Mope, Moping and Mopery…

MOPE is an acronym that derives from the title of an essay written by Professor Liam Kennedy a few years back. It comes with the sub title: THE HISTORICAL SYNDROME OF THE MOST OPPRESSED PEOPLE EVER. As a notional ‘syndrome’, it affects the capacity of otherwise rational individuals to see Northern Ireland’s problems in context with other global (and much more traumatic) events. It is rooted in the feeling that Ireland’s trauma is not like anyone else’s: it is deep and unto itself. As Kennedy explains in the opening paragraph, it betokens a strong feeling that “Ireland’s past is not a foreign country.”:

For the plain people, unionist as well as nationalist, it is familiar, static and reassuring. It sometimes seems, as Theodore Hoppen says, “as if time itself has lost the power to separate the centuries”. For unionists and protestants, even at the end of the 20th century, images of massacre, of siege, of insecure victory still carry a powerful charge. For catholics and nationalists, there are the 700 years of oppression at the hands of the English and, for some, the unfinished business of the British presence in Ireland. For all the emphasis by historians on complexities and discontinuities, there is a popular sense of deep continuities, of enduring patterns which stand outside of historical time.

Although the essay was written some years ago, the syndrome continues to this day: with each side prone to advertise its own suffering to the exclusion of all others. And indeed that of those in other places, such as Srebrenica, Darfur, East Timor, Congo, Uganda and Rwanda.

And it is prone to affect more than just the extremes. As Kennedy remarks of Parnell:

Reports of the “Bulgarian Atrocities” in the later 1870s had excited and troubled the sensibilities of liberal Britain. Throwing this concern back in the face of Gladstone and his fellow liberals, the emerging leader of the Home Rule movement pronounced that Ireland had suffered much more at the hands of the English than the Bulgarians at the hands of the Turks.

Inevitably is it is a regular feature of discussion on Slugger still, and is likely to remain so until some kind of stable democratic settlement kicks in, and, much as they have in the Republic, our politicians final have license to take decisions of the things that actually matter to people on the ground.

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  • Mick, in your last paragraph there are you suggesting that a devolved executive will help alleviate the MOPEry in Northern Ireland and on slugger specifically? Nice to see optimism isn’t dead.

  • Mick Fealty

    Both beano. We can live in hope! But I suppose I mean that, despite it supposedly mythical capacity to transform the world) the blogosphere ain’t going to put to rest what politicians can.

  • Martin

    As an English observer, sure there is “Mopery” here and in Irish political discourse generally, but I really don’t think that Irish people are unique in that. Wherever there are two ethnic/religious groups in conflict in a small area then these things come out. Look at the Israelis and Palestinians. When you get an Indian and a Pakistani in the same room a competition ensues as to who was hardest done by under the Raj and at Partition.

    Mick’s optimism is not wholly unjustified but I think that it is the rapprochement between the two traditions that will bring an end to “Mopery”. The only evidence I can give for this rosy view was my time in India.

    In India I taught in a school which had, every October, a parade to honour the members of the school (there were several) who had won VC’s and the like in the Two World Wars, and before, serving with the British Army. One of the MC’s was proudly displayed in a cabinet in the assembly hall together with copies of the VC citations. In January and August however they held similar parades to observe republic day and independence day and there was a small exhibition in the school about some old boys who had fought against the British with the Japanese.

    When I discussed history with my Indian friends there was none of the sense of a “history outside time” that Ireland has. I think there were two reasons for this. Firstly, and obviously, the lack of any British presence in India these days. But, equally importantly, there was also a mutual respect for both strands of the nation’s past which I think (in the opinion of an outsider) is something vital going forward in Ireland.

    Obviously, not my place to lecture from across the Irish Sea though…

  • Rory

    There is the difference of course that while many oppressed aspiring nations and peoples throughout the world have sympathised with, identified with and taken inspiration from the struggle for independent Irish nationhood, none but none anywhere ever had the slightest inclination to sympathise or identify with Unionism or to regard it with other than contempt as an oppressive reactionary force. Nor is any fancy PR work or tricky spin-doctoring likely to change that view.

  • Fraggle

    Mick, typo on Srebrenica above.

  • DK

    Rory – what is the point you are trying to make?

    I am reading your comment as: “Unionists bad, nationalists good”. Which has little to do with the thread. Or am I mistaken?

  • Mick Fealty

    Fraggle – Thanks.

  • The Beach Tree


    Is the accusation of Mopery itself not a fairly obviously example of whataboutery, except with an unhealthy side order of snide?

    • Person 1 states – We’re hard done by because of x, y and z.
    • Person 2 – Oh you’re just a MOPE aren’t you. I’m not interested.

    The underlying taunt is that the Jews/Bosnians/Native americans/kurds/fill in as appropriate/ suffer far worse than you (which of course may or may not be true, but is essentially irrelevant), so YOUR suffering, to whatever degree, has no validity, so shut up and stop whinging.

    Sometimes the person is even asked to be grateful they aren’t the oppressed group cited, and thank their lucky scars (sic) their community suffered deaths in four figures, rather than seven.

    So unless someone is guilty of pretty terrible exaggeration (“the H-Blocks were just like Darfur”), the accusation is actually pretty worthless. No?

  • Obviously there are plenty of cases on these boards where people exaggerate historical oppression. However I feel a serious problem in discussion is any assertion of grievence is countered with an accusation of MOPEry, which beyond sarcastically bellittling the grievence, actually seeks to use the existence elsewhere of “MOPEry” to deny the grievence ever occurred.

    Often you see a comment like “I was stopped at a check point and slapped around, this is what I had to live with because my name had a fada in it” quickly countered with a response like “Oh here we go another classic Irish MOPE fest”. This is quite frustrating to see as it basically stating that a. other people exaggerate, so that never happened to you, or b. other people have suffered worse than you so shut up your complaining.

    Accusations of MOPEry against genuine grievences only serve to stifle understanding and the building of sympathy. We could do with a lot more sympathy in this country in general.

  • Oooh… snap TBT

  • Mick Fealty

    I agree that its use as an accusation is usually poor. But as a diagnostic it’s rich. Not least our capacity to edit out “complexities and discontinuities” that don’t fit our own prefered narratives.

    As Edna Longley puts it:

    They are not based on historical analysis or historical thinking. They are literary or literary-critical notions, which yield diminishing returns. In some ways, too, they are very much post-1922 narratives, shaped by nationalist ideology and cultural stereotype. I think, ideally, we need to unravel (and the process of unravelling has begun) those narratives.

    I don’t see this so much as an individual fault, so much as collective failure to take account of the cumulative effect of events.

  • qubol

    I agree beach tree, good point – so many posters band about the term to stifle debate and avoid the questions. Like you said – it can be validly but most people are lazy with it.

  • Colm

    In the context of Northern Ireland when an individual from one section of the community mockingly accuses the others of being ‘MOPE’s , what they actually mean is that ‘WE are more MOPE’d against than you” – it’s the kettle calling the pot, black.

  • The Beach Tree


    It’s probably always a good thing to analyse narrative critically (though some people could do with a primer on the difference between critical and cynical) but to me the use of MOPERY as a charge on slugger is almost universily poor. It challenges the narrator not on his accuracy or his fairness, but his right to speak at all.

    It’s the literary equivalent of the sarcastic “Oh, my heart bleeds”. It immediatly brings personal dislike into the intercourse, and turns opposition to animosity, opponents to enemies.

    Frankly it’s as bad as bigot as a word in this forum, except a fair number people in Northern Ireland certainly are bigots, and relatively few if any frankly genuinely believe they belong to the most oppressed people ever.

  • smcgiff

    While some associations are ludicrous i.e. suggesting similarities to the Nazi’s, I’d like to offer a quote from Kavanagh’s poem, ‘EPIC’

    ‘Till Homer’s ghost came whispering to my mind.
    He said: I made the Iliad from such
    A local row. Gods make their own importance.’

  • páid

    This is a great discussion, and could only realistically take place on a blog. In many ways, as individuals, we are our memories. See what happened to Pauly last night on The Sopranos when his past was taken away? Ireland is in many ways it’s collective memory. Describe anywhere in have to start with a history lesson. Whether that collective memory is based on facts or not though is very debatable.

  • I’ve no time for people who exalt their own sense of victimhood, or try to morbidly glom onto the suffering of others, but I think that the diagnosis of MOPEry is used far too frequently.

    On weblogs it’s simply a tactic for forestalling discussion, and not such a big deal. Far worse, however, when it’s applied to an entire community, as it serves to maintain a sense that the group in question is either sick, infantile, or both.

  • Mick Fealty


    “Ireland is in many ways it’s collective memory”.

    Except what Kennedy is calling out here is the selectivity and ahistoricality of that collective memory.

    Jung posits the idea of a ‘collective unconscious’. Whatever you think of Jung and his school of thought, it makes a certain useful fit for this term ‘collective memory’. Useful, because as it implies, much in Ireland’s ‘collective memory’ is functionally inaccessable to those us skating over the surface.

    Not simply that but with his concept of the self comes the idea of the shadow:

    “The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves.”

    This seems to parallel (or perhaps was drawn from) a certain line of thought within Marx’s theory of dialectic.


    There is the difference of course that while many oppressed aspiring nations and peoples throughout the world have sympathised with, identified with and taken inspiration from the struggle for independent Irish nationhood, none but none anywhere ever had the slightest inclination to sympathise or identify with Unionism or to regard it with other than contempt as an oppressive reactionary force.

    I take it Rory has travelled the length and breadth of the planet to gauge opinion?
    See, this to me is MOPE, since it’s basically arguing that the natonalist experience was of such a level that news of it has spread around the globe eliciting sympathy.
    Rory seems oblivious to the fact that just as most people in Northern Ireland know little of, and care even less about Srebrinica, Rwanda or Darfur, to name but a few, most people in thise places have exactly the same ignorance when it comes to Ireland.
    Trust me, you only need to travel into mainland Europe to understand how little people know off, or care about Ireland.

    As for being a unionist, I can state with authority that wherever I go when people ask about my background they are fascinated and universally sympathetic to my position as a unionist, given that it’s usually the first time they have ever heard of unionists.

    Except for Sardinia.
    I happened to be in a little moutain tavern in Sardinia, I was with a girl from the republic of Ireland and we were talking.
    A local picked up that we were from Ireland, one Unionist and one from the Republic.
    He turns to me and askes, are you the unionist?
    thinking I was about to get an earful I said that yes, I was.
    He put his arms around me and gave me a hug, saying “we’re the same, we understand your position”.
    Turns out Sardinia has it’s own issues,and they were more undertanding to unionism than many here would like.

    The point being.
    Until you have gone around the world asking people their opinions, don’t presume to speak for them, you will more than likely get it wrong.

    I use the term MOPE, and I’m going to continue using it, especially since there has been so much of it in recent days.

  • stephen

    it does seem that nationalists are guilty of mopery almost exclusively over the last thirty years and counting.

    I am sick sore and tired listening to the whingeing about housing, and the civil rights movement, dont nationalists understand prods were discriminated against too? Were there no prods on the civil rights movement originally?

    Oh of course, we should ‘move on’, but only when it suits nationalists…..funny it is never time to move on about bloody sunday, and the formation of NI…etc

    At present protestants are being discriminated against in the PSNI recruitment policy, a policy set up because of IRA threats against catholic members of the police force in years gone by, and in the civil service.

    Anyway, there I go moping again….ha!

  • Given that militant unionists have sidelined softer voices over the years (think 1920s Belfast pogrom, intimidation of Sinn Fein and Labour candidates in Belfast), the primacy of the religious divide, the presence of the state’s military on one side, MOPE is not at all unreasonable and can be exagerated by both sides. Willie Frazer’s FAIR mob make out htat South Armagh was a happy place until a few foreign Fenians infiltrated it. There has always been an international dimension to this conflict. Certainly the Black and Tan war and the Belfast pogroms were seen as part and parcel of the war against Bolshevism, Prussianism and Papism by the powers that be. Whatever about Parnell’s quip about Bulgaria, a far away country of which they knew nothing and cared less, the writings of James Connolly on “gallant” Belgium and the humanitarian work of Roger Casement would have put paid to any notions that the Irish were the mope. The atrocities against the Boers were also prominently featured in nationalist Ireland and John McBride and others would have aided that process. Because the Belgians were savages and because the Indians were massacred at Amritsar does not mean the B Specials were angels.

  • Stephen,

    Thank you your words are a perfect illustration of the point I was making earlier.

    “it does seem that nationalists are guilty of mopery almost exclusively over the last thirty years and counting.

    I am sick sore and tired listening to the whingeing about housing, and the civil rights movement, dont nationalists understand prods were discriminated against too? Were there no prods on the civil rights movement originally?”

  • The Beach Tree


    “I use the term MOPE, and I’m going to continue using it…”

    That’s entirely your perogative, TAF, but don’t be surprised if people give your views less credence because of it.


  • Bog warrior


    I refer you to comments 8 & 9 on this thread.



    but don’t be surprised if people give your views less credence because of it.

    Would you ever fuck away off and patronise someone else?
    Don’t flatter yourself that I come here to garnner approval.

  • stephen

    bog warrior, the point I am making is that nationalist politicans used and manipulated the whole mopery tactic exclusively in their campaigns at each election/debate etc.

    Do you or others not accept this?

    eg..sfira saying ‘they dont want a fenian about the place’

    2nd class citizens, etc…all complete bollocks.

    This is the point; Unionists have been bombarded with this overhype about being discriminated and so on…

  • Martin

    There is a sort of dualistic theology on both sides of the divide. I would argue that the English have been on the side of the devil through nearly all of its involvement in Ireland but that it was on the side of the Angels in, say, the Second World War. That would, in my view, be about right.

    In an international context, therefore, Mopery is most present when (particularly those on the Nationalist side) seek to argue the merits of whomsoever their opponent’s enemy is. The contortions of Nationalists in trying to draw a moral equivalence between Nazi Germany and the Western Allies (for example) or the suggestion that an essentially defensive battle like Trafalgar was an “imperialist adventure” that was on these boards a few months ago. In a culture which regards the English as “the Eternal Enemy” and beyond moral salvation, its longest opponents (the Irish) are bound to consider themselves as the most opressed people ever. You’re bound to be when you think of yourself as living next door to the devil.

  • The Beach Tree


    “Would you ever fuck away off and patronise someone else?”

    Is that the best reposte you’ve got? I would tell you to grow up and debate the issues, but to be honest, I don’t care if you do or not.

    And if you think I’m patronising you, well, that’s tough. Reacting like a spoilt teenager is hardly likely to get me to reconsider, is it?

    “Don’t flatter yourself that I come here to garnner approval. ”

    Don’t flatter yourself that I care why you’re here, or even if you’re here or not. I made the comment because I wanted to, because I considered it approporate to the intial remark you made. How you react may interest your counsellor, but not me.



    How you react may interest your counsellor, but not me.


  • The Beach Tree




  • Brian Boru

    I think the term “mopery” or “mope” is just a way of dismissing and derising a people’s well-founded sense of grievance. Nationalist Ireland is not claiming to have been necessarily the most oppressed people ever. Certain in 2006 Northern Nationalists not really oppressed – under this UK govt at least. Clearly it would be ludicrous to compare the treatment of Northern Catholics under the Old Stormont with the Nazi treatment of the Jews, but what about Cromwellian massacres such as at Wexford, Drogheda and then all over the country, and the mass deportation of Irish Catholics to the West of Ireland or to the slave plantations in the Caribbeen? Or the mass expulsion of Catholics – especially in Ulster – to make way for British settlers? Even before the 17th century and after the British history of the treatment of the Irish majority community is a very bloodstained one. In the 16th century, Elizabeth I’s generals such as Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex (father of Robert Devereux) was notorious – with Sir Walter Raleigh – for the slaughter of helpless Catholic civilians in Ulster. The entire population of Rathlin Island was put to the sword, and evidence is there that Essex especially relish the slaughter of children. Furthermore, in Rasharkin, 400 men, women and children were butchered. Then you can go forward to shortly before the 1798 rebellion. To many Northern Unionists, 1798 was simply about Catholics killing Protestants. This is the result of a highly successful propaganda campaign by the then British authorities who sought to divide and rule. The period before 1798 – especially here in Wexford – was marked by pitchcapping, cabin burning, rape, pillage, mutilation and killings of civilians. Pitch-capping involved placing tar on the victims head before setting it alight. One of the Protestant (yes) leaders of the rebellion in Wexford, Anthony Perry, joined it because he was a pitch-cap victim who was lucky to survive. All the skin on the top of his head and some of his face was burnt off. This was carried out in a County which before then, had very few United Irishmen. After this tens of thousands joined up.

    What is also written out of Unionist history by them themselves is the fact that some of these events were paralleled by General Lake in Ulster against the Presbyterian community because many of them supported the United Irishmen. 200+ uears of Orange propaganda has written out the Protestant role in 1798 and the attrocities by the then Crown forces against their community, in the name of the priority of presenting the Irish Catholics in their primeval rule as the great ‘threat to Ulster Protestants’. What happened in 1798 stems from incidents like the above, and provide a better context for understanding regrettable events like Scullabogue (50 killed not hundreds following the defeat at New Ross and the British massacre of its people).

    I welcome the British apology by Blair for the Famine. I look forward to many more apologies to come. It is part of the healing-process in relations between our 2 islands. Next on the list should be the plantations, followed by the Penal Laws, and Cromwell’s massacres of our people. I’m waiting Tony/Gordon.

  • stephen


    what about an apology from the republic to northern Unionists about the years of supplying arms and refuge to the many ira terrorists?

  • Martin

    I think its the fact that you expect an apology for events which you didn’t experience from people who didn’t perpetrate them that makes you a MOPE Brian.

    I’m English, I was born in 1974, and am part Polish. I’m not screaming for an apology from the Germans and the Russians and you should not be waiting for one from us. So far as I am concerned offering any sort of apology to Europe’s fastest growing economy and one of its richest states would.

    If you want an apology, can I have an apology from Irish nationalists for their aquiecence (at best eg De Valera’s condolences) or complicity (at worst eg Frank Ryan) in the German occupation of my Grandfather’s country btween 1939 and 1945? Fair’s fair.

  • stephen

    Martin, of course not.

    Irish nationalists never done anything wrong, it was the British who done everything.

    So we are lead to believe….

    Well, Brian?

  • Garibaldy


    All those things you list by the British were certainly bad, but on an international scale, there are many worse examples. The treatment of Poland would be one example. A good case can be made for Serbia too, in a timeframe virtually as long as Ireland. Even by virtue of saying Irish catholics were deported to the slave plantations you put in perspective how comparatively little these events were in the light of other examples. I also think that 1798 should be viewed as much as a civil war about democracy as about achieving independence. Although in fairness the scale of violence in 1798 far outweighs many similar instances throughout Irish and contemporary European history. Kevin Whelan’s Tree of Liberty and Tom Dunne’s Rebellions are well worth reading on Wexford. Whelan strongly, and to most historians convincingly, argues for an active UI movement in Wexford from the early 1790s, while Dunne backs up the old picture.

    Speaking of the European perspective, for Martin to say that Trafalgar was not part of a war fought in the interests of empire is absurd. The Napoleonic wars (as opposed to the Revolutionary wars which preceded them) were kicked off in large part because Britain violated agreements to evacuate areas stragetically important for the Indian trade route.

    On the concept of the MOPE, I think it can and has played an important corrective role to some of the more outrageous claims made about Irish history, but equally it cannot and should not be used to smear at legimitate issues, such as bloody sunday.

    On Martin’s point about Frank Ryan. This was a man who had bled against fascism in Spain, who was in serious ill health when the germans took him from his Spain and a certain death sentence for their own interests. Once he got to Berlin, he tried to minimise the impact any invasion would have on the Irish people. i think he did the best he could under incredibly difficult circumstances.

  • Martin

    Maybe Brian wants Tony Blair to apologise to himself and his wife as well. After all, his ancestors and Cherie’s were in Ireland in the C17th too…

  • Martin

    Garibaldi. We’ll have to agree to differ regarding Trafalgar but I have to concede your point regarding Frank Ryan. His was the first name that cropped into my head and he does deserve credit for his actions in the Spanish Civil War and was, as you say, very ill.

    Perhaps Sean Russell is more deserving of my ire…


    Aye, mention of Sean Russell raises an important point.

    Everytime Republicans call Unionists Nazis, we should’t take offence, rather see it is a coded signal that they’d be more than happy to do a deal with us.


  • Garibaldy


    I’m inclined to agree on Sean Russell.

  • Mick Fealty

    TBT and TAF:

    This has the makings of a good discussion, take the handbags outsite please!!


    Ahferfuxsake Mick, it’s already finished.

    Anyway, I’m away to the bogs to fix my make up.

  • Bog warrior


    I disagree that Nationalist politicians used and manipulated the whole mopery tactic exclusively. Surely individual Unionist politicians/commentators were/are as guilty of the accusation of Mopery as individual Nationalist politicians/commentators?
    I would agree with L Kennedy’s overall point that we need to be very careful about how we use language when discussing very emotive historical events. I would agree with other posters that the mopery jibe has now become overplayed as a tactic to deny/deflect attention from historical facts that may not suit a person’s argument.

  • Clueless

    Thanks for demystifying the acronym anyway, Mick. Unfortunately from now on whenever the term MOPE is used in posts all I shall hear in my head is Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons’s voice: “Most oppressed people. Ever.”

    Perhaps a healthy way of seeing things.

  • stephen

    nah bog warrior.

    Doesnt wash.

    SFIRA used the mope tactic, alongwith the sdlp hanging off their tails.

    remember the ‘equality agenda’?

    Ring any bells? equality agenda, what a load of shit and sheer hypocrisy from republican murderers.

  • Brian Boru

    Martin, while I share the horror at De Valera’s condolences they can hardly be blamed for the Nazi occupation of Poland. On Frank Ryan he was an IRA member and what he was doing certainly had no support from the Irish govt. If you are looking for someone to blame look at Germany and her allies, and not a small neutral country of whose people 45,000 joined the British army in WW2 to fight Nazism.

    Stephen that is just hearsay and is not backed up by any real evidence. Such allegations partly stem from the Arms Trial where the accusations against some ministers were that they had *tried* to smuggle in £100,000 worth of guns for the PIRA. Jack Lynch stated in the Dail that none had gotten through.

    If you’re looking for someone to blame for the IRA arsenal then Libya is where you should be looking not the Republic. There has never been any convincing evidence of Southern govt support for the Provisionals. On the contrary internment was used against them in the 70’s. The Northern internment was used almost exclusively against Republicans – in my opinion partly reflecting the collusion then endemic between Brits and Loyalist terror gangs. It would seem odd for the South to be arming the PIRA while interning them. Your accusations are baseless and based largely on hearsay.

    I still await my apology.

  • Bog warrior


    Read my post. I didn’t say that Nationalists never used the mope tactic as you refer to it but rather that commnentators on all sides were/are prone to indulging it when it suits. Any reply to that point rather than another infantile venting of spleen?

  • Martin

    Although I’m a history graduate, and love the subject, sometimes I think it would be better for the mental well-being of most of the world not to teach it and just start again…I can see why people get wound up about ID vs Darwin but the thing about history is that it is all about interpretation. There can be no definitive facts in history.

    Two people saw a bus pass down a street 10 minutes ago, one of who was splashed by it going through a passing puddle, one of whom went home on it. For one the bus was an objectivly “Positive” actor for andother it was an objectively “negative” actor. Whose is the “truer” interpretation of that event? Depends on the subject. All history is thus and, unless you remain directly effected, there is no point in getting wound up about it.

  • stephen

    dream on Brian.

    There are countless cases of the rep harbouring murdering IRA scum.

    As for Charlie and the rest of his buddies, dont try and turn it into a debate on internment.

    Everyone knows the rep armed the IRA in the early seventies.

    You should apologise to yourself in the mirror everyday for being a stupid boy.

  • Martin

    Brian. You haven’t addressed why I, or Tony Blair, should apologise to you for someting that didn’t happen to you and that neither I nor Tony Blair did. You are (presumably) a prosperous person living in a (certainly) prosperous country.

    Maybe I should feel guily for not assisting in Rwanda or Darfur but I can’t and I won’t feel guilt for something that happened generations and even centuries before I was born. Even Bloody Sunday happened 2 years before I drew breath. Given my total interaction with Ireland has been as a tourist and as a net recipient of my taxes through the EU and in the North my existence has been a profitable one for Ireland. So why apologise?

    You’ll be waiting a long time for an apology because you don’t deserve one. Maybe your ancestors did but that won’t bring them back any more than a German apology will resurrect the 20% of the polish population who perished in the last war. Move on.

  • Mick Fealty


    You make good enough points, but if keep up the personal abuse and I will have to bounce you!

    Whatever you think is the provocation is, the best way to counter it is to concentrate on maximising the quality of your own points rather than giving into emotional reaction.

  • The Beach Tree


    You’ll have to advise me which of my comments were out of order. I thought my reaction to being asked to ‘fuck away off’ was rather restrained.

    Or would I garner such ‘respect’ and ‘evenhandness’ if I just allowed the bile to rise and suggested you do the same? No, I didn’t think so…

  • stephen

    bog, I disagree.

    My point is that nationalist politicans REPEATEDLY used this tactic, and Unionist politicans always found themeselves having to defend against this non truth.

    The ‘equality agenda’ is the best example.

    The only thing you could say about Unionists would be we wanted and still want justice for the murder of hundreds by so few.

  • stephen

    mick, its friday, and I am enjoying mesel…

  • Brian Boru

    “dream on Brian.

    There are countless cases of the rep harbouring murdering IRA scum.”

    We have an independent judiciary and they decide who gets extradited not me. PIRA membership is still illegal in the Republic and the jails were full of them during the Troubles.

    “As for Charlie and the rest of his buddies, dont try and turn it into a debate on internment.

    Everyone knows the rep armed the IRA in the early seventies.”

    Prove it. I don’t accept what you are saying. We never armed the Provos. I accept that around the time of partition, that Collins armed the Northern IRA in the 20’s because Catholics were being pogromed out of their homes by Loyalist mobs. But I reject totally the assertion that in the recent Troubles we armed the Provisionals. We did not and unless you have evidence you should withdraw your accusation.

    “You should apologise to yourself in the mirror everyday for being a stupid boy.”

    LOL who is that comment addressed to? Are you looking in the mirror right now? 🙂

  • fakin kant

    The goodness in this discussion ended about 37 posts ago. Probably 38 by the time i post this.

  • Bog warrior


    Unionist politicians/commentators have used the “mope tactic” in the past and will continue to do so when it suits.
    As to the equality agenda surely if implemented equality legislation should guarantee rights for all citizens regardless of their religion politics, ethnicity etc.? Or have i picked you up wrong on this? What is it exactly about the equality agenda that makes it the best example of Nationalist mopery?

  • Brian Boru

    “Brian. You haven’t addressed why I, or Tony Blair, should apologise to you for someting that didn’t happen to you and that neither I nor Tony Blair did. You are (presumably) a prosperous person living in a (certainly) prosperous country.”

    Well I’m not really calling on ordinary British people to apologise. It’s the govt I am calling for an apology from on behalf of their institution which has had a life of many centuries. It is constant even if the personalities involved are not.

  • Martin

    But what has the British Government done to you personally Brian? I can understand the families of the victims of Bloody Sunday, or collusion, deserving an apology, but you?

    In the winter of 1069-1070 William the Conqueror laid waste to the North of England. It was depopulatied and some say it never really recovered. The vibrant cultural centre which produced Bede and Cuthbert was ruined.

    So, should the people of Yorkshire and Northumbria be looking for an apology from the English Govt too?

  • Brian Boru

    Martin, I think that the 11th century may be going back rather far. A difference here is that the state of Normandy no longer exists so it’s not as if you can ask the Duke of Normandy for an apology.

    The 17th century is far more recent. The Famine was in 1846-51. The attrocities after the Easter Rising are far more more recent. I think the Irish have a special case to ask for apologies – as do the victims of the Nazi-style state that was the British empire.


    I think the Irish have a special case to ask for apologies – as do the victims of the Nazi-style state that was the British empire.

    OK, how is that not saying that they are the most oppressed people ever?

  • IJP

    Another similar syndrome is WECH – ‘Wildly Exaggerated Contribution to History’.

    Reference Nationalism’s ‘heroes of 1916’ (terrorists who stabbed brave Irishmen of all traditions away fighting a war on all our behalves in the back) or Unionism’s ‘saving the world from Nazi-ism’ (people of NI’s contribution to WW2 could be more accurately described as ‘disgracefully inept’ and, where that contribution was positive, it was often not ‘Unionist’).

    Mind, at least we can manage WECH on a cross-community basis too… ‘George Best Airport’ indeed…

  • Garibaldy


    I’ve noticed a number of people calling the 1916 people terrorists. By what definition? i don’t think they were trying to terrorise people into giving them what they wanted.

    And how was WWI fought on all our behalves? A war so unpopular with Irish people that the government was too frightened to introduce conscription. Although I will agree with you on participation rates in WWII. In both world wars, recruitment rates in what is now NI were below similar areas in Britain.

    At least George Best scored great goals. Which is more than you can say about John Lennon airport in liverpool.

  • Martin

    Rubbish Brian. William I was King of England as well as Duke of Normandy. The Crown of England still exists. The British Government represents it. So why no apology for the North of England?

    The 11th century may be further off than the 17th but they both have in common the fact that there is no-one left alive who remembers any of it. You would even be hard pressed to find anyone with a meaningful recollection of 1916. To us, the 11th.

    As for your comparison of the British Empire to the Nazi State, I refer you to my 12.51 post as a refutation. India, Pakistan, South Africa, Malaysia and many other countries accross mark their former membership of the Empire by being in the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth may mean very very little in a meaningful sense these days but I don’t see Germany and occupied Europe getting together every 4 years for some athletic events and a chinwag. Your Nazi comparison is therefore demonstrably false and based on Anglophobia than any objective historical awareness the world outside Ireland.

    The bottom line is, Brian, you weren’t there, so you don’t deserve and apology and I will vote against any government that even considers offering one. If everyone descended from someone who had something nasty happen to them the world would never stop demanding apologies from one another.

    The Irish are about as deserving in that respect as the Serbs deserve an apology from the Turks, or the Bosnians from the Serbs, or the Poles from the Russians, or the Armenians etc etc etc. Your post backs up the point I made in my 2.34 post perfect ally.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    BB: “I think the Irish have a special case to ask for apologies – as do the victims of the Nazi-style state that was the British empire. ”

    TAFKABO: “OK, how is that not saying that they are the most oppressed people ever?”

    Simple… its SMOPE — SECOND Most Oppressed people ever. It keeps the primacy of the Holocause, therefore, it can’t be MOPE, since it alludes to a more oppressed people.

    I, personally, try not to go past the Civil Rights Movement — there are sufficient parallels (attacks on rights marchers, bullying police, gerrymandered votind districts, etc.) that it fits without getting into the level of insult that comes with insinuations of death camps.

  • Martin

    Dread – Nationalists in the North alive today deserve an apology. What has happened up there in living memory is shocking. People from Wexford, on the other hand, whose state has received grants from the British Government via the EU that have helped keep them in comfortable prosperity for over a decade, do not.

  • lib2016


    It’s not about who deserves an apology but about whether it would be good for the state of whatever passes for a soul in a collective consciousness like the British state.

    Just as it was good that certain elements in loyalism have expressed regret at the hurt done to people, as have Adams and other for wrongs committed by republicans.

    We can all see the damage done to themselves by unionists when they persist in their denials of what happened in their nasty little attempt at a police state, just as the Catholic church is having to face up to the damage done by it’s attempt at setting up a confessional state in the South.

    Far better to admit the wrongs we have all done each other now but it will happen eventually. History won’t be denied forever.

  • Martin

    Lob2016, a rememberance or an act of contrition I can live with, an apology to living people to whom we have done nothing I can’t.

    I have never denied that the wrongs to which Brian Boru refers occured. It is his laughable insitence on an apology to people in the 26 Counties alive today that I object to.

    Shouldthe British Govt. also be apologising to a bronzed Australian enjoying a beer on a sundrenched beach in New South Wales for sending his ancestor there as a convict? Should he be apologising to the discriminated against a teenaged aborigine who finds himself in prison for the umpteenth time or should the British Government? The chain of causation between them and me is long broken…

  • Paul

    I always took MOPERY to mean the practice of using some imagined or relatively minor grievance to excuse savage violence, a more general version of WHATABOUTERY.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Martin: “Nationalists in the North alive today deserve an apology. What has happened up there in living memory is shocking. People from Wexford, on the other hand, whose state has received grants from the British Government via the EU that have helped keep them in comfortable prosperity for over a decade, do not.”

    No arguement from me on the former… not much on the latter — I generally agree with you on this… a near first, but hey, common ground is common ground, with the one reservation: that so much of history gets marched past folks doors every summer that almost nothing gets to fade into the background, so to speak. So much of history’s dark side has been retain as “culture” that nothing goes away or let go of.

    Ireland has recovered from English mismanagement and that’s a good thing. As you say, an apology now would have only symbolic value at best. As you say, a generalized rememberance or some such.

  • stephen

    right on dread. they should bring back hanging too.

    Oh, and another hunger strike would be nice…..

  • J McConnell


    > Prove it. I don’t accept what you are saying. We never armed the Provos.

    You obviously missed the whole Arms Trial business..

    Or the role senior southern pols had in the creation of the provos…

    Or the fact the the provos had no problem hiding tons of arms in dumps in border areas, in areas were a farmer even in the backend of nowhere could not keep a dog without a dog license without the local guards knowing about it, yet tons of arms, ammunition and explosives seemed to be very easy to hide…

  • Brian Boru

    “You obviously missed the whole Arms Trial business..”

    Jack Lynch made it clear in the Dail that the guns relevant to the Arms Trial never actually reached NI. The charges were not of smuggling guns to NI, but rather of attempting to do so.

    “Or the role senior southern pols had in the creation of the provos…”

    What role? Hearsay. Old wives’ tales!

    “Or the fact the the provos had no problem hiding tons of arms in dumps in border areas, in areas were a farmer even in the backend of nowhere could not keep a dog without a dog license without the local guards knowing about it, yet tons of arms, ammunition and explosives seemed to be very easy to hide…”

    Some of these arms dumps are quite elaborate from what I have heard in the media.

  • bag’oshite

    what gives the right for a tup’enny hap’enny food scientist as in the case of (laughs) prof liam kennedy to diagnose a whole culture with a syndrome? surely this is not his remit. thats like freud trying to diagnose the whole of austria with guilt complex because of hitler. i got my doctorate by bullshittin and i’m proud of it. only difference is i dont try and be political for a few quid soundbite on radio or in the unionist papers

  • Garibaldy


    The fact that the arms dealer ripped off the representatives buying arms doesn’t change the fact that senior southern politicians were involved in helping the provos get up and running. Unless of course everyone from captain kelly to john kelly the ex-mla to others who say they were approached to journalists and historians like justin o’brien are all spinning the same wives tales for completely different agendas.


    I’m not sure why you’re describing Liam as a food scientist. He used to keep a check of royalties from a book on his door for 86p. I don’t think he does what he does for the money.

  • bag’oshite

    his degree was in food science then he moved into new fields scuse the pun. i dont care if he did it for the money but i do know he did it for the unionist backslaps. as we all know if people read your pseudo intellectual ramblings then there must be a book on the way. i cant wait for it to be given away free in the news letter this week. i’ve ran out of tiolet paper!

  • Garibaldy


    Didn’t know about the food science thing. I think Liam does what he does because that’s what his principles dictate to him.

    Do you not think the MOPE thing accurately diagnosed a mindset amongst some Irish people, which refuses to acknowledge that Irish suffering is not unique? I remember a debate here a while back about the famine where some people were dangerously close to suggesting that no people had ever suffered like the Irish. I have a lot more time for Liam Kennedy than I do for many cultural commentators on Ireland, particularly those who try to fit it into some kind of postcolonial framework.

  • bag’oshite

    irish suffering is not unique nor is any kind of suffering. i am a gobshite by practise in theory i am a psychologist. i do for wages what everybody does for fun in a bar. we watch and have our own independant thought on the subject in view. i know people have suffered worse deaths than i or you could imagine.for example the hu’tu and tutsi massacres, while the UN watched.
    but when blame is passed and then at the same time deny culpability. the only truth is death. bodies on the ground never lie. i am a bullshitter by trade not my job to tell delia smith how to cook an eeg

  • bag’oshite

    scuse the above typo watchin star trek. egg

  • bag’oshite

    you seem to me to be a very astute and intelligent person, i was recently informed about this site from a post grad that i was banging so i have no point in reference to previous statements made about the quote “famine”. ahmm there was no irish famine it was a halocaust a final solution to a problem.
    ireland is green and surrounded on all sides by sea. but when your hungry and have to feed a family and a soupy is under the realm of his prod master and blocks off all access to the sea from his masters land with a flintlock and the good grazing land is for the prods in the north only,! who have armed militia guarding them from the papist hordes. 2 million irish catholics had no option but to starve. but they forgot about cholera which took man woman child regardless of age religion and wealth

  • Garibaldy


    wish I had your luck with the postgrads!

  • Brian Boru

    Garibaldy as you know there was already an IRA it just split into provisional and official wings in 1967. How do you propose the Southern govt was involved in that?

    On James Kelly, may I remind you that what he was charged with was attempting to import arms, not actually importing them and he was cleared. I don’t think you can see the wood for the trees.

  • Garibaldy


    While there were divisions, there was no split until 1969, at which point elements of FF encouraged the formation of a new and explicitly catholic nationalist organisation.

    As I said, the fact they were too incompetent to successfully import arms doesn’t change the fact they tried. The reason I raised all those people was that you said any stories of the southern government being involved were old wives’ tales with no evidence. I’d say there’s enough evidence that something was happening

  • J McConnell


    > What role? Hearsay. Old wives’ tales!

    It always nice to be corrected by someone really in the know – who seems to be living in some boreen in Wexford…

    Like a reading list, I’d start some of Martin Dillions books..

    My main source of ‘hearsay’ was someone who knew most of the main participants and who thought the whole sorry episode was actually a good idea…

    As you seem to be so well informed about how politics really works in the South here is a question. What is the connection between a certain circuit court judge who committed perjury in a murder trial a few years ago and the collapse of the Arms Trial? And where exactly was the quid pro quo? Extra points for explaining exactly why he was not impeached and remained a judge and is still doing the circuit down in your neck of the woods?

    Answers in a brown envelope please…

  • TheDivil

    There are of course myths and mopes and then there is a reality…unionists are the only white christian majority in the Western World deemed by the British/Irish and US GovtS to be unfit for normal majority rule democracy…why?…cos of shinner mopery…dont think so…any unionist care to enlighten as to why thats the case.

  • stephen

    divil, It isnt the case, – what crap you write son.

    The only people who dont think Unionists should not rule are bitter and twisted republicans.

    All the governemnts you cite are all in favour of power sharing with a Unionist first minister. duh…

    The main reason for allowing a minority to have a say in the running of a UK devolved region, of which they strive to destroy, is a deal between the british government and sfira for no more bombs on the precious mainland, in return for the sordid appeasement, er, sorry, I think it was called the Belfast Agreement.

    Of course, nationalists will not accept majority rule, or DEMOCTRACY’, cos that what it is, isnt it?

  • Thedivil

    Nationalists wont accept democracy ie majority rule…why?
    The British/Irish and US Govts agree…why?
    Simple questions really…

  • Cap’n Morgan

    No wonder Henry ford said “History is bunkum to me.”

  • bag’oshite

    postgrads fecks sake i’ve had professors undergrads post grads teachers interns doctors surgeons the list goes on. im bangin a teacher at the minute. i’ve also had women with kids no job, with job and kids ,no job no kids. and i’m an ugly bastard. the secret is carpe diem!..believe in that and you will succeed in everything. but there is more to life than women, there is money! and i love money more than i love myself.

  • Garibaldy

    Who said romance was dead. I like your style.

  • GrassyNoel

    It seems to me that to accuse Republicans (or other descendants of victims of oppression) of MOPEry would be like something akin to going up to a grieving mother at the funeral of her children who have been blown to bits by a pipe bomb and sneering in her face, wailing sarcastically and saying “Oh boo-hoo Love, do you think you’re the only mother whose children have fallen victim to sectarian violence since all this shite started”? i.e. it’s a pretty weak argument.

    Oh and by the way Lads, Tony Blair actually DID issue an apology to the Irish people, it was one of the first things he did after winning the 1997 election and the apology was read out at a Famine Commemoration Concert. I don’t remember much about it other than that at the time some people felt the apology didn’t go far enough, others were outraged that he’d even considered an apology at ca change…