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Meanwhile in the North September 11, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Can this be accurate – the results of the latest Ashcroft poll on attitudes in NI to unity, Brexit etc? Whatever else it points to changes – no wonder Arlene Foster is saying what she said earlier this week. Bit late some would say.

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1. EWI - September 11, 2019

Bit impossible too. Any outreach to ‘the Irish’ and Foster would have been removed. This is the Catch-22 that unionism is in – it’s always been about maintaining the settler ascendancy, and can therefore do no other.

It’s always been notable that the Irish Times, the supposed liberal standard-bearer of the Dublin middle-class, has never had much interest in calling it what it is.

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2. Dermot M O Connor - September 11, 2019

Great poll! Terminology is odd though, as if a Unionist wants to leave the Union they’re not a Unionist any more by definition (not a union with Britain at any rate, haha).

Ideally, unity would the kind of thing you’d want with a +60% majority to let the losers really know it’s over. Can see that happening sooner rather than later, especially if Brexit is hard on the middle and upper classes of the protestant side.

Game for each side would be (if they’re smart) to charm as many as possible from other half of the aisle. The orange are poorly equipped in the ‘charm offensive’ department though. Nothing to offer but a 17th century boot on the face, forever. Croppies lie down, etc.

Once Queen Liz croaks, I wonder if that’ll reduce some of the emotional pull of Loyalism (and monarchism in general).
There would be a nice historical symmetry if NI leaves the throne post-Charlie, when another King William is on the throne.

2021 will be interesting.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Census_in_the_United_Kingdom

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3. Joe - September 11, 2019

Broken record time. Be careful what you wish for. If and when a majority in the north votes for a UI and if and when a UI comes about, the problem will remain. Pretty much the same problem as has always been there. The UI will include a substantial minority who don’t want to be in it – substantial in that they will make up the majority in many areas of what is now NI.
I was in Belfast for the first time in years, just last weekend. Staying as it happens in loyalist East Belfast. Judging by the flags they fly, they won’t go gently into any UI.

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Dermot M O Connor - September 11, 2019

Saw this recently about BBC bias against the Scottish Indendence campaign. Shocking outbreaks of Orange violence against the Indy people on the streets of Scotland (reported by the BBC weasels as “clashes between” instead of “attacks against”.

Will be interesting to see when/if Scotland gets (and wins) a second ref.

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WorldbyStorm - September 11, 2019

Being cautious is sensible, that said Joe you yourself had a good idea re the north remaining involved in the Commonwealth post-UI. Unionism isn’t going to vanish, and political unionism isn’t either. Some sort of residual political links (I think of the House of Lords) would make sense. So easing people gently and in a way that allows them some expression of their identity in all ways is essential. I think that sort of approach might reap dividends further down the line.

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WorldbyStorm - September 11, 2019

By the way, strongly agree DMOC. The coverage of those attacks was dismal.

BTW just riffing on the ideas of residual links – the SNP was willing at the last referendum to retain the Queen as head of state an independent Scotland (not sure if that has changed). That to me is a much bigger compromise than one we as a state would have to make accepting a special dispensation/reverse GFA with continuing residual links in the North eastwards.

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Fergal - September 11, 2019

If and when a UI happens… could we see unionists in places like the “Sandy Row, where Fenians fear to go” just Upping sticks to the “ mainland”? To Scotland? But what happens if Scotland too has left the union?

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Fergal - September 11, 2019

If and when a UI happens… could we see unionists in places like the “Sandy Row, where Fenians fear to go” just Upping sticks to the “ mainland”? To Scotland? But what happens if Scotland too has left the union?

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Dermot M O Connor - September 11, 2019

Even without UI, over the next 10 to 20 years they’ll quickly lose political hegemony, such as they still have it, via demographics, never mind the strains Brexit or the SNP will impose.

It’ll be interesting to see what an indie scotland does to their worldview, then the rapidly approaching NI catholic majority (in the next census, or failing that, 2031). Granted, babies don’t vote, and old people do. but old people go senile and die. With each passing year they’ll grow a little weaker, and their opponents a little stronger. The 2011 48/45 split is going to flip soon enough.

I seem to remember there being a 60/40 number in the 70s, this wiki graph verifies. How quickly those blue bars are shrinking.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_Northern_Ireland#Religion

Their siege mentality / reaction will be interesting as this grinds them. Sooner or later there’ll be an SF first minister…hard to see that process being anything other than a one way street as elections pass.

Should that encourage others to bugger off to Glasgow, the process would accelerate with a self-reinforcing feedback loop.

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4. Brian Hanley - September 11, 2019

The logic of a lot of the commentary above is the absolute antithesis of historic Irish republicanism; ‘bugger off to Glasgow’ indeed.
What happened to ‘Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter’?

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WorldbyStorm - September 11, 2019

Yep,it really is essential not to see unionists or unionism as a false consciousness that will just dissipate in the face of an oncoming UI or conversely others who are not ‘really’ Irish. I disagree with unionism politically (and have issues with some cultural aspects) but this island is their home and they have every right to consider it as such and whatever about the ungenerosityof political unionism it seems to me given the record of the past absolutely essential to continue to meet them with as much generosity as is possible.

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Dermot M O Connor - September 11, 2019

Please don’t take my comments as a request that 1,000,000 head over the sea. They’ve as much right to be here as anyone. What they don’t have a right to is the kind of shite they were pulling in Scotland, assaulting Indy people on the street. That kind of element, regardless of class, ethnicity, religious background, can fuck off on the universal level.

The element that I’m worried about is the kind of know-nothing who will respond to a UI with violence, just to be 100% clear. I do not expect these to be a minority, but let’s be real, they exist, and they’re vile. UDA, red hand commandos, etc., THIS is the element I’m referring to.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/28/man-shot-bangor-supermarket-car-park-northern-ireland

They claim to love the mainland so much, they can move back there.

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Dermot M O Connor - September 11, 2019

Also Brian, my writing was descriptive, not prescriptive.

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Fergal - September 12, 2019

Brian, I’m not for one moment suggesting that people in the Sandy Row and other loyalist areas should move anywhere. It was purely hypothetical… if a UI happens will some Unionists just leave… which has a certain historical echo with what happened with the advent of the Free State… some members of the southern orange tradition moved north.
There are other possibilities… violence, civil disobedience…I mean didn’t Arlene say recently that she would leave Fermanagh in the event of a UI… she may have rowed back on that

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Pangurbán - September 12, 2019

Maybe because most of what passes for republicanism in Northern Ireland could be termed catholic defenderism, or the AOH by another name

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EWI - September 12, 2019

Maybe because most of what passes for republicanism in Northern Ireland could be termed catholic defenderism, or the AOH by another name

Republicanism’ (the non-sectarian IRB/SF/IV/IRA movement) historically had severe difficulty establishing itself in Ulster in the past century or so for just this reason. The baleful existence of the OO, and the British state sponsorship of a sectarian divide, achieved that much.

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Dr. Nightdub - September 12, 2019

Equating republicanism with the AOH is just…words fail me.

As far back as the 1918 general election, SF election workers campaigning on behalf of Éamonn de Valera were beaten up on the Falls by AOH supporters of Joe Devlin. There were intermittent violent clashes between republicans and the AOH in Armagh, Cavan and Monaghan during the War of Independence.

Brian Hanley has looked at the supposed “defenderist” nature of the Belfast IRA in the 1930s – try to find an article of his called “Just a battalion of armed catholics?” In it, he describes how striking railwaymen, who also happened to be B-Specials, asked for and were given explosives by the Belfast IRA.

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WorldbyStorm - September 12, 2019

Yeah, the antipathy between the AOH and Republicans should be well known at this stage.

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EWI - September 12, 2019

Yeah, the antipathy between the AOH and Republicans should be well known at this stage.

Established and uncontested history.

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yourcousin - September 13, 2019

I would also point out that belittling “defenderism” as a reactionary/backwards tendency is a total misreading of a historical phenomenon that represented the political mobilization of the subaltern.

The idea that political awakening of the Irish could only come from genteel Protestants is as backwards as thinking that capitalism can only be defeated by enlightened bosses.

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5. CL - September 12, 2019

“Boris Johnson has told government officials to explore the possibility of building a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Documents seen by Channel 4 News reveal that both the Treasury and Department for Transport have been asked for advice on the costs and risks of such a project.

The prime minister wants to know “where this money could come from” and “the risks around the project” – which appear to include “WW2 munitions in the Irish Sea”.”
https://www.channel4.com/news/exclusive-johnson-considering-building-bridge-between-scotland-and-northern-ireland

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6. tafkaGW - September 12, 2019

I agree with Dermot above: unification on the basis of a 52%/48% vote would be a disaster.

And as Brian says, priority should be given to making Unionists feeling at home. There are some who will never comes to term with it, but that number should be minimised.

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EWI - September 12, 2019

unification on the basis of a 52%/48% vote would be a disaster

Refusal of reunification based on Nationalist being accorded equal votes would also be a ‘disaster’, and strongly signal that the physical force argument has been proven correct yet again. So, let’s come up with a better solution.

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7. roddy - September 12, 2019

Sorry,but when people post bollox about the North,I have to respond.I have never heard any mainstream Republican telling Unionists to go anywhere.As someone who canvasses regularly,I can assure you that those most resistant to voting SF fall into 2 categories- insufferable snobs and Die hard members of the AOH.The party most associated with the AOH is the SDLP.

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Joe - September 12, 2019

Do you not find that most unionists and Protestants are pretty resistant to voting SF too, Roddy?

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8. Joe - September 12, 2019

I’d be afraid that we could end up with various Mitrovica-type situations across the north.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitrovica,_Kosovo

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