The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

One Of The Nine

The opposite of truth has a hundred thousand faces and an infinite field - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
Anthony McIntyre • 17 June 2004

Viewing the photograph of a joyous Mary Lou McDonald having her hands triumphantly held aloft by two senior members of the Provisional IRA at a Dublin count centre was an indication in itself of the distance travelled since the beginning of the 1990s when the same men were then being accused of directing a war against the British state and were not allowed broadcasting time even to discuss matters as distant and innocuous as tomato growing in Guernsey. Back then such images would have been met with howls of disdain and venom from a range of hostile forces. RTE’s Charlie Bird may even have led a walkout from his workplace demanding that he and those of his profession continue to be censored, and thus spared having to see or display photos of the IRA sans balaclavas openly celebrating the electoral success of its chosen candidate. But now that such people are embracing what their critics always embraced - and also hurled invective at them for rejecting - such photos have been starved of their shock potential. A victory for the order in capitalist society where those who rule merely wait ‘for cycles of taste to distil out the controversy’ while ruling continues uninterrupted.

There is a certain element of emotional satisfaction to be derived from watching Sinn Fein make the gains that they have in the Republic. The contorted faces of the establishment old guard desperately trying to feign politeness while really longing to retch helps put a smirk on the faces of those who for decades had to endure the self righteous posturing, pouting and preaching of Dublin 4 while it did its utmost to explain the problems besetting the North as an aggregated crime wave. Serious swathes of airtime were set aside so that the organisers of collusion and British state murder could put their views across while their victims were gagged.

Without their sour gobs seeking to split hairs, talk turkey, and pour forth anything other than tell us that the electorate kneed them in the bollix, there would be little else to celebrate. The republicans that they were spitting venom at not too many years back were at that time unlike them in every possible way. So vast was the chasm that separated Dublin 4 from Belfast 12, it seemed that forced proximity on the same island was the only thing both shared in common. Sinn Fein’s victory in last week’s poll would have been delectably sweet were that type of republican to have bloodied the electoral nose of Dublin 4. But it isn’t so. Sinn Fein have learned to love everything they once hated in order to get their snouts in the trough alongside the rest of the oinkers. They now even look, talk, dress and grunt like them. Animal Farm …

Don’t allow the sense of smarting so visible amongst the old guard personalities to fool you as to the nature of the political challenge they are facing. Because changing personalities is what it all boils down to. The political, social and economic landscape is not going to change one iota. The Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams, may wax radical on television as he tells viewers that people are voting against the disparity in wealth in Southern society. But even if they are, his party has not the slightest intention of doing anything about it. When the party leader and the Irish business elite sat down together, the latter never took to its heels in protest at the measures he promised to introduce if in office. There were no angry criticisms from irate businessmen and women directed towards him in the following day’s papers. He showed them his revolutionary credentials, told them he would be having whatever they were having themselves, and they all raised their glasses and backslapped each other. The business elite intuitively know when they have to deal with that one anti-systemic radical, and show no alarm whatsoever when confronted with any of those nine out of every ten revolutionaries Orwell mocked as social climbers with bombs. And so, as one reputed millionaire addressed a conference room packed with fellow millionaires, he quickly showed them common cause. This from the Irish Times:

Asked about public-private partnerships, he acknowledged that Martin McGuinness had reluctantly accepted the need for private investment while in power in Northern Ireland. "Well, we are against them," he said. "Having said that, Martin McGuinness, as education minister, faced with the reality that he would either have no schools or an involvement in a qualified way with private finance, went for it. So I suppose you could argue that that is the emergence of pragmatic politics." Equally, Sinn Féin's acceptance of service charges in Sligo was justified by Adams, despite all of the party's railings nationally against such bills. "Sinn Féin councillors in Sligo, rather than seeing the service go entirely over to privatisation, and seeing the aged, or people on low incomes, suffering, then went for a more pragmatic approach. The same thing has happened in Monaghan. Our position is against it. But in terms of the actual practicalities of working out these matters, as part of local government, the party made compromises on it," he told the gathering. On taxation, Adams offered soothing words that meant little: "I am reluctant to say that we would do A or we would do B. We are not in principle against tax increases, but we have no plans to introduce them. We just think that there should be a far, far better way of doing business."

If Official Fianna Fail don’t do the business for the business elite then Provisional Fianna Fail will. Sometimes things change in order to remain the same.




Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

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

17 June 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

A Day That Comes, Also Goes
Tom Luby

One of the Nine
Anthony McIntyre

IRPWA Delegation Targeted By British Army/RUC
Martin Mulholland

'The Confines of Republicanism'
Liam O Ruairc

I Was Only Following Orders
Fred A. Wilcox

Reagan's Legacy
Sean O Lubaigh

The Humanity in Us All
Dorothy Naor

13 June 2004

An Open Letter to the Leadership of the Irish Republican Army
Paul Fitzsimmons

Fred Wilcox

Something rotten at the core of US body politic
Mick Hall

Father Mc Manus Replies to Mrs. O'Loan, Urges Proof in Abundance
Father Sean Mc Manus

The Armed Peace
Anthony McIntyre

An Irish Wake for Ronnie Reagan
Radio Free Eireann

Gareth McConnell

Venezuela: terrorist snipers, their media allies and defence of democracy
Toni Solo


The Blanket



Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices