By Jamie Bryson
The Maze 1983 film is an opportunity for the Unionist community to remind ourselves of the sheer folly of ever trusting the republican movement or their pretence of ‘reconciliation’.
After the Hunger Strikes a new strategy emerged within the jail. It was conceived by the prison leadership which included current senior Sinn Fein members such as Bik McFarlane, Gerry Kelly and Bobby Storey.
The strategy was slow and painstakingly disciplined. It involved republican prisoners pretending that they had accepted the regime. They smiled and got along with the prison guards; they relaxed the whole system by pretending they were happily operating within it. The account of their strategies is outlined in various accounts of the escape and in even more detail within the book ‘Nor Meekly Serve My Time’.
The book outlines the processes the republican prisoners went through to achieve their goals and break the system. It often involved the pretence of reconciliation, acceptance and even friendship. It involved good behaviour and cordial words. But all of that was just a smokescreen, thrown up to cloak their malevolent aims.
The republican movement largely believe the strategies used in the prison work equally well in the contemporary political arena. It is that playbook that underpins the Sinn Fein strategy, which is still directed- according to the Independent panel report in 2015- by the Provisional IRA Army Council.
It is therefore pretty clear that some of the same individuals that designed the strategies to relax the prison system and then break out, are still today playing a major role in directing the political agenda of Sinn Fein.
Only a fool would believe that all the honeyed words like reconciliation, equality and respect are anything other than exactly the same tactics used by the IRA to break free from the Maze prison. It is all about working from within system to destroy the system.
Republicanism does not want equality or a shared future within a stable Northern Ireland. Such an outcome would render their ultimate argument for Irish unity obsolete. Republicans want to pretend they want such a society, but in reality they want to use the pretence of friendship and reconciliation as a stepping stone to advance to the next stage of their agenda of cultural and political supremacy.
Some foolish Unionists are either knowingly, or unknowingly, pawns in this game. Some are allowing themselves to become poster boys and girls for Sinn Fein- held up as an example of the type of Unionist that would be acceptable within a United Ireland. Acceptable of course because they have been so brainwashed with promises of rainbows and equality that they happily embrace the ‘progressive’ pan-nationalist agenda and even act as cheerleaders for Sinn Fein demands.
In 1981 it was prison officers being wooed by a republican charm offensive, today it is compliant Unionists who fall for the promise of a ‘rainbow’ society underpinned by ‘equality and respect’. Played like a fiddle by this Sinn Fein charm offensive, these compliant Unionists should remember what happened to the prison officers who- out of decency- fell for the IRA’s hand of friendship. They shot them in the head once they had served their purpose.