Snubbed During Labour’s Promises…

THE entire reference to Northern Ireland in the Labour Manifesto:

For the first time, Northern Ireland can look forward to a stable and prosperous future as a result of the Good Friday, St Andrews and Hillsborough Agreements. Supported by unprecedented public funding, we will continue to invest in the institutions of devolution, so that the Unionist and Republican traditions can work together for all the people of Northern Ireland.

Yawn – though I suppose if you’re not looking for votes here, you’d be happy to fob off the pesky natives with 59 words too. The only interesting thing about it is that it refers to the ‘Unionist and Republican’ traditions, disregarding the commonly-used ‘Nationalist’ tradition. The latter is usually associated with the SDLP.

If Northern Ireland is barely on Labour’s radar any more, which isn’t all bad news, the SDLP – Labour’s sister party – is now completely off it.(Yes, I suppose pedants will argue that both nationalist and republican could technically be used by either the SDLP and SF. But the fact remains that the descriptions are political shorthand, used to differentiate between the SDLP and SF. They are also the terms used by the parties themselves.)

  • Michaelhenry

    john hume said that the s.d.l.p was post nationalist, and no s.d.l.p member went agaist him, so theres no problem.

  • Wabbits

    No harm d yee Gonzo. But talk about making something out of nothing. Are you bored or what ?

    The reason that the Labour bumph doesn’t contain the word nationalist is quite simply because the average Joe/Josephine in England knows f**k all about this place and cares even less. So using Republican makes it easier for him/her to begin to understand as that is the word they will have heard more of. That’s all and I wouldn’t make any more than that out of it.

  • [quote][i]Supported by unprecedented public funding, we will continue to invest in the institutions of devolution, so that the Unionist and Republican traditions can work together for all the people of Northern Ireland.[/i][/quote] …..

    And what does that arrogant little tosser Ed Miliband think supports him and the Labour train wreck of a failed party institution and incompetent government?

    Name me one government which doesn’t try to screw the people and mislead them into believing that they are to pay for everything with taxation rather than with currency quantitatively eased and supplied to them, as is done for unprecedented public funding of chums needing bailouts. And that is bound to be a nice little slushy earner on the QT too, I’ll wager. Very lucrative and rewarding.

  • Van der Graff

    It is hardly pedantic to want to accurately describe the ideology of a party. If ‘republicanism’ is taken as a broad term, then both the SDLP and SF want to be in a republic as opposed to a United Kingdom constitutional monarchy/parliamentary democracy. By this definition, surely both parties are republican.

    If ‘political shorthand’ used in NI cites ‘republican’ to denote eg. a militaristic, abstentionist aspect of a party’s past/ideology, then it is used incorrectly. We have become rather lazy here using the above terms in the way in which they have habitually been used.

    Nationalism is a similarly easier ideology to define. And you can be a nationalist and a republican at the same time – they are not mutually exclusive. Taken in a European context, nationalism is indicative of some allegiance to a nation-state (whether in recognised existence or not). Therefore, for us, nationalism must be about the allegiance to notions of Irish ‘nationhood’.

    The only thing I will say is that I don’t think the SDLP are overly concerned with tricolours and making sure never to utter the words ‘Northern Ireland’. Nor is there rhetoric ignoring a border, or the jurisdiction of Westminster as long as the majority in NI support it. However, Sinn Féin give off a strong aroma of nationalism but it’s almost heresy to suggest this to them.

    With reference to post-nationalism, I think Hume was right, speaking of an ‘increasingly post-nationalist Europe’. The argument in NI over that utterance of ten years ago was so lazy to have ignored what Hume was saying, in regarding ‘nationalistic’ ideologies and campaigns as passé across Europe – modern democratic aspirations should relate to societies of people, not state constructs or ‘nations’.

    And…of course… British ‘nationalist’ can also be used to describe both main unionist parties.

    I don’t think it’s fair to shout, ‘Pedant’ at an attempt to get some basic things straight – there’s a pretty deep argument in this which should have been had a long time ago.

  • For crying out loud! What more d’you want? Golden elephants? [© Clare Short].

    Devolution? Check!
    Squillions of filthy lucre? Check!
    Assurance of continuing support? Check!

    Yet there’s still, both sides of the Great Divide, the need to:

    keep a-hold of Nurse
    For fear of finding something worse.

    (Perhaps not: that’s “Jim” , who’s not flavour of the week sluggerdom-way).

    Feet. Own. Stand on ’em.

  • Rory Carr

    “‘nationalistic’ ideologies and campaigns as passé across Europe -“

    Tell that to the “societies of people” in the Balkans and the Caucusus, Van der Graff or to those “British nationalists” who happen be Welsh or Scottish, they may not consider their national aspirations to be so “passé” as you might consider.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    None of the Parties at Westminster really gives a tinkers curse about the bottomless money pit that is Norn Iron.
    The all-party Stormont government can claim loadsa money off the Treasury as a kinda modern Dane gelt (sp)…..nobody here loses out. Occasionally some local Tory (probably now silenced since the merger) will push for lower taxes blah blah but no local Tory is gonna press for reduced public spending cos their businesses would lose out.
    Tory Turkeys locally wont vote for Christmas.
    The Overclass (on the left) would like to see Labour organise here. But the SDLP has the franchise and its three (basically) cheap Labour seats.
    The Overclass on the right wanted to see the Tories organise here…well they got HALF their wish…..the Tories are disorganised here and the Catholic producer of Top Gear is nowhere to be seen.
    Yet in a fair wind the Tories can count on three or four cheap seats.
    But nobody really cares.

  • Alias

    “Tell that to the “societies of people” in the Balkans and the Caucusus, Van der Graff or to those “British nationalists” who happen be Welsh or Scottish, they may not consider their national aspirations to be so “passé” as you might consider.” – Rory Carr

    If they are Welsh or Scottish nationalists then they are excluded by definition from being British nationalists. A nationalist is anyone who supports the concept of sovereign nations, i.e a nation-state for his nation.

    The four nations that comprise the UK ae non-sovereign nations but they all share a common nationality of British. So the sovereign nation is the British nation, and the UK is that nation’s de facto nation-state (although it is not a nation-state de jure).

    Unlike other nation-states, the UK’s founding principle is a shared future between non-sovereign nations with one sovereign state shared between them. That’s the same British constitutional principle that is being heavily sold to the non-sovereign Irish nation in a part of the UK by the British state’s stooges, i.e. the post-nationalist Shinners and Stoops.

  • Alias

    The other British constitutional principle is, of course, that the shared future between non-sovereign nations that comprise the UK is underpinned by parity of esteem. So all the Shinners and Stoops are actually doing is selling Britishness to the Irish on behalf of those who pay their wages.

  • What ish my nation? Ish a villain, and a bastard, and a knave, and a rascal. What ish my nation? Who talks of my nation?

    I know this is one I’ll never win, it goes against a quarter-millennium of political indoctrination. But here goes yet again.

    Alias @ 02:34 PM, by excluding Welsh and Scot nationalists from being “British”, seems to me to be making the ultimate, but common error that “British”=”English”.

    On the contrary, I maintain that the Welsh and Scottish (and, by extension, many of north-eastern Ireland) have impeccable “British” roots The Saxons of the south of Britain, by contrast, overcame the British Celts, imposed upon them a Saxon empire, and then, to add insult to injury, called it “British”.

  • Framer

    Gladstone must be warming up in his grave.

  • The Brits dont give a monkeys about us, when is that going to sink in.

  • Garza

    [quote]The Brits dont give a monkeys about us, when is that going to sink in.[/quote]

    Neither does the Republic lol, when is that gonna sink in.

  • Garza

    Sorry, I am not a well person this evening, but did you just say the Irish dont care about Ireland?

  • Garza


    Sorry, I am not a well person this evening, but did you just say the Irish dont care about Ireland?[/quote]

    No I meant the majority of Irish in the Republic do not care about what goes on in NORTHERN Ireland (6 counties or whatever name u wanna give it). People in the Republic are more concerned about everyday issues and quite alot of them doesn’t care what goes on up here as long as long as its in peace (esp the younger generations) and they can visit it for a wee holiday and shopping spree now and again.

    Sure they might pay lip service to united ireland polls, but that is all they are lip service.

    I’m sorry pip but a united ireland is not a priority down there.

  • Garza

    No not a priority but it is on our wish list. I know, as well as anyone, that at the moment we have other priorities, but it will not go away. It will always be there, that little bit of us missing…

  • Pickled Badger

    I can’t agree with you pippakin. Most people in the Republic I’ve spoken to see Northern Ireland as being somewhere quite different and certainly not somewhere they would be willing to pay for.

    There is a substantial question mark if the Republic would ever be able to pay the cost needed to keep Northern Ireland in any kind of prosperity let alone handle the trouble that going from a homogenous culture to one where 20% of people wanted to belong to a different state would entail.

    Unless NI regains decent economic viability (unlikely in the short term) or the Republic could convince Britain to pick up the tab (inconceivable) a united Ireland just isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Still it would be fun watching southern politicians’ reactions if the north ever looks likely to vote for unity.

  • Alias

    They exclude themselves, Malcolm. Either the Welsh nation is sovereign or it is not. If some Welsh people are British nationalists, then it is their political position that the Welsh nation should be a non-sovereign nation. If they are Welsh nationalists, then their political position is the exact opposite. Clearly then they cannot be Welsh nationalists if they are British nationalists – and just as clearly, they can’t support a sovereign state for their nation when they do not support support a sovereign state for their nation, declaring instead that the sovereign should reside with the sovereign British nation and its sovereign state.

    In short: it is also a constitutional nonsense (to borrow a term) to declare that a Welsh nationalist (or the other three non-sovereign nations that comprise the UK) can also be a British nationalist. They can only be one or the other.

  • Alias

    Just to add that a Welsh nationalist can be a member of the British nation without any renunciation of his national rights as a member of the Welsh nation, but he cannot be a British nationalist without renouncing those rights and ceasing to be a Welsh nationalist.

    Nations that do not assert national rights are not nationalists, so the two preceding categories are not interchangeable. The Irish nation in Northern Ireland, for example, has renounced its national rights, accepting the legitimacy of its status as a non-sovereign nation, and so they are a depoliticized nation that does not assert that it has an inalienable right to be a sovereign nation.

    Their position is the same as the other non-sovereign nations that comprise the UK – excluding nationalists from those four nations.

  • Alias

    “Neither does the Republic lol, when is that gonna sink in.” – Garza

    They’ll do what they are led to believe is in their best interests, but they will be directed by those who they wrong believe serve their best interests and who they assume act in good faith when bad faith is what underpins the process. How many of them realise that they granted the UK sovereignty over vital political, cultural and economic institutions of the Irish state when they voted for the 19th Amendment – including, for example, responsibility for promoting the Irish language? I’d say less than 0.01% of them realise that the UK regained sovereignty over Ireland that it lost with partition. Why did their government not tell them that they were giving their sovereignty away to the UK via treaty between the two states? Bad faith from a government that isn’t serving their interests as a sovereign nation.