The right to sustain local areas will always trump the need to build a new nation…

Eamonn McCann notes that previous visions of the Belfast Agreement (or, as he terms it, ‘the pact’) as a precondition for future change, have, after six years of a joint DUP-Sinn Fein led coalition retreated to the cold lines of the agreement itself:

Observers who see the recent outbursts of liveliness as threatening to the agreement should ponder the possibility that the agreement doesn’t challenge but rather consolidates the attitudes underlying the same fractiousness. If the agreement is the best that can be done, we must look forward to more or less permanent sectarian division, with an ever-present possibility of abrasion at the interfaces. This, not escalated paramilitary activity, is now the main threat to stability in NI.

The pact should be seen not as the last word but as a model to be discussed as one element in debate on a better way forward.

Meanwhile Sinn Fein’s Tyrone Volunteer Day goes from strength to strength porting itself from a single venue parade in East Tyrone to the religiously and politically mixed town of Castlederg out west…

Alex Kane notes of the argument that all parades are okay so long as they stay in their ‘own’ areas

… that sits uneasily with Declan Kearney’s comments in this newspaper last month that “there is a moral imperative to ensure future generations grow up in a better place than we did”.

How can they grow up in a better place if republicans continue to promote the logic that parades are okay as long as they stay in their “own'” areas?

Because, once you accept that logic, once you embrace the principle that Northern Ireland should be divided into us-and-them areas for parades and commemorations, then you close the door to a shared future and build a wall, upon which you paint: “This is our territory.”

How, then, do you build the shared schools, the shared housing and the shared sports and social facilities? Well, you don’t.

You simply kid yourself that the space between the us-and-them barriers is a “neutral” space open to all: when it would, in fact, be no more than somewhere to walk your dog, or wait for public transport.

And…

…that’s the ultimate danger with this type of parade. It is a propaganda exercise, pure and simple. It’s not about the celebration of culture, or values: it’s about the celebration of terror and violence.

And, in supporting it and in sending along a very senior member of their leadership team, Sinn Fein (and particularly Martin McGuinness) is sending out an unambiguous message to everyone within unionism: when it comes to the terror campaign, we remain unashamed and unapologetic.

In other words, the right to sustain their own areas and the right to commemorate bombers and snipers will always trump the need to build a shared society, either in Northern Ireland, or in any future united Ireland.

And finally…

…unionists/loyalists needn’t think I’m letting them off the hook on this issue, either. Whether they like it or not, most non-unionists (and quite a few unionists as well, as it happens) are uncomfortable with what seems to them to be the triumphalism and inherent bigotry of loyalist parades. They believe that unionists also celebrate violence and violent men.

So there’s the real dilemma for the Parades Commission, its possible replacement and Richard Haass. Parades today are propaganda exercises: one-sided exhibitionism to remind the “other” side of their existence and their refusal to go away.

Encouraging people to walk “where you’re wanted” merely encourages Balkanisation. Trying to re-route, stop, or compromise usually leads to stand-offs and riots.

The Parades Commission can never get it right and please both sides. No third party/organisation can hold the ring for the opposing sides.

So, the toughest question of all is whether both sides would be willing to rethink their whole parading/commemoration strategy in exchange for laying the framework for a genuine shared political/cultural/social future with each other?

I don’t know the answer to that question, because I don’t know how many people actually want a shared future involving the other side.

But one thing I do know: parades and commemorations are the moving interfaces of politics here; regular reminders of how far we have yet to go before we meet for a solution rather than remain parted by continuing stalemate.

,

  • Mc Slaggart

    “It is a propaganda exercise, pure and simple. It’s not about the celebration of culture, or values: it’s about the celebration of terror and violence.”

    Alex Kane

    That is not the republican point of view. The parades commission (and the psni) must not agree with Alex as they allowed the event to take place

  • Mick Fealty

    Since when was propaganda against the law?

  • Mc Slaggart

    Did you not post this Mick?

    “But I was also intrigued by this section of the text he quoted. It seems to me the proposed march *could* fail on this very basic measure:

    (3) For the purposes of this section, the statements that are likely to be understood by members of the public as indirectly encouraging the commission or preparation of acts of terrorism or Convention offences include every statement which—

    (a)glorifies the commission or preparation (whether in the past, in the future or generally) of such acts or offences;

    and (b)is a statement from which those members of the public could reasonably be expected to infer that what is being glorified is being glorified as conduct that should be emulated by them in existing circumstances.

    It may be that (b) is a manageable blockage for the organisers. But there’s got to be a weighty burden of proof for them to argue to the Parades Commission at least…”

  • Mick Fealty

    Ah, yes. And your [non trolling] point?

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mick
    What you posted previously was not accepted by the parades commission.

    That is this event “glorifies the commission or preparation (whether in the past, in the future or generally) of such acts or offences”.

    Thus they do not think the event “glorifies” but is a “commemoration” .(M Mc Guiness term for the event.)

    You need to explain how a “commemoration” is an act of Propaganda.

    BTW:

    Could you do it in a [non trolling] manner please.

  • Brian Walker

    Eamonn’s is not exactly a new theme in Slugger but nice that he got the space for it in the Irish Times in August. The appearance of the piece is a sobering reminder of how little attention the post- Agreement is receiving. But then commentators always need new material and there’s precious little of that around.

  • paulG

    The main commentator seems to think that Republicans are attempting to increase the number of Republican parades because they’re such a good way of marking territory.

    I think most people on the outside would see that the opposite is true and recognise it as a device designed to reduce the number of sectarian, ‘terrorising’, orange marches – which are ridiculously numerous – by demonstrating to Unionists how it could be, if Nationalists decided to take the same approach.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mick thank you for the yellow card it still does not address the central issue of “propoganda”.

    Poppy Day/Remembrance Day is what Barry McElduff talks about when the issue of Volunteers Day comes up.

    Would you apply the term “propoganda” to Poppy Day/Remembrance Day.

  • Mick Fealty

    Agreed Brian, but I think what’s fresh about this insight from Eamonn is the observation is that the letter of the settlement is all there is with this combination. He then develops his argument such that he suggest we look at the settlement not as a settlement but as a pact of convenience that need not be the last word.

    I agree too on the paucity of material to run with. Thus Mairtin getting thumped in Woodvale, Conall ‘forgetting’ to tick the right box, this is the breadth and depth of material we have to go on to judge the health or ill-health of our politics.

    paulG,

    The old deterrence modus operandi? Last time I heard a SF activist tell me about one of these clever sham fights it was over selection in education. And that does not look to be ending well either. These are parish skirmishes elevated to the only signal politics of the day..

    Trouble is that it makes a mockery of the politics of the thing and by default as Alex puts it that.

    “you simply kid yourself that the space between the us-and-them barriers is a “neutral” space open to all: when it would, in fact, be no more than somewhere to walk your dog, or wait for public transport.”

    But I do agree that that may be the reasoning behind shifting the parade from east Tyrone to west.

  • ThomasMourne

    I look forward to a future N.I. without sectarian parades from any quarter – there’s optimism!

    In the meantime I suggest that our settlements adapt a variation of the US system with colour coded signs at the entrance of villages/towns/etc showing – settlement name, slogan [eg No Surrender], % usuns, % themuns, % East European and number of places of Christian worship.

  • Mc Slaggart

    paulG

    “sectarian, ‘terrorising’, orange marches ”

    To be honest orange marches cannot be called “terrorising” in a county like Tyrone.

    “which are ridiculously numerous – by demonstrating to Unionists how it could be”

    Though I agree about the number I do not detect any wish to teach “Unionists how it could be”. Their is a wish to put all parading on a sound economic and social footing. I think most people in Tyrone would be happy if a “shared spaces” could be found were all the marching and parading could take place with bothering anyone else.

  • Mc Slaggart

    ThomasMourne (profile) 8 August 2013 at 7:32 pm

    “I look forward to a future N.I. without sectarian parades from any quarter – there’s optimism!”

    I think that Band parades are actually a good thing. I agree it would be useful to remove the “sectarian” element. If we can find spaces for them to do their thing without bothering anyone else who is not interested then everyone will be happy.

  • paulG

    Mick,

    There are a number of labels that could be attached to their presumed policy – ‘what’s sauce for goose..’, ‘do unto thy neighbour..’, ‘bully the bully’ etc. but mostly it reminds me of teaching children not to indulge their selfish instincts by demonstrating consequences, or seeing how it feels ‘when the shoe is on the other foot’.

    It may be only a parish skirmish, but a thousand parish’s make a country and solution for one parish may be replicated. No country can expect to normalise without equality so regardless of which greater political structures are above, equality for people where they live and work, is essential.

    Derry found a solution. Maybe Castlederg will produce a much more transferable one.

  • I agree with Eamonn. I always considered the GFA to be but a starting point for further civic engagement as we went forward. Instead we are in a state of stasis, chassis even.

  • paulG

    McSlaggart,

    I think some in the OO and ABoys will be very disappointed if turns out there’s a typo in there:

    “all the marching and parading could take place with bothering anyone else.”

    Regarding OO terrorising, I’m not saying that the OO in Castlederg have been guilty of it, but many Orange parades have been followed by murders and the burning of Catholic houses etc. over the years. So each marching Lodge carries that threat, trumpeted by the military uniforms, swords, drums etc. of this protestant reserve militia, with it’s coats trailing and dripping blood across the centuries, from Mayobridge to Ballymoney .

  • Mick Fealty

    paulG,

    “I’m not saying that the OO in Castlederg have been guilty of it”

    Well, no. It’s been well noted here already that the IRA did most of the terrorising of Catholics as well as Protestants in the area.

    [As for Mayobridge, they used to regularly terrorise us quaint north Down GAA types on the football field forty years ago.]

    But if we accept the breadth of your analysis for the ‘why’ of the policy, I still cannot see how this plays any part in building a broader consensus sufficient for unity.

    And as I say, other of the party’s plays in the education policy area which put a premium on near term conflict, are signally failing in their objectives in the medium to longer term.

    As an electoral tactic, kicking the Orange is a highly profitable use of time since the ‘green dollars’ just keep falling out for the party.

    Yet I suspect it’s having a longer term effect of locking nationalists deeper into the United Kingdom rather than creating new ways out.

    Night all…

  • Mc Slaggart

    paulG

    “So each marching Lodge carries that threat, trumpeted by the military uniforms, swords, drums etc. ”

    There is no threat in Tyrone. I would not talk about any place else but in Tyrone its just sad.

    “the OO”

    I know lots of OO people and in many ways its a sad organisation. They have no vision and the public money that is wasted on halls not fit for the modern age after renovation would make you want to cry.

    Castlederg is a lovely town full of lovely people but they are not quite like the rest of Tyrone. Its a particularly “bitter” town (a conversation I have had with people from the town). Unionists complain of the influx of Donegal people and travel to Portrush to their holiday homes( its not that far from a Beach in Donegal).

    I wish that republicans was not marching in the town but I can understand why they do.

  • aquifer

    I want to have an all-comers carnival with bongo drum bands and megalithic monster sound systems.

    I don’t need the water cannon and the guys in the flameproof suits and backup flown in just in case.

    So just give me the money instead and we can all have a nice barbeque and fizzy lemonade, with enough change left over for a hospital ward or a new park.

    That’s fair.

    That is real justice, in this land of equal sectarian self absorbtion.

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    A Mhiceál
    ‘As an electoral tactic, kicking the Orange is a highly profitable use of time since the ‘green dollars’ just keep falling out for the party.
    Yet I suspect it’s having a longer term effect of locking nationalists deeper into the United Kingdom rather than creating new ways out.’

    Would love to hear you flesh that out… (tomorrow).

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mick

    “I still cannot see how this plays any part in building a broader consensus sufficient for unity.”

    Its not. It is people remembering their dead.

    ” kicking the Orange ”

    Now SF do not need to kick the Orange they are already kicking themselves. When the flag protesters came out of Omagh Orange hall to hold up the traffic I assure you even Orange men was embarrassed.

    If SF wanted to go after the “Orange” they would simply demand that the Orange arch in Cookstown would be taken down.

  • Mick Fealty

    Yet why the remove from single identity Gallbally to plural Castlederg? It *looks* like classic Che tactics..

  • Mick Fealty

    Tomorrow, prob not. Monday, maybe… TCG

  • paulG

    Mick,

    If Unity was anywhere near, they’d be happy for them to march their little socks off. SF know they’ll need to be very lucky to get a slim majority in favour (probably in a very small window) , but the South will not be interested . Even if the 51% of the Ps were on for it, most southeners would be very reluctant.

    The Parades and Flags equality strategy looks like it’s designed to give the impression to the faithful, that SF are on the right track, but in reality, SF are preparing the ground for long term power at Stormont, and for that to last, they will at least need to end the days of second class citizenship for their constituency.

  • derrydave

    Yes paulG, the South will not be interested, despite every survey in living memory stating clearly that the majority down south are in favour of a united Ireland.
    Am sure you have a much greater insight however, and that there would indeed be great reluctance in most southeners (even if 51% or protestants were agreeable!). Probably best to think before you post.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mick “Why”

    “”Last year the Tyrone Commemoration Committee made a decision to rotate the event to different areas around the county in line with the template of the Annual National Hunger Strike Commemoration.

    “Castlederg was chosen to host this year’s event as it marks the landmark 40th Anniversary of the tragic deaths of two local republicans Seamus Harvey and Gerard McGlynn”

    Tyrone MLA Barry Mc Elduff

  • paulG

    DerryDave,

    I hope you’re right and I admire your optimism, but I’m afraid it may be misplaced.

    These surveys offered ‘hypothetical’ and in an ‘ideal world’ scenarios, to which a small majority still cared enough to approve. When the associated costs and the inevitable violence from the loyalist rump are considered, that majority will rapidly disappear.

    Also,with every year that goes by, the foreign proportion of the Southern population increases. By the time Unity could becomes an issue, there could easily be 33 % either foreign born or with foreign born parents. They would have no interest whatsoever in adopting a basket case economy when that’s what they’ve just escaped from.

    Even the Southern Protestants (and ex-P atheists) would no longer welcome it. The abandonment they felt at partition has been replaced with relief that they’re no longer associated with the embarrassing orange bigots.

    And also, Mick is correct in that SF’s strategy to confront inequality in Flags and Marches etc., inevitably leads to conflict, which not only reinforces Unionist determination, but also frightens away the ageing FF type republican, who probably makes up most of those southern pro unity survey stats.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    Mick: Yet why the remove from single identity Gallbally to plural Castlederg? It *looks* like classic Che tactics..

    According to a post over on The Pensive Quill

    “No doubt the adverse publicity from the Unionist outcry will aid Sinn Fein in it’s efforts to lay claim to the Volunteers of Tyrone, no doubt it will help draw a sizeable crowd to help massage their badly mauled ego. Because the republican people of Tyrone can see right through them in ever-increasing numbers and they know it. It’s likely for this reason that they chose to shift ‘Tyrone Volunteers Day’ from its traditional slot. It was once a touchstone event in the republican calendar, held annually on the anniversary of IRA Hunger striker Martin Hurson in the tiny republican stronghold of Cappagh in the hills of East Tyrone.

    Given the paucity of numbers in attendance as the years have gone by, as the people of Galbally and its hinterland made their feelings known by the sound of their boots walking out the door, Harvey and McGlynn will instead be exploited to make the great and the good of Sinn Fein feel better about themselves.”

  • Barnshee

    “The Parades and Flags equality strategy looks like it’s designed to give the impression to the faithful, that SF are on the right track, but in reality, SF are preparing the ground for long term power at Stormont, and for that to last, they will at least need to end the days of second class citizenship for their constituency.”

    What else can they do?

    Republicanism unless I am mistaken is hardly about ministerial portfolios at Stormont and helping the British to govern NI– “Republicanism” is stronger now than in fifty years” ?? well if you are equating Republicanism with the SF vote.
    The latter may be at a fifty year high, but the electoral growth of SF has been paid for in the dilution of “Republicanism” to the point where the only meaningful distinction between SF and DUP (now the IRA has gone?)is number of parades/ commemorations /protests they can call/dispute Oh yes and the we want a UI we don’t difference

    The leadership, which makes such great play of its strategic abilities, does not actually have a strategy for ending British rule here. Ask of SF what is your strategy for bringing about a British withdrawal and an end to partition, how do you propose get from NI to UI, Stormont to the Dail (well we took a flag down from City Hall and bejasus they sprung up all over the place) All you get back is a load of meaningless cant accompanied by the nudge nudge wink wink –the “leadership knows what it is doing –ER exactly what?

    The Emperor has no clothes -the “protests ” and “volunteers days” are the only show in town thank god for the stupid prod

  • Brian Walker[6.32] If he were alive now, Terence O’Neill could ask again of unionists and loyalists the question he addressed to them in the tv broadcast of 45 years ago, ‘what kind of ulster do you want’ the atmosphere emanating from that quarter is chillingly akin to the one in ’68/69. Their hatred and anti-catholic bigotry predated the ‘troubles’ Weare once again in that restive atmoshere, depressingly.

  • FDM

    Barnshee 9 August 2013 at 2:19 pm

    “Republicanism…does not actually have a strategy for ending British rule here”.

    “Ask of SF what is your strategy for bringing about a British withdrawal and an end to partition, how do you propose get from NI to UI, Stormont to the Dail”

    “The Emperor has no clothes”

    ——————————————–

    Sounds like the union is safe then. Why then are elements from the PUL community setting the place on fire every night of the week?

    “well we took a flag down from City Hall and bejasus they sprung up all over the place”

    Well again why then set the place on fire every night?

    The union is either safe or it isn’t. Which is it?

    If SF are the main protagonists in attacking the state of union and they are doing the pathetic job you mentioned above then surely you should be collectively delighted? Does that not logically follow? You could just sit at home and feel smug. Hence no reason to set the place on fire every night.

    Firstly time is the friend of republicanism. As we move forward their voter base naturally expands, whilst the unionist camp contracts. The 2011 census results this year underscored that. Time is a friend. Secondly next year brings the Scottish vote, which is up in the air, anyones game that one. A yes vote for independence will literally rip the union asunder. So Scotland might actually and incredibly do the job for republicanism. Time is a friend.

    The violent mania of loyalists/more extreme elements of unionism we see on our streets at the minute is the visual outworking of their shared fear and paranoia about their position in the UK.

    For what being “British” means to the more extreme elements of unionism [however skewed/twisted] they have a great deal to fear. That particular “Britishness”, if it ever was that, is in the terminal phase. It is about as acceptable to the GB British psyche as the KKK.

    I think SF need to braver in expounding what they envisage a UI looking like and indeed at least sign-posting the major changes that are likely between now and then as they take the power over the next decade. The latter point is more for their non-support base to get used to the idea of what is coming so that we don’t see people “exploding” on the streets like we see at the minute. The unionist parties seem to be completely unwilling to explain to the PUL community about the changes happening now and in the near future, which is shameful. Little wonder they are in shock.

    Those aren’t flags wrapped around their bodies they are comfort blankets.

  • Barnshee

    “Sounds like the union is safe then. Why then are elements from the PUL community setting the place on fire every night of the week?”

    repeats

    than god for the stupid prod

    “The unionist parties seem to be completely unwilling to explain to the PUL community about the changes happening now and in the near future, which is shameful. Little wonder they are in shock.”

    What changes?

    Stormont lives- the British minister John O’Dowd overseas education Sammy (until recently) held the purse strings
    he pound is the currency in vogue West Belfast continues to draw the dole. The endless ” (some) Relatives for Truth and justice” bandwagons roll on, Enough is fed to”community workers” to keep them off the dole and out of (or should that be in) the pubs and bookies.

    The politicians blether on at each other to no avail. The recreational rioting continues The cops put the deposit down on another holiday home . Its all so deja vu

    “SF need to braver in expounding what they envisage a UI looking like and indeed at least sign-posting the major changes that are likely between now and then as they take the power over the next decade”

    LOL They have been craftily shafted by the Brits into a power sharing executive with their polar opposites- how can they “take power ” in a power sharing executive.

    They are doubly doomed

    Either Stormont limps on in the charade that it is and they continue to help dole out the money from the Brits

    or their UI actually appears and they are faced with competition for the republican vote from those nasty er FF and FG parties -(not to mention Greens and Labour)

    Repeats

    “Ask of SF what is your strategy for bringing about a British withdrawal and an end to partition, ) All you get back is a load of meaningless cant accompanied by the nudge nudge wink wink –the “leadership knows what it is doing –ER exactly what?

    a bit like

    “SF need to braver in expounding what they envisage a UI looking like “

  • FDM

    Barnshee 9 August 2013 at 3:30 pm

    “the British minister John O’Dowd”

    You wield the word “British” as a weapon, like a derogatory noun-knife to twist in those you dislike. Do you not diminish the thing you clearly value by using it in such a disdainful manner? Calling John O’Dowd British is childish.

    “Thank god for the stupid prod”

    Sorry doesn’t cut it. If SF were performing so pitifully then why the naked hatred [a la recent bakebook outbursts] for them from mainline unionism? The causal link of the current virulency of which cannot be traced back to pre-1998.

    You talk of the current political Stormont structures like they were permanent? As if we were locked into forever and day like in some fairy tale? Wake up Snow White.

    Change is the only constant.

    The GFA was preface nothing more. We aren’t even at Chapter 1 of the new book yet.

  • FDM[3.05] Great post, u saved me the trouble writing Time is indeed our friend

  • ayeYerMa

    Mick: “Since when was propaganda against the law?” Erm, for quite a long time under numerous antiterrorism acts. Glorifying or inviting support for a proscribed terrorist organisation is a punishable offense. Villiers and the PSNI have just been turning a blind eye — something which they need to stop doing if Northern Ireland is to have a sustainable and peaceful long-term future.

    McSlaggart “it’s people remembering their dead”. Normal people remember their dead by visiting a cemetery and perhaps laying a few flowers. This going well above and beyond treating such people as normal members of society , and rather is glorifying a proscribed terrorist organisation.

  • Mc Slaggart

    ayeYerMa

    “The Royal British Legion is the nation’s custodian of Remembrance”

  • FDM

    ayeYerMa

    “The Royal British Legion is the nation’s custodian of Remembrance”
    ——————————–

    Surely that is propaganda?

  • Mc Slaggart

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” -C.S. Lewis

    I have always found the British Legion attitude to Remembrance a particular type of oppression. If you think I lie chat to someone from the British legion about the white poppy.

  • ayeYerMa

    McSlaggart, glorifying the national defence forces isn’t illegal. Glorifying a proscribed terrorist organisation is [supposed to be] illegal.

  • Mc Slaggart

    ayeYerMa

    “glorifying the national defence forces isn’t illegal”

    I cannot think of a single time in histroy were a country/state made its national defence forces illegal.

  • Mc Slaggart

    ayeYerMa

    “Glorifying a proscribed terrorist organisation is [supposed to be] illegal.”

    DULCE ET DECORUM EST(1)

    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares(2) we turned our backs
    And towards our distant rest(3) began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots(4)
    Of tired, outstripped(5) Five-Nines(6) that dropped behind.
    Gas!(7) Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
    Fitting the clumsy helmets(8) just in time;
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
    And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime(9) . . .
    Dim, through the misty panes(10) and thick green light,
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
    In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
    He plunges at me, guttering,(11) choking, drowning.
    If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud(12)
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest(13)
    To children ardent(14) for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
    Pro patria mori.(15)

    Wilfred Owen
    8 October 1917 – March, 1918

    Notes on Dulce et Decorum Est
    1. DULCE ET DECORUM EST – the first words of a Latin saying (taken from an ode by Horace). The words were widely understood and often quoted at the start of the First World War. They mean “It is sweet and right.” The full saying ends the poem: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori – it is sweet and right to die for your country. In other words, it is a wonderful and great honour to fight and die for your country.

  • NOT NOW JOHN

    Sounds like the union is safe then. Why then are elements from the PUL community setting the place on fire every night of the week?

    “well we took a flag down from City Hall and bejasus they sprung up all over the place”

    Well again why then set the place on fire every night?

    The union is either safe or it isn’t. Which is it?

    FDM

    The Union is safe.

    What is under threat is Unionist/Orange supremacy. That is what the battle is about. The irony is that as Unionist/Orange supremacy diminishes the Union strengthens. There are those who see maintenance of the Union as the primary goal and those who see maintenance of Unionist/Orange supremacy as the primary goal. Do not confuse the two. You may be old enough to recall that there was a small rump of Unionist/Orange supremacists who were once prepared to ditch the Union and go forward as an independent Northern Ireland to preserve their supremacy. For the supremacists the Union is merely a mean to an end.

    Those who wept and wailed at the change in flag policy at BCC were not wailing at the diminishing of the Union but at the diminishing of Unionist/Orange cultural supremacy. The change in policy actually strengthened the Union rather than diminished it. Non unionist confidence in the state and its institutions is much higher than it has even been. Most republicans now support the state institutions. Meanwhile the pro-union-ists are taking on the pro-unionist-supremacists and winning. The springing up of bejasus across the land is the death cry of the defeated. The Union is slowly strengthening with Sinn Fein’s silent consent while Unionist/Orange supremacy is slowly diminishing with the DUP’s silent consent.

  • Barnshee

    Sorry doesn’t cut it. If SF were performing so pitifully then why the naked hatred [a la recent bakebook outbursts] for them from mainline unionism? The causal link of the current virulency of which cannot be traced back to pre-1998.”

    I shake my head and wonder where you have lived.

    We have to accept that “naked hatred” exists -In my experience it has always existed bubbling underneath the surface of polite exchanges in society. Thats why politics is not a subject for discussion in “mixed company” otherwise in my experience the divide soon appears . yes people hate other people– people blame other people -especially when”other people” have murdered relatives. Sorry to upset your apple cart

    “Ask of SF what is your strategy for bringing about a British withdrawal and an end to partition, ) All you get back is a load of meaningless cant accompanied by the nudge nudge wink wink –the “leadership knows what it is doing –ER exactly what?

  • redstar2011

    The Shinners opted for equality within the UK over independence- why else sign up to a settlement which 101% says the status quo re UK membership remains.

    Yes they will ” green” the North somewhat and yes there were some great jobs going, nice limos too but ffs even Gerry effed off up the Cooley mountains whilst the place is still occupied

    Ps why do the Shinners never refer to the North being occupied anymore- nuff said

  • NOT NOW John[9.58]. You’ve highlifghted perfectly the chasm between what unionist politicians and loyalists claim to want [just for NI to remain in UK] and their real requirements which they’re understandably avoiding admitting, which is for a Protestant State be put back in place, and to that end, a repartition to get back the 2-1 majority and the good old daysB but the British govt won’t let them, and anyway, their claims about being democrats would be shown up fort the sham they always were.

  • redstar2011

    Slightly off topic ( apologies Mick) but still within the realm of each sides own areas/fifedoms etc below is a list of the new 11 super councils.

    My broad brush calculations make it 5 each side and possibly one a toss up- are my guesstimates correct?

    Every committee has to appoint a new chief executive for each of the 11 amalgamated councils – hopefully by early in the new year – as well as preparing draft budgets and business plans.

    The new councils will be comprised of:

    • Belfast

    • Antrim/Newtownabbey

    • Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon

    • Causeway Coast and Glens – made up of Ballymoney, Coleraine, Limavady and Moyle

    • Derry/Strabane

    • Fermanagh/Omagh

    • Lisburn/Castlereagh

    • Mid/East Antrim – Ballymena, Larne and Newtownabbey

    • Mid Ulster – Dungannon, Cookstown and Magherafelt

    • Newry, Mourne and Down

    • North Down/Ards

  • redstar2011

    Go on folks- do you agree with my 5 a side and one up for grabs calculation?

  • redstar,

    I don’t really know where the boundaries are to be but, just looking at the names, you’re probably right.
    Is there a wider reason for you bringing it up?

  • redstar2011

    Just that locally theres a big door to door push already by some parties to fight this battle for which a month never mind a date hasnt yet been set

  • paulG

    redstar,

    There was some analysis of the new Councils on Bangordubs blog.

    As I recall, it appeared to be 6 U and 4 N with Alliance holding the balance in Belfast. I think the Causeway and Glens could possibly pip Armagh Banbride and Craigavon as next in terms of Nationalist councillors but I don’t see a 5th N Council next time out.