Parlor Games: Why no talk of “two Scotlands” despite their sectarian divide?

What makes it legitimate for the Scottish people, composed as they are of Scottish Unionists and Nationalists (and, if you insist, “Others”), to vote on independence as one national group?

I’ve never subscribed to the “two Irelands” or “two nations” theory in Irish politics but Scottish Nationalists be forewarned, it could be coming your way soon.

It boils down to this: Though Ireland voted for independence in the 1918 General Election (Sinn Fein winning a massive 73 of the 105 seats) this vote was not a true expression of national rights (and was therefore lacked legitimacy) because Irish Unionists constituted a distinct “national group” with their own “national rights” – including the right to secede from the majority of the country’s expressed desire for independence form Britain and self-government.

I’ve generally boxed this “Two Nations” theory as a less than coherent attempt to (i) delegitimize the integrity of the Irish Republican vision (in the broadest United Irishman sense) while (ii) retroactively legitimizing the efforts – many foul – of the Protestant Ascendency of Grattan’s era and later, of Protestant Unionists in the post-1801 years, to refuse to live on the island as equals.*

(Sidetrack alert: Of course I accept that living as “equals” in a “democratic” Ireland dominated by Catholicism and riddled with sectarianism would have meant precious little actual equality for the minority of non-Catholics. But that’s a separate point for a separate thread and one that makes it too easy to airbrush over many of the nefarious and nakedly self-serving motives of Ireland’s and later Northern Ireland’s governing class.)

So, I ask you Two Nation theorists, why doesn’t your theory apply to Scotland?

Or does it and in the event of the SNP winning the independence vote, might it once again?

*In fairness to Two Nation theorists and Unionists generally, the Two Nations theory has also been advocated explicitly by Nationalist bigots like Sinn Fein’s Arthur Edward Clery (1879–1932), and implicitly, to this very day, by a Dublin Administration too complacent with narrow and exclusive expressions of “Irishness” as all Green and little Orange.

  • IJP

    Ruarai

    My starter for ten…

    I think there is a clear distinction between Irish people who regard themselves as British and those who do not. Bluntly, in the overwhelming number of cases, the former are Protestant and the latter Catholic (jolted particularly into those groups from 1801 and again from 1908) – you and I don’t like that, but it is essentially the case.

    Whereas that distinction is not apparent in Scotland – where Nationalists are often quite open about also being British. There is also no other obvious divide (historically it is almost the reverse of what you would expect, with Catholics largely opting for Labour).

    Over to the rest of you…!

  • “I’ve generally boxed this “Two Nations” theory as a less than coherent attempt to ..”

    Ruari, I’d imagine that if Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Methodists had been evenly distributed across the island then there would have been no partition. What we had a century ago was a majority of Catholics on the island ranged against a majority of Protestants in the north-east of the island.

    The perception that Protestants indulged in ‘foul’ activities during the past two centuries and Catholics didn’t IMO is a heavily jaundiced one.

  • Ruarai

    Nevin, I’d normally try to let these threads just flow but this comment – The perception that Protestants indulged in ‘foul’ activities during the past two centuries and Catholics didn’t – is such a blantant attempt to misrepresent what I’ve said that I think you own me a mea culpa. You cannot possibly have read what I’ve written as a suggestion that “Catholics didn’t”? Bad form.

  • Red Lion

    Because in Ireland there were 2 groupings who considered themselves largely generally distinct from one another in manysignificant ways, culturally, nationally, historically, almost to the point of feeling like 2 ethnic groupings. And as Nevin says there was also a geographical distinctness.

    Such a level of distinct-ness doesn’t seemed to exist in Scotland.

    Scotland has been a much happier, settled country than Ireland, and therefore any subtle nuances of Scottishness and/or Britishness within the country haven’t had the backdrop to become ‘stark’ or divisive. Perhaps the current constitutional debate might provide the backdrop for such subtlties to become ‘stark’ and divisive, as the thread says, who knows? But I can’t see it becoming so stark that violence erupts as per Ireland.

  • DC

    Today generally people have bigger relationships with market forces than state ones which will make it difficult to cultivate a simple split based on your own imagined relationship with the British or Scottish state as is currently in play. People have been left to fend for themselves and battle it out with their own banks for personal finance because politics and government have pretty much vacated that area and handed us all the credit cards to spend instead, rather than have the state rack up big debt via public borrowing.

    Identities and interests are so fragmented nowadays through the deepening of market forces and consumerism and technology and internet in particular that trying to boil down the current debate into two big bulky camps probably wont cut the mustard.

  • Ruari, you were quite happy to use the ‘foul’ epithet against one set of protagonists so you can expect to be called on it.

    The ‘integrity of the Republican vision’ is a curious term. John Nevin, an ancestral cousin and Reformed Presbyterian, was a UI leader in north Antrim in ’98. He wasn’t part of a ‘Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter’ grouping; he found himself on the opposite side of Protestants, Catholics and other Dissenters.

  • Brian Walker

    “So, I ask you Two Nation theorists, why doesn’t your theory apply to Scotland?”

    To answer the question ruarai, although I’m not any kind of theorist; theory is something made up that works for you. Nobody is compelled to apply it and democratic politics is not conducted as theory. That’s one answer.

    The other answer is that there’s a range of political topics in Scotland not a fundamental zero sum game for and against independence, despite its current salience. Only recently has their national question become dominant. Lucky for them the battle lines have not hardened and there’s every chance they never will, whatever the result of the referendum. Unlike the Ireland of almost a century ago.

  • “Why no talk of “two Scotlands” despite their sectarian divide?”

    The relative sizes of the Christian sects in Scotland is radically different from that in Ireland and AFAIK the political splits don’t coincide with the religious ones; also AFAIK the legacy of the Wars of the Three Realms differed in Scotland.

  • Mick Fealty

    What are you arguing Ruarai? That Unionists were/are just wrong? That the conceit of two traditions within the Irish flag is a fiction?

    Here’s the early part of Micheal Martin’s Bodenstown speech:

    The republican tradition of Tone was born out of both enlightenment and revolution.

    Republicanism was the culmination of a century defined by the quest for greater understanding of the world and a belief in the worth of all people.

    The American and French revolutions were not small regional conflicts, they set the world alight – and Ireland was inspired too.

    The records of the time show that the events in America and France were constantly reported and debated here.

    Those who sought religious equality and constitutional freedom gradually came to understand how republicanism provided the essential framework for achieving Irish aspirations.

    The revolutionary movement which Tone and his colleagues built up faced insurmountable challenges; however before they were defeated they had led the largest popular rebellion outside of America and France in favour of republican ideals.

    1798 was no small affair to be remembered for its characters rather than impact. The people rose against an oppressive state with no resources or training.

    They were dismissed as mere croppies, but they shook an empire.

    Without 1798 and republicanism it is quite possible that what defines us as a nation would have been lost – certainly it is highly unlikely that we would ever have established an independent state, albeit an incomplete one.

    Between 1798 and 1918, there was a hell of a lot of drift and change. Not least the extension of universal suffrage.

    The unity of purpose between Protestant Catholic and Dissenter was all but gone within a single generation. The separation of their interests into political hostility took a little longer.

    When the final successful Irish revolution came, NE of Ulster refused be a part of the emergent ‘national’ consensus.

  • TwilightoftheProds

    Ruarai

    Take it down to brass tacks. Whats your definition of a nation?

    Something like a group of people who believe they constitute a distinct community–who have shared narratives projecting this back into past and also into the future-thats rough and ready and holds true for most nations I think.

    By the time of the early twentieth century, two broad groups were emerging in Ireland who had different views of the past and different aspirations for the future. Their narratives about who they were, how history had produced them, and where they were going became markedly different in terms of identity and constitutional aspiration.

    These subjective differences are for a variety of reasons not nearly so marked in Scotland.

    Enough of the subjective factors….how individuals and groups of individuals self identify. Now the objective social factors.

    Do supporters of the SNP or Labour in Scotland live in different areas, go to different schools, follow different sports,read different newspapers? there are ‘in’ groups and ‘out’ groups here in a way there isn’t in Scotland. That puts reinforced steel into the cement of identity.

    There is a dying echo of sectarianism along the Clyde valley…but the issue of Union or independence in Scotland is an issue of sovereignty there…here we have the sovereignty issue too but our politics is more deeply communalised than that. And thats what sets us apart.

    Thats the key issue about here. Until you get that you won’t get this place at all.

    Its in the UK and its part of the island of Ireland. But its not Wales, Scotland, or the 26 Counties. Its history of identities clashing, striving and forestalling looks like Yugoslavia, Lebanon, or Cyprus but less bloody. Thank the stars.

    Thats my Unionist viewpoint. But even from an Irish republican viewpoint, none of this need scupper a united Ireland. It would just need to acknowledge that there are two national communities and work from there.

    A final note: Nobody here has got f*ck all worth telling the Scots apart from maybe ‘be careful what you wish and vote for’.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mick Fealty
    “That Unionists were/are just wrong?”

    Did you read what he wrote?

    Most Unionists in Ireland though of themselves as Irish, they wanted to run the whole Island not just some 6 counties made up to give them an artificial majority (ask Donegal Unionists).

    As Carson said:
    “In a 1921 speech opposing the pending Anglo-Irish Treaty, Carson attacked the ‘Tory intrigues’ that had led him on the course that would partition Ireland, an outcome he opposed almost as strongly as Home Rule itself.”
    Wikipedia

  • DC

    Imagine if the unionists did go along with Home Rule, the outbreak of WWII would have caused a split, the Free State would have carried on with neutrality, whereas the unionists up in the NE would be champing at the bit to take on the Axis, at that point there would’ve been a split as much on ideas and outlook as about national identity.

  • john

    Scotland has no real divide outside of Celtic and Rangers, maybe Wales has more potential as there is a North South divide over the language but maybe Dewi could answer that better if he is still around.

  • tiger feet

    There are many definitions of what is a nation, but if it is defined by geographical features, or ethnicity, or language you will always find counterexamples to any definition of nationhood you create. The only definition of nation that works is Ernest Renan’s “daily referendum”.

    Given that definition I would say that the existence of two nations on the island of Ireland, imperfectly bounded though they may be, is not a matter of opinion but rather a matter of measurable fact. We are all entitled to our own opinions but we are not entitled to our own private facts. When Gerry Adams says to a unionist “we on this island would be better off if we governed ourselves” he is being ignorant (being generous) in not acknowledging the fact that the unionist he is speaking to almost certainly does not view someone in Cork as being “ourselves”, and less so than someone in Liverpool, and that that is in fact the whole issue of dispute, being the reason that Northern Ireland continues to exist. Rather he should be trying to convince the unionist that someone from Cork actually is part of the same nation as them. If he could convince all unionists of that then everything else would fall into place for him. If he cannot convince of that then no arguments about “all island economies” or anything else are likely to make any real difference, just as they would not make any difference for a campaign to reunite the Republic of Ireland with the UK.

    I’ve heard it said that most of the religious bigotry is on the unionist side and most of the political bigotry is on the nationalist side. The biggest political bigotry, with a narcissistic quality, is probably the idea expressed here that unionists created Northern Ireland in order to oppress Catholics, as if if Northern Ireland had happened to have no Catholics then there would have been no partition since the reason for Northern Ireland to exist would not have applied. It doesn’t even make sense conceptually. I would be very dubious of anyone who believed that unionism itself is founded in and predicated on oppressing Catholics would be capable of acting as a fair employer. Goodness only knows what such a person would make of Rory McIlroy. Perhaps their head would explode.

    Also let’s have some acknowledgement that unionists in 1998 voted for a political system that in practice is “gerrymandered” to the benefit of Catholics, if we are going to bandy about bigoted notions such as that unionism has as it’s essence the oppression of Catholics.

  • Mc Slaggart

    tiger feet

    ” We are all entitled to our own opinions but we are not entitled to our own private facts. ,,,,,,” the fact that the unionist he is speaking to almost certainly does not view someone in Cork as being “ourselves””

    I am left to wonder are you not arguing against yourself? As you say a unionist view is not in and of itself a fact.

    The other more interesting thing is that you wish the comparison to be with Cork rather than Donegal. The country that has the biggest claim on the name “Northern Ireland”.

  • Mc Slaggart

    tiger feet

    “the idea expressed here that unionists created Northern Ireland in order to oppress Catholics”

    I have never come across that one. Do you have links to nationalist politicians stating it?

  • “Most Unionists in Ireland though of themselves as Irish, they wanted to run the whole Island not just some 6 counties made up to give them an artificial majority ..”

    Mc Slaggart, it’s my understanding that Irish and Ulster Unionists wished Ireland to remain part of the UK. Ulster Unionists – a combination of Conservatives and Liberal Unionists – used both the Irish and Ulster labels but the Irish one went into decline whilst the Ulster one was retained.

    As continuing membership of the UK under the previous terms was not on offer the Ulster Unionists continued to press the case for the nine counties. Irish nationalists put forward an option for four counties so six counties ended up as the compromise solution and this was signed off in 1925 by London, Belfast and Dublin.

    The use of the Irish label continued to decline post 1966 but perhaps that trend has reversed post 1994, following the introduction of the cessation of violence to achieve constitutional change.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Nevin

    “Irish and Ulster Unionists”

    Was a Unionist from Donegal an Irish or an Ulster Unionist?

  • Ulster Unionists were Unionists from the nine counties of Ulster, Mc Slaggart. The link illustrates the changing pattern of politics prior to 1912.

  • GavBelfast

    I hope that, in my adult life, I have never disavowed or denied “Irish” being attributed to me – and I hope I never will.

    I am of the island of Ireland, the two states were in place long before I was born, and I would not see why my grand-parents and before them would have quite naturally and automatically referred to themselves and been referred to as “Irish”, born and living in or near the same city as I live in now.

    For me, and those like me, and I’d suggest there are plenty, I still don’t think anyone has put it better than the late, great John Hewitt.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Nevin

    Did the Unionists from the other provinces not think themselves as for example Leinster Unionists? Why to you think their was only “Ulster” and “Irish Unionists” and no one could be both at the same time?

    BTW:

    I have never met a Unionist from Donegal who did not think of himself/herself as Irish? Ian Richard Kyle Paisley even calls himself Irish.

  • McSlaggart, the term Irish Unionist seems mainly to have been used politically for those from the other three provinces, especially towards the end of the 19th century.

    My apologies for failing to qualify that comment about the decline in use of the Irish label; I was applying it to Northern Ireland. In the 2010 NILT survey 4% of Protestants opted for the Irish label. IIRC that figure would have been about 20% in the 1960s in surveys carried out back then.

  • Mc Slaggart

    “the term Irish Unionist seems mainly to have been used politically for those from the other three provinces”

    When Carson was in Donegal that was not his line.

    21.5% of Co. Donegal’s population was Protestant at that time.

  • Mc Slaggart, Carson was a Dubliner so it’s hardly surprising that he would have used both labels – or indeed just Unionist.

  • Canisp

    What a bizarre article, seems like the author started out with clearcut ideas of what he wanted to MOPE about in the Irish context then attempted to bolt on some Scottish camouflage.

    First, Scotland. 2014 may be a unique plebiscite in that there will be no ‘national question’ between the Yes and No camps. 95%+ of the native-born, mainland populace who vote either way will self-identify, first and foremost, as Scots. With that particular boil lanced (or actually, never having existed in modern times), the issue at hand becomes choosing between competing models of future governance, which lends itself better to civil, rational debate.

    Whatever the referendum result, no Scots resident should feel they or their families’ lives or homes are at risk (I make no similar claim regarding their material wellbeing!). Contrast that with Ireland in the time of Strongbow, 1641, 1690, 1798, 1912, 1916, 1969 or many other periods. The Scottish Nationalist movement deserve some credit for having stuck to constitutional methods even when the electoral pickings were slim.

    I’ve never understood Irish nationalism’s fetishisation of the 1918 UK General Election results as some sort of backdoor independence referendum perpetually binding on a strong, geographically concentrated minority of unionists.It’s used as a kind of poorly-constructed Trojan horse to seek to deny north-eastern unionists of the post-WWI period the same rights of self-determination that nationalists claim to have been theirs by rights.

    What of the author’s claims about a single, indivisible Scottish nation? Well, it appears not all, er, Scots for want of a better word are of that view:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/scotland-blog/2012/mar/19/islanders-threaten-salmond-independence-plans

  • john

    It’s used as a kind of poorly-constructed Trojan horse to seek to deny north-eastern unionists of the post-WWI period the same rights of self-determination that nationalists claim to have been theirs by rights.

    One point but as your link then suggests where does it all stop as it can get a bit ridiculous very quickly, even villages would have a disenchanted minority seeking self determination.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Nevin

    “Mc Slaggart, Carson was a Dubliner so it’s hardly surprising that he would have used both labels – or indeed just Unionist.”

    So now you are saying their was 3 lots of Unionists, Ulster Unionists, Irish Unionists and just Unionists?

  • Nope 🙂

  • Mc Slaggart

    john
    “to deny north-eastern unionists of the post-WWI period the same rights of self-determination that nationalists claim to have been theirs by rights.”

    That means you accept the right of any area of Northern Ireland with a nationalist majority to have the right of self-determination?

  • Mc Slaggart

    Nevin
    “Nope”

    Then all Unionists were just Unionists after all.

  • Mc Slaggart, I was explaining how Ulster Unionists in Northern Ireland continued to use the Ulster label whereas their use of the Irish label went into decline. You now seem to be wandering off in another direction 🙂

  • Youknowho

    Decades of Unionist mismanagement alienated Catholics from Northern Ireland.

    Decades of Republican violence failed to move the border by a single inch.

    Nothing quite along those lines existed in Scotland, to the best of my knowledge.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Nevin

    Thank you for clarifying your position I am glad we agree that there was not any difference between a Unionist from Dublin and one from Tyrone.

    Why you do not think that a Unioist from Dublin did/does not think of himself/herself as a Leinster Unionist is beyond me? You should ask one the next chance you get.

  • I’m not a big believer in political theory. Partition happened essentially because the British decided in 1912, and the new Irish government also decided in 1922, that neither was able to enforce the writ of a Dublin government in the North – just as independence for the Irish Free State happened because the British decided that they could no longer enforce their authority in the rest of the island.

    As Canisp rightly points out, the 1918 election was not a vote on independence; it was an election. At best it delivered SF leaders a negotiating mandate which they executed to the best of their ability in the years ahead. And even if it had been a plebiscite, it was surely superseded as an act of self-determination by the 1998 votes on the Good Friday Agreement!

    As for Scotland, the problem does not apply – there are no Scots threatening to resist the outcome of the election either way by violence. So there is no need to invent or refute political theories to explain it.

  • tacapall

    “As Canisp rightly points out, the 1918 election was not a vote on independence; it was an election. At best it delivered SF leaders a negotiating mandate which they executed to the best of their ability in the years ahead.”

    When you consider that the majority of people in Ireland at that time had given a clear message to the British government by voting en mass for candidates that who stood for election on a mandate which clearly stated the wish to form their own parliament and break the link with Britain then it clearly wasn’t a negotiating mandate but a demand for Britain to withdraw from Ireland, they wished to have their own government without outside interference from Britain.

    “there are no Scots threatening to resist the outcome of the election either way by violence.”

    Not at the moment theres not but thats not to say it wont happen as Scotland has always been the bolthole and safe haven for loyalist paramilitaries, even today questions are being asked if their former skills are being used to intimidate anyone who dares to tackle the wrong doings of a certain football club. Even bigger questions are being asked as to why they are being allowed to get away with it but then again when they swear loyalty to Perfidious Albion who really is pulling the strings.

  • “there was not any difference between a Unionist from Dublin and one from Tyrone.”

    McSlaggart, can you not think of any? I don’t think there was a Leinster Unionist Convention; I don’t think Unionists in Leinster steadily dropped their use of the Irish label; I think they wished the Nationalist administration in Dublin in 1922 all the best.

  • WindsorRocker

    The two nations reality is borne out of geography as much as ethnicity.

    If Protestants had been spread equally across the island then the concept of an Ulster nation would not have emerged. That concept however is, 90 years on from partition, firmly wedged in the consciousness of every Irishman whether they be in Dublin, Donegal or Belfast.

    It’s fair to say that much in the same way that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, one man’s region is another man’s nation.

    Can this thread be summed up as “Why did those pesky Ulster Protestants want to be separate. Could we not all have been one Irish gaelic nation and we could have outvoted them?”

  • WindsorRocker

    McSlaggart,

    This Leinster Unionist nonsense shows that you fail to recognise that Ulster is different to any other province on the island.

    A Leinster unionist was no different to a Connacht unionist or a Munster unionist, they were as all isolated as each other, however in Ulster the concentration of numbers meant that the Ulster unionist had an option that the other unionists did not, partition.

  • “Partition happened essentially because ..”

    Nicholas, why did you leave out the third and main party to partition, the Ulster Unionists?

    AFAIK the Dublin government in 1922 didn’t have a writ in the North; that writ would only have existed had the Belfast government acquiesced to it.

    Did the Liberal government give serious thought to partition in 1912 let alone decide it? I remain to be convinced. The Curragh incident took place in 1914.

  • “The unity of purpose between Protestant Catholic and Dissenter was all but gone within a single generation.”

    I think ‘unity of purpose’ is an apt phrase, Mick. The Catholic uprising in the south-east was followed by a Presbyterian uprising in the north-east. There was opposition to Episcopalian governance, if not a unity on grievances, but there was no love for one another.

    My John Nevin, a UI leader in north Antrim in ’98, would certainly have been influenced by events in France and America but tything had been festering in his district for at least two generations and there had been migration to America for at least three. Drilly Knowe Antiques in Derrykeighan is an echo of his activities way back then.

  • Mc Slaggart

    WindsorRocker (profile)

    “This Leinster Unionist nonsense shows that you fail to recognise that Ulster is different to any other province on the island.”

    They even give them different names to tell people that they was different. That does not change the fact they all was Unionist with the same objectives. Hell the Ulster Unionists from Donegal got some shock with that change. They did not understand that they was not part of “real” Ulster.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Nevin

    “Nicholas, why did you leave out the third and main party to partition, the Ulster Unionists?”

    When did the Donegal Unionists stop being Ulster Unionists?

  • “When did the Donegal Unionists stop being Ulster Unionists?”

    Did they, McSlaggart? They ended up on the wrong side of a compromise deal between the UK government, Irish Nationalists and Ulster Unionists, a deal which was finally agreed in 1925. Did any of them stand as Unionist candidates for the Dáil or in local government elections post-1922? [Ditto for Cavan and Monaghan]

  • Mc Slaggart

    Nevin

    “Did they”

    Any chance of addressing the question.

    How did Donegal Unionists suddenly become non Ulster Unionists? According to you they do and did not count:

    Nevin:
    “What we had a century ago was a majority of Catholics on the island ranged against a majority of Protestants in the north-east of the island.”

  • “According to you they do and did not count:”

    As I didn’t say that, McSlaggart ….

  • Mc Slaggart

    “As I didn’t say that”

    They are Unionists who do not live in the North East?

  • McSlaggart, I’ve heard of people dancing on the head of a pin but you seem to derive pleasure from dancing on the pin 😉

    PS well spotted. Donegal is in the North-West. If you search the Ulster Covenant you might be able to spot some of Tony Blair’s Corscadden and Lysett kith and kin signing the Ulster Covenant in south-west Donegal.

  • I see the preferred version here is parlor. How did that one get past the spell-check? Why was I always so keen on the more authentic parlour (from the Milddle English parloure, from the Norman French parlur, from the Old French parleur). However, away with such orthodoxy and nit-picking.

    As for the “two Irelands” notion, I rather liked yesterday’s Irish Times, with Mark Hennessy on Double identity: the complex world of the Irish in Britain. Know it. Lived it. Been a ‘West Brit’ in Dublin and a ‘mad Irishman’ on Teesside (and within the same few months, at that).

    Somehow I don’t see the analogy with things Scottish, hypothetical or whatever. So why invent it? What has greatly changed since T.C.Smout’s 1994 essay, Perspectives on the Scottish Identity and its ‘concentric loyalties’? Even the hardest-liners on being ‘British’ in NI weaken when confronted with a Tebbit test in rugby.

    Now, what did Ephraim Chambers (his name still perpetuated in the eponymous dictionary) reckon? Ah, yes:

    Parloir, Parlour, in Nunneries, a little Room, or Closet, where People talk to the Nuns, thro’ a Kind of Grated Window… Antiently, there were also Parlours in the Convents of Monks, where the Novices used to converse together, at the Hours of Recreation.

    That last clause seems to describe Sluggerdom quite nicely.

  • Mc Slaggart

    “I’ve heard of people dancing on the head of a pin”

    Its actually central to the debate do we have ““two nations” or not. The argument is thus how different the peoples are far from Belfast like the people of “Cork”. I have yet to see a great difference between a Protestant from Donegal than one from Tyrone. You can of course tell me what you think the big difference is?

  • Malcolm, the ‘parlour’ in our house was also known as the ‘good room’ – children and pigs were excluded. The clergyman would be entertained there but there would be no confession 🙂

    Parlour, as an adjective, could also be used as a substitute for ‘champagne socialist’: “advocating radical views from a position of comfort”. Salon also sounds a bit more up-market than saloon.

  • tiger feet

    When did the Donegal Unionists stop being Ulster Unionists?

    I think that you are confusing a nation for a state. They need not coincide. They hardly ever do in fact. Many Donegal unionists still are Ulster Unionists to this day. There were dozens from Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan marching in the Ulster Covenant parade.

    Take the useful example of William Hay of the DUP. He’s not even technically a British citizen. Is he part of the British nation and / or the nation of Northern Ireland? Yes of course he is.

    On the other hand, if a Donegal Protestant flies the tricolour and identifies with the Republic of Ireland then that is fine too, just as it’s fine for Rory to consider himself “more British than Irish”.

  • tacapall

    “He’s not even technically a British citizen.”

    So in what circumstances can you be technically be a British citizen but in your eyes obviously not one ?

  • It’s also a place into which a cunning spider might try to entice a naive fly.

  • tiger feet

    So in what circumstances can you be technically be a British citizen but in your eyes obviously not one ?

    In Northern Ireland many people are technically British citizens, have two passports for business reasons, claim the dole and so on, but consider themselves not to be British at all and would fail a Tebbit test. I would say that such people are not members of the British nation and ask them to extend the same courtesy to me and not claim that I am part of the Irish (all island) nation.

  • tiger feet

    I have yet to see a great difference between a Protestant from Donegal than one from Tyrone. You can of course tell me what you think the big difference is?

    Whereas there is a big difference between a Protestant from Larne and a Protestant from Stranraer?

    Who’s more British William Hay, a Protestant from Donegal, or Graham Norton a Protestant from county Cork, both citizens of the Republic of Ireland? More than anything it depends on them really. Back to the old Tebbit test or something similar.

  • tacapall

    If you were born in Ireland then you’re Irish – Just no getting away from it.

  • tiger feet

    If you were born in Ireland then you’re Irish – Just no getting away from it.

    Agreed. If you were born in Europe then you’re European. That doesn’t mean that Europe is a nation. Why not? Because there is not consent for such a thing by all it’s peoples, just as there is no consent for a single Irish nation by the peoples on the island of Ireland.

  • tacapall

    “just as there is no consent for a single Irish nation by the peoples on the island of Ireland.”

    There is for a majority of people who live there.

  • Dont Drink Bleach

    tacapall:
    If you were born in Ireland then you’re Irish – Just no getting away from it.

    .
    And if you were born in the British Isles…..

  • galloglaigh

    Reading the comments above, I’ve come up with a prediction. Should Scotland gain independence, a push will be made for self determination along county lines in N.Ireland. This compromise will be forced upon unionism (just unionism), and the guns will be back on the streets. That’d make a good book!

  • And so we get back to the same old tired argument.The GFA tried to put every same silly argument away. For those who don’t remember:
    People born in N.I. are entitled to claim citizenship of Ireland (the State) or of the U.K. (colloquially called British) or both. It’s really not hard to understand.

  • Mc Slaggart

    tiger feet

    “Many Donegal unionists still are Ulster Unionists to this day.”

    I Agree.

    “the nation of Northern Ireland”

    There is no generally accepted term to describe what Northern Ireland is but I am sure we can rule out Nation on the basis one must be “united” to fit that particular definition.

  • antamadan

    DC said ‘Imagine if the unionists did go along with Home Rule, the outbreak of WWII would have caused a split, the Free State would have carried on with neutrality, whereas the unionists up in the NE would be champing at the bit to take on the Axis, at that point there would’ve been a split as much on ideas and outlook as about national identity.’

    IN FACT, I have heard on history shows that ‘ulster unionism’s little secret’ is that very few volunteered for WW2; and that it is likely that as many Irish nationalists volunteered even though the south was neutral. (You might be confused with WW1).

  • galloglaigh

    This article is interesting. If people south of the Scottish border can vote in Assembly elections, should they be allowed to vote in the referendum?

  • Canisp

    Given that the councillor can’t even get the name of the Scottish devolved body right (Parliament, not Assembly), I think that article’s nonsense, galloglaigh.

    Unless the Corbyites are dual registered at a Scottish address, or purposely not registering at their permanent English address. Either of which is illegal, I believe?

  • galloglaigh

    It’s also interesting that the Cllr. is a Tory. Has the pro-union battle begun?

    From the perspective of an Irish man ‘stuck’ in the Union, I’d argue for my vote in the Irish Presidential campaign for example. So it’s hard for me not to agree with the people of Corby. What I would take exception to, is that it’s a Tory Cllr., and they voluntarily moved away from Scotland. That’s in contrast to the Irish question, whereby Irish nationalists in the wee six, don’t agree with our nation as we see it, partly belonging to a state we don’t wish to govern us.

    And that indeed highlights the position of Irish unionists, who won’t want to be part of an Irish nation if and when unity comes about.

  • Canisp

    But the Irish presidency is largely ceremonial with little or no executive power, gg. It’d be grossly unfair for those who’ve chosen to live outside Scotland (for economic reasons, likely as not) to be given a referendum vote on its future status. After all, they won’t have to live with the constitutional and economic fallout, will they?

    Plus it would stick in my craw to see that serial tax avoider Connery given a say from his Caribbean bolthole.

  • galloglaigh

    I’m comparing and contrasting the two situations, and concluding with the same sentiments as yourself.

  • david thistle

    There is no sectarian divide in Scotland outwith some backward throwbacks in the Glasgow area in the sense that exists in Northern Ireland. Communities live together and even voting patterns are similar nowadays. This does not apply however to the mind of Mr Phillip White O Gorman / Derrig /
    McGillivan / MacGiollabhain.