The Republican movement faces its own harsh reality…

Contract the experience of northern Nationalism over the last forty years to a single word, and it would be ‘separation’. By and large they have lived separate lives. Separate from our neighbours, by school, sport, preferred language and by large scale segregated living. And, often most painfully of all, separate from an independent state to which most would much prefer to belong. In debates on Slugger some nationalists give the impression of living in an idealised parallel universe where political unification is as certain as Darwin’s theory of evolution. Philip Johnson in the Telegraph notes the reality facing the Republican movement is a great deal harsher than that:

For the republicans it means supporting the police in their work; appreciating that the British army is entitled to have a peacetime garrison in the province and to guard it effectively; and to allow the PSNI to rebuild its intelligence network which was dismantled when the RUC Special Branch was wound up. It was the paucity of intelligence on the dissidents that forced Sir Hugh to call in the Army’s Special Reconnaissance Unit to help out.

What is being seen now are the first worrying signs of a deeper split in the republican movement over the tactics adopted by Adams and McGuinness. They thought that by agreeing an accommodation with the British in Northern Ireland, they would make political inroads in the Republic and thereby achieve their goal of a united Ireland through the ballot box rather than the bullet.

But things have not worked out the way they wanted. Sinn Fein was humiliated in the 2007 general election in the Republic, derailing Mr Adams’s “all-Ireland” political strategy. The protest vote in the South is being picked up by the Labour Party rather than Sinn Fein and this trend will continue as the recession deepens. There seems to be little appetite in the south for the ideology of Sinn Fein and membership of the EU has rendered unification of Ireland a redundant aspiration.

Worth noting the Telegraph’s nice new Northern Ireland webpage, complete with a too-short blogroll

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  • percy

    Mick
    You’ve an annoying habit of quoting english journalists.
    Are they some sort of authority in your mind about affairs in the North.
    A contrast to the worn-out “obvious tripe” in your leader ( loss? ) would be this:

    A corner has been turned..

    which outlines exactly what’s going on, and what the people here in the communities feel and care about, vis-a-vis the challenges facing SF.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Mick,

    this is quite a poorly argued piece by a journalist (and a newpaper) which has struggled to come to terms with the Peace Proces and the GFA. Today’s headline was a shocker even by it’s own ideological standards “Adams Fans the Flames”

    Yesterday, he remarked “the peace process gave the impression that violence and political obduracy could be rewarded.”

    Specifically, his remark above “What is being seen now are the first worrying signs of a deeper split in the republican movement over the tactics adopted by Adams and McGuinness” is just plonked in the middle of his article but he offers no support for this – 2 shootings do not a “deeper split” make – and there is NO evidence that these shootings will do anything other than make most Nationlaists/Republicans believe that the only way is the way that Adams has chosen.

    If you are recommending the Telegraph to anyone hopefully they will be aware that this is a paper (with excellent sports and business coverage) that opposed most of what we have as part of the peace process and is still struggling to come to terms with the new dispensation in Norn Iron and whose ideological anti-Republicanism has been debunked.

  • dewi

    A strange thesis Mick “and membership of the EU has rendered reunification of Ireland a redundant aspiration”
    Precisely the opposite I suggest.

  • Rory (South Derry)

    All

    Micks Quote:-
    “What is being seen now are the first worrying signs of a deeper split in the republican movement over the tactics adopted by Adams and McGuinness. They thought that by agreeing an accommodation with the British in Northern Ireland, they would make political inroads in the Republic and thereby achieve their goal of a united Ireland through the ballot box rather than the bullet”.

    Heres the facts as I see it:-

    (1). The Provisonal Leadership insist that they can achieve a United Ireland through the GFA and the later St Andrews Helpings

    This though possibly well intentioned at the time copperfastens partition and now the obvious reality has hit home and the ballotbox is on fire

    (2). A shared destiny for all the people of the
    North of Ireland

    The Provisionals are DUPs lackies in a farce of a Northern Administration and will always be fetoed by thoughtless Unionists who care not a ounce about Republican aspirations

    (3). The Road to Peace through the Good Friday agreement that the PSF Leadership signed in 1998 has brought peace.

    Well no one has died until now but the republican Goal of uniting Protestant & Catholic in a Socialist Democratic Republic has gone back 800 years in possible achievement.

    A terrible beauty is being born out of Sinn Feins failures and Lies

  • RG Cuan

    Republicanism/Nationalism is hardly more separated than any other political ideal.

    The vast majority of those in the north who support Irish re-unity believe in politics to achieve it. It’s a longterm process. It’s about nation-building. Something obviously those behind the recent attacks cannot comprehend.

  • Oilifear

    I admit was going nodding until I hit “membership of the EU has rendered reunification of Ireland a redundant aspiration”. That woke me up (although it does change the ground and it’s meaning substantially).

    “Due democratic process in the major part of Ireland revealed disinterest in reunification under the Republic.”

    And there was me thinking 94% of southern voters had stated that it was “the firm will of the Irish Nation, in harmony and friendship, to unite all the people who share the territory of the island of Ireland … .” (Art. 2 of the Bunreacht). Clearly “firm will” translates as “disinterst” when it crosses water.

    “… the *Peace Process* IS appeasement?”

    For those will long enough memories, *Northern Ireland* IS appeasment.

    But not if you read the BBC website, where the Q&A section is about as confused about Ireland/Northern Ireland/that-place-over-there as it’s readers must be when the leave:

    “Northern Ireland was formed in 1921 after its population disagreed about whether to become part of Britain or part of Ireland.

    “Broadly the places that had a majority in favour of the union with Britain would form the body of Northern Ireland, which was then included in the UK.”

  • ‘In debates on Slugger some nationalists give the impression of living in an idealised parallel universe where political unification is as certain as Darwin’s theory of evolution.’

    Oh really? Who? And when?

    And as for this staggering piece of hypocrisy:

    ‘appreciating that the British army is entitled to have a peacetime garrison in the province and to guard it effectively’.

    Those soldiers (who did NOT deserve to die, let’s be clear about this) were on their way to Afghanistan to prop up the corrupt Karzai government for reasons that had nothing to do with democracy and everything to do with American foreign policy. Britain is not ‘entitled’ to have any ‘garrisons’ anywhere, any more than the US is. Apart from the obvious ones on English soil, their reasons are rarely anything to do with the stated goals of the ironically named ministory of defence, and far more to do with projecting ‘Western’ power. Condemn terrorism if you wish, call the CIRA murders if you want but let’s not live in ….what phrase was it?….oh yes I recall….’an idealised parallel universe’ where the British state is in some way a benevolent phenemenon.

  • Mick Fealty

    Sammy,

    Now come on; I could have thrown Simon Heffer at you! You’ve been commenting here (fairly pleasantly for the most part) for a couple of years now. How many of your assertions bit the dust without the least show of evidence? Why would you expect everyone whose opinion you disagree with be expected to show theirs?

    percy,

    You have a problem with Englishmen expressing an opinion on Northern Ireland? I’m not listening. You have a problem with an opinion expressed by an Englishman on Northern Ireland I am all ears!

    Now please lads, back to porridge!

  • Mick Fealty
  • Henry94

    Yet another thread in Slugger’s pile-on against Sinn Fein.

    It was the paucity of intelligence on the dissidents that forced Sir Hugh to call in the Army’s Special Reconnaissance Unit to help out.

    A far more effective way of dealing with the problem would have been for the DUP to have had the balls to accept the devolution of policing and bring nationalist support for policing on to a new level.

    Slugger wore the Orange jersey on that one and did nothing but kiss the DUP’s arse on the issue.

    How many of the British specialist forces would be worth a nationalist community not just accepting policing but actively supporting their police force with a genuine sense of ownership?

    In whose parallel universe is the former a better bet?

    Separate from our neighbours, by school, sport, preferred language and by large scale segregated living.

    Has somebody mentioned this separation to the current all-Ireland champions? Who are the people separating themselves here? Not the nationalists. Our culture is step with the rest of the island while their 1950’s version of provincial Britishness makes unionism an alien laughing stock in modern Britain.
    the

  • Mick Fealty

    Hidari,

    Sovereignty is a pretty harsh and uncompromising concept. The British are entitled to station their troops wherever the law of the land entitles them to do it; until such times as sovereignty changes; at which point they will not.

    That is the world we live in. You do not have to like it recognise it. The real debate within Republicanism should be how do you change it. SF decided after twenty five – thirty year conflict with British armed forces that democratic means would be more productive. These guys clearly think they are wrong.

    In the meantime sovereignty in Northern Ireland stays firmly with the UK (no matter where you get your passport from). There is no easy way to change that status. And no one thing, like the EU is going to make it easier or worse in and of itself. I don’t know what will bring it about. But killing cops and policemen did not work the first time round. And telling everyone you have a strategy without ever demonstrating just how that might work in practice is unlikely to either.

  • Dave

    The core of the chicanery is that they didn’t have any idea of the fundamental principles that underpin sovereign states, self-determination, nations, nation-states, ect, and that were always in play, so that left them wide open to being led in a direction that was determined by others. It isn’t a case that people determine their own destiny but, rather that their destiny is determined of their behalf by the hidden apparatus of the State and then they are led in that direction.

    From the British State’s perspective, a political challenge was made by an external State to a part of its sovereign territory and a violent challenge was also made by a plethora of non-state actors, so its primary concern was to remove that claim and to neutralise those anti-state actors. That meant that the driving dynamic behind the ‘peace process’ was to ensure that the legitimacy of British sovereignty was no longer contested. As Margaret Thatcher put it, they “should be led to support or at least acquiesce in the constitutional framework of the State.” That is mission accomplished for those who are tasked with defending the realm.

    So, the northern nationalists weren’t going anywhere until they accepted that Ulster is rightfully British. And then, of course, they aren’t going anywhere, either. Now that they have conceded to a fundamental demand that was made of them by the British State since partition – conceding that they have no right to national self-determination as part of the Irish nation but instead have a downgraded aspiration that is legitimately subject to the veto of another nation and its supporting state – they have no moral or legal basis from which to claim that they are deprived of their birthright to live within an Irish nation-state. So, the act of national self-determination that now applies to them is as a part of the engineered national identity of Northern Irish.

    All nations, with the exception of a very small number of disenfranchised stateless nations, have nation-states. In international law it is declared under Article 1 of the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” So, the Nation exists before the State, but with Northern Ireland, the State existed before the Nation. No nation has a legitimate right to two separate states under international law. That leaves the British in the position of having to engineer the nation to fit the state.

    Because Northern Ireland is under British sovereignty, accepting the legitimacy of that unavoidably means accepting the legitimacy of all that is British and of all that the British government impose upon them (it is their sovereign state, after all), so that will require that the new national identity is indoctrinated with a healthy patriotism for all that is British. That is occurring anyway, but it is being done in incremental stages toward an ultimate aim that is not determined by them and that they are not permitted to be informed about lest they turn away from their imposed destination while they still can. Step-by-step leads them their without giving them the right to know where they are going. Now you could tout that as “leadership” but I call it an utter perversion of democracy and a complete violation of the principle of self-determination.

    It’s a dead end as far as Irish unity is concerned because it assumes that the citizens of the Republic will also agree to live under British sovereignty in a Redmondite zone. They won’t, of course, having no need to and they would then see their northern counterparts demands as a direct threat to their national security, attempting to subvert their hard-won independence in service of the British state simply because they figure they’d be better off in an Ireland that was united under the same political conditions that exist in NI where they would form a majority rather than the infamous minority. If this process was attempted in a couple of decades hence when the Northern Irish are a proud British nation, then it would convert that nation into one that was despised by the Irish nation.

    Aspirations, unlike rights, do not impose any moral or legal obligation on others, so agreeing that another nation holds a legitimate veto over them means that they now have to convince the citizens of the Republic that unity is in their bests interest and not simply something that northern nationalists (and the soon-to-be Northern Irish) consider to be in their own exclusive and selfish interest. You can’t cry that you are deprived of your ‘right’ to an Irish nation-state when you have declared that you have no such right and neither (you wish) do the citizens of the Republic.

  • Dave

    [b]Contined[/b]

    There is a great article from Brendan O’Neill today in SpikedM/a> where he concludes with:

    [i]”If the recent attacks confirm (once again) the death of Irish republicanism, and its replacement by physical-force disgruntlement, then the reaction to the attacks expose a powerful, existential sense of insecurity amongst the British elite. The fear that the peace process might be shattered by relatively minor acts of violence, and that Northern Ireland could be plunged into the past, speaks to official uncertainty and political fragility. More broadly it reveals an instinctive recognition amongst the powers-that-be that the institutions of the peace process – the Good Friday Agreement, the permanently crisis-ridden Northern Ireland Assembly, the replacement of dead political movements by the unconvincing pieties of respect and diversity – are flimsy and lacking in enthusiastic public support. It is not the strength of the tiny RIRA or CIRA that makes sections of the elite fret about a new era of ‘chaos and anarchy’, but rather their own crisis of legitimacy and the institutional weakness of the post-1994 set-up in Northern Ireland.

    For those of us who, between 1969 and 1994, supported the demand for British withdrawal from Northern Ireland and self-determination for the Irish people, the violence of the IRA was not something glamorous or sexy. The killing of British soldiers was not something to cheer or get excited about. Rather, some of us recognised that Irish republican communities saw little choice but to use force as part of their political struggle, in the face of the denial of their civil rights, the introduction of internment without trial, the Bloody Sunday massacre, the presence of 30,000 British soldiers and paramilitary police, and so on. What we supported was, not the tactics, but the democratic content of their anti-imperialist struggle for a united Ireland. Today there is no political struggle, no national movement, just splinter groups that shoot soldiers and pizza delivery boys. It is purposeless terrorism.”[/i]

  • picador

    What is being seen now are the first worrying signs of a deeper split in the republican movement over the tactics adopted by Adams and McGuinness.

    Not a reader of The Blanket then?

  • Oilifear

    Dave, the only logical conclusion to billiard-ball thinking like that is to go out and shoot a policeman, a clutch of soldiers and, sure, why not throw in two pizza delivery men in while your at it (“quislings”, no doubt, in your mind).

    It’s simple-minded drivel driven by a desire to explain at the cost of understanding. Those of us with an interest in the Irish nation are not interested in killing Irishmen.

  • conor

    mcguinness and adams are a disgrace too republiucanism. i am very depressed by the whole sorry episode. de valera lives on.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Henry:

    A far more effective way of dealing with the problem would have been for the DUP to have had the balls to accept the devolution of policing and bring nationalist support for policing on to a new level.

    Henry, this is utterly daft.

    I agree that devolution of policing and justice powers needs to happen as soon as possible. I agree that it is an essential part of the process and is key to ensuring there is buy-in across the political spectrum.

    However the idea that this will somehow immediately lead to a situation where there are no dissidents in the short or medium term, or that it would have prevented these attacks, strikes me as completely off the wall. All it takes to wage war for Ireland is two or three men sitting around a table with a gun. Devolution of policing and justice powers won’t completely eliminate the idea of violent resistance. We all need to be realistic about that. It will take generations.

    Secondly, it is not likely that the PSNI will ever have the technical capacity to deal with bombs. That’s always been the role of the army, and always will be. The same applies in the Irish republic. Now, perhaps there are things that can be done by way of cross-border co-operation between the British and Irish military. That’s something we need to explore.

    Slugger wore the Orange jersey on that one and did nothing but kiss the DUP’s arse on the issue.

    If you’re going to use the argument that Sinn Fein should be supported by the unionists to help them make the case, then why can’t we use the argument that Sinn Fein should have supported Trimble, and decommissioned earlier in order to underpin his position ? If they had, perhaps we might have gotten there sooner.

  • clonakilty

    Rory
    Exactly. With every day that passes the S.F. leadership is shoring up partition..
    R.G. Cuan
    That sounds like it would be lovely but you are short on explanations, even simple ones like roughly how long is long term? What do I do in the meantime, an Irish Republican living under British rule against my will? Does that make me another ‘traitor’ in McGuinness’s world I wonder?

  • Comrade Stalin

    What do I do in the meantime, an Irish Republican living under British rule against my will?

    Like a communist living in the former East Germany, you have to come to terms with the fact that (a) you lost, (b) the circumstances that were present at the beginning of the “war” no longer applied by the time we reached the end of it, and (c) it’s time to get on with the rest of your life.

  • RG Cuan

    Clonakilty

    I guess you do whatever you can. Raise the profile of the campaign for re-unity; sell the idea to everybody on the island; publicise your ideals; organise/take part in high-profile conferences. Create a new political platform if you want. SF are doing their bit but a lot more is obviously needed.

    What’s not needed is violence.

  • clonakilty

    Comrade Stalin

    “You lost…” no. still on my feet. Circumstances may have changed but the problems haven’t .I still believe the British government has no right to control over me or what’s mine no matter what the new friend from Derry of Orde and Robinson say. If McGuinness ever comes across a bit of my ground accompanied by a Brit cop or soldier he better look out for the pitchfork.
    R.G. I have been working for a United Ireland all my life, have no intention of stopping and that is why I cannot have anything to do with the partitionist nonsense of F.S. not to speak of the SDLP.

  • ??

    And there was me thinking 94% of southern voters had stated that it was “the firm will of the Irish Nation, in harmony and friendship, to unite all the people who share the territory of the island of Ireland … .”

    No only 54% of voters actually voted so closer to 5o% of voters actually believe in that.

  • Henry94

    Comrade Stalin

    However the idea that this will somehow immediately lead to a situation where there are no dissidents in the short or medium term, or that it would have prevented these attacks, strikes me as completely off the wall.

    I am putting it forward as a far better bet than deploying special forces. Neither would eliminate dissidents completely but deploying British troops would certainly increase support for them and devolving policing would certainly decrease it.

    why can’t we use the argument that Sinn Fein should have supported Trimble, and decommissioned earlier in order to underpin his position ?

    You can but even if we all agreed that a mistake was made then it doesn’t mean we have to make another one now. The only reason for not devolving policing is that the DUP don’t see why they should bother trying to sell it to their voters. they didn’t dee what was in it for them.

    For some people it was an irresistible opportunity to stick it to Sinn Fein. You can see the same people now insisting on Orde’s right to deploy special forces. Again brainless Sinn Fein baiting is the number one priority.

    The Real IRA hope the special forces are deployed. They hope policing and justice are not devolved.

  • Oilifear

    “Like a communist living in the former East Germany…”

    I didn’t know that East Germany capitalists eventually acquiesced to sharing power with East German communists. Or it they had agreed to share policies with communist South Germany. I didn’t know that the Great German Chancellor had said that Great Germany has no selfish, strategic or economic interest in East Germany. Or that Great Germany had agreed to the immediate secession of East Germany to form an independent (communist?) South-East Germany should that be the wish of East Germans.

    I probably didn’t hear any of this because it’s a crap analogy.

    “(a) you lost”

    (-1) + (+1) = ?

  • picador

    What do I do in the meantime, an Irish Republican living under British rule against my will?

    Divert your energies into the cultural sphere.

    Value being Irish for positive reasons and not just because you hate the British.

  • Oilifear

    ??

    “… only 54% of voters actually voted so closer to 5o% of voters actually believe in that.”

    54% of the electorate voted on the day. 94% of those that voted voted for the amendment. Those that didn’t vote, didn’t vote.

    If you believe that potential voters of one persuasion were prevented from exercising their franchise, please tell me how. If you believe that there is evidence of “self-selection” among potential voters that caused potential voters one persuasion to choose not to exercise their franchise, please tell me why.

    To my eyes (and I think many other’s too), 94%, with no evidence of vote rigging, is quite convincing.

  • Dr Raymond Cocteau

    1. “We deny the right of the people to do wrong” – is that the quote

  • Chris Donnelly

    Mick
    Perhaps you could do with turning that mirror around, like so….

    Contract the experience of northern Unionism over the last (eighty) years to a single word, and it would be ‘separation’. By and large they have lived separate lives. Separate from our neighbours, by school, sport, preferred culture and by large scale segregated living. And, often most painfully of all, separate from a neighbouring state to which most would much prefer to belong to in a de facto as well as de jure sense. In debates on Slugger some unionists give the impression of living in an idealised parallel universe where political integration with Britain is as certain as the theory of Creation.

  • Modernist

    I echo those sentiments Chris

  • Objectivist

    Speaking as a asoutherner, one nonsequitur has to be nailed:
    The fact that the ROI is generally negative towards SF does *not* mean it is negative towards a UI.

  • Well no one has died until now but the republican Goal of uniting Protestant & Catholic in a Socialist Democratic Republic has gone back 800 years in possible achievement.

    Slugger is such a wonderful teacher of history sometimes. I wasn’t aware that democratic socialism had been a flourishing ideology in Ireland in the 13th Century. I always knew that Marx was only a plagiarist.

    Or did I misread you, and you’re actually meaning that Adams and McGuiness have put a united Ireland off the agenda until the 2800s?

  • Petridish

    @clonakilty

    That sounds like it would be lovely but you are short on explanations, even simple ones like roughly how long is long term? What do I do in the meantime, an Irish Republican living under British rule against my will? Does that make me another ‘traitor’ in McGuinness’s world I wonder?

    Let me put it this way. If you give the moral right to these people to kill Polish pizza delivery men and soldiers, despite the 1998 referendum, if ever 50%+1 for unity (or whatever) comes you give me the moral right, living under Dublin rule against my will as I will be, to murder Polish pizza delivery men, Irish gardai, or plot to assassinate Mary McAleese. You would be left defenceless with no argument against what I was doing. Your argument would be no basis for creating a successful united Ireland, without indefensible simple ethnic supremacism it is a reductio ad absurdem. It would fall apart.

  • Petridish

    Or to put it in another way, if all it takes to legitimise murder is living under a state against your will, then no legitimate united Ireland is possible, because that is what it’s supporters are asking to be inflicted on others, and people have equal human rights.

    The only recourse is democracy, that you must accept what you don’t like if it is negotiated by representatives and voted upon. The people of Ireland spoke on the same day. They said that NI would be in the UK until a majority vote otherwise. The legitimacy of that agreement, should such a vote occur, RESTS ON it’s maintenance before it may occur.

    Law, negotiation, treaty, votes. That’s it’s legitimacy.

    If it’s illegitimacy is that people are living in a state against their will then any united Ireland resulting from it, or even any united Ireland that is in the least bit attainable in theory, must be illegitimate also.

    You want a united Ireland? Then you must accept that people can be rightfully living in a state against their will, because of negotiation, compromise and treaty. Are there even any sizable states without that?

  • Peter Fyfe

    Clonakilty,

    What do I do in the meantime, an Irish Republican living under British rule against my will? Does that make me another ‘traitor’ in McGuinness’s world I wonder?

    Posted by clonakilty on Mar 10, 2009 @ 08:35 PM

    The answer is simple, as an irish republican you must abide by the overwhelming opinion of the irish people and accept the democratic process. This is in support of the GFA, did you miss that? The fact you ask what an irish republican should do suggests you have no understanding of the term.

  • Oilifear

    Perridish, I hear the sound of a hammer hitting a nail on the head.

    Were life for you genuinely intolerable under Dublin rule (e.g. were you denied employment, were civil rights applied inequitably, were you left powerless by virtue systematic circumstance, were every other route exhausted), resort to violence would be understandable, arguable and even, maybe, defensible.

    That is what is different now. There is no just cause.

  • kensei

    Mick

    Sovereignty is a pretty harsh and uncompromising concept. The British are entitled to station their troops wherever the law of the land entitles them to do it; until such times as sovereignty changes; at which point they will not.

    Yea and no. They are “entitled” but it can be made politically difficult for them to do so. The recent parade in Belfast went through at fairly big expense, but I suspect there is little appetite for another go at stoking tensions and the bad tempered response.

    Similarly, while sovereignty dictates that the British can deploy troops anywhere they want here, political action can make it difficult for them to do so; NI is not England and not likely to be anytime soon.

    So while, yes the debate should be on how to change the wider constitutional situation, it doesn’t rule out dealing with some of the other issues. Play chess or go and yes, you think of the entire board, but also smaller battles within.

    And while we’re here:

    But things have not worked out the way they wanted. Sinn Fein was humiliated in the 2007 general election in the Republic, derailing Mr Adams’s “all-Ireland” political strategy

    No they weren’t “humilated”, and any damage was largely self inflicted through stoking expectations. We have done this. Neither is the All Ireland strategy dead, and would still not dead even if SF were in a worse condition in the South than they are already. It’s a very long game. It’s another shit article on SF.

  • ed

    Mick you are no more a republican then you are a nationalist, being a catholic from nIreland does not automatically confer upon you those titles then being Canadian makes me an Eskimo

    you are simply a self loathing catholic englishman with a funny accent

  • ??

    To my eyes (and I think many other’s too), 94%, with no evidence of vote rigging, is quite convincing.
    Posted by Oilifear on Mar 10, 2009 @ 10:02 PM

    if you find 94% of 56% of the electorate convincing then thats up to you. The reality is that almost half the irish electorate couldnt even be bothered to vote for the amendments. Harldy an overwhelming endorsement in anyones book.

  • Henry94

    If you read election results that way you are effectively adding non-voters to the anti-camp which is not justified. If anything they should be added to the Yes camp because polls showed a majority for the Agreement and they did not register an objection.

    It has been the experience of referendums that the No voters are more motivated.

    Subsequent elections have demonstrated no support for the anti-Agreement position. In fact those who oppose have been so afraid of the inevitable humiliation that they have refused to even run in any southern election.

    They don’t buy your line so there’s no point is trying to sell it to the rest of us.

  • Paul

    ??

    Only votes cast count so 94% is a very convincing number

    If you choose not to speak then you have no say such is the back bone of democracy

  • Now come on; I could have thrown Simon Heffer at you!

    I’ve read that article. It is really embarassing, bitter, juvenile, sub-Allister tripe. A united Ireland is just around the corner and it’s all Peter Robinson’s fault.

    I’d never link to anyone who used the word ‘fenian’ with such casual abandon.

    The English right, as trolled out in the press over the past few days, are laden with sad, bitter hacks lusting for war and with nothing for contempt towards Ireland and the irish.

  • Mac Thoirdealbhaigh

    Today we have 3 men lying dead with families grieving…mother’s sons, brothers and fathers. We have to ask the question…why? Surely prevention is better than a ‘cure’? The ‘peace process’ is beginning to ‘crack at the seams’ for a variety of reasons. The main proponents of peaceful republicanism are being seen as increasingly corrupt (at best) and outright ‘machiavellian’ at worst. Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement personnel attached to these ‘peaceful republicans’ have murdered dozens within their own ‘constituency’. These murders have been having a cumulative effect within the Nationalist community. This ‘culmination’ in tandem with what is seen as ‘financial aggrandizement’ by a multitude of ‘peaceful republican’ personnel in key ‘governmental’ (as well as in ALL employment sectors i.e ‘jobs for the boys’) has/is causing widespread disquiet and anger within the sections of the Nationalist community that are not recipient to this political patronage. ‘Forceful republicanism’ is the obvious ‘outlet’ to many young, whose families may have long-standing republican tradition, yet are, for reasons unbeknown, disenfranchised from the whole process.

  • borderline

    Straight from the ‘Might is Right’ school of political philosophy Mr Fealty declares..”The British are entitled to station their troops wherever the law of the land entitles them to do it;”

    Their laws, Mick, in my land. They would have claimed the same thing, and no doubt you would have acted the slíomadóir in supporting them, if we were talking about Dublin in 1921.

    If they, and you, want to get pushy about it, I reckon I am entitled to take pot-shots at their stationed troops in my land.

    So let’s not get pushy.

  • Gander

    “If they, and you, want to get pushy about it, I reckon I am entitled to take pot-shots at their stationed troops in my land.”
    The “land” ain’t yours either chief – and if you want to start taking “potshots” at “the enemy” – don’t go yapping if and when “they” take “potshots” back at you and yours……

  • John East Belfast

    Perhaps I am crediting the dissidents with too much thinking but me thinks it is no coincidence that they have upped their campaign at the same time as the demise of the Celtic Tiger.

    SF strategy has been that a combination of demographics and 26 County prosperity would convince the majority of Catholics and a sizeable number of Protestants that the end of the Union if not something to be welcomed it was not something to be feared.

    The process was inevitable.

    However the Celtic Tiger has been a myth founded on cheap credit, inflated asset prices and FDI attracted by now unsustainable low taxation.

    The ROI is going to have to go back to the drawing board on how to make a 3m population country without natural resources on the edge of Europe an economic success.

    The 26 County citisens face years of higher taxes and financial hardship and this will not go unnoticed north of the border. UK Taxes will rise too of course but I would rather share the burden with 60m citisens in a historical finacial power like the UK than a banana republic.

    Basically this puts back Irish unity for the forseeable future and any dissident republican – in their twisted minds – have no other options than militarism.

  • John East Belfast

    What a pity, when you were so close to making a good point, that you had to spoil it with the unnecessary and insulting description of the south as “a banana republic“.

    I showed that behind your point lay just prejudice, not any deeper analysis. And thus ruined your post. Silly.

  • It showed … , I mean, of course.

  • Mac Thoirdealbhaigh

    In resonse to “Pete Fyfe” (This is in support of the GFA, did you miss that? The fact you ask what an irish republican should do suggests you have no understanding of the term. ) The GFA was however re-negotiated at St.Andrews and this ‘re-appraisal’ was not put to a joint referenda across the island.

  • Mac Thoirdealbhaigh

    response…of course.

  • borderline

    Gander,

    I won’t.

  • John East Belfast

    Horseman

    I think you are way too sensitive over the matter and I wasnt trying to offend but to emphasise a point.

    It is not beyond the realms of possibility that the ROI ends up bankrupt and in the eyes of future unionists (regardless of religion) they would be out of their minds to hitch their pensions and long term prosperity to such an entity.

    Anyhow your posts are usually not behind the door with the odd below the belt jibe at unionism so i think you doth protest a little too much.

    However forget that comment then and advise if you think that such thinking would cross the minds of dissidents – I am not even an Irish republican so I cant fathom how they think ?

  • picador

    Well the economic meltdown might leave a few of the dissidents with more time on their hands, which could be destabilising.

    But I don’t think that the economic downturn will suddenly cause people to ditch abandon non-violence. The dissidents reject the reject the GFA. They reject notion that given time unity can come about peaceably. They want total victory and they want it sooner rather than later. They are utter fantasists.

  • John East Belfast,

    … your posts are usually not behind the door with the odd below the belt jibe at unionism ..

    I think -isms are valid targets for subjective remarks. Most -isms are riddled with contradictions that need to be pointed out. But using a deliberately derogatory term to describe a whole state, without any objective attempts to justify the remark, seems to be ‘ad hominem’ writ large.

    Curiously enough, though, you are happy to hitch your wagon to the UK (a “banana monarchy” maybe?) which is in no better state than the south. And lets not get into the fruitiness of NI’s economy – it couldn’t survive in the wild at all!

    I presume, of course, that when the south’s economy was doing very well, you were advocating reunification? If not, why not (by your logic)?

  • John East Belfast

    Horseman

    I have never advocated separatism from the UK.

    When the Celtic Tiger was good it was still no better than the economic prosperity of the UK of which NI was a central part.

    The UK economy has a future but the same cannot be said of the ROI who are going to have to totally re-think their whole model.

    Anyhow the point I was making was that the plan of Moderate republicanism (if that is what SF are)is on the rocks. An end of the Union as a result of a majority vote by its citisens to share the tax burdeen and pension deficit of its neighbour is a pipe dream.

    If some dissidents see it that way then in their eyes they only have one option.

    SF/PIRA opted for the current course for one of two reasons – ie they were ultimately defeated or they thought they had a better plan.

    If it was the latter then we have something to worry about.

  • Mac Thoirdealbhaigh

    i think the line “he British army is entitled to have a peacetime garrison in the province and to guard it effectively” throws up a big flag in relation to the whole ‘peace process’. The recent Military parade in Belfast city centre was seen by many within the Nationalist community (republican or otherwise) as being totally counter to the principles of the GFA. “The North” was meant to be completely ‘de-militarised’ and whoever gave permission for this parade to go ahead was either silly or guilty of blatant ‘triumphalism’ (in the style of the Orang Order of old! A big mistake (in my humble opinion). Also most Republicans (or Nationalists) have huge difficulties with the U.S/British/Israeli ‘tri-partite’ alliance and its terrible oppression against the Palestinians (in particular) and other Muslim constituencies.

  • dewi

    “economic prosperity of the UK of which NI was a central part”

    JEB – you are having a laugh.

  • PaddyReilly

    An end of the Union as a result of a majority vote by its citisens to share the tax burdeen and pension deficit of its neighbour is a pipe dream.

    A person such as myself who believes that the political future of Ulster is determined by statistical trends such as the steady fall in the Unionist vote over the last 35 years must always be on the look-out for what Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls a ‘black swan’, a totally unpredictable event which screws all these statistics up.

    In the last year we have witnessed two unforeseen events: a world economic collapse and the recent murders. Do these constitute a ‘black swan’? I’m afraid they don’t. National allegiance is based on ancestry, not logic or even economic advantage. Obviously if there are people so very unobservant as JEB who has convinced himself that the 6 counties enjoyed the same advantages as the Celtic tiger, there will also be Nationalist folk who will ignore the debt mountains and pension craters of their desired unified homeland. Indeed the supposed collapse of the Celtic tiger might even accentuate the Nationalist vote, due to numbers of 6 county “ex-pats” returning home in the temporary absence of work.

    Funny thing is, we only get Unionists coming on Slugger saying “Eeh, it’s terrible down south, thank god I’m not part of that”, just as we only seem to get Nationalists who think reunification would be beneficial.

    To some extent this strange overlooking of economic reality is justified: the thing about sectarianism is that when your sect is in power it is cushioned against the economic woes that the other side has to endure.

    The border runs through Catholic districts, not Protestant ones. Whatever economic disruption partition caused was made up for by supplying decent Unionists with jobs in the police and prison service. If the largest oilfield in the world were discovered off the coast of Kerry our trueblue Orangemen would be busy trying to formulate arguments showing that wealth does not bring happiness: certainly not amending their prejudices.

    So really it all depends on the statistical relationship of each camp to one another. Economics has no part in it: but if a tsunami were to destroy Derry City, that would be a black swan. Just how far the Unionist sun has declined in its descent over the horizon you will find out in 12 weeks or so.

  • John East Belfast

    Paddy

    The problem though for instinctive unionists and nationalists like you and me is that ultimately we are the minority.
    The vast majority – including about the third who never vote – have in their eyes greater concerns than the border.
    Take the 100,000 who appeared for the GFA vote – I think you will find they will all re-appear in a Border Pole.

    Hence I wouldnt rely on the voting patterns of Unionist & Nationalist parties in normal elections.

    In addition there are a greater proportion of Catholics are unionists than Protestants are nationalists – indeed very difficult to find the latter I have found.

    So all the hardwork in a Border Pole will be for the Separatists – and harking back to a “nation once again” mythology wont cut it for the majority of NI citisens.

    Dewi

    Yes in terms of taking a greater proportionate share of UK national wealth then that demonstrated its place in the UK.

    You see the problem with Nationalism is that because it chooses to isolate itself from all things British then they think the same is happening in unionist circles.
    It isnt
    We are fostering Business links via the CBI, Chritable links like the Princes Trust and our kids and schools are involved in the Duke of Edinburgh or Officer Training Corp. Our church organisations such as Boys Brigrade all number the Union flag among their others which come out on Remembrance days and other occasions.
    In every sense we are see ourselves as British and the 26 counties is a different world to us.

    There is no unionist osmosis towards a United Ireland going on – the Irish Language, Gaelic Sports and your blinded view of Irish history and our part in it are alien to us.

    Therefore you havent a hope in hell of convincing more than 10% of Protestants of the merits of a Separatist United Ireland in the current economic climate.
    Your challenge is to even get two thirds of Catholics.

  • PaddyReilly

    Take the 100,000 who appeared for the GFA vote – I think you will find they will all re-appear in a Border Pole. Hence I wouldnt rely on the voting patterns of Unionist & Nationalist parties in normal elections.

    You live in hope, obviously. However, the mysteriously appearing 100,000 seem to have voted for a settlement, and not followed the advice of the Orange Order to reject one, so I think you are a little optimistic in relying on them.

    Your lecture to Dewi sounds a little strange, given that he is a Welshman living in Wales! My own no doubt biaised opinion is that your view of “Britain”, with its Boy’s Brigade and Duke of Edinburgh award, is based on an idealised view from the past, rather than the present day realities.

    I think there is a tendency to assign too much importance to a border poll: though I suppose, if there is a real prospect of Unionism being defeated as a majority tendency in the 6 Counties, this is the last ditch comfort blanket on which you will inevitably fall back. It remains to be seen how long Stormont would be able to keep functioning with a Nationalist majority. It is also a worrying prospect: the authors of recent sanguinary events would be able to argue that they had the people’s mandate.

    But a comparative study of the voting returns and the census leads me to the inevitable conclusion that Catholics vote Nationalist and Protestants Unionist, the only statistically significant exception being when the voter is married to one of the other sort. In bye-gone days there was a tendency for Catholics not to vote at all, because there was no prospect of their candidate being elected, but this has diminished with the increase in their population and STV.

    There is also a tendency when one side live in areas predominantly occupied by those of the opposite tendency for them not to adopt the politics that might be expected of them. This is what causes the optimistic partisan of one side or another to imagine that the other sort are going to be on his side.

    However, changes in the pattern of population, the constituencies and the type of voting can defeat this tendency, and these changes can be sudden and unexpected, like the election of a SF MLA for South Antrim.