Adams’ international quest – whats the point?

Mack’s question, “Should the 12th of July be a bank holiday in the Republic of Ireland?” is a fascinating one, because it, to me, highlights the fallacy that Irish Nationalism has put at the centre of it’s existence in the past 100 years. It is not a bad question, nor unreasonable, but the fact that Nationalism, in this case south of the border, has not even begun to consider who Protestants and Unionists are, and why they think like they do, shows in detail the blinkered view of the world that survived Eamon de Valera. Unionists are not simply misguided Nationalists. They are a distinct group with a very different world view.

This concept has been brought into sharper perspective this week by Gerry Adams, who has embarked on a crusade for Irish unity, yet doing little more than exposing his own ignorance.The messages in his Guardian piece seem strangely hap-hazard. It is easy to assume that the target of the exercise is Londonderry rather than London. Stuck in a British system of Government, election success in the south having dried up and Irish unity as far away as ever, Adams playing the statesman in far away places, building an international coalition for Irish unity may seem like a good way of both shoring up the possibility of a wobbling northern vote, whilst also showing the southern electorate the sophisticated and respectful face of Sinn Fein. However references to the numerical realities making Unionism very much a minority in the UK polity smell strongly of a reaction to Sir Reg Empey and David Cameron’s commitment to ending that situation. Adams’ call for the UK Government to become a persuader for Irish unity may not be a new one, but it copper fastens the right of the UK Government to be a persuader for British unity, in ceding the principle the it can be anything other than a neutral arbiter. This is not a nuanced and carefully thought out campaign, it is old rhetoric perhaps designed to give Adams something to do with his time.

What is interesting is that both Adams and Chris McGimpsey in his rebuttal claim the Belfast Agreement as source material for their positions. Adams claims that the North-South elements of the agreement represent an opening od the door to unity:

Some progress has already been made. The Good Friday Agreement has put in place all-Ireland political institutions which can be enhanced and developed. It contains a legislative, peaceful and democratic mechanism to set up a new and democratic Ireland. Advancing this means reaching out to others, including those who are unionist, and engaging with them on the type of Ireland we want to create.

Whilst McGimpsey sees the principle of consent as being the key:

The difficulty that Adams faces is that under the Good Friday Agreement the Irish government gave up its territorial claim over the people and territory of Northern Ireland and accepted that a united Ireland is not a right, but can only come about once the majority of the population of Northern Ireland demands it. Northern Ireland remains within the United Kingdom and Martin McGuinness….and his Sinn Féin colleagues are helping the rest of us (DUP, UUP and SDLP) to administer British rule in Northern Ireland.

Chekov similarly highlights the Northern Ireland aspect of the Agreement:

It [the “unity” campaign]s focus is concentrated on the ‘diaspora’, those who claim Irish descent in the US and GB, rather than the electorate in Northern Ireland, which, all parties and both governments now agree, will actually determine its own constitutional future.

This raises the biggest question of all for the unity campaign – whats the point? National governments do not give up territory lightly, particularly not to another state. It risks bargaining power at international bodies, in the UK’s case it would put added pressure on the UN Security Council seat. Persuading the UK Government to actively lobby away a portion of territory, no matter how small, is unlikely in the extreme. Asking the Americans to come on board may be marginally more likely, but much less significant if it were to occur.

Unionism should not be vexed by the Sinn Fein international effort, the Belfast Agreement is the secure hinge on which Northern Ireland’s future rests. Adams’ effort is another effort in naval gazing that does not address the realities of living with unionists and is meaningful only to the nationalist electorate. But perhaps the critical point is, more fool them.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Was just wondering does todays Bord Snip Nua proposals undermine the cross border bodies to any extent? The areas they operate in seem to be some of those high up on the list for cuts, plus if these cuts are implemented the southern government wont be that interested in persueing a United Ireland for quite some time, unless there is a massive cash boost from London.
    On the other hand the proposals do bring north and south closer together in one area, the basic abandonment/reduction of county councils will make them a similar size to our new super-councils, although I get the feeling that proposal could get fudged before it through.

  • The wounded animal

    Adams is like a wounded animal, he can only bite the hand which can heal it. The open soar that is separatist Republican politics will continue to fester on the island unless the wounded animal understands there’s more to life than ‘themselves alone’. Republicans have all their civil and religious rights under UK citizenship, there’s no need for them to embrace out-dated separatist politics which discriminate against others. I repeat what Michael has already said, “doing little more than exposing his own ignorance”.

  • cavanman

    What I could equally say as an Ulsterman is that Unionism has not even begun to consider who the Southern Irish are as a group in 2009. The same outdated conceptions I hear trotted out on this site relentlessly really irritate my sense of Irishness…not by racial stereotyping but by the sheer ignorance of what drives people in Carlow, Cavan and Cork to continue living in this imperfect Republic.

    The same slop about the GAA, the Gaelic tradition and Catholicism has to be at least modulated with some sincere facts.

    1. The GAA has made huge missteps in relation to Unionism and Northern Ireland but for a sport mad 15 year old in Carlow, it’s one of the most vital and cohesive community drivers they will ever know.

    2. I’m Gaelic and the expression of that tradition has as many expressions as any group with millions of members. Always portraying it as being alien to Unionism may ring true in some quarters but it has as much chance of disappearing in the North as Unionism does. How does insulting Gaelic symbols help me in Cavan feel about accomodation with the British people on this island.

    3. The pain inflicted on the country by the Catholic Church as well as the benefits mean the typical Catholic Cork housewife will have as much criticism of their faith as Nelson McCausland. It’s almost as if the nation isn’t wrestling through the pain and fallout of the sex abuse flood. What does an additional snipe thrown from Belfast add to the mix?

    Honestly comes across to this Ulsterman as droning insularity…

  • Star Fleet

    Starfleet base, we sent you a transmission, did you receive ?

  • The wounded animal

    The GAA is the driving force of separatist Republican politics. It need to chance and embrace other cultures and just not the Irish Gaelic one.

    There was some plonker from the GAA on Nolan this morning who was complaining about English soil being used in Croke park, stating the symbolism of using English soil reflects badly on the GAA.

  • [i]The GAA is the driving force of separatist Republican politics.[/i]

    That ‘point’ is beyond ridiculous. In what way, exactly, is it the “driving force” of separatism? The President of the GAA from is now a leading light in Fine Gael – hardly militant separatists, are they? That particular bunch of ‘west Brits’ would have more in common with your average Ulster Unionist than Irish nationalist. If you’re looking for “separatist Republican politics” then I’d suggest that instead you look towards Sinn Féin, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, éirigí…

    [i]There was some plonker from the GAA on Nolan this morning who was complaining about English soil being used in Croke park, stating the symbolism of using English soil reflects badly on the GAA[/i]

    What utter drivel you spout. So the fact that one fringe lunatic purporting, as you allege, to be “from the GAA” complains about the oganisation ordering new turf from Scunthorpe means what, exactly? Are you claiming that his views represent those of the other 800,000 members of the GAA? As one of those members I hope I can coax you out of your hysterical, fragile state of mind by assuring you that I couldn’t give a damn whether or not the turf at Croker came from England or Ennis.

  • Starfleet Base

    Negative Kelvin, we did not receive.

  • *from 2003-2006

  • cavanman

    The GAA’s creation was part of an effort to retain part of the culture that was slowly waning..So to claim it is too Gaelic in it’s formation is to complain about the Orange order being too Orange..

    The GAA’s role now is obviously bigger than just Irish Gaelic but it gets back to my point..the cluelessness about its value and importance in the Republic to people who don’t give a second thought to politics (republican or otherwise)

    See how a GAA club operates in a rural part of Ireland as a force for social cohesion and youth focus …… Are you honestly of the opinion that Mayo teenager are formenting anti British feeling in their clubrooms rather than just trying to win against the other village team?

  • Dave

    Chekov is right to point out that Mr Adams is appealing to actors who have no power to act. But why is Adams doing that? Because he is stupid? Hardly. He knows full well that legitimising the Unionist Veto means that only unionists – so do not support reunification – can now enable it.

    Again, why is Adams doing that? Because, as you said, the actual audience is not the one to whom the waffle is being delivered but rather the muppets in NI who still cling with an ever-weakening grip to the delusion that Mr Adams isn’t a stooge of the British State and that, therefore, SF is delivering their agenda rather than an agenda that which was about bringing those who opposed British rule to renounce the ideological basis of their opposition and accept that British rule is legitimate – “the minority should be led to support or at least acquiesce in the constitutional framework of the state in which they live.” (Margret Thatcher)

    Mr Adams’ international audience would likely be utterly bemused by his exhortation since they would know the difference between a right and an aspiration. A right, of course, is something that you are entitled to and that imposes a moral obligation others to assist you in attaining it and not to deny it to you, whereas an aspiration does not. You have a right to vote, but you have an aspiration to own a Mercedes (if you want it, earn it). When they agreed that it was unionists who had the legitimate right to self-determination and it was nationalists who had the aspiration to it, they agreed that nationalists should be legitimately subject to the veto of another nation. Indeed, they not only legitimised the veto, they elevated it to the status of a principle, no less.

    So now that they have formally accepted that they have no right to national self-determination as members of the Irish nation, on what moral imperative can they even ask others to assist them in attaining that which they merely have an aspiration for? None whatsoever. They neutered all those internationals that supported the campaign because they were supporting what was held to be a right that was being wrongfully denied. To return to then now would be farce if it was simply propaganda aimed at domestic voters and delivered via proxy.

  • Dave

    Typo: “To return to them now would be farce if it wasn’t simply propaganda aimed at domestic voters and delivered via proxy.”

  • Glensman

    Cavanman – Nail – Head

  • Dave

    “The GAA’s role now is obviously bigger than just Irish Gaelic but it gets back to my point..the cluelessness about its value and importance in the Republic to people who don’t give a second thought to politics (republican or otherwise)”

    And what exactly is your point? That it’s okay to be culturally Irish just as long as you’re not politically Irish, i.e. as long as you don’t promote the ‘dangerous’ nationalist concept of an inviolable connection between the nation and its state? The poor old paddies would be just as happy playing GAA sports under British control of the state?

    And what if GAA supporters were not all, as you imply, unthinking drones who waste no thought on politics, what would that mean?

  • Glensman

    I think the point my Cavan friend was trying to make is that the GAA does not actively promote nationalism/republicanism; that it is a sporting code that may attract people of that hue but that the majority of GAA members/players are only thinking about the sport…

    Whatever politics members espouse can be done at their leisure, away from the organisation.

  • Dave

    And would it be wrong if it did? In actuality, it is and always has been a very strong supporter of the Irish nationalism, and rightly so. It promotes all-things Irish, from cultural life of the nation ranging from Irish dancing to Irish music and, of course, Irish sports.

  • John East Belfast

    “The single most important issue facing the people of Ireland and Britain is the achievement of Irish unity and the construction of a new relationship between Ireland and Britain based on equality.”

    LOL ! – I doubt this is even the single most important issue facing Sinn Fein at the minute.

    Afghanistan, the credit crunch, the death of the Celtic Tiger and even Swine Flu – how could anyone write such tripe – hard to get past the first paragraph.

    “three interlinked challenges facing us”

    He forgot about the fourth and most important – the economics of it – but then we know that isnt his strong point.

    “upholding the union to one of becoming a persuader for Irish unity”

    No Government is going to start persuading almost 2m of its citisens to leave – what a preposterous statement. During Adam’s murderous campaign he couldnt even achieve this and now the “conflict has ended” he has no chance – infact with the Tory Unionist alliance it is going in the opposite direction.

    “getting the Irish government to begin preparations for Irish unity”
    ie trying to project a Budget with Higher taxes and/or more borrowing ?

    “engaging with Ulster unionism on the type of Ireland we want to create”

    No thank you – my British passport is one of my greatest assets

    “It is worth noting that within the British system, unionists make up fewer than 2% of the population; they cannot hope to have any significant say in the direction of their own affairs”

    He hasnt heard of UCUNF then ?

    “This is not about some pie-in-the-sky naive discussion and aspiration,”

    This is exactly what it is

    “This is about solving one of the great unresolved and contentious issues of Britain’s colonial past.”

    Ireland was never a Colony – The Union of the people of these Isles both formally and informally pre dated any notion of a British Empire.
    He totally mis-understands the notion of Britishness whether it be represented by the Harp in the Royal Standard or the cross of St Patrick in the Union flag.
    I am not a colonist – I am an Irish man with a love and support for the Union.

    “Think back 20 years”
    he shouldnt want to go there – my 20 year view is a lot different than his

    Adams really needs to go if this is the best Irish nationalism has to offer. Almost embarrasing watching him clutching at straws

  • Secret Squirrel

    An off subject question but did anyone hear that rumour, a while back, that the GAA were going to give Kilkenny their own Croke Park and their own hurling final and just let them win anyway, and give everybody else a chance ?
    And poor old Antrim. :O(

    Our girlies won the All Ireland not so long ago, didn’t they. :o)

  • Secret Squirrel

    On the same subject, isn’t it about time Kilkenny got county colours of their own.

  • Dave

    “It is not a bad question, nor unreasonable, but the fact that Nationalism, in this case south of the border, has not even begun to consider who Protestants and Unionists are, and why they think like they do, shows in detail the blinkered view of the world that survived Eamon de Valera. Unionists are not simply misguided Nationalists. They are a distinct group with a very different world view.”

    This was a view that was promoted from a position of political expediency. It has always been a tenet of nationalism that each nation must have a right to self-determination, and this has become the cornerstone of international law. Not all nations, of course, managed to achieve a right to national self-determination, so there are many stateless nations existing in various degrees of distress. Eamon de Valera’s definition of national self-determination become that cornerstone of international law

    30 years after Eamon de Valera stated his definition of self-determination, giving it pride of place as the first article in Bunreacht na hÉireann, the United Nations copied it and gave it it pride of place as the first article in International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

    Article 1 of Bunreacht na hÉireann:
    “The Irish nation hereby affirms its inalienable, indefeasible, and sovereign right to choose its own form of Government, to determine its relations with other nations, and to develop its life, political, economic and cultural, in accordance with its own genius and traditions.”

    Article 1 of the UN’s ICCPR:
    “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.”

    The state is the means by which the nation exercises its right to self-determination. That, of course, is why the two nations in Northern Ireland still struggle for control of the state.

    The bind for de Valera was that another nation colonised part of the territory of Ireland, so the problem he faced was now do two nations share one state without cancelling out each other’s right to self-determination.

    Since the applicable international law in this area didn’t exist until after WW2, it wasn’t argued that a nation has no moral entitlement to a second state and that as those who are British already had the territory of Great Britian, they were not entitled to a part of Irish territory as their ‘national’ territory. Besides, might has always been right in this area despite the UN along with political expediencies such as other states having no desire to upset the UK. Unionists, of course, have adapted to developments in international law by inventing the reserve nation of Ulster-Scots (now with its own culture and language) just in case they ever need to use Article 1 of the UN’s ICCPR to argue that they should have their own state as a contingency of losing a reunification poll. Instead, it was argued that unionists were Irish and that as self-determination is a collective right that applied to the entire nation, they had no right as a minority to veto the will of the majority.

    Eamon de Valera knew well what common attributes beyond jus soli defines a nation, and he knew well that unionists didn’t have those common attributes. I quoted de Valera on Mack’s thread and I’ll quote him again here:

    [i]“I believe that the restoration of the national language is the surest guarantee that this nation will continue to exist. Much as I would desire to see unity — and I told you it was because of Partition I came into politics — much as I would desire to see that, which, as far as I am concerned, would be the crowning of anything I ever attempted as far as practical political action was concerned, I would not grasp even that at the cost of losing the opportunity of restoring the language. Therefore, I would not pay that price.

    There is another price I would not pay. Suppose we were to get unity in the country provided we were to give up the principles that are here in this first Article of the Constitution — the ‘sovereign right of the nation to choose its own form of Government, to determine its relations with other nations, and to develop its life, political, economic, and cultural, in accordance with its own genius and traditions’— I would not sacrifice that right, because without that right you have not freedom at all. Although freedom for a part of this island is not the freedom we want — the freedom we would like to have, this freedom for a portion of it, freedom to develop and to keep the kernel of the Irish nation is something, and something that I would not sacrifice, if by sacrificing it we were to get a united Ireland and that united Ireland was not free to determine its own form of Government, to determine its relations with other countries, and, amongst other things, to determine, for example, whether it would or would not be involved in war.

  • Dave

    [/i][b]Continued[/b]

    Our people have the same right as any other people to determine these vital matters for themselves and they ought not to surrender them in advance to anybody or for any consideration. Certainly, as far as this Government is concerned, we are not going to surrender that right — for any consideration, even the consideration of a united Ireland.” – Eamon de Valera[/i]

    Clearly, de Valera knew that unionists were a seperate nation that did not share common attributes with the Irish nation beyond jus soli but rather shared common attributes with the British nation. He knew what it means for the culture and prosperity of a nation when that nation does not control its state but lives under the sovereignty of another nation. He spelled it out above in regard to the Irish language. Were they all one nation, then there could be no threat from another nation as outlined.

    This is why the Irish State never pursued reunification with any vigour. There were two nations, and even if the other nation had no legitimate right to Irish territory, the reality was that they occupied part of it and it was better to contain them within that part.

    Where two states (nations) make a claim to one territory, the only solution is for one of those states to either renounce its claim or to assert its claim by force and be either successful or defeated in that claim. In regard to Ireland, it formally renounced its claim to the territory of Northern Ireland. In regard to PIRA, they asserted a claim by force and were defeated. The outcome is the same: the territory is no longer disputed. In regard to the Shinners, their ‘plan’ for unity is that Ireland should accept the terms of the Shinners surrender as a blueprint for unity (and good luck to the poor dears with that).

    So, back to the new position of two nations. It is no longer proffered as a political expediency that there is one nation (with two traditions). It is now formally accepted that there are two nations of British and Irish. It is also, of course, formally accepted that there are also two states.

    Because two nations cannot share one state and still have national self-determination, de Valera kept up that pretence of there being one nation with two traditions. He probably wanted to believe that but he knew that unionist identity meant British identity and that meant British sovereignty which meant no right to national self-determination for the Irish nation. At any rate, the same level of propaganda that is presently being used to convince the Irish that they are actually British could be used to convince the unionists that they are Irish. After all, an entirely new identity of European has been engineered and just look at the amount of muppets who have been successfully inoculated with that false consciousness!

    There has been a lot of demented actions and pure wish-fulfilment passing itself off as political thinking around this reunification rubbish, and that tradition of dementia continues right up to the present day. The latest version of it involves abandoning rationality altogether and thinking that unity can come about as an emergent phenomena (as if Complexity Theory applies to politics).

    My view is that sanity will prevail in the end and those two states and two nations will be the definitive outcome of the current process. That, however, may require a revolution to reclaim Irish sovereignty from the EU and from the British government. Since that three quarters of all laws are now imposed by the EU and that the British government also has sovereignty, these muppets will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising with virtually all of the hard-won sovereign powers of the state having been given away in an amazingly short period of time.

  • Secret Squirrel

    Mine were tongue in cheek and I’ve been on the piss. :O(

  • I have expressed some views on this over at Irish Left Review:

    http://www.irishleftreview.org/2009/07/16/campaign-united-ireland/

  • Scaramoosh

    What a load of misguided, trite nonsense; part of along established trend that sees one side as both owning the land, and the history.

    N.Ireland was and is a dysfunctional state, created at the behest of a dominant Unionist class, that could not bring itself to acknowledge the fact that it even occupied the island of Ireland; never mind the fact that a significant proportion of the population were cathoilcs, who did not recognise the legitimacy of the state.

    The said catholics, who were in many ways equally dysfucntional resorted to a military campaign, as a means to articulate their real and imagined grievances. They have over the past thirty years undergone a significant journey of transition; become more mature, and more confident to stand up and assert their own voice.

    The unionist, meanwhile, remain divided; many still driven by the fear of having a fenain as a next door neighbour. They kid themselves that the IRA lost and that MArtin McGuiness is upholding British rule. It is perhaps time that they woke up and smelt the cheese.

    Twenty years ago, Paisley’s rallying cry that Ulster is British may have carried sopme resonance. Today, it doesn’t. And what could more typify this fact; than the sight of Glasgow Rangers fans at George Best Airport boarding a Ryanair flight, replete with tricolours. UTV is 45% owned by people from the South. Much of the property in Belfast is now owned by Southerners.
    Most of the large companies that operate in the North have Southern roots.

    Unionists are nothing more than a lost tribe; incapable of thinking outside the box. In historical terms, the worst day for many of them, was the day that the provos finally got some sense and gave up their guns.

    The bottom line remains that most Unionist political strategy is underpinned by a fear and hatred of Catholics.

  • Balconite

    If one ever wondered where Mr Adams was coming from have a read of his fellow misguided loon’s contribution. Scaramoosh is the type of character who makes me happy to be a unionist.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    MS,

    “What is interesting is that both Adams and Chris McGimpsey in his rebuttal claim the Belfast Agreement as source material for their positions. Adams claims that the North-South elements of the agreement represent an opening od the door to unity: ”

    You say “interesting” as if this ambiguity in the GFA, to allow both sides to back up their respective claims was either news to you or accidental – it was designed to be like that as flagged here on Slugger and elsewhere many, many times.

    re. Countries not giving up territory easily – recent disclosures have shown that the Labour party had discussions with Fine Gael, in the seventies, with a view to offloading Norn Iron to its rightful owner – only problem was Garret FitzGerald saw it as a hopstial pass and let it sail by.

  • cynic

    What disjointed racist drivel Scaramoosh. Own up. Either you have been up all night reading all those old press releases and back copies of An Phoblacht or you are a TUV sock puppet trying to frighten unionists.

  • Interesting post Michael, but I would say that Irish nationalism as manifested (most of the time) in the republic is quite different to the Irish nationalism as manifested (most of the time again) in the North. Partition has an amazing capacity to work its magic even if people don’t want it that way. One reason that SF aren’t doing well in the south is that, outside a fairly limited pool of voters for whom partition is the big issue, SF is seen as a NI party and NI is seen as somewhere between an irrelevance and an irritation. No other major Irish party is really serious about a united Ireland.

    Anyway, I think it’s unfair to say that there has been no attempt to think about Unionism on the part of ‘Irish nationalism.’ For one thing, the Agreement was driven more from Dublin initially than it was from either London or Belfast. And it’s far more of a unionist document than it is an Irish nationalist one (rhetorical mirages aside). The Irish political establishment recognised a long time ago that partition was not (or no longer) the problem in NI. It was participation. Fix that,they thought, and the problem is a long way towards being solved. And they may prove to have been right.

    Anyway, Irish nationalism is not homogenous. There have always been voices in Ireland for a long time that have struggled against Catholic majoritarianism. They might have been clumsy at times but they’ve always been there.

    Speaking of homogeneity, I don’t think it’s fair to expect the Irish to understand unionism as a thing in and of itself. Unionists don’t have a unified picture of unionism either. Is it a mirror image of Irish ethnic nationalism or is it an O’Neillian and Chekovian political standpoint? Hardly a question that’s been resolved.

    On states giving up territory easily. The best model for Ireland if it ever happened is not, say, Kosovo. It’s Canada. It’s not like anyone sensible would envisage a united Ireland as being a reversal of partition but if it happened (and I seriously doubt that it will), it would have to involve another significant change in Constitutional politics on the island. I know it’s about secession, but have a peek at the Canadian Supreme Court’s Reference re the Secession of Quebec, especially the discussion from paragraph 88 onwards or thereabouts. It’s, shall we say, a little bit more nuanced than what Adams has to say about constitutional change. Not that I think at all that a UI is either possible or desirable: I’m just saying that there are sensible routes.

    Finally, everything Jenny said.

    And one pedantic point: what John East Belfast said about Ireland never having been a colony is patently rubbish. Of course it was. But beyond an historical pissing contest, that has nothing to do with how what we want to do about living with each other now.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Ireland was never a Colony – The Union of the people of these Isles both formally and informally pre dated any notion of a British Empire.’

    What utter horseshite. Ireland is where Britain perfected her colonial policies, before exporting them to other further colonies.

  • percy

    scaramoosh is simply highlighting the fact that republicans don’t really need to do much to realise their goals, as their opponents are providing all the ammunition.
    ie the roma gypsies headlines.

    Its a fact that the Grand Hotel in Brighton no longer flies the Union Flag, it flies the Cross of St.George.
    Given the BNP have claimed the Union flag, British people don’t want to be seen flying it.

  • Driftwood

    Maybe Northern Ireland isn’t on anyone’s agenda. Unionism has very little to do but sit back and be happy with the status quo. An incoming Tory administration, openly Unionist, and a RoI government in deep economic trouble. There is no viable threat to NI’s position for the lifetime of every contributor here.
    Most Catholics in NI seem to be quite content living in part of the UK.
    Sinn Fein will have to pretend to be seen to be doing ‘something’ to keep their old guard happy. Thus Adams on tour. Quite amusing actually.

  • Zill

    The ‘British Empire’? Is that the one fought for and maintained in large part by army regiments drawn from Ireland?

    Perhaps the English were not the only ones “perfecting” skills overseas?

  • fin

    Zill, Spain and France also recruited heavily in Ireland, in fact any poor European region/country was a recruiting officers happy hunting ground, and for reasons of Englands creation people were more keen to escape Ireland than most areas.

    In the first world war England drew heavily on its colonies (including Ireland) for cannon fodder, having much larger resources allowed them to engage in a war of attrition (Roger Casement – England’s Crime)

    Today poor countries still supply the cannon fodder, are you suggesting that Nepal have aspirations for an empire

  • RepublicanStones

    Zill seems unaware of how Britain maintained her empire. Foreign recrutied regiments were an invaluable part, perhaps nowhere moreso than in the so called jewel of her crown.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Given that the majority of people in Britain would probably* want shot of Norn Iron, and the GFA ensures it will never be as British as Kent without the consent of the majority of people of the ROI, Grizzly is probably correct to mobilise favourable opinion behind the re-unification of the country.

    *even the Tories have admitted to no strategic interest in Norn Iron as is reflected in the GFA.

  • Driftwood
  • fin

    “Most Catholics in NI seem to be quite content living in part of the UK”

    mmmmh ‘content’ quite, even

    anyway, Adams is not doing a piece for the party faithful, its more about creating an environment where discussing a united Ireland is a normal event.

    As Ciaran pointed out a united Ireland is not high on the agenda for many people, however with an all Ireland infrastructure for both transport and utilities, with shoppers heading north and Irish companies established in the north, the debate on a united Ireland in the South will likely turn to questioning the loss of tax revenues to a London government and the obstructions in doing business in both parts of Ireland caused by partition.

  • Telton

    2. I’m Gaelic and the expression of that tradition has as many expressions as any group with millions of members. Always portraying it as being alien to Unionism may ring true in some quarters but it has as much chance of disappearing in the North as Unionism does. How does insulting Gaelic symbols help me in Cavan feel about accomodation with the British people on this island.

    Gaelicism may not be “alien to Unionism” by definition, but portraying it AS Irish culture, as all Ireland culture, is a statement of dominance, and of irredentism. In full form it says to those not part of it that they are not Irish but that they are a subject people that have no right to any part of the island except by their sufferance because they’re shit on your shoe who have no right to say and do what Gaelic Irish did in 1916 (i.e. self determination). Presenting Gaelic culture AS all island Irish culture is tantamount to an Englishman calling someone from the Republic of Ireland British (like Nick Griffin often does).

    My problem is not with Gaelic culture existing but with Gaelic culture being portrayed as Irish culture. Let the RofI be a “Gaelic” country if it wishes but an all island country, potential or alleged actual, CANNOT be a Gaelic country. A united Ireland would have to abandon Gaelic as THE culture of the state. Anything else amounts to an offensive act, like the “turkification” of Kurdish and other minorities in Turkey over the past century or so.

    The context of unionists “insulting Gaelic symbols” is the same hypothetically as nationalists going around burning maps that say “British Isles” on them and you should see it through that prism. Irish people who object to being called British don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with actually being British. Similarly unionists can accept Gaelic culture as is, but not as cast as THE all island Irish culture ending at the surrounding seas and encompassing all within them.

    It is not a rejection of Gaelic per se, as a Scottish / Irish / Manx linguistic group, indeed even Loyalist paramilitaries sometimes use Gaelic, it is anti Ireland = Gaelic in the same vein as nationalists would be against These Islands = British.

  • chris

    The very fact a Republican/nationalist politican can go on “tour” to an interested world audience gets loyalist backs up, sure send a loyalist round on tour see whos interested ! I doubt they could fill a room in Britain

  • jim

    they just dont get it ! And prob never will, fingers in ears “nanananananana”

  • fin

    bloody hell, Gaelic culture, whats that, is it the same as Irish Culture, or the Irish language, in the event of a united Ireland will Telton demand that schools burn all their copies of Peig, will there be a ‘Dubliners CD’ amnesty?

    Is the shamrock a symbol of Gaelic culture? will Rugby, soccer and cricket players be arrested?

  • fin

    Alternatively if Gaelic culture needs to go to avoid alienating 20% of the population in a united Ireland whats the interim measures around cultures in NI as they alienate 45% and 50% respectively of the NI population

  • Todd

    “I am not a colonist – I am an Irish man with a love and support for the Union.”

    Who are these people trying to convince, it’s such a laugh to see crap like this posted here by almost all unionist types(colonists).

  • cynic

    Colonialist? Moi?

    So how many hunderds of years does your family hav to have lived here to acquire ‘local’ status.

    And all this “I am Gaelic” stuff? What do you actually mean by that?

    Do you think that you are linked back to some mystical Gaelic nation that occupied ireland from, time immemorial? If so, go and get your genes tested because you will be pretty rare Irishman or woman. We are all a mongrel mixture of Scandanavian, Anglo Saxon and Norman blood with a bit of North Africa thrown in for good measure. The rest is all myth. Sorry but that’s the way it is. The stories your parents told you were …. well, stories whether you are Prod or Catholic and whether you feel you belong to an Irish or British Master Race

  • RepublicanStones

    The colonialist mentality is alive and well. Whilst the USA may be the ultimate success story of colonialism, that being the ability to cut the apron strings and have no further need for the motherland, people who can trace their irish ancestry back generations and yet still demand that a land where their ancestors came from 100s of years ago govern them is indeed a colonial mentality.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    republicans throw stones

    “[i]Ireland is where Britain perfected her colonial policies, before exporting them to other further colonies.”[/i]

    You live a democratic life because of those liberties and freedoms Britain perfected, do you oppose democracy?

  • cavanman

    cynic…

    I’m Gaelic because I came from that tradition and culture…
    Doesn’t matter if the actual pure Gaelic strain in Ireland is a myth.
    I think you’re mistaking the statement for something a character from Lord of the Rings would yell before plunging the sword into the unpure…

    We’re not talking about DNA, I’m talking about the values and belief system that was part of my formation…

  • RepublicanStones

    So the importation of a loyal minority to act as a buffer between the crown and the pesky natives was an exercise in democracy?

  • Dave

    “I am an Irish man with a love and support for the Union.” – John East Belfast

    So, the right of self-determination of Irish people is inseparable from the right of self-determination of British people. In other words, there is no right of self-determination for Irish people. That is a very self-serving argument – if one happens to be a British nationalist.

    The trick in this censorship of the right of the Irish nation to self-determination is to redefine Irish nationalism as support for British sovereignty. In effect, to make the Irish nation stateless.

    Since the state is the sovereign territorial entity by which a nation realises its right to self-determination, a nationalist is anyone who supports the nation-state and thereby supports the right to self-determination of a nation.

    You support a nation controlling its state (you support the British people controlling the British state), so you are a British nationalist, not an Irish nationalist.

    As Article 1 of the UN’s ICCPR expresses it “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.” It is not possible for a nation to have self-determination if it does not have a state that it uses to “freely pursue [its] economic, social and cultural development.” It is also not possible for two nations to share one state (it’s like a car with two drivers who want the car to go in different directions) which is why every nation that has attained the right to national self-determination has a nation-state and which is why that is the international law. That is especially not possible when one of those two nations defines itself by not being the other nation.

    “Adams really needs to go if this is the best Irish nationalism has to offer. Almost embarrasing watching him clutching at straws.” – John East Belfast

    Adams is promoting the interests of British nationalism, not Irish nationalism. That is what Her Majesty pays her touts to do. Adams does not support the right of the Irish nation in Northern Ireland to national self-determination, since he has led them to formally renounce that right, downgrading it to the status of an aspiration that is now legitimately subject to the veto of another nation. Nor does he support the Irish nation-state, since he has led the Irish nation in Northern Ireland to formally repudiate the nationalist concept of the nation-state and replace it with a bizarre and utterly unworkable concept of a bi-national state (a state where two nations veto each other).

    Adams usefulness to his paymasters is that his organisation was used by them to claim ownership of Irish nationalism and thereby allow his paymasters to redefine Irish nationalism as being support for British constitutional structures and for British nationalism. Since you can kill the man but not the idea, it was deemed a smarter move to take control of the idea and redefine it so that it promotes your agenda.

    In regard to unity: the aim of Irish nationalism was to extend the Irish nation-state into Northern Ireland and thereby extend the realisation of Irish national self-determination to those who were denied it. That is what unity meant to Irish nationalism.

    By focusing on removing the border as being the end in itself rather than the means to the end, Adams’ paymasters were able to switch the objective without the muppets noticing it. To that end, unity is no longer has an Irish nationalist purpose but rather it has the new purpose of dismantling the Irish nation-state and removing the right of the Irish nation to national self-determination. In other words, rather than Ireland annexing Her Majesty’s dominion of Northern Ireland, Her Majesty’s dominion of Northern Ireland would annex Ireland. Ireland then would not be reunified under Irish sovereignty but under British sovereignty.

    The way the Shinner voters look at it, they’d be better off as 85% of a unified Ireland than they presently are as 45% of Northern Ireland. So they don’t care if that unified Ireland is a replica of Northern Ireland and defeats the Irish nation because they’re motivated by a purely self-serving agenda of “What’s in it for me?”

  • Richard Aardvark

    “Given the BNP have claimed the Union flag, British people don’t want to be seen flying it.”

    Miss Wimbledon?

  • John East Belfast

    “Ireland as a Colony of the UK”

    Bit of a contradiction.

    We will have to agree to differ then.

    I just dont see the relationships of the people of these Isles in that light.

    Is Scotland a Colony then ?
    Is Wales a colony ?
    If they are then nobody but the SNP are listening.

    I dont think nations elevate colonies to equal quadrants within their Royal Standards or include their patron saints as equal constituent parts of their national flags. Or give them equal seats within their national parliaments. None of the former colonies were in Westminster.
    Indeed this is why I would be lukewarm if not downright opposed to ROI rejoining the Commonwealth.

    Indeed the 19th Century British Empire was in no small part advanced by Irish men.

    When drawing comparisons with “other former colonies” I was pointing out his severe underestimation of the 1800 Act of the Union and the place of all Irish men – including Adams himself – within that Union.

    I am a unionist of course so what do you expect – we dont call ourselves unionists for nothing.

    So if Adams wants to start “understanding unionist” concerns he can start by stopping calling me a colonialist and maybe start to contemplate what the Act of Union means to unionists.

    Dave

    Nation State.

    I primarily see nation states as being constituted by people and not by land.

    “So, the right of self-determination of Irish people is inseparable from the right of self-determination of British people. In other words, there is no right of self-determination for Irish people. That is a very self-serving argument – if one happens to be a British nationalist.”

    You could equally swap the “Irish people” and “British people” around in that paragraph and get the same answer in reverse.

    The answer of corse was Partition.

    In very simple terms the Pro Irish anto British tardition got 26 counties of Ireland and the Unionist Pro British got 6.

    What was so unfair about that unless you give greater credence to the nation state being constituted with land than people ?

  • Greenflag

    JEB,

    ‘In very simple terms the Pro Irish anto British tardition got 26 counties of Ireland and the Unionist Pro British got 6’What was so unfair about that?

    That’s just it . The Pro British should have got 4 counties with Tyrone and Fermanagh having voted for independence with nationalist majorities at that time . Now in 2009 most of the area west of the Bann has a strong and growing nationalist majority whereas those areas east of the Bann are predominantly ‘unionist’ .

    A fair repartition of Northern Ireland carried out by a neutral international agency would address the ‘wrongs ‘ of the 1920 imposed partition by unionists supported by the then British Government . A State in which 45% plus of it’s citzens aspire to belong to another State is a house built on sand and that is what the current NI is . Adams or any other politician as doesn’t really matter one way or the other.

    A fair repartition would leave Unionists with North Down , Antrim , North Armagh and East Derry . West Belfast and parts of North and South Belfast would be ceded to the Republic’s administration and East Belfast would be the new Unionist State’s ‘capital ‘. The PSNI could continue to operate across the new border for 10 years before withdrawing behind the pro british line .People would still be free to come and go as they like across the new border just as they do from England to Wales or Scotland .

    Northern Irish republicans and nationalists need to wean themselves off this self destructive adherence to a 32 county UI and opt for a more realistic and fairer ‘repartition’

  • cynic

    “I’m talking about the values and belief system that was part of my formation…………….”

    I have no problem with that at all. If you want to bese your values upon Celtic Culture (again, however you define that), Orange Culture or Star Wars, that’s fine. I honestly respect that.

    My problem is that there are some posters here who then pervert that my setting up a hierachy of cultures, usually based on the ‘we celts were here first so sod off from Ireland’ argument.

  • cynic

    “yet still demand that a land where their ancestors came from 100s of years ago govern them is indeed a colonial mentality”

    you miss the point yet again. Whose ancestors came from where is irrelevant. We are all mixed race – British, Irish, Viking, Normal, Anglo Saxon and North African. Its all in there in the mix.

    So whether you feel ‘Irish’ or ‘British’ yiou cannot deny your true gentic nature. Racially you are no different from the most rabid Northern Orangeman but you both have radically different sets of values and concepts of identity… and that is both your right. Just as its his right to dev=cide taht his allegience lies to Britain, if that is what he wants and feels.

  • John East Belfast

    Greenflag

    The border had to be drawn somewhere – my view was they shouldnt have kept to the historical counties and traded parts of Fermanagh, Tyrone and Armagh for parts of Cavan, Monaghan and Donegall.

    Also I am not sure what the Voting of Fermanagh and Tyrone was – I will take your word on it – but what I would say is that vast tracks of farmland were in unionist ownership at the time.
    Indeed probably the majority of farmland.

    Therefore you have to agree that would at least have complicated matters where most of the commercial farmland which was legally held would end up in another jurisdiction from the individual with title.
    Did they not have rights to ?

    And i dont want to get into a whole debate on who may or may not have owned it in the first place but whatever Irish warlord it may have been had long since flown anyway.

    As for Repartition I am not into it. We have drawn our land in the sand and I will accept the will of any future majority and if it is for the Break up of the Union I am off to England along with, I would say, a few hundred thousand others.

    As I have said before you will be welcome to all the West & North Belfast SF voters – although I have to admit your offer to take them under your care at this time is very tempting

  • Balconite

    Loved the inclusion of ‘Star Wars’, spot on. It’s all myth and if it were simply regarded as such that would be fine, hell I’d by a Jedi knight myself.

    Sadly this racial purity/rightful ownership of the soil of Ireland/British to the core/Planter/Gael shite has lead to blood on the streets.

    Time to concentrate on the realities of life; bread on the table kind of thing. Leave the fantasy stuff to your book-reading, movie-watching spare time where it can’t do any harm.

  • Greenflag

    cynic,

    ‘British, Irish, Viking, Normal, ‘

    Normal ? Are you sure ? I guess the others were not normal ;)?

    Good one 🙂

    But you are correct -the whole hierarchy of we wuz here first is a load of crap . We are all a mix of various ethnic groups and mostly both Britain and Ireland and other parts of western europe are the descendants of the ‘refugees’ from the last ice age who survived in SW France /Spain , Italy and the Balkans and probably parts of North Africa and the Levant .
    This is irrelevant to modern political constructs as should be seen from anyone looking at the ethnic make up of Obama’s Cabinet or Gordon Brown’s etc etc .

  • Greenflag

    JEB < 'Therefore you have to agree that would at least have complicated matters where most of the commercial farmland which was legally held would end up in another jurisdiction from the individual with title. Fair point but many British continued to hold land in the Free State and later Republic even though they may have lived most of the year in London or elsewhere ? It was leading 'unionists 'such as Brookborough who insisted on overiding the wishes of the majority in both Fermanagh and Tyrone mainly for 'personal ' reasons and probably longer term against the 'interests' of unionist political stability . 'Did they not have rights to ?' The rights to personal property were no different in the Irish Free State post 1922 than in Northern Ireland or anywhere else in the UK . 'I dont want to get into a whole debate on who may or may not have owned it in the first place but whatever Irish warlord it may have been had long since flown anyway' Neither do I but breifly Irish Chieftains did not 'personally' own land unlike English land /estate owners but merely held it for the tribe . The idea of title etc did not exist under Brehon law . A chieftain's land /territory waxed or waned depending on his fortunes in war etc etc . An Irish Chieftain could not even be sure that his son would be chosen as next clan chief .This difference re property rights etc between the Anglo and Irish cultures was to be a cause of strife from 1169 to the beginning of the 18th century when the old Gaelic order finally succumbed to the new English order . 'As for Repartition I am not into it. We have drawn our line in the sand and I will accept the will of any future majority' Good for you -in the meantime continuing political uncertainty will make any future economic development of Northern Ireland problematical and thus both communities will not do as well as they might under a different political dispensation which though not ideal would be on firmer political ground than the present shaky set up. ' if it is for the rreak up of the Union I am off to England along with, I would say, a few hundred thousand others' Which is why 'repartition' should appeal to the unionist community for it would help to prevent an unnecessary flight of unionist people . I would expect accept that post any referendum which went in favour of a UI that a section within unionism would prefer to leave for elsewhere i.e mainland Britain . How big or small that section would be would depend very much on the circumstances of the time as in both Ireland and Britain and their economies . Preferably in a post repartition scenario nobody would feel the need to 'leave ' their home area simply because of a new political line on a map., Anyway it's not a question of being welcome to anything i.e West Belfast or Derry etc . It's a straightforward issue of getting the 'state ' entity i.e territory, to conform to the aspirations of the people/peoples . NI may have a long and tortured history in that respect but it's not an insurmountable problem if the one side moves from it's UI all or nothing approach and the other side stops clinging to a not an inch 6 county State .