So Why Do Nice People Vote Sinn Féin?

So why do nice people vote Sinn Féin? I suppose we should ask one. Take the case of a Sluggerite who describes himself on his profile as ……a socialist, republican, moderate and nationalist. And skeptical of Journalism and Conflict Resolution.

He first voted as a 18 year old in West Belfast for Republican Labour and Gerry Fitt. A straight fight with Brian McRoberts a Unionist. Hardly a choice.

As a 21 year old in 1973, he did not vote in the Council Elections as a gesture of support for the “internees”. Strange as it may seem now Father Dennis Faul (who would later be highly critical of the Provos had called for a boycott of the Election.

But just a month later, our Sluggerite was voting SDLP in the Assembly Elections. And did so thru the 1970s.

In 1981 he was living in Fermanagh-South Tyrone and did not vote for either Bobby Sands or Owen Carron (he spoiled his vote on both occasions as SDLP had no candidate).

Married in 1982 and living in a third constituency he voted SDLP consistently until 1993 local council elections when he voted DUP.

The reason …he and his wife had been in a dispute with a SDLP figure and he could not bring himself to vote Sinn Féin and DUP was a safe protest vote.

His wife who is a much nicer person than he is, always voted SDLP and thru the rest of the 1990s and well into the 21st century he voted Sinn Féin.

Which was actually a neat little compromise because essentially his family is “pan nationalist” in its outlook. With two sons now on the Voting Register it was a simple fact that younger folks vote Sinn Fé he switched back to vote SDLP to give a 2-2 balance to the “family vote”.

Family is everything to him.

There are three power blocks in Norn Iron. The Unionist community may feel they are in a worse position than they were in 1966. The Nationalist community certainly feels they are in a better position. The 59 year old Sluggerite remembers the 1960s and the 1970s.

You might think that both the SDLP and Sinn Féin like how he votes but actually he irritates them.

See the simple and uncomfortable fact is that the SDLP believe it was them “wot won it” with Politics and Peace. But they didn’t. And Sinn Féin believe that it was them “wot won it”. With the gun and bomb. And it wasn’t.

Effectively it was both….and they both hate to hear it.

But why should the SDLP be surprised by that? John Hume did after all talk to Gerry Adams. And why should Sinn Féin reject that view.?Did they even notice that THAT mural says “everyone ….republican and otherwise has a part to play”.

And that’s what happened.

In the 1980s the Sluggerite might have thought that unionist talk about a pan-nationalist front was their usual paranoia. In fact with hindsight, they were absolutely right. In 2010 and 2011 the household vote was 3-2 to the SDLP.

Understandably our Sluggerite will never be a unionist. Nor does he expect any unionist to be a nationalist. Its an ongoing dispute but he gets on surprisingly well with unionists. Unionists get on surprisingly well with him.

Alliance folks don’t like him much. Which is okay because he wouldn’t vote Alliance if he was paid. Not that he has ever seen one in either Fermanagh-South Tyrone or his post 1982 constituency.

SDLP people are nicer than Sinn Féin people. Not to mention all that “unfortunate” 1970s and 1980s stuff, much of which he seen up close and personal in West Belfast. And he doesnt much care for the Sinn Féin way of doing things, their ruthless efficiency and the fact that they have activists and not members.

He is not nearly energetic enough to actually join Sinn Féin (besides he doesn’t like all that baggage). And a few months ago came very close to joining SDLP but frankly even they are more energetic than he is.

And worse…..they are just totally inefficient. They have a hopeless and hapless leader who led them to a state where they have fewer seats and an almost impossible chance of making a comeback.

It’s likely but not certain that SDLP will decline further and eventually split with about two thirds of voters going to Sinn Féin while the other third mostly around the Belfast suburbs goes to Alliance……..or into a short lived leftist Party.

Thats how he sees it. Politics is about high ideals and low self-interest and a basket of philosophies… in his case nationalist, republican, moderate and socialist. Throw in democracy and efficiency…..and the understandable human emotion that things get better for him and his…..and you might get some idea how a “nice” person votes Sinn Féin.

They simply tick more of the boxes than a rival in the nationalist community.

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  • vanhelsing

    Fascinating insight Fitz. Of course I completely disagree with your political aspirations but respect them as much as I disagree with them.

    To be completely honest [wait for the slaughter] you’ve answered one question I’ve asked myself on a number of occasions…I may be the only Unionist on the post to admit it – but we all think it:)

    Great insight – well done


  • andnowwhat

    Well done FJH and a good reply VH.

    I was living in W Belfast when people (including my longtime SDLP supporting family) voters turned on the SDLP.

    As I recall, it was the start of the current SDLP policy of appealing for an anti SF vote rather than a pro SDLP one.

    SF grabbed the chance and made the best of it. Their constituency offices were industrious and productive and gained a lot of trust. They then changed the annoyance of the 9th of August celebrations (a poor imitation of the 11th night) in to something positive attracting known artists and performers.

    The SDLP mucked up royaly and continue to kick the ball along the grass with no direction to this very day.

    If the SDLP want a future, they need to look backwards. Their smooth, London style politics, personified by Conall Mc Devitt, may play well in BT9 but elsewhere?

    The vast majority of SF voters do not vote to affirm “the struggle” nor to antagonise “prods” (in places like W Belfast, protestants do not even occur to most people in one way or another). They vote for a proactive, accessible organisation. Many times I’ve done home assessments in nationalist areas where local SF reps have attended at the behest of my patients.

  • Eddie (Eamonn) Mac Bhloscaidh

    I vote Sinn Féin because it is the best choice.

    More than willing to look at other options.

    Frankly, I don’t see the point in voting SDLP, I don’t see them as working towards full equality and a united Ireland.

    I don’t know if they know what they are for, they don’t give straight answers.

    I like the way Sinn Féin stand up for nationalists, if fact I think they should be stronger again, for example with regards to the Irish language act.

    I don’t believe voting for Sinn Féin validates everything the IRA ever did.

  • Drumlins Rock

    “why do nice people vote Sinn Féin?”

    to sum it up the SDLP are crap. 🙂

  • Barnshee

    “why do nice people vote Sinn Féin?”

    They always have –the shift to SF is realitively modest

    “I don’t believe voting for Sinn Féin validates everything the IRA ever did.”

    yea and I don`t belive voting for NAZI s invalidates everthing Hitler did

  • between the bridges

    Fjh I too will join the appreciation society and say how I enjoyed reading your post.
    Re ‘So Why Do Nice People Vote Sinn Féin?’
    And ‘SDLP people are nicer than Sinn Féin people. Not to mention all that “unfortunate” 1970s and 1980s stuff‘
    Before anyone starts with the ‘one man’s terrorist/freedom fighters’ and who did what in ‘the strike’ just to give a flip side to Fitz
    If the jackal, rat , butcher, or rabid dog where ministers at Stormont would you not ask yourself how ‘nice people’ could vote for them?
    I think that many unionists myself included, never having voted for a terrorist, feel a form of ‘moral superiority’ to ‘nice people voting for SF’ and ignoring their past. That is why many ‘nice unionists’ still view SF as per Tom’s rant!

  • keano10

    Probably the most condescending and sanctimonious title to any lead thread in the history of Slugger…

  • otto


    “it was the start of the current SDLP policy of appealing for an anti SF vote”

    sounds a bit like “decent people vote UUP”

    Weird how an ex-leader of Alliance and an SDLP co-founder can serve in the same party (FG) but you wouldn’t vote Alliance if you were paid.

    Is it

    1. Candidates
    2. Policy
    3. Baggage
    4. Insufficient nationalism
    5. Presentation
    6. Your weird obsession with ministerial allocation
    7. Petty jealousy and the narcissism of small differences?

  • Mickles

    If the SDLP ditched Ritchie in favour of Mc Devitt or Attwood, and underwent a rebranding of some sort they might do alright with floating moderates. SF would have a distance to travel to lure me away from going with alliance/sdlp. My mindset in voting is simply ‘no bigots or gunmen’, which is sadly a limited choice here.

  • Well Keano 10. I think most people would appreciate that the title was meant in an ironic way. And wasa response to the rhetorical question that had been posed by many commenters in various threads. It would certainly have helped if Id put “Nice” in quotation marks.
    But the point is…that the subject of the piece is perceived…..not least by himself …as a patently decent person.
    Most people would describe him as being “nice”. And certainly over forty years in all water cooler situations in Norn Iron offices and factories theres often shock expressed that a colleague from the other Tribe seemed “nice” and not really the sort to vote SF or TUV or whatever.
    Memorably this came as a shock to unionists (Ken Maginnis) in Fermanagh-South Tyrone when Bobby Sands was elected. As I recall…perhaps wrongly….he spoke of neighbours who helped each other out on the farm.
    And I think this is an adjustment that unionists have had difficulty with. The chances are now overwhelming that the Catholic neighbour in Dungannon, Lisnaskea, and countless other places in Norn Iron actually votes Sinn Féin and that is perceived as endorsing terrorists or “terrorists” if you prefer.

  • between the bridges

    Ed.’I don’t believe voting for Sinn Féin validates everything the IRA ever did.’ that’s nice ed but SF think it does…they haven’t gone away you know…

  • john

    Mickles you have a sense of humour by mentioning Attwood did you not see the latest W.Belfast result – the man is not going to be picking up any votes for the SDLP. The sad fact is though I dont know who will!

  • Otto.
    I think your initial quote was from “AndNowWhat”.
    You are also of course confusing ME with the subject of my piece. I cant possibly comment on why he would not vote for the Alliance Party if he was paid.
    Although my post was NOT about the Alliance Party.
    But I think its safe to say that the AP is the lead voice in the third power block. And the Sluggerite to whom I referred seems to consider himself a nationalist.

  • pippakin

    I think Keano10 has a wooden spoon in one hand an a shinner vote in the other….

    It was a good read fjh. I’m not surprised people turned to SF, many thought they had become democratic, others that they were the fastest route. I’m beginning to suspect that both reasons are wrong.

  • Mickles

    John, that’s true, but I believe he would do well elsewhere, I like his ‘att’itude, west belfast probably have a different world view than i do.

  • Between the Bridges,
    Again I think youre confusing me with the Sluggerite who was the subject of my post.
    I certainly see your point.
    I cant of course speak for the subject of my post but I have never had any problem calling terrorists “terrorists”.
    Indeed for most of last year I referred to Sinn Féin as “Sinn Féin-IRA” long after the vast majority of unionist commenters had done so.
    I think you are actually making the same point I am.
    That nobody voting Sinn Féin seems to mind the terrorism (or at least not mind it “enough”).
    Certainly….and I say this from clarification rather than agreement…….most Sinn Féin “core voters” would see no material difference between IRA and Crown Forces. And even a lot of “soft voters” would have had bad experiences of both the IRA, old RUC, UDR and British Army.
    Indeed Id be surprised if there is a single Catholic in Norn Iron who has not also had reason to be grateful to all of the above. Certainly I have and have spoke of it here. in late 1983 I had a broken arm, a heavily pregnant wife and a tyre that had punctured. It was fixed by a UDR patrol.
    And I say thats not untypical in my life.

    There is a slightly uncomfortable Protestant “sub text” that Catholics are the devils spawn or “misguided” and often its pure bigotry which liberals obviously reject in modern times.
    But CAN “nice” people vote Sinn Féin.
    Is it actually evidence that Catholics are children of a lesser God?

  • otto

    If you say so Fitz,

    I had a conversation with an SDLP’er on election night. He called me a unionist because I said I’d not transfer to the SDLP until they stopped trying to have their cake and eat it on integration (happy to ban parades and flags, not so sure about having prods in the same classrooms as their kids).

    He couldn’t understand that from a greater belfast/prod nationalist pov catholics staying in their community comfort zones and thereby forcing prods to do the same are every bit as partitionist as anyone else.

    At least you get a straight answer off a shinner (or the DUP for that matter).

  • Docmartin

    Having recently dipped my toe in local politics (I helped a very nice chap get elected to the council), I can say that nice people vote for Sinn Fein because the SDLP do almost nothing for ‘their’ voters. That’s not just hyperbole – that’s the word “from the doorsteps”. There is a local expression: “Sinn Fein gets it done.” Sinn Fein workers are always on the ground in the area and are seen – which is vitally important – to be involved in their community. I personally would not vote SF but neither would I waste a vote on the SDLP while Ms Ritchie is running the shop. Any person who can justify their own double jobbing when it flies in the face of their own party policy is not someone I would trust with my vote. “Do as I say – Not as I do” politics should have died out years ago.

  • Obelisk

    You know, the only party that could challenge Sinn Fein and give me pause would be either Fine Gael or Fianna Fail organising here in the North (though Fianna Fail is years away from that, they have to wear sackcloth and ashes for the foreseeable future).

    Still, a centre-right alternative to Sinn Fein that could present itself to the Nationalist people of the North as either the government of Ireland or the ‘Government in waiting’ of Ireland would be hard to dismiss, especially if they did the legwork over years in constituencies.

    But seeing thow the Conservative project died here maybe that’s hoping for too much, and given the duff state of the SDLP the reason nice people vote Sinn Fein is because despite all the baggage they are the only effective choice.

  • andnowwhat

    Only 5 posts for Godwin’s law to be broken? Is that a record for Slugger?

    Anyway, back to the topic at hand. As I mentioned in my last post, SF reps are very accessible and efficient but that takes a lot of work, organisation and manpower. I wonder if this is something that the PUP did not realise when they tried to replicate SF?

    A point for those looking to the IRA link. As long as I can remember there have always been those in the republican movement who were clearly were not involved in the IRA nor had any desire to be. Although the “SF and the IRA are not connected” thing was obviously gameplay, it does not follow that all those involved were in the IRA.

    For those that suggest that SF voters arek voting out of hatred or whatever, I would ask them to cast their minds back to statements and actions of other persons and parties in the past.

  • between the bridges

    FJH…re the ‘devils spawn’ not quite!! but there certainly would be a feeling that the rise of SF shows that that the ira campaign was supported/accepted/rewarded by many nice people. this in turn also helped nice people to ignore big Ian’s past and vote for his party…so you see its all your nice friend’s fault! Lol

  • otto

    Anyway – the answer to the question as to why nice people vote SF is “denial”.

    Varieties offered by Wikipedia include:

    “simple denial” – deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether

    (e.g. endorsement of Sinn Fein does not validate the IRA………really!)

    “minimisation” – admit the fact but deny its seriousness (a combination of denial and rationalization)

    (e.g. even if it does sort of tenuously endorse the IRA I’m really supportng SF’s current constitutionalism and anyway I wouldn’t support them after reunification so it’s just a means to an end……..honest!)

    “projection” – admit both the fact and seriousness but deny responsibility.

    (e.g. the troubles were all the Orange State’s/British Government’s fault anyway and/or the SDLP are so shit I’ve no choice………stop asking me these questions!)

  • tacapall

    Can someone tell me what a nice person is. Most people, especially our youth dont give a fiddlers about politics, especially in west belfast and I assume most areas, but come election time are bombarded with pamphlets from one party or another emotionally blackmailed as to why we should vote, that an unused vote will go to xyz then ushered off to the polling stations where people whatever you want to call them give you instructions on what way to use a pen. We call this democracy and exercising your right to vote but we’re all really puppets for someone else so which ones are the nice people.

  • otto

    “Can someone tell me what a nice person is”


  • Like I say Otto.its not about alliance.
    The viable (?) alternative to Sinn Féin in the nationalist community remains the SDLP. Its the only “other nationalist party”.
    I am on record as saying that Margaret Ritchie is useless and very few would disagree. I dont think a single SDLP person expects her to lead the Party at the next election. Indeed most know that would be a disaster.
    But alternatives are not actually obvious. Patsy McGlone would be my choice and I think most actual members of SDLP would go along with that.
    He seems to reach all parts of the Party and is Deputy Leader and Id suggest his loyalty to the Party therefore trumps misguided loyalty to a failed leader. He has I think a duty to tell her its time to go.
    The other alternatives seem too identified with Failure.
    Conall McDevitt has been over-exposed. A kinda Mandelson figure who has primarily invented “New SDLP” and to some extent the Party has fallen under that spell.
    It was raised above that SDLP is (to paraphrase) merely anti-Sinn Féin. Thats simplistic but certainly my observation at a count centre six weeks ago was that the SDLP people were more at ease with members of other parties outside the nationalist community.
    To some extent that s inevitable. SF and SDLP contest the same vote and are therefore rivals with animosity and vitriol……not actually shared by SF and voters. Indeed the “lets get along” element in SDLP hopelessly underestimated other threats.
    I attended the SDLP Conference last year. My impression is that the SDLP will listen to every voice .except their own.
    Duncan Morrow, Dr Norman Hamilton, Davey Adams, assorted TDs and fringe people from Human Rights….the need to listen to other voices is of course understandable and even commendable.
    But the one voice missing was their own ex-voters.
    Does the SDLP actually have the courage to organise a Conference session where four ex-members and/or ex-voters are allowed to harrangue the delegates while the delegates respectfully applaud the criticism?
    Does SDLP Youth have the independence to organise a fringe meeting on for people like that?
    My gut feeling is that sesssions of the next SDLP Conference will feature Platform for Change and (God help us!) Conflict Resolutionists.
    Thats actually the difference between SF and SDLP.
    Rightly or wrongly……and it seems to be working ……SF doesnt care what anybody thinks.

  • tacapall

    Otto, So are Unionists or indeed anyone who doesn’t vote for sinn fein nice people.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Probably one of the finest posts on here in a long time. Slugger at its best.

    Well done Fitz!

  • Drumlins Rock

    FJH, do you think Patsy could save the show? from my side of the fence he is by far the most capable MLA, but having watched the vote in FST the job is massive.

    Coming from the UUP camp I can empathise to an extent, leaving aside the “baggage” of both SF & the DUP, I don’t feel comfortable with the “cultic” nature of those parties, but also realise the election and working “machine” they operate is to be envied.

  • qwerty12345

    Why do people vote Sinn Fein. Well, becaue a lot of nationalists feel that the SDLP is out of touch and that they simply cant cut it in terms of constituency work.

    A lot of people also fear that if unionism got its way we would be back to 1966 – they think that Sinn Fein are the party least likely to let unionism away with it.

  • andnowwhat

    Drumlins, the SDLp do everything to not just wind up nationalists in general but even many of their own supporters and I think what happened in FST is a reflection of this (as I recall, the voting stats back this up).

  • vanhelsing

    Nice spot – andnowwhat “Only 5 posts for Godwin’s law to be broken?”
    Think that could indeed be a record 🙂

  • otto


    I believe there are lots of “nice” people who vote Sinn Fein. They’re just in denial as I’ve said. You specialise in projection.

    People who think the best way forward to a united, working, Ireland is to start from where we are and not where we’d like to be aren’t being “nice”. They’re being realistic.

    Vote SF if you want a better deal for Catholics and/or Gaelic traditions but don’t kid yourself that that alone is going to bring forward Irish Unity. You’ll not drag Antrim & Down in until you’ve at least the forebearance of the protestant majority and the only way there is by building an integrated, slightly more prosperous, “northern” Irish society that can handle a change of sovereignty without collapsing into civil war or insurrection or bringing the whole island’s economy down with us.

    Maybe I’m in denial about the poverty of “nationalist” ambition.

  • Drumlins Rock,
    I admire Patsy McGlone very much. He comes across as very down-to-earth and I think he has the pulse of real SDLP core much more than any alternative. He is unashamedly a nationalist as are most SDLP voters.
    SDLP (acts like wearing a poppy) are too obsessed with reaching out to people who wont ever reach back. Never mind vote SDLP.

    And Patsy McGlone might well be able to stem that tide. For all the gesture involved in the “poppy”……for all the “showing leadership” how many of the rank and file followed Ritchies example. Ritchie is not afriad to say “Northern Ireland” and can get away with it because even sometimes I use the phrase…..but will you ever hear her say “Londonderry”.
    When she talks of being “proudly northern, proudly Irish, proudly European” (gimme a break Margaret!).the intention is to cover all the bases but it actually comes across as muddled.
    Deep down, Sinn Féin do “nationalism” much better than SDLP and another party does “lets get alonger-ism” much better than SDLP.
    And actually UUP has the same problem. .
    McGlone is possibly too nationalist or his election might be a clear signal that the outreach of “New SDLP” has failed. And it would necessarily involve the demotion of Attwood, Ritchie and McDevitt. And probably sending Ritchie and McDonnell to exile in Westminster where nobody here will know they exist until the next Election. Ritchie can do no harm there.
    Id bring Bernie Kelly into Stormont as MLA to replace McDonnell. She should have got the nod over McDevitt last time and the SDLP owes her. Claire Hanna who is being groomed for South Belfast would be better deployed in South Down.
    But why would the SDLP listen to the likes of me. I am basically a well-wisher and they only listen to advice from their enemies…..which might account for the mess they are in.
    You mention FST and the mere fact that SDLP lost a seat there might concentrate minds (rather like West Tyrone) but they will be handicapped by no representation in Dungannon and will they even have a staffed office in FST. Or North and South Antrim.

    DUP and SF are much more single-minded than their rivals. Ruthlessly efficient. There seems no incentive to actually walk into a SDLP office, hand over a membership fee……and do something. They should have been head hunting their friends not listening to their enemies.
    Nor is there any incentive to join Sinn Féin. They want activists, not members and they are deeply suspicious of anyone who would join up and not rush off on a bus trip for the 23rd anniversary march for some obscure event in Bellaghy or whatever. No new member of SF could break that barrier.
    Nor can the Community itself be served. Between them Sinn Féin and the “liberals” have siezed all the “civic society” jobs.

  • tacapall

    “Vote SF if you want a better deal for Catholics and/or Gaelic traditions but don’t kid yourself that that alone is going to bring forward Irish Unity. You’ll not drag Antrim & Down in until you’ve at least the forebearance of the protestant majority”.

    Maybe we should break it down into geographical locations then, after all thats how Unionism became the majority from a minority.

  • otto

    Whatever. Looks like you’ve the same approach as Fitz telling people to stop reaching out to peope who’ll never reach back. He manages that dismissal despite a full unionist attendance at a dinner the president held recently. The only people not there were Sinn Fein but they’re claiming they’re the ones who’ll give you a united ireland. Madness.

  • tacapall

    I have no approach Otto other than pointing out the hypocrisy of those who insinuate that people who vote Sinn fein are somehow morally inferior than those who dont or that they somehow support violence. I like yourself dont believe Sinn Fein can or will achieve a UI or an Ireland free from foriegn influence ffs those very same politicians who peddle the myth about what they can do for us sold the country to foriegn bankers. The 26 counties are now once again under foriegn control and this time revolution wont change that, better just give them the deeds to our water, the future black gold.

  • Eddie (Eamonn) Mac Bhloscaidh

    I should qualify what I said earlier by saying that I don’t think a person can vote Sinn Féin without approving of at least some of the IRA’s actions.

  • Independent Ulster


    Sorry to introduce an element of negativity in what is certainly a pleasent read but the title was suggestive of at least a modicum of conscience wrestling and might well fall foul of the trades description act for not doing exactly what is said on the tin. Why would a nice person, nationalist or otherwise ever vote for a party that continues to justify murder?

    You say

    ‘And worse…..they are just totally inefficient. They have a hopeless and hapless leader who led them to a state where they have fewer seats and an almost impossible chance of making a comeback.’

    This is often used by Nationalists to explain or perhaps excuse why they vote SF but the SDLP with John Hume in charge was already starting to lose votes to SF and although no fan myself I would not refer to him, or Seamus Mallon who followed him as a ‘hopeless and hapless leader’.

    Quite how decent Nationalists can justify voting for SF is I’m regret to say still something of a mystery, at least to most Unionists.

  • Comrade Stalin


    Would you mind defining for the boys and girls at home what you mean when you use the words :

    (a) moderate
    (b) socialist
    (c) republican
    (d) nationalist
    (e) “nice”

    As far as I can tell only one of the above fits you. And there is no one person who can be described as all five. I am not sure who the other “sluggerite” you are referring to is, since you describe yourself with all the same terms in your own profile. I don’t know whether you have a schizophrenia thing going on or not. I sure hope not.

    Apart from that, I think it’s easy to see why people vote SF. In the post-ceasefire age where the IRA have gone away, it’s more or less a case of comparing a competent and motivated nationalist party to an incompetent and badly motivated nationalist party. It’s patronizing to ask people to vote for a crap candidate just because they call themselves moderate. I transferred to the DUP and SF ahead of the UUP and SDLP (not necessarily in that order) in the recent elections for that reason.

  • I am not quite sure what you are saying.
    Firstly I wrote this piece because a few (although it seemed like several) folks had asked the question…presumably rhetorically and I felt that I might be in a position to give an answer.
    The person to whom I referred who has a profile indicating that he is a “nationalist, moderate, republican and socialist…..skeptical of Journalists and Conflict Resolution” is a 59 year old grandfather who is deemed by normal modes of Society to be a “nice person”.
    I have no idea whether anyone here would so deem him.
    But presumably there is nothing in the words “republican, nationalist, moderate and socialist” which qould disqualify him from being a “nice person”.
    Surely only a bigot would judge any of those words to be (at worst) neutral.
    Over 178,000 people voted for Sinn Féin last month. The Sluggerite to whom I referred was NOT one of them.
    He was one of 94,000 who voted SDLP but he freely admits to have voted mostly Sinn Féin over the past 15 years or so.
    As I said by the norms of Society he is regarded as a “nice person”.
    And yet in a particular (mostly unionist……but not held by all unionists) he ceases to be a “nice person” when he votes Sinn Féin. That would appear to be the implication behind the (rhetorical) question how can “nice” people do this?
    The implication is that 178,000 are immediately not as “nice” as people who vote SDLP, Alliance, UUP, DUP or TUV.
    That would mean that one of our Communities has more nice people in it than the “other community”.
    And that the “other” Community has too many people who are not nice.
    Well thats what it would mean if the precept that nice people cant vote Sinn Féin is accepted as a trueism.

    All I did was try to explain one mans journey.
    As I said…..his prime concern is his own family and a basket of philosophies “moderate, republican, socialist, nationalist” and he would add “efficiency and democracy”.
    Not voting….is hardly an option.
    Nor is voting for another of the two power blocks that has (in his judgement) not got the interests of his family, community or nation at heart.
    The defence of…and an advancement of a persons set of beliefs is surely the reason most people vote the way they do.
    That seems to be why the Sluggerite who is the subject of the thread votes as he does.
    Presumably the thought process is no different from anyone else here.
    If the 2011 choice (SDLP) merely let their voters down thru incompetence, then Sinn Féin appears the only viable alternative.

  • DCAP

    There is a collective amnesia especially among Unionists about the events between the first IRA ceasefire and the electoral rise of SF thereafter.

    If anyone casts their minds back the SDLP were seen as the prime movers along with the UUP in the creation of the GFA.(remember the triumphant cheering of B Rodgers and others) They were certainly better placed than SF to reap the peace dividend, so what went wrong?

    Answer Drumcree 1, 2 3 and so on. This I believe was the main reason why the balance wuthin Nationalism shifted towards SF. Many friends who previously would never have countanced voting for SF, after being stopped at illegal roadblocks, prevented from going to work, prevented from accessing the airport and witnessing the annual mayhem unleashed by unionism/loyalism in general had a swift and permenant change of heart.

    Nationalism decided that nice people are in very short supply in this part of the world if LOL N0 1 is prevented from marching down certain roads.

  • tacapall,

    You’re stealing Greenflag’s thunder without acknowledgement. (5:00 pm)

  • My post at 7.28pm was in reply to “Independent Ulster” of course.

  • Comrade Stalin

    fitz, you mean there are two of you ? Quoting from your profile : “Republican, socialist, moderate & nationalist. Not a big fan of loyalist dissidents, republican dissidents and liberal dissidents. Skeptical about Community Relations & Conflict Resolution.”

  • Independent Ulster


    You say

    ‘But presumably there is nothing in the words “republican, nationalist, moderate and socialist” which qould disqualify him from being a “nice person”.’

    Well yes there is, potentially, depending on what you mean by ‘Republican’. If you mean by that someone who thinks it it reasonable to kill those who share this little bit of land with them because they have a different aspiration to their own then I think it is stretching it a bit far to refer to them as ‘nice’.

    Your title “So why do nice people vote Sinn Fein” suggested that you were going to let ‘Sluggerities’ into the secret of how Nationalists can be ‘nice’ and yet support a party that still justifies being exactly the opppoosite to their political opponents, that is murdering them.

    Having disappointed after the promising title it would surely be more enlightening for a Unionist blog titled ‘Why it is not possible to be nice and also vote SF’.

  • Why do nice people vote for the SDLP? Well, the truth is it is because they are not nice people at all, they are like the rest of us, a little bit of this and that.

    By the way FJH, ‘nice people’ is a very English middle class turn of phrase, as they love to be viewed as “ever such nice people,” whilst at the same time putting the boot in on some helpless soul.

  • patio dev

    I’m qualified to comment as I consider myself nice or ‘nice’ as some would have it. Now why did I vote SF in the last election? I don’t know if I voted ‘for’ SF or ‘against’ the others on offer. I still view elections in NI as a sectarian head count, we all become tribal and we congregate behind the biggest monolith on our respective side. In my area I’ve voted for either SDLP or SF tactically to dislodge the incumbent who for quite a time was DUP.
    I can see why my vote could be construed as supporting violence. My views on the conflict are as clear or as ambiguous as various Unionist leaders through the years. I understand how things lead to violence, I could see how communal anger drives individuals to commit such acts. Given the utterances of certain leaders through the years, I don’t think those voting UU or DUP could claim ownership of whatever moral hill they believe their own.
    Until such times as we all feel safe and accepted I think similar voting patterns will exist.

  • Independent Ulster.
    When the Sluggerite to whom I refer uses the word “socialist”, you dont seem to think it means something undemocratic along Soviet lines. That you feel “Republican” implies violence says more about you than the Sluggerite in question.
    A Republican is someone who believes in a Republic. Many ordinary Guardian reading folks in Bradford, Birmingham and Battersea are as “republican” as the Sluggerite.
    There is nothing…in itself……which is not “nice” about being a Republican.
    And nothing “not nice” about believing in a Monarchy.

  • Mickhall,
    Its not about the SDLP either.
    Why do nice people vote for the “Workers Party”?
    Well of course the answer is that nobody….nice or otherwise ….does anything so stupid.

  • ulsterscotnua

    Ask not why do nice people vote for Sinn Fein but ask are people not as entitled to vote for Sinn Fein as any other party.
    In the North of Ireland right up to the Civil Rights Movement in the late 60’s Nationalist people were frowned upon for voting. In many Protestant areas voters were attacked or their premises were attacked on polling day. Nationalists had no one to turn to as they could not trust the RUC.
    Thankfully the day is now here when people can freely vote for whoever they want to without fear and intimidation.
    Nationalists know that Protestants as a rule do not like nationalist voting S.F. It started as reprisal for the Protestant pre Civil Rights attitude to Nationalist voting, so Nationalists voted S.F. and it blossomed from there and SDLP became less relevant Nationalist s self pride leads them to vote proudly for whoever they like..

  • FJH1745

    I fear I made a subconscious error when I wrote SDLP instead of SF, hardly surprising these days when you compare the two partys policies.

    Not sure why you presumed by mentioning the workers party it would strike a cord with me. I am not for or against the WP, although I do have a friend who is a member and far from being stupid he is a man to be admired as his politics do not flip flop about like a butterfly.

    Cold war is over mate, and even this reactionary pope could not resurrect catholic action, or whatever the anti communist papists called themselves in your neck of the woods.

  • orly

    Another SF voter trying to square it in his own mind.

    The fact this thread even exists shows, deep down, he knows it’s wrong.

  • Independent Ulster


    You say,

    ‘That you feel “Republican” implies violence says more about you than the Sluggerite in question.A Republican is someone who believes in a Republic. Many ordinary Guardian reading folks in Bradford, Birmingham and Battersea are as “republican” as the Sluggerite.’

    To suggest in the context of a debate about Nationalists voting SF that ‘Republican’ solely has the meaning suggested above is either attributable to muddled thinking or disingenuousness and ilustrates further that this blog is not an genuine attempy to answer the question posed in its title.

  • pippakin

    Surely the point is most, if not all of the crimes happened a long time ago and SF are not the only party with blood on their hands, arguably in most western democracies most parties have been involved in domestic, civil conflict.

    Many people want to believe that SF have grown beyond the bombs and the bullets. Its not for a voter to prove they have not or to justify his belief, its for SF to prove they have or there will come a point when believability is beyond their reach.

  • Independent Ulster


    Can you name me another party in Western Europe who has a current membership and leadership comprised of people who have actually committed crimes and who continue to justify them.

    I’m not talking about potential crimes or what some people might like to classify as crimes but actual crimes they were convicted for in court of law in a Western democracy.

    What many Unionists dont understand and are none the wiser for reading this somewhat self indulgent blog is how ‘nice’ and I’m taking that to mean decent people can actually vote a terrorist gang into power.

  • orly

    Because they aren’t nice at all Ind Ulster.

    They just like to think they’re nice.

  • pippakin

    Independent Ulster

    Most parties in most countries are actually older than SF or any other party on this island. This is a relatively new democracy so the ‘battle’ scars are still showing.

    There are some people in SF I wouldn’t vote for in a month of Sundays but SF do have the right to aspire to a greater future and voters have the right to vote for them until such time, should it arrive, when there is proof that the bombs and bullets have not in fact ‘gone away’ or there continual contempt for victims disgusts even their own supporters.

  • As long as there is apartheid in our schools, segregating our children on the basis of religion, there will be deep layers of tribal antagonism in the NI psyche. That tribal identity will allow people to vote for parties like SF which has links to terrorist gangs and the DUP which has links to sectarian bigotry. Ordinary people will vote for those parties because the tribal gut feeling encourages it and there is no empathy for the other side which might prevent such behaviour. There is no empathy because the other side are an unknown quantity, a different species that went to a different school and worshipped a different god.

    I do not think that we can ever escape from tribalism in all its various toxic forms until we end religious apartheid. Robinson has said that he is in favour. Amazingly. I don’t hear the tribal chiefs in SF speaking out. Why is that?

  • andnowwhat

    Independent Ulster (profile) 16 June 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Can you name me another party in Western Europe who has a current membership and leadership comprised of people who have actually committed crimes and who continue to justify them.

    Ahem, Labour party GB and the GOP in the USA.

    Blair and Dubbya may be gone but some of those who supported them are still in their respective houses of power.

  • Independent Ulster


    You say

    ‘Ahem, Labour party GB and the GOP in the USA.’

    Perhaps you didn’t read my second paragraph which I reproduce in full for you perusal.

    “I’m not talking about potential crimes or what some people might like to classify as crimes but actual crimes they were convicted for in court of law in a Western democracy.”

  • Independent Ulster,
    That SF is not a “nice” party is not actually the issue.
    As you may note Ive suggested the SDLP are nicer people.
    But the theme of this thread was to attempt to answer (for those who cared) whay seemingly “nice” people (in the view of their unionist peers) vote for a party which is not so “nice” (in the view of unionists).

  • Charminator

    “They simply tick more of the boxes than a rival in the nationalist community.”

    Couldn’t agree more… except that one might add that the SDLP rapidly fail to tick few, if any, of the boxes which the average Nationalist, and certainly average Republican, expects.

    The party is institutionally obsolescent with no vision for the North (never mind any settled view on Ireland) with a leader who has the charisma of a damp rag and an evidently poor intellect. The likes of MoD tourist Thomas Burns (though of course, no longer an MLA now), champagne socialist Conall McDevitt, and a ragtag band of other careerists with little common thread between them reveals a rudderless party with little political instinct, but a keen eye for individual self-survival and career advancement. The MP cum MLA cum Dr. for South Belfast personifies this, if such were needed. A thorough clean-out is required but, of course, that’s the one thing that won’t happen. When ex MLA O’Loan came close to suggesting a major rethink he was quickly closeted before emerging ‘re-educated’. For many, as the FST result this year showed, the Fearghal McKinney stunt was the iceing on the cake.

    Nice Republicans and Nationalists vote SF because the vast majority of them see absolutely no other choice. They understandably won’t be enamoured by the likes of Ritchie and the more she dons her poppy, the more votes her party will lose. Yes, she may pick up low level transfers, but try adding them up when you’re haemorhagging first and second preferences like there’s no tomorrow!

  • Comrade Stalin

    What many Unionists dont understand and are none the wiser for reading this somewhat self indulgent blog is how ‘nice’ and I’m taking that to mean decent people can actually vote a terrorist gang into power.

    You mean like the Unionists who voted for Hugh Smyth to be Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1993, or the Unionists who endorsed William McCrea after he appeared on a podium in solidarity with Billy Wright ? Or the Unionists who established the “Loyalist Commission” to bring Johnny Adair and actively-murdering-and-feuding friends into the political process ? Or the Unionists who tried to forge a merger with the PUP in the Assembly ?

    Or are you talking about a different sort of Unionist ?

  • aquifer

    The SDLP publicans lawyers and pious teachers tricking the votes off the working man. Sinn Fein IRA shot the secular socialists off the streets and off the ballot. Why not vote for an ethnic communist gun gang when you have got superlatively mean protestants to run the real economy for you. The working class is stitching shirts in Mauritious so labour are redundant, and the tories went and joined the Orange Order. Votal Sinn Fein? the best unemployment insurance available anywhere, if you don’t mind them painting your kerbstones.

  • Independent Ulster


    You say,

    “But the theme of this thread was to attempt to answer (for those who cared) whay seemingly “nice” people (in the view of their unionist peers) vote for a party which is not so “nice” (in the view of unionists).”

    Not so much the ‘theme’ more the title. Self serving circular arguements that the SDLP are no good because not enough people vote them and suggesting Nationalsits have no choice other than vote for SF does not really tell us anything new.

    It simply tells us that they prefer SF to the SDLP although the SDLP have not led a terror campaign against their Potestant neighbours.

    What you title suggests is an explanation of how Nationalists can suspend or ignore their moral compass and vote for a terror gang and be more critical of a decent party like the SDLP.

    The ‘theme’ of this blog would match the title if you actually dealt with the morality of Nationalists voting for a party with blood on its hands and who continue to justify their terror campaign.

    As it stands it sounds a bit like a retail review of the battle between Tescos (SF) who get all the shoppers and Sainsburys(SDLP) who are struggling for customers.

  • Independent Ulster,
    Er thats just about it.
    “Catholics” are more likely to vote Sinn Féin than SDLP.
    Ad infinitum, ….I seem to be saying that (unionist) people on this Board occasionally ask why (seemingly) nice (or if you prefer…….pleasant, normal whatever) “Catholic” people are prepared to vote for Sinn Féin….a Party unrepentant about its terror campaign against (what they see as mostly) unionist people (Kingsmill today being a case in point).
    Now what Ive tried to do is set out why one such person does that.
    Now conceivably you know the thought process of your “Catholic” neighbours better than I do….but I doubt it.
    Sad as it is…..nobody…..not even the Sluggerite on whom this thread is based……will factor in todays news about Kingsmills when he next walks into a polling station. He had already worked out that the IRA was responsible for it.
    Now that might disappoint you……even disgust you…..but its a simple fact.
    Well aside from the personal issue that was perhaps the turning point in 1993 (mentioned in the original thread) there were indeed several other turning points (thats how real life worked/works) but it boils down to the simple fact that the subject is firmly locked into one of the three power blocks which now exist.
    And I have spelled out before that they are now
    1 constitutional nationalism
    2 constitutional unionism
    3 lets get alongerism

    …none is morally superior or inferior to the other. Its a simple matter that people vote for the Party or Parties who defend and advance the agenda of a voter and of his/her loved ones.
    The Sluggerite who believes in republicanism, nationalism, moderation and socialism …as well as the ballot box (democracy) and the effectiveness of the choices…..makes the choice that in 2010 and 2011 he voted SDLP after about fourteen years of voting Sinn Féin which itself followed over twenty years of voting SDLP (and having a committment to SDLP).
    He feels let down by SDLPs ineffectiveness and in the event of a resignation by the local MP and a by-election would certainly vote SF next time out.
    The person in question may or may not be ….”nice/pleasant/normal”……but his actual voting pattern over 41 years was totally irrelevant to it.

  • Independent Ulster


    Well I think you could have a few problems with the trades description act based on your title, but moving on…

    What exaclty do you mean by the ‘SDLPs ineffectiveness’ other than not enough Nationalists voting for them because they prefer a party linked to terrorism?

  • Zig70

    like supporting Tyson in a boxing match, you wouldn’t bring him home. Irishness in NI has to be fought for, you couldn’t rely on the majority unionist population to cater for it. Not totally their fault, they aren’t wired that way. Same as in the South, they didn’t cater for the minority britishness, they weren’t wired that way either. The southerners wouldn’t see that any wrongs were dealt out. If I were a sports minister it would be a while before I remembered about Cricket. A ball should be flicked up on the end of the stick and hit as hard as possible. The other point is Nationalists don’t buy the holier than thou crap crap from Unionists. CS gave enough examples. Maybe Marty should use the line, ‘I did call for action but I didn’t mean that’ about IRA murders.

  • Im not entirely convinced that youre a genuine seeker of knowledge but here goes.
    I have consistently said for a very long time that Unionism and Nationaism is best served by having TWO political Parties. Unionist and Nationalist voters need a viable alternative within their communities…….lest votes slip to the dissidents on either side or “lets get alongerism”.

    Lets look at the results within the Nationalist Electorate from 1998-2011.
    1998 SDLP 24 ….SF 18 (42 seats)
    2003 SDLP 18…..SF 24 (42 seats)
    2007 SDLP 16 ….SF 28 (44 seats)
    2011 SDLP 14…..SF 29 (43 seats).
    So Nationalism/Republicanism at a steady 42-44 seats.
    You will recall that the Sluggerite to whom I referred voted Sinn Féin in 1998, 2003 and 2007 but voted SDLP in (Westminster 2010) and 2011.
    The reason was primarily that the balance between the two was swinging too far in one direction. You might recall that his home is “pan nationalist” in political terms and essentially he would have preferred a better balance.
    And of course the same in terms of Executive seats SF 3 and SDLP 1 was the position before the recent Election. Not to mention the OFM/DFM position and junior Minister……..making it 5:1. The Sluggerite would have preferred 2:2. Hence the 2011 vote but can live with outcome.
    But it follows that the SDLP is less effective. It has now lost paid staff in Fermanagh-South Tyrone, South Antrim and North Antrim and Sinn Féin has picked up another office/paid staff in Fermanagh-South Tyrone and East Antrim.
    With no MEP and two MLAs (Ritchie & McDonnell) blocking new blood there is only 15 paid SDLP folks plus just one paid Special Advisor.
    All of this makes them less effective and of course thats not the judgement of the Voter who DID vote SDLP. Its also the judgement of others.
    Does anyone in any Party seriously think that Margaret Ritchie is an “effective” leader.
    It boils down to who has the ability to progress the agenda of the nationalist community.
    Numbers is not necessarily the sole factor……but it is the major factor.
    If a nationalist has a problem with Planning, Agricultural Grant, whatever in Lisnaskea, Dungannon, Ballymoney, Carnlough or Antrim…in the next four years, SF is hs only option. Therefore more effective.

  • nightrider

    Were you born an ‘Irish Nationalist’ (as in DNA) or did you come to realise it was your ‘tribe’, same with catholicism. You rationally weighed up the benefits and downsides and decided ‘Irish nationalism’ is my philosophy on life. Catholicism was also given the same treatment, tried methodism but the evidence was underwhelming etc.
    Nothing wrong with going with the flow, just curious like.

  • Independent Ulster


    I appreciate your thourough reply.

    You have chartered the SDLP as a party in decline and offered the circular explanation that the reason they are ineffective and lost officers etc is largely down to the fact that Nationlaists dont vote for them.

    It could equally be argued that the SDLP is in decline because Nationalists happen to like SF in increasing numbers. Nationalists perhaps like the fact that SF have stopped murdering people but actually like the fact that they achieved gains for Nationalism even though they murdered people to get those gains.

    That is at least as plausible as your more descriptive explanation but is far more uncomfortable for Nationalists to admit.

  • Mark

    ” The other point is that the nationalists don’t buy the holier than thou crap from unionists ”

    And it’s apparent from this thread that Unionists don’t buy the holier than thou crap from a certain sluggite whose also a moderate , nationalist etc …….

    Lay off the pretentious Dubs …. lol.

    Ps – I thought you were leaving us for another continent …..

  • Independent Ulster


    Nationalists perhaps like the fact that SF/IRA have stopped murdering people.

  • Sam Maguire

    Same old story on Slugger – Unionists see Nationalists voting SF rather than SDLP as a black and white / good v evil issue whereas the Nationalist voters see the various shades of grey.

    And it shall continue ad infinitum.

  • Mark
    I did indeed leave for another continent and thanks to the joys of early retirement will be off again soon.

    Independent Ulster,
    I have made it clear that nationalists believe they are in a better position now than in the 1960s.
    SDLP think they won it by Politics.
    Sinn Féin think they won it by Violence.

    They both bitterly resent their voters telling them that their rivals had any part in it. But the sad fact that I have always accepted is that nationalists are in the place they are today because of BOTH. That is NOT uncomfortable for me to say. Its a plain fact.
    Politics alone would not have put me or my family in this place.
    Nor would Violence alone have done it.

    No I wasnt born an “Irish nationalist”. I was merely born Irish and brought up with that fact.
    I have never discussed my religion. Or lack of.
    I have merely used “Catholic” and you dont seem to have noticed that I used the word in quotation marks because its
    …the recognised Tribal indicator
    …I was using it in the context Im sure you know….of unionists on this Board posing the question……..

    “seem to be saying that (unionist) people on this Board occasionally ask why (seemingly) nice (or if you prefer…….pleasant, normal whatever) “Catholic” people are prepared to vote for Sinn Féin”

  • orly

    Charminator writes “The party is institutionally obsolescent with no vision for the North (never mind any settled view on Ireland) with a leader who has the charisma of a damp rag and an evidently poor intellect. ”

    But what of SF’s vision? Integrate us with a bankrupt south? A country that would become a failed state in fairly short order if the billions of bailout cash (some stumped up by the british taxpayer) were halted?

    As for charisma and intellect. Gerry? LOL.

  • nightrider

    Unaware of the FJH Catholic = Nationalist end all, Sir John Gorman etc
    Many Marxists, middle aged and anti- nationalist may disagree
    A hell of a lot of young people are now atheist. Where does the Dawkins/Attenborough/Grayling/Hitchens philosophy fit among NI political apes?
    Tune in next wek for the answer FJH?

  • No need to wait to next week.
    That would be “Sir” john Gorman ….Irish Guards……
    Rockport School Craigavad (Primary School) and later Portora Royal School……who has a not exactly your typical Catholic background.
    Indeed under civil service fair statistics he would be actually designated er……Protestant.
    Better luck with the next name.

  • Independent Ulster


    You say,

    “Politics alone would not have put me or my family in this place.”

    I think this is the nub of the issue.

    You are saying that Nationalists ‘are in the place they are today’ partly because of violence by the IRA a vote for SF is in some ways a recognition of that.

    The fact that they may murdered many people in a terrorist campaign to achieve those gains does not make you uncomfortable?

    Perhaps if it was factored in how viticims of the IRAs terrorist campaign(Nationalist and Unionist) might view Nationalists voting preferences a ‘nice’ person might have cause to be just a little uncomfortable?

  • SK

    “What many Unionists dont understand and are none the wiser for reading this somewhat self indulgent blog is how ‘nice’ and I’m taking that to mean decent people can actually vote a terrorist gang into power.”

    Such a tired old double standard. The two largest unionist parties have both welcomed convicted Loyalists into their ranks- one of them a double murderer. Does this have any bearing on the ‘decency’ of the unionist electorate?

    ‘Moderate’ Reg Empey welcomed David Ervine of the PUP into a political alliance at a time while the UVF were still very active. Does have any bearing on the ‘decency’ of the unionist electorate?

    Belfast city council recently saw a mainstream unionist attempt to maximise their political sway by inviting the political representative of the UVF into taking the whip. Does that have any bearing on the ‘decency’ of the unionist electorate?

  • Yes thats basically what I am saying.
    That the better position that Nationalists are in now (and you welcome that of course dont you?) is as a result of both Violence (including the terrorism and counter-terrorism) and the Politics.
    Rather like the (eventual) liberalisng, democratising Europe of the 19th century owes something to the French Revolution.
    Indeed just about any event in Human History has had violence attached. The outcome of WW2 and its eventual better outcome for Japan might owe something to Hiroshima.
    The “rainbow nation” of South Africa owes something to the ANC violence.
    The abolition of slavery in North America owes a lot to the American Civil War.
    The establishment of “British” democracy owes something to the English Civil War and the later “Glorious Revolution” including the Irish dimension in that which established the conquest and settlement.
    The establishment of the Free State also was based on violence. It is alas the way of the world.
    I say without doubt that my family is in a much better position than it was forty years ago.
    I dont feel in any way guilty about that.

    And if youre in “tut tutting” mode, you may like to direct some of it to those who blocked the way forward rather than directing all of it at the usual suspects.

  • andnowwhat

    Hate to do the whataboutery but hell, its our national sport.

    For the first 20 odd years of my life (I’m 47) vile language aimed at catholics (not even nationalists or even republicans) by unionists from the unionist parties was de rigeur on the airwaves and on TV.

    I’m sure there are those on here who could give fine examples and I’m sure that a quick Google would throw a fair few up. Violence is not just physical.

    At times the language from unionists towards catholics was (it is no exaggeration to say) dehumanising. Even the words “Roman Catholic” were spat out with angry disgust.

    So I ask, why did “nice” unionists vote for them?

    Maybe a topic for another thread.

  • Independent Ulster


    You say,

    “Rather like the (eventual) liberalisng, democratising Europe of the 19th century owes something to the French Revolution.”

    You simply cannot be serious (given it is the Wimbledon season). We are talking about a terrorist campaign in a post WW2 Western Democracy ostensibly over the allocation of council houses and jobs. Your response above is either an attempt at deflection or self-delusion or a combination of both.

  • nightrider

    Maybe an example of this sectarian abuse from Terence O Neill, or his immediate successors would add weight to your anecdotal reminiscing?

  • andnowwhat

    Anyone here vote for the man sitting down?

  • PaulT

    ah, Independent Ulster, finally an honest unionist voice.

    “…post WW2 Western Democracy ostensibly over the allocation of council houses and jobs…”

    good to see a unionist stand up and say nationalists were treated how the majority in NI wanted them to be treated.

    That is the Democracy bit, isn’t it?

    others on here try to blame ‘Big House’ Unionism or claim no influence in the political scene of the day.

    So the only question IU is why?

    Why would the democratic majority in NI purposely deny a council house or a job to a Catholic?

  • Yes Im serious.
    You say. I say. You say. I say.
    But yes Im perfectly serious.

  • between the bridges

    Politics alone would not have put me or my family in this place.
    Ah FJH you were doing so well but I am sorry this is the CNR get out clause for everything. translation ‘us nice CNR accept that violence had to happen because them bad unionist’s wouldn’t have give us anything otherwise’ ergo same old ‘sure it’s all them one’s fault.

  • orly

    FJH says “Politics alone would not have put me or my family in this place. Nor would Violence alone have done it.”

    Shameful and detestable.

    But I guess you were brought up to believe that. So it’s not really your fault eh?

  • Charminator

    Orly writes: “But what of SF’s vision? Integrate us with a bankrupt south? A country that would become a failed state in fairly short order if the billions of bailout cash (some stumped up by the british taxpayer) were halted?”

    I’m assuming, Orly, that when Jim Callaghan went cap in hand to the IMF you similarly revised your political allegiances too? If not, then have the plain common sense to appreciate that the constitutional aspirations of the minority in the North are not linked to the particular economic cycle the island finds itself in.

    As for Ritchie’s charisma, I suggest the appropriate comparison is McGuinness, not Adams. But it matters not. As the recent Wikileaks showed, it’s not just Nationalist/Republican voters who think Ritchie is intellectually challenged and horrendous to listen to, it seems the US consul thought so too.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Anyone here vote for the man sitting down?

    That looks like a crowd of people who didn’t vote for a terrorist.

  • orly

    Would that be the same Callaghan (of Irish descent) who was leader of the pseudo nationalist, leftist, Labour Party? The same Callaghan who, as Home Secretary, sent in the troops much to the eventual chagrin of some sections of “the community”. No revision necessary. Never supported Labour and never will.

    Basically the “constitutional aspirations” of some here are nothing more than pure fantasy.

    You might want to read a bit further into the events of 1976 before trying to use it as some sort of put down similar to the disaster going on down south. Will the south be back in the black any time this decade? Any time this generation even? The ordinary irish don’t think so. Emigrating in numbers not seen for decades.

    I believe when the UK had to avail of funds they dipped in the toe rather than the whole leg and paid it back sharpish. Cue 1980s bonanza when another Margaret appeared.

    I’m not one of the sheep following along blind. I can see the economy of N.I is similarly screwed and not too dissimilar to the one down south. Why stay? It’s not like the weather is good, or the politicians are honest chaps (a good proportion are convicted criminals). Are there really that many opportunities in N.I? Maybe if you join the Police you’ll do ok but only if you’re the right sort of god worshipper. In years past you could rely on the public sector to give you a good deal but no longer. Last time I checked N.I wasn’t a force in any sort of economic niche or sector. Are SF addressing this sort of thing? The SDLP, UUP or DUP for that matter? Of course not…it would require a bit of intellect wouldn’t it?

    Perhaps the only unique thing about being “Northern Irish” is the opportunity to avail of 2 passports by default. Hopefully in the coming years I’ll be availing of a 3rd from a totally different continent. Can’t come quick enough.

  • fordprefect

    The only difference between SF and the SDLP is that, the SDLP were/are totally opposed to violence. SF, on the other hand, supported and endorsed violence. Not any more! SF have outSDLPed themselves in calling for people to tout and condemning anything that moves! As another blogger replied (before I got the chance to) about “real crimes,” George Dubya and Blair have a lot to answer for, among others.

  • slappymcgroundout

    “What many Unionists dont understand and are none the wiser for reading this somewhat self indulgent blog is how ‘nice’ and I’m taking that to mean decent people can actually vote a terrorist gang into power.”

    Umkhonto we Sizwe or Spear of the Nation, was the armed wing of the ANC, founded by Nelson Mandela. So perhaps you might want to ask black South Africans why they did the same.

    And you can ask those in Brazil as well:

    Dilma Vana Rousseff…(born December 14, 1947) is the 36th and current President of Brazil. She is the first woman to hold the office. Prior to that, in 2005, she also was the first woman to become Chief of Staff of Brazil, appointed by then President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

    Rousseff was raised in an upper middle class household in Belo Horizonte. She became a socialist during her youth, and following the 1964 coup d’état joined various left-wing and Marxist urban guerrilla groups that fought against the military dictatorship. Rousseff was captured and jailed between 1970 and 1972 and reportedly tortured.