'Impartial' imperialism

TALKS WILL begin soon between Sinn Fein and British government ministers.  As neither side has the remotest interest in returning to armed confrontation, the dispute over ‘decommissioning’ of arms is clearly related to a jockeying for position before those talks commence.

The government position is that Sinn Fein must commit itself to “seriously discuss” decommissioning IRA weapons as a pre-condition for talks. Sinn Fein spokesperson Martin McGuinness responds that such a unilateral declaration would amount to “an IRA surrender”. It would be politically impossible, especially at a time of republican commemorations over the Easter period. 

In reality Sinn Fein is genuinely willing to talk about arms: “We are prepared to discuss every issue, even on British terms, for the sake of the peace process,” Gerry Adams, the party’s president, said at the weekend.

British imperialism, of course, does not have the slightest intention of giving up its weapons.  But the government has successfully diverted attention away from that little matter, by focusing on the paramilitaries.  ‘Peace’ will come, it pretends, when both loyalists and republicans have surrendered their weapons.

Ministers are having regular meetings with loyalist representatives, despite the latter’s statements that they are not about to give up their own arms. At the same time as the discovery of loyalist arms caches, all this has the effect of provoking republican complaints about government one-sidedness.

Not that this will concern John Major’s administration.  Criticisms of his lack of impartiality between warring ‘terrorist’ factions are much preferred to condemnations of the true British role of brutal oppressor of the Irish people.

Jim Blackstock