The Unravelling of the Stormont Experiment?
Observers of the Irish dialectic will no doubt see portents of an unravelling, little by little, of the so-called ‘new dispensation’ and much vaunted equality measures supposedly enshrined within the GFA and St Andrews. Observers of a certain age will remember previous attempts to reform the irreformable 6 county statelet from O’Neill’s much too little and much too late not to mention crassly offensive stated attempts to treat Catholics semi-decently so that they would ‘live like loyal Protestants.”
Every attempt at reforming the irreformable statelet, from the Sunningdale power-sharing experiment, to the various pet projects of successive ‘Secretaries of State’, including the 1982 ‘Prior assembly’ in the aftermath of the Hunger Strikes, rolling devolution, forums, etc have fallen victim to the supremacist action s of extreme Unionists, aided and abetted, sometimes openly, other times covertly by the Unionist ruling class often with the active direction of the most Hawkish elements within the ‘security services’ when it dovetailed with British imperialist counter insurgency policy.
One need only look to the various injuries visited on civilians and even the RUC (at times when they dared to deviate, ever so slightly, from their usual unity of purpose enjoyed with their sash wearing brethren) by their proverbial ‘ceremonial’ swords wielded by the Orange Brøderbund This is not a recent phenomena of a few weeks ago, when they acted in tandem with the UVF in attempting to stop a human rights march but at other times, such as the under-policed Unionist mob handed protests against the Anglo-Irish Agreement and the various Drumcree crises (all of which, by the way caused de facto mutinies within RUC ranks) when swords, pikes, maces and other assorted ‘ceremonial’ offensive weapons were used by the Loyal Order members, filmed by the media in full regalia, while later, in the height of irrationality, as a body attract hundreds of thousands of pounds in “cross-community” grants!
It is early days as yet to predict the downfall of the Stormont project but even casual observers will see it straining at the seams, as attempts to reform the irreformable become more apparent. No doubt former Provisionals, who fully bought into and even joined the movement based on the highly visible leftist posturing of that organisation when they talked of the smashing of the state in sync with revolutionary socialists, only to see it jettisoned as a disposable ‘tactic’ have become disillusioned enough to form or join other left Republican parties.
It is becoming clearer that even with the most timid attempts at so-called ‘Cross Border Bodies’, a drastically changed demographic, and a proposed ‘border poll, Connolly’s words are apt in relation to both partitionist ‘parliaments’, north and south, as Republicans within these assemblies supposedly aspire to a unitary state:
“If you remove the English Army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle., unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts will be in vain. England will still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs”
Alex McGuigan Belfast 16th October 2013