Major, Hague, Duncan Smith, Howard. Line 'em up and knock 'em down !
But Blair had another victim this week - Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble, as decent a man as you'll find in British politics.
As Squander Two put it, "They were right to sign the Good Friday Agreement; they were right to agree to talk and negotiate and try to compromise with the IRA. It looked like there was a chance of genuine peace, and a chance like that should not be passed by. But, when it turned out that the IRA were taking the piss, the Ulster Unionists were too slow and weak to react appropriately."
I think he's a little hard on the UUP. They kept hanging on in there at Tony Blair's pleading.
Ulster is a tricky one. There can be no doubt that people like the South Armagh boys would like to be back to the good old days of ethnic cleansing and the odd English spectacular. Presumably they're being bought off, as most of the IRA seem to be, with the prospect of huge amounts of criminally-derived cash. Adams, for all he is a murderous bum, is walking a tightrope of the sort which got Michael Collins shot. It may be that as time goes by and the boyos attend fewer and fewer funerals, it becomes harder and harder to go back to the old ways - in which case leading David Trimble up the garden path (an intelligent man, he will have been well aware of the risk he took) will have been 'worthwhile' and Adams will get the Nobel Peace Prize.
On the other hand it could all go pearshaped - in which case at least they won't have the level of US (or Irish) support they could rely on 20 years ago.
Strange times in the Irish Republic. The boom years have been on for 20-odd years now, the country's becoming much more secular, immigration and asylum levels are high, the youth/dance/drug culture is widespread - it's starting to feel much more like degenerate, decadent England. I can remember 17-odd years back seeing 'Life of Brian' in Cork just after the ban on the film had been lifted. At the time it was a big deal - it wouldn't be now. While in many ways the end of Catholic Ireland is a tragedy, it also cuts down the supply of volunteers motivated by Cathleen ni Houlihan and Our Lady Queen of Ireland. The IRAs helpers south of the border are instead increasingly likely to be motivated by money. It may be that soon murderous Republicanism will have about the level of appeal for an educated young Irishman that an invitation to an Englishman to join an armed terrorist cell of the National Front would have had in the 1970s.
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