Posts Tagged ‘Peace Process’

Farage: NI Peace Process ‘Loathsome’, ‘Surrender to the Wrong ‘Uns’

February 16, 2015

There’s a piece in today’s Guardian on a video that has emerged, dating from c. 2007, in which the Kipperfuhrer gives his opinion on the Northern Ireland peace agreement. He is extremely scathing about it, stating

“That is not what I call a peace process. That is what I call surrender to the wrong ’uns. You know both from the Protestant and the Catholic side and so I am sickened by the whole thing. I am very surprised that Paisley has been prepared to go into government with Sinn Féin, IRA. I really am very surprised by that.”

He especially objected to the release of hundreds of terrorists, pointing out that some had only served 18 months in prison for their crimes.

The report also contains a quote rebutting Farage’s views from the Tory MP, Conor Burns. Burns says that the peace process entailed some compromises that were extremely difficult to stomach, but that they were needed to create the much more peaceful and secure situation that Ulster now enjoys. Burns said:

“But the reality is that a child in today’s Northern Ireland grows up in a place incomparably better than the dark, violent and divided society I was born into. For someone who leads a party aspiring to be a truly national party, not to acknowledge that is bewildering.”

Burns is absolutely right. The compromises that had to be made in the 6 counties to break the cycle of violence were and are highly controversial, and included measures that many would consider to be deeply immoral. But they were needed, if any kind of peace was to be established. However objectionable and unpalatable these decisions were, ultimately the led to the creation of much better, more peaceful and hopefully far more optimistic conditions on that side of the Irish Sea.

Now Farage’s views in the video aren’t that different from many Tories, and are arguably less sectarian. You could and can read almost the same views in the Daily Mail, with the exception that they see the ‘surrender’ less to the men of violence in general, regardless of whether they were Roman Catholic and Protestant, and more explicitly in terms of a capitulation to the IRA. Farage’s views are better than that, but not by very much.

Any truly British political has to find support throughout the UK, which means developing a sensitive approach to the intricacies of the situation in Ulster. Farage claims he has branches across the UK, but his comments about the situation there in 2007 show that he has a dangerously inflexible attitude to Ulster and its problems, that could upset decades of delicate negotiations and plunge Northern Ireland, and the rest of the UK, back into violence and sectarian civil war.

The Guardian’s piece is called Nigel Farage called Northern Ireland peace process ‘utterly loathsome’, and it’s at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/feb/16/nigel-farage-called-northern-ireland-peace-process-utterly-loathsome. It also contains the video. Go and read it and judge for yourself.

Mark Pack: Liam Fox Wants to Stop Indians and Pakistanis from Voting

January 8, 2015

The Lib Dem blogger, Mark Pack, has commented on an article in the Times that the Tories’ Liam Fox wants to pass emergency legislation to remove half a million Indians and Pakistanis from the electoral register. Under current legislation, Irish and Commonwealth citizens, including Indian and Pakstanis, have the right to vote in British elections. The Times’ article states:

Some Conservatives believe that the number of voters from ethnic minorities included in the list will provide a boost to Labour. The previous election showed that Labour was far more successful in winning the votes of those from ethnic minorities…

Liam Fox, the former defence secretary, said: “It is ridiculous that the government of a country like ours could be decided by those who are not British citizens. It is high time we brought this law up to date.”
According to the Times, the move is motivated by Tory fears that the ethnic vote will determine the outcome of one of the closest fought elections in recent years. Pack in his article gives the numbers of Irish, Indian, Australian, Pakistani, and Zimbabweans, who will thus be prevented from voting. The article’s entitled Liam Fox wants to kick half a million Indians and Pakistanis off the electoral register and is at
http://www.markpack.org.uk/113663/liam-fox-wants-kick-half-million-indians-pakistanis-off-electoral-register/.

This is another piece of gerrymandering by the Tories, like the recent changes to the law that will require voters to make a positive effort to get on the electoral register. It also shows what the Tories really think about ethnic minorities, despite Cameron’s much publicised efforts to kick out racism from the party, and end its connection to the Monday Club.

You can find pretty much the same contempt for ethnic minorities and the Irish in newspapers like the Daily Mail and the Express, quite apart from the long list of times when the Sun was prosecuted for publishing racist material. I can remember an article in the Mail years ago, where one of the columnists lamented that we had to let in non-White immigrants into Britain on an equal basis with Whites from the White majority commonwealth countries like Canada and Oz. And under Thatcher, long before the beginning of the peace process in Northern Ireland, they also complained about Irish people in Britain having the same right as Brits to claim unemployment benefits. Now I have to say that I think that a long term foreign resident in a country should have the right to vote in its elections. I also suspect that the current right to vote of the Irish and commonwealth citizens comes from the old imperial belief that everyone born in the British Empire was equally a British citizen, a belief that Churchill in particular held. The Conservatives clearly what to sacrifice that tradition, in order to do their best to cling on to power.

And after they’ve disenfranchised the foreign nationals, I’ve no doubt they’ll try rolling back nearly a century of democracy in Britain. The Financial Times back in the 1990s reviewed one book written by a Tory, that attacked the abandonment of the property qualification for jury service, on the grounds that it had allowed people with no stake in society to sit on juries, who thus were soft on criminals. The same logic could be used to argue for the introduction of the same property requirements for voting in elections. There are doubtless some Tories that would support it. Way back in the 1987 election one of the senior Tories – I think it was Jim Prior – stated that he thought the owners of businesses should have two votes, one for themselves and one where they represented their staff. The Tories have always wanted to give far more electoral power and rights to the rich and powerful, and deny it to the working class and non-Whites.