Why the Union works for Unionists…

Roy Garland on the attractions of the Union:

The main attraction of the Union is that it enables people of different nationalities and traditions to identify with what is local while also benefiting from being part of wider relationships. Nor does taking pride in one’s native land necessarily imply that one is an Ulster or Irish nationalist.

The attraction of the Union is not to be found in drab uniformity but rather in a colourful mix of traditions that should enable us all to take pride in a localism that can be transcended. While tribal ghosts and gods must be put to rest, it is not beyond our ingenuity to devise ways of working our differences so as to foster mutual pride and dynamism. Our shared and ancient Christian heritage has often facilitated humanitarian effort in the past. This laudable tradition can now be expanded and built on. Together we can commit to a better world without denigrating those native virtues and talents that make us what we are.

  • Dewi

    “Wide-boy liberalistos” eh??

  • Driftwood

    Is it just me, or does that catch all dirge sound like it was pasted and amended from a website called meaninglesswaffle.com?

    “Why the union works for unionists”????

    Obama will be hard pushed to beat that for glib and patronising guff.

  • Nonchalant Repartee

    Odd that ‘a colourful mix of traditions’ should result in the dominance of one language and one ‘identity’ over the rest.

  • Elvis parker

    The usual confusion from Roy. I suspect he likes the idea of those who call themselves unionists involving themselves in the left -right politics of the UK – unfortunately for Roy the majority of the UUP want to go into the main centre right party of the UK, the Conservatives and not Labour where Roy’s heart would lie.

    Instead Roy invokes the need for diversity and quotes a local businessman who says he wont vote Conservative because ‘ businessmen like himself wanted local politicians to sort this place out and do what politicians should do – lead their people into a new future.’

    A subtle attempt to suggest that Conservative candidates would be foreigners? Why cant local Conservative and Unionist politicians lead people into a new future.

    There is an underlying atavistic nonsense to the idea that the bigoted idiots like Robinson, Dodds, Adams and McGuinness who fostered division and prolonged our agony should be the best people to ‘sort this place out’ Those very people need the politics of division and sectarianism to continue so that they can remain in power. They are not the solution they are the very core evil of the cancer that causes so much damage in NI.

    We need a new politics, and to somehow hint as Roy does, that we need distinct local parties is codswallop – such parties undermine the cohesiveness of UK politics and undermine the Union. Of course the Scots need their own Labour, Conservative and Liberal parties (and are welcome to their nationalist party) but to suggest NI must remain aloof from the mainstream of UK politics is anti Union, and anti British, and rubbish.

    Imagine if the Scots, Welsh, the Geordies, the Scousers,etc followed that path? The UK would cease to exsit.
    Only by playing a full part in the politics of the Union – a full part at Westminster where decisions on tax, benefits and levels of expenditure ( as well as foreign affairs, defence and a raft of other issues) can we hope to be build a politics and society that is at peace with itself. Nationalism must be respected but it must not define our political horizons.
    The Conservatives/UUP merger is the way forward. Roy should join the Labour Party. And we should recognise this truth: the biggest threat to the Union is not Irish Nationalism but the parochial insular unionism personified by the DUP

  • Dec

    Elvis

    The usual confusion from Roy…Only by playing a full part in the politics of the Union – a full part at Westminster where decisions on tax, benefits and levels of expenditure ( as well as foreign affairs, defence and a raft of other issues) can we hope to be build a politics and society that is at peace with itself.

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

    That being said, you touch upon a vision that I can fully embrace:

    Imagine if the Scots, Welsh, the Geordies, the Scousers,etc followed that path? The UK would cease to exsit.

  • antonio

    I cannot let this garbage go unanswered.I was born in the Derry city of the 1960’s and Stormont/B specials could not even get on with their Catholics neighbours.I remember the bigotry of the RUC in those days when they told my 10 year old brother to “eff off back to the bogside”.That was in 1965 and I do not forget it.
    Imagine the so called liberals from the 6 county’s living in modern day London,they would stick it for 5 minutes.Pure and utter garbage.If you could not live with people who look and speak like you,how in god’s name would you live with Africans,Indians,Latin Americans and MAINLAND Europeans.Its a total LIE.

  • Greenflag

    Antonio ,

    ‘If you could not live with people who look and speak like you,how in god’s name would you live with Africans,Indians,Latin Americans and MAINLAND Europeans.’

    Very simple old chap -it’s cos all of the above named races/ethno/linguistic are not Irish Republican Fenians and/or Irish Catholics 😉

    Looks don’t really matter anyway except in a few cases e.g black v white , or yellow v white or whiter versus less white . Most actual killings /deaths have been by one colour v people of the same colour – Germans v European Jews , Russians v Poles , Dutch v English , English v Scots /Irish /Welsh /French etc etc . The Serbs and Croats had no bother killing each other by the tens of thousands and they don’t look any different from each other and they also speak the same language – Many Israelis and Palestinians look alike as did Iranians and Iraqis ,Pakistanis and Indians , Japanese and Koreans , Russians and Poles.

    ‘I cannot let this garbage go unanswered.’

    Roy means well and certainly he makes a bit more sense that Mr McNever and his 17th century grip on ‘religious politics ‘ . Mr Garland fails to mention that the main reason Unionists find the Union attractive and to their liking is because they know that nowhere else would they find anybody as daft as the English to fork over 6 billion a year to keep said Unionists from having to face the consequences of standing on their own ‘feet’ .

    Anyway there’s not a whole lot wrong with the union per se apart from the Saxe Coburg Windsor dynasty . God shave Queenie I say and roll on an English /British Republic .

  • Modernist

    This is like the sort of double talk crap you hear spouted by Chinese politicians about how Tibet is part of China and how Tibetan culture is respected by the Communist government.

  • Does Roy’s single transferable Union apply to the UK, a UI – and a USE? Does he have a solution for the problems of competing unions?

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    I would have thought that most NI British Unionists would agree whole heartedly with Roy’s statement.

    BTW, Didn’t Dave Trimble say something similar a few years ago championing the ‘multi-cultural’ etc… United Kingdom whilst deprecating the Republic of Ireland.

  • Economic Hitman

    Because the locals get to define the failed political entity where Basil Brooke at a dinner in Stormont in 1933: “Some people have told me that we need fascism. We have the Orange order. We have the B-Specials. What need have we of fascism?” and where it was said ‘Ulster (sic)is safe while we have the B Specials and Orangemen ’

    where membership or connection to the Orange Order meant access to a job and the ability to sit out the Second World War in Harlandd and Wolff.

  • Plastic Paddy

    I find all this talk about “benefiting from being part of wider relationships” and “a colourful mix of traditions” from a member of the Euro-skeptic UUP fairly ridiculous.

    You want to “commit to a better world without denigrating those native virtues and talents”? Be an Irishman – and a European.

  • Republic of Connaught

    The United Kingdom has indeed many advantages, for people living in England, Scotland and Wales. It unifies their island under one primary government and allows the people of Great Britain to share their island peacefully and cordially. They work for the same goals, usually.

    However, United Kingdom jurisdiction in 6 North of Ireland counties while the rest of Ireland is under sovereign jurisdiction is a different matter entirely.

    Ireland isn’t as big as Britain, isn’t as multicultural. Trying to make the North of Ireland out to be the same as Britain is a nonsense. It isn’t, it’s the backward north of Ireland with two old and competing traditions who will always be at each other’s throats.

    When people talk about the many valid virtues of the United Kingdom, they are talking exclusively about life in Great Britain. Northern Ireland has been the black sheep of the UK since its inception. It isn’t part of Britain, it’s a small part of Ireland trying to cling on to Britain for the selfish reasons of a minority.

  • Seymour Major

    The Orange Order withdrew official links from the UUP in 2005 because, as they put it, many of their members were in the DUP (implying that it was better for both organisations because of a conflict of interest). However, since so many UUP MLAs and councillors members of the OO, few would suggest that intimacy between the two organisations has disappeared.

    The article also refers to an insult last year from a member of the conservative party of Northern Ireland towards McNarry and the remarks made about the OO by Owen Paterson. The earlier incident epitomises one of the main stresses caused by the UUP link up.

    As a conservative, I would not wish to pretend that the OO was never a problem for the progress of the new political force.

    I do not wish, in any way, to antagonise or insult our Orange friends when I say that their presence in positions of power is an obstacle to to the progress of cross-community politics. Those that can not accept that are in denial. So long as any political candidate is a member of an organisation which refuses admission because of their religion, it leaves a question mark, including amongst reasonably minded protestants, over that person’s ability to be fully politically open-minded. Once the question is asked, they become a liability.

    In a thread back in late November, Mick coined the phrase “decontamination of the brand”
    That is exactly what has to happen if normal politics is to come about. That quest is being led by Owen Paterson. I imagine it is being pursued vigorously, behind the scenes, by the Conservative Party and some senior UUP members. I think that is what is really upsetting McNarry.

  • Oilifear

    This is the European union, they mean? In that case, I whole-heartedly agree.

  • ABC

    To Seymour –
    If you are going to pick and choose people based on what other organisations they belong to, I assume you also plan to exclude people who are members of the AOH, the GAA, Opus Dei etc?

    The Conservatives need to embrace Northern Ireland society instead of trying to exclude the majority of people. The Orange Order is an integral part of society in Northern Ireland. If the Conservatives plan to lose the support of the majority of people before they even start on this new journey, then they are more foolish than I thought. People like you and Jeff Peel might want to sit down and do some thinking before making random statements in public.

    The Union between the different parts of the United Kingdom is something to be cherished. We need responsible leadership from the Conservative and Labour parties to help us be a full part of an inclusive Union.

  • Quagmire

    “The Conservatives need to embrace Northern Ireland society instead of trying to exclude the majority of people.”Posted by ABC on Jan 20, 2009 @ 11:20 PM

    The majority of people living here are indifferent to the oo to say the least, unionist and nationalist. Not believe me? Just ask the shop owners in Belfast City centre during the 12th. Indeed Belfast is like a ghost town. Most people bugger off to Donegal and the likes to escape the loyalist neanderthals who run around the town urinating on the streets, drinking their blue wkd and burning tyres all in the name of “our culture”. Sad really.

  • Seymour Major

    ABC,

    Firstly, neither I nor most other Conservatives have anything against organgemen. Nobody suggested they were being excluded. Certainly not me. On the contrary, they are welcome to join our party.

    Selection of candidates is a different matter. The political reality is that in Northern Ireland, a candidate from the OO is highly unlikely to attract significant numbers of votes from Catholics. By the way, a large number of OO people do actually realise that as well.

    The UUP wanted normal politics before the link up with the conservatives. They were never going to be able to succeed with so many candidates from the OO. They can not have it both ways. They either have to accept new blood as candidates or this project will fail and the UUP will fade into oblivion.

  • Greenflag

    greagoir o’frainclin,

    ‘Didn’t Dave Trimble say something similar a few years ago championing the ‘multi-cultural’ etc’

    Indeed that was during his ‘fish and chips ‘ cultural period . Shortly after he donned the ermine and decided that ‘opera ‘ was more ‘British’ . Now if only Gilbert & Sullivan were around they would have no end of material for ‘comic ‘ operas judging from the antics of some of our Unionist neighbours as they gyrate their political and religious philosophies by sharing power with RC’s while at the same time drumming their RC neighbours deaf for several months of the year 🙁

  • Greenflag

    plastic pat ,

    ‘You want to “commit to a better world without denigrating those native virtues and talents”? Be an Irishman – and a European.’

    Isn’t being British also being European ?

    Anyway your scurrilous non respectful remark to our Unionist neighours reminds me of the Election rally in a public place some years ago when the Unionist(Orange Order) candidate got up on the platform and stated so that all could not fail to hear him

    ‘Let me tell you I was born British , I live British and I will die British ‘

    Before he could utter another word a heckler from the back was heard to shout

    ‘ Have yiz no ambition then ‘?

  • darth rumsfeld

    “The majority of people living here are indifferent to the oo to say the least, unionist and nationalist. Not believe me?”

    Of course we believe you, and we’d be a lot happier if more people were indifferent, as opposed to burning our halls or blocking our parades. Y’see, indifference is actually tolerance. And since the majority of people are not overly religious the tolernace should increase-right?

    “Just ask the shop owners in Belfast City centre during the 12th. Indeed Belfast is like a ghost town.”
    Just ask the shopkeepers in Washington yesterday if they lost a pound or two. Or the shopkeepers at Notting Hill during the carnival. It’s not unknown for Dublin shops to shut on St Patrick’s Day. But , hey, there’a always the following day to get caught up

    “Most people bugger off to Donegal and the likes to escape the loyalist neanderthals who run around the town urinating on the streets, drinking their blue wkd and burning tyres all in the name of “our culture”.”
    well actually most people take their summer holidays in the summer, and there are probably many more pressing reasons than the 12th when they sit down at Christmas with their Thomas Cook brochures.

    I do appreciate that the working classes can be a tad rowdy for a sensitive soul like you. Except I suspect that even if they were all down at Castle Ward leaving their empty bottles of Veuve Cliquot on thre grass, or queuing for the portaloos you’d find excuses- until of course you realised that it was “themmuns”. Which is your real, ill-disguised point.
    It is not unknown for crowds of garishly clad culchies to take over the vicinity of Croke Park on All Ireland day, drinking in the streets, not washing their hands after using the urinals, singing jolly songs and engaging in banter that would not be appreciated at the Shelbourne. When they hold my car up I smile long sufferingly. It sure ain’t my culture, but it’s someone’s.

    “Sad really.” Indeed you are

  • Plastic Paddy

    Isn’t being British also being European ?

    I’ve got twenty euro pounds in my pocket that says our fellow Europeans would consider the UK a fairly reluctant partner. Oh wait . . .

    You’re right of course, greenflag, I was a bit scurrilous (good word that).