Saturday, January 21, 2017

The History Men - Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness

Reverend Ian Paisley, Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland, Ulster Troubles

Donald Trump's inaugural address on Friday - having centred on the realpolitik of genuine equality of opportunity for the working people - would appear to have seriously irked a raft of parties. From angst-ridden cultural marxists to po-faced political apparatchiks to the credibility-free mainstream media.

In tandem to these events in Washington the past few days have seen some extraordinary political rhetoric being thrown into the mix in Northern Ireland by way of Ian Paisley Junior MP's comments on television and print in reference to his relationship with Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein. In contrast to the Cash-for-Ash revelations that have taken down the regional assembly in a smoke of vitriolic discord surpassing the bewildering continuum of conflict legacy debates, Paisley's comments have engendered widespread public support and re-illuminated the fact that the reconciliation of the peoples of Ireland are yet a light in the darkness of our times in Europe.

As noted in this blog previously, the rapprochement of the highly politically intelligent Ulster people in the past two decades have clearly emplaced the general public well beyond the political parties in terms of positive social dynamics. Similarly, and whereas Irish history is by default complex and multi-layered, there is so much evidence within public discourse suggesting that ubiquitous and perennial political divisions are running in tandem with radically changed perceptions of our past - this in recent years mainly focused on the brave role of northern and southern Irish military divisions in the Great War which directly preceded the Irish revolution and the partition of the island.

The specific history of Northern Ireland itself is full of many individual player-actors who do not fit into an easily stratified categorisation - from nationalist leader Joe Devlin to the unionist evangelist Harry Midgely and from the Progressive Unionist Party of the Thirties to the Northern Ireland Labour Party. Likewise whereas the Ulster Protestant of today could still relate to a classic piece of unionist polemic such as Patrick Riddell's 1970 Fire Over Ulster down to the last paragraph they are still cognisant  of the republican dynamics of the first quarter of the 20th century that started the outplay of the British in Ireland or indeed miscarriages of justice affecting the northern nationalist community in the modern conflict that sit as uneasily on the moral compass as the murders of working class British soldiers.

Some of the speeches and commentary from the latterday (and quite literally Born Again) Reverend Paisley on a shared future, Christian forgiveness and communal reconciliation stand in sobering counterpoise to the political chatter of our recent times - founded in the main on smugness, patronisation, arrogance and PC doggerel from the professional and highly priveleged political classes. The same arrogance indeed that can be seen in broadcast media news bulletins with lisping, cocksure and "wiseguy" presenters sneering openly at the political earthquakes of 2017 with barely concealed derision while the proverbial dogs in the street know now that so many pages have turned in the past calender year that we have skipped several historical chapters and arrived at an epilogue that looks very big and scary to politically adolescent eyes. Likewise for mindsets too immature - if not utterly gormless - to comprehend how grotesque individual human hubris can engender a societal catharsis of this scope.

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