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