Who speaks for the SDLP?

The SDLP response to the UUP/Conservative announcement has been confused. McDonnell says:

Commenting on proposed links between the Ulster Unionist Party and the British Conservative Party, Dr McDonnell said it was the SDLP’s vision to create an Ireland where unionists find ever-more comfort in Irishness, without threat to confidence in their Britishness.

“With the long-term political progression on this island moving from north-south to an all-Ireland approach it is only natural that people will look to east-west relations.

On the same day, on the same website, one assumes from the same press office Dallat says:

He said, “People realise that partition has failed everyone and benefited no-one. Now we get a re-launch of a recipe which last existed in the dark days of Thatcher and the crazy policies of ‘shoot to kill’ and outrageous claims that ‘we are as British as Finchley’.

“Do the Tories not realise that they should at least occupy a neutral position? At best they should be preparing their former Unionist friends for a New Ireland which is free from sectarianism and partitionism?

“This plan is as original as a fish supper but without the salt and vinegar and certainly containing no nutritional value whatsoever in an ever-changing world of international politics.

Strange.

  • billiejoe_remarkable

    The SDLP is confusded? Never! Who’d have thought they could mess up their own position on an issue?!!

  • Wilkins

    Is this the same SDLP as you Michael wanted to do an electoral deal with?

  • Rooster Cogburn

    Is this the same Tory party you’re *not at all* confused about yourself Michael, despite everyone and their mother laughing their legs off at you for all your anti-Tory quotes, now well and truly 4 legs good, 2 legs bettered?

  • Wilkins

    Lay off poor Michael Rooster. He’s just decisively changes his mind at very regular intervals

  • RG Cuan

    …the SDLP’s vision to create an Ireland where unionists find ever-more comfort in Irishness, without threat to confidence in their Britishness.

    That sounds great Alasdair, and is a worthy goal, but it’s not going to happen anytime soon.

    This long-term nationalist vision is one which nobody will benefit from for at least 100 years… other possibilities need to be discussed.

  • Mike

    Even leaving aside the glaring dichotomy between the two sets of comments, Dallat’s remarks are extremely shoddy and reveal an attitude based on double standards and prejudice.

    He appears to be saying something around these points:

    – there should be no UK-wide political party
    – Unionists in Northern Ireland should not be allowed to access a nationwide pro-Union party
    – people in Northern Ireland should be denied the opportunity to elect MPs to the national governing parliamentary party
    – The job of parties based in Great Britain, even ones who have a major policy plank related to supporting the integrity of the entire United Kingdom, is to persuade Unionists to abandon their Unionism.

    What does “People realise that partition has failed everyone and benefited no-one” mean? Who are “people”? Everyone in NI? Everyone in GB?

    “Do the Tories not realise that they should at least occupy a neutral position?”

    Why “should” they be doing this, pray tell us? He says “realise” as if it’s some sort of self-evident truth that should just dawn on everyone. No, they do not “realise” any such thing. They support the United Kingdom.

    What he’s saying is that a major UK party should not support Northern Ireland’s place in the UK.

    But worse than this, that “at least” is very revealing, as his next sentence shows…

    “At best they should be preparing their former Unionist friends for a New Ireland which is free from sectarianism and partitionism?”

    So the Conservative Party should “at least” be neutral on the constitutional issue, and “at best” support a united Ireland and persaude Unionists to give up being Unionists.

    As for the “free from sectarianism and partitionism” bit – I beg your pardon, John? Are you calling anyone who is pro-Union sectarian? Otherwise, what is the relevance of throwing sectarianism into the mix? And “free from partitionism” – I want my country, Northern Ireland, to continue in being, with its place as a devolved part of the UK. This statement is as offensive to me as it would be to him if I said what we need is a Northern Ireland “free of Irish nationalism” (not to mention “Northern Ireland free of Irish nationalism and sectarianism”!).

    Then of course there’s the SDLP’s work on a link-up with Fianna Fáil. Has John opposed this? Will he be calling on FF and Fine Gael to declare neutrality on the constitutional position of NI?

    So in summary – hypocritical, prejudiced, offensive and insulting. Poor show Mr Dallat.

  • Peat Blog

    Good cop/bad cop me thinks.

  • SDLP/FF

    A rant from John Dallat? – hold the front page!!

  • slug

    RG Cuan


    “…the SDLP’s vision to create an Ireland where unionists find ever-more comfort in Irishness, without threat to confidence in their Britishness. ”

    That sounds great Alasdair, and is a worthy goal, but it’s not going to happen anytime soon. ”

    I must say that as a unionist I have never felt more comfortable in both Irishness and condfident in my Britishness than today and it is the reasonable politics of people like McDonnell (as well as the massively evolving politics and economics of the island of Ireland over the last 20 years) that facilitates this. I also think its not just me. Of course what I mean by Irishness may be different from what you mean by it but then that is for me to determine as much as it is for you.

  • slug

    Mike

    Well said. It is such a wonderfully daft statement from Dallat that you missed two other bizarre points:

    1. He appears to think that David Cameron might give us a “relaunch” of shoot-to-kill;

    2. The fish-and-chips but without salt and vinegar metaphor is messy. Is the problem (with fish and chips) that it’s unoriginal, or is it that it’s not nutritional, or is it, that it lacks flavour? All three it seems. What does this actually mean?

    It comes across as superficial, I used to think Dallat OK (because he is pro railways) but I now suspecthe is not a deep thinking person when it comes to the bigger issues. McDonnell has by far the better response (hough not without waffle)

  • RG Cuan

    SLUG

    I must say that as a unionist I have never felt more comfortable in both Irishness and condfident in my Britishness than today

    That’s refreshing and hope it continues and grows.

    On this point, I guess your view of Irishness is similar to how you may see Welsh and Scottish identity – unique in their own right but essentially part of a larger British identity within the UK?

    Could you ever envisage being part of a new Irish state which recognises and protects the British identity of some of its citizens?

    Just wondering…

  • slug

    “Could you ever envisage being part of a new Irish state which recognises and protects the British identity of some of its citizens? ”

    Yes indeed. Though that could cover a very wide range of alternatives.

  • runciter

    As for the “free from sectarianism and partitionism” bit – I beg your pardon, John? Are you calling anyone who is pro-Union sectarian? Otherwise, what is the relevance of throwing sectarianism into the mix?

    Uh, maybe because the partition of Ireland was based on sectarianism?

    This statement is as offensive to me etc etc

    You’re easily offended.

  • joeCanuck

    what I mean by Irishness may be different from what you mean by it but then that is for me to determine as much as it is for you.

    That should go without saying, Slug. Pity it doesn’t. There are too many trying to ram their points of view down others throats.

  • Conquistador

    “Who speaks for the SDLP?”

    I see Mark Durkan’s not being touted as an option

  • Greenflag

    RG Cuan,

    Could you ever envisage being part of a new British State which recognises and protects the Irish identity of all of the people of Ireland?

    Just wondering…

    If you can’t why should you expect ‘Unionists ‘ to envisage the reverse of the above ?

    Sauce -goose and gander all can fit in the one pot if it’s big enough 🙂

  • Mike

    runciter

    “Uh, maybe because the partition of Ireland was based on sectarianism?”

    I could debate that point with you for quite a while I would think. But rather than hark back to the events of 80-plus years ago, why don’t you try understand why I’m picking up Dallat on what he has said – that instead of supporting the Union, the Conservative Party should persude Unionists to join a ‘New Ireland’ (code: united Ireland) “free of sectarianism and partitionism”. Does supporting the Union mean you don’t want this place “free of sectarianism”? Does Dallat feel that people like me have to be persuaded of the demerits of sectarianism? Does he think that anyone who adheres to ‘partitionism’ (code: Unionism) is guilty of sectarianism? Why are they both listed as things that a ‘New Ireland’ must be ‘free’ of?

    “You’re easily offended.”

    Actually, I’m not. But then you wouldn’t know either way, having never met me.

    You seem to have missed the fact that I didn’t say I’m offended, I said it was as offensive to me as it would be to a nationalist if I went on about “a Northern Ireland free of Irish nationalism and sectarianism”. I’m “easily offended” in your eyes, then so would they be. But you missed the point, of course…

  • TAFKABO

    Once again we see that it is Nationalists that need their mindsets decommissioned. So they want Unionists to feel confident in their Britishness, but don’t want them to feel as British as Finchley?. Truly appalling statements from the SDLP, which only shore up the reasons Unionists have to fear a United Ireland.
    We’ll be welcome in a United Ireland, as long as we do, say and think what we’re told to by Nationalists.

    And these are the moderates ferfuxsake.

    United Ireland?

    Stick it up yer hole.

  • Mike

    slug

    “Well said. It is such a wonderfully daft statement from Dallat that you missed two other bizarre points:

    1. He appears to think that David Cameron might give us a “relaunch” of shoot-to-kill; ”

    Yes indeed – that’s a wierd statement and some very strange reductionist logic. It seems to go like this – the Conservative Party and the UUP are talking about making some sort of institutional link; that link was previously finally broken in the 1980s due to Thatcher signing the Anglo-Irish Agreement*; therefore to talk of a new link warrants comments on Thatcher’s positions on Northern Ireland as relevant to current policy. With that sort of logic, I could say – the SDLP supports an all-Ireland parliament. The last time one of those existed, it was 1800 (or 1921 of you prefer…). At this time Catholics and the non-propertied didn’t have the vote (or in reference to 1921, Ireland was being torn apart by violence). Therefore we are seeing them promote the a recipe that last existed in the days of…etc…

    *(leaving aside the fact Dallat appears to have conflated the tenuous link that existed till the 1986 with the fact that the UUP was essentially the local Conservative Party with its MPs taking the Conservative whip, a position ruptured in 1972, not under Thatcher)

    “2. The fish-and-chips but without salt and vinegar metaphor is messy. Is the problem (with fish and chips) that it’s unoriginal, or is it that it’s not nutritional, or is it, that it lacks flavour? All three it seems. What does this actually mean? ”

    It’s very messy. Apart from anything else, isn’t fish actually quite nutritious?

    “It comes across as superficial, I used to think Dallat OK (because he is pro railways) but I now suspecthe is not a deep thinking person when it comes to the bigger issues. McDonnell has by far the better response (hough not without waffle)”

    Dallat comes across as tribalist and foolish. McDonnell, statesmanlike and reconciliatory.

    Like yourself, and it seems McDonnell, I think there is room for Britishness and Irishness on this piece of earth. While I wouldn’t subscribe to Irishness per se as part of my identity (my identiy I see as Northern Irish and British) I recognise that there are different types of Irishness, one of which sits with a British identity and unionist politics such as yours.

  • runciter

    Why are they both listed as things that a ‘New Ireland’ must be ‘free’ of?

    Because they are two sides of the same coin.

    I didn’t say I’m offended, I said it was as offensive to me etc etc

    Now you’re just playing with words.

  • percy

    TAFKABO

    “And these are the moderates ferfuxsake.

    United Ireland?

    Stick it up yer hole.”

    Is that a no then?

  • Mike

    runciter

    “Because they are two sides of the same coin.”

    So because I support the Union, I support sectarianism? Because I’m a Unionist, I must be sectarian, in your eyes?

    “Now you’re just playing with words.”

    No, think again. If you don’t think such a statement would be offensive to a nationalist, then you don’t think I’m offended.

    To reiterate again what I’ve said about Dallat’s statement:

    He is saying that the Conservative Party (that’s the Conservative and Unionist Party, to use its formal title) should not incorporate Ulster Unionists into itself (and into the mainstream of Uk politics), or be in favour of the Union at all. It should “at least” be neutral on NI’s place in the UK, and “at best” it should “realise” that it should persuade Unionists to join a “New Ireland free from [Unionism] and sectarianism”.

    Appalling tribalism and intolerance.

  • barnshee

    Poor old Dallat
    He thinks he has Ex unionist,expoliceman, ex Sdlp, born again SF mad Billy breathing down his neck.

    Relax –mad billy is on a journey when SF don`t find him a safe seat at SOMETHING (The urge on self agrandissment is mighty)Billy will go elswhere its whaht he is good at.

  • Todd

    Isn’t McDonnell just trying to keep aS wide A vote base as possible in SB

  • Dave

    “Appalling tribalism and intolerance.”

    And “Black arse!” cried kettle to the pot…

    Tory support that is built on appeal to Pro-British unionists in NI is ‘sectarian’ by default. It seeks to promote the selfish interests of one tribe over the other. In case you failed to notice, the tribal quarrel in NI isn’t predicated on loyalist and republican biblical scholars debating obscure aspects of Christian theology by extreme means: it is predicated on the constitutional issue.

  • RG Cuan

    GREENFIELD

    If you can’t why should you expect ‘Unionists’ to envisage the reverse of the above?

    I don’t expect them to, I was simply asking Slug, and he said he could.

    This would be an ideal situation for many but I’m guessing there are just too many other unionists who could never envisage such a set-up.

    Hence I’m also discussing other future possibilities, like the realignment of the states on this island.

  • Hert

    @Dave

    Tory support that is built on appeal to Pro-British unionists in NI is ‘sectarian’ by default. It seeks to promote the selfish interests of one tribe over the other. In case you failed to notice, the tribal quarrel in NI isn’t predicated on loyalist and republican biblical scholars debating obscure aspects of Christian theology by extreme means: it is predicated on the constitutional issue.

    How does your mind work?

    Stick this statement in the mirror,

    “Fianna Fail support that is built on appeal to Pro-Irish nationalists in NI is ‘sectarian’ by default. It seeks to promote the selfish interests of one tribe over the other. In case you failed to notice, the tribal quarrel in NI isn’t predicated on loyalist and republican biblical scholars debating obscure aspects of Christian theology by extreme means: it is predicated on the constitutional issue.”

    Still agree with it?

    I think that this illustrates how so many people, particularly of a nationalist persuasion, simply do not grant equality to unionism and nationalism as legitimate philosophies to play on an even playing field. They may not be supremacists when it comes to the individual day to day rights of unionists, but they are some species of supremacist when it comes to the constitutional question. They simply do not accord unionism and nationalism as equal positions for which everyone in NI, or the Republic, or GB can legitimately choose to support.

    If the Tories shouldn’t morally be permitted to support the union then Fianna Fail should not morally be permitted to support a united Ireland. Of course they both should be able to do so without accusations of sectarianism unless there is something sectarian about the way they are doing it.

  • oneill

    “People realise that partition has failed everyone and benefited no-one.”

    Bearing that in mind and the *fact* we’re all just sitting back awaiting the inevitability of the United Ireland, why should Irish nationalists like John Dallat care what the UUP and Tories get up to? Is he frightened that the link-up will make politics here more sectarian…or less?

  • cynic

    “their former Unionist friends”

    ….. so does he require that they cease to be friends or cease to be Unionist? On what date did he aquire the power to enforce that?

    “free from sectarianism ”

    ……. and his remarks were what exactly?

    “free from …… partitionism”

    ….. that aint what they signed up for, I am afraid. They really need to try re-reading the GFA and the Act

    Perhaps the vinegar on his chips was a little too strong when he wrote that.

  • Peat Blog

    “Bearing that in mind and the *fact* we’re all just sitting back awaiting the inevitability of the United Ireland”

    Death is inevitable; a United Ireland isn’t.

  • Dec

    Death is inevitable; a United Ireland isn’t.

    Neither is the perpetual existence of the United Kingdom some of you seem so fond of.

  • dub

    Greenflag,

    Slug actually said “yes” to RG Cuan’s question and he made it clear that he was only asking.

    I think the reason the you are so pro repartition is that you are very scared at the very real prospect of a UI and the very different Irish state that would ensue in order that all traditions might feel at home. You are perfectly entitled to want to keep the ROI as it is, but instead of calling aspirations to a UI “insane” as you have several times recently, why not be more honest and say that the compromises that a genuinely united Ireland would entail are too much for you and would alter the character of the Irish state in ways which you find unpalatable. Dave has the honesty to say this, even though i do not agree with his wild prognostications. Many years ago Liam de Paor also had the good grave and honesty to say this.

  • dub

    good grace…

  • Andrew Mc Cann

    To the dim bog-trotting republicans that seem to infest this site I’ll say this once : The only scenario where the Unionist population of Northern Ireland will accept the end of partition is the complete and unconditional reintegration of the Irish Republic into the UK!!

    Now good riddance!!, I’m already feeling unclean after spending this long in the sewers of the blogsphere.

  • Peat Blog

    “Neither is the perpetual existence of the United Kingdom some of you seem so fond of.”

    Agreed.

  • Cann Mc Andrew

    And to the grovelling coat-trailing unionists that seem to infest this site I’ll say this once : The only scenario where the Nationalist population of Northern Ireland will accept the continuation of partition is the complete and unconditional integration of the UK into the Irish Republic!!

    I’m actually already feeling unclean having touched Mr Mc Cann’s words – but I just wanted to turn them round and show how ridiculous either if these brain dead arguments are. Mr Mc Cann – can I get you your coat?

  • Cuairteoir

    And i suppose this Gaelic-surnamed McCann fella is willing to give the language of his ancestors proper recognition in his beloved UK? Or do we all have to speak English in this new place?

  • Eddie

    R G Cuan wrote:

    “This long-term nationalist vision [Alasdair McDonnell’s]is one which nobody will benefit from for at least 100 years… other possibilities need to be discussed.”

    What – like violence, Cuan?

  • runciter

    So because I support the Union, I support sectarianism?

    Not quite. I’ll attempt to spell it out.

    The purpose of partition was to create a sectarian statelet whose internal divisions would render it unable to rebel against English power. This is standard operating procedure for an imperial power. The common term for this technique is ‘divide and conquer’. Furthermore, the sectarian character of Northern Ireland is not just a historical artifact, but something that continues to plague us. This can be seen in the dysfunctional Stormont assembly.

    We can see that partition worked, in that it created an environment in which sectarianism was sustainable. It is worth noting that sectarianism did not thrive in the Irish-controlled part of Ireland. Unlike the 26 counties, NI is ‘broken-by-design’ and there is no good reason to believe it is fixable (other than wishful thinking).

    Therefore support for partition is, indirectly at least, support for sectarianism.

    Because I’m a Unionist, I must be sectarian, in your eyes?

    Of course not.

    Appalling tribalism and intolerance.

    I don’t see how wanting the English to act in the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland is “tribalist and intolerant”.

  • observer

    The only scenario where the Nationalist population of Northern Ireland will accept the continuation of partition is the complete and unconditional integration of the UK into the Irish Republic!!

    ——————–

    Err no SF signed up to Partition when they signed up to the GFA and Saa

  • Paul McMahon

    “The only scenario where the Unionist population of Northern Ireland will accept the end of partition is the complete and unconditional reintegration of the Irish Republic into the UK”!!

    Always find it humourous that McCann professes to speak for the “Unionist population of Northern Ireland” from that bastion of Ulster Unionism Yorkshire.

  • Dave

    “Still agree with it?”

    Yes. In fact, why do you think I wouldn’t? As I said: “In case you failed to notice, the tribal quarrel in NI isn’t predicated on loyalist and republican biblical scholars debating obscure aspects of Christian theology by extreme means: it is predicated on the constitutional issue.”

    “I think that this illustrates how so many people, particularly of a nationalist persuasion, simply do not grant equality to unionism and nationalism as legitimate philosophies to play on an even playing field.”

    I grant full equality to British nationalism and the right of British people to self-determination. In fact, nobody that I know of disputes this. The British have attained the right to self-determination: an entity called “Great Britain” exists wherein British people may freely determine their own future. The problem I have is with British people in Northern Ireland who wish to extend that claim to self-determination to a territory that it isn’t legitimately covered by, thereby excluding those who have the legitimate claim to self-determination within that territory from exercising their claim.

    “If the Tories shouldn’t morally be permitted to support the union then Fianna Fail should not morally be permitted to support a united Ireland.”

    The Tories are morally permitted to support the union, but they are not morally permitted to deny others their inalienable right to self-determination. Ergo, they may support a union that does not deny others those rights. The Irish government, on the other hand, is not seeking to extend its claim to self-determination to those territories within Great Britain that have Irish constituencies or to hold a veto over the right of British people to self-determination on that pre-text. If Northern Ireland ceased to exist, then there would be no removal of the right of British people to self-determination. Why? Because Great Britain would still exist. 😉

  • RG Cuan

    What – like violence, Cuan?

    Get real Eddie, you obviously haven’t read any of my numerous posts on this site.

    Other alternatives to the current flagging system include complete joint rule, realignment of the border and, in the future, regional government for Ulster within a new Irish state.

  • declan

    Greenfield,

    The comments here from nationalist commentators recognising how long it might take etc. etc. are quite interesting and appear to be early indicators of the hypothesis of a 2021 scenario arising. That is a process of expectations change. There is a possibility that, come 2021, the era of demographic increase for nationalism appears to have come to and end short of the critical mass necessary for a UI to appear visible on the horizon (basically at some point the demographics will either reach or tail to reach the critical mass similar to how Betamax failed to reach a critical market share mass and had to drop out of the market for videorecorders in the 1980s). This, scenario 2021, is a scenario in which many nationalist people may start to think in terms of a fair and agreed repartition (or the “the realignment of the states on this island” to quote one poster here) as RG Cuan puts it.

  • Dave

    “You are perfectly entitled to want to keep the ROI as it is, but instead of calling aspirations to a UI “insane” as you have several times recently, why not be more honest and say that the compromises that a genuinely united Ireland would entail are too much for you and would alter the character of the Irish state in ways which you find unpalatable. Dave has the honesty to say this, even though i do not agree with his wild prognostications.” – dub

    So, someone who believes in Ireland for the Irish and Japan for the Japanese – the basics of the nation state – is now an extremist? I have no problem with compromise, but I do not support throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. An Ireland wherein those who are British have a veto over those who are Irish is not a nation state: it is reworking of colonialism. If I’m an extremist, then it is only because others have been indoctrinated with a very curious notion of what nationalism, the nation-state, and the national interest means. 😉

  • cynic

    Dave

    “If Northern Ireland ceased to exist, then there would be no removal of the right of British people to self-determination. Why? Because Great Britain would still exist.”

    …. ah…you will cease to exist because we define that you cease to exist. The ‘Ein Volk’ approach.

    “An Ireland wherein those who are British have a veto over those who are Irish is not a nation state: it is reworking of colonialism”

    …… so if Cullybackey declares independence and sets up a Protestant State for Protestant people that will be OK then?

  • cynic

    “People realise that partition has failed everyone and benefited no-one.”

    Its obvious …that’s why such a high % of Catholics voted for it last time around. You can write the Prods all off anyway as they are too thick to realise where their interests lie

  • cynic

    “The purpose of partition was to create a sectarian statelet whose internal divisions would render it unable to rebel against English power. This is standard operating procedure for an imperial power. ”

    Only in your fevered immagination. The reality was the Unionists would not accept a United Ireland and creating NI was a compromise to try to avert Civil War in Ireland and grant the majority of Irish people the Independence they wanted. The Imperial Power was desperate to get out and had been for over 20 years.

    Oh yes…and it worked. The problem was that, denied the chance to murder the Proddies on a large scale, the republicans fell on their own in the Civil War. The poor benighted Irish were then plunged into darkness for over 50 years. Ruled by a theocratic state with a visions of an agricultural nirvana supported by State controlled media, State censorship (even of the plays of some of Irelands best playwrights), a ban on contraception and State collusion in covering up abuse by priests. People remained one of Irelands gretaest exports….a good indicator of how people really felt about the place.

    None of this was calculated to appeal to the Unionists or to foster freindly relations between the two parts of Irleand.

  • runciter

    The reality was the Unionists would not accept a United Ireland and creating NI was a compromise to try to avert Civil War in Ireland and grant the majority of Irish people the Independence they wanted.

    This claim of Imperial altruism needs some supporting evidence I think.

    The poor benighted Irish were then plunged into darkness for over 50 years. Ruled by a theocratic state with a visions of an agricultural nirvana supported by State controlled media, State censorship (even of the plays of some of Irelands best playwrights), a ban on contraception and State collusion in covering up abuse by priests.

    Talk about a fevered imagination!

  • Mike

    Dave

    “And “Black arse!” cried kettle to the pot… ”

    Are you saying that I’ve been tribalist and intolerant? Care to point out even a single statement I’ve made that is either?

    “Tory support that is built on appeal to Pro-British unionists in NI is ‘sectarian’ by default. It seeks to promote the selfish interests of one tribe over the other.”

    So, you’d also label any party that supports Irish nationalism and its goals as ‘sectarian’ then, too?

    “In case you failed to notice, the tribal quarrel in NI isn’t predicated on loyalist and republican biblical scholars debating obscure aspects of Christian theology by extreme means: it is predicated on the constitutional issue.”

    Well, exactly. So why “sectarianism”? Is supporting the Union, or a united Ireland, sectarian now?

    With regards to your guff about self-determination above. There already is an Irish nation-state, called Ireland. The people of Northern Ireland have the right of consent to the constitutional arrangement under which they hae governed, a right accepted by, among others, the Irish government, the SDLP and Sinn Féin.

  • Mick Fealty

    Dave,

    “Tory support that is built on appeal to Pro-British unionists in NI is ‘sectarian’ by default.”

    Well, we know what has thus far happened to parties that don’t appeal to a pro British or pro Irish population in Northern Ireland. They stay on the margins of Northern Irish politics (though the Alliance party showing serious signs of life after their near death experience of 2003).

    I’m not sure what point you are making though. If it is a condition of running for office in Northern Ireland that you declare a position on the Union, then yes it will inevitably come over as a unionist party. The extent to which they can represent themselves as ‘non sectarian’ (which has further more pejorative connotations than taking up a position on the constitution) will depend on how far they can transform themselves in the Cameronite image. In short, can they become ‘mainland British’ by embracing a diversity agenda rather than living off the virtuous reputation of the English as being genuine multicultural in their outlook.

    To do that effectively, I suspect a lot of sacred cows are going to have to be slaughtered.

    A few years ago (I think you were around at the time), IJP caused a fury when he argued that SDLP and Sinn Fein representatives should not be invited to a political function in North Down because neither party had any elected representatives in the borough.

    Nationalist commenters here argued over of hundreds of posts that there were nationalist voters in North Down who should have representation. What they meant was Catholic voters. When IJP pointed out that most of them voted for Alliance (and therefore adequately represented by the their elected choices) the proverbial brown stuff hit the fan.

    Declan,

    I’ve not heard that 2021 scenario. Very interesting. But your re-partition scenario depends on how disaffected Catholics remain from the Northern Irish state as to whether you could effect re-partition. Like an independent Northern Ireland, it looks and sounds fine on paper. But who is going to vote for it? And what is likely to motivate them?

  • kensei

    Nationalist commenters here argued over of hundreds of posts that there were nationalist voters in North Down who should have representation. What they meant was Catholic voters. When IJP pointed out that most of them voted for Alliance (and therefore adequately represented by the their elected choices) the proverbial brown stuff hit the fan.

    No, Mick, what they meant were Nationalist voters in North Down; about half the Alliance’s representation at the last Westminster election, I believe. Why you chose to misrepresent that I don’t know. But if we wanted, we should also point that Nationalists typically back those most likely to win against Unionists – see South Belfast, or SF topping the poll in South Antrim. Nationalists within North Down might be a completely different animal to the rest of the six counties, but I’m not sure that is at all likely.

    Second, the Alliance had electoral success in Unionist areas as Unionist-lite. In any constituency that leaned green, they are totally dead.

    I’m not sure what point you are making though. If it is a condition of running for office in Northern Ireland that you declare a position on the Union, then yes it will inevitably come over as a unionist party. The extent to which they can represent themselves as ‘non sectarian’ (which has further more pejorative connotations than taking up a position on the constitution) will depend on how far they can transform themselves in the Cameronite image.

    First up, politics in Northern Ireland revolves around the National Question, has from before the place even started, and there is no evidence it will change in the future. Second, the new UUPories cannot avoid being dragged into our sectarian bunfight, particularly when 1. they are a self declared Unionist party 2. they are all the same Unionists that were in the party ten minutes ago and 3. they’ll be forced to take sides in a way that will inevitably piss off Nationalism.

  • RG Cuan

    But who is going to vote for it? And what is likely to motivate them?

    If a reunited Ireland appeared off the cards I would vote for it. Even though the EU has to a large extent diminished the significance of national boundries, there is little doubt that national states are still important for the majority of European citizens, not least here on our island.

    Motivating factors include the stagnant and counteracting nature of current NI politics; nationality; cultural expression; the benefits of being part of the largest economy on the island and common sense.

  • runciter

    In short, can they become ‘mainland British’ by embracing a diversity agenda rather than living off the virtuous reputation of the English as being genuine multicultural in their outlook.

    The English are the most xenophobic people in Europe. The British multiculturalism is recognised by the mainstream parties as a disaster. Northern Irish unionists can never become ‘mainland British’ because they do not live in mainland Britain.

    In short, this concept of a progressive, sustainable new Unionism is based on pure fantasy.

  • Mike

    Runciter –

    “The purpose of partition was to create a sectarian statelet whose internal divisions would render it unable to rebel against English power. This is standard operating procedure for an imperial power. The common term for this technique is ‘divide and conquer’.”

    This is complete and utter nonsense. The UK government of 1918-21 wanted devolved government on the island of Ireland so as to take its everyday affairs out of Westminster. This self-rule was given under two parliaments rather than one because of existing divisions within Ireland (granting self-rule to North and South seperately seeming the easiest way out of the quagmire to the government) – not because of some fantasy “divide and conquer” plan.

    “Furthermore, the sectarian character of Northern Ireland is not just a historical artifact, but something that continues to plague us. This can be seen in the dysfunctional Stormont assembly.”

    Sectarian division here predated partition by centuries.

    “We can see that partition worked, in that it created an environment in which sectarianism was sustainable.”

    See above. Sectarianism here predated partition by centuries.

    “It is worth noting that sectarianism did not thrive in the Irish-controlled part of Ireland.”

    That is very much debateable. And you forget the simple fact that Southern Ireland/the Irish Free State/the Republic of Ireland was almost homgeneously Catholic – don’t you think this may have played just a teensy part in any lack of sectarian division?

    “Unlike the 26 counties, NI is ‘broken-by-design’ and there is no good reason to believe it is fixable (other than wishful thinking).”

    That’s your opinion, which is hardly objective. I see the representatives of well over 95% of NI’s voters trying to work NI.

    “Therefore support for partition is, indirectly at least, support for sectarianism.”

    Absolute rubbish. But a neat little rhetorical trick, I’ll give you that. “Unionism equals supporting sectarianism. Nationalism must equal wanting to end sectarianism – wow, that’s handy, since I’m a nationalist!”

    “Of course not”

    Good. And for your information I don’t ‘indirectly’ support sectarianism either.

    “I don’t see how wanting the English to act in the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland is “tribalist and intolerant”.”

    Again you present your subjective political outlook (“the best interests…”) as if it’s an objective fact. Much like Dallat did (“Do the Tories not realise…”) – which is a big part of the problem.

    It is tribalist and intolerant to demand that a mainstream UK party, which aims to form the next government of the UK, must drop its support for the unity of the UK (based on the consent of the people, may I add), and should instead “at least” be neutral, and “at best” support Irish nationalist political aspirations, and persuade Unionists to stop being Unionists. And it is tribalist and intolerant to talk as he did of “a New Ireland free from sectarianism and [Unionism]”.

  • dub

    dave,

    where did i say that you were an extremist?

    I just do not agree that recognising in a UI a local variant of Irishness has anything whatever to do with a veto by British people over Irish people. Let me remind you that northern protestants are irish people. that’s what nationalism in ireland has always said. if you are departing from this long held belief then it is you who does not understand irish nationalism.

    i have many times queried your interpretation of the GFA and you have had the good grace to accept that my interpretation is as valid as yours.

  • runciter

    self-rule was given under two parliaments rather than one because of existing divisions within Ireland

    Existing divisions that were created by British policy.

    Sectarian division here predated partition by centuries.

    Sectarianism was policy long before partition.

    And you forget the simple fact that Southern Ireland/the Irish Free State/the Republic of Ireland was almost homgeneously Catholic – don’t you think this may have played just a teensy part in any lack of sectarian division?

    Perhaps. The other “teensy” fact is that the South was not designed from the outset to be a sectarian state, unlike the North.

    I see the representatives of well over 95% of NI’s voters trying to work NI.

    Which includes John Dallat, ironically enough. But that does not mean that Nationalists see NI as a sustainable entity in the long term.

    It is tribalist and intolerant to demand that a mainstream UK party, which aims to form the next government of the UK, must drop its support for the unity of the UK

    He didn’t ‘demand’ anything, he said that that is what they should do. It is certainly ‘tribalist’ or ‘intolerant’ for a Nationalist politician to urge others to end the partition of Ireland.

  • TAFKABO

    The English are the most xenophobic people in Europe.

    I’ve seen nothing which would support such a claim.

  • Robbie Keane’s missus

    Who really cares what the UUP do? They’re a dead duck party under old school Reggie that’s for sure. Old boy Trimble over in his exile in London is trying to get English Tories to give a shit about NI by licking a few English arses and good luck to him. It’s not like ten-faced Cameron wouldn’t betray his own mother if it suited him. Silly little Irish Unionists across in Ireland couldn’t mean less to them. Any bond with the Tories is built on sand but good luck to the UUP trying to out- British the DUP by licking English arses with such delight.

    It amazes me why nationalists bother commenting on these silly Unionist concoctions. NIreland’s end will be decided by a nationalist majority whenever it arrives. Unionists will either get on with life in a unified Ireland or migrate to their beloved Britain; it’ll be their choice when the time comes. But who knows when it’ll arrive. I don’t, and nor am I a betting man.

    So until then it’s about day to day life getting on with things as best as folk can.

  • frustrated democrat

    Dave

    Nonsense – the appeal of the Conservatives is NOT to the UUP it is to anyone that is a Conservative, as it happens there are more in the UUP than anywhere else. They are to be found in the SDLP, the DUP, TUV, Alliance and strangely enough maybe one or two in SF ( I wouldn’t count on those though). They are also to be found in those who do not vote.

    So it is not strange or sectarian that the Conservatives chose to work with the UUP as that is their biggest catchment for members.

    The Conservatives are serious about being represented across the whole of the UK, more in some areas in others but believe that NI is offers better opportunities than Scotland or Wales.

  • Reader

    Dave: The problem I have is with British people in Northern Ireland who wish to extend that claim to self-determination to a territory that it isn’t legitimately covered by, thereby excluding those who have the legitimate claim to self-determination within that territory from exercising their claim.
    How can you tell what territories are and are not subject to self determination? Is there some sort of international standard, or is Ireland a special case?
    Starting from first principles, why should the national alignment of Bangor be determined by voters in, e.g. Limerick?

  • Robbie Keane’s wallet

    Ireland is an island nation, Reader, where 80 per cent of the inhabitants, spread throughout the 32 counties, share the same political goal for the entire island. If it wasn’t for British interference Unionists wouldn’t have a leg to stand on and everyone knows it.

    But I assume by your logic you believe the ethnic Germans of the CZECH Sudetenland of 1938 were also entitled to come under German jurisidiction if they wanted because there were all concentrated in a certain part of Czechoslovakia. But history shows only German military occupation brought them under German jurisdiction, just like the threat of British military intervention brought NI into being.

    Funny though how after the war the ethnic Germans in the Czech Sudetenland were told to accept being part of Czechoslovakia or f-off to Germany if that’s what they felt was their nation.

    They lived on Czech territory irrespective of their national loyalities. And Irish Unionists live on Irish territory whether their national allegiances lay with Ireland or Britain.

  • frustrated democrat

    RKW

    Ireland is not an Island Nation – it is an island with 2 countries on it, both legally separate and likely to remain that way.

    It is not the only island with more than one country on it so you have a null arguement.

  • Robbie Keane’s wallet

    Ireland is an island nation according to 80 per cent of her people, and millions of her diaspora across the world. NI isn’t even a province, FD, never mind a “country”. It’s six Irish counties currently under Westminster jurisdiction – a fact that will change as soon as there’s a nationalist majority.

    The UK is 98 per cent the island of Britain. NI is irrelevant to its future. To Irishmen, however, those six counties just like each of the 32 are sacred. And that’s the real difference between a Unionist and Nationalist.

  • Mike

    Robbie Keane’s wallet

    “But I assume by your logic you believe the ethnic Germans of the CZECH Sudetenland of 1938 were also entitled to come under German jurisidiction if they wanted because there were all concentrated in a certain part of Czechoslovakia.”

    Actually, borders were being drawn all over Europe in 1919-21, not just in Ireland.

    Parts of Germany that had Polish populations, e.g. Silesia, were brought into the new Polish state. What you seem to object to is precisely what happened in many cases – the majority population in a local area was the determining factor (either by plebsicite or headcount) for whether that area went to one sovereign state or another. (Other factors e.g. economic viability were also considered, leading to some German-majority areas going to Poland to give it access to the sea). Pre-existing political entites were not taken as sacrosanct, and niether should they have been.

    The Sudetenland was actually considered as part of this process. You talk as if Czechoslovakia had been an ancient entity by 1938 – in fact it was less than two years old. The ‘great powers’ created that state by drawing a line round Czech-majority and Slovak-majority areas that had been in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

    The Sudetenland would have been included in Germany, due to its German-majority population, but for one factor. To make it part of the German state would have meant Germany acquiring, as a result of the First World War, a territory which it had not held before – and the Allies would not contemplate “rewarding” Germany for a which it had started (the peace treaty was clear that Germany was held as being to blame for starting the war).

  • runciter

    the majority population in a local area was the determining factor

    Who gets to define the ‘local area’?

    In whose interests are these decisions made?

  • kensei

    Starting from first principles, why should the national alignment of Bangor be determined by voters in, e.g. Limerick?

    This logic leads to “Why should the national alignment of voters in Derry be determined by voters in, e.g. Belfast”?

  • Mike

    runciter

    “Who gets to define the ‘local area’?

    In whose interests are these decisions made? ”

    Do you realise you’re talking in the present tense about events of over 80 years ago?

  • RG Cuan

    This logic leads to “Why should the national alignment of voters in Derry be determined by voters in, e.g. Belfast”?

    Exactly, and that’s what is currently happening for the population of south Armagh, south Down, most of Tyrone, Fermanagh, Derry, north-east Antrim…

    Areas with a nationalist majority should be given the choice to reunite with the rest of the island. The current situation allows unionists to veto the will of hundreds of thousands of Irish nationalists.

  • Reader

    kensei: This logic leads to “Why should the national alignment of voters in Derry be determined by voters in, e.g. Belfast”?
    Oh look – that question to me – a partitionist – has brought out the re-partitionists too. And why not? Re-partitionists may unintentionally court renewed strife and catastrophe, but they are far healthier than the fourth green field zealots.

  • runciter

    Do you realise you’re talking in the present tense about events of over 80 years ago?

    I thought we were talking about the re-drawing of borders in the general sense. Obviously this practise did not end 80 years ago.

    Perhaps you’d like to answer the question that was asked.

  • kensei

    Reader

    Oh look – that question to me – a partitionist – has brought out the re-partitionists too. And why not? Re-partitionists may unintentionally court renewed strife and catastrophe, but they are far healthier than the fourth green field zealots.

    I’m not in favour of repartition: I merely point out that it is the logical outworking of the argument. In fact, by induction, we can work this down to: “Why should my next door neighbour have a say over my national alignment?”

    The argument is quite clearly insufficient in itself.

  • Mike

    runciter

    “I thought we were talking about the re-drawing of borders in the general sense.”

    I wasn’t. I was talking about Europe around 1919-22.

    “Perhaps you’d like to answer the question that was asked.”

    I can’t answer the question, since I haven’t actually been advocating the redrawing of borders in the present day, and therefore don’t have a blueprint for who would get to decide the area or in whose interests the decisions would be made.

  • runciter

    I can’t answer the question

    The phrase “the majority population in a local area” implies that there is some kind of natural justice in the gerrymandering process. But of course, the person who gets to define the ‘local area’ also determines how the popular will is defined.

    The point is that the border was defined to suit the interests of those who defined it. This should be self-evident.

    It should not be surprising that the outcome did not serve the interests of the locals, as this was never the intention.

    Sectarian divisions have been exploited by imperialists in many different countries.

    Here is an article which talks about a more recent example:

    http://remarkz.wordpress.com/2006/12/01/political-sectarianism-the-latest-colonial-weapon/

  • Dave

    “I’m not sure what point you are making though.” – Mick Fealty

    The point is that the ‘sectarian’ division within Northern Ireland is predicated on the constitutional issue rather than religious divisions. Ergo, people are divided by nationality, i.e. British or Irish. If a party is pro-British and pro-union, then it will appeal to one side of that particular divide. The same holds true, of course, for the proposed/aborted FF link-up with the SDLP. Neither of those options could transcend the ‘sectarian’ divide by default because both on them are predicated on it, and base their respective bogus claims to transcend it on misrepresenting the division as being based on religion rather than nationality. I put the word ‘sectarian’ in single quotes to emphasis that the meaning is altered: it doesn’t have to be a negative, but, as with religion, that is all dependent on how detrimental, or not, it is to other groups. But since that negativity wasn’t predicated on religion but nationality, their is no reason why a dynamic that puts an emphahis on nationality but not religion should alter the capacity for the negative dyanmic.

    “Let me remind you that northern protestants are irish people. that’s what nationalism in ireland has always said.” – dub

    Well, it’s not for us to tell them what nationality they are. Most of them claim to be British, but some claim to be Irish or Irish/British. My aim would be to separate nationality from national allegiance, i.e. that they could be British in Ireland, being loyal to a nation-state that includes them as citizens with equal rights under the constitution, but also remaining loyal to a British ethos and identity. It’s not that hard, actually: the (2 million or so) Irish within Britain live within an British state but remain Irish – just as the tens of thousands of British people who live within Ireland manage it.

  • Reader

    kensei: In fact, by induction, we can work this down to: “Why should my next door neighbour have a say over my national alignment?”
    The argument is quite clearly insufficient in itself.

    Quite right – let’s look for substantial blocks of national identity to base a practical split upon; blocks of national identity are the raw material of political entities, aren’t they? Oh look – I can see two already.

  • kensei

    Reader

    Quite right – let’s look for substantial blocks of national identity to base a practical split upon; blocks of national identity are the raw material of political entities, aren’t they? Oh look – I can see two already.

    Except the solution hit upon 80-odd years was the worst of both worlds. It didn’t include enough Nationalists to ensure the state had any kind of balance, and it didn’t exclude enough to make the place stable. Even at partition, some of the counties included in the North had a narrow Nationalist majority.

    Moreover, the island was consider one unit by all and sundry prior to partition; Carson’s stated aim was to use Ulster to stop Home Rule for the entire island, after all. And “Irish” identity was far more widespread. Moreover, the presence of a minority does not imply that a new state should be created from them, else we are back to the repartition injunction.

    The truth is rather more messy than either side will care to admit. NI clearly didn’t pop out of nowhere. But it’s not like Nationalism hasn’t got grounds to be pissed.

  • slug

    kensei, a fair post. Naturally, Donegal should have been included in NI. It is part of Derry’s hinterland. And the border would have been a lot more sensible looking. And its very nice.

    There was no Northern Ireland back in the memory of the great aunts I used to visit in Larne. She had to do Irish at school, she went to the local school before coming up after partition, most of that part of the family came north after partition. She told me that my children would have to learn Irish too, in that gloomy way of Ulster protestants… I can’t say I would mind (except that it would make Gerry Adams too happy). Tis a pity we all seem to hate each other so much. Its amazing how deeply history has sunk us into trenches.

  • Dave

    “How can you tell what territories are and are not subject to self determination? Is there some sort of international standard, or is Ireland a special case?” – Reader

    It’s quite simple and even self-evident: if an ethnic group makes a claim to a particular territory based on the principle of self-determination, then that territory is subject to a claim to self-determination. In the case of the SIX COUNTIES (Hi Lurig!), two ethnic groups have made competing claims to the territory in order to exercise the right to self-determination. Since there can only ever be one valid claim to self-determination per territory, one group must either renounce its claim to self-determination or be defeated in that claim.

    The right to self-determination is defined in international law under Article 1 of the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” Ergo, it is a collective right – belonging to an indigenous peoples – that is used to make a claim to a particular territory wherein they may “freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” In other words, a sovereign territory entity – a nation-state (with the people being the nation and the state being the expedient by which they determine their own affairs).

    The right to self-determination is defined in the Irish Proclamation of Independence as “We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.” This is the claim that the Irish people have made to the island of Ireland in order to exercise their right to self-determination.

    Now, as I said, in cases where the claim is disputed, then that dispute is usually settled by war or by UN resolution. In the case of Northern Ireland, the dispute was settled by the Irish people agreeing that they did not have the valid claim to self-determination: they agreed (wrongly in my view) that the valid claim to self-determination resided with the ethnic group who are British, and that the status of the claim to self-determination of the ethnic group who are Irish within the disputed territory should be downgraded to an aspiration from a right. In other words, they changed the status from a right (that is not subject to the discretion of others) to an aspiration (which may or may not be granted as it is a discretionary privilege of those who are deemed to have the valid claim).

    This was the importance to Trimble of ensuring that Articles 2 & 3 of the Irish constitution were amended to remove the formal claim of Ireland to the territory of Northern Ireland: a claim to self-determination is inseparable from a claim to a territory – remove the claim to the territory and you also remove the claim to self-determination. So, really, the dispute is now settled in favour of the ethnic group who are British.

    I believe this was wrong for three main reasons. Firstly, the Irish people within Northern Ireland were hoodwinked by their political leaders into formally renouncing their claim to self-determination. Even now, very few of them acknowledge that they have formally renounced it (because they trust their political leaders who continue to lie to them). A contract isn’t valid when it is predicated on deception. Secondly, the legitimate claim in a disputed territory lies with whichever ethnic group is indigenous, having the prior claim. Thirdly, there is no basis in international law for an ethic group to have two sovereign territorial entities in which to exercise one claim to self-determination: one valid claim to self-determination mandates one nation-state. Because the other ethnic group within Northern Ireland is British, their claim to self-determination is based on being part of the British nation – and that nation and its state already exists.

    “Starting from first principles, why should the national alignment of Bangor be determined by voters in, e.g. Limerick?” – Reader

    Starting from first principles, they’re all the same nation sharing one claim to self-determination within one territory. 😉

  • Danny O’Connor

    I have an Irish passport which means I am claiming my right to Irish citizenship.I live in a part of Ireland that is currently a part of the UK.The new articles 2&3;, as part of the outworking of the GFA give anyone born in Ireland the right to have an Irish passport,and as far as I can recall a British passport if that is their choice.The point is that Ireland,just like any other country is just land,it is people who are important,this subject should not be lost-in that We The people of Ireland ,North and South,need to agree on how we share this Island that we inhabit for the benefit of everyone .WE Will never be able to force each other,division and hurts are real,the open wound of the last 40 years-and beyond-has to be treated.For there to be any re-unificaton of the people on this island ,we have to unite the north before we can even consider uniting north and south.

  • pfhl

    Dave,

    Now, as I said, in cases where the claim is disputed, then that dispute is usually settled by war or by UN resolution. In the case of Northern Ireland, the dispute was settled by the Irish people agreeing that they did not have the valid claim to self-determination: they agreed (wrongly in my view) that the valid claim to self-determination resided with the ethnic group who are British, and that the status of the claim to self-determination of the ethnic group who are Irish within the disputed territory should be downgraded to an aspiration from a right. In other words, they changed the status from a right (that is not subject to the discretion of others) to an aspiration (which may or may not be granted as it is a discretionary privilege of those who are deemed to have the valid claim).

    I think you may be simplifying what happened in Ireland at the time of partition. Collins was forced to support this treaty with the threat of war. A war which he thought would have been much worse for the Irish people than accepting the treaty. This can not be referred to as accepting the right of self determination for those in Ulster who wanted to remain part of the UK. It was a decision that they did not want anybody else to die. I will hand it to you, Dave,you have a great way with words but you failed to appreciate the true circumstances in which partition was set up or wanted to ignore them. I agree with many of your points, I just believed you simplified the situation too much.

  • Danny O’Connor

    The Irony in all this ,is,that those most vociferous in their support for the re-unification of Ireland,and those that have murdered for that cause are now advocating te partiton of Israel.

  • runciter

    pfhl: Collins was forced to support this treaty with the threat of war.

    Exactly right. The border was re-drawn by those who had the power to do so – ie, the British.

    It was not drawn to reflect democratic aspirations (as per the unionist myth) but to protect British interests.

    These things should be self evident, but have become obscured over time by humbug and propaganda.

    Dave’s legalistic waffle is largely irrelevant.

    Danny: For there to be any re-unificaton of the people on this island ,we have to unite the north before we can even consider uniting north and south.

    This is simply not correct. The island will be re-united when a majority in the North agrees to it. The end of partition will inevitably precede the end of sectarianism.

    The Irony in all this ,is,that those most vociferous in their support for the re-unification of Ireland,and those that have murdered for that cause are now advocating te partiton of Israel.

    “Jewish Ulster” was created by partitioning Palestine. Re-partitioning will only prolong the agony.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Runciter,If the people are sovereign ,then a divided people will not lead to unity.Republicanism historically was about uniting Protestant,Catholic and Dissenter-not about uniting Down ,Wexford and Galway.

  • picador

    This thread was supposed to be about the SDLP.

    Once again re-partition comes up. We got the triple act out this time. It’s like tag wrestling. Yawn!

    Slugger should be renamed repartition.com.

    In answer to the question it appears that the SDLP speaks incoherently. And that’s their problem.

  • ram

    That should go without saying, Slug. Pity it doesn’t. There are too many trying to ram their points of view down others throats an trying out new recipes

  • runciter

    Runciter,If the people are sovereign ,then a divided people will not lead to unity.Republicanism historically was about uniting Protestant,Catholic and Dissenter-not about uniting Down ,Wexford and Galway.

    That was because historically, Down, Galway and Wexford were not divided.

    Partition is currently the greatest obstacle to the unity of the Irish people (in the traditional sense that you refer to).

    What I have been trying to explain is that partition and sectarianism are not unrelated, but are in fact two sides of the same coin. They are manifestations of imperial policy, as practised by empires since at least Roman times.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divide_and_rule

  • Danny O’Connor

    You just dont get it,it is the people who are sovereign -not the land which they live on.The last time Ireland was united as a nation, and not a province of the “empire” was under the last Ard Rí,Rory O’Connor.

  • runciter

    You just dont get it,it is the people who are sovereign

    No they aren’t. If the people were sovereign then partition would never have happened.

    Working to reduce sectarianism in NI is a worthy project, but the fact is that sectarianism will dominate our politics for as long the border remains.

    The demographics of the six counties ensures that.