Gail Walker Watch

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In retrospect, I may have made a rod for my own back in volunteering to watch the World’s Worst Columnist, but at least it imposes some discipline. Anyway, this week Gail brings her unique brand of aren’tchasickofit commentary to local politics, where she agrees with the DUP on the question of a conflict resolution centre at Long Kesh, namely that it would be a “shrine for terrorists”. Lurking behind that is the Jim Allister position that the remaining Kesh buildings be delisted and the bulldozers sent in pronto.

What’s interesting here is that, although Gail is careful to dish out condemnation to loyalist paramilitaries as well as republicans, her form of argumentation – taking the politics out of the Troubles – is one that could only be made in unionist discourse. Any nationalist, even the strongest opponent of the Provos, will accept that the Troubles were about something, that they were a political problem needing a political solution. The more perceptive unionists will also see things in political terms, as “loyal Ulster” versus the “rebels”, although they historically preferred a security to a political solution.

Liberal unionism sees things differently. In the alternate universe inhabited by the liberal unionist, our wee province was a great place until 1969, when the Provos suddenly started shooting and bombing for no reason at all. There is a pretentious version of this, which you often get from Ruth Dudley Edwards, that throws around words like “atavism” and “nihilism” and blames it all on Mac Piarais. There is a sophisticated version, which I’ve heard from Trimble, whereby unionism in the 1960s was reforming itself (invisible to the naked eye) until the “Trotskyites” (then including Trimble’s mate Lord Bew) came along and spoiled it all. And then you’ve got Gail reducing the entire conflict to mennaviolence versus innocentcivilians, with apparently nothing at all at stake. I mention this only to point out that those liberals who reckon they stand above the fray aren’t as detached as they like to think.

Elsewhere, Gail slags off Live Earth. She doesn’t seem quite sure whether to sneer at multimillionaire pop stars trying to save the world – I don’t necessarily disagree with her on that – or to sneer at environmentalists, or just to have a pop at Al Gore. Oddly, bearing in mind that Gore is a New Democrat somewhere to the right of Clinton, Gail seems to reckon him a raving communist, on the sole grounds that he stood for election against her hero Yo George.

And, because we can’t get through a week without slagging off a female celebrity, this time Kate Moss gets it in the neck.

3 Comments

  1. ejh said,

    July 11, 2007 at 9:23 am

    throws around words like “atavism” and “nihilism”

    The pathologising of people outside the liberal democratic mainstream is a particularly nasty and particularly common weapon among people who are within said mainstream, and this seems to me to be even more than especially so in Dublin politics and revisionist historiography. It goes almost without saying that Behan’s famous comment on the acceptability of certain sorts of bombs applies to these people also.

  2. July 11, 2007 at 10:52 am

    […] Clark Link to Article al gore Gail Walker Watch » Posted at Splintered Sunrise on Wednesday, July […]

  3. Ciarán said,

    July 11, 2007 at 11:09 am

    “What’s interesting here is that, although Gail is careful to dish out condemnation to loyalist paramilitaries as well as republicans, her form of argumentation – taking the politics out of the Troubles – is one that could only be made in unionist discourse… I mention this only to point out that those liberals who reckon they stand above the fray aren’t as detached as they like to think.”

    This is why I personally think that many among the far-left (i.e. liberals wrapped in red flags) in the six counties are de facto in the unionist camp. By striving to achieve “workers’ unity” they can’t help but adapt the “two tribes”/”both as bad as each other” attitude of a British civil servant, and then ignore Britain’s role as a main player in the conflict, because it would be divisive (and anything divisive is “sectarian”). So if you ignore the role of Britain in Irish affairs, how could republicans be anything other than atavistic mennaviolence?


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