Words as weapons, flags as food

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There’s a temptation for us to dismiss some controversial matters as ‘no big deal.’ For example, columnist Tom Kelly dismisses the acceptance of an MBE by former internee Pat McCarthy of the SDLP. You might be tempted to do a Mandy-Rice Davies and say “He would, wouldn’t he?”, since Tom himself has an OBE add-on to his own name, but that doesn’t mean Tom’s judgement isn’t  right.

The state papers recently released show Gregory Campbell writing to the British government complaining about the use of the word ‘Derry’ in an advertisement for a post in the Shantallow area of that city. The British government’s response was that ‘Derry’ could be used in reference to Derry City Council, but in all other cases Londonderry should be used.

And we all know how ape-shit a section of the unionist community went when Belfast City Council voted to fly the Union flag less than 365 days a year.

Do these things really matter? Are they not covered by the words of John Hume’s father: “You can’t eat a flag”? Well, yes and no.

Whether Pat McCarthy accepts the offer of an MBE isn’t going to change your life or mine. We’ll still get up in the morning, go to work, come home, pay taxes, live our lives. The same applies if Gregory uses ‘Londonderry’ every time he refers to that city on the Foyle, and the sky hasn’t fallen because a Union flag hasn’t fluttered every day over Belfast’s Dome of Delights. The things that divide us, the control of the levers of power still rest in exactly the same place, regardless. So shouldn’t we just disregard such distractions?

I don’t think so. Words are the material out of which we construct our thoughts: Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language” shows just how important words can be in political discourse. Every time someone uses the term ‘Londonderry’ they are effectively saying ‘I’m a unionist’. Just as every time someone says ‘North of Ireland’ they’re saying “I see this north-eastern corner as part of Ireland and not as a legitimate state, let alone country”. And every time someone is offered and accepts an MBE or OBE or knighthood or whatever, they’re saying “Queen Elizabeth is the head of my state and I’m thrilled she has so honoured me”.

These things are like spears planted in a river: one spear has little effect on the flow of water, but a thousand or ten thousand such spears will have.

Let me take it down to a truly sad level. There was a time when a nationalist would have thought twice about openly carrying a copy of the Irish News in downtown Belfast. And there was a time when pupils from Catholic schools, when applying for a university place, ticked the box marked ‘British’. Such things, repeated a thousand times, are like the drip of water that wears away the stone. They say “You will conceal or deny any of those things that mark you as an Irish nationalist, let alone republican. If you attempt to assert this Irish identity, there will be consequences”.

I exaggerate? Then watch in the coming months whether or not there is a bowl of Easter lilies prominently displayed at Stormont in honour of Easter 1916.

 

78 Responses to Words as weapons, flags as food

  1. Jim.hunter January 2, 2016 at 9:50 am #

    great.story.jude.God.bless

    • Jude Collins January 2, 2016 at 9:52 am #

      You.are.a.man.of.good.judgement.Jim.God.bless.you.too.

  2. jessica January 2, 2016 at 10:20 am #

    The problem with words is there is interpretation, misinterpretation and deliberate manipulation.

    The GFA espouses equality between two communities here, yet when it comes to the cultural identity of one of those identities, ie nationalist, the irish flag, irish language, irish symbols such as the easter lily are more or less outlawed. St Patricks day in Belfast must be the only event on the planet where the Irish Flag is not permitted yet we have to spend millions on policing protests over a democratic decision over the flying of the union flag.

    The Irish language act is constantly vetoed and the irish identity downplayed to a par of the language of European immigrants.

    To my shame, my Irish is absolutely appalling. I attended the Cumann na Gaeilge two years in a row, I had to repeat the first year twice which sounds bad, but I think the problem was by not using it, I lost what I head learned previously and had to start over. I hope to have another go when my son who is 8 starts to pick it up. God help him.

    • neill January 2, 2016 at 11:24 am #

      Once again the GFA does not give equality to the Irish flag in Northern Ireland I would suggest you read it again. As for having Irish Lillies in stormont knock yourself out afterall why should any unionist complain afterall all nationalists treat our symbols with respect don’t they?

      • jessica January 2, 2016 at 11:57 am #

        The GFA does not give equality to any flag neill

        But does it not recognise there are two legitimate communities here, one who looks to London and identifies as british as their national identity and another who looks to Dublin and identified as Irish?

        Would you agree with that assessment?

      • Ryan January 2, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

        “Once again the GFA does not give equality to the Irish flag”

        Since words are the topic of this blog Neill I was going to put forward a neat argument that could argue the Irish flag does have equality or should have equality in this part of Ireland but I wont, I’ll just be truthful and blunt and some of my fellow nationalists might agree or not agree with my tone. The truth is Nationalists are just like Unionists when it comes to agreements: we don’t care if an agreement says this or says that. In this case the Irish flag is our flag and its legitimate to us and we want it flown here and no amount of cherry picking (and hypocrisy) of agreements from Unionism will convince us otherwise, we simply don’t give a fiddlers fart, we want our flag flown and our culture and identity on an equal footing with Unionist identity/culture.

        I tried to use words that are blunt and to the point and I think I succeeded here.

        • jessica January 3, 2016 at 8:08 am #

          “The truth is Nationalists are just like Unionists when it comes to agreements: we don’t care if an agreement says this or says that. In this case the Irish flag is our flag and its legitimate to us and we want it flown here and no amount of cherry picking (and hypocrisy) of agreements from Unionism will convince us otherwise, we simply don’t give a fiddlers fart, we want our flag flown and our culture and identity on an equal footing with Unionist identity/culture. ”

          Obviously blunt and to the point is the way to go Ryan.

          Agree 100%, couldn’t have said it better.

        • neill January 3, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

          Ryan please never change

          • Ryan January 3, 2016 at 9:37 pm #

            I wont Neill, I promise.

      • Gearoid January 4, 2016 at 6:34 pm #

        Neil, In my place of work, the wearing of the poppy is openly encouraged whereas the wearing of the Easter Lily is not allowed under any circumstances, your thoughts please?

        • neill January 4, 2016 at 7:22 pm #

          I would be very surprised by that perhaps you should bring it up to your HR department.

          • Gearoid January 4, 2016 at 10:33 pm #

            Neil, don’t be surprised, we’re still living in a unionist state, a dying one, but there you are. Take it up with my HR Department? You’re having a giraffe aren’t you?

    • Ryan January 2, 2016 at 4:02 pm #

      “The GFA espouses equality between two communities here, yet when it comes to the cultural identity of one of those identities, ie nationalist, the irish flag, irish language, irish symbols such as the easter lily are more or less outlawed. St Patricks day in Belfast must be the only event on the planet where the Irish Flag is not permitted ”

      Very true Jessica. The likes of Belfast City Hall’s cultural emblems is 98% Unionist/British identity. The 2%, btw, isn’t made up of all Irish cultural emblems but a mixture of our immigrant populations here also, in order to show respect and welcome to them. Of course it was the SDLP, SF and Alliance that done such things, not Unionism. So it could be argued that Irish is less than 1% of the cultural emblems in Belfast city hall and yet Irish Republican councillors are the biggest group on the council and the Cities demographics is clearly majority nationalist. That is simply unacceptable. Unionist and Irish cultures should be on a 50/50 footing in all councils and nationalist/alliance parties should do more to enforce this. Of course I cant see Unionist dominated councils following such a policy, they are still run like 1950’s Stormont Parliaments, Lisburn being just one example.

      On St Patricks Day I still bring an Irish Tricolour to the Belfast parade, as do many others.

  3. Jude Glasgow January 2, 2016 at 10:29 am #

    I have never understood why people accept these so called “honours” to my mind they simply reinforce and legitimise the nonsense of hereditary monarchy and the class system.
    I am especially perplexed when I hear of people from Ireland or from an Irish background accepting such baubles.
    Have they no understanding of “Hegemony” and how it works?
    I grew up in Glasgow in the 1950s where Catholics especially those from an Irish background were routinely discriminated against in some occupations and where job applicants were regularly asked what school they had attended at interviews. It was a Glasgow in which the Orange Order paraded in their thousands and a Glasgow in which one major football team simply refused to sign Catholics. In the 1960s I watched in horror at the brutal treatment of those civil rights marchers in the North of Ireland who as British citizens had dared to ask for the same rights as other British citizens.
    My point is that the perpetrators of the discrimination shouted long and loud of their loyalty to the monarchy which itself was and is an institution which encourages such discrimination. How anyone can bring themselves to accept these “honours” is beyond my understanding.

  4. giordanobruno January 2, 2016 at 11:49 am #

    “And every time someone is offered and accepts an MBE or OBE or knighthood or whatever, they’re saying “Queen Elizabeth is the head of my state and I’m thrilled she has so honoured me”.
    I’m not sure this is the case. I think people view the honours system a bit more vaguely than that. It is recognition not so much by the Queen as by the nation itself.
    Does the Queen select them? Don’t think so.
    I am not a fan of these things myself and have turned down all offers of Knighthoods etc so far.
    Maybe people just don’t live their lives through the prism of republicanism/monarchy, maybe they just feel pleased to be recognised in some field or other without agonising over who is doing the recognising.
    Believe it or not some people don’t care if it is Derry or if it is Londonderry!

    • Jude Collins January 2, 2016 at 2:37 pm #

      ‘knighthoods’, gio?? They offered you two or more knighthoods?? So that would make you Sir Sir gio…

    • Emmet January 2, 2016 at 4:47 pm #

      I don’t think the queen represents a nation. The honour is awarded by the queen. Many ‘proudly british’ people have rejected honours because of the absurdity of a monarch in modern times. Sure you could say it’s just a vague notion but fair play to people who stick by the principles they believe in. As for some people don’t care if it is called Derry or Londonderry,so? Most of the people living in London wouldn’t care if it’s name was changed to Alderon. But still wouldn’t be right if a Dublin government made the change.

      • giordanobruno January 2, 2016 at 10:48 pm #

        Emmet
        I agree with you regarding people who stick to their principles and refuse honours.Good for them I say.
        But a lot of people just don’t see it as an issue. You have to accept that is reality.
        Also people know that Derry and Londonderry are interchangeable. To some it is an important issue but to many it matters not.

        • jessica January 3, 2016 at 11:19 am #

          “Also people know that Derry and Londonderry are interchangeable. To some it is an important issue but to many it matters not.”

          Would you be ok to let the people of Derry decide which it should be then?

        • Emmet January 3, 2016 at 8:04 pm #

          Gio, I don’t really have to accept any reality. But yes some people accept the notion of Queen’s honours but I don’t on several levels. I don’t think it is an important issue, but then I wouldn’t vote for party that recognised the legitimacy of a monarch as head of state, a foreigner as a head of state or an honour from a representative of a family with a questionable past. And yes for some derry/londonderry is interchangeable, however for the vast majority it is not interchangeable. Most people in Derry call it Derry and many tourists who come to the area are confused why outsiders insist it is londonderry

    • Virginia January 5, 2016 at 4:10 am #

      Wait your OBE is late in coming? That is a great relief, as I have heard nothing as of late. I will keep working.

  5. Sherdy January 2, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

    GIVING AND GETTING GONGS
    Maybe I’m a simple person, but the subject of these supposed ‘honours’ should never cause any confusion.
    They are a construct of the British monarchy/government given as appreciation of people’s efforts to support the British way of life.
    But the SDLP is allegedly an Irish nationalist party, with the long term aspiration of our country becoming one unit again.
    So surely it is hypocritical of any SDLP member, if they joined because they believe in its ideals, to kneel before a foreign queen and accept something which only represents Britishness!
    I tried to find a kinder, or less insulting word than ‘hypocritical’ but I’m afraid it is the only apposite term, and to have to apply it to a former Belfast internee, how the mighty are fallen.

    • jessica January 2, 2016 at 3:53 pm #

      “But the SDLP is allegedly an Irish nationalist party, with the long term aspiration of our country becoming one unit again.”

      I think that is just a perception the like to portray so they can appeal for votes from a wider selection of Catholics.
      In reality, they are middle class catholic moderate unionist party of mostly teachers.

      • giordanobruno January 2, 2016 at 10:42 pm #

        “In reality, they are middle class catholic moderate unionist party of mostly teachers.”
        Evidence?

        • jessica January 3, 2016 at 11:44 am #

          “In reality, they are middle class catholic moderate unionist party of mostly teachers.”
          Evidence?

          I understand you are a supporter of theirs gio, but are you telling me you believe they are a nationalist party?

          Lets explore that.

          They are quite happy to take their seats in Westminster and swear the oath of allegiance to the crown.
          Have they ever once brought up the question of their desire for Irish independence on the floor of Westminster?
          If not, and they are not a unionist party then what is the point in being there?

          Whatever their roots may have been gio, take a look at them now and tell me what they stand for?

          In my own opinion, they crave for the return to UUP/SDLP coalition to run the north of Ireland for the benefit of the middle classes. Both would certainly have a lot in common on that and would create a cosy little unionist enclave for themselves within the UK if they were given opportunity.

          That is thankfully, never going to happen and more likely they are finished when what little aging and declining support that remains filters out.

          Irish politics for slow learners you could say.

          Certainly give me your perspective so I may stand corrected if need be.

          • giordanobruno January 3, 2016 at 8:51 pm #

            jessica
            The SDLP won 14% of the vote at the last election. If they are a Unionist party as you claim that is a lot of Catholic Unicorns that will need to be won over to achieve a United Ireland.
            I have told you before I do not support any particular party so once again you are making assumptions about me.
            I do not say they are an effective Nationalist party but to claim they are actually Unionists seems bizarre, particularly in the light of the work John Hume did (peacefully) to establish a basis for progress towards a United Ireland.

          • jessica January 4, 2016 at 4:04 pm #

            “The SDLP won 14% of the vote at the last election. If they are a Unionist party as you claim that is a lot of Catholic Unicorns that will need to be won over to achieve a United Ireland.”

            Gio, the reason I have no qualms saying the SDLP are unionist is because I see the removal of partition more important than any political party on this island, or the other one for that matter.

            I will judge whether a party is of Irish or British persuasion based on their actions, not what diatribe they peddle. My assessment of the SDLP is that they just as unionist as the Alliance party.

        • pointis January 3, 2016 at 8:59 pm #

          Jessica is probably right at least that is the general perception among many nationalists!

  6. Iolar January 2, 2016 at 1:31 pm #

    Rinne an BBC tagairt don cheist i chraoladh inniu/The BBC flagged up an issue today.

    Col Richard Kemp was interviewed on television this morning. He is not best pleased that alleged Human Rights abuses are being investigated by ambulance chasing lawyers. He alleges that tax payers money is being used to fund claims about alleged Human Rights abuses. He told us about discipline and the chain of command in the army and then there was the drip, drip…possibility of a few bad soldiers. Perhaps he should listen to army communications on Bloody Sunday. Officers were awarded medals for gallantry on Bloody Sunday, gallantry that included orders to shoot unarmed civilians, dead.

    It is good to know that there are many people throughout the world who wish to highlight Human Rights Abuses, as Col Kemp is also a supporter of the Israeli Defence Forces. Col Kemp et al may wish to drip feed the notion that there may always be a few bad apples in the barrel. Perhaps he should also reflect on the events in Sabra and Chatila in 1982 when Israel’s Phalangist militia allies ran amok in Palestinian refugee camps. This followed the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and resulted in over 17,000 deaths. Executions remain a fact of life in Saudi Arabia as cities and streets throughout Europe remain saturated with heavily armed police and military personnel. The exodus from the Middle East continues as a direct result of military intervention and contempt for Human Rights. Western democracies ought to be funding aid programmes in the Middle East, not the arms industry.

  7. pointis January 2, 2016 at 2:20 pm #

    I am sure Tom Kelly being a man of integrity announced at the outset that he had a vested interest in endorsing the position of those who support the institution of the monarchy by accepting these “honours’.

    There will always be people who support unfair systems in order to bolster their own position on the greasy pole. I will never be placing any letters before or after the names of Tom Kelly or Pat McCarthy. All these honours things only work with the implicit support of the General public if we don’t endorse them they will not work and the people in the communities from where these people originate will recognise them as a laughing stock which they are very much like when Gerry Fitt was made a Lord.

  8. Perkin Warbeck January 2, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

    To get a handle on what an OBE signifies when pinned on the back of an obe-sequious Irish citizen, Esteemed Blogmeister, one could do a deal worse than open the gate of the Gate Theatre in Dublin 1 and walk right in.

    Within the walls of that illustrious emporium one will discover the long running saga called ‘A Tale of Two Michaels/ ‘Sceal an Da Mhici’. The pair in question being, left to right, Micheal Mac Liammoir and Michael Colgan, OBE (Hon). While they both share a common first name and a theatre, the contrast could hardly be more stark.

    Whereas it is difficult (very) to know just where to start with making an inventory of the abilities of Michael Colgan,OBE (Hon), on the other hand, Micheal Mac Liammoir, Uasal, was an extraordinary polymath, whose talents had no end in sight. He was by turns an actor, a founder of not one but two theatres, an impresario, a set designer, an illustrator, a poet, and a dramatist in not one but two languages, Leprechaun and English. Amongst many other things, he gave a start in the biz of show to such diverse personalities as Orson Welles and the ethereal yet earthy Eartha Kitt.

    There was seemingly nothing he could not turn his hand to, with the definite exception of filching money from the public purse. Indeed, the title of one of his memoirs was: ‘Put money in thy purse’.

    Which brings to mind a controversy which marks this Micheal out as different from the other Michael, the one with the OBE (Hon), as, say, an orange is to an apple polisher. It concerned the spending of a penny.

    Not long after he had opened the gates to the Gate in 1928 Mac Liammoir put his set painting skills to bear on the twin doors to the Necessary Room, thus: Fir / Men; Mna / Women.

    This provoked the ire of the uber Irish City Fathers with no concept of a Mother Tongue. It appeared there was a bye-law with regard to Men and Women and their rendition in the sole language of Outer Monoglot. This was a pissoir bye-law which they were determined would not be dissed.

    Mac Liammoir replied by upping the number of languages: to six, including Japanese. He was a divil for saying no/ ni hea and also, for the Noh drama. The last time Perkie’s inner bingo player looked inside the Gate of Colgan, OBE (Hon) the sole lingo in view was Compulsory English. Dudes have been Duked for less.

    Staying with the theme of penny spending, there is a gap as wide as the Golden Gate itself between the public funding which the motley era of Micheal Mac Liammoir did not enjoy and the microsoft era of Michael Colgan, OBE so patently does. Whereas Micheal the First could count the moolah on the fingers of one handbill, the current Gate’s bill is well suited to the digitally aware Michael the Second.

    Truly is the current nickname of the Gate well merited: Skellig Michael. Which rock of cents attracted megabucks for agreeing to allow its seagulls play a squawk-on part in the current obscure fillum, Star Wars: The Farce Awakens.

    And has led to a certain fluttering in genealogical dovecotes. Specifically, the speculation that this Honorary OBE is a direct descendant to OBE-Wan-Kenobe, who first came to the fore as a hermit in the galaxy of Star Wars stars.

    Perkie’s inner fillum buff finds this speculative stuff very fanciful. For starters there is nothing in the least bit wan about the current attention-seeking anti-hermit in sole control of Skellig Michael.

    For enders, a more appropriate movie-related sobriquet might well be: Zelig Michael. Zelig, of course, was the inspired character created by Woody Allen. Zelig was a nondescript chap who, out of his desire to fit in and be liked, is much given to smooching with the infamous and the outfamous alike, taking on the characteristics of the, erm, strong personalities whom he surrounds himself with.

    Coilinionn an ciunas an chuid eile / The rest is silence.

  9. Belfastdan January 2, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

    Dear old Tom Kelly OBE who constantly criticises republicans yet whose business partner is one HRH Prince Faisal Bin Turki Al Faisal of that bastion of democracy and human rights Saudi Arabia.

    It was reported today that the Saudis executed 47 people by beheading. I am sure that Tom and his associates must have some interesting conversations around the watercooler!

    • Ryan January 2, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

      “it was reported today that the Saudis executed 47 people by beheading”

      Don’t forget the crucifixions. Not to mention all those people being stoned to death for adultery on a daily basis and the women being stoned for daring to be raped.

      Forget Lanzarote, I’m heading to Saudi Arabia this Summer, sounds like a great country to visit for a holiday. Get a bit of Sun, have a few beers, visit a few raves in town, check out the local babes in their compulsory Burqa’s, watch a few beheadings …..yeah, sounds like a real tourist hotspot….I can picture the likes of me and Neill laying on a beach, pink skinned with sunbathing, debating the topic of Judes daily blog, sipping some ice cold beers….

      • neill January 2, 2016 at 10:58 pm #

        I would be up for that if Jude is paying for us to go!

        • jessica January 3, 2016 at 11:56 am #

          “I would be up for that if Jude is paying for us to go!”

          I would consider doing a whip around neill, but I feel like you are part of the family now and just wouldn’t want any harm to come to you. 🙂

          • neill January 3, 2016 at 1:15 pm #

            Nothing would happen to me in Saudi Arabia they understand law and order I would have fears for some of Judes readership though 🙂

    • Iolar January 2, 2016 at 6:43 pm #

      There is nothing else for it, our esteemed host must award Easter MBE’s, Multifarious Blogger Emblems for upstanding citizens.

  10. neill January 2, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

    Equally the Republican movement has some very unsavoury friends Tom is a good man we need more people like him

    • pointis January 3, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

      Correct again Neill, Unionists do need more men like Tom, especially if they want them to vote for the union! The trouble will arise for Tom and other Catholic supporters of the monarchy as the population balance in the North begins to tip the other way and it becomes easier to question those leading lights in the Catholic community about their promotion of a hereditary system which directly discriminates against fellow Catholics.

  11. Freddy Mallins January 2, 2016 at 6:43 pm #

    West Britishness is alive and well in Ireland, North and South. I believe that to accept an award from the colonial Empire, exhibits a kind of self loathing, or bending of the knee. We all know them. Otherwise perfectly good people. Do they never question the merits of unilateral conciliation: like sending children to British ethos schools, attending Ulster rugby or accepting awards from the British empire.
    I would applaud it, if it were ever reciprocated, but hell would freeze before our cousins would accept a similar award ( the Easter Rising medal perhaps) from the Republic, or send their children to an Irish ethos school or step foot in Casement park.
    I hope I live to see those real changes.

  12. giordanobruno January 3, 2016 at 9:00 am #

    Here is a question that puzzles me,brought to mind my some of the comments here.
    Is Unionism a legitimate viewpoint to have in any part of Ireland, especially if you come from a Catholic background?
    Frequently we see people referred to as West Brits or Castle Catholics or worse for showing insufficient hatred for the Union.
    So after 800 years of close if unequal relations is it acceptable to aspire to an equal place in the Union?
    If not then it would seem a United Ireland would not be a very welcoming place for Unionists especially those seen as traitors to their kind.
    But if it is acceptable then surely it is time to stop all the name calling and start cherishing all persuasions equally?

    • jessica January 3, 2016 at 10:48 am #

      “Is Unionism a legitimate viewpoint to have in any part of Ireland, especially if you come from a Catholic background?”

      What is Unionism gio?

      The union of great Britain was a financial arrangement basically to bail out Scotland who was on the verge of bankruptcy where they agreed to merge the two kingdoms for mutual benefit.

      Ireland however was occupied militarily with land and rights stripped from its native peoples to be ruled by a minority sent over to rule on England’s behalf.

      Civil wars over religion and monarchy in England led to deep hatred of Catholicism which unfortunately peasant Ireland looked to, having been stripped of everything else.

      That resulted in centuries of oppression and misrule to which even English soldiers who lived here as a ruling class chose independence initially in for the form of home rule within the union but on seeing the response from England, it was they who then inspired republican ideals and to unify Ireland as an independent nation.

      The union with Britain in Ireland even today is a means of implementing protestant supremacy and nothing more. Orange marches are a means of demonstrating that superiority still remains.

      The struggle for Irish independence and fulfilment of those protestant ideals will never end until Ireland has its own independence as an equal nation which cannot be said while it remains divided.

      I understand you have the best of interests in wanting equality, but the reality is, that can only happen when both states, and all shades of political opinion in Ireland sit down and agree a future for this island where all of its peoples can be united and the relationship with England agreed. There can be no preconditions to such dialog and equality has to be at its core with the aim of making a new nation where everyone can prosper and causes of conflict are put to bed.

      At the moment, there is an attitude that we need to sort out our own problems internally in the north, That will never be possible for the reasons I have outlined above.

      There is no English solution to what is an Irish problem.

    • pointis January 3, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

      Gio,

      ‘Frequently we see people referred to as West Brits or Castle Catholics or worse for showing insufficient hatred for the Union”

      A bit strong there but perhaps it is just a case of being over defensive of a position of hypocritical Catholics bolstering up a system which discriminates against Catholics and coming under increasing scrutiny by people in their own community for doing so!

    • jessica January 4, 2016 at 3:52 pm #

      Gio,

      I can only speak for myself, but I have no problem with anyone wanting Ireland to be part of the UK.

      It is not something I want or would have any desire for, but I have no problem accepting there are those who have such a viewpoint, or their aspiring to an equal place in the Union as you say.

      What I do have a problem with, is my country being partitioned and its people divided against the wishes of the majority and under the threat of violence from the then unionists who simply wanted a gerrymandered state to rule the roost in.

      If you are genuine about cherishing all persuasions equally then a good place to start would be removing partition and seeking the support of the people of Ireland to join the UK in a democratic fashion.

  13. neill January 3, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

    So no Jessica?

    • jessica January 3, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

      “So no Jessica?”

      Well, if we are in agreement as to what unionism currently is, then I will always be opposed to it. As to its validity, that is really a point of view but one I simply could never share.

      However, I would not rule out the possibility of an independent Ireland being able to agree a relationship with Britain that would be acceptable to everyone on this island and that could take into consideration the genuine unionist identity which exists in both parts of the island.

      • giordanobruno January 3, 2016 at 7:24 pm #

        jessica
        I am not asking if you are opposed to Unionism I am asking if it is a legitimate position for a person especially from a Catholic background to hold.
        Are we now at a place where it is ok to be a Unionist or is it an act of treachery?
        Just to emphasize I am not looking to know if you could ever be a Unionist I am looking to know if you can respect others deciding to be Unionists?
        If so then do you agree it is time we stopped using expressions such as West Brits and Castle Catholics?

        • Jude Collins January 4, 2016 at 11:16 am #

          “Are we now at a place where it is ok to be a Unionist or is it an act of treachery?” – gio, I think you know full well that the nationalist or republican position is the one that’s viewed, if not as treachery then as that of a trouble-maker.

          • giordanobruno January 4, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

            Jude
            You are probably right on that. However I was trying to address specifically the idea of how people are regarded if they are from a Catholic background and are in favour of some form of continuation of the Union.
            In your view is that a reasonable position to hold or is it still to be derided as in terms like ‘Uncle Tom’ ‘House Ni**er’ ‘West Brit’ and so on as we have seen in your comment section?

          • Jude Collins January 4, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

            No – I think people are entitled, regardless of background, to opt for any political position or party. Equally, others are entitled to think about them exercising that option in a positive or negative light. Don’t forget, there are people who think I’m a bigot. (Long pause).

        • jessica January 4, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

          “Just to emphasize I am not looking to know if you could ever be a Unionist I am looking to know if you can respect others deciding to be Unionists?”

          Gio, can you clarify, are you seeking all of Ireland to be part of the union, or only part of it to ensure there is a gerrymandered unionist majority?

          • giordanobruno January 4, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

            jessica
            What really is the point of being deliberately obtuse. Not only have I told you I am not a Unionist I have also made it clear I am not speaking about any views I hold myself in asking this question.
            Have you nothing better to offer?

          • jessica January 4, 2016 at 10:45 pm #

            Gio,
            I think it was a reasonable question but let me rephrase

            do you think would someone asking similar questions to that posed by you, but who absolutely did not hold any of those views expressed in the hypothetical third person, twice removed but with the persistent underlying pervasiveness of the unionist persuasion, be seeking to share the expressed invitation to be part of the union with great Britain to that of all of the people of Ireland, or to only part of it to ensure there is a gerrymandered unionist majority?

          • giordanobruno January 5, 2016 at 11:17 am #

            jessica
            I have no idea!

          • jessica January 5, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

            “jessica
            I have no idea!”

            Apparently so gio.

  14. Argenta January 3, 2016 at 5:49 pm #

    An interesting extract from recent bog by Fitzjameshorse–Keeping an Eye on the Czar of Russia
    “There does seem something odd about Danny Morrison of Sinn Fein making so much of it—Imean–just how many people did S D L P nominate to get an M B E?-And how many people did Sinn Fein nominate to get a Royal Pardon?
    Would you say he has a point?!!

  15. pointis January 3, 2016 at 8:30 pm #

    The difference of course is that those nominated by the SDLP would be sucking up to the Crown while the others wanted an assurance that the Crown would get off their backs! Surely that is not difficult to see even for the SDLP!

    I suppose that the suckers are probably now more aware that their position is now more open to scrutiny that it had ever been previously since they can never again claim to have the majority of nationalists to endorse it.

    It would be interesting to see a poll of Catholics here to see how the SDLPs position of support for the System which descriminates against Catholics is viewed here. I think the outcome would point to “squeaky bum” time for those who continue to support discrimination against Catholics but still expect Catholics to vote for them!

    • neill January 4, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

      What discrimination exists in Northern Ireland now?

      • Jude Collins January 4, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

        I can’t become King of England or Grand Master of the Orange Order because I’m a Catholic…Both posts that I long to occupy…

      • Gearoid January 4, 2016 at 7:23 pm #

        Neil, as stated elsewhere, I am not allowed to wear an Easter Lily in my place of work, an emblem that represents my nationality and allows me to remember openly the people who are heroes of my nation.

        Need any more examples?

  16. Freddy Mallins January 4, 2016 at 1:52 pm #

    Gio, I believe everyone can hold whatever view they like. But, would it not be preposterous for someone to call themselves Irish, but prefer colonial rule over self determination? Even the Scots are beginning to see that. No one questions the Americans for raising arms against what they saw as their oppressors in the late eighteenth century. Would unionism not seem a rather ignoble position to adopt ( in a united Ireland)?

    • giordanobruno January 4, 2016 at 5:16 pm #

      Freddy
      I am not trying to defend Unionism as a proposition but surely those who believe these nations would be stronger or better in a Union (not colonial rule) are making a political argument which can be considered (and disagreed with), without resorting to abuse.
      Anyone perceived as being non planter in origin but expressing Unionist notions seems to be treated with particular contempt (house ni**ers?)That is what interests me.
      If it was a Union of equals why would that necessarily be ignoble?
      (Don’t ask me how that might happen as I am speaking hypothetically here).
      Do you expect all Unionists on the arrival of a United Ireland to cease being Unionists?

      • Gearoid January 4, 2016 at 7:31 pm #

        giordanobruno
        ” Do you expect all unionists on the arrival of a United Ireland to cease being Unionists? ”

        No Gio, but I would expect that in a United Ireland we, “nationalist Republicans”, would make a better job of treating all of our citizens equally than have the present and past incumbents of the beloved Stormont!

        • giordanobruno January 4, 2016 at 10:34 pm #

          Gearoid
          That is more or less the point of my question.
          If they are now referred to as Castle Catholics,or Uncle Toms then why should they expect to be treated equally in a United Ireland?

      • jessica January 4, 2016 at 10:09 pm #

        “Do you expect all Unionists on the arrival of a United Ireland to cease being Unionists?”

        Gio, does that in any way sound to you, like asking a divorced couple, have they stopped being married?

      • Argenta January 4, 2016 at 11:33 pm #

        Gio
        Freddy(above)apparently believes that “everyone can hold whatever view they like”.how very gracious of him!!But as you will have noticed,the contributions of many of the posters here contradict that.Anyone not following the S F party line is automatically suspect.That party boast about outreach to Unionists,but if their supporters here reflect party thinking ,it’s all a cynical ploy.

        • Jude Collins January 5, 2016 at 8:38 am #

          That’s not true, Argie, certainly not as I see it. You and others are entitled to express your point of view and others are entitled to disagree. I try to keep abuse to a minimum and as I’ve said before, I welcome voices that take a contrary view to my own or to most of the people who come on here. To say that people are’automatically suspect’ is a bit much – there’s a difference between challenging a take on things and this SF Party automatically suspect nonsense. It’s also insulting, btw.

          • giordanobruno January 5, 2016 at 11:35 am #

            Jude (and Argenta)
            I don’t think I am getting an answer to my question.Fair enough.
            But I might try to rephrase it before I give up.
            Take the SDLP. Many here seem to feel they are basically a Catholic Unionist party now.
            If that is the case are they betraying their kind so to speak or are they just espousing a position which they think in 2016 offers the best future.?
            Can they hold such a postion (which I don’t think they do by the way) without being abused.
            Jude you have allowed phrases like West Brit, Uncle Tom, house ni**er on a number of occasions without censure but ‘schoolboy’ is quickly stamped on,so I think it looks like you consider those acceptable.
            Is that what you want a United Ireland to look like?

          • Jude Collins January 5, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

            Fair points, gio. Let me try to deal with them.
            1. The SDLP is entitled to take any political position it chooses, and its members are entitled to accept (or rejec) any royal awards they want.
            2. However, to claim you’re a nationalist party – you want an independent, united Ireland – and at the same time to accept honours from the head of the British state and have yourself declared a Member of the empire which did so many horrible deeds throughout the world, including in Ireland, strikes me as a self-contradictory position.
            3. I don’t think anyone should be abused,verbally or otherwise; but I do think people are entitled to express their opinion (as I tried on air to do yesterday) of those actions.
            4. The West Brit, etc thing: I said yesterday to someone that my rule of thumb is that I reject mere abuse and try to keep it off my site; however, when the occasional less-than-complimentary comment comes in the middle or end of a state opinion, I tend to let that go, if it’s not too offensive. Maybe I’m wrong in that- maybe I should redact all name-calling of that kind; but my fear is that that would result in super-polite and super-boring exchanges. I’d be interested in your view on that – and the views of other people. Discuss.

          • giordanobruno January 5, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

            Jude
            Thanks for the reply. I apprereciate you taking the ti,e.
            The name calling as such, while I think it pointless and stupid, is not really what I’m getting at.
            It is more the ideas behind that.
            I am wondering in a general way about the thinking of republicans or SF supporters on this site regarding those who are from a Catholic background but have taken a unionist position.
            Are they hated as betrayers of Ireland, is that why the name calling comes so frequently.
            It is an open question for you or anyone else.
            I thought it an interesting point to explore but maybe I am alone in that.

          • Jude Collins January 5, 2016 at 4:41 pm #

            No, I think you’re right. I suspect it comes from a feeling of disappointment. Whatever position one assumes, we look for allies; and if someone we thought was an ally turns out to be quite the reverse, that can be a hard swallow. Maybe the assumption shouldn’t have been made but there it is…

          • jessica January 5, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

            “I am wondering in a general way about the thinking of republicans or SF supporters on this site regarding those who are from a Catholic background but have taken a unionist position.”

            You are a west brit in my opinion gio assuming you are Irish, though I couldn’t care less what religion you are, as to me that is as personal a choice as your sexual preferences which I just don’t want to know about.

            Unionism in Ireland represents the division of our people for sectarian control in favour of those of protestant faith with anti catholic roots, however it no longer has any relevance in modern society.

            Unionisms day is over. Unionists are impotent, pathetic and narrow minded little people who will in time be no more than an irritation.

            Let me give you an analogy which may shed some light on your question.

            Imagine an English jihadi john type espousing pro Islamic state sharia law in a part of England where there was a majority Muslim population.

            The English population would oppose it in that area and the rest of the island, but imagine what those that supported it elsewhere within the British isles would be called by the English to show their distaste for said support.

            Does that make it any clearer for you gio?

          • giordanobruno January 5, 2016 at 11:39 pm #

            jessica
            “Unionists are impotent, pathetic and narrow minded little people who will in time be no more than an irritation.”
            Yes that is pretty clear thanks.

          • jessica January 6, 2016 at 9:10 am #

            Let me make it clearer gio.

            The Unionist spectrum ranges from white supremacist, right wing neo-nazi to anti catholic elitist and deserves no respect in my opinion.

            I am totally against Sinn Feins unionist outreach ideals though I do understand it is probably intended more in the context of removing sectarianism in particular within nationalist communities by attempting to understand their viewpoint rather than giving any credence to unionist aspirations to deny the removal of partition in Ireland.

      • pointis January 5, 2016 at 10:00 am #

        Gio,

        ‘If it was a Union of equals why would that necessarily be ignoble?”

        What are you talking about Gio? Are Catholics equal in the UK?

        Can a Catholic be the head of state or Priminister of the U.K.?

        Anyone who supports a system where they are actively discriminated against needs to ask themselves some serious questions and others are quite at liberty to do the same.

        • jessica January 5, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

          ‘If it was a Union of equals why would that necessarily be ignoble?”

          Never mind religion pointis, I don’t see any other nation in the union have their country divided to give way to sectarian discrimination.

          Anyone in Ireland north or south, unionist or nationalist, protestant, catholic, Muslim, mumbo jumbo or whatever who feels England ever have or ever will see Ireland as their equals is a fool.

          Sectarianism and bigotry is foolishness though and unfortunately Ireland is not short of fools when it comes to the union with England.

          • Argenta January 5, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

            Jessica
            16 posts out of 73 on this topic at the last count not to mention your own blogs on this site!How do you find the time?!Congratulations on your industry!

          • jessica January 5, 2016 at 6:14 pm #

            Is that you gio???