By Gerry Adams (for Leargas)
I considered ignoring the British Government’s exclusion of the Sinn Féin President from the recent talks. Then I thought why should I? Stupidity like this needs highlighted. For me it is proof, once again, of what democrats here are up against.
This column could analyse the statements from the current British Secretary of State and the Foreign Minister - With – The – Wonderfully – Inaccurate - Surname. But I will let you do that yourselves if that is your want. Suffice to say that every statement was even stupider than the one which preceded it.
So, I don’t intend to take us through all the he said, she said bits of this most recent debacle except to say that Mary Lou has spelt out the democratic position in her usual articulate way and Leo Varadkar sounded as weak as water with his; ‘I hope this is a one-off and that it doesn’t represent a change of policy’.
Ach Taoiseach. Surely you can do better than that!
This is exactly what you should not be saying. Hope shouldn’t come into it. The fact is the British Government dictating who should represent a political party - any political party - means there is no hope of inclusive talks. The Taoiseach needs to make that clear to the British PM.
So what does this recent stupidity mean? It means that this is the mindset of this British Government. It decided who could attend talks. Because it thinks it can. Proof again that it is against the Good Friday Agreement. That it has no real investment in it. And it is evidence that the Tories have no notion of delivering on their obligations under the Agreement in a positive and good faith manner. That is the reality which all democrats have to face up to.
That means An Taoiseach and Tánaiste, our friends in the USA and the wider international community. And the EU.
Of course, this British Government can and will be moved to honour its obligations. That is the real politick. But as we have just seen it will do this awkwardly and in a minimalist way.
I am rarely really surprised by British stupidity towards Ireland. Even a benign British Government has its lapses. The English establishment doesn’t understand Ireland. How could it? I don’t understand all the sensitivities of the English condition. But then I’m not trying to rule the English. They quite rightly do that themselves. Unfortunately they also think they should govern us. They have no mandate for this. But because they believe they are superior they don’t have any incentive not to be stupid. They don’t need to take us or our democratic rights into account. That’s the stupidity of their position and the reason for the exclusion of Mary Lou.
But we can end British stupidity by replacing it with self rule by the people who live here. That is our right. At the core of the British current machinations and Unionist contradictions is their refusal to give us that right.
They have already signed up for that principle. But let’s expect no favours from them about its delivery. It’s up to us to create the conditions wherein we exercise our right to self determination. That day is coming. If we proceed as we must, intelligently. So let’s go forward in that knowledge but in a positive and generous way reaching out to others who share our intention of making this a better place for everyone who lives here. But be prepared for more stupidities en route.