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The earthquake in Northern Ireland

Whilst Britain remains fixated on the aftermath of Tony Blair’s unprecedented third term victory against their intellectually bankrupt and dependably inept opponents, it would behove people in Britain to pay a bit more attention to the electoral earthquake which shook Ulster which has resulted in David Trimble’s relatively moderate Ulster Unionist Party has almost completely collapsing in favour of Ian Paisley Democratic Unionist Party.

Now that the only two significant political players locally are the two extremist parties from either side of the sectarian divide, things look like they are about to get dramatically more… interesting. The message from the Northern Ireland’s protestant majority seems pretty damn clear to me but is anyone actually listening? I have a feeling I am going to be spending a lot more time keeping tabs on what get said on Slugger O’Toole, that most indispensable source of insights for all things Northern Irish, to see how things develop.

80 comments to The earthquake in Northern Ireland

  • Actually it is not really a sectarian dispute but an ethnic one. The Catholics are descended from Ireland’s indigenous population while the Protestants are descended from British colonists. Also the UUP are not really that moderate, they just know how to handle the media better than the DUP. The main difference between the UUP and the DUP is that the DUP has always been a more working-class party while the UUP represents the colonial middle class.

  • Old Jack Tar

    Diarmid, that is probably why he called the UUP ‘relatively’ moderate rather than some of the silly things I have been reading in the UK papers which were acting as if bloody Trimble was Mohatma Gandi and Mother Theresa’s love child rather than just a pragmatic Orange politcal hack who overplayed his hand.

  • Rich

    And Peter Hain an orange man if ever I saw one, smack in the middle.

  • Matra

    Unsurprisingly, the Catholics decided to reward the IRA – Adams own personal vote increased – despite what commentators in England were hoping in the wake of the McCartney murder. The UUP were seen (correctly) as mugs who thought they could trust Labour and Sinn Fein/IRA. They managed to retain the upper middle class vote but those Protestants closer to the action knew better. For some time now the UUP had sounded like those Europhile Tories claiming we have nothing to fear from greater EU integration: that is, condescending and out of touch.

  • I would echo Diarmid’s views if not sentiments. The Ulster dispute is about borders principally where the border between the UK and the Republic of Ireland should be.

    It has nothing to do with religion.

  • John Rippengal

    So what is the Celtic/Rangers syndrome about in Scotland Patrick.

  • Dave

    If its not about religion you could also say its not about ethnicity, just a bunch of stuborn people who wont let go of the past. But maybe its not so simple as that after all?

    Diarmid: “The Catholics are descended from Ireland’s indigenous population while the Protestants are descended from British colonists.”

    The indigenous population as you call it was invaded by the Vikings and then “in the early 10th century a new wave of Scandinavians arrived from northern France” and then by the English (acting as foreign mercenaries for a deposed Irish King) and later by the British.
    Real pedigrees those Irish Republicans must be.

    Peoples ethnicity often isnt what they think it is, 10% of Blacks in the USA are genetically more than 50% European.
    My dad consideres himself a “Northerner” even though he was born in the Midlands and only lived in the North of England for 14 out of his 50+ years.

  • The DUP’s 79-year old leader is certainly an extremist, but what of those who will inherit his party? Men like Jeffrey Donaldson, Nigel Dodd, Peter Robinson are not Ian Paisleys but moderate, articulate representatives of unionism who were prescient enough to see where making too many concessions to terrorism would lead.

  • In this discussion of “etnicity” I am reminded of something that Enoch Powell once said: “Your nationality is what you feel.”

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Re: Comments from another thread about England cutting loose its Celtic colonies. Does England include Ulster in the group of regions it plans to set free? Northern Ireland must take a lot more from London than it gives in terms of revenue.

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Okay, Ulster is by definition not Celtic, but you get my point.

  • Clearly Ulster is Celtic, but this whole discussion is really beside the point.

  • GF

    In this discussion of “etnicity” I am reminded of something that Enoch Powell once said: “Your nationality is what you feel.”

    Shame that won’t get me an American passport though…

  • Euan Gray

    Does England include Ulster in the group of regions it plans to set free?

    Of course. Don’t you remember John Major’s declaration that Britain had “no selfish strategic interest” in Northern Ireland? This is due to the end of the Cold War and consequent elimination of the strategic benefits of naval and air staging posts in the north-west of Britain’s area of responsibility. Essentially it’s code for “we want out.”

    I don’t think London particularly cares what happens in Ulster any more, nor do I think it has cared for a decade and a half. Large numbers of British troops have been tied up for decades in a colonial police action which could have been resolved ages ago had not both sides of the native population been such a bunch of legalistic pedants continually banging on about honour, decency and the law – the while kneecapping each other and running drug and prostitution rackets to gain money.

    I think London is basically keen to find any reasonably swift and painless way out. Some fig leaf of autonomy within the UK would work, again if the restive natives would let it. Ultimately, I think Ulster may be given a stark choice – independence or union with the Republic. I don’t think, therefore, that there is any long term significance in the demise of the UUP and ascent of the DUP, and I cannot see it is an earthquake. I think it’s rather the last spasm of a unionist lobby which can see the writing on the wall and is getting desperate.

    EG

  • gravid

    I live in Norn Iron. We may be a mongrel race but who isn’t? I hold an Irish passport yet held a British one previously. What is my nationality then? Is it what I say it is or is it what I am told it is? The “economy” here is held up by money from the British govt and I can see the rest of the UK wanting to cut the ties to that albatross sooner rather than later. Euan has a point in that the rackets that the “troubles” have enabled are now so deepely entrenched that none of the particpants will ever let go of the revenue streams they have created. Independance is a null point as we couldn’t economically sustain ourselves that way, I think. The populace seem to have spoken and asked for the past 37 years of nonsense to be continued. Give me strength !

  • Euan Gray

    If you cannot see that the endgame is unfolding before your eyes, you are blind

    The facts that (a) you obviously haven’t understood very much of what I have written and (b) you posted your glib response in the wrong thread doesn’t say terribly much for your own visual powers.

    OF COURSE the “endgame” is unfolding. That’s my blasted point. However, the “endgame” is simply the orderly withdrawal of British authority from Ulster. And frankly, after decades of being shot at and abused by both sides, who is going to blame London?

    The Republicans know they have essentially won – or rather, since Ulster is no longer useful to Britain, they have been handed victory by a government that basically just doesn’t give a damn any more. They will largely eschew violence for now, but I think their calculation is that in a few years they will need violence again to suppress the Unionist rump. Hence the reulctance to surrender arms. I can’t imagine the British particularly care, provided they can extricate themselves before that happens. The Unionists can see the writing on the wall, and are wriggling and twisting accordingly. In vain, I think – Britain gains absolutely nothing whatever for being in Ulster, and loses a great deal. It costs a fortune and it costs lives, in return for what? – nothing.

    It is so monumentally unimportant as far as Britain is concerned. Nobody cares any more. Unionists delude themselves if they think Ulster matters to London, or that London is going to fight any more. I think you’ll find that the last struggle the British are going to make is to try and cudgel some sense into the knuckle-dragging 17th century politicians on both sides and achieve some semblance of relatively stable self-government. Then they’re going to bugger off. That’s your endgame.

    EG

  • Gravid

    Euan, I agree with you on your last post. . The unionists are living in a little dream world ( I am not on anyones side except my own ! ) and I do believe they are scared of Britain dropping them like a hot stone. Quite where we’ll be if the “Marxists” gain control here is anyones guess.
    A question to all, if the north of Ireland is of no use ( I am not arguing that it is of use ) then what use is say, the Falkland islands? Shouldn’t we let them go back to those who want them back, so to speak?

  • Euan Gray

    what use is say, the Falkland islands?

    Oil. Minerals. Fish. Jumping off point for Antarctic exploitation.

    EG

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Perry – I thought the Unionists saw themselves as English and Ulster part of England? And I thought you’d be used to threads spinning off topic! :)

  • The political wing of the two extremist groups are now facing each other with the middle ground shrinking by the day and that is not a radical change? Are you oblivious to the potential for violence? Euan, your remarks are hardly worth responding to if you think this is all no big deal.

  • Euan Gray

    Euan, your remarks are hardly worth responding to if you think this is all no big deal.

    In historical terms, it simply ISN’T a big deal. British withdrawal from Ireland has been inevitable for a very long time, and the end of the Cold War has simply accelerated the process. The local population has finally figured this out and is polarising in response, just as they tend to do everywhere when a fundamental political-strategic change is underway. That this surprises anyone surprises me.

    EG

  • gravid

    Hmmph..just spent time writing a long missive only for it to disappear into the ether.

    Withdrawal has been on the cards since the troops arrived, not a new idea.

    Unionist population not happy with UUP and have turned back to the DUP. SF talk sense ( scary as it may be ) on telly and in the papers and are seen as being able to get stuff done, hence the vote swing. ( All loonies in my eyes ). This July should herald “public disorder” I reckon as the DUP demand their right to march the Queens highway etc. If I did it I’d be arrested for public nuisance. EG, it’s all a big deal to everyone who lives here whether they are involved with either grouping or not.
    In historical terms, it simply ISN’T a big deal. My arse, I say.

  • Matra

    Euan – you say the Unionists are deluding themselves if they think London and people in mainland Britain care about them. I’m afraid you are at least 30 years behind the times. Ulster Protestants have been well aware of mainland UK’s views of them since at least the early days of the Troubles. It is just one of the reasons why Unionists have, to use the old phrase, a siege mentality. They know that no matter how reliable they were to London in wars throughout history that almost any British government would drop them like a hot potato given the chance. Such was the reason for Trimble’s need to trust Blair to have his back, so to speak, when he went against Unionist history and signed a deal not only with Nationalists, but violent Republicans. Lack of mainland UK support is one of the reasons for what the leftist media refer to as “Unionist intransigence”. Of course, demographics is another reason!

    Also, the polarisation of Northern Ireland did not happen as a result of the end of the Cold War. It’s been that way for some time – as you ought to have noticed. British governments did not hold on to N Ireland during in the Cold War for strategic reasons. It held/holds on because a withdrawal would lead to a civil war. Also, as Tom Hadden and Kevin Boyle put it in their book Ireland: A Positive Proposal “there is no precedent other than in Nazi Germany and South Africa for the expulsion and arbitrary denationalisation of large numbers of loyal, if aggravating, citizens. Nor could the forcible transfer of territory to another state against the wishes of the majority of its inhabitants be justified in contemporary international law.” The Unionists are holding Britain to its history – something that is never easy to escape.

    BTW the person who said Ulster Protestants see themselves as English ought to wise up. No one in the UK outside of England sees themselves as English. English and British are not synonyms!

  • Julian Taylor

    What would actually be the effect of uniting Northern Ireland and Eire and has anyone researched this? What are the views of the Southern Irish about the possibility of having their population dramatically increased from about 4 million to nearly 6 million and, of course, the big question is how would the Unionists react to a complete sellout of their interests by Hain and Blair?

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Matra – that was me. Consider myself all the wiser after standing under the shower of your pearls of wisdom. :P

  • The indigenous population as you call it was invaded by the Vikings

    The Vikings did not have any major effect on Ireland’s demographics. In fact, the Irish are actually more closely related to the Basques than they are to the English:

    More About Genes – The Irish Really are a race apart

    Genes link Celts to Basques

  • John O'Dea

    No one has mentioned the SDLP who despite plenty of warnings of their eminent despise left the election with 18% of the vote and 3 seat (vs SF 24% and 4).

    Moderation isn’t quite as dead yet.

  • No one has mentioned the SDLP who despite plenty of warnings of their eminent despise left the election with 18% of the vote and 3 seat (vs SF 24% and 4).

    The SDLP actually lost a seat to Sinn Fein – but gained one from the UUP – and also saw their majority in Foyle – John Hume’s old constituency – reduced. In addition, the council elections did not work out too well for the SDLP:

    Northern Ireland councils overview

    One of the things that the media has tried to overlook is that the SDLP keeps losing ground to Sinn Fein.

  • The debate goes to the heart of what it means to be a citizen of a particular country. As one who grew up in Belfast and didn’t live anywhere else until 2004, it is clear to me that the following statements are true:

    1) There are legitimate grievances on both sides of the divide

    2) If you go back far enough, many different groups of people all over the world in every continent can make claims on many different patches of land because at one point in their past (as some kind of collective; eg. race, religion, whatever) the land belonged to their ancestors

    3) The British occupied a huge portion of the globe – NI simply happens to be one that still remains British

    4) The Belfast Agreement, if upheld, demands that NI remain British until such a time as the majority who live in NI wish otherwise

    5) The government’s job is to uphold LAW. Since NI is a part of the UK, the government of the UK has the job of upholding law in NI (including any Thatcher-style punishment of criminals, no matter which political group they happen to claim to be acting on behalf of)

    6) Perhaps if point (5) had been enforced consistently and fully throughout the years, we would not be in the crap we are now in.

    To answer the questions of the bigger debate, we must ask ourselves: how far back into history should we reach in order to right the wrongs that people have done to each other?

  • The debate goes to the heart of what it means to be a citizen of a particular country. As one who grew up in Belfast and didn’t live anywhere else until 2004, it is clear to me that the following statements are true:

    1) There are legitimate grievances on both sides of the divide

    2) If you go back far enough, many different groups of people all over the world in every continent can make claims on many different patches of land because at one point in their past (as some kind of collective; eg. race, religion, whatever) the land belonged to their ancestors

    3) The British occupied a huge portion of the globe – NI simply happens to be one that still remains British

    4) The Belfast Agreement, if upheld, demands that NI remain British until such a time as the majority who live in NI wish otherwise

    5) The government’s job is to uphold LAW. Since NI is a part of the UK, the government of the UK has the job of upholding law in NI (including any Thatcher-style punishment of criminals, no matter which political group they happen to claim to be acting on behalf of)

    6) Perhaps if point (5) had been enforced consistently and fully throughout the years, we would not be in the crap we are now in.

    To answer the questions of the bigger debate, we must ask ourselves: how far back into history should we reach in order to right the wrongs that people have done to each other?

  • James

    What are the views of the Southern Irish about the possibility of having their population dramatically increased from about 4 million to nearly 6 million

    I can tell you the view of most people I’d know. They’d say “No Thanks”. Take on a chunk of extra people, many of whom can’t bear each other because they worship the same god in different ways? After all the crap we went through with the Church here and trying to negate their power? Take on segregated schooling, or worse, have incidents like Holy Cross to deal with? Not to mention marching season? To welcome into our midst a bunch of fanatics and terrorist organizations who’ve killed our citizens and robbed our money, and who run prostitution and drug rings that are already a blight on our nation? To take on a stagnant economy with little prospect of changing for the better until the people have had enough of hating and kicking the shit out of each other?

    If Britain wanted it badly enough to allow it to turn into this, then they’re welcome to it.

  • Old Jack Tar

    That this surprises anyone surprises me

    Did it ever occur to you that maybe that could be because you do not know what you are talking about? No, silly me, that could not POSSIBLY be the case.

    A civil war which has affected much of the country at various time since the 1960’s (my son has a scar on his back from a metal splinter from an IRA bomb) is entering a whole new and unpredictable phase and that is… no big deal. Right. Got it. Welcome to my ignore list, Euan.

  • Gravid

    Matra, you said it, I was ignoring that stupid comment.
    The Republic Of Ireland don’t want the north, the British don’t want the north. Sticky wicket methinks.
    I agree with Tar ( Euan hasn’t a notion ). Things have the potential to get rather ugly, knowing people here in NI, this summer will show “public” feeling ie the nutters will be on the streets again. The feeling of being backed into a corner will make people more readily prepared to resort to violence. Stating the obvious probably.

  • John K

    NI has to stay a part of the UK because the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about. If Britain pulled out what would happen? Would the Republic move in to police it? They probably have fewer men under arms than the IRA. And why would the Republic want a million bolshy Protestants anyway? The Republic works quite nicely as it is, it is rich, peaceful, and does not need the aggro. The last thing Dublin wants is Brits out of the North.

    It is easy to see that in that scenario NI might sink into a Balkan style period of ethnic cleansing, as extremists on both sides attempted to carve out their own statelets. Eventually UN peace keeping troops might have to be brought in, which takes us back to square one, only worse. A rather awful prospect for one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council surely?

    Thank God we have Peter Hain on hand to sort this out. Now there’s a straight talking man you can trust.

  • John Rippengal

    The use of the word ‘colonial’ in relation to the Irish question is a sure sign of a US origin. How a fully enfranchised set of people able to come and go wherever they like in the UK can be said to be a ‘colony’ beats me. However everybody knows that ‘colony’ is a BAD word so that’s it then isn’t it.

    The issue is and was a religious one of mediaeval primitiveness. The catholic church in Ireland were until recently living in hardly post inquisition times and that corruption and indeed criminality is what is seen in what is now called the ‘Republican’ movement.
    Fortunately for the Irish they have sloughed off the dictation of this morally bankrupt church.

    The claimed ethnicity is a joke. Mind you the most successful colonisers – the Europeans who currently occupy the USA – solved their colonial ethnicity problem of the indigenous people by wiping out the whole effing lot. British never did that.

    I’ve often wondered if – on US terms – the confederate south could be considered a colony of the Yankee north.

  • Gravid

    Not having any religious beliefs is a positive bonus in NI. Not all Catholics are Republican and not all Protestants are “Bolshy”. That was a rather daft comment. No-one wants NI. Why would they, as we are seen to be a bunch of lunatics at each others throats? The fact that William of Orange came to Ireland to fight the English catholic King seems to have been swept under the carpet by the unionist fraternity here. In the light of this information isn’t all the religious hatred a nonsense? It’s the english who were the enemy in the 17th century. We’re all friends now though.( There is some humour here, honestly)

  • John K

    not all Protestants are “Bolshy”. That was a rather daft comment.

    Was it? How do you think the Protestants would react if they were dragooned into the Republic? I think they might…protest.

    No-one wants NI.

    Exactly. So what happens if the Brits pull out but the Republic does not move in? Kosovo? Bosnia? That’s why the Brits can’t leave.

  • So what happens if the Brits pull out but the Republic does not move in? Kosovo? Bosnia? That’s why the Brits can’t leave.

    Of course the Republic would move in. The best way to bring peace to the north of Ireland would be to repatriate the British colonists to Britain. Scotland, for example, is experiencing a population decline that the Unionists could help to solve:

    Scotland’s population swelled by largest immigration in 50 years

    Professor calls for more migrants to help avoid calamity

    Why is Scotland’s population shrinking and ageing? – A new research initiative

  • The use of the word ‘colonial’ in relation to the Irish question is a sure sign of a US origin. How a fully enfranchised set of people able to come and go wherever they like in the UK can be said to be a ‘colony’ beats me. However everybody knows that ‘colony’ is a BAD word so that’s it then isn’t it.

    The north of Ireland is a British colony because the only people who want it to remain under British rule are those of British ancestry. The people in the north of indigenous Irish ancestry want it to be reunited with the Republic of Ireland.

    The catholic church in Ireland were until recently living in hardly post inquisition times and that corruption and indeed criminality is what is seen in what is now called the ‘Republican’ movement.
    Fortunately for the Irish they have sloughed off the dictation of this morally bankrupt church.

    And I suppose you would consider Ian Paisley’s church to be superior?

  • The Last Toryboy

    “Repatriate the British colonists”

    you mean the ones who’ve been there for 400 years?

    …I think its talk like that which might drive them to “protest”, in the words of John K.

    What about an independent Northern Ireland? It was floated more than once in the past, as I understand it.

  • Eamonn McKay

    How typical of the Nazi style blood and soil garbage we hear from the loopier elements of the Republican side. How many generations do my ancestors have to live here for me not to be a colonist? I can trace my Protestant ancestry here in Ulster to 1691. Moreover my family has intermarried with Catholics many time over that period, so you are just talking drivel. Perhaps you would like to try forcing us out? There may come a time for the Brits to leave but I don’t think Diarmid is going to like what happens next.

    And yes, I voted DUP

  • Ray

    I am a Unionist, I have lived all my life in Norn Iron and I have Scottish protestant and irish Catholic ancestors: am I a colonial or indigenous native?

    I have nine cousins who have one protestant parent and one catholic parent: all are being raised as protestants. Does their religion make them colonials?

    If you can’t go on surnames or religion then what criterion will be used: how close together your eyes are?

    Gerry Adams has an English surname as do many nationalists: should he be deported or does he get to stay through his idealogical purity?

    Any attempt to seperate the people of Northern Ireland on ethnic grounds is lunacy. Just because there are a few ethnically pure “irish” in the west of Ireland does not mean that the people of Northern Ireland can be seperated on ethnic grounds. Catch a grip.

  • you mean the ones who’ve been there for 400 years?

    Colonialism doesn’t have an expiration date.

    What about an independent Northern Ireland? It was floated more than once in the past, as I understand it.

    The only people who support that come from the British colonial population. The indigenous Irish want an united Ireland.

  • John K

    There has been a huge movement of populations between the north of Ireland and Scotland over the centuries. Where would you begin to sort out who has colonised whom? Would the descendants of Irish people who moved to Glasgow in the 19th Century have to go back to Ireland?

    Why is it all right to talk in these terms about Irish people, Catholic or Protestant, but if you were to say that British people of Pakistani descent should be sent “back” to Pakistan, even if they were born in the UK you would be called a bigot, and rightly so.

    And how Irish does de Valera sound? He must be a foreigner, send him back to Portugal.

  • I am a Unionist, I have lived all my life in Norn Iron and I have Scottish protestant and irish Catholic ancestors: am I a colonial or indigenous native?

    You are a British colonist with some uncle tom indigenous Irish ancestors. Any member of an indigenous population that would intermarry with a colonist is a traitor.

    Gerry Adams has an English surname as do many nationalists: should he be deported or does he get to stay through his idealogical purity?

    Under British rule, the Irish language was illegal and so many Irish people either had to anglicise their names or take on British ones. It is unlikely that Gerry Adams has any English ancestry.

    Any attempt to seperate the people of Northern Ireland on ethnic grounds is lunacy. Just because there are a few ethnically pure “irish” in the west of Ireland does not mean that the people of Northern Ireland can be seperated on ethnic grounds. Catch a grip.

    Sorry but just because you can’t deal with the reality of British colonialism in the north of Ireland does not mean that I have to ignore reality. You are descended from British colonists and Irish traitors. Deal with it.

  • There has been a huge movement of populations between the north of Ireland and Scotland over the centuries. Where would you begin to sort out who has colonised whom?

    It is very simple to spot the British colonists in the north of Ireland. They are the ones who want to maintain British rule. The natives are the ones that want an united Ireland.

    Would the descendants of Irish people who moved to Glasgow in the 19th Century have to go back to Ireland?

    No part of Scotland is under Irish colonial rule. You obviously do not understand the difference between a colonist and an immigrant.

  • John K

    The indigenous Irish want an united Ireland.

    And how would that work if there were a million people who did not want to be part of this united Ireland? Would they be forced out at the point of a gun? Is ethnic cleansing really the policy you are proposing for a western European country in 2005?

    Do you really think the Republic wants this problem? Even if the Ulster Protestants stayed on, they would form about 20 to 25% of the population of the new state. Do you think Dublin wants that?

  • And how would that work if there were a million people who did not want to be part of this united Ireland? Would they be forced out at the point of a gun? Is ethnic cleansing really the policy you are proposing for a western European country in 2005?

    Why not? Violence was used to bring the north of Ireland under British colonial rule so why shouldn’t violence be used to end it?

  • Do you really think the Republic wants this problem? Even if the Ulster Protestants stayed on, they would form about 20 to 25% of the population of the new state. Do you think Dublin wants that?

    No, which is why the British colonists should be repatriated to Britain. As I said previously, Scotland is in need of more immigrants.

  • John K

    Diarmid,

    I live in England but my great-grandparents on my mother’s side came over from Ireland in the late 19th Century. What does that make me? Am I Irish enough for you? Have I got to move back to Ireland? If so can I stay at your house please?

    It is very simple to spot the British colonists in the north of Ireland. They are the ones who want to maintain British rule

    So if a Northern Irish Catholic should prefer the staus quo to the possible civil war following a British withdrawal, then he is really a Scottish colonist?

    No part of Scotland is under Irish colonial rule.

    You are obviously unfamiliar with the Glasgow Labour Party.

  • How typical of the Nazi style blood and soil garbage we hear from the loopier elements of the Republican side. How many generations do my ancestors have to live here for me not to be a colonist? I can trace my Protestant ancestry here in Ulster to 1691.

    In other words, you are the descendant of British colonists which makes you one as well.

  • John K

    Why not? Violence was used to bring the north of Ireland under British colonial rule so why shouldn’t violence be used to end it?

    Fair enough, you’ve given a straight answer to a straight question. Mind you, I think you’re cracked, but at least we know where you stand. I just hope your vision never comes to pass, because I would rather that the horrors of Bosnia don’t end up happening in Northern Ireland. Maybe it’s just me, but the idea of tens of thousands of innocent people being killed in a campaign of ethnic cleansing does not thrill me.

  • I live in England but my great-grandparents on my mother’s side came over from Ireland in the late 19th Century. What does that make me? Am I Irish enough for you? Have I got to move back to Ireland? If so can I stay at your house please?

    The question here is are you forcing the indigenous English to live under Irish colonial rule?

    So if a Northern Irish Catholic should prefer the staus quo to the possible civil war following a British withdrawal, then he is really a Scottish colonist?

    Any indigenous Irish person who prefers colonial rule is a traitor.

    You are obviously unfamiliar with the Glasgow Labour Party.

    I think you should leave the comedy to the professionals.

  • I just hope your vision never comes to pass, because I would rather that the horrors of Bosnia don’t end up happening in Northern Ireland. Maybe it’s just me, but the idea of tens of thousands of innocent people being killed in a campaign of ethnic cleansing does not thrill me.

    You would rather see the indigenous Irish population live under British colonial rule that they don’t want?

  • John K

    I think you should leave the comedy to the professionals.

    To be honest, I think it’s you who needs professional help.

  • To be honest, I think it’s you who needs professional help

    If you believe me to be insane why are you wasting your time corresponding with me?

  • John K

    You would rather see the indigenous Irish population live under British colonial rule that they don’t want?

    Frankly, yes. Better that than thousands dead. Northern Ireland in 2005 is hardly Poland in 1943. It’s not even Northern Ireland in 1969. There is universal suffrage, free speech, it is no longer a Protestant state for a Protestant people. As a Nationalist you do not even need a UK passport do you? You can legally travel under an Irish passport. The future for Northern Ireland could be really good. If you had any sense you’d milk the British and Euro taxpayers for as much money as you could and build a pretty decent society. Is it worth wishing for a civil war and ethnic cleansing to try and somehow avenge the wrongs of long ago?

  • John K

    If you believe me to be insane why are you wasting your time corresponding with me?

    I didn’t say you were insane, but I think your ideas are completely haywire. If you think either Britain or the Republic would ever be party to the ethnic cleansing of one million people you are living in a fantasy land. It so obviously can never happen, why are you wasting your time dreaming about it?

  • Frankly, yes. Better that than thousands dead.

    If the British colonists willingly return to Britain there would be no need for violence. If they insist on staying then they have only themselves to blame for what happens.

    There is universal suffrage, free speech, it is no longer a Protestant state for a Protestant people.

    Tell that to the DUP.

    As a Nationalist you do not even need a UK passport do you? You can legally travel under an Irish passport.

    So what?

    The future for Northern Ireland could be really good.

    The future of the north of Ireland could be really good if British colonial rule was ended, the colonists repatriated to Britain and the region reunited with the Republic of Ireland.

    If you had any sense you’d milk the British and Euro taxpayers for as much money as you could and build a pretty decent society.

    I would rather have a free and united Ireland.

    Is it worth wishing for a civil war and ethnic cleansing to try and somehow avenge the wrongs of long ago?

    British colonialism is an ongoing crime against the indigenous Irish people of the north of Ireland and so we are not talking about the wrongs of “long ago” but of the present.

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Diarmid, you are an idiot. Population displacement and intermingling is the story of the human race. Eamonn says he can trace his heritage in Ulster back to 1691. That makes him Irish by the yardstick of most rational people. Deal with it.

  • If you think either Britain or the Republic would ever be party to the ethnic cleansing of one million people you are living in a fantasy land. It so obviously can never happen, why are you wasting your time dreaming about it?

    Because it is the only way to end British colonial rule in the north of Ireland.

  • Diarmid, you are an idiot. Population displacement and intermingling is the story of the human race. Eamonn says he can trace his heritage in Ulster back to 1691. That makes him Irish by the yardstick of most rational people.

    No, it makes him a British colonist by the yardstick of the indigenous Irish population.

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Okay, you completely skipped my point about population displacement. However, I’ve just been convinced you’re a few four-leaf-clovers short of a bunch, so I am disengaging you….NOW!

  • John Rippengal

    Great word ‘indigenous’. Where exactly are the Celts including the Irish ‘indigenous’. We all came from central Europe (I am including the half of me which is Welsh). (However there is a great deal of southern European blood in Wales and Cornwall and in Ireland too.) So certainly the Welsh Celts colonised England and Wales and the Irish Celts colonised Ireland no doubt wiping out the ‘indigenous’ population. Then the Anglo-Saxons plus a variety of other Northern Europeans colonised England mainly.
    So where would Mr Logan like us to start to reverse all this and how would he propose going about it.
    It looks as though massacre and murder figure highly but is that really in anybodies interest.
    And how about democracy. Don’t the majority of Northern Islanders have any say in anything?

  • Gravid

    Diarmud, by your reckoning anyone who consorted with the invaders or is an invader should leave?
    How pure is your blood ? No Arab blood from the Moors who visited our island? If so you shoul leave now. You exhibit the sort of attitude that I would gleefully see vanish from my country. I hold an Irish passport yet am neither Catholic ( nor any other mumbo jumbo ) nor a citizen of the Republic. Are you trying to tell me I am no longer welcome in my own home?
    Quite frankly reading through your responses has led me to believe that you are part of the problem on our wee island. If you honestly think it makes a difference if we have a British or Irish govt lording over us when they are all lying scumbags then you are a sandwich short of a picnic. Since you advocate eugenics so much get your DNA tested and come back and tell me you are genetically pure. We all live here it’s about time we tried to get on with the important stuff and not live in the past. Even Sinn Fein are taking this line !

  • Gravid

    Diarmid, I just had a look at your blog you little rascal.
    Using a picture of Slaine, drawn by the British colonial invaders !!!!! In a British colonial comic !!!!!

    Tsk, Tsk.

  • Matra

    I’d like to thank Diarmid for helping any non-Northern Irish readers understand why Prods (myself included) vote for parties like the DUP. I’m sure he’s made a lot of English readers understand the true nature of Irish Republicanism and what the Unionist community is up against. Compromise and other forms of moderation don’t work with people whose views are based on (official) nationalist mythology and racial purity who are backed by a private army and mafia organisation. I just wish Sinn Fein/IRA spokesmen were as honest as Diarmid.

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Matra – yeah, he’s so on the nose I’m starting to suspect he’s a Protestant agent provocateur!

  • John K

    I’m hoping Diarmid is a wind-up merchant. The alternative is quite scary.

  • lindenen

    “I’ve often wondered if – on US terms – the confederate south could be considered a colony of the Yankee north.”

    In some ways, yeah, it is. Albion’s Seed mentions Northern attempts to civilize the barbarian southerners going back a long long time. They never fully succeeded in their colonialism which is why we have this lovely red state-blue state divide mumbo jumbo. The US Civil War was like a replay of the English Civil War with the Cavaliers versus the Roundheads but with more death and destruction.

  • I have both Orange and Green relations in Ulster and I have seen ethno-fascists like Diarmid before though in fact he reminds me more of the some of the folks I encountered in Bosnia and Croatia in the 1990’s.

  • James

    Of course the Republic would move in

    You’re dreaming. Wouldn’t happen. Not a chance in Christian hell.

  • James

    Because it is the only way to end British colonial rule in the north of Ireland.

    But look what the place has turned into. Why on Earth would we want it back?

  • John K

    I take it James is writing from the Republic, and I agree with him. Why would the Republic want to take responsibility for a province with a million Protestants in it who don’t want to be part of the Republic?

    As a modern state there is no way the Republic could ethnically cleanse NI. If the IRA tried it with the guns they have been so reluctant to “decommission” they might find that the PSNI and armed civilians would have something to say about that. Indeed, if the IRA ever tried that, they would end up like the Viet Cong after the Tet Offensive.

    For this reason, I doubt even the IRA wants Diarmid’s “solution”. They are doing very well out of their criminal conspiracy thank you. The status quo suits them. The British government has ceded de facto ownership of NI’s Catholics to these gangsters, with the understanding that, apart from the odd murder of one of their own people, they leave the rest of society alone. Even the theft of £25 million is not enough to provoke the Brits to do anything serious against them. That’s one of the things I find most offensive about the so-called “peace process”, it depends on handing control of the Catholic areas over to a terrorist Mafia in return for a quiet life for the rest of us. That’s a pragmatic response, perhaps, but is it the right one?

  • Eamonn McKay

    Ethnic fascists like Diarmid want violence, the Brits out and the Protestants out. He may eventually get two out of three. There are conditions under which even Unionists like me would agree that the Union has run its course and we have to go it alone.

    But the violence that follows will not result in me leaving Ulster, that’s for sure. The Republic is militarily insignificent (its army is little more than a tiny paramilitary police force) and without the British army keeping us apart, does Diarmid think we do not know who is who on the other side? It may be that the completely green parts of Ulster end up part of the South and the north gets re-partitioned, but if Diarmid lives in Belfast, I can safely say he will not (and there are two ways for that to happen) a few months after Ulster becomes independent. I am entirely happy to live with Catholics who are prepared to live with me (my girlfriend is a Catholic) but the likes of Diarmid? I don’t think so and we have guns too.

  • Garvin Crawford

    While there is talk, there is hope.

    If nothing else, the dialogue above reveals the inability of someone gripped by hatred to see beyond the object of that hate. Diarmid is clearly consumed by it and refuses to allow for the needs of people wanting to get on with their lives – lest they interfere with his sense of grievance. Like Woodstock with his blanket, Diarmid is determined to nurture and hang on to it. But he is not the only one.

    One glance at the established political parties here tells us they are equally fixed in their viewpoints. They each want us to share their view of the world and if any one of them were to achieve an overwhelming majority of the votes in a General Election they would soon want to set about introducing new laws to implement their vision for us. But, given the recent polarisation around the DUP and Sinn Fein, neither party is ever likely to impose its will upon the other – certainly not without the threat of violence.

    So, unless we can change the basis for our politics we will never be able to move forward or to offer a positive future for our children and we will be condemned forever to repeating all the old mistakes.

    Two certainties exist for us – first, that under no circumstances can either part of our community seek to impose its nationalism upon the other, and find lasting peace. Second, that we will always have more in common with one another in NI than with anyone elsewhere. Witness the attitudes of both English and Irish above. We are what we have become. We start from here.

    Thereby, if we are to escape the supremacist belligerent attitudes of our current political parties and the menace of ethnic cleansing, we need a new model that inspires us to expand the only common ground that exists between us – respect for democracy and the rule of law.

    I believe a successful working democracy is vital to a successful Northern Ireland, but that democracy in NI is corrupted by nationalism – British and Irish.

    Unionists will say ‘If only we were all Unionists we’d have a great democracy here’. Nationalists will say ‘If only we were all Nationalists we’d have a great democracy here’. Both place democracy as their second priority, conditional upon the dominance of their nationalism, thwarting our social and economic progress in a futile and endlessly enfeebling tug o’war.

    We need to recognise that for democracy to work for us we must place achieving it as our first priority and relegate our sense of national identity to an issue of secondary importance so that as a consequence each citizen can celebrate it freely and without threat to any other.

    And we need to allow our citizens to freely express their national identity in a non-contentious way, and one that reinforces our common interest – democracy.

    There is a new constitutional model that will let us do this – Interdependence – with the UK and Ireland each relinquishing sovereignty but acting as joint guarantors of our exchequer proportional to the numbers within our community designating themselves (by means of tax code) from time to time Ulster British or Ulster Irish. Such a constitutional status allows us to give full expression to our nationalisms in the wider context of the UK and Ireland while putting democracy first and nationalism second within Northern Ireland itself.

    We would pay our taxes and receive our benefits according to the fiscal regime operating in either London or Dublin at the time but these monies would go into the Exchequer at Stormont for spending by our own elected government for the benefit of our community.

    So that we may select the tax regime that suits us best, voters would be free to change their national designation, and their chosen tax code, within 90 days of the outcome of a General Election in the UK or Ireland. All taxes, subventions and guarantees will form the revenues of the NI Assembly to which MLAs will be elected according to their ability to administer the appropriate benefits and run the economy in furtherance of the well being of all the people of NI.

    A successful working democracy is one in which the government is elected on its ability to run the economy.

    As our democracy could not be based upon any form of nationalism, ie. the nation state, we would create a new constitutional status that defuses our struggle and binds our people.

    As the purpose of Interdependence is to unite our community, that new form of constitution and consumer-choice democracy would be clearly distinguished from the nation state and known, therefore, as a Community State within the EC where the final arbiter of any dispute is the European Court.

    In such a scenario, with neither side of the community any longer representing a threat to the other, and in which all our key interests are aligned, our children would stand a chance of living freely with one another.

    Hardliners on both sides would be equally free to maintain their allegiances and, in time, even these would become more a matter of home economics. No-one was ever blamed for taking care of the needs of their family.

    It’s time we stopped blaming London and Dublin for our woes, much less one another, and took responsibility for our own lives. We would do so much better than anyone from a distance and every day we would be building something we had in common.

    If you agree, or just enjoy an argument, why not copy this and email it to friend and foe alike.

    Best wishes

    Garvin Crawford

  • Kevin

    Both the SDLP & and Sinn Fein (in their different ways) are promoting Irish Unity, Fianna Fail and and Fine Gael in the South are basically two sides of the same coin who have Unity on their agenda at some stage ( although I’d say neither are unhappy with not having to make tough decisions at the moment). A lot of people I know would vote for unity but only on certain conditions,

    a) the consent of those in the north
    b) that both traditions are given equal status
    c) ending of violence
    d) a northern protestant and a southern catholic are not different in any way

    There are ways that the Protestant culture can enhance the Island of Irelands culture – violence won’t solve anything, I have many protestant neighbours here in the south and we all get on fine.

  • Kevin

    Both the SDLP & and Sinn Fein (in their different ways) are promoting Irish Unity, Fianna Fail and and Fine Gael in the South are basically two sides of the same coin who have Unity on their agenda at some stage ( although I’d say neither are unhappy with not having to make tough decisions at the moment). A lot of people I know would vote for unity but only on certain conditions,

    a) the consent of those in the north
    b) that both traditions are given equal status
    c) ending of violence
    d) a northern protestant and a southern catholic are not different in any way

    There are ways that the Protestant culture can enhance the Island of Irelands culture – violence won’t solve anything, I have many protestant neighbours here in the south and we all get on fine.

  • indigenous protestant

    What’s all this nonsense about catholics being the indigenous people of Ulster!? Recent DNA studies have shown that northern protestants & catholics are almost genetically identical. People have been migrating from scotland to ulster for thousands of years and vise-versa. A northern catholic has more in common genetically with a scotsman than a man from Cork. In fact the people of Ireland as a whole do not have high concentrations of the celtic gene which are far higher in france & spain. Celts did not come to Ireland in huge numbers. People here just adopted their ways & culture. So to say that celts or only catholics are the indigenous people of Ulster is completely untrue.

  • jon

    as a catholic formerly from Derry, now in australia, i was brought up by my parents to be educated alongside protestants and so i was more likely to see where protestants or unionists were coming from. I have many protestant friends and in some respects would have trusted my protestant friends more than my catholic friends. But because N.I. is segregated in the way it is for the most part, i.e. protestant and catholic sections of large cities, protestant or catholic towns etc, it is therefore impossible to get away from the local view. I therefore understand the catholic grievances more than protestant with respect to at least trying to live normally without orange marches or this triumphantism that appears to be the backbone of protestant culture in N.I. as someone here mentioned, the republic has many protestants (of which i have quite a few protestant ‘southern’ friends) they are puzzled and often shocked at the northern protestants wanting to march through catholic areas. my view on this is that if this historical event (considered by many outside N.I. to be an anti-social and racist event) which is important in their culture, why then force it amongst those who dont want it? we hear talk about N.I. remaining part of the UK whilst the majority want this, however N.I. was created, artifically or otherwise, this has to be observed. However, should this then not also apply to the majority of people in areas that do not want orange marches to go? i.e. largely catholic areas? for me personally, im not sure that a united ireland is the answer for N.I. as northern protestants would then fall into the senario that most northern catholics would consider themselves in at present, i.e being part of a union they didnt want to. All that is likely to happen is that the violence will return, this time from the loyalists, The south are not likely to want that and what you’ll end up with is a situation like we are in already where London couldnt care less, the republic is trying to come across as caring but only to satisfy republicans. For N.I. the future is certainly not one of union with britain, and im not sure if union with ireland is either, unless northern protestants can assimilate, not meaning they are to give up their traditions, but realise that their traditions are no longer applicable in the 21st century, specifically i refer to the orange marches. I just hope that it does not turn into an independent country because it would be all out civil war. The province can’t even govern itself at present because of the hard-liners on both sides. The future is anyone’s guess for N.I.