A flag prediction: there’ll be no concession or modification by unionist politicians



Compromise: a middle state between conflicting opinions or actions reached by mutual concession or modification.

We’re told that the sticky one is the flying of flags. That’s a turn-up, given that everyone was telling us that the past would be the really difficult matter to resolve. I still think that’s the case, regardless of what Haass comes up with. But let’s stick with the flying of flags. I’m not usually into prediction, mainly because I’m so bad at it. But I hereby confldently predict that the outcome of the Haass talks on the flag issue will not be a compromise. That is, if we accept the dictionary definition of a compromise as listed above.

Nationalists/republicans have stated that their preferred option would be one of two things: the flying of the tricolour alongside the Union flag or no flags at all. Unionists have said that they want – no, sorry, insist – that the only flag to be flown must be the Union flag and it should fly 365 days a year (366 when there’s a leap year).

Only here’s the thing. Both flags or none actually isn’t the preferred option of nationalists/republicans. Their preferred option would be that the tricolour should fly on public buildings throughout Ireland. If it’s not, why are they calling themselves nationalists/republicans?  What it looks like is that nationalists/republicans, in stating their preferred option to be both flags or none, are already starting from a compromise position.

So if that’s their half of the mutual concession thing, what concession can we expect from unionism? The words “inch” and “not”  come to mind. Having created the flag brouhaha with their response to the democratic vote in Belfast City Hall, the DUP, even if it wished – which it doesn’t – could not back off and start compromising. And of course, not wishing to appear soft, the UUP is trailed in its wake.

So that’s my prediction. Even though nationalists/republicans will almost certainly offer a second compromise from the both flags/no flags position, unionist politicians will declare that second compromise totally unreasonable and will turn their back on any concession on this matter.   In short, there will be no compromise.

Mind you, I really hope I’m proved wrong (again). But I have this feeling in my water…

7 Responses to A flag prediction: there’ll be no concession or modification by unionist politicians

  1. Sean December 22, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    Normal diplomatic protocol dictates that you’re supposed to fly the flag of a visiting head of state when that visit entails official governmental business. Hence why the Union flag flies alongside the tricolour on Dublin Castle when David Cameron or the queen of England visit Dublin. Therefore, it is surely not unfeasible to permit the tricolour to fly above Stormont should Enda Kenny or Eamon Gilmour visit Belfast on official business. However, the fact unionists cannot even agree to what is normal diplomatic procedure simply because the flag is the tricolour is in itself telling. They are incapable of adopting a rational or reasonable position on these matters, therefore it should be taken out of their hands.

    • Jude Collins December 22, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

      You may well have a point there, Sean. Actually, I find the notion of the tricolour being flown only when Enda Kenny or Michael D comes here slightly…cop-outy, not to say lily-livered. But the fact that even that flaccid position is too much for unionism says a lot.

    • paul December 23, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

      Does Kenny even care about the tricolor?

  2. AndyB December 22, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

    Jude, I would love to disagree with your premise, but…

  3. Pat Mac Murphy December 22, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    Compromise doesn’t exist in the vocabulary of the ‘PUL’ population as they now like to be known as. I suppose the 0.01% of the NI population who have been protesting over the last 12 months have PULled the protestant and unionists into their ranks to create the illusion of a larger majority. It’s about time the tail stopped wagging the dog

  4. Am Ghobsmacht December 23, 2013 at 5:44 am #

    Alas Dr C, I fear you’ll be proven correct.

    The lack of vision from unionist leadership is frightening.

    No attempt at a new approach, just more of the same old circling the ever-smaller number of wagons in the Orange laager.

    At least the Afrikaners had the wit to jump before they were pushed and get some sort of a deal.

    They could at least ‘attempt’ to smash head first out of the laager and try to get some sort of designated days policy across all of NI, but no, they’d rather just hold onto the fleg 365 in the last few pockets.

    Very disheartening.

  5. boondock December 23, 2013 at 7:41 am #

    Agree with the above posts. Designated days should have been agreed on and then if Nationalist councils opted out then that would have shown nationalism as being the ones not compromising instead Unionists throw a fit over the idea of the Tricolour flying over Stormont once every few years or even less and demanded the fleg flies from Belfast city hall every day. They are idiots and will continue to turn victories into defeat watch now as nationalists councils will still fly no flag or civic flag, Belfast will remain with designated days for another election cycle and then it will be down permanently but here is the thing it will just need a legal challenge in the Unionist councils who fly the flag all year round to be forced to switch to designated days under the equality commison guidelines so you got to hand it to them even SF pulling a blinder couldnt have got a better deal so well done boys you as usual are your own worst enemies.