The Supreme Court rules that devolved assembly consent is not legally required for Brexit. But the political battle is only just beginning

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So  the Westminster Parliament must vote on triggering Article 50 – but on what exactly and how often until Brexit is achieved?  The battle has only just begun.

It’s  bad news for nationalists everywhere.  The Court ruled that the consent of the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly of Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly is not legally required.  The argument put forward by Sinn Fein, the SDLP and in the courts by Raymond McCord that under the GFA the Remain vote in Northern Ireland was binding was dismissed.

..section 1 Northern Ireland Act, which gave the people of Northern Ireland the right to determine whether to remain part of the UK or to become part of a united Ireland, does not regulate any other change in the constitutional status of Northern Ireland.

But that’s by no means the end of the matter. The Sewel Convention operates when the UK government ordinarily requests the consent of the devolved bodies for Westminster to legislate on matters affecting them. The ruling says that:

 The Convention operates as a political constraint on the activity of the UK Parliament. It therefore plays an important role in the operation of the UK constitution. But the policing of its scope and operation is not within the constitutional remit of the courts.

It is therefore still open to the UK government to ask for the consent of the Scottish Welsh and NI devolved bodies, although it’s not binding. The Scottish government will throw everything into  forcing the UK government to bend to its will under threat of another Indyref – as Nicola Sturgeon made immediately clear.

The SNP First minister  Nicola  Sturgeon used her new column in the Record on Monday warned in advance:

No matter what the supreme court decides, I want to make this crystal clear: I intend to make sure the Scottish parliament has the chance to vote on triggering article 50.

And if the UK government doesn’t start showing Scotland some respect, I’ll make sure that people across Scotland have the chance to choose their own future, before the Tories drag us off an economic cliff edge.

SNP MPs at Westminster have replied with pre–prepared dynamic action even before the Brexit secretary appeared before MPs to explain how the government intended to comply (£).

The SNP said that its 50 amendments would include a call on the UK government to publish a White Paper before invoking Article 50 and a requirement for unanimous agreement of a ministerial committee. There should also be agreement with the European Commission that failure of the UK Parliament to ratify the final terms of negotiation will result in a revision of the current terms of UK membership, the SNP said. “The prime minister and her hard Brexit brigade must treat devolved administrations as equal partners,” Mr Salmond said.

More later after the Commons statement from Brexit Secretary David Davis at 12.30. So far, nothing from the NI parties.

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  • Colm Heaney

    Nicola is a bluffer. If she’s so sure of support for independence why has she ruled out a vote for at least a year? It’s getting quite embarrassing to hear this threat repeated over and over again; it’s become as predictable as the Shinners calling for a border poll. It’s increasingly obvious that Theresa May has the measure of her.

  • file

    Anyone able to read could have seen that the Northern Ireland arguments were written on water. I am surprised they were not fined for wasting the court’s time.

  • Croiteir

    Who funded these court cases? Please tell me it was not the taxpayer?

  • Iarla Mac Aodha Bhuí

    If the SNP want independence they should withdraw from Westminster, declare their Free State/kingdom if they win the resulting general election, and apply for membership of the EU. As for the Irish border, it appears that it will never disappear entirely, but it should be redrawn.

  • Msiegnaro

    Do you seriously think the EU wants an independent Scotland?

  • Iarla Mac Aodha Bhuí

    No, but Slovenia, Croatia, and Slovakia were able to break away and become members. Eventually Scotland, if really intent on indenpendence, will be a member of the EU – if the Scots are really serious about leaving the UK, which I doubt, and if the EU can survive the nationalist tendencies which are now rising in so many countries.

  • Lex.Butler

    It’s not going to happen. SNP can’t win an independence referendum so they can hardly unilaterally declare independence. There might be some objections from the majority!

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/scottish-independence-support-for-second-referendum-plummets-a7447196.html

    Referendums are great unless your view loses. SNP are about to have their bluff called.

  • RWP

    Exactly. It’s blustering from Nicola and TMay sees straight through it. Still, Nicola is fully aware of this and is really using this to boost the SNP vote…..politics, man.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    That poll was taken last November and a lot has happenned since then. 44/56 is not a huge gap to overcome and could well be made easier when the trigger is actually pulled.
    last September support for Irish Unity eas at 30%. By December it had risen to 44%.

  • Granni Trixie

    Rumour has it Chuck Feeney. But I don’t really know.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    no it hadn’t. The December poll did not ask the question that way. We’ve been through this.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    She is not confident this year. But after the trigger is pulled and negotiations get real she is hoping the fall out will deliver the 6% swing she needs. Thats why she is waiting.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    In none of Slovenia, Croatia and Slovakia were referenda held and lost. Sorry but Lex is right, an attempt at UDI in the current circumstances would be ridiculous – and would surely backfire on the SNP in terms of actual support for independence in Scotland.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    The poll asked very clear and precise questions which showed equally clearly that 44% of repondents favour a UI. Not liking the results does not disqualify the poll.

  • lizmcneill

    Re-partition? That will have the same problems as the first go-around. Do you put the border down the peace walls in Belfast?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I tend to agree, she’s in a worse position that is sometimes assumed. What a lot of us outside Scotland miss, but is evident if you look at polling on it, there is referendum fatigue – 2014 took an awful lot out of people in Scotland, it was all-consuming and it was a huge deal. Many even on the Independence side did not enjoy the experience. Any new referendum has to wait until the country feels up for it again, and it’s far from clear that Brexit on its own has had that effect. So Sturgeon is treading water for now, waiting and watching to see if the mood shifts and in the meantime, preparing the ground as best she can for when the time comes that she thinks she can win. Lose the next one and independence really is gone for a generation.

    Brexit has put her in a corner really; it’s presented an opportunity but it has also required that she take it, in a timescale not of her choosing. She may have preferred to go for a second Indie Ref in 6-7 years’ time, or whenever the polls shift in her favour, but she looks like she’s trapped herself into using it to prevent Scotland’s exit from the EU, in 2 years’ time. Perhaps she can let post-Brexit life in Scotland unfold for a year or two before going for it; but not much longer, without losing a lot of credibility. Thing is, dropping it in the short to medium term may actually be the SNP’s best chance of winning a referendum in the long run.

  • runnymede

    The battle isn’t just beginning. It’s been decisively won – the nats have lost.

  • Croiteir

    Too late then

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You need to look at more than one poll though to understand how to read the results. You have to ask why the figure is so much higher than other polls, including even Lucid Talk’s own ones (which often have higher united Ireland figures than Ipsos MORI’s). The key seems to be that it wasn’t asking a direct question about a united Ireland, it was asking about what your attitude *would be* after Brexit is completed.

    You might say that the UK is leaving the EU, so it’s the same thing. But asking someone about some future event that hasn’t happened yet (even if that event is very likely), gets you different numbers, typically, than asking about the immediate future. It allows people to say, “I may not think this now, but I imagine I will think this in 2 years’ time.” When it comes to a united Ireland, there is a long-established mis-match between long term aspirations – fairly high figures – and the choice if it’s pitched as asking how you would vote now. There is a very established phenomenon of a sizeable tranche nationalists paying lip service to the united Ireland idea but shying away from it as an immediate prospect.
    Asking if people actually want it to happen any time soon focuses minds. Traditionally it knocks at least 10 per cent off the score.

    The SoS in weighing up whether to call a referendum will no doubt be looking at the harder and more robust measures of how a vote might go. For that, Ipsos MORI figures will be a better guide (and have about as good a reputation for robust political polling as you can get these days). Their most recent figure, from Sepember, was down in the 20s.

    If people vote in any referendum, the dynamic would be different of course but you can’t count on the ‘long term aspiration’ brigade to actually vote it in.

  • Colm Heaney

    Yeah. The indyref did see a sort of awakening of Scottish nationalism but nevertheless the Scots are still a pragmatic bunch. The prospect of relatively minor uncertainty around currency etc. was enough to put of enough people in 2014, I really don’t see how a majority is possible now given the major uncertainty presented by brexit.

    If ever there was going to be a surge in support I would expect to see it relatively soon as we now have a clearer idea of the governments position is, otherwise it’s over for the foreseeable.

  • J D

    You must be a big fan of the inundations, as you spend your entire life living in denial.

    5 years left for the UK, tops. Scotland leaving, Ireland re-unifying, Unionist gnashing of teeth, wailing and their tasty, tasty salty tears of despair 🙂

    Popcorn!

  • J D

    Howabout the coastline of the island?

  • J D

    1916…1918…1922 bit of history would undermine your false optimism. But keep sleeping, it just makes it easier for our allies.

  • lizmcneill

    Brexiteers would be happy with that I bet.

  • MalcolmRedfellow

    As I was saying on the other thread, but is more relevant here, the Supreme Court says that NI has a unique option. It’s there in para 135, after the vamp on the NI Act quoted by Mr Walker:

    135. In our view, this important provision, which arose out of the Belfast Agreement, gave the people of Northern Ireland the right to determine whether to remain part of the United Kingdom or to become part of a united Ireland. It neither regulated any other change in the constitutional status of Northern Ireland nor required the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I think you’ll be buying 😉

  • MainlandUlsterman

    agree with that.

    I think the moment of actual Brexit will be another watershed and we’ll see then too; but then again by then people will have adjusted to it already.

    The unknowable is what happens to public opinion by the middle of 2018 when people across the UK start realising (1) we’re a lot poorer and have to start missing out on stuff we like; (2) public services start to really cave in from post 2010 under-investment. That combo could do explosive things to public opinion. Remember too we’re in the middle of a huge personal credit bubble at the moment. If that bursts, we really will feel it, big time.

    However, the lack of a strong lead politician to harness that dissatisfaction towards pulling us back from Brexit, will be the problem. And that could lead the Tories to stagger on and get it through, albeit with the ceiling falling down around them like Syd James in Carry On Up The Khyber. Bloody Corbyn supporters …

  • MainlandUlsterman

    So let’s put the date on it – by 2022 you think? Would you like a cashless wager on that?

  • J D

    Of course I will, I’ll be celebrating! As Basil Fawlty might ask – what is your special area “The Bleeding Obvious”?

  • J D

    No. Waste of time making any agreements with Unionists or the British. They always break them.

  • lizmcneill

    By the middle of 2018 Article 50 will have been triggered so I’m not sure what choice the UK will have.

  • Mike the First

    Ah, reminds me of the old “UI by 2016” mantra from the GFA to around 2012.
    There was even a user on here called “lib2016”, wasn’t there.

  • Mike the First

    That sounds like a bit of a prejudiced, bigoted slur on MU’s character there. Lovely.

  • I don’t think that was ever in doubt though. Unionist are still in a majority in Northern Ireland so that option won’t be exercised.

  • I wouldn’t be so sure, for Scotland it probably still makes sense to be told what to do by Westminster. I think the Scots will vote in their own self interest against independence. For NI it makes sense for it to vote for a UI but voters look as if they would vote against their own interest (Brexit mark II).

    The only chance of a UI is for Westminster to cut all subsidies to the North and for Brexit to be an absolute disaster. Neither of which seem likely and both simultaneously would be difficult to see happening. NI will probably continue it’s bizarre existence for a while yet.

  • J D

    No. It’s an accurate depiction of British and Unionist honour based on their behaviour. Never honour any agreement with the Irish, ever.

    And memento ulsterman lives in an alternate reality where the facts change to suit his argument and every day begins with nothing from the previous day recalled.

  • J D

    Well then you should return to slumber and not bother showing up at the polling station when the border poll is called. Being so confident and all.

  • Iarla Mac Aodha Bhuí

    That would be my preferred option, and might be imposed as the de facto EU border sooner rather than later.

  • NotNowJohnny

    Can you expand on the historical relevance of 1922 in relation to your point?

  • J D

    Nationalists remain nationalists and there are enough Unionists that prefer the EU to the UK to tip it over for both the north and Scotland.

    Scotland goes first, remaining in the EU as the UK exits in two years. As the economic reality and hard border hits home in the north, within another two years or less there will be a majority for re-unification.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    So what you are essentially saying is that moat of that 44% dont really mean it and when push comes to shove if the circumstances outlined in the question pertain, its unlikely they would follow through. Its not convincing but its also very possible so lets see how further polls go.

  • MalcolmRedfellow

    I don’t deny that assumption.

    In the land of “what ifs”, a truly-subtle Dublin would be saying “No! No! Not sovereignty! Perish the thought! Not another Border poll. Perhaps just a bit more joint sovereignty. And stay in the EU.”

    After all, the Brexit vote in NI was 56/44 to remain. That’s a “swing” of going on 100,000. Which suggests a lot of “unionists” could be tempted.

  • Fear Éireannach

    Their choice may depend on the court case launching in Dublin to ascertain whether it is possible to withdraw your withdrawal, within the 2 years.

  • Annie Breensson

    “Scots will vote in their own self interest”

    Why should Scots self interest be as an English vassal state, as demonstrated by today’s ruling, rather than as an independent nation, with the power of veto, within the EU?

    The election of Donald J. Trump to the office of POTUS demonstrates that economic circumstances have a large influence on political views. It is unlikely that we would have seen the same result in an era of full employment with concomitant comfortable lifestyle. Post BREXIT austerity may well be the trigger that will tempt the waverers, the wary, and the non-voters to opt for an independent Scotland, and subsequently for a reunited Ireland.

  • Mike the First

    I didn’t say I was “so confident” – just pointing out your overconfidence.

    Which as I’ve said, just updates the fairly recent “UI by 2016” stuff, not to mention “Victory in 71/72/73″…

  • Mike the First

    So, yeah, you’re just making prejudiced comments about a community and a nation and using these to attack an individual.

    Classic bigotry.

  • Mike the First

    Tempted to Remain in the EU along with the rest of the UK. That’s what I voted for.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Yup. I’m just basing that on how people answer other polls.

  • MalcolmRedfellow
  • 1729torus

    Demographics won’t start to seriously make a difference until 2025 as all the over 65s from 2014 die off.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    We could halt the process, or start a reapplication process

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Par for the course I’m afraid for unionists on here. We are unpeople.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You get personal, you lose mate 🙂

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Every time a unionist gets stupid and dishonest abuse like that, the Union strengthens a little. As such I welcome people like JD making fools of themselves on here, though it is sorry to behold on a human level. The weakness of both the arguments and the personalities involved in such sectarianism is manifest.

  • On the fence!

    That is so true. Some of the stuff on here would give the DUP a “ready made” campaign if more widely viewed.

  • Madra Uisce

    The DUP do not require any help from Slugger. They know that the ingrained sectarianism and hatred of Themmuns in the DUP voter base will ensure the sheeple will vote en mass as they usually do. Sectarianism has won out in every election since the foundation of the state . It will do so again.

  • On the fence!

    The DUP have gained their strength from the rise of Sinn Fein. As Sinn Fein have grown, unionist votes have been channelled to the DUP to counteract it. Like it or not, agree with it or not, that’s how it is. Many people I know vote for the DUP and think they are muppets, nor do they have a “hatred of Themmuns, but they have a genuine fear of Sinn Fein and what they represent.

    They certainly wouldn’t gain any comfort from some of the stuff on here!

    Again, not my view, but that’s what’s out there.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Spot on. There are genuine tw**s who vote DUP but a lot of the swing to DUP was and is to counteract the SF rise, which pre-dated the shift from UUP to DUP. That combined with the Peace Process being let down by poor leadership in London and Dublin in the early years, where the strategy was keep SF happy at all costs and let unionists grumble. When this produced a SF and DUP hegemony, the strategy was then to back them to do a deal. With SF so indulged and treated as the one party essential to the peace (true because they were the only party that was part of a terrorist organisation) it was little wonder they gained status with nationalist voters and no wonder unionist voters reacted defensively by backing a harder line. More moderate parties are still paying the price now for the cardinal errors made by Blair indulging SF in the early post-1998 years.

  • On the fence!

    You can also look at the likes of Arlene and Jeffrey jumping ship, Arlene especially given that through the height of the troubles Paisley and the DUP were largely thought of in border areas as being a total joke, as further evidence that it’s more about “safety in numbers” than anything else.

    If there was the sheer “bitterness and hatred” among the unionist/protestant community that some like to claim, then the parties representing loyalist terror groups would have much greater representation. As it is, they’ve been pretty much totally eclipsed.

    And rightly so!

  • Madra Uisce

    Your argument is rubbish, Unionists have been playing the sectarian card in every election since this state was set up.It was played when Sinn Fein did not even contest elections in the North and the bogey man was then SDLP and the old Nationalist party before them. This election is taking place against the backdrop of the biggest financial scandal in the Norths history and gives the voters especially those who vote DUP a chance to give those responsible a bloody nose. But is the Unionist voter base concerned that the DUP has pissed away £500 m of tax payers money, the answer will be no they are not and the DUP will get back in despite all this. As Sophie Long quite rightly put it If we think its better to be robbed by a Prod than ruled by a Calholic then we really are in trouble.

  • Madra Uisce

    You could have just typed Themmuns made us vote for Sectarian bigots and saved the old keyboard.

  • Madra Uisce

    They DUP stood shoulder to shoulder with loyalists terrorists for forty years so there is no need for them to vote for smaller parties. Remember its all about keeping themmuns out.

  • On the fence!

    “Your argument is rubbish,”

    And you would know how?

    Your hate filled rantings suggest an extremely limited perspective of the majority of your fellow countrymen.

  • grumpy oul man

    MTF, a question would there be a brexit that would make you think that being in the EU without being in GB was the preferred option.

  • grumpy oul man

    Which nats lost what?

  • grumpy oul man

    This what i think will happen.
    The border will be at the British ports and air and sea.

  • grumpy oul man

    More telling than polls is the rush for Irish passports from those who would traditionally have claimed to be British.

  • grumpy oul man

    You are the man who claims the troubles started in 1969 with the formation of the IRA.
    You chose to insult the victims of Unionist discrimination and violence includind murder.
    So i think you do use alternative fact .

  • grumpy oul man

    Of course SF was helped by Unionists working with unionist murder squads (i believe you attended rallys which were organised by loyalist terrorists during the protests against the AIA.
    The fact that the British goverment turned a blind eye (unionists still do) to the deep unionist involvement with terrorists.
    But you always manage to forget that.

  • grumpy oul man

    Oh dear didnt the leader of unionisn take to the streets several times with loyalist terror groups who were actively engaged in secterian murder. And didnt he form a terror group
    His comical claim that he didnt think that wearing berets having colour parties .swearin oaths and making speechs about sacrifice would result in people dying,
    It says a lot about the hyprocisy of unionists that they chose to believe this.

  • grumpy oul man

    Wasnt Ni formed by a private army opposing the result of a democratic election and didn’t they threaten the goverment with rebellion.
    You dont seem to have ever had a issue with that. Why tell scotland they can’t do what NI would have done if britain hadn’t dropped the home rule bill.

  • Jams O’Donnell

    1) We are starting now from a higher baseline of support than at the first referendum
    2) The Unionist parties in Scotland now have only one MSP each
    3) The Labour(!) Party in Scotland is not in any position now, and will be in a much lesser one after the local elections, to play any part in a Unionist campaign – it is in this position today precisely because of it’s previous role as a Westminster toady
    4) The tory party in Scotland is in the position now of contradicting itself over how to remain in the EU, and the benefits of doing so, reducing it’s already weak credibility
    5) The negative impacts of Brexit and leaving the EU will be much more evident by the time of the next referendum
    6) The UK government have revealed how hollow were the promises of “most powerful devolved government in the world”, “stay in the UK to stay in the EU” and other associated ‘vows’ made previously. May has shown contempt for the devolved governments, and this is both blatant, and will not go down well
    7) Re the “oil” question – Whisky is now revealed as the biggest net contributor to UK exports, plus the price of oil has recently risen again.
    8) You can fool people once, but it is much more difficult to fool them a second time.
    9) It is no bluff – why would it be?

  • Jams O’Donnell

    There is no ‘self-interest’ involved in staying in the UK – it is exactly against the self-interest of the Scottish people to remain. We will be leaving. See my post above.

  • Jams O’Donnell

    They would rather have an independent Scotland in the EU than a ‘Great’ Britain wholly outside the EU.

  • Jams O’Donnell

    If we were not really serious about remaining in the EU, we would not have voted to stay in.

  • Jams O’Donnell

    The best time for a referendum – obviously – is when the Brexit dog begins to bite, when time has been given to point out the results of these bites, when a campaign has had time to get under way, and so – just before the UK leaves the EU, but in time for Scotland to remain in it.

  • Jams O’Donnell

    Rubbish. Scots revelled in the Independence campaign. Thats why the SNP support increased after the first one. See my post above for further details.

  • Jams O’Donnell

    Not at all. See my post above.

  • Lex.Butler

    There will no referendum until the SNP are clearly going to win. That might take some time. And unless they have about a 10% lead, they can’t chance it.

    I voted Remain, but what happens if the economy doesn’t collapse…?
    -We are clearly getting a US deal by Easter,
    -Sterling was overvalued and isn’t any longer,
    -ignore the car firms bleating – with the pound devalued they can easily deal with tariffs (same for many industries).
    – The City isn’t going away

    And just say Brexit improves the lot of the people on low wages? I visited the Lowlands and N. England in the summer. The small towns are depressing places to live. In one, the biggest store was selling second clothes.

    These people have been left behind and would continue to be so if the vote had gone Remain. The SNP don’t do much except blame the English, but that doesn’t feed you.

    I don’t want to be where we are, but Project Fear is still an own goal at present. Don’t rely on it to deliver independence.

  • Jams O’Donnell

    A US deal that allows in chemically processed food, and allows firms to sue the government – because that is what we will get – May is in no position to argue – that will go down well. And if you think the low-waged will benefit from Brexit you are seriously deluded.

    As for your comment on the SNP blaming the English – it shows you know nothing about Scottish society – many English people living in Scotland are SNP members. Sorry to spoil your racist illusions.

  • J Hobson

    You reduced the discussion to abuse I’ll ignore you.

  • Madra Uisce

    Did you even read my post? I pointed out the flaw in your argument in relation to the history of voting on sectarian lines by Unionists going back to the foundation of the state. As for my so called hate filled rantings as you put it. Either point out the hatred or withdraw. I know slugger tends to take a somewhat a la carte approach to personal attacks depending on who makes them but attack my argument not me.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    So what’s stopping her going for it now?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Not far off the truth actually

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I’d agree with Ms Long on that. But actually I suspect most people would choose to be robbed rather than ruled by a party that insists the terrorist atrocities we went through were not atrocities, and that the perpetrators were heroes. Unfortunately that’s the rather more tricky dilemma the continued electoral success of SF puts everyone else in. It’s not sectarian to find them hard to stomach.

  • Madra Uisce

    Nonsense. When you put your 123 against a DUP candidate you are voting for a party that has links to loyalist terrorists stretching from 1970 to 2017. A party who formed a paramilitary wing which imported hundreds of illegal guns which were then used in hundreds of sectarian murders. A Party whose leaders stood shoulder to shoulder with loyalist terrorists who attended their funerals and carried their coffins as well as sharing platforms with them, a party who along with the UUP voted in a UVF lord mayor in 1994 when the UVF were slaughtering people watching a football match. Spare me the moral superiority.

  • Croiteir

    Eh?

  • Mike the First

    Honestly, no. I didn’t (don’t) want the UK to leave the EU, but accept that’s how the vote went. I want us to remain in the single market (and the customs union), and I don’t think it’s necessary or desirable to leave. I think the “WTO model” which is Theresa May’s bottom line would be very bad for the UK.

    But none of those would make me want NI to leave the UK (and indeed for NI to cease to exist as a constituent country). The UK is much more meaningful and important to me than the EU, or the single market, or the customs union.

  • Jams O’Donnell

    I think the abuse started with your childish, and more important, inaccurate reference to the SNP. But use any excuse you like – and remember that abuse is not a privilege reserved only for one side.

    Why don’t you try rebutting the points I make, if you are interested in a real dialogue?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I think your account of the DUP though doesn’t reflect the reasons people vote for them and indeed is highly misleading. The vast majority of DUP voters, would, I would expect, reject the idea they were voting for a party that sought to justify terrorism. The party’s position indeed is unequivocally anti-terrorist, whatever the lapses and odd flirations have been over the years. You’re certainly not wrong to criticise leading DUP figures for those flirtations with the paramilitaries and I join you in that; but I don’t think it follows that the party as a whole condones terrorism, let alone people voting for it. Some of them may as individuals, who knows. But it’s not the DUP position as I understand it that Troubles terrorism was justified.

    Voting DUP isn’t what I would do, just as I wouldn’t vote for a number of other parties. But trying to portray them as no different from terrorist parties is simply inaccurate. You are being extremely unfair on many decent people who vote DUP without making any excuses for terrorism whatsoever – indeed who may vote DUP precisely because they see it as a bulwark against the terror-apologist approach of the main nationalist party.

    Very few on the unionist side of politics seek to justify Troubles terrorism – we just don’t have that problem on the scale nationalism does. We have other problems, sure – but you have to realise that unionism and nationalism are not mirror images. They’re both at some level f***ed up, but in quite different ways.

  • grumpy oul man

    Fair enough.and if scotlant leaves will you opinion remain the same.

  • J D

    Over 20 years of vile comments from every stripe of Unionism (without a single condemnation) about those murdered by the British army in Derry is all the character testimony for northern unionism I need.

    A thousand years of history of England/Britain/Unionism of reneging on every single agreement and deal ever is all the evidence required.

    It ain’t bigotry when it is the plain truth. And it does smart doesn’t it?

  • J D

    Well Memento, there isn’t an argument when you don’t even have a fundamental grasp of northern Ireland history.

    You know your usual favourite of how everything is all the PIRA/SF’s fault even thought they did not exist when Unionism started murdering people, blowing up power stations and running murderous false flag operations to kick start a civil war in 1966.

    That one. So good luck to ye.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    … which is a mis-statement of what I was saying. I know when the Provisional wing of Republicanism started. The thing is, that wasn’t exactly the start of armed force Republicanism, was it.

  • Mike the First

    JD = proud to be a bigot.

    But sure it isn’t really bigotry when it’s unionists who are the target of your bile and hatred, is it? Sure only themmuns are bigots…