Monday, March 09, 2009

Credit where it's due

I've not always been the greatest fan of Sinn Féin, but Martin McGuinness really deserves full credit for saying this:

"I will stand for all democrats against their attempts to plunge us back into conflict; to see soldiers on the streets; to see more checkpoints; to see houses being raided and to see people being dragged back to interrogation centres. Those days are over. They can never come back again."

It is a step-change for Irish Republicans to take and it's not something that I think they could have been reasonably expected to say straight-off-the-bat.

Sinn Féin have come under a fair amount of criticism for not having said this sooner than they did after Saturday nights' murders. I'd suggest that this is unfair.

To be as unequivocal as Sinn Féin leaders have been would have involved a degree of consultation - a squaring of a few circles. Once again, it shows that the demand for a reflexive statement can often result in a poorer outcome.

It's early days, but the politicians in Northern Ireland look like they are responding well to this situation. For once, the focus has been on the undeserving victims - not the yesbuttery that often characterises debate - even on Slugger's heavily moderated comment threads.

4 comments:

Crushed said...

People sometimes forget the position Sinn Fein leaders are in.

They have to be careful nothing they say or do is seen within Republican tradition to be selling out too far.

Because the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA are ready in the wings waiting for the soul of true Republicanism to come their way if they do.

Mike said...

It's just more bile against British troops. Soldiers, checkpoints, raids, dragged to interrogation. In the twisted fantasy world of Adams & McGuiness, terrorists and murderers become democrats, and the Britsh Army are an occupation force, rather than the protectors of Catholics.

Shuggy said...

It is a step-change for Irish Republicans to take and it's not something that I think they could have been reasonably expected to say straight-off-the-bat.

Oh, there's a chasm between us on this, I sense. He's gone all cuddly and democratic now - so he should indeed be expected to say it 'straight-off-the-bat', even if - as some of us suspect - he's rather ambivalent about the whole thing.

Paulie said...

I generally yeild to no-one in my suspicion of the Shinners, but I think they went further than they needed to, and I think they talked about it beforehand.

I also think that they were genuinely wrong-footed by it happening in the first place. There was a deep breath taken before he said it - and the fact that he has (even though he may indeed be ambivalent about it in reality) suggests that they've finally fully boarded a train (if that's not too many metaphors in one para).