Adjusting to a united Ireland

On occasion, Slugger gets some really great comments – intelligent and thought-provoking stuff. And they can get a bit lost in the chaos.

So I thought I’d highlight Nathan’s thoughts on the challenges that face northern Protestants, post any unification of Ireland (in response to this post).

A United Ireland will mean entirely different things for different northern Protestants. There will be those who will appreciate the new opportunities that a United Ireland may bring e.g. scope for the formation of new political parties and possible mergers and amalgamations between existing political parties, new anthem and flag…

And then they’ll be those who will be prepared to self-inflict upon themselves, a second-class role in the civic life of the Irish nation. As a result, they’ll be destined to the same fate as some of those Protestants that reside in the border region – withdrawn, fearful, tribal…

Read the whole thing here (fourth comment down).

  • Nathan

    Gerry –

    ’’For a start, a United Ireland would not mean Unionists losing their British identity overnight.’’

    I’m glad you picked up kensei on this point. I’m horrified that someone would even contemplate the loss of British identity for Unionists in the event of a United Ireland.

    With opinions like that holding sway, I’m not surprised that the distance to a United Ireland is an astronomical one.

    Slug,
    Welcome on board! I have no problems with Unionists who wish to articulate a mature argument for the Union if they believe such a case deserves our attention.

    However, I do have a problem with those Unionists who denigrate a neighbouring country for propaganda purposes (e.g. Lord Laird et al). I have similar objections with pressure groups such as Reform also, who seek the destruction of a vibrant, confident and tolerant Dublin and Wicklow Protestant community.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    What is the difference between living in a future all-Ireland Republic and an impending Scottish Republic?

    Not much Phil — they’re both equally unlikely.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Is this not your “native land”? Is this not your lovely wee province?

    Of course it is Dan — I was born here as was my father and grandfather. And as long as it remains part of the UK, I’ll remain here.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Gerry Lvs Castro.

    And if the UK is no more?

  • Keith M

    I have no desire to pander further to the pie in the sky “United Ireland” nonsense. The facts are there for all to see. It isn’t going to happen in our, our chiildren’s or our children’s children lifetimes unless unionists can be convinced of the merits of ditching a place in one of the world powers and end up riding the Irish economic rollercoaster. After 80+ years, few if any people have switched sides in Northern Ireland, and there’s no evidence that this will ever change.

    One thing I will comment on is the decline of the Protestant population in the south, as I have some personal experience of this. (My father was CoI).

    There are several factors for this decline in the Protestant population and these change in different time periods.

    From 1911 to 1921, two main factors are The Great War and the IFS leaving the U.K. A disproportionally high number of of men who died in the war were Protestants. This did not only impact the numbers at the time but also created a smaller “breeding pool” in later generations.

    Secondly where they liked it or not, the Irish nationalist movement of the 1910s was seen as being a predominentently Catholic one. (“Home Rule” is Rome Rule” etc.). When you combine that with the attacks on (especially though not exclusively) rural Protestants by republicans during the Anglo-Irish war it ws clear that many protestants saw the IFS as a potentially hostile environment. Some (though not many) went north, others left for the U.K. mainland, others to places like Canada and South Africa.

    Once the IFS was in place it was clear that the fears of those that resisted Home Rule as Rome Rule were proved right. Divorce (allowed by most Protestant churches) which was legal when Ireland was part of the U.K., was banned in the IFS. In 1938 the ban was enshined in the constitution as was the “special position” of the Catholic Church. Family planning was also banned.

    It was clear that the south was a cold house for Protestants. This took many forms. My grandmother told a story of daring to ask for a ham sandwitch in a hotel on a Friday and hearing the waitress describe her as a “dirty black Protestant”.

    A more obvious example was William Norton, long time leader of the Irish Labour Party going on the record to say that he would never support any legislation that went against Catolic teaching and that he was a catholic first and a legislator second.

    The biggest impact on the Protestant population was the ne temere law of the Catholic church. Catholics were not allowed to many in a Protestant church or in a registry office. In any Cathoic/Protestant unions, the Protestant was made to give up their religeon (at least notionally) and commit to raising any offspring as Catholics. If they didn’t their Catholic partner risked being ostracised by their family and by a Catholic dominated society.

    Things have improved in the last two decades. The special position of the Catholic church is gone from the constitution. Catholic church teaching on moral issues which was observed in slavish fashion has now been discredited, due to a litany of child abuse and other moral lapses within the Catholic Church. Interestingly today Ireland’s young people are more promiscuous than their U.K. equivilants.

    The Protestant population has begun to recover, due to a decline in Catholic influence and immigration.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Gerry,

    What is the difference between living in a future all-Ireland Republic and an impending Scottish Republic?

    “Not much Phil—they’re both equally unlikely.”

    I think you know what you are on about Phil. Gerry avoiding the point only gives clarity to my perception of his viewpoint. I’m sure we will get more honesty from other let’s say “more robust” Unionists shortly.

  • kensei

    “Yeah Kensei I’ve noticed how easily southern prod ‘unionists’ (and yes there are some, if invisible) get to express their ‘British identity.’ A furtive day in Rossnowlagh is just about tolerated, but you’re likely to find more live leprachauns in the republic than union jacks. I have relatives in Cavan, some of whom have lived through the original partition and their experience has been ‘keep your head down and say nothing.’ I have been to six weddings in the last five years of younger members of the ‘Cavan clan’. Five of them have come to live in the North—the sixth has gone to Australia.”

    Oh please. The situation is vastly different between now and the 1920’s. The political context is vastly different. The situation on the ground is vastly different. The culture of Ireland is vastly different. And I’ll ignore you anecedotal evidence, as I’m sure you’ll ignore Stephen Copeland’s on another thread.

    If this is the time of bollocks people believe then maybe 10% is a low estimate if we can get rid of those.

    “As has been discussed on Slugger many times, the prod population of the republic plummeted from 10% to 2% inside 70 years. There were many reasons for this, and I don’t personally subscribe to the ‘pogrom of prods’ theory, but the fact is that it happened, and it wouldn’t have happened in anything like this extent if these people had been able to retain their British identity.”

    Actually, as has been pointed out a million times, it was declining form the mid-1800’s and the Catholic rules on inter marriage would have probably had precisely the same effect.

    “I appreciate that parts of Dublin are more ‘tolerant’ of ‘outsiders’, but the ingrained hatred of Britain (despite a widespread willingness to embrace English popular culture and move there for work when needed) remains palpable.”

    Bollocks. The evidence is against thta in modern Ireland.

    “No madder than asking why Northern prods would wish to leap out of the UK and become citizens of a UI. Where’s the support for either proposition?”

    No, it isn’t the same at all. There isn’t a huge part of the population in the South to make it an argument. There isn’t the same economic argument, or internal stability argument. An argument that says that you are better off giving away your influence over government policy rather than gaining it isn’t a good one. It simply isn’t comparable.

    “What nationalists consistently fail to grasp is that Northern Unionists are more than proud to be UK citizens—they don’t want to have that taken away in any shape or form.”

    No, I do grasp it perfectly and I respect anyone who takes that opinion. But I also grasp that it isn’t true of every nominal Unionist, and there are people who probably don’t care that much as long they feel better off. I don’t think Nationalism has made the argument to attract those people.

    But we are already in the vortex that Unionism gets into everytime this is discussed. You have to convinve us. Followed by “It’s insulting to try and convince us, oaf”.

    “Their life experiences are bound up with Britain and no amount of threats, violence, murder, cajoling or financial incentive is going to change that. The appetite for a UI amongst Northern Protestants has barely changed in 80 years, despite all of the above being tried.”

    Violence is, as always, counter productive in convincing people of anything. Which I think helps explain the 97%. I don’t think financial incentive has really ben tried. I don’t the case has been made in terms of peace, propserity and stability. I don’t think it has been made clear that it doesn’t necessarily mean an end to their British identity or all of their links with Britain.

    Not everyone is hardcore, dude.

    “Don’t beat yourself up Kensei—I really don’t see what more they could do. I don’t know where you live, but let’s assume you’re a Dubliner, proud to be Irish.”

    Belfast and proud to be Irish. And I think there is a lot more we could do.

    “If I offered you a tidy lump sum to abolish the Irish nation and make it a permanent part of the UK, how would you feel about that? How big a lump sum would you need? Or would you show me the door in no uncertain terms? ”

    Me? No. But you were talking about Dubliners? Good grief, by the time you to “tidy lump” half of them would already have signed up and spent the money.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”Maybe to some of them in the 20’s, the idea of treating their fellow countrymen/women as equals in their own land was so abhorant…”

    Yawn. We’re getting the same old line about a ‘nation of equals’ as if prods are somehow living in palaces while the poor downtrodden ‘natives’ shuffle round their mud huts. Grab a history book Prince — it was never like that. You really think the Shankill was better off than the Falls? You really think being an Irish prod meant living in one of the big houses and dandering out to collect your rents once a month? For 0.1% of them maybe. For the rest, life was just as tough as everyone else’s. And it didn’t get any better after partition.

    There’s an uncharacteristically insightful mural in east Belfast which states that ‘the Ulster conflict is about nationality.’ It’s true.

  • kensei

    “I’m glad you picked up kensei on this point. I’m horrified that someone would even contemplate the loss of British identity for Unionists in the event of a United Ireland.

    With opinions like that holding sway, I’m not surprised that the distance to a United Ireland is an astronomical one. ”

    How about YOU READ WHAT I SAID and stop talking bollocks.

    You just quoted me and implied I said the opposite.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Keith M.

    I think you started off with some great points about how many Prods felt uncomfortable in the south. Many of these situations could have been atributed to ignorant people though, no?

    Anyway I think in finishing you have talked up the idea of a united Ireland, now that many of the issues that undoubtedly made Prods fell uncomfortable have been resolved. Did you mean this? or was it just a common sense type of rounding off on what I believe to be quite an informative piece.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”And if the UK is no more?”

    Sweden is quite delightful at this time of the year.

  • kensei

    “Yawn. We’re getting the same old line about a ‘nation of equals’ as if prods are somehow living in palaces while the poor downtrodden ‘natives’ shuffle round their mud huts. Grab a history book Prince—it was never like that. You really think the Shankill was better off than the Falls? You really think being an Irish prod meant living in one of the big houses and dandering out to collect your rents once a month? For 0.1% of them maybe. For the rest, life was just as tough as everyone else’s. And it didn’t get any better after partition.”

    Yawn. Unionist Revisionist claptrap #2. No one is saying poverty wouldn’t have existed. The point is that the full weight of state was leveraged to keep Catholics down – out of votes, out of jobs, out of houses in a way that simply wasn’t done to the Shankill. Not to mention the violence inflicted by the B Specials and the RUC.

    You are dipping into Rumsfield levels of argument here.

  • Prince Eoghan

    ’’Maybe to some of them in the 20’s, the idea of treating their fellow countrymen/women as equals in their own land was so abhorant…’’

    Yawn. We’re getting the same old line about a ‘nation of equals’ as if prods are somehow living in palaces while the poor downtrodden ‘natives’ shuffle round their mud huts. Grab a history book Prince—it was never like that. You really think the Shankill was better off than the Falls? You really think being an Irish prod meant living in one of the big houses and dandering out to collect your rents once a month? For 0.1% of them maybe. For the rest, life was just as tough as everyone else’s. And it didn’t get any better after partition.

    Even bigger yawn Gerry. Either you have chosen to misunderstand me, or you think that I am some dim-witted fool who would present such an argument. Tell you what why don’t you begin to answer some of the valid points put to you above, then we may progress. I suspect you won’t be able to though.

  • Nathan

    kensei,

    You said that northern Protestants won’t ‘lose their British identity overnight’, as if to say that a time will come when most northern Protestants will curl over and regard themselves as simply Irish.

    Unlike Aaron and other nationalist commentators here, you clearly have no interest in preserving a long-term British identity for Unionists post-United Ireland. You seem to derive pleasure from the fact that some southern Protestants, for whatever reason, haven’t been able to hang on to the British component to their Irish identity with confidence. For that reason, your no longer worth engaging in discussion with (something I’m sure unionist posters have realised a long time before me).

    Have a nice life.

  • Aaron_Scullion

    My grandmother told a story of daring to ask for a ham sandwitch in a hotel on a Friday and hearing the waitress describe her as a “dirty black Protestant”.

    No offence Keith – but the little stories like this play a huge role in holding back change. I myself tell a similarly crap tale about my father being abused by a army official for having the audicity to have a Gaelic name.

    Was I there? No. Do I know the context? No. Do I come back to it in my head everytime I need to justify my bigotry? Yes, more often than I’d like.

    Anyway, you might argue that asking for a ham sandwich on a Friday in a previous Ireland was pretty innapropriate – like going to India and ordering a beefburger..

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”And I’ll ignore you anecedotal evidence..”

    Of course Kensei, why on earth would 80 years of personal ongoing experience from your own family have any bearing on personal views?

    ”No, it isn’t the same at all.”

    Of course it’s the same. You can’t see a single reason why the south would wish to rejoin the UK and northern prods can’t see a single reason why they should wish to relinquish the UK and become part of a UI.

    ”You have to convinve us. Followed by “It’s insulting to try and convince us, oaf”.

    Ditto the above.

    ”Violence is, as always, counter productive in convincing people of anything.”

    Agreed.

    ”Which I think helps explain the 97%.”

    Well actually it doesn’t. That figure has barely shifted throughout the history of Northern Ireland, including the 1920s civil unrest, the WW2 experience, the relative ‘peace & prosperity’ from the mid-40s to the mid-60s, the troubles and the peace process years. We’ve had the good the bad and the insane times, but opinion essentially hasn’t changed.

    ”I don’t think financial incentive has really been tried. I don’t the case has been made in terms of peace, propserity and stability.”

    Not in terms of big wads of cash no, but the ROI is in the middle of an unprecedented financial boom, the RC church influence has plummeted and despite the fact that 11% of voters favour extreme republicanism, things have never looked brighter in the south. Yet still the figure doesn’t change.

    ”I don’t think it has been made clear that it doesn’t necessarily mean an end to their British identity or all of their links with Britain”

    I’d love to know what you mean here Kensei. If we can retain our links with Britain and our British identity, why not just leave things the way they are? Direct rule with some Irish govt input appears to suit a sizeable portion of the population. Why rock the boat?

    ”Not everyone is hardcore, dude.”

    Only 97% it would seem.

  • lib2016

    Nathan,

    The ‘British’ identity is dying in Australia and Canada, as it died in Hongkong and Uganda and it will soon die here. It’s connected with an empire which no longer exists and even the narrow version of ‘Britishness’ embraced by the adjoining offshore island is in question. Soon it will be as dead as the Ottoman Empire.

    For somone who grew up in a society dominated by the English media particularly the BBC with it’s peculiar tunnel vision, it may be hard to appreciate how much Britain has changed but the end is in sight.

    It will be overtaken by ideas of ‘Irishness’ and ‘Europeaness’ which are still developing, just as ideas of England are having to take account of the fact that it contains large cities with Muslim majorities who prefer to consider themselves British. Nothing is simple, least of all our national identities.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”Tell you what why don’t you begin to answer some of the valid points put to you above, then we may progress. I suspect you won’t be able to though.”

    Too right Prince — I can’t find them. I’ve scrolled through the last two pages and I can’t find any ‘valid points’ attributed to yourself.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”out of votes, out of jobs, out of houses in a way that simply wasn’t done to the Shankill. Not to mention the violence inflicted by the B Specials and the RUC.”

    I’m not for one moment denying this stuff Kensei — the net result however has been a steady sustained increase in the RC population of NI since it’s inception, whilst the prod population in the south plummeted over the same period. This would perhaps suggest that petty discrimination and isolated brutality are less effective than church diktats and social shunning.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Gerry, Gerry.

    Doing it again. I didn’t say I had made them.

    Interesting to note that you reckon Sweden would be a nice place to escape a united Ireland if the UK was no more. Was it the religion of the place that drew you there?

    All that is coming across is a blind anti-Irishness, not really saying much of interest/note just small pin-pricks. Spit it out why dontcha?

  • Prince Eoghan

    “This would perhaps suggest that petty discrimination and isolated brutality are less effective than church diktats and social shunning.”

    No historian are you Gerry(great name BTW) where was the isolated brutality? isolated LOL. And more pointedly where was the petty discrimination? this is turning more comical by the second.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”where was the isolated brutality? isolated LOL. And more pointedly where was the petty discrimination?”

    OK Prince — you’re telling me every catholic in NI was beaten up the B Specials, had their house trashed by the RUC, got interned in the 70s is that it? Hold on they couldn’t actually have had a house could they, because the NI govt ensured that all catholics lived in tents on Divis mountain.
    Yes there were employers who discriminated (on both sides), yes there were houses unfairly allocated, but the UU survey which kicked off this thread states that 32% of catholics are happy to remain in the UK, despite the recent memories of gulag NI and despite having the ROI paradise right on their doorstep.
    Father Reid recently accused Unionists of being nazis, right around the time he declared the killers of Jean McConville to be honourable men. I guess it depends on your perspective.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”All that is coming across is a blind anti-Irishness, not really saying much of interest/note just small pin-pricks. Spit it out why dontcha?”

    I’m sorry if I’m boring you Prince. Wanting to remain a UK citizen and agreeing with 97% of NI protestants isn’t exactly exciting I’ll admit. But that’s just the way it is.

  • lib2016

    Gerry,

    Father Reid after being goaded and harassed made an unguarded comment to one small group of unionists. A comment for which he apologised unreservedly.

    Unionists have made selective use of that comment ever since to denigrate a decent man. One wonders where they learnt their propaganda techniques which seem self-defeating to me but whatever you’re having yourself, as they say.

    If unionists feel that the incident casts them in a good light by all means continue bringing it up.

  • Prince Eoghan

    “OK Prince—you’re telling me every catholic in NI was beaten up the B Specials, had their house trashed by the RUC, got interned in the 70s is that it? Hold on they couldn’t actually have had a house could they, because the NI govt ensured that all catholics lived in tents on Divis mountain.
    Yes there were employers who discriminated (on both sides), yes there were houses unfairly allocated, but the UU survey which kicked off this thread states that 32% of catholics are happy to remain in the UK, despite the recent memories of gulag NI and despite having the ROI paradise right on their doorstep.”

    Gerry, you attempted to vastly minimise a series of historical sectarian wrongs carried out by fenian-haters under the auspices of the UK. No-where have I attempted to exagerrate any claims, so your silly diatribe is pointless, I was merely highlighting your claims. It is noteworthy that you advocate a clear-out of the Nationalist population from their native land.

    Are we finally to get some substance from you?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”It is noteworthy that you advocate a clear-out of the Nationalist population from their native land.”

    And you conclude this how?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”Father Reid after being goaded and harassed made an unguarded comment to one small group of unionists. A comment for which he apologised unreservedly.”

    It wasn’t a ‘small group of unionists’ lib — he was well aware that he was speaking at a public meeting, with a virtual certainty that he was being recorded. The comment was not ‘off the cuff’ — he appealed for silence before he said it — the whole episode was played on radio several times the next day. Fair enough it was the way he felt, and he wasn’t alone — he received many messages of support and even demands to withdraw the apology.
    The reason I brought the episode up was to illustrate the vast difference in perspective between the two NI positions.

  • Prince Eoghan

    despite the recent memories of gulag NI and despite having the ROI paradise right on their doorstep.”

  • slug

    I don’t think about a UI much. Reading this thread has reminded me how happy I am to stay in the UK! I love it!

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ’’It is noteworthy that you advocate a clear-out of the Nationalist population from their native land.’’

    ”despite the recent memories of gulag NI and despite having the ROI paradise right on their doorstep.”

    I’m not sure if you’re being obtuse or you just don’t ‘get’ sarcasm. I used the term ‘gulag NI’ sarcastically as it was clearly nothing of the sort (things were so ‘bad’ the 1950s IRA border campaign was abandoned due to lack of interest).
    The ‘ROI paradise’ is a reference to the current economic state of the republic. I was merely pointing out that 32% of RCs are happy to remain in the UK despite having this prosperity on their doorstep.
    Where you concluded that I advocate ‘clearing-out the nationalist population’ is entirely beyond me, but for the record, I not only don’t advocate it, it’s never even entered my head. But thanks for trying.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘I don’t think about a UI much. Reading this thread has reminded me how happy I am to stay in the UK! I love it!’

    Well said Slug. Unfortunately being happy may not be a good enough reason for the likes of Prince Eoghan, who wants you to have a deep and meaningful reason for not wanting to abandon your birth-right.

  • kensei

    “You said that northern Protestants won’t ‘lose their British identity overnight’, as if to say that a time will come when most northern Protestants will curl over and regard themselves as simply Irish.”

    No, I implied nothoing of the sort. Don’t stick words in my mouth. The argument I was making that a UI need not mean the end of a British identity, so I used a figure of speech. But it is not unreasonable to suggest that over a long time period Unionists may become more integerated with Irish society and may lose some of that identity simply through the passage of time. Even in that instance they would keep an important and unique regional character. They may not change. I render absolutely no judgement on it and have no desire on the outcome either way. Whatever makes people happy dude.

    “Unlike Aaron and other nationalist commentators here, you clearly have no interest in preserving a long-term British identity for Unionists post-United Ireland.”

    That is an awful to from one line. Your right, I have no interest, I am a Republican. What I have interest in is building a society that will allow Unionists to keep that identity laive in a United Ireland if they wish. And I believe they’d be able to do it a damn sight better better in a UI than a divide NI.

    “You seem to derive pleasure from the fact that some southern Protestants, for whatever reason, haven’t been able to hang on to the British component to their Irish identity with confidence. For that reason, your no longer worth engaging in discussion with (something I’m sure unionist posters have realised a long time before me).”

    I don’t really care one way or another what Southern Protestants did. I am merely concerned with today, and today it can be seen from them there is no division between being Protestant and Irish if you so wish.

    You also appear to be confused. Talking bullshit and misrepresentation isn’t discussion.

  • lib2016

    Gerry,

    “Fr. Reid recently accused Unionists of being Nazis…”

    My point is that Fr. Reid is widely recognised as a moderate sensible man who was goaded beyond endurance. To repeat the comment seems extremely damaging to unionists, a group who have already managed to ensure their own almost complete political isolation.

    Could you explain again why you brought it up?

  • Prince Eoghan

    Lib.

    I don’t believe fr. Reid to be far wrong.
    Kensei, couldn’t have said your last line better myself.
    Gerry, Glad to note that you don’t advocate Nationalists leaving their own land, it would help in not giving that impression, by not alluding to it again. I also believe that you are peeved that I have noticed that, apart from showing your obvious ant-Irishness, that you have nothing constructive to add.

    Bring back Keith M.

  • kensei

    “Of course Kensei, why on earth would 80 years of personal ongoing experience from your own family have any bearing on personal views?”

    I’m not saying it doesn’t affect your views. I am saying it is anecedotal evidence, and thus irrelevant. Other Southern Protestant on this site have other ancedotal evidence that contradicts.

    “Of course it’s the same. You can’t see a single reason why the south would wish to rejoin the UK and northern prods can’t see a single reason why they should wish to relinquish the UK and become part of a UI.”

    No it isn’t. One is a good argument, and the other is whataboutery dressed up as argument. One is in a state where it is a viable option, one is in a state where it isn’t.

    “Well actually it doesn’t. That figure has barely shifted throughout the history of Northern Ireland, including the 1920s civil unrest, the WW2 experience, the relative ‘peace & prosperity’ from the mid-40s to the mid-60s, the troubles and the peace process years. We’ve had the good the bad and the insane times, but opinion essentially hasn’t changed.”

    No, you have had a period where it wasn’t an articulated argument, and a period where it was articulated by violence. We are now moving into a period where it will be articulated properly. Sadly, the previous phase leaves us years behind because people won’t accept the messenger.

    “Not in terms of big wads of cash no, but the ROI is in the middle of an unprecedented financial boom, the RC church influence has plummeted and despite the fact that 11% of voters favour extreme republicanism, things have never looked brighter in the south. Yet still the figure doesn’t change.”

    See above.

    “I’d love to know what you mean here Kensei. If we can retain our links with Britain and our British identity, why not just leave things the way they are? Direct rule with some Irish govt input appears to suit a sizeable portion of the population. Why rock the boat?”

    You can’t retain all your links. So you lose something. You can however, have a proper say in proper government. Along with a lot of other things. So you gain something. You gain more than you lose, so it is a good idea.

    “Only 97% it would seem.”

    I would find that extraordinary if the reason behind that figure is that all of that 97% has hardcore political views. There are always swing voters.

    I’m not saying it is a large figure that can be convinced, just that undoubtedly some exist. As undoubtedly some exist on our side too. I merely believe my argument is stronger, if articulated properly.

  • PHIL

    Gerry,

    If you think that there will still be a “UK” for you to relocate to if and when a united Ireland happens then you are kidding yourself I’m affraid. The UK is breaking up before our eyes and will not last 20 years in my opinion. My reference to you moving to a Scottish Republic was somewhat tongue in cheek but I wouldn’t rule it out completely as I think it will be the logical next step after Scotland becomes fully independant. England and Wales remaining in the union is by no means certain either as the Welsh are demanding more powers for their assembly to bring it into line with the Scottish parlaiment and once Scotland goes, Wales will surely follow. Meanwhile the English grow ever more annoyed that decisions are being made for them by foreign MP’s representing Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and are increasingly demanding home rule too. All the ingredients there for a break up don’t you think?

  • lib2016

    Prince,

    “I don’t believe Fr. Reid to be far wrong.”

    Your post seems incomplete. Please remind me again what it was that Fr. Reid said.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    I’m sorry lib but anyone who publicly describes the IRA as being ‘honourable men’ can hardly be regarded as a ‘moderate sensible man.’
    Forthright and honest in giving his own viewpoint certainly, but even the most detached commentator could fill a book with examples of the Ra being far from honourable men, the recent example of Jean McConville being just one.
    I fail to see how bringing it up is damaging to unionists, since the nazi inference is entirely ridiculous. Whatever unionist rule was like (and in fairness it’s been admitted that things might not have been much different had the roles been reversed), it was absolutely nothing compared to the systematic extermination of six million jews to name just one nazi atrocity.
    As regards why I brought it up, I was attempting to illustrate the gulf in perception between the two communities here. Father Reid regarded Unionists as ‘nazis’ and the IRA as ‘honourable men.’ Most Unionists would regard the IRA as a bunch of ruthless murderers and treat the nazi slur with the incredulity it deserves. If I seriously thought there were any basis whatsoever for the nazi analogy, I obviously wouldn’t bring it up. It’s the fact that it’s so totally ridiculous and representative of a wildly extreme position that it gets trotted out.

  • Prince Eoghan

    “Meanwhile the English grow ever more annoyed that decisions are being made for them by foreign MP’s representing Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and are increasingly demanding home rule too.”

    Never been so glad to be called a foreigner in all my life. Thanks Phil.

    Lib.
    When his integrity as a witness to IRA decommissioning was questioned repeatedly, Fr. Reid accused the Unionists of behaving like Nazi’s, you know the kind of things we don’t often see. Disregarding others rights etc… I believe the present president of Ireland mentioned something similar. Not PC to tell the truth you know, must jolly the haters along until they grow out of the hatred.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Posted by Gerry Lvs Castro on Jul 11, 2006 @ 04:14 PM

    Is the Emporer wearing his clothes today. LOL, are you talking to idiots here, do you think?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”I also believe that you are peeved that I have noticed that, apart from showing your obvious ant-Irishness, that you have nothing constructive to add.”

    Aside from your rather sad personal attacks, I haven’t seen anything constructive from you at all Prince. At least Kensei makes valid points and arguments while you prefer to bravely snipe from the sidelines.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Disregarding others rights etc…

    Here’s a challenge for you Prince — expand on that ‘etc’ by telling us how unionists and nazis had so much in common.

  • lib2016

    Gerry,

    Like most people I hope that all the NI communities can learn to live together in peace. Being from the nationalist community I’m aware of a lot of brutality and sectarianism from the IRA which hasn’t been publicised but don’t make the mistake of thinking that republicans can’t change or grow as can unionists, of course.

    The Sinn Fein leadership are believed by the majority of their community i.e. the people who know them best, to be ‘sound men’. That’s why all the black propaganda didn’t work.

    There was a time when unionism was simply an expression of the prevailing ethos of the British Empire, but that time has passed. The type of people who believed in that also had a great deal of mutual respect for facism in the thirties. It really will not do in this day and age to engage in racism or sectarianism in the way it is openly done at every 11th night bonfire.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    All the ingredients there for a break up don’t you think?

    Phil I would agree with most of your points, but not the conclusion. The SNP has consistently failed to make significant progress in countless elections and the Welsh only just managed to decide to set up their own assembly a few years back. Both Scotland and Wales obviously realise that they’re better off remaining in the UK and while England may well heavily subsidise it’s partners, I can’t see them parting company any time soon.
    Tell you what, you let me worry about the future stability of the UK, and you can worry about how you’re going to get 50 + 1 before my grandchildren hit pension age.

  • Keith M

    Eoghan “Many of these situations could have been atributed to ignorant people though, no?2. Of course they were ignorant people, however like it or not ignorant people are part of society. If people use rascist attitudes in the way they treat people today and these go unchallenged, then it is a black mark against all of us (no pun intended).

    “Anyway I think in finishing you have talked up the idea of a united Ireland, now that many of the issues that undoubtedly made Prods fell uncomfortable have been resolved.”

    I did no such thing. I think a “united Ireland” outside the U.K. is as undesirable as it is unlikely. Just because I acknowledge the long overdue progress that this country has made in its treatment of religeous minorities and that’s it. If someone was to acknowledge the progress that N.I. has made it the same area, would it mean that they were areguing that N.I. must remain permanently in the U.K.? Of course not.

    Aaron “No offence Keith – but the little stories like this play a huge role in holding back change.” The question was asked why had the Protestant population in the south been descimated in the past 80 years. My story (and countless others) are part of the answer. They don’t hold back anything, they simply provide a personal insight into the answer. The Republic has changed, and changed hugely and mostly for the better. It does however have no bearing on the pie in the sky “United Ireland” nonsense. The only time it MIGHT have a bearing on it is when nationalists go out and try and convince unionists of the the size and merit of that change, but nothing that I’ve seen on this or similar tyhreads leads me to believe that nationalists are up to that task.

    Some are fooled by long out of date demographic data. Some see some weakness in the fabric of the the U.K. where none exists. Some want to give up on the idea in favour of repartition. Some want a “united Ireland” by stealth through cross border bodies, but no one seems to believe in the strenght of arguing the case for a “united Ireland” with the only people that they need to convince.

    The best/worst example of the is SF/IRA asked the UK government to come up with a plan for ditching the people of Nothern Ireland. Such chuzpah might be amusing if it wasn’t so patently ridiculous.

    It’s up to those who want something to make a case for it and that applies to both sides in N.I.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    It really will not do in this day and age to engage in racism or sectarianism in the way it is openly done at every 11th night bonfire.

    Absolutely agree lib — I for one won’t be going anywhere near a bonfire or parade, and haven’t done so since I was a lad at school. I personally would be delighted if all parades were confined to one large piece of derelict ground (I’ve suggested Nutts Corner before) and they can stick a big bonfire in the corner somewhere once a year.
    Contrary to popular nationalist belief, most unionists have no time whatsoever for the OO, bonfires or loyalist paramilitaries, anymore than most nationalists would wish to turn out for internment parades or hunger strike commemmerations. But we all get tarred with the same brush don’t we.

    ”There was a time when unionism was simply an expression of the prevailing ethos of the British Empire, but that time has passed. The type of people who believed in that also had a great deal of mutual respect for facism in the thirties.”

    Confused? I certainly think so. Supporting the British Empire meant you respected fascism? As far as I’m aware the only support for Nazi Germany from these islands came from the IRA and that NI, as part of the UK, suffered heavily through fascist air raids.
    There was indeed some sympathy in many parts of the globe for notional fascist ideas in the 30s, just as many thought that communism was a good idea, but once they saw these ideologies in action, this stance was quickly abandoned. I’m unaware of any major 1930s support in Unionist circles for fascism though. Perhaps you can enlighten me.

  • PHIL

    “Tell you what, you let me worry about the future stability of the UK, and you can worry about how you’re going to get 50 + 1 before my grandchildren hit pension age.”

    I’m not Irish Gerry, I happen to be one of the “annoyed English”. We already have our 50%+1, We’ve just never been asked what we want!

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    LOL. Sorry Phil. Just out of interest, would you vote to break the UK into it’s component parts if given the chance?

  • lib2016

    Gerry
    Gerry

    Sorry to others for posting this information yet again. There was a great deal of support for fascism amongst the upper classes in Britain and elsewhere.Your ex-King of England had to be posted to the Bahamas for the duration of the war due to his notoriety in this respect.

    Nazism was the German attempt to modernise the methods and ideals of the British Empire which they much admired and with which they were in competition.

    Belfast was bombed because it was a British base which was very wisely happy to profit from the war while refusing the introduction of conscription.

    How many unionist politicans are organising constructive alternatives to the 11th Night – supervised firework displays or the light? Oh yeah. None!

    I’m old enough to have met antifascists of that generation. To a man they despised the British Empire and all it stood for….and that despicable warlord Churchill.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”Belfast was bombed because it was a British base which was very wisely happy to profit from the war while refusing the introduction of conscription.”

    Agreed on this one lib, though conscription was refused by the Stormont govt because of catholic opposition.

    ”How many unionist politicans are organising constructive alternatives to the 11th Night – supervised firework displays or the light? Oh yeah. None!”

    To celebrate what exactly Lib? Surely a firework display on the 11th night would be merely a classier bonfire night? Bonfires are organised all over NI, so you’d need to have a lot of fireworks. And who would pay for them?

    ”I’m old enough to have met antifascists of that generation. To a man they despised the British Empire and all it stood for….and that despicable warlord Churchill.”

    Er yes. I’m old enough to have heard a lot of descriptions of Churchill, but ‘despicable warlord’ is a new one. Had Nazi Germany succeeded in defeating Britain, I somehow doubt that Irish neutrality would have been strictly observed. How does this square with your ‘warlord’ statement?

    And exactly who did these ‘antifascists’ you mention support at the time? De Valera? Roosevelt? Stalin?

  • lib2016

    Many of them fought in the British Army or sailed in British ships but when they got home they booted Churchill out.

    War makes strange companions and Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin were all allies, though the Germans had tried to entice the British into joining them. No-one suspects that Churchill was a communist anymore than sensible people suspect that the Irish, or even the IRA were Nazis.

    No-one under thirty believes that Britain fought the Second World War for democracy. You’re making a fool of yourself with this line of argument. BTW Churchill had threatened Irish neutrality, much earlier than Germany had.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”No-one under thirty believes that Britain fought the Second World War for democracy.”

    Of course not lib, I’m sure Britain would have preferred the tender mercies of Nazism to those of a democracy any day.

    ”BTW Churchill had threatened Irish neutrality, much earlier than Germany had.”

    Interesting this, as I was under the impression that Churchill had actually offered to ‘hand over’ NI after the war in exchange for use of the southern ports. When this offer was rejected, Irish neutrality was fully observed by Britain, despite Roosevelt’s suggestion that US troops could reach Cork in a day if necessary.

  • PHIL

    “Just out of interest, would you vote to break the UK into it’s component parts if given the chance?”

    Yes I would. I have always put my English nationality far above any sense of “Britishness”, but over the last few years I and many other English people have become more radicalised because of the injustices that we have suffered because of a British government and establishment that dismisses the English as a nationality that should be supressed rather than celebrated, whilst encouraging nationalism and a sense of national pride elsewhere and within England by those that have migrated here. I have nothing against the Irish, Scots or Welsh and indeed I have friends and family who are from/still live in all three countries, but I want my country to govern itself, whilst maintaining good relations with the other nations of these islands and with continental Europe where we work together for the common good, but run our own domestic affairs. The sort of England that I want in the future would be a republic (I think that the monarch should be head of the Anglican church only and not head of state) with local government organised in our traditional 39 counties with regional assemblies based upon those boundaries rather than the unnatural regions created by the UK government that disect many of our counties (Kent, Surrey, Middlesex, Essex, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire to name a few) that has been rejected by the only “region” that has so far been asked. In a nutshell then, English independance with close ties to our neighbours, but without the interferance.

  • dantheman

    PHIL

    As an Irishman I hope you get your wish. You should know well that the vast majority of Irish bear no ill will towards the ordinary english person. Just their football team and football pundits 😉
    Ordinary folk like yourself deserve better than to have to fund this rabble in this sectarain fuckhole that call themselves unionists but would not blink at taking your money and depriving some of your children of a better standard of life.

  • Prince Eoghan

    I resemble that remark Dan, all decent people would.

  • Brian Boru

    “Interesting this, as I was under the impression that Churchill had actually offered to ‘hand over’ NI after the war in exchange for use of the southern ports. When this offer was rejected, Irish neutrality was fully observed by Britain, despite Roosevelt’s suggestion that US troops could reach Cork in a day if necessary.”

    Common misunderstanding. The offer was too vague to risk accepting. What was offered was a committe of Northern and Southern politicians to work out the details of a UI after the war. The Irish govt asked their British counterparts what would happen if the Unionists refused to cooperate, and were not satisfied at all with the answer. It was not a credible enough offer to risk millions of lives and the destruction of an already weak economy for.

  • harpo

    ‘I and many other English people have become more radicalised because of the injustices that we have suffered because of a British government and establishment that dismisses the English as a nationality that should be supressed rather than celebrated’

    PHIL:

    Oh dear, I’ve seen it all now. An English MOPEr.

    LOL

    Phil, I’d say the biggest problem with what you say here is that the vast majority of English people aren’t actually that bothered by what you say. They are getting on with life, without getting worked up about this supposed oppression.

    You sound a bit like all those IRs in the ROI who wail and whine about west-Brits and everyone else in Irish society who won’t get worked up in the way that they are, so that all the supposed injustices can be corrected. The problem is of course that the vast majority of people don’t care, and don’t agree that they are oppressed or whatever your complaint is.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”Ordinary folk like yourself deserve better than to have to fund this rabble in this sectarain fuckhole that call themselves unionists but would not blink at taking your money and depriving some of your children of a better standard of life.”

    LOL. Very good Dan. Not that true anti-Brit republicans are above taking the queen’s shilling mind you. They’re delighted to draw their assembly allowances, Westminster allowances (even though they don’t go because of their high principles) and, hold on, who’s this asking for a 10 billion pound subvention for the ‘six counties’? Well bugger me if it isn’t Mitchell ‘not a crime’ McLaughlin himself.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”I resemble that remark Dan, all decent people would.”

    ‘Resemble’ Prince? You been celebrating at your local bonfire already?

  • kensei

    “LOL. Very good Dan. Not that true anti-Brit republicans are above taking the queen’s shilling mind you. ”

    Is there some sort of name when the debate descends into “But Republicans still take the Queen’s Shilling”? There should be. I could suggest a one, but modesty and the rules this site forbid.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”Is there some sort of name when the debate descends into “But Republicans still take the Queen’s Shilling”?”

    In this case, how about ‘double standards’, ‘selling out’, ‘sponging off the enemy’ or ‘happily administering British rule whilst in the pay of the British?’

  • Brian Boru

    Gerry it could also be seen as accepting reparations for 800 years of oppression.

  • PHIL

    Harpo,

    I wouldn’t say we were the most oppressed ever, there are many others that have been far worse off than the English over the years (maybe those people with the wrong surnames that found themselves loccked into a sectarian statelet for 50 odd years eh?) and yes like everyone else in England I have more important things to worry about but when English people realise that they are having their pockets picked for the sake of the union they DO get pissed off, but what do you care, so long as the Queen’s Schillings keep pouring in!

  • confused

    as quoted in some posts its exactly what i have found some tell me because of the religious faith that i have im not irish even though my ancestors can be traced back in ireland for a thousand years so it would seem that bigotory in ireland is not only the property of residents of the north also some of the descriptive words used in some postings i cannot find in any dictonary if this is the feelings of some in ireland what can people like me expect in an ui

  • kensei

    “In this case, how about ‘double standards’, ‘selling out’, ‘sponging off the enemy’ or ‘happily administering British rule whilst in the pay of the British?’”

    Well, I was thinking more along the lines of “Fuckwit’s Law” but each to their own.

    And btw, getting the enemy to pay your living expenses? Brilliant. I think most places would go for it if they could get away with it.

  • dantheman

    Gerry lvs Castro

    I think your point is painfully irrelevant. Do you think republicans would do anything other than this when its puts strain on the union? Objecting to this is naive to say the least.

  • lib2016

    Perhaps the ‘spongers’ say it to make us feel good about ourselves? After all it seems the only agrument left for supporting a British presence in Ireland is that the dole is better.

    Makesja wonder where all that ‘Protestant work ethic’ went, doesn’t it?