Norn Iron’s New Dispensation to provide model for Iraq


It is reported that our local politicos have been involved in hush-hush talks in Finland aimed at, ahem, teaching the Iraqis how to overcome sectarian conflict. They really are shameless, aren’t they?

What I like about Martin McGuinness is that he’s such a cheery soul. You can always tell he really loves being in government. Even on the radio, you can practically hear him beaming. So there could be no better person to head up the Norn Iron delegation. He was joined by Billy Hutchinson, who has been short of employment lately and I’m sure was grateful for the opportunity. And, incongruously, Jeffrey Boy, who doesn’t believe in peace settlements – was he there to play devil’s advocate?

It seems peace has become one of our biggest exports. You frequently hear of senior Provos advising ETA on their peace strategy, although since the Basques already have devolution of justice and a Language Act, maybe they should be advising us. And I’ve heard Grizzly opine that what the Palestinians need is a peace process like ours. I’m afraid they may be in too deep a hole for that.

Curiously, all the reports have been coy about who the Iraqi attendees were. I’m assuming there wouldn’t have been representatives of the insurgency present… but if supporters of the occupation government need a peace process, things must be really bad in Iraq.

Rud eile: I am disappointed that Gail Walker doesn’t use her column this week to crow about her victory over the saucy schoolgirls. Instead we get some old cobblers about Princess Diana. Maybe Gail is cautious about declaring premature victory, which would make sense based on what I’ve been seeing around South Belfast over the last couple of days.


  1. Lurker said,

    September 6, 2007 at 9:58 am

    There’s a catholic school in Newry where the girls have to wear a skirt like a tartan rug down to their ankles. No doubt their teachers and parents find that very reassuring. But has anyone considered how the human rights act applies to that. What if some kids had the gumption to just refuse to wear a uniform and demand an education anyway?
    Of course, that muslim girl who lost the right to cover her face in school may also have lost all other schoolkids a chance to strike out for the right to dress as they please.

  2. ejh said,

    September 6, 2007 at 10:05 am

    You frequently hear of senior Provos advising ETA on their peace strategy

    The latter don’t appear to be listening. They didn’t go the wrong address and talk to the Continuity people instead?

  3. chekov said,

    September 6, 2007 at 11:45 am

    “based on what I’ve been seeing around South Belfast over the last couple of days”

    You’ve been ‘researching’ schoolgirls’ skirts again, eh? An admirable devotion to your subject matter.

  4. splinteredsunrise said,

    September 6, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    If you’re around town when the schools get out, you can hardly avoid them… and this story is all over the papers, you know. If it’s good enough for the Sunday World, I’m not above covering it.

  5. chekov said,

    September 6, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    Sorry, I should have put a smiley face after that last comment – it was a joke rather than the start of a paedofinder general inquest. I like the way that you cover popular culture on this blog (how about a subtitle of: “sex, skirts, schoolgirls, soaps & socialism”)

  6. Tom Griffin said,

    September 6, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    Representatives of Al-Sadr were there. I suppose he counts as both government and insurgency.

    These talks are all very mysterious. Apparently,there were British officials there, but I can’t find any reference to a US Government presence or even comments on it.

    Perhaps that’s just discretion on their part, but I wonder? I can’t see the neo-cons being too happy with the whole thing.

  7. Liam said,

    September 6, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    The real significance of this is that once upon a time the Provies would have seen their job as giving some type of (usually wrong) advice to the people fighting the imperialists. Now they are subcontractors for the British and US pacification process. I had been intending to write a parody in which McGuinness was governor of Basra but it may turn out to be a prediction.
    Though if I was looking for someone go advise state manipulated death squads Billy Hutchinson would be assured a place on the shortlist.

  8. Tom Griffin said,

    September 6, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    On closer inspection, the report doesn’t actually say that British officials were present:

  9. Liam said,

    September 6, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    As if McGuinness wouldn’t have been there without the Brits’ permission.

  10. Tom Griffin said,

    September 7, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    I’m not saying that the British or Americans were not involved necessarily. But the idea of talking to enemies on the model of the Irish peace process is anathema to the neo-cons. This could be seen as a defeat for them. Which isn’t to say it couldn’t also be a victory for a smarter, more discreet variety of imperialist.

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