“The last thing anybody wishes to see, is one or other of the communities so aggrieved that the hard men, who are still there lurking in the corners of the community, decide that they wish to return to some form of violence.”
This was the warning about the consequences of a DUP-May deal issued by former British prime minister and green pea aficionado John Major on the BBC this morning, words that have been uncritically reported by outlets as disparate as The Intercept, Russia Today and The Indian Express.
It is of course complete nonsense, drummed up either by desperate Tories who would rather have the insufferable Boris strutting his stuff in Number Ten than any more of the robotic mannequin Theresa May; by opportunistic Corbynistas eager to turn the Irish card to their advantage for a change, or journalists too lazy or stupid to know any better.
The only corners in which the people who were operators for the Provos lurk these days are in bars and restaurants they run on behalf of their former military bosses, cottages in Costa del Provo in Co. Donegal, or luxury apartments in Portugal, all acquired thanks to the generosity of the Northern Bank, aka as ‘Big Bobby’s Mutually Assured Retirement Fund’.
They are either there or in the back offices of Leinster House, sucking at the hind teat of the Irish state or anxiously pacing the bars at the Stormont Hotel, wondering just when they’ll be allowed to get their noses back into the trough at the pile at the top of the hill.
Suggest to them that if Theresa May cuts a deal with Arlene Foster they might ‘return to some form of violence’ and you’re likely to get a very rude answer. These guys’ fighting days are done. You’d better believe it.
Which leaves the dissidents.
I rest my case.