In North Belfast forget politics just remember you’re a Catholic…

I guess this is Sinn Fein calling a spade a spade, but in the party’s vision of an Ireland of Equals it seems that Protestants need not  apply

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It’s not that it’s wrong. The toxic nature of north Belfast means that Catholics and Protestants do generally split this way. And FPTP offers an opportunity just to further squeeze SDLP hold outs and a small but growing number of Catholic Alliance voters in North Belfast.

But from the only party to have been found guilty of religious discrimination at Stormont it is also blatantly sectarian.

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  • Reader

    Robin Keogh: Yes i know there id an effort to stop Catholics getting new homes in NB
    It turns out what you object to was that they wanted the new development to be split 50/50 between the communities – in a constituency which is split evenly between CNR and PUL.
    That doesn’t look too good for you…

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I like the simplicity of the label “voting by standing order”, certainly not as a definition of how everyone votes but as a neat description for that body of people on either end of the divisions in our community who will automatically vote for the party they always vote for. And, yes seven parties supporting the Union perhaps, but other than defining themselves by an historical reaction to SF, what is actually on offer to seriously differentiate the candidates who get actually get elected from these parties? I think the salient idea is “engaging in the narcissism of small differences”:

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

    Their attempts at differing policies serve only allow the parties “to achieve a superficial sense of one’s own uniqueness, an ersatz sense of otherness which is only a mask for an underlying uniformity and sameness”. The really interesting thing would be to encounter a party here that is not engaged in this crude polarity, and actually engaged with issues that would really effect peoples lives, the Green Party perhaps?

    Personally, until such a party becomes a possible contender, I find it very difficult to find enough common ground with any party here to actually drive down to my local polling station and join in, something I’m seemingly sharing with a sizeable part of the local population.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And I keep trying to square my own personal experience of open debate and real grass roots decisions (not to mention a lot of sub-hippy idealism and a smidgen of Marcuse) in the NICRA and PD in ’68 with the serried ranks of brainwashed student dupes marching to the music of the old “Officials” that I heard everywhere from Unionists at the time and now read about so much from some Unionist commentators!

    I must compare this poster (above) with some of the Unionist comments from ’68 some day when I’ve nothing better to do………..

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Good, I think a stalemate is what’s needed.
    If SF decide to become proper republicans as opposed to hypocritical, MOPE preaching, eye poking blinkered nationalists (IMO) then they might actually have to think about a proper, pragmatic strategy to achieve a UI as opposed to what they’re doing now which amounts to little more than removing flags and symbols in the hope that the place looks ‘proper’ for when ‘the day’ finally arrives.

    The day that happens is the day unionism is in REAL trouble for then it would see the potential shift of pro-UK votes from middle of the road types who are just sick of the circumstances that allows for people like Jamie Bryson and Willie Frazer to hold influence.

    But as it stands d**k-headed unionism feeds d**k-headed nationalism and vice-versa and the sectarian machine just keeps eating up ordinary people and defecating out petty-blinkered-past-lingering fish for a small poisoned pond.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    A bit like that Ricky Gervais sketch when he imagines Niche meeting Hitler…?

    Niche: “You did WHAT?!!!”

  • Ciarán

    So the leaflet has a ‘blame the prods’ message as well?! You must be reading a different leaflet than the one I’ve seen or are you just making it up as you go along?

  • Reader

    I think that the problem is that SF were caught out being exactly the same. Like it or not, that *will* interfere with Shinner spin in future.

  • Reader

    the rich get richer: brain evacuation
    I think the term is “brain shart”.

  • Paddy Reilly

    I have sometimes been annoyed by the likes of Chris Donnelly asserting that there is something wrong about a Union Flag being flown too near a Catholic Church in places like Carrickfergus and Ballyclare. If you live in such places then you are probably quite happy with Union Flags and have no wish to be associated with Sinn Féin.

    But North Belfast is different. There is a greater degree of polarisation. In fact, if you look at the death rates over the decades, it’s easy to see that North Belfast is the most polarised constituency in the province, in Ireland, in the United Kingdom. In fact, nowhere else in the world do Catholics and Protestants live in such mutual antipathy as in North Belfast.

    So the assertion in this flyer is substantially correct. A Catholic majority does indicate a Nationalist majority. Demographically speaking this is an obvious truth.

    Consequently I would anticipate that the Nationalist vote this week will exceed the Unionist one. But whether SF gets in is another matter, due to the remaining SDLP voters. Having said this though, there is a marked provincial tendency for the SDLP vote to decline and defect to SF, even in areas where there is no reason for tactical voting: this has in the past exceeded my calculations in predictions.

    But SF has done nothing to help: Gerry Kelly is hardly a Nationalist unity candidate, let alone a community unity candidate. But Nigel Dodds’ merry men among the Orange Order (and their attendant bandsmen and golf ball brigade) have ensured that for residual SDLP voters the temptation to hold your nose and vote for Gerry is very, very strong indeed.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    spectacular own goal though, right? And it reveals a truth about SF they don’t like us to focus on – their strategy is some kind of ethnic breeding race, not winning people over with politics.

    I think they are particularly skewered by this because they put us all through so much violence, under the excuse it was for the good of all of us and was not at all about seeking sectarian hegemony over Protestants. Then this. But we all knew anyway, let’s be honest.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    A lot of (apparent) Republicans on here are admitting, to their credit, this was an appalling communication by SF. I would just ask though, is it so out of character for the Republican Movement to be sectarian?

    If this is a surprise, it may be you haven’t been paying attention to words AND deeds in the past, but taking Republicanism at face value. I have to say, in the light of how many people they’ve murdered, there is little excuse for that in 2015.

    But I hope this does wise some of the younger ones up perhaps on what SF is really all about. Those of us lucky enough to survive their Armed Struggle know already.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I’m not at – I don’t mean they’re religiously Catholic, but that they aggressively push the supposed interests of a Catholic Irish ethnic block and see Protestants as just people who get in their way. SF seeks to dehumanise and caricature Protestants so as to scapegoat them for NI’s ills. It does this by seeking confrontation with the likes of the more intransigent voices in the OO, so their constituency start to believe this is what all Protestants are really like. The last thing they want to do is engage with ordinary Protestants, who give the lie to their stereotyping of us as nasty bigots.

    It prospers only by stoking sectarian division; it knows if NI works, SF fails. They are a poison in the system and with their refusal to apologise for their murders of the past, a huge barrier to proper reconciliation.

    The great hope though is that the SF constituency aren’t as stupid or as sectarian against Protestants as SF would like. Once the spell is broken – and it will be, eventually – they’ll wonder how they went along with these shysters as long as they did.

    I hope the same thing happens with the DUP among Protestants too. Northern Ireland voters of both national allegiances have been making rods for their own backs over the last 10-15 years. It doesn’t have to be this way.

  • Carl Mark

    Firstly, yes this a very stupid thing which they have done, no argument on that.
    In terms of it being sectarian yes but it is only returning the serve,we all know the selective manner in which you see things but even you cannot have missed the announcement by the main unionist parties of thier own sectarian plot (anti taig and Lundy) strange this has been overlooked by your keenly honed sense of sectarian injustice.
    Now you mentioned the violence the Provo’s put us through but seem to be blissfully unaware that a great deal of the violence (including the first murders, and bombings) was carried out by unionists.
    So a bit less of the mock outrage unless you also want to aim some of it at unionists and their misrule of this place and at the violence carried by unionists.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    you mean, your fellow Irishmen and women?

    Or do you have to be Catholic?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I can see the argument that the unionist pact is ‘sectarian’ but it might be more accurate to say it’s pro-unionist. I think it’s justified in areas where it helps keep SF out as they are The Big Wrong in Northern Ireland; but I don’t agree with it so much to thwart the SDLP and certainly not, as in East Belfast, against Alliance. But there is a big difference between this and the religious headcount approach of SF: the DUP-UUP pact is a political pact to maximise pro-Union seats; I gather pro-Union voters in Scotland are preparing to vote tactically in a similar way to try to hold back the SNP. It is a legitimate thing to do. But it does matter that politics should try to be about more than just religious affiliation and ethnic block voting – it can hardly be called progressive to appeal to ethnicity only.

    It is an interesting one though as you’re right that NI is an ethnically divided political party system and you could say all SF are doing is calling a spade a spade. But it matters that parties at least try to appeal to voters in the other community and don’t “other” them in quite so blatant a way. I’m sure some in the DUP think in similar ways. But it’s not good.

    The other interesting angle though is that unionism accepts the ethnic division in NI more readily than nationalism does. Nationalism needs us all to eventually becomes a single group, “the Irish people”; unionism at its best has a pluralist take on the future, in which British and Irish live side by side in harmony but neither tries to “convert” the other or gain the upper hand over it. I realise that hasn’t always been the case in the past, but that for me is a big advantage that unionism has going forward.

    Nothing mock about the outrage. The “Armed Struggle” was a Republican campaign, the Troubles was a creature of the IRA’s decision to press for a united Ireland with violence. I’ve never done anything but condemn the Loyalist violence around that, or the relatively small percentage of the Troubles that was crimes by the security forces acting ultra vires. If you read my comments as carefully as you claim, you would concede that. I also agree there was unionist misrule – I just don’t think there was enough there to make even one murder in any way necessary. It’s also worth noting that the violent Republican tradition pre-dates the existence of the NI state. That’s not to excuse misrule where it occurred, just to remind ourselves that violent Republican groups were already there and intent on a united Ireland by hook or by crook; government stupidity just provided grist to their mill. The mill was already there.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh, AG, I’m a great man for “Dialogues with the dead”, that eighteenth century literary model where you put two people together who would not have met in life. My particular favourite is one by Lytton Strachey, a discussion on warfare between Rupert Brooke and Sennacherib the Assyrian. Sennacherib is delightedly approving of everything Brooke says as confirming Assyrian practice while Brooke is working himself into an apoplexy trying to explain to Sennacherib that Britain’s 1914-18 cause and their waging of war was pure and high minded and not the barefaced criminality of Sennacherib’s conquests. Sennacherib keeps saying “Satisfactory, most satisfactory” and explaining that both he and the British Empire were driven to do the same things by similar pretty despicable motives. It’s a lot funnier than I’m making it sound……

    I must write a dialogue between Pearse and Gerry some day and offer it to Mick as a lead piece……..

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Your argument assumes the Union is sectarian; yet it seems to be consistently favoured by around a third of Catholics, if opinion polls over the past 40 years are right.

    Unionist political parties believe that support for the Union is issue No1, which it is in theory. But it needn’t be treated so at every election, certainly not in elections where the future of the Union is not at stake, as this one. So I’m not so keen on the pact, except where it’s to try and unseat / keep out SF – and in those areas, I’d actually like to see ALL parties getting together to support a single non-SF candidate, including SDLP and Alliance.

    I think uniting across both communities against paramilitary apologists is the way forward – and I’m sure many will agree.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    what specifically though can you disagree with in what I said?

    To the main point: do you take at face value the Republican claim to be a non-sectarian movement? (Which just happens to be massively Irish Catholic and to have, to put it mildly, a massive antagonism towards Ulster Protestants).

  • The Republic hasn’t disconnected the rule of the state from the serious influence/control of a religious hierarchy? Vatican-maintained? What decade are you living in? You’ll really have to back those statements up.

    The majority of the population in the Republic happen to be, at least, cultural Catholics, which might, in turn, influence the general socio-political climate of the state and its policy – as you’ll find in democratic republics – but the state is not a theocracy. There is no endowed or official state religion, unlike how there is in, say, erm, the UK.

    And if you’re going to comparatively look down upon the Republic for supposedly being in the social “dark ages”, you could maybe do with looking a bit closer to home… The northern statelet isn’t exactly a utopia of progressive, secular thought, is it? You probably assume everyone on the island thinks similarly to yourself. Of course I acknowledge and appreciate the existence of secular and republican (in the anti-monarchist sense) unionists in the spirit of the Enlightenment (even though they may be directly opposed to my constitutional ideals), but, generally and historically, those of the unionist, loyalist and Ulster Protestant traditions have long seen fit to combine their religion with their politics. The same cannot be said of the “other” community. Religion in the south just isn’t a matter of public note like it is in the north either. I fear you’ve got a very peculiar and inaccurate impression of life in the south.

    In the event of a united Ireland, I don’t envisage NI being simply incorporated into the present Republic. I imagine a new state with new institutions (and possibly emblems, but with means for strong protection and recognition of the respective existing British/Irish/Ulster-Scots/Gaelic identities) would be agreed with broad, cross-communal consensus.

    And I appreciate the generosity of sharing the privilege of your nationhood with us (I wouldn’t doubt your concern and good will for a second…), but, as a cultural outsider, aren’t you being ever-so-slightly presumptuous with your loaded guessing? Most northern Catholics haven’t embraced this notion of being British subjects for centuries, nor do they now. That’s kind of what all that Trouble was about. Catholics have been happily and rebelliously identifying as Irish for centuries, whatever about the political jurisdiction in which they found themselves. National identity transcends political boundaries. As for northern Catholics preferring a political system free from the influence of religion – and perhaps this is true – if only we could get about shaking off the old influence of religion from northern politics first, eh?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    At some point you have to stop using “history” as an excuse for the indefensible in the present.

    There is nothing in history that requires us to be nice about paramilitary-apologist politicians. They should just leave the stage, all of them, Catholic and Protestant. No place for them – they bring the whole place down.

  • Carl Mark

    The only difference between the right wing anti liberal policies and your own is the nationlist thing, we all know you have a IT degree but in any bebate on any subject you happally dismiss any science that disagrees with your viewpoint (which is a lot of science) and the god thing, do you not have your own website dealing with theology .
    Oh yes you have got that DUP thing going that when cornered you get rude and patronising believing it to be the oul rightoues anger thing.
    So do you deny ( how about we leave the opinion on your “science” to others)
    That in every area of policy but the flag you fly and the alter you kneel at , your political and social views are indentical the the free p end of the DUP.
    If you do please give us some examples.

  • Carl Mark

    Well that one thing you certainty can’t accuse unionists of!

  • Carl Mark

    I believe you are the person who brought history up in the first place.
    I merely challenged your very selective version of it.
    I

  • Le Cochon Bleu

    ” but the state is not a theocracy. ”

    That’s not what I’m saying.

    What I was meaning is that the Republic of Ireland, and some other European countries such as Spain do not have a legal, constitutional, defining element which the UK does have. This constitutional element is something which says that all political discussion, decisions and considerations MUST be made and thought of completely in extraction from any religion.

    So, I’m not at all saying that the government of the Republic of Ireland are on the phone to The Vatican, asking their guidance or control before they pass each law. No.

    However, first of all, it’s only rather recently that the media made a very new fuss over that Enda Kelly made the very first separatist to Vatican statement about Irish politics, either in decades, or since the formation of the RoI (not sure which). It was a monument in Irish politics, admitted by all commentators of all persuasions, which says a lot about how RoI politics can happen.

    Secondly, you say that “cultural Catholics, which might, in turn, influence the general socio-political climate of the state and its policy”. But, in fact it’s not only much more than that, it’s little to do with the people, with the ordinary citizens who may be Catholic. In fact policy CHANGES OR RATHER USUALLY THE COMPLETE LACK OF CHANGE has been rather unconnected to the real people (who in the most part don’t complain about this much because they see themselves as obedient to the church. Some complain vociferously, but they are a minority, while things do seem to be changing but very, very slowly.)

    In fact, rather than something of democratically elected politicians, the policies have been largely subjects of the Bishops. For decades the will of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in RoI has been endemic in shaping what the government thinks it can and can’t do. This is an actual fact. Sometimes this has been actually overt, but frequently, it is hush hush. In my time, I’ve had first hand reports from journalists (who weren’t even allowed by editors to say beyond a sentence or two to indicate something), and from people within the Catholic Church heirarchy.

    I’m not Christian myself, but my father was an Irish national as well as a British national, and was very familiar with the Catholic Church of the RoI, having studied to be a priest in Dublin, but deciding against it. He knew many people high up in the Catholic hierarchy and made no bones about being clear about telling people that they make the decisions. If government does not have support of the Bishops, they tend to kick up a massive fuss with huge threats to broadcast every sermon in every Sunday church against the government party. I’m told these threats in fact have had success nearly 100% of the time in the last 3 decades of the 20th Century (since I was born, more or less). This was confirmed to me by professors and lecturers in Irish polticis and religion in the past and, again, people in the media.

    I know it’s true, and there, I am backing up what I say.

    The big thing over the decades has been – the government in the RoI SEEMS independent, but in fact this is seldom really been true. They are so obedient anyway to the Catholic hierarchy, personally, brought up in good families where this means everything and only conformity is rewarded. Few step outside of conformity and Enda Kenny was something of a real, true rebel – he is so different from how politicians have been in general.

    Though things may well be changing, very slowly – still what I meant is that there is NOT a mandatory political / constitutional separation between religion and politics in the RoI. For each decision, if asked, a politicians does not have to prove that he was influenced or even controlled by the will of the Catholic hierarchy in effecting a statute. Because it’s legal to be so influenced or even controlled in that nation.

    Here in the UK, there is a constitutional block to such things – a politician must be independent from a religion and from the influence or control of religious figures in his / her work. Of course, they may be Christian or Jewish etc., and make decisions coming from their own backgrounds. But persons from the religion they are part of are legally not allowed to dictate or unduly influence what they decide in their political roles. This is basically what I mean.

    The truth is also, that the Bishops in RoI both exercise their own will and also are frequently in contact with the Vatican, asking for its advice on political / moral / religious matters in RoI. In the 1980s and 1990s, it was frequently said that if a politician didn’t have the support of nearly all the Bishops, sometimes even just one particular, outspoken Bishop who would cause trouble in his area with the priests and the people who listen to them each week – a law cannot seriously be passed. I am not making this up. If you do not know this then you do not really AT ALL know either the history nor the present of Irish politics, religion and culture. It is so serious.

  • Carl Mark

    And then of course it would not be a complete story , strange that you have not posted lately about the unionist pact and judged it as massively ulster Scots and to put it mildly a massive antagonism towards Irish Catholics.
    What you seem to be unaware of is it takes two to tango and both sides share blame for our history.

  • Le Cochon Bleu

    “The northern statelet isn’t exactly a utopia of progressive, secular thought, is it?”

    It’s a matter of interpretation, actually.

    While in fact, here in the region of Northern Ireland, just as in any other part of the United Kingdom, political events MUST BY LAW be secularly derived and implented. Of course, the laws may appear to be in sympathy with one or other of the religions’ viewpoints (or both / more than 2).

    However actually proving that is something else, and of course most people in Northern Ireland do seem to have their own bias. Also it will be difficult anyway to separate someone’s allegations of religious connection in politics with something which may just coincidentally agree.

    But, the main point is that it is illegal in the UK for policies to be in any way, however slightly, dictated to politicians by a religion. Wheras in the RoI, there is not such a law, and indeed, if you know the history (and the present) you MUST be aware that the Catholic Church hierarchy has had the most incredible influence and, basically, control over Irish political polices for such a long time. No joke, no exaggeration. Honestly. If you were not aware of this, you really ought to be.

  • Carl Mark

    All parties getting together to support a anti SF Canditata, good one I can just see nationlists standing with those who stood many times with loyalist terror groups to oppose SF.
    Yep that will work,
    The pride of ardoyne could lead them (no nosed the take the dead terrorists of their shirts) Wee Jim’s election agent can pretend to shoot any Taig in the head if they break ranks,
    Fleggers can flank it and all the unionist politicians can wear their sash’s.
    Peter can don’t his ulster resistance beret.
    And we can stop outside catholic chapels and play the. Famine song.
    How about a celebration bonfire and us twigs can bring pictures of our politicians and religious icon for burning.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    you seem to have included some paramilitary apologists there – the whole point was the non-terrorist-apologist majority across society coming together against those people.

  • Carl Mark

    Cheeky. You know I’m a athiest and have little love of the catholic church, but don’t let that stop you out with the standard sectarian stereotypes

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I was referring to SF’s preference for Catholic voters. I’m sure you’re a good atheist like me 🙂

  • Le Cochon Bleu

    ” Most northern Catholics haven’t embraced this notion of being British subjects for centuries, nor do they now. That’s kind of what all that Trouble was about. Catholics have been happily and rebelliously identifying as Irish for centuries”

    But they are Irish, Daniel. No-one is claiming that people on Ireland aren’t geographically Irish. That would be really foolish. However, in Northern Ireland, these geographically Irish people are nationally British.

    So, what they are doing, by your description, is grabbing a pitchfork to improve their soil and driving it right into their metaphorical foot.

    Again, you missed my main point – whether Sinn Fein or for any Northern Irish person who identifies as a republican: They MUST accept their British nationality and try to improve things and JUST ACCEPT THE REALITY OF THINGS LIKE ANY OTHER AREA OF THE WORLD, BEFORE they will be able to go about actually achieving anything whatsoever in terms of losing a British identity.

    Again – they can have their non-British wants all they like – everyone accepts that, I think, as long as they are compus mentos in the here and now.

    Just as many people (probably not many unionists, though, but they are made of old stone frequently) sympathise with nearly half the Scots who had a preference wanting to drop their British identity too.

    It was a close call last year, and most Scots want to remain British. But the difference between Scotland and Northern Ireland is that most of the Scots who wish to break away from the UK do not dig themselves into an imaginary, mother-Freudian ditch and pretend they are already part of a different nation and that the real situation is not even there.

    They live today as the British people they are, because they know today means today, and tomorrow means tomorrow, it being just one day after today, and you cannot live beyond that – an imagined future – in today and tommorrow. You must accept every today and tomorrow in its current form, its current reality, before you create a future beyond these two days.

    You cannot bring about any future you want without first accepting what the present means.

    It’s a real mental problem Northern Irish people have who do not admit they are British or have a British identity. Because the only other choice is to be a foreigner in Northern Ireland – to hold a passport of the Republic of Ireland – meaning you’re an Irish citizen yes. But it only means something if you got to the Republic of Ireland. It means nothing in the country you live in – Northern Ireland. An Irish passport, a foreign passport, is meaningless here.

    You can imagine all you like that it does mean something in Northern Ireland, but you’re just PRETENDING.

    The way to achieve change is CERTAINLY NOT by pretending first. The only way to successfully achieve change is by REALLY ADMITTING AND ACCEPTING the FULL reality of this part of the earth.

    Do you think that Ireland or Northern Ireland are the only places on earth to have suffered battles, invasion, settlements of other peoples?

    You see, it seems to me that that’s what most republicans here think and prescribe that other people think.

    While, in fact, there is NEARLY NO PLACE ON EARTH which has not been subject to rather regular invasion and settlement of its peoples from other peoples from afar.

    The rest of the world gets on with it. They accept it, because in fact, because of might, because of persuasion, because of agreements, whatever – IT IS WHAT IS.

    It is time the people of Northern Ireland who do not think of themselves as unionists GREW UP and accepted that their ancestors have been subject to COMPLETELY NORMAL occurrences for this world, as compared with the rest of it. And accept what happened. And accept that they will never change the present without accepting and admitting the full reality of the present first.

    Now, I grew up being more of a unionist sympathiser than anything else (it happened, Northern Ireland was setlled and I’m fine with reality – it’s unreality I can’t take, however bad the reality).

    However, what I’m saying here is only IN THE FAVOUR of Northern Irish republicans. It is only good (and I think necessary advice) for them if they want an all Ireland state. I say all of this, not sympathising myself with any all Ireland state, yet I am giving only positive, helpful advice to those who want it.

    (My view comes from that Ireland was as much broken up into separate nations in history as it was a single state, and I have no reason whatsoever to desire a “legendary” single state over any other solution. Northern Ireland was heavily settled and has its own history anyway previous to the plantation. For me there is no reason to want to replace the present time with a particular romanticised past, particularly when most of the occupants of Northern Ireland wish to be separate from the RoI. Why go against this? Aren’t they there? No, they are there. They really are. Why try to change history to that as if it never happened? It’s senseless to me. Wake up, smell the coffee, realise that history did happen and created the present, which you can be a full part of if you choose, rather than being lost in a half-imaginary, wished world / half-historical dream. If you really want, you MAY be able to change the current reality into another future where things are different, but not without respecting the present and the truth of all the people in it first.)

  • Carl Mark

    Yes indeed include some apologists for terror.
    Check out wee Jim statement on his convicted terrorist election agent.
    Does the DUP ,UUP not have a pact with the political reps of loyalist terror groups to get a band with links to terrorist up the drumlin rd.
    Did the DUP/UUP not support the fleggers.
    Are most unionist logicians not members of the OO, and does the OO not itself the organisation which has had many of it members found guilty of terrorism.
    Have band employed by the OO played the famine song outside chapels.
    Did Pete not done a beret at the founding of a loyalist terror group.
    And tell me when did you last hear a unionist poltician condemning a bonfire for burning posters and icons.
    But i do love the way you can ignore these things nearly as much fun as when you attempt to excuse and trivilse the behaviour of unionists during the first 50 years of stormount rule.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    did I? I must have missed that.

    My understanding of recent NI history is hardly selective – I’m not putting forward anything about our past, to my knowledge, that historians would disagree with. This lot are pretty much on my wavelength, for example: https://arkivni.wordpress.com.
    These can’t be dismissed as just “selective” – it is possible to disagree with the Republican narrative and be a decent human being. Some would say it’s a duty to …
    If it’s different from your version, one of us may be wrong, but yet to see what makes you so sure it is me.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I don’t think I did trivialise UUP misrule, but I don’t regard it as an excuse for violence.
    I take your points on the misbehaviour of extremists within wider unionism – I share your disdain for them.
    So once again, let’s unite against people like that, against the paramilitary apologists, including some of the people you mention (though I don’t think all “flaggers” are necessarily pro-terror (!)).
    We seem to agree there is no place for either Loyalist terror apologists or Republican terror apologists – so why can’t we come together to oppose them?
    I hope you’ll agree with me on that much …

  • Carl Mark

    Do you also state that the violence of the UVF and Orange volunteers from 68Till now was without proper or right cause and the attacks on the civil rights marchers fall in the Sam category.

  • Carl Mark

    “Some of the people I mention”
    Who do you think can be excused?

  • mjh

    I too would anticipate that the CNR vote may well be greater than the PUL vote (although I would be surprised if it were a majority).

    If this happens it may be the result of demographic change, although I suspect that the unionist pact could well be enough on its own to achieve this.

    There is a core of SDLP voters who will not ‘lend their vote’ to SF no matter what the circumstances. The leaflet is likely to stiffen their resolve. It may be effective in motivating some voters who would otherwise not turn out. But I’m not sure how many that is likely to be. The use of “X is winning here” leaflets tends to be most effective where a very substantial part of the electorate is not well aware of the proportional support for each party in their constituency and is open to switching their vote on a tactical basis. As you suggest people in North Belfast probably already know where they stand.

  • “What I was meaning is that the Republic of Ireland, and some other European countries such as Spain do not have a legal, constitutional, defining element which the UK does have. This constitutional element is something which says that all political discussion, decisions and considerations MUST be made and thought of completely in extraction from any religion.”

    Doesn’t the UK reserve 26 seats in the House of Lords for Church of England bishops? Can you direct me towards this constitutional element of which you speak in UK law? Bunreacht na hÉireann prohibits the official endowment of any religion in Ireland and promotes a secular ideal, at least in theory, no?

    “In my time, I’ve had first hand reports from journalists (who weren’t even allowed by editors to say beyond a sentence or two to indicate something), and from people within the Catholic Church heirarchy.”

    Are you saying the Catholic Church presently exerts control over the Irish media? The Irish Times, Ireland’s newspaper of record, was always viewed as “the Protestant paper”. If you find editors to be guiding their publications’ content away from Catholic-unfriendly lines, rather than out of some deference or “duty” to the Catholic Churchis, is it not more likely to be out of a fear of alienating potential Catholic readers/consumers? What you say sounds like vague conspiracy theory, but feel free to furnish me with more concrete details of this media influence in the modern day. What exactly would motivate Irish editors to submit to the will Catholic Church simply for the sake of deferring to the will to the Catholic Church?

    The influence of the Church in Ireland has been in sharp decline since the 1990s; the sales ban on contraception was lifted in the ’70s, homosexuality was decriminalised in 1993, the constitutional prohibition on divorce was lifted in 1995, there have been the clerical abuse scandals, the state provides support for the single mother, the recent abortion legislation was opposed by the Church and, just today, did Archbishop Eamon Martin announce his stern opposition to the referendum motion to re-define the constitutional family. Martin’s words will have little influence over the majority of people in Ireland and the referendum will pass comfortably. Those are just a some examples of how modern Irish society is secularising and at complete odds with Catholic doctrine.

    And gimme some credit; I’m well aware of the Catholic Church’s shameful role throughout Irish history, so no need to patronise me, and, as a cultural Catholic long turned agnostic atheist, I am more than happy to condemn it, but I fear you overplay it’s contemporary significance and relevance.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    of course – how could any terrorism be justified?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Well I mentioned the “flaggers” for starters, many of whom are/were just peacefully protesting

  • Helpful advice?! Ha! Get over yourself. Your condescension is cringe-worthy.

    Call it a “mental problem” or “pretending” all you like, but those who seek to embrace it are geographically, culturally, nationally and legally Irish. There is no onus upon us to accept a British identity, nor is there any requirement to embrace such an alien identity before progress on the island can be made. You’re trying to impose an unwanted identity upon people. That’s not how identity works. It’s a personal thing decided by the identifier. Of course, certain identities can be protected or enforced by law, but they remain arbitrary and subjective entities. They matter, sure, but they are no more than ideas or figments of human imagination. No-one is objectively British, never mind what UK law says. You’re British because you have embraced the word of a legislator who has sought to place that label upon you. That’s fine if you wish to accept such an imposition or embrace such an identity; it’s your right. I would reject such a label placed upon me, however, as is also my existential human right to do so, whether it is at odds with the arbitrary legal declarations of the UK state or not. The UK state is not a godly overseer or objective arbiter of truth. You might call what I’m doing pretending; I call it self-determination.

    An Irish passport is documentary proof of legal Irish citizenship – it is formal recognition of a cultural heritage and national affiliation with a people – and carries with it tangible benefits for all who hold it. I live in Manchester and, far from my Irish passport being meaningless, it enables me to travel and seek consular assistance if necessary. If I reside in the Republic, it also provides me benefits only Irish citizens have. I’m not English just because I live in England, am I? You expect me to renounce my nationality? The Irish diaspora is proud and plentiful and the collective label we embrace has a meaning for us you could obviously never even begin to comprehend considering you appear to struggle with the notion of self-definition. Why should we give it up? Because you think it’s a mental problem?…

  • Cue Bono

    Because you really detest politicians who associate with terrorists don’t you submariner.

  • Zeno

    PUL is not one group of people anymore than CNR is one group. Each contains 3 groups.

  • submariner

    Blair why do you insist on posting to this site that you have been banned from. And yes I do detest politicians who associate with terrorists which is why I dont vote unionist

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Pete

    I think that’s a tad harsh.

    I’ve been reading SK’s posts for a couple of years now (nearly) and I have to say that he just simply highlights political unionism’s hypocrisy.

    I’ve noticed that on Slugger if one criticises political unionism but doesn’t add a criticism of nationalism at the same time then on gets written off as being biased or sectarian.

    It’s a bit like calling a spade a spade but at the same time having to needlessly mention that a hoe is indeed a hoe (otherwise the spade get offended and disregards your comments).

  • Gaygael

    So I’m on north belfast. I’m a potential tactical voter. I don’t have a green to vote for.
    I may have had a chance to get rid of the nasty oul homophobe that is Dodds.

    This type of sectarian headcount bs make me want to spoil my vote. I’m not gurning. This type of sectarianism turns my guts, regardless of where it comes from.

  • Desmond Mckinley

    ” He shot a prison officer in the head, dead.” Pray tell us when this unfortunate episode happened?

  • mickfealty

    It’s a correlation, not (necessarily) a cause. There’s only one message here, and it’s utterly devoid of real politics. It also seems to run a cart and horse through Mairtin’s popular message of ‘One Belfast’.

    In north Belfast it’s ‘get themmums out’ and in south Belfast ‘let ussuns in (so we can eventually get themmuns out)’. Check out Brian Delaney and Ben Okri (http://goo.gl/VIiGKs) “sick storytellers make nations sick”.

  • Carl Mark

    peacefully protesting, while accompanying rioters, blocking roads and preventing the rest of us going about our business!
    Sorry being a apologist for the mob doesn’t wash.

  • Carl Mark

    I do, shame that you still seem to think that those parties with a long (and on-going ) involve with loyalist terror groups are ok!
    Is wee Jim not guilty of gross hypocrisy , when complaining about SF past he has a convicted terrorist working for his party!
    are the UUP/DUP/OO not also guilty of hypocrisy because they have a pact with the leaders of a active terror group!
    you see you keep on saying “some people I mention” (really the flaggers are regarded by most decent folk as street thugs) tell me are Pete, Jim and your man from the telly along with the OO on your list of people who should be mentioned!

  • Carl Mark

    well your on-going attempts to trivialise both the discrimmation of the old ulster state and your seeming ability to believe that the first murders and bombings of the troubles (carried out by unionists) as somehow justified by later events.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    you’d ban everyone from street protests? Really? Is this just Protestants or do you mean Catholic street protests too?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I’ve never sought to justify a single murder – please retract that.

    Saying unionists carried out the first murders and bombings of the Troubles is silly – you do that only by taking an arbitrary start date 3 years before the generally accepted “start of the Troubles” – August 1969. If you think the Troubles consisted of nationalist response to unionist attacks, it begs the question why nationalists killed so many more, why they declared a paramilitary campaign in Jan 1970, etc, etc. It’s not really what happened, is it.

  • Carl Mark

    It is generally accepted that the first violence of the troubles was carried out by unionists.
    You have tried the really weird line that the violence carried out by the OV and the UVF was justified by later IRA violence.
    Your argument is that ” these taigs are dangerous the all we done was set up a state that treated them as second class citizens and when they objected we killed a few , blem up a few things and beat their civil rights marchers. Of the streets and they got violent!
    You continually try to play down and excuse unionist violence,
    You make up things as you go along ( remember when you wildly claimed that the unionist parties. Always condemned loyalist murders but when challenged could produce no proof for this false claim) this numbers game you play is strange and equally strange is that you never apply it to the unionists,
    Think of the lives that could have been saved if unionists had of sat down and talked to nationalist in 68/69 instead of engaging in street violence and murder.
    Or even better if during the old NI they had of behaved like civilised people instead or orchestrating widespread discrimation against the nationlist community.
    As for justifying a single murder you have blamed unionist violence on the victims.
    Sounds like justification to me!

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Are you confusing me with someone else Carl, seriously? I don’t recognise what you claim I’ve said at all.

    If you’re going to accuse people of serious things like justifying murder, you can’t just make it up – you need to provide some evidence I’ve done that.

    But look, rather than start another round of off-topic Brit-baiting – though perhaps it’s not off-topic given that this thread is about SF’s sectarianism – I think I’ll call it a day on this one. Your last post, as well as being personally insulting and in breach of Slugger rules, gives little hope of having a meaningful debate on here. Really I’m genuinely uninterested in having a personalised slagging match.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    oh and on the proof that even the DUP condemned loyalist murders, I produced two broadsheet articles, one from the Guardian, referencing that. Really, please stop writing stuff that is so patently untrue, it’s such a waste of time and effort having to repeat the obvious. If you can’t be bothered reading, fine, but don’t pretend you have. Over and out on this one.

  • Kevin Breslin

    You have to love this great island of ours.

  • Kevin Breslin

    He must have been confusing the UK with France.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Apparently SDLP voters are imperial stormtroppers. Of course according to Kelly’s leaflet any practitioners of Jedism are Protestants.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Which one? We have a few in this archipelago … mind you, it depends who “we” are. I can’t claim the whole of Ireland as mine, if that’s what you mean. But I do get that others connect with the Republic, don’t worry 😉

  • Carl Mark

    Could we please have your proof, and would you like me to post the interview with peter where he refuses outright to comdem the loyalist murder squads.
    As to writing things that are not true, all I am doing is referring to your earlier posts.
    The manner that you use to justify unionist violence by refering to things that happened after the killing is strange indeed.
    You trivialise the secternisn of the old NI, sounding like a Boer or deep south rascist you claim it wasn’t that bad but since you don’t belong the community that suffered in the old NI you have a cheek.
    Could I suggest that you actally check out facts before you post.
    I also note that you seem oblivious to the many times ,unionists have brought death and destruction to our streets when the government done something they didnt like (sunningdale, good Friday, Drumcree, Anglo Irish agreement) tell me were you involved in any of these protests, what is your opinion of the violence that accompanied them.
    Did you stop protesting when the loyalists. Killed.
    But sure those things were not so bad surely you believe that it was wrong to complain about them .
    After all does your “worse things have happened in other places argument” not apply there or is only the taigs who should have put up things.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I would assume Ireland for being “Irish”. No one is going to stop you loving or identifying with multiple others though.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Ireland for the Irish

  • Kevin Breslin

    Perfectly acceptable Denonymn for Denizens who want to call themselves that regardless of their politics.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I have no problem of course with “Irish” as a designation for those who choose it – just the application of “Irish” to those who don’t choose it. I have a huge problem with that, as it’s a fundamental breach of the Good Friday Agreement and deeply illiberal. It is all our birthright, as the agreement set out, to be *accepted* for being Irish OR British or both, as we so choose. I don’t like people telling others what national identity they should have, it’s poisonous – and that goes both ways. I have no time for British people telling those who want to be Irish that they are British, either. Mutual respect for difference and for choice over your own personal identity is the only way.

  • Xaun

    The Green White & Orange flag was designed and used by Irish Republicans BEFORE a 26 county Irish state was created and it made that symbol official for its state. Republicans, Nationalists, and everyone feeling Irish in and outside the (British occupied) north-eastern part of the Irish Ulster province feel that flag as their own no matter it is also a legal symbol in the Republic of Ireland.

    You seem NOT to distinguish between Nation/nationality/identity and State/citizenship. Ireland is a nation -as Scotland, England, and Wales are- but Britain is not. Irish is a nationality and an identity, as Scottish, English and Welsh are. British is more a geografical term than a nationality, although it’s also a kind of identity.
    Republic of Ireland and United Kingdom are states -as France, Spain, Italia, the US and others are-, but NOT nations; the former is only a part of a nation and the latter rules over more than one nation and over a wee part of another nation.

    I agree with previous replies made by Daniel Collins in this post.

  • Xaun

    And BTW, I agree with this great sentence John Lennon wrote and sung in his ‘Sunday, Bloody Sunday’ song: “Ireland, not for London nor for Rome”.

  • Kevin Breslin

    People could be Irish or British or Both since St. Patrick and perhaps before that. The problem was it wasn’t recognized in law.

  • Xaun

    I’d say it’s an error by SF, a leaflet wich goes against the principles of Irish Republicanism. Other thing is if that message will get them more votes or not.

    I think SF should have not used these Religious Background terms and instead remember people about the cross-community and cross-religion nature of the Irish Republicanism ideas Wolfe Tone, Napper Tandy, Mary Anne & Henry Joy McCracken -buried in North Belfast, btw- spreaded and died for. Looks a bit out of reality in hardly hit areas and mentalities, but I think it’s the DOOR for cross-community and non-sectarian minds to open wide.

  • Abucs

    Although still used as a perjorative term by the uneducated (or more likely mis-educated), the label of Dark Ages has been abandoned by professional historians today because it is both mis-leading and deliberately mis-used.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Ages_(historiography)

    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/38680/38680-h/38680-h.htm

  • barnshee

    Er The United Kingdom is a nation– its citizens are British citizens

  • Xaun

    “Can I at least respect what is first, before I may go about trying to change what is?”
    You mean you must respect what has been imposed upon you before trying to change the situation? Absurd and insulting.
    The only foreign (rule) imposed upon the people of the North-East of Ireland is the British one.

  • Xaun

    Bad, wrong or exclusive use of terms perverts them. The term ‘nationalist’ should be applied to the supporter of any nation (nation with or without a state).
    For example, Spanish Unionists use the term ‘Nationalist’ as derogatory and exclusively when talking about/to Basque, Catalan and Galician Pro-Independence people/parties, but do not realize or accept they themselves ARE Nationalists, Spanish Nationalists. In Ireland or the UK nobody -as far as I know- use the term ‘British Nationalist’ to tag a (British-Feeling) Unionist.

    It’s bizarre -though its very usual- the use of those terms, for an Irish Nationalist/ Republican could also be termed Unionist (of course, Irish Unionist), with more reason, because he/she lives or comes from same area (I mean from the south or the north of Ireland) he/she feels from/pays allegiance to. The ones who feel British in Ireland have their culture, identity and political allegiance coming from/referring to another geographical area, Britain. (Just in case someone doesn’t get my point: I do not mean British feeling people do not belong to or are not deeply rooted in the island called Ireland, although lots of them do not want to be associated with the term ‘Irish’, neither politically nor culturally).

  • Xaun

    Unionists play the Statu Quo card. For politicians and for the voters it’s easier and more comfortable to keep things as they are than the contrary.

  • Xaun

    I’ve mentioned the McCrackens and the fact that Henry Joy is interred in a North Belfast cemetery in a post today… before reading now your previous comment.

    Keeping religion out of politics would do us all -common people- good.

  • Xaun

    “There are Christians all over the world deserting the left over this authoritarian, culturally imperialistic, godless nonsense”. ???
    First of all, being godless is not a nonsense, is as respectable as being faithful. But, is there a god? (If so, where are the proofs? I mean proofs, not myths compiled into so called sacred books).
    2nd, the Catholic Church has for centuries ruled, persecuted and oppressed people around the world, and it hasn’t yet apologized for all the dammage and suffering it has inflicted upon the people, Catholics or not.
    3rd, where can we read facts about “Christians all over the world deserting the left”? In a Science Fiction novel, by chance?

  • Xaun

    You mean it’s a state made of different nations. Nation and state are NOT the same thing in juridical terms. A nation can have a state of its own or can be with other nations into a state (UK, Spain, France, Belgium, Italy…). Besides that, a nation can be divided in two states (e.g, the Basque Country or Catalonia, both divided and ruled by the Spanish and French states).

  • Spike

    I think the comment that catholics ‘favoured’ a union is very subjective. Some perhaps thought/think it economically sensible but to suggest they like, enjoy or feel british as part of the union is incorrect (outside of north down of course!)

  • Spike

    actually i think SF are the most detached party from catholicism. their abortion stance has cost them lifelong supporters who now will spoil their vote rather than vote for another party.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Not in the religious sense, Spike, in the ethnic group sense.

  • Devil Eire

    “That doesn’t look too good for you…”

    Unless the actual demand for housing was not split 50/50 between the communities.

  • Le Cochon Bleu

    Xuan, what planet are you on?

    The United Kingdom is a basic, standard nation, in the same way as Spain, France, the USA and the Republic of Ireland are nations.

    Unfortunately, some people who loathe the UK promote their own wishful thinking and pretend that other categories are true. They aren’t.

    When we say the UK is a nation, that means a sovereign nation – like the other nations mentioned.

    It doesn’t help to get confused within the double meanings of the words nation and country. Although it can be understandable. The British Isles can be a very confusing area of the world.

    Both words, nation and country, have two fundamental meanings each, by common use. The second meaning, which you find in the UK reasonably often happens to be archaic in most of the world, and seldom used, but still adopted here. Hence it leads to confusion in many people.

    The first meaning, each, is sovereign nation – for both words. This is the most used meaning of both “nation” and “country” today around most of the world.

    The second meaning is just any piece of land which you can distinguish in any way you want whatsoever from surrounding land.

    In this other meaning, therefore, Wales is both a country and a nation. And so is the state of Florida, both a country and a nation. The little nation of Florida. Not a sovereign nation, obviously, but by this meaning – the same meaning as state, by the way, it is a nation.

    And so is County Offaly a little nation or country of its own by this meaning, and the province of Munster. So is Normandy a little nation or province, and Corsica, and the Basque region and Tuscany. Greater Rome, indeed, is a nation and a country of its own by this other meaning of both country and nation.

    In the UK we have one sovereign nation – exactly like France and the Republic of Ireland and Norway and the USA and Romania.

    In this nation, we just happen to use these older, and completely different meanings of the words country and nation to describe its regions or states. In the USA they use the term “state”, here we use the term “country” mostly and some (more confusingly) use “nation” – but they are exactly the same thing by this meaning – state (regional), country, nation. The 3 words in that meaning mean only the same thing, that is a regional territory of a sovereign nation.

    They have exactly the same meaning in political law. So Wales is a country, and Northern Ireland is a country too (some say nation, but only to mean a region of a normal, proper, sovereign nation), in the same way as Illinois State is a country or little nation of its own.

    In the UK we just use these old meanings to refer to our regional territories – but these regional territories we refer to by the older term “country” or “nation” are mostly as regions are in other nations.

    The USA is a very close example, actually (closer than France etc). Because of the fairly slight variations in laws and jurisdictions within its regions – called states – which is very similar to the difference in our regions – which we call countries, sometimes old nations, sometimes provinces or some call Wales a principality even. But, whatever the word used, it is the same meaning – a regional territory, like a state of the USA or region or province (whatever the exact administrative difference) of a single, unified sovereign nation.

    The UK is no different from many other nations in this respect – while the words used to describe its inner territories do seem to confuse a lot of people.

  • Le Cochon Bleu

    That’s very PC. I wasn’t using it to refer literally to any specific period, rather the notion of some idea of worse times, whether 100 years ago or 3000 years ago. Rather, all of those times, and, of course, more recent times, during my lifetime. The Dark Ages I meant are here in significant degree today, for sure.

    Added: I do appreciate your distinguishing the term between a kind of romanticised or symbolic use and historical truth. Though, many people, as I, just use the word in an anecdotal way to refer to some imagined (often distant, but not necessarily) period or periods in time, rather than the specific period you are concerned with.

  • Abucs

    As far as places to read about Christians leaving the left side of politics over recent years :

    Great Britain (discussing voting patterns of Church goers over the last few elections) – What has turned so many Christians off voting Labour? By Gillan @ God and Politics in the UK on June 25, 2013

    United states (discussing Gallop poll about 18 mins 30 sec in) – Uncommon Knowledge Youtube interview with Jonah Goldberg: Obama’s War on Catholics, Is It Real? Plus, The Left’s Hatred of Diversity

    Canada (discussing the last election results) – Catholics flee Liberals in droves. Catholics have always voted Liberal, until recently by Kate Lunau on November 24, 2008 in Macleans.

    Australia (before the last election) – The Census and Labor’s Catholic vote by Brian Lawrence. 08 August 2011

    Australia (after last election) – Catholics mark Liberals’ turnaround date September 21, 2013. Sydney Morning Herald by Matt Wade and Gemma Khaicy. Politicians’ Catholic background. Eureka Street by Ray Cassin.

  • Abucs

    Regarding your request for a proof of God. First I have to know what your concept of God is and what type of evidence might convince you.
    My concept of God is an intelligence which created our reality. So the evidence for me rests on a few things. Firstly the unexplainable reason why consciousness seems to be written into the laws of physics. Secondly, the fine tuning of the constants of physical law such as the rate of expansion of the universe. Thirdly the fact that all our measurable concepts of reality – space, matter, time etc do not seem to have a primary existence in themselves which suggest our level of reality is not primary.

  • Abucs

    Firstly regarding your criticism of my previous post. I think you might be confusing the criticism of the application of a philosophy (the philosophy of atheism applied to ethics) with criticism of a set of people (atheists).

    So for example, you can BE a pacifist and quite respectable, but to apply the philosophy of pacifism to the rules governing your national defences is a nonsense.

    For a couple of centuries now there has been a concerted effort to manufacture a morality without the notion of God.

    Originally it was thought we don’t need God, we all know right and wrong. Then came the socialist Nazis and Soviets and Pol Pot etc etc. It was quite obvious we could not rely on people just innately knowing right from wrong.

    Another effort to manufacture a morality without God is using the concept of offence. If someone causes offence to someone else then they are in the wrong. Except this has created a population who look to take offence so that they can be in the right. They see offence when none is there and they ‘learn’ to view history where their opponents are so grievously in the wrong that they have no case. Your previous post shows some of this learned manufactured morality. It also takes us backward with people shouting at each other.

    Another attempt to manufacture a morality without God is the concept of equality and favoured sets of people. But it is quite easy to point out that equality is not a morality in itself and then the question is when do we apply the ‘morality of equality’ and on what ground and more importantly who gets to decide this. Pretty much it is the godless Progressive forces who think they have the right to decide this.

    So for example should we give equal respect to life inside and outside the womb?
    Should each person pay an equal amount of taxes?
    Should each form of government be given equal status before the law?
    Should each philosophy (Catholic, COI, secular etc) be allocated equal control of the BBC?

    None of the attempts to create a manufactured morality without God are coherent because none of them can define goodness. Without goodness, all ethics fails. It always turns into one set of people controlling society and in time a turning away traditional goodness and a loss of faith in the manufactured morality by the people.