Martin McGuinness dead but the history lives
It is with mixed feelings that I received the news this morning that Martin McGuinness had died. The Troubles should be reflected upon as a shameful time for both sides, borne out of the dying embers of a Britain that had ruled the waves but which could not pry off the dead hands of colonialism from its own psyche. Detached from being personally affected by the atrocities, how McGuinness’s death will be received will depend a great deal on whether those cold dead fingers of British colonialism still reach into you.
My personal reaction to McGuinness’s death was to not be sad to hear he’d passed. It’s a reaction I find curious of myself and, when taking a moment to think about it and to view the sorts of people I have probably shared that reaction with, I recognise that it stems from growing up a child of Thatcher in Scotland/Britain and receiving a particular, one-sided, education.
Little Britain: From a nation punching above its weight to a political class being out of its league
The politics of Northern Ireland is quite remarkable and should be the focus of British history teaching for our children. The Troubles say so much more about the history of Britain and British character than learning about the Romans or Vikings or Alfred The Great and figures like Martin McGuinness play key roles in that. So much of what has fueled the disastrous and rabid push for ‘brexit’ can be traced to the politics that dwells behind the Troubles. Peace in Northern Ireland, for some, has meant conceding defeat and, for those, the war to suppress was lost, not the war for peace won.
For Britain to have deployed so many troops and resources into a part of the UK is quite extraordinary, yet was taken for granted. With Independence on the horizon for Scotland, the idea that the British government could deploy 10,000s of troops to quash the rebellion would be met with horror and international condemnation today but, at the suggestion that Theresa May could order troops onto the streets of Scotland, are there any people who don’t initially laugh and then think it could actually happen?
Theresa May’s intransigence over the issue of ‘brexit’ is baffling for most. There is almost certainly not a soul within the Palaces of Westminster who does not know what a disaster the Tories’ referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU has been. Intentionally divisive, ill-considered, unplanned for, with poorly fought campaigns, misstep after misstep. It is a mess that only the Conservative Party, under the stewardship of its Tory contingent, could have created.
At its core, the Conservative Party is led by a group of people defined by their sense of entitlement, their inherited privilege and all of the trappings of Empire that they inherit with it. Empire Britain, colonial Britain is that period in history when a small sect outside of British society exploited the people of Britain to carve the world and its resources up for their personal betterment. For those people, nothing has changed. Intellectually, politically, ideologically, the Conservative Party (mainly) is the play thing of that dying breed, sustaining themselves on the lifeblood that can be sucked out of Britain. Theresa May is the Prime Minister of Britain yet can so easily be bullied by media barons into policy decisions or policy changes. A lamb being led by wolves. And no other Tory or parasitical leader would be any different.
The Conservatives a Party for No Seasons
The importance of Martin McGuinness’s death should be that it is an opportunity to reflect on his personal history and his place within the much wider context of the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and where they sit within the political behaviour of an overly and disproportionately influential sect of Britain’s politico-media class. From Empire 2.0 to the Trident renewal, Britain demonstrates the influence its has-been class still has on modern British politics, an influence that is by no means isolated to the Conservative Party.
The war waged on UK soil was as much a result of the intransigence of a British ‘establishment’ unwilling to concede its days of Empire were over as it was a paramilitary campaign; that the British public sided with successive British governments demonstrates the encompassing coercive influence the British ‘establishment’ can and does bring to bear. From within the current Labour Party internal conflict, it is easy to identify the same coercive campaign being waged against the current leadership, something that the general public are blithely unaware of.