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

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“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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  • derrydave

    The Unionism of the evangelical wing of the DUP (which seems to encompass a significant amount of it’s leadership) is completely alien and unfathomable to me as an Irish Republican. Not that this should particularly concern Unionism of course, but the fact that it is equally alien and unfathomable to those in London should certainly give pause for some thought.

    What I am unsure of though, is how representative is this position of the Unionist electorate ? They vote overwhelmingly for the DUP – surely, however, they don’t really believe in the nonsense spouted by Robinson and his pastor pal, do they ???…..surely not ???

    The few protestant friends I have from the North, are educated, smart, and would have no truck with the backward views espoused by the DUP evangelicals – much like the friends I have from London, Dublin, and all over in fact. I can forsee the day when the UK goverment, driven by ever-improving ties with the Irish Government (potentially containing Sinn Fein), become the real driving force for a United Ireland. It’s almost like the Unionist parties in the North are daring them to do so !

    When I hear Robinson come out with the rubbish he has come out with recently, I feel nothing but contempt for him and his party, and feel in fact much more in common with our english neighbours than I do with his party and their supporters !

  • GEF

    I may be a devout Catholic but I will vote for DUP, says ex-SDLP mayor

    (Liam Clarke, Belfast Telegraph)
    Not all Catholics think like your good self derrydave.

    A former SDLP politician has said he intends voting DUP because it is closer to Catholic morality than either of the nationalist parties.

    Danny O’Connor also said he would consider joining the party or even standing for it, even though he does not think of himself as unionist.

    http://www.nuzhound.com/articles/Belfast_Telegraph/arts2012/dec4_Catholic_ex-mayor_DUP__LClarke_Bel-Telegraph.php

  • derrydave

    GEF,

    Not really about Catholic / Protestant – if Danny O’Connor believes in the morality espoused by the DUP then he is every bit as alien and unfathomable to me as Pastor whatshisname.

    I still believe that this viewpoint is very much in the minority (even amongst the Unionist electorate) – I simply don’t believe that educated forward-thinking people could hold such views in any great number – maybe I’m completely wrong ? Maybe I’m simply too conditioned by the environment I have grown up in ? I really hope I’m not wrong.

  • derrydave

    ps my best friend for a number of years was a Protestant from the Cregagh Road, who’s mother had actually stood for election for the DUP at one time. I’m guessing that he would likely vote DUP if he still lived in NI (have never asked as we don’t talk politics), but him and his family would laugh at the nonsense whichs emanates from the DUP evangelical wing, and would in no way want to be associated with it. I’m hoping that most of those who vote for the DUP are like my friend, rather than believeing in this backward hillbilly shit.

  • Jagdip

    Surely, the person who now needs to speak to dissociate himself from the pastor’s condemnation of Islam, and by extension, Muslims, is the health minister, Edwin Poots, who is, according to the BelTel, citing a Muslim doctor, “a follower of the pastor”

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/peter-robinson-islam-row-doctors-may-quit-health-service-30315801.html

    Dr Khalid Khan, a plastic surgeon who worked with victims of the Omagh bombing, said he was concerned that Pastor McConnell said he had the support of Peter Robinson and Health Minister Edwin Poots.

    He said: “Some other Pakistani health workers I have talked to are even more upset. Our biggest worry is that our Health Minister is a follower of that pastor. He needs to say that there has been a misunderstanding and he does trust Muslims. He should remember that we perform a lot of key functions in the health service and some of us may leave.”

  • Zeno

    “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.”
    Brian Walker.

    How this myth has lasted so long is beyond me.
    Since the GFA the Nationalist Vote has fallen as the Catholic population has risen.
    If fell again in the last two elections.
    Only 51% of Catholics describe themselves as Nationalists.
    Less than 1/3rd vote for SF.

    That myth is what got 100′s of innocent Catholics murdered by loyalist paramilitaries. It’s the myth used by Unionist Politicians to strike fear into their people. It is the myth used by SF.
    It’s simply a lie.

  • GEF

    Jagdip: Edwin Poots is a member of the Free Presbyterian Church Lisburn & Hillsbourgh. Whereas Pastor McConnell’s Church is the Metropolitan Tabernacle Belfast, affiliated to the Elim Pentcostal Churches in the UK.

  • Brian Walker

    Zeno,, But its the voters who decide… I don’t expect a referendum but both sides may adopt the referendum politics of a numbers game to call each other’s bluff. You make you case yourself. Distorted views of each other begat the Troubles.

  • Jagdip

    @GEF, I’ll take you at your word, I was just quoting the BelTel and the doctor cited there. I wonder is there a meaning to the term “follower” which may be different to the church you attend, or are a member of. The story is still on the BelTel website,and given its prominence, you might have thought Minister Poots would have at least clarified the matter.

  • tacapall

    “That myth is what got 100′s of innocent Catholics murdered by loyalist paramilitaries”

    Did your crystal ball tell you the above too ?

    Most people who experienced living in this part of Ireland know Catholics were murdered simply because of their religion the knuckledraggers who murdered them hadn’t the sense to understand what the word politics meant.

  • Zeno

    Distorted views of each other begat the Troubles.

    Brian
    You don’t think it is a distorted view to claim that Unionists will be unable to defend the union when Catholics become a majority? I’d love to know what your “basic calculation” is based on. Do you not believe Catholics when they say they are not Nationalist? Are Catholics left out of all the Polls? Do you think they will all rush out and vote for United Ireland when they reach a majority? That’s what it sounds like.

  • gendjinn

    I’d love to know what your “basic calculation” is based on.

    It’s this thing called r-e-a-l-i-t-y.

    Do you think they will all rush out and vote for United Ireland when they reach a majority?

    Of course not. That’s absurd. They will wait until the polls open for the referendum.

  • Zeno

    tacapall
    Are you the one who claims all the Polls and Surveys are wrong because they have been fixed by the Brits?

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    BW You’ve got Robinson and his party of modern-day Neanderthals well naied, [to use an x factor cliché]. The whole flags farrago and twaddell camp [hello Drumcree II]are merely symptoms of the unionist parties’ claustrophobia, and whingeing about losing culture[for which; read, we can’t sing the billy boys anymore even at Windsor park, or urinate at catholic chapels either with being hauled over the coals. If marty gets fm seat in 2016, Robinson will get the blame if he hasn’t already been dumped by the party that comes first.

  • Morpheus

    “Anti-racism rallies take place in Belfast and Derry”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-27649102

  • Zeno

    Brian, now you have got the Republicans all excited. They do actually believe all the Polls are wrong (fixed by the Brits), and all those Catholics are lying when they say they are not Nationalists. Even though the Nationalist Vote is stuck at 23% of the electorate and less.
    Of course there is not a shred of evidence, but who needs evidence. Evidence is overrated when you have the correct mindset.

    Were you trying to increase the unionist vote Brian? If they swallow this the DUP will be in power forever..

  • gendjinn

    zeno,

    the NILT survey, upon which you pin all of your hopes, desires & fears, consistently skews its pool towards unionists as evidenced by the declared party support which always shows lower levels of support for the SDLP & SF. This conclusively demonstrates that the unionists paying for it are getting the fantasy results they want.

    That and your ridiculous assertion that every single person that doesn’t show up at the polls on election day is a unionist.

  • gendjinn

    …. shows lower levels of support for the SDLP & SF.

    Should be: shows lower levels of support for the SDLP & SF compared to election results.

  • tacapall

    “Are you the one who claims all the Polls and Surveys are wrong because they have been fixed by the Brits”

    No I was the one who said not to be taking too much notice of British sponsored surveys especially from the likes of the pro unionist paper like the Belfast Telegraph. But you walt away and tell all us Irish folk who dont take part in British elections we are really closet unionists and what we might do in any future border poll. Do you do Tarot readings too ?

  • Zeno

    gendjinn

    Ok just for you gendjinn
    THE REASONS WHY THERE WILL BE A UNITED IRELAND. (as explained to me on Slugger the last 2 weeks)

    3) ALL THE UNITED IRELAND POLLS ARE FIXED BY THE BRITS.

    2) ALL CATHOLICS WILL RUSH OUT AND VOTE FOR A UNITED IRELAND AS SOON AS THEY BECOME A MAJORITY.

    1) THE FOUR SINN FEIN MEP’s WILL MEET WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION REPRESENTATIVES AND GET THE BORDER “DELETED”

    Sorry, I should have put a warning on that to all normal people who could easily p*ss themselves laughing when reading this.

  • Zeno

    love the way people just make things up in the discussions on here.

    “the NILT survey, upon which you pin all of your hopes, desires & fears,” (I don’t actually do that. I use Polls, Surveys, Election results and the Census.)

    “But you walt away and tell all us Irish folk who dont take part in British elections we are really closet unionists and what we might do in any future border poll.” ( How would I be able to even do that if you don’t register to vote or appear in the census?)

    That and your ridiculous assertion that every single person that doesn’t show up at the polls on election day is a unionist.” (I’ve never actually said that. It would be remarkably silly)

    So what is going on? Are some people not able to read something and understand it and have to invent their own meaning? It looks that way. Have they been indoctrinated over such a long period that they will literally believe anything that supports their wants?

  • tacapall

    “Since the GFA the Nationalist Vote has fallen as the Catholic population has risen.
    If fell again in the last two elections.
    Only 51% of Catholics describe themselves as Nationalists.
    Less than 1/3rd vote for SF”

    You assume the 49% are unionists.

    You assume only SF voters would support a united Ireland.

    You also assume all Protestants are pro unionist.

  • Alan N/Ards

    derrydave

    There are many unionist’s who find Robinson’s comments outrageous and I’m one of them. I can’t describe how angry I was last week. He is a nasty piece of work and needs to resign.

    By the way, I gave Alex Attwood my first preference at the election. Whenever unionism get rid of these bigots I will consider voting for them again. But not before.

  • Brian Walker

    Look, the NILT surveys cover all opinion not only voting opinion. Some people may also give the “right” answers as support for the DUP and SF is still not quite respectable. It’s true other polls accord with NILT. The mismatch with voting is not explained by the number of don’t knows, and won’t says.

    The main point is not about a referendum but that the logic of demographic change will soon require each bloc to appeal across the divide.

    For now though,the DUP seems more concerned with unionist fragmentation and trying to regain the East Belfast Westminster seat by whatever means,, ,

  • Politico68

    Zeno, lol. You’re off again ! A mere mention of a United Ireland and you explode like a pastor. Lets put it this way. There might be a UI poll sometime in the future, and there might be a vote in favor, or not. Its in the future, who knows what might happen. Hows that?

  • Zeno

    tacapall

    “Since the GFA the Nationalist Vote has fallen as the Catholic population has risen.
    If fell again in the last two elections.
    —–
    You can check the election results since 1998 yourself. That is true.
    —————————————————————-
    Only 51% of Catholics describe themselves as Nationalists.
    Less than 1/3rd vote for SF”

    That comes from the election results and the census + the NILT Survey. Also true.
    —————————————————————-
    You assume the 49% are unionists.

    I’ve never ever said that. Once again I write something you see something else.
    —————————————————————-
    You assume only SF voters would support a united Ireland.
    —–
    I have never EVER said that, but you think I did, so go and find where I said it.
    —————————————————————
    You also assume all Protestants are pro unionist.

    Once again. I didn’t ever say that. The number of Protestants who might be in favour is currently under 2%
    ————————————————————–

    Once again a catalogue of things you think I’ve said or assumed. You need to get yourself down to Specsavers or learn how to read and understand what people have actually written.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “But whatever the verdicts of history, trust is the issue today.”

    Brian, I thought the issue was and remains the conflict between the two legitimate constitutional aspirations; trust has nothing to do with it. Unionists prefer NI to remain within the UK whereas Nationalists seek a United Ireland. It’s hardly surprising then that the provocation should come from the Nationalist side of the house and the reaction from the Unionist side.

    Absentee bloggers seem to have trouble getting their heads around the nature of this provocation and the range of the fall-out. When a young friend said to me recently that she couldn’t go to a certain town because she was a Catholic it reminded me of that fall-out from almost twenty years ago.

    Pastor McConnell’s words were at the very least incredibly crass, Peter’s defence of an old friend was ill-considered and Martin’s intervention was rank hypocrisy:

    In a statement, Mr McGuinness called on Mr Robinson to “show leadership in promoting equality, tolerance and mutual respect for all”.

    This prompted the First Minister to tweet, “I won’t take lectures from a self-confessed leader of a bloody terrorist organisation on equality, tolerance and mutual respect for all”. .. Irish Times, May 29, 2014

    The barbarity of the Sudanese authorities is reminiscent of the barbarity of our loyalist and republican paramilitaries not just during the Troubles but also after the ceasefires.

  • Politico68

    Brian, all of the civil problems are very Belfast Centred at the moment which might be symptomatic of the loss of Unionist control. I think you have hit the nail on the head when you talk about fear. I am no psychologist and the few Unionists friends I have are in the north Down area, to my mind I get no sense of the bigotry which eminates from mainstream political Unionism and evangelical Protestantism. Unionisms obsession with SF and the coming Catholic majority is paralyzing many of them to the point of seizure. When all ones energies are seemingly employed negatively it renders one incapable of attracting favor. In this case as you rightly point out, unionism is distancing itself not only from the broad British and Irish civil and political establishment; it also repels potential, sympathetic friends around the globe. But we must be realistic here too, we must realize that if its the case that a significant chunk of Unionism has very extreme, crippling racist tendencies; it means that the likelihood of it reaching accommodation with a future nationalist majority could be impossible. Are we in a pre-conflict phase?

  • tacapall

    Once again just for you Zeno -

    “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.”
    Brian Walker.

    How this myth has lasted so long is beyond me.
    Since the GFA the Nationalist Vote has fallen as the Catholic population has risen.
    If fell again in the last two elections. Only 51% of Catholics describe themselves as Nationalists.
    Less than 1/3rd vote for SF”

    Would the above not suggest you view all the 49% who wouldn’t describe themselves as Nationalist as being pro union.

    Would the above not also suggest only Sinn Fein voters would support a UI.

    Would the above not also suggest no Protestants would support a UI.

    Would the above also suggest those Catholics who dont take part in elections now wont take part in any future border poll.

  • Zeno

    Brian.
    “The main point is not about a referendum but that the logic of demographic change will soon require each bloc to appeal across the divide.”

    OK you are still sticking with the Catholics are Nationalists idea even though it is against all of the evidence.
    Fair enough.

  • Zeno

    tacapall

    I don’t know what to say to you. I write something and you take your own incorrect meaning from it. Just as an example. Who in their right mind would say that “Only SF Voters would vote for a United Ireland????…………. Jesus!
    “Catholics who dont take part in elections now wont take part in any future border poll.”……………(insert swearword and lol)

    Have you got some sort of dyslexia where you only see every 2nd word or something?

  • Morpheus

    Different day same old tired BS from the zen-meister. Y’know for someone who goes on and on and on about being a non-voting part this 49%, being neither a unionist nor a nationalist and is 100% confident that a UI is impossible your ass doesn’t half twitch at the prospect :)

    Tacapall
    Zen is right, the nationalist vote has dropped since the GFA – that’s why he wants you to check those figures – but I dare you to tell him that there has been a 30% increase since 1985, he hates it when people use timeframes which show stats that don’t fit his theory. Then ask him to show which table in the census shows how people will vote in a UI referendum.

    Brian
    Really interesting blog. Political unionism should have an easy job – selling the union with the UK should be easy but they are doing their best to even feck that up. They are in a bind to be fair – in the next 2 years there will obviously be a ‘crisis’ which brings down Stormont, heaven forbid there should be a nationalist First Minister after all, but the problem they face is the legendary Plan B…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pumM9jcVTqM

    …NI will run by the guarantors of the GFA. With SFs performance in the most recent RoI elections and assuming they go into Government it means they will be pulling the strings along with the British who they already have on side. Interesting scenario.

  • Politico68

    Brian, you make a very good point above. Experiences of demographic change around the world points to a resulting political shift, I imagine the north would be unlikely to buck the trend. Belgium would be the closest example I can think of where one particular group translates its increased numbers into votes for change. I think maybe Zeno probably doesn’t understand this facit of human nature; and he wouldn’t be alone. Unionism seems to think that it can repel the growing ethnic voting community and still hang on to its political preference. Whether that’s naivity or simply a miscalculation is anybody’s guess, but when your numbers are dwindling one would imagine the sensible thing to do is ‘look for converts rather than lundys’… Its a pity Robbo cant seem to heed his own advice.

  • Zeno

    Y’know for someone who goes on and on and on about being a non-voting part this 49%, being neither a unionist nor a nationalist and is 100% confident that a UI is impossible your ass doesn’t half twitch at the prospect :)
    MORPH

    When you can’t win the argument just make up something that someone didn’t say and laugh at that. It’s trend on Slugger I wasn’t expecting.
    First, it wasn’t me who said they were neither Nationalist nor Unionist. They said that themselves.

    Second, I told you yesterday (yet again). My position is THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO SAY THERE WILL EVER BE A UNITED IRELAND.
    If there is I would love to see it.

    Go on Morph tell me again. How many Councillors do you need to win a United Ireland Referendum. You did put that forward as relevant data.

  • ayeYerMa

    I don’t think the DUP will be taking any lessons from degenerate self-loathing pro-suicide cultural Marxists like Walker.

    The fact of the matter is that there is absolutely nothing “catholic” about the followers of the unholy Alliance [Party] of, Sinn Fein and SDLP and the true enemies of Northern Ireland. The religion the followers of such parties follow does not come from the bible, but from Pearse, Connolly, Marx and Lenin, and drips in militant atheism (and I’m an atheist, but value cultural Christianity and morality).

    The DUP is in an excellent position to form a strong Christian Democrat party. This will unite more people in Northern Ireland than anything else. The enemy of any morally grounded person is all forms of destructive Neo-Marxism and this must be where the energy is focused to succeed.

  • Morpheus

    You didn’t say that you were neither a unionist or a nationalist? That’s weird….off the top of my head…May 29th and 11.42pm I think it was “BTW. I’m not a Unionist. I’m in the majority in NI. The 49% and growing who have ditched tribal politics and neither vote for or support any Nationalist or Unionist Party.”

    So your position has changed again since 5 weeks ago when you said it was impossible? What changed in the past 5 weeks? Is it a case that 8Billion thinks it’s impossible but Zeno doesn’t?

    “How many Councillors do you need to win a United Ireland Referendum. You did put that forward as relevant data.”

    Did I? Or did I put it forward as carefully selected stat that anyone could choose in the same way that you carefully select yours? Check again sweetie.

    But let’s change my original statement to suit your new position…for someone who goes on and on and on about being a non-voting part this 49%, being neither a unionist nor a nationalist and thinks “THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO SAY THERE WILL EVER BE A UNITED IRELAND” your ass doesn’t half twitch at the prospect

  • Morpheus

    Any Zeno, I am confused. When you ask me “How many Councillors do you need to win a United Ireland Referendum” are you telling me that elections results are not a good indicator?

  • Zeno

    I misread your post Morph.
    My mistake. You are 100% correct.

  • Politico68

    “your ass doesn’t half twitch at the prospect”

    Ha ! Brilliant. I wish I had of come up with that one. LOL.

  • Zeno

    “How many Councillors do you need to win a United Ireland Referendum. You did put that forward as relevant data.”

    Did I? Or did I put it forward as carefully selected stat that anyone could choose in the same way that you carefully select yours?

    You need to make up your mind on what is relevant and what is not. If you are claiming it is relevant that 40% of Councillors are Nationalist when it comes to a UI Poll then you need to say how many will it take to win the Poll. If there is no number that will ensure a poll win, it is relevant.

  • Morpheus

    The number of councillors comes from elections results, the same elections results which you brandish at the drop of a hat. Which is it…election results are good or election results are bad?

    Orrrrr, is this is this one of those times when what you pick out is OK but what anyone picks out isn’t.

  • Zeno

    your ass doesn’t half twitch at the prospect

    More wishful thinking boys. It’s like an epidemic around here.
    Now Morph, for someone who says they vote Alliance and would only go into a UI if the money is right. You don’t half jump through hoops to defend the Shinners.
    You’re happy to stand by and listen to the claims of it being inevitable when there is no evidence to support it, and you’re not even sure if you want it.

  • Morpheus

    Yes Zeno, I voted Alliance – what’s your point?

    Where exactly did I say that I would only go into a UI if the money was right? I think you will find that’s a big far porky pie. :)

    Where exactly did I jump through hoops to defend the Shinners? Is that another porky pie? :)

  • Zeno

    I never lie Morph.
    You would not vote for a UI right now, you want an in depth investigation to show that you pension will be ok. I admire the people who would vote for UI tomorrow. I’ve no respect for the economic republicans.

    Where exactly did I jump through hoops to defend the Shinners?
    On every thread I get involved in with Republicans you jump in and muddy the waters with your nonsense posts… such as…….. someone else could come along and say 40% of Councillors are Nationalist.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Morpheus:

    “Political unionism should have an easy job – selling the union with the UK should be easy”

    Having followed the debate in Scotland, Morph, it clearly isn’t so easy and relies on little more than scaremongering and negativity. The exciting possibilities that come with independence – whether they’re achieved or not is up to the country involved – will always surpass the prosaic unionist argument. Hence unionism has to descend into negativity.

  • Kevin Says

    Brian, although you say that The Irish News was an odd vehicle for Peter Robinson to express his views over Pastor McConnell, is it not the case that the paper was the first outlet to directly ask him to explain his position ?

    The first minister was interviewed by both BBC and UTV over a number of days at the election counts, but there is no evidence that either got round to asking him what he thought about the Pastor’s intervention.

    While it is possible that Mr Robinson’s minders were asleep at the wheel, surely it is better than he tells us what believes – regardless of the platform – and deals with the consequences ?

  • Politico68

    Responsible politicians ( and I mean those not obsessed with religion or ethnic minorities) in both Britain and Ireland need to start discussing what shape a future UI might take. It will take years to establish a sound economic and political platform from which to launch a poll, and it would be better to get some ground work done now, rather than wait for the demographic tide to catch them unawares.

    the most important thing to look at from a Unionist perspective is is the nature of any future British- irish link. Obviously London will be anxious to cut and run asap, but Irish negogiators will have to agree basic principles and responsibilities for the countrys British minority to feel recognized.

    As Brian states above, unionist bigotry will only continue to damage their cause, we must ensure that it also doesn’t repel the British to simply dump them when Unity arrives.

  • David Crookes

    In comparison with the real modern world that includes Sudan, what some local preacher said and what the FM of a tiny statelet said about that preacher are WORSE THAN TRIVIAL. So are today’s rallies in the said statelet.

    Three unionist parties did quite well in the recent elections precisely because they backed the bigotry of flegs and intransigent Orangeism. It is therefore impossible for those parties to give up bigotry even if they want to, and they don’t want to. Backing bigotry has got them where they are.

    Clever people in the media can make mountainous great stories out of tiny parochial molehills, but these mountains are by nature ephemeral. Unionist politicians get votes by following their voters, not by following the media.

    Furthermore, the media can make this or that person into an all-deserving divine manifestation, but if voters don’t like this or that person he or she will not get elected.

    The big problem for unionism is the fact that it is electorally empowered by people who sympathize with flegs and intransigent Orangeism. Or to put it another way, many unionist voters are not unequivocally devoted to the rule of law, and unionist politicians are giving those voters exactly what they want, in the belief that a sufficiently nasty Sturmabteilung will make everyone think that a UI is impossible.

  • Morpheus

    My pension?!? Trust me when I tell you that I will not be relying solely on a state pension but I am sure that there are others who will want to know what will happen to the contributions they have made throughout their lifetime and can you blame them?

    I don’t jump in to muddy any waters. I jump in to remind others that you pick out carefully selected stats, arbitrarily assigning positions to people as you go, to support your pre-determined conclusion while ignoring everything else which doesn’t suit. And then you repeat them over and over and over and over and over and over again in the hope that no one will pick you up on it.

    “I admire the people who would vote for UI tomorrow.”
    Really? Because you have written them off as delusional in the past…which is it?

    But I don’t need to jump in do I? I doubt if you have convinced a single person that what you claim is the only possible outcome for the future of Ireland.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    AYM

    “degenerate self-loathing pro-suicide cultural Marxists like Walker.”

    Please walk us through this:

    1/ ‘Degenerate’ – How?

    2/ – ‘pro-suicide cultural Marxists ‘ – What on earth are you talking about?

    You bandy the words ‘cultural Marxists’ about like fleggers who have been told to refer to ‘culture’ instead of ‘getting’ it up themuns’.

  • Zeno

    “I admire the people who would vote for UI tomorrow.”
    Really? Because you have written them off as delusional in the past…which is it?
    MORPH
    Are you completely out of ammo? You are making up stuff again, it’s a bad sign.

  • DC

    The current direction of travel is Irish nationalism working with the Alliance to eliminate traditional symbols of British sovereignty where possible, with one eye across the water, I’d be prepared to enter into a pact with nationalism and consider putting the tricolour up and getting the Union flag up along with it and building bi-national cultural outputs; than having to accept what is currently happening, the elimination of identity both traditional identities.

    Oh damn it, swallow my pride time, get me Jim McVeigh’s number it’s time to discuss.

  • mac tire

    No need to swallow pride, DC. Cooperation is the way forward. A win-win.
    I think you would find Flash McVeigh quite a reasonable and personable chap.

  • gendjinn

    @DC,

    welcome, I think you’ll find the water warm.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    DC and Brian Walker

    If you follow the ‘two flags’ route then it is quite simply rubber stamping ‘themuns and usuns’.

    If you put up three flags i.e. one for the British nationalists, one for the Irish nationalists and one for ‘not really any of the above’ i.e. a new Northern Ireland flag, then you have something for everyone.

    Everyone has a share of the cake, no one is above anyone else and it takes the sting out of the perception of nationalism ‘creeping up’ on ye.

    The argument for the ‘two flags’ revolves around equality, by that very token I believe the ‘third lot’ i.e. those aren’t really Irish nationalists or British nationalists should be entitled to a slice of the action too.

    Either one is after equality or one is just using it as a vehicle of convenience.

    This topic will force people to put their money where their mouth is: “No, I’m only interested in equality when it gets me what I want, not when other people might benefit TOO”

    I vote for a green and white Saltire.

    It’s quite Irish looking and it’s not uncommon amongst Glasgow Celtic fans.

    meh.

    http://amgobsmacked.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/three-flags-real-compromise.html

    ————————————-

    “. 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?”

    Are we coming full circle?

    Being Irish AND British was the mainstay of unionism a century ago. (“Erin Go Bragh” anyone?)

    The problem, methinks, for unionism is the cost of adopting a winnable strategy for keeping the union.

    For example, if they were to do the proper thing and make the union more appealing then the flegging classes would be outraged.

    Many unionists say they want to be part of the union at any price but that’s codswallop, if the price to be paid is a dismantling of flegger architecture then there would be a great wailing and gnashing of teeth;

    e.g. easing off on British symbols, clamping down on the parading underbelly, 3 flag compromise (or whatever), allowing Londonderry to rename itself ‘Derry’ if the city so wishes, a new NI flag…. so on and so forth.

    Those are just a few things that could help.

    No doubt ‘too little, too late’ for many, but maybe enough to produce a few unicorns from the next generation.

    It’s like this ‘smash Sinn Fein’ tripe.

    If they really wanted to hurt Sinn Fein in places like Mid-Ulster then they’d vote SDLP.

    But they don’t/won’t.

    Because they don’t like the means to achieve the end.

    In Darwinian terms, they’re asking to be taken out of the gene pool.

    Alas, many rural Mid-Ulster unionists don’t believe in Darwinism….

  • Morpheus

    Zeno aka. 8Billion,

    So in the space of 2 days you denied that you said you were neither as nationalist nor a unionist – proven to be a porkie pie

    You denied that you said that a UI was impossible – also proven to be a porky pie before yet another position change. What is it today…impossible or not?

    Now you deny calling republicans deluded? Let me see…

    “I can only assume you are another deluded republican who doesn’t like hearing the bad news.”
    8Billion

    “…If after considering that anyone thinks it is still good “evidence” of UI. I’d say that is deluded. “
    8Billion

    You make a habit of ‘admiring’ those whom you deem deluded?

    Reputation destroyed, the same way you did on BelTel. I didn’t think it was possible to do it so quickly – it took over 6000 posts on the BT forum – but Kudos. :)

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    tapacall[5.41] Of course the protestant ‘Belfast’ Telegraph picked the NILT by first taking the precaution of making sure it lined up on the unionist side. The NILT surveys would never have seen the light of day otherwise, from BT at least. That’s four elections now out of five that SF have beaten the DUP in vote share, which will chill robbo’s bones, but then he may not be in a position to worry if private polling tells the DUP what it doesn’t want to hear.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    Kevin says[11.05] With the BBC and UTV being best pals with the DUP their journalistic cred is out the window. On Friday UTV dropped the story like a hot potato as it didn’t want to prolong the agony for their friends. How else to explain why Robbo was interviewed by both channels and was never asked to explain how he was misrepresented? It fell to the news letter’s Sam McBride to query that.

  • http://nicentreright.wordpress.com/ Seymour Major

    “For Moslems read Catholics”

    I get this to mean that Catholics will equate Robinson’s condescending remarks with the sort of insults we used to hear from Rev Ian Paisley against Catholics many years ago.

    Robinson’s remarks were a PR disaster. No doubt about that. Outside of Northern Ireland, he added fuel to the perception that Northern Ireland is a backward-looking country.

    If is being suggested that his remarks damaged Protestant/Catholic community relations, I would disagree. Liberally minded people are still a small minority in both communities. Just as homophobia does not divide Protestants and Catholics, neither does Islamaphobia. I quote from a speech from Pope Benedict just a few years ago:

    “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

    Scratch the surface and you will find a large proportion of Catholics who would harbour the same views as Mr. Robinson. Ironically, by fuelling inter-faith bigotry, Robinson may actually have weakened sectarianism in Northern Ireland.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Interesting point there Seymour Major

  • tacapall

    Daniel even though I disagree with Zeno in regards to Catholic and Nationalist attitudes in surveys regarding their political allegiance for obvious reasons people in this part of Ireland have learned the hard way to keep their political opinions to themselves when asked by strangers. Depending on what area people live in they act accordingly – When in Rome do as the Romans do. I do however agree with him that there wont be a united Ireland or a political settlement anytime in the near future separating the link with Britain. There might be a unified Ireland, a political understanding between all the people of Ireland under a system of joint authority, I don’t believe for a second that Britain or the city of London has no strategic interest in Ireland. We are Britain’s Cuba our geographical position is of vital importance, no different that Britain’s interest in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Africa etc etc etc, its no coincidence that Britain’s intelligence services, technology and military might is focused entirely on dissident republicans while turning a blind eye to elements within loyalism, those British agent provocateurs who represent British interests in Ireland who are just as much a threat to the peace process. Rather than making plans for future withdrawal they are in actual fact digging in and preparing the groundwork for the inevitable – Joint Authority.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Tac

    “I don’t believe for a second that Britain or the city of London has no strategic interest in Ireland”

    Without getting your guard up, what is your reason for thinking this?

    I for one think Churchill had the right idea, a friendly independent Ireland is the way to go (hence he dispatched a warship to Belfast Lough as a shot across the bows for unionist ‘rebels’).

    I really don’t see what is in it for the UK strategically by holding on to NI.

    In the south they’re reaching out to the UK, in the north (i.e. the UK) they’re spitting feathers at this ‘grovelling’.

    Surely that demonstrates that it’s in Britain’s interests to have a friendly Ireland as opposed to the schizophrenic one that there is at present?

  • Morpheus

    Unite Catholics and Protestants by finding something in common which they can all hate together – yeah, that’s the sort of Northern Ireland I want to live in.

    The issue for me is not so much what Peter Robinson said – he is what he is and he said what he said – but the fact that The First Minister of Northern Ireland, our elected, number 1 representative, publically supported a supposed ‘man of God’ who publically and unrepentantly claimed that another religion is a “doctrine spawned in hell.” He has shown that he is not worthy of the office he holds and as such should resign. How is he supposed to go on trade missions to Muslim countries and retain any level of respectability? How is he supposed to go to Saudi Arabia in a few weeks, where the state religion is Islam, after publically supporting a man who thinks their religion is ‘spawned in hell’ and his trusting them ‘to go the shops’ comments?

    Time to step aside and let another crony have a go

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Morph

    ” How is he supposed to go to Saudi Arabia in a few weeks,…”

    Are you serious?!

  • gendjinn

    Am Ghobsmacht,

    Without getting your guard up, what is your reason for thinking this?

    Experience.

    England/Britain has broken every single agreement they have ever made with the Irish. Even as part of the GFA – they appointed a tory (Patten) to give the right set of police reforms – and they even gutted his proposals, when they went too far in creating an accountable police force.

    If you want a more practical reason – force projection into the North Atlantic especially for its airforce.

  • Morpheus

    Joint Authority between the British and Irish Governments tac? How do you think it will go down when SF are part of the Irish Government?

    Is it out of the question to suggest that SF would stand aside and allow the SDLP – in the interests of consolidation don’t you know – to take their seats at Westminster resulting in a sizable block of nationalist MPs on the British side and SF on the Irish side. Eeeeek

  • Zeno

    MORPH
    You are obsessed with me and that isn’t healthy. Your either have an inability to comprehend what a simple sentence actually means or you are being malicious. Which is it?
    Let me give you an example. If I used a phrase like “another deluded republican” You either really think that means “all republicans are deluded” or your obsession with me means you have deliberately construed a meaning that isn’t there.
    Another poster said that because I said less that 31% of Catholics vote for SF that somehow means I am saying that only people who vote for SF would vote for UI. That’s the level you are at. Let me clear it up for you. All Republicans are not deluded. Some republicans are deluded. Those are called deluded republicans. Got it?
    Add to that your string of Hahahaha gloating posts when you thought I had made a mistake on comparing differences in percentages. (I hadn’t) Calling me “sweetie” your use of phrases from sit coms and even posting video clips on BT to try and make fun of me. Not just an obsession, a very immature one.
    I actually had one of the highest approval ratings on BT. But again you claim my reputation was destroyed. What does that say? The approval system was wrong? Who decided it was wrong………. you?. Not the Belfast Telegraph, not all the people who gave me the rating. That is allowing your own personal emotions to interfere with your judgement.
    You pounced on one post that I misread and now you are claiming that I have been telling “porkie pies” Even though I immediately said I had misread your post. Is that because you are a fair and genuine debater? Ask yourself that.

  • gendjinn

    Morpheus,

    sizable? There are only 18 MPs in the north. Only once or a twice a century would northern MPs have any power at Westminster. Don’t forget the old adage, if you can be bought, you can be sold.

    The abstentionist policy is the my preferred approach as it delegitimizes British sovereignty in the constituencies returning abstentionist MPs.

  • Jagdip

    According to the BBC, bottle thrown living room window in Belfast city centre in what PSNI are treating as a hate crime. The two occupants of the house are reported to be Pakistani (which almost certainly means they are Muslims, although that is not stated in the BBC report)

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

    Will there be claims that this is the outworking of the pastor’s comments, and Peter Robinson’s support for the pastor? After all, if a pastor can publicly suggest Islam is “satanic”, and if the First Minister provides support to the pastor, then why not break a few windows/legs/skulls?

  • Morpheus

    I read it on Twitter AG, I will double-check. But the point still stands, how is he supposed to retain any respectability on any Trade Mission to any Muslim country?

  • Zeno

    tacapall
    “Daniel even though I disagree with Zeno in regards to Catholic and Nationalist attitudes in surveys”

    Your opinion is valid. One survey (the NILT) even though it is supported by OFM/DFM and carried out by Academics could still be wrong. But it is only one part of the jigsaw.
    Around 23% vote Nationalist.
    Around 23% say they are Nationalist.
    Around 25% say they are Irish.
    Around 26% say they would like to see a UI long term. (that’s really the soft option and will always get the highest support because if you keep asking people would they want UI in 20 years it is a lot easier to say yes.)
    So the only valid conclusion you can reach from those figures is there isn’t really much support for UI. Add to that that since the GFA support has fallen.
    Then look at the opposition.
    A solid 44% say they would vote against.
    If the Turn Out is 87% or below then the No vote wins no matter how many vote Yes.
    If SF go into government in the South my bet is the No voters will increase.

  • tacapall

    AG the ideology of an imperialist empire is -

    1 Gain and hold territories that possess the largest supplies of the basic raw materials.

    2 Establish naval and military bases around the world to control the sea and commerce lanes.

    3 Blockade and starve into submission any nation or group of nations that opposes the empires control program.

    The above is being acted upon even today and recently to the advantage of those hidden puppet masters who control Westminster, who controlled Churchill, those bankers and global corporations who use the British people as cannon fodder in their lust for power and money the real instigators of all Britain’s wars around the world. Our geographical position makes us vitally important to the hub of every financial transaction in the world – London, Corporate UK has many enemies and Ireland unloyal to the crown is considered a threat to the status quo.

    “Search history and see what has been the fate of every nation that abused its credit – When it shall be exhausted the heart of the nation will cease to exist”

    The same people who control the IMF control the Bank of England and the Irish people are now in debt to both. Corporate UK has now copper fastened its hold not only on the northern six counties of Ireland but also the 26 southern counties and after almost a thousand years of occupation they wont be letting go anytime soon.

  • GEF

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

    Thanks Jagdip, looks like Northern Ireland is catching up with racism and hate crimes in the ROI, “More than half of foreigners have experienced racism in Ireland, says study”
    http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/more-than-half-of-foreigners-have-experienced-racism-in-ireland-says-study-29694258.html

  • tacapall

    Zeno you dont have to be a nationalist to be a republican nor do you have to be a catholic to be a supporter of a UI also like I said, most people here tell people what they think they want to hear when it comes to political opinions. The union will only be attractive as long as the carrot of £££s is dangled in front of those who rely on it for survival.

    “Joint Authority between the British and Irish Governments tac? How do you think it will go down when SF are part of the Irish Government”

    Morpheus when it comes to Sinn Fein and power its never say never and rule nothing out.

  • Republic of Connaught

    GEF:

    “looks like Northern Ireland is catching up with racism and hate crimes in the ROI”

    No, it’s far surpassed the south.

    Because the day Enda Kenny could come out in support of some nutter priest or pastor that said they wouldn’t trust any Muslims and not be forced to resign would be the day things are really going bad.

  • Zeno

    tacapall
    “Zeno you dont have to be a nationalist to be a republican nor do you have to be a catholic to be a supporter of a UI ”

    No one claimed you do. So why bring it up? Oh, I get it. You want to imply that is what I said.
    Argue what I have said by all means, but don’t be making up stuff and attributing that to me and then arguing against that.
    I’m assuming you don’t know this or you wouldn’t be so blatant in your use of strawmen.
    “A straw man, also known in the UK as an Aunt Sally, is a common type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on the misrepresentation of the original topic of argument. To be successful, a straw man argument requires that the audience be ignorant or uninformed of the original argument.”

  • Comrade Stalin

    Less than 1/3rd vote for SF

    Zeno, here’s the problem with your argument. The outcome of an election or referendum is decided by those who vote in it, not those who abstain.

    You are effectively counting non-voting Catholics as being neutral on the union on the basis that they do not vote for SF or the SDLP. That’s a mistake.

    I actually share your view that a Catholic, or even a nationalist, majority in Northern Ireland is unlikely to lead directly to a united Ireland in the short term. It isn’t necessary to play games with the election results to make that point.

  • tacapall

    Whatever Zeno but im basing my opinion on what you’ve written -

    “Around 23% vote Nationalist.
    Around 23% say they are Nationalist.
    Around 25% say they are Irish.
    Around 26% say they would like to see a UI long term. (that’s really the soft option and will always get the highest support because if you keep asking people would they want UI in 20 years it is a lot easier to say yes.)
    So the only valid conclusion you can reach from those figures is there isn’t really much support for UI. Add to that that since the GFA support has fallen”

    Maybe Im wrong but your postings sort of point to an opinion that you believe only Irish and Nationalists would support a united Ireland.

    I dont want to keep going around in circles here Zeno if the above is not what your implying then what percentage of the Protestant population who support a united Ireland, have you factored into your calculations as being relevant to any future border poll.

  • Greenflag

    Am Ghobsmacht ,

    ‘Alas, many rural Mid-Ulster unionists don’t believe in Darwinism’

    The reverse is also true and of more import longer term i.e Darwinism does’nt believe in Mid Ulster and probably not even in Northern Ireland given political unionism’s failure to adapt to a fast changing political environment both within NI and in it’s neighbourhood .

  • Zeno

    Comrade Stalin
    “Less than 1/3rd vote for SF
    Zeno, here’s the problem with your argument
    You are effectively counting non-voting Catholics as being neutral on the union on the basis that they do not vote for SF or the SDLP. That’s a mistake”

    I keep running into the same problem.
    No one piece of data on it’s own should ever be used to prove any point. You can’t just take that one figure from one survey and give it enough weight to prove anything. So CS you are right, but you are also wrong because that is not the only piece of data or the only source that I used.
    Someone else says you can’t use the Opinion Polls. yet another says you can’t use the Census and more say you can’t use the Election Results. But when all 4 combined give much the same answer, then that is what we call conclusive.
    Btw the “less that 1/3″ was in response to Brian Walker who seems to think almost all Catholics want a UI.

  • DC

    I used to think joint authority would be a spiteful way of poking SF and the DUP in the eye for failure while doing both and other political parties out of jobs and money, but hands up who thinks either governments have done a good job of running their respective countries? So let’s not all rush to welcome them in and when they do come in, governance is done by setting up countless Commissions on whatever vexed issue no one can settle, or so it is claimed.

    This country has not had regional governance in decades and direct rule has hollowed out all the old trappings of the unionist state and left only a sort of residual Britishness to the place. Commissions either on parades or on good relations or whatever set up and, rest assured, to maintain good relations or whatever comes under the microscope of any particular Commission, such Commissions will deliver outputs that the vast majority of the community does not relate to or will have little love for thereby ensuring no one can take any offence to it, except it doesn’t reflect what the community, the majority of the community would like to see. These kind of Commission outputs – minimal unionism or all but invisible nationalism – are not that far removed from decades worth of EU Commission governance that people are cheesed off with, except the EU disempowers national governance, the Commissions and what not set up here in NI disempowers regional and even local governance.

    For instance local governance, where I live I am sure people would prefer it if when marking unionist events such organisers could apply to the local council to put up red, white and blue bunting and manage it formally this way, as the vast majority have no issue with that to commemorate or celebrate or whatever needs done in relation to a specific unionist-oriented event. Except this is no longer possible due to whatever regulations in place, but while in place it is painting a picture that local councils are unable to be responsive and deliver what the majority of locals would like to see, when councillors are voted into power their hands are tied. In this vacuum, loyalists pop up and just put flags on the lamp posts any way. (And I think this is a point about how upper middle-class professional-commission led hatching of non-offensive identity outputs has put off working class voters or actually those non-professional not over-educated voters, put off locally and regionally, as such voters know even if they did vote their kind of politicians in they would be powerless to change things, as things stand. So they don’t bother turning up.)

    So, perhaps if there could be a compact in Belfast City Hall and also up in Stormont to restore some control over these issues to meet the needs of both communities then this might be progress and a fair’s fair! Because there’s a lot of change going on in the world and the pace of it is quick that while I don’t have any affinity to the tricolour it is a flag that I am aware of and know and all the change as witnessed across the water is actually pushing me closer to the older traditions on the island which I can at least identify with, as opposed to the other stuff going on.

    Am Ghob – Alliance had its chance to put a flag up, it had its chance to visualise a symbol for a new modern city it either didn’t come up with anything or else wasn’t allowed to by nationalists but fact is nothing was produced. Also when you actually have a voting majority then put whatever you want up, well actually that would be dependent on there being a new unionist and nationalist compact which could overturn laws in NI that say you can’t do this, but any way, in the meantime it’s unionists and nationalists. On that basis, perhaps it’s time to restore some traditional identities throughout this place and perhaps it’s time yes for re-Britification but for Irishification along with the Islamification, rather than let’s just fucking remove everything and satisfy no one and leave us all the more disorientated in a land of neutrality save for loyalists reminding us through lamp posting activities lol.

    It’s time to power up old certainties in the face of new uncertainties if you ask me, I think this could provide a bit of balance and comfort for us all here in NI. It’s time for a compact and a new law that makes it OK to fly the tricolour and union flag in Belfast and a law that councils can mark particular majority identities in a responsive way without any repercussions in the courts. Stormont might also have to fly the tricolour as well so that law that that judge ruled on around 2000 or whatever should go, be legislated over by SF & DUP who do have the powers and numbers to see it through!

  • Greenflag

    @ Politico68

    Excellent opening post by Brian Walker .I’ve been stating the same ‘message ‘ for years albeit not as eloquently as BW :(

    Some comments

    ” In this case as you (BW ) rightly point out, unionism is distancing itself not only from the broad British and Irish civil and political establishment; it also repels potential, sympathetic friends around the globe.”

    Apart from a few Israeli ultra orthodox nutters and some lunatic fringe neo con right wing extremists in the USA south -political unionism is bereft of sympathizers around the globe . It has’nt learned how to win friends nor influence people .It has never felt the need in the past so why should it now ? Nothing in that respect has changed .

    “But we must be realistic here too, we must realize that if its the case that a significant chunk of Unionism has very extreme, crippling racist tendencies; it means that the likelihood of it reaching accommodation with a future nationalist majority could be impossible. ”

    I’d have said WOULD be impossible . Which is in itself an a further encouragement for unionists to be seen as racists , fascists , etc all the more to repel any attempt at any political UI . Of course such attitude if it becomes the prevailing one among unionists will have adverse effects on both the economy of NI and it’s future growth prospects .

    “Are we in a pre-conflict phase?’

    Not yet. We’re in a Pre Assembly collapse phase which could morph into another conflict phase if the main players i.e HMG and the Irish Government keep ignoring the increasing warning signs of a dysfunctional polity on it’s uppers :(

  • Zeno

    tacapall
    “Maybe Im wrong but your postings sort of point to an opinion that you believe only Irish and Nationalists would support a united Ireland”

    That’s not my opinion. You can never be that exact. You can’t even say all of those people would vote for a UI. But as a guide if someone says they are Irish, votes Nationalist and says they are Nationalist. There is a fair chance they will vote Yes.
    If someone says they are Unionist or they don’t want a United Ireland or couldn’t live with UI. You can be fairly certain they will vote No. (44%)
    Add to that Fear. Fear that the sectarian murder gangs will be back on the streets. Which must be a major factor if you believe Catholics are afraid to say they want UI in the Polls and Surveys.
    Fear of losing your job, for all the people who work in the Public Sector and Civil Service.
    Fear of change, most people are not radical enough for big adventures that might change their life for the worse. It’s the better the devil you know attitude.
    The number of Protestants who want UI? Around 2%.

  • http://www.ur2die4.com/ amanfromMars

    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.

    They aint smart enough, Brian, to make a success of that. Lack of intelligence is endemic and systemic and the only valid reason for their enduring problems.

  • Zeno

    amanfromMars
    “Lack of intelligence is endemic and systemic and the only valid reason for their enduring problems.”

    I don’t think that’s the problem. As someone said in the paper today on another subject. Politicians know what they have to do, but they know they won’t get elected again when they do it. The Unionists know the right thing is to stop the Orange Order, Flag Protesters and Paramilitaries……….. will they do that>? No.

  • http://www.ur2die4.com/ amanfromMars

    I don’t think that’s the problem. As someone said in the paper today on another subject. Politicians know what they have to do, but they know they won’t get elected again when they do it. The Unionists know the right thing is to stop the Orange Order, Flag Protesters and Paramilitaries……….. will they do that>? No.…. Zeno 1 June 2014 at 6:35 pm

    I think that situation and reality, Zeno, proves the lack of intelligence point quite admirably and makes politics a haven for charlatans and the fraudulently minded.

    Promise the stars and deliver nothing of value is that which their spouted drivel to media supplies in spades, does it not? One wonders why media conspires so readily with them and waste time and effort affording them air time.

    A lack of intelligence in leadership there too is most probably also the valid cause, along with a lack of courage and the right stuff too, methinks.

    Puppets and lapdogs together and aint that the gospel truth.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Zeno

    In an unlikely turn of events, I completely agree with you. There’s no lack of intelligence among the people of Protestant Ulster, so that can’t be the reason for the fact that unionist politics are so grotesquely atavistic.

    As a CNR looking on, my Protestant countrymen remind me, metaphorically, of a relative in the grip of addiction.

    Unionism is a narcotic. The effects it has had on the body politic of Protestant Ulster will be familiar to anyone who has ever known a junkie.

    Addiction is a terrible, soul-sapping thing. To be an addict is to lose all dignity and all standards. It’s always a harrowing thing to see.

    The one good thing about addiction is that the solution is always obvious: stop using.

    (Easy to say, almost impossible to do, of course. You describe unionist politicians in exactly these terms. Like most addicts, of course they know what they should do. That’s easy. But actually doing what’s necessary to survive is almost impossible – even when the addict knows that failure to do so means death. For addicts, the fix matters more even than life.)

    Sometimes, addicts can be prevailed upon to stop using. I suspect a large chunk of the stay-at-homes who used to vote unionist are already ‘in rehab,’ so to speak. Others never stop, and so end up on the scrapheap of society.

    But there is hope. Here’s the big secret that all ‘the unionist people’ need to know:

    There is no such thing as ‘the unionist people’.

    ‘Unionism’ is a phenomenon in our political history.

    The Protestant people of Ulster existed as a distinctive and distinguished entity within our nation long before unionism, and they’ll continue to do so long after it’s gone. Their role in the story of our nation will not end when unionism does.

    So Just Say No, kids!

    (Surely if any demographic in the world can Just Say No, it’s you guys?)

  • 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.

    Firstly it is not appropriate for a Christian pastor to describe Islam as the spawn of hell etc. That is a poor way of witnessing to Muslims. However, it is entirely fair to state that by an evangelical Christian analysis Islam does not offer the way to salvation; that it denies the Divinity of Christ and that it is a grave error for Christians not to point out these differences.

    Political islam is a very variable concept: it has included enlightened (for the times) positions of the late middle ages. Muslim majority religion secular states have been sometimes benign and progressive; sometimes dictatorial and violent; sometimes in the middle.

    What many regard as fundamentalist political Islam is also variable. The Saudis practice a very fundamentalist and pretty unpleasant brand of political system supposedly backed up by Islam which involves draconian and appallingly misogynist laws alongside hypocrisy on an industrial scale such as vast imports of alcohol into a country where alcohol is illegal.

    There is also the type of fundamentalist Islam practiced by the Taliban which combines much of the Saudi doctrine with even more zeal and unpleasantness and somewhat less hypocrisy.

    Then there is a totally different form of what we might think of as fundamentalist Islam practiced in Iran where again there are draconian laws yet it is very different. Partly these differences may be Shia vs Sunni but that is not by any means all of it and the supposed Shia Sunni split is a simplistic shorthand lazily used by the western media to explain complex historical, ethnic, social and geo political differences.

    Robinson was really here saying (badly) that extremist political Islam is not to be trusted as a political system. In contrast I personally despite having met many, many muslims could think of no more than one or two with whom I would not trust my possessions, family and even life.

    The mistrust of political fundamentalist Islam is, however, by no means unique to evangelical Christians. The muslim I know best (and count as a good friend) is Syrian. We were recently at an airport when a flight was due to go to Tel Aviv and a heavily breaded Ultra orthodox jewish gentleman walked by (remember Syria and Israel are still sort of technically at war). My friend being Syrian had been telling me about the chaos caused in Syria by the fundamentalists and how he, despite initially opposing the Syrian government, had come to feel that they were by far preferable to the alternatives (interestingly a position also adopted by a couple of Syrian Christians and I know). On seeing the Orthodox Jewish gentleman he leaned over to me and said: “Basically I trust no one with a big beard.”

    The point is that Robinson might have explained it a bit inelegantly but whilst almost all muslims are entirely reasonable people and many muslim countries are modern and progressive, there are one or two specific minority political interpretations of political Islam which are highly dangerous to all forms of civil and religious liberty in the west, the middle east, Africa and potentially world wide. It is the populations (most especially the liberal muslim people) in the non fundamentalist states who are at the greatest risk from this extension of fundamentalist political Islam. They do not trust such political positions nor their exponents in the slightest: they have been murdered in large numbers by them.

    Many of those protesting against Robinson would be aghast at any prospect of those political ideas receiving any support anywhere. However, in this context (and in the context of Brian Walker’s blog) such is irrelevant. This is an opportunity to bash Peter Robinson and unionism. In that they are as hypocritical as our friends the Saudi royal family.

  • Zeno

    amanfromMars
    “I think that situation and reality, Zeno, proves the lack of intelligence point quite admirably and makes politics a haven for charlatans and the fraudulently minded.”

    It’s not a lack of intelligence. It’s just not the kind of intelligence the electorate want. The electorate of course have unrealistic expectations. They elect people who tell them what they want to hear and promise them what they want will happen, but the reality is they only have the one ability and that is to get elected.
    The politicos are smart, it’s just the wrong kind of smarts for the job.

  • gendjinn

    …demonise unionism just as much as some (possibly including Pastor McConnell) demonise Islam.

    Possibly? POSSIBLY? But it’s the critics that are demonising unionists not their own words *eye roll*.

    That is a poor way of witnessing to Muslims.

    No it’s bigotry, not a “poor way”.

    Only bigots fail to condemn bigotry, thanks for telling us (again) what you are.

  • Turgon

    gendjinn,
    Indeed it is much more important to you to demonise unionists than think about the dangers to all (Muslims, Christians, Jews, atheists and everyone else) posed by certain political positions which claim to derive from fundamentalist Islam.

    Much more important to demonise unionists as the narrow petty Northern Ireland squabble is of such overriding importance to you. So much so that you are <a href="http://sluggerotoole.com/2014/05/31/after-the-elections-and-the-pastor-unionists-will-have-to-ditch-bigotry-to-survive/comment-page-1/#comment-1477561"willing to claim that the British supported the Nazis: a piece of lying of truly impressive proportions.

  • Turgon

    Sorry link failed. I will try again:

    gendjinn,
    Indeed it is much more important to you to demonise unionists than think about the dangers to all (Muslims, Christians, Jews, atheists and everyone else) posed by certain political positions which claim to derive from fundamentalist Islam.

    Much more important to demonise unionists as the narrow petty Northern Ireland squabble is of such overriding importance to you. So much so that you are willing to claim that the British supported the Nazis: a piece of lying of truly impressive proportions.

  • Zeno

    gendjinn
    ‘Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.’”

    There is a more eloquent way of getting your point across. Pope Benedict said that a few years ago (in a quote)………… there was an outcry and a bit of a stink, but no resignation over it. Robbo and Mc Connel came across like thick uneducated hillbilly types, which may well be true.

    Just in case there is any doubt. I condemn both.

  • Morpheus

    “But when all 4 combined give much the same answer, then that is what we call conclusive.”

    Oh for goodness sake can we stop with this 4 sources of data nonsense. Let’s have yet ANOTHER look at how you use those 4 data sources shall we?

    Census
    You repeat ad nauseum that around 25% say they are Irish and use it to back up your claim that support for a UI is in and around that figure. So what if 25% said they were Irish? What does that prove other than 25% said they were Irish? What gives you the right to assign a unionist position to the other 75%? You think all those who CHOSE Northern Irish for example were aware that they were in fact confirming their unionism when ticking that particular box in the census? Hardly.

    Bottom line, you have picked out something that suits and assigned a position to a lot of people. Again.

    NILT
    You repeat ad nausuem that around 23% say they are Nationalist and use it to back up your claim that support for a UI is in and around that figure. You are quite correct, that is what was reported in the NILT. But in the same survey 28% said they were Unionist leaving 49% who CHOSE to say they were neither. What gives you the right to assign a unionist position to that 49%?

    Bottom line, you have picked out something that suits and assigned a position to a lot of people. Again.

    Polls
    You repeat ad nauseum about how only 26% want a UI in the long term. Again, factually correct but what gives you the right to assign a unionist position to the 30% who are undecided? 44% CHOSE to say they were against the concept of a UI – the rest CHOSE to say they weren’t.

    Bottom line, you have picked out something that suits and assigned a position to a lot of people. Again.

    Elections
    You repeat ad nauseum about how the nationalist vote has dropped since the GFA – and you are quite correct, it has – but it has also INCREASED by 30% in the past generation. What makes the GFA an acceptable timeframe to use but an alternative time-frame which doesn’t suit you isn’t?

    Bottom line, you have picked out a timeframe that suits and ignored the rest. Again.

    And before you start:
    1. it has nothing to do with me ‘not liking the figures’ as you like to trot out but it has everything to do with you thinking that only your position is right and everyone else is wrong/delusional.
    2. there is nothing wrong with the 4 different data sources in my eyes, people said what they said and ticked the boxes they ticked.

    You are incapable of putting your case across without picking out the bits that suit from each data source, ignoring the rest, assigning a position to large groups of people and for some bizarre reason in a misguided sense of pseudo-intellectual arrogance you seem to think that only you are in a position to decide what is and isn’t relevant. Prove me wrong – make your case without doing it.

    Regardless, if anyone on here has a different take to you, so what? It’s no skin off your nose. You are neither unionist or nationalist and are 100% certain that a UI will never happen…right?

  • http://nicentreright.wordpress.com/ Seymour Major

    The headline point of this post is that the Unionist parties will have to ditch bigotry to survive. I commented earlier about anti-Islam bigotry by Robinson was not divisive between Protestants and Catholics.

    Walker’s actual point is that Northern Ireland Unionism cannot survive in its present form if it continues to be inextricably linked to Protestantism.

    In the elections just over a week ago, there were two Liberal Unionist Parties on offer – the Conservatives and NI 21. They received 14,000 odd votes between them.

    If he was using a crystal ball that worked before he wrote the post, it was looking much too far into the future for my liking.

  • Zeno

    MORPH
    I’ve realised it’s pointless engaging with you. I spend most of the time correcting things you think I’ve said, and that’s being kind. So don’t waste any more of your time or mine.
    If you require any answers to any question you might come up with ,just read my posts thread and you will find I’ve answered it before for you.

  • gendjinn

    Turgon,

    you are the one that keeps accusing people of supporting the Nazis by taking a few guns to fight an illegal occupation of my homeland. Not me. If you want to go down that road you’ll find that your beloved state, the one you claim allegiance to, did far more to enable Hitler & the Nazis thatn the IRA.

    I don’t have to do anything to demonise unionism, their & your bigotry does it for me :)

  • gendjinn

    Zeno,

    I welcome your condemnation of Robinson & Benedict. We are in complete agreement on that score.

  • Morpheus

    LOL

    Don’t worry Zeno, I think I have done more than enough to show how much of a bluffer you are. The weird part is that you will wake up tomorrow and do exactly the same thing again in the hope that no one pulls you on it.

    Peace out

  • gendjinn

    Seymour,

    I commented earlier about anti-Islam bigotry by Robinson was not divisive between Protestants and Catholics.

    Alas, it is with great regret that I find your statement to be true. I encounter the same bigotry in my own family despite the fact that my aunt married a muslim and raised her 4 children in the muslim faith.

    Given that the greatest & majority of genocides in the last couple of centuries happened at the hands of Caucasians I find their criticism of Islam as the source of all evil to be hypocritical bigotry of the highest order.