Questions for Ulster Protestants

Assuming, for the sake of discussion, Scottish independence happens in the next 5-50 years:

1. What would be in the best interests of Ulster Protestants in a post-union (i.e. post-U.K) Northern Ireland and why?

2. For centuries most Ulster Protestants have had a series of reasons for being both (a.) pro-Union and (b.) opposed to a unified, one-person-one-vote, independent Irish state. Notwithstanding your views on the continuing present day validity of perspective (b), what would it mean to be pro-Union in the advent of an independent Scotland breaking up the U.K as we know it?

3. If Scottish independence creates a demand in England for English independence (hardly unthinkable), how would this change answers to question 1.?

4. If Scottish independence and English independence breaks up the U.K completely, would you rather have an independent Northern Ireland or a negotiated new Ireland?

5. If you would prefer a negotiated New Ireland to an independent Northern Ireland, what features of this New Ireland would be non-negotiable for you?

  • east belfast pilgrim

    An independant Northern Ireland would be preferable however in the long term would’nt be economically viable. In the case of a negotiated ‘New Ireland’ as you call it, BIG changes would have to occur to avoid civil and politcal unrest.

    1. National anthem would have to be changed.
    2. Ulster protestant culture would have to be embedded into the Irish system.
    3. Control of the previously British six counties would remain at stormont, with Dublin only having a final say on Tax and corporate matters.
    4.Northern Ireland football team remains intact.
    5.Less emphasis on the Irish language ( you got your United Ireland dont push it lol)
    6. …..let us walk down the Garvaghy road (just a thought)
    7. No Bi-lingual road signs ( I get confused enough with english).
    8.IRA commerations ceased
    9. Keep the Londonderry name
    10. Make the GAA less ‘Republican’ i.e. remove cups with bobby sands on them etc and club houses named after INLA men. (you no the one im on about)

    Just a thought for a new thread for ‘Republicans’…..
    Assuming – for sake of discussion – the Union remained for the next 1000 years and a United Ireland was never to come about…What would happen?

  • When full devolution occurs, it will be the beginning of a federal system. No more. No less.

    There are are kinds of parallel interests that are common to the Archipelago [©].

    Hmmm … five or six votes at the highest executive level of the EU, in Eurovision, or wherever. Curiously this suddenly feels like empowerment. [Spot the point at which that tripped into irony.]

    It’s also exactly what a certain Liberal minister … now, what was his name? something like — ah! Churchill! … was proposing around 1911-12. But to get that far, the residue of the Norman-Saxon Empire (i.e.”England”), has to be devolved too.

  • Freaked-out-Unionist

    Arrrrgggghhhh !!!!

  • GreenBack

    In 5-10 years the Irish state would have relinquish most fiscal and many political powers to the EU. A kind of EU-Home Rule.

    Protestant catholic and dissenter, will be wondering what it was all about.

  • BluesJazz

    Having just been involved in a class of ‘Ulster’ ‘Protestants’, they mostly had little interest in either term.
    Their only interest in Scotland was whether there were jobs or about university fees.
    Funnily enough, talking to a teacher in a mostly ‘catholic’ college. She found the same mentality.
    The world is changing Charlie Brown, religion and nationalism are -very-modern inventions, and soon to be post-modern anachronisms. At least among western what was called judaeo christian civilisations.

  • Alias

    I’ll take a shot at these from a non-unionist, non-Protestant perspective.

    “1. What would be in the best interests of Ulster Protestants in a post-union (i.e. post-U.K) Northern Ireland and why?”

    If it is post-UK then what realistic option would NI have available to it other than to bargain a constitutional arrangement with Ireland? Assuming that the Irish would have you as part of their state (not at all certain), it would have to be within a containment zone. The softer language for that is a federation.

    However, it would be a federation with a ‘parliament’ that has zero fiscal control but had as much autonomy over other matters as is practicable, especially cultural and religious matters. In order to finance the token parliament within the federation, economies of scale will have to be found by merging the two economies and public sector services. The only reason you have a parliament at all is because the English are generously subsidising your economy – in other words, allowing you to live way beyond your meagre means. Unfortunately, you’ll have to live within them post-UK.

    “2. For centuries most Ulster Protestants have had a series of reasons for being both a. pro-Union and b. opposed to a unified, one-person-one-vote independent Irish state. Notwithstanding your views on the continuing present day validity of perspective (b), what would it mean to be pro-Union in the advent of an independent Scotland breaking up the U.K as we know it?”

    I would think being pro-union in the event of Scotland exiting the UK is somewhat akin to being a smoker with lung cancer on a lung transplant waiting list: you might dream of the day you’ll be doing the tango again but the hard reality is that you’ll be dead in six months.

    “3. If Scottish independence creates a demand in England for English independence (hardly unthinkable), how would this change answers to question 1.?”

    It wouldn’t change the answer since it defaults to the same starting point as #1.

    “4. If Scottish independence and English independence breaks up the U.K completely, would you rather have an independent Northern Ireland or a negotiated new Ireland?”

    As the public sector in NI is circa 70% of its economy, what happens when the UK disappears? Massive unemployment, economic collapse, with social collapse following on swiftly behind. That unemployment won’t be just related to the public sector but will massively impact the local private secotor – and, of course, those UK companies that only operate in NI because it is part of the UK. Against that background, NI will be in no financial position to indulge delusions of independence.

    “5. If you would prefer a negotiated New Ireland to an independent Northern Ireland, what features of this New Ireland would be non-negotiable for you?”

    As a nationalist, British culture has no relevance to Ireland. The idea that we will, for example, dismount a statue to Michael Collins in Cork because a ‘unionist’ might one day visit the city is entirely fanciful. I wouldn’t countenance any changes that might personally effect me. Of course the ‘nationalists’ in NI will sell their souls to get one over on the prods but they don’t have any veto in Ireland in the required constitutional poll. Others in Ireland might feel differently but I doubt it. It all depends on whether they make an informed decision are are told a pack of lies – and given that most of them don’t even know they voted to give the UK sovereignty over institutions of the Irish state when they approved the 9th Amendment, a pack of lies is probaby what they’ll get again (assuming the Internet doesn’t make that harder to do).

  • GoldenFleece

    An independent Northern Ireland is viable, not just for another 10 years most likely.

    An independent Ulster (Uliad) has been in existance for a longer time than an independent Scotland.

  • Alias

    Any figures to support that claim? The concensus is that an independent Northern Ireland is not viable.

    Apart from financial viability, there is the equally salient issue of political viability. I can’t see the nationalists very warming to the idea.

    Whatever happens, England will have a moral duty to ensure that the break-up of the union occurs in an orderly manner. That means a financial settlement of some sort, either a lump sum or a declining subvention. Help you get from other sources will all have strings attached.

    But I wouldn’t bet on Scotland leaving the union. It’ll be a new federation of some sort.

  • JR

    In my opinion Northern Ireland as it exists now will never be an independaent country. In the event of English independence. South Armagh, South Down, Tyrone, Fermanagh West belfast and most of County Derry would most likely become full members of the South.

    The rest would probably have some kind of special status within a re-unified Ireland. It’s own flag, road signs etc but with the same economic, health, Infrastructure systems as the rest of the Island.

  • Mick Fealty

    I dont want to block good contributions. But when youve made your contribution as non Ulster Protestant can you kindly step aside and leave room for those that are?

  • giantstairs

    There are essentially two nations residing on this island, which regrettably history has made geographically interlaced.

    The only possibly morally justifiable way to incorporate that within a single state would have to involve a joint veto such as Turkish Cypriots would have received under the Annan Plan, or the arrangements in Belgium or Bosnia Herzegovina. In a united Ireland all legislation of the “national” parliament would require the consent of unionists separately. Nothing short of that could possibly be more morally justified than an alternative arrangement that involves some form of partition. Anything short of that would also be pointless, unnatural or couldn’t possibly last anyway.

    If, as the Greek Cypriots found the Annan Plan unacceptable, Irish nationalists would find that unacceptable, then so be it, a partitioned arrangement it would have to be. Irish nationalists certainly do not deserve any more than that considering the thirty years of killings and injuries that ultimately stemmed from the root cause of an irredentist Irish nationalist philosophy that was incapable of treating unionists as equals with the same rights of self rule and self determination as Irish nationalists.

    Of course I know the violence was multi-sided, before anyway points that out, but contra Mary McAleese’s comments on Protestant children it was the fact that Catholic children were taught an immoral philosophy that they collectively owned all of Ireland and had a right to rule all the people on it that was the real ultimate cause, both necessary and sufficient, for bringing the troubles about. If we’d had no UVF then we’d still have had the troubles. If we’d had no IRA the troubles would never have existed.

  • JoeBryce

    This is not a disaster, it’s an opportunity to put right a lot of things we’re all got wrong since the 1880’s, and to implement some of the lessons that have been so hideously painfully learnt. After all, it isn’t just the UK that has been changing; Enda Kenny’s scorching anti-clerical speech seemed to me to show that Ireland26 is very different now from the way it was 40, 30, 20 years ago.

    The following are my suggestions, but specifics at this stage hardly matter at all, what matters is that the thinking and talking starts.

    I personally favour a new Ireland with a new anthem and flag and a capital at Armagh. A new constitution along the lines of the USA expressly separating church and state and asserting universal equality and religious freedom. I think there will be a consensus for retaining a northern assembly since, tragically late in the day, the consocial model that is now in place has ironically come to enjoy wide support despite all the lives that were lost on the way to achieving it. The only change I would make to that northern part of the settlement would be that I would rotate the FM / DFM posts between the traditions every 4 years. I would also like to explore what appetite there may be in Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal to return to historical Ulster within a new Ireland.

    I would hope that Ireland 32 would see the sense and the value of re-joining the Commonwealth, the significance of which would in any event be somewhat different when England is just one country in these islands.

    What the Maiden City comes to be called is not really all that important but there is scope for a magnanimous gesture.

  • Limerick

    Enda Kenny’s scorching anti-clerical speech seemed to me to show that Ireland26 is very different now from the way it was 40, 30, 20 years ago.

    Indeed the vast majority of the southerners have moved on although their base instincts are largely the same as always. The biggest obstacle to unity these days however are Nordie republicans.

  • MrPMartin

    Im surprised no one has suggested this but how about the following:
    1. Repartition of Ireland, ceding nationalist areas to Eire
    2. The remainder of Unionist Ulster forming a political and economic union with the new Scotland

  • anne warren

    Was reading this thread out of idle curiosity and was struck by East Belfast Pilgrim’s appalling list of demands of what would be needed “to occur to avoid civil and politcal unrest” (note the threat!!) .
    Have a couple of questions
    Why has this person’s mentality remained anchored in a past that will never return?
    What possible relevance have these obsolete ideas as a blueprint for the present or any hypothetical future?

  • JoeBryce

    Scotland has zero, zilch, interest in repartitioning Ireland. Scotland wants a good, friendly relationship with the whole of its closest neighbour, and with the whole of its population. End of.

  • salgado

    I’d be from an ulster protestant background (though I’m more of an agnostic).

    1. In a post UK situation I would ideally like an independent NI. As things stand, I can’t see this working financially or socially but this could change with time.
    Otherwise, if a united Ireland happens, I would like it to feel like a new country (not simply NI being annexed by the ROI). Obviously a new flag and anthem would be required.
    I’m not interested in it myself, but a certain acceptance of Orange types would be nice. Some sort of acknowledgement that one can be Irish without being into Gaelic culture or being a Nationalist.
    A more federal structure with a degree of independence for NI could be interesting.
    2. If Scotland were to leave the UK, being pro-union would continue to mean being in favour of the union with England and Wales (though some restructuring would be in order). Despite this, more informal friendly relations with Scotland (and the ROI) would be good too.

  • salgado

    > MrPMartin
    Im surprised no one has suggested this but how about the following:
    1. Repartition of Ireland, ceding nationalist areas to Eire
    2. The remainder of Unionist Ulster forming a political and economic union with the new Scotland

    I seriously doubt that Scotland would be interested.

  • Mick Fealty

    Anne, are you playing the man?

  • ayeYerMa

    1. We stay as we are in a United Kingdom of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It doesn’t look as silly on a map as some are (opportunistically) making out.

    If our kinsmen in Scotland are willing to discuss other forms of Union then we discuss, if not so be it. There are many other possibilities e.g.:
    – A “Greater Dalriada” incorporating Scotland and Ulster or even Ireland as a whole
    – A better type of such discussion which could be kicked-off is that of a realignment of the British Isles into a fully federal structure (the Republic could even be invited to join in such away that they don’t lose face). A new capital away from London e.g. Manchester or Douglas.

    2. The British Isles aren’t going to magically disappear. A Unionist will still see his main home as the British Isles. (and remember we already have that other odd British cousin who went off in a huff to the south).

    3. It won’t. If the Falkland Islands, The Channel Islands, the Isle of Man are all to maintain links to London with “self-determination” being the overriding factor, then we shall also be able to maintain those links through the same criterion.

    4. An Independent Northern Ireland with similar Dominion status as the Isle of Man and OUTSIDE the European Union. People saying NI couldn’t survive are talking nonsense. The IoM and Channel Islands are all small, but use their small size as tax havens. Remember also that in the early C20 Ulster was one of the richest and most productive parts of the UK outside London. We can do it again, and have been kept back in recent decades by futile nationalist terrorism.

    5. The obsession of Irish Nationalists over a separatist all-Ireland state is simply not EVER going to happen. It is the absolute WORST option and EVERY other option will be considered to prevent it. The partisan nature of the average person in the street, the media, the institutions, and the government in the south in favour of Irish Nationalists/Catholics at every single opportunity ensure that this will be the case – 5 minutes, for example, reading the Irish Times, or watching RTE’s the Late Late Show and its southern audience’s reaction to anything political about Northern Ireland are just a couple of examples of many on this. Sure, the south has moved on from the days of De Valera and Haughey, but the southern tendency to be partisan towards a certain demographic Northern Ireland is still as strong as ever in the population. I have just met too many southerners in person in my time too who believe that it is their business to interfere with Northern Ireland. This is reflected the zeal of all the southern commentators obsessing and interfering on sites like this and others on when the grand day will be whenever they’ll be able to annex “da nort”. (oh look, FFS, we even have one on this thread grandly telling us what we will think and how we’ll of course welcome their annexation!! :/ ) This jingoistic fantasy nonsense seems so ingrained in the southern mindset that it only increases the will of the Ulster Prod to resist it. Oh, and I’ve only mentioned southerners so far, but that really pales into significance in comparison to Northern Republicans… we don’t really need to say much more here, other than that every vote for Provo Shame Fein only places such a fantasy yet another dimension from reality.

    In conclusion, a lot of people (mainly nationalists and sensationalist media types) are talking about all of this (hypothetical and not actually going to happen) Scottish Independence thing as if it would be some sort of “doomsday scenario” for Ulster Unionists – it really would not be at all. There really are some good opportunities here to rebalance the lob-sided London-centricity of the current Union. Irish Nationalists like to live in their usual fairy land and will never discuss such issues honestly as long as there is a way to bring their same old same old obsession of deluded fantasy into the conversation.

  • JR. They have something like is in the Netherlands where the govt humours it’s northern area [Friesland that they’re seperate with Passports etc] but not recognised outside Holland.

  • anne warren

    reply to Mick Fealty at 5.11 pm
    Am not playing the man. Am playing the ideas! Which I repeat are obsolete and rooted in last century’s bullying mentality (see the threat of civil and politcal unrest).
    Take No 1 for example.
    National anthem would have to be changed.
    No change could/ should be imposed or be a pre-condition. Any change would presumably be voted democratically and a new song chosen or not, as the case may be.
    In any new political arrangement of the countries of the British Isles the key word is new. We’ll all be in unknown territory if Scotland votes for independence, not just NI.

  • TwilightoftheProds

    Excellent questions Ruari

    If Scotland goes then the UK is somewhat devalued in Ulster Prod eyes…but not entirely. Defenitely not economically. But yes, it could set in train a full dissolution of the UK. Especially since the Tory shires and home counties would not be part counterbalanced by the non tories of scotland. Can’t see Wales being happy about that.

    In which case I favour a pocket battleship independent NI along the lines of Israel….

    Only joking. A new negotiated Ireland with Belfast Agreement institutions intact (perhaps some increase in powers – making a constitutional federalism ie can’t be prorogued by Dail). Bosnian and Cypriot plans to be avoided. At all Ireland level – new flag. Tricolour means well symbolically, but has been waved AT us for too long for us to be comfortable with. Keep name of state as Ireland….but with another fig leaf description as ‘Republic of Ireland and State of Northern Ireland’

    Fairly important bit – ‘british’ -small ‘b’ culturalness. Maintain east west frameworks and boost a little in terms of power and institutional presence and allow for further expansion under mutual agreement (giving us dream of confederal/federal British Isles in distant future- cue evil laugh, maudlin folk songs about former unity of UK etc)

    Also….NI to form part of Commonwealth if t wants to, Republic of Ireland doesn’t have too.

    No wish to erase nationalist/republican symbols in RoI – just agreed symbolism at international level – such as the flag.

    What in this shopping list would stick in Irish Nationalist craw Ruarai; bound to be fair bit.

    Repartition a bit of a turn off. Unless we can come together to catapult lurgan and portadown into space.

    Key question is…. what happens to political parties of Unionism?

  • salgado

    anne warren
    I agree that the list was quite terrible, but National Anthem is the one you pick up on? What compromises would you be willing to make?

    You’d find very few ulster protestants who would be happy under the flag and anthem of the ROI. Political structures and so on would be a lot more open for debate.

  • Alias

    “(oh look, FFS, we even have one on this thread grandly telling us what we will think and how we’ll of course welcome their annexation!! :/ )”

    If that was moi, it more a case of grandly telling you that you weren’t welcome but that you’d probably be tolerated in a “containment zone” out of a sense of noblesse oblige to other nations if there was no other option open to you (which there won’t be if the union ceased to exist). 😉

  • anne warren

    Hello Salgado –

    I’m glad to see you too thought the list was terrible!

    I didn’t pick on the National Anthem as such. I picked out No 1 on the list as an example.Others would have served the same purpose but No 1 came first.

    In any case I repeat democracy rather than demands needs to be the keystone.

    In reply to your question about compromises I don’t think it is a question of compromises which I or anyone else would be prepared to make.

    Scottish independence would be a whole new ballgame calling for a complete political re-configuration of the British Isles. It would upset the only status quo we have ever known – which calls for new ideas to serve the best interests of all the people on these islands.

    Take English nationalism for instance. Is it to be left in the hands of the EDL or the BNP? And what about Cornish demands for a local assembly? Another poster has mentioned Wales. Will northern England be happy with the domination of London and the south? Neither I nor anyone else knows the answers to these questions but they will need to be answered as the Scots debate and vote for/against independence

    I am not trying to derail this thread or go off at a tangent – I am just trying to show that everything will have to be re-thought, including apects of the Ulster Protestant mindset. And we will all need to ditch obsolete approaches if emerging new political structures (whatever they are) are to be successful.

  • JoeBryce

    Limerick says that nordie republicans are an obstacle but in fact the words and gestures of the DFM seem to point to the evolution of a kind of shared Ulster nationalism that could be a useful foundation of consensus in a new dispensation.

    I like Twilight’s comment. More or less spot on I think. No appetite anywhere for repartition. Partition has served its purpose. The 26 has had de Valera and learnt the limitations of that ideology. There’s no going back, we’re all on our way to secular modernity; which isn’t perfect either, but does not polarise people in the way the passing ideologies did.

  • Alias

    One last comment on this thread (in accordance with Mick stipulation that it should be Ulster protestant only): not all ‘southerners’ were the idea of reunification and therefore don’t expect all to act as amabassadors for ‘outreach’ and all that dismal state-sponsored stuff.

    I think unity under the terms of the GFA is a particularly stupid idea, and would vote against it. Unity is simply a device by which a foreign British nation is used to veto the right of the Irish nation to national self-determination (the clue to the meaning is in bold). The Irish nation must determine its own affairs, and these cannot be determined by any other nation.

    As is stated in the 1st article of Bunreacht na hEireann: “The Irish nation hereby affirms its inalienable, indefeasible, and sovereign right to choose its own form of Government, to determine its relations with other nations, and to develop its life, political, economic and cultural, in accordance with its own genius and traditions.”

    You will note that it doesn’t say anything that giving a veto over that right to the British or any other nation.

  • Alias

    Typo: “not all ‘southerners’ support the idea of reunification”

  • Submariner

    I believe that an independent NI is a non starter and would be unworkable in any circumstances both economically and politically Nationalists would not wear it. It is nothing more than a Prod wet dream and will remain so.As for a newly independent Scotland linking up or joining with the North they have too much sense for that nonsense. A new anthem and flag i could live with but the rest of the shopping list would be binned.

  • salgado

    anne warren
    The problem with allowing everything to be democratically chosen by the majority is that the minority can end up unrepresented (see parts of Northern Ireland’s history). I think greater care needs to be taken, and if that means occasionally ignoring democracy, so be it.

    Though as you say, this is a hypothetical situation a few years down the line in what could be a dramatically changed environment.

  • anne warren

    Salgado
    You are right to be wary about the application of democracy (given past history) but that wariness shows you are afraid people have learnt nothing over the years.

    The drawbacks of democracy were debated long before the partition of Ireland. These notes are from debates in the 18th century about the American Revolution .
    ” It is correct to say that in any Democracy–either a Direct or a Representative type–as a form of government, there can be no legal system which protects The Individual or The Minority (any or all minorities) against unlimited tyranny by The Majority.
    In both the Direct type and the Representative type of Democracy, The Majority’s power is absolute and unlimited; its decisions are unappealable under the legal system established to give effect to this form of government. This opens the door to unlimited Tyranny-by-Majority.
    A Republic, on the other hand, has a very different purpose and an entirely different form, or system, of government. Its purpose is to control The Majority strictly, as well as all others among the people, primarily to protect The Individual’s God-given, unalienable rights and therefore for the protection of the rights of The Minority, of all minorities, and the liberties of people in general. The definition of a Republic is: a constitutionally limited government of the representative type, created by a written Constitution–adopted by the people and changeable (from its original meaning) by them only by its amendment–with its powers divided between three separate Branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Here the term “the people” means, of course, the electorate.
    http://lexrex.com/enlightened/AmericanIdeal/index.html

  • ForkHandles

    “Questions for Ulster Protestants”

    Says it all really (yes, the sectarian nature of the irish nationalist mentality). As someone who lived in the ROI for over a decade, if NI wanted, or was forced to be part of ROI then there would be no change in ROI, NI people would just have to join the immigrant queue. After that it would be the usual celebratation of IRA attrocities and glorification at any British or English death around the world. This is what the Irish mentality down south does. If you do not know this then you have a lot to learn.
    The ROI would still be catholic and anti english. Most normal people in NI would find this completely stupid. In NI this sort of mentality is considered something that shinner people are like and is thought of as embarrassingly stupid and not what a normal person would think like. If we ended up in the ROI this sort of thing is considered the norm and is what people would be rail roaded into going along with and eventually brainwashed into. If you disagree with this then consider if anything that contradicts the ROI victum mentality, even if it is the truth, has ever superceeded the prevailing anti english/british thinking in the south?
    Yes, thats right, nothing. The fact is that in the ROI you have to submit to the anti mind set. It is completely stupid and backward but that is what that country is like. Enjoy !

  • salgado

    anne warren
    “you are afraid people have learnt nothing over the years.”

    Indeed I am, though I’d be optimistic for NI.

    I’d be more worried about people in the ROI (due to conversations with some southern friends of mine) who haven’t been through the same situation and haven’t had to learn from the mistakes of the past in the same way.

  • cynic2

    Your entire thesis is flawed. You assume that all Protestants are Unionists and all Catholics Nationalists – its much more complex.

  • Limerick

    I believe that an independent NI is a non starter and would be unworkable in any circumstances both economically and politically Nationalists would not wear it. It is nothing more than a Prod wet dream and will remain so.As for a newly independent Scotland linking up or joining with the North they have too much sense for that nonsense. A new anthem and flag i could live with but the rest of the shopping list would be binned.

    Submariner,

    In summary you might consider a new flag and anthem, but the Prods would be put firmly in their place. What if they don’t play ball?

  • gendjinn

    The interesting thing about these lists of required changes upon re-unification is how they invariably are the very things unionists will not even countenance compromising on with nationalists in NI today.

    There is no requirement in the current agreements to make a single change to the Irish constitution or state to accommodate re-unification and any generosity of spirit in being open to changes will certainly be informed by unionist behaviour and treatment of nationalists.

    If unionists do want these changes they should negotiate re-unification now while they have a majority and therefore a veto. Once that majority goes so does any negotiating power.

  • TwilightoftheProds

    ‘If unionists do want these changes they should negotiate re-unification now while they have a majority and therefore a veto. Once that majority goes so does any negotiating power.’

    Read that last sentence again.

    Now think about the political mobilisation of a large minority in Northern Ireland over the last 40 years, and how the resources of a state of circa 60 million had difficulties dealing with that. And negotiated with it.

    Then cast your mind back to the home rule crisis of 1912-1914.

    You appear to be making the same mistake as unionists did after partition, and the British government and Irish Nationalism did during the home rule crises – ‘minorities should just like it or lump it once they are in the minority’.

    No such thing as a final whistle in politics. Extra time runs into forever.

  • HeinzGuderian

    “Whatever happens, England will have a moral duty to ensure that the break-up of the union occurs in an orderly manner. That means a financial settlement of some sort, either a lump sum or a declining subvention. Help you get from other sources will all have strings attached.”

    I had a chuckle at this,especially when the chap believes ….”there should be no British Culture in ireland.” ( not even the BBC ) ??? 😉

    I see,but British money is quite welcome ? 😉

    Cynic touched on this “Ulster/protestant label.
    So far out of date you have to wonder why anyone would even think of using it ?
    Scottish Independencs…….the catalyst for this ‘new ireland’.
    That’s as bout as likely as ‘No British Culture in ireland.’

    A new agreed all island love in?
    Anyone who thinks we came through 40 long years of pira slaughter,just to give into them now,must be living on a different planet.

    anee,there are a fair few people whose minds are ‘anchored in a past that will never return’.
    United irelanders being the most ludicrous.

    “Just a thought for a new thread for ‘Republicans’…..
    Assuming – for sake of discussion – the Union remained for the next 1000 years and a United Ireland was never to come about…What would happen?”

    A very good question EBP,and I fully intend to answer it……

    Not a lot. 😉

  • Alias

    What was it that Al Pacino said in Godfather 3?

    Herr Guderian, I didn’t say ”there should be no British Culture in ireland.” You’ve mixed me up with another poster.

    I said “As a nationalist, British culture has no relevance to Ireland. The idea that we will, for example, dismount a statue to Michael Collins in Cork because a ‘unionist’ might one day visit the city is entirely fanciful. I wouldn’t countenance any changes that might personally effect me.”

    It is quite clear that this refers to the political use of political British culture to cancel political Irish culture – to promote self-censorship of it (since the British were unable to cancel its existence by other means).

    “( not even the BBC ) ???”

    I think you’ll find that there is more US programmes on British TV than there is British programmes on Irish TV, so while Conor Cruise O’Brien might have succeeded with his aim of cultural re-colonisation to some degree via that means, the Americans have been busy with cultural colonisation of the UK. But it’s always fun to watch white English kids in baggy pants (courtesy of the BBC) try to rap…

    “I see,but British money is quite welcome ?”

    Money is always welcome. But it was a ‘divorce’ settlement for your benefit, dear. Apart from the moral duty, there is a legal duty under international law to ensure that it occurs in an orderly manner. As economic collapse with incur disorder, money is relevant.

  • Alias

    One other point about the proposed political use of political British culture to cancel political Irish: it has some relevance in NI where more than half the population is British and engages in the political use of British culture, but none at all in Ireland. Attempting to extend what is only relevant to NI to somewhere like Cork of Kerry where it is utterly irrelevant is 100% unworkable.

  • anne warren

    Heinz Guderian

    I presume – despite the spelling mistakes – the following refers to my comments,
    “anee,there are a fair few people whose minds are ‘anchored in a past that will never return’.
    United irelanders being the most ludicrous”

    The thrust of my argument is that we will need
    “new ideas to serve the best interests of all the people on these islands”
    “In any new political arrangement of the countries of the British Isles the key word is new”.
    “We’ll all be in unknown territory if Scotland votes for independence, not just NI”.
    “everything will have to be re-thought”,

    Picking on that statement above shows that you are another of these people with obsolete ideas (us and them) who have nothing to offer
    either as a blueprint for the present or any hypothetical future.

    Perhaps you would care to answer my original question
    “Why has this person’s mentality remained anchored in a past that will never return?”

  • Mark

    Alias ,

    I hope that brilliant Godfather reference wasn’t lost on anyone . Made me roar laughing .

  • gendjinn

    Now think about the political mobilisation of a large minority in Northern Ireland over the last 40 years, and how the resources of a state of circa 60 million had difficulties dealing with that. And negotiated with it.

    The environment that was the genesis for the conflict and PIRA does not obtain, nor will it for the unionist community.

    Then cast your mind back to the home rule crisis of 1912-1914.

    You appear to be making the same mistake as unionists did after partition, and the British government and Irish Nationalism did during the home rule crises – ‘minorities should just like it or lump it once they are in the minority’.

    The 1960s are long gone and even more so is the situation of the early 20th century. To draw parallels to these eras requires a far more subtle grasp of the history of each than is evident in your brief presentation.

    The British state and security apparatus will not be on hand to provide deliveries of weapons, thousands of pages of intelligence documentation. Nor will there be collusion with police, army and intelligence services. Nor will the unionist community have an overseas diaspora to draw on for support. Nor will they have the support of any state government.

    The situations will be entirely different. In fact the parallel is more closely to how nationalists are currently reconciled to the UK.

    No such thing as a final whistle in politics. Extra time runs into forever.

    Agreed. But to think unionism will be able to demand and get concessions in a re-unified Ireland which currently refuses to grant to nationalists in NI is a grand fantasy.

  • IJP

    I don’t see why NI should be any less economically viable than, say, the Duchy of Luxembourg – for that matter, is the Republic of Ireland “economically viable”? NI is economically unviable because we have chosen to make it so.

    I also don’t see why NI wouldn’t be socially viable either – perfectly stable and prosperous states such as Switzerland and the Netherlands exhibit considerably more social and religious divisions than ours. We don’t notice them because, wisely, they have removed conflict from their management of their diversity. NI is again socially unviable because we choose to raise our divisions to a much greater level than the Swiss or the Dutch (among others) do.

    What would certainly be unviable would be approaching Dublin or Edinburgh and saying “We can’t be bothered to contribute economically and we’re determined to remain fundamentally sectarian, why don’t you bail us out for eternity?” – because, currently, that’s what any offer of “unity” would look like!

    Let’s get some self-worth, and focus on building a proper economy and prioritising common citizenship and humanity over social divisions. Then we may be able to answer these questions when they arise – as they surely one day will.

  • TwilightoftheProds

    gendjinn

    In a prospective reunified Ireland former unionists would form 20% of the population in a geographically concentrated area.

    Not incentive for Proddies to lie down, is it?

    The comparison with other time periods and indeed other conflicts stands unaffected – disgruntled, or assertive, and politically mobilised community combined with geographic concentration surely equals a great deal of leverage.

    Show me in which democracy this has not been the basis for power in negotiation.

    Also consider the prime directive of both current British and Irish states – “insulate our polities from the politics of NI”. Sounds like a real starting position of strength in negotiation.

    No grand fantasy there- plain solid brick wall of a fact.

  • PaddyReilly

    In a prospective reunified Ireland former unionists would form 20% of the population in a geographically concentrated area

    No, the two General Elections we had in 2010 showed that Unionists are 11% of the voting population of Ireland.

  • Hopping The Border

    Fork Handles:

    That seems a very strange recollection of your time in ROI. Would you be minded to reveal where you were living?

    Also: “After that it would be the usual celebratation of IRA attrocities and glorification at any British or English death around the world. ”

    Which celebrations do you refer to, I’m struggling to think of any official state ones and indeed any others that attract any sizeable amount of support?

    As for the British/English deaths around the world, I’m simply astounded, you’re telling me you’ve witnessed ROI residents celebrating English/british deaths?

  • gendjinn

    TwilightoftheProds,

    20% of the population or 11% of the electorate does not make a veto nor a majority.

    Once there is 50%+1 in favour of re-unification the process begins and it will conclude in re-unification regardless of whether or not the flag, anthem or anything else change.

    What is the strategy you envision that will allow a minority to dictate changes to the majority?

  • TwilightoftheProds

    Gendjinn

    Who is talking about vetoes?

    In a possible unification scenario, were that is the definite outcome, 20% concentrated in a rough area gives a lot of political capital.

    Strategy…..same as political groups everywhere use to push their case. Political trade offs, pressure, parliamentary alliances, parliamentary obstructionism. Parnell, and a zillion others across the world show how it gets done.

    There can be all sorts of thoroughly peaceful, political organisation, campaigning and mobilisation that can be brought to bear at ground level too. Political groups do these things all the time to push their case…make things ‘difficult’ for central governments. Make sure that issues don’t just evaporate. Its a ‘We Ourselves’ attitude.

    Got a nice ring to it as a slogan, eh?

  • IJP

    gendjinn

    It’s worth responding to that, because you are not correct.

    Legally, under the 1998 Agreement, the rights of the minority, including to political power in what is currently NI, are enshrined.

    Practically (and thus more importantly), the fundamental problem is that, in the Republic of Ireland, you have 100 years of majority rule as the norm – and why not, in a non-contested society. However, in Northern Ireland, you have the absolute acceptance across the board (with minor fringe exceptions) that majority rule is absolutely impermissible.

    It could be argued that the clash between the absolute acceptance of majority rule in one jurisdiction and absolute rejection of it in the other (with both being absolutely understandable practically and legally) is the biggest difficulty with a single Irish State, regardless of other circumstances over the next half century.

  • gendjinn

    IJP,

    can you point me to the section in the GFA that states any of its terms continue beyond re-unification because I’ve never seen any.

    Unionists will have political power through electing their representatives to local government and an Dáil. There is no legally binding requirement upon either the Irish or British governments to retain Stormont nor implement any form of consocial government post re-unification.

    However, prior to reaching 50%+1 unionists have quite a lot of negotiating power and if there are things they want in the new Ireland now would be the time to negotiate for them.

  • gendjinn

    TwilightoftheProds,

    but none of that will result in the 20% making the other 80% change their flag or anthem.

    Ireland is quite happy with it’s emblems and there is and will be little appetite to change them to accommodate a group that does not accord these same requests to nationalists in NI now.

    We all saw how effective the mass mobilisation against the Iraq war was, so ignoring peaceful demonstrations are already part and parcel of modern day governance, so good luck with that.

    If these things are important to unionism, then negotiate re-unification now and make them part of it because once the 50%+1 vote is cast unionism’s ability to stipulate requirements will be gone.

  • PaulT

    IJP
    I don’t really understand your comment on majority rule in Ireland for the past century, there were small unionist parties after independence but they disappeared through lack of support, probably because a party like FG is more appealing to a unionist than a republican! as was the PDs.

    In the event of a UI I imagine there would be plenty of career politicans currently members of the local unionist parties who would quite happily join a party like FG.

    In fact similar events already happen in NI with career politicans joining a party that is pretty much just based in another country

  • HeinzGuderian

    One other point about the proposed political use of political British culture to cancel political Irish: it has some relevance in NI where more than half the population is British and engages in the political use of British culture, but none at all in Ireland. Attempting to extend what is only relevant to NI to somewhere like Cork of Kerry where it is utterly irrelevant is 100% unworkable………….

    I would ask you to look at the irish parliament sir.
    They converse in English,do they not ? 😉

    Ah,ah………no need to drag yourself back in. For an irish nationalist,you’ve had your cake. 😉

    Ah,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • JoeBryce

    I agree with Twilight, the Ulster prods have a strong negotiating hand within Ireland32, on straightforward numbers grounds and in the same way as SF has asserted republicans’ position within Ireland6. It doesn’t matter whether negotiation starts now or waits until Scotland does whatever it’s going to do, which I think will be devo max. There is no rush. What should be happening now is we all think creatively and generously about where we want to go from here. As I said earlier, the specifics don’t really matter at this stage. I observe, though, that Ireland 26 is no longer Leprechauns Alone, but striving, in difficult circumstances, to become a modern pluralist secular democracy. Massive strides have been made in that direction. Those changes need to be, and will, be constitutionalised. They change everything, in parallel with the changes in Scotland. Care must be taken of course, but I don’t think that over time there will be anything any more to be frightened of. Meantime the GFA settlement is working just fine and could last for decades. Changes should only be made if there is a consensus that they benefit everyone. That’s a political project, sure, but look at how much has changed in 20 years – sometimes you need to pinch yourself to remind yourself how much HAS changed. Same with Scotland. All done, as I have observed before, without a single person being killed.

  • Stu DeNimm

    >20% making the other 80% change their flag or anthem.

    Anyone want to speak up to say s/he would really be aggrieved if we all just forgot the Soldier’s Song? There are one or two things in the lyrics that some people might legitimately find inappropriate, but more importantly , its a relic of an age that all of us, or at least all of us who are sane, are all trying to leave behind. Surely the Republic can find a better advertisement than one more mediocre song about ethnic war.

    A flag that didn’t have any ethnic symbolism would be better, too, but Protestants who claim to hate the Tricolor are just being ornery. On an islandwide demographic basis, it overrepresents them; how can they complain about that?

  • salgado

    >A flag that didn’t have any ethnic symbolism would be better, too, but Protestants who claim to hate the Tricolor are just being ornery. On an islandwide demographic basis, it overrepresents them; how can they complain about that?

    The symbolism may mean well, but there’s too much history associated with it. It would be better to have a clean break. Something like the Presidential Standard would be a lot more appealing.

  • PaulT

    Heinz, the British Parliament is opened using Normandy French, er whats your point?

    Is it that the Normans won and that 40% of the land in England is owned by the descendants of the Norman knights ‘wot won it’ and the ruling family is German/French.