Time for university to abandon neutrality..?

ÓGRA Shinn Féin is up in arms (just pictorially, I’m glad to say) about the ‘political protocol’ at the University of Ulster Students’ Union, which places fairly tight restrictions on party political organisation on campus. UU certainly was not a hotbed of party political activity when I attended, but on the other hand, Queen’s SU has a reputation of childish playground tribalism. Anyway, Ógra is facing disciplinary action for distributing a leaflet publicising a lecture which included images of masked gunmen. Ógra’s reason for using the image is the usual rhetorical platitudes (“We feel that it is right to remember the past, and only by remembering and talking about the past, can we truly move forward to a shared future” – yeah, you’re obviously putting yourselves out on a limb to ‘share’ there guys!) but is there a valid point lurking in there? Should UU open the political Pandora’s box and allow greater freedom to the various parties’ junior wings, despite the divisiveness that could result? If you agree with Ógra, you can sign their petition here, or SDLP Youth’s here. The SDLP group has been opposed to the UU policy for a number of years. Anyone know the unionist position? Could it even be the last thing the junior Gerrys and premature Peters ever agree on!? Don’t be expecting replies until after noon…

  • KieranJ
  • Simon

    Why should the University of Ulster become as bitter and divided as Queens? It’ll just become another opportunity for the local parties to promote on their sectarian policies. It won’t benefit the students one bit. Keep the politics out of higher education and let people be taught in a neutral environment.

  • ozy

    The problem with what is called “neutrality” is it amounts to a sanitised nothingness.

    I would definitely think UU should allow student politics on its grounds. The idea of a university which doesn’t allow political expression is a contradiction-in-terms.

    If the local Ogra SF crowd insist on this sort of nonsense they’ll just make the same fools of themselves as their colleagues in TCD did last October with their sectarian “Brits Out” antics.

    Allowing open student politics is probably the best way to stop this sort of crap (ie pictures of gunmen etc) as too many potential supporters would get alienated by it. Ban all politics altogether and they’ve got nothing to lose by hitting the faux-extremist note…

  • Comrade Stalin

    The problem with what is called “neutrality” is it amounts to a sanitised nothingness.

    What you have to understand, David, is that most people up here (especially younger people) are sick to the back teeth of politics bollocks, and they don’t want to even have to deal with it at university. I’d say you’ll find that the UU union is speaking for the majority of the students.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The problem with what is called “neutrality” is it amounts to a sanitised nothingness. ‘

    Nothing wrong with sanitised ‘nothingness’ . It certainly beats blood soaked stupidity . Students in NI should try to get the best degree they can so they can leave for better opportunities elsewhere in the UK or Republic or elsewhere .
    Leave the local politics to the retards . They’re not going anywhere anyway ! Not because they don’t to -its just because thay can’t !

  • Greenflag

    correction to last sentence above.

    Not because they don’t WANT to -its just because they can’t !

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    University campuses should certainly allow political organisation. It’s true that student politics more often is just the youngsters cutting their teeth and is largely, (if not completely) ineffective, but if you are to continue with a party political, representative democracy then it should be considered worthwhile for those who will enter party politics to have such an experience to develop their skills.

    For those who feel that this would only be disruptive to the academic environment then they should compare Queens and UU in terms of academic performance. Is UU fairing better than Queens?

    I’m not at all convinced that it would damage the academic environment as long as the university authorities ensured that a code of conduct be enforced on the political societies to ensure that people behaved themselves.

    Universities are places of exploration and experimentation. This coupled with the fact that the vast majority of students are young and free from many responsibilities can allow for new ideas to get an airing and for people to really find their political feet, and God only knows Northern Ireland needs some new ideas and experienced young people to bring them into the mainstream.

  • Sunningdale

    My immediate gut reaction was that the designers of the leaflet should be sanctioned, but actually this kind of idiotic posturing can only harm their cause and hopefully hasten the day when we have some alternative to the usual mythologising of the past. I would suggest that each attendee at this talk should be given a free copy of Richard English’s excellent recent book on Irish Nationalism – it might possibly give them something to think about.

  • BfB

    Don’t forget to stifle free speech as well. And that nasty ‘intelligent design’ nonsense, get rid of that. Gag the neo-conservatives, and ban smoking, caffeine and candy while you’re at it. Oh, and don’t forget to reserve that nice little common area for the mosque. A wonderful little EU satellite.
    Tsk, tsk.

  • CS-

    “What you have to understand, David, is that most people up here (especially younger people) are sick to the back teeth of politics bollocks, and they don’t want to even have to deal with it at university.”

    Are you suggesting that people should not be allowed to organise politically on account of the fact that “most people are sick to the back teeth” of it? Kind of anti-democratic, is it not?

    I’m sure there are plenty of people who have no interest in sport, but does that mean sporting organisations at UU should also be banned?

    People at university are adults. They can make free choices in life and have the right to vote. Yet they are being refused the right to associate with people who they share political opinions with lest it should insult someone. Are supporters of this protocol saying that students are so sensitive and unable to deal with the realities of real life that they should be protected from all things political? I can’t think of a worse insult.

  • I still find it hard to believe that there are still people who believe imposing a ban solves all uncomfortable political problems, Banning Gerry Adams voice on TV and radio was a clear example of just why authoritarian bans should be left to the likes of the Chinese government and co.

    If it is worth its salt, Uni is about more than just attaining a degree, it is also about aspects of life students may not yet have come into contact with. Political parties exist in the real world so there youth wings should be represented on the Uni campus, if the party in question has enough supporters to merit it. that is what democracy is all about, surely?

    As I see it if youngsters at Uni cannot make the odd mistake without the whole house falling down, then who the hell can. Leave them alone, I am absolutely certain Ógra will have learnt a great deal from this event and they have no need of officialdom to make matters worse.

    When political parties are banned or face sanction it is always for political reasons, and one should not forget that. The fluff and bluster is because the people who are doing the banning do not wish to be seen as small minded bigots.

  • joeCanuck

    The idea of a university which doesn’t allow political expression is a contradiction-in-terms.

    Agree totally with that.
    Those who think that students shouldn’t be talking politics or that they might get tainted by doing so are completely underestimating those students’ intelligence.
    How many Prime Ministers and other major political leaders have been President of their student unions or debating societies?

  • Greenflag

    ‘For those who feel that this would only be disruptive to the academic environment then they should compare Queens and UU in terms of academic performance. Is UU fairing better than Queens? ‘

    What percentage of UU graduates compared to Queen’s leave Northern Ireland after they’ve ‘qualify’ in political discourse or in whatever ?

    Mick Hall,

    ‘When political parties are banned or face sanction it is always for political reasons’

    True enough . Cuba being one example that springs to mind . Mind you I hear they produce good dentists so that their people can open their mouths and not say anything 🙂

  • Cuchulainn

    as far as i was made aware, there was ameeting in Colraine to disscuss the protocol, ti was then cancelled at the last minute, i think SDLP youth have something about it,

    http://www.sdlpyouth.com/news_view.php?id=172

    All the partys had reached agreement at a meeting the week before, told about producing crap like OSF produced, simply they wouldnt do it, and then got the meeting called of because of it,

    OSF just basically f**ked up! they had no call to go around doing something they knew would stop the meeting going ahead, so they have nobody to blame but themselves,

    i wouldnt put it passed them looking to get it put off so they could protest a bit more, somethiong new to crty about, create a SHAM, well i suppose thats SF as a whole for ya!

    young unionists, OSF, SDLP Youth and OFF had all agreed on principle to put forward a list of rules for the meeting last tuesday, SF broke the rules even before the meeting got under way, pathetic!

  • qub student

    God I hate Ogra Sinn Fein. As a Queen’s student, nobody gives a crap about the divide, but the 5% who do, boy do they want to tell us about it. Please go away, you and your five words of Irish and Mairead Farrell leaflets. Of course there is also a lot of parochialism which is harmless enough, especially among GAA-heads, but that’s their perogrative, my issue is with the ****-stirrers in Ogra Sinn Fein. Of course, they’re the ones who’ll end up running Northern Ireland, whoop-de-bloody-do.

    I’m a nationalist, but i think that’s where part of my annoyance comes from, that these are the people who are supposed to represent us or something. I probably exaggerate a bit, but when you’re hanging around with people from “the other side” and you come across Mairead Farrell leaflets, you do want to bury your head in your hands.

  • qub student

    In fairness, concerning the Farrel leaflets, I didn’t see them around campus, they were more evident in the Holyland and Botanic area surrounding Queen’s. Surprise surprise. Poor Mairead Farrell, she got shot by the same essential people she was trying to kill. Yeah, I am actually a nationalist, really, but a frustrated one.

  • qub student

    I do have a tendancy to exaggerate, so don’t think Queen’s is some tri-colour ridden IRA-fest, prospective Unionist students…it’s really not.

  • “As a Queen’s student, nobody gives a crap about the divide, but the 5% who do, boy do they want to tell us about it.”

    That was largely my experience too. Student politics is a joke. If they want to organise fine, but looking at Queen’s, they can’t be trusted not to vandalise the place with posters everywhere and they end up running the SU. None of the students want that.

    “Are you suggesting that people should not be allowed to organise politically on account of the fact that “most people are sick to the back teeth” of it?”

    YES! If most people don’t want it then it hardly seems fair for the wishes of a minority to be foisted upon them (see above). Yes they have the option to vote them out in the annual elections, but if they don’t want to have to waste time voting every year just to keep sectarian wankers out of office then their wishes should be respected.

  • qub student

    It’s not just nationalists though! From May 2006:

    “Motion 3

    We, the Student Council, would like both the Union Speaker and the President of the Queen’s Students’ Union, Belfast to send a letter on behalf of the student body congratulating Her Majesty the Queen on her eightieth birthday. Long to reign over us. God Save The Queen.

    Motion 4

    We, the Student Council, in celebration of Her Majesty’s momentous birthday, demand that the members of Student Council mark the occasion by singing the National Anthem (words below):

    Motion 5

    We, the Student Council, would like both the Union Speaker and the President of Queen’s University Students’ Union, Belfast to send a letter on behalf of the student body, congratulating the Right Honourable Doctor Rev. Ian Paisley MP MLA on his eightieth birthday.”

  • UU Ógra SF Member

    I agree the the picture used on the flyer wasn’t the most appropriate but there was never any intention to cause hurt or pain to anyone.

    However it shouldn’t take away from the real issue at heart which is the universities policy of discrimination against political parties. Universities should be a friendly home for political and cultural diversity and I believe that political activity should be promoted and encouraged.

  • qub student

    Yes why would anyone be offended by IRA men. It’s just ****-stirring and the same old “we are most oppressed peoples in history of world and who cares about anyone else” attitude You’re even out of step with Sinn Fein. Twenty year olds glorifying the troubles. It’s ridiculous.

  • ‘Anyone know the unionist position?’

    The Young Unionists at UU are and have for a signifigant period of time been opposed to the draconian regulations on political activity present at the university.

    Some discussion did occur between the various political parties present on campus, this action by OSF has flown in the face of what everyone (apart from apparently OSF) was trying to achieve. OSF have damaged themselves and the case for the removal of the political protocol by engaging in blatantly unacceptable behaviour.

  • qub student

    Yes and let’s examine where Francis Hughes has brought Republicanism, that would be interesting wouldn’t it. Probably the same answer as to where Ian Paisley has brought Unionism. The opposite place they’d basically intended to.

  • Cuchulainn

    UU gra SF Mmeber,

    maybe it wasnt an attension to cause hurt and pain, but then ur admitting that the people who made the flyers have common sense, which this clearly proves they dont,

    u think when making the flyer a few things would go through thier heads,

    wlll this upset the univeristy, will this upset unionists? is this the best picture to use? does this break univeristy rules

    noiw if they came to conculsion that this was a good flyer then they really are idiots!

    and does nobody else find it strange they do this the day before a meeting to discuss changing the political protocol?

    if this group is the future of SF then i dont think the SDLP have anything to fear

  • qub student

    “wlll this upset the univeristy, will this upset unionists? is this the best picture to use? does this break univeristy rules”

    I worry that’s exactly what they think!

  • As I said the flyer wasn’t designed to cause offence, its intention was to advertise an event to commemorate an IRA volunteer who incidentally was a former student at the university. The fact that three unionists attended the actual event shows that it didn’t cause much distress.

    The reality is that while political parties are discriminated against by the university, the British Army are given a free hand to set up recruitment stalls and distribute leaflets with photos of real guns on them.

    Anyone who took time to attend the event will know that none of the speakers ‘glorified the troubles’ but spoke passionately about the future.

  • InMyOpinion

    In-fighting within OSF…

    The OSF James Sheridan cumann were unhappy that OSF reps had joined discussions with SDLP, OFF, UUP on abolishing the Political Protocol. This is their way of disrupting those discussions. This particular cumann want to drag out the ban on politics at UU so they have something to protest about. It is no coincidence that it happened the night before UUSU were due to hold the review meeting of the Political Protocol, and before SDLP/UUP/OFF/OSF were supposed to meet to decide on principles of agreement, such as no paramilitary memorabilia!

  • Cuchulainn

    te fact is that the evenmt, and the way it was advertised was illegeal, against the rules of the univeristy, as far asd im aware (by a good source) i was against the rules that OSF had agreed to the week before!

    brisitsh amry, bastards as they were to the nationalist xcommunity are still seen as the army of the state, IRA were and still are terrorists that went on an offenesive campiagn against the unionist community and a large section of the nationalsit community.

    they could have put a flyer around saying “republican so and so, talking being held in such a place” the way they did it was a complete farce, designed to piss on UU and show people how a bunch of idioitc people can organise an event.

    distasteful in the full sense of the word, wonder what they woulds have done if unionists were promoting a talk held by one of the Shankill Butchers, imsure they be more than happy to let it go ahead

  • UU SF member

    Inmyopinion, you couldn’t be further from the truth. A member of the Vol. James Sheridan cumann was due to be part of the delegation at Wednesdays meeting until it was cancelled at the last minute. In fact he was on his way to Derry on Tuesday night when he got word that it had been cancelled.

    Also, what is this that ‘It is no coincidence that it happened the night before UUSU were due to hold the review meeting of the Political Protocol’?

    The event itself was held on the 5th of March, nearly two weeks ago. And the leaflets themselves were distributed a day or two before the actual event. In fact, our cumann recieved no communication from the students union or the university to even query the leaflet.

    The whole issue of the leaflet just appeared on Friday morning with an article in the Belfast Telegraph. In my opinion, this issue has been blown totally out of the water.

  • Cuchulainn

    the issue was not blown out of the water, it was just and idioitc on the part of SF to do what they did,

    it have no place in UU and they know the how fussy the poers that be are in UU, it just made no sense to put out leafleats like that!

    in places like queens and St Marys OSF actually has a bit of sense, i dout ud ever see a flyer like that round queens are st marys.

  • necromancer

    Naming your society after a young man who, persumably persuaded by some cancerous ‘ideology’, decided to set out to kill innocent people inadvertently killing himself and his colleagues, in the first instance seems to be pretty poor taste on a humanitarian level, let alone as an example to set for young people attending university in Northern Ireland or future ‘leaders’ in an already divided society blighted by past atrocities.

    The political protocol is out of date. No two ways about that. But whether OSF’s written views and pictoral representations are acceptable in a demcratic society is another question.

    I doubt that OSF would uphold my right to form a Holocaust Denial Society in the university for various resons. Why should I support their ‘murder in the name of ireland for the Irish’ society and associated right to encourage others, as young and vulnerable as James Sheridan, to share in their glorification of sectarian murder?

  • InMyOpinion

    UUSU used the actions of OSF as an excuse to cancel the event, so OSF got what they wanted. There’s no point anyone in OSF complaining about the ban on political activities when OSF distribute leaflets for IRA meetings.

  • Twinbrook

    who does this qub student think he or she is to lecture anyone on the rights and wrongs of free speech, because thats basically what this boils down too…

    There should be no limits to the rights of any student to profess or promogate any political beliefs…

    maybe qub should get his head outta his arse and realise that the majority of nationalists would take no offense at this (political free speech)but then he`s a made up internet persona created by the sdlp press office!!!!!

  • Twinbrook

    queens and st marys don`t ban free speech.

  • Comrade Stalin

    El Matador:

    Are you suggesting that people should not be allowed to organise politically on account of the fact that “most people are sick to the back teeth” of it?

    No.

    Kind of anti-democratic, is it not?

    Yes, but who said university was supposed to be democratic ?

    In my workplace, and I suspect a lot of other workplaces around the country, talking about politics or religion is “banned”. By banned, I mean that the rules ask you not to talk about it.

  • The political protocol is an absolute disgrace, and should be overturned.

    The UU and UUSU are feeling the heat over this issue and are trying to divert attention from their obvious blunder.

    This issue will be fought and we will be successful in overturning this blatant censorship.

    The image of an IRA final salute in my opinion is a very legitimate image to use, an historic image that is used by republican’s as a mark of respect to their fallen patriot dead.

    Of course it will cause some minor offence to some, just the same way that passing by British War Memorials or British Named streets causes me offence but lets respect diversity and deal with it in a democratic manner.

    Rather that getting fixated on an image of the past, what about the ridicolous present day situation of the British Army recruiting on campus. That is a much much bigger issue, but as it flies in the face of the status quo, hardly an issue that the head nodding UUSU or State press will cover.

    Finally ‘Inmyopinion’ it is abundantly clear who you are, and if you want to speak about these matters I suggest you speak to climb out from beneath that rock and speak openly to Ogra SF.

  • qub student

    “who does this qub student think he or she is to lecture anyone on the rights and wrongs of free speech, because thats basically what this boils down too…

    There should be no limits to the rights of any student to profess or promogate any political beliefs…”

    What, literally NO limits?

  • qub student

    And I didn’t say anything about the leaflets being banned, I just exercised my free speech by stating my belief that OSF members tend to be complete ****-stirrers.

  • Twinbrook

    yes no limits…

    limits set by middle class out of touch wannabbe unelectable politicians…

    Free speech is the cornerstone of any liberal democracy.

    T`internet qub creation, get off your moral high horse…

    just because you don`t agree with their politics YOU want them BANNED..

  • Twinbrook

    as to be stirrers….

    what in contrast to being Castle catholics, stoops and lickspittles….

    yeah lets go back to the days of No taigs here!

    Grow up and please don`t presume to speak for any group of students nevermind the QUB students…

  • qub student

    “as to be stirrers….

    what in contrast to being Castle catholics, stoops and lickspittles….

    yeah lets go back to the days of No taigs here!

    Grow up and please don`t presume to speak for any group of students nevermind the QUB students…”

    Yes, somehow not support IRA-fellating ****-stirring correlates to wanting to be to be Unionism’s bitch!

    And you seem to be suffering from a confused belief that the IRA equals the Civil Rights Movement. Ridiculous point to make. And no, not supporting OFS doesn’t make me a “lickspittle”, it makes me someone who recognises that it is 2008. “No taigs here”? Wow. Woe is us. Poor taigs, we best glorify Mairead Farrell and pretend that IRA gunmen got us where we are today or else they’ll take away our votes! Again, it’s 2008.

    And I don’t support the SDLP. I support none of the Nationalist parties at present. I even prefer Sinn Fein itself to its moping youth wing.

    Has anyone actually told OSF what the big boys are doing up at Stormont? That we’re not living in 1930 or 1969? I really don’t understand their insecurity.

  • CS Parnell

    I agree the the picture used on the flyer wasn’t the most appropriate but there was never any intention to cause hurt or pain to anyone.

    Either we are led to believe that OSF are liars (an IRA colour party ffs!) or stupid, or maybe both.

    There are two different issues here. The ban on political activity, which is wrong.

    And the truciteer politics of OSF. Which is pure shite.

  • C. Mc Shane

    QUB Student aka Mr. Helferty

    Why are you turning your fire on OSF?

    Why not looking at the unionist groups at queens.

  • DM

    I’m at QUB and I’m bloody fed up with all the student politics crap that goes on year after year, the same tiny battles being fought by the same tiny minds, leave the rest of us alone – just for once I’d like to go a whole week without being flyered by some eejit or other. I’m in full agreement with ‘qub student’ – it’s 2008, get over it. How about getting up some support for the abolition of tuiton fees if you really want to make your voice heard about something?

    By the way, anyone that thinks a leaflet portraying an armed IRA colour party won’t cause offence needs their head examined.

  • Granni Trixie

    A troubles book entitled “They wreaked the place..” sums of the role of the IRA for me.
    The reason uni authorities have a duty to manage political propaganda is that students, because they are usually youngish, are unaware of the reality of the havoc that bombings etc have left in their wake in NI. There is also a danger of encouraging a suicide cult through the manipulation of dead heroes (eg hunger strikers, Farrell etc).

  • Twinbrook

    Have I just entered a parallel universe!

    Where have I even mentioned either the IRA or the civil rights movement?
    As to Mairead Farrell, should the majority of Nationalists who would see her in a different way than yourself and unionists, be ashamed to mention her incase it “offends” those who go out of their way to be offended?

    Should Nationalists now revise and whitewash OUR history to suit the Political sensitivities of all those poor dearies who don`t and won`t accept that
    SF has a mandate!

    So if an armed campaign (whether one agrees or disagrees with it)didn`t get us here what did!

    The sdlp off course.

  • qub student

    “QUB Student aka Mr. Helferty

    Why are you turning your fire on OSF?

    Why not looking at the unionist groups at queens.”

    I did mention Unionist groups, but OSF seem to be the most overt, and I think it’s partly BECAUSE I’m a nationalist that it makes me cringe.

    “Should Nationalists now revise and whitewash OUR history to suit the Political sensitivities of all those poor dearies who don`t and won`t accept that
    SF has a mandate!”

    OSF are about as revisionist as you can get, surely.

  • HeadTheBall

    *So if an armed campaign (whether one agrees or disagrees with it)didn`t get us here what did!*

    Where’s here? Sharing a table with Paisley and his ilk? Is that what the 35 years of misery for everybody was all about?

  • CS Parnell

    So if an armed campaign (whether one agrees or disagrees with it)didn`t get us here what did!

    Twinbrook, tell us what great advances the IRA won between 1973 (Sunningdale) and the 1997 cease fire. And were none of them really on offer unless people were being killed?

  • qub

    “So if an armed campaign (whether one agrees or disagrees with it)didn`t get us here what did!”

    That’s exactly why I brought up the IRA and the Civil Rights Movement, Twinbrook, as there seems to be confusion as to the difference between them.

  • talksomesense

    “So if an armed campaign (whether one agrees or disagrees with it)didn`t get us here what did!”

    usually Twinbrook, i would look at most ur points, and think there is a degree of evidence to some of them,

    but this one is so utterly stupid, baseless and pathetic i feel i have to comment,

    the armed struggle if anything added an extra 30 years to Irish partition, tell me what it achieved thast the SDLP didnt?

    majorty support of the nationalist people? no,
    irish unity?? no
    withdrawal of the biritish forces? no
    the call of the british people to withdraw? no
    end the stromont regine? no
    achieve ANY aim they set out to do? no

    now the SDLP,
    majority support? yes,
    achieve civil rights for catholics? yes
    get the IRA/SF to abanden the arm stuggle? yes
    forward the paln for irish unity? yes

    im only a simple historian but the fact that u think IRA/SF gained anything from the armed struggle is pathetic,

    i agree the SDLP are in need of an overhaul in a lot of places like West Belfast, but no1 with any sense would say they achieve more than the SDLP

  • talksomesense

    and Twinbrook, i hope u realise that SF are basically what the SDLP used to be,

    up untill about 15 years ago, SF werent looking to go to stromont, r be part of a british instution,

    the IRA Leaders of the 70s would be disgusted at what Gerry Adams and McGuinness are doing now,

    Francie Hughes and Bobby Sands didnt die so thye could be deputy minister to the DUP.

    but it ant to hard to see why SF have went this direction, Gerry Adams is looking so hard to be seen like john hume its just sad

  • Garibaldy

    The SDLP achieved civil rights for Catholics? Here’s me thinking that the achievement of the demands of NICRA were the result of its activities, and of the tens of thousands who took part in its marches.

    And oh yeah, the point was civil rights for everyone, not just Catholics.

  • talksomesense

    The SDLP achieved civil rights for Catholics? Here’s me thinking that the achievement of the demands of NICRA were the result of its activities, and of the tens of thousands who took part in its marches.

    what i meant was the SDLP carried on the work of the NICRA, while SF went against everything they stood for, it was the SDLP who stood up for catholics, getting unionist consessions with things like the sunningdale agreement.

    and while im sure Francie Molly done a great job telling the people to follow a straght road from coalisland to dungannon, it was Ivan Cooper and co who were leading the march

  • Garibaldy

    No one group has the right to claim NICRA’s heritage.

    What we can say however is that both the Provos and the SDLP with their sectarian brand of politics, matched by their unionist counterparts, divided the people of Ireland, and bear repsonsibility for deepening and exploiting the divisions on our island.

  • talksomesense

    i dont think i said anywhere that the SDLP had a right to claim thier heritage,

    although they have as much right to claim civil rights as SF,FF,FG and Labour do to claim 1916.

    ur second statment i totally disagree with, the SDLP and John Hume himself did much to bring the people of the island together, tried to get past divisons of the country

    indeed when he was meeting the IRA his lione of argument was that it was the culturel and secterian divisions of the island that was causing the trouble, not the biritish army, and that this had to change,

    this is shown in the massive personal vote John Hume got from both communitys for his work witht eh SDLP

    anyway this is gettiung way of the beaten path of this topic

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘brisitsh amry, bastards as they were to the nationalist xcommunity are still seen as the army of the state, IRA were and still are terrorists that went on an offenesive campiagn against the unionist community and a large section of the nationalsit community.’

    The amount of ignorance and downright lies in the above is laughable….oh and its ‘Cú Chulainn’, he had nothing to do with britain by the way.

  • Twinbrook

    Sorry have we entered a time warp…

    Firstly pretend qub student..where did I mention civil rights and the IRA?

    Secondly the sdlp didn`t lead the civil rights movement and to try and state otherwise is ludicrous, talk about revisionism!

    As to Sunningdale, why do sdlp supporters point to that as a success when history clearly shows that Unionists as was proved out,would not accept that deal!!!

    Now into the realms of Alice in Wonderland..

    the sdlp has majority support,well apart of the elections, their absence of work on the ground in the Majority of Nationalist working class areas across the North…

    No party structures in the majority of areas apart from on paper..

    The sdlp achieved civil rights for Catholics, missed that one too, was dwelling on the planet Venus at the time…

    Got the IRA to abandon the armed struggle!!! If the British Army couldn`t do in the words of Ghostbusters…
    Who you gonna call…the sdlp.

    Irish unity…you seem to forget that when God in the guise of durkan took control of the remnants of the sdlp, he steered the course of post-nationalism to vainly attract unionists, now what ever happened to that!!

    Talk about revisionism, to be hon est I haven`t laughed so much, its like letting a 10yr try and explain history!!!

    B y the way, if you google sdlp and sdlp youth you are presented with these 2 facts;

    1)sdlp, “Principal party of the nationalist (Catholic) community in Northern Ireland”…

    So whats that all about?

    2)sdlp youth, “the most active youth movement in Ireland”..

    Talk about making unsubstantiated claims…

    Well one things clear about the sdlp….they don`t dwell on the minor things….

    like FACTS.

  • talksomesense

    firstly i didnt say the SDLP lead the NICRA, but many of thier future leaders did, gerry fitt, john hume, ivan cooper, and its the same situation that SF try and claim the easter rising, something thier memebrs didnt take part in.

    the unionist wouldnt accept the deal, but the ira breaking thier ceasefire one week after the signing didnt help them either, anyway they accept sunningdale under st andrews, and i dont think it was worth 3000 more deaths? do you?

    yes the SDP had majority of support, throughtout the troubles? maybe you still believe that post 2003 means that SF had popular support all through the troubles period, guess im missing something thier, i wonder did ur mind just go blank when gerry fitt and Joe Hendren was ur MP?? are maybe your just a little young to remeber.

    always nice to look at a the SDLP post 202, yes they are a shawdow of thier former selves, a joke even, but lets look at SF

    throughout the 70s and 80s they said they would never go into stromont, and criticized the SDLP for doing so, how things change, Gerry Adams said that the bitish government would never a get 1 IRA gun, yet 3 months later their was decommising, they wouldnt support the police, but yet 3 months later thier they were on the policing board. o the vanity

    I even believe i heard a couple fo thier MLAs mention Northern Ireland since may last year?? most of them used to claim the place didnt exist? now whos pandering to unionists?

    so what if the SDLP are trying to get the unioinst vote? takes a majortiy vote in stromont to get a united ireland.

    i always lvoe how west belfast shinners think thier party was accepted all over the northn, when clearly they werent,

    tell me tiwnbrook, how did killing 11 protestent workers at kinsmill? what about the bomb at enniskillen? killing of robert Mccartney? killing of paul quinn?

    yes SF are more popular than the SDLP now, and rightly so, but dont expect them to remain thier for 2 long if thier bullshit politics keeps going the way its going. Im not saying trhe SDLP will rise again, but thier are other people looking north, and the 70,000 votes SF gainned from the SDLP isnt going to stay.

  • qub student

    “Firstly pretend qub student..where did I mention civil rights and the IRA?”

    It’s like getting blood from a stone. Listen, I’m not gonna say anything more, but I’m gonna quote you one more time:

    ““So if an armed campaign (whether one agrees or disagrees with it)didn`t get us here what did!””

    Sigh. Also, you’re obsessed with the SDLP, a party I don’t care for, at the moment at least.

  • Muad’Dub

    Twinbrook you really are dellusional if you think that the IRA campaign did any more than put a lot of people in pine boxes before their time and held this place in a timewarp for too long. The war is over, provo leaders said it themselves. The Armalite failed, the ballot box might yet pevail. The reason why it ended was because the Brits stepped in and paid off everyone because it’s a little hippocritical to be off with the yank fighting terrorists while there are some pissing about in your own backyard. Why else do you think there are so many MLA’s and why they are paid so much more than they deserve, the same reason the brits are so happy to fund Farset and other projects like Alternatives.

    As to the matter on hand. I’ve never been a university student though some friends of mine attended Queens and others that attended UUJ. To be honest the atmosphere was better in UUJ where there was no palpable tension in the air as their is in Queens where nearly every one seems to be a card carying member of a political party and takes their perticular brand of extreemism to the nth degree.

    If a UU student wants to be political there is no rule that stops him or her joining a party, but it does seem a sensible idea to keep poisionous sectarianism away from an educational environment. Perhaps in the future when we have a truely shared society the rules would be relaxed and stunts like Ogra Sinn Fein pulled would be sniggered at and ignored as it should be.

  • Twinbroook

    All killings has to be condemned not used for political gain at the behest of the sdlp!

    Remain me again of who`s actually be found guilty of any of these crimes? Also why didn`t the sdlp start a campaign for the Dorrian family or that lad in North Belfast….No political capital.

    As too all these assertions that the sdlp were the majority party, yes that can`t be denied but with a limited franchise when huge swathes of Nationalists refused to vote!

    As to attracting Unionists, a policy that at the time was spouted as a turning point for the sdlp, a time when they said they where dropping the mantle of Nationalism as it was no longer relevant…

    Now today after successive electoral failures and all likelihood that they`ll either implode or join FF….so much for a post nationalist strategy..clutching at straws more than likely..

    I don`t justify murder and I don`t use it selectively like the sdlp, I remember the silence of the sdlp when children were murdered with plastic bullets, when the ruc murdered people in cars, etc, etc….remember the words of Gerry Fitts and after the McGurks bar bombing…The IRA did it!!!!!

    Typical of the sdlp more interested with living in the past wondering why the MAJORITY off Nationalists have turned their back on their wishy washy castle catholic attitudes…

    Simply the sdlp are unelectable because in the majority of Nationalist areas across the north of Ireland they don`t exist, don`t work with the community and are only seen at elections…yeah great work sdlp…

    qub, who are you trying to fool…Firstly again I`ll say it…were did I the IRA and the civil rights movement!!

    And just to finish. I don`t speak for SF, I just hate to see hypocrisy and the sdlp are full of it…

    Is it true the sdlp have solved the Jack the Ripper murders!

  • qub student

    “qub, who are you trying to fool…Firstly again I`ll say it…were did I the IRA and the civil rights movement!!”

    Firstly, I’m staying out of the SDLP discussion, I don’t care for the SDLP, as I’ve said. Secondly, I mentioned the IRA and CRM, as you seem to confuse the two.

    Primarily I take offence with your initial comments that if I don’t support OSF ****-stirring it makes me a “castle catholic” who supports a “no taigs here” viewpoint. Could you explain this? Please don’t go into a rant about the SDLP, I’m asking specifically how disagreeing with OSF’s actions makes me a “lickspittle”? I’m talking about Ogra Sinn Fein specifically, not Sinn Fein itself. Sinn Fein (and the SDLP) are irrelevant to this question.

  • Republican attending U.U.

    sweet mother of god, i have not heard so much sh*t talked by so many people who have overinflated opinions of their own importance in quite a long while.

    PLEASE READ THIS QUOTE CAREFULLY AND THINK ABOUT IT!
    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
    Voltaire

    a few home truths here,
    the issue at hand is not if you hate OSF or not, if your sick of poltics in this country, if your so P.C. you almost p*ss yourself everytime you look someone in the eye, or infact that you may be just a grumpy old man/woman.

    the issue (for anyone who really cares) is
    A) the leaflet/event at UU
    B) the politicol protocol at UU

    To address A), I had a relative shot dead by by off-duty UDR on-duty UVF members also in the south derry area, to parallel the complaint from the student against OSF.
    I AM offended by active recruitment by the British Forces at UU, HOWEVER would welcome a public talk/debate by members of the loyalist community or british army at UU which address’s the legacy of our past with a view to building a future void of such tragic events.
    and to answer a specific comment, if there was a talk presented by a member of the shankill butchers, yes, i would attend it, as it is only through engagement and talking through the problems of the past and dealing with our shared history that we can move forward, that is not rethoric, that is merely fact.(south africa!)
    a fact which clearly doesn’t sit well with the middle class “living in a bubble” mentality of some. There was a conflict, we need to deal with it!
    The leafet was advertising a public talk, behind closed doors, if people were offended by it, they didn’t have to go to it. the university regulations were broken by the leaflets existence, not the image, as political events cannot be advertised at all.
    the event itself focused on james sheridan and the reasons why a 20 year old student freely gave his life for Ireland, when he should have had the world at his feet, getting a degree and enjoying student life. and secondly on te future of republicanism, emerging from a conflict.
    3 members of the unionist community were at the talk – fact.

    To Address B), there is no rift between SF a UU, i attend UU and fully supported engagement with all parties, as all other SF UUJ members did, comprendes?
    Voltaire put it well, i don’t care what politcal societies form from right wing to left, we will engage with all of them in the aim of mature debate, addressing the legacy of our past and building a future.
    A university who teach politics courses, have posters everywhere encouraging people to register to vote, but won’t allow politics of any nature to occurr on campus, it speaks for itself. i spoke to a few different nationalities of foreign students on the matter, they see the farcical nature compared to other countries university experiences, if people stopped the OSF bashing they might for a brief second see it themselves.
    all parties want it scrapped so we can organise unhindered, and the students will decide then if any or none of our poltics are relevent, but give the students the choice and chance to make their own decisions in a mature, normal environment.

    as for the students union at UU, its facical nature is almost beyond words, years of watery careerist “lovely people” giving in to the universitys every demand has rendered it effectively powerless and almost entirely irrelevent, i say almost as some students are aware there is free money to be had when they are broke.

    i urge a few of you on this blogspot to get off your high horses, try and attend different events be they republican/loyalist/or whatever and broaden your minds a little, every days a school day.

    PUT THE PETTY PARTY POLITICS ON HOLD FOR 10-SECONDS AND GET RID OF THIS STUPID PROTOCOL!!!
    then we’ll have a proper debate on campus, how about that?

  • ozy

    Comrade Stalin you may be sick and tired of politics – and perhaps you are even right that the majority of students at UU are also sick and tired of politics.

    Still doesn’t give you the right in a democracy to stop others from expressing their opinions.

    Free speech is an absolute – much as I might disagree with putting pictures of gunmen on posters they’ve still got the right to do it – the payback is that they make arses out of themselves when they do it.

    I take it you prefer your pseudonomic namesake Josef Stalin’s approach to such matters?

  • Muad’Dib

    After reading some of the posts here all I can say is the next generation is fecked. The brightest minds in the country apparently and yet my 10 year old niece has a better command of punctuation and grammer. She also knows the difference between the letter U and the word you. It’s like 10 fecking Sue Ramsay’s turned up.

  • McGinster

    The protocol that exists in the UU is a joke. It doesn’t matter that politics of any kind isn’t relative to many of the students who have enrolled. I attended UU at Jordanstown 5 years ago and didn’t give a toss about student political activities. All I knew was that standing around handing out leaflets for OSF would squander any hope I had of getting a shag off of any one of the prods I knew there. Talk about halving your chances…

    Does that mean they should be banned? Bollox it does. Let them hand out all the poorly designed leaflets and attend all the boring talks they want. Same goes for all the rest of the young people who prefer to engage in politics rather than enjoy themselves. Students are adults and have as much right to form political groups on campus as the Christians/Socialists/Sports teams and anyone else you care to mention. As for creating a ‘poisonous’ atmosphere, they are not little schoolchildren that need sheltered from the reality of their surroundings. They can decide for themselves what is important and what is bullshit, and don’t need nannies censoring their environment.

    It almost depresses me that now I take a much bigger interest in the local political scene, at least back then I knew what was important…

  • McGinster

    After reading some of the posts here (comma) all I can say is (‘that’ needs inserted here or quotation marks should be used) the next generation is fecked. The brightest minds in the country apparently (comma) and yet my 10 year old niece has a better command of punctuation and grammer (sic). She also knows the difference between the letter U (‘U’ should have inverted commas) and the word you (also needs inverted commas). It’s like 10 fecking Sue Ramsay’s (no apostrophe, name spelled incorrectly)turned up.

    Or how about just debating the point without the pedancy? Agree about the textspeak, though.

  • “Free speech is an absolute”

    Fire; theatre. Nothing is absolute.

  • Liam

    McGinster – excellent post on the grammar and punctuation!!

  • qub student

    “After reading some of the posts here all I can say is the next generation is fecked. The brightest minds in the country apparently and yet my 10 year old niece has a better command of punctuation and grammer. She also knows the difference between the letter U and the word you. It’s like 10 fecking Sue Ramsay’s turned up.”

    There’s always one…

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Muad’Dib: “After reading some of the posts here all I can say is the next generation is fecked. The brightest minds in the country apparently and yet my 10 year old niece has a better command of punctuation and grammer. She also knows the difference between the letter U and the word you. It’s like 10 fecking Sue Ramsay’s turned up.”

    So much for truth in advertising — yesterday’s WSJ had a rather expensive full page advertisement regaling the public with how wonderful a place NI is for a business / economic development, what with all the fine, “Ivy league” equivalent universities and the highly educated population.

    Ozy: “Free speech is an absolute – much as I might disagree with putting pictures of gunmen on posters they’ve still got the right to do it – the payback is that they make arses out of themselves when they do it.”

    Free speech is not an absolute — *no* right is an absolute, ozy. The usual illustration would be that my right to swing my fists ends at the tip of your nose, assuming an otherwise polite exchange.

  • ozy

    You could swing ’em in front of my face as much as you liked so long as they actually didn’t hit the tip of my nose I’ve no problem.

    “Fire; theatre. Nothing is absolute.”

    One of my favourite old Yippie quotes was from Abbie Hoffman who defended the right to shout “Theatre!” in a crowded fire… 😉

    I find it difficult to think of an example where I would deny the right to free speech to anybody no matter what he was saying or arguing – the American Founding Fathers were (and are) way ahead of us Brits on this one.

    Rights only come with responsibilities when others are directly affected – you can swing your fists as much as you like so long as you dont actually hit me. Do cartwheels while your at it, whatever floats your boat…

  • ozy

    Besides we’re not talking about extreme examples of theatres and fires, we’re talking about the basic right to organise politically on a publicly-funded University campus!

    Ogra SF have every right to organise, as do the SDLP Youth, the Young Unionists etc – if I were them I would just go ahead and do it, and screw the uni authorities.

    Better yet get together and organise a joint event or debate between the youth branches, watch them ban it, and then go ahead with it anyway. What are they gonna do, send in security guards to kick the crap out of a cross-community debate, a la Burma?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    ozy: “I find it difficult to think of an example where I would deny the right to free speech to anybody no matter what he was saying or arguing – the American Founding Fathers were (and are) way ahead of us Brits on this one.”

    If you can’t, then you’re not trying… There are plenty of forms of “speech” which do not enjoy protection, ozy, even in the states. Off the cuff, there is slander, libel, terroristic threats, obscenity (I’ll know it when I see it!) and incitement to riot…

    Rights are not absolute, since, at least in theory, with the authority / right to do something wed to the responsibility / liability for one’s actions should one go too far. Parades are speech, and yet need permits and can be denied said permits if you do not so shoulder the responsibilities associated with organizing a parade.

    ozy: “Rights only come with responsibilities when others are directly affected – you can swing your fists as much as you like so long as you dont actually hit me. Do cartwheels while your at it, whatever floats your boat…”

    Ah, but then its not an absolute right — it may be quashed when you behave in a fashion that society has deemed beyond the pale, or otherwise actionable.

  • Garibaldy

    AS I understand it, the ban is not on organising. Nor even holding meetings on University property. What it does do is restrict the nature of political propaganda available on campus, and material that is liable to be offensive is banned. Which this leaflet clearly was. Whether restricting adverts to name of organisation, place, date and time is necessary is another question.

  • Republican attending U.U.

    i’ll jus clarify that for you then:

    the protocol means, on freshers day political societies can have a stall with only a tiny banner provided by the university. they cannot hand leaflets out as people walk by, they also are not allowed to have elected reps at the stall.
    (what that means in practice is that the university makes it as difficult as possible for the political societies to make their presence known and recruit new members, not just SF-all parties)

    the only thing societies are allowed to do the rest of the year, is book a room for an event.
    -you cannot advertise the event at all (we had posters with no graphic image, aswell as the 1 printed in the telegraph, advertising the james sheridan talk, just the details, these were removed by Students Union and University staff)
    -you cannot have a stall in a public area (only behind doors in a room), to hand out information leaflets etc. like other societies do (OSF refused a stall to hand out drugs and alcohol awareness leaflets earlier this year, though i suppose they were extremely offensive to… drug dealers?)

    what all this means in practice is political societies cannot properly organise in any way or basically do anything, not just Sinn Fein, all the parties. i reiterate, what is the university afraid of, normality and the prevailance of common sense.
    (OH AND THEN GOD FORBID, THE UNIVERSITY MAY ACTUALLY GET HELD TO ACCOUNT OCCASSIONALLY, LIKE THEIR DECISION TO CLOSE 2 CANTEENS AT UUJ AND BRING IN CORPORATE OUFITS, BURGERKING ETC, SHAFTING THE STAFF AND IGNORING THE STUDENTS UNION/BODY IN THE PROCESS, but really though the reaon they don’t want parties active on their turf is so no-one gets offended, yeah thats why)

    i hope that UU also holds their students hands crossing the road, tucks them in at night and provides a councilling service for ex-students who enter the big bad world and come face to face with (gasp) politics!!!

  • BfB

    Take a look at this site. Give socialist ‘educators’ (snort) control and they’ll kill free speech in all things that don’t agree with their dogma. Our Bill of Rights is truly a wonderful document.