Saturday, December 17, 2005

Spy vs Spy

This is Top Cat and I must write this because the news today is sensational, flabbergasting and amazing. It is even more amazing that Northern Ireland has not slammed to a halt with the news that came out today, in fact, I would even say that it is almost revolutionary.

Let me explain some of the background. We had direct rule in Northern Ireland for most of the troubles. Politicians here had very little to do or think about because local political decisions were made in London. Hospitals, roads, taxes were all decided in London and because of that Northern Ireland was a dump for about 20 years because a politician living in London doesn’t really care very much about what happens in Belfast. Meanwhile the whole of politics in Northern Ireland became entrenched in a laager mentality of criticising the other side. For years all politicians talked about was whether Northern Ireland was British or Irish and they happily argued in circles for years and years.

Until the Good Friday agreement when finally we were given our own government. All of a sudden politicians started to be consumed with education, health, business news. They almost forgot about the old arguments and the DUP even aligned itself with Sinn Fein to battle the beef crisis and give farmers a good deal. Then we had a catastrophe, the whole government was closed down because Special Branch RUC officers stormed Stormont claiming there was a spy ring operating and security details were being passed to the IRA.

The last few years we have been back to Direct Rule and it has been one of the worst times in our history. Hospitals in Enniskillen are being closed, high water charges are being imposed, people in Belfast were flooded all because politicians in London are not interested enough to deal with our local problems. After 3 years the police finally brought the case against the so-called spies in Stormont and the case was totally thrown out of court. It was declared that it ‘was not in the public interest’ to prosecute. Why? When Peter Hain was asked to explain the decision not to prosecute he stated ‘the case does not have any importance’!

I was disgusted, with Peter Hain (one of those in direct rule) with Special Branch with the courts. Northern Ireland is going down the drain and all he can say is ‘I don’t care about it’. Needless to say the DUP and the UUP were angry and have stormed parliament looking for answers. They got very little until today …

Denis Donaldson one of the Sinn Fein administrators accused of being a spy has declared he was recruited by British Intelligence and Special Branch in the 1980s. Since then he has worked as a British spy in the heart of Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein are the party that are working for a united Ireland and a total end to a union with London. He also has claimed that the Stormont spy scandal that ended the N Ireland government was a complete fabrication by Special Branch i.e. the police!

This is Le Carre stuff, spy thriller bluff and double bluff. Whatever people say over the next few days we need to get our government back! We have to prise it out of the dirty slimy fingers of Peter Hain.

Let me finish with a quote from Ian Paisley, talking about Peter Hain's refusal to explain why the court case was thrown out of court:

"In view of the governments refusal to make a statement, this situation has been aggravated to the point where the people have lost faith in the government and faith in the governments determination and dedication to deal with terror."

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Price of the ticket and paradox

'The Price of the Ticket' is a quirky, kinky, crazy, chaotic mess of a book. A lot of it just doesn't make any sense. But it's also a cynical, street-smart, barbed, clever, and oftentimes very funny neo-noir farce- which saves it.”

This is taken from a review by Terry D’Auray. This book is one of the strangest most intriguing books I have come across. I went to see Jim Nisbet in Belfast a couple of weeks ago and one of the things that impressed me was his intense focus and love of writing whilst hating the modern so-called-literary scene in USA. A harsh critic of the creative writing culture Jim explained that his books were hated in the USA and loved in France.

I can understand their point of view the writing does appear strange, even trashy at times and at other times quite brilliant with a huge lust for life and wildness. I was also impressed that even though Terry said he didn’t really like the book he did recognise a lot of the characters from San Francisco. This is a plus point for me because I want to know what it is like, not how the media and film industry tells me it is how it is for real.

One of the reasons I haven’t updated this blog is that I can’t really get my head around this book, another reason is I have been extremely busy and reading very few fiction books.

Tonight for the first time in ages I picked up ‘Systematic Theology’ by Tillich. I started to read a wonderful passage on the role of paradox in theology. Paradox is central, in the idea of the incarnation and redemption, it is an idea that transcends our logic. To quote Tillich:

“The acceptance of this paradox is not the acceptance of the absurd, but it is the state of being grasped by the power of that which breaks into our experience from above it. Paradox in religion and theology does not conflict with the principle of logical rationality. Paradox has its logical place.”

(That means I have reached page 64)