Only Protestants Sectarian

Newt Emerson reflects on Dermot Ahern’s call for a non-sectarian protocol for politics in typically ascerbic fashion in today’s edition of The Irish Times (sub. req.). Do these protocols have any real value?Re-printed with permission from Newt:

In the wake of the Dublin riots, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has asked all political parties in Ireland to sign an anti-sectarianism pledge. Unionists will then refuse to co-operate with the Government initiative, proving that only Protestants are sectarian and restoring the balance of the universe.

Addressing a crowd of Sinn Féin second-preference voters in Dundalk this week, Mr Ahern said he wanted “a declaration that politicians or political parties will not resort to the gratuitous, populist narrative of Catholic versus Protestant or unionist versus nationalist for political gain”.

Instead, presidents will resort to the gratuitous, populist narrative of Nazis versus Jews for political gain while everyone except the unionists will resort to the gratuitous, populist narrative of British versus Irish for political gain.

Unionists will object because they are British, proving that only Protestants are sectarian and restoring the balance of the universe.

The minister has rejected claims that the proposed anti-sectarianism pledge covers the same ground as the 2002 Anti-Racist Protocol, which also included a commitment to respect all religious beliefs.

“The 2002 protocol was designed to imply that the No To Nice campaign was racist,” explained a Government spokesman yesterday.

“Implying that only Protestants are sectarian requires a completely separate approach.”

Sinn Féin has agreed to sign the pledge because only Protestants are sectarian. However, some parties in the South have expressed reservations, probably because Trevor Sargent is a Protestant.

A Fine Gael spokesman said his party had “for decades pursued an inclusive, non-divisive approach to politics because we’re all Catholic”.

A Labour Party spokesman said the minister “seemed to have forgotten” that the 2002 pledge also covered sectarianism, although this is understandable as Catholics are never sectarian anyway.

Mr Ahern said: “Politicians need to be conscious of the impact their statements can have, particularly in the run-up to the loyalist marching season in Northern Ireland.”

Fortunately, political statements in the run-up to the Easter Rising commemoration season have no impact whatsoever.

Questions remain over how unionist and nationalist parties in the North will avoid resorting to the gratuitous, populist narrative of unionist versus nationalist.

“We’ll just sign the pledge regardless, then complain when the unionists don’t,” said an SDLP spokesman yesterday. “That will prove that only Protestants are sectarian and restore the balance of the universe.”

A Sinn Féin spokesman added: “We’ll resort to the gratuitous, populist narrative of republicans versus everyone else. It’s not our fault if Protestants are too sectarian to do what they’re told.”

There are also concerns that unionists might deliberately undermine the whole project by signing the pledge and promising to uphold it with exactly as much sincerity as everyone else.

“That would be just typical of those cynical sectarian Protestants,” said a Government spokesman. “It wouldn’t be a typical tactic, admittedly, but it would certainly be typical Protestant sectarianism.”

So far there is little sign that unionists intend to call the minister’s bluff. “Dermot Ahern?” said a DUP spokesman yesterday. “What’s that sneaky Fenian up to now?”

  • eranu

    can someone post the article? im too tight to subscribe / i dont believe in paying money to read a web site……

  • Shore Road Resident

    While we’re busting subscriptions, can someone post Newt’s article from today’s Irish News? I’d like to see the reaction.

  • Pete Baker

    A snippet for now..

    Questions remain over how unionist and nationalist parties in the North will avoid resorting to the gratuitous, populist narrative of unionist versus nationalist.

    “We’ll just sign the pledge regardless, then complain when the unionists don’t,” said an SDLP spokesman yesterday. “That will prove that only Protestants are sectarian and restore the balance of the universe.”

    A Sinn Féin spokesman added: “We’ll resort to the gratuitous, populist narrative of republicans versus everyone else. It’s not our fault if Protestants are too sectarian to do what they’re told.”

    There are also concerns that unionists might deliberately undermine the whole project by signing the pledge and promising to uphold it with exactly as much sincerity as everyone else.

    “That would be just typical of those cynical sectarian Protestants,” said a Government spokesman. “It wouldn’t be a typical tactic, admittedly, but it would certainly be typical Protestant sectarianism.”

    So far there is little sign that unionists intend to call the minister’s bluff. “Dermot Ahern?” said a DUP spokesman yesterday. “What’s that sneaky Fenian up to now?”

  • smcgiff

    ‘can someone post the article? im too tight to subscribe / i dont believe in paying money to read a web site……’

    ‘While we’re busting subscriptions, can someone post Newt’s article from today’s Irish News? I’d like to see the reaction.’

    ONLY NATIONALISTS STINGY

    ;¬)

  • eranu

    cheers pete.

    smcgiff, you could be on to something. Tele and Newsletter websites free, Irishnews = subscription ! 🙂

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    That theory seems to be disproved by the free availability of Lá – http://www.nuacht.com – and Daily Ireland, http://www.dailyireland.com.
    People shouldn’t be too quick to jump to conclusions….

  • smcgiff

    People shouldn’t be too quick to receive insult…

  • eranu

    i was talking about papers people read 😀

  • George

    Another snippet from me..

    “Addressing a crowd of Sinn Féin second-preference voters in Dundalk this week, Mr Ahern said he wanted “a declaration that politicians or political parties will not resort to the gratuitous, populist narrative of Catholic versus Protestant or unionist versus nationalist for political gain”.

    Instead, presidents will resort to the gratuitous, populist narrative of Nazis versus Jews for political gain while everyone except the unionists will resort to the gratuitous, populist narrative of British versus Irish for political gain.

    Unionists will object because they are British, proving that only Protestants are sectarian and restoring the balance of the universe.”

  • piebald

    Another masterpiece by the Newt

    What a load of codswallop from Ahern.

    We need more straight talking around this place and not more porkies from those meant to be in charge.

    piebald

  • lib2016

    Why a voluntary code of conduct? Let’s make it law and lock the hate-mongers up. If we can do it for the racists then we can do it for the other supremacists out there!

  • Conor

    Have emailed the Irish News about charging as much as £7 a week to read their articles. Just got a load of waffly shite back from the editor about running costs or something. Stingy bastards

  • Rory

    Hang on a minute. If protestants can’t be sectarian towards catholics and vice-versa who the hell can we be sectarian about? There just aren’t enough Jews and Muslims to go round.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    It’s interesting that this topic is brought up. I am in a minority in 2 of my 3 modules of this semester at university.

    I am 1 of only 6 males and 1 of only 4 “Prods” in a class of approximately 35.

    The Sinn Fein voters, who I have a good relationship with incidentally-
    (because they are on the whole apolitical women who only vote for SF as their fathers/brothers etc support them)-
    see no contradiction with supporting a political mouthpiece of a murderous gang responsible for almost 2,000 murders, then asking myself and another DUP Assembly/Westminster voter in my classes:

    “Why do you support those Paisleyite bigots”.

    Surprisingly they didn’t even seem as annoyed when we said that we voted for UPRG (who stand as Independents) and PUP candidates in my friend’s case, in local council elections.

    The point I’m making is that I feel it is a perception in the nationalist community, perpetuated by SF/IRA, that my community are the “baddies” who “keep the sectarianism going”…would people on Slugger dispute or agree that this is the nationalist perception in working-class areas at least?

    I feel that this could not be further from the truth as the people of the Torrens Estate in North Belfast could vouch for, after being forced out of their homes by republicans to make way for Roman Catholics who needed housing – you can’t put that down to anything other than sectarianism and treating Protestants as 2nd-class citizens.

    Concerned Loyalist

  • smcgiff

    ‘I am 1 of only 6 males and 1 of only 4 “Prods” in a class of approximately 35.’

    Okay I’ve the male/female thing figured out and I’m with you. But how does one distinguish between “Prod” and “non Prod”?

    Instead of asking their religion could you not ask them what they’d like for breakfast?

    BTW, what course has a 6:1 Female to Male ratio?

  • The People’s Front of Judea

    ‘BTW, what course has a 6:1 Female to Male ratio?’

    and more to the point, where do ye’s head out after lectures?

    Incidentally that’s one of the main reasons why I went to uni in England – it’s far easier to work out who’s a different religion based on appearance so it’s easier to stick to yer own (7th Day Adventist since ye ask).

    Jesus, Uni should be about broadenin yer mind and havin new experiences. How anyone in your position could notice that ye were surrounded by anything other than nubile young ladies is beyond me.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    eranu6,
    I never brought politics up mate. My PUP-supporting mate and I were standing waiting outside class at the start of the year and a few of the girls were really laying into the
    “Orange bastards thinking they can walk down Whiterock”.

    We told them we weren’t bitter or sectarian, but that we were actually Protestants too so that they didn’t think we were tricking them into thinking we were anything else…happy now?

    Concerned Loyalist