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Larkin’s lesson for Northern Ireland Unionism is condemned to an endless struggle with its reality

A unionist mural in Belfast (Robert Wallis/Corbis via Getty)

A unionist mural in Belfast (Robert Wallis/Corbis via Getty)


March 15, 2023   8 mins

In May 1950, Philip Larkin was appointed sub-librarian at Queen’s University in Belfast. He knew little about the city, or indeed the university, but needed a change. His application for a job in London had been rejected. Belfast offered an escape; a near abroad that was both familiar and foreign. As he sat on the deck of the ferry leaving for his new life, he wrote. “‘I travel/To unknown from lost.”

The city then was an exciting upgrade from the drab post-war austerity of the east Midlands, a far cry from Belfast today. For the five years he lived there, Larkin liked the city and how it made him feel, describing its “draughty streets” and “faint archaic smell of dockland” in his poem The Importance of Elsewhere. These were the kinds of things which “prove me separate”. 

Yet, while this separateness could make him feel far from home, it also made him feel at ease. In Belfast, he was an outsider, but accepted as such. “Strangeness made sense,” he wrote, “The salt rebuff of speech, insisting so on difference, made me welcome.” It was almost harder being back in England.

“Living in England has no such excuse:
These are my customs and establishments
It would be much more serious to refuse.
Here no elsewhere underwrites my existence.”

The poem captures something profound about the feelings of home and abroad which crash together in Northern Ireland. A friend of mine, an academic at Ulster University, told me that when he is in England, he feels much as Larkin did in Belfast: different but welcome. That contrasts starkly with how he feels when in the Republic of Ireland. While he is Irish and his grandfather was born in Dublin, he doesn’t feel at home there — its culture does not underwrite his existence. “England allows me to be Irish in my fashion,” he explained. “Ireland doesn’t. It wants to possess me, with no right to refuse.”

For many nationalists in Northern Ireland, the story is almost the opposite. For them, the Irishness of the south is their Irishness too, or at least something close to it. And it is not the Republic which seeks to possess them, but Britain. 

Visit Northern Ireland today and it is clear that it is not Irish nationalists going through an existential crisis about home and identity. It is Northern Ireland’s unionists who seem lost, trapped somewhere between elsewhere and home; nothing fixed, nothing secure, everything in flux. On one side, Irish nationalism is on the march, calm and confident, rich and secure, with a version of Irishness that isn’t theirs, singing “up the ‘Ra” as it goes; on the other, the Brits on the mainland seem ever willing to bargain away Northern Ireland as the price of the latest national project. The question unionism faces today is what to do about it.

Larkin looms large in my mind when I visit Belfast. It’s just his kind of cold, grey and “draughty” day as I wander down the Newtownards Road, past abandoned concrete scrub, old docks and “peace walls” still standing, a quarter of a century after the peace. 

At the East Belfast Constitutional Club, I meet Jamie Bryson, the public face of loyalism in Northern Ireland these days, along with two of his associates who do not want to be named. Bryson is a controversial figure in Northern Ireland: a regular on the media and close to the DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson but also regularly questioned about his links to the UVF — the banned paramilitary group the Ulster Volunteer Force. Bryson rejects such links as “outrageous”, insisting the UVF speak for themselves. Either way, Bryson, it strikes me, is a loyalist for our social media age, fighting the old cause with new tools.

The three of us venture upstairs to a hall which played host to the first loyalist rally against Johnson’s proposed Protocol back in October 2019. Three and a half years later, and the raw anger remains, undiluted by Sunak’s new deal.

Bryson lets his two associates do much of the talking: a briefing from the loyalist grassroots. “If the DUP accept this, they’re finished,” says the older hardliner, who was interned at Long Kesh during the Troubles. He is dismissive of Rishi Sunak’s latest agreement with the EU, the so-called Windsor Framework which the Prime Minister has claimed will give Northern Ireland a uniquely beneficial position in both the UK and EU markets. “People in England just don’t seem to get it,” he says. “This is not about money. It’s about the constitution. It’s about how safe we are in the United Kingdom.”

This older loyalist spent his entire life fighting this battle, but risked the anger of his own community in 1998 to vocally campaign for the Good Friday Agreement — something he now regrets. “Hundreds of my friends died to stay British,” he says. “We wanted peace, but there has been far too much given away to Republicanism. It has been give, give, give, but now we’ve got nothing left to give — we can’t compromise any further.” Bryson agrees, insisting that the Good Friday Agreement had been a mistake, giving Irish nationalism the tools to achieve all it wanted: “Equality was just a staging post to supremacy,” he says. Bryson’s other friend was, if anything, even more depressed by the situation. “Britain has done what we never thought was possible. They’ve kicked us out.” 

For other unionists that I know, however, such moroseness has gone too far. “You didn’t think this would happen? I mean, what the fuck?” snapped one when I described the interaction. “The big surprise is not that we ended up in this situation after Brexit, but that there has been enough concern in the Conservative party for them to claw the situation back this far.”

Here then is the challenge for the DUP and unionism today: keep fighting for a cause, no matter how lost, or try to own whatever partial victory they force from London and the EU? Northern Ireland’s history, after all, is not simply one of loyal rebellion to protect its “cherished position of equal citizenship in the United Kingdom”, as the Ulster Covenant put it in 1912. It is also one of constant forced compromise. The original loyalist insurrectionists, remember, didn’t even want Northern Ireland to exist — they were Irish unionists opposed to Home Rule. They accepted partition and a parliament in Belfast as the least worst option. They accepted a place apart, with its own prime minister and House of Commons when no other part of the UK had such devolution.

Today’s crisis is just another chapter in this long story: of a loyal Ulster locked in a permanent battle to protect its status, only to be forced to accept special treatment when it has no other option. Sunak’s settlement with the EU is now the settled will in Westminster, backed by both the Tory and Labour parties. Further opposition in Northern Ireland could wrestle a few more concessions — but it is hard to see anything substantial.

Unionists have every reason to feel aggrieved. Northern Ireland has been placed in a different legal and economic order from the rest of the United Kingdom. Northern Irish businesses must be “trusted” to be able to move goods freely back and forth from the mainland. And all so that there would not be any checks whatsoever on trade between the UK and Republic of Ireland. 

Among many loyalists there is also outrage. They’re angry that this has come about — in their view — because Republicans raised the threat of violence should there be any land border at all. That is mirrored in the posters cropping up across Belfast with the image of Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his warning from 2018 that “the possibility of a return to violence is very real”. Behind this warning, the posters’ producers had placed an image of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings carried out by the UVF in 1974, which killed 33 people. The message is clear, and menacing.

This is the backdrop against which the DUP must make its decision. Do they back Sunak’s deal as a marked improvement on Johnson’s — or reject it as a marked deterioration on what existed before Brexit? If they choose the former, they risk legitimising the very division of the UK which they exist to oppose, alienating their electoral base in the process. But if they choose the latter, refusing to go back into government with Sinn Fein, they risk delegitimising the very state they wish to preserve.

Yet Bryson does not represent all of unionism, let alone Northern Ireland. He is one part of the mix. Other leading figures in the DUP spot an opportunity, however much they might dislike the British Government’s handling of events. If Sunak’s deal really does mean “the best of both worlds” — inside the UK and EU markets — it makes it harder for nationalism to argue in the future that Northern Ireland should give up one of these worlds. Bluntly, if Northern Ireland can find a reasonable settlement that all sides of its sectarian divide can live with, there will be many ordinary people who will be happy enough to leave it at that, able to be Irish and British as they please, moving between elsewhere and home as it suits them. Unionism’s tactical defeat, in other words, might prove to be its strategic masterstroke, securing the union for longer than might have otherwise been the case.

This argument works only up to a point, though. A special arrangement for Northern Ireland may well stabilise the union in one sense, with a new argument to persuade the agnostic middle classes to stick with the constitutional status quo. But there will be a cost. If Sunak’s agreement gives Northern Ireland the best of both worlds, then Scotland will want to know why it can’t have a similar arrangement. Then so will England. It could destabilise the whole of the UK. 

Northern Ireland, though, is not a nation like Scotland. It is something more ambiguous: part of a bigger nation, but set apart. It remains unique. It is the only place in the Western world with the guaranteed right to secede and join another state should a simple majority so wish. Baked into Northern Ireland’s very existence is a constitutional uncertainty. Even the process and act of Irish unification is uncertain and deliberately so. Would Northern Ireland exist after voting to secede — in a union with the Republic — or would it simply be subsumed? No one knows.

Northern Ireland’s unionists do know, though, that the union they support is fragile, their constitutional rights only temporarily guaranteed, the existence of their nation up in the air. English people lecturing them should reflect that they have no such uncertainty. 

For now, unionism seems stuck. The DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson voiced his first criticisms of the Framework while in America this week, claiming it will “require further clarification, re-working and change”. But he has delayed making a decision, setting up a panel of grandees to report back on Sunak’s Windsor Framework by the end of the month — “organising the officer class before trying to get the soldiers in line”, as one observer put it to me. Donaldson has always been an arch devolutionist, unlike his one-time mentor Enoch Powell or other leading figures in the party in the Seventies and Eighties who believed Northern Ireland should lose its special status and simply be re-integrated back into the Westminster system. As a principle, in other words, Donaldson wants to see the restoration of the power-sharing institutions. His challenge, if he is minded to acquiesce to the arrangements now in place, is to find a way to bring unionism with him.

My trip to Northern Ireland suggests this will be almost impossible without a unionist split. The only question is how big that split will be.

This challenge is indicative of Northern Ireland’s very essence; one of constant uncertainty and ambiguity. The constitutional compromises required for stability only keep it in this state of instability, imposing upon those who want to keep it going a duty to find a way to make it work. Unionism’s fate, then, is to find itself bound in an endless struggle with a reality it doesn’t like, always seeking an unreachable settlement. 

Like Larkin on the deck of his ferry sailing to Belfast, Ulster unionism once again finds itself strapped to a boat travelling to unknown from lost. Its job is just to keep the ship floating on, guided by the light of that elsewhere, the only source of stability it has got.


Tom McTague is UnHerd’s Political Editor. He is the author of Betting The House: The Inside Story of the 2017 Election.

TomMcTague

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Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
1 year ago

This article is accurate in parts. However there’s a couple of things need pointing out.
Firstly I’m surprised that anyone with a bit of nouse would give Jamie Bryson the time of day. He’s an agitator who speaks for no one. He became infamous for leading a protest in Belfast that trashed the city hall (one of the finest civic buildings around). He once stood for election & got the grand total of 167 votes.
It’s akin to interviewing Screaming Lord Sutch.

On the issue of republicans threatening violence, that’s an urban myth that Bryson & Co use to stoke sectarian tensions.

What was actually pointed out by the Chief Constable in 2016 was that border posts would have to go somewhere after Brexit & if they were on the border between NI & the south they’d likely be attacked by dissident republicans as they were in times past.

That was an honest security assessment, not a political statement.
It’s funny how some things end up as a narrative rather than the facts.

Had the author talked to anyone other than a few loyalist hot heads, his article might have been more balanced.

Jeff Dudgeon
Jeff Dudgeon
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Trashed the City Hall? Come on one window broken.

Niall Cusack
Niall Cusack
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Dudgeon

Hi Jeff!
So it is the policy of the Ulster Unionist Party, is it, that one teeny weeny window smashed in the City Hall is OK?
I must remind the voters of that next time you stand as a UUP councillor !
Jamie Bryson is a blogger, not elected by anyone, not representing anyone but himself.
Interesting that the Political Editor of UnHerd ended up in a loyalist drinking club introduced by a nonentity to two anonymous loyalists who were predictably incoherent when trying to explain what was wrong with the Protocol .
A really good Political Editor, on the other hand, might have pointed out that ALL other parties in NI support the Protocol because it gives us the best of both worlds.
Specifically, the Chambers of Commerce and other business representatives are almost unanimous in their support for the Protocol – no doubt with a few twitches .
Interesting that Jamie Bryson was created by Stephen Nolan on his BBC Radio Ulster phone in programme for the simple reason that no mainstream politicians (DUP and Sinn FĂ©in) were willing to subject themselves to Nolan’s absurd pantomime bullying tactics.
Nolan was reduced at one point to interviewing Jim Allister of the Traditional Unionist Voice five days in one week. Was Allister representative of a wider society?
His party had received 2.4 per cent of the vote!
The Political Editor of UnHerd also fails to consider the effects of the DUP boycott of
the democratically elected Northern Ireland Assembly.
Let’s be clear.
The Irish Protocol is still in place, as is the Irish Sea Border. British companies have to register as trusted traders to do business here, the European Court of Justice is the final arbiter, and so on.

Donaldson”s refusal means for example that children who should be receiving free school meals over the Easter holidays may not..

.

Last edited 1 year ago by Niall Cusack
Niall Cusack
Niall Cusack
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Dudgeon

Hi Jeff!
So it is the policy of the Ulster Unionist Party, is it, that one teeny weeny window smashed in the City Hall is OK?
I must remind the voters of that next time you stand as a UUP councillor !
Jamie Bryson is a blogger, not elected by anyone, not representing anyone but himself.
Interesting that the Political Editor of UnHerd ended up in a loyalist drinking club introduced by a nonentity to two anonymous loyalists who were predictably incoherent when trying to explain what was wrong with the Protocol .
A really good Political Editor, on the other hand, might have pointed out that ALL other parties in NI support the Protocol because it gives us the best of both worlds.
Specifically, the Chambers of Commerce and other business representatives are almost unanimous in their support for the Protocol – no doubt with a few twitches .
Interesting that Jamie Bryson was created by Stephen Nolan on his BBC Radio Ulster phone in programme for the simple reason that no mainstream politicians (DUP and Sinn FĂ©in) were willing to subject themselves to Nolan’s absurd pantomime bullying tactics.
Nolan was reduced at one point to interviewing Jim Allister of the Traditional Unionist Voice five days in one week. Was Allister representative of a wider society?
His party had received 2.4 per cent of the vote!
The Political Editor of UnHerd also fails to consider the effects of the DUP boycott of
the democratically elected Northern Ireland Assembly.
Let’s be clear.
The Irish Protocol is still in place, as is the Irish Sea Border. British companies have to register as trusted traders to do business here, the European Court of Justice is the final arbiter, and so on.

Donaldson”s refusal means for example that children who should be receiving free school meals over the Easter holidays may not..

.

Last edited 1 year ago by Niall Cusack
Jeff Dudgeon
Jeff Dudgeon
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Trashed the City Hall? Come on one window broken.

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
1 year ago

This article is accurate in parts. However there’s a couple of things need pointing out.
Firstly I’m surprised that anyone with a bit of nouse would give Jamie Bryson the time of day. He’s an agitator who speaks for no one. He became infamous for leading a protest in Belfast that trashed the city hall (one of the finest civic buildings around). He once stood for election & got the grand total of 167 votes.
It’s akin to interviewing Screaming Lord Sutch.

On the issue of republicans threatening violence, that’s an urban myth that Bryson & Co use to stoke sectarian tensions.

What was actually pointed out by the Chief Constable in 2016 was that border posts would have to go somewhere after Brexit & if they were on the border between NI & the south they’d likely be attacked by dissident republicans as they were in times past.

That was an honest security assessment, not a political statement.
It’s funny how some things end up as a narrative rather than the facts.

Had the author talked to anyone other than a few loyalist hot heads, his article might have been more balanced.

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
1 year ago

Very good article which very astutely and perceptively tackles the quandary facing unionism.

I suspect there is enough in this new deal to drag just enough of unionism to support but it will probably lead to the usual realignment with the TUV becoming the DUP and the DUP becoming the UUP, with the UUP carrying on as Alliance (who are now the SDLP).

In other words, the usual NI process akin to putting water in a blender – lots of froth and noise and at the end the same thing.

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

Your response made me laugh Ian. It made no sense.

Phineas Bury
Phineas Bury
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Well to many people. NI makes no sense. Endless tribalism. The ROI became ruled by one tribe post 1921

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Phineas Bury

I doubt if you’ve ever been to either part of the island of Ireland other than inside your own tiny, narrow mind?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Phineas Bury

I doubt if you’ve ever been to either part of the island of Ireland other than inside your own tiny, narrow mind?

Alan Wylie
Alan Wylie
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Being from Northern Ireland, it makes perfect sense to me. Thus, Larkin’s and the author’s observations are aptly demonstrated.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

It makes perfect sense to me.. the game is called marginalisation of diehard dodos.. eventually they disappear altogether with just a handful in lunatic asylums.

Phineas Bury
Phineas Bury
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Well to many people. NI makes no sense. Endless tribalism. The ROI became ruled by one tribe post 1921

Alan Wylie
Alan Wylie
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Being from Northern Ireland, it makes perfect sense to me. Thus, Larkin’s and the author’s observations are aptly demonstrated.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

It makes perfect sense to me.. the game is called marginalisation of diehard dodos.. eventually they disappear altogether with just a handful in lunatic asylums.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

From were I’m sitting it would seem logical for a unified Ireland to become part of the UK.
That probably seems diabolical to most at present, but some Irish already realise what their getting into, and over time it’s inevitable that perceptions will change — unless the EU mutates, of course.
So I’m wondering, if that did happen, what would the DUP do? Wind up, or find some other water for the blender?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

..the important part of your statement is “from where I’m sitting”.. you need to get off your rear end and travel a bit; it broadens the mind ‘y’know. You could start with a trip to Ireland (both parts): I guarantee you’ll be utterly amazed by what you see!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

..the important part of your statement is “from where I’m sitting”.. you need to get off your rear end and travel a bit; it broadens the mind ‘y’know. You could start with a trip to Ireland (both parts): I guarantee you’ll be utterly amazed by what you see!

Ian Ogden
Ian Ogden
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

An excellent read which exposes the dilemma. I feel sorry for NI because of the unexplained reasons for the PM being so SAT ON THE FENCE and leaving the people of NI stuck in a halfway house. Constitutionally NI is UK and should remain 100% so until decided by a vote to leave.The fog of Protocol is wrong and true membership of the UK should be regained along with separation from the EU. The question of safety from bullets is something for the UK to deal with along with the people of NI. However there is no doubt that safety rests in the hands of the whole of the island of Ireland.
Upon NI returning totally back into the UK fold it is up to the country of Ireland and the EU as to how they react to the situation.
Between them the UK/ EU made a hash of the UK brexit but more so on the UK side. Shame be upon both sets representatives regarding their agenda,s.

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

Your response made me laugh Ian. It made no sense.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

From were I’m sitting it would seem logical for a unified Ireland to become part of the UK.
That probably seems diabolical to most at present, but some Irish already realise what their getting into, and over time it’s inevitable that perceptions will change — unless the EU mutates, of course.
So I’m wondering, if that did happen, what would the DUP do? Wind up, or find some other water for the blender?

Ian Ogden
Ian Ogden
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

An excellent read which exposes the dilemma. I feel sorry for NI because of the unexplained reasons for the PM being so SAT ON THE FENCE and leaving the people of NI stuck in a halfway house. Constitutionally NI is UK and should remain 100% so until decided by a vote to leave.The fog of Protocol is wrong and true membership of the UK should be regained along with separation from the EU. The question of safety from bullets is something for the UK to deal with along with the people of NI. However there is no doubt that safety rests in the hands of the whole of the island of Ireland.
Upon NI returning totally back into the UK fold it is up to the country of Ireland and the EU as to how they react to the situation.
Between them the UK/ EU made a hash of the UK brexit but more so on the UK side. Shame be upon both sets representatives regarding their agenda,s.

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
1 year ago

Very good article which very astutely and perceptively tackles the quandary facing unionism.

I suspect there is enough in this new deal to drag just enough of unionism to support but it will probably lead to the usual realignment with the TUV becoming the DUP and the DUP becoming the UUP, with the UUP carrying on as Alliance (who are now the SDLP).

In other words, the usual NI process akin to putting water in a blender – lots of froth and noise and at the end the same thing.

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
1 year ago

It would be better if Unherd and others didn’t give attention to the UVF. I live a few hundred yards from the Con Club and they control all the drug trade around here. Most of their so called volunteers could barely even spell Windsor Framework. They sell weed, coke and pills to kids and invest the proceeds into getting terrible teeth veneer work in Turkey. Nobody cares what their views are, except insofar as those views could land you in the hospital or the cemetery. They have no political presence. Please ignore them

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Devlin

Same as the IRA then

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Devlin

Same as the IRA then

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
1 year ago

It would be better if Unherd and others didn’t give attention to the UVF. I live a few hundred yards from the Con Club and they control all the drug trade around here. Most of their so called volunteers could barely even spell Windsor Framework. They sell weed, coke and pills to kids and invest the proceeds into getting terrible teeth veneer work in Turkey. Nobody cares what their views are, except insofar as those views could land you in the hospital or the cemetery. They have no political presence. Please ignore them

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Philip Larkin was one those robust Englishman who was prepared to speak his mind, a species that is almost extinct today!
Slightly ‘tongue in cheek’ this is what he wrote about class:-

I want to see them starving,
The so-called working class.
Their wages weekly halving,
Their women stewing grass.
When I drive out each morning
In one of my new suits
I want to find them fawning
To clean my car and boots.

Or perhaps more apposite this on strikers and immigration:-

Prison for strikers
Bring back the cat.
Kick out the niggers,
How about that?

However I suspect he was over sentimental in his view of Northern Ireland. Had he NOT worked in the University Library but rather in say the Harland & Wolff shipyard he may formed a rather different opinion.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Your contribution Charlie, as always, betrays what you are at heart …or would be if you had a heart. I suppose you think Swift’s piece on eating children was also to be taken literally?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Actually Mahony old chap it was a provocative test for UnHerd which they passed with ‘flying colours.’ don’t you think?

Have you returned from Lusitania yet?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Mind your own business.. all you need to know is I didn’t come / won’t be coming on a dinghy via England!

Niall Cusack
Niall Cusack
1 year ago

I have just promoted you from Colonel Blimp to Brigadier Blimp, agent provocateur extraordinaire !

Niall Cusack
Niall Cusack
1 year ago
Reply to  Niall Cusack

By the way, that is a genuine compliment – and UnHerd did pass the test !

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Niall Cusack

Thank you.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Niall Cusack

Lieutenant General please

Niall Cusack
Niall Cusack
1 year ago
Reply to  Niall Cusack

By the way, that is a genuine compliment – and UnHerd did pass the test !

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Niall Cusack

Thank you.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Niall Cusack

Lieutenant General please

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Mind your own business.. all you need to know is I didn’t come / won’t be coming on a dinghy via England!

Niall Cusack
Niall Cusack
1 year ago

I have just promoted you from Colonel Blimp to Brigadier Blimp, agent provocateur extraordinaire !

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Actually Mahony old chap it was a provocative test for UnHerd which they passed with ‘flying colours.’ don’t you think?

Have you returned from Lusitania yet?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Your contribution Charlie, as always, betrays what you are at heart …or would be if you had a heart. I suppose you think Swift’s piece on eating children was also to be taken literally?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Philip Larkin was one those robust Englishman who was prepared to speak his mind, a species that is almost extinct today!
Slightly ‘tongue in cheek’ this is what he wrote about class:-

I want to see them starving,
The so-called working class.
Their wages weekly halving,
Their women stewing grass.
When I drive out each morning
In one of my new suits
I want to find them fawning
To clean my car and boots.

Or perhaps more apposite this on strikers and immigration:-

Prison for strikers
Bring back the cat.
Kick out the niggers,
How about that?

However I suspect he was over sentimental in his view of Northern Ireland. Had he NOT worked in the University Library but rather in say the Harland & Wolff shipyard he may formed a rather different opinion.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Jeremy Eves
Jeremy Eves
1 year ago

The UK government signed a deal with the EU, then refused to implement it. Frankly that was treachery. Johnson had to get his half baked, not oven ready deal over the line – so just do whatever it takes and never mind the collateral damage. So we are where we are – but trying to drive in reverse isn’t a good way to go. The DUP have only have stop and reverse in their gearbox – never forwards.
Making the Windsor framework effective can work for NI – its the only option. The DUP are too shortsighted to see that a prosperous NI with jobs dependent on its special two way relationships (EU and GB) will be more secure as a part of the UK, even if a slightly anomalous part, than in any other way. That requires a going forward mind set. How about Corporation Tax at 12.5% rather than 25%, even if it has to come out of the devolved financial settlement? That would have investment flocking to NI..
Tom Mctague is accurate in much of what he wrote. But he failed (at least in this article) to recognise that Irishness, in the popular mind of both republicans and unionists, is wholly identified with being Gaelic; The former are, and the latter are not. To really have a good view of what being Gaelic means in modern Ireland, i strongly recommend Fintan O’Toole’s excellent book, ‘We don’t know ourselves’. It does not appeal to Unionists.
A forward looking, flexible, properous NI could indeed allow us to have our cake and eat it.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Eves

His oven ready deal referred to a Canda+ type trade deal, which he got.
The NI protocol is widely used as a detraction to this, but that does not actually help anything get done. Then again, that’s probably what many want.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Eves

Spot on and well put!

Last edited 1 year ago by Liam O'Mahony
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Good to see you back you ridiculous Plastic Paddy, I was beginning to think the Lusitanian sun had got to you!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Why thank you Charlie.. you’re very kind, and so very much on the ball ..well up to about 1950 or so.. I suppose you’re sporting your MEGA hat and “Stop the Boats” T-shirt? ..and waving your little flag.. that’s how I picture you! Have I got right?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Why thank you Charlie.. you’re very kind, and so very much on the ball ..well up to about 1950 or so.. I suppose you’re sporting your MEGA hat and “Stop the Boats” T-shirt? ..and waving your little flag.. that’s how I picture you! Have I got right?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Good to see you back you ridiculous Plastic Paddy, I was beginning to think the Lusitanian sun had got to you!

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Eves

His oven ready deal referred to a Canda+ type trade deal, which he got.
The NI protocol is widely used as a detraction to this, but that does not actually help anything get done. Then again, that’s probably what many want.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Eves

Spot on and well put!

Last edited 1 year ago by Liam O'Mahony
Jeremy Eves
Jeremy Eves
1 year ago

The UK government signed a deal with the EU, then refused to implement it. Frankly that was treachery. Johnson had to get his half baked, not oven ready deal over the line – so just do whatever it takes and never mind the collateral damage. So we are where we are – but trying to drive in reverse isn’t a good way to go. The DUP have only have stop and reverse in their gearbox – never forwards.
Making the Windsor framework effective can work for NI – its the only option. The DUP are too shortsighted to see that a prosperous NI with jobs dependent on its special two way relationships (EU and GB) will be more secure as a part of the UK, even if a slightly anomalous part, than in any other way. That requires a going forward mind set. How about Corporation Tax at 12.5% rather than 25%, even if it has to come out of the devolved financial settlement? That would have investment flocking to NI..
Tom Mctague is accurate in much of what he wrote. But he failed (at least in this article) to recognise that Irishness, in the popular mind of both republicans and unionists, is wholly identified with being Gaelic; The former are, and the latter are not. To really have a good view of what being Gaelic means in modern Ireland, i strongly recommend Fintan O’Toole’s excellent book, ‘We don’t know ourselves’. It does not appeal to Unionists.
A forward looking, flexible, properous NI could indeed allow us to have our cake and eat it.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Northern Ireland’s “instability” is a figment of Tom McTague’s fertile imagination. The vast majority in NI is perfectly happy with the current “best of both worlds” situation; and thereby NI is at least as stable as the rest of the UK, probably a lot more so.
Ordinary people on all sides in NI couldn’t care less about the constitution of the UK or that of Ireland either! The DUP Dodos are in rigor mortis – if they were fully alive they’d see immediately that the EU arrangement all but guarantees separateness from the Republic of Ireland better than any other conceivable arrangement.. there is zero chance of canny NI folk opting for anything other than the current, highly favourable deal!

Last edited 1 year ago by Liam O'Mahony
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

More’s the pity.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Naw.. you keep ’em.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Naw.. you keep ’em.

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I live in East Belfast, Liam and I’m yet to see these outraged unionists preparing for war. Not one poster or banner. No outraged mobs. Nobody really cares or if they do, they keep it well hidden

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Devlin

Just as I thought…

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Devlin

Just as I thought…

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

More’s the pity.

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I live in East Belfast, Liam and I’m yet to see these outraged unionists preparing for war. Not one poster or banner. No outraged mobs. Nobody really cares or if they do, they keep it well hidden

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Northern Ireland’s “instability” is a figment of Tom McTague’s fertile imagination. The vast majority in NI is perfectly happy with the current “best of both worlds” situation; and thereby NI is at least as stable as the rest of the UK, probably a lot more so.
Ordinary people on all sides in NI couldn’t care less about the constitution of the UK or that of Ireland either! The DUP Dodos are in rigor mortis – if they were fully alive they’d see immediately that the EU arrangement all but guarantees separateness from the Republic of Ireland better than any other conceivable arrangement.. there is zero chance of canny NI folk opting for anything other than the current, highly favourable deal!

Last edited 1 year ago by Liam O'Mahony
j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Thought provoking article.
A people trapped by their history if ever there was? Is this not the essence of the NI dilemma – too many on both sides look back rather than forward to what they can now make of this?
The sentence ‘…could destabilise the whole of the UK’ also leapt out. Brexit – the gift that keeps giving. Why oh why did the DUP vote for it too? We know Donaldson made his name as one of the ‘chief out-flankers’ to Trimble 25yrs ago. Yet now faces the Karmic prospect of being deputy First Minister to O’Neill – a bitter pill to swallow that he would probably like to avoid if he can find a suitable justification. Was always part of the reason he and DUP supported Brexit some desire to refashion or even denotate the GFA. A historical mis-judgment they now know will be written into the history books.
And yet the Article also shows the root out of this for a more moderate Unionism – the fact the ‘special’ status offers much advantage to NI, one a majority of its people have grasped. Putting aside this just shows up the fallacies of Brexit for the rest of the UK, it is an opportunity they must seize by focusing on the future not the past.

Hank Bank
Hank Bank
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

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raven purcell
raven purcell
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The problem for moderate Unionism is, what does a moderate Unionism look like? When the old moderate unionist party rebranded itself to say that it was no longer unionist, and some of its politicians “came out” as pro-United Ireland, the game was up for “moderate unionism”. If you try and refashion unionism along purely civic lines, what is it and how do you sell it? The economy? Well NI started off in 1921 as the richest region in Ireland, now it is the poorest, and its decline started in the 50s, long before the troubles, the only thing that worked about the UK for NI was the transfers of money from London. The economic virtues of the UK are hard to sell. And “British values”, whatever they are, look pretty thin in the post-Brexit Braverman world. If anywhere looks like the custodian of “British values” it is the Irish republic. The only thing stopping the “agnostic middle classes” as the author calls them not supporting rejoining the EU via Irish unity is the fear of loyalist terrorism, the author calls them paramilitaries but they are just as much terrorists as the IRA, their rate of innocent civilian casualties suggests they are more terroristic than the IRA by some margin in fact. But even then, most of those middle class agnostics know that a rebellion needs a cause, and what would a Loyalist cause be, rejoin a UK that has booted it out and moved on, the peoples republics of some estates on the outskirts of Larne and Newtonards? Loyalist nihilism would be bound to be short lived. Also their military capacity is no greater than other drug gangs, for that is what they nowadays are, and their main beef with the protocol was that it made importing drugs more difficult. No, unionism cannot reach out, it is enthno -nationalism, if it tries to capture the centre it will fail, and only antagonise the lumpen proletariat for who a flag and crown is all they have.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  raven purcell

Very well put.. there are many unionists in Scotland and Wales but a cursory glance will show the NI diehard dodos to be an entirely different breed, ranting on about 1690 etc.
NI has ‘normal’ unionists as well of course including on the so-called nationalist side who prefer bread and butter to flags and drums! The EU arrangement is the best thing that happened NI, ever! The majority in NI know that but get little air time since the media prefers poking the hornets’ nest to boost sales!

Last edited 1 year ago by Liam O'Mahony
Stephen Magee
Stephen Magee
1 year ago
Reply to  raven purcell

You forgot to mention that, at heart, Norn Irish “unionism” is a complete misnomer. It has nothing to do with political union with the UK. It is simply a die-hard brand of anti-Catholicism – as their old slogan made clear (“Home Rule is Rome rule!”). In their bizarre fear of the Inquisition, they will latch onto any ally they can – whether it’s Germany (before WW1), the British Army officer corps (pre- and immediately post-WW1), Winston Churchill or Brexiteers.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  raven purcell

Unionist identity? cheap suit, white drip dry bri nylon shirt, lodge tie, ÂŁ5 Dunn and co Bowler hat, plastic shoes, and giant orange chip on both shoulders?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  raven purcell

Very well put.. there are many unionists in Scotland and Wales but a cursory glance will show the NI diehard dodos to be an entirely different breed, ranting on about 1690 etc.
NI has ‘normal’ unionists as well of course including on the so-called nationalist side who prefer bread and butter to flags and drums! The EU arrangement is the best thing that happened NI, ever! The majority in NI know that but get little air time since the media prefers poking the hornets’ nest to boost sales!

Last edited 1 year ago by Liam O'Mahony
Stephen Magee
Stephen Magee
1 year ago
Reply to  raven purcell

You forgot to mention that, at heart, Norn Irish “unionism” is a complete misnomer. It has nothing to do with political union with the UK. It is simply a die-hard brand of anti-Catholicism – as their old slogan made clear (“Home Rule is Rome rule!”). In their bizarre fear of the Inquisition, they will latch onto any ally they can – whether it’s Germany (before WW1), the British Army officer corps (pre- and immediately post-WW1), Winston Churchill or Brexiteers.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  raven purcell

Unionist identity? cheap suit, white drip dry bri nylon shirt, lodge tie, ÂŁ5 Dunn and co Bowler hat, plastic shoes, and giant orange chip on both shoulders?

Hank Bank
Hank Bank
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

e

raven purcell
raven purcell
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The problem for moderate Unionism is, what does a moderate Unionism look like? When the old moderate unionist party rebranded itself to say that it was no longer unionist, and some of its politicians “came out” as pro-United Ireland, the game was up for “moderate unionism”. If you try and refashion unionism along purely civic lines, what is it and how do you sell it? The economy? Well NI started off in 1921 as the richest region in Ireland, now it is the poorest, and its decline started in the 50s, long before the troubles, the only thing that worked about the UK for NI was the transfers of money from London. The economic virtues of the UK are hard to sell. And “British values”, whatever they are, look pretty thin in the post-Brexit Braverman world. If anywhere looks like the custodian of “British values” it is the Irish republic. The only thing stopping the “agnostic middle classes” as the author calls them not supporting rejoining the EU via Irish unity is the fear of loyalist terrorism, the author calls them paramilitaries but they are just as much terrorists as the IRA, their rate of innocent civilian casualties suggests they are more terroristic than the IRA by some margin in fact. But even then, most of those middle class agnostics know that a rebellion needs a cause, and what would a Loyalist cause be, rejoin a UK that has booted it out and moved on, the peoples republics of some estates on the outskirts of Larne and Newtonards? Loyalist nihilism would be bound to be short lived. Also their military capacity is no greater than other drug gangs, for that is what they nowadays are, and their main beef with the protocol was that it made importing drugs more difficult. No, unionism cannot reach out, it is enthno -nationalism, if it tries to capture the centre it will fail, and only antagonise the lumpen proletariat for who a flag and crown is all they have.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Thought provoking article.
A people trapped by their history if ever there was? Is this not the essence of the NI dilemma – too many on both sides look back rather than forward to what they can now make of this?
The sentence ‘…could destabilise the whole of the UK’ also leapt out. Brexit – the gift that keeps giving. Why oh why did the DUP vote for it too? We know Donaldson made his name as one of the ‘chief out-flankers’ to Trimble 25yrs ago. Yet now faces the Karmic prospect of being deputy First Minister to O’Neill – a bitter pill to swallow that he would probably like to avoid if he can find a suitable justification. Was always part of the reason he and DUP supported Brexit some desire to refashion or even denotate the GFA. A historical mis-judgment they now know will be written into the history books.
And yet the Article also shows the root out of this for a more moderate Unionism – the fact the ‘special’ status offers much advantage to NI, one a majority of its people have grasped. Putting aside this just shows up the fallacies of Brexit for the rest of the UK, it is an opportunity they must seize by focusing on the future not the past.

Phineas Bury
Phineas Bury
1 year ago

Right about half Irish Varadkar stirring it up re border. Smuggling will go on and without violence. Silly talk about a ‘hard’ border. No such thing.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Phineas Bury

..no such thing as a hard border? Really? That must be how the migrants get in then?

raven purcell
raven purcell
1 year ago
Reply to  Phineas Bury

All Varadkar did was repeat, almost verbatim, the security assessment of Brexit presented a few days earlier by the Chief Constable of the PSNI. So that is what constitutes stoking terrorism for Brexit snowflakes, agreeing with the Chief Constable.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Phineas Bury

..no such thing as a hard border? Really? That must be how the migrants get in then?

raven purcell
raven purcell
1 year ago
Reply to  Phineas Bury

All Varadkar did was repeat, almost verbatim, the security assessment of Brexit presented a few days earlier by the Chief Constable of the PSNI. So that is what constitutes stoking terrorism for Brexit snowflakes, agreeing with the Chief Constable.

Phineas Bury
Phineas Bury
1 year ago

Right about half Irish Varadkar stirring it up re border. Smuggling will go on and without violence. Silly talk about a ‘hard’ border. No such thing.

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
1 year ago

Just a little further point – if even a tiny portion of the xenophobia on display in some of the comments below was used about any other group of people other than Northern Ireland unionists, it would be enough to get unherd “cancelled”.

By all means, point out any errors you might perceive in DUP policy, or state your case for leaving NI to rot, but you can leave your dated and frankly offensive stereotypes at the door.

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
1 year ago

Just a little further point – if even a tiny portion of the xenophobia on display in some of the comments below was used about any other group of people other than Northern Ireland unionists, it would be enough to get unherd “cancelled”.

By all means, point out any errors you might perceive in DUP policy, or state your case for leaving NI to rot, but you can leave your dated and frankly offensive stereotypes at the door.

Liam F
Liam F
1 year ago

Very good article. well done.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Tom ” Mac” Tague, surely?

Rob J
Rob J
1 year ago

This is a superb article. Thank you.

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
1 year ago

How is NI (with their English immigration) and Donbas with their Russian immigration.

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
1 year ago

How is NI (with their English immigration) and Donbas with their Russian immigration.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Northern Ireland currently costs England about ÂŁ15 billion a year!*

Currently, overseen by the Lord Chief Justice ‘they’ are pursuing a vexatious prosecution against a former member of the Parachute Regiment for an ‘incident’ that occurred fifty one years ago!

Recently and against ALL medical advice, they forced an octogenarian former member of The Life Guards to fly from Plymouth to Belfast to attend a court hearing and surprise, surprise, he caught COVID and died in the Mater Hospital, Belfast. Brilliant!

Do we really owe these people anything? Enough is enough.

(* The same for Scotland, but that least they have more than twice the population of NI.)

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

I’m sure the overwhelming mass of the UK population would by considered you to be ‘these people’ and despised accordingly. These people’ are British and their fathers and forefathers fought and died for their country, which is what we owe them. The same rights and respect as all other British people.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

You need to rewrite your first sentence, it is incomprehensible as it stands.

We cannot keep paying the price of ‘Thiepval’ forever.

The Empire has gone, and it is now time for the Union to go. It is an expensive anachronism that we can no longer afford.

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

Who is the ‘We’ exactly you claim to speak for? There was a recent poll among Tory members I remember where they would sacrifice Northern Ireland and Scotland to keep the ‘pure Brexit’, whatever that is, that they yearn for, but as they gave us the 44 day reign of Mad Queen Liz I’m not sure I’d trust their judgement. National identity, rightly or wrongly, isn’t just a matter of some economic calculation. Becoming a Little Englander, and what that would mean in practice, doesn’t appeal as much to me as it maybe does to you. And feel free to correct my grammar if it makes you feel more superior.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

I am sorry but your last sentence is far too ‘chippy’ to warrant a reply.

ps. Are you by any chance dyslexic?

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

Ah, I wondered how long it would be before you would resort to the petty insult. Not long at all, in fact. Sad, but predictable
.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

..that’s our Charlie for ye.. cheeky chappy is our chirpy Charlie..

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

..that’s our Charlie for ye.. cheeky chappy is our chirpy Charlie..

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

Ah, I wondered how long it would be before you would resort to the petty insult. Not long at all, in fact. Sad, but predictable
.

michael harris
michael harris
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

In truth, Murray, your first sentence was a bit of a jumble. Though I think I understood it. I usually review all my posts for bad punctuation, rotten spelling and apoplectic sentence structure. But when I’m very steamed up I can forget to check – just when I really need to.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

I am sorry but your last sentence is far too ‘chippy’ to warrant a reply.

ps. Are you by any chance dyslexic?

michael harris
michael harris
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

In truth, Murray, your first sentence was a bit of a jumble. Though I think I understood it. I usually review all my posts for bad punctuation, rotten spelling and apoplectic sentence structure. But when I’m very steamed up I can forget to check – just when I really need to.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Mirabile dictu..we are ad idem on that one! But maybe the point is not that payments to NI should stop but that reparation payments should start for India, and indeed the rest of the former empire, including Ireland? LOL!

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Given that Castlereagh, Wellington, and plenty more were from the emerald Isle, perhaps it is Ireland that should pay the reparations…..!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

Apparently Wellington when “accused” of being Irish said: “Being born in a stable doesn’t make you a horse” ..or perhaps he though he was Jesus Christ returned?
You did know the English occupied Ireland for 700 years? ..that meant some of the bustards actually lived there! To be fair many Anglo Irish evolved into Irish nationalists but Wellington and Castlereagh were definitely not among those! Nice try but those reparations are still due!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Come off it! Wellington was a Paddy with an inferiority complex, rather like many in Dublin today.

Incidentally ‘we’ still occupy some of Ireland today, some 854 years after our arrival

..at your (idiotic) invitation.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Come off it! Wellington was a Paddy with an inferiority complex, rather like many in Dublin today.

Incidentally ‘we’ still occupy some of Ireland today, some 854 years after our arrival

..at your (idiotic) invitation.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

Apparently Wellington when “accused” of being Irish said: “Being born in a stable doesn’t make you a horse” ..or perhaps he though he was Jesus Christ returned?
You did know the English occupied Ireland for 700 years? ..that meant some of the bustards actually lived there! To be fair many Anglo Irish evolved into Irish nationalists but Wellington and Castlereagh were definitely not among those! Nice try but those reparations are still due!

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Given that Castlereagh, Wellington, and plenty more were from the emerald Isle, perhaps it is Ireland that should pay the reparations…..!

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

Who is the ‘We’ exactly you claim to speak for? There was a recent poll among Tory members I remember where they would sacrifice Northern Ireland and Scotland to keep the ‘pure Brexit’, whatever that is, that they yearn for, but as they gave us the 44 day reign of Mad Queen Liz I’m not sure I’d trust their judgement. National identity, rightly or wrongly, isn’t just a matter of some economic calculation. Becoming a Little Englander, and what that would mean in practice, doesn’t appeal as much to me as it maybe does to you. And feel free to correct my grammar if it makes you feel more superior.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Mirabile dictu..we are ad idem on that one! But maybe the point is not that payments to NI should stop but that reparation payments should start for India, and indeed the rest of the former empire, including Ireland? LOL!

raven purcell
raven purcell
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

Polling suggests you are wrong, and good grief, “fathers and forefathers”, talk about stolen valour.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

You need to rewrite your first sentence, it is incomprehensible as it stands.

We cannot keep paying the price of ‘Thiepval’ forever.

The Empire has gone, and it is now time for the Union to go. It is an expensive anachronism that we can no longer afford.

raven purcell
raven purcell
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

Polling suggests you are wrong, and good grief, “fathers and forefathers”, talk about stolen valour.

Hank Bank
Hank Bank
1 year ago

There is nothing vexatious about taking a highly suspected murderer to trial. If he is innocent (and nothing is pointing in that direction) then nothing to worry about-if Guilty-then he should have been dealt with 50 yrs ago but better late than never. Likewise the poor octogenarian-did his victim live to see that age… NO! ‘You’ owe more than you can pay-the trouble and deaths etc caused by the occupation/colonisation of Ireland is beyond anything money could recompense !

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Hank Bank

Nonsense!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

..not good enough Charlie, you really must do better! And return those Greek (Elgin my ass!) marbles and Egyptian loot as well.. bloody thieves! LOL!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

..not good enough Charlie, you really must do better! And return those Greek (Elgin my ass!) marbles and Egyptian loot as well.. bloody thieves! LOL!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Hank Bank

Nonsense!

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

I upvoted you but I have a complaint. You forgot Wales.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

My sincere apologies.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

..what about Cornwall then?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Most of it belongs to the Duchy of Cornwall which is a problem, and it is far too small, even by Irish standards.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Most of it belongs to the Duchy of Cornwall which is a problem, and it is far too small, even by Irish standards.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

..what about Cornwall then?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

My sincere apologies.

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
1 year ago

It doesn’t cost £15Bn a year it’s budget is £15Bn. It costs slightly less than £10Bn. We do pay tax in NI

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Thank you for that correction, however ÂŁ10 billion is still far, far, too much.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Ulster is a macabre black and white ITV sitcom from the 1950s, a place run by a bizarre lower middle class only found in ” heome ceounties” Tory party membership and masonic lodges, stuck in that time warp, with a blinding arrogance of believing that the rest of the UK ( excluding their brethren in Scotland) actually has any sympathy, let alone empathy, with them.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Larkin was only 28 when he went there, so he probably missed most of that.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

A Welsh Guards officer mate of mine one a bet with an RUC drongo by, for the first time in his life, riding in a Northern Irish point to point, after the RUC man said, that a Taig Officer would not have the courage and guts so to do! The Welsh Guarsman in question did not feel it worth pointing out that the majority of the best jockeys in Europe were Irish Catholics!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

A Welsh Guards officer mate of mine one a bet with an RUC drongo by, for the first time in his life, riding in a Northern Irish point to point, after the RUC man said, that a Taig Officer would not have the courage and guts so to do! The Welsh Guarsman in question did not feel it worth pointing out that the majority of the best jockeys in Europe were Irish Catholics!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Larkin was only 28 when he went there, so he probably missed most of that.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

You spent 3 times that on dud PPE!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I know and it fact I was a substantial beneficiary of all that nonsense. For a meagre six figure investment I reaped a generous seven figure reward.
“Nunc est bibendum !”

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Why am I not surprised? What’s the current term ..used to be Blackmarketeers didn’t it? Those who feed gleefully off the suffering of others.. not a great boast though is it?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

You’d have done the same, given the opportunity, you shameless old ‘tinker’, would you not?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

You’d have done the same, given the opportunity, you shameless old ‘tinker’, would you not?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Why am I not surprised? What’s the current term ..used to be Blackmarketeers didn’t it? Those who feed gleefully off the suffering of others.. not a great boast though is it?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

And who’s pockets do you think it ended up in?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

You just told me silly! …yours and your ilk. I would guessed it anyway.. but nice to have it confirmed.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

You just told me silly! …yours and your ilk. I would guessed it anyway.. but nice to have it confirmed.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I know and it fact I was a substantial beneficiary of all that nonsense. For a meagre six figure investment I reaped a generous seven figure reward.
“Nunc est bibendum !”

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

And who’s pockets do you think it ended up in?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Ulster is a macabre black and white ITV sitcom from the 1950s, a place run by a bizarre lower middle class only found in ” heome ceounties” Tory party membership and masonic lodges, stuck in that time warp, with a blinding arrogance of believing that the rest of the UK ( excluding their brethren in Scotland) actually has any sympathy, let alone empathy, with them.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

You spent 3 times that on dud PPE!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Thank you for that correction, however ÂŁ10 billion is still far, far, too much.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Your maths like your morals are hopeless Charlie if you think Scotland’s population is “more than twice” NI’s.. you’re technically correct of course in that China’s population is also more than twice NI’s! LOL.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

NI 2 m, Caledonia 5m. QED.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Nope; NI 1.8m Scotland: 5.4m, almost exactly 3 times! – like most stuff you post your figures are out of date.

Last edited 1 year ago by Liam O'Mahony
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Stop splitting hairs Mahony, I was close enough.

Ian Ogden
Ian Ogden
1 year ago

Unfortunately I am not into the knowledge of you and yours but I enjoy your writings. Suffice to say the latest of your joint conversations remind me of The Mad Hatters Tea Party in the nicest possible way. Regards

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Ogden

Thank you.

I shouldn’t really torment poor old Mahony, but as one his late countrymen* used to say “I can resist anything but temptation”.
O that Mahony had the same sense of humour!

(*Oscar Wilde.)

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Ogden

Thank you.

I shouldn’t really torment poor old Mahony, but as one his late countrymen* used to say “I can resist anything but temptation”.
O that Mahony had the same sense of humour!

(*Oscar Wilde.)

Ian Ogden
Ian Ogden
1 year ago

Unfortunately I am not into the knowledge of you and yours but I enjoy your writings. Suffice to say the latest of your joint conversations remind me of The Mad Hatters Tea Party in the nicest possible way. Regards

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Stop splitting hairs Mahony, I was close enough.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Nope; NI 1.8m Scotland: 5.4m, almost exactly 3 times! – like most stuff you post your figures are out of date.

Last edited 1 year ago by Liam O'Mahony
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

NI 2 m, Caledonia 5m. QED.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Out of interest CH, in such a scenario where would England base it’s Trident subs? And where would you put the warheads depot? Intrigued.

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The options seem to be Milford Haven or Plymouth.
As for the RNAD*, MH seems to have plenty of space but Plymouth looks rather cramped.

(* Royal Naval Armaments Depot.)

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Yes, MH though big oil refineries so not a great place for loading nuke warheads – also now Europe’s biggest LPG port. Devonport next to 250k population centre. Again a warheads depot not going to go down well there. Falmouth? But all Nat Trust on that bit of coast. It’s a problem I think should Scots expel the Faslane base.

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I dare say the population of Plymouth could be ‘bribed’ by the offer of ‘excellent employment opportunities’!

Additionally USN ‘facilities’ are close to heavily populated areas, and that isn’t a problem.

However I expect the Scotch, venal as ever, will come to some satisfactory arrangement. After all there isn’t much else going for them.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I dare say the population of Plymouth could be ‘bribed’ by the offer of ‘excellent employment opportunities’!

Additionally USN ‘facilities’ are close to heavily populated areas, and that isn’t a problem.

However I expect the Scotch, venal as ever, will come to some satisfactory arrangement. After all there isn’t much else going for them.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Yes, MH though big oil refineries so not a great place for loading nuke warheads – also now Europe’s biggest LPG port. Devonport next to 250k population centre. Again a warheads depot not going to go down well there. Falmouth? But all Nat Trust on that bit of coast. It’s a problem I think should Scots expel the Faslane base.

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The options seem to be Milford Haven or Plymouth.
As for the RNAD*, MH seems to have plenty of space but Plymouth looks rather cramped.

(* Royal Naval Armaments Depot.)

Niall Cusack
Niall Cusack
1 year ago

Dear Brigadier Blimp,
Sadly for you the Good Friday Agreement is an international treaty which copperfastens Northern Ireland ‘s position within the UK until 51 per cent of us decide to leave – something not likely to happen in the foreseeable future, especially given the advantages afforded us by the delightful Protocol!
I’m afraid you simply can’t get rid of us!
I love the way you talk about paying the debt of Thiepval, as if we had done nothing since!
You must be aware that conscription did not apply to Northern Ireland during the Second World War, for excellent political reasons .
Nonetheless, thousands of Ulstermen, both Protestant and Catholic, volunteered to join the British Army, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force .
My father was one of them, and I am very proud of him .

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Niall Cusack

I used Thiepval for the sake of brevity and that was NOT meant to imply Ulster/NI sat on its backside during WWII.

However as I am sure you are aware “charity begins at home”, and £10 billion is just far too much.

Additionally what is always distasteful about the GFI is that incipient threat of violence if someone doesn’t get their own way, if you get my drift?
It is rather like ‘demanding money with menaces’*

Incidentally Munich 1938; was supposed to be “copper-fastened, as you charmingly put it, but look what happened!

(* Otherwise known as Blackmail.)

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Niall Cusack

and thousands of people from The Republic, and North of Ireland Catholics too!

Niall Cusack
Niall Cusack
1 year ago

Yes, that’s what I said. Do keep up

Niall Cusack
Niall Cusack
1 year ago

Yes, that’s what I said. Do keep up

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Niall Cusack

I used Thiepval for the sake of brevity and that was NOT meant to imply Ulster/NI sat on its backside during WWII.

However as I am sure you are aware “charity begins at home”, and £10 billion is just far too much.

Additionally what is always distasteful about the GFI is that incipient threat of violence if someone doesn’t get their own way, if you get my drift?
It is rather like ‘demanding money with menaces’*

Incidentally Munich 1938; was supposed to be “copper-fastened, as you charmingly put it, but look what happened!

(* Otherwise known as Blackmail.)

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Niall Cusack

and thousands of people from The Republic, and North of Ireland Catholics too!

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

I’m sure the overwhelming mass of the UK population would by considered you to be ‘these people’ and despised accordingly. These people’ are British and their fathers and forefathers fought and died for their country, which is what we owe them. The same rights and respect as all other British people.

Hank Bank
Hank Bank
1 year ago

There is nothing vexatious about taking a highly suspected murderer to trial. If he is innocent (and nothing is pointing in that direction) then nothing to worry about-if Guilty-then he should have been dealt with 50 yrs ago but better late than never. Likewise the poor octogenarian-did his victim live to see that age… NO! ‘You’ owe more than you can pay-the trouble and deaths etc caused by the occupation/colonisation of Ireland is beyond anything money could recompense !

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

I upvoted you but I have a complaint. You forgot Wales.

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
1 year ago

It doesn’t cost £15Bn a year it’s budget is £15Bn. It costs slightly less than £10Bn. We do pay tax in NI

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Your maths like your morals are hopeless Charlie if you think Scotland’s population is “more than twice” NI’s.. you’re technically correct of course in that China’s population is also more than twice NI’s! LOL.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Out of interest CH, in such a scenario where would England base it’s Trident subs? And where would you put the warheads depot? Intrigued.

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson
Niall Cusack
Niall Cusack
1 year ago

Dear Brigadier Blimp,
Sadly for you the Good Friday Agreement is an international treaty which copperfastens Northern Ireland ‘s position within the UK until 51 per cent of us decide to leave – something not likely to happen in the foreseeable future, especially given the advantages afforded us by the delightful Protocol!
I’m afraid you simply can’t get rid of us!
I love the way you talk about paying the debt of Thiepval, as if we had done nothing since!
You must be aware that conscription did not apply to Northern Ireland during the Second World War, for excellent political reasons .
Nonetheless, thousands of Ulstermen, both Protestant and Catholic, volunteered to join the British Army, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force .
My father was one of them, and I am very proud of him .

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Northern Ireland currently costs England about ÂŁ15 billion a year!*

Currently, overseen by the Lord Chief Justice ‘they’ are pursuing a vexatious prosecution against a former member of the Parachute Regiment for an ‘incident’ that occurred fifty one years ago!

Recently and against ALL medical advice, they forced an octogenarian former member of The Life Guards to fly from Plymouth to Belfast to attend a court hearing and surprise, surprise, he caught COVID and died in the Mater Hospital, Belfast. Brilliant!

Do we really owe these people anything? Enough is enough.

(* The same for Scotland, but that least they have more than twice the population of NI.)

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

As I have said before, how can anyone have sympathy of any part of Britain where, in the 1970’s local policemen genuinely believed that Catholics were not allowed in the British Army, and were horrified to discover that, there were Catholic Officers, some of whom had titles! ” The only thing worse than a Taig, is a posh Taig” as erstwhile friends from The Scots Guards used to tell me. Of course the UDR and RUC were particularly horrified that The Scots Guards contained Catholics, let alone Catholic Officers… The best, was seeing their faces when they were told that SAS founder David Stirling was a Scots Catholic!!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

..curious that the writer’s name sounds like Tom McTaig! It must cause him endless embarrassment? LOL.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Fascinated to hear from the “-6” as to how and why they can actually disagree with and oppose fact? Do pray tell me?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

..inconvenient facts are not welcome on this platform.. usually it’s the catch cries of the clowns that gets the upticks.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Thanks Liam and a Happy belated St Patrick’s day to you!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Thanks Liam and a Happy belated St Patrick’s day to you!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

..inconvenient facts are not welcome on this platform.. usually it’s the catch cries of the clowns that gets the upticks.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

..curious that the writer’s name sounds like Tom McTaig! It must cause him endless embarrassment? LOL.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Fascinated to hear from the “-6” as to how and why they can actually disagree with and oppose fact? Do pray tell me?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

As I have said before, how can anyone have sympathy of any part of Britain where, in the 1970’s local policemen genuinely believed that Catholics were not allowed in the British Army, and were horrified to discover that, there were Catholic Officers, some of whom had titles! ” The only thing worse than a Taig, is a posh Taig” as erstwhile friends from The Scots Guards used to tell me. Of course the UDR and RUC were particularly horrified that The Scots Guards contained Catholics, let alone Catholic Officers… The best, was seeing their faces when they were told that SAS founder David Stirling was a Scots Catholic!!

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
1 year ago

You can’t be more Unionist than the King. And the DUP thinks that it is still in a confidence and supply arrangement. But this Government has a majority of 80. It is questionable exactly what constitutes membership of the ERG, but no more than 50 MPs, and perhaps as few as 40, could in any way be so described. The seven of them in the Cabinet have no intention of resigning for anything. All in all, an absolute maximum of 60 votes against what the Government had proposed in relation to the Northern Ireland Protocol, but more like 50, one in 13 members of the House of Commons. If that. A rebellion of, at most, around one in seven Conservatives. Who cares?

For its annual ÂŁ200,000 of public money, all paid into one account, what research does the European Research Group produce? Three years after Brexit, research into what? As for the Democratic Unionist Party, it would lose its deposit in any seat in Great Britain, and it would struggle to get onto the ballot in most of them, but far from having decommissioned any weapons, Ulster Resistance has never even declared a ceasefire. Is that what this is really all about? Yes. Yes, it is. Tell me again about the bullet dodged at the last two General Elections.

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
1 year ago

You can’t be more Unionist than the King. And the DUP thinks that it is still in a confidence and supply arrangement. But this Government has a majority of 80. It is questionable exactly what constitutes membership of the ERG, but no more than 50 MPs, and perhaps as few as 40, could in any way be so described. The seven of them in the Cabinet have no intention of resigning for anything. All in all, an absolute maximum of 60 votes against what the Government had proposed in relation to the Northern Ireland Protocol, but more like 50, one in 13 members of the House of Commons. If that. A rebellion of, at most, around one in seven Conservatives. Who cares?

For its annual ÂŁ200,000 of public money, all paid into one account, what research does the European Research Group produce? Three years after Brexit, research into what? As for the Democratic Unionist Party, it would lose its deposit in any seat in Great Britain, and it would struggle to get onto the ballot in most of them, but far from having decommissioned any weapons, Ulster Resistance has never even declared a ceasefire. Is that what this is really all about? Yes. Yes, it is. Tell me again about the bullet dodged at the last two General Elections.