Lo is aiming high but needs to figure how not to frighten our jumpy ethnic horses…

5 views

Interesting comments from Brian Feeney and our own Gladys Ganiel on Sunday Politics… In short, Feeney thinks Alliance will suffer in Belfast but it will bring Anna Lo nationalist votes outside its own natural area. Gladys doesn’t think it’s worth the burn to their base.

She could be right. In today’s Irish News Tom Kelly, who spent a bit of time at the Alliance Party conference reckons, that even as a short term tactic it has the capacity to tie the party in a number of very awkward policy knots:

South Belfast and its rarified air of liberal self-aggrandizement is not the same as the Bible belt country. The flags issue has unfairly damaged the Alliance party within loyalist communities and unsurprisingly all of the unionist parties are exploiting this for electoral benefit. Alliance tacticians most know how much damage has been done.

Certainly any prospective Alliance candidates contesting seats east of the Bann in the forthcoming local government elections will not be looking forward to taking Lo with them to canvass. Just when they thought they could knuckle down and escape the flack over the flags debacle – Ms Lo lobs in a green grenade.

Far from impressing nationalists with her newly declared love for all things Irish –Ms Lo has confused them. In an attempt to gain the full traction of pre election publicity the Alliance party chose Lo to spearhead their amendment to the local government bill which called for the Union flag to be flown on all local government buildings on eighteen designated days everywhere from Newry to Newtownabbey and from Derry to Downpatrick. Logically speaking this makes sense but electorally neither Sinn Fein or the SDLP will support its implementation anywhere west of the Bann.

And why would they? As there is no appetite for Union flags from their constituents. So one day Ms Lo wants nationalists to accept the flying of the Union flag in their own areas in line with the official Alliance policy and two days later like David Cameron’s ill-fated “hug a hoodie” remark, Lo love- bombs nationalists while simultaneously alienating many ordinary unionists. Alliance has tried to side step the issue and say her remarks were personal- but there is no personal space in politics.

This goes to the heart of some key assumptions about the limitations of working the middle ground. It’s hard to impossible to create policy innovations from anywhere other than in the deeper reaches of the electorate.

Kelly’s final remarks just about nail it…

Alliance has an important role in Northern Ireland politics and while it sometimes over plays its sense of self-righteousness it has often provided some courageous voices at crucial times. Lo is aiming high but she needs to learn to tread more carefully.

David McWilliams knows what she needs too, but the question is, does anybody have one?

The ethnic GPS approach to conversation is a form of communication whereby we all know more or less what is being said, and who is saying what about whom – but we can never be direct about it.

“O land of password, handgrip, wink and nod…”

, ,

  • Morpheus

    …the Alliance party chose Lo to spearhead their amendment to the local government bill which called for the Union flag to be flown on all local government buildings on eighteen designated days everywhere from Newry to Newtownabbey and from Derry to Downpatrick. Logically speaking this makes sense but electorally neither Sinn Fein or the SDLP will support its implementation anywhere west of the Bann.”

    What is the deal with Anna Lo’s motion last week Mick? As I understand it:

    1. Those who opt to fly The Union Flag 365 days a years (ie. Antrim, Ards, Ballymena, Banbridge, Carrickfergus, Castlereagh, Coleraine, Larne, Newtownabbey and North Down Councils) would have had a reduction in the number of days the flag flies forced on them to Designated Days
    2. Those who opt for neutrality (ie. Cookstown, Derry, Down, Fermanagh, Limavady, Magherafelt, Moyle, Newry and Mourne, Strabane and Omagh) would have a flag flying policy forced upon them preventing them from having neutrality.

    How did the unionist parties vote? Did they vote to reduce the number of days in unionist dominated councils to designated days?

  • Mick Fealty

    Tell us?

  • Morpheus

    No idea, that’s why I was asking.

  • http://www.thedissenter.co.uk thedissenter

    Haven’t and won’t have time, but the interesting looksee would be at the transfers from unionist voters to Alliance in the last stages of counts. This has seen quite a few Alliance creep over the line as ‘least worst’ candidate. Similarly with SDLP. Would think SDLP transfers unlikely to increase, and yet would imagine some unionist voters may think twice about transfer. In this respect the analysis of the shadow council elections will be the most interesting in understanding the electoral outworkings of Ms Lo.

  • Greenflag

    Theres no way an honest politician in Northern Ireland can fail to alienate unionists by speaking his or her mind. . The mere mention of a United Ireland has some them already reaching for their flegs and bunting :(

    The truth will out . Lets hope others of a thoughtful disposition and a genuine interest in the future development of Northern Ireland speak their minds like Anna Lo . What do Northern Ireland voters want ? Another 40 years of usuns and themuns descending in ever diminishing circles going nowhere ?

    As for the jumpy frightened ethnic horses ?

    Maybe it’s past time some of them got down off their high horses . Nobody mentions the frightened ethnic horses on the nationalist or republican side whenever some Unionist politician reiterates his/her desire to remain a loyal to Queenie & Co until death etc etc .

    The usual double standards . Unionist horses can be scared at the merest utterance of a politician ? What gives ? Get over it folks and get used to the idea -Its on it’s way anyway .

  • notimetoshine

    At risk of going off topic I must ask what does this have to do with the task these politicians have been given, to govern effectively and make changes that improve our lives?

    It is wholly depressing that the focus of our political commentators and our political establishment is so caught up with obscure and unimportant issues at the expense of ideas and policies that can and do make a real impact on our lives.

    So far in the run up to these elections I have yet to come across any real discussion on policy and plans for representation. Just the usual constitutional orange and green bickering which sidelines things that will have an impact on our day to day lives.

    I wonder is this because we don’t have a political establishment capable of taking the lead or is it that people in NI don’t care and continue to obsess over (in the grand scheme of things) issues of questionable importance?

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

    Not so much “Whatever You Say, Say Nothing” as “Dont ask Dont say”.
    This has been a formula that.has worked for Alliance…It sounds high minded but is actually a cover for Alliance being overwhelmingly unionist.
    A simple shpw of hands at the Conference would have been interesting.
    For years, I have argued that LetsGetAlongerism is the third tribe.
    And LetsGetAlongerism seeks…honourably …to create a homogenous society.
    The downside is they want it to unionist.

  • DC

    The Alliance Party has done irreparable damage to itself and it’s not about stepping forward but about stepping out of line and needing reined in.

  • aquifer

    Lo the Lundy?

    But when Orange Unionism tries to exclude the Alliance Party, the ultimate gov ni insiders, their electoral game may be up.

    She has called the Unionists’ bluff. What are they going to do?

    Intimidation by street gangs did not work on Naomi.

    What do we get if a war with Alliance escalates?
    Internment for Orangemen? UN peacekeepers?

    Unionists need to stop crying wolf every time they see a puppy.

  • Greenflag

    @ fitzjameshorse ,

    ‘For years, I have argued that LetsGetAlongerism is the third tribe.’

    If you say so -can’t say I’ve heard the message .

    ‘And LetsGetAlongerism seeks…honourably …to create a homogenous society.’

    Whats the problem with that ? Not everybody wants to remain forever tribally moulded in green or orange or red white and blue boxes ?

    ‘The downside is they want it to unionist.’

    So ? again thats their prerogative /choice

    At least they don’t go bananas and foam at the mouth and moisten their underpants anytime somebody says they believe a UI would be a preferable political , economic and social solution to Northern Ireland’s eternally self obsessed navel gazing .

    People may be getting a bit tired of the going nowhere confrontational -tribalistic ritual that the DUP/SF/UUP/SDLP keep serving up as ‘politics ‘ ?

    ‘Unionists need to stop crying wolf every time they see a puppy.’

    I’d have said a puppy’s shadow but it truly is pathetic .

  • Greenflag

    DC ,

    ‘The Alliance Party has done irreparable damage to itself and it’s not about stepping forward but about stepping out of line and needing reined in.’

    Hows the one party unconstitutional monarchical republic of Carrickfergus coming along ? I’d recommend a white flag as your national emblem and that song beloved of perhaps 98% of the population of Ireland -whose title I believe was /has become ?

    ‘I wish I was’nt in Carrickfergus ‘ sung by Dana the Fenian of course ;)

  • DC

    ‘She has called the Unionists’ bluff. What are they going to do?’

    Point out the incoherent triangulation in all of this?

    You see, the triangle is now complete, bottom left is naomi, she’s going with designated days, bottom right anna ‘are you chris patten in disguise’ lo, she’s going for a united ireland and at the apex, is David Ford, who is or I dunno was agnostic.

    There, that’s your incoherent triangulation, a void into which the Alliance may well fall.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Morpheus

    I don’t believe the Union flag flies all year round at Ards Borough Council offices. As far as I’m aware, it’s only up on designated days. Must check it out.

  • Morpheus

    Just double-checked the EQIA there Alan and Ards flies the flag 365 days a year on its HQ + 4 other buildings – page 14

    http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/nmsruntime/saveasdialog.aspx?lID=2770&sID=1644

  • Greenflag

    DC

    ‘Point out the incoherent triangulation’

    Incoherence is a Unionist trademark . This is why you have fifteen brands of this farcical and out dated ideology . From TUV to DUP to the Fleggers to this latest lot of mujahaddin as per the BBC .

    Three Ulster Unionist Party councillors have walked out of a Down District Council meeting in protest, ahead of a presentation about the Irish language.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-26728156

    Walter Lyons, Desmond Patterson and Robert Burgess left the meeting early, before an address by Irish language development officer Linda Ervine.

    Mr Lyons said the UUP “had to make a stand” because they believe the council is ignoring unionists’ views on Irish.

    Quite right too i.e ignoring unionist views given their views are based on nothing more than sectarian , anti Irish prejudice . Some day Lyons will wake up and discover he’s living in Ireland and not Bongo Bongo land or Victorian age Britain .

    On the other hand theres an election coming up and yes Mr Lyons needs the votes of the knucklegrounders just like his fellow Unionists in East Belfast .

    They have learnt nothing -nor will they ever it seems :(

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

    “For years, I have argued that LetsGetAlongerism is the third tribe.
    And LetsGetAlongerism seeks…honourably …to create a homogenous society.”

    @fjh,

    If you mean tribe in the sense of ethnic group–unlike Turgon, who contends that tribe means any group–44 years is a rather short period of time to make an ethnic group. What are the great events that make up its mythology? The founding in April 1970? The victory of getting the NIO to reinstate PR-STV as the franchise in 1973 for local and Assembly elections? The election of Naomi Long to Robinson’s seat in 2010?

    “The downside is they want it to unionist.”

    Maybe this is because after the Hunger Strikes nationalist voters in majority nationalist areas wouldn’t vote for or transfer to any party that didn’t put a united Ireland at the top of its agenda–either out of conviction or out of fear. In this respect unionist voters seem to be marginally more open minded. Although the fleggers in East and North Belfast and Carrickfergus may be going through something similar to what the nationalists went through in 1981-82 and this may shrink Alliance’s electoral area even more. But the party itself remains neutral on the border.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Morpheus

    I had checked online and had read what you are quoting. I asked my wife to drive past Ards council office in Church St. to have a look, when she was out last night. Ards council office has two flag poles but they have no flags flying on them. The Queens Hall (council owned) in Regent St. which houses the library has a flag pole but no flag flying. The town hall in Conway Square has two flag poles and has a flag from a twinned council in South Carolina?? on one and possibly an Ards council flag on the other. There is no Union flags on council buildings in Newtownards. There is , however, a Union flag in Conway Square flying beside the statue of WW2 hero and SAS co founder Blair Mayne but I am unsure if it is on council property.

  • Morpheus

    I’ll take your word for it Alan having never been to Ards or Newtownards :) – I am just going by what the council said in the EQIA

  • Alan N/Ards

    That’s ok. No harm done. Not all of us unionist’s are obsessed with flags and flag flying. The same goes for the irish language Greenflag. Linda Ervine appears to be a remarkable women. Ta suil agam go bhfuil la brea agat.

  • Greenflag

    tjmitch57 ,

    ‘Although the fleggers in East and North Belfast and Carrickfergus may be going through something similar to what the nationalists went through in 1981-82 ‘

    I haven’t read of any fleggers going on hunger strike or starving themselves to death nor would I recommend they adopt such a strategy in order to have their ‘union jack ‘ fly 365 days a year -unlike anywhere else in the UK . Twaddell Ave is not the Maze .What it is -is a group of loyalists who have yet to catch up and adapt to the changing demographic circumstances of Belfast and Northern Ireland .

    What nationalists went through in 1980/1981 was neither from fear nor conviction . It was quite simply communal anger at British Government then policy in Northern Ireland as regards the hunger strikers . You don’t get 100,000 plus people attending a hunger strikers funeral out of fear .The electoral impact of the 1981 crisis took several years to work through but it did give SF a foothold in NI electoral politics . SF ‘s subsequent success has less to do with SF’s political skills but more to do with the SDLP’s image as a carpet for Unionism to walk all over and of course on the continuing inability of Unionist politicians both DUP and UUP to recognise that it”s no longer 1965 or 1920 .
    The walk out by 3 UUP councillors prior to a discussion on the Irish language is just another in a growing list of political idiocies -more can be expected in the coming election as UUP strive to out DUP the DUP in their ‘unionist credentials ‘ while the TUV will endeavour to outunionist both . It would be hilarious if it wasn’s pathetic but you can bet your retirement and life savings that all of their skullduggery and gamesmanship will make not a jot of difference to the lives of the people of East Belfast.

    In that respect the Alliance Party is way ahead of the other parties if not in votes then in it’s adaptation to the future of NI and relations between Britain and Ireland .

    The Alliance Party is the ‘glue ‘ that prevents Northern Ireland from descending into another generation or two of conflict and wasted lives . Northern Ireland now more than ever before needs more glue in it’s politics which is why it needs more Naomi Longs and Anna Lo’s .

  • zep

    It was the silly billy unionists of East Belfast that elected an Alliance MP, just thought I would point that out before another thread descends into juvenile remarks about ‘Lundies’ and sectarian slurs. It is bizarre, the amount of this that seems to come from nationalist-leaning commenters intent on lampooning the sort of people who don’t actually venture on to Slugger. There is plenty of real and substantial debate to be had on here.

    I would say that while the major parties agree (as they seem to) that the constitutional issue is not settled, then any remarks an Alliance rep. makes on said issue are fair game for debate, and anyone who allocates their vote on the basis of those remarks is no worse than any of the rest of our electorate.

    People don’t care, deep deep down, about flags. They care about winning. We were sold the GFA as a win for both communties, which it can’t have been. We say we want compromise but we only want it on our own terms. How many of us here on this site will admit that? What does the ‘peace process’ mean to the DUP and SF and their supporters? Definitely not the same thing. Was the GFA a vehicle to bring to an end 30-odd years of violence and finally deliver a stable NI, locked into the UK (and thus worth the pain of prisoner releases, and going into government with the IRA?) or was it a stepping stone to a UI, a pause for breath, a recognition of failure of force of arms and an accumulation of gains made so far (and thus worth the pain of decommissioning arms, acceding to a democratic vote). It can’t have been both.

  • Greenflag

    ‘It was the silly billy unionists of East Belfast that elected an Alliance MP, ‘

    There are voters in East Belfast capable of having a wider vision. By taking off their ‘unionist ‘ blinkers and voting for Naomi Long they have proven they are a force to be recognised and heeded . The DUP have responded by picking a candidate who has been ‘groomed ‘ to appear less extreme so as not to offend those unionist East Belfast folk who might still prefer to vote for somebody who has shown she’s not afraid to speak out against the thugs no matter where they come from !

    ‘People don’t care, deep deep down, about flags.’

    They don’t ? Some do as why else would they spend a year on the streets wearing them or setting fire to them on bonfires ?

    ‘ They care about winning.’

    Win what ? They’ve all lost . They’re in a game where each side loses .It’s a question of competing to see who loses least.

    ‘ We were sold the GFA as a win for both communties, which it can’t have been. ‘

    Caveat emptor . Those evil Americans and British and Irish Governments twisted our arms and forced poor Mr Trimble to sign what he really did’nt want to sign ?

    ‘We say we want compromise but we only want it on our own terms.’

    The Alliance Party is the only party that is ‘big ‘ on compromise as far as I can see . So in that sense they are as per your above comment out of step with 90% of NI voters.

    ‘It (GFA )can’t have been both.’

    Logic and reason would agree with you . But in the quantum world of NI sectarian /constitutional politics -neither sufficed . The GFA as it is- is all that can work and as we all know even that is seen to be problematic .

    Without the GFA there would be no NI Assembly . It was the only way to get nationalist/republicans and unionist/loyalists under the same roof and talking to each other instead of shooting at each other.

    Jaw jaw is still better than war war or is it ?

  • zep

    “There are voters in East Belfast capable of having a wider vision. By taking off their ‘unionist ‘ blinkers and voting for Naomi Long they have proven they are a force to be recognised and heeded .”

    What does ‘taking off the unionist blinkers’ mean? Voting on something other than constitutional preference? If I voted Alliance in 2010 am I no longer a unionist for it? You bandy ‘unionist’ about like it’s a dirty word. It’s not; it’s a politcal preference, one of many that influence people’s voting. If more of NI did likewise we would be better off.

    “They don’t ? Some do as why else would they spend a year on the streets wearing them or setting fire to them on bonfires ?”

    Because of what they represent, to their minds.

    “Win what ? They’ve all lost . They’re in a game where each side loses .It’s a question of competing to see who loses least.”

    Winning the war that was fought, and which we are still fighting in different ways.

    “Caveat emptor . Those evil Americans and British and Irish Governments twisted our arms and forced poor Mr Trimble to sign what he really did’nt want to sign ?”

    Who mentioned Trimble? I pointed out the sacrifices made by a range of parties in my post. We voted on the GFA anwyay so the signatories are just one part of the deal – had it been rejected by the electorate it wouldn’t matter a jot which politicians supported it.

    “Jaw jaw is still better than war war or is it ?”

    Of course it is – but nobody should be surprised that an imperfect agreement designed to get people to drop the guns and sit round a table doesn’t automatically equate to eternal bliss.

  • Son of Strongbow

    For many of the nationalist commentators ‘unionist’ is indeed a “dirty word”. In their simplified sectarian worldview it’s always the Prods wot done it.

    They usually extend this oft laboured point to hurrah a future ‘united’ Ireland when, (a) unionist scales will fall from themuns eyes and they will see afresh through nationalist vision, or, (b) the rump unionist community will be quickly sidelined, ignored and the Golden Green Futuretime will unfold.

    Of course the baleful countenance that some turn on unionists fails to register that it is in unionist communities that those nice Alliance types pop up as elected representatives.

    Naomi Long was successful in East Belfast. Such a turn of events would have been impossible in West Belfast (notwithstanding the ‘quality’ ;) of the MP antecedents in that side of the city).

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

    “I haven’t read of any fleggers going on hunger strike or starving themselves to death nor would I recommend they adopt such a strategy in order to have their ‘union jack ‘ fly 365 days a year -unlike anywhere else in the UK .”

    @Greenflag,

    For all that people disparage the intelligence of the fleggers, they are too smart for that.

    “What nationalists went through in 1980/1981 was neither from fear nor conviction . It was quite simply communal anger…”

    People have quite primitive nervous systems and whether the emotion that is driving a reaction is fear or anger it often ends up being expressed in the same way. So whether a mob burns down an embassy out of anger and a different mob sets up roadblocks and riots out of fear, the end results are the same. I don’t know how widespread the reaction to the Alliance flag vote is in East Belfast, but it could easily be enough to reverse what was an election held under unusual circumstances in that constituency in 2010.

    In the early 1980s the nationalist vote west of the Bann shifted to the greener part of the spectrum with many SDLP voters shifting to Sinn Fein after it emerged and other voters shifting from Alliance to the SDLP. It is possible that a similar reaction could occur in Westminster constituencies with heavy loyalist concentrations east of the Bann with the result that Alliance voters shift to the UUP and NI21. It is too early to tell at this point.

  • Framer

    Just as the carriage passed the chapel door after a generation so most Catholics voting Alliance switch to nationalist candidates in time. It is hard to believe and difficult to remember that Alliance once had councillors in West Belfast.

  • Greenflag

    ‘the end results are the same. ‘

    Depends on the mob , the circumstances , geographical location , state of technological or political development and finally the individual /individuals leading or being led by the ‘mob ‘.

    One mob removed the Russian Czar and another put Hitler in power . Several mobs throughout the Middle East and far eastern Europe are as of now overthrowing the established order .

    As to

    ‘but it could easily be enough to reverse what was an election held under unusual circumstances in that constituency in 2010.’

    Of course . On the other hand as you state above perhaps the fleggers will wake up and be doubly smart and keep Naomi in the Assembly . Now that could expedite the arrival of the DUP into the 20th century which would be a positive development for NI.

  • Greenflag

    Zep ,

    ‘What does ‘taking off the unionist blinkers’ mean?

    Exactly what it states -looking at the wider issues and not simply the constitutional issue as that in any event can only be changed via a referendum of all the voters of Northern Ireland and NOT by the Assembly .

    ‘You bandy ‘unionist’ about like it’s a dirty word.’

    Its just the opposite of Fenian/Republican /Taig etc right ?

    “If more of NI did likewise we would be better off.’

    Alas thats NOT been the lesson learned from history The British Government has had to abolish/suspend Unionist dominated Stormont how many times ? 4 ? 5 ? I’ve lost count .

    ‘Because of what they represent, to their minds.’

    Some minds are in need of opening then are they not ?

    ‘Winning the war that was fought, and which we are still fighting in different ways.’

    The war is over -if you are still fighting it it just means you can’t get used to peace or adapt to changed circumstances. .

    ‘Who mentioned Trimble?’

    I did .I recall Mr Trimble having serious doubts about the GFA but in the end the then British Prime Minster and George Mitchell the American envoy convinced him that if he did’nt sign up the Unionist cause would suffer much more so than the Republicans or words to that effect .

    ‘had it been rejected by the electorate’

    It wasn’t . 90% of nationalists/republicans voted for it and 50% of Unionists giving it a 70% approval over all . And it remains the only game in town and will do so until the next ‘collapse ‘ of Stormont .

    ‘nobody should be surprised that an imperfect agreement designed to get people to drop the guns and sit round a table doesn’t automatically equate to eternal bliss.’

    Actually I’m surprised it’s lasted as long as it has . As there is’nt any practical alternative in the short term – it’s probably as good as it gets .

  • Greenflag

    SOS

    For many of the unionist commentators ‘republican ’ is indeed a “dirty word”. In their simplified sectarian worldview it’s always the Fenians wot done it.

    They usually extend this oft laboured point to hurrah a future British as Finchley Northern Ireland when, (a) republican scales will fall from themuns eyes and they will see afresh through unionist tunnel vision, or, (b) the republican community will recall the good old days of unionist one party rule and the union jack flying every day over Belfast City Hall a reminder to all and sundry that though Belfast is in Ireland it really isn’t in Ireland

    Good luck with that .

  • Comrade Stalin

    It is hard to believe and difficult to remember that Alliance once had councillors in West Belfast.

    Yes, until the IRA began kneecapping them.

  • zep

    “Its just the opposite of Fenian/Republican /Taig etc right ?”

    Genuinely don’t understand the point you’re trying to make here (if any) – why use such offensive language?

    “Alas thats NOT been the lesson learned from history The British Government has had to abolish/suspend Unionist dominated Stormont how many times ? 4 ? 5 ? I’ve lost count .”

    Apologies what I was trying to get across was we would all be better off if more people voted on the wider issues, not if more people voted for unionist parties. I don’t even vote for unionist parties, and I’m a unionist ;-)

    “Some minds are in need of opening then are they not ?”

    “The war is over -if you are still fighting it it just means you can’t get used to peace or adapt to changed circumstances.”

    I personally am not, however I certainly recognise your description in others, sadly.

    “I did .I recall Mr Trimble having serious doubts about the GFA but in the end the then British Prime Minster and George Mitchell the American envoy convinced him that if he did’nt sign up the Unionist cause would suffer much more so than the Republicans or words to that effect .”

    Okeedoke, so you intially made a sarcastic point implying I was whinging about Trimble’s arm being twisted (when I wasn’t) and then you back it up yourself? Bizarre.

    ‘had it been rejected by the electorate’

    It wasn’t . 90% of nationalists/republicans voted for it and 50% of Unionists giving it a 70% approval over all . And it remains the only game in town and will do so until the next ‘collapse ‘ of Stormont .”

    Totally correct – I was using the hypothetical scenario of the electorate rejecting the GFA to illustrate that we had the final say on it, not the signatories. I wasn’t suggesting it should have been rejected, or that we have a better alternative.

    “Actually I’m surprised it’s lasted as long as it has . As there is’nt any practical alternative in the short term – it’s probably as good as it gets.”

    I totally agree with this.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Comrade Stalin

    “It is hard to believe and difficult to remember that Alliance once had councillors in West Belfast.”

    Yes, until the IRA began kneecapping them.

    ?????

    Why was they kneecapped?

  • Greenflag

    Zep ,

    I’m sorry that you find Fenian/ Republican offensive terms -I don’t . Quite the opposite in fact. Nor do I find Unionist an offensive term even if some are known to wear blinkers at times . I’m sure you’ll find some of their opposites donning the same when it’s required .The NI political circus is the eternal sectarian circle that never ends and always begins anew only to end in another circle . The political horses in front have to wear blinkers to stay ahead or in the race such is the nature of the NI polity as it was/is and will ever be until they find a racecourse where blinkers are not obligatory .

    ‘we would all be better off if more people voted on the wider issues, ‘

    Of course but how do you get there ? Voting DUP/SF/UUP/TUV ? till Godot finally turns up in another universe ?

    If I misunderstood you it must be my eh ‘primitive nervous system ‘as per tjmitch57 above .or your wordage loses your meaningage . Don’t fuss about it . It happens on slugger . Even to GF on occassion. No need to apologise . I’m no slouch at telling those who respond to my comments if they need to . Of course they don’t have to which is their choice.

    I was’nt being sarcastic re Trimble just stating the bald facts re the GFA which to his credit Trimble signed up to even if under duress .

    Your point re the electorate having the final say in any constitutional change needs repeating so that people can broaden their voting choice to elect those from the AP, NI21 and other parties who are shall we say more accommodating in their vision of the political future of NI than the established parties .

    SOS’s point re the AP being more successful in East Belfast than in West Belfast is valid and they are the party in the middle in Belfast . We’ve read on slugger of the catholic ‘unionist ‘ vote although it seems to have expressed itself more in later preference votes . The DUP/UUP fear the AP for many reasons but the primary one is that the AP even if agnostic on the union and even if a few envision a UI as a better place for both NI communities – know that in the 50/50 constituencies the AP are capable of making inroads into the DUP plurality and can unseat UUP MP’s who have’nt had a new idea or political thought in 50 years .

    So in the upcoming election I hope that the AP do well . They are at this time the only wedge that can undo the current logjam in NI politics . Anna Lo’s reach out to nationalists and Naomi Long’s bravery in standing up to loyalist thuggery should be rewarded by the voting public of all denominations and none .

  • zep

    ‘I’m sorry that you find Fenian/ Republican offensive terms -I don’t.’ – just the former, in its pejorative sense.

  • zep

    Oh, and ‘taig’ which you also used above.

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

    “Why was they kneecapped?”

    @McSlaggert,

    Maybe for using proper grammar.

  • Greenflag

    zep ,

    When and if you get to the end of your circle you’ll find the beginning-again ;) It might take several universes to get there but journey of thousand miles begins with first step according to Confucius or was it Chew En Lie ?

  • Greenflag

    tmitch57 ,

    McSlaggart speaks Hibernian -Northern Dialect most likely not the Queen’s English or RP as it’s called by the folks in Belgravia .

    His question to Comrade Stalin deserves an answer . Comrade Stalin made an allegation re AP candidates being knee capped in West Belfast . Such a serious comment by CS deserves evidence the when and where -otherwise CS is undermining his credibility I would think .

    Let it be said that any physical attacks on any candidate or threat of attack should earn any attacker 20 years jail time with no parole or appeal on conviction .

  • zep

    “When and if you get to the end of your circle you’ll find the beginning-again It might take several universes to get there but journey of thousand miles begins with first step according to Confucius or was it Chew En Lie ?”

    Random wafflings. You could address the points I have raised, namely:

    -use of sectarian language
    -odd mocking-then-praising references to Trimble

    …but that might be asking too much.

  • zep

    BTW Greenflag don’t hold your breath for a response from CS, he will likely tell you to ‘dry your eyes’ or ‘stop being a whiny crybaby’ – that’s his or her preferred level of debate I believe!

  • IrelandNorth

    It can’t have been pure coincidence that a Hong Kong woman shold have been chosen to fly a united Ireland kite to test which way the wind blew within unionist middle earth, and how strongly. But surely the logic of unionism, whether green or blue, orange or red extends not just to N Ireland but to Ulster more organically, as much as to Great Britain and Ireland more integrally (ie the British and/or Irish Isles). Surely it’s a whopping oxymoronism as a generic Ulster unionist to perpetuate a divided Ulster much longer.

  • Greenflag

    Zep,

    CS ought reply to McSlaggart -It was he who asked for an answer . I can hold my breath underwater for 5 minutes but on slugger for 5 years :)

    CS has been on slugger a fair oul time and I respect his contributions even if I don’t always agree with them .

    He’s right about AP though .I’ve been looking at the numbers from the last Assembly including the turnout and NI could be in for a pleasant surprise but I’ll only have time to post later today or morrow .

    In the meantime the constituional status of NI will remain as it is and can only be changed by referendum and NOT BY THE ASSEMBLY .Ergo voting AP makes perfect non sectarian political sense .