Anna Lo- A United Ireland would be better placed economically, socially and politically

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Expect more things like this from Anna Lo-she is full of surprises and her interview with John Manley in today’s Irish News is no exception to this rule as she speaks about her position on Irish unity.
 
In the piece she tells Manley;
 
I’m an honest person…I think it is such a small place…To divide it up and the corner of Ireland to be part of the United Kingdom… it’s very artificial.
 
Lo stated her belief that she is ‘anti-colonial’ and says that a United Ireland would be  “better placed economically, socially and politically”.
 
She continued telling Manley that while she doesn’t believe that Irish unity would happen within her lifetime that Alliance would support removing the border should a majority of people in Northern Ireland vote for it.
 
So, has Lo signed her electoral death warrant? Or is this bad news for someone like Alex Attwood who now has a pro-European/united Ireland contender who is quite interesting to contend with?
 
Watch this space….it just got interesting.
 

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  • Gopher

    @Morph

    Horse and stable door. Unionists are are doing the electoral dance of delight. Lo’s interview has single handedly achieved all unionist goals vis a vis Alliance without them having to work for it. Lo has written the Suicide note for Naomi and several Alliance councillers. I think people in Alliance had already written off Naomi and are thinking off their future.

    Like I said If I was Naomi and everyone Lo has shafted I would be seething whilst I could not get my revenge in first I would certainly get it in second.

  • Granni Trixie

    DC 11.24

    Thanks for the compliment.

  • Comrade Stalin

    zep,

    Sorry, but you need to stop being a whiny crybaby.

    When I say “the unionists did this” or “the unionists think that” I’m referring to the politicians, not the people. This should be clear if you spend a little bit more time here. I think a lot of unionist voters were appalled by what they saw outside of St Patrick’s Church on Clifton street a couple of years back.

    Much of the outrage and offence that people around here talk about is faux. Everyone wants to be the victim and to see themselves as under attack. In this case we are talking about one word, spoken by a person for whom English is a second language (albeit one that she has spoken as a primary language for 4 or so decades) and who grew up in an actual British colony. This is a case of looking for insults were none were intended.

    I drew the comparison with events at St Patrick’s as an illustration of what a calculated insult actually looks like, and to point out that the politicians who are front and centre whinging about the word “colony” made all kinds of excuses for this appalling anti-social behaviour which was conducted by a large group of people, knowingly, deliberately and in broad daylight.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Gopher,

    I’m not at all worried about the fallout from what Lo said.

    Unionists have been predicting Alliance’s total defeat for decades now. It failed to come to pass. They predicted Alliance would be wiped out when they prosecuted the councillors at the time of the Anglo Irish agreement. Didn’t happen. Then they predicted Alliance would be destroyed for voting for Alex Maskey as the city’s first Sinn Féin Lord Mayor. It didn’t happen then either. When that happened, one Alliance councillor at the time, Danny Dow of East Belfast, resigned from the party and fought the subsequent election as an independent. He lost, as the new Alliance candidate won.

    Alliance votes come from a section of the electorate who respect the party taking an honest and principled stand on things rather than simply yielding to political expediency. These are voters who aren’t swayed by the horror stories spun by unionist politicians – and as time goes on there are more and more of them. They are people who understand that there can’t be a united Ireland and that we need to deal with other things first.

  • http://www.secondnature.ie Michael

    Here’s a question for Zep and the other persuadables – given what we have is a bit shit and we all want a change – what type of society would you like to live in – if you could help design it?

    Then question number two: Now that you would like a, lets say, liberal economy with social supports for the less fortunate and with religious and cultural pluralism and a relatively small public sector – will you help create that society given what we are starting with?

    In otherwords will you help create your desired future or wait for someone to guess which one you would like and see if you would come on board? What are your bottom lines?

    We at least could see if there was a chance at meeting half way!

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    “Unionists are are doing the electoral dance of delight. Lo’s interview has single handedly achieved all unionist goals vis a vis Alliance without them having to work for it.”

    @Gopher,

    The people that would be that upset about what Lo said wouldn’t vote for Alliance in any case. They are the people who vote for the DUP because it will protect them against the treachery of perfidious Albion or vote for the UUP out of habit. Long will have plenty of opportunity to point out to voters that the border is not what the party is about and never has been.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Michael,

    You’ll get nowhere with that sort of sensible talk. You’re probably a lundy anyway.

    tmitch,

    I think you have it in a nutshell. I am sure there will be one or two remarks (but no more than that) to that effect tomorrow – we don’t care about the border, we want to make Northern Ireland work, etc.

  • DC

    @michael

    I live in Carrickfergus, I would like to see it secede from Northern Ireland by getting the powers that be to create and sign into effect a similar treaty to that which was signed for Monaco, produce something similar for Carrickfergus. Ideally, Carrick to be run as a constitutional monarchy, sovereign city-state status.

    It is similar in terms of area and population size and could be governed and operated in a similar fashion, it has a harbour, a castle which could be used for gambling and for the whole new political enterprise to work and function economically it too I think would need to be turned into a tax haven, as like Isle of Man.

    The harbour might need to be turned into a super marina and as I said the castle turned into a sort of Monte Carlo casino, the castle naturally to be bedecked in Union flags.

    I would like to see greater powers at a local level on these points a more sovereign city state than Monaco would need to be devised in order for people to have a greater say over things like immigration, education and the economy. Local governance could be improved by having the town, like Monaco, broken down into wards.

    Actually the outline of the town isn’t too dissimilar to Monaco: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Quarti%C3%A8rs_de_M%C3%B3negue.svg

    Police Service to have the Union flag as part of branding and logo.

    Courts branding to have the Crown.

    The town Council and civic / local administrative buildings, schools, health centres to fly the union flag 365 days. Fck it the Marine Highway officially bedecked in Union flags 365 days also!

    Last but not least, the Alliance party banned.

    (Gary Spedding should he enter the town by some fluke, arrested immediately and sent to Israel, to be deported again from there just for the sheer hell of it!)

  • Red Lion

    But, say there is a referendum campaign in NI, something like the atmosphere of the Scottish one.

    Politicians and parties have to take a position on, say, whether the health service is better in the UK or the ROI. And then, in the whole, whether NI is better off in the UK or UI.

    You really can’t have one section of a party saying eg the health service is better on a UI basis, while others in same party are saying no, it’s better on a UK basis.

    It’s pretty fundamental. Perhaps less so now as a referendum is not on the radar, but cracks may open up in Alliance in future.

    In my opinion being agnostic on preferred constitutional set-up fails to acknowledge one of the fundamentals and realities of political democracy, and is unsustainable in the long term.

    Alliance have for some time said they are agnostic on the union while individuals can have their own personal opinion-no news there. But perhaps as opinions and circumstances (ie a border poll) become more stark cracks and a lack of unity within APNI may unfurl. Perhaps we are seeing the first seeds of that.

    I suspect that as more soft nationalists are attracted to Alliance partly due to demographics etc, they will increasingly take more of a driving seat and soft unionists in the party may become more uncomfortable. NI demographics favours nationalism, and I think this demographic/nationalism mix will filter through to APNI.

    It started out as a soft unionist party, now it is agnostic. One might think that this drift may yet end up in soft nationalism. I think a lot of people in Alliance are not as above constitutional politics as they let on.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The referendum campaign will be ill-tempered, laced with bigotry and bile. You saw what happened when Anna Lo said three sentences on the subject. You also saw, similarly, what happened when the Australian SDLP chappie made a throwaway remark on the matter. The Shinners reacted towards the SDLP in the same way that the unionists are, except perhaps with a little bit more class.

    In the event of a campaign, it is very hard for me to imagine the current crop of Alliance representatives “outing” themselves as either being pro-union or pro-UI. You would not even see someone like Anna pounding pavements and trying to get people to vote a certain way.

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    @Red Lion,

    Parties often lift the whip on controversial social issues such as abortion and leave it up to their parliamentarians to decide on how to vote. Why cannot Alliance take the same approach with its voters and simply state that it will not take a position?

  • saothair1907

    So what is it that Anna Lo has done wrong. British political parties govern Northern Ireland without a mandate, indeed without a vote to their name. They don’t deign to seek a mandate or place themselves before the electorate. The British Constitution isn’t operative and those who say they’re ‘Unionists’ virulently oppose the notion of extending the British Constitution to their wee Ulster.
    If it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck – its usually a duck.
    Looks pretty colonial to me! Well said Anna

  • antamadan

    Jackie,
    You said -& I paraphrase- that if the south was better than the north why haven’t the catholics moved down.

    Twice as many people born in the North live in the South than have travelled in the other direction, per official census statistics (I don’t know religous statistics on the matter)

  • Neil

    I think they did tmitch. Individuals within the party have a point of view, the party isn’t selling anything. They’re growing on me. It should be interesting in the GE, keeping an eye on how Alliance fair, post fleg gate etc. Adds a bit of spice to the still rolling but slightly boring orange v. green mathematics. I don’t think Alliance are in anywhere as near as much trouble as some people seem to think. They have my transfer, due to flegs and dishonest leaflets. Lo’s opinion hasn’t changed much.

    Zeb, sorry that may seem abrasive but myself and DC go way back, slugger wise. He’s a good lad. Opposite of me. :D

  • Red Lion

    tmitch

    because ultimately, imo, when a party is in government it is carrying out it’s different ministerial departments under a constitutional framework, or working toward it’s preferred long term arrangement.

    It is difficult for some in that party to be working to a UK framework while others are wanting to move to a UI framework-different practicalities, policies etc.

    Could you imagine eg Scottish labour having both yes and no politicians in their ranks? Some arguing UK economy better other arguing independent Scottish economy is better? The internal disunity would be unworkable.

    For APNI now It’s Ok as a referendum not on the cards but cracks may open up on this in the future-that’s really all I’m saying, plus this Lo episode may be the first seeds of APNI internal disharmony gradually growing.

    Particularly, as I suspect will be the case, more and more people in the future join APNI from a soft nationalist background and input their worldviews on policy etc.

    Party support for a particular constitution provides the certainty and foundation from which policy and decision making flows.

    Alliance don’t have this foundation(I have previously called this ‘floating in space’) and I think it possible this void being filled with different member’s own opinions gives rise to cracks and disunity and mixed messages within the party.

    Particularly if a serious debate emerges as in Scotland.

  • Duncan Donuts

    Neil, Im glad that NI economics “tickle you”….will you be so tickled when the loyalist equivalent of Bobby Sands starts burning down Dublin furniture stores, or how about a loyalist campaign similar to the IRA’s one of blowing the S**T out of town centres. How long do you think Dell / Microsoft etc will remain in Ireland if their premises are bombed ??? The IRA proved it is easy to wage an economic war with car bombs as Canary Wharf shown. How will the Irish health service fare when they will be spending $20Bn policing the North ?? You have the intellect of a stick insect my friend…………

  • DC

    @tmitch because leading on the union and being seen to clearly lead on it is important in brigading opinion in favour of it, as the principle of consent means the issue will remain a constant live issue, one that will not go away especially due to the prospect of a border poll.

    This is important, if the GFA had been signed without the principle of consent i.e. N Ireland to remain a part of the UK without any exit mechanism or device I would say just right – Anna Lo can say whatever she wants.

    But I think Alliance party are living in hope on this one as this did over the flag but were used, living in hope in the sense that they really do think constitutional politics is on its way out as they thought designated days was a no brainer and would even be adopted at Stormont. Nope was not to be.

    I agree with a lot of Red Lion says, Alliance just seem to go with what is the dominant force at the time i.e. they will back the union so long as a majority want it and on the face it this majority at least in demography is looking less and less and Alliance are shifting to nationalism. But in doing this, Alliance just seem so unprincipled esp for taking unionist transfers and dumping on the unionist community when the going gets tough to move over to a more buoyant nationalist one. It can do this without much pain to its conscience because it doesn’t really have any emotional attachment to unionism or the symbols of unionism.

    The only thing keeping Alliance going is a serious lack of political alternatives out there to challenge it, that’s the only light. However, I really do believe it is over for Naomi Long now. I think while Anna Lo was removing union flags playing the shared future card it looked convincing, but for her now to declare she is a nationalist and views Unionism as colonial, her intentions behind removing sovereign symbols must be queried and she looks a bit deceitful. Or else she just looks like a not very serious politician that is a bit of a joker that fools around with important things of others just for a quick transfer here and there!

    Alliance will have lost a lot of trust given what I can only see to be some incredibly disingenuous politics by it.

    We were aware that David Ford is agnostic on the union, that Naomi pretends to be unionist because of her seat in east Belfast, now think of Anna completing this to form a triangle. Naomi bottom left at the base pretending to be unionist, Anna Lo bottom right as a nationalist and at the apex David Ford all agnostic.

    This incoherent triangulation has created a void into which the Alliance party will now most likely fall.

    (I am sure Naomi Long is raging that a pretty harmless but clueless politician like Lo has brought the house down from within, whenever personally I felt she was turning the corner on the fall out from the flag, which had marked her down badly on leadership of that issue – as per the BBC poll at the time.)

  • zep

    CS – I have been reading slugger for over a decade. I would expect commenters to be able to distinguish between unionists and unionist politicians when making a point. Why leave room for ambiguity?

    I also think the phrases ‘dry your eyes’ and ‘whiny crybaby’ fall below the minimum threshold of debate on this thread, which has been a relatively sane one consideri

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    ” But in doing this, Alliance just seem so unprincipled esp for taking unionist transfers and dumping on the unionist community when the going gets tough to move over to a more buoyant nationalist one.”

    @DC,

    I suppose that compared to killing ordinary Catholics to prevent a united Ireland this does appear unprincipled. In the course of a few days a party leader said that he is unrepentant about murdering two ordinary Catholics, because he claims that it prevented a united Ireland, and a party candidate says that she thinks that NI is colonial, and guess which one unionists get upset about? With this type of outreach you will be as effective convincing Catholics to support the union in a referendum as Sinn Fein is in convincing unionists. If you ever need a job to could always go work for their outreach division.

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    “because ultimately, imo, when a party is in government it is carrying out it’s different ministerial departments under a constitutional framework, or working toward it’s preferred long term arrangement.”

    @Red Lion,

    If you read the interview she states that she doesn’t expect a united Ireland to occur for a long time, probably not in her lifetime. Tony Blair told a group of unionists the same thing back in 1997. So this would be long after her term is expired. And you don’t know what David Ford’s and Stephen Farry’s position on the union is.

    “Could you imagine eg Scottish labour [sic] having both yes and no politicians in their ranks?”

    No, but Scottish Labour hasn’t had a well known position of abstention on the issue for decades. But Scottish Labour is also part of a party that refuses to run candidates in Northern Ireland and is a sister party to the SDLP and thus, at least by association, an anti-union party when it comes to NI, even if it is pro-union when it comes to Scotland.

  • Granni Trixie

    There is a dearth of academic literature on the AP and I am convinced that a key reason is that it is so difficult to pin down and categorise its membership. A lack of baseline and timeline studies in itself makes for difficulties in analysing change or the current state of play.

    Being in the party since the 70s, I have ofcourse my own Ideas on all of this but one thing I am sure of is that should it be presented with a situation in which it had to reach a consensus position on a UI it would not “unfurl” (sorry this apparent wet dream of some of you will not materialise).

    Consistent with this,as stated previously, when people are being selected for election in local associations nobody gives consideration to their religious/cultural background …nor to their views n the border.

    Byw, I am constantly surprised in AP at the heat some discussion issues evoke …water charges, gay marriage etc ‘the Border’ is not one of them.

    Meanwhile,off to the Conference. I’m the one in the yellow frock (the colour of Alliance).

  • http://whereareyoufrancishutcheson.wordpress.com martyntodd

    David Aaronovitch was quoted in The Times last week saying
    “People say they don’t like hypocrisy, but actually, you know, they demand it.”

    The amazing furore over Anna’s simple and truthful answer show just how true this is in NI politics today. Could more truthful answers bring out more voters?

    http://whereareyoufrancishutcheson.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/people-demand-hypocrisy/

  • Charles_Gould

    In this morning’s Newsletter David Ford clarifies that his own *personal* position is pro-Union and if there was a referendum in NI he would vote for the Union. He also said he would do the same in Scotland and Wales.

  • Morpheus

    So there we have it, Anna Lo has put her long-term pro-UI opinion across and David Ford has put his pro-UK opinion across (and I dare say Naomi Long will follow suit very shortly) which is exactly in keeping with what Ford said that they are a middle of the road party which attracts both nationalist and unionists. Name another party that does that eh? This simply proves that the Alliance are indeed cross-community and a viable alternative for both Catholics and Protestant.

    We can simply ignore the usual DUP faux-outrage bullshit. It is simply nauseating that Arlene Foster, Jeffrey Donaldson etc can jump on their high horses with apoplectic rage about this but remained remarkable silent on the Billy Hutchinson ‘revelations’ and the scenes at Twaddell the other night when masked men in ex-military vehicles, stewarded by the OO, was pulled right in front of police lines with a baying mob on hand. I don’t think we can ever question the policing figures with the potential for scenes like this on a daily basis…

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=229065693965056&set=vb.167750270096599&type=2&theater

    And another thing, can we please stop the whole “why don’t you bugger off down south” garbage. This is our home, all of us, no one will be forced to go anywhere no matter the outcome.

  • Mick Fealty

    Glad to see such a long engaged thread, though I have little to add to it.

    Brief take: a good days work for Lo and Alliance and a nice little opportunist raid on middle class nationalism.

    Lesson for middle class nationalism: if you don’t keep your fences mended you’re just asking for such easy disruption.

    Comfort zones do not a political party make.

    #DontTheyKnowTheresABloodyWarOn?

  • Red Lion

    tmitch

    “””If you read the interview she states that she doesn’t expect a united Ireland to occur for a long time, probably not in her lifetime. “””

    And if you had read all of my post you would understand that I said having a mix of constitutional views in a party may cause problems for that party…in the future. Such problems may become most stark in the run up to a referendum but it may be a lower level problem in the interim. You’re not disagreeing with main point then that a mix of constitutional views in the one party can be problematic for the internal workings of that party and on forming longer term policy etc.??

    “””No, but Scottish Labour hasn’t had a well known position of abstention on the issue for decades. But Scottish Labour is also part of a party that refuses to run candidates in Northern Ireland and is a sister party to the SDLP and thus, at least by association, an anti-union party when it comes to NI, even if it is pro-union when it comes to Scotland.”””

    Your’e going off on a tangent. Scottish labour’s position on the NI union which you highlight is irrelevant to the point I was making. I was merely showing it as an example of how different constitutional mixes in a party doesn’t work. Now I get your point that APNI have had a policy of abstentionism on constitutional issues, perhaps the only party in the British Isles to be so. However, my point is that when push comes to shove, it is hard for such a policy to be sustainable in any party and can only be glossed over while constitutional issues are not a serious issue at that time.

  • Barnshee

    “And another thing, can we please stop the whole “why don’t you bugger off down south” garbage. This is our home, all of us, no one will be forced to go anywhere no matter the outcome.”

    I think you are misreading the message– its a question rather than a suggestion

    If as claimed there is/was rampant discrimination etc AND a nirvana like state superior to your present position is a 30/50 minute bus/train ride away–AND this state was replete with highly paid job opportunities AND almost entirely occupied by members of your ethnic/political/religious grouping Why are you still here?

  • Morpheus

    Because this is my fecking home too but we’ll ignore that for a second:
    1. Who said RoI was a nirvana like state?
    2. Who said it was superior to my present position?
    3. Who said that it was replete with highly paid job opportunities?

  • Floreat Ultonia

    Morph:

    1. Poster Neil, above, quoting a ‘Quality of Life’ survey in the Economist from 2005. (The South was ranked #1 Worldwide)

    2. Can be deduced from #1, given that NI isn’t the richest region of Britain

    3. Can be inferred from #1. There was some discussion of the computer software and pharmacy industries.

    “a middle of the road party which attracts both nationalist and unionists. Name another party that does that eh?”

    Green. Not so far behind Alliance in the last Euros, inter alia.

  • Morpheus

    Oh Neil said did he? Why didn’t you say? I am pretty sure Neil didn’t reference that report to prove that RoI is a nirvana like state with jobs for all do you?

  • aquifer

    229 Posts and counting, nice one Anna.

    And yes Unionist parties are colonialist.

    Their conflation of protestantism and party politics sets out to exclude those of a ‘native’ identity, most of whom are catholics, from power.

    If she starts talking about sex and reproduction she could win this.

  • Barnshee

    “Because this is my fecking home too but we’ll ignore that for a second:
    1. Who said RoI was a nirvana like state?
    2. Who said it was superior to my present position?
    3. Who said that it was replete with highly paid job opportunities?”

    The question is a general one I believe it is addressed to those who are unhappy in their present state (ahem) and feel that things are/would be better if a Union with the ROI I would come about (ASAP). For nirvana and highly paid jobs- – well see claims by FU above. The question is thus addressed to those unhappy residents and is worth repeating Why are you (plural) still here?

    “2. Who said it was superior to my present position?”

    You appear to be suggesting the a UI may not be an improvement for you personally- I am afraid I cannot help you there.

  • Gopher

    @CS

    I think you are getting caught up in the nonsense, this ain’t about the border nor is it the end of the Alliance party its about repositioning and getting rid of the usual “Alliance is just another unionist party” jibe.

    I’m an Alliance voter of some twenty odd years (though as you know I no longer intend to vote Alliance), people and I know a few minded like me did not vote for Alliance to take on the DUP and UUP on the constitution but to make society better.

    The good people of East Belfast (unlike the village of the damned up West with Gerry) got rid of Peter without a single flag being mentioned and the constitution taken as a given. Lo letting the genie out of the bottle disrespects those that voted for Alliance and her party colleague (Naomi and those colonists are goners in the East but we might win a second seat in South Belfast). It was a smart but cynical play and nationalists will be getting very edgy because someone is testing the soft N water but it totally undermined Alliance in several areas

    Unionists are loving this reminds me of the effect Tony Greigs interview had on the West Indies

  • http://fitzjameshorselooksattheworld.wordpress.com/ fitzjameshorse1745

    Mick …thats a very simplistic way of looking at it.

    Granni….alas I am suffering from flu and unable to attend this year. Not much literature on Alliance? Certainly the academic community is broadly supportive …all those Conflict Resolution blogs.
    I myself have attempted an analysis of Alliance Party last night on my Blog.

  • Morpheus

    Right Barnshee so what you are saying is that no one said that RoI is a nirvana like state with jobs a plenty. Interesting.

    Back to the thread. The Alliance have shown that they are a real cross community party which attracts those who are pro-UI, pro-UK and others who support the GFA and the principle of consent. Crafty buggers. Fair play…I didn’t think they had it in them

  • IrelandNorth

    Sounds like a pre-NI/UK/EU election kite-flying or stalking horse exercise to me. Yet purposeful at the same time. And hughely symbolic too, coming as it does from a woman who hales from a previous British colony. But why defer the inevitable with talk of lifetimes, when N Ireland’s 99 year lease expires shortly. What I understood her (and other Alliance progressives) to mean was that a constitutional compromise formation could see a reunited Ireland in close alliance or coalition with a radically autonomised GB. I’ve yet to hear a credible response to my invitation-to-treat of a provincially federated Ireland in confederation with a federated GB back in the Commonweatlh of Nations. Ulster unionism generically would be pleasantly surprised at just how constitutionally eclectic and integral certain strands of Irish nationalism can be when approached with equitable intent. I know. I travel extensively across the Island on business and interact with a very broad spectrum of politicsl opinion.

  • ForkHandles

    Michael / Morpheus, As Neo would say “Choice is the problem” That was for you Morpheus :) I was giving an example of the draw back of being in a smaller country compared to the choice available in a larger country. ISPs is a good example because it is not geographically limited to certain parts of the country. There are many other services and so on that are available to everywhere in the country. Theres no point in politicians saying ‘I believe things would be better’ with no more details. Its just the usual morons sound bite in my opinion.

    Everyone knows that many international companies are in Dublin because of lower tax, which means more profits for them. Much to the annoyance of the US and other EU countries where the bulk of their trade actually happens. Its been excellent for the ROI. But what happens when another country sets corporation tax at 10%? or the EU decides on more economic uniformity with CT the same in all countries.

    In many ways the ROI is like the Matrix I suppose. “Many laws can be bent and some can be broken” :)

    As for hops, there is nothing more important for online gaming than hops! Low hops = low latency. Higher hops and latency means you will get your head blown off by a shotgun before you have even seen the guy coming!

  • Barnshee

    2Right Barnshee so what you are saying is that no one said that RoI is a nirvana like state with jobs a plenty. Interesting.”

    Er no I pointed out that others( see FU above) had suggested the nirvana like state of the RO–I The question remains why in view of these apparently enormous advantages “The South was ranked #1 Worldwide” are you still here ?

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    “There is a dearth of academic literature on the AP and I am convinced that a key reason is that it is so difficult to pin down and categorise its membership. A lack of baseline and timeline studies in itself makes for difficulties in analysing change or the current state of play.”

    @Granni,

    In 2002 Greenwood Press in the U.S. published my “Indispensable Traitors: Liberal Parties in Settler Conflicts” (I didn’t pick the subtitle), which was basically an examination of the Progressive Federal Party/Democratic Party in South Africa and Alliance with some material on Israel’s Meretz party. It was written with the aim of providing some guidance for Meretz based on the NI and South African experiences. An abridged version of it is found in one chapter in my earlier book “Native vs Settler: Ethnic Conflict in Israel/Palestine, Northern Ireland and South Africa,” of which there should be a copy at Alliance headquarters as I gave one to Stephen Farry when I returned to Belfast in 2001. It is based on an examination of back copies of Alliance’s internal newsletter over the years from the Linen Hall Library’s political collection, a thesis on Alliance that was in the collection, and interviews with a number of Alliance leaders and members including the Alderdice brothers, Ford, and some Alliance councilors.

    There was a sociologist at an Australian university who was writing about Alliance in the 1970s and 1980s. I believe his name was McAllister. I think that no mass sociological study of Alliance has been done based on surveys of the membership because such an undertaking is expensive and time consuming and the party has never been deemed politically important enough to justify such an effort. Political research seems to be quite tribal in NI. Academics write either about the struggle between the UUP and the DUP for control of unionism, or about the struggle between the SDLP and the Shinners for the nationalist electorate. There was one interesting book, “We Wrecked the Place,” on the loyalist parties and a biography of Ervine, but otherwise the writing has been about the Big Four.

    Alliance claimed that the GFA was based on their ideas, but I never saw any concrete evidence that the party played a major role in the negotiations. It might be argued that Alliance’s ideas influenced the SDLP, which then used them in the GFA. But from talking with Alderdice in 1998 I got the distinct impression that Alliance had soured on consociationalism by the time of the GFA, and was supporting the alternative ideas of Donald Horowitz. And the SDLP would probably point to academic sources like O’Leary and McGarry, et al.

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    “Their conflation of protestantism and party politics sets out to exclude those of a ‘native’ identity, most of whom are catholics, from power.”

    @aquifer,

    The same could be said of the conflation of Catholicism, Gaelic identity and party politics that sets out to exclude those of a “planter” identity in the Republic and in Sinn Fein and the SDLP. And then the republican bloggers come on Slugger and argue that there are no ethnic groups in Ireland, “we are all just Irish.”

  • Morpheus

    Barnshee, no one, including Neil, has suggested that RoI is a nirvana for the simple reason that it is not. It is a country which has it’s own set of problems just like any other country in the world but it is not the hell on earth that some of the more ignorant among us would have us believe.

    “The question remains why in view of these apparently enormous advantages “The South was ranked #1 Worldwide” are you still here ?”

    For the same reason you don’t move to Norway – ranked #1 in Legatum a full 15 places above the UK…because this is your home. As I have said numerous times now, this is my home as well, it’s all our homes and there is no one going anywhere so get used to it. Some think NI should remain part of the UK,others think a UI is the way to go and there are other s who think an independent NI is the way to go. All are perfectly legitimate and the people will decide the constitutional future of NI one way or the other and British/Irish governments are bound to carry out the wishes of the people..

    I know what you are getting at…sorfuken country so it is…but you are very, very wrong.

  • Barnshee

    “For the same reason you don’t move to Norway – ranked #1 in Legatum a full 15 places above the UK”

    Having visited Norway —were Norway a 30 minute bus ride away and did Norway share a common language– I would be on the next bus

    You will have to explain “sorfuken”

  • Morpheus

    Say the whole thing out loud

  • Floreat Ultonia

    On holiday in Scandinavia some years ago I stayed in the Sofolken guest house (Mission to Seamen, I think ;) )

    Anyway, to lighten the mood a bit. Scottish sardine in conversation with English neighbor: “It’s oor oil!”

  • Son of Strongbow

    Barnshee,

    “sorfuken” is a take on how working class Loyalists are thought to speak. Much beloved of a particular type of critic of that community.

    LAD is replete with it, and its Facebook followers gleefully celebrate the ‘joke’. In much the same way the speech inflections of Jamie Bryson get the same attention.

    However all in ‘fun’ you understand.

  • http://www.secondnature.ie Michael

    Forkhandles et al, why does everyone think Irelands success is down to low corporation tax?

    Why aren’t all the car manufacturers there or engineering design companies?

    Basically it is a place where google employees want to live, where IBM execs are prepared to live, where they have loads of educated staff, where there is good infrastructure, where the economy is set up to cater for business services, where the legal system helps do business.

    The low corporation tax is available in lots of other countries, even in Europe but the whole package is unique to Ireland, its no fluke, no “luck of the Irish”, It’s a thought out policy where IDA is super aggressive at courting and snaring investments that take years to achieve – for a much smaller cost than Invest NI’s efforts.

    They even sell their expertise on how to attract FDI to other countries. Why doesn’t NI buy some of said expertise?

  • ForkHandles

    Michael, the execs don’t live in Ireland. They live in the US, or whatever other country they are from. These companies are registered in ROI for tax purposes so they pay a lower tax and keep more profits. Of course qualified people is a draw, but many / sometimes most are non Irish, they came to where the job was. I actually have experience of these companies as I have worked in 2 of the big tech companies based in Dublin. European management may be based there, but the execs are not. They stay for a week now and again, then travel back home.
    Lower CT has been a great help for ROI economy. That’s why many in NI business community want to match it. If the UK matched it as a whole, you would find London being the main base for these companies.
    The whole package as you phrased it is available in the UK and many other EU countries as soon as they drop CT to 12.5% or less.

  • ForkHandles

    by the way car manufacture moved to Asia because of cost a long time ago. Only the high end remains in Europe.

  • aquifer

    @tmitch57 3.25pm

    Good point.

    Nationalist conflation of Irish culture and politics and irish republicans’ roman catholic comfort zone could lead one to believe that Provisionalism is just a flag of convenience for an ‘expel the prod planter’ murder gang.

    Provo insiders found plenty of sectarian hatred in the Active Service Units.

    Those that wrote about this and the spying on their neighbours needed for the ‘armed struggle’ were sometime butchered.

    Truth is precious, but not when you are trying to sell an edited and authorised ladybird edition instead.

  • aquifer
  • Neil

    Sorry Aquifer, but I want to post a section of that article for those that won’t click:

    As the Radical Independence Campaign has pointed out, it’s Britain that is the fourth most unequal developed country on earth, in which pay has in recent years fallen faster than in all but three EU countries, in which people work the third longest hours in Europe for the second lowest wages in the OECD despite having Europe’s third highest housing costs, highest train fares and the second worst levels of fuel poverty.

    It’s Britain which has the least happy children in the developed world, the highest infant mortality rate in Western Europe and some of the worst child poverty in the industrialised world. It’s British elderly people who are the fourth poorest pensioners in the EU. It’s Britain which has the eighth biggest gender pay gap in Europe and child care costs much higher than most European countries.

    It’s Britain which has a wealth gap twice as wide as any other EU country, Europe’s greatest regional inequality, productivity 16% behind the average for advanced economies and the worst record on industrial production of the rich world. It’s Britain whose elite has a radical ideology: 40% of the total value of all privatisations in the Western world between 1980 and 1996 happened in the UK; and it’s Britain’s parliament which is uniquely undemocratic, with its noxious combination of first past the post and an unelected second chamber, yet holds more centralised power than almost any other legislature in the developed world. With all that, it should be no surprise that Britain has the lowest level of trust in our politicians.

    Incidentally, ‘why don’t I move’? Someone might have aimed that jibe at your relatives once, ‘if you want to be British, I can tell you where the boat is.’ But that’s just offensive, and juvenile. This is my home. The home of my family and friends. In the event of a UI would you forsake your elderly parents, those of your spouse, everyone you would never see again to move to Britain? If so I pity you. I’ve said this before, when people suggested Nationalists wouldn’t vote for a UI if it meant a drop in their income: would you vote for a UI if it meant you’d be better off? Is your Unionism for sale? Try and think of Nationalists as people, just like you, with actual principles that can’t be bought and sold for a few percent either way on your take home wage. Antrim man, and will be ’til I die. I’m going nowhere.

  • http://www.secondnature.ie Michael

    Forkhandles – you keep on believing that and meantime NI continues to sit in the bog and everyone else goes about their business caring less and less year by year.

    “only the high end remains in Europe” – as if that must be a really bad thing

    It’s not like ROI is waiting for yours or anyones validation of what they have or don’t – they just get on and do it and the stats back it up. They don’t even feel that NI is a threat to them in terms of competing for the jobs. They are now starting to aggressively recruit NI undergrads who can get a free University education down there.

    I work a fair bit in Dublin and I can assure you that many of those who work in google and ebay and linked in and twitter and yahoo and….and….and…..are very well paid and dump heaps of money into the local economy. Not just the workers but those who would buy office space, rent homes, build infrastructure at the city district level, transport links.

    The docklands is about to undergo another major office expansion as is Citywest. Titanic quarter is getting one new office block – maybe.

  • DC

    I work a fair bit in Dublin and I can assure you that many of those who work in google and ebay and linked in and twitter and yahoo and….and….and…..are very well paid and dump heaps of money into the local economy.

    So there shouldn’t be any confusion about why consumer spending fell in the last year – once you’ve accepted that the headline growth rate in total employment is unreliable and factor in declining weekly income.

    That’s why domestic demand remains flat. That’s why consumer spending is still falling. There’s no puzzle here.

    Just an economy that is stagnating.

    - See more at: http://www.irishleftreview.org/2014/03/20/ireland-jobs-river-flows-uphill/

  • Neil

    DC,

    according to the left review:

    However, at the same time, weekly income was falling. Overall wages (weekly earnings) fell in the last quarter we have data for (the 3rd quarter of 2013)

    Hmm. Troubling. But then over at the beeb:

    Only Greek, Portuguese and Dutch workers have had a steeper decline [than the UK] in hourly wages, the figures showed.

    So all is not rosy in the Irish garden, but at least it’s better than the British garden. Yes we cannot ignore that a recession occurred. No one is trying to. And you cannot dismiss the effect of inflation in determining how well off people are. In the UK:

    the third longest hours in Europe for the second lowest wages in the OECD

    Now me old son, you cannot polish shite, regardless of how hard you scour the internet for evidence that it’s silver. The UK and Ireland both went into a recession, and no one’s arguing that, say, the UK’s debt is less serviceable than that of Ireland’s. The UK owes ten times more, but then as a proportion of GDP it’s much less than Ireland’s. For now. But then some deluded souls would rather have happier kids than more money. I’m one of ‘em. Maybe if at some point you can drag yourself away from the defense of life in the UK for the sake of Unionism, you could acquaint yourself with how crap the situation is in this country (and I mean the UK, not ‘Are We A Country’ NI where the situation is worse). See link above with numerous backlinks for evidence.

    If you’re intensely wealthy you’re in the right place. If you’re not, you may want to see if there’s some alternative or get back to beer and bingo. Altogether now “Once upon a time… ‘Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves’.” Not any more bud. ‘Times they are a changing’.

  • DC

    I just recommended your post as a thank you for letting me know we are living in changed / changing times.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Gopher,

    I hear you, but no, I don’t think I’m getting caught up in this (any more than I can avoid).

    There are several aspects to Alliance’s message but the one that perhaps gets a bit less profile is that neither it, nor any other party, can by their actions do anything that weakens or strengthens any specific constitutional position. You cannot preserve the union by voting for a unionist. You cannot make a united Ireland likely by voting for a nationalist. As such, politics should not be about trying to deal with this but should instead be about trying to solve the problems that are within our gift to solve.

    For Alliance to do what you, and some other people, say they expect – to pick a specific constitutional position and stick to it – would be a betrayal of the party’s message. The party would be accused of being hypocritical and rightly so. You cannot say “let’s stop arguing about the border, but by the way we think we should keep it”.

    The idea is to try to get people to stop voting along these tribal lines. If I believed that this could not be done, I would be advocating that Alliance should close up shop and go home – which is what they may as well do if they were to take a soft pro-union line.

    I have been accused several times on Slugger and elsewhere of being a unionist despite me going to great pains to point out that I am no such thing. According to one version of the theory, I am a unionist simply because I do not agitate for the ending of partition. You will see that this is ridiculous. It is equally ridiculous that Alliance are committing some sort of betrayal by having party members and representatives who have opinions on Irish reunification.

  • Old Mortality

    Morpheus
    22/3 @4:08pm
    ‘…and British/Irish governments are bound to carry out the wishes of the people.’
    Are you sure about that? Won’t there have to be a referendum in the RoI as well?