DUP leaflet accuses Alliance Party of ‘ununionist activities’…

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So, the DUP even up the councillor score on Belfast City Council and now there’s a leaflet specifically attacking the Alliance party. Anyone feel a heave coming on?

Here’s an interesting detail:

The UUP has also confirmed its councillors were involved in distributing the leaflets and said flag policy was an emotive issue for unionists.

The leaflets are printed in the Alliance party’s distinctive yellow colours and include the telephone numbers for its headquarters and east Belfast office.

Over the past two weeks, they have been posted through doors across Belfast, ahead of an upcoming debate on flag policy that is due to take place at the council next month.

Unionist unity at last! Anyone told Mike his Belfast activists are putting DUP leaflets out in the field? So the DUP gloves are off. But is the MP for East Belfast the target? Or is it just covering fire for the co-option of the councillor with colourful connections with the past?

Keep watching this space.

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  • Kevsterino

    If you folks would be so kind as to indulge a meddling yank, can a new flag be agreed on that has no connection to Dublin or London? Something like the 6 flax blossoms I’ve seen elsewhere would only be reference to the people who have accepted Northern Ireland’s agreed constituent parts in union with one another. It seems to me that if a flag divides the people over whom it flies, it fails in its most important purpose.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Well we can’t even agree on a flag to represent the Ulster rugby team. I would have thought the official ancient flag of Ulster would work (but to embrace not destroy), and it perhaps does for most rugby fans, but alas the Northern Ireland flag creeps in. The true Ulster flag represents an opportunity for a shared Ulster emblem that all in the 9 or 6 county Ulster (depending on whether you know anything about Geography and Politics) can attach to. No? Didnt think so. The iny and outy thumb is a deal breaker

    I have no problems with this being used for Ulster Rugby

    http://www.irishrugby.ie/images/news/UlsterRugbyLogo_x495.jpg

    When Connaght, Leinster and Munster all wear colours outside of what their flags/coat of arms determine, why should the Ulster white be seen any differently?

  • Dont Drink Bleach

    Seymour Major:
    The battle for East Belfast in 2015 will be seen by many as a litmus test for Northern Ireland’s ability to evolve away from sectarianism.

    .
    Well, protestants anyway.

    Meanwhile in the West Belfast constituency Alliance get 300 votes and the electorate are happy to vote for catholic fundamentalist serial killers in their tens of thousands.

  • galloglaigh

    DDB

    Would you describe Gerry Adams as a (Capital C for) Catholic fundamentalist serial killer?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Kevsterino

    Because any attempts to remove the union flag from the front of the city hall are a sop to republicans (ie the other major chunk of the city’s population) and part of a conspiracy to reunify Ireland by stealth.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Well, protestants anyway.

    Meanwhile in the West Belfast constituency Alliance get 300 votes and the electorate are happy to vote for catholic fundamentalist serial killers in their tens of thousands.

    Not since Bob Cooper and former UDR man Will Glendinning were in the Alliance party in higher numbers in West Belfast. Of course that West Belfast is not the same West Belfast boundaries we now know of.

  • Neil

    If you folks would be so kind as to indulge a meddling yank, can a new flag be agreed on that has no connection to Dublin or London?

    The cynic says no. The problem is what you end up with is three groups, two of whom are bitching instead of the inevitable one now.

    The comedian says just what we need. Another expletive flag.

    It ends up becoming a bargaining chip at some point in the old zero sum sectarian NI game. ‘You do this or we’ll have an EQIA here or there and you can take our flags down’ kind of thing.

  • Anton Graf von Arco Valley

    Sure might as well put up a flag with clouds on it and have pounds signs dropping in from heaven, maybe that is less offensive.

    Let’s live in fantasy land. Heaven forbid there is any connection to a place that funds us lot.

    Maybe what will sort this out is EDL types and UK Independence folk getting into Westminster and catching a grip and reining in the subvention and using it on people that actually give a toss about the political system that feeds them.

    If SF don’t appreciate the flag then write to the British Exchequer and cancel all the public money too, the 7.8 billion or so – that would fast track a united Ireland for sure. Better it was spent say in Oldham and Liverpool?

    The Free State would then ride into the rescue and keep the dole outs rolling – on and on and on. And the tricolour could fly every day then for sure because the Free State would be paying for the place.

    Also should past actions – poor behaviour of British troops in Ireland – mean that the British flag should never become a positive thing, if so that seems to me to be quite absolutist and finite. The flag must be removed and flown less because of past behaviour and should not ever be allowed to become a positive thing.

    Even though there is something positive about it today now with institutional discrimination and the army gone, it is that comparatively speaking people here are materially better off than in the Free State.

    Some people like using past grievances to sour future relationships despite a lot of change for the better, some people are never happy, perhaps forever ungrateful.

    As Don’t Drink Bleach mentions, Alliance folk get feck all votes in West Belfast, it’s all a bit ethno-centric in style there, so if we were in a united Ireland let’s not kid ourselves that the tricolour would only be flying from Belfast City Hall on certain days!

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    When I worked for Belfast Corporation 40 odd years ago, the access to the flag pole on the building was the window beside my desk. The Union Flag was flown only on a few days each year. As a compromise, why don’t they fly the flag on a pole beside the War Memorial? For respect, raised at dawn and taken down at dusk like most other places I know of.

  • Neil

    let’s not kid ourselves that the tricolour would only be flying from Belfast City Hall on certain days!

    I know it may come as surprise but most people wouldn’t subject their neighbors to living in a sectarian, discriminatory, gerrymandered state, perpetually march through the area where their neighbor lives singing the equivalent of the famine song or hang flags off buildings and lampposts like pissing dogs.

    No, only one community round these parts has form in that regard me old son, and it wasn’t my lot. Try not to judge Nationalists on Unionist standards. You might find out that when in power we’re not quite as bad as Unionism was – few are really.

  • Kevsterino

    @Comrade, I understand your point, and it has been that way for what seems like a thousand years. It is just that to my mind, whether it is a United Kingdom or United Ireland, it is not possible in the true sense without the necessary first step of a united people of those 6 counties. I don’t see how either London or Dublin can regard these petty quarrels in any state but exasperation. I also realize it isn’t the flag that is being debated here, per se. Neither side can afford to see the other making any headway or progress, so both sides will inevitably be held back. It seems like such a waste.

  • Dont Drink Bleach

    Neil:
    I know it may come as surprise but most people wouldn’t subject their neighbors to living in a sectarian, discriminatory, gerrymandered state,

    http://www.wesleyjohnston.com/users/ireland/past/protestants_1861_1991.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fethard-on-Sea_boycott

    perpetually march through the area where their neighbor lives singing the equivalent of the famine song

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_m01_ro0rHc

    or hang flags off buildings and lampposts like pissing dogs.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/heartlessni/3746436111/

    No, only one community round these parts has form in that regard me old son, and it wasn’t my lot.

    :embarrassed:

    You might find out that when in power we’re not quite as bad as Unionism was – few are really.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-19009268

    Carry on.

  • DC

    Try not to judge Nationalists on Unionist standards.

    But it’s OK for you to judge mainstream unionist culture and mindsets based on the relatively small number of loyalists that behave badly?

    You only look for the negatives and in doing so ignore the million or so people that are actually pretty much dead on about all things catholic and Irish.

  • galloglaigh

    DC

    You’ve mixed the unionist political establishment as outlined by Neil, that goes back centuries, with the good Protestant people of Ulster. I doubt it is you who is trying to be negative here?

  • DC

    Oh right.

  • SK

    “Let’s live in fantasy land. Heaven forbid there is any connection to a place that funds us lot.”

    _____

    Why not have something cross-community flying over city hall? Why the constant, alamo-esque, “what we have, we hold”, bollocks?

    We know that shared symbolism- or shared anything, for that matter- doesn’t really float unionisms boat. Fair enough.

    But there will come a day when unionists simply won’t have the manpower in Belfast City Hall to fly anything.

  • Covenanter

    How many days of the year does the tricolour fly at the Dail?

  • Covenanter

    “But there will come a day when unionists simply won’t have the manpower in Belfast City Hall to fly anything.”

    The eternal republican dream. Any day now boys and we’ll outbreed the black bastards.

  • SK

    “How many days of the year does the tricolour fly at the Dail?”

    _______

    We are reminded regularly that Northern Ireland is a part of the UK. The rest of the UK has a more evolved attitude to flag flying.

    Presumably due to the fact that the rest of the UK is more evolved.

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru

    Sorry to burst the bubbles of those who would be simplistic and glib to say that “alliance get few votes in W. Belfast so they therefore only get votes from protestants.”

    Alliance get few votes in W. Belfast because its a particularly deprived area just like Shankill is, and W. Belfast is specifically republican.

    However in south Belfast most transfers from alliance go to nationalists (40% SDLP 5% SF, 30% DUP+UUP )

    and in castle in N belfast alliance transfers went about 4:1 to nationalists (57% SDLP, 6% SF., 17% UUP)

    So the idea that alliance is only a party for moderate unionists in Belfast is total horsesh*t.

    But don’t take my word for it:

    http://www.eoni.org.uk/ni_assembly_election_2011_-_belfast_south_result_sheet.pdf

    http://www.eoni.org.uk/local_council_election_2011_-_result_sheet_-_castle.pdf

  • SK

    “The eternal republican dream.”

    _____

    Shooting the messenger there, Limerick.

    The demographic writing is on the wall for Belfast City Council. Which makes unionist intransigence on this issue seem all the more short-sighted.

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru

    Why daydream about what would happen with nationalists in control when they already are in control of 11 councils? About tose tricolours waving in unionists faces, oh hang on…

  • Covenanter

    “We are reminded regularly that Northern Ireland is a part of the UK. The rest of the UK has a more evolved attitude to flag flying.”

    Then it must surely follow that the ROI is less evolved.

  • Covenanter

    “The demographic writing is on the wall for Belfast City Council. Which makes unionist intransigence on this issue seem all the more short-sighted.”

    Alliance currently hold the balance of power and any way you cut it they are a status quo party. They derived from the liberal wing of the UUP.

    Nationalists are entitled to their wet dreams, but they have a while to wait for the climax.

  • ayeYerMa

    galloglaigh,

    Your poll statistics are about flags on STREETS. This isn’t about streets, rather a place where you would expect it in every country in the world.

    If a flag isn’t flown where it is expected and respectful to do so, then Alliance has no grounds to complain about flags on streets.

    As for a new local Northern Ireland flag, no problem with that side by side with sovereign, but I think you’ll find the main obstructions will come again from within Irish Nationalism.

    Comrade Stalin, you are correct, any attempts to remove the sovereign flag from the city hall ARE about a sop to Republicans. This isn’t simply about a piece of cloth, it’s about respect for what has been agreed and respect for the principle of consent, without which there would have been zero support for current arrangements from the Unionist side. Additionally, the double-standard that Republicans can fly their flag whenever they want on the Republican side of the border, but the same does not apply here.

    Anton Graf von Arco Valley, an interesting comparison is that between when the EU “funds” a project (“funds” as the UK pays in more to the EU than gets out and when one is funded from Westminster so they aren’t really funding it at all). The EU forces funded projects to display an EU flag, but the UK is too soft to do that.

  • BluesJazz

    Alliance have called this non-issue correctly. Most people notice the empty shops in the city centre but wouldn’t notice if the swastika was flying over Belfast city hall. Or its equally non-important placebo talking shop at Stormont.
    The national flag flies daily at our national parliament in Westminster.

  • aquifer

    Fewer rotting faded rags on the lamp-posts these days.

    Maybe Unionists do respect their flag after all.

    But would they want the black grounded UDA killers’ flag on the dome?

  • Better Together

    SK

    Actually a white paper from central government in the UK in 2009 was encouraging all council chambers to fly the Union flag every day, in order to re-claim it from extremists….There is a plurality between designated days and 365 days per year, but the trend is very clearly in the other direction as many city councils, such as Leeds, have taken to flying it every day.

    IJP

    Btw, Stormont does not have a flags policy, it has legislation, imposed over the heads of the parties here whilst Peter Mandelson was Secretary of State. Simply because agreement could not be found- this contravened the conventional approach which had applied hitherto- the problem is that the conventional approach did not foresee there would be a block of people vehemently opposed to its being displayed. So that does not advance your argument.

  • grandimarkey

    The Alliance Party will not back down. They’d look extremely weak if they did, considering this has been party policy for 2 years.

    As a Nationalist I fully support this motion and look forward to the removal of the Union Jack from outside the City Council except for designated days. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come in Belfast over the coming years.

  • TheGoblinPrince

    I don’t see how which flag flying over Belfast City Hall affects how long you wait for an operation, what size classes your children are educated in or how any burglaries are committed in your area. People need to get a grip.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Covenanter (profile)
    14 November 2012 at 10:58 pm

    How many days of the year does the tricolour fly at the Dail?

    I assume you mean Dublin City Council, Mansion House to compare like with like…

    http://www.dublincity.ie/SiteCollectionImages/Night_shot_of_Mansion_House.jpg

    As you can see here, only selected days, the other flags are not tricolors. But to compare with Leinster House, the Irish Parliament only fly the flag on selected days.

    http://thedailyedge.thejournal.ie/union-jack-flies-over-government-buildings-to-show-shes-almost-here-137811-May2011/

  • FuturePhysicist

    TheGoblinPrince (profile)
    15 November 2012 at 12:33 pm

    I don’t see how which flag flying over Belfast City Hall affects how long you wait for an operation, what size classes your children are educated in or how any burglaries are committed in your area. People need to get a grip.

    It’s arguable what say Belfast City Council have on these issues … the most they can hope for is planning to be re-devolved on top of the usual list of priorities events, sanitation, animal control, leisure centers and other such things.

  • TheGoblinPrince

    FuturePhysicist. Exactly! What exactly is the ratio of days Union Flag flown to number of stray dogs in the city? Or is it just completely irrelevant?

  • Local hack

    The problem with adopting a new flag that everyone “HERE” is happy with is that the majority of nationalists – or at least their political representatives – do not recognise the six counties as a single entity.

    They can not even say the words “Nothern Ireland” so how will they accept a flag that represents the state?

    It, like most problems here, is perpetual with no way out and only those sane people in the middle will find it exhausting.

  • Comrade Stalin

    There is one long term outcome of all this unionist shouting and screaming, when combined with their behaviour following the incidents outside St Patrick’s over the summer. That outcome is SDLP voters tactically voting for Gerry Kelly in 2015 which (making a few assumptions about East Belfast) will mean the end of Westminster representation for Belfast-based unionists.

    There is no point in voting for Alban (who may have stepped down by that time) – and many SDLP voters in North Belfast, I suspect, can trace their roots back to St Patrick’s. Add to all this ridiculous arguing over a modest concession on flag flying – a concession which preserves the presence of the union flag at city hall – and people are going to conclude that the DUP need a kicking.

    I don’t know what is necessary to make it clear to unionists that they’re accomplishing nothing other than alienating their own voters and helping Sinn Féin to win more seats.

  • Neil

    It’s all about Naomi, clear as day. The DUP party leader, First Minister Robinson wants his seat back. What do you reckon the UUP are getting? Outmaneuvered maybe.

  • Red Lion

    As a unionist i’m inclined to agree with some of the points made by comrade stalin and neil above.
    The strategic vision of mainstream unionism is trully shocking. Denial of demographic shift in Belfast City Council area is at play also (though i can’t help think this is in part due to council boundaries – people tend to naturally think of greater belfast as belfast).

    What about the unionist actually being proactive and generous on the flags issue, and wrong foot everyone?? Why dont the unionists propose the Union Jack on certain days, and the lovely St. Patrick’s cross on every other day, see if that gets cross community support???

    While we’re at it, why don’t unionists pick out , say 6 main city centre streets and propose tri lingual road signs?? Take the game to every one else while at the same time being seen as laid back, liberal , compromising and generous??

    The calibre of thought in the dup and mainstream unionism is small minded and wholly unable to see the bigger picture. Its selfish and crap.

  • DC

    local hack

    A new flag might be worth considering once NI was paying its own way, had made achievements of its own and wanted to rebrand and identify in a unique way. The money comes out from the UK and London in particular. Currently I would prefer having two flags than a new flag.

    Also, I don’t get the argument that having two flags is divisive as having them both together could be a unifying thing, images and mindsets can evolve. Plus the EU flag flies alongside the tricolour and no one has qualms about whether the EU is taking over or if Ireland is nationalist enough in doing so.

    A trade off if pushed based on comments made above could be removal of Union flag at Belfast City Hall and it allowed to fly at Stormont instead?

  • Toastedpuffin

    “Try not to judge Nationalists on Unionist standards. You might find out that when in power we’re not quite as bad as Unionism was – few are really.”

    Em, the only party to have been found guilty of sectarian discrimination and abuse of power in the current NI assembly is a Nationalist party.

    The ability of Nationalists to turn the blindest of eyes to their own bigotry whilst scrutinising and discussing ad nauseam every detail of unionist discretions is truly unbelievable.

    Which would be amusing, if the consequences weren’t so frequently deadly.

  • http://www.wordpress.ianjamesparsley.com IJP

    Better Together

    How on earth does that not advance my argument?

    It absolutely advances my argument. In fact, you’ve made it better than I did! Legislation was passed taking into account the best bet for what is reasonable in NI – and it was for designated days.

    Comrade Stalin

    The only thing dafter than the DUP not realizing this will just bring more people out for whomever their main opposing candidate is across Belfast is the UUP not realizing that it’s about to be wiped out at Assembly level due to complete and utter irrelevance.

  • DC

    Legislation was passed taking into account the best bet for what is reasonable in NI

    Are you championing the re-introduction of direct rule due to its unaccountable reasonableness?

  • PaddyReilly

    The eternal republican dream. Any day now boys and we’ll outbreed the black bastards.

    It is hard to recall this now but in 1973 the Nationalist share of the vote in Belfast was SDLP 11.4%, Republican Clubs 4%, and Republican Labour Party 1.6%, total 17%. How things have changed. Now Nationalists are just two councillors, say 2,000 votes, short of an overall majority. Given that the overall trend of the Nationalist vote in Belfast is upwards, I think it most unrealistic to expect that it will go down again, and I don’t think that it is unrealistic to expect this event very shortly. Then we will be able to take down the Butcher’s apron altogether and cut it up for dusters.

    But it does not follow that this constitutes outbreeding: it may be that it merely represents the suburbanisation of Northern Ireland Protestantism.

  • TheGoblinPrince

    Jesus. Was it John Hume who said ‘You can’t eat a flag’? Why is it an emotive issue. Can’t we just stop hating each other and concentrate on what we have in common? At the end of the day does it matter? Really? Is it going cause death, poverty or pestilence? Can’t we just stop!!! Look at it from a rational angle! It’s a bit of cloth, if you like it, fly it on your roof. If you don’t then ignore it. Just stop bitching to each other about it. It soul destroying!!!

  • DC

    I agree, but the logic of your argument would be to just leave it alone given its triviality?

  • Toastedpuffin

    “it may be that it merely represents the suburbanisation of Northern Ireland Protestantism.”

    Best keep the Union Flag handy for when Belfast City Council expands its boundaries then, as it inevitably will…

    TGP has it nailed. The flags issue is nonsense. You can stick whatever bit of cloth you like over the city hall, it’ll not change our constitutional position. To read some of the rubbish here you’d think flags have magical powers. The fact is nationalists accepted the UK status of Northern Ireland, and many/most are happy to do so. This is great. Unionist parties should celebrate this and capitalise on it, not engage in pointless poop-stirring.

    Relax lads, you’ve won. Enjoy.

  • DC

    jeez…those people not caring much about flags seem to manage to find the time to read up, become annoyed and write a good bit about it.

    Puzzled.

  • Neil

    The whole flag thing seems to me like a bargaining chip. The Shinners threatened an EQIA on the subject some time ago if they didn’t get what they wanted (whatever it was I can’t remember), they didn’t so they’ve followed through. On the other side it seems possible that the UUP have gotten something out of this which is basically Robinson trying to get his seat back.

    Politics NI style it all comes down to a bargaining position. If the Shinners succeed (or come close) then the threat is good for some back room deal down the road in some other council.

    I’d also point out that according to wiki there are now more C/N/Rs in Belfast than there are P/U/Ls. There are also a few Nationalist types in Stormont so I wouldn’t take it as read that a Unionist gerrymander is on the cards any time soon.

    Finally, DC, I know the vast majority of everyone is dead on. Grew up in Ballymena and spent a couple of years in a predominantly Protestant school. Ass holes on both sides I know, but Slugger can bring out the extremes in people’s opinions. I tend to be reactive.

  • BluesJazz

    “spent a couple of years in a predominantly Protestant school.”

    Luckily I spent most years in a state school, there were some protestants, and some catholics, but mostly atheist/agnostic as you would expect from a Grammar.

  • boondock

    ”Best keep the Union Flag handy for when Belfast City Council expands its boundaries then, as it inevitably will”

    Toastedpuffin – As mentioned earlier BCC is already set to expand to 60 councillors and the new wards wont make much of a difference to the make up of the city as the nationalist lisburn wards will cancel out the unionist castlereagh wards

  • PaddyReilly

    The fact is nationalists accepted the UK status of Northern Ireland, and many/most are happy to do so.

    Oh dear. We have a document, the GFA, which is highly ambiguous: Unionists declaring that it means that Nationalists have accepted the UK status of NI, Nationalists that it means Unionists have accepted the possibility and inevitability of reunification. In the context of this obvious fudge, which are right? One telling point is, I should point out, is that only the Orange Order campaigned against the treaty. In 1996, the Unionist interpretation was more persuasive: but by 2016, the Nationalist case will start to look stronger.

    The flag issue is merely an aid in interpretation of this document. When Nationalists see that the Union Flag no longer flies over Newry, Derry and Belfast and sundry smaller areas, they will conclude that they no longer have to put up with Unionist nonsense, and start behaving accordingly, throwing their weight around a bit more. It will be obvious that we have one island, with one prevailing ideology: just a few dissenters from a national minority in a handful of second grade towns.

    For this reason, the DUP are doing their utmost to hang on to Belfast: to retain the North Belfast constituency and regain the East. As far as I can tell, this is a lost cause.

  • Toastedpuffin

    ““spent a couple of years in a predominantly Protestant school.”

    “I lived among the Hun, don’t you know,” explained Prof Neil the emminent pseudoanthropologist, “It was a fascinating two year study of the subspecies, and has given me great insight into their strange ways”

    “They are almost like us!” he ejaculated, aware of the controversy his claim would arouse in the elevated circles he moved in. “Of course, they do not have the same capacity for intelligent thought as the Catholic Nationalist. Their understanding of morality is also greatly inferior, and they miturate in the street like dogs. But one has to remember the Irish Catholic of the Nationalist persuasion is an altogether superior being, gentle, kind, incapaple of violence, sexual abuse, discrimination, corruption, or indeed erecting something so unseemly as a flag.” The wise one leaned forward to deliver one final pearl of wisdom…

    “There are assholes on both sides,” he said, sagaciously, and without irony.

  • Toastedpuffin

    “One telling point is, I should point out, is that only the Orange Order campaigned against the treaty.”

    Not quite. It’s true they didn’t realise they’d won, but they seem to have come round to the idea, unlike numerous Republican factions. Now that really IS a telling point.

    Best get used to the idea that Northern Ireland is as permanent as anything else in this funny old world, and start working towards seeing its people prosper. Clinging on to fake certainties and trotting out the same old “Catholics good, Protestants baaaaad” mantra seems to be a difficult modus operandi to break out of, but give it a go, eh? Otherwise you’re going to find yourself in the strange situation of seeing the south of the island disappear under the sea as isostatic rebound takes its toll and still be banging on about bad huns and who has what flag where.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Red Lion,

    I think the unionist electorate of late are probably ahead of their political parties. There is a lot of evidence to support this. For example, when the DUP finally stepped up and accepted powersharing with Sinn Féin, unionist voters endorsed their position and placed their faith in Peter Robinson and Ian Paisley to deliver – and I don’t think they were disappointed with what they got. When policing and justice powers were devolved, unionist voters endorsed that too. I’m not going to try to say they’re all closet Alliancers of course, but they’re not as universally hardline on things as their politicians are. The lesson is clear – unionists who make measured, calculated compromises while maintaining a firm grip do well in elections.

    Thinking about the recent elections in the USA, unionism seems to have a long term obsession with its own tea party – the unreconstructed minority within unionism who won’t hear of any kind of compromise and foam at the mouth over the mere mention of one, whom the politicians are unwilling to cut loose. All they’re doing is emphasizing their own weaknesses to their own supporters over matters they can no longer control, which to me seems counterproductive in electoral terms.

    IJP,

    I’d say Michael Copeland and Michael McGimpsey will hold on for a while yet, but they’ll bleed council seats.

    Paddy,

    When Nationalists see that the Union Flag no longer flies over Newry, Derry and Belfast and sundry smaller areas, they will conclude that they no longer have to put up with Unionist nonsense, and start behaving accordingly, throwing their weight around a bit more

    Actually I think the reverse is true. The agreements over the past 15 years have delivered one important thing, which is nationalists feeling they have a stake in, and joint ownership of, the state. This makes nationalists less inclined to agitate and makes the union more secure and creates an important foundation upon which we can all build.

  • tacapall

    “Not quite. It’s true they didn’t realise they’d won”

    What exactly did the Orange Order win ? We have an accommodation in the GFA which Unionism/Loyalism believed was a permanent settlement. It has slowly dawned on them that it is in fact a springboard for nationalism to bring about changes politically and culturally on this piece of land we share, changes that they refuse to accept are normal in a multicultural secular society. Every change must be imposed, they will never be wiling partners to change or to dilute what they believe is their cultural and political right, no matter if a sizable section of the community would object or find offensive. The GFA for nationalism has been a two steps forward one step back process. Nationalists are happy enough to accept the British governments handouts or the economical advantages of the status quo but that doesn’t mean we accept the Union jack as the flag of our country nor does it mean we will ever be loyal to it. I see this in your face outreach by Unionism over the Union Jack flying over BCC just like their in your face attitude to parades, they will fight tooth and nail, inch by inch to hold what they have regardless of whether its wrong socially or politically but in the end rational minds decide the outcome for them which is not always to their tastes.

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/headlines/parades-could-be-governed-by-tougher-scottish-framework-1-4485031

    Parades could be governed by tougher Scottish framework

    “The tough template ensures that parades in Scotland avoid residential areas, bans music near churches, can potentially block marches linked to violence, and has forced negotiations over parades. The number of marches in Glasgow has dropped by 27 per cent since it was introduced”

  • http://www.aurient.co.uk Stephen Barnes

    Shouldn’t that be “A shared future for WHOM?” #pedantry

  • Covenanter

    “Nationalists are happy enough to accept the British governments handouts or the economical advantages of the status quo but that doesn’t mean we accept the Union jack as the flag of our country nor does it mean we will ever be loyal to it. I see this in your face outreach by Unionism over the Union Jack flying over BCC just like their in your face attitude to parades, they will fight tooth and nail, inch by inch to hold what they have regardless of whether its wrong socially or politically but in the end rational minds decide the outcome for them which is not always to their tastes.”

    And people wonder why unionists resist republican efforts at eroding their culture. Every now and then a drone will come along and let the cat out of the bag.

  • BluesJazz

    Alliance could follow their policy to a logical conclusion.
    Bank of England notes and coins, which carry the mark of the sovereign monarch, should be replaced with a ‘Northern Ireland pound’. No British symbolism, and tell the Brits to f off with their evil £8 Billion annual ‘subvention’.

    The lack of subvention would be wholly outweighed by how nice people are when talking to each other in the soup kitchen queue. Or the latte queue in BT9 and elsewhere.

    Except on designated days, when the NIO would arrange banquets in South East Belfast and parts of Antrim and North Down. Sausage rolls for the east of the Bann and North and West Belfast.

    Their flag policy is actually sensible, but the above is how it will be perceived. As for East Belfast Westminster, check out how their sister party did in Corby.

  • galloglaigh

    BJ

    How much tax do we in Northern Ireland pay to the British exchequer? Can you give a definitive answer, based on Govt. documents for example?

    No that’s right you can’t. The amounts are ambiguous to say the least.

    Your argument of a subvention doesn’t stand up. We could go it on our own without British pounds. But sure why should we? They owe us a fortune over the centuries in back rent alone. So why should we give up a hand out? Money for auld rope, and it’s great craic!

  • BluesJazz

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

    The continuing distribution of a per capita amount to each devolved areas higher than that allocated to England continues to attract calls for the formula to be renegotiated. Using figures for the financial year 2006/2007,[4] if a UK-wide per capita average were a notional 100%, identifiable per capita expenditure on services in England would be 97% and the Scottish amount 117%. Wales would be 111% and Northern Ireland 127%. This comprises all expenditure that can be identified as being to the benefit of a particular country. It does not take account of non-identifiable expenditure, such as defence and debt interest, which are deemed to be for the benefit of the entire UK, regardless as to where the money is actually spent.

    In monetary figures, this would work out as (per person
    England £7,121
    Scotland £8,623
    Wales £8,139
    Northern Ireland £9,385

    Whoopedy doo

    Of course the RoI government could contribute half, a subvention on their part they couldn’t pay, because they’re bankrupt. And couldn’t afford even if they wern’t.
    You could see the Union Flag over Leinster House very shortly.

  • BluesJazz

    You can google all sorts of info, but the fact remains that most Irish Nationalists in Northern Ireland depend on the UK Treasury to fund their daily lives.
    A dependency well beyond the finances of the Irish Republic (even in good/celtic tiger years).
    Symbolism like flags might be annoying, but not as traumatic as abject poverty.
    As you reach puberty and do exams all this will become clear to you.

  • PaddyReilly

    Well obviously if Great Britain is handing over a massive subvention to keep Northern Ireland afloat, would it not just be better if they calculated how many jobs this creates, and transfer that number of decent British orientated folk (no Fenians required) to their ‘mainland’, leaving the field free for us Irish?

  • BluesJazz

    Fair enough Paddy

    And your jobs would be….?

    There’s always the construction sector I suppose, and all those in Oz from the Irish republic would jump at being so close to home.
    Just remind us what sectors “the field free for us Irish?” would be working in.

  • Davy McFaul

    “You can google all sorts of info, but the fact remains that most Irish Nationalists in Northern Ireland depend on the UK Treasury to fund their daily lives”

    As the UK owe more to the ROI than vice – versa perhaps the ROI should recall it’s UK debt?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15748696

  • BluesJazz

    Davy
    A link to a year out of date? And presently inaccurate data.

    Where have you been?
    Not that I’m sourcing that most national economies are in debt, just that you are data mining from a closed well.

    But academic. Northern Ireland is a basket case economy that needs huge subsidy. \forever and a day. |Who is best placed to provide that subsidy?

  • galloglaigh

    BJ

    Why would the Irish government even dream of giving people like you and I half our ‘dole out’. The people in the North are swimming in the British gravy-boat. Let them swim away sure their doing no harm Ted.

    Sure you unionists rejected joint authority. Right before big Ian was pushed into sharing power with Sinn Fein, making a mockery of his entire party, its entire history, and the Ulster unionist political ideology.

    Things couldn’t be better from where I’m sitting old fellow :)

    By the way the Irish bailout was 2010. A year before Davy’s link. That was £8bn, leaving a further £1bn. It doesn’t exactly work like that, but you’ll get the general picture.

  • galloglaigh

    By the way, I asked you the tax contribution, not an explanation of the Barnett Formula. I could have found that myself.

    Tell me, when I put fuel in my car, and that company pays the tax (like they all do :) ), what region of the UK is that tax paid?

    Or say when I go to Tesco? The list goes on.

    It’s a question you cant answer

  • DC

    would it not just be better if they calculated how many jobs this creates, and transfer that number of decent British orientated folk (no Fenians required) to their ‘mainland’, leaving the field free for us Irish?

    Would that merit in return asking the 6 million or so Irish in Britain to leave – including Mick Fealty :)

  • DC

    *the above figure is rough based on Irish ancestry and living in Britain.

  • PaddyReilly

    Would that merit in return asking the 6 million or so Irish in Britain to leave

    No, because the Irish are not actually paying out a subsidy to ensure their fellow countrymen live in Britain, whereas according to the above (which I do not believe) HM Exchequer is paying out to keep Northern Ireland afloat, when it could use that money to create more jobs in Britain.

  • PaddyReilly

    The problem of balancing the books is of course easy: Great Britain maintains a huge and expensive standing army, which takes up a significant percentage of government spending. Countries which secede may have less money to play with, but they have fewer outgoings because they do not attempt to maintain a comparable military profile.

  • Davy McFaul

    ‘A link to a year out of date? And presently inaccurate data?

    Is that the best you can do BJ? because I’m sure that the debt stats have changed beyond recognition in the last year and Gallow is absolutely correct, the Irish bailout was 2010.

    Interestingly enough, the UK owes more to the US than all of Ireland’s international debt combined. Kinda puts things into perspective doesn’t it? Who’d thunk that that UK Treasury that BJ speaks of above depended so heavilly on Uncle Sam?

    Maybe BJ should rethink his ‘Symbolism like flags might be annoying, but not as traumatic as abject poverty’ comment. Now we know what influence the Yanks used in the run up to the Belfast Agreemant?

  • DC

    So Paddy, British orientated should leave Ireland but it’s OK for 6 million or so Irish orientated to live in Britain?

    Why not just transfer out the 800,000 or so actual Irish citizens living in London today and replace them with the northern prods?

    Problem more or less solved in your eyes, no?

  • DC

    I’m beginning to think that you really aren’t allowed to British in Ireland based on some of these comments by hardline nationalists, or if you are it’s only on certain days, even take the Twelfth which rightly attracts criticism, you would think it was a 365 all day round event based on some of the comments above.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The problem of balancing the books is of course easy: Great Britain maintains a huge and expensive standing army, which takes up a significant percentage of government spending.

    The budget for the MOD is circa £33bn.

    Total government spending in 2012 was set up in the budget to be £682bn.

    I make that “significant percentage” just under 5%.

    However, looked at another way, the UK annually spends about £562 per head of population per year on the military. Correspondingly, the Irish republic spends about EUR1bn per year, or £178 per head (about one-third).

  • TheGoblinPrince

    I don’t think ethnic cleansing is a very sensible option.

  • PaddyReilly

    You are predictably twisting and distorting everything.

    The first question is, does GB subsidise job creation in NI?
    If it does, then we have to ask why it bothers, when it could transfer those jobs to British soil, leaving behind an Ireland which is more ethnically uniform.

    But the honest answer is that it does not. NI is merely getting a rebate on its contribution to the Defence budget, which it could shirk without harming itself. And sundry other endeavours, I am sure.

    But of course, if GB is genuinely subsidising NI, then we have to question the morality and even the sustainability of the operation, because eventually the English are going to get fed up and cancel it.

  • PaddyReilly

    Why not just transfer out the 800,000 or so actual Irish citizens living in London today and replace them with the northern prods?

    EEC and ECHR law renders this impossible. A government may not order members of the public to move from one area to another. Human Rights, free movement of labour, etc. However, a government, and indeed any employer, may order its employees to move from A to B as a condition of their continuing employment.

  • http://www.wordpress.ianjamesparsley.com IJP

    BluesJazz

    What on earth are you talking about?

    We already have our own bank notes!

    Comrade

    It is hard to see any UUP successor to McGimpsey or Copelsnd successfully retaining the seat.

    My own suspicion is that McGimpsey’s is gone even if he himself tries to defend it. And I think he knows it.

  • DC

    Paddy, I was joking re the transfer thing, but the only thing that is twisted and distorted is the extension of your logic, not mine.

  • Comrade Stalin

    more ethnically uniform.

    shudders involuntarily

  • PaddyReilly

    shudders involuntarily

    Well, one has to admit that all Irish people are from the same ethos—visiting Canadians remark on the universality of blue eyes—but they have managed to put themselves into opposing categories, claiming as ‘cultural’ something which is merely an accentuated football team mentality.

    I am asked what sort of jobs the native Irish do. Though propagandists like to refer to the Irish Catholic and Irish Protestant as ‘two nations’, their mutual interaction precludes this: they are more like two Indian Castes, with specialised work-roles.

    The Irish Protestant landlord has all but disappeared, meaning that the typical, or at least stereotypical Protestant is a policeman or jailer. There are an infinite number of variations on this: probation officer, barrister, bailiff, job-centre worker, ticket collector, anything that give you power over your neighbour. A Protestant who does not have a uniform thinks himself a very poor fellow, or improvises by joining a marching band. Their only enjoyment is marching in formation with tuneless instruments in pantomime uniforms, simulating the invasion of their (non-Protestant) neighbours’ territory. In Ulster, there are Protestants who milk cows, but often their business has been subsidised by part-time police work. In Belfast there are Protestants with engineering skills, but this usually has an English provenance.

    The Irish Catholic is primarily agricultural, with diversifications into brewing and horse related activities, especially betting. Construction is the next mainstay. When I was young, the job advertisements in the Irish Post were incredibly monocultural: 10 pages on construction, 3 of barmen, 3 of nurses: if you wanted to do anything else, you were directed to the insane asylum. When I showed English friends an Irish penny they asked, is there a shovel on it? The vast hordes of religious, who in Irish society also dominated education and social work, presumably had their own advertising network.

    Irish Catholic dominated society is somewhat anarchic. Horses wander in the streets, pubs never close and admit children, criminals are not prosecuted but told to get out of the country under pain of death. Due process of law is often replaced by the diktat of the local priest. But when Protestants get the whip hand, God help us, huge watchtowers dominate the countryside, listening in to every conversation, police checks stop cars round every corner, and huge numbers of people are pulled from their beds for questioning in the middle of the night, even though few of them are prosecuted. Londonderry Council even sent round a man on Saturday to the Catholic estates to chain up the swings for the Sabbath: they love to enforce their will even in the tiniest of details.

    Over the decades, things have improved exponentially. Irish Catholics have learnt cuisine from their continental cousins, and many fancy arts. The Irish Republic has become a genuinely attractive place to live in, and people from all over the world are happy to move to areas which 70 years ago offered only stifling religious conformity on a diet of pigs-trotters and cabbage. Ordinary Irish people train to be solicitors and accountants. The computer industry, which predominates everywhere, is religiously neutral.

    So what would happen without this mythical subsidy? Obviously MI5 would be closed down, the British Army and the RAF would disappear, but they could well be replaced by Irish equivalents. I imagine the place would fill up with students, which is what happens to a lot of Northern towns in England. There might be a falling off in some spheres, and a general drift of population towards Dublin, but it wouldn’t be anywhere near as bad as the troubles.

  • Covenanter

    Paddy,

    You forgot to mention comely maidens dancing at the crossroads. Or did you? I don’t know as I couldnt force myself to read all of that misty eyed nonsense.

  • PaddyReilly

    Yes, it shows. Misty eyed? Ffs.

  • Covenanter

    Paddy,

    Did you miss out on any republican cliches that we should be aware of at all?

  • DC

    Paddy, never read so much shite before in my life in relation to a slugger post.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m about to go into another spasm as a result of this.

    See you all tomorrow sometime…if i can pull out of it by then…

  • Red Lion

    Paddy reilly

    “Well, one has to admit that all Irish people are from the same ethos—visiting Canadians remark on the universality of blue eyes”

    WTF???

    Good luck with your ethnic hocus pocus

  • BluesJazz

    Paddy you missed out the Royal Navy on your succinct post. Inclusivity,,,and all that jazz.

  • PaddyReilly

    I thought they were disbanded in 2009. The NI branch, that is.

  • PaddyReilly

    Did you miss out on any republican cliches that we should be aware of at all?

    There are a lot of walking clichés out there. Perhaps you might like to tell us how little you are like them: let me guess, you are a Protestant, but your father was a conscientious objector and social worker and your mother a plasterer.

  • galloglaigh

    Plasterer’s labourer perhaps, but the comments in relation to your post, are akin to that old British prophesy that they’re more superior to us. Satire wouldn’t be their strong point. Nor would sarcasm :)

    Inferior no more: inferiority complex expansion?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sorry Paddy, but I just can’t sympathize in any way with something that sounds a lot like race theory being proposed as anything to do with the conflict here. We are a mixed, diverse society and we need to deal with that and make it work.

  • PaddyReilly

    something that sounds a lot like race theory

    Not race theory, caste theory. But there is the beginning of an economic theory in that society is shaped by the predominant professions, and the predominant professions come from the defective popular imagination. Robert Graves’s description of Limerick in 1918 as a place where “everybody died of drink, except for the Plymouth Brethren, who died of religious melancholy” exemplifies a society where too many people think opening a pub is a good way to make money. And a smaller number think the Bible is a good read.

    Northern Ireland would be, not a mixed, diverse society, but a place where too many people wanted to be policemen, or decided “Je suis un révolutionaire.” Giles Coren’s review of a well-known Belfast restaurant (covered, inter alia, by Slugger) indicates that insufficient members of the population have set out to be celebrity chefs.

    A woman I got talking to in Hampstead assumed I was a psychoanalyst, which I thought was hilarious, but probably makes sense in terms of Hampstead society because everyone there is a psychoanalyst. A psych is I suppose, a person whom you come to tell your troubles: in Ireland that would be a priest, or a barman. Or maybe just a mouthy person with an answer to everything, whom the Irish would decide should be an auctioneer at a cattle-market.

  • Covenanter

    “There are a lot of walking clichés out there. Perhaps you might like to tell us how little you are like them: let me guess, you are a Protestant, but your father was a conscientious objector and social worker and your mother a plasterer.”

    And you have worked hard your whole life.

  • PaddyReilly

    “The Paddies work too hard” was a frequent refrain in English building sites and factories when I was young—from fellow workers of course, not employers. But you have to remember these Paddies were young fellows used to breaking rocks and tugging furze on the family farm, forlornly trying to wrastle a living from the side of Slieve Gallion mountain, whereas the English workers had only worked for someone else, and expected to continue in the same role till the age of 64. One gem I treasure from those days: “It’s enough ****ing punishment coming in ere every day, vey can’t expect us to work as well.” I preferred walking to sitting still, and running to walking, earning me frequent reprimands from fellow workers. One day though I was trying to move a large heavy block of concrete, putting it now under my arm, and then on my shoulder, when a very wise Corkman said to me, “The easiest way to carry that, son, is to get someone else to take it”. Taking his wise works to heart, I have not looked back since, having flown the clichés that the world would have put me in. The typewriter is now my shovel.

    But then doing accountancy would be hard work for me, so it’s all relative whether I worked hard or not. Nowadays, we live in the age of the internet, so I can let my fingers do the walking.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Let me guess. A certain gentleman from Ballyjamesduff either lives in a distorted fantasy world or has had his brain networks shuffled from reading fantasy novels.

  • PaddyReilly

    Surely there must be some baby seals with unbashed heads out there that merit your attention more than this?