Thursday, 19 February 2009

The new Cause

There is a shadow over [London]Derry

Despite so much progress towards peace, a republican spinoff group that refuses to accept the peace settlement, Bogside Republican Action Group, has come out and threatened the British oppressors. That is, they have declared that TV license and parking officials are "legitimate targets".

This is such wonderful progress. Really.

Whereas before, the "oppressors" came in form of army helicopters, armoured personnel carriers and armed foot patrols by the UK Land Forces, and the issue under dispute was whether the 1921 partition of Ireland was accepted as legitimate, now the outstanding issue is whether parking on double yellow lines is a crime.

The best thing about this is that while the previous issue divided the country/occupied six counties fairly irreconcilably, both sides of the conflict now have a common enemy. Whereas before the Nationalists could not get many Unionists to embrace their viewpoint, parking is as much an issue in the British quarters as the Irish ones

Hopefully this adoption of a common enemy will create unity within the country. Perhaps even the classic songs of either side could be updated appropriately. The Orange Order's song, "The sash my father wore" could be updated to become "The 4x4 my dad drove me to school in"

Even that republican anthem of internment, "The men behind the wire", could have its lyrics updated.

Old: "Armoured cars and tanks and guns, came to take away our sons. But every man must stand behind, the men behind the wire."

New: "Derry city council parking enforcement officers came to ticket our sons for illegal parking. But every man must stand behind, the vehicles parked on the double yellow lines"

It is only through such modernisation of both group's narratives that peace and reconciliation can be achieved.

Apparently the local police are looking at the threat, and even Sinn Fein have condemned it -presumably because it is their council's revenue which is now threatened. Here on the mainland the concern must be how much ex-PIRA armaments the Bogside Republican Action Group has access to, and whether they have linked up with mainland groups with similar aims, such as Captain Gatso or the Association of British Drivers. Here on the mainland we've been isolated from the Troubles for nearly a decade, and it would be good if it stayed that way.

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