What Anna said

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‘Colony: a country or area under the full or partial political control of another country and occupied by settlers from that country. ‘

‘Colony:  a group of animals that live close together’

It’s funny the things that make people’s jets red-hot, isn’t it? Earlier this week Billy Hutchinson said he had killed two Catholic men on their way to work and so helped prevent a united Ireland. It’s a statement of fact but a pretty grisly and heartless statement of fact. As I said in an earlier blog, if Martin McGuinness had made a similar half-boast about killing Protestants, there would have been sparks flying from the jets of unionism, a firestorm of criticism. But did, say, Arlene Foster spring forward to disassociate herself and her party from Billy’s boast? Not that I noticed.You Virigina – no? I thought not.

But when Anna Lo referred to our little north-eastern corner as a colony, unionist politicians were lining up. Arlene made it clear that Anna Lo had a right to say what she chose but then went on to make it clear that she had no right to say Northern Ireland was a colony. Reg Empey was right behind her, expressing his shock and distress that the Alliance Party should contain such views. The Alliance Party leader spluttered that she’d said a united Ireland wouldn’t happen in her lifetime.

I’d say there are two things behind the jet-screech of unionism to Anna’s remarks. One is that it sometimes hurts to be told the truth. I’ve given above the definition of ‘colony’ from two different dictionaries. I’m sure we’re all agreed that the second of the two would not describe any group here, except you see human beings as essentially animals with brains. The first definition strikes me as a fairly good description of our own situation.

We’re a country if you believe Stephen Nolan (“The greatest show in the country!”) or we’re an area as a lot of the rest of us would see it. But we’d be agreed on one or the other.

OK, the next bit – ‘under the full or partial political control of another country’: I think it’s fair to say we’re under partial political control of Britain. We’ve no control over taxation or foreign policy, for example; and it took a long and bloody struggle before we arrived at our present limited power-sharing institutions. Finally ‘occupied by settlers from that country’. Well yes, that is a little problematic. Unionists are not from Britain – many of them have been here for centuries. Which would make them Irish. So you could say that part of the definition doesn’t apply. Except, except: the claim to be British, not Irish,  is the very bedrock of unionism. So it looks as though we do fit the colony definition.

Around here, when you speak the plain truth on some matters, you’d better put your crash-helmet on.  But listen, forget that bit about animals, will you? Some of us do a very good imitation of being human.

Oh, I nearly forgot – I did say there were two things behind the unionism jet-screech, didn’t I? And I only gave one. Apologies. The second is, of course, the election, stupid.

85 Responses to What Anna said

  1. Chris March 21, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    Nolan is supposedly the “biggest show in the country” that’s only because he is 25 stone!

    • Den Duffin March 21, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

      AS Sammy Wilson said, “he’s the biggest head in the country”

  2. boondock March 21, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    Anna Lo just stated her own opinion the resulting faux unionist outrage and racist loyalist back lash was all so predictable. As for Arnold wanting an apology she has some nerve. It wasnt that long ago that Arnold was being talked up us a dynamic smart politician and future leader of unionism. Is this the same person that continues with her unprofessional and rude behaviour week in week out on the Nolan show, bring back Tom Elliot all is forgiven he was quite the statesman.

  3. John Patton March 21, 2014 at 9:47 am #

    I worked for a number of years in post-Independence Zambia and rarely encountered any form of racism among the indigenous population – not true of a section of ex-Pats, particularly in the urban areas where the ‘club’ prevailed. As a teacher in the Bush, a duty was to direct pupils to their dorms after a film or some such social occasion. On one occasion a voice called out, ‘ Put out that torch, you colonialist bastard’. My reply that I belonged to Britain’s last colony, Northern Ireland, was greeted with applause.

  4. Gerard March 21, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    I thought Stephen Farry made a hash of it on Nolan programme this morning when asked was he in favour of a united Ireland. If he does believe in either the union or a united Ireland then he just had to say that and go on to explain that Alliance is made up of people who would otherwise be classed as nationalists or unionists but who put that to the side and work for people here now in the North – simple really. But he and others get tied up because the fear of alienating unionist voters if he was not 100% believer in attachment to Britain.

  5. paddykool March 21, 2014 at 11:30 am #

    Jude :

    ‘Colony: a group of animals that live close together’….

    I’m under no illusions Jude . We are all only a generation or three away from the porridge chomping pre -potato introduction in Youghal, Co. Cork by Sir Walter Raleigh..Rickety and shabby denizens of the Irish , ,Scottish and English forests , living in our little tiny -windowed hovels, one step up from a cave , defecating in the nearest field and wiping our arses with a blade or two of grass..Short, sharp, damp dirty and brutal lives.

    The measure of a king was that he could force some lesser creature to perform this onerous task for him …….and latterly squeeze his toothpaste.

    If “civilisation” broke down tomorrow, we’d soon return to that plain state within mere months or years.Of course there would always be a few top predatory killers who would herd us all together and use our fears to control us.That sounds about right.

    Most of our grandparents who were born in the late nineteenth century lived in modest two- roomed houses with possibly an outside toilet….a hole dug in the ground even.

    I remember reading about an American dog -breeder who raised dog/wolf hybrids…a predatory creature to be sure. He said he had to regularly [very non PC warning!} kick the creatures hard to establish who was literally top dog….Otherwise they’d assume their natural place as strongest “alpha dog” in his pack and fight for pecking order.

    So even the dogs in the street know we are animals , just like them.Sophisticated predators who are good with tools , but killers just the same.

    Politicians use the same techniques with their followers every day.

    Whether or not Anna’s inherent humanity, warmth and intelligence will be enough to save her from the baying Hounds of Ulster hangs in the scales of electoral buffoonery. As you would say Jude , the jets get hot over the daftest little things and are curiously quiet when they need to rage. Compare Anna’s statement to Billy’s statement earlier in the week and you can see how out of proportion are the responses.. Billy killed people as a predatory creature while Anna offered reason. Who do they try to tear apart?

    We can carp and holler about imaginary borders on maps ,We can even fight about what we wanted to be called. How we’d like to be identified as Irishmen or Ulstermen or whatever. In the end , when we’re stripped of all the illusions and clutter of life; possibly buried after having our vital organs harvested for the next generation, , we’ll fare no better than that pet dog buried at the bottom of the garden.

    The truth is we’ll know as much and remember much less.

  6. William George March 21, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

    As a unionist I would like to know how long it is you need to live here until you cease to be a settler and become native. Is it one generation? Is it 400 years (as in the planters) is it 800 years as in the Normans or 1200 years for the Vikings, perhaps it’s 2500 years ago for the celts. Perhaps the Tuatha Dé Danann are the only ones you recognise.

    • neill March 21, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

      I think more unionists should read this blog and see how enlightened our fellow countrymen are.

      • Pointis March 21, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

        You are quite right Neill, more unionists should read Jude’s blog!

        Maybe some could even exchange views on an equal basis with everyone else without having an institutional caveat guaranteeing that their views must be given preference. Would be a novel and enriching experience for some of them!

    • Antonio March 21, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

      When you learn how to live alongside the rest of those in peace and harmony and don’t create bloody mayhem because a flag is not flying on a city hall every day. Until the vast majority of Unionists learn to do this then unionists only have themselves to blame when they are described as settlers or colonists.

      • neill March 21, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

        Remember the bombing campaign in the 70`s 80`s and 90`s which was supported by a sizeable number of the nationalist community thought not

        Until the vast majority of Unionists learn to do this then unionists only have themselves to blame when they are described as settlers or colonists.

        That is just shocking…

        • Antonio March 22, 2014 at 8:24 am #

          Are you shocked Neill ? Are you feeling an overwhelming urge to climb aboard your high horse and demand an apology? I’ve a question will Unionism ever be able to come to terms with the fact that many nationalists/republicans also suffered much hardship, injustice, and murder or will it always be the case that unionists were the innocent victims of a bombing campaign who never did no harm to anybody else. Let me guess you think you deserve an apology for this comment too as well as Anna Lo’s comment on united Ireland.

          • neill March 22, 2014 at 8:33 am #

            Shocked no surprised not really yes the unionists harmed nationalists and vice versa of course.Now we have to find a way to live with each other that is the hard part.

            Let me guess you think you deserve an apology for this comment too as well as Anna Lo’s comment on united Ireland.

            Why would i want an apology? If thats what you belief thats fine with me as for Anna Lo`s comments guess what that there fine with me as well.

          • William george March 22, 2014 at 8:51 am #

            Well said Neill.

      • giordanobruno March 21, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

        I would say it is only a small minority of Unionists involved in the flag protests. And the numbers involved in contentious Orange parades are a small percentage too. Some of the attitudes towards ordinary Unionists here are quite depressing. There will be a lot of work to be done if a United Ireland ever does happen.

        • RJC March 21, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

          I don’t think the attitudes you find here are towards ordinary Unionists, but rather political Unionism. Does anybody really think of people here in terms of ‘planters’ and ‘natives’?

          This Anna Lo business is just the latest in political Unionism’s ongoing mental breakdown. Each week there seems to be something new which causes apoplexy amongst Unionist politicians.

          Off the top of my head, so far this year we’ve seen…

          1. NO! NO! NO! to the Haass proposals. No reasons given for not signing up to them despite SF, SDLP, Alliance, Greens, Westminster, Washington and Dublin all in favour of agreement.

          2. The Ian Paisley interviews, which saw the great and good of the DUP turning on one another like rabid dogs. Not to mention the DUP’s best efforts to censor the BBC.

          3. This business with the Reduced Shakespeare Company play. Cultural censorship, based on some warped belief system last popular in the Middle Ages.

          4. That OO man George Chittick telling us that Protestants shouldn’t learn Irish.

          5. Peter Robinson stamping his little feet and threatening to resign over the OTRs he claims to have known nothing about.

          6. Ruth Patterson and her scarf.

          7. A committee hearing into Nelson McCausland’s dodgy dealings having to be abandoned due to the behaviour of DUP members.

          8. This Anna Lo business – another collective meltdown which saw Arlene Foster demand an apology, whilst simultaneously remaining silent on Billy Hutchinson’s justification for the murder of two Catholics.

          …and it’s only mid-March.

          It probably doesn’t need saying that Northern Ireland is badly served by its politicians, but the ongoing behaviour of those of a Unionist bent beggars belief. Is it any wonder that Nationalist commentators rub their hands and get a few kicks in while they’re at it?

          • paddykool March 21, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

            RJC :
            You’ve got it right there !! Look at it. It reads like a very poor end of term report. When listed like that it appears as one long paranoid rant, which is what it is .The fear of logic paraded for all to see.What else can observers do but laugh out loud and shake the collective heads. There is absolutely no positivity on show. Like I say politics is supposed to be the art of the possible.Our politicians have managed to rewrite the rules.

            Somebody make a poster of this and put it up at election time.

        • Antonio March 22, 2014 at 7:44 am #

          It is not a small minority of Unionists who vote DUP and UUP – the two political parties who sent the train in motion for the ludicrous flag protests and accompanying riots, arson attacks on Alliance party offices and member’ homes and even some attempted murders on PSNI officers, with their several thousands leaflets being posted around doors villifying the Alliance Party for having the audacity for suggesting the flag flying policy for Belfast city hall should be brought into line with what the vast majority of town councils in the rest of the U.K do – fly it on designated days.

          • giordanobruno March 22, 2014 at 9:04 am #

            Antonio
            Many people hold their noses to vote here. Many more do not vote at all..
            A vote for one of the Unionist parties is not necessarily a vote for all their policies, or the actions of the extremists, any more than a vote for SF can be taken as an endorsement of the IRA’s murderous campaign.

      • pretzellogic March 21, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

        Antonoi
        Of course we had the most of thirty years of bloody mayhem in the recent narratives because a flag wasn’t flying above a City hall.

        • Antonio March 22, 2014 at 6:29 am #

          Unionists should have thought about the possibility of a backlash when they were enjoying their ‘Protestant state for a Protestant people’.

          • pretzellogic March 23, 2014 at 12:31 am #

            Yes Antonio, perhaps they should have.

  7. RJC March 21, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    My guess would be that you become native at the point where you no longer feel the need to lord it over the natives with an annual season of triumphalist sectarian quasi-military marches.

    • neill March 21, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

      My guess would be that you become native at the point where you no longer feel the need to lord it over the natives with an annual season of triumphalist sectarian quasi-military marches.

      Why shouldnt we sure we kicked your ancestors of the best land and put them into bogs built towns gave you some jobs tried to civilise the woodkerne a little bit and shockingly they dont even show us any appreciation makes you scratch your head a little…. ; )

      • RJC March 21, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

        You’ll never civilize me ;)

        • neill March 21, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

          I had noticed…! : )

      • Jude Collins March 21, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

        Neill – if you’re winding people up, you’re doing it in a fairly tasteless (and unfunny) way. If you’re not winding people up…I despair.

        • neill March 21, 2014 at 7:34 pm #

          Satire : the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.

        • William George March 22, 2014 at 12:28 am #

          My point is that Jude’s views are as sectarian as those he criticises. But worse they are racist because if we unionists can only ever be settlers then what hope has Anna Lo and her family of ever being considered by Jude as “one of us”?

          My family gave up “triumphalist sectarian quasi military marches” 2 generations ago and it is only a small minority who engage in flag protests and contentious parades. But it seems we still have to justify our presence here in spite of the fact that bunreacht na hEireann makes us all Irish.

          Anna Lo is entitled to her views and a vote for Anna will not bring a united ireland one step closer so the outrage amongst certain unionist politicians is nonsense and counterproductive but the views expressed by Jude belong in the 19tj century.

          • RJC March 22, 2014 at 9:50 am #

            I would take issue with the notion of ‘contentious parades’. I believe that all OO/Loyalist parades are contentious by their very nature. I live in a smallish rural town in County Down, where Orange and Loyalist parades do not result in widespread rioting, and as such do not feature on news reports. That’s not to say however, that the nationalist half of the town do not find them either offensive or contentious.

            From mid-June to the end of August the town is covered in Union flags and red white and blue bunting, and a Union flag hangs in the town square 365 days a year. The town is like a ghost town for most of July and one half of the population clear out. Is this what a shared future looks like?

  8. Barry Fennell March 21, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

    Yet again reaction and interpretation in ‘Norn Iron’ is misplaced. Anna Lo described herself as “anti-colonial” and said the partition of Ireland was “artificial” – big deal. She said a united Ireland would be “better placed economically, socially and politically”. So take the opinion on board rather than simply dismiss it – yes? Or perhaps not.

    Cue the unionists and their cacophony of ‘how dare she’ reactions because they were “insulting” – really.

  9. ANOTHER JUDE March 21, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

    Very depressing listening to Ian Paisley on the tv last night, he was apoplectic at the idea of someone saying they were in favour of an United Ireland. Poor Anna has suffered racist abuse from elements within Unionism, hardly surprising she would prefer to throw in her lot with the rest of us. As for the north east being a colony, it is. We are Britain`s last colony, our rulers fly over from England, they fly back again as soon as possible. The Unionists can deny their Irishness but it makes no difference. A chap I know who was a dyed in the wool Loyalist went to England many years ago to have a trial with a football team. He was staying in digs with his `fellow Britons` and they called him a Paddy. When he protested that he was in fact a loyal British subject, they mocked him. Bit of an eye opener for him. As for the said United Ireland, Protestants should have taken a chance with their Catholic and indeed Dissenter fellow Irishmen. They would have been a sizeable and important element in the new Ireland. Sadly they decided to cut themselves off and the rest is history. My idea of a new Ireland is not `joining the south`. It is a fresh start.

    • Am Ghobsmacht March 22, 2014 at 2:15 am #

      Yes Another Jude

      It’s one of the most pathetic sights to see a Northern Irish uber Brit witness his little British world collapse around him as he realises no one in England give’s a monkey’s about the Ulster 36th, the Somme or their ‘incredible loyality’.

      I like your interpretation of a United Ireland BTW, I can do business with that idea.

      I am a unionist but (reasonably) open minded (and incredibly selfish, “what’s in it for me?” is always foremost in my mind).

      The current perception of the SF approach to a united Ireland is very much one of ‘the struggle’ and “inch by inch” which is further interpreted in many unionist minds as a effort to drive us into the sea.

      As such, I want nothing to do with it.

      But should someone in sharp suit propose starting again and reworking everything from scratch then I for one would pay attention and could be persuaded on its merits.

      Especially as unionism at the moment (aside from maybe NI21) has no ‘end game’.

      A united Ireland without the current nationalist baggage has many attractions.

      A united Ireland with the current nationalist baggage and ergo reciprocal unionist baggage is as attractive as a knife weilding ex with a heroine problem.

      Nice one Another Jude, you’ve got me thinking about the merits of a United Ireland, something a lot of nationalists struggle to do with their current approach.

      Well done.

      (Though to be honest, in any new Ireland the tricolour would have to be got rid of and I’m not comfortable with the thought of Adams, Kelly and Mcguinness gloating, so I may have to wait till they’re dead before I vote ‘yes’, sorry, we all have our petty streaks).

      • Antonio March 22, 2014 at 11:28 am #

        why the need to get rid of the tricolour? You seem very reasonable up until that statement. Even Sinn Fein don’t talk about getting rid of the Union flag in a new Ireland (at least not anymore) and yet according to you they are the extremists or narrow minded nationalists.
        I see in the tricolour, which was first unveiled as Ireland’s flag in the 19th centur,y as a small effort being made by republicans at the time to reach out to Unionists. (the orange of course there to represent the Protestant people) Obviously unionists rejected it out of hand.

        • Am Ghobsmacht March 23, 2014 at 3:20 am #

          “why the need to get rid of the tricolour?”

          I’ve further detailed this below but my main reason for wanting rid of the tricolour (in the context of a fresh start as suggested by Another Jude) is quite simply that if the tricolour remains it is NOT a fresh start.

          It’s NI being absorbed by the south.

          Hence winners and losers.

          When the discussion about the pros and cons of a united Ireland descends into winning and losing then people are likely to retreat into more polarised camps.

          E.g. I’m more than happy to consider the merits of a united Ireland, truly.

          But the second I think of Sinn Fein as ‘winning’ then the wee vintage Ian Paisley on my shoulder starts shouting “NO!”.

          You see the tricolour as it was truly intended but I’m afraid in the eyes of many unionists that meaning and sentiment was buried with the IRA’s victims.

          There’s no coming back from it.

          Also, this is probably one of those topics that will be difficult to discuss, for example I’d surprised if anyone responding to my comments didn’t just use a truck load of whatabouteries with regards to offensive and irresponsible behaviour on the part of unionists (of which there is a great deal).

          Ditching the tricolour is a potential bargaining chip for those who want a united Ireland, it then comes down to how far people are prepared to go and what price they are prepared to pay to make the ‘dream’ come true.

          Personally, I much admire the green harp on a green background.

          It has been carried with pride by Irishmen all over the world for centuries. It is easily distinguished, beautiful and truly Irish looking.

          • Gerard March 23, 2014 at 10:13 am #

            As a republican I would be open to discussing a new flag etc. the main thing is that we are independent – that takes precedence over everything else.

          • Am Ghobsmacht March 23, 2014 at 11:42 am #

            Exactly Gerard, pragmatism.

          • Antonio March 23, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

            I’d be inclined to agree – I don’t like the idea of ‘binning’ the tricolour but it would be a small price to pay for encouraging a significant number of unionists to join us in all-Ireland set-up free from British state power

          • Am Ghobsmacht March 23, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

            Well Antonio

            That’s the way to look at.

            As you’ve probably realised by unionist standards I’m a bit of a ‘Lundy’ for even contemplating it but as I don’t believe a united Ireland would be a Vatican controlled state with Gerry Adams as Fuhrer and where we’d all be driven to the sea or expelled then I’m willing to consider what’s on offer.

            At present I’m happy being in the UK and am pro-union but I’d be willing to look at what is on offer. Times are changing and all that.

            If you’re willing to bin the tricolour then you certainly have my attention.

            Someday Sinn Fein will realise that the United Ireland portrait that they have to offer is possibly one of the biggest barriers to a united Ireland.

            Unfortunately I don’t think the main unionist parties will ever twig that their antics are the biggest barriers to having a general acceptance of Northern Ireland for Northern Ireland’s Catholic community.

            In fact, explaining to them why Flegs, more flegs, uncontrolled Orange parades, a national anthem instead of a regional anthem and NO flag for NI ARE BAD for NI’s place within the union is a bit like this:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vh5kZ4uIUC0

            Ditto SF and some of their antics: “but we have the right to name a park after some one controversial…..”

          • Ryan March 23, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

            Haas be damned!

            Jude Collins is single handedly reuniting Ireland! Make him a saint and build a statue on cave hill! :)

          • Jude Collins March 23, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

            I’d quite like to be looking over Belfast permanently…On the other hand, St Jude is the patron saint of hopeless cases (yes I know, I know), so maybe it wouldn’t be such a good idea vis-a-vis a UI…

          • Pointis March 23, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

            Am Ghobsmacht,

            Are you sure you were not a diplomat in a previous life?

    • Am Ghobsmacht March 22, 2014 at 3:30 am #

      In fact Another Jude

      You got me thinking.

      Perhaps it’s time to rethink the driving forces behind unification.

      In the north it’s a mix of nationalism and republicanism ( but personally I think the republicans of today have very little in common with the United Irishmen) and the off putting face and actions of unionism.

      I personally have come to find ‘nationalism’ (in the proper sense of the word) very tasteless and quite intimidating.

      I’ve lived in NI (born and bred), Scotland, Croatia and Australia (and arguably Uganda, depends on how you define as resident) and I’ve witnessed the various forms of nationalism in each country (bar Uganda) and in Northern Ireland of course there is Irish and British nationalism.

      It is ugly.

      It makes other people feel uncomfortable and helps foster a very jaundiced view of history and politics and creates enemies where non exist.

      I feel if we want to truly encourage a discussion of reunification then ‘nationalism’ needs to be replaced by something more rational.

      The two parties that keep me (presently) in the unionist camp are NI21 and Sinn Fein.

      NI21 as they give me hope and Sinn Fein as their opportunistic mish mash of socialism, populism, MOPEry and nationalism is truly nauseating to me.

      By a similar token the DUP, TUV, OO and now (regrettably) the PUP and UUP make me consider the merits of a united Ireland as a country in which their raisons d’etre are redundant has a certain appeal.

      I reckon a TRUE republican party modeled on the lines of the United Irishmen (complete with golden harp on a green background flag) would hold appeal for number of people.

      Alas, ‘unificationists’ are stuck with a toothless SDLP and the ‘republican’ abomination that is Sinn Fein.

      I think unificationists need a ‘UI21’…

  10. Jim Lynch March 21, 2014 at 9:47 pm #

    Free speech is not allowed, that’s a privilege reserved for unionist only.
    However their tunnel vision doesn’t give them much scope.

  11. Pointis March 21, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

    This whole storm in a tea cup does illustrate the attitude of certain elements within loyalism and political unionism to what they perceive to be “lundies” amongst what they perceive to be “their own”. The loyalist /unionist behaviour towards the Alliance party has been nothing short of disgusting and an example of the worst type of thuggish bullying.

    The threats have been indirect but the effects the same- critical hate pamphlet circulated in loyalist areas by constitutional unionist politicians and 48 hours later Alliance offices are firebombed and death threats issued to party members.

    The attitude of some of the DUP’s leading lights has been arrogant in the extreme. Where did they ever get the idea that they had the right to tell a politician in another political party what they are entitled to believe?

    The sad thing is they do believe that they have this right, and it comes from the implied threat that if they make enough political noise about this you will have a visit from the Neanderthal, sectarian, racist goons in the UVF who will burn or paint bomb your car or your house.
    They will of course if pushed, offer low key criticism of the attack on your home / office with the caveat that the attack although to be condemned is understandable given the anger which you caused within the loyalist community by your outrageous views.

    Fair play to Anna Lo, opponent of racist and sectarian buffoons!

  12. Enda March 22, 2014 at 1:18 am #

    a colony is a territoryunder the immediate political control of astate, distinct from the home territory of the sovereign.

  13. Am Ghobsmacht March 22, 2014 at 1:59 am #

    Dr C

    I do find all this faux-outrage from unionist politicians as contempt-worthy and as embarrassing as MOPEry.

    There’s some things people should just let slide.

    Maybe not Anna’s brightest moment but it pales in comparison with the huffing, puffing, outrage and sheer nuttiness of many of our other ‘representatives’.

    Unfortunately for Alliance this’ll be jumped upon by Fleggerland with great hysteria.

    Honestly, I think we’ve fostered a culture in NI of craving outrage and offense.

    When I was younger (and quite bigoted) I used to think that Shinners and the like only got of bed in the morning to be offended.

    Now I realise that it’s everyone.

    With regards to the colonial remark, well, of course it was a colony once upon a time.

    Then the ‘colonists’ and various ‘invaders’ before that all became Irish.

    Whether they be Oostmen, Anglo, Hiberno Norman, Gallowglass, Ulster Scot or whatever, they became known to the rest of the world and amongst themselves as Irish, whether they be Lord Edward Carson, Oscar Wilde or a west coast Gaelic farmer.

    So that’s the colonists bit cleared up.

    BUT WAIT!!!

    I hear people pointing at the ticked ‘British’ boxes in census papers!

    Have they always considered themselves British or is this a (relatively) recent state of affairs that was compounded with political upheaval?

    Well, according to Dr Brian Walker (a very nice man as I’m sure you know Dr C) the statistics show it to be relatively new.

    I can’t recall the exact figures but there’s a definite correlation between a clinging to ‘Britishness’ and political upheaval. (read Dr Walker’s ‘Dancing to History’s Tune for full stats)

    Incidentally (and unpopularly), the nail in the coffin was when the Provos kicked off.

    That ended ‘Irishness’ for many Protestants.

    Any, back to the colonial timeline:

    Then in the 20’s the island got independence.

    Devolved in the North and much more in the South.

    So, not a colony any more.

    As for being ruled from Britain, well, in that case does one consider Scotland and Wales to be ruled by another country.

    In which case consider the following scenarios:

    If the government moved to Edinburgh then is Scotland ‘the ruler’ and England is ruled by another country?

    Even though absolutely NOTHING has changed other than the location of the parliament?

    Ditto Cardiff.

    So I don’t buy this ‘colony’ malarky.

    We can leave if we want. We can get more involved if we want. The people on the other side of the water are very similar if not identical to us.

    We’re not Kaliningrad. We’re not Rhodesia.

    We’re the offspring of a colony and a ‘compromise’.

  14. Antonio March 22, 2014 at 8:10 am #

    It was not the Provo campaign that ended ‘Irishness’ for Unionists. Unionists rejected any sense of being ‘Irish’ when they treated their fellow Irish men and women as second class citizens in their own country. I can’t stand this notion being pandered by revisionist historians like Walker that ‘if only those narrow minded nationalists in the Provos had not started bombing and shooting then Unionists would have likely embraced their Irishness and possibly a United Ireland would have been more likely’. It is all nonsense where history is written not as a means to better understand the past but rather History is written in a way that the author would have liked it to have been.
    But ultimately the choice of Irish or British or Northern Irish to describe one’s national identity is all rather superfluous. According to Walker and his elk of historian more Protestant/Unionists described themselves as ‘Irish’ in the ’60’s than they do now. Nowadays British or Northern Irish is a much more prevalent choice of national identity for the Unionist. But so what? The political actions of a people are of much more significance than their choice of word for national identity and the establishment of a sub-state designed to ensure the catholic minority remained in a poverty trap (besides the odd ‘token Taig’ who would be accepted as long as he renounced all nationalist sentiment) showed that the bulk of the Unionist population had no interest in conducting politics with their fellow Irishmen along proper democratic guidelines.

    • Am Ghobsmacht March 23, 2014 at 1:33 am #

      Antonio

      With respect, I come from a unionist background.

      I have seen a clear schism in the generations.

      My grandparents and their contemporaries (mostly of Orange stock and my Granda was a fiddle playing, folk music loving B Special) nearly all referred to themselves as Irish.

      It’s only the following generations that started identifying themselves as British only, that is to say “if the IRA are Irish then that is what I am not”.

      It’s rather unfair of you to accuse Dr Walker of being a revisionist, all he did was produce data that showed the ‘Irishness’ of Protestants through the centuries.

      The correlation is clear.

      This might not sit well with you but the figures speak for themselves.

      I referred to the Provos campaign as ‘a’ nail (or rather the final nail, bit of a typo above), there were many nails hammered into the coffin of Protestant Irishness, and it’s astounding that you can’t see the IRA’s campaign as one.

      By the same psychological token, the only time I’ve ever seen a tricolour when I was growing up was when it was on the TV to report that someone has been blown up or had their brains blown out.

      Ask any psychologist, psychiatrist or marketeer how that affects the human mind.

      Ergo, any united Ireland under the guise of a ‘fresh start’ as referred to Another Jude in his post would be wise to consider removing the tricolour, otherwise it’s not a fresh start.

      The fact that SF are clever enough or even ‘big’ enough not to demand the removal of the Union Flag has no bearing on the matter.

      If you want a united Ireland then there is a price to pay.

      Another Jude’s post made me think, “hmmmmm, a new way of looking at a united Ireland, OK, I’m listening”

      Then you’ve come out with the sort of nationalist comment that I’m more used to and now I’m thinking “sod it, Union it is then”.

      How much do you really want a united Ireland for it’s obviously not a matter of urgency given your attitude.

      At this rate it’ll be demographics that sort it out (eventually) rather than fresh thinking like that of Another Jude.

      • Antonio March 23, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

        I’m not sure my point got across to you but maybe it is because I did not explain it particularly well. I have no issue whatsoever with historians showing that in the past more or most Protestants were happy to describe themselves as Irish. Hypothetically speaking it would have been better if the Protestant population had insisted upon being called British in the early and mid-20th century and simultaneously insisted that Northern Ireland be run like and actual democracy where jobs and houses are allocated on the basis of merit and need as oppossed to whether or not your Catholic. It would have saved an awful lot of trouble if Northern Ireland had not been gerrymandered to ensure that only one party, the Unionist party could get into government etc etc .
        Maybe I am being harsh on Walker – maybe I am assuming that he is implying other things when really all he is saying is Protestants were Irish in the 19th to 20th century. What I am wondering is how useful is it to know this? what are we to do with this information? I think the historians’ time at Queen’s would be better spent unravelling how on earth the British government allowed Northern Ireland to be run as it was between 1920 & 1969 without doing anything to rectify it despite claiming to be a beacon of liberal democracy.
        So unionists were comfortable with their Irishness. They were also very comfortable with systemic discrimination against their fellow Irishmen and that is in the end of more significance to me than Protestants designating themselves as ‘Irish’ on census forms etc

        Things have changed now and systemic discrimination on the basis of religion is no longer a reality. I find it particularly depressing that unionists/protestants won’t talk about it, sometimes they deny it outright, or they will say it was exaggerated (some Queen’s academics do this) I’m not saying this is the case with you. It is the case with the largest Unionist party.

        Then you’ve come out with the sort of nationalist comment that I’m more used to and now I’m thinking “sod it, Union it is then”.

        What specifically is it I’ve said that bothers you so much?

        • Gerard March 23, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

          Maybe the historians would shed light on the actual undemocratic and sectarian creation of the northern state, as all the ills it is associated with flowed from that decision. We then had the ‘carnival of reaction’ as a certain man said.
          Enjoying this debate. Think when it moves on to the ground of what shape a new, united and independent Ireland would take then it throws up challenges for republicans regarding how we can make that appealing to unionists and reassure them that equality at its core is what republicans want.

        • Am Ghobsmacht March 23, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

          Antonio

          “What specifically is it I’ve said that bothers you so much?”

          It was merely the contrast to Another Jude’s approach and ‘same old same old’ nationalist tone that you adopted when addressing my points.

          You told ME how and why my community (or rather the community I was born into and raised amongst) feels the way it does regarding Irishness.

          I came out with one reason (an unpopular reason) that addresses the death of Irishness in the Protestant mindset (the fear mongering and opportunistic rants of unionist politicians being a ‘good’ ergo popular reason that I can mention without any fear of rebuttal from nationalist commentators, but as soon as I mention the side effects of the IRA’s campaign I’m promptly informed that I’m wrong)

          You told me this was incorrect.

          You wrote off Dr Walker and dismissed the notion as revisionist.

          Another Jude’s tone was about a ‘fresh start’ yours was more along the lines of “let us not forget that unionists were mean”.

          Which approach is more likely to make people amenable to the idea of a united Ireland?

          Now, with regards to ‘how useful’ this info is, well, I’m glad I am aware of it as it helped me remark on Jude’s claim about Northern Ireland being a colony.

          • Antonio March 23, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

            ‘let us not forget that unionists were mean’ well that is one hell of an understatement.

            You were not informed that you were wrong – if you take the time to read over EVERYTHING I said you should see that. I’ve outlined the reasons why I feel Dr. Walker’s work leaves a lot to be desired. You disagree which is fine.

            After reading this response i’m thinking sod-it ”lets keep the tricolour and win our Republic.” After all when I say I’ll consider ‘throwing away” my national flag to encourage him/her to join us in a united Ireland he/she responds with the sarcastic ”o unionists were mean too”

            Like the awful experiences of my parents, grandparents, great grandparents in Northern Ireland are a joke in some way.
            You must be the twentieth Unionist i’ve attempted to speak about northern Ireland from 1920 to 1969 in the last few years and every single one of you avoids the topic. It seems most unionists are far from ready to fully engage in reconcilliation with your fellow Northern Irishmen. Of course I knew that already – look at the horrible people you’ve elected to Stormont.

          • Am Ghobsmacht March 24, 2014 at 12:41 am #

            Antonio

            I read everything you said numerous times.

            You did inform me I was wrong, observe:

            ME: “….the nail in the coffin was when the Provos kicked off. That ended ‘Irishness’ for many Protestants.”

            YOU: “…It was not the Provo campaign that ended ‘Irishness’ for Unionists”

            That is a direct contradiction of my point, the most asserted manner of telling some one they are wrong.

            That is what you did.

            That is what you said.

            You gave other reasons for lampooning Walker but given the context of the statistics quoted it was quite unwarranted

            The fact that you’re trying to actively turn a topic into one about unionist misrule actually cements my point which is that sooner or later this subject comes out like an ace up the nationalist sleeve regardless of what the topic is.

            This makes it very difficult to have an in depth discussion for as soon as someone comes out with a point that demands some thought people instead play the trump card, whether it be unionist misrule or IRA violence.

            This topic being a fine example, we started about the definition of colony and now we’re back to the bad old days.

            If you truly want a discussion on the matter then I’ll happily engage though be warned it’ll be very short as I admit absolutely that unionist rule was a hash.

            They wanted some sort of Proddy Israel but ended up with a Protestant tomb.

            So say what you want, you’re unlikely to get much opposition from me.

            You give the impression that you want a show trial, not a frank discussion.

            Perhaps Jude will blog on it in which case I’ll see you there but don’t expect me to be defending the indefensible.

            Apologies if you don’t like the “unionists were mean” summary but in essence that is what most arguments boil down to regardless of the topic.

            It gives the impression that we can’t discuss anything until this matter is cleared up, which could be deemed a bit of a shame as only a few posts ago I was considering the merits of a united Ireland.

            Now I’m back to petty squabbling on Northern Irish history.

            It gives the impression that some nationalists don’t want a united Ireland all that much as they’re more concerned with crucifying unionism than pragmatically working towards their alleged end goal.

            (Ditto the unionist parties who are more concerned with faux Britishness, flegs and parades rather than actually making NI an attractive place for all).

          • Antonio March 24, 2014 at 1:35 am #

            ”You give the impression that you want a show trial, not a frank discussion”

            It’s unfortunate you interpreted it that way as it is far from my intention. Unionist misrule and violence is always going to be a part of these discussions as we are still living with it’s legacy today much like we are still living with the legacy of IRA violence and it is always going to come up at some point when discussing NI politics.

            ”It gives the impression that some nationalists don’t want a united Ireland all that much as they’re more concerned with crucifying unionism than pragmatically working towards their alleged end goal.”
            Far from crucifying Unionists I would be happy at this point with a simple acknowledgement from the leaders of unionism (DUP) that the British state and the Unionist ‘regional state’ inflicted unjustifiable discrimination and hardships upon the nationalist people.

            But far from that we got the rejection of the HAAS proposals by the Unionist parties and a contrived crisis over OTR’s which they supposedly did not know about. (John Reid discussed it at length in the House of Commons in 2002 so they did know) We were also treated to mayhem on our streets after Sinn Fein voted alongside Alliance to fly the Union flag for 17 days instead of all year round. But alas there is an election coming up. it’s all so depressing stuck in this quagmire.
            I see the DUP as the party blocking progress for our society with their persistent no to the Maze development, no to the allocation of poverty funds on the basis of need and not religion, no to Haas, demanding Lo apologise, no no no etc. but alas that could just be down to my narrow minded nationalism and it is actually Sinn Fein who are the main obstacle.

            You were right. I did tell you you were wrong. I was confused as I’ve got about 4 different conversations going on Jude’s blog and lost track of what I said to who haha
            I think what I was getting at is you think Walker’s arguments are good and comendable. I don’t. It’s all only a matter of opinion and not a matter of fact. I don’t think it’s overly important they were comfortable as Irish. You do. fair enough. Jonathon Bardon is more my cup of tea as a history writer.

          • Am Ghobsmacht March 24, 2014 at 7:54 am #

            Antonio

            “Far from crucifying Unionists I would be happy at this point with a simple acknowledgement from the leaders of unionism (DUP) that the British state and the Unionist ‘regional state’ inflicted unjustifiable discrimination and hardships upon the nationalist people”

            It would be something to hear that.

            I’d probably pass out if I heard this (and Jude would perhaps suffer another Rice Krispies incident).

            Just to recap (as you pointed out, you have a whack of conversations going on here, noted) the DUP are amongst the current wealth of ‘talent’ that is doing a good job of making me consider a united Ireland.

            Their repugnant Frankenstein of Britishness that they (and others) have stitched together is an affront to actual Britishness, common sense, compromise and many other things.

            If a united Ireland means that they have to forget about flegs and ‘themuns’ getting everything then they’d really have to be careful in the run up to any border poll as they’d really force me to consider ticking the ‘yes’ box (notionally speaking, I’m in Oz at present).

            Anything to put down this Frankenstein’s monster.

            By the same token, SF propaganda would probably have a similar effect on the ‘No’ box.

            Anyhoo, yes, DUP et al, not a fan.

            Someone listed unionism’s gaffs so far this year and it’s only ruddy March! Imagine what marching season will be like?

            The fact that people like Frazer and Bryson even get air time is a symptom of something seriously wrong.

            I really don’t see what the ‘end game’ for the main unionist parties is.

            Instead of trying to make NI a better place to live and removing elements that make sizable portions of the population uncomfortable they instead defend them to the death in a “from my cold dead hands” hill billy mindset.

            I’m not saying that having a new flag for NI, scrapping GSTQ, ensuring a code of conduct for parades, discouraging the grotesque display of flegs, designated days (or a compromise) and gagging Jamie Bryson etc will make everyone in the state happy but by gad it wouldn’t harm unionism at all.

            But alas, I am but a Lundy and the great unionist circus must go on complete with ring master Pete and the ever growing cohort of clowns in red, white and blue make-up.

            I’m upset now, I’m going for a beer….

  15. William george March 22, 2014 at 11:18 am #

    I have no truck with the OO any more than I do with SF Do u honestly believe that republicans/nationalists do nothing that unionists find offensive?? The problem here is not so much the offensive behaviour of BOTH sides but the eagerness of both to take offense to the other.

    A lot in this thread had been said about unionist faux outrage at Anna Los comments and I agree that it is faux. I also believe that their refusal to condem Billy Hutchinson is despicable. However it had to be said that SF outrage on those comments is faux and hypocritical also.

    • Antonio March 22, 2014 at 11:46 am #

      Very few nationalists/republicans see a moral equivalence between the IRA and the UVF/UDA. Rightly or wrongly that is how republicans perceive it. It boils down to intent and the nature of the target for killing/murder. Is killing a soldier/’police officer’ who volunteers to be a member of the security forces every bit as despicable an act such as murdering anybody as long as they are catholic, any catholic – whether republican or constitutional nationalist,, whether politically interested or not. In my mind the two acts are not equally illegitimate. Most nationalists/republicans share this view.
      Sinn Fein are elected by the nationalist people and as such are almost duty bound to criticise him. Would you prefer they remained silent? why would that be better ? If they didn’t criticise Hutchinson, the sectarian murderer, many republicans would be wondering how such views can go unchallenged and may become a little more ‘dissident’ as a consequence of Sinn Fein ‘failing to stand up for the people’
      I certainly don’t think republicans do nothing to offend unionists – I could have died of embarrassment when the bright sparks in Newry decided to name a kids park after an IRA man.
      It just seems Unionist politicians offence and outrage is more plentiful and so contrived over the last few years.

      • giordanobruno March 22, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

        Antonio
        “Most nationalists/republicans share this view.”
        You have no basis for that assumption.
        Do you think all SDLP voters share that view?
        Do you think the many people with Nationalist/Republican views who do not vote, share that view?
        Do you think even all those who vote SF share that view, considering how small their support was while the IRA campaign was still going on?

        • neill March 22, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

          Well said Giordanobruno!

        • Antonio March 22, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

          Do you think all SDLP voters share that view? No.

          Do you think the many people with Nationalist/Republican views who do not vote, share that view? Most would share this opinion

          Do you think even all those who vote SF share that view, considering how small their support was while the IRA campaign was still going on? Most but not all.

          Now these are obviously opinions and by no means factual. It is very difficult to ‘prove’ what the people think short of interviewing every nationalist in N.I. But my basis is on a lifetime of living in the North and reading 100s books on Ireland’s politics and history, frequently reading newspapers and blogs. For what it’s worth I have numerous academic qualifications in politics and history up to degree level.

          I suppose it’s possible I’m very wrong – I just doubt it after all it’s a fairly reasonable point of view to see shooting dead any catholic for being a catholic as more unethical than shooting a volunteer soldier.

          • giordanobruno March 22, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

            Antonio
            Indeed just your opinion. And some people obviously share that view. How you can know what those who do not vote think is beyond me.
            I too have lived here most of my life.
            I even read a book once,at a graduate level!
            Most people I know from all parts of our community do indeed make a moral equivalence between the IRA and loyalist terror gangs.
            Perhaps if the RA had not killed 600 plus civilians in their grubby little ‘war’ we might all admire them as freedom fighters.

        • Jude Collins March 22, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

          Gio – how do you know Antonio has ‘no basis for that assumption’? What basis do you have for that statement? What basis do you have for implying not all SDLP voters share that view? Or that ‘many people with Nationalist/Republican views who do not vote, share that view’? Or that all those who vote SF share that view? My point is, Gio, most of these things are matters of opinion. The opinion has more weight when the argument is logical rather than merely assertive. That goes for Antonio, Neill, me and even you.

          • giordanobruno March 22, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

            Jude
            I implied nothing. I asked questions. How could Antonio know what most Nationalists think? Lazy statements deserve to be challenged.
            I think my logic was sound.

          • Pointis March 22, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

            Giordanobruno,

            Your replys to Antonio are coming across as quite arrogant. I don’t think Antonio or anyone else expects you to “admire the IRA or their actions” I would be quite confident the Nazis or Vichy officials didn’t see the French Resistance as “freedom fighters” either.

            I am quite sure that “the grubby little war” you describe didn’t belong to the IRA although there are plenty on the anti-Republican side of the conflict who would love everyone to believe that Republicans were responsible for everything that went wrong here.

            For those outside of the jelly brains or the partisan, the problems in Ireland preceded the IRA and that my friend you cannot change!

            P.s. You never said whether you finished that book!

  16. Antonio March 22, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

    Most people I know do not make the equivalence – you can choose to not accept that if you want.

    It is true the IRA killed a horribly large number of civilians

    You forgot to mention that it was not only the IRA who killed large numbers of civilians (Unionists often forget this so people like me have to remind you)

    I guess if the British army hadn’t directly murdered 200 civilians and British intelligence had not armed the U.D.A, and perhaps if the U.D.R and R.U.C had not been up to their necks in helping the UVF/UDA murder catholics most people would have viewed them as the security forces.

    Perhaps if the R.U.C had not responded to sectarian murders of Catholics by saying they were ‘motiveless murders’ more Catholics would have viewed them as the security forces.

    Perhaps it would have been a good idea for the so-called police force to prevent mobs of Unionist thugs forcing Catholics out of their homes across Antrim and North Belfast in ’69 then maybe we all might all have considered them to be the ‘security forces’

    p.s I garner an idea of what people who do not vote think by talking to people who don’t vote and reading newspapers and blogs and books, simple really.

    • Gerard March 22, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

      I agree with Antonio. Close to 50, the fairly large amount of people I have come across in the the nationalist/republican community have that view of the IRA compared to loyalist groups. I’m sure there has been the odd exception but they must be few as can’t recall one.

    • giordanobruno March 22, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

      Antonio
      Firstly, I’m not a Unionist. That is the kind of simplistic assumption that rather makes my point. Anyone criticising SF must be a Unionist.
      Secondly you say I do not mention the killing of civilians by loyalists. Since I am arguing for a moral equivalence between thr IRA and loyalist terror gangs I kind of thought that was taken as read. To be clear I hold them in contempt for their murderous activities.
      My simple point to you ( and Jude) was that you made statements of fact about the majority of Nationalists, which are not facts at all.
      Since you have now amended it to ‘most people I know’ I have no argument with that.

      • Antonio March 22, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

        No I did not. If you read all my comments you should see that

      • Antonio March 22, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

        Absolutely. Those criticising Sinn Fein come from many camps. Unionists, decent constitutional nationalists, stoop constitutional nationalists, all southern political parties, about half of those in the Republic who rely on RTE too much for their information on ‘da Narth’, genuine pacifists, phoney pacifists,super republican dissident republicans who hate the ‘shinners’ more than the brits etc . You could be from anyone of these groups, although presumably not the last one.

  17. giordanobruno March 22, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    Pointis
    Sorry if I came across as arrogant. I simply pointed out that Antonio was making a generalization about what Nationalists/Republicans think and unless he has some evidence other than his own experience then it is just an assumption.
    I agree with you that the problems here preceded the IRA. However they were not the hapless tools of fate, they made choices of their own free will and decided to take the lives of others: their own countrymen women and children to a large extent.
    Now that is true arrogance.

    • Antonio March 22, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

      I think you need to read Jude’s opinion again. It could help you understand where we are coming from. To paraphrase Jude ”most of these things are matters of opinion.”

      But I already told you where I garnered evidence to make the assertion that ‘most republicans share this perspective on Loyalist paramilitaries’ 100s of books and reading newspapers etc. (lately Ive been wondering why I bothered)
      If you take what you are saying to it’s nth degree then we are getting to the stage where we can not make any assertion or educated guess whatsoever about what people think or feel.

      Ultimately people assert opinions as facts all the time. I read an article by Basil McCrea a few days ago in which he said ‘the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland want to remain within the United Kingdom”. At least I couched my comments with ‘probably and’most likely’ etc. I’m not arrogant like the great moderate Basil y’see

      • giordanobruno March 23, 2014 at 11:13 am #

        Antonio
        I don’t need to read Jude’s comment again, since it was you and not I stating opinion as though it were fact.
        However we should leave it at that, as we all now agree it was just your opinion.
        I have a book to finish.

        • Antonio March 23, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

          In the same paragraph you have said ‘it was you and not I stating opinion as though it were fact.’
          Then contradict this in the next sentence with ‘we all now agree it was just your opinion’.
          How irritating.

          It was always intended as my opinion. Try not to get your knickers in such a twist over my opinions. Let’s leave it at that

  18. Pointis March 22, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

    Giordanobruno,
    The war which we should all be waging is one against the forces which are trying to keep our society divided here! Each and everyone has that duty if they do not want to see this conflict reignited by those on the fringes who don’t believe they have anything to lose.

    Our compromise resolution here had no winners or losers and that was the way it was designed and it would not have worked otherwise! I liken it to an estranged couple who have been unfaithful in the past. If we want that relationship to work it is going to be difficult to maintain friends who do not want it to succeed. For that relationship to work it is going to be difficult to maintain friends who continuously remind us of our partners indesgressions no matter how much those actions hurt us at the time.

    We have to make that difficult decision to spurn the friend who feel it necessary to repeatedly point out our partners previous failings because their motives are selfish.

    As the peace process has matured I am astounded at just how many people who claim they are in favour of the peace process allow themselves to be that snipping ‘friend’.

    The war should be over and we either accept the basis on which it ended or else we prepare for the growth in support for dissident and loyalist advocates of total war!

    To be fair to the likes of Jim Allister he is up front in that he never wanted a peace process and so if the agreement fails he will whoop with joy while the silent majority mop up the resulting fall out.

    People need to ask themselves a simple question “am I for or against the Good Friday Agreement or are my words or actions giving succour to those who would have it fail”?

    No one should be expected to forget the past or agree with the actions of their former adversaries but everyone had to accept that a line had to drawn in the sand for things to succeed.

  19. Pointis March 23, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    Sorry, that should read “formerly estranged couple”, although I am sure some would prefer the previous version.

  20. William george March 24, 2014 at 12:04 am #

    Antonio

    I have been reading your comments and you sound incredibly bitter. What is it you are looking for from unionists?

    If your issue is about the unionist government in NI in 1921-1969 then I can certainly say yes there was gerrymandering, yes there was discrimination and yes there were injustices perhaps even widespread injustice. I accept that. I accept all that was wrong.

    Now where does that get us? That is the past. What about the present and the future? Do you accept that listening to the other side and genuinely trying to understand and take on board their concerns is necessary to move on?

    • Antonio March 24, 2014 at 1:38 am #

      Now where does that get us? That is the past. What about the present and the future? Do you accept that listening to the other side and genuinely trying to understand and take on board their concerns is necessary to move on?

      That’s why I commenting on Jude’s blog. It can be a drag at times. I’m considering immigration

      • giordanobruno March 24, 2014 at 7:59 am #

        Antonio
        We would be glad to have you back. Or do you mean emigration?

        • Antonio March 24, 2014 at 9:09 am #

          Yes I meant emigration, doh!

    • Antonio March 24, 2014 at 1:44 am #

      I prefer the term frustrated passion. Calling someone bitter is a little insulting. A little insulting not hugely insulting but certainly a little bit at least.

      • William george March 24, 2014 at 6:51 am #

        Antonio

        I’m sorry if you feel insulted, that is not my intention and I acknowledge the impression you are giving may not be your intention either however what is coming across from you is bitterness.

        Now, you have complained that twenty unionists you have spoken to have never admitted the wrings of the past. You now have two speaking to you who have done that. I asked you where does that get us and how do we move on

  21. Antonio March 24, 2014 at 9:02 am #

    William George

    ” I asked you where does that get us and how do we move on”
    would
    I don’t have any great answers. It would be a positive if the Unionist parties endorsed the Haass proposals as it would give our society space to build something more tangible to build upon for longer term.

    perhaps me and you (and Am Ghobsmacht ) could play a game. I will read The Newsletter Only for a month and you could read the Irish News Only for a month and we’ll check back in early May and see where we are at.

    However if my head spontaneously combusts after a month of reading the Newsletter due to my passion and frustration then you are paying for my funeral

    • Am Ghobsmacht March 24, 2014 at 9:15 am #

      Antonio

      For your own mental health (and my bank balance) please don’t read the newsletter for a month.

      I was raised on it and still find some it infuriating and flabbergasting. And as for the comments on the letters page….

      Though to be fair, Alex Kane can be quite reasonable. He does however drip feed the reasoned arguments lest he be hunted.

      • Antonio March 25, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

        Yes Alex Kane has started a column in the Irish News too and it’s always worth a read

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