Unionists say No to St. Pat’s Festival (again)

Unionist councillors in Belfast have renewed their opposition to funding Belfast’s St. Patrick’s Day festival next year, in spite of findings from a council funded independent survey that indicated general support for the festivities amongst protestants this year. The grounds for continued opposition cited by UUP councillor Jim Rodgers was that the carnival remains a “coat-trailing exercise.” Of course, such considerations were swept aside when unionist councillors voted to fund loyalist 11th night bonfires, which of course are inclusive gatherings…

  • Victor

    I’ve never heard a satisfactory explination about what the unionist problem with saint patrick is?

    As an athiest I have no love for him myself, but I would have thought anyone who brought christianity here, saint or otherwise would be well enought respected by the who lot of them.

  • Crataegus

    Victor

    A bit like the twelth all the one sided emblems and supporters. Its see as tribal.

  • SpiceGirls

    In fairness from what i saw on the telly this year (very little) the festival seemed to be a big improvement upon previous years. I think what the council need to do is to ensure that that there is a conserted effort made to encourage floats etc from protestant areas of Belfast, that way it will be a show for everyone. funding bon fires is a disgrace, simple as that.

  • Miss Fitz

    In answer to Victor’s question, I think we need to be clear that there is no Unionist or Protestant ‘objection’ to St Patrick.

    In fact, it is quite the opposite and celebrating St Patrick offers us a unique opportunity to create a shared space and a shared occasion.

    There is no doubt that there are serious differences in approach to the celebration. That is more the central issue here, how do we celebrate something together that allows each side to feel included, and make them feel that their core values have been taken into consideration

  • Crataegus

    Miss Fitz

    You refer to the potential and I agree, but the actuality in some places is quite different though improving.

  • Bemused

    I’m going to start gathering rubbish in my front garden. Once it’s infested with rats and has annoyed my neighbours to the point of illness I’ll set fire to the whole stinking mess and invite various slack-jawed, sub-human scum around to burn Union Jacks, let off bursts of automatic gunfire and drink themselves mental on McEwans.

    Can I have some money please?

  • Miss Fitz

    Crat
    I appreciate what you are saying, but I have to admit I have a special interest in exploring the potential of shared space/commemoration. Many of our pulic commemorations in NI tend to be single identity and single community. St Patricks is fairly unique in that it offers an opportunity to both sides to commemorate a shared patron.

    The challenge to organisers and public leaders is to find a commonality in terms of expression. Do we have the ‘St Patrick was great craic and would have loved a beer’ nationalist perspective, or the ‘St Patrick was a devout and sober christian man, and would have prayed quietly’ protestant view.

    There lies the nub of our problem.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Miss Fitz,

    It isn’t about St Patrick. Firstly because he is basically unknown, could have not even existed, could have been two different people, and so on. But mostly because it is about the expression of Irish national identity, and it is precisely that that unionists are trying to block.

    In other words, it doesn’t matter if St P was a Free P – the fact that he represents a sense of Irishness is sufficient to trigger that old ‘NO’ reflex.

  • The Beach Tree

    Miss Fitz

    But is he a shared patron?

    In honesty, is Saint Patrick really the root of the protestant streams of christianity in Ireland?

    I don’t intend to offend, here, it is a genuine question. Since both the English and Lowland Scot settlers in the North of Ireland were already christian when they arrived, was Patrick really the root of their christianity at all?

  • Miss Fitz

    Actually Stephen, I disagree with you fundamentally and entirely.

    It’s the manner and context of St Patrick’s festivities that cause concern. St Patrick has been celebrated by both communities for hundreds of years, and the Ulster Irish that went to America in the 17 and 18 hundreds brought their celebrations with them. Letter writing spiked around the 17th of March, with a great feeling of homesickness around this date.

    So, there is a historical context for us to share this space.

    I was at a conference in March on this subject, indeed I think I’ve mentioned it on Slugger before. We had DUP and SF input on how agreement could be achieved. There are obviously fundamental differences, but I think you speak to the heart of that when you isolate the feast of St Patrick as a single identity cultural event. It isnt, it is and always has been a public and private space event of commonality

    Our challenge as nationalists is to take the beam out of our eye, and critically evaluate how we engender an inclusive society, without the 30 years of gurning chant. It’s a big step, but represents a good hope for the future.

  • Rory

    I don’t think, Miss Fitz, that the two images of St. Patrick you present – one the beer swilling hedonist and the other the quiet sober christian man at silent prayer are the different qualities one side or the other attributes to the saint. Both communities, Catholic and Protestan surely see the saint in the second light it is the secular commercial celebration of the feast that is associated with the beer swilling hedonist description – not St. Patrick.

    Bit of a category mistake, surely?

  • Miss Fitz

    TBT
    Well, of course, he’s not Irish at all, and indeed as Stpehen rightly said he may not have existed as a single individual, but rather a collective of early Irish Holy men and bishops.

    I think the point is less about the direct connectivity through lineage, but rather the ability to perceive and share him as a saint.

    Your argument would obviously stretch to any of us who could not trace our pure and direct lineage back to the 4th century. I consider myself Irish, but I am sure my ancestors came in the Norman invasions of the 11th century.

    The old adage that ‘everyone is Irish on St Patrick’s Day’ needs to extend beyond that probably non-existent group of pure Irish. As men and women who live on the land mass of Ireland, we look to Patrick as a shared symbol of hope in the future.

    Ian Paisley has tended to mark St Patrick’s Day in various ways, including opening his first church on that date in commemoration. Many of the Orange Lodges are dedicated to Patrick, so the catholic polulation really needs to examine its concept of monopoly of this corner of Irishness.

  • Miss Fitz

    I’ll be shot for speaking on this thread so much……

    Rory
    Those images were actually the 2 sides presented in March by Conor Maskey and Nelson McCausland on the conference on St Patrick’s day. I have taken a little liberty and have not quoted directly, but that was the import of what was being presented by each side.

    Now, there is no prize for guessing which Patrick belonged to which community.

    My point was the divergance in perception of the celebration, and I found it really fascinating to hear the Unionist perspective of Patrick.

    How we get both sides to compromise and agree a shared celebration is the task.

    And before someone asks me do I know about beer drinking Unionist youths, yeah I do so skip that one,.

  • kensei

    “There are obviously fundamental differences, but I think you speak to the heart of that when you isolate the feast of St Patrick as a single identity cultural event. It isnt, it is and always has been a public and private space event of commonality”

    But St Patrick’s Day as become a proxy for the celebration of the Irish Nation all over the world. the figure of St Patrick becomes increasingly irrelevant in a secular age. The attack on the St Patrick’s Day aparade is an attack on having that expression of Irishness in the city.

    Other random points – when I was a kid I got off school for St Pats, but my mate that went to a state school didn’t for years. I remember dandering about with a forest worth of shamrock on me, which seemed to be a Catholic thing. the position of the Saints is much greater in catholicism.

    I wonder – were there any tricolour’s at the London parade last year? There certainly were a lot in the New York one I wa sat.

  • Wat the Tyler

    To those

    What bemuses me is that the st patricks day festivals don’t revolve around hatred…quite contrary to the 11th night bonfires which are fuelled by EXACTLY that sentiment…wouldn’t you agree?

    I think your reference to the burning of the union jack is aimed at the select, possibly 10, people who would do this. And i can guarantee you they’re probably teenagers. HECK, it beats a group of drunken adults standing around a merry bonfire, burning the irish tricolour, celtic fc items and other things which would imply irishness/catholicsm. SORRY, i mean…isn’t it a family event for the good old norn iron law-abiding protestants?

    Yours sincerely,
    Wat

    p.s.) Nobody ever said that he was “just for catholics”, i believe that the only reason he is not shared by the protestant side is because none of you could bear the thought of having to celebrate anything remotely irish. NO SURRENDER seems to echo everywhere we go!

  • reality check

    im not surprised at the coat trailing exercise comment from arch bigot jim rodgers.given his dismissal of short strand residents as arrogant for daring to oppose paramilitary influenced bands marching past their homes intent on mayhem im not surprised at all.
    it would be helpful if jim went along to the parade itself and found out what its actually like.not the cesspit of sectarian hatred 11th night bonfires are

  • Mike

    Stephen Copeland –

    ——————————
    It isn’t about St Patrick. Firstly because he is basically unknown, could have not even existed, could have been two different people, and so on. But mostly because it is about the expression of Irish national identity
    ——————————

    That is indeed the nub of the issue. To put it from a unionist perpective, nationalists have decuided this is a day to celebrate their identity, rather than a day for us all to join in.

    When and why did this become a celebration of ‘Irish national identity’? If it’s proclaimed to be a celebration of Irishness, the nationalist, ‘Tricolour’ version of Irishness, then yes it becomes exclusive in NI terms.

  • John McIlveen

    Miss Fitz

    I’m assuming you’re talking about the debate in Queen’s last year after St Patrick’s Day with DUP and St Pat’s Carnival Committee.

    I was also at that debate and i have to say your description of the content of that debate is very far from the debate that i heard.

    The Carnival Committee certainly did not promote ‘St Patrick as great craic and loving a beer’. I specifically heard the carnival committee rep explaining that it was them that put the ‘no-alcohol’ rule into their proceedings over 4 years ago.

    I seriously think you’ve mis-interpreted a very good debate that had (as far as i could see and hear) alot more depth to it than you’ve given it credit.

    John

  • Miss Fitz

    One man’s hatred is another man’s celebration. I think anyone who preaches to know about this stuff should make a point this year of going to a celebration being held by the ‘other side’. The Short Strand isnt the only show in town on the 12th, there are dozens of parades on throughout NI, just pick one off the PC website. If you are a Prod, go to a nationalist community festival. Take a small step 🙂

    Although I am minded of a reputed conversation between Catriona Ruane and Neslon McCausland, she encouraging Unionists to come to the city centre with their Union Jacks, to wave happily alongside the tricolours. Nelson reputedly looked at her in amazement and she said ‘It would be a riot of colour’. To which Nelson answered that it would more likely be a riot. Who knows, but we have to start starting

  • Miss Fitz

    John
    The debate I am referring to happened this year, so we are talking obviously about 2 different events. Yours sounds interesting too.

    Having said that, I am in no way detracting from a very useful conference where very important issues were aired in an open and engaging manner. My brief resume of the comments was simply to illustrate the difference in perception, and I stand fully over my remarks. If you would like to engage in a full scale debate over this, I dont have a problem, but I think that you must take the comments also in the spirit in which I was writing.

  • kensei

    “When and why did this become a celebration of ‘Irish national identity’?”

    When is probably hard to pinpoint, but why is probably down to the influence of America. Though considering the major parades predate partition by some margin, it might just be that you’ve moved position, rather than the parades.

    “If it’s proclaimed to be a celebration of Irishness, the nationalist, ‘Tricolour’ version of Irishness, then yes it becomes exclusive in NI terms.”

    Only if you make it so. Why should that threaten you? It’s not like there is a comparable OO anti-Protestant style organisation invloved.

  • John McIlveen

    Miss Fitz

    I don’t want to get into a debate about this, however – going on the two individuals that you mentioned and knowing that the Queen’s debate was the only one that they have done publicly – i know that we are talking about the same debate.

    You may very well have been genuine in terms of offering your description of the debate, however this whole thread has been based on your “Nationalists only love St Patrick’s Day for the beer and craic” description of the positions and i am pointing out that that definitly was not the description that i heard in Queens this march/april.

    Just thought it should be noted.
    John

  • Rory

    Kensei,

    Not only were there plenty of tricolours at the London paeade but the breweries provided the bars and pubs with strings of them to decorate their premises.

    One interesting aspect in England is that I have sometimes found some Southern Irish a bit puzzled why a northener like me is celebrating even though I am from a Catholic family. When I point to St. Patrick’s grave in Downpatrick or the sight of his first mass at Saul nearby I swear they think I’m making it up and that no self respecting St Patrick would have had anything to do with the place.

  • Rory

    Spelling! Apologies.

  • missfitz

    John
    Your repsonce is meanspiried, trite and inaccurate. This thread is most certainly not based on that banal construct, and I think you are quite wrong.

    I entered this debate for one purpose only.

    Victor asked:
    ‘I’ve never heard a satisfactory explination about what the unionist problem with saint patrick is? ‘

    I was genuinely trying to open a debate where we can start accepting that we have shared symbols and there is potential for us to have shared commemoration. This moved on to a more specific idea of where each side is coming from and I used a part of a debate I had witnessed to give a brief illustration of the opposing cultural perceptions. To be 100% accurate, Conor Maskey said ‘I’m sure St Patrick would have loved a bit of craic and a pint’ to which Nelson McCausland answered ‘I’m sure he would not’.

    Now, I am not attributing anything to those comments, but they were made and they illustrate the difference between where the presbyterian ownership of aspects of Patrick might lie, as opposed to the less aesthetically stringent interpretation by a young, male catholic.

    If you dont want to debate, stop putting points to me, or at least have the decency to be accurate. And lets be clear, there is no question of me ‘wanting to be genuine’, I am both genuine and passionate about this subject and will not be trifled with

  • john McIlveen

    Miss Fitz

    Please don’t mis-interpret me either. I’m not trying to cause offence or be mean-spirited and i certainly don’t feel that i’m being inaccurate.

    However, i feel that the interpretations of the Carnival Committee side of the debate are wrong. I certainly can’t remember the carnival committee rep saying the quote you’ve attributed to him in your last post and i feel that – from what i heard in the debate – the quotes do not justify the depth of the discourse in Queen’s that day.

    I’ll leave it at that and, as i said, i’m not trying to cause offence or be mean-spirited, i’m only trying to call things as i seen and heard them in a debate and issue of which i also feel very serious about.

    All the best
    John

  • Nevin

    John, Miss Fitz and missfitz might or might not be the same person …

  • John McIlveen

    Thanks for that Nevin

    John

  • nmc

    Why is the onus on nationalists/republicans to make this feast a shared event? If you want to partake in it, come on down.

    There will be tri-colours there, in the same way that there are English bars decked out with English flags on St. George’s day, as well they should be, he’s the patron saint of England.

    In the same breath, St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, which is the island of Ireland and is represented by a tri-colour.

    All the bluster about the twelfth and how we all have the equal right to parade, seems hypocritical when we have a national celebration being cut from funding simply because St. Pat is not the patron saint of Northern Ireland, but instead, Ireland as a whole, and we can’t have that.

  • m

    Miss Fitz,

    Surely the majority of protestant denominations don’t recognise Saints? Can it be a truly shared event when many despise both the religious and national dimensions? Unless all religious or Irish elements are removed from the day to make it acceptable for some protestant splinter groups? (wouldn’t be much point to the day if it was stripped back to a celebration of the council, that Belfast and Down edge toward, rather than celebrations of the Irish National Day and Saint)

  • lib2016

    The strategy of the DUP and their UDA backers is and has been the creation of loyalist ghettoes. It suits the current leadership of the DUP because it means that they are guaranteed large majorities in ‘safe’ constituencies and it suits the UDA because it gives them guaranteed drug markets and ‘spheres of influence’ from which to negotiate with the British government.

    Of course they are going to be tempted to oppose anything in the way of shared activities. It won’t work in the longterm but for the moment it is all the strategy they have so they cling to it.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Sometimes an outsiders view helps to put things in perspective.

    St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, right?
    Have the bigots got to be appeased so much that any expression of Irishness must be watered down. And checked to see if it is offensive to some, who have in their ranks those who view a breathing Irishman as offensive. Instead of debating the minutiae, check the bigger picture guys and gals.

  • The Beach Tree

    Miss Fitz

    “The old adage that ‘everyone is Irish on St Patrick’s Day’ needs to extend beyond that probably non-existent group of pure Irish”

    Leaving aside the straw man of ‘pure-bred Irishness’ you have actually, in my view, pierced your own argument above.

    Because you have implicitly said that St Patrick’s day is about ‘Irishness’, not ‘christianess’. If You had said, everyone is christian on St Patrick’s day, then your argument might have held. But of course, such a statement would be meaningless.

    Just as with St George, or St David, the day is first and foremost a ‘national’ day, not a religious one. It may well have religious significance for some, but unlike Easter or Pentecost, that is not it’s primary function, either in Ireland, or around the world.

    There is no Belfast Carnival for the religious holidays of Ash Wednesday, Easter Sunday, Ramadan or Yom Kippur. And the reason for St Patrick’s parades and celebrations worldwide are not remotely religious.

    It is a celebration and advertisement of the ‘Irish Nation’, a construct that many unionists are at best ambivielent about their membership of. Just like St George’s day, St David’s day but just much more commerically succesfully.

    Now of course unionists in Northern ireland may celebrate the day as they wish, as is of course their right, but if the only way to ‘share’ the day is to rob it of it’s real, much cherished and globally understood meaning, then it’s arguably better not shared.

    It’s not a ‘provo’ July 12 (that’s arguably Easter Monday) – but it is the ‘national’ holiday, and if you don’t want to celebrate that particular nation, why bother?

  • Stephen Copeland

    The Beach Tree,

    if you don’t want to celebrate that particular nation, why bother?

    Exactly. If they want to join in, that woould be great, but if they don’t, then no problem – as long as no-one is actually blocking them.

    However, for them to try to block the public expression of ‘Irishness’ on St Patrick’s day in the way they are, is an entirely different thing. It smacks of petty b1gotry against the very concept of Irishness, and a continued attempt to pretend that Belfast is not actually a part of Ireland.

  • John McIlveen

    St Pat’s committee released the following statement after Friday’s decision:

    BELFAST ST PATRICK’S DAY CARNIVAL COMMITTEE SLAMS CITY COUNCIL DECISION

    The Belfast St Patrick’s Day Carnival Committee has expressed its deep disappointment at the decision today by Belfast City Council’s Policy and Resources Committee to reject organising next year’s St Patrick’s Day festivities.

    All Unionist councillors on the Policy and Resources Committee from the DUP, UUP and PUP voted together to reject a proposal which would have seen Belfast City Council commit £110,000 for the 2007 celebrations and, in turn, allow for an early start to the organising of next year’s event

    Committee Spokesperson Steven Corr said: “We are deeply disappointed by the members on Belfast City Council’s Policy and Resources Committee who voted this proposal down today.

    “This committee has campaigned for many years for Belfast City Council to organise such an event as it was glaring that, previous to the mid/late-nineties, the second largest city on the island of Ireland did nothing to celebrate its Patron Saint. In the last number of years we – along with others from all sections of society in Belfast – have made massive advances in taking St Patrick’s Day in the city to a new level.

    “Last year Belfast City Council organised the event for the first time in its history. Alongside this they commissioned an independent evaluator from Queen’s University to compile a report for taking things into the future. The report highlighted the fact that 84% of people surveyed at last year’s event felt that it was welcoming to everyone and 89% rated last year’s event as a family day out.

    “One of the key recommendations in the report was that council should take full advantage of St Patrick’s Day falling on weekend days in 2007 and 2008, in order to attract a larger amount of young people from state schools that would normally miss out if St Patrick’s Day fell on a week-day. The report also recommends designating St Patrick’s Day as a public holiday.

    “Unionists on Belfast City Council’s Policy and Resources Committee are obviously behind the times on this issue. They seem absolutely incapable of moving things on, when it has been shown that a massive amount of ratepayers in the city, including many from a Unionist background, want this issue advanced.

    “We believe that all politicians in Belfast City Council who know how far things have progressed over the last few years and want to see things progressed further should now look to July’s full council meeting and overturn today’s decision. The objective here should be that Belfast has a St Patrick’s Day event to be proud of and that can compete with the likes of New York, London and Beijing in the future.”STATEMENT ENDS

    So it looks like – with Alliance Party’s backing of course – Friday’s decision would be overturned at July’s BCC full (or is that FOOL!) council meeting and the city will have a chance to follow on from last year’s success.

    John

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Now of course unionists in Northern Ireland may celebrate the day as they wish, as is of course their right, but if the only way to ‘share’ the day is to rob it of it’s real, much cherished and globally understood meaning, then it’s arguably better not shared.”

    good post TBT. It’s a national day for a nation that is by definition anti-Unionist ergo it can’t be a cross-community event. Time to remove that nonsensical flag too, since the Unionists have no aspiration to be part of the nation, wouldn’t you agree?

  • lib2016

    Why, oh why are unionists so desperate to commit political suicide rather than accept change? Belfast will have a St. Patrick’s Day soon, probably next March and unionism will have distanced themselves that little bit further from the centre. Frankly I don’t understand it.

    There are minor members of the British Royal Family dying to play a part in building peace here and distribute shamrock as they already do to the Irish regiments in the BA. It would be so easy to embarrass die-hard republicans (like me) but that would be too simple….cheesh!

  • Brian Boru

    Shows the hypocrisy of the Unionists.

  • The Beach Tree

    darth

    “by definition anti-unionist”

    What utter tosh! The Irish nation is by definition the nation of the irish people, no more, no less. It is not intrinsically anti ANY political argument. And that’s all unionism (or nationalism for that matter) is, not a nation, not a culture, just a political position.

    And if the very large majority of the members of the irish nation happens to disagree with the unionist position on the future of ireland (and given the attitude of most unionists towards that nation, and that landmass, it is hardly surprising!), what of it?

    Let’s be clear. the Irish nation (in one form or another) existed long before Uster Unionism did. The Irish nation exisits of its own sake, not a response to anything, and Ulster Unionism was founded in opposition to it, not the other way around.

    Now the event (St Pa trick Celebrations) can and should certainly be open to protestants in Northern Ireland(one construct; a religious group, or a range of religious groups) , and likewise the portion of the British nation (second construct; a nationality) who live here are more than welcome (and these two constructs, while largely co-terminous, are not the same thing).

    And if unionists (a third construct; political opinion) want to join in, all power to them.

    But St. Patrick’s day, the Irish national holiday, belongs in that sense, obviously, to the Irish nation – not the Irish State I might add (a fourth construct; state boundries) – and if fundamentalist unionists like yourself cannot bear the expression of national celebration in that way, if the very existance of a celebration for that nation, feels exclusionary, then, frankly, you should exclude yourselves as you please.

    Each year,at Proms in the Park, Land of Hope and Glory and God save the Queen, ring out from the Big Screen at Belfast City Hall, with plenty of Union Flags flown on screen and off – it may only be a concert, but it has become a genuine national celebration.

    Good luck to it. I’ve been twice, and while not a member of the nation, enjoyed it thouroughly – i don’t allow my self to be excluded, because I don’t feel threatened by the very existance of a British Nation, despite having just as many reasons as you to feel uncomfortable.

    Finally, whether or not SPD is crosscommunity is frankly secondary to the fact that is the national holiday for many of us. On objective criteria it is certainly a less objectionable “non-cross-community” event than the marches of 12/7, and causes far less harm; so you’ll understand if many of us view the naysayers with a certain degree of scepticism.

    And finally, as for the flag. As a nation we can aspire peacefully to whatever we please. The Orange may historically represent your community; but you don’t own the colour, and we’ll modify it, if at all, at a time and date of our own choosing, thank yee kindly.

    Regardless of its symbolism, we happen to think its quite pretty.

  • kensei

    “Time to remove that nonsensical flag too, since the Unionists have no aspiration to be part of the nation, wouldn’t you agree?”

    Nah, it represents our aspiration you’ll join.

  • nmc

    It’s interesting that the Unionists on the council think that this is a good idea, displaying pettiness of this kind against a parade that will probably happen anyway, thereby getting all the bad, with none of the good. They’ve pulled a Reg.

  • darth rumsfeld

    TBT-

    “Now the event (St Pa trick Celebrations) can and should certainly be open to protestants in Northern Ireland(one construct; a religious group, or a range of religious groups) , and likewise the portion of the British nation (second construct; a nationality) who live here are more than welcome (and these two constructs, while largely co-terminous, are not the same thing).”

    All quite true, if a tad trite.

    Unionism: the Union of Great Britain and (now) Northern Ireland
    The Irish Republic: an independent country- thus not part of the Union, nor supporting same.
    It doesn’t matter which came first, or which is more popular, or is objectively economically or socially better. The two are mutually exclusive. And you’ve said St Patrick’s day is the celebration of one of these two identities. I agree. It wasn’t me who said ” if the only way to ‘share’ the day is to rob it of it’s real, much cherished and globally understood meaning, then it’s arguably better not shared.”. You shared the proms in the park without compromising your beliefs, no more than watching Bastille Day celebrations would make you French.

    “if the very existance of a celebration for that nation, feels exclusionary, then, frankly, you should exclude yourselves as you please. ”
    It was you who didn’t want to share, and now you say I’m excluding myself!!!! So..Thanks for nothing. And it’s no big deal to exclude myself, BTW. I don’t take part in the Chinese new year celebrations either, it doesn’t mean I object to people taking part,

    “And finally, as for the flag. As a nation we can aspire peacefully to whatever we please. The Orange may historically represent your community; but you don’t own the colour, and we’ll modify it, if at all, at a time and date of our own choosing, thank yee kindly.2

    Well of course you can, but then if you’re consistent you can’t graciously permit me to decline to share in your state while at the same time telling me I’m a deluded anti-Irish Irishman whose imagery I’m afraid to say we have moral and intellectual copyright of. It’s like the Argentinian flag having the image of the Falkland islands imposed on it-not illegal of course, just condescending and bad manners-your aspiration might stand a better chance of succeeding if it was rather less strident.

  • The Beach Tree

    Darth

    1. If it’s true, then triteness is irrelevant. I wasn’t attempting to be charming, I was attempting to be accurate.

    2. I’m perfectly happy to share – just not at the cost of what is being shared.

    I want to share the cows, you insist on sharing it only as beef. I won’t tell you what to do with your beef, if you stop trying to tell us what to do with our cows.

    “It doesn’t matter which came first … The two are mutually exclusive”

    Actually it matters very much, and there is a subtle and important distinction between two things being “mutually exclusive” (suggesting no blame) and something being “exclusionary” (suggesting blame), and you have attenpted to blur that distinction for your own benefit. Ain’t going to work with this hombre!

    Moreover – the “Unionism” is not “the Union”; merely the political opinion that supports it.

    So while the state born of the 1801 Union and an Indpendent 32 County Irish Nation State are mutually exclusive – Unionism and that irish nation are not. The existance of support for celebrating that nation does not ‘Exclude Unionists’ – at worst it simply opposes them. And again, why shouldn’t it? Unless you are too afraid, or too furious to accept any even the existance of the nation…

    “You shared the proms in the park without compromising your beliefs, no more than watching Bastille Day celebrations would make you French. ”

    So if you are happily not a member of the Irish Nation, why not accept that enjoying the gentle paddywhackery of the St Patrick’s day celebrations won’t make you a member. If both enthusiam and disinterest are tolerable solutions, why do you choose outright antagonism?

    Why are you so offended not to be included in something you claim cannot by nature include you?

    “while at the same time telling me I’m a deluded anti-Irish Irishman”

    I’ve never called you that. I don’t think you’re deluded, and I don’t suspect your an irishman, at least in the sense of being a member of the irish nation. As for anti-irish, well there’s some evidence to support that, and my response is “So what?”. As I said, leave my cows be, and were fine.

    The problem for the group to which you seem broadly to belong, and i’m trying to deliberately avoid labels, is that it’s easier to say what it isn’t than what it is. It is founded and grounded, first and always on opposition. It’s not positive and it’s not progressive, at least in that form.

    Because it’s not the British Nation. It may well be a small part, roughly 1/30th of the British Nation (I tend to accept that rational), but the problem is that this leaves it vulnerable to the whims of the other 29/30ths, and to the possible (not necessarily likely) future dissolution of the United Kingdom. And I think we all know how you feel about that vulnerability.

    Perhaps it’s the Ulster Scot’s nation – except half of it is actually Ulster English.

    Perhaps it’s simply the Ulster nation, except Ulster describes a geographical entity, not a people.

    Perhaps it’s the Unionist people. Except Unionism, as a political opinion, is no more the foundation for a ‘nation’ than opposition to the abolition of grammer schools.

    Perhaps its …. well do let us in on it; at least then we can have a good row about the reality, and not this hot air nonsense.

  • Proud

    Went to the St Pats celebrations in 2005, felt rather intimidated I have to say (and I’m no shrinking violet), tricolours everywhere, drunks, people in celtic tops etc. and more than that, the streets were an absolute mess – litter and spilt beer etc. Last year’s was apparently a whole lot better, although I didn’t attend.

    My suggestion for improvement to make people like me return (which at the moment I wouldn’t, given my last experience) would be to adopt the cross of St Patrick as the official flag of the celebrations – pleases me as it makes up NI’s representation in the Union flag, however it also represents Ireland as a whole, harking back to the days when the island was one political unit – which might please the nationalist-minded among you.

    Also, make it an official holiday for State schools, and get representatives from the Carnival Committee to go around State schools and try and whip up some support.

  • Miss Fitz

    The Beech Tree

    I am well aware that I cannot match your prowess in the field of debate, and I bow to your more learned position.

    However, having said that, I feel that I am adequately equipped to deal with the points you have made, in my limited manner, if you could bear with me.

    The notion of being ‘Irish’ has changed significantly over the centuries, and our present understanding of nationalism, and Irishness bear little resemblance to the ideas that existed in the 15, 16, 17 18 and 19 centuries. Indeed, up to about 1968, a sizeable proportion of protestants in Ulster considered themselves ‘Irish’ (Moxon Browne, http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/othelem/research/nisas/rep1c2.htm

    This is probably why and where things get difficult. Up to the middle of the last century, we did not have this sense of oppositional identity in the way it is presently manifested. There was without doubt a sense of siege, and the need to be ‘set for defense’, but there was never the need to wholly separate the identities of ‘native and planter’ in the manner we are presently witnessing.

    Has Irishness been hi-jacked? Has St Patrick been hi-jacked? I think its reasonable to ask these questions, and to go back to the Beech Tree, you must not assume that the sense of being Irish has been an exclusively catholic domain. The opposite has been true, but we are seeing a very different picture in our present day.

    In short, Irishness has not, and does not belong to a single religious group, similarly St Patrick has the capacity to belong to all Irish people, irregardless of their religion

  • Stephen Copeland

    Miss Fitz,

    … St Patrick has the capacity to belong to all Irish people …

    Christ! Two bald men fighting over a comb. Look around you, folks, Ireland north and south is a godless and post-religious country. It does not matter who ‘gets’ St P, or whether every schism of Christianity finally decides to buy into him, because the ordinary people of Irend have moved on and left religion well and truly behind.

    St Patrick’s day is, and will continue to be, an non-religious celebration of Irish national identity. Some of our grandparents went to mass on St Patrick’s day, but we do not. Instead we wave entirely unreligious banners, flags and pom-poms, and go to a Disneyesque parade a million miles from a church. Forget arguing about St P in religious terms, because there aren’t any any more. It is ecular, and the real reasons for the ‘dispute’ about it are 100% secular.

  • Miss Fitz
    “Actually Stephen, I disagree with you fundamentally and entirely.”

    Actually I think he is spot on.
    For us St.Pats is our national holiday … our only national holiday which we celebrate together as a nation. In NI you have no national holiday (as far as I know) and I believe nationalists in NI celebrate St.Pats because they are part of the same Irish nation as I am (not the only Irish nation). It’s as exclusive as any national holiday is … such as St.Georges for example. That doesn’t mean NI protestants can’t celebrate it, just like I could celebrate St.Georges if I felt like it.

    The options, in my opinion, are to convince nationalists to stop celebrating their national holiday but instead create a new St.Pats holiday with you; to join in the fun like others do around the world; to celebrate the saints day on your own.

    My 2c.

  • The Beach Tree

    Proud

    Forgive me for asking, but since St Patrick was neither crucified nor a crusader, why does he ‘have’ a cross?

    Or is it in fact that the cross belongs to one of the old norman Families of Ireland and was hijacked around 1800 to fulfil its one and only duty; to tie Ireland into the Union.

    I reject the Saltire entirely. It represents no part of the Irish nation to me, except the kind subservient to the Union flag. If that’s the price of your entry, then as I said to Garth/Darth, you needn’t enter.

    i’m sorry you encountered drunks, they can intimidate. Being intimidated by celtic tops might even be understandable, if prejudiced. But fearing a piece of fabric, in a city centre? Don’t buy it. See my proms post above.

    Miss Fitz

    I don’t recall asking you to grovel at my debating skills. I smell sarcasm afoot 😉

    “The notion of being ‘Irish’ has changed significantly over the centuries, and our present understanding of nationalism, and Irishness bear little resemblance to the ideas that existed in the 15, 16, 17 18 and 19 centuries”

    Nationalism and Irishness are two seperate things. Never the less, the idea that Ireland was definable as a single territory predates Strongbow and the self-declaration of the Irish nation dates to Edward Bruce in c. 13C.

    As for what Ulster Protestants thought in 1968, well that’s a matter for them. I’m not terribly interested in the particular correlation of nationality and religious groups, as i’ve said before.

    As for oppositional identity only arising in the middle of the last century, you might want to consider the timing of the origins of the Orange Order. Was Settler/native violence not endemic in the 17C?

    Let’s be clear. Which group changed their identity? And thus which group created the oppositional structure?

    I fear Miss Fitz you are embarking on creating a historical narrative which, in addition to being hopelessly twee, in the manner of NIO “Wouldn’t it be great….” adverts, is simply not true.

    Your hopes may be convenient. but there falsehoods. And most of us won’t lie for the sake of convenience.

    “you must not assume that the sense of being Irish has been an exclusively catholic domain”

    Straw man. I never assumed or expressed any such thing, indeed I was extremely careful to show 4 entirely different constructs (nationality, political opinion, religion and state borders)

    There are only to my mind three necessary borders to being a member of the Irish Nation.

    1. Being entitled to membership by birth on the island, or descent from someone born on the ireland, or naturalisation.
    2. Wanting to be a member of that nation.
    3. Loyalty to that nation.

    There is no religious boundry. Many unionists, for example John Taylor are, and have been, very clear that they fail test 2. Almost all by definition fail test three. They do however pass the test for the British Nation. But Patrick isn’t the patron saint of Britian.

  • Reader

    TBT: It is a celebration and advertisement of the ‘Irish Nation’
    But there may be two Irish Nations – in which case, St Patrick should be shared between them.
    Or, if there is one, shared, Irish Nation, then it isn’t represented by the Tricolour.
    So what’s it to be – share the Saint, or share the Nation?

  • The Beach Tree

    Reader

    “But there may be two Irish Nations ”

    There’s very little evidence of that. Any number of unionists appear quite happy to inform me that they are not members of the Irish Nation at all. They are equally happy to inform me they are members of the British Nation. Good luck to them.

    Out of curiosity can you name me any other nation that is actually ‘two nations’? I can think of single nations split into seperate states, but…

    “Or, if there is one, shared, Irish Nation, then it isn’t represented by the Tricolour.”

    The tricolor fulfils two purposes. It is the state flag of the Republic of Ireland state, and the national flag of the irish nation.

    In both roles, it commands the support of the vast majority of the irish nation.

    The only naysayers are a portion of the population of the island landmass who are at best ambivalent about whether they even belong to the irish nation at all.

    The idea that that minority has a veto over the widely and enthusiastically accepted symbols of nationhood is farcical. They can choose to belong, in which case they get a say that is equal to their proportion (about 1/6), but certainly not a veto. Or they can not belong, in which case they get no say at all. In neither situation do they get a veto.

    “So what’s it to be – share the Saint, or share the Nation? ”

    Nonsensical question. See above.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Why are you so offended not to be included in something you claim cannot by nature include you?”

    I’m not remotely offended by being excluded-I confirmed the accuracy of your interpretation. I just don’t like being told it’s cross community. it’s no more cross community than the Chinese new year, and that at least is celebrated with a lot less of the patriotism of the cider-swigging Celtic-top straining spides of West Belfast staggering round town- but, hey , if that’s their culture…

    “Moreover – the “Unionism” is not “the Union”; merely the political opinion that supports it.”

    Republicanism ain’t the republic either-so your point is…?

    “It doesn’t matter which came first … The two are mutually exclusive”

    Actually it matters very much, and there is a subtle and important distinction between two things being “mutually exclusive” (suggesting no blame) and something being “exclusionary” (suggesting blame), and you have attenpted to blur that distinction for your own benefit. Ain’t going to work with this hombre!”

    ..or translated “we wus here first. Your politics are therefore less legitimate than ours.” Obviously its our fault that we are not all one happy united people- if only we could all stop being Unionists. Same old rant, in a new package.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Very well thought out and articulated BT.

    Darth. Why are Unionist problems with Nationalism always in the minutiae? where we can all go and get tangled up for years.

    People all over the world would scratch their heads and laugh about all this shite. Then again this is not a new occurance for unionism.

    Paddy’s day events are a way of celebrating the Irish nation and those with a sense of Irishness(or those who just like a good time) can enjoy the occassion all over the world. Some of the only places they don’t occur is where belligerance towards expressions of Irishness exists. Unfortunately Belfast is one of those places.

  • The Beach Tree

    Darth

    Piss Poor answer, but let’s try and make some gold from this straw.

    “I just don’t like being told it’s cross community. it’s no more cross community than the Chinese new year,”

    I never claimed it was cross-community, and what’s more I don’t care what you like. I simply don’t accept that it needs to be cross-community to be a valid expression of the Irish nation. Attempts were made, wrongly but goodspiritedly in my view, to reach across. What was bloody clear is that the unionist body politic, which had demanded such reaching, showed its true colours; it didn’t actually want to be reached, it actually resented it. It was just an excuse, as many of us had long suspected.

    Ergo, when they claimed it was necessary to reach, they were lying. Fine, they’re liars. Their choice. But we won’t be taking their views seriously again in a hurry.

    If more unionists like yourself were honest about their anti-irishness, which to be fair, you have been, then the Allaince-y charade could be dispatched where it belongs, and we might all get on with enjoying our own lives.

    ” and that at least is celebrated with a lot less of the patriotism of the cider-swigging Celtic-top straining spides of West Belfast staggering round town- but, hey , if that’s their culture… ”

    Well, several chinese I know, both mainland, and taiwanese, are very patriotic, and make no secret of it. Good luck to them too. Anyway…

    Whereas of course, as you will vouch, Darth, no expression of the British Culture on this island has ever been attended or celebrated by large numbers of McEwans downing, Rangers-top straining spides of East or South Belfast, or Portadown, or Ballymena etc, etc, etc …

    Of Course, there are differences in these ‘cultures’.

    The Celtic wearing spide celebration on March 17th hasn’t brought the country to halt most of the last ten years.

    The organisers, cider swilling away though they of course are, haven’t to my knowledge enlisted paramilitaries in diggers to get down any road, contested or otherwise.

    March 17th lasts one day, not three months.

    Glasshouse and stones spring to mind, Garth.

    “Republicanism ain’t the republic either-so your point is…”

    …quite clearly set out in the last post. Read it again.

    “or translated “we wus here first. Your politics are therefore less legitimate than ours.”

    Again, tosh of the first water. Is this a profession for you, Darth, or just amateur talent?

    The point was very clear. It didn’t matter who was ‘here first’. What mattered was that the unionist community changed its collective mind about what nation it belonged to, and then blamed the rest of us on the island, the irish nation,for excluding them from the irish nation, when they chose the exclsuionary viewpoint of unionism precisely because they wanted to be excluded from the irish nation!

    now I don’t care what nation you belong to, you can be ugandan for all I care. It’s your choice, as is your politics, and you’re welcome to it.

    But which ever choice you make does have consequences, and in the case before us the consequence is that, choosing to not be part of the irish nation, and with clearly no intention of ever so being, you don’t get a say in the synbols of that nation, or how it celebrates its national identity on its national holiday.

    Simple, really, Garth. do keep up.

  • hotdogx

    no paddys day in centre of town but orange parades can be forced through nationalist areas, Unionist veto – double standard are alive and well in NI

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Simple, really, Garth. do keep up.

    Posted by The Beach Tree on Jun 28, 2006 @ 03:16 PM”

    Dear Leach tree- please firstly get my name right.

    Modesty should prevent me, but sodddit-it’s not a question of keeping up- the sad fact is I’m so far ahead of you I’m about to lap you.Now, to the argument, which you seem to have avoided in a welter of lowgrade personal abuse and ramblings

    Every year we get gurning about loyalist bonfires being about as cultural as the public toilets on a Saturday night in Shaftesbury Square- a view with which I have some sympathy BTW-yet identical behaviour for Paddy’s Day is only better because, in your view, it’s only one day. Right oh. Still can’t see Brian Sewell including it in the great cultural experiences of the western world. And like many orangemen I’ve never been to an 11th night bonfire BTW-too busy organising banners, bowlers, brollies for the 7.00 start the next day. I don’t feel I’ve missed much.

    See I’m not big on parity of esteem, which just leads to a failure to exercise judgment, but I’m all for parity of contempt. Everything wrong in my community’s culture is fair game if you put it in context of the same or similar behaviour from your community. Implicitly you’ve done that with your “but we don’t do it for three months” whine. Now get it out in the open.

    I’m not anti-Irish either- in fact I’m one of Yeats’ “no petty people” and even a fruity old dreamer like him finally cottoned on to the fact that the “official” Irishness of the state was excluding him, and me. So i’ve a much broader notion of Irishness than you. It’s the Shinners who fear the south’s new multi-culturalism- can’t adapt to jigging at crossroads with Nigerians and Poles you see. 1 half-asian Dublin footballer’s OK, but God help the irish people if themmuns are not just the prods , but all the influx of Blacks, browns etc. Of course official SF-speak disowns this line, but you don’t have to go too far down the chain of command before the language of nationalism becomes the language of racism- as my contacts in County Cork have shown me this year……

    “choosing to not be part of the Irish nation, and with clearly no intention of ever so being, you don’t get a say in the synbols of that nation”-

    Oh I do if they are my symbols , and you are stealing them to make a proprietorial point. You can keep on claiming title to the orange, but you’re not going to be allowed to do so unchallenged. Or do Shinners, choosing not to be a part of the British nation forfeit their right to get a say in the symbols of our nation- like “Londonderry”, which they want to change- or carson’s statue at Stormont, which they want moved. Parity of contempt dear boy.

    Finally you’re the one labouring the “Unionism is reactionary and thus less valid” role. Don’t get precious if we all see the subtext of that.

  • Rory

    What Miss Fitz seems to me to be asking here is how do we repackage the patron saint of all of Ireland so that the image becomes acceptable to people to whom the very concept of an “all of Ireland” is threatening?

    The simple answer, it seems to me, is that we cannot. Certainly not without making the whole concept meaningless or so distorting it as to be totally unrecognisable and a figure open to ridicule.

    Really I think the question goes back to the unionists – do you wish to share in this celebration of the Irish national saint, to join with all others on this island (and indeed throughout the world) in celebrating our pride and joy in being Irish?

    The response from the Unionists of Belfast City Council at least appears to be, “No, we do not”.

    To which I would reply, “Fine then. Don’t. But don’t say you were not invited. Maybe nxt year?”

  • The Beach Tree

    Garth

    1. I rather doubt your real name is Darth Rumsfeld, so I’m frankly going to mock it how i please.

    2. Dear sweet jesus, if your going to try and mock Beach Tree, at least remember Leech is spealt Leech.

    3. “the sad fact is I’m so far ahead of you I’m about to lap you”

    Self praise is no recommendation, Garth. And there’s absolutely no content in your reply to back you up. Stupidity I can pity, but Stupidity and arrogance, yeesh.

    4. “yet identical behaviour for Paddy’s Day is only better because, in your view, it’s only one day”

    Well one day of crap, is clearly about 90 times better than about 90 days of crap. So yes, it’s better. Plus, I haven’t noticed too many sexual and violent attacks around Paddy’s day parades. So I would seriously quibble on the ‘identical’.

    But yes I certainly dislike intensely public drunkeness on Paddy’s day, so I support the alcohol bans.

    As for Sewell, it might be an idea to remember a key difference exists between culture, and art, which is but one of its forms.

    But frankly, I don’t care about the bonfires, and you are welcome to them, for one clear reason – they are kept to areas where they are wanted.

    “Everything wrong in my community’s culture is fair game if you put it in context of the same or similar behaviour from your community.”

    No, Darth. Everything wrong in your community is fair game. Full stop. Everything wrong in ‘my’ community is fair game. Full stop. But anything more is whataboutery and moral evasion.

    “I’m not anti-Irish either…I’ve a much broader notion of Irishness than you”

    Not anti-irish..pull the other one, it rings.

    As for the ‘broad notion of Irishness’, Irish Coffee is Irish, Irish Linen is Irish, Irish Wolfhounds (born wherever) are irish. But none of them are members of the Irish nation, who alone have the right to the Irish National Symbols.

    “It’s the Shinners who fear the south’s new multi-culturalism- can’t adapt to jigging at crossroads with Nigerians and Poles you see.”

    Since I’m not a Shinner, and have never followed or voted for the party in my life, I can’t comment on what they think, bit I’d be amazed if the various irish dancing classes of the 26 counties don’t have few eastern european kids floating around in them. I certainly know a couple north of the border.

    The irish nation historically assimilated celts, vikings, normans, the english, all no problem. From them all we learned artwork, heraldry, construction, town planning, government and common law. We happily accepted those inventions and they imbued the irish nation and irish society.

    Why? Because those peoples were willing to , and wanted to, join in. That’s the difference.

    “1 half-asian Dublin footballer’s OK, but God help the irish people if themmuns are not just the prods , but all the influx of Blacks, browns etc. Of course official SF-speak disowns this line, but you don’t have to go too far down the chain of command before the language of nationalism becomes the language of racism-”

    You’ll understand if i treat your hearsay evidence with skepticism. People are indeed racist, all over the world. It’s a vile thing. I’ve seen little to no evidence that it is worse in the south than anywhere elese in the world, and a fair bit of evidence that it’s actually considerably better.For a small conutry with little recent experience of economic immigration, they’ve actually coped very well.

    Meanwhile your community has continued to forge ahead with its reputation as one of the most inhospitable to foreigners in these islands.

    “Oh I do if they are my symbols , and you are stealing them to make a proprietorial point.”

    Oh no you don’t, because they aren’t your symbols. They are our symbols, and if they originated anywhere else, they originated with the dutch, and ‘you’ stole them from the dutch. ‘Your symbols’! Christ, this psychosis knows no bounds.

    As for the colour itself, claiming moral or intellectual copyright to a wavelength of light may yet be the most ludicrous and pathetic thing I’ve heard yet.

    ” You can keep on claiming title to the orange, but you’re not going to be allowed to do so unchallenged.”

    What, do you honestly think your challenge will be taken seriously, or have any hope of success? Dream on. Or would you agree then that since Eriu, (also known as Erin) is a ancient celtic goddess, and a creation therefore of the literary genius of the Irish nation, the Irish nation have a right to everything with then name Ireland or Irish in it (since the vikings who came to Ireland called it Eiru-land, or Ire-land, and they’ve long since joined the irish nation)? In which case we’ll be having your football team first, thank ye. Oh, actually we’ll just have the name of the whole country while we are at it.

    What utter nonsense!

    (Post 1 of 2)

  • The Beach Tree

    (Post 2 of 2)

    ” Or do Shinners, choosing not to be a part of the British nation forfeit their right to get a say in the symbols of our nation- like “Londonderry”,”

    Well first, by that reasoning, we’ll have ‘Derry;, including the “walls” and the “apprentice boys” back, thanks – you can keep the London bit.

    What petty nonsense you spout, Garth.

    Moreover, you can keep the name if you wish, apply it to a bus shelter or something, but the city, well, it’s not a symbol of your nation, it’s a city – full of people mostly of the Irish nation, and it’s their’s to call what they wish.

    “or carson’s statue at Stormont, which they want moved.”

    I don’t really care where Carson’s statue goes to be honest. Why not plant it outside Westminster, pointing to the rear of Kimng Richard’s horse?

    “Finally you’re the one labouring the “Unionism is reactionary and thus less valid” role. Don’t get precious if we all see the subtext of that.”

    Unionism is reactionary. I didn’t say that meant it was less valid. To be honest, it’s not validity it lacks, it’s worth.

    What does makes unionism incompatible, with membership of the irish nation, is that it

    a) doesn’t want to be part of the nation.
    b) is not loyal to the nation.

    No more than that, and no less.

    It’s a perfectly valid poltical opinion to have as part of the British nation. But as such, it gives you’s no say on the symbols of the Irish nation. Full Stop.

    And really, Garth, I doubt you see the subtext in anything. There’s nothing in the posts you’ve written to suggest you do.

  • darth rumsfeld

    feel better now Beachie? Now you’ve got your second wind, have another crack at this-

    “As for the colour itself, claiming moral or intellectual copyright to a wavelength of light may yet be the most ludicrous and pathetic thing I’ve heard yet.”
    – I didn’t, but while we’re on the (soooo sensitive) subject why not Green white and brown, or fuchsia, or taupe? The moral copyright you rightly denigrate is..er, the claim that people you know don’t want to be part of your nation are symbolically part of your nation.

    There’s a common thread in your posts I’ve noticed. State a position, which a Unionist agrees with, and because the Unionist agrees with it from a different perspective then start foaming at the mouth and dash off six hundred words of wibble.

    “What, do you honestly think your challenge will be taken seriously, or have any hope of success?”

    it’s been completely successful in that -with the dubious exception of Billy Leonard,
    I can’t think of a single Orangeman who has fallen for the charms of irish republicanism. i wasn’t going to go to the Dulux court of colour and regisiter orange as a trademark you know!

    “Unionism is reactionary. I didn’t say that meant it was less valid. To be honest, it’s not validity it lacks, it’s worth.”

    Go on – explain that one for the slow learners, and do it without resorting to the demeaning cant of your previous posts. it’s 1886-or 1912- or 1950-or any year until , say, 1990. Being an integral part of what has been one of the leading nations of the world has less “worth” than supporting an insignificant confessional state with an economy marginally superior to Romania. Post 1990 you can begin to argue the economics with a little more confidence. But what’s the “worth” of a country that still has a very long way to go to persuade me into it instead of lecturing me that I should stop being in some sort of communal self-denial? Remember the open arms of the poeple of Cork in 2005 when an orange lodge was due to take part in the parade- as part of a section emphasising the diverse elements of Cork society, for pity’s sake? Invitation reluctantly declined in the face of threats of protest and lack of guarentees of safety- that’s what it was “worth”.

    “Stupidity I can pity, but Stupidity and arrogance, yeesh.”
    You’re right again. Nationalist self-pity is extremely trying.But they’ve turned it into a national mass participation exercise- called MOPEry

  • darth rumsfeld

    “What does makes unionism incompatible, with membership of the irish nation, is that it

    a) doesn’t want to be part of the nation.
    b) is not loyal to the nation.”

    I’ve just picked up on this interesting reverse test you’ve set for Unionists to be Irish. It seems we are potentially disloyal. I wonder why you add this additional impediment specifically to Unionist membership of the Irish nation. Do you demand this loyalty test of irish-born children of the Latvians, Lithuanians, Nigerians who are such a welcome addition to the celtic tiger? If Muslim immigrants don’t have to take a citizenship test and pledge allegiance to the flag etc etc, why need we?

    The racism I described and you dismissed as hearsay, is now a little bit more than that- it’s on this thread, and you’re the source. Shame on you

  • The Beach Tree

    ” I didn’t, but while we’re on the (soooo sensitive) subject why not Green white and brown, or fuchsia, or taupe?”

    Because we like orange. Are YOU Brian Sewell, or a noted vexicologist? thought not.

    “The moral copyright you rightly denigrate is..er, the claim that people you know don’t want to be part of your nation are symbolically part of your nation. ”

    Actually it’s an aspiration, not a claim; and we can aspire to whatever we please.

    “…six hundred words of wibble.”

    I’m glad you take such interest in my posts. You’ll understand no doubt however that I don’t really care one way or the other for your dubious psycological insights. Still, all shits and giggles if it keeps you happy.

    “[the challenge] you’ve set for Unionists to be Irish”

    No, Garth, not to be irish, in the way coffee or stew might be, but to members of the Irish nation. Two different things.

    “Do you demand this loyalty test of irish-born children of the Latvians, Lithuanians, Nigerians who are such a welcome addition to the celtic tiger? ”

    To tsay, work, pay taxes and contribute in society? No. to be part of the Irish nation? yes.

    “If Muslim immigrants don’t have to take a citizenship test and pledge allegiance to the flag etc etc, why need we? ”

    Yes, I expect the children of Latvian, Lithuanian and Nigerian, Muslim and Hindi, Sikh, Christian and Jew, indeed frankly ALL children born in Ireland, who wish to take up their membership of the Irish nation to be loyal to that nation. If they wish to be part of the nation (which unionists don’t) and are willing to be loyal to the nation (Which unionists aren’t), then regardless of colour or creed, religion or race, they are welcome. Neither parentage pallor, or prayer bars them.

    And your petty slur of racism is disgusting and venal. Shame on you.

  • darth rumsfeld

    As we never hear the end of Brookeborough’s seventy year old quote about not employing RCs becuse ninety percent of them were supposedly disloyal in shocked tones from nationalists, I think it’s reasonable to infer that when someone says all Unionists are potentially disloyal while Muslims citizens of the RoI who clearly exhibit a diferent loyalty by their cultural expression without so much as a raised eyebrow in theri direction, then that person has a disciminatory mindset. If you’d prefer to be dubbed sectarian then that’s fair enough. Or are you a supporter of the views of the late Lord?

  • lib2016

    The Beach Tree,

    Thankyou for all of your posts on this thread, especially for those in which you emphasise that being an Irish patriot is entirely consistent with being antiracist.

    Orangemen are completely welcome to recognise their own ‘Irishness’ as their forefathers did quite happily. Their refusal to accept what others, including those British people who are even aware of Irish unionists, do is their and our loss. Don’t let them away with the pretence of exclusion by the rest of us. It’s unionists who want apartheid, as do other supremacists in other parts of the world.

  • darth rumsfeld

    lib2106
    …but it’s Nationalists who want apartheid-vide hundreds of posts about “nationalist areas” not having to thole Orange parades

  • Darth,

    If you deduce that from the posts made then its one you agree with, right? Otherwise you’d back Republican parades in Ballymena, Larne and all over east Belfast.

  • The Beach Tree

    Garth

    Is that it? Is that your best response?

    “As we never hear the end of Brookeborough’s seventy year old quote about not employing RCs becuse ninety percent of them were supposedly disloyal in shocked tones from nationalists, I think it’s reasonable to infer that when someone says all Unionists are potentially disloyal while Muslims citizens of the RoI who clearly exhibit a diferent loyalty by their cultural expression without so much as a raised eyebrow in theri direction, then that person has a disciminatory mindset.”

    So now your gurning because I supposedly treat muslims well, or at least better than You? Do you notlike Muslims or something?

    And I’m the racist? And I’m guilty of Mopery?

    Your’re a comic, Garth.

    “If you’d prefer to be dubbed sectarian then that’s fair enough. Or are you a supporter of the views of the late Lord? ”

    I think you should read my posts more closely, for your own education

    I Quote ““Do you demand this loyalty test of irish-born children of the Latvians, Lithuanians, Nigerians who are such a welcome addition to the celtic tiger?

    To stay, work, pay taxes and contribute in society? No.

    Are you arguments so poor you must invent opposing ones to make a point?

    To be honest, it’s not validity it lacks, it’s worth.

    Go on – explain that one for the slow learners

    The only test of the validity of an opinion is whether it genuinely held. Your particular form of anti-irish unionism is clearly dearly kep, so I’ve no problem with that.

    “Being an integral part of what has been one of the leading nations of the world has less “worth” than supporting an insignificant confessional state with an economy marginally superior to Romania”

    Ah, but you see, that’s where you’re going wrong.

    Apart from the casual racism against the Romanians, which we’ll leave for now, you equate being a member of the British nation, which though I’m not a member, I fully accept has worth, with supporting unionism, a political opinion rightly equated with b1gotry, sectionlism, triumphalism, reactionism and intolerance.

    A political creed that insisted at gunpoint on the division of Ireland against the expressed will of both the Irish and British Nations.

    A political creed whose leaders called for, not tolerated, called for, religious discrimination in employment.

    A political creed that supports and rewards the b1gotry and triumphalism of the Orange Order.

    A political creed that considered its privileges more important than equality, democracy or morality.

    A political creed that has sought through its history to hide, destroy and distort the symbols of the Irish Nation, including St Patricks day because in the final analysis, it cannot stand the existance of that nation.

    And you expect that to be respected? You expext that to be endured?

    You wish.

  • darth rumsfeld

    Sometimes it’s best to just let a post of swuch unmitigated bile stand by itself as a suitable epitaph on the tragic waste of a God-given brain to a human being.
    And sometimes there has to be help given to those who do not wish it, so , for the final time…

    “Do you notlike Muslims or something?”
    By saying that many muslims do not have an adherence to the state am I being controversial? But you don’t want them to take a loyalty test-just Unionists

    “A political creed that insisted at gunpoint on the division of Ireland against the expressed will of both the Irish and British Nations.”

    Unlike the founding fathers of the Republic who rode to power handing out choc ices to the populace backed by a mandate of less than 50% of the irish electorate, and less than 20% of the UK electorate. And shouldn’t you be supporting the Good Friday Agreement which legitimised NI so far as RoI is concerned?

    “A political creed that considered its privileges more important than equality, democracy or morality.”
    -Unlike a state that reserved a special place for the RC church in its constitution for decades, and helped in the cover up of institutional abuse of the weak and orphaned placed in the care of that church for decades

    “A political creed that has sought through its history to hide, destroy and distort the symbols of the Irish Nation, including St Patricks day because in the final analysis, it cannot stand the existance of that nation.”
    -Unlike a state that removed every aspect of Britishness that it could, and took over 80 years to acknowledge its citizens role fighting with Britain in the Great War

    “A political creed whose leaders called for, not tolerated, called for, religious discrimination in employment.”
    -Unlike DeValera’s rallying cry-“Protestants of ireland, we want you as our librarians!” What was that he said again about boasting of Ireland being “a Catholic state”?

    “A political creed that supports and rewards the b1gotry and triumphalism of the Orange Order.”
    -Unlike the RoI governing party handing out guns and the judiciary failing to extradite killers to its neighbour.

    “Apart from the casual racism against the Romanians, which we’ll leave for now,”
    well let’s not. If pointing out the (as I had mistakenly thought) uncontentious statement that the Romanian economy wasn’t exactly the powerhouse of Europe I’m a racist, then so is every 20th century economist. That Keynes -what a devil!

    “being an Irish patriot is entirely consistent with being antiracist.”

    Quite right lib2016- but poor old Beachy isn’t a patriot, to judge from his contributions- he’s a died-in-the-wool anti-Unionist anti-Brit, and that is actually all his Irish patriotism consists of. If he had no one to MOPE against, he couldn’t summon up a smidgeon of patriotism or national pride.Thankfully most Irish people, north and south, are free of these shackles, but TBT is too scared to let them go. The closer he’s challenged, the more the insecurity spews out.

  • Proud

    Sorry to bring this back up again but I have been in absentia for a few days and only just seen this.

    Forgive me for asking, but since St Patrick was neither crucified nor a crusader, why does he ‘have’ a cross?

    Religious crusade perhaps? I’m not sure on this one, having a guess.

    Being intimidated by celtic tops might even be understandable, if prejudiced. But fearing a piece of fabric, in a city centre? Don’t buy it.

    Thanks for the insinuation that I hold prejudice. I don’t want to go into personal details on a public forum, but you really couldn’t be further from the truth.

    In all honesty a crowd of people in celtic hoops does make me nervous, in the same way any large gathering of spides in football tops would make me nervous.