UK’s strongest constitutional card may be the very mildness of the loyalty it invokes…

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John Lloyd argues that the moment for unity is over. I’m not sure I agree with him in that regard, in the sense that the moment has never yet appeared. Thus far, Sinn Fein’s call for a border poll has only served to emphasise a growing political distance between Northern Ireland and the south.

The point Malachi O’Doherty I think was trying to make on Nolan the other night is a good one: people have strong emotional attachments to the nation state, whichever one that might be.

The secondary point I think he was trying to make reminds me of something David Ervine used to say, ie, that you cannot argue someone out of a position they have taken up emotionally. Or as the Canadian academic Stephen Downes puts it:

…argument rarely convinces anyone of anything, that an understanding of principles of reasoning is to protect yourself from error, not to correct other people in theirs

Back to Lloyd who, I think, has correctly identified a paradox that lies squarely at our heart of peace process:

One final observation: that which excites both British and foreign comment – the absorption of Northern Ireland into the Republic of Ireland, the independence of Scotland and Britain’s exit, broken or not, from the European Union – is exciting to read about. But the best bet is that none of these will happen. And they will not happen because of a paradox.

Nation states remain the organising principle for governance, as the Europeans have learned. But if they are liberal and capacious in their civic and social habits, most citizens will express a kind of mild loyalty to them — eschewing flag, symbols and anthems, but accepting their right to rule. Never say it’s forever: but for the moment, that’s the provisional settlement we’ve reached, and it should be very good news for those who call themselves Northern Irish.

Like gravity (the weakest natural force) it may be the fragility of the force by which the UK holds citizen loyalty that remains its strongest card.

I doubt it can be cracked with a sledgehammer.

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  • Red Lion

    How well put.’Mildness’ is the key word. Will political unionism ever comprehend this?

  • otto

    Luckily for nationalists the TUV, UUP and DUP are there with their repellent magnetism.

  • carl marks

    Interesting Mick,
    I know as a republican I could perhaps be convinced to stay inside a northern Ireland linked with Britain, but not by any unionist or unionist tactic employed in Northern Ireland,
    Britain (by that I mean the big island) is a place much more comfortable with it Britishness than here and as such more welcoming and tolerant of differences than here,.
    Those who support the union here are much more introverted and intolerant than the “real British” Britain accepts the different cultures that live there and mainly rejoices in that difference not so here.
    So Otto is right, if the DUP, UUP,TUV ,OO etc didn’t exist then republicans would have to invent them.

  • Alias

    ^^^ It’s great to see all the ‘republicans’ being able to openly admit that they could be persuaded to support British rule and to freely cast their, ahem, inalienable principles aside. It must be a huge relief to them to come out of the closet without fear of the Shinners burying them in a bog… *eye roll*

  • märsta

    A United Ireland is as far away as ever.; The South has never wanted the North, content to keep the crazies contained up in the North Eastern corner, financed by GB. I guess they see that as payback.

    Although it is a typically Irish solution; leaving a job half done.

  • ayeYerMa

    I too always have to laugh at these so-called Republicans and so-called liberals telling us how much better the British on the mainland are than those in Ulster. The point they completely forget is that any difference is precisely due to the very existence of Republican aggression: as long as Republican aggression exists locally it will always be necessary for Unionists to stand up and say no for stability.

    With polls showing a mere 7% in support of the Republican utopia it doesn’t look like Unionists are doing a too bad job either.

  • galloglaigh

    You have to laugh indeed, laugh at orangism and loyalism ^^^^^^^^

    This is a very interesting perspective on orangism, loyalism, and British nationalism. Watch it in it’s entirity if you get a chance, it’s very relevant of where unionism was then, and what it is clinging to now.

  • 6crealist

    “The point they completely forget is that any difference is precisely due to the very existence of Republican aggression:.”

    That’s funny, because after waves of German, Irish republican and now Islamist aggression on their doorstep over the past century, the Brits seem like quite a tolerant lot to me (as do the vast majority of Northern Irish unionists).

    Out of interest, are you with the Frazer, Bryson or Matthews camp? The dissident loyalists seem to enjoy a split as much your average dissident republican.

    “With polls showing a mere 7% in support of the Republican utopia it doesn’t look like Unionists are doing a too bad job either.”

    The same poll had 41% of Catholics supporting the SDLP compared to 27% that leaning towards Sinn Féin. How accurate.

  • galloglaigh

  • sherdy

    Loyd’s argument collapses when he finishes with ‘should be good news for those who call themselves northern Irish’.
    Does he know what was in the minds of those who ticked that particular box in the census forms?
    I suggest that some placed the emphasis on the ‘northern’ whereas some liked the ‘Irish’ and some accepted the title as a whole. But as this option appeared in the forms for the first time I don’t think he should base his argument on that one line.

  • Angry Planner

    That reminds me of something I read while study Prof Freddie Boal’s course at Queen’s, he wrote that a community under siege will play up its nationality and all the things that make them different from “The Other Lot” Boal called this “The Ghetto Mentality.” You can see it in both communities, many Unionists continue to have a regard for the Loyal Orders and an issue like the Flags Dispute causes events like those we’ve seen recently, that people from the rest of the UK find incomprenhensible. While Nationalists emphasise their Irishness in terms of language, sport and culture probably more than their compatriots in RoI do.

    It is quitea sad state of affairs as the British and the Irish probably have more in common with each other than with anyone else in the World and both share and adopt large parts of each other’s cultures. Just a pity that a more enlightened attitude wasn’t exercised by leaders down through the centuries or we’d be in a very different and better situation.

  • Angry Planner

    Whoops I forgot to paste in this quote!!

    “The point they completely forget is that any difference is precisely due to the very existence of Republican aggression: as long as Republican aggression exists locally it will always be necessary for Unionists to stand up and say no for…”

  • carl marks

    Alias

    I think you have just proven my point, the sort of intolerant argument you put (and many many unionists like you) forward is the reason i will strive for a united Ireland; you don’t really give me a lot of choice.
    Your intolerance of any sort of difference and your naive assumption that any move towards compromise from the other side is a weakness and any move towards compromise by unionists is treason is classic.
    I as I say could be persuaded to let Northern Ireland (by the way if you look at the recent census it is the “Irish” population here who will decide wither NI stays with Britain or joins a UI not the shrinking “British” one) but your desire to play one up man ship and apply the infantile “not a inch “tactic will guarantee a UI.
    I can’t help wondering how many of those who described themselves as northern Irish (in the census) who came from the Nationalist community, have changed their status to Irish because unionism has made a ass of themselves over the flags and shown them that their democratic rights mean nothing to unionists.

  • carl marks

    ayeYerMa
    You would wonder where all those votes for Nationalists parties come from in elections (the only polls that count) and you are aware that there has been a awful lot of unionist violence, as a matter of fact it kicks off every time the democratic process results in something they don’t like.
    But you go ahead and believe your 6% figure, its right in there with Santa and the tooth fairy,
    I bet you can fit the lizard people into it as well.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    I think that one of the places where “British” people learn tolerance is down at the pub. Italians have their public fountains where people can mix and tell each other lies.
    There would seem to be a dearth of such mixing points in Belfast, for example. Perhaps a public fountain with seats should be installed at the Ardoyne shops where people could sit around and get to know their neighbours better.

  • carl marks

    ayeYerMa / Alias
    Could I ask you both a question, a change in the laws that govern succession to the English throne is about to start the process of going through the British parliament.
    If passed (and it is likely it will be) this could mean that that a catholic will sit on the throne; how will that affect your “loyalty” to the crown?
    Let us assume (for once can we not have the never, never, never argument) let pretend the law is passed and a catholic becomes the monarch,
    What Einstein called a thought experiment!

  • carl marks

    Mister_Joe
    Joe I’m afraid that all there is in the public fountain thing at Ardoyne is the water cannon supplied by the PSNI,
    However the problem is that each section of idiots would want their own fountain,
    Trust me Joe plenty of decent people on both sides in Ardoyne are talking alas the fools on each side are not.

  • carl marks

    Mister_Joe
    I think that one of the places where “British” people learn tolerance is down at the pub.
    Joe I Suppose if you can tolerate what passes for beer in a lot of English pubs then you tolerate a lot of other things!

  • Comrade Stalin

    carl marks,

    If I cared about such things I’d be rather less concerned about the rules of accession and more concerned about the fact that the British Prime Minister cannot be a Catholic.

    The PM exercises the authority on the behalf of the monarch to appoint Church of England bishops. How could a practicing Catholic in communion with Rome appoint bishops to another church ? There would be a constitutional crisis. That is why Tony Blair, who attended Catholic church throughout his time in office, waited until he had resigned before he formally converted – it would just have been too dodgy for him to do it in office.

  • http://footballcliches.wordpress.com/ footballcliches

    CS,

    ‘The PM exercises the authority on the behalf of the monarch to appoint Church of England bishops. How could a practicing Catholic in communion with Rome appoint bishops to another church ? There would be a constitutional crisis.’

    This would pose the same problem for an atheist or lapsed Portestant as much as it would a RC, A practicing RC could easily do it, she/he would just put it out to committee and rubber stamp it. It really matters not one iota.

    ‘That is why Tony Blair, who attended Catholic church throughout his time in office, waited until he had resigned before he formally converted – it would just have been too dodgy for him to do it in office.’

    No, he did this after office as Campbell et al didn’t want any kind of real focus, heat or light to be shone on TB’s thoughts on religion and his own spirituality, Remember, they don’t DO religion in Westminster.

  • Kensei

    ‘Eschewing flags and symbols’?
    People seem to me to quite like their flags and symbols; I’m not talking about our little bit of fun, I’m talking about the regular and enthusiastic display in Britain during the jubilee or the Olympics, or Ireland at any major supporting event. The US is typically well ahead on these sorts of measures of Nationalism, but any surveys I’ve ever seen have had Ireland very high, almost an outlier in Europe.

    Is there any evidence for these types of assertions?
    And does slugger ever post any dissent ring opinions on this sort of thing, or just the ones that confirm its prejudices?

  • Comrade Stalin

    FB,

    This would pose the same problem for an atheist or lapsed Portestant as much as it would a RC, A practicing RC could easily do it, she/he would just put it out to committee and rubber stamp it. It really matters not one iota.

    It goes out to a committee anyway, but it is the principle of the matter. Someone who is not an Anglican appointing Anglican bishops. It’s just wrong.

    No, he did this after office as Campbell et al didn’t want any kind of real focus, heat or light to be shone on TB’s thoughts on religion and his own spirituality, Remember, they don’t DO religion in Westminster.

    I’m sure the issue of the PM being a practicing Catholic mattered.

  • carl marks

    CS, I agree the religion of the monarch is not really relevant to most of the population, the ban on a catholic PM is much more important but I am curious as to how loyalist with their identification with Protestantism as central to their ethos would react to a catholic monarch.
    If I was to swop my allegiance to Britain from Ireland I would still be a republican as I believe the whole concept of a heredity monarch to be ridiculous and completely out of date.
    It is worth noting that not one of our loyalist/unionist posters has commented on this, I suspect my request will be met with the same silence that we get when we ask them to define their Britishness.
    It has long been my contention that unionism and loyalism in Northern Ireland is defined by what it is against (Catholics) and not what it is for.
    Of course i would be delighted if Alias/ ayeYerMa/SOS/AU or any other of our very vocal PUL contributors would step up to the mark and debate this point.

  • Alias

    “It has long been my contention that unionism and loyalism in Northern Ireland is defined by what it is against (Catholics) and not what it is for.

    Of course i would be delighted if Alias/ ayeYerMa/SOS/AU or any other of our very vocal PUL contributors would step up to the mark and debate this point.”

    Carl, the ‘new unionists’ (i.e. members of the Catholic tribe in NI who support the improved constitutional status quo) have more in common with their fellow unionists than ‘old nationalists’ such as myself. So while I can’t speak for either the new or the old unionists, I would think that they’re more focused on what they are for (continued union with the UK) than what they are against (annexation by a bankrupt state that is under the administration of the EU).

    Religion used to be a maker of a political position but it no longer is, given that 46% of the population of NI is Catholic but only 25% self-define as Irish. I guess it could be confusing for a Protestant to look at a Catholic and now see a fellow unionist, but it is probably just as confusing for the Catholic who doesn’t know what he is looking at (i.e. the new unionists who support the union but who still think they’re nationalists).

  • carl marks

    Alias
    Carl, the ‘new unionists’ (i.e. members of the Catholic tribe in NI who support the improved constitutional status quo)

    Their seems to be very little proof of these “new unionists”, could you show me some please.
    I should warn you that if you are using those who defined themselves as northern Irish in the census, they are a undefined lot and to claim them as unionist or nationalist is perhaps premature!
    And i still don’t have a answer to my question what if the next (or the one after) is a taig how will loyalists react?

  • carl marks

    sorry last sentence should read

    And i still don’t have a answer to my question what if the next King or Queen (or the one after) is a taig how will loyalists react?

  • 6crealist

    More dodgy numbers from everyone’s favourite sovereignty spoofer.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Carl
    There are many unionist’s who while have the greatest respect for the Queen Elizabeth would be happy to see the end of the monarhy. I would be happy to see it go. I suppose that makes me a unionist republican. I also couldn’t care less what religion the PM is.

    I don’t consider myself anti catholic but I am anti irish republican because of the killer gangs who murdered for that cause. I also struggle with their dishonently regarding the handing over of control of the 26 county Republic to the Vatican which is a foreign power. Many of these great patriots claimed that they were catholic first and irish second. These were the people who apparently held Tone in high esteem. He must have been spinning in his grave or indeed still is. It wasn’t that long ago that the Irish Army (the legal one) was ordered to escort the dry bones of a catholic “saint” around the country by the Irish goverment. There was not a peep out off republicans, of any party, about this. I know things have changed in the south and that is great but many republicans are in denial that unionism (for all its faults) was right in the early part of the last century. Rome rule was what catholic republicans really wanted.

  • Gopher

    Catholic and Protestant are now dead terms in determining how the constitutional question will pan out. Too much immigration and too many atheists now (mainly protestant atheists the 4 wars with Proddy’s make up over half West Belfasts cynics). I have wondered why this place has been so quiet since the ward figures had been released so I took a look for myself starting with Belfast comparing with 2001.I always thought Marks Twain’s famous quote was over used until I seen West Belfasts figures. In fact all four Constituencies have made traditional accounting useless and rendered Nicholas Wyhte’s site obsolete as an election
    predictor.

    Incredibly on a ward by ward basis North Belfast and West Belfast’s population actually fell. What do the people know about hose two constituencies I wonder

    As this site is famous for its polemics I will just point you in the direction of some fun wards. Andersontown, New Lodge, Island, Botanic, The Mount, Glen Colin. There are wards that buck the trend but very few, Legoniel for example. These areas seem to have new developments.

    People who like to follow stories can follow population to Crumlin and Glenavey or Mallusk.

    In North Antrim Dunclug and Castle Demense are worth checking out. You can also see the areas were the displaced local have been sent too.

    One of my favourite talks on why fool proof plans never work, for anyone interested.

  • carl marks

    Alan N/Ards

    but I am anti irish republican because of the killer gangs who murdered for that cause.

    Is this statement not in its essence hypocritical coming from a unionist, perhaps you may have not noticed the UVF,UDA,LVF,RHD etc killer gangs who murdered in the name of unionism.
    Perhaps you could explain how those murderers don’t bring out the same level of revulsion and contempt in you as do republican killer gangs.
    many Unionists seem to be able to forget or forgive those who done terrible things in their name, indeed sometimes (as in your post) one would think that no unionist ever done anything wrong.

  • Reader

    carl marks: CS, I agree the religion of the monarch is not really relevant to most of the population, the ban on a catholic PM is much more important …
    There is nothing to stop a Catholic from becoming PM, apart from failing to become leader of their party (Portillo), or failing to stick around in the post long enough to win an election (Iain Duncan Smith)

  • carl marks

    Alan N/Ards

    but many republicans are in denial that unionism (for all its faults) was right in the early part of the last century. Rome rule was what catholic republicans really wanted.

    Again a failure to show balance,
    Where was it said,
    “A Protestant goverment for a Protestant People”
    I dont disagree with what you said about the Republic but change a few words and you could be talking about the north.

  • carl marks

    Reader
    The Ban is De facto as the PM appoints the senior clergy to the Church of England; this has been dealt with by other posters,
    The main crux of my question was about the monarch that loyalists show such fervour for, how would a catholic sitting on the throne affect that loyalism.
    Care to answer that.
    What will the “loyal Orders”, the famine song singers, the lads who sing the Billy boys (wading knee deep in Fenian blood) and all the rest of that anti catholic bunch do if there is a taig on the throne?

  • Alan N/Ards

    Carl

    “Where was it said a Protestant parliament for a Protestant people” You should stop misquoting people. In response to de Valera claiming that Ireland was a Catholic nation he said in parliament ” Hon Members must remember that in the South they boasted of a Catholic state. They still boast of a Catholic state.

    All I boast of is that we are a Protestant parliament and a Protestant state”

    Your hero de Valera is one of those patriots who proudly said that he was Catholic first. He also reminded the papal legate of the words of St. Patrick that ” even as you are children of Christ, be you also children of Rome.”

    I think we all have that blind spot when it comes to overlooking the faults and indeed the wrongs of people from our own tribe.

  • http://footballcliches.wordpress.com/ footballcliches

    CS,

    ‘It goes out to a committee anyway, but it is the principle of the matter. Someone who is not an Anglican appointing Anglican bishops. It’s just wrong.’

    Principle?! Really, that’s the best answer? It would merely have brought to ahead reform, that the PM should not have any role in making this appointment and that church and state should be separated properly.

    ‘I’m sure the issue of the PM being a practicing Catholic mattered.’

    Not wishing to be contrary but he was not a practicing Catholic until he converted, he was merely a spectator. Taking communion or attending a RC service does not a Catholic make.

  • Red Lion

    Carl,
    I agree that political unionism defines itself far too much by what its against, and by 15 years post GFA it should be planning positive visions.
    As for the monarchy, I understand thecold logic of the ‘republican’ argument. However, I remain a constitutional monarchist, ‘the British monarchy doesn’t work in theory but it works in practice’ is a good quote. I do have problems with the amount of royal hangers on and with the amount of money they’ve got but ‘don’t throw the babe out with the bath water’ as they say. The Queen enhances the UK’s reputation round the world, and she has no political power, any she does has is kept in check by Parliament. Like Johnny Rotten I’m a reformist not an abolitionist. I can live with one family having a load of privelages so long as they do their job as symbolic head of state figurehead. Does the man in the street in republics like USA or France have a better quality of life just because they have a president not a monarchy??Certainly not, it don’t make a difference.

    As for defining my Britishness well the answer is probably similar to asking anybody to define their nationality. Its just a loose almost impercible set of values across many aspects of life, and perhaps a few more defined reference pointsonly some of which might bemore ‘superficial or plastic’. Its just something you feel, something which ‘just is’ and the less you have to think about it the more comfortable in your own skin you are. Of course some people feel a British-Irishness, thats just what they feel, fine.

  • Reader

    carl marks: The main crux of my question was about the monarch that loyalists show such fervour for, how would a catholic sitting on the throne affect that loyalism.
    I’m not that sort of loyalist. However, at a guess, the few who notice will have to find some other tribal peg on which to hang their hat.

  • Red Lion

    PS I couldnt give a stuff what religion the monarch is. But it would be good if a Catholic were on the throne, most pro-union people in NI would embrace this, or more accurately not really care.. But also remember, am i right in saying the monarch has to be Cof E?? As well as excluding Catholics it also excludes Presbyterians, Baptists, Muslims etc etc – am i right in saying this??

  • Red Lion

    Reader and CM, hopefully a Catholic on the throne might act as a catalyst for some unionists to realise religion does not equal nationality. It could be a force for change for I couldn’t see unionists ‘throwing off’ the monarchy on a technicality, some might, but most wouldn’t imo. They’d more likely adapt and live with it.

  • Reader

    carl marks: The Ban is De facto as the PM appoints the senior clergy to the Church of England; this has been dealt with by other posters,
    Not really. Lots of waffle and no conclusions. For instance, doesn’t the implied rule mean that Methodists, Presbyterians and Baptists can’t be PM? Then how did Gordon Brown manage?

  • http://footballcliches.wordpress.com/ footballcliches

    Reader,

    ‘Not really. Lots of waffle and no conclusions. For instance, doesn’t the implied rule mean that Methodists, Presbyterians and Baptists can’t be PM? Then how did Gordon Brown manage?’

    This is the point I was trying to get at, many thanks. The PM does not need to be of the CoE as far as I am aware, so if Gordon had the chance to appoint an Archbishop what would have stopped Tony? I suspect nothing much except some outcry from the SW1H bubble and all it’s enablers and hangers on.

  • carl marks

    Alan N/Ards
    Where to start with your post.
    “Your hero de Valera”
    No hero of mine never has been, as a matter of fact most republicans regard him as a embarrassment and a man who done immense damage to the republican cause.

    Your correction of my quote (and i thank you)
    “All I boast of is that we are a Protestant parliament and a Protestant state”
    Sort of proves my point that anything you accuse the south can be applied to the north.
    Did a northern Irish PM also say something along the lines of
    “I wouldn’t have a catholic about the place”
    Now explain (noticed you left this one out) how you,
    “but I am anti irish republican because.” of the killer gangs who murdered for that cause “
    But manage to be a unionist despite of the killer gangs who murdered for that cause.
    That seems a bit like the pot calling the kettle black.

  • carl marks

    Still i am interested in what the unionists who are anti catholic in nature (of which there are many) would react if a catholic sits on the throne.
    If Kate Middletown is still a catholic (something buck house is being very coy about) then if William ascends to the throne the “loyal orders” will be in the strange position of being loyal to something that according to their own rules they would not let join them. Of course i doubt very much if William or any other royal would want anything to do with the loyal orders never mind joining one of them.
    Strangely you seem to have a reluctance to answer or debate this point.
    we seem to be getting a lot of “I’m not that type of unionist” from some surprising sources who are normally quite vocal about the right to march of the OO but nothing to do with me when the arkward questions are asked.
    You also accuse me of waffle about the PM thing, i will answer you simply as I can, any research i do on it is inconclusive. Their seems to be a very grey area here and i am unwilling to come out with a definite answer because I don’t have one, does that satisfy you.

  • carl marks

    The above post was in reply to reader.

  • Otto

    “Still i am interested in what the unionists who are anti catholic in nature (of which there are many) would react if a catholic sits on the throne.”

    They’d chop their head off and get a Dutch bloke in.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Carl
    Your point about me ignoring terrorists from my tribe is fair enough. I am not a supporter of so called loyalist killer gangs. Never have been. Never will be. Neither am I a supporter of the OO or loyalist flute bands. I am anti anything which would cause you or nationalists offence. I am also against flags and emblems being flown where they might cause offence. That is the sort of unionism I am for.

    “I wouldn’t have a Catholic about the place” is not unlike de Valera’s comment if he had to to choose between a Catholic librarian and a Protestant librarian he would chose the Catholic every time.

    You are right when comparing the south and the north as there are similarities but there is a definate denial by republicans that the south was not the utopia they have made it out to be. Its politician’s handed over its independence to the Vatican but condemned unionists for hanging on to the coat tails of London. A wee bit of honesty by republicans regarding this would be good.

  • carl marks

    Otto
    Whenever a local resident group objects to the OO or one of our delightful marching bands going past their houses or places of worship, Slugger is lit up with people leaping to the defence of the OO claiming it has the right to walk the queens highway (strangely the same right seems to go on the back boiler when it a loyalist mob blocking the road),
    The OO is described as the core of unionism (I have no doubt someone will correct but I think I have got the idea across), but when you ask how will they square their anti-Catholic ethos and their declared loyalty to the English crown if a Catholic sits on the big seat, and what do you know, we get different versions of; nothing to do with me mate.
    Now a Catholic or someone married to a catholic becoming the Monarch will be a crisis for unionism as nearly every unionist politician is a member of the OO.
    Now while there are many unionists who are not anti catholic bigots, i think that anybody who is a member or supports a group who would not let a catholic or anybody married to a catholic join (by the way to my knowledge you could be married to a Buddhist, Muslim or atheist you could join) is leaving themselves open to the charge of bigotry.

    .

  • Reader

    carl marks: Strangely you seem to have a reluctance to answer or debate this point.
    I’m at a loss to know what you want. Not only did I tell you that I’m not that sort of loyalist – i.e. I don’t give a damn – I also indicated that I thought most of the people who would actually refer to themselves as loyalists will also turn out not to give a damn either.
    But, if the Queen’s great-grandoffspring turns out to be a practising Catholic when he/she gets on the throne in 2060 I’ll put your name forward to personally interview Ian Paisley on the matter. Of course, by 2060 it is possible that neither you, nor Paisley, nor practising Catholics may actually exist, so why not just make up whatever answer you like and go with it?
    carl marks: You also accuse me of waffle about the PM thing, i will answer you simply as I can, any research i do on it is inconclusive. Their seems to be a very grey area here and i am unwilling to come out with a definite answer because I don’t have one, does that satisfy you.
    I didn’t read up the thread to see who had been waffling (I maybe should have used the word speculating). If it was you, then I just want to point out that your failure to find anything conclusive pretty much rules out your chances of stopping a non-Anglican from becoming PM (again). But if you can find an extremist CofE faction with a research budget, they may be able to help you.

  • carl marks

    Alan N/Ards

    You will find very few republicans or nationalists, who think Dev was a hero,
    Also I have never met anybody who thought the south is or was a utopia.
    Certainly the south was run by the bishops that was a disgrace and if you went down south and asked people what they thought about that period you would get very few who were proud of it.
    The place has changed over the last couple of decades Dev,s ridiculous idea of a Ireland Gaelic Catholic and free was only in his and his cronies minds and no one i know of would treat it with anything but amused contempt.

  • carl marks

    Reader
    “I also indicated that I thought most of the people who would actually refer to themselves as loyalists will also turn out not to give a damn either.”

    So despite being anti-catholic (the famine song singers and all those who leaped to defend their right to sing it) most loyalists would not give a dam if a catholic sat on the throne.
    Remember we are talking about people who would not let a catholic live in the same street as them, who throw urine filled balloons at catholic schoolgirls, and will plant pipe bombs at catholic Chapels
    I think the correct responce to that one is ; Pull the other one.

  • sonofstrongbow

    I’m not sure that I am the most appropriate interlocutor to answer Carl Marks’ challenge as I do not regard the monarchy with “fervour”. Neither am I a member of the loyal orders and flute bands and the marching culture leave me cold.

    However I do support people going about their lawful business and should the Parades Commission ok a parade then by all means expend as much shoe leather as anyone cares to.

    I am also not as cavalier in my assertions about other folks’ proclivities as Mr Marks seems to be so can only give me personal, ever so humble, opinion.

    What I care if the British Monarch was a Catholic of the Roman persuasion? Not in the slightest. I believe that ‘Catholic’ and ‘Protestant’ as terms used locally are nothing more than a rather crude shorthand for the differing views on the political future of Northern Ireland held by the two main communities.

    It is merely an accident of history that at this time and in this place the two religious denominations roughly correspond with the opposing sides that face each other across the local political fault line.

    Indeed I doubt even the most ardent loyalist has their opinion of ‘Catholics’ informed by views on transubstantiation and Papal infallibility; although I could be wrong and perhaps the Orange Order is replete with theological scholars who rise above the cod science of Creationism etc.

  • GEF

    “Now a Catholic or someone married to a catholic becoming the Monarch will be a crisis for unionism as nearly every unionist politician is a member of the OO”.

    Carl Marks, I agree with you to a point, Members of the Royal Family in line to the throne must be members of the established Anglican Church of England. (Act of Settlement 1701) They are not allowed to marry Catholics, or those who belong to other world religions or believe it or not to members of the Orange Order in Northern Ireland who would today all belong to mostly to Non Conformist Presbyterian & other sects of protestantism including the Church of Ireland which was disestablished from the Church of England in 1871. http://www.google.co.uk/url?q=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Ireland&sa=U&ei=9dMPUaShLsaX1AWlsoD4Dg&ved=0CBUQFjAA&usg=AFQjCNG-BcMD5wKkZ5RvtEj45U59G3x1Bg

    I would agree most UUP politicians used to be affiliated to the OO. In fact the OO founded the UUP in 1905. But today even the UUP leader Mike Nesbitt is not an Orangeman unlike his predecessors Elliot, Empey, Trimble etc etc Basil McCrea MLA and his friend John McCallister MLA plus a few other Unionist MLAs are not members of the OO.

    But this is not the case with the DUP which is another story
    and would take an essay to explain. Ian Paisley left the OO long before he founded the DUP in 1971.

  • carl marks

    I am quite sure the average bigot knows very little about the subtle points of theology, Bigots are rarely educated people.
    However to expect anybody to believe that a group of people who’s big day out is a anti-catholic hate fest celebrating a victory over Catholics hundreds of years ago, on the 11th night the bonfires are lit burnt on these along with the Irish tricolour and various catholic icons, this is thought to be great fun,
    Who delight in songs like the famine song and the Billy boys and believe the pope to be the Anti Christ, and have a long history of anti catholic discrimination when they run this statelet will not be very upset if the person that they profess loyalty too is a follower of the anti Christ.
    Look how they reacted when a compromise was made on the flag, or the many times they went ballistic at Dumcree or Ardoyne when they didn’t get there way.
    It looks like the law on who can sit on the throne will change, this will be a major shock to many loyalists to who anti Catholicism is at the core of their loyalty and we have seen how loyalists react to change violently.
    Yet as usual unionism and loyalism is burying its head in the sand, pretending all is ok, nothing will change and when it does the shock will be all the worse because none of their leaders will have had the courage to prepare them for the big day.
    Anybody who thinks that a catholic i the throne will not mean that loyalists are going to have to redefine themselves and remember change is something that they are very bad at and tend to get very violent when it happens, is kidding no one but themselves.

  • ayeYerMa

    Carl Marks, where in The Famine Song or Billy Boys are “Catholics” mentioned?

  • sonofstrongbow

    When one asks a question of several named posters, who then reply, just because the answer does not fit with your stereotypical sectarian view it is poor show just to ignore the responses and replay your undiluted misguided opinion.

    Of course loyalists use ‘Catholics’ pejoratively as a catch-all term when they refer to Irish nationalist separatists. Yet if they “know little about the subtle points of theology” what aspect of Catholicism is it that they find unacceptable? Could it be that they ignore the political nuances and make a simplistic equation catholic = nationalist?

    Perhaps ‘up to our necks in militant united Ireland supporting folks” didn’t scan well?

    And while I’m on that particular subject why is it that nationalists take such offence at the us of ‘Fenian’? Were the Fenians not stalwart (though unsuccessful) nationalist activists? Should it not be an accolade for a nationalist to be called a Fenian?

    While I’m here this appears to me to say something about the difference in the mindsets of nationalists and unionists. Nationalist regard being associated with the Fenians as an insult whereas unionists take the word ‘Brit’, originally spat out as an insult by nationalists, and run with it turning it into a funky celebrated term of endearment. Go figure.

  • Otto

    the use of ‘Fenian’?

    It’s probably the echo of the usual “fucking” and “bastard” either side of the word that robs it of it’s historical glamour.

    Maybe if we had more “well met my fine Fenian fellow” type greetings people wouldn’t be so touchy?

  • Alan N/Ards

    Carl
    You appear to believe that only loyalists are capable of being sectarian. No mention of republicans murdering protestants in their chuch at Darkley. Protestants have also been intimada

  • carl marks

    Carl Marks, where in The Famine Song or Billy Boys are “Catholics” mentioned?
    Here you go,

    the Billy boys
    Wade knee deep in fenian blood”

    the famine song,
    Now Athenry Mike was a thief
    And Large John he was fully briefed
    And that wee traitor from Castlemilk
    Turned his back on his own
    They’ve all their Papists in Rome
    They have U2 and Bono
    Well the famine is over
    Why don’t they go home?

    Really you could try harder!

  • carl marks

    Alan N/Ards

    You appear to believe that only loyalists are capable of being sectarian.
    No I most certainly do not; if you can find a post from me approving of a IRA atrocity i will be amazed.
    Please you are the one who said you could never be a republican because of the murders committed in its name, I merely asked how you could be a unionist because of the atrocities committed in its name, I never in any way denied that republicans done horrible things

  • Alan N/Ards

    Carl

    Are you saying that no Protestants and indeed unionists have ever suffered at the hands of republican bigots. You seem to be a bit one sided in going about loyalists and not mentioning your own tribe’s thugs. Have you forgotten about Darkley, Kingsmills, Balmoral Showrooms etc? You obviously believe that republicanism has behaved impeccably over the past 90 years.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Otto,

    Mmmm, not sure on that. ‘You fu*king gentleman’, ‘you hero b*stard’ seem rather weak insults.

    I’d be inclined to big-up the positive and find it amusing that someone was trying to insult me whilst unknowingly giving me a metaphorical pat on the back. I’d certainly not weep in my beer about it.

  • carl marks

    Alan N/Ards
    I hate to repeat myself so read my post 5.15.

  • carl marks

    sonofstrongbow
    Let me get this straight someone calls me a fucking Fenian bastard at every opportunity and you think I should take it as a complement, wow
    Got any similar advice for the black population when the N word is used.
    SOS even for you this is a whole new level of silliness,

  • sonofstrongbow

    Jesus wept!

    You’re equating ‘Fenian’ with calling someone a n*****?

    Get over yourself. Your hysterical rush to label sectarianism as the Protestant Disease has lead to you losing all sense of proportion. Not for the first time you read into a comment what you hope to see. Your lack of self awareness is astounding.

    That you appear totally unaware of Irish nationalist history is unsurprising. Have a Goggle for ‘Fenian’ and learn something for goodness sake.

  • carl marks

    Jesus wept!

    You’re equating ‘Fenian’ with calling someone a n*****?

    Yes i am,
    THEY ARE BOTH DEROGOTORY TERMS USED ABOUT A SECTION OF THE POPULATION TO DEMEAN DEHUMISE AND INSULT THEM

  • carl marks

    That you appear totally unaware of Irish nationalist history is unsurprising. Have a Goggle for ‘Fenian’ and learn something for goodness sake.

    Oh I know who the fenians where and I also know when bigots are mouthing off and what they mean when they use the word, it would appear that it so ingrained into some of them that they don’t even realise how offensive they are.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Carl

    Having issues with my new tablet. There’s no need to repeat yourself. I’m pleased to see that you are in agreement with me that violent republican bigots are as bad as violent loyalist bigots.

  • SK

    SoS, doing his usual bit for Ulster by explaining why it’s okay to call a fenian a fenian.

    What a truly fascinating creature he is.

  • carl marks

    Of course we have seen this before, every marching season loyalists set out to offend nationalists and when Nationalists get offended the loyalists express hurt surprise.
    The little incident outside St Pats this year was a classic example, also classic was ayeYerMa’ asking where in the famine song and the Billy boys were Catholics mentioned.
    SOS attempt to claim that the average loyalist couldn’t be a bigot because
    “Indeed I doubt even the most ardent loyalist has their opinion of ‘Catholics’ informed by views on transubstantiation and Papal infallibility;”

    He seems to believe (or want to believe) that a degree in theology is needed to be a bigot.

    However i am heartened to know that unionism will not be upset if a catholic takes the throne, after all they don’t actually hate us it’s all just a joke the only problem is we don’t have a sense of humour again all our fault.

  • carl marks

    Alan N/Ards
    Im glad we got that cleared up.

  • Reader

    carl marks: Remember we are talking about people who would not let a catholic live in the same street as them, who throw urine filled balloons at catholic schoolgirls, and will plant pipe bombs at catholic Chapels
    I think the correct responce to that one is ; Pull the other one.

    I said that *most* will not give a damn. Do you actually think your characterisation fits *most* loyalists?
    And, as several posters have indicated between your post and this reply, these problem folks are not theologians, they will react in just the same way to Celtic shirts and Tricolours. Their problem is tribalism: this is the 21st Century, after all.

  • carl marks

    Reader
    this is the 21st Century, after all.

    sometimes i wonder!

  • sonofstrongbow

    Now that we’ve been enlightened to the fact that ‘Fenian’ is a dirty word to contemporary nationalists it surely can’t be long before any reference to ‘IRA’ or ‘volunteer’ will have them lifting their skirts and running in tears from the room.

    Progress I guess, of sorts at any rate.

    “He seems to believe ( or want to believe) that a degree in theology is needed to be a bigot.” That being your understanding you must be a bishop at least.

  • carl marks

    SOS
    i think we all know what you are, there is no need to egg the cake.

  • sonofstrongbow

    I am we’ll aware of what you need me to be. Given your stated opinion of “most” of my community you require bogeymen to reinforce your sectarian worldview.

    I’m more than happy to oblige, it appeals to my charitable nature.

  • tacapall
  • ayeYerMa

    Carl Marks, it seems you have the same sort of difficulty with precise comprehension as many of the sloppy journalists and members of police press offices. Either that or/and, more likely, you suffer from the same MOPEry-disease as many Nationalist politicians who have a desire to sloppily slur any valid opposition to the destructive Republican “cause”.

    You are living in cloud-cuckoo land if you think that “fucking bastards” would even come close to expressing the levels of contempt held by a wide spectrum of Northern Ireland society for the disruption driven by vocal Republican zealots for their obscure, unwanted, and unsupported disrespect over the last century for the agreed Irish two-state peace solution.

  • Erasmus

    “The South had never wanted the North”
    I have to laugh whenI read this sort of stuff. Opinion polls have consistently shown strong support for unity. In general Lloyd’s article demonstrates ‘the wish is the father of the thought’ syndrome.

  • carl marks

    ayeYerMa
    Yes we take seriously the rant of a man who had to be shown the references to Catholics in the famine song and the Billy boys.

  • carl marks

    sonofstrongbow (profile)
    4 February 2013 at 10:02 pm

    “I am we’ll aware of what you need me to be. Given your stated opinion of “most” of my community you require bogeymen to reinforce your sectarian worldview.”
    Not most of your community just those so entrenched in their bigotry that they think calling someone a fenian is acceptable, thankfully that is only a minority.