UUP should leave the Assembly now!

Alex Kane argues that Unionists can expect little in the way of executive punishment of Sinn Féin by the Westminster government. Instead, he argues that the best the UUP can do is to up and leave the Assembly with immediate effect, rather than enter a potentially damaging electoral deal with the DUP to minimise the Sinn Féin returns at the next Westminster election.

By Alex Kane

Listening to Paul Murphy in the House of Commons on Tuesday was a bit like watching a feeble sheep bleating the merits of vegetarianism while a pack of wolves circled him with mint sauce and gravy. Wake up, Secretary of State, and smell the Colombian Three coffee! The peace process as we knew it is dead, buried under a van-load of stolen dosh and a lorry-load of Sinn Fein dishonesty.

The decent and democratic thing for the British and Irish governments to do, would be to exclude Sinn Fein, face down the IRA and then promote and shore up a government formed from the remaining parties. That would be the moral thing to do, as well as being the right course of action politically.

But they won’t do that, and we all know that they won’t do it. Oh yes, they may pretend that they will impose some sort of sanctions at some unspecified time, but it will amount to little more than an effete and entirely harmless version of a punishment beating. Sinn Fein and the IRA have nothing to fear from Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern.

I have always believed that the Ulster Unionist Party was right to take political risks and put the IRA to the test. I also praised the DUP for proving itself to be more flexible and imaginative (or U-turning hypocrites, as others have put it) than many of its critics believed it could be, in the wake of its election victory in November 2003. In other words, I believed that unionism was right to remain in the process.

Yet, I also wrote that I had my own bottom line; and that was that unionism should never put itself in a position in which it was actually compounding immorality. It is now in that position. The government will not exclude Sinn Fein, even though it accepts that the IRA remains active and inextricably linked to Sinn Fein. It will not lift a finger to support those in the UUP and DUP who have made a genuine effort to secure a power-sharing settlement. It will not embrace an alternative which doesn’t include Sinn Fein, even though that means punishing democrats and depriving Northern Ireland of devolution.

Unionists cannot remain in a position in which they are collecting salaries, knowing full well that there is no immediate prospect of the present Assembly being restored and no prospect whatsoever of Sinn Fein being booted into the wilderness. To remain is to compound the immorality, as well as convincing Tony Blair that they have no breaking point. The Agreement isn’t going to work in its present form, for, to paraphrase a republican mantra, “Sinn Fein don’t want a unionist about the place.”

The process has been tested and tested to the point of destruction. It was the right thing to do and the UUP has no need to apologise for its post 1995 policies. Unionism needed to know, the British and Irish governments needed to know, if republicans were serious about democracy and inclusivity. It is now clear that they are serious about neither.

So, instead of making futile calls for the government to close down the Assembly if it isn’t going to move on without Sinn Fein, unionists should leave it and leave it with immediate effect. But if a unionist withdrawal is to have a maximum and effective impact, it must be accompanied by a ballot-box endorsement. It is essential that the pro-Union electorate send a clear message to Number Ten at the general election, not only in terms of seats won, but in terms of votes cast. In effect, that election, along with those for local councils at much the same time, should be used as a referendum.

While I sympathise with Danny Kennedy’s call for the unionist parties to work together to prevent Sinn Fein gains, I’m not sure than an electoral pact is the best way forward—and I don’t think the UUP is in a strong enough position to get the best end of any deal. But I do think it is sensible for both parties to campaign with one primary end goal, that of increasing and maximising the total pro-Union vote. My own view is that the unionist electorate, an increasing number of whom are thoroughly disillusioned, will respond to a strong and united moral stance from both main parties. And surely that is preferable to a cobbled together marriage of convenience and the ongoing inter-party cat-fight?

First published in the Newsletter, on Saturday 15th January 2005

  • davidbrew

    So Alex essentially concedes that the antis in the UUP were right all along- but not when the UUP were driving the gravy train. he may well also be right about SF never being booted out, but how is the UUP going to try to move on without them. It’s more about self preservation of the UUP now- politically expedient but not something too many voters will buy, especially in the mouth of an election.

    Trimble will probably try it, just like he talked tough before previous campaigns, but everyone remembers what happened immediately after. UUP voters will be confused by this chest beating if the DUP is still playing a longer game without having rolled over

  • Sherlock

    Morning David,

    No, I don’t concede that the antis in the UUP were right all along. I have always taken the view that SF/IRA would have to be tested and probably tested to the point of destruction (a point I have made in a number of articles since 1998). But I always believed that the risks were worth taking. And to be honest, I think the DUP—to their credit—tried much the same approach since November 2003; only to be shafted by the IRA at the last moment.

    Actually, I don’t think Trimble “will probably try it” (and, on a personal level, I gave up on him months ago) which may explain why there is so much confusion in the ranks of the MLAs about what we should do. Most of the suggestions they have come up with are impractial or impossible.

    At this stage I don’t know what happens next. Good luck to the DUP if they can sort it out. My view has got nothing to do with the preservation of the UUP, but rather about the UUP and DUP, seperately and collectively, maximising the total pro-Union vote.

    Best wishes,

    Alex.

  • Sherlock

    NB: My argument was that all the unionist MLAs, rather than just the UUP, should leave the Assembly.

    Alex.

  • DessertSpoon

    thoroughly disillusioned

    Just about sums it all up really. I don’t see how leaving the Assembly will change things may as well sit it out and collect the money and build up the pension if the UUP walk now it won’t make me think..WOOHOO I’ll vote for them. It’s too late.

  • davidbrew

    thanks A;ex
    But as you know, I and others once called “soft nos” wanted to test them to the point of destruction, and constantly suggested tests, including pressurising Blair to use the GFA “comfort letter”. I do agree BTW that the danger for Unionism is that the liberal Unionist voter will stay at home because of the Trimble shenanigans- I hear both Reg and McGimpsey are wedded to the going into opposition strategy, but how they’re going to sell that to the core vote escapes me- it didn’t work in 1983 as we know.

  • David Vance

    Right guys…

    As a “hard no” unionist, I fully agree with what Alex has suggested, I was going to write a similar epistle, but am glad that he beat me to it!

    ALL Unionists should withdraw, not for reasons of petty third-rate self-preserving posturing ahead of an election, but for the vital reason of putting Blair under REAL pressure and in enthusing the pro-Union electorate.

    There is a window of opportunity here – but it requires political vision and leadership. Are the two pro-Union parties up to it?

  • smcgiff

    ‘but for the vital reason of putting Blair under REAL pressure and in enthusing the pro-Union electorate.’

    Come on David, do you really think anything that happens in NI could put Tony Blair under REAL pressure. Put a unionist withdrawal in contrast to the WMD fiasco. That was REAL pressure and apparently easily forgotten.

    Have you seen the latest polls for the upcoming election?

  • David Vance

    Blair works the Northern Ireland political panto by triangulating between Downing Street, the DUP and UUP. He has continually played the two unionist Parties off each other in order to proceed with his IRA appeasing agenda.

    The issue arises what does Blair do if the UUP and DUP withdraw from the stage. With Unionism absent from the Stormont farce…the Assembly really is over. By unionists insisting, in a united fashion, that it’s game over for the Provos in power then Blair has a dilemma that all the polls in the world can’t help him avoid -the representatives of the majority community is NI will have walked away from a contaminated process because HE failed to remove terrorrists. Let’s see his media pals spin that – espeically when unionist voters then go to the polls….

    Unionis has to get up off it’s knees…and whilst I have issues with both the DUP and UUP, I do believe that by uniting around PRINCIPLE – they can make a difference. To suggest otherwise would be to accept a Blair tyranny and I refuse to bow my knee to that….not all unionists are invertebrates, you know.

  • Fraggle

    what if Tony calls your bluff and introduces Joint Authority?

  • smcgiff

    ‘espeically when unionist voters then go to the polls….’

    You mean they wont vote for Labour THIS time? 😉

    ‘He has continually played the two unionist Parties off each other in order to proceed with his IRA appeasing agenda.’

    Possibly, but he doesn’t involve SF/IRA because he’s secretly a republican leftist, but because SF/IRA have the largest nationalist mandate. I’m sure Mr Blair is not in the least pleased that is the case (although it is partially his fault by excluding the UUP and SDLP).

    ‘With Unionism absent from the Stormont farce…the Assembly really is over.’

    I think we can agree that the UUP and the DUP are made up of politicians. What do politicians want? Power.

    They are not going to be like turkeys (in this context at least) voting for Christmas. Bringing down Stormont would be more attractive to the UUP (as it was for the DUP when they pulled out in the past) as they are currently at a disadvantage to the DUP.

    What the DUP and UUP should do is, post the ‘retirement’ of Paisley, to form a single party. That would be the most logical evolution for Unionism. The difference between the DUP and the UUP (to this outsider at least) is imminently more breachable than the gulf between the SDLP & SF. While unionism remains fragmented it will continue to squabble amongst itself and score points against each other. Their goal is the same and it’s largely personalities that divide them.

    However, that’s where the friendly advice ends. If Stormont were to collapse then NI should be governed by joint authority in my opinion.

  • smcgiff

    ‘what if Tony calls your bluff and introduces Joint Authority?’

    This remains the only long term viable solution. Lock in NI to Joint authority forever and a day.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Impossible. First off the Belfast Agreement provides no basis for this, it provides for Northern Ireland to remain within the UK and provides Nationalists an opportunity to pretend that Irish unity is possible.

    Secondly, to enforce Joint Authority because Unionists pulled out of power sharing with bank robbers is morally bankrupt, not even Tony could pull that one off.

  • David Vance

    The old “What if he imposes joint authority” chestnut strikes! Look, if he COULD have, he WOULD have. Even gullible pro-Agreement types do not consider this as a possibility!

    The Irish Republic has NO RIGHT to have ANY say in the internal affairs of NI beyond those that a good neighbour should have.

  • smcgiff

    ‘The Irish Republic has NO RIGHT to have ANY say in the internal affairs of NI beyond those that a good neighbour should have.’

    If only everyone in NI agreed with you, David, then we wouldn’t be in the mess we are today. Equally, if everyone accepted the UK had NO RIGHT to have ANY say in the internal affairs of NI beyond those that a good neighbour should have there would be no mess.

    NI is not clear cut like Munster or the Home Counties. There is no desire for any significant portion of the populace in these locations to be anything but Irish or English, nor is there a prospect of them being citizens of another country having been born in Munster or the Home Counties.

    As has been accepted, the GFA gives aspirations to those within NI to be part of the Republic. The dissolution of Stormont would significantly increase that desire by nationalists.

    No, it’s not clear cut by a long shot.

  • George

    The David Vance’s of this world have handed the nationalist community of Northern Ireland to the people of the Irish Republic.

    Then they get all uppity about the influence of the Republic growing there.

    I know if Tony did what DV advised on A Tangled Web, namely calling in the paras to drive all the Sinn Fein voters out of their houses and south of the border, you wouldn’t have this problem but as unlikely as he is to call for joint authority he certainly isn’t going to ethnically cleanse east of the Bann for you.

  • David Vance

    George,

    I try to be a kind person, even to those who blatantly misrepresent what I say. So I shall be charitable towards you and politely request that you swiftly produce evidence of what you claim or apologise. Those foolish enough to vote for the IRA’s proxies should be made to live in the moral sewer they are creating.

    smcgiff,

    You avoid the rather inconvenient (for you!)fact that Northern Ireland is British and the majority of those who live wish it to remain British. Why should British people accept impertinent foreigners interfering in their business? The problem as I see it is that nationalists have had their insurrectionist fantasies indulged for far too long. They should accept reality – dream of being Irish if they wish – and in the meantime operate as loyal British citizens…..and that’s the brutal truth.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Having a UVF-linked Lord Mayor in Belfast was morally corrupt, but that didn’t stop the UUP helping to install one in 1994, right when loyalists were out-murdering the IRA by 2 to 1. They liked him so much, they installed him as a deputy in 2001, under Jim Rodgers who seemed more than happy to serve with him. Yet when a republican subsequently became Mayor they all walked out of the chamber. On neither occasion did the DUP didn’t lift so much as a finger to stop the election of a loyalist, nor did they suffer electorally over the matter. So let’s not have the silly talk about morals here, unionists simply aren’t in a position to lecture anyone.

    David, it’s easy to talk tough when you’re not elected anywhere. But let’s remember, each time unionists have attempted to put the British government under pressure, they’ve ended up with a far worse deal than they would have had, had they given in. The last time they managed to pull it off was when they ganged up with loyalists to terrorise the country in 1974 (a deal which, had the unionists signed up, probably would have been the beginning of the end for the IRA). They got their way then for the last time. With every document published since, the British have taken more and more away from unionism. When are you going to learn that unionist stonewalling and boycotting ends up benefitting republicans ?

    The fantasy you seem to be labouring under is that the UK’s population are loyal across the board, which is delusionist bunkum. Huge numbers of people oppose the government and the monarchy, even more reject their British citizenship (expect the number of these disloyal traitors to increase when the UK govt introduces it’s ID card scheme) but I’ve no doubt you’d like to end that silly squabbling and have a fascist state that takes rights away from those who refuse to be “loyal”. Well sorry – you’re not going to get it, not without a civil war. I like being part of the UK, but I won’t be part of fascism where my rights are dependent on some jumped-up mini Hitler’s idea of loyalty.

  • IJP

    To be fair to smcgiff, he is merely suggesting one way forward.

    Evidently not a popular one, mind…!

  • James

    Allan Watts lives on in Beat Zen, Square Zen, Orange Zen and Zen. (special Slugger edition)

    Hmmm…. what to do when all conceivable empty gestures have been exhausted?

    Walk out of an assembly that does not meet.

    You guys have too much time on your hands.

  • Davros

    Allan Watts

    So James, you are my generation 🙂

  • Davros

    know if Tony did what DV advised on A Tangled Web, namely calling in the paras to drive all the Sinn Fein voters out of their houses and south of the border,

    Eh ? That sounds more like Andrew than David and even then I don’t remember seeing him ever go that far!

  • smcgiff

    ‘You avoid the rather inconvenient (for you!)fact that Northern Ireland is British and the majority of those who live wish it to remain British.’

    David,

    Northern Ireland belongs to the people of Northern Ireland.

    I’d understand you if you said you were a UK citizen, but by what definition are you British?

    Do you live in Great Britain? Even those living in GB are not Solely British and are, for example, Scottish and British.

    So, you’d have to create an entirely unique classification whereby you are simply British, and not Irish/British, even though you don’t live in Britain.

    And those, to whom you claim to belong, across the water would consider you Irish. And why wouldn’t they, when they are English, Scottish and Welsh.

    It doesn’t bother me whether you call yourself British or even Martian, but you can’t get away with claiming NI is British. That’s far too simple.

  • James

    “Allan Watts

    So James, you are my generation “

    I donno. Mine decided what to call dirt. Later someone settled on the color.

    Cassidy, his wife and Kerouac lived on the other side of Blossom Hill (about 4 miles) from where I am now living when Cassidy was a brakeman on the SP.

  • Davros

    Wow, that’s wonderful James. Big fan of the Beat Generation.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    smcgiff, great point.

    We call the people in Wales Welsh, as well as British. We can the people in Scotland Scottish, as well as British. We sometimes even call the people in England English, but more frequently British. So what is it for Northern Ireland ? Irish or Northern Irish does just fine.

    People who say they are British first and nothing else in fact make themselves a white elephant amongst the rest of the British people in the United Kingdom. Nothing wrong with being British or having a British identity (or even if you want to call yourself a subject) but why not celebrate your regional and cultural background too ?

  • David Vance

    smcgiff,

    Wrong. Northern Ireland is legally, constitutionally, economically, socially, militarily, historically and culturally BRITISH. I appreciate this irritates insurrectionists and I respect their right to imagine themselves Irish in the way that some people think they may be martians.

    Roger,

    I damned the UUP for their endorsement of a paramilitary-linked Deputy-Lord Mayor, and I damned the DUP for having any contact with the PUP and co. Your point has no relevance to me.
    As for learning from the past – one thing unionists should learn is pandering to republicans gains the nothing. It’s time that republicans stopped behaving like spoilt little children who refuse to accept that they CANNOT always get their way. Unionist unity would cause Government huge problems – and whether YOU recognise that is not the point – Government recognises it.

    Finally, the events of 1974 which you, predictably, misrepresent, were an important example of pro-Union opposition to a quisling led Government imposed tyranny. Let us hope Unionists, as well as Governments, have learnt from the principle involved.

  • Dec

    “Wrong. Northern Ireland is legally, constitutionally, economically, socially, militarily, historically and culturally BRITISH. I appreciate this irritates insurrectionists and I respect their right to imagine themselves Irish in the way that some people think they may be martians.”

    You just know Unionists are in trouble when they’re coming out with guff like this in 2005.

    “Finally, the events of 1974 which you, predictably, misrepresent, were an important example of pro-Union opposition to a quisling led Government imposed tyranny. Let us hope Unionists, as well as Governments, have learnt from the principle involved.”

    Aah the good old days of loyalist/Unionist mayhem when you could count on a good non-vichy unionist like Bill Craig to come out with quotes such as “The killing of Catholics is regrettable but understandable” in relation to sectarian murders. I’m sure it brings a tear to your eye.

  • David Vance

    And you know that you are on Slugger when republican delusionists come together to deny the obvious. Northern Ireland IS British and will remain British so long as the majority here wish it. Pity you kids can’t accept that but hey, that’s not my problem.

    Also, given the republican communities heartwarming support for a gang of murdering IRA thugs, I suggest it is they who are in deep trouble. Not sure if Bill Craig was a terrorist commander – am certain Martin McGuinness was – after all, he confessed it.

  • unionist_observer

    “The peace process as we knew it is dead, buried under a van-load of stolen dosh and a lorry-load of Sinn Fein dishonesty.”

    Do we have any proof yet? Our law states innocent until proven guilty. Every day the papers come up with a new theory about who did this bank robbery. Until there is firm evidence linking the IRA to the bank robbery as democrats we cannot pronounce our own amateur judgements.

    “Sinn Fein don’t want a unionist about the place.”

    Most likely, but there really is bugger all they can do about that. Unionists have a mandate the same as republicans and a much bigger one at that. Unless the republicans manage to simultaneously wipe out every unionist in Northern Ireland there will continue to be a broad representation of pro-union voters. What the shinners daydream about really shouldn’t worry unionists.

  • Christopher Stalford

    Rebecca Black

    “Do we have any proof yet? Our law states innocent until proven guilty. Every day the papers come up with a new theory about who did this bank robbery. Until there is firm evidence linking the IRA to the bank robbery as democrats we cannot pronounce our own amateur judgements.”

    Unbelievable. The Chief Constable has provided an analysis that the IRA was responsible. This analysis has been endorsed by the British and Irish governments and the members of the Polcing Board. Even John Hume has retracted his earlier mealy-mouthed excuse making.

    As regards the issue of complete withdrawal from the process. Whil I sympathise with much of what David Vance has said, I do not think that that would be the best tactic at this time. I think the events surrounding the publication of the Comprehensive Agreement show that at every stage leading up to the publication of that document, republicans were hoping that the DUP would walk away from the talks and get them off the hook over their obligations on decommissioning. When the DUP didn’t walk, they squelched on the deal. Who looks the bad boys now? Not the Unionists thats for sure.

  • Dec

    So is Hugh Orde’s opinion or ‘analysis’ as you put it an acceptable substitute for evidence now(never mind conviction in a court of law)?

  • smcgiff

    David,

    Legally & Constitutionally?

    How so British as opposed to being a constituent part of the United Kingdom?

    Economically?
    Historically?
    Culturally?
    Socially?

    Hang on, are you trying to make my point for me. Are you really suggesting people in Belfast are more socially, economically, historically and Socially more entwined with people in, say, Chelsea than Clontarf?

    Militarily – By this definition you are as likely to described American as British. Besides, many Irish people, North & South, join the British Army because it is the closest army to allow someone to pursue a serious military career. If there were a UI there’d still (if not more in the absence of stigma) people from Ireland joining the British Army.

  • Peter Brown

    “Do we have any proof yet? Our law states innocent until proven guilty. Every day the papers come up with a new theory about who did this bank robbery. Until there is firm evidence linking the IRA to the bank robbery as democrats we cannot pronounce our own amateur judgements.”

    Not exactly Party policy Rebecca – you may find yourrself in trouble for this – the dogs in the street know it was PIRA – who is your credible alternative? Ironic isn’t it that i am asking you for your alternative….

  • smcgiff

    ‘who is your credible alternative?’

    A group of disgruntled former security forces?

    Well you did ask.

  • unionist_observer

    “the dogs in the street know it was PIRA – who is your credible alternative?”

    I have no idea who it was, I think it is highly probable that it was the IRA, or at least one form of it. But nobody appears to have any definitive evidence which worries me, you cannot start taking actions in politics when they are based on an unsteady base.

  • unionist_observer

    “Even John Hume has retracted his earlier mealy-mouthed excuse making.”

    hmmm, but I thought most of the SDLP were following Alex Atwood’s lead and very much endorsing the view that the IRA was responsible?

  • Christopher Stalford

    Rebecca

    “hmmm, but I thought most of the SDLP were following Alex Atwood’s lead and very much endorsing the view that the IRA was responsible?”

    They are. That’s the point. Last Wednesday, Hume was very much out on his own – calling for evidence to be published proving that the Provo’s were responsile for the heist. He has since backed away from that position, claiming to have accepted the word of Mr. Ahern that the IRA was indeed to blame.

    What however is utterly incredulous Ms. Black, is that you should be repeating the hogwash of SF/IRA over the events of six weeks ago. Unionist indeed.

    “or at least one form of it.”

    An operation of this magnitude would have been sanctioned from the very top.

    Dec

    “You just know Unionists are in trouble…”

    It aint Unionists who are in trouble. Look a bit closer to home Sunny Jim.

  • Peter Brown

    “A group of disgruntled former security forces?”
    Did you miss the word credible in the question? Taking over houses in Poleglass and Loughinisland? There was clearly insode info and the PIRA tiger gang involvement in this…

  • Christopher Stalford

    Rebecca

    “you cannot start taking actions in politics when they are based on an unsteady base.”

    What like “Mr. Adams, we’ve jumped, you follow. It’s over to you”? Really Rebecca, it’s too easy!

  • smcgiff

    Peter,

    You must have a very poor opinion of the security force’s ability to gather intelligence.

  • smcgiff

    Should have read!

    ‘You must have a very poor opinion of the security force’s (even former members) ability to gather intelligence.’

  • davidbrew

    “Not exactly Party policy Rebecca – you may find yourrself in trouble for this – the dogs in the street know it was PIRA – who is your credible alternative? Ironic isn’t it that i am asking you for your alternative”-Peter Brown

    Obviously Rebecca thinks it was the original UYUC, which explains Cooper’s anxiety to get at their bank account Peter!

  • unionist_observer

    “What however is utterly incredulous Ms. Black, is that you should be repeating the hogwash of SF/IRA over the events of six weeks ago. Unionist indeed.”

    I believe the concept of innocent until proven guilty is one of the corner stones of British justice, so really I am being more british than you!

  • Dec

    “It aint Unionists who are in trouble. Look a bit closer to home Sunny Jim.”

    Christopher

    Just to clarify, I am not a member of any political party. Whilst I am clearly not a Unionist, I am certainly no slavish follower of SF either. However I consider myself to be a realist at heart and unless Hugh Orde produces some evidence pretty quickly you’ll see who’s in trouble come this May. And it won’t be Sinn Fein.

    Ps and don’t call me Sunny Jim, please. What age are you? 22 or something? You just come across as odd when you do that.

  • Peter Brown

    ‘You must have a very poor opinion of the security force’s (even former members) ability to gather intelligence.’

    Ironically they and their former colleagues are saying it was PIRA so haven’t you just shot yourself in the foot…besides which they would all have had to sneak back from the Costa Del Sol undetected and why bring the van from RoI – have another go at a credible alternative….

  • davidbrew

    Rebecca (sighs in exasperation)

    The presumption of innocence applies to the defendant in any criminal proceedings. It is not remotely applicable to the political context, nor indeed before any person is placed before a court. So you clearly don’t understand British standards- there is nothing incompatible in the present situation so far as fairness is concerned. It’s no more controversial than saying the Chief Constable believes the IRA was responsible for the Claudy bomb, which was never claimed. If someone was made amenable for that atrocity, who by an unhappy coincidence happened to be a member of Sinn Fein for example, that presumption of innocence would apply to the person, and his membership of the organisation could never be enough to convict. And if Marty, Gerry and Barbara were charged with loading the white van and driving it away the Chief Con’s statement of belief wouldn’t even get in the door of the court room

    Pleeease stop swallowing Sinn Fein propaganda wholesale and regurgitating it as if it’s credible. It’s not – and even if motivated by a desire to be charitable- it only weakens your claim to be hooked up to British standards.

  • davidbrew

    oh and Christopher- try not to misuse the adjective ” incredulous”- you may be; a situation cannot be, though it may well be incredible.
    University education-pah!

  • Christopher Stalford

    I stand cheerfully corrected (smart alec!)

  • Peter Brown

    Perhaps the new YUs could get a legal opinion on this….. ;-p

  • Christopher Stalford

    Very droll Peter!

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    David,

    I’m glad to hear that you are being honest and confirming that armed insurrection in response to certain arbitrarily defined “quisling” circumstances is entirely a-ok with you, as happened at UWC (which would not have succeeded without loyalist paramilitaries to “persuade” people not to break the strike and instead break the law and defy HM Government – some “loyalty”). I’ve no doubt you’re “not sure” of Bill Craig’s status, presumably that means you do not have an opinion on people who describe murdering for whatever purpose as “understandable”. It’s funny how people can choose to be uncertain when murder and sectarianism is involved. Your opinions on these and similar matters have always been rather vague; I never did seem to be able to nail you down on the actions of the Irgun in the British Mandate of Palestine, such as for example when they blew up the King David Hotel killing civilians, civil servants and British soldiers. I think I remember you saying that you found such actions incomparable to those of the IRA, but you never got around to explaining why or how. Maybe you could clear the air for us – would you have been an Irgun supporter in the day ?

    Northern Ireland IS British

    Earth calling David. It’s British and also Irish. In the last assembly election, around 42% of the votes cast in the last election were for parties who see their identity as being primarily Irish. Counting the Alliance vote you’ve got nearly 45% who don’t see the question of British identity as being a priority to be concerned about. Northern Ireland’s Britishness is holding on by about 40,000 votes. It’s hardly decisive.

    Why can’t you do what people in the sane parts of the UK do and recognize that NI is Irish *and* British. And that if people want to be Irish they should be allowed that – why is it any of your business ? The same applies to anyone who tries to tell you that you’re not British. It’s your own affair really. As for the martians, well Northern Ireland citizens can’t get martian passports, none of them speak martian or identify with martian culture, and certainly NI wasn’t a part of Mars at any stage in it’s history. Though if you went to a pub in England and proclaimed your Britishness there, they might look at you as if you were martian yourself.

    and will remain British so long as the majority here wish it.

    The majority thing is the problem here. And that’s why it’s important that we nail you down on precisely what circumstances you would support another UWC-style event. If unionism became a minority would armed insurrection be back on the table again ? Of course it would, I double-dare you to say otherwise.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    David,

    I’m glad to hear that you are being honest and confirming that armed insurrection in response to certain arbitrarily defined “quisling” circumstances is entirely a-ok with you, as happened at UWC (which would not have succeeded without loyalist paramilitaries to “persuade” people not to break the strike and instead break the law and defy HM Government – some “loyalty”). I’ve no doubt you’re “not sure” of Bill Craig’s status, presumably that means you do not have an opinion on people who describe murdering for whatever purpose as “understandable”. It’s funny how people can choose to be uncertain when murder and sectarianism is involved. Your opinions on these and similar matters have always been rather vague; I never did seem to be able to nail you down on the actions of the Irgun in the British Mandate of Palestine, such as for example when they blew up the King David Hotel killing civilians, civil servants and British soldiers. I think I remember you saying that you found such actions incomparable to those of the IRA, but you never got around to explaining why or how. Maybe you could clear the air for us – would you have been an Irgun supporter in the day ?

    Northern Ireland IS British

    Earth calling David. It’s British and also Irish. In the last assembly election, around 42% of the votes cast in the last election were for parties who see their identity as being primarily Irish. Counting the Alliance vote you’ve got nearly 45% who don’t see the question of British identity as being a priority to be concerned about. Northern Ireland’s Britishness is holding on by about 40,000 votes. It’s hardly decisive.

    Why can’t you do what people in the sane parts of the UK do and recognize that NI is Irish *and* British. And that if people want to be Irish they should be allowed that – why is it any of your business ? The same applies to anyone who tries to tell you that you’re not British. It’s your own affair really. As for the martians, well Northern Ireland citizens can’t get martian passports, none of them speak martian or identify with martian culture, and certainly NI wasn’t a part of Mars at any stage in it’s history. Though if you went to a pub in England and proclaimed your Britishness there, they might look at you as if you were martian yourself.

    and will remain British so long as the majority here wish it.

    The majority thing is the problem here. And that’s why it’s important that we nail you down on precisely what circumstances you would support another UWC-style event. If unionism became a minority would armed insurrection be back on the table again ? Of course it would, I double-dare you to say otherwise.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    David,

    I’m glad to hear that you are being honest and confirming that armed insurrection in response to certain arbitrarily defined “quisling” circumstances is entirely a-ok with you, as happened at UWC (which would not have succeeded without loyalist paramilitaries to “persuade” people not to break the strike and instead break the law and defy HM Government – some “loyalty”). I’ve no doubt you’re “not sure” of Bill Craig’s status, presumably that means you do not have an opinion on people who describe murdering for whatever purpose as “understandable”. It’s funny how people can choose to be uncertain when murder and sectarianism is involved. Your opinions on these and similar matters have always been rather vague; I never did seem to be able to nail you down on the actions of the Irgun in the British Mandate of Palestine, such as for example when they blew up the King David Hotel killing civilians, civil servants and British soldiers. I think I remember you saying that you found such actions incomparable to those of the IRA, but you never got around to explaining why or how. Maybe you could clear the air for us – would you have been an Irgun supporter in the day ?

    Northern Ireland IS British

    Earth calling David. It’s British and also Irish. In the last assembly election, around 42% of the votes cast in the last election were for parties who see their identity as being primarily Irish. Counting the Alliance vote you’ve got nearly 45% who don’t see the question of British identity as being a priority to be concerned about. Northern Ireland’s Britishness is holding on by about 40,000 votes. It’s hardly decisive.

    Why can’t you do what people in the sane parts of the UK do and recognize that NI is Irish *and* British. And that if people want to be Irish they should be allowed that – why is it any of your business ? The same applies to anyone who tries to tell you that you’re not British. It’s your own affair really. As for the martians, well Northern Ireland citizens can’t get martian passports, none of them speak martian or identify with martian culture, and certainly NI wasn’t a part of Mars at any stage in it’s history. Though if you went to a pub in England and proclaimed your Britishness there, they might look at you as if you were martian yourself.

    and will remain British so long as the majority here wish it.

    The majority thing is the problem here. And that’s why it’s important that we nail you down on precisely what circumstances you would support another UWC-style event. If unionism became a minority would armed insurrection be back on the table again ? Of course it would, I double-dare you to say otherwise.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Damn typekey. Can a moderator delete the duplicates please ?

  • JD

    The majority thing is the problem here. And that’s why it’s important that we nail you down on precisely what circumstances you would support another UWC-style event. If unionism became a minority would armed insurrection be back on the table again ? Of course it would, I double-dare you to say otherwise.

    Nice analysis, Roger. I think you’ve put your finger on why a lot of people in the South would see a UI as a destabilisation of the Republic. It’s not like the threat of violence didn’t work in during partition either.

  • JD

    That last line should read: “It’s not like the threat of unionist violence didn’t work during partition either.”

  • Davros

    Roger, if armed insurrection is in itself not wrong then how could the Grandchildren of 1916 object ?

  • smcgiff

    ‘if armed insurrection is in itself not wrong then how could the Grandchildren of 1916 object ?

    ‘Or the pre GFA IRA, Davros?’ It’s all about perspective.

  • Davros

    Absolutely Seamus.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Since I don’t agree with the 1916 uprising which was basically the work of bloodthirsty maniacs (politics were almost getting to the point where they’d have achieved the same IMO) I’m the wrong person to ask.

    The point of course is that there are few people who have the right to throw the term “terrorism” about with gay abandon; a truth needs to be faced up to in this country which is that most of the main political players including unionism is more than happy to use the threat of violence to achieve it’s objectives. Terrorism is bad, but it’s not as bad as being ruled by the pope is basically what we’re talking about here. Unfortunately this matter at the moment has been outshadowed somewhat by the IRA’s involvement in the recent bank robbery (just about to toddle off to watch the Spotlight documentary) at a time when loyalists have quietened down and the DUP have rather successfully seized the moment.

  • TroubledTimes

    At the next elections we should all see tons more posters for Sinn Fein than probably all the other parties put together.
    I wonder where they will get the money to pay for all those posters?
    I believe the election posters are ten pound each.
    I wont be too surprised if just underneath the Sinn Fein logo on the poster, we see – Sponsored by Northern Bank!