The Provisional IRA's game plan from 1970 consisted of nothing more sophisticated than blowing the Brits out of Northern Ireland and wrecking the economic infrastructure of the place. Yet last week Gerry Adams was reduced to suggesting a tax on plastic bags and phone masts as a way of helping the same Brits out of the economic canyon left by the Labour government and dodgy banking practices. How wonderfully humiliating for them: the former crypto-Marxist revolutionaries of the IRA are preparing to administer Tory tax cuts and job losses in a Northern Ireland which is now – thanks to their incompetence and utter lack of failure – more firmly entrenched in the United Kingdom than ever before. That may be worth some sort of prize, but surely not one for peaceThe prize Kane is talking about is from the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, joint recipients this year Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness. Do they deserve it? Only if they regret creating in the first place the conditions which later made those taking of "risks, both personal and political" for "peace" necessary. Ultimately though in the Alice in Wonderland world of the "Peace Process", whether they do or not seems immaterial to the "wider picture" when these kind of accolades are handed out.
More pertinent to the present political situation is the fact Robinson has accepted the award; from an Irish institution and jointly with an ex-IRA commander. Unlike his predecessor, who seemed to be driven primarily by ego when faced with situations like this, Robinson will have thought through carefully the strategic consequences of acceptance. Jim Allister has already "slammed" the decision, the TUV Ultras will most likely be spitting feathers at the "betrayal". Others (eg Alex Kane in this article) will be seething that Robinson is reaping the rewards for the risks taken by Trimble and Co earlier. Robinson has calculated that neither sentiment will cause the DUP any significant damage at the ballot box.
The accepting of the award, however, continues to move Robinson and the DUP towards an increasing centre-ground, deftly nicking yet more of the territory previously occupied by the UUP. Peter Robinson, Scourge of the Segregationists and now apparently Prophet of Peace seems quite prepared to accept "the rewards offered to those who are prepared to jettison principle and reward terrorists"
Better by far, though, not to be any longer scorned by an increasingly moderate electorate.