Why is Unionism not interested in nationalists?

This the first of two pieces I’d like to post back to back. Tommy McKearney argues that Unionism shows not the slightest interest in attracting Nationalists to its cause and is therefore doomed to a long term and possibly terminal decline:

After years of insurrection, you might imagine that even the dimmest unionist would understand that the very existence of Northern Ireland is threatened by nationalist/republican alienation. Surely enlightened self-interest would dictate to them that every effort should be made to encourage nationalist/republican co-operation within the state they have long mistrusted.

Clearly hinting at the troubles in North Antrim he concludes this point:

Yet, like the alcoholic who resumes boozing after his liver transplant, unionism is determined to remain embedded within its old and for it, counter-productive habits.

  • an seabhac siulach

    If the unionists had even the smallest bit of sense then they would have agreed the modest civil (human?) rights demands asked for back in 1968…agreeing these would have saved us all a lot of grief…but no, shoring up the sectarian state (and jobs for the boys) was more important at the time. And yes, it was a sectarian state, with the gerrymandered districts to show for it.
    What makes anyone think that they have more sense now.
    They are not willing to ‘reach out’ to Nationalists (or should that be Catholics) for the very same reasons they were unwilling to even give basic civil rights back in 1968 or before…ingrained bitter poisonous sectarianism. Let’s call it what it is and not hide away from the fact that this is still a big issue in the ranks of the unionist parties, closely linked as they are to the Orange Order, etc. (which is slightly more than a walking club for middleaged men after all!). Not much of that bigoted mindset has changed. Big Ian is still around spouting off the usual rubbish, etc. I would make the case that unionists need to decommision that particular unpleasant aspect of theirs before Nationalists will even begin to consider them or their philosophy any way appealing.

  • Ling

    I’ve often wondered what would happen if a pro-British part that didn’t feel anti-Irish started up. You know, a pro-union, pro-rights, pro-gaeilge, pro-hurling, pro-cooperation with the south, non-religion based representative of as much of the good parts of both identies as possible. I imagine tat it would get ignored as it seems a large part of people identies in NI are based on what they are not as much as what they are.

    I live in a part of England that has quite a high Irish stock population, the tricolours are out every few months for the odd festival and ceilidh in the center of town and no one’s offended. People seem quite at home with the idea of the mix of British and Irish over here. There certainly isn’t an incompatible clash of cultures or anything.

    A Welsh person once put it to me that being British was great once you weren’t expected to be English.

  • Tim Roll-Pickering

    I’ve often wondered what would happen if a pro-British part that didn’t feel anti-Irish started up. You know, a pro-union, pro-rights, pro-gaeilge, pro-hurling, pro-cooperation with the south, non-religion based representative of as much of the good parts of both identies as possible.

    Isn’t that what the Alliance went through at some stages? Or am I thinking of the Unionist Party of Northern Ireland?

  • Oilbhear Chromaill

    Can any unionist come on here and paint nationalists an attractive picture to entice them to maintain the union?
    I have always thought that not enough attention has been paid to the fact that the involvement of the British state has been ‘nefarious’ – and that’s not my word but SOS Peter Hain’s description while speaking recently to Irish American leaders in New York.
    There was never such a thing as British rule in Ireland – only British misrule. The most content the native Irish with their misrulers was when the Normans became more Irish than the Irish themselves in medieval times.
    My own opinion is that Ireland is better off being ruled by the Irish. We can make our own mistakes – and looking down south, it could be said we’ve made most of them already. So if we don’t learn from that, well we’re not worth the penny candle.
    Unless we do this, I think the future for Ireland, north or south, is Hawaii without the palm trees and the hula girls – another outpost of the US. I don’t think we’ll be ruled by the US or become a 51st state or any such thing – but we will be American in all but name. That’s a terrifying prospect.

  • Reader

    an seabhac siulac: If the unionists had even the smallest bit of sense then they would have agreed the modest civil (human?) rights demands asked for back in 1968…agreeing these would have saved us all a lot of grief…but no, shoring up the sectarian state (and jobs for the boys) was more important at the time. And yes, it was a sectarian state, with the gerrymandered districts to show for it.

    You mean – like implementing the Electoral Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1968 saved a lot of grief, and pointed the way forward… So why would you ignore that?

  • Alan McDonald

    Oilbhear,

    I think your Hawaii scenario is too rosy. As an American observer, I have often thought of Britain’s problems with Northern Ireland to be analagous to the US problems with Puerto Rico. Twenty years ago, when there were still active insurrectionists in PR, I suggested that we give PR to GB in exchange for NI. That way, at least you would get some palm trees.

  • Ling

    Oh Britain spectacularly misruled Ireland, but don’t think that the ordinary working class folks on the island of Britain got that fantastically ruled themselves. The main difference was our ruling class was from another country, and so a much easier target. There’s a reason Ireland revolutionaries were/are socialists.

  • Henry94

    Ling

    a pro-union, pro-rights, pro-gaeilge, pro-hurling, pro-cooperation with the south, non-religion based representative of as much of the good parts of both identies as possible

    I think that won’t happen because for a unionism as a whole the union is not as important as sectarianism. That is the only explanation for their political actions.

    The Orange Order opposed the Act of Union in the first place because they saw it as a threat to their supremacy. The NI state was cobbled together on a sectarian rather than a pro-Union basis and every attempt to make the state work has floundered because of sectarianism.

    Faced with an unsustainable NI I believe a majority within unionism will opt at some stage for re-partition because an NI of equals has no attraction for them.

  • George

    Henry,

    I think repartition appears to be the new objective for much of unionism too.

    You can’t be interested in nationalists if you are pushing for separation from something you believe to be contaminated hence the lack of interest in anything Irish.

    They are making repartition seem a very palatable option to many of us on this island by their actions and views I have to say.

    Redraw the border on Irish/British lines and be done with it. Except such forced population movements for those stranded on the wrong side like in Belfast will be tough to do in 21st century Europe and a Berlin Wall type scenario won’t fly.

    They should have done it in the 1920s when it was all the rage.

  • susan

    What do you do about people like me from a mixed
    marriage, who see themselves as holding a dual identity? Make us choose? Or is that too complicated for your scenario?

  • George

    Susan,
    a mixed marriage is based on love and respect for each other so dual identities can exist in harmony. Great sacrifices are made by both sides and risks taken so this harmony can be created.

    The problem is the NI state is not based on love and seems to be incapable of catering for a dual identity and the many in the majority population seem to yearn after it representing just one identity.

    The scenario is not what I want, it is what I fear many unionists yearn for. They aren’t looking for the complicated solution of compromise, say (using the mixed marriage analogy) bringing up the child of one sex Catholic and the other sex Protestant, they want the simple answer which guarantees the whole family is Protestant as well as the future generations.

  • bootman

    at the end of the day isnt unionism just secterianism by another word?

    throughout its history and now in its present Irish unionism has been to its heart and core strictly for protestants only, that is why it is a doomed political philosophy

  • maca

    George
    “many in the majority population seem to yearn after it representing just one identity.”

    I’d say there’s more than a few in the minority population want the same thing.

  • George

    I’m sure that’s true maca but it doesn’t change the fact that NI is a loveless marriage which seems destined for divorce.

    You also have to take into account that many unionist go on about wanting to make this marriage work when they actually yearn to be out of it.

    Those you speak of on the other side make no secret of wanting out although I admit they seem to think it’s possible to move the ex-wife into the new house with the new missus.

  • Fanny

    Shinners really are laughable. The oblivious undercurrent of ‘we’re too open-minded to be bothered with themmuns’ in this thread is THE reason republicanism hasn’t a prayer.

  • Hektor Bim

    What percentage of unionists are interested in repartition do you think, Henry? I hear proposals of repartitioning along the Bann, but I never know how really serious they are. It’s obvious that western and parts of southern Northern Ireland are predominantly Irish in orientation. I don’t really think repartition would solve anything, since East Belfast wouldn’t like being West Berlin, but was repartition ever seriously considered politically?

    The sectarianism is a real issue, especially the involvement of the sectarian Orange Order in politics and government, along with the Free Presbyterian Party and its influence on the DUP. Historically, how did that develop? I know many of the home rulers were protestant, as were some of the leaders of the Gaelic revival. Were there prominent Catholic unionists historically?

  • The Beach Tree

    maca

    Perhaps, but I’d wager substantially less.

    There is no nationalist equivalent of Paisley. There hasn’t been since the 1900’s.

  • Henry94

    Hektor Bim

    It’s not a proposal anyone is making out loud but it is implicit in the rejection by some of the consent principle as expressed in the Agreement. It isn’t serious unless the British support it but I expect we’ll have to deal with it some day.

  • lib2016

    Maybe one of the legal profession could look it up and let us know for definite but I was under the impression that there were laws against the forced movement of populations.

    We’re seeing unionism have it’s pathetic last fling – nothing more. To anyone who remembers ’69 the present kerfuffle is no big deal – that’s why the troops are leaving and why the Army is decommissioning. The PSNI are under control, the B Specials are gone and the RIR are going. It’s over!

  • barnshee

    George is sadly right when he writes
    “You also have to take into account that many unionist go on about wanting to make this marriage work when they actually yearn to be out of it”

    There is now unparalled levels of visceral hate betwen at least elements of the two communities. All the politically correct expressions from the “lets get together brigade” will not disguise the disgust people feel for the “other” community. We are settling into a balkanised state where resources will be allocated on a sectarian head count.

    The DUPERS are slavering at the thought of further SF advances- North or South it brings forward the day when they consign the OUP to the dustbin of history.

  • The Beach Tree

    Barnshee

    “The DUPERS are slavering at the thought of further SF advances- North or South it brings forward the day when they consign the OUP to the dustbin of history”

    Well, if the unionist population are determined to become more hardline, and vote for bigotry over progress out of basic visceral hatred, I suppose they’ll have to be allowed to deal with the consequences. Isolation, and growing irrelevance. I think it’s past time both communities paid the retail price for the bigoted choices they make.

    Nationalists are not going to dilute their voting preference to reign in the growing sectarianism of large parts of the unionist population. Nor should they.

    One gets the growing feeling that future civil war is inevitable. Awful though it may be, many nationalists will not accept second class status again simply as a means to avoid it. Both sides need a good long think if bloodshed is to be avoided.

  • Libg

    “Free Presbyterian Party and its influence on the DUP. Historically, how did that develop? I know many of the home rulers were protestant, as were some of the leaders of the Gaelic revival. Were there prominent Catholic unionists historically?”

    As far as I understand things, feel free to correct me anyone who knows more, the Free Presbyterian Church (dunno about any party) and the DUP were both started by Ian Paisley, I’ve no idea what the difference between his lot and older established Presbyterians is though.

    The Gaelic language revival was pionered initally by Protestants who wanted to create a common bond of identity between the Catholics and Protestants, but it then essentially got hijacked by the republican revolutionaries…

    Sinn Fein initially started out as a monarchist party wanting an independantly run Ireland remaining under Britich crown. The original republicans were Presbyterians as they were just as disenfranchised as the Catholics.

  • lib2016

    The Beach Tree,

    Since the breakup of Yugoslavia the idea of repartition or forced population movements has become totally discredited, except among a few middleaged unionists still trapped in the heady days of the UWC.

    Take a look at the resources involved and the time needed if you doubt me. It just ain’t going to happen!

  • The Beach Tree

    lib2016

    “the idea of repartition or forced population movements has become totally discredited”

    I don’t believe I suggested any such thing.

  • Alex

    Well…not until Paisley finally kicks the bucket.

    I’ve said before that European integration+normalisation mean the devaluation of the border, and I certainly think there could be an opening for a non-fuckwit party that wanted to stay formally part of the UK and assert some sort of northern identity. But one big blocker for that is the abandonment of further UK integration in the EU – Euros on both sides would have helped a lot.

    And, of course, whilst Paisley continues to poison the mind and force the Unionists to keep right for fear of being outflanked, no chance. JUST DIE, YOU BASTARD! PLEASE!

  • lib2016

    The Beach Tree,

    I apologise for misunderstanding your use of the words ‘civil war’. In my book that would entail something more than the sort of sectarian skirmish which is going on a the moment.

    IMHO part of the current problem is that there are no credible leaders on the unionist side, but that also means that they have no leaders even if they wanted war, which I doubt they do. Too many houseowners on both sides!

  • beano

    “Well, if the unionist population are determined to become more hardline, and vote for bigotry over progress out of basic visceral hatred,”

    Well it seems to be working for the nationalist population.

    It’s funny on a thread discussing the failings of unionism, most of the hate-filled vitriol seems to be coming from nationalists and directed at unionists. I’m particularly interested by

    “at the end of the day isnt unionism just secterianism by another word?”

    It’s with understanding and tolerance like this that we will truly build an Ireland of equals.

  • Crow

    I don’t think a re-partition would necessitate forced population movements. The UK and Ireland are both democracies, members of the EU and are presently enjoying a golden era in terms of their relationship. The parallels with cold war Berlin simply don’t apply.

    In the event of a hollistic repartition, I could envision many inclaves and exclaves, the largest of which would be an Irish West Belfast. Another example would be a British Londonderry based in the Waterside.

    This pattern could be repeated throughout Northern Ireland creating a tapestry that although marginally less economical than contiguous states, would be no less viable.

  • darthrumsfeld

    Funny how all the nationalists are queuing up on this thread to kick Unionists, but not on the thread about them ignoring Unionists.

    Bootman- buy a history book. The Union was supported by many RC Bishops in 1801, as the means to achieve catholic emancipation. maynooth was one of many capital projects to sustain that viewpoint. Then came the veto controversy, about the apppointment of RC bishops. You might also want to look at the relationship Daniel o’Connell wanted with Great Britain- and even bike thief Parnell wasn’t a proto-Shinner.
    Leading RCs -like the Duke of Devonshire in England-opposed the Home Rule Bills and funded Ulster Unionism. RCs like Sir Dennis Henry were prominet Unionists. There’s a whole bloody bookm of them- “The Cross of St Patrick” By Joh Biggs Davison ” himself a Roman Catholic” as the News Letter always used to say.

    Free Presbyterians are not strictly Presbyterian at all in theology, though they are in the manner of Church structure. They are closer to Baptists in the USA than the Presbyterian Church.

    lib 2016. Lay off the poteen. You’re further away than ever from a united Ireland- even british Minister Mrty McGuinness knows that. Repartition is only a threat- If youse don’t leave us alone we’ll dump Crossmaglen on your doorstep” What Dublin politician wouldn’t turn paleat that threat?

  • barnshee

    The beach Tree

    “Since the breakup of Yugoslavia the idea of repartition or forced population movements has become totally discredited”

    What discredited ? on the contrary, please do not quote Yugoslavia — repartition and forced resettlement is exactly what has happened and has apparently worked

  • George

    Any unionist out there who can outline what unionists can do to make Northern Ireland a place that Irish people would rather live in than an Irish Republic or at least be equally as happy to live in.

    Because that is what they have to offer.

    For example, would unionists canvas the UK government for some of the following? (I accept many are probably not possible, just theorising)

    – Equal status for the Irish language in NI
    – Dual currency zone for NI making euro legal tender
    – Joint policing and security service
    – Joint health boards
    – Joint education system
    – Military neutrality for NI except in cases where the UK itself is being attacked.
    – Single tax zone to prevent smuggling and to ensure even investment
    – Island income tax of say 1% paid at source to finance mutually beneficial projects
    – Joint infrastructure policy

    If none of them are palatable or possible, what exactly is on offer?

    What issues are unionists interested in working together on that are of interest to nationalists and their interests?

  • lib2016

    barnshee

    Which is why nobody is going to get away with it again. There is no central organisation on the unionist side which could even begin to lead such a project, nor would such an organisation be able to get any backing either in Britain or elsewhere abroad. You’re dreaming.

  • Alan McDonald

    OK, I’m a dimwitted Yank, but the answer to the question is:

    because they are mutually exclusive options.

  • barnshee

    lib2016

    How would you stop it? who would stop it? The world sat back and allowed Rwanda, Palestine Yugoslavia and other horrors and sat on sidelines.

    The real problem in not the territorial division it is the profound separation and division in the hearts and minds of the people a division that has festered and grown (particulary) the last 40 years. Inter group relations are at an alltime low

    There is effectively repartition on the ground -the protestant has withdrawn/been forced out of Derry, South Down and South Armagh and is consolidating in the North and East of N Ireland.

    For progress these negative influences have to be halted and reversed.

    How likely do you think that is?

  • lib2016

    barnshee,

    Alternatively, of course, the negative influences can and will continue until unionism realises that attempting to build an exclusive society based on the past is self defeating.

    Traditional ‘Holy Catholic Ireland’ is dead and gone because it couldn’t sustain its own lies and Pradistint Ulster will go the same way.

    If it tries to ‘consolidate’ that will merely hasten its own end because the best and brightest of their own community will continue to leave.

    There isn’t any alternative to powersharing and democracy as John Hume said thirty years ago and it’s still true. All unionists need to do is return to the Assembly but they are too busy chasing short term advantage to allow for that.

  • barnshee

    Repeats
    How would you stop it? who would stop it? The increased divisions are happening now

  • lib2016

    barnshee

    What we have here is a minor squabble between two closely related communities, one of them busily engaged in turning itself into a micro-community.

    Google a bit and look up Los Angeles gangs if you want to see some real problems, or gun crime statistics in Britain.

    Any idea that unionism is capable of mounting an armed uprising is laughable!

  • George

    Barnshee,
    I’d love to sit in a pub with you and a bunch of ordinance survey maps to see how far you’ve thought out this theory of yours.

    As horrible as it is to admit, I believe you are correct when you talk about ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia and what it “achieved” for countries like Croatia. It hasn’t worked for Bosnia which has its own Srbska and the whole lot was only “achieved” by mass murder.

    Also, apart from European incompetence, the main reason the world stood by was because it was a heavily militarised area, was within the Russian sphere of influence and was a huge tinderbox capable of ignited tensions in many countries around it.

    But let’s look at NI which is none of those.

    Unionists simply don’t have the military hardware that was lying around the former Yugoslavia. Or do you really believe the British Army will allow the unionist militias to storm their barracks to take weaponry?

    The home regiments are being disbanded as we speak so there won’t even be regiments to mutiny so where is the military might going to come from fight the British Army? Because that is who unionists will be fighting.

    And what will they be fighting for?

    An independent Protestant Srbska, full of war criminals and mass murderers despised by the rest of the world?

    Or do you think unionists can bomb and shoot their way back into the United Kingdom?

    Personally, I think it would be a lot harder to bomb your way in to the UK than out and the IRA had little joy with 3 decades of the latter.

  • Denny Boy

    Mainly because I’ve just got home, I’m going to warm up Seabhac’s initial post:

    “If the unionists had even the smallest bit of sense then they would have agreed the modest civil (human?) rights demands asked for back in 1968…agreeing these would have saved us all a lot of grief…but no, shoring up the sectarian state (and jobs for the boys) was more important at the time. And yes, it was a sectarian state, with the gerrymandered districts to show for it.
    What makes anyone think that they have more sense now.”

    I’ve wondered for a long time about how decent-minded unionists feel about this. How was it for you to live in such a sectarian state where your fellow citizens were treated as second class? Did you think: “Yeah, that’s OK. I have a job/house/prospects so I’m all right. Not my problem.”

    How do you feel about it now? Does it embarrass you to have lived through such repression without speaking out against it? Do you wish to confront it now, or deny it ever happened?

    I do know that many unionists persist in denying that ANYTHING was amiss in those dark days. And I ask myself: Will there be problems in NI until the unionist misdeeds of the past are faced up to?

  • Reader

    George: Any unionist out there who can outline what unionists can do to make Northern Ireland a place that Irish people would rather live in than an Irish Republic or at least be equally as happy to live in.

    You mean, for instance, returning to net migration from the Republic to Northern Ireland as happened until the 1960’s? Well, to be cynical about it, an improved economy should do it…

  • Reader

    Denny Boy:How do you feel about it now? Does it embarrass you to have lived through such repression without speaking out against it? Do you wish to confront it now, or deny it ever happened?

    I’m not really old enough to be complicit is things that happened in 1968, but I know a few older folks, and I think I can reproduce a few lines of thought from that era. Not neccessarily admirable, or heroic, but certainly human:

    1) “Well, tough. My boy is unemployed too”

    2) “Why should we give them the power to destroy the state?”

    3) “Unionist councils give jobs to unionists, nationalist councils give jobs to nationalists. That’s just the way it is.”

    4) “I live in Bangor, but I also pay rates on my shop in Ards – why shouldn’t I have a vote to choose the councillors who spend the rate money?”

    5) “He’s an old school mate of mine – why shouldn’t he give me the job?”

    6) “Sammy is on the planning committee. He’ll get the application through.”

    7) “Well, if you see Martin Luther King, tell him it’s themmuns want segregated schooling, not us.”

    So remember to old saying – “All politics is local”

  • D’Oracle

    About this River Bann scenario, what if it was say a drought summer and there was just a dried up river bed ; what price laagers then – landmines, maybe.

  • Denny Boy

    Thanks for the heads up, Reader. I know several expatriate white South Africans who lived through the black days (terrible pun) of apartheid. They’re unanimous in their condemnation of those policies.

    What’s more telling is that they bemoan what they call the “fucking up” of their country POST-apartheid, and regret that they didn’t “cop on” sooner.

  • IJP

    Henry makes some legitimate points about many within Unionism simply wanting to dominate rather than share.

    However, have Nationalists considered that every time a Unionist, or even just someone from the broader ‘Protestant-British’ population, steps out beyond the line they are met not only with alienation from their ‘own side’, but precious little thanks from the other.

    Consider the IFA’s extremely successful anti-sectarian drive since 2001. Yet I have not heard so much as a single Nationalist comment positively about it – instead we read Livingstone’s NI-bashing editorial, hear the same old rubbish about ‘oh it’s all sectarian’ from people who’ve never been near Windsor Park, and so on.

    So perhaps the reason so few of the ‘Protestant-British’ population bother is they get precious little back in return.

    To take George‘s points, even from my point of view:

    – Equal status for the Irish language in NI
    Presumably, because it would cost lots of money that could be spent on health and education for no real benefit.

    – Dual currency zone for NI making euro legal tender
    Because that’s an attack on UK sovereignty (which was the deal in 1998) – fiscal policy is set from London. Besides, it would cost £800m (the Women’s Coalition tried it in the Assembly) – would that not be better spent on health and education? What currency would government operate in? (Most places in Belfast accept euro anyway, btw.)

    – Joint policing and security service
    Likewise (security policy is a matter for London, that was the deal).

    – Joint health boards
    Likewise (it makes no sense to merge bodies implementing different policies – cross-border health infrastructure work is already ongoing).

    – Joint education system
    Likewise.

    – Military neutrality for NI except in cases where the UK itself is being attacked.
    Likewise (defence policy is set in London, that’s the deal).

    – Single tax zone to prevent smuggling and to ensure even investment
    Likewise (fiscal policy is set in London, that’s the deal).

    – Island income tax of say 1% paid at source to finance mutually beneficial projects
    Likewise (and you’re asking Unionist to pay for all-island work?!)

    – Joint infrastructure policy
    This already exists, particularly on rail matters.

    So basically the answer to your question, even from my point of view, is that we had a deal in 1998 and we should stick to it. That includes bits you don’t like, and includes bits I don’t like. But a deal’s a deal.

    Oh, and any Unionist proposing the above would get zero thanks from Nationalists and zero votes from Unionists… I should know! 🙂

  • Alex

    @George:– Equal status for the Irish language in NI
    – Dual currency zone for NI making euro legal tender
    – Joint policing and security service
    – Joint health boards
    – Joint education system
    – Military neutrality for NI except in cases where the UK itself is being attacked.
    – Single tax zone to prevent smuggling and to ensure even investment
    – Island income tax of say 1% paid at source to finance mutually beneficial projects
    – Joint infrastructure policy

    All very sensible, my Northern Irish Non-Fuckwit Party would probably build a manifesto round that. Nothing wrong with point 1 (although you might include keeping the absurd Ulster-Scots Board, which is otherwise a waste of money, for evenhandedness’s sake), point 2’s sensible enough and probably already happening in some places unofficially (and anyway the UK should join the €), point 3 would be harder to get across (although I wonder if some people wouldn’t prefer ROI representatives on the police authority to ones they perceive as IRA representatives), point 4 is obvious and fairly easy, point 5 is desperately important and wants doing NOW.

    Dunno what point 6 actually means, though. Would volunteers from NI in the Army be banned from combat unless Ulster was being invaded?

    Point 7 – again, fair enough, and probably good economics (although I would predict a rash of tax-evasion schemes setting up there).

    Point 8 – a bit like the idea of a Euro Tax, people aren’t likely to vote for the promise of another tax…

    Point 9 – sensible enough, not likely to change very much though.

  • The Beach Tree

    The problem, IJP, is that Unionists did not ‘stick to the deal’. The evidence of the last thirty years is that they never do.

    As far as I’m concerned 1998 was last chance saloon. Time to move on without them.

    “So perhaps the reason so few of the ‘Protestant-British’ population bother is they get precious little back in return.”

    The Protestant-British population historically never bothered to find out what sort of response they’d get. They behaved like outrageous bigots right fom the off. They didn’t need a reason.

    And as for the IFA as poof of Protestant-British changes of heart, what, 80 years of outrageous treatment, and one small football campaign later we’re supposed to go “that’s ok then, we’ll forget what bastards you were”?.

    IJP, were done being battered wives. And we’re not buying any excuse that ‘we didn’t give him enough affection!”. He was battering from before the wedding.

  • barnshee

    “The Protestant-British population historically never bothered to find out what sort of response they’d get. They behaved like outrageous bigots right fom the off. They didn’t need a reason”

    Hmm –defended themselves from 50,100,300 years (take your pick) of attack from people who refuse them the right to seceed from an Ireland they reject.

    and they are the bigots?

    Explain to me again why the protestant is refused his own state if they don`t want to join yours ?

  • The Beach Tree

    Barnshee

    Poor Post. But anyway here goes…

    “defended themselves from 50,100,300 years (take your pick) of attack from people who refuse them the right to seceed from an Ireland they reject.”

    Since Ireland has only been independent for around eight years, your last two figures are nonsense. PRior to about 1900 Unionism, though strongest in the north east fought Home Rule on an All-Irland basis, and Carson himself was distraught at partition. And two hundred years ago, Presbyterians in the NE were fighting FOR a united free ireland against the CoI dominated aristocracy.

    And if you really wanted partition, frankly you shouln’t have been so greedy and taken so many unwilling nationalists with you, but you had to have the most Ulster counties you could get (Craig wanted all nine until he was talked out of it).

    And it wasn’t the desire to secede that made them Bigots, Barnshee – it’s how they’ve acted ever since.

    Explain to me again why the protestant is refused his own state if they don`t want to join yours ?

    Because ‘the protestant’ as you put it so afrikaaner-like, is a member of a religious group, and religious groups do not have a right to self-determination – nor do political parties or their supporters for that matter – nations have that right, and until very very recently Ulster Protestant britishness made no serious attempt to define itself as a nation to which that right might accrue.

    If they did, they’d get 2/3 of antrim, north down, craigavon and a bit of the waterside. And they might be welcome to it and all.

    THe right to self-determination was not exercised by the nationalist nation in the 1920’s – it was exercised by the Irish nation, and it’s a key difference.

    The over lap was vast, to be sure, but the point remains, that simply as a political persuasion (unionism or nationalism), or religion(protestant or catholic), no ‘right’ to cede exists. If it did, half of south armagh, tyrone and Fermanagh would already be gone. Frankly, my dad as a mad socialist would cede all on his own.

    Your right to self determination accrues to the British nation AS A WHOLE, as the nation with which those people identify.

  • The Beach Tree

    Sorry, that of course should ready around eightY years.

  • The Beach Tree

    I wonder if the relative death of this thread compared to its corroloary means anything in particular.

    muses….

  • Alex

    If you look how sensible everyone was being on this one, you’ll see that comments follow the aggro.

  • barnshee

    “THe right to self-determination was not exercised by the nationalist nation in the 1920’s – it was exercised by the Irish nation, and it’s a key difference.”

    Yea and muslims in Yugoslavia had no right to separation “If self-determination was exercised by the unionist nation” in the 90`s would that be acceptable?

    There are just to many prods to coerce– this game is not worth the candle.

    The fact remains the northern prod regards himself as a separate ethnic group from the rest of the Island -he/she will not join voluntarily -if anything the last 40 years have confirmed his prejudices and alienated him even further from the idea of Irish Unity–

    The trick is to find some device that will allow all the negative aspects of working together to be overcome and get in J Humes words “an agreed Ireland”

    The GFA if operated and supported effectively by both sides was in with a chance. That chance has been lost for the moment at least.

  • The Beach Tree

    Barnshee

    Yea and muslims in Yugoslavia had no right to separation

    No, they don’t. ‘Bosniaks’ did. The same way serbian Orthadox christians didn’t, Serbians did, and the same way Roman Catholics didn’t, Croats did.

    Calling the Bosniaks, ‘Bosnian Muslim’ as an ethnic group was essentially sloppy journalism. You fell for it.

    If self-determination was exercised by the unionist nation” in the 90`s would that be acceptable?

    No – there’s no such thing as the unionist nation – a political persuasion does not make a nation – there’s no liberal democrat nation, no labour nation, no fianna fail nation – so there can be no unionist nation – and no right in that sense to unionist self-determination – the unionists of northern ireland fall broadly within the British Nation, that is how they identified themsleves, and mostly still do. And that is the correct group for self-determination purposes.

    There are just to many prods to coerce– this game is not worth the candle.

    So what, no matter how bigotted, murderous or evil your community acts to wards ours, we’ll just have to take it ‘cos ‘you have the numbers’? No thanks, we’ll take our chances.

    Glad to know the basis of your beliefs though.

    The GFA if operated and supported effectively by both sides was in with a chance. That chance has been lost for the moment at least.

    We tried three times in thirty years – three times in thirty years we accepted the status quo for the time being in exchange for a fair shake – which was a bigger sacrifice than your political community made – and unionists simply never were able to stomach it – time to move on, whatever the consequences.

  • jocky

    Barnshee, one of the few sensibly posts on this thread and its sister thread, both of which have been incredibley depressing. If not leas tfor the specifics points raised but fo rthe attitudes revealed.

    What is apparent is that the vocal majority on both sides are only interested in, somehow, magically, getting to their own promised land of milk and honey where all problems will sort themselves out. Not actually addressing the problems at hand.

    What it appears neither have considered is that they’ll never reach the promised land, your stuck with what you’ve got, you have the responsibilty to make it work for the good of everyone. Hell, you may even have to tolerate your neighbours.

    And the really dumb thing is the people who know this are the ones who got a kicking. The ones who are derided from all sides, on slugger anyway.

    The cruel irony of the GFA is that it has rewarded the etxremists, there is no mileage in being a moderate, of being reasonable, you get a kicking from both sides, it’s all about extracting the most from the process for your sides benefit, not actually ensuring the process works for everyones benefit.

    So pragmatic moderates are encouraged to join in the extremes cause they can deliver, want an example, look at m-c-t, former SDLP, now votes SF voter cause they “get results”. (Sorry for using you as an example m-c-t and I apologise if I’ve miss represented you but it’s the impression I get from your posts and your the first poster that came to mind cause I agree with you on the bush / newspaper thread).

    Was reading an article today on the census, biggest immigrant group to the UK is the Irish, I wouldn’t be surprised to find if Brits were biggest immigrants to Ireland, or thereabout. Brits like the Irish, the Irish like the Brits. Swapping constitutional arrangements wont magically solve Northern Irelands problem.

    A political and judicial process that has been manipulated and corrupted by the fear of violence so that it just doesn’t function properly. But no one is addressing that, they’re just worried about getting to their own promised land, why bother wasting time effort fixing up what you’ve got when you’ve a destination to go to?

  • barnshee

    Beach Tree

    “”defended themselves from 50,100,300 years (take your pick) of attack from people who refuse them the right to seceed from an Ireland they reject.”

    Since Ireland has only been independent for around eight years, your last two figures are nonsense”

    lets try a little Irish History I seem to remember 1648/8 when the prods gt rather badly treated, then there is the little matter of 1689/90 a siege somewhere Derry?? where prods held out. something about a glorious revolution (watch BBC TV for the details ) T
    then there was 1797/8 where the prods joined in only to be severely delt with in Wexford if my memory serves me right

    “50,100,300 years” anyone?

    Do try to keep up–try the odd Irish history book -not the ones that start in 1916.

    QED as my old maths teacher used to say

  • barnshee

    “No – there’s no such thing as the unionist nation”

    If the northern prod/unionist says hes a nation who are you to gainsay him/her

    In the words of Parnell “no one hads the right to set boundaries in the march of a nation” Its there in OConnell St

    Doney you just love it

  • The Beach Tree

    Barnshee

    I don’t gainsay it. The Montevideo Convention on the Right to self-Determination and the attendant international law and costom gainsays it.

    You fought the law. The law won.

    AS i’ve said before, the vast majority of northern protestants, according to the L&T surveys and the likes consider themselves British, not ‘Ulsterish’.

    It might have been otherwise, but it ain’t – and neither protestant, nor unionist makes up a national group – sorry, old bean.

  • Reader

    The Beach Tree: the vast majority of northern protestants, according to the L&T surveys and the likes consider themselves British, not ‘Ulsterish’.

    It might have been otherwise, but it ain’t – and neither protestant, nor unionist makes up a national group – sorry, old bean.

    Then it becomes a case of where to set the border between the British and Irish national groups, doesn’t it? The issue is two different national identities, and the usual solution is a border.

  • The Beach Tree

    Reader

    Absolutely

    and the settled will of both nations prior to the arming of the UVF in 1912 was that the Border would be the Irish Sea. Violence, and the threat of violence saw that go up in smoke.

    And therein lies the entire problem in a nutshell.

    Even today, if the UK AS A WHOLE were to exercise its right to self-determination there’s every chance according to polls that in the absence of the IRA the british people would elect to leave Ireland altogether.

    Now it wouldn’t make ulster brits any less british – the right to self-determnination has no effect on citizenship or nationality, which is a human right. But it would be montevideo compliant.

    Personally I’m glad we’ve all intelligently decided to take a different route. I’m not the extremist you think 😉 But unionist political circles have to start engaging constructively soon, because this siege mentality is wearing thin, when the vast majority of the violence is coming from their trenches.

    I want a UI – not least because in the long run it’ll be good for the British population here, as well as the irish one. The Anglo-Irish have always had a vital place in Irish life, and I’m sure the british irish, or scots irish or whatever would continue that.

    I appreciate that unionist disagree, as their entitled to. and while they hold the majority here, we’ll stay in the UK and I’ll accept that. But come 50%+1, however unlikely, I expect the same respect. i fear I won’t get it.

    My fear is that the general unionist body politic is not doing what john hume did – getting their hands dirty to stop the violence. And we’ll eventually have large numbers of dead enders who insist on a ‘civil war’.

    Now I would hate that, it would be awful. But I cannot say that nationalists would accept any settlement, no matter how biased or undemocratic, to avoid it.