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Lack of Trust — or Courage?

Mick Hall • 3 August 2005

What is it with all this talk from the unionist parties about them being unwilling to enter into government with SF because they don't trust them? On hearing it you could have knocked me down with a feather, I was that surprised. OK, I jest, but in any normal Democracy; and that is what Unionists have since its inception always claimed the north of Ireland to be, trust between competing political parties would not be a factor in whether one party works with another. Trust is not the starter-motor of democratic politics, for the simple reason few if any opposing political parties trust one another, due to their political differences and in some cases ideologies (although admittedly at times, trust can become a pleasant outcome).

Nor if we take this a step further, does trust play much of a role between the various political parties that make up a Coalition Government, or when the said coalition is first established? No-where is this lack of trust better illustrated than the coalition governments which emerged in Western Europe at the end of World War Two. How could trust exist when for example Christian Democrats sat alongside Communists in Government, both of whom had ideologies which were
direct opposites? Yet these ideologies did not stop these parties working together in a coalition government, as the parliamentary system of government works on the basis of needs must. By this I mean if the only way a political party can attain governmental power, due to either their failure to attain the necessary electoral arithmetic to govern alone or the constitutional situation, then when possible they must enter into an agreed coalition with political parties they had only yesterday fought bitterly at the polls, and, in some cases, on the barricades. The reason they make such concessions, however uncomfortable it may make them feel, is they know full well it is the only way they are able to enter government, which is after all the raison d'etre of political parties. Without power, they are unable to deliver what they promised their electorate.

The question the Unionists electorate now need to ask themselves is are they happy to be governed by an administration that is not directly elected by them and that they have had no opportunity to place in power? If they are quite content to allow people to travel across the Irish sea to govern them, fine. Although if so, I just wish they would stop moaning when the Viceroy of the day acts against their interest. For whose interest do they really expect a London based administration to serve, once the north's unionist political parties refused to bend to London's will and accept devolved government?

No one expects the Unionist community to trust SF as if the last thirty odd years had never occurred, human nature is simply not like that. Although perhaps they should remember, many on the nationalist side feel much the same about the Unionists. However for the Unionist political leadership to allow the North to be governed by people they equally distrust, if we are to believe their words, when they have an opportunity to govern themselves jointly with their nationalist neighbours, is a negation of their duty and smacks to me of political cowardice. I.e., 'we are unable to hold our own in a coalition government, better the British govern for us, then we can place all the blame on them by proclaiming they are the easy dupes of those ever so clever Shinners'.

As to the continuing saga of PIRA decommissioning arms, this is simply a silly red herring, for we now know the PRM have gone much further than any Irish Republicans have historically gone before and are allowing their enemies, the British State, to play a role in decommissioning their armaments (to the consternation of many Republicans, I might add). If a former senior Nato officer like General John de Chastelain is not acceptable to Unionist to oversee this process, then in truth I doubt anyone else will be. Thus this decommissioning business is just another opportunity for Unionism not to step up to the plate and do the job their electorate voted them in to do, which is to help govern the north of Ireland.

The funny thing is, the longer it takes for the Unionists Parties to enter government with their Nationalist neighbours the better SF will like it, as they themselves have some horny problems to face if they are to fully play a role in administering the northern Statelet, police and all. The longer the DUP take to eat this somewhat mouldy meal, the more SF will look like moderates and Unionists will increasingly appear as bigots, unwilling to share power no matter what concessions the Shinners make, nor how many people have voted for them.

It seems to me in the north, the political representatives of both communities have become far too comfortable doing deals with the British State behind closed doors. Making trade offs to gain tasty morsels from the masters table, without having to take any responsibility if things fail to pan out. The man in the Big House is still expected to take responsibility for all things. This is especially true of the Unionists, who appear to want power and all that goes with it, salaries, prestige, etc., without the brick backs and responsibility of governing.

To put it bluntly, this is just not on any more, for there is another option open to the British, If the majority community in the north has no wish to govern themselves, there are those who are willing to step up to the plate. It is time the Unionists woke up to the fact that Nanny is going home on the same boat as those members of the British Army who have been stood down.

After all, few people still expect to have a Nanny at 84.













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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

10 August 2005

Other Articles From This Issue:

Failed Entity
Anthony McIntyre

Towards Justice: Damien Walsh Lecture
Fr Sean Mc Manus

Where Terror Reigns
Fred A Wilcox

Lack of Trust — Or Courage?
Mick Hall

Process of Consulting Loses Sway
David Adams

Unionism Can't Run on Empey
Anthony McIntyre

Another Side to the Surrender
Brian Mór

Provisional Surrender A Sell-Out
Joe Dillon

The Greatest Betrayal of All
Proinsias O'Loinsaigh

Censorship at the Irish Echo
John McDonagh & Brian Mór

Take Ireland Out of the War: Irish Anti War Movement News
Michael Youlton

Venezuela: Factories Without Bosses
Tomas Gorman

1 August 2005

An Open Letter to Gerry Adams
Dolours Price

The Inevitable
Anthony McIntyre

PIRA Statement 'Neither Surprising nor Historic'
32 County Sovereignty Movement

'Provisional IRA Should Disband Completely'
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh

A Momentous, Historic, Courageous and Confident Statement
Jimmy Sands

When History Was Made
Brian Mór

Roundup on the IRA Statement
Liam O Ruairc

The Way of the Apache and Lakota
Eoghan O'Suilleabhain

Strange Bedfellows?
Eamonn McCann

Rewriting the Past to Suit the Present
Mick Hall

Shoot to Kill: Getting Away with State Murder
Eamonn McCann

Parents of the World Unite
Fred A Wilcox



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