Monthly Archives: December 2006

… and Ulster will be wrong

The annual file-fest that is the release of State Papers got its brief hour of publicity. This fills up newsprint between the stale turkey and the New Year’s Honours (more turkeys). For most sub-editors it is a delight because it can all be pre-processed. The real dirt takes longer (and the commitment of some ambitious PhD student).

Malcolm found the gem of the 1976 State documents (as so far revealed) was the Wilson memorandum, more particularly his fears over a Unionist putsch and UDI.

To show that little changes in the minds of some folk, we should refer to Eric Waugh in the Belfast Telegraph as recently as 7th December.

Waugh proposed “an independent state of Northern Ireland”. Typically, as Unionist parlance since 1921 has had it, he confuses “Northern Ireland” with “Ulster”. Malcolm finds it somewhere between irritating and incredible that he repeatedly needs to clarify that Ulster (Uladh) comprises nine counties, six of which are “Northern Ireland” (though the most northern county of Ireland is not in “Northern Ireland”).

Waugh’s tissue of speculation is that some statelet could opt out of the Union, out of the island of Ireland, out of the European Union, and survive as a tax-haven. His model is the Isle of Man (population something like 78,000).

Meanwhile, the rest of us would be expected to contribute generously, for “the new state would require bolstering for up to 20 years by the UK, the EU – and possibly the US and even the Republic”. That, of course, ignores the continued tax revenue bled away by this parasitical “new state”. Let’s put that into proportion. Government expenditure in Northern Ireland is something in the region of £16B, which exceeds by a degree the £780M of gross expenditure by the Manx government.

Malcolm suspects that Waugh’s ideal would be more modest: pulling the wagons into a circle around the defensible Protestant heartland of Antrim, Down and Portadown, perhaps. This nicely unhitches the Nationalist baggage train, and leaves Dublin and Europe to pick up the pieces in the high unemployment areas.

Wilson was a pragmatic (one of his own favourite words) politician: Malcolm expects his oft-maligned reputation will enhance with time (for one example and modern comparison, in denying Washington’s pressure to engage in Vietnam). His opinions and fears remain relevant and should not be lightly discounted (as they were then by those omniscient mandarins of Whitehall, who managed to get things so “right” in the intervening thirty years).

Leave a comment

Filed under Harold Wilson, Labour Party, Northern Ireland

Burying bad news

Malcolm hopes that one more tombstone will not go unmarked.

By one of those coincidences that only happen with efficient news-management, Christmas Day marked the moment when the 2,974th US death in Iraq exceeded the toll on 9/11. AP have the story, but it is easily accessed here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

No complaints of the season

This isn’t the blog that Malcolm intended (that’s a paeon to the hand-crossed ballot slip) but it seems somehow more relevant today.

Malcolm has, as they say, serious issues with most aspects of formal religion and its myriad convolutions [Why, for example, is it always emphatically the “theory of evolution” versus unqualified “creationism”?]. Even so, he has been heard to mutter that he likes ritual and music (and even smells and bells) in his “worship”. He is quite prepared to admit he is one of those whom Pope (that’s Alexander) castigated:

Some to church repair,
Not for the doctrine but for the music there.

So he was quite happy to go along with the first Leader in today’s Washington Post, suggesting that the Christmas story, despite its improbabilities and inconsistencies, is

a story not just of divinity, as it’s seen by Christians, but of humanity — and for all of us.

The essential conceit, a parallel of the Augustan Roman Empire with the present one true Superpower, resonates:

Today our own country, while never untroubled, is enjoying itself on an Augustan scale. But there is, of course, no peace. A good many of our noblest — the Roman allusion is merited here — are in difficult and dangerous conditions in that same faraway part of the world where the story of this day was set. And today a good number of them, whether religious or not, will take needed comfort in the old tale and in the atmosphere of the day and the greetings from home — most now carried instantaneously on a glowing screen, which is the new light of Christmas and bearer of good tidings. Keep it shining this day, long and often.

Nice writing, nice punch-line. So, while we cannot wish for “peace on earth”, let’s offer, and take, a little comfort.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Ancient Chinese curse (no. 92):

May you concur with your enemies.

It really makes Malcolm’s teeth grate to have to agree, even in small part, with the misbegotten crepusculars of the Right. So Simon Jenkins in Wednesday’s Guardian caused him some dental distress. Jenkins started from a premise that (apart from the superior style) might have come straight from the Daily Turd:

What is the matter with the Conservative party? It once claimed a nodding acquaintance with the cause of liberty. Now it runs with the corporatist pack. If there is anything to be banned, regulated or computerised, it howls from the dispatch box for “something to be done”. Be it prostitutes, drugs, prisons, NHS computers, data protection or civil rights, the Tories are desperate not to be seen as out of the action. Libertarians in Britain are a disenfranchised class.

Now, Malcolm would have to accept that, except to cavil that “libertarians” are all of the Right persuasion. It grieves him to the nth degree that “liberty” and its associations have become a possession of the Right. The essence of Jenkins’s argument is that

it will have taken a serial killing to address the law on prostitution, a typical “consensual crime” in which the greatest harm is caused by the manner in which the state tries to suppress it.

While [Tory Deputy Leader and Home Affairs spokesman]

David Davis, castigates libertarians who want “prostitution and drugs reform” …
The Tories could tell us exactly what a modern Conservative means by a free society, and list the regulations and restrictions they intend to repeal in their bonfire of controls. They could seize the moment of the Ipswich headlines by declaring their determination to end counter-productive bans on consensual crime. Merely preaching an end to government interference in the private affairs of citizens is hypocritical if, when case after case comes along, Cameron funks mentioning it for fear of the press.

Now Malcolm goes along with much of that. Except that the Tory Party has traditionally and habitually argued on the basis of “do as I say, not as I do”. While preaching and imposing a higher standard of morality, the average Top Tory has gouged, exploited and prostituted the lower orders. When Oscar Wilde gave Algernon his aphorism, he was making the point:

Really, if the lower orders don’t set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them? They seem, as a class, to have absolutely no sense of moral responsibility.

And that’s from 1895.

Readers should realise that Malcolm, too, comes from another age, the age of permissiveness. Permissiveness got, unfairly, a bad press. It did not mean a selfish “let it all hang out”. It said that everyone should be free to do as he or she wished, provided it did not intrude on the freedom or comfort of others. In other words, it was good manners and good behaviour expanded to natural and obvious social limits. It was a pragmatic social anarchism, but (like all anarchisms) it was not nihilism. It involved applying good personal and social rules.

Malcolm’s grasp of anarchism as a developed philosophy came mainly from George Woodcock’s book, in those days a blue-covered Pelican text. It contains a telling anecdote. Anselme de Bellegarigue met Communards and challenged them: they had elected a government, and so were already enslaved. That, of course, is taking matters to an extreme. It has a truth, though, in that modern democratic governments elect their own super-government by putting themselves in thrall to the tabloid press. Downing Street (and Tory shadow cabineteers) do the utmost to bring Murdoch on side. The Bushies cuddle up to Fox News and the shock-jocks. A would-be French president apparently condones bikini shots.

Surely the time has come for the Left to reclaim the cause of personal liberty. How about this as a statement of modern syndicalism?

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

Yet that is, for crying out loud, Ayn Rand, in an appendix to Atlas Shrugged. She was, of course, merely restating good, old Tom Paine’s Rights of Man:

What is government more than the management of the affairs of a Nation? It is not, and from its nature cannot be, the property of any particular man or family, but the whole community. The romantic and barbarous distinction of men into Kings and subjects, though it may suit the condition of courtiers, cannot that of citizens. …

Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.

Paine, as G.D.H.Cole put it, was

… the first fundamental social programme put forward on behalf of the people since the days of Winstanley and the Diggers.

And, for Socialists, Paine is definitely one of ours, rather than theirs. [Malcolm was staggered to discover that his edition of Cole’s History of Socialist Thought, bought on a student’s income in the 1960s, was now charged at $1,125 on Amazon.]

So Malcolm proposes that Socialists should be prepared to cede compulsion as a policy to the Rightists, and adopt a “less-is-more” attitude to social legislation. The present Blair administration has (and even deservedly) earned a reputation for nannying the populace. After a decade, let’s restore the balance, and empower the individual against statism. We have been here before: when Jenkins uses the phrase “bonfire of controls” it is advisedly. Ludwig Erhard was using the term as far back as 1948, at the time the German currency was being reformed. Erhard, let it be remembered,

believed that only under a free market economy could an individual find true freedom, and that only a free society and free economy would deliver the wealth needed for humane social policies and programmes.

And that sounds suspiciously like the “Third Way”. The phrase, “bonfire of controls”, then became the mantra of the first two years of Churchill’s 1951 Government (Tories being never slow to jump and commandeer a band-wagon); but Harold Wilson, as President of the Board of Trade, was using it in abolishing the war-time rationing during the latter years of the Attlee Government.

By the by, Malcolm was re-reading the speeches of Herbert Morrison recently: Morrison had the reputation of being the great corporatist and author of State Capitalism in the post-war reconstruction. Even so, what comes across, repeatedly, in these speeches is a balance:

Man does not live by bread alone, and good government does not exist by legislation alone … If voluntary agreement is effective, I like it well enough. It’s OK by me! … The ideas and ideals of the past have proved their worth and have up to a point, like the ideals of the Liberals before us, been tacitly accepted by all parties. … We each of us are free and we each know that we cannot keep our democratic freedom without sharing its responsibilities.

At a time when Cameroonies are becoming some kind of Labour-lite, while David Davis ponces around as the Grand Inquisitor and Witchfinder General, let’s really put one up them. Let’s give the editor of the Daily Mail palpitions, and go with Baudelaire: “Il faut épater les bourgeois.”

Labour’s (long-overdue) reforms of drinking and gambling laws seem not to have pulled the roof of the temple down upon us. Next, for what Jenkins felicitously calls “consensual crime”. If there is no victim, why should it be criminalised? And Jenkins is correct: feeding a drug-habit means the male turns to robbery, and the female to prostitution. One involves a crime against property: the other a challenge to propriety. We have, in the case of the sex industry, created a whole spectrum of shame: at the opposite end [sic] to Ipswich’s Portman Road, les grandes horizontales enjoy public celebrity, yea the company of the owners of those newspapers that condemn their less-famous sisters. Even the consort of the British monarch could hardly arch his eyebrow: he has been attributed with the view:

I don’t think a prostitute is more moral than a wife, but they are doing the same thing.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A curious silence?

Two days ago, Malcolm was one of the few to pick up (from the Sunday Tribune) the quite extra-ordinary story of an intimate (if heated) exchange of emails. They involved:

  • two DUP eminents: an MP (Jeffrey Donaldson), and an MLA, aspiring inheritor of the North Antrim Westminster franchise, a member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board and the DUP spokesperson on justice (all that, Ian Paisley, Jr), and
  • a convicted double UFF murderer, who has now found Jesus, but neither humility nor a civil tongue (Kenny McClinton).

What is astonishing is the silence that has followed. The murky implications of this correspondence may need spelling out:

  • McClinton claims that he has access to the DUP rank-and-file, whom the leadership are ignoring. He is suggesting that the “long war” is not over.
  • McClinton implies Paisley is failing to repay a political blood debt: “I went out on the 10th May 1977 and shot a man DEAD … to back up your father’s less than popular call for a strike”.
  • He contrasts the “good, high-paid jobs” and “large bank balances” of “DUP politicians and their sons” with the “ex-loyalist prisoners” who are “treated like something scraped off the sole of someone’s shoe; unemployable; living on social benefits” [sic].
  • In return, Paisley is making it clear that the DUP’s main interest is manipulating the policing issue to provoke strife within Sinn Fein: “Rejoice, our enemy is turning against themselves.”
  • Donaldson, despite McClinton’s abuse, more in sorrow than in anger, still greets McClinton as “a brother in the Lord.” However, he specifically asks McClinton to support the DUP leadership’s approach, as the only alternative to the Westminster “deeply green Plan B … Is that what you fought for, Kenny?”
  • Paisley had tried to secure a visa for McClinton to get into the US, despite his terrorism and murder convictions, so that he could “preach the Word”.

Let it be emphasised: Paisley and Donaldson are prime candidates to inherit the DUP leadership.

So why has the mainstream media neglected this? It is surely as significant as any MP caught playing “hide the sausage” in the wrong bedroom. Yet … silence. Even the magnificent Slugger O’Toole now seems to have lost interest: the debate thereon petered out over the issue of when a terrorist became an “ex-terrorist” (try replacing “terrorist” with, say, “rapist” or “killer” to evaluate the logic of that one).

To put it bluntly, who is leaning on whom to bring peace-and-harmony?

Meanwhile the cleavage within the DUP deepens by the day. Mainlanders may need reminding that politics in the “North” are often more akin to those of the US Deep South than to the usual UK civilised mud-wrestling. The repulsive George Wallace of Alabama steadily moved to the fringes of racism:

Seymore Trammell, Wallace’s former finance … recalls a talk with Wallace after the [1958 Alabama Governorship] defeat: “He said, ‘Seymore, do you know why I lost that governor’s race?’ I said, ‘I’m not sure, Judge. What do you think?’ He said, ‘Seymore, I was out-niggered by John Patterson. And I’ll tell you here and now, I will never be out-niggered again.'” [Source]

Similarly, every leader of every strand of Ulster Unionism seems doomed to be eventually out-flanked by the die-hard segregationalists to his Right: O’Neill, Faulkner; Trimble and now Paisley. Not so long ago (indeed it still appears as the first hit when one googles “DUP”), the Paisleyites were proud to be

The most religiously fundamentalist of all the Unionist parties and the leading party opposed to the Good Friday Agreement.

As of now, that link to “what we stand for” seems, curiously, broken.

The real issue is how, over the last couple of weeks, the omens for trouble within the DUP have multiplied, since Lynda Gilby in Sunday Life (the Belfast Telegraph in drag) wrote it up two Sundays past:

The DUP power struggle has begun, so sit back and watch the show.

Toppling Paisley as leader is probably unthinkable at this point.

So, as things stand, we may well have to wait until the ‘Big Man’ is called to his maker for the real fun to begin.

Either way, for the DUP, disarray beckons.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

“Bizarre”: you’d better believe it!

The [Irish] Sunday Tribune is not easily available east of the Kish light. Malcolm believes the following ought to be more widely circulated:

DUP in bizarre correspondence with loyalist murderer over St Andrew’s deal

Suzanne Breen Northern Editor

SENIOR DUP figures have been engaged in a bizarre exchange of emails over the St Andrew’s agreement with the loyalist double murderer, Pastor Kenny McClinton.

The correspondence with MP Jeffrey Donaldson and Ian Paisley jnr has been released exclusively to the Sunday Tribune by McClinton, who was the Loyalist Volunteer Force’s point of contact with the international decommissioning body.

McClinton opposes the St Andrew’s agreement and believes the DUP are “selling out unionism” by preparing to allow “unrepentant terrorists into government”.

The emails disclose that the DUP sees the agreement as a means of smashing the republican movement, with the policing issue as the final nail in the coffin.

In one email, Paisley jnr states: “We couldn’t kill them but we can destroy them and their ideology.” A republican who accepts the police is no longer a republican, he says.

“Look whose [sic] under pressure tonight . . . the traitors in Sinn Fein, traitors to republicanism! Rejoice, our enemy is turning against themselves.”

In his email, Donaldson addresses the convicted loyalist paramilitary as “a brother in the Lord”. He says no-one in the DUP likes the prospect of Sinn Fein in government but unionism is winning.

“It is clear Sinn Fein/IRA are under serious internal pressure and may well be incapable of delivering on what is required in terms of support for participation in British democracy, support for a British Police Service and recognition of British Courts and British Justice.

All of this with no prospect of a United Ireland in our lifetime. No wonder their rank and file are deeply concerned.

“These decisions are a million miles away from 1916 and the declaration of a 32-county republic. In short, the IRA has lost the battle for a United Ireland.”

Donaldson warns if unionism rejects what’s on offer, the British government will proceed with a “deeply green Plan B”, including joint sovereignty. He asks the ex-loyalist paramilitary, “Is this what you fought for, Kenny?”

In his email to Ian Paisley jnr, McClinton speaks of anger among lifelong DUP supporters and accuses the leadership of “playing party politics with your groupies, flatterers, and ‘YES’ men”.

“And while we are at it YOUNG MAN, don’t you ever in your life question my loyalty or commitment to the country I love! There’s more loyalty in my big toe than you have in your entire body!

“Where were whippersnappers like YOU when I was walking the wings of the Hblocks stark naked on the loyalist blanket protest? Where were you then, BOY?

“How dare you throw snide remarks at me. I went out on the 10th May 1977 and shot a man DEAD to take all public transport off the roads of Ulster . . . why? Because I was into shooting people dead? No!

In an attempt to back up your father’s less than popular call for a strike.

“Like the rest of you political clowns, you make plenty of TALK but actually do nothing but draw wages. I’m finished with you, and your party.”

In his response to Donaldson, McClinton claims ex-loyalist prisoners are “treated like something scraped off the sole of someone’s shoe; unemployable; living on social security benefits”.

He asks if he went to jail to ensure “DUP politicians and their sons. . . were put into good, high-paid jobs, amass large bank balances over years and years of our poverty, and wined and dined by the so-called ‘great and the good’ whose company the DUP now seem to covet while ex-Loyalist combatants are treated as scum.

Are these, perhaps, what I ‘fought for’, Jeffrey?”

He claims the DUP cares only about votes but, at the assembly elections on 7 March, “God willing, the DUP just might get one very nasty surprise. This worm is turning.”

McClinton said he released the emails “because country comes before confidentiality”. He said he regretted his terrorist involvement, which had ended 30 years ago.

Jeffrey Donaldson said: “Kenny McClinton is someone with a terrorist background who has himself stood for election and failed to achieve a mandate. He is mistaken if he thinks by publishing these emails he will embarrass the DUP. I’m happy to stand by everything I wrote.”

Donaldson said McClinton’s behaviour relating to the emails was “very unChristian by someone who professes to be a brother in the Lord”.

Ian Paisley jnr said: “My emails speak for themselves.

I’ve no difficulty with their publication . . . indeed, given the person I was dealing with, it’s not unexpected. Kenny had no problems begging me to help get him a visa to the US where he wants to ‘preach The Word’.

“He has a lot more to lose from the publication of these emails than me. By his actions, he is undermining unionism.

It’s Sinn Fein which will be celebrating the actions of Kenny McClinton. If this is the calibre of opposition to the DUP within unionism, people will draw their own conclusions.”


Dear Ian jnr & D.U.P. Party Executive, > Grace and peace unto you and yours in Christ’s great and omniscent [sic] Name, my friends; may your hearts and minds be “lled [sic] with thoughts of Him. and the peace He alone can bring. Amen.

You guys in the Executive of the Party need to promptly turn this situation around before it is too late. The Executive need to get together and start to LISTEN to the dissenting voices within your own ranks, for such dissenters are politicians and politicians will not voice dissent unless they are certain that the grassroots DUP electorate are already voicing such complete dissent on the streets of our land!

The argument reportedly posited by your father that the I.R.A. would be virtually destroyed once Sinn Fein give their full support to the PSNI and Policing Board would be a sound agrument IF those signing up to Policing within Northern Ireland, UK, were honourable people, they are not. Their ‘long war’ is not over – it is merely going into different mode.

Sinn Fein in Government/Real I.R.A. in full war mode.

> With love in Truth, > Dr Cornelius K. McClinton BA (Hons); MA; Ph.D. ; D.Litt.

Ulster/American Christian Fellowship Hi Kenny once again thanks for your email even though I think your not seeing the entire picture. Look whose under pressure tonight – the traitors in Sinn Fein, traitors to republicanism! Rejoice our enemy is turning against themselves.

Its about time unionists recognised when such division within the camp of the enemy is in no small part down to our strategy of dividing them on the vital matter of law and order. Credit where credit is due! !

Well, well! That takes “bizarre” to new levels. It proves an on-going link between the DUP leadership and a blood-stained member of the UFF murder gang.

Kenny McClinton, a hardliner from the Shankill, progressed from the UDR (which trained him well) into the UDA and then to be a killer for the UFF. He developed a nice line in mailing book-bombs. In May 1977 McClinton shot Harry Bradshaw, a (Protestant) Citybus driver who had failed to toe the line when the UDA/DUP called a transport strike. He was arrested in August 1977, and eventually received two life sentences for murder. In the H-blocks he became a leader of the loyalists’ blanket protest, spending extended periods in solitary for violence to prison staff. On 12 August 1979 he suffered a damascene conversion: the H-blocks had similar effects on other loyalist killers, including Torrens Knight, the Greysteel killer, and Billy “King Rat” Wright.

He is now “Dr. C.K. McClinton, BA (Hons), MA, PhD, D. Litt., Pastor of the Ulster/American Christian Fellowship Mission”. The only legitimate degree there is an Open University Social Studies BA, earned in the nick. The rest are paper from bible-bashing degree-mills. His ordination is through “Moments of Faith International” of Waco, Texas. Devout souls may wish to send their wallets to him.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Pinochet: the blame game

Malcolm, for once not entirely convincing us, believes a Connacht newspaper acknowledged the lingering death, after an assassination attempt, of Hendrick Verwoerd with the valediction: “He was a rotten bastard, God rot his soul” (or words to that effect). So let it be with Pinochet.

Any obituary of Pinochet which misses the “why?” factor should be instantly discounted. So, Malcolm urges all to bestir themselves and study Peter Kornbluh’s The Pinochet File. There is also a full hard-copy on Amazon. Beginners might even start here.

Kornbluh unpicked the US Government files to show how Pinochet was manufactured, established and maintained as a tool of US policy.

Nixon’s own tapes show him, on Kissinger’s advice, planning to subvert Allende by “anything short of a Dominican-type action”. The most readable account is Chris Hitchens stitching up a prosecution case against Kissinger: the original articles were in Harper’s, but see here.

Hitchens makes it clear that the intention came from Nixon, repaying debts to Pepsico and ITT. The mechanics, the “hard line”, came from Kissinger, pliant to his President’s will, eager to please, and the arch-manipulator chairing the “40 committee”. Kissinger forthwith instigated the plot to assassinate General Rene Schneider, Head of the Chilean Army, who was too prissy and legalistic for US needs. Let it be understood: Kissinger planned the operation, actively sought out fascistic elements in Chile, and supplied untraceable weaponry, that a inconvenient and loyal officer might be removed from the equation. As Tom Lehrer put it: political satire died when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The “soft line” of US intervention was, in Richard Helms’ account of Nixon’s words, to “make the [Chilean] economy scream.” The US ambassador in Chile was ordered “to do all within our power to condemn Chile and the Chileans to utmost deprivation and poverty.”

The Church Commission is cited as absolving the CIA from involvement in the 1973 military coup in Chile. Not so fast, says Malcolm. Hitchens and other researchers show otherwise: that the CIA and other agencies of US policy actively recruited and supplied the military in the build-up to the other 9/11 (the bloody 1973 coup in Chile). Even more: there seems then to have been a cover-up, involving US complicity in the murder of its own citizens. Witness the unresolved case of Charles Horman (try Thomas Hauser’s book, which was the basis for the 1982 movie, Missing, over which the US Ambassador in Chile (Nat Davies) tried to sue. Another victim was Frank Teruggi.

Lest we forget …

And, inevitably, an eldrich screech from today’s Daily Telegraph:

Baroness Thatcher, who remained a loyal supporter to the last, was said to be “greatly saddened” by the news.

General Pinochet
General Pinochet: thousands were killed or disappeared during his time in power

She maintained that Gen Pinochet had offered vital help to Britain during the Falklands conflict in 1982.

A spokesman said Lady Thatcher would not be issuing a formal statement but would be sending her “deepest condolences” to Gen Pinochet’s widow and family.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized