Getting beyond the Unification question?

Roy Garland argues that there are more ways than one for the peoples of Ireland to get together than out and out political unification of the island. Already the Council of the Isles , he argues, “has the capacity to transcend petty squabbles and usher in a new era of goodwill and cooperation on an unprecedented scale. Northern Ireland as a political entity can continue to exist, but in a dynamic relationship with an Irish state and a devolved Great Britain”.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Most people only buy a passport when they want to travel to another country. They dont buy one to prove one way or another what nationality they are. ‘

    Indeed and in the period 1920 through 1960 most emigrants to the UK and indeed Irish and British citizens/subjects generally would not have held a passport most likely .

    ‘This thing about British or Irish nationality is strictly a Norn iron political Unionist or Republican obsession.’

    True enough . It goes with the rest of their ‘obsessions’

    ‘!Only Norn Iron Unionists call themselves *ULSTER/man/woman or *BRITISH* because they politically and culturally deplore using the term *NORTHERN IRISH*.’

    Fair enough but the majority of the inhabitants of Ulster’s nine counties see themselves as Ulstermen and Irish so using ‘Ulster’ as an identity tag would be a misnomer ?

    ‘The name The state of *NORTHERN IRELAND* was not of their own was given to them by the British Government.’

    What did they want it to be called then ? North West Finchley ? North West Burnley/Wigan/Lancashire /Cumberland ??? or something colonially exotic like Carsonia ? Craigmania ? Orangia ? Very very very very very South West Argyll ?????

  • Greenflag

    ‘I would agree, but most of these people who live in the UK would not class themselves as strictly Irish anymore than the 50 million American citizens decended from emigration over the last century.’

    I never stated they would . I just pointed out they were of Irish origin

  • darthrumsfeld

    I’d have been quite happy with “West Britain”

    BTW When blogging, how about keeping it short? If you want to write a dissertation , do a degree. The rest of us want to slag each other off.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Greenflag, Biffo, Slackjaw et al,

    First of all, thanks for all your replies. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many replies to anything I’ve posted before – I must make more controversial statements. Secondly, please accept my apologies for being so late to reply but I took a long weekend from Thursday lunchtime on.

    Many of you made similar points so I’ll address them as a group rather than as replies to individuals…

    Regarding my claim of a long association with the term of British for these isles I had various replies…

    “That’s an opinion based purely on ignorance of the origin of the word British and how it’s meaning has changed over (a very long) time. (Yes, I did read your Wikipedia quote – it’s poor)”

    “Nonsense CC.”

    “Are you really suggesting that it would be accurate for a scholar to refer to the population living in the west of Ireland as Britons throughout the millenia? It wouldn’t even be accurate to refer to them as Britons at any point of your choosing in history.”

    I notice not one person actually gives an argument challenging what I’ve said. So, what is actually incorrect in what I’ve said. Did I misquote any of the sources? Were any of the translations incorrect? Did the authors of the quotes make any mistakes? My favourite retort tho’ was the last one – mentioning scholar. Not only would it have been correct for them to do so, I named 4 scholars who actually did. One of whom, Ptolemy, is one of the most famous of all classical scholars. BTW, I use Wikipedia as I consider it to be independent as regards our biased discussions.

    After my challenge to “name one Country with a majority of Catholics that has a sizeable Protestant minority?” many of you took up the challenge. I think most of you missed the sentence before this were I mention “as other countries in Europe”. To put my challenge in context, I was talking about the religious wars that waged through Europe and was comparing this to the treatment of Irish Catholics. I would still contend that the treatment of Irish Catholics, although not justified, was no worse than that handed out to other religions in Europe at that time.

    In response to me saying…“Isolationist Irishness has only existed for about a century.”
    Someone said…”Not even a century CC”. How disappointing this must be for “Ourselves Alone” in their centenary year!

    Also, in response to… “Far more people emigrated from England to the US than from Ireland. Were the English anti-English as well?”, someone responded “Wrong again Congal” and mentioned that there were more German and Irish imigrants. Sorry, but I’m afraid it’s you who is wrong. See below from Wikipedia (I know you all respect it afterall)…

    “In the 2000 Census, 57.6 million Americans reported British ancestry. These include:
    • 24.5 million English
    • 20.6 million American (the overwhelming majority of those who answered “American” as their ancestry are of British ancestry)
    • 4.9 million Scottish
    • 4.3 million Scotch-Irish (Ulster)
    • 1.7 million Welsh
    • 1 million British (answered “British” as ancestry on the Census)
    • 600,000 Canadian (the overwhelming majority of those who answered “Canadian” as their ancestry are of British ancestry)
    These figures make British Americans the largest ethnic group in the U.S. when counted collectively (although the Census Bureau does not count them collectively, as each of the above is a separate ethnic group i.e. English or Scottish).The Germans and Irish are the largest self-reported ethnic groups in the nation but British ancestry is considered the most common by experts.”

    Hi Slackjaw,
    “I was thinking more about what you see as the most important elements of your identity, for you personally, apart from those which arise from anthropological/geographical designations?”
    I specifically mentioned I regard myself as British in an anthropological/geographical sense as I don’t consider nationhood to have existed until relatively recently. There wasn’t a British nation 1000s of years ago. Much as there wasn’t an Irish one. However, the term “British” was around in those times and was applied to both Britain and Ireland in a geographical and people sense. First and foremost I consider myself British because of blood ties – 1 Welsh Grandmother, 1 English Grandfather, 1 Catholic Irish Grandfather and 1 Protestant Irish Grandmother. Therefore I consider myself to be a complete mix of the British Isles. I’m sure if most people checked their family lineage they would find similar mixing. For example, Gerry Adams and John Hume both have planter surnames, so it’s almost certain they have some English/Scottish blood in them. Other reasons I consider myself British – the language I speak, the sport I watch, the football teams I support (how come Irish republicans are so keen on that great British team Celtic?), the music I listen to, the TV I watch, the pub culture I enjoy, the sense of humour I share, etc, etc. These things do not stop at the border and I believe are shared throughout the British Isles.