Tag Archives | Unionism

Robin Chichester Clarke was the last of the gentry that treated government as part of the family business.

Robin Chichester -Clarke, the last of the old unionist gentry to hold office in either Stormont or Westminster,  died a fortnight ago at home in Norfolk at the age of 88.  His elder brother Jimmy, later Lord Moyola, (familiarly known as  “Chi-Chi,” after a notably  infertile panda) was Northern Ireland’s penultimate  prime minister in the darkening more…

William Walker, Unionism’s James Connolly 

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It’s hard to overstate the centrality of Pearse and Connolly to the modern Irish state and Irishness. Yeats wrote in his famous verse wrote: ‘Connolly and Pearse Now and in time to be, Wherever green is worn’ Eamonn McCann wrote: “One learned quite literally at one’s mother’s knee, that Jesus had died for the human race and more…

Taoiseach on Border Poll: “There are much more serious issues to deal with in the immediate terms and that is where our focus is.”

Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, was, rightly, quick to dismiss Sinn Féin’s attempted distraction predictably opportunistic call for a border poll following the EU referendum result.  Here’s what she told Radio Ulster listeners “The Good Friday Agreement sets out the conditions under which I am required to call for a border poll – more…

“‘New language’, my arse!”

At his Broken Elbow blog Ed Moloney has some fun with the same Detail report that Brian noted in his recent post – “another important waypoint in SF’s bewildering, extraordinary journey“. I have read this piece several times. It is based on a speech given by SF MEP Matt Carthy and no matter how I hold it – more…

Insist on Executive solidarity. It’s the new antidote to nationalist fears and DUP over confidence

I’ve exploited  my posting rights to reply to the thread started by Chris Donnelly  which includes comments by Mick and Pete Baker. . Pete wrote: “We are long past the point of the need, or desire, for a collective approach to the programme for government.” There’s every “need” for a collective approach, Pete; it’s the more…

Unionism’s anglophobia

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The slogan used to be ‘Brit’s Out’. It marked a gross misunderstanding of the people of Northern Ireland. As Conor Cruise O’Brien wrote of the Easter Rising: “Irish-Ireland wrote and talked as if it assumed that the battle would be over once Dublin with its garrison of dentists’ wives had surrendered.” The “British” of Northerm more…

Are the Christian Churches key to beating voter apathy?

Has the time finally come for the Christian Churches in Ireland to fully engage with the political process? And if they did get organised, what impact could they make on society? In the recent Stormont poll, only some 54 per cent of voters turned out. A key question which political parties and churches alike must more…

The Stormont Opposition – how will it work practically?

For the first time since 1972, Stormont has a formal Opposition. Author and journalist, Dr John Coulter, outlines how this will work practically and not deteriorate into a primary school playground shouting match. The Stormont Opposition will only work if it is established as a working Shadow Cabinet with Nesbitt become Shadow First Minister, not more…

Nesbitt’s gamble: at last the Ulster Unionists (and the SDLP) will have to decide what they stand for or face oblivion in the next Assembly

Since the election and even before it, commentators have been  casting around  desperately for anything that suggests that the old muscle- bound duopoly is starting to crumble.  Even the DUP  “victory”  is being  hyped as a harbinger of change alongside the Sinn Fein “ defeat”.  Something, anything that  might mean fresh movement or greater stability. more…

Assembly election: the old Stormont and King Solomon’s Mines

One of the first books I read myself as a child was King Solomon’s Mines by H Rider Haggard. It is a ridiculous (and at times racist – though less so than was typical of the times) colonial romp across a fictitious Africa. One image that always stuck with me was when one army (the more…

Sinn Féin’s partitionist approach to united Ireland referendum(s)…

… or an attempt to avoid ‘stupid’ questions about the party’s stated commitment to campaign against the fundamental principle of consent – that it is for the people of Northern Ireland to exercise their right of self-determination.  Those are the options from a comparison between the commitments on Irish unity Sinn Féin presented to the people more…

President Obama jumps the Sinn Féin shark…

One of the benefits of being a US President in your final year in office, as well as getting to decide who can and can’t come to your party, is the freedom to say what you really think – even if President Obama continues to appear to be mis-briefed on shared, as opposed to integrated, education more…

Is Education the Number One Priority for Unionism this Election?

Education, Education, Education. There have been 3 Assembly Executives elected since 1998. At each juncture, a unionist First Minister was elected and subsequently under d’Hondt a unionist was given first choice of available ministries. Each time control of the Education ministry fell to a Sinn Fein MLA – whether they were the 4th, or the more…

Nesbitt “We are not here simply to be controversial. We are here to offer an unapologetic unionist perspective on the event of 100 years ago”

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The UUP held an event in Dublin this afternoon to give a Unionist perspective on the Easter Rising. Here are the remarks given by the party leader, Mike Nesbitt; (I have highlighted some key passages) I hope today has been challenging, but not for its own sake. We are not here simply to be controversial. more…

Gerry Adams at Easter. In full

I though it worthwhile to put on the record Gerry Adams’ Easter Centenary address, part unreconstructed old republicanism, part election address, a classic of its kind in style and content, without further comment.   On Sunday 27th March, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD addressed the Easter Rising commemoration in Belfast’s Milltown Cemetery. Mr Adams more…

Easter Rising 2016: Live and let celebrate

Last week a Muslim acquaintance of mine wished me Happy Easter. I try to remember to wish Muslims Happy Eid. I would submit this has parallels with how Unionists and other non Republicans should approach the Easter Rising celebrations. Christians can and do invite those of other or no religion to Easter events as a more…