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Gotta Be Cruel to Be Kind

Unionist Revisionist Dr John Coulter argues the best way republicans can move the peace process forward is for Sinn Fein to cut its official ties with the Provos

Dr John Coulter • 9 May 2006

The Shinners can deliver a massive confidence boost to the ailing peace process by announcing they are formally cutting their links with the Provos in much the same way the Ulster Unionists have axed official links with the image-battered Orange Order.

The supposedly cash-strapped Northern Assembly members have been trooping back to Stormont to find some way of breathing new life into the politically coma-stricken power-sharing Executive.

Reg Empey's UUP will be mad keen to work on DUP modernisers to set up the much-talked about United Unionist Coalition and pull the rug from under the feet of the Paisleyite fundamentalists.

The Paisleyite Right wing will be chucking spanners left, right and centre to delay matters until after another report from the International Monitoring Commission which will deal with the period involving the brutal murder of Shinner super spy Denis Donaldson.

Any hint of Provo involvement in Donaldson's demise will give the DUP's religious and Hard Right factions all the ammo they need to shoot down any deal with Sinn Fein before this year's contentious loyalist Marching Season.

But this month is a superb opportunity for republicans to box clever with unionism. Dissident unionists, when poor auld Davy Trimble was in charge and now the Paisleyites, have constantly moaned about the need for the republican movement to wear sackcloth and ashes, as well as complete a so-called decontamination period.

Then, and only a maybe then, the Paisley camp might consider some sort of power-sharing arrangement with Sinn Fein. Every time the IRA decommissioned or made a significant announcement, back came unionism with more demands.

There's really only one way to snare the unionist yo-yo and that's to publicly severe the links between Sinn Fein and the IRA. To gain political height, the republican hot air balloon needs to urgently dump its unnecessary baggage before the entire Sinn Fein peace process crash lands with such a bump it effectively spells the end of the Adams/McGuinness leadership.

While Sinn Fein is attached in any way to the IRA millstone, it will never make any significant progress with modernising unionism.

Indeed, the Provo millstone could be an even bigger handicap for Sinn Fein as it pursues its new millennium holy grail – to become a coalition government partner in the Dail with Fianna Fail after the 2007 Southern General Election.

Ironically, the Shinners should take a tip from the Paisley camp. The DUP was always viewed as a traditional Protestant working class movement. It only began to make credible inroads into the Ulster Unionist middle class vote when the Paisleyites publicly disassociated themselves from the gun-running Ulster Resistance terror group, notorious for its red berets.

How many senior DUP people do not like to be reminded how they either attended, supported, or marched with Ulster Resistance in the late 1980s as part of the disastrous Ulster Says No campaign?

Sinn Fein has effectively got to remodel itself along the lines of the now defunct constitutional republican organisation, the Irish Independence Party, which a quarter of a century ago won almost two dozen council seats across the North in the May 1981 elections.

Had Sinn Fein not entered the democratic process in the 1982 Assembly elections, the IIP could well have evolved into the main political voice for Irish republicanism – and eclipsed the SDLP a lot sooner than November 2003.

At some point before the Assembly's summer recess, Sinn Fein will also have to address the issues of taking their seats on the Policing Board and at Westminster.

Unionism and Orangeism are now making steady trips south to develop their cross-border profile. For the DUP and UUP, it is only a matter of time before they will have to seriously address the issue of speaking rights in the Dail again.

One way a United Unionist Coalition at Stormont can bolster the Assembly against a Puritan Prod backlash is to build a pan-unionist front with sympathetic Dail TD's. Unionists must learn not all TD's are raving republican Shinners.

There are many Southern nationalists who do not want the North – principally because of the cost of supporting an additional 1.7 million people, but more importantly, many in the Southern population do not want Sinn Fein's militant brand of Northern republicanism while the IRA still exists.

And there could be worse to follow as the Far Right British National Party doubled its council seats to more than 50 in the recent local government elections in England.

The BNP already has a fledgling branch in the North, and party boss Nick Griffin – once the head of the Far Right National Front – has said the time has come to develop its operations in Northern Ireland.

As religious sectarianism slowly wanes across the Province compared to 20 years ago, there is a real danger it could be replaced with a new racism, especially against the steadily increasing number of migrant workers getting employment in Ulster.

Generally, incidents of racism were confined to loyalist areas. But there is an equal threat if migrant workers were driven out of Protestant districts, they may re-settle in Catholic areas and face similar racism.










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Index: Current Articles

11 May 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

The Incorruptible
Anthony McIntyre

Ruarí Ó Brádaigh: Robert White's biography of a Republican idealist
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Can of Worms
John Kennedy

The Wrong Man
Martin Ingram

Gotta Be Cruel to be Kind
Dr John Coulter

Revising the Rising?
Forum Magazine Editorial

Solving the Irish Problem
Michael Gillespie

Geoffrey Cooling

Thank You, Bobby Sands
Fred A. Wilcox

Welcome Back, David. Now, Go Away Again!
Eamon Sweeney

Give Them That Auld Tyme Religion
Dr John Coulter

Meal Ticket
John Kennedy

Examples of Dialogue
Conn Corrigan

Two-State Solution
Mick Hall

Peter King - Still Irish America's Champion
Patrick Hurley

Statements on the Murder of Michael McIlveen
RSF; 32 County Sovereignty Movement

Profile: Chahla Chafiq
Anthony McIntyre

Freedom of Speech index

18 April 2006

Grave Secrets
Anthony McIntyre

Spoiled Rotten
David Adams

Let Bygones be Bygones
Mick Hall

Urgent Memo — Judas Was One of the Bad Guys!
Dr John Coulter

Cluedo in Donegal
Anthony McIntyre

Easter Message
John Kennedy

Óglaigh na hÉireann Easter Statement
The Sovereign Nation

IFC Easter Statement, 2006
Joe Dillon

Lincoln's Despair
John Kennedy

Fred A. Wilcox

Hamas Being Forced to Collapse
Sam Bahour

Profile: Philippe Val
Anthony McIntyre

Freedom of Speech index



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