"A more Republican friendly blog"

Chris has his own blog. It’s the first classic blog (apologies to Sharon’s excellent history blog) we know of written by anyone who’s an active Irish Republican. Chris has been a stalwart of Slugger for some time, and a valued contributor. But there is no substitute for having your own blog to finding your own measure and stride. We look forward to good things. And welcome to the blogosphere Chris!

Adds belatedly: Thanks to PS for the snappy headline!

  • PS

    Ahem!

  • GavBelfast

    That must be one awfully big pub he works in if it’s in 26 counties.

    Classy road-sign, too.

    Still, we all enjoy talking to ourselves once in a while. Maybe it’s therapeutic.

  • StrayToaster

    Balrog? As in the boxer from the finest of all early 90s two dimensional beat-em-ups?

    PS and CG? And unbeatable two hit combo or smashing cars with dragon punches?

    Actually, I must admit to enjoying reading it, as I know it tows the party line, but in a different way.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    By republican friendly I assume that means the bank robbery, the stabbing and all these other things won’t be mentioned.

  • PS

    You assume wrong Roger. Both topics have already been mentioned more than once.

  • mickhall

    Chris and PS,

    Good luck with the blog, I look forward to reading you regularly.

    MickH

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    A quick scan confirms that we’re firmly in the territory of the SF party line. On the front page right now is an entry registering disgust that a newspaper journalist would are to accuse Gerry Adams of playing politics with the McCartney murder. Further down there’s another article observing how unionists walked out of a debate in Ballymoney over a United Ireland. I wonder how many people out there think it’s worthwhile that their rates are spent paying councillors to debate the merits of Irish reunification.

  • George

    Roger,
    as 43% of Northern Ireland’s voting electorate voted for unification parties in the last general election, I would say that there are quite a few people out there who think it’s worthwhile that their rates are spent paying councillors to debate the merits of Irish reunification.

    What other constructive things do they have to discuss at the moment, considering there is no accountable government, or ability to raise taxes or influence economic policy.

    What would you recommend they discuss? How to become even more dependent on the British taxpayer? How to stop the drip-drip cut in state subvention?

  • beano

    The point it isn’t for the councillors to decide but the people. The principle of consent has been accepted and the issue is now dead, save for any future referenda. There is no need for councillors to waste time discussing it. How about they discuss how they could help reduce sectarianism in their communities instead?

  • IJP

    George

    They might spend their time on making NI economically self-sufficient thus making an all-Ireland State feasible.

    But better still, how about:
    – better planning procedures so people can’t put up buildings before planning permission is granted;
    – safer roads so we don’t lose 10+ people a month in traffic accidents (2 last night alone);
    – better leisure facilities so that major towns are not left without theatres or hotels…

    … in other words, the stuff they’re elected and paid to do.

    Beano

    100% correct, well said.

  • George

    This is a common misperception in my view Beano.
    The issue of unification is not dead, the people of Ireland, north and south have simply agreed for the first time on how it can be achieved, namely by consent.

    Surely councillors are allowed to discuss what is relevant and important to their constituents and obviously 43% of the voting electorate wish for unification so it makes sense to discuss how best to get the necessary consent.

    If they did nothing but discuss unification I’d understand but how much time was spent on this?

    Just because it’s not important to you, doesn’t mean it’s not important. Just because you think the idea of unification is dead doesn’t mean it is.

    Obviously the population want safer roads so that issue can be discussed too.

    I’m sure all the councillors agreed that the all-Ireland road safety promotion campaign was a good idea.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    George, if the political parties made it clear to their electorate that instead of spending time trying to improve public services or revitalize the economy, that they intend instead to engage in pointless debates about the merits (or not) of reunification, I might be less concerned.

    Debates about reunification in this climate are pointless. It’s not the issue that’s dead, it’s the fact – which you can’t deny – that any debate over it is dead. Do you really think given the way the vote goes in this country that there are significant numbers of people out there right now who aren’t sure about what way they’d vote in a referendum ? Do you really think that staging debates in local councils is going to lead to people changing their minds ?

  • George

    Roger,
    I’m not privvy to the nuances of said debate and if it is merely theoretical and wasted tons of council time, then sure, it is not of any great use.

    But if, for example, it was a case of Fermanagh council deciding to discuss what it could do to to further the cause of unification and so looking at its waste management system or its infrastructure on an all-island basis then why not.

    Hypothetical situation: Why build a 50m swimming pool when there’s one being built five kilometres away in the Republic that the people can use when a community centre is more urgent. Talk to the council in the Republic about sharing the construction cost and use the money saved to build the community centre.

    Previously, the UUP looked at all this on a totally partitionist level giving us the M1 in the wrong direction so why shouldn’t nationalist councils now look at addressing the deficit and develop their infrastructure and area management on an all-island basis, building ever-stronger bridges with people in the Irish Republic?

    Afer all, that should be their long-term objective just as unionists discuss things that will ensure the long-term survival of the union.

  • cg

    Thanks Mick for those kind words 🙂

    As an avid Lord of the Rings fan the title “Balrog” came from there.

    It’s a reference to my suggestion to Davros that I will turn him towards the Dark side 😉

    Balrog

    GavBelfast

    It is a hotel in one of the counties that make up the 26.

    As for talking to yourself you should know all about that.

    Thanks to everyone for their words of encouragement 🙂

    Balrog will be an unashamedly Republican blog but anyone will be able to contribute.

  • cg

    Thanks Mick for those kind words 🙂

    As an avid Lord of the Rings fan the title “Balrog” came from there.

    It’s a reference to my suggestion to Davros that I will turn him towards the Dark side 😉

    Balrog

    GavBelfast

    It is a hotel in one of the counties that make up the 26.

    As for talking to yourself you should know all about that.

    Thanks to everyone for their words of encouragement 🙂

    Balrog will be an unashamedly Republican blog but anyone will be able to contribute.

  • cg

    f****** type key

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    George, I’m entirely in favour of increasing and strengthening cross-border co-operation on infrastructural and economic matters. I am not a unionist, I don’t have any resistance to co-operation with the Irish government at all provided there’s a reason for it beyond forwarding a particular party political agenda

    But that’s not what this debate was; it was a debate about the merits of reunification. A council chamber isn’t the right place to have that debate, and council funds shouldn’t be spent expounding it. By the way, republicans aren’t the only people who waste time and money in this respect. The unionists are nightmarish for it, particularly in Castlereagh. The Robinson Centre anyone ?

  • Moderate Unionist

    George
    The issue of unification is not dead, the people of Ireland, north and south have simply agreed for the first time on how it can be achieved, namely by consent.
    Not so and the more you go on like this the less likely it becomes. People did not agree on how it would be achieved. What they agreed was that it was upto the people of Northern Ireland.

    And you can nit pick all you like, if the people don’t want it the people won’t do it.

  • vespasian

    George/CG

    I think that the facts are very straight forward.

    1. There is no majority in favour of a United Ireland at present.
    2. On the basis of the current demographics it is unlikely that there will one in the foreseeable future unless some of the current ‘unionist’ population can be persuaded to vote for it.
    3. No one at present is making any coherent case for ‘unionists’ to vote for a united Ireland.
    4 Maybe parties who do favour such an outcome should be trying to persuade ‘unionists’ of the merits of their case, not trying to impose debates on the subject in the wrong forum.

  • George

    Moderate Unionist,
    unionists made up less than 20% of those who voted for the GFA and there was a lot more to that deal than just leaving the decision on unification up to the people of Northern Ireland.

    It enshrined consent of the Irish people north and south, not consent of the unionist people.

    The people in NI who wish for a unified Ireland can still work for it, just as those south of the border can.

    It’s a lot easier to work for or against a united Ireland now that the power to do it has been taken out of the hands of the gunmen.

    Vespasian,
    “1. There is no majority in favour of a United Ireland at present.”

    Doesn’t mean people can’t work to change minds.

    “2. On the basis of the current demographics it is unlikely that there will one in the foreseeable future unless some of the current ‘unionist’ population can be persuaded to vote for it.”

    Current demographics aren’t that black and white and anyway it makes more sense to try convince the unionist population of the merits. They’re not trying to convince nationalists of the merits of the union but I don’t think nationalists should fall into the same trap.

    If (hypothetical situation again) Fermanagh council can show that working to a united Ireland agenda reaps more benifits for its constituents than just accepting partiton then this might change faster than you think.

    “3. No one at present is making any coherent case for ‘unionists’ to vote for a united Ireland.”

    This is a long haul. When I was a child, people in Northern Ireland laughed at the Irish Republic as a priest-ridden economic basketcase that would never amount to anything.

    Today, most unionists would give their eye teeth to have Ireland’s economic performance and the gap between it and NI is widening by the day.

    “4 Maybe parties who do favour such an outcome should be trying to persuade ‘unionists’ of the merits of their case, not trying to impose debates on the subject in the wrong forum.”

    Nobody imposes a debate here. You don’t have to debate if you don’t want to.

  • hotdogx

    Why did both nationalist parties release papers on irish unity if there is no chance of a yes vote occuring in a united ireland referendum in the near future. Shurely they did their homework first.Any opinions on this?

    Debates for a UI of course must be held at the right time at the right place. Unionists are so hateful of the republic either due to lack of knowledge of the republic and what its like to live there or the way the irish tricolour has been dragged through the proverbial mud and used as a republican symbol for “the cause” so to speak. Therefore, for them maybe a vote for an irish republic is an endorsement of SF/IRA.

    This in my opinion is the debate in the minds of moderate unionists and the dont know camp within the electorate. How does one begin convince a
    unionist of the advantages of a UI as all the benifits are plain to see but they refuse to accept it. Ive had unionists say to me “even if the republic was raining with gold we want nothing to do with it, im british i have nothing in common with irish culture”. When in fact they have more in common with their nationalist neighbour who identifies himself as irish than they have with anyone in the UK above all people in the british parlement.
    People in britain know almost nothing about the conflict in ireland and dont see northern ireland as a part of britain in fact most want rid of it. So thats the question how do you perswade moderate unionists and dont knows to endorse a UI thats the big question. Any ideas

  • Ames Tiedeman

    Nice blog. I learned something here.

    Thanks!