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ireland, irish, ulster, belfast, northern ireland, british, loyalist, nationalist, republican, unionist

Trousers on, but the buttons are coming off

(Des Wilson, Irelandclick.com)

When you look at Londonesque political tactics, always look for the evolution.

Now what on earth does that mean? It means you never look at anything a London administration does without looking at what goes before and what comes after – and being realistically suspicious about both. The constant repetition of the old saying 'They never give you a pair of trousers without cutting off the buttons' is as true today as it was when buttons held up trousers and London held up everybody. To ransom.

For instance, when they were forced to grant us one vote for each person what did they do? They unwillingly granted the vote and then took away most of the powers of the councils for which the people voted. Neat, what? So, back where you started.

And when they set up a body to protect human rights? Gave it offices but not enough money to run anything but a skeleton service. Not a human rights body then – a human rights skeleton.

So what now? Well, they told us we could vote for an Assembly of our own. We did. The Man From London came over and said the Assembly's departments would have to be disbanded. Why? Because his Irish supporters said so. Right. Trousers on. Buttons off.

But at least the Assembly is still around. So it is put on half pay. Why? Because it can make no decisions. Why? Because London secret services said so. So we are told that until we can recreate the Assembly ourselves it will stay shut. But we did not close it – London closed it using the excuses and demands of the Paisley party and the secret services. No matter.

London wants to make sure you only use your hands to keep your trousers up and your head to make excuses if you can't. So if we who have no power in the matter do not make arrangements to reopen the Assembly with its departments – which is closed at the nod of our political opponents who hate us – then what will happen? Now comes the really good bit.

Well, you see, since the Assembly is not reopening, then it would be, ah, rather useless, ahem, to have elections to it, now wouldn't it? So having nullified our vote by refusing to fulfil their obligations under an international agreement London says it is we who have to be penalised for this by having no vote which is useful for anything.

That is to say, we are back to a position worse than 1960. We have a vote but it is neutralised by a word, nod and wink from the lodges, church houses, respectabilised drawing rooms and the Indefensible Monitoring Commission.

And all the nice people agree, sure begob, why give them votes when they can't agree to an Assembly and government? (By the way, the word begob is inserted here to show that it is not only London speaking but Dublin as well.)

The evolution therefore is: From no vote at all to a vote without power but the promise of power, then to an Assembly with no permanency, from this to no Assembly at all and, since there is no use in the vote any more, Stop the Vote.

This brings us back to where we were before, the classic position of the slave forced to submit to laws which we have no function in making. No matter how good the laws might be they are not ours. The best we can hope for, then, is a more comfortable state of servitude.

Do you know, if it were not for the fact that all this is being engineered through a man who has such a fine record of working for oppressed people in South Africa and had such an enlightened view of what should be done in Ireland, I would think all pretence of honesty had departed at last from London's politics. Thank goodness he was made British secretary in Ireland, only for that I would think the whole process was the greatest malignancy ever.

Poor Mr Hain. How painful it must be for him to have to bring all this about against all his better... well, better... let's see now, well, yes, instincts, that's the word, instincts. Perhaps one day we will all be infected with his optimism, believing a police force of the same people and the same principles and ruled by the same administration as before can became a force for good, believing he is doing the right thing reducing the effectiveness of the people's vote, going against the hard-won democratic principles which took hundreds of years to develop.

Ah well, perhaps good will come of it. Can't see how, though. Unless, of course, every democrat gets behind those patient and intelligent politicians who are determined to make real change happen rather than just be talked about. To force agreements to be kept. By London? Well, that's a thought too, rather a remote possibility, though, unless we all get behind the push to make them.

Incidentally, when will the Dublin administration tell London to stop its agents in Ireland insulting people? They have insulted an Irish President, a United States President, the Pope, Dublin government ministers, Irish elected representatives, they have beaten Dublin-based politicians over the heads with sticks; remember that meeting in the Europa Hotel, or is that one of a thousand incidents we are told we have to forget?

Dammit, if you are not allowed a vote that works, how on earth can you expect to be allowed a memory?

Down, Jim Crow, down.

February 10, 2006

This article appeared first on the Irelandclick.com web site on February 9, 2006.