Monday morning blues or Monday morning blue skies?

“We had a successful election”.

“You can’t be worried about something that happened three days ago”

If I tell you that these two statements were uttered by the same person, you may be a little surprised. If I tell you that they were uttered before half-past nine this morning on the Nolan show, by Gregory Campbell, you may conclude that the man has lost the run of himself.

I don’t think so. His first statement he supported by pointing out that the DUP vote was up in every constituency throughout the north. And they’ve emerged as the biggest party, if only just. That’s not bad. In fact Gregory has grounds for calling it successful. Except that success or failure is measured not just in how well you have done, but how well others have done. As Gregory himself conceded, Sinn Féin had “a very successful election.” So if you do well but your opponents do better, the normal conclusion would be that you didn’t do so good after all. If you start with a 10-seat gap between you and your main political opponents and end with 1 seat between you and your political opponents, it’s hardly what you’d call a “successful election.”

In the second statement, that you can’t be worried about what happened three days ago, again Gregory is right, if you see “worry” as being angsty over what lies ahead. But  you can worry, and worry a lot, about the consequences of an event three days ago. And for a certain kind of unionist mindset, it is of course very worrying.

Why, Virginia? Because we now have, in hard percentages and seat totals, the concrete evidence that the nationalist/republican tide in the north is on the way to overwhelming unionism. We’ve been living with promises for a long time – remember when Mitchel McLaughlin of Sinn Féin, usually so clear-thinking and realistic, suggested that there could be a united Ireland by 2016? Before Friday last, lots of people were rolling their eyes and sighing over that kind of talk.  Now, with the DUP having handcuffed itself to the disastrous Brexit machine, and the clear majority of people here being firmly opposed to Brexit, big change is in the air.  With the reimposition of a hard border here, not to mention Scotland becoming more and more agitated at attempts to handcuff her to the Brexit doom-machine, change is in the air. The future of the UK, whether in economic or constitutional terms,  looks at best bad and at worst disastrous. . The future of partition in Ireland looks to be somewhere on the same scale.

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31 Responses to Monday morning blues or Monday morning blue skies?

  1. paddy maguire March 6, 2017 at 10:18 am #

    Unionists default postion – expect rumblings from loyalist/unionist gangs

    • Michael March 6, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

      Today in the Be Tel there is already an article titled, “Some in the UVF itching to get guns back out…..the thought of SinnFein calling shots won’t help the mood”

      • Ryan March 6, 2017 at 7:55 pm #

        “Today in the Be Tel there is already an article titled, “Some in the UVF itching to get guns back out…..the thought of SinnFein calling shots won’t help the mood””

        I read that too Michael. But I wasn’t surprised in the slightest at this. Indeed I remember me and Jessica sometime last year speculating that if the Troubles were to start up again, and no one is saying it definitely will, that it will be started by the same people who started it in the 1960’s: Unionist/Loyalist paramilitaries. The Unionist paramilitaries started murdering Catholics not because of a fear of Irish Unity but because of Catholics demanding civil rights. They seen it as a challenge to their domination and misrule of this state. Today they are seeing the democratic process removing the Unionist majority in the Assembly.

        We have seen in very recent times Unionist paramilitaries wanting to go back to sectarian murder. The Fleg protests was one example. The UVF/UDA were up to their necks in organising illegal protests and rioting. They were the same ones who attacked Alliance members homes and sent death threats to Naomi Long and her family. I believe there was an incident in the Mount Vernon area where a Catholic taxi driver went to pick up a fare and a young man demanded to know his religion. The Taxi driver refused to say so the man left the taxi. The taxi man believed the man had a gun and contacted the police. This was an attempt to replicate the UVF/UDA sectarian murders of the 1990’s which they notoriously called: “Dial a Taig”, where they contacted what was deemed Catholic taxi depots and murdered the drivers. Michael McGoldrick was murdered in such a fashion over the Drumcree Conflict and as a “Birthday Present” to Billy Wright.

        Its wrong to compare the UVF/UDA to the IRA, they aren’t in the same league in terms of ability. But if the UVF/UDA do decide to go back to “War” because Unionism is becoming a lost cause then every Catholic must stand their ground and make clear we’re not afraid of them. I’m not encouraging violence. Indeed we should react non-violently and let the World see what we have to share a society with.

        PS: MI5/British Government/PSNI should also be confronted if there’s any sectarian murders because we all know there’s more agents in the UVF/UDA than noodles in a Chicken and Mushroom Pot Noodle.

        • MT March 6, 2017 at 8:40 pm #

          “The Unionist paramilitaries started murdering Catholics not because of a fear of Irish Unity but because of Catholics demanding civil rights.”

          This is untrue..The UVF murders in 1966 happened before the civil rights campaign had begun and were a reaction to the Easter Rebellion commemorations of that year and a misplaced fear that the IRA was reviving.

  2. billy March 6, 2017 at 10:37 am #

    seen lots of kids going to school this morning,people going to work,walking their dogs,birds chirping in the trees,whats changed.

  3. fiosrach March 6, 2017 at 10:50 am #

    Quite a lot of people have ignored your advice not to vote,Billy, ……… This time

    • billy March 6, 2017 at 11:44 am #

      and.

      • fiosrach March 6, 2017 at 12:56 pm #

        And still you’re not happy.

  4. fiosrach March 6, 2017 at 11:06 am #

    Glad to see that Nichola Mallon came out and said unequivocally that the SDLP would not be going into an administration with Mrs as FM until she has been cleared by the public enquiry.

  5. Ernsesider March 6, 2017 at 11:27 am #

    I don’t see a United Ireland on the horizon or even close to it while admitting that neither I nor anyone else can see what is over the horizon ..??

    What is on my my mind is the attitude of Protestant/Unionist politicians. Can they not see that it was the rottenness of their sectarian bigotry and contemptuous treatment of the Catholic minority that brought violence to N. Ireland..?? A sectarian bigotry that has been ameliorated very little, if any, despite all that has happened.

    • Michael March 6, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

      You don’t have to be Catholic to receive their disrespect.

  6. MT March 6, 2017 at 11:33 am #

    “the nationalist/republican tide in the north is on the way to overwhelming unionism”

    Wasn’t the result caused by a higher turnout among nationalists? If that hadn’t happened we would have had a similar result to 2016, which you and others.here lamented.

    • RJC March 6, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

      There was higher turnout across the board, so arguably the results merely reflected the changed demographics in the north. This had not previously been well represented in Assembly elections owing to voter apathy within nationalism, and the relative ages of both communities (older people more likely to vote etc) The 65% turnout offers a fairly good indication as to the current makeup of society here.

      • MT March 6, 2017 at 1:22 pm #

        “There was higher turnout across the board”

        I know but It was significantly higher in nationalist areas than unionist.

        “This had not previously been well represented in Assembly elections owing to voter apathy within nationalism, and the relative ages of both communities (older people more likely to vote etc) The 65% turnout offers a fairly good indication as to the current makeup of society here.”

        Except for the differential turnout East and west of the Bann.

  7. Bridget Cairns March 6, 2017 at 11:44 am #

    MTM it is called democracy, the results caused by “crocodiles” & “curry my yoghurt”, not to mention “cash for ash”, all part of the DUP mindset.

  8. Pointis March 6, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

    I would have to agree with Paddy and Michael that the realignment of politics here in terms of majorities and minorities will inevitably bring with it an unsettled Loyalist community and possibly sectarian violence of some description.

    I was struck by words spoken by Basil McCrea on the radio on Saturday after the election. He said the demands made by Nationalist were unrealistic from a DUP viewpoint. He said that Nationalists must convince unionists of the merit of their demands rather than reverting to the courts to have their rights imposed.

    That may sound reasonable to some were it not for the fact that the demands made by Nationalists (in their eyes) are an insistence on being treated equally and I cannot envisage Nationalist politicians trying to convince unionists of the merits of equality as a pre-requisite to any equality issues being addressed. Nationalists will claim they have spent 20 years in Stormont trying to canvas to equality with no discernible movement from the DUP.

    I know unionists will not see it this way and I know this might be an extreme example but the equivalence rings true for many Nationalists, should a black man be expected to convince the passengers of the whites-only bus company that he should be allowed a seat or should he sit on the seat as he is entitled to do under the law?

    Should we feel sympathy for the elderly white patron who feels uncomfortable having to ride the bus with a black man or woman on board because she has never had to face such a circumstance before?

    I know this is a quantum shift for some unionists to accept coming from a long history of being the Alpha community but I believe large numbers of younger members of the unionist community are already comfortable with the idea of equality and I would suspect that there is a fairly close correlation between on the one hand ,resistance to equality moves from the DUP and on the other, good old fashioned bigotry.

    Can a Nationalist be expected to empathise with a unionism which seems reluctant to share anything?

    • MT March 6, 2017 at 2:26 pm #

      While there are equality issues in respect of gays, there are none in respect of Catholics/nationalists and nationalists should stop dressing up their demands in the language of equality (especially since Adams’ Trojan horse remark). That would be a good start.

      Demands for a Gaelic language Act should be sold positively rather than in the language of ‘rights’, especially when nobody knows what rights SF are trying to assert. Tell us what you want legislation to do, how much it will cost and what the benefit will be. Tell us why legislation is more important than promoting or enhancing Gaelic education, for example.

      The DUP has been foolish not to consent to a.symbolic Act with little financial costs, as conceding now will look like weakness.

      • RJC March 6, 2017 at 4:01 pm #

        ‘While there are equality issues in respect of gays, there are none in respect of Catholics/nationalists’

        You believe that having the entire place covered in Union flags (and worse) during the Summer months represents equality for nationalism? Council funded bonfires which burn the Irish flag? Strange notion of equality issues you’ve got there, MT.

        • MT March 6, 2017 at 5:31 pm #

          “You believe that having the entire place covered in Union flags (and worse) during the Summer months represents equality for nationalism? Council funded bonfires which burn the Irish flag? Strange notion of equality issues you’ve got there, MT.”

          People flying or burning flags doesn’t make anyone more or less equal. In fact, those doing the flying and burning would be disporporotnately in the lowest socio-economic groups and thus suffering from inequality. Flying a flag doesn’t make any difference to that.

          • RJC March 6, 2017 at 7:28 pm #

            The socio-economic status of those doing the flag flying/burning is entirely irrelevant. It is less the act itself, rather the toleration (and in some instances funding) by the state of those acts where the inequality lies. The toleration of flag flying/burning by the organs of the state also runs contrary to the commitment to ‘mutual respect’ contained within the GFA.

            Within a divided society such as ours, inequality exists where acts which diminish the civic status of one grouping are left unpunished. Union flags on lamposts, painted kerbstones and the burning of Irish flags and other paraphernalia associated with the nationalist community all fall into this category. Denying or attempting to minimise the experience of inequality tends to be the hallmark of those who have never needed to fight for equality in the first place.

          • MT March 6, 2017 at 8:38 pm #

            “The socio-economic status of those doing the flag flying/burning is entirely irrelevant.”

            No it isn’t. It’s the measure of equality. These people are not equal.

            “It is less the act itself, rather the toleration (and in some instances funding) by the state of those acts where the inequality lies. The toleration of flag flying/burning by the organs of the state also runs contrary to the commitment to ‘mutual respect’ contained within the GFA.”

            Again, flying flags or.tolerating the flying of flags doesn’t make anyone any more or less equal.

            “Within a divided society such as ours, inequality exists where acts which diminish the civic status of one grouping are left unpunished. Union flags on lamposts, painted kerbstones and the burning of Irish flags and other paraphernalia associated with the nationalist community all fall into this category. Denying or attempting to minimise the experience of inequality tends to be the hallmark of those who have never needed to fight for equality in the first place.”

            If equality now merely means not having to look at flags you don’t like then we must have achieved one.of the most egalitarian societies on earth.

            Anyway, assuming we’ve got to the point where ‘equality’ is now measured in such terms, then a greater contribution to ‘equality’ would be an end to the terror glorification events and parades that frequently occur within nationalist (and sometimes loyalist) communities. These are much more sinister than flag-flying.

            How about a deal whereby nationalists stop glorifying terror and loyalist stop burning flags?

          • Ryan March 6, 2017 at 8:38 pm #

            “People flying or burning flags doesn’t make anyone more or less equal. In fact, those doing the flying and burning would be disporporotnately in the lowest socio-economic groups and thus suffering from inequality. Flying a flag doesn’t make any difference to that.”

            a nice spin you put on that MT, saying the sectarian flag burners are the victims lol Of course we’re wise enough to know when it comes to you that “victimhood” only applies to flag burners who burn one particular flag, it is “culture” after all…..

          • MT March 6, 2017 at 8:45 pm #

            “a nice spin you put on that MT, saying the sectarian flag burners are the victims ”

            I didn’t say they were victims.

            Please don’t lie.

          • RJC March 6, 2017 at 9:57 pm #

            Going to adopt your cut and paste style here, MT –

            ‘No it isn’t. It’s the measure of equality. These people are not equal.’

            You’re deliberately conflating two separate forms of inequality, in an effort to diminish one. The poverty that exists within working class PUL communities is indeed an inequality within our society, but it does not then follow that those communities are incapable of perpetuating inequality against others. That these acts are implicitly (and explicitly) endorsed by ‘Big House Unionism’ (for want of a better term) only serves to further highlight the sectarian nature of the state.

            ‘Again, flying flags or.tolerating the flying of flags doesn’t make anyone any more or less equal.’

            Again, it is not your place to make this judgement. It would be akin to me, a white person, approaching people of color holding #blacklivesmatter signs and saying “Come on lads – it’s not that hard to be black in America”. I have no real business commenting on the experience of being black as I don’t know the first thing about it.

            ‘…a greater contribution to ‘equality’ would be an end to the terror glorification events and parades that frequently occur within nationalist (and sometimes loyalist) communities. These are much more sinister than flag-flying.’

            You seek to diminish the lived experience of Irish nationalists in the north, whilst simultaneously decrying the ‘(sinister) terror glorification events and parades that frequently occur within nationalist communities’. Remind me again why half the population of this place clears out for the first fortnight in July? The very ‘culture’ that lies at the heart of Northern Ireland is explicitly sectarian and by its very nature an affront to equality. The fact that the state does nothing to temper the excesses of Orangeism is far more sinister than any nationalist ‘terror glorification event’.

            ‘How about a deal whereby nationalists stop glorifying terror and loyalist stop burning flags?’

            Chuck in an end to all parading and you’ve got yourself a deal.

      • Gearóid March 6, 2017 at 7:48 pm #

        It’s ‘Irish language act’ MT, or can you not bring yourself to use the word?

  9. Mick Early March 6, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

    And not to mention that even the Catholic Bushops were basically canvassing against Sinn Fein!!

  10. gendjinn March 6, 2017 at 2:56 pm #

    Sure the sun is splitting the trees and there’s a grand stretch to the evenings.

    The 2001 census predicted this day, the 2011 census confirmed it. And here we are in the middle of the decade, at demographic parity and now electoral parity ten years early thanks to Brexit and Arlene Foster.

    We will have a united Ireland in five years and all Unionism will do between now and then is whinge, moan, wail and gnash teeth. The majority will be big enough that there will be no need to compromise on anthem, flag or constitution it will be 26 counties expanding to 32.

    Unionism had its chance to negotiate from a position of strength, now it will be dictated to. First up is SF getting the Justice ministry in any return to devolution, just watch 😉

    St Patrick’s day this year will be off the hook!

  11. Freddie mallin March 6, 2017 at 4:43 pm #

    I’m afraid to say that Nationalists have had to revert to court applications to ensure equality. I don’t ever recall a unionist offer the hand of friendship to their Catholic/Nationalist neighbour. I don’t ever recall them asking their voters to show brotherly love and solidarity to their neighbours, be they Catholic or otherwise. A lot of these unionist politicians profess to Christianity, but every right has had to be dragged out of them. I mean, Trimble got the Nobel prize for denying every single proposal made by Chris Patton, from criminal justice to policing. Nothing was offered and everything was opposed, every step of the way. It’s all very demoralising.

    • Pointis March 6, 2017 at 7:03 pm #

      I would have to agree with you Freddy, every concession on equality had to be won over many years until a majority had to be achieved by Nationalists not because it was relinquished willingly.

      I think the whole DUP policy had been to go into government but to entrench and ensure nothing was conceded to Nationalists!

  12. Perkin Warbeck March 6, 2017 at 7:33 pm #

    One of the indelible images of the musical, erm, back story of Norneverland , Esteemed Blogmeister, is of the unshakeable Jim Aiken driving Roy Orbison from gig to gig in his automobile (it may have been a reasonably road worthy Morris Oxford or even an modestly ostentatious Austin Cambridge itself). Not a crock, for sure, in anyways.

    One has little doubt but that The Big O – the Pavarotti of Pop and the tenor once described as ‘the greatest’ by a dude name of E. Presley – would have felt quite at home as he was being driven through the God forsaken villages of Fermanagh or the bacon and cabbage whereabouuts of Down itself. Having been reared in the West Texan town of Wink, which, if you – what’s the word ? – ah, yes,- blinked while driving through , would have missed. And not only in the inky darkness.

    Wink, as its most famous son once described it, was ‘ a desolate place of football, oil fields, oll, grease and sand’. Not then, one imagines, a place where wood pellets would particularly warm the cockles of its inhabitans’ hearts.

    Curiously the WP factor seems not to have stirred the blood of the electorate in Norneverland either. Rather was it the first syllable of a Roy Orbison classic which most appears to have caused that cohort of the electorate whose V-shaped (rather than U-shaped) snouts appeared to have been so knocked out of joint, to pad along to the Polls to make a point by swamping the gravy train.

    The Big O classic would have been, or course, CAL-ifornia Blue.

    C for Crocodile and L for Leprechaun.

    The tru-blu organ of the Southern Yune on Sunday, that window into the ‘soul’ of Shoneenism, the Sindo, took up this theme of Califronia Blue though in a lower case class of way. With Chief Organist, Own-Gall Harris pulling out all the stops with his most celebrate decompaosition:

    -Old wood pellet Flames don’t hold a Handel to U.

    Amusical note: being published on a Sunday, the organ n q. Is of course, a church organ, the church in q. being, naturally enough, a C of I organ with the Pope-oppressed MOPEs in mind:

    -The Most Oppressed Prods Ever.

    Hear the Hammond organ of Harris:

    Meantime, in Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein sits like a vulture waiting to feast on the corpse of a body politic that seems to have a communal death wish.

    But dark days are the best time to light candles, no matter how small. Two will be lit at lunchtime in Maynooth University next Tuesday at 1pm.

    Brian and Linda Ervine, who come from the loyalist radical tradition, will be giving talks on loyalist identity and the Irish language.

    Later, Linda Ervine will be interviewed in Irish and English about how she promotes the Irish language in Protestant East Belfast.

    Linda has been welding long broken links in the rusty chain between loyalists and the Presbyterian scholars and enthusiasts who did so much to keep the language alive from the 18th Century onwards.

    Linda’s husband, Brian Ervine, the brother of David Ervine, will also speak about ‘Loyalist Identity: From Somme Day mourning to the Belfast Agreement’.

    The talks are part of a wider reaching out to Irish Protestants by the Edward M Kennedy Institute at Maynooth whose simple title is Getting to Know and Respect our Loyalist Neighbours.

    The press release, I am happy to say, carries a quote from a Sunday Independent column of mine pointing out that peace is not just about politics, but about exercises in personal empathy.

    Peter Cassells, who is directing the programme, says it has two sides: to provide a safe space where loyalists can come South to tell their story, and where southerners can go North to talk about the experiences of southern Protestants.

    Hmmmm.

    Sonorous sounds from the Hammond organ of Harris which specialises in the superior repertoire of spinach and gammon shoneenism.

    Hear the Pipes of Perkin:

    Now, Linda Ervine is an estimable lady, much to be admired for her independence of spirit and would make an excellent bean ionaid for the present incumbent in the Roinn na Gaeltachta. That would be Madame, The Monoglot from Monaghan, Ms. Humphreys aka The Heather. It would be a constitutional doddle.

    Let Enda end his humdrum incumbency by finally doing something to justify his plump income : appoint Linda to the Seanad and then appoint An Seanadóir Nua to the post of Aire na Gaeltachta.

    No problem: there is that item which all legal eagles/ iolair an dlí keep an eye out for and all legal beagles/ pocadain bheaga an dlí keep a nose out for:

    -A Precedent / Fasach.

    That would have happened on October 21, 1981, long before Uisce became part of Cúrsaí Beatha in the Free Southern Stateen, when Senator Jame Dooge, Professor of Hydrology, was appointed Minister of Foreign Affiars which included Norneverland in his sphere of interest.

    One looks forward to the Organist of the Big O in the Sindo taking up this theme in the coming weeks, beneath the hyped pipes and giving real welly with his FF fingers to the keyboard and his FF feet to the pedals, to :

    -The Dooge Fugue.

  13. Ryan March 6, 2017 at 8:24 pm #

    Poor Gregory was trying to say that he would have liked another Election so the result would be overturned but he didn’t think it was the right thing to do. Gregory is obviously fuming over the result but he’s fooling very few people with his little statement on Nolan. He doesn’t want another election.

    The truth is the DUP would DREAD another election. Alex Kane, the Unionist commentator, tweeted that the DUP is determined to avoid another election. Compare that to the facebook post by the Sinn Fein Group Leader on Belfast City Council who said Sinn Fein should “force another election” if Arlene doesn’t step aside and “go for a majority in the Assembly and the First Ministers Role”.

    If there was another election, its my opinion (and many others) that the Nationalist and Unionist turnout would increase further but its likely that Arlene and her arrogance would cause yet another disaster for Unionism and possibly land Sinn Fein with the most seats. Such a thing happening in a 2nd Election just after the most recent election result would be nothing less than destructive for Unionism. Hence why many, many DUP MLA’s/MP’s (including dear Gregory, though he might not admit it) want to avoid a 2nd election.

    There has been talk of a single Unionist party, especially from Jude’s biggest fan UKIP’s David McNarry. At first you would think that makes sense but ultimately it would be chaos for Unionism. There is many different Unionists, some of them even voted for SF/SDLP, who share many different views on economics, society, etc. You cant unite so many different people under one banner. If the DUP and UUP did unite into one party then another branch of Unionism would just set up a new Unionist party, much like how Basil McCrea tried. Not to mention a single Unionist party would look deeply sectarian and would drive away SDLP transfers (which usually go to UUP) and, as the Newsletters Sam McBride said: “Would look like Unionisms Last Stand”. Of course, this doesn’t include Nationalisms reaction to such a merger and, again, rousing even more Nationalists to vote.

    Its important now for Sinn Fein/SDLP to continue reaching out to those people who voted DUP, UUP, Alliance, etc and non voters. Nationalism has to set out a clear vision of what a majority Nationalist North of Ireland will look like and show that in Irish Unity everyone’s voice and concerns will be listened to and respected.