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Understanding Unionism

Irish-Rationalist

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Joined
Apr 2, 2016
Messages
3,337
Unionist's are generally viewed as an unloved and misunderstood minority on the island of Ireland, and a contrived majority within the 6 county state. Typically described by their political opponents as ‘narrow-minded‘, ‘sectarian’ ‘bigots‘ and ‘triumphalists’ et. al. Unionist’s don't really make much effort to dispel such accusations, and PR has never been their forte. They’re also viewed as suffering from a historical and ongoing siege mentality, with the “no surrender” attitude a stable characteristic of PUL psychological make-up.

After more than 400 years residency in the north-eastern corner of Ireland, the descendants of early 17th century Ulster planters have thus far failed to assimilate into Irish national culture, and resolutely claim to be as British today as the first generation of planters who arrived in Ulster four centuries ago. Irish Republican's tend to view British imperialist history as one of oppression, tyranny and subjugation. Unionists view their experience of Ireland as one of subjection to siege, rebellion and massacre and having to fight for their survival.

To Republicans NI is "the occupied 6 counties", an inverted British colony, and a remnant of British imperialist rule in Ireland. To Unionist's it is their wee country and their home. When they hear terms like "colony" and "colonist" they don't feel that these terms are accurate and/or applicable. In fact they deem such terminology not just controversial, but offensive, as they do not view themselves as colonists nor Northern Ireland as a colony, but a democratic country and a legitimate part of the United Kingdom to which they wish to continue to belong.

It’s common knowledge that NI was brought into existence against the democratic wishes of the majority of the people of Ireland as manifested in the general election results of 1918. NI is not a democratic so-called country, and Unionism is incompatible with democracy, as NI was not born of the democratic process, but by threat of all out war and a unilateral decision taken by the British government to partition Ireland as a means to appease Unionists in 1921.



So the crucial question must be: why do Unionist’s not hang their heads in shame about British imperialist history in Ireland, their role within it, and all of the hardships and injustices imposed upon the indigenous Irish people by a neighbouring once mighty imperialist power, knowing that they don‘t even live in an authentically democratic country? Why don't they sit indoors feeling guilty all day long, instead of boisterously beating the drum and waving the union flag every marching season?

It’s because despite all of what Ireland has been through as a result of British colonisation, as settlers they’ve been through a lot themselves. They have their sense of pride and their survival instinct, and essentially don't care for the aspirations, sensitivities and sentiments of militant Irish Republicans.

The truth is, despite most Unionists being staunch Loyalists, Unionism in the past has been just as rebellious towards the British crown and the Westminster political establishment as Irish Republicans, whenever it has suited them. The entire leadership of the first Republican revolutionary organisation in Ireland was composed exclusively of middle class Protestants i.e. Presbyterians (Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen). The 1798 rebellion to end British rule in Ireland was Presbyterian organised and led, and their descendants were prepared to do battle with British crown forces again in 1912, only this time as Unionists.

"No Surrender" remains the battle cry of the defiant Ulster Prod, and it should be apparent 18 years post GFA that they remain defiant. Unionist’s are ridiculed and rejected by many of the British in Great Britain, who view them at a distance as embarrassing Irish cousins. Successive British government’s have been attempting a withdrawal process from NI and to wash their hands of them, and make no mistake, her majesty would be tripping over herself to sign the release documents.

So why do Unionist’s maintain their fierce, albeit anachronistic, loyalty to the British crown? Why do they retain their sense of being British citizens, despite the British keeping them at arm‘s length, and with successive British governments covertly attempting to disown them?



It’s because the great majority of them don’t feel or consider themselves Irish, or surviving in Ulster without maintaining the safety link with Great Britain. They fear that what the Unionist regime at Stormont subjected Irish Catholic Nationalists to in the 6 counties 1921-72 could also happen to them in a 32 county context, and they are not prepared to put themselves in that position of vulnerability by relinquishing their only protection - the union. And that’s essentially what Ulster unionism is about - protectionism.

British crown forces were subjected to decades of a PIRA campaign, which had the effect of further entrenching the unionist community. They have a deep distaste and distrust of militant Republicanism, and this is something which Provisional Sinn Fein needs to properly grasp. Despite all of the peace processing, wise and choreographed words, and the commendable gestures of reconciliation made by SF representatives towards Unionism and British war dead, Unionism has not reciprocated, and many would understandably condemn Unionist’s for that.

Those same people would be wise to also condemn those within the hierarchy of the PIRA Army Council who miscalculated and underestimated the resolve of the British war machine, and who sustained a futile 30 year campaign which left thousands, Protestant and Catholic, Nationalist and Unionist, dead and maimed, so single-mindedly convinced were they that what they were doing was the just and appropriate strategy to bring an end to partition.

To fully understand Ulster Unionism you only need to abandon enmity and acquire a desire to look at Irish history from a colonial planter perspective, just as anyone wishing to fully understand Irish Republicanism must conversely seek to understand the dispossessed native. Then and only then shall it be possible to acquire a universal understanding of both respective and antithetical tribal mindsets.

Unionists are accused and perhaps guilty of a lot (bigotry, hibernophobia, sectarianism etc.), but at it’s core Unionism is essentially about insecurity and fear. Fear for the future. Fear of the unknown. Fear for the union. Fear of a worst case scenario. Fear of becoming Ireland‘s next minority of geographically, socially, economically and politically marginalised second class citizens.



Recent 6 county election results reveal that the union with Great Britain is stronger than it’s ever been, and Unionists manifest no inclination to sacrifice the union by venturing into what they view as the very risky endeavour of a 32 county republic. The task for Irish Republicans remains one of attempting to allay Unionist fears, and to convince them that Irish unity poses no threat to their civil and religious liberty and material wellbeing, and that their valued British identity and heritage shall receive full protection under the Irish constitution.

All that militant and rebellious Unionism opposed in 1912 has been removed. The Roman Catholic church has disgraced itself to the point of ignominy. Church and state are now separate entities, and the Republic of Ireland is an increasingly liberal, secular and pluralist society. The economy of the south is in rapid recovery and overshadowing the industry of the north, and an increasingly confident and prosperous Ireland has the capacity to adequately provide for all of its citizens who are prepared to make unity work, and free themselves from the self restricting shackles of the past.

The Protestant work ethic was what built the strong industry of the north in the early 20th century. With an increasing realisation of the 6 counties ultimate destiny, and a rational and pragmatic transference of loyalty and allegiance from land of origin to land of birth, Protestants in the north-eastern corner of Ireland shall make a valid and valuable contribution to building a better independent Ireland. A strong and united country, and one where they can feel comfortable in the knowledge that they shall not be persecuted for being themselves.

Given events hitherto 1998, it’s no easy task for Republicans to wean Unionists off the union. Some would argue that Sinn Fein are the very worst people to attempt to do so, but like or loathe them and the GFA they're signed up to, SF are the only political party serious about Irish unity, and with a feasible long-term strategy. It’s going to take generations for hurts to dissipate and a proper reconciliation to be felt, but time is a healer, and the more time elapses from the period of conflict, the more likely it is that Unionist's shall get realistic, evolve, and finally overcome their fear.

Go raibh maith agat as éisteacht.
 
Last edited:


Covenanter

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 28, 2012
Messages
10,406
You do make an effort here in the usual sneering republican way, but you do not understand unionists. You make a whole bunch of assumptions which do not stand up to scrutiny.
 

ardsman

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 11, 2013
Messages
2,753
So once the planters come round what ya gonna do about the majority of catholics who wish to remain in the UK..
 

between the bridges

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Messages
45,759
Unionist's are generally viewed as an unloved and misunderstood minority on the island of Ireland, and a contrived majority within the 6 county state. Typically described by their political opponents as ‘narrow-minded‘, ‘sectarian’ ‘bigots‘ and ‘triumphalists’ et. al. Unionist’s don't really make much effort to dispel such accusations, and PR has never been their forte. They’re also viewed as suffering from a historical and ongoing siege mentality, with the “no surrender” attitude a stable characteristic of PUL psychological make-up.

After more than 400 years residency in the north-eastern corner of Ireland, the descendants of early 17th century Ulster planters have thus far failed to assimilate into Irish national culture, and resolutely claim to be as British today as the first generation of planters who arrived in Ulster more four centuries ago. Irish Republican's tend to view British imperialist history as one of oppression, tyranny and subjugation. Unionists view their experience of Ireland as one of subjection to siege, rebellion and massacre and having to fight for their survival.

To Republicans NI is "the occupied 6 counties", an inverted British colony, and a remnant of British imperialist rule in Ireland. To Unionist's it is their wee country and their home. When they hear terms like "colony" and "colonist" they don't feel that these terms are accurate and/or applicable. In fact they deem such terminology not just controversial, but offensive, as they do not view themselves as colonists nor Northern Ireland as a colony, but a democratic country and a legitimate part of the United Kingdom to which they wish to continue to belong.

It’s common knowledge that NI was brought into existence against the democratic wishes of the majority of the people of Ireland as manifested in the general election results of 1918. NI is not a democratic so-called country, and Unionism is incompatible with democracy, as NI was not born of the democratic process, but by threat of all out war and a unilateral decision taken by the British government to partition Ireland as a means to appease Unionists in 1921.



So the crucial question must be: why do Unionist’s not hang their heads in shame about British imperialist history in Ireland, their role within it, and all of the hardships and injustices imposed upon the indigenous Irish people by a neighbouring once mighty imperialist power, knowing that they don‘t even live in an authentically democratic country? Why don't they sit indoors feeling guilty all day long, instead of boisterously beating the drum and waving the union flag every marching season?

It’s because despite all of what Ireland has been through as a result of British colonisation, as settlers they’ve been through a lot themselves. They have their sense of pride and their survival instinct, and essentially don't care for the aspirations, sensitivities and sentiments of militant Irish Republicans.

The truth is, despite most Unionists being staunch Loyalists, Unionism in the past has been just as rebellious towards the British crown and the Westminster political establishment as Irish Republicans, whenever it has suited them. The entire leadership of the first Republican revolutionary organisation in Ireland was composed exclusively of middle class Protestants i.e. Presbyterians (Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen). The 1798 rebellion to end British rule in Ireland was Presbyterian organised and led, and their descendants were prepared to do battle with British crown forces again in 1912, only this time as Unionists.

"No Surrender" remains the battle cry of the defiant Ulster Prod, and it should be apparent 18 years post GFA that they remain defiant. Unionist’s are ridiculed and rejected by many of the British in Great Britain, who view them at a distance as embarrassing Irish cousins. Successive British government’s have been attempting a withdrawal process from NI and to wash their hands of them, and make no mistake, her majesty would be tripping over herself to sign the release documents.

So why do Unionist’s maintain their fierce, albeit anachronistic, loyalty to the British crown? Why do they retain their sense of being British citizens, despite the British keeping them at arm‘s length, and with successive British governments covertly attempting to disown them?



It’s because the great majority of them don’t feel or consider themselves Irish, or surviving in Ulster without maintaining the safety link with Great Britain. They fear that what the Unionist regime at Stormont subjected Irish Catholic Nationalists to in the 6 counties 1921-72 could also happen to them in a 32 county context, and they are not prepared to put themselves in that position of vulnerability by relinquishing their only protection - the union. And that’s essentially what Ulster unionism is about - protectionism.

British crown forces were subjected to decades of a PIRA campaign, which had the effect of further entrenching the unionist community. They have a deep distaste and distrust of militant Republicanism, and this is something which Provisional Sinn Fein needs to properly grasp. Despite all of the peace processing, wise and choreographed words, and the commendable gestures of reconciliation made by SF representatives towards Unionism and British war dead, Unionism has not reciprocated, and many would understandably condemn Unionist’s for that.

Those same people would be wise to also condemn those within the hierarchy of the PIRA Army Council who miscalculated and underestimated the resolve of the British war machine, and who sustained a futile 30 year campaign which left thousands, Protestant and Catholic, Nationalist and Unionist, dead and maimed, so single-mindedly convinced were they that what they were doing was the just and appropriate strategy to bring an end to partition.

To fully understand Ulster Unionism you only need to abandon enmity and acquire a desire to look at Irish history from a colonial planter perspective, just as anyone wishing to fully understand Irish Republicanism must conversely seek to understand the dispossessed native. Then and only then shall it be possible to acquire a universal understanding of both respective and antithetical tribal mindsets.

Unionists are accused and perhaps guilty of a lot (bigotry, hibernophobia, sectarianism etc.), but at it’s core Unionism is essentially about insecurity and fear. Fear for the future. Fear of the unknown. Fear for the union. Fear of a worst case scenario. Fear of becoming Ireland‘s next minority of geographically, socially, economically and politically marginalised second class citizens.



Recent 6 county election results reveal that the union with Great Britain is stronger than it’s ever been, and Unionists manifest no inclination to sacrifice the union by venturing into what they view as the very risky endeavour of a 32 county republic. The task for Irish Republicans remains as one of attempting to allay Unionist fears, and to convince them that Irish unity poses no threat to their civil and religious liberty and material wellbeing, and that their valued British identity and heritage shall receive full protection under the Irish constitution.

All that militant and rebellious Unionism opposed in 1912 has been removed. The Roman Catholic church has disgraced itself to the point of ignominy. Church and state are now separate entities, and the Republic of Ireland is an increasingly liberal, secular and pluralist society. The economy of the south is in rapid recovery and overshadowing the industry of the north, and an increasingly confident and prosperous Ireland has the capacity to adequately provide for all of its citizens who are prepared to make unity work, and free themselves from the self restricting shackles of the past.

The Protestant work ethic was what built the strong industry of the north in the early 20th century. With an increasing realisation of the 6 counties ultimate destiny, and a rational and pragmatic transference of loyalty and allegiance from land of origin to land of birth, Protestants in the north-eastern corner of Ireland shall make a valid and valuable contribution to building a better independent Ireland. A strong and united country, and one where they can feel comfortable in the knowledge that they shall not persecuted for being themselves.

Given events hitherto 1998, it’s not going to be an easy task for Irish Republicans to wean Unionists off the union. Some would argue that Sinn Fein are the very worst people to attempt to do so, but like or loathe them and the GFA they're signed up to, SF are the only political party serious about Irish unity, and with a feasible long-term strategy. It’s going to take generations for hurts to dissipate and for a proper reconciliation to be felt, but time is a healer, and the more time elapses from the period of conflict, the more likely it is that Unionist's shall get realistic, evolve and finally lose their fear.

Go raibh maith agat as éisteacht.
Translation: Butt sore at themuns for beatch slapping us big girls blouses into 800 million years of moppery...
 

GDPR

1
Joined
Jul 5, 2008
Messages
224,089
I think I do, but the problem as I see it is that they generally don't.
Most of them seem to think it is very largely a matter of religion.
 

Covenanter

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 28, 2012
Messages
10,406
I think I do, but the problem as I see it is that they generally don't.
Most of them seem to think it is very largely a matter of religion.
Religion is what prevented the assimilation.
 

Covenanter

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Joined
Sep 28, 2012
Messages
10,406

Covenanter

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Joined
Sep 28, 2012
Messages
10,406
It is quite interesting that as far back as 1997 Sinn Féin conceded that Britishness was a component of their Irish Nationalist identity ....
I've been reading RDE's "The Seven" and its fascinating how things have stood completely still in the world of Irish republicanism for so long. Apparently Connolly was making a speech in Belfast and someone waved the Ulster Covenant at him to which he replied, "Your children will laugh at it."

They have never understood unionists and they have consistently underestimated them and dismissed them as an irrelevance. That is Irish republicanism's great weakness. Their utter arrogance and feeling of entitlement.
 

Covenanter

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 28, 2012
Messages
10,406
The pay cut for bots hit quality badly.

What is the Irish for "pay peanuts and you get monkeys"? :D
Sinn Fein I think.
 

death or glory

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 1, 2012
Messages
18,380
The pay cut for bots hit quality badly.

What is the Irish for "pay peanuts and you get monkeys"? :D
Cruimh,
My guess is "curry my yoghurt"
 

vivabrigada

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
20,295
Deflect away folks, every single time British Unionists in Ireland have tried to stop progress in Ireland they have came back in a weaker position.
There's more to come come, accept it.
 

Irish-Rationalist

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Joined
Apr 2, 2016
Messages
3,337
I've been reading RDE's "The Seven" and its fascinating how things have stood completely still in the world of Irish republicanism for so long. Apparently Connolly was making a speech in Belfast and someone waved the Ulster Covenant at him to which he replied, "Your children will laugh at it."

They have never understood unionists and they have consistently underestimated them and dismissed them as an irrelevance. That is Irish republicanism's great weakness. Their utter arrogance and feeling of entitlement.
Fifteen responses. Mostly attempted trolling and spam, and from the so-called Unionist usual suspects. This one by Covenanter verges on a proper response, and even then it fails.

SF are the second largest party in NI, and have 23 seats in the Dail, making them the third largest party in the RoI, and you are saying that things are "standing still" for Republicanism?

How does participating in a devolved British administration alongside Unionists, meeting with the Queen and Prince Charles, and paying tributes to British war dead at the Somme amount to not understanding Unionists? How does this acknowledgement of Unionism make Unionism irrelevant? How is this a weakness on the part of Republicans, and how is it arrogant?

Also, how does desiring unity and full independence for your country equate to a feeling of entitlement? Are you seriously suggesting that the Republican aspiration to Irish unity is not legitimate, and the sustainment of the undemocratic union of the partitioned 6 counties with GB is?
 

between the bridges

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Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Messages
45,759
 

ardsman

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 11, 2013
Messages
2,753
It's actually getting a bit silly talking about Irish unity now. It's time to wake up and smell the coffee. Northern Ireland as a devolved administration within the UK is the only show in town. A Ui is not relevant. It's not even a priority for the Shinners in the centenary year of the rising. Come on ffs it's time for ya to move on for your own sanity. Northern Ireland is here to stay.
 

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