Text of John McCallister’s speech to Sinn Fein

Mick has John McCallister’s speech to the Sinn Fein meeting in Newry on video below. I thought it might be worth reproducing the text as well. Willie Frazer is one of the few unionists to criticise the speech saying “We have nothing to apologise for”

McCallister’s apology was for the failures of the old Stormont regime to live up to Carson’s injunction:

We used to say that we could not trust an Irish parliament in Dublin to do justice to the Protestant minority. Let us take care that that reproach can no longer be made against your parliament, and from the outset let them see that the Catholic minority have nothing to fear from a Protestant majority.

McCallister’s challenge to republicans was in stark contrast to David Latimer’s “challenge.” From McAllister’s speech:

As an organisation, the Provisional IRA systematically murdered thousands of innocent – men, women, children; both Protestant and Catholic.
The events between 1969 and the mid 1990s are a tragic stain on the history of Northern Ireland.
The tragedies of the past have left a profound and appalling legacy of human suffering to which there has sadly been no remorse shown.

Building a shared future in Northern Ireland and reconciliation across the Island will require Republicans to confront and recognise this …
Confront and recognise that for Unionists the IRA campaign of violence was inherently sectarian.
That it was never legitimate to murder other people on this Island who disagreed with Republican ideology.
And that, whatever the perceived injustices, for Unionists and for many Nationalists, the IRA’s campaign of terror – like the terrorism of all paramilitary organisations – was entirely without moral justification.

Anyhow the whole speech is below:

1. Democratic politics
 
My grasp of the Irish language does not allow me to begin in the same way Her Majesty commenced her speech at the state banquet in the Dublin Castle – but I do want to begin by thanking the organisers for extending the invitation to me as a committed Ulster Unionist to speak at today’s event. 
 
This, after all, is what democratic politics is about … debate between political opponents.
Debate free from coercion, free from the threat of violence, free from the spectre of terrorism.
So I welcome the progress that has brought Sinn Fein to this point.
The point of democratic debate, of course, is that it is between political opponents.
I stand here as a Unionist, committed to maintaining and promoting the Union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
I stand here committed to a centre-right vision of our society and economy.
I stand here as a Northern Irish person who is proud of his identity and allegiance as a British citizen. 
We can all be certain, then, that it will be a real debate this evening.
I want to take a few moments to share with you why I am passionately convinced that Sinn Fein’s goal of unification is not in the economic interests of Northern Ireland … or, indeed, of the Republic of Ireland.
And I want to share with you my vision as a Unionist of an Island at ease with itself …
At ease with its diverse constitutional allegiances and arrangements …
An Island which benefits from the reality of a shared Northern Ireland …
Contributing to a prosperous future for both parts of this Island.

2. Not by bread alone

But first, let’s remind ourselves that societies are not defined solely by economics …
Societies do not live by bread alone.
Identity, CULTURE, allegiance and our past significantly define who we are.
In other words, economics alone neither explain the identity and allegiance of Unionists …
Nor could economics alone ever conceivably persuade Unionists to give their support to unification.
I think there are two profound challenges here for Republicanism.
The first is the fact that Unionists are not labouring under some type of false consciousness when we say we are British …
It is not the case of getting the Brits out and then – miraculously – Unionists will discover themselves to be Irish Republicans.
The Brits are people like me and those who have voted for me and for a majority of representatives in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
We are British.
This is our identity and our allegiance.
I have to say that Republican discourse and thinking does not appear to recognise – this reality.
The second challenge for Republicanism is ‘The Past’ – the decades between 1969 and 1998.
I know that Unionism has hard questions to ask of itself.
One of the founding fathers of my party said this in 1921:
We used to say that we could not trust an Irish parliament in Dublin to do justice to the Protestant minority. Let us take care that that reproach can no longer be made against your parliament, and from the outset let them see that the Catholic minority have nothing to fear from a Protestant majority.
Unionism fell short of Carson’s words.
That is a part of our heritage that we have to confront and recognise.
It’s not easy and it certainly isn’t without political risk.
But to build reconciliation in Northern Ireland and throughout the Island, it needs to be done.
Republicans too have hard and painful questions to ask themselves.
The 1916 Declaration talked of “cherishing all the children of the nation equally” …
Republican actions between 1969 and 1998 told a brutally and bloodily different story.
 As an organisation, the Provisional IRA systematically murdered thousands of innocent – men, women, children; both Protestant and Catholic.
The events between 1969 and the mid 1990s are a tragic stain on the history of Northern Ireland.
The tragedies of the past have left a profound and appalling legacy of human suffering to which there has sadly been no remorse shown.
 
Building a shared future in Northern Ireland and reconciliation across the Island will require Republicans to confront and recognise this …
Confront and recognise that for Unionists the IRA campaign of violence was inherently sectarian.
That it was never  legitimate to murder other people on this Island who disagreed with Republican ideology.
And that, whatever the perceived injustices, for Unionists and for many Nationalists, the IRA’s  campaign of terror – like the terrorism of all paramilitary organisations – was entirely without moral justification.
Yes, like the difficult questions those of who are Unionists have to ask ourselves, I realise that this will be painful and risky work for Republicans.
But reconciliation within Northern Ireland and across the Island requires it.
 
3. Prosperity with a  purpose
 
Economics alone do not define a society …
But nor can any society flourish without a prospering economy.
This is true for all of us in these Islands …
In Belfast and Dublin, Cork and London, Limerick and Edinburgh, Galway and Cardiff.
The common good requires the jobs, opportunities, innovation and investment of dynamic economies.
Now, the present moment – one would think – certainly presents a significant challenge to those advocating the economic benefits of Irish unity.
To state the obvious, those of you advocating the economic benefits of unification will have – how can I put this charitably? – a very difficult time convincing even the most moderate, politically disengaged Unionist.
Nor can the present economic woes of the Republic be blamed on partition.
If we are to have a serious debate on the economics of this Island, we simply have to move on beyond such tired old rhetoric.
Amidst the most challenging global economic conditions since the 1930s …
In a Europe in which the fiscal policies of a range of Member-States have been exposed as dramatically flawed …
Blaming the Republic’s economic woes on partition is not serious politics and it certainly isn’t serious economics.
But a constructive Unionism will want to do more than state the glaringly obvious.
A constructive Unionism will also recognise that it is in all our interests to see the economies of both Northern Ireland and the Republic flourish and prosper.
In the past – and sometimes in the not too distant past – Belfast and Dublin, Unionist and Nationalist, engaged in a form of economic warfare.
We talked-down each other’s economies … we gloated at economic bad news in the other jurisdiction.
We sometimes even used phrases like ‘economic basket-case’.
It was the economics of the playground.
On this Island and – importantly – on these Islands, we sink or swim together in the global economy.
We prosper and flourish together because we provide markets for one another’s goods and services.
That is why the Government of the United Kingdom rightly contributed £7 billion to the bail-out of the Republic’s economy.
As Chancellor George Osborne stated, the Republic of Ireland “is our very closest economic neighbour”.
It is also why it is frankly incredible that Sinn Fein’s recent document “Uniting Ireland – The Only Way Forward” does not mention that Britain is Ireland’s largest export market …
And that Ireland is the UK’s 5th largest export market.
The economic destiny of these Islands points not to an isolationist, ‘ourselves alone’ ideology …
But to partnership and interdependence.
For Unionists, that partnership and interdependence is the foundation of the Union.
And it is as close economic neighbours – whose economic well-being is mutually dependent – that London, Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Dublin need to be co-operating.
Building economic prosperity across these Islands, then, is in the interests of all of us.
It is prosperity with a purpose …
Prosperity which nurtures the relationships – historic and new – between the regions and countries of these Islands.
 
4. A shared Northern Ireland
 
So what is the role of Sinn Fein in contributing to such an economic future?
Well, to begin with, it cannot be about shouting ‘partition! partition!’ every time the economy is debated.
We all know that economic prosperity requires political stability.
For us in Northern Ireland, political stability is not just about the power-sharing institutions.
Political institutions cannot indefinitely sit alongside a society divided.
A divided society, in which hatreds and myths go unchallenged, will inevitably result in political instability.
And political instability imperils economic prosperity.
Political stability and economic prosperity require a shared Northern Ireland.
And there is the challenge I as a Unionist bring to Sinn Fein.
Talk of uniting this Island is, frankly, a political fiction if there is not a shared Northern Ireland.
A shared Northern Ireland means welcoming Her Majesty the Queen in Dublin … and in Belfast.
A shared Northern Ireland means political parties confronting a divisive past not with old rhetoric but with a new honesty.
A shared Northern Ireland means working in partnership across these Islands to build economic prosperity for all of us – not using economic policy as a clumsy means to pursue a constitutional agenda.


5. Constitutional pluralism in an Island at peace with itself

A prosperous economic future for this Island, then, does not require the one-size-fits-all constitutional arrangement proposed by Republicanism.
It self-evidently does not require Irish unity.
The constitutional pluralism of devolved institutions at Stormont, within a United Kingdom in which devolution is now part of the settled constitutional framework, working in partnership with the Dublin administration …
This offers a more realistic and a more flexible context for fostering economic prosperity across this Island and these Islands.
It reflects the political and economic realities that we must face …
It offers the best means of respecting the rich and diverse relationships this part of the Island of Ireland has had with our neighbours to the South and to the East …
And it holds out the hope of an Island at peace with itself, in which our diverse traditions and allegiances find authentic expression.
It is within such a political framework that we in a shared Northern Ireland can work with our neighbours to the East and the South to build economic prosperity for all of us.

 

, ,

  • lamhdearg

    well done, John.

  • michael-mcivor

    The only thing that the Provos killed was crown rule-

  • Into the west

    1-sided wille makes even the TUV look good

    turgon I thought the bit directly after your highlighted text
    “Unionism fell short of Carson’s words.
    That is a part of our heritage that we have to confront and recognise.
    It’s not easy and it certainly isn’t without political risk.”
    tells us more about the omerta within unionism

  • Decimus

    An excellent speech there and a fine example to Latimer of what a challenging speech should be like. I can see why the Sinners are not overly fussed about reproducing it.

  • Carrickmoreman

    Ah, Willie Frazer. Embarrassing himself since birth.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Willie Frazer’s reaction is a (for some shinnerdrones welcome) distraction.

    For probably the first time ever at one of their gatherings Sinn Fein experienced a speech from a unionist. I wonder if they listened?

  • Drumlins Rock

    Well Dodds listened to Fraser not the actual speech, played the hardman to petes pretend soft today. The BelTel showed how much it is in the DUP pocket by its coverage of the speech too. It was a good speech and brave of John to deliver it, the balance of wrongs mentioned was about right too. It was a true example of reaching out across the divide, not a headline grabbing cynical stunt.

  • GavBelfast

    A speech to be proud of, well done John McAllister!

  • Brian

    A good speech, I must admit

  • Alan N/Ards

    A great speech by john! Ordinary unionists have been waiting a long time for somebody to enter the lions den and confront republicans in a civil and polite way. 10 out of 10 for John!

    Carrickmoreman

    “Ah, Willie Frazier, Embarrassing himself since birth”

    Maybe Willie hadn’t read the whole speech when he commented on it. I personally feel for Willie. Here’s a man who has had a number of family members (including his father) murdered by the republican killer gang (IRA) responsible for the majority of murders during the troubles.

    We all need to move on, but for a lot of people (on both sides) it is hard. Like most unionists he doesn’t trust republicans. When one of it’s main leaders denies his involvement in the killer gang then it is no wonder people mistrust republicans.

  • I am very pleasantly surprised. An incisive, challenging and forward-looking key-note speech by a senior UUP politician.

    In fact, the speech might actually have been too good. It is the sort of speech which should have been made by a party leader. I think actually undermines Tom Elliott’s position. Rather than beef up the prospects of the UUP, it could, instead, have the effect of attracting further negative comparisons with Mr. Elliott.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Well done, John McCallister. (Note: I’m pretty sure it’s two Cs.)

    McCallister is a decent spud. The civility, politeness and firmness of the speech marks it out as a serious contribution to our political discourse. This may, in fact, be the first time since Carson’s post-partition remarks that one can say that about a speech by a senior unionist politician.

    From a republican perspective, McCallister’s remarks provide a lot of scope for debate and reflection. That’s the mark of a good speech, particularly when one recognises it in one’s opponents.

    Alan N’Ards says:

    ‘Ordinary unionists have been waiting a long time for somebody to enter the lions den and confront republicans in a civil and polite way.’

    To which I would add that republicans have also been waiting a long time for a return of serve. One hopes it signals a growing maturity in our political discourse.

    Incidentally, McCallister doesn’t actually apologise for anything, and nor should he. What he does do, is display sufficient intellectual integrity to acknowledge, in a matter-of-fact way, rather than deny, the dark side of his party’s political legacy. And that’s enough. Speaking personally, I require nothing more of unionist politicians than this.

    And it’s really rather lazy and unfair of journalists to keep taking advantage of poor Willie Frazer. It’s pure exploitation of a person who deserves compassion.

  • Master McGrath

    A really remarkable speech and one that really laid out for the unaltered recidivists in SF what the Unionist perspective on the them really is – and just what a real shared future should entail.
    Seymour Major is on the money in his remarks to my mind.
    As for m-m’s facile point the real fact is that the Provos killed their way into SF being Ministers and members of Crown rule in NI.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Master McGrath

    ‘…one that really laid out for the unaltered recidivists in SF what the Unionist perspective on the them really is…’

    You are mistaken if you think republicans are unaware of this.

    One of the unintended consequences of the pro-union tendency in media and in most institutions of this state, is that nationalists and republicans tend to have a far greater understanding of the unionist position, than unionists have of the nationist/republican position.

  • Greenflag

    Thanks for posting the entire speech Turgon . No time to comment now but will do so later this evening. A ‘good ‘speech from a decent spud and it deserves more comments .

  • Decimus

    nationalists and republicans tend to have a far greater understanding of the unionist position, than unionists have of the nationist/republican position.

    Billy,

    What is the nationalist/republican position?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Decimus

    Exactly.

  • Decimus

    Billy,

    So nationalists/republicans don’t know themselves. Interesting.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Nope, that’s not what I’m saying. Try again.

  • Rory Carr

    “And that, whatever the perceived injustices, for Unionists and for many Nationalists, the IRA’s campaign of terror – like the terrorism of all paramilitary organisations – was entirely without moral justification.” – John McAllister

    “Whatever the perceived injustices…”.

    Really? What about the actual injustices?

    “…like the terrorism of all paramilitary organisations – was entirely without moral justification.”

    Really? I just bet he would not follow that argument to universal application. Condemn the Viet-Cong in South Vietnam ? OK, he probably would, but only on the basis that they were Communist.The ANC – bombing away, with Provisional IRA support, against all those “perceived injustices” in apartheid South Africa?

    I bet he was all gung-ho behind the terrorism of the anti-Gaddafi paramilitary organisations (not to mention the even more terror-inducing civilian bombing by adventurist state forces of the UK and France among others.) What about terrorist paramilitary organisations like the French Maquis or the Italian Resistenza Partigiana? The Irgun in Palestine? Or the Contras in Nicaragua?

    Or the IRA (1919-1922) come to that? Or ( with a nod to the late Jimmy Saville) howzabout the UVF of 1912, boys and girls?

    If, and only if, McAlister feels able to condemn all of these resistance groups out-of-hand will his declaration that “the terrorism of all paramilitary organisations – was entirely without moral justification.” will his argument hold any conviction. One cannot pick and mix on questions like this he seems to be saying although one can, actually, but not when one has already made a stark statemen,t such as McAlister has, designed to add moral weight to his argument by seeming to give it a universal, a catholic application. And that applies equally to any who feel moved to agree with him.

  • Decimus

    Nope, that’s not what I’m saying. Try again.

    Billy,

    You aren’t saying anything. That suggests that you do not know yourself what nationalists and republicans stand for.

  • Decimus

    Really? What about the actual injustices?

    Rory,

    I think the suggerstion is that they have been vastly exaggerated. To the extent indeed that there are many people, who having seen the placard ‘one man one vote’ genuinely believe that Catholics did not have the vote. Without going into each of the ‘perceived injustices’ in turn suffice to say that not one of them was serious enough to warrant the taking of a single life.

    The same could not be said of apartheid South Africa, Gaddafi’s Libya, or indeed Nazi occupied France, and that is where your argument falls down.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Turgon

    Bite me, douchebag.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    PS Note to mods

    If Turgon’s single-transferable post isn’t man-playing, what is?

  • Turgon

    Billy Pilgrim,
    It is not man playing as it is merely repeating what you have stated yourself. If you did not want it repeated maybe you should not have made the comments in the first place.

    None of us know oneanother on here and we stand or fall by our views and the consistency thereof: as such your claims on this post are inconsistent with your previous comments on similar topics. That is relevant

    Just a thought but maybe you should disassociate your self from and apologise for your previous comments.

  • Rory Carr

    “…that is where your argument falls down.

    No, Decimus. That, as I have argued is where McAlister’s argument falls down.

    And you seem to agree with me that not all paramilitary resistance groups can be judged immoral.

    In your ,for example, you imply moral legitimacy for the ANC in South Africa, Al Queda in Libya and the French Maquis during WWII (you avoid judgement of the treasonous revolt of the UVF in 1912 I notice).

    One may agree or disagree with your choices, but no doubt you would be prepared to justify them.

    In order to identify the IRA campaign as being “…without moral justification”, Mc Alister labels all armed resistance to established order as such so that – Voilá ! as a member of that set, the IRA campaign is automatically so labelled without any attempt to justify that categorisation.

    It is disingenuous and frankly, dishonest.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Almost half a decade ago, I made a remark which you have taken it upon yourself to misrepresent, and refer to, every time I appear on this blog.

    I stand over my original remark, and I accuse you of deliberately misrepresenting what I said. Indeed, I accuse you of lying, and attempting to defame my reputation, every time I post here.

    I don’t expect decency from you, I have come to recognise your fanaticism.

    But it makes a joke of Slugger’s ball-not-man rule.

  • Turgon

    Billy Pilgrim,

    I have not misrepresented it: I have quoted it and provided the link for others to read. As I said above consistency is important. You have just repeated that you stand by the previous remarks: as such you it is entirely fair comment to bring them back up when you pretend moderate views.

    Incidentally your comments likening me to Anders Breivik were about two months ago: you have failed to dissociate yourself from them.

  • Decimus

    (you avoid judgement of the treasonous revolt of the UVF in 1912 I notice)

    Rory,

    Specifically because it never actually happened.

    In order to identify the IRA campaign as being “…without moral justification”, Mc Alister labels all armed resistance to established order as such so that – Voilá !

    Where does he do that? I may have missed something here as I did not pick up on that at all.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Yes, you provide the link, though you also always give it a preamble, which misrepresents the content of the thread. And you must assume, as would anyone, that few people will bother to trawl through a long-dead thread. So I repeat, you are a liar and a defamer.

    I also allege that the reason for your defamatory vendetta is precisely what you call my ‘moderate views.’

    Like all extremists, you reserve your greatest hatred for Catholics who don’t hate Protestants, and Protestants who don’t hate Catholics.

    As for the Breivik thing: suck it up, douchebag.

  • Turgon

    Billy Pilgrim,
    Thank you for repeating the Breivik line: you know I will bring it back up.

    Bizarrely I think you do believe you are a moderate.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    I think you think I’m a moderate. And that’s why you’re on a crusade against me.

    ‘Moderate’ is a term I try not to use, as it’s so ideologically loaded.

    There is no single adjective I would use to describe myself.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    My question to Mick Fealty stands, and I’d like Mick to address it.

  • Turgon

    No Billy Pilgrim: I do not think you are a moderate. Someone who calls the RUC Nazis; equates IRA terrorists with Nelson Mandella and then Jesus and finally who equates an opponent on an internet debating forum with a mass murderer is not a moderate.

    Incidentally I am not on a cursade against you. It is just that it is so laughably easy to pull you and your self appointed reasonableness apart that I cannot resist.

  • Decimus

    No Billy Pilgrim: I do not think you are a moderate. Someone who calls the RUC Nazis; equates IRA terrorists with Nelson Mandella and then Jesus and finally who equates an opponent on an internet debating forum with a mass murderer is a moderate.

    Turgon,

    In republican terms that sounds like a description of a hand wringing bed wetter.

  • lamhdearg

    Its all a bit personal, tonight.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Turgon

    ‘Incidentally I am not on a cursade against you. It is just that it is so laughably easy to pull you and your self appointed reasonableness apart that I cannot resist.’

    Actually, that’s rather like an admission that you ARE on a personal crusade against me.

    You are quite the authority on my posts. Please provide a link to the one where I ‘self-appoint’ myself as a ‘moderate’ or a paragon of ‘reasonableness.’

    Otherwise, reply by accepting my charge that you are a liar.

    Lamhdearg

    ‘Its all a bit personal, tonight.’

    Yes. Turgon’s vendetta against me has been going on for months. This is not the first thread that he has kamikazed.

    I want to know what Mick Fealty is going to do about it. How can Turgon’s vendetta be seen as anything other than man-playing?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Isn’t Turgon’s vendetta exactly the sort of thing the man-playing rule exists to protect this site from?

    How can debate take place when one fanatic insists on trying to turn every debate into a rerun of a long-dead thread from several years ago?

  • Decimus

    Billy,

    I don’t know if it is intentional or not, but it sounds very like you are attempting to close Turgon down as a contributor to this site. That cannot be a healthy thing.

  • Turgon

    Billy Pilgrim,
    Maybe equating me with Anders Breivik might be a problem? Do you want to call me a liar for pointing out that you did this? Then again since the comment was removed maybe you will try to deny it.

    Your comment about your moderateness was on the same one as the RUC were Nazis: it is here.

    I am interested that you say “There is no single adjective I would use to describe myself.” Maybe: however, you seem rather fond of the charming adjective (or really noun) “douchebag” to describe me. Then you accuse me of man playing….

  • Decimus

    Gentlemen,

    This is not a GAA match.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Decimus

    Actually, I accuse Turgon of attempting to do exactly that to me.

    I have no wish to see Turgon leave Slugger, and foresee no prospect of it. But I would wish him to stay away from me, as I find him despicable. I once asked him to leave me alone, but he refused. As was his right.

    But I am disappointed that Mick Fealty has allowed this to go on for so long. How many threads must Turgon destroy before Mick judges this to be a clear example of the kind of thing the ball-not-man rule exists to guard against?

  • Decimus

    I would wish him to stay away from me, as I find him despicable. I once asked him to leave me alone, but he refused. As was his right.

    Billy,

    Read that back to yourself. A couple of times.

  • Turgon

    Billy Pilgrim,
    Actually it is my thread that you accuse me of destroying. If you want me to leave you alone maybe a good plan would be to avoid posting on my threads?

    The problem is that I highlighted your lack of consistency and indeed intellectual dishonesty with your remark: “Speaking personally, I require nothing more of unionist politicians than this.”

    Your response was to make comments like the charming “douchebag” followed by accusations that I was man playing…

    Actually most bloggers would simply have removed your initial man playing against me. I guess it was my fault for not doing so much further up the thread. However, giving you the opportunity to dig a hole for yourself has a certain merit.

  • Decimus

    However, giving you the opportunity to dig a hole for yourself has a certain merit.

    Turgon,

    Perhaps not.

  • Turgon

    Decimus,
    Fair comment. I would be delighted if people would try discussing John McCAllister’s comments. Indeed Billy Pilgrim made a useful interjection by pointing out that McCallister has two ‘C’s. I had made a mistake and checked and corrected it: thanks Billy Pilgrim. It all went a bit south from there.

    Still if you or Billy Pilgrim or anyone else wants to try to start again I am all ears. Well nnot actually all ears as I have a few other organs as well and indeed we read rather than listen to posts: again I digress.

  • lamhdearg

    a program about Ulster back in the day just startedon bbc2 (not in English),give folk a chance to chill.

  • Decimus

    Turgon,

    I think that the general consensus is that John is a good egg who is saying the right things, which consequently the Sinners are not disseminating to their drones on account of the fact that what he is saying is off message to the narrative that they have pumped their little heads full of. Consequently receipt of said message might cause them to implode. Therefore the drones are diverting the message of the speech towards the general area of Willie Frazer not liking it. Which proves that all unionists are in fact really bastards.

    Or something.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Turgon

    Actually, I made a comment about McCallister’s speech. You responded by dredging up a thread from almost half a decade ago, which, you allege, proves that I have no right to make the comments I made about McCallister’s speech. (Comments, note, which were very positive – it always seems to enrage you when a Catholic says something nice about a Protestant, or vice versa.)

    How was this germane to the thread? How was this an example of engaging with my argument? How can this be seen as anything other than man-playing? You cannot pretend the thread from 2007 has anything to do with this thread.

    Nor can you pretend that the thread from 2007 has anything to do with any of the threads in which you have dredged it up, so fanatically, for months now.

    It was an ad hominem attack, a very personal attempt to defame me, and to make it impossible for me to participate in discussion here.

    There are supposed to be rules to protect posters, and to protect Slugger from this sort of thing.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Turgon

    Incidentally:

    ‘If you want me to leave you alone maybe a good plan would be to avoid posting on my threads?’

    I am happy to debate with you if you will abide by the ball-not-man rule.

    I am not happy to debate with you if you aren’t. For months now, you have proved you aren’t.

    Even in this thread, I gave you a chance to engage, by asking you a question related to your OP. You replied with the same defamatory sideswipe you have been using against me for months.

  • Turgon

    Billy Pilgrim,
    Fine but you claimed: “Speaking personally, I require nothing more of unionist politicians than this.” I pointed out that that was inconsistent with you previously stated positions. You took exception to that. Thereafter your comments degenerated somewhat. It was you not me who used “unparliamentary language”.

    Furthermore asking me to stay away from you is somewhat incompatible with commenting on my threads: unless you think that I should, at your behest, forgo the right of reply on my own threads.

  • Turgon

    Billy Pilgrim,
    Posts crossed.

    I think fundamentally there is a difference of opinion between you and me on the nature of slugger. You appear largely to view it as a debating forum where each thread is largely stand alone and comments on a given thread cannot be referenced fairly on another one.

    I have a different viewpoint. I do not see each thread as an individual sealed silo. In my view comments made on thread x are relevant to debate on thread y. Hence, if someone says something on thread x which makes his / her comments on thread y utterly inconsistent it is reasonable to call him / her on it.

    I do not see that as man playing but rather as having to watch what one says as it can always come back. Essentially I view slugger as more like the real world where if you said something daft it can come back to haunt you. I see slugger as having internal consistency and validity. You see slugger as a place where individual threads are each largely, even fully, separate.

    I stand by pretty much all I have written on slugger and will defend practically anything I have said on practically any thread. I feel that my reputation for good or ill has been built up over all the threads I have been involved in.

    You seem to feel that whatever is said in a given thread remains “on thread” and cannot be cross referenced. It is a difference of opinion even of philosophical approach.

    However, you are in actual fact inconsistent in this in that your view of me as a “despicable” person has not come from one thread but from many.

    A further problem is that you place very high value on “engagement” on slugger. I place a high value on contending for my views and a much lower one on “engagement.” Hence, you want me to “engage” and I want to contend for my views. I am unlikely ever to “engage” in the manner you wish or seem to find acceptable and as such you seem to find my contending for my views and against yours unacceptable. I suspect we will never agree on this issue or even on the terms of discourse.

  • ayeYerMa

    “Therefore the drones are diverting the message of the speech towards the general area of Willie Frazer not liking it. Which proves that all unionists are in fact really bastards.”

    Indeed Decimus, that seems to be the way the Dublin Telegraph (formerly known as the Belfast Telegraph) seems to have been pushing it too – a stark contrast to their approach to the Lattimer debacle. The Dublin Telegraph so-far also seem to have a rather mute coverage of the DUP conference in contrast to their fawning coverage all over the SF one. Needless to say, I’ve just cancelled my subscription.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Turgon

    ‘I pointed out that that was inconsistent with you previously stated positions.’

    Where is the inconsistency?

    In one thread, several years ago, I described the RUC as ‘feckin’ nazis.’ In this thread I have discussed unionist politicians.

    Why is it inconsistent to criticise one while praising the other?

    (Incidentally, in the thread to which you so frequently refer, my reference to the RUC was clearly not a literal equation of the Royal Ulster Constabulary with the Germany National Socialists. Anyone with basic comprehension could see this. I believe you too can see this, and that your frequent references to it are a dishonest attempt to defame me. That’s why I say you are a despicable liar.)

    ‘Thereafter your comments degenerated somewhat. It was you not me who used “unparliamentary language”.’

    Everyone has an inaliable right to self-defence.

    ‘Furthermore asking me to stay away from you is somewhat incompatible with commenting on my threads:’

    Not so. I asked you to stay away. You refused. I accepted your refusal. So things remained as-you-were.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Turgon

    ‘You appear largely to view it as a debating forum where each thread is largely stand alone and comments on a given thread cannot be referenced fairly on another one.’

    No, not true. But nor do I believe it is appropriate to make the same arguments, and to keep throwing up the same old debates and accusations in EVERY SINGLE THREAD. I also think that to keep referencing a remark from four and a half years ago is scraping the barrel.

    All of this would be true, even if you weren’t lying about the substance of the thread in question, which you are.

    I also note that you don’t do this to anyone else, so it isn’t the case that this is just your way. This is obviously personal.

    ‘I do not see each thread as an individual sealed silo.’

    Nor do I. But nor do I think that, no matter what the thread, it’s forever mid-2007.

    ‘Hence, if someone says something on thread x which makes his / her comments on thread y utterly inconsistent it is reasonable to call him / her on it.’

    Yet you keep bringing up the same point, whether it’s remotely related or not. Because this isn’t about teasing out inconsistencies in my arguments. It’s about defaming me, assassinating my character. Just in case any unionist readers look at any of my posts and think them reasonable, here comes Turgon to reinforce the sectarian divisions.

    ‘I do not see that as man playing but rather as having to watch what one says as it can always come back.’

    I stand over what I said. Your consistent misrepresentation reveals you to be a liar.

    Even if what you’re saying is true, how is this NOT man-playing? Even if you are picking up on previous arguments, how is this on-thread?

    ‘You see slugger as a place where individual threads are each largely, even fully, separate.’

    Nope. You, however, see Slugger as a place in which every thread is the same, where it’s always appropriate to bring up whatever you feel like, whether it’s on-topic or not.

    This is a textbook definition of man-playing. If you’re not tackling the topic on-thread, what are you tackling but the man?

    ‘I stand by pretty much all I have written on slugger and will defend practically anything I have said on practically any thread.’

    As will I. But no-one is making you stand over everything you’ve ever said, every time you try to say anything. Nor is anyone misrepresenting you, in an attempt to assassinate your character.

    ‘I feel that my reputation for good or ill has been built up over all the threads I have been involved in.’

    Indeed. Mine too.

    ‘You seem to feel that whatever is said in a given thread remains “on thread” and cannot be cross referenced.’

    Not true.

    ‘I place a high value on contending for my views and a much lower one on “engagement.” Hence, you want me to “engage” and I want to contend for my views.’

    Not true. You wish to make it impossible for me to participate in debate on Slugger.

    Sadly, though the rules of Slugger ought to protect me, it seems Mick Fealty is not prepared to enforce his own rules in this instance.

    ‘I suspect we will never agree on this issue or even on the terms of discourse.’

    Your ‘terms of discourse’ boil down to:

    “Gotcha! You were guilty of hyperbole once, several years ago, so I’m gonna spin that for all it’s worth, to make sure you can never participate in a debate ever again!”

  • Turgon

    Oh dear Billy there seem to be some problems there. Your unreasonableness and hyperbole is by no means restricted to 2007. Yesterday you equated the IRA with Nelson Mandella and then Jesus. A couple of months ago you described me as the same as Anders Breivik.

    Hence, it is not one comment from 2007 which is destroying your credibility: you manage it on a regular basis. Then you use childish pejorative insults and describe it as “self defence.”

  • BogExiled

    Did either of you two baldies get the comb yet?

  • Skinner

    During the ‘Troubles’ and the ‘Peace Process’, people ocassionally made huge leaps in their idealogical standpoint because they recognised that whilst their principles were important, compromise was required to make progress and ultimately save lives. All well and good, but then a relatively tiny issue would present itself, like men marching down a road, and get blown out of all proportion, to the extent that the massive idealogical shift that had occured just before it would be ignored.

    Here we have a senior unionist politician making the most ground-breaking and significant move since the Good Friday Agreement. Attending a Sinn Fein conference is significant itself, but to say what he did with such manful objectivity is seismic.

    And we have the opportunity now to digest it and analyse its significance. Or we could drag up old grievances and call each other douchebags.

  • Greenflag

    @Skinner & others

    Apt comment above . Not sure about seismic but certainly one of the better statements on the Unionist position in relation to this island and to an extent the neighbouring one that I’ve come across. The fact that it was made at an SF Conference only adds to it’s import while the fact that it was made by the Deputy leader of the smaller Unionist party the UUP makes it perhaps not as politically representative of that community as such a speech would have been in the hey days of that political party’s predominance . .

    ‘we have the opportunity now to digest it and analyse its significance’

    Indeed it deserves that. I hope it provokes some more .I intend to follow the structure of the speech addressing those points which I believe are worth commenting on . Much of what Mr McCallister states is common sense and apart from making some ‘republicans’ more aware of the political difficulties of achieving their longer term objective of a UI will not dissuade them from that objective . Mr McCallisters positional statement is less news for the constitutional nationalists on this island who continue to form the largest majority of opinion.

    1.Democratic Politics .

    I can agree wholeheartedly with Mr McCallister’s general sentiments expressed in this section even as a non unionist . Just two points

    ‘I stand here committed to a centre-right vision of our society and economy.’

    The centre right vision is not working in practice -neither in Northern Ireland nor in the UK and it’s success in the Republic in the period 1991-2007 and in the USA during the period 2000 through 2008 has been overstated . The earlier visions of a deregulated financial sector with a banking and mortgage lending free for all have resulted in the world’s biggest and longest recession since the 1930’s. It’s not over yet and the world economy may even be in for another recession if the world’s monetary and governmental authorities don’t make the reforms necessary to restore confidence and stability .

    ‘ I am passionately convinced that Sinn Fein’s goal of unification is not in the economic interests of Northern Ireland … or, indeed, of the Republic of Ireland.’

    I’d leave the ‘passion ‘ out of it and just look at the numbers and at SF economic policies .It seems as if SF’s economic policies are evolving beyond what can only be described formerly as populist marxism . Given the current world economic crisis and the growth of anti corporate and financial capitalist movements such as the OCW and others and the growing discomfort everywhere in the ‘credibility ‘ of governments of both left and right to address the issues of mass unemployment -youth unemployment and low or no economic growth then I would suggest that SF may yet end up with an ‘economic policy ‘ that suits the times that are in it although it would probably be more by accident rather than design.

    to be continued

  • andnowwhat

    Greenflag, I would rather a party call itself centre right and leave it to the electorate to judge if that is what they want than the undefined, non evident philosophies of SF and the DUP.

    There are a couple of things to admire about the UUP (and a hell of a lot more to scoff at too) and this is one of them.

  • Greenflag

    2. Not by bread alone

    ‘Societies do not live by bread alone.’

    True but it’s also true that societies which cannot provide
    bread’ are societies that come to a political end . I use the term ‘bread ‘ here not just in the economic sense but in a broader political rights sense which of course will be relativistic rather than absolutist ,as whats considered in one age as being acceptable or tolerable will not be so considered 100 years later. Nobody predicted the French or American or Russian revolutions and nobody predicted the unification of Germany or the collapse of Soviet communism . Who in 1969 would have predicted that Mao Tse Tung’s China would today be the world’s second biggest economy and the world’s biggest exporter of consumer goods? Who in Northern Ireland in 1965 in the ‘You’ve never had it so good times ‘ of Harold McMillan would have predicted a future of 40 years of political strife and conflict in Northern Ireland

    While one respects Mr McCallister’s ‘britishness ‘ and that of the broader ‘unionist ‘community there is the political reality of the present Northern Ireland which is no longer as ‘unionist ‘or ‘british ‘ as it once was . Changing demographics have brought about a situation whereby the NI First Minister recently made a comment that he may be the last ‘unionist ‘ FM .

    Carson’s words in 1921 fell on deaf ears even if he himself meant them . But there others as well as Carson on the Unionist side of the then divide who did not see a forever Northern Ireland state . I believe it was Craig who made the point that Ireland was too small a country to remain divided .

    ‘The tragedies of the past have left a profound and appalling legacy of human suffering to which there has sadly been no remorse shown.’

    Here Mr McCallister is plainly wrong . There have been words of remorse from all sides including the Republican side . I’m reluctant to engage in arguments re ‘morality ‘ or ‘justification ‘ in conflict situations for i know onlly too well that a case can be made that even the French , American and Russian revolutions were not ‘justifiable ‘ in their times . Was the Israeli ‘revolt ‘ against British rule ‘justifiable ‘? Was the ‘unionist ‘ objection to an ‘independent ‘ Irish Republic in 1918 justifiable ? Unionists would argue it was for the Irish or the majority on the island were being ‘traitorous’ in their views . Like it or not all of the above were eventually ‘justified ‘ by means of conflict and the ensuing new ‘political’ legitmacy of a new order .

    Before I would ever condemn an IRA volunteer or a UDA man and no matter how much I might disagree with both of their politics I would want to be convinced that had I been brought up in Northern Ireland in the 1950’s and 1960’s that I would have been immune to ‘joining ‘either of these paramilitary organisations ? At best I can only imagine that my chances of remaining ‘moral’ might have been 50/50 at best and depending on life circumstances as say the death or internment or torture of a family member caused by either the State or paramilitary forces -probably a good deal less than 50/50. I accept btw that other’s ‘moral’ standards in this regard would be different to mine .

    I believe that Mr McAllister and other’s of his political viewpoint are mistaken in expecting more than ‘regret’from republicans in the matter of the overall conflict . But I believe that McCallister is on firmer ground from the GFA onward in the matter of using violence by any organistion either to bring about a UI or to prevent one from coming into political existence .

    to be continued.

  • Greenflag

    3. Prosperity with a purpose

    ‘Now, the present moment – one would think – certainly presents a significant challenge to those advocating the economic benefits of Irish unity.’

    Indeed but in essence there has always been that challenge ever since the foundation of the Free State . Economically the case for the Union could not have been stronger than in the 1918 -1922 period and for some considerable time afterwards -and yet ‘unionism ‘ only won majorities in only 4 of 32 counties at the time .

    Economic historians tell us that both North and South significantly underperformed in terms of GDP growth in the 20 years after their political establishment and that it was only in WW2 years and the post war 1945 to 1960 period that Northern Ireland began to significantly forge ahead of the Republic in terms of the usual economic growth criteria.
    This gap was reversed in favour of the Republic in recent times and despite the current malaise GDP per capita in the Republic remains ahead of that in NI. Without it’s economic subvention as part of the UK -NI living standards would be about 20 to 30% less than what they are . Mr McCallister is correct in stating that blaming partition for all of the economic woes of the island in these times is neither serious politics nor serious economics . But it would be correct to state that the economic developmental problems of border regions and of the north west of the island were made more intractable by the policies pursued by both Dublin and Belfast governments from inception up to present times. I don’t believe that there is an Irishman in ROI who believes that Ireland i.e the Republic would have done better economically had we remained in the British Union and I believe that that 90% ‘dependency ‘ on the UK market for our exports 1922 to 1973 – was as unhealthy for the Irish economy just as having a 70% public sector dependent economy is for Northern Ireland today .

    ‘The economic destiny of these Islands points not to an isolationist, ‘ourselves alone’ ideology …’

    True which is why the UK’s reluctance to embrace the Euro (even if justified by subsequent failings ) is suggestive of a Little Englandism) .

    ‘But to partnership and interdependence.’

    Partnership and interdependence in the early days of 21st century goes far beyond these islands in it’s remit . Economists and sociologists tell us that the real economic divide in the UK is the one that runs north and south of a line from the Bristol Channel to the Wash on the North Sea . Regions and areas above that line are much less prosperous and subject to higher indicators of social and economic dysfunction than those regions clustered around the south east .The same kind of division exists as between northern and southern Italy -between eastern and western Europe and even yet between eastern and western Germany.

    Economic development of peripheral regions is critical if those regions are not to be tempted towards ‘political ‘independence .

    I don’t see much difference between either the traditional left or the right in contemporary economic policymaking either in the UK or mainland Europe that could be seen as making some kind of serious effort to bring ‘prosperity’ to the peripheral zones ?

    ‘For Unionists, that partnership and interdependence is the foundation of the Union.’

    It may have been the foundation back in the 1880’s amd 1920’s and up to the 1970’s s but now that partnership has become very much a dependent one. We all know that the politics of the Pied Piper doesn’t end in happiness for all his followers . Not that the present Republic’s ‘partnership ‘ with Germany and France’s ‘euro’ is any more a partnership or indeed ever was? Ditto for other smaller european economies.

    ‘On this Island and – importantly – on these Islands, we sink or swim together in the global economy.’

    Perhaps up to a point – but do any of us know where the ‘global economy ‘ is going ? The last ‘global economy ‘ in the period 1870 to 1914 foundered on the competitive rocks of the rising industrial powers of Germany , USA and Japan. There are many more competitive rocks around in 2011 from China to India to Brazil to Russia etc and the scores of smaller economies all looking for that elusive sure pathway to rising economic growth rates and they can’t all become tax free or low tax corporate tax havens ? What we have now is a crisis in global financial capitalism which gives every appearance of creating further political instability thus leading to even greater economic and monetary uncertainty which in turn will provoke even further political realignments all over the world .

  • Greenflag

    @ a manfrommars ,

    ‘I would rather a party call itself centre right and leave it to the electorate to judge if that is what they want than the undefined, non evident philosophies of SF and the DUP.’

    So would I but then centre right is exactly what ? I call myself a centre left which to me means public control of health and education for everybody bar the small number of the 1 or 5% who can afford to pay the full cost of major life threatening operations from their own resources . It also means access to third level education for those who demonstrate the aptitude and interest . For small and and medium size businesses who are too small to make a difference if they fail there should be as little state regulation as is possible bar the rudimentary ones of basic safety etc . For the large banking and financial sector there has to be competent governmental oversight and imo probably ‘nationalisation ‘ at this stage .When one considers what these corporations have been allowed to get away with i.e the either willing compliance of elected politicians and public servants or the latter’s negligent ignorance of the financial sector then it’s past time to restore banking controls .

    to be continued

  • andnowwhat

    @Greenflag

    It was me who you quoted.

    Like yourself, I would be centre left and wouldn’t vote for the UUP in a month of Sundays but at least Mc Callister can put a name to his policies.

    I’m a nationalist/trad republican but I would not vote SDLP nor SF. Maybe it’s a disease that’s made it’s way across the water but the major parties here are so poorly defined politically.

  • Greenflag

    @andnow what ,

    error above apologies to ‘andnowwhat ‘ that above was addressed to yourself and not the ‘martian ‘ I might have been distracted by Pete Baker’s ‘pale blue dot ‘ repo of Carl Sagan’s somnolent outer cosmic tones 😉

    ‘than the undefined, non evident philosophies of SF and the DUP.

    Undefined and non evident when the outside never mind inside political and economic world seems to have lost it’s ‘marbles’ might be a better place than to be a defined ‘centre right or indeed centre left or marxist or neo conservative .

    When world economic and monetary events are as they appear to have been these past few years loosed from their bearings then nobody can be certain of anything bar Benjamin Franklin’s inevitable ‘death and taxes .

    SF and the DUP each have their solid ‘bearings’ in the world of NI diametrically opposed constitutional belief systems . they have agreed to share in the spoils of a political accomodation made only possible by the munificence of the tax payers of the south eastern region of the UK and the cooperation and security provided by both the ‘sovereign’ states that are NI’s neighbours.

    While there may be some within the DUP and even in SF who may at times have believed that taking NI dependency on the public sector down to a modest 40% from it’s present 70% would be a step in the right direction there are’nt any who see that as being even remotely feasible in today’s economic climate . In a way they are both mirror images of each other in that regard and bear the most resemblance to De Valera’s long running economic pessimism when he admitted in the early 1950’s that there ‘was’nt a whole lot ‘ a small country like the then Republic could do to change it’s economic future given the conditions then extant in the market . And thus the Dev retreat into an Ireland of mythological beings who would be happy to forschew material gain for the more frugal comforts of rustic simplicity ?

    But of course the ‘genie ‘loosed from the bottle of ‘economic development ‘ whether in NI in the 1950’s and 1960’s or in the Republic later cannot be returned to it’s former abode .

    Thus NI remains in one sense a place apart but given the recent turn of events all around the globe not as much a place apart as it was say in the 1970’s or 1980’s . And for that much and for now I would think both SF and the DUP have read the public mood for what is and isn’t possible or more probable they both know just what won’t fly in their ‘oppositionless’ fledgling democracy.

  • andnowwhat

    @Greenflag

    No problem.

    I’m just listening to the reaction to Gideon’s speech and fiscal policies therein and it is scary stuff. The only thing he addresses with any certainty are public sector pay freezes to be extended and a hold on the 3p on fuel.

    Outside of that, he is no more positive about what he can do other than Dev’s attitude that you quoted.

    Now, I’m pretty sure that Holyrood has been listening and are reacting accordingly as I type. When asked for a reaction, Salmond will be able to give one of substance to whatever degree.

    We cannot say the same for either the FM or DFM?

  • Greenflag

    @andnowwhat

    ‘ the major parties here are so poorly defined politically.’

    Which is what makes NI ‘different ‘from Britain and more similar to the Republic. once upon a time FF called itself the ‘pragmatic ‘party and it’s attitude to policy making was as former Taoiseach , Sean Lemass put it to a horrified prof Basil Chubb of Trinity College -‘we make it up as we go along ‘ or in today’s lingo -whatever works . We await the outcome of the FF annihilation and the reconfiguring of ROI politics in it’s aftermath to see if there will be any more clarification of party political position along the left right axis of conventional wisdom.

    But as I suggested above in a world economy which seems neither to respond to traditional left or right economic policy options then perhaps the concept of such a divide has become redundant in the face of it’s failure to explin the current international mess nor provide a solution?

    After all when the Occupy Wall St movement protests around the world against the vagaries and injustices of financial sector led capitalism who is occupying the US Congress ?

    The representatives of the American people or the representatives of Goldman Sachs , Bank of America and CitiGroup . To judge from the performance of the politicans these past few years the American people might saved themselves the bother of bothering to vote 🙁

    Ditto or more so for electorates in the UK , Ireland and elsewhere .

  • Greenflag

    4. A shared Northern Ireland

    ‘Political institutions cannot indefinitely sit alongside a society divided. A divided society, in which hatreds and myths go unchallenged, will inevitably result in political instability.’

    Well yes -full marks for the obvious here but then is that not at base what resulted in the Irish Home Rule and later the Independence movements in the early 20th century .

    The ‘inevitable ‘political instability’ created by the defeat of the Home Rulers and the imposition of the first partition took almost a half century to manifest itself which then resulted in 40 years of conflict and strife until a new consensus could be reached in the 1998 GFA which then took almost another decade to wind it’s way through to becoming the current system of power sharing in NI . So NI has power sharing . I’ll presume that power sharing is part of what Mr McCallister is referring to when he refers to sharing ‘Northern Ireland ‘ There is’nt btw once the jobs for the boys and political supporters and retainers are all dished out -not a whole lot left to share particularly not in an economy which according to the Chancellor’s Autumn statement has had it’s expected growth rate for this year cut back to 0.9% and for 2012 to 0.7% .And if thats an average for the UK as a whole then Northern Ireland will be effectively in recession for the next couple of years . So much for non membership of the Euro zone being a ‘life saver’for the British economy and so much for the coalition’s strategy which has now resulted in an increased need for borrowing up to 2014 .

    ‘A shared Northern Ireland means political parties confronting a divisive past not with old rhetoric but with a new honesty.’

    Better send the party reps to ‘re education camps’ if the requirement is a ‘new ‘honesty . Perhaps it might be easier for them to start with less dishonesty and work their way up from that point . The ‘unlearning ‘ of old rhetoric and the consignment of old mythologies might require a mind opening of such dimensions that would leave all but the most rooted NI politicians cast adrift on unknown seas of thought without any safe shore in sight .

    Still somehow ‘new ‘ honesty seems somewhat more credible than the ‘big society ‘ -it could also prove incendiary until people got used to it which given NI conditions might prove not easy .

  • Greenflag

    5 ‘Constitutional pluralism in an Island at peace with itself’

    ‘A prosperous economic future for this Island, then, does not require the one-size-fits-all constitutional arrangement proposed by Republicanism. It self-evidently does not require Irish unity.’

    True enough but as Mr McCallister states above in his ‘.2. Not by bread alone, a stable political future is a prerequisite for a prosperous economic future . And while NI today is politically stable relatively speaking from what it once was it is not by no means past the point of another descent into a period of further political instability and uncertainty.

    The late Horseman’s analysis of current and future trends in NI demographics seemed to point to ever more ‘greening ‘ of much of NI and even to a majority nationalist Belfast City and then we had the DUP leader’s recent comment re him being possibly the last unionist FM of NI.

    So I would not predict a ‘permanent ‘ Stormont at this stage either within the UK current devolved system or indeed within any putative UI framework . The current ‘spoils’ carve up can only continue as long as there are spoils to carve . Its as good as it gets for now but I don’t see D’hondt as a longer term ersatz for a proper democracy which I believe is what eventually NI people will demand .To the extent that NI is a unique ‘region ‘ both on the island of Ireland and as part of the UK it will always maintain a strong regional identity much more so than say Cornwall or East Anglia or Connacht but that is only because it has for at least 60 of the past 100 years had a locally elected parliament . Scotland had no parliament since 1707 and yet it maintained it’s distinct local identity so having a ‘local Assembly’ or parliament is of itself not a ‘requirement ‘ not unless full independence is a sought after objective .Scotland is not yet at the end of it’s constitutional development and theres no doubt that what happens in Scotland will markedly affect NI .

    That’s my lot re Mr McCallisters brave and fortright speech defending his ‘unionism ‘ and what he believes it is capable of becoming .