Unionist thoughts on the Queen’s visit to the Republic

The Queen’s visit to the Republic has received almost wall to wall coverage. It has also elicited almost universal praise. Almost everyone in the RoI seems to have been delighted by the exercise apart from the dissidents: even Gerry Adams whilst not reversing his claim that the visit was premature, praised her remarks.

There is little doubt that the Queen will have enjoyed the visit: she seems to have an ability to be genuinely interested in the places she visits and the people she meets. It is said that she reports her driving force to be what she regards as her “duty” but she also seems to be actually interested in other people’s lives. She seems to have delighted both the dignitaries and the more ordinary people she has met.

Throughout the visit the terms historic and groundbreaking were used repeatedly. At one level of course it was historic: it was the first visit of the UK’s head of state to our nearest neighbour. However, amongst many unionists it did not seem that exciting. Personally I was only marginally interested. Sorry for the personal nature of this but whilst not a republican in the UK sense I am not a passionate monarchist: I tend to the belief that Christ not Man is King. However, most of the other unionists I did a (highly unscientific) straw poll of had relatively similar views.

The Queen has of course visited a great number of countries during her long reign including ones where the legacy of British rule is far from uncontroversial. She has visited India, Pakistan, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa; in all of whose association with the UK there has been violence.

To unionists the visit of the Queen to Northern Ireland is a moderately big deal but few would feel that it should take over all the normal news outlets nor be discussed and analysed in minute detail as this visit to the RoI has been. That is not to say that such coverage and analysis is wrong or inappropriate just that for unionists the whole episode is not that major an issue. It is clearly a major issue and one to be celebrated in the Republic and it also seems to have gone down well with many nationalists in Northern Ireland. However, despite most of unionism’s senior politicians being present during at least some of the occasions it would be a mistake to regard this as that major an issue to unionists. Benign or mildly pleased indifference would probably be the main emotions. Whilst Gregory Campbell may have spoken for some in complaining about the Queen laying a wreath to the IRA members of the 1920s more unionists will probably have been disgusted at the presence of Jackie McDonald of the UDA. McDonald claimed to be there as the representative of working class loyalists. Unfortunately for McDonald, however, he is not the representative of any group of people apart from an organised criminal conspiracy: the unionist working class having at this election yet again rejected his political fellow travellers. Sadly despite flaunting his membership of a proscribed organisation he was not arrested at the border. These were, however, the only significant flies in the ointment of the unionist mild pleasure / indifference.

The Queen’s visit seems quite clearly to have delighted many in the RoI which will in no way be displeasing to unionists. It seems to have pleased some Northern nationalists: again something which will in no way annoy unionists. Finally it has annoyed some republicans in ways they seem to find difficult to articulate without mopery and whataboutery: a further bonus for unionists. Overall, however, to most of us it is just not that big a deal: our head of state has visited a friendly foreign neighbour; that is really about it.

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  • GoldenFleece

    Since you support the TUV Turgon I wonder if you should be speaking for “most unionists”.

    I personally was delighted with the visit.
    Delighted that she laid the wreath and bowed.
    Delighted that she spoke some Irish.
    Delighted she was received so well by the Irish public.

    Never been so proud to call her my Queen.

  • Turgon. On UTV late news last night, Newsz Letter editor questioned how, if the Queen was able to go to Croke Park and be welcomed, where does that leave unionist politicians in treating the GAA as pariah”s. A very honest question from the NL editor.

  • Cork the Rebel County, literally,

    Ronan O’Gara perhaps

  • Lionel Hutz

    I just wonder, what impact has this visit had on Unionists’ views on the Republic of Ireland – and in particular It’s attitude towards Britain and the British. The Irish can play God Save the Queen at the garden of remembrance, the queen see the importance of showing respect for Ireland, even speaking a little Irish. What does this do to Unionists hostility towards our culture. Can unionist leaders now respect a tricolour the way our leaders respect the Union Jack.

  • Mick Fealty

    Okay. Briefly. Nothing has shifted from my view expressed in the Guardian on Tuesday, that this is a 26 county thing.

    In fact with the exception of Down (where unionists will vote for Nat candidates in numbers), the Ulster GAA told the Queen as far as they were concerned she was not welcome at Croker.

    Now the leadership of unionism is perfectly entitled to take a leadership role. But let’s be clear. For the Ulster GAA, the Kulturkamph is not yet over.

  • Most Unionists are not actually “monarchists” in the truest sense.
    The Whig Compromise of the Glorious Revolution is actually the “monarchy” that unionists cling to….and of course the sectarian nature of that constitution. If a member of the “royal” family actually married a catholic or the Act of Settlement reversed then it would be interesting to see how devoted unionists are to monarchy?
    (Bonus points if you note that Guardian reading “whigs” are opposed to monarchy and the modern Tories in favour of the Whig Compromise). Notice I didnt even mention the Jacobi……well I nearly didnt.
    But this explains the unionist lukewarm reception to Eilis’ visit (I cant call her Mrs Windsor now that I feel I know here).
    How indeed can a unionist feel bad about the GAA personally endorsed by Eilis?
    And how could a GAA supporter attending Armagh (Newry-Armagh & Upper Bann so mostly SF people) play Down (mostly South Down, a few Strangford, Upper banners a few Lagan Valley people and a sprinkling of Newry-Armagh……so evenly balanced between SF and SDLP) not warm to Eilis who bowed her head at Pearse and the rest?
    Of course the next step..and the one after and the one after is the problem/opportunity. And quite possibly the only real issue that I have is that some people seem to have set down and worked out a choreography. The fifth and sixth steps are as already well planned as the first one was.
    That it went well is one thing.
    That it was……..manipulated so obviously to “condition” me…..and indeed a unionist audience ….is quite another.
    Accepting it for what it is/was (a success and a credit to those concerned including Eilis)….thats one thing……..being sleepwalked into a Future is just a bit too cute. And I suspect unionists see taht too.

  • SK

    “The Queen’s visit seems quite clearly to have delighted many in the RoI which will in a way be displeasing to unionists.”

    Why?

  • iluvni

    With regard to the impact of this termendous visit by the Queen and the warmth of the welcome she received to Northern Ireland, seems to me that Ulster GAA and Sinn Fein comes out of this visit diminished.
    Down, when it talks about reaching out the hand of friendship to all, has credibility.
    With regard to other counties, theyve confirmed that their GAA clubs remain a cold house.
    What an opportunity missed.
    All the old suspicions could have been lain to rest, but unfortunately they remain.
    Shame.

  • JR

    I agree with you there Mick. I think the point being that if she was to visit Casment park, she would be visiting as a ruler as someone nationalists here do not agmowlege as their head of state. At Croker she is a visitor. as I mentioned on another thread, no bowing or curtseying. She is there as an equal.

  • jonno99

    “our head of state has visited a friendly foreign neighbour; that is really about it”

    So as soon as you, a person born on the island of Ireland, cross the rambling Irish border you’re a foreigner? As opposed to just crossing from one jurisdiction of Ireland to another?

    Also the The British Nationality Act 1948 itself does not recognise the Republic of Ireland as foreign or its citizens as aliens.

    A major section of the population within the NI state claim Irish citizenship and everyone born within NI are entitled to it. So using the term ‘foreign’ for the ROI doesn’t accurately describe the situation on the ground.
    .
    I suspect for some unionists the Irish unionist historical and political narrative has been supplanted, since partition, by a more parochial NI unionist identity that precludes any sense of being Irish? In denying all that is Irish about themselves in the vain hope it stresses all that is British, perhaps?. Whereas in reality the two identites for an Irish unionist would not be mutually exclusive.

  • Mark McGregor

    Mick,

    Most of the non-attending Ulster counties are stating they did not receive invitations to reject/ignore in the first place. Might be worth getting all the facts in before making the conclusions.

    I’m delighted Aontroim didn’t go, I’d be even happier if it was a deliberate and calculated snub though.

  • I had not of course read Mr Fealtys comments on Ulster and Down GAA but as I recall Down was the only one of the “six” to really lead the dropping of the ban on “crown forces”.
    This of course would reflect the balance of nationalism in County Down itself. And Id also add that a long standing (but recently defeated) Independent councillor in the Mournes area once represented the Alliance party and was a highly placed GAA man in Down.

    But Lionel Hutz makes another good point.
    The narrative for unionists seems to be that the Visit means that the Republic of Ireland is just another foreign country. That the border is “re-enforced” by it.
    “Official” Ireland seems to be that totality of relations kick that they love in Dublin.
    But Im curious…..the whole Conflict Resolution re-writing of History has now begun and as Ive stated months ago the choreography is now in place…..and with a SF Minister in place…..and Im pretty sure that the broader Peace Process is now thought ahead as far as steps six or seven. But Im intrigued as to whether the final step is already worked out.
    Is there more “on the table” than we know.
    Federalism …North/South ?
    Commonwealth membership?

  • Should add of course….that the evil murder of Ronan Kerr condemned by the GAA (including his native Tyrone) and all Gaels furthers the story.

  • George

    And quite possibly the only real issue that I have is that some people seem to have set down and worked out a choreography. The fifth and sixth steps are as already well planned as the first one was.

    One of those steps is most certainly to have the British Head of State as one of the international guests in front of the GPO at Easter 2016 centenary celebrations.

    Both countries seem to be handling the build up to all these potentially explosive centenaries quite well.

    As for some sneaky federalism, I think it’s more a case of simply keeping the train on the track and going forward rather than some master plan.

    As for the Commonwealth, I really don’ t understand the fascination in some quarters with Ireland joining. It’s hardly like Ireland needs yet another vehicle to build up its relationship with Britain.

    After all, we already have a Common Travel Area, mutual voting rights in all elections, residency in either country counting towards habitual residence when dealing with social benefits etc etc.

  • SethS

    “Almost everyone in the RoI seems to have been delighted by the exercise apart from the dissidents: ”

    Hmm, pretty much everyone I know in Dublin was either pissed off by all the transportation delays or completely indifferent to the whole thing.

  • Turgon

    SK,
    Fair point. Total mistake in proof reading. It is meant to be in no way.

    I have ammended accordingly. My apologies

  • between the bridges

    turgon….imho we were all a wee bit more interested in ma’am’s visit to the breakaway 26 than we care to admit!
    if the visit had gone badly we would have been saying ‘what do you expect from a pig but a grunt’ and as it has gone very well we are saying ‘sure it’s no big deal’… we are a tad akin to a spoilt child wanting stamp our feet and to shout ‘hands off she’s OUR queen!!!” lol!

  • SK

    “Fair point. Total mistake in proof reading. It is meant to be in no way.”

    Fair enough- indignant response cancelled!

    For what it’s worth, I hope the Queen’s visit at least demonstrates to the wider unionist community that we’re all not all bad down here.

  • Dub

    I see my first comment on this site for many a while has already been deleted!

    Let me phrase what i said more decorously and diplomatically. Alex Kane wrote a very thoughtful piece about this visit. He is not the kind of Unionist who sees the territory that is Northern Ireland as some kind of ground zero since 1921 bereft of all previous association with the island/Kingdom/nation of Ireland and Irishness. indeed the amount of Unionists who think like that would seem to be shrinking. A great benefit of the peace process. This piece of writing would appear to come from this shrinking Unionist fringe. As such it reads like all petulancies, and what is more, appears mendacious in its inappropriately bold assertion of indifference.

  • Mick Fealty

    Mark,

    Tyrone, Fermanagh, Derry and Antrim claim they weren’t invited. So far as we know Armagh, Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan were invited but did not send anyone.

    The central committee of the GAA says they WERE invited. So Tyrone, Derry, Antrim and Fermanagh are claiming it was a bureaucratic cock up.

    All four have a supremely impressive organisation, two of them have fielded All Ireland winning sides in the last ten or fifteen years.

    So they had no idea that there were invitations out to all 32 counties? To which I can only retort: Aye, right!

  • Mr Crumlin

    I think the Queens visit has been all about an open acknowledgement by the two sovereign states that they believe the Irish question has been answered. The 26 counties seem to feel they helped negotiate a fair deal for nothern nationalists who can now live in NI without fear.

    It is clear that Dublin and London see the GFA as the end settlement – the end of the process has been reached in their eyes. This visit, I think, is the final seal of approval from both States.

    I have argued that this leaves northern nationalism in a real quandry and throws unionism an equal amount of opportunity and challenge.

    The quandry for northern nationalism/republicanism is that they should relax, and accept the union is here to stay for quite a while. But I would argue that is not something to be downhearted about or fearful of – it just the reality of today. If we accept and acknowledge that Irish unity (in its truest sense) will not happen for a long time then this could create the space for unionism to make further moves. Space that unionists must fill.

    The opportunity for unionism is to convince nationalists that their future lies with the maintenance of the union. Embrace your Irishness, including the language, and rejoice in its culture – stop marching where you’re not wanted but march til your feet hurt where you are. Give nationalism the space to feel their way into a secular Northern Ireland. Loosen the links with London – bring more powers to Stormont. Look to Dublin as your natural partner and friend, who has more in common with you than London.

    Do not see everything as a plot to Irish unity. If an all ireland policy makes practical sense don’t be afraid of it and embrace it. By the way the opportunities are also the challenge.

  • Alanbrooke

    Lionel Hutz

    “Can unionist leaders now respect a tricolour”

    I take it you have never been to an Ireland rugby match then ?

    Of more interest do the republican movement respect it ? I always understood the white and the orange were there for a reason.

  • Mick is correct. It is a 26 county thing. It may look like a contradiction to say that this is also the final icing on the cake of building the peace process but the disentangling of the claim to Northern Ireland in their constitution has been the real obstacle to an earlier visit.

    I dont agree that unionists are so indifferent about it. The ones I have spoken to certainly are not. They are very interested and admiring of the Queen’s record as an ambassador for the country.

    I am sure there are some who are indifferent to the warmth of the reception given to her. Every nation has people in it with hearts of stone. Thank goodness they are few and far between.

  • joeCanuck

    Well, it’s all over now. It went very well and, althougth there were very few crowds except for Cork today, the public showed their respect towards a Head of State.
    The few protesters got to show their displeasure and security was excellent. The two countries have close ties so it was as expected.
    More to come in the future.

  • qwerty12345

    Seymour wrote: I dont agree that unionists are so indifferent about it. The ones I have spoken to certainly are not. They are very interested and admiring of the Queen’s record as an ambassador for the country.
    – —–

    Unionists need an elderly English lady to be their ambassador to people some of them can see from their front doors?

    Weird.

  • Reader

    qwerty12345: Unionists need an elderly English lady to be their ambassador to people some of them can see from their front doors? Weird.
    Next step – Republicans to find an ambassador (hint – Martina Anderson wasn’t a success)

  • gréagóir o frainclín

    It will be very interesting to see what sort of a reception the auld German codger in Rome will get if he visits Ireland next year, more particularly Armagh, Northern Ireland, the ecclesiastical capital of the country. Will there be remonstrations and demonstrations from the uber protestant fundamentalists as the pontiff sets foot on the Protestant soil of NI for the very first time or will such folk extend the hand of friendship and greet him. Not that I give a flying f*ck about him……or them!

  • The opportunity for unionism is to convince nationalists that their future lies with the maintenance of the union. Embrace your Irishness, including the language, and rejoice in its culture…

    Loosen the links with London – bring more powers to Stormont.

    Crumlin,

    I was a bit naughty in picking out selective bits of your comments there.

    Unionists in Northern Ireland need to look to the Welsh Conservatives for lessons in how the combination of how a strong regional identity can combine with an awareness of your region’s/province/country’s stone within the bigger United Kingdom mosaic. Where are Plaid Cymru?

    And Irish Republicans simply haven’t taken the lesson from Salmond in Scotland. The SNP have committed not one La Mon, Enniskillen or Kingsmills in the name of Scotland. Salmond is realxed with tthe monarchy. Heck, he even pulls in support from (ex) Rangers Chairmen. Yet Scotland is two or three steps further along the road to separation that NI and if it does split, it’s odds on it will be done amicably.

    So… where exactly did you go wrong do you reckon?

  • gréagóir o frainclín

    ……..this is certainly an era of unprecedented taboo breaking!

  • backstage

    Analysis can kill just about anything as this blog has done. The warmth of the welcome and the clear delight from the Queen in being in ROI is, I feel, a challenge to the die-hards, both republican and unionist. Symbols are hugely important and it is clearly the case that ‘Irish’ antipathy towards HM is in a minority – this challenges the hardliners and that represents a step forward. A similar challenge should be reciprocated – Robinson should welcome the pope to NI. These symbolic actions give strength to the vast majority of the people and isolate the radicals.

    I know this isn’t a sophisticated analysis but symbolic gestures can speak louder than words. They can free politicians from the normal shackles of ‘so-called’ traditional views and we can all move forward another step.

  • gréagóir o frainclín

    Backstage….

    I agree!

  • Republic of Connaught

    Ah Turgon, Union Jacks flying in Cork city today amid happy faces for the Queen and all you feel is indifference! In the words of Victor Meldrew: “I don’t believe it!”

    The Queen is a marvel for an 85 year old. You couldn’t help but warm to an elegant old lady with such a warm smile and twinkle in her eye. And the Duke is a man I’d enjoy a pint with. His natural good humour is much more Irish than aristocratic English.

    All in all a memorable and important visit. The Queen’s humility impressed everyone. And to see a Belfast woman, a County Derry Nobel Laureate and a Connaught Taoiseach representing Ireland at the top table beside the Queen and David Cameron warmed my heart. Connaught is, undoubtedly, the greatest province in Ireland, but I’ll always have a softspot for Ulster as the runner up.

  • Henry94

    I was in The English Market tonight and the place was still buzzing. It’s a place that really deserves the publicity lift it got today. They did a terrific job in getting it ready.

    There is no downside to this visit and I hope it can be a regular thing. I wasn’t expecting the star quality the Queen had. Is it just her or the Monarchy itself? It’s hard to tell but (don’t tell anyone I said this) English republicans must be mad. Why would you throw away an ambassador like that? President Blair or Brown just wouldn’t be the same.

    Of course she is not our Queen and we don’t want her to be but she will always be welcome now and like it or not that’s the new fact.

  • Mark McGregor

    It is bizarre how quickly some reinvent themselves based on celebrity and media. Though despite the new found Royalism of people that should know better above, like Henry94, those of us that kept our wits about us know this love of all things British and pomp and circumstance will last exactly as long as it takes for something else to come along – that’s Obama. Then the marching season and we are back to porridge.

    All this changed was the fact it surprised some people that a British monarch would act in a dignified and almost appropriate manner when visiting a former colony.

  • otto

    My devoutly socialist and republican (english) mother in law sat in front of the Royal wedding taking photos of the television and trying to work out how we could keep the monarchy at the same time as putting an end to feudal titles and inherited privledge.

    It’s (as always) about ownership. The modern relationship between the British people and their monarch is familial, not deferential. It may be a fiction but it seems to be one both parties are happy to work with.

  • Henry94

    Mark

    it surprised some people that a British monarch would act in a dignified and almost appropriate manner when visiting a former colony.

    I don’t think the Queen acting appropriately was a surprise to anyone but I didn’t expect her to be so likeable or the visit to be such a success. I feared the violence would be much worse.

    Republicans have nothing at all to worry about. The Irish people were essentially celebrating ourselves not really the Queen. We have ticked another box on the list of things we want to do to make Ireland the republic the whole people deserve a confident, outward looking and prosperous place.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Alanbrooke,

    You will note I said “unionist leaders”

    I make the point about unionist leaders because this is a thread on unionist reaction.

    The idea that this is only a 26 county thing is a nonsense. This has a very direct impact on the future of the 6 counties. What this visit did was put in a clear light that the relationship between Britain and Ireland has radically changed. A rubicon has been crossed. The British and Irish government will be as equals, they will prioritise their good relationships. As for Northern Ireland, the message is that ‘it’s now all up to you.’ Of course, it was always gonna be this way. But the confirmation of this visit means that realistically No longer can unionist and nationalist use the bogeyman of Dublin or London as part of their argument on the constitutional question. Atleast, it will not work as part of the future.

    Backstage has got this right. This has laid down the gauntlet to both Unionist and Nationalist leaders. Who can play the double game best? Who can make the best argument? Who can be most accommodating?

  • qwerty12345

    Im starting to feel ill with all the fawning nonsense being written about the Queens visit.

    The wreath laying ceremonies were great but will they or any of the rest really change anything here in the north. I dont think so. But then it wasnt about us anyway.

  • son of sam

    I would share Micks scepticism about those Count Boards in Ulster who claim not to have received an invitation.Presumably all such invitations are sent out by e- mail and as such could not be lost in the post.Perhaps its part of the colonization of the G A A in the Six Counties by Sinn Fein.No doubt we will hear plenty of comment on this matter from the likes of Barry Mc Elduff in the coming days.

  • Lionel Hutz

    But then it wasnt about us anyway.

    ————

    Qwerty,

    That’s the point. British-Irish relations are no longer going to be dominated by us. So where does that leave us?

  • Longridgeofthecow

    qwerty12345,

    The visit will change **** all in the 6 counties. It ain’t about us my friend. (not primarily) It’s about 2 states normalising relations.

    Not a big fan, but I’m totally indifferent, btw I thought her pronunciation of her Irish was **** – agus sounded like Argos!

  • Mr Gatsby

    Well from perusing the blogosphere it would be somewhat innacurate to say that all unionists are pleased the visit went without any hitches.
    Over at ATW, Turgon’s fellow TUV compatriot David Vance, described the whole weeks events as a ‘Grotesque Circus’.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    I am delighted that the the Head of State of the UK can visit Ireland on a normal basis.

    This will finally change the narrative of SF, as they have seen the popularity of the visit their position has gone from full out negative to fairly positive. Their anti Brit (Brits out) status is outdated and only of interest to a very small number of people. We, North and South, have moved on to a new century with new objectives where we can be friends and work in close cooperation to improve the economies of both parts of this Island.

    A line on a map need no longer be used to divide us, we can exist in harmony and mutual respect by remembering the past but not letting it stop us having a better future for all.

    Well done to the President and Queen and shame on those who opposed or did not support the visit.

  • Between the bridges. It’s about the comfort blanket with unionists in particular [although both sides to some extent. The logic of the Queen going to Croke Park is that, as News Letter eitorhas suggested, the unionist bogeyman has been shot down, but the hardline element can’t afford to acknowqledge this as they would then be stripped of their hobby horse. Those NI counties who didn’t go, have given cover to the anti GAA lot on unionist side.

  • dwatch

    “Can unionist leaders now respect a tricolour the way our leaders respect the Union Jack?.”

    Wonder how Tom Elliot leader of the UUP would reply to this question?

  • Mr Gatsby. I suspect there a quite a few unionist politicians who have had their noses put out of joint, as it’s success doesn’t fit in with their narrative, but have chosen not to show themselves up just now. Predictably Gregory Campbell had to do his usual turn , but the rest seem to have kept their counsel. How does Trinmble feel about his ‘anti British jibe at the Rebulic as a ‘monotheistic, and monocultural place?.

  • between the bridges

    McMG “Then the marching season and we are back to porridge.” FYI most bands (my own included) have been taking part in cultural marching since 17th march the fact that this has past you by is testament to the peaceful nature of 99.9% of cultural parades…as for the other 0.1% i leave to others to descide where the probelm really lies…

    Re topic very successful visit with no downside apart from errigaul failing to provide ample hot air for their black balloons…
    .

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Turgon,
    Good piece and I think you have it about right. Heslinga in the The Irish Border As Cultural Divide talked about the two main axes of the relationship the islands – Dublin/London and Belfast/Glasgow – and how many in mainland misunderstand Northern Ireland through thinking of it largely in terms of the former and in ignorance of the latter. This visit was all about the Dublin/London axis and the settling of that relationship, so fine. British people in Northern Ireland were very much on the periphery, even (as I’ve noted in other threads) in speeches talking about UK / Ireland connections. You might say that’s odd, given that we are the main manifestation of Britishness in Ireland – but I agree, we recognise this is about history between England and the Irish that doesn’t really concern us too much.

    Glad you noted the discomfort many feel about the UDA invitation. The vast majority of unionists want nothing whatsoever to do with these people. It is fantastic that they have got nowhere electorally.

    I worry that this invitation is another part of this (false) idea that these people were somehow comparable with the legitimate police forces and armies of the UK and the Republic. Much as I support the Peace Process, I don’t think that kind of moral vacuity is a necessary part of it. Indeed it’s probably the major reason for disengagement from it among ordinary unionists. I also worry that inviting these people may be a way of making another point against mainstream unionists – a way of saying, we don’t like you and we want to support anything in your communities that undermines you.

    It seems sometimes like the worst thing to have been in the Troubles was a peaceful democrat who condemned violence throughout. Glad I’m not the only one increasingly questioning this approach. John Bew’s book Talking To Terrorists take it all apart much better than I can, I’d recommend it.

  • Hopping The Border

    ONeill-

    “so where did you go wrong do you think”

    Perhaps it was the one party state, or maybe the gerrymandering, or the inability for all adults to have a vote in local elections.

    Not to mention the employment discrimintaion, from the binmen to the judges and the housing discrimination.

    Or what about the special powers act, so famously referred to by Mr. Verwoerd, himself such a bastion of equality and freedom.

    Went wrong indeed.

  • GavBelfast

    Unionism seems to have dealt with it a lot better than (Northern) Irish nationalism.

    It is a shame that both tribes couldn’t see it in a positive way.

  • RedTurtle

    @madraj55

    Mr Gatsby. I suspect there a quite a few unionist politicians who have had their noses put out of joint, as it’s success doesn’t fit in with their narrative, but have chosen not to show themselves up just now. Predictably Gregory Campbell had to do his usual turn , but the rest seem to have kept their counsel. How does Trinmble feel about his ‘anti British jibe at the Rebulic as a ‘monotheistic, and monocultural place?.

    The visit was replete from top to toe with Gaelic symbolism, entwined with symbols of nationhood. I saw no Polish polka dancers or any evidence of the Republic claiming any Ulster Scot or British tradition or culture. Visits for GAA but not rugby or soccer for example. So I don’t see how Trimble’s comment, whether correct or not, was weakened by the visit, only strengthened if anything.

    If the Queen was to be shown things which say “this is Ireland” then almost everything she was shown was monocultural and Gaelic. Which is not necessarily a complaint on my part. She wasn’t visiting my country after all. The more monocultural Gaelic the Republic portrays itself as the less of a threat it is in many ways. It’s effectively saying to me “you are not a part of this country” by doing so, which is fine by me.

  • “so where did you go wrong do you think”

    Perhaps it was the one party state, or maybe the gerrymandering, or the inability for all adults to have a vote in local elections.

    Not to mention the employment discrimintaion, from the binmen to the judges and the housing discrimination.

    Or what about the special powers act, so famously referred to by Mr. Verwoerd, himself such a bastion of equality and freedom.?

    The Republican solution to which was blowing up innocents to smithereens. Is that your answer to my question?
    Your argument is that those massacres brought your 32 County Nirvana closer?

  • Red Turtle. The ceremony at island….[forgotten the last part of the name] for the Irishmen who fought in the Great WEar, gives the lie to that. Anyway Trimble threw that bone to the hardliners and media, to distract from the difficult conference he was having. Trimble used Drumcree to take him to the leadership election in UUP. He never deserved the Nobel Prize. but was given it as a token.

  • Mr Crumlin [20/5 .6.42]
    That is my conclusion also from last week. The visit was to formally bury the hatchet between the two sovereign govts [which has in fact, really been done some time ago. Both have consigned the 800 preceding years to the history. They’re giving the northern part another half century to finally join with the rest of the island, and most nationalists here expect it will take up till then so what’s another 50 after 800 years. It will be sorted naturally in the end.

  • Hopping The Border

    “The Republican solution to which was blowing up innocents to smithereens. Is that your answer to my question?
    Your argument is that those massacres brought your 32 County Nirvana closer?”

    ONeill-

    Obviously not.

    You were attempting to compare the successes of Scottish nationalism and post 1921 Irish nationalism.

    Was Scotland a single party, blatantly sectarian, discriminatory state with powers the globally abhorred aparthied regime lusted for?

    No.

    I am simply pointing out your comparison is grossly inaccurate and serves only to prop up the myth that pre 1969 everything was hunky dory in “our wee country”.

    Also – who mentioned anything about my nirvana being a 32 county republic?

    *I really would love to know how you italicise things. They must have only taught that in state schools! 😛

  • Turgon

    Hopping the Border,

    On your question re italics. You need to put a code in first. If I do it the machine may have problems so on each occasion where I type [ or ] you need to put in > or the other one respectively. I cannot put in the counterpart to > as the computer then thinks I am beginning a code.

    You need to put [i] before the thing you italicise and then [/i] afterwards. It is particularly important to do the end code otherwise everything on the page thereafter from everyone else will be in italics.

    You can also do a number of other things such as [b] and [/b] for bold. [blockquote] and [/blockquote] for blockquote.

    To put in a red linkable thing put [a href=”THE WEB ADDRESS COPIED FROM YOUR BROWSER”] THEN THE TEXT YOU WANT FOLLOWED BY [/a]

    I hope that makes sense.

    As a return favour how do you put those simlie faces in I have never been able to do that. I use firefox so maybe I cannot?

  • Hopping The Border

    [i] Many thanks Turgon! [/i]

    For the smiley faces for me it is just a question of putting together the correct characters to somewhat resemble a face.

    Therefore it will always start with either : or ; . From that add whichever facial expression you want i.e. D for a wide smile, ) for a small smile, ( for a sad face etc.

    For example-
    : and D together (no spaces) = 😀
    ; and ) = 😉
    : and ( = 🙁

    Now that we have that sorted our next task should be this shared future business! 😛

  • Hopping The Border

    Oh dear.

  • Turgon

    Hoping the border,
    Sorry this is is difficult to explain. Everytime you used a square bracket in that attempt use an angled one like > instead of ]. Use the opposite of > in place of [. I cannot use the opposite of > as the machine thinks I am beginning a piece of code.

    Does that make any sense?

  • Hopping The Border

    I hope so??

    😀

  • PaddyReilly

    The Republican solution to which was blowing up innocents to smithereens. Is that your answer to my question? Your argument is that those massacres brought your 32 County Nirvana closer?

    Firstly, not every one who was blown up was an innocent. Secondly, the slaughter of innocents was normally an accidental, though possibly foreseeable effect of the action, not its raison d’etre.

    Lastly, of all the thousands of Republican initiatives to ameliorate the lot of Republicans, this is the only one which has remained in the Unionist conscious, and for that reason must be ranked as the most successful.

  • Paddy

    Lastly, of all the thousands of Republican initiatives to ameliorate the lot of Republicans, this is the only one which has remained in the Unionist conscious, and for that reason must be ranked as the most successful

    What’s you definition of “success” then, the same as this Provo volunteer?

    “Maybe you can’t bomb a million Protestants into a united Ireland but you could have good fun trying.”

    http://tinyurl.com/3cup2we

    The fact that they were prepared to slaughter (or “sacrifice” if that lies with your conscience better) innocents in the first place is one of the reasons, I’d say the main one, that they are light years behind the SNP in achieving success in what was supposedly their main aim (ie separation from the rest of the UK).

  • You were attempting to compare the successes of Scottish nationalism and post 1921 Irish nationalism.

    No, I was attempting to more specifically analyse why Scotland looks to be further down the road to separation than we are and one of the reasons I brought up was the absence of an Enniskillen, Frizzels etc in Scotland.

    With your comparisons of Scotland and NI pre 1970, you are either trying to justify, or at least explain the massacres or alternatively say that because Scottish nationalism had more space to manoeuvre than its Irish counterpart in Ulster it is now 50/60/70/80 years later further along the road in achieving its aim.

    If you are arguing the latter point then the problem is that the SNP post 1980 were a weak force indeed electorally, arguably weaker than Irish republicanism in NI post 1990.

    So, narrow it down, why then have they done so much better than SF in the last 15 years or so at appealing right across the social, economic and religious divide? Part of the reason, as I said to Paddy and you before, is the refusal to disown the inevitable consequences that their terror campaign brought to NI.

  • PaddyReilly

    The narrative which you (and MRL Smith) are trying to push is obviously pure propaganda. Apparently various young men in the 60s-80s while scanning the pages of an Atlas noticed that economies could be made in the use of coloured ink by reducing the number of sovereign states on the Hibernian landmass and decided that the best way to bring this about was by leaving bombs in public placed where they could maim and kill the innocent.

    The Nationalist perception of events, for those of us who remember that far back, is quite different. It was not the Catholic people who attacked the Northern state; it was the Northern state, or its self-appointed defenders, that attacked the Catholics. In many cases their religion was all that was against them: in the most extreme cases the young man had intended to join the British Army until he was lifted.

    The reason why young men in the 90s and 00s do not come up with the same reaction is that the attacks, by the British Army, by the RUC and B Specials, have ceased, and those from unofficial sources such as the recently imprisoned Mr Harbinson, have been kept within acceptable parameters.

  • The Nationalist perception of events, for those of us who remember that far back, is quite different

    I think you do a disservice to a fair number of nationalists Paddy by contending that their collective “narrative” was “the murder of innocents is justifiable in the pursuit of what we define as *our* human rights”.

    But Ok, it is a “narrative”, along with the one that I quoted, ie a number of provos actually quite enjoyed killing Brits/prods…but you’re missing the original question I posed.

    What do you define as the “success” of the provos’ campaign? I always thought they themselves defined its ultimate target as a “United” Ireland. That being the case, the fact that SNP have progressed further along the path of “independence” surely proves that the various attrocities I mentioned have hindered not boosted the Irish nationalist cause?

  • Reader

    oneill: What do you define as the “success” of the provos’ campaign?
    That fundamentally depends on what was the “aim” of the campaign. During the campaign that was fairly concisely put as something like ‘Brits out and a United Ireland’, but with the recruitment surges being heavily based on revenge for Bombay St. and Bloody Sunday. Clearly, some of the Vols. were going to be a bit off message.
    Post Ceasefire, with the actual aims receding, the Provo aims are being retrospectively re-defined. But I’ll be far gone into Alzheimers before I can see the Provos as a militant civil rights organisation, killing 2000 people to extend the 1968 reforms.

  • PaddyReilly

    their collective “narrative” was “the murder of innocents is justifiable in the pursuit of what we define as *our* human rights”.

    I don’t recall any collective narrative or any collective identity.

    The life of Bobby Sands is illustrative. From a family which was only Catholic by virtue of one parent. Forced out of home by Loyalists in 1960 (aged 6) and again in 1972, aged 18. Forced out of apprenticeship aged 17.

    Each incident helps transform the victim into a more virulent version of what they were. Catholic becomes Nationalist; Nationalist becomes Republican, Republican becomes insurgent. Victim grows up to be victimiser, obviously.

    The Unionist and Loyalist imposed ethos of intimidation is accepted as morally proper and effective by the intimidated. Though of course, lacking access to any large source of employment, they are unable to control the workforce. Instead they concentrate on destroying the industries in whose survival they have no interest.

    The IRA was the collective identity assumed by various bands of brutalised individuals in areas which were being administered by force of arms. Each brigade was fighting for democracy and majority rule in the area it operated. West Belfast, South Armagh, Derry, Tyrone. There was no East Antrim, Coleraine or North Down brigade, because there isn’t a nationalist majority in these areas. What was sought was a form of government to which the governed consented. What was achieved was not ideal, but it was the minimum required to stop the fighting.

    To some extent, even the Republican side chooses to forget this. Sands’ sister insists he died for 32 County Sovereignty: in fact the hunger strike was about the short term and achievable goal of political status for detainees. The wikipedia article gives him the spurious Gaelic monicker of Roibeard Ó Seachnasaigh and says nothing of his paternal Protestant origins: I wonder how many close relations were in the B Specials/Orange Lodge/RUC.

  • Hopping The Border

    Oneill,

    Your argument is all very well and good except for the point that different situational factors will result in different actions and consequently outcomes – as such the vast differences in the two countries inevitably led to different courses being drawn for both movements.

    The Nats in NI did not have the same political freedom as the Scots, therefore they did not have the same opportunities to attempt to amend the glaring deficiencies in society at that time. Furthermore, cursory attempts to change this were met by state violence, majority community violence and the banning of public expression, if your expressions didn’t confirm to the state’s wishes.

    So with no other route open some Nats decided to pursue a different course, driving what may be perhaps be an insurmountable wedge between the majority and minority communities and meaning that Nationalist parties, and particularly those with connections to armed insurgents will struggle to ever gain support from the “otherside”.

    This is of course in stark contrast to the Scots, who had no need to take actions which would alienate a significant section of the population from ever supporting them.

    Hence why Scots Nats appear to be further down the line to independence.