'THE

(1974)
INCLUDING

Strike bulletins o£ the ·Workers AssociatioQ.
SECOND EXTENDED ED I T I ON

,

..

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-

CON
INTRODUCTION: INTRODUCTION: STRIKE BULLETINS

TEN

TS

SunnLngdale

EPILOGUE {The Strike Bulletins were issued during the General Strike Organised by the Ulster Workezs' CouticiL in May 1974. Published as a pamphlet, June 1974. Republished with Introduction, July 1977.}
_~''''''.'~""" .. ,_-~-. "...,"_A-;"_''''"~'~''''''''

~

-

_

I N T ROD
...

U C T ION
IIMt··"'.........

SUNNINGDALE The General Strike which took place in Ulster in May 1974 resulted in the fall of the devolved Government which had held office since January 1974, and in the abolition of the entire Constitutional framework which had been established by the Sunningdale Agreement of December 1973 for the functioning of devolved Government in Ulster. But these dramatic results were far in excess of what had been demanded by the strike leadership. The effective demand of the strike was that either the Council of Ireland aspect of the Sunningdale Agreement should not be ratified by the Stormont Assembly, or an Assembly election should be called Since it had been made abundantly clear by the Westminster election in February 1974 that a substantial majority of the electorate was opposed to the establishUlent of a Council of Ireland under existing circumstances, this demand was entirely reasonable But the Government, (which ;s to say the Stormont government under the hegemony of the Westminster government) resisted this demand with blind stubbornness for two weeks - and then capitulated in an extravagantly excessive manner. Not the slightest concession was made to the wi 11 of the major; ty for two weeks, and then a mass; ve concesssion was made which exceeded the hopes of the most extreme opponents of Sunningdal€ amongst the strikers.

*

1

Ulster is a region of the United Kingdom that is inherently unsuitable for devolved government, but devolved government was imposed on it against its will in 1920 by Westminster as part of a grand imperial strategy for reaching an accomodation with the IRA on an all-Ireland framework loosely associated with the UK. That accomodation never materialised, but devolved government in Ulster was kept in being, National or regional hanogeneity ;s a prerequisite for the devolution of government, But Ulster in 1920 was very sharply divided on national/religious lines The province was made up of two quite distinct communities, the product of two different historical developments One, constituting two-thirds of the population, was British and wished to be governed as an integral part of the UK, The other, constituting one-third, derived from the old Gae Iic society and was invo lve d in the Catholic nat+ona ltst development that had begun In the 1820s: it wished to be governed by the Catholic nat iona l t s t ' ate of Southern Ireland Neither of these communitIes wished to have to cope with the other in a p rovf nc t a l statelet Yet that is what Westminster~nsisted should be the case The Unionlsts, being confronted wlth the accompllshed fact of a devolved government, applied themselves to working it The Na t i onat t sts (f nc lud i nq the Nat tona lx s t Party and Sinn Fe m ) appl led themselves to making the provIncial statelet unworkable, usually by pas st ve obs truc t.t on and or cas iona l Iy by m i li tary means - and one third was a 5uffic1ently large minority to make such a po 11 cy feas i b 1 e The 1 mpo si t IOn of a common devo 1 ved gove rnmen t on these two sharply confJictlng communities was an act of gross political i rrespons ibi l i ty It had the .nev t t ebl e result of aggravating and prolong ng the1 r antagonlsm with one another, and retarding political deve lopmen t within each What they required In order to supersede thelr local antagonism was the greatest POssible nvolvement n the pol itiC5 of the larger multi-national state of the UK What they got was a pro~jnc1al statelet which sealed them off from political InvolVement In the malnstream polItics of the Urn ted Ki ngdom Belfast developed as a component of the great triangle of capitalist citIes including also liverpool and Glasgow. Even Belfast's "s ec tar t an" problem was shared, though to a lesser ~xtent, by liverpool and Glasgow The Liverpool Member of Parliament,
ErIC

Heffer,

has written:

"Livezpool is, like Gla.sgow, one of the Leet: qi eet: proleta.ri.an c i.tzi.ee ; Lt: has thrown up Leedez s , both Tory and Labour, who have tended to act like American c~ity bOSSAS •• " Liverpool of course had at one stage a predominantly Tory working class which JIm those days was based on a irel i.q.icsuus protestant foundation. Today that has gone, and working people tend to vote as workers, irrespective of religion, which has led to the growth of the Eabour Party - although, contrary to press mythology, such a development has t:jcen pl ece only since the end of the second world war" (Eric Heffer, "Who Says Labour's Working
p

Class Socialism Is In Decline?".

Tribune, June 18,1976).

It is one of the negative consequences of devolved Government in Ulster that Heffer does not include Belfast with Liverpool and Glasgow. The three c'i ties developed together and they remai n closely interlinked economically and culturally. The "sectarian" problem has the same cause in all three: the migration of the Catholic peasantry of South and West Ireland into centres of industrial development during the 19th century. (In 1800 only a handful of Catholics lived in Belfast.) If there are still remnants of Catholic/Protestant conflict in the labour movement in Liverpool and Glasgow despite involvement in British political development, is it not probable that that conflict would still be flourishing in those cities if they had been secluded from British politics and compelle46i't~afds on themse 1ves, as Bel fastwas? n Much has been written about "fifty years of Unionist misrule" in Ulster. But that 'misrule resulted from the very fact of devolved government rather from the behaviour of the party which had to operate it. Because the structure of devolution was itself inherently divisive, and because its establishment was opposed by the Unionist Party, it is unreasonable to hold the Unionist Party responsible for the consequences of devolution,
l

Fifty years after the structure had been set up it broke down. The persistent opposition of the Catholic minority to the Unionist administration led eventually, after many twists and turns, to the uncontrollable rioting of 1969, and the intervention of the Westminster Government, Stormont existed as a Whitehall puppet for a couple of years longer, but was formally abolished in 1972 after the Faulkner government resigned in preference to becominy a completely token affair. Westminster had no sooner abolished devolved government in Ulster than it began mckingp..~a('atiort; restore t t , It was announced to in August 1972 that a Plebiscite on the Border would be held The
3.

w:i1!:I'11i'rF the lWKvrou.ld! not be jeopardised

jpllIJIlf'llKDsell!llb;s t

the Unionists that their position by any strange -arrangements tlli,arlt were made lfl! restoring devolved government, It was hoped that time' IP'Teblhdte wtJild take the Partition question out of the PQ~itiics, of ~'tl'Olved govennent,
ws to reassure aarntii-lP'artiU®nist

An

ISm"del"PleMscite,.

groupings were vociferously opposed to the and were detemined that the Partition question si;Jl(!)luJd re:nr~ilf,f:. very lDIudt in Ulster politics. The Plebiscite was rmoet hEld lIJII'1i1l:H Marcltt 1913,. when it was boycotted by all antil?artlt;Q'I!!i"fs1t organrnisations,. including the SDLP.

A, Green Paper (J)n time COlnsti tutional future of the Provi nce was issued im Nio;'/letnIler1972, Thj s was followed by a White Paper in Marcirr 1973~ and a Constitutional Bill in May 1973. The latter provided for the election of a Northern Ireland Assembly, which w,Quld meet under the supervision of the Secretary of Sta te for Northern Ireland (William Whitelaw), and from which it was hoped agreement w!o'IJl develop for the fonnation d of a "power=ehe ciriq" devolved qove rnment . The elections were held in late June 1973, and resulted in a comfortable majority for the three parties which were the potential power sharers: the Faulkner Unionists, the Alliance Party, and the SDlPBut there was a substantial um oni s t minority returned on an "anti-White Papei:" platfonn. The Faulkner Unionists, with 26~ of the vote, were a minority party in the Unionist camp The SDLP, which up to this point had been claiming to represent 40% of the soc~y, got 23% of the vote, The parties of the future Coalition had 49 seats in the7R seat Assembly, while the three Unionist parties opposed to the White Paper had 28 seats" But the Coalition did not yet exist. It was far from being the case that the future Coalition parties had fought the el ection on a Coalition prografll1le of power-shari n9
0

froo the Stonoont Parliament in July 1971, of internment), and had established an "Alternative Assembly". Early in 1972, John Hume announced a policy of "united Ireland or nothing"" The IRA offensive escalated continuously until the sUlmier of 1972, and the activity of the SOlP was dovetailed into that offensive. The SDLP relationship with the IRA in 1971-2 was somewhat similar to Parnell's relationship with the Fenian roovement a century earlier, as described by James Conno l Iy. Parnell, wrote Connolly, "always The SOLP had withdrawn (before the introduction
believed in a physical force party b7. i would never join it. This gav-e tiim the power: to say to the Englj_sh Government that iEi t did not grant his mode.ce tze demands then the phys'cal force party would take cotitiro l: of Irish affairs out of hLS hands". Parne 11 thus "had the power of an organisation of anned men behind him whilst

hE had nCJres.p.m:=;,o;

I' tj

8,J9~14) B,y1973

r o:

rbe t.r

s.ct.ions."

(:,ri"h

Worker.

August

that the TRA of tens: ve was: not going to succeed i n the way that seemed posstb l e ea"'ly in 1972. On the othe~hand the IRA remained 'ntact as a fighting force, The SDLP began to move back gradually '(nto the sphere of constitutional politics wi th what it considered a very strong bargaining position Its bargaining strength depe~1~d on its 23% vote combined with the fact that it could present itself as an alternative to the IRA, In order to gain most from its It>argaining positlon it played hard to get. It did not enter "into any agreements befor a the election, or for many months after the election, In its election campaign it downgraded the significance of the Assembly, describing it as a "conference table". In contesting the Assembly election it commit te d itself.to absolutely nothing. And one of its leading members, Paddy Devl in, had made a number of statements aga 1 ns t power-sharing, which he described quite accurately as
"inst~tutiona1ised sectarianism".

H was (lear

Paddy Devlin exp l a i ns in his book, The Fall Of The No"'thern Ireland Executive, (1975), that "by the end of September (1973),
tiime was running out for the parties elected to the .. .As sembl.u: They needed to commence work at once on a power=ehari nq form of Government which could operate on a consenpus basis In a limited field of Execut~ve act iv i t.i ee , .. W~th the Assembly eJections four months behind .. , we had nothlng to show for OUI efforts except' the futLli ty of trying to set up a procedure for working the Assembly wiii cii a loyalist minority was trying stubbornly to bl.ock:"

(p40), However. it was not primarily because of loyalist procedural obstruction that the Assembly was getting nowhere, it was because the SDLP was dragging its heels politically. It laid down some very sti ff preconditi ons for any movement beyond casual chat at the conference table.

"At Westminster, Mra Heath was showing i rr i tzat.ion over our failure in the Assembly to get the show properly on the road, He was only too well aware, like ourselves, that March, 1974, was the deadli.ne set out in the Constitution Act by which a power-sharing ~xecucive should be in action. Failure to do so would have Led automaticany to disso1ut~on of the Assembly and a possib.le return to another and more protracted per iod of direct rule and its consequent violence. It was in the light of these facts that the SDLP at a meeting held early in October i.n Dungannon decided to break the deadlock, Pr t.oi: to titue the Party had i.nsisted that its members would not take peu:t: In negct iations to form an. Executive., uiit.i.L It knew p recu.ee Lu wbat: was to be e ch ieved on the ISsues oi. ending deten~t1()n w i t hou+ tr reL an Eortn i nq d CouriciL .of Lri=end , and on
0

5
I

~

changes po l i.ced

nec~ssary e.teae"

(Dev lIn, p42)

to wiik" thF' pOLice

mo.cs

accepr:abLe

in ::1on-

What actually happe~tjtQ break the deadlock was that Heath visited Dublln 1n late September for discusslons with the Southern government, and made an off-the-cuff remark to newsmen that if the Assembly dldn't produce results the alternative policy of integratIng Ulster fully into the UK would have to be considered. This remark produced a startling effect on the SDLP leaders They had imagined that Whitehall considered integration unthinkable as a final political settlement, and that their own bargaining position was impregnable 80t if Heath had an open mind about integratlon, then they had to get in and negotiate for a slice of devolved power while it was still on offer. Under this stimulus negotiations got off the ground in October and were finalised at Sunningdale 1n Derember Paddy De v1 in descr i bes the Sunn i ngda 1e negoti a ti ons:
appz oe cti
i

';The qeiiece I

of

the

SDLP

to t.iie

Ui l.k.s: was to get

al lr-LreLetid

as t.s t ut.s one eet.ebl iebed WhICh, w i.t ti adequate safeguards t») r ,v(,uld produce the dynamIc that could lead u Lr.i.metze l ij to an nqr eed :itTJ,::/le Stat:e fOT li el.end, TTndt aieatit: , of course, that SDLP representa t.: ves would conaentu at:» t.bei.r erit.i: ce etfor t.s on bUl Iding up a set iu.l Liieee All other of of

tz ime

t.eriqi bl e executive wouLd create

powe if'JI the Council wtii.cti in t.he and s uet.e in an evo t utn oner q process,

qen=rel Lc at
Council

issues were goverm'Hby that approach and were aimed x educ i nq Z iyalist resistance to the conc epr= of a of Lrel.end and a powez=ebaririq Exec utzi ve The SDLP was the of need for loyalist the Conference, Vlews to be responded to in the We were in need of some loyalist ExecutI ve operational" (p32). .r.be they uniomsts could

sensitive to de.l2berations suppoz t to

enable

us to get

the

Devlin writes of the uni om s ts at Sunningdale:
had Ins~sted accept forma.l from the outset that the only reason

".

the need for a Couric iL of Ireland was z n exchange fOL a declaration by Dub.li n on N, Ireland's Const.itut.iona.l status, Government anticipated the need for such

The Tt: Ish pruduced a ii=e L draft

a sta tement. and
the

Eoittnil a »lii ch was .la tel included WI th one by Br.i tain recognising peop.le support

side by side in that shou.ld the

Norther'n Irish BrItain would was to in the the teq
i

w.ish to become part of a united Ireland, that wish, The Irish Government's statement be no change consent of

the effect status of
WI

tha tit .recognised tha t there could the status of No Ireland without the

Northern s t.er ed

ma.ionty and that this statement would be , , .To rmsl l q th the UnLted Net.i.one . Mr:, Fau.lkner and hIS ttn iorii.et: Importance to them of the status zn seiling the

co.L1eagues wez e ab.le to apprec.ui te the Dub L i n dec Le xe t con on Northern Ireland's

6

....

'.

I

-.

agreed package when' 11«ey. eturned to Belfast. r It was a new form of recognition which M!l:;,,j. Cosgrave was giving to the unionists on :,.the constitutional wsidpn of the North. Indeed, Mr. Roy Bradfqrd,addressing a meeting of his constituency party two days after'wards, said: 'It was my first, priority at Sunningdifl,le to get recognition in t;he form of .a formal solemn declaration that the wishes of the majority would determine the future constitutional sta tus of N. Ireland. We got that declara ti.on in cl ear and unmistakeable terms from the Irish Government." (p33/34).

Devl i n concl udes: "We were satif?fie4 that w~ had secured the basis for an effective and evolving Council of Ireland~ iie.~ gone beyond 9ur wildest dreams in securing WeIfe Tone's objective of uniting Protestant, ,Catholic and Dissenter. We had one worry and that concerned Faulkner .and JUS Party's ability to sell the package PiP the N9rthern electora_te i~ view of the .rising tide of loyalistlfJostility to him back home" (p39) ., When it dreams retain if the appears that you have gained somathi nQ beyond your wildest you w;'ll be well advised to act veryprudent Iy in order to it, especially if your wildest dreams are pretty wild and place is tll s ter.,

4 of the Sunni ngda Ie communique t "representatives of apparently in90mpatible sets of political aspirations ••• found it possible to feach·agreement to join in Gqvernment because each accepted that in doing ,so they were not sacrificing principles or aspirations". But it was obvious that parties with antagonistic

Accordi ng to Paragraph

principles and aspirations, could only fonn a Coalition government if one of them secr i f'iced his pr+ncip les and aspirations. No matter how ccnvo luted the forRJuJasf.might be"whjch were employed in order to obscure the sacrt fi ce t the Government woul d not work unless one of the parties abandoned its principles for practical political purposes. SDLP and Unionists left Sunningdale, e~ch thi nk i ng that it had got a very defi ni te edge-over the other. The SDLP thought it had got a Council of I rel and wlii chwould evolve into an all-Ireland state. The Faulkner Unionists thought they had got an unambiguous recogni,ti on of the Border by Dublin. One or other of them w()ulci inevitably discover that it had mad,~ a fundamental miscalculation.'
~t.

Eighty per cent of the Sunningdale Agreement had to<io with complex arrangements for the Council of Ireland,:";'which is to say, with concessions by the. Unionists to the SD~P. Only one' sentence was concerned with anti-Pa~titi()nist concessions to the Unionists~ The fi rs t. sentence of ParagraphS reads: "The Irish Government
fully accepted and solemnly declared that there could be no change in the status of Northern Ireland untU a majoz1.·ty of the peopl.e
........

I

." ~.,__

---.---~~-.---

:..1 N

no t+nq t.hat the word "'.iI1C/1" '.., use d her-e ins tead of the word "uril es.s" In 1tself this might not be ve"'y s i qnt fi cant., but i t ,S 1n harmony with the genera: tone of the document The above sentence is followed by a dect aratton of the British Government tha tit woul d not oppose the relevant "change in sta tius'", whi rh is expressed in a way that positively looks forward to it Nevertheless, if the one sentence declaration of the Dublin Government had had the effect of negati ng the sovereignty claim over Ulster that is expressed in the Southern Constitution, the overtones and bias of the rest of the Agreement need not have bothered the Unionists. On the face of it that declaration was unconstitutional since it conflicted with the sovereignty claim in the Constltution, and an amendment of the Constitution would be a prerequisite for a ratification of the AgreemenL It would have taken a referendum to amend the Constitution, and that would have i nvo lve d a repudiation of the sovereignty claim by the people of the South after sha rp po 1 i t i ca 1 controversy And if that had happened. there would have been no basis for Unionist fears that the Council of Ireland was a Trojan Horse of ant i-Par t i t.tom sm

ii eLand

aesii.t ed a change

:.n,:.hrJ:[

s.t.arue",

It

is worth

In mid-January 1974 Kevin Boland, (a former Cabinet Mlnistet' who had resigned from Flanna Fail in 1970 on Republican grounds), appealed to the High Court to rule the Government's signature of the Sunningdale Agreement invalid Boland was legally represented in Court by Sean MacBrlde - IRA Chief of Staff in the thlrties, Minister in the post-war Government which declared Southern Ireland a Republic, now a Iea di nq mernber of Amnesty Internationa l , and recently the reCipient of a Nobel Peace Prize. decl arat IOn The Government pleaded that its Sunningdal~ was not in conflict w i th and di d not in any way prejudi ce the soverei gnty c1 a tm in the Constitut1on, and the High Court agreed This meant that the Sunningdale declaration did not mean what it appeared to say, and what i t had been represented as saying.. It was not a rejection of the sovereiqnty claim. It was a mere statement that it w.as not the po l i cy of that particular Government to enforce the soverei gnty c1 aim agai nst the wi shes of a majori ty in the North The matter was further c le rlfied in late February at the hearing of Boland's appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn the finding of the High Court, where the Attorney General, T K. Liston, submi tted on behalf of the Government that: "Any person 14.i/Wg in
t.b i the

s:

i s l end and dec Lur e t.ixn

kiiowt nq our hlst~lY could not po eeib l.q conet.iae :in P;,[agraph Sot Surin i nqde l e ) as meen i nq that

we

did

fa.y ct.e :» ov et. thE- SIX Courit: e;c; TbF President of 1he Court sa,:d . t "as '"cry c er eI eeel q d re.i t ed , or very cn r e Fu l Iy dr ai t=d , to evr.id :'i;lying ftlr...at the c l e imcf the st-ate w"'s~ Mr Listen said tha.t they pr eeume.bly knew what rhe cl.e im ot: the state . was" (Irish Times Feb 22), not ffigh

Following on the Dublin cour~ m~~~s, David Bleakley (the only Northern Ireland Labour Party70r the Stormont Assemb ly) ca 11ed on the Dublin Government to admit that it couldn't meet what had been generally understood to be a commitment entered into at Sunningdale to recognise the Constitutional legitimacy of Ulster's position within the UK; "In all fairness Mr. Cosgrave should pubLicly ...
stop pretending that he is any longer able to fulfil his obligations. His present pretence is unfair and utterly unhelpfu.l to the No.rthern Execut.ive" (Belfast Telegraph, March 23,1974),

But Cosgrave did not respond, He continued to insist that the Council of Ireland should be set up immediately, and to its fullest extent, even though his Government had stated unambiguously Ln public court that its Sunningdale declaration did not in any way detract from the sovereignty claim in the Southern Constitution, And it was not only Cosgrave who did this: hiS Government colleague, Dr. C.C O'Brien, a would-be liberal democrat, struck an equally nationalistic attitude. After the court cases, O'Brien made a number of irresponsible inflammatory speeches, demanding that the Council be set up at once, and promising (or "predicting") dire consequences if it wasn't. Before O'Brien entered the Government he had frankly recognised the undemocratic character of Articles 2 & 3 of the Constitution. But after the Boland court cases, when he and his colleagues funked the issue and retreated to the Fjnna Fail position, O'Brien began to evolve a Jesuitical argument that Artir1es 2 & 3, far from making a sovereignty c leim over Ulster, Wf're i n fact a Constitutional recognition of Ulster's st- tus within the United Kingdom The grain of truth on which this monstrous lie was based - a lie worthy of Dr Goebbels - was the fact that the de jure 32 County Constitution included a clause saying that its-laws would, for the time beinq, only apply de facto in 26 Counties O'Brien and his colleagues began to pretend that recognition 'of the mere fact that Ulster was within the UK was the same thing'as recognition of its right to be w~thin the UK But the Const~tut~on c lear ly asserts a de ju·re right to sovereignty over Ulster, while acknowledging that this right hac; not yet been made good in the <ea 1m of fact Paddy Devlin ~kates around th s de~ 10pement. eJen though ~t was
g

the o ri q l na l cause
=ccqlit: r eaeenrenc= in corii'iu. i on ,fence

of the fall
ME Kevin

of the Executive:
of
o

"M,'_r" EeuLkrieu:

on t iie met.t:er

status wtii.cb. had been clouded Bol.erid , had cbal l eriqed the Irish

GC"E: runen t ' '" ,~tdt9mentl.n the SI,nnJngdale commun i que , The IT <0 ~<,'"nEr; taL "de-i e-nce:' s ubmi s ion c La imed that it bed not: '"" kL_)~, ;dyrei NUltheiT! TteIand'E st:atus The :1~"" was uns b.ie ~o e xp l.« ; n : L~ ,s(;,bmu=-s [.CD fully in COU.L t: e e the mot.ion (i e Beland's) WdS r e iusied at ;;in eat Zy stage and an «ppea I which was pending plevent.ed cIa, £'/catl'Jn of the pos~t1on 1n public Howev':!r, Mr Ccs qr e ve made cLe;....l to the uor ctiero I're' that he intended to make a statment '3ilLe, the appeal that wouLd coriii.rm what;lV'ds e qr e=d .z t: Siiru: nqde l:e" (p7)

ex;~t: .r, the coo.;s th« ,}rn ted K;:hj'i'.Jm
c.cr: i.de ed ; t d i.Li er ence e"

But. ~I~~- afTer the furthPr c1ar,firat:on of things at the appeal In February, the only statement that would have ca""ried any conv'cti0n w~,a statement announcing a referenrlum on Art~cles ? and 1 The statement wh rh he actua ly made (Marrh 23) d d more ha'--mthar good"ThE Gave c nmerc: welS CiV''7i,' ~wate 'h;,t; d ... i e conoes t
6St(J

tiu t con-sL the
be

I.dW

of

the
to

e te.t.iis

.Republic of t r e tend ;.)1 N Lr e Lsrid but t

arid 01

But to allay Un on i st fears, "however unjiis t.r t. u=,d t.h-: co rernmerit ie l:t: t iiem to be", the der lare t ton in Paragraph 5 of Sunn inqda te was ssue d "The deotax eti s.ori WcJ.S, 01
(II')
tu ",·CHj the

wou t d not

het pt.n !

debatEI:he..c;e

conet.: tutiona

cour ee ,

But un les s they were ha Huct nat ng they could hardly deny that it was a fact that Ut s ter was within the UK The De Valera Constitution did not deny nor fj d the IRA. The point at issue was whether or not Ul ster was to have a cons tt tut+onal ly recognised r ght to determine it~ own future, and to remain within the UK. And on that po nt Cosgrave's posit1on dld not differ from de Va 1 era! s .
tiu ct:"

i,·,

that

r=t:e r ti nq to the de .facto et.er.us of N Lr e l end , that is Lact.ua l. POBI i.i.on , , I'Iie tactiueI. poe i t.ion ;)f N Ireland it JS wi.t.h.i n the UK and my Gov e cruuerit: accept that as a

t:'

Havlng explalned clearly that his Government only accorded de facto recognition, Cosgrave proceeded to say: "1 now solemnly
r e=e ii i z m that changed except Ireland", All

that this brazen and baffling statement coul d posslbly have meant i~ a practical e~timate that it would not be factually pos~ible to change the factual position of Ulster against the w r l l of the majonty there Beyond that, t t only meant a declaration of intent by Cosgrave S own Government - a sllght and short-term thlng on the scale on which the Constltutions of states must be assessed (And even In that sl,ght sense the statement

the iact.ueL by dec i sian

pc
OL

1. t.t.ori d

ot N. I.xeLerid .. , cannot be mejor i. ty of the people of N.

mus t be judged as fr eudul ent . The CosgravE'. govf"'rment tl"led +o Overcome the wll ~ of the Uls tel' major ty through a tl~.ckY' p01~tjcal manoeuvre. and to real~~e a~ much as possible of the sove(e~gnty claim ':n the Counr t ' of l.reland even after th!'? February election had made the will of the Ulster electorate abundantly clear Taki nq that into account. Cosgrave!s "soIemn" statement only said that his Government would not use direct -- military methods to achieve the sovereignty claim, though it would be .prepared +:0 resort to every sort of political manoeuvre to do so, ) THE LOYALIST COALITION GATHERS STRENGTH The Loyalist opposition to Sunningdale tried to develop a pO+wlar movement against it during December: 1973 and January 1974, Paisley spoke at ra l l tes throughout the Province, warning that a sell-out to anti -Parti ttont sm was bei ng enacted by the Exe cut t ve through the Council of Ireland, But, even with ~ld enemies like John Hume and Austin Currie putting on an extravagant exhibit1on1st d+sp l ay of governing the Province, Paisley scarCely ra+se d a ~lpple of concern in the Protestant community, Many of his "ra l l l es " attracted no more than twenty or thirty people, Paisley' was never so isolated politicallly as in the month afte .... Sunningdale But the situation was very suddenly trans fo rme d by the Dub l in court cases, The one real thing in Sunningda1e from the Unionist vt ewpo int was the apparent official recognition.1bY Dublin of Ul s ter ' cons t.i tut tona l status within the UK" Given that recognition, the Unionist electorate was prepared to go along with the Council of Ireland 0n the basi~ of cooperation with a neighbouring state with which it was on friendly terms and had some common interests SDLP participat~on 1n Government was also seen in the light of Dubl i ns re(ognitiC'n of ULster's, right to be within the UK In that contevt " t appeared that the SDLP had Ceased to g~ve pr+macy to ts ant4-Part~tlonist "eapiret.i on'", and that the asp i r at.t on would have no bearing on immediate political
sonduct, Butwhen the Dub] .n COIJ"t j::a~;e.' e s tab t i shed that the Govern,ment's dec atdt on at Sunnnqds ie d i d not det"''ilct from the sOlie':'e~gnty c 1 ai m , the one rea 1 th -;ng n the Agreemen t .from the Urd ori c t .ji ~wpo nt suddenly disappedred. Sunn ngdae c)uld then on'y be regdrded as yet another e13bQ'~a'_E: en+ ~'3' t ioni st manoeuvre by Dubn and the SOl-P.fcuiknt'r, ut d cn'y be regarded ?) ii man who had been vw ind ted. -he urroni s t c.ommIJr'ty then came very "''lp~dly tc the CU(i(;;ljs~on that it wou d. r,,)' put. 1jp with the Courc~l nf re .anc And sn-v:e the. E',er::ut~Je "eCIJ~",(j to draw thl'lt qmf?

conclusion from the Dublin court cases, the Unioni~t turned towards the Loyalist opposition

electorate

On January 25th a fl111-page advert by the UUUC appeaY'ed in the Bel fast News Le t te r , The subject was "Sunn i.nqde l e - The .Truth"" Here is what it said:
12th June, the Dublin Government written cons i.i rut.i on,

"On Friday

tiox

1974, Nr , Kevin BoZand •. .eued the members of aLlegedl y breaki.ng the terms of Eire's He claims that by the now ','nfamous' erid+s: stat')s within Boland's c t e ims , and the effect that ttJEY N Tr el-uid+s. stat'15 as
S

ag.reement the Dublin Govt iecoqrii s ed N LteI the UK· The Dub Ii n High Court ie jecxed Nr , upheld t.he eubau s s Lon of the Dub Ii.n Go vt: to nev ei at any t.ime CIt Sunri inqde Le recc qn i sed P.:.H t: Court:
'Jf

the

UK.

BeLev .. ls a summd.ry r

cf

Dub l i n '

eubmissi on to

the

"a) We never acknowledged t h.a N Ireland is part of the UK. r b) We never ac know l.e dged that. NT:uid nor be reintegrated a n t.o the natIonal terr iiory un ti 1 c·, un Le= s a maj o r i ty of people i.n N Ireland indicated a w i sh t o become part of a United Ireland, c) We never purported to deprive the Irish people as a whole ·f the right to na t Lona l self-determination Dr to determl.ne the status and territnrial sovereignty of thp Irish nation" (The point of this is that the selfc

determi ni ng unit woul d be the 32 count i es.)

"d) We never purported to li.mit the national territory to this part of the island of 1.reland. e) We never precluded the right of the Parliament or Govt. established by the Constitution ()f Eire) to e xe rci.s e jurisdiction -er the whole island f) We never purported to .impo-: e Bdt ish Nati on a li ty or Citizenship on a section of th~ lti~h people residing in N.
Lr e l.and,
0 C

g) We never precluded the courts .. from exercising j ur si.d c t i.on over the whole o f . .Tr e land." i
II~);.'~

HIgh

Coui:t: ..

0

"

upheld

the above

s ubttu.e e iotie ..

"Result.:. Not only did MIo Kevin Boland lose his case, but Br.ian Faulkner also losL HoW'can Mr, Faulkner claim that he has won ;;ubl.:.n'.s r eooqru t.i on ot our s ca c.us as part of the UK when Ei.re's n : gh Court contradicts this;' "Resul

t:':

The Sunru.riqde l e aq.c eement: now enables

the

Diib l in

Govt

to

e xer c i s e executive powe.r over a part of the UK. .:.n line with the above submission and judgement.

Thi.s is enti re}y The UUUCare

12,

sat:£.siied ~t UJ'S''!=ef.,:f.s .in a state of transition between~otal and absolute Br.i.tis.h5?PYereignty and tota.I and ,abso.1uteI.rish sovereignty •• n, and t~,t.. the Assembly-appointed RepublicanUnionist Execut.ive, an4,Council Qf Ireland! is the machinery by wbic-h the Irish Govt. will in reality eventually exercise total jurisdiction over N. Ireland."

,

'

The factual accuracy of the above was not challenged: it was unchallengeable. And the Sunningda1e perspective with which it ends fully accords with what was being said by the SDLP. (The UUUC advert was a Peti tion for whi ch si gnatures were gathered .. Over 100,000 signatures were gathered before the Petition was made redundant by the Westminster election a few w~eks later.) In mid-January the Loyalist ccal t ttan had little popular support, and Loyalist politicians expressedtte-r frustration by disrupting the Assemb1y by ",aw1 i ng. (Thi s was the occesten when Kennedy Lindsay 1eapt' 'on the table between the front benches and proclaimed that "the temple has been purged"). But six weeks later the Loyalists swept the board at the election, winning eleven of the twelve Ulster seats. The Unionist electorate had been convinced that there was fundamental duplicity involved in Sunningda1e (and the Boland Appeal, coming a week before the Election, drove the point home). This election has been regarded by apologists for the Executive as the cause of all the trouble that followed. But what the election did was to register the extent to which public opinion had swung against the Council of Ireland since the Dublin court cases. If the Executive had been politically competent - or if it had not been cri~led by a fundamental conflict of interest wit~in it- it wou1d have we1corned the ele:tti.'l£oo r c1a ri fyi ng the fund amenta 1 fo shift in public opinion that had occurred .: The idea that, if this shift in public opinion had not been able to register itself so quickly in an election result, the Executive could have carried . on regardless of it, is an infantile fantasy, The trouble for the Executive was not caused by the election result, but by the natural and reasonable Unionist re,-,ponse to the Dublin court cases. The Executi ve chose to ta!ke no Formally, it was not under any election concerned a different suici~ajl', to strike that fonnal account of the e 1ecti on resu1 t . obligation to do so since,the parliament. Politically, it was attitude.

*
After the first Dublin court case it appeared for a moment that Faul kner was about to do what it was necessary to do if the 13.

"It Eire now wishes to put a d~ffezent interpretat.ion on that declaration we wil.l l.squi.re complete clarification on the whole ms.t.t.ei: bet oze tibex e can .be a formal signing of the agreement But du ng the fc l lowtnq months he showed that his reputation as
0 "

Sunnlngdale

arrangement

was to su

,ve and develop"

He said:

~killed politician wa~ quite undeserved: After a private meeting w" th Cosg r-ave he sal d that the ambt qui ty had been c leared up and that Cosgrave would remove all doubt after the Appeal had been heJrd And when Cosgrave issued his obscurantist statement in March, Fau lkne r professed to be completely sa t t sf te d by t t. Within the EKecutive the SDLP was demanding that the Coun~il of Ireland should be established immediately , in its fullest form, regardless of the Boland case and regardless of the e 1 ec tion vesul ts , and Faulkner- behaved as if he hlmse 1 f had nothing to barga n with and could only concede to SDlP demands

a

*
m,:;fcrtune about the February elec t ion was not tha t it broyght the UUUC to Westm1nster but that it ~rought certain people f+om Westminste,," to Ulster" The new overlot'd:~ of the Pro vinee Nete Ha rold W,"son, MeY'"lyn Rees and Stanley Orme .. Less than two years earlier (March 1972) Wilson had held discussions with the Provisional IRA at a secret rendezvous in Dublin, and had had an IRA de leqe t ion flown to England for further discussions in J,Jly 1972: and he had announced a pc l i cy of excluding Ulster from the UK and including it in an all-Ireland state within fifteen years" Rees was his masterls voice. And Orme was well-known as a campaigner in the anti-Partitionist movement,
The great

Shortly after Rees took office a letter which he had written a year previously to a Provisional IRA supporter in Dundalk was released to the press by Dav~d O'Connell. It was dated March 19, -:973, and said: "Frankly we have not the faintest desire to stay In Treland and the qu.icker we are out the bet t:er" .. Rees had to admit that the letter was genuine: and he di d not retract what he had said in it And he too dec~ded that the Council of Ireland had to be established regardless of everything,

*
A word needs to be said about the structure of the Council of Ireland" It was to have two tier s : a Council of Mlnlsters and a Consultative Assembly. The Council of Ministers would be made up of members of the Dublin and Stormont Governments (sever from eac~, and "would ecct: by unen imi.tsj'", ThE: Consultative Assembly would consist of 60 members, half of whom would be elected by the Dai l (Dublin Pa rlaimen t.) and ha l f by the Stormont Assembly on the basis
14,

Of

p(oport~Qnal

Y€p~e~entation

The:e would 'J~e'e-fo!e bea cle0( ant-PaTt't~or.~ct ;na.jQy-~ty (th'? Da iI 50% p lus the SDLP) n both the ourc~l of Ministe"s and the Consu~tatiJe As:emb1y In the Coune 1 of Ministers this would be negated in executive matters by the unan'imi ty rule. But it would make the Consultative As semb ly into an agitational centre for a,r' all-Ireland Government. In view of the continuing sovereignty claim being made by the Southern state over Ulster, and of the fact that it was becoming clearer every day that the SDLP leadership were interested in power-sharing only as a means to anti-Partitionist ends, it would be surprising if Unionist opinion had not swung massively against the Council of Ireland. And since the Government had decided to override public opinion and go ahead with the full implementation of the Council of Ireland it is not surprising that direct action was resorted to. It should be recalled that the SDLP, though in government, was not supporting the police force on which the government depended. It was promising that it would begin supporting the police if the po 1 i ce ve ce brought wi thi n the executi ve functi ons of the Counci 1 of Ireland. It should also be recalled that the SDLP had consistently advertised itself as an alternative to the IRA that is, as a "po-,-it~cal solution" to the military problem. It was abundantly clear by May that it was not an alternative to the IRA. The Provos were their own men. The IRA offensive had not abated because the SDLP had entered the government - if anything, the contrary was the case, The SDLP was therefore demand; ng that it should be maintained;n power by security forces which it did not support. And insofar as the SDLP trled to induce the IRA to ease up on the military campaign, it was by arguing that it (the SDLP) was in the process of achieving all-Ireland Government by a Machiavellian political mano~uvre which would outwit the Unionists, while the military campaign had become counter-productive since it stiffened and gave coherence to the Unionist resistance.

*
Paady Devlin does not signified politically UUUC victory affected Westminster imagining writes, but "they had say a word about what the February election in Ulster. He writes about how little the Westminster. The UUUC MPs went to that they held the balance of power, he
underestimated the influence of Heath and

Wilson on the two-party systemo o. Both men enjoyed a singlemLnded dis1.ike of Unionist policies and personalities, and were singularly determined not to create opportunities for the Union.ist MPs to exploit theiL strength in a tied vote As a result, trust.ration and anger grew overnight emonas t: rhe unionists with their i.neb.i.li ty to stop the onward m'll rcii of t'J-..? Northern Ireland Executive which, on the su.rface at any rate, appeared unconcerned with the success of the UUUC in the recent elections .. Indeed, Merl1;'1 Rees stated quite categorically ... that Sunningda1.e was to be i mpl.emetitied" (Deb 1in, pl 0/11).
0 ••
0

But, wh le a government can decide to ignore the clearly expressed will of the electorate which it is supposed to represent, the electorate is not thereby rendered helpless. When an unrepresentative Parliament ignores the will of the electorate, it can hardly complain if the electorate turns to extraPllV'l' emsn+a ... means of enforcl ng it<=, w,1] y The Assembly majority had become g"'oss1y unrepre-en ta ti lie of the electorate, The Assembly had not been elected as a Parliament, but as a Constituent Assembly. Faulkner had acknowledged this '/!hen taking office on January l s t , but had proposed that the elect1on. or referendum, to sanction the new arrangements should be deferred for some months so that people could see how they worked before they voted on them. But a fter the Westmi nster election nothing more was heard about that. The more unrepresentative the Assembly became, the more the majority in it were determined to pretend they were a properly elected government. This grossly unrepresentative Assembly decided that it would ratify the Sunningdale Agreement on Tuesday May 14 And on that same day a laconic advert"~ement appeared in the News Letter:
"The Ulster' Workez's' Couric L i gives notice that: If Brian Faulkner and his colleagues vote in the 4ssembly on Tuesday 14th t':.; support SunnJngdale, then There w.i.l be a Gen=reL Stoppage_. ) Workers' dependents are advised, in such an eV'en t., to apply for Supplementary Berieiii t lmmedi.ece l q , Ait:er 6pm (T'u .. 14) all ~ es eerit.i al services wil I be maintained, and only action by Mr. John Hume W1.11 rob the housewife, the farmer, and the esen t.i eL services of power"
00'
0

The Workers' Association began to issue ltS Strike Bulletins on the first weekend of the strike, It had no connection with the UWC and no inside information If began to issue these Bu112tins '1n the evidence ofi ts senses in order to counteract the gross misrepresentation of events by the media, By the end of the strike the Bulletins were in mass circulation,
16,

'*

July 1977

STRIKE

BULLETIN

No.1

The radio and television commentators have been doing their best to to confuse and obscure the causes of the political general strike. What are those causes? They are three-fold: 10 The p2litical bungling of Merlyn Rees and Stanley Orme at the Northprn Ireland Office; 2 .-:Nze irresponsibility of the Dublin Government in pressing for the immediate establishment of a Council of Ireland; and 3. The failure of the Executive to deal tactfully with the popular feeling aga.inst the Council of Ire.1.and, and its tactless power poli tz.i co in ie l qiriq on its mectuuiire I votii nq majori ty in Stormont - a majori ty which has long been unrepresentat.ive of popular feeling. This crisis could easily have been averted. David Bleakley, the only Northern Ireland Labour Party member in the Assembly, made a propo.5al which would have averted it. But the Executive insisted on pressing ahead with its confrontation with the Lvyalists, It was made abundantly clear by the General Election in Feb rua ry that the Loyalist viewpoint Qn the Council of Ireland was the majority viewpoint, and that the Coalition's voting majority in the Assembly had become unrepresentative. Bleakley proposed a metion welcoming "the success of power shex irq", but taking note of "the difficul ti es that have arisen over the meaning of the Sunningdale Agreement, parUculatly the ru.ling in the Dublin High Court that it is not possible under the present Ccnstituticn to give fu1.l recognition to Northern Ire.1and", and proposing that until such time as the Dublin Government is able to drop its claim to sovereignty over the North the Sunningdale Agreement should not be signed. That was a reasonable, democratic and statesmanlike proposal. It separated the question of power sharing from the question of a COllnril of Tre]and, which it was urgently necessary to do. Poweraharing has been shown to work, The Council of Ireland is not necessary to power-sharing, and is in fact the main danger to power-sharing. If the Council were shelved support for powershari.ng would inc.rease rapidly in the Protestant community. And the Norther:n Catholic community is not primarily conc.e rrie d about the Council. Catholics who CEase to support the Republicdns see power-sharing as the real al t erria i ve., and no half-baked Council r is needed to placate them. The real
p uvp

o se of

the Council

1~

to

p rov i.de a

fig-leaf

for l;he

Dublin Government which enables them to represent Sunningdale as an anti-Partitionist victory, and a step towards a united Ireland. The case against the Council is unanswerable. The Constitution of the Republic asserts its sovereignty over the North. The Southern government has not the authority to delete those clauses from the Constitution, and is afraid to call a referendum on the question. It pleaded in the High Court that its de facto recognition of the right of the people of Northern Ireland to decide the{r own destiny did not prejudice the de jure right of the Southern state to extend its rule over the North by forr-e. And haw can there be equal relatLons between North and South ~n a Council, while the South claims sovereignty over the North? Dublin pleads that its intentions are good, and it will not enforce "the cl aitn':, And that is true - for the time being. But th,· p ro f ound 5 ep r i ism with wh i ~h the wC"rds of "he. Dub l in government are received by -'l large part af the Northern people is grounded in long and bitter experience. It is only a few years since the last Dublin government, while uttering fair 'Words, was ac t i v'Te 'i.n lved in se t t i.ng+up, financing, arming, and Ly vo p rovi ding a safe h i.nt.e rland for the Pr-o vi.s i.ona IRA, A change of l In; en ti.cn needs to be demons t rated in action in order to be. c.onvincing: let the Dublin government tall a referendum for the de let.i.on Articles 2& 3 bpf,!!,,,,again c.a lls for the establishof it ment of the Council of Ireland. (And, in view of the controversy that has been caused, the Council should not be establihsed withou t, a pr i or referendum in the North, no matter what the South may do in future,) The bungling of M~ rIyn Rees and Stanley Orme has been the major faccor in precipitating the crisis, They have been behavIng like arrogant, pompous, and badly informed "olon'1-?!administrators ever 1 since they came to Northern Ireland, Ulster is nobody's colony, and the soener Messrs. Rees and Orme realise that, the better for chem and a1l concerned, William Whitelaw worked out the agreements and set up the structures in which pC:I>nflict n Ulster can be i resolved, It needed only an understanding of the situation and a O'ertianamount of political diplomacy to ensure that the Whitelaw solution worked out in practice. Rees and Orme have taken no trouble to understand the situation. They brought with them a heddful of false preconceptions. They have been aggravating things ever since they came. It seems as if they, and people llke Roy Mason in WestmLnster, have been deliberately trying to provoke the Protestant worklng class, and to convince them that the Provo propaganda - that Wesrminster is preparing to ditch Northern Ireland as if it were a redundant colony - is rrue. We do not say they have been doing it deliberately. We believe it to be 18.

po l i.t i ca I bungling"

But it is bungling

of cr i.mi.nalpr opo+ti.cns ,

This provocative bungling is well illustrated by Rees's attempt l.n recent days to equate the industrial strike w1th the bombing campaign. How long is Harold WJson going to refuse to recognise that Rees and Orme have made a dangerous mess of things? It was a mistake to have sent them here, They were well known to be strongly biased against the Unionist community. They should be recalled before they can do any more damage, and replaced by somebody more capable, and less prejudiced against the Protestant community. Protestants and Catholics are now beginning to sort out their differences on a democratic basis. There is every prospect that this development will continue. If Westminster politicians are incapable of actively helping it, (and that has unfortunately been the case with the'Labour Government), they should at least try to stop hindering it.

*
Political bungling caused the present strike. The issue that is forced into the forefront of politics might have been avoided with a bit of political tact. Since it has not been avoided it must be dealt with. When the Executive took office Brian Fawlkner acknowledged that new Assembly elections would be needed to sanction it. So many changes had been made since the elections of summer 1973 that the mandate needed to be renewed. But, he said, it would be best if people had had the opportunity to see the Executive functioning Sfor five or six months before new elections were called. That was /months ago. So how has it suddenly become such an unreasonable thing to call for new elections? The Exe cu t i.ve and the No r t he rn Ireland Office are now resorting to power politics pure and simple, They have decided not to call an election un ti.L the prospect of a Loyal i.s t majority recedes. But. powe r p o l i ties require great po Li tical tact and ski 11 to be successful in a situation like t.hi.s i and that tact and ski 11 has been sadly La cki.ng for the p ast <couple of montbs Power po l i t i.cs have come to grief in a spectacular f ash ion . The G-.:vernment migh t 'hink; t knows best what is good f or the peop Ie But it has f a i l.e d try s ecur'e the p aas i 'ieC()n~:2,nt DfrhE" pe.c;pl€ for wb ar it .; s do i ng , and 1 t must b ea r the r:0I1S,eq112nc:e:;; t fcci Luxe by naming of t.hs a date within the year: for Assembly el acti.ons
0 <
0

Re e s h.'J.8 said he wi~! make

He

cornp r=ml.ae

s

with e po l.i.t al s t r i.ke . ic

19,

It isn't long s i nce Ted Heath was saying the same thing to the mine.cs. Everybody knows that there was a strong political element in the mineTS' strike, which aimed to break Phase 3 and force an election. It is absurd that Rees, a beneficiary of that successful political strike, should now be making pompous declarations of principle against political strike", He should t ry to ccn ti o I his obsessive hJS~ :U_LY to the Pr o t ea t ant. working class. Wilham Craig said that when Len Murray spoke about Northern Ireland he didn't knc:w what he was talking about. That, unfortunately, is only too true. If Len Murray wants to diminish William Craig's influence he should either keep quiet about N. Ireland, or e1 se find out something about it. It hab been mdde,blatantly obvious that the official trade union leadership does nut represent the working class in this matter. Lt. is useless jt'l L~ tk"_£ rn t.i.mi.da t i.on A certain amount of lntLmidation takes place in many strikes: but no strike gets off the grcund purely through intimidation, or lasts without a strong core of popular support. In political matters the Ulster working class falls into a Limbo between the British TUC and the Dublin based Irish TUC. The ICTU 1.8 st.rongly anti-PartitiunisL. In polit.ics ~nd leading Scuthern trade unionisLs have financed Provos). The Northern Committee of the ICTU avoids overt politics, but there is a grossly disproportionate anti-Partitionist sentiment in it, The Belfast Trades Council, run autocratically by Betty Sinclair, is not:'oriously unrepresentative of the political view of Belfast trade unionists. This strike, and the impotence of the official trade union leadership, should finally make the British TUC aware of these circumstances,

19.5 1974. B~lfast

STRIKE
TO
T~E

BULLETIN
OF BRITISH

NO. PRESS

2
AND BROADCASTING.:

REPORTERS

Your ceporting of exercise, bearing as "news reports" thought this would done so. In fact si t ua t i on , It is

the strike so far has been a mere propagandist as little resemblance to the facts of the case of the Republican News tend to do Perhaps you help to end the strike. It has clearly not it has been a serious factor in aggravating the time that you put an end to propagandist

20.

misrepresentation. The fiasco of the "trade union return should have jol ted you out of your propagandist Y1JtS.

to work"

Many of you, in the name of impJjlrtialreporting, have spent much time talking to Provisionals,: and reporting their version of events. Robert Fiskd The Times, to cite one example, justified this approach on Northern Ireland radio recently. He justified impartial reporting of the "enemy" case because he regarded the Northern Ireland conflict as a civil disturbance within the state rather than as a conflict between the state and its enemies, But when it comes to the Ulster Workers' Council and an industrial strike, as against the Provos and a bombing campaign, Mr. Fisk's journalistic impartiality evaporates, and he reports the strike as if he were a paid propagandist of Merlyn Rees's Ministry. Your reporting has acted as a provo~ation. You have attempted to bring the Ulster Workers' Councll into disrepute and to represent the strikers as a rampaging mob. You are feeding British public opinion with false reporting which backs up the political bungling of Rees and Orme. You are bringing yourselves into contempt. In view of the provocative misrepresentation of their intentions and actions by the press, broadcasting and the Government the strikers have been behaving with remarkable moderation and good sense. Sooner or later you will have to reckon with the Ulster Workers' Council, and the viewpoint that it represents, as a social force that cannot be conjured away either by false propagandist news reporting or by the manipulation of power politics. And the sooner Muhammed starts moving towards the Mountain, the better for all concerned.

*
The fact that Messrs, Ree s and Orme risked so much of their credibility on the SUCf'€SS of the "t.rade union return to woxk:" shows they are politically inept rather than ma I'ic Lcus , If they had done less of the "co Lon.i al adm.inistrator" act, and had done a bit more to find out something about the relation of the official trade union leadership to the political views of the trade union rank and file, they would not have expected the "return to work" to be anythjng less than a fiasco. Len Murray appealed to th~ workers to heed the call of their tried and trusted Le ade rs to re r.urn to work, My. Murray must now realise that the official trade union leadership are not the tried and trusted leaders of the workers in anything but the narrowest tr~de union affairs. In Britain there is at least 8 general identity of bread pc li.ti.ca sympathy between the Tue and l 2L

THE

'TRADE

UNION

RETURN

TO WORK'

the mass of trade unionists. That is not so in Northern Ireland. Andrew Barr, Chairman of the Shipbuilding Confederation, and Jimmy Graham of the AEU, led the back-to-work campaign. They are anti-Partitionists. The mass of their members are Unionists. Ban: and Graham are heeded by their rank and file in trade. union af fai rs p cupe r . But when the;r led the back+t.c-wor k campaign they were not acting as trade union leaders but as politicians< In political matters they are at loggerheads with their membGrs, so the campaign failed. We hope that Mr. Murray will take thetroub1e find rJUt why he walked to the shipyards, along with the "t:xled and t.r uet ed leaders", and a mere 150 men. If he does he wi 11 find that what we have sai(i'is true. There is a tacit undeystanding in the trade union movement that political and economic matters will be kept separate. In ,.:.irc.umstances sharp political division this Ls a necessary of condition fa! keeping the trade union movement united in economic mdttecs. Barr, Graham, etc. broke this convenj:.lonby trying to use their leading position in the economic struggle for political ends, And it is this fact, (rather than "Lntimi de t l.on on the housing estates", as Graham argued on the radio), that cuused this morning's fiasco. The enormous political gulf be,t;weenmany of the trade un~on leaders and the general trade union rank and file is unders tood rn Belfast as a pragmatic fact, it will now be understood by many in Britain as a pragmatic, but incomprehensible fact. Since the weird logic of Stanley Orme will try to find an explanation for this fact which harmonises with the widely-held Anti-Parti tionist view that nearly all Protestant workers are incipient fascists, who can only be saved from fascism by anti-Partitionism, and since press reporters have not bothered to find out the facts of the case, a word of explanation is necessary here. There are a number of particular reasons why political antiPartitionists appear in the economic leadership of workers who are politically unionists. One is that the Communist Party of Northern Ireland gained a strong position in the ~rade union leadership during the 1939-45 war. During that war, and until about 1950, the CPNI was strongly Unionist in politics. It fought the 1945 election on a Unionist progrannne. During the 1950s it vacillated on the question of the Uni~n. In the course of the 1960s it became increasingly anti-Partitionist, and united with the Irish Workers' Party (26 Counties) in 1970 w form the Communist Party of Ireland on a strongly Catholic-nationalist progrannne. Through this development i'C lost its mass fo11owing in the Protestant working class, but a number of individuals tamained in the leadership of unions. 22,

to

i

j

A second cause

the. fact that local le3ders of many Britisb based b ase d un.i ons are appointed by the Union executive in Britain or t ha t elections are held on a United Kingdom basis. In auch cir.cumstances there is a bias in favour of anti-Partitiono (The British Communist Party is anti-Partitionist, and so are many Labour Party elements. who have been induced to b~lieve2that anti-Partitionism and social progress are synonymous in Ireland,) That is how Andrew Barr, Jimmy Graham etc. come to lead Trade unionists with whom they have no political sympathy.

rs

The main politic.al damage that they do is in giving trade union leaders in Britain a cvillpletely false picture of the f:ituation here.

*
"

WHAT DOES
they are

'SUNNINGDALE'
8g-'Jjr.,~t

MEAN?
0

»

agai.ns t "Sunn ingda Le "

This

Ds,weT-sbA.ring. ir, "Surm i nq del e'"; P:;';'Jo-shaY'ingnd a is the COGDeil of l(E.1.ahd rhat is at Ref'S and Orme could g ras P that simple foots of themselves.

the st ri k.e is

Hanv of the s t r i ke r.; repl~d sS{itat',-Lve;~ "';~-;L:l S,o-} enables it: to b,o said that Bur: there are tT.l7G el.ement s the Council of Ireland, It issue in the strike, If fact t:hey might stop making
j

Len Mu[xay t.h.i nk.s he 1:: d\:ifending "Sunn i.ngd a Le " when he walks "il t h Andre'W Barl: in what the mass of the workers seE as a blackleg attempt. And Andr ew Eal'c,::>f course, doesn't tell him that. the political pd.:-tyto which he (Barl:) b eLorrgs - the Commun i s t Party of Ireland oppo8e~ Sunningdale. because it isn't sufficiently anti-Partitionist. The CPI has been putting up posters c aTli.ng for return to work as an anti-Sunningdale measure, The CPT was hoping fo r 2. major conflict in the Pr o-t st ant community cve r e return to work. That would certainly have upset SnnningdaJe,

Workers! ASSDclatlon

21st

May 1974"

STRIKE BULLETIN
THt~

NO,

3
ThEe
C::::>T>:-'O

GOVERNMENT

1S THREATEN KNG jJOWER~SHAR l NG

r t -ions

IArd~ cde r every

The con t or ci.ons cf the Cove rmnent and the se rv.i press get le clay. It is as if t.hey ,;rexe de t.e rmine d to d ri.ve the great maj or it y IJf the. Pz-o e.st t ant comm-rrri ty int0 the g,ll'ms o f the
23 ..

die-hard opponent's oitpower-sharingo When the strike began last we't!k:they embarked Q~"~ propagandist campaign of confusing the ;j; issue. T?ey dectared~O\:ler-sharing to be the issue. In 'fact~a:C1 ,anybodyw~th an ounce of ,wit should have been .abl.e. co ,$~etha,t,it was the Council of Ireland,issue that was bringing widespread support to the Loyalist alliance. But the result of the Government's antics is to increase Protestant opposition to power-sharing. A clear decision to reject the Council of Ireland until such time as the Southern Government called a referendum and 'deleted Articles 2 & 3, or until such time as a Council was sanctioned by a referendum in the North, would have cleared the air, and would have given the power-sharing Executive the opportunity to prove itself. Such a course of action would have minimised the popular support of the p~ties opposed to the Executiye. But the course of 'action which was adopted has given the anti:-,,~xec4-tive parties an undEniable majority in the country: and the behaviour of the Government during the past week tends to develop that majority from a simple opposition to the Council of Ireland into an opposition to power sharing.
we'll

People say:

by political bunglers who imagine tha~ they are defending powersharing, and who see themselves as God's 'gift to the human race!! If the wise men of the press and the BBC want to find the "extremists" responsible for escalating the threat to:powersharing, they are to be found in Stormont and Downing Stn

"if all of this is necessary to defend power-sharing, have none of it". And th:LS situation has been ,brought about

Orme, Rees and Wilson have announced that .they will smash the Protestant workers into the ground rather than negotiate, or even negotiate about negotiations, with them. When Orme, a long-time fellow-traveller of the Republicans, declares this, it is understandable. (The Republicans have longed for the day when the British Mtmy will smauthe Protestant workers.) That·:re should ever have been made the Minster of State at Stormont was an act of gross irresponsibility. But have Rees and Wilson taken leave of !heir senses? If they persist in the course that they threatened yesterday, power-sharing is finished.

"
WILLIAM
t

*

William BleasE!'c finding -lJt, is hard to come to tertnSwith thP,fact?!e is n.ot the political leader of'his trade unionists. It *N. Ireland Officer of the ICTU:

BLEASE'

S MAJORITY

24.

~~ ..~

since retired.

,.

.

was he and his colleagues who forced the issue trl_ a confrontation, He is now trying to explain away the fiasco. He still claims that the majority of workers support his policy. and that the Ulster Workers' Council represents only a handful, The reason only 200 of the 20,000 workers in the East Belfast industrial complex turned out is that the other 19,000 were intimidated. liven the Bl~C is finding that hard to swallow,

* ~HN THE
The BBC' s opinion poll of a few weeks' back has been ITS cited in recent days to prove that the UWC does not have widespread popular support. That poll shows a great maj OT1 ty for moderate opinions, and it is argued t:hat since the UWC is "extremist" it cannot be representative of majority opinion, and the effectiveness of the s t r i.k e must be due to Lnt i.nridai on , c

GOVERNMENT

DOESN I T USE

"MAJORITY SUPPORT"

Bue if the Government policy has majority support. why _is the prospect of an AssAmbly Election viewed with such panic? Dopsc't e ve ryone know that an election now tould almost ce rt a in Ly return a minority of Executive members, virtually wipe out the Faulkner Unionists" and greatly Lnc rea se Loyalist rep re.s t a t i.on ? Is it en not precisely be caus e the Government knows very ".vel 1 that its bungling has t u rrre a maj or i.t.y of the e Lect ora t e against it that d it is panic-stricken? If the UWC represented only a minority of bully-boys it would be very easily dealt witho But the UWC began this strike with a solid core of popular suppo r t , and the arrogant and hysteri;;1l behaviour of the Government has caused that snpport to i.ncre as e And no amount of tricky propaganda will now erode the influence of t he WC. No people with any spirit will put. up with being blatantly insulted and trampled on . (Isn; t it sur p.ii.s i.ng that such a thing should have to be explained to people who call themse~~es sociali~ts?)
0

The BBC poll

showed

that ample basis

exi:sted for consolidating

and

d eve Lop i.ng the power-sharing arrangement provided a modicum of political ab i.Li.t y and diplomacy we re brought t.c bear en the matter, IL required no ordinary r.ne.p t i.t.udeto make such a thorough me ss of things as Rees and Orrne have done, (Whitelaw. havi.ng down his bit in Ul sce r , seems tg have d i smi.s sed i.t f rom

his thoughts. But. it Ls certain that-he were s t i.l in Stormont l things wou-ld not new he in the me58 tha t they are, It is not pleasant for a workers' organisation to have to regret the absenCE

01.

a T;ry and the p r es ence o f a 'socialist': fact.)

but a fact Ls a

*

A CREDIBILITY
Wi 55ft

statement said. that the Government will restore norma.l life in Ulster, What with? It says that is p rese-rv i.ng essential services? It has been pretty we11 proven that: essential se-rvices are maintained by the uwe rathe:r thaI! the Government. In fact the Government can think of uothing to do except threaten to use the Army in some way or ether. It has lost all contact with the people.
...

GAP

1ast night's Westminster

HHAT I S THE SOlU
h;;t

Thp. me: r e that t he Government in its attitude of ;_ l cn i a l domineering, 0 the more cliffic.d t a sol ut i.on becomes. By its recent actions the government has tucned the Assembly into a rump Parliament. And the longer the p re sen t policy 18 continued" the less chance the re is t ha t the Assembly will again be regarded as a ::-epresentative instituti.on '-Intilthere are elections, But how are the p ar ti es which now declare the U\.JCto be an unrepresentative minority to survive the elections?
'~t=7TIT75

a;;;;*~~iir"=-aa~~~~"",~

n ON

NOW?

pe rs L3 ts

Itis certain that they will not be able to mai.ntain themselves in po 1 i tical power by use. of the Army. They "an only su rv Lve by going on the offensive politically: by n.e go t i.a ing ~Nj t.h the m.\lc; t by making a clear statement. that there w i.Ll. be no Council while Dc.;blinfunks a refecendum on its Constitution or while a majority in the North opposes it; and by announcing a date for new elections towards the end of the year, thus givLng themselves a f ew months in which to gain cce d i b Ll i ty with the Council issue out of the way. If they haven't the guts for that course only coherent alternative is to declare full integration with Britain.
Workpr;;;' As

of action, the 1n favour of 22nd May, 1974

soc i a t ic.n

26,

STRIKE
TOO LITTLEJ TOO LATE?
~ya;-~~:;iW Mi!Ms%i'5'5P

BULLETIN
it ;

No.4

,
)

The Executive's decision to reduce the scope of the Council of Ireland can be summed up as, too little, too late. If it had reached t.his decision tvo weeks ago, and if it had averted the vote on Sunn i ngda I.e on .Iune 14th, in the manner proposed by David Bleakley, it would not now be an a state of panic-stricken confusion cleverness~ the SDLP leadership has made great l__tself, It is known that John Hume fancied that the SDLP 'QuId g'f'J"eTn Ulster on its own, using the Faulkner Unionists as Ct f ron t , Bu t SDlP behaviour over recent weeks did not help it to achie'le tb'it 3.iUbi~ion. If it wanted to be the power behind t.he s r.eries 5.~-_s h.cul d !:lave t ak.en good care of the s cerie ry , It W8.S never on for tt h3ve both great political influence in Northe~n Ireland and a s t i-o ng Cc;;n-cil of Tre l and . It bas overreached ; tsel f . f a i l e d to get :its p r i.or it i.es in o r de r .

For all its t ccub Le for

----u

*
~:~~~!l!':~~

,
J

SDLP The g reat. struggle within -~-'~_.'::"':::::::-_--:::C" r.h e Executive to water down the CO'-lDf i:!_ of Ireland r hr ows a r e vea Li.ng light on the aspirations of the SDLP, If it had not been loc-king on the Co nnc i.I as a stepping stone towards a unit e d Ireland in the not too distant f ut.ur e , _~ is hard to see why it shc ul d have made such a fuss, t and threatened the existence of the Executive, over the proposal to water down the Coun c i 1.

A REVEAU NG LIGHT

ON'i,'HE

We always took the Council of Ministers to be the substance of the Ccun c i.l . The second i.i{~ - the Parliamentary assembly seemed to be a very insubstantial thing, since it could take no decisions, So why did the SDLP make such a fuss about dropping it? It is known that (he !~hblin Cabinet had been reckoning on a BTitish w i thdr awa1 from Northera. Ireland at the first oppc r r.urrity. And in the conJ::ext of cbat reckoning, the importance 'of an e l abo r a t;e Parliamentary structure for the Council is greatly inC-Teased. What is unimportant and rathe, pointless in the context of Union with Britain continuing ad infinitum (that is,

while a majorlty demands it), becomes much more important and pointed on the assumption that the British Government is only ~ J waiting for an opportunity to ahed Northern Ireland. It would seem that the old Anti -Parti t i cn.i s t Adam of devious srhemi.ng t.n power politics was not quite dead in the SDLP leadership
0

But by agreeing to the Council of Ministers minus the Parliamentary foliage, and making further developments of the Council dependent on elections, the SDLP must have de-escalated its ambitions considerably. But: too little, too late, and in the wrong circumstances.

*
$QUA.

What sense is to be made of Brian Faulkner s statement on radio last night, that it is impossible under the Constitution Act to hold elections before 1978? He s;i~d thqt the Act lays down that Assemblies will li:tst for a fixed period of four years, as is the case in the American e.lectoral system. But last January. when the Executive took office, he said that, in view of the great Constitu.tional developments since last summerts elections, it would be in ord€l:'fOT new e\rctions to be held after about six months in order to sanc:tinnt nee,,, system. Hadn't he read the Constitution Act then?
I

A politician who invents principles as expedients, and who refuses to deal with the reality that is all around him, is ln desperate straits. If the American system is in operation here, we should have been told about it before now: it should not have been saved up as a final t rrnno to play in a moment of crisis. The Ame.ricans are having great trouble with their system at the It is an inflexible system, and is quite alien 1':0 the spirit of the British Constit.ution. The genius who told Faulkner that line had better think again. The British constitution is based on no set of rigid formalities. Its great virtue is that it taker> account of substantial social powe rs regardless of Fo rma l i t ie s , If the only way Faulkner can deal with t.he major social power that has shown :i tself in this strike ).8 to devise. ri.g d Constitutional i rules In an eff c r-t to saf egua rd himself against the public for four ye a rs , he is reaching the end of his tether.
It

momen t .

is certain

that thl'2 Exe cu.t i.ve will not be able to last for four

28.

years without As~;~y E.1ection&. The relevant question is 1i>whether it is.going ~~,.be able t~ -- . - '.- -;0last with elections. Fau1kne~'. .. . ... _.> .. ,.' ". '. ._-" still denfes thattJii!t;g_ecutivehas lost 1tS majority in the c.e'_ country. But;if he really thought it had not lost is .maj..pri.~y,he_ would not; be panic stricken at the thought of an election. Artd if he h_as really despaired of being able to win a majority in an election by t~e end of this year he should adopt a policy of full integration wtbh Britain.

*
Faulkner's political bungling in recent months has, presumably, resulted from the intransigence of the SDLP on the Council of Ireland. He went much too far to accomodate them, and alienated the major social power in this community: the Protestant working class. The SDLP~ve pushed him out on a limb. They must now be regretting their blind intransigence. If Faulkner cannot regain his following' they are.all in trouble. Despite their short-sighted intransigence over the Council, the SDLP are undoubtedly committed to power sharing within the United Kingdom. There is no doubting the conviction With which John Hume now speaks of "our economy". But Hume, when talking about the WC, is beginning to sound like a bad pareidy of William Craig on the CRA in 1968. They have "no mandate from anybody" he says, and declares that he will not tolemte "anarchy in our streets". But the WC has as clear a mandate to speak for the Protestant working class today as Hume had to speak for the Catholic community in 1968. As for "anarckJ.yin our streets" •••

FAULKNER

AND THE

SDLP

*
EVEREST Wonder of wonders! The Ulster Workers' _ Counc i.L is being discovered by the power powers-that-be (or used-to-be?). Rees and Orme are still too panic stricken to talk to them, and declare them to he untouchables, yet we are beginning to bear them on radio and TV, and a distinct note oire.spect for them, as a power in the land, is noticeabie. Arid they are discovered to be fully paid up, active trade unionists, who know both the function andlfmits of trade unionism; and who know that Len Murray_was abusing his function as Tue leader by interefering in a political situation of which he had no understanding.
If Rees could screw up e-nough cour-age and intelligence to deal with the uwe in the way that any gcve rnment; worth its salt· 29.

DISCOVERING

'would deal

with a major social portJ~r.the crisis would be well on the the way to being resolved, (Observe., Merlyn, that Harry Thomson talked to Harry Murray last night and has lived to tell th~ tale, So might you, if you don't die of )Our imaginary t er ror s.) If he, or the Executive, do not recogn.Lae them and deal with them the crisis cannot be resolved 00 matter what gimmicks are tried. "Certain

workersinfl uenced by certain poli tiic isais have taken is all that Hume will say today. If he is to survive politically he will have to learn to do better .t.han that. He re is how he might survive: Put the entire Council of Ireland to a popular vote, and in the meantime deal with Dublin mer-ely as a neighbour1~g Government; Recognise the uwe as a fact of political life which he cannot escape from; Negotiate the begt conclusion of the strike he can with them. No other defence of power-sharing iS,possible, They are the people he has to share power with if power is to continue to be shared.
certain actions",

WOTkers' Association
7

STRIKE BULLETIN
F A SCI
eft
CElli.....

NO,

5

SMA
0

mernber of the Ulster Workers' CC1J.nci] said on the radio today that they were not very

inLerested in what the Executive did: tb~y would '~al with the dictator (Rees)~ there was no paint in dealing with his puppets in the. Executive. But the "dictator" is himself a puppe t , controlled by po Li.t ica l ghosts and goblins in his own mind. He can't st:!e what is all around him because his mind is taken up with echoes of other times and other places, with false compa.risons and with fixed ideas, He imagines that he is involved in a last ditch stand against: fascism: that he will do what Hindenburg failed to do in 1932. The "fascism~he is intent on smashing 1.8 the general strike of a people, provoked with his own political bun g l i.ng , How does it happen that an o t.he i se sane man can suffer f rom such rw delusions: and how does it happen that a man with such de Lus i.ons can be given so much p owe r in the very sphere in which he is deluded? ~,r~~_1'_we t.od ay is the lunatic ideology of the Peeples \ Demo c ,~a('y see in C:;r1tlOJ_ of a British Department of State. Hi cha s I Earre Li ti,;ed to write. long moo dy articles to pr-cve that the industcial wo~k:irig class of Ulster was inherently fascist in tendency. and -1'17(1'-11;3 have ro be smashed. Farrell is now a political nonentity: but his delusions have flourished" The entice Br-i t ish press now sounds
30,

l i.ke the "Free

Ci.t i zen"

0

*
Chamberlain failed to take ft, stand against f'l.5~~ sm a t MlJ;rirh But how magn i f i cen+Ly Anthony Eden took a stand against it at Suez! And now we have another man with a ghost fighting a people in the name of antifascism, Meanwhile how,ve the "[aeo ie t.e" behaving ? The \~:Le 11"..:';) f the' Execu t iie and the Northern Ireland Off Lee r-e ckoned t.h at the: str i k e woul d col lapse when its par ti c ipan t.s began t.o r e at i s e th;;it ,t WT:' depriving them of customary ".omfo;ts. (Rabb I E" df £: not LC1pab~eof purpose fu: endurance of har-d sh.Jp . ) And they reckcr.e d that the f'ar'mer s would 'turn a'galnst 1 t when ~ht: v : P ro f t·, began r o suffer They have been wrong on both CDunt~
J
0

REMEMBER EDEN

THE STRIKERS

There is eve ry Tnd.t.cat ion tha. th6.tJ r ke rs are~heerfully pr epared t o tolerate a mu.h reduc.ed .srandar d.iof Li vl ng in order to maintain the s t ri ke , The lJWC has o r der e.d the c Los i ng of pubs to prevent the fri t.teri.ng away ot money Jind the recurrence of incidents in which women were pulling their men out of pubs This is a very sober strike indeed. Some fascists'
0

The farmers show -increasing suppo~t for the strike as it continues, and many seem prepared to put up with seri ous loss of stock if neces~aTy, and to hold out on a subsistence-farming basis, rather than see the strike beaten by t.he co 1on i a l administrator and his rump Parl.L3.ment, (because that is what they have made themselve;lThe marginal But h is has out element

of intimidation

is a diminishing

factor.

in the moria..,t.i_c-.,8ciu"loTl o f Stormon t our Don Quixote tat;.~ at fascist w i ndml l ls , and the Assemb l.y engages in a ritual that no ccnne-tion with thecmtsidB wor l d . It is a sit.uation w ithprecedent in the hi~tjry of B~itish polltic5o
+

While a small element of realism has !-c_' creep in to the British press durIng the past day c r two, it -]s",tlll falling miserably in its jub, The B1l.t:lsh publ:c i" being systematically misinformed about t.he facts of the ::tl ike and ml s led about its po Ii tics Cent ra' po li t ica I f ac t s , which must be known to every reporter In Beiiast,

A POLITICAL

SCANDAL

bc~B.J.":

0

31.

are not being reported. The appcintment of Stanley Orme to the Northern II2land Offi~e should have been made into a political scandal. He was well known to be an active anti-Partitionist over many years. (An equivalent appointment by Heath would have been Enoch Powell or John Biggs Dav ison.)

*
THE BIRTH As soon as Orme was appointed, a clique of his anti-Partitionist crcn i e s (Betty Sinclair etc) became his boon companions. This clique occupied eminent positions in the official trade union leadership which they had systematically used to present a completely false picture of politics here to the British trade union and socialist movement. The Communist Party of Northern Ireland (now CP Qf Ireland) to which they belong was Unionist in the 1940s It changed to an ti-Partitionism in the fifties, but these members of it continued to retain leading trade union positions among workers who were strongly Unionist in politics. Brinsh tTade unionists and socialists took them at face value They took it as a matter of course that the politics of these t rade union leaders reflected the politic.'; of the rank-and-file. But trade un~ons and politics were, in fact, rigidly separated in Belfast. Trade unionism kept together despite sharp political difference by means of this rigid separation of the two.
0

OF A TRAGEDY

The Sinclair, Barr, Graham clique explained the persistent Unionist voting of their trade union ranktand-file to British sympathisers, (and finally, it would seem, to themselves), with talk of Tory-fascist manipulation of religious differences. This view was systematically worked into the Labour Party during the sixties. Orme became an active missioner in the caase. Rees and many others accepted it passively. Wilson, returned unexpectedly to power, was preoccupied with balancing the factions of his party and, treating the Northern Ireland Office as bej_ng no more liable to create havoc because of Ministerial bungling than any of the other Departments of State, he sends Rees and Orme here. Neither of them had the political ability the situation required. Both had their heads full of fa talse preconceptions, and c~uldn't see the wood for the few trees they could identify. Believing Northern ireland to be a colony to be fr~ed, Orme began r.o beh av., Lt ke a coIon i.a adm ini s t.r s t.or-, and Ree s f ol;Jwed .:cui I to Due tv their provocative mishand lLng , ..omb i ned w-ah the m.rre unde rst andab le bungling of the Execut.Ive , the srrike '.'idS pr-ovoked.
And 32
lhd.t

1s

huw

Reesalld

Orme

came

t.J De fi gh ti cg

their

b a tt l es

agains! an imaginary fascism, and incidentally threatening wreck power-sharing and force the province into civil war"

to

*
We do not think that there are any YPSJur:e3_ in the Execut-ive or in the Assembly capable of retrievfng the shuation, (David Bleakley of the Northern Ireland Labour Party, whose proposals would have averted the crisis, is isolated in Stormont.) Unless the British workIng class i3 able to do something LO induce the Government to change 1 t s Iuna tic pol icy, a period of complete chaos cannot be avoided, The Ulster Workers' Council increasingly stands out as the only r espon s i b le factor in the si tuat i on , The government seems to be ~Lh: ag f'o r a show-rlown . The uwe is avo i d Ing a show-down, and is g a ~ni ng in pmver and cr-ed Ibi.l ty every day" If a "how'-down is i Forc ed by rhe Coverrimenr, it will be the Government that will go down in disgrace) and not the uwe ..
I<

WHAT

CONCLUS

ION?

GERRY

FITT

his statement 17th century (Harold Wilson please take note) had resulted today in "a mi.l.lion armet ere": He is now apparently to be given the use of the British Army to fight his 17th century war against the Plantation,

GerTY Fin must now be viewed as a serious and t.h ought.fu I s ta tesman Nobody must be reminded of only two years ago that the Ulster Plantation of the

STRIKE
FACE-SAVING the SDLP
saving,
0

BULLETIN

No.6
upon
iJS;

The face needs in whi ch xas e the operati on is doubly difficult

The t in.e f'o r rhe Saving of f'ace.s is t ace s c t ReE':;, Orme r-au i kne r and, SDLP may not fully re a Li se that l t s
j j

above

all,

the

Yesterday these people saw themselves as heroic defendeTs of liberty in the fight against fasci5m. Today they discover that they are poll t i ca l bunglers who se faces have to be saved, The
33,

bu ll.y boys and thug33.g:~/.n~t whom t.he g:re3,tcrusade was being wagai yesterday are now discovered to be the substance of the society,
At; the end of rh e day the ·rly f'ac-es which do not need to be saved are the Faces of the Ulster Wo!"kers Council> the strikers and theit suppo r ters , The g r ea t poli t i.ca problem now is how to l accomoda t e the uwe as a maj 0:" social power without destroying the bunglers and fanatics who were denouncing them as a bunch of fascists. Harold Wilson, whose irresponsible selection of personnel for the Northern Ireland Office is the original cause of all the trouble, is now faced with the problem of finding a line of retreat for himself and all concerned.

But there can be no simple retreat to an earlier position" The bungling of the Northern Ireland Office and the Executive provided the opportunity for a substantial new social development in the Protestant community which must be a ccomrnodat ed,and it has almost wrecked the SDLP.

* A SENS I T I VE PLANT
The SDLP is a carefully nurtured p lan t , Three years of the greatest intelligence and tact of which Br i tish po li tics is capable went into cultivating it and making it ready for power-sharing. Justice Devlin described the task very precisely at the second of the great "Televislon Trials" in 19720 It was to find a way in which the SDLP might abandon its anti-Partitionist principles without appearing to do so, William Whitelaw' 5 great diplomatic skills and the best years of his life went into the accomplishment of this task. But then Whitelaw was taken to apply his skills elsewhere (and less successfully) and the SDLP had to fend for itself. And not only that, but some of Gerry Fitt's old pals suddenly and une xpe c.t.ed appeared in the Northern ITel and Office. Ly From t ha t time forward the N, Ireland Office and the SDLP had an Lnfl amma tory effect on each other, and a chain of development wa.soet ()ffwhi;::h led to the fiasco we have just witnessE:d.
J

The great

pxob Lem now is how the SDLP i.s to be :;.ived rorn bec::nn:ng f a po l i t~'~dl wr e ck , Lr i3 na.rd.ty capable uf se» l(lg t s e l f , But who ·w.Ld .s ave ·o.t '. Not ReGsc...ndOrme , Not th~ Oub ti n Go.i:;C'c:nmeIl':., whi.ch "st.dl trying t) stir rhing.:; up, and deman dLng th:it Bri t ain put down t.he se '.ot! i k i ng Yi'ijt';:?st.iiiit3 w~,th d. fi.:m h8nd~W}i<J .... ,:/_.I.ld e'Jer h ave expect.e d co see that suave , U.]JPf:I clas s , l.ci.';:laJY, socz a l i s t , CW,OT Cr~,li5e OiBr:en, d,,;veLjp.:)8 qu]:;klyl.ntc; a IHTmonger-Y)
34.,

The possibili ty that the SDLP will become a political wreck if cont:e5siuns are made to the Ulster Worket'5' Council, and the fact that there is no sign on the horizon of a replacement for the SDLP, must now be a major factor tempting Wilson to try to preserve the e x i s t i ng political arrangement at all costs, But the UWC must be conceded to, So how can the SDLP be saved for constitutional politics? Having Dvenea\.hed itself, the SDLP, in despel'ation, is indulging l ts elf in an o r gy o f authoritarian fantasies, AU i t s hopes are now fOLUs~ed on the strung aIm of the law (It has even gone to the length of sugge~(lng that the 5trlker~ might be aTlested,) But the strong arm of the law won't save itc
L the UWC a Provisional go 2 nment? !t hj~ ob~lously oe en obkli,ed tJ take over man, of the functions of gove mmcn t. Sr n ce th2 Lx ecu t ,. e and t.he Secr et ary of 51 ate refused tJ C;) opeldte with it in the provis.Jn of ~~~cnLial services at the on s e t o f the .:,tLke, It h1.d no a i te rn a trve but to do S0 There is no doubt that Ree6 rIled during the fir~t week of the 3trike to fo!~e a state of 201iapse. That Wd.:, hi~ only strategy for breaking the uwe. And t he uwe r-e sp.rnded by preventing co: lapse- which meant. enforcing mea sures necessalY "to that end,

A PROVISIONAL

GOVERNMENT?

e,

At this moment the UWC has civil executive authority in the Protestant community and in the economy. The Secretary of State has a very large army and nothing more, His "Executive" is badly misnamed. It shouts and jumps up and down, but nobody takes much notice. But when the uwe says that something is going to be done, then it is done. And the authoilly of the UWC is mctlntained chiefly by "themoral force it has acquired.

uwe, whi ch has shown itself capable of guiding the communitYLn such a way as to defeat everyonE of his plo\!Jcation~. If he ~0ntinues to escalate his provocar i ons there i s every rea son to assume that the UWC will continue to counter them, and thereby increase its ability and Its authurity. And that, of course, is why Rees now gives vent to ineffectual rages.
Much surprise is being expressed ~hat such a powerful, representa cive , capable, self reliant and rea sonab Le body as the UWC, (and many who were ho.:o:tile it a week ago, are now finding it to hard to deny it these character i s t i cs) , should have come lnto exi scence unknown to the worId , The UWCL,; obviously concerned prirnar l i y to be known tO and be effective within, the community
J

Reb has been comprehen sivel y ou rmano eu, red by the

35,

opeo , Fo r ene "wo r r d" lUl Lhe .Lnl.cllla.t.iuila...L press) it cares 'Ii ttle The Protestant working class has seen
In wn i cn It: deve
i
o
0

itself cleverly and sensationally misrepresented and insulted in +h" ~n+~r;)3t-;~"'alrR"'C:fo"- C:E'''~n p years, and has learned to do without the approval of that press. Much of the power of the IRA dep';;I\ded its success in manipulating the press. The very on different kind of power exercised by the UWC depends not at all on the press. And the only surprising thing is that it has taken so long to evolve.

*
We have witnessed the end of "Connolly ecoi.al iem": James Connolly, a sound socialist in other ways, got caught up in the Nationalist movement. In 1912 he denounced the Ulster Protestants for organising themselves to prevent the imposition on them of the Catholic nationalist Home Rule government. He ended up ridiculing the culture of Protestant Ulster, and demanding that the British Army put down the Unionists. Gerry Fitt has always declared himself to be a ilConnolly Socialist", and when he entered the government he tried to act in the manner advocated by Connolly in 19140 "Connolly socialis~' has now burned itself out It broke before the organised power of the Protestant working class. This piece of action will have far-reaching consequences for working class development in Northern Ireland. It will result in a greater clearing up of confusion than any amount of propaganda could have done. 25,5.1974 WORKERS' ASSOCIATION
I
0

CONNOllY

SOC IALI SM I

STRIKE BULLETIN
WILSON BACKS DOWN: INSULTS

NO

7
Haro 1d Wi1son i n.iu l ted t he

BUT NO ACTION

strikers in hIS broadcast last n i gh t . Apar-t. from that he did nothing. And doing nothing is a great improvement on what the Gov ernrnen has done so Ear-, t Up to now they have been offering one provocat.Lon after anothe r , and try ing to bring about conf'ron t.ati ons, Last night, Ear the first time, the Government Testrdlned it-self, Having been out-manoeuvred by the Ulster Workers I Council for eleven days, it has finally learned to be a bi t. more caur.Lous The SDLP::all f01 the "fz,,:/'cz:sl-:.g".)f 'the uwe r.o be put down with a s rrong hand ha s nc t been m. I The SDLP hac, now suffered 3. major

poLi tical defeat from the uwe

Wilson desex bed the StI i ker-s as "people who spend their i oee 3p:;nging on Westm'inster and British democraou", What did he hope to achieve by such a vulgar and rld_lculous insult? When some emotional fr.tnge elements in Union.L.'::it pulitics made such remarKs about the Catholic community there were demands that the} should be p ro secut.ed under the Race RelatIons Act" When Wilson deslnd~ to the Same level by descrIbing the industrial working class of Ulster as spongers, will tho3e who demandad the pr0secutioD of John McKeague remain silent?

VULGAR

ABUSE

Wilson accused t h; JWC ::-f USing "undemocs-at: xnd ~'rp::U" ;:'1Ine"itury means 'in7rd,,;;Y' r: set 7A.p:Z eect.cun.an and undemc roai i : «t.at:e fi-:m wJn.~h one=th i cd of the pcp ul.ation un.l.L be fx:LA.dsl"o H",,) he taken the .s t i gti s r.t riub re t.e Lu fi nd out what the UWC 1..> and wh s t 11. wan t.s ? it.LS pe rt ec t ly w i lri.ng to [ell h im But he do esn t t want to Li st en , It l~ N01 the aim at the UWC LO sel up a sectarian state or to ex clude Ca choI i cs from repr esent.at on in the Gove rnmen t , I'he i pur po s e of the strike is to -end the Council of Ireland, not to kill power-sharing. Can Wilson cite a single statement of the uwe against Catholic representation ~n the GOvernmenti The uwe (.~teg0Lically deny t.riat they have such an aim, and the UWC now h~ve mu~h greater politlcal ~redibllllY than Wilson or Rees,

THE UWC DOES

NO

T

WANT A SECTARIAN

STATE

rou have long fearcd the "Pr: !'es tan i back.Laeh" aga ms t Repub i i can t er .o : 13m The Provos have sought to provoke that backlash in order to make you dependent on them as YOUT defenders, Well, the "Protestdnt backlash" has comeBut did you ever imagine that it would be Li ke t.h i s ? Where is the burning and the looting: where are the pogroms and assassinations? The "ProtesLant backlash" has now been in full swing f01 eleven days The entire social lite ot NOJthern lreldnd ~s In its grip. But you are safer in YOUT houses and on the streets than you were before it begano Brian FaUlkner, follOWIng WlI~on's speech, said: "Last n~ght as a

TO THE CATHOL I CS OF NORTHERN

1RELAND

't:~~:c'< ':="/';!A/'
L

Th,

E

e ii uat.;

'r;

[''.I:

pq~p"?;;~'(',c

7<,17,:"2""

Fau l kncr

L;iL The psople k,_lled)'1 Fr dayntght we ra no' killed at th behe_l ~i h~ UWC Pe~p's ha~e ~san k~11ed rsgJl i I on th~ ~ot~ ee rs 1.,:' pub; and i,"i t.he i . hOffi2~Lr EVe yea rs Thi ': kiLLing h as n·o,.t. in\i-=a~~ed s i n re the UWC d.s""Grted its power: 1: has de cre ased 'in a. romar kab le manner, The klllings)n Friday night
::t

were a remnant: of the old ways, not a product o f the new

When Faulkner governed Ulster he could not restrain the paramilitary factions in the Protestant community, which had been provoked into being by the IRA. Neither could William Whitelaw or the new Executive. The UWC has done more to restrain them in the l~st eleven days than was done in the previous five years. The press cries 'jut about Tartan gangs, But the Tartan gangs and the para-military fa c t i ons have to a great extent been shown the error (or at least the ineffectiveness) of their ways by the UWC. Much of their earlier behaviour resulted from feelings of frustration, and from the lack of coherence and social purpose in the politics of the Protestant community. The UWC have put an end to all of t.ha t , They have brought about a purposeful exertion of e conom.i power by the community, and therefore have been able to c exert a progressive influence on Tartans and para-military factions in a way that Faulkner could never do But instead of thanking them for it, Faulkner slanders them by blaming them fot killings which aie, in fact, an inheritance frOID his period o f gove rnmen t which the UWC have not yet been able to overcome completely,

'*

NO SECTARIANISM

Wilson whines that this is not a strike about wages. It was never pretended that it was, It is a political strike of a hlghly original and effective kind.

INVOLVED

1ts purpose is NOT to establish the UWC as a Prov i sional Government from which Catholics are excluded. The UWC has in fact assumed many of the functions of government because Rees and the Executive abdicated them in an effort to precipitate chaos and thus break the UWC. But it has not proclaimed itself to be the Government of the province, and has no intention of doing so. Wilson said: "They seek to al-locate food: to decide who shall eat and who shall not", If the British press is worth its salt it will expose this lie to the British public. There has NOT been sectarian distribution of food. Of course a general strike

invo lve s har'dshIps c But there cer ta.l n.ly has not been a sec t ari an distribution of haTdshipc

uwe in the PIute~tant communi t.y pre s ent.s an unp re cedent ed 0PPOT1:Uf.liCy fJL a s e ttl ernenr of the national, 0Y s ect.ar-i , conf li ct an An agr eerneu t arri ved b.cwith the 'Owe woul d be ct.fl ag reernen, with the ma.s s o f the Pr-o te s t an t working cl ass . It c(;uldoe depended upon . Ar.d the uwe is the most open minded, as well a:.o the most powei ru i , polltlcal organlS&tlon in the Protestant comWlfilty.
AN OPPORTUNiTY
The emergence of the When Ge!.'ry Fi t t denounces the Council as "a bunch of [aeci.e te" he decl are s h irns i f to be politically bankrupt, e The SDLP have shewn ~hem~elves over the last two weeks to have been thoroughly deceptive over the.q~estion of a united Ireland, It WAS their purpose: Lo use the Council as a stepping stone to a unjttd I!c:land
po i i under

We know f:rom experience and It was bocne out by ~h~ BSC opinio~ c._ t ha c a rn ajor i cy of Cat.hocics are not at ail BT1X10',S c.) ;.~0i1le the Dub Li n Government> and would be pe rfect Ly c-ar.ts.fi ed WL th participation in a democratlc Northern lleland govelnment within
the UK.

The hys t.e rleal Cove rnment propaganda about owe fascism has been shown to have no basis :in fact The Government is iniiJlltely closer to fa3cism than the uwe, A sober assessment of the past few days by the Cathollc community would show it that there is a far greater prospect of arrlving at a democratic settlement by negotiating with.the uwe than by relying on the flimsy Executive which has been howling for the bluod of the uwe.

uwe aTe det.ermi.ned to ave rt the doomsday siillatlon that they have slanderoli31Y been accused ot desiringand they have the ability to avert it despite provoc.ati on . Such an org an i sa t i cn , in a situation like this, deserves a lot of SHlOuS t hough t ,
The

Workers' Associationo

STRIKE BULLETIN
WESTMINSTER SHIFTS ITS GROUND

NO,

8

Last week Westminster and the press were tell~ng thB worId that the general strike waS imposed by a handful of thugs on

... '_, ~ i •

the population at l~rgt:'o The press has finally discovered that it has verywidespread .. MJ.l.larmpP'IHto· But Westminster still .stil'ks to t s old s tory, Of; eourse nobody in Westminster actually D",.~..; bel eves it any longer. But if they admitted that they had made an enormous, (indeed a criminal) ,"mistake last week, they could no longer give.any sort of a reason for refusing to negotiate with the Ulster\'l\\,orkers' Council. But a noticeable change of emphasis has taken place in their explanations of how the small minority imposed its will on the great majority. Last week they said it was by physical intimidation; by the use of nbully boys and thugs. They now s.ay it was by exploiting the understandable, though groundless, fears in the Protestant community that a Council of Ireland would lead them into a united Ireland against their will. That was the explanatim given by FrancY' Pym last night. This deep sl,lspicionof the Council of Ireland is declared to be completely. unjustified. There are said to be "cast-iron guarantees". The people must be very stupid indeed if their groundless fears, on a qeustion on Whi,ch there are cast iron guarailtees, could be exploited by a sm~, sinister, political group in such a way as to cause a general sty ke. But let us look ~ bit closer.

*
Andrew Barr walked alongside Len Murray in the "trade union return to work" last week. Len Murray understands nothing about Northern Ireland politics, and no doubt he took it in good faith from Andrew Barr and Stanley Orme that the fears of a United' Ireland manoeuvre through the Council of Ireland were the fears of ignorant people who had been confused by sinister politicians

GROUNDLESS

FEARS?

0

British Government makes such a decLaration, it ~g~teLy changes the framewrk of the argument for Unionists of aZZ varieties. ReaLis ti (yj;a Ly, t~.issue for them then beoomee one of 'Obtaining the best poeeibl:e deal: within a united IreLandsituat1on." (The
letter was also signed by other official t~ade union leaders prominent in the attempt to break the strike:," Betty Sinclair and Joe Cooper, seczetary-end treasurer .of.the Belfast Trades Council; by SDLP Assembleymen, Paddy D\lffy and Desmond Gillespie; and by many Fianna Fail MPs.) . The Government 40. and press have all described Andrew Barr as an

But last Friday Andrew Barr put his signature to a letter to Wilson calling on the British Government to make a declaration of intent to withdraw from Northern Ireland. The letter says: "If the

°Ultel)_igeut and r-e sp e ct.sb l e nran , superior in eve+y way to the str_;_keTSo But Barr is clearly nut very impressed by the "castiron guarantees" And if Barr, who is a colleague of Stanley Orrne", t h i nks that a. united 'Ireland againr t the w~11 of the ProteJ~~ats l~ a real p0s31bility. how ~an it be said that the fear", Jf the Prote.o.tant community are stupId and groundless?

The main danger to democratic power sharing is now coming TO POWER SHAR 1NG f rorn the arrogant and t.yr ann i c aI behav rcur o f tn e ~DLP membe rs in the Executive. It 13 now ObViOUS ~ha[ the SDLP )nl; eagaged in power-sharing in order to further L'" -m ti vPa r t' 'Jll"t a ims . it says it will not try to get d ani ted It eland ctgaifht the w is he s of the majority in Northern ireland "Uv,if.y b,j cone en t." is l1:S slogan But it has ;1 s t ran ge i de« of "Lon"eni" It i,e' nJW trying t o blackmail Wes tmi n , t er i n [0 a 'lg the Army ;0 I am t.he Council of I r e land down the d,;)ats ut r ne g '~:"L maj o r r r.y .)1 the Pr-o t e s t ant. community.

THE SDLP

NOv>!

THE MA I N DANGER

0

SDLP spoke smen vs i r r pe r s i s r In t.he Lr ,J.CIOUS t slander campaign against the great mas", of the Pr-ot e s t an t working class, John Hume declared on Radeu Eirednn yesterday: "The Northern IreZand Exec-ut-ive is in the fp')n t Z ine aqat.ne t. a fascist takeover' •.. This it! a .iompl.«:e f. ieei et: t akeo oe c, We knoio the steps that have to be taken t.o S GOp it. The plans are peep-n-ed, aiaai.ting the sanut-

ion of the British

Goveimment, II

This attitude vf the SDLP 1::; bu:lding up great problems fOT the rna nt.en ance of df"JTtJCL t c power - sha r i ng , The only democratic at dpprJdch for th~ SDLP would haJ9 been to admit after the Februar) e rec t.i.on that t here was d '" t.z ang maj o ri ty against the Counc i 1 of Ireland, If they had rhen agreed to suspend the question of the Counci I until such t i me as it be ame dear that Lt was a c cep t abLe to it sub s r.an ti a.l maj or i t.y of the peop le , the power-sharing arrangemen t cou I d hal, e con t i nued .i n a democratic form, And its ba s i s cou l d have be en b ro adene d , becau;:;€ the Opposition par t i e s (who had come to r ep r esent maj or i ty opinion in the society) would, nJ doubt. then hav~ agreed TO take part in the Executive.
i c

But the SDLP put the Cuuncil uf lcel:lnd before power-sharing, Demucrati" power-sharing has broken down. And the SDLP is denounclng the majority of the people as fascists because they objected to the ~ay they were being railroaded
It l.,3 i nc r ea s cng Ly un l i ke l y that

the

British

government

wi Ll try

4L

.. i't

o

'.

~

to use the Army to the strike. If they do not, the SDLP fill be left in a powerles~\Executive, screaming "Fascists l" at the greater part of the soc i.e that it is -supposed to be governing. ty The SDLP Assemblymen have brought all of this upon themselves. It was not the'case that their Catholic constituents were putting pressure on them to behave like that. There is plenty of evidence that the majority of the Catholic community would have supported.~.t.hem f they acted reasonably and democatically in the poweri shar:lng arrangement, and shelved the Council of Ireland when it became clear that the great majority of the Protestant community was against it, It was their own excessive ambition, and the political dishonesty which resulted from it, that led to their undoing. *

"'"

ote,~K
"

.

/

Francis Pym said that there can be no negotiations with, or . concessions to i the Ulster Workers' CouncU, because the British Constitution will not tolerate challenges to Parliament fxm 6utside bodies. But that's nonsense. Time and again the Bri tishParliament has brought clDut fundamental changes in response to social, pressures from outside Parliament. The present strike has plenty of precedents in the history of the British Constitution, ParH.amerrt must take account of the feelings of the people between elections as we~l as at elections. And if Parliament, between elections, provokes great hostility to ,itself from a large proportion of the people, it must ei~her meet the grievance of the people or call an election. It is useless for it to say, when the majority of the people have actively withdrawn their consent from it, that a majority won last year is good enough for this year. The only alternative to government by consent is government by the Army, and that is against the spirit of the'BritishConstitution. The use of armed f {Orce either to overthrow a Parliaineilt, or to maintain a Parliament against the will of the people, i.$., considered completely out of order. The Ulster Workers' Counc;il has no intention of using violence, If the Army is sent Irrtorthe power stations it will not be resistoo, but the woirk~rs who ,are now :running them will leave and let the Army produce power if'it can: and likewise with the distribution of petrol, etc, If the Government ance of essential
42,

WHO IS A.GAIKST THE SPIRIT OF THE CONSTITUTION?

w:tll not negotiate with the UWC for the maintenservices, and "if it sends the Army in to maintain

... .. '.

;,

.
.J.

them, the Army will~i',i¢ply dIsappear as an Army and become a workforce. And t.han" s~why John Hume 's demands will not be met by Westminster, t~ey are ali en .to the spirit of the Constitution, and they are completely impracticaL And the OWC methods are both practical and in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution Pym must think again;
0

Workers' Association

2605.74

STRIKE BULLETIN NO.9
THE GOYERNMENI "ThvS9 whom the Gods 1JYtsh '/:;0 d<3stY'oy 1S ANARCH IST ./' they fil'St dr-ive mad:" . .. That h~ a saying of the ancl.enr;Greeks, fhey must have ha!prophetic knowledge of the SDLP, Francis Pym called on the Ulster Worker:.; Council arid its i supporters not to embark on a course of anarchy. He should have directed his call elsewhere: to the "Executive" in Stormont and to Downing Street.. The Government has now em~ barked on an all-out course of anarchy. It has'disrupted the essential services maintained by the Ulster Workers' Council for1welve days, Within hours of Wilson'S" decision to accede to the SDLP call to break the strike with the army. essential services aTe breaking down. The Government pretends that the Army was sent into the business of petrol distribution for the purpose of providing essential services. But it was so obvious tnat the sending in of the Army would bring about the collapse of essential services, that the real aim of the exercise could not possibly have been the maintenance of essential services. Its aim can only have been to force a situation of anarchy. Hume and Fltt have been telling the British public for the past week that they are in the front line of defence against a fascist takeover. They have now caused the breakdown of essential services_ and they must be hoping t~at this wi1l lead to the outbreak of some hooliganism in the Protestant community, or some attacks on Catholic areas. If that happens Hume and Fittwill declare it to be proof that the strike movement is fascist. And they will have the opportunity to escalate things s:;i11further by getting the Army to use jackboot methods on the people under+cover of suppressing "fascist 43.

"hooliganism".
•..• z:

But if the methodsQ.,i, the Ulster Workers' Council are strictly adhered to, and if orderly behaviour is' strictly maintained during the next few days despite the irresponsible provocations of the Government, then Fitt and Hume are finished; Faulkner is finished; and Rees and Orme are finished. Isn't it a st,range state of affairs when the "anti-fascists" can only be saved irom political disaster if they can succeed in provoking hooligan behaviQur among the peopl~ th~t they ascribe as fascists! . . A COLLAPSE OF Bri tish public opinion has been systematicCREDIBILITY ally misled about this strike by Fitt, Orme -. and Rees, and by most of the ,British press. l But the true \lcts of the case have been 'getting 'through to some extent in recent days. Fitt and Rees have been steadily losing in credibility. Wilson's speech on Saturday night caused a further substantial loss in the credibility of the Government. And the showdown that they have tried to force today will cause a collapse of credibility if orderly behaviour is maintained throughout the Protestant community.

*

-ra

Pressures against the present policies of the Government are already building up. They will build up with increasing momentum from now on, if the Government fails in its bid to provoke anarchy. Workers' Assodation. _______
_________

IIII!'II'IiI'iIf', .. ~~.~.

27.5,1974
, j#'~ .

STRIKE BULLETIN
£1111

i~Sl!l!!aMIIl!U4.,.'*'r;:~ ~,,..~;~~~,:,J-,:

NO. 9

SECOND EDITION .&&¥.... .t_.-.
is still talking boys. In today's

A CHALLENGE TO THE BELFAST TELEGRAPH

mm.e ls past few. days have seen activities 'fascist' in ohaxaoter;"

The Belfast Telegraph about thugs and bully editorial it says: "it 1-n1Jni~:fig:t~i·ona massive ecale; It is

is'true that true that tihe that can onZy be~saribed as

It concedes that there is some genuine support for the strike because of fears about the Council of Ireland, and continues: "But not al.L the tacit support for the strike is based on opposition to a Counei.L of Lreland., A great many are aleo opposed to the vepY existence of the; poiae» ehaeinq Bseoutrioe, IndBed,its deetruet-ion £13 a pr-incipal: object'ilJe of the ULster Worke,!'s' counoi i. "

the pt::op';t: Ncr t.he Ireland bf.)Lflg r ar I r o aded ':'nt, -t. l..)ul1ilJ of rn fre Iand agarne t r.ne.rr wi_i_i. !UId d. i . 0ppJ.:;ed lu th~~ p re ren t Executive (made up of three minority part le-, ,..vh:, dIe a m.i nur lty even when t.hey ar e added t.oge r ), because it, has tried to t.he ram the Council vf Ireland down the throat" of the people, This minority Executive declares that there can be no election for four years. It has the ambltion of ruling as a minority government for four year's, aga inst the ho st i Ii t y of a majority of the people.
of
J

Ih.:::' 8"".1,;.,,( hltgld.f'tl du.c~ liut tbd L t.h e UWL. 1',: opp os eu to puw,-'

'.) I

,-c ,.i,.'.ng
.har
i

ng -.

~ 1L

j •.

i:iP

·)1 €",L:l1'

L,

oppo.ouj ';)

Democratic power shaTlng cannot take the form of tyrannical government by a Catholic party and a very small Protestant party against the wishes of a majority in the Soclety. To call that power-sharing is to degrade the concept of power-sharing, and bring it into contempt:. But It lS that klnd of "pawe.r sharlng" that ex.ists in thLs present Executive, that 1.3 beIng propped up by Westminster, that the Belfast: Telegldph defends, and that t:heUlster Workers' Council opposes
It is an irresponsible and Lnf lammat.o ry action by the Belfast Telegraph to declare t:hat the UWC 1S opposed to the gene tal policy of powe r=shar Ing , as distinct from the distortion and cari cat.ure of power-shaTing that 15 represenl~ by the present Executlve, (which w i Ll probably have fallen by the t une you read t.h s j , i

owe,

The Belfast Telegraph must e i t her retract its sLande r of the OT else be branded as an irresponslble mischief maker,

.. .,. ....--I11III.-- ....'.. '.,...

The Workers' A" socLat i on wh i ch pub i i shes these Bulletins is an o rganisatLon of Catholic and Pr-o t.e t an t: wo rkes whose aim is to bring about s a aemocracLc settlement of the na t Lona i con f Lic t . It has branches l.nboth palLS of lreiand One.)f our members 1.nthe South, Jim Kemmy of Limerick, is standing for a local government election next month on a programme of demanding that the Southern Goverment ~hould .recognise Northern Ireland properly by calling a referendum to delete Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution which claim sovereignty over Ulster, This will be the first time that anybody in the South ha3 contested an election on such a programme. but not the last time"
1

THE WORKERS ASSOCIATION

We have dLscus.sed th.Lngs with the Ulster Workers' Council, and aie c')I1v.Lnced that wh;::.t say about them is true we And members of the uwe hav e read t.he e Bu Llet i n., d.nd)aid that we have given s
45.

...i... • ~

a fair and correb'a'ccolUl t of their views and activi ties, ), t h have encouraged U&,"t:,9 keep on pro duc Ing tern,
-;
.' ;,,\ I

ThJ;e"y

The government abdicated all practical responsibility for the maintenance of social and economic life almost two weeks ago in an effort to bring about chaos and break the UWC. And the UWC was forced to take over many fUnctions of government in orderrto avert chaos. IIi these circumstances the WorkelS' Association undertook to courtEract the irresponsible misrepresentation of the UWC by most of the British and Northern Irish press. Workers' Association 27.5.1974

,
THE COLLAPSE COLON I AL I SM OF

STRIKE BULLETIN

NO. 10

At the moment of writing all that has happened officially is that the Executive ~"IIIII!I •• 1IIJI1"'iII' ~?~':-' '~. has resigned, But the tide of influential pu6ilC opInIon nas turned decisively against Rees and Orme. Just over a week ago the London "Times" was in full support of Rees' policy of confrontation, Today (Wednesday) it declares that the Government bungled the whole affair, and calls on Rees to concede to the UWC demand for early elections. It argues that since "the attempt to break the strike has instead

broken the Executive, no purpose is served by refusing to deaZ with the strike Zeaders or refusing theiI' demand for eZections."
If Rees persists in refusing to deal with the UWC or to call elections he can only be classified as a political maniac. And since his political career in Northern 'Ireland must be virtually finished anyway, persistence in his pig-ignorant attitude can only hasten his departure. A member of the Ulster Wo-r~ers",,, Council told Orme, at the only meeting held between the two parties, that he Jleeded to be psychoanalysed. The Workers' Association had a meeting with Orme while he was in opposition, and we have no reason to disagree with that view. ,The man is impenetrable to reason. .,;, The attempt by Rees and Ollie treat Ulster as a colhny has to collapsed in disgrace: and so we bid adieu to .these "socialists" who aspired to be colonial administrators.

* THE PROSPECT FOR THE FUTURE
But what of the future?' Various peop l.e in Britain, (like the Labour MPPaul Rose, forexample), are trying to generate an

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d_cmU ph,,:,r_,,' .)1 g ,Y;Jrl, ",_!Ld c.) whip up re':,-,-ng 1[1 ;'Jppc.:l L at a Br, (J._:~h ~.dP:j_lrct.l"yn from Uht6;: B'J_T.. t.h ese dc::"p"_i __db~E 1_:"ublemak ers "v;_,c) be f ruvt.ra t.edonc e again They predi ct t.ha t.he t Lvycdlsrs 'w.11 now try- LO "ret.urn" to ::t "Pr ot.e t.anr. ~:,~enda!l('::'Y" s ax rangemsr.t In. ta,t_chere 1, SCo.[,_" iy 'i s i gn of Pro t.e t an t s t zrumpha rism to be "eenThe general "t_are of m i nd br-ought. about

in the Protestant communi~y by the stuke offer) greater opportunity for the working out of a demO(latlc political ment than has ever existed bef ore ,

5et:t18-

The SOLP Wl n now have tv make up i t s mi nd once and for all whether it i~ an antL-Partltionl. t party, or a parly which WIll rspresent the intere:::,ts the Cathatl, community within the of Union, The aIxangement of the past six.months, whereby It has been an antl-PartLtlonist party participating in government within the Unlon fOl antl-PaLtitlonl~t ob]ective8; has been shown to be unworkab t e is a deflnire dlvi~L0n between antl' po i l t.t cs and power=shar-tng po Li t i cs in the Ca tho I rc And there is no doubt. that in such a di VJ_", ion the anti~Partltlon~st tendency would b~ in a minol1ty it wa5 the poi i ti c.a l ambi ti on of the SOLP [eadecS, not pressure f r-orn the CathOLIC .ommum t.y, that Wd._-; respons b Le fOT ext.rem s t SOL? i behavLour rn the £eLsnt perlod, [he SOLP mlght have led the Cathut i c comrnun it.y into d demo. i a ti c powervshari ng arrangement 1t..:ho::,t do o t.h e.rw.i , and put anri=Par-t.ti on lst manoeuver j_(lg~; to se t to the tOle Paru cronLs commun i t.y
t

What 15 now requIred

UNREASONABLE?
_ .• ".

The "unr easonab I e fears" of the Pro t e.s an t t cornmunr ty about the Counei J of lre land have been shown in the past two weeks not to have been so unreasonable af te r aI t . Even "The I'rme now says: "50 inept. has been the s" Gooernment:' e handiinq of the 0ris!.-s in t.ne i aet: few days,.,thar doub te haue been eoian about the deeper in t.eniione uf the GO/Jernment., if t-he conduct: of affairs has been so unhelpful to the real ieation of its declared intentionc , has z- t undecl.ared intentions?"

And even though "The Times" concludes that It has not, it is acknowledged that the suspicion of de~lous lntentions was a reasonable suspIcion, Thele must be nu confUSion surroundrng es~ential
t r me rOW1d

matters the neAt

47

A B 1 T Of

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B i, .h prc S ~h_.,_ i wdS 11 1-' iv' ,a~,end,ancj"by UKHOntSf desi gn , :t,ed t.hat. ~-ht Cachv_llc ommun i cy was den i ed par-rt crpe t ron 1:f1 gO'icrnmtntas i matt.er of po l II cy , In £a,l:whal happened was that when S tormorrt was s e t u.p, the Nort.hein Catholic community wa , HI the grrp of the Smn Fein po t Lti.c s that had Just then come to dominance: r n the S0;)ih, dndlt- ref'used vto parti c i.pare in Stormont pol i t.I , For many cs yGd.r~ the Nat.Lonal Ls t. Par-ty boycotted Stormont~ompletelYo (And when Lt gained majorltie~ in lotal government areas it refused to operate local gove rnmerrt It did eventually agree to attend the Stormont Parliament, bUT. on a completely obs t.ruct Lcm s t pol iCY1 t was 'lot until 1966 that t: would agree to accept the status or offlcial opposition. and it did so reluctantly under pleSSute frum Lemass, (the then DublIn Prime Minister).
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L:raigavon, the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland in the twent:les and thirties, was anxious to change the basis of poll tics from "the Issue (If Paz-tLtr on , on which Catholics would be a permanent nu.no rLt y, to mote general so cra I i ssues , an which po Lit Lcal part~· Les would cut acro ss religious grounds But wh i le the Catholic communi ty remained in the grip of ant t-Par t ltionist poll tics that could not happen , and so the "Protestant ascendancy" resulted,
c

The Civil Rights Association of the late sixties was for all practical politlcal purposes a mere anti-Pal'titionist: tactic_ It included some genuine ci vi 1 ri ght.es who wanted to sh i.f t the ground of politics away from the question of Partinon, but they quickly 15Jt all influence in it, and it slmply became a clever new way of playing the anti-Partitionist game, The Provo campaign was a logical deve ropment out of it (Lestthe gmt Lemen of the press wish away this account of thirg; as "Orange propaganda", we should say that the Workers' Association includes people who were active for a time in the Civil Rights movement - and on the Executive of the eRA - and who left it because of its policy of provoking sectarian clashes for anti-Partitionist purposes c) If the British Press want to contribute to the establishment of a democratic political settlement, (which up to the present their activity has tended to impede), they should start by getting their hz sto r i cal facts straight, and stop chat t ertng about "Protestant ascendancy",
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sub s t arrt La l pr-opo r t.Lon of the ted up WIth r.he dead-rend

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now th\)Ipol it.ics

48

out, of ;j_ democ.ratl ; set t l emerrt only requires adequate p.::,l.itica.llepresenLa.tion For t.hi s large and Lncr ea.s ing part of the soc i ety , (Of course" in the long run the democr at ic aim

The "viking

must be for forms of politics which cut aCTOS3 the community division, but that can only happen on any large scale after there has been a democratic settlement between the communities,)
'"
k

How can the Dublin Government contribute to a democratic settlement? It can occupy itself with the implementation of progressive reform in the South (such as imposing £100 fines on unmarried for the purchase of contraceptives?)··, and stop interfering, Or, if it has the nerve, it can call a referendum for the abolition of Articles 2 and 3 of the Southern Constitution which claim sovereignty over the North, Until those articles are abolished, the only useful thing that the Cosgrave government can do is shut up, fhe action of the Ulster Workers' Council has cut through a lot of nonsense, and has pulled the mass of the Protestant community out of the swamp of f'rus t ra t ron , and given it a sense of confi dence in itself. What the leadership of Carson and Craig dld in 1912, the Ulster Workers' Council has done today, of couree , "the concludinq issue of our' Strike Bul-l-et-in. the comunq monihe , u.'Jhichan:! CI'~ tical to the futul'e of Northern Ivel-an d, we will be issuing a weekly publ-ication called
Dui-inq

(ThisiS3

WORKERS WEEKLY.)

____

E P I LOG

I!'!I_... ~ -~~. ..

UE

.,

The fact that the whole Sunningdale Agreement was scrapped by Rees at the end of the strike does not mean that the alm of the strIke was to scrap Sunningdaleo or that the scrapping of Sunningdale necessarily followed from the success of the st r i.ke , The only reason why the UWC strike meant the end of Sunningdale .t s that the Executive and Rees decided to make Sunningdale the central l.ssue~n the strike. In an effort to strengthen their hand agaInst the UWC over the Council of Ireland/Elections issue they declared the whole Sunningdale Agreement to be at l~sue. It was as if somebody wr th a very we "ak hand in poker staked everyt.hi he po ssess.ed n n ng an effort to sap the confidence of his opponent and make holm throw rn h.i s hand. If the bluff di.dn t come off instead of~ncuTf1ng a moderate loss whIle remalning in the game he would lose everythmg. Such an approach is guaranteed to iead to bankruprcy tn poker and disa~ter ~n polltlrsa
49.

~he. and "he Exe-.ut tie wrecked the Sunns ngda l e AgrsemeT\t r n an _crr',;':poDJtb1r ganbLer s' effort to break a pro t.es t strike agat nst a ce La t: fOly unimportant part. of that '~greemento Rees made a speech in t.he .immediate aftermath of the strike In which he declared that It was a manifestation of a new,soclal force, 'Ulster na t i.ona Li sm" The leaders of the strike Immediately repudiated that assertlon. They ins1sted that their a1m had been to ensure that Ulster was democratlcally governed within the United Kingdomc they had no nationalist objectives) and they rejected the nat! ona l ism attributed to them by Rees.
0

But a lot more was to be he2.Td aboutnUIster nationalismH in the , fa ll.owi.ng two years. Ret's was determi ned to create what he had pretended to discover. In December 1974 he negotiated the Feakle Agreement with the IRA, and. his civil servants se t about persuading the Loyalist paramilitary groups that a "British withdrawal" was under way and that they had better formulate a policy for an independent Ulster. Rees was assisted in this effort by a peculiar assortment of ac.ademics, journallsts and New Leftists. Robert Fisk, Belfast correspondent of The Times during the strike) published a book in the summer of 1975 entitled; "The Point Ot No Retiuxm, The Strike That Broke The Br-i tieh. In Ulster". The point of the book was to es t ab Li sh a very sharp dichotomy between "the Bi-i tieh" and Ulster, and to propagate the idea that "The psycho7;ogical link between Britain and Nor-thern Ireland had been broken" by the strike (p23). There appeared simultaneous Ly wi th FJf~k s book a'Marxist!! ar t i c l e advocating Ulster nationalism. It was written by Tom Nalrn. a member of the ed.i to r-ta I committee of the New Left Review" and was fir s t published in a magazine ca i led Bananas (NG: 2; 197"5) and subsequently in Ca l gacus a Sco t t.ish NationaUst maga zi ne (Spring 1976); and a bookcalJ.ed The Break-Up Of Br i t.a i.n ((977). Na irn t:('40 depicted theUWC '3trikea~-a manlfe-stat,_onof nat lona l r sm, And he commented +ha t Ulster "has Y>?'fusrui. t.o beBY'i>h:sh in the fatY'7.y eZemrmtary eenee of obqy7:ng the BY'i h;shg::JvAr'1'lme"YJts p1 ane foY' the proni.noe"; Let us vr le ct on t.h is for a moment ef let us cons~der what light the ~trlke throws on the British character of Ulster. An' r.he Bri t i sh a s t a t.e-eori en ted people? Is it a Br i t i sh char-act» ex i.St.1C to be bLi.nd Ly -obed i ent. to government directives? Far from Lt. If the British state ~an boast three centuries of evolutionary development ina pen od when other states have been toppling like ninepins, that LS certainly not due to any slavishness on the part of the p80ple On the contiary, the state has been capable of evo].ving because It has been continuously subjected to popular pressure~ which it did not have the power to reSIst The 18th rsntury o t i.garchy evo I ed into the Lmute d democracy of the 19t:h

SO

century amldst great social turbulence whlch the oligarchy was lncapable of pac.i£Ylng. And that limited democracy evolved into the social democracy of the 20th century because the growing trade union and labour movement had no Lnh1bltions about exerc:Lsing 1ts enormous power to negate laws designed to curb it and to compel Parliament to pass laws whlch would fac1l1tate ~t In short, continuous evolution has meant continuous turmoil Revolution has been averted by successful rebellion. The rule of law has been respected because It has always been brought ~nto line with social fact, Brltaln lS the last place where a law would be respected merely because 1t was a law, and mere government decrees are regularly treated with contempt The UWC strike had s')med:'TY unusual f'ea.tur-e s wh i ch mark it 'Jut as a singularly Br~tish phenomenon WhPI8 else on earth could an obno xi.ous g ove rnmen t be v.o t.ho rough ly stripped of power through such a rapdd extemporislng of an alternatiJe;tate structure? And where else would such an alteTnati~e state structure so rapidly and pa rnl ess Ly d isappear from r.h e scene, and fu 11 aut ho r i ty de facto and de Jure be re t.ored to the Co nst.r ur.ton government, t al once It de s rst.ed f rom o t.s ob oox i ous '011(':,8 of a ct ron and conceded the pOint at issue Was 1t a rebeillon agalnst the Clown? Of COU 1 '-,eL was t The Crown 01 1.t~ agent· was behaVing unlea~onably and intolerably, it refu~ed to take account of the c'ear y eKpressed Will of th8 p rov iru e, therefore ,I wa.,> nec.es sary to use e xtra-Pa rLi amen tar y pressure t.o r est.oe Lt. TJ lt~. sen:,e,_ The o rf rcers of the Crown r shour.ed "r ebeLr ron" . n order LO fr i ght en The t.rik ers back .i.nt o t i ne But. nobody was f r i gh t ened The s t.rr e rs af fi rmed t.h e i r k undYlng l~yalty to the Crown, but rontlnued to rebel until thp pOInt at lssue was conceded, (and much more than the pOlnt at !-"SUe wa . unner essa r iLy conveded}: and the, suddenly, in the tWLnk Lng 01 an eye, all that could be ~een where preV1.ous!y there had been rebe i s wete law abid i ng subjects of the Crown How unmlstakeabl.y Brtfl£>h Of cour se , matters do no t usu sa ly go to such ex-tremeC;ln Br i t.a n i The pOlntlt l",CI,JP iolJSU:tlly conr eded well be f o re surh vm e xrreme pot n t of rebell :.011 .1'" r-eached for example, the bending o f the 1 aw by the gove rnmen t when f aced Wl rh the clear p rospec t of rebellion lO connectIon wlth the JaLl!ng of dorkers under the lndustrt.al Relations A.ct i n 19~'2. But matters have gone to the po in r :Jfrebe'l,on before The great "Con sr.r .ut t rona l stoppage" In ULter was very s irml.ar in that respect to the great Spi t.he ad
M]Jt 1 ny ofl 797

Th i -. highly succ.evsfut Mut.Jhy, whic h ot.cur red in the nu ds t of war w~th Fiance, tooK place because certaIn changes !n condlt10ns of nava '"eIvlce be i ng demanded by th'2'Oadors would no t be ,'on"edsd
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un.tf'l-:J'1'1b'·;'. 'Nele 'd.'~Hl5f:d :N "hey them and break the i r .'eI)C]; ffiJ"'c'fi8'lf So, declaring t.ha they had nOintenti.)n of rebc.U sng, t eoe' t"j The rebBllion held SOlld, B.nd never allowed itself to go beyond the issue whi ch caused .i t The situation then was that the Crown cou ld have a navy if it. conceded the issue on which the rebe Ilion took its stand, otherwise it would not have a navy. So the Crown conceded the reforms and pretended that there had been no rebellion, the rebel command structure disbanded itself, full authority was immediately restored to the commissioned officers of the Cr'Own, and Napoleon lost his navy at Trafalgar.
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Such thlngs only happen in British sOClety Elsewhere, successful rebellions lead to the overthrow of states, and situations of dual power are resolved militarilySo, in the light of the great "Constitutional stoppage" of 1974, how could it possibly be the case that Ulster is not British? British reformism, that political wonder of the modern world, is firmly based on a social capacity for stubborn, effective, conditional, restrained and purposeful rebellion. Ulster engaged in a typically British piece of disobedience ln 1974, And if the outcome of the UWC strike was not as successful in evolutionary terms as the outcome of the Spithead Mutiny the cause does not ILe in a qualitative difference in the behaviour of the two sets of Constitutional rebels, but in a qualitative difference in the behaviour of the two Governments Pitt add h1S colleagues conceded handsome ly ,llltelligently and with good grace. as much as 1t was necessary for them to concede, They were worthy of that remarkable rebellion, They neither opposed it blindly nor conceded too much to ite To have conceded too much would have been llttle better than refusing to make any concessions at all, The mutineers did not demand, for example, that the officers should be elected by the mess; and Pitt did not, in a fit of pique at having his authority rebelled against so successfully, declare that the mutineers were i nccmprehens 1b Le to the Admiralty, (as they undoubtedly were to many a respected Admiral), and would therefore have to make their own arrangemen t.sfor conducting the Navy,
>

Merlyn Rees and Harold Wilson were utterly unworthy of the remark ab le British rebellion aga i ns t the un-Br i tish behaviour of their Government In Ulster In 1974 They opposed It bllddly for far too long, and when they be carne incapable of opposing 1. t any longer they con~eded to it, unlnteJ Llgent1y and With bad grace, much more than it had demanded, And they gave every appearance of doing thiS in a shAer fIt of pique. in the way that a child might smash a toy that had not obeyed i t.swh i.m If at any po t n t during the stoke the Government had declared that, (Whl1p t would not tolerate TPbellion, or make the slIghtest
57.

-:.concessionto people who went outside the Parliamentary process, etc. etc.), it had come to its notice that the'Dublin government could not see its way to meeting its commitments under Sunningdale; that the establishment of a Council of Ireland would, regretfully, have to be suspended until Dublin was able to meet those commitments by.amending its Constitution; and that Assembly elections \.0 would, as had always been intended, be held within siJt months that would have been an ample concession on which to settle the strike, and the Sunningdale framework would have been preserved as a basis for development. With the Council postponed on such reasonable grounds~ and with the issue of the Council effectively separated from the issue of power-sharing, the SDLP would have been hard put to it to withdraw, and the participationist aspect of the SDLP would have been given the best possible conditions in which to become preponderant over the anti-p~rticipationist aspect. No doubt there would have been a political crisis, but a serious political crisis effectively resolved would have been the making of the Assembly. However, that very real possibility of the situation was casually wiped out in a fit of pique by Merlyn Rees, who treated Ulster as if it was a colonial remnant, and who was himself the most un-British political feature in Ulster. Paddy Devlin explains why the SDLP decided to push fOT all-out coufrontationwith the strike, and to demand that the Army be used to run es sent i.a industries: "It was o.bvious that the remain.ing l
';ppwer-workers would be w:itbdrawn bl} the UWC and that the experienced techn.icalex~rts would take over, I twas predictab1e that this pla.n, if activated, would create the tyJ;S of confrontation that the loya.lists could not faceo We reckoned that the loyalists were largely the products of a law and order community and would not operate outside the law once Lt: was established that they were in breach of ito fhls was never understood by Raes and Wilson at any time during the stoppage" (The Fall of the Executive),

This passage indicates how grossly the SDLP misconceived the character of the UniOnist workerso Devlin cannot, even with hindsight, understand why he is no longer a Government Minister. Wilson and Rees went to insane lengths in confronting the strike. The more they confronted it the more coherent it became. Yet Devlin still indulges himself in the fantasy that if Wilson and Rees had gone to even greater lengths of confrontation the strike could have been brokeno The SDLP leaders have so often declared the Unionist workers to be a lumpen rabble Which stands in awe of a reactionary aristocracy that this has become a fixed idea with them v;ch,;ch nothing that the Unionist workers actually do Ls capable of altering
0

Having scrapped the Assembly, Rees announced that an Ulster
53

would be eLe c.t.e 0D the same b as i s as the Assembly, hut ~Nol}ld d h,p w i.thout any deC.nite f un et ions The impr-.8ss1rmwa.s g i.ve :i:nitifll1y n char the Convent i.onwould be a powerful, or at ) easta.n influential body, (Tom Nairn, in the aforementioned"'-rti,:lp,decl~arpd that ".in the new uLs+ex Convention they vl""l actua17y be riil.Lriq themse]ves" ) In effect, the Convent.Lon w'ls;!l"ccns t ltuenr assembly wi rhcur, the power. to constitute anything, If: did not even havp an advisory funct.Lon, The Report. I-Jhirh it drew up re.ceive.da token dis cus si.on at Westminster in Fr-br rv 1976 and was then put i.n the waste paper us ba ske t . Rees announced thp Convention -tn JIm'? 1974, but; delayed its election until May 1975. The paine of the delay was a hope that it would enable the Faulkner Unionists to regain credibility, but it had the contrary effect. The moment was ripest for a political initiative in the immediate aftermath of the strike, when Rees did absolutely nothing.

*

The Westminster government still remains committed to restoring a devolved government, as is the Westminster opposition, But it has been found much easier to knock down devolved government in Ulster than to set it up again. The great political secret about Ulster is that it is a region that is inherently unsuitable for the devolution of government. The powers that be are now all engaged in a conspiracy to prevent that secret from leaking out, That grave and rcs pons Lb Le newspaper, the Times, which has agonised so much in recent years about the freedom of the press, has published a multitude of eccentric viewpoints on U'I t er , What it absolutely will s not publish is an article or letter which lets out the secret that Ulster is inherently unsuitable for devolution. The fundamental truth of that idea is so irresistibie that only the strictest censorship of its expression can prevent a landslide of opinion towards an "integrationist" solution of the Ulster problem. We have demonstrated here that the abolition of the devolved Sunningdale Assembly was not a demand of the uwe strike, and we have argued that if ther.e had been a modicum of political intelligence at work in the Northern Ireland Office the framework of the Assembly might have been preserved, But we do not regret the abolition of the Assembly. It has since 1974 been found impossible to restore devolved government, Ulster is therefore being integrated on a de facto basis, despite the policies of both Tory and Labour Parties. We welcome the fact that it is being found impossible to get Ulster back into the straitjacket that was imposed on it in 1921.

54.

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