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Flags and political loyalism January 31, 2013

Posted by smiffy in Loyalism, Northern Ireland, Progressive Unionist Party, The North, Ulster, Uncategorized, Unionism.

Regular readers may be interested in a newly-published book on political loyalism by U.S. academic, Tony Novosel, entitled Northern Ireland’s Lost Opportunity: The Frustrated Promise of Political Loyalism. published by Pluto books.

Over at the Pluto website, Novosel has published an interesting and timely article, situating the current protests around flags within the context of an historical pattern of the exploitation of working-class loyalist political mobilization by mainstream Unionist parties. While not uncritical of loyalist communities and their political expression, he does give the current situation an important added dimension, going beyond the sometimes easy stereotyping of #flegs.


1. richotto - January 31, 2013

The article talks repeatedly of the working class protestants as if they are the bottom of the pile. I read but can’t bring it up here that 37 out of the 40 poorest local electoral districts have a majority nationalist population. I’ve never heard any study to say anything but the catholic working class as being less well off than their protestant peers. Yet to see the media treatment down here as much as anywhere you would be misled into thinking the opposite. SF are not going to say too much about sectarian inequality from a catholic point of view because it would spoil the good news story of power sharing and the state being supposedly normalized.


WorldbyStorm - February 1, 2013

Interesting point. I’d love to see the stats, there’s definitely a trope abroad that loyalist part of working class is immiserated.


richotto - February 1, 2013

I had a look online for the stats and could’nt locate them so far but an interesting long article in Pheonix from Dec 14th entitled “Union Jack Fundraising” makes reference to figures from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency which confirm the continued gap in standard of living across the sectarian divide.


Ciarán - February 1, 2013
Joe - February 1, 2013

Thanks for that Ciarán. I’d never heard of Greystone before. But now I say: Long live Greystone! The future is Greystone! We are all Greystoners now!


2. CL - February 1, 2013

Eamonn McCann, as usual has some interesting things to say on this theme
“The Protestant lower orders have good reason to chafe at the condition in which they find themselves – this in spite of the fact that the Catholic section of the working class is still marginally worse off.

(It should be noted that the main reason the gap has narrowed is not that the people of the Falls are living better, but that the people of the Shankill are living worse.)”

Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/columnists/eamon-mccann/no-unilateral-fix-to-hardship-which-spawned-loyalist-rage-16259608.html#ixzz2Jb4xy73b


3. A Friend - February 1, 2013

Eamon McCann – available for funerals


4. Roger Cole - February 1, 2013

The Loyalists working class are worse off because the British State to which they are loyal is spending £billion on its nuclear weapons, fighting perpetual imperial wars, the latest being a “generational” war in North Africa, as are the motley collection of born again Redmondites and William Walker Socialists are doing in the 26 county State. All Ireland active support for imperialist wars supported by the likes of O’Toole and Harris that have massive acccess to the corporate media is the real problem. The loyalist working class have to confront imperialism as have the rest of the working class if they are to improve their lives.


Martin Savage - February 1, 2013

McCann makes a valid point re stereotyping, it is considered acceptable to look on protestant workers in the north as lumpen idiots, easy for the middle class to tut tut and blame them for bigotry


Jim Monaghan - February 1, 2013

And what do we do about it. Make excuses for bigotry. Pretend it does not exist. Say it is the same on both sides. Have illusions that a public sector strike will remove it overnight


Florrie O'Donoghue - February 1, 2013

The burning of the tricolour – accompanied by cheering – on a protest ostensibly about respect for another flag is but the more tangible form of this bigotry.

How many of this new committee – or whatever they call it – that includes the UVF flag-toting, Jamie Bryson, have been challenged on the annual burning of tricolours (and now Polish flags also) each July in these communities that are now so concerned about respect for flags?

Who would you blame for their bigotry if not themselves, these adults capable of free-thought? The tutting middle-classes?

Is mise srl.,


Ciarán - February 1, 2013

Burning the tricolour apparently shouldn’t be a big deal, because according to the DUP’s Ruth Patterson: “Burning the Tricolour is something that the nationalist/ republican community do at most of their parades. It’s not something you wouldn’t see at a republican parade.”

I’m not sure what republican parades she goes to.


Martin Savage - February 1, 2013

What excuses? Martin mcguiness and Gerry Kelly can talk to loyalists and be capable of understanding but you free state super Provos have to give it the big one. There will be no united Ireland without the loyalists


Joe - February 1, 2013

“There will be no united Ireland without the loyalists”

+1. Which makes a united Ireland a big ask, as they say.


5. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - February 1, 2013

This IRSP statement from Derry might be of relevance, note language used. Communication rather than holier-than-thou posing.



6. Flegging, I thought you said Fishing ! « Fiannaiochta - February 2, 2013

[…] Flags and political loyalism (cedarlounge.wordpress.com) […]


7. Florrie O'Donoghue - February 2, 2013

‘free state super Provos’?


Martin Savage - February 2, 2013

Actual Provos are prepared to sit down and talk to loyalists – this is happening on a daily basis at interfaces and in communities. Free state ‘ republucans’ glory in using left-wing rhetoric to display contempt for working Class Protestants


Florrie O'Donoghue - February 3, 2013

People who are critical of those who take part in the flag protests are, in actual fact, bigoted ‘free state super Provos’ who are simply using the protests as an excuse to express their already-held ‘contempt for working Class Protestants’?

And we are middle class also?
And we tut?

I just want to be sure I understand your accusations correctly.

Is mise srl.,


8. Garibaldy - February 10, 2013

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