Election Fever in the air: But to which constituencies?!?

The two governments’ proposals today indicated the likelihood of an election in March 2007 for the new Assembly. However, as political anoraks will be aware, we are in an electoral limbo in the north of Ireland at present, as our 18 Assembly/ Westminster constituencies are in the process of being re-drawn. I understand that new legislation will be required to effect these changes, else our politicians will have one last fling with their current electorates. No mention of this was made in the document today (probably a case of counting your chicks….) but I’ve no doubt all the parties will want to know as soon as possible exactly which electoral battlefields they will be contesting in a matter of months.

  • Darren Mac an Phríora

    I hope they are changed before any new elections.

  • I think it’s most unlikely that the constituencies will be changed before March. The Boundary Commission’s final report is already somewhat late – the process began in 2003! – and when you add together the time needed between now, mid-October, and the possible elections, in early March, it’s just about theoretically possible for it to be pushed through but I think impractical.

  • william

    With all of the main parties agreeing to reduce members of the assembly sometime in the near future it probably makes sense to stall the new constituencies until then – the assembly election after next.

  • John East Belfast

    chris donnelly

    “However, as political anoraks will be aware, we are in an electoral limbo in the north of Ireland at present, as our 18 Assembly/ Westminster constituencies are in the process of being re-drawn.”

    surely now that the mother of all deals has been done you can start calling the place – that encompasses the constituencies (both Assembly and Westminster) that you refer to in the same sentence – by its proper name – ie Northern Ireland ?

    The north of Ireland could be the Giants Causeway.

    It is just silly now that you have signed up to everything else to be going on about the Six Counties or the north of Ireland.

    The next thing of course is for you to start getting behind the Northern Ireland football team

  • Chris Donnelly

    JEB

    I’m actually delighted you raise both points.

    On the first one, I have no intention of changing my habit of referring to the six county statelet as the north of Ireland- nor, I think you will find, will most nationalists. Deal with it.

    On the second, I suspect you will be in for an even greater surprise. I’ve no doubt nationalists will continue their demand for an all-Ireland team to match that which exists for all other major sports on the island.

    But I’ve equally no doubt but that such an outcome will remain beyond us for the considerable period ahead.

    Which will lead to demands from Sinn Fein- and probably the SDLP- for greater opportunities for northern nationalists to declare for their national team (i.e. Republic of Ireland.)

    This is a trend which continues up to today, and which should be encouraged on the grounds of equality.

    We’re long past the days when the IFA, through people like David Bowen- who disgracefully condemned the “ease” with which northerners could obtain Irish passports some years ago- could block nationalists from playing for their own team.

    What should be facilitated now is an agreement whereby players can be openly approached by scouts from the National team in Dublin up here; my understanding is that the onus today remains on the individual youngsters to make the decision to opt for the Republic, something many are loathe to do.

    Yes, fans of the north have made tremendous strides in cleaning up their act and providing a more friendly atmosphere for their fans- which should be applauded.

    But it remains a unionist team, supported by ‘Ulster’ and Union flag waving fans. I have no problem with that- it is their team, and they are welcome to enjoy supporting their team.

    What I do find amusing is that some unionists- including yourself John- struggle to recognise that nationalists would wish to support a national side which reflects their own identity in the same manner that the northern side reflects yours.

  • John East Belfast

    Chris

    I am not denying your United Ireland aspirations – perfectly legitimate.

    However on a couple of occasions on Slugger in recent months I have attempted to draw Nationalists on what could be deemed a “reverse lothian ” type of question.

    ie if SF/SDLP are ministers in a jurisdiction called Northern Ireland then I would expect them to be working their balls off to advance NI in every arena.

    – Economics, education, sports etc etc.

    Basically anyone and everyone serving in ministerial positions for NI should be totally committed to the success of NI against all others – including ROI

    Anything else is absurd ?

    I have put forward that for many nationalists they would not want the six counties to excel in any arena over the 26 other than Gaelic Sports ?

    However such an attitude is not acceptable os sustainable in the long term.

    Indeed when such nationalists and republicans get back into Stormont then on the assumption they have a work ethic they will naturally start thinking of how to advance NI – IMHO it will become natural.

    ie if Microsoft are considering a multi billion £ plant in Dublin v Belfast who’s side or nationalist MLAs going to come down on ?

    All I am saying is the natural progession of this is that you start supporting the NI football team as well ?

    Such a team is only unionist because nationalists opt out.

    Regarding the name I am also pointing out it is silly and absurb to be talking about Westminster and Assembly constituencies but refusing to call Northern Ireland by its legal name that encompasses those constituencies.

    It is going to be interesting times on how Nationalists and Republicans work these institutions.

  • slug

    John

    I have noticed RTE and other dublin based broadcasters using Northern Ireland, and NI, regularly now in a way they didn’t 10 years ago. So there does seem to be a bit of progress in that sense.

  • Rubicon

    Chris – are you being premature in expecting an election “in a matter of months” – or are you ‘in the know?

    The SAA simply states, “March: Endorsement by the electorate of the St Andrews agreement.” Bertie’s statement at the press conference explicitly stated a referendum would be needed.

    An election and referendum are not alternatives of course – but I can’t see them doing both. The only election date in statute at the moment is the one in May ’08.

  • slug

    The main danger of a referendum is

    for the DUP: Gives an opportunity for Bob McCartney and a group of those against the deal to form a campaign

    for Sinn Fein: likewise, the referendum provides an opportunity for republicans opposed to a deal to form a campaign group.

  • Rubicon

    Slug – fair points – but an election would also present similar dangers (perhaps worse ones since intra-party decent would be more important and could cause confusion as to whether any result actually endorsed the SAA).

    From the southern perspective, Bertie could not get away without holding a referendum since constitutional changes were made on the basis of the GFA. He could state that the SAA does not modify any substantive aspect of the GFA – but … would he say that? I doubt it.

  • slug

    Rubicon I think it would be a good idea to have a referendum because it would allow the people to give their verdict on the rather large changes since 1998; changes that people be allowed to express an opinion on.

  • Rubicon

    I agree with you Slug – plus an election after years of MLAs doing nothing is not likely to attract the public’s interest in the way the SAA should.

    As for McCartney – there’ll be no deal that’ll silence that hurrler in the ditch. I heard him on the radio having a go at Sammy Wilson this morning. Even a massive endorsement by referendum won’t stop the likes of McCartney from complaining about republicans in government.

  • páid

    JEB,

    Unionists show scant loyalty to Ireland as they regard it as an illegitimate entity in it’s own right. It doesn’t reflect their ethos and culture, and, more to the point, they are outvoted within it’s boundaries.

    If the above is true, and you understand it, you must be honest and substitute Unionists for Nationalists, and Ireland for Northern Ireland.

    We are condemned until future generations forge a common identity.

    So self-respecting Nationalists aren’t going to support Northern Ireland. It’s very existence and name is a slap in their face.

  • POL

    Whos to say the dupers have stopped complaining. Could we see a backlash within both major parties helping the uup and the stoops regain some ground?.

  • John East Belfast

    pid

    If that is how you feel then why dont you just let us have one party rule by the Unionists !!!

    You are not making any sense.

    You are working the instititions and therefore all I am asking is that you work them well.

  • ciaran damery

    Slug writes, “I have noticed RTE and other dublin based broadcasters using Northern Ireland, and NI, regularly now in a way they didn’t 10 years ago.”

    The same shower didn’t even allow Irish Republican’s parliamentary representatives to talk on TV back then.

    In fact, if ya go back ten odd years before that, the political and military conflict between the Brits (at the behest of their orange cheerleaders) and the broad Republican constituency, with Oglaigh Na hEireann as its cutting edge in the struggle, the Dublin Media and RTE political perspective was controlled by obscene and absurd pro-partitionists, mer shampla Eoghan Harris and other ex-Stickies turned unionists and wierdoes.

    So I guess yer right slug, “a little bit of progress” Not much mind!

  • dodrade

    Would the new boundaries be likely to make a significant difference to the outcome to any assembly election?

  • páid

    JEB,

    I fully expect the politicians to work them well; for all the people of NI, having signed up to doing so.

    There is a difference between doing so, and being loyal to Northern Ireland.

    Though I admit it is a tightrope act.

    The alternative is to take on the State physically, which gets nobody anywhere, as we all now know.

    So Nationalists work…and dream.

  • ciaran damery

    May I also say that a referendum throughout the island appears to be the only way forward.

    Assuming the majority of the Irish electorate accept proposals, contingent on the creation of a police service, under the jurisdiction of the Home rule minisrty of justice, then perhaps this plan could be acceptable.

    However, it is incumbent on the British to facilitate the process and act in accordance with the will of the Irish nation, as represented by the people of Ireland as a whole.

    The future is a tad less bleak at the minute, but if the British government continue to play patsies to the orangies then the Irish Peace Process is destined to failure.

    If we read our history books, we will realize that a political vacuum in occupied Ireland or attempts by Southern and/or London governments to shove their proverbial heads up their asses, as they did from 1922 to 1969, can only result in further resistance to occupation and a return to a struggle for independence by a military force armed with the best military technology and a sleek and determined army of young Volunteers, who again bring the ‘theatre of operations’ to the ‘battlefield’.

  • Carson’s Cat

    Ciaran Damery
    “May I also say that a referendum throughout the island appears to be the only way forward.”

    Err.. except for the fact that the smart money is on an Assembly election as the electoral test.

    Mind you – a referendum would simply underline the fact that it is a new agreement.

    As for the rest of the comments… sound a little like “if we dont get what we want then we’ll go back to ‘what we do best'”.

  • smcgiff

    As a nationalist sitting comfortably in the Republic I would advise the following…

    That the politicians of all hues work to their utmost to bring about stable and progressive government for the betterment of NI.

    I would further urge that all nationalist parties put on hold pressure for a UI for one full term of the assembly.

    This would show that unionists/nationalists and Irish Protestants/Catholics CAN work together, even if it is only in the 6 counties of Northern Ireland.

    Thus proven it would have a stronger case for a UI. A UI that COULD contain Protestants, Catholics & Dissenters!

    We’ve moved a long way in the last 10 years, who knows where we’ll be in 10 years time. Maybe Big Ian will be celebrating his 60th wedding anniversary as Tainaiste, declaring TA! TA! TA! to Donaldson’s finance bill, 2016.

  • kensei

    “ie if SF/SDLP are ministers in a jurisdiction called Northern Ireland then I would expect them to be working their balls off to advance NI in every arena.

    – Economics, education, sports etc etc.

    Basically anyone and everyone serving in ministerial positions for NI should be totally committed to the success of NI against all others – including ROI”

    Working hard to make this place better? Sure. But they also better be damn well working to get rid of the border because that’s why i give them my vote.

    If you don’t like it, tough. You don’t get to choose MY representatives.

    “I have put forward that for many nationalists they would not want the six counties to excel in any arena over the 26 other than Gaelic Sports ?

    However such an attitude is not acceptable os sustainable in the long term.”

    I fail to see how it is unsustainable to support the team that plays under my flag and stands for my anthem. In most cases, it isn’t an issue, because there is an All ireland team.

    “Indeed when such nationalists and republicans get back into Stormont then on the assumption they have a work ethic they will naturally start thinking of how to advance NI – IMHO it will become natural.”

    Er, no. As far as Nationalism is concerned this is a transition arrangement until support is built for a UI, and a method of helping build that support. I expect my representatives to work their constituents, not for the state.

    NI as an entity is over. It might take 50 years to play out, but a glance at the Electoral map will tell you that the current borders are unsustainable in the loing term. There will either be reunification, or there will be repartition.

    “ie if Microsoft are considering a multi billion £ plant in Dublin v Belfast who’s side or nationalist MLAs going to come down on ?”

    The side of their constituents. If there was a choice between Derry and BVelfast, there would still be a fight. Do not confuse this with loyalty to the state.

    “All I am saying is the natural progession of this is that you start supporting the NI football team as well ?

    Such a team is only unionist because nationalists opt out.”

    It is neither a natural or logical conclusion. We don’t “opt out”. You opt out. I see no distinction between me and my fellow Irishmen in Cork, Dublin, Donegal, Tyrone or anywhere else. We support the team who represents us, and has representaticves form ALL of Ireland, That team is the Republic of Ireland.

    The only bit of identity we have in common is the Irish one. I am 0% British, but a Unionist may be Irish in some sense. If you want a team that represents everyone, you don’t pick the bit that is divise.

    “Regarding the name I am also pointing out it is silly and absurb to be talking about Westminster and Assembly constituencies but refusing to call Northern Ireland by its legal name that encompasses those constituencies.”

    Also – republicans have not accepted NI as legitimate. Not for teeny tiny second. What we have accepted is that the ponly way to change it is through political means. World of difference there.

  • Glen Taisie

    StAndrews only provides for an electoral test,this has to be a referendum with the Assembly elections on their proper due date May 2008

  • Carson’s Cat

    Glen Taisie
    “StAndrews only provides for an electoral test,this has to be a referendum with the Assembly elections on their proper due date May 2008”

    Yes – it provides for an electoral test; it doesn’t state anywhere that this must be a referendum. I’ll bet now that its an Assembly election with no referendum.

  • Rubicon

    Carson’s Cat – the SAA expressly states “endorsement by the electorate of the St. Andrews Agreement” – how would an election meet that criterion? How would “endorsement” be counted?

    If the 5 major parties all enter the election pro SAA – why have an election unless you think McCartney could take over from the Doc? What is a DUP supporter who doesn’t agree with the SAA to do? Not vote? Vote for the UKUP? If McCartney is the only anti-SAA party and he refuses to put candidates in all 18 constituencies he’ll have formed the basis for legal challenge.

    Maybe you think McCartney would never think of using the legal system? If so, would a first pref. for UKUP count as ‘no endorsement’ – unless the ballot also had a transfer to the DUP? What happens in Donaldson-like circumstances; i.e., where a single party puts up candidates in a constituency both pro and anti SAA? Do only first preferences count? Would each candidate have to make an official declaration? If so, the circumstances will be created to split the DUP from its grassroots right through to its leadership. Or is the Doc going to sit on the fence and put equal no.’s of pro and anti agreement candidates in each constituency? Will the 2 governments entertain an election with the Doc sitting on the fence?

    If this is “smart money” – I beg to differ – but the DUP fortunes aren’t much of a concern to me. I did however think they possessed some smart political brains …

    The DUP may say they want an election – but I wonder if they want one in these circumstances where all their gains could be squandered?

    Since the SAA emerges from the 2 governments – Bertie’s statement regarding a referendum cannot be simply set aside. The constitution is not a trifling matter in the Republic (or to nationalists) and Bertie would be in very hot water just prior to his own election – were he to skip a referendum requirement. Legally, that referendum could be held in the South only – but that would be political suicide.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Kensei

    Since it was accepted by ALL subscribers to the GFA that NI will continue to exist until a majority in NI wants to change it then it must be accepted that it is a legitimate legal entity.

    Since all elected parties in NI are taking part in the government of that legal entity then all parties accept that it is a legitimate legal entity as their first loyaltity is to the country that they govern.

    So from hence forth the first priority of SF and the SDLP is to fight for whatever is good for NI even if it is not good for the RoI.

    You and some of you fellow travellers may not accept it as legitmate but all the people who matter do.

  • John East Belfast

    Kensei

    Your post highlights the kind of dilemma republicans will be facing over the next few years.

    You dont seem to realise you have come from a force whose sole objective was to de-stabilise NI on every front to one where it has not only signed up to its institutions but will be actively employed to make them work.

    You cannot face both ways at once and you are also forgetting one very important point – ie you are letting the unionists back into the shop – do you think we are going to stand idley by and watch you try and hollow out from within ?
    The vacuum will have gone and we will be going full steam ahead to bring stability and prosperity.

    You have dealt your militant hand and you have nothing left but to win the hearts and minds – you wont do that by being obstructive – if anything you will drive nationalists to the SDLP.

    And in terms of SF Electoral success in the ROI they are going to have to prove they are doing a good job in the north.

    It is a bit like the “Bridge Over the River Kwai” movie where the Alec Guinness character ends up taking a pride in his work and loses sight of the fact that he was really there to sabotage the Japanese rail way line.
    It will be the same with SF – power in the north will contribute to their change and if it doesnt the unionists will steam ahead anyway.

    “Working hard to make this place better? Sure. But they also better be damn well working to get rid of the border because that’s why i give them my vote.”

    You cant do both at once – certainly not well at either anyway.

    “NI as an entity is over”

    Really ? – this will be a new beginning

    “The side of their constituents. If there was a choice between Derry and BVelfast, there would still be a fight. Do not confuse this with loyalty to the state.”

    Not the same – for instance a Derry SF MLA in the northern assembly will be working for the plant in Belfast above the one in Dublin. Lets say such a northern SF MLA held the Trade and Industry portfolio under such a scenario – do you think he is going to say he doesnt care if it goes to Dublin ? – Are Belfast his constituents – only in a NI context – that’s his job – Prid Quo Pro – northern SF champion NI and therefore why not do it in every context.

    “It is neither a natural or logical conclusion. We don’t “opt out”. You opt out. I see no distinction between me and my fellow Irishmen in Cork, Dublin, Donegal, Tyrone or anywhere else. We support the team who represents us, and has representaticves form ALL of Ireland, That team is the Republic of Ireland.”

    See my comments above about a SF Derry MLA choosing Belfast over Dublin – all very logical and natural

    “Er, no. As far as Nationalism is concerned this is a transition arrangement until support is built for a UI, and a method of helping build that support. I expect my representatives to work their constituents, not for the state.”

    Firstly see what I have said above about your reps acting only for their constituents – ANYHOW if that were true why the hell do you want POWER SHARING ffs ! – If you want power use it – but it will be for ALL constituents in NI.

    Secondly the Unionists back in Stormont wont be asleep on the job

    “Also – republicans have not accepted NI as legitimate.”

    You obviously dont understand the definition of legitimacy

    Kensei you had better catch up with what you have signed up to.

  • Henry94

    FD

    So from hence forth the first priority of SF and the SDLP is to fight for whatever is good for NI even if it is not good for the RoI.

    Where we compete we will compete. For example if a business is deciding between a location north of the border and south of the border a minister’s job is to win it for the north. It is also his job to point out what we are doing that might damage us in that competition and propose what we might do differently.

    It is certainly the business of ministers to ensure the cross-border institutions work to the advantage of the people in the six-counties and that where the island can achieve best results by a united approach such an approach is folowed.

    Of course the same applies to the UK and Irish governments in terms of cooperation between the two of them.

  • John East Belfast

    Henry 94

    “It is certainly the business of ministers to ensure the cross-border institutions work to the advantage of the people in the six-counties”

    Setting aside anthems et el why cant the same logic apply to northern nationalists supporting the NI football team ?

    I suppose that is a heart v head thing ?

    But why cant northern nationalists not forge out some kind of nordie identity – in the eyes of most southerners that is how they are seen anyway.

    NI is now set up in a way that means the Britishness of it can be embraced as much as you like.

    What northern nationalists and unionists have most in common is their northern irishness which is a growing identity in itself.

    If nationalists could embrace this concept rather than constantly grasping at a future generation’s possible transition then we could get somewhere.

  • bertie

    Rubicon

    I think that the DUP want an election to the assembly so that they can take even more seats off the UUP. It will not just be DUO negotiating skills that the unionist electorate will be deciding on but the UUP/UVF pact.

  • Henry94

    JEB

    We won’t get anywhere unless we start with the recognition that people have a right to decide what their identity is an what team they support.

    While you might wonder why we don’t follow your team nationalists find it hard to uderstand why unionists don’t embrace an all-Ireland football team like there is in rugby.

    But even the soccer crowd rushed to embrace a British team for the olympics. Even Scotland and Wales had more self-respect. An NI identity is just a British identity in a green shirt. Nationalists have no need of it. We have an identity. We are Irish thanks and happy with it.

  • Rubicon

    Bertie, I’d be the last person to want to delay the UUP from reeping the reward for their pact with the PUP/UVF. I just can’t see an election fulfilling the requirement set out in the SAA, though – as I’ve said before, an election and a referendum is possible (but unlikely). I think the DUP will have to wait until May ’08 (or thereabouts). The unionist electorate will hardly have forgotten the idiocy of that arrangement by then.

    In fact, unionists seem to possess just as long a memory as nationalists ;).

  • Would the SAA not need both NI and Republic backing? I don’t see how anything but a referendum could do this.

    Oh yea Bertie, if by any chance the present assembly is used to configure the next executive will you still be standing by your viewpoint when Gerry Kelly takes up his post as minister of policing?

  • Rubicon

    FYU – The justice ministerial portfolio will occur when devolution of those powers occur – not before. This MAY happen by May ’08 and, if it did, it is by no means a given outcome that:

    1. The parties would not seek to disolvle the Assembly for elections to occur, or;
    2. SF would get the nomination.

    The UUP can bark about it not getting 2nd nomination all it wants – but the cause of that is its own failure to get sufficient votes – even though the votes Donaldson et al got are still credited to the UUP (and then its additional failure to seek another device to ‘fix’ the problem). If it is the 2nd nomination that concerns you – can you explain your concept of ‘power-sharing’ that demands unionism gets 1st and 2nd choice of ministerial portfolios?

    “Let them eat cake” come to mind …

  • John East Belfast

    Henry 94

    I am British but I wouldnt dream of supporting the English, Welsh or Scottish teams over NI – the idea is just daft.

    You may, like me, be Irish but there is no football team representing the island of Ireland.

    Such matters are governed by FIFA and under their rules there is clearly one team for 26 of the Irish Counties and another for the other 6.

    As you were born and live in the 6 counties I cannot fathom why you would support a team from the other 26.

    If it because you dont recognise the 6 County statelet then that is not what you signed up to under the Belfast and now St Andrews Agreements.

    To say that the NI team is a British team – that is true but it is also an Irish team.

    But if you have accepted the Bristishess of NI for the time being then why cant you support the football team of NI as well ?

    Are you saying that when a 6 county entity of any description whatsoever (business, cultural, sports…) comes up against its equivalent 26 County entity then you will support the latter ?

    How long is such an absurd scenario sustainable for ?

  • fartrick2011

    ireland unfree shall NEVER be at peace

  • Paul P

    The DUP has proved to be a very effective election machine. Is it possible that Robinson et al would have worked the party into a position of electoral strength and then squander it getting an endorsement to the political deal they have negotiated? Surely they will be making sure that they aren’t exposed to Bob McCartney on one side and the UUP/PUP(UVF) on the other?

    Also I think the UUP constantly underestimate the political ability of the DUP and reckon that they will eventually be exposed as nothing more than novice hoodlums and “decent” people will come flocking back to vote for them.

  • bertie

    FYU

    “Oh yea Bertie, if by any chance the present assembly is used to configure the next executive will you still be standing by your viewpoint when Gerry Kelly takes up his post as minister of policing? ”

    I am not sure what viewpoint you refer to. My last post was

    “I think that the DUP want an election to the assembly so that they can take even more seats off the UUP. It will not just be DUO negotiating skills that the unionist electorate will be deciding on but the UUP/UVF pact. ”

    As the election will already have taken place there would seem to be little relevance in changing or keeping that viewpoint.

    Rubicon

    I think that both are likely. The DUP seems to want “the people” to make the judgement on whether SF is now fit for purpose (i.e not the governments, not the IMC etc). It will surely want its voters to be part of this judgement and an elecdtion will only get its voters to pass judgement on its (i.e the DUP)

  • biggestcityin south down

    This goes on and on as regards the Northern ireland football team and has a certain resonance with the position in GB regarding second generation pakistanis and Indians and the english cricket team.

    Look…im a nationalist. i support the ROI football time and really couldnt care less about the six counties team.

    Whatever political arrangements and pragmatic solutions that help us to govern this place i will not change my affiliation.

    The unbridled love affair that the Belfast Telegraph has with the Ulster/Ni side is nauseating. Our wee country????????????? Its not a country its a minor and certainly the smallest constituent region of a state as currently set up.

    We are going through a painful process by which the 6 counties eventually transfer probably on a federal basis back to the southern 26 hopefully sooner rather than later.

    I personally really like the english btw in general. Very nice visitors to the 32 counties and spend a few pound while they are here.

  • John East Belfast

    bcsd

    “Look…im a nationalist. i support the ROI football time and really couldnt care less about the six counties team.

    Whatever political arrangements and pragmatic solutions that help us to govern this place i will not change my affiliation.”

    When we agree to share power with nationalists in a NI administration we are not intending do so with a bunch of civil servants – we have enough of them already.

    We expect our politicians to have pride and passion for their job – it goes beyond just serving your own tribal constituents and will involve throwing your heart and soul in for the whole NI community.

    Anyone not grasping that should do us a favour and stay away from Stormont

    If you cannot support the NI football team against anyone (even England) then IMHO you shouldnt be in a job that requires you to do more than pushing paper.
    If you cannot support NI v ROI in sport how can we expect you to support it in areas of commerce against the same ?

    I have repeatedly asked this of nationalists on Slugger and have only had two nationalist suporters being honest and saying they would support the 26 counties on every occasion in every arena despite the fact they live in the 6 counties.
    I have not had one northern nationalist contributor say in economic matters they would pursue NI’s interests over ROI – although I think Henry 94 stated NI SF Ministers would champion the NI administration over the ROI in economic matters ? – I cant see how this cannot equally spill over into sport.

    For instance if the Minster for Sports & Culture etc etc was SF are you honestly going to tell me if come this time next year we were still in for a chance of qualifying the best we could hope for from him/her was indifference ? – how absurd would that be

  • Chris Donnelly

    “For instance if the Minster for Sports & Culture etc etc was SF are you honestly going to tell me if come this time next year we were still in for a chance of qualifying the best we could hope for from him/her was indifference ? – how absurd would that be”

    Get used to it, JEB.

    You’re politicans agreed to a compromise with nationalists; at no time did nationalists surrender.

    You remind me of the unionist academics who maintained some time ago that the major de-stabilising factor in the north of Ireland was the fact that nationalists wanted a united Ireland- naturally, their solution was that nationalists should forego their identity and aspirations in the interest of making unionists feel more contented.

    Utter rubbish!

    I can safely say that a Sinn Fein Minister for Sport (DCAL?) would undoubtedly show their primary loyalty to the Irish football team which embraced players from all of Ireland and whose colours, flag and anthems were common to Irish nationalists across the country.

    Does that surprise you?

    At best, what you are entitled to hope for is a polite gesture towards the unionist- supported northern football team. But the idea that nationalists are simply going to roll over to make you feel comfortable is quite simply laughable.

    Republicans aren’t in Stormont to rail against the world for your beloved ‘pravince.’ Sinn Fein is an openly all-Ireland party; Republicans will fight for political, social and economic objectives on an all-Ireland basis.

    Naturally, on issues of inward investment, it is likely that each area will fight its own corner- as happens today throughout the countrY (Politicians in Cork, for example, will fight tooth and nail against their Dublin counterparts to attract jobs to the area.) But that is how republicans will view it: simply competition between numerous regions within the nation.

    Welcome to the future, John. If you don’t like it, you could always join Bob McCartney out there in Bangor, pushing back the tide with his fountain pen.

  • Rubicon

    Bertie – both are POSSIBLE – but I can’t agree that both are likely; not at the same time anyway. I’m keen to see an election to a devolved Assembly myself but don’t think it worth the money, that it could have anything other than a destabilising outcome and it would be better done after the electorate have a track record to assess.

    So far, our MLAs have achieved nothing and any result may reflect that fact more than any other. It most certainly would discourage people from voting in a referendum. If you think the SAA worthwhile, vote “yes” – otherwise “no”. Don’t ask me to vote for the parties, I’d spoil my vote but guess many would be happy not to vote at all.

    The DUP will want a joint election/referendum – perhaps they’ll get it. Personally, I’d prefer the money used elsewhere. Podiums to undermine devolution will have their time but mixing matters now is not only dangerous to devolution. Parties in favour of the SAA are likely to have internal dissent. Let the dissenters sort out their business before they try to con the electorate.

    There’s a long time between now and March in any event. Despite the ‘soft words’ from the DUP and SF, there is a challenging agenda ahead. At this point, the SAA is not a document drafted by local leading parties (like the GFA was) – the 2 governments had to come up with it. There’s a lot of wriggle room and it is precisely that kind of room that screws things up.

    Election v’s referendum may not be relevant just yet.

    As to relevance – can Mr Fealty introduce an “old chestnuts” thread to include; all Ireland sport, repartition, a swear-box, a spittoon (for Mr. fartrick and fellow travellers) and creationalism? Slugger clearly needs a scratching post for those with an itch – but it develops schizophrenia to have irrelevant arguments to threads continue.

    (Chris – nice to see you join the thread you started. It’d be even better to see you comment on the issues you raised in this thread. You can do the “old chestnuts” thread to continue this other conversation).

  • Bushmills

    Chris Donnelly

    Your last post is really very pathetic. Although judging by the volume of ranting about the “inevetablity” of a United Ireland over the last few days from our residents Provo supporters it’s claer the DUP has wiped their political leaders eyes!

    What did Bobby Sands dies for? Ian Paisley as First Minister and Marty McGuinness as his deputy? Face it boys and girls you failed to bomb Ulster into a United Ireland, you’ve failed to vote it into one and now your political leaders who sold you a mirage of a UI for all those years are locked into working inside British institutions, adminstering British laws, supporting the police and courts system. You lost.

  • kensei

    “You dont seem to realise you have come from a force whose sole objective was to de-stabilise NI on every front to one where it has not only signed up to its institutions but will be actively employed to make them work.”

    Republicans job isn’t to destablise the NI state. It is to end it. That is not incompatiable with siting int he Assembly; indeed some kind of catch up with the Republic (though I still fancy this as unlikely) may help facilitate it. Plus we need to convinc people fo our intentions and it can help with that.

    “You cannot face both ways at once and you are also forgetting one very important point – ie you are letting the unionists back into the shop – do you think we are going to stand idley by and watch you try and hollow out from within ?
    The vacuum will have gone and we will be going full steam ahead to bring stability and prosperity.”

    I think you’ll find we can “face both ways at once” and we’ll continue to push for a UI. Unionism has it’s goals and I respect them. May the bets side win, and all that, but your in fantasy land if you think Nationalism is just suddenly going to become Unionist.

    And gains Nationalism makes will have to worked extremely hard for.

    “You have dealt your militant hand and you have nothing left but to win the hearts and minds – you wont do that by being obstructive – if anything you will drive nationalists to the SDLP.”

    No, we’ll do it by being effective and by refusing to compromise on our identity and by forging efectibe North South links.

    “And in terms of SF Electoral success in the ROI they are going to have to prove they are doing a good job in the north.

    It is a bit like the “Bridge Over the River Kwai” movie where the Alec Guinness character ends up taking a pride in his work and loses sight of the fact that he was really there to sabotage the Japanese rail way line.”

    No, it really isn’t.

    “It will be the same with SF – power in the north will contribute to their change and if it doesnt the unionists will steam ahead anyway.”

    What exactly is stopping me from makiing the exact same repsonse you made to me earlier?

    “You cant do both at once – certainly not well at either anyway.”

    No, we can.

    “Really ? – this will be a new beginning”

    That’s really up to you. But let’s assume for a second that Nationalism doesn’t suddenly turn into Unionism. Look at the electoral map. Notice the increasingly green west. Let’s also suppose the magic 50%+1 is never going to happen and eventually everyone realises it.

    Do you reckon they’ll accept that and just be happy Brits?

    “Not the same – for instance a Derry SF MLA in the northern assembly will be working for the plant in Belfast above the one in Dublin. Lets say such a northern SF MLA held the Trade and Industry portfolio under such a scenario – do you think he is going to say he doesnt care if it goes to Dublin ? – Are Belfast his constituents – only in a NI context – that’s his job – Prid Quo Pro – northern SF champion NI and therefore why not do it in every context.”

    No exactly the same. Perhaps constituents is the worng term. Let’s say electorate. And you forget, SF is an All-Ireland party, and there is prospect of SDLP linking up with FF or another of the southern parties.

    And the logical deduction doesn’t necessarily follow.

    “See my comments above about a SF Derry MLA choosing Belfast over Dublin – all very logical and natural”

    The party might decide it’s in its best interest for them to support Dublin. I don’t know.

    “Firstly see what I have said above about your reps acting only for their constituents – ANYHOW if that were true why the hell do you want POWER SHARING ffs ! – If you want power use it – but it will be for ALL constituents in NI.”

    No. SF (or any other party) will do what is best for their manifesto says and what their electorate voted for. That is their job, and what they will be voted in for. Obviously, they believe it’ll be best for everyone but whether or not anyone else believes that is neither here nor there.

    “You obviously dont understand the definition of legitimacy

    Kensei you had better catch up with what you have signed up to.”

    No, you better look up the definition of “pragmatism”. And catch up with who you are bed with.

  • Dublin Exile

    2 Points:-

    A) What are the Republic to have a referendum on? Usually we only have a referendum to change the constitution but i cant see any new consti. tutional implications from teh SAA that havent already been addressed in the GFA. If there are no implications then wouldn’t it be a lot cheaper and produce the same reflection of public opinion if the government just got the MRBI to conduct a poll on the new arrangements?

    B) Regarding the Northern Ireland football team, most people I meet (and I live in a border county) want the NI team to do well and really enjoyed them beating England during the summer.Those of us who are old enough still rememeber supporting NI in Spain and Mexico and would have no problem doing so again if and when NI qualify again for either the World Cup finals or the European Championship.

  • lib2016

    Any referendum in the South coming just before the general election there would benefit Fianna Fail on the basis of backing Berty’s handling of the North. The opposition parties would oppose such a referendum so there is question of Berty being ‘in hot water’ if he doesn’t have a referendum. There are arrangements for changes to be made to the GFA as circumstances warrant them.

    The demand for an electoral test seems to be coming from the DUP which would suggest that such a test would be restricted to the North. The Dail and the House of Commons will nod through anything which seems to be contributing to peace here.

  • John East Belfast

    Chris Donnelly

    Your early morning post was most depressing.

    Your approach will only further lead to the erosion of Irishness in unionists and will ultimately create Re – Partition.

    If you really wanted to take risks what you should be doing is making NI work.

    Nobody is asking you to be good British citisens but good Northern Irish ones.

    If you show that kind of goodwill you could help foster the distinctiveness of the northern irish unionist within the UK and might ultimately cause them ‘warm’ to a United Ireland.

    However if you show them nothing but antagonism and do nothing but drag your feet with the power unionists have agreed to share with you then you will drive the people of NI even further apart than your murderous and violent campaign did.

    You have learned little about unionist mentality if you think for one moment that they can be bullied or cheated into a UI – you will sow the seeds of Re-partition among many who do not see it as justifiable or desirable now.

    Of course there is a risk in taking such an approach for you – you could help make NI such a wonderful place that insufficient unionists would turn and you might make to many nationalists content.
    – that would be my strategy.

    – but at least it is a harmonious and peaceful one where the battle is for hearts and minds among those who respect the legitimacy of one another’s position.

    NI exists and you are part of it so I suggest it is you who “gets used to it”.

    I cannot fathom a mindset that would say that a future SF DCAL Minister in the event of NI qualifying for Euro 2008 would

    “At best, what you are entitled to hope for is a polite gesture towards the unionist- supported northern football team”

    Have you any idea what a preposterous scenario that would be – I think you should have a word with Alex Maskey about his approach to Belfast City Mayor. Or even have a word with whoever it is SF have appointed as Director of “Reaching Out to Unionists” to see if such an attititude would be good.

    Are you trying to unite this land or just trying to drive the Brits out ?

    If it is the former I suggest you take your chances and unite Northern Ireland first.

    You also need to realise that if nationalists are going to drag their feet in making this place work then with 2/3 of the power and seats unionists reps and their communities will get on with the job ourselves.

    It is so ironic after all the huffing and puffing about equality and power sharing that when nationalists get it they are either unwilling or unable to use it for the electorate they are representing.

    The latter is not the 32 County imaginary Ireland. There are two competing fiscal (and sporting entities) on this Island and if you are being paid a salary for one you should bloody well get behind it – you wont find any ROI politicians working for northern constituents at the expense of ANY 26 County Constituent no matter where they are.

  • Yokel

    Ummm just reading through the posts here and I need a bit of help.

    Can someone translate Ciaran Damery’s stuff for me? I can’t understand a word of it.
    There are words there but they almost appear to be stolen from the North Korean book of the English language….

  • kensei

    “Nobody is asking you to be good British citisens but good Northern Irish ones.”

    You STILL don’t understand. We’re not Northern irish cizens. We are Irish citzens. The only thing separating us from the rest of our fellow Irishmen is Unionism.

    “If you show that kind of goodwill you could help foster the distinctiveness of the northern irish unionist within the UK and might ultimately cause them ‘warm’ to a United Ireland.”

    So by becoming Unionists or Northern irsihers we will get a United Ireland? Bizarre suggestion. We intend to build trust with Unionism and do a good job for everyone amnd prove through avariety of measures a UI would be better for everyone.

    But we are not giving up Nationalism, or our identity or doing everything just because Unionism wants it. That is false. In a large part our interests will be the same – we all live here – but it isn’t going to be precisely the same as Unionism’s because, well, we’re not Unionists.

    This isn’t a one way process. You are going to have to deal with all these Irish people with different symbols and ideas running about whether there is UI or not.

  • kensei

    “You also need to realise that if nationalists are going to drag their feet in making this place work then with 2/3 of the power and seats unionists reps and their communities will get on with the job ourselves.”

    Actually, the wonderful way this place is set up, Unionism can’t do Jack without us. And Nationalism has about 40% of the vote and growing these days as well. It’s isn’t 1969, just in case you missed it.

  • Bushmills

    kensei

    proof that the nationalist %age is growing?

  • kensei

    The last census. Look at the Protestant and Catholic age profile. Even if the magic 50%+1 doesn’t happen, Nationalism is still going in the short to medium term.

    And yes, politics are religion aren’t the same thing but think we can both accept it has been a fair indicator thus far.

    You are not seriously going to argue this one?

  • giveandtake

    Just a wee word for some of the unionist commentators on this post such as JEB. I get a bit sick of being labelled a provie just because I have a legitimate nationalist aspiration. Kensei and Chris Donnelly have taken stick purely for having the temerity to stand up and say just because we are going to make the North more politically accountable then that doesnt mean a wand has been waved and we have turned into unionists. I dont have a bowler hat and I like Gaelic Football. I support the national football team before the Nortern one but dont hate the Northern one. Just fairly indifferent.The one thing I would hope everybody agrees on is that we are all thoroughly fed up with direct rule and the need for local accountability.To conclude I have never understood why unionists cannot see that Direct rule ministers hold them in complete contempt and would be shot of this place before the milk bottles go out in the morning if they thought they could..they will decide when that time will come and it will be sooner rather than later. Hopefully the new era will be entered into in as painless a manner as possible when the unionists realise that under PR they will be in perpetual government in the 32 counties..Theres an irony to stick in your pipe.

  • bertie

    “And yes, politics are religion aren’t the same thing but think we can both accept it has been a fair indicator thus far.”

    It is and has been a very very poor indicator.

  • bertie

    “To conclude I have never understood why unionists cannot see that Direct rule ministers hold them in complete contempt”

    What on earth makes you think we don’t realise this?

  • giveandtake

    What on earth makes you think we don’t realise this?

    Posted by bertie on Oct 16, 2006 @ 04:55 PM

    If you realise it then why the irrational attraction to the UK ? Methinks deep down there is still that wee hankering for a pre-1968 one party statelet all over again.

    It isn’t going to happen. The transitional phase of the ultimate change of sovereignty is now in progress. Get on the train and enjoy the ride and dont be getting off the train before it reaches its destination. You’ve bought the ticket so that would be a complete waste of money and believe it or not you might actually like what you see as you step blinking in the sunlight as the train arrives. (At Connolly Station!!!)

  • John East Belfast

    Kensei

    “You STILL dont understand”

    No YOU still dont understand.

    There is absolutely nothing in my post that is asking Nationalists to be Unionists or good British citisens. There is nothing asking Nationalists to give up on a UI aspiration or indeed persuading unionists of the benefit of the same.
    There is most certainly no hint in my post of wanting to return to Pre 1968 and no mention of bowler hats or Orange culture.

    As bertie pointed out there is no mention from any unionist poster that Direct Rule is good for anybody.

    I am simply saying that if you wanted to win the hearts and minds of unionists then you would have to become committed citisens of NI first.

    I would define that as being more than “polite” when it comes to the NI football team and championing NI buisness and success in the business and cultural arenas.

    Northern Ireland is as much about Irishness as it is Britishness and you can emphasise the former.

    If you dont want that advice – fine – stick that in “your pipe” “give and take”.

    If you dont want to be reasonable then you are guaranteed to bring about Re-partition and this time it will mean Ireland will be forever divided.

  • giveandtake

    bertie,

    Dont want to prick your bubble but get real!! Most Catholics (not all) are nationalists. Most Protestants are unioinist (Not all).

    It is not a poor indicator but just a sad truism and you know it. Voting patterns map to the demographics pretty closely. Admittedly there are shades of grey on both sides but this seems to disappear when the hand is on the stubby pencil..

  • bertie

    I know nothing of the sort. Voting patterns are not an indicator of nationalism or unionism. So may opinion polls have shown that the proportion of RCs that are Pro Union is high and those that don’t care either way even higher and that goes for SDLP voters too.

    I don’t lose any sleep over the idea of an RC majority in NI because even if this unlikley thing was to occur, it would be a long way from being a nationalist one.

  • giveandtake

    JEB

    “I am simply saying that if you wanted to win the hearts and minds of unionists then you would have to become committed citisens of NI first”

    Right on John you well know that Northern Ireland (sic)does not confer a specific citizenship on the residents of its six counties. Only nations can do that i think.

    John..One other thing why do you think that re-partition is a stick with which you think you can beat nationalists?

    And bertie..was in the pub yesterday and couldnt move at the bar for all of those pro union shinners demanding the continuation of partition……..

  • Billy

    Bushmills

    Accepting the Police and courts is not Nationalism losing. We have always wanted a policing service – we just weren’t pepared to accept the 95% Protestant partisan RUC which we have successfully dumped (as with the UDR/RIR).

    Again, every society need a justice system. However, we now have 1 where it is illegal to have the royal crest in a NI court, there is no mandatory oath of allegiance to the Queen and the Union Jack can only be flown on certain days.

    I am a constitutional nationalist and have never supported violence. However, working in a democratic manner within the system is the morally correct way to achieve our aims as well as being more effective.

    Do you really believe that the UK govt are concerned about maintaining the Union or that they give a s**t about you and other Unionists?

    The UK govt has been trying to get out of NI and cut their financial losses for years. The electorate in the UK don’t give a toss about NI and many would be glad to be rid of it.

    I accept that the constitutional position of NI is unlikely to change in my lifetime but the clock is running.

    Approx 45% of the population is Catholic and this is increasing – also a greater percentage of the younger population who are not yet eleigible to vote are Catholic. We now have almost 40% of the assembly from parties that support a UI and will act accordingly.

    I think you’ll find that, as British govt subsidy decreases, the strength of the North South economic links/dependencies grow.

    I don’t think in terms of winners and losers but it’s obvious to anyone that the “Union” with the UK is diminishing and the links with the RoI are getting stronger all the time.

  • bertie

    “And bertie..was in the pub yesterday and couldnt move at the bar for all of those pro union shinners demanding the continuation of partition……..”

    means nothing at all.

  • giveandtake

    Bertie you really havent been well since that humour bypass operation. I was merely pointing out that as a member of the (loosely) catholic and broadly nationalist community i have found these pro union catholics to be a little thinner on the ground than you so bizarrely suggest. Amongst sinn fein voters i would suggest Nil as a good starting point and amongst SDLP I suppose there would be a few dont cares but probably wouldnt outnumber the spoiled votes. I will refrain from telling you where to place your alleged opinion polls as my Catholic education taught me a few manners……

  • bertie

    giveandtake

    come on now it wasn’t really funny now was it?

    It’s not really the point as to whether they are pro Union, It is how many arn’t UI. The opnion polls are the only measure we have bar a border poll. I’ll make sure I leave lots of room for it 😉

  • giveandtake

    bertie

    i think you are making a bit of an assumption there as to whether being anti union and pro UI are mutually exclusive or at the very least that one is not indicative of the other.

    Can only speak for myself and say I am anti union and pro UI and would vote that way if there was a border poll tomorrow and btw I don’t vote sinn fein so perhaps that should make your assumptions a little bit more wobbly than before as if thats the way i think as a fairly mor sdlp voter ..do the maths mate!!!!!

  • bertie

    giveandtake

    I am saying that not being pro Union is not the same as being pro UI.

    “btw I don’t vote sinn fein so perhaps that should make your assumptions a little bit more wobbly than before as if thats the way i think as a fairly mor sdlp voter ”

    Why? I didn’t say that there were no SDLP voters who were pro UI and I wasn’t even assuming that you were RC 😉

    Apart from the opinion polls and the last border pole, there aren’t really any maths.

    Although I’m more than prepared to count you as 1!

  • John East Belfast

    Billy

    What a nasty little sectarian post your 8.11 was.

    Substitute Catholic for Jew and Ireland for Israel or Catholic for Afrikanns and Ireland for RSA – or even Catholic for Aryan and Ireland for Third Reich and you will see what I mean.

    And it is supposed to be the Orange Protestants who are the unreformed Bggts in this part of the world – LOL !

  • kensei

    “It is and has been a very very poor indicator.2

    Here is a bet, which I will pay if I’m wrong. On one axis we’ll plot the Catholic population of the six counties since 1960. On the second axis we will put the Nationalist vote tally in corfresponding elections.

    £50 says there is a strong positive correlation.

    “No YOU still dont understand.”

    No I understand pefectly what you are saying. You do not get understand ME.

    “There is absolutely nothing in my post that is asking Nationalists to be Unionists or good British citisens. There is nothing asking Nationalists to give up on a UI aspiration or indeed persuading unionists of the benefit of the same.
    There is most certainly no hint in my post of wanting to return to Pre 1968 and no mention of bowler hats or Orange culture.”

    No, there is. What you are saying is that Nationalists should be 100% pro-Northern Ireland, a state they don’t believe should exist, divides them from their fellow Irishmen and they would dearly like to see rid of. Even support the football team that plays under the Stormont Parliament flag and GSTQ as an anthem even ther Republic team represents your identity and aspirations. Fantasy.

    As it happens there is a lot of places where the interests of Nationalism and the interests of “NI” are the same. There we will support it. There are also places where they don’t. We won’t then. Can I make this clear 100%? I AM NOT NORTHERN IRISH. It means nothing to me.

    What do mean things to me is fair policing, health care, good economy etc. As we have accepted there is nothing we can do about the situation until we have a majority of people here wanting change, we’ll work to make this place better, because no one likes ot live in a shit hole, and while NI might mean nothing to me Belfast does, for example.

    It does not stretch to supportinga football team that does not represent me. Happy to have a UI team taht recognises the only bit we have in common, though – some form of Irishness.

    “I am simply saying that if you wanted to win the hearts and minds of unionists then you would have to become committed citisens of NI first.”

    Not going to happen in the sense you mean. We will hope to convince you by arguing that you will be better off in a UI, that you and your culture will be respected, making a success of North-South bodies and by doing a good job in the ministerships. While, for example, being respectful of people’s support of the NI team, we aren’t going to pretend it represents us.

    “Northern Ireland is as much about Irishness as it is Britishness and you can emphasise the former.”

    It really isn’t any of a Nationalist type of Irishness. That is an oxymoron, because the state itself is divisive. None of NI’s symbols belong in any meaningful sense to Nationalism.

    Nine county Ulster is a different matter.

    “If you dont want that advice – fine – stick that in “your pipe” “give and take”.”

    I have laid out my position. We’re not going to agree, because I ain’t a Unionist.

    “If you dont want to be reasonable then you are guaranteed to bring about Re-partition and this time it will mean Ireland will be forever divided.

    Nothing is forever dude. I am gald youa ccept NI is over there. It is an important first step in getting people thinking about the future.

  • bertie

    “”It is and has been a very very poor indicator.2

    Here is a bet, which I will pay if I’m wrong. On one axis we’ll plot the Catholic population of the six counties since 1960. On the second axis we will put the Nationalist vote tally in corfresponding elections. ”

    I won’t ake the bet because it isn’t what I am talking about. There may be a corelation re religion and the parties people vote for but that does not mean that there is one for voting for a UI.

  • kensei

    “I won’t ake the bet because it isn’t what I am talking about. There may be a corelation re religion and the parties people vote for but that does not mean that there is one for voting for a UI.”

    If people were Unionist they would vote Unionist.

  • kensei

    “Substitute Catholic for Jew and Ireland for Israel or Catholic for Afrikanns and Ireland for RSA – or even Catholic for Aryan and Ireland for Third Reich and you will see what I mean.”

    Godwin’s Law.

    I won’t even go into how inane your point is.

  • bertie

    “If people were Unionist they would vote Unionist.”

    Yes, but not necessarily of they were unionists, i.e. pro Union but not necessarily supporters of the Unionist parties.

  • Stevie D

    i would not be at all surprised if the DUP get a nasty shock at the next election, Paisley has got away with his lies for far too long and now the Unionist people have realised that he is after nothing else but a legacy. The cracks have already started to show after only 3 days! In fighting was a serious factor in the downfall of the UUP and yet again we will see it will be a major factor of the downfall of the DUP… Jim Allister aint at all pleased!

  • John East Belfast

    kensei

    “Here is a bet, which I will pay if I’m wrong. On one axis we’ll plot the Catholic population of the six counties since 1960. On the second axis we will put the Nationalist vote tally in corfresponding elections.

    £50 says there is a strong positive correlation.”

    If the Union is dependent upon a sectarian head count I wouldn’t consider it worth saving.

    However you clearly understand nothing of what it means to be a Republican let alone an Irish one.
    Ideals of egalitarianism for every man have been replaced with how a man chooses to worship whatever God he pays his allegiance to.
    Convincing Protestants and winning their hearts and minds doesnt mean anything to you.
    Its not about how a man thinks and chooses but on what ‘tradition’ he just happens to be borne into.

    I have been trying to tease out of you and a few others a way in which the principles of mutual respect as per the Agreemnet (WHICH UNLESS YOU ARE A DISSIDENT SIGNED UP TO) can be lived up to by both parties.

    You are clearly not interested.

    As for your posts

    “None of NI’s symbols belong in any meaningful sense to Nationalism.”

    The Red Han, harp, shamrock and celtic cross are symbols of IRISHNESS and exist across a range of Northern Irish Institutions including regiments, the flag and the NI Football team

    “What do mean things to me is fair policing, health care, good economy etc. As we have accepted there is nothing we can do about the situation until we have a majority of people here wanting change, we’ll work to make this place better, because no one likes ot live in a shit hole, and while NI might mean nothing to me Belfast does, for example.”

    Well that’s a good start.
    And does your last comment mean that citisens of Newry and Londonderry can expect nothing from a SF Belfast MLA ?

    “While, for example, being respectful of people’s support of the NI team”

    That’s another massive improvement on your usual contribution to the NI football team – we must at last be getting through to you ?

    “Nothing is forever dude. I am gald youa ccept NI is over there. It is an important first step in getting people thinking about the future.”

    I wasnt saying NI was over – I was saying that if you go down your route any hope of a 32 County Independent Ireland will be irredeemably over.

    Although as you are only interested in a pure Catholic Ireland that will cause you no concern.

    I think I understand you now and it is not pretty.

  • balmoral

    Looks like North Belfast will be further confounded into DUP control.

    Good to see.

  • Henry94

    JEB

    I am simply saying that if you wanted to win the hearts and minds of unionists then you would have to become committed citisens of NI first.

    There is no such thing as NI citizenship. There are Irish citizens and British subjects.

    Just as it is possible to work as a minister in a state while believing in and working for a united Europe it is possible to work in the executive while believing and working for a united Ireland.

    Nor is the NI football version of Norman Tebitt’s cricket test going to apply to our ministers.

    There is no obligation on the Lord mayor of Belfast to support the Antrim hurlers and there is no obligation on ministers to support the NI team.

  • Henry94

    Actually we are British citizens.

    A united Europe (uugh!) would be a pooling of soverignty whilst I understand that the nationalist/ republican project entails a transfer of soverignty and destruction of NI as a state. Not the same thing at all.

    Given the recent Provo love-in at Casement Park your Antrim GAA reference is unfortunate. That aside are you really suggesting that a NI sports minister could credibly adopt the position where she or he couldn’t support the NI football team?

  • kensei

    “If the Union is dependent upon a sectarian head count I wouldn’t consider it worth saving.”

    Nationalist vote share will increase, because the Catholic population where it draws most of its support is still growing. This is a statement of fact, no more, no less.

    “However you clearly understand nothing of what it means to be a Republican let alone an Irish one.
    Ideals of egalitarianism for every man have been replaced with how a man chooses to worship whatever God he pays his allegiance to.”

    No, you are putting words into my mouth. As I pointed out above, I was merely stating fact to support another point.

    I didn’t comment on what a potential UI should like.

    “Convincing Protestants and winning their hearts and minds doesnt mean anything to you.”

    No, it does. I haven’t laid out how I think a United Ireland should be because the discussion here was about me giving up my Irish idenity for some kind of Northern Ireland one I don’t have and don’t want. Happy to talk about if you want.

    “Its not about how a man thinks and chooses but on what ‘tradition’ he just happens to be borne into.”

    I would love it if everyone was a completely independent thinker, but in the real world people are borne into communities that matter to them. theyw orry not only about themselves but about their communities and identity. It is not worng to respect that.

    “I have been trying to tease out of you and a few others a way in which the principles of mutual respect as per the Agreemnet (WHICH UNLESS YOU ARE A DISSIDENT SIGNED UP TO) can be lived up to by both parties.”

    No, your trying to get me to support the NI football team. You aren’t listening to me. You telling me that something doesn’t compromise my principles or make me deeply uncomfortabe when I am telling you it does. Are on earth can you be right here?

    “The Red Han, harp, shamrock and celtic cross are symbols of IRISHNESS and exist across a range of Northern Irish Institutions including regiments, the flag and the NI Football team”

    Those symbols in and of themselves are. But symbols are more than just their parts. They are how they are made up, and what else they include and who uses them. They don’t represent me. I saw a UVF logo on a wall this morning. It featured a Red Hand of Ulster. Are you saying they represent me?

    “Well that’s a good start.
    And does your last comment mean that citisens of Newry and Londonderry can expect nothing from a SF Belfast MLA ?”

    Didn’t actually say that, if you read it. But those pack of cultchies? Pffff they deserve nothing.

    “That’s another massive improvement on your usual contribution to the NI football team – we must at last be getting through to you ?”

    No, I respect people’s right to support it. I am apathetic aside from when they are being sectarian or claiming they want to climb above us in the rankings. Then I want them to get beat.

    What i dislike is some NI fans smug attitude that they aren’t completely sectarian anymore.

    “I wasnt saying NI was over – I was saying that if you go down your route any hope of a 32 County Independent Ireland will be irredeemably over.”

    Again, haven’t said anything about a United Ireland.

    “Although as you are only interested in a pure Catholic Ireland that will cause you no concern.

    I think I understand you now and it is not pretty.”

    I’m not actually interested in a pure Catholic Ireland. I don’t believe it is healthy, and I don’t believe it is representative of Ireland’s past. I am a firm believer in complete separation of Church and state, and I’m a firm believer that equality provisions about religion should be built into the Constitution of any new All-Ireland state. Because it isn’t just about you, there going to be Muslim Irish people and Buddhist Irish people and ton of others coming our way as well.

    What I’m not interested in is subtraction. I am interested in adding your Irishness to a state that can represent it and more generally to the wider sens eof Irishness. But it has to represent my Irishness as well, otherwise there is no point and I’ll just resent you for taking bits of it away.

  • kensei

    “That aside are you really suggesting that a NI sports minister could credibly adopt the position where she or he couldn’t support the NI football team?”

    Yeah.

    Though to avoid the problem, a Unionist should just take the ministry.

  • Billy

    JEB

    What a nasty little sectarian post your 8.11 was.

    Substitute Catholic for Jew and Ireland for Israel or Catholic for Afrikanns and Ireland for RSA – or even Catholic for Aryan and Ireland for Third Reich and you will see what I mean.

    And it is supposed to be the Orange Protestants who are the unreformed Bggts in this part of the world – LOL !

    Simply Pathetic

    My parents have a mixed marriage and I myself am happily married to a Protestant. If I’m sectarian, I’m clearly not very good at it.

    I was answering Bushmill’s ludicrous suggestion that Nationalism had completely lost as a result of the St Andrew’s Agreement. Of course, no-one has lost everything and no-one has gained everything.

    I stated (as I do on every post) that I am and have always been against ALL violence. I simply refused to give my support to Partisan policing and the UDR who were just the B-Specials in a new uniform.

    I support this new agreement. I was merely pointing out demographic facts and my opinion (shared by many Unionists) that the UK govt doesn’t give a shit about the Union in the long term. I believe that there will be a UI by consent in the future although not in my lifetime.

    I grew up in a Northern Ireland where some Catholics didn’t have a vote because of an electoral system deliberately designed to favour Unionists. I would have thought that I have more in common with Jewish people or Black South Africans since I too have been on the end of electoral discrimination, unlike the ruling NI Unionists who practised it.

    I greatly resent your Aryan remark as my father’s side of the family have a long tradition of service in the armed services and several of them have lost their lives.

    I don’t resort to personal abuse but I’ll say this. If your level of debate is typical of the UUP, it’s pretty obvious why they are well on the way to electoral oblivion.

  • John East Belfast

    Billy

    I apologise for any personal affront – I just get angry when I hear people counting Prods and Taigs on either side.

    I believe there can be Protestant nationalists and republicans and also Catholic unionists. They are ignored by both sides to the detriment of each.

    A plague on both houses if the ideals of a UI or the maintenance of the Union in the 21st Century is reduced to a religious affiliation head count.
    Why (TODAY) should Catholicism be so closely associated with a UI and why should Protestantism be for the maintenance of the Union ?

    Religion defines our allegiance when it has long forfeited the right (if it ever deserved it) to do so.

    “I was merely pointing out demographic facts and my opinion (shared by many Unionists) that the UK govt doesn’t give a shit about the Union in the long term.”

    What the UK Govt doesnt give a shit about is a Union with people who do not wish to be united – ie the Irish Nationalist.

    However by and large they have no problem with people like me – loyal UK citisens no different than Scotland, north of England etc
    For instance if there was no dispute in NI do you think any such view would be held by any UK citisen ?

    Therefore Nationalists need to stop the old line about NI not being wanted – it is certain pain in the ass children that they would gladly disassociate with.

    Kensei

    “What I’m not interested in is subtraction. I am interested in adding your Irishness to a state that can represent it and more generally to the wider sens eof Irishness. But it has to represent my Irishness as well, otherwise there is no point and I’ll just resent you for taking bits of it away.”

    I simply do not see my Irishness fulfilled by removing my Britishness and you do not see your Irishness completed by remaining separate from the 26 counties.

    However your Irishness – although not politically complete in your view – is nevertheless there and can be catered for within a Northern Ireland context.

    I am not asking you to be British and I am not asking you to forfeit your nationlist separations.
    I am simply advising you that we should all live up to the ideals of the Agreement that recognised the uniqueness of this part of the world and its divided loyalties.
    We can either live apart (ie we can just about exist together) or we can live up to our commitments to one another in the context of a NI.

    This will involve our generation taking risks with both the cementing of the Union as well as ever gaining an independent United Ireland.

    The result will be a peaceful and prosperous inheritance to our children and grand children who can make the decision themsleves.

    The alternative is ongoing animosity and antagonism ultimately leading possibly to a re drawing of the borders.

  • kensei

    “However your Irishness – although not politically complete in your view – is nevertheless there and can be catered for within a Northern Ireland context.”

    In what sense? Especially after you just said your britishness couldn’t be catered in a UI.

    “I am not asking you to be British and I am not asking you to forfeit your nationlist separations.
    I am simply advising you that we should all live up to the ideals of the Agreement that recognised the uniqueness of this part of the world and its divided loyalties.”

    That’s ok. As far as Republicans are concerned, we will live up to the commitments we have made. That does not mean supporting the football team, for example, and it isn’t what you said earlier.

    “We can either live apart (ie we can just about exist together) or we can live up to our commitments to one another in the context of a NI.

    This will involve our generation taking risks with both the cementing of the Union as well as ever gaining an independent United Ireland.

    The result will be a peaceful and prosperous inheritance to our children and grand children who can make the decision themsleves.

    The alternative is ongoing animosity and antagonism ultimately leading possibly to a re drawing of the borders.”

    This is all very well and nothing anyone can disagree with. But what the nuts and bolts of that are will be very different in your opinion and mine.

    I do not believe in forcing people together, not least because that doesn’t work. We need to create spaces where people can come together, we need to make people comfortable with themselves, and then they’ll mix. Basically, we need to tolerate each other first before we start the group hugs. Anything else is unrealistic.

  • John East Belfast

    kensei

    “I do not believe in forcing people together, not least because that doesn’t work. We need to create spaces where people can come together, we need to make people comfortable with themselves, and then they’ll mix. Basically, we need to tolerate each other first before we start the group hugs. Anything else is unrealistic.”

    Yes that space is called Northern Ireland

    “In what sense? Especially after you just said your britishness couldn’t be catered in a UI.”

    In the sense that you live in Ireland, with your fellow Irish men.
    In a UI there would be no sense of Britishness at all.
    Britishness is not involves a Union of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (Northern now).
    Irishness does not need a unified island.

    Irish nationalism is a political expression of the Irish – no more valid than Irish unionism

    Both are Irish

  • kensei

    “Yes that space is called Northern Ireland”

    Whatever. And that’s not the sense I’m talking about.

    “In the sense that you live in Ireland, with your fellow Irish men. In a UI there would be no sense of Britishness at all.
    Britishness is not involves a Union of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (Northern now).
    Irishness does not need a unified island.”

    My Irishness asserts it’s independence to manage it’s own affairs. It doesn’t believe in giving it’s birthright away. My Irishnes believes that not just that is this right and just, but everyone will be better off unde rthis state of affairs. My Irishness is offended by the head of start being unelected. My irishness doesn’t belive in calling anyone “Lord”, much less giving thos epeople power of government. My Irishness believes in a written Constitution as ultimate guarentor of rights, and that an unwritten one isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. My Irishness believes in neutrality and avoiding foreign wars. My Irishness believes in not being separated from the rest of the Irish nation and acutely feels the pain of such a state of affairs. The flag and anthem I owe loyalty to and fill me with pride are not the flags and anthem of Britain in whatever form.

    Northern Ireland and Britain can never represent even a fraction of that. I don’t claim a United Ireland could represent your Britishness, only your Irishness. It can only respect your Britishness. Which is more than what you are giving me with statements like that.

  • John East Belfast

    Kensei

    “My Irishness asserts it’s independence to manage it’s own affairs – YOU WANT TO PULL SOVEREIGNTY WITH 4m OTHERS ON THE ISLAND – I JUST WANT IT WITH 60M OTHERS AMONG THE ISLANDS It doesn’t believe in giving it’s birthright away.- THIS IS A MEANINGLESS STATEMENT My Irishnes believes that not just that is this right and just, but everyone will be better off unde rthis state of affairs.- MATTER OF OPINION My Irishness is offended by the head of start being unelected.- THE HOS YOU ARE OFFENDED BY IS NOTHING MORE THAN A FIGUREHEAD AND ALLOWED TO HOLD THAT POSITION BY THE PEOPLE My irishness doesn’t belive in calling anyone “Lord”, much less giving thos epeople power of government. WHAT PEOPLE ARE CALLED IS IRRELEVANT – THE HOUSE OF LORDS HAS NO REAL POWER My Irishness believes in a written Constitution as ultimate guarentor of rights, and that an unwritten one isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.HAS DONE MATURE NATIONS NO HARM My Irishness believes in neutrality and avoiding foreign wars.- COULD BE CONSIDERED AS OPTING OUT OF RESPONSIBILITIES My Irishness believes in not being separated from the rest of the Irish nation and acutely feels the pain of such a state of affairs.- FAIR ENOUGH The flag and anthem I owe loyalty to and fill me with pride are not the flags and anthem of Britain in whatever form.” – FAIR ENOUGH FROM YOUR STANDPOINT

    “Whatever” – you shouldnt be so flippant about aspirations of sharing this space together

    I dont know how old you are but it is likley that you are going to have to continue in your state of misery for the rest of your time here.

    All I am suggesting is that republicans like you make the best of it and put their shoulder to the wheel – as Archbishop Brady suggested last week – and make this a much better place.

    If you can’t then there is little point in us talking about it (and I have tried !) and the rest of us are just going to have to get on with it anyway.

  • kensei

    My Irishness asserts it’s independence to manage it’s own affairs – YOU WANT TO PULL SOVEREIGNTY WITH 4m OTHERS ON THE ISLAND – I JUST WANT IT WITH 60M OTHERS AMONG THE ISLANDS So not trhe same thing then? It doesn’t believe in giving it’s birthright away.- THIS IS A MEANINGLESS STATEMENT No it most certainly isn’t – the right to decide our own destiny is one of the nmost important things we have My Irishnes believes that not just that is this right and just, but everyone will be better off unde rthis state of affairs.- MATTER OF OPINION Isn’t that the point? My Irishness is offended by the head of start being unelected.- THE HOS YOU ARE OFFENDED BY IS NOTHING MORE THAN A FIGUREHEAD AND ALLOWED TO HOLD THAT POSITION BY THE PEOPLE No, I think you’ll find that I find monarchy a distatseful idea and my commitment to democracy goes right tot he head of state. The fact that she gets even 2p of my taxes immediately raises my ire My irishness doesn’t belive in calling anyone “Lord”, much less giving thos epeople power of government. WHAT PEOPLE ARE CALLED IS IRRELEVANT – THE HOUSE OF LORDS HAS NO REAL POWER Try finding out about your own Constitutional Arrangements My Irishness believes in a written Constitution as ultimate guarentor of rights, and that an unwritten one isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.HAS DONE MATURE NATIONS NO HARM I would tend to disagree strongly, particularly witrh some of the nonsense that has went on recently with terror suspects. Bad law is not struck off, as it would be in the US or the Republic My Irishness believes in neutrality and avoiding foreign wars.- COULD BE CONSIDERED AS OPTING OUT OF RESPONSIBILITIES Foertunately, most of my fellow Irishmen agree with me, and this is about a state representing meMy Irishness believes in not being separated from the rest of the Irish nation and acutely feels the pain of such a state of affairs.- FAIR ENOUGH The flag and anthem I owe loyalty to and fill me with pride are not the flags and anthem of Britain in whatever form.” – FAIR ENOUGH FROM YOUR STANDPOINT

    ““Whatever” – you shouldnt be so flippant about aspirations of sharing this space together”

    No whatever is exactly the right response to what you said. The North of Ireland is the shared space regardless of precise Constitutional Arrangements. But I meant on a lower local level. And you’ll still can’t force people together regardless.
    You just wanted a cheap point.

    Moreover, you aren’t interested in listening to me. The above is a perfect example – you are interested in telling what I should think, what I should feel, who I should support and what is hould believe. You may believe this to be debate, but sadly it is not so.

    “I dont know how old you are but it is likley that you are going to have to continue in your state of misery for the rest of your time here.”

    We all have our crosses to bear. There’s always hope and it is enough.

    “All I am suggesting is that republicans like you make the best of it and put their shoulder to the wheel – as Archbishop Brady suggested last week – and make this a much better place.”

    And I keeps saying we’re going to do that. It’s just not the same as doing everything you want, though. Or supporting the football team.

    “If you can’t then there is little point in us talking about it (and I have tried !) and the rest of us are just going to have to get on with it anyway. ”

    You aren’t talking, you’re telling. Try listening.

    And once again, this place is set up so you can’t do jack without Nationalists and Republicans, and that will remain so for the foresseable future.

  • kensei

    Ah balls. Never mess with the awesome power of html