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"SF are in government because we want to be, but unionists are in government because they have to be"


Ren84

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"SF are in government because we want to be, but unionists are in government because they have to be"

At this year's Sinn Féin Ard Fheis Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness spoke quite critically of unionist ministers saying:

"More than once in recent months the observation has been made to me that Sinn Fein ministers are in government with unionist ministers because we want to be, but that unionist ministers are in government with Sinn Fein because they have to be."

"Speaking frankly this isn't good enough. Fifteen years on we need to apply the very same political skills and political principles to politics in the here and now if we are to truly harness the great potential that still exists.

"I have no difficulty whatsoever in respecting unionists' allegiance to their Britishness, but it gives me no satisfaction to tell you that there is a marked reluctance by unionist leaders to respect the Irish identity of nationalists and republicans."
Of course McGuinness is absolutely on the money. At every opportunity unionist parties have tried to hold back the executive and make nuisances of themselves. The Deputy First Minister also had a pop at Tory PM Cameron by saying:

"It is unfortunate that his semi-detached approach to the peace process and delivering the outstanding commitments from Good Friday, St Andrews and Hillsborough has been in many ways mirrored by the current Irish government also...."
So this begs the question, WHY are unionists intent on trying to move NI backwards instead of forwards. The UUP and DUP should be working on fixing the north, not trying to score points over SF and nationalists. At a time when NI needs guidance it seems clear unionism, not to mention the London and Dublin governments are more concerned with going after SF at every opportunity. If they keep this up more and more Republicans and Nationalists will likely switch to the dissidents and that would truly bring catastrophe to the north of Ireland.
 

Legolas

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Tell me more about how Nationalists are ' trying to move Northern Ireland forward ' and Unionists aren't...
 

runwiththewind

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Maybe Unionist sense that both London and Dublin have far far bigger issues to deal with and will have for the foreseeable future. Maybe Unionists are trying to collapse Stormont and bring back direct rule. Maybe they wish to do this before Belfast is lost to the nationalists forever and the greening of NI begins in earnest.
 

Galloper Thompson

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Maybe Unionist sense that both London and Dublin have far far bigger issues to deal with and will have for the foreseeable future. Maybe Unionists are trying to collapse Stormont and bring back direct rule. Maybe they wish to do this before Belfast is lost to the nationalists forever and the greening of NI begins in earnest.
On the money, I have no doubt in my mind that Unionists will try and collapse the institutions with a view to either renegotiate or a return to direct rule..they will try in the lifetime of this government as they would see Cameron as acting more favourably and sympathetic towards them....Their problem at the moment is trying to find a reason to collapse without looking like the bad guy. But it will happen....the shinners know this and will set the groundwork for them to be hung by their own petard. McGuinnesses statement today is the beginning of exposing them.
 

Ren84

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Maybe Unionist sense that both London and Dublin have far far bigger issues to deal with and will have for the foreseeable future. Maybe Unionists are trying to collapse Stormont and bring back direct rule. Maybe they wish to do this before Belfast is lost to the nationalists forever and the greening of NI begins in earnest.
At this stage it would seem unionists are increasingly fed up with devolved government and would rather a return to direct rule. Having SF and the SDLP dictate policy is not something unionists are comfortable with, and it shows. I started another thread asking about increased devolution for NI and most, if not all unionists, were cold on the idea. For them London is their government, and they are perfectly happy for the English to set the agenda. Maybe it's distrust in their own politicians or simply an unwillingness to allow nationalists anywhere near the levers of power but devolved government as it currently exists is increasingly on shaky ground.
 

runwiththewind

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On the money, I have no doubt in my mind that Unionists will try and collapse the institutions with a view to either renegotiate or a return to direct rule..they will try in the lifetime of this government as they would see Cameron as acting more favourably and sympathetic towards them....Their problem at the moment is trying to find a reason to collapse without looking like the bad guy. But it will happen....the shinners know this and will set the groundwork for them to be hung by their own petard. McGuinnesses statement today is the beginning of exposing them.
If they do collapse Stormont it will be direct rule alright but not what they envisage, it will be direct rule from Westminister and Dublin. I don't believe Cameron will act more favourably. Oh, he speaks publicly as a unionist but he will do nothing to damage the good relationship with Dublin that has taken decades to achieve. Didn't Stormont only get its act together when the threat of direct rule from Dublin and London was looming? Do unionist really thing that by bringing down Stormont that it would result in direct rule from London only? Even if that was the result, do they really think that SF wouldn't take their seats in Westminister?
 

Galloper Thompson

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I cant see any scenario where Sinn Fein would take their seats in Westminister...and lets not give the British Government too much credit..they have a habit of making the same mistakes over and over again....also, as much as we'd like to think Unionists are dumb, they are not...when they bring the institutions down, they are not going to do it blindly..They are, I am sure, in consultation with the Cameron Government as we speak.
 

runwiththewind

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At this stage it would seem unionists are increasingly fed up with devolved government and would rather a return to direct rule. Having SF and the SDLP dictate policy is not something unionists are comfortable with, and it shows. I started another thread asking about increased devolution for NI and most, if not all unionists, were cold on the idea. For them London is their government, and they are perfectly happy for the English to set the agenda. Maybe it's distrust in their own politicians or simply an unwillingness to allow nationalists anywhere near the levers of power but devolved government as it currently exists is increasingly on shaky ground.
They are fed up because devolved government because it has reached a tipping point. Consensus government cannot be achieved in NI. Besides what does that even mean? How can two polar opposites in ideology reach consensus in major issues like education and housing? NI's future course is set. It will be a majority nationalist who will chip away at all things British until the place become indistinguishable from the Rep. Yet as long as the money flows from Westminister they will be happy enough with the status quo. A very very powerful position for nationalists to be in. They can be culturally and political Irish with Irish citizenship. If Westminister decides enough is enough, (which they will, for what country needs or wants a region whose allegiance lie with another country), they can shrug their shoulders and say fine, we'll join the Rep. The future of NI is out of unionists hands and the truth of this has finally sunk it, but what is to become of them?
 

runwiththewind

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I cant see any scenario where Sinn Fein would take their seats in Westminister...and lets not give the British Government too much credit..they have a habit of making the same mistakes over and over again....also, as much as we'd like to think Unionists are dumb, they are not...when they bring the institutions down, they are not going to do it blindly..They are, I am sure, in consultation with the Cameron Government as we speak.
Things change, SF will take their seats in Westminister should Stormond fall. They will then have a voice in two national parliaments. This doesn't change their constitutional position one jot. Why make the same mistake SF made after the 1918 election? If they had taken their seats then, they could have nullified the unionists and backed Lloyd George in what was a coalition government. No need to make the same mistake twice. Chances are the next government in the UK will also be a coalition government.
 

theloner

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Unionists also have the added advantage/disadvantage (depending on what way you think) of being very conservative, meaning progress and change is going to be slow, drawn out and cumbersome. More conservative than their English counterparts in WM.

Add into the mix the fact that many within the UUP and DUP are still trying to cling to an old 'NI' where nationalists weren't as instrumental in government as they are now, it is easy to see how there is a big element of truth in MMG's words. Seems that unionists have perhaps 'house-trained' SF way too quickly.

When SF or the 'RA were misbehaving, i.e. McCartney episode, allegations of Northern Bank involvement or Paul Quinn's murder, it was almost welcomed by sections of unionism as it's a valid and perfect excuse to exclude SF and run the house with the 'watery greens' in the SDLP and keep Alliance in check. But now, SF is like teacher's pet, it plays the game so well, meet the British Queen, treat other republicans as the main enemy, dispelling any notion there is even a modicum of sympathy for dissidents, which there clearly isn't, full support and backing of the PSNI, heading up to Windsor for a match and even as recent as last week, forgiving arch-enemy Thatcher, a name that most republicans have no problem admitting a real hatred for.

Of course principles are principles and SF have forgotten/lost a few of them on its new version of republicanism. However, it must be driving unionism up the wall as SF sit on local councils, assemblies, and the Dail as if butter wouldn't melt in its mouth, making all the right sounds, looking the part, apologizing for this and that, and appealing to a younger generation that has little recollection of the conflict in the north, particularly in the south.
 

Mattarigna

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Tell me more about how Nationalists are ' trying to move Northern Ireland forward ' and Unionists aren't...
Has any of the SDLP or SF leaders said that they needed to apologise for the Good Friday agreement?
 

Mattarigna

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At this year's Sinn Féin Ard Fheis Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness spoke quite critically of unionist ministers saying:



Of course McGuinness is absolutely on the money. At every opportunity unionist parties have tried to hold back the executive and make nuisances of themselves. The Deputy First Minister also had a pop at Tory PM Cameron by saying:



So this begs the question, WHY are unionists intent on trying to move NI backwards instead of forwards. The UUP and DUP should be working on fixing the north, not trying to score points over SF and nationalists. At a time when NI needs guidance it seems clear unionism, not to mention the London and Dublin governments are more concerned with going after SF at every opportunity. If they keep this up more and more Republicans and Nationalists will likely switch to the dissidents and that would truly bring catastrophe to the north of Ireland.
Not sure if I agree with the tone, and as much as I dislike disagreeing with Sinn Fein, they do have a point about the Unionist parties, especially the UUP as of late.
 

Mattarigna

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On the money, I have no doubt in my mind that Unionists will try and collapse the institutions with a view to either renegotiate or a return to direct rule..they will try in the lifetime of this government as they would see Cameron as acting more favourably and sympathetic towards them....Their problem at the moment is trying to find a reason to collapse without looking like the bad guy. But it will happen....the shinners know this and will set the groundwork for them to be hung by their own petard. McGuinnesses statement today is the beginning of exposing them.
I sincerely hope that really isn't the case, and if it is, I hope that the Unionist community have the sense to kick their eejits out of office.
 

Mattarigna

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I cant see any scenario where Sinn Fein would take their seats in Westminister...and lets not give the British Government too much credit..they have a habit of making the same mistakes over and over again....also, as much as we'd like to think Unionists are dumb, they are not...when they bring the institutions down, they are not going to do it blindly..They are, I am sure, in consultation with the Cameron Government as we speak.
I don't think that Unionists leaders as a whole are dumb....but then they sometimes do some pretty idiotic stuff. I think that rejecting the Sunningdale agreement properly lists as the most idiotic thing that Unionist politicians ever did. And do not get me started on the Flag protests. The fact that 45% of Unionists supported the rioters is quite frightening.
 

longmarch

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I love it. Reading those first few pages makes me smile. It's like listening in to a couple of kids talking about sex. All pretending they know what they are on about, all nodding in agreement because none of them really understand. I'd like to pat a few of you on the heads. Now now kids...............
 

DavidCaldwell

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The OP has a bit of "ussuns are being sensible, but themmuns are being unreasonable" about it.

There are asymmetries. Let me point to another big asymmetry where it is Republicanism and Nationalism that has further to go.

Consider what the CNR side identifies as the injustices it suffered - discrimination, hatred, internment, killings etc. Consider what the PUL side identifies as the injustices it suffered - hatred, boycotting of institutions, a war waged against the state, killings etc.

By and large, Unionists/Loyalists - both the politicians and the posters here - acknowledge that these things that the CNR side sees as injustices were indeed injustices, apologises for them (sometimes grudgingly, it is true) and approves (at least in retrospect) the measures taken to correct these injustices.

Large sections of Nationalists/Republicans - both politicians (SF) and poster here - refuse to acknowledge the injustices suffered by the PUL side. The closest McGuiness got was to say that he accepted that "some people see the IRA's actions as murder". I welcome that, even though it is just a statement of fact. I recognise that he personally, given the constraints he has, has probably gone as far as he can at the moment.

Coming back to the OP, I agree that Unionist politicians should do more to ensure, on a day-to-day level, that power-sharing works and we make progress towards a full reconciliation. However, I would like to call on Nationalist/Republican politicians to do something at the level of the fundamental agreement. They should explicitly recognise that the PUL population suffered the injustices of the killings and the bombings.

My wife did not deserve, as a little child, to be very frightened by a bomb. The warning came, everyone was being rushed away and her little sister got separated from them. The bomb went off and she thought her sister was still in the shop. Fortunately not - other people had helped her to safety.

This is just a small example, but there are many more serious ones. The ordinary policeman did nothing to deserve death. His or her parents did nothing to deserve bereavement.

I recognise that many Catholics suffered similar injustices. I am not asking for Ren to make an apology. But I do call on him, before continuing with the criticism of Unionist politicians, at least to join with me in a collective acknowledgement - that we killed 3500 of us, that we hated each other, that we chose to kill when there were better alternatives, and that this was wrong.
 

McSlaggart

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There are asymmetries. Let me point to another big asymmetry where it is Republicanism and Nationalism that has further to go.
Their was nothing asymmetric about Northern Ireland. You had a UK government who failed continually which created all the mess that was/is Northern Ireland.
 

DavidCaldwell

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Their was nothing asymmetric about Northern Ireland. You had a UK government who failed continually which created all the mess that was/is Northern Ireland.
Just to make sure that we are not caught in an unimportant misunderstanding, note that asymmetry is the opposite of symmetry.
 

McSlaggart

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Just to make sure that we are not caught in an unimportant misunderstanding, note that asymmetry is the opposite of symmetry.
Its about the UK NOT "Norther Ireland". Going on about Unionist and Nationalist does not address who actually had the power to change things!
 
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