Saturday, April 08, 2006

Hope for the Left?

Last week Channel 4 showed 3 episodes (why only 3 episodes?) from Morgan Spurlock's excellent series 30 Days and this got me thinking that "liberal" America has had a kind of Renaissance during the Bush presidency and it is the result of post-9/11 hysteria. People like Morgan Spurlock and Michael Moore have seen the need to speak out against what they see as being wrong with America but in different ways. Michael Moore is much more "in your face" whereas Morgan Spurlock is subtler, using the 30 Day technique to highlight Americans' predjudices and sometime insane practices

I think we see a lot of "liberal" America via TV and Film but the unfortunate thing is that it seems to be only media elite, people like Spurlock, Moore and George Clooney who seem to be prominant. Ordinary America still has the image, despite anti-war protests, of being very conservative and ignorant.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Dennis Donaldson, Decommissioning and the Peace Process

On the last edition of Hearts and Minds, Malachi O'Doherty asserted that the murder of Denis Donaldson was not the last straw for Sinn Fein and the IRA but the Northern Bank robbery was. This view reiterates the lack of trust Unionists show towards Republicanism and maybe rightly because no-one I have spoken to believes (and I don't even believe) that when the IRA decommissioned in September last year they decommissioned 100% of their weapons. If it turns out that the IRA was involved with the murder of Denis Donaldson, this will be fodder to the DUP in particular. They will say that this proves that full decommissioning did not occur and the episode will be used to push the peace process back a couple of squares.

My feeling about the situation is that
if decommissioning was the stumbling block to progress before the last suspension of the Assembly then it is a stumbling which no longer exists. While it is probably wise to assume that 100% decommissioning didn't occur, it's probably also a good idea to take last September's decommissioning as a benchmark to further the peace process. The same can be said in regard to the DUP's demand that the IRA now disband and IRA criminality cease. Both these things will be incredibly hard to verify. If the IRA was to announce to tomorrow that it was disbanding, of course people would be sceptical but would it not be sensible to accept such an announcement and push ahead for a settlement before November 24?

The same can be said about criminality. Let's assume that a lot of IRA members are involved for political reasons. If the IRA disbands there will be no reason for these people to be violent or do anything illegal but every organisaation of this type has members who are only in it for the money. It is these people who will be robbing banks and murdering people and just because it's been revealed that X was once a member of the IRA, could that not also be used as an excuse to push the peace process back a few squares?