Can anyone explain this to me

Apologies for another thread on the Tories, but the world appears to have gone mad and I’m the only one that has noticed. I was going to go through the highlights of Cameron’s very Unionist friendly speech, but a neater and quicker way is the word cloud created from it below the fold. If this is about values and reaching out, where is the evidence?

created at TagCrowd.com

What am I missing here? I genuinely don’t get it.

  • Mick Fealty

    Good man Ken. I wish you luck in your quest. The numbers by the words are a useful addition too.

  • Mark McGregor

    Kensei,

    Cheers. I don’t know how to do that. Is there any way to remove generic terms that are dominating the list to see the buzz words beneath?

    If we take out Ulster, Unionist, Conservative and Party it seems the cloud is dominated by:

    Union, together, people, democracy, future, united, work, today, force and shared.

    Very much words that lean towards the collective. Pretty much what he shoud have been aiming for.

  • Mark McGregor

    Sorry, of course I you’d also need to ignore ‘Northern’ ‘Ireland’.

    I do that instinctively ;0)

  • Chris Donnelly

    Kensei

    Simple answer is that Cameron’s speech and the UUP link-up wasn’t and isn’t remotely about reaching out beyond the protestant/ unionist community.

    Sure, there may be a few spin doctors, reporters/bloggers and supporters caught up in the moment and willing to buy any line being thrown, but their numbers only appear great because Slugger can often be like looking at a goldfish bowl through a magnifying glass.

    Cameron’s pitch has much more to do with Scotland than this part of Ireland; in the UUP, he’s simply found a party on the wane and (he hopes) willing to provide him with a bit of UK-wide credo without any real cost- beyond the odd embarassment when a UUP elected representative acts in a manner which, outside of the six counties, would be deemed unacceptably sectarian (speaking of which, do the Tories endorse a non-decommissioned Belfast High Sheriff? And what did they think of Limavady UUP reps refusing to award the freedom of the borough to a protestant clergyman forced to flee the town due to loyalists objecting to his Christmas gesture of goodwill some years ago? Cameron may hope Labour and, more importantly, the SNP don’t get wind of a weak point in the new UK wide Tory Party….)

    The speech was an attempt to out muscle the DUP and claim back the ‘real unionist’ mantle for the party which the DUP narrative had characterised as being over-run by Sinn Fein in the Trimble era- the ‘no selfish interest’ reference, the ‘British army’ quips- were about attempting to out-Brit the DUPers.

    Throw-away references to catholics being welcome are no more nor less worthy than similar pleas from political representatives of the other main parties here from time to time.

  • Dewi

    Lol – perhaps CAMERON and IDIOT should be there..

  • dub

    Kensei,

    believe me, you are not the only one to have noticed! Also i do not think that Mick Fealty is the world….

  • Mick Fealty

    Agreed dub!

  • Kensei

    Mark

    I did it via tagcrowd – http://tagcrowd.com/

    There are options for frequency and exclusion there. But I think it is significant that the speech is so dominated by Northern Ireland, United Kingdom and Unionist, and the rest strike me as meaningless bumf – perhaps lightweight http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2008/dec/03/obama-cameron-lightweight ? – and if he was serious about reaching out he’d have talked more on policy – tax and education should have been up there, and he should have talked on cultural issues that might appeal to Catholics – perhaps GAA should have been in there. He should have been talking about investment and infrastructure the new party would be putting down, and the word “change” should also have been quite big.

    Simply put, if he’s getting a rapturous response from the UUP, then he is doing it wrong. Mick is talking a lot about challenging ingrained positions and leading into new places, but apparently he couldn’t even manage it with that group.

  • Nomad

    Kensei,

    He should have been talking about investment and infrastructure the new party would be putting down, and the word “change” should also have been quite big.

    My humble take on this is that you are looking at it a little bass ackwards. A political party doesn’t “invest” or put down infrastructure. What they have attempted is to make United Kingdom politics relevant to Northern Ireland, which all too often it isn’t.

    (I in no way expect you to be excited about this as an Irish republican- but I do think you should understand why it is a larger than usual point of interest. Related to Micks other thread last night, I think the point is that this will help us create the situation where a vote for a unionist or nationalist party does not equate with a vote for the union or Irish unity. It’s maybe a new way of thinking for me. Unrealistic? Maybe now.)

    To get back to the part I have quoted you saying- if, and sure it’s a big IF, this leads to an Irish man or woman from Northern Ireland (voted in by Irish people) implementing infrastructure and investment in Northern Ireland and Scotland etc from a cabinet position, then that is a huge change. And The Consevatives have restated this possibility. The Conservative party in England is also not known for being overtly sectarian, so perhaps if they import a little of this to our six counties we benefit here too.

    The Assembly, as many, including myself have been quick to point out before has limited powers (I remember many comparing it to a glorified town hall), so whether the DUP and others recognise it or not- the real power still ebbs and flows from Westminster until a new political reality is created. Northern Ireland is constituionally flawed in my opinion. This is one solution. I welcome alternatives. The pity is, the alternatives are not coming very quickly.

  • Nomad

    Ken,

    Apologies if I seem to apply the wrong context- I understand you wanted DaveCam to talk more about what he would do to help Northern Ireland in terms of investment. To reiterate, the difference now is that perhaps Northern Ireland people can be more empowered than they currently are to influence British politics, whether you think of them as foreign or not. We should be able to do a lot more for ourselves, without relying on parties which we didn’t vote in.

  • Mark McGregor

    Kensei,

    To me, the thing that is hard to deny is, out of the few people there – the woman from West Belfast was open to his message on fixing families. Not because she was an instinctive Tory or UUP voter (unlike that silly young UUP, new token taig, contrarian) but because she thought that was work that needs done and hasn’t been.

    I doubt the UUP/Conseratives will get far but broken society and seeming to care about it is an easy ‘cloud tag’.

  • William

    Those of us within the UUP who value the link up [merely going back to what was the position prior to mid 80s] wonder if it is so wrong, unimportant etc etc….why all of the naysayers are so active on this blog site, whingeing and putting forward scenarios so far divorced from reality to be laughable.

    Furthermore Chris Donnelly has obviously been reading Eric Waugh in tonight’s Belfast Telegraph [Tuesday] when he regurgitates this garbage:

    ‘And what did they think of Limavady UUP reps refusing to award the freedom of the borough to a protestant clergyman forced to flee the town due to loyalists objecting to his Christmas gesture of goodwill some years ago?’

    The Unionist Councillors on Limavady Council did no such thing…they voted not to create a precedent [as advised by the previous Town Clerk / Chief Executive] by giving the Freedom of the Borough to a priest and a clergyman for something they did 25 years previously and on the whim of John Dallat MLA through his gofer Michael Coyle. What had both men done for Limavady? Preciously nothing….in fact Rev Armstrong was criticising the town a month before, on something Dallat had brought up about no Gaelic pitches at the local Grammar School while there are 2 such pitches within 300 yards and another 2 within 1/2 a mile. Both the Rev and the priest were both only in the town for a very short time. So Chris don’t believe all you read in the MSM…much of it lies and distortions, much like your blogs.

  • Nomad

    And then people make posts which make me question what I just wrote if those associated with the UUP simply see it as restoring a pre-80’s position.

    One thing I do agree with, the word ‘change’ should have been bigger, and most definately needs to be demonstrated coninuously in future.

  • edward

    I think what has people exercised is Fealty’s original attempt to spin this as some kind of catholic outreach when it is clearly a slap in the face to the majority of the catholic population

    Mick excluded of course as his unionist leanings are well known

  • Dave

    If the Tories can succeed in ‘de-sectarianizing’ (to coin a word, probably) the UUP brand among a growing segment of the catholic population who accept the improved status quo and recognise that there is no political dynamic in play to lead to a united Ireland (because it has been skilfully taken out of play by the mandarins), then he they will help in a process of integrating them into the UK by engaging when more fully with a unionist party that promotes British national interests and British nationalism than they might otherwise be inclined to do.

    After all, only the slow learners wouldn’t have observed that such a ‘reverse’ policy of engagement with members of the other tribe to serve unionist strategic interests was signalled by many for years (Mick Fealty, for example, mentioned it many times). Nationalists seemed to assume that it was only they who should engage with the other tribe to promote Irish unity (a task they failed to do because their political leadership has been nobbled). Now they face a very real prospect of having their core vote switch its allegiance to the unionist side (for voting for them will transfer power from the nationalists side of the consociationlist arrangement to increase the size/power of those designated as unionist). If they can be attracted at first by stealth (i.e by voting for policies rather than on the parked question), then over time their engagement will become more substantial and their newfound allegiance more definitive and enduring).

    None of that, I suspect, is of particular interest to Dave Cameron. But it is of profound interest to those who want to retain the union by reducing the numbers of those who vote for parties that oppose it.

  • kensei

    Nomad

    Nope. How are the Conservatives going to invest in the UUP? Are they they going to spring not just for elections, but for decent polling data? Will they splash out on putting constituency offices in heavily Nationalist areas, even though they’ll likely not show any short term reward? Will he pay for a policy unit to work on coming up with answers to local issues (and indeed, feed back into the wider party). That strikes me as a serious test of commitment.

    Mark

    One person is basically anecdotal evidence, and I remain sceptical that

    1. The message will carry when its UUPers proclaiming it rather than Cameron
    2. People will be receptive to listen after its preceded by a long stint on Unionist hobby horses
    3. That sort of message will have a wider appeal, particularly when we see the types of solutions the Tories will try to apply.And as I said in the other thread, it’s a very problem focused narrative, and potentially beaten by a solution based one.

    But perhaps I am merely showing my own biases.

  • frustrated democrat

    ‘it is clearly a slap in the face to the majority of the catholic population’

    Nonsense – republicans/nationalists may wrongly consider it to be a slap in the face, but it is not to catholics of whom it appears a substantial number may not be republicans/nationalists.

    It seems the DUP and other parties fall into this confusion quite often, maybe since to consider any other situation does not help their cause and is in fact detrimental to it.

  • Dave

    “I think what has people exercised is Fealty’s original attempt to spin this as some kind of catholic outreach when it is clearly a slap in the face to the majority of the catholic population” – edward

    There is a de facto admission in many nationalist reactions to this of disbelief to this development that reveal how absurd they should have regarded their own project of outreach of Irish nationalists to British nationalists by proffering militant nationalists such as the Shinners as their ‘outreachers’ of choice.

    Anyway, if Irish nationalists can’t believe that Catholics would vote for a party of British nationalists because of conflicting national identity and the constitutional question, then why did they believe that Protestants and British nationalists would disregard their own concerns about conflicting national identity and settle the constitutional issue in their favour? Because they believed the Republican propaganda which informed them that inside of every British nationalist there is an Irish nationalists waiting to get out?

    The Unionists have the advantage of being the party of the status quo. Don’t underestimate that among fundamentally conservative people. It isn’t just the unionists you need to ‘turn’ but also a large (but unquantified) segment of those whose support you have taken for granted.

  • Mick Fealty

    Dave,

    I don’t often agree with you. But I cannot disagree with too much of that.

    All:

    You either see value in ‘outreach’ or you don’t. For the record, I have tried to come at this issue both ways. In one of my early pieces on Comment is Free (on the big Easter celebrations 2006):

    “For now, simply celebrating the national myth for the first time in forty years is probably an important step forward for the Republic. As Eoin Ryan suggests (subscription needed): “It is a sign that we are finally throwing off our burden of doubt about our worthiness as a nation; a nation worthy of celebrating its independence. Time will tell if the state can broaden its appeal enough to attract back Ireland’s original republicans.”

    http://url.ie/ze9

  • Billy

    Kensei

    A very good piece and you are certainly not the only person who doesn’t “get it”.

    Chris Donnelly is correct is that this strategy by Cameron is much more related to the Scottish position than the North of Ireland.

    As Roy Garland pointed out, Cameron made a good job of telling his audience what they wanted to hear.

    This nonsense about his selfish and strategic interest is meaningless drivel – Brook was referring to vital British interests and that hasn’t changed. The vast majority of people in the UK don’t understand NI and don’t give a toss about it.

    The GFA established (rightly) the principle of consent – nothing Cameron said changes that.

    The wheeling on of a “castle Catholic” from the Young Unionists isn’t a new trick either – we’ve had the odd “castle Catholic” put in positions of authority in the UUP before – it changes nothing and fools no-one.

    The obvious tactic for the SDLP + SF (hopefully one they will employ) is to ensure that every sectarian incident involving the UUP (Limavady, “Loyalist” paramilitary links, OO parades etc) is highlighted and Cameron’s links to the UUP with them.

    I don’t think that he will be best pleased if his (largely successful) efforts to make the Conservatives a more inclusive secular party in GB are undermined by the embarassing blatently sectarian behaviour of UUP members and supporters.

    He will soon put plenty of distance between himself and the UUP when that happens (given UUP history, we probably won’t have to wait too long).

    This speech may draw back some UUP supporters who switched to the DUP and/or even some of those mythical “garden centre” Unionists. At worst, it won’t make any difference to Nationalists, at best it will split the Unionist vote in some key areas.

    I really don’t see what Cameron has to gain from this nonsense. I guess it made the UUP feel “relevant” again. I can’t quite see how they will get a Cabinet position – they may have Sylvia Hermon as an MP after the next election but that will be about it and she doesn’t seem at all keen on taking the Tory whip.

    In terms of gaining Catholic votes, he was wasting his time. There’s far too much history with the UUP of discrimination, bigotry, OO etc. One has only to look at some the recent incidents that Chris Donnelly mentioned to see that, under the surface, the UUP is still the same.

    Mentioning the RIR, Neave, Gow etc may have endeared him to his Unionist audience. While their killings were evil and must be unreservedly condemned, it is only truthful to point out that they weren’t exactly sympathetic to Catholics in NI or too concerned about them being treated fairly and equitably.

    Holding them up as heroes and role models is hardly going to endear him to even moderate Nationalists.

    I seriously doubt this will make any difference to the overwhelming number of Nationalists/Catholics. If someone was a “castle Catholic” before, it makes no difference to them. I doubt that going on and on about the Union, RIR, Neave, Gow, Harland and Wolff (hardly a bastion of fairness to Catholics!) is really going to win Catholic hearts and minds.

    As for that sickening waffle about the Glens of Antrim, the less said the better!.

    At the end of the day, it will either make no difference to Nationalists or benefit them by splitting the vote.

    As for Unionism, at best it will make no difference or at worst split their vote even further. Hardly a case for Unionist celebration.

    The plain fact is that the North never has been and never will be “an integral part of the UK” or “as British as Finchly”. It has always and will always be treated differently.

    Those Unionists who are proclaiming a new era of Unionism where NI will be at the heart of the UK are, frankly, laughable.

    Margaret Thatcher proclaimed herself a proud “Unionist and Loylaist” and we all know what she did.

    Cameron is in a much weaker position than she was so why do the UUP think he’ll deliver anything more than well chosen words?

    I guess they’re hearing what they want to hear.

    It’s very rare that I agree with the DUP but their reading of this nonsense is pretty accurate.

  • edward

    I am neither Irish nor Catholic so I may well be off base here but I have seen virtually no evidence of a positive interaction between either catholics or nationalists and the british army thugs, so tell me how I misjudged Camerons allusion to the stellar work of the british army thugs? It is a straight fist to the face of catholics/nationalists telling bald face lies about the sectarian nature of british army thugs serving in nIreland.

    Castle catholics like Fealty may believe this crap but no one who values freedom or respect can accept Cameron’s statement as anything but support for apartheid nIreland style

  • There are some wider questions, if the Tories are truly a secular party, will they disestablish the Church of England and change the law of succession.

  • kensei

    Dave

    Anyway, if Irish nationalists can’t believe that Catholics would vote for a party of British nationalists because of conflicting national identity and the constitutional question, then why did they believe that Protestants and British nationalists would disregard their own concerns about conflicting national identity and settle the constitutional issue in their favour? Because they believed the Republican propaganda which informed them that inside of every British nationalist there is an Irish nationalists waiting to get out?

    With respect Dave, I think you’ve missed the point. I don’t disbelieve that this kind of outreach is possible, I just don’t believe that the Conservatives have actually done anything that could fall into that category. His speech more or less pandered to Unionists, and there is little evidence of anything coming out of the weekend that’d make you sit up and take notice.

    If we are meant to be excited simply by their arrival and vague promises of non sectarian politics, then it really is a poor day indeed.

  • Buster

    Can anyone explain this to me….

    I’ll try; knowing full well that it’s a pointless exercise.

    To paraphrase from Mark’s observation, the tag cloud would seem to highlight the following: Union, together, people, democracy, future, united, work, today, force and shared.

    Removing “Union”, the remaining words would seem to speak for themselves as far as they can being presented in such a decontextualised form.

    Union, Unionism: a belief in the continued political, social and cultural union between the countries of the United Kingdom. A belief that does not negate or diminish the national identities of the constituent countries, but instead seeks to include, promote and regard diversity as a positive contribution to the whole.

    1. The GFA enshrines the principle of consent as the constitutional basis of the government of Northern Ireland.

    2. Cameron has shown no sympathy for the polarised so called “traditional” hue of Unionism in Northern Ireland and furthermore has stressed his position on the validity of the nationalist position and upholding political secularism.

    And heres the shocker (to some)-the above chimes with a significant number of people of whatever religous or political background here,who have always agreed and instinctively held the same fundamental democratic views and don’t see the Union,its political expression or differing viewpoints democratically expressed within its institutions as a threat.

    The Tories have provided, whatever their long term stategy, an opportunity for likeminded people here to engage in “normal” politics which cannot, through glasses of whatever tint, be regarded as a bad thing.

    The failure to recognise this position, or to pithily put it down in the usual familiar cynical fashion, is merely sypmtomatic of the sectarian, bigoted, binary end game politics that has held sway here for far too long.

    Party manifesto’s tend to distill political viewpoints, presenting the electorate with clumsy choices, and in this neck of the woods that tends to mean partisan choices. It would appear that this may be regarded by some as an opportunity to step outside NI’s defined ring of political discourse-of which most would probably admit to being heartily sick of.

    So, what it means, maybe, perhaps, is a better more inclusive, less mythically riven way of political expression…..which of course won’t make a jot of difference to those who can’t see past the packaging.

  • Brian Walker

    kensei
    It’s a pleasure to say I think you have an excellent point. I acknowledge a similar point in my own (no doubt) long forgotten post on Cameron. Why are some unionists so excited by the Cameron demarche? You have to remember that for 30 years, unionists have felt that they tables have been turned on them ; that they became the forgotten, disenfranchised people with all the attention lavished on nationalists (e.g. John Reid’s ” cold home”). This was in my view a wild exaggeration view but its force is undeniable. Fresh recognition by a UK national party gives them a boost of confidence again. You can see this vividly in the posts.

    However, that’s by far the lesser point. The big issue is this. For 50 years, unionism chose to sideline nationalism ( and nationalists were pretty exclusivist too but didn’t call most shots). The refusal to evolve NI as a pluralist polity, having won the border, was the fatal flaw and we reaped the bitter harvest. A rebranded unionism which choses to occupy the same narrow ground runs the risk of repeating the same fatal error. It can contribute by offering a broader context of modern pluralism which is the characteristic of the battery of laws brought in by the GFA and the long term antidote to obsessive, defensive sectarianism. They can call that British if they like; or something like normal Western democratic values, if you prefer.

  • Buster

    Brian,

    Agree with the central thrust of your comments-put you paint with too broad a brush.

    “Normal Western Democracy” was, and is to clarify, a very, very British phenomenon. Some may find it surprising but not every Unionist is or was an Orangeman in disguise-far, far from it in fact-this may jar with received “wisdom” but there you go.

    The hint at a possible crisis of Unionist confidence is also a little over stated. The reaction and behaviour of the old dark days of Stormont government was directly proportional to a perceived threat to a minority on this island-that should never be forgotten, both as a means of presenting a balanced view and as a reminder never to entertain such a situation ever again.

    The big issue is this: since the bombing, shooting and general mayhem has stopped-all political positions have been allowed to “de-stress” and the Tories involvement in parochial NI politics is to be welcomed as a healthy sign of normalisation and had been gratefully grasped, as an opportunity to engage in the more mundane day to day issues that affect us all.

    Recognition by a UK national party is mutually beneficial and a natural extension of the Tories and UUP electoral positions-nothing to deny there-and yes confidence is returning for some who now see a way out of the old whataboutery.

    The “bitter harvest” reaped was by no means a republican imperative-there were other peaceful choices available-as equally the reactionary violence of loyalists is to be likewise consigned to and expressed as simple murder. Full stop.

  • edward

    Buster

    The violence of loyalists was not rectionary it was causational. The violence of PIRA was reactionary

    We must always remember to never forget that it twas the loyalists that introduced the violence into the troubles

  • Suilven

    “We must always remember to never forget that it twas the loyalists that introduced the violence into the troubles”

    Must we? Well, if your narrative is to be accepted, you must also ‘rememeber’ that it was the British Army who quelled that initial violence, and what gratitude did they recieve for it? A murderous onslaught from republicans and their fellow travellers once they had regrouped.

  • Mick Fealty

    Edward,

    I have to pick you up on the Castle Catholic thing. What if I am? What odds? Okay you are a foreigner (of some description). But that does not in least invalidate what you have to say. And I am more than happy to uphold your right to speak here.

    Just try and put up an argument, rather than resort to playing the man. It’s the one rule here that enables people to argue with people whom they do not share common opinions with.

    If you can’t abide by it; go somewhere else that doesn’t ask as much.

  • Mick Fealty

    Suilven,

    Do not feed the Trolls…

  • Buster

    edward,

    The “bitter harvest” reaped was by no means a republican imperative-there were other peaceful choices available-as equally the violence of loyalists is to be likewise consigned to and expressed as simple murder. Full stop.

    Does that suit you better?

    “Bear in mind these dead: I can find no plainer words”……

  • Kathleen

    Could you help me ken because I don’t get it either. Cameron is saying to me, if you are good enough to elect my people they will take their seats and represent you in parliament. Thats more than I get now. My MLA does not take his seat – they sit in Stormont, hardly a republican place and tell me what they are doing is a genuine step towards an united Ireland. Well I don’t buy it. I don’t see how my vote for a SF MLA gets me closer to that goal, which is what I’d like. I was hoping FF would come along but it doesn’t look like it. So if the worlds gone mad for you now, it did that for some of us about a decade back, how come you’re only catching on now?

    Explain to me how a vote for SF gets me closer to a UI, it simply won’t. All that I can do now is ensure that the next person who gets my vote earns it, by doing something about the issues I would like to see dealt with. If the Tories come in and promise to deal with the issues that matter for me, why would I not consider them? I’ve tried the others and it doesn’t seem to be working.

  • edward

    Mick

    I don’t call you a castle catholic as an insult just as a short cut to what I take as your position. I always thought you were a straight up UUP unionist until the day you explained about your back ground, no I will not trawl the archives to site example. And I believe that background is relevant to why you seem to have such a different take on this speach then virtually every one else here

    Sulliven

    the british army certainly was brought into restore order but when they started taking orders from the loyalists it was they themsleves that introduced chaos back onto the streets

    Buster

    If you are denied freedoms and rights that are afforded to the other side of the community, if you are not allowed a voice in how you are governed, then in the 20th century in what is supposed to be a western democracy then I believe violence is inevitable, especially when violence is visited upon you first

  • Mick Fealty

    ed,

    I am not asking anyone to take their brains out. But almost every one who foregrounds identity over specific argument goes to some length to hide their own. aprilfoolsme@msn.com is pretty typical.

    I don’t ask for disclosure; because that inevitably leads to an endlessly reductive argument. Better to take people at their word and work off a flat playing field…

  • Buster

    edward,

    Sectarian violence, whoever the perpetrator, is indefensible. Apologists for routine indiscrimanate sectarian violence are as mired and guilty as the perpetrators.

  • Dave

    Kensei, I’m not disputing that his speech was overtly pro-British nationalism, making no concession to Irish nationalism. In fact, its praise of the British army and its coy reference to having a ‘selfish, strategic interest’ were designed to rub the noses of the Irish nationalists in their acceptance of the constitutional legitimacy of NI by reminding them that the British government holds the sovereignty and that they are vulnerable to those who may not act with what Irish nationalists would consider to be ‘rigorous impartiality’ and ‘parity of esteem’ (terms with no mutually agreed definition) between the two conflicting national identities in NI. This has clear echoes of the old-style unionism of supremacy.

    Cameron does not regard the term ‘pluralism’ as encompassing national identities. Therefore, on his terms, he has not transgressed the bounds of a pluralist society by deliberately excluding Irish nationalists from the pluralist British that he envisions. He also excludes Scottish, Welsh and English nationalists by default. You must keep in mind that he is a one-nation Tory. You are all British citizens under UK jurisdiction, sharing the common banner of British nationalism. How could it ever be otherwise within one sovereign entity? The two-nation state might be the cultural and political reality in NI, but Cameron is interested the British dimension that allows the one-nation Tory to retain its meaning in an alliance of four nations.

    My view is that there is a segment of people within NI who are indifferent to who holds the sovereignty, just as long as whoever holds its delivers a prosperous society. This is now true in most European countries, and it is mainly the result of decades of propaganda by the EU which promotes the expedient view that societies become more prosperous by transferring their sovereignty from national to foreign control. John Hume made a career out of this ‘post-nationalist’ nonsense, and the EU itself is a similar imperialist model as the UK wherein the nations ‘pool’ their sovereignty for supposed mutual benefit. Those are the people to whom Cameron will appeal.

    I think he fails to grasp how deeply Irish nationalists care about their own sense of national identity. But then again, those nationalists did allow their political leadership to lead them to a position where they renounced their own claim to self-determination – their inalienable right to live within an Irish nation-state – and convert that right into an aspiration that is subject to the discretion of British nationalists. What are they going to do if they find that British nationalists can’t be persuaded to become Irish nationalists? They can’t start claiming that the British nation has no right a veto over the destiny of the Irish nation because they have signed an international treaty wherein they formally accepted that it has. You have lost the moral claim to a right to self-determination that is other than Northern Irish (which is part of the British nation). Why did Irish nationalists do that if they cared so deeply about it? Well, because they were hoodwinked into it by a quisling leadership.

    This will all come undone in due course despite the proverbial rearrangement of deckchairs. The micromanagement of ‘the process’ to ensure an engineered balance of appeasement and pacification between the British and Irish tribe doesn’t look like something that will continue under an ardent British nationalist like Cameron.

  • Dewi

    “My view is that there is a segment of people within NI who are indifferent to who holds the sovereignty, just as long as whoever holds its delivers a prosperous society”

    I wonder – on one of these threads Michael Shilliday made a similar claim. But would Unionists be happy if richer but in a UI? Doubtful.

    “You have lost the moral claim to a right to self-determination that is other than Northern Irish (which is part of the British nation).”

    Is that “moral claim” only able to be pursued by violence then?

  • kensei

    Kathleen

    Could you help me ken because I don’t get it either. Cameron is saying to me, if you are good enough to elect my people they will take their seats and represent you in parliament. Thats more than I get now.

    You’ll also get that from the UUP, DUP, SDLP and Alliance. To be honest, I am somewhat sceptical of your claim to be an average West Belfast voter, since they tend to go with SF in overwhelming numbers.

    My MLA does not take his seat – they sit in Stormont, hardly a republican place and tell me what they are doing is a genuine step towards an united Ireland. Well I don’t buy it. I don’t see how my vote for a SF MLA gets me closer to that goal, which is what I’d like. I was hoping FF would come along but it doesn’t look like it. So if the worlds gone mad for you now, it did that for some of us about a decade back, how come you’re only catching on now?

    Power removed from Westminster and placed in Irish hands is an improvment, and helps allow the “freedom to achieve freedom”, in the words of Collins. But now you are arguing two mutually opposed things: that in the first instance they aren’t taking their seats so they should, but it won’t help bring about a United Ireland, so they shouldn’t.

    Explain to me how a vote for SF gets me closer to a UI, it simply won’t. All that I can do now is ensure that the next person who gets my vote earns it, by doing something about the issues I would like to see dealt with. If the Tories come in and promise to deal with the issues that matter for me, why would I not consider them? I’ve tried the others and it doesn’t seem to be working.

    I am not here to defend SF, and I’ll leave it the other thread to attemptto at leats temporarily answer your question.

    But if you are seriously interested in a United Ireland, and that is an important consideration, a vote for the Tories no matter how good on other issues (and I’d certainly debate that) will ahve some fairly negative consequences.

  • Buster

    Dave,

    I just don’t buy your theory that Cameron has deliberately excluded anyone from his vision of what is means to be British. The very existance and definition of Britain is that of a union of 4 countries that have as thier citizens those that define themselves as Scots, English, Welsh and Irish be they of whatever political hue-politics is about persuading the electorate that their vote will be effectively used-Can you expand?

    What political capital is there to be made by rubbing anyones nose in anything? A “One Nation Tory” is now a practical impossibility within the current state of the union-and all the better for it in my opinion.

    Your contention that there is a segment in NI “who are indifferent to who holds the sovereignty, just as long as whoever holds its delivers a prosperous society”-its a huge cross community segment and has always been there!! They haven’t gone away you know….and all they want and have wanted for decades is effective government.

    I also don’t think that anyone in UK politics-especially a Tory, could harbour any disillusions about the wishes of the nationalist portion of the community to “their inalienable right to live within an Irish nation-state “-nobody, surely is that out of touch? Principle of consent-if it’s voted for-it’s a done deal.

    Your comments lead me to what I believe is the real question- The British concept/model whatever, provides a place within it for the expression and exercise of the differing national cultures and conversations and consequently benefits massively for them IMO. What similar mechanism exists in the Republic of Ireland that could realistically and comfortably accommodate a sizeable British minority should reunification take place? All a lot of people see is a reductionist and simplified view of what Irish national culture should be to the exclusion of all else. A bit of wooing wouldn’t go amiss…

  • edward

    Mick

    That is a legitimate email address and you can contact me through it if it ever becomes necesary for me to stand behind my posts, I will not use my more legitimate email as someone appeared to sign me up for a bunch of spam. Not of course your fault if you publish your email in a public forumn then obviously any one could borrow it for their own purposes

    As for my real name: Sean Edward Osterbeck

    I don’t hide my identity for the sake of annonymity

  • kensei

    Buster

    The British concept/model whatever, provides a place within it for the expression and exercise of the differing national cultures and conversations and consequently benefits massively for them IMO.

    As can only be said by someone who really, really doesn’t get Irish nationalism and republicanism.

  • Buster

    kensei,

    I’m all ears……..

  • kensei

    Buster

    I have to work, and don’t have time. I will say that many British people can be as British as they like within the EU, but strangely, don’t seem that keen on it. Americans also tend to get techy when people try to infringe their sovereignty.

  • Suilven

    Didn’t realise ‘edward’ was really ‘steve’ from Canada – doubly sorry for feeding this particular troll earlier in the thread, Mick.

  • German-American

    A quick outsider’s take: Cameron’s message to the UUP seems to be: your cause was just, your view of history is my own, you have fought the good fight *and won*. The implied follow-on message is, now that we’ve won, let’s have the confidence to compete as a party against other parties and not worry overmuch about what happens to “unionism” as such. (Thus, for example, no more electoral pacts with the DUP: If the Tories cannot win seats in straight-up competition in NI, then work to improve the party’s chances instead of worrying about the seats going to SF or the SDLP.)

    In terms of outreach, I think Dave’s comment that “Cameron does not regard the term ‘pluralism’ as encompassing national identities” is exactly right. Cameron is *not* going to “reach out” in the sense of acknowledging the legitimacy of Irish nationalism. Instead what Cameron and the Tories might do is to make certain concessions (both symbolic and actual) when they can be reframed not as a threat to unionist identity but rather simply as a sop to particular groups of voters who might otherwise be receptive to the Tory message.

    Thus, for example, in the US the Republican party has basically morphed into a white/Christian/rural party, and measures like bilingual education are seen as existential threats to an idealized concept of what America means as a nation. However to the Democratic Party, providing public school education in Spanish, or printing government documents in Chinese, or whatever, is just catering to a particular set of potential Democratic voters. In this view the primacy of English is a simple demographic fact very unlikely to be challenged in any serious way, and there’s no need to get hysterical about the subject.

    Now, could a “Conservative Unionist” party treat an Irish Language Act and similar issues in a comparable way, “denaturing” them to eliminate or at least water down their Irish nationalist aspects? Given past history I’m skeptical, but I think it’s at least imaginable.

  • Buster

    kensei,

    That’s a shame, I’m supposed to be working too-but the invitation stands.

  • Buster

    Maybe a bit of confusion created-that should have read…”The British concept/model whatever, provides a place within it for the expression and exercise of the differing national cultures and conversations and consequently benefits massively FROM them IMO.

  • EagleEyes

    @edward

    The violence of loyalists was not rectionary it was causational. The violence of PIRA was reactionary

    By their deeds if not their words, all the actors in the peace process behaved as if the opposite were true, including the southern government, the SDLP, Sinn Fein, the IRA, the PUP, the UDA and the UVF.

    They all behaved as if they believed that if Republican violence could be made to stop then loyalist violence could fairly easily be made also to stop, but that stopping loyalist violence would have little, or at least insufficient, effect to stop Republican violence. They were correct.

  • Mack

    Buster – “The British concept/model whatever, provides a place within it for the expression and exercise of the differing national cultures and conversations and consequently benefits massively for them IMO”

    The British project manifestly failed the (majority of the) Irish nation (penal laws, great famine, home rule obstructionism etc).

    “What similar mechanism exists in the Republic of Ireland that could realistically and comfortably accommodate a sizeable British minority should reunification take place?”

    If you are saying that the British in Ireland would like devolution for Ulster or Northern Ireland in a United Ireland, I suspect there would be many in Irish nationalism who would be willing to countenance such a situation.

    Likewise, I’m sure Commonwealth membership could be negotiated. You might want to pressure the UK government to ensure the continuation of the Common Travel Area and voting rights for the “Irish” in Britain.

  • edward

    There was never any real attempt to stop loyalist violence because it coincided with the aims or arguably was directed by the government in britain

  • Buster

    Mack- a predictable historical “dredging-up” exercise in reponse the PRESENT, HERE AND NOW reality. This kind of knee jerk reaction is in part reponsible for this interminable “wall of death” conversation that never goes anywhere……..we can all play that game but it doesn’t really advance the discussion does it?

    If it’s worth even mentioning, which I doubt, ancestors of mine were also disciminated against under the penal laws-big deal-that was a long time ago and has absolutely no relevance to settling the current situation to the satisfaction of the living majority. You might argue that the Republican cause manifestly failed the ordinary Protestants of West Cork or Monaghan mightn’t you-but where does that get us?

    …”If you are saying that the British in Ireland would like devolution for Ulster or Northern Ireland in a United Ireland, I suspect there would be many in Irish nationalism who would be willing to countenance such a situation”…no I am not saying that-I am asking what realistic provision has, is, or will be made in the nationalist conversation/identity/consciousness to help absorb a sizeable British minority into a very monocultural state in the event of reunification-one that is almost the polar opposite of the British model. And when might these assurances/plans/outreach be communicated to the Unionist community of Northern Ireland? I suspect never-but unfortunately the failure up to now to do so in any really concerted, organised manner speaks volumes to most.

    If FF or specifically FG do organise in NI-which I see absolutely no reason why they should not-I would not be surprised that more progress is made in settling the issues at hand than has been made since partition. The ironic thing is that FF, FG and the Tories are pretty much indistinguishable at the core.

  • George

    Buster,
    “the PRESENT, HERE AND NOW reality”

    Okay, let’s see.

    Catholic as head of State? Not allowed

    Catholic as Prime Minister? Even Tony had to wait until he left office.

    Life expectancy of the Irish in GB? Only ethnic minority whose life expectancy drops on immigration to UK.

    Between two and three times as likely to be hospitalised for psychiatric disorders.

    Irish women in Britain twice as likely to suffer depression as the GB average.

    Suicide 53% above the national average for the Irish in Britain (I believe in prisons it’s seven times).

    Nearly 80% subjected to anti-Irish abuse in the workplace at some stage in their lives.

    But the most damning of all is that taking away those who were born in the Irish Republic, just 160,000 people living in GB were prepared to declare themselves as ethnically Irish in the 2001 census.

    If the Irish have such a history of being cultivated in GB, it seems odd that those second and third generation Irishmen and women would be so quick to hide their ethnicity.

    As for the British record in Ireland itself, let’s say it went seriously downhill after they banned our democratically-elected parliament and imprisoned our elected representatives.

  • Dave

    “Is that “moral claim” only able to be pursued by violence then?” – Dewi

    No, why do you think that accepting the Unionist Veto was a condition of nationalists being allowed to practice politics in NI? They practiced politics before they accepted that veto and before they accepted the legitimacy of Northern Ireland. The only reason they were persuaded to accept the veto was because that was a condition that was laid down in the Downing Street Declaration which the Shinners must accept before they were permitted to enter the proposed talks. No nationalist politician other than those associated with said murder gang was required to accept it. The SDLP, however, had no problem accepting the PoC if that was the expedient price that had to be paid in other to encourage unionists to entertain the Shinners by bringing them into the political process. Trimble knew that the long-term advantage of that profound shift would be that the nationalists conceded that they have no right to self-determination other than a right that was offered to them as citizens of the NI (the UK). Once you accept that you have no right, you can’t revert at some future point to claiming that you do. Ergo, you stuck as a British citizen for all time – or until such time as those British citizens who hold the applicable and legitimised veto over your destiny decide to grant your wish to be released from the UK.

    “I just don’t buy your theory that Cameron has deliberately excluded anyone from his vision of what is means to be British. The very existance and definition of Britain is that of a union of 4 countries that have as thier citizens those that define themselves as Scots, English, Welsh and Irish be they of whatever political hue-politics is about persuading the electorate that their vote will be effectively used-Can you expand?” – Buster

    It isn’t a theory. It’s a verifiable fact. He has excluded those who are not British. I think you will find that category includes 100% of Irish nationalists and an unspecified quantity of Catholics. His pitch is to catholic unionists, not Irish nationalists.

  • Mack

    Buster, George – this escalation wasn’t quite what I’d intended. I would have thought the most ardent pro-Union supporters could admit that the big failure of the Union was the failure to properly accomadate the Irish nation after it joined (with the exception North Eastern Ulster).
    The entire history of Northern Ireland is further testament to the fact that the Irish nationalist minority have not yet bought into that proposition (Britishness / The union).

    So when a unionist profers the British model as one in which the minority Irish nationalists can thrive, I have to question – on what evidence?

    I was not dredging up the past to muck rake, but merely to show the alienation of the Irish nation from the British project. (The British project is at it’s core the merger of the English (& Welsh), Scots and Irish nations).

    There has certainly been much improvement since the Agreement, I do not wish to knock at all the major compromises made by Unionism.
    But in many respects it (The Agreement) breaks the British mould, there is a role within it for the sovereign government of Ireland (Republic), which although part of the family of nations is an external soveriegn entity to Westminster (the political centre of the British project).

    Ireland (Republic) is a single nation state. You ask what steps it has taken to incorporate the needs of nationals from a related family of nations? There is no current demand for such measures, but I’m sure we will grant you whatever protections and powers you need within fair reason, should you choose to join with us.

  • Dave

    To clarify: His sales pitch insofar as it has cross-community appeal is to catholic unionists and not to Irish nationalists.

  • Buster

    Evening George,

    I responded in capitals for speed-nearly wrapping up time.

    Catholic as head of State? Not allowed. DEPLORABLE AND NO PLACE IN THE MODERN BRITISH STATE

    Catholic as Prime Minister? Even Tony had to wait until he left office. DITTO

    Life expectancy of the Irish in GB? Only ethnic minority whose life expectancy drops on immigration to UK. ?? CAN YOU BACK THIS UP?

    Between two and three times as likely to be hospitalised for psychiatric disorders. DITTO

    Irish women in Britain twice as likely to suffer depression as the GB average. DITTO

    Suicide 53% above the national average for the Irish in Britain (I believe in prisons it’s seven times). DITTO

    Nearly 80% subjected to anti-Irish abuse in the workplace at some stage in their lives. I KNOW, I’VE BEEN ON THE RECEIVING END BY BOTH ROI AND UK CITIZENS-BUT I’VE GOT THICK SKIN GEORGE….

    But the most damning of all is that taking away those who were born in the Irish Republic, just 160,000 people living in GB were prepared to declare themselves as ethnically Irish in the 2001 census. THAT MIGHT BE BECAUSE BRITAIN IS A MULTICULTURAL SOCIETY GEORGE THAT ACCOMMODATES AND ITSELF TAKES ON IMMIGRANT CULTURE AND MAKES IT ITS OWN-OR SHOULD THE IRISH WHO EMIGRATED TO BRITAIN HAVE BEEN MAINTAINING SOME KIND OF RACIAL PURITY EXERCISE??

    If the Irish have such a history of being cultivated in GB, it seems odd that those second and third generation Irishmen and women would be so quick to hide their ethnicity. DON’T KNOW GEORGE-THEY COULD ALWAYS HAVE RETURNED IF THEY WERE SO OPPRESSED-THE REVERSE IS OF COURSE REALITY.

    As for the British record in Ireland itself, let’s say it went seriously downhill after they banned our democratically-elected parliament and imprisoned our elected representatives. ONCE WE START TO LEAVE HISTORY AND THE INVALID CONTEXTS OF THE PAST WHERE THEY BELONG WE MIGHT HAVE A CHANCE OF MOVING ON……..

  • dub

    Buster,

    Ireland is almost the polar opposite to the Uk politically and constitutionally in that the state is recognised as a legal person and is therefore subject to the rule of law (compare and contrast the position of the Crown), the doctrine of the separation of powers is taken a little bit more seriously (though not as seriously as in the USA), the head of state is elected by universal suffrage and there are no religious or sectarian bars to the job application, there is a written constituion with the judicary therefore having the right to quash acts of the oireachtas (parliament) that are repugnant (contrast the monarchical supremacy of the british parliament), the executive does not still enjoy wide prerogative powers unamenable to parliamentary consent, the system of voting in all elections is proportional and therefore far more senstive to minority opinions, feudalism in land ownership has been abolished, and the source of the state’s legitimacy is the people (not the crown). In short we are citizens and not subjects.

    Very many demarches have been made in recent years to accentuate and celebrate those aspects of the Irish identity that coincide with a broader british identity. There has been a lot of outreach to the unionist community in the north and it is continuing.

    Perhaps you should come and visit sometime.

    Our volunteer Army is also well viewed throughout the world for its record in non partisan peacekeeping. It has no history of walking into other people’s countries, massacring innocent demoonstrators, colluding with and setting up false flag murder gangs, and bombing the capital cities of near neighbours or taking out their most popular boy band on a country road with bombs and machine guns.

    Yes we are indeed polar opposite states.

  • Mack

    Buster – “THAT MIGHT BE BECAUSE BRITAIN IS A MULTICULTURAL SOCIETY GEORGE THAT ACCOMMODATES AND ITSELF TAKES ON IMMIGRANT CULTURE AND MAKES IT ITS OWN-OR SHOULD THE IRISH WHO EMIGRATED TO BRITAIN HAVE BEEN MAINTAINING SOME KIND OF RACIAL PURITY EXERCISE?? ”

    You may be pleasantly surprised to know that Ireland (Republic) has experienced large scale immigration in recent years – over 12 per cent of the population are foreign born. We became home for half as many Poles as the whole of the UK.

    The Irish nation is also fluid in it’s identity and self-expression and is able to absorb multiple new cultures (the “new Irish”) as it has done down the years – Gael, Viking, Norman, English / Anglo-Irish, Huguenot – admittedly it did struggle in the sectarian furnace of the north.

  • PaddyReilly

    Just 160, 000 people living in GB were prepared to declare themselves as ethnically Irish in the 2001 census

    The reason for this may be that with the British state admitting as immigrants such an enormous pot-pourri of non-European immigrants, most of them under cover al-Qaida operatives, the children of Irish immigrants have moved to take over the ecological niche left vacant by the British. Also, intermarriage between Irish immigrants and locals is more or less universal and ranges from such families as the Windsors and the Blairs down to more ordinary folk.

    So to be Irish in Britain is hardly exotic. Equally, in America there are African-Americans and Korean-Americans, but no-one ever bothers to describe themselves as English American. The concepts are too close.

  • Buster

    Dub/Mack,

    Pointing out the relative shortcomings of the two entirely different modes of government is comparing apples and pears-lecturing against the UK mode of government also smacks of Grannies and a lot of egg sucking. It’s been the model for liberal democracy the world over and ahead of the curve for some time now-your comments on feudalism also need bringing up short-catch yourself on. Reform is ongoing in the UK system of government vis devolution to all constituent parts of the UK, the abolition of hereditary peers-all necessary. The monarch as you well know is merely the figurehead of the state-in a very similar model to the Republics’s President. If you’ve been following recent farcical events at Westminster you will know that no-one is above the law in the UK either, apart from the Monarch-which on closer scrutuny in real terms means absolutely nothing in terms of the administration of justice and the state.

    My passport says British Citizen on it. The other one tells me I was born in An Dun.

    Please see my comments above addressed to George regarding the qualifications for being head of state-an anchronism from a bygone era and I would agree one that needs to be removed.

    I appreciate also that some moves have been made toward the Unionist community, however to turn Mack’s argument on its head not enough to convince the British Unionist minority of buying into the proposition of a UI, and-

    …”So when a unionist profers the British model as one in which the minority Irish nationalists can thrive, I have to question – on what evidence?…” On the evidence around us every single day of every single week etc. We have an assembly in Stormont, we have state supported faith schools, we have a working benefits system that discriminates against nobody, ditto healthcare, freedom of speech, assembly, positive discrimination, a disbanded RUC and UDR, the principle of consent, power sharing, sessions in pubs throughout Cricklewood and Kilburn-the Tyrone footballing construction lads who travel across on the Edinburgh red eye with me every Monday morning now that the building business is fucked at home…………should I go on? Sounds like some desperate oppression going on……

    …”Perhaps you should come and visit sometime”… I did and stayed for 4 years…Drumcondra, Ranelagh and Ringsend-had a blast…apparently.

    Dub-your comments on the British Armed forces I cannot/will not answer as I have never been a member of them-probably best directed at the ever increasing number or recruits from the Republic crossing the sheugh or the border to join. I will comment however that they are also admired the world over, also obviously by said recruits.

    Finally I liked this bit from Mack….”nationals from a related family of nations”-that more or less encapsulates what I’m trying, poorly obviously, to express. We are all related on these islands, whether we like it or not. Trolling around in the past, whataboutery and mud slinging just don’t achieve anything. I happen to believe in Britain and think that it can cater for all-unusual in this day and age but not a blind or unconditional adherance but one based on a belief in diversity and shared experience that binds people closer and provides a state where all can be heard. It isn’t perfect and probably never will be but it certainly isn’t the worst of the bunch. Not by a long way.

  • Richard James

    dub,

    Like the Soviet Union and China I’m sure you have a wonderful constitution promising all types of freedom. The reality for the tens of thousands of women who went through Magdalene laundries, which only closed in 1996, tells a different story.

    And I’ve never met anyone who has been impressed by the Irish army or it’s achievements. Didn’t it sit out World War 2, or to give a more up to date example Bosnia and Kosovo?

  • Rory Carr

    Paddy Reilly’s assertion that the concept of being English and being American are too close to require separate description must come as a great surprise to the indigenous American people of the First Nations.

    Perhaps, Paddy, you were confused by a photograph which I have also seen, of Sitting Bull wearing a bowler hat.

  • Buster

    Dave,

    Verify it then.

  • consul

    You’re confused Ken and well you might be. You don’t understand what’s so different about these two reviving the old link. That’s probably because there is nothing new here. The angle to study this move is not to look at Reg’s objectives, but Dave’s and then it’s straight-forward enough.

    Cameron’s speech was pretty much of the order that was to be expected, given his goals. He is the leader of the opposition in the UK. His party have been out of government for 10 or 12 years now, for much of that time it might not have seemed clear just how they’d ever get back in. They had gone from a position of strength in Scotland to near oblivion. They were not faring much better in Wales. And their once guaranteed 15 or so seats in Northern Ireland, well they’d messed that little number up hadn’t they. And so to their main base, England. The hub of the UK. Where all the money was flowing, in and out. They were still formidable here, especially down round the home counties. But Tony Blair’s New Labour pitch, the whole Cool Britannia line was slick and it came at a time when the working men and women of England were a little disillusioned with the Thatcher Major show.

    The Conservatives work for the rich, the elite not the average Joe or Jill Soap. The little guy covers the tab and life for the top five percent is a day at the beach. Every country has a conservative party, America has the Republicans, Ireland has Fianna Fáil. So along comes Tony and tells the irate, fed up unwashed that the time has come to put the bigshots in their place and to take their country back. His charm is a little like that of Barack Obama in America in a not dissimilar circumstance and the reaction is the same. There is a palpable sense of a defining moment that captures the imagination of the people right across the board and Tony as we know is swept to power.

    The Tories, their values and principles are it seems, a thing of the past now, consigned to history. They flounder aimlessly on with a couple of changes of leadership before a nice young chap called Dave steps forward amid the chaos to steady the ship. Now after all this time, they have someone who can string two sentences together without looking like he’s on autocue. Plus he’s under 70, a real bonus no. Dave does some nice photo ops like in the arctic, meet Dave the environmentally friendly Tory. Everything he does is to cultivate the image of young Dave, suave Dave, sophisticated Dave, metro Dave yet in touch with nature. Labour still need to be defeated though, but how?

    PTO as the man says

  • consul

    And then opportunity knocks, the worst global recession in 80 years exacerbates an already discernable slowdown threatening to turn it into the mother of all crashes. The public already edgy with Labour after a decade in power and the good times in the rearview mirror are actually, and to a large part due to Cameron you suspect, considering the Tories. Suddenly Dave’s eyes widen because he’s got a real chance. If there’s no upturn in fortune over the next 12 or 18 months, he’s favourite to be PM.

    But nothing in life is certain. Anything can happen between then and now. A week is a long time in politics much less a year. One thing is for sure, Cameron must win bigger in England than he loses elsewhere. If he can close the gap anywhere in the Celtic fringe to make the job in England even a touch more doable, then he must consider it. He must scour the UK looking to see where he can pick up a seat or two.

    An opportunity presents itself in Belfast. The UU’s are flailing around in an ever-decreasing circle and need a shot in the arm of any kind to survive and continue the struggle to dominate Ulster unionism. Reg needs Dave and Dave needs Reg. Old grievances are pushed aside and the two parties agree to help each other out. This is sold as breaking the mould and moving beyond the old tribal ways. Anyone wondering just what makes it so might well end up confused just as you have Ken, but then that’s only if you really believe the fairytale. I suspect you don’t.

    But anyways, not everyone in the UUP is happy. Most of them have been around a while, certainly long enough to remember the last shafting. They’re not ready to kiss and make up. So Dave has to get them onside and that was what he was doing in Belfast the other day securing allegiances, just in case they manage to get someone elected. That’s what all the talk about the military and the selfish strategic interest was all about. The relationship forged in fire, not neutral on the union. He knew they were his then. It was just politics really. After all when he said he wouldn’t be neutral on the union he also said he supported the PoC and would uphold it. When he described the Republic as the neighbours next door he also said he would work closely and constructively with them. And when he said the Conservatives would be bringing a new brand of unionism to NI he also said he would not interfere with the locals because after all Dave’s not a control freak is he. Not much more to it than that I should think.

  • Buster

    consul-are you writing a screenplay? Nicely crafted piece of fiction. Cynical and opinionated, but fiction nonetheless.

  • consul

    Oh you think so Buster. Well actually I am of the opinion that cross-community politics badly needs to find its way to NI. Whether that comes from Britain, the Republic or NI itself does not matter, but it needs to happen. I was greatly relieved when the FF-SDLP merger fell through as it like this one was merely perpetuating the nationalist unionist divide. If FF or the Conservatives or anyone else want to transform the scene in NI then they should not affiliate themselves with one camp or the other but should knuckle down to years of hard work with no position on the constitutional position and no garuantee of success. Any party undertaking this should be looking to recruit unionists and nationalist in equal measure to represent all of their constituents on the day to day issues. Cross-community parties for cross-community electoral bases. That’s the way forward not expecting one tribe or the other to wake up and toss everything they are aside like some old t-shirt they’re sick of and just become like the other just like that. If you asked a German to cop on and forget about being a German after being German all his life, among the German people and German culture and just become a Frenchman just like that you might have a bit of a wait on your hands. I have no problem with the UUP-Con link up in itself thats their business but you have to admit to describe the restoration of the old relationship as a reach across the divide is a bit much. Best of luck to anyone who wants to vote for the UUP but its the same old UUP. Same old faces same old story. Cynical maybe but with good reason, opinionated well anyone that goes to the bother of posting comments on an internet forum is opinionated.

  • Mack

    Buster – There was some good stuff in your response. You hold Britishness in high regard and I hope that you can also see some of those lofty ideals in Irishness – for they are there too.

    However I was disapointed by this

    “Sounds like some desperate oppression going on…… “

    Who mentioned oppression? We are thankfully, now operating at a higher level now, sort of like self-actualisation for nations and their citizens. (I mentioned the past only in terms of the alienation of the Irish nation from the original British project – that leads to where we are now – with those who have fully bought into that British project and those who have fully bought into a separate Irish national project).

    A good amount of the improvements and workings within Northern Ireland have come out of the joint approach to the problem taken by both governments – so maybe we can agree that the joint model of British and Irish together has merit. I don’t think, in the event of a UI, that there is any appetite for ditching it wrt to NI. Certainly the SDLP have suggested in the past a UI would be a continuation of the agreement and the Irish government have signed up, in the agrement, to provide measures to safeguard the British minority in a UI. (The same safeguards now applying to the Irish nationalist minority in NI).

    Perhaps the safeguards agreed to the in the Agreement by the Irish government may go some way to satisfying your original question. I imagine, if we move to situation where a united Ireland is on the agenda – more would be provided as part of the persuasion process..

  • Buster

    consul,

    To use the term “opinionated” was foolish-and I apologise.

    I could not agree more with vast majority of your latest comments.

    I am a Unionist. But that term to me means inclusivity and parity of esteem for all. Nobody is being asked to surrender their identity.

    I have repeatedly sought an explanation of how Nationalism seeks to accommodate a multiplicity of opinion and identity-both in terms of a hypothetical UI and in response to what many would regard in Unionism as a fairly workable secular, multi-national model that is the Union-albeit one that necessarily requires constant change, adjustment and re-negotiation. To no avail.

    I see no other attempt to change the political landscape here and offer a wider choice to the electorate. Let me be absolutely clear and reiterate I would be as equally welcoming for FF or FG or whoever to engage in cross community secular, non-identity, non-myth driven politics. Any move, in whatever package, should be welcomed-time will tell if it was a success or not-but lets take a leap and welcome it and yes, be cautious and let actions inform us.

  • Mack

    Buster – “I have repeatedly sought an explanation of how Nationalism seeks to accommodate a multiplicity of opinion and identity-both in terms of a hypothetical UI and in response to what many would regard in Unionism as a fairly workable secular, multi-national model that is the Union-albeit one that necessarily requires constant change, adjustment and re-negotiation. To no avail. ”

    That’s unfair. The multi-nation Union never did manage to accomodate the Irish nationalist identity. The Agreement – with it’s parity of esteem and safeguards, and the joint approach that led to it did. Northern Ireland is manifestly different to Wales and Scotland, don’t you agree?.

    Those safeguards also continue to apply for the benefit of a British minority in the event of a united Ireland.

    In the event of a UI unionists would be free to negogiate a multi-state union (with the state to the South and West), if that is what they wanted.

  • Buster

    Mack,

    …”You hold Britishness in high regard and I hope that you can also see some of those lofty ideals in Irishness – for they are there too”…couldn’t agree more, but this would also highlight the differing approaches to identity in the Unionist and Nationalist narritive-I am both and don’t see them as in opposition-a pluralistic approach to identity which defines what the Union is to me.

    “Sounds like some desperate oppression going on…… ” born of exasperation more than anything else-I don’t see anyone within the Union being discriminated against and certainly nobody is failing to thrive because of their political aspirations or views in the UK in this day and age. This one is very, very tired….

    …”I imagine, if we move to situation where a united Ireland is on the agenda – more would be provided as part of the persuasion process”…take it from me, IMHO, that would be a bolted horse scenario.

    I have heard it stated elsewhere that all the “armed struggle” achieved was an indefinite postponement of a UI-on balance I think there is more than a grain in this idea. I think what we really need to focus on is the grass roots, the you and me stuff-all the rest will come out in the wash. But in tandem with this process the political scene in NI has to change radically-the old ways are no longer fit for purpose. My own opinion, (tug of forelock to consul), is that the recent UUP/Tory marriage might just be the beginning of that process-we will have to wait and see. I also believe that the Union, for the multiplicity of reasons I’ve tried to explain in this thread, is the right context for this to crystallise in.

  • Buster

    Mack,

    …”That’s unfair. The multi-nation Union never did manage to accomodate the Irish nationalist identity”…in response, and also to an earlier, and so far unsubstantiated comment from Dave regarding Camerons’s alleged exclusion of nationalists from the British concept-would you not agree that Nationalists exluded themselves from the British concept by thier own very narrow concept of identity? I’d also comment that the way to change is through the democratic process-which of course I know you agree with. But at the end of the day the majority have to accept the outcome and that does not mean 50%+1 or we’re just swapping hats.

    …”Northern Ireland is manifestly different to Wales and Scotland, don’t you agree?”…aye and thats a rod of our own making-maybe this will now change?

  • edward

    But at the end of the day the majority have to accept the outcome and that does not mean 50%+1 or we’re just swapping hats

    That assumes that unionists will be treated as shabily as nationalists were in nIreland

  • Buster

    Fair point edward-but not one that crossed my mind. I’m contending that a 50%+1 situation changes nothing in terms of a long term settlement…and is representative of the old zero sum game politics.

  • dub

    Buster,

    Just because you have never met someone who admires the irish army… i have never met someone who admires the british army. So your point is?

    Everything i said about the british army was factual and i pointed to the current consitutional lunacies in the uk.

    Your idea that other countries around the world base their liberal democracies on your royalist protestant feudal hodge podge is a joke. Name me one modern democracy that has a state religion based on about 5 percent of the population, clerics of which as of right sit in their country’s second chamber. Yes that’s right no other country would be as barmy as that.

    Ireland has done a hell of a lot to reach out culturally to northern unionists and politically they would be equal citizens before the law in a constitutional republic. AS well as having british ties and fidelities northern unionists are actually irish. in a ui they would actually be able to vote for parties of govt unlike in ni where this is, and will remain, impossible (tories have only agreed to sponsor the uup in this deal, the uup continues to exist, and that party will never form the governing party in the uk, so ni is still part of the uk but not part of its parliamentary democracy).

    My girlfriend lives in Derry, Buster, and has never been able to vote for the govt which has been governing her for the past 12 or so years. Now that’s very very very advance isn’t it? I’m sure lots of other democracies must be thinking of copying that feature.

  • Mack

    Buster – I take your point about the part Irish nationalists played in their alienation from the British project (a mutual effort, although I feel historically those trying to create the union were more empowered than those they would rule).

    ..”Northern Ireland is manifestly different to Wales and Scotland, don’t you agree?”…aye and thats a rod of our own making-maybe this will now change?

    I hope not. Sometimes the mind plays tricks, or maybe it’s the words we’re using. On the one hand we’re talking about safeguards for British nationals in the event of a UI – but surely we’re not comtemplating removing those safeguards for Irish nationalists within the Union?

  • frustrated democrat

    I tried this taking out obvious words that relate to countries and parties.

    conservative
    ireland
    kingdom
    northern
    party
    ulster
    union
    unionist
    unionists
    united

    and limited it to 20 words the new words are

    government, help, irish, past, people, politics, real, shared, social, things, today, together, work.

    With the emphasis on

    democracy force future people shared together work

    So there have it

    The new FORCE will create DEMOCRACY where in FUTURE ni will be SHARED and PEOPLE will work TOGETHER.

    What better message could he have given.

  • PaddyReilly

    Paddy Reilly’s assertion that the concept of being English and being American are too close to require separate description must come as a great surprise to the indigenous American people of the First Nations.

    As I understand it, the Injun view of the world is that there are Human Beings and Long Knifes. The Long Knives (or Palefaces) are then further divided into honest long knives who stayed in their homeland and thieving ones who came and took the Human Beings’ land. In this formulation the concept English American has no place either.

  • Kensei

    fd

    Yes, and if you now add in some words, you can characterise his speech even better!!!! In nay case, those are fluff.

  • Dave

    Kensei, slightly off topic, but did someone have a nervous breakdown since I last visited? It seems a certain poster’s threads have been deleted, and all of my insightful posts along with them – priceless gems every last one of them.

  • PaddyReilly

    It seems a certain poster’s threads have been deleted, and all of my insightful posts along with them – priceless gems every last one of them.

    Yes, weren’t they? I find you have to be particularly careful with women in debating and political situations. Also, when a friend of mine had a cartoonist in to draw members of staff, he was warned under no circumstances to caricature the females as they would be particularly offended: they had to be made more beautiful than they were, and despite this being done they still weren’t happy.

    For this reason the idea of parity of the sexes in the political forum is ridiculous.

  • Kensei

    Dave

    Yeah, I was wondering. I appear to upset women with frightening regularity.

  • frustrated democrat

    Kensei

    I didn’t start this game only perfected it………….

  • picador

    It seems a certain poster’s threads have been deleted, and all of my insightful posts along with them – priceless gems every last one of them.

    Ah, so that’s what happened! I knew she couldn’t have been for real!

    It was kind of like ‘dissident’ republican one minute, Tory the next. Very odd indeed!

  • Buster

    dub,

    I think you need to check back about my supposed comments on your remarks on the British armed forces. And brush up on the politics of the mid to late 17th C if you persist in living in the past. I’ve also made my feelings known on the separation of church and state-again some major egg sucking going here regarding that particular issue….

    You’ve also got some valid points there-now tell me how we resolve them.

    You also need to reread my previous posts in this thread-I am merely trying to express optimism in a political move which may, or may not succeed. We will need to wait and see-won’t we?

  • Buster

    Mack,

    I think you misunderstood my point/s-I hope this part of the world can become a less divided place-thats all.

    And with that adieu…drop me a line if you so wish.