“it struck me that there was an air of inevitability about the whole thing…”

Alex Kane with some much needed perspective on the events at Elizabeth Windsor’s gaffe in, erm Windsor…

…what we are now seeing in the changing nature of the relationship between the British/Irish governments and their collective political establishments is also inevitable. This is the story of two countries going out of their way to indicate that, irrespective of the toxicity of political relationships in Northern Ireland, they will work together and find common values and benefits in each other’s culture and shared history.

They are coming to grips with dealing with the past and accepting that progress is always possible.

No one in Northern Ireland, particularly Sinn Fein and the DUP, should underestimate the significance of what is happening at levels above them. In essence, London and Dublin are saying to Belfast that change is inevitable if done in a calculated, measured way. And it is the inevitable outcome of their decision in 1998 to jointly underwrite the Belfast Agreement.

As Kane points out, there’s not much call for either party of OFMdFM to crow one over the other. This was a celebration more than anything else of the primacy of the relationship between Dublin and London (which is one reason why SF has abandoned most of its responsibilities at Stormont in search of real power in Leinster House).

He finishes…

So here’s the question: are the local parties up for change? No, let me nuance that – do they really want change? I suspect not. They are too old and too set in their ways. And that, of course, begs another question: from where will the change come? At this stage I don’t have an answer, because we still don’t have any genuinely post-conflict parties.

But I do know that change will come because I hear enough people telling me that change is necessary. It’s a longer process than I anticipated back in 1998: that said, it is inevitable and it will happen. What I’m no longer sure of, though, is whether it will be a change for the better.

  • Floreat Ultonia

    Aren’t NI21 post conflict? And perhaps the parties neither nationalist nor unionist will continue to grow towards what passes for the mainstream locally?

  • I dont think so.
    Are we really in Post Conflict mode…or Pre Conflict.
    A reasonable person would have said in the 1960s that there was an inevitability that Lemass and O’Neill would meet.
    That ended badly and I dont see anything different about Windsor Castle.
    As unionists believe they have bought maximum “stability” with the Process and Nationalists still see everything as minimalist …then I cant see any so-called progress.
    Besides…politics is NOT about parties. It is….quite properly …about voters.
    People necessarily to advance their position.
    Nationalists have no real interest in stability or “progress” …Passivity is enough.

    I daresay Change is inevitable but I hope it waits until after I am dead. I dont want to see it.

  • antamadan

    why not Fitz?

  • Greenflag

    Sad news out of England a great man passes .

    Mr. Hoggart, who refused offers of a knighthood and a peerage, lived to see many of his gloomy predictions about the commercialism of art and culture come true. He remained unapologetically highbrow in his respect for education and literature, but his views resisted easy classification in any conventional sense.

    “We are living in a period in which two mistaken beliefs have become entrenched,” Mr. Hoggart wrote in 1991 –

    “The short-term, shallow myth says that a free market will provide all that the citizens of a commercial democracy need and want.”

    “The second belief,” he continued, “is the nervous disinclination to make distinctions, to say that any one thing is better than another. To do that is to be ‘elitist,’ the dirtiest of dirty words.”


  • Brian Walker

    I’m not quite sure what Alex Kane is saying .Yes, he’s right to register the gap between the metropolitan centres and the northern periphery which will not be allowed any longer to put a drag on the relationship between the States. And about time too. But I’m not with him when he says: “One thing is clear: the Assembly will not survive if the DUP and Sinn Fein cannot find it within themselves to govern together in the best interests of everyone in Northern Ireland.”

    The Assembly will survive unless the parties themselves pull the plug. They have absolutely no incentive to do so. We are in limbo (or maybe purgatory, old school theologians?) not in hell . With slow recovery on the way in the south ( yes it is), the other Dublin parties will be entitled to point out that if SF continues to make a bog of governing in NI despite all the money thrown at them why should they be trusted with a share of it in the Republic? Other than that, bribery from London is just about finished and despite warm words at the banquet and Downing St. I wouldn’t count on anything more coming from London and Dublin at all -with the Union under threat and post bailout politics dominating the south and elections, elections and more elections to win or lose .
    . NI has never had less impact outside its own territory. “Change is inevitable, “ says Alex. If so, from below, surely. Sadly there is so little pressure to change built into a political system in which everyone wins prizes.

  • “this is the story of two countries going out of their way to indicate that, irrespective of the toxicity of political relationships in Northern Ireland, they will work together and find common values and benefits in each other’s culture and shared history. They are coming to grips with dealing with the past and accepting that progress is always possible.

    No one in Northern Ireland, particularly Sinn Fein and the DUP, should underestimate the significance of what is happening at levels above them. In essence, London and Dublin are saying to Belfast that change is inevitable if done in a calculated, measured way.”

    These changes have been ongoing since 1985 if not earlier. As I’ve suggested recently, London and Dublin put the protection of institutions ahead of the protection of people. Their combined actions might well increase the toxicity of relationships within Northern Ireland, a point I’ve drawn attention to but one that appears to have been missed by Alex.

    Many folks would be reluctant to assist the police when they see police officers standing shoulder to shoulder with paramilitaries in community projects. It’s not the sort of thing that would happen elsewhere in these islands and I suspect it flows from a political decision, not a police one.

    London and Dublin collaboration has elevated the demands of paramilitaries, elected or otherwise, above those of constutional politicians. This is hardly in the public interest.

    Alex has not commented on the significance, if any, of President Higgins’ quotations from Tom Kettle in order to create the illusion that the president is the president of and speaks for the whole island.

  • Politico68

    In his article Alex Kane quite rightly takes a pop at Sammy Wilson’s jibe( ‘“sold his soul for a sausage roll”) at Marty regarding his attendance at Windsor recently. The jibe is no more than what we expect from the king pin of Unionist immaturity. The juvenile attitude expressed by Wilson is merely symptomatic of the inability of many Unionists particularly in the DUP to encourage progress in relations between the various sides, instead Wilson is far happier to follow the Unionist tradition of sneering at anything that reflects the confidence and maturity of Neo Nationalist Ireland especially when it shows up political Unionism for the narrow minded bigoted delinquent it is.

    However, Kane himself then allows his article to descend into the same old inaccurate ‘each is as bad as the other’ rhetoric which has become the norm for many journalists and commentators when writing about the North and its political landlords.
    Kane says “The reason that the DUP and Sinn Fein found themselves forced (and there really is no other word for it) to conclude their own power-sharing deal was that there was nowhere else for them to go – other than walk away from the Assembly and the political process”
    But he fails to point out that the level of force applied to each party was not equal in measure. The Shinners were hopping to get into government but needed a push all the same, while the DUP practically had to be drugged and then carried into Stormont. This is backed up by Paisley himself when he said that he didn’t want to do it but believed he had no choice because of what the alternative would be. In other words, Unionism had no place left to go while Sinn Fein at least knew that in any alternative the overall ‘lot’ of nationalism would have improved at the expense of Unionism.

    Kane moves on and states “This is the story of two countries going out of their way to indicate that, irrespective of the toxicity of political relationships in Northern Ireland they will work together and find common values and benefits in each other’s culture and shared history… No one in Northern Ireland, particularly Sinn Fein and the DUP, should underestimate the significance of what is happening at levels above them.”

    Again Kane structures his comments as if there is a level political playing field where both SF and the DUP are equally subject to overlords that are in charge of progress ‘above them’. This is simply not true, and in my view Kane is around long enough to be able to see this quite clearly. The DUP have simply no influence on how the British government behave with their new dancing partners in Dublin especially in the context of the shifting dynamic of inter-state relations. The DUP are mere bystanders in the new concordat. Their lack of power in London and zero influence over British government policy renders them practically paralysed in the face of improving Anglo Irish relations. Not so for Sinn Fein. Their growth in the 26 means that the Irish political establishment have to pay attention, meaning Dublin/ London relations have to be seen in the context of the real potential for SF to be in government in Dublin pretty soon. It cannot have escaped the attention of attendees in Windsor that the next Irish minister for foreign affairs could well be a Shinner, while once this seemed impossible, today it’s tantalizingly close. In short Sinn Fein will be part of that developing Dublin/ London relationship while the DUP will not. And that, puts Unionism clearly out of the story. Marty has proved that the Shinners are ready to help write the next Angle-Irish chapter.

    Kane stumbles again when comparing the two parties – “……. they are simply encouraging polarity and mistrust. The language they use about each other and the manner in which they refer to each other makes a mockery of their individual claims to be working hard to build a better, more stable Northern Ireland.”
    We simply cannot compare the attitudes of Nationalism and Unionism in the context of trying to build a shared future etc. Comments like Wilsons above are far less likely to be heard from SF. Unionism cannot even bring itself to vote in line with Nationalists to invite the Pope, Robbo stutters as to whether or not to meet him should a visit take place. If they did meet, can anyone honestly imagine Gerry Kelly et al claiming Robinson had sold his soul? Unionism still belches fire at the notion of Irish symbols or language being elevated to something resembling equal status in the North and becomes positively hysterical if even just one of their fifty thousand sectarian Orange marches are restricted. I am not saying that Nationalism doesn’t have the ability to rub Unionism up the wrong way, but for Kane to try to suggest they are both as bad as each other is in my view way off the mark. But don’t take my word for it, go ask Mo Mowlan, Bill Clinton, Mr Mitchell, John Major or David Cameron, better still, ask Mr Hass which side is more reasonable when it comes to the heavy lifting.

    Mr Kane then goes on to site opinion polls and says “Don’t they read the opinion polls that indicate that huge numbers of people have no confidence in the Assembly and Executive?” Really Mr Kane? Show me an opinion poll in any democratic society that paints a pretty picture of their government. Sure, people get fed up with the squabbling but again Kane gets off slant here because he fails to point out that Catholics in those very polls report being a good deal happier than their Protestant neighbours which would suggest that they are less fed up with their representatives.

    And next comes the comedy – “In fairness, they’re not the only ones to blame the media: there’s a school of thought which argues that we need a new generation of post-conflict journalists to report nice stuff, positive stuff, feel-good stuff. But how do you report what isn’t actually there?”
    Well Mr Kane, I for one don’t need you to feel obliged to report the above. What I need you and your colleagues to do is to simply report the truth as it is and not how your own bias sees it. If you think they are crap then say it, fair enough. But don’t try and fool us that the problems are caused because both sides are equally dumb, equally incompetent, equally blind or equally liable when clearly this is simply not the case.
    And now for the empty finale – “But I do know that change will come because I hear enough people telling me that change is necessary. It’s a longer process than I anticipated back in 1998: that said, it is inevitable and it will happen. What I’m no longer sure of, though, is whether it will be a change for the better.”
    I am sorry but this is just lazy journalism. How can he know that change is coming if he believes there is nobody home to deliver it. And if there is no sign of change with nobody to deliver it what makes him think that the change that probably won’t come might not be for the better?

    He is right in one thing, we need politicians to bite the bullet, and while nationalists need to work harder, Unionists need to at least start working. We also deserve more accurate Journalism that genuinely challenges our politicians to live up to their responsibilities and honestly assesses the successes and failures as they are. Alex Kane clearly can’t deliver that.

  • Floreat Ultonia

    Well I laughed at Sammy’s throwaway gag.

    That both sides are equally to blame is clearly a shorthand for commentators, and likely lazy, but that doesn’t necessarily make it wrong. They’re equally mired in one-issue politics, equally ambivalent about resolving the past, and equally likely to show at a bonfire protest or Police landrover headbutting.

    The supposedly significant difference is that SF could soon be part of the Southern Govt., while DUP with a future maximum of 11 MPs remains insignifcant to the British. Again, not necessarily: Unionism’s numbers have been obvious for decades, relevant only in a tight hung Parliament, while McGuinness’s party is already as distinct from Mary Lou’s as rugby league from union. If she gets anywhere near Leinster House expect ex-con Northern veterans to be quietly sidelined. A better comparison might then be hurling and ice-hockey…

  • “to simply report the truth as it is”

    Politico68, in another thread you claimed that all you knew about Moyle is that ‘it is a lovely LG district’. Your latest lengthy diatribe suggests that you know more about a SF propaganda tract that you do about the various relationships that interconnect people and parties in the UK, Ireland and Northern Ireland; these very political labels seem to stick in your craw.

    I’d love to be able to report more of the truth but, on the one hand, London-Dublin exchanges are in secret (including the actions of Irish civil servants in Northern Ireland) and are not subjectable to parliamentary scrutiny and, on the other, highlighting the misdemeanours of certain political representatives can, for example, lead to a knock on the door and some advice that the pursuit of justice would not be a sensible course of action.

  • Politico68

    Nevin, I don’t know why you are obsessed with the fact that I don’t know anything about Moyle. It clearly offends you on some level, but I dare say most commentators don’t know every inch of their Country so you will have to forgive me if I take your comment with a pinch of salt and a side order of ‘so what’, as it really makes no sense in the context of any discussions I have had on Slugger.

    Wheeling out the old ‘your a sucker for propaganda’ line simply won’t work on me I am sorry to say Nev. I am big and ugly enough to know that it is ALL propaganda of one sort or another but intelligent enough to decide for myself what seems reasonable and what does not. The fact that I reject your narrative says nothing of my knowledge on the ‘various relationships that interconnect people and parties in the UK, Ireland and Northern Ireland’ but your inaccurate assumptions about my knowledge and what you perceive to be stuck in my craw tells me volumes about your inability to engage me in the context of my actual comments.
    and since when were the names of countries political labels? Or was that a typo?

    If you cant report ‘more of the truth’ for whatever reason, at least do us the honour of not feigning impartiality particularly when it is not necessary. Its 1.40 am here in California so I bid you goodnight. try to wake up in a better mood tomorrow a chara. 😉

  • Greenflag

    Politico 68 .

    Excellent post above at 9.43am. I don’t believe I’ve ever read Alex Kane’s analysis taken apart with such precision here on slugger .

    Go easy on Nevin -He’s a Moyle ultra nationalist/unionist in the very local sense which may see Moyle as the centre of the universe . In a way it is – as is Dungannon , Carrickfergus , Howth , Cowdenbeath, Ashby de la Zouche and Modesto (California ) 🙂

    And in his pursuit of the truth Nevin may very well fear the knock on the door in the early hours which reminds me of the old Soviet Union era truth/joke .

    It’s 2.00 am and Rabinovitch hears a knock on the door of his tiny apartment on the 15th floor of an apartment building .

    “Who is there ‘ says Rabinovitch .
    ‘The Postman ‘ comes the muffled reply “Open the door ‘
    Rabinovitch hesitates . “The postman delivers the mail at 11 every morning -it’s now two in the morning .”

    “Open up or we’ll break down the door ” comes the harsh reply.

    Rabinovitch reluctantly and fearfully opens the door and immediately three Soviet intelligence officers charge into the small apartment and start searching everywhere for something ‘

    “What are you looking for ‘ asks Rabinovitch ‘

    “Evidence ‘ says the lead officer .

    ‘We have been informed that you are planning to leave the Soviet Union and we want to find out why ”

    ‘ No need to search then ‘ says Rabinovitch .

    ‘So why do you plan to leave the Soviet Union then Comrade Rabinovitch ‘?

    ‘ To tell you the truth I don’t like living in a country where the postman knocks on the door at 2.00 am ‘

  • Ciarán

    Politico, great posts.

    More broadly, this idea that Unionism and Nationalism are both as bad as each other is something that there is way too much of and to be fair, Mick is offender in chief on this front. I’m not sure if it is down to some misguided belief that criticising both in the same breath creates ‘balance’ or indeed, if it’s because of personal bias but there are too many commentators that are unable to reasonably criticise Unionism and the DUP in particular. Take for example last weeks thread by Mick on Peter Robinson and the Pope – 100 words on Peter and the fact that ‘he is what he is’ and then 200 words on the failings to SF in the executive, all to conclude that they are both at fault and are both failing us. Well no. SF and the SDLP need to improve and should improve but Unionism has proved time and again to be a negative force whose reason d’être is to prevent progress on any number of issues. That progress isn’t made or politics isn’t seen to work is of little or no surprise because with Unionism, there is no middle ground, no compromise. Why no compromise? Because Unionism sees any change to the status quo as a concession and as we all know they aren’t much fond of concessions.

    This false belief that criticism of Unionism must be somehow joined up in a criticism of politics in general or Nationalists in particular is bullshit and no one is doing Unionism or us any favours by not calling them out on their failings.

    I might add, this isn’t to say that Nationalism doesn’t deserve to be called out on it’s failings, it does and I think it easily get’s it’s fair share.

  • Floreat Ultonia

    “this isn’t to say that Nationalism doesn’t deserve to be called out on it’s failings, it does and I think it easily get’s it’s fair share”

    Agreed. Does it matter whether that share is 50%, 45% or 55%?

  • My roots go deep in Moyle, Greenflag, so in a sense I’m very parochial; on the other hand I listen to what all manner of folks have to say. I dabbled in trans-community activities for over thirty years followed by a further twenty years in political and related stuff.

    Alex Kane’s analysis was rather superficial whereas P68’s piece had the ring of a Provisional Republican Movement tract.

    There’s no need to go easy on me. You might have noted that it was a SF councillor who sprang to my defence when a legal eagle attempted to intimidate me; I just smiled 🙂

  • Politico68

    Nevin, your subjective analysis of my piece reflects a state of paranoia on your part rather than a genuine to attempt to understand the central thrust of my argument which was thus; Kane’s article suggested that the bad behaviour on the Nationalist side is equal in measure to the bad behaviour on the Unionist side. My diatribe took that to task as best i could, i don’t believe in sweeping sentences that are not backed up in context by proper analysis and evidence.

    FYI –
    I am Irish, I live in Dublin, studying politics at UCD but currently doing a year at the University of California.
    I was born in London to an English Father and Irish Mother.
    My older siblings grew up and were educated in England, while I, a good ten years younger was educated in Dublin.
    My Father was a British Soldier, My Uncle was in the RAF, one of my Aunts was a wonderful lady from the Shankhill.
    I have close relatives who work very closely with both the Royals and the British Ministry of Defense.
    Growing up I spent much of my time in London, Leeds and Wales.
    I have lived in North Belfast for a time, I have a house there.
    I have spent a lot of time in the North, particularly around the North Down area of Donaghadee where I have many close friends all of which are fine healthy Protestant Unionists.
    My family is pretty much evenly split Protestant/ Catholic with never a cross word between us.
    So, as you can see, I am really just your typical Provisional Irish Republican.

  • Mick Fealty


    I’ve been away on holiday duty for the last couple of days so I’ve not had time to follow up on these matters… It’s too late for me to launch into a big long explanation…

    On the one’s as bad as the other thing, that’s not a fair reflexion of how I see matters. It’s clearly a ‘collusion’ thing, not a ‘on the one hand but on the other’ thing.

    The SAA feeds something controlling in both parties (though the reasons and the mechanisms for that are very different, they have constructively made the OFMdFM something it wasn’t under the Belfast Agreement.

    There are similarities in the way their private obsessions shape some of their policy decisions. Throwing the SDLP’s Girdwood housing plan on the fire for a sports facility and a Maze project it didn’t get was odd politics.

    The DUP also learned a tough lesson that you cannot be in government and on protest lines against for instance the police at one and the same time.

    The real difference is not as P68 suggests that the DUP had to dragged kicking and screaming into the SAA: the party had trailed their willingness to constructively deal in a document released just after the Nov 2003 Assembly election.

    But that SF has abandoned tools and stopped work at Stormont whilst calling for the sacking of Ministers like Ed Poots who actually get on with their jobs. Not that that seems to have come to many people’s notice yet, not even their opponents in the SDLP.

    Or when it has, they implicitly understand that their continued presence in the Executive is an official expression of political fealty to the party line that (doesn’t) emanate from Stormont castle…

  • Greenflag

    Nevin –

    Perhaps that’s the word that I should have used i.e parochial but though your loyalty to Moyle is unquestionable I’ve never seen your comments on slugger or elsewhere as narrow in the parochial sense .

    . I’m aware of your listening capabilities . I just sometimes think you may be hearing what is’nt there . I agree Alex Kane’s piece was superficial but I did’nt hear the ring of an SF tract in Politico 68’s post above . Instead I read a fairly straight forward comment on what most neutral observers would see as a factual review of the state of both political aspirations in Northern Ireland as expressed by the local political parties at this time .

    A number of years back I would have subscribed generally to Alex Kane’s (and others ) ‘they are both equally at fault for the political stalemate ‘ line which was part of my rationale among other reasons for preferring a ‘fair repartition ‘ political solution at one time . I can’t recall exactly when Kane ‘upgraded ‘ to the ‘pox on both your houses ‘ level of ” lazy ” journalism ?

    Modern Irish ‘nationalism ‘ in it’s broadest sense is a better bet for the future of all the people of NI than the current stale going nowhere political unionism as seen in the DUP and UUP . Their politicians seem to have the Midas touch in reverse :

    In the Republic confident ‘nationalism ‘is reflected not just in President Higgins visit to Windsor but in the improvement generally in bi lateral relations with the UK since the 1960’s -despite the NI ‘troubles ‘

    In Northern Ireland it results from SDLP power sharing participation at Stormont despite the earlier debacle of Sunnngdle, and later from SF adapting to the political, economic and social changes both between these islands and on this island . They (SF ) have come a long way . In comparison political unionism seems largely isolated both within the UK and from the rest of Ireland in it’s behavioural ‘politics ‘.

    This is not to state that all SF have to do politically is to wait for the political apples to fall their way when political unionism eventually implodes under the weight of it’s internal contradictions and inability to adapt to a rapidly changing political environment . SFimo face a much tougher political challenge in the Republic at least from a ‘policy ‘ perspective .

    But to be brutally honest -At least from my perspective “political unionism ‘ appears totally lost /at sea etc . The AP and perhaps the newbie NI21seem to have moved beyond traditional unionist ‘paranoia ‘ re Irish republicanism and nationalism and that has to be progress of a sort .

    The Republic has no subvention to apportion and it’s citizens are all too well aware of the ability of our politicians to gravytrain their way to personal wealth at the expense of the public good.

  • Greenflag

    Lest there be any misunderstanding in the Soviet truth/joke above 16 April 2014 at 1:38 pm any seeming or apparent similarity between Nevin of Moyle and Rabinovitch of Moscow is purely coincidental .

    In any event I have it on good authority that Nevin of Moyle unlike the aforementioned Rabinovitch of Moscow -is not going anywhere and the local postman in Moyle delivers the mail at a civilised hour and this will not change even if the dreaded UI ever comes to pass 😉

  • Politico68


    “…political unionism seems largely isolated both within the UK and from the rest of Ireland in it’s behavioural ‘politics ‘. ”

    That sentence literally hits the nail on the head. Rather than using ‘seems’ , i imagine ‘is’ might be even more accurate.

  • P68, thanks very much for taking the trouble to provide some personal background. IMO your contribution still reads like a PRM tract and I have taken the opportunity to work with and listen to members of its political wing.

    “I just sometimes think you may be hearing what is’nt there”

    Funny you should say that. A unionist spokesman once said to me, “I’m disinclined to believe you.”, when I gave him an outline of the roles played by Irish civil servants from the Departments of Justice and Foreign Affairs in certain aspects of policing here; he’d been convinced, I suppose, that the Irish government just had a consultative role post-1985.

    Apart from listening, I also seem to have a certain knack of eliciting information that wasn’t intended for my ears. When I mentioned Douglas Hurd’s meeting in Derry in November 1993 she said, “Oh, the one with Martin and Mitchell” and, realising the significance of what she said, the conversation terminated!

    Sometimes it’s just being in the right place at the right time eg seeing a Chinook in June 1994 that officially wasn’t flying in Northern Ireland airspace.

    Unionists wish NI to remain in the UK whereas Nationalists seek a UI so it’s hardly surprising that some Nationalists will seek to produce a Unionist over-reaction to provocation eg those words of Gerry Adams at Athboy in 1997. John Hume’s approach has a certain ring to it:

    The civil rights movement’s strategy of non-violence was greatly influenced by Martin Luther King’s philosophy – Don’t retaliate, let the world see who the real aggressor is – that was our fundamental message to our fellow marchers when we were attacked by baton-wielding police.

    I don’t recall a similar outcry when police batoned marchers in Dublin two years earlier.

    When President Higgins quoted Tom Kettle at Westminster he showed scant regard for the 1998 Agreement.

  • Red Lion

    I just think the whole London-Dublin love in is a conscious laying of the foundations for a joint sovereignty option, or at least the threat thereof.

    Dublin will have a canary if 50+1 is achieved. A total nervous breakdown. It wants London on board to appease the Prods and basically pay for it all.

    Getting over the visuals of the Union Jack and the trickler up on high together just reduces another wee controversy

  • Politico68


    Maybe you feel that way because I correctly identify the essence of political Unionism but in any event lets just agree to disagree.

    Outside mere historical interest I have no Gra for living in the past or depending on it to guide us through the present or toward the future. Wiser men than me can debate and explain the meaning of events in the long history in these Islands, my priority is the now and the tomorrow.

    I celebrate the movement of Nationalism and Republicanism into a more inclusive, tolerant and rational age but I mourn (with no surprise) the continued intransigent bigotry of Unionist Politics.

    Can you explain your final comment re: Higgins and Kettle? Why do u feel it showed scant regard for the GFA? I would appreciate that, if you don’t mind.

    Red Lion, by the time we are in a UI Dublin will be well prepared, have no fear of canaries. The only sign of birds will be the broken wings of Unionism

  • I’ll get back to you later on this, P68; it’s genealogy first today, politics later.

  • P68, here we have President Higgins in sleight of word mode where he attempts to create the impression that he is president of Ireland-32 rather the real world Ireland-26:

    This year the United Kingdom commemorates the First World War. In Ireland too, we remember the large number of our countrymen who entered the battlefields of Europe, never to return home. Amongst those was the Irish nationalist MP Tom Kettle who wrote that:

    “this tragedy of Europe may be and must be the prologue to the two reconciliations of which all statesmen have dreamed, the reconciliation of Protestant Ulster with Ireland, and the reconciliation of Ireland with Great Britain.” .. Westminster speech

    There’s so sense of accommodation let alone equality in the President’s use of the Home Ruler’s quote ie its anti-1998 Agreement.

    The ‘reaching out’ [in your words: ‘a more inclusive, tolerant and rational age’] by Peter and Martin is a load of old cod as they tussle for the First Minister’s seat.