Charter debate: why unionists don't engage…

“It you build it they will come”. That was the suggestion from a speaker from the floor in Cork. Indeed the generally quiet nature of the dialogue on an all island Charter of Rights might suggest that this could be a legitimate approach. However you might demur. One unionist reader emailed this afternoon to explain why he’s not been drawn into the debate.

From Fair Deal

I have not responded or participated as I have a basic political objection to the All-Ireland basis of the discussion.

I believe in the equality of human beings and in equal citizenship within the United Kingdom therefore discussing an all-island charter simply leaves me cold.

Furthermore, my experiences of trying to work with the NIHRC have made me cyncial about the entire human rights industry, their attitude to Unionists and what they consider debate and consultation.

  • peteb

    The remit of the Charter that unionists need to address before they absent themselves from the debate, Mick, is that it seeks an equality of provision across both jurisdictions.

    I mentioned this previously, but with the EHRC already incorporated into both UK and Irish law the NI Bill of Rights could open a gap between provision in the two jurisdictions on this island. The Charter could directly address this issue.. there is, however, always the possibility that some unionists may wish to maintain an imbalance in provision for political point-scoring?

  • davidbrew

    Find a Unionist who believes British-Irish Rights Watch or CAJ , or even the Finucane Centre(!) has any interest in their concerns-as opposed to the concerns these self appointed liberals tell them they should have-or, more ambitiously, find a Unionist member of any of these bodies. That’s one of the main reasons we don’t engage. The only reason Billy Wright’s case is taken up by some seems that it’s another excuse to bash the state-regardless of the legitimate concerns.

    I share your anonymous poster’s cynicism about the NIHRC, having not had happy experiences with them. Mind you, they’re positively heaven sent compared to the Equality Commission. NIHRC’s complete failure to address the parades issue (“er..that’s not us that’s the Parades Commission”) is a typical dereliction of dealing with major issues affecting real people.

    And the idea of an all Ireland charter of rights is yet another waste of paper so far as Unionists are concerned. We want the rights accorded to all other British citizens-equal citizenship to revive a phrase-and frankly we don’t give a damn about what rights the French, Germans or our neighbours may have, unless they directly affect us.

    So build it if you want. We won’t come. We’ll all be down the pub watching NI beat Azerbaijan-and celebrating our British right to have a cigar with our pint.