How might a Republican future unfold, who or what might shape it, and what can it achieve?

There’s a very good interview with Anthony McIntyre on Vice, not least because it provides rather more light than we normally get on the Boston College project. But one aspect relates to Anthony’s characteristic pessimism when it comes to the future of Irish Republicanism:

To me, republicanism is over, but can I see a future for republicans if they behave in a rational manner and pursue justice and politics. Unfortunately, there are still people who think that political violence is the way forward, but for me it’s an absolute waste.

I say characteristic, because McIntyre’s been pretty consistent since the first time I heard himself and Danny Morrison debate the future of Republicanism at St Johns College in Oxford. It turned out to be a relatively civil squabble over the past.

Danny seemed willing to slough off his younger fundamentalist self in favour of some new and wholly peaceful means of attaining his prefered goal. Anthony on the other hand, having committed everything to a cause that failed militarily, could not see a sustainable way forward.

The frustrating thing about that engagement for me (having not long before written a Rowntree funded report on the future of unionism) as a member of the audience was that familiar refusal or unwillingness in both men to consider in practical terms how to approach the future of Irish Republicanism.

Perhaps it was an unreasonable expectation on my part. After all, although it was widely read at senior political levels at the time, many of the lessons outlined in the pamphlet seem to have gone unheeded in the eleven years since. Ironically, some of our ‘findings’ relate to the subject matter of Father Des Wilson’s ATN column this week

Some of our unionist friends realise that what they need is not just a re-arrangement of the things they always did, but a set of new things to do. And the question arises, is a new visionary leadership of unionism possible?

Taking Behan’s maxim on Republican splits as read, there does also seem to be a concomitant unwillingness amongst republicans to think about how a Republican future might unfold, who or what it might be shaped by, and what it might achieve.

Perhaps this relates to Republicanism’s historic commitment to action, Facta non Verba (even within a resolutely constitutional frame Fianna Fail, The Republican Party tend to self characterise as ‘doers’ rather than ‘thinkers’), which tends to block such introspection.

But it may also relate to something else, perhaps connected to Father Des’s observations of unionism: ie, the limitation of future possibilities because of a reptilian grip on past certainties.

To rip a little from Alex Massie commenting on the issues currently at stake in Scotland perhaps it’s a game of loyalties, of belonging and, in some senses, the expansiveness of your Scottishness Irishness?

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  • Zeno1

    Why would I bother answering questions from you when even when you are confronted with irrefutable evidence that you were wrong, you refuse to accept it and attempt deflection?
    What the SoS will look at, Polls ,Surveys, Election Results and yes National Identity are in the blindingly obvious category of what people call evidence. What figures she is looking for is also pretty obvious, except to you of course.
    You denied that the SoS would look at Polls,Surveys,Election results. I provided evidence to the contrary and you tried to change the subject and throw in a bit of nit picking.

  • Morpheus

    Hahahaha, so you don’t know. Classic.

    After all that you STILL can’t tell me the criteria for a border poll…

    …the whole point of this thread.

    “What figures she is looking for is also pretty obvious, except to you of course.”

    Obvious eh? Then tell me:
    1. What criteria does an SoS need to see in the election results in order to be confident that a border poll would succeed?
    2. What criteria does an SoS need to see in the surveys in order to be confident that a border poll would succeed?

    Two very simple questions for those who in the know and are clear on the criteria because the criteria is not grey. I;ll even help, try starting off with this:

    “In order for a SoS to be confident that a border poll would succeed she would need to see the following in the elections results and opinion surveys:
    a.
    b.
    c.
    d.
    e.
    f.

    I’ll be right here on the edge of my seat

  • Zeno1

    Get someone to explain to you what happened. You made the same claim over and over and threw in some snidey remarks. You were proven to be completely wrong and then you attempting to change the subject.

    If you knew anything about how to conduct a debate you would hold your hands up and apologise. That is what any Gentleman would do, and yes I have made mistakes and apologised as soon as possible.
    I think at some point in the discussion you realised you were talking nonsense and attempted to deflect. I ignored all that and stayed on the subject. But then again I may be giving you too much credit.

  • Morpheus

    So again, you don’t know.

    The whole point of the thread.

    You don’t know.

    I think they call that QED

  • Morpheus

    And for the record, my original comment still stands. It was you who jumped in and started this just for the sake of it. To recap I said criteria was grey, you said it wasn’t, I asked you to prove it and here we are about 2 dozens comments later and you still haven’t after going around the world for a short-cut in an attempt to wriggle off the hook. Again.

  • Zeno1

    As I said “Get someone to explain what happened” to you.

  • Morpheus

    I want you to do it.

    You started this hullabalooza, man up and finish it

  • Zeno1

    Read your own posts. Are you elderly or something?

    Morpheus Zeno1 • 8 hours ago

    “It’s not grey at all. He looks at Polls ,Surveys, Voting Patterns and National Identity of the Population. If they show that a Yes Vote can succeed ,He calls a Border Poll.”

    You blatantly made that up – do I need to copy the Good Friday Agreement? AGAIN? Or by all means quote where you got “polls, surveys, voting pattern and national identity of the population” from.

    Or are you doing that God-awful thing you do when you try to pass off your opinion as fact again?

    The rest of that is just waffle for the sake of waffle

  • Morpheus

    Elderly? What has age got to do with anything?

    True, 8 hours ago you did say “”It’s not grey at all. He looks at Polls ,Surveys, Voting Patterns and National Identity of the Population. If they show that a Yes Vote can succeed ,He calls a Border Poll.” And it’s also true that 4 hours ago you produced a comment from the SoS which says she looked at election results and opinion surveys.

    Let’s assume for a second that you knew about this quote 8 hours ago, 2 questions spring to mind:
    1. why did you not produce it 8 hours ago?
    2. why did you add ‘national identity’ when you apparently already knew that not to be the case?

    I put it to you that you did that other God-awful thing you do…start with a position and then trawl the internet looking for something to back it up.

    Don’t get me wrong, the comment is great and it provides me with new info PLUS it also means we can eliminate the made up ‘national identity’ BS and focus on just the election results and opinion surveys but that just takes me back to my other 2 questions stemming from my original post:
    1. What criteria does an SoS need to see in the election results in order to be confident that a border poll would succeed?
    2. What criteria does an SoS need to see in the surveys in order to be confident that a border poll would succeed?

    I’m still here on the age of my seat

  • Zeno1

    Sometimes old people get confused.
    Now you are trying to blame me for something. It is blindingly obvious that the SoS will look at solid evidence. That evidence is in the Polls,Surveys (which are much the same thing) Election Results and Identity. Those are the 4 main sources of relevant information.
    (For some reason you don’t understand that)

    As I said in an early post What else would she look at? I knew she had turned down a Poll but didn’t know she had given the criteria. I already knew what she was going to look at because it is soo obvious. It was only when you asked for proof that In did a search. I had no reason to do one before because anyone with the slightest bit of wit would know where to look for evidence, she looked at the only information that mattered. If the Polls and Election Results had shown that say 45% wanted UI. She would then look at Identity, and if that was within striking distance of 45% she would have a lot of difficulty turning down a Poll, but with the discretion she has, she could. That is what SF signed up to.

  • Morpheus

    Sometimes people who aren’t old get confused as well, what’s your point?

    Let me get this straight, first you say that national identity is used then you produce a comment from the SoS which says that it wasn’t but now you say it is again? Which is it?

    From the off I have been asking what criteria the SoS needs to see in order to call a border poll.. You say it is clear. I say prove it by answering a few questions which would be simple for anyone that does actually know. You can’t. Repeatedly. Conclusion, you don’t have a scooby-do what you are talking about

    But just in case, let’s gtry one more time – fill in the blanks in the following:

    “”In order for a SoS to be confident that a border poll would succeed she would need to see the following in the elections results and opinion surveys:
    a.
    b.
    c.
    d.
    e.
    f.

    Saying that you don’t know is perfectly acceptable, only the SoS does. That’s the problem. It’s subjective. What she looks at is up to her. Maybe a nationalist First Minister is enough? Maybe not. Maybe nationalist parties having more votes than unionist parties is enough? Maybe not. Maybe equal number of unionists and nationalists in the NILT? Maybe not. Maybe a combination? Maybe not. You don’t know, I don’t know, Mick doesn’t know, no one reading this knows – that’s why I said the criteria was grey.

    PS. who made up these 45% stats? You? :)

  • Zeno1

    I’m happy to answer any questions as soon as you address your multiple mistakes. (I don’t know why you continue with the deflection when I told you I’m not falling for it.?)

    “You don’t know, I don’t know,”

    Ooooooooooooooh not quite. Half of that is right and guess what? It’s me that knows, You’re the one who couldn’t work out that the SoS would look at the relevant data.

    “Maybe a nationalist First Minister is enough? Maybe not.”

    There is no maybe in that. The answer is, it is not enough to indicate that a UI Poll would be successful.

    “You don’t know, I don’t know, Mick doesn’t know, no one reading this knows – that’s why I said the criteria was grey.”

    No sorry, leave me out of that, I know exactly what the SoS looks at when looking for evidence that a UI Vote might succeed and so does anyone with a modicum of intelligence.

    Are you drunk? I really don’t like taking advantage of drunk people and making them look stupid. Elderly drunks are the worst.

  • Morpheus

    Hahahaha,spoken like a 6 year old caught telling porky-pies in the playground:

    “My Dad IS Superman”
    “Why doesn’t he fly?”
    “Because he doesn’t want to…”
    “Go on, ask him to fly”
    “He can’t today because he doesn’t have his cape because my mum is washing it”

    “There is no maybe in that. The answer is, it is not enough to indicate that a UI Poll would be successful.”

    You made that up. If not prove it or…what’s the phrase, oh yeah…retract or delete?

    “I know exactly what the SoS looks at when looking for evidence that a UI Vote might succeed and so does anyone with a modicum of intelligence.”

    You know what comes next, right?

    “”In order for a SoS to be confident that a border poll would succeed she would need to see the following in the elections results and opinion surveys:
    a.
    b.
    c.
    d.
    e.
    f.

    Just A and B would suffice.

    Is there anyone else out there with a ‘modicum of intelligence’ who can answer this or is Zeno the only 1 in the world who can answer it? Mick, you are a clever guy, can you answer this?

    It’s put up or shut up time Zeno, this got real boring real fast.

    Y’know at first I thought you were just squirming like a worm on a hook but I am now actually beginning to believe that you actually believe the stuff you make up. Weird or creepy, I don’t know

  • Zeno1

    Get someone else this explain it to you.

    2. Subject to paragraph 3, the Secretary of State shall exercise the power under paragraph 1 if at any time it appears likely to him that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland.

    Martin can become First Minister, but unless there is evidence in the Polls,Surveys,Election Results and Identity a Referendum can not be called under that section of the GFA. Everyone knows that except you.
    He could easily become First Minister but, for example, if the Polls show only 10% would vote Yes. There will be no referendum.
    Conclusion. Martin becoming First Minister is on It’s own not a valid reason to call a Referendum under the terms set out above in the GFA.
    It is a very easy conclusion to reach.
    Try it.

  • Morpheus

    It’s like talking to a brick wall. :)

    In your quote from the GFA, be a lamb and put the part where is says “Polls, Surveys, Election Results and Identity” in bold.

    Then be an even bigger lamb and put in bold the criteria the SoS needs to see in each of those in order to be confident that a border poll would be successful – y’know, the whole point of this thread

  • Zeno1

    As I said ,Get someone to explain it to you and stop trying to change the subject.

    It is extremely simple.
    Here is the subject.
    “What data will the SoS examine in order to decide whether to call a Poll.”

    The SoS will examine the relevant evidence.

    What is the relevant evidence ?

    Polls, Surveys, Election Results, Identity.

    That is a very easy conclusion to reach, but you spent the day claiming No one knows what she will look at. You even made a challenge.

    Why will she not look at, for example The Number of Nationalist Councillors/MLA’s/MEP’s/MP’s?

    Because in isolation all are irrelevant.

    Now, you want to discuss something else.
    “What information will the Sos be looking for in the Polls,Surveys,etc?”
    While at the same time clinging to your idea that No One Knows what evidence she would examine, even though conclusive proof has come from the SoS herself.
    Doh!

  • Morpheus

    I don’t see any bold. I say again:

    In your quote from the GFA, be a lamb and put the part where it says “Polls, Surveys, Election Results and Identity” in bold. Then be an even bigger lamb and put in bold the criteria the SoS needs to see in each of those in order to be confident that a border poll would be successful – y’know, the whole point of this thread.

    Or, as someone with a ‘modicum of intelligence’ and who knows ‘exactly’ the criteria complete the following:

    In order for a SoS to be confident that a border poll would succeed she would need to see the following in the elections results and opinion surveys:
    a.
    b.
    c.
    d.
    e.
    f.

    Seriously, just A and B will suffice.

    You do know, right?

  • Zeno1

    “In your quote from the GFA, be a lamb and put the part where it says “Polls, Surveys, Election Results and Identity” in bold”

    lol,the GFA is clear.

    2. Subject to paragraph 3, the Secretary of State shall exercise the power under paragraph 1 if at any time it appears likely to him that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland.

    The criteria for determining whether a majority would vote Yes, is so blindingly obvious that no one needed it in the GFA. The finest legal minds were happy with the wording. The Politicians were happy with the wording. Why? Because they know that the SoS can only reach a conclusion by examining valid data.
    The SoS confirmed the obvious in her statement.

    Are you still claiming No one knows what the Secretary of State will look at to make a determination?

  • Morpheus

    Again, no bold. Quelle surprise. You haven’t got a scooby-doo sunshine.

    Quick question:

    The current SoS confirmed that she looked at election results and opinion surveys to form her opinion, fair nuff. Let’s say for the sake of argument the next SoS sees a nationalist First Minister so is confident that a border poll would succeed and calls one. According to the GFA, has that SoS done anything wrong?

  • Zeno1

    You’re just trolling now.
    It has already been explained to you that Marty becoming First Minister is not on its own evidence that a Border Poll will succeed. Everyone knows that, and there is no evidence that any Secretary of State will want to appear to be a moron. Find another straw to clutch.

  • Morpheus

    Says you. Based on something you made up.

    (Hang on, you don’t think that *you* are the SoS do you? :) )

    I have just given you a hypothetical scenario where the SoS called a border poll because he/she was confident that it would succeed. It’s perfectly in line with the GFA therefore you have no grounds for complaint.

    Scenario 2 – A SoS sees that there is an increase in the nationalist vote plus the NILT shows that the number of nationalists is greater than the number of unionists and is therefore confident that a border poll would succeed and calls one. No one has grounds for complaint because it is perfectly in line with the GFA.

    See where I am going with this?

  • Zeno1

    “See where I am going with this?”

    No and I doubt if anyone else does either.

    Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said that the UK Government had no present plans to call a referendum based on recent election results and opinion polls.

    She and any other SoS understand completely what evidence they need to examine. They understand that looking at silly unrelated evidence will make them look extremely stupid. If a Poll was called under the above section of the GFA and there was no evidence in the Polls, surveys Identity and Election results there would be a public outcry and presumably legal challenges + the SoS would look like a moron.

  • Morpheus

    Still no bold. Weird.

    Let me get this straight:

    You say that the SoS will look at “Polls, Surveys, Election Results and Identity” even though there is no reference to it anywhere in the GFA. If it is there by all means make it bold.

    You include ‘national identity’ in your list of things the SoS must look at even though the SoS’s own statement doesn’t make reference to it all. If it is there by all means make it bold.

    You say the criteria for an SoS calling a border poll is clear yet are unwilling to say what the criteria.

    You randomly made up 45% figures with no reference to reality whatsoever. If it is referenced in the real world then by all means show the links.

    I gave you scenarios which are perfectly in line with the GFA but you don’t accept that they are in line because they don’t fit what you made up.

    I still want to know, as per my original post, what criteria the SoS needs to see to be confident that a border poll would succeed. You say you know but are unwilling to tell anyone because you obviously made it up. If not, prove it by completing the following which anyone who knows will easily be able to answer:

    In order for a SoS to be confident that a border poll would succeed she would need to see the following in the elections results and opinion surveys:
    a.
    b.

    Put up or shut up time big boy

  • Zeno1

    I enjoy a good debate, but I need someone with a level of comprehension capable of understanding basic logic.
    1) What will the SoS look at to make a determination.
    2) The relevant evidence.
    3) What is the relevant evidence?
    That is very simple stuff and an easy deduction to make for most people.

    Someone who has that level will be able to differentiate between two different subjects.
    1) What evidence she examines.
    2) What she will be looking for in the evidence.
    Honestly, it’s like trying to explain something to a child.

    They would also realise that I am ignoring attempts to switch to a different subject.
    When you admit that your assertion that No one knows what evidence she looks at was blown away. You then tried to salvage some credibility by craftily changing the subject. It didn’t work.
    “Put up or shut up time big boy”

    Option 2 for me.

  • Morpheus

    Still no answers, still no bold, still no links, still no criteria and after all that you chose not to put up. I’ll draw my own conclusions from that if you don’t mind :)

  • Zeno1

    Learn to read while you’re at it.

    “Put up or shut up time big boy”

    Option 2 for me.

  • Morpheus

    Yeaaaaaahhhh, you chose option 2 (shut up) as opposed to option 1 (put up). What I said.

    You’re weird :)

    Here’s a wee experiment…

    …Coal is black

  • peepoday

    The Secretary of state will base her decision to call a border poll on a range of factors,not least the security situation.

  • Morpheus

    The security situation – that’s a new one, where does that come from?