An Honourable Tory Bonehead R I P (1990)

Submitted by dalcassian on 8 February, 2017 - 2:52 Author: Sean Matgamna

When a prominent main-
stream politician dies,
the others and their
journalists fill the airwaves and
the newspapers with a choral
hymn to the splendid and ir-
replaceable dead.

Usually it is worthless waffle —
and not sincere waffle, either, just the
other members of the trade talking
up their profession, pretending it
consists of honourable men and
women moved by ideals when in
fact most mainstream politicians
are hacks and whores tending the
garden of the bourgeoisie and car-
ing for little but their careers.

With Ian Gow, killed on Monday
by a Provisional IRA car bomb, a
politician may for once have deserv-
ed some of the praise being
showered on his corpse.

Five years ago he was a well-
favoured member of the Thatcher
gang, a minister with bright pro-
spects. Then Mrs Thatcher signed
the Anglo-Irish Agreement which
gave Dublin a share of the political
power over Northern Ireland.

Gow the Unionist, the Tory, the
Englishman was outraged. He
resigned from the government and
spent his last five years on the back
benches, speaking out against the
IRA as often as events sent the TV
cameras to record what he had to
say.

The ally of raucous agitators like
Ian Paisley, Gow himself spoke
with the accents and sentiments of
the traditional Unionist English up-
per classes. But those classes had, in
the main, grown more flexible and
sophisticated. They had distanced
themselves from the Ian Paisleys,
and were willing to dilute or even
abandon the Union.

When Gow and Thatcher fell out
in November 1985, Mrs Thatcher
represented the political present of
the British ruling class, and Gow
was an anachronism, a romantic
throwback. He was the honourable
English gentleman who really
believed in the Union between Bri-
tain and Northern Ireland, and in
the British-Protestant alliance.

He was, in fact, the traditional
English upper-class bonehead, who
understood nothing of the real
Ireland and was unable to learn
anything except the "lesson" that
the British ruling class has spent
hundreds of years vainly applying
to Ireland — repress the Catholics,
beat down the croppies and the
taigs, or, in the words of the
modern politician's cant, maintain
"law and order" and "security".

Bonehead Gow believed —
behind the "civilised" veneer and
the coded words about law and
order — in naked force, and as
much of it as necessary to restore
and maintain Protestant majority
rule (that is, Protestant supremacy)
in Northern Ireland.

The choice is either that, or a
political solution that reconciles
Protestant and Catholic. We do not
think that the Anglo-Irish Agree-
ment is such a solution, but at least
it is an attempt at one. Ian Gow
made a personally honourable
stancj. sacrificing his career, on
behalf of a policy of continued sup-
pression of the Catholic minority in
Northern Ireland, the half million
people artificially separated from
the Irish majority community in
1921-2 and made into a second, ar-
tificial, Irish minority.

The admirers of Ian Gow can rest
easy: his mind and spirit are still
alive and powerful among those in
England who determine the fate of
the people of Northern Ireland!

Gow's type still has immense
power and influence in politics, in
the Civil Service, and in the army.
You can see that on television, for
example, when British Army of-
ficers are interviewed after the latest
IRA bombing or assassination.

Talking as if they all go to a
British Army central school of
elocution, they denounce the Provi-
sional IRA as "cowards". These
are men pursuing protected and
lucrative careers within a mindless,
soulless, bureaucratic military
machine, men who let the "cause"
they fight for be decided for them
by politicians like Thatcher. And
they denounce as cowards young
men and women who elect to fight
against overwhelming force — the
force of arms, of political power, of
manufactured public opinion, and
of traditional British hypocrisy —
for a cause in which they risk death
or long imprisonment and can hope
to win nothing for themselves!

When the bomb went off under
Gow he fell victim to the violence he
advocated for the Six Counties
Catholics. He was a "soft" target:
the idea that killing him will for-
ward the cause of Irish unity is
about as boneheaded as Gow
himself was. Like the rest of the
"soft target" Provisional IRA kill-
ings and bombings, this one
testified more to the weakness than
the strength of those who did it.

Even so. Labour politicians
should not have joined in the
chorus of synthetic grief for this
honourable but politically repulsive
John Bull bonehead.

S O Editorial July 1990