"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Getting My Irish Up 

As a proud son of Erin, it embarrasses me to confess that I don't really understand this story:
The US government took the unusual step of accusing Northern Ireland's mainstream unionist parties of an "abdication of responsibility" towards the weekend violence that saw loyalist gunmen shooting live rounds at police officers in some of the worst unrest in years.

Fifty officers were injured and 400 plastic bullets were fired by police as they attempted to quell the demonstration.

Without identifying any party by name, Mitchell Reiss, George W. Bush's special envoy on Northern Ireland, said: "No political party, and certainly no responsible political leadership, deserves to serve in a government unless it co-operates and supports fully and unconditionally the police, and calls on its supporters to do so.

"It's true for unionism, it's true for all political parties, and I think that this was not the finest moment for politics in Northern Ireland over the weekend."

If I'm reading this right, it seems that the loyalists (I guess I would call them "separatists," but po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to) have taken to rioting in the streets, so our government responds by dissing the unionists (I would probably call them "loyal Irish," but again, whatever). Can that be right? And, if so, does it make any sense at all? What's with this pissing and moaning about "responsible political leadership" on the unionist side failing to "support[] fully and unconditionally the police" when it's the other guys who are shooting at cops? Is this mere stupidity, or is there some ulterior motive? Or, as Homer Simpson said when given the choice between Bart becoming a Supreme Court Justice or a male stripper, "Why can't he be both, like the late Earl Warren?"

Update 9/15/2005: A reader schools me:
Love the blog. [Clearly, this is a very perspicacious reader -Ed.] You seem to be labouring under a misapprehension of terms, however [in fact, I labor under a number of misapprehensions, including a persistent, nagging belief that there is no "u" in "labor" -Ed.]:

"Loyalist" means loyal to the Queen/the British Government.
"Unionist" means supporter of the union of Northern Ireland and Great
Britain.

They are the same people.

Well, that certainly makes a bit more sense, especially given the number of Protestant organizations identified as "unionist" in the original article. I'm still somewhat confused - as I re-read the article, it still seems to imply that the loyalists and the unionists are somehow at odds, but I don't know if that's because the article is unclear or if I can't read - but that's okay, because I'm usually confused.

 

Comments:

 

Obviously you're going to have to crawl out from under the misapprehension that labour doesn't contain a 'u', since it does on our side of the Atlantic. And we were first. Still, enjoyed the rest of your blog, though I am embarassed to say I was one of those who found it via the 'chaos cloud'
 
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