This website is a forum for political debate and the exchange of ideas. Unless indicated, the opinions expressed in any article, commentary, argument or review is solely that of the author and not necessarily that of the publisher.
the big lie
WHAT HAVE Tony Blair, Bertie Ahern, Peter Mandelson, David Trimble and Gerry Adams all got in common? They all claim that there is no alternative to the Good Friday Agreement or Stormont. They all dismiss any criticism of the Agreement or Assembly by claiming that "There is no other choice." Chanted repeatedly it's now accepted as fact by many Ulsterfolk.
Are the Yes men right? Let's look at the facts. During the May 1998 referendum we were asked to vote for or against the Good Friday Agreement. There was no Plan B. All that was on offer was a simple choice of Yes or No. The idea of a referendum is that you either agree or disagree with what's on offer. (Only a preferendum allows a series of choices). For the Yes men to say that there's 'no other choice' is a bit rich - as we weren't given any choice in the first place! They can get away with this big lie because Yes men rule the media where Politically Correct spin doctors ensure that lies become the truth and the truth becomes a lie. Thus we conduct 'humanitarian wars' against sovereign nations like Serbia and starve thousands of Iraqi children to death because of medical sanctions. (Compared to this, conning Ulster's electorate in the referendum must have been a doddle!)
Coincidentally, the current Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is the greatest spin doctor of all, Peter Mandelson. This 'Prince of Darkness' always tells us how the Agreement and Assembly will 'ensure a return to normal democratic politics and an agreed future for Ulster'. This is another Orwellian big lie. The Agreement can only give us political instability - and any claim that Stormont represents 'normal democratic politics' is an absolute joke.
How can the Good Friday Agreement offer any form of political stability? It means all things to all men. It's so elastic that it paves the way for a united Ireland and copperfastens the union all at the same time! How can a seven-yearly vote on Ulster's constitutional status offer any form of stability? At the moment we're allegedly British. In another seven years we may become 'half-Brits.' Seven years after that we may become Irish! Does it provide any opt-out clause for those who don't want to become part of Éire's imperial Empire? If not will we be in for a new thirty year war - this time a purely sectarian Protestant freedom struggle?
No amount of Orwellian double-speak can convince us that Stormont represents 'normal democratic politics'. Stormont isn't a parliament - it's a glorified native sub-assembly, which has been suspended and reinstated at will by our colonial overlord, Peter Mandelson. It's entirely subordinate to Westminster and Leinster House, via the North-South ministerial Council. It can't even exercise any form of national or economic sovereignty. Say MLA's decided to nationalise the assets of all US transnational corporations in Ulster. That'll be quickly over-ruled by Blair, Ahern and Clinton. Stormont will have about as much bite as a toothless granny!
Stormont's is fundamentally flawed in that it institutionalises sectarianism. It does this by insisting that all MLA's have to register their 'designation of identity'. In Ulster terms (and in plain English) this means are you a Prod or a Taig? Is this the best way to promote peace and reconciliation? Stormont is simply a head-counting exercise. As we noted in UN 26: "Assembly votes are weighted in that a set percentage of both unionists and 'nationalists' have to vote 'Yes' before anything can be passed. This system of 'parallel consent' requires a threshold of Protestant unionist votes and a threshold of Catholic nationalist votes but, crucially, no threshold of 'Other' votes. This voting system discriminates against non-sectarian interests as votes from non-sectarian 'Others' are worthless. It also acts as a disincentive to vote for non communal political interests. This could lead to the absurd situation where, say, a 'Kill all Taigs Party' could stand in any future Assembly election and get one candidate elected. The new MLA would then designate themselves as a unionist. 'Parallel consent' means that the KAT Party's one vote would be of more importance than, say, five, non-sectarian, 'Other' votes!"
Stormont is unique in that it has no real 'government' or 'opposition'. It's really a four-party dictatorship. This is because power-sharing is of 'right'. It doesn't matter who you vote for, the same government will get in! Under the d'Hondt system the UUP and the SDLP have three ministers each whilst Sinn Féin and the DUP get two ministers in proportion to the percentage of votes won in the 1998 Assembly election. All that can change is the balance of parties within the permanent regime and what party exercises what portfolio. Is this four party state four times as democratic as a one party state? We don't think so. What a farce!
We noted earlier the Yes camps insistence that there is 'absolutely no alternative' to the Good Friday Agreement and the Stormont Assembly. There is - and in future issues of UN we'll set out our alternative - a truly democratic, non-sectarian, independent Ulster.
John Jenkins, July 2000home page
A THIRD WAY FOR ULSTER
Copyright © 1990 - 2007 Third Way Publications. All rights reserved.