Parade Commission, flegs and other matters…

So how well do our political parties represent the views of the broader population? Not that well, it seems. The Parades Commission has at least passive backing from a large majority of Protestants, and flying the Union flag on designated days is fine with most Catholics:

The poll for BBC Newsline found that 39 per cent of Protestants want to keep the body, with just 24 per cent wanting it abolished and a large percentage – 37 per cent – saying that they had no opinion on the issue.

The IPSOS MORI poll of more than 1,000 people also found that there was considerable cross-community support for flying the Union Flag on designated days.

Among Protestants, 32 per cent supported the idea, while 34 per cent of Catholics backed designated days.

Opinion was much more divided on whether to fly the flag every day – 49 per cent of Protestants said yes but just four per cent of Catholics agreed.

And there was little support for not flying the Union Flag at all – 28 per cent of Catholics backed the idea and just two per cent of Protestants agreed.

, ,

  • “The poll for BBC Newsline found that 39 per cent of Protestants want to keep the body, with just 24 per cent wanting it abolished and a large percentage – 37 per cent – saying that they had no opinion on the issue.”

    OOPS – cock-up on the reporting front; those are the, er, overall stats.

    O-Overall; P-Protestant; C-Catholic

    Retain: O-39; P-32; C-48

    Abolish: O-24; P-34; C-16

    No opinion: O-37; P-33; C-36

  • Brian Walker

    The other way of looking at it is that isn’t a majority for anything. What does that tell us? Lack of leadership maybe?

  • Was there a question about flying the Irish Flag?

    its the old story isnt it?
    We are told that our politicians dont represent us.Flags, Parades…Integrated Education.

    But who else does?
    Should we just have government by opinion poll?
    The Public might have a different opinion on School Closures…Hospital Wsiting Lists….not just the usual check list of the usual issues.
    Not to mention Victims and the Past.
    Asks someone once said…its the worst system except for all the others.

  • socaire

    I have lived in this region of Ireland since birth, have large family connections and a large circle of friends and acquaintances stretching from NSEW. None of them have ever been polled nor know anybody who has been polled. Nuff said.

  • “There is significant support for keeping the Parades Commission and for building a peace centre at the former Maze jail, a survey has suggested.” .. BBC source

    The statistics tell a very different story. 32% of Protestants and 48% of Catholics support the retention of the Parades Commission while 34% of Protestants and 16% of Catholics think it should be abolished. In other words, there isn’t majority support, not even amongst Catholics.

    27% of Protestants and 52% of Catholics would like to see a Maze Centre whereas 41% of Protestants and 13% of Catholics wouldn’t. Once again, there isn’t majority support.

  • I’ve had enough of flag polls.

  • socaire, the pollsters appear unable to get a reasonably accurate survey of opinions here and it appears that the journalists can’t provide an accurate interpretation of the inaccurate results 🙂

  • socaire

    so the politicians might have their fingers on the pulse after all?

  • Socaire [12.30] Even as it looks like Haass initiative will fail, at least it will have exposed the blatant claims of unionist politicians as being democrats and hopefully Haass will have taken the DUP to one side and explained that they no longer control Belfast council [Robbo should be able to do the maths on that and slowly explain to the most backward ones among them],so demanding the flag stay all year round on City Hall is a non runner. Why don’t Robinson et al admit openly they want repartition to get back the fix of 2-1 majority as it’s obvious that this is behind all the flag angst of this last period.

  • David Crookes

    Right on the money, Daniel! Our wee wee country.

  • “So how well do our political parties represent the views of the broader population?”

    Probably quite closely as the ‘broader population’ is split on the constitutional question and these two matters are rooted in the constitutional conundrum. They were an attempt to appease the provisional republican movement so it’s hardly surprising that they find greater support amongst Catholics than amongst Protestants.

  • streetlegal

    The timing of the extraordinary withdrawal of the charges in the Ruth Patterson case has more than a suggestion of a side deal sweetener to the DUP, arranged by Downing Street. It will, however, not be enough. The DUP strategy from the outset has been not to conclude any further agreement with Sinn Fein – certainly not until after the next Stormont election.

  • socaire

    We keep politicians as some people keep dogs ie to fight our sham battles. In general the dog owners don’t fall out as it is a proxy fight. The downside is w have to license and feed the dogs.

  • David Crookes[1.55] They’ll have to edit that slogan in a few years to leave out the ‘r’ in ‘country, then it’ll be ‘our wee county’ and closer to accurate. Satire is truly redundant in our wee Ruritania.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, Daniel. You have articulated the plans that dare not breathe their own names.

    Streetlegal, the RP thing does look rather political. The approving growls that I’m hearing have a depressing old subtext: our ones never do anything bad, but if any of our ones inadvertently do something bad and get arraigned for it, they automatically become martyrs.

    If the big boys are indeed behind it, they are acting in a very cynical manner. “Dilute the orange a bit more, lads, and you can have Mrs Danvers back.” I don’t know whether that’s a quid pro quo or a pro tanto quid, but it doesn’t sound to me like much of a deal.

    Anyway. Expect RP to issue her own version of Paris Hilton’s prison-song.

  • socaire

    We keep politicians as some people keep dogs ie to fight our sham battles. In general the dog owners don’t fall out as it is a proxy fight. The downside is we have to license and feed the dogs and clean up the mess..

  • socaire

    So good I posted it twice.

  • sherdy

    Daniel, – You mentioned Ruritania. I’ve heard a lot about it but am not sure where it is. Possibly you could enlighten us as to what sort of flegs they fly there. Would it be worthwhile to send Richard Haass there to have a wee scaly. We might see something we could agree on.
    David, – Apparently Ruth is very disappointed at today’s court decision, as she cannot now release in time for Christmas her new prison song ‘Retribuamus’. It may be somewhat stale by next Christmas if she can manage to find her way into jail by then.

  • Charles_Gould

    Generally positive day at the Haass talks.

    Overall, people in NI have a lot of positive trends to work on. Things are definitely on the way up.

  • Charles_Gould

    As Justin Cartwright – excellent SDLP council candidate for Balmoral – tweeted earlier today, the SDLP are showing “Great leadership over Haass talks – positive language & no pot shots.”

  • socaire

    Have you had any panto offers this year, Charles?

  • David Crookes

    U R a Brit muse, sherdy!

    They wanted Maureen O’Hara for the pantomime at the Opera House, but apparently she’s busy up at Stormont.

  • Sherdy[7.00] I have a vague memory from the 70s of seeing Peter sellers in a satirical film in which a political slum called Ruritania was featured in order to mock politicians but tended to watch other kinds of film back then. No names. It’s bad enough on the part of Robbo and Marty to bring him here without sending him to another dead end groundhog day farce. What has Haass ever done to deserve this.

  • notimetoshine

    Pathetic show from our esteemed leaders as usual, these bbc statistics clearly show a significant degree of apathy, interesting that the ‘no opinion’ section becomes a lot smaller when they polled regarding health, jobs, education etc.

    Maybe our political establishment should wake up and take notice?

  • David Crookes

    Agreed, DSM and NTTS. We are a ludicrously small number of people. It is beyond belief that we take ourselves and our little doings with such frantic seriousness. The time may come when HMG will say shut up and do what you’re told, or we’ll pull the plug.

    The real disgrace is that the majority of NI’s citizens who want to live decent unimpeded lives are being impeded by a minority whose commitment to British standards of legality is absolute zero. Let us not forget the savagery of the last year.

    I wonder what cards Haass has to play. If he had no cards he wouldn’t be sitting at the table. Intelligent powerful people don’t set themselves up for guaranteed failure. You need a penalty-clause ace of spades up your sleeve when you’re negotiating with boneheads. Peter Hain’s ace of spades was the survival of the grammar schools.

    Robbo and the scowlers should be thinking about the law-abiding majority and the need for more jobs. If they are thinking mostly about the flags-and-marches brigade, they don’t deserve to be on the committee of a primary-school stamp collecting society.

  • I see you’re still in anti-Unionist rant mode, David 😉 Had you seen Richard Haass’ performance this afternoon you would have learnt that he has no power, that he’s merely a facilitator.

    London has power, Dublin has influence and both will appease the more extreme elements of unionism and of nationalism in order to contain the contagion to Northern Ireland.

    Peter and Martin have the power to divvy out the goodies but they probably have limited ability to control the wild men of unionism and nationalism. You only see one set of wild men; I see two at least; perhaps you’ve not been following the news.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, Nevin. The balanced view. Now I see. Maybe I should buy a TV set.

  • Sherdy,

    Ruritania was the term for western Ukraine where the Ruritanians were the Catholic Ukranians as opposed to the Orthodox Ukranians living farther east. It was never a country.

  • Cric

    I wish they would leave the ‘I don’t know’ answer out of these polls so we wouldn’t have multiple comments afterwards saying ‘there is no majority opinion so we can take nothing from this’. There will never be a majority opinion when you ask 3 questions and give people an easy fence-sitting opt out response.

  • “Thanks, Nevin. The balanced view.”

    More a ‘sense of perspective’ view, David 😉

  • David Crookes

    Nevin, are you the boy that used to sell yellow man at the Oul Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-oh?

  • DC

    Well if Haass has ruled out the tricolour that means Nationalist’s stance of two flags or none must go as it has no legitimacy and shouldn’t be used any more as a bargaining tool as Haass has deemed it a non runner.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    “We keep politicians as some people keep dogs ie to fight our sham battles. In general the dog owners don’t fall out as it is a proxy fight. The downside is w have to license and feed the dogs.”
    You have it right. We’re too quick to dissociate ourselves from politicians and claim some spurious moral high ground – while leaving them to do the dirty business of compromise for us. It’s all a bit glib and dishonest. People need to stop hiding behind political cynicism – not just in NI but nationally – it’s a cop out.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    On the polls, while fair criticism of techniques is OK, beware those who trash them because of inconvenient results. Shooting the messenger and all that.

    But then if ideologues had spent more time learning to read and respect public opinion in Northern Ireland and less time barking their half-baked doctrines at the rest of us, we could have avoided many of the problems we’ve had over the past century or so.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I note in the news today that unionists want designated days with Belfast having 365 day union flag as a special case.

    Since designated days is the currently legally sustainable option, it is in practice the status quo; the small number of remaining councils which fly the flag 365 are going to be forced (over the next few years) to switch to designated days anyway. Accordingly, unionists are simply restating a position that is a year old and which they have already irretrievably lost.

    As such, the focus in the media is now on unionists demanding the impossible. Had they instead adopted a policy of designated days everywhere, they would have shifted the pressure and the focus onto Alliance and the nationalists to back it.

  • David Crookes

    Yes. Asking for the impossible in this case exemplifies their refusal to accept reality across the board. It’s like turkeys voting for compulsory universal vegetarianism. There are two possibilities.

    1. The turkeys are preternaturally stupid.

    2. The turkeys have a repartitionist agenda.

  • tacapall

    “I note in the news today that unionists want designated days with Belfast having 365 day union flag as a special case”

    I can imagine the quid pro quo for that pipe dream above – No more orange parades in Belfast.

    Just why should nationalism agree to the flying of the Union flag 365 days a year, why should we agree that the British identity be granted the privilege of being the dominant identity in Belfast when their not.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    The thing is most people (maybe even you?) voted – and that is important, people *voted* for this – for the GFA settlement. That settlement recognises NI as a legitimate part of the UK. I get that the union flag doesn’t make everyone’s heart flutter, but it does have a status here as official national flag that other flags cannot have unless people want to take it back to another big constitutional vote (which I’d be happy to see any time and I think we all know the likely result).

    Equality, parity of esteem etc cannot translate directly into parity of flags, because flags are not just tribal signifiers but representations of the legal and constitutional situation. Which, once again, we agreed in 1998, including the vast majority of nationalists.

    I think some nationalists have got so carried away with the idea that they won a ‘victory’ in 98 that they’ve forgotten what the actual settlement was. It may be sobering to re-read it and note there is no joint authority and there is absolute UK sovereignty. It allows for a vote in the future that could change that – but the future is not now.

  • IrelandNorth

    A longterm resolution to the intractable problem of partition is to be found in a genuine proportional representation. Rather than seeing thing as blue, white and red or green, white and orange, 40 shades of grey (or green) is a plausible approach. If 40% of the NI pop want a link with GB, and 25% want one with the ROI, whilst 21% appear to want devolution/autonomy/independence, is the solution not purely mathematical over ideological? Rather than saying no, nay, never (níl, nicht, nein or niet) to de-partition, surely unionists/loyalists should adopt a more positive approach by saying to the Republic: OK guys, if you want unity, show us the colour of your money. And know that, in the advent of some kind of unitary Island, that unionists/loyalists are be entitled to expect a 16.6 degree of association with GB, consonant with their percentage of the Island’s population.

  • tacapall

    MU I never voted for the GFA neither have I ever registered to vote. I see no point in being dragged down the cul de sac of Irishmen taking part in British controlled elections to a toothless talking shop who’s every decision is overseen by a British overlord. If it manages to slip past that hurdle its wishes must then be passed by Westminister before being rubber stamped by some unelected parasite who can, if she desired, refuse to enact any law decided by that same talking shop.

    I do however accept that at this moment in time there is a significant amount of Irish people who identify with and support that idea of democracy above and the symbols that represent that identity, but if designated days is fine everywhere else and there is no protocol that demands we fly the union flag every day above Belfast City hall why should those Irish people who dont agree with you be forced to be reminded 365 days a year who’s their master when they have the numbers and the legal right to, well not be reminded 365 days a year.

    The GFA was a starting point for nationalists it was never a final solution and yes although it does provide for a future border poll, that future border poll can only take place if the British overlord decides it has a realistic chance of success, I cant imagine how any self respecting Irish person or party would agree to that position but it says nothing in the agreement about nationalism having to sit back accepting the status quo or putting their own aspirations and dreams on the back burner and wait on a British overlord deciding when Ireland can run its own affairs.

    Your in dreamland MU if you believe nationalists are going to sit back and wait on change happening they will continue that struggle for an equal playing field in the expectation of that border poll in all aspecs of life in this part of Ireland be that culturally, politically and religiously.

    I wouldn’t be so sure about the joint authority part when you have Ireland and Britain including other nations of the EU floating the idea of “pooling sovereignty” Its only a matter of time before the PSNI can and will if need be call on Irish police to assist them in matters like civil disturbance and floating the idea of two flags or no flags is just dipping ones toes in the water as to that reality.

  • “if you believe nationalists are going to sit back and wait on change happening they will continue that struggle for an equal playing field”

    tacapal, nationalists seek a United Ireland, not an equal playing field. The switch by some militant nationalists in 1994 from counter-productive violence to counter-productive attrition was acknowledged and endorsed by Gerry Adams in 1997. Those who didn’t switch and the various unionist reactions make the control of such attrition problematic.

  • tacapall

    Of course nationalists seek a united or unified Ireland Nevin just like unionists wish to keep the link with Britain but the equal playing field for both communities culturally, politically and religiously is the only setting in which a fair border poll can be set. Demanding that the British identity and British symbols be the dominant identity not because your the majority but because Britain pays the bills is a bit brass necked considering the Irish people never asked them to and have for almost a thousand years attempted to force them out of the country.

  • tacapall, my twenty year-old suggestion was for devolution under shared sovereignty with the merger of Strands 2 and 3, more or less. However, the 1998 Agreement left us with a constitutional tug-of-war, UK sovereignty and the choice of British, Irish and/or other identities. Unsurprisingly, unionists and nationalists indulged in cherry-picking – and London and Dublin continue to appease the more extremist elements. You appear to be referring to a nationalist context for a unionist-nationalist problem but I don’t see that providing any opportunities for progress.

  • tacapall

    Nevin I have no problems with Ireland and Britain having some sort of link if thats what the majority of the people of Ireland want but I do have a problem with the minority demanding to be able to punch higher than their weight. What do you think “pooling sovereignty” means and is it any harder for a unionist/loyalist to look at a tricolour hanging from Belfast City hall than it is for a nationalist/republican to look at the union jack.

  • tacapal, the 1998 Agreement was more popular with nationalists in Northern Ireland than with unionists despite the declaration that Westminster retained sovereignty. APNI, as you may have noted, views the flying of the Union flag on government and public buildings on designated days as nothing more nor less than an expression of such sovereignty, an outworking of the Agreement. Perhaps Leinster House saw its involvement in day-to-day decision making in Northern Ireland as a reasonable quid pro quo; I don’t know.

    What I do find interesting is Leinster House’s relationship with the Sinn Fein leadership; it will support SF actions in NI, including the Athboy conspiracy, but will give Gerry and Martin a kicking when the duo raise their heads above the parapet in the Republic.

    Your analysis seems similar to that of John Hume and Alex Reid’s ‘Stepping Stones’ but these did not survive 1998.

  • Nevin’s nightmare aka the Athboy Conspiracy won’t go away.

  • Joe, not a nightmare, just a glimmer of light in the political gloom 🙂

  • tacapall

    Nevin you never answered my questions and as regards Leinster House’s relationship with the Sinn Fein leadership, is it any more strange than the British governments relationship with the DUP who throughout it history has popped in and out of bed with loyalist terrorists including forming their own terrorist army who exchanged British state secrets for weapons that were later used to murder innocent citizens in an area of Ireland governed by Westminister. Is Wee Jeffery still on the Privy council and is wee Jeff a member of the DUP.

  • Anaximander

    “tacapall, my twenty year-old suggestion was for devolution under shared sovereignty with the merger of Strands 2 and 3, more or less.”

    A fair and interesting point. To me, this would have been a much more workable and better functioning proposition over the long term.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mainland Ulsterman

    “no joint authority”


    “absolute UK sovereignty”

    Nope, sovereignty was handed over to the people who live in Northern Ireland. This issue was clarified by the good work of the IFA.

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    “and have for almost a thousand years attempted to force them out of the country.”

    I take exception to the perpetuating of this myth.

    If it’s true then it exposes the notion of Irishmen as great soldiers (or as churchill said “‘one of the world’s finest fighting races”) as codswallop.

    If they couldn’t throw off the ‘British’ (whoever they were in the 12th century) after 900 years then it would have to be conceded that they’re obviously not great soldiers.

    For goodness sake, the Tibetans managed to shake the Mongols off after a few centuries and they’re known as pacifists.

    I however take to the idea of the fighting Irish and as such can’t accept the 900 years rubbish. It’s a paradox.

    This simplistic nonsense of ‘fighting the British’ for 900 years needs to be addressed by anyone with an ounce of wit.

    It is a dangerous indulgence and is used to fire up young idiots in the same way myths about Derry and the Boyne are used to rouse fleggy types.

    Merry Christmas though.

  • GEF

    ‘If they couldn’t throw off the ‘British’ (whoever they were in the 12th century) after 900 years then it would have to be conceded that they’re obviously not great soldiers’.

    It was the Normons (Not the British) who conquered Ireland in the 12 century. How could they? The British Anglo Saxons were conquered themselves by the Normons 100 years earlier. Remember the ” Battlle of Hastings”

  • Saying “conquered” doesn’t acknowledge that the Norman Earl of Pembroke was actually invited over to help one hapless Irish Chieftan get the better of one of his neighbours. Then, just as what happened to Rome when they invited the Goths to come in and help them, the better armed arrivals decided to take over. There wasn’t much conquering, just a hostile take over. But yes, the better part of 900 years has been spent trying to “persuade” them to go home, to either Normandy or the conquered Anglosaxon England despite the majority of them assimilating and intermarrying with the locals and becoming just as Irish as the previous invaders over hundreds or even thousands of years.
    We are all just human beings with similar desires and problems.

  • tacapall

    Am Ghobsmacht you can take exception to whatever. Like who are you ? Your self-righteous-indignation still wont change the facts. Maybe you should read up a little on Irish history and If you can prove otherwise please feel free to enlighten the world.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Tac (and GEF)

    GEF pretty much expands on my point, ‘who’ were the Irish fighting back in the 12th Century? ‘The British’?

    How’s that possible?

    It was the Normans (or Anglo and Cambro Normans if you must) that came over.

    It certainly wasn’t the English/Anglo-Saxons, they’d been thoroughly squashed by the Normans.

    Who bore the brunt of their wrath?

    The Vikings/Norse/foreign-Gaels of the east coast. Even Tim Pat Coogan writes about this

    That’s a fact my man.

    After that it was a free for all with Norman earl fighting alongside or against Irish chieftain depending on whatever would advance the station of said Norman.

    Jesus, they were only in the Island for about 40 years before they (the Normans) rebelled against King John!

    Singing about 1000 years of oppression is an indulgence which contradicts the ‘we’re really good soldiers’ .

    Tac, I’m honestly surprised at you, I thought you would have known this?

  • tacapall

    Am Ghobsmacht you can cherry pick all the bits that suit your lets all get alongerism but it still doesn’t change the fact that the people of Ireland have resisted being governed or controlled by Anglo saxons, Normans, England, Britain, dwarfs from Holland and of course parasites from Germany.

    1155. Papal bull issued by Adrian IV, the only Englishman to serve as Pope, gives the King of England lordship over Ireland.

    1171 The Normans, under Henry II, conquer Ireland, beginning 750 years of British domination.

    1172 Pope decrees that Henry II of England is feudal lord of Ireland

    1361 An edict bans pure blooded Irish from becoming mayors, bailiffs, officers of the King or clergymen, serving the English.

    1609 Protestantism takes root in Northern Ireland after British Protestant forces defeat native Irish Catholics in a bloody nine-year war.

    1649 Cromwell lands in Ireland; massacre of Drogheda and sack of Wexford.

    1653 Cromwell’s subjugation of Ireland complete. Irish landowners evicted and land handed over to Protestant settlers.

    1692 Catholics are excluded from office for the first time.

    1692-1829 Exclusion of Catholics from parliament and all professions.

    1695 Anti-Catholic legislation began in Ireland.

    1695-7 Catholic clergy banished and penal laws instituted (depriving Catholics of civil rights).

    Just who were those pure blooded Irish, natives or catholics and why were they persecuted so much. Im sure I dont have to fill in all the blanks for you. My own ancestors were in Ireland over a thousand years before Cromwell landed and whoever were the first settlers in Ireland they certainly weren’t British or English.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    That’s better Tac

    750 years is still a quarter millenium off of 1000 years.

    You pretty much had to fast forward to Cromwell till you got to the meaty stuff (though to be fair, Henry VIII would have been a good place to start).

    In between those points it was hardly the yoke of tyranny, more like medieval skullduggery, backstabbing and fighting amongst chieftains and Hiberno-Normans (‘ Hiberniores Ipsis Hibernis’ as some one said the other day in another thread) just like most places at the time:
    “I want what you have and I have a bigger sword”.

    The ‘thousand years of resistance’ just doesn’t add up and I believe it is irresponsible to perpetuate that myth.

    I also believe that whenever the Irish truly put their minds to it and fight as one then they’re a force to be reckoned with (again, quote Churchill), unfortunately, throughout history such unity has been rare, from the Irishmen who fought against Boru in the ‘Viking’ army to the various factions during Cromwell’s visit to the War of Independence when a large group of Irishmen in the North East did their own thing.

    And i’ll tell you this, perpetuating myth is not going to unite us all any time soon.

  • DC

    Time for a counterfactual or two, time for some what ifs and excuse my crudeness in laying this out but I am exaggerating things to encourage debate…

    What if Ireland were not invaded by the above in tacapall’s post and left alone surely it would have been likely that other Europeans would have come over and interfered one way or another?

    Who is to say if the above forces didn’t invade Ireland that other European ones would have or have had some say in how things were run and it might very well have been in opposition to England.

    In terms of human existence perhaps less have been killed via English misrule than would have been killed if Ireland were not invaded by England and made to fight in large numbers for someone else and then ultimately lose. Better an evicted, landless catholic, than a killed catholic wiped out as a result of being forced to fight in another more organised army against the English?

    An example of this thinking might be if Britain took control of Germany after WWI as it did in part after WWII such control might have meant discrimination and resources being taken by Britain and so on, but would it have saved 7 million Germans from their death never mind the others that died in WWII?

    Same thing with Ireland, maybe on a human existence level better an invasion or two rather than a multi-million wipe out further on down the line from not having been invaded by English earlier, the Irish being made to fight for other central European powers instead and getting wiped out in their millions than say tens of thousands?

    Funnily enough the Irish when left to their own devices have today sided with a central-ish European power – Germany – and who is to say they wouldn’t have done so in the past?

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    Why did you have to go there man….

  • DC

    It’s called alternative history lol

  • boondock

    Did I really read re-partition a couple of times earlier. If the Haas talks cant reach agreement on these issues then how will someone like him draw a big line across Northern Ireland in crayon that will keep everyone happy. The time for re-partition has long past the big problem for such a proposal being Belfast and its growing nationalist population.

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    I don’t think they were made in seriousness but you’re right, it’s a daft and desperate idea.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Repartition would be the worst possible outcome for nationalists, it would be a return to the state of play in 1921. No, the time for fiddling with the border is indeed long past. Fix the divisions between people and it won’t matter (quite so much) what happens with the border when the time comes.

  • DC

    Usually it’s Greenflag that pops up with repartition. It’s not going to happen, however, in contrast if there were to be a united Ireland I propose that Carrickfergus becomes the Monaco of Ireland.

    More ‘what ifs’, sorry Am Ghobsmacht, but it makes a change from what about?

  • David Crookes

    When the people of NI voted by a majority for the GFA,, they were accepting that a UI would be brought about by a majority vote in a later referendum.

    Something else. When a UI comes, there can be no 16.6% British flavour about it in constitutional terms.

    What the last year’s loyalist violence showed was that large elements of loyalism do not accept the democratic principle. But the doctrine of repartition, with which some politicians are quietly toying, is a lunacy born of a refusal to accept reality. Bits of Belfast, bits of Antrim, and bits of Down? Get a life

    Irredentism is DEAD since the GFA, and the deeds of republican terrorists, very serious although they are at present, are based on a doctrine no less fantastical than the doctrine of repartition.

  • DC

    Something else. When a UI comes, there can be no 16.6% British flavour about it in constitutional terms.

    True, but that still wouldn’t stop a treaty similar to that which was signed for Monaco allowing something similar for Carrickfergus and for it to be run as a constitutional monarchy, sovereign city-state status. It is similar in terms of area and population size and could be operated in a similar fashion, harbour, gambling, tax haven as like Isle of Man. The harbour to be turned into a super marina and the Castle into a Monte Carlo Casino and of course naturally bedecked in Union flags.

    Democracy is all well and good but really all people care about is leadership that they can believe in and back wholeheartedly and I think this is something that could be backed at the point of a united Ireland, there should be no complete wiping out of Stirling and Britishness in Ireland.

    Should it a UI come to pass, there needs to be somewhere, some spot, some place in Ireland for Britishness in order to blunt the impacts of secession, there needs to be a spot for the unionists to go to feel comfortable, a Unionist Sevastopol.

    At the moment there are six counties and so far so good – things couldn’t be better! Apart from….

  • DC

    Sterling with an e of course.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, DC. If we ever get a sensible ‘neighbourhood of nations’ the overall thing will be far more genial and interconnected than academics and bureaucrats can presently imagine. It is possible that before long my own folk will see the future and advance towards it. Who knows? After a while the folly of retreating into the past may penetrate the consciousness of everyone.

  • DC

    David Crookes are you saying there is folly in my idea, above? If so may I invite you to Carrick harbour, to the end of the pier – and take your ‘own folk’ with you, keep your heads up high when walking and ‘see the future and advance towards it’.


  • David Crookes

    No, DC, but your idea is rather shocking. I’ll never think of Carrickfergus in the same way again.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Carrickfergus as a sort of Monaco is an interesting idea alright.