Arlene offers a lesson: how not to deal with minorities

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While not wanting to impose on you physical details you might prefer to avoid, my buttocks clenched in embarrassment last evening as I watched the news. Arlene Foster was busy doing her version of the Iron Lady and making it clear to “Enda” (I put quotation marks around it, Virginia, because that’s what Arlene called him) that since she hadn’t been consulted about his idea of an all-Ireland forum to respond to the BREXIT bomb-shell, she and her party wouldn’t be having anything to do with it. Martin McGuinness promptly said he considered it a very good idea and one to which the business world, north and south, would be happy to respond. What’s more, there should be no question of anyone exercising a veto on such a forum.(Translation: you stay away if you want to, Arlene; the rest of us would like to press on and address the problem.)

And the buttock-clenching bit? When the camera showed Enda saying his bit. Face shiny and tip of nose red with embarrassment, he repeated his belief in such a forum but conceded that of course it wouldn’t work if there wasn’t participation by all involved. (Translation: I thought I had a bright idea but if you say it’s rubbish, Arlene, you’re probably right.) No wonder Enda’s popularity in the south has tanked.

It all boils down to one thing: Arlene figures we’re part of the UK, and since the UK gave a thumbs-down to the EU, so did we. She’s wrong. Thatcher may have thought we were as British as Finchley, Arlene may figure we’re as British as Birmingham, but we’re not.

In the UK, we are of course a minority. But that doesn’t mean the majority of BREXITeers can act as they wish because they’re the majority. This state had a similar problem – a sizeable minority in this case – and it responded with fifty years of discrimination and gerrymander, followed inevitably by thirty years of armed conflict. Unionists learned the hard way that you have to have the consent of those governed, even if they are a minority. Our answer to the eighty-year cock-up was the Good Friday Agreement, which may look odd to outsiders but it’s the best we can come up with pro tem.

If Arlene and the BREXITeers keep on mouthing “We’re in the majority, so suck it up, Remainers!” she is sowing the seeds of rage and discord in the coming years.

One other thing we’ve learnt during the past week: don’t look to the southern government for leadership. Enda Kenny’s default response is to genuflect in the face of unionism, just as John Bruton’s default is to genuflect when faced with royalty.

32 Responses to Arlene offers a lesson: how not to deal with minorities

  1. Jude whyte July 5, 2016 at 9:50 am #

    Is it me or do I observe Martin also genuflecting to Unionism with increasing ease…..ghastly experience listening to and observing the endless negativity

    • Sherdy July 5, 2016 at 5:47 pm #

      I have been disgusted for some time at Marty’s subservient attitude to his DUP bosses. Whatever any other party proposes, they come off with the old Paisley words ‘Never, never, never’, and Marty and Sinn Fein just accept that decision without demur.
      They have lost any will they ever had to stand up to the DUP obstinacy, preferring the comfort of their cushy jobs to any face to face stand-offs or threats to the future of the Stormont structures.
      Was this what the civil rights movement and the Provisional IRA waged their 40 year struggles for?
      Yes, Arlene, whatever you say, Arlene!

  2. giordanobruno July 5, 2016 at 9:50 am #

    This makes no sense.
    If an all Ireland forum is what is proposed how would it work without the participation of the biggest party in government in the North?
    Without full participation it would just be another talking shop.
    Acknowledging reality is hardly genuflecting.

    • Ryan July 5, 2016 at 5:23 pm #

      “Acknowledging reality is hardly genuflecting.”

      The DUP is the one who needs to acknowledge reality Gio. They may be the largest party now but they wont be for very long. In the DUP’s World them being the largest party means they have more of a say than Sinn Fein or the UUP. That’s simply not how it works here in the North anymore. The issue is most of Unionism still have a 1960’s mind set and cant accept the way things are now.

      The DUP are ignoring that they don’t represent close to a million Catholics. They don’t represent hundreds of thousands of Protestants (most of them Upper Class Unionists from North Down) who voted to Remain in the EU and who depend on cross border trade with the South and the EU for their jobs/businesses.

      If the DUP think more than half of the North’s population is just going to meekly follow them out of the EU or lay down like croppies then they are more stupid than they look.

      • giordanobruno July 5, 2016 at 7:25 pm #

        I don’t disagree with any of that really except the ever tedious use of ‘croppies’. which is a bit mopey.
        But my point is that Enda could hardly push on with his forum without bringing in Unionism, so he was acknowledging reality not genuflecting.
        I don’t know if such a forum would be any use or not, but maybe he should have sounded out the DUP first.

        • Ryan July 5, 2016 at 10:50 pm #

          Something has to be done Gio and it obviously has to be cross border but the DUP don’t want to do anything like that despite it being clearly obvious its what’s needed. I still haven’t heard one thing from the Unionist Leave camp (and I know not all Unionists backed Leave) about how EU funding will be replaced (Villiers already said Westminster wont be replacing it) or how trade from the south which is vital to our economy will be safeguarded now we’re heading for an EU exit.

          The impression I get is the DUP would rather their own people (Unionists) live in mud huts as long as the border remains in tact. In fact I wouldn’t put it pass them if they wanted to build a large wall all around the North if they could. The difference this time is the DUP are going to come into conflict with the wealthy elite in their own community, people who are small u unionist and who depend on cross border trade for a living and who voted Remain in the EU referendum, such as people from North Down.

          Any talks and deal has to be done cross border, that’s obvious but the DUP are intending on messing around here for their own political reasons but in doing so endangering our economy and making this place even more of an economic wasteland than it already is.

  3. Christopher July 5, 2016 at 9:54 am #

    Don’t disagree with what you say about Arlene – but two things. Enda was ham fisted as usual. He should have got her onside in advance and that was always going to be difficult as she’s a unionist and paranoid about anything called All Ireland, and she supports leaving the EU.

    Speaking of ham fisted, the Sinn Fein rush to calling for a border poll shows how lacking in political nous they can be. They had a chance to take advantage of the fact that most people in northern Ireland had voted Remain. Here was a way to create a wedge between NI and GB. The majority had rejected the DUP leave approach. And what do they do? Let’s have a border poll. Result, every unionist hardens up. Every issue about the Brexit now becomes a SF ploy. Idiots. Compare what SNP did. Start the narrative, visit Brussels, reach out to EU citizens, and get ready for independence referendum which they can actually win.

    • jessica July 5, 2016 at 10:47 am #

      So you think Ireland could be unified by creating a wedge between NI and GB.

      Can I ask you a question Christopher, if the republic of Ireland getting closer or further from GB?

      Bear in mind, AFTER the Brexit vote, Ireland declared to the EU that its relationship with England has never been stronger.

      Hardly sucking up to the EU is it?

      At every EU round table meeting and debate, England was the lead negotiator on our behalf with a group of nations always in its corner, one of which was Ireland.

      All of those nations are now at the mercy of Germany and let me assure you, Ireland will not be reassured that everything will be ok because the north of Ireland and Scotland are now on board.

      The SNP are doing things right for Scotland but I would still be quite confident that they will never be independent within the EU and would prefer a new relationship with England as equals?

  4. jessica July 5, 2016 at 10:34 am #

    It is a good idea, Enda is simply making half hearted gestures to show any interest and using the to be expected unionist response to say, ah well I tried, the north still isn’t ready for mature debate in the matter and to be honest, I am starting to see his point.

    I was not aware that the forum was either pro or anti EU. The outcome could well have been a referendum in Ireland whether to remain or leave also could it not?
    He has called our bluff as we have failed to persuade unionists that such a forum could be in their interests.

    It would certainly have been the first reality check for those who think the north merging into the republic and remaining within the EU was at all a feasible or viable option. It is not.

    The truth is, reunification will only happen with Londons approval and encouragement as what would be required may not be popular with many and we don’t seem to be fit to figure it out for ourselves.

    We first need to discuss all options with all nations we trade with, especially England who is our economic backbone.
    We need to invest in economists to pursue all options, within the EU or otherwise and for this information to be made available to all participants in the forum.
    This was an opportunity to finally get Dublin to invest in a unification case study and it is going to fail because nationalists are so caught up in the petty fact that we voted differently to England and looking blindly and misguidedly to Dublin to bail us out on the basis we want to remain in the EU, when they have not even decided whether that is in Ireland best interests.

    There is the potential for Ireland to reunify the UK in a different format than before, our relationship with Scotland, are economic dependence on one another, our integrated people and infrastructure. There was an opportunity to put aside what divides us and look at what could unite us? What do we do, focus on our differences and the sizable minorities so once again one side has to win whichever it may be doesn’t really matter, we all lose.

    Enda has been clear and concise and said to both England and the EU that he will do what is in the best interests of the Irish people. There is no commitment to remain within the EU if that proves in light of England’s negotiations to be better off out.

    I am no friend of Fine Gael or Enda Kenny but we cant pin this one on him Jude, he has done all he needed to and can now focus on what is best for the Irish people free of the idiots north of the border who still cant see the wood for the trees.

  5. Perkin Warbeck July 5, 2016 at 11:04 am #

    DepENDAnce Day, Dublin Castle
    (July 4)

    Yesterday, Mrs. F. was o-heard to say
    ‘Enda’ in her charming frying pan way
    From a nee Kelly
    To a nee O’Kelly
    Back home to the arms of a fiery Mrs.K.

    • Eamon July 5, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

      Very good Perky!

      • Perkin Warbeck July 6, 2016 at 7:47 am #

        GRMA, Eamo.

        PS Tiocfaidh Arlene.

  6. Cal July 5, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    A good idea remains a good idea – of course it’s a talking shop. A talking shop to voice concerns and formulate ideas.

    Let SF organise it themselves and invite participation from other parties, cross border communities and the business world.

    We don’t need FG to drive this.

  7. Antaine de Brún July 5, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

    The realpolitik of Scottish Nationalism is based on practical rather than ideological considerations in contrast to the rhetoric in Dublin Castle. The expression, céad míle fáilte romhaibh sounds hollow in the context of bonfires and rings of steel on this part of the planet. For some in Belfast, it is a case of “Foreigners Out.”

    Many faces are set against the Good Friday Agreement. Opposition to the Good Friday Agreement does not alter the fact that an international treaty was registered with the United Nations in 1998, a treaty designed to promote cultural diversity and protect Human Rights.

    After a five year journey from Earth, Juno the solar-powered spacecraft is in orbit around the planet Jupiter. Scientists will study Jupiter’s magnetic fields in order to gain more knowledge about the solar system. The spacecraft is carrying a plaque dedicated to Galileo who discovered moons orbiting Jupiter in 1610. Perhaps scientists will get round to a study of our time warp in due course?

  8. truthrevisionist July 5, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

    ‘Enda’ knows he is on borrowed time.

    ‘Enda’ knows his IMF owned ‘statelet’ is on borrowed time.

    ‘Enda’ knows the ‘EU farce’ is on borrowed time.

    So, like his ‘waxen faced’ cronies,- he will genuflect to ‘beelzebub’ to line his pockets.

    The banking system in Europe, as in all of the West, is insolvent.

    There are insufficient resources to fund existing pensions, sickness, childcare, education and the unemployment needs of our own people.

    They just keep printing worthless ‘paper money’ in perpetuity and hope.

    And when the next financial winter storm arrives, it will be a long and painful one, which will cripple an unprepared continent, due to ‘mass immigration flows’ inward.

    Never before experienced in modern ‘consumerist’ Europe, – you will see the real effects of this ‘psychopathic altruism’ that has afflicted the deluded sponsors of multiculturalism .

  9. MT July 5, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

    An “all-Ireland forum” is just a vanity project for local parties. The implications of brexit need to be sorted out at the highest level of government between London and Dublin.

    • jessica July 5, 2016 at 5:38 pm #

      I would agree MT but could it not also be a conduit to feed into and out of such discussions?

      You can be sure that London wont be inviting us into any such forum or even sharing any of their thoughts never mind decisions.

  10. Nuala Heaney July 5, 2016 at 1:51 pm #

    Martin can afford to appear to agree with Arlene safe in the knowledge that Brexit is as unsettling for unionism as for any ‘.Remainer’
    Did you hear Jeffrey Donaldson’s hysterical retort to Mark Durkan over an all Ireland Forum? He insisted that the UK government (that DUP ARE very cosy with) would get a great deal for little NI. The very next day George Osborne “drove horse and coaches” ( to quote our own Finance Minister) through the one big idea the DUP has had recently – to cut corporation tax.
    Unionists are fast having to learn that they are very far down any conservative government’s priorities at the present time.

  11. paddykool July 5, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

    Well , let’s face up to the fact that Arlene is not a First Minister who represents all the people. She simply does not in every word and every deed. The result of the vote here shows that little fact in all its glory.

    56% voted to stay and 44%. voted to leave .That would be Arlene’s little (44%)lot mostly gathered around Carrickfergus and the like where the vote appently concentrated and where Loyalist paramilitary gangs are currently vying for power.How coincidental that these are the same places where racism also finds its support. In that respect you couldn’t slip a tissue between the DUP and UKIP for delight in bigotry, racism and homophobia.

    You can see why signs such as “All Foreigners Out” appeared on a bonfire site there today . I dare say similar signs and EU flags will speedily appear alongside the usual suspects such as effigies of the Pope ,Enda, Our Marty and GerryAdams before the flames lick up these Unholy Towers of Bigotry and Arrant Foolishness on the 11th night.

    That’s her real people and support , right there.

  12. Ryan July 5, 2016 at 6:19 pm #

    “Thatcher may have thought we were as British as Finchley”

    Thatcher had no interest in Northern Ireland or Unionism. Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald even said the same. FitzGerald, by the way, was no friend of Irish Republicanism, indeed he was an enemy of the Catholic people of the North, he made that clear when revelations about his meeting with the Archbishop of New York was held, where the Archbishop refused to be a pawn and to condemn just the IRA. FitzGerald angrily defended the actions of the British Army/UDR/Loyalists when the Archbishop quoted the mass murder of Catholics.

    FitzGerald said Thatcher was angry when she was informed the EU was giving money to help NI, she wanted it to go to England or “her people”. I’ll post the video below. Thatcher had an enormous ego and simply wanted to defeat the IRA to live up to her “Iron Lady” image, which she failed to do. She even said she believed the IRA will kill her one day but she said “I wont make it easy for them”.

    “Our answer to the eighty-year cock-up was the Good Friday Agreement”

    But surely the GFA is now invalid? There has already been talk before and after of a new GFA needing to be made, the mainstream media haven’t spoke of it yet.

    “Arlene Foster was busy doing her version of the Iron Lady ”

    Arlene, just like most senior Unionists, is deluded. She thinks all the people here will meekly follow her out of the EU. Its important to point out that although the DUP is the largest party, they still only got 29% of the vote here in May, that’s no where near a majority. The UUP got 12% of the vote in the Assembly elections, so overall Unionist vote is just over 40% and that was on a Good day. Sinn Fein got over 26% of the vote and the SDLP got 14% of the vote and that was on a BAD day for Nationalism, thanks to PBP (which supports Irish Unity) taking votes from both. Unionism has more seats because of location, where they dominate they HEAVILY dominate. Hence why you never hear of any Unionist politician encouraging integrated Housing but want to water down or destroy Catholic education due to it successfully flooding Universities here with young Catholics.

    Political Unionism hasn’t changed 1 iota since the 1950’s, as you can see from Unionist dominated councils. In Susan McKays book (Sound that Klaxon MT!) the author ponders whether political Unionism WANTS all its prophecies of doom to become a reality. These “prophecies” you often heard from old Paisley of the “Romanish Church” dominating and slaughtering Protestants, where the Catholics are “breeding like vermin” (a quote from Paisley himself) and where the situations will be reverse, where the Catholics will discriminate against Protestants. Its almost as if political Unionism WANTS this, hence why they are still determined to be backward, to oppose progress, etc.

    Of course the South and Nationalist run councils themselves is clear evidence that Paisley was talking utter nonsense. The First President of the South? a Protestant, as voted for by a majority Catholic nation. The upper classes of the South were still dominated by Protestants by the 1960’s! Nationalist majority areas have made accommodation for Orange parades (Derry) and every year its peaceful, this is despite the sectarian behaviour of these parades in the past, not to mention the history of gerrymandering/discrimination against Catholics in Derry. Nationalist majority councils gave funding for Orange/Unionist events, etc.

    The issues always seem to come from Unionist majority councils/areas. Can you imagine Larne accommodating a Republican parade? Unionist councils refused to give funding for Easter Rising commemorations this year. They refused to open a centre for a minority Catholic community because it had the names of Easter Rising participants on the Gates. Lisburn and all other Unionist councils have STILL not elected a SF Lord Mayor despite all SF dominated councils having a rotation type system where Unionists become Mayors. I could go on.

    The Facts speak for themselves…..

    • MT July 5, 2016 at 6:30 pm #

      “But surely the GFA is now invalid? There has already been talk before and after of a new GFA needing to be made, the mainstream media haven’t spoke of it yet.”

      Hahahahahaha hahahahahaha hahahahahaha

      • Ryan July 5, 2016 at 10:53 pm #

        “Hahahahahaha hahahahahaha hahahahahaha”

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ?????????????……….*looks around awkwardly*………

        • MT July 6, 2016 at 5:53 pm #

          “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ?????????????……….*looks around awkwardly*……”


          • Ryan July 7, 2016 at 12:29 am #

            MT, if you’ve been taking something you shouldn’t have took then please stop.

          • MT July 7, 2016 at 7:38 am #

            “MT, if you’ve been taking something you shouldn’t have took then please stop.”

            I haven’t.

            Ironically it appears that you have, given your repeated nonsense claim that the GFA is invalid. A claim you can’t even explain.

    • gendjinn July 6, 2016 at 12:17 am #

      Garret cleaned it up for the cameras – a relative of mine was in the room when that conversation took place. Thatcher was to her very core a very nasty and vile human being. Nothing of any redemptive value whatsoever.

      The only thing Thatcher is good for is identifying pricks to be avoided at all costs, you know anyone that admires her.

  13. Eddie July 5, 2016 at 7:10 pm #

    How about having an all Ireland forum of those who were against brexit only why should a minority of a minority hold the whole nation to this viewpoint & was enda thinking of the 26 counties that he has never allowed vote on membership of the Eu when he dragged the dup into the discussion

  14. Wolfe tone July 5, 2016 at 7:41 pm #

    Call me a cynic but me thinks enda is simply(desperately) trying to show and interest in the north for the free states own selfish interest. I can’t recall him showing any interest in the north in all his tenure up to now. It won’t be long before he uses the old ‘protect the peace process’ plea. The hard reality is the free state had a nice wee set up with the EU. They were the only country with a 12.5% corporation tax rate whilst the rest of the major countries in the EU had a rate over 20%. In fact the UK probably had the highest rate. Now the UK is proposing to bring its rate down to 10% or less which is bad news for Edna and the gombeens. More competition is on the cards. Only last week the gombeens said they would leave the EU if their rate was touched. Somebody would need to tell them that they will do as they are told; they don’t run their state. The troika do that.

    • jessica July 5, 2016 at 10:39 pm #

      No he hasn’t, so what would he have to gain from showing an interest now do you think WT?

      • Wolfe tone July 6, 2016 at 6:00 pm #

        Enda is probably trying to engineer special privileges from the EU and UK under the auspices of the cash cow that is the ‘peace process’. Eg I am sure he will ask the EU to excuse them from any dictat the EU may enforce on its member states when trading with the U.K. Not because they aren’t a fully committed member of he EU project you see, but rather to ‘protect’ the peace process. Enda wants the best of both worlds and the ‘peace process’ might just be the only card he can play to get that.
        Irish unification is clear to see not that important to the gombeens. Their hypocrisy at staying out of the internal matters of the U.K. when the Scot referendum was on the go a few years ago, has been exposed as a lie. Because hes certainly egging on Sturgeon now isn’t he? He stayed out of it back then simply to curry favour with the U.K. Establishment. Now he’s upset that same establishment hasn’t given him any thought regarding brexit boo hoo.
        Btw, any body who claims the peace process is at risk due to brexit should be on stage.

    • Ryan July 6, 2016 at 12:28 am #

      “Now the UK is proposing to bring its rate down to 10% or less which is bad news for Edna and the gombeens”

      Its not as simple as that Wolfe Tone. Yes, of course the UK lowering its corporation tax rate will make it more competitive (well it’ll make England and specifically London more competitive, not the rest of the UK) but that alone isn’t going to make businesses in France or Ireland want to shut up shop and move to the UK. The real reason why George Osborne is lowering the tax rate is to even out the negative effect of Brexit. Companies will move from the UK to Ireland or France simply to remain in the EU. I don’t think the EU is going to make it easy on the Brits when they are leaving, they will want to make an example of them to show other nations that if they are thinking of leaving then access to the single market will come at a price.

      Other things matter to Companies when they are considering investing in a country, not just tax rates. The quality of graduates that countries produce matters greatly, especially in IT, now days. The Ease of Doing Business. The productivity of workers. The Geographic location of the country. Access to other markets (the EU being the main one). If the country speaks English (the language of International Business) and if its people know a variety of other valuable languages. Average literacy/numeracy of citizens. If the country is “Business Friendly”. The stability of the Government/Society of a Country. I could go on. That’s why so many American businesses invest in Ireland to the tune of hundreds of billions over the decades. Indeed the head of General Electric, who is an Irish American, told David McWilliams in his TV programme “The Generation Game” that his heritage was a major reason too why he invested in Ireland.

      Its my opinion that brexit will actually have many positives for Ireland. Its the only major English speaking country left in the EU. You WILL see businesses over time leaving the UK and relocating to Dublin or mainland Europe.

      People were talking about the effects of the UK lowering its Corporation Tax on Ireland on the BBC yesterday. All agreed it wont have much effect at all on the South but the North can forget about the new 50,000 jobs we were going to create with a 12.5% tax rate, Westminster has screwed us over on that one, the new jobs will be going to England.

    • gendjinn July 6, 2016 at 12:48 am #

      And reducing the corporate tax rate helps the UK how? Revelation of gaping ignorance, undermining anti-Irish rant in 3…2…1….