few days ago when a friend told me that the Andytout
News was having a go at those republicans the management
at Teach Basil didnt like, I laughed and asked
has Propeller Boy walked into the blades again?
After reading his article, it was hard to resist.
When an opportunity comes along why not avail of it
occasionally? It would be a boring life indeed for
a cat if it were to let the mouse run by every time.
There are worse ways to pass twenty minutes on a tedious
Sunday. The friend questioned my judgement, suggesting
that winding Robin up was like poking fun at a half-wit.
I suppose there is something in that, and half-wits
may take umbrage at being lumped alongside Robin,
but cest la vie.
not defending touts and chief constables, Robin cant
resist trying to lord it over those he thinks cant
talk back. Given the litany of humiliations this pursuit
has won him over the years, we can only conclude that
stupidity is not painful; otherwise he would be on
morphine by the bucketful. What annoyed Robins
sense of revolutionary propriety last week was that
21 republicans wrote a letter advocating freedom of
opinion. They did not hide in Cowards Corner
but identified themselves and stood over what they
had to say, for better or worse. The people who had
solid reason to feel most stung by the contents of
the letter belong to the party behind the paper of
which Robin is editor, Sinn Fein. Its love of censorship
makes even Conor Cruise OBrien appear liberal.
Only recently, Robin, eager to please his handlers
in the party, abandoned any pretence of editorial
independence and called for the poor of West Belfast
to cough up the money to pay the fine imposed on the
richest party in Ireland by the IMC. Although by now,
the Makro haul should have covered the costs of that
penalty and left more than a bit to spare.
savaged by Robin has never cost anybody
a serious thought, nor disturbed a moments sleep.
Even less so when he stands on those feet of clay
displaying abject servility to his party handlers,
and fires volleys of nothingness at republicans upon
whom neither his paper nor Sinn Fein can enforce a
vow of silence. His lamentable posturing becomes all
the more ridiculous when he attempts to wield humour
as his weapon of choice. It is hardly as if he comes
equipped with the wit of Newton Emerson or the intellect
of Malachi ODoherty. Unfortunately for Robin
and his handlers, there is a yawning gap between his
ability to write and his urge to please.
is afflicted by a problem not uncommon amongst ceasefire
soldiers. They have no answer other than hide
when asked what did you do during the war?
And now that they can masquerade as republican because
there is no risk involved - you can even be a republican
in Balmoral these days - and grab a piece of the inaction,
they tend to fulminate against anyone who by word
or deed calls into question the integrity of the current
project now directed by Sinn Fein, and to which the
no-risk brigade is slavishly devoted.
in a certain fashion there are grounds for acknowledging
Robins volunteer status. He consistently volunteered
for nothing. Throughout the war when people like Dolours
Price and Brendan Hughes - whom Robin lambastes for
believing what they always believed - were knocking
on deaths door on hunger strike, Robin too played
a key role, holding down a senior position in NIRA
No IRA. He adhered religiously to NIRAs
strict guidelines no operations, no risks,
no jail. He also headed up NIRAs Inactive Service
Units. Aided by fellow volunteer Billy Leonard both
leaders worked tirelessly to ensure that the British
would be bored out of Ireland. That they are still
here is solely because people like Dolours Price and
Brendan Hughes shirked their responsibility and avoided
days, benefiting greatly from a long history of republican
inactivism, Robin undoubtedly has the credentials
to go into his local on the Glen Road and hold court,
telling the punters just how strategically prudent
the army is by being inactive that
is when he is not telling them what a good MLA Freddie
Scappaticci would make.
for Robin, the snag lies in provoking the contempt
of those still in the IRA who never fail to ask where
he was throughout all the years of the struggle. They
view him as they would an 'untempted woman daring
to boast of her chastity'. And he has never quite
copped on to the wisdom behind Ken Livingstoness
observation that 'spontaneous laughter is often more
politically revealing than any number of sanctimonious
newspaper columns and political debates'.
is said, tongue in cheek, that when the Sinn Fein
leadership were casting around for a sacrificial fool
to step forward and claim they rather than Gerry Adams
penned the Brownie column in which Brownie admitted
to being an IRA volunteer, only two people came to
the plate - Robin and Richard McAuley. The Dick won
out because it was explained to Robin look,
we have insurmountable difficulties trying to convince
people that Gerry was never in the IRA. We would have
an even bigger task trying to persuade anybody that
you were. Even the British judiciary couldnt
make a membership rap stick on you.
the perspicacity to sense the disdain for him held
by those within the IRA, Robin seeks to praise them
as an army of brown envelope lickers and suggests that those
opposed to his papers party treat such people
with disdain. Nothing wrong with licking envelopes;
we have all done it. Robin has just never got past
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