• Due to a glitch in the old vBulletin software, some users were "banned" when they tried to change their passwords at the end of February. This does not apply after the site was converted to Xenforo. If you were affected by this, please contact us.




How Shall History Judge Ulster Unionism?

Irish-Rationalist

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 2, 2016
Messages
3,337
Judgements on the unionist record in the period 1921-68 vary from the deepest black to purest white. At one extreme, writers like McCann (1974) and Farrell (1976) depict discrimination as being so pervasive as to be the foundation of the State: it was what kept the Protestant working class from bolting into an alliance with the Catholic working class, and the Protestant bourgeoisie could not do without it even if they wished (see particularly McCann, 1974: 125 and Farrell, 1976: 81). At the other extreme a unionist like Walmsley (1959: 20) could describe claims that the minority was downtrodden as 'entirely without foundation', and a unionist Prime Minister, Major Chichester-Clark, could claim that 'some quite small grievances or alleged grievances have been magnified out of all proportion' (quoted in CSJ, 1969: 32). One recent investigator still feels able to write that the pre-1968 system was 'not particularly inequitable' (Hewitt, 1981: 377).

Neither of these extreme views can be sustained. The amount of discrimination proved, or even alleged, to have existed is insufficient to bear the weight that McCann or Farrell place on it. On the other hand, it is quite sufficient to disprove attempts to dismiss it as unfounded or trifling.

Most recent writers who have investigated the problem come down somewhere in the middle. Charles Brett, who as a leading figure in the Northern Ireland Labour Party was in the mainstream of neither unionism nor nationalism, and who carried out a study of discrimination in the '60s, concludes that 'the Catholic grievances did not amount to oppression' but that 'the Catholic minority received less than fair treatment from the Protestant majority' (1978: 101). Birrell and Murie (1980), in their compendious study of public a ministration in Northern Ireland, several times refer to the problem of discrimination, and, while they provide no quotable passage summing up their conclusions, leave the impression that they would come close to Brett's view. Buckland (1981: 72) writes:

The Unionist regime was neither as vindictive nor as oppressive as regimes elsewhere in the world with problems of compact or irredentist minorities. The fact remains that, owing to local conditions, the power of the government was used in the interests of Unionists and Protestants, with scant regard for the interests of the region as a whole or for the claims and susceptibilities of the substantial minority.

Darby, who in the course of an appraisal of the literature on the Northern Ireland conflict provides a set-piece discussion of discrimination, concludes that some charges are unsubstantiated and others are exaggerated, but that proven cases are sufficiently numerous to constitute 'a consistent and irrefutable pattern of deliberate discrimination against Catholics' (1976: 77-8). This is fractionally sharper language than Brett's or Buckland's, and my own view is that, as between nuances of emphasis, I would support Darby. But the differences are only marginal. The consensus among those who have looked at the evidence dispassionately is that the picture is neither black nor white, but a shade of grey.

A detailed study such as the present one can, however, suggest more precisely what shade of grey is required in different parts of the picture. Six areas of contention have been studied in this paper, and more evidence was found of discrimination in some areas than others. If they were placed in an order of demerit, with the fields in which there was most discrimination coming first, the result might be something as follows. (I would not insist on the precise ranking, but the ones near the top of the list come clearly above those near the bottom.)

Electoral practices
Public employment
Policing
Private employment
Public housing
Regional policy

This, however, is not particularly illuminating, because the variations found within most of these areas have been as striking as those found between them.

A more helpful classification might be geographical. A group of local authorities in the west of the province provide a startlingly high proportion of the total number of complaints. All the accusations of gerrymandering, practically all the complaints about housing and regional policy, and a disproportionate amount of the charges about public and private employment come from this area. The area- which consisted of Counties Tyrone and Fermanagh, Londonderry County Borough, and portions of Counties Londonderry and Armagh - had less than a quarter of the total population of Northern Ireland yet generated not far short of three-quarters of the complaints of discrimination. Elsewhere, discrimination occurred. The USC was everywhere a Protestant militia; some police decisions betrayed partisanship; there were fewer Catholics in the higher reaches of the public service than were willing and qualified to serve; some private firms discriminated against Catholics.

But when all this is said, the prominence of an area in the west remains. There, the greyness of the picture over most of the province changes to an ominous darkness. The unionist government must bear its share of responsibility. It put through the original gerrymander which underpinned so many of the subsequent malpractices, and then, despite repeated protests, did nothing to stop those malpractices continuing. The most serious charge against the Northern Ireland government is not that it was directly responsible for widespread discrimination, but that it allowed discrimination on such a scale over a substantial segment of Northern Ireland.

CAIN: Issues - Discrimination: John Whyte, 'How much discrimination was there under the Unionist regime, 1921-1968?'

1) Post Irish reunification, when political historians have had time to reflect upon the existence of what was Northern Ireland and what took place within its geographical and socio-political boundaries 1921-72, how shall history judge Ulster Unionism?

2) Given what took place under the Unionist regime 1921-72, can Protestants in the north of Ireland expect fair treatment, equal citizenship and a discrimination free life in a united Ireland?
 


Ex celt

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 24, 2011
Messages
8,375
Clearly is a good thing,was a good thing and will be a good thing.
 

between the bridges

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Messages
45,763
Who gives a fvck, seriously CNR and Mexicans crave approval grow a set ye muppets...
 

Congalltee

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 10, 2009
Messages
6,210
...can Protestants in the north of Ireland expect fair treatment, equal citizenship and a discrimination free life in a united Ireland?
Obviously, yes. In a Republic all the people are treated equally regardless of their religion or what their ancestors did.

A United Ireland cannot be Dublin replacing Westminster and an Anschluss manner. It must be a new republic and the sectarian laws and practices must end (ie baptism barrier, denominational hospitals, angelus, 4 years wait for divorce, etc).
 

Cellachán Chaisil

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 3, 2009
Messages
10,011
That a substantial minority can gain political leverage by threatening civil war?
 

Dub01

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 7, 2010
Messages
5,267

parentheses

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
13,960
Discrimination was necessary to maintain Unionist dominance. It forced Catholics to emigrate

Otherwise Catholic numbers would rise to the point where Unionist dominance could not be maintained.



.
 

PeacefulViking

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 20, 2012
Messages
2,506
2) Given what took place under the Unionist regime 1921-72, can Protestants in the north of Ireland expect fair treatment, equal citizenship and a discrimination free life in a united Ireland?
Protestants or Unionists? Protestants seem to have done okay in the ROI so why would not it be the same for northern Protestants, in the hypothetical case of Irish reunification. Unionists may be more provocative, not sharing the national identity is seen as upsetting in many countries, including western democracies.

Of course, equal citizenship and absence of discrimination are things you want, but are also compatible with not much liking the state policy. Protestants in the ROI were not discriminated against by state policies such as the ban on contraception or divorce, but it still shows a problem with living in a Catholic-majority state. The fact that most Irish Catholics are much less orthodox now would make reunification easier.
 

PeacefulViking

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 20, 2012
Messages
2,506
Of course, giving Catholic teaching on religious freedom in much of the period in question, a Roman Catholic complaining about discrimination can be seen as hypocritical.
 

Irish-Rationalist

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 2, 2016
Messages
3,337
Who gives a fvck, seriously CNR and Mexicans crave approval grow a set ye muppets...
A totally asinine and worthless comment in an extremely long line. Please f*** off. You are brain dead.
 

GDPR

1
Joined
Jul 5, 2008
Messages
224,089
Unionism has no long term importance at all, because the so called "United Kingdom" has no long term future.
 

Irish-Rationalist

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 2, 2016
Messages
3,337
Obviously, yes. In a Republic all the people are treated equally regardless of their religion or what their ancestors did.
In theory. Like political ideologies, the reality is sometimes different. Take Russian Communism and what happened to the Russian working class and peasantry. Sinn Fein talk of a new unified Ireland based upon the proclamation, and I have no doubt a new Irish government shall go to significant lengths to accommodate Ulster Protestants, but people have long memories, and some nurture justifiable grudges. Even with a new and improved Irish constitution embellishing already existent human and civil rights and thus adequately protecting the PUL minority, what actually happens on the ground no-one can predict.

A United Ireland cannot be Dublin replacing Westminster and an Anschluss manner. It must be a new republic and the sectarian laws and practices must end (ie baptism barrier, denominational hospitals, angelus, 4 years wait for divorce, etc).
Again, the current Irish constitution or a new and improved one does not have the capacity to prevent certain individuals acting in a subterranean sectarian and discriminatory manner.
 

silverharp

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
15,936
failed experiment?
 

Irish-Rationalist

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 2, 2016
Messages
3,337
Protestants or Unionists? Protestants seem to have done okay in the ROI so why would not it be the same for northern Protestants, in the hypothetical case of Irish reunification. Unionists may be more provocative, not sharing the national identity is seen as upsetting in many countries, including western democracies.
If you weren't already aware, the great majority of Protestants are Unionists, and although there are exceptions like myself, most people view Protestants as Unionists. The terms are almost synonymous. Even if like me you explain that you're a Republican, most Catholic Republicans would still regard me as a Prod and thus one of the other tribe.

PUL culture is a problem, as its essence is one of diametrical opposition to nationalist Ireland and everything the Irish state values and holds dear. Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist assimilation into Irish national culture shall be no easy task. In fact, it's not possible. The only thing Republicanism can do is practice what it preaches and tolerate a culture which is diverse in every sense. The tenets of cultural freedom and cultural equality shall be tested to the limit in a 32 county unified republic, Socialist or otherwise. And every marching season.

Does the new unified Ireland want the Orange order? Shall it tolerate it's inherent sectarian nature? Given that the Irish tax-payer funds the Battle of the Boyne site at Oldbridge, Drogheda, there may be some hope ..

Of course, equal citizenship and absence of discrimination are things you want, but are also compatible with not much liking the state policy. Protestants in the ROI were not discriminated against by state policies such as the ban on contraception or divorce, but it still shows a problem with living in a Catholic-majority state. The fact that most Irish Catholics are much less orthodox now would make reunification easier.
The RoI is becoming an increasingly secular society, and that is conducive to Irish reunification, as it was the power and influence the RCC would wield with Irish home rule which was one of the things they were vehemently opposed to. The other thing Unionists opposed was the poor and backward nature of the industry of the south, and that has changed radically and for the better too, with the industry of the RoI greatly outweighing and overshadowing that of NI. The reasons Unionists opposed Irish home rule are now virtually gone. There is no reason to sustain partition other than unionism being unwilling and/or unable to let go of the coat-tails of mother England.
 

Man or Mouse

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 17, 2010
Messages
7,110
There is no reason to sustain partition other than unionism being unwilling and/or unable to let go of the coat-tails of mother England.
There are sever billion reasons, annually.
 

New Threads

Popular Threads

Most Replies

Top