Conventional states of mind and vocational politics denied

How do you show by actions Northern Ireland is not a legitimate entity or constituent part of the British state (UK)?

I’m suggesting three simple check points of which hitting at least one might be needed to demonstrate you reject Northern Ireland as a legitmate. I will set out some reasoning later but am not claiming a definitive list by any means.

• You reject International agreements in place as a result of British involvement in Ireland
• You reject governance of the State
• You either directly support/engage in violence carried out by agencies not of the State or agree the State does not have a perpetual monopoly on violence

Northern Ireland, eh!

The term that cannot cross an Irish Republican’s lips for fear saying it might mean facing it does seem to actually exist? The north (little n), the North (big N), the six, the Occupied six, the North East….take your pick, not saying its name doesn’t make the structures less real.

It has been called the ‘failed Orange statelet’, but what of its position in political theory and International law? Of course most Irish republicans will claim they reject any view that defines Northern Ireland as other than a disconnected part of a legitimate Irish state.

But what are states and how does the rejection of Northern Ireland as legitimate fit with those definitions?Congress of Vienna:

It declared only established states could recognise other states (the British were signed up to this at its outset)

The Montevideo convention

• A permanent population – NI check
• Defined territory – NI check
• Government – NI check
• Capacity to enter into relations with other states – NI check (Westminster enters them, Stormont enacts them – see all EU legislation)

OK, so Montevideo wasn’t broadly adopted. What else?

Recognition by the UN

UK incorporating NI fully recognised. (Only the 32CSM are actively disputing this via the UN and I doubt even they think it will be successful)

Social theory

Well you can’t do much better than Max Weber

His definition – the state must retain a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence. In Northern Ireland the majority demand the only legitimate uses of violence must be within the law or through agents of the state (armed forces or police).

So under the broad definitions above how do republican political actors reject NI as a legitimate political state?

Those in administration could refuse to recognise international agreements concluded by the state (UK) and they and others could recognise that violence is not solely legitimate in the hands of state forces or under state law.

This has been distilled down to a State will maintain its own internal security and protect its borders. So again, if you support the State – support its forces of law and enforcement of those laws and abide by international agreements that legitimise the State.

It is very easy to see ways to reject British State legitimacy over a northern ireland in the UK through the above. It is equally easy to see those recognising Northern Ireland as a legitimate part of the UK by their actions.

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