Current Affairs Politics

The Eleventh Night, The Twelfth Of July And Britain’s Colony In The European Union

An Eleventh Night bonfire covered in Irish flags and party political posters, ready for burning

As is now the norm, on the night of July 11th a significant part of the unionist – or pro-British – minority in Ireland marked the evening before their annual July 12th demonstrations with the lighting of huge bonfires across the north-east of the country. According to press reports, and in line with previous years, some of the pyres were dotted with the election posters of Irish nationalist parties, notably Sinn Féin, the SDLP and the PBP, or moderate unionist grouping like the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland. In many cases a disproportionate number of the election materials stolen and readied for burning featured images of women candidates. Other bonfires were dotted with the national flags of Ireland, Poland, Palestine and the Vatican City, not to mention the symbols of several sporting and cultural organisations, highlighting anti-Irish, -immigrant or -Catholic sentiments among some local unionist communities.

A number of the “wooden towers” were topped with the banners or emblems of various British terrorist factions, displayed alongside racist or sectarian messages directed towards “Niggers” (people of colour) and “Taigs” (Roman Catholics). Related to this, the campaign to remove the “Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia” from public buildings in the United States of America has led some pro-British extremists in the UK-administered north of Ireland to see parallels with Irish disdain for the “Union Jack” banner. In recent years this has led to a profusion of so-called Confederate flags in loyalist celebrations and 2016 has proved no different.

The DUP’s Paul Givan MLA, the regional minister for the communities at Stormont, lights a Eleventh Night bonfire with a torch
The DUP’s Paul Givan MLA, the regional minister for the communities at Stormont, poses in front of a Eleventh Night bonfire

As usual, the mainstream unionist parties, the DUP, UUP and TUV, were very public in their support for the intimidating conflagrations on the anarchic “Eleventh Night”. These included the DUP’s Paul Givan MLA, the regional minister for the communities at Stormont, who recently reallocated public funding to loyalist military-style bands, following the slashing of educational budgets for Irish-speaking children with special needs by his party and ministerial colleague, Peter Weir MLA. In County Tyrone a grinning Givan personally lit one bonfire with a torch, a scene reminiscent of a Dixiecrat senator attending a cross-burning demonstration of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in the southern United States during the 1930s. Meanwhile in County Armagh, a former DUP minister, Edwin Poots MLA, was pictured posing in front of a roaring bonfire previously covered in tricolours, the national flag of Ireland. Similarly, Danny Kinahan MP, a UUP member of the British parliament, was photographed at a bonfire topped with an Irish flag ready to be burned.

All of these press and social media reports serve as a useful reminder that “Northern Ireland” is not a country or a nation or a region. It is quite unlike anywhere else in Europe. It is instead the last remnant of a military colony on the island of Ireland, the shrunken Irish territory of the former imperial state of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It is a place whose very existence brings perennial shame to Western Europe. It must end.


19 comments on “The Eleventh Night, The Twelfth Of July And Britain’s Colony In The European Union

  1. The better analogy to the battle flag is the ulster banner.

  2. background to paul givan here
    and here, which explains his adherence to Caleb. Members of the Caleb Foundation are at the centre of the Protestant power structure in Northern Ireland

  3. Lord of Mirkwood

    And to think that there are some people who insist that Ireland was just another integral part of the UK, not a colony at all. Nope. No settler occupation, cultural genocide, economic oppression, or outright extermination to see here, folks!

    I don’t know if the distinguished blogger has seen this yet, but Gerry Adams wrote an awesome op-ed for the New York Times this morning, calling again for Irish unity. Britain is going to drag its Irish colony out of the EU against the will of the Irish.

    • the Phoenix

      Awesome? Adams is asking Britain’s permission for an undemocratic partitionist border poll which will fail. Ireland needs a single 32 county referendum on unity

      • Lord of Mirkwood

        How is Adams’s proposal undemocratic? It seems to me that he was arguing that a referendum on unity was the only democratic option.

        • the Phoenix

          Because it only applies to the north east of Ireland and accepts the unionist veto. Also he has to beg Villiers for it.

    • If it was so bad then why are you all speaking English? Aren’t you supposed to hate and reject this tool of oppression? (If there actually was oppression)

      • Lord of Mirkwood

        I’m not actually from Ireland, and I flat-out don’t speak Irish. I often wish those two statements were not true, though!

      • the Phoenix

        You could ask the same question of many native American tribes and African people. You don’t seem to understand how colonialism works.

        • I understand it very well – I’m from a country that has been part of various colonial empires for centuries. The Russians didn’t succeed in getting us to adopt and love the Russian language (But the Irish adopted English and don’t want to learn any other languages). We despise and reject it because it was and still is used as a tool of oppression. (But I understand it very well, because you need to understand the language of your enemy)

          • TurboFurbo


            You are from a country that capitulated and allowed the Soviets to simply walk in and all over you – without even putting up a fight.
            However, your fellow-countrymen did volunteer to collaborate with the Nazi’s in murdering 10’s of thousands of your innocent fellow-countrymen and women.

            Eternally cowardly and shameful.

  4. Graham Ennis

    Not surprised, but even more disgusted, than I was last year. On the so-called “British Mainland”, these ceremonies would be prosecuted under race hate and hate crime laws. Enough is enough. In a very fragile peace process, already under attack, it could provoke violence. I have reached the point that I feel some drastic action is needed, to make the unionist situation intolerable. I am now going to suggest that the day after UK Brexit, the Irish Government decides on a closed border policy with the North. Only those bearing EU and Irish passports will be allowed transit. NO UK passport holders. Ditto, full tariff wall at the border. Ditto, rescind the Anglo-Irish agreement, as it no longer applies to the new situation, of an economically isolated and politically isolated Northern Ireland. The Irish in the North will still have free travel, to the South, but will have to tough out the deteriorating situation. If the Unionists take reprisals, start a Palestinian style “Intifada” in the North, of total political and social resistance. Internationalize the situation, demand UN support and peace monitors, and make the situation impossible for the hard line Unionists. Then wait. 10 years should do it. Awful, I know, but the UK Regime has torn up the peace settlement and the Anglo-Irish treaty, by doing BREXIT. Anybody else got any ideas?…..reunification must now be the sole goal of all Northern Irish politics. The present situation is fragile in the extreme. More violence looks inevitable, after BREXIT begins to bite. What a mess. Discuss.

  5. The final paragraph of this article is a bold statement. And every word is true.

  6. Ara that’s all a bit po-faced.
    Sinn Féin themselves chose the battle lines of the Gaeilge vs Marching Bands situation. They’ve spent years giving “their side” slush money from the departments they control – it’s a bit cheeky to criticize the DUP when they do the same. Nobody will criticize too loudly or investigate too thoroughly because it’s all about buying off the oiks on both sides.
    As for the bonfires it’s a traditional romp that extremists will naturally gravitate to. Burning an oul flag is far more harmless than going around burning houses.

  7. The Wicker Man was scary, but at least it was fiction. A new horror…The Orange Man.

  8. the Phoenix

    Another sickening bigotfest. Bigotry,ignorance,hate,burnt homes and even burnt cats. Sad.

    • Is there such a thing? Unfair, of course there is, but you don’t get into the top echelon of the DUP or UUP by embracing your inner Gael. Or even the one living next door.

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