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Sunday and other Media Stupid Statements from this week… February 21, 2021

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

A Nobel Prize winner writes:

It is perfectly possible to address the concerns of the EU about its single market while ensuring the constitutional and economy integrity of the whole of the UK. There does not need to be a border down the Irish Sea. For example, the mutual enforcement proposal put forward by the Centre for Brexit Policy and others shows clearly how an ‘invisible border’ can be restored to the natural Irish land border. This would achieve immediately the objectives of both sides in the Brexit negotiations and avoid the damage caused by the Northern Ireland protocol. It would require by law exporters in each jurisdiction to abide by the other jurisdiction’s regulations. The authorities in each jurisdiction would enforce those regulations and impose sanctions on those who fail to do so. There would be no hard border, no border down the Irish Sea and no threat to the Belfast Agreement. If the EU and UK are determined to protect the Belfast Agreement, they need to start working immediately at applying this solution.

Some love the use of an undefined ‘we’ in articles, as in the following in the IT:

As a starting point, it is intellectually lazy to cast the entirety of British history as a monolithic, purely malign tale of imperialism. In making this sweeping generalisation we seem to have forgotten that the empire’s role in Ireland came with its own contemporary and vocal critics. It is also wrong to say there is a wholesale reluctance to discuss Britain’s imperial history. The summer saw huge conversations about statues, how to commemorate complicated figures, and the need to acknowledge “bad” history rather than pretend it simply isn’t there. Britain is far from perfect, but these things remain true.

And our self-conception is lacking in places too, our inclination to stick to favourable narratives as potent as anywhere else. The intolerant “Brits out” narrative is a product of weaponising the past to justify modern prejudice. And the smash-and-grab style politics of the most ardent nationalists is evidence that we are capable of bulldozing over historical sensitivities for political ends too. This is no more patent than in those who still push the simple formula of 50 per cent plus one as a sufficiently compassionate route to reunifying the country.

Almost all of this… as noted in comments on Friday… but here’s a good one:

They were enclosed within a society dominated by a nationalist understanding of history, and in which there was an identification of being authentically Irish with being Catholic. Arguably, despite the recent modernisation of the state, a residual latent Anglophobia has remained, and was evidenced by the stance taken over Brexit by the Varadkar-led Fine Gael government in 2019.

Or this:

Northern Ireland “pioneered” devolution in the UK, though this has never properly been acknowledged in accounts of Britain’s constitutional and political development. Its image has been tarnished by northern nationalist allegations of discrimination.

Just allegations so?

Stephen Collins is, as ever, concerned about an atavistic response from some in the following:

The sudden outbreak of European Union bashing among Irish politicians following the European Commission blunder on the Northern Ireland protocol is a serious overreaction that threatens damaging consequences for the country’s credibility in the years ahead.

It has been noted widely in Brussels and across the EU that Ireland appears oblivious to the extraordinary solidarity shown to us over the Border issue during Brexit negotiations. On a more parochial level the tone of the response will undoubtedly encourage the anti-EU forces in this country to rear their heads again.

And yet, if he is quite so concerned about this response why add another article to the stacks on the issue in the national press days after it occurred?

All other contributions gratefully accepted…


1. sonofstan - February 21, 2021

” northern nationalist allegations of discrimination”


Liked by 2 people

benmadigan - February 21, 2021

“the natural Irish land border.”
Nothing natural about it –

Liked by 1 person

2. 6to5against - February 21, 2021

‘…It would require by law exporters in each jurisdiction to abide by the other jurisdiction’s regulations. The authorities in each jurisdiction would enforce those regulations and impose sanctions on those who fail to do so….’

I’m trying to wrap my head around this…..If each jurisdiction is going to follow the regulations the of the other jurisdiction, and those regulations aren’t aligned, that would get a little messy, wouldn’t it? Like, it would mean Irish companies in, say, Cavan, following UK regulations, while Fermanagh companies had to abide by EU rules. Which would be an odd way for ‘Take back Control’ to play out. So he can’t mean that.

In fact the only scenario where that work would be if the two jurisdictions aligned their regulations. Which would mean either May’s deal. Or the UK returning to the EU. I’m not sure which of those he’s advocating….

Liked by 1 person

Bartholomew - February 22, 2021

I think he does mean that. It’s specifically exporters who would be following the rules of the country they’re exporting to. For non-exports (domestic consumption) they would follow their own rules. So a factory in Fermanagh could make chocolate with a low cocoa content for sale in the UK and also chocolate with a higher content for export to Ireland/the EU, where the low content one can’t be sold as chocolate.

The bit that puzzles me is where he says “an ‘invisible border’ can be restored to the natural Irish land border”. It doesn’t need to be restored, it’s invisible now.

Liked by 1 person

3. 6to5against - February 21, 2021

And as for the ‘natural land border,’ I’ve obviously missed that 300 mile long river wriggling its way from the Atlantic to the Irish Sea every time I’ve driven over it.

In fairness, I did drive over the Mississippi once without noticing, so that’s quite possible….

Liked by 1 person

4. sonofstan - February 21, 2021

“Editors of a new book on Unionism”

Published by ‘Wordzworth’ who, on investigation, turn out to be effectively vanity publishers.
the two lads did edit a book on the GFA way back in 1991, which had a glowing review from Ruth Dudley Edwards on the cover, published by Palgrave.

Liked by 2 people

EWI - February 21, 2021

which had a glowing review from Ruth Dudley Edwards on the cover, published by Palgrave.

Palgrave not a whole lot better, and very interesting to learn about the long-term connection, thanks!


sonofstan - February 21, 2021

Palgrave at least have editors and peer review.

Liked by 1 person

EWI - February 21, 2021

Christ, I assume this is what’s being referred to by their ‘book on the GFA’:


Liked by 1 person

Daniel Rayner O'Connor - February 21, 2021

Show mistake surely? How could those chancers publish a book on the GFA in 1991 when the agreement did not occur till 1998?


sonofstan - February 21, 2021

My mistake, sorry – it was 2009 – they wrote another book together in 1991 called the Northern Ireland Question: Myth and Reality. They appear to have re-cycled the main title no less than four times:
The NIQ -Myth and Reality (1991)
The NIQ – The Peace Process and the Belfast Agreement (2009)
The NIQ – Nationalism Unionism and Partition (2013)
The NIQ – Perspectives on Nationalism and Unionism (2020)


sonofstan - February 21, 2021

It’s like Star Wars or something…
Any suggestions for the next installment?


5. Bagatelle's Unworthy Temerity - February 22, 2021

Alex Kane’s piece in the IT is slightly less hysterical than Trimble’s but still attempts to raise the spectre of rumblings of Loyalist violence. It’s weak tea but it’s the only card Unionism has left to stave off the final defeat. And it’s played so quarter-heartedly.

Threw an eye onto Fealty’s site and boy has the worm turned. Nationalist commenters vs Unionist, the comments and up/down votes, wow. It’s definitely the endgame times for NI.

The DUP throwing their weight behind this legal challenge is likely to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, I’d say Boris is going to call a border poll very soon to get shut of them.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - February 22, 2021

Haven’t visited that site in months for a range of reasons, not least some COVID related stuff that was problematic but also the curious attitude to nationalism etc that pervaded posts. That’s interesting.


Bagatelle's Unique Territory - February 22, 2021

I find it a useful barometer of Unionist thinking. Since Brexit the contours have been shifting, now the final deal is in place those trends have crystallized.

Your standard Loyalist ghouls are still there spouting their hatred unimpeded. No change. A protected species best ignored. But their impotent bile, anger and spite has been dialed up to 11.

Your Nice Polite “I read books that support my worldview and all other are lies” Unionists still ply their trade but the commentariat give them short shrift. Terry Wright epitomizing that failure to find any but rocky ground for his seed.

Your APNI “Ireland hasn’t been a colony since 1801 AoU and so what are you complaining about?” have found the ground they stood on swept away from under them and are very slowly acknowledging that it was Unionism that stuck it to them. With glacial speed, they awaken and are coming around to a UI.

Your Nationalists have been mightily emboldened. The days of being banned for effective argument against Unionism, Northern Ireland or the UK are gone. Even some of the mods are on board with Nationalist critiques. A heresy Pete Baker would never have tolerated.

Time to prepare for re-unification because the petty narc Boris will throw off NI in as much turmoil as possible, with as little warning and preparation time as possible, just to stick it to the EU.

When the border poll comes it is vital that questions about new flag, anthem, constitution etc be separated from the re-unification question. Unionism is only pushing this line as a poison pill in the hope the 26 vote no because we want to retain our country’s heritage. The Dogs in the Manger should be told to take a running jump. In no uncertain terms. Best do it now than have to put up with their BS indefinitely.

Liked by 1 person

EWI - February 22, 2021

When the border poll comes it is vital that questions about new flag, anthem, constitution etc be separated from the re-unification question. Unionism is only pushing this line as a poison pill in the hope the 26 vote no because we want to retain our country’s heritage.

Thoroughly agreed that it’s a poisoned pill gambit. And in the case of a UI, then reconciliation with the long-abandoned Irish nationalist population in the North also needs to be considered.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - February 22, 2021

BUT, that’s a great overview of the inhabitants of the site. It really did go all in some years back on a sort of lite-unionism/conservatism/libertarian right approach where every word of Harris and RDE and others of similar mind were taken not merely as read but of a significance in relation to thinking in the South/government circles that bore no relationship whatsoever to the reality. After all, when EH is the yardstick for ‘reasonable’ we ain’t in Kansas any more.

“When the border poll comes it is vital that questions about new flag, anthem, constitution etc be separated from the re-unification question. ” +1

I’m all for the reverse GFA approach, but that’s a position grounded for me in re-unification as the bedrock, much else – including residual political links east/west (who could deny Lord Trimble his place at the Palace of Westminster for the duration?) as open to negotiation.


Bagatelle's Unctuous Terpitude - February 22, 2021

EWI – yup, I agree that is vital. Thinking of S3E10 of The Wire when Dennis Wise is given the advice that you don’t ever let the young hoppers fail, it messes with their heads. We are going to have adopt that attitude to both the abandoned Nationalists and the newly “abandoned” Unionists.

WbS, Thanks for the compliment. I would suggest you smother that desire to retain the GFA with a pillow. On first glance it appears an ethical, amicable, mature approach. Right? If Stormont is extended to include all 9 counties of Ulster, that would be one thing. But if it’s retaining partition, then you are retaining partition and all the problems, ills that entails. Then you have to remember who you are dealing with. There is no possibility of good faith negotiation with Unionism, surely you’ve seen enough to know that. A reverse GFA keeps the cauldron of toxicity bubbling away when the best thing to do is dissolve the entire mess into a 32 county body politic. The wag’s adage of “Science proceeds, one funeral at a time.” rings ever more true when dealing with colonialism. Takes three generations of funerals to purge the system of it’s toxic legacy. At best.

This guy’s my uncle. Sunday extended family dinners were lit, especially during the AIA. He was #2 in DFA during the GFA negotiations. Even today some of what I heard from him is still not in the public domain. Which informs my attitude in how to deal with Unionism. By a weird coincidence Frank Carson the comic was his neighbour, and he told the story of how when he graduated school he and all his friends would apply for jobs but he was the only one ever called in for an interview. Until they saw which school was on his resume.


WorldbyStorm - February 22, 2021

That’s a really interesting point re extending to the 9. Can’t see it fly though. Imagine having to deal with two disenchanted populations – one in the 3 that couldn’t understand why they were having to step out of the rROI. I guess another way would be – irony of ironies, going down the federal state route with each of the provinces getting more autonomy. Anyhow, a lot ahead.


Bagatelle's Universal Theatre - February 22, 2021

Oh, no. The only way to retain Stormont is a 9co Ulster within a federated Ireland. An idea I’m firmly against.

Ending partition means just that, ending it. Along with it’s sectarian divisions and toxicity. Retaining it any shape or form is complete and utter madness, when all it will do is perpetuate the problems. And you will get nothing but contempt for Unionism for your weakness. Think of whom Thatcher respected more, Fitzgerald or Haughey. The same applies to the northern settler-colonial imperialists. No more special status, coddling or indulgence, live by the same rights and responsibilities as everyone on the island. Then sweep their paramilitary forces off the board with the same approach the Gardaí used with the football hooligans that one night. I wish it could be otherwise, but with this crew. It can’t be. Mo Mowalm knew that and they hated her for it.


WorldbyStorm - February 22, 2021

Much depends on the ground work completed ahead of a referendum and what the shape of the future Ireland envisaged actually is. A lot of people in the South are going to be very antsy about unity, and perceived or actual threats from those who would seek to obstruct or reverse it. Perhaps all those obstacles will be cleared away in advance of the referendum but I imagine there’s no Dublin government that would not tread very carefully indeed – even an SF led one. Not sure the obstacles will be cleared away though so many of us will likely have to live with a dispensation somewhat less optimal than we’d like or hope for.


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