Surely the Guardian sub-editors were taking the mick when they fronted a Cif piece by republican sympathiser Ronan Bennett with this headline
All of Ireland could use what Martin McGuinness gave the North
As someone commented - "what, bullets ?".
I was struck, I know not why, by this comment, from "josephv1", who'd soon followed up with several more comments :
As a Northern Irish Presbyterian, I have no problem with Mr McGuinness as President. He rules us here in the North already. Increasing numbers of my community are OK with the man - he's good in government and times have moved on. We've moved on in Ulster. Time you guys did as well across the water ..
Seemed too good to be true - this Prod who was not swallowing the bitter pill of shared republican government but positively rejoicing in it. A quick look at the posting history of this Presbyterian named Joseph (not, unless I mistake, a very popular name among Ulster Protestants) produced this mild comment from Laban :
"Josephv1 should really expand his posting interests. A self-declared Ulster Presbyterian whose entire Guardian posting history consists of comments on the evil of the British state is a curiously unconvincing online persona."
It was deleted (Ronan Bennett's paramour is Georgina Henry, editor of Guardian Online).
Laban, nothing loth :
Indeed, the more I look at joseph's entire output ...
18th June - "being from an army family myself", 9 comments on Bloody Sunday.
20th of June - "There was huge support for Irish Repubicanism across Northern Ireland, and beyond" - 3 posts on the Saville Inquiry
The guy who opened his account with 9 comments on Bloody Sunday has a 5-week hiatus, then on August 2 "And before any of the bitter old tub thumpers, armchair generals and twisted moralisers on here accuse me of being some kind of ungrateful leftist traitor, giving succour to the enemy, I'll have you know I come from a long military lineage ...The plantation of Ulster served as a blueprint for later colonial expansion in the W Indies ... the British establishment, and much of the population, cannot see that it's wrong to kill civilians.." - 16 comments on "Wikileaks and British Lies in Ireland" - the guy's on fire. Odd then, that such an enthusiastic commenter has nothing to say for 9 more weeks... before unleashing a barrage of posts on this thread. Most odd.
I've been hearing for years about the sophistication of the Republican political wing, and I guess the Guardian's giving space to Ronan Bennett testifies to that. But this is a very poor standard of sock-puppetry.
"josephv1" really is a remarkable poster - an Ulster Presbyterian "from a long military lineage"
who only wakes up to post on CiF when the evils of the Brits or the goodness of Sinn Fein are being discussed, who posts furiously on the subject, regurgitating republican mantras, (13 posts so far on the Bennett thread) then goes back to sleep for weeks or months until another suitable thread arrives, and he wakes once more like Drake in his hammock
. And he only posts on the evils of the Brits. There's a couple of other "as a xxxx, I love Martin McGuinness
" posters, one "RobinPercival
" and one "Phud
", but a look at their posting histories suggests that they at least have opinions on subjects outside of the evil Brits and their usurpation of the Four Green Fields. If they're sock puppets, someone's at least making an attempt to give them what Smiley would call a "legend". Not so for our joe. He's only got one specialist subject.
Keeping to character, joe defends himself against Laban's innuendo, Laban fires back between deletions :
"I come from an army family and grandfather was a lecturer at Sandhurst. Or do you demand blind allegiance at all times?"
Ah. I think we call this "the Johann Hari Technique".
I'm sorry, "joseph" - I would like to debate the issue with you, but as you may have noticed, my posts are being removed as fast as they go up. Sock-puppetry, in the Guardian world, is something those evil American Republicans do, not noble Irish ones.
Maybe we can cross keyboards again - in a couple of months, when you next post.
Mind, he may well come "from an army family
". I'm just not at all sure that it's the British Army.
UPDATE - Interesting. The moderators have deleted all the most-approved comments, which unsurprisingly weren't mine but were of the "Martin McGuinness ran an organisation responsible for murdering thousands of people
" variety. Apparently that's a 'hate fact' and an unacceptable statement to air in the Guardian.