Current Affairs Politics

Arlene Foster, Unionists And Forcibly Leaving A United Ireland

When Arlene Foster, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and joint First Minister of Northern Ireland, told a BBC documentary in 2018 that she would “probably have to move” in the event of Irish reunification, the political and media response was relatively muted. The primary reaction was, well, she would say that wouldn’t she? The follow-on reaction concerned the move itself, people speculating on a relocation to south-west Scotland or the north of England in the wake a successful referendum to reunite the country. That initial statement by the Fermanagh politician seemed fairly innocuous, if somewhat dispiriting for those of us who hope that the reintegration of the diverse communities in the Six Counties will further enhance the civic plurality of the Republic. However the DUP leader has gone on to repeat that prediction of forced emigration, most recently in an interview with RTÉ, as reported by the Belfast Telgraph:

…if there was a vote in favour of a united Ireland, the DUP leader said she would leave her home.

“Because I do not think I would feel comfortable and that is why I would leave… because what’s the point in staying in a place where I do not feel comfortable and where your identity would not be something that would be respected?

“I cannot see how I could be British in Fermanagh, in a united Ireland, because by the very definition, you are no longer British because you are living in an all-Ireland state.”

The problem with Arlene Foster’s claims on this issue is that they seem less like a personal preference and more like a grave warning for unionists in general. If one of the main leaders of the pro-union minority in the north-east of the island is by implication claiming that her community has no place in a reunited state and would be forced to abandon their homes and their jobs for a new life outside the country, then one can only imagine what perilous seeds are being planted in the minds of ordinary people who presently identify as solely unionist and British.

It was upon such sentiment that the logic of ethno-separtism was constructed in the disparate states of the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. If the national and cultural identity of nominally distinct populations was to be maintained and protected in the face of dramatically changing constitutional arrangements, if one were to remain Serbo-Yugoslavian in regions no longer part of Serbia or Yugoslavia, then certain actions were required. Actions that would secure the interests of one community while limiting or eliminating the interests of competing or overlapping communities.

While I’m not comparing Arlene Foster to the malevolent figures who led the Balkans into bloodshed and anarchy at the end of the 20th century, I am pointing out that her words can have an impact far beyond her initial meaning. If, as the leader of the DUP claims, there is no future for unionists in a reunited Ireland, that no accommodation can be made for their distinctiveness, then the debate over the constitutional future of the north becomes an existential one. A literal matter of communal life or death, where the only choice is to cease to be or to seek exile and refuge elsewhere.

And that, I very much fear, is the same logic that permeated the minds of the armed men who brought such savagery and barbarism to towns like Srebrenica and elsewhere in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia during the 1990s. Unlike the powers of the traditional Irish satirist, words might not kill – but they can certainly inspire those who do kill. And unionist leaders, like their nationalist counterparts, should be much more careful with the words that they use in the coming transformative years.

42 comments on “Arlene Foster, Unionists And Forcibly Leaving A United Ireland

  1. It is very Manichaean, her position. And it also – perhaps this is more understandable, betrays an absolute unwillingness to work through potential approaches that would allow for the expression of distinctiveness. I guess she’s not going to admit at this point that there’s any such potential approaches for her own political reasons – as the leading voice of political unionism that would be problematic – but I think your point re the difficulty re her saying she could not live in a UI democratically arrived at is also problematic. The other issue is her point re ‘identity not being respected’. Firstly she states that as an absolute given. Is that the case and again that raises the question as to what is necessary for her to feel that her identity is respected. And that raises a further question, why does she feel she can say this about herself and that it doesn’t hold true of those who are nationalists and republicans in NI? What has she done to assuage their feelings living within precisely the context she outlines albeit with a different national/political orientation? What does she think is the necessary to ensure their identity is respected and has she and the DUP done anything to do that? I don’t mean that as whataboutery but simply the logical outworking of her own argument.

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  2. There is no future for Unionism in a united Ireland, certainly. If Unionists want to hang on to the objectives of unionism in the future then in that sense there is no future for them. I think this issue is often disregarded when people talk about accommodating the Unionists in a united Ireland.

    There is clearly a future for Unionists as PEOPLE in a united Ireland but that is a different thing, not what unionism has had nor what it has fought for and wants to hold on to. There is no point in avoiding that reality.

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  3. Napper Tandy

    They are welcome to go home.

    They came here uninvited and caused nothing but trouble since their arrival.

    They should be thankful that they are not being sent on the boats with only the shoes on their feet and the clothes on their backs.

    Snippy rhetoric will, in the long run only get them a thick ear, if they’re lucky

    The Irish are fed up with their crap for over 800 years, if they don’t want to assimilate, they can return to the Scottish Lowlands.

    Slán na bhaile ag an strainséir a thainig anseo gan cead nó cuireadh.

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    • Don’t you just love keyboard warriors. 😂

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    • Your comment perfectly illustrates the reason why unionists and Protestants feel merely tolerated in an all-Ireland context… It is interesting that you are referring to Scotland as being their “home”… as opposed to their actual home, namely the place where they and their ancestors have been living for hundreds of years, just like yours presumably… The threat of forced deportation (an empty threat, I accept that) is also most unfortunate…

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  4. I can think of one other thing people world over need to stop promoting: The idea that you can be seen as less responsible for your actions if somebody in a position of power “said it was OK”.

    Of course, it’s hard to see a world where such arguments are never made…..as long the job of the Defense Attorney in most Democratic nations is to advocate for the client, they WILL make these arguments when reasonable doubt is more ridiculous.

    I wonder if even a lot of talk about violence being blamed on what somebody said (ei Charlie Hebdo is a good example of this.), may implicitly say to some people “Hey if [fill in blank} said it was OK, maybe I will avoid jail or at least get a light sentence and easy acceptance by the community when I’m out. At least I’ll be seen as the victim in the court of public opinion.” It sounds stupid, but some people copy serial killers.

    That said there was always a chance that some of the Unionists would leave. The historical precedent is there for it. The big hope is that they don’t a political albatross either in Ireland or anywhere else that some of them may go.

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  5. Watching the Netflix historical series “Amend”, which I strongly recommended on here a while ago, I was struck by Rev Martin Luther King’s oft-aired opinion that one of the biggest obstacles to Black emancipation was liberal White people who expressed support and sympathy while saying, “But the time isn’t right”. Most especially, I was struck by the similarity to today’s situation in Ireland where a constant refrain from politicians and commentators in RoI when a border poll is mentioned is, “The time isn’t right”. When will the time be right? If they’re waiting on a problem-free, everybody happy situation to develop before a poll is held then the time will never be right.

    (To be honest, what struck me most watching Amend, is that the US’s legal, political, and judicial systems are by far the most corrupt in the world amongst the nations that style themselves as liberal-democratic. In fact, all things considered, it’s no exaggeration to say that in fact the US is largely masquerading as a “liberal-democracy”.

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    • To some extent the idea of “white liberals” saying “The Time isn’t Right” has become a trope. For one thing polling during the 50’s and 60’s suggest that very few people believed that “Civil Rights were good in theory, but society isn’t ready”.

      As for The South and Northern Ireland? Well there are some striking commonalities when you compare some groups like The Orange Order to The Confederate Flag flying crowd…..and no shortage of debate about why. ”

      That said, white Southerners were NOT being asked to accept a change of citizenship in the sense the Unionists Community may be….for the most part they were just being asked to obey certain laws, two Constitutional Amendments that had been around almost 100 years, not to engage in violence and to treat other people as equals. So one has to be a little bit careful about analogies.

      The reason the Civil Rights movement happened when it did was something of a perfect storm of factors. While attitudes had been changing for a while, mostly it was a question of those who supported the Civil Rights movement outmaneuvering the opposition.

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      • “For one thing polling during the 50’s and 60’s suggest that very few people believed that Civil Rights were good in theory, but society isn’t ready.”

        There was no such thing as polling in any meaningful sense during the 50s and 60s. And enough with the pretence that anti-Black sentiment was (or is) wholly confined to the Southern states.

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        • Polling did exist them. While all sciences improve with time there are indeed polls from the time: Mostly they knock down any view too simplistic. (For example older people were more likely to be against the Vietnam War.).

          While very few attitudes are confined by geography, it’s foolish to claim there is no North vs South divide on not just racism but a whole list of issues (gender role, economic issues, foreign policy and more). It would be hard to imagine no such divides given the history (Civil
          War reconstruction) and harder still to imagine there being no difference between being exposed to celebratory lynchings as young as four or five versus being exposed to racist cartoons in
          Chicago or London., or the curricula of some Southern States plus the presence of legal segregation making no difference at all. In common attitudes.

          Plus people outside historic a Jim
          Crowe states often saw their lives change not at all.

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          • notimportant

            This really isn’t true like at all.

            The Northeast and really every major city saw extreme changes that both were caused by and led to more white flight to the suburbs. Everybody in urban or industrial areas saw things change dramatically and their way of life completely upended.

            I’m not sure where you’re getting your information from.

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        • notimportant

          I completely agree with this, Tamam.

          I’m from a working class Philly area community, and there is plenty of racism in the supposedly progressive communities in the Northeast and especially the West Coast. I grew up with serious racial tensions in working class areas in the ’90s-2000s. I see the same polite racism from progressive whites that was present in the suburbs when I was growing up and the South and other places where they tried to keep black and brown people “in their place” but like those places back then, progressives are incapable of being honest about how they are towards people of color.

          Liked by 1 person

      • notimportant

        You’re giving way too much credit to white people.

        Black people are why the Civil Rights movement happened no different than Irish Republicans/Catholics are why Ireland became an independent Republic.

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  6. The problem with Unionists is they think we are going to treat them the way we were treated between 1921 -1972. Nothing could be further from the truth. Protestants will be welcome in a United Ireland just as anyone else is.

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    • Let’s at least be fair about it, their real fear is how Protestants were treated in the South during the same period and beyond. Neither jurisdiction has much to be proud of in its treatment of the religious minority.

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  7. How many of the Protestants in the Free State had links to the British Government? Either the British Armed Forces or Police or members of the Civil Service that’s why they left loyalty to the crown

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    • Nothing to do with the overtly theocratic state that was founded? Where absolute control of health, education and so much more was given over to the Catholic Church? Where Ne Temere was the order of the day? Where the likes of the boycott of Protestant shops in Fethard-on-Sea could happen at the instigation of the local priest? Where Protestants were treated and often told to their faces that they “weren’t really Irish”. Where it’s only now that many Irish Protestants, who are at least as proudly Irish as yourself, feel secure and safe enough to speak out about the everyday bullying, intimidation and isolation they suffered growing up?
      Deny history all you like, my friend, but you’re only kidding yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Napper Tandy

        I always find that there is little welcome, and oft times hostility to those who come uninvited to ones abode and without prompting begins to rearrange the furniture.

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        • Ha, ha, ha so it’s the Little Irelander purity argument is it – the last refuge of a bigot. Best about it is your own antecedents probably landed in Ireland no more than a few generations ago, and the succeeding generations have gone overboard trying to prove themselves. 😂

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          • Napper Tandy

            It has become quite apparent that your disdain for anything Irish or Gaeilge or anything that pertains to be Irish or Gaelach is bordering on psychotic.
            The best avenue for you to address this malady would be to return home to the 1/4 acre your antecedents departed from in the Scottish Lowlands and to write strongly worded letters to like minded publications, thus satiating your anti-Irish racism.
            I do not have to prove my ancestry to you my dear. What i do know, is that if i harboured the amount of hatred for a place and a people, that you so openly do, i would return home to be amongst my own kith and kinsfolk.
            No one is shackling you to the Island, you are free to return home whenever you please. I’m sure when Ireland is reunited that some sort of agreement between the Irish and British governments could be arranged with regard to boat fare and an allowance for re-settlement.
            I envisage a rather difficult time for those who do not wish to assimilate and who do not have the monetary wherewithal to return home. Unless the British government begin building high-rises in Clackmannanshire, you won’t be the only one jangling an empty pocket, but as the Tory government has already sold you down the Lagan it is doubtful that we will see 30 storey towers rising from the Lowland bogs.
            I would never advocate gambling, but perhaps now might be as good a time as any to start praying to St. Jude and having a weekly punt on the lottery, before the noose gets too tight.
            After all, it could be you.. . . . . .

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            • Napper, I’m not sure at all that “assimilation” is or should be the answer here for the island’s unionist/loyalist/British minority. Integration, a two way street, is one thing but assimilation smacks – in this context – a little bit of old fashioned Hibernianism. The flip side of Orangeism. The instinct to see unionists as confused Irish people rather than people living in Ireland with a distinct identity of their own. One that we need to accommodate. And one that we share many traits with after centuries of living with each other.

              I’d rather the path presented by parity of esteem, from a place of reconciliation, than a slightly triumphantist road to reunification. If our united island is to have a peaceful and prosperous future it can only do so when our presently estranged neighbours willingly become our soon to be fellow citizens.

              And we should not hesitate to facilitate that process, however difficult or however great the hurt of times past.

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              • Napper Tandy

                A tolerant host will always find a way to assimilate immigrants of whatever creed or colour.

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              • But they are not immigrants. They are Irelanders if not Irish as such, if so they do not identify as. This is their country as much as ours. And their culture is now part of our culture. Our very republicanism has roots on their community, tradition, ethnicity, call it what you will.

                This Hibernian-style chauvinism is terribly unrepublican, in either the tradition of Pearse or Connolly.

                Liked by 1 person

            • Nope, no hatred here. None at all. And your attempted projection says even more about you than has already become clear. I’m as Irish as yourself or hoboard, though I obviously have a different idea of what it means to be so. If merely pointing out by way of examples that no side on this island has much to be proud of re their treatment of religious minorities amounts to “hatred of the Irish” to you, then you’re living in an immature world of denial where everyone and everything must fall neatly into ranks of goodies and baddies. I realise that it’s painful to confront, in a communal sense, our own history but believe me it’s worth it in the end. It allows the mind to flourish and, as important, brings with it a level of maturity and fair-mindedness that allows one to see things from the perspective of others. Something I think has been sadly lacking in the past, and will be vital in the future if we’re going to make anything of ourselves post-reunification. And, don’t kid yourself, come what may I for one will be going nowhere. For, as stated, I’m every bit as Irish as you or anyone else laying claim to belonging on this island.

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            • Napper Tandy: Will you stop being so pompous? Using big words doesn’t add any credibility to your rant… And you complain about anti-Irish “disdain” when you are openly suggesting that an entire section of the indigenous population of this island should move out of Ireland? How is that for “disdain”?

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  8. The Republic of Ireland had two Presidents who were of the Protestant faith. How many Roman Catholic Prime Ministers did the North have? Zero

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    • Ha, ha, ha, that’s like claiming the US isn’t racist because it had Obama as president.
      You neglected to mention that except for Noel Browne and the Protestant Erskine H Childers, all the Irish politicians in attendance, including his Fianna Fáil colleagues such as De Valera, refused to enter the Protestant St Patrick’s Cathedral for Douglas Hyde’s funeral. How’s that for paying your respects and upholding the status quo?
      Listen, this isn’t a “us-good-you-bad” competition. It’s about encouraging you to open your eyes and your mind a little.

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      • In 1951 the influence of the Catholic Church was so high that the then Taoiseach, John A. Costello, said: “I am an Irishman second, I am a Catholic first, and I accept without qualification in all respects the teaching of the hierarchy and the church to which I belong.”

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  9. It’s quite simple really, the Good Friday Agreement provides for a future referendum on Irish unity, so if a majority in that poll vote to leave the U.K., then we will have a United Ireland. There would be little point in unionist parties continuing, as the union would have ended. I would imagine that, like their border county counterparts, most rural and village ex-unionists would vote for Fine Gael, with perhaps many of the urban working class favouring the Irish Labour Party. Not much would change and I wouldn’t expect a milk and honey scenario, the rich will still be rich, the poor will still be poor, with the professional middle class maintaining their current status. The greatest disappointment and disillusionment will, no doubt, be felt by the northern nationalist working class, their unionist counterparts won’t expect anything.
    As a Presbyterian from a unionist background I would hope to stay, though if your other contributor, Napper Tandy, has anything to do with it I may be on the first flight/boat to Scotland. I would just say that people of my ilk have been here for a mere 300-400 years and a considerable number for much longer if the evidence of “native Irish” surnames in Presbyterian churchyards is anything to go by. The single largest chunk, around 50,000, seem to have migrated in the 1690s in response to famine conditions in Scotland. It was the Norman French who arrived 800 years ago. There is a certain irony in these views being voiced by someone using the name of a United Irishman to call for the expulsion of the people who formed the backbone of the United Irish rising in Cos Antrim and Down in 1798. But if he’s willing to send me the considerable amount of cash needed to buy a nice apartment in Glasgow’s West End, or Edinburgh’s New Town, I’ll be only too willing to take up his suggestion.

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    • Well said.

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    • Napper is very much in the minority in his views. And this country would be all the poorer for the loss of even one single member of the minority community on the island in the event of reunification. An island that is much their home as anyone elses.

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      • This is very true. Presuming he isn’t just a troll bored out of his skull in lockdown, Napper is in no way representative of the modern, diverse Ireland he lives in. Like his Brexiteer Little Englander counterparts across the water, he’s yearning for a past that probably never existed. Sad, really.

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  10. Unionist / Lie alist, have always considered N Ireland as their wee country. A protestant Orange Bigot state, for a like minded Prod people. The Orange Order was, set up to prevent returning Catholics, previously burned out of their farms and lands, from returning buying the land back at the same fair price as Prods. Their so called culture / our way of life? Is based on narrow minded bigotry and extreme Narcissistic Antisocial Personality Disorder NASPD, hate parades, where the sing songs of priests being thrown off bridges, and Pitched hand to hand battles where Catholics were forced to flee in fear of their lives. All directed by a guttersnipe prick, King Charles the 1’st, who considered the Papist Irish disloyal, and therefore a danger to his Crown. So good on revolutionary Oliver Cromwell for having, he who claimed, he was appointed by God? Beheaded. Ha. It’s a pity that all world Royalty, like the French and the Russian Tsars entire family, were not all then killed in the same manner, because they are all a pretentious parasitic useless waste of space. As that other shower of shite, who somehow claim to be Gods representatives on Earth = The Papacy. If ugly pills Arlene, wants to shoot over to good old Britannia, which now looks no more British than Pakistan or Africa, then the sooner the better. I’ll pay her fare and run her up to the airport. She now heads a party that was set up by, Der Fuhrer, Herr Doktor Adolf Paisley, A pretend Christian man of god? Who spewed forth anti Catholic Irish hatred his entire life, so was no more a Christian than Genghis Khan. … Jethro. Fetch my Shotgun? There’s another on of them thar paraded coming down the road. Only now they ‘re not protected by the Loyalist Police?

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    • How is that language helpful to the cause of national reunification? As I stated in the post, words can have power and effect far beyond the intent of the the user. Employ them with more care.

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    • notimportant

      Isn’t England still like 80% white English? I’m not sure how that’s not very British. Definitely nothing like Africa or Pakistan…. or even the ultra diverse US for that matter.

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  11. Napper Tandy

    An Sionnach Fionn
    April 6, 2021

    But they are not immigrants. They are Irelanders if not Irish as such, if so they do not identify as. This is their country as much as ours. And their culture is now part of our culture. Our very republicanism has roots on their community, tradition, ethnicity, call it what you will.

    This Hibernian-style chauvinism is terribly unrepublican, in either the tradition of Pearse or Connolly.

    ——————————————————————————————————————————–
    As they reply function seems to have disappeared from your last reply, i took it upon myself to post your reply along with my own thoughts here.

    Seems to be some gremlins in the works this evening.. … .. . an rud is annamh is iontaigh… creidim.

    Irelanders? Is this a new word concocted by Sinn Féin?

    New Irelanders possibly. I doubt Frank Hughes, the Harte brothers, Jim Lynagh and Paddy Kelly would find what i have scribed here Unrepublican. Sinn Féin might though. All depends on what boss man George has to day though.

    These people are not Irish, they claim to be British and loyal to the crown, the last time we left these people unattended over 100 years ago they formed Fine Gael.

    Lest we make the same error twice.

    Either they get with the program here or they can return home. It is very, very simple.

    If they believe that they are going to subvert the reunified island they are going to be in for a short sharp shrift.

    Ireland for the Irish, not for Britain nor for Rome, as one Liverpudlian once remarked.

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    • Fine Gael owed more to the Redmondites and Home Rulers, to reactionary Green Ribbonism, than southern unionists who simply allied with those conservative nationalist forces willing to make semi-temporary common cause with them in the counter-revolutionary period.

      Ireland for the people of Ireland. In all our diversity.

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  12. notimportant

    One of the things I really love about reading this blog is seeing the way you all who are actually in Ireland and Northern Ireland can have civil -if sometimes heated- conversations about your differences and the complex and at times ugly problems with the island as a whole as well as its two separate parts. We are incapable of that these days in the US, unfortunately.

    However, that toxic environment gives me insight you all don’t necessarily have. It is this insight that causes me to issue you all a dire warning.

    You all rightly call out right wing Americans who stoke the loyalist fires and promote DUP propaganda and dehumanize Irish Republicans. You need to also be very aware of and on the lookout for social media accounts with pronouns in their bio who seemingly ally with and promote/glorify Republican violence or call for it. These people are false allies who in many cases deliberately inflame tensions and incite violence for their own gain. Not only this but they will drown you out on the international scale and promote their completely flawed and narrow viewpoints of Ireland as loudly as possible while imposing themselves on the situation. Then they will have no problem with gentrifying the areas they help to burn down and otherwise profiting/financially benefiting from the bloodshed. Beware the US/Canadian/UK left-wing in general. Not people with left-wing views. Extremists who dehumanize their “opponents” and glorify and promote violence “in solidarity” or whatever other nonsense. I guarantee you they will start imposing themselves and involving themselves now that loyalist rioting and intimidation tactics are finally being seen and acknowledged by the international community and especially North America. You must reject all supposed “allies” who engage in this behavior from outside the island and root them out of your movements and events as quickly as possible when they infiltrate them. And they will. You don’t need them, and they don’t even remotely care about you. They’ll dehumanize you before long as racist or transphobic or whatever else, after pretending to care about you when you’re dealing with loyalist terrorists/gangs.

    Trust me on this. It will happen so quickly you’ll be blindsided by the newfound “support”. It’s what they do. They seize upon opportunities to hide behind actual causes and then hijack those causes. I’d hate to see it happen to you all the same way it’s happened to every real cause in the US.

    And this is coming from somebody with major Irish heritage who wants to see a united Ireland one day. It’s the fact that I actually care about you all and innocent civilians everywhere around the world that causes me to warn you all about this. These people are privileged users. Hipsters pretending to hate capitalism. Rich people pretending to be “the proletariat”. Everything they do is for themselves. Always.

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  13. I used to visit your blog regularly (and you were kind enough to mention a French blog I used to write on all things ‘Norn Iron’ a number of years ago), and just stumbled upon this very interesting article, so I thought I would leave a wee comment… I totally accept that as First Minister, Arlene Foster should have refrained from expressing a personal view which was no doubt construed as reflecting party policy by some DUP supporters… If she felt she would have no future in a united Ireland and would have to leave, that is a sentiment that would have been best kept to herself while in that role… However, as someone (myself) living in a town with a majority Protestant/unionist population, and as someone who is in touch with local politicians representing all shades of opinion on a daily basis, through my work as a local journalist, it remains the case that unionists simply do not view London as being a ‘foreign’ capital, or the Queen as being a ‘foreign’ head of state, or GB as being ‘foreign’ to them… While they may have fears as to what might happen to them in a united Ireland, this isn’t really what is stopping them from embracing the concept of Irish unity… Their bond with GB, with monarchy, with British institutions etc. is a very real and strong one… So, telling them that they will be embraced in a united Ireland, and that their civil rights will be safeguarded, won’t cut it… I realise that from a nationalist perspective, it is heartbreaking as the partition of Ireland is a historical injustice, which itself flowed from the historical injustice that was the Plantations… Undoing that kind of harm, however, will take a lot more than round-table talks bringing together unionism and nationalism… Sinn Féin, in particular, remain anathema to Protestants and unionists, as was once again evidenced in a very recent LucidTalk poll… https://www.lucidtalk.co.uk/single-post/lt-ni-quarterly-tracker-poll-winter-2021

    Just some of the hostile comments posted in this very thread, which you picked up on and rightly criticised, illustrate just how challenging it will be to create a sense of togetherness across the island of Ireland, when there is still so much resentment inherited from the past…

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  14. Sonny Laymatina

    For anyone anywhere to identify as a British Unionist is a human right. In fact, they can identify as Himalayans for all I care. That’s their right which should be legally respected and protected. What should never be respected or protected though is their jurisdictional claim on behalf of a foreign power (British or Himalayan) to any part of the island of 32 counties Ireland. Which is for all Irish people alone, Catholic, Protestant, and Dissenters, to claim for themselves without any foreign government interference or control.

    And should a United Ireland like that ever come about it will be very much like most other former British colonies, i.e. US, NZ, Australia & Canada. In short, nothing really to worry about ever having to run from. That all said though, there will likely be a United Korea before there will ever be a United Ireland (UI) sans UK. Because of the FF/FG/RTE political status quo that will always endeavor to keep a UI from ever happening. Very much like Nguyễn Văn Thiệu and Nguyễn Cao Kỳ who fought tooth and nail to keep South Vietnam a US gerrymandered colony in perpetuity. And if you don’t think so then read this:

    “A Northern Ireland Executive and assembly could be retained in a united Ireland, the taoiseach has said. Micheál Martin said support would be provided from Dublin in ‘external matters’, with British government input also. He said it would be a three-way relationship. ‘You could have still a northern assembly and the northern executive, potentially, with the fulcrum towards Dublin, in terms of external matters and so on,’ Mr Martin said. ‘But the British government would still be involved.’ He added that the ‘…three sets of relationships have to be at the cornerstone’.”

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-56845676

    Yet, Helmut Kohl never said same about East Germany and Russia. Therefore, Arlene Foster et al are just being dishonest about the UI boogie man for their own politically manipulative purposes. Because a UI is going to look very much the same as it does now. It’s never going to be North Korea or Saudi Arabia. Just ask any of the British and English people who currently live in just about all if not all 32 Irish counties.

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    • Is Martin alluding to an interim, transitional period or something more permanent? If the second, is it a federal-type set-up he has in mind for Ireland? Either way, he’s far from clear on what he envisage’s any future role for the British to be? Is he merely hinting at time-limited British financial aid for the new construct or a full-blown shared-sovereignty arrangement (by another name)? I think, more than anything else, what scares the life out of FF, FG et al is the economic aspect of a UI.
      Regardless of all of the above, what is and always has been sorely lacking from advocates of a UI is a detailed, nuts and bolts outline of what they have in mind.

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      • Sonny Laymatina

        What Martin is clearly referring to is having continued British rule in Ireland without any end point to speak of which is why he doesn’t mention one. Like Thieu and Key, the last thing he wants is a United Ireland. And his concerns really have nothing to do with economics. His concerns are purely political for FF/FG’s continued neo-colonial existence. Proof – little Leo and Mike have no problem at all paying billions to British and EU banks for failed Irish banks. Whereas Helmut Kohl, unlike Leo and Mike, really wanted a United Germany without any Russian interference and control – transitional or otherwise. So, Kohl was happy to take on all the challenges there might be in unification economic, political or whatever. And that’s because Helmut Kohl like Ho Chi Minh was a patriot who would pay any price for his country’s independence and sovereignty without any need for “…a detailed nuts and bolts outline”. Because Irish unification – like German or Vietnamese unification – isn’t complicated. That’s just a phony excuse. The British just have to leave and acknowledge Irish jurisdiction, and that only requires a ferry ride and a phone call. And think of all the tax savings there would be not having to pay for Stormont. However, if it’s a detailed nuts and bolts outline you want then see Sinn Fein’s proposed Federal solution from 1979 (so much for UI advocates sorely lacking a plan):

        Éire Nua: The Social, Economic and Political Dimensions (1979)
        https://cain.ulster.ac.uk/issues/politics/docs/sf/sinnfein79.htm

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