You may have heard that ETA, the bunch of mindless, blood-stained thugs we have in this country instead of the IRA, have declared a ceasefire. The reasons for this are not easy to establish, as there are many possibilities.
They are weak, perhaps very weak. They have lost the support of their friends in Ulster, and probably of their friends in Libya, over the last few years, the French government has been co-operating properly for a decade or so, so they have nowhere to tun to, the courts have illegalized their political mouth-pieces and they are having trouble keeping their favourite recruiting grounds poor, making it harder to get people interested.
It may be all of these things or none, but they have been much weakened over the last few years, they have lost their leaders several times and the government has refused to contemplate negotiations (at least publicly). So this is probably an attempt to gain some public support for 'dialogue', by which they mean 'give us what we want'. They thought, years ago, that they might be able to force some kind of Blairite 'peace process', but there are many differences, and not only the will of the government to surrender.* In the Basque Country there is no opposing bunch of blood-stained thugs turning the streets into a battleground, and, outside the few towns and villages that they still control, it's a wealthy place, and a pleasant place to live. It's not hard to ignore the terrorists, it's not like they're on every street corner.
So the ceasefire is probably an act of desperation, and will last precisely as long as they think it useful to keep it, and, as on other occasions, it will be broken without warning, so there isn't really a ceasefire anyway in any meaningful sense.
In any case, the regional and national governments, instead of fawning over the 'reformed' terrorist and pretending that this somehow made them wonderful, democratic and people you can do business with, basically told them where they could shove it, and that unless they disbanded themselves and surrendered all their weapons they would continue to hunt them down (they've just got a few more of the scum, a day or two ago). ETA complains that the government is not entering into the spirit of the ceasefire, and is told what it can do with itself and its mother.
The Basque government is new, and very different from the old one, but in Madrid we still have that buffoon Zapatero, so his reaction to it has been surprising, and heartening. One day we will see the end of that particular mob. There will be more of course. There's money to be had in terrorising people, and all the bas girls like a man with a loaded gun.
*I imagine it's a pleasant change for the people of Ulster to live in relative peace and not be controlled by gun-toting friends of Gerry (or Ian) all the time, as it is to see a bit of money returning to the place, and it's not up to me to say whether the price of that peace was too high, but it certainly was very high.
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