“if unionism fails to live up to the values that were established nearly 100 years ago by Edward Carson”

I’ve got a feeling we’re going to see some real campaigning in this electio, not just the going through motions thing we’ve seen in the first three since the restart in 2007. Mike Nesbitt in The News Letter:

“If you go back to Carson, in 1920 as this country was being developed, Carson stood up in the Commons and said ‘you’ll only succeed if there are no factions, no sections’.

“You’ll only succeed if you have got good government, fair government and honest government for all the people.

“And if we don’t do that, that is the existential threat to Northern Ireland – if unionism fails to live up to the values that were established nearly 100 years ago by Edward Carson.

“And I am not seeing those values over the last 10 years in the Northern Ireland Executive.”

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  • Annie Breensson

    Does a concession count as a favour when your options are limited, or non-existant?

    3-3=0

  • Croiteir

    know they were up for aa deal – and they would dictate the terms in a take it or else deal.

  • Croiteir

    The took the fight to the unionists and their British backers. That forced them to the treaty table with the Irish govt. Pity that nationalists lost the settlement which takes us to the present juncture. Maybe now the Irish govt will see the folly in appeasing unionism and tell a weakened Britain to get its head looked.

  • Annie Breensson

    “just don’t do faux surprise when people react negatively to negativity”

    And what, do you suggest, should be the reaction to “Never, never, never” and more modern similar expressions of negativity, such as Mrs Foster’s recent announcement? Is unionism debarred from making positive proposals that just might appeal to nationalists?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Totally agree. And it cuts both ways. The united Ireland thing has held us all up too long. About time we all moved on.

  • John

    It’s difficult to deal with people who are constantly scheming to stab you in the back. I.e. Sinn Fein’s entire policy and existence.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    He has stated he doesn’t want terrorism in the future; but he has not renounced his Troubles terrorism. On the contrary, he now seeks to persuade more people it was the right thing to do.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    MU, some Unionists were “up for a deal” over this period, others were most emphatically not up for one, and were acting to preserve their inherited trenchline intact. One has only to remember the fallout from the case of Brian Maginnis and Sir Clarence Graham, and how it ensured that O’Neill in his modernising efforts was acting against a very solid entropic block who saw Paisley as less than respectable, but were perfectly ready to let him do “extreme things” if this stopped “the liberal rot” [I quote from a UUP family member]. The same ambiguities can just as well be marked within Republicanism over this period.

    Neither presented anything like a solid front, which is why deals were so very hard to broker well after the pointlesness of the violence was clear to all. Many Unionists wanted to continue to “play” Republican violence to strengthen their negotiating position, while many Republicans wanted to make NI too hot for Britain to support. To suggest that “Unionism” was “up for a deal”, without a really massive amount of detailed unpacking in order to articulate such a broad, imprecise generalisation is to claim something so easily challenged as to be almost meaningless.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “About time we all moved on.” But to which political agenda? This is not in any sense a neutral comment.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    The only deal that was ever going to be a deal at all would involve both sides – at the time, the UUP and SDLP. Of course both had their own demands. The SDLP was no more willing to compromise than the UUP were. The UUP’s portrayal as stick-in-the-muds took hold because so many outside NI were warm to the SDLP’s ‘all-Ireland bodies with executive powers’ agenda. Problem was, NI voters didn’t want that and they are they key people. The SDLP had the upper hand in terms of influence with key players (Dublin, Washington, the U.K. Foreign Office) and initiatives that came forward, such as the AIA and the Framework Documents, were bursting with nationalist language and assumptions, with unionist views barely canvassed. What may have looked to you like unionist negativity was actually unionists resisting being steamrollered into unacceptable terms that voters would reject at the polls anyway.

    Throughout this period, it was unionist politicians who, like them or not, most reflected what people on the ground in N Ireland actually wanted.

    The UUP had to tread a lonely path and as posts like yours show, got precious little credit for it. But they came through in the end. The GFA was a magnificent achievement not just for unionism but for nationalism too and that’s only the case because unionists and nationalists were for once given an equal hearing.

  • Reader

    hotdogx: Nobody from unionism could defend Brexit and say that its good for Ireland. The economic argument for the union is dead and buried
    A nordie who believes that Brexit is good for the UK but bad for the RoI has just made a compelling economic argument for the Union. Given that Brexit *will* happen.

  • hotdogx

    Reader, this just shows Unionisms intransigence selfishly looking for what they want to the detriment of all else. So no the union is not good for any part of Ireland

  • Katyusha

    The UUP certainly were willing to compromise, especially to compromise with a modern group of knuckle-dragging bigots in the form of electoral pacts with the DUP, even in the last GE.

  • Croiteir

    The unionists have got the compromise to start with, the compromise that their resort to violence or the threat of it in their secessionist movement witth the backing of the British gained for them in the early part of the century had gained, and then their pogroms and extreme legislative actions to encourage a soft ethic clearance thereafter. They were not willing to address the most basic demands for fair and equal treatment and still are not. Their attitude to the Irish in their midst, their own untermensch, reinforced by centuries of discrimination had produced a carapace of supremacism that no appeals to commonsense or decency could penetrate. And the fact that they still look back on these days as some sort of golden age shows that this attitudinal malaise is still prevalent. You say that that was the basis for nationalism to compromise, it wasn’t and isn’t. You do not compromise from that. You compromise from a position of equality. You compromise from two positions of equal value.

    You say that the SDLP had the upper hand – a completely outrageous suggestion. What you are really saying is that a party those that wished to campaign for basic rights for the underprivileged, by stripping away discriminatory law and practice, establish norms of governmental behaviour shows that those who supported, and still support, the unionist regime believe their nasty government was somehow morally valid. The SDLP had not got the upper hand, it had nothing but the moral force of Western norms of democratic behaviour on its side. Now why would the unionist regime want to oppose that? Why would it think that the vast majority of western govts, including its own, would consider this to be a base line to negotiate from, why would they think that it sowed laws like dragons teeth from which armed men would surely spring? Why would they continue to tell them this? But most importantly why, nearly 50 years since the Stormont regime fall, does someone still have the audacity to promote this regime as somehow having any validity to start to compromise with?

    It is indicative of someone who believes that their odious position gained not just by the immediate past, but by the past of centuries of supremacy, privilege and discrimination was somehow a just and fair position. It wasn’t and that is why outside bodies refused to accept it as one. That the unionist people would not accept them but had to be dragged kicking and fighting into normal modes of behaviour is not something to complain about, it is something to be ashamed about, and to form an argument that this being dragged to acceptance of civilised and normal modes of behaviour as somehow a great unfair lose of rightful position, and even more, caricature it a great give away to nationalists, an appeasement shows how rotten and disgusting and engrained the unionist attitude of supremacy is.

    That brings us to the present day. We see the Irish Language Act once more epitomising this attitude of “give them nothing”. It will have to be dragged kicking and screaming from unionists. and you know what thanks unionism will get for that, nothing. It was not unionism that gave it to us, is was either prised out of their hands or their masters in London forced them to hand it over. Unionists want credit for that? Nationalism is to string now, unionism is up to its arse in crocodiles and if it continues to maintain its nasty not an inch themmuns attitudes it will be eaten. a very unpalatable meal many would say, full of bile, but one must eat when their is nothing else on the table.

  • Fear Éireannach

    That same UUP ex leader who won the Peace prize on the coattails of John Hume, has recently supported Brexit, indicating his total lack of committent to the process he set up.
    Just as the UU identified Brexit as a threat to peace and then voted for it.

  • grumpy oul man

    And how can we forget that unionism violently opposed any change for decades, it took two governments and Just about everybody else to get them to talk to nationalists.
    the willingness of unionism to join forces with terrorists is well known and was displayed during its opposition to any form of compromise in the past.
    Most unionists did not vote for the GFA (you love your alternative facts) do you not remember Ian Paisleys campaign built on the slogan ” the Majority of the Majority” which pointed out that most unionists opposed the GFA.

  • Reader

    Firstly, I was making an observation on the matter of “a compelling economic argument for the union” under the circumstances. Someone who believes Brexit is good for the UK will see a case to share the benefit by staying in the UK.
    As for unionist selfishness – well, I would expect the Irish electorate to vote for Irish interests in a referendum, and for the British electorate to vote for British interests in a referendum: and I wouldn’t call either group selfish. That’s entirely fair, isn’t it?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    As we have established, Brexit is not inconsistent with the GFA. I don’t like Brexit but it’s got very little to do with the GFA. Everything is not about N Ireland, there is a big world out there.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    There, you got that off your chest. Hope you feel better.

  • Croiteir

    Typical unionist response, snide dismissal , but I don’t worry with every passing year of privilege is scraped of unionisms back and I smile – the crocs are in the swimming pool

  • MainlandUlsterman

    But the ‘never, never, never’ was to the Anglo-Irish Agreement, which surely we all agree now was a load of b****cks? I’d have thought you would struggle to find anyone defending the AIA these days. It’s OK and indeed constructive to say no to crap and hold out for a proper deal.

    This perception that unionists were negative is such tosh – we were negative towards nationalist proposals, just as they were negative to ours. We wanted different things. In case you hadn’t noticed, that was kind of the situation everyone was dealing with. The SDLP had more influence with Dublin and often with London, hence these proposals occasionally got launched which were heavily SDLP-influenced and frankly a load of old sh**. It was obvious we were going to reject things like the AIA and it was a massive miscalculation by London, Dublin and the SDLP to imagine something cooked up like that was going to work. But yes, blame unionists, who weren’t consulted in its construction, for the idiotic plan.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Sorry, I’m guilty of it myself often, but the post was just way too long and frankly a bit of a rant on themes I’ve read a hundred times. If you keep it tighter and to the point you’ll get more of a response. There’s just too much in there I take issue with to even start pulling it apart, I’d be here till Christmas.

  • Croiteir

    It was exactly in keeping with your argument

  • Annie Breensson

    Renounce doesn’t appear to have a meaning that applies to past events.

  • Annie Breensson

    Nice attempt at deflection. My use of “Never, never, never” was intended to illustrate a particular mindset – but I’m sure you knew that. Do you want to address other, more recent, examples of that same mindset?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Is this where a moderate unionist gets treated as if they agree with the DUP? If so, not again please.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Really? It does in the link you gave. It even gives as an example, “They renounced the armed struggle.” So, do they renounce it?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Fair enough

  • Annie Breensson

    Now you are just being obtuse. “They renounced the armed struggle” means that some time in the past they announced the armed struggle would not continue. Is English your primary language?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    No need to be insulting. No, “renounce”, while having a spectrum of meanings, often means something more than “stop”, as the dictionary link you gave evidences. It can and often does carry an element of rejection of the past action. I accept it’s also used in the more limited definition you’re focussing on.

  • Steven Denny

    ND, you need to remember/acknowledge that SF were not strongly returned at the ballot until well after GFA… SDLP were the main Nationalist Party and in govt with UUP (Mallon/Trimble). The lurch to the DUP and undermining of centrist Trimble/UUP… effectively created an equal and opposite effect… thus the rise of SF.

  • Annie Breensson

    The sense in which I used the words “has renounced” was obviously intended to apply in the present and future tenses. You chose, for whatever reason, to alter the meaning by introducing an element of the past tense into the discussion. Another attempt at deflection, perhaps.

  • Steven Denny

    MU,
    I think that we all did Trimble a massive disservice across the board. He wasn’t fully supported by the SDLP as a partner in govt (re. decommissioning), on the basis that they possibly knew that SF were on thin ice within their own internal organisation and constituency… and to press on this… the whole new set up would have unravelled.

    Maybe… we all just need to accept that we have significant mileage to undertake and that we are setting our expectations too high to all involved to get to agreed ground etc… Nobody said this was going to be easy…!!!

  • MainlandUlsterman

    A reminder – this started with me pointing out Adams has not renounced the PIRA’s past terrorism, and you attempted to show “renounce” could not refer to past actions. I showed it can, by referring to the definition (1.3) in your own link. No one’s disputing it has a present and future-facing meaning also, but you needed to show “renounce” can’t be used in reference to an already discontinued action. But it clearly can, as in “X renounced his Nazi past” or “Tory leader renounces Thatcher years” etc.

    The word “renounce” though is a distraction and I’m not wedded to it. My point was, Adams has not distanced himself from violence entirely in that he still seeks to justify the atrocities of the Republican Movement in the 70s, 80s and 90s. He won’t admit it was wrong.