Nationalists need to learn that no means no…

Dick Geary responds in today’s Irish Times to several respondents to his original letter calling on Nationalists to lift the siege on Unionists. This time he takes the tack that Nationalists have a very prejudicial view of what the consent principle means:

While agreeing with my general thesis, Dermot Meleady (October 3rd) still hankers after a “united Ireland” based on genuine consent. Few could argue with this, except that we nationalists don’t seem to know the meaning of the word “consent”. Usually it means the unconditional right to say Yes or No. Nationalists simply don’t accept unionists’ unconditional right to say No to a “united Ireland”.

Whether you’re after consensual sex or “united Ireland” the dynamics are much the same. If the other party says no and you persist in banging on about it, it then becomes harassment and the other party gets more and more alienated, angry and infuriated. In fact the more you bang on about it the more certainty there is that it will never happen. If you use or threaten to use force to get your way, then you are into a whole new rape game.

  • TAFKABO

    Whether you’re after consensual sex or “united Ireland” the dynamics are much the same.

    And the punchlines just write themselves.Leaving aside the obvious question about who is liable to end up getting screwed, I think there is a fundamental truth revelaed here, that needs to be explored.
    Anytime I hear nationalist talk about living in peace with Unionists, it is always on the basis of unionists keeping their heads down and doing what they are told.
    nationalist ireland has still to come to terms with the very existance of Unionists, and until it stops seeing them as supremacist bigots.Ferfuxsake, Jude Collins is writing articles claiming that even the prods in the civil rights movement left because they couldn’t stand the idea of catholics enjoying equality, and if that’s what people think of prods who marched for civil rights, what do they think of all the others?

    It worries me that nationalist don’t even try to persuade Unionists that a united Ireland is in there best interests.The only argument I ever seem to hear is the argument that I should vote for a united ireland, becuase then I can be comfortable knowing that people like me will never excercise power over the majority.

    Am I correct in thinking that for most Nationalist a united Ireland is definately going to happen, whether a majority in the six counties vote for it or not?

  • Setanta

    Groan – the excuses dreamed up by neo-Unionists in the Republic get ever more threadbare. Now re-unification is being compared to rape. As a Labour Party member in the Republic am I guilty of harrassment by continuing to plough a lonely social-democratic furrow in Ireland. Of course not. What some Unionists fear is real political competition on fundamental political issues.

    I would make absolutely no apology for campaigning for social justice, economic security, internationalism and the re-unification of the people of this island. If that p+sses some people off, then tough – but that’s how democracy works!

  • Setanta

    Groan – the excuses dreamed up by neo-Unionists in the Republic get ever more threadbare. Now re-unification is being compared to rape. As a Labour Party member in the Republic am I guilty of harrassment by continuing to plough a lonely social-democratic furrow in Ireland. Of course not. What some Unionists fear is real political competition on fundamental political issues.

    I would make absolutely no apology for campaigning for social justice, economic security, internationalism and the re-unification of the people of this island. If that p+sses some people off, then tough – but that’s how democracy works!

  • Brian Boru

    Dick Geary seems to be saying that Northern Unionists need to have a veto on a UI even if a majority in NI vote for it. I cannot accept this. A majority on both sides was not there in favour of partition in 1920 but it happened anyway.

    If a majority in NI and the South each say that they want a UI then under the GFA it happens. It’s called democracy and Mr.Geary, I will never accept the notion that a Catholic vote is inferior to a Protestant one.

  • Brian Boru

    Having said that, I am perfectly willing to grant autonomy to Unionist areas in NI, although I would like a change in the border of the autonomous area to something that approximates West of Bann-East of Bann line.

  • thank you

    How very kind.

  • Henry94

    Nationalists simply don’t accept unionists’ unconditional right to say No to a “united Ireland”.

    Well it’s not unconditional. If they are outvoted on the issue then there will be a united Ireland. That’s the deal. If there is a way of measuring consent other than that let’s apply it to nationalist consent to the union.

    You can’t have rights for yourself you are unwilling to extend to others.

  • Brian Boru

    A lot kinder than what the Northern Catholics got from the Unionist regime in 1920-72.

  • foreign correspondent

    You know, Unionists really must stop preaching about the virtues of the union with Britain to nationalists. When will they understand that no to the union means no to the union? Why don´t they just accept the inevitable process of reunification and get stuck into creating the new Ireland?

    Now, does that argument get under the skin of Unionist readers? Well it´s just the mirror-image of this and other similar ´stop annoying us by continuing to believe in an United Ireland as a viable option´ type approaches. Not good enough, must try harder…

  • smcgiff

    How can there be a unionist majority in favour of a UI? There can’t even be a single unionist vote for a UI, because – say it with me – that would make them a nationalist.

    What he of course means is a majority of Protestants. Not necessary in my opinion, as a majority of Catholics doesn’t seem to enter the constitutional equation at the moment. If it were then Joint Authority would be in place.

    As for Tafkabo’s question, then no. NI will not be subsumed into a UI against the wishes of the majority.

    However, part of NI shouldn’t cede to the ROI on the basis that West of the Bahn has a majority in favour of ceding. That’s a recipe for disaster.

  • slug

    “What he of course means is a majority of Protestants”

    I think people sometimes mean “NI consent” when they say “unionist consent”. Sloppy I know but thats what they often mean. A couple of yuears ago G. Adams in the US “acknowledged” the need for “unionist consent” and I think he basically meant NI consent (didn’t stop the SDLP jumping on it).

  • spirit-level

    In truth there is a “Never , Never , Never” attitude amongst nationalists to the idea of the continued existence of the union.
    Its what keeps em going.; same as the DUP lot.
    Without that they’d crack up;
    and norn iron would be full of depressive neurotics…
    { ed.. errm .. haven’t we got that already? }

  • BogExile

    Of course you are going to need unionist ‘consent’ for a united Ireland which has a viable future. Don’t you people ever learn from the past! Imposing a settlement on a disenfranchised and alienated section of the population simply recreates a mirror image of what has gone before. Any non-triumphalist constituational nationalists left in the house, be careful what you wish for. You might see a supreme irony admittedly in a Unionist saying, ‘all right then, persuade me.’ But that’s the reality if you want Eire Nua without the apocalypse themepark this side of the 22nd century.

  • George

    “Imposing a settlement on a disenfranchised and alienated section of the population simply recreates a mirror image of what has gone before.”

    So the solution is to say this settlement, which has led to even greater alienation and disenfranchisement, will remain forever? Not very smart in my view.

    “Any non-triumphalist constituational nationalists left in the house, be careful what you wish for. You might see a supreme irony admittedly in a Unionist saying, ‘all right then, persuade me.’ But that’s the reality if you want Eire Nua without the apocalypse themepark this side of the 22nd century.”

    This sounds yet again like “unless unionists say yes, we will start killin you all” unionist argument.

    If a majority, north and south, want unification then it will happen. That is what constitutional politics is about.

    That’s the deal, agreed by the people of Ireland.

    Or should we ignore the majority if they want unificiation? What sort of apocolyptic themepark would that create?

    I suppose unionists will tell me “not as apocolyptic a one as the one we would create”.

    A zero sum violence race to the bottom is all unionism has to offer to fend off the democratic will of the people of Ireland?

    Is that what 80 years of Northern Ireland has come down to?

    How about having confidence in convincing the people of Northern Ireland of the merits of the union instead of threatening the island with some kind of unionist armageddon?

  • smcgiff

    Bogexile,

    ‘all right then, persuade me.’

    Apart from the unionist population having an emotional/cultural attachment to GB then I can’t think of any other rational reason for the existence of the present union.

    Very few in GB would disagree.

    NI is a mis-firing economy that would wed very well with the employee hungry high-tech republic. At the moment it’s engaged to a partner that’s not only jilted it at the altar, but has been searching for the divorce papers for decades.

  • BogExile

    ‘So the solution is to say this settlement, which has led to even greater alienation and disenfranchisement, will remain forever? Not very smart in my view. ‘

    I never said (and you know it) that the status quo is necessarily a solution. However it’s the reality we operate within. Unionists don’t need persuading to be British – they are British. They need to be convinced that their Britishness can be accommodated within a new relationship within Ireland.

    At the minute, republicans are standing by while unionism destroys itself. This is the equivalent of people calmly watching the house they are going to move into burn down in front of them.

    Sinn Fein at heart still have a ‘one settler one bullet’ mentality. This ought to terrify constitutional Nationalists who will understand that in order to make an agreed Ireland work, they need to engage with a large majority of unionists who are probably looking for a settlement so long as it is just.

    I don’t think it is apocalyptic to envisage an imposed unity settlement which cuts adrift a very sizeable, angry and completely disaffected North Eastern population. ‘No one likes us we don’t care’ is not a prescription for peace as you can see from the terraces of Millwall FC.

  • Brian Boru

    “Of course you are going to need unionist ‘consent’ for a united Ireland which has a viable future.”

    No. If a majority in NI vote for a UI, then it happens. At the same time, there will be a major difference between what was imposed on the Northern Nationalists in 1920 and what Northern Unionists would get – namely that we will not treat them in the miserable way their leaders treated the Catholics during 1920-72, when Craig was talking about a “Protestant parliament for a Protestant people” and when Brookeborough was telling Loyalists “not to employ Roman Catholics 95% of whom are disloyal”.

    Instead, Nationalists and former Unionists would be equal before the law. And they would have more of a say in a UI anyway, as they would be 20% of the population instead of 2%, making them a powerful bloc in the Dail, which is elected by PR-STV.

  • TAFKABO

    Brian.

    Don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t believe you.
    If you are willing to deny people the right to live in parts of Ireland, in order to preserve what you see as the cultural purity, then what is to stop you and others denying unionists proper representaion in government, in order to preserve ideological purity?

    You can’t keep making the argument that Unionists are unfit to hold power and also try to convince me that I’d be part of a powerful unionist voting bloc in a united Ireland.

    There’s a fundamental contradiction in these two statements.

  • BogExile

    To use the analogy which started this thread:

    That’s the equivalent of saying I’m still going to shag you whether you like it or not but the beds more comnfy that when you were on top!

    We’re still keeping our legs crossed 🙂

  • smcgiff

    Bogexile,

    ‘However it’s the reality we operate within. Unionists don’t need persuading to be British – they are British.’

    In a UI you’ll see the all-Ireland government* fall all over the unionist community in a way that made the most unionist friendly Tory government look like Scrooge before he was visited by Jacob Marley. This will be because of fears of loyalist disaffection and by a genuine attempt at reconciliation. This may cause upset amongst northern nationalists to the point of disturbances.

    *Almost certainly to be made up of former UUP/DUP politicians. If not by design, then by natural alignment.

    Also, I can’t see a UI where the UK has no say. It’ll likely have a stronger say in Irish affairs than the ROI government currently has through the Good Friday agreement. And no toleration of bias against Protestants will be allowed.

    It’ll be a brave new world. At the very least, it wont be boring. And yes, the Chinese proverb comes to mind!!!

  • Henry94

    BogExile

    There are two elements to this question. If nationalists win the referendum then a united Ireland will happen and consent as defined in the Agreement has been acheived.

    Of course that will only be the start of the process. We will need to agree a constitution for the new state that will replace both existing states on the island.

    We should certainly not think in terms of the extention of the existing southern state into the north.

    All our consent will be required. A nationalist from West Belfast and a loyalist from East Belfast might have more in common with each other in their priorities for the negotiations than either would imagine now.

  • beano

    “Instead, Nationalists and former Unionists would be equal before the law. And they would have more of a say in a UI anyway, as they would be 20% of the population instead of 2%, making them a powerful bloc in the Dail, which is elected by PR-STV.”

    An old and completely flawed argument. They would have ~ 50% say in an Independent Ulster/Northern Ireland.

  • Brian Boru

    “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t believe you.
    If you are willing to deny people the right to live in parts of Ireland, in order to preserve what you see as the cultural purity, then what is to stop you and others denying unionists proper representaion in government, in order to preserve ideological purity?”

    My stance also denies me the right to live in these parts of Ireland. As such, it denies something equally to most Nationalists and Unionists. I would equally understand if similar measures were suggested to preserve Ulster-Scots for example.

    “You can’t keep making the argument that Unionists are unfit to hold power and also try to convince me that I’d be part of a powerful unionist voting bloc in a united Ireland. “

    I didn’t say Unionists were unfit to hold power. However, their record in the majority-rule period was not exactly admirable in terms of reaching out to the minority community. It was confrontational and oppressive. Unlike the way the South treats its Protestants, who have reached high positions in our governments. I think you would be hard-pressed to find Southern Protestants who consider the Southern system to have oppressed them.

    Because Southern governments are almost always Coalitions, Unionists would gain experience of powersharing and this would prevent domination by any side. So the context is different from the 1920-72 period I referred to which was majoritarian and one-sided.

  • smcgiff

    Beano,

    That’d be the worst outcome of all. NI has had a tradition of being subsidised for too long to go it alone. How would you support the existing public service? Would you make 50% of them redundant?

  • Brian Boru

    “An old and completely flawed argument. They would have ~ 50% say in an Independent Ulster/Northern Ireland.”

    Beano, that is based on an apparent assumption that the 2 traditions would agree on a model for governing NI that would not be majoritarian i.e. would not simply be one side ruling the other. There is not certainty at all of this, especially considering that Catholics would probably continue voting for SF and the Protestant politicians reticence about entering government with them.

  • BogExile

    Smigiff:

    You make some useful economic arguments and then you fall into the abyss.

    The identity question isn’t solved by reminding unionists that the Union is a cold house. This is because people don’t think about identity rationally, particularly when this identity is threatened – this explains to a large extent why our GB friends find us inexplicable – national identity is a given.

    Ireland, just like its larger island to the right does not and never will have a homogeneous identity whatever the proto-fascists in Connolly house might like to think.

    If a solution could be found which would reconcile the identities of the peoples in the island of Ireland in such a way (i.e. less of the cynical pro-republican appeasment please)that mainstream unionism begins to feel secure again, it’s almost inevitable that after a period of stability and prosperity and a wee bit of population dynamic things might be different.

    This needs to start within NI now with a mature and totally unambiguous endorsement of the current institutions by Nationalists. If Unionists don’t perceive themselves to be on the slide, the long term gains for constitutional nationalists may be very great.

  • Glensman

    What a typically pompous and false letter contributed by ‘Dick’. Just to briefly outline the lies in the letter, the ’16 rising and the war of independence were not an attempt to coerce Unionists into a United Ireland they were an attempt to expell British forces from Ireland. And i for one would rather work under the flawed consent principle than trying to re-draw the border… This would be quite impossible and wouldn’t satisfy either side.
    How does Dick suggest we deal with the Nationalists of the Glens or the Unionists of the fountain, this piece is a typical example of a Dubliner looking up and going on a rant, it did no warrant a post on Slugger at all!

  • smcgiff

    Bogexile,

    ‘This is because people don’t think about identity rationally, particularly when this identity is threatened’

    I agree completely, but it doesn’t get away from the fact that NI and ROI could synergise in a way that the rest of GB doesn’t need NI. This may be blunt, and too simplistic, but it exists none the less.

    Nationalists are never going to win the ‘ being Irish is better than British’ argument. It’s not true for a start (Michael Flatley proved that with Lord of the Dance). So, we have to stick to the boring cold hard facts.

    However, if I WERE to appeal to your more basic instincts, then there’s no surer way to defeat SF than to open up the entire island politically. They’d lose their raison d’etre that exists in the north and be exposed completely to the failure of their economics. Who do you think FF/FG would go into government with first, SF or the former UUP/DUP parties?

    ‘This needs to start within NI now with a mature and totally unambiguous endorsement of the current institutions by Nationalists.’

    Couldn’t agree with you more!

  • slug

    Glensman

    “it did no warrant a post on Slugger at all”

    I second that!

  • Alan

    Such lame reasoning from the two tribes of discord and misery. Any solution that either side might suggest would be similar to Solomon having to cut the child in two because neither side wants the other to get anything. Unfortunately, Solomon doesn’t exist, so the whole thing limps on like a wounded cow into the future.

    There’s a much larger world out there that we’re missing. Perhaps working class protestants have just woken up to the fact that their nationalism has done nothing for them. Perhaps working class catholics will wake up to a similar realisation about their own nationalism.

    Nationalism ( and I have to keep saying that I mean both sides ) benefits no-one because it demands division. The smaller the divisions the more meaningless the politics become and the more people have to be fed into the mincer to keep the horror alive.

  • George

    Boxexile,
    “They need to be convinced that their Britishness can be accommodated within a new relationship within Ireland.”

    Britishness can be accommodated but not loyalism.

    What if some Protestants are convinced, enough to make a majority want a UI, but not the majority of NI Protestants? What do we do then? Ignore the majority?

    “At the minute, republicans are standing by while unionism destroys itself. This is the equivalent of people calmly watching the house they are going to move into burn down in front of them.”

    Republicans aren’t responsible for the condition the unionist ideology finds itself in, unionists are.

    Do honestly believe those on this island who see the border as madness and who are now witnessing the logical result of this mad partition should lift a finger to prolong it?

    I think not. Only unionists can shore up their community and only unionists can show the leadership necessary. The border is their dream.

    “Sinn Fein at heart still have a ‘one settler one bullet’ mentality. This ought to terrify constitutional Nationalists who will understand that in order to make an agreed Ireland work, they need to engage with a large majority of unionists who are probably looking for a settlement so long as it is just.”

    Sinn Fein make up 5 out of 166 seats in the Irish Republic. Why don’t unionists talk to the rest of us on this island then? They are ignoring the Irish majority. All we ever hear are veiled threats of bombs in Dublin and mayhem.

    More people on this island are afraid of unionists going loco and taking off on a killing spree but it’s always the unionists who need reassuring.

    “I don’t think it is apocalyptic to envisage an imposed unity settlement which cuts adrift a very sizeable, angry and completely disaffected North Eastern population. ‘No one likes us we don’t care’ is not a prescription for peace as you can see from the terraces of Millwall FC.”

    This attitude among NI Protestants has to be tackled by unionism just like the “Kill all Irish” one has to be.

    Even after all the changes in the Irish Republic, the leader of the unionist people still refuses to shake the hand of the leader of the Irish people.

    What type of agreed Ireland are unionists looking for? It obviously doesn’t seem to involve the Irish people.

    If we had a one settler one bullet mentality in Dublin we’d be shooting ourselves.

    Unionism doesn’t care about the Irish and wishes they would simply go away. They won’t so unionism has to face this reality and not hope that the rest of us will bend over backwards for their benefit.

    Why should we? From where I am standing and looking at what unionists are saying, it’s hardly a progressive move to encourage unionist attitudes.

    It’s more progressive to talk facts. Unionism needs to change for its own good.

  • John East Belfast

    At the minute nationalism is based on the view that some day there will be more voting Catholics than Protestants. To be fair though Unionists believe that it will ultimately level off and there will always be a proportionately greater number of status quo preferring catholics than nationalist leaning prods.

    ie both or playing the religious numbers game and foolishly neither see the need to woo or seduce the ‘other side’.

    If each did it would lead to a more healthy society in general and a more peaceful transition to a UI or consolidation of the Union.

    Neither nationalism nor unionism have either the message or the people to make friends with and convert enemies.

    I am speaking as a unionist who quite frankly can’t see any attraction in the people to whom I am supposed to be united with

  • Henry94

    JEB

    I am speaking as a unionist who quite frankly can’t see any attraction in the people to whom I am supposed to be united with

    So you have no strategy for a united Northern Ireland then. No unionist does from what I can see.

  • smcgiff

    ‘I am speaking as a unionist who quite frankly can’t see any attraction in the people to whom I am supposed to be united with’

    Would you like to rephrase that, John?

    http://www.google.ie/search?hl=en&q=keira+knightly&meta=

  • BogExile

    I’m glad i’ve been able to do my bit for the debate. see you all at the ACPO Youth Justice conference in Belfast on Thursday. You are all securocrats, really, aren’t you??

  • Fishfiss

    But it’s not that complicated; in return for respecting Unionists right to say no to a UI Unionists have to sign up to equality for non-Unionists and their identity within the UK – in so doing and supporting this over time they will lessen any existing (and probably highly exaggerated) consensus in favour of a UI anyway, north or south. Why do unionists keep shooting themselves in the foot on this issue ?

  • Mark Simpson

    Am I the only person to think a united Ireland would change virtually nothing? Is it unreasonable to expect that we would still have an Assembly or a Northern Ireland Office ‘temporarily’ running the show in the absence of an Assembly? OK, it would now be a Dublin-based NIO, but since Mandelson is the only Secretary of State I can remember who was not accused of being a closet (or open) nationalist by unionists, will that make any difference? Our local politicians can still have their illusions of power while all the decisions are made above their heads, we will still get loads of money to stop us whingeing as people who wanted a united Ireland start pumping in the dollars and Euros to make sure it doesn’t all go wrong. Whatever happens in the end, after over a century of partition there will have to be something to recognise that the North is different, at least for a transitional period (and an extended one at that). Meanwhile, the East-West elements of the Agreement will presumably be given a higher profile to appease unionists. Ultimately, it should serve to bring the UK and Ireland closer together and lead to a greater recognition of both the diversity of the islands and our shared history – a principle much of the rest of Europe seems to have had less trouble getting its head around.

  • DK

    With all this talk about persuasion for UI, has anyone else noticed that the GFA appears to have acted as a persuader for NI-UK as exists. Essentially, the arguement is – you Nationalists will prefer partition if we give you access to the cops and government and a few cross-border thingies, like lighthouses. Seems bizarre that the DUP did not see the victory for what it was then & that victory is even more complete with the phasing-out of the IRA that is going on at the moment!

  • PaddyReilly

    Very interesting. What can Nationalists offer Unionists as an inducement to join a United Ireland? Obviously nothing. The fact of their being Unionists means this is the reverse of what they want. But to ex-Unionists, there is the option of respect of your status as an Irish Protestant.

    I can only remark that when the Russians took over East Germany in 1945, there were no Nazis left there. When the Wall came down, there were no Communists. Hopefully some similar process will take place in NI. When the gravy train no longer has any gravy, why would anyone want to belong to it? Defections will take place, immediately the border is removed.

    It is a time for self-reinvention. Start looking at your family tree and remember that your sister married a Papish, or your aunt, or something. Grit your teeth and put a good face on it when your son does the same. Discover a descent from a United Irishman. Remember the time you helped a Catholic. Remember the time you clashed with an Orangeman. Start portraying yourself as the victim of the Unionist Regime, not its beneficiary. That’s how it worked in Germany/South Africa, etc.

    There was a good deal of self-reappraisal in 1660 in England, too, when King Charles replaced the Commonwealth. The Quakers, who by all accounts had been in the forefront of the revolution, discovered that they were Quietists and Pacifists.

    The late Brian Faulkner went to school in the Republic, he went to University in the Republic, and took his holidays in Spain. Though he no doubt informed the voters that he could never live under a Catholic Govt, this was all baloney. And of course, when pressured by the British Govt, he reinvented himself as a moderate.

  • George

    DK,
    is there really such a large constituency that wants NI-UK to continue as it currently exists?

    That is a most depressing thought.

    Also, you seem to equate the defeat of militant Irish republicanism with victory for partition.

    I would argue that partition is in greater danger now as the “emergency” is over and the people now want delivery of services etc rather than “victory”.

    Can the DUP deliver this for the people of Northern Ireland?

    Does it have the policies to plug the 7-billion-pound infrastructure deficit, to administer the necessary public sector changes etc.

    If not then unionism will be the emperor with no clothes and it won’t matter how many lighthouses it lets the nationalists run.

  • DK

    George,

    Where did you get a budget deficit of £7bn?
    Anyway – it’s currently paid for by London. Will Dublin happily pick up the tab…. and we wonder why they were so happy to drop the clauses for reunification in their constitution!

  • UlsterDub

    A quick comment on Brian Boru’s assertion “I think you would be hard-pressed to find Southern Protestants who consider the Southern system to have oppressed them”. I’m afraid this is the case in some quarters and that the option of keeping ones head down was how Southern Protestants avoided conflict with the state. But the special status of the RC church in the 1937 (I’m open to correction here) and the various forms of interference from the RC church in Southern Government legislation is proof surely of indirect oppression?
    Indeed we have the glorious episode of the first president’s funeral being shunned whilst the Government cabinet stayed outside in their cars.
    It may not have been direct oppression but Southern Protestants were very well aware of their status in the Free State and then Republic.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Where did you get a budget deficit of £7bn?’

    Did you enjoy your holiday abroad, DK? 😉

  • George

    DK,
    I was talking about the infrastructure deficit, not the budget one.

    Goodbody Stockbrokers figure 23 billion is needed in the next 10 years for NI infrastructure but only 16 billion is available. It was blogged on Slugger last month.

    http://www.sluggerotoole.com/archives/2005/09/7_billion_defic.php

    Dublin wouldn’t pick up the tab, it would probably make Peter Robinson minister for finance for the region and give him a free rein to get the place in order in double quick time.

    What about the points raised in the post on partition and the DUP?

  • DK

    The UK Budget deficit is approx. £50bn (I think – very open to corretion here). Do we really make up 14% of the total UK budget deficit? Incorporating NI would certainly put a UI over the EU 2% budget defict limit!

  • beano

    “How would you support the existing public service? Would you make 50% of them redundant? “

    Sounds like a good start really.

    BB I accept what you say about the independence option but I’m just pointing out that the % of seats you hold in parliament isn’t the be all and end all. Unionists could probably control 80% of the seats if it was only counties Antrim and Down. Basically if you want to get into percentages and control then there are better potential options than an all-Ireland state – though I’m not saying I’d advocate many of them.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Sounds like a good start really.’

    You haven’t quite figured out this politics thing yet, have you, Beano?

  • John East Belfast

    Henry 94, smcgiff

    Where I am coming from is that if you base on Opinion Poles that 90% plus of Prods will vote for the Union and about 25% of Catholics would probably vote for the status quo then in a wooing scenario nationalsim will probably come out on top.

    ie it is going to be very difficult for unionists to expand the 25% but nationalists could chip away at the Prod allegiance.

    Unionists are doing a terrible job at reaching out to and consolidating a Catholic vote and what I am saying is quite frankly Nationalists are doing an awful job at recahing out to me.

    This is what Geary is intimating in his letter.

    eg the animosity displayed to the Northern Irish Football team and its supporters, the attitude to Orangeism, the attitude to British symbolism. The gloating that goes on about the performance of the NI economy.

    I am not one for MOPERY but this sniping and antagonism builds a resentment in Unionists and turns them off a United Ireland. Basically I have no real desire to be united with people who have spent their life taking pot shots at me and what I hold dear

    I think McDowell & Trevor Ringland have both said it lately that if Nationalists want to charm unionists then they are going to have to take the risk and become model citisens of NI – if they do that then their arguments for change could be better respected.

    It would also make for a much better society.

  • curious

    I find it incredibly frustrating that it is nationalists who are forever being called upon to forego their legitimate aspirations for the sake of the peace! The GFA recognised the pursuit of a united Ireland through purely peaceful means through the principle of the consent of the majority of NI. Fair enough. It should never have been pursued through any other method. But the fact remains that Unionism is not doing itself any favours by failing to reach out to those in the nationalist community who may be pursuaded of the benefits of remaining in the Union. As a young middle class Catholic I am open to persuasion on the constitutional issue. However, unionism as a political ideology is, by its leaders, linked inextricably to those of a Protestant, Orange and British background. I have no issues with the Orange parades – probably because I don’t have to live anywhere near where they march, admittedly – however some people do legitimately view them as triumphalist and fundamentally anti- Catholic, yet unionist leaders refuse to address this, brand them as Provo antagonisers and this only serve to instill in my mind that they still view NI as a protestant state for a protestant people. In the aftermath of the violence across Belfast recently, Unionist leaders again equated unionism with Protestantism by defending these morons and attempting to legitimise what was nothing more than wanton and naked violence as being somehow indicative that protestants weren’t deriving any benefit from the peace process. Unless and until unionism ceases to equate itself with a protestant and orange ethos, it will be very difficult for many Catholics to embrace the Union.

  • John East Belfast

    curious

    “I find it incredibly frustrating that it is nationalists who are forever being called upon to forego their legitimate aspirations for the sake of the peace!”

    How do you draw this conclusion from Geary’s letter or anything written on this thread ?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    JEB

    “Unionists are doing a terrible job at reaching out to and consolidating a Catholic vote and what I am saying is quite frankly Nationalists are doing an awful job at reaching out to me.”

    I see what you’re saying John but I think you are missing the bigger picture. In fact I think that unionism generally is missing the bigger picture. Northern nationalists make up a smallish percentage of the population of Ireland. The largest bloc of people on this island is represented by the Taoiseach and the Irish government. I think it’s fair to say that the Republic has done much to reach out to Ulster’s Protestants over the last number of years. I think it would be fair to say that the old hatred of Dublin among Ulster Protestants has all but dissipated? Would you agree?

    So I suppose what I’m suggesting to you is that, in the long run it’s irrelevant whether northern nationalist leaders reach out to Ulster’s Protestants. If Ulster’s Protestants were playing the smart game they’d be looking for a mutual reaching out with Irish people further south. In a sense, today’s unionists might look at political reunification as an opportunity to circumvent some face-losing reconciliation with their erstwhile enemies, the northern nationalist neighbours.

    Let’s be honest, there is no appetite among unionists for a big kiss and make up session with themmuns. The way around that scenario is for Ulster’s Protestants to make new friendships down south. In a future unified Ireland it’s reasonable to envisage a clear political fault line with former unionists joining FG and the PDs at the forefront of a right-leaning conservative, anti-nationalist tradition. Across the aisle one can envisage a left-posturing republican opposition. In a UK context the MP for East Belfast is an obscure backbencher who, in his 26 years of tenure has presided over a decline he has been powerless to arrest. Because of his powerlessness the decline appears to be inexorable, but it isn’t. In the scenario I have posited above, Peter Robinson would be a likely Minister for Finance in a government headed up by Enda Kenny, with McDowell in Justice, Dodds in health and Trimble in the Phoenix Park.
    So you see, reunification offers a meaningful future for those who’ll come after you in east Belfast, John. Forget about northern nationalists. We’ll start trying to make our new political project work, then leave it to our children and grandchildren to let sectarianism quietly fade away.

  • Amy

    I’m very troubled by the comparison Geary makes for two reasons, and frankly I’m surprised that no one on this thread has yet expressed any concern over Geary’s irresponsible allusion to rape.

    First of all, the crime of rape is one of the most brutal, traumatic and violent experiences any person could be unfortunate enough to go through. I cannot see how it can be legitimately compared to something as relatively harmless as political advocacy and debate. We’re not talking about militant activism here, after all – we’re talking about people speaking in public forums about their aspirations for the future. I think it is offensive to trivialise the experience of rape by comparing it to something so obviously different.

    Secondly, I think it’s very troubling to compare political speech to a violent crime, because this has the potential to silence those who wish to speak their mind but are fearful of being called criminals for doing so. We are meant, surely, to be moving closer and closer to a society which enables all citizens to express their political views in a peaceful manner in the public forum. If other people disagree with their assertions, then they can engage them in debate, which will hopefully be productive. There is a massive difference between advocating a united Ireland and forcing unwilling unionists into a united Ireland, and it is fatuous of Geary to suggest that mere public advocacy of a political cause has the potential to miraculously create significant constitutional change. As far as I can see, it has become clear in recent years that constitutional change will never be achieved except through legally defined constitutional methods, legitimated by democratic vote.

  • IJP

    Excuse me ‘doing a Mick’ here, but again, has anyone actually addressed the question being asked?

    My reading of the article’s suggestion is this: if people are serious about a United Ireland, stop banging on about it for 20 years. Stop the silly nonsense about ‘representation in the Dáil’ when there’s actually no purpose to it, stop daft parades in Dublin City Centre that do nothing except annoy Dubliners, and stop pretending a ‘United Ireland’ is going to happen by 2008.

    Instead: make NI work, show ‘Unionists’ good faith, and maybe 20-25 years down the line you’ll have a much easier task of persuading them to consider constitutional alternatives.

    The question is what do people think about that?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    JEB

    Just wanted to comment further on your excellent post John.

    This is difficult territory for the pro-unity crowd. Please, bear with me as I ask this question.

    I am pro-unity, you are pro-union, but I want to make common cause with you, I want to reach out and have a respectful exchange of views, but my question is a difficult one, so please take it in the spirit it’s intended.

    I would suggest that now, history’s verdict is clear: the path chosen by Carson and Craig, however reasonable it seemed then, has proven to be the wrong one. It has not benefited the people it was supposed to benefit – the Protestants of Ulster. For them, there has been neither peace nor security, neither prosperity nor a meaningful role in British life. It could not have been foreseen, but partition has been the worst thing that ever happened to the Protestants of Ulster.

    How can a well-intentioned nationalist make that point without building the resentment within unionists that you speak of?

  • slug

    Billy I am not John but if I can just say that its really for you to work that one out. Being patronising, for example, is a total turn off.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Slug

    Which part was patronising?

  • slug

    It wasn’t. But you were asking *how* you should make the point.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Slug

    Yeah? What’s wrong with that?

    It was a serious question, and I know it’s a very tricky one to ask and I don’t want to just get his back up.

    (Incidentally, I’d be interested to hear your answer, or indeed any unionist’s.)

    Basically I think that thesis is the correct one. I could pretend otherwise but then I’d just be bullshitting. The tricky thing is that Ulster Protestants aren’t the kind who respect a bullshitter.

    So I reckon that the only way to change an Ulster Protestant’s mind is to tackle him openly, honestly, full-steam and head-on.

    But how do you do that without just being antagonising? To use a sporting metaphor, nationalism should be trying to encourage a good, full-blooded sporting contest, because nationalism can win it, but in such a way that everyone wins. But if it degenerates into a brawl then even if nationalism wins, it loses.

    I don’t mean to be patronising, but how the hell do you walk that tightrope?

  • southern observer

    I have long held the view that Ulster Protestants’ best (possibly only) long term strategy is to outflank/undermine SF/IRA by entering into a communion of sorts with democratic elements in the south.

  • TAFKABO

    but partition has been the worst thing that ever happened to the Protestants of Ulster.

    You may think this, but from my perspective, the drastic reduction in the numbers of protestants in the 26 counties since partion only serves to prove that flawed as it is, it’s still better than the alternative.

    But hey, if you want to explain how things would ave worked out, without wholesale slaughter of protestants if there had been a 32 county irish republic, I’m more than willing to listen.

    and before you point out that there wasn’t exactly wholesale slaughter of the protestants that were in the 26, then don’t waste your time.I’m not arguing that there was.What I am arguing is that the numbers of protestants in the state,had there been no partition would have reached a tipping point
    Where violence on a Bosnian scale would have erupted.

    Partition isn’t perfect, but it’s the best deal available.

  • slug

    “What’s wrong with that?”

    Nothing – did I say that there was anything wong with it? I thought it was a good question. Hence my answer.

  • irishman

    IJP

    In other words, you’re arguing that nationalists need to stop being nationalists, become unionists in the hope that, sometime in the future, when unionists are through marching where they want, existing comfortably beneath fluttering Union flags and tired from pleading for God to save the King/Queen, they might re-consider their political options and endorse Irish unity?

    Not only would this be a duplicitous course of action, but it would be doomed to failure as it would not compel unionism – at any juncture- to publicly have to acknowledge the legitimacy of the nationalist identity, in its all-Ireland totality.

    In addition, it is once again an inherently supremacist argument, maintaining as it does that unionists are somehow superior to nationalists in that their rights, concerns and fears should in some way shape how nationalists behave- even to the extent of compelling nationalists to decommission their nationalism to make unionists feel contented!

    Unionism’s utter refusal to accept nationalism as an equal tradition would be once again brushed under the carpet- as it was from partition.

    No, the course of action set out by republicans is the most logical and in my mind the most effective route to re-unification.

    For far too long unionism was permitted to hide behind notions of ‘fear’ and the idea that it was ‘under siege’ from nationalists, when in reality such sentiments could more authentically be ascribed to the status of northern nationalists.

    Even to this day, elements of the southern media- along with individuals like Geary- would have us believe that nationalists are in fact the problem because they refuse to endorse the unionist argument and position.

    Republicanism has set itself on a course which will see the border fade in a political sense as 26 county parties seek in the coming years to check the Sinn Fein advance by forming alliances and ultimately re-structuring their party organisations to reflect a 32 county political identity.

    It’s already starting, though I’d imagine it will take a Sinn Fein presence in government in Dublin to bring the situation to a head.

    Whatever about the political drive to ‘effective’ de facto unity, the economic advance will be more strident, particularly in ‘border’ regions.

    Republicans must continue to articulate and drive the cause of unity precisely because unionism needs to be made to face up to the all-Ireland realities around it and of the legitimacy of the nationalist cause.

    Pretending not to be what you are in the hope of decieving others not only demeans one self, but makes a nonsense of your cause. Ironically, northern nationalists have endorsed my stance in recent years by their abandonment of the SDLP at a time when that party was articulating similar positions- remember the ‘post-nationalist’ rhetoric and the ‘wink/wink’ idea that through such a scenario we would actually end up with unity?

    Come to think of it, the SDLP’s shiny new ‘Cross-Border Makes Sense’ campaign is a re-hash of this type of apologetic nationalism which nationalists are rightly rejecting.

    The way forward for nationalism is to confidently and openly assert the case for unity and, where possible, becoming drivers for unity- be it at a political, economic, social or cultural level. All along, republicans must remain open to engagement with unionism, accepting criticisms and articulating criticisms of Unionism. But at no stage should we become apologetic or adopt some behind-the-door approach to unity. That would be a dis-service to our community and, as importantly, only allow unionism off the hook.

  • stu

    I think people are perhaps misinterpreting the article. As I understand it, everyone in democracy has the right to say yay or nea to a constitutional change. Unionists have the right to say No to a united Ireland. That doesn’t mean they can’t be outvoted.

    Yet another thread highjacked to expose Unionists as the sash-wearing, taig-hating, militant, drugged up, illiterate, out-of-work, scumbags who live in a state that provides equal rights for all, yet are meant to pay for the misadministration of their forefathers.

  • John East Belfast

    Billy Pilgrim

    Firstly thnks for addressing me in such depth.

    Slug mentioned you should stop being patronising – I know you didn’t set out to be but this thread and my post were about what nationalists needed to do and you turned it on its head and started telling me what I should do to accept nationalists.

    “I would suggest that now, history’s verdict is clear: the path chosen by Carson and Craig, however reasonable it seemed then, has proven to be the wrong one. It has not benefited the people it was supposed to benefit – the Protestants of Ulster. For them, there has been neither peace nor security, neither prosperity nor a meaningful role in British life. It could not have been foreseen, but partition has been the worst thing that ever happened to the Protestants of Ulster.

    How can a well-intentioned nationalist make that point without building the resentment within unionists that you speak of?”

    I will tell you why – because it has been the bloody nationalists & republicans who have helped create all this lack of peace and depressed prosperity !

    And regarding ignoring Northern nationalists ! – it was mostly them !

    Anyhow how can we ignore northern nationalists – they are our neigbours and we work with them – they are also in many cases our friends.

    Anyhow I have always been of the opinion that a northern Catholic and Protestant have more in common with each other than the former has with south of the border and I would have with many in England.

    Also the Celtic Tiger is only about 15 years old – long may it continue – but if you had been writing your post in 1980 you could have replaced Carson & Craig with De Valera & Collins – you could have removed the peace bit though.

    Anyhow I and the overwhelming majority of NI citisens have prospered considerably under, for example, the British Education and Health system.
    There are no measureable differences in the disposable income of NI & ROI – especially in unionist East Belfast & North Down.

    As for not playing a role in British life – wrong again – we punch way above our weight in, for example, popular media.
    Tune into BBC Breakfast tomorrow and you will see Dermot Murnaghan on the couch and the other Dermot as business journalist. Not so long ago if you had switched channels you would have found Eamon Holmes
    Check out Colin on Radio one in the afternoon.
    In terms of actors and actresses you have Jimmy Nesbitt and Amanda Burton rarely off national TV. All of them proud of their Northern Irish roots.

    Colonel Tim Collins was probably the most celebrated soldier of the Gulf War.

    Politically we always have the opportunity to hold the balance of power as was done in the Major Govt. Such a time could come again.

    If you ever watch UK TV – especially BBC- you will see, whether it Trooping the Colour or some Royal occasion, the RIR, Irish Guards. Belfast wll be given equal status to London, Cardiff and Edinburgh and Royal tours will include Northern Ireland.

    I open my passport and it clearly says the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland.
    In the sporting arena it is clearly seen as one of the Home Nations and generously the GB team is called GB & NI.

    NI is totally woven at every level into the British System – except the political establishment – which I do not under estimate of course.

    However in every sense of the word I am British – I pay British taxes, have my children educated under a British education system and cared for from cradle to grave under the British State.

    Sorry Billy but you are going to have to do much better than that.

    What you need to tell me is why I would give up being a citisen of, in my opinion, the greatest nation on earth and become one of a 4m island community on the western edge of Europe.

    Lets face it if Ireland had become a Protestant country there would be a UI of GB & Ireland with those (probably 15m Irish) punching way over their weight in Westminster. Now that would make sense.

  • slug

    “Check out Colin on Radio one in the afternoon.”

    And Sean R. and S. Hughes every evening on BBC Radio 3 if you are a bit too cultured for R1 🙂

  • southern observer

    A few points here.
    At first glance the letter writer seems to belong to a particular strand of southern revisionism,most often found in the pages of the Sindo,which is obsequious, self-flagellatory,and uncritically pro-unionist.
    Consistent with this he seems to have mentally morphed the NI nationalist community into non-existence.

    In the meantime, after a sincere apology to unionists for all our past wrongs, our only agenda should be friendship
    The snag is once you get into the apology game apologies have to flow thick and fast to and from all sides.Arguably the south should apologise to northern nationalists for abandoning them to the tender mercies of Brookeborough-style unionism from 1921 to 1972.
    But wait a minute! If you read the small print closely this guy is actually in favour of the south hiving off most of the surface territory of Northern Ireland:
    We even have every right to demand a redrawing of the Border to accommodate the greatest possible number of people in the territory of their choice.

  • The Binlid

    “I open my passport and it clearly says the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland.
    In the sporting arena it is clearly seen as one of the Home Nations and generously the GB team is called GB & NI.”

    Not really part of ‘great’ britain it looks as if it has been tacked on so it can be easily removed in the future.

  • Brian Boru

    UlsterDub, that was 61 years ago. Can you seriously say Southern Protestants are being “oppressed”? Get real.

    The constitutional references to the “special place of the Catholic Church” were deleted in 1981 by referendum, as was the ban on divorce in 1995, and the bans on contraception and homosexuality were lifted in the early 90’s too. We elected a Protestant president in 1973. The first Finance Minister of Southern Ireland was an Antrim Presbyterian (Ernest Blythe). Protestants are over-represented on the Supreme Court – the ultimate guarantors of equality under Irish law.

    Look at the UK where a Catholic cannot be Lord Chancellor or head of state, and where the heir to the throne cannot even marry a Catholic!

  • Robert Keogh

    Brain,

    1972 was when the religious amendments were made.

  • Henry94

    JEB

    Basically I have no real desire to be united with people who have spent their life taking pot shots at me and what I hold dear

    Who are these people? For the most part it seems you mean northern nationalists. Thus you are saying you don’t want to be united with the people you share the north with. It’s not about Irish unity at all.

    Which raises the question who is responsible for the failure of this state.

    IJP

    Instead: make NI work, show ‘Unionists’ good faith, and maybe 20-25 years down the line you’ll have a much easier task of persuading them to consider constitutional alternatives.

    It is not nationalists who are failing to make NI work. Look at Unionisms record. Orange rule was so unwilling to face up to its failures that the British had to stand down Stormont in the first place.

    Sunningdale (power-sharing with the SDLP and not a Shinner in sight) was brought down by Unionism.

    Today Unionism is still unwilling to work the institutions. The failure of this state is primarily because there is a large block of unionist opinion for whom equality is unacceptable and the unionist parties are in thrall to that block.

    Nationalism is ready to work the institutions today. Unionism is not. Unionism is destabilised by every move we make towards normality because the contradiction between political unionism and orangism becomes more obvious. And orangism has the upper hand.

    For those who believe stability within the north is possible one of the next obvious steps is for Sinn Fein to sign up to policing. In reality that will further destabilise unionism. The PNSI was described during the recent “Orange Infantila” as being infested with Fenians. That is even before republicans start joining.

    Nationalism and our legitimate aspirations are not the problem here. Unionist contradictions are.

    Those who believe in equality withn the UK depend for their pro-union majority on those who are against equality. That is the political fault line that will destroy unionism and the union.

  • darthrumsfeld

    “Well it’s not unconditional. If they are outvoted on the issue then there will be a united Ireland. That’s the deal.”

    So let’s get this straight. Unionists win every election in Northern Ireland…ever!!!!. Pro-Union parties win every single election in the United Kingdom since 1921, if not 1801…ever!!!.

    Nationalists refuse to accept any of these results as valid because of gerrymandering, the famine, sumptory laws, the weather or a hundred thoiusand other reasons.

    Yet in the unlikely scenario of a vote of 50% plus 1 for anti-Unionist parties (possibly on a turnout as low as 55% of the electorate) nationalists seriously expect Unionists to say “OK, the game’s up. Fetch me my shillelagh”.

    Basic Fact Number 1: the winning of any vote doesn’t mean any Unionist is going to become a nationalist, any more than any Nationalist since 1921 has been obliged to stop agitating for the end to partition.
    Basic Fact Number 2: any government set upon a path to transfer sovereignty on the basis of one vote had better get ready for the mother of all civil conflicts
    Basic fact Number 3: Unionists assumed that winning elections was all that was needed- they never made any effort to do as carson said- bring nationalists in from the cold. And Nationalists see the example of Stormont as their route map!?!?!

  • Henry94

    darthrumsfeld

    any government set upon a path to transfer sovereignty on the basis of one vote had better get ready for the mother of all civil conflicts

    What a disgusting contribution. I await with interest to see if your fellow unionists disown it.

  • slug

    “It is not nationalists who are failing to make NI work. Look at Unionism…”

    Yawn.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Yet in the unlikely scenario…’

    I can stop reading there so, thanks for the heads up!

  • IJP

    irishman

    I‘m not arguing anything – the author of the article is.

    But I will tell you that if the best argument you can put up is that everything is Unionists’ fault, you’ll find it quite tricky to convert anyone to your case.

    Henry

    It is not nationalists who are failing to make NI work. Look at Unionisms record.

    Dearie dearie me… ‘It’s not us’ns, it’s themmuns, so it is’.

    Let’s just stick to Nationalism’s record, shall we? One of consistent failure to provide a viable partner for those seeking to make NI work. Is that the best way to build trust for a future conversion to an all-Ireland set-up?

    Now, anyone want to actually answer the question the article raises, rather than just have a go at the ‘other side’?

  • Traditional unionist

    Why don’t you have a go Ian, share some Alliance pearls of wisdom with us…..

  • Henry94

    IJP

    One of consistent failure to provide a viable partner for those seeking to make NI work.

    Nonsense

    Sunningdale? The Agreement? Nationalists have a good record of supporting solutions negotiated in good faith. It is unionism that can’t deliver because it is split at its core.

    Dearie dearie me… ‘It’s not us’ns, it’s themmuns, so it is’.

    I’ll put that down to your inability to understand the analysis. It doesn’t matter. NI won’t work anyway.

  • southern observer

    any government set upon a path to transfer sovereignty on the basis of one vote had better get ready for the mother of all civil conflicts

    DR,this reminds me of Prof.Joseph Lee’s highly percipient statement when alluding to the inconsistent view of some unionists towards democracy:
    ‘When is a majority not a majority?

    When it delivers the wrong result.’

  • John East Belfast

    Henry

    It is becoming difficult to follow a consistant line in your posts.

    A couple of weeks back I failed to get you to state that elected officials, in today’s environment, who were in any way linked with others, who were engaged in criminal activity were, not suitable to be elected officials. I wasn’t even talking about past crimes.

    You effectively told me to understand how far such people had come and it was going to take time for things to fully change.

    I have to assume (maybe I am wrong) that you were a supporter of the armed struggle against what you would see as illegal British Rule in Ireland ?

    If so I can’t understand how you find Darth’s contribution ‘disgusting’ – he is simply pointing out the obvious that a high proportion of unionists will feel shafted in such a scenario and some will wrongly revert to violence – a death rattle though.

    Then you berate IJP for stating the obvious that the most destabilising contribution to the economy and stability of the NI State is northern nationalist inability to accept the current reality of the same.

    What Darth is hinting at is that this is what unionists think therefore when/if nationalists are successful in obtaining a majority UI vote they will not be deemed as having played fair.

    On the other hanmd if they become constructive players in a NI State but at the same time peacefully persuade for change then they might get somewhere – ie the ball is in Northern Nationalism’s court.

    Regarding what other Unionist posters think my position is quite clear – if 51% of the citisens of NI vote for a UI then I will accept it. We have drawn our line in the sand and I have no appetite for a repartitioned Independent NI which would be the only alternative.

    Under such circumstances I will have two choices and depending on my age at the time and where my children are living will decide which I would take.
    However it would be between sailing across the Irish sea to England or stay in a new Ireland.

    If it is the latter I will be a much more loyal and committed citisen of any such new entity than what current northern nationalists are displaying towards NI – WHICH I THINK IS WHAT THIS THREAD IS ALL ABOUT.
    For instance I won’t be supporting the England football team over a United Irish one

    Nationalists are not being asked to become Unionists – They are simply being asked to be good citisens of the legally defined geopolitical entity within which they reside.

  • Henry94

    b JohnEastBelfast

    Regarding what other Unionist posters think my position is quite clear – if 51% of the citisens of NI vote for a UI then I will accept it.

    I’m glad to hear it.

    If it is the latter I will be a much more loyal and committed citisen of any such new entity than what current northern nationalists are displaying towards NI – WHICH I THINK IS WHAT THIS THREAD IS ALL ABOUT.
    For instance I won’t be supporting the England football team over a United Irish one

    That will be a matter for yourself. Many British people living in Ireland do I’m sure support England just as Irish people living in Britain support the irish team. Nobody wants to take your Britishness away from you in a united Ireland.

    They are simply being asked to be good citisens of the legally defined geopolitical entity within which they reside

    Can one, in your view, be a good citizen while supporting the case for constitutional change?

    Are the DUP bad citizens for wanting the UK to leave the EU?

    What are the manifestations of this citizenship you speak of. My country is Ireland and my flag is the tricolour. Does that prevent me from being a good citizen in the north. Is it not enough that I obey the law and pay my taxes or are we faced with a million Norman Tebbits each with his own version of the cricket test.

    Meanwhile let the UVF and the Orange run riot and the unionist parties fail to uphold either the law or the police. Where’s their citizenship test?

  • darthrumsfeld

    just a small question henry.

    You expect me to immediately accept the result of a referendum to transfer sovereignty of NI and become a good citizen. Yet you seem unwilling to accept that until/unless that happens you have a responsibility to accept and respect the result of each election and that includes being a wholehearted citizen of the United Kingdom for teh time being-which probably means your entire lifetime. So is only one result binding and the other a temporary aberration?

  • Henry94

    darthrumsfeld

    I’m an Irish citizen. That’s my right under the Agreement. You will retain your right to British citizenship in a united Ireland.

    You will also be entitled to hold the view that Ireland should rejoin the UK. You will be able to stand for election on that basis, vote on that basis and express that view in any democratic way you want.

    In fact there will be nothing to stop you campaigning for re-partition.

    So what kind of political purdah do you want to put me in and why.

    We do need to come to an understanding about this because we have committed ourselves to seek a united Ireland by democratic and peaceful means. What problem could you possibly have with that?

    I don’t ask for anything for myself in the UK that I wouldn’t extend to you in a united Ireland.

    I don’t want to live under the union flag and I won’t ask you to live under the tricolour. I won’t stand for God save the queen and I won’t ask you to stand for Amhrán na bhFiann.

    So tell me what rights you will forego in a united Ireland that you want me to forego now.

  • John East Belfast

    Henry

    “That will be a matter for yourself. Many British people living in Ireland do I’m sure support England just as Irish people living in Britain support the irish team. Nobody wants to take your Britishness away from you in a united Ireland.”

    The whole purpose of a United Ireland is the ending of British Rule throughout what is called Northern Ireland – ie where I live.
    Therefore what you are saying is that I will become a visitor in my own country ?

    I can’t be British living in Ireland unless I see my home as somewhere else (and visa versa for the Irish in GB)

    Therefore you are proposing that I become effectively a guest in my own country !

    You may as well have told me to swim across the Irish Sea if I really wanted to live as a British citisen.

    “Can one, in your view, be a good citizen while supporting the case for constitutional change?”

    Absolutely – I think it is called democracy.

    “Are the DUP bad citizens for wanting the UK to leave the EU?”

    The EU doesn’t have citizens in the sense that a country has citisens.

    “What are the manifestations of this citizenship you speak of. My country is Ireland and my flag is the tricolour. Does that prevent me from being a good citizen in the north.”

    This is what you would like your country to be – your present country is NI.

    As for the cricket test it is not a bad one in this case – lets face it if the six counties compete with the 26 counties in any sphere other than Gaelic sports I would say you would opt for the 26 counties ?

    eg lets say a major Eur 500m investment was planned for either Belfast or Dublin ?

    Where in your heart would you prefer it to go ?

    Your answer to that will both determine if you are a good NI Citisen.

  • slug

    “So tell me what rights you will forego in a united Ireland that you want me to forego now.”

    How about the following three:

    1. The right of the people of the six counties of NI to decide whether they are in UK or the ROI by a 50%+1 referendum vote.

    2. The “parallel consent” system of legislation in which a majority of designated unionists and nationalists is required.

    3. The d’Hondt system of forming a cabinet.

    I would forego these in a united Ireland if you would forego them now.