Uncivil War: a post for today

I think today is the day to recycle one of my previous blogs: in it I will examine what strategies might be adopted by unionists if confronted by the dread reality of waking up in a united Ireland; as an alternative they could just pull the covers over their heads. Actually as I have previously intimated I am most dubious that this Sword of Damocles will fall on our heads; still on with the blog. Can I say at the outset that this is somewhat tongue in cheek but I felt today was the day etc.

As some may remember the following discussion owes more to the early 1990s Cloisters coffee table than much else. Whether the inevitable united Ireland so beloved of some of our nationalist and republican posters comes by a 50%+1 vote or by some nefarious sell out by the British government the reaction by unionists would probably be shock, disbelief and then a great deal of anger. How long that anger would last is difficult to be certain of. How it would manifest is also difficult to be sure.

I suppose one thing which must be stated is that violence could ensue. I would state yet again that I personally am totally opposed to violence and whilst personally not a pacifist; I cannot see circumstances in which I would use violence to stop a united Ireland. Some might, however, but I am not prepared to discuss this issue as I am certain the overwhelming majority of unionists would oppose such a thing and I will not allow this blog to be used by assorted supporters of violence of any sort to set their unacceptable stalls out. Violence could indeed happen; I would hope, argue and pray not.

The first thing to note is that all unionist divisions would probably be forgotten overnight. I am pretty sure almost all unionists of all parties we would all be fraternal brothers again. There is nothing like an outside threat to unite people and Ulster Prods are notorious for fighting and arguing (look at the number of denominations we have) but to quote one song on the siege of Derry: “And when we close our gates again then we’ll all be found true blue.”

To those who think all those very nice middle class unionists they like at work would not care: I am sorry to disabuse you but very many nice apolitical garden centre Prods are actually really very extreme. They may not even vote but I suspect they would be pretty spectacularly angry in a united Ireland. Unionist loyalty to the state is often based on a feeling that it is an agreement or “covenant” between the citizen and the state. In a united Ireland that covenant would be irrevocably broken; as such obeying many laws and edicts of the government would no longer be seen as necessary. Do not quote “render onto Cesar” by the way as many scholars suggest that that is far from a conciliatory statement as the Jews held that everything was God’s and hence; actually nothing was Cesar’s. I strongly suspect tax evasion, smuggling and such like would suddenly be seen as almost a unionist’s moral duty.

Politically then what might happen. Well I suspect that a policy of utter uncooperativeness would be the most likely. It would also probably provide a conduit for angry unionists and might thereby reduce possible support for violence.

In the Dail, I would suggest that unionist TDs would be wise to simply cause as much trouble as humanly possible: use every chance to attack the other parties, disrupt the chamber, get thrown out frequently, filibuster whenever possible, refuse to stand when it is appropriate. Essentially adopt extremely childish and difficult behaviour. Why such a strategy? Well because it would make the government’s and other TDs lives miserable in the Dail, it would bring the Dail into disrepute, it would damage and undermine the standing of the RoI. Clearly we would also manoeuvre to try to bring down every government, stop or hinder the passage of every government bill. We would have to sabotage things like investment conferences by turning up and causing trouble.

This would in my view maximise the chances of getting concessions, and what concessions we would demand. We would be wise to demand the earth, the moon and the stars and keep causing trouble. At some point the unionist electorate might tire of this and get rid of the trouble making unionists. I suspect, however, that this would take years and a surprising number of concessions, both important and purely symbolic could be won.

Just to suggest some of the concessions we would demand:

Ending of the use of the term republic. For unionists that term conjures up connotations of the IRA and as such is unacceptable. The state would merely be Ireland.

Ending of the office of president. The president is supposed to be a uniting force. Unionists would not accept any unity with the rest of the population and as such could not have any loyalty to this figure. It would be ludicrous to accept such a person and as such their office would merely be an insult to unionists.

Removal of Irish from use in the state. Whilst I personally am fairly liberal on Irish, most unionists are not. I suspect demands to remove terms like Taoiseach would be inevitable. On a related note removal of all requirements in state life to have any ability at or qualifications in Irish would be essential.

Removal of the National Anthem. The anthem is seen by unionists as divisive and sectarian (Saxon foe etc.) and as such would be unacceptable. Until removed, I would advocate sitting down every time it was played. I would also suggest that new anthems pretending that the state was united and everyone supported this would be foolish. As such I would suggest that unlike most countries the new Ireland should make a point of having no anthem.

Removal of Flag. That flag (so often draped over the coffin of the murderers of the unionist population or used to mark territory) would be utterly unacceptable. As such we would demand its removal. Again I would advocate having a policy of having no flag as we could give no allegiance to the flag of our oppressors nor pretend we were happy with unity.

Addressing the imbalance in the Garda. I am not an expert but I believe that there are extremely few Protestants in the Garda. As such massive positive discrimination would need to be demanded; yet of course we would discourage unionists from joining. Remember I am not trying to be logical or reach consensus here; this is war by another non violent means.

Changing the name of Connolly station. It is an unacceptable form of sectarianism that unionists traveling to Dublin have to alight at a station named after someone we regard as a terrorist. In the interim and as a form of non violent protest I would advocate people repeatedly pulling the emergency stop cable on the Dublin express just before its arrival at Connolly.

Ending of the Angeles. To have a specifically Roman Catholic religious event before the state broadcaster’s six o’clock news is utterly unacceptable in a supposedly secular state and as such would have to go.

I am sure many sluggerites can think of other things to demand.

Essentially what I am advocating is an Uncivil War or actually the strategy used by the Irish Parliamentary Party or indeed unionists at Queen’s Student’s Union throughout my time there. I was actually quite good at this. Maybe a united Ireland would provide me with an opportunity despite my lack of charisma, talent and looks to be a real politician. That is worrying; I have seen a fun and interesting possibility in a united Ireland. For absolutely everyone else, however, I suggest you need to hope 50%+1 never happens or alternatively I develop more sense before it does happen. Now before you all denounce me as an even worse bigot than you all suspected, remember it was (largely) tongue in cheek.

  • vanhelsing

    Funny and insightful – my favourite is the Garda imbalance.

  • john

    If Northern Ireland was merged with the Republic overnight then yes the inital period would certainly be a bit bumpy. Some of your tongue in cheek statements might not be far off the mark if this scenario happened. The reality is Northern Ireland would probably remain an autonomous region in a new Federal Ireland thus giving the Unionists more of a say as opposed to a 20% share in the Dail. By the way Turgon you can sleep easy tonight its not going to happen for a few years yet

  • Dewi

    Slightly seriously one of the missing things from Slugger is Protestant commenters from Ulster in the Republic. I’ve not read much about sectarian tensions in Raphoe for instance?

  • SK

    They can huff and they can puff, but come 50+1 we will see how truly democratic our unionist pals really are.

    Although honestly, if it were to happen, I very much doubt you’d see much change in Northern Ireland beyond the postboxes changing colour. Contrary to popular belief, we have no interest in making Protestants miserable down here.

  • JoeHas

    It’s a interesting intellectual exercise but isn’t your speculation unnecessary? We have the evidence of what would happen right in front of us. There is a large population of people with strong Unionist sympathies who live in the RoI. There are also a number of TDs and Senators with unionist (small u) backgrounds. Knowing a lot of Dublin unionists personally, I haven’t witnessed any flinching at the use of the word ‘republic’ – a description of government, not a statement of allegiance, sitting down for the national anthem, dislike of the Irish language etc. etc. They live their social lives as fully enfranchised citizens of the RoI and their political lives with an anglophile affiliation, refusing to define themselves by what they’re not.
    These proud Irish unionists already set an example to communities in Northern Ireland about how to create and live in a shared society. I prefer to believe that, in your scenario and following the initial uproar you described, it is this example that would be followed.

  • There is a large population of people with strong Unionist sympathies who live in the RoI.

    They want to reunite with the rest of us in the UK or do you actually mean in a polite, roundabout way… Prods?

    Rename “Connolly Station” eh?
    How about “Carson Central” and really that piece of reconciliation doesn’t have to wait until the 32 Cty State, think of it as an forward investment in our “shared future”;)

    I don’t think it (32 Cty State) will happen and obviously, as a Unionist, I don’t want it to happen… but if it did, I suspect that it wouldn’t only be Unionists who’d end up extremely disillusioned.

    The version of monocultural “Ireland”, pedalled by many with Northern nationalism, doesn’t presently exist in the ROI and a 32 Cty State sure wouldn’t bring them any closer to realising their dreams.

  • The Third Policeman

    Oh Turgon’s just doing one of his shifty eyed, not at all glaringly obvious trickery pieces in order to open the minds of us bad nationalists through putting the shoe on the other foot or the ring on the other finger or some such nonsense. You can almost here the attempts to stifle snorting laughter. He’s a weasel and a cad. Best to do what I do, just ignore it and go on Youtube to watch videos of Shetland ponies or something.

  • Kevin Barry

    Nice insight Turgon, I think your shopping list is pretty tame to be honest, the dropping of word from a name, a song and no piece of cloth.

    And, as Third Policeman notes, it is a little bit of trickery from yourself. So, the point I would like to know is, a UI comes around, ultimately, what does all this Unionist toy throwing want to achieve? Reunification with what remains of the UK?

  • Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    The “Irish Republic” long dreamed of by nationalists in Northern Ireland is, like the Pythons’ parrot, dead. The 50+1 scenario, if it ever happens, is many many years away. Who can realistically say what the public mood will be at that time?

    The best we can do is apply current feelings to what is to nationalists ‘The Golden Future Time’. In that Turgon is pretty close. Our nationalist “pals” will be as arrogant and triumphalist as they are today and unionists will “rage against the dying of the light”. However they will accept the reality of the situation but many will be restive.

    Unionists will not be cowed as they were post 1922 in the Republic. The unionist population will not collapse as it did in the south; as a result of murder and intimidation as it did in the Republic. Unionists will not be cowed into silent acquiescence. I suspect some will do all they can to make Northern Ireland an uncomfortable corner of the ‘new’ Ireland, some will become sullen irritants and some will join the other diners at the trough and become difficult to tell apart from the other snouts.

  • erewhon


  • Micheál

    Re. changing the name:
    The name of the country is ‘Ireland’ (or ‘Eire’ in Irish). The term ‘Republic of Ireland’ is just a description.

  • Turgon

    An excellent point. The name Ireland would of course be unacceptable to unionists. We might accept nameless island off the coast of Britain but that might offend nationalists, also it would ignore the islands off the landmass. Unionists are in general a bit Eurosceptic so island off the coast of Europe would also be unacceptable.

    Hence, I think Nameless Landmass and Attendant Islands off its Coast: shortened to NLAIC should be the name but it would never be said. Hence, at international gatherings the leaders of the countries would be mentioned and then there would be a pause for the area formerly known as etc.

  • renderitnow

    what a waste of time

  • fordprefect

    I take it that this is an “April Fool’s” Joke?!

  • lover not a fighter

    Don’t be trying to make mountains out of molehills now Turgon.

    If thats all you have to be worrying about you need some decent problems to occupy your time !

  • Republic of Connaught

    I think the only way for Ireland to be united by the consent of all is for it to join with our real brethren – The United States of America and Ireland.

    All those 40 odd million Irish Americans and Scots Irish would surely swing the vote for us.

  • Zig70

    Reminds me of people on acid who believe that everyone else is ‘on one’
    Also the last ‘revolution’ was not on the cards when it happened. Though granted different situation.
    The `Protestants’ I know are a mixed lot, oddly human trait (joke). Including not Protestant at all and annoyed at the label but fiercely unionist, same but doesn’t know why they are fiercely unionist, to very practicing, several hours a week on their arse listening to the weekly rant and couldn’t give a hoot which country wants them. Same on the other side (again oddly human). That is the thing that makes me laugh about you nut jobs obsessed with union or UI. You haven’t really a notion how many are on what side or indifferent because nobody has seriously asked the question. At the minute it is just people shouting the loudest.
    IMO the voting pattern Unionist or Nationalist doesn’t necessarily predetermine the UI or not voting pattern. It will be interesting when we do get a chance to vote on it. I think we should do it every 4yrs, get the nutters wound up.

  • RepublicanStones

    Interesting post Turgon.

    To take your shopping list.

    1. Dealt with by Micheál

    2.Don’t really understand your objection. Is it just because of the background of the current incumbent? You may recall who the first was. That said, i have no problem abolishing it, not because I think it’s divisive though.

    3. Agree that Irish should not be compulsory. But why the need to anglicize the title of the leader of the country? Its a rather small gesture to our history pre-anglicization. It seems you wish to complete what British policy nearly but never quite managed. Completely agree about its removal as pre-requisite for state jobs.

    4. Don’t care, its just a tune.

    5. Consider now how others feel about the flag you have no problem flying about Belfast city hall.

    6.Be interested to hear you thoughts from circa 12 years ago regarding Patten.

    7.By the time any possible unification comes about, Connolly will be dead a few generations removed from living memory. As such, would you agree to Cromwell St being renamed?

    8.Absolutely. Always get a sore neck having to look at the bloody ceiling come 6pm 😉

  • anne warren

    Some questions that will provide food for thought, I hope.

    Ever hear of the word tolerance” Turgon?

    Do you and other Unionists realise that concessions are not demanded, they are negotiated?

    Ever think of what the shopping list from the other side might be?

    “Unionist loyalty to the state is often based on a feeling that it is an agreement or “covenant” between the citizen and the state.”

    Isn’t the Covenant a form of conditional loyalty with the implicit (explicit in the case of Unionists) threat of do as we want or we’ll withdraw loyalty and turn to violence?
    As has been seen from the Ulster covenant onwards?

    What make you think your other veiled threats of violence and resolutions to “cause as much trouble as humanly possible”, tax evasion, smuggling and such like would suddenly be seen as almost a unionist’s moral duty?

    Is this just another admission that Unionist loyalty to any state, whether the UK or a hypothetical UI, is dependent on Unionists doing as they want and riding roughshod over any other points of view?

    Do you Unionists really want to continue living with a 16th Century “Covenanter” mentality? which has long disappeared from Scotland and elsewhere in the developd world.

    Do you even see the mote in your own eye?

  • Brian

    Random question that the “saxon foe” brought up in my mind.

    Are Ulster Scots genetically more linked to Scots (who have a lot of Celtic blood) or Anglo-Saxons?

  • Turgon

    Of course you are right, I even pointed out it was a post for today (1st April).

  • headtheball

    No flag? Could live with that. We’re shit at the Olympics anyway, so what do we need a flag for?

  • Turgon,

    Your post shows how absurd and ridiculous Unionism really is.

    I mean, let’s think about it. You’d rather the head of state was born into the position rather than chosen by the people? You’d rather be a subject than a citizen?

    Republicans have always done their utmost to be as inclusive as possible. You’ll find no sectarianism in the 1916 Easter Proclamation and a third of the national flag is disproportionately dedicated to protestants.

    Why can’t we all live in one democratic secular country, where nobodies mother gets the run the state becuase of her blood line, with no official endorsement of any church or religious institution.

    You think it’s unfair that RTE play a catholic program in the evening, but it’s okay for the church of England to be the official state religion?

    Why is one of those sectarian and one isn’t?

  • Aontachtach


    It’s a shame that the Republican movement hasn’t lived up to the Easter proclomation.

    It’s a shame that Republicans handed over their hard won independance to a foreign power….the Vatiacn.

    It’s a shame that the Republican movement has stained the flag with so much “Orange” blood.

    I personally couldn’t care less if the Monarchy disappeared tomorrow. I don’t think that I am on my own regarding this issue.