Martin McGuinness has stated in reference to the recent murders of republicans in Belfast : that “the murders had “created problems” for Sinn Fein and Mr Robinson”……and that “The roots of this is two murders and the people who are responsible for those murders are either criminals, agents, dissidents – they are certainly not supporters of ours.”
What are we to make of that ? He seems to have a point in that Sinn fein and Peter Robinson’s DUP have been pushed into a pool of grief within a short period of time and the soaking is doing neither of them much good. I don’t really think it will damage Sinn Fein in any major way, because they have held fast to the line they’ve been proclaiming for years that they want an inclusive form of government and a shared future for all.They’ve distanced themselves from dissident republican groupings , cleaving to their mantra that politics is the only way forward, post the Agreements and anyone thinking otherwise has only criminal intent that will only damage their political project.They’ve constantly called the violent men who have been left behind, “criminals”. They’ve made it absolutely clear what they want to happen.They have constantly backed the PSNI , even when they might have had some reservations. That makes some sense to me .It stacks up.
Peter Robinson and the DUP are not on such stable ground .They have been ambiguous about those very same things .They have actively not tried to extend the hand of friendship to their nationalist fellow – politicians in the executive and by extension to half of the electorate. The idea of sharing power with them was supposedly the new ideal ,but instead they actively appeared to proclaim hatred for them at times . ; the latest being the “Gatekeeper” statement by Arlene Foster only a week ago where she demonstrated very clearly that she didn’t ever see herself as a minister for everyone in the community…just those unionists who supported her party. The DUP have not cultivated the idea that our future is a totally political one and should be pursued without the same acrimony that brought us to a situation of everyday violence a generation ago.Along with this they have cosied up to “still -active” violent elements within unionism and loyalism who appear to believe that their war is still not over yet.; they being the other side of the “dissident” coin …the yin to the republican yang . The mechanisms for extortion within their communities appear to be ongoing in the streets still ,but these same people are deemed useful should any illegal armed muscle be required should anyone get out of line politically in the future.
There’s no doubt there is criminal activity carried out by some whose nationalist agenda is their default “politics” position , but that doesn’t follow that they are even involved in any political machinations or even vote for Sinn Fein or vote for anybody else .Some of them want nothing to do with the system as it exists anyway and play no part in it. They might just be criminals who don’t vote for republicanism or unionism or even vote at all. They, like many of their loyalist counterparts would have been happier had the “war” continued. Political niceities are lost on some anyway. There has always been smuggling anywhere in the world where there is a border , so it doubtless will always go on in Ireland too…as long as it is a divided country with a border running through it .That’s not to say that Sinn Fein condones it, though.They may have in the past, but I can’t see it being supported now that they are a legitimate political party.
So this latest flap about the IRA still existing has greater potential to hurt the DUP and Robinson than anyone else. If it eventually results in an election when the mad little political games have been played out to their climax, the DUP will lose voters to the UUP, UKIP and Jim Allister ,as sure as hens lay eggs. So the upshot of it is that this crisis is not doing the DUP much good and only the UUP can really weaken them.
The question for the conspiracy theorists out there is” Who might actually gain from any of it?”.It already seems apparent that the Chief Constable hasn’t yet bagged a murderer or two for the killings of the two republicans, so it is possible that he might never find anyone , given that there are plenty of unsolved crimes on the files ,already.That’s only logic, isn’t it? You have to wonder why he suddenly made such a huge story of these two deaths at this particular time and why part of the story’s timing jived perfectly with Peter Robinson’s theatrical ,political puffery and timed stunts . We all agree that TVMike Nesbitt of the Ulster Unionist Party was opportunistic in whipping up the storm while Peter Robinson was offside. Already the Chief Constable is to be sued with unlawful arrest by some of those he detained . He didn’t appear to have much reason to arrest them in the first place ,but strangely , Peter Robinson seems to have had an insider view of how events would unfold.His Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness apparently didn’t get that same information even though they share that same office. Many want to know the answer to that one before they slip on their anti -conspiracy tin- hats.
Through all of this Martin McGuinness , Sinn Fein and their team , haven’t blinked and appear to have supported the Chief Constable’s decision and any outworkings of it.They have reservations , of course, given that their own supporters and themselves have been his only targets. Many of us still find this a little odd too because it is from our collective pockets that money will come to pay the bills for the likes of Bobby Storey’s compensation claims….
In the end it would appear that we’ll all be no further on as far as real politics are concerned and the only one who’ll benefit from any of it will be Bobby Storey .He’ll be a few pounds richer courtesy of our Chief Constable, our police services and the rest of us who are paying all their salaries ..