“They have a mutual desire to maintain and build peace but little in common beyond that ideal”.

Ed Curran, writing in the Belfast Telegraph yesterday, outlined how the Secretary the State, with his open consultation on reforming Stormont, is playing the only hand open to him, appealing above the heads of Stormont to wider civic society to have their say:

The UK government is blamed for imposing austerity cuts here but rarely  applauded for the billions which it sends to keep the wheels of Stormont turning  every year.

Mr Paterson has a perfect right to keep a watching eye on how Stormont  operates because his Government is still paying the piper, if not calling the  tune.”

There is an austere acceptance that amongst all parties, bar SF, that ‘eventually’ we want to move to a new governing framework, with a simplistic message of cutting the number of MLAs and introducing an opposition at some unidentified point in the future. Michael Shilliday in Friday’s News Letter noted that this is not a simplistic slash and burn process, as the dominance of the two main parties is such that such slashing could actually reduce the breadth of participation and cantonise politics for good.

Indeed, slashing the numbers of the smaller parties may well mean that at the very point of delivery of an opposition, there is but only a rump of political contrarians left to form that body. If we are dominated by two big parties, there can be no prospect of developing power-sharing, the key principle of the Belfast Agreement, in both opposition and government. It is clear that this must be the long-term aim, one that confounds the deputy First Minister’s distorting assumption that reform and power sharing are mutually exclusive.

Brian Feeny outlines in Wednesday’s Irish News his fundamental objections to the introduction of any kind of opposition structure:

“His document talks about moving towards a “more normal system”, classical Unionist double-speak from people hankering after a return to something like the ‘British system’ of government. The reason for the contrived apparatus here is that this place is not normal in the sense of a homogenous political system that society at large supports. After all, a substantial proportion of the population can’t even agree what to call the place never mind how to run it”.

In an interesting twist on an old nationalist mantra, Stormont is irreformable because political nationalism deems it so; accountability structures and the ability to choose between alternative inclusive governments is too British to be palatable. The debate seems not so trifling to avoid mention.

It would therefore seem that there is some tension between the superficially appealing ‘slash ’em all’ approach and reforming the institutions to make politics more responsive, competitive and accountable.

The positioning of the main parties on this consultation may reveal much about their incentives towards reform and whether the quality of democracy means more than relative party position…..A first shot across the bow….

  • Mister_Joe

    …the quality of democracy…

    A slippery concept if there ever was one. If you look around any developed democracy it’s patently obvious that the only thing that matters to the politicos is electoral success.

  • Better Together

    Mister_Joe

    I think that is the game the SoS is playing here- one can turn the temperature up a little in subtle ways and ask searching questions about the intentions of our Big Two and whether they act in the best interests of NI.

  • tacapall

    BT the SOS is not interested in the best interests of this state he works in the best interests of Britain and at this present time it all goes down to pounds shillings and pence. Attempting to return to the old Stormont style politics of single party rule is a backward step for Nationalism and one which I very much doubt Sinn Fein will ever sign up to.

  • Dec

    ‘A first shot across the bow’

    Pissing in the wind would be more apt. Single party rule? Never going to happen.

  • Better Together

    Is ther any argument in there Dec? No one mentioned single party rule. The article specifically mentions power-sharing rule.

  • tacapall

    So how would this power sharing work with an opposition and could Unionism or Nationalism if they had the right numbers form a government with a smaller party like Alliance ? Is that not similar to one party rule as the Alliance party are Unionists.

  • Better Together

    Tacapall

    I don’t think either of those permutations would meet the requirements of the Belfast Agreement. I am saying that any executive or alternative government would have to contain both nationalists and unionists.

    Basically, you retain the electoral competition within each traditional bloc, but enhance by offering the largest of each a place in the executive.

    The formation of a government must command the support of the majority of the community as a whole and a PFG must be agreed in advance of the allocation of D’Hondt.

  • tacapall

    Sounds like what we already have BT, why change if its not broke it sounds like a return to the past by stealth.

  • andnowwhat

    I think the tories regard NI, somewhat, as a dose of herpes from a long ago relationship.

    Like Scotland and the north of England, we just don’t fit their vision of the nation

  • Reader

    tacapall: Sounds like what we already have BT, why change if its not broke it sounds like a return to the past by stealth.
    What we already have is the 5 largest parties holding a place in the executive – as the metaphor has it, inside the tent pissing out. However, the DUP and SF are such unpleasant tent-mates that some other parties have dallied with the option of going into opposition. I think they mean money for *not* being in the executive. That seems a teeny bit cheeky.
    My own suggestion is to stop running d’Hondt twice (for executive members and committee chairs), but just to run it once for both. A party opting to go into opposition could spend their turns on committee chairs instead of departments. If we put FM and DFM into the pot too, then the opposition parties could pick up quite a few chairs.
    But there’s no need to abandon the safeguards you are used to (FM and DFM from the 2 largest designations; both of those designations represented by government parties, and parties with a past excluded from the Justice ministry for a while.) There’s also no need to change the Assembly voting rules, which have given us the marvellous stasis we enjoy at present.

  • Mister_Joe

    Reader,

    Hope you send your suggestions to the SoS.

  • ForkHandles

    A single party or coalition government is the norm in most western democracies as far as I know. The benefit being that the group in charge can vote through their ideas and make things happen for the ordinary public. Then if they’re crap we can vote them out and try another group. So how do we get there? We can’t just ignore the sectarian tribal nature of the way people think in NI, it will be around for quite a while yet. So we need a system that ensures a balance of tribal members. Why not something along the lines of fair employment rules that companies have to meet? I’m not sure of the exact rules, but don’t companies have to more or less reflect the religious balance of their surrounding area? Why not this rule for a proposed single party or coalition government?

    The requirement would be –

    The elected members of the party or coalition proposing itself for government must broadly reflect the religious balance in Northern Ireland.

    A further requirement could be that the ministers that form the government must also broadly reflect the religious balance in Northern Ireland.

    If that condition is met then the proposed party or coalition can form a ruling government and all other parties can be considered as opposition. Until that condition is met then the all party coalition system remains. If after a term of government, the next election does not result in a party or coalition that meets the religious balance of NI requirement, then the all party coalition system would resume.

    A religious balance requirement is not unknowm for government. I believe Lebanon has such requirements to ensure Christian representation.

    I think this might be a good catalyst mechanism to push the parties to reform themselves and seek votes, and crucially, candidates from across the religious groupings. It’s all carrot 🙂 If they want power they can have it, but only if they can get enough support from across NI.
    If one party or a couple of parties can get to this state and get into government then they have to perform or be voted out. If they perform well then the opposition parties need to get themselves organized and modernized to be able to get into government at the next election.

    If I was the SoS I would get a proposal together and get it out for the public to consider. The parties here would crap themselves!

    Just an idea. Might be fun to watch !

    Night..

  • tacapall

    Good idea Forkhandles but before that could happen we would have to have joint authority that way all things are equal. Its then up to the people to decide if they want to change that. Without equality between both traditions in all areas no one side could convince the other that their best interests would be catered for in either a United Ireland or the Status Quo.

  • ForkHandles

    tacapall, i think you might be trying to further ‘the cause ™’ by suggesting joint authority. that would be erroding the state and so on. you might want that, but most other people dont and it was not agreed to in 98.

  • OneNI

    “I think the tories regard NI, somewhat, as a dose of herpes from a long ago relationship.

    Like Scotland and the north of England, we just don’t fit their vision of the nation”

    Yeah right which explains why they have treated NI more gently than any other part of the UK in the spending round, bailed out the Presbyterian mutual even though it was a Stormont cock up, have devolved APD on long haul, pushed the devolution of corpor tax and sought to build a political presence in NI.

    Lets remember – even if it doesnt suit andnowwhat and others simplisitic mindest that David Cameron and the Conservatives were supported by over 100,000 voters in NI at the last General Election
    So lots of people see the conservatives ‘vision for the nation’
    Also at least they have one – all the local parties dont have a vision for NI let anywhere beyond

    Patterson is pointing out the flaws of the system and looking for an Agreed way forward. The defensiveness of some posters here and there ability to ascribe weird motives beggars belief

  • tacapall

    Well there ya go forkhandles equality only goes so far in your eyes. Im suggesting a middle of the road solution to the nearly 100 year problem of the minority here being manufactured into a majority, your solution although reasonable and logical sounding if one was British, however its a road to nowhere for nationalists who consider themselves Irish.

  • Better Together

    Forkhandles

    Something similar to that had crossed my mind- although, I suspect it will be a balance of political designation rather than religion, for obvious reasons. Some clause in effect that any government must command the requisite support of a majority of both political traditions.

    This shinnerspeak of it being against equality is a reflex and so intellectually lazy. Actually, one suspects it is more about a party (or parties) not wanting an institutional structure which more closely examines the quality of their decision making and seeks to offer alternatives.

    The objections of SF can be easily countered on this issue, as their critique doesn’t withstand any scrutiny.

  • ayeYerMa

    Eventually what we will need is another referendum on a review which aims to normalise our local democracy away from a system designed for the pure appeasement of terrorists.

    Trying to make indirect progress for socity through the MLAs just won’t work, as it is in the vested interests of too many politicians to continue with such an abnormal and dysfunctional system.

  • Barnshee

    Just reduce the subvention by 20% a year until they spend what they tax –in short balance the books and make the MLA`s wholly accountable Then watch the fun

  • tacapall

    “The objections of SF can be easily countered on this issue, as their critique doesn’t withstand any scrutiny.”

    Well of course you can if you can censor any opinion other than your own. If thats your idea of democracy them good luck to you in achieving your utopia.

  • Youknowho

    Its the Free State of Ulster, in other words. Two large parties dominating the state, suffocating progress for decades to come!

  • Better Together

    Tacapall

    You made an unsupported assertion that my article was geared towards “one party rule”. I asked you to justify that statement and you have so far failed abysmally. No one is doubting you have a right to an opinion, merely that supporting evidence would advance your case rather than tired cliches.

  • How well does Stormont think the Tory Lib Dem power sharing arrangements in Westminster are going?

    A model of great success to pimped around the globe as a champion for democracy?

    Yeah, right on, brother …… spin us another yarn. That one’s a real bummer and not fit for future purpose.

  • JimboJones

    Tacapall – you state this morning “your solution although reasonable and logical sounding if one was British, however its a road to nowhere for nationalists who consider themselves Irish.”

    Forgetting the potential suggestion that “reasonable and logical solutions aren’t for the Irish”, there are still 2 issues there.

    1, and most obviously – do you really believe it impossible to be both British and Irish? Is there a Newtonian law of physics that rules one may only hold a single identity? I would venture to say most unionists in NI consider themselves as both Irish and British.

    Nationalists and Republicans can’t claim a monopoly on “Irishness”.

    They can however, probably claim a monopoly on the version of Irishness that pays annual worship to armed “rising” (i.e. the version of Irishness that the likes of Anglo-Irishmen like Wilde, Yeats etc would likely abhor if alive today).

    Anyway, point is, a well functioning Stormont does not make a single person, anywhere on the surface of Planet Earth “less Irish”.

    2. Isn’t better and more accountable Government in EVERYONE’s interest, no matter where you are in the world, not least society and the future opportunities for young people (e.g. if the Exec gets things right or wrong on the economy).

    Or does the great historic cause of “unity” take precedent over the collective lot of people living in the present? i.e. are you taking the view that “worse is better” even if trends project no popular majority will for constitutional change in NI for at least a generation.

    “screw the people living in the present, we have an historic mission of achieving unity to conduct, bequeathed to us by the magic fairies of destiny”.

  • JimboJones

    “..take precedence”, that should read.

  • ForkHandles

    Better T, I think looking at political designation is the wrong aspect to focus on. It is the same as saying that the government should consist of 3 socialists, 3 conservatives, and 3 communists etc. The government should not consist of any particular political ideologies as a requirement. That would completely stifle the development of political ideas. In NI, all the government needs to do is to represent all sections of the public and by doing so they could get the majority of support and earn the right to govern. In NI it really boils down to the religious tribal groupings. Within the religious groupings there are certain cultural interests that the government needs to be able to support in a fair and even handed manner.

    If we think it through using the religious balance requirement, then the governing party would need 55 or more MLAs. (its late here, there are 108 MLAs aren’t there?) of those MLAs there would need to be roughly 25 themuns and 25 usuns and a few atheists. To get to a state of attracting roughly equal themuns and usuns the party could not be sectarian, support terrorists, discriminate against sporting groups or cultural interests and traditional events and so on… So to get the required support within the NI tribes the governing party must actually be fair and be able to make good decisions for all sections of the community. I think they would then deserve to run NI, for a few years anyway.

    If a coalition is proposed, maybe the parties involved might not be at the fair minded stage of development, but if they can work together then they should also get a chance. The coalition parties together would need to reflect the tribal breakdown of NI so how could any tribe complain? They couldn’t do any worse than the do nothing all party system, and in a few years people could vote them out if they were crap.

    I think this mechanism for forming a government could easily be added on to the existing all party system. Having both options would provide stability if the tribal mentality should prevail in one or two elections. There would simply be all party government until a party or coalition could raise itself to appeal to enough from all sections in society.

    The key is reflecting the religious breakdown in NI society in the make up of the government. If you have a few parties like that, then they have to come up with good ideas to make people vote for them and not the other guys.

    I don’t think changing the system should be left to the local parties. To get a bit American on it, ‘we the people’ decide what we want, who are MLAs to tell us what system of government we can have? We don’t need to be controlled and restricted by 100+ throw backs in Stormont. I would prefer if the Sos or other UK government figure in NI just put together some ideas (like I have outlined) and then put it to a vote in NI. There is no need to involve local parties as they have shown themselves to be useless so far.

  • tacapall

    BT you censored my post what else is there to sat other than glad we dont have people like you in government or your idea of democracy in place at Stormont.

    Jimbo

    “do you really believe it impossible to be both British and Irish? Is there a Newtonian law of physics that rules one may only hold a single identity? I would venture to say most unionists in NI consider themselves as both Irish and British.”

    No I do not believe people cant be British and Irish Jimbo but I do believe unionists have a real problem with citizens in this part of Ireland being Irish. If you really believe most unionists consider themselves as Irish how do you explain their opposition to the Irish Language act or why did it take them so long to allow even a St Patricks day parade in Belfast city center and while your at it why should Irish people at that Belfast St Patricks day parade wear multicoloured shamrock so as not to offend unionists as the colour green seems to send them into a frenzy.

    No Unity does not take precedence over absolutely everything but at the end of the day thats why Sinn Fein and the SDLP were elected into office so whats your problem with me or others expecting them to live up to their electoral promises that they made to the people who voted them into office.

  • Better Together

    tacapall

    No-one censored any of your posts- what are you talking about?

  • Reader

    Better Together: No-one censored any of your posts- what are you talking about?
    Maybe he means you ‘censured’ his post. Not that free-speech advocates think there’s anything wrong with censureship (don’t bother looking it up…)

  • tacapall

    BT maybe its just my computer that gives the double post warning when the post doesn’t appear on slugger and you try to post it again. Its not the first time posts have been censored ask Pete Baker Im sure he knows what I mean.

    Reader its good to see you have a sense of humour I like your avatar picture are they the same clothes your ancestors wore when they first planted their butts in Ireland.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Is there a Newtonian law of physics that rules one may only hold a single identity?

    YES THERE IS

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpuscular_theory_of_light

    Okay it was disproved for

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave-particle_duality

    But my point remains!

  • FuturePhysicist

    There are obvious flaws in a system where there is no effective alternative government and it is hard to remove the government by voting. The Government has regularly expressed a wish at some stage to see a move to a more normal system that allows for inclusive government but also opposition in the Assembly. The existence of an effective opposition is likely to enhance, challenge and provide a spur to innovation.

    1. Voting remains the only way to remove or change a government, and should be. Fianna Fáil were difficult to remove from office for a long time even with an opposition.

    2. Normality is relative, Switzerland is abnormal by this definition and that doesn’t make it wrong.

    3. Alternative governments can be brought by changing the vectors of party support in democracy just like any other.

    4. The last comment insults the Swiss … opposition or not, it’s the quality of the politicians that determine its innovation.

  • Reader

    tacapall: I like your avatar picture are they the same clothes your ancestors wore when they first planted their butts in Ireland.
    Only one grandparent ever messed around with tracing her ancestors, but from that I already think my ancestors arrived at various times over the last few thousand years and probably didn’t wear any consistent outfit. I suspect that applies to almost all of us on Slugger. And did you know that County Down wasn’t one of the plantation counties?
    However, since I seem to be descended from uniformly plebian stock, I doubt any of the outfits included lace collars.

  • ForkHandles

    Tacapall, you seem to be stuck on a wrong notion of people either being a British person or an Irish person. This idea has no bearing in reality. Don’t you realize that everyone in Ireland (the entire island) is an Irish person? I assume you are from a strongly republican background where people are obliged to ‘think republican’, but there really is no opposition to your or my Irishness. Really I think that republican people have got themselves into a corner where their identity is based on someone else being in opposition to them. Nobody is oppressing you and to act like there is is just absurd and makes you look stupid, sorry but that’s the truth. There is no more opposition to people from Ireland being Irish than there is to people with blonde hair being called ‘blondes’. The word British is just the name of the nationality of people from the UK. They are still Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and English people. If you are from the ROI then your nationality is Irish. If you are from NI then by default your nationality is British. If you wish you can get an Irish passport and be an Irish national when you travel abroad. But this is just a piece of paper. To build this sort of thing into something more than that is really a bit silly.

    Over the years I have noticed names come and go on slugger that are dedicated to going on about this sort of thing. I assume that it is just chuckies doing their tour of duty on the internet. Don’t you realize how absurd what you are saying really is?

    Do you have any ideas on how to run NI better? It would be really interesting to see someone like yourself take a break from the usual clichéd talk to express their opinions on a real world issue on a slugger forum. Please do.

  • tacapall

    Forkhandles I totally agree with you everyone born on the island of Ireland is Irish it is unionism that cannot accept that fact. Obviously you’ve forgotten that Ireland wasn’t always partitioned and for those Irish people who voted overwhelmingly to break the link with Britain in 1918, but were caught up in this manufactured state when the minority refused to accept the democratic wishes of the majority, after partition your saying they were not treated differently ! Are you serious or was unionism just treating them differently because they were of a different religion.

    “Over the years I have noticed names come and go on slugger that are dedicated to going on about this sort of thing. I assume that it is just chuckies doing their tour of duty on the internet. Don’t you realize how absurd what you are saying really is”

    I will assume you are a member of the UVF or UDA seeing as your defending the keeping the link with Britain. Doesn’t that look like Im throwing wild accusations without any evidence whatsoever.

    I dont support Sinn Fein, I dont and have never voted and I would never use violence nor support anyone who would, against another person in any way for any reason so please dont make assumptions about me simply because I have a different opinion than your good self.

    I really couldn’t care what party runs this part of Ireland as long as we are free from British interference I have no wish to be associated or governed by a country that sold our people as slaves, has for thousands of years murdered all around them in the pursuit of profit, and even today is manufacturing reasons and supplying weaponry for others to murder under the guise of protecting human rights but in reality is for financial gain.

  • Everyone born on the island of Ireland should be able to say they are Irish. However the confusion between geographic Irishness and ethnic Irishness, and also between the island of Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, has tainted the word “Irish” in many minds. If the Irishness on offer is not to everyone’s taste then it is no wonder that many who (in an ideal world) should feel Irish do not.

  • Barnshee

    “I totally agree with you everyone born on the island of Ireland is Irish it is unionism that cannot accept that fact”

    Er—I have relative born in Germany (Father stationed there) Cannot speak a word of German Carries British passport
    Have another born Hong Kong — similar.

    By you def they are German and Chinese respectively.

    Birth Location don`t necessarily give nationality (Further confirmation at your local Chinese Rest)

  • sonofstrongbow

    As a unionist I have no difficulty in being Irish, geographically speaking. As has been observed already the difficulty arises with the confusion that arises when geographical Irishness and political Irishness is taken to be one and the same thing.

    It may be part of the problem that the 26 county Republic of Ireland assumed the name Ireland for the official name of the state. The diffuculty is further exacerbated by the argument that you can’t be Irish unless you subscribe to a mono-cultural view of what being Irish requires. Thus if you don’t, for example, agree with costly and intrusive legal underpinning of the Irish Language you aren’t truly Irish.

    This non-Irish-Irish community also receive mixed messages from the self-proclaimed Irish-Irish community. On this thread a poster at one and the same time states that they accept unionists as Irish (alleging that it is unionists themselves alone have problems with the concept) yet goes on to jibe about when another poster’s “ancestors” first “planted their butts in Ireland”. The implication being that the difficulty accepting others Irishness may come from some of those who claim a superior pure Irish lineage. Super Irish if you will.

    So again I’ll state I’m Irish. That is not diluted by my pleasure in being a British citizen and being uninterested in the Irish language, the GAA and diddlee-di culture in general.

  • tacapall

    Barnshee, Germany and Hong Kong, one was once a British colony and the other was that bit of Germany that Britain occupied after the second world war are they still occupying it.

    Any child born in Ireland who’s parents were born in Ireland or who can prove a genuine link to Ireland are Irish or can claim Irish citizenship. How other countries go about their business in deciding nationality is up to them. I know lots of people who cant speak Irish but their still Irish citizens so what difference does not knowing the native tongue make.

  • tacapall

    The non Irish Irish community is that not a contradiction in itself SOS

    “It may be part of the problem that the 26 county Republic of Ireland assumed the name Ireland for the official name of the state.”

    What else would you expect the majority of people from Ireland calling the country. I have said many times I have no problem with people who wish to keep their British identity and expressing it although that is not reciprocated by Unionism. As for your excuse for not implementing the Irish language act because of cost, take a good look at what your own culture costs this state every year with thousands of marches and bonfires.

    My comment to Reader was a joke, a tactless one I suppose for which I apoligise to Reader, but still a joke nonetheless.

  • sonofstrongbow

    ‘Non Irish Irish’ may indeed be a contradiction however it was Irish Nationslists that introduced the concept.

    Take D P Moran as an example of the mindset. A Gaelic activist and militant Irish Republican, of the ‘physical force’ variety, held that being Protestant and unionist meant one did not qualify as ‘Irish’ given that to be truly Irish an individual must be Roman Catholic and Gaelic. Indeed at best locally born Protestants could only be described as “resident aliens” according to Moran.

    As to the naming of the Republic the founding fathers could have indicated that their state was not an all island jurisdiction in a similar fashion as the distinction drawn between Canada and the USA. Perhaps if either of those two countries had opted for ‘North America’ to marry their geographical location incorrectly with their state boundaries you would have had no issue with it?

    Cost is certainly an issue for me with regards to the ‘official’ use of Irish, particularly unnecessary costs. As someone who has never marched or constructed a bonfire I would wish not to pay for those activities. They are however enjoyed by others, as is Irish Medium Education, and living in a democracy I therefore accept that a portion of my tax pounds will be spent on their impact in society.

    The position with regards to Irish translations, road signage or demands that officialdom deals with people in Irish, or Ulster-Scots for that matter, in a society in which everyone who speaks Irish/Ulster-Scots can speak English renders it a costly indulgence and unnecessary.

    As a point of interest I own a holiday house in the far South West of the Republic. Awhile back new road signs were put up in Irish only. Locals came out and added the English place names. I doubt they were unionists, but were they Irish?

  • tacapall,

    The non Irish Irish community is that not a contradiction in itself SOS

    We are stuck in the awkward position that we have more concepts than we have unique words for. Some of us are striving for the clarity of more precise language while others revel in the ambiguity and how it allows them to deliberately read the wrong meaning into the statements of their political opponents.

    Sloppy concepts lead to sloppy thinking, and tiresome semantic arguments on internet discussion boards.

    What else would you expect the majority of people from Ireland calling the country.

    Which “country”? The 26-county bit or the 32-county bit? They can’t both be called the same thing

  • HeinzGuderian

    The colour green of RUC uniforms,sent nat/reps into a frenzy…..

    But hey,taccy is a peace loving dude……..

    “I really couldn’t care what party runs this part of Ireland as long as we are free from British interference I have no wish to be associated or governed by a country that sold our people as slaves, has for thousands of years murdered all around them in the pursuit of profit, and even today is manufacturing reasons and supplying weaponry for others to murder under the guise of protecting human rights but in reality is for financial gain.”

    Soooo……you have no problem with Germany running ze reupublic,mein herr ? 😉

    ( that was a joke….I used a wee smiley )

    pps….not sure about the ‘thousands of years’ bit. Unless he means ‘irish’ slave traders ?

  • tacapall

    The colour green of RUC uniforms,sent nat/reps into a frenzy…..

    But hey,taccy is a peace loving dude……..

    HG have you forgotten it was loyalists who murdered the first RUC officer on the Shankill Road simply because some of his colleagues were paid off. Loyalists and Unionism have throughout the last 100 years used violence against the police whenever it suited their fancy.

    Yes Britain has been murdering people from all over the world for thousands of years its well documented im sure your aware of the term Perfedious Albion.

    Have you ever heard of the term “Barbadosed” Thomas Smythe or Sir john Popham maybe even the East India company, Virginia company, The London company, The Plymouth company. Maybe you should read up on the history of those people and the companies above.

  • Barnshee

    Yes Britain has been murdering people from all over the world for thousands of years its well documented im sure your aware of the term Perfedious Albion.

    I fear your grasp of history and or chronology is incomplete. The “British Empire” was a short lived affair (Two Hundred years give or take ) I am baffled as to the “ thousands of years “ bit unless you are referring to the Irish murder gangs /slavers of earlier years ?
    http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofWales/St-Patrick-The-most-celebrated-Welshman-in-America/

    However even here I am unable to stretch much beyond 900 years
    Remedial classes in numeracy literacy and history recommended

  • tacapall

    Barnshee’s evidence of Irish slave traders compliments of UK History blah blah.

    “Not much is known about his early life, but it is believed he was captured and sold into slavery with “many thousands of people” by a group of Irish marauders that raided his family estate.

    A rich tradition of oral legend and myth surrounds St. Patrick, most of which has undoubtedly been exaggerated over the centuries – spinning exciting tales as a means to remember history has always been a part of Irish culture.

    Some of these legends recall how Patrick raised people from the dead, others that he drove all the snakes from Ireland. The latter would indeed have been a miracle, as snakes have never been present on the island of Ireland. Some claim however, the snakes to be analogous with the native pagans.”

    Riteo Barshee whenever you find actual recorded evidence rather than folklore give us a shout.

  • Comrade Stalin

    In an interesting twist on an old nationalist mantra, Stormont is irreformable because political nationalism deems it so

    I am not a nationalist, but the problem is that it is obvious that when most unionists talk about this subject they are principally concerned with finding a way to exclude Sinn Féin from government.

    The prospect of unionists, whose understanding of democracy and the law is where they pick and choose the bits that they like and throw out the bits they don’t like, wielding any kind of power unchecked is too frightening to contemplate.

    The events of the weekend just past are a timely reminder of what life under an ideal unionist government would look like. Unionist leaders insist, for example, that the Parades Commission should be abolished because it is an unelected and unaccountable quango. Where does this policy stop ? The courts are unelected and unaccountable quangoes, should we abolish them whenever they make decisions we dislike or curtail the power of elected officials ? The message seems to be clear that there is still an attitude that the majority should simply be allowed to do whatever the hell it wants. I might add that Sinn Féin are little better – in a highly ironic moment, Martin McGuinness complained the other week because a court dared to find against an elected minister found guilty of discrimination.

    So we can forget about this reform pipedream, it is not going to happen, it is as simple as that. Neither Sinn Féin nor the unionists can be trusted to wield power unchecked. Until that changes, and the weekend just past doesn’t do much to create hope that it will, the system of government here will not change.

  • Barnshee

    TC
    From the ninth to the twelfth century Dublin in particular became a major slave trading center which led to an increase in slavery.[

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_the_British_Isles

    My My those nasty er Irish

  • Reader

    tacapall: A rich tradition of oral legend and myth surrounds St. Patrick, most of which has undoubtedly been exaggerated over the centuries – spinning exciting tales as a means to remember history has always been a part of Irish culture.
    There is, however, his autobiography, which doesn’t seem to mention snakes or raising people from the dead, but does mention being enslaved at the age of 16:
    http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_text_patrick.htm
    But hey – who would believe a bishop these days?

  • The Lodger

    “Germany and Hong Kong, one was once a British colony and the other was that bit of Germany that Britain occupied after the second world war are they still occupying it.”

    tapacall,

    Britain is occupying Germany? Really?