Last night’s game and some clear thinking called for

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Before I get to the main business of the day, allow me to linger briefly on last night’s game. First of all, I’m ashamed of myself for being glad England lost. Not only is it verging on racist, it’s also self-contradictory. Because I love the England players. I love Gerrard with his worried little frown, and Sturridge with his big perfect face and Sterling with his comic-book hair. I even love Rooney, who has a face like a well-spanked bum and who is bursting with talent that he just can’t seem to get out of himself. But you’d need a heart of stone not to rejoice in Suarez’s goals. The way he took the first, angling it in the opposite-of-obvious direction and pushing his neck-muscles to send it beyond Joe Hart – sublime. And then the second one, with everything dependent on it, he touches it, draws back his foot and it’s in the top of the net. All this from the man who was reviled in Britain for his racist taunts (and they were racist, those who know tell me) and arm-biting tactic (although I’d far sooner have an arm chomp than a career-threatening tackle). Suarez is a case of arrested development – a big boy who just loves his football. Last night he produced not one but two things of beauty  that are, although heart-breaking for some, a joy forever.

Now. Where was I? Oh right. It’s been suggested to me by a man called PJD  that we should try to take a sustained, thoughtful look at the whole notion of the present union with Britain and the case for a re-united Ireland. Note those words ‘sustained’ and ‘thoughtful’. No verbal arm-biting or racist taunting allowed. That’s not to say the case on either side can’t be made with passion and conviction: it can and I hope it is. But there’ll have to be a word limit and the case must be made in a respectful way. I suggest we start by stating our two top reasons for wanting to maintain the union or to have a re-united Ireland. Once we’ve all done that, we can begin to inter-act and argue with opposing cases. But first of all, your two main reasons for wanting the status quo or a constitutional change. Let me start, if you will.

1. I believe that a grown-up people should be in charge of its own affairs. When we’re children, we need wiser heads to make all sorts of decisions for us; when we are mature, we owe it to ourselves to act as grown-ups. To have the man who lives next door, whatever his financial wizardry, arrange your affairs for you or make decisions for you is to remain in a state of constant infancy. Even the Irish people were to make a hames of running their own affairs I’d still want them to do so, rather than a neighbouring power.

2. I think the partition of this island has been a disaster. It has produced in the north a state that gerrymandered and discriminated, until eventually the lid blew off and the thirty-year period of civil unrest ensued. In the south it produced a Church-dominated state that fumbled in a greasy till, that drove hundreds of thousands of its people abroad to look for work, and that engaged in corruption and back-handers on a scale that was shameful. In a re-united Ireland, I believe the hard-headedness and the drive of northerners could enrich the south enormously, and I think the more relaxed, warm and gregarious nature of the southern Irish people would help smooth our northern tetchiness and quickness to anger. 

OK – I’ve done a word-count and that’s just  600 words. Even though I think it’s too long, I can hardly ask readers to work on a smaller canvas – unless they want to. So let’s take until  five o’clock this evening.  Until that time, you have the opportunity to put forward  two succinct reasons you would offer for wishing to remain a part of the UK, or that you’d offer as reasons for  constitutional change. And remember – no interaction until 5.00 pm. Only when everyone has had a chance to make clear his/her  own reasons plain will productive interaction be allowed.

Go to it.

46 Responses to Last night’s game and some clear thinking called for

  1. paul June 20, 2014 at 11:03 am #

    1. The ‘state’ was founded by coercion and the threat of violence( Carson, the covenant and rumblings from Churchill). The result was two ‘nations’ that have had in many ways floundered through their short histories.The northern one maintained a status quo through bigotry and discrimination. The southern one forgot about its roots and seemed to require the approval of the church for everything. The govt facilitated or at the very least turned a blind eye to abominations sponsored by said church, resulting in a population that IMO lived may have lived their lives in fear of the church.Since the partition of the nation has not resulted in two strong and viable nations, I think a unified country with respect for all would be a good start.
    2. England has used Ireland for a playground and a laboratory for centuries. It has taken it’s resources and subjugated it’s people. It has used armed force that would not be tolerated in its own country( rubber bullets come to mind). It has throughout the centuries enacted draconian legislation aimed at eliminating Irish culture and more recently,allowed the forces of the state to arrest and detain people indefinitely. Despite the statement that Britain ‘has no selfish interest in Ireland”, its actions say just the opposite. Surely a unified state where TRUE democracy is practiced could not do any worse

  2. Francis D June 20, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    Partition is an anomaly whose mid-wife has always in her interactions treated the Irish as at best second class within the Union, pre and post Partition, and at worst, with a brutality equal to the excesses of any historic Empire throughout history. The Shadows od the past weigh heavily on the Irish psych, so to the brave new world of the now we must go.

    1 no matter how much we try to outreach to our Unionist kin in a spirit of commonality and on an equal footing, it is rejected by the core rump of culturally and politically intransigent Unionists who have embedded this institutional beligerence in their souls. Partition of the country is the determining factor arguably which sustains their illusions and props them up Politically to perpetually embedded ‘otherness’. For this culture of division ad infinitum to wither, a new Ireland of equals needs reborn, where with checks balances and organic active local citizenship, the spirit of the United Irishmen can be rekindled and Unionists realise their place in a shared future is assured, strong and umportantly the partitionist mindset becomes fractured by and end to the Partition which sees them always with the entrenched view that they are under seige, with all the continuous violent consequences this ptecipitates.

    2 There is no accountibility or proper democracy north of the DMZ while Westminster decide what measure of freedom people within this region merit at any given time. The norths population are at the mercy of rhe whims of a Right wing administration who, with their Milton Friedman school of economics ‘Slash and Burn ‘ cuts and privatise everything project& rival the prediciment of our Countrymen and women to the south of the country, mortgaged to the EU and IMF criminals Who have ushered now to fruition, new levels of privation that see our people suffer and many of our youth once more Emigrate. A Strong new Ireland can put a purile nationalist simplicity in the dust bin as together a new Socialist alternative can be formulated to protect and empower all our citizens in a new consensus where we can put people first, and not be held hostage north or south to Westminster, Dublin 4, the IMF, EU or Financial sector. Self determination for grown ups in a new enlightened Irland of Equals where all our people come first.

  3. Patrick J Dorrian June 20, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    I. I think that partition has increased sectarianism in the 6 counties, I say this because it is recorded that the first RC church in Belfast, St Marys was built with contributions from the OO, similarly with St Patricks in Donegall St. The creation of a statelet with a nationalist minority meant there was an enemy within, that members of that minority were suspect. Whilst it wouldn’t happen overnight, there might be a better chance of improving community relations than there is with the current arrangements. With current arrangements, there is always the chance that demographic change in favour of nationalists has the potential to create a positive nationalist vote to break the union. This is a source of instability. This is a source of trouble.
    2. I also think that partition has stopped Ireland growing as a nation. The economy of Ireland would have been much stronger had the northern industrial area been included from the start, it had the potential to drive the whole country. There is a feeling that Irish politicians are all incompetent, yet many have obtained senior positions within the EU. A withdrawal of instability would perhaps other competent people from spheres other than where they currently come from, to come forward and engage. Ireland as whole has a better chance of creating an economy that provides opportunities for our children.

  4. paddykool June 20, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

    Jude :
    This by no means easy. I’ve asked this question myself , as you know and to a great extent I think I agree with your account. I have reservations of course.
    1. I think we have been infantalised in Northern Ireland ..as you imply , by being led by the hand of Mother England….by being subsidised by her too. We’ve also carried on like spolit brats by pretending to abide by her cultural rules and by breaking every one of them when it suits.
    We {I use the collective because we have our own form of governing “leadership” here that we’ve voted in} have developed a lot of unfortunate tribal habits which cost so much money to police that there is now talk of taking away the free prescriptions to help pay for these displays of tribalism and possibly to restate the RUC’s widows’ pensions.
    Left to our own devices in the north we have produced a whole flank of society that is racist and inward -looking and proud of their brutalism.That said I feel that many of us have an awful lot in common with our English neighbours , having been steeped in both our own culture and theirs for almost a century. In the north many of us have greater exposure to British culture{ie across the water} as opposed to just the six northern counties of Northern Ireland’s version of “Britishness”}.I could say for example that although I’ve holidayed and visited the South, I have never lived there, but I have lived for extensive periods in four or five English cities. We are not all the same of course.
    2. I’ve no doubt that in the South there are plenty who are not “warm and gregarious” by nature . Just as in the North there are plenty who are. There are warm and dour people everywhere ,both North and South. I imagine you’re generalising in your haste, Jude but you know there are all kinds everywhere…and country folk and city folk are no different either. I would like to think a New Ireland could work if we could sort out a few local problems first. There is no way we can have a joined up Ireland which comprises a “Peace Wall” scenario. We are not divided by rivers or borders on maps .We are divided outside there on the streets beyond your door. I think we could have a stronger culural mix across the whole island if we could re-introduce some of the unionist traditions without the need of threat and hatred of the “other”. Anti -hate laws need to be used properly across the board and religion needs to be removed entirely from the political field across the board…..by agreed laws.It needs to be a strictly secular New Ireland in every way.
    I would {and do, presently} feel happy to call myself an Irishman already , simply because I was born on the island .I currently carry an irish passport too. It claims I am Irish , so that’s not a problem, but I’ve no problem with a re-united Ireland in a yet unknown future joining some new kind of Federation with England ,Wales , Scotland , France, Germany…..as long as we all know what the law says and abide and defend it against racism , bigotry and brutality….no problem at all. I’ll stay Irish within that okay….if it works and I’ll vote to leave it if it doesn’t .. I love Irish culture , Irish music, Irish painting and literature but I also love a hell of a lot of stuff from English culture and elsewhere worldwide. I love the “respect” that Irish culture accrues worldwide but I don’t want anyone squeezing me into their tiny little box stamped “Culture”. I especially don’t want anyone’s clotted , insular idea of “culture” shoved down my throat.

  5. Jude Collins June 20, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    WHAT FOLLOWS ARE NOT MY VIEWS BUT THOSE OF SM:

    A really interesting Q, Jude – coming from a non-religious background I have the luxury of approaching this from a fairly non-biased view. My main concerns would be that of the economy – I’m not an economics expert, but the financial problems of the south have been well documented. The question is – would it be any worse than the austerity measures in Britain? I would also be concerned about the return to the violence of yesteryear that a potential unification would cause – I do think that much of the country’s views have softened, but those hardcore views are still, unfortunately, very much prevalent a la the Flag Protests, I think that those scenes would be magnified and exacerbated by the hypothetical scenario and we would hark back to the dark days of the Troubles.

  6. Am Ghobsmacht June 20, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

    Dr C

    On account of my Lundyness and shim-shamming, I’m afraid I’ll submit two entries, a pro and an anti union stance:

    First, the pro:

    1/ I believe that the creation of Northern Ireland is singularly the worst thing to happen the Protestant populations of that island.
    A quick example of this is my use of the word populations.
    Now it is simply ‘population’.

    Once upon a time the main Protestant groups (dour northern Scotsmen of a no nonsense demeanour vs cravat wearing poetry reading jessies that controlled the upper echelons) were as irreconcilable as modern day Tyrone GAA heads and Mid Ulster Orangemen.

    Yet now we see them as one group.

    This is a symptom of something awful.

    The UK system sucks the unionist youth and talent out of here and shifts them to the mainland, ironically for their grandchildren to arise as ‘irish’.

    By uniting the land and forcing the Protestant educated youth to stay we might find that we start to embrace new ideas instead of discarding the impure elements as is the case today.

    If I could brig back only a few dozen of the talented Ulster Protestants to NI it would be a shot across the bows to our political establishment, alas, to them Ulster is a land of the dead.

    2/ If. IF.IF. A united Ireland can be handled in a baggage free fashion then we all stand to gain.
    If London invests enough in us to make us an economic consideration then it becomes a consideration that must be protected.

    So London never will.

    Till we’re free of London, we’ll never be an economic consideration again.

    We’re all the grandchildren of hard workers and surely our grandchildren deserve the right to say the same?

    As it stands, they can claim to be the grandchildren of people who worked for the government or waited on politicians.

    • Virginia June 22, 2014 at 7:19 am #

      You cannot force the talented to stay. Unification well not change this fact, rather it will worsen it. All of this is one century too late.

      • Am Ghobsmacht June 23, 2014 at 2:57 am #

        I have to disagree Virginnia.

        Nearly of the ex-pats I know fled NI for university in Britain and they got used to the cities of their education and stayed.

        A united Ireland potentially makes this a lot harder.

        OK, a lot of the ones I met in Australia did so for economic reasons, but, there’s no accounting for global economic crashes…

  7. SeánMacGC June 20, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    Not too dissimilar to your own reasons Jude.

    1. Once Partition goes, so too does the siege-mentality, since there’ll no longer be anything to feel under siege about, and all energies can thus be transformed into positive forces (eventually), replacing the very negative mechanics since the foundation of the statelet. Then the annual Orange, for example, truly can become something of a carnival — witness the lack of coat-trailing, triumphalism, and general thuggery annually in Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal.

     

    2. Flowing from 1, the whole will be significantly greater than the sum of the two parts; gone will be the grossly, and sometimes fatally inefficient duplication of services; in will come a sizable number of firm headed northerners (of all persuasions, and none) to temper the excesses of Dublin legislatures. And that cannot be but (much) better for everyone on the island.

     

    Though rather than being simply the removal of the line, it must be a new beginning, a re-imagining about what a promise to ‘cherish all the children of the nation equally’ really means.

     

  8. Am Ghobsmacht June 20, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

    Now the anti…

    1/ At present there is no pragmatic blueprint for a UI.

    The sole agitators for this goal are a group entirely unfit for the purpose, Sinn Fein.

    In the absence of any other champions for ‘the cause’ SF have been given the reigns.

    They are as suitable for this task as 3rd Para are for a British tourist board campaign in Ireland.

    Removing the border would simply be that, erasing a line on a map, much like Mountbatten used to do.

    The trouble would be immense as there have been no preparations put in place for assimilation.

    The south have not kept their eye on that ball whatsoever.

    2/ The current state of play will result in only winners and losers.

    Without making ‘Ulstermen’ feel like they belong on their island then there is room only for violence and chaos.

    100 years ago we were all Irish and British, now we’re (mostly) one or the other.

    I know the threat of trouble is a poor excuse for not fulfilling a dream, but we’re not talking about a new Drumcree, we’re talking about a Macau or a HK on this island.

    Before we unite the lines on a map, we must unite the people (or some of them at least).

    No one is doing that at present.

    I say a united NI first then a UI.

  9. Theresa Watson June 20, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

    Jude

    You say a re-united Ireland. But as far as I’m aware Ireland was never a nation, apart from a brief time under Brian Boru, or was that a fairy-tale? But I’m sure you will enlighten me.

    • Am Ghobsmacht June 20, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

      Theresa

      With respect, that’s really pushing it.

      Are you saying Ireland wasn’t a nation when it sent all those men to die on the Somme?

      Obviously it was and just like another nation at the time it was debating as to whether it should detach itself or not.

      We regard Israel as a nation yet it has (technically) been divided for thousands of years.

      Let us not be petty about this.

  10. Theresa Watson June 20, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    Am Ghobsmacht

    It seems impossible to have a discussion anymore, without people taking offence. I wasn’t been ‘petty’ I was asking a perfectly reasonable question, which I addressed to Jude. And before you call me a west Brit, I would love to see Ireland united.

    • Am Ghobsmacht June 20, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

      Apologies Theresa, I didn’t mean to come across all prissy.

    • Ruaidri Ua Conchobai June 20, 2014 at 10:43 pm #

      Theresa,
      Its unclear what you understand to be the defining features of a nation / nationhood.

      1) In your opinion, is a ‘nation’ defined by the inhabitants of a country sharing certain unique characteristics i.e their own language, unique cultural pastimes and sports etc?

      2) Can you date Ireland’s a) Gaéilge language? b) Boron alphabet? c) Brehon laws? d) Gaélic social pastimes such as Irish music and dancing? e) GAA and other uniquely Irish sport related activities?

      3) In your opinion, does ‘nationhood’ only begin to exist at the point in time when every citizen’ knows and/or is accorded the right to cast a vote to nominate their leader(s), or what?

      4) When did the people of Great Britain (or if you prefer the people of the United Kingdom) become entitled to cast a vote to nominate their leader(s)?

      As something of a sidebar question, do you accept the Irish nation were never afforded the right to approve the 1800 Act of Union that has eversince blighted the destiny of the people of this our 32 county island of Ireland?

  11. Jude Collins June 20, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    OK. Peeeeeep (ref’s final whistle). Now you can (should you wish) point out the good things and the holes in each other’s arguments. I ‘m struck by the fact that only A G has offered a negative view of Irish unity (after he had – characteristically – provided a positive view of Irish unity. I find myself in agreement with an awful lot of what is said. To address Theresa’s question ( and btw I don’t mind one bit having AG answer the question for me – saves me mental effort and is likely to be more intelligent in any case)…Where was I? Oh yes Theresa. Well AG has sort of answered the question. There may have been a time (as with most countries – Italy and Germany come to mind as 19th century inventions/creations) when Ireland wasn’t seen as a nation but it’s been seen as one for several hundred years now hence my re- bit. But I’m happy to pull it out and just talk about a UI if that makes it easier. The one thing that I didn’t see in any comment was a single figure – money. Moolah. Some people talked about the economy and duplication of services, for example, but nobody cite figures to show that Ireland would be better off united with Britain or better off as a UI. I think this is a pity – it’s one I’ve raised with Sinn Féin people too. As I’ve said, even were we to be worse off financially or make a bigger bollocks of the economy, I’d still vote for a UI, because I think , like it or lump it, that’s what big people do – run their own affairs. As it happens, people seem to rush immediately to the economics of the possible change (as they’re doing in Scotland) , so if that’s the case, it’s past time we had hard, verifiable figures on how much comes in here (did someone say £10.2 billion is the subvention? I’ve heard that figure includes lots of other things, so that not anywhere near that sum actually gets here. I’ve also heard that there is no verifiable figure for what goes out of here – i.e., how much we and big companies here feed into the British Exchequer in taxes. We really HAVE TO get figures everyone can rely on, in a matter of such importance. Mind you, I don’t believe economics is the only reason for wanting unity with Britain (see the flag protest) or freedom from Britain (that wasn’t really what 1916 was about – the economics of it all). In fact the things we value most highly in life I would say have little or nothing to do with economics, that dismal science. But since it is important, although not the most important, it really should be brought out in the objective light of day and the facts established and agreed on. We can then move to deal with other factors that are (iMHO) even more important.
    So that’s my little response. If you want to savage one another now…No, no, don’t do that. Agree or disagree but no savaging,please. But again, I’d stress the need to put pressure on so we are given specific figures. (Same vagueness applies, incidentally, to the duplication argument – which doesn’t deal with the question of job-loss, incidentally). OK, that’s me.

    • Anthony June 20, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

      Jude
      In a Belfast Telegraph article 09 August 2012, Tax consultant Eamonn Donaghy stated,
      ” The running cost of Northern Ireland is £20bn a year of which we contribute about £9bn”

      The south of Ireland has been crippled by bank debt, even though the Irish number just 1% of The EU’s population, we have to repay 40% of The EU’s bank dept.

      Still even now our GDP (PPP) in the depths of the worst recession is higher than that of the UK , Irelands exports only for 2013 was worth $210bn and the Irish economy is worth more than NI/Scotland and Wales combined.

      So the question of would the population of the North be better off in an Agreed Ireland is fairly clear, as at present the whole economy of the North is only worth about 10% the value of exports of the south.

      The Norths whole revenue intake of 9bn is the same worth as exports on Agri products only for the south in 2012.

      http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/news/top-expert-warns-northern-ireland-economy-is-facing-meltdown-28779242.html

      http://www.tradingeconomics.com/ireland/gdp

      • neill June 21, 2014 at 9:34 am #

        Goodness gracious me Anthony you really have missed the boat have you not?

        Why didnt you mention London the capital city of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland which everybody agrees is a world wide economic powerhouse which contributes to the rest of the United Kingdom once again why would anybody want to leave that and join a far smaller and weaker economy?

        • Anthony June 21, 2014 at 10:48 am #

          I havent missed any boat Neill, no need to mention London where 1 in every 29 people are millionaires.

          The fact is, before partition the 6 counties GDP per capita for the north of Ireland was slightly higher than the rest of Britain, while per capita GDP in the Republic was only 45 per cent of that in the north.
          Since around 2001 the GPD per capita for the Republic is now higher than that of the UK.

          That fact alone Neill should say a lot about the results economically of partition on the north.

        • RJC June 21, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

          Neill, unfortunately the wealth in London has little bearing on, and matters little to the people of the North East of England, Liverpool and many others parts of the UK (NI included). The ‘strength’ of the UK economy is quite location specific – if you were to visit areas such as Middlesbrough, Doncaster or Sunderland you would witness poverty on a fairly unimaginable scale. The UK is one of the most unequal societies in the developed world.

    • Ruaidri Ua Conchobai June 20, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

      Jude,
      Let’s be blunt, Unionists are using a vague and “scary economics” tactic to fend-off properly debating reunification. I suspect, Unionists are petrified their sole anti-unification weapon could evaporate if they were to support Republican demands that the UK Government handover the essential, finite revenue verses costs figures.

    • Am Ghobsmacht June 21, 2014 at 7:39 am #

      Dr C

      Personally, I’m not THAT convinced about the economic argument.

      Yes, we get a big slab of money from the UK.

      But we waste a lot of it (generally we spend a lot of it on segregating ourselves).

      Whilst it is good to be part of a strong economy like the UK we are at a disadvantage in that the South is much more attractive from an investment point of view.

      If you’re going to open up on the island why not head south, life is more tax friendly there, young corporation man….

      IF we had the Republic’s low corporation tax, well, I’m sure that would be a shot in the arm to the shipyard and bombardier (and that’s just for starters) and engineering all round.

      We will never excel as part of the UK.

      We are doomed to mediocrity at best.

      Whether that is down to ‘fleggers’, ‘uppity nationalists’ or inept politicians who have nothing to fear from failure it doesn’t really matter.
      We’re not gonna make it.

      We are just lying uncomfortably on a big safety net.

      So, even I don’t buy the economic argument.

      Sure, the Republic’s first experience ended in a crash (just like other countries who have had boom times before) but it seems like they’ve learnt a hard lesson.

      Down here they’re very impressed with the Republic’s recovery. (Really).

  12. neill June 20, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    As a unionist my reasons for being against a united Ireland are very obvious and I will leave them to one side.

    My reasons for wishing to be part of the union are as follows.

    Strong economy: Why would any rational business person wish to leave a strong and successful economy to join up with a very small economy. Also across the world british companies have better reputations bye and large ie they pay on time!.

    Culture: I have a far closer affinity to british culture than irish culture ( I despise U2….) joking aside i feel more immersed in British culture than irish culture Irish games (Gaa) leave me cold as does the language.

    I could give you more but the football has started!

    • paul June 20, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

      As far as the economy goes, unemployment is rampant in the 6 counties( yes, in
      the south as well) Whatever reasons one may hold to be pro union, the economy doesn’t seem to me to be relevant.

      • neill June 21, 2014 at 9:29 am #

        Of course it is relevant why would any sane person move from a very strong economy to a weaker one?

        Unemployment is only a small part of the economy

    • Jude Collins June 20, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

      Neill – nice to hear a dissenting voice. RE stronger economy – I think most UIers are talking about creating an Ireland with a strong economy (among other things) than claiming there is one at present. As to ‘affinity with’ British (i.e. English) culture – I would say I know a lot more about English literature than I do about Irish literature, but I don’t think a UI would exclude me – in fact it might encourage me to open my mind to a culture that’s on my doorstep, as it were…But thanks for your comments – as I think I said earlier, it’s important to hear different views.

  13. michael c June 20, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

    With regard to the opening part of Jude’s post, I have to say that England didn’t play that badly in their two games.

    • Jude Collins June 20, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

      I thought they were pretty good but not good enough in the first game. I thought they were sorta useless in their second game (which I wanted them to win until Suarez stepped up)

      • giordanobruno June 21, 2014 at 6:31 am #

        A bit like Sinn Fein, they were quite exciting and positive going forward, but going back they make too many defensive errors. And their aging leader is prone to making damaging slip ups. Time to retire.Steven (Gerry) Gerrard.

        • Jude Collins June 21, 2014 at 9:19 am #

          Gio – that’s twice in recent posts you’ve scraped the bottom of the tin. The difference in Stevie and Gerry is, Stevie led his team to early defeat, Gerry leads his to a massive breakthrough in the south. Time to retire? I think not.

          • giordanobruno June 21, 2014 at 10:21 am #

            I thought I was being gracious about their forward looking policies, but there you go.
            Adams will go soon after the 2016 celebration (commemoration?), Stevie G will probably go sooner.

  14. Cal June 20, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

    1) The raison d’etre of the Northern state has gone. Unionist supremacy is over. The power of the Catholic Church over Irish politics is no more.

    2) We’ve tried everything else besides a 32 County independent State that we might as well give it a go.

    • paddykool June 20, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

      Well Cal…We probably
      Will eventually have a go at it I should imagine.Unless we are reduced to abject poverty , the like of the Great Famine, I’ m nearly sure no one will much notice.Those that want to will still jump in the car and go to the odd concert or to a match in Belfast or Dublin. or maybe gather up some cash for a weekend in London or a holiday in Portrush, Prague or Portugal or the caravan or static in Sligo or Donegal.If they have a job they’ll spend their lives just the same , schlepping to work every day to feed their family and fix the car…and then they’ll have grand kids if they’re lucky ,and they’ll play with them….Then they’ll pop their merry clogs….There’s really not a lot to get too overwrought about if you think about it…..If only some of the buggers would wise-up!

  15. Micheal June 20, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    Is this working?

  16. neill June 21, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    The sad truth is that nobody really wants us the Republic may pay lip service about a United Ireland but that is really all it is as for Britain they are half hearted at best and as long as we are quiet they are content to let things move on.

    I suspect the main problem in Northern Ireland are Nationalists and Unionists both the Republic and Britain find us quick and bad tempered to ready for emotional blackmail and sometimes far to charmless the real irony is that Nationalists and Unionists have a lot in common with each other and are well suited……

    As a matter of interest you should read JJ Lees History of Ireland and his chapter on De Valera and his new constitution you should find it interesting!

    • Jude Collins June 21, 2014 at 11:10 am #

      Neill – I read Lee years ago and he struck me as a very intelligent and clear writer. My memory is that Dev more or less wrote the constitution himself, which was quite a feat but maybe not too democratic…In any UI there would of course have to be a new constitution. I think you’ve put your finger on an important truth – we people here in the north are a touchy bunch and both the Brits and the south don’t find us all that attractive. My own thinking is that the south could well do with a dose of our hard-headedness (and yes,I know I’m generalising, but I’ve lived in the north and I’ve lived in the south and the deficiencies are indisputably there) and we could do with a dose of their charm and refusal to take things, including themselves, too seriously. I think if you listen to Nolan’s phone-in and the corresponding phone-in on RTE radio, you’ll get some sense of that difference.

  17. NorthMunsterman June 23, 2014 at 7:18 am #

    ….. the south don’t find us all that attractive…” – Jude

    I’d qualify that a little Jude – we’ll be very willing to support a peaceful Re-unification of the country on agreed terms – absolutely no doubt about that. The vast majority of us also fully understand the totally dysfunctional nature of the 6-county statelet, – it was/is a total FUBAR. Unionists/Ulster Prod will pretty much get what they want in a Re-United Ireland – as you say, we’re a fairly easy-going bunch in this part of the country for the most part and we have zero interest in lording it over Unionists/Ulster Prods.

    It’s going to happen – of that there is no doubt. Future generations will see a single Irish state as the most natural thing in the world – and look back and wonder what on earth all the fuss was about.

    It’s all good.

    • neill June 23, 2014 at 9:56 am #

      Just making empty unplanned statements is not going to make it happen ever.

      Get used to it.

    • Am Ghobsmacht June 24, 2014 at 3:50 am #

      Northmunsterman

      Neill has a bit of a point here.

      The current attritional approach to unification depends very much on the unionists making unionism as unappealing as possible to youngsters of a nationalist background.

      IF that should ever change (and despite the sinking of their ship, NI21 showed that there is certainly a small market for a non-British-nationalist orientated unionist party) then the reunification idea could take a reverse.

      I am at pains to stress over on sluggerotoole that SF (in particular) and the SDLP (but to a lesser extent as they are a nice bunch of people in general) are in no way appealing to even softie unionists like myself.

      A real danger to the unionist flank would be a baggage free unification party, one with an economic blueprint and a plan for all scenarios including reintegration.

      At present there is no such party so I for one (and no doubt many other would be lundies) will remain on the unionist side of the fence, or rather the ‘status quo’ side of the fence.

      If a united Ireland comes about it will be despite SF’s efforts, not because of them.
      I see them as much a hindrance to the cause of unification as the DUP et al are to the cause of the Union.

      For instance, what have SF done to get a UI by 2016? Not much.

      How many unionists have they converted? None (rough guess)

      Why not?
      You guys can work that out for yourselves.
      All I’m saying is that if the idea of a united Ireland is a logical and noble one and that not all people of a unionist background are opposed to it then why so little progress on getting them on board?

      Just putting it out there…

  18. Am Ghobsmacht June 24, 2014 at 3:55 am #

    NMM
    PS Not saying that your a Shinner BTW, just pointing out flaws in the nationalist plan, it affects all nationalists.

  19. NorthMunsterman June 24, 2014 at 5:57 am #

    Am Ghobsmacht :

    Nationalists will argue that Unionists are simply not interested as long as they have a majority. After all, that is the very basis of the creation of the North, a totally undemocratic crude headcount – except it was supposed to return a permanent Unionist majority, which is heading for the rocks by 2020.

    At the moment, even if Re-unification meant an extra euro 20k in everyone’s pocket, most Unionists would reject it. Consequently, all Nationalists know it is simply a waste of time to produce any White (or Green 🙂 Paper at this stage.

    You are a moderate reasonable individual but it is my contention that people like you have very little chance (Cue NI21) to influence fellow Unionists UNTIL Unionists are the minority.

    Only when Unionists are the minority will any serious plans for Re-unification be listened to by Unionists.

    • neill June 24, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

      Piffle what your saying is that SF have no economic plan to reunite the North and the South now or anytime in the foreseeable future and you you think unity is around the corner….

      • NorthMunsterman June 25, 2014 at 5:50 am #

        “Neill”

        Re-unification is not the exclusive property of the Shinners or any single party or group.
        It is a National project enshrined in the Irish Constitution that transcends party politics.

        Any White Paper on Irish reunification – no matter how brilliant – would be immediately rejected out of hand by all Unionists, so it would be a pointless exercise at this stage.

        But it will happen for certain.

        What is somewhat surprising is that Unionists seem determinied to wait until they are a minority – thereby ensuring their bargaining leverage is at its weakest possible.

        Maybe it is down to the same reason that Harry West gave, when in an interview with the “Irish Times”, he admitted that a Re-United Ireland is inevitable but that he could not stomach it.

    • Am Ghobsmacht June 25, 2014 at 3:47 am #

      NorthMunsterman

      “Nationalists will argue that Unionists are simply not interested as long as they have a majority”.

      That’s fair enough, but when they are no longer the majority this will in part be due to the Alliance and Greens.
      They tend to be concentrated in what are generally regarded as ‘unionist’ areas.

      Not everyone from the unionist side of the fence is unionist or even Protestant (apparently the highest rates of atheism/non-religious are centred around Belfast Lough).

      So, there’s obviously people that can be worked on.

      Furthermore, what is a cause without a plan, a flag or a leader?

      For example, in the American Civil War, 10’s of thousands of southern troops remained loyal to the union. They had all of the above (this is before slavery was key).

      At present, what are nationalists enticing unionists (or potential unificationists) with?

      Not a great deal.

      Not every person born into the Protestant community is a subscriber to this ‘caste’ system that we have imposed on ourselves.

      It is truly ridiculous to blindly obey the past politics of one’s family just because it may have been a good idea once upon a time.

      The irony being (IMO) that the early plantations and settlements were made up of the least loyal subjects to ‘the Crown’:
      Scottish Gaels, Border Reivers and (soon-to-be) Covenanters. A veritable rogue’s gallery of headache to the Crown in the 17th century.

      Yet many of us believe that because we are descended from them we are for some reason obliged to be ‘loyal’?! ( suitably demonstrated I suppose with the modern acts of loyalty which include pelting the police with masonry and costing the Crown millions…)

      But, before some of us can break free of this caste, we need to see ‘the plan’.

      I think there is a lot of work to be done.

      Sorry for the broken record, but I think this is a real oversight (ditto unionism’s ‘plan’ but we all know their leadership is inflexible. Let’s see how the other side fare).

      • NorthMunsterman June 25, 2014 at 5:59 am #

        Am Ghobsmacht :

        Thanks for your reply – however, I can’t add to what I wrote already.