The about-to-be taoiseach Simon Harris rarely wears any beliefs on his sleeve other than that he’s the best man for any job that’s going.

Published: 9 April 2024

But I’m not here to disparage Mr Harris. We’ve been plagued on our island with the twisted idealism that gave us decades of misery. Pragmatism is no bad thing. And circumstances and people change.

We should remember that those two wreckers, mass murderer Martin McGuinness and rabble-rousing sectarian preacher Ian Paisley, who spent the major part of their lives destroying constructive politicians, became Northern Ireland’s internationally admired Chuckle Brothers when they found it convenient to rebrand themselves as born-again advocates of peace.

Many people would be alive or able-bodied today if those two had embraced compromise earlier in their chequered careers.

I am an admirer of Jim Allister’s brains and integrity, but absolutism does not for long attract the necessary votes to achieve office and hence substantial democratic change. Why else would hitherto intransigent Sinn Fein spokesmen be changing their policies faster than their underwear?

During the 1990s, when the Provos were carrying out their carefully organised plan to cause disruption over parades to provoke the loyal institutions into near-insurrection at Drumcree, I learned never to use the word “compromise” when trying to persuade Portadown District Master Harold Gracey to see sense.

He didn’t, of course, despite the pleas of the Orange Order’s few friends.

(Since republicans deny any responsibility for those three years of death and destruction, here’s what Gerry Adams said at a private meeting: “Ask any activist in the north, did Drumcree happen by accident and they will tell you ‘no’…Three years of work went into creating that situation…”)

Sinn Fein/IRA, having no regard for truth, are superb propagandists. So perpetrators were seen at home and abroad as victims and victims as perpetrators.

In America, Gerry Adams was particularly adept at spinning a narrative of brutal suppression by supremacist unionists who had set up an apartheid state where the likes of him were second-class citizens. He came to believe it himself.

As late as 2016, hilariously, in a rage because he had to stand aside from the queue for President Obama’s St Patrick’s Day party because security couldn’t find his name on the list, he stormed off. It was “unacceptable”, he said. “Sinn Fein will not sit at the back of the bus.”

The implicit reference was to Rosa Parks, an icon of the US civil rights movement from 1955 when she refused to obey a bus driver and give up her seat to a white man.

When later it was suggested to Adams that it was rather fanciful to compare his annoying experience to that of an African-American woman in 1950s Alabama, he replied: “Not at all.”

This nonsensical exhibition of wounded vanity caused widespread mirth.

I tell this story not just because I like it, but because we need to remember that all extremists in the end fall for their own propaganda, lose touch with reality and push the boat out until it holes and sinks.

Their lies are rotting Sinn Fein to its core as people write and speak the truth. They are steadily slipping in the polls because, being a cult, they have ignored uncomfortable truths, fomented discord and been seen to use the law to intimidate critics.

Though it can take a long time, truth eventually will out. Few politicians or journalists now trust them.

Asked by Sky News how he felt about a united Ireland, Mr Harris replied: “It’s a legitimate political aspiration”, but “not where my focus and priority is and quite frankly, I don’t believe it’s where our priority and focus should be.

“We have…one of the most successful peace processes in the world, but it’s also a frosty peace, I don’t believe we have had an opportunity to see the full potential of prosperity embedded right across the island of Ireland through the framework of the Good Friday Agreement.”

Unionists should urgently present a united front to welcome this baggage-free new taoiseach, gain his confidence and work with him for the good of all the people of Ireland.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This