We are so inured to the term “community” that we no longer marvel at its many uses and misuses. In this case, Mr McQuillan conjures up a “loyalist community” which is enough of a corporate entity to react yet not enough of a corporate entity to bear responsibility for its actions. How does that work, exactly? How is Mr McQuillan able to read this mysteriously amorphous hive-mind?
Our readiness to invoke a concept like “community” when a mob beats a man to death is disgusting. It might help to recalibrate Northern Ireland’s moral compass if everyone paused to ponder this word every time they heard or casually used it.
The “loyalist community” is represented at Stormont by PUP leader Dawn Purvis, who issued her own condemnation of the murder. Well, sort of. In fact Ms Purvis told �the assembly that sectarianism is “a deadly virus which affects the whole community”.
Here we have another use of the term “community” to imply something quite remarkable, namely that everyone in Northern Ireland suffers from an externally imposed affliction which can randomly manifest itself as a homicidal rampage.
Ms Purvis inherited this metaphysical perspective from her predecessor, the late David Ervine, who used it to great effect. His fashionable nonsense about shadowy ruling class forces exploiting salt of the earth working class types went down a treat with republican pseudo-intellectuals and New Labour idiots.
However, Mr Ervine’s class-war claptrap amounts to nothing more than Mr McQuillan’s equivocation in a suit. It is just another transfer of responsibility to an abstraction, in this case the “illness” of sectarianism.
Friday, 29 May 2009
Emerson on Northern Ireland's 'community' problem
I normally try to avoid simply quoting lumps of articles without at least commenting upon their contents. However Newton Emerson’s Irish News column is so good on the topic of community (in the aftermath of the McDaid murder) that I will let the requisite sections speak for themselves albeit with a little unobtrusive emboldening. The author is considering DUP representative Adrian McQuillan's initially equivocal reaction to the murder.