The greater threat

David Vance moves his gaze from the UKUP towards the DUP. In his personal experiences he has been impressed by key individuals within it but feels Paisley’s power is too great, the DUP is selfish in its actions to other Unionists and crucially is not truly an Unionist party but a Ulster nationalist one. This alleged lack of commitment to the Union means the DUP, coupled with the lack of credible Unionist political opposition, makes it the greater threat to the Union.

  • Two Nations

    Kensei,

    Surely, that doesn’t matter!!! They are in the majority, they can do what they want and no one has the right to question it.

    They could rename the country Prodland and set up the Rangers first eleven as the ruling cabinet and no one would have the right to complain.

    I would hope that in the name of democracy George et al would do all in their power to see that First Minister Barry Ferguson was able to rule us in peace.

    That is majority rules.

  • kensei

    “Surely, that doesn’t matter!!! They are in the majority, they can do what they want and no one has the right to question it.

    They could rename the country Prodland and set up the Rangers first eleven as the ruling cabinet and no one would have the right to complain.

    I would hope that in the name of democracy George et al would do all in their power to see that First Minister Barry Ferguson was able to rule us in peace.

    That is majority rules. ”

    Unfortunately, by majority rule you agreed some changes to the Constitution that means we get the Assembly and associated guff. You will need likely another referendum to change that and you are also assuming that a majority will vote for Prodland.

    Similarly, the relevant majority is actual the one in London which passes the law that actually matters here. Didn’t anyone tell you?

  • Two Nations

    Kensei

    Majority rule is the rule that is to be recognised, from what I am being told. Therefore, the Prods can do what they want, regardless of what they did in the past.

    There is no such thing as majority rule from London. So no I did not get the memo.

    If you are a proponent of majority rule for some future scenario, then you have to accept it now. So you would want a complete end to powersharing and the start of Protestant rule.

    If you accept sectarian headcounting as the stimulus for political rule, then learn to be consistent.

  • kensei

    “Majority rule is the rule that is to be recognised, from what I am being told. Therefore, the Prods can do what they want, regardless of what they did in the past.

    There is no such thing as majority rule from London. So no I did not get the memo.”

    I am afraid you need to realise that Parliament is sovereign. We are in the Union because of majority rule. that means we have to play by the rules Westminster decides. I’d have a look for that memo.

    “If you are a proponent of majority rule for some future scenario, then you have to accept it now. So you would want a complete end to powersharing and the start of Protestant rule.

    If you accept sectarian headcounting as the stimulus for political rule, then learn to be consistent. ”

    I am a proponent of majority rule to decide the Constitutional arrangements, so I have to live with the Union.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    JEB: “This is the crux of the matter – with such a mindset then unionists in Ireland can only perpetually see themselves as usurpers and villains. ”

    Ah, so they are that insecure, unable to maintain their own self-image in the face of the nasty looks of a radical fringe.

    JEB: “The question you should ask is are nationalists so insecure they have to put right a ‘wrong’ of several hundred years ago – especially when the descendants of the original settlers are still in Ireland. ”

    Granted. A certain magnaminity in victory — something I would note the Planters lacked — would be the ideal solution. But, then, you’re against even a minimum of Gaelic trappings, unwilling to grant even the same easement as has been granted Welsh.

    JEB: “The notion that all Irish are homogenously Gaelic is a nonsense in the first place – Gerry Adams ancestors probably came over on the same boat as mine – why does he feel the need to define Ireland in Gaelic ? ”

    Mayhap because the effort was made to rob the Catholics of that heritage, JEB. As I noted earlier, the Roman Empire prospered under a more lassez faire cultural policy. Perhaps had not the Planters and their progeny worked so hard to scour Gaelic from the country, those who identify with it would not work so hard to bring it to the fore.

    JEB: “In other words a United Ireland is all one way. ”

    Is that not also the Unionist way — “our way or nothing?”

    JEB: “Unionists lose everything and are expected to join in with a country who’s identity was deliberately devised to differentiate it from them. ”

    As a side matter, would this be so different than what their forebears wrought? How is it unjust that the roles be reversed? Arguably, the who of Unionism relies upon the myth that the evil, scurrilous “Cafflicks” want to destroy them.

    JEB: “Indeed if the Gaelic predominance is to be the primary culture within a New ireland what concessions – if any – did you have in mind for unionists ? ”

    Few, since few are needed. The defacto language of government and business is English. The goverment is a democracy, albeit lacking a constitutional monarch — I think you’ll be able to pick up the rules of the game easily enough. I’d expect the parades matter to settle out

    As for the last, I was hoping to get an explication where some of your positions, since they seem ludicrous — your antipathy for bilingual signage leaves me shaking my head.

    The only reason Northern Ireland exists at all is as a result of Protestant / Unionist fear that those nasty “Cafflicks” would do unto them what they, the Planters and their Unionist progeny, had done.

  • overhere

    I realise I may be sticking my neck on the line and way of base here, but all I have read in this thread is how and by what means Unionists will be convinced to join a UI. On the other side of the coin qhat are Unionists prepared to do to convice Nationalists/Republicans to remain within the UK.

    I know, just a thought to balance things out and I must admit I have never heard any Unionist politician or bogger give any details or are we just supposed to put up and shut up because lads I don’t think that is going to work anymore !!

  • overhere

    sorry
    should be blogger

  • John East Belfast

    Dread

    Your 6.20 post and your attitude therein only underscores all I have said – most depressing.
    We have definitely come full circle or perhaps nowhere with this line of thinking.

    overhere

    Unionists querying what they can expect in a post UI had become a subject matter of where this thread had gone.

    therefore

    “all I have read in this thread is how and by what means Unionists will be convinced to join a UI. On the other side of the coin qhat are Unionists prepared to do to convice Nationalists/Republicans to remain within the UK.”

    is correct but your latter bit is the subject of other threads and does happen regularly.

  • Aaron McDaid

    Dread: “As a side matter, would this be so different than what their forebears wrought?”

    It makes no sense to blame JEB for the behaviour of unionist centuries ago. Maybe ‘blame’ is the wrong word, but you are making comparisons as if somehow JEB can be attacked for the behaviour of unionists in the past.

    Dread, JEB,
    If you go back 400 years and have say a generation every 25 years, that gives 16 generations, which means everyone here has about 60,000 ancestors. The idea that all one’s ancestors could be all Catholic or all Protestant is absurd. I would confidentally say that the variation throughout Ireland today would be pretty small after 16 generations. The average Protestant today might be only 5% more Protestant than the average Catholic today (in terms of their 400-years-ago-ancestors), and big number of those 60,000 will be from outside these islands altogether. There may well be some purebreds(!) but on average each of the major Christian denominations will be similarly mixed up.

    I think I might do some calculations and do some software to make some better predictions. I’ll need to make guesses about numbers of kids each, conversion rate, intermarriage rate, how closely kids inherit religion, and so on. And I’ve got some real homework I should be doing instead.

  • John East Belfast

    Aaron

    Good points and I know we have more in common than divides us

    There is no homogenous Gaelic take on Irishness and although it may help define boundaries today in a post unified Ireland I was simply saying that it would not create the kind of harmony any future structure would want if the Gaelic version was given prominance.

    On my own part although my fathers family is distinctly Scots my mother’s maiden names include Joyce and Phelan in the not too distant past.

    What has really shaped our boundaries is religion.

  • Dewi

    Heroic performance by JEB on this thread – odd that it’s only him from the “majority community”. Is fear of the internet another cultural definition of Unionism? Will banning the Web in a UI be a step forward (Sorry – mean – but can’t resist !)
    Serious point about language – billions of people speak English – the Celtic langages are only spoken on our bit of this planet and need official support and succour to prosper – if that, of course, is what people want.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Aaron: “It makes no sense to blame JEB for the behaviour of unionist centuries ago. Maybe ‘blame’ is the wrong word, but you are making comparisons as if somehow JEB can be attacked for the behaviour of unionists in the past. ”

    I am not blaming him, Aaron. I am challenging his notion that there is something inherently unjust in the wheel turning and the shoe finding itself on the other foot. Rhetorically, given all that has gone before, is it wholly unjust?

    Despite all that has gone before, Unionism want concessions. The have already imposed their language upon Ireland — as previously noted, English is the defacto language. Yet JEB has dug in his heels and said that even minimal Gaelic trappings are simply too much for his system — bilingual streets signs and Unionists swoon.

    The fact of the matter is is that a certain amount of “Gaelicization” is unavoidable — Irish has been granted EU status as an “official language” and would, as a matter of regulation, have to be available in certain capacities. JEB has indicated that he is wholly incapable of countenancing even these minimal trappings. He, in essence, has states the only UI he would accept is an United Ireland where nothing changes for Unionists — an understandable, if unrealistic, position.

    Assuming arguendo a peaceful unification of Ireland, I would expect that there would be some minor gaelicization, so as to fufill those regulatory requirements under EU and Irish law. Forms would be available in Irish. Mayhap some major signs would be presented bilingually. There would not, I would expect, a major rush to gaelicize the whole of the state. That is, frankly, an irrational fear, given the state of the gaelic tongue in Ireland. But then, the whole of Unionist history is predicated on a fear of Catholics wanting revenge for that which has gone before.

  • John East Belfast

    Dread

    I have been trying to point out to you and leading on from the Ulster Nationalist theme – ie somebody who has no instinctive love for the Union (but not me) but is more concerned about the survival of a group of people (mostly Scots Irish) and also possibly for religious reasons – is if I were an Irish Republican then a united Ireland would be well within your life time grasp if some serious radical thinking was engaged in.

    That would include a rolling back of the Gaelicisation of the Irish State.
    The Senate would be in Belfast and the House of Representatives would be in Dublin.
    The new flag and new anthem would be taken as read and there would be a further rolling back of Gaelic in Road signs and certainly no imposement of it in the north.
    The State would take full control of education and if anyone wanted a Catholic Education they could pay for it themselves in faith schools.

    However if you insist on continuing as they are in 26 County Ireland and even in your case, it would appear, ensure the nasty unionists are made aware, punished and reminded that they are infact usurpers in what would be expected by that time to be their own country then you are asking for more trouble.

    Ireland is not only for the Gaels (whoever that might be) and because of our divided past then the harmony and unity of any one country would involve the ability to draw a line under the past and move on.

    ie no one culture would take ownership of the soul of the State.

    Saying English tips the balance is not true as I have pointed out a couple of times on this thread that English is not the Planter’s language and poses no more threat to Ireland than it does to America, Australia et al.

    Meanwhile Gaelic and Scots Irish and the traditions of each could be taught in schools and financed in non political mediums for mutual understanding and not domination.

    If were up for that rather than waiting for the magical 50+1 you could probably be very surprised how it would shift the balance.

  • gaelgannaire

    ‘there would be a further rolling back of Gaelic in Road signs ‘

    Interesting idea, what new names do you propose?

    What do you propose to call the Cregagh (also pronounced Cregey – i could explain why but i don’t think you would be particularly interested!) Road for example? What about George Best Road? Lisnasharragh? … what about Peter Robinson Ville?

    What about Newry? Yewtreeham? – Ballymena? … Paisleytown?

    Knocknagoney? – what about Watership Down?

    I know, Drogheda, why not call it .. wait for it, Williamstown on Boyne!!

    The possiblities are endless and although I will never agree I look forward to seeing your ‘rolling back’ suggestions, incidently its called anglicisation.

  • John East Belfast

    gael

    I am quite happy to leave all names spelt as they are in English

  • Aaron McDaid

    Dread
    They [unionists] have already imposed their language upon Ireland

    When the English started their colonization in the 13th century and right up to the Ulster plantation of the 17th century, there was no Union therefore their were no unionists. So you can’t blame unionism. Sorry to be so pedantic Dread, but your recent comments are very unhelpful.

    Dread
    I am challenging his notion that there is something inherently unjust in the wheel turning and the shoe finding itself on the other foot. Rhetorically, given all that has gone before, is it wholly unjust?

    It is wholly unjust. Anyway, I don’t think JEB said what you think or imply he said. You’re setting up a straw man I think.

    The original colonization and plantations were carried out in an unjust way. But none of those people are alive today so I’m not going to blame any living person for it. If a modern person tries to justify the terrible war crimes carried about by the British centuries ago (ignoring more recent allegations), then let’s get stuck into their argument, but the fact is such a person would be merely wrong, not guilty of the war crime itself.

    Dread
    JEB has indicated that he is wholly incapable of countenancing even these minimal trappings

    I don’t want to speak for JEB here, but I really don’t see where you’ve got this from Dread. There appears to be general agreement that there should be some support for languages, and the only debate is the level of support. Avoid the straw men …

    Dread
    But then, the whole of Unionist history is predicated on a fear of Catholics wanting revenge for that which has gone before.

    I suppose we have to draw a distinction between Unionism and ‘the NI state’. The former is a good bit older. The NI state was run by sectarian NI-Protestant-Nationalists who didn’t give a hoot about the Union between GB and Ireland. They also didn’t give a hoot about their fellow Ulstermen in Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan who joined the UVF and were discarded when the majority of the UVF decided they didn’t want Ulster after all (they seem to have forgotten to change their name). We shouldn’t forget the many Unionists in the NI Parliament who did try (but were ignored by the ruling elite) to run the place in a more democratic fashion (remember that modern ‘democracy’ is defined by restrictions on majority rule and gauranteed rights, see the US constitution for example).

    I wouldn’t insult modern unionism or unionists by suggesting they all approve of NI ’21 to ’72.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Aaron: “I don’t want to speak for JEB here, but I really don’t see where you’ve got this from Dread. There appears to be general agreement that there should be some support for languages, and the only debate is the level of support.”

    How about when he says “That would include a rolling back of the Gaelicisation of the Irish State… The new flag and new anthem would be taken as read and there would be a further rolling back of Gaelic in Road signs and certainly no imposement of it in the north.”

    As I said, bilingual road signage and Unionists swoon.

  • Aaron McDaid

    Dread,
    “Rolling back” does not necessarily mean totally scrapping the bilingual signs. Nor has he called for the abolishment of TG4 (the Irish language TV station) or the Gaeltachtaí.

    It is your interpretation of “minimal trappings” which equates it with bilingual street signs. Others might say that TG4 and financial support for optional language education is “minimal trappings”. So we should all report others objections as they are, ‘so and so is against more bilingual signs’, and avoid spin such as ‘against even the most minimalistic trappings’.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I want more support for the language in many forms. And I would disagree with anybody who wants to cut back support. But there’s a big difference between opposing bilingual signs in the six counties and wanting to scrap all the preexisting signs throughout this island.

    There are many symbols and issues here, from languages to flags. In each case there is the issue of what the symbol was meant to stand for originally (think the flag for example), what it seems to stand for in the minds of various groups, and what it could stand for in future. I myself am confident that the original Irish Republic with the original Proclamation is something we can all eventually unite behind. This will talk a lot of talking and listening and patience.

    I don’t mind being told I’m wrong, or talking to people I believe are wrong. The important thing is to keep talking, keep an open mind, and never never never accidentally or otherwise misinterpret other’s opinions.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Aaron McDaid: ““Rolling back” does not necessarily mean totally scrapping the bilingual signs. Nor has he called for the abolishment of TG4 (the Irish language TV station) or the Gaeltachtaí. ”

    He has made clear, in other threads, if not here, that Gaelic should be confined to the Gaeltachtai. Likewise, “rolling back” would be at least a partial scrapping of bilingual signs. Likewise, I think you will find that defunding TG4 would be somewhere on the agenda.

    Aaron McDaid: “It is your interpretation of “minimal trappings” which equates it with bilingual street signs.”

    Actually, I was concentrating primarily on those areas where Gaelic has some regulatory status, such as forms. Gaelic is a recognized language per the EU and, as such, has a place in a UI beyond the confines of the Gaeltachtai, if only to conform with EU regulation.

    Aaron McDaid: “But there’s a big difference between opposing bilingual signs in the six counties and wanting to scrap all the preexisting signs throughout this island. ”

    And just what would a “rolling back” be, if not a scrapping of some bi-lingual signage, Aaron?

    Aaron McDaid: “I don’t mind being told I’m wrong, or talking to people I believe are wrong. The important thing is to keep talking, keep an open mind, and never never never accidentally or otherwise misinterpret other’s opinions. ”

    Fine. You’re wrong… now that was easy… 🙂

    Seriously, to read Jeb’s post, he would prefer to dictate terms — the act of a victor. Since a United Ireland will not come by war, but by mutual consent, the dictation of terms is inappropriate. Ergo, I am content to respond to foolish posturing with rhetorical comments meant to poke those postures.

    When and if the matter of Northern Ireland is settled, it will not be on the basis of demand or pre-conditions, but upon the basis of mutual consent and negotiation. As such, JEB’s, your and my comments are so much spilled vinegar… but it passes a slow afternoon.

  • Aaron McDaid

    Dread,
    Does “rolling back” necessarily mean scrapping all signs? I think not, and secondly I don’t think the intention is to call for scrapping all signs. Maybe some people want to scrap 90% of the signs, but 90% isn’t 100%.

    JEB also said “Gaelic and Scots Irish and the traditions of each could be taught in schools and financed in non political mediums for mutual understanding and not domination“.

    That’s not enough for me, but on the other hand, it doesn’t sound like a policy of annihilating the language.

    As for the EU, support for the Irish language in terms of official government forms et cetera is not an EU requirement. The EU rules flow solely from the recent voluntary decision of the RoI government to make it an official EU language. The government could reverse this.

    Seriously, to read Jeb’s post, he would prefer to dictate terms

    We all have to state our opinions in order to start any discussion. It’s not dictating terms to do so. We all have opinions and shouldn’t be ashamed of them. All we need to avoid is setting absolute preconditions on further talks – I haven’t seen anything like preconditions from JEB or anyone else.

    The end of your comment is fair enough. 🙂

    Oíche mhaith.

  • George

    Aaaron McDaid,
    you are forgetting that the Irish language is constitutionally protected.

    Rolling back or removing signage etc. means removing its constitutional protection.

    I can’t see a consensus for a united Ireland where Irish culture loses its constitutional protection while Northern Ireland’s unionist culture gains its constitutional protection.

  • Aaron McDaid

    George,
    I understand that entirely. I was simply responding to Dread’s suggestion that the EU has tied our hands through its regulations on official EU languages. The EU rules requiring certain support for Irish are a result solely of the 26 county government’s decision to make Irish an official language of the EU. A decision I support but still a decision made in Dublin, not Brussels.

  • Aaron McDaid

    The Ulster Unionist Convention of 1892 was happy to display the slogan of Erin-go-Bragh, according to Jonathan Bardon’s A History of Ulster.

    Unionists could start using the Irish language again.

  • Marosa

    I don’t think Gaelic should be forced on unionists in NI but I can’t see what is wrong with bilingual signs? They don’t cause any problems in Wales and hardly anyone speaks Welsh.

    Indeed, I would have thought that if the people of Switzerland (3 languages) and India (hundreds of languages, and two completely separate scripts) can live together in their respective countries then it should be possible, in the event of a united Ireland to work something out acceptable to everyone?

    As I understand it (I’m English so correct me if I’m wrong) Gaelic is not that widely spoken even in the ROI?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Aaron: “Does “rolling back” necessarily mean scrapping all signs? I think not, and secondly I don’t think the intention is to call for scrapping all signs. Maybe some people want to scrap 90% of the signs, but 90% isn’t 100%. ”

    Now you’re splitting hairs, Aaron. It is constitutionally protected in the Republic and a recognized language by the EU. As it is constitutionally protected, that protection should be near absolute until and unless the Constitution is changed. Likewise, as it is an EU recognized language, there is no basis in denying access to forms and like in Gaelic.

  • Aaron McDaid

    Dread,
    The constitutional protection and EU status are decisions for the Irish people and government respectively. Who knows what might be in a new or modified constitution for a united Ireland?

    I support the protection and would like more support, but these need to be plainly argued for with reasons, not presented as a fait accompli which can’t/shouldn’t be discussed.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Aaron McDaid: “The constitutional protection and EU status are decisions for the Irish people and government respectively. Who knows what might be in a new or modified constitution for a united Ireland? ”

    Gee, Aaron, I think that is what I said when I wrote: “It is constitutionally protected in the Republic and a recognized language by the EU. As it is constitutionally protected, that protection should be near absolute until and unless the Constitution is changed.

  • Aaron McDaid

    Dread,
    I suppose I may have been misinterpreting your position. I thought you were using the EU rules and the Constitution as an argument to John as to why it’s a good idea to support the language. Instead, you were stating the obvious in that currently there are rules supporting it. Sorry about that.