Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Whatever you do, don’t stand out from the crowd.

Fri 14 February 2014, 9:24pm

In an interview with Barton Creeth, the SDLP council candidate for Balmoral, Justin Cartwright made the following statement which caused a bit of a brew ha ha when he said this about whether he was campaigning for Irish unity

No I’m not. I’m an economic unionist. Increasing numbers of nationalist voters are moving away from this idea of a united Ireland. There’s a reason for that, because people aren’t economically illiterate. They look at the the economy of the Republic of Ireland and they see a foundering ship. So for us to tether our wee boat to that, both vessels would go down. And that’s not in anybody’s interest, it’s certainly not in the interest of working people.

Now, I don’t agree with a word of this statement, as it ignores the fact that in terms of wages, private sector growth and many aspects of living standards the Irish economy outperforms our own by a country mile. Moreover, if you see Northern Ireland’s future as being tethered to British subsidies, forever waiting for the next hand-out then that’s where both economies would go down. It also ignores the fact that in many ways our economies are increasingly inter-linked whether it is the Irish government being our biggest land lords or 75% of our SME exports going south, we actually already are on dependent on one another.

Above is the way that I think people should have responded to this statement-in a calm and economically rational way. Debating facts and using them to put a strong, often undersold case for economic unity. However, the response we got is summarised best by a tweet from Gerry Kelly

Let’s leave aside the fact that Cartwright is actually an Australian-so that kind of voids the Irish nationalist bit,  but I felt that this response really missed the point that perhaps Cartwright’s statement was 1) a chance to rebut with a credible vision, and 2) perhaps ask why a neutral observer in a nationalist party concluded that a unified Irish economy was not a good idea. Nope, instead the debate took on a ‘they walk among us’ kind of feel as people pondered how on earth a economic unionist would be in a nationalist party. The only question Irish nationalists should be pondering is how do we answer these arguments about economically viability when they are put before us.

Either way, I actually found Cartwright’s comments refreshing and at least he was prepared to stand out from the crowd, which in our culture of strong party whips and everybody spouting the same platitudes, is a pleasant change.But what I liked most about Cartwright is-he made me pause for a moment and honestly think about a very important argument-which is not something I can honestly say many politicians have ever made me do. I hope this standing out from the crowd malarky will catch on as we come closer to the election.

 

Share 'Whatever you do, don’t stand out from the crowd.' on Delicious Share 'Whatever you do, don’t stand out from the crowd.' on Digg Share 'Whatever you do, don’t stand out from the crowd.' on Facebook Share 'Whatever you do, don’t stand out from the crowd.' on Google+ Share 'Whatever you do, don’t stand out from the crowd.' on LinkedIn Share 'Whatever you do, don’t stand out from the crowd.' on Pinterest Share 'Whatever you do, don’t stand out from the crowd.' on reddit Share 'Whatever you do, don’t stand out from the crowd.' on StumbleUpon Share 'Whatever you do, don’t stand out from the crowd.' on Twitter Share 'Whatever you do, don’t stand out from the crowd.' on Add to Bookmarks Share 'Whatever you do, don’t stand out from the crowd.' on Email Share 'Whatever you do, don’t stand out from the crowd.' on Print Friendly

Comments (140)

  1. tacapall (profile) says:

    Seeing as we’re pointing out the elephants in the room there’s another name for economic unionists – Parasites who cant be weaned off the teat of mother England. Do they honestly believe England will forever pump billions into a failed entity that will forever demand more. There’s plenty of ‘ethnically Catholic’ non voters who rather than being pro union simply believe Irish people should not take part in British elections.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  2. Morpheus (profile) says:

    It’s not just ‘an issue’ though McS is it? What JC says is not without merit, I just think it would be better received in NI21. But we’ll see

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  3. Morpheus (profile) says:

    “There’s plenty of ‘ethnically Catholic’ non voters who rather than being pro union simply believe Irish people should not take part in British elections.”

    Therein lies a serious problem tacapall. The GFA was overwhelmingly accepted by the people of Ireland, north and south of the border so if these people you talk of want to see any constitutional change then they had better get off their arses and vote. As part of the GFA a border poll has to be called.in order for that to happen the SoS has to be confident that a border poll would succeed? How on God’s green earth is the SoS supposed to be confident of that if those who want a UI don’t take part in the process and sit on their asses when elections come around?

    Parasites is incredibly harsh. As I have pointed out in a previous post 30%of the population are undecided when it comes to the UI issue and that is because no one within political nationalism has lifted a finger to convince anyone of anything. They have been incredibly lazy.

    People are not stupid- they will not jump into the unknown of a UI until they know what is in store for them when they land. What will the health system be like? Housing?Education? Social Security? Political representation? They have families to think about.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  4. Zig70 (profile) says:

    Rather than the SDLP trot out a line for Justin’s cockup they would do far better to remind us what their plan is for the economy. Vague platitudes would make it worse. The community activism in NI at the moment is astounding around things like sport and creative industries. There is a lot of energy out there to harness. There is a lot of debate on economics with input like Martin Wolf’s pieces on robots. Steal ideas if you have to, just get something concrete.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  5. DC (profile) says:

    ’30%of the population are undecided when it comes to the UI issue and that is because no one within political nationalism has lifted a finger to convince anyone of anything. They have been incredibly lazy.’

    Demography is destiny, that’s why? So the Shinners et al are just sitting around waiting for it to happen.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  6. Morpheus (profile) says:

    “Demography is destiny, that’s why? So the Shinners et al are just sitting around waiting for it to happen.”

    Well if that’s their plan – given that they actually have a plan – they will be sitting around a while

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  7. tacapall (profile) says:

    “How on God’s green earth is the SoS supposed to be confident of that if those who want a UI don’t take part in the process and sit on their asses when elections come around”

    Morpheus who in Ireland elected Theresa Villers ? A significant non vote is just as dramatic as a significant yes vote when it comes to making a statement through the ballot box. Why should Irish people jump through British hoops in order to express their views. Views they’ve known for hundreds of years.

    “What will the health system be like? Housing?Education? Social Security? Political representation”

    If Ireland does unite will those who claim to have a British identity suddenly become Irish and obviously those same British people will still get access to national health, social security, education and if they wish political representation we are all still European citizens.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  8. Morpheus (profile) says:

    So ‘the plan’ is to sit back and make a ‘statement’ by not taking part in the game that we signed up to playing? Yeah, that’s going to work. In the real world, while these indignant sideline dwellers make their ‘statement’ their goal slips further and further away and self-fulfilling prophecies like ‘there’s no appetite for it’ take centre stage, then meekly drop off the stage.

    But don’t worry – a statement was made, that’s what matters isn’t it?

    It doesn’t matter who voted for Theresa Villers – the GFA, which we overwhelmingly voted for, gave the SoS the keys to the gates of the next level. It simply has to go through the SoS. This should be number 1 priority for political nationalism…what exactly does the SoS need to see in order to be ‘confident that a border poll would succeed’ then they should see just how far away they are from fulfilling that criteria. But no, that’s way too clever. Instead let’s all sit back and wish for change to happen, that’ll work.

    When it comes to a UI then there is absolutely nothing that you or anyone else can say with any degree of certainty – hence the problem. You can’t confirm if NI will simply be consumed by RoI and you cannot confirm if we would take opportunity to form a new Ireland. Anything you say is guesswork – it’s all guesswork.

    People are expected to make life-changing decisions based on myth, misconception and downright lies. Great plan

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  9. tacapall (profile) says:

    “the GFA, which we overwhelmingly voted for, gave the SoS the keys to the gates of the next level”

    Your being over dramatic Morpheus, Ireland overwhelmingly give its opinion in 1918 and here we are still tied to England. Democracy doesn’t always work when perfedious albion is involved.

    ‘there’s no appetite for it’

    There’s no appetite for what ?

    “People are expected to make life-changing decisions based on myth, misconception and downright lies. Great plan”

    Downright lies ? Like I said your being over dramatic.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  10. Johnny Boy (profile) says:

    “Seeing as we’re pointing out the elephants in the room there’s another name for economic unionists – Parasites who cant be weaned off the teat of mother England. Do they honestly believe England will forever pump billions into a failed entity that will forever demand more”

    So people in any region of any country that isn’t a net contributer to their counties economy should consider themselves parasites?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  11. Morpheus (profile) says:

    Over dramatic? Try pragmatic. Try realistic. The people you talk of can sit on their asses, do feck all and watch their aspirations of a UI drift away while they make an unheard ‘statement’ OR they can get in the game and make their voices heard.

    By saying ‘there’s no appetite for it’ then I was being perfectly clear but just in case here it is again. If no one stands up in the polls and elections and says ‘we want a united Ireland’ then there will never be a united Ireland. Like it or not if the SoS is not confident that a border poll would win (presumable by the election/census/poll results) then the border poll will never happen, simple as that. If nationalists continue to turn away from the pro-UI parties like they have been doing (down nearly 50k votes since the signing of the GFA) then it will never happen.

    Now you can bitch about it from the sidelines or get in the game, it’s up to you

    FYI, a lot has changed since 1918 – not to mention nearly 100 years has passed. You cannot change 1918 by bitching about it. There is now a legally binding agreement between the British and Irish Governments to implement the will of the people but if the people you speak of are willing to sit back and not let their will be known then so be it. Nothing will change and on their heads be it.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  12. 241934 john brennan (profile) says:

    C.S. ‘I think I’d rather go by the SDLP’s own website when we are in a discussion about what their policy objectives are. Yes they signed up to the GFA, but so did everyone else.’

    Are you saying SDLP policy is made up on a daily basis by its press office. Why not go by the party constitution?

    The SDLP has always maintained that the words ‘unity’ and ‘agreement’ are synonymous. That is the basis of ‘unity by consent’ as written into the GFA. Unionists and S.F. also signed up to this – majority consent North and South. In the meantime, and even after a majority ‘yes’ vote in a ‘unity’ referendum, we cannot ignore the bigger island that lies between Ireland and Europe.

    So the people who shout ‘Brits out’, or ‘No surrender’ are simply acting in concert like malign sirens, each trying to tempt confused voters into their own separate disaster areas.

    The SDLP might well trumpet its ‘Nationalist’ credentials, but the GFA and Hume’s logic will ultimately prevail -’It is not about a line on a map. The problem is not divided territory, but divided people.’

    It is in DUP/SF extremist interests to keep it that way. But moderates can only gain by promoting agreement. If we aim for peace and prosperity it has to be ‘united we stand, divided we fall’.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  13. tacapall (profile) says:

    Morpheus im not going to get into a slanging match with you but your man playing is starting to cloud your judgement. Its interesting to meet someone who believes in a united Ireland but at the same time trusts perfedious albion to honour its pledges and no thank you I dont intend to take part in any sham elections to a sham assembly that cannot pass any law unless its also passed by an unelected overlord from another country.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  14. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    Johnny Boy

    “So people in any region of any country that isn’t a net contributer to their counties economy should consider themselves parasites?”

    You had better get your argument sorted as a lot of people claim that Northern Ireland is a country. BBC show on the political situation of the NI ecconomy:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00t8x50
    Young, Dumb and Living Off Mum

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  15. FuturePhysicist (profile) says:

    Well done to Justin for (perhaps unintentionally) pointing out the elephant in the room.
    Opinion poll after opinion poll shows a majority of people from a Catholic background dont support a joining the Republic. It is safe to assume that these folk are more SDLP orientated than SF orientated. So it is safe to assume that in fact most SDLP voters (and ‘ethnically Catholic’ non voters) arent erm in favour of the party’s core policy of a UI.
    Indeed given the nature of South Belfast I think it is safe to assume that the overwhelming majority of SDLP voters and potential SDLP voters from the ‘Catholic’ community are in fact Economic Unionists.
    So Justin is definitely on to something.
    Well done to him for pointing out that the Emperor has no clothes
    Chucky ar la!

    I can see why Alex Kane calls Catholic Unionists unicorns, and then you mention the Elephant. We’ve also heard similar unfortunate language from Tom Elliot. There is still some treatment of the individual views of Catholics on some sort of natural history zoological perspective as animals in captivity. If the opinion of people from a Catholic background is so clear to see from a Lucid Talk forum, why is there such a massive difference in understanding? There is nothing obvious about the machinations in a human’s head, but a domestic animal can be steered towards some goal result, in a similar manner can the elephants, the unicorns and the other animals. We know our cats from our Youtube footage, and we know our Catholics by their papal adherence to the Lucid Talk option poll.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  16. Morpheus (profile) says:

    Oh for goodness sake, man playing? Seriously?

    Nationalists should just sit on their hands in silent indignation tac and see where it gets them. My guess is not a single inch further forward in their legitimate aspiration towards a united Ireland. In fact I will go one better and say that it will be in serious decline and it will be the fault of those who sit on the sidelines.

    For the record I am neither for nor against the concept of a UI – I am firmly in the Don’t Know camp (along with 1 in 3 of the population) because not a single person has bothered to try to convince me of the merits of a UI. No one has done any of the required legwork but they have offered nothing but meaningless platitudes on the one issue which they claim is high on their list of priorities.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  17. Reader (profile) says:

    tacapall: Seeing as we’re pointing out the elephants in the room there’s another name for economic unionists – Parasites who cant be weaned off the teat of mother England.
    But these are people who are doing somewhat more to achieve a United Ireland than you are (voting for nationalist parties) while probably being less committed than you are to feeding off the English teat. (You have previously expressed as a point of pride your personal mission to attack the union through emptying its purse)
    Whatever they are, you are also – in spades.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  18. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    Morpheus

    “Nationalists should just sit on their hands in silent indignation”

    ??

    I have shocking new Nationalists are just getting on with their life. They are however working hard at work trying to make things better.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  19. Morpheus (profile) says:

    Read the whole sentence McS, don’t take snippets and make it into something it’s not. It clearly says:

    “Nationalists should just sit on their hands in silent indignation tac and see where it gets them. “,

    It was in direct reference to tac who seems to think that there is a number of people out there making a statement of some sort against the establishment by not taking part in the political process and I was merely pointing out the folly in that ‘plan’.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  20. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    Broadly, I think that if nationalist-designations become a majority in the assembly, one would expect a referendum, but not otherwise.

    Alternatively, if a simple majority of MLAs were to vote for a referendum.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  21. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    “Alternatively, if a simple majority of MLAs were to vote for a referendum.”

    Actually this can’t be, as unionists could want one, which is not the terms of the GFA. But if a simple majority of MLAs were to vote to express support in favour of a UI then you could have a referendum.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  22. tacapall (profile) says:

    “You have previously expressed as a point of pride your personal mission to attack the union through emptying its purse”

    Indeed I have Reader yet at the same time I refuse to give legitimacy to the British overlords perceived right to decide when or if the Irish people can decide their own destiny.

    Morpheus man playing may have been a little abrupt but its not up to republicans to convince anyone of the merits of a unified or united Ireland thats the job of the 26 county government, that’s what they signed up to in the GFA

    Article 3

    1. 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. Until then, the laws enacted by the Parliament established by this Constitution shall have the like area and extent of application as the laws enacted by the Parliament that existed immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  23. Morpheus (profile) says:

    Interesting Charles but that is pure speculation. All the GFA says is that the SoS needs to be confident that it will succeed – it does not say what will give the SoS that confidence. You could be 100% correct and the minute the nationalist parties are the largest group in Stormont a border poll could be called. Then again a Lucid poll might convince him/her. Or something in the census. Or in the NILT. Or a combination. Hell as it stands the SoS could wake up after the next council elections and see that the nationalist parties have done well so could call one – that would be perfectly legitimate under the current wording.

    I would’ve thought that it would be in the best interests of nationalists, unionists and the SoS to set the criteria out in black and white so everyone knows where they stand.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  24. Zig70 (profile) says:

    Reader – I would disagree that weaning on the English teat is helping a UI. The people the northern nationalists need to court are the southern electorate and living out of a begging bowl won’t help.
    All that is irrelevant, the problem with Justin is the abdication of responsibility the local politicians have for wealth generation to a mother state of any hue. If he wanted economics to the forefront then he wouldn’t have mentioned tribal politics. Though if he hasn’t better ideas than vaguely growing the private sector then maybe he should avoid economics too.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  25. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    Nothing can do more to tarnish the chances of a UI than banging on about “demographics”; misrepresents what a UI should be about.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  26. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Morpheus,

    The question of when a border referendum is to be called has been left intentionally, and rather creatively, ambiguous but it’s hard for me to see how it can be avoided in the event of an election showing a nationalist majority share of the vote. If the SoS does not call a referendum in those circumstances there will be a constitutional crisis unless there is some sort of agreed criteria for postponing it that does not fall outside of the law.

    I think I would support an amendment to put the power to call a referendum in the hands of the Assembly with a simple majority deciding the outcome, and perhaps requiring all 108 MLAs to be present in the chamber for the vote to be valid.

    I do not believe there are large numbers of Catholic unionists, but where life gets interesting is the definition of what a unionist is, and what a nationalist is.

    It is clear that a person who believes that Ireland should be reunified as soon as possible and as a first priority is obviously a nationalist. But I suspect quite a few people who vote SDLP and SF fall short of this definition. They are not unionists – in that they are not ideologically committed to the union – but they may vote according to the practical realities (much like how practical realities are making life very difficult for Scottish nationalists at the moment).

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  27. Morpheus (profile) says:

    CS I think we have reached the ludicrous stage now where there is a difference between being a unionist and pro-UK. Catholics refuse to vote for unionist parties, that much is obvious, but I think they would vote for NI to remain part of the Union

    At this rate we are going to need a whole new set of pigeon holes

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  28. DC (profile) says:

    @morpheus

    Why wouldn’t catholics vote for a unionist-leaning party, I’ve voted for alliance before and it’s nationalist-leaning?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  29. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Morpheus, I don’t think that’s ludicrous at all. The word “unionist” has a lot of baggage. We are waking up to the fact that life is more subtle than being either unionist or nationalist.

    I think that Catholics who vote nationalist but also vote for the union in a border referendum will be the demographic who will save the union. Ironically, this is the same demographic being ignored by unionism.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  30. Morpheus (profile) says:

    @DC

    In my opinion Catholics don’t vote for the unionist parties in any significant numbers because the DUP/UUP are lead by the nose by the grossly over-represented anti-Catholic Loyal Orders.

    @CS

    I totally agree that there are certain words which bring with it a lot of baggage. The word Republican for example has lost it’s true meaning because it has become synonymous with violence because of the actions of paramilitaries.

    In reference to your last point then PR knows that the future of his party lies in attracting Catholics who are pro-Union but the heavy influence of the OO stops him from even reaching out.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  31. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Morpheus,

    Robinson does indeed know that and has made reference to it in several speeches. Unfortunately his party is far more interested in committing ritual suicide.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  32. tacapall (profile) says:

    “Robinson does indeed know that and has made reference to it in several speeches. Unfortunately his party is far more interested in committing ritual suicide”

    They are only doing what the British establishment have been doing for centuries ignoring the wishes and the rights of those citizens who are of the catholic faith. How many Catholic British Prime Ministers has there been and why did Tony Blair wait until he left office before converting to a faith he practised for 25 years.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  33. Red Lion (profile) says:

    When Comrade states–

    “”Morpheus, I don’t think that’s ludicrous at all. The word “unionist” has a lot of baggage. We are waking up to the fact that life is more subtle than being either unionist or nationalist.

    I think that Catholics who vote nationalist but also vote for the union in a border referendum will be the demographic who will save the union. Ironically, this is the same demographic being ignored by unionism””

    he absolutely nails it. I have said similar on here many times before.

    as someone who believes NI is much better off in the UK I find the word ‘unionist’ very tainted. I wince if someone refers to me as a unionist, even though it is technically correct.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  34. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    RL,

    That’s why I don’t like being called a unionist (or a nationalist).

    I think a unionist is someone ideologically committed to the union, irrespective of whatever the facts are. Someone who thinks that the union with the UK is only OK if certain factors remain true is not, IMO, really a unionist.

    This is hard to understand for a nationalist who thinks that a unionist is anyone who doesn’t campaign for a united Ireland.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  35. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    “I think I would support an amendment to put the power to call a referendum in the hands of the Assembly with a simple majority deciding the outcome, and perhaps requiring all 108 MLAs to be present in the chamber for the vote to be valid.”

    @CS,

    If you implemented the above rule the unionists could block a vote simply by having someone not show up. Do you really want the TUV or the PUP to have a veto over a referendum being held?

    “I totally agree that there are certain words which bring with it a lot of baggage. The word Republican for example has lost it’s true meaning because it has become synonymous with violence because of the actions of paramilitaries.”

    @Morpheus,

    As an illustration of this consider that the present Sinn Fein and some journalists like Brian Feeny, believe that Sinn Fein is a century old party founded in 1905. Consider that the founder of the original Sinn Fein, Arthur Griffith, advocated a dual monarchy between Britain and Ireland modeled on the Austro-Hungarian shared monarchy. Thus Griffith, the founder of Sinn Fein was not a republican at all in the meaning of the word understood outside of the island of Ireland. Another example of political vocabulary having different meanings in the 32 counties.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  36. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    “I think I would support an amendment to put the power to call a referendum in the hands of the Assembly with a simple majority deciding the outcome, and perhaps requiring all 108 MLAs to be present in the chamber for the vote to be valid.”

    @CS,

    If you implemented the above rule the unionists could block a vote simply by having someone not show up. Do you really want the TUV or the PUP to have a veto over a referendum being held?

    “I totally agree that there are certain words which bring with it a lot of baggage. The word Republican for example has lost it’s true meaning because it has become synonymous with violence because of the actions of paramilitaries.”

    @Morpheus,

    As an illustration of this consider that the present Sinn Fein and some journalists like Brian Feeny, believe that Sinn Fein is a century old party founded in 1905. Consider that the founder of the original Sinn Fein, Arthur Griffith, advocated a dual monarchy between Britain and Ireland modeled on the Austro-Hungarian shared monarchy. Thus Griffith, the founder of Sinn Fein was not a republican at all in the meaning of the word understood outside of the island of Ireland. Another example of political vocabulary having different meanings in the 32 counties.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  37. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    tmitch, oops you’re absolutely right.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  38. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    Comrade Stalin

    “This is hard to understand for a nationalist who thinks that a unionist is anyone who doesn’t campaign for a united Ireland.”

    Unionism is a mindset:

    For example mention the famine and the person raising the issue is trying to justify the IRA. (Which explains why Belfast has done little to reflect that major historical event in its public art)

    The border is so far from Belfast that it takes a long time to travel the vast expanse.

    To confuse what is “legal” with what is acceptable. Lets flay a military flag from city hall ……..

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  39. BifterGreenthumb (profile) says:

    “That’s why I don’t like being called a unionist (or a nationalist).

    I think a unionist is someone ideologically committed to the union, irrespective of whatever the facts are. Someone who thinks that the union with the UK is only OK if certain factors remain true is not, IMO, really a unionist.

    This is hard to understand for a nationalist who thinks that a unionist is anyone who doesn’t campaign for a united Ireland.” (Comrade Stalin)

    I’ve been told a couple of times now by different people, one Scottish and one Irish nationalist, that if your politics is not aimed at bringing about a united Ireland then you are by default a Unionist. Under this wide definition of Unionism the Alliance and the Greens for example are Unionists simply because they are not Republican/Nationalist parties.

    I personally think this definition is far too wide and feel that the need to stick everyone into a unionist or nationalist box is the main problem here. The comments above about “ethnically catholic” people show the complete irrationality of the traditional tribal ideologies here. As if a religion is part of someone’s ethnic makeup.

    There are rational arguments for maintaining the union and there are rational arguments for a united Ireland. But most unionists and republicans here are not one or the other because of these arguments. They are unionists or nationalist for irrational identity issues. They feel that they were born unionists or nationalists. While I agree with your point that a unionist is someone “ideologically committed to the union, irrespective of whatever the facts are” I would go further and say that they have this commitment because they hold certain other assumptions about their ethnicity and tribe. The same goes for nationalists.

    A rational debate about the constitutional position of NI will be impossible until all this ethnic/tribal/identity nonsense or overcome.

    I was kind of convinced for a while that John McCallister’s “the Northern Irish identity is the beating heart of a shared future” was the way forward. A shared identity means that unionism or nationalism cease to be tribal/ethnic designations and can become political positions based on rational considerations rather than tribal loyalty. But maybe a detailed debate about what the various options for a new Ireland would look like would get people thinking that the options are not simply a UI or the union but rather there are a number of different options and so thinking of yourself simply as a unionist or a nationalist is too simplistic. For example someone may prefer devolution in the UK to full integration in the ROI but may also prefer devo max or some kind of federal arrangement with the ROI than the present arrangement with the UK. To call this person a unionist or a nationalist would be in inaccurate.

    So if a shared identity is one solution to the problem of sectarianism maybe an alternative is to break peoples political identities up even further so that rather than just traditional unionists and nationalists we also have federalists, devolutionists, integrationists etc

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  40. IrelandNorth (profile) says:

    Maybe Justin meant that as an Irish nationalist(?) he was a €UROpean unionist (€U). Strange as it may seem, many other Irish nationalists in the 26 are too. As I spend a good deal of time arguing, British neo-imperial unionism isn’t the only paradigm of unionism extant – ya know! There’s trade unionism, credit unionism, Australian federal unionism etc. But for Mr Cartwright to hook his macroeconomic wagon to Great Britain’s (GBs) ailing economy is to make the same mistake as Scottish First Minister (FM) Alexander Salmond did by not hooking Scotland’s to the €U’s. If nothing else, he would have deprived HMs PM of the opportunity of contracting-in a Portugese constitutional hit man to subvert Scotland’s break for liberty. Álban Abú!

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Copyright © 2003 - 2014 Slugger O'Toole Ltd. All rights reserved.
Powered by WordPress; produced by Puffbox.
164 queries. 0.697 seconds.