Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Has ‘flegs’ facilitated a crude retrenchment to factionalist politics?

Fri 10 January 2014, 4:44pm

Sinead O’Shea has an interesting take on general game in Northern Ireland. She’s been filming for much of the last year in Derry and other dissident hotspots over the last year so she has a fairly strong fix on the state of play in that quarter. She notices a difference not far removed from Eamonn McCann’s observations:

I have been been filming with dissidents from the Republican side. They have freely told me that they will never abide by the Belfast Agreement. They feel abandoned by Sinn Féin. They are correct, Sinn Féin don’t care about them. They don’t feel they need them. Sinn Féin have the numbers now and they can afford to assume statesmanlike positions.

The DUP don’t have the numbers. They need the extremist vote. They will continue to appease the “nutters.” That vote is angry and feels threatened.

Could all this mean a return to previous tensions?

At this point this seems unlikely, you need adequate opposition to forge a co-dependency of real vigour. Sinn Féin have managed to make themselves look good; they won’t get dragged into this, they have an eye on government in the South. Republican dissidents don’t have the manpower.

As McCann noted, loyalist paramilitaries were never under direct control of unionist politicians, whereas the provisionals were – from the internecine feuds of the mid 70s onwards – able to assert dominance and direct control over much of the paramilitary assets in hard line nationalist areas.

To this day Loyalist paramilitaries remain a fractious and unbiddable basket of jealous and vicious rivalries. And yet, since they and their pre Troubles predecessors they have rarely been found far from Unionist politicians.

One of Ian Paisley’s first documented forays into politics was to attend a meeting of representatives of loyalist civil society at UUP headquarters in Belfast during the IRA’s Border Campaign in the 1950s.

The truth is that the two parties have different objectives. Not long after the elections north and south of 2007, Sinn Fein’s main political objective switched to the south. After the 2011 successes in the south their ministerial appointments were reduced to a skeleton team.

They wrong footed everyone by taking on the Culture rather than the business brief at Stormont, and by putting all previous ministers out to grass.

Since then, nothing. OFMdFM has ground to a halt with very little business of any description being agreed across the board. Until, that is, the City Hall vote on the flags. It caused a furore, as they must have known it would, since their DUP fellow councillors had warned them from the start.

The numbers certainly heighten tensions, but despite much of the media focus on where the DUP is likely to face damage (ie, north and east Belfast), their concern is to get on with cannibalising the failing UUP vote as a bulwark against a rising nationalist tide.

The resulting retrenchment to crude factionalist politics in turn further squeezes the middle, and help both OFMdFM parties press their own sectional needs over any notion of a broader common good.

On the numbers, if there is pressure on the DUP is to drill into the UUP before it dissipates or converts to the political agnosticism of the Alliance Party. For them in this period of consolidation, every vote counts.

On the nationalist side Sinn Fein have left the SDLP to ‘wither on the vine’ and convive in its own demise (its voter base remains oddly impervious to SF’s more direct approaches). The best of their Stormont advisors have been moved to Leinster House to build a bridgehead, and continue the squeeze from there.

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Comments (150)

  1. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    1. Preferred and recommended UK-wide policy was all year round flying.

    No it isn’t. Show your evidence.

    3. The rest of the UK would not stoop so low to try to appease anyone even daring to suggest that the representation of their sovereignty is offensive and must be removed.

    That’s because the representation of sovereignty elsewhere in the UK is kept low key. Flying the flag regularly in the UK is considered uncouth. The designated days policy at Buckingham Palace reflects this fact. You are simply wrong.

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  2. Morpheus (profile) says:

    Well that is not even a little bit true is it aym?

    “Yet the College of Arms, which has responsibility for flags and other heraldic matters for Northern Ireland, England and Wales, said it was British custom that it was only flown on the set dates.”

    Nuff said

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  3. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    So, on one hand, “we’re as British as Finchley” and everything should be done as it is across the water with regards to symbols, flegs etc.

    Why then are a number of pro-fleg protesters, leaders and unionist politicians against the idea of things that they ‘do’ across the water? e.g.

    A regional flag

    A regional anthem

    Not to mention X amount of legislation that is seemingly deemed ‘not suitable’ in NI.

    Money. Mouth. Placement therein.

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  4. Seamuscamp (profile) says:

    I’ve just asked my friend, the Council Solicitor, whether my local council has a Flags policy. He has referred me to:
    https://www.gov.uk/designated-days-for-union-flag-flying#dates-for-flying-the-union-flag-on-uk-government-buildings-in-2014

    He added: “We also fly the Council flag on Council days. Other examples included the Olympic flag during the Olympic games”. All the councils in this area and, he believes, all English councils, follow the same guidance.

    “Designated Days” were introduced precisely to avoid the sort of muddled thinking that bedevils the issue in NI. Individual councils may choose to exhibit non-contentious flags on other days, but it is entirely respectful of the Crown should the Union Flag be flown only on the Designated Days.

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  5. Tyler Durden (profile) says:

    All this fuss about regulation of the union flag and designated days. The widespread proliferation of union flags and other offensive flags draped from every lamppost made it necessary to regulate them. Do not blame nationalists or even Alliance for the current situation. This was 100% brought on by the loyalist community. You cannot expect to ram your flag(s) down everyone’s throat and the complete disregard and disrespect for others identity and flags and not expect them to be sick of it and react appropriately.

    I do not believe in designated days. There must be equal respect shown to both communities. Therefore, there should be either both flags or no flags. It seems that loyalists are hell bent on destroying the union as they fail to engage with the reality of modernity. Anyone with an ounce of sense can see that this is all moving towards the ‘Both Flags, No Flags’ (BFNF) model.

    From reading the comments above its worrying that someone’s sense of ‘Britishness’ is based upon removing someone’s ‘Irishness’. Is the British identity so weak that it can only exist in a vacuum?

    People need to get with the long game here. NI is evolving and will more than likely become more Irish culturally and visibly than the South. Look at how more ‘Hyper-British’ than Britain it has been under the Unionist/Loyalist regimes. Its only natural that the population that was once starved of their Irish identity and culture will react with the same vigour and become ‘Hyper-Irish’, yet still wanting to maintain a separate 6 county entity simply because ‘themuns’ down there aren’t culturally Irish enough anymore! Just look at how popular the language and GAA are in NI.

    The irony of it all is that in X years time, the PUL will be wanting unity, simply to preserve their tenuous link with ‘Britain’ as NI becomes a deeper shade of green than the south.

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  6. DC (profile) says:

    ‘union flags and other offensive flags’

    That’s a matter of opinion I don’t think it is offensive and if it’s offensive then why live here (if you do) in a Union that offends you yet you wish to draw down money and live off the back off said Union?

    There is free movement of people throughout Europe now in case that had slipped your notice and I really don’t see why anyone would hang around in or pick to live in a country whose flag offended them. Strange.

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  7. Tyler Durden (profile) says:

    DC…. UVF, UDA, UFF, British Paratroopers, the list is endless…. Loyalist flags are all offensive. Why live here? Good question…If your so British why don’t you live in Britain?

    I was born here, just like my dad and his dad before him and so on….Not planted at some point in the past. Proud to be from this land and not claim the nationality of a foreign land or revere foreigners over themselves. My grandfather is still old enough to remember partition. Unfortunately he may not see it end in his life time but thankfully i will.

    As for the comment of drawing money and living off the back of the union. In all the years I have been reading posts and analysis of political debate. That is the most stupid thing I have ever heard. Are you 10 years of age? That’s a serious question are you?

    Your clearly not aware that republican and nationalists do not want your British money or had the whole troubles just passed you by. I would rather not have to pay towards the royal spongers and the ridiculous block grant that goes to maintain this farce of a sectarian statelet. I would rather pay my taxes into my own country, help my own people prosper regardless of religion and sectarian bigotry. Something that republican and nationalist will be pushing in the coming years. You should be pretty thankful that the CNR community continue to maintain your precious union at present, Can you imagine how this state will survive if they opted to pay taxes into Ireland rather than UK?

    I love your delusions of grandeur….. Since when has NI been a country? It does not mean any criteria for being a country, did you not do geography in school?….No sovereignty, no taxation powers, no internationally recognized boundaries… Its currently part of the UK which is a country in its self. NI is just a region or an entity and is considered by British law as a nation state, just as Scotland and Wales.

    Have you never visited that wonderful Country…. The Peoples Republic of Cork? lol

    Is your precious ‘our wee country’ full of foreigners? Foreigners of the worst kind…. the indigenous ones who were always here and never left?

    The internet is mostly free and so is historical information ….. try it sometime!

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  8. DC (profile) says:

    You don’t sound very happy here that’s all and if I felt like that and found say the Irish state offensive I would move, if I happened to think like that.

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  9. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    AmG

    I’d happily live out the rest of my days under “British as Finchley”. Finchley’s a very nice part of London these days, and of course we can forgive them for their unfortunate choice of MP over several decades. I suspect a lot of nationalists would secretly be quite happy with that arrangement too. Reading Wikipedia, there are several terribly nice Catholic grammars there. There’s a bit of North Down about the place.

    The problem is that British as Finchley isn’t good enough for the local British nationalists. What they actually want is “British as Admiralty Arch on Coronation Day”, and they want that all year round. Which isn’t in any way sensible.

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  10. Seamuscamp (profile) says:

    DC
    Genuinely, you seem to have a problem with the English language. I’ve noticed that you seem to think words only have one meaning – the one you want them to have. But English (Irish too for that matter) is more complex than that. “Offensive”, for example, has a definition: “causing someone to feel resentful, upset, or annoyed.”

    You may not be aware of course (for you don’t seem to have much empathy) but a lot of people are upset by lots of flags inappropriately plastered without respect all over the place – a lot of people including myself and other ex-servicemen. Moreover these plastered flags are intended to be offensive, by those who plaster them. Understand now?

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  11. DC (profile) says:

    I don’t find the tricolour offensive in the RoI when I am there. I don’t see why a union flag flying 365 days should be offensive to any one living in the UK in Belfast for instance. The war is over, terrorists have been let out and the state is porous, open to catholics and whoever else.

    But you are right about too many flags on lamp posts etc.

    So here’s a possible deal. Accepting legislation regulating flags on lamp posts and out on street etc in exchange for the union flag to be put back up 365 days at Belfast city hall.

    I’m in the market for new ideas and compromises.

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  12. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    DC

    “That’s a matter of opinion I don’t think it is offensive and if it’s offensive then why live here (if you do) in a Union that offends you yet you wish to draw down money and live off the back off said Union?”

    Out of all the times you’ve been cornered on SoT this is the first time I’ve ever seen you crack open the ‘Newsletter letters page’ tin for a reply.

    Should the real questions not be how did the Union Flag become so offensive in the first place, what keeps it offensive (the Shinner propaganda machine is not a great answer) and what can be done (if anything) to stop it from being as ‘offensive’?

    How about that for an angle?

    Tyler Durden
    “Not planted at some point in the past. Proud to be from this land and not claim the nationality of a foreign land or revere foreigners over themselves. ”

    The chances of you NOT having at least some ‘foreign’ heritage in your family tree are slim, remarkably slim.
    In fact, you might want to take yourself to some university lab for a blood sample if that’s the case so they can look at ‘pure Irish blood’.

    The number of names that we take for granted as Irish names but then find ‘foreign’ roots for is quite large: Burke, McSweeney, McCabe, McAuley, all the Fitzs. Not forgetting the ‘contamination’ of most of the Taoiseachs, a fair whack of the presidents and a noticeable number of SF big wigs.

    Also, claiming to be British is NOT the same as claiming a foreign identity. e.g. if unionists were claiming to be English then you’d have a point but they’re mainly claiming to be British which for a large part of history meant having 2 nationalities such as being British and something else e.g. Irish, Indian, Kiwi etc.

    Hence people like James Joyce, Ghandi and Edmund Hillary all claimed themselves to be British (though Ghandi understandably had a rethink) as well as being Irish, Indian and Kiwi respectively.

    So to say it’s a foreign nationality is nonsense, it’s almost akin to saying that if we took up EU or UN passports that we have ‘foreign loyalty’.

    This idea has no appeal for Irish Nationalism where it’s much better to think of Britishness as something very foreign, but, soz.

    Comrade

    Granted, but you see my point though? It’s ‘British at all costs’ for many unionist leaders until it comes to something they find unpalatable such as an NI flag when they just start playing the aul’ ‘debritishising’ tune.

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  13. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    I don’t find the tricolour offensive in the RoI when I am there

    This is another one of your red herrings. Nobody has any problem with the flying of the union flag in other parts of the UK, or with flying the tricolour in the RoI. It is the way flags are flown here which is relevant.

    I find tricolour flying in NI in almost every circumstance to be a calculated attempt at intimidation. I wouldn’t live in a neighbourhood where people hung tricolours from their houses, or (worse) from lampposts.

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  14. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    Comrade

    ” It is the way flags are flown here which is relevant.

    I find tricolour flying in NI in almost every circumstance to be a calculated attempt at intimidation. I wouldn’t live in a neighbourhood where people hung tricolours from their houses, or (worse) from lampposts.

    Absolutely.

    I’m glad nationalists aren’t as obsessed with tricolours as unionists are with flegs for places like Magherafelt would become quite intimidating to me.

    How that Union Flag in the Diamond has lasted so long I’ll never know.

    I think that rather than being in a rush to rip down GAA flags or whatever flags go up at easter and St Pat’s the loyalists of that area should do some sums and maybe as a gesture fly some of the flags side by side lest some one click that if it was the so desire of nationalists there ALL unionist flags could disappear overnight.

    Sorry, I just saw what I wrote there: “gestures” and goodwill, silly me, it must be the heat (over 40 here at the moment…).

    PS Magherafelt Orange district should remove that picture of Cromwell from the Loyalist arch, what is the appeal for an area where the Protestant population is mainly Presbyterian?!

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  15. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    Tyler

    Forgot to mention something:

    Yes, a lot of unionists see themselves as ONLY British.

    However, most British people see this as confusing nonsense and totally not with the program at all….

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  16. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    “PS Magherafelt Orange district should remove that picture of Cromwell from the Loyalist arch, what is the appeal for an area where the Protestant population is mainly Presbyterian?!”

    Isn’t Cromwell a presbyterian-type figure, being pro-parliament rather than pro-monarchist ?

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  17. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    Charles

    Perhaps, but:

    a/ The Orange Order is pro-monarchy

    b/ His right hand man I am given to understand dispatched more Presbyterians in a single day than the Confederates and rebels did during years of fighting.

    So, a strange choice methinks.

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  18. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    I think there’s a bit of a “we love Cromwell because he slaughtered loads of papes” angle there.

    AmG, some republicans told me in private that they found the drunken gangs of youths waving tricolours around Belfast city centre last St Patrick’s Day to be reprehensible.

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  19. tacapall (profile) says:

    “In fact, you might want to take yourself to some university lab for a blood sample if that’s the case so they can look at ‘pure Irish blood”

    Its already been done AG -

    http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/gaelic-surnames-prove-that-were-a-race-apart-26122593.html

    “More than 98pc carry a distinctive collection of genes inherited from the pre-neolithic hunters and fishermen who settled Ireland around 9,000 years ago, the tests showed”

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  20. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    You said Presbyterians: Presbyterians were (and are I presume) by and large against the kind of absolute monarchy Cromwell was also fighting in the civil wars: the kind of absolutism that the Stuarts were attempting to establish. Cromwell’s religious views were suspicious of High Anglicanism and one gets the impression they were similar in this respect to those of Presbyterians. In the Royal v Parliamentarian divide, the Civil War divide, that largely mirrors the later William v James divide, the Presbyterians were more sympathetic to bottom up power structures (constitutional monarchy or parliamentarian) than the top down ones (absolute monarchy).

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  21. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    Tac

    Interesting stuff, thanks.

    So, the men with Gaelic names predate the Celts?

    So, that raises a difference between Gaelic and ‘true’ Irish?

    So, that makes Gaelic a ‘foreign’ language then?

    (God! I sound like Jamie Bryson!)

    Damn it I’m confused, I’ve a JP Mallory book round here somewhere, I’ll see what he says on the matter….

    Charles
    Principally speaking you’re right.

    However, spend time with Presbyterian Orangemen from the Magherafelt area and see how it all fits together.

    I’m from their stock and I still can’t get my head round it.

    I think Comrade’s idea is closer to the truth.

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  22. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    Charles

    Just realised what I should have made clear:

    Most of the Orangemen (by a fair margin I would think) in the Magherafelt area are Presbyterians, so that’s why I interchanged the two.

    Which is why I think it strange that a man who was responsible for giving them a good thumping is so revered.

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  23. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    Am Ghob

    Presbyterians, Cromwell, Republicanism (constitutional monarchy style): joined intellectually, and part of what made Britain the place where the industrial revolution happened first, because the strong business interests represented in parliament protected business and property rights against the absolute monarchy systems that would seek to extract wealth. Parliament had to be asked for tax money, that meant the king was relatively weak. We do have the struggles between William and James, between Cromwell and the Monarchy, to thank for the subsequent industrialization and ultimately economic development that came in the 18th century.

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  24. tacapall (profile) says:

    Charles do we just erase the foreign involvement in fanning the flames of religious hatred that ultimately led to the English civil war. Who financied Cromwell and on who’s orders did he execute Charles I. It seems he dispensed more Judaic barbarity than anything else.

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  25. DC (profile) says:

    Should the real questions not be how did the Union Flag become so offensive in the first place,

    It’s not offensive esp after the GFA when it became the flag of peace and love and terrorists were let out and terrorists in government and the sovereign status of NI accepted. The union flag is now perfectly OK, the majority are OK with it.

    So I think instead it’s Nationalism that needs to revise its outlook on the flag and accept it is a flag of peace and it shouldn’t be the other way round about Unionism and Unionism having to reduce the flag.

    Besides sure we could be 16-20 years away from a united Ireland and at that point the tricolour would more than likely be put up as would be totally acceptable custom and practice to do so.

    But in the meantime let everyone enjoy the benefits of UK membership while the people want it? Fair’s fair.

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  26. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    tacapall

    I see the Civil War though as an important precursor to the ultimate dominance of parliament over monarch, and Cromwell’s role in that is what I would point to. The spirit of presbyterianism seems in tune with that of the Roundheads and against the Cavaliers. The subsequent establishment of William in the Glorious Revolution presaged the kind of institutions that allowed invention and industry to flourish, leading to the Industrial Revolution happening in Britain before any other country.

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  27. David Crookes (profile) says:

    I’m devoutly grateful that I didn’t have to live out my life during the ghastly seventeenth century. If a lot of my ones who canonize it mythopoeically in their minds were transported back to the reality, they would be running back to the tardis with cries of “Mumsie!”

    Anyone in Ireland who needs icons should be very careful not to display an icon of Cromwell in public.

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  28. tacapall (profile) says:

    “I see the Civil War though as an important precursor to the ultimate dominance of parliament over monarch”

    What you really mean is Sabbatarians over Sabbath breakers.

    From O.C. by Ebenezer Pratt.

    16th June, 1647

    In return for financial support will advocate admission of Jews to England: This however impossible while Charles living.

    Charles cannot be executed without trial, adequate grounds for which do not at present exist. Therefore advise that Charles be assassinated, but will have nothing to do with arrangements for procuring an assassin, though willing to help in his escape.

    12th July, 1647.

    To O.C. by E. Pratt.

    Will grant financial aid as soon as Charles removed and Jews admitted. Assassination too dangerous. Charles shall be given opportunity to escape: His recapture will make trial and execution possible. The support will be liberal, but useless to discuss terms until trial commences.”

    The rest is history but what you would call the birth of the in dustrial rev olution was really -

    “Royal consent was given for the setting up of the “Bank of England” and the institution of the National Debt. This charter handed over to an anonymous committee the Royal prerogative of minting money; converted the basis of wealth to gold; and enabled the international money lenders to secure their loans on the taxes of the country, instead of the doubtful undertaking of some ruler or potentate which was all the security they could previously obtain”

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  29. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    Charles

    “Presbyterians, Cromwell, Republicanism (constitutional monarchy style): joined intellectually, and part of what made Britain the place where the industrial revolution happened first, because the strong business interests represented in parliament protected business and property rights against the absolute monarchy systems that would seek to extract wealth. Parliament had to be asked for tax money, that meant the king was relatively weak. We do have the struggles between William and James, between Cromwell and the Monarchy, to thank for the subsequent industrialization and ultimately economic development that came in the 18th century.”

    If that’s what Willie McCrea et al truly and honestly think about Cromwell then fair enough.

    My own experience of that area is that it’s more to do with Cromwell giving the Catholics a good baytin’.

    And it still is a bit of an contradiction to call one’s group ‘Crown Defenders’ and openly salute a proto-Republican (or whatever he was).

    But, yes, that COULD be their point of view.

    Sod it, I’ll ask my Da…

    DC

    “It’s not offensive esp after the GFA when it became the flag of peace and love and terrorists were let out and terrorists in government and the sovereign status of NI accepted. The union flag is now perfectly OK, the majority are OK with it.”

    Are you really qualified to determine what is offensive and what is not?

    Yes, it’s hard to account for professional MOPEry, there are those who would be offended by a post box.

    But, surely it stands to reason that there’s going to be some sort of negative psychological link between a symbol that is constantly tarnished and abused and the people who have to witness it?

    If I saw republican ‘flegger’ types wearing Coca-Cola hoodies with Cocal-Cola flegs around their waists whilst lobbing masonry at the police shouting “Ireland will always be Coca-Cola-ish” whilst the ancient order of Coca-Colians marched round the places where they’ve been told that they’re not welcome, well, pretty sure I’d be a Pepsi man from that point on. (the red, white and blue of Pepsi being a coincidence).

    How can we expect nationalists to respect the Union flag when a lot of our own ‘loyal’ don’t?

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  30. DC (profile) says:

    ‘are you really qualified to determine what is offensive and what is not?’

    Yes I think so.

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  31. Neil (profile) says:

    It’s not offensive esp after the GFA when it became the flag of peace and love

    DC, it’s the fleg under which the British army have been butchering people across the planet for centuries, right up to the present day. You say potato, a funeral cortege in Afghanistan that just had a hellfire missile dropped on it may say potahto.

    and terrorists were let out and terrorists in government and the sovereign status of NI accepted.

    We vote for them, they are in government. What you decide to “let” is irrelevant, the only control you have over the democratic wishes of Nationalism is whether you “let” yourself be in government with them: an event that only happened on threat of joint authority, so I’d ditch the magnanimous generosity tone. That had fk all to do with things prior to the GFA or after it. Your lot allowed themselves in government with the dreaded shinners because they were scared of the alternative. You are now going to apply the same behaviour to the fleg – you will fight any change to the Unionist dominated state until you have no choice in the matter. And yet you anticipate generosity being shown in return for the total lack of generosity demonstrated by your leaders over the past (nearly) 100 years.

    The union flag is now perfectly OK, the majority are OK with it.

    You don’t get to make that call.

    So I think instead it’s Nationalists that needs to revise its outlook on the flag and accept it is a flag of peace and it shouldn’t be the other way round about Unionism and Unionism having to reduce the flag.

    It’s not the fleg of peace DC by any stretch of the imagination. It’s the fleg of war, invasion and murder and is recognised as such across the globe. There are a million rotting corpses in the Middle East who were alive very recently to attest to that fact. Unionism can’t get their head around that, but colour me bothered.

    Besides sure we could be 16-20 years away from a united Ireland and at that point the tricolour would more than likely be put up as would be totally acceptable custom and practice to do so.

    Correct, this is a transitional phase. Unionists had the run of the place and decked it out as CS amusingly described it above. What’s funny is that you think that when the shoe’s on the other foot that Nationalism should continue to use your symbols and negate their own.

    But in the meantime let everyone enjoy the benefits of UK membership while the people want it? Fair’s fair.

    That’s what everyone is doing DC. Those benefits (getting fewer by the day) do not include a piece of coloured cloth flying over City Hall.

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  32. Tyler Durden (profile) says:

    Am Ghobsmacht
    Context – Apologies as you have mis-read the context of foreign. Both Ireland and Britain do not regard each other as foreigners (my context is non native). Also I did not mean that I am of Irish pure blood or whatever, that’s simply ridiculous and no one is, we are all a mix of everything (I have German ancestry). What i was trying to get at and failed, was that unionists continue to not integrate with the local natives and still maintain a ‘platinised’ identity. People who moved to the US became Americans, people who moved to Britain became British, people who moved to Ireland became Irish….. Unless they are of British decent (i.e Unionists). Then we have to ask why did they not integrate and take pride in the Irish Identity. It was simply because of Supremacy and sectarianism and thus wanting partition. Still to this day this is still the attitude, hence DC’s obsession with the union flag. DC is as Irish as me, yet his allegiance is not to himself or his native populous, but rather an ‘Absent Landlord’ based in England.

    DC
    Your attitudes and belief of the Union flag are you own. Your completely deluded if you think its a flag of peace or viewed with reverence outside of England. It is viewed as a flag of war, as repugnant as the swastika in many peoples eyes both here and elsewhere. As for ‘lets enjoy UK benefits’ ? Are you on glue ? There are none! Lets have a convo on welfare or NHS. I know what economy I would rather have.

    You have been brainwashed by the Unionist propaganda machine. If you have ever worked or lived in the South you would know which economy is better. If NI is such a Nirvana, why don’t we have a massive influx of people from the South?

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  33. Son of Strongbow (profile) says:

    I wonder what is an “Irish identity”? Indeed what is an “Irish native”?

    If the South is such a “Nirvana” why has NI not emptied out south wards? Especially those who appear to find living in this part of the UK such a trial?

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  34. The reason why there isn’t either an influx to the north or to the south is that most people are content where they are.
    Those insisting on riling their neighbours are but a small bunch although unfortunately they do seem to have too much influence.

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  35. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    Tyler

    Ah, I see.

    Jolly good.

    Carry on.

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  36. Billy Pilgrim (profile) says:

    Am Gobschmacht

    ‘(Cromwell) … a strange choice methinks.’

    Hardly. He’s given pride of place because he committed genocide against Irish papists. What a hero!

    ‘And it still is a bit of an contradiction to call one’s group ‘Crown Defenders’ and openly salute a proto-Republican (or whatever he was).’

    Not just a republican, but a regicide! But he DID hate Irish papists as much as Hitler hated Jews, so that’s all right. The Crown’s loyal subjects in Ulster have even named streets after the regicide!

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  37. Billy Pilgrim (profile) says:

    DC, Mister Joe and others

    This kind of casual talk about population transfer (polite term for ethnic cleansing) is extremely disturbing.

    I can only speak for myself, but I suppose the reason northern nationalists don’t accept the advice of the more genocidal elements of unionism and move south, is that this is our home.

    We are not recent arrivals in someone else’s country. We are in our own country, albeit in a corner of it that’s pinned down under a malign and hostile state apparatus.

    And we can have a semantic argument over whether that state apparatus qualifies as ‘foreign,’ but it unquestionably is not our own.

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  38. Billy,

    I wasn’t talking about population transfer. I was trying to respond to others why people in general don’t voluntarily decide to move elsewhere although I emigrated myself for a number of reasons..

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  39. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    “What i was trying to get at and failed, was that unionists continue to not integrate with the local natives and still maintain a ‘platinised’ identity.”

    There’s far more integration than you think and in fact this is shown by the fact that the term “local natives” seems incredibly odd – people in NI don’t use that.

    Though single-religion schools have kept people apart in previous generations, nowadays there is an increasing take-up of non/multi-denominational schools from people of all religious denominations.

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  40. Son of Strongbow (profile) says:

    Tyler Durden postulated about economic migrants moving south to north in Ireland. I countered with northerners going south.

    However put this through the MOPE blender (ever warming on the worktop) and the south-to-north is ignored and the north-to-south paradigm becomes “ethnic cleansing” by “genocidal” “unionist elements”.

    To be fair to Mister Joe he apparently got the point. The benefit of a chip-free attitude I suppose.

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  41. Morpheus (profile) says:

    Why would a blender be warming on the worktop?

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  42. Son of Strongbow (profile) says:

    Morpheus,

    You don’t have a heating blender? You prefer your MOPE soup cold?

    Ok. After all there’s no accounting for taste.

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  43. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    Son of Strongbow

    ” Indeed what is an “Irish native”?”

    “Irish native” is one of those expressions that says more about the person using it than anything else.

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  44. carl marks (profile) says:

    Charles_Gould

    They would also be the type of person (as I discovered) who cannot see why someone would be offended being called a Fenian.
    I believe it’s called old fashioned unionism!

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  45. DC (profile) says:

    Willie Frazer is up and at ‘em again – at you know who!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXAdIbbr8x4#t=132

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  46. sherdy (profile) says:

    Time to ban the Alliance Party!

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  47. DC (profile) says:

    I think Alliance must be challenged on its approach to identity politics – but it has to be put to the voters not directly to Alliance, the PUP and UUP should ask Unionist/loyalist constituencies out of which alliance draws it support whether alliance voters voted for alliance to liberalise on identity politics or whether they voted for it to liberalise on social issues eg gay marriage, abortion and choice etc. It might perhaps be both but the only way to identify all of this is to go into an election asking questions about whether alliance are suited to the areas they are currently in and can withstand the conservative challenge of pan nationalism in particular relation to identity politics and c u l t u r e w a r. All parties need to find out why exactly voters backed alliance and then offer better alternatives to alliance.

    Alliance has played fast and loose with the unionist electorate about its unionist credentials and it’s about time some dividing lines were identified and alliance forced to take sides or perhaps asked to clarify its position.

    For the PUP and NI21 more so than the UUP at the moment the opportunity is there to offer alternatives, the PUP in particular could deliver on the equality agenda just as much as Alliance while going a lot slower on compromising on the identity front and offering that as a more suitable stable alternative to Alliance politics in places like Carrickfergus for instance. Liberalising on identity politics in the face of republican challenge in Belfast has been an embarrassment in places like Carrick.

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  48. DC (profile) says:

    The PUP and NI21 entering into a compact to see off Alliance on left of centre issues while stabilising and shoring things up on the identity front and saying to the DUP as the mainstream leader of unionism if we pull this off and get rid of the Alliance give us something on social issues maybe progress on abortion – compassionate unionism in play.

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  49. DC (profile) says:

    I suppose NI21 would be more of a ‘modernity’ offer to the electorate than say the PUP’s left of centre one and its demand for a better deal for unionist working class areas, which would include going slower on compromising on the identity front as well as equality issues.

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  50. Perhaps the flag protesters should form a new party, the Flag Tolerance Party.

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