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The treatment of the BNP – a macrocosm of NI…?

The following looks into the commonalities between the nationalism of the BNP and Sinn Fein – specifically the shared rhetoric of disadvantage as a tactic to create support. The blogger also considers the reaction of mainstream politics and how a more progressive approach could be the best tactic…

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By St Etienne

Last week, the far right appeared on a national platform for the first time.  The BBC has been widely criticised for being both too soft in allowing Nick Griffin on the the 1st instance, and for allowing the format of the programme to be tweaked to allow a ‘witch hunt’ to develop. Critics say that the result of both helps the BNP win support amongst the politically disaffected in this country.

The BNP espouses a nationalism that has been successfully white-labelled (no pun intended) and rebranded across many European regions.  Similar ethnicity-based policies can be found closer to home – in the guise of the current leaders of Irish nationalism in NI, Sinn Fein.

Similarities:

  • SF criticism of the definition of a Roman Catholic in public positive-discrimination tallies such as the PSNI 50-50 quota.  The belief is that only ‘indigenous’ RCs should be counted.  Racist policy construct, check.
  • SF remains a curious hotchpotch where idealistic (unthought?) socialism and right-wing nationalism attempt to co-exist.  In the BNP’s far right circles they have tried to frame this as the third position.
  • Their interpretations of major historical events depart widely from consensus.  The holocaust is questioned, a 30-year terrorist campaign was a legitimate war.
  • Both have went to great lengths to ‘modernise’ and ditch the images of thuggery and street unrest from public perception.  This has had mixed success.
  • Indeed, just like the right-wing extremists who rail against the Griffin-led effort at BNP modernisation/revisionism, there are those within Irish nationalism who feel the PR facade placed around their particular brand of nationalism has gone too far.
  • Both claim to represent the views of the disadvantaged, and a radical solution is presented – whether it be the dissolution of the state or the wholescale demographic changes to the peoples within. SF have been much more successful electorally in this regard than the BNP. But the nascent success of the BNP in certain parts of England and subsequent media analysis perhaps provides us with a valuable insight into our own scenario and how to affect it’s change.

How to Lose Friends: Shouting Down the Opposition

When Nick Griffin was invited to the QT panel, the usual suspects lined up to lambast the BBC for allowing the elected representative his right to an appearance. Red Ken Livingstone mobilised the revolutionaries while our own Peter Hain threatened legal action (though, it should be pointed out that Griffin currently represents 7 times Hain’s own democratic mandate).  The format of the show itself has also been criticised for its apparent attempts at isolating the BNP leader. Nick Griffin cut a lonely if  figure throughout.

Commentators have rightly asked is this not the image he would wish projected, that of an outsider being dismissed via ream upon ream of political class vitriol? Does this not play into the hands of the BNP as they seek to reengineer themselves a vehicle for populist resentment? Does all of this show the continued impotency of ‘normal’ politics in controversial topics such as immigration and identity?

Whatever the outcome, the contrast in opinions on whether to give Griffin the disinterested observer treatment or sackcloth & ashes highlights one thing for certain – the disconnect between those who are familiar with the root causes of this nationalism and those who evidently spend their time decrying it over cheese and wine. It is a disconnect not too dissimilar to the jostling visions within NI unionism – between the open-ended concept of civic unionism and that of the more unforgiving traditionalist variety.

To expand, the traditionalist within unionism tends to rely heavily on moral pillars which they resolutely defend ie. not allowing terrorists in government, opposing the release of terrorist prisoners, refusing to talk to murderers etc. Like that of the rigorously anti-fascist groups and personalities objecting against a racist appearing on the national broadcaster, their views seem, by and large, morally correct. Who wouldn’t hold these views? Except that’s exactly what large sections of English society have done in voting BNP. Are all these people anti-Semitic, homophobic racists?

The short answer is no. But the explanation is one that very few members of anti-fascist organisations actually spend any time entertaining: the policy agenda of the last few years has led to a sense of detachment amongst those outside the system. There has been no movement on the immigration issue. A small amount of bluster perhaps but generally little action. This has given rise to the belief, cemented by issues such as the expenses scandal & the recession, that the current political system has failed Britain. White working-class voters see politicians largely scared of tackling issues head-on.

The BNP has been quick to pounce on the perceived lack of political leadership by expounding their own controversial take on what is an immigrant and how to control them. The result has been unprecedented electoral gains. You don’t get 1 million votes by targeting non-issues.

Similarly, are all Sinn Fein voters sectarian little-Irelanders wanting to drive the oppressor into the sea at the next available opportunity?  Again the answer is no.  But again their characterisation as such by the moral traditionalists within populist Ulster unionism, while unflinchingly expounding the mantra that there are no decent Shinners, led to cementing feelings of isolation and detachment from the state amongst SF’s target vote.  Like the BNP, Sinn Fein lap this up and continue to regurgitate past unionist mistrust as evidence of continued nationalist victimhood.

In order for nationalism to maintain its grip on a community’s politics, it must provide evidence as to why that community’s future still lies outside the state. The entering of such political forces into areas of responsibility must provide them with an unpalatable challenge – how to maintain the symbols of disadvantage whilst actively sharing administrative duty.  Both BNP and SF alike are displaying signs of ineptitude at governance at a relatively early stage in power.

This also provides a new opportunity for civic unionism to engage with those who feel disenfranchised from NI as a political unit – but like those who were most vehement in their attacks on the BBC, first the shackles of uncompromising moral vision must be removed.

The above is an unsolicited post sent in to Open Unionism…

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33 Responses

  1. kensei says:

    A post of startling ignorance.

    # SF criticism of the definition of a Roman Catholic in public positive-discrimination tallies such as the PSNI 50-50 quota. The belief is that only ‘indigenous’ RCs should be counted. Racist policy construct, check.

    First up, we need to establish a principle. Discrimination happens all the time. Unis discirnate between good and bad students. Women discriminate between men while looking for a debate. The question is whether or not the discrimination is justified.

    Normally discrimination on religion or political background would not be justified. But given the severe imbalance in the NI police force, and the damage that caused, a case was made for a temproary solution. By a former Tory MP. The aim is to garner acceptance for a police force within Catholic communities. All SF argued for was thatt he policy do what it was suppsoed to do. The cry of racism is both cheap and alarming.

    # SF remains a curious hotchpotch where idealistic (unthought?) socialism and right-wing nationalism attempt to co-exist. In the BNP’s far right circles they have tried to frame this as the third position.

    Who declared nationalism right wing?

    # Their interpretations of major historical events depart widely from consensus. The holocaust is questioned, a 30-year terrorist campaign was a legitimate war.

    Who are not seriously comparing the debate on whether or not the IRA’s campaign was legitimate to Holocaust denial?

    # Both have went to great lengths to ‘modernise’ and ditch the images of thuggery and street unrest from public perception. This has had mixed success.

    Many football clubs have also tried to tackle “thuggery and street unrest”. Are they also the BNP in disguise?

    Indeed, just like the right-wing extremists who rail against the Griffin-led effort at BNP modernisation/revisionism, there are those within Irish nationalism who feel the PR facade placed around their particular brand of nationalism has gone too far.

    So what SF are responsible for people not in SF? What crack are you smoking? I think you’ll also find Labour people unhappy with New Labour and Conservatives happy with Cameron.

    PR Veneer? SF have accepted Stormont, the principle of consent and the police force. Yes they still wnat a United Ireland, *as is their right*. But arguing the changes are not substantive? You have no idea what you are on about.

    # Both claim to represent the views of the disadvantaged, and a radical solution is presented – whether it be the dissolution of the state or the wholescale demographic changes to the peoples within. SF have been much more successful electorally in this regard than the BNP. But the nascent success of the BNP in certain parts of England and subsequent media analy

    So a United Ireland = forced immigration? Fuck me. Please CUMBLA, try selling that in West Belfast. People will be runnignto sign up!

  2. kensei says:

    I should add – SFs have been prepared to stand up for immigrants both North and South depsite probably being few votes in it for them. They are absolutely rock solid on gay, geneder and racial equality. Comparisons with the BNP are utterly lazy and stupid and supported only be the maddest of evidence.

  3. saintetienne says:

    “The aim is to garner acceptance for a police force within Catholic communities”

    SF seem to believe in the extra ethnic requirement, no one else. Whatever your belief on positive discrimination, which is not the argument here, what is clear is SF envisaged it along ethnic lines.

    “Who declared nationalism right wing?”

    It’s up for debate, but generally you’ve got to admit it’s adherence to right wing principles. Where does socialism fit into the idea of a nation state?

    “Who [sic] are not seriously comparing the debate on whether or not the IRA’s campaign was legitimate to Holocaust denial?”

    ‘I am fighting for a just cause hence I am not a murderer’
    Denial.

    “Many football clubs have also tried to tackle “thuggery and street unrest”. Are they also the BNP in disguise?”

    Football clubs do not seek election to positions of power.

    “PR Veneer? SF have accepted Stormont, the principle of consent and the police force. Yes they still wnat a United Ireland, *as is their right*. But arguing the changes are not substantive?”

    The BNP are now accepting non-whites into their party. That’s a pretty substantive change too. There’s still SF-inspired riots in Short Strand, BNP-inspired trouble in Burnley. Normal political parties do not do this.

    “So a United Ireland = forced immigration?”

    It’s certainly a radical departure from what we have at present. The BNP would turn round and say at least they’re not redrawing the UK. Both present radical changes to the status quo. Essentially a UI demands the forced immigration of 1 million people into a state they do not accept, and in many cases likely still hate. I am aware that is exactly what happened in 1921, in varying degrees on both sides of the border, but are we still living in the 1920s?

    I would argue a consensus-based approach internal to Northern Ireland is the dominant constitutional theme of today.

    Having said all that, the purpose of comparing the similarities between the two strands of nationalism was to perhaps achieve insight into how people in NI can ignore the more repugnant elements outlined above in order to make a protest. Both parties have had some degree of success in aligning themselves with those who, for whatever reason, see themselves as being outside the system.

    The cold, sharp treatment dished out by the Guardianista stereotypical critic leading up to the event is akin to the moral bluster forthcoming from not-an-inch unionism.

    If we wish to bring people (voters) – who are as you correctly point out currently signed up to the internal resolution at Stormont – to a point where they not only believe it is a vehicle that can function adequately, but is the best system of government for all concerned, then we need to end the hard talk that only leads to further isolation.

    I guess as your comment demonstrates, this also requires a realisation amongst Irish nationalists (and for that matter Ulster nationalists within unionism), of just how they look in an international setting.

  4. peteram79 says:

    St Etienne

    You miss the major point that inextricably links SF and the BNP, namely hatred. The BNP hates those it judges non-British and even those whites that fail to agree with it. Sinn Fein, when it lets its mask slip, and that is often enough, reveals that it hates all unionists and the British and their cultures, and also hates those it feels are not Irish enough. Just as the BNP would attempt to repatriate non-whites, even those who are third generation, SF would like to ethnically cleanse the whole island of its non-nationalist population. I guess the difference in acceptpability of the BNP and SF positions is that one can actually look down south and see that this destruction of a culture and a brutal ethnic cleansing was successfully completed, with barely a murmur of internatinal concern never mind outrage. Indeed, through large swathes of rural and urban Northern Ireland, the process of driving out the uninist population continues apace. This certainly seems to inform the (lack of?) morality in the so-called “ordinary decent nationalist” community that have swung their votes away from the SDLP and towards this band of racist murderers – if SF can get away with it, then there must be nothing wrong with it. Both governments, the supine media and Unionist overeagerness to hold their noses and deal must take some share of the blame in facilitating SF growth. But SF has no power, especially in the post 9/11 world when it cannot scuttle back to the bomb and the gun, without its electoral mandate. Its voters must take the lion’s share of the responsibility for the national disgrace that is its curent position within the Stormont administration.

  5. kensei says:

    SF seem to believe in the extra ethnic requirement, no one else. Whatever your belief on positive discrimination, which is not the argument here, what is clear is SF envisaged it along ethnic lines.

    Was 50/50 brought in to deal with disefranchisement of Polish communities? No. “Catholic” was used as a proxy for “Republican” and “Nationalist”. Are you seriously arguing otherwise? SF did nothing but acknowledge that reality.

    That provision shouldn’t last forever by the by, but it should serve it’s primary purpose. Getting miore immigrant communities involved int he police is a worthy goal in itself – and far better grounds to argue on that bleating “racism”.

    It’s up for debate, but generally you’ve got to admit it’s adherence to right wing principles. Where does socialism fit into the idea of a nation state?

    No, I do nothign of the sort. Left / Right are effectively economic principles. You can be a left wing nationalist or a right weing nationalist. It’s independent. You can run a nation-state on socialist lines if you like. But then again, no one believe in old style “socialism” any more. Not even SF. What they mean is social deomcracy.

    ‘I am fighting for a just cause hence I am not a murderer’
    Denial.

    It’s not even worthy of response.

    Football clubs do not seek election to positions of power.

    That is utterly irrelevant to the analogy.

    The BNP are now accepting non-whites into their party. That’s a pretty substantive change too. There’s still SF-inspired riots in Short Strand, BNP-inspired trouble in Burnley. Normal political parties do not do this.

    Really? “Mainstream” party supporters seemed to cause enough of a riot at the BBC. Very little trouble from SF these days in any case. They can still muster some working class support though. I know that might be alien to “mainstream” parties.

    Besides this is a complete logical fallacy:

    A does X
    B also does X
    Therefore B is A

    It’s a nonsense.

    It’s certainly a radical departure from what we have at present. The BNP would turn round and say at least they’re not redrawing the UK. Both present radical changes to the status quo. Essentially a UI demands the forced immigration of 1 million people into a state they do not accept, and in many cases likely still hate. I am aware that is exactly what happened in 1921, in varying degrees on both sides of the border, but are we still living in the 1920s?

    Ah, so when we did it was okay, but now it’s not. Basically, you’ve rolled back here from even the principle of consent and the GFA; the entire aspiration of a united Ireland is illegitimate. Pure bigotry and nothing else.

    I would argue a consensus-based approach internal to Northern Ireland is the dominant constitutional theme of today.

    Entirely and wholly predictated on the GFA, the acceptance of people’s national aspirations, identity and citizenship as legitimate and the fact that a successful referendum is enough to change the constitutional position.

    Having said all that, the purpose of comparing the similarities between the two strands of nationalism was to perhaps achieve insight into how people in NI can ignore the more repugnant elements outlined above in order to make a protest. Both parties have had some degree of success in aligning themselves with those who, for whatever reason, see themselves as being outside the system.

    The BNP are a minority party. SF are the biggest voice in Northern Naionalism and are still growing. They get a quarter of the vote. They are in government. The people are not voting for them because they are outsiders or disaffected; they are voting for them because they give the strongest representation tot heir constitutional aspirations. This is pathetic analysis without any understanding of people who apparently youa re trying to attract.

    If we wish to bring people (voters) – who are as you correctly point out currently signed up to the internal resolution at Stormont – to a point where they not only believe it is a vehicle that can function adequately, but is the best system of government for all concerned, then we need to end the hard talk that only leads to further isolation.

    No one believes it is the best form of goevrnemnt. Nationalism isn’t going anywhere. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    I guess as your comment demonstrates, this also requires a realisation amongst Irish nationalists (and for that matter Ulster nationalists within unionism), of just how they look in an international setting.

    It requires a realisation of CUMBLA types taht reality doesn’t just conform to your wishes because you say so. What has inmternational consensus got to do with internal constitutional arrangements? Unionism has been arguing for year dot for everyone to stay out. But oh, the majority was never under even remote threat then.

    I know Unionists really really *really* hate SF but their capacity to shut down any critical thinking skills amazes me every time.

  6. Paul says:

    Racism begins with our families, parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, people we admire, respect and love.

    However, as we grow and mature we come to the realization that what we were told by our family when we were children were slanted lies base on their prejudices. We realize that most people are like ourselves and not so different and want the same things, like a home, steady work, a Medicare plan and schools for our children (if you travel you will see this). We realize that most people are of good hearts and goodwill.

    This reminds me of a parable from the good book where a Levite and Priest come upon a man who fell among thieves and they both individually passed by and didn’t stop to help him.

    Finally a man of another race came by, he got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy and got down with the injured man, administered first aid, and helped the man in need.

    Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the “I” into the “thou,” and to be concerned about his fellow man.

    You see, the Levite and the Priest were afraid, they asked themselves, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?”

    But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

    That’s the question before us. The question is not, “If I stop to help our fellow man (immigrant) in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help our fellow man, what will happen to him or her?” That’s the question.

    This current climate of blaming others for our woes is not new. We have had this before and we have conquered it.

    Remember “Evil flourishes when good men (and women) do nothing”. Raise your voices with those of us who believe we are equal and we can win this battle again.

  7. St Etienne says:

    Peteram.

    I understand you indignation. But the specific area I referred to – disenfranchisement, isolation, etc whether it be amongst the white working class on the mainland or Roman Catholics of a similar disposition closer to home – is in part hardened by this attitude. I’ve read your arguments before and I concede you have an eloquent take on it. But in practice the public representatives of this uncompromising unionism are not so articulate and frankly more often than not come across as ignorant or spiteful.

    I chose to use the BNP here, with it’s alleged appeal to loyalism, as I personally know university graduates who have voted for them. Not because they want that party’s endgame to come to fruition, but because they no longer feel a part of the political system as it stands.

    If a hardline traditional unionist can see why someone would support the BNP out of exasperation with what they see is a failing system, then by acknowledging the similarities with nationalism in NI maybe they can begin to see how small ‘n’ nationalists here can begin to vote SF, and create a warmer house for them accordingly.

    kensei.

    “Besides this is a complete logical fallacy:

    A does X
    B also does X
    Therefore B is A”

    While I appreciate the nod to mathematics kensei I am not saying the BNP and SF are one and the same, but that they exhibit the same traits. We can argue how one little piece is inconsistent with another little piece therefore the whole premise is wrong ad continuum but these general points hold and neither are they an especially deep form of rocket science.

    Paul.

    The theories of religion are not really my forte but you make a salient point – the current climate of blaming others is not new. It is however a tactic used to increase the apparent attractiveness of extreme nationalist viewpoints during times of stress.

    I would argue a the most prudent strategy to counter it is not to chastise but to understand and adapt accordingly.

  8. peteram79 says:

    “If a hardline traditional unionist can see why someone would support the BNP out of exasperation with what they see is a failing system, then by acknowledging the similarities with nationalism in NI maybe they can begin to see how small ‘n’ nationalists here can begin to vote SF, and create a warmer house for them accordingly.”

    St Etienne, I’m afraid I don’t quite see your point here. I can see how a small propportion of white British people, oftn in areas that have experienced mass immigration, feeling abandoned by the political and media classes, reacts by voting for a party that actively cavasses them, preses their buttons and seems to care about them.

    But with the SF electorate, as Kensei points out, we’re not just talking about a small minority of the nationalist working class. We’re talking about the majority of the voting nationalist community. With the Assembly in place, for better or worse, the nationalist community is in fact more franchised than it has ever been. It has a full part to play in the future of Northern Ireland, should it choose to do so. It even has a nationalist party of some moderation without a murderous past with which unionism could work, so it’s hardly backed into a corner without options. Instead most nationalists that choose to vote plump for a party that offers terrorists as candidates, an avowedly hate-fuelled sectarian agenda and also some of the most incompetent elected representatives this place has ever seen (Ruane, McElduff, Butler etc), which is no mean feat.

    What is the disenfranchisement that drives nationalists into the bosom of SF? The only thing I can come up with is the emotional shock of finally realising that a United Ireland will never now happen, given the watertight majority held by a united unionist desire and the significant “silent Catholic” minority that would never dream of taking the risk of upsetting their increasingly comfortable lives in a referendum, but wouldn’t bother to go to the local polls to vote for any NI party, be they moderate nationalist, Alliance or even unionist. The realisation that neither simply expecting GB to hand over NI behind the unioinsts’ backs nor playing the long game of demographics must have been quite tough for some relatively middle class but romantic republicans. Perhaps that pain could have driven them to abandom the SDLP and join the bigots and murderers, kicking out in frustration at this process that they had somehow convinced themselves was leading to a United Ireland but had in fact killed their aspirations stone dead?

    In fact, I’ve almost made myself feel sorry for the poor lambs, outfoxed by those nasty people who want NI to remain part of the UK by dint of that dastardly tactic of, err, being in the majority. And indeed abandoned by their allies, with the US powerless after 9/11 to stand behind terrorists and with the Irish government, first flushed with a boom they wouldn’t have wanted a restless North to threaten, then bust and blanching at the cost of our state-run economy, barely bothering to disguise their satisfaction that a United Ireland is off the agenda for all byt te deluded 2016 bunch. Then I recall the parents, siblings, spouses and children of all those slaughtered by order of Gerry, Martin and Gerry and that feeling swiftly evaporates.

    Just as anyone, no matter how isolated they may feel, who votes for the BNP is a scumbag, so too is anyone, and I mean anyone, who casts a ballot for SF.

  9. kensei says:

    While I appreciate the nod to mathematics kensei I am not saying the BNP and SF are one and the same, but that they exhibit the same traits. We can argue how one little piece is inconsistent with another little piece therefore the whole premise is wrong ad continuum but these general points hold and neither are they an especially deep form of rocket science.

    Except they are not. Start having lots of inconsistencies and oh! turns out they are not the same at all. Republicanism in Ireland has a long history, and the obessions and strands of Republcianism are very different to that by the BNP. Anti-Britishness can be a trait within it, but no means universal and that is a much more cultural and political thing. To come off with the stuff you do simply demonstrates no understanding at all. Suggesting that a United Ireland is equivalent to forced removal of immigrants is a backslide fo 40 years. At least.

    This one’s not your quote but it comes down to this:

    Just as anyone, no matter how isolated they may feel, who votes for the BNP is a scumbag, so too is anyone, and I mean anyone, who casts a ballot for SF.

    For all the CUMBLA talk of being cuddly to Catholcis and focusing on day-to-day stuff, this is right at the heart of it. You are essentially labelling a huge section of people you claim want to attract as scumbags. Now perhaps you just want a few castle catholics to copperfasten the majority but the assumption that any Catholic that doesn’t vote SF thinks they are automatically scumbags is a dangerous one, especially as the troubles recede. FF courted “extremist support” once.

    SF aren’t going anywhere and the idea they’ll just magically die is no more than a Unionist wet dream. Might help if you learned not to hate them.

  10. peteram79 says:

    “For all the CUMBLA talk of being cuddly to Catholcis and focusing on day-to-day stuff, this is right at the heart of it. You are essentially labelling a huge section of people you claim want to attract as scumbags. Now perhaps you just want a few castle catholics to copperfasten the majority but the assumption that any Catholic that doesn’t vote SF thinks they are automatically scumbags is a dangerous one, especially as the troubles recede. FF courted “extremist support” once.

    SF aren’t going anywhere and the idea they’ll just magically die is no more than a Unionist wet dream. Might help if you learned not to hate them.”

    Kensei – “castle catholics”!! As always with the SF supporters, the mask os slipping. The hatred of those that are brought up in the Catholic tradition and therefore should automatically be “ussuns”, but actually make the logical pragmatic choice, electorally more, it must be said, by what they don’t do than what they do, begins to show through.

    I made the scumbags comment. I don’t apologise for it. I don’t think non-voting Catholics are scumbags. I don’t think those who hold a nationalist viewpoint and choose to express it by voting SDLP are scumbags. However, there is, or at least should be, a morality test when voting SF. To do so is to endorse murderers and the managers of murderers. It is to give two fingers to all those living with grief or with physical or mental scars due to the actions of SF/IRA. Those failing that morality test have no respect in my eyes. I don’t claim to speak for unionism as whole (although I suspect there are many that agree with this view), and certainly not for non-SF voting Catholics.

    “SF aren’t going anywhere” – it will be interesting to see if all of its new supporters, who were somehow able to put its murderous past out of their conscience, are so keen on the party as they try to tell their 10 year olds that mummy and daddy do not have a clue which school they are going to next. SF’s surge in support was built, in the main, on the concessions it was able to win in the Assembly process. Its ongoing failure in said Assembly must put serious question marks over its ability to hold onto said support.

    This particular unionist’s “wet dream” is a voluntary coalition at Stormont involving some mix of unioinsts and nationalists governing successfully and taking Northern Ireland forward, while talentless extremists with no agenda rather than hate and sectarianismm, like SF, flounder in completely ineffectual opposition before ripping themselves apart in internal feuding. That’s how they’ll die, not magically but through effective democracy.

  11. St Etienne says:

    Peteram

    The key to understanding it is perception. You can be the most empowered human being in the world but if your political leaders are still drumming it into you that you are disadvantaged then sooner or later you’ll start to believe it. In Britain I have to say the right-wing tabloids have as much blame to share in this as any BNP bluster.

    And indeed in both cases, this is especially apparent when there is no voice other than the extremists talking to you.

    In NI as Kensei demonstrates there is a willing rump of activists keen to paint a similar picture within Irish nationalism – essentially demanding unionism couldn’t possibly be attractive to what they see as their ethnic heartland because at the end of the day, themmuns still hate Catholics. This is merely a continuation of their perpetually disenfranchised argument and I believe it is one that must be tackled in the strongest possible terms.

    The Tories wish to contest every seat in the UK. I believe the regional equivalent for ulster unionism is to contest every vote in NI.

    I am aware of the fact that SF is now in a position of responsibility in NI, and this is one of the key points of the piece – namely SF’s own inherent disconnect between playing the disadvantaged card and assuming power in the only jurisdiction they can possibly hope to ever represent – NI.

    And as was pointed out this is a relatively recent occurrence (with the rise of SF as Irish nationalists’ voice in mind) and presents an opportunity for unionism, especially with the new linkup, to grasp. But it’s not just a tick-the-box exercise. Perspectives must change.

    Kensei

    I find it revealing you chose to align my own views with that of peteram. Quoting him to argue against my own views is symptomatic of SF’s attitude to unionism. Let me expand-

    I should point out to you the perspectives of a few nationalist friends who have voted SF in the past, as I suspect the circles you move in tend not to involve the full spectrum of green. Or at least you prefer to ignore their predicament.

    When I ask why they vote SF, again like the BNP voters on the mainland, it is invariably described in terms of the perceived failings/hatred of the other side and needing a strong voice (read: radical) to counterbalance it.

    Thus SF continue to advance the line that unionists hate you so it’s OK to vote for us and we’ll hate them back. Like the white working class in England, as Peteram indicates in a rather abrupt manner, these nationalists may not sign up to the endgame, but they can still register a protest vote against their perception of a ‘ruling class’ (for memories are apparently long) who are still not understanding the wider perspective.

    For me the current debate within the UUP regarding the Tory link up is very revealing and highlights in a single issue the disconnect present among some essentially lazy unionist politicians who on the one hand would claim to seek the votes of all members of the community while on the other completely fail to begin the necessary process of engagement it requires.

    When it comes to the crunch in matters such as this, these politicians I believe would be more honest serving the interests of a party with their own affirmed Ulster nationalist slant on things.

    To conclude, it’s time for people to put their money where their mouth is. This can be a great opportunity but one that needs commitment not self-doubt.

  12. kensei says:

    Peteram

    Kensei – “castle catholics”!! As always with the SF supporters, the mask os slipping. The hatred of those that are brought up in the Catholic tradition and therefore should automatically be “ussuns”, but actually make the logical pragmatic choice, electorally more, it must be said, by what they don’t do than what they do, begins to show through.

    I think you fundamentally misunderstood what I was driving at and who saw who as what. Perhaps by as much as 180 degrees.

    Also “actually make the logical pragmatic choice”. ROFL. Bonus points of ensuring you slipped it in as much as possible.

    Anyway, the rest is worthless. People vote for all kinds of complicated reasons, and are undeserving of your self righteous bluster. And to sum: you want some form of majority voting and to deal with the last leaders of Nationalism and consider it reasonable. Unionists always do.

    St

    I find it revealing you chose to align my own views with that of peteram. Quoting him to argue against my own views is symptomatic of SF’s attitude to unionism. Let me expand-

    I find it revealing you can’t see the link. Your post – BNP = SF, says the same thing in psuedo intelelctual terms.

    I should point out to you the perspectives of a few nationalist friends who have voted SF in the past, as I suspect the circles you move in tend not to involve the full spectrum of green. Or at least you prefer to ignore their predicament.

    Actually, the spectrum of green I know is reasonably wide.

    When I ask why they vote SF, again like the BNP voters on the mainland, it is invariably described in terms of the perceived failings/hatred of the other side and needing a strong voice (read: radical) to counterbalance it.

    Those people aren’t secretly Unionists who if Unionism wa sjust cuddlier or more attentive they’d want to jump into bed with the UUP. They are *nationalists* ie they believe in the complete opposite.

    You assume SFs vote is always because fot he fear of the other side. It isn’t. They got a reputation for strong leadership in themselves,a nd the SDLP got one for weakness. The electoral consequences of that are general and will extend anywhere. The fact that unionism must often by brought kicking and scraming to any compromise only helps.

    It isn’t a “protest vote”. People genuinely wnat a United Ireland. They genuinely get irked by all kinds of stuff Unionists come out with, or try to push through. An SF vote isn’t a protest, because with the political system they can actually affect these things.

    Thus SF continue to advance the line that unionists hate you so it’s OK to vote for us and we’ll hate them back. Like the white working class in England, as Peteram indicates in a rather abrupt manner, these nationalists may not sign up to the endgame, but they can still register a protest vote against their perception of a ‘ruling class’ (for memories are apparently long) who are still not understanding the wider perspective.

    Except SF don’t run that. They are always very measure din their language, which is why for years when SF appeared on TV and Unionists would refuse to sit in the same studio and rant they’d show them up. They do however, have a knack at picking at Nationalist annoyances. You think SF created parade disputes? Or do you reckon they were pushing at an open door?

    Unionists repeatedly accuse nationalists of not respecting the integrity of their position. indeed, there was a Newsletter editorial on it recently. All you are doing is the reverse.

    For me the current debate within the UUP regarding the Tory link up is very revealing and highlights in a single issue the disconnect present among some essentially lazy unionist politicians who on the one hand would claim to seek the votes of all members of the community while on the other completely fail to begin the necessary process of engagement it requires.

    I don’t believe it is impossible to convert some people round to either position given time and decent politics. And yes, that would require change by both sides. but on evidence here CUMBLA just don’t get it, except at a superficial level.

  13. St Etienne says:

    On the contrary kensei I do respect the mandate people have giving to Irish nationalism, just as I respect that given by English voters to the BNP. This is the key point of the article, the best way to bring people into the process (long term and not just as one side of an alliance of polar opposites that we are currently stuck with) is to actively engage with and participate in these peoples lives.

    Note this is not a reference to ‘cuddly language’. We have that present already. What we don’t have is engagement at policy level. Again, all I’m asking is that certain politicians put their money where their mouth has been all these years.

    I note your arguments merely seek to dampen certain key themes in the piece – “a knack at picking at nationalist annoyances”, coming from a committed republican such as yourself translates as tacit acknowledgement of what is in this context, a playing the disadvantaged card. After all as you point out in your opening contribution, SF are quite fond of making the case for equality.

    I don’t expect someone like yourself, who with all due respect has a dyed-in-the-wool political aim and will enter into all reasoning with this point in mind, to agree with me ever. But from talking to those I know who do not share quite the same not-an-inch attitude such as yourself I know it can be done. I’m not calling them ‘secret unionists’ who don’t just don’t realise it yet – that particularly intellectual faux pas is an SF speciality I believe – but I am saying they are not of the same convictions as those who purport to lead them somewhere. I am saying they can be convinced when a better method of government is presented to them.

    The failings peteram points out do not only affect unionists of his ilk, but everyone in NI. The challenge for constitutional parties is to present a better alternative. You say within the political system SF can effect a united Ireland. There is only so many Catriona Ruane’s you can drop before people become tired of this perma-revolution that in reality is a cover for failings at regional government level.

    I believe the only thing stopping constitutional parties making inroads into the SF vote is the inability to make a concerted effort to go after these people. As the SDLP found out, it is not about outgreening SF, it is about putting forward a viable social partnership that is not about protest or confrontation.

    Among other things, a higher quality debate and a call to action amongst constitutional politicians is what is needed to take advantage of the opportunity. There are representatives out there who have the variety of background and perspective to make a real difference in this regard – as always though, it is the old guard who are caught dragging their heels, undermining attempts at real leadership.

  14. kensei says:

    St

    On the contrary kensei I do respect the mandate people have giving to Irish nationalism, just as I respect that given by English voters to the BNP. This is the key point of the article, the best way to bring people into the process (long term and not just as one side of an alliance of polar opposites that we are currently stuck with) is to actively engage with and participate in these peoples lives.

    It is not about simply recognising a mandate — it is abotu respecting the integrity of a position, even though you may disagree. You don’t.

    Note this is not a reference to ‘cuddly language’. We have that present already. What we don’t have is engagement at policy level. Again, all I’m asking is that certain politicians put their money where their mouth has been all these years.

    Have Irish Republicans ever been less than upfront about viewing the Assembly as a vehicle to help bring abotu a United Ireland?

    I note your arguments merely seek to dampen certain key themes in the piece – “a knack at picking at nationalist annoyances”, coming from a committed republican such as yourself translates as tacit acknowledgement of what is in this context, a playing the disadvantaged card. After all as you point out in your opening contribution, SF are quite fond of making the case for equality.

    No, it doesn’t involve “playing the disadvantaged card” any more than finding any other issue that excites the electorate does. The fact is also that for many years if it came to many things – like parades or cultural funding Natioanlists WERE disadvantaged.

    The temperature on parades has been dialled way down, dissidents not withstanding. That is a result of the actions of nationalist politicians getting changes, and Unionism eventually beign forced to accept them.

    I don’t expect someone like yourself, who with all due respect has a dyed-in-the-wool political aim and will enter into all reasoning with this point in mind, to agree with me ever.

    Which is a spectacularly unfair on me, and basically man playing. I am perfectly capable of agreeing on certain points. I just view Republicanism as a superior form fo government and work form there.

    But from talking to those I know who do not share quite the same not-an-inch attitude such as yourself I know it can be done. I’m not calling them ’secret unionists’ who don’t just don’t realise it yet – that particularly intellectual faux pas is an SF speciality I believe – but I am saying they are not of the same convictions as those who purport to lead them somewhere. I am saying they can be convinced when a better method of government is presented to them.

    I have already stated I that I believe people can be convinced one way or another if presented with compelling enough arguments. I am just aware of the level of difficultly and barriers that need breakin down. It is also important to *respect their current positon*.

    The failings peteram points out do not only affect unionists of his ilk, but everyone in NI. The challenge for constitutional parties is to present a better alternative. You say within the political system SF can effect a united Ireland. There is only so many Catriona Ruane’s you can drop before people become tired of this perma-revolution that in reality is a cover for failings at regional government level.

    History sems to suggest otherwise. The only people denting SF at the moment are dissident groups.

    I believe the only thing stopping constitutional parties making inroads into the SF vote is the inability to make a concerted effort to go after these people. As the SDLP found out, it is not about outgreening SF, it is about putting forward a viable social partnership that is not about protest or confrontation.

    As the SDLP found out? Are you high? You mean the SDLP that is dying? Again, you underestimate the integrity of people’s positions, and the difficultly of changing their mind. It’s sheer arrogance.

    And by the by 2009 called. SF are a constitutional party these days. 1997 was a while back dude. So was 2005.

  15. Turgon says:

    Here we see kensei revealed in his usual light. Admit all the obfuscation and waffle we have the simple impossible dichotomy.

    kensei complaints (correctly) that nationalists were discriminated against and see this as still having relevance (again correct though we could argue about it diminishing relevance that is not kensei’s position).

    However, if we turn to republicanism we see kensei does an intellectual volt face. Suddenly all those murders and the fact that many were committed by republican politicians are irrelevant as it was a long time ago.

    Of course this is the same individual (kensei) who has compared Prods to Nazis post 1and has recently stated: (post 16) “if someone haoppens to support the IRA or UDA or Pol Pot it is irrelevant to the arguments they are making except in very narow circumstances.”

  16. kensei says:

    Turgon

    Please don’t

    1. Continue personal venedettas across multiple sites. It’s more than a bit weird.
    2. Accuse me of a comparison I did not actually make. I used an example to illustrate a narrow point – people are influenced by their environments and their leadership. Again this is the following fallacy:

    A does X
    B does X
    Therefore A = B

    Prods are not Nazis. Apparently though, some of them are just ignorant.

    3. Quote me making points you clearly don’t understand. It doesn’t matter who or what I am. It doesn’t matter if I believe that only a tin foil hat is protecting me from alien control. Stick to the topic at at hand and the substantive points made. If you can’t discuss on those terms, you don’t actually have an argument.

    An ad hominem argument has the basic form:

    Person 1 makes claim X
    There is something objectionable about Person 1
    Therefore claim X is false

    Post 16 was simply reiterating that point. It doesn’t matter how objectionable I or anyone else is, deal witht he topic and not the person. It’s the first rule on SLugger. As someone with top-level privileges, I would except you know that, but the tongue in cheek “Prodiban” label does accurately represent an authoritarian streak.

    You are actually misrepresenting me in a number of ways there, but having had to correct your nasty little vendetta I’m simply not in the mood today to deal with you any further. Now go away and let the big boys talk.

  17. St Etienne says:

    “You are actually misrepresenting me in a number of ways there”

    I am confused kensei – when you quoted peteram to represent my argument, is that not misrepresentation too? I would also call it a fairly substantial attempt at disrespecting ‘the integrity of a position’. No matter, it’s for the reader to decide.

    Back on topic, and in reverse order – the SDLP found out attempting to outgreen SF did not work. The presence of those peculiar ‘campaigns’ or in layman’s terms, nag screens, on their website a few years back coincided with a harder edge on certain high visibility, low impact issues such as cultural ‘rights’ (a favourite amongst nationalist politicians, Irish and Ultonian alike).

    The results were not electoral gains, for as with unionism and the DUP, all protests votes will go to the party of perennial protest. I think if their recent language is anything to go by they are inching slowly, like the UUP, towards some form of voluntary coalition, whether it be in opposition or power. But the policies need to be cemented and people need to sit down & work towards that as a common goal.

    “t is not about simply recognising a mandate — it is abotu respecting the integrity of a position, even though you may disagree.

    I have no idea what this sentence means, sorry.

    “”The temperature on parades has been dialled way down, dissidents not withstanding”

    I would say it has almost returned to what it was like before tensions where stoked up. Although the legacy appears to be tit-for-tat arson. So the country has buildings going down in flames and the cities have ‘peace’ walls. If that’s what you mean by politicians dialling down the temperature I would refer to you once again to nationalism – of whatever hue – and it’s tendency for unrest.

    The cultural funding is an interesting point you bring up – I am unaware of who is the largest beneficiary in NI in terms of funding – but I find it telling you wish to bring up a relatively ancient argument to back SF’s overplaying of the ‘equality agenda’ in their policies today. For example, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Ruane say one sentence without mentioning it.

    “Have Irish Republicans ever been less than upfront about viewing the Assembly as a vehicle to help bring abotu a United Ireland?”

    SF can look at a spade and call it a bucket all they wish, and see how that progresses. That wasn’t what I was referring to though –

    I was pointing out, in reply to your assertion that the gist of this piece is about ‘cuddly language’, that we already had that.

    I’m asking for something further – the realignment of perspectives, civic unionism in this instance, to capture all concerns in NI society. Again as I pointed out the Tories are using the social conservatism concept to build a credible alternative UK government. Forward thinkers should be following a similar strategy here.

    Note this would not be, as you may see it, solely a drive to bring Catholics in to the constitutional parties, but a large block of people in NI who feel largely disenfranchised through a lack of alternatives. The current arrangement at Stormont only cements this feeling.

  18. kensei says:

    St

    I am confused kensei – when you quoted peteram to represent my argument, is that not misrepresentation too? I would also call it a fairly substantial attempt at disrespecting ‘the integrity of a position’. No matter, it’s for the reader to decide.

    Um, no St. I clearly stated before that it wasn’t your argument, but felt it was the sentiment underlying your argument. Let’s face it, if you are comparing the BNP you don’t think much of the supproters, do you?

    Back on topic, and in reverse order – the SDLP found out attempting to outgreen SF did not work. The presence of those peculiar ‘campaigns’ or in layman’s terms, nag screens, on their website a few years back coincided with a harder edge on certain high visibility, low impact issues such as cultural ‘rights’ (a favourite amongst nationalist politicians, Irish and Ultonian alike).

    They also found out that “post nationalism” did not work. In fact they found out that it really hurt them. Moreover, you’re making a wee error. Correlation is not causation.

    The results were not electoral gains, for as with unionism and the DUP, all protests votes will go to the party of perennial protest. I think if their recent language is anything to go by they are inching slowly, like the UUP, towards some form of voluntary coalition, whether it be in opposition or power. But the policies need to be cemented and people need to sit down & work towards that as a common goal.

    People went to the DUP on a protest vote? Ha. The SDLP have given no indication og favouring voluntary coalition, and I suspect the nationalist party that gives away the cast iron veto will face some severe electoral challenges.

    I have no idea what this sentence means, sorry.

    Ack, well. Keep thinking about it.

    I would say it has almost returned to what it was like before tensions where stoked up. Although the legacy appears to be tit-for-tat arson. So the country has buildings going down in flames and the cities have ‘peace’ walls. If that’s what you mean by politicians dialling down the temperature I would refer to you once again to nationalism – of whatever hue – and it’s tendency for unrest.

    And again, – SF controlled tensions on parades – nonsense. next you’ll be telling me how the Ketholics just loved the parades and always turned up to watch near you. They simply pushed against an open door and said people didn’t have to automatically take what they didn’t like. The differences these days is there are mechanisms to sort out contentious parades.

    The cultural funding is an interesting point you bring up – I am unaware of who is the largest beneficiary in NI in terms of funding – but I find it telling you wish to bring up a relatively ancient argument to back SF’s overplaying of the ‘equality agenda’ in their policies today. For example, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Ruane say one sentence without mentioning it.

    It’s just an example, dude. In fact, SF’s best work is probably the West Belfast Festival and the work it did around cultural issues.

    I’m asking for something further – the realignment of perspectives, civic unionism in this instance, to capture all concerns in NI society. Again as I pointed out the Tories are using the social conservatism concept to build a credible alternative UK government. Forward thinkers should be following a similar strategy here.

    There is a parade dispute – which side to you fall on? There is a flag dispute, who’s side to you take? There is a ruckus over player eligibility for fitball – what’s your opinion? There is only so far you can spin it out before you take sides, and the side you take will be the Unionist one. Let’s not kid ourselves here. You’re simply not going to be able to avoid our peculiar politics.

    And by the by, Unionists have never master cuddly language.

    Note this would not be, as you may see it, solely a drive to bring Catholics in to the constitutional parties, but a large block of people in NI who feel largely disenfranchised through a lack of alternatives. The current arrangement at Stormont only cements this feeling.

    People have been talking about mythical “Garden Centre” Prods for years. I see no reaosns why garden centre taigs are likely to be more engaged.

  19. St Etienne says:

    Oh dear. It becomes more and more self-evident through your responses that your definition of ‘republicanism’ is merely one half of a zero sum game between two nationalisms fighting it out for supremacy. What you laughably term ‘republicanism’ is an advancement of a simple sectarian headcount.

    This links in with my argument that SF’s basic self-interest lies with keeping peoples mentalities stuck behind an orange versus green silhouette, and that specifically the green side of the coin is stuck in a perennial fight for undefined equality.

    To elaborate –

    “I clearly stated before that it wasn’t your argument, but felt it was the sentiment underlying your argument. Let’s face it, if you are comparing the BNP you don’t think much of the supproters, do you?”

    Again, you remain wilfully ignorant of my stance in order to prove your pre-determined outlook. I have already stated in replying to peteram that I know BNP voters (just as I know those who have thrown their lot in with SF in the past). I do not seek to issue a moral judgement on them, instead I ask that constitutional parties begin to engage with these people in a meaningful manner and that these actions filter through to policy level.

    Empowering these people with constructive tools of the state (rather than seeking to blame all woes on the foundations of same) is what will create both a better NI and a better UK.

    “They also found out that “post nationalism” did not work. In fact they found out that it really hurt them. Moreover, you’re making a wee error. Correlation is not causation.”

    All I would say to that is I gave a coherent argument as to why the SDLP is visibly shifting tactics, the kind of reasoning which I note your statement has left out.

    “People went to the DUP on a protest vote? Ha.”

    When the DUP became the largest NI party, it was widely acknowledged to be a direct result of the rise of SF on the nationalist side. Wavering voters had had enough of ‘playing nice’ and merely reverted to a party renowned for protest politics along implicitly Ulster nationalist lines. A retrograde step in my opinion, but in your bi-polar world one that suits both DUP and SF alike. Not that it will do NI much good.

    “The SDLP have given no indication og favouring voluntary coalition”

    I am not referring to some sudden declaration that they will form an opposition with the UUP overnight. I am however encouraged by the common language used by both UUP & SDLP in targeting current failings in the direction and attitudes taken by FM & DFM. It would be logical to combine forces in some form.

    Personally I dislike the current method of cementing tribal lines within Stormont. This puts a cap on future progression. It suits parties with a primarily nationalist agenda (on whichever side). It holds back real development. It is also the topic for another blogpost I feel.

    “I suspect the nationalist party that gives away the cast iron veto will face some severe electoral challenges.”

    Maybe amongst those who see separatism as their defining political agenda. Again, not everyone is like this. It is up to constitutional parties to highlight the current incumbents sectarian agenda is no match for a stable partnership promoting ability and cooperation above tribal allegiance.

    “Ack, well. Keep thinking about it.”

    Do you know what you were talking about?

    “SF controlled tensions on parades – nonsense.”

    It was you who stated SF had largely ‘resolved’ the parades issue. I made no mention of SF as a cause, but was merely pointing that the trouble associated with them was not always in evidence and that the trouble appears to have morphed into other modes of violence. Freudian slip on your part?

    “And by the by, Unionists have never master[sic] cuddly language.”

    When you lump them all together like you have just done I find the statement becomes relatively meaningless. Not that it’s important to me – in writing this article I am asking them to go a step further in their reach.

    “People have been talking about mythical “Garden Centre” Prods for years. I see no reaosns why garden centre taigs are likely to be more engaged.”

    You’re lack of understanding with regard to the wider perspective on things reminds me of the old joke about being a Catholic atheist or a Protestant one. The people I described as disaffected above would likely not refer to themselves as Garden Centre anything.

    “In fact, SF’s best work is probably the West Belfast Festival”

    A non-issue from this voter’s point of view. I want economic and social policies beyond organising simple single-identity days out. There are thousands more like me.

    “There is a parade dispute – which side to you fall on? There is a flag dispute, who’s side to you take? There is a ruckus over player eligibility for fitball – what’s your opinion? There is only so far you can spin it out before you take sides”

    Again there is one common theme to your examples – single-identity culture. I’ll repeat for effect – this vote doesn’t care and there are thousands like me.

    I’ll repeat my example I gave a few times earlier on that you’re still doing your comic-best not to address – Ruane’s callous treatment of our society’s children. Is there an Orange or Green side to that? No.

    Thanks for the contribution to date. You’ve given me quite a bit of material for my next submission 😉

  20. kensei says:

    Oh dear. It becomes more and more self-evident through your responses that your definition of ‘republicanism’ is merely one half of a zero sum game between two nationalisms fighting it out for supremacy. What you laughably term ‘republicanism’ is an advancement of a simple sectarian headcount.

    Um, no, and taht isn’t what I believe at all. I’m just a pragmatist, and know that the sectarian headcoutn has been going on for a long time, that people’s minds are difficult to change, and that typically sneering at them doesn’t work.

    Again, you remain wilfully ignorant of my stance in order to prove your pre-determined outlook. I have already stated in replying to peteram that I know BNP voters (just as I know those who have thrown their lot in with SF in the past). I do not seek to issue a moral judgement on them, instead I ask that constitutional parties begin to engage with these people in a meaningful manner and that these actions filter through to policy level.

    Simply by using the term “constitutional parties” you are stigmatising the peopel taht vote for them. I know you don’t think you are rendering moral judgement, but it is beyond me how goign with this line doesn’t come across as giving an implied judgement.

    Stop voting for the bad men! Vote for us! Great line.

    Empowering these people with constructive tools of the state (rather than seeking to blame all woes on the foundations of same) is what will create both a better NI and a better UK.

    All I would say to that is I gave a coherent argument as to why the SDLP is visibly shifting tactics, the kind of reasoning which I note your statement has left out.

    No, you are just ignoring what I’m saying. During the period which you are quotuing, the SDLP was already in a death spiral. They remain there. Prior to any half heart flirtations with being more green, they dabbled with things like post nationalisma nd appearing weak. Who’s to say it wasn’t that wot did it? I don’t know what the new leader will do. They might well seek a merger South of the border, which would blow your theory out of the water. In any case, suggesting that SDLP types have no nationalist impulse is dangerous. There is a range of opinions.

    One thing is clear: the Nationalist electorate moved towards the more robust and more nationalist representation given by SF. Is it hard to think, that maybe, possibly, it wasn’t all some kind of victim inspired protest vote?

    When the DUP became the largest NI party, it was widely acknowledged to be a direct result of the rise of SF on the nationalist side. Wavering voters had had enough of ‘playing nice’ and merely reverted to a party renowned for protest politics along implicitly Ulster nationalist lines. A retrograde step in my opinion, but in your bi-polar world one that suits both DUP and SF alike. Not that it will do NI much good.

    Or maybe they though the UUP were giving poor representation and the DUP offered better policies. maybe – shock! – it was that the UUP weren’t good enough and the DUP were effective in ways they weren’t. Where is responsibility in your world view?

    I am not referring to some sudden declaration that they will form an opposition with the UUP overnight. I am however encouraged by the common language used by both UUP & SDLP in targeting current failings in the direction and attitudes taken by FM & DFM. It would be logical to combine forces in some form.

    It remains to be seen. the electoral impact also remains to be seen. Lots of “ifs” here.

    Personally I dislike the current method of cementing tribal lines within Stormont. This puts a cap on future progression. It suits parties with a primarily nationalist agenda (on whichever side). It holds back real development. It is also the topic for another blogpost I feel.

    Personally i like having an absolute guarantee against unionism being a bollix, because they ahve been greta big bollixs in the past. Perhaps try, you know, building up trust first. the DUP have nuked just about everything SF wanted form on high. That is not exactly progressive. Whata re you offering different? You know, concrete stuff that might build trust rather than vague assertions about better government.

    Maybe amongst those who see separatism as their defining political agenda. Again, not everyone is like this. It is up to constitutional parties to highlight the current incumbents sectarian agenda is no match for a stable partnership promoting ability and cooperation above tribal allegiance.

    No, but a big whack are. The mutual veto is currently tilted toward nationalism, by virture of it remaining a large minority. Giving it up is to give away advantage. I am also not sure waffle about good government actually plays outside certain bubbles. But we’ll see.

    Do you know what you were talking about?

    Yup. I know exactly. Apparently you are the one with the problem.

    It was you who stated SF had largely ‘resolved’ the parades issue. I made no mention of SF as a cause, but was merely pointing that the trouble associated with them was not always in evidence and that the trouble appears to have morphed into other modes of violence. Freudian slip on your part?

    Um, no. I didn’t make any claims about violence one way or another. That was you. SDLP weren’t particularly keen on parading eithe, if I recall.

    When you lump them all together like you have just done I find the statement becomes relatively meaningless. Not that it’s important to me – in writing this article I am asking them to go a step further in their reach.

    I was generalising. Look it up. The major Unionist parties have never mastered cuddly.

    You’re lack of understanding with regard to the wider perspective on things reminds me of the old joke about being a Catholic atheist or a Protestant one. The people I described as disaffected above would likely not refer to themselves as Garden Centre anything.

    That’d be a label applied by parties and pollsters. Hopefully you get the idea.

    A non-issue from this voter’s point of view. I want economic and social policies beyond organising simple single-identity days out. There are thousands more like me.

    Popular in West Belast though. And I believe you were saying not everyone si the same?

    Again there is one common theme to your examples – single-identity culture. I’ll repeat for effect – this vote doesn’t care and there are thousands like me.

    WHo apparently vote for SF and the DUP. Forgive me, but I like to see evidence, like votes and representatives rather than assertions.

    I’ll repeat my example I gave a few times earlier on that you’re still doing your comic-best not to address – Ruane’s callous treatment of our society’s children. Is there an Orange or Green side to that? No.

    Well, Nationalism seems much more comfortable with abolition of the 11+. And it takes two to deadlock. I’ve not seen the detailled compromise proposals of CUMBLA. Perhaops I missed them?

    Turns out thsi game is harder than berating the minister.

    Thanks for the contribution to date. You’ve given me quite a bit of material for my next submission 😉

    I am de-light-ed for you. If I get time I may work on a response for SLugger, but computer broke, so who knows.

  21. St Etienne says:

    “Um, no, and taht isn’t what I believe at all.”
    In all your arguments you say you come from a republican viewpoint yet never refer to those principles in your arguments – it is nationalism alone which defines your outlook. Just so we can be clear.

    “I’m just a pragmatist, and know that the sectarian headcoutn has been going on for a long time, that people’s minds are difficult to change, and that typically sneering at them doesn’t work.”

    As already explained I am not seeking parties to do some John the Baptist style kung fu on SF, I am though pointing out that in order to create a wider appeal there is work to be done on creating a new perspective within the more progressive parties who aspire to something beyond self-styled ‘pragmatic sectarianism’.

    “Simply by using the term “constitutional parties” you are stigmatising the peopel taht vote for them. I know you don’t think you are rendering moral judgement, but it is beyond me how goign with this line doesn’t come across as giving an implied judgement.”

    By constitutional I refer to those who from inception have stayed the democratic course. I think you confuse generally my argument for a greater empathy with a wider electorate with some kind of naive will to simply ‘be nice’ to all political parties. Ignore the sectarianism inherent, can’t we just be good enemies, etc.

    You may well be inwardly uncomfortable with the deeds of other SF people past and present, but it’s not up to the rest of society to hide their analysis to avoid making SF themselves feel isolated. But I believe it is valuable for progressive political forces to both understand what can make the public support such ideas and to provide a real alternative that isn’t simply the other side of the fence.

    “Stop voting for the bad men! Vote for us! Great line.”

    To any politician who follows a similar train of thought as myself I would add “because we are offering something better”.

    “No, you are just ignoring what I’m saying.”

    I cannot ignore that which you did not speak of!

    “During the period which you are quotuing, the SDLP was already in a death spiral. They remain there. Prior to any half heart flirtations with being more green, they dabbled with things like post nationalisma nd appearing weak.”

    Ah some analysis. So you admit the outgreening policies did not break the cycle – I agree. I also happen to believe SF’s current underperformance in ministerial duty is hastening a realisation that maybe this perennial divide that is cemented in the Assembly modus operandi is not the optimum system of government for NI.

    “They might well seek a merger South of the border, which would blow your theory out of the water. In any case, suggesting that SDLP types have no nationalist impulse is dangerous.”

    I do not seek to generalise SDLP opinion anymore than I seek to do similar to the UUP. I hope to provoke thought and action amongst those within both, and indeed the non-descripts (although by definition I would guess they largely agree with the gist of the argument presented here).

    “the Nationalist electorate moved towards the more robust and more nationalist representation given by SF.”

    Your opinion. I presented an alternative reasoning – nothing that you haven’t yet directly contradicted beyond stating you disagree, and that not all nationalists think the same way. A regurgitation of my own argument if I’m not mistaken.

    “Is it hard to think, that maybe, possibly, it wasn’t all some kind of victim inspired protest vote?”

    As I’ve made clear (and you subsequently repeated), no doubt not all. But in the cases I’ve come across, it was. I believe this to be a sizeable quantity. Who knows until they are presented with a viable alternative to perpetual protest?

    “It remains to be seen. the electoral impact also remains to be seen. Lots of “ifs” here.”

    This is a discussion piece about future engagement in the relatively new political landscape we find ourselves. ‘Ifs’ in the form of possible scenarios are largely the subject matter. I’m glad you have noticed though.

    “Personally i like having an absolute guarantee against unionism being a bollix, because they ahve been greta big bollixs in the past. Perhaps try, you know, building up trust first. the DUP have nuked just about everything SF wanted form on high.”

    And I’m sure SF are attempting to do the same to the DUP. I pay little heed to either. Their priorities rarely reflect my issues.

    “Whata re you offering different? You know, concrete stuff that might build trust rather than vague assertions about better government.”

    I outlined one issue in particular as an example – education. Better government does not remove a measuredly successful system and replace it with nothing. Better government does not hide behind a facade of ‘equality’ bluster while remaining obstinate at best and wilfully negligent at worst.

    “No, but a big whack are. The mutual veto is currently tilted toward nationalism, by virture of it remaining a large minority. Giving it up is to give away advantage. I am also not sure waffle about good government actually plays outside certain bubbles. But we’ll see.”

    Tides turn. True I would like to see things change at a higher rate, I note SF call real issues waffle at your peril.

    “Yup. I know exactly. Apparently you are the one with the problem.”

    Defensive putdowns with no explanation or expansion of argument are hardly going to bolster your case.

    “Um, no. I didn’t make any claims about violence one way or another.”

    That would seem to contradict your earlier assertion that brought parades into the debate (I would guess to seek a more familiar orange v green debating arena for yourself?) – “The temperature on parades has been dialled way down…That is a result of the actions of nationalist politicians getting changes”

    I’m confused again – are you saying SF are not nationalist now? All I am pointing out is, from someone who doesn’t engage in contentious parades or really have much time for the apparent issues, it looks like things might be getting back to normality.

    If you ignore the arson and extra peace walls seemingly required that is.

    “The major Unionist parties have never mastered cuddly.”

    I don’t recall many messages of hate emanating from this years UUP conference, to give one example. Seemed a pretty jovial (dare I say it, confident) affair in general no?

    “That’d be a label applied by parties and pollsters”

    The same parties who I would like to see change their ways I believe.

    “Popular in West Belast though. And I believe you were saying not everyone si the same?”

    If you are seriously putting up the existence of Feile an Phobail as an achievement versus the Province-wide balls up in education, then the sooner semi-functional political parties begin the process of engagement with all elements of society the better for everyone concerned.

    “WHo apparently vote for SF and the DUP. Forgive me, but I like to see evidence, like votes and representatives rather than assertions.”

    Some give in and stay in the political system but choose to vote for more radical interests, others get disillusioned and stay outside. Either way those who aspire to progressive and civic-minded political thought are failing both.

    “Well, Nationalism seems much more comfortable with abolition of the 11+.”

    There is a group on Facebook advocating the sacking of Catriona Ruane. Started by an SDLP supporter, it has a few thousand names emanating from all backgrounds. If you want to keep your head in the sand that is your prerogative.

    “If I get time I may work on a response for SLugger, but computer broke, so who knows.”

    I would be interested in this debate reaching a wider audience, so would naturally look forward to it.

  22. kensei says:

    In all your arguments you say you come from a republican viewpoint yet never refer to those principles in your arguments – it is nationalism alone which defines your outlook. Just so we can be clear.

    Ah, how excellent of you to tell me what I believe and what goes on in my head! Please, tell me my views and opinions on lots of other things too! U’m obvious too confused to know them myself!

    As already explained I am not seeking parties to do some John the Baptist style kung fu on SF, I am though pointing out that in order to create a wider appeal there is work to be done on creating a new perspective within the more progressive parties who aspire to something beyond self-styled ‘pragmatic sectarianism’.

    And I’m pointing out you can’t just turn up, tell people they’ve been voting for bad men, implictly chastise them for doing so, assume that they have absolutely no conviction regarding the national question (CUMBLA was still resolutely Unionist last time I checked), or what you deem “sectarian” issues and expect to tear through SF and the DUP’s vote. Neither can you tell another party, in this case the SDLP, what is good for them. That is a matter for their leadership and membership.

    Is it just complete naivety here or what?

    By constitutional I refer to those who from inception have stayed the democratic course.

    What the UUP that came in large part out of the very armed Ulster Volunteers? The one that flirted with loyalist paramilitaries during the UWC strike? That vote in a loyalist mayor of Belfast? Do I even have to *start* on the DUP?

    I think you confuse generally my argument for a greater empathy with a wider electorate with some kind of naive will to simply ‘be nice’ to all political parties. Ignore the sectarianism inherent, can’t we just be good enemies, etc.

    You want to render moral judgment on a particular party, and by extension you also do so on the people that vote for it. I can’t for the life of me see that as a good idea. For a start, it’s hardly a new tactic on behalf of unionist parties.

    If it were me, I’d just focus on making my own case and dealing with issues rather than rendering moral judgements. Maybe you’d be better off just considering SF as good enemies and you know, not obsessing about them.

    You may well be inwardly uncomfortable with the deeds of other SF people past and present, but it’s not up to the rest of society to hide their analysis to avoid making SF themselves feel isolated. But I believe it is valuable for progressive political forces to both understand what can make the public support such ideas and to provide a real alternative that isn’t simply the other side of the fence.

    The idea that they might not view SF in as negative a light as you doesn’t cross your mind. The idea they might want the most nationalist option doesn’t cross your mind. That they like the All Ireland nature doesn’t cross your mind. The idea they might have left wing politics doesn’t cross your mind. That SF have provided hard work locally for a long time doesn’t cross your mind. And so on and so forth.

    You are coming from a Unionist mindset. Which is to be expected. How exactly do you expect to communicate with people you assume have some kind of disease?

    To any politician who follows a similar train of thought as myself I would add “because we are offering something better”.

    In which case, why worry about the bad men part?

    Ah some analysis. So you admit the outgreening policies did not break the cycle – I agree. I also happen to believe SF’s current underperformance in ministerial duty is hastening a realisation that maybe this perennial divide that is cemented in the Assembly modus operandi is not the optimum system of government for NI.

    You might very well think that, but I think I’ll wait until I see polling data and electoral shifts and you know, well, *evidence*. I have never seen much indication that these sorts of issues play well outside political junkies. Even within Unionism its not really about mandatory coalition. It’s about keeping SF out of government.

    As for the SDLP, the “outgreening” was never particularly well developed, or particularly credible. And the SDLP was a nationalist party before SF came along. I think a merger with FF would give them a shot at revival in the medium-long run, especially around border areas. But that’s just a hunch. I think Alliance lite will simply shed more nationalist votes while not picking up many new ones, but that’s just a hunch too.

    Your opinion. I presented an alternative reasoning – nothing that you haven’t yet directly contradicted beyond stating you disagree, and that not all nationalists think the same way. A regurgitation of my own argument if I’m not mistaken.

    My opinion? Check the election results since 1997.

    As I’ve made clear (and you subsequently repeated), no doubt not all. But in the cases I’ve come across, it was. I believe this to be a sizeable quantity. Who knows until they are presented with a viable alternative to perpetual protest?

    And this is exactly what I mean about not respecting the integrity of people’s positions. Sure, they are not really nationalist! It’s all just a protest vote!

    Do only Unionists have convictions in your world?

    And I’m sure SF are attempting to do the same to the DUP. I pay little heed to either. Their priorities rarely reflect my issues.

    Actually, SF started quite open to things. They did not object to allowing the Assembly to joining the Commonwealth group, which could have been used as a bargaining chip. They hardened in response to the DUPs behaviour.

    I outlined one issue in particular as an example – education. Better government does not remove a measuredly successful system and replace it with nothing. Better government does not hide behind a facade of ‘equality’ bluster while remaining obstinate at best and wilfully negligent at worst.

    So, to sum “keep the 11+”. Could you just say what you mean?

    Defensive putdowns with no explanation or expansion of argument are hardly going to bolster your case.
    I see no reason to explain myself repeatedly. I’m sorry if you don’t get it.

    hat would seem to contradict your earlier assertion that brought parades into the debate (I would guess to seek a more familiar orange v green debating arena for yourself?) – “The temperature on parades has been dialled way down…That is a result of the actions of nationalist politicians getting changes”

    Poor choice of words on my part. I didn’t mean anyone doing th dialling. I simply menat it had naturally declined due to the changes made. That is certainly true of Drumcree, for instance.

    I’m confused again – are you saying SF are not nationalist now? All I am pointing out is, from someone who doesn’t engage in contentious parades or really have much time for the apparent issues, it looks like things might be getting back to normality.

    I’m not sure. There are dissidents intent on causing trouble in the mix and there is debate going on at Stormont that could result in some level of political control rather than the parades commission. Thinks could go back up again. Hard to say.

    I don’t recall many messages of hate emanating from this years UUP conference, to give one example. Seemed a pretty jovial (dare I say it, confident) affair in general no?

    I couldn’t actually tell you.

    If you are seriously putting up the existence of Feile an Phobail as an achievement versus the Province-wide balls up in education, then the sooner semi-functional political parties begin the process of engagement with all elements of society the better for everyone concerned.

    I’m not putting up anything versus anything. I also don’t see why things have to be one thing versus another. Education is divisive across different lines anyway, and not everyone likes the 11+

    Some give in and stay in the political system but choose to vote for more radical interests, others get disillusioned and stay outside. Either way those who aspire to progressive and civic-minded political thought are failing both.

    Do you ever think people might actually prefer the parties they vote for? Is that a radical thought?

    There is a group on Facebook advocating the sacking of Catriona Ruane. Started by an SDLP supporter, it has a few thousand names emanating from all backgrounds. If you want to keep your head in the sand that is your prerogative.

    I don’t believe I used a universal quantifier. Did I use a universal quantifier? I’m sure I didn’t.

  23. peteram79 says:

    Well done St Etienne, you clearly have a huge well of patience, and you finally got the supposedly moderate Shinner to say:

    “What the UUP that came in large part out of the very armed Ulster Volunteers? The one that flirted with loyalist paramilitaries during the UWC strike? That vote in a loyalist mayor of Belfast? Do I even have to *start* on the DUP?”

    Yep, you read that right, that is someone actually comparing the UUP and DUP to Sinn Fein in terms of their involvement with brutal, hate-filled sectarian butchers. On one hand, that at least suggests that Kensei has some sort of moral compass, that the past of his chosen political representatives is causing him some sort of unease. For that smal lmercy, we can be grateful

    But, sure, it’s all the same, having a paramilitary wing that killed thousands of innocents over a 40 year period, or having links with gunrunners a century ago, or sharing a strike platform with an unrelated paramilitary group over 35 years ago. Goodness, what crimes Empey, Trimble, Molyneaux et al have on their consciences, comparable with Adams, McGuinness and Kelly on every level.

    UUP and DUP politicians never, ever murdered anyone. SF personnel murdered people, maimed people, ordered people to be killed while they directed terror. How difficult is that to grasp? That’s why voting for them is morally repugnant to all right thinking people. A vote for SF is not the same as a vote for the UUP or DUP, it’s the same as a vote for the PUP or UPRG. More comparable, indeed, to a vote for the BNP, which brings us nicely back to St E’s original point…

  24. St Etienne says:

    Peteram I honestly find it revealing reading kensei’s true feelings of political resignation – the denial that anything exists outside the sectarian divide, the ‘how dare you challenge it’ attitude. It provides further evidence of the observation that our current setup favours people either picking a side and ignoring the moral dilemma (but never completely forgetting it, as you correctly point out wrt kensei’s response) or they remain disaffected and come to view our local politics largely with contempt.

    Note though I do not seek to chastise anyone in this piece – it is my hope that by using the situation elsewhere in the UK to point out where we are politically in NI, we can learn & adapt accordingly. People have every right to vote SF/BNP – the fact they are doing so in the democratic system should highlight to non-radicals that something is wrong and more importantly it’s time it was dealt with effectively.

    Kensei –
    “Ah, how excellent of you to tell me what I believe and what goes on in my head! Please, tell me my views and opinions on lots of other things too! U’m obvious too confused to know them myself!”

    You stated ‘I just view Republicanism as a superior form fo government and work form there.’ I think you’re being disingenuous. Or are you saying if the UK became a republic you would reconsider the apparent need for separatism?

    “Neither can you tell another party, in this case the SDLP, what is good for them. That is a matter for their leadership and membership.”

    I can tell the party what is good for me though. In my twisted world it is the electorate who decide what a party should & should not do. Crazy thought perhaps? 🙂

    “You want to render moral judgment on a particular party, and by extension you also do so on the people that vote for it.”

    That is the exact position I am arguing against. Although I do note your consistent attempts to through that muck at me. It’s not correct though. If you accept the concept of protest vote then (by extension) you should also acknowledge people’s political beliefs are not always black and white.

    What do you think of the BNP? Do you think all BNP voters share their ideals to the end? Same thing.

    “Maybe you’d be better off just considering SF as good enemies”

    As I’ve outlined, the shift to the extremes is not a political idealogy I believe can move things on. I’ve no doubt such mutually-assured destruction holds great sway amongst SF & DUP policymakers. And indeed for that matter the NIO.

    “The idea that they might not view SF in as negative a light as you doesn’t cross your mind. How exactly do you expect to communicate with people you assume have some kind of disease?”

    I didn’t indicate such. Again though, the fact you are consistently trying to build up straw man arguments to hide SF’s own weakness when it comes to articulating their own vision in absence of a monster on the other side of the fence is clear for all to see.

    “In which case, why worry about the bad men part?”

    In order to offer something better, first it is necessary to understand why radical approaches are popular, in whatever segment of our society that may be. Far from your attempts to class it as a ‘themmuns’-type conspiracy, it’s merely common sense.

    “I have never seen much indication that these sorts of issues play well outside political junkies. Even within Unionism its not really about mandatory coalition. It’s about keeping SF out of government.”

    On that I feel we have a tiny bit of common ground. By your description I detect an implicit acknowledgement that there are those within the mainstream parties who desire a form of coalition based government. I want to see it move from ‘nice idea’ to policy, action point, etc.

    To do so effectively I would argue a wider perspective on politics is required. I have used the treatment of the BNP in the national media as one example of how not to do it. It’s a new perspective on what has been a problem for politicians here. Exactly the sort of debate that should be happening on OU I feel.

    “My opinion? Check the election results since 1997.”

    I should have expanded – this was in response to your assertion that the rise in SF at the expense of the SDLP vote was in response to a more fervent Irish nationalism amongst the electorate. Other commentators believe it was a desire to cement the peace process – similar sentiment expressed on the other side of the coin being that it would take the extremes on both sides to come in from chipping at the sidelines and thrash out a deal.

    I believe any apparent usefulness in taking this approach is now over and to move things on from here we need people who are not only capable managers but also have a vision more developed than the war of attritional brinkmanship being waged by the current incumbents.

    “And this is exactly what I mean about not respecting the integrity of people’s positions. Sure, they are not really nationalist! It’s all just a protest vote!”

    Again I’m not sure you have fully digested what I said – “I believe this to be a sizeable quantity” – I am not stating it’s a minority/majority/totality. What I am saying is it’s there and it should be approached.

    “Do only Unionists have convictions in your world?”

    I do not believe the better governance of this part of the world to be solely the preserve of unionists if that’s what your implying?

    “They hardened in response to the DUPs behaviour.”

    And no doubt the DUP hardened in response to something SF did. Repeat ad nauseum.

    “So, to sum “keep the 11+”. Could you just say what you mean?”

    I feel the need to point out I did not do the 11+ and attended a comprehensive, anyhow –

    I believe we should maintain the success of our grammar school system. I feel selection – whether for grammars or third level or more vocational education – to be a mandatory part of continuous learning. I also believe it to be the best alternative in a world of finite resources. Whether that selection takes the form of the 11+ or some other vehicle I’m not especially bothered.

    What I am bothered about is the inept and arrogant leadership provided by SF in regards to the subject. You don’t fuck with a child’s future. SF’s current immature grandstanding over it is tasteless.

    “I see no reason to explain myself repeatedly.”

    That’s ok – you felt the need to clarify two paragraphs above.

    “I couldn’t actually tell you.”

    If you do not follow something as key to party pulse, mood & stance as an AGM I don’t see how you can generalise accurately about their wider characteristic etiquette.

    “I’m not putting up anything versus anything”

    Then I fail to see it’s relevance with respect to members of the electorate largely unimpressed with single identity issues.

    “Do you ever think people might actually prefer the parties they vote for? Is that a radical thought?”

    I’ve no doubt they do – why else would they vote for them?

    What is radical though are the parties themselves. I believe voters need a better choice than what is currently presented and have outlined the opportunities inherent in today’s political landscape for these choices to be highlighted.

    “I don’t believe I used a universal quantifier. Did I use a universal quantifier? I’m sure I didn’t.”

    I’m sure those people who voted Ruane in only to watch her circus act unfold are extremely grateful to you for acknowledging them in such a concerned manner!

  25. kensei says:

    Peter peter pumpkin eater

    If you are pushing a moral argument, you actually have to be whiter than white. Pointing out themmums were worse never actually cut the mustard.

    St

    I have no need for you to mischaracterise my argument, furthermore, discussing someone in third person you are having an active argument with is spectacularly rude.

    You stated ‘I just view Republicanism as a superior form fo government and work form there.’ I think you’re being disingenuous. Or are you saying if the UK became a republic you would reconsider the apparent need for separatism?

    I think that even if the UK was a Republic, I still see no reason why England should have any say on my constitution. Or tax rate. I could be sold on loose federal structures, but can’t see what they would bring beyond the EU.

    If you are asking me if they should get rid of the monarchy, abolish the lords, separate church and state and get a written constitution excetera then that would be an emphatic yes. I’d even use my privileges to vote for these things, if the opportunity arose.

    I can tell the party what is good for me though.

    Which is nice before they then act in their own self interest.

    In my twisted world it is the electorate who decide what a party should & should not do. Crazy thought perhaps? 🙂

    Yes, it is. The electorate are nuts and don’t know what they want half the time. The mess that is what is happening to expenses is a case in point. There is a balance to be found between following and leading the electorate.

    Moreover, the only stupider than trying to talk down to another party is attempting to talk down to the electorate.

    That is the exact position I am arguing against. Although I do note your consistent attempts to through that muck at me. It’s not correct though. If you accept the concept of protest vote then (by extension) you should also acknowledge people’s political beliefs are not always black and white.

    You have already stated that you want to isolate SF, you don’t want to treat them as just another opponent. Fine, it’s your right to render moral judgement. You might not believe you are by extension
    rendering judgement on their electorate, but that doesn’t actually make it any less true.

    A party does not get a 26% protest vote; and if you want to be really picky, it doesn’t get over 50% of its available vote on a protest vote.

    What do you think of the BNP? Do you think all BNP voters share their ideals to the end? Same thing.

    I think if I was inviting the BNP on Question Time, I wouldn’t change the format. When they said something I found I objectionable, I would give as strong a rebuttal as I could manage. I certainly wouldn’t stoke their sense of grievance.

    I think comparisons between the BNP and SF are also *spectacularly* misguided, given the different political histories, different political contexts, different relative sizes, different goals, different policies. I think I’ve already said all that too.

    As I’ve outlined, the shift to the extremes is not a political idealogy I believe can move things on. I’ve no doubt such mutually-assured destruction holds great sway amongst SF & DUP policymakers. And indeed for that matter the NIO.

    SF substantially nicked all the SDLP’s clothes. If SF are “extreme”, it should be relatively easy to characterise them as such as put them there: FF did it very successfully in the South. The last election, SF weren’t some kind of special case. FG still played that game, and it gave them a 0% chance of government in the end.

    Apparently the great new CUMBLA strategy is: get SF. Fantastic new thinking.

    I didn’t indicate such. Again though, the fact you are consistently trying to build up straw man arguments to hide SF’s own weakness when it comes to articulating their own vision in absence of a monster on the other side of the fence is clear for all to see.

    I’m not in SF, I’ve no need to defend them. I’m just trying to understand how you think you can walk into West Belfast, announcer SF are bad and how great the well-loved-in-West-Belfast Tories are and expect to shred SF’s vote. It’s literally beyond me.

    In order to offer something better, first it is necessary to understand why radical approaches are popular, in whatever segment of our society that may be. Far from your attempts to class it as a ‘themmuns’-type conspiracy, it’s merely common sense.

    You have no idea why Irish Nationalism and republicanism might be popular in Ireland? Really?

    On that I feel we have a tiny bit of common ground. By your description I detect an implicit acknowledgement that there are those within the mainstream parties who desire a form of coalition based government. I want to see it move from ‘nice idea’ to policy, action point, etc.

    Who wants a coalition? Unionism. Why? They get more power and to isolate SF permanently. Who loses: Nationalist parties. Turkeys do not vote for Christmas. Even the SDLP is not that dumb: they won’t move from whipping boys in a mandatory coalition to a Unionist dominated one. If you want it, you’ll have to concede some fairly hefty things that might appeal to Nationalism. Talk of better government and the like doesn’t sell to the electorate, much less self interested parties.

    You have the right to try and work for it. Good luck on that.

    To do so effectively I would argue a wider perspective on politics is required. I have used the treatment of the BNP in the national media as one example of how not to do it. It’s a new perspective on what has been a problem for politicians here. Exactly the sort of debate that should be happening on OU I feel.

    Yes, why do those Ketholics vote for radical options such as people pushing a United Ireland? Isn’t that a bit like the BNP wanting to force remove all the immigrants. Awe inspiring in its empathy, breadth and insight.

    I should have expanded – this was in response to your assertion that the rise in SF at the expense of the SDLP vote was in response to a more fervent Irish nationalism amongst the electorate. Other commentators believe it was a desire to cement the peace process – similar sentiment expressed on the other side of the coin being that it would take the extremes on both sides to come in from chipping at the sidelines and thrash out a deal.

    Actually the DUP won on the promise of wrecking. Some of SFs vote was certainly as an incentive to keep the IRA out of the bombing business but they’ve held the vote a lot sense then. I’d say the reasons are complicated. One thing it isn’t, is some magic protest vote. For a start, those people never voted for establishment parties in the first place.

    Again I’m not sure you have fully digested what I said – “I believe this to be a sizeable quantity” – I am not stating it’s a minority/majority/totality. What I am saying is it’s there and it should be approached.

    And I’m saying offering up “well the Ketholics I know say it is a protest vote” is piss poor evidence.

    I do not believe the better governance of this part of the world to be solely the preserve of unionists if that’s what your implying?

    I think that most Nationalists might think better governance involves getting rid of the Westminster link. But mostly I think the only people that get really excited on “better governance” are political junkies.

    And no doubt the DUP hardened in response to something SF did. Repeat ad nauseum.

    Well, it’s tough to go harder than “nuke everything”.

    I believe we should maintain the success of our grammar school system. I feel selection – whether for grammars or third level or more vocational education – to be a mandatory part of continuous learning. I also believe it to be the best alternative in a world of finite resources. Whether that selection takes the form of the 11+ or some other vehicle I’m not especially bothered.

    To sum: 11+. Thanks.

    What I am bothered about is the inept and arrogant leadership provided by SF in regards to the subject. You don’t fuck with a child’s future. SF’s current immature grandstanding over it is tasteless.

    What, and the other parties aren’t grandstanding? Have the DUP come out with a compromise set of proposals to place pressure on SF? Have the other Assembly parties? Pushed media support for them? Went into the grassroots?

    Nope, they’ve decided the best route is try and pin everything on Ruane. As I said before,t here is more to playing this game than just blaming the minster.

    If you do not follow something as key to party pulse, mood & stance as an AGM I don’t see how you can generalise accurately about their wider characteristic etiquette.

    I just know what I see. Does that count? Is it allowed?

    Then I fail to see it’s relevance with respect to members of the electorate largely unimpressed with single identity issues.

    I’m just replying to some particularly wild assertions. Also: are you a Unionist? Spare me on the “identity issues”.

    I’ve no doubt they do – why else would they vote for them?

    I dunno, protest vote?

    What is radical though are the parties themselves. I believe voters need a better choice than what is currently presented and have outlined the opportunities inherent in today’s political landscape for these choices to be highlighted.

    Um, what if they don’t think they are radical, or the people they are voting for are radical? Might it be better just, you know, to focus on your own policies and gameplan rather than psuedo intellectual bollocks?

    Cos really that’s all I’m saying.

    “I don’t believe I used a universal quantifier. Did I use a universal quantifier? I’m sure I didn’t.”

    I’m sure those people who voted Ruane in only to watch her circus act unfold are extremely grateful to you for acknowledging them in such a concerned manner!

  26. St Etienne says:

    “If you are pushing a moral argument, you actually have to be whiter than white. Pointing out themmums were worse never actually cut the mustard.”

    Comparing UUP of 1912 to SF of 2009 is a really arcane argument through even the most dino-tastic of spectacles. Two world wars, the end of imperialism & an attempt at united nation states later I’d assume things have changed. Apart from those with the monumental chip on the shoulder. Move on goddamnit!

    “furthermore, discussing someone in third person you are having an active argument with is spectacularly rude.”

    lol. “Peter peter pumpkin eater”…

    “I think that even if the UK was a Republic, I still see no reason why England should have any say on my constitution”

    Nationalism over republicanism, pure and simple. You’d sooner give a say to someone from Dublin and why? For no other reason than they happen to fit in with your little fiefdom. Republicanism reversed if you ask me.

    “Which is nice before they then act in their own self interest.”

    “The electorate are nuts and don’t know what they want half the time. ”

    Probably the most revealing part of your commentary – “don’t trust the electorate they don’t know what’s good for them”. Which sort of renders your previous comments regarding listening to the will of nationalist voters sound pretty hollow. In fact you’ve confused quite a lot of your argument here – should we be trying to engage with an electorate who are apparently ‘nuts’ or should we just remain accepting the current posturing within the extremes?

    I think you’re scared of the potential for the middle ground to waken up and realise we don’t have to take this bullshit excuse for ‘politics’ as a given anymore. You’ll wait for evidence in the form of votes no doubt, but by then let’s be honest it would be too late for the perma-aggravators to do anything about it.

    “Moreover, the only stupider [sic] than trying to talk down to another party is attempting to talk down to the electorate.”

    The same electorate you claimed only a sentence ago are nuts? You’ll excuse me if I muffle a slight snigger at this whole episode you’ve created.

    “You have already stated that you want to isolate SF, you don’t want to treat them as just another opponent”

    No I haven’t actually. I’ve said I don’t believe your ‘pragmatic sectarianism’ as you have described to me will move this country on. Therefore I wish to see the installment of competitive politics, competitive on real issues that is.

    Only then will we see an improvement in Northern Ireland’s affairs. Two thick-skinned nationalists (with apparent limited competence to display on issues beyond bottom-of-my-street-festival this, parade-down-my-road-service that) at the heart of government is not a long term solution for NI.

    “A party does not get a 26% protest vote; and if you want to be really picky, it doesn’t get over 50% of its available vote on a protest vote.”

    Random numbers plucked from the sky on your part. “They might get some but they won’t get all” is effectively your argument. Fair enough. But your implying there are people there who think otherwise.

    I concur.

    “I think if I was inviting the BNP on Question Time, I wouldn’t change the format. When they said something I found I objectionable, I would give as strong a rebuttal as I could manage. I certainly wouldn’t stoke their sense of grievance.”

    Exactly the point I made in my article! Sorry if it was too much common sense for you to imbibe in a single sitting.

    “I think comparisons between the BNP and SF are also *spectacularly* misguided, given the different political histories, different political contexts, different relative sizes, different goals, different policies”

    But similar tactics of siding with the apparent disadvantaged, of claiming the equality mantle for themselves despite having perpetrated much on to deny that same equality to others, relative sizes (in terms of the BNP being larger than any party in NI I assume), etc, etc, etc.

    If people vote for such tactics it is my view they feel detached from normalised society (how could you not when seemingly every other is issue is the fault of an ethnic group, according to your seeming political ‘masters’?) and that it is the responsibility of mainstream parties to adapt accordingly.

    “SF substantially nicked all the SDLP’s clothes.”

    Again your opinion. I believe it was a mixture of the ‘peace vote’ and the general movement to the extremes as people sought to ‘consolidate’ their supposed rights in the new dispensation.

    Either way they offer no relevance with a view to the future if we want something better.

    ” I’m just trying to understand how you think you can walk into West Belfast, announcer SF are bad and how great the well-loved-in-West-Belfast Tories are and expect to shred SF’s vote. It’s literally beyond me.”

    Evidently. Again it’s not some road to Damascus type conversion I’m asking policy makers to administer, it’s a general consensus that if people are serious about a new force, a different driver within NI politics, then it is imperative that all backgrounds and perspectives are given fair hearing in the context of a conservative manifesto for government, both locally and nationally.

    Only then can we examine the pulse of NI society, when the oft-quoted middle ground has adequately begun engagement.

    “You have no idea why Irish Nationalism and republicanism might be popular in Ireland? Really?”

    I can see how, in the absence of real debate on current policy, historic gripes are conveniently trotted out to maintain the status quo of going nowhere ad continuum.

    If people don’t expect real change, let’s fob them off with a never ending fight for ‘historic’ rights that never have or will exist. The DUP for their part work in a similar vein – the never ending doomsday scenario that never quite gets beyond the day after tomorrow…

    Either way – it makes things expedient for dinosaurs of whatever persuasion.

    “Who wants a coalition? Unionism. Why? They get more power and to isolate SF permanently. Who loses: Nationalist parties.”

    You see ‘themmuns’ as a distinct bloc. Not the case in reality. There are progressive unionists who would sooner see an electoral alliance with the SDLP than the DUP. This kind of thinking will only increase as the union of extremes government continues to embarrass itself.

    I personally would hope to see it made irrelevant by the arrival of a substantial vote for conservative candidates from their nominated ballet. Peter McCann is one such candidate. One of your much-ridiculed West Belfast Tories…

    “Yes, why do those Ketholics vote for radical options such as people pushing a United Ireland? Isn’t that a bit like the BNP wanting to force remove all the immigrants. Awe inspiring in its empathy, breadth and insight.”

    Do you have an issue with Catholics or is there something I’m missing here?

    No matter, the ideas of people wanting to break away from a state and those people wanting only a certain background in that state is effectively the same game. Nationalism. I don’t seek to tarnish it, just to accurately report on it and advise action appropriate to it’s demise. Don’t get too worked up about it.

    You can try pushing SF after more votes if you like too! Go on, see what they think on the subject.

    “I’d say the reasons are complicated. One thing it isn’t, is some magic protest vote.”

    If the reasons are as complicated as you make out I fail to see how anyone argument can be discounted. But I’m glad you acknowledge the separation of SF and establishment. Now that they are effectively the Nouveau Establishment, we can see how far their equality agenda advances us in terms of real world results.

    “For a start, those people never voted for establishment parties in the first place.”

    Before the onslaught of the Troubles, a large bloc of the people you describe never voted at all. This was a large disenfranchisement of the vote and something that should be analysed further as new policies are in the process of definition.

    “And I’m saying offering up “well the Ketholics I know say it is a protest vote” is piss poor evidence.”

    What is it with your misspelling of Catholic? Between calling the electorate mad and some kind of weird chastising of their nomenclature I assume there is some heavy chip on the shoulder there?

    Not only have I presented anecdotal evidence, but a coherent argument as to why this brand of exclusionist nationalism presents itself as electable to a certain demographic – you’ve said as much in your admission regarding ‘pragmatic sectarianism’ – my thoughts are merely the logical next step for those looking to find a better way.

    “But mostly I think the only people that get really excited on “better governance” are political junkies.”

    A lack of political maturity on your part I would say. I’m no junkie – insofar as current NI politics apparently attracts addictive qualities.

    “Well, it’s tough to go harder than “nuke everything”.”

    I find it difficult to tell the difference between pretend grandstanding and brinkmanship. Posturing I believe is the term applied. None of it does me much good. I want change.

    “To sum: 11+. Thanks.”

    Maybe it’s not just Ruane who is appearing obtuse on education.

    “What, and the other parties aren’t grandstanding? Have the DUP come out with a compromise set of proposals to place pressure on SF? Have the other Assembly parties? Pushed media support for them? Went into the grassroots”

    The other parties are meeting, talking, looking for a solution. The DUP are the wrong party to look to for a solution seeing as their survival effectively depends on SF fucking things up for everyone too. Btw did the SF mantra on talks end when they got the prisoners out?

    Grandstanding is not sitting down and talking about the issue, grandstanding is standing outside looking in and criticising. Btw the other parties didn’t need to push for media support – their meeting was initiated by the press. Who in this instance are speaking for the grassroots. But I thought you said the electorate were nuts?

    “Nope, they’ve decided the best route is try and pin everything on Ruane. As I said before,t here is more to playing this game than just blaming the minster.”

    Not when the minister was the one who changed everything. With power comes responsibility. SF weren’t to quick to leap to the defence of NIO ministers who allegedly misgoverned during the troubles. Double standards but then again the lack of a creditable defence of Ruane’s behaviour is implicitly implying her culpability.

    “I just know what I see. Does that count? Is it allowed?”

    Hardly informed is it?

    “I’m just replying to some particularly wild assertions.”

    Namely?

    “Also: are you a Unionist? Spare me on the “identity issues”.”

    Ah. ‘Are you orange or green?’ Or in other words ‘I want to create a division between you and your kind on my side of the fence’

    West Belfast Festivals and Orange parades are not my issues in NI. There are more pressing needs for government attention.

    “I dunno, protest vote?”

    Whether protest vote or not, they prefer that party over the alternatives. Preference does not preclude protest. I’ll leave it to you to work out the tautology of that one.

    “Um, what if they don’t think they are radical, or the people they are voting for are radical?”

    Eye of the beholder. As a non-aligned person I believe they are. It is up to established parties to highlight this by giving them an aspiration to something more achievable and ultimately better.

    “Might it be better just, you know, to focus on your own policies and gameplan rather than psuedo intellectual bollocks?”

    Focusing on policies and highlighting their differences with the inferior status quo we have today is exactly what I’m advocating. When you seem so worked up as to post exasperated nonsense such as the above I can only vouch for it’s effectiveness. Again I’d remind you not every SF voter is as quick to offer insults over argument.

    “I’m sure those people who voted Ruane in only to watch her circus act unfold are extremely grateful to you for acknowledging them in such a concerned manner!”

    You know, I’m sure I said that

  27. kensei says:

    Comparing UUP of 1912 to SF of 2009 is a really arcane argument through even the most dino-tastic of spectacles. Two world wars, the end of imperialism & an attempt at united nation states later I’d assume things have changed. Apart from those with the monumental chip on the shoulder. Move on goddamnit!

    You supplied the definition. And I think I went somewhat beyond 1912. But Unionism has always been somewhat blind to its own failings.

    Nationalism over republicanism, pure and simple. You’d sooner give a say to someone from Dublin and why? For no other reason than they happen to fit in with your little fiefdom. Republicanism reversed if you ask me.

    Um no. There are what – ten times the amount of people in England than in the South? The North would speak with a greater voice in a United Ireland than the UK. Much greater. I also think the historical ties and values are closer, and I favour smaller more nimble economies in the modern world. Even with the consequences of that in a down turn. You are making assumptions.

    And the thing is, for all the bluster, you just favour another nationalism.

    Probably the most revealing part of your commentary – “don’t trust the electorate they don’t know what’s good for them”. Which sort of renders your previous comments regarding listening to the will of nationalist voters sound pretty hollow. In fact you’ve confused quite a lot of your argument here – should we be trying to engage with an electorate who are apparently ‘nuts’ or should we just remain accepting the current posturing within the extremes?

    Well, if you misquote people then you do happen to get confused. I stated that there is a balance to be found. A lot of the time the electorate doesn’t know what it wants. It requires leadership to take them there. Pick any of several examples over the past century. I suspect you’d like Thatcher.

    I think you’re scared of the potential for the middle ground to waken up and realise we don’t have to take this bullshit excuse for ‘politics’ as a given anymore. You’ll wait for evidence in the form of votes no doubt, but by then let’s be honest it would be too late for the perma-aggravators to do anything about it.

    I’m certainly not scared of anything I’ve seen here. How come you get to define “extremes” btw? I thought that’d be the lectorate’s job. And right now, SF and DUP are mainstream.

    The same electorate you claimed only a sentence ago are nuts? You’ll excuse me if I muffle a slight snigger at this whole episode you’ve created.

    I’m not a member of a political party. I am not attempting to sell anythig to the electorate. I’m just having a little discussion on the interweb where I used a wee bit of colourful language to make a point. Allow a man a bit of mischief, would you?

    No I haven’t actually. I’ve said I don’t believe your ‘pragmatic sectarianism’ as you have described to me will move this country on. Therefore I wish to see the installment of competitive politics, competitive on real issues that is.

    Here is you:

    I think you confuse generally my argument for a greater empathy with a wider electorate with some kind of naive will to simply ‘be nice’ to all political parties. Ignore the sectarianism inherent, can’t we just be good enemies, etc.

    You may well be inwardly uncomfortable with the deeds of other SF people past and present, but it’s not up to the rest of society to hide their analysis to avoid making SF themselves feel isolated.

    Ie – you wanbt to isolate SF. By the by – is it posisble to be a nationalist party and not be “sectarian”, out of interest?

    Random numbers plucked from the sky on your part. “They might get some but they won’t get all” is effectively your argument. Fair enough. But your implying there are people there who think otherwise.

    SF got 26% at the last election. Given that they have close to 0% chance of getting any Unionist votes, their addressable electorate if the nationalist one. 26% of the total is more than 50% of that. They have been consistent in and around those figures for years now. That is not a protest vote.

    Exactly the point I made in my article! Sorry if it was too much common sense for you to imbibe in a single sitting.

    Sorry, I got distracted by the bollocks comparing SF to the BNP.

    But similar tactics of siding with the apparent disadvantaged, of claiming the equality mantle for themselves despite having perpetrated much on to deny that same equality to others, relative sizes (in terms of the BNP being larger than any party in NI I assume), etc, etc, etc.

    “Apparent disadvanatged2? Presumably you are not arguing that Nationalists were never disadvantaged here? And in the cases of some of the poorer nationalist areas – are still disadvantage din many ways? Are you stating that protesting OO parades is denying equality? The size comparison you are attempting is also trivial and mathematically stupid. Etc, etc, etc.

    If people vote for such tactics it is my view they feel detached from normalised society (how could you not when seemingly every other is issue is the fault of an ethnic group, according to your seeming political ‘masters’?) and that it is the responsibility of mainstream parties to adapt accordingly.

    Prior to devolution, who the fuck else is to blame for problems here aside from the British Government? If you are beat up by a British solider or harassed by the RUC, is it your own fault? Maybe people feel alienated form British society as they um, aren’t British. Again, you treat nationalism as some kind of disease. But since you’ve compared the desire for a United Ireland to the forced repatriation of immigrants, I suppose I shouldn’t bbe surprised.

    Again your opinion. I believe it was a mixture of the ‘peace vote’ and the general movement to the extremes as people sought to ‘consolidate’ their supposed rights in the new dispensation.

    Compare policy documents and language. Hell, even the SDLP say SF nicked all their clothes.

    Either way they offer no relevance with a view to the future if we want something better.

    In your opinion. Also including your opinion of “better” there.

    Evidently. Again it’s not some road to Damascus type conversion I’m asking policy makers to administer, it’s a general consensus that if people are serious about a new force, a different driver within NI politics, then it is imperative that all backgrounds and perspectives are given fair hearing in the context of a conservative manifesto for government, both locally and nationally.

    Waffle. West Belfast votes at something like 80% for Gerry Adams. When did they claim they wanted a “New Force”? What “general consensus”? You are the one doing the selling. You don’t get the votes on the back of some divine wind. You have to work, offer new stuff, talk to peple in language they understand, avoid rendering moral judgement ex-cet-era? You grasp this fact, right?

    Only then can we examine the pulse of NI society, when the oft-quoted middle ground has adequately begun engagement.

    The world is run by people that turn up.

    I can see how, in the absence of real debate on current policy, historic gripes are conveniently trotted out to maintain the status quo of going nowhere ad continuum.

    Ah. The nationalist impulse is just a “gripe”.

    If people don’t expect real change, let’s fob them off with a never ending fight for ‘historic’ rights that never have or will exist. The DUP for their part work in a similar vein – the never ending doomsday scenario that never quite gets beyond the day after tomorrow…

    What if you know, you reckon you can get a 50%+1 result at some point. What if, you know, your axioms don’t extend to “This will never happen”.

    You see ‘themmuns’ as a distinct bloc. Not the case in reality. There are progressive unionists who would sooner see an electoral alliance with the SDLP than the DUP. This kind of thinking will only increase as the union of extremes government continues to embarrass itself.

    Legally, they are a distinct block. There has never been a shred of evidence in a hundred years that any Unionist party would do anything than favour another unionist party. The idea that the UUP is a giant progressive force is a bit nuts. It has as many backwoodsmen as any other party.

    I personally would hope to see it made irrelevant by the arrival of a substantial vote for conservative candidates from their nominated ballet. Peter McCann is one such candidate. One of your much-ridiculed West Belfast Tories…

    Care to wager on his vote level?

    No matter, the ideas of people wanting to break away from a state and those people wanting only a certain background in that state is effectively the same game. Nationalism. I don’t seek to tarnish it, just to accurately report on it and advise action appropriate to it’s demise. Don’t get too worked up about it.

    ROFL.

    If the reasons are as complicated as you make out I fail to see how anyone argument can be discounted. But I’m glad you acknowledge the separation of SF and establishment. Now that they are effectively the Nouveau Establishment, we can see how far their equality agenda advances us in terms of real world results.

    Well given that they will be vetoed by the DUP, I doubt we’ll find out anything. Ruane excepted, none of the other S ninsters have been particularly bad.

    Before the onslaught of the Troubles, a large bloc of the people you describe never voted at all. This was a large disenfranchisement of the vote and something that should be analysed further as new policies are in the process of definition.

    ROFL! I await with great interest on your discoveries of, well the UUP’s behaviour during that period. Particularly watch for the contempt shown to the opposition.

    Not only have I presented anecdotal evidence, but a coherent argument as to why this brand of exclusionist nationalism presents itself as electable to a certain demographic – you’ve said as much in your admission regarding ‘pragmatic sectarianism’ – my thoughts are merely the logical next step for those looking to find a better way.

    Ah, so you must be right then. I didn’t mention pragmatic sectarianism – you did. You are completely misunderstanding me. I didn’t say that SF present themselves as electable to only one demographic – they may or may not do. I said they are only presentable to one demographic, whether they like it or not.

    Similarly, I acknowledge the fact that various games will continue to exist and have impact whether I like them to or not. If you really want change, you have to deal with that. But there is scant evidence you’ve thought about it.

    A lack of political maturity on your part I would say. I’m no junkie – insofar as current NI politics apparently attracts addictive qualities.

    You are writing on a blog. You are not normal. Sorry.

    The other parties are meeting, talking, looking for a solution. The DUP are the wrong party to look to for a solution seeing as their survival effectively depends on SF fucking things up for everyone too. Btw did the SF mantra on talks end when they got the prisoners out?

    Bollocks. They are grandstanding. Where is the output?

    Grandstanding is not sitting down and talking about the issue, grandstanding is standing outside looking in and criticising. Btw the other parties didn’t need to push for media support – their meeting was initiated by the press. Who in this instance are speaking for the grassroots. But I thought you said the electorate were nuts?

    Actually, that’s logically faulty. They are speaking for their readers. Have you detailed breakdowns of the support the newsppaper represent? And the campaign remains minimally effective, because they’ve no solid proposals to unite around .

    Not when the minister was the one who changed everything. With power comes responsibility. SF weren’t to quick to leap to the defence of NIO ministers who allegedly misgoverned during the troubles. Double standards but then again the lack of a creditable defence of Ruane’s behaviour is implicitly implying her culpability.

    Has moaning about it actually been an effective tactic so far?

    Ah. ‘Are you orange or green?’ Or in other words ‘I want to create a division between you and your kind on my side of the fence

    Can you answer a straight question? Do you want to maintain the Union? Do you support shows of British cultural symbols? What about Irish ones? How about funding? I’m not forcing you to give any answer. There are a number of “neutral” answers on those questons. I don’t create any division. You either have policies or you don’t,a nd I either will agree or disagree with them.

    West Belfast Festivals and Orange parades are not my issues in NI. There are more pressing needs for government attention.

    And yet if you are in government you’ll still have to vote on them. Is no one allowed to ask?

    • St Etienne says:

      “You supplied the definition. And I think I went somewhat beyond 1912.”

      Beyond 1912? To what exactly? 1914? Apples and pears.

      “But Unionism has always been somewhat blind to its own failings.”

      I would merely point out the nationalism of SF has been eager to seek failings where none exist. Again playing to those atavistic feelings of social resentment equally popular within the BNP.

      “There are what – ten times the amount of people in England than in the South? The North would speak with a greater voice in a United Ireland than the UK.” As opposed to running (however badly) a large slice of it’s own affairs internally at present?

      “I also think the historical ties and values are closer”

      lol – You mean like Man U, Eastenders & Coronation St?

      “I favour smaller more nimble economies in the modern world.”

      Nimble is not being pegged to the Franco/German interest rate of choice if you ask me.

      “You are making assumptions.”

      Based on statements such as the historical ties line above – that is the stuff of nation states not people-led republicanism.

      “And the thing is, for all the bluster, you just favour another nationalism.”

      No that is the view from your nationalist before all else perspective. I favour the political status quo and an efficient form of government within it in whatever form that may take, I know it’s not something you wish to acknowledge but there are people out there who just want to see improvement in what they’ve got and aren’t interested in perma-revolution and identity politics.

      Further to that if the nascent Northern Irish identity helps community social cohesion here then I’m all for it. Unlike you it’s not about basing all my political ideals around a national identity and ‘working from there’. Ditto the BNP. Tail wagging the dog for both of you.

      “Well, if you misquote people then you do happen to get confused.”

      Please tell me what part of “the electorate is nuts” did I misquote?

      “I stated that there is a balance to be found.”

      Clearly there is but I’m not sure a person who labels one side of the issue insane is in the best position to find it.

      “I’m certainly not scared of anything I’ve seen here.”

      The rhetoric you use throughout says otherwise. Constantly trying to frame thoughts and ideas as orange/green says a lot about where you are more comfortable in debate.

      “How come you get to define “extremes” btw? I thought that’d be the lectorate’s job. And right now, SF and DUP are mainstream.”

      The mainstream can polarise. It can shift right and left – or Orange and Green in this context. If you can’t acknowledge the growth of SF/DUP at the expense of SDLP/UUP as a shift to the extremes I can’t really help you with that.

      “I’m not a member of a political party. I am not attempting to sell anythig to the electorate. I’m just having a little discussion on the interweb where I used a wee bit of colourful language to make a point. Allow a man a bit of mischief, would you?”

      If that’s how it was intended, though it weakens your case in general.

      “Ie – you wanbt to isolate SF.”

      On the contrary – I said it’s not society’s duty to protect SF from reality. SF bear ultimate responsibility for any isolation they may feel – in the end it is their policies that may or may not do that.

      Again having said that it is up to the early attempts at normalising politics here – such as the ‘new force’ – to gain a wide spectrum of society here. They can do that by examining what makes people who are not 100% ethnically inclined voters feel they are best represented by the radicals (and indeed, by nobody at all)

      “is it posisble to be a nationalist party and not be “sectarian”, out of interest?”

      I based my opinion of your pragmatic sectarianism on your admission that you believe there is no other way. Nothing else. In fact Nick Griffen said similar during Question Time – “that’s just the way it is” – referring to why people didn’t like those of other sexual persuasions. The same inbuilt resignation to us’uns and themmuns.

      “SF got 26% at the last election. Given that they have close to 0% chance of getting any Unionist votes, their addressable electorate if the nationalist one. 26% of the total is more than 50% of that. They have been consistent in and around those figures for years now. That is not a protest vote.”

      Not if the electorate are not being presented with a viable alternative by the centrist parties. I don’t believe they have done this yet, nor understand the scale of what it means.

      “Sorry, I got distracted by the bollocks comparing SF to the BNP.”

      If you follow the importance of not ostracising the section of the community who feels compelled to support the radicals, then it’s not difficult to see how nationalism has benefited from this failure in both an NI and mainland UK context.

      “Apparent disadvanatged2? Presumably you are not arguing that Nationalists were never disadvantaged here?”

      Again you’re harking back to a time that has long since passed.

      “And in the cases of some of the poorer nationalist areas – are still disadvantage din many ways?”

      Are they disadvantaged because they are nationalist or because of the same social problems that affect every other poor neighbourhood too?

      Again this is used by SF to claim it is their background, their history, their struggle that is the reason why they are suffering problems. The finger is pointed at the system and the war cries are let out.

      Short Strand a case in point. SF succeeded in closing down the local police station. Big well done lads. That’ll cure the areas social problems. Not.

      I believe we need new thinking to offer a real alternative to the folly of such actions and I think that is slowly, but irreversibly happening.

      “Are you stating that protesting OO parades is denying equality?”

      Sorry when did I mention OO protests? You brought these into the equation to try to retrofit an ussuns and themmuns agenda, not me.

      “The size comparison you are attempting is also trivial and mathematically stupid.”

      1 million votes for nationalism is not trivial no matter where it occurs. I suspect the Guardianista fraternity also think along the lines of “they’re not in my neighbourhood why should I care?”

      But it only seeks to embitter the disconnect. Again there are parallels here with attitudes in NI.

      “Prior to devolution, who the fuck else is to blame for problems here aside from the British Government?”

      Er, the people who would style themselves ‘combatants’?

      “If you are beat up by a British solider or harassed by the RUC, is it your own fault?”

      Interesting. When’s the last time someone from the RUC beat you up kensei?

      “Maybe people feel alienated form British society as they um, aren’t British. Again, you treat nationalism as some kind of disease.”

      I really don’t. You do like to throw such inflammatory labels about though. Helps to ingrain that feeling of disconnectedness.

      “But since you’ve compared the desire for a United Ireland to the forced repatriation of immigrants, I suppose I shouldn’t bbe surprised.”

      Breakaway or throwaway, they are both drastic measures in terms of what we have right now.

      “Compare policy documents and language. Hell, even the SDLP say SF nicked all their clothes.”

      I guess the SDLP did have their roots in the civil rights movement, so SF’s deliberate perpetuation of this sense of aggrievement is a valid point. But SDLP stopped once the green/orange equality issue fizzled out. SF hence are continuing to invent and incite the feelings of resentment. The BNP do this too obviously. It’s up to new forms of political concepts and leadership to understand this and act on it.

      “In your opinion. Also including your opinion of “better” there.”

      Undoubtedly!

      “You don’t get the votes on the back of some divine wind. You have to work, offer new stuff, talk to peple in language they understand”

      Yes? Really I’m not sure you’ve read all that I have written.

      “The world is run by people that turn up.”

      Actually it is run by the people that get them to turn up. I want to see effective analysis and follow through on several areas of society in NI. An idea for tackling one of the segments is the driving point behind this article.

      “Ah. The nationalist impulse is just a “gripe”.”

      gripe/fear/demand/aggrievement/etc. I thank you for your pedantry!

      “What if you know, you reckon you can get a 50%+1 result at some point. What if, you know, your axioms don’t extend to “This will never happen”.”

      I’m sure the SF minister for unionist engagement project will be remarkably successful. If indeed it’s still going.

      “Legally, they are a distinct block.”

      And I want to see this change. The re-engagement with politics at Westminster level and possibly office is an important part of assembling the tools required to do this. The other part is, as you recognise, on the ground.

      “There has never been a shred of evidence in a hundred years that any Unionist party would do anything than favour another unionist party.”

      The UUP and the SDLP will work closer. That I am sure of. Remember we are already in uncharted waters.

      “The idea that the UUP is a giant progressive force is a bit nuts”

      Nuts like the electorate you mean? So by your subsequent clarification on your definition of nuts I assume you mean ‘has a balance between progressives and the old guard’? 😉

      I think Trimble was an early if awkward and unsure stab at progression. I see the ideas evolving bit by bit. True I wish to see change faster. But I’m confident it is happening.

      “Care to wager on his [Peter McCann] vote level?”

      Let’s hope he gets a chance to run first!

      I would imagine in a demographic like South Belfast an personality such as his would make for a good fit. Let’s face it, anyone who produced Top Gear is a born winner.

      “If the reasons are as complicated as you make out”

      The idea of protest politics is not complicated – you yourself have grasped that nettle in your previous comments!

      “I’m glad you acknowledge the separation of SF and establishment.”

      Thankyou, it is inline with the BNP comparison.

      “Now that they are effectively the Nouveau Establishment, we can see how far their equality agenda advances us in terms of real world results.”

      It hasn’t done kids much good as it?

      “Well given that they will be vetoed by the DUP, I doubt we’ll find out anything.”

      And each party can go back to the electorate blaming themmuns. And so the hopeless cycle continues. That in itself is an opportunity for political innovation to fill the void.

      “I await with great interest on your discoveries of, well the UUP’s behaviour during that period.”

      It took civil rights protest politics (in those days obviously justified) to establish nationalism as a political force. SF continue to espouse similar rhetoric and actions despite the passing of 40 years and a new dispensation. The result has been seen it become the voice of a nationalism still defined by injustice.

      Just like those who vote BNP, I think this perspective needs to be understood in order for the new force and progressive political ideas of it’s ilk to become a success.

      “Particularly watch for the contempt shown to the opposition.”

      Can I ask you a question, does this in your belief form a large part of the reason to be an Irish nationalist in 2009?

      “Ah, so you must be right then. I didn’t mention pragmatic sectarianism – you did.”

      You said it with a slight added verbosity – “I’m just a pragmatist, and know that the sectarian headcoutn has been going on for a long time”. Just because you’ve decided you don’t like that term being used to describe your thoughts is no reason for me to backtrack on it, as your reasoning is there for all to see.

      “You are writing on a blog. You are not normal. Sorry.”

      It’s talk about politics. Happens everywhere. I don’t define my existence by medium. Sorry.

      “Bollocks. They are grandstanding. Where is the output?”

      Output is somewhat limited when ‘executive’ in charge declines to listen to common sense.

      “Actually, that’s logically faulty. They are speaking for their readers.”

      Not ‘logically faulty’ at all (loving the pseudo-maths presented in your arguments). There is widespread dismay amongst the public at the lack of leadership on the 11+. Ruane is very good at tearing stuff up but presents no coherent approach to dealing with the after effects. A stereotypical anti-establishment failure.

      “Have you detailed breakdowns of the support the newsppaper represent?”

      Detailed breakdowns are not necessary for even the untrained eye to see the widespread disgust with Ruane’s take on ‘leadership’. When was the last time a local paper here collected 6000 signatories on an issue in 4 weeks?

      “And the campaign remains minimally effective, because they’ve no solid proposals to unite around”

      I fail to see how the best plan of action in having no proposals is to destroy the existing one. Still it gives SF another void to claim to be working at filling I guess. Like the man who digs holes in order to fill them in again. Now that is nuts.

      “Has moaning about it actually been an effective tactic so far?”

      I see the DUP have threatened legal action. I guess this counts in your mind as an effective tactic in the perennial shouting match that is currently leading NI ‘forward’.

      “Do you want to maintain the Union? Do you support shows of British cultural symbols? What about Irish ones?”

      “are you a prod or a taig?”

      I regard the series of questions above as woefully ignorant of the real issues presented here. I do find it interesting that you as an Irish nationalist are the one pressing for constitutional black and white stall setting – I thought that was solely the preserve of stick in the mud unionism. But well done for proving me wrong

      “And yet if you are in government you’ll still have to vote on them. Is no one allowed to ask?”

      Sigh, ok I’ll answer one of them – I would like government to facilitate an agreement reached between the factions themselves and make interventions as necessary especially with regard to the outbreak and threat of violence.

      I find the fact your contribution is reduced to asking what side I’d take on a parades dispute a bit sad to be honest.

  28. peteram79 says:

    “Peter peter pumpkin eater”

    Are you sure you’re sane?

    “If you are pushing a moral argument, you actually have to be whiter than white. Pointing out themmums were worse never actually cut the mustard.”

    Let’s just spell it out for you

    Number of people killed by the original UVF (which had no formal link whatsoever to the UUP) – zero

    Number of people killed as a result of any informal co-operation between mainstream unionist politicoans and loyalist pararmilitaries during the UWC – zero

    Number of ppeople killed due to mainstream unionist support for a PUP mayor – zero

    Therefore, when I go into a polling booth and cast a vote for a mainstream unionist politician, do I have to think about the relatives of the victims they slaughtered, or those still living with wounds inflicted upon them. No, I don’t.

    Anyone who considering casting a vote for the butchers of SF/IRA should not have this luxury. I don’t know how they square it, perhaps by simply refusing to see any moral dilemma, or instead by finding some logic to get through it.

    Or perhaps they just use the kensei approach of somehow convincing themselves that the mainstream unionists have lots of answer for in this regard even when they don’t, so it doesn’t matter that SF/IRA were worse, ‘cos it’s all the same really?

    “Moral equivalence” is abhorrent to the vast majority of unionists in my experience. And that’s a credit to them. No credit can be given to those that ignore morality and vote for SF

    To get back to St E’s original point, I noted with interest the BNP spokesman’s quote yesterday on Nick Griffin’s exclusion from Sellafield. “In 2003 Sellafield let in a delegation from Sinn Fein. If they can let them in why not us?”

  29. kensei says:

    Are you sure you’re sane?

    I’m not theone arguing with an insane person.

    Let’s just spell it out for you

    Number of people killed by the original UVF (which had no formal link whatsoever to the UUP) – zero

    Which just goes ot show the fundamental dishonesty in unionism when the lack of a formal link of an organisation started and stoked by Unionist leaders is cited.

    Number of people killed as a result of any informal co-operation between mainstream unionist politicoans and loyalist pararmilitaries during the UWC – zero

    But to wrap these points up, is the threat of violence okay? I can arm myself, threaten chaos if I don’t get what I want and as long as I get what I want and no one gets hurt, that is ok.

    Is that your position?

    Number of ppeople killed due to mainstream unionist support for a PUP mayor – zero

    No one gets killed by sticking MMG as education minster either, but strangeky Unionism had a different opinion on it at the time. What an incredible statement to make.

    Therefore, when I go into a polling booth and cast a vote for a mainstream unionist politician, do I have to think about the relatives of the victims they slaughtered, or those still living with wounds inflicted upon them. No, I don’t.

    So, when Ian Paisley came out on the Shankill and said:

    “Number 425 Shankill Road. Do you know who lives there? Pope’s men, that’s who! Forte’s ice cream shop. Who lives there. Italian Papists on the Shankill Road! How about 56 Aden Street? For 97 years a Protestant lived in that house and now there’s a Papist in it. Crimea Street, number 38. Twenty five years that house has been up. Twenty four years a Protestant lived there but there’s a Papist there now,” Paisley told the crowd.

    He bears no responsibility for the attacks that followed? None at all? Plenty of other examples to choose from.

    Anyone who considering casting a vote for the butchers of SF/IRA should not have this luxury. I don’t know how they square it, perhaps by simply refusing to see any moral dilemma, or instead by finding some logic to get through it.

    Perhaps they didn’t think the Troubles was simply a case of serial killing. Perhaps they thought a vote for SF cemented the peace process. Perhaps moral condemnation wasn’t the top issue in the campaign for them. Who can tell?

    Or perhaps they just use the kensei approach of somehow convincing themselves that the mainstream unionists have lots of answer for in this regard even when they don’t, so it doesn’t matter that SF/IRA were worse, ‘cos it’s all the same really?

    Try not to stick words into my mouth. Go have another read there. But in any case, themmums is worse remains a terrible argument if you are going to come in on a high horse.

    “Moral equivalence” is abhorrent to the vast majority of unionists in my experience. And that’s a credit to them. No credit can be given to those that ignore morality and vote for SF

    Yes, lots of Unionists like to blame the entire troubles on t’other side and not take any responsibility for anything. I’d didn’t set up any equivalences – you did. Let’s accept that SF were much, much worse than the Unionist parties. Themmums was worse remains an argument that will get no traction, particularly when addressed to the people that got the short end of Unionist hypocrisy.

    Second, the things is, SF hold significant power here. And St’s army of West Belfast Conservatives not withstanding, that is exceedingly likely to remain true. You might want to try a more productive approach than hate, because they are not going anywhere. And within relatively short timescales it’ll be populated by members who were in nappies when the Troubles were going.

  30. peteram79 says:

    “Number of people killed by the original UVF (which had no formal link whatsoever to the UUP) – zero

    Which just goes ot show the fundamental dishonesty in unionism when the lack of a formal link of an organisation started and stoked by Unionist leaders is cited.”

    So, despite your efforts to dodge the issue, we can agree, no deaths

    “Number of people killed as a result of any informal co-operation between mainstream unionist politicoans and loyalist pararmilitaries during the UWC – zero

    But to wrap these points up, is the threat of violence okay? I can arm myself, threaten chaos if I don’t get what I want and as long as I get what I want and no one gets hurt, that is ok.

    Is that your position?”

    My positin is that no-one was left without a husband or wife, a father or mother, a brother or sister, or a son or a daughter due to the UWC strike.

    While we’re at it, I can arm myself, threaten chaos if I don’t get what I want and as long as I get what I want and no one gets hurt, that is ok – exactly SF/IRA’s negotiating position throughout the entirity of the Belfast Agreement process and indeed into the Assembly years. That very position you were lauding as having seen SF/IRA eclipse the SDLP.

    “Number of ppeople killed due to mainstream unionist support for a PUP mayor – zero

    No one gets killed by sticking MMG as education minster either, but strangeky Unionism had a different opinion on it at the time. What an incredible statement to make.”

    But MMCG has killed people. A girl I know finished top in NI in one of her A-Level subjects and got a certificate for it. She had it presented to her by the then education minister. The IRA had killed her father for the “crime” of supplying fruit to the security forces. Her courage and forgiveness in in refusing to give up the chance of receiving her honour despite the knowledge that the presenter may well have ordered her father’s murder was exceptional. I, and many unionists, will continue to be outraged by events such as this. That is our right.

    “So, when Ian Paisley came out on the Shankill and said:

    “Number 425 Shankill Road. Do you know who lives there? Pope’s men, that’s who! Forte’s ice cream shop. Who lives there. Italian Papists on the Shankill Road! How about 56 Aden Street? For 97 years a Protestant lived in that house and now there’s a Papist in it. Crimea Street, number 38. Twenty five years that house has been up. Twenty four years a Protestant lived there but there’s a Papist there now,” Paisley told the crowd.

    He bears no responsibility for the attacks that followed? None at all? Plenty of other examples to choose from.”

    Words, not deeds. Nasty sectarian words for sure, but not nasty sectarian murdering deeds. The Irish government and the SDLP could also stand accused of inflaming tensions through heir rhetoric, but I would not hold them reesponsible for the IRA’s murderous activities.

    “Perhaps they didn’t think the Troubles was simply a case of serial killing. Perhaps they thought a vote for SF cemented the peace process. Perhaps moral condemnation wasn’t the top issue in the campaign for them. Who can tell?”

    I’m not trying to tell. I’m giving my views on their voting choices. I believe it makes them scum.

    “Try not to stick words into my mouth. Go have another read there. But in any case, themmums is worse remains a terrible argument if you are going to come in on a high horse.”

    I’m not making a themmuns is worse argument. My position is clear, unionist politicians never =murdered anyone, SF/IRA ones did. Therefore there isn’t a comparison to make

    “Yes, lots of Unionists like to blame the entire troubles on t’other side and not take any responsibility for anything. I’d didn’t set up any equivalences – you did. Let’s accept that SF were much, much worse than the Unionist parties. Themmums was worse remains an argument that will get no traction, particularly when addressed to the people that got the short end of Unionist hypocrisy.”

    What the UUP that came in large part out of the very armed Ulster Volunteers? The one that flirted with loyalist paramilitaries during the UWC strike? That vote in a loyalist mayor of Belfast? Do I even have to *start* on the DUP? – yuor words, kensei. You tried to set up the equivalences back on Oct 31.

    No-one is trying to argue that nationalists (as well as many working class nationalists) got a rough deal by way of the Stormont administration. But that is almost 40 years ago now and the civil rights demanded in the 1960s have long been granted. The IRA did not unleash its bigoted sectarian murder campaign on behalf of downtrodden Catholics oppressed by unionist hypocrisy. It was for purely selfish means of trying to force what it wanted against the wishes of the majority of people on the island. And, yes, I say on the island, because the vast majority of people in the RoI don’t want a 32 county socialist republic either, as proven by SF’s derisory electoral performance there. So quit with the “poor nationalists, the troubles weren’t our fault, we were discriminated against by the bad unionists and were just fighting for our rights” schtick. It’s a pathetic line.

    “Second, the things is, SF hold significant power here. And St’s army of West Belfast Conservatives not withstanding, that is exceedingly likely to remain true. You might want to try a more productive approach than hate, because they are not going anywhere. And within relatively short timescales it’ll be populated by members who were in nappies when the Troubles were going.”

    Ten years ago, no-one would have predicted the current NI political situation. So I remain sceptical of your confidence in SF/IRA’s permanence at the political top table. Adams may have street cunning but he has no strategic vision. If Ruane and McElduff are the best that the non-military wing have to offer, then the new blood appears equally pisspoor. As the reality of participating in British institutions that copperfasten NI’s position as part of the UK become more normal to the nationalist community as a whole, the point of voting for a SF that can’t deliver anything good in terms of sustained quality of life (and I’m not talking about some once-a-year Oirish wankfest, which is the only tangible achievement of theirs you’ve offered up so far), then their support could and should start ebbing away. As soon as a soft nationalist political force, be it SDLP or some expansionist southern party, senses that mood is there, it’s voluntary cross-community coalition and SF oblivion. And good riddance to them.

  31. kensei says:

    Peter

    So, despite your efforts to dodge the issue, we can agree, no deaths

    So that is all that matters in the history of mankind?

    My positin is that no-one was left without a husband or wife, a father or mother, a brother or sister, or a son or a daughter due to the UWC strike.

    That isn’t an answer, Peter. That Halo appears to be getting a bit tarnished, there.

    While we’re at it, I can arm myself, threaten chaos if I don’t get what I want and as long as I get what I want and no one gets hurt, that is ok – exactly SF/IRA’s negotiating position throughout the entirity of the Belfast Agreement process and indeed into the Assembly years. That very position you were lauding as having seen SF/IRA eclipse the SDLP.

    On Slugger, we would term this whataboutery. It’s nothing but trying to avoid the point. And actually, you’re wrong. SF compromised on several major issues. But it needed a peace it could actually sell.

    But MMCG has killed people. A girl I know finished top in NI in one of her A-Level subjects and got a certificate for it. She had it presented to her by the then education minister. The IRA had killed her father for the “crime” of supplying fruit to the security forces. Her courage and forgiveness in in refusing to give up the chance of receiving her honour despite the knowledge that the presenter may well have ordered her father’s murder was exceptional. I, and many unionists, will continue to be outraged by events such as this. That is our right.

    Fine, be as outraged as you like. I’m not denying you it. Just you know, quit the hypocrisy. Which you seemed to miss in your ranting, there.

    Words, not deeds. Nasty sectarian words for sure, but not nasty sectarian murdering deeds. The Irish government and the SDLP could also stand accused of inflaming tensions through heir rhetoric, but I would not hold them reesponsible for the IRA’s murderous activities.

    Ah, right. Incitement is perfectly valid. You can whip up the dogs of war, as Unionist pols have done several times, loyalists can go and shoot people very dead but you bear no responsibility. Sorry, nope. People were attacked as a direct result of that speech. Paisley cannot escape some culpability. for those actions.

    I’m not trying to tell. I’m giving my views on their voting choices. I believe it makes them scum.

    I’m sure that 1. they are losing sleep over it 2. give them a great incentive to vote CUMBLA at the next election 3. will suddenly disappear.

    I’m not making a themmuns is worse argument. My position is clear, unionist politicians never =murdered anyone, SF/IRA ones did. Therefore there isn’t a comparison to make

    Oh but you are. You are saying nevermind everything Unionist politicians did, nevermind the threats, and the incitement, themumms were worse. That is exactly what you are doing.

    I am of course ignoring loyalists here, which while never particularly electorally successful, could not have survived without tactit support from some Unionist communities.

    You tried to set up the equivalences back on Oct 31.

    I didn’t set up any equivalence. I simply pointed out that St Etoinne’s suggestion that Unionists were whiter than white was you know, balls.

    No-one is trying to argue that nationalists (as well as many working class nationalists) got a rough deal by way of the Stormont administration. But that is almost 40 years ago now and the civil rights demanded in the 1960s have long been granted. The IRA did not unleash its bigoted sectarian murder campaign on behalf of downtrodden Catholics oppressed by unionist hypocrisy. It was for purely selfish means of trying to force what it wanted against the wishes of the majority of people on the island. And, yes, I say on the island, because the vast majority of people in the RoI don’t want a 32 county socialist republic either, as proven by SF’s derisory electoral performance there. So quit with the “poor nationalists, the troubles weren’t our fault, we were discriminated against by the bad unionists and were just fighting for our rights” schtick. It’s a pathetic line.

    I didn’t actually say any of that. You did. Perhaps you get confused with the words in your head. The Troubles had several complicated reasons. People joined the IRA for several different reasons. In my opinion, the IRA campaign was counter productive and I couldn’t be fucked dealing with the rest of ranting.

    Ten years ago, no-one would have predicted the current NI political situation. So I remain sceptical of your confidence in SF/IRA’s permanence at the political top table. Adams may have street cunning but he has no strategic vision. If Ruane and McElduff are the best that the non-military wing have to offer, then the new blood appears equally pisspoor. As the reality of participating in British institutions that copperfasten NI’s position as part of the UK become more normal to the nationalist community as a whole, the point of voting for a SF that can’t deliver anything good in terms of sustained quality of life (and I’m not talking about some once-a-year Oirish wankfest, which is the only tangible achievement of theirs you’ve offered up so far), then their support could and should start ebbing away. As soon as a soft nationalist political force, be it SDLP or some expansionist southern party, senses that mood is there, it’s voluntary cross-community coalition and SF oblivion. And good riddance to them.

    I’d have predicted with certainy ten years ago that SF would eclipse the SDLP, they were growing very fast. I’d have also hazarded a guess that the DUP would eventually eclipse the UUP, since the latter were riven by splits. There is little evidence of any threat to SF at the moment. That may change, but what you are doing is projecting or to be more accurate, having a Unionist wet dream. I also find it hilarious that you think a revitalised SDLP or an FF would just acquiese to Unionist wishes. Best deal with reality, rather than what’s in your heid.

  32. peteram79 says:

    “So that is all that matters in the history of mankind?”

    “That isn’t an answer, Peter. That Halo appears to be getting a bit tarnished, there.”

    You can make strange comments all you like, kensei, but you can’t get away from the uncomfortable position. No constitutional unionist grouping has ever embarked on a campaign of bigoted murder. SF/IRA has. You cannot get away from that.

    “On Slugger, we would term this whataboutery. It’s nothing but trying to avoid the point. And actually, you’re wrong. SF compromised on several major issues. But it needed a peace it could actually sell.”

    You criticized unionism at the time of the UWC strike for threatening violence to get what they want. I pointed out that the same tactic was exactly that used by SF/IRA throughout the whole Belfast Agreement process. But “Slugger says that’s whataboutery”. I’ve got news for you, kensei, I couldn’t give a flying fuck what Slugger calls it. You tried to go back to an irrelevance of 35 years ago, you got it thrown back in your face, you cried foul. Hardly impressive.

    “Fine, be as outraged as you like. I’m not denying you it. Just you know, quit the hypocrisy. Which you seemed to miss in your ranting, there.”

    Ah, brilliant, a situation you cannot simply explain away, so you accuse someone of ranting and hypocrisy, when you have nothing to back up the claims. I’d take your oewn advice and quit now, before you further embarrass yourself.

    “Ah, right. Incitement is perfectly valid. You can whip up the dogs of war, as Unionist pols have done several times, loyalists can go and shoot people very dead but you bear no responsibility. Sorry, nope. People were attacked as a direct result of that speech. Paisley cannot escape some culpability. for those actions.”

    Incitement isn’t correct,no. I’d suggest that the UUP, the DUP, the SDLP and the Irish Government probably all have to take a look at themselves and conclude that a bit more temperance would have helped the situation in the long term. However, none of these players carried out murderous acts. There’s a certain organisation that did, oh yes, SF/IRA again.

    “I’m sure that 1. they are losing sleep over it 2. give them a great incentive to vote CUMBLA at the next election 3. will suddenly disappear.”

    I don’t really care if core SF voters don’t vote for anyone other than SF or if they care that they are scumbags. They are irrevelances that have lost the argument. The only thing that the ordinary decent inhabitants of NI have to swallow about the scum of West Belfast is that their tax bill funds them. That is all.

    “Oh but you are. You are saying nevermind everything Unionist politicians did, nevermind the threats, and the incitement, themumms were worse. That is exactly what you are doing.

    I am of course ignoring loyalists here, which while never particularly electorally successful, could not have survived without tactit support from some Unionist communities.”

    You are hoist on your own hate-filled petard here, kensei. Just look at your accusations “Unionist politicians, threats, incitement, loyalists never particularly electorally successful, could not have survived, tactit support, some Unionist communities.”

    It doesn’t really sneak past the key points doe it – unionists don’t kill people, loyalists don’t get votes, SF/IRA kill people and get votes.

    “I didn’t set up any equivalence. I simply pointed out that St Etoinne’s suggestion that Unionists were whiter than white was you know, balls.”

    I’m afraid you did and you’re still trying to. Unionist politicians killed no-one, SF -IRA politicians through their orders and own actions killed thousands of people.

    “I didn’t actually say any of that. You did. Perhaps you get confused with the words in your head. The Troubles had several complicated reasons. People joined the IRA for several different reasons. In my opinion, the IRA campaign was counter productive and I couldn’t be fucked dealing with the rest of ranting.”

    How can the IRA campaign be counterproductive , yet SF as the party that could deliver, which was entirely based on British government fears they’d go back to terrorism and bomb England, be a valid argument? I’m afraid you’ve gone down another blind alley here, kensei, not helped by your “I can’t be fucked” trying to even attempt to answer your remaining valid points “answer”.

    “I’d have predicted with certainy ten years ago that SF would eclipse the SDLP, they were growing very fast. I’d have also hazarded a guess that the DUP would eventually eclipse the UUP, since the latter were riven by splits. There is little evidence of any threat to SF at the moment. That may change, but what you are doing is projecting or to be more accurate, having a Unionist wet dream. I also find it hilarious that you think a revitalised SDLP or an FF would just acquiese to Unionist wishes. Best deal with reality, rather than what’s in your heid.”

    I just love this. You don’t seem to have realised that the majority of the NI electorate haven’t voted for SF/IRA. Indeed, the majority haven’t voted for either SF/IRA or the DUP What most people are most concerned with is some sort of system that improves their quality of life on a daily basis. The challenge the moderate parties face is translating this desire into votes that allow them the leeway to sweep away those politicians that would have us entirely stuck in pointless tribal conflict. Fortunately, all parties except SF/IRA will benefit from acceptance of this new situation. It is SF/IRA and their supporters who will soon be waking up from their dream and it won’t be wet for them, more likely brown.

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