Question Time rolls back into Belfast…

Question Time comes to Belfast again. Let’s hope the panel can talk about something other than just Northern Ireland. They are: Peter Hain, Lord Trimble, Mark Durkan, Martin McGuinness and Jeffrey Donaldson. Our Secretary of State has some work to do to push his profile a bit higher in the race for the DPM’s job.

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  • slug

    Loos set to be a good programme with the Donaldson-Trimble and Durkan-McGuinness rivalries of particular note.

  • ma

    a good panel,

  • Henry94

    Trimble deserves this moment. Now that he’s been proved right.

  • Token Dissent

    Excellent panel. The intra-tribal arguments should be fun!

    Short odds on Trimble being slightly smug, with a “told you so Jeffrey” vibe.

  • parcifal

    Question time has been delayed twice this year from coming to norn iron.
    First in the spring, when the assembly was reconvened as a shadow assembly we were promised a programme.
    Secondly, it was due to be in Belfast on the thursday when the parties met in St.Andrews.

    One can only assume Dimbleby couldn’t get certain “players” on board.
    Now everyone wants to talk.
    Sign of the times?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    It is justifiably time for Trimble to eviscerate Donaldson for his sheer hypocrisy in supporting the StAA and not the GFA.

    I hope he is up to the job, as devious, untrustworthy, unprinclipled politicians need to be exposed on a national stage.

  • Percival

    FD

    “as devious, untrustworthy, unprinclipled politicians need to be exposed on a national stage.”

    Indeed. In that vein I look forward to JD taking Trimble apart.

  • heck

    you guys want to see NI parties fighting among themselves to support the english view of the unreasonable irish. Shame on you!!

    why not hold Hain to account for

    having his civil servants lie to courts
    his appointments to quangos
    refusing to deal with collusion and falling asleep when one father tries to get him to do something
    his membership of a cabinet headed by a lying murdering war criminal
    his support for the war in Iraq
    the government’s demand that Syria’s intelligence services be investigated for supporting death squads in Labanon—(ahem!!)

    and lots more

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Percival

    There are none so blind as those who will not see…………….

  • Percival

    Dry your eyes Trimble cry-baby!

  • ma@hotmail.com

    heck, having his civil servants lie to the courts.
    according to insight last week, one person noted that perhaps the end justified the means, when the question was put,if the secretary of state can break the law, then what about the rest of us. They also demeaned or tried to demean the lady who brought the case, Ian Paisley Jnr, claiming this lady (who was on benefits) was his description.

    At the end of the day, Hain broke the law. End of story. But what of it, if you make the laws you can break them I suppose. Doesn’t the same double standards apply to Sinn Fein, aren’t they doing deals with ‘a lying murdering war criminal’, didn’t they even go and meet the other lying war criminal in hillsborough calstle?

    This is why I don;’t understand some of your posts. You are against all this ie war in iraq yet you support vigorously sinn fein, who have yet to refuse to do business with blair/bush because of their involvement in iraq.

    why hold Hain to account and not Sinn Fein?

  • Token Dissent

    Fair point Heck. I am guessing that Hain will come under sustained pressure, especially from Durkan and Trimble.

    Both Trimble and Donaldson supported the Iraqi war, didn’t they?

    It would however strike any viewer – English or otherwise – as strange if the SDLP and the Trimbleite UUP didn’t point out the rank hypocrisy of Donaldson and McGuinness. The idea that NI politicians should tone down their discussion for a British audience would be counter-productive, as well as dishonest.

  • heck

    ma@hotmail.com

    hold SF to account as well if you like, but I hope it does’nt become the natives fighting among themselves (either between or within secterian camps) and a smug colonial overlord sitting there thinking his shit doesn’t stink.

    That’s what the Brits think of us–we a just a bunch of white wogs who need some adult supervision. Give me the DUP over hain anytime!

  • Token Dissent

    Heck,

    No dear, “white wogs”…

    I detest this offensive approach that judges NI as a straightforward colonial issue. Where is your respect for those on this island who have a British-Irish identity? Are they colonialists too?

    Whilst we can agree on many criticisms of Hain/New Labour, I would argue that if it wasn’t for the “adult supervision” we have recieved from Britain we would be in a far greater mess.

    I agree with whoever said that, the next memorial that needs to be built is for “The Unknown British Taxpayer”, for services rendered beyond the call of duty.

  • ma

    awww heck, that attitude went out when the english thought the irish descended from apes. (roll eyes). I don’t think they’ll sit there like overlords, considering they have done the show here before. Generalising, isn’t it like anne robinson saying stuff about the yanks. yOur list abouve, all that stuff could be pointed or thrown at sdlp/sf/dup/uup they all do business with the lying war criminal, even bertie ahern, and as for the irish well they aren’t angels either.

    Your list could be applied to any politician on these islands, and your assumptions about the english perhaps a little ‘racist’?

    By all means be all of the above but at least be consistent.

  • ma

    should say anne robinson saying stuff about the welsh. me heads away the day.

  • chauncy

    Seems like a good panel indeed – shame though that it’s all male…Where are the women of, for and about Ulster?

    Chauncey

  • middle-class xxxx

    heck is entirely correct

    no-one remember Dimbleby’s appallingly paternalistic attitude to the row between Durkan and McGuinness last time?

    there should be a pact between MMcG, MD, JD and DT (or, realistically, at least between Mark and Martin) to nail Hain on every aspect of his failures here, in the UK and further afield

  • heck

    How can you guys not be offended when someone like Hain comes and lectures the Micks about “opposition to violence” of “support for the rule of law”?

    At least someone like Michael Stone is up front about what he is and does not have the offensive patronizing attitude of our pro consul.

    When I try to point out his hyprocisy on this site from time to time I get accused of “whataboutery”. In the case of Hain whataboutery is a reasonable response.

  • Ian

    “Question time has been delayed twice this year from coming to norn iron.
    First in the spring, when the assembly was reconvened as a shadow assembly we were promised a programme.
    Secondly, it was due to be in Belfast on the thursday when the parties met in St.Andrews.

    One can only assume Dimbleby couldn’t get certain “players” on board.
    Now everyone wants to talk.
    Sign of the times?”

    I think you’ll find it’s more likely to be a reflection of the relative unimportance of NI here in Britain.

    The last time it was due to be held in Belfast (the day before the Friday 13th deadline at St Andrews), the chief of the British Army gave an interview to the Daily Mail, stating that Iraq is a mess and we’re making it worse (hardly big news), and QT was moved to London instead.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Put the five of them on with Podge & Rodge instead, whoever survives the longest becomes First Minister.

  • Kloot

    Put the five of them on with Podge & Rodge instead, whoever survives the longest becomes First Minister.

    LOL… That would be CLASS…

    Better explain podge and rodge for the NON RTE folk though

  • dalek

    Padraig Judas O’Lepracy and Rodraig Spartacus O’Lepracy

  • Ziznivy

    Please let there be some questions and discussion addressing wider issues than Northern Ireland. These programmes tend to make us look seriously insular.

  • joeCanuck

    And your point is Ziz?
    That we’re not insular.
    You have to be joking

  • JD

    Middle classxxxx

    Nice thought, but it will not happen, just you watch how obnoxious Mark Durkan will be towards Sinn Fein, this is their strategy now. Vote for us as we will settle for less.

  • ma

    JD haven’t you ‘got’ it yet? SF have stolen the constitutional nationalist clothes off the backs of the SDLP and thrown away all their old republican outfits…Isn’t Durkan within his rights to point this out, hardly obnoxious pointing out the obvious.

  • GavBelfast

    There’s a certain irony that ‘Let’s Talk’ often has more content that isn’t just about NI, whereas when ‘Question Time’ is from here, it invariably gets bogged-down in local stuff.

    Perhaps if they were to kick-off with a UK-wide or international issue (eg. the apparent poisoning, Grade going back to ITV, etc), then the usual agenda wouldn’t be set.

    As for the panel, the DUP do like to expose Jeffrey to ths sort of thing. Was that part of the deal? He still doesn’t come across as pure DUP anyway.

  • Ziznivy

    No. My point is that it makes me cringe when we let others see that we are.

  • Glen Taisie

    Just finished watching the show Durkan streets ahead if my Shinner neighbour round for a beer declared a points victory for the Big Man

  • Glen Taisie

    Typo

    Just finished watching the show Durkan streets ahead EVEN my Shinner neighbour round for a beer declared a points victory for the Big Man

  • Newry Voter

    Agree – Durkan trounced McGuinness.

  • NV-

    Indeed. Good performance. Good to see the SDLP approach continuing to grow in confidence and clarity. It’s one thing knowing you’re right- it’s another thing making sure that voters know it also. MD’s performance tonight will certainly assist in the latter.

    Trimble also put in a good showing. Donaldson just pumped out the usual mantras. McGuinness looked unsure and hesitant- yer woman from West Belfast was interesting!

  • Well, I thought it was dull as ditchwater, from the panel anyway. Gave up before the end. The only think that could possible ruin a political TV anorak’s year more would be if BBC NI did another Christmas ‘Have I got news for you’ local-stylee. I think it has something to do with the audience (or lack thereof).

  • Ziznivy

    Not as bad as I feared, although there was the constant drawing of parallels with every funking thing and Northern Ireland. In a discussion about a spy being poisoned “that’s just like the Northern Ireland water rates”!!! FFS!

    Trimble and Durkan were good. McGuinness was dreadful and Donaldson just trotted out what he had prepared with little or no ability to argue rationally. Rights for gays = attack on religion?! Care to explain it to us rather than just repeating it?

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m going to write up some brief thoughts on this later, but I think Martin did better than you are giving him credit for, at least on the first question about Russia.

    Even so, both Trimble and Durkan had good practical points to make about what might be done to address the apparent high degree of lawlessness of Russia. Not least through the EU.

  • Ziz-

    You are of course correct- one would almost think that the whole world revolved around NI going by what some of the audience said. The gay equality discussion was interesting, and I think Hain (a veteran of the SA anti-apartheid movement) made some good points about the fact that discrimination is discrimination, regardless of the manner in which it manifests itself.

    Of course Donaldson brought in the usual claptrap about ‘religion’, suitably backed-up by a large section of the audience who had clearly been fiendishly working away behind the scenes to secure tickets for the show with a view to infiltrating each row of the audience. The sad thing is that their views are reflected by the biggest party here.

  • kensei

    “Just finished watching the show Durkan streets ahead EVEN my Shinner neighbour round for a beer declared a points victory for the Big Man”

    I don’t agree. Martin did well, made some decent points, came across as reasonable and dealt with some inevitable hostility in the crowd. My only disappointment was him not nailing Durkan when he started on devolution of justice powers – if the SDLP hadn’t have jumped too soon and both Nationalist parties were resolute for it, then things would be much easier.

    In fairness to Durkan, he was alright. It was more like a score draw, and who “won” probably depends on your politics.

  • ma

    Durkan was very good. I didn’t think martin did so well-dimbelby make him look foolish when he said to him…’yes I know thats what you said but what about the question’, something like that. It was a funny moment, but martin never regained from it. Felt sorry for trimble, who was obviously bursting to get laid in to the DUP who are now a pro agreement party, but the opportunity didn’t seem to arise-or not enough to satisfy trimble.

    Gonzo, your point on participation. Isn’t it up to dimbelby who participates and for how long? He moves the show along, he’s in the driving seat, so participation or lack there off is down to him.

  • Ziznivy

    “Even so, both Trimble and Durkan had good practical points to make about what might be done to address the apparent high degree of lawlessness of Russia. Not least through the EU.”

    I didn’t think Russia was dealt with particularly well by anyone.

    Firstly we had McGuinness expressing sympathy with the Chechens. As the Chechen cause is a nasty little ethnic nationalist struggle characterised by terrorism and with an interest in preserving structures of organised crime that is hardly surprising.

    The general attitude showed little understanding of where Russians may be coming from. Firstly the assumption was made that the Putin regime were behind the murky goings on. Secondly there is the arrogant supposition that Russia must submit to Western norms (and the subtext is hegemony) in order to be successful or to play a full role in international affairs. The expansion of the EU is a threat to Russia. Its traditional sphere of influence is being substantially curtailed and this has little of the liberal democratic altruism that is attributed to it. It is an attempt to advance the free market American dominated empire into new territory.

    The West wants Russia’s oil, but also to dictate to it and advance right to its doorstep. They want to freely tinker in Russian domestic affairs through funding NGOs and when Putin acts it is painted as an affront to democracy.

    If there is a lack of law in Russia it is due to the unseemly haste with which the west dispensed with Gorbachev and the utter mess Yeltsin created. Putin has done a remarkable job and it doesn’t seem to occur to anyone in the west that perhaps it is his system of “directed democracy” that has allowed him to so effectively rule such a huge, disparate country. If Putin is hunting down Berezovsky and his entourage, Gaider etc, he is certainly aiming for the correct people. They uncrupuously facilitated the robbery of the Russian people.

  • ian

    I liked Durkan’s quip about the Government acting as Lou to the DUP’s Andy!

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Token Dissent

    “I detest this offensive approach that judges NI as a straightforward colonial issue.”

    Why? How does our situation differ from a colonial one?

    “Where is your respect for those on this island who have a British-Irish identity?”

    Why do you think it is disrespectful to observe that NI is, in every meaningful sense, a colony? Why should questions of respect be incumbent on colluding in the fantasy that it is anything other than a colony?

    “Are they colonialists too?”

    Why wouldn’t they be? Okay, I’ll ask another way: let’s say for the sake of argument that our pro-Union population is NOT a colonial community. What changes would they have to make in order to become one?

    Why would a unionist object anyway to being spoken of as a colonial? Gibraltarians don’t. Falkland Islanders don’t. Pitcairners don’t.

    “Whilst we can agree on many criticisms of Hain/New Labour, I would argue that if it wasn’t for the “adult supervision” we have recieved from Britain we would be in a far greater mess.”

    Textbook colonial mindset.

    All right – you’ll deny being a colonial. Okay. Now, say you WERE a colonial – how would you be different?

  • kensei

    “I didn’t think martin did so well-dimbelby make him look foolish when he said to him…’yes I know thats what you said but what about the question’, something like that. It was a funny moment, but martin never regained from it.”

    Dimbelby tells people to stick to the point all the time, usually with less humour so I didn’t see it as big deal. And after he was the only to challenge the prevailing idea that the British Army is some sort of paragon of virtue – and that includes Durkan

    Russia is worrying but the West has essentially sowed the whirlwind here – at the break down of the Soviet Union the West took advantage as

  • ma

    ‘and he was the only one to challenge the idea that the british army was a paragon of virtue’

    As I remember it, there was a man in the audience who challenged it better. Martin only said what was in the papers, the man challenged it from the community point of view,which came accross much better, if my memory serves me right.

    ‘the west has essentially sowed the whirlwind here’,
    I don’t see it that way. Putin, is ex KGB and instead of the KGB/FSB being an arm of the state, it is now effectively the state. State killings need to be curbed by russia-if that is what the litvensko death is.

  • kensei

    Bah, hit that by accident –

    ….by asset stripping and helping created the conditions with the oligrachs and the rest that led to the vacuum Putin is filling.

  • kensei

    “As I remember it, there was a man in the audience who challenged it better. Martin only said what was in the papers, the man challenged it from the community point of view,which came accross much better, if my memory serves me right.”

    Er, Martin backed it up with evidence? That’s your complaint?

  • Ziznivy

    Actually MM didn’t make it as far as DImbleby’s put down before losing all his credibility. He got as far as a stumbling attempt to get his broad Derry tongue around Litvenenko.

  • ma

    No. that is not my complaint, I am not complaining. I am pointing out that you made an error when you say martin was the only one to challenge the idea that the brit army is a paragon of virtue. He wasn’t the only one, the man in the audience did it too. and because of the community perspective of this man, it came accross better IMPOV. thats all.

  • noel adams

    Has Donaldson Rulled himself out of office as a minister with his view on goods and services could he take the pledge of office for tourism given the line asserted both in the commons and on air.

  • sevenmagpies

    “Now, say you WERE a colonial – how would you be different?”

    We wouldn’t get to elect MPs to Westminster.

  • ma

    The whole show came accross as above martins head.

  • Dk

    I missed a lot of it as I was in and out of the room doing other things. I thought that Hain and Durkan came across well, MM seemed confused and stumbling, the unionists seemed lost – trimble better than donaldson who is clearly being assimilated to DUP-religio-nut-speak.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Sevenmagpies

    “We wouldn’t get to elect MPs to Westminster.”

    Is that it?

  • Bem us e d

    Durkan – superb

    McGuinness – as a previous poster said, looked as if a lot of it was over his head – Dimbleby did well in puncturing some of his “Let me tell you about the time I met George Bush”-style waffling.

    Trimble – better than usual but has a tendency to get bogged down in dry legalistic “I’ll have you know I’m actually a qualified barrister”-style analysis that bores the average(and not so average) viewer senseless.

    Hain – pretty good – did well in highlighting and condemning the outrageous antics of Donaldson.

    Donaldson – utterly obnoxious. Biggoted, self-satisfied little twerp who (again as a previous poster pointed out) was just about able to parrot a bilious “discriminating against homosexuals is part of my religion”-style tract and very little else.

  • sevenmagpies

    Billy

    “Is that it?”

    You were thinking of something else?

  • lib2016

    Did no-one notice Hain’s discomfort at the unionist backing for the invasion of Iraq, particularly Trimble’s confident 19th Century colonialism? ‘Up to the British to enforce what’s right on the wogs’ doesn’t begin to describe it. Funniest part of the programme for me.

    sevenmagpies,

    The lack of a vote in Dublin elections has nothing to do with who I am. Your attempt to answer Billy’s question simply doesn’t make sense to anyone confident of their own identity.

    It does however make a great deal of sense in the context of a NI unionist.

  • sevenmagpies

    lib,

    “Your attempt to answer Billy’s question simply doesn’t make sense to anyone confident of their own identity.”

    That’s weird, I thought the question was if northern ireland was a colony, what would change.

    I answered it: we wouldn’t get to vote in westminster elections.

    If you have another answer, feel free to present that, or you can just stick to blindly proclaiming that anyone who doesn’t agree with your one true faith must be a unionist.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Sevenmagpies

    “You were thinking of something else?”

    Er, yes. I mean, what’s the opposite of a colonial people? I would say, a sovereign people.

    Are NI unionists in any sense a sovereign people? (You might argue that neither are nationalists – but at least they WANT to be. It’s the not-even-wanting-to-be-sovereign that is the hallmark of the colonial mindset.)

    You’ll forgive me if I’m unimpressed by our token team and their meaningless role at Westminster.

  • I think the QT format suited Trimble and Durkan the best, although none of the others took any big hits.

    I had a sense of deja vu when Trimble huffed and puff at the way in which the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SOR) were being introduced whilst not actually disagreeing with their content. (Now where have we seen that before?) Also, is this an official UUP position? (Perhaps Michael Shilliday et al could enlighten us.) There are plenty of very sound arguments against the SOR, of which Trimble, as a peer, would have been informed by the Lawyers Christian Fellowship but which Lord Turtle chose to ignore.

    Jeffrey was sounder on the SOR but I felt that his justifiable anger didn’t really do him or his point justice. It’s easy for critics to be unfairly dismissed as bigots and I fear Jeffrey didn’t protect himself from the charge as well as he might have done.

    Jeffrey did better when discussion moved to the DUP’s dealing with Sinn Fein. He declared that the DUP would not be rushed into any deal, a wise position even if it still falls short of what refuseniks like me would want. Trimble, on the other hand, chided Paisley for dragging his feet. It seems to be UUP policy to bring the Shinners back into power without striking the hardest bargain possible. Not a vote winner, I suggest.

    I thought our arrogant pro-consul got off lightly. People talk about bread-and-butter issues being more important than the usual stand-offs, yet the programme ignored things like water charge and rates reform to dawdle on Russia and Trident.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Sevenmagpies

    “That’s weird, I thought the question was if northern ireland was a colony, what would change. I answered it: we wouldn’t get to vote in westminster elections.”

    Then I suppose the next question is: what difference would that make?

    Answer: the only difference would be that the fantasy that we live in a democracy would be dispelled. They would be faced with the terrible realisation that IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER. Of course the loss of the fantasy would only be of significance to those who presently entertain it – by which I mean those who support the status quo in which we are not a sovereign people. (ie colonials)

  • sevenmagpies

    Billy,

    “Are NI unionists in any sense a sovereign people?”

    Presumably they see themselves as part of a sovereign UK. They identify with that culture, are happy with that government, that parliament they send representatives to, the house where even local lords get to sit, they even like the monarchy or whatever. Why would they want to be a ‘sovereign’ slightly north east part of ireland?

    “You’ll forgive me if I’m unimpressed by our token team and their meaningless role at Westminster.”

    Absolutely, I’m not much impressed by politics at all at present. It’s not like voting actually gets anything done anywhere, is it? Politics seems to consist merely of presenting a plausible world view to garner votes, then doing pretty much whatever you want for a few years. As long as you don’t actively piss off a solid chunk of voters, you’re free to rule almost entirely without impediment or oversight.

  • slug

    Seven magpies

    Where do you stand on an elected upper house?

  • sevenmagpies

    Billy

    “the fantasy that we live in a democracy would be dispelled”

    I think the real fantasy here is believing that being a “sovereign people” will magically mean that you get a say in whether or not your country goes to war or helps the US outsource torture or sells your genes to a multinational corporation.

  • sevenmagpies

    Slug,

    “Where do you stand on an elected upper house?”

    Possibly less worse than the current system?

    That said I’m all in favour of choosing people for upper house duty entirely at random. Run it in shadow form for a while, see if it would make any difference to the passage of legislation.

  • lib2016

    The question was if sevenmagpies were to be a colonial how would he be different. Surely that implies a question about his identity rather than about his voting rights, but maybe I’m merely being tediously pedantic. Something I associate with the unionists on this site – AAAGGGHHH!

    Maybe we could rephrase the question? How would the unionist identity be different if it wasn’t a colonial identity?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Sevenmagpies

    “Presumably they see themselves as part of a sovereign UK.”

    Of course they do – just as Falklanders and Gibraltarians see their sovereignty as residing in Britain. Personally though, I don’t think that’s where the issue lies. To my mind, the issue is one of agency. No-one in NI has any real agency to do anything about the issues that affect them. (And no, I don’t accept that tortuous tautology that abdication of sovereignty is itself a sovereign act.)

    We can lobby our colonial satraps but that’s it. Now, nationalists have always been outraged and insulted by this state of affairs – unionists on the other hand seem not to have any principled objection. Sure, they’ll object to water rates, RPA, academic selection etc – ie specific issues – but they have no principled objection to the sheer insult of being ruled by an imperial proconsul in the first place.

    If that’s not a colonial mindset, I don’t know what is.

    (The British government has finally come to understand this, hence the new strategy of making NI’s colonial experience an increasingly painful one for the pro-colonial population.)

    “They identify with that culture, are happy with that government, that parliament they send representatives to, the house where even local lords get to sit, they even like the monarchy or whatever.”

    I agree – none of which disproves the argument that we are talking about a colonial people with a deeply colonial mindset. In fact, it’s more like evidence of it.

    “Why would they want to be a ‘sovereign’ slightly north east part of ireland?”

    The ideal is that they would choose to take up the share of Irish sovereignty that is their birthright. Maybe one day….

    “I’m not much impressed by politics at all at present. It’s not like voting actually gets anything done anywhere, is it?”

    You’re missing the point – yes, the performance of our politicians has been lamentable, but even if it was world class, it wouldn’t make a jot of difference. The political structure we live in won’t allow it. WE ARE A COLONY!!! And worst of all, a majority here are determined defend the status quo NO MATTER HOW BAD THINGS GET!!!

    Which in turn is why we have such an unimpressive and unintelligent political class. Ours is politics without the possibility of power. It’s elections without institutions. It’s representation without agency. OF COURSE nobody worth a damn wants anything to do with politics. Politics simply isn’t where the power is in our society BECAUSE WE ARE A COLONY!!!

    Now it seems to me that there is very little that’s wrong here that can’t be traced back to that ever-present reality. Therefore I’m against it. Many others are for it. So it goes.

    Now you tell me – does having two percent of MPs at Westminster change the central reality of our political existence?

    Or is it just a fig leaf for so the colonials can pretend – contrary to every observable feature of this state – that we’re not a colony at all, but we are in fact (all together now) an “integral part of the United Kingdom”? (!!!!!!!!)

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Sevenmagpies

    “I think the real fantasy here is believing that being a “sovereign people” will magically mean that you get a say in whether or not your country goes to war or helps the US outsource torture or sells your genes to a multinational corporation.”

    Yes it does – it means exactly that. You get to make a choice. Of course that doesn’t mean you’ll make the right choice, or that you’ll personally agree with the choice that is made, nor does it mean there won’t be consequences for the choices you do make. But it does mean you get to have your own debates and your own disagreements and that the decision – though it will of course be influenced by all sorts of factors outside your control – will be your own.

    When you make your own decisions, you get the possibility that a culture of responsibility can flower. This in turn can have a transformative effect on society, the economy, law and order and so on. I think many of our ills in NI today stem from responsibility for our wellbeing and our future residing elsewhere, and the corrosive cultural effect this has had. Would you disagree?

    And if you agree, surely you would be open to the suggestion that our colonial set-up is a huge part of the problem?

  • sevenmagpies

    Billy,

    “I agree – none of which disproves the argument that we are talking about a colonial people with a deeply colonial mindset. In fact, it’s more like evidence of it.”

    Not if that really is their identity. They really are exactly those people they were before their ancestors took a boat trip.

    “The ideal is that they would choose to take up the share of Irish sovereignty that is their birthright. Maybe one day….”

    So in order to avoid having a ‘colonial mindset’ they have to slavishly accept the identity you want to impose on them instead? How does that work again?

    “Now you tell me – does having two percent of MPs at Westminster change the central reality of our political existence?”

    Does living in bolton make any difference to the central reality of a bolton resident’s political existence?

    I say it doesn’t, I say those big decisions are always made elsewhere.

  • sevenmagpies

    lib,

    “Surely that implies a question about his identity rather than about his voting rights, but maybe I’m merely being tediously pedantic”

    Perhaps I have merely grown out of tediously obssessing about random patches of dirt and decided to look instead to what unites us all rather than focusing on imaginary reasons to divide humanity.

  • sevenmagpies

    Billy,

    “You get to make a choice”

    No, you misunderstand, the point I’m making is that you don’t get to make a choice at all. You just want to comfort yourself with the illusion that the british public decided to go to war, or the irish public decided to let america ship its troops and torture victims through shannon.

    “I think many of our ills in NI today stem from responsibility for our wellbeing and our future residing elsewhere, and the corrosive cultural effect this has had. Would you disagree?”

    What ills do we have in NI that aren’t replicated all over the world? I think modern capitalist society has had exactly the same ‘corrosive cultural effect’ everywhere, and created almost identical ‘someone else is responsible’ mindset.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Sevenmagpies

    “Not if that really is their identity. They really are exactly those people they were before their ancestors took a boat trip.”

    But I’m not disputing that it IS their identity. I’m simply describing the NATURE of that identity – ie that it’s a textbook colonial one. It’s up to you whether you think having a colonial identity or mindset is a good thing. I’m not necessarily implying a judgement – but the underlying reality is undeniable.

    “So in order to avoid having a ‘colonial mindset’ they have to slavishly accept the identity you want to impose on them instead? How does that work again?”

    Actually I talked about an ideal in which they would make a choice. That choice as I see it is to make common cause with the people with whom they share this patch of earth. I think that sovereignty over this place and the people who live here should reside with we, the people who live here. I acknowledge that there are others who do not agree – who think OUR sovereignty should reside overseas. I simply observe the colonial nature of this mindset. I honestly do not see how a denial of this can be long sustained. (Though your tactic of misrepresentation and use of pejorative adjectives like “slavishly” is a typical method of frustration, in lieu of actual argument.)

    “Does living in bolton make any difference to the central reality of a bolton resident’s political existence?”

    Any difference from what? Your question doesn’t make any sense.

    “I say it doesn’t, I say those big decisions are always made elsewhere.”

    Yes but the MP (or MPs) for Bolton are probably part of that decision-making process. People in Bolton have the chance to choose between candidates from the rival parties of government. Party politics means that whether, say, Labour, wins in Bolton has an effect on whether they can form the next government. Hence the government has a stake in Bolton and Bolton has a stake in the government. That’s how parliamentary democracy is supposed to work. None of which applies to Northern Ireland. What difference would it make if Arlene Foster took FST next time out? In every meaningful sense, Northern Ireland is outside the structure of UK governance. Just like a colony would be.

    (The absence of significant Conservative, Labour or LibDem parties here, and the dominance of narrow, provincial parties is proof also that for all protestations of “Britishness”, the unionist population here has no appetite to be part of the UK mainstream. Look how far Bob McCartney has got after a lifetime of pushing integration. See? Colonialism writ large.)

    “Perhaps I have merely grown out of tediously obssessing about random patches of dirt and decided to look instead to what unites us all rather than focusing on imaginary reasons to divide humanity.”

    So where do you stand on the Irish border? Seriously, it’s one thing to claim to be interested in what unites us, but it sounds like you’re only interested in unity within the context of division.

    I support the reunification of Ireland because I believe that the case for an all-Ireland state as the most likely to deliver a vastly superior political, economic, social and psychological future for my children and all the children of Ireland is unanswerable. I do not think the status quo is good enough. I want better for my children, and I do not believe any other constitutional alternative can deliver it.

    You may disagree with that analysis, but I hope it’s more than “tediously obsessing about random patches of dirt”.

    “No, you misunderstand, the point I’m making is that you don’t get to make a choice at all.”

    I agree that there are limits to sovereignty, and those limits are to do with realpolitik. However, there are many things that people CAN make their own decisions on – if you look at the Irish economy or education system you’ll see that. Of course there are things that are beyond the control of the population, and indeed the government – but that doesn’t mean there is NOTHING the people can take agency over. My point is that here in NI, there really is NOTHING we can do about anything. We can’t make a difference through the ballot box. We can’t make a difference through parliamentary horse trading. We can’t make a difference through internal party activism. We can lobby our betters and ask for their generosity. That’s it.

    “What ills do we have in NI that aren’t replicated all over the world? I think modern capitalist society has had exactly the same ‘corrosive cultural effect’ everywhere, and created almost identical ‘someone else is responsible’ mindset.”

    In Northern Ireland we do not have even the potential, however theoretical, to do anything about it. Hence we have, for example, very weak and conservative trade unions. Hence we have much lower average wages than south of the border or across the water. We don’t think we deserve anything better. Classic colonial self-loathing.

  • Kensei-

    “I don’t agree. Martin did well, made some decent points, came across as reasonable and dealt with some inevitable hostility in the crowd. My only disappointment was him not nailing Durkan when he started on devolution of justice powers – if the SDLP hadn’t have jumped too soon and both Nationalist parties were resolute for it, then things would be much easier.

    In fairness to Durkan, he was alright. It was more like a score draw, and who “won” probably depends on your politics.”

    Are you the same Kensei who says you don’t have any particular allegiance to Sinn Féin, and would quite happily support the SDLP if they gave you reason to? Yeah right- you’re quite clearly a dyed-in-the-wool SFer. There’s no problem with that, but you constantly lambast the SDLP as if they are driving you away from supporting them- face it, there is no chance of you ever voting SDLP in the future, even if Alex Attwood dyed his hair green, white and orange and went round West Belfast shouting ‘tiocfaidh ár lá’ at the peelers. At least admit it.

    Regardless of who one supports, it was a bad performance by MMcG’s standards- sticking up for him or others in SF at every given opportunity regardless of the facts just undermines any claims you have about being an non-aligned nationalist.

  • sevenmagpies

    Billy,

    Thanks for the detailed response and I’m sure this has some vague relation to the topic we’re supposed to be discussing. Say, did someone maybe mention “colonialism” on question time?

    “I’m not necessarily implying a judgement – but the underlying reality is undeniable.”

    Haven’t you just suggested that everything bad about northern ireland is caused by this ‘colonial mindset’?

    You clearly presuppose that identity is a function of randomly chosen patches of earth rather than people. You simply build an imaginary community and then demand that people join it or get dismissed as “colonial”. Why can’t people make common cause with everyone on these islands? Why impose such rigid limitations on identity?

    “Though your tactic of misrepresentation and use of pejorative adjectives like “slavishly” is a typical method of frustration, in lieu of actual argument.”

    I recall that your suggestion was that they simply must accept that they have a colonial mindset, or side with you and become sovereign irelanders. You have already decided that their whole mindset is wrong and they can’t possibly be an outlying poorly served region of the UK. Where’s the choice there? where’s your argument?

    “In every meaningful sense, Northern Ireland is outside the structure of UK governance. Just like a colony would be.”

    Again, you’re missing the point. Your influence on the structure of governance is an illusion whether you live in belfast, dublin or chelmsford. There really is nothing much that people can take agency over anywhere. Hospitals owned by holding companies in the cayman islands. Schools run by religious gurus. Trade unions beaten down by hard-case american strike breakers. Did anyone ask if the people of Ireland or the UK wanted to support an illegal war? Did we get less of a say in that?

    “the unionist population here has no appetite to be part of the UK mainstream. Look how far Bob McCartney has got after a lifetime of pushing integration. See? Colonialism writ large.”

    Perhaps thirty odd years of political violence have polarised attitudes and in a new peaceful dispensation people will be more inclined to slide back into typical left right politics. Although it’s mostly right, slightly less right these days.

    “it sounds like you’re only interested in unity within the context of division”

    I don’t know what that means.

    “I support the reunification of Ireland because I believe that the case for an all-Ireland state as the most likely to deliver a vastly superior political, economic, social and psychological future for my children and all the children of Ireland is unanswerable. I do not think the status quo is good enough. I want better for my children, and I do not believe any other constitutional alternative can deliver it.”

    I support the creation of a 32 county socialist republic as the first step to a socialist (let’s call it) uk, europe, world. I do not believe any other political alternative can deliver a better outcome. Given the widening gap between rich and poor in an already socially fragmented ireland I’m not sure why you are so convinced that alone represents a positive future. Why not something completely new and different?

    “Classic colonial self-loathing”

    But you wouldn’t dream of implying a judgment …

  • Mainland Unionist

    By your idea, perhaps Northern Ireland should become a sovereign nation in its own right? Decisions where they matter and all that. However, as a unionist living on the mainland I think that NI should remain part of the UK until the people living there decide otherwise. Same applies to Scotland, Gib, the Falklands and anywhere else.

    Although, saying that, unionism on the mainland seems to be splitting apart from the inside.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    MU

    “By your idea, perhaps Northern Ireland should become a sovereign nation in its own right? Decisions where they matter and all that.”

    No – because I don’t think that NI could work as a sovereign nation in its own right. I think it would be a disaster. On the contrary, I think an all-island state would be the optimum arrangement for everyone on this island. (And for everyone on your island too, for that matter.) Just my opinion, but there it is.

    Now, I haven’t arrived at that conclusion as the outworking of some more general theory. It’s simply what I think would work, based on my observations of living a lifetime in Ireland, on both sides of the border. Where the Irish people are sovereign, society and politics and economics work – where the Irish people are not sovereign, society and politics and economics demonstrably do not work.

    “However, as a unionist living on the mainland I think that NI should remain part of the UK until the people living there decide otherwise.”

    As an Irish republican living in Ireland, I wholeheartedly agree. I am simply arguing that the time is right for the people living here to make that decision: to choose reunification; to choose to take our share of the sovereignty that is our birthright; to take our place within Irish democracy; to play a part in governing ourselves and shaping our own future; to make our own mistakes and to celebrate our own triumphs. To choose agency and dispense with colonial powerlessness.

    Others will disagree. Fair enough – but let’s have the debate.

  • Mainland Unionist

    Let’s get the Assembly up and running again. The people of Gib or the Falklands wouldn’t tolerate being under Westminster for the amount of representation they would end up with, so why should Northern Ireland?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Sevenmagpies

    “I support the creation of a 32 county socialist republic as the first step to a socialist (let’s call it) uk, europe, world. I do not believe any other political alternative can deliver a better outcome. Given the widening gap between rich and poor in an already socially fragmented ireland I’m not sure why you are so convinced that alone represents a positive future. Why not something completely new and different?”

    I agree with Connolly’s analysis that we must first take control of our own destiny before we can create the kind of Ireland we want. Without the agency conferred by sovereignty, we cannot hope to affect meaningful change here.

    I also agree with Connolly’s view (and one, interestingly, that the pre-Revolution Lenin subscribed to) that the only way real social advances could be made in Britain would be through the power of a good example in Ireland. Iraq has proven that Britain is still afflicted by a strain of imperial hubris. (Yes, I know almost half the population opposed the invasion BEFOREHAND.) Perhaps the reunification of Ireland might help Britain’s rehabilitation by providing an example of how the withdrawal of the British state can often be a good thing?

    As for trying something new and completely different – how about an all-island Irish Republic based on the principles of the United Irishmen? That’s something that we have yet to try.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    MU

    “Let’s get the Assembly up and running again. The people of Gib or the Falklands wouldn’t tolerate being under Westminster for the amount of representation they would end up with, so why should Northern Ireland?”

    Hear hear.

  • Mainland Unionist

    And if people there wish to unite themselves after that, that’s their affair. Same applies if they want to remain a part of my country.

  • kensei

    “Are you the same Kensei who says you don’t have any particular allegiance to Sinn Féin, and would quite happily support the SDLP if they gave you reason to? Yeah right- you’re quite clearly a dyed-in-the-wool SFer.”

    I believe I said Durkan was alright, and the choice would come down to your politics. Mine at the moment lean more toward SF. I am still concerned with the devolution of policing and justice powers and the SDLP have absolutely nothing to give there. If they hadn’t have jumped too soon, the request would irresistible, and Durkan having the cheek to say anything about it last night have me shouting at the screen. So that is one thing.

    I am strongly for a United Ireland and I believe its achievement would be a wholly positive thing. The SDLP damaged themselves with the “post Nationalist” bollocks and they have work to do there to convince me of their bona fides. That’s another. Attacking SF instead of trying to bring together Nationalism is another, and I could go on. But if they get past that, it may be in the future their approach is more conductive to getting support for a UI. SF do have a problem pulling others in.

    The SDLP have to do some of these things to get my shift position, set out a convincing vision, make better arguments and prove competence. It’s not just going to magically shift.

    “There’s no problem with that, but you constantly lambast the SDLP as if they are driving you away from supporting them- face it, there is no chance of you ever voting SDLP in the future, even if Alex Attwood dyed his hair green, white and orange and went round West Belfast shouting ‘tiocfaidh ár lá’ at the peelers. At least admit it.”

    I tell you what, get the Attwood to do that, and I 100% guarantee they’ll get my vote.

    However, I merely vote that best matches my politics. The SDLP don’t at the moment and the SDLP supporter’s labeling of anyone who votes SF a traitor just makes me less inclined to give them my second preference. But in the future if they best match what I think is right they’d get my vote. If FF set up here and looked likely they’d best match, they’d get my vote. If I moved South, SF wouldn’t necessarily get my vote, because that is different circumstance. SF could move away from me in the future. Conditions may change and better arguments may come out. I’m not beholden to following SF whatever they do.

    “Regardless of who one supports, it was a bad performance by MMcG’s standards- sticking up for him or others in SF at every given opportunity regardless of the facts just undermines any claims you have about being an non-aligned nationalist. ”

    I actually thought he did alright. My opinion is as I said it. But that is probably down to me agreeing with what he said, particularly over policing, getting the Assembly running and the Iraq point I made earlier. So that would be “down to your politics” then.

    Your big confusion, is that the SDLP should somehow have my vote by right. They don’t.

  • Munsterman

    Mainland Unionist :

    “As a unionist living on the mainland I think that NI should remain part of the UK until the people living there decide otherwise.”

    75 % of the Irish people aleady voted in 1918 for a 32-county independent Ireland.
    Unionism lost the debate – and the democratic election – already then.

    The 6-county statelet created by Britain in the North-east of the country to serve Britain’s interests was anything but democratic.
    Beware of “Perfidious Albion” – she only has permanent interests – not permanent friends.
    The vast majority of British (read English) in Britain do not care a fig about the 6-counties, or the 26 or the 32. They have absolutely no clue about Ireland – north, south, east,west, green, orange, nationalist, unionist.
    Why should they ? It’s not their country – but they are subsidising the entire show in the North-east 6 counties. Not indefinitely, that is for certain.
    Would you pay your tenant’s rent – forever ?

    Unionists and Nationalists need to start talking – alone – should have done so in already in 1912.

  • ma

    kenesei, i think you did more than say MMcG did alright, you positively said that he made a statement lambasting the british army and that he was the only one to do so, you went further and slightly attacked me for raising the point that mcg did not make the statement alone. You were clearly an apologist for mcguinness. if those are your politics why be ashamed of them, and try to disguise them as something else haven’t those days gone?
    On the subject of the british army, one man in the audience claimed that army in iraq would have been better killing machines for their work here. treating the n. irish ppl like guinea pigs, and no one yet seems to have taken up on that not even you kinesei-sf supporter that you are.
    as for mmcg, the former minister of education clearly shouting about the majority of sf, didn’t seem to understand the concept of dissent, didn’t even equate dissent with free speech until it was pointed out to him, couldn’t pronounce litvenensko,and spoke on and on about himself rather than answer a question and as pete said in a previous post is now a super super democrat with huge concept of equality. could he have performed any worse. all in all the whole thing was way over his head. i actually felt sorry for him.

  • kensei

    “kenesei, i think you did more than say MMcG did alright, you positively said that he made a statement lambasting the british army and that he was the only one to do so, you went further and slightly attacked me for raising the point that mcg did not make the statement alone.”

    I was, of course, referring to the panel rather than the audience. Durkan said nowt. And it was one dude, and while you might have found it more efective, I always find it less effective if it isn’t backed up, because it’s easy to paint people a certain way otherwise – and that happened for years.

    “You were clearly an apologist for mcguinness.”

    I was explaining my position.

    “if those are your politics why be ashamed of them, and try to disguise them as something else haven’t those days gone?”

    I’m not ashamed of them. But the point I was driving at, is that a lot of people seem to have it arse about face. I do not have my political beliefs because I vote SF. I vote SF because of my political beliefs. If SF were to move away from those, and it’s my no means a perfect fit anyway, then they wouldn’t get my vote. If the SDLP were to make some starting argument or move then maybe it’d be different. Equally maybe if a Southern Party came up or I moved South it would be different.

    Some people like to come here and use soem kid of mindless stereotype. Merely trying to break that, and suggesting it’s probably not the way to go if you want to convince people to vote elsewhere.

    “On the subject of the british army, one man in the audience claimed that army in iraq would have been better killing machines for their work here. treating the n. irish ppl like guinea pigs, and no one yet seems to have taken up on that not even you kinesei-sf supporter that you are.”

    That isn’t what he said. He said that the British Army gained experience here that may have helped them in Iraq which is nothing to do with guinea pigs. That may be true, I don’t know. I would suggest the mess that Iraq is in and the fact that British soldiers are not primarily in the most dangerous areas in Iraq makes it hard to tell.

    I would also say that everytime that the British media boast about winning hearts and minds here there is laughter from republican areas.

    “as for mmcg, the former minister of education clearly shouting about the majority of sf, didn’t seem to understand the concept of dissent,”

    The fact that the people of West Belfast vote overwhelmingly for Gerry Adams in a secret ballot was a fair point.

    “didn’t even equate dissent with free speech until it was pointed out to him, couldn’t pronounce litvenensko,”

    I can’t pronounce it, and I dislike that kind of sneering. Your point?

    “and spoke on and on about himself rather than answer a question and as pete said in a previous post is now a super super democrat with huge concept of equality.”

    Ah I see. He should have said fuck all the Prods. SF have been consistent on equality for many years.

    “could he have performed any worse. all in all the whole thing was way over his head. i actually felt sorry for him.”

    Maybe your politics are clouding your judgment?

  • ma

    maybe your politics are clouding your judgement.

    and yours aren’t?

  • kensei

    “maybe your politics are clouding your judgement.

    and yours aren’t? ”

    I think I’ve already my politics probably have an effect already.

  • GavBelfast

    McGuinness was awful, out of his depth especially on non-local affairs and perhaps a bit exposed / lost now that ‘the Army’ isn’t there any more.

    Durkan was the best of a very average bunch though it was disaoppointing that Hain managed to come across well, no one on the panel really had the balls to even get near making him uncomfortable.