Exclusive: Ian Paisley’s belated acknowledgment of David Trimble’s legacy: the principle of Consent…

Now, this is interesting. No really, it is. And for a couple reasons. One is what it says. And two, though I am not sure whether it made the print edition of today’s Belfast News Letter, that it was only on the site for about a hour last night before it disappeared.

It’s Doctor Paisley’s weekly column. And (thanks to an eagled-eyed reader) it makes for fascinating reading, especially for those of you who are historians of the peace process.

In a week when Basil McCrea broke party lines to vote against an amendment to dump reference to the Belfast Agreement, Dr Paisley delivered a solemn warning, seemingly to his own party colleagues, although not by name, for its attempts at re-writing history, and ignoring the bedrock principle of the current peace, ie consent:

I could fill this page with what I see when I lift up my eyes and look beyond our shores. But what do others see when they lift up their eyes and see us?

I am sure this week they must wonder why some want to unpick copper fasteners and ask for a border poll! Having won the principle of consent and secured our place within the United Kingdom, we ought to be very careful to hold the prize and not be glib about “calling the bluff” of others as though it were something of little value.

Our secure position today as part of the United Kingdom didn’t come about by a false display of confidence in a hand of poker. The removal of the articles in the Irish Constitution laying claim to Northern Ireland as that jurisdiction’s territory, was, we should never forget, hard won.

It was also a substantial act of goodwill by the people of Southern Ireland to vote to have the claim removed from their constitution in order to facilitate neighbourly relations. It played no small part in disarming the political justification of the Irish Republican Army’s reign of terror.

Why, when we are seeing a period of deeply felt concern regarding our flag, and for which no solution has yet been found, would anyone think it sensible to throw a bucketful of time, energy and money at a border poll for which there is absolutely no need or even demand?

Better to spend that time, energy and money on our real future, our youth, and solve the greatly vexed question of their education regarding transfer tests. Eyes down might be the better option on this one![Emphasis added]

Unwonted, but fulsome praise for the government and the people of the Irish Republic. But just as interesting in the context of this week, surely a belated, and long overdue acknowledgement that it was David, now Lord, Trimble who delivered the key element of a long settlement rather than his own party.

Which inconvenient truth may go someway to explain why the piece no longer appears on the News Letter’s website?

, , ,

  • Alone and Easy Target

    Interesting and significant I would say. If someone had more time on there hands a compare and contrast of what Paisley Snr said then and is saying now would make interesting reading.

  • Alone and Easy Target


  • SDLP supporter

    The [text removed – watch it!] conscience must be troubling him as he contemplates nearing the end as he contemplates the UUP leaders prepared to make an honourable compromise whom he anathematised: O’Neill, Faulkner, Trimble.

  • David Crookes

    “It was also a substantial act of goodwill by the people of Southern Ireland to vote to have the claim removed from their constitution in order to facilitate neighbourly relations.”

    Never mind the ‘Southern Ireland’, and bravo to whoever spotted this piece. It is indeed interesting and significant. Lord Bannside has moved on IN HIS HEART. Some members of the DUP have still to make such a move.

    Mick, I’m sure you’re right to see here an acknowledgement of Trimble’s work. Thanks for the whole posting.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Interesting little insight, and blunt rebuff of Arlene Foster’s suggestion the DUP would welcome a border poll.

  • Alias

    “…the government and the people of the Irish Republic.”

    Actually, it was praise for the people of Southern Ireland – the name given to Ireland by the British state in the Government of Ireland Act. He hasn’t quite come to terms with Irish people having the right to name their own state.

    As for the re-naming of the Unionist Veto as the Principle of Consent, some folks don’t approve of referendums – and what is the ‘principle’ except a referendum – or only approve of them when it serves their purpose.

  • GEF

    Lord Empey is not pleased with Arlene Foster suggestion:

    “Warning on dangerous call for border poll. FORMER Ulster Unionist leader Lord Empey has warned the DUP that they are “treading on dangerous ground” after they revealed they are discussing supporting Sinn Fein’s calls for a vote on a united Ireland.”


  • carnmoney.guy

    DR –

    Arlene was ‘minded’ to support a border poll, that wee phase didnt work the last time Seymour Sweeney was trying to develop a visitor centre at Giants Causeway

  • Mick Fealty

    Just confirmed that it did get pulled from the print edition of the News Letter… So this is a Slugger exclusive…

  • Kevsterino

    Mick, I know it is pure speculation on my part, but I would bet this is the first time Ian Paisley got censored out of the Newsletter. To be candid, I used to hate that guys guts. But I haven’t felt that way in a long time now.

  • Well done Mick (and whoever spotted the short lived online version).
    Have you asked the Newsletter for their reasons for pulling the article?

  • Von Manstein
  • tacapall

    Paisley philosophy. When in doubt, do nothing. Trying to hold back calls for a border poll now or in the future will be like trying to hold back the tide. The longer it takes to get there the less bargaining power unionists will have. Everything points to one inevitable outcome, Joint Authority, maybe we should put that option in any future border poll as its the only way to ensure the people who matter most will be accommodated financially and culturally with an opt out clause every 20 or so years leaving plenty of time for Ireland to slowly financially integrated the six counties into a Unitary state.

  • Mick Fealty


    I’m going to card you if you cannot find something relevant to the point. That whole comment is premised on your opinion of Paisley. That’s the man, see?

    The ball, well I guess it’s the border poll, but since it doesn’t contain any argued content, that’s a matter purely for conjecture. Buck up lad!

  • It is interesting to look at Ian Paisley’s opinion journey. It is not quite St. Paul on the road to Damascus stuff but it looks almost unrecognisable from what it was only a few years ago.

    But has his opinion really changed or is he just a politician who says whatever is necessary to maximize his popularity?

    The oblique compliment to David Trimble is interesting. I wonder if he would have said what he did if the UUP had been a party which was united about its political position.

  • tacapall

    That comment is not premised on my opinion of paisley Mick, I see nothing in his speech that persuades me as a nationalist that he has changed his views in any way, the references to our flag, and no need for a border poll, sounds just like no surrender, never, never only a little more subtle. Actually supporting the GFA and playing it to your advantage are two different things. I think everyone knows what Paisley and the DUP’s intentions were when they formed a government with Sinn Fein.

    Im still trying to get my head around what Von Manstein’s post was about.

  • Framer

    The Doc must have been re-reading this press statement of 29 February 1996:

    Paragraph 10c of the Anglo Irish Communique of 28 February states that the purpose of the multilateral consultations with the Northern Ireland parties commencing next Monday will be inter alia to consider a referendum in Northern Ireland in parallel with one in the south on the same day “to mandate support for a process to create lasting stability, based on the repudiation of violence for any political purpose.”.

    The North Down MP in a statement says that this is in effect an all Ireland plebiscite and can be regarded as the first such vote since 1918. This opportunity must not be missed of getting the Dublin Government, just this once, to put its money where its mouth is and prove that all parties there actually mean what they say regarding consent.

    Mr McCartney said “This process is about taking risks for peace and doing what our Government failed previously to insist on in 1974 and 1985: a radical change to Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution to do away with the constitutional imperative to bring about Irish unity by any means possible.”

    “Some anodyne words in favour of peaceful resolution of disputes will not do if the pro union people are obliged to go along with the perceived diminution of sovereignty such a referendum entails. I do not want a referendum that is declaratory but one which can actually change the atmosphere at the talks; one, which if endorsed by all the people on the island, would bind both governments and all the people to exclusively peaceful means”.

    “I will be pressing both our Government and that in Dublin, and the other parties to the talks, to prove their bona fides by agreeing to a wording that rejects Irish unity brought about by other than peaceful means; and for those words to go into the Irish Constitution.”

    “If passed by all the peoples of the island it would have unique constitutional and moral authority, and greatest of all, enable the Republican movement to renounce force without diminishing their political goal. Only by amending Articles 2 and 3 in this way, can the IRA accept that a greater authority than that which presently permits their use of force, has spoken.”

    “A unique opportunity for an amendment process that would not destabilise the south nor risk failure, now exists. A general set of remarks in favour of a cessation of violence would be valueless for the very reason that it both diminished Ulster’s self determination while missing out on the only possible moment when the south could cheerfully dispense with its constitutional imperative.”

  • Clanky

    I could fill this page with what I see when I lift up my eyes and look beyond our shores. But what do others see when they lift up their eyes and see us?

    I read an article in El Mundo, a fairly right wing (and considering Spain’s heritage, Catholic leaning) newspaper last week which described recent events in Belfast as some sort of crusade against Catholicism, while this was journalistic bollox at its worst, all of my Spanish friends look at Northern Ireland with bemusement, they genuinely cannot believe that people are rioting in the streets over a flag in a first world country, even when I try to explain to them that it is about much more than a flag, they just shake their heads and gaze in amazement that people outside of Africa act like this.

    In terms of the border poll, El Mundo also had an interesting article this morning on support for Scottish independence being at its lowest for a decade, their conclusion was that while it was all about sticking 2 fingers up at England, independence was well supported, when it actually started looking as though it might be a reality people thought long and hard and said “nae feckin’ chance, pal”

    While Scottish independence obviously doesn’t have the same tribal allegiances as Irish unity, I think the same thing will happen to support for a united Ireland if it ever looks like becoming a reality.

    As a nationalist (with a small n) I believe in the idea of a united Ireland, if I were still living in the North and there was a referendum tomorrow with a realistic chance of actually achieving that goal, I don’t think that I could bring myself to actually vote for it. Peter’s idea of reaching out to the Catholic population is a very wise move (if incredibly badly executed).

    As things stand, in the event of a border poll actually happening, I will be sitting in the sun, drinking San Miguel and looking on as an interested bystander.

  • BluesJazz
  • Sp12

    “Follow me the wise man said, but he walked behind”

  • Congratulations on the scoop, Mick. An explanation from the Newsletter would be interesting.

  • David Crookes

    Indeed, Mr_Joe. Whom is the Newsletter afraid of embarrassing? People beginning with #?

  • eyes wide open

    Does the big mans weekly column have to go through the DUP,s press office? Has this been a solo run only to be retracted by others? I,m sure more questions will come from this so congratulations to who ever got he “scoop”.

  • A bit of a dig at Foster there, over bluffing exercise David[1.07], and neat sideswipe at ‘Lord of Castlereagh’ News letter not amused.

  • Great catch – that piece that could have been written by David Trimble a decade ago.

    If it has been spiked, presumably that reflects the party line no longer aligning with Paisley’s personal views. It would be interesting to know how many current DUP top brass would endorse this revised interpretation.

  • Jack2

    Fascinating that it was pulled. Higher powers than the big man at work?

    Deleting a regular column for a former first minister could be construed as rather sinister.

    If it doesn’t fit – down the memory hole….

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, danielsmoran. It appears that we have a politbureau as well as a politburo, and that DO WHAT THOU ART TOLD has become the whole of the journalistic law.

    John Wilkes would not be amused. There are two stories in Mick’s thread, and the second one is the subservience of the press.

    Let’s all keep our teeth in this one. It’s a beezer.

    Anyone recall the Observer’s caption under a front-row-only photograph of the biggest political demonstration in Irish history? The caption began, “HUNDREDS OF LOYALISTS…..”

    Print what we tell you.

  • DC[5.29] You’re welcome. I see the UTV headlines just now have made no mention of this affair, but then they’ve a long history with the NL, and the unionist establishment. A Paisley cynic would probably say it’s easy for him to unburden himself after he no longer needs votes, I couldn’t possibly comment.

  • Mick Fealty

    I understand it is to be published in the paper tomorrow…

  • David Crookes

    …..as a result of severe pressure from Sluggerland.

  • Viridiplantae


    As a nationalist (with a small n) I believe in the idea of a united Ireland, if I were still living in the North and there was a referendum tomorrow with a realistic chance of actually achieving that goal, I don’t think that I could bring myself to actually vote for it. Peter’s idea of reaching out to the Catholic population is a very wise move (if incredibly badly executed).

    Well the census and it’s trends reveal an interesting mathematical situation. Nationalists now have the opportunity to achieve a united Ireland without convincing a single Protestant to vote for it, however on the flip-side Unionists can now preserve the union forever even if every Catholic votes for a united Ireland from now to eternity, at least if we don’t count those Catholics who don’t speak English as their main language as being “proper” NornIron style Catholics, though it’s almost certainly still true even if we do.

    A world of both opportunity and threat for all.

  • aquifer

    “The removal of the articles in the Irish Constitution laying claim to Northern Ireland as that jurisdiction’s territory, was, we should never forget, hard won.” But not by the DUP:

    The political parties that were party to the (Good Friday) agreement were: the Ulster Unionist Party, the Social Democratic and Labour Party, Sinn Féin, the Alliance Party, the Progressive Unionist Party, the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition, the Ulster Democratic Party and the Labour Group.

  • David Crookes

    From tonight’s Newsletter.

    “This is Dr Paisley’s weekly column. Due to [sic] a production error, it did not appear on Friday as normal. It will resume in its usual slot next Friday.”

    Ita vero, mater tua…..

  • David,
    In speciali sit veritas

  • Comrade Stalin

    A great scoop Mick.

    I think a lot of people are missing the subtext here. This is less about Ian Paisley’s discovery of basic human and civil values and more about the internal politics of the DUP.

    There is significant resentment among those loyal to Ian Paisley over the way Peter Robinson is perceived to have elbowed him out of the way in order to get himself elected as party leader and First Minister. The resentment occasionally bubbles to the surface in public ways, but it’s usually very subtle. This is one of the less subtle occasions; Ian Paisley is directly attacking Peter Robinson over the way the flags issue has been handled.

    The other thing we know is that the DUP are not afraid to bully the press and journalists. The Irish News are more or less permanently boycotted by Peter Robinson. I would imagine that when the DUP got wind of this article, undoubtedly through sources inside the News Letter, they would have made a few phonecalls and got the thing pulled. I’d also suggest that the reason why Mick found out about this was because someone in the News Letter tipped him off that the article was about to be pulled from the online content management system and that given the right URL he could grab it before this happened.

    Robinson is in a relatively weak position at the moment as party leader over the flags issue. It’s therefore particularly interesting that Paisley chose this moment to directly question the priorities of his leadership.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Ian Paisley is directly attacking Peter Robinson over the way the flags issue has been handled.

    Ugh, connect brain before typing. There’s no mention of flags in the article. But Paisley’s timing is interesting.

  • Comrade Stalin

    kevsterino, I feel the same way as you do, and I grapple with this problem all the time. Paisley’s role was crucial in drawing a line under the troubles. But his role in destabilizing all the efforts to avoid the troubles in the first place was equally crucial andalmost, but not quite, cancels his later work out.

  • 6crealist

    And on the night DUP MLA Thomas Buchanan turned up and addressed the crowd at a flag ‘protest’ in Castlederg.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, Bangordub! Some baigles prefer to say, “Auctoritas non veritas facit legem.” (Or if not the “legem”, the “acta diurna”.) Authority, not truth, makes the newspapers.

    Quite an eventful day for the Sluggerati, or should that be the Verberatores? Mick should be feeling pretty chuffed, if he’s still up.

  • ayeYerMa

    What on earth are you conspiracy theory nutters smoking? How on earth does any of what Paisley has said here differ in any way from what Robinson has been saying?

    Trimble was ousted by the Unionist population due to a lack of progress from PSF/PIRA. The DUP stuck to their principles on this issue, and I don’t exactly see how any of what is said here contradicts that. Half of the DUP is made up of ex-UUP members anyway, and they might as well be the same thing as differ in so little.

  • David Crookes

    It was something herbal, ayeYerMa, but we didn’t inhale.

    A recent tweet: “DUP MLA Tom Buchanan and DUP Chair of Omagh District Council Errol Thompson due to attend Omagh union flag protest in liaison capacity.”

    Will the story of their liaison be pulled as well?

    Must go back to see my friend the Caterpillar…..

  • ayeyerma. The reason SF ditched trimble in favour of dealing with the DUP was they realised there was NO principle involved dealing with the DUP. and so it is proved. There’s no depth the DUP won’t stoop to to look after the DUP’s interest alone. That’s why they are sharing with the shinners now and no matter what sellout by them on their community is exposed, they will stick with their own lowlidfe partners because they know SF is good enough for them. full stop.

  • Alias

    “As a nationalist (with a small n) I believe in the idea of a united Ireland, if I were still living in the North and there was a referendum tomorrow with a realistic chance of actually achieving that goal, I don’t think that I could bring myself to actually vote for it.”

    Then you’re not a nationalist: you’re a unionist. Just as “Lord, Make me chaste, but not yet” allows the sinner to suppress cognisance his actual flawed condition by superimposing a vision of a more elevated aspirational future condition…

    You’re not a nationalist if you don’t believe in or practice its first principles, e.g. a right to national self-determination and a sovereign nation-state, just as you’re not a virgin bride if you’ve slept with every man in the village before your wedding day.

    It’s not even a paradox of so-called northern nationalists and it’s not even an outright contradiction: it’s just a misnomer. The modern northern Catholic has been successfully de-politicised, no longer asserting national rights and no longer nationalist.

  • Viridiplantae


    The difference is on the border poll but you make valid points. I would say that this is a synopsis of what happened.

    The UUP negotiated the Belfast Agreement. A bare majority of unionists voted for it but on the understanding that the decommissioning of the IRA’s guns would be completed on the same timescale as prisoner release.

    The DUP oppose the Belfast Agreement but at this stage are supported by only a minority of unionists.

    The UUP fail to demand that Provisionals hold to their side of the Belfast Agreement on decommissioning. UUP lose support as even many of those unionists who voted for the Belfast Agreement do not believe that they are getting it implemented in full in accordance with what they voted for.

    Unionist voters hold the Provisionals to account by switching support from the UUP to the DUP. The Provisionals are forced to disarm in order to get back into government, and the DUP negotiate a new agreement which is essentially the Belfast Agreement with a few bells and whistles and a new name. This carries the majority of unionist voters with them.

    I too am a bit perplexed at the idea that Paisley supporting the dropping of the old Articles 2 and 3 is somehow him moving towards Trimble’s position. Surely both men will have supported that all of their lives. Yes Paisley has a more generous tone, but I see no movement on a matter of substance.

    It would actually be more valid to say that Paisley was attaching himself to the spirit of the Belfast Agreement by explicitly opposing a border poll against the position of the current DUP leadership, and that he was showing respect for Trimble negotiating the “…if at any time it appears likely to him that a majority of those voting would express a wish that NI should cease to be part of the UK and form part of a United Ireland.” part of the agreement, while the DUP leadership are treating this particular protection of the union made by Trimble in a slapdash manner. That is more what the article is about, and that is a more clear cut example of Paisley siding with what Trimble negotiated while disagreeing with the present DUP leadership.

  • Alias

    Trimble’s innovation was to repackage the Unionist Veto as the grandiose sounding Principle of Consent, and his political dynamic was to put it front and centre at the all-party talks.

    In a way it’s a good old Irish joke that the Fenians all signed up to the hated Unionist Veto once it was rebranded and elevated to the status of a principle, but it was, nonetheless, a remarkable political achievement on his part.

    It wasn’t Trimble’s invention, of course, since it has existed (without the grandiose name) since the Government of Ireland Act 1920 and had been restated in every constitutional Act since then, e.g the Ireland Act 1949 and the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1974.

    Trimble’s other clever contribution to unionism was to ensure that the Unionist Veto would be exercised by referendum and not, as it was before to 1972, by Stormont. That way, if or when the Catholics became a majority at Stormont, they wouldn’t be able to use that majority to secure unity.

    The Downing Street Declaration in 1993 makes the continuance of the Unionist Veto, err, Principle of Consent, a predetermined outcome of the all-party talks (held 5 years later).

  • Mick Fealty


    I can see why you wind people so much. Your literalism is often a refreshing reality to the ungrounded opinions of many of us in Northern Ireland, but this is sheer nonsense:

    “Then you’re not a nationalist: you’re a unionist.”

    The Irish Constitutions describes the nature of unification in very clear terms:

    It is the firm will of the Irish Nation, in harmony and friendship, to unite all the people who share the territory
 of the island of Ireland, in all the diversity of their identities and traditions, recognising that a united Ireland
 shall be brought about only by peaceful means with the consent of a majority of the people, democratically
expressed, in both jurisdictions in the island.[emphasis added]

    If you believe that in voting yes to the question you endanger any of these clausal conditions then you are perfectly entitled to vote no, and retain your aspiration of working for a unification under these terms of Article 2.

    Indeed, an ‘anti Alias’ figure on here might be cantankerous enough to argue that if you knowingly voted yes believing that it would bring about a unification that blatantly ignored Article 2, you’d be acting in contravention of the Constitution.


  • Mick Fealty


    You are wrong about the sourcing of the story. I have very good relations with people at the NL, but I am not sure any of them would have taken the risk you suggest. It was tip off from a reader (thanks, btw, to all our tipsters), and who, so far as I know, is completely unrelated to the business, the party or the paper.

    I think you are being selectively unfair to Paisley. I’m old enough to remember nightly jousts on Scene Around Six with Gerry Fitt and Barry Cowan trying to hold the ring. He fairly scared us on a daily basis, not just because of that menacing rhetoric of his, but the fact that some many were being killed every day.

    But in the end, we have to acknowledge things are not as they were. Whilst Paisley may be acting petulantly against a successor he believes is not doing his job as FM, he is usefully speaking to the greater public good by acknowledging that the larger settlement was the GFA and not his own deal a St Andrews – which, let us not forget, brought a final if reluctant recognition of the PSNI from SF – was secondary.

  • tacapall

    No connection to the debate Mick but similar.

    Gerry Adams’ TD statement on killing of garda in Dundalk


  • Comrade Stalin

    It turns out that we were all wrong about a lot of things, the News Letter have reinstated the story on their website and have blamed a “publishing error” for its absence.


    Mick – yeah I have conversations like that with my parents who consider Paisley to be the person who started the troubles. But like I said he was also the person who acted to draw a line under it. There are a number of similar such characters in Irish history ..

  • Is this an example of resurrection or ‘it hasn’t gone away, you know’? 😉

  • “Eyes down might be the better option on this one!”

    A much greater need is an ability to vary the focus so that we can zoom out for context and zoom in for nuance.

  • Mick Fealty [8.50 a.m].The ‘production error’ line in this morning’s edit[and it looks to me to be a re-edit of paisley’s original article], to cover for the fit of panic on Thursday night, is neat, Have the sharpest barbs been left in though? Reading it a while ago, I can’t be sure, but it doesn’t start with the opening line of the column’s intended piece. The barbs against Foster and Robinson.This surely put’s all the DUP pretence about burying the Godd Friday Agreement with the St Andrew’s one when we know it’s nothing more than a figleaf.

  • David Crookes


  • DC. I can just picture Robinson ‘s face when he was tipped off about the column as ‘in a rit of fealous jage’ [as Peter Sellers put it in ‘A Shot in the Dark’], he was immediately on the blower to the NL. It shows how brittle he is that he can’t pass over the slightest criticism from whatever quarter. He should mind the blood pressure and roll with the punches.

  • Kevsterino

    It appears the Democratic Unionist Party is troubled by free speech.

  • Reader

    danielsmoran: This surely put’s all the DUP pretence about burying the Godd Friday Agreement with the St Andrew’s one when we know it’s nothing more than a figleaf.
    It’s a figleaf that has allowed the Assembly to protect the status-quo from rogue ministers. E.g. Academic selection.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, danielsmoran. Where is modern unionism heading? Having endured several weeks of loyalists against democracy, we now seem to have leaders against a free press.

    A doctrine which cannot endure the presence of facts is dead.

    There was a lot of talk a while ago about the antics of a certain band outside a particular church. The last time I watched a video clip of these antics, I felt only pity for the bandsmen. Here were people marching round and round to no purpose in a tiny circle. And their music! It sounded to me like lost souls whistling in the dark. No triumph about it.

    Unionism needs new leaders and a new doctrine.

  • USA

    “Dr. Paisley”
    Don’t credit this religious fanatic with unwarranted academic achievements. His so called degree from Rob Jones here in the US has been debunked many times over. It only ever served to inflate his own ego.

    He has as much blood on his hands as those he opposed. I for one will not be thanking him for finally facing up to reality.

  • Kevsterino

    I try to take an algebraic sum over a lifetime. I don’t discount how difficult it is to take a different view at such an advanced age and I think that is why my opinion of him has changed so much.

  • GEF

    Myself and many others in the Unionisrt camp never had much love for Ian Paisley (sen) when he was leader of the DUP. But was he any more slippery and manipulative a politician as Gerry Adams or Martin Maguinnis was? I think not. However getting back to the subject of the border poll this article & the one comment is interesting:

    Paisley critical of DUP border poll talk

    “Totally agree with Dr Paisley. As per usual he’s hit the nail right on the head. Talk of a border poll is a Sinn Fein publicity stunt in order to cover up their volte face on the unification issue. Unionists should not play their silly game – and in any case current stats do not satisfy the criteria as laid out in the relevant legislation. It may become an issue post 2030 but in the meantime we now know there will be two referendums and three elections in the UK between 2014-17. Isn’t that sufficient democracy to be going on with?” ………….DrDavidGreen

  • Alias

    Mick, the constitution limits the actions of the state, not the people, so only the former can act in contravention of it. Parliament, of course, limits the actions of the latter – and it has no constitutional authority to legislate on such matters.

    If everybody was bound by the constitution, nobody could ever change it since the act of changing it presupposes that they are not bound by it. And on matters of conscience, should you oppose abortion on specific grounds just because the Constitution opposes it on those grounds?

    Now who is talking nonsense? *looks at the bearded one*

    That said, I take your point about intent and timing but I already dealt with it by quoting St. Augustine. Don’t do today what you can put off until tomorrow is the usual approach of those who won’t actually do it tomorrow but who also won’t ever admit that. That’s why girls who are fat at forty are still fat at fifty…

    It is now blatantly obvious post-census why it is a misnomer to refer to NI’s Catholics as nationalists.

  • Reader [2.41] Except the rogue minister McCausland who’s apparently allowed to go on a solo run abolishing the Housing executive without explaining the nature of it’s replacement.

  • David Crookes[2.59] It’s comical how they still carry on marching beyond the point they had dominance in these parts. It’s no longer relevant to strut around coat trailing when you no longer have the votes to get your way in the ‘country you deliberately’ set out to create as a Protestant state. They just look as if they’re in denial about their increasing political impotence.

  • Comrade Stalin


    Abolishing the Housing Executive will almost certainly require legislation in order to repeal the Housing Executive Act (Northern Ireland) 1971 and as such McCausland faces the same problems getting it through the assembly as Ruane faced over the 11+.

    Actually, McCausland’s plans to replace the HE are quite detailed. It basically involves handing over all the housing stock and maintenance contracts/etc to the housing associations. His plan essentially continues a process which was already started some time ago. I don’t think it’s a good idea, but it’s not true to say that there is no plan in place.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, danielsmoran. My family has been unionist since the memories of man. Today I was talking to my father, who was in the RAF from ’39 to ’46, and who is nearly ninety-four. I told him about the recent census results, and reminded him (not that he needed to be reminded) that GB has no interest in maintaining the union. Then I said that I was coming to see some kind of UI as offering the best possible prospect for our ‘own folk’. Instead of accusing me of lunacy or treachery, he wished me well with the business of spreading the word.

    What we feel in our hearts has to give way to what we know in our heads. Unionism IS impotent, as you say. It has been impotent for at least the last forty years. It is regarded with frank dislike on the mainland, and the last few weeks have reinforced that dislike.

    The union itself was really ended by Thatcher in 1985.

    (Some sanguine unionists say to me how wonderful it is that SF accepts the presence of the British intelligence services in NI. I feel like saying how wonderful it is that the DUP accepts the presence of RoI civil servants in NI.)

    Too many unionists are living in a state of morose self-righteous fear. I want the very best for my ‘own folk’, so I’m telling anyone who will listen what I see as the wisest course of action: go fearlessly, warm-heartedly, and creatively into a new Ireland.

    Much of the discontent which characterizes many of my unionist friends comes from their robotical blue-denim pursuit of material vulgarity. If enough of us undergo the great change of heart that a UI requires, Belfast may once again be called ‘The Athens of Ireland’, and Ireland may play a big part in enriching the world.

  • Mr Crookes,
    Well said. And worthy of further debate

  • BluesJazz

    “the Athens of Ireland”? Jesus frigging christ. “Ireland”enriching the world”! Welcome back from Gransha John O’ Connell.

  • Reader

    danielsmoran: Except the rogue minister McCausland who’s apparently allowed to go on a solo run abolishing the Housing executive without explaining the nature of it’s replacement.
    I see Comrade Stalin has filled in some key detail. That’s almost a relief. On the face of it, it was starting to look as though Nelson McCausland was far more effective than Caitríona Ruane, which would have been a bit disconcerting. But it turns out he is just better prepared.

  • David Crookes

    Bless you, Bangordub, many thanks. Let me weary you with an addendum.

    There is a self-destructive instinct in certain humans which leads them to vandalize the corridors of the apartment blocks in which they live.

    The poltical form of that instinct is no less irrational. On one day it demands the right to march down the Queen’s highway in Portadown. On another day it demands the right to block Queen’s highways all over the country.

    At its root is a refusal to think.

    Politicians who refuse to think are wilfully vandalizing the future.

  • David Crookes

    Every so often we’re allowed to see the self-destructive instinct expressing itself in quasi-language.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The union itself was really ended by Thatcher in 1985.

    I’d say “the union”, as it is understood by some people (the people who consider it to be a cultural means to an end, rather than merely a political and economic entity), ended on the streets at the end of the 1960s when the unionists rejected and blocked reform. The key lesson of that time – ie “hold as much ground as you can by giving a little bit of it away” – has apparently never been learned, which is the really sad part.

    As Sinn Féin are finding, it is considerably harder to make a case for ending the union than it is to make the case for keeping it. However, Sinn Féin’s job in selling reunification is being substantially assisted by the work of the flag protestors – and the unionist parties allowing their elected representatives to join those protests. I continue to wonder at what stage unionists are going to figure out that if they keep blocking the little changes they’ll end up losing the whole argument.

  • Mick Fealty


    You are nothing if not dedicated to getting rid of us Nordies, be hook or be crook. 😉 But the constitution provides for Nordies if they so choose to self election into the nation. And it prescribes the method and the nature of any future rapprochement.

  • Mr Crookes,
    Despite the late hour I think it is worth replying to you, particularly given the lines of landrovers in waiting around the short strand tonight.
    To my mind it is the refusal of certain politicians to not just think, but to act in accordance with logical thoughts, that has led political unionism to the mess it finds itself in just now. TV Mike wants a unionist unity agreement candidate in mid ulster. Any 1st year politics student could explain why that is not a smart idea.

    Your argument as to the central contradiction within the flag waving multitudes is absolutely correct. The Queens highway, the Queens bridge or is it the other Queens bridge? Accessed by Royal avenue or is it Great Victoria St or whatever…. I think a road and bridge renaming commitee is required

  • Red Lion

    The more bighouse unionism goes down the path of insularity,narrow thought and anti-intellectualism, the more chance of it provoking a reaction in pro-union liberals of pluralism, nontribalism and sophistication.

    How much more provocation is needed before liberal unionism awakens and acts??

    Come on Basil, John and David. You’re what the world (or at least a tiny bit of it) is waiting for.

  • DC

    Big House Unionism, (UUP) fail.

    Biblical Unionism, (DUP) fail.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, Comrade Stalin. Maybe the whole idea of a ‘British’ union went out with Terence O’Neill. But certainly by 1970 the union had become a provisional thing.

    [Off the subject, I was reading Christopher Meyer’s ‘DC Confidential’ half an hour ago. CM admits to a considerable respect for the negotiating skills of SF. Unionists in general have been woeful proponents of their own cause.]

    Bangordub, thanks for that thoughtful posting. I reckon that for a long time unionists including myself have been rather infantile. We thought we knew what we wanted, we believed our cause to be inherently righteous, and we refused to act on the basis of logical thought. Red Lion is absolutely right to identify anti-intellectualism as a big part of the problem.

    Many ‘educated’ unionists have no interest in reading books. Television rules their free time. Some of them regard lovers of art, music, or literature as rather dodgy. And those of them who profess a contempt for the Irish language often display a contempt for the English language whenever they open their mouths.

    Whatever the future holds, unionists should be encouraged to become warm-hearted persons whose minds are opulently furnished.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I actually think during the past few years the union was stronger than at any time since 1970 – confident unionism running the country, sticking up for the best aspects of the union, standing up to SF etc etc. That strength has failed under the weight of the DUP’s hurriedly-adopted flags strategy which have simply opened up gaping divisions within the party which leads unionism. The union, and unionism, is never going to have any kind of strength if SF can push buttons here and there and get a reaction.

  • DC

    if SF can push buttons here and there and get a reaction

    Alliance handed SF the remote control in BCH and let it push buttons, zapping the national flag.

    It should have said get your own remote and push buttons without us.

  • eyes wide open

    To think the union was stronger in the last “few years” only to see it,s strength fail due to Sinn Fein pushing a few buttons takes away from the facts and demonstrates that nationalism leads the way and is steadfast in the agenda in all island politics. The dust has hardly settled on the “flegs issue” when out of the ashes unionism after another button is pushed again jumps like a salmon.
    If unionism was at all confident in the last few years maybe again this could be put down to Sinn Feins button pushing.
    A day hardly goes by without a statement from a wing of unionism being retracted or another wing “clarifying” its position.
    The time will come following a concerted campaign of “button pushing” of unionism that we see its unraveling and ending in the working class uniting behind their fellow islanders.
    Everyone, Republican or otherwise has their own particular part to play in this. No part is too great or too small, no one is too old or too young to do something.
    It is then we’ll see the rising of the moon.

  • JoeBryce

    Dr. Paisley is right. It’s funny how the last few years I have begun to be able to write those words, which I once thought would never form in my mind. The vote down south for the removal of those offensive articles from the constitution (mind you in due course the whole thing will have to be replaced) was indeed a significant gesture of goodwill by our neighbours and maybe our fellow countrymen.

    I would however go further. I would say, as I think so too would David Crookes, that it is a gesture that calls to our consciences to make a reciprocal gesture, for the thrawn folk sit down with their / our neighbours to hammer out a shared federal future. ‘Flegs’ has been so humiliating and demeaning an episode – entirely of our own making – that to me at least it suggests that we cannot be our better selves within the Union. This whole episode has the feel of something ending, like the shame that engulfs you after you have said and done things you should not have said or done in a row at the end of a relationship. Time to move out.

  • Red Lion

    Joe, you’re right about the flags episode having the feeling of an ending, hopefully the last time the DUP think it wise to pull a stunt like that in playing the mob, but also the start of something, pro-union moderates starting to find their voice.

    We can’t better ourselves with the current state of the union – ie a Sinn Fein/DUP polarised carve up version with a big chunk of people in the middle unrepresented. But if liberal unionism (and I know its in its absolute infancy in terms of any proposed organisation) can step up and challenge the tribalism with a genuine alternative unionism, then we will all be better off.

    A liberal union, imo, will serve a much greater number of people in NI a lot better.

  • DC[7.51] It’s encouraging at least the the DUPs playing of the orange card is showing signs of not working on unionist voters the way it used to, as the mob are just as hostile to the DUP[note Robinson’s hasty exit from meeting last night and his car attacked by someone with a flag post, how ironic]. In 1974 the loyalists allowed themselves to be used by unionist politicians to bring down the powersharing executive and unseat Gerry Fitt and John Hume and now the DUP would love to be in with SDLP but that isn’t anymore an option as they must share with whoever nationalist voters send to them. How times have changed.

  • Comrade Stalin[7.24] I realise there is a plan by McCausland but he made agrand announcement as if his plan had a realistic chance of getting the votes to effect it, when he surely knows it’s going to be a long hard road to go and the HE will, in effect remain until agreement is reached. It’s really McCausland’s hatred of the HE because it’s a standing reproach to unionists because it’s creation was to end their corruption up to 1971. Changes to it’s functioning in practice could be made without changing it’s name. It’s pure spite on McCausland’s and DUPs part, to abolish the name.

  • “A liberal union, imo, will serve a much greater number of people in NI a lot better.”

    Red Lion, that’s a non-runner as the voters will most likely continue to vote for the hard, yet incompetent men and women of the DUP and SF and the diminishing number of representatives from the UUP and SDLP will get dragged along in the slipstream of this race to the bottom.

    Expect no assistance from London and Dublin; they will continue to reward or do other deals with local paramilitary godfathers. Just take a browse through some of the ‘charitable’ organisations that are registered as limited liability companies. You’ll find no comfort there if you seek a sea-change improvement for life in local communities, especially disadvantaged ones.

    This may all seem a bit pessimistic but I’m not inclined to be one of those three monkeys.

  • JoeBryce

    RL, that’s a really interesting reply. You might be right. Here’s why I am coming to a different view.

    The vision of a civic unionism was Trimble’s vision. Did you ever read his book of essays ‘To build up a New Northern Ireland’? I thought at the time, and think still, that Trimble was a great statesman who risked his life and sacrificed his career in order to do the right thing. But his vision was rejected at the ballot box. I broke my heart at that at the time, but now I believe the electorate made fundamentally the right decision. The destiny of the PUL community is, IMHO, within an all-Ireland polity, albeit maintaining the strongest links with GB and especially Scotland. Maybe a bit like the way so many people in west central Scotland identify with Ireland and fly the tricolour at old firm games while still being entirely comfortable as Scottish citizens.

    My intuition, which can of course be utterly and completely wrong as intuitions often are, is that Trimble’s vision was rejected at the ballot box because deep down people sense that their best interests are served by negotiating an all-Ireland structure that properly accommodates us / them. And that the Ulster nationalism which Paisley senior personifies (as Robinson does not), was the best vehicle for procuring that outcome.

    At this stage, however, it’s hard to know for sure whether you are right or I am; whether the future is a liberal NI within the Union, or new all-island polity. The thing that would help more than anything else to get to the answer to that question would be if our neighbours – whose bona fides, as Paisley Snr so wisely observes, are established by the repeal of the offensive Articles from the constitution – would tell us just exactly what they mean by a UI. In recent years, I have noticed, federalism appears to be a given in nationalist discourse. Good. Now, what kind of federalism. My pipe dream is 9 county Ulster centred on Belfast with entrenched consocial government federated in an entirely new all island constitution, entrenched separation of church and state, including in education, new flag, new anthem etc. Maybe that’s not on offer, in which case your liberal NI within the Union remains the best option for most. But maybe it is. We won’t know if we don’t ask.

  • Red Lion

    Nevin, I agree to an extent because the UUP and SDLP are doing very little to portray themselves different from DUP and SDLP, thus doing little to open up proper debate and turning off voters.

    However, I am heartened by Basil McCrea and now David McClarty speaking out and beginning to articulate a moderate pro-union voice, also because from my own experience its a moderate voice i feel a lot of people on the ground are in tune with. This is the space where NI politics can be shaken up for the better, I hopefully await Basil and Co’s next move.

    Give the people a true alternative, a true debate, and the voters are already there to justify a liberal union party and movement. Whilst no choice remains as the DUP and UUP become one and the same, peoples minds are likely to similarly stay one dimensional.

  • Red Lion

    JoeB, I actually don’t see a whole lot of distance between what you are saying and what I am saying.

    Essentially, the spirit of it is similar, and to that end before we get anywhere near good government in NI and stability and the best potential for prosperity, the DUP/SF polarised entrenched tribal carve up has to be faced down.

    Although its very hard to make nuanced predictions long term, I actually think we are on a long road to some sort of joint authority, a system of government that can be conceptualized as a federal UI for those that wish to do so, equally a system of government that can be conceptualized as within the the union for those that wish to do so. I find it hard to see a day where NI isn’t at the very least in the Commonwealth.

    I think such an above scenario is possible due to a variety of dynamics, not least the ‘rise of the third tribe’, or the middle ground, where coming generations will be sufficiently chilled out with a dual, or triple identity that generousity of spirit will come easier from greater numbers of people.

    Havent read Trimbles book but will get my hands on it. I honestly think (hope) that things are different now from Trimble’s time. Unionism has repeatedly outflanked and lundified its moderates, but i think there is now a dynamic where that is coming to an end, or at the least diminishing. There is space for an increased liberal pro-union voice which can articulate a vision for a reformed union utterly different from the politics of the carve up, and proper north-south and east west relations.

    In the short term a hell of a lot rides on what Basil McCrea, John McCallister and David McClarty do next. If they join the Tories i give up. A coherent liberal union voice has to be developed, and they are the only ones capable of doing it in the first instance at the current time.

  • JoeBryce

    Don’t give up! Them’s respectable politics. Good luck.

  • DC

    It’s all very well and good reading about moderates and their take on the flag and how it is acceptable to them, but does it really deal with the view by some that such a removal or restriction is seen as nothing other than cultural asset stripping?

    All well and good nodding in agreement with designated days whenever – just be honest – you neither give a toss for that particular imagined community’s culture nor its imagined national identity and long standing fear of anything involving SF.

    Therefore you fail to deal with sectarianism in any meaningful way as you support decisions being taken over the heads of working class areas who might have be able to come to terms with the decision if they believed it was done on the basis of good relations, than as a result of Alliance being hoodwinked to get a second best republican option of 95% removal.

    It’s pretty embarrassing for unionism and its voters if the constitutional union flag is adjudged to have caused some sort of offence or adverse impact or detriment, especially whenever the Union is still in play and the vast majority of people in NI accept the Union. Belfast is the capital after all where else should the flag fly if not here in Belfast, given that it has been restricted elsewhere with some councils – nationalist ones – never flying it and probably never will.

    The bizarre thing is it is now only flying in Dublin daily and nowhere in NI of any significance.

  • “the DUP/SF polarised entrenched tribal carve up has to be faced down.”

    Red Lion, it’s the natural outworking of the ’98 Agreement, in the context of contested sovereignty. The gap between unionism and nationalism continues to narrow and the 1916 anniversary is just around the corner. The pools for moderate unionists and nationalists to fish in IMO will continue to shrink.

  • Red Lion

    Nevin, agreed those are challenging dynamics but there are also other dynamics not least the ‘rise of the 3rd tribe’, the numbers of people who don’t vote, and also the dynamic that can be created/harnessed when an actual alternative is offered. Within the pro-union vote there is simply a ‘one size fits all approach’ currently, but it doesn’t fit all. At the very least when an alternative liberal pro-union voice is articulated it will take a percentage of votes off the DUP making them think twice about their behaviour.

    Whats embarrasing for unionism is that it chooses to hoodwink working class unionists that ‘Alliance voted with SF’ when they didn’t, peddling a tribalistic message when it should be persuading people of Catholic Community Background of the merits of the union. Unionism has once again made itself look pretty right wing and pretty thick – how does this further the union?

    I completely give a toss about the unionist working class, thats why I believe the best way forward for a political party is to tell it like it is and not make up stories and inflame and play to a tribal base and get them to wreck their own areas and gain criminal records in the process.

    The Alliance decision wasn’t taken over the head of the unionist working class, it was a democratic vote. Educating people that designated days is not an erosion of ones identity, rather it is a preferred practice in many parts of the UK including majority unionist Craigavon and Lisburn, is to empower people as to their identity. Not to just be led by the nose by the DUP into a riot situation.

    There are many people in unionist working class areas in Belfast who are satisfied with designated days, or who hold no opinion, but who were terrified by the riots on their doorstep. Such people are a natural target audience for an empowering liberal pro-union voice.

  • Red Lion

    PS Cheers Joe

  • DC

    There’s nothing tribal about the constitutional flag.

    It really sets a precedent that a constitutional flag must come down as a result of an unbeknown detriment and adverse impact, if that is the case should it fly at all? It was a political decision in the end and Alliance has become embroiled in constitutional politics something which it apparently has no real position on but got involved anyway. It’s easy to compromise on an issue which you don’t give much of a toss about, don’t you think?

    How can you convince people of the Union whenever the flag of that Union is adjudged to have caused offence and needs restricted it’s a fallacy you’re waffling on about not reality, catholics (not party political SF/SDLP bigots) could have lived with the flag up as it was, given the living legal constitutional link with the UK imo?

    In terms of the consultation, nationalist opinion (i.e. wider catholic opinion outside of narrow BCH party politics) was soft and unionist opinion hard due to its constitutional status. The moderates have done nothing other than embarrass the Union.

  • Comrade Stalin


    To think the union was stronger in the last “few years” only to see it,s strength fail due to Sinn Fein pushing a few buttons takes away from the facts and demonstrates that nationalism leads the way and is steadfast in the agenda in all island politics.

    I meant that unionism’s strength failed.

    And no, nationalism isn’t leading the way. Just because the people charged with defending the case for the union are doing a bad job does not mean that the case for reunification is being done well. Sinn Féin’s case for Irish reunification is a mess, it makes no sense. Arlene Foster was able to run rings around Alex Maskey the other night on Nolan. It should not be possible for a senior SF politician to be so comprehensively destroyed in a basic debate in this way over the central, defining issue in the party’s manifesto.

    Maskey’s responses showed that internally within Sinn Féin there has been no serious debate or discussion about what the reunified island would look like politically or economically, and there has been no attempt to produce a plan over how the country would be brought there. Maskey didn’t even have an answer for what the health service would look like. This makes sense, because having a serious internal discussion about reunification has never been necessary within Sinn Féin, as every SF voter and member is already persuaded of the case. It is obvious that SF have spent the past ten years or so asleep at the switch on this matter, and Gerry Adams simply decided one day a few weeks ago that it was time to start agitating over the border issue again.

    Nationalism’s “leading the way” at present is about asking everyone to order from the chef without reading the menu. Meanwhile, the unionist restaurant is serving its regulars the same old dreck swimming in cheap gravy, refuses to freshen up the menu, and has employed a bouncer who chases away anyone he doesn’t know from the front door. Neither of them are compelling.

  • Clanky

    Alias – Then you’re not a nationalist: you’re a unionist. Just as “Lord, Make me chaste, but not yet” allows the sinner to suppress cognisance his actual flawed condition by superimposing a vision of a more elevated aspirational future condition

    I would disagree, I do consider myself a nationalist, I believe in the principal of unification, however for merely practical purposes I do not believe that the time is right. As I said there were to be a referendum tomorrow I would not vote for unification, that does not mean that at some time in the future when I felt economic conditions were more likely to make the transition a little easier that I would not do so (although unless I was actually resident in Ireland, rather than simply maintaining an address there for tax purposes *cough* I would not actually vote at all)

    You don’t get to define the meaning of nationalism.

  • Gopher

    Amateurs talk tactics, professionals study logistics. I think you should cost your federal Ireland I will be amused how much utopia actually costs. I’m sure as soon as federal Ireland is declared we will all live happily ever after. The smart unionists (sic) and the smart nationalists (not you Alex) will rule over the peons who will all be nice and docile and Belfast will be the Athens of the north and every one will have want they have always wanted which is power. It sounds like a dream lead me to this uptopia now lead me lead me!

  • David Crookes

    Brilliant, Joe (11.24 am). Let us respond magnanimously to the gesture that was made by the RoI’s voters.

    As for the #flegs….. Yoo say, “This whole episode has the feel of something ending, like the shame that engulfs you after you have said and done things you should not have said or done in a row at the end of a relationship.”

    Agree completely. It reminds me of George and Lennie in Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ There is no place for the dangerous Lennie in any dream-future.

    Thinking unionists must acknowledge the incorrigible nature of violent loyalism. They must tell GB sadly that violent loyalism will never become part of a settled British order. To tolerate violent loyalism by maintaining an equivocal kind of union is to ensure the survival not of the union, but of violent loyalism.

    For as long as HMG maintains the status quo, Nevin’s words will apply: “…..the voters will most likely continue to vote for the hard, yet incompetent men and women of the DUP and SF.”

    It will be necessary for the Lennie of violent loyalism to be eliminated on our own pitch, maybe with the help of UN troops. A new little party of three liberal unionists will do nothing to eliminate violent loyalism. What is keeping violent loyalism alive? The status quo. That brings me to a hard saying.

    There is an unBritish contradiction at the very heart of our little state. I find it very painful to admit what I’m going to say next. NI was brought into being by the rejection of democracy, and by the threat of lawless violence.

    After 1972, those who defied HMG by preaching a doctrine of us-on-top regularly made a Frankenstein-alliance with lawless violence. Yesterday, as danielsmoran notes, PR found that he was no longer in control of people who until recently have always supported his party. The DUP should not be surprised that Frankenstein has turned against his master.

    I respect what Red Lion is saying about a liberal unionist party, but the negative nature of loyalism, which is often concerned to vote AGAINST something, may provide us with depressing election results. If the people who shouted at PR yesterday are confronted in the polling-booth by a choice between the DUP and a new LUP, they will vote DUP. Lots and lots of Lennies will line up to vote against the new Lundies.

  • Alias

    Clanky, all words have definitions, and nationalism is clearly defined. It isn’t much of a rebuttal to claim that it means whatever you want it to mean, and that no one else can attach a meaning to it.

    At the moment, you’re a British unionist who might consider Irish nationalism at some future point. However, one of the conditions of nationalism is that it is that national self-determination is asserted as an inalienable right. In other words, it isn’t subject to such discretion. Where it is, it isn’t nationalism.

    Now here are some of those clear meanings that you don’t like:

    Article 1 of the Irish Constitution: “The Irish nation hereby affirms its inalienable, indefeasible, and sovereign right to choose its own form of Government, to determine its relations with other nations, and to develop its life, political, economic and cultural, in accordance with its own genius and traditions.”

    Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

  • Alias

    Typo: “…one of the conditions of nationalism is that national self-determination is asserted as an inalienable right.”

  • Gopher

    “The people would be just as noisy if they were going to see me hanged.” Cromwell certainly was no poet and Kipling will rightly get the plaudits for turning the sentiment into prose in “If”. But like him or loath him and for instance, nobody loathes him like David Hume not even an Irishman. Hume had that rare talent the ability to right about everyone dispassionately, everyone except Cromwell. Cromwell he hated, but even Hume could not deny his political genius, even in trying to degenerate the man he elevated him.
    There is certainly a lot to hate about unionism but I would be very wary of elevating it. I have absolutely no time for the Orange Order, no time for flag protesters, none for happy slappy churches, no time for the orthodox protestant position on abortion or gay marriage and guess what none of them effect my life or that of hundreds of thousands of other people. Have to work round them at times but after working all over NI from the eighties its a piece of piss. UN troops for Jamie, seriously there are more Alliance voters in west Belfast than there are flag protesters now. What you going to do purge the Loyalists like Cromwell purged the Levellers or have a night of the long knives and purge them like the SA?
    I keep hearing this partition thing, keep telling people I had no part in it but I’m here now and the GFA made partition and any other historical misdeed real or imagined null and void for the purpose of constitutional argument. Keep telling you David you have to play the hand your dealt and right now on our little bit of Ireland we have a great big ace and its called HMG. You want to swap it out of your hand for a deuce sorry me and the rest of the people (with sense) are keeping that one.
    If you seen the Nolan show, no I don’t watch TV either but saw it on you tube after being tipped of about the performance you will notice that a person representing an organisation that in recent history killed a shed load of people could not explain the fundamental reason of the cause behind their deaths when asked. It took Cromwell to fight two civil wars, conquer Scotland, conquer Ireland, purge parliament, purge an army and execute a King to subvert England in the words of David Hume.What would it take to subvert your new state or an Irish Republic? What would it take to raise a mob in your new utopia?

    Peter Robinson’s problems arnt my problems and I aint causing problems for Peter, If there was a liberal unionist party yeah sure they would be my problems. Now in East Belfast, Peter and the Alliance Party like Cromwell before them understand the mob. Caveat emptor