Getting through to the Unionists appears to have become an end in itself. The ultimate and inevitable end station of this process was to become unionist, as Harris did. Harris did not get through to the Unionists, they got through to him. The only conversion he was responsible for was his own conversion to Unionism. If this is gettinng through to the Unionists it is only in the most abject sense. Far from advancing socialism or republicanism's 'common name', it represented simply their rejection in order to gain an audience with unionists on unionist terms. The missionary of republicanism became a convert to unionism.
Harris's position here is special pleading at best; pure can at worse. Opposition to sectarian violence must be aimed at both sides. The Provisionals were the product of northern nationalists and were no more Harris's 'own side' than were the Unionists. Northern Nationalists differ profoundly from the population in the Irish Republic. But this is exactly what is to be expected, given the profoundly different social realities under which both groups lived since 1920 - indeed, since the Seventeenth century. . .
Harris' 'anti-sectarianism' was shown in a different light in the context of his fanatical support for the invasion of Iraq. The invasion and the reduction of the state if Iraq to a state of nature through the deliberate destruction of the Iraqi state, opened the gates of hell for that unfortunate country. It unleashed the forces of sectarianism and terrorism on a country where they were previously absent.
The mythical 'WMDs' never materialised. The claim that the invasion will bring about democracy in Iraq is equally spurious - the creation of a Black Water run puppet state, unofficial partition or a theocracy are far more likely. Whatever the final outcome, it will have no meaning for the 2.5% of the Iraqi population, who died as a result of this 'liberation' up to July 2006. This is what Harris's cheerleading for war helped facilitate and it is in this context that his position on Northern Ireland must be judged. His 2007 advice to the UUP to join the DUP is also difficult to understand in terms of any 'anti-sectarian' (as opposed to anti-nationalist) strategy. Like many of Harris's ideas it is fatally flawed and could help destroy any remaining common feeling between the British public and Ulster Unionists by luring the unionists into making a party viewed in Britain sd religious fundamentalist, bigoted and unmistakeably 'other', their exclusive political face. This is doubtlessly not Eoghan Harris' intention but then so many of his previous good intentions have later paved the way to hell. [Nor is he fully trusted by unionists, being accused of 'confused thinking on the nature of terrorism' by the liberal unionist Cadogan group.]
-Official Irish Republicanism 1962-72, pp.396-397.
Seán Swan: Neither of us are, to my knowledge, homosexuals. Nevertheless, I wish to marry you and bear your children.