A conflict by any other name

“Nowadays we have more of a cultural conflict rather than a military one” Discuss.

  • willowfield

    Is that not rather obviously true?

  • iain

    Its seems to me as an outsider that in NI the other guys loss is our victory. There doesn’t seem to be any interest in compromise. In fact, not only should the other guy lose, he must be seen to lose, and every opportunity to gloat publicly should be availed of. But the cold wind of reality will be felt soon in Ulster. The Government is broke, North sea oil is depleting, and the two decade long ‘fire sale’ of public assets has run its course. If you elect guys who are incapable of getting their act together and finding compromise then there really is no future for NI as an entity.

  • willowfield

    There’s always a future: it just might not be a very good one.

  • Mick Fealty


    Is the BA/GFA/SAA not a rather large bundle of compromise?

  • kensei


    Is the BA/GFA/SAA not a rather large bundle of compromise?

    Just new ground rules, maybe?

  • iain

    Well i guess, but imposed/formulated from the outside. And indeed, a few political careers broke on the back of some of the above ‘agreements’, as indeed did the fortunes of a couple of NI political parties. Anyway, the irony of the agreements/fudges that you mention is that the d’Hondt system of government you now requires a degree of cooperation and compromise that would be very difficult to achieve in a more ‘typical’ democracy, shall we say.

  • Ben

    Mick if your answer is that currently there is more of a cultural conflict than a military one, part of the question is will that remain the case? There’s quite a bit of “no going backwards” sentiment, but there’s also a seeming ambition of “separate but equal” as much or more than a vision of integration. Teddy Kollek, long the mayor of Jerusalem, used to talk about that city as a “mosaic”, which sounded nice, but meant that each cell was clearly defined and stayed in its own place, only thereby contributing to the whole. If all of Northern Ireland is to be like that, it remains fragile, with culture “battled” across fences and along parade routes, and in bits like the language dispute. So long as the working class is appeased in economic terms they may buy in to the new political dynamic (that keeps them down), but if the economy erodes, as it very may well, things could heat up. This suggests a conflation in the political conflict of religion/identity/class, and I think that’s a reasonable way to look at it. I think that today we have more of a cultural conflict than a military conflict, and the cultural conflict won’t go away any time soon. But under what circumstances (for instance voting on the future of the place) might the military conflict resume?
    Yours in less than full confidence, Ben

  • DC

    ‘Cultural conflict’; it’s only a conflict if you want a sense of neutrality, but is neutrality really neutral? And you must ask why do you want that and whether culture is really a big a threat as it is made out to be.

    Culture is one strand of the wider agreement needing looked at and it should be accommodated in Northern Ireland through devolved agreement; but, identity will always be relational and that is the key as to why it probably isn’t that big a deal because relational experiences should consolidate Northern Ireland’s place if the appropriate progress can be made.

    However, certain politicians interpretations of ‘culture’ are divisive, stopping movement or debates.

    Some sense of cultural recognition is required in Northern Ireland for non-unionists, but Unionism fails to realise this, which puts lines down in the sand barring progress on other issues.

    Whilst the ‘troubles’ were not a cultural war the resolution of it happened as result of the peace process, which has in it a large plank of policy running through the centre of the agreement that was supposed to be used in a way to move past the old Northern Ireland.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    I think you need to distinguish bewtween those directly involved in or interested in politics and those who have little or no interest.

    The first group thrive on difference and in fact need it to distinguish between themselves and other groups. The second by and large don’t care and may or may not turn up at the ballot box.

    The last 30 years here has been stoked up by the first group while the others went about their business. eg see how easily the nationalist population start supporting the PSNI when the first lot say it is OK; see how it is OK for SF to be in Government when RIP says it is OK.

    We have little to proud of in our leaders over the past 30 years.

    The answer to the question is therefore whatever is in the best interests of the few will be what we will all have to fall in behind.

  • ulsterfan

    Conflict will continue on a cultural basis.
    Some propose a Gaelic Ireland while others support holding on to what is best from a British/European culture.
    At first sight this looks like a no contest but nevertheless it will be fought along these lines.
    I have heard an elected representative extol the virtues of the Brehon laws and then immediately say there should be a distribution of land pre 1600 in order to bring peace to this wee Island.
    I wonder how many people in the Republican community share these views?

  • “Some sense of cultural recognition is required in Northern Ireland for non-unionists, but Unionism fails to realise this”

    That’s simply untrue. Many unionists on this site have time and again stated they welcome Irish culture or culture that isn’t unionist, maybe even nationalist. It’s not unreasonable that they draw the line at those who set out to kill and maim their loved ones.

    It’s not a case of ruling out anything non-unionist, just an insistence that any changes are such that they promote mutual respect and tolerance.

  • Is it not possible to express the many facets of culture here without the need to stick a flag or some other form of political label on it?

  • Quiz Master

    Alot of people want status for the Irish language. They want to learn it and to speak it. The DUP want to ban it outright like was the case in times past and have used a phoney language as a guise for this

  • nmc

    Is it not possible to express the many facets of culture here without the need to stick a flag or some other form of political label on it?

    I suppose that decision is up to the many. I don’t see Unionism dropping their flags or emblems any quicker than I see Republicanism doing it. I think the major challenge will be preventing this place slip down the road of total neutrality, as you yourself suggested on the Stormont row thread. Either we get to grips with the difficult side of each other’s cultural behaviour or we remove all of it.