Slugger’s Daily Blogburst…

Kicking off, with Remembrance Day, Chekov says that the Tom Hartley’s snub of the Cenotaph is an indication of a backward trajectory from Sinn Fein’s previous position under Alex Maskey… Meanwhile O’Neill remembers a bloody November in 1987 along with the Bono’s F*ck the Revolution ‘speech’ in Colorado on the same day… And in Writer’s Square they remembered Irish veterans of the Spanish Civil War…- Meanwhile, on reading Dennis Bradley in the Irish News, Horseman is convinced a DUP capitulation is worth a punt on a raft of issues (both pick up a doctrine Robinson first espoused in 1987

– Mairtin picks up on a comprehensive report on the state of dissident republicanism from David McKitterick, but is not keen on the inference from the Cheif Constable that the current political vacuum is only feeding lawlessness in Republican areas…

– Damien picks up a bizarre little episode in Miriam Lord’s review column in the Irish Times. I’d read Miriam’s piece, but not the reaction of Fine Gael’s Brian Hayes to Paul Gogarty’s extraordinary dumb show protest. Mental health is mentioned. But here’s the fuller quote from Hayes than the one used on P.ie:

“Everyone knows Paul Gogarty is the original rebel without a clue but I’m seriously beginning to worry for his mental health as he continues to lead a double life. It’s extremely rare to see one person play both good cop and bad cop but Gogarty is managing to pull it off.”

– In Northern Ireland, and the Cedar Lounge notes, the Cervical Cancer vaccine is freely available under a UK wide provision. Mary Harney under the constraints of the recent budget is being compelled to drop plans she only announced in August. A private vaccine will cost you a cool €600 in the south, whilst it’s free to those parents who don’t object north of the border. United Irelander is not impressed

– Just 53 shopping days to save south Dublin’s retail sector by closing the border with Northern Ireland (Note there are rumours of UK bring VAT down to 12.5%):

Our political leaders (I know, don’t laugh, it’s rude) have called on consumers to be more patriotic and shop ‘local’. Nevertheless the same geniuses have decided to increase the vat rate in December to 21.5% because [ ]. Sorry, I meant to write in a rational explanation at the end of that sentence but for the life of me I can’t think of one.

– On Glenrothes, Stephen was at the count and is puzzled. 45 minutes after the polls closed:

…I hadn’t recorded the Nats ahead in any box that I was looking at nor did my nearest colleagues. Indeed as the initial surge of activity ended not one of us could recall any major SNP dominance. Yet the Nats were still adamantly proclaiming “Yes we can”, yes we have and yes we will in the media section that was over my shoulder. More strangely the press and Labour were also believing them.

– Euan gives five reasons why Labour won, and most of them are ‘street to street local’…

– Malc reckons people are much more willing to vote SNP in Scottish as opposed to Westminster election and local incumbency in the councils made them easier to run against than in Glasgow East…

– Ideas of Civilisation has a very useful piece of analysis on the challenges now facing the SNP. In particular he takes them to task for complaining that Labour “was overly negative and that it concentrated on Scottish/local issues rather than Westminster matters.”:

In the first case this is back to the incumbency issue the SNP must contend with; they will now be judged on their actions rather than rhetoric, and this might put them in uncomfortable positions at times. And the latter point is simply mind boggling, unless the SNP are suggesting in future that Alex Salmond et al will restrict themselves to talking about devolved issues only.

– Calum’s almost speechless, and this guy’s almost apoplectic

– And it’s all over for Lembit

  • pith

    I was surprised to see that Peter Robinson was not wearing a Clontibret campaign medal.

  • Rory (South Derry)

    Now come on Guys!

    The Provos down on their hands and knees at Day of Remberance for Dead brits???

    Surely even they could not lower themselves to the level of hypocracy that the current Northern Farce requires them to do so under the GFA!

    I am surprised though that given all the coat trailing that they have done since 1998 that they did now make some gesture!

    The people Mr Hartley would have had to remember would have been parties such as those who killed many innocent Irish Catholics

    The shame of such a thought

  • frustrated democrat

    Rory

    It is that sort of comment – ‘dead Brits’ – that shows how little we have moved on in NI and how facile Republican minds are, even Enniskillen didn’t change that.

    It was remembering all Irish men ( from the North and South)who died in service but maybe the fact that they didn’t agree with a Republican viewpoint makes them and their ancestors traitors in the Republican mindset even if they were Irish.

  • Just 53 shopping days to save south Dublin’s retail sector by closing the border with Northern Ireland …

    Excellent, Mick, you’ve finally discovered one of my favourite blogs – Turbulence Ahead. It has to be one of the most intelligent, iconoclastic, and well informed blogs about. Plus, it is pretty slick technically. I hope you regularly include it in your blogburst.

  • NALILblog: Rathlin Island: Planters and Gales update

    More dodgy documents from the DRD dossier; this time it’s ‘altered’ passenger certificates and their ‘missing in action’ obverses.

  • Richard James

    I would have to disagree with Chekov. It would be hypocrisy on Hartley’s part to take part considering his and Sinn Fein’s views on the deaths of those being remembered. Having him participate in a charade would denegrate the occassion.

  • mick cooper

    Very well said Richard, it seems the Remembrance Day ceremony in Belfast is about political point scoring rather than Remembrance, I find it astounding that anyone would go to these ceremonies to see who didn’t turn up, so Hartley decided not to go so what ! Surely its more important to those who wish to Remember that people are there to do just that, rather than because of some political stunt.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Can some of the tubes, who frequent this site, not get it into their heads once and for all? The people who died in all the wars that the English were involved in were all BRITISH soldiers. It doesn’t matter if they were Scottish,Welsh, Irish mercenaries or whatever. While they were accepting the King’s money to fight the King’s battles, they were BRITISH soldiers. And when the local loyalists refer to ‘our’ troops, they are referring to BRITISH troops be they Catholic,Protestant or Gurkha. Now if you feel that ‘our’ is not ‘your’,just bite your tongue and let ‘them’ get on with ‘their’ commemorations. No more of this sh*te about the number of catholics/free staters/nationalists who were killed. They were BRITISH soldiers and man cannot serve two masters.

  • RepublicanStones

    If Hartley had of appeared many unionists would have said it was a disgrace blah blah blah. The point many unionists put forth to demand Hartley’s attendance is that he represents ALL citizens of the city. Fair enough, so obviously the same people can have no problem if a unionist Lord Mayor appeared at an Easter 1916 commemoration???? After all nationalists are part of the city too aren’t they? Or is only ok to commemorate people who didn’t rebel against the ‘glorious and noble’ british armed forces? Serious questions but I am predicting only facetious answers, unfortunately.

  • percy

    no mention of ATW coverage.. MSM bias, wail wail wail.
    Only joking 😉

  • frustrated democrat

    I can only grimace at the republican bile on this site, no shared space, no parity of esteem just a spewing of hatred of all things British.

    Fellow Irishmen indeed.

  • percy

    correct fd
    you don’t have to worry about me though, I still regard the fallen as my fellow irishmen, irrespective of whichever war they fought died in.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    What about the fallen Germans,percy? How can British soldiers be my fellow Irishmen? They can be fellow Catholics, fellow whitemen or fellow humans but they picked their side – for whatever reason. I’m happy enough to ignore the annual British Armed Forces ritual as long as it’s not in my face.And I expect similar treatment.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘no shared space, no parity of esteem’

    My post addressed exactly that. Or don’t you read FD?

  • re: Cervical Cancer Vaccine.

    According to the Catholic Church hierarchies in Alberta and Ontario, this is in fact the Fornication Vaccine. Therefore several public-funded regional Catholic school boards have withdrawn permission to vaccinate on school premises even on a consent-required basis (which on efficiency and economic grounds is by far the most effective venue).

    If Michael “Bad Deal with Religious Orders who still haven’t fully paid up” Woods was Health Minister I’d be suspicious right now.

  • percy

    pancho,
    they were still from Ireland, and that’s my point

  • frustrated democrat

    RS

    I wasn’t referring to your post, you however seem to view the world as starting and ending in Ireland it is so much bigger than that. The British Army, including Irish soldiers, has fought in campaigns around the world and continues to do so. Other armies have done the same sometimes in support of or against the Britsh Army they all still deserve to be remembered.

    Alex Maskey and Alban Magennis rose above the hatred and went that extra mile to remember fallen Irishmen, even in Southern Ireland the senior politicians have moved forward in the last 10 years.

    So why have SF stepped back into the arms of the Green comfort blanket, is it due to the problems in Stormont?

  • Pancho’s Horse

    I opine again,fd,that only British soldiers or non-British guns for hire (mercenaries) fought in the British Army. No Irish soldiers fought in the British Army.British people from Ireland have fought under England’s flag but the time always comes when they are ordered to turn their guns on the Irish, be they British Army, Free State troops or UDR. Then you know if they are Irish soldiers or British soldiers. Two masters etc etc. As I said,let their owning community fete them. It’s not an Irish thing.

  • frustrated democrat

    PH

    Sad to say but what you think is irrelevant it is the soldiers born on the Island of Ireland whose opinions that are relevant.

    They took a choice that was theirs to take they broke no law yet you want to impose your opinions on them and say they weren’t Irish.

    So my fellow Irishman is that what you want to create, a country where the nationality of its citizens is decided by a cabal of extreme nationalists? That is not a place where many would want to live.

  • I would be remiss were I not to thank Mick for the link to the Spanish Civil War commemoration video. The raising of the memorial has been a very welcome and unfortunately rare case of effective cooperation among left elements.

  • runciter

    Why should Irish people who died in the service of the British Army deserve special commemoration by nationalists?

    It makes no sense.

  • Observer

    In all the sectarian bile being posted on this thread and all the whataboutery some facts need to be stated. The second world war was just that. It was a war against facism as led by Hitler. If he had managed to win the war or invade more countries I wonder how many of our forefathers would have ended up in gas chambers? Wouldn’t have mattered if you were a prod or a mick, from the British tradition or the Irish tradition Mr Hitler would have gassed you if it suited his agenda. The soldiers who fought and died and suffered disabling injuries represented every country in the free world who wanted to preserve their democratic way of life. They were from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. They were also from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa etc etc etc. They all fought a common enemy and their sacrifices helped to maintain the freedoms that the free world enjoyed. As a result of all this we can now protest in a legal and peaceful way just like Sinn Fein did at the bottom of Grosvenor Road last weekend during the homecoming parade of the RIR and other regiments.
    During rememberance week I give thanks that I and my children, and grandchildren can live in a free society and have total freedom of speech and expression. I don’t just give thanks for the sacrifice of the dreaded “British Army” and the “Irish Quislings” who signed up to take the Kings shilling. I thank and remember the hundreds of thousands of young men and women who died for our freedom. Black, white, and brown, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Muslim,Jew and non believers.

    The simple question that I would ask Sinn Fein to answer is when do they remember all this sacrifice? How do they show that they have remembered or is the war against Hitler airbrushed out of their history books because of the involvement of British troops? They talk about unjust and illegal wars in the Middle East. Was the war against Hitler unjust and illegal? Rememberance week is about much more than whether or not you wear a poppy.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    In the midst of all this pomp and ceremony we, the Irish, remember who shot our relatives,friends and neighbours down like dogs in the street.We remember that these people have no right to be here except force majeure and we look forward to the time when they will not be here. The grief of a family who lost someone in any of England’s wars is understandable. They chose to fight in England’s wars and this was the inevitable outcome.We can sympathise but don’t ask us to empathise.Ireland should not have been neutral in WW2 and but for the pig headedness of the English, they would not have been. Then Irish soldiers would have fought willingly against the German fascists as they did against the Spanish fascists.So all you British who have not been born in Britain, keep your sorrow to yourselves.

  • Mick Fealty

    Pancho, run, etc..

    It’s worth listening to Jack Edwards the Liverpool veteran from the Spanish Civil War:

    “It is seventy years ago this month that we left Spain after three years of struggle and battle, only to face another fascist war in 1939 and we continued with that.”

    The film also has a brief interview with one of two brothers from the Shankill whose uncle was killed in the Spanish war with the Irish Brigade…

    The issue of Irishmen and women who fought in both wars is difficult and complicated by the domestic situation. Yet in the second war there were many who saw it as part of an ‘international’ obligation to fight Fascism, in contrast with some of the fellow Irishmen who committed themselves to fight on the other side of the British no matter where and to what it took them.

    Are you really saying they (either of them) deserve to lose the term Irishman for that?

  • runciter

    Pretending that the poppy is primarily about WWII is dishonest.

  • runciter

    That last comment was directed at Observer.

  • Mick Fealty

    I guessed. But you should try to give us more than the pithy one liners. 🙂

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Yes, Mick. Anybody who fought in the British Army was a British soldier, full stop. What they did later, when they weren’t British soldiers is a different matter.There were NO Irish soldiers in the British Army, when they were in the British Army. Irish people joined the French Foreign Legion. They became French soldiers and died fighting France’s colonial wars. If it had been my father, I would have grieved. I would class myself now as upper working class. My people lived and died as peasants. They never felt the need to sell themselves to the British Army. I regard them as Irish.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘you however seem to view the world as starting and ending in Ireland it is so much bigger than that.’

    FD I have no idea why you think this. You cried about the lack of parity of esteem, shared future blah blah, emanating from republicans. Now when I point out my first post raised questions in that direction you ignore the questions and segway into a rant about the british army overseas service!!!!!!

  • observer

    Runciter

    You should really try to read all of a posting and try to understand the logic being expressed. I don’t care whether or not you wear a poppy or whether you prefer to spit on it. Thats your free choice and is a perk of living in a free society. Forget about poppies!! Just try to remember the sacrifices of all who died to guarantee us that freedom to pick and chose what we do and say, and give thanks. You can ignore the deads of British soldiers in the caused of securing freedom if that is what your prejudices tell you to do.Don’t airbrush the deaths of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers etc etc. Why not have a jab at answering the questions that I posed at the end of my posting.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Don’t airbrush out the fact that England DECLARED both wars and then machiavelliated all the others into what was basically a family feud.

  • runciter

    Forget about poppies!!

    I’m not the one with the poppy obsession.

    Why not have a jab at answering the questions that I posed at the end of my posting.

    I’m not really qualified to speak on behalf of SF.

  • Observer

    Pancho

    Wise up! Maybe we should just have let Hitler get on with it.

    Runciter

    Have a go at answering the questions as you see them. We will agree to let the shinners speak for themselves. I would be keen to see where you actually stand.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Observer, I doubt that you had a big part in stopping Hitler. Anyway, sure half the English aristocracy was in cahoots with ole Adolf. Us British would have been OK.

  • obsever

    Pancho

    You are. right I didn’t have much to do in stopping Hitler But by God I thank those who did. Thats why I remember. I remember especially my two family members who died in France to give you the right to free speech and the right to walk over many graves with your blinkered opinions. I think most people on Slugger will see right through your complete inability to step outside your little world of make believe. You are probably one of those headbangers who believe that the halocaust was dreamt up by Hollywood.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Mick, when you get a moment, google Charles Donnelly.

  • RepublicanStones

    Jesus wept, we’ve now entered the realm of holocaust-denier accusations !!!!!!

  • Pancho’s Horse

    observer,I’m glad that you’re glad that I have free speech. I,too, have graves to step over.To introduce the massacre of the Jews is a red herring. We all know what happened. Your two family members probably chose between abject poverty and early death at home and certain death in France. I don’t denigrate their sacrifice. I didn’t ask for it.I don’t feel obligated.My country wasn’t at war.If Hitler had invaded Ireland, I would have fought and died. He didn’t get that far thanks to the Americans.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘He didn’t get that far thanks to the Americans.’

    As well as to the Soviets, considering roughly 85% of german losses occured on the eastern front. But this is in no small part to the logistical support the Ruskies got from the Yanks.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    The Yanks lived to regret that – a bit like the Taliban, what?

  • latcheeco

    Observer,
    But you ignore the fact that most Irish people believe the British army were/are obstacles to their freedom not providers of.
    Pancho,
    I disagree, too simplistic an interpretation of fallen British soldiers. For example Redmond’s vols. like Tom Barry ( and whether we agree in hindsight or not) believed they were fighting for Ireland and freedom.So where do they fall?

  • Mick Fealty

    Guys, the point Obs is making is not that Republicans should celebrate it, but that as past leaders of nationalism in Belfast have raised themselves above the fray, so should this one.
    Run,

    I had to slap UMH the other day for playing wind up merchant.

    PH,

    Charlie Donnelly was hardly an example of your @ 01:18 AM.

  • kensei

    Mick

    Guys, the point Obs is making is not that Republicans should celebrate it, but that as past leaders of nationalism in Belfast have raised themselves above the fray, so should this one.

    Define “above the fray”. Because it looks to me what is being suggested is that Nationalists should do what Unionists do. Which would be, er, celebration.

    WW1 and WW2 are also red herrings. If I bought a poppy, the vast majority of the money would not be going near WW1 or WW2 veterans; it could quite easily go to British soldiers that served in the Troubles. Remembrance Sunday is also for the dead of all British wars. Is the problem not plain for all to see, here?

  • Mick

    “Above the fray”, as in representing the office, rather than the politics. BTW, who’s talking about Poppies?

    Now excuse me, I have some posts to write.

  • kensei

    Mick

    “Above the fray”, as in representing the office, rather than the politics. BTW, who’s talking about Poppies?

    What duties do you see as “embodying the office”, if laying poppies at the memorial isn’t one, Mick?

  • Mick Fealty

    I admire your attempt to follow through with the Socratic method ken, but why don’t you ask Alex?

  • kensei

    Mick

    I admire your attempt to follow through with the Socratic method ken, but why don’t you ask Alex?

    Don’t dodge.

    Alex’s attempts were lauded at the time but as seen on this site it is very quickly put down as inadequate. There is a narrative at work here that seems to want to drive Republicans into full participation into British ceremonies regardless of difficultie4s or honest reasons for not wishing to do so. Anything else elicits call of begrudgary, backwardness or indeed support for facism even though the relationship is tangential at best. So I’m interested in what exactly you think “rising above the fray is”?

    And to engage in a wee bit of whataboutery, there is a lot less pressure on unionists to “rise above the fray” on anything.

  • kensei,

    There is a narrative at work here …

    That is something I have noticed quite strongly too. Apropos of nothing, where did Trevor Ringland’s ‘One Small Step’ campaign go?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Pancho,

    “In the midst of all this pomp and ceremony we, the Irish, remember who shot our relatives,friends and neighbours down like dogs in the street.”

    The irony. The irony…

    “We remember that these people have no right to be here except force majeure and we look forward to the time when they will not be here.”

    Err, except that a million Irishmen want “them” here.

    “Then Irish soldiers would have fought willingly against the German fascists as they did against the Spanish fascists.”

    Except that more Irish Republicans actually fought on the Fascist side, by about 2 to 1.

    “So all you British who have not been born in Britain, keep your sorrow to yourselves.”

    Born on the island of Ireland within the British Isles. I’m Irish and British. Similar to an English British person. When you say someone can’t ride 2 horses, is an Ulsterman no longer an Irishman if he describes himself as an Ulsterman? Or is it only some people that can ride more than one horse? Fek I should join the circus – I’m an Ulsterman, Irish and British. I could even throw in European – at a push.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ken,

    Not dodging; just too short of time to get bogged down in self serving sophistry.

    As for narratives; whose narrative is dominating this thread? It is one that chooses to talk about poppies when Maskey quite self consciously chose laurels in ’02. It chooses to talk about the shortcomings of Remembrance (we did that last year http://url.ie/vqy, there are only so many pieces available in the world) when the subject is SF.

    So let me be clear, there is no moral expectation from anyone that they do it; but by their own actions in previous years, there is a deficit this year. Is no one allowed to mention it at all for fear of being accused of setting up and maintaining a suspicious ‘narrative’?

    Danny Finkelstein (yes, I know he’s a Tory) provided this definition between spin and narrative on the BBC Radio Analysis programme:

    “Obviously you don’t decide serious matters of national policy purely because they represent a film script, but you do have to have a sense of a character being transformed by the things that he does as well as an explanation of what you stand for through theories and things like that.

    “This form is not the spinner’s way of looking at the world. This is the actor’s way of looking at the world. This is the way of looking at the world that says you progress and explain who you are through action. So this idea of narrative, far from being the empty creation of public relations experts, is really about the doing and the action and transforming characters through action and not simply telling. It’s the antithesis of public relations spin.”

    This seems to me to be a rather more healthy view of narrative; since it relies on checking against delivery it does not have to be taken on trust. The balance within the Westminster game is slowly changing, largely because of what has happened since the economic crisis hit.

    A PM that was beleaguered and alone just last summer, is now blooming http://url.ie/vqs under the perception that his actions rather than his words add up to a useful qualitative response. Being a democracy that opinion may prove fickle and switch back, but that’s the perogative of a free and democratic society. Is it not?

    To re-cap then: bull sh*t is always bull sh*t, and actions always speak louder than mere words.

  • kensei

    Mick

    Not dodging; just too short of time to get
    bogged down in self serving sophistry.

    An interesting way to frame a discussion. I don’t recommend such a negative attitude.

    As for narratives; whose narrative is dominating this thread? It is one that chooses to talk about poppies when Maskey quite self consciously chose laurels in ‘02. It chooses to talk about the shortcomings of Remembrance (we did that last year http://url.ie/vqy, there are only so many pieces available in the world) when the subject is SF.

    The thread you quote is something quite different to the difficulties that Republicans have with joining in British Commemorations of remembrance. The myth, or which days the British choose to remember are really neither here nor there.

    Second, the narrative I was talking about is somewhat larger than a single thread on a political talking shop. It is the sort of constant pressure applied to republicans — join British celebrations, support our football team, respect the border and all that. I’m not wording it particularly well here, but it’s like the overriding power of the status quo. It takes effort to maintain principle in such an environment.

    So let me be clear, there is no moral expectation from anyone that they do it;

    That seems a somewhat incredulous statement to make. I suggest you look at some of the Unionist responses on these types of threads.

    but by their own actions in previous years, there is a deficit this year. Is no one allowed to mention it at all for fear of being accused of setting up and maintaining a suspicious ‘narrative’?

    I think you’ve missed the point by a country mile.

    A PM that was beleaguered and alone just last summer, is now blooming http://url.ie/vqs under the perception that his actions rather than his words add up to a useful qualitative response. Being a democracy that opinion may prove fickle and switch back, but that’s the perogative of a free and democratic society. Is it not?

    Except Mick, no ones opinion of anything has really shifted. If Hartley had have done the same thing as Maskey, Chekov would have had a complaint about its inadequacy. He would not have been at the official service. Moreover, as he has pointed out, he has made efforts in the past to reach out on similar events. If you are looking for a trend, you need more than a single data point.

    To re-cap then: bull sh*t is always bull sh*t, and actions always speak louder than mere words.

    Except actions can be as tricky as words. The motives behind them and what is being communicated is not always perceived the same way by the same people nor understood as the the actionee intended. That may or may not be the case, but spare me the trite and meaningless phrases, Mick. They are a shortcut to switching off your brain.

    Moreover, you’ve trailed off the conversation. I am interested — assuming Hartkey had have repeated what Maskey did, what else, exactly, is there to “rise above”? Whyais pressure never put on Unionists to do the same.

  • Mick

    ken,

    I suggest you check this line “these types of threads” against delivery on this thread. If Hartley had done what Maskey had done we would be having a completely different conversation.

    “Except actions can be as tricky as words. The motives behind them and what is being communicated is not always perceived the same way by the same people nor understood as the action intended.”

    In leiu of a direct answer to that, let me quote from A Long Peace (May 2003, so it’s getting a little dated in parts) on the most successful strategy in the iterative prisoner’s dilemma, tit for tat and how it might have been applied here:

    Judge actions, not words. TIT FOR TAT employs true recipricocity, a strategy that blends ‘niceness’, ‘retaliation’ and ‘forgiveness’ in a straightforward, successful and comprehensible way.

    The successful operation of TIT FOR TAT relies on one good habit above all: the ability to respond to your opponent’s actions, not his words or, still worse, your suspicion as to what his underlying motivations may be.

    Words not backed by actions are meaningless, not least because players who judge words are as likely to judge too pessimistically as too optimistically (‘unlike chess, in the Prisoner’s Dilemma, it is not safe to assume the other players are out to get you,’ Axelrod warns).

    Opponents frequently speak in code and may well be tempted to lie, but actions speak for themselves and cannot be deceiving. A punishment beating is an unmistakable breach of social norms, an unquestionable breach of cooperation, an action that drowns out all weaselling to the contrary.

    An arms cache deserves, as counter-intuitive as it may sound, to be taken somewhat less seriously than breaches of the ceasefire, however minor. Although illegal, it holds only the potential for violence, a promise that may or may not be fulfilled; while arms put ‘beyond use’ can easily be replaced.

    Finally, the suspicion that an ex-terrorist has not truly repented is a dangerous distraction. The strategist must face a hard truth: an opponent is not what he was, or what he thinks, but what he does.

  • ggn

    I think Ken makes some interesting enough points.

    I have been intrigued with the recent, and quite successful, moving of the goal posts by unionists.

    For the period immediately after the agreement if seemed that parity of esteem would mean that nationalists would continue to be nationalsits and that would be accepted.

    The unionist veto was dubbed the principle of consent and accepted.

    However, it is clear to me that unionists are under a very different impression.

    Many unionists did expect Tom Hartley to attend the rememberence day cerimony, did expect nationalists to attend the Welcome Home march, do expect nationalist to support the Northern Ireland football team.

    I once heard a recording of Iain Paisley saying that nationalists could only expect respect when they learned to salute the union jack and to be loyal to the Queen.

    Are we returning to these days?

  • Mick

    Ken,

    Missed this:

    “…spare me the trite and meaningless phrases, Mick. They are a shortcut to switching off your brain.”

    See my working out above (if you can stay awake long enough to get to the end). 😉

    “Sophistry: Noun; the practice of using arguments which seem clever but are actually false and misleading.”

  • At the risk of breaking into your somewhat exclusive ‘conversation’, I think Kensei has raised a very real point with respect to the ‘trend’ of actions. Yes, one point does not a trend make, but the very next point dictates the direction of the trend.

    Whatever Maskey did, the pressure applied by unionism was for nationalism to go one micro-step further the next year, then another, then another, until nationalism has been enticed into full-frontal British symbolism.

    As Kensei correctly points out, there is no pressure on unionism to do a similar thing. So Poots goes to a GAA match … and that’s seen as the end of that story, not the start!

    It goes back to the ‘One Small Step’ nonsense. If the only side taking steps is nationalism, and if the media, unionist commentators, etc, only expect nationalism to take steps, then the campaign is a unionist front.

    If unionists really want nationalists to join in their war commemoration, it would help if they took some steps towards nationalist events. And it would help if there was pressure on unionists to do so, and to keep moving.

    I wait without much expectation for the ‘pressure’ to be put on unionists to join in on St Patrick’s Day, or to openly support their local or county GAA teams, or to speak a few words of Irish.

  • kensei

    Mick

    I suggest you check this line “these types of threads” against delivery on this thread. If Hartley had done what Maskey had done we would be having a completely different conversation.

    Try this one:

    http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/belfast-lord-mayor-to-avoid-official-somme-commemoration/

    Believe it or not, I’ve read more than one thread and heard more than one response by the same commentators. You are taking the Slugger bubble somewhat far.

    In leiu of a direct answer to that, let me quote from A Long Peace (May 2003, so it’s getting a little dated in parts) on the most successful strategy in the iterative prisoner’s dilemma, tit for tat and how it might have been applied here:

    Precious little tat from Unionists, anywhere, and when it is (such as a GAA visit) it is normally followed by sour complaints of one sort or another.

    But punishment beatings are indeed a breach of norms, but you’ve picked an extreme example and applied a general principle. Political maneuvers are a different beast all together, and sometimes you have to pull back a bit today so you can go forward tomorrow. Or perhaps it is simply a mater of priority. revealing in itself, but not necessarily evidence of a row back. Actions are ultimately subject to interpretation. You have effectively denigrated every action to a binary good or bad, positive or negative message. It doesn’t stand up.

    I should also point out the potential of TIT-FOR-TAT to degenerate.

    “Sophistry: Noun; the practice of using arguments which seem clever but are actually false and misleading.”

    You really are picking annoying habits off Pete. Read it the first time. I am not engaging in soph-anything. I am simply trying to explore what exactly where expectations are. But it’s just about impossible to get an answer.

    And slogans and cliches are substitutes for real thought. Sorry.

    Horseman

    . Yes, one point does not a trend make, but the very next point dictates the direction of the trend.

    Not necessarily. Most graphs you see in scientific studies are best fit through data. Plenty of room for outliers.

  • kensei,

    I wasn’t trying to make a mathematically sound point! 😉

    However, if you have only two values, the line from the first to the second is exactly the trend. Your ‘outliers’ are only possible once you have quite a few values.

  • Mick

    Ken, I’m off.

    Re, A Long Peace? I did say some of it was dated!!

    “I should also point out the potential of TIT-FOR-TAT to degenerate.”

    Indeed. Axelrod notes that it only flourishes in a situation where things are moving forward.

    Night all!

  • eranu

    “Alex’s attempts were lauded at the time but as seen on this site it is very quickly put down as inadequate. There is a narrative at work here that seems to want to drive Republicans into full participation into British ceremonies regardless of difficulties or honest reasons for not wishing to do so. Anything else elicits call of begrudgary, backwardness or indeed support for facism even though the relationship is tangential at best. So I’m interested in what exactly you think “rising above the fray is”?

    And to engage in a wee bit of whataboutery, there is a lot less pressure on unionists to “rise above the fray” on anything.”

    ken, i think people expect their elected representatives to carry out the duties that the office is sometimes expected to do. it doesnt matter whereabouts in the UK the representative is, it doesnt matter what their political, religous or whatever views are. they are expected to do their job. on remberance day in belfast the mayor is expected to lay a wreath to remember dead UK troops.
    the main problem i see is that republicans dont seem to accept the reality that they live in the UK. some cant even bring themselves to say Northern Ireland. a UK mayor laying a wreath for UK troops. theres nothing wrong or unusual with that.
    “There is a narrative at work here that seems to want to drive Republicans into full participation into British ceremonies regardless of difficultie4s or honest reasons for not wishing to do so.”
    Thats the problem. republicans seem to think that their beliefs mean they can opt out of anything on grounds of ideals or whatever. i think thats way way beyond what is reasonable. you just cant get on like that. i think thats why there is a bad taste when a republican mayor wont attend the ceremony for fallen troops. not doing so is way beyond what is reasonable.
    you may be able to write some ‘ideals’ to explain why republicans do this that and the other. but you are trying to justify things that are simply unreasonable.
    to be honest for most republicans i think it IS mostly down to bitterness and the other charges you list. after the bitterness has made the decision, a republican ideal is spun out to justify it.

    have to go now. but id love to hear what nationalists and republicans would like unionists to do to rise above the fray?

  • latcheeco

    Eranu,
    From Unionist perspective that sounds logical.From
    a republican one it sounds ridiculous.Remember the citizens who elected Hartley and half the citizens in the North don’t expect him to pay homage to the British army and their past. Indeed they probably elected him so he wouldn’t. Citizens expectations have changed. You ain’t in Finchley.

  • kensei

    eranu

    There is no legal obligation for anyone to attend any remembrance service, UK or no. SF’s electorate, the most important people to them, have zero expectations for them to do so and it would probably be an overall negative. The only people with any expectations are Unionist, who would likely to complain about crocodile tears or hypocrisy if they did turn up. And they’d likely be right — joining in with the British celebrations is qualitatively different form acknowledging the Irishmen involved. “Reasonable” depends on your point of view.

    There remains anger at the British Army and the British presence, no doubt. But don’t dismiss people’s strong and sincere beliefs simply because they do not tally with your own, that is simply mindless bigotry. I understand the impetus behind British people wanting to honour their troops. I sympathise with the families and certainly understand their motives. But I am not British and do not agree with much of what they do, and also remember some of the things the British Army did here — not simply in the recent conflict but beyond. It would sheer hypocrisy for me join in those commemorations, and the only reason to try and pressure me into are political.

    And look! – I just opted out of wearing a poppy or getting a British passport or supporting the Northern Ireland football team. The constitutional question is still in your favour, I believe. What exactly are you going to do about my transgressions?

  • If unionists really want nationalists to join in their war commemoration, it would help if they took some steps towards nationalist events.

    Is it a “war” commemoration? If so does it have to be exclusively their “war” commemoration? There are now commemorations in the ROI for those Irish (and despite the despicable and bordering on the fascist, attempts to deny it earlier on, anyone born on this island is Irish) from the ROI who fell during the two world wars. Putting all aside, if nationalists feel uncomfortable about joining “our” “war” commemorations, then fine; but please do not then doubt the motives of the vast majority of those citizens of the UK who do wish to remember “our” Fallen, permit them and us the priviledge of being able to wear the outward symbol of that commemoration.

    I wait without much expectation for the ‘pressure’ to be put on unionists to join in on St Patrick’s Day, or to openly support their local or county GAA teams, or to speak a few words of Irish.

    St Patrick is the saint of the whole island, a fact acknowledged even by the Rev Ian. Unionists do join in on St Patrick’s Day, but it tends to be in places (eg Downpatrick) where the republican monocultural view of what it means to be Irish isn’t shoved down their throats (ie Belfast).

    I’m happy enough to watch GAA games and have done so, but just as I wouldn’t expect nationalists to feel comfortable watching a Shankill Butchers XI, I would avoid those grounds and clubs which “commemorate” or would have an ambivalent attitude towards terrorists. I will, however, not support my county, Antrim, due to the fact that they have never apologised to their non-nationalist county men, after their cowardly capitulation to SF for the Hunger-Strike Commemoration.

    The language, yep, no problem. No language, including Irish has ever hurled a petrol-bomb through my window or tried to redefine, as Pancho’Horse has done on this thread, my national identity- I also have a fair bit sympathy for those who are trying to promote it in a non-political, non-sectarian way. I’ve no sympathy whatsoever for the bigots who are using it as a battering-ram in their latest installment in the cultural war- it’s a language, that’s all, never forget that simple fact.

  • oneill,

    That was a pretty bog standard rant. Very predictable. Didn’t answer any of my points, though. Tangential whinges about the names of GAA clubs are silly – let unionists set up clubs with names they’re happy with (the Carsons, maybe?) – you know its just an excuse to avoid moving a step towards nationalism/Irishness/Gaelicness/whatever.

    All of your responses have been well dealt with on numerous strands before, so I won’t repeat the debate. Suffice it to say that there is no evidence whatsoever of any movement amongst unionists similar to that which they want or expect from nationalists.

  • “Didn’t answer any of my points, though.”

    1. Celebrating St Patrick’s Day; fine
    2. Watching or participating in GAA sports; fine.
    3. The promotion of the Irish language; fine.

    Satisfied?

    The onus is now on you and other nationalists, GAA fans, Irish language enthusiasts to take the next step (but only if you all really want to, of course) and wonder why a substantial proportion of the population, who like me would have perhaps more open minds towards the points you mention, still feels excluded.

    Or alternatively you can keep playing the traditional “Ach sure, why bother, they’re just a bunch of hun bigots” card, which is admitedly a lot simpler.

  • oneill,

    You are a unionist – not the aggregate, not (I suppose) even very representative. It requires unionism, not an anonymous blogger, to visibly move.

    You know very well that your …

    1. Celebrating St Patrick’s Day; fine
    2. Watching or participating in GAA sports; fine.
    3. The promotion of the Irish language; fine.

    … is entirely unrepresentative.

    Mary McAleese, chief representative of the Irish nation, went to a service in St Patrick’s Cathedral on Sunday. Now it is unionism’s turn – lets see Peter Robinson at Mass on Easter Sunday ‘commemorating’ those who actually did try to free a small nation, instead of merely using that as an excuse. Laughably unlikely? That is precisely my point.

  • kensei

    oneill

    1. Celebrating St Patrick’s Day; fine

    Unless there’s — like everywhere else on the planet – a Tricolour about the place. You are using your Irishness to block mine.

    But no, not fine. How about sending a representative down to the 1916 celebrations in Dublin? Or perhaps supporting nationalist councillors in Belfast for something to mark it there? Casement after all was a Protestant raised in Ulster.

    Bit more uncomfortable? Can’t quite pin anything particularly ugly on the suggestion but it kind of runs against all your political beliefs? Getting there yet?

  • Horseman

    You know very well that your …

    1. Celebrating St Patrick’s Day; fine
    2. Watching or participating in GAA sports; fine.
    3. The promotion of the Irish language; fine.

    … is entirely unrepresentative.

    You’ve done some of your famous research to reach that firm conclusion?

    Remember, although 55 plus percent regularly in surveys state they wish the Union to continue, only 35% of the total electorate vote Unionist. You base all your assumptions on what their political representatives say, yes or no?

  • kensei

    oneill

    Remember, although 55 plus percent regularly in surveys state they wish the Union to continue, only 35% of the total electorate vote Unionist. You base all your assumptions on what their political representatives say, yes or no?

    Policies and governance are made by those that turn up. As and until they decide to shift the balance of power here, then you have to deal with the representatives you got.

    Aside from that — what’s that got to do with the point being made?

  • oneill,

    … although 55 plus percent regularly in surveys state they wish the Union to continue, only 35% of the total electorate vote Unionist.

    But around 50% of the voters vote unionist, so its not so divergent.

    There are of course Protestants who speak Irish (me, for example), or play GAA (not me!). But whether they are unionists, no-one can say.

    The only way to judge what unionists think is to look at the actions, and listen to the words, of unionists (not Protestants, that’s another thing). Can you think of another way?

  • Unless there’s—like everywhere else on the planet – a Tricolour about the place. You are using your Irishness to block mine.

    There’s nowhere else on the planet that the tricolour is waved as a divisive and sectarian symbol. I’m looking for an accomodation of our different forms of Irishness on one of the very few days of shared celebration.

    But no, not fine. How about sending a representative down to the 1916 celebrations in Dublin? Or perhaps supporting nationalist councillors in Belfast for something to mark it there? Casement after all was a Protestant raised in Ulster.

    When 2016 comes around I’m going to lay a long-term bet that the present British monarch, the British PM and “Unionist” reps will all be in attendance at any Dublin celebrations. It’s not really a commemoration I obviously feel a close affinity with, but I wouldn’t go specifically out of my way to be offended by it either.

    Bit more uncomfortable? Can’t quite pin anything particularly ugly on the suggestion but it kind of runs against all your political beliefs? Getting there yet?

    There is nothing in my political beliefs which stops me from acknowledging and expressing my Irish identity.
    But I was looking at certain cultural expressions of Irishness which I think could be made more open to a wider section of NI society, if the will was there.

    Aside from that—what’s that got to do with the point being made?

    That it’s not possible to generalise about “Unionism”‘s attitudes as Horseman has done here. A fair few people who wish the Union to continue don’t vote, yet they are all assumed to have the same views on, say, homosexuality as Iris Robinson.

  • But around 50% of the voters vote unionist, so its not so divergent.

    50% of those who vote, not 50% of the total potential electorate: (http://www.ark.ac.uk/elections/)

    That 55% figure I was talking about is contained in this survey:
    http://www.ark.ac.uk/nilt/2006/Political_Attitudes/NIRELAND.html

    The only way to judge what unionists think is to look at the actions, and listen to the words, of unionists (not Protestants, that’s another thing). Can you think of another way?

    Although it suits both SF and the DUP to constantly talk about a monolithic Unionist “community”, with one set of easily definable values, this “community” nor their monolithic doesn’t actually exist. If you vote DUP, I guess you’re agreeing to their policies on the Irish language etc. But the views of everyone else who, for whatever reason wishes the Union to continue? I’ve no idea, but to start actually asking and investigating would seem to be a better way to approach it rather than just assuming that Iris Robinson is the sole voice of 800,000 plus.

  • cynic

    Horseman.

    You tell us that the Irish President went to a service of rememberance in Dublin on Sunday(Good for her) You then suggest that “the angry one” could attend an Easter Rising ceremony. Surely you are not equating that little spot of bother in Dublin with the Second World war?

  • runciter

    Mick, I don’t use many words because I prefer logic to loquaciousness.

    The main point is this:

    Expecting Irish nationalists to celebrate the heroism of the British armed forces is absurd.

    Misdirection, bluster, threats, hand-waving – none of these things are capable of changing this basic fact.

    I don’t see many people demanding that unionists should wear Easter lillies. But then, Irish republicans don’t have access to the propaganda resources of the British government.

  • HeadTheBall

    I am an Ulster Dissenter with no idea whether I am a descendant of Scots/English planters or of Catholic Irish who at some stage turned their coats to hang on to some farm midden. I don’t know and I could care less. I am as Irish as anyone on here.

    I would like to see my people, Unionists and all, securely and contentedly settled in a UI. (Unfortunately the PIRA have queered that pitch for a generation or three.)

    I am no Unionist but neither am I a sentimental Nationalist.

    To me the dirty protests were an embarrassment, the hunger strikes plain creepy and Easter 1916 a tragi-comedy and I have no time for the self-absorbed narcissism of militant Nationalism. I do not, however, go into attack mode every time that I hear mention of the Lazy-K Weight Watchers, for example. That is somebody else’s tragedy and I respectfully hold my tongue.

    I could ask you to do the like for me. First of all, for me it’s personal – my family lost men in both World Wars. Secondly many a patriotic Irishman lost his life in WWI and was clear enough about what he was fighting against – Prussian militarism. Francis Ledwidge, founder and commander of the Louth Irish Volunteers, when asked why he enlisted in the British Army, said, if I quote him correctly, “I would not have it said that they [the Brits] defended us [the Irish] while we merely passed resolutions”. He knew what was at stake.

    When I was a young man I frequently demonstrated against the US war in Vietnam, mostly in Grosvenor Square. Nowadays, here in Australia, when I see our Vietnam vets march past on Anzac Day, I applaud with everyone else. Why the change of heart? Nowadays I am more inclined to see them simply as young men who did their duty as they saw it at the time. Two lessons. We must honour the courage and sacrifice of those who took up arms in defence of freedom, their country, and so on but be aware also how easily such idealism can be exploited (vide Iraq today).

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Surely you are not equating that little spot of bother in Dublin with the Second World war?’

    So parity of esteem is based solely on equivalent death tolls?

    I thought part of Remembrance Sunday was about remembering the sacrifice many made in the name of freedom. Easter comemorations celebrate the sacrifice people made in the name of freedom too. Thanks for demonstrating perfectly unionisms mindset. Freedom is a good thing, so long as it isn’t the british responsible for the lack of it.

    Parity of esteem?

  • kensei

    oneill

    There’s nowhere else on the planet that the tricolour is waved as a divisive and sectarian symbol. I’m looking for an accomodation of our different forms of Irishness on one of the very few days of shared celebration.

    I’m not going even delve into the hypocrisy of the “sectarian symbol” line — I’d love, love to hear your opinion on the Union Jack. It is my flag and I will not have it hijacked, nor will I have it denigrated by you, either. Is there a UNionist that can actually bear the sight of a Tricolour? Yet to meet them — all up when even the reasonable blogging bit parrots loyalist lines.

    Second, I do not give two stuffs what you do on St Patrick’s. Being a simple man, I want to celebrate my Irishness. I am not particularly interested in diversity or whatever on this day. Happy to express my bit, which conveniently tallies with what most of the rest of the planet is doing. If you want to go do something else, or have representation, then good luck to you and knock yourself out but if you want to hold hands and tree hug, pick another day. I do not want to use your Irishness as a weapon against mine.

    When 2016 comes around I’m going to lay a long-term bet that the present British monarch, the British PM and “Unionist” reps will all be in attendance at any Dublin celebrations. It’s not really a commemoration I obviously feel a close affinity with, but I wouldn’t go specifically out of my way to be offended by it either.

    We remember it every year. Like you do your dead. I somehow doubt something to mark it would get through Belfast City Council.

    I’d be tempted to take that bet, but the timescale is much too far to make that call. I’d rate it as unlikely though as gfar as UNionism goes.

    There is nothing in my political beliefs which stops me from acknowledging and expressing my Irish identity.
    But I was looking at certain cultural expressions of Irishness which I think could be made more open to a wider section of NI society, if the will was there.

    But you are not a Republican. You do not have a “particularly close affinity” to a 1916 commemoration. Would you buy an Easter Lily? Think a Unionist Mayor of Belfast should be laying wreaths on the day? No? Fair enough. But then why are you asking me to join in with things that have no affinity with? Essentially unoffended. Can certainly understand the impulse, and sympathise with the motive. But I have no particular desire to join in. Runs completely against my political core.

    That it’s not possible to generalise about “Unionism“‘s attitudes as Horseman has done here. A fair few people who wish the Union to continue don’t vote, yet they are all assumed to have the same views on, say, homosexuality as Iris Robinson.

    And as long as they don’t vote, and Iris Robinson’s supporters do, then that’s where you are pegged. The world is run by people that turn up.

  • oneill

    It is my flag and I will not have it hijacked, nor will I have it denigrated by you, either

    The tricolour as you’ve implied there has been “hijacked”, that hijacking wasn’t carried out by Unionists or loyalists. In Northern Ireland, it is used a sectarian and divisive symbol and the fact that you’ve resorted to whataboutery implies that you acknowledge that fact. Wrapping it around yourself on St Pat’s day will help you claim it back from the bigots?

    Second, I do not give two stuffs what you do on St Patrick’s.

    Fine. What I wrote earlier:

    The onus is now on you and other nationalists, GAA fans, Irish language enthusiasts to take the next step (but only if you all really want to, of course) and wonder why a substantial proportion of the population, who like me would have perhaps more open minds towards the points you mention, still feels excluded.

    But “if you don’t really want to”, then drop all the hypocritical pretense of following in the footsteps in the footsteps of Wolfe-Tone et al. A flag (or language) does not make a nation, people do and you obviously put a higher importance on the symbols (as you define them) of the Irish “Nation”, than actually considering why a proportion of people, whom you presumably believe also belong to that nation, feel excluded from expressing their Irish identity.

    And as long as they don’t vote, and Iris Robinson’s supporters do, then that’s where you are pegged

    Ah right, back to that old chestnut of “collective responsibility”. If I wanted a Dupe to represent me, then I’d vote for one. I don’t because I don’s share their attitudes on almost everything; the fact that a % of the Unionist “Community” does vote for them gives Horseman etc the right to tar us then with all the same brush?

  • kensei

    oneill

    The tricolour as you’ve implied there has been “hijacked”, that hijacking wasn’t carried out by Unionists or loyalists. In Northern Ireland, it is used a sectarian and divisive symbol and the fact that you’ve resorted to whataboutery implies that you acknowledge that fact. Wrapping it around yourself on St Pat’s day will help you claim it back from the bigots?

    The surest fire way to have something hijacked is to abandon it, isn’t it. It’s my flag all year round too, oneill.

    And yes, whataboutery. But mostly what about how ridiculous what you are saying is. That means anyone can take any symboland abuse it, and lo, everyone else has to stop using it. It’s just a shame no one has ever done that with the Union Jack, isn’t it?

    Oh, right. Now either condemn it’s display anywhere in NI, or reveal yourself as a bigot. I don’t mind which.

    The onus is now on you and other nationalists, GAA fans, Irish language enthusiasts to take the next step (but only if you all really want to, of course) and wonder why a substantial proportion of the population, who like me would have perhaps more open minds towards the points you mention, still feels excluded.

    We do not have to share everything. I hate this mindless mentality that states we have somehow to be all the same and if we have anything to ourselves we are somehow being backward or sectarian or whatever else. It’s okay to be different and separate sometimes. Life would be crap if everyone else is the same.

    But “if you don’t really want to”, then drop all the hypocritical pretense of following in the footsteps in the footsteps of Wolfe-Tone et al. A flag (or language) does not make a nation, people do and you obviously put a higher importance on the symbols (as you define them) of the Irish “Nation”, than actually considering why a proportion of people, whom you presumably believe also belong to that nation, feel excluded from expressing their Irish identity.

    Symbols and culture are important things in binding a nation together. I want a United Ireland, but not at any cost. I am sorry you feel excluded from any part of your identity, but you cannot use your Irishness as a weapon against mine. The vast majority of Irishmen are Republicans. I wish all were, and will do my best to convince them on the merits, and I’ll certainly listen and support changes where I deem they have a good case. If I can’t, I’ll respect their differences. What I will not do, is jump when they say jump because the might, possibly, deign to grant a United Ireland with its heart ripped out.

    Ah right, back to that old chestnut of “collective responsibility”. If I wanted a Dupe to represent me, then I’d vote for one. I don’t because I don’s share their attitudes on almost everything; the fact that a % of the Unionist “Community” does vote for them gives Horseman etc the right to tar us then with all the same brush?

    I didn’t say it was fair; I didn’t even say you were responsible. I just said that is where you are pegged. But if there are all these people that secretly want different policy, just hiding behind trees and under beds then they do bear responsibility. Because it is their inaction that prevents the change they want. They have no one else to blame but themselves. Sorry, take a hard line on this one.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘The tricolour as you’ve implied there has been “hijacked”, that hijacking wasn’t carried out by Unionists or loyalists. In Northern Ireland, it is used a sectarian and divisive symbol and the fact that you’ve resorted to whataboutery implies that you acknowledge that fact. Wrapping it around yourself on St Pat’s day will help you claim it back from the bigots?’

    The tricolour hasn’t been hijacked. It has been appropriated by various republican groupings all right. However one accusation which cannot be levelled at the tricolour, which can be laid squarley with the union jack – is that it was used by official governments and state agencies to murder and terrorize. The govt of the south of Ireland has never engaged in the terrorizm of a people under the banner of the tricolour. (Don’t try the old ‘i thought the IRA was the govt line). Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the union jack. Not only has it been appropriated by various unionist groupings but it was also the flag of ACTUAL governmental state agengies which carried out murder. When anyone seeks to criticise the tricolour they are thus levelling even more criticism and condemnation at the union jack. Because of the activities of british crown forces in Ireland (through centuries) under the banner of the union jack, coupled with the activities of the various unionist groupings under the same banner means nationalists and republicans have justifiably more right to criticise the flying of the butchers apron than you may have for the flying of the tricolour.

  • eranu

    latcheeco / ken, i was surprised that hartley wouldnt attend. unless im mistaken hes the one who does the tours of a cemetery in belfast and is into his history etc. i would have thought he would recognise the importance of the irish deaths in the 1st/2nd world wars. its not paying homage to the british army as an organisation and its not something for british people only, its paying respect to all the soldiers from all over ireland that died. if the republics president can lay a wreath then nationalists should be looking to that softening of bitterness as an example surely?
    is it that nationalists in northern ireland just dont have any other way of thinking than to be bitterly anti anything even remotely related to the UK? being more bitter is being more/better nationalist? that somehow they would lose something if they dropped there anti stance?

  • kensei

    eranu

    Official British events cannot be separated from support for British institutions. There is no circumstance where Hartley would have attended the official services. They are also deeply entwined with support for British Armed forces. Whether Irish men joined the British Army is irrelevant. They fought for another country, not Ireland. It is just about impossible for Republicans in the North to follow through on that.

    Still, I am surprised Hartley didn’t do something. I am unsure as to why. It is possible it could have been a reminder to the DUP that things can be wheeled back a bit but I doubt it; they wouldn’t care. I would guess it might be to do with the difficulties caused by the RIR parade and pressure from its right. But that’s just a blind guess. Maybe it was simply viewed as lower priority than whatever else it is they are doing.

  • ggn

    oneill,

    Have a read …

    http://andrumamor.nireblog.com/post/2008/11/12/baile-meanach-gael-ar-bith-faoin-ait

    I think we can all accept that people of Gaelic origin have no place in Northern Ireland and can only be expected to vote for its ending? No?

  • eranu

    ken, well i can only hope that attitudes in the north soften in the future. they are/have in the south. northeners will find themselves even further out of step with the south if they cant change.
    time for some work.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi All,

    As a Unionist/Loyalist who also considers himself to be very much Irish I tend to agree generally with what Kensei argues – that our symbols, associations, etc should not become one bland, homogenous one.

    I like our cultures. It’s what makes us different. If the OO was to open it’s doors to everyone it would whither. In the same way if the GAA became purely a sporting organisation no one would play it and it would also die. We just need to respect our differences.

    On the poppy issue. I wear a poppy. But, it’s not with pride. I wear mine with pity. Pity for the poor b*stards that ended up fighting a war that many of them would never have understood. I also wear it with a certain amount of “thank f*ck it wasn’t me”. I often think about whether I would’ve went over the top – especially with the knowledge that a lot of the officers had no idea what they were doing. Charging a machine gun would not be something I’d be into.

  • Congal Claen

    … if the GAA became purely a sporting organisation no one would play it

    I think you’re quite wrong there. Most players play for love of the game; ditto most supporters. Do you think that people play gaelic football just to wind up unionists?

    … Pity for the poor b*stards that ended up fighting a war that many of them would never have understood. …

    I think everyone agrees with that. But the poppy thing has become part of NI’s culture wars (helped, it must be said, by unionists). Also, in purely practical terms, it is sold to raise funds for a particular charity, and that charity helps some of the people esponsible for inflicting great harm on nationalist communities, and killing people. So while one can remember the WW1 cannon-fodder with sadness, one can also refuse to contribute to a charity that aids, e.g. retired paras who may have killed people in Derry. Separate the ‘act of remembrance’ from the British Empire overtones it has – by openly commemorating the Germans, Italians and Turks as well – and make 11 November an inclusive day, not what it is now.

  • That means anyone can take any symboland abuse it, and lo, everyone else has to stop using it. It’s just a shame no one has ever done that with the Union Jack, isn’t it?

    No, think a bit more about the context in which you’re using it- the NF and the BNP hijacked the Union flag in the 1970s and 1980s, people proud of both what it stands for and the UK’s multi-culturalism (eg Billy Bragg) fought back and have tried to reclaim it from the fascists. That fight wouldn’t have helped by, for example, deciding it to parade it round the Notting Hill carnival. If I say that the Union flag should be shoveded in peoples’ faces whatever the context, then I am indeed as you imply a bigot. But I don’t.

    Whether you want to admit the fact or not, your flag has been hijacked by both sectarian bigots and the various republican terrorist gangs. The first stage is admitting that you can understand why many non-nationalists have a problem because of that association. I don’t think you got there yet.

  • kensei

    oneill

    I fully understand your problems. Get over it. I’m not shoving anything in anyone’s face. If you don’t want to look at it, don’t do so. I am going to display it, because I am proud of it. I see no problem with a Union Jack at the Notting Hill carnival if someone wishes to display it. That is wet liberal nonsense. Ooh, I’m coming over all right wing.

    And the BNP isn’t particularly active here. Loyalist paramilitaries are, unlike anywhere else, and they use that flag constantly. Along with the Stormont Banner. Therefore you should drop both as a hate flags, oneill.

    C’mon, do no but no but. Go on, I dare ya.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Horseman,

    “I think you’re quite wrong there. Most players play for love of the game; ditto most supporters. Do you think that people play gaelic football just to wind up unionists?”

    I’m afraid I disagree. I do think that some people are attracted to the GAA because of other cultural aspects other than just sport. In the same way, flute bands tend to attract a lot of young men who would have little to no interest in marching bands if they lived anywhere else. However, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. It’s the way we are.

    As regards the cultural wars, I can understand your point of view. The poppy has been taken over by one side which devalues it. The same could be said for Irish Gaelic. When I said I pitied the poor b*stards I never mentioned any nationality. So personally, I don’t think of it as being just for “our” side.