Unionists must be tough, positive and canny

Not withstanding the large degree of disillusion amongst Unionist, Alex Kane argues that for Unionists to abandon politics just when things are starting to go their way would be extremely foolish. On a chilly December evening in 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, a woman refused to give up her seat on a bus. Her name was Rosa Parks, an articulate and educated woman, but forced to work as a seamstress because she was coloured. She wasn’t the first black woman to refuse to give up her seat and nor was hers the first major act of defiance against segregationist laws in America.

Yet in the week of her death she is remembered as the “mother of the civil rights movement” because her act of defiance galvanised Black America and paved the way for the great raft of civil rights legislation in the 1960s, including the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. She was revered by liberals across the world, and “We shall overcome,” the anthem of Civil Rights campaigners, was sung everywhere from Washington to Capetown and from Paris to Peking.

It was no coincidence that people like John Hume and Austin Currie began to agitate and orchestrate across Northern Ireland from the mid-1960s; and nor was it any coincidence that they rallied under the banner of Civil Rights. They were simply (albeit politically smartly) tapping into a movement whose time had come. Nationalists weren’t just standing shoulder to shoulder with each other in Londonderry, they were also indicating solidarity with oppressed minorities in South Africa and America, with revolutionary movements in South America, with rioting students across Europe and with new liberation movements across the Middle East.

One of Issac Newton’s Laws of Motion states that to each action there is an equal and opposite reaction. It applies equally to politics, resulting in a situation in which a majority begins to believe that it, rather than a particular minority, is the oppressed community. I have coined my own term for this, the Law of Newtonian Irony.

How fittingly ironic, therefore, that the Law can be so ably demonstrated in the very week that Rosa Parks died. The Love Ulster Campaign plans to hold a massive rally in Belfast today, to promote its belief that unionists are being sold down the river. Last Saturday, the Community Convention and Development Company hosted a conference which aimed to “develop, empower and transform disadvantaged Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist communities.”

A week earlier, a group calling itself Women Raising Unionist Concerns, told Tony Blair to “wake up and smell the coffee…we are everything to do with saving our culture, schools, traditions and Ulster.” And a couple of days ago I heard about a plan to create a “Belfast Property Company for the Orange and Protestant people…”

What is clear, indeed it has been clear for some time, is that there is a growing sense of disillusion and alienation within the unionist community. And it is something that neither the DUP nor the UUP can afford to ignore, for it suggests that growing numbers of the pro-Union community don’t trust and have now drifted from mainstream unionism.

Go anywhere within unionism, from a UUP branch meeting in North Down to a drinking den in Taughmonagh, and you will hear the same talk of government betrayal and concessions. And, although whisper it for now, I have even heard DUP members wonder if “the Doc” can do anything about it. Putting it bluntly, the consensus is that the pendulum has swung too far in favour of nationalism. It is unionists who now believe that their rights have been trampled upon and that they have become second class citizens in their own state.

When democratic parties fail, or are believed to have failed, then their voters either stay at home (which has been happening for some time) or look to other means to promote and protect themselves (an increasingly common trend in the past two years). Party political unionism is facing a crisis, haemorrhaging support at almost every level and seemingly clueless as to how to keep successive governments from servicing the Sinn Fein agenda.

But whinging alone will solve nothing. Unionism needs to be tough, positive and canny. Republicans have lost the armed struggle. We must not now allow our own navel-gazing stupidity to allow nationalists to win the political war.

First published in the Newsletter on Saturday 29th October 2005

  • Bogexile

    Nice to be able to vent the oul spleen again and indulge myself in this peculiar form of political narcisism.

    Alex Kane is probably right that the appallingly cynical treatment of the pro-British community has finaly energised and mobilised some sort of concensus across the various strands of unionism. But those unionists who get their teeth out of each other for long enough to analyse this potential will realise that garnering international sympathy for their position is a no-go. The only game in town in terms of international diplomacy is the swallowed and at least partially digested Sinn Fein post-colonial fable.

    It’s going to be a very long gaul indeed for even a united Unionism to push forward an alternative narrative. They’s have much more chance, frankly arguing for regional autonomy a la Basque. Now that would piss in Gerry’s tea 🙂

  • brayo

    Alex Kane’s law of newtonian irony may hold water, but there is a key difference here.

    In the 60’s the nationalist minority was suffering real and actual inequality.

    Today, unionism suffers no such inequality. They have been disallowed a few contentious and inflammatory marches and rightly so. There doesnt seem to be any other than this very weak example to support the inequality argument.

    Disbandment of RIR, name change of the police? how does this make unionists less equal than nationalists?

    The problem is that unionism believes its righful position is to hold the upper hand perpetually and any deviation from this is inequality.

    This is one of the main reasons why garnering international sympathy for their position is a no-go.

    If unionism cant bring itself to accept true equality with their nationalist neighbours, then there is nothing but disappointment down the road for unionism and its people.

  • Horace Woolington

    “Unionism needs to be tough, positive and canny . . . We must not now allow our own navel-gazing stupidity to allow nationalists to win the political war” – ‘we’, in the sense of David Trimble, and his cultists, are precisely the people who weren’t tough, positive, canny etc etc.

    What is the point of Alex Kane? He (and the other pro-Agreement people who) helped wreck the UUP, displayed zero political nous and now lecture the DUP. Pull the other one Kane, it’s got votes on the end of it.

    Seriously, I know it’s fun to smirk, but Kane and co are precisely the people who destroyed the UUP – what on earth is the point in indulging their stale, specifics-free guff in any shape or form whatsoever? As a case in point, just look at the dross above – not one actual-factual suggestion even hinted at. Not a thing. Other than reminding us of the tragic way the wretched, miserable DUP came to gain the whip hand over Unionism (think: Trimble; blustering Ken; Lady S; and the lesser pond life who praised them all the while), I’ve got to ask, what is the point in making traditional Ulster Unionists suffer like this, by subjecting us to yet more Alex Kane? Please, my peopke have suffered enough. Will our struggle never end?

  • Brayo:

    Discriminatory recruitment in the police is a valid concern. Personally I can accept it as a temporary means towards an end given the circumstances from which it arose, but it’s still discrimination and I can see a few reasons why many people aren’t happy with it. It’s a dubious form of ‘equality’ at best.

    At the same time we have the current discussions of on-the-runs making a mockery of the (in)justice system (in Northern Ireland anyway)

    Unionists (and in particular loyalists) aren’t the best at articulating the concerns they have, that doesn’t mean they’re not there and it’s patronising in the extreme to say that they’re simply expression of frustration at no longer having an upper hand.

    For what it’s worth I accept that they’re not as great as nationalist complaints in the 60s. I think Unionism needs leadership – the problem is that the parties seem to think they have more to gain by exploiting unionist fears than confronting them.

  • finn69

    “It was no coincidence that people like John Hume and Austin Currie began to agitate and orchestrate across Northern Ireland from the mid-1960s; and nor was it any coincidence that they rallied under the banner of Civil Rights”
    What nationalists (and republicans) agitated for civil rights because it was fashionable! whoops thought it was because of unionist misrule myself.

    “oppressed minorities in South Africa” this was stumped me as i had thought he was referring to the black and asian population and was just bad with numbers, than i remembered it was written by alex and realised he was referring to the oppressed Afrikaners.

    “Law of Newtonian Irony” apartied was a better name, and surely every colonised country including Ireland had/has an oppressed majority

    “Women Raising Unionist Concerns” mmmh this renown group whose only other mention on google is …..yep in the Newsletter, their plan of action
    “On November 4, if we have nothing, every road in Belfast will be closed at 3pm. “We do not just want a letter back from the parties, we want face-to-face meetings and accountability.”

    armchair celts reported on it from the NL better than the NL did saying “… Uh oh, here comes trouble.
    Your soaraway, sizzling BelfastNewsletterhas re-written the press release for pushy Shankhill women loyalists – y’know the sort, the ones Peter Hain keeps having nightmares about.
    “Loyalist women have threatened to bring Northern Ireland to a standstill on November 4 if they do not get the face-to-face meetings they are demanding with the Secretary of State.”
    “Women Raising Unionist Concerns (WRUC)…[a spokeswoman]said Ulster’s men had their chance, and now it is time for them to “get out of the way”.
    “It is our turn to sort the problems out a different way – through peaceful protest and dialogue,” she said.
    Er, right. “Dialogue” meaning “meet us or we’ll have our kids out on the roads again waving mis-spelled placards.”
    I’ll bet Hain is already drafting the invites. Poor bastard…”

    “…A week earlier, a group calling itself Women Raising Unionist Concerns, told Tony Blair…” Hello, you mean they met TB, I can’t find any news about this one alec, you’ve got an exclusive here, any photos to prove it happened.

    Who are ” Women Raising Unionist Concerns” “The strength of emotion coming from women in Protestant areas really hit home last month after Whiterock,” said Ms Barnes. “We got together for a couple of meetings in the Spectrum Centre in the Shankill and WRUC got off the ground.”

    “Belfast Property Company for the Orange and Protestant people” I’m guessing this is the “The Ulster Land and Property Company” which was early 2003, finger on the pulse there alec! or is it yet another one!! either way its old news

    still showing he is the voice of unionism “The Love Ulster Campaign plans to hold a massive rally” mmmh massive as in only a few thousand short of 5,000 (where you there alec)

    And of course no article by alec would be complete without the usual …
    1)”talk of government betrayal and concessions
    2)”consensus is that the pendulum has swung too far in favour of nationalism”
    3)”It is unionists who now believe that their rights have been trampled upon and that they have become second class citizens in their own state.”
    AND
    4)Republicans have lost the armed struggle

    looking at points 1-3 I bet republicans are glad they didn’t win.

    all in all this is pretty much a made up story, and i’m sorry to say its fairly sloppy journalism to boot.

  • heck

    It is good to see the sluggerotoole site back to normal.

    I must agree with Brayo on this one. The Unionist claims of second class status simply don’t hold water. What we hear are complaints about a name change for the RUC and loyalists being prevented from coat trailing through catholic neighborhoods. Somehow this is second class status for unionists! The latest complaint is about a little hyperbole from Father Reid (for which he immediately apologized) which was followed by claims that this put the peace process in jeopardy. I hate to say this but to use a Norn Iron expression; unionists need to “wise up”.

    I treat Beano’s complaint about RUC recruiting in the same manner that I treat complaints from white racists about affirmative action in the United States. As in the US right wing politicians stoke and exploit the fears of working class and under class Protestants (whites) for their own ends. Beano’s complaints remind me the racist election ad run by US Senator Jesse Helms which showed white hands crumpling up a job rejection letter while the voice over claimed that “some minority” got the job because of affirmative action. In the US this tactic was condemned. In northern Ireland such views are pandered to. (Unfortunately Helms won the election!!!)

    If I were to advise working class unionists I would tell them to reject the David Trimbles (Jesse Helms) and the Paisleys (Pat Robertsons) and elect people who represent their economic interests. The argument over the 11+ is an example. Unionist politicians are fighting the elimination of the 11+ because that is in the interests of their middle class voters. The average kid on the Shankill Road would benefit from its abolition. No one from the unionist political class is articulating underclass loyalist interests on this issue. Instead loyalists are being brought onto the streets about the right to march “kick the pope bands” through catholic areas. As I said, it’s time for working class unionists to “wise up”.

  • Brian Boru

    No offence to the Unionists, but when some of them talk about “concessions” to Republicans, they really mean the granting of equality to Catholics, which is just too much to bear for them, as far as I can see. The PSNI is still 80% Protestant – even with the quotas. Retaining the old system would have left Catholics waiting another 34 years to get fair representation therein. The NI Civil Service is also 75% Protestant. Catholics are 2 times as likely to be unemployed rising to 3.5 times among women.

    So when these people complain about concessions, it is just traditional Orange supremacism revealing itself as the anti-Catholic monolith it has always been. The Orange Order and co. have been trotting out the same complaints of “concessions etc.” since Catholics got the vote in 1795, and since Catholic Emancipation in 1829, followed by the Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1869, and Gladstone’s Land Acts. To them, equality is itself a concession whose granting to Catholics is “surrender”. Such a mentality cannot be found anywhere else in Western Europe, and explains the lack of international sympathy for Northern Orangeism. Had to be said.

  • sceptical

    Where do you get those statistics from Brian Boru? Not to be rude but they rather sound like something you pulled out of your arse. From what I have read it seems the civil service has an even split, as for the PSNI, how the hell do you expect catholics to join after years of being intimidated not to join. There needs to be a massive shift in perception of the catholic community.

    Stop being such a mopeish bleating twit

  • finn69

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-1507-1849228-3048,00.html

    this is the article Kane could have written.

  • Brian, your points are well made – I think sceptical’s resortment to abuse is telling.

    I think in politics they call it ‘pushing the center’. Over the last 100 years, the center has been pushed so far in the unionist favor that any move towards normalization or equality probably seems like a concession to ‘themmuns’.

  • Excuse my ignorance for I fail to see how the removal of police stations from areas that still holds a significant dissident threat which is now growing by the day, is anything but a concession to republicanism…..

    So Brain Boru you think Protestants or discriminative just because they don’t like the thought of ex IRA men in the police, or having OTR’s moving in next door?

    What has Catholic equality got to do with Sean Kelly (another obvious concession) ??

  • Patrick Brown

    About the Sean Kelly thing, I’m still struggling to work this out. He was out already. The government could only make the “concession” of releasing him by putting him back in for reasons that were never terribly clearly explained, thereby annoying republicans. I mean, there’s still a “Free Sean Kelly” mural in the Short Strand. I can’t really imagine that republicans regard the temporary nature of Kelly’s re-imprisonment as much of a concession.

  • heck

    finn69

    Reading your posted article was the first time I have heard of the police calling for 1 year limit on dealing with OTRs. The idea of them having to own up within a year of still be legally liable would be acceptable to me if it also included collusion between the police/MI5/army with loyalist killers. Give individual members of the RUC, British Army and British spy services 1 year to come forward or continue investigations and hold them criminally liable.

    I think this police suggestion is aimed at getting one over on the fenians but if it was applied fairly it would be a good idea. If would also be a good way of putting the collusion issue behind us. I hope the SDLP MP’s add a rider to this legislation to ensure any sunset clause applies to the security forces. And back it up with and investigation to encourage the colluders to come forward.

  • Brian Boru

    Sceptical, here is a source for the unemployment statistics. http://www.nuzhound.com/articles/Irelandclick/arts2005/may30_unemployment_figures_static.php

    I meant to say only 25% of senior civil-servants are Catholic. At the current rate it will take until 2057 for Catholics to be represented according to their % in the population as a whole.

    Fermanagh Young Unionist, on the Sean Kelly issue, I would say that the inequality from that stems from the fact that Unionists were not calling for similar treatment to be meated out to Loyalists released under the GFA. In fact, Willie Frazer refused on TV to retract the welcome to Loyalist paramilitaries to come to his “Love Ulster” bash yesterday, and by all accounts as evidenced by the flags they were only delighted to take up the offer. Also, the Brit government didn’t re-inter Loyalists in spite of months of killings, house-burnings in Co.Antrim, and a stubborn refusal to do what the IRA did and decommission. The hypocrisy of the decision to re-arrest him without any evidence is truly galling.

    And Fermanagh, I was not calling for former IRA men to be allowed into the PSNI. I support the 50:50 quotas though because they are slowly reversing the legacy of the politically-biased and sectarian 98% Protestant RUC. Ultimately Unionists will benefit if the new police force is representative of the community it serves as it will gain more cooperation from Catholics traditionally suspicious of the Northern security forces. Like the Whites in the Deep South, the Unionists will resist equality. But the response from the powers that be must be the same – face them down. Equality is coming, ready or not!

  • fair_deal

    brayo

    “unionism suffers no such inequality” Really?

    The largest employing sector of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, the General Service Grades shows a recruitment in permanent staff last year of 1,495 of whom only 45% are Protestant. The Housing Executive recruited 303 staff, of whom only 39.3% are Protestant. The Child Support Agency recruited 219 staff, only 36.5% are Protestant.

    Police recruitment is of course another bone of contention because of the institutionalised and legalised discrimination that exists. The response in this area showed that Protestants are only 49.1% of the 1,980 people recruited.”

  • mnob

    Brian,

    I cant believe you took that article seriously. A survey ‘obtained by our sister paper Daily Ireland’ – you mean the labour force survey that anyone can go to the web and download and for the webchallenged walk round to corn market and buy.

    The 75% protestant civil servant figure doesn’t appear in that article either.

    Using the term ‘unemployed’ in those surveys means unemployed but economically active i.e. doesn’t include those not in the labour force (long term unemployed, disabled etc. etc.).

    The number of ‘economically inactive’ people in NI is much greater than ‘unemployed’.

  • fair_deal

    Brian Boru

    “for similar treatment to be meated out to Loyalists released under the GFA”

    It was first used against Loyalists.

    “the Brit government didn’t re-inter Loyalists in spite of months of killings, house-burnings in Co.Antrim, and a stubborn refusal to do what the IRA did and decommission”

    1. No one including SF representatives have claimed that any loyalist released under the scheme has been involved in these attacks. Ex-prisoners can only be put back on their own action not the actions of the organisation they were/are affiliated to.
    2. May I remind you it was Unionists that wanted a linkage between prisoner releases and decommissioning something opposed by all sections of Irish nationalism.
    3. When are the McCabe killers getting out and they other two suspects allowed back?

    “The hypocrisy of the decision to re-arrest him without any evidence is truly galling. ”

    There is evidence but the Secretary of State refuses to provide it to the Life sentence review Commission.

    “At the current rate it will take until 2057 for Catholics to be represented according to their % in the population as a whole”

    The Andersonstown News is not know for the thoroughness of its research. The 2057 claim is simply rubbish. It fails to take account of the middle management changes, the age structure of the Protestant section of the NICS (ie a big chunk is going to retire very soon opening up a whole series of new opportunities) plus the adapting forms of recruitment for the senior civil service.

  • Reader

    Brian Boru: I support the 50:50 quotas though because they are slowly reversing the legacy of the politically-biased and sectarian 98% Protestant RUC.

    OK – where did you get your “98%” from?

  • brayo

    fair deal

    “The largest employing sector of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, the General Service Grades shows a recruitment in permanent staff last year of 1,495 of whom only 45% are Protestant. The Housing Executive recruited 303 staff, of whom only 39.3% are Protestant. The Child Support Agency recruited 219 staff, only 36.5% are Protestant”

    Its quite disingenuous to compare this type of “discrimination” (which is necessary in order to redress the imbalance) with the civil and human rights violations perpetrated against the nationalist community up to and beyond the late 60’s.

  • Brian Boru

    “The largest employing sector of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, the General Service Grades shows a recruitment in permanent staff last year of 1,495 of whom only 45% are Protestant. The Housing Executive recruited 303 staff, of whom only 39.3% are Protestant. The Child Support Agency recruited 219 staff, only 36.5% are Protestant.

    Police recruitment is of course another bone of contention because of the institutionalised and legalised discrimination that exists. The response in this area showed that Protestants are only 49.1% of the 1,980 people recruited.”

    Misleading because you are not telling us what % of the present workforce therein is Protestant/Catholic. Redressing the balance may be a sort of discrimination, but it is ironically fairer because in societies like NI and the Deep South of the US, historically the minority-community has been under-represented in employment. And even you should admit that this remains the case even now in the PSNI, where around 20% are Catholic. And to be persons here recently making the point on the 50% “otherE category including Protestants, well I saw on the news the other day that the non-Protestant component of “other” in the past year was only around 17, so I think it’s then fair to say that 80% is the approximate Protestant % in the PSNI.

    Yes, the “Papists” are getting into the PSNI, and I know that makes the blood of some (not all ) Loyalists boil – and certainly among Orangemen. However, it’s happening and will – if continued – ensure a representative police-force. Many Whites in the Deep South opposed the Voting Rights Act 1965 and the Civil Rights Act to improve the situation for Blacks. Violence resulted from the White community. But who now would say these measures were unjustified? The same with NI.

    “OK – where did you get your “98%” from?”

    Well, it was certainly only 7% Catholic in 1993 as I recall reading somewhere. It was implicated in collusion with Loyalist terrorists including the kicking to dead in Portadown of Robbie Hammil, and in making alleged threats to Rosemary Nelson before she was killed. The UDA wasn’t even banned until 1990. I wonder why that was? Suppose they might have been handy as a proxy to hide the true identities of those wanting Catholics killed.

  • Love Ulster (9 counties)

    It is unionists who now believe that their rights have been trampled upon and that they have become second class citizens in their own state.

    It is exactly this type of language which has ensured that many Catholics will never accept the concept of unionism because they feel that they will never be wanted, never mind accepted.

    Northern Ireland is not a state that belongs exclusively to the unionist community and if it does not begin to shift away from this ‘ideal’ it may find itself in a United Ireland before long.

    Ironically they may be welcomed more warmly than the cold shoulder they gave their neighbours.

  • barnshee

    “Its quite disingenuous to compare this type of “discrimination” (which is necessary in order to redress the imbalance) with the civil and human rights violations perpetrated against the nationalist community up to and beyond the late 60’s.”

    The usual clap trap

    The “nationalist community” are it would seem are members of the (republic of ) Irish state who choose to reside in the United Kingdom. If they (as they often do) confirm their nationality by opting for Irish Passports and if in addition they and their political representatives attack the state over decades (hundreds of years??) AND conduct a campaign of genocide against those britsh citizens unfortunate enough to live near them-how can the the UK state be criticized for putting its own citizens first??

  • “Nationalists weren’t just standing shoulder to shoulder with each other in Londonderry”

    -they weren’t. They were standing shoulder to shoulder in Derry.

    They were simply (albeit politically smartly) tapping into a movement whose time had come. Nationalists weren’t just standing shoulder to shoulder with each other in Londonderry, they were also indicating solidarity with oppressed minorities in South Africa and America.

    Point 1: The civil rights movement wasn’t about tapping into some fashionable movement- it was about bringing real change to everyday discrimination and deprivation. Point 2: Who exactly is the ‘oppressed minority’ in South Africa Mr. Kane speaks of? I assume he means the 84% of the population in S.A. of black or mixed race- hardly a minority.

    A week earlier, a group calling itself Women Raising Unionist Concerns, told Tony Blair to “wake up and smell the coffee…we are everything to do with saving our culture, schools, traditions and Ulster.” And a couple of days ago I heard about a plan to create a “Belfast Property Company for the Orange and Protestant people…”

    Well done. Try to boost your egos by harking back to the dark days of the Stormont regime. What next, protestant only busses? Segregated drinking fountains? Rosa Parks would turn in her grave if hse wasn’t still lying in state.

    We must not now allow our own navel-gazing stupidity to allow nationalists to win the political war.

    It’s not about political ‘war’. Get real- the only way forward is through cooperation for the greater good. This ‘us’ and ‘them’ MOPEery rubbish will solve nothing, as history has taught us.

  • Brian Boru

    Barnshee, the Nationalist community are the original inhabitants of the Six Counties. Not Southerners who choose to live in NI. They didn’t have much choice when the planters invaded their country and ethnically-cleansed them from their lands. It isn’t they who were interlopers. And to accuse the Nationalist community of commiting “genocide” is just as ludicrous as Fr.Reid’s recent remarks comparing Unionists to Nazis. No point in asking you to apologise of course because Unionism would have to issue umpteen apologies for the things said about Catholics e.g. Catholic women called incubators for Rome, Cardinal O’Fiach called the IRA’s bishop in Crossmaglen, Lord Brookeborough saying “I recommend those who are Loyalists not to employ Roman Catholics 95% of whom are disloyal”.

    I find it a strange contradiction that Unionists want Nationalists to give up their aspiration for a UI, but equally, they want the Nationalists to continue to be under-represented in the institutions of the state of NI. There is a clear contradiction in terms here. By perpetuating the inequatity, you are strengthening the will to join a United Ireland. Maybe though equality is impossible within the Union. A future Tory government might scrap the quotas thus confirming me in my belief that Unionism is intent on an adversarial relationship with 41% of the population of NI.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “OK – where did you get your “98%” from?”

    Well, it was certainly only 7% Catholic in 1993 as I recall reading somewhere”

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    a wee tip brian-
    when debating about statistics you might actually want to use a calculator. 7 & 98 are of course 105%, and you rely on a 12 year old statistic -you think- even though you can’t be sure. Why not just admit you got it wrong instead of bluster. And of course in justifying what you sheepishly call “sort of” discrimination (what a consolation that must be to those who lost out-“I was only sort of discriminated against”) you forget the statutory protection in the original plan for the RUC of 1/3 places reserved for that religion’s adherents- who prevented them joining again?

    This is typical of the MOPEry which passes for nationalist thinking- anything’s bad if the Prods do it; contrariwise it’s ok if we do it. As Father Reid accurately for once said- nationalists would behave exactly as Unionists in the same position.

  • fair_deal

    Brian Boru

    “Misleading because you are not telling us what % of the present workforce therein is Protestant/Catholic. Redressing the balance may be a sort of discrimination”

    LMAO they are not misleading as they show the present recruitment trends in the public sector also the present breakdown is
    Head of Department of Finance & Personnel – (Main reporting body of the CiVil Service)
    P[56.7%] RC[43.3%] – no significant skew there.

    So the ‘historical discrimination’ line doesn’t work. Take the example of the NIHE, it already has an under-representation of the Protestant community
    “Northern Ireland Housing Executive
    P [48.9%] RC [51.1%]”
    (Source Equality Commission Monitoring report no.14)

    So its present skewed recruitment 39.3% Protestant is making a poor situation worse.

    “it’s happening and will – if continued – ensure a representative police-force”

    Everyone joining the policing board and endorsing the police service will do exactly the same thing without institutionalised discrimination. Every party in the RoI is prepared to endorse the PSNI, the Cathiolic Church is as are the SDLP… just waiting on the criminal wing of irish nationalism.

    “the “Papists” are getting into the PSNI, and I know that makes the blood of some”

    Evidence for this claim.

  • Brian Boru

    “This is typical of the MOPEry which passes for nationalist thinking- anything’s bad if the Prods do it; contrariwise it’s ok if we do it. As Father Reid accurately for once said- nationalists would behave exactly as Unionists in the same position.”

    No they wouldn’t have. We didn’t in the South and that’s a test case. Nationalists are not the “Most Oppressed People Ever”, but they continue to be the victims of injustices, and were the victims of oppression.

  • fair_deal

    Brian Boru

    You really aren’t have much luck with your use of stats today

    “Misleading because you are not telling us what % of the present workforce therein is Protestant/Catholic.”

    It shows clearly skewed trends in public recruitment. As shown in the example below of the NIHE is demonstrates a long-standing issue.

    “Redressing the balance may be a sort of discrimination,”

    The historical underrepresentation line I am afraid doesn’t work as the Civil cervice is at the appropriate balance
    Head of Department of Finance & Personnel
    (the chief reporting body of the Civil Service)
    P [56.7%] RC[43.3%]
    (although if the recruitment trends above continue this equilibrium will be lost.)

    Also if you take the example of the NIHE
    Northern Ireland Housing Executive
    P[48.9%] RC[51.1%]

    (Source Equality Commission of Northern Ireland Monitoring Report No.14).

    The NIHE already has an under-representation of the Protestant community so it skewed recruitment of 39.3% is making a poor situation worse.

    “the “Papists” are getting into the PSNI, and I know that makes the blood of some (not all ) Loyalists boil”

    No one has raised an objection to Catholics joining the PSNI on this thread. This comment is an attempt to create a sectarian narrative were it doesn’t exist.

  • Dec

    Alex Kane is a MOPE, Brian Boru is a MOPE. Any Taig who says there was anything other than state approved discrimination tantamount to apartheid is a MOPE. Any unionist who thinks that riots might be the manifestation of an undereducated, underfunded people who have been shafted by their own leaders is a MOPE.
    Yay for that word! It helps us to avoid debate and categorise our opponents as whingers!
    Almost as good as ‘whataboutery’ which, seems to me to be a rather neat way of ignoring accusations of hypocrisy or acknowledging our shared (and very grubby) history.

    Also Darth, Brian statistics skills might not be the best but is a 93% (as opposed to a 98%)Protestant police force really something to crow about?

  • “I treat Beano’s complaint about RUC recruiting in the same manner that I treat complaints from white racists about affirmative action in the United States.”

    So if you don’t believe in positive discrimination (which is different from affirmative action) you’re a racist – that would be hysterical if it wasn’t so insulting. I want to see more catholics in the police as perversely (as hinted at above), aside from the fact I don’t believe in discrimination against anyone (except thick people) – a representative and accepted police force can only strengthen the union. I just don’t think people should be admitted or refused on the grounds of religion.

    Jump up and down and cry “racist” or “Nazi” or whatever you will – I think I’d at least have a potential case for invoking Godwin’s Law.

    Besides, as I’ve said I can accept the discrimination as the price of progress but ignoring the fact that Catholics are often reluctant to join (or intimidated out of it) won’t help on that front. The same goes (to a lesser extent) for the civil service – there are other reasons that contribute to under-representation – including, I’d imagine, a reluctance to work for the ‘sectarian statelet’. Again I’m not denying there was discrimination, but to blame the whole situation on big bad protestants to legitimise discrimination against them now is absurd.

  • IJP

    Brayo basically wasn’t far off in the second post.

    Too many Unionists still have the mindset that the Republic is ‘their state’ and the North is ‘our state’.

    I wouldn’t underestimate Fermanagh Unionist‘s point about certain security installations, for example, but frankly there are just as many ‘concessions’ going to Unionists (a ‘DUP-approved victims’ commissioner’, a £12m language academy no one can justify, etc etc).

    Unionists would be much better advised to highlight Nationalist hypocrisy on equality, human rights, majority rule and so on, than simply committing the same hypocrisy themselves.

    Although, as an Alliance man, I’ll be only too pleased when they ignore that advice…

  • Brian Boru

    Darthrumsfeld, your community needs to end its nonsensical state of denial over how Catholics were treated by the Unionist government of 1921-72. It was like the Deep South of the US in its treatment of the minority community and you need to admit this and learn from these mistakes by supporting the quota-system for the PSNI. Unionism traditionally regarded the old RUC as “our force”, and see moves towards increasing the Catholic % in the PSNI to representative levels as “us losing the RUC”. This territorial mindset that somehow the Unionists have some birthright to totally dominate institutions of state in both ethos and composition is depressingly similar to the attitudes of Whites in the US Deep South with respect to their determination in the 1960’s to resist moves towards letting Blacks vote and letting Blacks into the police etc.

    Time to come into the 21st century, and to end the 17th century attitudes towards Catholics. They have rights as human-beings and the opposition to quotas in reality is opposition to relinquishing the former Unionist hold over the institutions and symbols of state. I am an Irish Catholic and I think I can understand the motives of fellow Irish Catholics north of the border.

  • Love Ulster (9 counties)

    Barnshee,

    I not sure what planet you live on but to accuse the nationalist people of genocide against

    those britsh (sic) citizens unfortunate enough to live near them

    is laughable at best, and completely ignorant at worst. I, like many Nationalists were appalled at Father Alec Reid’s cringe worthy comments regarding the entire unionist community, but at least he had the decency to apologise, something I don’t expect from you. We have all suffered a horrendous civil conflict but to accuse an entire community of genocide is as much irresponsible as it is inaccurate.

    Your earlier point with regards to nationality and citizenship:

    The “nationalist community” are it would seem are (sic) members of the (republic of ) Irish state who choose to reside in the United Kingdom.

    The nationalist community didn’t ‘choose’ anything. They just didn’t flee south when the country was severed at the neck, despite being left at the mercy of an unsympathetic government. So today we are not members of the Irish Republic who choose to reside in the UK, rather we are unwilling members of a historically hostile state, which was imposed on us by way of unfortunate political geography.

    Darth!

    You actually agree with Father Alec Reid! Or is that only when his spontaneous outbursts help ease the collective consciousness of unionism. There is no shoe and there is no other foot because unless the Irish planted people in Scotland or England against the will of the indigenous population, the situations can never be reversed.