The Mirror Image-Minoritarianism

This is part two of my analysis of the Haass talks and Unionist thinking. This article also appeared on my blog

Haass begins with:

…there was a feeling that change would disadvantage them.

First, Haass fails to notice the change that had occurred in the immediate run up to his talks had disadvantaged them. The design of the agenda was a rather obvious clue e.g. parades and flags. Second, we will deal with the cliché of ‘change’. Change can be good or bad, it can be progressive or regressive. Blind acceptance of something simply because it is ‘change’ is dumb. Anyone with any sense assesses it and makes their judgement on what is proposed. Third, in the last 20 years Northern Ireland has underwent a process of the most fundamental change. When Unionists have seen value in it, they have agreed with it and worked it. Fourth, it appears to assume Unionism is happy with the status quo and should be grateful for what isn’t changed.

Then we have:

I think the republicans and nationalists were more willing to entertain the possibility of change

Nationalism and republicanism were willing to entertain proposals on issues like the Maze when he offered them more than they had managed to get negotiated with Unionists or support his pet project. If you give people what they want, it isn’t difficult to get their support. However, it doesn’t help so much when you are trying to achieve a multi-lateral agreement that needs the buy-in from more than one section at the table.

However, these are matters are mere trifles compared with his poor choice of comparison. He begins with the South African and De Klerk comparisons. Haass argues De Klerk:

…understood that the future of his country meant them giving up advantaged positions.

Haass’s analysis of De Klerk is legitimate if somewhat rose-tinted. Apartheid was abhorrent and from its introduction it was on borrowed time. Its basis was an idea that the world was systematically beginning to reject and would continue to do so. It survived through the relative economic success of the country, the instability in Africa as the decolonisation processes often failed to establish genuine democracies and the Cold War.

The growth in the diplomatic strength of the developing world made it more difficult for Western democracies to quietly ignore the issue leading to sanctions. This began to impair the economy but more importantly it combined with the culmination of the Cold War.

Within South Africa, the ANC’s terrorist campaign was completely ineffectual. However, maintaining control in the townships was a real problem. Also within the townships, alternatives to the African National Congress were developing and they were as much the driving force behind the protests, riots and strikes in the 1980s.

These series of factors led to a debate within the highest echelons of the white community in South Africa. Even within the Broederbund, the highly secretive and powerful Afrikaner secret society that had driven apartheid, papers were circulating that apartheid’s days were numbered and the need to manage its end rather than allow collapse.

The factors that had allowed apartheid to survive had gone or were rapidly disappearing. If they waited much longer the potential partner on the black side, the ANC would not be in a position to deliver (arguably the position the Israelis found themselves in with the PLO). There was enough consensus at a senior level and the broader white community that a managed process was much preferable to a collapse. While the Western media fascinated on the likes of the AWB they often overlooked the plain fact that the clear and sustained majority of whites voted for De Klerk to negotiate the end to apartheid. They knew collectively that the jig was up.

This is the first reason why the comparison with South Africa is a poor one. Apartheid was an abhorrent system that’s time was unsustainable. The maintenance and development of the British Union state is not an abhorrent system. They are not comparable ideologies. It would be like looking for answers to the challenges of modern social democracy by examining the Italian fascist state.

The use of the South African comparison by some is not to provide something of use. In the political mainstream, its primary purpose is to delegitimise Unionism. For those who used terrorist violence, it was about the dehumanisation of Unionists and to legitimise their murder campaigns. Reliance upon it by someone tasked to facilitate an agreement is thus unwise.

The second reason is South African comparisons tend to feed the MOPEry syndrome, a syndrome that sections of both communities are susceptible too. Northern Ireland was not Apartheid South Africa. Northern Ireland was not Nazi Germany. Northern Ireland was not the Deep South of the USA. It did have significant and far-reaching problems but the elevation of our problems to bad comparisons doesn’t help. Reliance upon it by someone tasked to facilitate an agreement is thus unwise.

However, the greatest flaw in Haass’s analysis was this:

“Those who held the preponderance of power – and essentially that would be more the unionists backed by the British Government – needed to be willing to meet others at least halfway, and as of last December they were not, but again I would hope that a day will come when they will see it not only in their collective interest but also in their more narrow interests.”

First, Unionist political power was based on the 1921-72 parliaments. Unionism was stripped of political power in 1972. As an Alliance politician once correctly pointed out Unionism had gone from a position of supreme power to the place where the Lord Mayor of Belfast couldn’t change a bulb in a lamp-post, or a more recent example, can’t keep the national flag on City Hall. In 2014, Unionist access to political power comes at the price of a system of communal protections and being in government with the people who murdered us for over three decades. This is not a situation of privilege, ascendancy or domination. Thus Haass is using an analysis that is 42 years out of date.

Second, is the belief that the London government was on Unionism’s side is best responded to as ROFLMAO. It is based on the lazy assumption that the state and Unionists interests are always the same. It fails to recognise the potential divergence of interest in a unitary state such as the UK.

There are also multiple examples of how this is simply not the case – the Anglo-Irish Agreement, the secret messages to the Provos asking London to be spared bombs, the no selfish strategic interest declaration, the Framework Documents and Downing Street Declarations (Unionism has had to spend years talking London down from), Blair perpetual desire to be over-generous to Sinn Fein, institutional discrimination in police recruitment, the ‘invisible’ OTR scheme etc etc.

A government paper of a British–Irish exchange from 20 years ago when some civil servant raised ‘What about the Unionists’ was about as far as it went and even then it usually resulted in a proposal watered down rather than stopped. In the modern era, Unionism did and does not have an external political protector. Thus Haass is using an analysis that is too simplistic, contradicted by the available evidence and misreads the power relationships.

Now, perhaps an expectation of being up with historical detail and realities is somewhat unfair. However, an ignorance of the basics of politics is not, even for a career diplomat. The logical conclusion of this argument is that it is Unionism’s ‘leadership’ role to feed its political base a series of shit sandwiches and tell them to not only endure it but to enjoy it. Now the machinations of London, Dublin and Nationalism would be so much easier if Unionism were like this. However, it will not be the basis of strategic or electoral success for Unionism or a functioning prosperous Northern Ireland.

Minoritarianism

Haass is not alone in holding these type of views. It is a common view among officialdom in London, Dublin and many of those who inhabit or inhabited the quangocracy. It is the core ideology of the Northern Ireland Office to this day, which a weak Secretary of State  invariably crumble to (as the Parades panel U-turn demonstrated). The prevalence of it is why those Unionist and Loyalists who think Direct Rule is the answer are plain wrong. Under that system, this is what would be driving our rulers with no checks or balances.

It even had a voice in Unionism early on in the peace process. Norman Porter essentially advocated a reductionist Unionism. Its premise was as long as Northern Ireland remained part of the UK then nothing else really mattered. Unionists don’t want to live in such a soulless place.

I define this thinking as ‘minoritarianism’.

Essentially, Northern Ireland will be shaped and designed to satisfy the interests of the minority only. It is the mirror image of the majoritarianism of 1921-72 except Nationalism is to be the beneficiary not Unionism. This ideology/groupthink is progressed in the areas that Unionists have no say or highly restricted influence e.g. NIO, PSNI/Judicial system, the quangocracy (especially equality and good relations) and local government were Unionists are not in control. This is why the anti-Unionist identity agenda has been progressed at these levels and not through the devolved institutions.

Now this ideology is not limited to Northern Ireland. In most western democracies, the growing diversity within our societies has led to similar approaches where the focus is upon the needs, preferences, desires and wishes of the minorities. Minority ethnic groups had and do have legitimate needs but sections of the left and so called liberals (often middle class whites) went beyond that to attack mainstream identity.

In the past few decades while the right were generally winning the economic arguments, the left were generally winning the social ones. In a Northern Ireland context, this meant they either had common cause with Nationalism’s identity agenda or they fulfilled the role of useful fools. The results are the same.

Your average Unionist and Loyalist wonders why the treatment meted out to them does not receive much of a hearing or sympathy. This commonality in approach and ideology means this type of behaviour in Northern Ireland has been conditioned into people both here and further afield as ‘normal’ and thus to be accepted.

This ‘minoritarianism’ has contributed to ever larger swathes of people feeling utterly disconnected with politics and public life across Europe. It has not and will not prove healthy neither for our societies nor our democracies whether it is Germany, France, Great Britain or Northern Ireland.

In all this there is an underpinning attitude that Unionism is some sort of political lab rat that is expected to sit there while others experiment on how much it will take. This ‘lab rat’ does not know its own interests. Everyone knows better than it. This is certainly a superior attitude with the clear risk it becomes a supremacist attitude.

Northern Ireland rejected majoritarianism as a workable system. Its mirror image of minoritarianism is equally unworkable. Condescension or worse dismissal of Unionism is not a methodology for building productive or sustainable relationships. Unionism and Unionists have interests and needs that they can identify, wish to legitimately pursue and satisfy. Northern Ireland works best when both political communities buy in not just one. The disturbing thing is such basics need both to be repeated and more importantly accepted.

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  • kalista63

    As I said, no nationalist or republican is going to defend that Free State filth

  • kalista63

    None that I know.

    Here, why not throw up Dev and see how many of us love him?

  • eireanne

    “You quoted the SA minister ecause what he said suited your prejudices.”

    so pleased to see you include mind-reading among your talents!
    my turn now to attempt the trick
    You object to the citation “because what he said doesn’t suit your prejudices”

  • Cue Bono

    Do you know the leader of Sinn Fein?

  • Cue Bono

    I object to the citation because it is nonsense. Black south Africans faced a lot worse than internment.

  • kalista63

    Do ya wanna tell me what the British attitude to Hitler was, including the royal family and aristocracy, was prior to the declaration of war?

  • kalista63

    Barry McElduff?

  • Cue Bono

    Try reading the article.

  • kalista63

    I did. It’s from one of the worst journos, outside of Independent.ie on these islands.

  • Cue Bono

    We are talking about what the republican attitude to Hitler was during the war. Before the war people were not aware that he was going to invade western and eastern Europe and exterminate six million people in death camps.

  • Cue Bono

    So what did he say that was incorrect? Did Mary Lou McDonald not turn up at Russell’s statue to say what a hell of a guy he was?

  • Cue Bono

    “The smart thing would be to civilise and seduce the cultural nationalists”

    Any suggestions for how we can civilise the cultural nationalists would be much appreciated.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    You’re just a troll.

  • kalista63

    According to loyalists on the Newtwonards Road, every kefflik has a swimming pool.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Ahem, CB, while I’ve no wish to be confrontational for its own sake, in the interests of truth….I do not remember Count Ciano, Herman Goering and Von Ribbentrop visiting the Falls in the 1930s. My uncle, however, remembered watching from the shore near the Castlespie brickworks as their Flying boats would arrive on Fridays carrying house party guests to Mountstewart. There was still an Allach figurene, a gift from some SS dignitary perhaps, in the Library when I was last there some years back.

    And Rotha Linton Orman’s “British Fascisti” (founded 1923) had enough support here amongst upper middle class and gentry Unionist circles to begin holding the odd meeting in the Ulster Hall from 1928. I have a newspaper clipping amongst family papers somewhere.

    Of course this was not at all one sided and some IRA from the markets area sported Fascist black fezs gifted them by Glasgow Italian community over the winter of 1938/9, but there is a bit of a gap between organised political parties and elite contact, and a bit of sartorial coat trailing. The reality is that while figures from both Unionist and Nationalist camps supported Hitler at the outbreak of the war, many others did not. The records of many in both communities do not bear serious scrutiny. Pot. Kettle. Black.

    One important thing however, but rather than start a debate on this I’d recommend that you search back and examine what has already been said on Slugger threads on the matter some time back, by myself and others. A considerable number of those from here who did fight in the last war spoke of those within the Unionist community who used the absence of conscription in NI, something conceeded to NI in order not to offend Irish neutrality, in order to stay out of the forces. There was a woefully low level of voluntary enlistment amongst those vociferious in affirming their Britishness in times of peace, and rather more volunteers from the neutral Irish Free State served against Hitler, often at great personal hardship, than volunteered in the north.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    CB, I know you revere printed sources, so James Loughlin’s “Northern Ireland and British Fascism in the Inter-War Years” which is found in “Irish Historical Studies” Vol. 29, No. 116 (Nov., 1995), pp. 537-552, may be of some interest.

  • carl marks

    Of course any catholic/nationalist brought up in NI under the old unionist government might not see comparisons between it and SA as poor.
    regarding removing Unionist symbols and unionists not wanting to “live in such a soulless place” this might have merit if, firstly unionists did not use these symbols as sectarian markers and secondly did not oppose any symbolism from the other side.
    for nationalist’ symbol’s wise it was and is still a soulless place.
    It’s not really difficult to see why unionist and loyalist think they don’t get much sympathy, check out the way they behave,

    Gregory’s little outburst’s, the whole parades thing and the behaviour of the OO and it associates, The Flegger’s, Twaddell all these thing and more travel round the world.
    finally ” the people who murdered us for three decades” you are of course aware that the there were many people murdered by unionist,s, check out who planted the first bombs and committed the first murder’s, and i am sure you are also aware of the close relationship between the loyalist terror groups and the mainstream unionist parties which carry’s on to this day in north belfast!

  • aber1991

    Not true. Murdering people because of their religion is a Prod specialism.

  • eiregain

    you should have a look at cue bonors (not freudien slip) comment history, it gets pretty sectarian and troll-ish.

    Both these cats need to be chased away, iv rarely seen a comments section stay above water when there present. We all drown in your BS lads

  • Cue Bono

    The key point you seem to miss Seann is that those people were friendly with Hitler before the war and the ensuing genocide. The IRA were friends with Hitler precisely because of the war. In 1940 Irish republicans were praising him for his progressive policies in Europe.

    “However, in July 1940 the IRA leadership issued a statement outlining
    its position on the war. The statement made clear that if ‘German forces
    should land in Ireland, they will land . . . as friends and liberators
    of the Irish people’. The public was assured that Germany desired
    neither ‘territory nor . . . economic penetration’ in Ireland but only
    that it should play its part in the ‘reconstruction’ of a ‘free and
    progressive Europe’. The Third Reich was also praised as the ‘energising
    force’ of European politics and the ‘guardian’ of national freedom. ”

    ‘Oh here’s to Adolph Hitler,

    Who made the Britons squeal,

    Sure before the fight is ended

    They will dance an Irish reel.’

    (War News, 21 November 1940)

    http://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/oh-heres-to-adolph-hitler-the-ira-and-the-nazis/

    They were every bit as stark raving barmy in 1940 as they remain to this very day.

  • Reader

    The main difference is surely that white South Africans were in favour of minority rule and Ulster Prods were in favour of majority rule?
    I get the impression from the rest of this thread that the True Path of Righteousness is mandatory power sharing until kalista63 decides the time is right for the return of majority rule here.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Ah, CB, as a “real” historian few points get missed by me. Have you checked out James Loughlin’s article yet? I thought not.

    The point I was making was “The reality is that while figures from both Unionist and Nationalist camps supported Hitler at the outbreak of the war, many others did not. The records of many in both communities do not bear serious scrutiny. Pot. Kettle. Black.” Both lots were culpable, as you say “every bit as stark raving barmy” and this is precisely why these “narcissism of minor difference” attempts to make political capitol against those considered as opponents by shifting all blame over onto them comes over as rather gratuitous.

    Having a smidgen of Jewish blood myself, I’m perhaps a little sensitive on these matters, as when I worked it out, great grandmothers and all that, I found I’d have been a candidate for the camps. This is one of the reasons I’m so alert to scary right-wing tendencies in both political factions here where I live. I grew up knowing just as much about “The Limerick Boycotts” as about Lord Londonderry and the Kilkeel ladies, and both frankly worried me, but so did Ronnie Bunting Senior doing his Ernest Rohm tribute act in 1968/9.

    But, if you can forget scoring for a moment, I’d have you consider the possibility that those who were “Friends of Germany” before and during the war, in BOTH camps, are culpable, those who weren’t, weren’t, simple as that. Certainly men from Irish nationalist backgrounds fought against Hitler before and during the war. Did you ever come across the International Brigades in Spain? Does the “Colún Uí Chonghaile” mean anything to you? Most of the volunteers in that body were active anti-treaty Republicans.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connolly_Column

    Frank Ryan was their commander! Nothing is ever simple.

    Just for the record I have a lot of anecdotal information from family and their friends about the Linton Orman gang’s “tea parties” (pun intended) but I know just how much you hate raw history, so I’ll desist. Oh just a last wee detail, Sir Oswald Mosley (whose son fought against Germany in the war) was a firm friend all through his life of Irish Independence, one of the reasons why Linton Orman’s people, hot wired to elite Unionism, loathed him so much.

  • Cue Bono

    Again there is a world of difference between being friendly with Hitler before WW2 and supporting him after he had invaded and conquered western Europe. Are you really incapable of seeing that, or are just being a little bit stubborn about admitting that your comparison between Lord Londonderry and the IRA is moronic?

    The IRA expressly forbad its people from going to Spain to fight for the Communists. As everyone knows most of the Irish who went their fought for the fascists. Though not very effectively.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Ah CB, so you did not know about the Connolly Column! My uncle was in the Royal Irish Fusileers in the last war with Irishmen who had been in Spain, and among them some had fought alongside Ryan and some with O’Duffy. Both fought Hitler in 1939. Nothing is ever as simple as you would seem to think.

    My mention of the Allach figurine was intentional. Yes, Lord Londonderry’s activities were just as culpable as those of the men he would have considered his social inferiors. They simply acted in different social spheres.

    The attempt to simplify this for political capital for any one side is entirely doomed, as the entire period is a confusing mess of changing opinions and loyalties when actually you get away from the simplifications of themed books and articles and get down to some real primary source research. How delightfully quaint to find someone as rock solid in their opinions as yourself, even if they are entirely unsustainable against the true facts. Great crac.

  • Reader

    For bonus points, identify the clause that Vorster wanted.
    Hint – yes, it was a specific clause.
    The Special Powers act was moderate by the standards of the time (and place!), but it gave vast discretion to a single individual. That’s what Vorster wanted.

  • Cue Bono

    I know you are knocking on a bit Seann, so I’ll excuse you for misrepresenting what I have said. Just to confirm. Yes Irish republicans did fight for the communists in Spain, but they did so against the espress orders of the IRA leadership. They were vastly outnumbered by the Irish republicans who fought for fascism in Spain. Lord Londonderry flirted with the Nazis before the war at a time when the full horrors of what they were about had not become clear. The IRA co-operated with the Nazis during the war and praised their ‘progressive policies’ after they had begun to invade other democratic states.

    There is nothing simple about it, but suffice to say that, as usual, the republicans occupy the lowest moral ground.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Actually CB, my family knew Londonderry! My uncle flew with him out of Ards in the 1930s. I’m not going to go on about this, but I do realise that your appreciation of history is limited by the fact that you are coming from books, printed articles, etc, which you have read, and selected information to fit with what you wish to affirm.

    I’m coming from primary source research and from a family background of people who knew the players and heard all the things that never get into print. One of the first things that you discover if you take history seriously, is that all the facts taken together do not run along anyones tram lines of ideology. Both “sides” have “right” moments, both “sides” “wrong” moments. History is scurrilous and unexpected when you get down and dirty. You seem to want to be a propagandist for your cause, I’m interested in real events and real people. I’m beginning to see that our understanding of what the past is for is entirely incompatible. You appear to want to score points, I want to know what really happened, in all its gory contradiction. We will both be disappointed in the other’s conclusions, you because I bring up very uncomfortable truths you are unwilling to hear, me, because your comments show that you want to crush fact down into that sterile world of causes and simplifications that modern historical research has begun to pull us out of.

    For goodness sake, man, the very article you linked to describes the extent of anti-Nazism within the IRA, decaying only as the organisation shrank!!! The principal involvement of Irishmen in Spain outside of the Connolly Column did not involve Republicans, but involved O’Duffy’s Blueshirts, an organisation set up to combat the IRA in the 1930! But as I’m trying to show you, it was a messy, mixed pattern of alliances, not the clean cut situation that any such conclusion as you seem think might be inferred by any real historian.

  • Cue Bono

    “One of the first things that you discover if you take history seriously,
    is that all the facts taken together do not run along anyones tram
    lines of ideology. Both “sides” have “right” moments, both “sides”
    “wrong” moments. History is scurrilous and unexpected when you get down
    and dirty. You seem to want to be a propagandist for your cause, I’m
    interested in real events and real people. I’m beginning to see that our
    understanding of what the past is for is entirely incompatible. You
    appear to want to score points, I want to know what really happened, in
    all its gory contradiction.”

    Yet strangely your unverifiable recollections of primary source research (what your Uncle Vince told you) always seem to relate to something which makes unionists look bad. Weird.

    The Blueshirts themselves were republicans. Indeed their man Collins has had his reputation somewhat enhanced of late thanks to Liam Neeson’s “Braveheart” efforts.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Ah, CB, if only you’d ben a little less abusive! I have a rather scurrilious story about the making of “Michael Collins” and some rather bizarre historical inaccuracies that were insisted on by a finance source taht I know of, one ofthose storise I picked up at a party when I was in films, but as I seem to be utterly opposed to Unionism only, I suppose I’ll just have to supress the jucy details.

    If you were a bit of a reader, and had looked over my comments on, say, the issue of Áine and Gerry Adams, you’d perhaps be less inclined to put me in a “one side” box. It just so happens you seem to need to challenge some facts about the Ulster Division I know to be true, having been told them by people who were there and whose moral probity is difficult to paralell in anyone I meet today. So I believe them and pass on their self-deprication in a spirit of good faith.

    I’m, as I’ve told you before, nobodies dog in this dog fight you seem to enjoy. All and every instance of history being used inaccurately to support a political position, no matter on what side it starts, is pretty fair game for me to puncture with an uncomforatble truth. Keep reading my posts over the years, you’ll perhaps learn something new. O’Duffy a Republican? Well, no, he was a “Free Stater” if he was anything, as was Collins, and the bitterness between the adherents of the “one true and indivisible Republic” and those “lackies of the Emprire” who were “Free Staters” is obviously a soap opera you may have missed the important episodes of. Perhaps it would help you to insult your enemies more accurately if you were to perhaps mug up on some actual Irish History. Just a song to help you along:

    “Take it down from the mast Irish traitors
    Its a flag we Republicans claim
    It should never be flown by Free-Staters
    For you’ve brought on it nothing but shame.”

    Republicans, Free-Staters, were different camps within nationalism, but (ahem), not within Republicanism which was different to the Free State which retained an oath to the (Hanoverian) “King” and his Viceroy in Phoenix Park for a wee while, and both were as bitterly ranged against one another as Unionist and Nationalist were.

  • Cue Bono

    Ah dear oh. You try to e so condescending, but you do so in such a silly way. The people who you call Free Staters were Irish republicans who had adopted the eminently sensible position of trying to gain a united Irish republic in stages. In other words they had worked out in 1921 what the idiots who slavishly follow Adams only managed to work out in 1998. Neither Collins nor O’Duffy sat in a Stormont government administrating British rule in Ireland, so if they were not republicans then how can SF possiby claim to be?

  • aber1991

    Ulster Protestants went to Spain to fight for the Communists.
    Irish Catholics went to Spain to take part in the Catholic crusade against Communism.

  • aber1991

    The Ulster Prods support majority rule only when they are in the majority. You seem to have forgotten about their behaviour in 1912 and also about the gerrymander of Derry, Omagh and Fermanagh.

  • Zeno

    That is factually untrue. Have you not heard of O’Duffy? My Grandfather fought for the 15th International Brigade.

    http://youtu.be/fJ224ygAqdY

    The Bishops blessed the Blueshirts in Killarney when they sailed beneath the Swastika to Spain.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    CB, I cannot make any sense of what you are trying to say…… “Republicans” swearing an oath of allegence to King George V at the opening sessions of the Dáil in the 1920s? The whole point of the free State was that Collins was sitting (for a few months) in a devolved administration doing just what you said he was not doing, “administrating British rule in Ireland”, in the same manner as the devolved adminstration at Stormont. I’d thought that this very thing was what a terrible civil war was fought over, and why lifelong friends shot one another. I’ve accused other people speaking historical nonsence of “carrying out their education in public”. Interesting to come on another instance.

    Seriously, please go and read some actual Irish history with an open mind, and save my fingers the trouble of trying to answer your nonsense. I seem to be wasting my time trying to open your eyes to the real historical complexities.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Good grief, Zeno, I’m having the same problem from the “other side” below with Cue Bono. I’d mentioned that several men from O’Duffy’s Brigade and Ryan’s Connolly Column ended up serving under him in the Royal Irish Fuslieers against Hitler! How is it that no-one appears to understamd that the Black hat/white hat models never seem to fit exactly!!!!

  • Cue Bono

    Ha but you ertainly do talk some rubbish. Collins was administrating an Irish government in an independent Free State. MGuinness is administrating a British government in part of the United Kingdom.

    You reckon that he is a republican do you?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Amusingly, although the Deputy First Minister, the Right Honourable Martin McGuinness may call himself a Republican, and may claim to uphold Republican principals, but he is acting as a minister of the British Crown, and his authority derives from that source, not that I would accept such authority as in any way legitimate until King Francis is finally finally restored. But Martin and Mick Collins are in the exact same boat. The “Free State” was not an “independant country” as you seem to think but a British Dominion, and as the declaration of an Irish Republic in 1949 was a unilateral action, unreciprocated by the Imperial Parliament, even its status is somewhat suspect.

  • Cue Bono

    Well so long as you agree that your strict definition of republicans does not include the Provos then I can only agree that neither was Collins. That just leaves the dissidents to claim the title.