Happy Ulster Day

Haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere else, but today was quite an important day in 1912 and for a lot of families in Ulster, including mine, it is possible to have a look at what ancestors were doing on this day in history.

  • graduate

    Newsletter did a piece on it in their insert today of 270 years of the newsletter. BTW I remember doing it for ‘O’ level history

  • bootman

    Treason!

  • bo shank

    Shillers, you know you prods freak me out sometimes… damn right it’s an important day and why isn’t it properly celebrated. In other countries i’m sure such a momentous act as large swathes of the population signed a covenant vowing to resist any imposed settlement on them and ultimately succeeding and said covenant effectively being the foundation stone of statehood would be properly celebrated.

    Any thoughts as to why, apart from the Newsletter, it is such a low key thing…why not have it up with 12th July? is it any less significant historically?

  • bradán feasa

    So let me get this straight, this covenant pledged that those who signed it would resist the democratic wish of both Britain and Ireland by any means necessary….And some unionists cant see why they are not so popular in the democratic world….hmmm….

  • parci

    Now it all becomes clear, unionists don’t want to be seen to betray their forefathers.

  • K-man

    I think its unfair to brand unionists as “undemocratic”. The covenant was a document signed by unionists to protect their way of life at the time.

    They saw their foothold in Northern Ireland, whether legitimate or not, as being under threat from all quarters and rendered the covenant to register their protest.

    While Democracy is subject to the the majority rule, the origin of the covenant encompassed the desire to show the large support for the unionist point of view.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Maybe those who argue that Ulster and Northern Ireland are one and the same should look at the signatories from Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan. It’s a fair old list.

    Did their declaration of loyalty mean anything to the Unionist establishment who left them high and dry? And will the same establishment jettison their people in West of the Bann / SE Ulster if the time comes?

  • Wow Ulster Day for sure, where 10.73% of the Irish Population signed a document stating they would by any means (read violently) resist the will of the majority.

    Truly a great day for democracy, Unionist style.

    The signature count set against the Ulster population would be 29.7% if they all came from Ulster, although as is pointed out in the linked wikipedia article the very first signatory was a Dubliner, so evidently they didn’t.

    “Ulster” is not a Protestant/Unionist Shangri-La it is an actual factual place, the majority population of which would disagree with this covenant, and it’s achievments, based on present day Party voting patterns.

    http://www.rte.ie/news/elections2007/Donegal-North-East.html
    http://www.rte.ie/news/elections2007/Donegal-South-West.html
    http://www.rte.ie/news/elections2007/Cavan-Monaghan.html
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/vote2007/nielection/html/main.stm

    By all means have your Union Day or some other descriptive name, but please stop hijacking Ulster as shorthand for Prodland.

  • Oops! Forgot to post my link for the Percentages back in the day…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Census_of_Ireland,_1911

  • Any thoughts as to why, apart from the Newsletter, it is such a low key thing…why not have it up with 12th July? is it any less significant historically?

    A lot of that is down to the present Unionist establishment, who seem to be, to a large extent, ignorant of the history of our movement…or perhaps put it this way, there is less, ahem, political capital to be made out of the struggle (led by a Dubliner) against Home Rule, than there is of a battle where the fenians were taught good and proper over 400 years ago

  • bollix

    gotta love that the ulstermen signed the covenant (sometimes in blood) but the wee women signed something that said “yes, whatever those smart men are saying is fine with us”.

    not much “evolution” of sexism still!

  • George

    My name appears 15 times. Sign early, sign often.

  • norman

    ‘A lot of that is down to the present Unionist establishment, who seem to be, to a large extent, ignorant of the history of our movement’

    Or perhaps it is of little real relevence in the 21st century. The majority in Ulster then, as now, wanted nothing to do with them

  • Nevin

    Perhaps the so called CRM of the 60s should have learned something from the ‘tribal calming’ dimension of the Covenant ….

  • Shore Road Resident

    “Wow Ulster Day for sure, where 10.73% of the Irish Population signed a document stating they would by any means (read violently) resist the will of the majority”

    – does anyone spot the irony in this post being signed “unrepentent fenian bastard”?
    Not that there’s an exact parallel of course. The Shinners only ever got around 2% of the Irish population to sign up for their violence.

  • inuit_g

    I really like the website where it is all digitally archived. There would be so many people here whose ancestors signed that document and it really brings it home to be able to see the very signatures made on that day.

  • RG Cuan

    What a day for Ireland!

    Let’s all celebrate a declaration that ensured Planters would violently resist the will of their neighbours. Yee haa!

  • Nevin

    Michael, here’s a related item from the New York Times of 1892: Ulster Convention [pdf format]

  • Nevin

    inuit_g, Tony Blair might recognise the names of some of his south Donegal kith and kin: his grandparents were George Corscadden and Margaret Ann Lipsett.

  • Nevin-

    “Perhaps the so called CRM of the 60s should have learned something from the ‘tribal calming’ dimension of the Covenant ….”

    Did the civil rights movement set up an armed wing and import arms? Did its cheerleaders say things such as: “There are things stronger than parliamentary majorities. I can imagine no length of resistance to which Ulster can go in which I would not be prepared to support them.”? I think not.

    Perhaps if the Unionist leaders of the time who went on to run the soon-to-be-created ‘Northern Ireland’ had shown some decency towards people who weren’t of their political outlook or religion when they got their six-county administrative unit, then there would have been no need for the creation of the civil rights movement.

    In terms of integrity and commitment to democracy and equality, the civil rights movement stands head and shoulders above Craig and his sidekicks- I don’t recall the Ulster Unionists being too concerned about anything other than their own narrow interests- the Protestant working class, Catholics and Southern Unionists were quickly sidelined after the businessmen from the North-East got their way less than a decade after this document was signed.

  • páid

    …..to be dumped when push came to shove with their fellow Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan Protestants.

    Ulster is a real place, an ancient Irish province with a distinct culture.

    Never to be confused with the sectarian stitch-up that is Northern Ireland.

  • k

    “”Wow Ulster Day for sure, where 10.73% of the Irish Population signed a document stating they would by any means (read violently) resist the will of the majority”

    – does anyone spot the irony in this post being signed “unrepentent fenian bastard”?
    Not that there’s an exact parallel of course. The Shinners only ever got around 2% of the Irish population to sign up for their violence. ”

    Sinn Féin won 73 of Ireland’s 106 seats in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland parliament at the general election in December 1918. Slightly greater than 2%.

  • Nevin

    El Matador, I’m a little surprised that you should wish to support the cynical use of civil rights issues and the ‘tribal’ street politics of the likes of Paisley and Hume. Can I recommend A T Q Stewart’s “Narrow Ground” and the reference to sermons in stones.

  • Nevin

    páid, I understand there have been several Ulsters over the centuries, not just the two of more recent times.

  • Sorry to interrupt the usual partisan point-scoring, but I’d like to return to Michael Shilliday’s original point.

    Wednesday’s Guardian had its usual crib from the archives at the bottom of the editorial page. As far as I can see, this is not available on line. So here goes:

    The saluting of King Carson

    Portadown, Wednesday evening.
    Never had General, or rather King, Carson such a day as this. As the train with Edward Carson’s party approached just before noon the usual detonators on the rail fired a battleship salute.

    The saloon carriage was shunted round to a special platform on which half a company of the riflemen of the Portadown Unionist battalion was drawn up.

    They were all armed with dummy rifles with solid wooden barrels and real triggers. A standard was lowered in salute, as is only usual before royalty, and the National Anthem was played.

    Standing on the step of the carriage Sir Edward Carson graciously acknowledged his reception and addressed encouraging words to his faithful army of the clubs and lodges on whom, he said, the real work of the battle would fall. The carriage bearing King Carson, Mr F.E.Smith [and] Lord Londonderry advanced into the town. [A] parade occupied about an hour, after which the royal party withdrew for lunch. At two, His Majesty took up his position at a saluting base at the top of the main street. He witnessed a march past of Unionist clubs and Orange lodges.

    Perhaps the troops from Edenderry, the lower part of Portadown, carried off the prize for military grandeur.

    Their contingent had two field guns made of painted wood. This also had a full piper band in a sham military uniform. In a long experience I have never seen so shameless a travesty of royalty or of national grandeur, but neither of the King’s counsellors appeared to perceive either the absurdity or insolence of the proceedings.

    Sir Edward Carson then addressed the meeting. “Are you prepared to give me a mandate and follow me to the end?” — (Great cheers.) “Next Saturday you will bind yourselves to me, and come what may you will never desert the flag. Let the flag fly in every loyal house in Ireland, England and Scotland next Saturday.” Sir Edward Carson was then presented with a blackthorn stick from North Armagh, and he promised that if he had to use it, he would use it to the best of his ability.

    Mr F.E.Smith was the last speaker. He predicted that the Government had not the nerve to give the order to the British army to coerce Ulster. The populace would lynch them on their lamp-posts.

    The meeting soon ended. King Carson and Mr Smith resumed their places in the Royal cortege, the sham lancers trotting before and behind, and the general troops following, with bands, the cannon, the ambulance, nurses and stalwart infantry bearing dummy rifles, all in due order.

    HW Nevinson

  • Or perhaps it is of little real relevence in the 21st century.

    norman
    Remind me, what jurisdiction does the majority of Ulster still lie under?

    The majority in Ulster then, as now, wanted nothing to do with them

    Yet, still I (as a fair few other Ulstermen) am still entitled to carry a United Kingdom passport. Unionism won in 1912/1921 and is still winning.

  • Nevin

    Malcolm, did you really have to lower the tone of the debate with the scribblings of poor Henry? 😉

  • Reader

    Unrepentant Fenian Bastard: Oops! Forgot to post my link for the Percentages back in the day…
    I have read that the percentages ‘back in the day’ for the 9 counties were 55% Prod. But what do you think it was, back then?

  • To whoever based there snappy comeback based on my name:

    Nice avoision (it’s a word, look it up) of the substance of the post, a little whataboutery never hurt the cause right? But to take on your “point”, I’m not declaring the setting up of the PIRA (predated by the Fenians by some 150 years, oh big oopsie on your part!) as “Ulster Day”.

    Reader:
    Look at the link I posted, specifically population by province:
    Ulster 1,581,696

    Now look at the original wiki “Ulster Day” link, the phrase “an important day” in the original post, specifically:
    the Covenant was signed by 237,368 men, and the Declaration by 234,046 women

    now I’ll leave you to work out the maths.

  • Dewi

    And it still defines you Michael ? Odd – a long time ago.

  • George

    On statistics, might I point out before you get into your number crunching that according to that site it was signed by people from outside Ulster too.

    Nearly a thousand each from Liverpool and London alone, nearly eight hundred from Dublin, two each from Kilkenny and Kildare etc.

  • Nevin

    UFB, it was called Ulster Day at the time and, as I understand it, folks born in Ulster were eligible to sign it.

  • Nearly a thousand each from Liverpool and London alone, nearly eight hundred from Dublin, two each from Kilkenny and Kildare etc.

    George

    One of my father’s great-uncles is recorded under the Liverpool district (hairs on the back of the neck job when I checked it out).

    In the run up to WW1, plenty of E Belfast lads worked in the L-pool, Tyneside and Clydeside shipyards.

  • Reader

    URB: now I’ll leave you to work out the maths.
    In return, you can work out how many of the Ulster population voted for Nationalist parties, this year or any other. Was it ever as many as the Covenant + Declaration signatories?

  • Elvis Parker

    ‘Ulster is a real place, an ancient Irish province with a distinct culture. ‘
    Invented by the English under Elizabeth I I think you’ll find

  • Grouch

    What a load of absolute crap here. What have you started Michael.

    Ulster is used by prods for whatever reason. I would suggest that over 99% of them don’t know the reason why, except that it appears to be common usage, just like the reference to ‘The Province’. Shinners don’t use Northern Ireland as a deliberate attempt to make their point that it really is the North of Ireland. The Taigs seem to know what they are doing and why they are doing it, but the Prods seem to just do what they are told without knowing any of the rationale or reasoning behind it.

    If Ulster is a real place, aka NI, then why don’t they pick their soccer players from Cavan and Monaghan and Donegal to play for them. They can’t, but Ulster Rugby can.

    THe problem is that we have politicians, we have media people (including TV presenters) and we have the ordinary people in the Loyalist / Unionist tradition who will just use Ulster to describe NI and haven’t a clue why.

    But, more importantly, don’t give a f***.

  • I wonder…

    After years of trying to defend reasonable unionism, I get this shit from a Unionist party. I regard this day as a day of infamy, in constititonal term, a day when treason was declared.

    As far as I am concerned, the current argument against *terroristsin government” should have been applied in 1921. But then, again, its just history. The only arguments against democratic self government now have been defeated. Lets give them the airpsace they deserve – fuck all.

  • sammaguire

    Personally I find it very difficult to describe someone as an Ulster person until they’ve experienced the joys of an Ulster Final especially if played in Clones. Let them call it Covenant Day or even Dublin Day (after Eddie the pride of Harcourt Street).

  • Reader

    I wonder: I regard this day as a day of infamy, in constititonal term, a day when treason was declared.
    How ironic to see that from an Irish Nationalist.
    But how could it have been treason anyway – since who was entitled to the loyalty of Unionists? The Irish Nationalists? No! The British Government of the time? No!

  • Objectivist

    A lot of people don’t realise that the 1912 covenanters were not pushing for exemption of Ulster (or part of Ulster) from a Home Rule parliament. They were pushing for ‘no Home Rule’ for *any* part of Ireland:
    ‘to defeat the present Home Rule conspiracy in Ireland’
    The irony of course is that they had an all Ireland worldview of a sort. However this means that their stance was definitively antidemocratic and hegemonist – one sixth of the population of Ireland dictating to the other five sixths.Unfortunately when you think this through it leads to the inescapable conclusion of the majority nationalist population being configured as untermenschen in electoral terms.
    The whole thing smacked of Violet Elizabeth Bott unionism – ‘if I don’t get what I want I’ll scweam and scweam and scweam until I’m sick’
    General Maxwell after the 1916 rising saw it’s roots in the indulgence of the 1912 UVF – his reasoning being that when unionists were allowed a private army nationalists had to be allowed one – and one thing led to another.Logical enough up to a point.In essence the 1912 covenanters were the midwives of all expressions of 20th century Irish political violence.

  • sammaguire

    The people of this island were never asked to vote democratically whether we wanted to enter the union with GB back in 1801. An apartheid style Protestant parliament in Dublin (ironically now a foreign city according to some unionists) voted us into the UK. With time the British realised that it wasn’t too smart to deny Catholics,women, or people who didn’t own property the vote. So for the first time we had an opportunity to vote ourselves out of the union. And then we get the unionist minority vowing to defend the union by physical force.
    Surely people who support what the UVF did in 1912 and denounce the PIRA 1969-1993 are absolute hypocrites. The situations were very similar. Minorities not excepting the majority view.

  • Harry Flashman

    *Wow Ulster Day for sure, where 10.73% of the Irish Population signed a document stating they would by any means (read violently) resist the will of the majority.

    Truly a great day for democracy, Unionist style.*

    As opposed to the founding event of the Republic of Ireland where a tiny unrepresentative minority of armed insurgents took over the capital of Ireland with no mandate from the people of Ireland and tried to impose their minority viewpoint on the vast majority by violence (actual violence by the way, they didn’t just sign a piece of paper).

    Easter Monday 1916, truly a great day for democracy, Republican style.

  • sammaguire

    The British Govt had no mandate on this island in 1916. Any Tom, Dick, or Harry had a greater right to declare a republic than the British had of maintaining the status quo at the time.

  • I wonder…

    “How ironic to see that from an Irish Nationalist”

    I am neither that nor an Irish Republican. Just someone with common sense, as anyone with a similar lack of bigotry would have realised reading anything I’ve ever said or written. I’ll put your ignorance down to your being pissed at the time of your posting.

  • I wonder…

    Anyway, I’ve posted 5 times here and elsewhere asking how any Unionist can defend importing guns from a country which their own country was shortly to go to war with and which at the time of importing was certainly not on good terms with HMG.

    I haven’t had anyone defend this gun running and treason (for thats what it was) to date.

    I dont expect anyone to stand up and defend “terrorists in government” (1921-72) now.

    Hypocritical bastards.

  • Harry Flashman

    OK, I wonder, let me have a go.

    Germany was not an enemy of the UK at the time and unless someone had a crystal ball that could foretell the assasination of Archduke Franz Ferdidand there was no particular immorality in buying the weapons there. They were purchased from a private arms dealer in Hamburg (who was later murdered by the German government) and not from the German government. It was a private business deal, importing the arms was no more immoral than buying any other item from German manufacturers as the restrictions on private gun ownership were nowhere near as onerous as they are now (I believe that the only criminal aspect was not paying customs dues).

    There was no treason involved; there was the intention of declaring “UDI” from a Home Rule government in Dublin and as any Irish nationalist will tell you there is no treason in fighting for independence from a government you do not recognise.

    Once the UK government had handed over power to a government in Dublin then the Ulster Unionists had no further obligation to abide by their decisions. If I throw my wife out of the house it would be rather hypocritical if I then condemned her for moving into a new apartment on her own instead of into another man’s house like I wanted her to. Indeed if prior to me throwing her out she demanded that she be let remain and threatened to cause a big scene if I went ahead with my expulsion then you would have to agree that she and not I was the consistent and honourable person.

    I don’t understand your “no terrorists in government” reference and as I don’t like being called a bastard I don’t particularly wish to find out (if you mean the UVF were “terrorists”, well in 1914 they were not, simple as that).

  • Dan

    Northern Ireland coming into being was a good deal for Unionists. A very good deal. I assume many of them consider themselves fortunate to have even six counties.

  • I wonder…

    Harry

    What an astounding moral compass – ” private business deal” – yeah, a bit like the “private business deals” involving the South African guns and agents brought into NI, the car boot load of arms seized outside Portadown and the Ulster Resistance (ssh, how naughty of me!) selling missile info…

    Perhaps, if having a hundred thousand illegal guns in 1914 didn’t matter and certainly didn’t mean that those holding them were in any way a threat to human life, or a threat to law and order whatever was the concern with decommissioning of IRA guns in recent times? Oh, sorry, I forget.

    Catholics holding guns = terrible.

    Protestants holding guns = perfectly ok, after all chaps don’t shoot chaps..

    As to the references to your wife, I think you’d find that if any spouse locked themselves in a room to try and prevent a house from being sold, when everyone else was agreeable, I think the bailiffs would demonstrate impartiality in showing her/him how the house looked from the outside. Moreover, if he/she had a child screaming to be let out..what would you do? 🙂

  • Nevin

    I wonder, it seems that, in this case, the bailiffs refused to act and the screaming child belonged to someone else …

    According to A T Q Stewart’s “The Ulster Crisis – Resistance to Home Rule 1912-1914” the Peace Preservation Act was repealed/lapsed in 1907 and it was legal to import arms into Ireland.

    “On 10 July 1914 the standing committee of the Ulster Unionist Council constituted itself as “the central authority for the provisional government of Ulster”

    Provos rule, ok!!

  • One name is missing here, and it is a significant one.

    Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson, “the greatest intriguer who ever wore the King’s uniform”.

    Wilson was Irish-born, in the County Longford. He was at school in England (Marlborough College) but entered the Army through the Longford Militia, after repeated failures to enter Woolwich or Sandhurst. The Militia got him into the Rifle Brigade, and service in Burma and South Africa. Then he was back to the War Office (when he wrote the manual on cavalry training) and, by now a Brigadier-General, to Camberley as Commandant of the Staff College. He reconnoitred the north-eastern corner of France, and became pals with Foch (then French’s equivalent at the French Staff College). By 1910 Wilson was an even bigger cheese: Director of Military Operations, and planning for the coming war with Germany (yes, indeed: he was laying out his wares to the Committee of Imperial Defence as early as August 1911).

    If we want to continue the story down to the Curragh Mutiny, Wilson was complicit from the earliest stage. His diary reports a conversation with French in November, 1913: “I told him I could not fire on the North at the dictation of Redmond.”

    Meanwhile, Wilson was conniving with Bonar Law (as is reported in Lord Blake’s biography of Bonar Law), with the aim of making Redmond push too hard and so wreck the Liberal Government’s Home Rule Bill. The flavour of Wilson’s character comes across from his diary entry of this meeting: “This, and much more of a confidential nature, made my morning very interesting.”

    Wilson had also been advising Edward Sclater, one of Carson’s commission of “Five” (as Wilson himself called them). This does need a bit of explanation. On 25 September 1911, the massed ranks of the Ulster Unionist Council, the Grand Oranges Lodges and the Unionist Clubs met in Belfast. Two resolutions were passed:

    1. to take “any steps” to resist Irish Home Rule; and
    2. to make arrangements for a provisional government in Ulster.

    A committee of five was appointed: James Craig (later Prime Minister of Northern Ireland), Colonel Sharman Crawford MP, the Rt Hon Thomas Sinclair, Col. R.H. Wallace, and Edward Sclater, Secretary of the Unionist Clubs. This committee had two ends: to liaise with Sir Edward Carson, and to frame a constitution for the proposed provisional government. The sad, sick story is traced in any number of histories, many of which can be traced back to Ronald McNeill’s original 1922 apologia, Ulster’s Stand for Union.

    Shades of Sir John Harrington:

    Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
    Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.

    For sure, that is what the whole business was: an act of treason, hatched by the great and the good of the Unionist Party, fomented by the ayatollahs of the High Tories, implemented by one of the King’s military élite, supported by foreign arms, against the will or knowledge of the elected Parliament.

  • I wonder…

    Malcolm, good quote. NI is a prime example of treason having prospered.

    For thos ignormauses who don’t know I have no Nationalist or Republican baggage whatsoever.

    I have come to my views out of reading the history of my homeland which was denied to me for half my lifetime. I am also filled with horror at those who profess unionism and yet cannot countenance any union with elected representatives from another background. The conflict which ahs just ended was but a continuation of an older one and the situation in Belfast during 1921-22 is not one which any Unionist can look back on without discomfort.

  • Nevin

    Malcolm, perhaps you’ve got the wrong end of the stick:

    Treason: Violation of allegiance toward one’s country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one’s country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.

    It’s my understanding that Irish nationalists were the ‘enemies’ of the Union and that part of the UK political establishment ‘colluded’ with the Home Rulers. Gladstone’s earlier manoeuvres had split the Liberals and Ulster Unionism was an alliance of Conservatives, Liberal Unionists and others who wished the Union to be maintained.

  • Nevin

    “I have come to my views out of reading the history of my homeland which was denied to me for half my lifetime.”

    I wonder, were you banned from your local library – or bookshop? I blame ‘homeland’ security 😉

  • I wonder…

    Nevin

    Wrong end of the stick. Irish nationalists were loyal to their country, Ireland. The legitimacy of the Union is something you might think to be uncontested. That’s self-delusion.

  • Nevin @ 11:56 AM:

    Until long after the Ulster Unionists made clear that were were prepared to use force, the only nationalist game in town was the Redmondites. And Redmond believed in the Imperial Connection (which is why he was to be outflanked by the republican physical-force men).

    The turning-point in nationalism came from an article by Eoin MacNeill, ‘The North Began’, which was published in An Claidheamh Soluis as late as 1 November 1913. This challenged nationalists to organise in imitation of the UVF. So a popular movement began. Even then the IRB were the followers, not the inspirers, and had to play catch-up by infiltration.

    The irony is that the nationalist Volunteers were defending the parliamentary and legal process: the Ulster Volunteers were seeking to disrupt and breach constitutionalism.

    That’s my end of the (I trust, only metaphorical) stick.

  • I wonder…

    Malcolm

    Quite. As I said, self-delusion.

    And quite defensive, in order to defend the leitimacy of the illegitimate. And another word for illegitimate progeny is, as I said earlier, bastard. 🙂

  • Nevin

    Malcolm, you’ve IMO failed to justify your use of ‘treason’. You paint a malignant view of the arming of the ‘provisional government’; perhaps the outcome of a bloody civil war across the whole island would have been much worse.

    Repeal of the Union had surely been the catch-cry of Irish nationalists from at least 1829 and that would have been the context in which Ulster Unionists operated.

    As you can see from the number of efforts to introduce Home Rule, the UK establishment was hopelessly divided. Irish nationalists were sometimes able to determine which administration would be in power so presumably that’s why Gladstone and others ‘colluded’ with them.

    Considering Gladstone’s rant against Vatican influence in 1874 many Ulster Liberals were dismayed when he determined to go for Home Rule, considering the outcome.

  • Nevin

    “The legitimacy of the Union is something you might think to be uncontested. That’s self-delusion.”

    I wonder, it had been contested since, er, at least 1829. Is ‘homeland security’ still stopping you getting a proper education? 😉

  • Nevin @ 01:01 PM:

    You are entitled to your reading of the history: I know there is no hope of convincing you or others. So I’ll just stick to the demonstrable facts (and conclude with an opinion).

    Carson made a speech in County Antrim on 19 September 1912: ‘Here is what the covenant says – In the event of such a Bill being forced upon us we further solemnly and mutually pledge ourselves not to recognise its authority. I do not care twopence whether it is treason or not; it is what we are going to do.’

    FE Smith, on 20 September 1913, declared: ‘Home rule will be dead for ever on the day when 100,000 men armed with rifles assemble at Balmoral.’

    At Armagh, on 4 October 1913, Smith again: ‘On the day on which there will be in Ulster 100,000 disciplined men armed with rifles, wherever else Home Rule may be talked about, it will never be talked of in Ulster.’

    Carson and Smith were both eminent lawyers and fully conscious their actions and speeches trespassed into the illegal. One of the Six Acts of 1819 (the Liverpool Government’s reaction to Peterloo), the Unlawful Drilling Act, would make them liable to seven years in jug.

    On 16 May 1913, Carson admitted he knew what he was doing was illegal: that drilling was illegal:
    “I was reading an Act of Parliament forbidding it. The Volunteers are illegal, and the Government know they are illegal, and the Government dare not interfere with them. Don’t be afraid of illegalities; illegalities are not crimes when they are taken to assert what is the elementary right of every citizen.”

    You, apparently, take the view that the end justifies the means, even when the end is achieved by physical force and threats. I take the view that the law (even when we disagree with it) is above us all, and should be changed, if necessary, by proper constitutional and parliamentary means. I believe in a democracy: I leave you to suggest a name for the alternative.

  • I wonder…

    Nevin

    Your self delusion is apparent from your (mis)reading of my comment. The Union has always been contested, but only (me bein sarky) by the majority of peeps immediately affected by it. Indeed how it was everr passed in the first instace bears a little consideration (bribes etc)Sure what does democracy matter?

    😉

    (seein as u did it lol)

  • Nevin

    “You, apparently, take the view that the end justifies the means”

    As the end was likely to be a bloody civil war across the island and, perhaps, beyond …

    I value democracy; I value human life even more.

    As for the law, what protection did it offer the victims of the Troubles? It can be and has been used to the detriment of the weak and the innocent.

    “I know there is no hope of convincing you or others.”

    Tut, tut.

  • Harry Flashman

    I wonder, like Nevin I too wonder who denied you the ability to read history books, do tell.

    Let’s imagine a scenario in 2030, the state of California now has a majority Hispanic population which campaigns vociferously for a return of California to Mexico, the former owners of that state.

    So let’s suppose the US houses of Congress decide that yes, it’s time to right an ancient wrong and grant independence to California, should they desire in the future they may wish to join with Mexico. Imagine the North of California where a majority white population absolutely oppose being thrown out of the United States, they arm themselves and tell Congress that no matter what law they pass the American unionists will not allow themselves to be thrown out of the Union and if they are, then they will not feel themselves under any obligation to an independent Californian government.

    Would you call that treason? Why? If the Congress has already decided to absolve itself of sovereignty for California how can the citizens of that state be called traitors? The US government has already broken the bonds of loyalty and dissolved their union.

    So it was with Home Rule, the House of Commons was absolving itself of responsibility for Ulster so how on earth could the people of Ulster be called traitors if the UK government has decided that they are no longer subject to the laws of the UK houses of Parliament?

    You can’t have it both ways, if it was legitimate for nationalists to break up the United Kingdom then it was equally legitimate for the Ulstermen to refuse to join an independent united Ireland. Remember the unionists wanted no seperation, they wanted a united Ireland within a United Kingdom, if the British government in cahoots with Irish nationalists saw fit to break up the UK fine, that meant the Ulstermen were under no obligation to remain within a united Ireland or obey the UK government. It was the UK government who broke the social contract between the governors and the subjects of Ulster.

    It’s not rocket science.

  • Nevin

    I wonder, you attributed a thought to me which I didn’t have and then you toss in ‘self-delusion’ ….

  • sammaguire

    Unionists in Ulster in 1912 were in a minority in Ireland (the political entity within the UK that they lived in) and didn’t like what the majority democratically wanted so they imported arms to maintain the Union.

    Is this not analogous to nationalists in modern times in a part of NI with a clear nationalist majority (say south of a line from Derry to Downpatrick) taking up arms to end the Union.
    Unionists tend to call these type of people terrorists and yet cannot seem to see the similarities with 1912.

  • Nevin

    Harry, what would ‘I wonder’ know about rocket science? 😉

  • I wonder…

    Harry
    Congress can indeed right wrongs, as in the case of Ray Charles. I note you don’t address the marital situation which I extracted from your own allegory. The majority of people on the island of Ireland (then a geo-political entity) voted for a measure of independence (not a Republic) A small minority, dispersed throughout the island but geographically focussed in the north-east, didn’t like it and bought guns to defend their point of view, killing hundreds both in 1921-22 and 1966-98. By way of mitigation, both sides to this argument offered for sacrifice many thousands of their best men to fight the cousin of the sovereign of both the islands. Of this sacrifcie, one side got a reward, the other side got military training to try and attain their wishes through another type of war. The rest of history has been trying to sort it out. Not one life lost was worth it.

  • Reader

    sammaguire: The situations were very similar. Minorities not excepting the majority view.
    Should I try to work out whether you think that sort of thing was wrong? But there was a difference. The Provos (1969-) used violence to try to force 6 counties into a United Ireland, knowing that the majority in NI wanted no such thing. The 1912 UVF did not use force to try to prevent the 26 counties leaving the union.
    sammaguire: The British Govt had no mandate on this island in 1916. Any Tom, Dick, or Harry had a greater right to declare a republic than the British had of maintaining the status quo at the time.
    Wrong, there were elections between 1801 and 1916. Rank the following in order of legitimacy: (1) a deal between the Home Rule Party and the British Government, (2) the 500,000 signatories of the Covenant and Declaration, (3) a few hundred armed men whose political philosophy included the belief that actual votes were irrelevant, because: “The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman.”

  • I wonder…

    Reader I know you are blinkered, but try looking up the religious breakdown of murders in thr NE between 1920 and 1922. And then, try and wonder why Catholics didn’t trust the police.

  • I wonder…

    I notice Mr Shilliday hasn’t contributed. I wonder why.

  • Dewi

    “By way of mitigation, both sides to this argument offered for sacrifice many thousands of their best men to fight the cousin of the sovereign of both the islands…………The rest of history has been trying to sort it out. Not one life lost was worth it.”

    Excellent, both points. Applying a justifiable moral scale to killing people was certainly an error of mine in my younger days. Killing in defence OK but not in attack. British soldiers legitimate but not civilians. As you get older everything blurs and u get back to basics: Killing people is wrong. A personal view is that this is where the SF leadership have got to.
    As to Carson et al it was certainly a different time – highly recommend Tim Pat Coogan’s De Valera to see it from the other perspective, and how little part partition played in Civil War, precipitated by one man’s egomania and about a 20 word difference between two documentsand about how the British would have sacrificed the six counties for the use of Ireland’s ports in WW11.

  • Nevin

    Sam, I’d have thought Carson’s and Redmond’s volunteers were rather different beasts from PIRA, UFF and UVF(1966).

  • I am not surmising about California in 2030, or any other hypothesis. I have consistently and rigorously cited factual information about the moves to a UDI of 1911-13.

    I have not seen much in the way of factual information from those who are trying to shoot me down.

    However, one assertion does bother me: that of Harry Flashman@ 02:05 PM:
    ‘… if it was legitimate for nationalists to break up the United Kingdom then it was equally legitimate for the Ulstermen to refuse to join an independent united Ireland.’

    What was on offer in the third Home Rule bill was not, repeat not “an independent united Ireland”. The bill and the 1914 Act offered an elected assembly, subordinate to the United Kingdom in matters of finance and foreign policy.

    That was acceptable to the Redmondites, who held 84 Parliamentary seats, and were the generally-accepted voice of nationalist Ireland.

    It was a solution that might, in 2007, seem vaguely familiar in NI and Scotland, and soon (perhaps) in Wales. And that is what the Six Counties eventually got under the post-WW1 Government of Ireland Act.

    The main difference between 1914 and 1920 was that the Unionists won themselves a sectarian statelet.

    I leave others to speculate whether an alternative history might have saved a lot of lives, bloodshed and suffering.

  • I wonder…

    Dewi

    Have read that book and am sorry the man lived so long. But then again, that might be said of Adams. John Gregg only regretted not killing him. Certain unelectable Unionists still are proud of their *Hang Mandela* badges. But then history shits as well as records.

  • Dewi

    “subordinate to the United Kingdom in matters of finance and foreign policy.”

    It’s the subordinate in foreign policy bit that grates. I’m fed up of Welsh kids dying in their stupid wars.

  • Objectivist

    ”The 1912 UVF did not use force to try to prevent the 26 counties leaving the union”
    They used the threat of force so to do. Please read my previous posting.
    …BEING CONVINCED in our consciences that Home Rule would be disastrous to the material well-being of Ulster as well as of the whole of Ireland….
    ….using all means which may be found necessary to defeat the present conspiracy to set up a Home Rule Parliament in Ireland….

    The Provos in 1969 had a convincing role model.

  • Objectivist

    Minor historical boo-boo. Provos in 1970.

  • Nevin

    “how little part partition played in Civil War”

    The Civil War could have been across the whole island; partition changed the protagonists and the IRA actions in NI were greatly reduced.

  • Reader

    Dewi: It’s the subordinate in foreign policy bit that grates. I’m fed up of Welsh kids dying in their stupid wars.
    So how did Welsh votes stack up in the 2001 and 2005 General Elections, then?

  • Dewi

    “Have read that book and am sorry the man lived so long. But then again, that might be said of Adams”

    Me just sorry that Collins lived so short. So many wasted generations.

  • Dewi

    “So how did Welsh votes stack up in the 2001 and 2005 General Elections, then?”

    A personal view, not I’m afraid that of a majority of my countrymen….but we are working on it !

  • Dewi

    “The Civil War could have been across the whole island; partition changed the protagonists and the IRA actions in NI were greatly reduced.”

    Maybe a different kind of civil war would have happened don’t know – but the Civil War that occured was on the most unbelievable basis to precipitate war that I have ever read about….except maybe that war about a soccer game in S America……….anyway off out to watch Wales Fiji…..not got the greatest of feelings about this game.

  • Nevin

    “I leave others to speculate whether an alternative history might have saved a lot of lives, bloodshed and suffering.”

    Why opt for ‘saved’, Malcolm? Does it give you a feel-good factor? The previous history of Ireland was littered with sectarian bloodbaths.

  • I wonder…

    Dewi

    Indeed, Collins was a warrior turned politician. Let people live and they have potential. It shows how narrow minded the *hang em all* brigade are. We should be glad Vance et al have never been elected.

  • lib2016

    There is a note in the Irish Times today (Saturday) noting that a T.D. from a Sticky background ceded time in a Dail debate attacking Bertie to Sinn Fein. There are no more Civil Wars in Ireland, nor even in the North.

    That is what the GFA is all about after all. Britain cannot leave an unstable situation behind it this time.

    Unionists tend to see the past in terms of ‘sectarian bloodbaths’ while nationalists see it in terms of British colonialism. Time will sort that argument out.

  • Reader @ 02:21 PM and Objectivist @ 02:42 PM:

    The 1912 UVF did not use force to try to prevent the 26 counties leaving the union

    An anorak writes:

    It is not quite an anachronism to make the 26/6 division refer to 1912, but it is a near-run thing (note the first part of the posting by Objectivist @ 01:22 AM).

    The exclusion of the six counties from the Home Rule Bill was raised by TGR Agar-Robartes on 12 December 1912, as an suggested amendment to the original four-county provision. Carson persuaded his acolytes, at a Londonderry House meeting, to go for the six-county option, and on the grounds that “only the six counties with a Protestant population could make an effective resistance” (from ATQ Stewart, The Ulster Crisis). I read that to mean it was a purely military consideration, and will therefore be researching for the fine Italian hand of Wilson (see my first posting in this thread).

    Now, there is room for debate as to where the six-county notion came from. Tim Pat Coogan (De Valera) has a source to suggest that Lloyd George broached it to TP O’Connor in August 1912. It certainly was not in the public consciousness for some time after, if only because it cut the ground from under Redmond and his constitutionalist approach.

    Once it was up-and-running, it became set in stone.

    And it was (outside the Unionist inner circles) universally detested. It was cynical in the extreme, if only because an Ulster sectarian cabal (in cahoots with the usual English Tory suspects) were prepared to sell southern Unionists down the Bann.

    Even Carson came to denounce the partition, in his maiden speech in the Lords:
    “What a fool I was! I was only a puppet and so was Ulster and so was Ireland in the political game to get the Conservative Party into office.”

    Whoops, there’s a subjective bias coming through there.

  • Turgon

    lib 2016
    “Unionists tend to see the past in terms of ‘sectarian bloodbaths’ while nationalists see it in terms of British colonialism. Time will sort that argument out.”

    Well there are a lot of both unionists and nationalists who accept that there were sectarian bloodbaths and sadly very many of them. I make no bones about what I have said before that there was no cause on this island within the past fifty years that can justify any deaths. In terms of the more distant past I think it is always more difficult to analyse how people were thinking then but of course those who died or would have died in previous conflicts were just as precious human lives as ours are now.

    Lib 2016 may of course unlike some nationalists not accept the concept of sectarian bloodbaths after all he is the only person I have ever seen “explain” the Enniskillen bombing as being the fault of the protestant population of Fermanagh. Thankfully he seems in a minority (hopefully of one) amongst nationalists.

  • I wonder…

    malcolm

    An excellent quote. Totally ignored in history of course, by the usual suspects. What in God’s name wa the justification for including Tyrone and Fermanagh and Derry city in a “Unionist” state?. It would have rid us of grotesques such as Aileen Quinton and Arlene Foster!

  • lib2016

    Turgon,

    I have regularly condemned all violence from wherever it comes, on this board and elsewhere. You bring your own arguments into disrepute by adopting this tone and are welcome to continue so doing.

  • Turgon

    lib 2016
    There is one person who made the following comment and it was you.

    “As for Enniskillen itself – the nationalist population was under attack from the British Army and the community which backed them. They fought back and when there is violence innocent people get hurt….end of story.”

    In case anyone forgets it was on the thread entitled “Catholic sectarianism does not need to be confronted because it does not exist”
    You made it at 3:59 on August 31st. If it was someone claiming to be you why did you not tell us? If it was an impersonator I will immediately withdraw my accusation.

    Assuming it was genuinely you. I have yet to see any sign of an apology.
    If you feel that I bring myself into disrepute by reminding you of it that is your affair. Your views are below disrepute.

  • lib2016

    Turgon,

    I pointed out that innocent people had been hurt and you assume that I am defending violence? To attack what was locally regarded as a demonstation of armed unionism was wrong. It was not sectarian.

    You have proved the paucity of your arguments by saving up this little tit-bit of misrepresentation just as other unionists regularly play wordgames rather than debate reality as it is perceived by each of us in our various ways.

    That sort of people-baiting destroyed ‘Love Ulster’ and I have far too much respect for Slugger to play those games with you. Good-bye.

  • Nevin

    “Whoops, there’s a subjective bias coming through there.”

    You did mention the potential 32-county sectarian statelet, Redmond and his acolytes, blah blah in your ‘impartial’ account of historical events, Malcolm!!

  • Turgon

    lib 2016,
    Well if you have left; the temporary removal (it would be too much to hope it is permanent) of your own unique brand of sectarian (yes sectarian do not try to deny it) bigotry is something I am grateful for.

  • MacAedha

    O’Neill
    ‘against Home Rule, than there is of a battle where the fenians were taught good and proper over 400 years ago’
    You forgot to mention that we, or at least the armies of a foreign king who we supported since he was at least Catholic, not only funded the victor through our contributions to our one true faith but also that the victor was a ranting dutch queer.

  • Health warning: don’t expect much new or revelatory in what follows.

    I wonder… @ 03:56 PM:

    What in God’s name was the justification for including Tyrone and Fermanagh and Derry city in a “Unionist” state?

    “Justification”? None. However:

    It was Craig who sold this to the Committee on the Situation in Ireland, because it represented a more manageable Catholic minority. The Catholic minority across Ulster was 43.7% but in the six counties was only 34%.[Michael Farrell: Northern Ireland, the Orange State] As others have pointed out, that 43.7% which Craig thought represented the “unmanageable” closely approximates the RC percentage of NI by the 1991 census. That ‘manageable/unmanageable’ qualification tells us what the Craig cabal thought their statelet would be all about.

    On the other hand, there is the curious posture of Joseph Devlin as the leader of the Ulster Nationalists (and, of course, high-lama of the AOH). I might suggest that Devlin’s inertia/ insistence on constitutional means (take your pick) played a part.

    One must accept that the Nationalist Party could show some real gains by the time of partition. Local election (under PR, and supposed to keep the nationalists in check) gave a Nationalist council in Omagh and many other gains. A particular symbol was the Nationalist majority on Derry City Council and the election of the first RC Lord Mayor of Derry since James II appointed Cormac O’Neill. The Nationalist Irish News (21 Jan 1920) was able to suggest that denying Derry to the Ascendancy was the end of the argument on partition.

    But that, of course, was not the end of the matter. So let us move on from “justification” to “coercion”.

    The Unionist/Orange response was sectarian attacks in Derry. Which provoked counter-attacks. Which led to rioting. Which included an attack on the Lecky Road barracks. Which led to soldiers of the Dorset Regiment firing on women and children in Bridge Street. Which led to the Derry “Civil War”. Which led to the Belfast “pogroms”. Etc. Etc. Which meant that Wilson (see previous posts) became Military Advisor to Craig’s Government, with a budget of £2M (Craig eventually got £5M, and a vast armoury from London) for his “Specials”.

  • MacAedha

    You forgot to mention that we, or at least the armies of a foreign king who we supported since he was at least Catholic, not only funded the victor through our contributions to our one true faith but also that the victor was a ranting dutch queer.

    I think you may have missed my point.
    Keep an eye on the oul homophobia and have another go.

  • Nevin

    Malcolm, O’Doherty’s words in his inaugural speech would have done little to cool passions, “Ireland’s right to determine her own destiny will come about whether the Protestants of Ulster like it or not.” .. Bardon’s “History of Ulster”.

    Bardon also set these actions in context, “By 1920 full-scale guerrilla warfare had developed over much of the south and as the year advanced it spread northwards, inflaming ancient hatreds, plunging Ulster into the most terrible period of violence the province had experienced since the eighteenth century.”

    “The Unionist/Orange response was sectarian attacks in Derry.”

    Can you put a date on these attacks please?

  • I wonder…

    malcolm

    Nothing new, but it does need repeating.

    Sectarianism is something that *noo* Unionism needs reminding was integral to the very nature of the state that they now inhabit.

    I say *they* inadvertently because I am myself unionist in background and thinking b/c: we are where we are. But I don’t shy away from the sectarianism which is deeply rooted in this ideology and is still espoused by others.

  • Dewi

    How on earth can we lose to blasted Fiji !

  • Martin

    imm–if unionists argued in 1912-22 that if Ireland were entitled to leave the UK then they were entitled to break away from a Dublin ruled independent Ireland and form Northern Ireland (yeah i know home rule came no where near full independence) on the basis that they had majority in the 6,

    could the (Nationalist/Republican/Catholic ) majority of Tyrone/Fermanagh not argue that they were equally be entitled to opt out of Northern Ireland–arm themselves and declare their own state independent of N.I or the Free state.

  • Harry Flashman

    *I’m fed up of Welsh kids dying in their stupid wars.*

    I wasn’t aware that there was conscription in Wales Dewi, I thought the “kids” (actually they are grown adult men) volunteered to serve in those wars.

    *could the (Nationalist/Republican/Catholic ) majority of Tyrone/Fermanagh not argue that they were equally be entitled to opt out of Northern Ireland–arm themselves and declare their own state independent of N.I or the Free state.*

    Of course they could argue this, if they wanted to, none of them did however, what is your point?

    *The Unionist/Orange response was sectarian attacks in Derry. Which provoked counter-attacks. Which led to rioting. Which included an attack on the Lecky Road barracks. Which led to soldiers of the Dorset Regiment firing on women and children in Bridge Street. Which led to the Derry “Civil War”.*

    Fascinating Malcolm, so the Derry ‘roits’ as my granny called them were started by the huns? News to me.

    I have in front of me the Irish Times reports of that week (I am the direct descendeant of one the men who spent the week in Bishop Street shooting at protestants in the Fountain, despite having a very good job with a protestant business which not unnaturally sacked him when he returned to work).

    The first reports are in the Monday 21st June edition reporting the rioting which started on the previous Friday;

    “The outbreak of the disturbances seems to have its origin in a squabble that took place in the Sinn Fein district of Long Tower street, and spread to other parts of the city…

    Shooting however, began about nine o’clock on an extensive scale between rival factions in different quarters. Unionist ex-soldiers and others armed with rifles and revolvers, assembled in Upper Fountain Street, and Sinn Feiners at Long Tower street with revolvers. Heavy firing continued for half an hour, and during that time a huged mixed crowd of men, women and children collected in the Diamond listening to the shots.

    Squabbles occurred between some of those in the mixed crowd. Two respectable-looking girls commenced to fight, and a Sinn Feiner shouted “Up the Rebels”. He was knocked down by a Unionist who then ran down Shipquay street, pursued by a hostile crowd. He took refuge in the City Club, where a crowd, who fired many revolver shots, demanded that he should be sent out, and they smashed the club windows.

    During this time there had been a lull in the firing at Lower Fountain street and Long Tower street, but it again broke out with great intensity, and the Sinn Fein crowd in Shipquay street rushed up to where this encounter was in progress. They were, however, intercepted by an armed party of Unionists, who drove them back to the Diamond, where the Sinn Feiners took cover behind the walls surrounding the ornamental gardens and returned the fire of the Unionists”

    It goes on in much the same vein, what you describe as “Orange attacks” is clearly described as communal battles between two armed factions. This is certainly my family’s handed down memory of those events, it was always regarded as a mini civil war in which both sides gave as good as they got and both were equally to blame and not some form of attempted Orange pogrom against innocent defenceless Catholics.

    I’d be interested to discover your sources for your interpretation.