After the elections and the pastor, unionists will have to ditch bigotry to survive

“I would still trust them to go down to the shops for me  and give me the right change.”

The horribly condescending bigotry of Peter Robinson’s puzzling intervention in the row of over his friend the pastor recalls the atavism of “to hell with the future and long live the past” that leaves unionism with few friends and precious little defence.  Witness the spreading clamour against him which his friends will claim is only an excuse to bash poor Peter. Certainly the Irish News was an odd vehicle to chose . But such is the present political atmosphere that Robinson will have to work a lot harder to dispel the notion that  he was blowing a dog whistle for unionists to unite around the lowest common denominator.   If Islam has barbarism within it unionism has its own.  For Moslems read Catholics. If trust is the issue it was already fragile when  he blew the whistle to support the wretched ayatollah of North Belfast.  It is a hopeless position from which to resume party talks about the future.

A new numbers game in politics has not yet begun but the day is not far off. Quite apart from the effect on community relations, basic political calculation shows that unionist unity based on intransigence will fail to defend the Union as a Catholic majority dawns.  Unionism is terrified about what could happen when that majority arrives and searches for comfort in the opinion polls which record high levels of  political agnosticism.  The real polls showing a respectable turnout of over 50% give them little cause for comfort. Continuing unionist refusal even to formulate positions over flags  parades and the past will throw more and more young Catholics into the arms of Sinn Fein and fail to attract the moderates from the garden centres and into the polling booths.

Unionism is obsessed with Sinn Fein and at their wits end to try to stem their progress. In the North, this is largely in their own hands. The mythical reasonable person in Northern Ireland would say that the route of parades and the flying of flags are matters which have to be negotiated with workable compromises in mind.  Sinn Fein’s so-called ideology is neither about devilish cunning nor the inevitability of victory. It is a rational political strategy of a kind unionism lacks. Even with power sharing the ground on which is stands is too narrow for its own good. Robinson seemed to realise this but faltered after a generous decision over the Maze backfired and he reverted to default over flags.

Sinn Fein appears magnanimous  by insinuating itself  with considerable success into  the mainstream  Irish tradition which  is reconciling with Britain.  On the other hand the Northern Ireland  of Robinson’s gaffe  is a universe away from the multicultural  UK even with UKIP as a political force and even perhaps from  the Northern Ireland  that’s emerging.

Sinn Fein realised long ago that playing percentages is the game of today. The zero sum which unionism so often choses is the wrong game and amounts to self harm. Sinn Fein is good on the cross community gesture (see the record of the Belfast mayoralty) and is prepared to retreat after probing moves. Equality would logically mean two flags or none and Sinn Fein insists on neither. They appear to have made greater efforts to restrain their even more dangerous extremes. The flegs protests showed how loyalist education in compromise has scarcely begun.

As Yeats put it “ the stone’s in the midst of all.” The roots of all lies the past. Young Catholics and more than Catholics will not accept that the IRA were entirely to blame for the Troubles. For them the account is more balanced. The records of a half century of single party government and decades of Army occupation and nihilistic loyalist violence  have to be weighed in the account. Clean hands are needed to demolish Sinn Fein’s claim that the armed struggle was justified. There is a genuine and complex debate to be had about moral equivalence in the Troubles which is being avoided by Sinn Fein’s tactical astuteness  and Unionism’s misplaced moral certainties. Rival ideologies which rely ultimately on personal conviction and the underlying threat of force have strong undemocratic roots which need to be dug up and examined. Without such a candid exercise the past will continue to dog the present and blight the future.

But whatever the verdicts of history, trust is the issue today. Nationalism’s fair gains should not be seen as a loss for unionism. Sinn Fein’s claim that nationalists have to fight for every issue resonates beyond their ranks.  Nationalists have shown themselves more willing than Unionists to accept that 1998 was a new beginning with all its flaws.  It is becoming clearer every day that unionism needs to match them in commitment in order to flourish and perhaps even survive. In the early 1960s the moderate unionism  and ecumenical Protestantism which were slowly emerging made the fundamental mistake of failing to challenge Paisley and allow him and his kind to claim the moral high ground, with disastrous results. There is no excuse for their successors today to do likewise. Relying on  fear of starting it up all over again would be unwise and is demoralising politics already.

With citizenship a matter of personal choice  our identities are becoming interchangeable . Britishness and Irishness are complementary not in conflict. Surely some unionists exist who can spot the advantages of this transformation for their essential cause and  make political capital  of it for themselves, rather than present it as a  grudging concession to the other side?

But the implications for a stable future will be serious if a unionism with its backs to the wall were to take the other course, adopt the spirit of 1912 and swap roles with the contemporary IRA.

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  • Morpheus

    AG

    I found that reference to Northern Ireland’s upcoming trade mission to Saudi Arabia. Eamonn Mallie tweeted:

    “Will planned FM/DFM trade mission to United Arab Emirates/Saudi Arabia go ahead in September or will there be a Pastor McConnell legacy”

    https://twitter.com/EamonnMallie/status/473216477412491264

    How is Peter Robinson supposed to have an ounce of credibility in that trade mission eh?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Turgon

    “There are a number of levels on which this article is utter rubbish. However, it and the comments after it are illustrative of frequent attempts to demonise unionism just as much as some (possibly including Pastor McConnell) demonise Islam.”

    What are these other levels?

    Brian mentioned pastorgate in the first paragraph, your entire rebuttal was centred around Islam, it does not refer (much) to the numerous other points that he highlighted.

    Perhaps you’re being unfair when you write off the WHOLE blog as you only put forward an argument against the blog’s introduction?

  • gendjinn

    Am Ghobsmacht,

    don’t bother with Turgon, he’s a very smart bigot. He’s smart enough with his language to be a bigot with plausible deniability. He knows it and that’s why he expends so much energy attacking Billy Pilgrim because Billy is the most effective Nationalist denunciator of Turgon & his beloved TUV’s bigotry.

    Just take a wander through his comment history and you’ll see what I mean. Or you can see it at play in this thread with his “the IRA took a few guns therefore they are Nazis, whereas the British gave the Nazis Czechoslovakia but they aren’t Nazis” routine. It’s pretty laughable :)

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    AG,

    Should you follow gendjinn’s suggestion and look at Turgon’s history, I’m sure you’ll agree that he is not a bigot.

  • gendjinn

    Oh Mister_Joe,

    Turgon’s equivocation on the pastor’s bigotry on this thread is sufficient evidence of his own.

    Non-bigots condemn bigotry when it’s in front of them. Bigots don’t. Which is Turgon?

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    gendjinn,

    Perhaps you could help me out by giving a precise definition of bigot.

  • gendjinn

    /ctcp xdcc send Mister_Joe dictionary

    Perhaps you could address the question posed to you?

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    On occasion, I seek the beam in my own eye. What about you?

  • DC

    ‘On occasion, I seek the beam in my own eye.’

    You sure it’s not your cataracts?

  • gendjinn

    On occasion, I seek the beam in my own eye. What about you?

    Huh?

    Do bigots equivocate or use weasel words when confronted with bigotry or do they condemn it without reservation?

  • Zeno

    gendjinn
    “I find their criticism of Islam as the source of all evil to be hypocritical bigotry of the highest order.”

    The world lives in fear of Islamic extremists.We also abhor the murder of innocent girls in honour killings. Last year in Pakistan alone 900 girls were murdered extremely brutally by their own families. Imagine a people who will murder their own child just because they are afraid of losing face. We detest the brutality of beheading soldiers and the lack of respect shown to their victims bodies. We detest their treatment of women and the mutilations they perform on young girls. We hate the people who radicalise young kids into becoming suicide bombers.
    So lets not pretend there is not a problem with Islam for fear we will be called racist. There is a major problem and the decent Muslims need to solve it, because we can’t.

  • gendjinn

    Zeno,

    Your beloved British murdered 12 million in the Deccan plateau.

    If 900 make monsters, what does that make you?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Tac and Gendjinn

    Chaps

    If you are spot on with your suspicions regarding the unlikely event of the British giving up resources and strategic advantage then are you guys of the belief that Britain will not allow Scotland to go her separate way should the yes vote be victorious?

    Scotland has a much more strategically important position than NI, it has a lot more military installations (including Faslane) and it has more resources such as oil, Gas and coal.

    NI has potentially some oil off the North Coast and a few fractured coal seams in east Tyrone.

    It is also a financial black hole

    It would be cheaper for the British to build an aircraft carrier every year than support NI.

    That would be cheaper and be a much greater military asset.

    Just wondering how you’s square that circle, all you say about NI can be applied (and amplified) in the case of Scotland.

  • gendjinn

    Am Ghobsmacht,

    The English have already stolen most of the North Sea oil and unilaterally redrew the sea border to ensure they steal the bulk of it’s future.

    They are not stupid enough to stand in the face of a failed referendum but will do everything they can to ensure the desired outcome.

    NI is not the financial black hole Westminster attempts to make it out out to be. Just as Scotland is net profitable despite the lies from the same.

    If you think trading NI for an aircraft carrier a year is the right military strategy then you are building battleships in 1941.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    DC,

    Good memory. They are gone now. A Moslem doctor removed them.

  • gendjinn

    Am Ghobsmacht,

    I’m not saying they will, I’m supporting tacapall’s position that you cannot trust or believe anything they commit to. Perfidious Albion was earned legitimately and they have broken every single treaty or commitment made to the Irish for almost a thousand years. With a track record like that you can understand our skepticism.

  • Jagdip

    The BBC is reporting that the two Pakistanis (who will almost definitely be Muslims, though the BBC doesn’t state this) have been assaulted in Belfast city centre, hours after their windows were put in,

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-27655794

    When the “first” minister gives his imprimatur to the pastor who characterised Islam as “satanic”, what else can you expect.And why the silence from the health minister, who is, according to the BelTel, quoting a Muslim doctor, a “follower” of the pastor.

    What an abomination, the pastor, the first minister and, by extension, the party he leads.

  • tacapall

    AG whatever why Scotland vote, its irrelevant – Will they still be loyal to the Crown ?

  • Reader

    gendjinn: I’m not saying they will, I’m supporting tacapall’s position that you cannot trust or believe anything they commit to. Perfidious Albion was earned legitimately and they have broken every single treaty or commitment made to the Irish for almost a thousand years. With a track record like that you can understand our skepticism.
    But would you trust an Englishman to go shopping for you?

  • babyface finlayson

    gendjinn
    “you cannot trust or believe anything they commit to. Perfidious Albion was earned legitimately and they have broken every single treaty or commitment made to the Irish for almost a thousand years. With a track record like that you can understand our skepticism.”
    Are you attributing negative stereotypes to a people based on the actions of their ancestors?
    What does that sound like?

  • Morpheus

    I think its way too easy to say that the only reason there are calls for a public apology is to have a go at unionism. In fact I think it’s lazy mixed in with MOPEry. I hear Gregory Campbell throwing in a dollop of whataboutery regarding SF and their past as well.

    This has feck all to do with SF – this is about The First Minister of Northern Ireland embarrassing the country he represents on a global scale by defending a Pastor who called another faith satanic and evil. The comments for all to see about the shops, available on news reports, youtube, social media etc just add insult to injury.

    He has to publically apologize so when he goes to Muslim countries looking for foreign investment and jobs for the people he represents he has a leg to stand on – at the minute he doesn’t. How is he supposed to go on the trade mission to Saudi Arabia in September?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    babyface finlayson

    ‘Are you (gendjinn) attributing negative stereotypes to a people based on the actions of their ancestors?’

    Sorry to interrupt, couldn’t help overhearing.

    I think it’s pretty clear that gendjinn has said one cannot (and an Irishman especially cannot) trust the British state / government, due to its long record of duplicity, deceit and worse, past and present.

    Which seems an eminently defensible position, to me.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Morpheus
    I totally agree with your comments. Robinson (at the very least) needs to make a public apology. I personally believe that he should apologise and then resign as first minister. His behaviour has been disgraceful. I don’t believe that I have ever come across a politician with less grace than him.

  • Icky

    Morpheus,
    I also agree with your comments. Recent developments have been used and exploited as an opportunity for political point scoring, and in doing so people seem to be forgetting the difference between what is right and what is wrong. On Saturday I saw that LADFLEG shared a picture on Twitter from a Jim Wells’ staffer calling Anna Lo a xenophobe and hypocrite, which doesn’t seem to have been widely picked up on. Rather than condemning racism and intimidation and rallying around to support victims of racist attacks, party members (with the exception of 1 MLA on Twitter, though there may be others that I haven’t picked up on) seem to be using this to further attack the Alliance Party.
    Grim.

  • Zeno

    gendjinn
    “Zeno,
    Your beloved British murdered 12 million in the Deccan plateau.
    If 900 make monsters, what does that make you?”

    lol, they are not my British. I’m not loyal to any Government or Monarch. I have an Irish and a British Passport, but only because its convenient. I’ve no need to be a member of any tribe or any religion. I’ll condemn any band of savages murdering anyone.

  • Neil

    Robinson’s judgement should surely be in question now within his own party. All he had to do with the hate preacher guy was not comment, but now he’s painted himself into a corner and as usual it’s down to his own personality. The comments were foolish and unnecessary but now the calls will grow with every racist attack in Belfast for him to apologise. Robinson doesn’t like apologising. He’ll continue to hold out until he has no choice and all the while every news article about a racist attack will now reference Robinson specifically. If (or when) he eventually realises he needs to apologise publically, how will people see that? As an apology for the comments, or an apology for the subsequent attacks? It will be given as the former and seen (by some anyway) as the latter. All of this could have been avoided by simply doing nothing, saying nothing, it’s entirely of Robinson’s own making.

  • Banjaxed

    And still they dig holes for themselves – The Display Ur Preudices Party.

    Heard both Dodds and Nelson on Radio Ulster this morning endulging in nothing other than whataboutery. ‘Aye, but look what the Shinners done’. As Morph says above, this has nothing to do with SF. Pastor McConnell provided the shovel which was willingly taken up by Peter Robinson who went on to dig the biggest political hole of his entire career.

    So he sends out his two trusty lieutenants who, unmoved by the crass insensitivity of the initial comments and PR’s catastrophic follow-on, try to deflect the issue by raising SF’s past. Wrong call – again!

    Therefore, for clarification purposes, perhaps PR could enlighten us, his listeners, who, in our own ignorant incapability in the proper use of the English language, have apparently misinterpreted the words that he ‘would trust a Muslim to go to the shops…’, etc. What exactly, Peter, did we misinterpret? Furthermore, conditional apologies like, ‘IF I offended anyone, I COULD apologise…,’ just don’t cut the mustard, you know.

    But perhaps it is we who are the condescending ignoramuses in this matter. If so, mea culpa, etc. However, I think most NI people and, in light of his pathetic and disastrous follow-ups, the greater world audience know far, far better.

  • Banjaxed

    Oops!! ‘Prejudices’

  • Alan N/Ards

    Neil and Banjaxed

    Both of your comments are spot on. Robinson is his own worst enemy. He needs to go. There isn’t any defence for his comments.

  • DC

    Robinson’s judgement should surely be in question now within his own party. All he had to do with the hate preacher guy was not comment, but now he’s painted himself into a corner and as usual it’s down to his own personality. The comments were foolish and unnecessary but now the calls will grow with every racist attack in Belfast for him to apologise.

    Bang on the money Neilly, bang on, gratuitous comments by the FM which were made before the Pastor’s second appearance on Nolan and after his second appearance with the Pastor coming across as rather thick and bigoted on the topic of Islam it made things much worse for him, as impossible as that could be. Now add in all the racist attacks and so on.

    All Robbo simply had to do was pick up the phone privately and say “Pastor, I don’t care what they say about you, I think you’re alright!”

  • Zeno

    What is the issue here? Is anyone really surprised that Robbo turned out to be a bit of an oul bigot, a bit racist, homophobic and with a smidgeon of sectarianism? No, the issue is that we are surprised that he was actually stupid enough to display it globally.
    The whataboutery case they are making to try and deflect away from this actually is more interesting. It hinges on whether you are allowed to condemn someone as a racist if you yourself are guilty of even worse atrocities? Is it as simple as “Pot Kettle Black” or a lot more complicated?

    Just in case there is any confusion. I haven’t given an opinion.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    gendjinn

    I’m still not with you I’m afraid.

    IF the UK will hold onto Scotland (through fair means or foul) then what use is NI?

    With regards to airspace it’s a non-starter, most of the Atlantic Seaboard airspace is Scottish (or Donegalish), there would be the faintest corridor available.

    So, if airspace is key to the extent that NI would be denied the right to leave the UK then Scotland is definitely not going anywhere.

    As for being loyal to the crown? Who knows.

    Maybe in the same way Canada and Australia and lots of other places around the world are.

    what odds if they are
    Resources – we have hardly any.

    This financial blackhole – I’m surprised you said this, I thought the NI money pit was one of the few areas of consensus on slugger?

    The only people I have ever encountered who believe NI is strategically important to the UK (now) are nationalists and a few hardline unionists who think that England is grateful for all the cannon fodder we have provided them.

    With regards to breaking promises and agreements, fair enough, I can see that point and won’t challenge it.

    But please tell me what’s in it for London to hold onto NI?

    Why are we so precious?

    With regards to the aircraftcarrier-per-year, it was a random example.

    You dropped strategic air reach into the argument so I did something similar.
    For the price of sponsoring NI I’m sure the MOD could come up with more efficient means of defending the realm.

    So, please, five reasons why NI is strategically important to the UK and do you consider the Scottish referendum to be a charade?

    —————

    Tac

    “AG whatever why Scotland vote, its irrelevant – Will they still be loyal to the Crown ?”

    If they vote yes and leave the union and England doesn’t stop them, then your argument for England holding onto NI a la “with my cold dead hands” is dead in the water.

    Because they would have then just let go of an ACTUAL source of resources and strategically important positions.

    As for being loyal to the crown? Who knows/

    Maybe in the same way Canada and Australia and lots of other places around the world are.

    what odds if they are?

    Perhaps they’d trace the jacobite heirs?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Am Gobschmacht

    When do you think Ireland stopped being strategically important to England / Britain?

  • Jagdip

    What has Jimbo and his army of 100,000 to say about all this? Not a dickybird on his and his party’s website,since the initial comments by the pastor and the first minister’s response.

    And what, in particular, has Minister Edwin Poots got to say about the whole matter. The BelTel has reported a claim by a Muslim doctor that Minister Poots is a follower of the pastor who made the original comments about Islam being “satanic”

    “Our biggest worry is that our Health Minister is a follower of that pastor”
    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/peter-robinson-islam-row-doctors-may-quit-health-service-30315801.html

    It’s been suggested on here that Minister Poots doesn’t worship at the pastor’s church, but, still, if he is a “follower”, doesn’t Minister Poots need to make a statement. The NI Healt Service really can’t afford to gratuitously offend Muslim doctors and nurses.

  • Zeno

    Reading the comments here has thrown up a question. What is the official position of Republicans on whether NI is of value to the UK. I’ve been told plenty of times that its only a matter of time before the UK ditches NI because its a drain on finance?
    Is there an official position?

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    ‘unionists will have to ditch bigotry to survive’ well then, extinction is on the way as they’re incable of doing with the drug of sectarian hatred not only against foreigners in ‘their wee country’ but of what used to be the minoprity community.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Ah, Am Ghobsmacht:

    “Perhaps they’d trace the jacobite heirs?”

    If only……..

    Just read a neat, well researched little book a few months back about James II (&VII)’s unexpectedly modern style religious toleration policies, “Making Toleration” by an American academic, Scott Sowerby. Just think, kicking poor James out, 1689 and all that jazz was an eery pre-run of the pastor’s (and Peader’s) current rantings….

  • Alan N/Ards

    danielsmoran

    The vast majority of unionist’s are not involved in race attacks, sectarian attacks or indeed any kind of violence. We get on with our lives and try to live in peace. The morons who are doing the evil deeds are a minority. Just like the majority of republican/nationalists who get on with their lives. They are not involved in sectarian or racist attacks. It is only the small moronic, minority who are attacking people and property. I wish they would wise up and try to act in a civilised way like the rest of us.

  • Mark

    If there’s room on the bandwagon Morpheus , I too would like to agree with your remarks ……

    In order for Unionists to survive and ditch bigotry , they need to ditch Peter Robinson . He’s damaged goods whether Unionists like it or not . More racist attacks ( re Jagdip’s post ) will only further alienate the Moslem community and Robinson’s name will be asssociated because of his behaviour . The problem is that he thinks he’s bullet proof and there doesn’t seem any sign of someone within Unionism with the guts / spine / moral backbone to call him on it .

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Alan N/Ards

    ‘The vast majority of unionist’s are not involved in race attacks, sectarian attacks or indeed any kind of violence.’

    The vast majority of ‘unionists’ (sic) vote for DUP, UUP or TUV; all these parties have records of quite alarming ambivalence about attacks, sectarian attacks and indeed all kinds of violence.

    The man at the centre of this racism controversy is the electorally-mandated leader of unionism.

    That’s the reason this issue has gone around the world.

    And that’s the reason for the embarrassment and defensiveness you’re feeling right now.

    (Hence your ‘Nothing to see here folks’ posting.)

  • tacapall

    “If they vote yes and leave the union and England doesn’t stop them, then your argument for England holding onto NI a la “with my cold dead hands” is dead in the water”

    If they vote no nothing changes, if they vote yes they are still subservient to the Crown – In other words no threat and will always defend the interests of the Crown which in turn means the interests of all those bankers and global corporations in London.

    “But please tell me what’s in it for London to hold onto NI”

    The same reason they’ve always had for having a presence in Ireland, its vital for their own security. Could you imagine an independent Ireland free from British interference becoming real friendly with say the Chinese or Russians or any number of Britain’s enemies, take your pick there’s plenty and maybe allowing them to have a military base in Ireland.

    The British presence in Ireland is no different than the American presence in Cuba, its fk all to do with money.

  • gendjinn

    Reader,

    But would you trust an Englishman to go shopping for you?

    The English/British state has a well documented history of reneging on treaties with the Irish. Whether a given man, woman or child on the street is a liar would have to be determined on the merits of the individual.

    But you didn’t really want to discuss facts, you wanted to derail the conversation into touch. Calling an untrustworthy entity, untrustworthy isn’t prejudice, it’s sanity.

  • gendjinn

    babyface finlayson,

    Are you attributing negative stereotypes to a people based on the actions of their ancestors?
    What does that sound like?

    Another one.

    You’re not even attempting to refute the point that the English/British state has for centuries reneged on treaties with the Irish and lied at every turn. That one might suspect it will continue it is not prejudice.

    At what point in the time did this Damascene moment occur in the history of relations between Ireland & the UK?

  • gendjinn

    Am Ghobsmacht,

    Would the fact they are fighting so hard to keep Scotland in the UK means they value it. Right? And we know from history that they will play dirty to get what they want.

    If they were such a drain on the English, why are all of the parties fighting to keep them in the UK?

    Northern Ireland is a bit more ambiguous and on balance I do think the UK govt would respect any border poll. But I would not be surprised if they played dirty to win or even ignored the result. I’d be ignorant of history if I was.

    The Battleship comment was a bit flippant. The point is that all military tech is obsolete, everything you buy depreciates, land doesn’t and is always useful. Especially if even one of your chief responsibilities is contingency planning.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    It’s funny how Ireland North and South panned out. A bit like SF in modern decades the Souths demise was oft predicted, a backward farming country ruled by the Catholic Church, yet it always plodded on and slowly matured in ever way, and even after a massive financial bloody nose it’s still going forward, a high tech dominated economy punching above it’s weight. Meanwhile the industrial secular North seems to have descended into a backward farming country ruled by religious bigots.

    I think HMG often thinks they kept the wrong bit, for sure if they had a clue how it would turn out they’d probably have thought twice.

    Similarly with the Scottish Ref. it was never meant to be this close a call, it was meant to be a walkover for the Union and make Cameron look good. Whoops

    Today, Northern Ireland and Scotland are roughly 10% of the UK population, taxes, and economy, thats pretty important, even if that 10% decides to leave, the running costs of the remainder will stay pretty much the same, as will borrowing levels.

    Whatever about spreading the borrowing across those who remain, the economy and tax take is permanently 10% down.

    On an emotional level Scottish Independence says we are better off with you. Irish unity says every Rebel/Terrorist from Irish history was justified

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    Alan [N’ards 3.46]I was thinking of the unionist political establishment in that post. I agree with you that on both communities people are tuned out of the whole mess created by politicians. it takes only a few knuckle draggers to create a negative image .

  • gendjinn

    RegisterForThisSite,

    I think HMG often thinks they kept the wrong bit, for sure if they had a clue how it would turn out they’d probably have thought twice.

    The failure of Northern Ireland is due to partition. It’s cure is the removal of the border. The success of the south & the absence of the the British government isn’t a correlation it’s the cause.

  • babyface finlayson

    gendjinn
    “Another one” Another what? Something nice I hope.
    I’m not trying to refute your point as I don’t disagree with it.
    But all governments act from self interest treaties or no.
    Do you think any Irish government, that found itself a world power as Britain was for so long, would have acted any more honourably? I don’t.
    So it is the ‘perfidious Albion’ stuff I find tiresoms, as though the English are uniquely villainous.
    Do they have some inherited moustache twirling gene ?
    A current administration will act in their own interests as always as with every nation everywhere.
    That may well be to gently push towards a United Ireland (which I would welcome, by the way) and then run away as fast as possible.

  • gendjinn

    babyface finlayson,

    Are you attributing negative stereotypes to a people based on the actions of their ancestors?
    What does that sound like?

    I’m puzzled. If your 7:56 post is really your point, why attempt to derail the conversation with a strawman response?

    So it is the ‘perfidious Albion’ stuff I find tiresoms, as though the English are uniquely villainous.

    Of course you do, dismissing it is far more preferable than facing the fact that the British state has lied & cheated the Irish century in and century out.

    Asserting that other countries lie, cheat & steal is not really a defense, it’s an admission.

    The original point/question was whether or not the British state can be trusted as regards Scottish & Irish independence, and given the history one shouldn’t be shocked if they can’t be.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Billy

    “The man at the centre of this racism controversy is the electorally – mandated leader of unionism”

    I have already said that he needs to resign regardless of a public apology.

    Am I embarrassed by him? Absolutely.

    Are you saying that the majority of unionist’s are behind the racist attacks or that we support them?

    danielsmoran (whose post that I was responding to) has thankfully clarified what he meant. Thanks Daniel.

    Your comment (Hence your “Nothing to see here folks” posting) is below the belt. Thanks a lot.

  • daf84

    Is a rather self absorbed view to think that theres any strategic interest for the UK, to keep northern Ireland. Its an expensive, alien and violent place, the most racist area in western Europe, whilst being one of the whitest. Its continued status gets in the way of truly good relation with other countrird, not least the republic of Ireland, and the average lLondoner has more in common with a dubliner than a belfastman whether Orange or green. A self interested UK would certainly look to push Northern Ireland away, subtly if necessary.

  • GEF

    Racism is not all the one way, here is a story to prove so.

    “Woman claims she was kicked out of African Arts festival for being white”

    http://metro.co.uk/2014/06/02/woman-claims-she-was-kicked-out-of-african-arts-festival-for-being-white-4747288/

  • tacapall

    “So it is the ‘perfidious Albion’ stuff I find tiresoms, as though the English are uniquely villainous.
    Do they have some inherited moustache twirling gene”

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jun/01/set-record-straight-chinook-crash

    “Set the record straight on Chinook crash

    For 17 years the Ministry of Defence claimed the two pilots were guilty of gross negligence. For 17 years it withheld vital evidence and misled successive inquiries, by omission and commission.

    However, in 2011 Lord Philip issued his report, confirming the airworthiness recommendations issued by the Ministry of Defence’s controller aircraft were “mandated” upon the RAF’s assistant chief of the air staff.

    The charge against the pilots was posthumously lifted, but not before their families had endured years of heartache

    But, Lord Philip did not expand on precisely what was mandated: that the aircraft was not airworthy and “should not be relied upon in any way”.

    Despite this very clear statement, a false declaration was made to RAF aircrew that the aircraft was airworthy and the design sufficiently mature. This act has never been explained or investigated.

    In fact, during Lord Philip’s deliberations, the Ministry of Defence claimed that the RAF was not involved at all in approving the aircraft for RAF use; a deceit which forced a ministerial retraction and apology. None involved have ever been called to account for their actions. It is time to set the record straight”

    I dont know if they have any moustache twirling gene but they obviously have a devious and callous mindset that hasn’t changed much over the centuries.

  • babyface finlayson

    gendjinn
    “So it is the ‘perfidious Albion’ stuff I find tiresoms, as though the English are uniquely villainous.

    Of course you do, dismissing it is far more preferable than facing the fact that the British state has lied & cheated the Irish century in and century out.”
    So are you saying they are uniquely villainous then? Or did they just do what any group of humans would do with power?
    TacapallI
    “dont know if they have any moustache twirling gene but they obviously have a devious and callous mindset that hasn’t changed much over the centuries”
    There you go then. They collectively are devious and callous. And incapable of change.
    You see no problem with such generalisations?.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Tac

    “If they vote no nothing changes, if they vote yes they are still subservient to the Crown – In other words no threat and will always defend the interests of the Crown which in turn means the interests of all those bankers and global corporations in London.”

    In which case you’re saying London will let them go after all?

    By a similar token, how would this not apply to NI?

    “The same reason they’ve always had for having a presence in Ireland, its vital for their own security. Could you imagine an independent Ireland free from British interference becoming real friendly with say the Chinese or Russians or any number of Britain’s enemies, take your pick there’s plenty and maybe allowing them to have a military base in Ireland.

    The British presence in Ireland is no different than the American presence in Cuba, its fk all to do with money.

    Tac, no, I can’t imagine Ireland becoming so friendly with the Chinese or Russians to the extent of opening up bases in Ireland

    1/ If Ireland is in Britain’s backyard then it’s in America’s postcode area (in terms of military range)

    2/ Ireland is part of the Anglosphere

    3/ Ireland (with the exception of nationalists) has a very good relationship with the UK, much to the annoyance of some nationalists

    4/ I thought you said Ireland was under the heel of ‘the Crown’ in terms of debt etc? If they defieantly (and unexpectedly) open up hostile military bases in Ireland then they’re obviously not under the heel to the extent that you say they are

    Tac, look man, when you make bold assertions like this it’s important that the assertions don’t contradict each other.

    E.g.

    Is Ireland under the heel of Britain? If the answer is yes, then they can’t open bases for Russians or chinese.

    If Ireland isn’t under the heel of Britain, then why would they want to open up bases for chinese or Russians?

    Is NI strategically important to the UK to the extent that she wouldn’t be allowed to leave?

    If yes, then Scotland (much more important) won’t be allowed to leave either.

    If Scotland is not allowed to leave, then NI is no longer strategically important and ergo, would be allowed to leave.

    Have you thought this through properly?

    ————

    Gendjinn

    “Am Ghobsmacht,

    Would the fact they are fighting so hard to keep Scotland in the UK means they value it. Right? And we know from history that they will play dirty to get what they want.

    If they were such a drain on the English, why are all of the parties fighting to keep them in the UK?

    I never said Scotland was a drain on England, quite the opposite in fact.

    I said NI is a drain on England and pales in strategic significance with Scotland.

    ——————–

    Billy Pilgrim

    “Am Gobschmacht

    When do you think Ireland stopped being strategically important to England / Britain?

    When De Valera stepped down?

    When the European Empires crumbled?

    When the UK built Trident?

    When America developed long range bombers?

    Of all the bits of Ireland that are strategically important, where would you rank NI?

    Its airspace is arched by Scotland’s.

    It has very little Atlantic coast compared to the Republic.

    If NI contained Donegal, then you’d have a point.

    But it doesn’t.

    NI is a bothersome expensive boil that any half decent PM would love to get shot of or at the very least sell down the river if there was something better offered, e.g. Churchill.

    —————

    In the modern age it is ‘mainly’ the Norn Irish Protestants that think highly of British military history and of ‘the glory’ of the empire and indeed many want to feel ‘needed’ by the mothership, yet the only people who can tell me why NI is so important to Britain are nationalists.

    Such irony.

  • Sp12

    “Racism is not all the one way, here is a story to prove so.

    http://metro.co.uk/2014/06/02/woman-claims-she-was-kicked-out-of-african-arts-festival-for-being-white-4747288/

    For being ‘white’, yeah.
    That’s definitely the first word that sprung into my mind when i saw her videos.

  • tacapall

    ” I thought you said Ireland was under the heel of ‘the Crown’ in terms of debt etc? If they defieantly (and unexpectedly) open up hostile military bases in Ireland then they’re obviously not under the heel to the extent that you say they are

    Tac, look man, when you make bold assertions like this it’s important that the assertions don’t contradict each other”

    Do you read all what people say or just see what you want to see ? Do you know what imagine means ?

    “Could you imagine an independent Ireland free from British interference becoming real friendly with say the Chinese or Russians or any number of Britain’s enemies, take your pick there’s plenty and maybe allowing them to have a military base in Ireland.”

    If Scotland leaves the union and in the future Mrs Windsor declares war on some nation, would the Scotland not be duty bound to go to war with her, would Scotland not be duty bound to defend her Kingdoms, regardless that the war had nothing to do with Scotland ?

    An independent Ireland wouldn’t be under any such obligations, your enemy’s enemy is your friend and all that.

    By the way did Vice-President Xi Jinping visit Britain ?

  • gendjinn

    Am Ghobsmacht,

    I never said Scotland was a drain on England, quite the opposite in fact.

    I said NI is a drain on England and pales in strategic significance with Scotland.

    Agreed, but I would aver that NI is still strategic enough and doesn’t cost enough to force the UK out.

    Did you demur with any of the rest of my piece, if not we seem to have reached an understanding of each other and be broadly in agreement.

  • gendjinn

    babyface finlayson,

    if I correctly consolidate your various responses we have the following:
    * The English/British state has a long, consistent & well documented history of breaking treaties/promises/commitments to the Irish stretching over centuries.
    * The English/British state are doing just what most other states have done.
    * They will continue to look after their own interests & therefore will act exactly as they have in the past?

    And you are criticising me for pointing out something you agree with?

    I’m puzzled.

  • gendjinn

    Am Ghobsmacht,

    .3/ Ireland (with the exception of nationalists) has a very good relationship with the UK, much to the annoyance of some nationalists

    I’ve got to call BS on this. I’m a nationalist from Ireland, like 99.99% of the country and there are about 5 people in the country that fit your description.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Gendjinn

    the rest of yer piece was fair enough, you seemed open to the possibility of the UK letting Britain go, so “nothing to see here”.

    Though, I would still like a list of strategically important reasons why NI is vital to the UK (post WWII and cold war).

    “I’ve got to call BS on this. I’m a nationalist from Ireland, like 99.99% of the country and there are about 5 people in the country that fit your description.”

    I was talking about Ireland, not individual people in Ireland.

    Please highlight the hiccups in the modern relationship between the two governments and then kindly forward this list to Dr Jude Collins who frets now and again at the ‘rosy’ relationship between the two, it would help calm him down.

    Tac

    “If Scotland leaves the union and in the future Mrs Windsor declares war on some nation, would the Scotland not be duty bound to go to war with her, would Scotland not be duty bound to defend her Kingdoms, regardless that the war had nothing to do with Scotland ?”

    No, an independent Scotland would be no more obliged (morally)to fight for England than Zimbabwe or any commonwealth nation.

    And if ‘Mrs Windsor’ tried to force it then there’s a good chance she’d have a new Republic on her doorstep.

    On the other hand, Scotland presumably would ,being Anglophonic neighbours and all that jazz, but, Mrs Windsor does not have the clout you think.

    Anyway, I answered your comments accordingly, I read all you said, and came out with points that revolved around similar circumstances in Scotland.

    You have surmised that an independent Scotland would be obliged to fight for England and that an independent Ireland would not, citing ‘the Crown’ as a reason.

    I find this Crown argument very unconvincing particularly in the light of our last conversation where you in a roundabout fashion blamed ‘the Crown’ for beheading the King.

    (and you know you did, Crown supports Cromwell, Cromwell beheads king).

    Furthermore IF you are correct that an independent Scotland is obliged to fight for and defend England, then automatically the strategic significance of NI is redundant.

    Even if the Chinese did set up shop in Cobh Island, what advantage would Palace Barracks have over Faslane ?

    So pick one belief and stick with it please.

    If NI is strategically important to the extent that it is better to hold onto it and breed resentment and hostility into a significant amount of the population then there should be an abundance of obvious reasons.

    So far I have heard none.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Should read “the rest of yer piece was fair enough, you seemed open to the possibility of the UK letting ‘NI’ go…”

    nuts….

  • gendjinn

    Am Ghobsmacht,

    Compared to their previous history their implementation of the GFA is a remarkable improvement. I believe they would respect the 50%+1 vote for re-unification.

    We can argue the merits of whether or not NI is of strategic value, etc. But it matters not what we think – it matters what the UK govt at the time wants to do. They may or may not use logic and facts to make their decision. If the govt of the day determines they want want/need to retain NI I would fully expect them to fight dirty to the end.

    Wouldn’t want to be a UK ambassador in a Muslim country this week.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Gendjinn

    Fair enough, that’s a very balanced summary.

    “Wouldn’t want to be a UK ambassador in a Muslim country this week.”

    Or maybe even an Irish ambassador? Imagine having to explain THAT.

    Is there any greater argument or facilitators for a united Ireland than unionist politicians?

    They do more to convince me of the merits of a united Ireland than many nationalist arguments I’ve heard….

  • tacapall

    “If NI is strategically important to the extent that it is better to hold onto it and breed resentment and hostility into a significant amount of the population then there should be an abundance of obvious reasons.

    So far I have heard none”

    Well that isn’t surprising when your wearing your colonial blinkers seeing as as you never heard of UVF councilor George Seawright, you also believe allowing over a million Irish citizens to die is not genocide, all the while exporting tons of food out of Ireland.

  • babyface finlayson

    gendjinn
    Be puzzled no longer.
    If you are clarifying that you think the English are not unique in their evil nature, and are acting as any nation would have acted then we are close to agreement.
    There is nothing uniquely perfidious about the English, it is just lazy stereotyping.
    “They will continue to look after their own interests & therefore will act exactly as they have in the past?”
    I take issue with that one. Self interest does not always mean acting the same as in the past. It may well suit them better as Am G has argued to be rid of us at last.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Am Ghobsmacht

    ‘…why NI is vital to the UK…’

    ‘Northern Ireland’ isn’t strategically vital to the UK.

    Ireland is.

    And ‘Northern Ireland’ is the UK’s pied-à-terre on this landmass.

    Ireland is the landmass that covers half of the Atlantic approaches to Britain, and almost all of the most populous and important parts of that island. It’s a huge natural shield to the west – and potentially, a massive launching pad for a hostile power, right on the doorstep.

    So if, for example, Ireland allied with China or Russia, it would leave Britain all but defenceless.

    A more real possibility is that, at some future point, the ‘special relationship’ between UK and US might cool, in which case Ireland would provide an easy way for the US to exert pressure on Britain.

    England / Britain has fought many wars and done every evil imaginable, including genocide, ethnocide, plantation and partition, to prevent anything like this from happening. It would do so again, if it felt the need.

    The fact that these possibilities presently seem remote doesn’t mean they don’t exercise the thoughts of UK strategic and military planners. It’s those guys’ job to worry about stuff like this.

    But this doesn’t mean the UK could not tolerate a united Ireland. The UK today looks at the Republic and sees a state with which it’s closely allied and that quietly cedes air and maritime supremacy in the region to the UK. It sees a society in which the cultural institutions (broadcasters, press, universities, major political parties apart from SF, government departments etc) are institutionally sympathetic to Britain (or sometimes outright pro-British) and hostile to anti-British sentiment.

    Conversely, it’s from the six ‘British’ counties that all of the UK’s Irish headaches emanate.

    So my guess is that British planners know UK strategic interests won’t suffer, indeed will be enhanced, by a united Ireland.

    But they’re not going to take any chances either, which is what I suspect this treaty port

    http://www.thedetail.tv/issues/154/caj-report-into-mi5/opaque-and-dangerously-unaccountable-the-verdict-on-mi5-five-years-on

    is all about.

    (You’ll notice there isn’t one mention of economic matters in any of this.)

  • Zeno

    ” It sees a society in which the cultural institutions (broadcasters, press, universities, major political parties apart from SF, government departments etc) are institutionally sympathetic to Britain (or sometimes outright pro-British) and hostile to anti-British sentiment.”
    Billy
    So the perfect scenario for the UK must then be, in your opinion, A United Ireland without Sinn Fein. Not only would that work for the UK, it would work for a lot of people in Northern Ireland as well. Does that mean that SF are doing more to prevent a United Ireland than they are to achieve one? Are they the reason no progress has been made?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Zeno

    I suppose that would be the perfect scenario for the UK all right.

    But I also suppose they’re grown-up enough to know that there’s nothing perfect in this life.

    A UI with SF as a major political party is still probably preferable to the status quo for UK interests. Indeed reunification will do more than anything else to further diminish anti-British sentiment in Ireland.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    ‘Does that mean that SF are doing more to prevent a United Ireland than they are to achieve one?’

    I suppose SF simply they simply reject the analysis that the best way to ensure reunification is to make Ireland look exactly like MI5 wants it to look.

    ‘Are they the reason no progress has been made?’

    I think a great deal of progress has been made in recent decades, and is ongoing. And I think SF has been a very important part of that progress.

  • Zeno

    “A UI with SF as a major political party is still probably preferable to the status quo for UK interests. Indeed reunification will do more than anything else to further diminish anti-British sentiment in Ireland”
    Billy
    It depends which SF they get. The one that has dinner with the Queen and welcomes her as a head of state would be fine, The other one that hates all things British and plays eye poke politics with the Unionists, not so much.
    But the question was ,are they hindering UI or progressing it?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Zeno

    ‘The one that has dinner with the Queen and welcomes her as a head of state would be fine,’

    But that IS the SF that exists in the really existing world of today.

    ‘The other one that hates all things British…’

    I daresay SF would complete reject that allegation.

    I know some pretty hardline republicans, but I’ve never met anyone who ‘hates all things British.’

    Indeed, it’s only anti-republicans who seem to think there’s some contradiction between liking Man Utd and disliking having the Parachute Regiment on your streets.

    ‘…and plays eye poke politics with the Unionists…’

    Again, I daresay they’d dispute that they do anything of the sort.

    The trouble is, unionism always seems to regard any move towards equality as an attack on itself. And in a way, of course, it is.

  • Zeno

    “I think a great deal of progress has been made in recent decades, and is ongoing. And I think SF has been a very important part of that progress.”
    Billy
    I’m not seeing it.In 1968 around 20% of Protestants described themselves as Irish. That’s down to 2% now. Nothing is being done to persuade the PUL community that UI would be good for them. They can’t even get a referendum now, which is probably just as well. So where’s the progress?

  • Morpheus

    The more SF endorses the peace process and GFA, the further they get from violence, the more they condemn those who should be condemned, the more they bring through politicians like McDonald, Doherty, Ó Muilleoir etc. the more votes they accumulate on both sides of the border. I don’t think they will be going anywhere in a hurry.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Zeno

    ‘Nothing is being done to persuade the PUL community that UI would be good for them.’

    To be honest, I have a suspicion that a fairly large section of middle class PULs know that ‘a UI would be good for them.’

    I wouldn’t expect them to argue for it, or even vote for it.

    When the referendum comes, probably some time in the middle of the next decade, they’ll register their acquiescence silently, by going to the garden centre or the golf course instead of the polling booth.

  • Zeno

    “When the referendum comes, probably some time in the middle of the next decade, they’ll register their acquiescence silently, by going to the garden centre or the golf course instead of the polling booth.”

    Good luck with that one. Billy
    It’s really very simple. If people want a United Ireland all the have to do is go out and vote for parties or even individuals that support UI. That will lead to a referendum and they can vote to unify Ireland.
    That isn’t happening obviously, so why not? Is it because they really want UI but it hasn’t occurred to them that all they have to do is vote?
    On the other hand. If you don’t want a UI. You don’t have to do anything at all. You don’t have to vote for anyone or campaign for anything. You can go to the Garden Centre.
    The GFA sorted all that.
    Just out of curiosity, how many of the around 600 thousand who don’t vote in local elections do you expect to stay at home in a referendum?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Zeno

    ‘If people want a United Ireland all the have to do is go out and vote for parties or even individuals that support UI. … That isn’t happening obviously…’

    No?

    Here’s the electoral map of Northern Ireland thirty years ago.

    http://www.ark.ac.uk/elections/fw83.htm

    Here’s the electoral map of Northern Ireland in 2010.

    http://www.ark.ac.uk/elections/

    After next year, I expect to add North Belfast to the anti-unionist column. Upper Bann and East Derry will also be in the winnable column before too long.

    Meanwhile, the major unionist parties are discussing a voting pact in order to win back East Belfast.

    EAST BELFAST!

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Zeno

    ‘… it hasn’t occurred to them that all they have to do is vote?’

    The election last week was the first election since 1979 in which the broad nationalist community has failed to make an advance.

    Disappointing for nationalism, sure, but it’s a little early to start calling it a trend. Demographic data suggests the CNR voting pool is only increasing with each passing year.

    Meanwhile, political unionism, having had its most encouraging election in decades, took all of 24 hours to remind everyone of where its hardline tendencies lead.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    @Gendjinn
    “The failure of Northern Ireland is due to partition. It’s cure is the removal of the border. The success of the south & the absence of the the British government isn’t a correlation it’s the cause.”

    TBH I was been flippant with that remark. Although I’d also excuse HMG to an extent, we can blame them for partition, after that they exerted little control over the North and showed little interest until the troubles were starting.

    We can’t blame them for how the North turned out, that’s down to the locals and in particular those who held power.

    A more extreme example is Korea, the South grew into a democratic World Cup hosting nation, the North grew into a nutty failed State

  • Zeno

    Billy
    Electoral maps are meaningless when it come to a referendum. Unless they signify an increase in support. The Unionists don’t have to vote to achieve their aim. There is no surge in Nationalism since the GFA, merely a decline in those voting Unionist.
    Here’s the last 4 Assembly Elections showing the broad nationalist vote.
    320551………………….1998
    280305………………….2003
    285737………………….2007
    272510………………….2011
    The trend is downwards.
    At the same time the Catholic population increased. During the same period the SF vote increased.
    SF gain votes as broad nationalist vote falls and Catholic population rises.

  • Morpheus

    NI election results – 1969 to 2010 – Cain

    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/politics/election/partysupport6910a.jpg

    You are quite right when you say that the nationalist vote has dropped since the GFA but what’s the long-term trend?

    Why is the GFA zero hour in your mind?

  • Greenflag

    the North ( Korea ) grew into a nutty failed State.

    albeit with nuclear weapons and an artillery lob of same weapon about 2 minutes from the Seoul Capital Area a conurbation with some 25 million people

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    Billy Pilgrim[4.27]Unionism never heeds lessons of their history, and Alex Kane pointed out to them that the increased vote in council election was down to more choice, but they’re not listening, instead wanting to deny those new voters the choice of candidates.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    Funnily enough Greenflag the south spends IIRC about 40m a year on defence, and the North (on paper) contribute a cool 1 Billion to defence. Go figure. Guess big difference is the North Korean Fry doesn’t include soda farl

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Alan N’Ards

    ‘Are you saying that the majority of unionist’s are behind the racist attacks or that we support them?’

    I’m saying that the representatives who have the mandate of the overwhelming majority of unionists (DUP, UUP, TUV) are alarmingly equivocal, or sometimes just silent, about them.

    And I’m saying if the parties one votes for are less than convincing in their opposition to racism / sectarianism, then one’s own protestations of having clean hands ring hollow.

    ‘Your comment (Hence your “Nothing to see here folks” posting) is below the belt. Thanks a lot.’

    You’re right. I apologise.

  • Reader

    Morpheus: Why is the GFA zero hour in your mind?
    Can’t speak for Zeno, who co-opts non-voters in a way that seems overly complacent. However, the GFA is a zero hour in my mind too, in that it represents an accommodation (of cultural nationalism), and a guarantee (for political nationalism)
    That sort of leaves the nationalist parties as monitoring agencies rather than activist groups. And therefore their vote is subject to attrition – the more they achieve, the less relevant they are. Their northern election strategy is a series of pumped-up scare stories, and each year is less scary than the previous one.

  • Politico68

    I would imagine that SF are waiting in the long grass vis a vis a referendum. Sure, they have called for one but I doubt they really want one soon. It just wakes people up to the inevitability and keeps the issue just close enough that it cant be ignored.

    The growing ethnic community are hardly likely to rest their heads in a Unionist future, the treatment they are getting from political Unionism is something from the dark ages. It was always thought that it would only require approx 2% of Protestants to vote in favour of a UI but I think the 5% ethnic minority vote in ten or twenty years time might do the job for us.

  • Zeno

    Reader.
    Morpheus: Why is the GFA zero hour in your mind?
    Can’t speak for Zeno, who co-opts non-voters in a way that seems overly complacent.

    I haven’t and don’t need to co -opt non voters Reader.

    The GFA confirmed the status of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom and set down the rules for changing that status. The Nationalist Parties accepted that NI was part of the UK and accepted the rules for changing it. The default position for Northern Ireland is now as part of the UK.
    To change it votes are required, not Councillors, MLA’s or MEP’s or green lines on diagrams. It is really incredibly simple. Vote nationalist and get a referendum and then vote to unify Ireland. Now for the first time all it requires is votes. Has the Nationalist vote increased since this watershed? No. Has it declined? Yes.
    What could that possibly mean???

  • Zeno

    “I would imagine that SF are waiting in the long grass vis a vis a referendum. Sure, they have called for one but I doubt they really want one soon.”
    P68

    Why do they not want one? What are they waiting in the long grass for? Do all the election successes not translate to votes for a UI?

  • Zeno

    “It was always thought that it would only require approx 2% of Protestants to vote in favour of a UI ”
    P68

    I’ve never hear that one before? Who said that?
    But the good news is 2% of Protestants have been saying they would vote for UI for the last 10 or 15 years, if not longer. So what happened? Did no one notice them?

  • Politico68

    Lol Zeno, I get such a kick out of your craziness

  • Politico68

    Zeno, I think SF are probably aware that there is no hope of winning a UI at the moment. They don’t have the numbers. Now, when I say that, I mean REAL numbers, not your makey uppey ones. Also, the focus at the moment is on economic recovery so I doubt anyone is in the mood for a divisive argument until at least there are clear signs that that Irelands economy is recovering sustainably. There also has to be a lot of ‘on the ground’ done to see what type of UI the people imagine and this needs to coincide with discussions amongst the parties in Dublin as to when would be a good time to hold the poll, they can then inform London who will act accordingly. My own feeling on it is to wait until around 2026 when there will be a majority Nationalist electorate backed up by a larger sympathetic and agreeable ethnic electorate. That would give nationalists the numbers to carry the vote. If it was to fail, it will at least give us a reading on how many times we would need to go to the polls to secure a victory.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Tac

    “Well that isn’t surprising when your wearing your colonial blinkers seeing as as you never heard of UVF councilor George Seawright, you also believe allowing over a million Irish citizens to die is not genocide, all the while exporting tons of food out of Ireland.”

    Siiighhh…

    1/ I wasn’t even out of primary school when Seawright was killed, by the time of t’internet I was in Scotland and lost all interest in unionism’s rogues’ gallery.

    2/ You know fine and well that I get tore into people like him, Bryson, Frazer etc when the opportunity arises (hence I’ve been banned from posting on the Protestant Coalition’s fb page)

    3/ My view that the famine wasn’t a deliberate genocide is shared by many academics, including the ones that you curiously cited in your argument that it WAS deliberate.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Billy Pilgrim

    This started because someone asserted that NI is too important to the UK to let go and I disagree with this.

    Now, you’ve just gave a compelling argument in the latter part of your post as to why it would be in the UK’s best interests to let NI go should a majority wish it.

    So, do you disagree with me or not?

    Also, certainly we can’t rule out the potential cooling of Anglo-US relations but, with regards to ‘applying pressure’ on Britain via Ireland, well, why bother when they could go straight for the jugular:

    http://militarybases.com/overseas/united-kingdom/

    They may be RAF in name but they’re American run in general.

    And IF some other hostile group set up shop in Ireland, well:

    Would it be better to

    a/ have a beachhead in an increasingly hostile north (which it would most certainly be should they refuse to honour a yes vote) which has a proven track record of capable military/terrorist (delete as applicable folks) against the British army. (in effect create potential allies for this new unknown enemy of Britain

    b/ Hand over NI to the Republic, wish Dublin all the best, be pally and use the savings to build a ring of military installations spanning from St Kilda to the Isle of Man to Cornwall?

    I think going by your post you know what the smarter move would be.

    It is precisely because of the lengths that Britain will go to in the name of self preservation that I believe she would drop NI like a sack of spuds should it be in her strategic interests.

    E.g Churchill, I am given to understand that he offered NI to De Valera as a bargaining chip in WWII.

    So on one hand we have nationalists saying that NI is too important for the ‘imperialist’s’ to give up and on the other we have an arch-imperialist giving up NI to a nationalist (who apparently said ‘no’, though I need to read up a bit on this one)

  • babyface finlayson

    Billy Pilgrim

    “So if, for example, Ireland allied with China or Russia, it would leave Britain all but defenceless.”
    Putin: So Premier Li, our joint invasion force is ready to attack our most hated enemy, perfidious Albion?
    Li: No. Mr Putin, we will fail.We forgot they still have Northern Ireland curse them
    Putin: So what, we can still launch our attack from Dundalk
    Li: No way. They have a fearsome military leader Peter the Great Punt, who has already invaded the South once before.
    And he has a mighty Orange Army, not terracotta, more yellowy orange. They have swords.
    Putin : Swords? Blimey!

  • Jagdip

    Last week’s shambles of PR’s handling of the Muslim controversy appear to have had a line drawn underneath them by his actions this week.

    He met Belfast Muslims at their mosque, was respectful without being fawning, for once, made a joke which went down very well, apologised publicly, clarified his remarks from last week but not in a weaselly sense, indicated support for an extension to the Belfast mosque, gave a Muslim leader a personal tour of Stormont, and emerged with his dignity and authority intact.

    Well done to him.

    Hopefully the whole episode will remind all politicians and leaders of the impact of their words, particularly in the six weeks ahead.

  • Morpheus

    Reader

    You are quite right when you say that “northern election strategy is a series of pumped-up scare stories, and each year is less scary than the previous one” but by the same token the further SF positions themselves from violence and the less they feel the need to scare the electorate with these stories the upward trend in their vote continues – on both side of the border.

    SF have positioned themselves so that when Stormont is canned – and it will be canned after another ‘crisis’ because political unionism will never accept a nationalist First Minister – they are still in a position of influence when it comes to the infamous Plan B either as part of the Irish Government or as a sizable opposition making sure those in Government have their eye on the ball. If Plan A carries on they are in a healthy position and if Plan B kicks in they are in a healthy position so I don’t understand what you mean when you say “the more they achieve, the less relevant they are”

    If you and zeno want to treat the GFA as zero hour then that is your choice and I respect that but nationalism, SF and the SDLP existed long before 1997 and it smacks a little bit of picking a short-term trend because it suits and ignoring the long-term trend because it doesn’t. I totally accept that the short-term trend is downwards but do you accept that the long-term is upwards?

    Regardless, whatever we say here people will pick and choose which stats brings them most comfort and stick to them. The way I see it 44% are against the concept of a UI, 26% are for the concept and 30% don’t know. As I have always said I think we should be brave enough to tackle the issue head on by giving everyone, north and south of the border, all the facts they need to make an informed decision about what is best of them and their families and then let the people decide. The 30% will move in to either the Yes or No camps then we move the feck on

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Am Ghobsmacht

    It’s not my view that ‘NI is too important for the UK to let go’.

    It IS my view that Ireland is too important for th
    e UK to ignore. But it’s sufficient to exercise influence over Ireland –sovereignty isn’t necessary, and probably actually harms British influence.

    (DeValera still sticks in the British craw because the UK never had less influence in Ireland than on his watch. Ironically, his ability to defy Britain would’ve been much less but for partition.)

    From the UK’s perspective, exercising arms-length influence over a friendly Ireland is probably the simplest, neatest way of securing its western flank. Whereas the status quo is messy and tends towards periodic crisis. Of course there’ll be voices in Whitehall and elsewhere arguing that NI’s essential too, but I suspect that argument is a harder sell.

    Should a majority vote for reunification, Britain will have two choices. 1) Live up to its word and accept it. Or 2) Suppress it and occupy NI militarily.

    No doubt some will advocate the latter, but such a policy would be very costly to Britain. The former, on the other hand, would be just fine re. UK interests. Concern for the Irish people, notions of right and wrong – these will not enter into UK calculations, but the former policy would simply be logical.
    ‘…well, why bother when they could go straight for the jugular…’

    You can be sure they’d do that too.

    ‘…Would it be better to… have a beachhead … etc…’

    If we ever get to the stage where hostile Chinese / Russian / American / Klingon aircraft carriers are already stationed off Ireland’s east coast, it’d be too late for the UK to do much about it.

    The beachhead in the north has traditionally been the UK’s insurance against anything like this happening. But these days, the beachhead is obviously unnecessary, and a liability in its own right.

    ‘…she would drop NI like a sack of spuds should it be in her strategic interests…’

    Indeed. Therefore I’m glad that a friendly united Ireland is probably optimum for UK strategic interests. If they thought it wasn’t, they’d do any evil necessary to prevent it.

    ‘Churchill, I am given to understand that he offered NI to De Valera as a bargaining chip in WWII.’

    A much over-egged story – the truth is far more entertaining! From memory, what happened was that, as news was filtering through about Pearl Harbour, Churchill was scuttling a bottle of brandy. He had been dying to get Ireland (and specifically the Treaty Ports) into the war, and thought an American entry into the war would push Ireland to follow suit. Roaring drunk, he phoned DeValera, his old antagonist, at 3am and implored him to join the war, making cryptic remarks about ‘a nation once again’.

    DeValera went back to bed, thinking (I’m paraphrasing): ‘He’s still as big a gobshite as ever.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Billy

    I couldn’t beat your comments with the proverbial big stick, it’s a logical evaluation of the set-up.