Whither Nationalism

Whither Nationalism?

There’s brouhaha in the S.D.L.P. over Declan O’Loan’s call for nationalist unity. The question the S. D.L. P. must first answer— Is the S. D. L. P. constitutionalist or Republican? To answer that the party will have to look at its historic roots. Daniel O’ Connell was the first constitutional nationalist and in his speech— In Favour of the Repeal of the Union—he said this: –

“Let’s have a government at College Green beside a statue of King William where we will be obedient to the Queen joined to England by the golden link of the Crown”

In the same speech he repudiates French Republicanism.

This vision would have been shared by Butt Parnell and Redmond and if any of these nationalist leaders had been offered by Westminster what O ‘Connell had in mind it would have been grabbed with both hands.

To step into the 21st century Mark Durkan writing on Irish unity claims that the S. D. L. P. is the party of true Republicans and that a United Ireland will be an all Ireland Republic with a place for Unionists. Alasdair Mc Donald says the same thing as Mark Durkan. I have already looked at this constitutional absurdity in the article —Does the Constitution really matter? If the party is one of true Republicans and if there is to be Nationalist unity then logically the S. D. L. P. and Sinn Fein should merge with Gerry Adams as leader but it seems there are those in the party who retain a subconscious memory o f O’Connell’s vision and for those a merger with Sinn Fein would be anathema. That may be the root cause of the S. D. L. P. brouhaha.

IN my published writing my thesis is that the Irish Problem is a constitutional problem and the constitutional problem is sectarian in nature. If there is a merger between the catholic parties the S. D. L. P. and Sinn Fein and if there is unionist unity as the protestant Orange Order is now demanding the sectarian constitutional dichotomy in Ireland will be total. There is now a smug acceptance that the
G.F.A. has made everything in Ireland rosy but it is clear to those who see the sickness of sectarianism is in need of eradication that the sectarian G.F.A. copper fastens a sectarian border and institutionalizes a dysfunctional sectarian assembly at Stormont.

MY thesis gives a way out of this sectarian mess. The way out can be found in a
Synthesis of Unionism And Nationalism in the published The National Government
of Ireland Act. This synthesis would express a Federal Kingdom of the Sovereign
Nation of Ireland and Great Britain or vice versa with a reformed Crown as Head Of
State. This scenario for Ireland is akin to O’Connell’s statement given previously. The
Government of Ireland partitioned the island only the National Government of Ireland
Act can unite it

The Thesis rejects all political parties as sectarian. There is need for a new non-
sectarian party— Federal Unionism-Early Sinn Fein—. To form such a non- sectarian
party would require a voluntary coalition of the political centre in Northern Ireland
made up of the S. D. L. P. and the C. P. U. U. P. and Alliance to oppose the mandatory sectarian coalition of Sinn Fein/D.U.P. Such a party should
take a s its motto: –

IN a Federal Kingdom the people in a United Ireland have nothing to lose but their chains of sectarianism

A respondent to a previous article to Slugger asked what would happen to the Irish President, the Irish flag and to Ireland’s neutrality in a Federal Kingdom? An elected Irish person in the role of Secretary of State for All Ireland would replace the Irish President. The Secretary of State for all Ireland could have an office in Dublin Castle. A new Irish flag would have to come into existence as a composite of the Irish tricolour and the Irish Saltire. This new Irish Flag could be defined in the Act as the National Royal flag of Ireland and a symbol of the Federal Kingdom. Ireland’s neutrality is fine in principle and could be written into the Act.

I put this thesis in a private letter to Sir Reg Empey Lady Sylvia Hermon and Mark Durkan. In a written reply Sir Reg wrote he had read the thesis with interest and Lady Sylvia was enthusiastic about the thesis. Mark referred me to a document he had written on Irish Unity, which stated that the S. D. L. P. is true Republican so there was no joy there. If the S.D.L.P. are true Republicans and are 1916 people they should merge with Sinn Fein. Those who aren’t should rethink Daniel O Connell and reflect on the thesis o f a United Ireland in a Federal Kingdom under a reformed Crown. That is O’Connell in 21st century terms

Michael Gillespie

  • serak

    You’re a mad man. That’s your solution – the Act of Union, seriously? A ‘reformed’ monarchy…very 21st century.

  • brian_nua_eabhrac

    Perhaps you haven’t noticed that a few things have happened since Mr. O’Connell’s day: an Gorta Mór, Fenianism, two world wars, the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Irish Republic–this idea of nationalism within a federal kingdom is about as relevant as Mr. O’Connell’s cravat. Besides, you need only glance across the water from Ballycastle to see that betting on any sort of United Kingdom is a dicey prospect.

    Still, if we’re to consider a reformed crown (is such a thing possible?) then let’s really reform it: replace E. Windsor & Sons Ltd. with a Stuart!

  • White Horse

    The whole point behind the SDLP is that they are a reinvention of O’Connell in the 1820s and 1830s and that Hume was a kind of reincarnation of O’Connell.

  • Greenflag

    O’Connell was a man of the 19th century and he’s best left there . While the Irish people will continue to honour the man for his great work in achieving religious freedom on this island thats about it . We recall his fight for the Repeal of the Union is still a work in progress.

    The majority of people on this island are moving towards a non catholic and secular majority . We are not going back to monarchism even if it’s largely symbolic . Aristocracy has had it’s day . In this day and age it’s an anachronism on a par with the papacy .

    BTW the monarchy is already reformed -That would have been around the time of Queen Elizabeth I . It’s been COE ever since .

  • Scamallach

    Are you f**king mental? You get some extreme views on Slugger occasionally but this is up there. What self respecting Irish nationalist would agree fealty to the British crown??

    100% of all Irish nationalists reject fully the idea of any dominion of the British monarchy over Ireland, which leads me to believe that you are some kind of deranged moron who thinks he can trick us into giving up. I prefer the normal type of unionist thanks.

  • I think you’ll find most unionists would be sympathetic in principle to the Republic “returning to the fold”, but equally most are under no illusion that it’s a serious proposition. Michael may be off the radar, but his error is not an overactive imagination, rather to mistake last-orders wishful thinking for real substance.

    Let me make it clear to you, Michael. Voters in the Republic would sooner vote to become the 51st state of the USA than go back into the UK. They don’t love us that much.

  • Michael Gillespie

    If the respondents to Slugger would read my article coolly accurately without getting hot under the collar and being abusive the reader will find I’m putting forward a thesis about Ireland, I’m not trying to steam roll anyone into the U.K. If my article is read accurately it will be found my thesis is about getting rid of the U. K. and replacing it with a better alternative than either the U.K. or a Republic both of which are historic failures in Ireland. If some thing doesn’t work the intelligent thing to do is to try something else. My thesis puts forward something else that hasn’t been tried namely a Federal Kingdom.

    A thesis is an original point of view supported by either research or reasoned argument. A Federal Kingdom is an original point of view, which can be supported by reasoned argument but in the responses in Slugger there is only knee jerk reaction mostly of an old hat Republican nature. I am accused of wanting the people to swear fealty to a British Crown. I haven’t said that anywhere and if my novel — THE WAY IRELAND OUGHT TO BE —is read there is nothing there about fealty to a British Crown or anything else British. The respondents to Slugger can only defend the status quo of sectarianism and continue to flog the dead horse of Republicanism in opposition to Union Jack Unionism The respondents can’t put forward an original viewpoint for change but set their faces against a suggestion of change of any kind. But there is no need to get up tight; no one is rail roading Dublin back into the U.K. but a thesis for change for a better Ireland can be put to reasonable people in Dublin and a reasonable case made. Republicanism doesn’t work nor does Union Jack Unionism so scrap both and try something else. My thesis is an attempt to do that. That’s common sense.

    Michael Gillespie

  • joeCanuck

    Michael, there might be some truth in what you say about knee jerk responses. A federation might work (aren’t we going there already with Europe) but I think you just are ignoring that a kingdom would never ever be on the cards for the vast majority of Irish people, no matter what their religion.

  • OldSod

    To be fair, I would consider myself nationalist with a small “n”, would be happy with the governmental link with Britain severed, but would want to retain the link with the monarchy,… so it’s hardly 100% of nationalists who reject the British Monarchy.

  • JoeJoe

    A lot of unionists quote Irish nationalists statements of yore to show they loved the crown. In general this was coerced from them when they were arguing/begging for a measure of justice for their oppressed people (Other than Redmond). The constraint being that saying they wanted out of the empire would mean they would not get a hearing in England even for modest measures. I wonder were O’Connell’s statement in this vein.

    On a similar note, do unionists really believe that Arthur Griffith really wanted the King of England as King of Ireland in his early ‘joint kingdom’ idea. Surely, this was a suggestion of the most that could be got at the time, in a stepping stone to independence, rather than a preference.

    An article in The Times quoted Parnell when he was on a knife-edge towards making progress with the Home Rule Bill at Westminster, having to deny the rumours that he also thought ‘the blacks of Jamaica should also have home rule’, as many of his opponents had been whispering to wavering MPs. I have no idea what Parnell really thought, but know that if he had said that he wanted Jamaica etc. independent, there would have been no support (Gladstone etc.) for Irish home rule in Britain, and so the statment can not be considered ‘freely given’.

  • brian_nua_eabhrac

    Michael, if you can’t stand the heat…

    Besides, a bit of O’Connell plus a dash of Joseph Chamberlain’s ‘Liberal Unionism’ does not constitute bold new thinking. Your ideas about about secretaries of state and pretty new flags is not bold new thinking but a risible game of Billy Liar-like what-ifs. And, good Lord, if a ‘reformed Crown’ (sic) isn’t British, then what is it? Most of Ireland is already free of monarchism, and Scotland may go that way soon. Is this really the time to try to resuscitate a moribund form of governance?

    Sectarianism will break down through the slow, plodding work of cross-community activists and cross-border initiatives, all taking place in a fuller European context. They will take a great deal of effort and a great deal of time, but they do point to the way out.

    Your problem, Michael, can be summed up in your choice of title: THE WAY IRELAND OUGHT TO BE; meanwhile, the rest of us will deal with Ireland as it is.

    So, go play quietly in the corner and leave the real work to the adults.

  • Alias

    Most of your sectarian agenda of two nations competing with each for control of one state is already in play under the GFA. The difference is that the GFA is very coy about its agenda so as not to frighten the horses whereas your agenda throws a bunch of firecrackers under them.

    Strand 2 of the GFA surrenders sovereignty over key cultural and economic institutions of the Irish state to the British state. This is the first time that the British state has had sovereign control over Ireland’s internal affairs since partition. So how did they slip that one by the gullible masses? Simple, neither state informed those who voted for the 19th amendment that they were voting to derogate their sovereignty. Instead of being told they were surrendering their sovereignty, they were told they were voting to bring peace to Northern Ireland. Instead of calling the body that how has this sovereignty the Ireland/United Kingdom Ministerial Council they called it the North/South Ministerial Council to create the bogus impression that this sovereignty was retained within the Irish state rather than surrendered to a foreign state. Likewise, when demands are made by the so-called nationalists in NI to surrender more sovereign powers of the Irish state to the United Kingdom these demands are portrayed as being “cooperation” that is in “mutual interest.”

    Strand 3, the British-Irish Council and British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference, is all about the reintegration of Ireland as a ‘British Isle’ into existing British constitutional structures.

    How exactly do you think that 1 million British people who will not be required under the GFA to hold Irish citizenship or express fealty to the Irish nation or its state in any unified entity can be managed by that state other than by adopting British constitutional structures wherein Ireland is reintegrated into the UK? They can’t. So the GFA requires that Ireland is united within the UK, and that is the agenda that is already in play.

    The trick in leading folks to a place they wouldn’t otherwise agree to go is that you don’t tell them where they are going until they get there.

  • A “Federal Kingdom of the Sovereign Nation of Ireland and Great Britain” was the exact term you used, Michael. As a thesis it’s relevance has kind of dipped since about 1799.

    You fail to explain a few points, though.

    How would we elect a monarch for said kingdom, for I am assuming that, since we are all democrats, that such a newly established entity would require a formal selection procedure based on a mandate. Not some dubious connection via Germany to some previous office holder.

    Personally, I think the whole nobility would also have to be reconstituted. Given the relative figures involved, some form of d’Hondt mechanism would have to be deployed to ensure an adequate cascading of royalty priveleges throughout the FKSNIGB. Of course, individual baronetcies, lordships, earldoms, marquissistries, dukedoms, counties (in the original sense), archdukedoms and principalities would require separate electoral proceedings for the relevant title. A lengthy electoral commission would thus be required to firstly establish boundaries, then identify those to which brehon or other local law must apply.

    Finally, it may simply be determined that it would simpler to return England to the Tudors, Scotland to the Stuarts and Ireland to the Ó Néills. Wales, well, we can only hope that some satisfactory suggestion might be made as to what to do with it.

    If you think they are crackpot suggestions, they pale in significance to your own.

  • Eire32

    Quite frankly, one of the most ridiculous things I’ve every read in my entire life, re-read your post lad.

  • Stephen

    First of all, the SDLP are contitutional and democratic. And they are republicans. They want Ireland to be a republic, and have wanted this since thier inception. The idea that Sinn Fein are the “real republicans”, because they supported the futile campaigns of the IRA, is frankly ridiculous. the SDLP wrote GFA, more or less, before Sinn Fein had even truely emerged(that is, the “new” Sinn Fein of NI in the 60s and 70s).

    The only form of nationalism left it republicanism – republicanism meaning all-Ireland to become a republic, not the car bombs or any of that cack. The SDLP’s pragmatic republicanism is the only thing that has any chance of working in the face of a 60% Unionist majority. Sinn Fein’s electoral success is understandable, with their abstention and their commitment to “gaeilge”(la-dee-frikin-daa) – but they do absolutely nothing in terms of moving Ireland towards a united republic. It was the SDLP who is most responsible for moving Northern Ireland from ethnic majority rule to nationalist inclusion, and it is only the SDLP who can move Northern Ireland further.

  • Michael Gillespie

    It came as a surprise to find a spate of anti- Crown rant as commentary on the article Whither Nationalism. Some of the rant was blatant and some was hidden behind protective nom – de –plumes vested with a thin disguise of pseudo- history. I had thought that with higher standards in education nowadays that rant against anything was a thing of the past, be it rant against Jews, gays, blacks or the Crown. But even so Anti Crown rant is the order of the day on Slugger. One comment stated that the Irish wouldn’t vote for anything with— Kingdom– in it. Some Irish wouldn’t vote for anything with —Kingdom—in it just as some Irish wouldn’t vote for anything with –gay –in it but I reckon some Irish would vote for –Kingdom—provided the word is made acceptable and is responsibly handled. That’s the purpose of the thesis.

    In the commentary there seems to be a dream of a United Ireland as a Republic and any point of view that contradicts this is lambasted on Slugger. At the risk of being lambasted further I point out to Catholic Republican Ireland that there also exists on the island a Protestant Loyalist Ireland the bulk of whom are loyal to the Crown in varying degrees of intensity. I would further point out that loyalty is a praise worthy human attribute the expression of which is an inalienable human right. Republicans crushed this human right out of existence in the 26 county statelet and a brutal attempt was made to crush out the inalienable human right of loyalty to the Crown by Republican Provisionals abetted by Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland. But Catholic Republican Ireland will have to accept that Protestant Loyalist Ireland is here to stay and with it the expression of loyalty to the Crown on the island and that these can’ t be crushed out in an all Ireland Republic. Because of that if there is to be a united Ireland without a border the Crown will have to come into it and be part of it. This glaring fact gives rise to the thesis of —A Federal Kingdom—and even if the thesis drives Republicans up the walls in anti- Crown rant the thesis still stands. The thesis recognises that both extremes of Tricolour Republicanism and Union Jack Unionism are divisive failures in Ireland so the intelligent thing to do is to scrap both and put a constitutional centre in their place. The thesis serves that purpose.

    The thesis of a Federal Kingdom is an original point of view that can be supported with reasoned argument but that assumes that the people being dealt with are reasonable and aren’t intolerant of a differing point of view. No one can be browbeaten with rant

  • Michael, the thesis of a federal kingdom is not original. It is several hundred years old. If you cannot get that simple fact correct, and must ignore several hundred years of quite eventful history relating to that, then you cannot claim you have a reasoned argument. The non-original thesis was tested and found wanting.

  • Alias

    No need to, sweetie. It is 100% factual.

    The only reason the British Irish Agreement was included in the 19th Amendement is because Article 5 of the Irish constitution prohibits the Irish government from derogating sovereignty without the consent of those who are eligible to vote in Irish referenda. This sovereignty was surrendered to the United Kingdom in that treaty and those powers are no longer exercised by this state and no longer operate in the interests of those who unwittingly voted to surrender them.

    That you are not aware that this sovereignty was surrendered to the United Kingdom – and think it absurd that such a thing could have transpired – simply confirms by point about duplicity designed to hoodwink the gullible masses.

  • Michael Gillespie


    Thanks for your response. You are writing about a 26 county Republican Constitution. I’m not interested in that as that constitution only leads to a border. My interest is in finding a 32 county all Ireland constitution that is generally accepted by most and leads to unity. Republicanism cannot achieve this, as its aim is to overthrow the existing constitution and depose the monarch. That has Catholic support but is opposed and is offensive to Protestant loyalists. Republicanism leads to sectarianism.

    IN my thesis of a Federal Kingdom the aim is not to overthrow the constitution but to change it democratically. This should be acceptable to reasonable Catholics and Protestants so unity should be possible. To change the existing constitution is highly complex. I have gone into this in depth in the National Government of Ireland Act published by Authorhouse in the novel THE WAY IRELAND OUGHT TO BE—and is available from Amazon Books. This Act runs to 20,000 words and will give you an idea of the task’s complexity. This is the best I can do to help

    Michael Gillespie

  • Michael Gillespie

    John O Neill

    Thanks for your reply but you are too vague to be of help I would need to know more e.g. What Sovereign Nations were involved in this ancient Federal Kingdom, what was its constitution and was it democratically arrived at?

    My thesis of a Federal Kingdom arises out of the constitutional mess the country is now in. I don’t know of anyone putting forward the notion of a Federal Kingdom as of now. This Federal Kingdom is between the Sovereign Nations of Ireland and Great Britain. Its proposed constitution is The National Government of Ireland Act which is given in the novel –THE WAY IRELAND OUGHT TO BE—published by Authorhouse and I available from Amazon Books This proposed constitution runs to 20,000 words and is highly complex and democratic and its aim is to change the constitution not to overthrow as is the aim of Republicans. I hope this helps.

    Michael Gillespie

  • published by Authorhouse in the novel THE WAY IRELAND OUGHT TO BE—and is available from Amazon Books

    Is there any rule against persistent self-advertisement in this forum?

  • Michael Gillespie


    Thanks for your reply but it confuses me even more about the S.D.L.P. You say the party is Republican constitutional and democratic but as Republicans it’s your aim to overthrow the constitution and depose the monarch. While that aim is acceptable to Catholic Republicans it is offensive to and will be opposed by Protestant loyalists. That makes the S.D.L.P. a sectarian party. The aim of the S.D.L.P. and Sinn Fein are now both the same. They are both out to over throw the constitution democratically so the two parties are now indistinguishable.

    The aim of the thesis –A Federal Kingdom—is to change the constitution not to overthrow it and depose the Crown. That’s genuine democracy. This is a highly complex task and to change the U.K. constitution and give a federal Kingdom of wide cross community appeal will require the National Government of Ireland Act that can be found in the novel —THE WAY IRELAND OUGHT TO BE—that is published by Authorhouse and is available from Amazon Books. It runs to 20,000words so the change the constitution and make it of wide appeal is no small task

    Michael Gillespie