‘Conservative/Unionist priority is immunity for those who designed and implemented political/military policies during Troubles’ – By Gerry Kelly

Picture by @AntrimLens Several years ago Sinn Féin set out our view that the most effective truth recovery mechanism was an International Independent Truth Commission set up by a reputable international body such as the United Nations. That remains our view but the British Government have consistently rejected it. Despite that we have engaged with…

‘A terrible ignorance’ – By Brian John Spencer

Easter, 1916 – a terrible beauty was born. It had a dark and little seen twin; a terrible ignorance of the people of the North. South of the border, the Easter Rising is almost universally acclaimed. A singular understanding of history imposed, and a singular way of being Irish understood. Professor Michael Laffan wrote: “When I…

How right Leon Uris was when he said of Ireland: “There is no future: just history repeating itself.” Brian John Spencer reflects…

George Bernard Shaw portended Northern Ireland as “an autonomous political lunatic asylum”. How right he was. I’m not sure that was the creator’s intention, however. The ideals of Easter 1916 are well known, but the ideals of Edward Carson were just as high; he wanted every Irishman to enjoy the rights and liberties enjoyed by…

‘Republicans have done a unionism’ argues Brian Spencer

We’re all unionists now. Being a member of a group of nations that pools power and decision-making is all the vogue. For unionists, having a partition between east and west is abominable as partition between north and south, and between Ireland and Europe is, for nationalists. Being Irish and British, British and Irish is, for…

Lots of Bombs and Lots of Loughs by David Gilmour

  “Gee, I wish we had one of them doomsday machines.” General “Buck” Turgidson, Dr. Strangelove   DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson opened his mouth in Westminster on Wednesday and said: “With support for the Union in Northern Ireland growing ever stronger, may I help to assuage the concerns of the Right Honourable Member for Moray…

Billy Hutchinson – a British Loyalist in Dublin

I’ve felt green of late. Not a political conversion, rather, the green of envy. Jealous of the energy, vision and action of the Irish unity lobby. The unionist caucus by contrast is inert and anaemic. Unionism is now the politics of Ourselves Alone, endlessly playing the grievance card. Unionism is reclusive. Unionists exhibit the traits…

‘When the storm passes’ – by Colm Dore

The loser in this episode of the peace process will be those who oppose the Belfast Agreement. In July, Stormont was deadlocked, with no end in sight. A political crisis, sparked by political reaction to the murders of Jock Davison and Kevin McGuigan, saw the creation of a confrontation between Her Majesty’s Government and Agreement…

Is Unionism incapable of learning? – by Terry Wright

  To look for meaning in difficulties has never been strong within unionism. To focus blindly on what has happened rather than the opportunities presented by what has happened, is not a ready recognisable trait. These are weakness laid bare yet again. They are not the only failings. In a recent interview when asked by…

‘The Orange hills of Donegal’

I have no connection to the Loyal Orders. I’m not the Green of the Gael, rather very, very pale Orange. I have a Protestant inheritance, Church of Ireland and Presbyterian, which means I watched bonfires, brethren and bands growing up, seeing no ill at all. I’m a Protestant atheist, a cultural Calvinist. This is not…

‘The march Ditch’ examined by Brian John Spencer

‘We had a break in August, theirs was in July But when one drop of rain would fall we’d all look at the sky’ – Colum Sands, ‘The March Ditch‘ You’re Protestant because your parents are Protestant, as their parents were. A placenta Protestant. Likewise for Catholics, placenta papes. You’re a unionist because your parents are…

‘Being a middle-class suburban Protestant is a lonely vigil’ argues Brian Spencer

We read to know we’re not alone. The moment when words mirror life and lived experience is stirring and emotive, even numinous. Being a middle-class suburban Protestant is a lonely thing. You’re unionist without being “Unionist Forum”-style unionist. When pro-Union sentiment is universally bellicose, belligerent and flag-flappy you can feel like Franz Kafka’s character who…