Monday, 9 March 2009

Antrim Killings

Condemned by Sinn Fein. Sneered at by Richard Seymour. Despaired of by the discussion on Cedar Lounge Revolution. It seems the perpetrators are isolated from both mainstream republican and far left opinion. From the initial press coverage they seem even more isolated from the mass of non political people in both communities.

But it is the nature of the potential retaliation which now matters. A successful police hunt is what is needed. A violent trawl through nationalist communities is not. The killings were carried out to provoke a reaction, and to undermine Sinn Fein by leaving them looking like collaborators. Or at least that's the only possible strategic logic.

At moments like these, Northern Irish politics is a macabre reel where all the parties know only too well that a slip in the rhythm, an accidental stepping on each others' shoes, can ruin the dance. The politicos have to move in lockstep on this one, each party keeping an wary eye on the community reaction of the other side.

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