By now you must think they would be asking why he never provides an umbrella for the shower, instead leaving them to venture forth in the world and endure the ridicule that is heaped their way for believing even more bollix than they did last time.
With 2016 on the horizon and a united Ireland not looking remotely likely by 2036 nevermind next year, the Sinn Fein boss has taken to throwing morsels of comfort to offset the onset of any disappointment or disillusionment that might erupt in the ranks of the deluded. A most unlikely phenomenon given the readiness in there to consistently absorb just about anything delivered from on high, no matter how ideologically or intellectually toxic. No matter how bizarre and implausible .... they believe it.
With nothing on the cards in terms of Irish unity Sinn Fein’s cardsharp caudillo has shuffled the pack, dealt out deuces by the dozen and allayed any fears of a poor hand by explaining that the deuce is right next to the ace in the pecking order .... and they believe it.
A united Ireland there will be, just not in 2016, and it “may not be the one traditionally envisaged over the years”. Which really means not the one the Provisional IRA in the name of tradition killed so many people in pursuit of but some other sort of one. A united Ireland which will assuredly still have a partition and the British ruling the North. As Patrick Murphy pithily summed it up:
That presumably means it will be a united Ireland with a border - but not a divisive border, you understand. It will be more of a uniting border. That's it - an Ireland united by the border. It is the one thing Ireland, north and south, has in common. (Well, apart from the NAMA scandal.) It will probably be a shiny new border, with lots of bordery things along it. (No, I don't know what sort of bordery things. Use your imagination.) There will be bouncy castles for the children and just like the peace process, it will be the most successful border in the world. (Those who oppose it will be labelled as anti-border elements.) So, we have just had the only sectarian war in Irish history in which both sides were fighting for the same thing - to keep the border. (You will be glad to know that both sides won.)
Still .... they believe it.
To boot, the sword that Ruairi O’Bradigh was made to fall upon because he was said to have made a sop to unionism, has been unsheathed. “We need to be able to consider transitional arrangements which could mean continued devolution to Belfast within an all-island structure."
But don’t be deluded that Sinn Fein by returning to Ruairi O'Bradiagh is rediscovering its Provisional roots after its long flirtation with Workers Party philosophy (minus any of that old Stick socialist nonsense). This federalism, while not exactly a sop to unionism ~ there are few sops left to make; it is more a sop to the Sinn Fein base ~ will be the working out of the balance of forces that make a united Ireland beyond reach. The beyond reach bit of course not be explained: we haven’t got a united Ireland but will pretend we have and we will even say Stormont is part of an all island state. And they will believe it.
In any event a united Ireland of the traditional type is not needed because the real reason for fighting the war was not because a united Ireland did not exist but because an Orange state did. This helps explain why Bobby Storey said the Orange State had conjured up the Provisional IRA and that that the organisation had flown off like a butterfly because it had finished the business of dismantling the Orange State. They believe that too.
Undoubtedly, Storey had a point but being stringently analytical was hardly his intention. He is right insofar that the circumstances that created the Provisional IRA were not British rule per se but British practice. Masked within the Storey wordplay, however, was the uncomfortable stone in the shoe of the Sinn Fein narrative that the Provisional IRA did not merely seek the abolition of the Orange State but of the Northern Ireland state: not because it was an Orange State but because it was a British state. Anything less than a United Ireland was the spawn of the devil (Dessie "The Devil" O'Hagan and the Workers Party, no less) and needed exorcised, on occasion by the gun.
The North’s status as a British state is no less real today than it was at the time the Provisional IRA emerged.
That sort of observation rings heretical amongst the ranks of the IBA (I Believe Anything). The party leader has told them so. He has a track record of uncompromising honesty.
They believe that too.