For Nationalists Only: What’s great about living in the United Kingdom?

This is not a trick question. It’s really an idea floated by Wendy Austin on Twitter yesterday. And the ‘rule’ implied in the title will be enforced. So unionists need not apply for inclusion in this thread (we’ll have another one exclusively for you tomorrow).

Neither is it intended to separate serious minded nationalists from a treasured ambition. You might helpfully conceive of more in the way of “what would I like to take into a United Ireland with me”? Or to tell us what you secretly admire about your unionist opponents. Either way, knock yourselves out (usual rules apply)…

  • lover not a fighter

    Its great (for a nationalist) to have somebody to have an argument with !

  • Obelisk

    Okies, I’ll bite.

    In terms of institutions, I like the NHS and I like the BBC.

    I like the way they run their politics now and a lot of their institutions, being as transparent as possible, with the public ready and willing to pounce on any abuse of power.

    I think their system of governnment is fairly well set out, with an elected lower house and an upper house that does it’s job fairly well.

    What I am about to admit is difficult, but please bear with me. Above all, I like the idea of the United Kingdom. Whilst I admit there are plenty of distinctive hallmarks of the being Irish, our traditional music, our history, our language, in modern times there is no much separating the modern british family and the modern Irish family. They listen to the same music, eat the same brands of food, go to the same stores.

    We share so very much that I cannot but feel that partition really was a tragedy and a lost opportunity. It’s a tragedy we couldn’t work out our differences a hundred years ago.

    Now don’t take this to mean I am one of the Unicorns or closet Unionists. For me, the division of my nation is a wound that stings and I pray to see the day that wound is closed. I just regret it was opened in the first place and that another way wasn’t found.

  • Dec

    ‘You might helpfully conceive of more in the way of “what would I like to take into a United Ireland with me”? ‘

    A rephrasing which should remove any socio-cultural items people may have listed such as the BBC, the Guardian, 6music, premiership football etc as they’re all available wherever you live (in one form or another). Aside from that all I can think of are those taxes/charges that are lesser in the UK.

  • RG Cuan

    The only institution from the current UK that I would like to see in a re-united Ireland is the NHS. Some aspects of RTÉ could also learn something about production values from the BBC.

    A re-united Ireland should also take a lead from the UK, and other European nations, about national confidence and about removing the shackles of the colonised mindset that’s so entrenched throughout the island.

  • Clanky

    I love the socialist side of the UK, I love the liberalism that exists, I love the multi-culturalism, I love the NHS and the welfare state, I love institutions like the BBC, I love the fact that there are some fantastic arts and cultural events etc. which are freely available and if not free then at least heavily subsidised, I love the museums and the science exhibitions.

    It is just such a shame that each of these has a dark side, as much as there is liberalism there has also been a huge reduction in civil liberty recently, as much as there is multi-culturism there is also a rabid racism, as much as there is a welfare state there is a culture of seeing anyone living on benefits as scroungers, as much as there are the great cultural events there is also a culture of elitism about the arts.

    I think I would echo much of what Obelisk said, I hate the fact that Ireland is divided, I love the idea of a United Ireland, completely independent of the UK, but I would not want that Ireland to be too different from the UK, and to be honest Ireland has changed so much in the last 20 years that I don’t think a united Ireland when it comes will mean great changes in day to day life for the people of the north, either nationalist or unionist.

  • RG Cuan

    Overall, a new Ireland offers the opportunity to create something better than the current Republic and better than the UK.

    A new nation would be able to almost start from scratch and adapt the most successful and progressive ideas from other small states to create something better for us all.

  • Mick Fealty


    I think we can take it that you would not be a Nationalist if you did not believe those things. Best if we can focus on the ‘taking with’ than the why it’s better for the purpose of this thread. I’ll be asking Unionists to abide by the same rule tomorrow.

  • John Anderson

    The standard of journalism at the top level is generally much better in the UK than all of Ireland, regardless of editorial slants. I don’t think anyone could dispute that. For anyone still saying the NHS, that argument is out-dated. The growing disparities in that sector between England & Scotland is one of the main factors behind the independence movement.

  • carl marks

    Ok Mick as the song goes,
    Here are a few of my favourite things.

    British comedy, Dads Army, Only fools etc. Cricket (hate the game but never met a cricketer i didn’t like),
    The diversity of cultures who by and large get along with each other, the NHS, the eccentrics and the fact that many were elected to Westminster.
    The spectacle of the changing of the guard.
    That in general they seem to learn from their mistakes and make a effort not to repeat them, a big lesson for both sides here.
    The ability to forgave the wrongs done against them and feel guilty about the wrongs they committed. Another thing we could look at!
    Baked beans with a fry, who would have thought that would work, the Campaign for real All and finally chocolate covered Kendal mint cake.

  • CoisteBodhar

    I’d like to take my national insurance number with me.

  • Brian

    I love the parades on July 12th.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    The NHS (though who knows for how much longer…)

  • Mick,

    What about us fence sitters? Can we comment?

  • RG Cuan

    Point taken Mick, although maybe I was trying to get across the point that the UK alone doesn’t have that much that I would like to see in a re-united nation, and that my own personal perspective would be to take a wider European/international view on what we should include in the new state.

    Saying that, I do see the need and value of ensuring that the customs and traditions of those who currently describe themselves as British in Ireland are fully included in our new nation.

    Regarding our ‘unionist opponents’, as noted above, I truly cannot think of anything I secretly admire about their own institutions or values (although thankfully these values differ from unionist to unionist). The most positive aspects of UK society (NHS, welfare state etc.) are not intrinsic elements of British unionists in Ireland.

  • galloglaigh

    First of all the ‘Kingdom’ is not ‘United’. And I like that. Furthermore, it will only remain ‘United’ in name for a period; how long? Who knows?

    (I can get that in knowing that the whataboutrey club are only reading and not writing)

    I also like the BBC, NHS, taxation, education, and all that. Everyone above me has pointed out the many good things we share with the other nations. But essentially, these are also Irish institutions, as Ireland is (and was) part of that union. And as outlined above, in the event of partition being reversed, a new Ireland doesn’t have to look like the old Ireland. The new Ireland can be just that: A new Ireland where we are all treated equally. That cannot be said in either the UK or the Republic of Ireland!

  • On a point of order.
    This is as I understand a thread for nationalists.
    Is Mike the First “allowed” to comment here?

  • galloglaigh


    Think you’re right…

  • john

    I lived in Manchester for years and the best thing was the ladies liked the Irish accent!! The British public are pretty tolerant, liberal and generally friendly not to mention generous and most important of all have a good sense of humour. The country itself with or without NI has an amazing amount of natural beauty most of which is easily accessible

  • Neil

    By and large I’d say the same things are good in the UK as in other European countries. Living in a free society, with freedom of speech (except on Twitter) is good. One can’t help but generalise here, and there are millions of obvious exceptions to the following, but our values and sense of humour match up pretty well and a lot of people have manners. Try queue jumping in England and you could well get a slap. I admire that.

  • tacapall

    The only positive aspect of UK society that would be useful in a United Ireland or needed is the Unionist population of the six counties, free education for all, institutions like the NHS which eventually will become private or the welfare state are already present in the Republic of Ireland.

  • The Tube system in London, engineering in general in fact, that really posh and eccentric people are tolerated and indeed embraced, self deprecation in many, value placed in heritage, quality in manufacturing (what’s left of it), curries, Heathrow (as a microcosm of England), sense of fairness (albeit a schizophrenic take on that what with Iraq and Afghanistan, rendition, and Northern Ireland etc), James Bond, a belief (naive or not that social mobility is possible), music as rebellion, Lake District, Cheltenham on NH day.

  • JH

    Much the same as above; the NHS and (usually) the BBC.

    I like that it’s part of the national psyche that the poorest in society should be looked after. I like the principle that people like me pay over 30% in tax to help others less fortunate than myself and no one ever really questions why. However I dislike that I’m taxed by a government I don’t support and can’t elect.

    I dislike that a large chunk of that tax is invested in arms and training for young people to bring misery and blooshed to countries that have nothing to do with my own. But I like that people like Adam Curtis are free to make fascinating documentaries about it.

    Have to say, for the most part, I love the people and their sense of humour. There are always bad eggs but sure, they’re everywhere!

    But ultimately I don’t see much of this lasting and I want out. I hate what British surveillance culture has done to my city, for example, and anyone driving into Belfast on the motorway up from Dublin might have noted the CCTV on top of every single lamp-post for a couple of miles around Dunmurry.

  • Fr.Tom

    ahh mr fjh will ye let Mick have his tea first
    though its likely to be dinner or supper in Dorset 😉

    keep the humour
    “Have I got news for you”
    Andrew Neil for political chat

    of course the BBC , its world class
    did anyone else notice today the afternoon play
    on radio 4 was called Delorean
    It was amazing, all about the hunger strikers
    just popped out of nowhere … wow

  • Mick Fealty

    Joe; No!

  • Mick Fealty

    Mike the first; are you a Nationalister? If Unionist; its your turnus the marra…

  • Dewi

    I like the Tate Modern, and Ali G.

  • Dewi

    Great Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford….apart from that what have the Romans done for us?

  • Mick Fealty

    Åh now; dont bring Oxford in or someone will get miffed you didnt mention Cambridge! Besides we have as much access to Pitt Rivers, the Bodelian, Ashmolian et al as anyone in Dublin has now.

  • ThomasMourne

    I don’t wish to be placed in one of two sectarian tribes but I wish to add to the discussion.

    The UK would be much improved by a more democratic system of government, to do away with an unelected head of state, an unelected second chamber in parliament, the first-past-the-post voting method and corrupt politicians.

    The UK’s position in the arms trade is a disgrace with ‘free’ promotion of that trade by members of the ‘royal’ family.

    There is a lot to be grateful for, as outlined above by other contributors, but in recent years there have been the curtailment of civil liberties and the widening gap between rich and poor under the Labour government and continued by the present coalition.

  • Blue


  • This does not seem to be working out well.
    IJP is not a nationalist either.

  • Mac

    John Snow (Alex Thomson too) and the NHS, more truthfully the idea of the NHS, the reality had me paying for private health care as soon as I could afford it.

    They rest of it mostly sits between mehhh and glad to see the back of it on my care-o-meter.

  • Hedley Lamarr

    To tell the truth there’s more I’d change about the South since partition than I’d take with me from the UK.

    I’d take the NHS, many aspects of the welfare system, it’s multiculturalism, the rail network, the more stringent planning system, and probably many other things which it may take a while to think about.

    I admire Unionism’s focus on bread and butter issues which is sharper than Nationalism’s.

  • The finest literary tradition anywhere: Swift, Goldsmith, Sheridan, Burke, Wilde, Bram Stoker, Yeats, O’Casey, Joyce, CS Lewis …

    And what about the military and naval types? Wellesley, Guillermo Brown, John Barry, Montgomery …

    Sorry: the brain outruns the iPad keyboard.

  • tacapall

    I forgot one thing, I would also like 1000 years rent money from the UK with interest.

  • antamadan

    NHS, cheaper cars ,lower VAT (though in fairness salaries are higher in the south, and there are no rates on private homes yet, and college education is cheaper; all no doubt about to change) , there are some advantages of a bigger state.

    All my initia lpositive thoughts were really of England and the English and not particularly something that would be a benefit of living in NI as part of the UK. Having the English language for example is good in the modern world, the English sophistication or at least not being obviously and loudly ignorant etc. , a larger country has a wider amount of newspapers and media etc. but England will still be there even if there is a united Ireland; so all of that stuff is irrelevant.

  • SK


  • antamadan. I would agree with a lot of that. If it wasn’t for the UK being already in existence at partition, the English wouldn’t have put up with the nonsense in 1912. we would have been cut adrift and not another word about us. That would at least have had the benefit of a clear cut end, instead of which nearly the entire 20th century has been wasted on halfbaked temporary solutions, [ie NI and RoI. Both have proved abject failures.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Simple UK based physics degree, meet Irish physics job.
    (might happen anyway with a bit of luck)

  • Neville Bagnall

    Speaking as a southern nationalist who has spent a fair bit of time in the north in the last few years (hopefully that qualifies)…

    The NHS is the standout. Access, no worry about cost, organisation and management strike me as better. Actual quality of care down south, even without but particularly with insurance, is more of a toss up. But the ideal and culture of the NHS – free and equal access – outstanding.

    The rest of the welfare state – I’m not sure the UK is significantly better, in some ways I think it may even be worse, but I wouldn’t be an expert.

    The BBC and media oversight and services – at the national level its brilliant, but available down south anyway and given cultural and legal similarities, almost as relevant to us. Northern papers, BBCNI, commercial radio & UTV don’t strike me as any better up North than RTE or the rest of the southern media.

    The various charges, taxes and public services – there isn’t anything that stands out. Our tax choices north and south (changing) and the UK treasury transfer (possibly changing) make it a wash for me.

    Multiculturalism too is a changing situation. The South is much more pluralist and multicultural than it was even a decade ago and I think the North is much less so than Britain. Its hard for pluralism to become ingrained without significant and diverse minorities. As a member of a southern minority I’ve experienced inconvenience and thoughtlessness arising from that minority status, but I think I can honestly say I’ve only ever experienced positive discrimination.

    I would say that non-governmental civic society, intolerance of malfeasance, and meritocracy is stronger and more respected in the UK and that has spilled over into the North more than into the South; precisely why, I don’t know.

    In summary there are aspects of the UK model of civil society (and its effect on critical services) I’d like to import from the UK. But as far as I can see the UK is not a unique model for them. Aspects of the model could equally validly be imported from the USA or several European states. Arguably incorporating such aspects is just part of normal national cultural development, driven by national and international events.

  • Dewi

    “I’m not a nationalist, but Dewi – wouldn’t the Pitt Rivers be largely based on the British Empire looting from various colonies?”

    Yeah i know – but the shrunken heads are fantastic!

  • Mike the First

    I’m a unionist, Mick – so will stick to the other thread!

  • andnowwhat

    The regionalisation and the numbers in the UK as they allow for better democracy. Among many reasons, the south’s democracy has suffered IMHO due to the small population and the parochialism (AKA gumbeenism) that produces. Perhaps an example would be how quickly the British Labour Party rose in comparison to the Irish one.

    The above also allows for a breadth of papers coming from different editorial positions be the left, right or just celebs and boobs.

    As for the BBC, I don’t think it is quite what we think it is. Panorama is not what it was when it (and ITV’s excellent World in Action) were truly labourious in their investigations from world events to the government of the day. For such investigative TV, I turn to Channel 4’s excellent Dispatches (could do with less Boy With an Arse For a Face stuff on the channel).

    The downside of the above is that the fringe, such as the BNP and EDL, get a voice but (as I said) the large population stops them becoming anything more than the dog howls of the ignorant.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    Great Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford


  • Roy Walsh

    A lot on the NHS, granted a good institution but, it is paid for through yet higher taxes, the VHI/Quinn etc. private system is as cheap and frankly better.
    Multi-culturalism, we’ve had for 800 years and look where that got us.
    Still, in 2012, being twice as likely to be unemployed as my Protestant neighbors, I am sorry but my answer would be nothing, again, this ‘gentle persuasion’ technique of the BBC and other middle Unionists seems a tad suspicious to me, roll on the census results, next year, 18+ months after Britain and the rest of Ireland

  • Billy Pilgrim

    The NHS.

    A Levels.

    (Excellent pair of threads, by the way.)

  • SK

    Two great threads, one more magnanimous than the other though.

    The tone is generally more in line with the spirit of the question on this one. It’s sad that many unionist contributors seem too entrenched to allow themselves a bit of blue-sky thinking. It’s must be that siege mentality thing we’re always hearing about.

  • grandimarkey

    My favourite thing above all else is the multiculturalism.

    However that phenomena is pretty much regulated to Britain and not the UK as a whole. In saying that, I was in Dublin last weekend and the various colours and creeds passing me in the street was a welcome upgrade to a city that I already love.

    I live in Britain and see a few things that I wouldn’t mind transferring to Ireland however, considering it’s Scotland that I live in, I’m not sure how much longer that nomenclature may be in use…

  • john

    I have to agree with SK we have one thread basically praising the British and most contributors although wanting a United Ireland speaking positively about the UK and another thread were most contributors have little to say other than a United Ireland is only palatable within the UK or with massive changes (some being fair enough ie flag and anthem to most others being downright ridiculous)

  • andnowwhat

    There may be the issue that we are so exposed to British culture whereas there seem to be others who have a seriously outmoded concept of the south.

    I think a quick scan of the south’s 2 most popular (and if the objections by MSM and politicians are anything to go by), influential sites, and to see the things that occupy the people there.

    One thing is very clear from those sites, the papers are piss poor and cliquy.

    Warning: stay away from the NI sections if you’ve any sense.

  • SK

    There are honourable exceptions of course, but a lot of people didn’t seem to grasp what the thread was about. The whole “not an inch” thing is so ingrained in their psyche that even engaging in harmless hypotheticals is an act of treason.

  • Red Lion

    John, sk

    I think thats because of the way the 2 questions are framed.

    If the unionists had been asked for eg ‘what do you like about the ROI or Irish culture’ we might have had more ‘magnanimous’ answers. I dont think the question nationalists got asked, and the question unionists got asked are particularly similar.

    For the record I admire the localized way GAA is organized and promotes community spirit, pride in your local community and county rather than players jumping ship because they get paid more at a different club, like in association football. I didnt think the framing of the unionist question draws out such a response, sadly.

  • andnowwhat

    I think it’s an interesting angle. I’d often like to see the debating tactic of getting people to swap position and to try and see where people are coming from.

    The biggest problem as I see it is that there is not as much insight in to eachother’s community as one would hope.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    While I think the observation about the differential in generosity between this and its sister thread is fair, I also think it’s contrary to the spirit of the thing. It is, perhaps ironically, slightly ungenerous to point out the lack of generosity of others.

    One thing I’d miss about being in the UK is the fact that, when I go to Britain, though I regard myself as a foreigner there, THEY don’t.

    Definitely having my cake and eating it, I know.

    (But it’s worth remembering that being Irish in Britain was no joke, as recently as the late 90s.)

    Actually, you know what the best thing about being in an NI within the union is? The complete lack of responsibility, ultimately, for anything. What a remarkable luxury!

    However, I also think that’s the single most compelling reason why it’s wrong for us.

    Our luxury is utterly infantilising in effect.

  • SK

    “If the unionists had been asked for eg ‘what do you like about the ROI or Irish culture’ we might have had more ‘magnanimous’ answers.”


    I seriously doubt that. The tenor of the reponses on the other thread suggest a problem that goes beyond the mere wording of the question. A lot of folks seem outraged by the very idea of adopting a different viewpoint.

    It is not a redeeming feature.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Red Lion

    ‘I dont think the question nationalists got asked, and the question unionists got asked are particularly similar.’

    Nationalists were asked: ‘What’s great about living in the United Kingdom?’

    The mirror image of that question would be to ask unionists: What would be great about living in a united Ireland?

    In fact, unionists were asked: ‘What would you relish in a United Ireland?’

    Not semantically identical, sure.

    But pretty similar, no?

  • Alias

    The best thing about living in the UK was the loose virtue of English women combined with their love for a Dublin accent. Ah, what a great country to be young and free in…

    I can’t say that I’d like to see lots of English women moving to Ireland if Ireland rejoined the UK as the only form of reunification that is on the table now that I’m happily married so I guess I’ll just have to answer No if the poll asked ‘Do you want a bunch of state-subdisided northerners who have no respect for your state and no concept of self-determination to be an extra drain on your tax revenue.’

  • latcheeco

    Not wishing to cast cynical aspersions on the sincerity of a “serious-minded” tweet, or on the generosity of the sensitive nationalist posters on the thread who are no doubt eternally grateful to unionism for the Stretford End and HP Sauce and while looking for positives yet still realising that, unlike the other thread which asks questions about a country that doesn’t yet exist, this isn’t a hypothetical question, and leaving aside the initial 60 years of one party misrule at Stormont, mass economic discrimination, annual festive pogroms, inequality and second class citizenship, anti-irish racism and bias not least in state controlled media, previous mass harrassment of themmuns by state militias and paralell u.k govt. sanctioned murder gangs employed against random nationalists, endemic generational nationalist male unemployment, no industrial manufacturing sector to speak of, a ( civil)service dependent retail and callcenter economy, forced immigration and brain drain, and a carefully crafted dripfeed culture of welfare dependancy and spongery that inhibits enterprise, I’m going to plump for the Queen’s speech at Crimbo and the year round happy and enthusiastic visages of her clerks in the bru.

  • Reader

    john: we have one thread basically praising the British and most contributors although wanting a United Ireland speaking positively about the UK and another thread were most contributors have little to say other than a United Ireland is only palatable within the UK or with massive changes
    In this thread the massive changes have already happened. In the other scenario the massive changes are purely speculative.

  • carl marks

    The other thread was most disappointing; most of the posters seemed to be living in the land of long long ago.
    Here are some of my favourites ,
    Don’t want to be run by the catholic Church (must have missed the Taoiseach’s speech and the last 5 years really).
    Unionist statues and symbols’ at the Dail or the south would not be representative of the population as a whole. (We all admire the statue to Roger Casement and the all the wonderful displays of Irishness at Stormont.)
    Who would want to in a second rate country when they could be British ( have a look at the world boys Britain is a second rate country)
    The Irish are just interested in uniting territory not people. This one was hilarious when you consider that unionists brought this place to the edge of civil war for the right to march down roads without consulting the people who lived there.
    And comparing a UI to North Korea, really Turgon try to keep a sense of scale.

  • carl marks

    oh and i forgot the Simpson’s Irish episode is according to SOS a accurate portrayal of the way people see Ireland, wonder what he thought of the ones about Britain or does he also think that Groundskeeper Willie is a accurate representation of the way the world sees the scots.

  • tacapall

    From the other thread.

    “Ideally I’d like to see Ireland united as part of the UK with a channel tunnel like land bridge, but I’m guessing that won’t be on the table, so I’ll settle for a reduction in mopery and a major tourism dividend.”

    Its been thought of before –

    “The undersea rail link, proposed by engineer Luke Livingston Macassey, came to light during Mr Spaven’s research of Victorian-era railway maps and plans.

    He said: “The book has been a fantastic journey of discovery for me.

    One of the big surprises was a prospectus for a tunnel under the North Channel between Stranraer and Belfast.

    At first I thought it was a Victorian spoof, but through more research I found the person behind the idea was a competent and well regarded engineer.”

    According to Mapping the Railways, the proposals published in 1890 were for a rail link using either a tunnel, a submerged “tubular bridge” or a solid causeway.”

    Great idea though and if it could be realised would also be a game changer in the relationship between Ireland and Britain.

  • between the bridges

    apart from the fact that the two questions are unrelated ie the known and the unknown, the thing that strikes moi is most on this topic are more interested/obsessed in what is said on the other topic…

  • carl marks

    between the bridges

    true but then when you read the other the levels of bile and Hypocrisy on the other thread thread you cant really blame us,

  • carl marks

    sorry scratch the first “the other”, note to self proofread first.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Between the Bridges

    ‘…the two questions are unrelated…’

    They’re unrelated as two sides of the same coin.

    Now, they’re not identical (of course they’re not) but it’s completely wrong to say they are ‘unrelated.’

    These threads are interesting, because they throw down a common challenge. Both nationalists and unionists have been asked to think about what they admire, even like, about the constitutional set-up they oppose. Answering that question requires integrity, generosity, maturity, intellectual courage.

    This thread has seen a lot of the above. The other thread has seen some of it, but much less.

    It’s hard not to feel that that tells us something about the relative intellectual and moral cultures of the two traditions.

    Now, explanations have been put forward for the relative paucity of integrity, generosity, maturity, intellectual courage displayed on the other thread. For what it’s worth, I think many of those explanations hold water.

    Nevertheless, we’d all be happier if we saw integrity, generosity, maturity, intellectual courage, rather than excuses (however reasonable) for the absence of same.

  • Ulidian

    Billy Pilgrim

    Alternatively, answering the question requires honesty – that hasn’t dawned on you?

  • tacapall

    Thats correct Ulidian but then again this thread could have, like the other thread, digressed into what the other thread indulged in which was not what you would like to bring from the UK into a UI but rather what you hated about the UK.

  • between the bridges

    gentlemen, unless you are able to pat yourself on the back self praise is no praise….BP imho they unrelated, one question is on a subject that exist and needs no defining.
    the other is on an non existent subject that no one has yet defined, to quote your good self ‘about the constitutional set-up they oppose’ pray do tell what constitutional set-up that would that be? joint sovereignty, commonwealth, republic, federal, provincialism?…as i said unrelated questions but don’t let me interrupt the sharing of used kleenex…

  • carl marks

    take a look at some of the posts on the other thread, one poster referred to the head of state in ROI as a hobbit (granted the person concerned doesnt engage in debate but merely exists to troll),could you perhaps show me were the english Queen is treated with the same disrespect in this thread. another states “To be a citizen of a state that lauds back-shooters and assassins as its founding fathers would be stomach-churning.” but forgets that NI was formed at the point of a gun with plenty of assassins and backshooters involved. indeed i suspect he is proud of that terror group known as the “old uvf”.

  • Billy Pilgrim


    A strange question, if I may say so.

    Obviously, an answer of any value requires honesty.

    And many posters on the other thread have been completely honest in revealing their paucity of generosity, maturity and intellectual courage.

    What’s your point?

  • carl marks

    between the bridges
    perhaps you could answer the questions i posed to Ulidian,and point out where nationalists showed the same rudeness and immaturity that unionists displayed. at least we have something to pat ourselves on the back about ,it would be called acting like adults and having respect for our neighbours.

  • Billy Pilgrim


    I’ve acknowledged that the two questions are not, and cannot be, identical, but I’d suggest you are hiding behind the (peripheral) dissimilarities.

    The challenge thrown down by these threads is clear. I think it’s clear that you actually agree with many here, that posters on this thread have risen to the challenge more impressively than those on the other thread.

    Which is why you’re making a big deal about the (inevitable) dissimilarities between the two questions – as an excuse for what you clearly perceive (correctly) to be the comparatively disappointing response of unionists posters generally (with some honorable exceptions) to the intellectual and moral challenge of these threads.

  • Ulidian

    Billy Pilgrim

    Honesty in the rather obvious sense, ie. that they see absolutely nothing attractive about a “UI” – that’s probably the most common single opinion on the other thread.

  • between the bridges

    CM, if you think every comment on this thread is positive and magnanimous methinks you should look again.

    BP so i am right but i am wrong, go figure…

    Mick..sorry, won’t post again!!

  • Billy Pilgrim

    But anyway, let’s not sidetrack the debate. (I admit my share of responsibility. Apologies to all.)

    I can’t believe no-one has yet raised the most vexing question of all, a deal-breaker if ever there was one:

    What would be done about the whole Tayto situation?

    (A rogue, Continuity Tayto operating out of Tandragee, perhaps?)

  • Billy Pilgrim


    ‘Honesty in the rather obvious sense, ie. that they see absolutely nothing attractive about a “UI”

    And rather obviously, that was the challenge of the thread.

    I have observed that it takes integrity, generosity, maturity and intellectual courage for nationalists to consider what’s good about the UK, and that similarly it takes integrity, generosity, maturity and intellectual courage for unionists to consider what might be good about a united Ireland.

    For a person on either side to be unable to think of anything at all positive about what is, after all, the constitutional preference of the other half of NI, is startling indictment of that person’s integrity, generosity, maturity and intellectual courage.

    You praise this as ‘honesty,’ but in truth, there are more accurate descriptions. These come to mind:


    The extent to which this indictment can be generalised to whole communities is open to speculation; but these threads certainly make for interesting reading.

  • Roy Walsh

    Billy, thanks, ‘nail on head’ and goes deeper than sliced spud, what about cadbury chocolate? Would we be left with the fatty muck enjoyed in Strabane or the more luxurious coca enriched type in Lifford?
    With the attendant health risks? So again, there’s nothing better being confined in the UK than the potential for equity and freedom in re-unification.

  • andnowwhat

    Should we have a third thread by Mick, to discuss the merits of the other 2 rather than have them go off the rails with discussions about people’s posts?

  • andnowwhat

    How long does the UK that we are commenting on have? I’m not talking about the Scottish issue but the defragmentaion (Google Chrome is so limited) of GB’s society and the economic shift of focus upon the South east of England.

    Arguably, there are signs of intent towards the outer regions north of Watford Gap and NI and I can see no way that we can stand on our feet being neither Arthur nor Martha.

  • carl marks

    between the bridges
    if you point them out please as requested i would be more convinced and also if you were to perhaps say something about some of the quotes i give from the other thread i would be more inclined to take your remarks as more than a attempt to excuse what is (with a few exceptions) a collection of hatefilled rants.

  • SK

    “CM, if you think every comment on this thread is positive and magnanimous methinks you should look again.”


    There was the occasional needling comment, but let’s be honest, the proportion of spiteful posts was far higher amongst our friends on the other thread.

    As you already pointed out, a lot of people from this section were indeed paying close attention to the other one. I can’t speak for others, but for me it was intriguing to see how unionists discuss subjects such as their relationship with the south when there aren’t any nationalists around. I had assumed that the tone might be somewhat calmer than usual, mainly because there were no folks from ‘the other side’ around to stir the pot or put people on the defensive. It didn’t seem to pan out that way, unfortunately.

    It seems a lot of unionists lack the basic capacity to entertain a viewpoint which is not their own, even if it is in a non-confronational environment and even if they are discussing a scenario which is admittedly some way down the road at best. Perhaps some stereotypes have a shred of truth to them.

  • Red Lion

    Billy Pilgrim, your point at 12.34

    honestly, what the unionist thread shows is that the first thing unionists are forced to ask themselves is, ‘actually, what the hell is a United Ireland’.

    I was looking forward to this thread andf talking positively about the GAA and the way it is set up in particular-that was my positive intention until i tried to specifically answer the question ‘relish in a UI’.

    It was the way the question was framed did not encourage me to do this. My admiration of the way the GAA is organized is not dependant on their being a United Ireland, so this dynamic to the question completely threw my good intentions, and led me off in another direction.

    Instead it encouraged me to consider all the twists and turns of how a UI might look, and the potential unionist place in a UI. Shame.

  • Mick Fealty

    Okay guys, I see the original rule is breaking down any way… can we have your concluding remarks (if you haven’t already)…

    Will use it to pull together a short summary post tomorrow…

  • Billy Pilgrim


    The circumstances of nationalism and unionism fundamentally differ, in that nationalists are talking about the status quo, whereas unionists are talking about a hypothetical – indeed, a hypothetical that they instinctively regard as a dystopian nightmare.

    There are, of course, some things about the status quo that are objectively positive. It would be remarkable if there weren’t. And nationalists seem able to acknowledge these things, without compromising their principles. Unionism seems less able to do so.

    Now, the challenge for unionists was greater, but what was remarkable was not the failure of most unionist posters to rise to that challenge (with a few honorable exceptions) but the refusal to even try. Even for the sake of argument. Even as an intellectual exercise.

    I (rather cheekily) intruded on the other thread, but in my defence, I did make an honest effort to put forward my best ‘unionist ideas for a unionist thread.’ I must have put forward twenty arguments – some frivolous, but most were serious – and few of them were shot down, so they can’t have been all that daft.

    Of course, nationalists have much more practice at thinking about this issue than unionists, but it’s striking that one nationalist intruder could put forward more ideas than all the unionist posters combined.

    This thread suggests that nationalists are aware of some of the good things about the status quo, belying defamatory caricatures of anti-Britishness etc.

    The other thread suggests a remarkable degree of complacency, and intellectual moribundity within unionism.

  • latcheeco

    Posters on this thread can pat themselves on the back for their courage, adult conversation, and openness when considering concessions to unionism in a United Ireland if they want, but the responses on the other thread clearly and depressingly show that unionism will laugh in their faces as long as it can and their strategy smacks of a proverbial spoiled child being coaxed to behave with appeals to reason.

    And patronising unionists by telling them how much we realize how wonderful Ulster prods really are, and how much their wonderful qualities would fix Ireland must be as nauseating to unionists as it is ineffectual for nationalists.

    These threads show that even hypothetical overtures are met with howls of derision.There is nothing in unionist history that shows they are open to persuasion on unification. But nationalism, as evidenced above, for some reason feels the need to employ strategies that encourages them to think we are.

  • Alias

    The ‘our thread is better than their thread’ stuff is a bit childish, and lamentably predictable.

    The problem for ‘nationalists’ in Northern Ireland is these speculative exercises is that no-one in Ireland appointed them as negotiators on behalf of the Irish nation and its state, and no-one in Ireland has even the remotest intention of ever doing so.

    The reasons are threefold: firstly, the principle of self-determination holds that only those entitled to vote with the jurisdiction are entitled to determine these matters according to their collective interest; secondly, the post-nationalists in Northern Ireland have given up their former right to Irish national self-determination and have accepted the legitimacy of British rule in its entirety and now happily submit to the veto of another nation, and are being used to encourage those who have not done so (the citizens of Ireland) to follow their dismal example; lastly, any ‘concessions’ they offer are not to be made by them but by those who have not offered any concessions.

    The post-nationalists in Northern Ireland are encourage to view their continued and expanded rejection of Irish national self-determination as “generosity” and “courage” on their part when, in reality, it is merely the product of their lack of understanding of the principle of self-determination.

    On the other hand, the unionists have not been subjected to a state-sponsored campaign that was aimed at undermining their right to national self-determination as members of the British nation and therefore are determined to hold onto their right. This might be dismissed as a lack of “generosity” and “courage” etc but it is no more than a nation asserting its national rights, now fully vindicated and legitimized post-GFA, and recognizing that, unlike the post-nationalists, they so not have to engage in pleading in order to assert a right that is now constitutionally inviolable and indisputably held.

  • andnowwhat. Hi. you cited ‘’, but on trying to access it the other day, seems you can’t get into it. maybe best to stay away from it altogether then.