“But Violence Worked For the Other Side!” – Loyalism’s Dangerous and Dishonest Myth. Part 3…

In Part 1 & 2, Steve Bradley laid out a prima facie argument for why political violence has not delivered in Northern Ireland, particularly for the Republican movement during The Troubles and the Unionist movement since the Home Rule crisis. In this part he concludes by looking at the lessons loyalism and republicanism have learned from their previous campaigns of violence. What is very telling on the issue of violence is the vastly different routes that republican and loyalist groupings …

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“But Violence Worked For the Other Side!” – Loyalism’s Dangerous and Dishonest Myth. Part 1…

Earlier this month a few hundred people gathered in Newtonards for a public protest against the Northern Ireland Protocol. Despite the presence of a strong cast of speakers – including former-MP Kate Hoey and former-MEP Ben Habib – it wasn’t the podium soundbites that caught my eye and inspired this article. Instead, it was a very telling vox-pop that Sky News captured with one of the protestors at the event. A lady who’s grey hair, pashmina-type shawl and well-spoken North …

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Israel and Palestine: The victims of victims…

The current violence in the Middle East is profoundly depressing. Your heart goes out to the poor Palestinians who are stuck between the extremists of Hamas and the extremists of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). John Oliver had a pretty good take on the situation in Last Week Tonight: This week’s David McWilliams podcast with Tom Friedman was a good overview of the complexity of the situation. The excessive response of the IDF is nothing short of pure murder and …

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Stamping out sectarianism will take cultural revolution…

Youth training? Magee expansion? NHS reform? York street interchange? Phase 3 railway upgrade? New railway? Greenways? High standard public housing? Welfare reform? Nope, buy off people with grants and demeaning programmes through gatekeepers… https://t.co/iBo97wIbi6 — Jay Burbank (@jay_burbank) April 19, 2021 When I was in P7 there was a great debate around our table, are the colour of curbs “red, white and blue” or “blue, white and red?” We hadn’t the foggiest notion of the subtext much less because many …

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Is Northern Ireland Spiralling out of Control?

There has never been so much consensus in Northern Ireland. There has never been so much discord. The guy who cuts our trees thinks we’re Catholic, as we send our kids to the local Catholic school. We’re not (we’re Lundies). We think he’s Protestant, because of his name and the fact that we live in majority Protestant area. Last week, I was surprised to hear my husband drop a ‘Londonderry’ into the conversation – I assume to make the tree …

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Does Political Violence Work? #imaginebelfast

QUB pro-vice-chancellor Professor Richard English delivered a 40-minute talk on the topic of Does Political Violence Work? during the recent Imagine! Belfast festival, looking at terrorism by non-state and potentially state actors as well as drawing some conclusions about the disjunction between why campaigns start, why people join up, what is achieved and how we post hoc rationalise what happens.

‘Cross Community Projects’ are Outdated in Today’s Northern Ireland

The concept of a polarisation of politics is one often talked about in today’s society, and in Brexit Britain and Trump’s America and so many other cases it is easy to see evidence of this polarisation. People follow different narratives that offer different (or alternative) facts and there is a demonised view of the motives of politicians that you do not agree with. In Northern Ireland polarisation of politics is nothing new to us, and it continues to this day …

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Q. How to get away with inciting violence? A. Have plenty of flags and friends in high places

We’re exactly two weeks away from the United States’ latest presidential elections. It has become a quadrennial tradition in and of itself to call the elections The Most Important in America’s History, but for once the hyperbole really is justified. The 2016 presidential poll will surely go down in history as America’s most rancorous and divisive – certainly the most violent, if the scenes at some of Donald Trump’s bigotry-flecked rallies have been anything to go by. Trump himself has …

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Ian Paisley – “We are Irish!”

    Of the DUP membership, 1.4% self-identify as Irish. Yet the founder of the DUP was 100% Irish. This is not speculation or conjecture or troublemaking, this is a statement of fact based upon unequivocal and repeated testimony from Ian Paisley. Ian paisley wrote in 2012 on the centenary of the signing of the Ulster Covenant: “Edward Carson was a life-long Irishman, as well as being a life-long unionist, and that made all the difference… On this 28th day …

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#SluggerReport: What these post #AE16 shootings tell us about wicked problems in West Belfast

I would definitely listen back to the first half hour of the Nolan Show this morning. Some of the reaction from some callers was pretty chilling in their comments on four shootings since voting at Assembly elections finished. One suggested that within six or seven days no one but the families would care. In the meantime here’s some thoughts on the wicked problems that communities like those in West Belfast face and which enforcer violence like this perpetuates… Mick FealtyMick …

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Feminism, Quotas and Why Men Need to Man Up

Whining. It’s something that bugs me a lot. People who find all manner of excuses for why they are not getting what they want. We live in an age where if you even have a robust conversation with someone they immediately accuse you of being threatening or intimidating. I remember when there was a lot of debate about men getting in touch with their feelings. I remember people praising Paul Gascoigne for crying after England lost in Italia ’90. Now, …

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Loyalist terrorists and this summer’s mayhem

Summer in Northern Ireland has for a very long time been associated with heightening of sectarian problems and criminality. This year has been as bad as many for some time. Throughout this summer the media and others have held a number of organisations and individuals to account over this. Whether someone agrees or disagrees with this holding to account tends to depend on one’s social / political / sectarian position. So far we have had Ruth Patterson repeatedly criticised for …

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Lessons from the Balkans: Tactical, strategic, psychological and spontaneous uses of extreme violence.

Stunningly good conversation on Start the Week this morning on BBC Radio 4. You can catch the whole lot here, but the clip above begins with this penetrating opening statement from the Balkan writer Aleksandar Hemon: What happened in Bosnia, people always try to explain it as thousands of years of hatred: which of course is lazy, easy and inaccurate. I always thought that the extreme violence in Bosnian and particularly around Sarajevo was directly proportional to strength of the …

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Unionist violence after flag vote…

AS predictably as night follows day, unionist protesters have turned to violence after tonight’s City Hall vote to restrict the flying of the Union Flag to designated days. Trouble erupted in and around the City Hall itself, but is right now spreading to other areas, noteably East Belfast. A number of police have been injured, and two female officers taken to hospital. You can leave reports of any trouble you observe below. Belfast Gonzosluggerotoole.com

Hearts and Minds: Starting a conversation about having a conversation?

This exchange from Hearts and Minds last night has two, what I’d call, very very weird moments. One is when Mike Nesbitt tells Noel Thompson to ‘go and talk to his producer’ about the conditions under which he has agreed to do the interviewer. And two is really just the way he stumps Declan Kearney (who holds only a party office in Sinn Fein). This comes at the end of repeated attempts by Nesbitt to get Kearney to start the …

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“Scotland never divided the way Ireland did…”

Steve Bruce with a well researched broadside on the dodgy accusation that Scotland is awash with sectarian, football related violence: Scotland never divided in the way Ireland did. It did not divide politically: the native Scots who worked with the Irish settlers and their children in the labour movement and in the Labour party always vastly outnumbered those who supported tiny and short-lived anti-Catholic parties. Scotland never divided residentially: nowhere in Scotland displayed Belfast’s pattern of residential segregation. And despite …

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“sympathy is not the same as unequivocal support”

Pete has noted coverage of ESRC Northern Ireland 2010 Westminster Election Survey. The report came with shock and awe coverage: Newsletter: ALARMING new figures show that 14 per cent of nationalists sympathise with dissident republican terrorists. UTV: The survey by the University of Liverpool shows that 14% of the nationalist community have some “sympathy for the reasons” why groups like the Real IRA, the Continuity IRA and Óglaigh na hÉireann continue their campaign of violence. BBC: Fourteen per cent of …

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