemoration in Glasgow
Seamus Reader

Uniting Against Radicalism
Harun Yahya

28 January 2005

The Road to a Mafia State
Anthony McIntyre

Help is On the Way! Lawyers, Guns, Money...& Golf
Karen Lyden Cox

Four Reasons for Ideological Shift
Liam O Ruairc

Tilting at the Windmills
Mick Hall

Looking Down the Barrel of Freedom
Fred A. Wilcox

Saor Eire Again
Bob Purdie

Sex, Lies, But No Videotape
Seaghán Ó Murchú



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