Mudcat Café message #268040 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #23852   Message #268040
Posted By: Peter K (Fionn)
30-Jul-00 - 04:16 PM
Thread Name: BS: Grit your teeth, the PIRA boys are out
Subject: RE: BS: Grit your teeth, the PIRA boys are out
Beachcomber, you're miles out. The joint Ireland-UK declaration (known as the Downing Street declaration because that's where it was made) came while the Tories were in government and John Major was British prime minister.

The analogy with South Africa is quite useful, which is why I alluded to it at the top. The ANC never had much time for PIRA, taking the view that PIRA, unlike the ANC, was fighting a democracy. I go along with that, but with the crucial caveat that it's a democracy in which the policing is institutionally partisan. The Patten review, if fully implemented, would be a massive step towards sorting that out.

The secret services may have done many crazy wrong-headed things, but compared with, say, the CIA in Chile their effect has been small. And notwithstanding the Irish Republic's neutrality stance, and the Good Friday agreement, you may be sure there will be a Brit/American/Nato presence on the island of Ireland for many years to come.

What brought renewed Westminster interest in the affairs of the six counties was simple economics. The place had become a ridiculously large factor in the Westminster budget. After Thatcher had squandered most of the North Sea oil/gas bonanza and sold off the family silver through privatisation, winding down the security bill and economic subsidy to Northern Ireland was an obvious next target.