Unionism and modernity – by Colm Dore

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Members of the DUP delegation at the Haass Talks including Rev Mervyn Gibson

Members of the DUP delegation at the Haass Talks including Rev Mervyn Gibson


Unionism was founded on, and remains dominated by, fear of the Other, inextricably linked with regard of the Other as inferior. That is incompatible with modern discourse, and, by ‘modern’, I largely mean Enlightenment ideas, hardly cutting edge stuff.

‘Triangulation’ was the term used to describe Bill Clinton putting the GOP on a reactionary back-foot by his repositioning. It is the effect that Sinn Fein’s mere presence in democratic politics has on Unionism. Hence Jim Molyneaux’s fear that the IRA ceasefire was destabilising. It revealed Unionism’s true opponent; not Sinn Fein, but having to deal with nationalists as equals, i.e. modernity.

‘Pastor-gate’ was a side-bar in this difficulty with modernity in substance and tone. Northern Ireland’s main party of government has had problems with homophobia (Sammy Wilson, in Jim Davidson mode, called homosexuals “poofs”) and misogyny (e.g. toward the Women’s Coalition). The party’s disproportionate number of Creationists is, relatively, benign.

The fear manifests in the constant wariness for Lundys, making leadership nigh impossible for fear of being outflanked by traditional voices. Hence un-elected Orangeman Mervyn Gibson’s inclusion in the DUP Haas-talks team, and the need, at those negotiations, to brief Jamie Bryson and Willie Frazer.

It creates McCarthyite anti-intellectualism, dismissing intellectually and culturally expansive unionists like Brian John Spencer as Lundys, inauthentic ‘snobs’ liable to treacherously open the gates of insularity. Jamie Bryson likens them to Nazi collaborators.

It results in incredible (in both senses of that word) double standards: Unionist Exceptionalism, which is logical given the pre-modern sense of superiority to the Other. Why be subject to the same rules? Hence the à la carte attitude to the rule of law e.g. on parades, and toleration of sectarian songs, bonfires, and sectarian use of flags to claim territory. Camp Twaddell is allowed to illegally squat on Housing Executive land, while the Minister responsible, Nelson McCausland, shares the platform, applauding antediluvian rants. Hence the black-and-white Troubles narrative of IRA sole responsibility in denial of Unionist and state wrong-doing (viz. Gregory Campbell’s bitter contortions in TV interviews on the day of Cameron’s Bloody Sunday apology).

Hence exemption from even the basic civility of shaking hands with government partners. It’s not principled, as there are no such qualms about loyalist terrorists. Our First Minister was photographed shaking hands with UDA brigadier Jackie McDonald in Stormont in January 2013, yet, even now, he still won’t shake hands with the Deputy First Minister. That’s difficult to sustain in the modern world; a refusal to dignify people’s humanity as equals. This is no small thing – it goes to the essence of our problem. It reveals a shocking lack of evolution from the Plantation view of the ‘wood-kern’, or the ‘Punch’ magazine caricature of nationalists, unfit for Home Rule, necessitating Partition.

It has dangerous consequences. To borrow an economic phrase, there is a ‘trickle-down effect’, facilitating dehumanising sectarianism on the street, as enacted by the mob who attacked Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir at Woodvale Park, in contrast to the respectful warm reception of loyalists like McDonald himself at Féile an Phobail on the Falls Road. Likewise, it validates the refusal of loyalist marchers to speak to local residents: no need to treat them as equals if your tradition is to march where you want. Ian Paisley’s preparedness to have personal interaction with the Deputy First Minister, not the cold ‘business-like’ reductivism of which the DUP now boast, was one of principle reasons they turned against him.

There are endless examples of Unionist double-standards on Loyalist terrorism. The UWC strike, opposition to banning the UDA, Hugh Smyth’s selection as Mayor when Sinn Fein were verboten, Willie McCrea’s relationship with Billy Wright, Trimble’s UUP entering the Good Friday talks flanked by UDA and UVF representatives in a calculatedly striking tableau. Peter Robinson and Sammy Wilson carried the coffin of UDA boss Ray Smallwoods (for some reason that receives somewhat less attention than similar).

Unionist Exceptionalism, superiority, necessitates exclusivity and separatism. The old term ‘Protestant ascendancy’ is just too nakedly pre-modern, so separatism is expressed by the term ‘the PUL (Protestant-Unionist-Loyalist)’, still, by definition, excluding Catholics. It is the pre-modern definition of political identity as ethnicity. Conversely, republicanism is a modern ideology, flowing from inclusive Enlightenment ideals like citizenship. Necessary apartness is justified with quotation of 2 Corinthians 6:17, ‘come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.’

Attempts to appropriate modern ‘rights’ language for PUL ascendancy backfire. A recent example, on the Nolan TV show  (4/6/14), was DUP MLA William Humphrey arguing the baldly contradictory position that it is ‘a human right’ for Orangemen to march past Ardoyne but that a republican parade on the same route would be wrong.

Tonally, Unionism, predicated on confrontation, is given to hysteria: the hyperbolic ‘ripping down’ language of the December 2012 flag leaflet, ‘culture war’, and Robinson’s ‘steam coming out my ears’ re: Haas. This been normalised, warping our discourse, as so often we hear of ‘Unionist fury’ as ‘Unionists have reacted angrily’ to proposals. We don’t often hear of ‘nationalist fury’.

Unionism’s anachronistic confrontational anger jars with the conversational dynamic of television now, giving us apoplectic audience contributions, and panellists whose countenances often exude their arrogant disdain – being, in Yeats’s words, ‘an image of such politics’.

Modern technology, in a proliferation of social media and cameras, increasingly exposes the inexcusable excesses of Twaddell-type protest, and the occasional lapse into murder-fantasy, to say nothing of the incompatibility of tyre pyres with modernity.


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About Author

Colm Dore born in Belfast studied in University College Dublin. He is currently studying law with a view to pursuing it as a career.


  1. It has been a long time coming an article which puts front and centre the inherent inequality necessary to support the psyche of Ulster unionism,loyalism and fundamental Protestantism. This irrational hatred of all things Irish has manifested its self in an Ulster nationalism which is as far removed from the tolerant modern multi culturalism which is the bed rock of British secular politics.
    British people would be as horrified by the excesses of loyalism as they are by any other form of extremism. Truth is they see loyalist and republicanism as two sides of the same coin conviently term “irish trouble makers”

  2. I should add that the UUP and PUP have sadly validated this thesis, recently increasing electoral support by appealing to reactionary Unionism. The latter is now progressive in name only, stoking fear over the flag, having apparently given up on the more difficult but noble path of hope represented by David Ervine.

    • ‘For clarity, re: Republicanism, I accept that grievous wrong has been done in the name of the Republic, contrary to the injunction contained in the 1916 Proclamation … Republicanism is about equal citizenship, inclusive and threatening no-one.’

      For even greater clarity, could you specify that those who inflicted that grievous wrong, i.e. the Provos, thereby were not and are not true Republicans?

      • The following simile is illustrative, I am not equating Republicanism with the moral weight of Christianity: a man can live a Christian life, even though it contain a minority of non-Christian deeds.

        • But virtually everything the Provos did was contrary to your ‘about equal citizenship, inclusive and threatening no-one’ characterization. The Provisional IRA was a killing, torturing and maiming machine – no more and no less. What you are propounding here is doublethink, and the idea that rhetoric outweighs actions. It doesn’t.

          • Was the IRA of Michael Collins’s generation also ‘a killing, torturing and maiming machine – no more and no less’?

            That’s a valid historical debate. Likewise the history of the Provisional IRA. They too are history. The IRA has gone away. Sadly, partly due to the vacuum in Unionist leadership, the UVF and UDA have not gone away. They are today, players, as muscle, in the parade dispute in North Belfast.

            Republicanism is, by definition, incompatible with sectarian murder.

            Unfortunately, re: sectarianism, Unionism is all to comfortably expressive of the archaic remnants of it in current British Constitutonal law, viz. the Act of Succession, whereby one will be disqualified from the line of succession if one commits the offense of marrying a Catholic.

            Irish nationalist bigotry exists too. It is seen in the aberration called ‘Dissident’. My article, above, expounds the flaws in Unionism. It does not purport to expound the flaws of ‘Dissidents’. That is the subject of my next article.

          • Neither IRA was 100% justified or 100% unjustified, but the 1919-21 version was far nearer the ‘justified’ end of the spectrum – for one thing it was officially adopted as the national army by the representatives of most of the people (and there are other factors, of which you are aware). The Provisional IRA may have ‘gone away’ as an organization,but its members have not. Many are active in SF, as you know. To claim that Republicanism is good, therefore those who self-identify as Republicans are good (notwithstanding the odd lapse from goodness), is untenable, and furthermore you apply it inconsistently – otherwise you would approve of the ‘dissidents’, as you clearly approve of the Provos. You should at least come right out and say you support(ed) the Provisional IRA, instead of equivocating.

          • Oisin77
            I agree with you. The more out of touch with wider society Orangeism/Unionism becomes the more the effect is to provide a gloss of reason on Republicanism. Many people have commented in recent days as to how in comparison to P Robinson, republican leaders come across in our society as a voice of reason at the head of a benign enlightened movement.
            I think there is a world of difference in the republican movement of 1919-21 and the recent prolonged PIRA campaign. The desperation by republicans to find equivalence in victimhood and suffering when ‘dealing’ with the past is part of their long road to justifying the unjustifiable. PIRA and their counterparts in loyalist paramilitaries, rank as some of the greatest serial human rights abusers in Western Europe post WWII. Unfortunately we have created through the GFA a system which panders to the perpetrators and apologists of terror and has overturned any sense of natural justice in the face of evil.

  3. Colm
    An excellent submission. Thank you.It nails the easily worn hypocrisy of the DUP in particular and their desperate need for support by militant loyalism and loyalist paramilitaries in order to hold up the vote. It also illustrates the degree to which Orangeism and Unionism need each other and the muscle of paramilitaries. In a few weeks throughout Northern Ireland the white vans and the cherry pickers will be out smothering areas in flags and emblems. As a moderate unionist with no interest in Orangeism if I approach these people and politely ask them not to erect their displays I would be fearful for my personal safety and damage to my home; not at that very moment, but later because at the back of this Orange scent marking is a very real sense of intimidation and violence aimed at anyone who might have a difficult view, nationalist, unionist or other.
    We should reflect on Drumcree in the late 1990s. Where is Drumcree now in the lexicon of Orangeism? It rarely gets a mention. The new normal in Orange tradition at that parade for nearly 17 years has been to march up to a police cordon read a letter of protest and go away.
    There is good reason for this, which I don’t believe SF fully realised when they began to orchestrate protests around parades. Put simply the majority of people who would be classed as coming from a unionist tradition don’t care about Orangeism. Orangeism has become ever more starkly delineated, by bigotry, paramilitary influence and political croneyism, Without the muscle Orangeism could not stand on its own two feet, because however they might wish to invoke the support of the ‘unionist community’, it isn’t there. I personally believe we are witnessing the beginning of the end for Orangeism as a political force in NI. It will be cited as an attack on culture, but it is a culture that most small ‘u’ unionists (and non voters) as well as nationalists rejected a long time ago.
    Which is why Haass and the new round of talks on parades and flags will not succeed. When your boat is sinking there is no option but to cling to the wreckage.

  4. I’ve always thought that Unionism is a bit of a hopeless position in the very long term.

    The British Empire has broken up and Scotland are already getting closer and closer to Independence.

    I think the Union will inevitably break up, maybe not for a few hundred years but it will happen.

    I think this is what defines Unionism – they’re always trying to hold on to things from the past against the tide, which makes them bitter and feel that their culture is being eroded. Because they’re always trying to prevent something – it’s the negative stance.

    Republicanism on the other hand has the goal of a United Ireland. Again I think this is inevitable in the next few centuries. While Unionists are worried about the Union being ‘chipped away,’ republicans can see things like the Scottish referendum and Sinn Fein’s growth in the Republic as baby steps toward their goal, making it the positive stance.

    Unionists view = Canute
    Republican view = Slow and steady wins the race

  5. Don’t think I have read a bigger load of scaremongering shite in all my life. Full of crap and demonization of a people.

    • Thanks for reading Keith. I would be grateful if you would avail of the comments facility to let me know what aspects I have called wrong. Thank-you.

      I’m not ‘demonising a people’, I’m decrying a lack of leadership, which is why, above, I lament the loss of David Ervine to all of us who care about progressive politics.

    • You do realise, Keith, that if you don’t take up Colm’s inivite to point out where you think he has gone wrong, then you will have validated his thesis?

  6. Excellent blog Colm, you put a lot into words which I had always thought about Unionism. Instead of using their power now (majority) to steer the ship and get whatever they can for their community, or everybody, they just keep their head in the sand. I don`t know if they can`t see what`s inevitably happening with demographics here but they choose to ignore the signs. By the time they wake up (surely they must) it will be too late to have anywhere near the same influence as they have now. Sinn Fein could teach them a thing or two about politics.

  7. Colm, this article sums up modern unionism to a tee.
    Always disgusted, always angry, always showing total disrespect to others.
    They claim to be for law and order but say nothing when drunken mobs illegally put flags up in middle class areas where they are not wanted. This would simply not happen in Britain.
    It unionism doesn’t change in the future it will eventually face terminal decline. Their typical voter is at the older end of the spectrum and they offer nothing but hopelessness to younger generations.
    I am pro-union and it is sad to admit that I may never vote for a unionist party.

    The irony is that they keep shouting about their British culture.
    British culture is tolerant, modern and multi-cultural.
    Unionism couldn’t be any more anti-British!!!

  8. The words Peter Robinson used about Muslims were insightful: “I’d trust them to go the shops for me” It highlighted the unconscious old style colonial mindsets of many – of course not all – Ulster Protestants.

    They still think by waving a union jack and singing GSTQ they are “superior” to other people, apparently because Britain ruled the waves in the good old days. They reject modernity because they believe the future is a dim place for them, so they cling to a past where they felt special and were treated as special because they were Protestant and loyal to the English crown which rewarded them for keeping Fenians in their place.


  9. Sorry to be slightly OT…but only slightly
    This evening in my area the Orange flags and emblems went up by faceless men unrepresentative of a mixed community. They were monitored and spoken to by the PSNI who then left them to it. My concern this evening is that in South Belfast a decision has been taken by the PSNI, following talks with SF that flags erected in the Ormeau Road area will be viewed as a breach of the peace in what is viewed as a mixed area. The underlying logic around this is deeply flawed.

    It assumes that outside of interface areas, or where the community is largely ‘unionist’ or ‘not nationalist’ then everyone is fine with the union flag, and a whole range of bastardised variations of the Union flag as well as other emblems being flown, ranging from the flag of Scotland, a UVF flag, the flag of Israel and the flag of the Royal Irish Regiment; (which should be vociferous in rejecting this sectarian association – come on Capt Doug Beattie MC, RIR and new UUP counciller – give us a view) .

    . This is a nonsense and the very real threat of retribution if you become a voice apart in a unionist community dominated by Orange/loyalist supporters, whose only crime is loyalty, is extremely intimidating
    The PSNI should think this through. Where the possibility of public disorder against erecting flags will amount to a breach of the peace, this will be used to orchestrate a result. in interface areas,
    But why is the measure of PSNI involvement a breach of the peace and where do intimidated broadly ‘pro unionist’ communities stand in all this, if a complaint is made from that quarter?

    • You should contact and at least register your view with your local MLA or councillor.

      People are all human beings, Catholic, Protestant or otherwise and should be able to live without fear, hatred or intimidation like anyone else in the UK.
      If locals in an area, no matter who they are or what the flags are, do not want their area bedecked with flags, then that area should be free from flags.
      In the case of the Ormeau, flags are not flown with respect of the flag or the local area. They are being flaunted.
      Its time for society to move on and be a bit more civilised.
      The politicians are too sectarian to move this country on. I reckon its time for Stormont to go.

  10. An excellent submission indeed. As an Englishman living in NI for 12 years now (yeah i know, what the HELL would I know about this stuff?!?) I find the fact that Unionism/Loyalism (whatever you want to call it – i think its time we stopped caring) blatantly support criminality, particularly surrounding the ‘flag issue’ is abhorrent. Lets face it, the flag issue is one sided, affecting all sides that are forced to care. Its one side whose entire philosophy is wrapped up in a piece of cloth that is now meaningless to any other part of the dis-United-K. Ask and Englishman what he is first he’ll say English, a Scotsman Scottish, a Welshman Welsh. No-one else cares about being British anymore. Its the past that will only fade over the next 4 or 5+ generations. This leaves PUL in a totally untenable position politically and socially. I had the ‘joy’ of experiencing the PUL panic attack twice, once from Jim Allister (finger pointing and red cheeks) and once at a polling station where i was told i was “worse than ignorant” for choosing to walk past the leaflet-toting DUP without saying a word. I asked why this is a problem for them and off they went, perma-tanned double-breasted-pin-striped-finger pointing FURY. Not so un-blatant voter intimidation that wouldn’t be accepted in ANY other part of the ‘UK’.
    The PUL ‘leadership’, whether its sharp suits or scarves hiding their faces (thats how proud they are of their culture – they cover their faces), need to start at grass roots. Something that PUL has COMPLETELY lost sight of. Their communities have lost any cohesion, and are eating themselves from within on drugs and violence. They are not taught to value education, consequently the anger is fulled further because all that the PUL community sees are people in positions of authority called Roisin or Sean. As we saw, one thing that the Nationlist community embraced, was the putting down of the gun, and picking up of the pen. The PUL community, in true-Brit style, has stood their and stamped its feet like a child thats had it (gerrymandering) sweets taken away. And now been left behind.
    This now leaves 2 or 3 generations of young men and women (I see them daily in my work with young people) disguarded, disaffected and angry.
    Who can fix this? Peter Robinson cant. None of the current PUL can

    What it needs is a motivated, educated politically savvie youth movement, and David Irvine to make a comeback.
    One of those things isnt gonna happen.

  11. Are you the catholic Jamie Bryson ?

    Take the facts of some extremist viewpoints which admittedly are bad. Apply those facts to be from EVERYONE who is an “other”.

    Do the same for “Irish nationalists”, “Catholics”, “republicans” ?
    So they are all dissident IRA?
    They are all of the same mindset?
    They all “exclude” protestants(brits) ?

    Cut the Jamie Bryson crap. A unionist is a person described by ONE IDEOLOGICAL IDEA.
    N.I should be in the U.K…. that’s all.

    And you had the hypocrisy to mention the nut pastor who said ALL MUSLIMS…bla..bla..

    Yet imply…. “ALL UNIONISTS” bla…bla…

    You’re acting like the Catholic Jamie Bryson.

    • He’s not talking about people who are pro-union.
      They are generally good decent fair people (and cross community).
      He is describing unionist politics and the article is spot on the money.

      • Thanks Mark.

        ‘Anon’, I’m (believe it or not) not criticizing every person who is
        pro-union. That’s why, above, I approvingly cite Brian John Spencer, and David Ervine.

        I’m criticizing Unionism. Not, as you say, unrepresentative ‘extremist viewpoints’,
        but the politics of our main party of government, the DUP, and the UUP, the
        TUV, the PUP, the UDP, the Orange Order, and flag-protesters like Jamie.

        Jamie responded to my article, on Twitter, saying Unionists want no
        surrender, which actually makes my point. Unionism is bound up in the
        pre-modern confrontational mindset of ‘no surrender’, desperately
        avoiding living with the Other in equality.That tradition: the assumption of natural authority and superiority (and fear of losing same) has simply run out of road in the modern world.

        • I am saying… don’t play their game. Which you are. Probably unknowingly but you clearly think and see “unionism” as a thing, more than a view to being pro-N.I in the U.K.

          Just because they CLAIM to represent “unionism” doesn’t mean they represent the people with the very simplistic “unionist” ideology on ALL issues.

          Jamie can say what he wants. DON’T listen to him. He wants you to think he represents all “unionists” or represents (a phrase they love using) the “PUL community”. Even the phrase “no surrender” is in relation to the attempt to get a “United Ireland”. It has nothing to do with equality as you claim.

          The DUP do not represent the people either. They trick people into believing they do. Use “vote for us or the others get in” strategy on “their side” and use the “unionist people” phrase to imply they speak for everyone to the “other side”. Maybe once they did but the underlying issues of why is now mostly irrelevant to how the majority live our lives.

          Even…..Look at the numbers. They don’t add up.

          REGISTERED VOTERS (about 71% (with 75% accuracy)) (85% at the very statistical most, but that is unrealistic, more 17 year olds and less old people = less registered voters than the census of 2011 would imply about 85%)

          Turnout in the 2011 Assembly election was 54.5%
          So…. 38.695% of people in NI voted
          —seats won—
          11.34% of voting age N.I put DUP as first preference.
          10.17% of voting age N.I put Sinn Fein as first preference.
          5.37% of voting age N.I put SDLP as first preference.
          4.99% of voting age N.I put UUP as first preference.
          2.97% of voting age N.I put Alliance as first preference.
          0.92% of voting age N.I put TUV as first preference.
          0.34% of voting age N.I put Greens as first preference.

          about 17% of the voting age population voted for “unionist” parties.

          They don’t represent the people.
          Claiming that 17% are represented is a stretch. Technically, maybe but in reality the people who vote are not always engaged in politics. Some “vote their own” out of the fear induced of “those others”, some are bigots, some are just segregated to unknowingly ignorance levels(understandable due to isolation from “the others”), some vote purely on the “union V Irish Nationalism” issue.

          Unionism as you describe and maybe see it, is not what you imply it is. It isn’t one thing that encompasses everything you just said. Also ignoring that some Irish Nationalists view “the others” as “sub-human brits who should leave Ireland” and also have “assumption of natural authority and superiority” is disingenuous to say the least.


          Rhetoric, Loaded terms like “Unionist Exceptionalism” and declaring that “Unionism” = DUP and UUP’s right wing ideology is wrong.

          What you say is “unionism” is your viewpoint of what you think “unionism” is.
          Sure…..if they are being retarded, bigots, extremist or anti-“catholic”
          Call out the DUP.
          Call out the UUP.
          Call out the OO.
          Call out Loyalist bands and culture.

          All those claim to represent all Unionists on all issues. Do they really?
          Calling out “unionism” is just wrong.
          Like calling out Islam for the factions within.

      • No. The word “Unionism” is wrongly being defined. The direction of criticism should be directed correctly and not at “unionism” per se. Read the first sentence.

        Unionism as defined
        “Unionism was founded on, and remains dominated by, fear of the Other,
        inextricably linked with regard of the Other as inferior. ”

        (“pro-union” for N.I ideology ) =/= ( “unionism” )
        I am an idiot
        you define “Unionism” differently

        All I ask of Colm Dore is this…Direct your criticism in the right direction.
        What is “unionism” really?

  12. A fair critique of what I would label “theocratic Unionism”, but Unionism is not an homogenous bloc. For example, you say “Conversely, republicanism is a modern ideology, flowing from inclusive Enlightenment ideals like citizenship.” And I am a persistent advocate of Enlightenment. But I also see in contemporary Irish history many pre-modernist-style sectarian killings done in the name of the ideals of republican citizenship.

    I know, you’ll likely reply with your the-wrong-drone-doesn’t-invalidate-Christianity statement.

    But there are plenty of non-theocratic Unionists out there. Those who are contented royalists and proud of the tradition of Westminster and parliamentary sovereignty. A United Kingdom of multiple nationalities.

    And the ideological division between a royalist and republican is a deep one. You may not like the Ulster brand of royalist, but I would expect converting any royalist to republicanism a Herculean task.

    If it’s behaviour you’re wanting to change, then yes, persistence with an equality and human rights agenda is key.

    But I expect theocratic Unionists to remain with us for a few more centuries yet.

  13. Fed up with this Hatred on

    The definition of “modernity” espoused by Irish Nationalists like this is that one has to endorse neo-Marxism/Jacobinism to be modern (something far off the original Enlightenment ideals). Of course people trying to destroy your country will never be considered “equals” – it’s an absurd notion, as with all cultural and moral relativism. When all Irish Nationalists want to destroy the right of the Ulster loyalist people to have a homeland then of course you aren’t considered “equal”. When around marching (something which actually IS there to celebrate such Enlightenment ideals) the only desire of belligerent Irish Nationalists is to inhibit the right of Protestant freedom of expression (even in absurd situations like Ardoyne when a parade passes a few m of shops) then it makes no sense to discuss something that is not up for discussion.

    As for “Unionist fury”, well, I think you are giving too much importance to the gutter journalism of the now INM-owned Belfast Telegraph who seem to hate no-one more than conservative Unionists (and hence have their sales dropping into oblivion). Also contrast the likes of the Irish News who take every opportunity to misrepresent and encourage hatred of Unionists, with the likes of the Newsletter who tend to only focus on terrorism to direct any anger at. It is obvious to any outside observer where the vast bulk of the hatred lies.

    • This post has just proved the point of the article.
      My question would be..
      Why do people who are clearly anti-British values (i.e. modern, multi-cultural, intellectual, freedom of religion, freedom of political expression and increasingly secular) want to be British?
      It seems like working class Protestants have been brainwashed by Orangeism/Unionism politics. Their views would be more at home 300 years in the past.

  14. I met the First Minister this evening, 17th June. He corrected my statement that he has not shaken hands with the Deputy First Minister. He assured me that he has. In private.

    Thus my substantive point still stands. A private handshake, because it is private, does not communicate to the Unionist electorate the basic message of human acknowledgment I refer to.

    Diane Dodds’s studied avoidance any human interaction with Martina Anderson is reflective of that enculturation.

  15. Twitter, June 19th:

    Mick Fealty: Is the Enlightenment ours now? What changed?

    Me: Ours? Like Truth, nobody owns it. Some are making a better go of it than others. Mainstream Unionism is hardly trying

  16. Craig McDowell on

    Brian John Spencer is intellectually expansive? This is a man who uses sources as an abstract artist would use a crayon, putting it down and hoping for the best. The man clearly has a derth of ability when it comes to intellectual thought with his inability to contemplate all sides of an arguement.
    His ideas are not new or cutting-edge, rather they smack of too-often-repeated monologues to friends which he thinks are smart but his friends think is mundane. Dynamic thinking is not his strong point, lets hope little Henry has a sharper mind when he grows up.
    There are those in Northern Ireland who I would disagree with but who truly have an intellectual edge to them, Brian John Spencer is not one of them.

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