Northern Ireland Executive is now unique, as Scots go for ‘government’…

THE Scottish Executive has been rebranded as the Scottish Government (though the former remains the legal name). According to a BBC report, First Minister Alex Salmond said Northern Ireland was the only other country in the world where the word ‘executive’ was used to describe a layer of government. In addition, the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom will be removed from all the Scottish Government’s official documents and replaced with a saltire. The move came after a poll suggested that only 29% of people wanted the title Scottish Executive to remain. What do you think? Is ‘executive’ less meaningful than ‘government’, which is sometimes used? Should we ditch ‘Northern Ireland Executive’ for Northern Ireland Goverment (though why we don’t make more use of the more grammatically correct ‘Northern Irish’ is another question) or Government of Northern Ireland? Does our less powerful, more administrative executive even deserve to be called a ‘government’?

  • michael

    though why we don’t make more use of the more grammatically correct ‘Northern Irish’ is another question.

    i asssume its something to do with what its use would imply. “Northern irish” suggests a nationality/ enthnicity that, although perfectly valid, not everyone in the region administered under that name identifies with.

    but yea, NI goverment. Doesnt sit very well with me. Perhaps its the lack of real power. But for the same reason, i dont think i would really care if ther name were to be changed.

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    People from Scotland are Scottish and British, People from England are English and British, people from Wales are Welsh and British, why do some people in Northern Ireland refuse to be British and Northern Irish?

    Sammy Wilson: “I’m not Irish, I’m British.”
    Ali G: “Wot? You ‘ere on ‘oliday?”

  • GavBelfast

    The Welsh administration has (even) less power than ours, yet brands itself the Welsh Assembly Government (admittedly a bit of a mouthful).

    Yes, Northern Ireland Government, why not? It might even encourage them to actually govern and legislate on the odd thing if it took their fancy.

  • Eddie

    No, some of them are getting puffed-up enough already without being allowed to call themselves “The Government”
    Without control of foreign policy, defence, overall taxation etc, I could never think of them as a Government.
    Allow them to elevate themselves to “Government” and the next thing they’d ant would be control of broadcasting, immigration, God knows what else!

  • Eddie

    ps – I’d be outta here!

  • mrjimbob

    The last ‘Government of Northern Ireland’ didn’t end to well, let’s stick with an executive, all the better if it was Northern Irish though.

    On an unrelated note its nice to hear a nationalist call Northern Ireland a country.

  • Adrian

    Delusions of grandeur are communicable?

  • Rubicon

    I recall using the term “Northern Irish” only to be severely dressed down by unionist MLAs. I was left completely confused (not being from NI) since I thought the term accurate and if any bloc was to object I thought it’d be nationalists. Not so!

    The unionists explained, “we’re not Irish!”. I guess after that nationalists who may have thought the term partitionist sat back and let the unionists keep digging.

    Unionist rejection of any geographic identity paints them reactionary idiots. The ’70’s immigrants to the UK from the Indian sub-continent, Uganda and the Caribbean had reason to describe themselves as British. Most have grown out of it – but not unionists and certainly not those who sympathised with Enoch Powell.

    The unionist objection to any kind of Irish identity is a recent invention. Carson described himself an Irishman. The identity denial is an eloquent expression of defeat to the supremacy of the Gaelic racial identity nationalism espouses. It has left unionism without a sense of positive identity and in to this vacuum, “protest” against being considered “Irish”, “Protestantism” and images of “planters” start to merge.

    Unionist objection to being considered Irish feeds the single Gaelic Irish identity myth often pushed by nationalists – but worse, it looses the sympathy or understanding of English, Welsh and Scottish compatriots – but worst of all, it is an affront to the flag they profess allegiance to – you know – that red, white and blue one with St. Patrick’s Cross.

  • Cato

    This site is dying on its arse

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom will be removed from all the Scottish Government’s official documents and replaced with a saltire.< http://www.sundayherald.com/news/heraldnews/display.var.1658659.0.0.php

  • páid

    OK Rubi, hard to disagree with that.

    But it’s no use trying to tell anyone how they should FEEL and if unionists don’t feel irish, pointing out technicalities and drawing their attention to maps isn’t going to change that.

    Everyone knows that unionists used to feel a lot more Irish than they do now, and perhaps they will again.

    Not having organizations with Irish in their title putting bombs under their cars will help this process.

    As with Ulster for Nationalists.

  • Dewi

    ….brands itself the Welsh Assembly Government…it’s called WAG (which has a different meaning in another context !!!)

  • Rubicon
    Good post.

    I was really surprised to read a quote from Carson defining himself as “Irish”.
    I did not expect that.
    he was obviously a Unionist so when did Unionists in the North of Ireland stop defining themselves as ethnically Irish?
    Any links on that?

  • Prince Eoghan
    2010 is a long way away in political terms.
    I just spent a week back in my native west of scotland after a decade or so being out of the place.

    There has been a change in the ambience apropos the independence question.

    Other research find a similiar demographic to the Sunday herald piece with the younger generation more likely to reject the “B” word and define themsleves soley as Scottish.

  • THE poltical debate in Scotland now is about independence.
    That doesnt mean that it will happen in 2010, but the place is becomng more officially Scottish under Salmond’s casnny stewardship (pun intended.

    The Scots are a cautious people and the conversations now are about the modalities of separation-that was not the conversations I heard 11 years ago when I left Glasgow.

    Nothing is inevitable, but I rather suspect that,being the venal self absorbed creatures that they are the world over, the politcal class in edinburgh want more power.
    When they get that-they will want some more-that is the gradualist game Salmond is playing-and he has baited westminster quite skillfully over a number of issues.

  • páid

    I don’t think you’ll find an easy answer to that one, Phil.

    For most, I believe, their Irishness was always bound up with a Four Home Nations Britishness.
    But identity across the Unionist community is not, and never was homogenous.

    Identity is a dynamic affair and nations have to recreate themselves, or die.

    There are straws in the wind, however. A mostly Unionist crowd chanted strongly for Ireland at Ravenhill last week. This was helped by the fact that the tricolour and Soldiers’ Song were not in evidence, I believe.

    Symbols, deadly devices.

  • Thanks páid- the question for Northern Ireland Unionists/Ulster Protestants/Ulster Scots-how ever they want to define/re-define themselves is that a separating Scotland-even if it is,by 2010, devolution plus, is largely the end of the polity that is the United Kingdom.

    The political class in Edinburgh are getting to like being in power-they will want more.
    That is Salmond’s view and I think he is correct.
    Where does this leave NI unionists-especially as they cherish their Scottish links?

    How does their “Britishness” survive that?

  • Rory

    The assurance given by Brian Faulkner, the last prime minister of a Government of Northern Ireland to his CEO, Ted Heath, that the unrest among among the plebs could be finally contained by a robust show of government force at a civil rights march in Derry in 1972 and the ensuing failure of that idea led Heath to abolish forever, by the archaic mechanism of prerogation, any possibility that the botched settlement of 1922 that resulted in a little place that had been thought to be a temporary diificulty, could any longer delude itself with the grandiosity of the title “government”.

    All the measures of the long term plan of the UK government since then have been predicated on the eventual unity of all the island of Ireland within a single manageable electoral, economic unit within the EU.

    As one old Tory former minister once remarked to me at a reception in a foreign embassy, “Really, since 1966, the task has been to sell the prods down the river and the problem has been how to do it with the minimum of fuss”.

    Nothing has substantially changed. And Cato makes a good point that this site “is dying on its arse” because the exciting business of war and whether or not there could or would be an end to war has now been displaced by the mundanity of pretentious descriptive prescriptions of where life might be and where it might be heading in what iight be perceived as simply yet another dreary little backwater in this widely accessible world.

    Maybe what will inevitably be Slugger’s loss in international curiosity will also be indicative of a beginning of an acceptance of civilised tolerance in that place in which the first, last and only Northern Ireland Government ever attempted, and signally failed, to maintain control.

  • páid

    Phil,

    Scotland could declare itself independent in the morning and I doubt that even one NI unionist would come out and say ‘OK, game over, it’s a fair cop, we knocked 85 years out of it. Tell me my name in Irish and I’ll sign up.’

    Now they’re not daft. The thinking ones can see the UK is not exactly the coming political thing, though it’s days are far from numbered.

    I don’t know how it will end up in 25 years. Top of my list is no-one dying due to constitutional disputes. After that, let’s just see.?

  • Katinka

    I am an Ulster-Scot. My ancestors came here 400 years ago so I suppose some clowns would say I was a ‘Planter’! You could say that every Virginian or Nova Scotian was also a ‘planter’ but that is as silly as calling me one. I am a Protestant, and a unionist (with a small ‘u’). I am an Ulsterman, I am an Irishman, and I am British. I have never ever had the slightest problem with my identity. If people query it, I simply say I am not a citizen of the Republic of Ireland. This supposed problem that Unionists have with ‘Irish’ shows a lack of understanding of the difference between race and nationality. the old canard that a true Irishman is Gaelic, Catholic and nationalist has long disappeared.

  • Rory

    It is not in the least silly to call the British adventurers in those parts of North America, later called “Virginia” or “Nova Scotia”, planters, Katinka. They were planters as were your ancestors in Ireland. Their purpose was to occupy a land inhabited by others, and to subjugate and displace them, for the greater profit of the Crown. The motivation for the planters was free land under the protection of the Crown (providing they behaved themselves), they having been displaced by the forces of the Crown in the first place from their own land.

    In North America the original inhabitants were displaced and subjugated almost to the point of anihiliation. The Irish proved more resiliant.

    The Crown, of course, being sovereign , does as it pleases and those disposessed slavehearts who eat the scraps from its table are grateful for the small mercy of being a dog at the bottom of the table.

  • Rubicon

    Phil – you ask when did northern unionists stop describing themselves as “Irish”? Difficult question and much of Paid’s response I agree with. It didn’t start with partition – apparently Wellington took great exception to being described as “Irish” – but the “2 Irelands” took very different identities from partition.

    Paid’s response is insightful – it was about “feeling” – what identity did the 2 states make you “feel”?

    Identity in the UK involves a national identity beyond “British”. Unionism has failed to define what that is – outside of sectarianism. Such an identity is centuries away from the identity the vast majority of GB citizens understand or support.

    The Irish Gaelic identity is also being challenged – mono-culturalism isn’t going to work well with the diversity of the 21st Century. Perhaps this challenge may encourage unionism to define its contribution to the people of Ireland.

  • Dewi

    Watched Salmond’s inauguration speech on BBC Parliament this afternoon. A wonderful performance, inclusive but forceful. Best of luck to him.

  • Pete Baker

    A post which might be of interest to those discussing identity – “When we discuss these issues with genuine mutual understanding..”

  • slug

    “Phil – you ask when did northern unionists stop describing themselves as “Irish”? Difficult question”

    Actually its fairly well documented that this happened very recently, from about late 1960s. Some say it was in fact a consequence of the troubles.

  • Dewi

    What do you feel then Peter ? Interested honestly.

  • Rubicon

    Rory – your post precisely defines the exclusive nature of the Irish identity that makes it near impossible for others to describe themselves as Irish.

    I’ve a Norman name that came in the first invasion of Ireland more than 600 years ago. But – my mother’s maiden name is Celtic. History is a little hazy on the Celtic plantation of Ireland.

    Am I a planter? Am I half a planter? But – my father’s mother’s name came from northern England/Scottish borders. The calculations are getting difficult now – but I guess I have to be more than half a planter.

    At first when I read, “In North America the original inhabitants were displaced and subjugated almost to the point of anihiliation. The Irish proved more resiliant.” I thought “what crap! A good part of the US was ‘planted’ by the Irish!” I’m sure you’ll be aware that the annihilation of the “original inhabitants” occurred long after US independence.

    But hey – the “Irish” didn’t do it – right? Once you exclude the Celts, Vikings, Normans, English, Scottish … or anyone who has an ancestor related to same – I’m sure you’re right!

  • james orr

    So, “Northern Ireland Government” with a St Patrick’s Cross (well, if it’s ok for the PSNI…) instead of those stupid hexagons? I’ll go for that.

  • páid

    Pete claims on the Hugo MacNeill thread he references:

    “I’d suggest that the allegiances John Hewitt referred to are cultural and societal rather than political” – wrt to Ulster, Irish and British.

    Spot on IMO. In fact, an unusual placing of the horse before the cart.

    In this dispute, Orange and Green are two sides which each have idealised political arrangements in which they hope to accommodate the cultural and societal elements.

    But each side resists, fearing the loss of their own societal and cultural elements in the other’s political framework.

  • IJP

    Linguistically, I think usage dictates that “Northern Ireland” is also the adjective – a “Northern Ireland man”, the “Northern Ireland team”, etc.

    Politically, I’m quite happy with “Northern Ireland Executive”. “Government” to me refers to the whole thing – NIO, UK Government in so far as it has responsibility on reserved/excepted matters, cross-border bodies etc. “Executive” is very specific to the Ministers who have power for devolved matters. (Besides, “Government of NI” sounds too much like the bad old days.)

    I’d quite like a “Parliament” back, mind…

  • slug

    “I’d quite like a “Parliament” back, mind…”

    Me too (then shall we have MNPs?), but am willing to wait to see if they act like one.

  • Pete Baker

    páid

    Indeed.

    Dewi

    I live in/on an archipelago.

  • Dewi

    So do I Pete and loved that thread – probably indicative that there were only a dozen or so commentators (more than your blasted Vikings though). seriously though – do u regard yourself as Irish ?

  • Rubicon

    I’d quite like a “Parliament” back, mind…

    Posted by IJP on Sep 03, 2007 @ 12:07 AM

    Couldn’t agree more IJP – but you’re mixing the plinths of power. You need to separate the legislature, executive and judiciary.

    A Parliament would need control of justice and at least some fiscal matters. These the Scottish Parliament has – the Assembly does not. In Scotland the Government is answerable and appointed by the Parliament. In NI this is just a vaneer. The power-sharing formula of the GFA merges the institutions of “executive/government” and “parliament/legislature/assmembly” to one.

    So in Scotland the electorate decided a change was required in the people representing them in Parliament. There was a far greater change in NI voting patterns – but still the same 4 parties form the executive.

    I’m told it’s the price for peace. It means – “it doesn’t matter what you think/vote – it’ll all be OK – a minister or two may loose a seat but we’ll all be back”.

    What a croc of sh*t! The same 4 parties own all the Assembly Committees. What is a Committee intended to do? Isn’t it supposed to scrutinise and challenge?

    There’s no separation of powers in NI and there’s not mechanism to deliver accountability. Until there is – call it what you want – but it aint democracy.

  • Pete Baker

    Dewi

    You may want to re-read those earlier posts..

    I have no reluctance in identifying myself as Irish, British, European, International.. but, in particular, Archipelagic.

  • Dewi

    Archipelagic ! Start a movement ! – The Archipelagic Liberation Army ? – Any particular language ?

  • Rubicon

    but, in particular, Archipelagic.

    Posted by Pete Baker on Sep 03, 2007 @ 12:31 AM

    Damned Roman! 😉

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Pete

    Well archipelagic certainly rolls off the tongue in a way that British or Irish never could ;oP

    IJP

    Linguistically, I don’t think usage dictates that ‘Northern Ireland’ is an adjective at all times. It is correct in certain circumstances – as in ‘a Northern Ireland player, since the player plays for a team called ‘Northern Ireland’.

    However, ‘a Northern Ireland man’ is either ‘a man from Northern Ireland’ or ‘a Northern Irish man’.

    I would agree that it is fine to refer to the ‘Northern Ireland team’ or even the ‘Northern Ireland Executive’. We talk the ‘the England team’ at least.

    But ‘Northern Ireland man’?

    I have never heard anyone talk about ‘the England man’ or ‘the Ireland woman’. It is the ‘English man’ and ‘Irish woman’ (which are often run together as single words). Of course, it implies an identity. The Scots (not ‘the Scotland people’) chose ‘The Scottish Government’ and had a ‘Scottish Executive’ before. While they could also have picked ‘The Government of Scotland’ to succeed the previous label, I really doubt anyone suggested ‘The Scotland Government’.

    One could – rightly and easily – refer to ‘a man from Scotland’ (ie he may not be ‘Scottish’ but lives in Scotland) or, in the same vein, ‘a woman from Ireland’.

    Indeed, it’s not uncommon to refer to ‘a man from Northern Ireland’, which covers both those from the area and those who live there.

    So why do people bother to refer to ‘a Northern Ireland man’ when it is less specific, probably grammatically incorrect and just sounds plain odd?

  • Rubicon

    Actually its fairly well documented that this happened very recently, from about late 1960s. Some say it was in fact a consequence of the troubles.

    Posted by slug on Sep 02, 2007 @ 11:44 PM

    Slug – I’m not convinced. Yes, the violence polarised – but that didn’t start in the 60’s. I’m sure the Provo’s moved many to places that they never thought they’d be.

    What I’m trying to say is that the failure of unionism to promote – or even accept – its role in developing Ireland is a serious matter. In 1911 Belfast rivalled Dublin to be Ireland’s principal city. Massive immigration in to Belfast occurred and much earlier linen contracts stretched far – keeping people in a living in Donegal when no local industry could have made that happen.

    Nationalist propaganda would have you believe that people of the unionist tradition were simply self-serving. I’ve read hundreds of posts here that confirm the success of that propaganda.

    Unionists were given a Parliament and Government but for 50 years they failed to produce an identity beyond an overtly sectarian one. Why not?

    Unionists have bought the nationalist propaganda, they hide from history and a discussion of the past that could have them cowering in a sense of impending shame. This didn’t start with civil rights – many unionists supported civil rights!

  • Harry Flashman

    **I was really surprised to read a quote from Carson defining himself as “Irish”.
    I did not expect that. **

    Good lord, the man was born, bred and buttered in Dublin, he spoke with a thick Dublin accent all his life, how could he NOT describe himself as Irish?

    However like Gordon Brown’s Scottishness, Edward Carson’s Irishness was within an overarching Britishness.

    It’s not really that complicated.

    Any other examples of British Irishness? Yep, loads; the Irish Guards, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the Church of Ireland, the Cross of Saint Patrick on the Union Flag, the Irish Football Association, the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, The Royal Dublin Society, Bushmills Irish Whiskey, the harp on the Royal Standard, the Royal Irish Regiment, the Royal Howth Yacht Club, etc etc.

    It’s not just that the prods have dificulty in coming to terms with their Irishness, as you can see from the above list there are certain aspects of Irishness that die-hard Nationalists have difficulty with too you know.

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathy C

    Good for the Scots…getting rid of the royal coat of arms….they seem to understand the meaning of symbolism….

  • iain

    Katinka – The Scots were Gaelic

    Rory – The Scots (called the Scoti by the Romans) came from Ireland

    Rubicon – The Normans became ‘more Irish than the Irish themselves.’ and anyway, what tiny fraction of one’s ancestry does you surmname actually represent?

  • Pounder

    I guess unionist’s stopped wanting to be Irish about the same time the Irish Republican Army started blowing large holes in Belfast and London.

    Since then it’s become more of a political thing. More than one ardant shinner has informed me that I can’t identify myself as Irish because I’m not a republican.

  • Rory

    As I recall, Rubicon, Irishmen did indeed play a part in the annihiliation of the native Americans and for that they were as guilty as others who also did. The 7th Cavalry under Custer had a large Irish contingent and Crazy Horse made them sorry at Little Big Horn – and quite right too!

  • páid

    Pounder,

    “More than one ardant shinner has informed me that I can’t identify myself as Irish because I’m not a republican.”

    Well if you let them to define who you are and who you aren’t……..

    I’m not a republican, but they wouldn’t tell me I’m not Irish and get away with it.

    The Irish have been around for millenia before anyone ever heard of Irish republicanism.

  • Mike

    Gonzo –

    “The Scots (not ‘the Scotland people’) chose ‘The Scottish Government’ and had a ‘Scottish Executive’ before. While they could also have picked ‘The Government of Scotland’ to succeed the previous label, I really doubt anyone suggested ‘The Scotland Government’.”

    Interesting point on the use of the adjective. I think it would more correctly be ‘the Northern Irish Executive’. (As it happens, touching on the identity issue, this would suit me well as I primarily see myself as Northern Irish).

    On the other hand, though, when devolution came in 1998, the Scottish Office was replaced by the Scotland Office, and the Welsh Office by the Wales Office. Us good folks in NI had had the Northern Ireland Office since the 1970s so maybe they were falling into line with us… (How long the three departments will last without being rolled into one is perhaps another debate!)

  • slug

    I am proud to be Irish by identity. Manifestations of that include that I support Northern Ireland football team, I support the Ireland Cricket Team, and I am a member of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland. I do however have cultural personal and family ties that connect me with things right across these islands, including family sacrifices made in times of war, university education, and cultural influences. Thus, I regard myself as being also British by identity. More broadly I am a European.

  • slug

    There is also the option of Northern Irelander, which President Bush opted for. I quite like it, notwithstanding the resonances with “Englander”, which is usually acccompanied by with word “Little”.

  • mnob

    It is *hugely* ironic that irish republicans created partitian by withdrawing from the UK and created an ‘ourselves alone’ identity, and yet they accuse unionists of being petty seperatists.

    I’m a unionist – im irish within a British Isles context, a UK administration and an EU framework.

  • DK

    I remember a thread here where most kids appeared to be going with “Northern Irish”, and this was across the religious divide. So the term “Northern Irish” Government/executive/pack-o-wankers might be best.

    On the point that everyone here is “Irish” if they were born on the Island of Ireland, does that mean that everyone in Scotland has to be “British” as they were born on the island of Britain – even if they may say that they are Scottish first?

  • So no unionist here has actually disclaimed an Irish part to their identity. Where is the actual evidence that many unionists do?

  • jpeters

    turgon says it doesnt he? might be wrong though

  • Prince Eoghan

    Turgon and others I believe. However I hope Turgon won’t mind me saying that he usually rationalises his stand until he remembers to shout ‘No Surrender!’ and then he goes back to square one.

    >>There has been a change in the ambience apropos the independence question.<

  • james orr

    Ziznivy:

    The term “irish” can mean a multitude of things. You can be geographically Irish, linguistically Irish, politically Irish, culturally Irish to name but a few.

    Most unionists would have to agree they are geographically Irish, – but simply saying that you are Irish makes the listener assume that the other three “Irishnesses” apply, when they actually don’t apply.

  • IJP

    Gonzo

    From the BBC:

    “Police release the name of a Northern Ireland man killed in the north-east of England at the weekend.”

    “A Northern Ireland man through and through, Alan moved to London in his early twenties.”

    “A Northern Ireland woman is reunited with the pop star who saved her life.”

    (among others)

    From CNN:

    “A bipartisan group of U.S. senators condemned the killing of a Northern Ireland man after meeting Wednesday with his sisters and fiancee.”
    etc etc.

    So a quite normal (predicate) adjective form, though obviously not one for certain papers’ style guides! 🙂

  • IJP

    Rubicon

    Your 12.29 is precisely my point.

    We should have a parliament – with appropriate powers.

    We should probably have a statute too, by the way, but let’s not push our luck for now…

  • Belfast Gonzo

    IJP

    Remove the word ‘Northern’ each of the examples you have listed. Not one of them now sounds right, and – arguably – they are all wrong.

    Common usage doesn’t make something right – otherwise txt language, misplaced apostrophes and the like would be considered ‘proper’ use of English.

    Or, presumably, as you might say, England language!

    ;oP

    Sorry, it’s just a bugbear. Why on earth do people prefer to use ‘Northern Ireland’ as a descriptive term, when a perfectly good one already exists, is less of a mouthful and doesn’t sound like a deliberate attempt to avoid using the word ‘Irish’?!

    I mean, when people are on holidays, and John tells you he’s English and Berghart says he’s German, would anyone seriously pipe up and say “I’m a Northern Ireland man”?!

  • IJP

    Gonzo

    You’ve missed my point.

    My point is that of course you can’t say “Ireland man” or “Scotland man” or for that matter “Scotland Executive”.

    But you can (and do) say “Northern Ireland man” and “Northern Ireland Executive”. So “Northern Ireland” is used, in practice, as an attributive adjective (but not as a predicative, obviously).

    The question posed was whether this is a cunning Unionist plot to avoid the word “Irish”. One could equally well argue it’s a cunning Nationalist plot to make the whole “Northern Ireland” thing sound artificial.

    It’s neither. It’s just usage.

    Rule number one in linguistics is to remember it’s not mathematics – sometimes usage seems illogical, but it is decisive in determining what can reasonably be considered “right” and “wrong”. And rightly so – we Liberals believe in power to the people, after all!

  • DK

    “we Liberals believe in power to the people, after all!”

    Bad idea – you can’t vote them out.

  • “The term “irish” can mean a multitude of things. You can be geographically Irish, linguistically Irish, politically Irish, culturally Irish to name but a few.

    Most unionists would have to agree they are geographically Irish, – but simply saying that you are Irish makes the listener assume that the other three “Irishnesses” apply, when they actually don’t apply.”

    All those types of Irishness you mention are contested. Politically Irish indeed is a completely meaningless term.

    What unionists need to do is assert their own understanding of Irishness and refuse to cede the identity to nationalism.

  • Rialtas Thuaisceart na hÉireann. that would be nice.
    Translation – The Government of Northern Ireland/the North of Ireland.

  • Prince Eoghan

    In Scotland we have the re-emergence of Doric speaking groups in the north east, in the northern islands they have celebrated their norse culture, in the highlands and islands and increasingly in Glasgow we celebrate our gaelic culture.

    We are all Scots!

    We also have the unavoidable world-wide view of shortbread tin Scotland. Ireland and the Irish are a world wide brand also if viewed in this way.

    >>What unionists need to do is assert their own understanding of Irishness and refuse to cede the identity to nationalism.<

  • Firstly Eoghan, I’m a bit unsure what you mean when you say that unionists haven’t come across well in asserting that St Patrick’s Day is as much our day as it is nationalists’. I can’t imagine that such a contention would broach must criticism other than from the narrowest brand of ethno-fascist on the nationalist side.

    I also fail to see how affirming the validity of a different type of Irishness and calling it by that name could be perceived badly, other than by those who define the identity in the narrowest fashion. I would imagine those nationalists who truly believe in an Ireland of equals would welcome such a development.

    I’m not talking about a process which denies any other form of Irishness. I am saying that unionists should be confident in their own form of Irishness and in the understanding that acknowledging an Irish identity need not dilute a person’s political unionism. Such confidence might foster an atmosphere where the term is not understood merely through the prism of Irish nationalism.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>I’m not talking about a process which denies any other form of Irishness.<

  • Belfast Gonzo

    IJP

    While I agree that one can rightly say ‘Northern Ireland Executive’ (since it is a proper noun), I don’t think ‘Northern Ireland man’ is is in particularly common usage in spoken form.

    All your examples come from news stories. I don’t think that qualifies as ‘common usage’ – maybe in the media, but not in the street. So I’m not sure about it being anything to do with ‘power to the people’; maybe ‘power of the media’, which tend to go for ‘soft options’ in contentious circumstances. Since we refer to every other country in the world properly, it all sounds like a chickenshit cop-out rather than any plot.

  • Er … the Irish rugby team, Guinness, Bushmills whisky etc etc. It’s been done to death already. The point is that Irish nationalism should not define Irishness and there is more to Irishness than the ROI, tricolour, Irish Language etc etc.

    17 March is dominated by republicans. How can unionists be held responsible for the content of this parade? If anything it proves my point that unionists should not abdicate the defining of Irishness to republicans and nationalists or that’s what happens!

  • Alan Anderson

    What next lads you goin to argue about!! People who never set foot in Britain claiming to be british? hillarious!!!

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>there is more to Irishness than the ROI, tricolour, Irish Language etc etc.< >17 March is dominated by republicans. How can unionists be held responsible for the content of this parade?<

  • IJP

    DK

    Lol!

    Sir Humphrey (“The People don’t know what’s good for them”) would be turning in his grave, I confess!

    Or as Andrew Marr says about Thatcher: “The problem with giving people freedom is you’re never quite sure what they’re going to do with it.”

    It’s a risk we should probably aim at taking, though!

  • IJP

    Gonzo

    I hope you get equally excited about certain publications’ galling and misleading overuse of the word “Ulster”…!

  • páid

    The Unionists will come to terms with their Irishness in their own good time, now that Irish armies of one description or another have stopped taking potshots at them.

    The last thing they need is Irish Nationalists telling them what they should or shouldn’t be.

    Instead of selling Irish (or Scottish!) Nationalism, Celtic Nationalists might do well to ponder just how British their own cultures have become.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Instead of selling Irish (or Scottish!) Nationalism, Celtic Nationalists might do well to ponder just how British their own cultures have become.<

  • “The Unionists will come to terms with their Irishness in their own good time”

    And that will entail no compromise of our politics or diminution of loyalty to the UK.

  • Prince Eoghan

    And if the UK is no more?

  • Reader

    IJP: I don’t think ‘Northern Ireland man’ is is in particularly common usage in spoken form.
    Isn’t it really just a bit of journalese: “Liverpool woman wins Nobel prize”, “Glasgow man injured in flash flood”, “Northern Ireland man…”
    In common usage it would be Liverpudlian / Scouser / Glaswegian / Weegie or whatever.

  • Dewi

    “The Unionists will come to terms with their Irishness in their own good time”

    And that will entail no compromise of our politics or diminution of loyalty to the UK”

    I dunno Ziz, that’s a very confident prediction of the behaviour of people maybe not born yet. Who knows what a decade or more of peace (coupled with increased Republican political power there) might achieve ?

  • I have pointed out that embracing a sense of Irishness does not entail changing or diluting political allegiance. What that has to do with what you’re saying I don’t really follow.

    Being comfortably acknowledging Irishness is not part of a nationalising process! That is the entire point of what I am saying!

  • IJP

    Reader

    But even journalese would have “Londoner”.

    I have certainly heard “Northern Ireland man” and such like in common parlance (alongside “Northern Irish man” and “Northern Irishman”, different emphasis), but not “Ireland man” (or for that matter “Irish man”, except where emphasizing gender).

    Anyway, that’s not the point…!

  • Belfast Gonzo

    IJP

    As you rightly suggest, Ulster is indeed consistently used wrongly for Northern Ireland in the Press. This is because it’s easier to fit in a headline, and probably originated with unionist politicians referring – wrongly – to Ulster, when they should have referred to Northern Ireland.

    However, ‘Northern Irish’ is shorter and easier to say than ‘Northern Ireland’ (when a description of something is being used). How did this error come about?

    Did this practice originate with politicians? Was it then popularised by a media that ‘went along’ with that?

    Imagine a line up of men from various nations. You’d say: “He’s German, he’s English, he’s Scottish or a Scot, he’s Welsh and he’s… Northern Ireland?!?!?”

    No? So what would you say, assuming our man doesn’t want to be described as British or Irish?