Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Profile for Politico68

UCD student BA international in Politics major. Social Democrat.

Latest comments from Politico68 (see all)

Politico68 has commented 268 times (51 in the last month).

  1. Comment on Trouble at NI21 mill…
    on 16 April 2014 at 10:10 am

    … I wish this election in may would hurry up !!

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  2. Comment on “it struck me that there was an air of inevitability about the whole thing…”
    on 16 April 2014 at 9:43 am

    Nevin, I don’t know why you are obsessed with the fact that I don’t know anything about Moyle. It clearly offends you on some level, but I dare say most commentators don’t know every inch of their Country so you will have to forgive me if I take your comment with a pinch of salt and a side order of ‘so what’, as it really makes no sense in the context of any discussions I have had on Slugger.

    Wheeling out the old ‘your a sucker for propaganda’ line simply won’t work on me I am sorry to say Nev. I am big and ugly enough to know that it is ALL propaganda of one sort or another but intelligent enough to decide for myself what seems reasonable and what does not. The fact that I reject your narrative says nothing of my knowledge on the ‘various relationships that interconnect people and parties in the UK, Ireland and Northern Ireland’ but your inaccurate assumptions about my knowledge and what you perceive to be stuck in my craw tells me volumes about your inability to engage me in the context of my actual comments.
    and since when were the names of countries political labels? Or was that a typo?

    If you cant report ‘more of the truth’ for whatever reason, at least do us the honour of not feigning impartiality particularly when it is not necessary. Its 1.40 am here in California so I bid you goodnight. try to wake up in a better mood tomorrow a chara. ;-)

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  3. Comment on “Post-nationalist Ireland has arrived.”
    on 16 April 2014 at 3:37 am

    Mick -

    verb: consolidate; 3rd person present: consolidates; past tense: consolidated; past participle: consolidated; gerund or present participle: consolidating
    make (something) physically stronger or more solid.

    reinforce or strengthen (one’s position or power).

    synonyms: strengthen, secure, stabilize, reinforce, fortify; More
    combine (a number of things) into a single more effective or coherent whole.”

    Does the above honestly describe the current state of Unionism in your view?

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  4. Comment on “it struck me that there was an air of inevitability about the whole thing…”
    on 16 April 2014 at 3:27 am

    In his article Alex Kane quite rightly takes a pop at Sammy Wilson’s jibe( ‘“sold his soul for a sausage roll”) at Marty regarding his attendance at Windsor recently. The jibe is no more than what we expect from the king pin of Unionist immaturity. The juvenile attitude expressed by Wilson is merely symptomatic of the inability of many Unionists particularly in the DUP to encourage progress in relations between the various sides, instead Wilson is far happier to follow the Unionist tradition of sneering at anything that reflects the confidence and maturity of Neo Nationalist Ireland especially when it shows up political Unionism for the narrow minded bigoted delinquent it is.

    However, Kane himself then allows his article to descend into the same old inaccurate ‘each is as bad as the other’ rhetoric which has become the norm for many journalists and commentators when writing about the North and its political landlords.
    Kane says “The reason that the DUP and Sinn Fein found themselves forced (and there really is no other word for it) to conclude their own power-sharing deal was that there was nowhere else for them to go – other than walk away from the Assembly and the political process”
    But he fails to point out that the level of force applied to each party was not equal in measure. The Shinners were hopping to get into government but needed a push all the same, while the DUP practically had to be drugged and then carried into Stormont. This is backed up by Paisley himself when he said that he didn’t want to do it but believed he had no choice because of what the alternative would be. In other words, Unionism had no place left to go while Sinn Fein at least knew that in any alternative the overall ‘lot’ of nationalism would have improved at the expense of Unionism.

    Kane moves on and states “This is the story of two countries going out of their way to indicate that, irrespective of the toxicity of political relationships in Northern Ireland they will work together and find common values and benefits in each other’s culture and shared history… No one in Northern Ireland, particularly Sinn Fein and the DUP, should underestimate the significance of what is happening at levels above them.”

    Again Kane structures his comments as if there is a level political playing field where both SF and the DUP are equally subject to overlords that are in charge of progress ‘above them’. This is simply not true, and in my view Kane is around long enough to be able to see this quite clearly. The DUP have simply no influence on how the British government behave with their new dancing partners in Dublin especially in the context of the shifting dynamic of inter-state relations. The DUP are mere bystanders in the new concordat. Their lack of power in London and zero influence over British government policy renders them practically paralysed in the face of improving Anglo Irish relations. Not so for Sinn Fein. Their growth in the 26 means that the Irish political establishment have to pay attention, meaning Dublin/ London relations have to be seen in the context of the real potential for SF to be in government in Dublin pretty soon. It cannot have escaped the attention of attendees in Windsor that the next Irish minister for foreign affairs could well be a Shinner, while once this seemed impossible, today it’s tantalizingly close. In short Sinn Fein will be part of that developing Dublin/ London relationship while the DUP will not. And that, puts Unionism clearly out of the story. Marty has proved that the Shinners are ready to help write the next Angle-Irish chapter.

    Kane stumbles again when comparing the two parties – “……. they are simply encouraging polarity and mistrust. The language they use about each other and the manner in which they refer to each other makes a mockery of their individual claims to be working hard to build a better, more stable Northern Ireland.”
    We simply cannot compare the attitudes of Nationalism and Unionism in the context of trying to build a shared future etc. Comments like Wilsons above are far less likely to be heard from SF. Unionism cannot even bring itself to vote in line with Nationalists to invite the Pope, Robbo stutters as to whether or not to meet him should a visit take place. If they did meet, can anyone honestly imagine Gerry Kelly et al claiming Robinson had sold his soul? Unionism still belches fire at the notion of Irish symbols or language being elevated to something resembling equal status in the North and becomes positively hysterical if even just one of their fifty thousand sectarian Orange marches are restricted. I am not saying that Nationalism doesn’t have the ability to rub Unionism up the wrong way, but for Kane to try to suggest they are both as bad as each other is in my view way off the mark. But don’t take my word for it, go ask Mo Mowlan, Bill Clinton, Mr Mitchell, John Major or David Cameron, better still, ask Mr Hass which side is more reasonable when it comes to the heavy lifting.

    Mr Kane then goes on to site opinion polls and says “Don’t they read the opinion polls that indicate that huge numbers of people have no confidence in the Assembly and Executive?” Really Mr Kane? Show me an opinion poll in any democratic society that paints a pretty picture of their government. Sure, people get fed up with the squabbling but again Kane gets off slant here because he fails to point out that Catholics in those very polls report being a good deal happier than their Protestant neighbours which would suggest that they are less fed up with their representatives.

    And next comes the comedy – “In fairness, they’re not the only ones to blame the media: there’s a school of thought which argues that we need a new generation of post-conflict journalists to report nice stuff, positive stuff, feel-good stuff. But how do you report what isn’t actually there?”
    Well Mr Kane, I for one don’t need you to feel obliged to report the above. What I need you and your colleagues to do is to simply report the truth as it is and not how your own bias sees it. If you think they are crap then say it, fair enough. But don’t try and fool us that the problems are caused because both sides are equally dumb, equally incompetent, equally blind or equally liable when clearly this is simply not the case.
    And now for the empty finale – “But I do know that change will come because I hear enough people telling me that change is necessary. It’s a longer process than I anticipated back in 1998: that said, it is inevitable and it will happen. What I’m no longer sure of, though, is whether it will be a change for the better.”
    I am sorry but this is just lazy journalism. How can he know that change is coming if he believes there is nobody home to deliver it. And if there is no sign of change with nobody to deliver it what makes him think that the change that probably won’t come might not be for the better?

    He is right in one thing, we need politicians to bite the bullet, and while nationalists need to work harder, Unionists need to at least start working. We also deserve more accurate Journalism that genuinely challenges our politicians to live up to their responsibilities and honestly assesses the successes and failures as they are. Alex Kane clearly can’t deliver that.

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  5. Comment on “Post-nationalist Ireland has arrived.”
    on 14 April 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Mick, consolidating? Really? You have got to explain that one to me please.

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  6. Comment on “Post-nationalist Ireland has arrived.”
    on 14 April 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Mc – that 9 billion. Does it include ALL taxation? Income tax, vat, local tax, corporate tax etc.?

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  7. Comment on “Post-nationalist Ireland has arrived.”
    on 14 April 2014 at 10:02 pm

    The overall turnout figures for the electorate in the north is on a par with most other political entities that don’t apply compulsary engagement. The idea that Unionism or Nationalism in themselves repel large numbers of voters doesn’t hold up when one considers that there are alternatives such as Alliance, Greens and independents. Apathy in the North is no different to apathy anywhere else, for the most part it is just a symptom of either laziness or plain disinterest. Lets not get paranoid on top of everything else.

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  8. Comment on “Post-nationalist Ireland has arrived.”
    on 14 April 2014 at 8:23 pm

    “Murphy’s piece is not just a critique of SF ‘taking the royal soup’, it highlights the general lack of seriousness behind the wider historic project.
    We see this regularly on threads like this one, in which any attempt to seriously address Irish Republicanism is redirected with a generalised and abstract assault on unionism.
    Such that Murphy posits a theory that what we have evidenced is “…a form of territorial Catholicism, with little social or economic awareness.”
    So whilst Mac Cormaic’s propagandistic rhetoric was needed to powered the struggle, over time the story shifts through a dozen different ‘trimtabbed’ changes to the direction so that the modern project now meets itself metaphorically coming back.
    That’s not to say it’s going nowhere. Just that at the end of the day the real work of unification (whatever that turns out to be) has not yet begun.”

    When you say ‘the wider historic project’, do you mean the goal of a United Ireland? If you do then I agree with your assessment in part. SF is very much meshed in the business of getting itself to be taken seriously as a relevant political force both in Ireland and in Britain. The rise in its support base is not enough, it needs to convince the general public, academia, economic elites and the broader international political community that it has the balls to be in government within the context of its own ideological goals. The recent display at Windsor I believe is part of that programme. However, it would be wrong to suggest that this in some way means that they are not serious about the UI project. I just think they believe that they have to get all their ducks in a row (as above) before they have a realistic chance of realizing the ultimate goal which is indeed Unity.
    I fully agree with your assertion that there is a tendency to ‘lean’ on Unionism when Republicans and Nationalists are asked to look inward. I think there are three main reasons for this. Firstly, there is the habit of looking at the problems with ‘themmuns’ and using it as a yardstick to judge and justify the conditions of ourselves, but this I suggest is reciprocated on the other side simply because the struggle between both positions has so long been part of our cultural and political reality that it is sometimes impossible to analyze ourselves without drawing on the comparative strength or weakness of the other side. Secondly, traditional nationalism was in my view (as I have mentioned before) centered on a hatred of England and by extension, uneasiness with the English/Unionist axis of evil. Whilst England no longer challenges the tenets of Irish Nationalism, Unionism still does and vice versa. It’s hard to ignore the mutuality of affect each has on the other in terms of exogenous perceptions of both. Finally and arguably, it appears as if Nationalism has ‘moved’ away from social and political extremist tendencies while Unionism has been ‘dragged’ away from same while still displaying periodic aggressive tendancies, thus allowing Nationalism to occupy a bit of moral high ground.
    I am not sure what you mean by territorial Catholicism means. Or the trimtabbed changes analogy.
    ‘The real work of Unification has not yet begun’ – I couldn’t agree more – and I hope it stays that way for some time yet. I feel Neo Nationalism is quite settled now, comfortable and confident with a modesty and strength similar to those strong quiet types you come across at a party; they don’t really say much but somehow still manage to influence those in their company who are attracted by the silent charisma.
    It is not ready to be stirred by a fight over Unity. Irish people still have to get themselves back in the black economically, not just to soak up unity but simply to stabilize society in general. Given a choice, I honestly believe that most Unionists would prefer to eat shit off a stick to survive in a UK, rather than enjoy champagne and froie gras in a UI, regardless of the strength of any economic argument. I really believe that we will have to rely on the magical 50+1 to bring Unity to a reality, relying on all the Catholic voters and maybe 3 or 4 percent of protestant votes. The census figures look good but the voting population(over 18) is split 52/43 in favour of Unionists, it will be 2025 before that changes. And before anybody screams at me that Catholics don’t want a United Ireland – yes, I know that but I don’t know if that will be the case ten years from now and neither do you. There is no hurry on Nationalist Ireland to begin the real work on Unification for the reasons outlined above and one more crucial reason. Any serious push for Unity will hand Unionism the impetus it needs to get its house in order. The worst thing that could happen the UI project now would be Unionist Unity. We need at least 10 more years for it to keep ripping itself apart while its numbers collapse, it has to be a lot weaker before we can finally bury it.

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  9. Comment on After the Visit, the greater epiphany?
    on 14 April 2014 at 5:21 pm

    With respect, I don’t believe any serious commentator would agree with you there. Unionism at the moment is doing far from well, in fact its never been in worse shape.

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  10. Comment on “Post-nationalist Ireland has arrived.”
    on 14 April 2014 at 11:24 am

    Well thanks Nevin, I know a lot about a little but very little about a lot. ;-)

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