The TUV And The De-Briticisation Or Decolonisation Of Ireland

Jim Allister, leader of the hardline Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV), recently had this to say about the establishment of genuine cultural and linguistic equality between the majority communities in the north-east of the country, as reported by the pro-union News Letter:

“One of my fears would be that such was the DUP’s desire to get power that they would pay a price that shouldn’t be paid,” he told the News Letter.

“It could be that we’d end up with something called the Language Act rather than the Irish Language Act. It might make some meaningless nod to Ulster Scots as well.

But if it gave the recognition that Sinn Fein was demanding to Irish then it would be a noose around our necks financially and another part of the de-Briticisation of Northern Ireland. Because that’s really what it’s all about for them.”

Of course, what the North Antrim MLA is actually referring to is the “decolonisation” of Ireland. But then, to use those words he would have to admit that the contested territory of the Six Counties represents the last anachronistic remnant of Britain’s colonial state on this island nation. Not that the government of the United Kingdom itself had any hesitation in referencing this historical fact when was it arguing the lesser constitutional status of Scotland before 2014’s independence referendum.

26. From 1603, when the Stuart King James VI of Scotland inherited the English throne, Scotland and England (and its colony Ireland) shared the same monarch.

36. We note that the incorporation… of Ireland, previously a colony, under the Union with Ireland Act 1801 (GB) and the Act of Union 1800 (Ireland) did not affect state continuity. Despite its similarity to the union of 1707, Scottish and English writers unite in seeing the incorporation of Ireland not as the creation of a new state but as an accretion without any consequences in international law.

Jim Allister’s belief that there is a campaign working towards the “de-Briticisation” of the UK-administered north-east inadvertently recognises that the region was in fact originally Irish and not British. He should probably sit down and think about that…

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4 comments

  1. I actually like the term “De-Briticisation.” We should apply the term and process to the 26 counties as well, while we are at it.

  2. We really have to start “de-Briticising” the south before we get anywhere. To take just one example from many, RTE and Today FM cover English football, even lower division English football, in almost as much depth as the BBC does – a lot more depth than BBC Scotland does in fact. Why do so few Irish people regard our obsession with “following” English soccer teams as a painful national embarrassment? It’s one thing to take an interest in English football, or the sport of any nation, quite another to make “following” these teams, a central – or even THE central part of one’s identity – as so many Irish men do. In my experience foreigners living or visiting here depise this aspect of modern Irish life almost more than any other. They’re not wrong to do so – not least because English football fans are notable for their anti-Irish chants and songs.

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