Durkan calls for Forum on a United Ireland

The SDLP Leader Mark Durkan has called on all parties to come together to discuss Irish unity.

This is something I understand the SDLP Leader has been thinking about for some time. Today’s call is the first serious attempt by any political party on this island to elevate the issue beyond partisan politics.

As UTV reports, the Foyle MP said talk around unity must move beyond occasional rhetoric with no real meaning.

“It is important to create a 21st century vision for integration that is not just about righting wrongs or addressing grievances, but about a sense of destiny and purpose.”

Over on O’Conall Street I have offered my own views on how the Forum might be constituted and what its work programme could look like.

  • Alan – Newtownards

    I don’t believe any unionist party would attend a nationlist forum ona U.I. I don’t see the point of it. I don’t have a problem if republicans what to talk and that is all they are going to do. In the unlikely event of a U.I. happening in the next 30 years unionists will talk to the people that matter. This is unlikely to be the shinners or the s.d.l.p. We will talk to the people who run the R.O.I. We will put our reasonable demands to the people in power. I don’t doubt for one minute that there will still be a regional goverment in Stormont running the show in this part of the island. The p.s.n.i will still be be the police force in charge. Can’t ever see the Gardai patrolling the Shankill or east belfast. N.I. will still be in the commonwealth or maybe the whole island. There will be a new flag for the whole of ireland and a new anthem. There will still be irish regiments in the british army with local people in them. People who want to can call themselves british and carry a British passport can. This could be part of the price of a U.I.

    What I am saying is no one knows what is around the corner so maybe unionists shoul keep their cards close to their chests. Let the nationlists play their hand and wait with our trump cards at the ready.

  • Fergananim

    Andrew Gallagher

    The fact of the matter is that the only people seriously (?) persuing a politically united island of Ireland – as opposed to a United Ireland; we already have that, thank you – are SF and SDLP, both of whom are based in the north.

    There is almost NO electoral party here in Ireland who seriously persues that adgenda – except SF, who however are predominantly a Northern Ireland party, concered with purely northern issues.

    For me, this has been reflected on this site by the handful of replies have I gotten over the years on this subject. Northerners don’t address it, while not many people in Ireland proper read this board, because its focus is (almost) purely local.

  • PaddyReilly

    There will still be irish regiments in the british army with local people in them. People who want to can call themselves british and carry a British passport can. This could be part of the price of a U.I.

    Precisely whom Her Britannic Majesty’s government issues its passports to and what arrangements it makes for its passport holders or other persons to enlist in British Army Regiments is a matter solely for Her Britannic Majesty’s Government to decide. The Government of the Irish Republic has never expressed an opinion on the matter.

  • Tochais Si­orai­

    Fergananim – I’m well aware of the indifference of people in the Republic to NI but in the event of NI voting yes to a UI what political party in the ROI would oppose it? What organisation? What media outlet (apart poss from the Sunday Independent!!) The main problem as I see it would be Irish and Britiah govt unwillingness to face down any armed resistance in unionist strongholds & then we could be faced with a repartition situation.

    Alan,N’ards – a lot of what you say is correct imo, but one question – In the event of a (unlikely!) UI, there would have to be a nationalist maj in NI obviously and thus very probably a nat maj in the NI assembly. Why would Unionism want to keep the assembly where they would be a minority (under a SF first minister?) against a central govt. where the balance of power would enable them to give a wishlist to every potential govt (even if they didn’t want to participate in that govt)?

  • Tochais:

    The major parties all came out in favour of Lisbon last year and look how well that turned out. As Alan says, unionists will try to extract as many concessions as possible out of a UI. The politicians, feeling the hand of history on their shoulders, could easily give away one concession too many.

  • PaddyReilly

    Why would Unionism want to keep the assembly where they would be a minority

    Unionism is essentially an undemocratic, colonialist movement promoting minority rule.

    It has, in the past, managed to prolong its shelf life by a piece of creative border drawing, some would say gerrymandering, which turns the minority into a majority, but even that trick has very nearly reached the end of its tether, with overtly Unionist parties down to 49% of the vote.

    It is reasonable that in the event of a United Ireland, former Unionists should negotiate how the entity treats them so that the governed give their consent to the way they are governed, but this can only go so far.

    The Irish Republic has international obligations to conduct its government in a manner consonant with Majority Rule, Democracy and Human Rights. Any deviation from this practise will obviously have to be corrected. This has happened before when the Irish Free State negotiated independence from the British Empire: an undemocratic oath and special representation for a Protestant College in the Seanad were imposed; but of course they were abolished by the next draft of the Constituion.

    So Unionists may think that they can impose conditions on the Non-Unionist majority, but obviously, even if they appear in the agreement, they aren’t going to last.

    Some of the ideas raised above are lucicrous non-starters. If the majority of the people of Belfast want the Garda Síochána that is what they will get. The Shankill, an area so small that it is unable to raise the 4000 votes needed to get it representation in Stormont, is not going to be imposing its will on the rest of the city.

    A special flag and police force for Newtownards is more within the bounds of possibility.

  • PaddyReilly

    Unionists will try to extract as many concessions as possible out of a UI. The politicians, feeling the hand of history on their shoulders, could easily give away one concession too many.

    A good point, and one which shows that the Unionist demand for “concessions” has no other purpose than to abort the proposed merger.

    The European Convention on Human Rights, already in force in the Republic, is all that is needed to protect Protestant interests. There are plenty of Irish Catholics in England and Scotland, what special framework is needed to guaranteed their well-being? None.

  • The European Convention on Human Rights, already in force in the Republic, is all that is needed to protect Protestant interests.

    Political will is also required. To many southerners, the North is a far away place of which they know (and care) little. Unionists will not have confidence that their problems will be high on Dublin’s list of priorities.

    There are plenty of Irish Catholics in England and Scotland, what special framework is needed to guaranteed their well-being? None.

    We’re talking about NI here, not England. Chalk and cheese.

  • Forecast

    ‘The European Convention on Human Rights, already in force in the Republic, is all that is needed to protect Protestant interests.’

    One could also say that ECHR is in force in the United Kingdom as well. Does not stop all sides from banging on and on about their ‘uman rights being trampled underfoot by so and so.

    Does make me laugh (or is that cry?!?) when republicans whitter on about how majority rule is evil (in NI) how EU and UN rights protocols are not strong enough (in NI) and that a comprehensive neutral settlement where all sides are happy and traditions accepted is the only out come (in NI).
    Along comes a United Ireland and suddenly it’s ‘well its going to be majority rule, and even if we give concessions at first, we will rescind them the first chance we get. Oh, and the only protection you will receive will be the ECHR.’

    Tempting……..

  • Tochais Si­orai­

    ‘..To many southerners, the North is a far away place of which they know (and care) little.’

    Agreed, Andrew but that’s a good bit away from opposing a UI if NI voted for it. Unless it can be proven that there will either be a huge financial hit for people in the Republic or a violent backlash from loyalists then I ask again who exactly in the ROI will oppose it?

    Comparisons with Lisbon? There are any amount of groups from across the spectrum who are opposed to Lisbon. Most of them micro, I know but they have influence and in some cases access to considerable funding. Chalk and Cheese;-)

    ‘…Unionists will not have confidence that their problems will be high on Dublin’s list of priorities.

    Wouldn’t a bloc of 30 seats in say, a 200 seat parliament mean that more often than not, they could hold the balance of power? If their problems weren’t high on the list in that scenario, they’d only have themselves to blame.

  • PaddyReilly

    NI is governed according to the provisions of the GFA, which was voted in by a majority in the 6 and 26 counties. You can’t get away from majority rule. When there is a matter to be decided, it is the only mechanism we have.

    As I understand it, republicans do not whitter on about how majority rule is evil. That’s more of an Alliance imposed ideology. Obviously, majority rule in an undivided Ireland is the supreme good.

    The original sin of NI is that it grants to Unionists a right to secede within borders of their own devising, and denies this right to Nationalists. It is this design fault which has brought in the present, somewhat baroque, system.

    The tail may reasonably ask that it be not trod on: but it cannot expect to wag the dog. If there is some adjustment that needs to be made to accommodate a minority in its home territory, then it should be considered: but obviously if the proposal is merely a further attempt to stymie democracy and majority rule, as the above contributor candidly admits, then it should be ignored.

    The Republican negotiators in the GFA did not stipulate that Britain was obliged to change its flag and National Anthem or abolish its monarchy to suit their ideology: that would be plain silly and convincing proof of a lack of intention to negotiate. In the same way Unionists may negotiate concessions for that subsection of the 6 Counties which has a clear Unionist majority, but cannot expect to impose their will on the 26 counties, or overturn the wishes of a non-Unionist majority within the 6 counties.

  • Brit

    But Paddy all of your majority / minority analysis is based on the assumption or hypothesis that the island of Ireland is a nation, as opposed to a landmass which was only ever a unfied nation under the British (Crown).

    No one says that Spain could decide to incorporate Portugal on the basis of majority support in Spain and minority support in Portugal. Perhaps a better analogy, no one can seriously argue that the English (or Welsh or NIish) should have a veto to stop the Scots seceding from the Union like the Irish Republic did.

    There are two nations in the island of Ireland, theres no particular reason to think that every landmass or island equals one nation. In the circumstances partition was the least bad solution – although there are some strong arguments to say that the Republic should have been given more territory and certainly not the majority Catholic counties.

  • Brit

    typo – certainly the majority Catholic counties

  • Brit

    “Unionism is essentially an undemocratic, colonialist movement promoting minority rule”

    If you want to persuade the Prods/Unionists/Loyalists to be Irish (which is an absolute requirement for a United Ireland with current demographics and will be a practical requirement for a peaceful vialbe United Ireland if and when the get to 49% or less) then this kind of language is not helpful.

    I could legitimately argue that Irish Republicanism was essentially an undemocratic, reactionary, totalitarian movement seeking to use terrorist and unlawful violence to promote the forced seccession of part of the United Kingdom against the settled will of its inhabitants (before they surrendered). And I do argue that, but in the largely peaceful arena it is incumbent on both sides to understand the objectives and identities of the other.

    It is the nationalists / Republicans who need to do the persuading as it is they who want to change the status quo.

  • Fergananim

    Tochais Sioraiͭ – a large part of why I do not want to see a united island – again, we already have a united Ireland – is that it would be achieving the dream of the republican movement. They do not deserve to see this happening in their lifetimes.

    Besides that, there is actually popular opposition to bringing Northern Ireland into Ireland, and on just the two points you have raised (finance and loyalists).

    Ireland is’nt the place it once was. These recent generations are not as indocterinated as those who achieved independence and were raised by them. Even then it did not matter enough for them to press the issue.

    What I want to know, above all else, is what profit is in it for us? What is the POINT of a united island?

  • You can’t get away from majority rule. When there is a matter to be decided, it is the only mechanism we have.

    Consensus is the ultimate basis of democracy. Once the people consent to be ruled under a given system, one can then invoke more efficient mechanisms for day to day decisions, such as direct democracy, representative democracy, FPTP, STV, etc. “Majority rule” is a vague term which encompasses multiple different such systems.

    Ultimately, if you have no consent you have no basis for democracy, which is exactly the charge levelled against “majority rule” in NI pre-1969.

    Tochais:

    that’s a good bit away from opposing a UI if NI voted for it.

    You’ve mixed up two separate arguments there. What I was saying (most recently!) was that unionists won’t trust southerners to look after unionist interests when it comes to an argument with northern nationalists, human rights legislation or no.

    As for balance of power, that only works if the two sides don’t gang up against you.

  • Alan – Newtownards

    PaddyReilly

    Do you really believe that concessions given to Unionists would be rescinded by the republicans in Goverment? I doubt it very much. There are a number of reasons why this won’t happen. One reason is that if there is to be a U.I. it will be an international agreement between two sovereign goverments and the British goverment will probably still be paying for N.I. for many years to come and they will have over a million passport holders/citizens in this region who will be demanding protection of their rights. Another reason is the size of the Unionist minority on the island. Unlike the smallish number of unionist’s who were left on the wrong of the border eighty odd years ago we will not lie down and be silent. Of that there can be no doubt.

    What I am reading from your comments is that if a U.I. comes about it means the winner takes all and the losers will have to like it or lump it. I somehow think that the reality will be a lot different that what you are hoping for. As for the Guards patrolling unionist majority areas. Not a chance. I believe that there will be a U.N. controlled police force operating in the “occupied Six counties” for many years until trust is built up between the two tribes on the island and a impartial force formed. You might not like it but I believe the powers that be in the south won’t have any option.

  • PaddyReilly

    If you want to persuade the Prods/Unionists/Loyalists to be Irish (which is an absolute requirement for a United Ireland)

    I don’t and it isn’t. Ireland has always had its eccentrics. I myself feel that the Vikings and Norman French are equally important parts of my heritage. But in the long run I have to concede that Ireland is prepared to give me a passport and Norway and France aren’t, so this narrows my choice somewhat.

    There are two nations in the island of Ireland

    Three at least: what about the Poles and Chinese? But the point is who decides when you’re a nation? What if Conservatives or Fine Gael declared themselves to be separate nations in order to preserve themselves in power? As I stated, the original sin of NI is that it grants to Unionists a right to secede within borders of their own devising, and denies this right to Nationalists.

    It might be better to state that there are two nations in the 6 counties, but only one of those nations gets to decide which jurisdiction both come under, and that is the larger one.

    But equally, there are just as many persons of recent Irish origin in Britain as there are of remote British origin in Ireland. Ireland should adopt the same policies regarding British passport holders in Ireland as Britain has regarding Irish ones in Britain. Which is in the main, that no special provisions are necessary.

    As before, the best indication of what Ulster Protestants could be negotiating for comes from what Irish Republicans were asking at GFA. UPs may not dictate to the rest of Ireland what their flag and National Anthem are, but they could negotiate an agreement whereby they can opt out of flying and singing them. They may not dictate that Ireland be in the Commonwealth, but if the UK chooses to give them UK passports, no-one would stop them from forming Commonwealth organisations, even on Irish soil.

    Do you really believe that concessions given to Unionists would be rescinded by the republicans in Goverment?

    Well obviously, if such a concession consists in the minority dictating to the majority it will have to be rescinded. If it means the majority will back off from forcing its practises on the minority, it is legitimate and conducive to better government.

    My idea of consensus is that the UK allows the use of Welsh, as well as English, on public signs in Anglesey, not that it makes a Welsh translation compulsory in Kent. Tail. Dog.

  • Paddy:

    UPs may not dictate to the rest of Ireland what their flag and National Anthem are, but they could negotiate an agreement whereby they can opt out of flying and singing them.

    Or, the rest of Ireland could graciously offer to change certain things as an indicator of good faith and as part of a comprehensive agreement. Do you really think having 800k pissed-off Unionists in a United Ireland would be a smart idea?

  • Alan – Newtownards

    “but if the UK chooses to give them UK passports”

    Unionists like myself already have our UK passports and you can bet your bottom dollar every child born into unionist families will have a UK passport as well as their children and childrens children. We are and will remain British citizens ( regardless what people like you say) who will demand our goverment in Westminster to stand up for our rights in this “all Irelad utopia”. After all they will still be paying for the “occupied six Counties” You might not like it Paddy but that is the way it is. As I said before PaddyRielly if you want a winners take all situation then republicans should go ahead and do what they did in the south after partition. The unionists were left with no other choice but to keep their head down (as they were small in numberts) or leave. The only problem to that is there are one million unionists who won’t be bowing the knee to the gree, white and (bloodstained orange tricolor). Republicans complain that their aspirations, traditions and flag were not repected by unionists ( a fair complaint). Are republicans now prepared to make that same mistake?

  • PaddyReilly

    Or, the rest of Ireland could graciously offer to change certain things as an indicator of good faith and as part of a comprehensive agreement.

    The 26 county entity works very well thank you and has no need of further change. Concessions are strictly for operation in the 6 County area. Besides, why should Ulster Unionists care what happens in the 26 counties? They never have till now. As our friend above reveals, the only reason Unionists suggest the Republic should do this that or the other is the hope that their wishlist will prove so burdensome that the Free Staters will want to call reunification off.

    Do you really think having 800k pissed-off Unionists in a United Ireland would be a smart idea?

    A better idea than having 800k + 1 pissed off Nationalists in the same entity, with extra pissed off voters in the Free State. It is agreed that a United Ireland will not happen until a majority of people in the 6 counties want it: and it is this majority which will determine the form of unification, not the Unionist minority.

    But of course there will be no such thing. For a start, scarcely a quarter of a million can be bothered to turn up to vote, so it follows that the rest are senile or infantile or aren’t particularly bothered.

    King Billy still has followers in Ireland because he won: King James has none. There is no need to make concessions to the Irish Jacobites because they do not exist. Nobody is interested in adhering to a political faction which is doomed to lose.

    Unionists are first and foremost a political faction, and they exist for the purpose of winning: once it becomes apparent that this particular gravy train is not going to be paying dividends ever again, they will desert it en masse in favour of something that works.

    To look for a Unionist party in a United Ireland would be like looking for a Tory Party in the US or independent India. The time when such things could have any meaning or use is long gone.

    To think that you can dictate what your grandchildren will do is a grave mistake. Immigrants to the US who think they can determine the pace of their children’s assimilation are usually gravely disappointed. The next generation of Protestant children aren’t going to restrict their choice of sexual partners for the purpose of preserving a political entity which no longer exists. Granddad will just be an embarrassment.

  • Erasmus

    There’s a significant chance that in a border poll the Republic might vote no.,
    It would pass about 3 to 1. No generation will want to be damned for all time as the one that rejected unity.

  • barnshee

    “The next generation of Protestant children aren’t going to restrict their choice of sexual partners for the purpose of preserving a political entity which no longer exists. Granddad will just be an embarrassment. ”

    Er it take two to tango –the next generation of catholic children might not restrict their choice of partners either.(hint basically prods don`t do mumbo jumbo)

  • PaddyReilly

    the next generation of catholic children might not restrict their choice of partners either

    Well obviously. As I have said before, the average child entering school in 2025 will be one quarter Irish Protestant, one quarter Polish, one quarter Pilipino and one quarter Irish Catholic: or something similar.

    Judging from the entries on Facebook, religion does not play much of a role in the life of the young. Under religious views, one person has “I can see a Church from the bottom of my garden, but I’m not sure which it is.” A sect called Pastafarian is quite widespread, as is the expressed sentiment “Religion is Poo”.

    In the absence of any political reason to maintain it, Protestantism in (what used to be) NI will decline to the level it has done in England: only one step above non-existent. Catholicism does slightly better, particularly among Poles and Pilipinos, but it is not the universal thing it used to be.

    hint basically prods don`t do mumbo jumbo

    Self congratulatory chauvinism as usual. You seem really sold on this illusion of continuity. A political gravy train has anchored the Protestants of NI in the 16th Century, but once this dries up they will move on like the rest of the world.

    Anthroposophy, Nichiren, Heruka, Rigpa, Hare Krishna, Vedanta, these are the religious movements which have interested my contemporaries. Possibly even these are out of date.

  • Brit

    Paddy – the Stalinesque denial of the legitimately or even existence of the ethnic/national identity of the Protestant British Ulstermen and women is indicative of rotten core of Irish Republicanism. A denial of a reality which is not convenient.

    Your flippant suggestions that the Poles and Chinese are other nations are further evidence of this failure to accept reality.

    Ireland was British until the majority of the country decided to secede. I wish they hadnt but the British were so hamfisted in dealing with the early nationalists that it was inevitable.

    If you get your UI and the Prods dont like it they will be morally, legally and constitutionally entitled to establish an independent state (or a nation within the UK) in, say, counties Down and Antrim where there is a large majority in favour of secession from the Republic (on exactly the same principles that Scotland, Wales or even Cornwall would be entitled to independence). Prods from the other six counties will likely move there.

    So if you want one nation state you DO need to understand the Protestants identity and persuade them that it will continue to be respected in the new state.

    I have a new idea. what if the 26 counties come back to the fold and join the UK? We’ll get rid of the Queeen, change the flag (put some green in there) and give the nations lots of autonomy. Welcome to the British Republic of Englad, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

  • PaddyReilly

    Oh I see you are a BNP nutter. This explains things. Obviously your ‘new’ plans will fall apart when Scotland demands its independence.

    There isn’t a large Unionist majority in County Antrim. Nationalists and Unionists are about equal with Alliance holding the balance. Only in County Down is there a Unionist majority, and that only in the North.

    Protestants in Fermanagh are not interested in leaving their nice houses to crowd into some Unionist ghetto on the East Coast. The GFA specifically rules out repartition.

    The Protestant identity in NI is based on being in charge. Obviously, if NI achieves a Nationalist majority, that will no longer be so, and it will not be possible to gift them this back. If NI does not achieve a Nationalist majority, then the question of reunification does not arise.

    Genuinely British people manage to live in Southern Ireland without any problem. The Gardaí do not break into their houses and confiscate their marmite and copies of the Times. The Royal Dublin Horse Show and the Anglican Church function without let or hindrance. The only thing I can see that reunification might take away from me is access to BBC i-player, and this would have to be negotiated.

    I am sure the English love their monarchy and I would not wish Irish tastes to be imposed on them.

  • Barnshee

    “The Protestant identity in NI is based on being in charge”

    The Protestant identity in NI is based on being protestant- rejecting murdering irish republicanism (which whines like fuck when their own tactics are replicated against them)

  • Brit

    Paddy the re-entry of the 26 counties suggestion was a joke FFS. For the record I’m a member of the Labour Party and have always fought against the Far Right in every guise.

    Otherwise just more Stalinesque crap from you.
    The position of Irish Protestants or indeed non-Irish Brits in the Republic is a total red-herring constantly trotted out by the lovely “non-sectarian” Republicans.

    And this Englishman doesnt love the monarchy.

  • Driftwood

    As futuring goes, Irish unity ia a long way down the line, but anyway..

    The only thing I can see that reunification might take away from me is access to BBC i-player, and this would have to be negotiated.

    There is just the wee £7 billion subvention from Westminster and all those (UK) public sector jobs and pensions. Even nationalist minded turkeys do not vote for christmas.

  • PaddyReilly

    Otherwise just more Stalinesque crap from you.

    Oh I see. My idea that if there is a Nationalist majority in NI, then the wishes of this majority should be followed, and not those of the Unionist minority, is Stalinesque? Josip Vissarionovitch obviously has some good ideas it would appear. But closer to home, that is what is stated in the GFA, and guaranteed by the USA, so it seems reasonable enough to me. Perhaps you might like to inform me what it is that Northern Protestants need to accommodate them in a United Ireland, and demonstrate how this arrangement applies to Irish nationals resident in Britain.

    Let me explain to you how I understand majority rule and human rights to work. If there is a question such as which side of the road to drive on, then majority diktat prevails. If anyone persists in driving on a side of the road other than the one the majority opts for, then they must be jailed.

    If the question is whether we should drink coffee or tea, then arrangements should be made so that those who want one or the other get it. Under no circumstances should (majority) tea drinkers be forced to drink coffee to keep the (coffee-drinking) minority happy.

    There is just the wee £7 billion subvention from Westminster and all those (UK) public sector jobs and pensions. Even nationalist minded turkeys do not vote for christmas.

    An old and boring false argument. One wonders how Connacht and Munster manage to survive without the Westminster Father Christmas.

    Subventions from the centre to the peripheries are necessary because the centre sucks in the wealth of the peripheries. If a non-British 6 counties cannot afford to pay its Public Sector workers there is always the option of devaluing the currency until it can. Alternatively the disappearing British subsidy could be accompanied by disappearing British enthusiasts and partisans, who will follow their jobs to Wiltshire and Hampshire, making the rump populace easier to govern.

  • Brit

    “accompanied by disappearing British enthusiasts and partisans, who will follow their jobs to Wiltshire and Hampshire, making the rump populace easier to govern.”

    “Rump populace”, thats cute – reminds me of some graffiti in Kilburn in the 80s/90s “British B@stards out of Eire”.

    And if, as you say, you believe that the majority position in NI determines the constitutional status of the place that you are a Unionist (more technically a de facto or pragmatic Unionist) – an ideology which you have been highly critical of in this thread

  • PaddyReilly

    The most interesting counter-argument to this Two Nations crap is a statistic from Donegal, where 50% of Protestants marry Catholics. Obviously, when there is no Protestant majority to be preserved and no Unionist gerrymander in need of maintenance, the so called Two Nations get bored of traditional faction fighting and blend into each other.

    As a Labour Party member you should bear in mind the example of your last Glorious Leader, whose mother’s family are Protestants from Donegal, yet married a disgusting Fenian of Irish and Catholic antecedents and sent all his children to the Oratory, a superstitious academy of Papistry in London. If you arent’t going to fight for the separateness of the Two Nations in England, why should you feel qualified to impose it on Ireland?

    you believe that the majority position in NI determines the constitutional status of the place

    Not ideal, but what the people of Ireland voted for in the GFA, so I don’t feel empowered to overturn it. It is, I believe, merely a temporary arrangement until the majority changes.

  • Mack

    Driftwood –

    There is just the wee £7 billion subvention from Westminster and all those (UK) public sector jobs and pensions.

    They’d be entitled to their pensions, and if not, sure we’d be entitle to renege on your part of the UK national debt :-0 !

  • Brit

    “If you arent’t going to fight for the separateness of the Two Nations in England, why should you feel qualified to impose it on Ireland?”

    Firstly you mistake me for a sectarian anti-Catholic. Im a secular athiest – with Campbell rather than Blair on the God question.

    Second its not for me or England or mainland Britain (or the Republic) to impose anything. It is for the people of NI to decide (as you accepted in your previous post).

    Third it was Irish nationalists who separated the island into two countries by breaking away with the 26 counties. Partition is the status quo so there is no need to fight for it.

    Fourth there is no Irish nation in Britain (mainland Britain) the population is too small, to diverse and possibly too integrated. So there is no real analogy. Sure there is an ethnic minority but that doesnt mean annexation of Kilburn (or wherever the kids and grandkids of those builders who settled in Kilburn live) into the Republic.

  • PaddyReilly

    It would appear then a nation is an ethnic minority with attitude and arms.

    There are you know, as many Arab speakers living in West London (from Kensington to Cricklewood) as there are Protestants in the 6 Counties. When I walk through Cricklewood I see Mosques on every side. Some of them have access to explosives. Does this give them a right to secede this area from the rest of England?

  • Brit

    Paddy that Eurabia crap is false in general and wholly irrelevant to the matter in hand. FWIW Cricklewood is north west rather than west London and has more Polish, Romanian, Albanian and Urdu speakers than arabic speakers (there is no arab nation in any event). There are churches and a synagogue in Cricklewood too thats north west London for you.

    The northern irish prods are not an ethnic minority they count as ingidenous now – they’ve been there longer than the Jews in Israel, the Americans in America, the Australians in Australia the Kiwis in NZ.

  • PaddyReilly

    Brit on the soi-disant British in Ireland:-

    Paddy – the Stalinesque denial of the legitimately or even existence of the ethnic/national identity of the Protestant British Ulstermen and women is indicative of rotten core of Irish Republicanism. A denial of a reality which is not convenient.

    Brit on the Irish in Britain:-

    Fourth there is no Irish nation in Britain (mainland Britain) the population is too small, to diverse and possibly too integrated. So there is no real analogy.

    You may not see the contradiction in your words (indicative of the rotten core of English Republicanism) but I assure you others will be able to.

    they’ve been there longer than the Jews in Israel, the Americans in America, the Australians in Australia the Kiwis in NZ.

    No, they’ve been there for the whole of their lifetimes and no longer. Deceased ancestors have no votes.

  • otto

    “they’ve been there longer than the Jews in Israel, the Americans in America, the Australians in Australia the Kiwis in NZ.”

    Who’s they?

    According to CAIN as far back as “1990 (figures) show that almost 20% of all marriages in the Down and Connor diocese are mixed. In the Derry diocese the corresponding figure is 9% and in the Armagh diocese it is 4%. Figures obtained for the Clogher and Dromore diocese do not permit this percentage to be estimated; however there were an average of 6 mixed marriages per parish for Dromore, and Clogher recorded a total of 6 mixed marriages in 1990.”

    So 20% of catholic marriages in Greater Belfast incolve at least one prod.

    And on the other side I know of at least one Presbyterian + Catholic marriage which split the difference and christened their kids COI even though the marriage was catholic.

    So they are increasingly us and we are them.

    And we’ve all been here all along.

    Unless you believe only a Catholic christening and a catholic baptism make a true Irishman.

    BTW if there’s no such thing as inherited citizenship what are hereditary visas all about?

    PS this makes the rising Catholic demographic a bit harder to take for granted. What if all those new catholic babies have at least one prod parent?

  • barnshee

    7.The most interesting counter-argument to this Two Nations crap is a statistic from Donegal, where 50% of Protestants marry Catholics. Obviously, when there is no Protestant majority to be preserved and no Unionist gerrymander in need of maintenance, the so called Two Nations get bored of traditional faction fighting and blend into each other.

    er crap the reasons 50% of Protestants marry Catholics are

    1 few prods top marry without hitting on cousins

    2 Roman catholic church blackmail -not married in catholic church marriage not recognised

    3 backmail 2 –promise to bring up children as RC

    4 more rc blackmail children attend rc schools or no communion

    Of course the mealy mouthed prods toe the line imagine the howling- if prod churches adopted the same rules.(time they did)

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Ireland was British until the majority of the country decided to secede.’

    Did the irish ever have a say in whether they wanted to join your damn union or are you going to be honest?

    ‘If you get your UI and the Prods dont like it they will be morally, legally and constitutionally entitled to establish an independent state (or a nation within the UK) in, say, counties Down and Antrim where there is a large majority in favour of secession from the Republic’

    Hang on the irish never really liked being butchered into your beloved union, didn’t they have a right to establish their own independent state in oh…say…Ireland…where the overwhelming majority wanted home rule at the very least. But a certain superiority ideology up north deemed themselves too good to be ruled by the lowly irish IN IRELAND.

    ‘Welcome to the British Republic of Englad, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.’

    Why would anyone go back to a rapist for seconds?

  • Brit

    “Did the irish ever have a say in whether they wanted to join your damn union or are you going to be honest?”

    The people never had a say in anything in those days – Irish, English or otherwise. It was before democracy and the universal franchise.

    The Irish, the Catholic, nationalists, non-British ones, had an absolute right to secede from the Union and set up their own state. The other Irish, the British Irish, Unionsts etc had every right to remain British. It would have been better had the nationalis Irish stayed in the Union and waited for it to democratise. They could have a proper social democratic movement, fought for justice in WW2, and maybe minimised the reactionary power of the Catholic Church. There would have been no or less conflict in NI.

    It would also have been better had all the Unionists / Prods gone along with the idea of the irish Republic which would have been a lovely non-sectarian non-Catholic dominated state with a multi-dimensional Irishness.

    But neither of those things happend so some sort of partition was the least bad solution (I dont say the specific partition was ideal but since when were borders drawn up on an ideal basis).

  • kensei

    Brit

    You are ignoring the shameful role played by various British parties and Empire mentality in stoking conflict in Ireland. Partition was not inevitable, or indeed necessarily desirable.

  • Guest

    Let’s be sensible about this Brit.

    What would generally be acceptable to a republican:

    Northern Ireland exists as an entity and if one wants an United Ireland one will have to fist get to a point where it is acceptable to have a referendum on unity and then indeed to win that referendum.If that does not happen then “reunification” will not happen.It must indeed be a democratic decision.In the meantime,Unionists must make a space for the Irish citizens of the north, and in fairness, they are moving on that,even if very slowly.

    All fairly basic,I think you’ll agree.

    Now if want to be sensible about the past.
    From where does the unit NI come?
    Many would say through the unionist use of force when they where clearly a minority, as/if taken as a part of the unit that was Ireland.Unionists may say that the unit was the “UK” and therfore that the north did not succeed from the unit that was Ireland but that the south succeeded from the unit that was “uk”.Hence,the IFA being the original body ,hence your point that Ireland was never a political unit except under british rule(which is not through)
    I know you already know all this but I think it is of benefit to pin down the differences.

    This leads us on to inquire as to why the north developed differently from the north as much as why the Irishman developed differently from the Britishman.The first indicator would be religion and the failure of protestanism in the south.the english had bigger fish to fry, and indeed, it is only with the french tendency to view Ireland as the islands achilles heal that the “union” became necessary.Ever since, the unionists in the north have been financially awarded granting England right to strategic (and of course non-strategic) interest in the island.This is not the Englismans’ fault just as it is not the frenchmans’ fault.It is european and global history.It is disingenious to argue that the unionists had a right to remain “british” when, in you own words,”The people never had a say in anything in those days – Irish, English or otherwise. It was before democracy and the universal franchise.”Just as it would for me to point out that the unit that was Ireland was longer more constitutionally separated from Britain than it was attached.
    It’s a fools game.and your basic point that was ever happened was inevitable stands.But don’t try claim that it was right.

  • Guest

    sorry for all those typos.;

  • There seems to be a view that seom form of regional should remain in a UI.

    I guess this could mean the NHS would remain in a UI as might the acountability stuctures around policing.

    Its a federal Ireland, is it not?