The Proclamation for Prods: what the 1916 centenary might say to non-republicans #feile15

Dave Thompson Proclamation for ProdsWe are richer as people when we not only know a view point but can appreciate it.

Dave Thompson is a teacher, runner, Presbyterian elder and SDLP member (who self-identifies as not being very nationalist). He delivered an hour long lecture that unpicked various perspectives on the 1916 Proclamation.

The universal republican ideals – equality, liberty, fraternity – those are things we still care about in the 21st century, and things we’ll still be doing in the 22nd century. So in that light we should be able to look at the Proclamation and find something for everybody.

Developing a wider societal appreciation of the Proclamation is likely to be hampered by “unionist ideals [that] are undergoing some re-examination”.

Unionism has always been wary about the ‘dominant’ country in the union, be it Labour or Tory led … And now the second nation in that pecking order is re-examining the boundaries in that union. Add to that Empire and Colonialism … and the argument that if Ireland received Home Rule the Empire would inevitably be threatened.

Will those commemorating the Proclamation be “patient and generous in its telling”?

David compared some of the similarities – and contrasted some of the striking differences – between the Irish Proclamation and the Ulster Covenant.

If you’ve a strong identification with the Proclamation or the Covenant then you can see something of yourself in the other document.

Jim Allister’s comments on a Spotlight panel discussion about a “some foreign old grubby rebellion” were examined.

Dave quoted a phrase from Nuala O’Loan on Sunday at Corrymeela that “we still don’t … understand that we’re not a threat to each other”.

Drawing to a close, Dave posed the question:

Ask what the past is giving to the present.

Bowler Hat DuncairnWhat will a Proclamation parade through Belfast in 2016 look like? A republican version of the Twelfth? Hooded faces and shots fired in the air? Or something that non-republicans would want to attend? How will the commemoration be informed by the historical complexity.

15 March 2016 has been designated ‘Proclamation Day’ and school pupils will have the opportunity to write their own Proclamation. Perhaps that’s an opportunity everyone should take.

In Dave’s mind, there’s space in the Proclamation “for republicans and the prods as well”.

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  • Turgon
  • Zig70

    Monsters v Aliens? Deep. You can’t deny that republicans are essentially parasitic to ulster unionism. My thinking would be rather than all this shared future platitudes, giving the right to be British within Ireland. Maybe some guarantees to keep the 12th as a public holiday, right to a British passport. What else would you want if the worst happened? Free ferry tickets? I know some have said to me they would leave.

  • I wonder did the organizers know that e was an SDLP member? Usually a big no no when it comes to getting an invite to anything at Féile

  • Zeno

    IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God ( everyone claims God, even the Nazis )
    and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, (Claiming to know the wishes of the dead? Good one, they can’t talk)
    Ireland, through us, (note these people elected themselves)
    summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom. (Ah the old flag trick. Invented by the rich to manipulate the poor))

    I imagine children could do a better job.
    It does actually get worse.
    We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline, and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.

    Lots of God stuff and sacrificing your children ,so the Irish Establishment can hold on to their land and money.

  • Andrew Finn

    Well, if they invited the DUP to an event…

  • paulgraham7567

    I have been following some of ur posts recently. I can’t say I agree with ur politics/religion. I can however respect them.

    I have just 1 question? Say perhaps this great God of yours decided tomorrow that YOU were the person to fix NI. How would you do it? Your wishes granted?

    The politics of the far right in NI seem to be critical of everything, but devoid of alternative. I am an Irishman, a Northern Irishman, a non voting, non practicing Catholic, a pragmatic unionist, with loads of friends both prod and taig.

    I have no fear of Ireland, nor Britain any longer, nor do I fear Protestants. I do, however fear that we are in danger of being dragged back to our violent past, by bigots and fear mongers. The politics of fear work especially well in NI.

    We are not heading for a United Ireland anytime soon. In order for that to happen SF/SDLP would need to convince 1/2 million more like David Thompson that it’s a good idea. Not likely to happen.

    So this is my challenge to those who feel the politics of Jim Allister are for them. Give me your alternative to power sharing and equality? A flawed system, but 1 that has at least brought 20 years of peace.

  • Deke – play the ball not the man

  • LordSummerisle

    “The Proclamation for Prods”. You might consider a revision of that title. What are Prods exactly ? A device used for moving cattle ? It is a derogatory term. In regards to the whole ” let’s just assume that all Protestants are Unionist, well done you have played into the whole mythos of the Easter Rising.

    I am also fed up with Presbyterians thinking they speak for Protestantism.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Did anyone tell Jim the rebellion took place in the United Kingdom?

  • Turgon

    But it was not really man playing. You highlighted the following at the top of the post: “Dave Thompson is a teacher, runner, Presbyterian elder and SDLP member (who self-identifies as not being very nationalist).”

    Now man playing is not acceptable but seeing as you have raised the issues, highlighting the fact that Mr. Thompson is quite markedly atypical in his views and opinions in most of those fields is relevant. His views would certainly not be a typical “Prod’s” (your word in the title) nor a typical Presbyterian elder’s nor a typical SDLP member’s.

    As such he is atypical apart (as Deke said) from him being a runner (and a teacher which Deke did not mention) both of which are an irrelevance to his views (and indeed could be seen as man playing from yourself).

  • Indeed, the attentive David McWilliams duly reminded Jim of his own annual celebrations of a military event that, like the Easter Rising, occurred pre-partition in what became the Republic of Ireland; the Battle of the Boyne in County Meath.

  • Mister_Joe

    Jim would say that, wouldn’t he.

  • peepoday

    From a unionist perspective it is impossible to see the events in Dublin 1916 as anything other than a desperate act by nationalist extremists against a society that was at war.The language of the proclamation did not appeal to unionists in 1916 and is even less relevant today,having witnessed the fate of many Protestants who found themselves in the south after partition.The proclamation for prods is a bit like turkeys and Christmas.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Touché. And of course Jim must have regarded his own Monaghan parents as foreigners.

  • Gopher

    Like the 12th I just look on the events surrounding it as a little Ireland celebration, but at least the Prods can agree about the 12th. I find the level of patriotism dependant on hate in Ireland pretty disturbing 100 years after 1916 and centuries after the Nine Years War. Compare and contrast to Waterloo, Somme, BoB etc etc were tens of thousands actually died and more were maimed. Look at the Hiroshima remembrance event the other day absolutely devoid of hate. Indoctrination and absolutely no self analysis seem to be the most pertinent traits in Ireland.

    The fundamental problem with 1916 is there has been no reactionary movement in the Republic which is nothing short of backward given the number of Irish in the UK. Its almost if Famine, Cromwell and Easter Executions arnt repeated the whole fabric of the state will collapse. As far as I can see hey and what do I know the Republic has removed the Church from the state, its high time it removed few other useless props. Putting 1916 to bed and the Republican mythos surrounding it after the celebrations would be a good start.