That Benn on Ireland link…

For reasons I won’t go into, my mind was on other (higher?) things this morning when I neglected to post the link to the Tony Benn interview I refered to earlier. With apologies to misleading people before, here it is now.

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  • Aaron McDaid

    You’ve done it again! Both links are to this morning’s post by yourself.

  • smcgiff

    Jaysus, Mick! Call it a night.

  • Nevin
  • Greenflag

    Tony Benn

    ‘This is the absolute confusion, that Irish unity and a British withdrawal are the same thing. They are totally separate issues. I’m saying, until it’s clear that the British are not going to seek to exercise jurisdiction, serious discussion will never go on.’

    Wedgewood got that right . Instead of serious discussion since 1994 what have the people of NI had ? 10 farcical elections and now another election which half the voters don’t beleive will result in a ‘power sharing ‘ government .

    Benn is basically correct in his analysis even if he seems to discount the possibility of leaving behind a civil war and ‘repartition’ Bosnia style .

    A date set in the future for the ending of British jurisdiction in Northern Ireland would concentrate the minds of not just Unionists in NI but everybody on this island . It would force people to think the unthinkable . It could result in a UI or an agreed Repartition within NI or a Federal Ireland or an independent smaller Unionist State . It could also result in a mass exodus of British unionists from NI .

    One thing it would not result in would be another 40 years of navel gazing and playing ostrich by both Unionists and Republicans in NI .

    But could any British Government take such a decision ? The French under De Gaulle pulled a similar stunt in Algeria in the 1960’s . Admittedly both situations have similarities but Algeria and France are not contiguous territories and the ‘pieds noir’ (the Algerian Unionists) were about IIRC about 5% of the Algerian total population and not the 15% or so which British Unionists are on the island of Ireland . The latter of course are a local majority in the North East of Ulster .

    Not to worry folks . The new Assembly will resolve all the constitutional conundrums after another 5 suspensions and probably sometime in the 22nd century 🙁 in the meantime have ‘faith’ !

  • Token Dissent

    Thanks (finally!) for posting this interesting interview.

    I agree with the interviewer’s analysis of the Bennite position on Ireland. Benn displays the complete distain and misunderstanding of unionists (of all classes) that much of the British Left has showed for years.

    The way that an anti-European like Benn throws unionists the crumbs of the EU is telling. Benn himself continues to hold the ‘sovereignty’ of Westminster as the gold standard. So essenially within his own ideology Benn regards unionists’ cultural and political aspirations as an inconvenint nonsense; nothing more than false-consciousness.

    At the heart of all this is an utter misunderstanding of British identity and the United Kingdom. Britishness has always been a coalition of a huge array of multi-layered identities. The legitimacy of an identity that is both Irish and British is outside of Benn’s radar. As the interviewer says, there is a strong smell of old Liberal English arrogance.

    I find it shocking that Benn in the final analysis was not encouraging the IRA to go on ceasefire. He saw a ceasefire as a tactical mistake for republicans. This leaves his self-proclaimed support for “non-violence” as nothing more than empty facile words.

  • Greenflag

    TD ,

    This leaves his self-proclaimed support for “non-violence” as nothing more than empty facile words.

    So like Paisley’s 40 year long proclaimed support for the stance of never sharing power with Republicans .

    To quote your future NI -FM

    ‘I have hated God’s enemies with a perfect hate ‘

    Northern Ireland First Minister (in waiting )

    ‘Catholics have been interfering in Ulster since 1641’

    Northern Ireland First Minister (in waiting )

  • Token Dissent

    Greenflag,

    I think that a (generally) progressive man like Benn should be judged by higher standards than comparison with Paisley.

    Like you I am not overly looking forward to having The Demon Doctor as the First Minister. But the voters will proably put him there. Who was it who said: “The people have spoken, the bastards”.

  • Greenflag

    TD ,

    ‘I think that a (generally) progressive man like Benn should be judged by higher standards than comparison with Paisley. ‘

    Agreed TD -It was just a quip 🙂 Tony Benn has of course one luxury which Paisley has’nt . Tony is not in the kitchen so if and when the heat rises he’ll not caught in the crossfire between the rotten eggs and the stale buns 🙂

    “The people have spoken, the bastards”.

    So maybe we should elect a new ‘people’ 🙂

    Your quip brought to mind a new ALL PARTY MOTTO which all the NI parties can use in this and every subsequent and previous election held in NI !

    “We’ll keep behaving the way we do until we can’t, and then we won’t.”

    Wedgewood Benn’s prescription is about the only one I can envisage which would get the NI politicians to refrain from their Pavlovian instincts for long enough to get to the point of ‘Until we can’t’

    Thereafter of course anything is possible which of course should not be interpreted as necessarily desirable !

  • Greenflag

    ‘Who was it who said: “The people have spoken, the bastards”. ‘

    Reputedly it was a certain Dick Tuck who lost a California election to none other than Richard Nixon . A shower of bastards electing one of their own kind 🙂 History of course later showed that Tricky Dicky was enough of a bastard to actually end the Vietnam War and to open up China to the world -A deed for which hundreds of millions of Chinese ‘bastards’ will be eternally grateful and for which tens of millions of American ‘bastards’ will have mixed feelings as they see their investment portfolios lose billions when the Chinese Capitalist/Communist Government opens it’s mouth only to be assuaged as they shop 24 hours a day at Wal Mart for the cheap Chinese necessities of life !

    On balance old tricky Dicky probably did the people of the world more favours than he did for his American countrymen ? Wonder what they’ll say about the current incumbent in 20 years !

    There may of course be a couple of million geriatric voters in Florida who rue the day they voted for GW in 2000 . On the other hand they may have more pressing worries like the price of cheerios and why the domestic help just won’t speak English ?

  • Token Dissent

    Cheers for the information Greenflag. “Dick Tuck” sounds both like an star high school quarterback, and a rather nasty operation!

    May I just add that there is a poster on here called greenflag (lower-case g) who made a few sectarian comments during one of the whataboutery threads on here. I confused him with yourself, and posted about how disappointed I was that you had revealed yourself as a fool. I apologise for this case of mistaken identity!

    I maintain however that you (and Benn) are wrong to dismiss the political entity of Norn Iron. I think that in whatever constitutional set-up is settled on here, Stormont will be central to it. And unionists aren’t going to stop being unionists for the forseeable future.

  • Token Dissent

    Damn I should really do my research before being nice. It was you Greenflag who made those comments!

    http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/opposition-mounting/P25/

    Split personality?

    Ah well forgive and forget I suppose. Maybe you were in a bad mood, or just trying to wind up David Vance.

  • Token Dissent

    During the 1974 UWC strike the Labour cabinet discussed withdrawal. Here is the quote from Benn’s diaries regarding the discussion’s implications: “of course, if that got out, it would precipitate bloodshed but we felt we simply had to do it.”

    This contradicts much of what Benn says in this article:

    SO: “So you were saying privately in 1969 that Britain should get out?”

    Benn: In effect, yes. I put it in a paper, I rebuked myself for having left it so long, and sent it to Mason and Callaghan at the end of 1978, saying isn’t it time we discussed Ireland. But we never discussed Ireland. There is no interest in Ireland in Britain, no interest in the Cabinet in Britain”.

    and it also contradicts…

    SO: “Wouldn’t it be a massacre?”

    Benn: I don’t believe it would be for one minute. It’s not in the interests of anybody to kill anybody else. What is the interest?

  • Greenflag

    TD ,

    ‘I maintain however that you (and Benn) are wrong to dismiss the political entity of Norn Iron.’

    I’m not dismissing it -how could I even if I wanted to ? I’m stating that the present 6 county NI political entity cannot work or function ever as a normal democracy for reasons which have been discussed as infinitum. A two legged stool cannot stand by itself .

    ‘ I think that in whatever constitutional set-up is settled on here, Stormont will be central to it.’

    I can see two possible long term futures for Stormont.

    a) As a Tourist Attraction . An International Museum of the Artefacts /Flags /Symbols of failed States/Empires and Political Entities . Alongside or at a respectable distance from wax figure of Lord Brookeborough you could have one of Idi Amin ? Dr Verwoerd ? Slobodan Misosevic etc etc etc . Students of Democratic Government from all over the world would see in one place the ‘worst of the worst ‘ In such an august exhibition Brookeborough would come across as not really the worst of them just a bit eccentric /mad 🙂 His exhibit could detail his cattle rustling cross border adventures which would be sure to impress American visitors no end !

    2) Stormont could also be used as the Assembly Building for a smaller predominantly Unionist State although it might be better for any such new State to build a new modern building with plenty of ‘light’. No point in starting up a new State with the taint of failure all around !

    ‘And unionists aren’t going to stop being unionists for the forseeable future.’

    I agree but would go a step further and add ‘ and also for the unforseeable future’

    Which is why IMO Irish Nationalists and Republicans should pursue a ‘fair repartition’ solution .

    ‘I confused him with yourself’

    Sometimes I do too 🙂 Neither Greenflag nor greenfag are sectarian . They are both atheists and maintain a discreet distance form all those who prefer to believe that there is a intelligent watchmaker somewhere lurking at the end of the universe who has nothing better to do than listen to the whines of humanity through the ages 🙁
    .
    Neither Greenflags have much time for political Unionism but both accept the fact that Unionists in NI have a right to their own State – but not of course at the expense /suffering or economic emisseration of the 45% or more of the NI population which would prefer Dublin Rule to Westminster misrule and Stormont pantomimes !

  • Greenflag

    ‘Maybe you were in a bad mood,’

    Nah I’m always in a bad mood 🙂

  • Greenflag

    ‘Dick Tuck” sounds both like an star high school quarterback, and a rather nasty operation! ‘

    And a suitable nomer for some doggerel

    A politician by name of Dick Tuck
    Against Nixon did not have much luck
    In electoral frustration
    And concerned for the nation
    Told the latter
    To go **ck a duck
    The Schmuck

  • The Dubliner

    Greenflag, the civil war dimension is as equally likely to emanate from southern nationalists as it is to emanate from northern unionists. What Benn didn’t foresee post-ceasefire is that northern nationalists would accept the legitimacy of British nationalism in Ireland, granting it equality with Irish nationalism. That was the point when northern nationalism irreversibly divorced itself from its southern nationalism counterpart. At that point, reunification to northern nationalism became a matter of Northern Ireland taking over the Republic of Ireland, and not vice versa – reunification could only happen if the political expediencies of the GFA were forced on the south. Having accepted equality of nationalisms (British and Irish), they could not offer less to unionists than equality of nationalisms post-unity. However, southern nationalism is prepared to offer only equality of citizenship under an Irish constitution to unionists, not equality of nationalisms. So, reunification then becomes a threat to the rightful supremacy of Irish nationalism in an Irish state. The practical effect of the dismal dynamic is that southern nationalism no longer sees reunification as being in its best interests, but begins to sees it as a threat. Northern nationalists, of course, have no authority to negotiate on behalf of the citizens of Republic of Ireland with unionists on Irish constitutional or national matters and they are deluding themselves if they think that the Irish government will grant them that role. The flea-bitten tail won’t wag the dog. And therein lies the irony of the GFA: if reunification is pushed on the southern Irish (and with it, equality of nationalisms), then the civil war will as likely arise from hard-line southern nationalists as it will from hard-line northern unionists. And what a twist of fate that would be, eh? That is why northern nationalists need to keep pace with their southern counterparts, and not become too complacent about accepting the repugnant monarchy.

  • GrassyNoel

    Dubliner, I have to say I totally disagree with that. As much unrealistic aspirations as there are on both sides in NI, I can never foresee a situation where a civil war would break out,’emanating from Southern nationalists’ because people in the south were frustrated at the re-unification of the country. However different a place this country has become from the place it was in the 1920’s, 50’s or 60’s, the modernity you think you see around you is largely superficial…Ireland is still a deeply conservative place, and republicanism might not be as openly ‘in vogue’ as it was a couple of decades back, but almost everybody I know, and I mean grown adults in their 20s and 30s, are (a) terribly ill-informed about the subtleties of political discourse, too lazy to switch off Big Brother or Desperate Housewives or put down their ‘Loaded’ or ‘Heat’ magazines for 5 minutes, and (b) are terribly like sheep when it comes to politics in general, i.e. they will go along with the accepted conventional opinion, which means either voting the way the media tells them to or they vote exactly the way their parents vote. And if Mammy and Daddy still say in 2010 or 2015 or 2025 that a UI is a good thing then people will fall into line.

  • Greenflag

    Dubliner ,

    ‘However, southern nationalism is prepared to offer only equality of citizenship under an Irish constitution to unionists, not equality of nationalisms. ‘

    You might think that but I would not. Not quite sure what you mean by ‘equality of nationalisms’ other than your GFA reference and in any event the GFA was designed for Northern Ireland ‘political conditions’. An assumption that it is ‘transferable ‘ lock , stock and barrel to the Republic is not one I would make .

    I cannot see any situation arising in the present circumstances where you would get a majority of ROI nationalists going to ‘war’ over Northern Ireland or a UI . The idea is beyond the Pale. The only circumstance in which it could be envisaged is if there were a British withdrawal from NI followed by a DUP ‘putsch’ and an attempt by the latter to drive as many ‘Fenians ‘ as possible from the present territory of NI.

    The ‘predicament ‘ facing those constitutional nationalists and the more ‘ardent’ republicans in NI who want a UI is in essence not much different from waht it was in the 1930’s when the Rev Marshall (Presbyterian Minister) for Castlerock wrote to a Catholic friend complaining that whereas the Catholics are a ‘breeding’ people the Presbyterians were not and that that would be the only way that they (northern unionists) would be got into a 32 county Republic .

    As we now know from the historical record the Rev Marshall’s fears were although understandable given the times he did not foresee the impact which large differentials in emigration rates between Northern Nationalists and Northern Unionists would have on maintaining the 65% to 35% Unionist majority . That differential only began to significantly change in the 1980’s and the present situation is that Northern Unionists have a 53% to 47% lead in the sectarian handicap 🙂

    But it would appear that although Northern Nationalists may become a numerical majority in NI in the not too distant future they are unlikely to become a voting majority as the earlier higher nationalist birth rate has reduced to unionist rates . I’m not completely sure of the emigration rate differential but the conventional wisdom seems to be that some 35% of Unionist university students go to Britain for their third level education and that many of these do not return ? The same conventional wisdom holds that both ‘tribes’ demographics ‘ will hover around the 50/50 level for a long time to come . We can also complicate the dynamic by considering the effect of Catholic Unionists and Protestant Nationalists but these will most likely almost cancel each other out in electoral impact .

    The result of the above will be political stasis as regards any constitutional change in the status of NI for a very long time to come .

    (to be continued )

  • Greenflag

    Given the above scenario then what should be the response of Northern nationalists and Northern Republicans ? Well it seems that they are prepared to work the GFA & Assembly even if the DUP are not ? It seems the only possible and thus practical choice . My contention is that it is not. Sometimes no bread is better than a half loaf which is ‘rotten’ !

    Some commentators in their opposition to the new Assembly notably Eric Waugh have pointed out the inherent ‘undemocratic’ nature of this type of forced power sharing . I tend to sympathise with this argument for I believe that to have a healthy democracy, you have to have both a healthy opposition, and government financial accountability . This Assembly will have neither . Financially the English taxpayer will be paying for this particular circus .

    There is a strand of thought sometimes aired by what I term neo-republican unionists – i.e those who believe that once NI has devolution then all will be well in time and that having shared power with republicans in the NI Assembly then the next ‘peaceful’ step on the constitutional road will be a referendum voting NI into an Irish Republic with many ‘unionists’ voting for the ‘unknown’ or staying at home . Any hostile ‘unionist/loyalist’ opposition is expected to remain docile or leave for other shores ?

    I don’t buy that particular scenario. I believe the scenario put forward by the Rev Marshall to be the more realistic . Understand I’m not saying that the method prescribed by the Rev is desirable . Just that his analysis IMO is correct.

    From a true ‘republican ‘ mindset all of this conjecture of birth rates/emigration differentials / aging populations etc etc etc leading to an inevitable UI – must when considered , seen to be the ‘negation’ of the core republican belief in the common name of Irishman (instead of Catholic , Protestant and Dissenter ) . Some of course ignore the demographics and hope to convince a significant number of Unionists around to their view of a UI.

    There are a number of problems with this approach and these problems are seen very simply when one sees that if there is any debate on a UI in NI then the debate is solely between nationalists and republicans . Unionists are simply not interested .

    I take the approach that it is best to take Unionist non interest at face value – believe them and move on to another approach or solution all the time understanding and accepting that a return to the gun/bom is not going to achieve a different result from the present .

  • Greenflag

    Dubliner ,

    ‘northern nationalists need to keep pace with their southern counterparts, and not become too complacent about accepting the repugnant monarchy.

    I could not agree more . The question is how ? Realistically the only way in which Northern Nationalists can keep ‘pace’ is to become part of the political entity that is the Irish Republic and following on from the views I expressed above the only way that can happen is through the repartition of the present NI State .

    It would appear that Northern nationalists and even less Northern Republicans are not prepared to go down that particular road at this time . Understandable given all the hype of ‘power sharing’ etc etc. And also the ‘belief’ that power sharing is just another step on the road to a UI . As I’ve indicated above that is not an inevitable outcome .

  • Greenflag

    Grassynoel,

    (b) people are terribly like sheep when it comes to politics in general, i.e. they will go along with the accepted conventional opinion, which means either voting the way the media tells them to or they vote exactly the way their parents vote. And if Mammy and Daddy still say in 2010 or 2015 or 2025 that a UI is a good thing then people will fall into line.

    This is true GN but people in ROI do not vote the way their great grandfathers might have voted say in 1908 ?:) Sometimes in history ‘conventional opinion’ does a U turn and we the people wake up to a new political dispensation . Some examples are the Free State 1922, Northern Ireland 1920, East Germany 1989 , USSR 1990, etc etc etc etc . Eventually there comes a point when the ‘naked emperor’ becomes just too much of an embarassment to retain any credibility . This is the position in which political unionism in Ireland found itself in the latter half of the 19th century and the same goes for political unionism in Northern Ireland since 1969. The long protracted peace process has reduced the credibility of NI politicans to such an extent that the Welsh First Minister can ridicule Northern Ireland’s prospective First Minister in front of the British Prime Minister even before he (Paisley )takes office assuming of course that he does ! Which fact i.e that nobody knows whether he will or not, just shows up the political charade of this election for the circus it is !

  • DavidD

    TD
    Your Dick Tuck quote reminds me of a candidate for a Scottish seat in a general election many years ago who received a derisory fifty or sixty votes.
    In his post-election address after the result had been declared he said “Throughout this election I have directed my campaign at the intelligent and discerning members of the electorate and I am delighted to see that they have supported me to a man”.

  • Harry

    Just a brief note on those population statistics. According to NISRA the number of those in 2001 who said they were catholic was 678,462 and protestant 767,924. That is to say, a difference of 89,462.

    In addition, the number of those who did not state a religion was 233,853.

    After using means that are not enttirely clear to me NISRA arrived at the following statistics for religious breakdown/religious background:

    catholic: 737,412
    protestant: 895,377
    none: 45,909

    That is to say, out of the 233,853 who originally didn’t state a religion NISRA estimated that 58,950 were from a catholic background and 127,453 were from a protestant background, with the remaining 45,909 undecided.

    The question is, how did they arrive at these figures? What were the questions on the census that allowed them to divine these figures and what other methods did they use?
    This is a british-controlled census and has arrived at a conclusion that seems to, quite conveniently, make a nationalist majority just out of reach for another decade or two. To achieve this they suggest that twice as many protestants are likely to call themselves atheists – or are likely to hide their religion -as catholics. Yet we can legitimately ask, why doesn’t the breakdown of the 233,853 who didn’t state a religion reflect the general religious proportions of those who did? Why does this crucial statisitic break down 2:1 in favour of protestantism and hence, mostly, unionism? Is the methodology by which NISRA arrived at this crucial statistic transparent and available?

    I’m interested to know, otherwise we can quite rightly doubt the numbers given as being self-serving for unionism and the british.

    If the numbers of those who stated no religion were broken down in accordance with the proportions of those who stated their relgion, then the numbers would be:

    catholic: 233,853 x (678,462/1,446,386) = 109,694.
    protestant: 233,853 x (767,924/1,446,386) = 124,158.

    In which case the overall breakdown would be catholic 788,156 and protestant 892,000. If we lop off around 22,000 each in line with the figures for those whose religious background was unable to be identified we have catholics 766,156 and protestants 870,000. That is to say, a difference of 104,000 6 years ago, with a natural increase of around 10,000-15,000 per annum. The electoral difference today would be even smaller, perhaps – amazingly – almost non-existent.

    It’s interesting that when one breaks down the figures this way that the number of protestants is almost exactly in line with the official breakdown, yet the official breakdown mysteriously ‘loses’ 50,000 expected catholics.

    Funny how this conveniently suits a certain agenda but not another.
    Unless the means by which the british government, through NISRA, arrived at these figures is made plain, we must be suspicious as to their validity and the political motivations that may lie behind them.

    You can view the various tables showing this information on NISRA’s website here. Scroll down to ‘Theme Table on Religion’ and ‘Theme Table on Community Background (Religion or Religion Brought Up In)’ in excel format.

  • Greenflag

    Harry,

    Good points and I agree it’s wise to be skeptical of such figure massaging . On the other hand are we not flogging a dead horse here. Are we to have the ironic/ludicrous situation whereby the long standing divided society of Northern Ireland will have it’s future constitutional status decided not by Catholic voters outnumbering Protestant voters but by Catholics of no religion outnumbering Protestants with no religion ?

    Perhaps there is a glimmer of hope left for those in the UI camp ? However I would’nt bet on it !

  • Harry

    Apart from the fact it is ludicrous it is, nonetheless, extremely important.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Apart from the fact it is ludicrous it is, nonetheless, extremely important. ‘

    True . I’m just wondering which is the more ludicrous -such conjecture or people voting for an Assembly which may not sit and which will have no effective opposition 🙁

    Someday the people will have enough and will tell the little ’emperors’ that whereas their political nudity up to now has been revealing and often entertaining the ravages of 40 years of go nowhere politics has made their collective political nudity ‘revolting ‘ and enough is enough .

    A case of their collective ‘ends’ being nigh :)?
    Over to you Roger !

  • Fintan, Portlaoise

    The story of Senator Tuck makes me long for the days when there was still entertainment value in politics. As a young lad, I listened to Oliver J. Flanagan, T.D., make a speech from the back of a lorry in the l 50s. “De Valera reminds me of a banana,” he snorted. “He started off green, then he turned yella, but he’s still just as crooked.”

  • Greenflag

    Oliver ‘ There was no sex in Ireland before the Late Late Show ‘ Flanagan was undoubtedly a colourful and often eccentric politican . With his sandwich board covering his bicycle with ‘Here comes Ollie ‘ on the front and ‘There goes Flanagan ‘ on the rear he provided much ‘entertainment ‘ value to the dour and miserable inhabitants of Laois /Offaly IIRC.

    Lamenting a lower than expected FF vote in Athy County Kildare during the count one FF tally man was heard to ask some happy FG supporters ‘Why the county of Kildare was shaped like a horse’s cunt ‘ ? Before they could utter a reply the tallyman gave them the reply he had been saving up 🙂 ‘Because ye could fit Athy in it !

  • The Dubliner

    “Dubliner, I have to say I totally disagree with that. As much unrealistic aspirations as there are on both sides in NI, I can never foresee a situation where a civil war would break out,’ emanating from Southern nationalists’ because people in the south were frustrated at the re-unification of the country.” – GrassyNoel

    GrassyNoel, I disagree with most of my opinions about NI. Predictions predicated on conjecture are even more unstable, alas. However, I think there is one universal principle that is a good guide in that it remains a constant: national self-determination. Nationalism is inseparable from the nation state and a nation determines its own future based on the will of its people.

    The desire of most Irish people for Irish unity is based on the assumption that unity furthers the principle of Irish national self-determination, but what if it no longer served that aim? What if Irish unity meant that Ireland rejoined the British Commonwealth, abandoned its republic status along with its president and constitution, and accepted the queen as its head of state in-order get unionists to agree to a United Ireland? Clearly, Irish unity would no longer serve the principle of national self-determination (even if, paradoxically, that was how – manipulated by whatever insidious machination – the people determined it should be).

    I’ve no doubt that many northern nationalists would offer Irish unity to unionists at any price to the people of the south; and since so-called republicans in the north have accepted the legitimacy of the British monarchy’s role in Ireland, it isn’t a huge leap for them to seek to extend to the south what they have accepted in the north. This is where southern republicans divorce from northern nationalists, for republican political philosophy (equality of citizenship, civil rights, democratic elections, written constitution, the state not being above the people, ect) is the absolute opposite of monarchy – you cannot be a republican if you support monarchy. If any of that was imposed upon the south, then there would most certainly be a civil war to prevent it. However, it will not be imposed; and ‘compromised’ northern nationalists will not negotiate on behalf of the citizens of the Republic of Ireland. Unity as proffered by PSF (and whomever pulls their strings) must not bring monarchy or any element of the British state or anything which compromises Irish national self-determination or any other undesirable elements in by the back door; if it tries to do that, the door will be firmly closed.

    So, there are scenarios where Irish unity and Irish nationalism serve opposing agendas, and where they could violently conflict. Nationalism in Ireland has endured centuries of repression and it still endures a hostile (MI5-controlled ‘Irish’ media) but it is as strong as it ever was. That should tell you that the principles that it is based on are rock solid and will endure any media or political manipulation, even if it is co-sponsored by special pleading from those in the north who were formerly republicans. As long as northern nationalists understand that unionists will be about 16% of an enlarged republic, and that they will not be entitled to anything other than the equality of citizenship that we all enjoy, then all will be fine. Indeed, 16% pretty much guarantees them a place in the coalition governments that Ireland’s PR system produces, if they play the numbers game. But do yourselves a favour and don’t promise them what you can never deliver, as you have no authority to make promises on behalf of others – promises that may only serve to make unity utterly impossible.

  • The Dubliner

    “You might think that but I would not. Not quite sure what you mean by ‘equality of nationalisms’ other than your GFA reference and in any event the GFA was designed for Northern Ireland ‘political conditions’. An assumption that it is ‘transferable ‘ lock , stock and barrel to the Republic is not one I would make .”- Greenflag

    I’ve sort of answered your wordy post above, apologies for not doing so line by line. Well, one suggestion is giving unionists permanent seats in the Irish government. Err, how is that supposed to work under the Irish constitution…and why on earth should that fascist suggestion of giving unequal rights to a minority even merit more than the time it takes to dismiss it? Equality of citizenship means you have the same rights as every other Irish citizen, not greater or less. Equality of nationalisms means that the Irish state loses its independence by granting some role in its sovereignty to the British state; or that Irish nationalism is diminished by some other expedient(s) in-order to accommodate those who give allegiance to the British monarchy. It’s not a case of attempting to transfer the GFA “lock, stock and barrel” to the Irish Republic. The compromises that NI parties have granted to each other concerning equality of nationalisms are only relevant to the abnormal statelet in which they were granted; and ergo, they have no relevance whatsoever to the internal dynamics of the Irish Republic. Those ‘templates’ will be binned. What will happen is that unionists will demand equality of nationalisms post-unity and PSF, having already ceded the principles in the GFA, won’t have grounds for objection. So, they’ll be arguing for unity on a basis that is deeply detrimental to Irish nationalism. That’s when the shit will hit the fan.

    That said, I think (assuming devolution works out), that we’re looking at 40+ years before this becomes an issue; and it’s impossible to predict that far ahead, isn’t it? China might have invaded us all long before then and we’ll all be making talking Ho Chi Minh dolls for 5 cents an hour! I also think that the most likely outcome to the GFA (and provisional republicanism acceptance of an internal settlement) is that people will be too deeply assimilated into the United Kingdom by then to even care about the abstract issue of Irish unity. So, Gerry Adams should be seen as a British stooge, working towards a pro-British monarchist agenda – along with the blind sheep in PSF. If devolution doesn’t work out, then its Plan B – and then the Irish unity game is back on without the interference of northern politicians who’ve taken 13-years to get us to the point of an election to a parliament which may never exist.

  • Greenflag

    Dubliner ,

    ‘I’ve sort of answered your wordy post above, apologies for not doing so line by line.’

    That you did and apologies for the wordiness . I don’t have time to pare it down . I don’t think we disagree as regards basic political principles . I’m averse to any role for monarchy in any Ireland (united or not) however I accept that for many Northern Unionists the ‘monarchy’ is an important symbol . I would not be averse to Ireland in the Commonwealth . It’s no longer the ‘British ‘ Commonwealth anyway . We can be IMO politically Republican without necessarily burning everything English/British except coal ! The fact is that some 5 to 6 million Britons (mostly English) are first and second generation Irish . Australia has by far the largest percentage of population of Irish descent of any country in the world . Canada also . Commonwealth membership would not compromise Irish political independence but would/could benefit Irish Athletes -educational institutions etc etc . If such membership provided a modicum of cultural assurance to Northern Unionists of ‘respect’ for at least an aspect of their history then what harm?

    As regards to the suggestion of unionists having a right to seats in any future UI Goverment? An unlikely nonsense. As you say ‘politics’ in NI is not transferable to the Republic . The last thing we need is forced involuntary coalition government . I’m still trying to figure out how DUP economic policy can be implemented alongside SF Health and Education policy while both have to be in synch with UUP industry and business policy and SDLP local Government policy?

    ‘If devolution doesn’t work out, then its Plan B – and then the Irish unity game is back on’

    If devolution does not work out I would not necessarily assume that the Irish Unity ‘game’ is automatically back on . That could instead be the trigger which could prompt a serious look at Repartition by Republicans and Unionists alike . Unionists IMO would move first in that scenario as they would then be in the position (without devolution) of having to face a possible slide to a UI at some point however distant without the ‘safeguard’ of a local Assembly

    ‘.without the interference of northern politicians who’ve taken 13-years to get us to the point of an election to a parliament which may never exist.’

    Eh ? 13 years ? Sunningdale failed in 1974 which according to my numbers is 33 years of navel gazing and a failure to communicate on the part of local NI politicians . I can’t recall how many times the present Assembly has been suspended but the old political joke of the number of times the Italian Government changes comes to mind 🙁

    It will be no surprise to many in NI that a system devised by an obscure Belgian will fail to resurrect the failed political entity . This is perhaps why almost 40% will stay at home on the day . Elections per se are now a debased currency in NI as can only be expected when people are asked to vote for a Government which will be an involuntary coalition at best and a recipe for further constitutional mayhem almost certainly . This circus performance if it ever reaches town for a brief apearance will of course have to be paid for by HMG’s Exchequer .