There is nothing Loyal about Sectarianism

William Ennis, A member of the PUP, writes for us about the issues of Loyalism and Sectarianism in Northern Ireland

The Loyalist activist will also be a human rights activist and will work to ensure that the rights and liberties of the people living and working within his or her community are not infringed. If the principles of civil and religious liberty are to be more than a mere slogan on a banner or an Orange Arch they must be practiced. (William Mitchell, from principle 2 of the Principles of Loyalism document)

I doubt anyone enjoys returning to work after a holiday but following my wedding and a fantastic break in London with my wife this was my first alarm clock Thursday in two weeks. By the time I had completed the brief walk from my house to Sydenham halt I had overcome the dreariness and was instead, on what was a very pleasant morning, just looking forward to getting back into the routine. I exchanged pleasantries with some fellow commuters as I parked myself at one of the tabled seats. It was as the train moved off that my heart sank. Out of the window I saw a wall on Inverary Drive which had been defiled with sectarian graffiti. Huge black letters scrawled out some grizzly and desperate demand of “NO TAIGS IN OUR ESTATE”.

I could only throw my head against the head-rest and wince.

Ill feeling toward Catholic people has no place in my Loyalism because I find it irrational and I have witnessed how it limits those afflicted. It is the most unpleasant strain of conflict hangover evident today.

I believe that sectarianism is in fact inconsistent with Loyalism.

The conflict which raged in Northern Ireland for so long fell largely parallel with religious lines but Republicanism, in its infancy, was almost entirely Presbyterian, and with a huge majority of Northern Irish people still favouring the maintenance of our constitutional position within the Union (which is almost wholly the Loyalist position) it is evident that a great many Catholic’s continue to be unimpressed by the Irish Republican alternative.

And with the latest poll by the much respected Queens University showing 82.6% of the people of Northern Ireland in favour of remaining part of the UK with only 17.4% wanting a united Ireland (Owen Patterson at NIQT, March 2012)

Edward Carson, a figure from history almost as revered by Loyalists today as William of Orange was indeed often at pains to warn those of influence in the new Northern Ireland State of the great wrong that would be mistreatment of “the minority”.

You will be a parliament for the whole community. We used to say that we could not trust an Irish Parliament in Dublin to do justice to the Protestant minority. Let us take care that the reproach can no longer be made against your parliament and from the outset let them see that the Catholic minority have nothing to fear from a Protestant majority. (Edward Carson, as quoted in The man who divided Ireland by G Lewis, 2005)

It may be a temptation to denounce Catholics for their alleged lack of tolerance of our Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist (PUL) culture, but are those who are guilty of that charge all Catholic? And how representative are those who are? Little has angered me as much as the mass outbreak of snobbery aimed at Loyalists (younger ones in particular) since the flag protests began in December 2012. The re-spelling of the word flag as “fleg” as a means of belittling protestors who speak with a regional Belfast accent was first called by veteran socialist Eamonn McCann.

You can tell there is an element of Snobbery involved any time reference is made to ‘flegs’. If the accents of working class Catholics were systematically mocked in this way there would rightly be shouts of ‘racism’, ‘sectarianism’, etc (Mccann, 2013)

Who would have thought that when the dominant discourse of main stream media essentially declared open season on working class Loyalism the boldest pen to come to our defence would be that of a writer of the Derry civil rights movement, a man who, as an old work colleague of mine would have said, “wouldn’t kick the heels of yee on the twelfth day”.

Many Loyalists of course hold their Christianity as central to their Loyalism. This is a perfectly noble and celebrated strand of our culture and one which provides the starkest evidence of Loyalisms inconsistency with sectarianism. In the book of Luke Chapter 10 verses 25-37 an expert in Law is quizzing Christ. Christ confirms for the man that to get to heaven he must “Love thy neighbour as thy self”. It is the inquizative lawyer’s further demand of clarity as to “who is my neighbour?” that prompts Jesus to tell every Christians favourite Sunday School story, the parable of the good Samaritan.

Politically, culturally and religiously there are no valid reasons for any Loyalist to hold a dislike of Catholic people.

There are however, plenty of reasons to help those within the Loyalist family who continue to struggle with such a mindset. Sectarianism is wrong and should be opposed anyway, but it is, I believe, greatly damaging to the Loyalist family.

Sectarian behaviour when attributed to Loyalists, regardless of how disproportionate that attribution may be, strengthens the hand of those who show our traditions no tolerance. It allows those who resent Loyalism’s very existence to paint us as the problem as opposed to a group of people who have, like other sections of society, suffered as a result of our country’s turbulent past.

We Loyalists must be a confident people rather than merely a defiant one. We must understand and embrace the reality that because a campaign/parade/event is not exclusively Loyalist that doesn’t make it anti-Loyalist. To retreat from society and only emerge for exclusively Loyalist events is damaging because it allows others to seal us up in a box. It makes us easy to disregard, it makes us easy to dismiss. It makes mockery of our pronunciation appear reasonable. It gives default intolerance of Loyalism a veneer of logic. So when I protest against the political forces who would privatise our hospitals, I do so as a Loyalist. When I protest to raise awareness that some British rights are currently denied to Northern Irish citizens, I do so as a Loyalist. When I march with others through the town against racism, I do so as a Loyalist. When I carry placards to raise awareness of and demand action on homelessness, I do so as a Loyalist. I won’t allow other peoples perception of Loyalism to constrain me. This Loyalist will have his say.

Un-Loyalist behaviour such as sectarianism hampers the building of confidence. It prevents others from seeing who we really are. At times, it perhaps prevents us from seeing who we really are. So if you witness a young Loyalist in your family, band or street habitually using sectarian language don’t scold, shout or embarrass him/her, just ask, “why?” Why is this young person angry? Has their anger been planted by others who benefit from it? What is the true cause of their anger? How can we help? With activists such as Julie-Anne Corr Johnston channelling the frustrations she felt as a young Loyalist into her progressive politics this is work which is already well under way.

What will be the Loyalism of our grand-children? All I know is that it shouldn’t involve graffiti on walls.

, , , ,

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Good Article William and well done slugger for giving you a slot of for your opinion !

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “So if you witness a young Loyalist in your family, band or street habitually using sectarian language don’t scold, shout or embarrass him/her, just ask, “why?” Why is this young person angry?”

    When I was bitter wee s***e I don’t recall many people attempting to scold, shout or embarrass me (occasionally maybe an uncle would, but in general no).

    As no one took any time to challenge the bitter (and stupid) views of me and others like me at parades, band ‘concerts’ etc then I (and presumably the others too) couldn’t see what we were doing as wrong.

    If it is wrong then it needs to be highlighted, especially by those above and in public positions.

    Hat’s off to you and anyone in loyalism who may do this but I don’t see many unionist politicians out-rightly condemning the more toxic aspects of loyalist indignation.

    Fine sentiments in your post but there’s only so much ‘understanding’ that the people can do but there are elements within loyalism who need to do some understanding too.

  • chrisjones2

    What is a Taig anyway? Does the graffiti artists actually know? Did he even get the spelling right?

  • mjh

    A most interesting post, William. It raises so many questions that I would like to ask – but I will restrict myself so as not to confuse issues.

    Clearly it is central to your identity to describe yourself as a Loyalist. You have given many examples of your core beliefs. But these do not seem to me to amount to a specifically Loyalist identity. You are anti-sectarian, but an Alliance supporter could be equally so. You are anti-racist but a republican could be equally so. You are pro-extending “British rights” to NI (by which I assume you mean on abortion and gay marriage) and would find some supporters in the UUP. You are against the privatisation of hospitals, a view you would share with most Conservative voters.
    Indeed you could hold all those views and still be Alliance, Republican, Unionist or Conservative.

    So what is the central core of Loyalism? What is its uniqueness? The thing that makes you so keen to say, “I am a Loyalist”.

  • belfastbiker

    Nicely done Sir, as usual, very reasoned.

  • Ozzy

    I admire William, but I think he and others are trying to rebrand loyalism to try and make it more palatable to the masses without actually having the majority of loyalists behind them. It is admirable to say that a loyalist should have certain qualities, but I feel many loyalists identify themselves as such because they see themselves as hardcore, extreme unionists which inevitably breeds sectarianism. Loyalism is a fixed concept, for those trying to transcend this I would suggest adopting a different label

  • Brian

    No true Scotsman fallacy. I reminds me of a moderate Muslim insisting terrorists aren’t really Muslims.

    “I believe that sectarianism is in fact inconsistent with Loyalism.” Well its amazing how well they they’re been getting on, isn’t it?

    “You will be a parliament for the whole community. We used to say that we could not trust an Irish Parliament in Dublin to do justice to the Protestant minority. Let us take care that the reproach can no longer be made against your parliament and from the outset let them see that the Catholic minority have nothing to fear from a Protestant majority.”

    Yeah, but that didn’t happen did it? The exact opposite happened, north and south.

    Wikipedia has some interesting context for that quote by the way.

    “George Leeke then retorted: “What about your Protestant Parliament?”, to which Craigavon replied: “The hon. Member must remember that in the South they boasted of a Catholic State. They still boast of Southern Ireland being a Catholic State. All I boast of is that we are a Protestant Parliament and a Protestant State. It would be rather interesting for historians of the future to compare a Catholic State launched in the South with a Protestant State launched in the North and to see which gets on the better and prospers the more. It is most interesting for me at the moment to watch how they are progressing. I am doing my best always to top the bill and to be ahead of the South.”

    You’re suffering from cognitive dissonance because your internal notion of Loyalism as liberal and anti-sectarian conflicts with the behaviour of Loyalists for generations.If you view Loyalism as a supremacist culture this conflict disappears.

  • Jawine Westland

    The issue with seeing religion as central to loyalism, to me, is that the theocratic parties in NI are also the ones keen to deny human rights to women and LGBT people. And currently unionism and theocracy walk hand-in-hand.

    Only the PUP seems to be secular but they’re linked to the UVF, the DUP is firmly theocratic and the UUP has no clear position though Mike Nesbitt basically is a theocrat, if his comments on the BBC religion in politics survey accurately reflect him. UUP voting is mostly against on gay marriage / abortion access.

    And of course loyalists can be pro-choice and anti-racist too and pro-gay-marriage. But who represents them in Stormont? (bar the “other” parties perhaps)

    In many mainland EU countries like The Netherlands protestantism and secularism have long fitted together, but not so here. So what is a secular / atheist loyalist who feels strongly about staying in The Union to do at the ballot box?

  • Brian

    To add

    “Ill feeling toward Catholic people has no place in my Loyalism because I find it irrational and I have witnessed how it limits those afflicted. It is the most unpleasant strain of conflict hangover evident today.”

    This is what’s really annoying me. The idea that anti Catholic bigotry (let’s call it what it is) is some new and unnatural maledy now infecting Loyalism. Caused, apparently by the troubles. And we know whose fault that was, don’t we.

    Its always been there, its wrong, it needs to end. Thats your honest starting point.

  • submariner

    William I’m afraid you are convincing no one sectarianism is endemic within loyalism the evidence is everywhere not least the graves of over one thousand people of which the vast majority were murdered for no other reason than going to mass on a Sunday.

  • Andrew Finn

    I’m a Unionist, but would never, ever describe myself as a Loyalist.

    When I was growing up, gangs of terrorists were committing mass murder in the name of Loyalism. You could even call it genocide. I have hated the very word Loyalist ever since. I’m sure the people to whom these terrorists claimed to be loyal were delighted to see their loyal subjects killing people because they were Roman Catholic.

    Loyalism is rotten to the core with sectarianism whether you want to believe it or not. I live in an area that would be described as Loyalist, and I see it for myself. Memorials dedicated to people who used to carry out mass murder of Roman Catholics. Anti-Catholic graffiti scrawled on every other wall. Loyalist band parades filled with anti-Catholic songs. Murals.

    If Lord Carson were alive today, he’d be absolutely disgusted at the sectarianism in our society.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I usually look at events such as the Siege of Derry as Protestant Loyalism vs. Catholic Loyalism, where defensive sectarianism run amok in Ireland, as was the case in the rest of Europe. One critical point here is Catholics can be loyalist too. Indeed Catholics might be more likely to self-identify “royalists” more than loyalists when it comes to Britain. There is an issue whether loyalism is “sectarianized” by being connected to the Head of the Church of England, but I would argue that this is more a denominational thing with a monarch who no longer holds absolute power, but remains defender of the faith.

    Certainly in a world where there’s no Mary Queen of Scots or Oliver Cromwell on the throne and where Queen’s and Popes meet on regular basis, where the Penal Laws and the Catholic Inquisitions are gone, no Strule Massacres or Seige of Droghedas, when Protestant State and the Special Status of the Catholic church are far from being as institutionalized as once was, where Peep O’Day Boys and Orange yeomen aren’t killing one another and where terrorist or paramilitaries and other armed people no longer walk the streets the days.

    Faith groups uniting against a common enemy need to make peace when the enmity is gone, or arguably there was never any faith there to begin with. It sure as hell isn’t helping the churches for what it is worth.

    The Aggressive or Defensive justifications for sectarianism should be a footnote in history, sectarianism isn’t helping loyalism, unionism, nationalism or republicanism. It should actually embarrass it and destroys diversity and flexibility of the ideologies.

    Nationalist/Unionist arguments should follow the likes of Scotland-UK, Catalonia-Spain, even Kosovo-Serbia arguments where political consent not tribal heritage or loyalty defines the argument, and consent means a diverse flux of views need to be listened and heard in whichever situation you wish to campaign for.

  • chrisjones2

    Well last time I wrote across the ballot paper ‘none of these are worth a vote”

    It felt liberating

  • Redstar2014

    No idea what planet this guy is on. Loyalism and sectarianism are inextricably linked. This writer mightn’t like that fact but that’s the way it is

    Ps STILL no one has ever explained the difference between loyalism and unionism. The PUP for example describe themselves as loyalist yet their parties name contains Unionist !!!

  • John Collins

    Chris. As a matter of interest where did the word ‘Taig’ emanate from?

  • Barneyt

    quick google: variant of Teague, anglicized spelling of the Irish name Tadhg, used since the mid 17th century as a nickname for an Irishman.

  • Barneyt

    “So when I protest against the political forces who would privatise our hospitals, I do so as a Loyalist. When I protest to raise awareness that some British rights are currently denied to Northern Irish citizens, I do so as a Loyalist. When I march with others through the town against racism, I do so as a Loyalist. When I carry placards to raise awareness of and demand action on homelessness, I do so as a Loyalist”

    Is there not something inherently flawed in the above, and could this not been seen as tribal, sectarian and very wasteful?

    Take hospital privatisation. This is politic-generale. Its something that we see very little of i.e. a real political issue that is shared across the community. However, it seems this generic concern and political consideration to maintain the public service our hospitals provide is couched and qualified in divisive language of them and us i.e. “I do so as a loyalist”. Its unfortunate.

    I do take the point that you are trying to assert that loyalists are capable of fighting for our hospitals, raising awareness of homelessness or as you say, acting against racism. That positive light is certainly not promoted and I have rarely seen it come to the fore…which again I suspect of the point you are also making.

    I say this is a waste merely because it highlights the fact that we miss opportunity after opportunity to normalise rhetoric and approach when the chance raises its head. All of the above causes you mention should be fought for as a human being, consumer of the service and if you like, a citizen of Northern Ireland and not as one colour or the other.

  • Niall Chapman

    Doesn’t the word “Loyal” immediately make you think of someone who will defend a cause regardless of logic or morality. Loyalists (in the Unionist manifestation) should be loyal to the British Government and or The Queen of England and as such cannot argue when that Government or monarch says, does or brings in legislation that said loyalist does not like.
    Hence Loyalism is not something to aspire to be should be challenged at every logical point

  • chrisjones2

    …and all those dead Prods were killed for ???????

    ….and where does any of this take us

  • chrisjones2

    As Barney says ….derioved from the Irish name for Tim and and features in Lillibullero

    “You Popish rogue” is not spoken
    but “Cromwellian dog” is our watchword,
    “Who goes there” does not provoke fear,
    “I am Tadhg” is the answer given

  • paulgraham7567

    Couldn’t agree more Chris.

    Time to bury the past, all of it.

    If we want to end this madness, we need to help loyalism/republicanism change, not just tell them they were wrong. They are 2 sides of the one coin.

    Loyalism hasn’t been quite as successful as republicanism at winning the peace, and this is bourne out by the way it’s community feels demonised and marginalised. It needs brought in from the cold, not ostracised.

    And whilst a lot of the criticisms of loyalism may be accurate, kicking them repeatedly for past wrongs will not help prevent future ones.

  • james

    What, while we are on the subject, do you take to be the difference between Irish Nationalism and Irish Republicanism? Is it solely the willingness, indeed eagerness, of the latter to use violence to achieve polutical ends, and to vote for those individuals who chose to use it?

  • eireanne

    some evidence to support your statement “anti Catholic bigotry . . . has always been there”

  • eireanne

    So what’s an unrepentant Fenian bastard?

    Derogatory name for a Catholic; most often used in the northeast area of Ireland. Synonym: Taig

    Use: a term of abuse

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    A thought occurs:

    If the unionist or loyalist working class throws its lot in with the UK then it can understandably expect to share the same fate as the working class across the water.

    The problems faced by the unionist working class that are allegedly a result of the peace process would be easily recognisable to people living in estates in Inverclyde, Liverpool, Ashington and x amount of other post-industrial towns.

    There is no longer the Troubles to smother these problems (as exacerbated as they may be).

    There is also the far-away-fields-are-greener (no pun intended) mentality with regards to nationalist working class areas.

    So what we are left with is a sort of mirror image of some of the northern British areas that have suffered from industrial decline.

    So, as long as we’re in the UK those loyalist working class areas areas can presumably expect a very British fate, compounded with THE THING that is everyday life in Northern Ireland where pragmatism is way down on the list of priorities.

    If we’re sceptical about what Britain will do for the working class then might it be better to throw their lot in with a place where they can at least be heard and potentially make a difference?

    Also, I’d like to point out that religion and economy were the key arguments on which the anti-home rule campaign was founded.

    As it happens the economic fortunes of loyalist working class areas are (allegedly) nothing to boast about.

    I can’t comment on the spiritual fabric of urban loyalist working class areas, but, if churchgoers and believers are in the minority then that’s two out of two on the FAIL front.

    If they can’t support unionism’s original tenants then what is the point?

    Food for thought.

    (I know the ROI screwed up its economy and I wouldn’t trust SF with a piggy bank, that’s whataboutery and point-distracting, not helpful or incisive)

  • kalista63
  • submariner

    Other than on your whataboutery merry go round I have no idea.

  • J.D. Squane

    Sorry but I think you are completely deluded. What you define as loyalist is patently contrary to the actual reality within the working class Protestant community. The fact is that loyalism is defensive, reactionary and insecure by its very nature. One only needs to witness the pathetic ostentatiousness of the bewildering array of flags, marches, bands and bonfires which ritually blight every summer to see that loyalism is not progressive in any way. In fact any change or dilution of what you regard as culture is viewed as weakness in the aggressive, macho pseudo-militarism inflicted on the long suffering Northern Ireland population (both Catholic and Protestant) every single year.
    If your assessment of loyalism as a progressive, tolerant doctrine which has merely been misunderstood is correct, then how come the ‘progressive’ loyalist party fare so badly at the polls? Could it be that your analysis is wrong? It would appear that progressiveness and modernity has been rejected outright by the working class loyalist community in favour of the trusty ‘not an inch and no surrender’ slogan which has ran their community into the ground at the hands of the gangsters and thieves of the UVF and UDA.
    We hear a lot about how loyalist communities have been ‘left behind’ as if the rest of society owes them something. But the reality is that loyalists have excluded themselves from the political process with their addiction to the destructive behaviour of the past.
    They have defined themselves as victims, oblivious to any blame or responsibility for the mindless destruction and hatred which characterised the pointless, grubby little ‘war’ which was inflicted on all of us. In fact, one only needs to look at some of the destructive traditions of unionism (witness the faux-military marching bands and countless ‘gardens of remembrance’ for paramilitary murderers) in general to see that loyalism positively revels in militarism, aggressiveness, suspicion, triumphalism and intransigence. It seems to an outsider almost schizophrenic in nature- on one hand they state that they ‘won the war’ yet at the same time see conspiracy at every turn with Sinn Fein running the police, parades commission and any number of the other apparatuses of the state.
    To finish I will say that I am from the nationalist community, however I am happy to be a part of the United Kingdom. Under the terms of the good Friday agreement I have the right to be both British and Irish and you are a fool if you live in this place and believe you only one or the other. I believe that the behaviour of loyalism is the biggest threat to the union, and in your eagerness to defend it you alienate people like me to whom you should be treating as allies. Honestly I believe that we are witnessing the death throes of loyalism- the people who’s addiction to the destructiveness of the past ultimately determined the demise of the state and culture they profess to love so much. I was driving up the alberbridge road the other day and saw a quote which had been (incorrectly) attributed to David Ervine which said that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. Well the same can be said of those who live in and glorify the past- they have failed to learn the lessons of their mistakes if they refuse to even admit that they made any mistakes

  • mjh

    But answer came there none!

  • ScotsIrishChristianSocialist

    The title “Defender of the Faith” used by British monarchs is a reference to the Roman Catholic faith, the title having originally been bestowed upon Henry VIII before his break with the Vatican. Funny old world, innit?

  • ScotsIrishChristianSocialist

    Works for me!

  • Kevin Breslin

    Effectively though that wasn’t de jure, many British monarchs including Henry VII and successors of his acted as de facto “defenders of the faith” anyway.

  • William Ennis

    My Loyalism is a cultural expression rather than a political one (although political Loyalism is on the rise again). It is about the music, colour and traditions of my childhood which I still enjoy today. The political and unapologetically progressive agenda’s of Loyalists such as the late David Ervine inspire me to back the equality agenda today, and to do so with my Loyalism on my sleeve. Mitchells ‘principles of Loyalism’ was a game changer.

  • William Ennis

    Loyalism and Unionism are not mutually exclusive. I am very comfortably both. Loyalism is culture where Unionism is the political. Loyalism is emotional and sometimes militant albeit with a sometimes political slant. To be a Unionist is to support the Union. The PUP is a Loyalism friendly Unionist party.

  • William Ennis

    I disagree friend. I have been a Loyalist from my earliest memories and have not a sectarian bone in my body. The violent conflict was a truly horrible thing and, I believe, made normal people do abnormal things as war does the world over. The Loyalist debates and documents produced from Long Kesh such as the ‘Government of shared responsibility’ paper formed the forerunner to the GFA which, imperfect though it may be, largely broke that horrific cycle of violence. I have detailed in the piece my reasons for refusing to believe that my Loyalism obliges me to dislike Catholic people.

  • William Ennis

    Your Identity is your own Andrew and I respect that. But you are drawing your conclusions from your experience of an a-typical environment. Hatred, bitterness and blaming ‘themuns’ is the result of conflict brought about by bad government which benefitted greatly from division. I find sectarianism a very sad affliction and wish it to stop, and I am no less a Loyalist for it. Thank you for reading, and your comments.

  • William Ennis

    Thank you for your support chum.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Not a bad debut on Slugger William with 3544 views and 40 comments, I note the introduction which reads “The Loyalist activist will also be a human rights activist” Maybe Slugger will give you another opportunity to elaborate on this point as it is a topic rarely discussed by commentators or other political opponents of Loyalism.

  • William Ennis

    I stated in the piece that some Loyalists see their Loyalism as a part of their Christianity. There are several kinds of Loyalist; royalist, religious, political, Cultural, militant to suggest but a few. I am not religious myself, but would never seek to hide or erase the reformation protestant origins of our culture. As for the UVF “link”. We would provide political council to them, but I don’t believe they ever ask. If the offer of communication is to have a “link” then we also have a “link” with churches, community groups, trades unions, other parties and many other groups in society.

  • William Ennis

    Many thanks Biker, for your consistent support and understanding.

  • William Ennis

    Indeed. Currently trying to get a book written which is proving a marathon task, albeit a very rewarding one (in terms of personal journey). Hence my lack of blog output at the mo…

  • William Ennis

    No. To be Republican is to advocate a Republican form of Government. To be a Nationalist is categorise a group of people according to place of birth.

  • Jawine Westland

    Hi William –

    Thanks for replying.

    I how the PUP is LGBT friendly and working class, but, it seems to be an exception in the Unionist parties atm if that makes sense?

    How do you think Loyalism be politically united if it chooses to ignore the secular and the atheist?

    (Nothing wrong with stating your history/learning from it of course, as long as the history doesn’t stop the future. I’m from a Dutch Protestant background myself, so culturally a Protestant)

  • William Ennis

    Well all Loyalists do fall together in unity via practice of our traditions (the best example being the 12th of July). For me that is Loyalism at its heart. Unionism is indeed to shredded. Its has the PUP, which leans moderately to the left of centre, but then has multiple neo-liberal/conservative parties, all of which are politically identical and only vary by degree of intolerance to the peace process. two pro union parties would be the best outcome. One which leans left, and one which leans right. The PUP have the former covered 🙂

  • William Ennis

    First of all friend thank you for taking the time to read my scribbles.
    Allow me to clarify.
    I did not mean to imply that I campaigned on those issues as a means of promoting Loyalism, merely that as a Loyalist I feel no need to abandon my identity when joining campaigns which are not exclusively Loyalist.
    In a nutshell, it’s not something I’m ashamed of, so I wont leave who I am in a jar by the door (as the Beatles would say).
    Thanks for your feedback.

  • Jawine Westland

    I personally feel secularism would help too, SF has a gay rights strategy (so does the PUP) but people that blame unionist parties for making NI look awfully like a theocracy and backwards aren’t half-wrong.

    The world is changing and the harmful remarks made by the DUP on gay rights I feel are pretty damaging. All to do with the strong religious influence ATM in Unionism.

    If Loyalism becomes the mark of backwardness and exclusion as people see how Unionist parties get on, and think the two are the same, is it strange people are seeing it as backwards?

    Can the two be separated? Or, are they really not the same and does Stormont give a bad impression of what it is really about?

    The Netherlands has rapidly secularized, and NI may go the same way. So, what then is left? Bar the music and 12th? As that leaves the OO out.

    What is the true essence of Loyalism? What are the goals for the future you think?

    (note I’m trying to understand, not put it down)

  • Devil Eire

    ‘Tadhg’ is not ‘derived from the Irish name for Tim’. The tendency to view foreign-language names as ‘translations’ of English names is just an Anglophone viewpoint. The names are not cognates and have no etymological relationship.

    ‘Tim’ is of course a diminutive of the biblical name ‘Timothy’, which itself is the Anglicized rendering of the Greek Τιμοθεος.

    The 17th century O’Domhnuill Irish-language bible translates this more or less directly as ‘Thimoṫéuis’ whereas the 1981 translation uses ‘Tiomóid’.

    The historical requirement to render Irish names in English or Anglicized forms has produced many such false pairings (Sorcha/Sarah, for example).