Subject: UK state: Northern Ireland

Michael Keaney michael.keaney at
Wed May 21 03:14:40 MDT 2003

Mike Friedman writes:

I would  think it is almost certainly another, more recent conflict that has
helped push the British elite over the edge with respect to its dirty war
tactics in Ireland. I refer, of course, to the Iraq war, and the fissures
and strains it has created within the British ruling class.


And what would make you think that? On what knowledge do you base your
authoritative supposition? I have been at pains to point out the long term
developments within the British state that lie behind current events, adding
to republican perspectives already represented here. Concern over dirty war
tactics, fissures and strains all predate Blair (elected in 1997) and have
been documented to have existed as far back as the early 1970s by authors
including Paul Foot, Anthony Cavendish, Robert Fisk and Peter Taylor. The
invasion of Iraq is related to British state policy towards Northern
Ireland, just as the proposals for foundation hospitals in the NHS are.
Which is to say that you ascribe far too much importance to a single event
when in fact the focus of our analysis here concerns decades-long struggles
and trends whose culmination includes the public "self-flagellation" (as
Brendan O'Neill puts it) of the British state. The British elite is almost
certainly not "over the edge" on this. The current unravelling of the status
quo ante is a carefully calculated effort to effect a clean exit from
Northern Ireland via the destruction of the political legitimacy of the

Michael Keaney

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