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Political Sectaranism in Northern Ireland today

by Frank Schnittger Tue Jan 11th, 2022 at 11:53:50 PM EST

Unionist sense of entitlement still exerted in UK politics

In 1933 Basil Brooke, later Lord Brookeborough and Prime Minister of Northern Ireland said the following: "I appreciate the great difficulty experienced by some of them [Protestants and Orangemen] in procuring suitable Protestant labour, but I would point out that the Roman Catholics are endeavouring to get in everywhere and are out with all their force and might to destroy the power and constitution of Ulster."

A few days ago, in comments later endorsed by DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson, former Labour minister Baroness Hoey wrote: "There are very justified concerns that many professional vocations have become dominated by those of a nationalist persuasion, and this positioning of activists is then used to exert influence on those in power".

Neither comment would have been out of place if applied to Jews in 1930's Germany or African Americans in much of the USA in more recent times. They speak to a unionist sense of entitlement to the leading roles in the professions and civil society and a sense of horror that this is changing, despite the fact that this change is only reflective of demographic trends more generally, and a welcome increase in social mobility and reduction in social inequality.

I suspect that for many "of a nationalist persuasion" who have made it into the professions, the abiding sense is one of pride that they have made it despite there being no family history of such employment, with their background being seen as just another barrier which had to be overcome on the way. Indeed, many may have become agnostic or apolitical on their career journey and some may even have become unionist in their politics.

Baroness Hoey's crime is that she conflates all the myriad factors which can influence anyone's past, present and future allegiances and reduces people to their family and cultural background despite all their efforts at educational and professional advancement. One would have thought that any rational strategy to secure the place of N. Ireland within the UK would have included ensuring there is a large middle ground from all backgrounds benefiting from the status quo.

But no. At a time when Brexit has re-ignited communal tensions Baroness Hoey has thrown petrol on the flames and sought to divide the professions on sectarian lines - thereby ensuring that many who were becoming neutral or agnostic on the union have no option but to conclude that N. Ireland as part of the Union isn't working for them and that they must re-consider the alternative.

So well done Baroness Hoey. You have advanced the cause of a united Ireland more than any nationalist could by underlining how dysfunctional N. Ireland still is. It seems that attacks on people just because of their background are still acceptable to too many in N. Ireland.

Submitted as letter to the Editor to various newspapers. The Irish Independent has published an edited version of the letter here, and the Irish News has published the entire letter without the last sentence here.


'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 09:02:38 AM EST
A new Ireland? 1,000 leading people call on Varadkar to lead change | Irish Times - Nov. 4, 2019 |


Sectarianism blossomed in North Ireland much the same as in The Netherlands in the first six decades of the 20th century. Dutch Protestants didn't mix with Catholics, each bought groceries and bread in shops of their own denomination. Inter-marriage was considered sleeping with the devil in between. As boys we had fights with the other group using skates as fine weaponry. Going to the primary school in the nearest city Leiden, one had to run a gauntlet of rock throwing kids from the "other" school. Catholics in the 19th century were not permitted to practice their religion in public and were set back in education. As late as the sixties,a Catholic scholar would not get appointed as professor in Leiden or VU Amsterdam. Even today in Family Law and Child Protection Council is dominated by Protestants and their patriarchal culture of family life.

Recently I read some history of the Belfast Harland & Wolff shipyards and the role played in struggle for independence and the violence and deaths. Just as the Civil Rights movement is a hard struggle after abolition and President Lincoln until present day. Emotions and bad feelings have stayed in the separate communities. White supremacy in the US, England, South Africa and Australia has been a scourge for too long. The EEC project has suffered a serious setback with the advent of our new "partners" from former Soviet style countries.

After the calamity of 9/11 the division in society has been propagated through Islamophobia and Xenophobia encouraged by the likes of Ariel Sharon and Bibi Netanyahu. Each Western European state has its very own Geert Wilders, Filip Dewinter and Nigel Farage and growing populism. I am quite uncomfortable with politics in Brussels and The Hague today. In foreign policy Human Rights have been placed on the back burner in order to increase great wealth of the upper 1% and investment in weapons. There's is no policy in place for energy sustainability, climate change and investment in disarmament. Stop the propaganda to go to war!

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 09:09:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 09:10:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 09:17:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EEC project has suffered a serious setback with the advent of our new "partners" from former Soviet style countries

It is certainly true that some of the East European states have added little by way of progressive politics or positive economics to the European projects, but as you note, some of the older EU member states also have a chequered history in that regard. Ireland was a politically reactionary, church dominated, economic backwater when it joined in 1973. The EU has helped transform it into a modern liberal democracy with socially progressive norms and an advanced economy.

I am by no means a historical determinist, and there is no certainty that Eastern European states will go the same way. But I remain an optimist. Younger voters don't share the reactionary attitudes of many of their elders and some positive trends can be observed. It took Ireland almost 50 years of membership to become a positive net contributor in terms of financial support and political culture, so I would cut the eastern European states some slack!

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 12:33:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ireland was completely different issue ... still trying to get relief from the British colonizer. New Europe is a mix of countries freed from the boots of Communism and prefer to fight their former nemesis Russia with the might of the US, UK and NATO.

More ...

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 01:21:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One aspect of that story is that for most part it really was not the boots of Soviet Union but of an homegrown version of an ideology that they were freed from. And it was replaced immediately with another ideology that was to some extent even worse, so a narrative had to be created to prevent the old from returning ever.

Just like in Russia Chubais et al just had to destroy the very fabric of the society by absolutely horrendous privatization that they knew would destroy a lot of people and the nation, just to make sure people couldn't return to "communism" even if they wanted to. That is the main reason liberals poll so low in Russia even today - they have not been forgiven.

Not so many years ago I read in an article how many Eastern European women over 50 were looking back to the "good old days" when they had it better. Not necessarily materially better, but they had careers, positions, equality and dependable pension waiting. Today they have none of that.

It's not like these New Europe countries were the shining lights of democracy and liberalism before Red Army liberated them. The wave of leftism and reconstructing them was largely homegrown in 1945-47, until West launched the Cold War and all went to hell.

by pelgus on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 01:55:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I sometimes feel that East Germans, in particular, have never fully renounced the authoritarianism and totalitarianism of the Nazi era to the extent that West Germans did, as part of their transformation and reconstruction after the war. The Americans were regarded as genuine liberators, certainly when compared to the Russians and British. East Germany replaced a Nazi regime with an increasingly totalitarian communist one and some (notably the AfD) still hanker after the good old days.

I don't know how east German women, in particular, have fared since re-unification, beyond sharing in the economic disruption which made most of east German industry redundant. West German women seem to have achieved a high degree of equality compared to eastern Europe.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 02:36:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it took an East German to become the first Chancellor, eh? :-)

The article I referred to was talking about Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary, as far as I can remember. I don't think Germany really counts as Eastern Europe (at least not after WWII), although I'm the first to admit the lines are not very clear to me.

Nowadays I tend work more from the idea that there's Northeastern Europe, Southwestern Europe and an overlapping area between to the two.

by pelgus on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 07:05:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
William of Orange has a lot to answer for. We'll let his nominative hometown of Orange in Provence off the hook.
 I doubt that Ulster's Orangepersons know it, but  
the name owes nothing to the colour :
The settlement is attested as Arausio and Arausion in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, then as civitas Arausione in the 4th century, civitas Arausicae in 517 (via a Germanized form *Arausinga), Aurengia civitatis in 1136, and as Orenga in 1205

... Aurasingenmen?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Jan 14th, 2022 at 02:57:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris Johnson apologises over party he says he thought was a work event.

So that's all right then. Boris said sorry. He probably didn't inhale anyway. Carry on...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 12:38:27 PM EST
Now being trolled by a low cost airline:

by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 09:42:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Things have come to a sorry pass when even the bottom feeders look down on you!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 at 10:14:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 13th, 2022 at 09:57:30 AM EST
Hooey and RDE are both politiwhores, and the world would be a better place if they were de-platformed.
by rifek on Fri Jan 14th, 2022 at 02:07:16 AM EST
In an slightly edited form here today, almost two weeks later!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 25th, 2022 at 11:48:07 AM EST

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Jan 26th, 2022 at 01:45:26 PM EST
Is inflation higher in N. Ireland than in Britain, or is the increased cost of importing costs from Britain offset by the reduced cost of importing from the EU, compared to Britain?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 26th, 2022 at 04:33:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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