Public sector accounts for 71.3% of economic output

I’m grateful to David Vance for flagging up this spectacular figure for public sector’s share of economic output. Now before we get a chorus of CJ Haughey’s phrase ‘failed political entity’, ‘failed economic entities’ don’t pull in many ‘buyers’ either!

,

  • J McConnell

    Greenflag

    We have already established in a previous thread that as one of the younger citizens of Scangarland, sorry the Northside, you consider CJ one of the greatest Irish politicians who ever lived. Enough said.

    Based on what you have written here you obviously have not spent much time outside the sophisticated cosmopolitan culture of the Barrytown suburbs, although the fact that Darndale now has its own Hilton does hold out some hope for the future cultural sophistication of the Northside.

    Northern Ireland, if left in peace and left to return to some kind of normalcy, will slowly make the necessary economic changes over the next generation or so. The last forty years would have been economically difficult, Troubles or no Troubles, but the economic culture that created the vibrant N.I economy of the past will do it again. If given the chance.

    The Nationalist / Republican fantasy that the Unionists can be some how bribed into a United Ireland, is just that, a fantasy. It will never happen. The Unionist will not sell out for the chance of getting their hands on ill-begrudged subsidies from Dublin. Rather guilt-money from your co-nationalists in London than a ill-tempered conditional bribes from people in Dublin who consider you as little more than foreign invaders with no right to your own identity.

    Add to that the fact that the ROI electorate, when presented with the reality of the costs both political and financial of a United Ireland are not going to abandon their current cozy clientist me-feiner political culture for one were sharp-elbowed Nordies (of both persuasions) take a large chunk of their ‘hard-earned’ taxes.

  • Brian Boru

    “Not politically. However, geographically it certainly is and has been for millenia. Just google British Isles and see how many hits you get compared to Great Britain and Ireland. (14.5 compared to 2.7 million)”

    And 765,000,000 for “Ireland”.

    “I’d also argue that culturally it’s British.”

    What is “culturally British”? The native languages of Scotland, Wales and Ireland are Scots Gaelic, Welsh and Irish respectively. Our system of governance reflects aspects of the American, British and Brehon law, but that does not make us “culturally British”. Yes we watch many of the same programs e.g. Eastenders but we differ in our interest in Gaelic games and the high demand for Irish language schools (Gaelscoileanna). We have a written constitution and an elected head of state. As a Republic, sovereignty rests with the people rather than some taxpayer fattened hereditary monarch. Unlike the British system, we have a written constitution which has proven in general a far better safeguard for the rights of Irish citizens than the whims of the British parliament have for the British people and ppl living in the UK. The sectarian way in which internment was applied in NI being a key example. The Irish people have a right to be consulted on EU treaties via referenda and this also reflects well on the Irish system (which is part of Irish culture) than the British one.

    No, we have a different culture. Culture is more than just about the language most people speak.

  • kensei

    “However, if someone described me as European I wouldn’t be upset. Please explain your reaction further. ”

    I’m not British, I don’t like the suggestion and political connotations. I object to the term “British Isles” as it implies ownership. I disagree that I’m “culturally” Britain. I’m as much “culturally” American by the same standard.

    Happy for you to be whatever you want, but leave me out of it.

  • Brian Boru

    Anyway it is highly disputed whether Pliny the Elder was including Ireland in his definition of the “British Isles”. The Romans called Ireland “Hibernia”.

  • Greenflag

    ‘you obviously have not spent much time outside the sophisticated cosmopolitan culture of the Barrytown suburbs, ‘

    Wrong again – I’ve worked in more countries in Europe , North America, Asia and Africa than you have fingers on both hands 🙂

    ‘Northern Ireland, if left in peace and left to return to some kind of normalcy, will slowly make the necessary economic changes over the next generation or so’

    How then will it make the necessary changes if it does not even have the power to change economic policy ? How will it achieve political stability if it’s politicians remain irreconcilably divided on NI’s constitutional future ? How will a State with a stagnant population and very little investment grow at more than 1 or 2% ? How will an increasingly geriatric population summon up the necessary drive and energy to do what has to be done ? A house divided against itself is a house built on sand .

    I notice you used the word ‘slowly’. I would make the point that ‘slowly’ is not fast enough in today’s world . When the Republic’s economy is forecast to continue to grow by 5% per annum for the rest of this decade and into the next, and Northern Ireland is ‘restricted’ to a 1.5% to 2.5% growth range then the economic ‘gap’ between the Irish Republic’s GDP per capita, which is already double the NI figure, will widen even further? Now if NI was located between the borders of Poland and Russia ( we can all dream :)) then a widening economic gap would have no significance . Given a common land frontier with free movement of labour and capital it’s another story . Add in the historical background of post colonialism and sectarian conflict and you end up with another several generations of ‘pressure’ economic , demographic , social and political on the 6 county State -IMO.

    ‘but the economic culture that created the vibrant N.I economy of the past will do it again. ‘

    Now what culture would that be ? SFAIK Northern Ireland apart from a small area around Belfast did not benefit that greatly from the connection with England’s industrial revolution . In fact during the 1922 to 1939 period the NI economy performed just as abysmally as the Irish Free State despite the British Exchequer annual subsidy to NI .

    The old industries of ship building /textiles have gone.Engineering has been in decline in NI since Thatcher’s time. So where exactly is the economic growth going to come from with a stagnant population , tiny private sector, and an absence of any significant amounts of foreign direct investment ? Any answers JMcC?

    ‘ If given the chance. ‘

    Now what does this mean ? Seems to me that Northern Ireland’s Unionist politicians had every chance when they had one party Government for 52 years ? They had several opportunities in recent decades to come to an agreement with that half of the NI population which is Irish and not British . Yet each time Unionist politicians have turned their backs to cooperation and power sharing . The DUP can still only contemplate ‘surrender’as Irish Nationalists only option ? . It’s taken 40 years for a Unionist politician to ‘discover’ that maybe ‘lowering’ corporate tax rates might help with inward investment ? Brilliant . Anymore Dr Schacht’s within the DUP or UUP?

    If I were a Unionist I’d worry more about being ‘bought out’ regardless , rather than being ‘sold out’ deliberately by HMG although the latter thought is never far below Unionist political consciousness if such a condition can be said to exist 🙁

    ‘where sharp-elbowed Nordies (of both persuasions) take a large chunk of their ‘hard-earned’ taxes.’

    Sorry to have to say to you JMcC that the Republic’s electorate has had more than enough exposure to the hard headed Nordies talents in the political and economic policy spheres as well as those of the elbow variety to have been less than impressed .

    You are however correct on one aspect . No Irish Government would get away with paying 108 elected parliamentarians to run around in ever diminishing circles of political unaccountability for years while skiving off the public purse.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Brian,
    “ And 765,000,000 for “Ireland”. “

    The point I was making is that when referring to these islands the majority of people refer to them as the British Isles. Not GB and Ireland.

    “What is “culturally British”? “

    Simply, the way we get on.

    “ No, we have a different culture. “

    I disagree. There are parochial differences within British culture – as you say some Irish people have an interest in GAA or the Orange Order for that matter. In the same way some English people have an interest in Morris dancing. British culture isn’t just English culture. Being Irish doesn’t exclude you from being British.

    Consider Glasgow Celtic FC. Is it an Irish club? Is it Scottish? Is it British? I’d say all 3. But then I would as it backs up what I’m saying 😉 However, what’s your answer?

    “Anyway it is highly disputed whether Pliny the Elder was including Ireland in his definition of the “British Isles”. The Romans called Ireland “Hibernia”. “

    Throughout Book 4 of his Geography, Strabo is consistent in spelling the island Britain (transliterated) as Prettanikee; he uses the terms Prettans or Brettans for the islands as a group. For example, in Geography 2.1.18, “…οι νοτιωτατοι των Βρηττανων βορηιοτηροι τουτον ηισιν”. (…the most southern of the Brettans are further north than this)3. He was writing around AD 10, although the earliest surviving copy of his work dates from the 6th century.

    Pliny the Elder writing around AD 70 uses a Latin version of the same terminology in section 4.102 of his Naturalis Historia. He writes of Great Britain: Albion ipsi nomen fuit, cum Britanniae vocarentur omnes de quibus mox paulo dicemus. (Albion was its own name, when all [the islands] were called the Britannias; I will speak of them in a moment). In the following section, 4.103, Pliny enumerates the islands he considers to make up the Britannias, listing Great Britain, Ireland, and many smaller islands.

    Ptolemy is quite clear that Ireland – he calls it Hibernia – belongs to the group he calls Britannia. He entitles Book II, Chapter 1 of his Geography as Hibernia, Island of Britannia.

  • kensei

    “Ptolemy is quite clear that Ireland – he calls it Hibernia – belongs to the group he calls Britannia. He entitles Book II, Chapter 1 of his Geography as Hibernia, Island of Britannia.”

    What soem dude thought 2000 years ago has bugger all to do with anything.

    ” “What is “culturally British”? “

    Simply, the way we get on. ”

    I am as much culturally American then.

    “Being Irish doesn’t exclude you from being British.”

    However, not being British does. Drop it.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Kensei,

    “I am as much culturally American then”

    To a certain extent I agree. I’d say that we along with the Americans have a western culture, for want of a better term. I certainly felt I’d more in common with people when I visited America than Europe for example. Language being the big unifier.

    “However, not being British does. Drop it.”

    What works for you is fine by me. However, I won’t be dropping my sense of self for you or anyone else. Simply ignoring one of the most famous of the classical writers as “some dude” just because it doesn’t fit in with your world view is simply ridiculous unless you can point out any errors in what he wrote.

  • kensei

    “What works for you is fine by me. However, I won’t be dropping my sense of self for you or anyone else.”

    I didn’t ask you to. Be what you like. I asked you to stop being a conescending “I consider you all British” fuck. I’m not, and quite happy about the fact.

    “Simply ignoring one of the most famous of the classical writers as “some dude” just because it doesn’t fit in with your world view is simply ridiculous unless you can point out any errors in what he wrote.”

    Well, 2000 years ago he may have had a point. But the Romans didn’t actually know much about Ireland (or Scotland) anyway, not having invaded it and it being the end of the earth for them. Which is why, you’ll notice that the Irish language didn’t use a Roman script until compartively and is missing letters from the Roman alphabet.

    There has been an awful lot of history in between anyway, in case it escaped your attention, which is more than enough for cultural separation. I’m not dismissing the most famous classical writer, I’m dismissing the complete idiocy of the attempt to use him to prove your point. Trying to use a classical writer to support modern notions of culture? And apparently I’m being ridiculous.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Kensei,

    Why does it matter to you if I consider you to be British? It’s my opinion. Not yours. I’m allowed to have my own opinions. That they differ from yours hardly matters does it?

    “Well, 2000 years ago he may have had a point. But the Romans didn’t actually know much about Ireland (or Scotland) anyway, not having invaded it and it being the end of the earth for them. Which is why, you’ll notice that the Irish language didn’t use a Roman script until compartively and is missing letters from the Roman alphabet.”

    Although they didn’t invade there is evidence that they came here. A roman fort/building was found near Dublin. There are also curious Roman like defensive ditches near Larne. Therefore, I’d suggest they knew more about the place than either you or I. BTW, I don’t get the importance of the missing letters. What’s it matter?

    “There has been an awful lot of history in between anyway, in case it escaped your attention, which is more than enough for cultural separation. I’m not dismissing the most famous classical writer, I’m dismissing the complete idiocy of the attempt to use him to prove your point. Trying to use a classical writer to support modern notions of culture? And apparently I’m being ridiculous.”

    This would be fair enough except that these islands are still known in common parlance as the British Isles.

    Maybe I’m being ridiculous, but not hysterical…

  • kensei

    “Why does it matter to you if I consider you to be British? It’s my opinion. Not yours. I’m allowed to have my own opinions. That they differ from yours hardly matters does it?”

    I dislike the suggestion, and the condesceding nature of it. It also shows a basic lack of respect. I believe Unionists didn’t like the suggestion they were just unawakened Republicans?

    I also dislike stupidity. I may consider Americans Riussina, but that would be fucking thick.

    “Although they didn’t invade there is evidence that they came here. A roman fort/building was found near Dublin. There are also curious Roman like defensive ditches near Larne. Therefore, I’d suggest they knew more about the place than either you or I. BTW, I don’t get the importance of the missing letters. What’s it matter?”

    I think I covered why it matters, but just to be clear: we agree there was no significant settlement here, and Roman knowledge of this island is relatively limited.

    “This would be fair enough except that these islands are still known in common parlance as the British Isles.”

    A legacy of imperialism, and if you browse the thread throught here I think you’ll find plenty of discussion of why peole don’t like that term.

    “Maybe I’m being ridiculous, but not hysterical…”

    :rolleyes: Like what some dude said on the internet would annoy me. I’m merely trying to help improve yourself, as that expressing that opinion in Nationalist company would make you seem like such a dick.

  • Congal Claen

    hi kensei,

    “Roman knowledge of this island is relatively limited”

    We didn’t even know the Romans had been here until relatively recently. So, why do you think we would know anymore than they did about the period in question? Their writings are what we have to go on. Again, anything wrong with what he/they wrote? Point it out then.

    “A legacy of imperialism, and if you browse the thread throught here I think you’ll find plenty of discussion of why peole don’t like that term.”

    How? It predates the Empire by about 1800 years. It even predates the arrival of the English to Britain.

    “I’m merely trying to help improve yourself, as that expressing that opinion in Nationalist company would make you seem like such a dick.”

    That may well be so. But, that would only be the case if that nationalist company had no basic understanding of Irish/British history. BTW, whatabout leaving out the “dick”, etc. as “It also shows a basic lack of respect” as a dear friend of mine has put it…

  • abucs

    The “British Isles” is of course an English language tag (taken from the pre-anglo Celtic/Roman ) for the north-west islands off the European mainland.

    I have no problem with that when i am speaking English, although i accept that some people do. The same way, i am sure, as if the English were to have been dominated and ‘converted’ to Irish and have to call them the “Celtic Isles”.

    It would be interesting to hear what other languages called these islands and whether they have simply taken the English language tag.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Abucs,

    In classical times, foreign sources used “Brit-” or “Prit-” with various endings. Native sources used oceani insulae meaning “islands of the ocean” or insularum meaning “islands”.

  • abucs

    Hi Congal Claen,

    “oceani insulae” would be latin at a guess as oceani is used in Italian. i like the simplicity of the name though.

    I think possibly more people would be open to a sense of ‘oceani insulae’ :o) if it wasn’t dominated politically by the larger population of England.

    But that is a fact that isn’t going to change anytime soon.

    Irish who reject the British tag aren’t necessarily anti-Britain. Ironically people in the south who are politically seperate from Britain tend to have a more healthier relationship with Britain than many of those within it politically.

    Perhaps it is political constraint/domination that stops more people feeling as you do about identity.

  • kensei

    “We didn’t even know the Romans had been here until relatively recently. So, why do you think we would know anymore than they did about the period in question? Their writings are what we have to go on. Again, anything wrong with what he/they wrote? Point it out then.”

    Am I trapped in a time warp or something. This is what this is:

    http://www.illlogic.net/images/japan2002/a-big-big-straw-man-6-18.jpg

    What Pliny the Elder thought is staggeringly irrelevant. Evidence that another imperial power with limited knowledge grouped the islands together 2000 years ago. Great. it still doens’t make me anymore British today.

    At any rate, I find it extraordinarily unlikely that major Roman settlement could have been here without any evidence of major Roamn sites. As they have been found absolutely everywhere else they’ve been, including England, why exactly is there not more evidence here?

    “How? It predates the Empire by about 1800 years. It even predates the arrival of the English to Britain.”

    Imperial power without indepth knowledge labels islands together 2000 years ago. Therefore we are all culturally British today. Staggered.

    “I’m merely trying to help improve yourself, as that expressing that opinion in Nationalist company would make you seem like such a dick.”

    “That may well be so. But, that would only be the case if that nationalist company had no basic understanding of Irish/British history.”

    Of course, because you know best. Of course, they might question your knowledge on modern interpretations of culture, your knowledge of politics and current affairs. And they might think “Jesus, he didn’t REALLY come off with that, did he”.

    “BTW, whatabout leaving out the “dick”, etc. as “It also shows a basic lack of respect” as a dear friend of mine has put it… ”

    I am stating a fact. Coming off with “Ah sure, I think all Irish people are culturally British anyway” will not make people think kindly of you in Nationalist circles. In some republican circles, it’s probably an invitation for a fight. Honestly, I get painful sympathetic embrassment just thinking about it.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Kensei,

    “ What Pliny the Elder thought is staggeringly irrelevant. “

    That must be why his books are still referenced today. I suppose your own writings will be held in such respect in a few millennia. Do you not think you’re being a bit arrogant dismissing what he’s saying? He’s documenting, without prejudice as far as I’m aware, a description of the British, sorry these, Isles at a particular time in history having been there at the time. Yet, you just dismiss what he says. Again, is there anything wrong with his description? Factually speaking. I don’t mean that it doesn’t fit in with the Kenseian view.

    “At any rate, I find it extraordinarily unlikely that major Roman settlement could have been here without any evidence of major Roamn sites. As they have been found absolutely everywhere else they’ve been, including England, why exactly is there not more evidence here?”

    I never actually said there was a major Roman settlement. However, here’s an extract from British Archaeology you may be interested in. It should be noted this would be disputed. However, I personally have no reason to doubt that the classical writers had knowledge of what they were describing. It’s up to you to show their errors. Anyhow…

    “In some republican circles, it’s probably an invitation for a fight”

    So, we can’t differ in opinion without resorting to a fight? Ahhh, reasoned debate…

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Kensei,

    Sorry, ballixed that up. The link is…

    http://www.britarch.ac.uk/BA/ba14/ba14feat.html

  • kensei

    “That must be why his books are still referenced today.I suppose your own writings will be held in such respect in a few millennia. Do you not think you’re being a bit arrogant dismissing what he’s saying?”

    Appeal to Authority. Straw Man. Attacking me. The list of fallacies wrong with this particular line could go on forever.

    “He’s documenting, without prejudice as far as I’m aware, a description of the British, sorry these, Isles at a particular time in history having been there at the time. Yet, you just dismiss what he says. Again, is there anything wrong with his description? Factually speaking. I don’t mean that it doesn’t fit in with the Kenseian view.”

    Zero relevance to modern notions of culture or Britishness. Zip. It doesn’t matter if it is acurate or not. I could post an accurate description of my desk, but it completely and utterly irrelevant to the point at hand. I do note Pliny the Elder not appearing in many articles after Brown’s recent Britishness speech, though.

    He is also giving a Roman view. Personally, I’d ask the people who actually live on the island if they think they are all the same.

    “So, we can’t differ in opinion without resorting to a fight? Ahhh, reasoned debate… ”

    Did I say I wanted to fight you? No. Try reading, I’ve heard it helps.

    Anyway, my fiuckwit radar is flashing. Readings indicate you ae being wilfully obtuse to try for a wind up. So I think I’ll bow out with whatever shred of dignity I have left. It’s not big, and it’s not clever, kids.

  • Brian Boru

    “We didn’t even know the Romans had been here until relatively recently. So, why do you think we would know anymore than they did about the period in question? Their writings are what we have to go on. Again, anything wrong with what he/they wrote? Point it out then.”

    There were not “here” in the sense of Ireland being part of the Empire. Some Romans visited the island and some sources suggest Romans may have occasionally intervened in support of a king who would stop the Irish raids on Britain and Gaul. But they didn’t know that much about the island.

  • PaddyReilly

    I have a copy of Pliny on my bookshelf. Opening it at random I read…

    The dragon has no venom. Its head, buried under the threshold of doors, after the gods have been propitiated, brings good luck to a home.

    Wow, I’m convinced! Where do I sign up? Just the sort of man who is so reliable you want him to write your constitution for you.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Kensei,

    ” The list of fallacies wrong with this particular line could go on forever. “

    Go ahead then. List one. I’ve been asking you to post the inaccuracies for the last few posts.

    “Zero relevance to modern notions of culture or Britishness. Zip. It doesn’t matter if it is acurate or not. I could post an accurate description of my desk, but it completely and utterly irrelevant to the point at hand.”

    So, if I’m understanding you correctly, the earliest known references to the term British has no bearing on what Britishness is. Well, not anymore than your desk?

    “He is also giving a Roman view. Personally, I’d ask the people who actually live on the island if they think they are all the same.”

    That’s what they did. Again anything wrong with what he wrote?

    “ Try reading, I’ve heard it helps. “

    Agreed. However, don’t stop at that point. You also have to think…

    “ Anyway, my fiuckwit radar is flashing. “

    There’s a surprise. Does it ever stop? 😉

    Hi Brian,

    “There were not “here” in the sense of Ireland being part of the Empire. Some Romans visited the island and some sources suggest Romans may have occasionally intervened in support of a king who would stop the Irish raids on Britain and Gaul.”

    I’ve no reason to disagree with this.

    “But they didn’t know that much about the island.”

    I think you pay them a bit of a disservice here Brian. For example, the maps that were produced aren’t that far of the mark (relatively speaking). I think it’s obvious that there must have been a fair bit of effort went into producing these. Can you imagine going to some island that you’ve never been to and producing a relatively accurate map without the benefit of a flyover. The other thing is – what else have we to go on?

    Hi Paddy,

    “The dragon has no venom. Its head, buried under the threshold of doors, after the gods have been propitiated, brings good luck to a home.”

    I’ve no idea what he’s talking about Paddy. Do you?

    Anything factually wrong with how he describes the British Isles tho?

  • George

    Congal,
    firstly the term “British Isles” has no legal status whatsoever so it can’t be factually right or wrong.

    It’s only status comes from its degree of usage. The fact that the majority of those on one of the islands find it has no status should have a bearing on your view.

    If not, it means you don’t feel they have any right to decide how their home is described.

    You’ll be tell the Poles in Gdansk that it’s actually Danzig and you’ll be telling the Israelis they live in Palestine.

    Political situations change and with them geopolitical terms. I don’t see anyone calling Turkey Asia Minor in 2006, do you?

    Pliny described the two islands as he saw it two thousand years ago but it is inaccurate today in 2006.

    There was no Irish nation state in his day while today we have have two nation states on the islands.

    One nation state claims to represent the British peoples while the other the Irish. It is not for you to decide whether the Irish are British just like it is not for the Germans to decide if the Austrians are German. Or is it now Ostmark?

    Pliny is still relevant today for what he had to say about his time not for what relevance it has today.

    I’m not going to call Tunisia Carthage. Also, the Persian Gulf is no longer the Persian Gulf for many. It’s the freedom gulf. Geographical terms change with time.

    You may be interested to know that the British government avoids the term when dealing in any dispatches with the Irish state.

    If the English decided to call them the Germanic Isles a while back, would that be inaccurate?

    After all, the Saxons, in the eyes of Pliny, aren’t British at all as they belong to the German tribes.

    P.S. I should have known better than to have even bothered getting involved in this.

  • kensei

    I am loathe to do this.

    “Go ahead then. List one. I’ve been asking you to post the inaccuracies for the last few posts.”

    I listed the fallacies in your argument. Not Pliny’s. Pay attention.

    “So, if I’m understanding you correctly, the earliest known references to the term British has no bearing on what Britishness is. Well, not anymore than your desk?”

    As historical curio, or an introduction, sure. But in a modern context, including modern ideas of culture, nationhood, the nation state, intregration and politics, it is preciesly as relevant as my desk.

    “That’s what they did.”

    Primary sources? Considering modern ideas of the nation state didn’t really develop for at leats another 1500 yars, that’s a bit of a stretch.

    “Again anything wrong with what he wrote?”

    He has factually reported the Roman view of the silands 2000 years ago. We don’t seem to have any primary sources for the people who actually lived on the islands, so we can’t say for sure if his claims are accurate.

    I’m not sure soemone with more detailed knowledge of Celtic society would agree with him – what little I know suggest tribal / clan divisions.

    Moreover, he is expressing a snapshot 2000 years ago that is of no relevance today. Considering that Christainity has not yet arrived, it’s several hundred years until the Irish langauge appears on the scene, and at least that again until the idea of the Irish nation appears in the modern sense (and for that matter, British), the several complete rewrites of European maps we have to go through, the development of ideas of independence and democracy, a huge amount of cultural churn, the fact that the Romans grouped the islands together merely proves the Romans grouped the islands together. Factual, but not much more useful than the contents of my desk.

    I find it incredible you are having a hard time making this jump.

    “Agreed. However, don’t stop at that point. You also have to think…”

    Something you seemincapable of doing.

    “There’s a surprise. Does it ever stop? ;)”

    I’ve visited this site regularly, so it has been very nosy for a while. WINKY SMILY.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi George,

    “P.S. I should have known better than to have even bothered getting involved in this.”

    I can understand that sentiment at the present time. However, I welcome your post and find it quite a coherent argument. At the very start of this I said it was a wee small point – that was last week sometime. And, it’s fek all to do with pubic sector jobs in NI!

    “It’s only status comes from its degree of usage.”

    Agreed. I’m only using it in a geographical/cultural sense. Not political. In the same way when someone talks about Ireland or the Irish I don’t point out that actually it’s RoI and NI or the British and Irish. I know what they are referring to and don’t feel it conveys any ownership. For example. I’ve argued with you in the past about the Irish Rugby team playing the Soldier’s Song and flying the tricolour. I’ve no problem with the name Ireland or the team being described as Irish. It’s the use of the political anthem and flag conveying political ownership.

    “The fact that the majority of those on one of the islands find it has no status should have a bearing on your view.”

    This is true. However, it has to be balanced by the majority within the islands who do refer to it as the British Isles. That would also be the world view. (based on googling British Isles versus GB and Ireland)
    You mention a few other political cans of worms which I’m not going to get into as I don’t know enough about them.

    “One nation state claims to represent the British peoples while the other the Irish. It is not for you to decide whether the Irish are British just like it is not for the Germans to decide if the Austrians are German.”

    This is political. I’m talking culturally/geographically.

    “After all, the Saxons, in the eyes of Pliny, aren’t British at all as they belong to the German tribes.”

    Again, a good point. Also noteworthy is that many of the tribes that Pliny would have referred to in Britain at that time subsequently moved to Ireland to become “Irish”.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Kensei,

    “I am loathe to do this.”

    I know what you mean. Except you/I just can’t help ourselves…

    “I listed the fallacies in your argument. Not Pliny’s. Pay attention.”

    I don’t recall you pointing out anything I said that is actually factually wrong. Again, just list one…

    Remember how this discussion started. I said…

    “Incidentally I consider anyone born in the British Isles to be British in a geographical/cultural sense…”

    To which you replied…

    “Stop it, because it’s condesending to fuck”

    Note that even in my first point to you on this I used “geographical/cultural”. In your last post you mention “nationhood, the nation state, intregration and politics”. In the rest of the post you mention Irish Nation, independence, democracy. All political attributes. These islands are known geographically to the majority of the people who live in these islands at the present time as the British Isles. This is also the world view. 2000 years ago these islands where also known as the British Isles. What you think about your desk matters fek all really.

    “I find it incredible you are having a hard time making this jump.”

    Your mind reading talents know no end…

  • kensei

    “I don’t recall you pointing out anything I said that is actually factually wrong. Again, just list one…”

    You do understand the concept of a straw man?

    !Note that even in my first point to you on this I used “geographical/cultural”. In your last post you mention “nationhood, the nation state, intregration and politics”. In the rest of the post you mention Irish Nation, independence, democracy. All political attributes.”

    Culture certainly impinges of the concept of modern nation states. In fact, it’s right at the heart of it.

    “These islands are known geographically to the majority of the people who live in these islands at the present time as the British Isles.”

    But not, I’d guess, in Ireland. This point has already been adequately covered – majority through weight of English population is hardly fair, and the British Government avoids the term when communicating the Irish government.

    “This is also the world view. 2000 years ago these islands where also known as the British Isles. What you think about your desk matters fek all really.”

    See the post about changing geopolitcal terms. The fact that two imperial powers grouped the islands together does not make it true, or make me culturally British.

    “Your mind reading talents know no end… ”

    Wa?

  • George

    Congal,
    you are looking at the term from an Anglo-centric point of view, which isn’t the world.

    The German Wikpedia, for example, describes the “Britische Inseln” as comprising of “Großbritannien, die Hebriden, die Shetlandinseln, die Orkney, Man, die Scilly-Inseln und Wight.”

    I don’t think I need to translate that for you and as you can see there is no Ireland mentioned.
    It says that while Ireland without doubt is part of the same archipelago, the political reality means it doesn’t come under the name.

    On the other hand the Channel Islands are also often included in the British Isles even though they belong to the European continent.

    By your argument, the Channel Islands aren’t part of the British Isles.

    The reality in 2006 is that “British Isles” is a geopolitical term. But you are arguing that it is a purely geographical one, which it clearly isn’t.

    If it was merely a geographical term then I don’t think there would be an issue.

    The German Wikpedia says the common uncontroversial term is the “British Isles and Ireland”.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Kensei,

    “You do understand the concept of a straw man?”

    How have I deliberately misrepresented your argument?

    The next interchange I think highlights a certain amount of hypocrisy on your part…

    I say…

    “These islands are known geographically to the majority of the people who live in these islands at the present time as the British Isles.”

    To which you reply…

    “But not, I’d guess, in Ireland.”

    I use the term British Isles and even state that I mean in a Geographical/cultural sense and you get offended and reckon it’s as “condescending as fuck”. However you then use the term Ireland without any qualification whatsoever and without the slightest bit of irony. What’s the difference?

    “Wa?”

    You need to read what I replied in the context of what you originally said.

    Hi George,

    “The reality in 2006 is that “British Isles” is a geopolitical term. But you are arguing that it is a purely geographical one, which it clearly isn’t.”

    I know what you’re getting at. However, if you look at my first comment on this I qualified what I said with “in a geographical/cultural sense”.

    As an aside, Do you ever use the term Ireland or Irish? Is this any less a geopolitical term?

  • kensei

    “How have I deliberately misrepresented your argument?”

    You have set up the Roman dude as a example, then asked me to point out where he is wrong. I’m not arguing his rightness or wrongness, I’m arguing that it is of no use to the debate. Asking me repeatedly to point out problems with his testimony is a Straw Man. It doesn’t actually matter if he is lying or not, it is of no relevance.

    “I use the term British Isles and even state that I mean in a Geographical/cultural sense and you get offended and reckon it’s as “condescending as fuck”.”

    If you had have said geographical, I’d have let it slide. But you insist on the cultural bit, which is wrong.

    “However you then use the term Ireland without any qualification whatsoever and without the slightest bit of irony. What’s the difference?”

    What can I say? I saw an advert for the place last week.

    The difference is that you are claiming me as British, as a person. I’m not. You can live on Ireland and be whatever you want.

    “You need to read what I replied in the context of what you originally said.”

    I did. it still makes no sense.

    Hi George,

    “The reality in 2006 is that “British Isles” is a geopolitical term. But you are arguing that it is a purely geographical one, which it clearly isn’t.”

    I know what you’re getting at. However, if you look at my first comment on this I qualified what I said with “in a geographical/cultural sense”.

    As an aside, Do you ever use the term Ireland or Irish? Is this any less a geopolitical term?

  • kensei

    Bah. The dangers of copy + paste, exposed.

  • George

    Congal,
    in a cultural sense, the Irish (Republic of) have as much to do with France as we do Britain; same form of government, same currency, same predominant religion, same metrical measurement etc.

    We do have close cultural links to Britain, which we enjoy and cultivate, but that doesn’t make us British.

    There are as many differences between the 21st century Irish and British as there are similarities.

    We don’t have the same military/ceremonial culture, monarchy, aristocracy, colonial links, Caribbean/Indian/Pakistan culture, industrial, etc.

    The Austrians have equally close links with the Germans or the Ukrainians/Latvians/Lithuanians with the Russians.

    This doesn’t make Austria “German” in a cultural sense or Ukraine “Russian”.

    On the term Ireland:
    Indeed Ireland in one sense is a geopolitical term and just like we in “Ireland” shy away from the use of the term “British Isles” the British shy away from the use of “Ireland”, preferring instead “Republic of Ireland” and “Northern Ireland”.

    However, I would argue that the difference is that “Ireland” is the official name of my state and has a legal status whilst “British Isles” has no status whatsoever.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Kensei,

    “You have set up the Roman dude as a example, then asked me to point out where he is wrong. I’m not arguing his rightness or wrongness, I’m arguing that it is of no use to the debate. Asking me repeatedly to point out problems with his testimony is a Straw Man. It doesn’t actually matter if he is lying or not, it is of no relevance.”

    I quoted several Roman “dudes” that refer to these islands as British based on the people who lived in the islands. If you don’t see how that is culturally important what can I say. For a start it gives a sense of belonging to a place and identifies people with place. You also rubbished the quotes calling the writers dudes, asking for primary sources, saying they didn’t know much about the place. Yet offered no rebuttal evidence. That’s why I asked for you to highlight any mistakes.

    “If you had have said geographical, I’d have let it slide. But you insist on the cultural bit, which is wrong.”

    In your opinion. That doesn’t mean you are right. Conversely I can’t say I’m right. It’s just my opinion. Therefore, to describe me as “condescending as fuck” I think is a wee bit out of order. You also refer time over number to political attributes when I stated right from the start that I was not implying any political ownership.

    “What can I say? I saw an advert for the place last week.”

    Well actually quite a bit. When you use the term do you mean culturally, politically, geographically or none of the above. What do you mean?

    “I did. it still makes no sense.”

    Let me explain. You said…

    “I find it incredible you are having a hard time making this jump.”

    To which I replied…

    “Your mind reading talents know no end…”

    Suggesting, I would have thought, that the phrase “I find it incredible you are having a hard time making this jump.” was exactly what I was thinking. Hardly a great leap…

  • Congal Claen

    Hi George,

    “in a cultural sense, the Irish (Republic of) have as much to do with France as we do Britain; same form of government, same currency, same predominant religion, same metrical measurement etc.”

    I can’t imagine that you genuinely believe that George. Government, currency are political attributes. UK uses metric – it’s EU law. Religion is becoming less of a factor. We use the same language, play the same sports (largely), have the same pub culture, listen to the same music, watch the same films. It goes on and on. You only have to look at the surnames in Britain to realize the amount of cross-fertilisation. Quite literally!

    “There are as many differences between the 21st century Irish and British as there are similarities.”

    Equally there are many differences between the 21st century Irish.

    “The Austrians have equally close links with the Germans”

    Agreed. However, I don’t think they would have the same reaction to being described as German as Kensei did to being described British. I believe Hitler was actually Austrian. I’m almost certain he thought of himself as German;)

    “This doesn’t make Austria “German” in a cultural sense or Ukraine “Russian”. “

    Actually, a lot of the Ukraine does. The country is split fairly evenly on this.

    “However, I would argue that the difference is that “Ireland” is the official name of my state and has a legal status whilst “British Isles” has no status whatsoever.”

    Is that not actually more telling in terms of attitudes. The official name being Ireland when we know the RoI isn’t Ireland. Does it not imply political ownership of Northern Ireland? It’d be like South Korea calling itself Korea. When you talk of “Ireland” do you only mean the RoI? When you talk about the “Irish” do you only mean citizens of the RoI? Does Kensei? I doubt it…

  • Congal

    Congal,
    personally I feel as close culturally to Europe as I do to Britain. Maybe you could argue that I made a deliberate effort to develop myself in this way but I don’t think I’m alone.

    The Irish state and many of its people have immersed themselves much more into Europe than you probably realise. Much more so than their British counterparts. Then there are so many others that look purely to the United States.

    You don’t have to believe that I feel as close if not closer bond to Europe or the United States than I do to Britain if you don’t want to.

    I recommend the next time you meet an Austrian, call him German and see what reaction you get. Or if you feel masochistic ask a Ukrainian or Lithuanian if they are Russian.

    On the name “Ireland”, I get where you are coming from and would most likely feel the same in your “cultural/political” position but them’s the breaks Congal. I admit it’s convenient.

    We registered it with the international community and nobody said anything so Ireland it is.

    The poor old Macedonians are lumbered with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia because of Greek protests.

    On Korea, it’s official name is Republic of Korea.

    When I talk about “Irish” I generally mean the Irish people. Anybody on the island of Ireland can be Irish if they so wish, according to my country’s constitution. I believe the people of Northern Ireland also voted that this is possible.

    Then there are Irish citizens, which is different. There are also over 200,000 Irish citizens in Northern Ireland.

    Remember the GFA also allows for Irish people in NI to be part of the UK.

  • George

    Hi Congal,
    that last post was from me. I typed your name into the name box by accident for some very strange reason.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi George,

    “The Irish state and many of its people have immersed themselves much more into Europe than you probably realise. Much more so than their British counterparts. Then there are so many others that look purely to the United States.”

    Agreed.

    “You don’t have to believe that I feel as close if not closer bond to Europe or the United States than I do to Britain if you don’t want to. “

    When I say I don’t believe you on this, I’m not doubting you’re sincerity, despite what it would seem. However I can’t help thinking that it’s almost like a psychological comfort blanket to believe so.

    “Or if you feel masochistic ask a Ukrainian or Lithuanian if they are Russian.”

    The reason I responded to the Ukraine link was that I happen to know a girl from Ukraine and have asked this very question. It was in the run up to the orange revolution when this was topical. She said that she, her family and the eastern part of the country do think of themselves as Russian. She herself spoke Russian.

    “When I talk about “Irish” I generally mean the Irish people. Anybody on the island of Ireland can be Irish if they so wish, according to my country’s constitution. I believe the people of Northern Ireland also voted that this is possible.”

    This gets to the heart of it. What’s the Irish People then. To me it’s not easily defined. Rather a broad church. For example, earlier I asked another poster in relation to Glasgow Celtic FC is the club Scottish, Irish, British or all 3. What do you think?

    “Remember the GFA also allows for Irish people in NI to be part of the UK.”

    I also believe after 1922 citizens of the RoI could always have acquired British passports as part of the “special relationship”.

  • George

    Congal,
    Regarding comfort blankets, which is an interesting description, I would explain my relationship with British culture and the country in general as follows:

    I know an awful lot all about it and take from it what is useful or beneficial for me. There is no yearning to understand it better than I already do.

    The familiarity is similar to that of a long term neighbour rather than feeling it is of my own family, my own flesh and blood so to speak.

    I know how they act having observed them at close quarters all my life but deep down I still don’t know why they do what they do. I just know they mow their lawn on Sunday, like cats and change cars every three years, if you know what I mean.

    They aren’t family and wouldn’t be there when I needed them.

    On the other hand, I lived in Europe for several years and felt quite at home. A psychologist might agree with you and say it is a comfort blanket but I felt more comfortable there.

    Maybe it’s because the majority British think they understand the Irish but we are a young nation and don’t really even understand ourselves yet so how could they know what we are about.

    We are still learning our way in the world. Europeans don’t understand us either and also want to learn so we start at a better base for understanding.

    Moving on:
    I define the Irish people as those from or living in Ireland who wish to be Irish and those who have left this island and still wish to be.

    Those who are the descendants of these people I consider as the Irish diaspora, welcome back anytime they wish and welcome to “join/rejoin” the Irish people as fully paid up members if they so wish.

    As for getting British passports after 1922, that merely shows the British still considered the Irish to be British. Nothing to do with me or my state. It is not for the Irish to decide who the British give passports to. They were handing them out to the people of Hong Kong too.

    For me, Celtic is a Scottish club with strong Irish connections which is supported by many Irish and many from the Irish diaspora.