But according to various other talking heads at the BBC and at The Guardian this morning, McGuinness was a warm, family man, a sort of latter-day Nelson Mandela, capable of great tenderness, a “formidable peacemaker” and “a very warm human being.”
Gosh, which version of reality should we believe?
Well, perhaps I can help you by pointing out that the “formidable peacemaker” accolade comes from a disgraced former Prime Minister by the name of Tony Blair; and that the even more revolting “very warm human being” tribute comes from Blair’s former chief gofer, bottlewasher, and propagandist Alastair Campbell.
Both Blair and Campbell have a very large dog in this fight. It remains a great source of pride to them that they helped mastermind the Good Friday Agreement which in their view was the glorious moment that brought peace to Northern Ireland but which others still see as a shameful and unnecessary surrender to a defeated terrorist movement, a betrayal of the Protestant majority, and a shoddy, craven, cynical – and typically Blairite – exercise in papering over the cracks which led to the overpromotion of grisly extremists like McGuinness and his fellow IRA man Gerry Adams at the expense of moderates.
Lord Tebbit inclines to the latter view. He too has a dog in this fight, having nearly been killed at the 1984 Conservative Party Conference by the Brighton bomb planted by McGuinness’s IRA associates. Worse, Lord Tebbit’s wife Margaret was paralysed in the explosion. He has spent a good chunk of his time and money since lovingly nursing her, so not a day goes by when he isn’t reminded of that moment over three decades ago that so cruelly snatched away his happiness.
But it’s not bitterness that informs his opinion so much as the intellectual integrity which we’ve long come to expect from Margaret Thatcher’s most forthright former Cabinet minister.
Lord Tebbit tells it like it is because he isn’t – and never was – one of those cringing, oily, greasy-pole-climbing surrender monkeys who believes that “politics is the art of the possible”.
Tebbo has always believed in speaking truth to power and in doing the right thing rather than settling for ugly, shaming compromise.
His view on the IRA and the Good Friday Agreement is of a piece with this. It wasn’t principle, he maintains, that drove the IRA high command to negotiate but desperation.
“He was not only a multi-murderer, he was a coward. He knew that the IRA were defeated because British intelligence had penetrated right the way up to the Army Council and that the end was coming.
“He then sought to save his own skin and he knew that it was likely he would be charged before long with several murders which he had personally committed and he decided that the only thing to do was to opt for peace.”
And, no, he definitely doesn’t accept the idea that – as is often said of that other former terrorist, Nelson Mandela – McGuinness’s change of heart was somehow noble because it led to peace.
Read the rest at Breitbart.