Post Nationalism is a sign of political maturity…

In the history of ideas, Nationalism has burst through as nearly universal in its application, understanding and complexity. The Northern Ireland political scene has long been described as two competing nationalisms, our polity birthed as it was in the cradle of nationalist fervour unleashed on the battlefields of the Great War and continuing into the 1920s with Ireland’s (eventual) split from the British Empire. What we colloquially call “unionism” is a form of British nationalism intent on protecting the interests …

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Wanting to win the argument in a viable long term is not talking down Nationalism

As David has noted on Slugger, the establishment of the shared island unit in the office of An Taoiseach has intensified the discussion about our constitutional future on the island of Ireland.  There is little detail in what the work of this unit will look like and how it will approach the monumental task of restarting a conversation that caused a civil war and decades of violence North and South, but we shouldn’t be surprised. That’s how coalition governments work …

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Would all nationalists vote for a new Ireland?

As discussion of a border poll has risen within the wider nationalist community, the debate about what would be needed to accommodate all identities in a new Ireland has barely begun. Ian Clarke’s thoughtful piece on Slugger about whether pro union voices were wanted threw the lack of engagement between nationalists and unionists into sharp relief. In a largely nationalist milieu, it’s easy to see how a new Ireland would look much like the current republic, but what if the proposals from …

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Nationalists and unionists need to discard their illusions about Brexit. The gap is dangerously wide.

We begin with two different  views of the impact of Brexit in Northern Ireland;  from first, the historian and Irish Times columnist Diarmaid Ferriter, contrasted later with DUP MP Nigel Dodds. In 1998, at the time of the endorsement of the Belfast Agreement, Fintan O’Toole observed that “Northern Ireland is now a place that is arguably unique – a place that nobody claims and nobody owns, a place that is free to become whatever its people can agree that they …

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Constitutional uncoupling, or the decline in support for Nationalist parties amongst the Catholic community of Northern Ireland

Unmistakeably one of the main stories of the 2016 Assembly election has been the sharp drop in the share of the vote of Sinn Féin and the SDLP, which has fallen 3.6% since the 2015 General Election and 5.6% from the 41.2% combined share that they polled at the previous Assembly election in 2011. This is certainly a very disappointing result for those in favour of Irish unity, especially amongst those who had hoped that the centenary of the Easter …

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‘You say you want a revolution…’ – the Beatles and Irish nationalism

They were the standard-bearers of the British Invasion of the 1960s – a glad, confident time in which British recording artists practically monopolised the pop charts all over the world, and British culture was positively swinging at a swinging time. As the comedian Alan Davies put it in a 2002 TV documentary he presented on John Lennon, this band ‘made it cool to be British across the world. How cool is that!‘ So, as we mark what would have been …

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McDonnell, the conference and the SDLP’s unhappy muddle. #sdlp13

This was Alasdair McDonnell’s third speech as SDLP leader. If you watched on TV the poor audio for the first ten minutes would have forced you to switch off but when the BBC managed to sort out its technical difficulties the quick reality was that the viewer was not missing much of anything anyway. I always thought I understood what the SDLP believed in, but watching McDonnell’s speech I came away confused as I was subjected to bland statements and mixed …

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Robert Kee, hero of journalism and the television history of Irish nationalism

Slugger should note the passing of Robert Kee, historian, TV and print journalist and RAF  bomber pilot, who has died aged 93. In this age of revisionist debate, his TV history series first shown in 1981 and The Green Flag, the written history of Irish nationalism which accompanied it, were well timed and still stand up  today. It was a stellar achievement  to produce such a magisterial work on  a hot topic at the time, when  so many critics were waiting to pounce …

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