The Covenant had its day. A new one is needed

It’s salutary to see the scanty outside news coverage in advance of the Ulster Covenant anniversary focusing  on a  few hundred metres of territory around Carlisle Circus. The heritage of unionism seems reduced to rioting and bigotry. Many will agree, however unfairly.  For the most part it’s about just another day of tricky parades management that provokes the uncomprehending, exasperated  response from outsiders: “ But we thought that was all over.”

I don’t myself accept all of Robin Wilson’s too- negative reading of the Covenant and its context in events. Resistance to the political intolerable was deep rooted and not only stirred up by a self interested elite.” Home Rule all round” that is, for Scotland and Wales too, was a vague Liberal aspiration not a policy.  What Ulster Day 1912 achieved in a phrase, was to assert the principle of self determination.  But this was not easily or quickly accepted.  Were Ulster Unionists “ a people?” Were they entitled  to self determination? Dispute  raged for generations.  Here is good review of the debate in the south .

In any case the limits of self determination were exposed when it came to mean in practice, self determination by one side in the North, just as “the Glorious Revolution “ of 1688 had been glorious only for a Protestant elite. This was unionism’s tragic and fatal flaw of our time that cannot be cancelled out by any amount of whataboutery.  The current sense of Unionist dispossession being anxiously pored over is exaggerated but they might have felt better about themselves much earlier had they conceded a generation before what would have cost them little: equality of rights and opportunity.  Instead, they fell in with the beat of the marching bands.

De facto the south went along with accepting the northern State shamefacedly.   But even at the first serious attempt to renegotiate the stand-off settlement of partition, at Sunningdale in 1973, the Republic could not quite bring themselves fully to concede northern self determination as one of their main contributions to the package; their statement stood alongside unreconciled  with the British 1972 Northern Ireland Act substituting a Northern referendum on union or unity  for the consent of the defunct Stomont parliament. The Irish Constitution was their alibi, though they promised to try to change it – and failed. It was only in the  Good Friday Agreement a quarter century later that self determination on unity or Union was conceded all round.

The acceptance of self determination does not  of course dispose of identity politics or remove the relativist nature of the 1998 agreement – what the Sinn Fein MP Pat Doherty  has neatly called “an accommodation,  not a settlement.” But it does challenge the two sides to emerge blinking out of the trenches of 1912 -22. “A shared future” right headed though it is, fails to inspire. What can the new Northern Ireland find to counteract the worst of tradition and complement the best of it?

While even its natural opponents might grudgingly concede a touch of admiration for the effectiveness of  Ulster Day 1912, there is in truth little for unionists to celebrate in how they governed the place, even if we discount  the more extreme MOPE criticisms. That remains a problem for them.  Throughout  the Troubles unionists moaned they were much misunderstood. Beating critics over the head, literally as they frequently did, failed to persuade.  There was a unionist case but it had to be finely judged, and seldom was.

Confusion and incoherence are results of a failure of the majority DUP to explain their shift in St Andrew’s Agreement  to  full acceptance of power sharing  other than by a final acceptance of absolute political weakness and party self interest. They might start by scaling down the rhetoric of unionist   nationalism   and embracing  “British values” that are indistinguishable from those of the modern Republic.    Only by reconstructing politically for more warmhearted engagement with their neighbours will they be able to claim the respect for which they crave.  There are faint signs but they are far from strong enough.

 

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  • Mc Slaggart

    “was to assert the principle of self determination”

    Nope, it was the birth of violence to get your own way if you did not like the outcome of the democratic process.

  • SK

    “The heritage of unionism seems reduced to rioting and bigotry”

    ______

    Unionism has itself to thank for that.

    Sky News was treating this march as if it were some exotic event in a far away land. The correspondent looked like he was on safari or something.

    Ironic that the event served to highlight how far removed from modern day notions of Britishness our loyal friends are. Nick Griffin seemed to enjoy himself though.

  • andnowwhat

    Some of unionsm’ highlights that come to my mind are the UWC strike, the Whiterock parade protest and associated serious violence, Drumcree and then the recent obfuscation over Carlisle Circus.

    Then the status quo is that which one desires, it’s very easy to hide behind a veil of respectability but as the above shows, it only takes a breeze to blow it aside.

  • Hopping The Border

    It would appear at least one major politician from Britain is over to show his support:

    http://twitter.com/nickgriffinmep/status/252072830068469760/photo/1

  • SK ‘….served to highlight how far removed from …britishness our loyal friends are’
    It’s ironic alright, but unionists are constantly disappointed at how little they [or anyone here counts as part of the cultural life of the nation known as Britain. While folk over there see us only as part of the administrative entity called the UK, and not the nation. slow learners still

  • Submariner

    ” What Ulster Day 1912 achieved in a phrase, was to assert the principle of self determination. ”

    Er no it was about the usurping of democracy and introducing the gun and terrorism into modern Irish Politics. Unionism and democracy are mutually exclusive terms.

  • sherdy

    Respect never comes to those who crave it – just to those who earn it!

  • Brian Walker

    1. Certainly the threat of violence was explicit but it was conditional and their aim was actually achievable without it . So much so that even by 1912, the threat of violence was likely to achieve less than political campaigning with perhaps the threat of civil disobedience in the background. In other words, they were pushing against an opening door.

    2. The contrast between unionism’s power then and now is massive.

    3.There’s something in the claim that Ulster Day was one of the events that introduced the threat of the gun into Irish mass politics. But don’t let’s forget decades of agrarian violence. By 1914, the UVF may have provided one line of inspiration to Pearse. But is it quite credible to claim that nationalism was completely pacific until 1916, when out of the blue it became revolutionary?

    4. Do unionism’s regular critics insist that violence or the threat of violence is never justified? Do they all maintain that the iRA had no case? I hadn’t noticed.

    5. I’m not out to defend unionism here, only to give an explanation of what they achieved politically. It worked, if not in the way they hoped. By 1920, the unionists were the only Home Rulers on the island.

    5. I do love a good old historical wrangle provided we aren’t history’s prisoners and don’t project it onto today.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Brian violence is:

    “Strength of emotion or an unpleasant or destructive natural force.”
    Wikipedia

    “In other words, they were pushing against an opening door.”

    No what they did was push other people into violence and we all have had to live with the outcome of it.

    As for your line “was to assert the principle of self determination” the nationalist people of Tyrone and Fermanagh will find it particularly daft suggestion.

  • Covenanter

    “No what they did was push other people into violence and we all have had to live with the outcome of it.”

    What is this nonsense? Irish separatists had been engaging in bouts of violence in almost every generation since 1641. The Irish Republican Brotherhood was set up by former Fenians who had been involved in that organisation’s previous failed terror campaign. They always intended to use violence when the opportunity arose and that opportunity was World War One.

    The attempt by modern day republicans to blame unionists for outbreaks of republican violence are pathetic and laughable.

  • Greenflag

    @ BW ,

    ‘While even its natural opponents might grudgingly concede a touch of admiration for the effectiveness of Ulster Day 1912,’

    Indeed . It was probably the biggest ‘sign up ‘ since the Chartists three ‘million signatures ‘ and petitions in the 1830/1840’s .

    ‘there is in truth little for unionists to celebrate in how they governed the place,’

    True . They backed themselves into a political cul de sac /cage and unsurprisingly showed symptoms of ratomorphic behaviour . Like Janus they had to look front and back and pretend their ears were not hearing what their eyes were seeing and vice versa. But of course they could have been a whole lot worse but corralled as they were within the Westminster system for financial purposes even they could only get away with so much before the inevitable brought them to account and Stormont into suspension.

    Ironically ‘Unionists ‘ who signed the Covenant in opposition to Home Rule now have Home Rule of a kind which they now must share with those who would have supported Home Rule back in 1912 , and who because of subsequent events went on to demand complete independence .

    So who’s the winner then ? Not that it matters as to a great extent both the pro and anti Home Rulers in NI have been losers each in both similar and unique ways .

    Anyway it’s 2012 and not 1912 and the future beckons . Perhaps if there is cause ever for another Covenant -it’ll be done on line 😉 ?

    Somehow I don’t think it would have the same impact .

  • Mc Slaggart

    “What is this nonsense?”

    The Covenant was about using violence to destroy the democratic process.

    As for the IRB there view was, “that is, the “common people are the rightful rulers of their own destiny,”” They were happy to accept the democratic process built upon the votes of the people.

    BTW:
    Brian is using the strange logic that if you threaten physical violence and get your own way somehow that is not violence.

  • Greenflag

    @ Covenater ,

    ”Irish separatists had been engaging in bouts of violence in almost every generation since 1641.’.

    So what else would you expect

    After all British /English /Norman French ‘Unionists’ had been engaging in violence , conquest , murder , war , transportations , etc since 1169 . The fact that it took the Irish ‘separatists’ several centuries to up the ante is a tribute to their patience I’d have thought .

    Actually the attempt by some ‘unionists ‘to blame everybody bar themselves for their current political predicament is not pathetic but sad . It would be laughable too if it were’nt for the fact that the joke has gone on too long 🙁

  • Covenanter

    Just to be clear McSlaggart you are claiming that The Covenant, which was a document, was all about violence and destroying democracy although the people who signed it did not embark in violence and abided by the democratic vote. At the same time you are claiming that the IRB, a secret terrorist orgainsation which was actually responsible for thousands of deaths, was in fact made up of democrats.

    Do you expect to be taken seriously?

  • DC

    @Hopping the Border

    Big deal, Nick Griffin turned up, he is a British nationalist, Martin McGuinness and Adams are Irish nationalists, all three are just branches of a big tree trunk of an ideology called ‘nationalism’.

    But!

    Question: what’s the difference between Nick Griffin and Martin McGuinness?

    Answer: Griffin’s murdered less.

  • Covenanter

    “The fact that it took the Irish ‘separatists’ several centuries to up the ante is a tribute to their patience I’d have thought .”

    I think that the people who butchered 20% of the Ulster Protestants in 1641 would be a bit peeved to hear that taking over a post office, or shooting a few policemen in the back was ‘upping the ante’. The fact is that by 1921 the British had rightly concluded that the south of Ireland was a burden which they no longer required.

  • Covenanter

    “Actually the attempt by some ‘unionists ‘to blame everybody bar themselves for their current political predicament is not pathetic but sad .”

    What political predicament btw? The union seems to be pretty secure.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Covenanter

    “The Covenant, which was a document…. it did not embark in violence .”

    The act itself was an act of violence. To threaten violence to get your own way is an act of violence. People go to prison for it all the time.

  • Covenanter

    “The act itself was an act of violence. To threaten violence to get your own way is an act of violence. People go to prison for it all the time.”

    I think that you need to get yourself a bit of perspective. Nowhere in the Covenant was any violence threatened. On the other hand the IRB, the people who you call democrats, organised a criminal terrorist conspiracy which resulted in thousands of deaths. Many of those deaths resulting from the most disgusting cowardly terrorist actions imaginable. Yet you laud the IRB and protest that the Covenant was ‘undemocratic’.

  • Mc Slaggart

    “Nowhere in the Covenant was any violence threatened.”

    “in using all means which may be found necessary to defeat the present conspiracy to set up a Home Rule Parliament in Ireland.”

    The Covenant

  • AnAverageGael

    Covenant(er)

    “IRB, a secret terrorist orgainsation”..

    People who fought an invading force and tackled their brutal regime are not terrorists surely.

    I suppose all those who oppose Unionism are wrong? In the mind of a Unionist of course.

    Can do no wrong, have done no wrong.

  • Covenanter

    As I said nowhere in the Covenant is violence threatened. The IRB on the other hand did not simply threaten violence. They just went ahead and started to murder people. Ludicrously you claim that they were democratic.

  • Covenanter

    “People who fought an invading force and tackled their brutal regime are not terrorists surely.”

    In order to have fought an invading force they would have required a time machine and the ability to tackle Norman cavalry.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Covenanter:

    “FOR UNIONISTS, that day, Ulster Day, September 28th, 1912 has all the historical resonances and meaning that the Rising represents for nationalists. It was their Rising. And, like with the latter, today many still want, and are able, to insist proudly on their grandparents’ participation in what was scarcely any less an act of mass rebellion against lawful authority. It was an open commitment to defy and repudiate the will of parliament if Home Rule was introduced, and a pledge to resort to “all means which may be found necessary” that would later be expressed in early 1913 in the founding, drilling and arming of the Ulster Volunteer Force.”
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2012/0929/1224324605037.html

  • Covenanter

    That is a really interesting opinion but it does not diminish the absolute fact that there was no threat of violence in the Ulster Covenant.

  • AnAverageGael

    The invasion lasted a while I thought….

  • Mc Slaggart

    Covenanter I am glad you do not see any no threat of violence in the Ulster Covenant. It makes it all the stranger that people claimed to have signed it in blood. Is their any other documents that Unionism expect some people to sign in Blood? Passports? Tax return?

  • Great news. today at Donegall st with the behaviour of the marchers showed that Norn Iron is already a failed state. It will never survive because it’s inherently flawed. The Protestant State for a Protestant people is today, stillborn. D emographics will speed its demise. Goodbye Carson. Your experiment has failed.

  • roadnottaken

    “The heritage of unionism seems reduced to rioting and bigotry. Many will agree, however unfairly.”

    No, no, it’s deserved alright.

    Northern Unionism had it’s day out, but this summer has only served to remind us all of the nature of it’s ‘culture’. The Covenant was an act of war against the Irish people and their desire for Home Rule, and ultimately split this island in two. I believe that the next time that Unionism celebrates Ulster Day on a large scale, Ulster, will in fact, be 9 Counties once more.

  • myheadscut

    Carson and his string puller James Craig had a totally different agenda then for being against Home Rule. They didnt want it as they worried the north of ireland would lose out due to it’s highly industrialised economy. So if home rule happened they were worried about losing out when it came to the south having mainly agrarian farmland and how this could have negative effects to ulster’s majority protestant population.

    So if that was the case then, have things not changed massively since then? Carson didnt want the partition and resigned thinking he had been a failure. So I dont understand why the covenent has become so important for unionism now. The main reason Carson was worried about evaporated after partition and Northern Ireland became a majority protestant state. So Home Rule would have been fine?? Unionists had a free hand to dominate politically for over 40yrs after that before the civil rights movement asked for equality in education, jobs, housing etc.

    It seems a huge waste of time to me personally that during the late 60’s early 70’s a power sharing executive was mooted and almost came to be. Paisley mobilised support to paralyse N.I. with strikes and brought down Terrance O’Neill’s government.

    Fast forward 25-30 yrs and we have “The Peace Process”. So now we have a power sharing agreement it is now with two more extreme parties (DUP/SF) and we had the madness of the troubles in between to end up with a worse result than the O’Neill governments attempts to have power sharing with the more moderate parties of nationalism and unionism. What a waste of time, effort and lives

  • Greenflag

    @mcslaggart,

    The Covenanter is just another name for this genius who also dresses in ‘black’ 😉

  • Greenflag

    @ myheadscut,

    ‘What a waste of time, effort and lives’

    Indeed . But then so too was WW1 which gave us Yugoslavia (another waste ) Czechoslovakia , Northern Ireland , the Irish Free State and Palestine .

    Money makes money which makes more money -the law of compound interest .

    Political stupidity gives rise to even more political stupidity which creates even more political stupidity

    And so it goes .

    Not per ardua ad astra more like per political stupidity into the sewer of inhumanity 🙁

  • Greenflag

    @ mcslaggart ,

    I see Michael McDowell must have been reading some of slugger’s archives 😉 ?

    “I incline to the belief that Irish independence, in which I am a strong believer, owes its existence to the armed resistance to Home Rule, and thus, by supreme irony, it seems to me, the Ulster Covenant therefore numbers among the founding documents of Irish freedom.

    I would’nt go quite as far as calling the Covenant a founding document OF Irish freedom more accurately it was a document against any notion of Irish self determination .

    But it’s still probably true that without the Covenant and the later Unionist armed resistance to Home Rule the Irish Republic would probably not exist and this island would be in the same devolutionary mode today as Scotland or Wales .
    Perhaps Covenant Day could be renamed ‘Thank a Unionist day ‘ A step too far perhaps and probably not appreciated by the men in black .

  • HeinzGuderian

    Yet another thread full of nothing,save bluster,bollox and bullshit.

    In short it’s ‘A Notion Once Again’ all over again…….nat/rep chums,do please hold your breaths !! 😉

  • tacapall

    DC 29 September 2012 at 10:03 pm

    “Question: what’s the difference between Nick Griffin and Martin McGuinness?

    Answer: Griffin’s murdered less.”

    Im surprised this post is still even on this site. other websites have been shut down for less.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    We have to be careful not to treat 1912 as if people then knew 21st Century values. It was a time of transition from Victorian worldviews to ’20th Century’ worldviews. There wasn’t even universal suffrage then; the end of the era of Empire may have been visible but it wasn’t a reality yet; etc. A lot of the attitudes on both sides then seem to us now – and are – antiquated, from a different era.

    The significance of the Ulster Covenant for me was that it was a landmark in the clarification of the “Irish question” – establishing once and for all that there were two peoples on the island to consider, with different national allegiances. Thereafter, talking of the “Irish people” as if it was one single national group has been patently a nonsense (though 1912 was not the beginning or the end of the establishment of that principle).

    Really it was the playing out of democratisation of the issues around national allegiance on the island: the idea that sovereignty resides in the national allegiances of people on the ground, not on externally imposed concepts like “the country of Ireland”. People showed they were not prepared to have such decisions made for them by others who supposedly knew better. Its legacy wasn’t so much “self-determination for Ulster Protestant people” so much as applying European and global principles of drawing borders to the Ireland situation (see the Treaty of Versailles arrangements for the drawing of post-WW1 borders). It was people of British allegiance in what was to become NI saying, ‘If you’re deciding forms of sovereignty and government based on local wishes rather than central decisions from big conglomerate states like the UK or Austria-Hungary, then please take note of the majority sentiment in this region.’ The logic of that was unassailable, because to ignore it would have meant creating a national minority of around a million instead of one of around half a million.

    This principle of minimising the number of people in national minorities caught on the wrong side of international borders (i.e. in countries other than the ones to whom they give allegiance) is the main guiding principle upon which Europe’s borders were rationalised. It still stands as the basis for all international borders to this day. The Ulster Covenanters of course didn’t have any of this in mind, but through simply standing up for their ethnie and demanding it be counted, they helped prevent a huge injustice being done to a net figure of half a million people.

  • IJP

    Excellent article as ever Brian, and excellent response.

    Mainland Ulster sums up my own difficult with the whole issue of the Covenant.

    On one hand, it was ludicrous. It was an overtly sectarian attempt (in that only Protestants felt able to sign it) to subvert the democratic will of the UK. The notion of “loyalty” is seriously flawed – it was scarcely loyal to go against the will of the British people’s Parliament by introducing German guns to British soil.

    On the other, even if inadvertently, it did establish an essential principle of self-determination (although it is important to note that that principle was not Carson’s).

    I struggle with the same to this day. Of course it was better – even if by an appalling numbers game – to avoid as far as possible too large a national minority in Ireland just as it was in Silesia, Schleswig and elsewhere.

    What is frightening is that, in 100 years, we still haven’t moved on. Even now, states are unthinkingly recognizing Kosovo as a state purely because of its ethnic majority, consigning yet another national group to minority status in their own land. Should we really not be striving for better than that in a progressive society?

    It’s not easy!

  • Reader

    tacapall: Im surprised this post is still even on this site. other websites have been shut down for less.
    Actually, there shouldn’t be any real risk. MMcG has already been convicted of IRA membership. Saying that he is a murderer adds little more other than that he managed to turn intent to effect. Of course, Provos don’t regard their killings as murder, but that half of the argument wouldn’t stand up in court.

  • Covenanter

    “Great news. today at Donegall st with the behaviour of the marchers showed that Norn Iron is already a failed state. It will never survive because it’s inherently flawed. The Protestant State for a Protestant people is today, stillborn. D emographics will speed its demise. Goodbye Carson. Your experiment has failed.”

    Northern Ireland moved on from being a Protestant state for a Protestant people long before the ROI ceased to be a Catholic state for a catholic people. We managed that transition without the widespread child abuse that brought Rome rule to an end.

    Carson did not advocate a Protestant state for a Protestant people. He did advocate the right of the British people of what is now Northern Ireland to opt out of the breakaway Free State. In that he was hugely successful even if it did not work out in the manner he hoped for.

  • Covenanter

    “It seems a huge waste of time to me personally that during the late 60′s early 70′s a power sharing executive was mooted and almost came to be. Paisley mobilised support to paralyse N.I. with strikes and brought down Terrance O’Neill’s government.”

    Where on earth do people get this nonsense from..

  • carl marks

    Covenanter
    Did the covenant not lead to the formation of the unionist terror group known as the UVF, did the UVF not threaten violence against the British state and did it not engage (and still does) in acts of sectarian violence against Catholics.
    No the covenant doesn’t mention Violence but if you where being honest you would admit that those who signed it knew (as much as you would like to deny it ) that violence would be the result of the signing.
    Comparable to the fiction you are trying to peddle is the one being peddled by those politicians who set up Ulster resistance claiming that it subsequent violence was nothing to do with them.

  • Greenflag

    It’s called factual history Covenanter ,There was a Sunningdale Agreement -there was an Ulster Workers (Protestants only ) strike .Capt O’Neill’s ‘moderate ‘ if patronising stance was defeated by the ‘ hard men ‘ who eventually surrendered to Sinn Fein power sharing in government .

  • Covenanter

    Factual history would tell us that Capt O’Neill was long gone before Sunningdale, but don’t let the facts get in the way of your version of history.

  • Covenanter

    “Did the covenant not lead to the formation of the unionist terror group known as the UVF, did the UVF not threaten violence against the British state and did it not engage (and still does) in acts of sectarian violence against Catholics.”

    The UVF was formed up after the covenant, and if you travel to Thiepval barracks in Lisburn you will see an official British army monument to their exploits. They were not terrorists and they are in no way related to the current UVF which was formed in 1966.

    As you point out the covenant did not contain any threat of violence.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mainland Ulsterman
    ” establishing once and for all that there were two peoples on the island to consider, with different national allegiances.”

    I think your view is a bit simplistic for example take Arthur Griffith (founder of sf) and his wish for a separate co-equal kingdom.

  • Covenanter

    “I think your view is a bit simplistic for example take Arthur Griffith (founder of sf) and his wish for a separate co-equal kingdom.”

    Surely it was his view that turned out to be a bit simplistic?

  • anne warren

    Brian says a new covenant is needed .
    It is not.

    “The Ulster Covenant was an oath that every man in Ulster would be called upon to sign. It stated that their right to remain citizens of the United Kingdom would be defended by “all means which may be found necessary”. The Covenant itself was never presented to the government. In fact, it was never presented to anyone. It was simply a huge statement of defiance and intent”,
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-politics-19718680

    Isn’t the GFA/Belfast Agreement the new dispensation?
    The 1920 Ireland Act was repealed, the ROI abrogated articles 2 and 3 (?) of its Constitution
    Nobody mentioned repealing or abrogating the Ulster Covenant.
    Perhaps because it didn’t/doesn’t count for much?
    Maybe someone should inform the marchers?

    It’s importance exists only in the mind of those who celebrate it.
    Yesterday and today there was no major TV or press coverage in the UK.
    No member of HM’s family or government attended the march/celebration.
    Did any world-famous celebrities attend?
    What about famous writers or scientists?
    Artistes and Painters?

  • Covenanter

    “Did any world-famous celebrities attend?”

    Garn. The absence of Justin Timberlake reduces the whle thing to a sham.

  • carl marks

    Covenanter
    Aw the old ” the old UVF where really nice people ” argument.
    Perhaps you should look at the history of the UVF, their deeds during ww1 may be remembered at Thiepival barracks but they also murdered many Catholics for being Catholics both before and after ww1,
    However i understand it is difficult for you to admit it as then you would also have to admit that Northern Ireland was founded on sectarianism and sectarian violence and the UVF was formed by those who covenant, signed the covenant and it was the document that the unionist terror group grew out of.

  • Covenanter

    Can you detail the murders carried out by the UVF before WW1 and indeed after it?

    The sectarian violence surrounding the birth of Northern Ireland was considerably less damaging to the northern nationalist community than the sectarian violence surrounding the birth of the Free State was to southern unionists.

  • carl marks

    anne warren
    It’s importance exists only in the mind of those who celebrate it.
    Yesterday and today there was no major TV or press coverage in the UK.
    No member of HM’s family or government attended the march/celebration.
    Did any world-famous celebrities attend?
    What about famous writers or scientists?
    Artistes and Painters?

    Anne that’s not fair, one leader of a British Party turned up, Nick Griffen the leader of a party that revels in hating people because they are different; he must have felt right at home except at home his party would not have been allowed to carry on like the marchers did yesterday

  • anne warren

    Carl
    Griffin was there “in a personal capacity”
    The exception confirms the rule!!!

  • Carl Marks. There’s the rub. The nation unionists are neurotically desperate to belong to, doesn’t want to know. The pathetic BBC in belfast and UTV are scared to put this reality to the hordes of vermin marching to the sectarian tune. The PSNI, according to loyalists, have no balls, and that is why PC rulings are being breached. It’s obvious that the game is close to being up for unionism. The squeals for help are ringing out as seen on Nolan’s TV show the other night. The OO will be held to account after Saturday.

  • Greenflag

    @ Confused Covenater ,

    ‘Factual history would tell us that Capt O’Neill was long gone before Sunningdale, ‘

    I did’nt state he was’nt . The point is that Captain O’Neill in 1969 and Brian Faulkner in 1974 were defeated by the same forces that eventually surrendered to SF in 1998 .

    There are good reasons why Northern Ireland today has mandatory power sharing and will never again have ‘Unionist ‘majority rule .

    Unless of course ‘Unionists ‘ decide to opt for another partition and become a Gibraltar or some such .

    Good luck with that option and best wishes in your efforts to make the cage smaller:(

  • “defeated by the same forces that eventually surrendered to SF in 1998”

    Blair and Ahern ‘surrendered’ to SF in 1998 but they weren’t in power on those earlier dates, Greenflag. More recently, we had the former Irish president, Mary McAleese, endorsing and lauding the Finaghy Crossroads Group, a collective of loyalist and republican paramilitaries. The NI electorate in 1998 had a choice between side-deals involving Blair, Ahern and paramilitaries and what was on offer in the 1998 Agreement.