The Real IRA: Can we blame the downturn?
It seems people want to blame everything on the downturn right now, and indeed, some of that might be a bit far fetched, but since hearing of the attacks at an army base in Northern Ireland by the Real IRA, I’m struggling to avoid a possible conclussion: that the downturn has something to do with it.Ireland, both North and South, could be given as an example of somewhere the peace and prosperity went hand-in-hand. Fellow Christian Activist Kieran O’Reilly often talks (or at least, used to talk) of the spirit of hedonism that descended when The Troubles ceased. When business realised it could invest without too much risk of losing that investment in a bombing, money poured in and many people, especially the youth, hailed an age of wealth.
And its definitely true that violence is a major obstacle to development in many places around the world, of which Zimbabwe, the Congo and Sudan are examples. But of course, there will always be those who resent that fact. But its a simple point of movement theory that a downturn provides opportunities, and a nation that played catch-up prior to the downturn provides greater potential for rage when that improvement is short-lived.
If the jubilation and hedonism are being halted by the recession, what better time to send a message saying “don’t worry, we’re still here, we’ve still got weapons, come and join in” than what we just saw. Obviously, and it really should go without saying, its my prayer that none will answer that calling.
But the sudden increase in wealth is being shown to be temporary, perhaps even illusory, and so perhaps someone somewhere is calculating a backlash against the short-lived prosperity could be a backlash against short-lived peace. Certainly, people have something to resent right now, which they didn’t when peace was first taking root.
Its probably a poor theory, and the expert on the 10 o’clock news could have made it but didn’t, but its something I can’t really justify ignoring. Afterall, as Nick Clegg said today in Horragate, recessions are a time of possibility for huge change. And change isn’t always as rosey as he portrayed it.