Big conversation needed within Republicanism…

In the Blanket this week, John Barry of the Green Party has an interesting analysis of events since the bank raid. They argue that Sinn Fein should not be punished until there are court proceedings confirming definate links. However the accompanying analysis reckons that Sinn Fein’s greatest strength (the tenacity with which pushes its own narrative to the exclusion of all others) is also its key weakness. They argue that what Nationalism/Republicanism needs is a big conversation to set a non-military vision of the future.

  • Alan

    What a lumbering, disjointed and directionless article.

    The RM certainly need a big conversation, but you get the feeling that there would be a problem with the concept of big, and then the need to clarify the assumptions behind conversation; the resulting decision to be unanimously acclaimed by a small coterie of ex- Army Council members.

    The IRA seem to have descended into the pit of paramilitarism in much the same way as the loyalist groups, personal enmity seeming to count for as much as ideology. The project is now to dismantle the edifice without wrecking all around them.

  • IJP

    True, Alan.

    A severe problem with what passes for ‘Centre’ politics in NI is that it seeks to build a bridge between ‘Unionism’ and ‘Nationalism’ and, worse still, does this by arrogantly telling those who adhere to them what to do!

    You cannot build a bridge between ‘Unionism’ and ‘Nationalism’, they are fundamentally opposing concepts and neither has anything to offer the people of NI in future (apart from the same stale recipe of sectarian carve-up, farce and instability). Instead, the ‘Centre’ should seek to win people over from them, by showing that focusing on common goals and common approaches is in our common interest.

    If the Greens go on seeking arrogantly to build a bridge in this way, they’ll find the bridge collapses with them on it and the ‘ethnic entrepreneurs’ shedding few tears safely on land either side!

  • Prolefodder

    Oh dear, because the Greens have raised a challenging position, that defies the usual ‘plague on both their houses’ analysis which passes for ‘Centre’ (read Alliance) they’re playing into the hands of the ‘ethnic entrepreurs’ (a term they used and promoted during the Assembly elections remember). What nonesense – their analysis is of course criticisable, but to arrogantly suggest that all ‘non-ethnic’ political views should adopt the straight-jacket of condemning both unionism and nationalism outright is, while of course a wonderful comfort blanket for those who have ‘risen above the tribal fray’, is both intellectually flawed and politically bankrupt. I’d like to hear what the Greens have to say about Unionism – does it need a similar ‘big conversation’? or is the ‘big man’ the best it can do?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Ultimately the Centre has to declare whether unionist or nationalist. When Alliance was eventually flushed out any claim of a broad cross community consensus disappeared.

  • Alan

    So much for typekey, first it’s lost, then it’s found again!

  • AW

    “Ultimately the Centre has to declare whether unionist or nationalist. When Alliance was eventually flushed out any claim of a broad cross community consensus disappeared.”
    I agree with regards the Alliance Party it is rightly or wrongly perceived as Unionist in ethos, though that is not their intent. I think it is a lot more difficult to pigeon hole the Green Party in this way. It has all sorts of links with the other Green Parties in these islands and its European Federation.

    Really one has to ask why should the question of what nation we belong to divide when it will be dealt with by some future referendum? There are so many issues of common concern that are of immediate importance. The Green Party’s approach would seem sensible and yet offer horizons beyond the 6 counties.

    Regrettably conflicting nationalisms has been an issue that has bedevilled the Labour Party and the whole left in NI politics.

  • Alan

    Oh dear,

    I look down and the editor has circumcised not only the little repetition, but the whole damn comment. How to feel futile in one easy excision.

    Now that wasn’t typkey’s fault!

  • IJP

    My point is that in this article the Greens are treating ‘republicans’ as if they are somehow a ‘different people’ and can be told what to do as such.

    In reality few Greens I know are so presumptious. On the constitution, they seem to promote the point that borders are irrelevant in practice and we should stop basing our entire political system upon them. Which is why, although I may view many of their policies as unrealistic and simplistic, they get my early transfers!

    Ultimately the Centre has to declare whether unionist or nationalist.


    The principle of consent is established. UK or UI (or anything else) will be decided by the people, regardless of what the politicians say. People are perfectly welcome to be ‘unionist’, ‘nationalist’, ‘Irish’, ‘British’, or whatever. But politically, in the search for peace, progress and prosperity, these terms are irrelevant.

    So the abnormality of parties representing only one group or the other must be replaced by those supporting universal support for the justice system and the rule of law, and by real democracy.

    Do people support the rule of law on behalf of everyone (including unionists) or the rule of the IRA? Do people support democracy or majoritarian rule? Those are the real questions, but you’ll find few answers among the ‘Big Four’.