How an Assembly without absolute “unionist and “nationalist” vetoes could transform the scene

I’m coming back to the discussion following on from Pete’s post and Mark Durkan’s idea of scrapping the unionist, nationalist other designations because I have something new to offer, even after 100 and more comments. Here’s a link to “The Trouble with Northern Ireland” a devastating critique of the political system by the political scientists Robin Wilson and Rick Wilford. They explain exactly how a new system without designations would work while still guaranteeing cross community support.

A new threshold of 65% of Assembly votes would be required to form an Executive and pass laws. The threshold compels each side to win at least some support on the other side. That’s the key point of this “integrative” model, the need to reach out across the divide to get things done.

If 65% was unattainable, the threshold would drop to 50% to form a “minimum winning coalition.” If any party walked out, the remaining parties would stay in office for the rest of the four year term. With a new Bill of Rights guaranteeing “fair treatment “ under the European Convention on Human Rights, a court would immediately rule ultra vires (beyond the competence of the Assembly) any law which did not have cross community support.

A new Assembly would acquire more powers to bind it together and divert attention from the past, including P&J and some tax varying powers.

A new electoral system such as the alternative vote AV plus, would force parties to win support from the other side, in order to reach a required 50% of the vote.

The paper written in 2006 (before the St Andrew’s Agreement became operative) argues that the system was fatally flawed from the start. It was bound to entrench sectarian division. The aim of forming a grand coalition was too ambitious, because of too many mutually cancelling vetoes.

Wilson and Wilford want to see dynamic developments in both the British and Irish strands, a federal UK and a confederal Ireland. Main funding would still come from London but the Assembly would be able to develop any all Ireland policy with the agreement of the Dublin Parliament.

This critique is no sneak scheme for excluding one party or another. But it was written from the viewpoint that ‘If you reward divisions and divisiveness … you increase and eventually heighten divisions and divisiveness” That message is for all parties.

I recommend a thorough read with the thought in mind that mechanisms are at least as important as motives. Mechanisms offer a forward path. Motives by definition precede mechanisms in time and hark back to the past. Any contributors still left standing please note.

  • “I recommend a thorough read with the thought in mind that mechanisms are at least as important as motives.”

    If only there were anything attached to read.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]The Bill of Rights guaranteeing “fair treatment “ [u]under the European Convention on Human Rights[/u] would immediately rule ultra vires (beyond the competence of the Assembly) any law which did not have cross community support.”[/i]

    The European Convention on Human Rights doesn’t go far enough in protecting against the exploitation of N.Ireland’s citizens, especially children, the elderly, those with learning difficulties and those with mental problems such as depression.

  • Mark McGregor

    What’s the problem? Is this not the link?

  • Quagmire

    Why not just have a 32 county republic? It would have strong links with Britain, indeed the 26 county state already does, tax varying powers, coalition govt etc etc. Seems like common sense to me. London will never afford any of the UK regions tax powers for if they do it will be the end of the UK. Can you imagine, for example, if Scotland was able to slash its corp tax to a rate below that of the rest of the UK? There would be a mass migration of business from south of the border!Indeed England’s south east would become a ghost town. As an Island nation I think we here in Ireland could be great. We would be the envy of the world.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]As an Island nation I think we here in Ireland could be great”[/i]

    Well, you’ll have to start and learn to be more tollerent of your Unionist/Protestant neighbours a bit better, instead of creating terror gangs determined to drive them to the sea.

  • Quagmire

    “Well, you’ll have to start and learn to be more tollerent of your Unionist/Protestant neighbours a bit better, instead of creating terror gangs determined to drive them to the sea.”
    Posted by Ulsters my homeland on Sep 09, 2008 @ 10:55 AM

    Did I mention religion? How do you know if I’m not a Protestant? Sounds like you have a bit of a job to do in terms of shedding some of your sectarian attitudes. People in glass houses and all that.

  • Dave

    “Replying in November 2005 in the Dáil to Ruairi Quinn on his government’s attitude to A Shared Future, the minister for foreign affairs, Dermot Ahern, saw the document as implying action only by Northern Ireland departments. Yet there is a tension here—a tension, for example, between the restoration of the military parade along O’Connell Street on Easter Monday, in time for the 90th anniversary of 1916, and the contemporary aspiration to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland.

    A more reflective consideration of 1916 would see in it both the nobility of the republican ideal and the bloodshed it could spawn. And it might consider that, like a sepia image of the event, it should be allowed to fade into history, rather than being airbrushed from it or being allowed to constrain the emergence of novel political arrangements, north and south — arrangements more attuned to the world in which we live today and what we know about it.” – Rick Wilford and Robin Wilson

    And a “more reflective consideration” of these two individuals and the ulterior agenda they proffer that seeks to emasculate both Irish nationalism and the sovereignty of Ireland might be inspired by their closing paragraph for A Shared Future quoted above.

  • Brian Walker

    Mark re: What’s the problem? Is this not the link?

    Yes it is – I had the it filed as pdf in my docs and totally forget to search in Cain. Many thanks.
    That’s what comes from thinking in tram lines.

  • Brian Walker

    ulster’s my homeland says “The European Convention on Human Rights doesn’t go far enough in protecting against the exploitation of N.Ireland’s citizens, especially children, the elderly, those with learning difficulties and those with mental problems such as depression.”

    The ECHR is a fundamental document of basic rights, it’s not the whole story. It’s not suggested that an NI Bill of Rights would only guarantee cross community rights in the Assembly. Social rights for the NI Bill and a UK Bill are being considered. A children’s commissioner does exist.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]Did I mention religion?”[/i]

    No I mentioned it.

    “[i]How do you know if I’m not a Protestant?”[/i]

    No sane Protestant of Unionist persuasion would describe the island as being an Island nation.

    “[i]Sounds like you have a bit of a job to do in terms of shedding some of your sectarian attitudes. People in glass houses and all that.”[/i]

    I don’t have to shred any sectarian attitude. Anyone who takes the time in reading my posts correctly knows I’m not sectarian. I do however know what country I live in and I know it’s not an island nation, so if you’re claiming to be Protestant and Unionist, you’re a very silly Protestant and Unionist.

  • Le Main Rouge

    UMH

    “No sane Protestant of Unionist persuasion”

    Must all Protestants be of Unionist persuasion?

  • Briso

    Translation of the document: “If we could get this through we could keep the Shinners out forever!!”

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]Social rights for the NI Bill and a UK Bill are being considered. A children’s commissioner does exist.”[/i]

    Are they going to be seperate bills or a UK wide one?

    Are there not other areas in the courts where the ECHR underperforms, like trial by jury, etc?

  • Quamire

    I never claimed to be Unionist, just possibly Protestant. Its not just a simple case of Protestant = Unionist. You may live in the north and describe yourself as British but you are still part of the Irish nation in my eyes.

  • UMH

    … if you’re claiming to be Protestant and Unionist …

    You should try reading people’s posts, rather than imagining what they said. Quagmire only asked “How do you know if I’m not a Protestant?”. You automatically assume that Protestant is synonymous with unionist. Well, here’s a newsflash for you – it isn’t. There are many Protestant nationalists, including myself.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Le Main Rouge said: “[i]Must all Protestants be of Unionist persuasion?”[/i]

    I’m not going to continue with this conversation any longer so as not to divert the thread, but will you please read my posts properly. I wrote “Unionist/Protestant” SEE THE SLASH, IT’S THERE FOR A REASON, SO DUMBASSES LIKE YOURSELF DON’T GET CONFUSED.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Horseman said: “You automatically assume that Protestant is synonymous with unionist.”[/i]

    No I haven’t. I replied to Quagmire by saying, [u]”No sane Protestant of Unionist persuasion”[/u]. That does not imply Protestant is synonymous with unionist.

    Now stop diverting the thread and read the posts properly.

  • Steve

    Besides which its obvious that UMH is not sane so obviously his own posting doesn’t apply to him

    code word: southern

  • “No sane Protestant of Unionist persuasion”.

    That would seem to me to be a contradiction of terms! No sane Protestant would be of unionist persuasion, especially given those Protestants who are of Unionist persuasion are as contrary as UMH!

  • UMH,

    No I haven’t. I replied to Quagmire by saying, “No sane Protestant of Unionist persuasion”. That does not imply Protestant is synonymous with unionist.

    Fair point. I over-reacted to your non-reply to Quagmire’s question. He never claimed to be either Protestant or unionist – you introduced the implicit duality, which I disagree with. But there’s so much of what you write that I disagree with, so I’ll leave this one to die …

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    The Problem of Premature Evaluation

    We are in the middle of intense negotiations between the 2 rival camps – the outcome of these negotiations and the ability of Stormo to settle issues like Police, Education and the Bobby Bowl(Maze) will inform us as to what, if any, reform is needed. These funny feckers would make better use of their time analysing political systems that have had sufficient time to settle in before playing politcal agony aunts.

  • RepublicanStones

    Pass the sudocream lads UMH has a raw one !

    As regards the thread Brian, this proposal isn’t a runner, for a start it seems to be unionist-lite…

    ‘Rather than Northern Ireland being of uncertain constitutional
    location, it would clearly have a federal relationship with the
    rest of the UK and a confederal relationship with the rest of
    Ireland. Within a UK context, a new assembly would accept
    there would be some powers which would be retained at
    Westminster, but where it could come to agreement with the
    Oireachtas through the North/South Ministerial Council it
    could act in any policy domain.’

    Eh…no thanks !

  • perry

    Hang on RS – did you miss the point there?

    Sounds like Westminster saying to Stormont “you can do anything yourselves that the south agrees but if they don’t you need to act within the confines of your establishing act. The Dail can’t control the assembly but their endorsement gives Stormont complete independence. What could be more encouraging of all-Island working togetherness?

  • Veritas

    Durkan is suffering from the same problem as most of the political parties here. It’s called DENIAL. If we’re honest we all know that the current set-up and any future arrangement are just stepping stones to the re-unification of the island.

    When the British are satisfied that the threat from Republicans is nullified and unlikely to be
    resurrected, they’ll begin the handover process. The strange thing is that Unionists/ Protestants will probably feel more at home as part of the new Brussels influenced Ireland than Republicans.

  • DC

    “When the British are satisfied that the threat from Republicans is nullified and unlikely to be
    resurrected, they’ll begin the handover process.”

    Yes you could be right, but let’s first enter with cool heads and in a slightly more harmonised spirit, mind and with the skills to succeed, if you like; rather than entering as a twisted and divided people who know nothing about its administration or lifestyle.

    Now, about this Brussels-led Republic GDP, yes many Unionists would like a bit of that…

  • The nature of some of the comments on this important thread shows what advocates of change are up against. I haven’t read the pamphlet yet but am glad to have had it drawn to my attention.

    It’s certainly time to start thinking about different procedures in the Assembly, and the discussions shouldn’t be left to the political parties for 2 reasons: (i) the two ‘big four’ parties who are keenest on this are the ones who are struggling the most – it creates a USP for them both (if that’s not a contradiction) by widening their potential membership (ii) however – abolishing the designation, on its own, isn’t going to make the SDLP any less nationalist or the UUP any less unionist. Both may well see themselves as concerned with social justice, but while their ideology is grounded in territorial issues I for one won’t be having anything to do with either of them. And I can’t really see how either party can make the transition away from something that has been of such fundamental importance to their existing members and supporters.

    I suspect we’ll need new parties (or new to NI parties) to take forward any such new agenda.

  • It’s certainly Dublin-lite, republican stones. There’s no mention of Dublin paying its (pro rata) share of the financial subvention …

  • RG Cuan

    From reading posts regarding our island’s territorial issues on Slugger for nearly two years now, I think it’s clear that a new movement is needed to push forward change.

    Our political parties are too suck in their ways to take on any of the progressive ideas that have been discussed here.

  • perry

    I’m not sure where you’re coming from Dave,

    “And a “more reflective consideration” of these two individuals and the ulterior agenda they proffer that seeks to emasculate both Irish nationalism and the sovereignty of Ireland might be inspired by their closing paragraph for A Shared Future quoted above.”

    As it turned out the defence force parade was presented as a statement of Ireland’s commitment to peace-making internationalism, there was also a much beefed up remembrance ceremony at Islandbridge and a conference on 1916 was presidentially endorsed at UCC – which produced, amongst other things the “1916 The Long Revolution” collection, (at least one submission from a Maynooth Jesuit judged the rising unethical and anti-republican).

    So were these events (or the style of them) an unacceptable dilution of Irish sovereignty or the expression of its cosmopolitanism?

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘There’s no mention of Dublin paying its (pro rata) share of the financial subvention …’

    Ahh Nevin me ‘aul flower, there is the small matter of 800yrs back rent still to be paid. Nevermind the fact Ireland is busy on other financial matters….

    http://www.irishaid.gov.ie/latest_news.asp?article=1224

  • DC

    RStones here’s an update on that rather glowing government write up:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/ireland/article4692292.ece

  • Mags

    “Fair treatment” is not likely to be read to mean cross-community support. There is considerable jurisprudence on this term in a number of different contexts and it certainly doesn’t mean that even in respect of Europe.

    In fact, if it was deemed that it did then this does not afford “fair treatment” to the dominant or majority vote for an issue since the minority vote (regardless of how small) would be deemed to hold more weight (one man one vote??).

  • Realist

    THe trouble with this? The majority of unionist parties will be able to form a coalition with a nationalist minority party. Therefore the majority of the nationalist community will not have a say, the minority – or the SDLP will. By doing away with enforced coalition, you let unionists off the hook as they would never have to share power with republicans again for a generation I’d imagine. Thats why they’re jumping for joy as the union would be more secure with SF out of government and the SDLP, representing a minority of the nationalist community in it. The SDLP, as we know, would only be too willing to accept crumbs from the table, whereas SF would not.

  • Alan

    I well remember discussions on this board years ago on the subject of 65% majority as opposed to designation. It looked easier to achieve then, with the DUP a party of the fraught and the sidelined. Times do change.

    The arguments, however, don’t change, though the evidence in favour of the need to end sectarian designation does continue to mount.

    There is political expedient and there is blind sectarian hegemony – and they have met each other in the current Assembly system. This was foreseen and warned about at the time of the Assembly’s establishment, but the political expediency side won out.

    I think it is still in the ascendant.

    The logic of any proposed change to 65% would mean that SF or the DUP would have to sit in opposition. Yes, there are other potential outcomes, but this seems most likely. The question has to be asked why DUP, and, particularly, SF would agree to this. The DUP would agree it on the basis of an agreement with the UUP to involve only the SDLP in the executive. I cannot think of any reason for SF to agree a change to 65%, bearing in mind the importance of their being in government to their rank and file.

    The question is not what seismic event would shift SF into a position of such premeditated political altruism, but rather at what level of demise does the SDLP have to arrive that would drive it to ground its boats on a unionist shore.

  • Dave

    Perry, I would have thought the meaning of my comment was clear enough from the accompanying quote:

    “Replying in November 2005 in the Dáil to Ruairi Quinn on his government’s attitude to A Shared Future, the minister for foreign affairs, Dermot Ahern, saw the document as implying action only by Northern Ireland departments. Yet there is a tension here—a tension, for example, between the restoration of the military parade along O’Connell Street on Easter Monday, in time for the 90th anniversary of 1916, and the contemporary aspiration to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland.

    A more reflective consideration of 1916 would see in it both the nobility of the republican ideal and the bloodshed it could spawn. And it might consider that, like a sepia image of the event, it should be allowed to fade into history, rather than being airbrushed from it or being allowed to constrain the emergence of novel political arrangements, north and south — arrangements more attuned to the world in which we live today and what we know about it.” – Rick Wilford and Robin Wilson

    The Irish minister for foreign affairs would have seen the report from these two gentlemen (in so far as he was kind enough to bother reading it) as relating to matters that are under the sovereign jurisdiction of the UK, and having sweet FA to do with the sovereign affairs of Ireland, such as parades to commemorate 1916. The two gentlemen, on the other hand, seem to think there is some reciprocal arrangement in the GFA or obligation that grants pro-British interests a right to censor or otherwise interfere in the sovereign affairs of the Republic. There isn’t.

    This is why the minister was pointing out in his own polite way that the GFA has bugger all to do with matters on the streets of Dublin, and is confined to a problem that only exists in the particular territory for which it was devised. British rule applies only to territories under British jurisdiction, and a “shared future” applies only between the two cantankerous tribes in Northern Ireland. It isn’t a pretext to extend the conditions that exist in that dismal entity north of the border into the Republic, ‘unifying’ the island under the same pitiful and unworkable political arrangement that exist in that perpetual begging bowl.

    We’re delighted you’re British, but kindly suck on an egg if parades commemorating 1916 ‘offend’ you because we’re Irish and they sure as hell don’t offend us. 😉

  • Nosey Norris

    “There are many Protestant nationalists, including myself. ”

    I don’t think there are. Feel free to quantify that and prove me wrong.

  • Conquistador

    “Why not just have a 32 county republic?”

    because of a little thing called the consent principle.

  • “There are many Protestant nationalists, including myself. “

    I don’t think there are. Feel free to quantify that and prove me wrong.

    That’s a very objective assessment – you don’t think there are so therefore there aren’t? Can you prove there aren’t?

  • davy

    Its the dolly mixture alliance folk trying to get their way….

  • Nosey Norris,

    “There are many Protestant nationalists, including myself. “

    I don’t think there are. Feel free to quantify that and prove me wrong.

    I’d usually ignore that kind of question on the grounds that it smells like trolling, but I’m feeling charitable today, so here goes:

    1. What is the definition of ‘many’ that you think we’re using? I think the context of Northern Ireland would tend towards a low figure being acceptable as relatively many.

    2. Given the known tolerance and broad-mindedness of the unionist and loyalist community, I think the vast majority of Protestant nationalists keeps very quiet about it.

    3. I am not a partitionist, so I include the whole country. In the south, apart from the small number of OO people and ‘Reform Movement’ revisionists almost all Protestants identify themselves as part of the Irish nation.

    4. Even in the north, the proportion of the electorate that is Protestant is consistently higher than that voting unionist. Where are the missing 3 or 4 perceent? At times the combined nationalist vote has been higher than the Catholic proportion of the electorate. Not scientific proof, of course, in the absence of compulsory voting, but maybe indicative.

    5. There have been Protestant members of the INLA (at least, maybe also the recent IRA too). Given that active membership tends to represent only a tiny proportion of support, it implies quite a number of Protestant ‘fellow-travellers’.

    6. Protestant members of the SDLP (Ivan Currie, that guy in Tyrone whose name I forget), Protestant members of the old IIP (John Turnly, see point 2 above), Protestant members of the GAA, and so on.

    That’s as good as you’re going to get, given the secrecy of the ballot box, and my dwindling interest in feeding the trolls ….

  • Ivan Currie? 🙂

  • borderline

    Well it all sounds fine and dandy. 65% if possible, but 50% if not.

    But based of course on the sectarian state of Northern Ireland.

    Which has 6 counties, 2 of which have overwhelming Unionist majorities, which creates, and by God was designed to create, an overall Unionist majority.

    And nowt has changed since 1922 when the grubby little sectarian carve-up was organised, dividing Ireland and dividing Ulster.

    Northern Ireland is a failed political entity, founded on a sectarian land grab.

    NO DEAL.

  • RepublicanStones

    DC, indeed, we’ll all have to punch another in our belts. Like Mother Stones always says

    “It costs nothing to be nice”

    Except in this instance perhaps it does.

    Conquistador

    ‘…because of a little thing called the consent principle.’

    Which unionism was never fond of. Ironic statement given your handle also, don’t you think?

  • The majority of unionist parties will be able to form a coalition with a nationalist minority party.

    Why wouldn’t the nationalist parties form a coalition with the minority unionist party? Which party believes in a 6,000 year old Earth, psychiatric cures for gay people, no football matches on a Sunday while condemning global warming and line dancing? Which is going to struggle most to fit in with a government that’s going to govern on the basis of some sort of PoMo centrist consensus?

  • Ian

    The reason designation rewards the extremes is because those who designate as ‘Other’ have their votes effectively ignored.

    This could be resolved simply by replacing the need for parallel consent of unionists and nationalists, with the requirement for the parallel consent of all non-unionists and of all non-nationalists.

    That would actually reward those designated as Others as their votes would get voted twice!

  • Ian

    Sorry, should have said those designated as ‘Other’ would see their votes [i]counted[/i] twice.

  • Dec

    Why wouldn’t the nationalist parties form a coalition with the minority unionist party?

    presumably because that unionist party doesn’t want to be wiped-out at the next election amidst cacophonous screams of ‘Sell-out’. Presumably the next step for Mark Durkan is to exhume Gerry Fitt.

  • DC

    It appears according to Mark Devenport’s blog that Durkan has climbed down over any sudden thought to doing away with d’Hondt and therefore ‘enforced’ power-sharing.

    I read on O’Connall Street blog something similar but wanted to wait to hear if you like from the horse’s mouth.

    Some keynote speech that was, it could well backfire on Durkan as if he is just doing it as a means to gain the policing office, which arguably now seem like valid claims, then it is pretty pathetic to play around with certain people’s non-sectarian hope for sincere change based along socio-economic lines.

    Some social democratic party that is, go fly your flag and fuckin eat to, just another bunch of time wasters like the rest of that lot up there.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Just to pick up on what Horseman has said,…. for Horseman is in good company!

    (BTW, I think he might have meant Ivan Cooper)

    A combination that must be forever admired is an Irish Nationalist who is also a Protestant or a member of the Reformed Church.

    Such as those of 1798 that were inspired by the great humanitarian and democrat, the Englishman Thomas Paine and his ‘Rights of Man,’ who sought to stand for the nation of Ireland against the dominance of England within these isles and the subjugation of the Irish people.

    So here’s to the United Irishmen and 1798ers…..

    Willaim Drennan
    Wolfe Tone
    Samuel Neilson
    Thomas Russell
    Archibald Hamiliton Rowan
    Henry Joy McCracken
    William Orr
    James Napper Tandy
    The Sheares Brothers
    Lord Edward Fitzgerald
    Robert Emmet and his brother Thomas Addis

    And let us not forget subsequent Protestants (non Catholics) who championed the cause of Ireland and all her people…

    Thomas Davis – Young Irelander
    John Mitchel – Young Irelander
    William Smith O’Brien – Young Irelander
    Isaac Butt – Home Ruler
    Charles Stuart Parnell – Home Ruler
    Sir John Gray – Home Ruler
    Stephn Gynne – Home Ruler
    John Pinkerton – Home Ruler
    Samuel Young – Home Ruler

    Sir Roger Casement -1916er
    Erskine Childers – 1916er
    Bulmer Hobson -1916er
    Sam Maguire – IRA
    Countess Markiewicz – IRA
    W B Yeats
    Maud Gonne
    Lady Gregory
    Sean O Casey

    Jack White
    Robert Barton
    Ernest Blythe
    Douglas Hyde – Irish Scholar and First President
    Robert Monteith
    Sean Lester

    John Graham – IRA (Belfastman)
    George Gilmore – IRA (Belfastman)
    George Plant – IRA (Belfastman)
    John Turnley – Irish Independence Party
    Ronnie Bunting – INLA

    Ivan Cooper – Civil rights
    Martin Mansergh – Fianna Fail advisor and TD
    Billy Mitchell – SF

    And we must not forget the Orangeman and Grand Master who opposed the Act of Union, George Ogle and the Gaelic language enthusiast Richard Routledge Kane.

    Erin go bragh!

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Billy Mitchell…?

    I mean Billy Leonard

  • Tir Eoghain Gael

    Eddie Espie from Cookstown was the name of the protestant SDLP member who left the party last year because he felt they were losing their sence of nationalism.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    And then Andrew Muir left because (according to him) he felt they were too nationalist. There’s no pleasing some people!

  • perry

    “because he felt they were losing their sence of nationalism.”

    And then Andrew Muir left because (according to him) he felt they were too nationalist. There’s no pleasing some people!

    You’re both wrong. They both left the SDLP for the same reason. Self-satisfied “nationalist” catholic sectionalism rather than cross-community “republican” integrationism. Being on different sides of Lough Neagh they see different alternative parties which they hope they can work with to build that united society – Eddie sees Fianna Fail, Andrew the Alliance Party. They’re both right. Perhaps the reason for their perspective is that Eddie grew up a Prod in nationalist mid-Ulster while Andrew grew up a catholic in gently unionist Bangor West. They’ve both a personal interest in a united society.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “The Unionist Convention as it was called brought together Unionists of all classes, denominations and political leanings. It sought to answer Gladstonian Liberal and irish nationalist accusations that Unionism was the creed of a narrow landed elite clinging on to priveges and DUPing Orange workers with sectarian appeals.”

    – Not much has changed since Nevin?

    “Some speeches were notably concilatory towards Catholics and the use of ‘Erin go Bragh’ as one slogan on the Convention Pavilion indicated an enduring pride in Irish identity.”

    – How attitudes have changed since Nevin!

  • perry

    Gladstonian Liberal

    That reminds me of a category of people you forgot in your list of Protestant nationalists Greagoir. Lord Pirrie for example, whose enthusiasm for Home Rule gives the lie to claims that Home Rulers had no interest in, or understanding of, the industrial north.

    Liberals who the (much too timid about their protestant and east-ulster-catholic nationalism) Alliance Party decends from.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Indeed Perry, thanks for that one.

    Everyone feel free to add to the list. There are a lot more that I have left out.

  • Tir Eoghain Gael

    PH Pearse himself was born to a protestant father.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Realist
    The reverse is also true.SDLP,SF,UUP,AP could pass legislation without DUP support ,thereby nullify the so-called triple lock conceded to them by SF negotiators at St Andrews.We are in the situation we are in,no Irish language act,no stadium/conflict transformation centre,no P&J;powers devolved all because Martin and Gerry gave them a veto,don’t be surprised that they are now using it.

  • frustrated democrat

    The current parties cannot be left to their own devices while they are still split along sectarian lines working on zero sum politics.

    We need external parties from the South and GB to organise her to get away from this sectarain morass.

    So Conservatives, Labour, LD’s, FF, FG etc. get moving and organise properly to break up the current sectarian monopolies over votes in NI.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “PH Pearse himself was born to a protestant father.”

    Indeed Tir Eoghan Gael, and a Protestant English father at that! (and a fine sculptor too of religious pieces)

  • Dewi

    Harvey Bicker.

  • Tir Eoghain Gael

    Noel lyttle was a member of the INLA who was shot dead by the SAS.

  • Tir Eoghain Gael

    Names like George Plant, Jack White from Broughshane in County Antrim, George Gilmore from Portadown and Erskine Childers are well known protestant IRA members. The IRA in belfast had protestant commanders such as Billy Smith, Rex Thompson and John Graham. They were nicknamed ‘The Prod Squad’. Ivor Bell was another protestant IRA member who was on the Provisional IRA Army Council.

  • Thomas Sinclair, the Ulster Liberal Unionist appears to have been rather more liberal than Gladstone when it came to the political influence of the Catholic Church. Perhaps the latter’s desire for Home Rule was driven by a desire to get shot of Irish nationalists from Westminster.

  • Derek Bell, late of The Chieftains (and such gems as “Derek Bell plays with himself”) was a Protestant life-long Irish traditional musician. He went to my old school, which curiously never refers to him in its eulogies to past pupils ….

  • Greenflag

    horseman ,

    He (Derek Bell)

    went to my old school, which curiously never refers to him in its eulogies to past pupils .

    Now that’s an old school that ought to be ashamed of itself 🙁 Derek Bell was a gentleman and a scholar and music lovers all around the world not just Irish, filled concert halls to hear him play .

  • I never new or, indeed, accepted that traditional music was limited to the patronage of Nationalists, Horseman.

    Bell House in Ballymena.

  • Greenflag

    Greagoir o frainclin,

    Thanks for the list of protestant green heretics 🙂

    Any chance of compiling a similar list of catholic ‘orange’ heretics who have put their life/lives on the line to support the establishment of the Northern Ireland State ?

  • Nevin,

    I never new [sic] or, indeed, accepted that traditional music was limited to the patronage of Nationalists, Horseman.

    It isn’t, but a life-long membership of a clearly Irish group, promoting the ‘green’ view of Ireland around the world, tends towards some assumptions about his ‘national’ identification, don’t you think?

  • Greenflag

    BW,

    The ‘Trouble with Northern Ireland’ is an interesting read but it doesn’t add anything new nor can it . It’s an academic exercise in navel gazing a convoluted mechanism to force either SF or DUP into permanent minority opposition . Neither major party will go for it or can for it’s axiomatic that if one goes for it the other will immediately oppose it .

    I’m afraid the “trouble with Northern Ireland ‘ is just that -Northern Ireland . In it’s present format it’s a State too divided to make political or economic sense . Like Irish ‘neutrality’ it came into existence as a ‘practical ‘ necessity due to the political and economic circumstances of the time . The world has moved on since then .

    It’s hard to see why in 2008 people in NI would want to cling to an NI State but many do . It may be slightly less hard to see why in 2008 people in the Republic would want to cling to ‘neutrality ‘ but they do :(.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “Thanks for the list of protestant green heretics 🙂
    Any chance of compiling a similar list of catholic ‘orange’ heretics who have put their life/lives on the line to support the establishment of the Northern Ireland State ?”

    Cheers Greenflag

    ah sure here’s a few more….

    Grattan – leader of Irish Parliament

    United Irishmen –
    Baganel Harvey
    Roddy McCorley
    Oliver Bond
    Arthur O Connor

    Robert Lindsay Crawford – Fenian sympathies
    Robert Johnston – Fenian

    Regarding compiling a list of Irish Catholic sympathizers of the Anglocentric Union, well I’ll leave to to the Unionists.

  • Regarding compiling a list of Irish Catholic sympathizers of the Anglocentric Union, well I’ll leave to to the Unionists.

    Before the rush starts, let me suggest that IC members of the various crown forces are not listed; partly because the numbers would be unmanagable, and partly because their motives may have been more mercenary than principled.

    Have there been any IC unionist MLA’s apart from John Gorman? Have there been any IC MP’s ever in modern times? Are there any IC unionist councillors? And known IC loyalists (apart from that unfortunaate incident concerning the Portadown SDLP councillors son a few years back!)?

  • slug

    Will sectarian head counters please cath themselves on?

  • Tir Eoghain Gael

    Peter Sheridan of the RUC for a start

  • Tir Eoghain Gael

    There was a catholic unit of the UVF which worked in belfast in the late 70s they were led by a man called arthur Mc Kenna i think was his name who joined the UVF to seek revenge for the murder of his brother who was killed by the IRA for anti social reasons.

  • Tir Eoghain Gael

    Correction, Jimmy McKenna was the name of the UVF man, arthur was his brother who was shot in Ballymurphy