The Price of Peace 531


I have never managed fully to understand the mechanism by which the media and political class decide when to leave a fact, a glaringly obvious and vital fact, completely excluded from public debate. That process of exclusion is a psychological, not an organisational, phenomenon but extremely effective.

Brexit continues to dominate mainstream political discussion, and the Northern Ireland border issue remains at the centre of current negotiations, forced there by the London government’s reneging on the agreement it signed almost a year ago. But there is a secret here, hidden in plain sight, the glaring fact driving the entire process, but which the media somehow never mention.

For the Tory right, the destruction of the Anglo Irish Agreement is a major goal to be achieved through Brexit. In this, they are in secret communion with their friends in the DUP.

Consider the 58 page paper by one Michael Gove, entitled The Price of Peace, published in 2000 by the Tories’ leading “think tank” the Centre for Policy Studies.

Gove argues the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement and the Anglo Irish Agreement should be annulled. And Gove concludes:

Ulster’s future lies, ultimately, either as a Province of the United
Kingdom or a united Ireland. Attempts to fudge or finesse that
truth only create an ambiguity which those who profit by violence
will seek to exploit. Therefore, the best guarantee for stability is the
assertion by the Westminster Government that it will defend, with
all vigour, the right of the democratic majority in Northern Ireland
to remain in the United Kingdom. Ulster could then be governed
with an Assembly elected on the same basis as Wales, and an
administration constituted in the same way. Minority rights should
be protected by the same legal apparatus which exists across the
UK. The legislative framework which has guaranteed the rights and
freedoms of Roman Catholics and ethnic minorities in Liverpool
and London should apply equally in Belfast and Belleek…

In such circumstances, resolute security action, the use of
existing antiterrorist legislation and the careful application of
intelligence could reduce the IRA to operating as it did in the fifties
and sixties. Combining such security measures with a political
determination not to allow Ulster’s constitutional status to be altered
by force of arms would rob the republicans of hope.
It can be done. But does any Government have the will?

Gove gets to this position through a statement of root and branch opposition to the Good Friday Agreement motivated by a classic Tory rejection of any role for the state in seeking to enhance social justice, and of affirmation that the rights of the “majority community” to rule must not be limited or mitigated. Gove objects to every measure of the Good Friday Agreement, including promotion of Catholic recruitment into the RUC, support for the Irish language, state support for businesses, prisoner releases and changes to the oath of allegiance to the United Kingdom.

It [The Good Friday Agreement] enshrines a vision of human rights which
privileges contending minorities at the expense of the democratic
majority. It supplants the notion of independent citizens with one
of competing client groups. It offers social and economic rights:
“positive rights” which legitimise a growing role for bureaucratic
agencies in the re-distribution of resources, the running of
companies, the regulation of civic life and the exercise of personal
choice. It turns the police force into a political plaything whose
legitimacy depends on familiarity with fashionable social theories
and precise ethnic composition and not effectiveness in
maintaining order. It uproots justice from its traditions and makes
it politically contentious. It demeans traditional expressions of
British national identity. And it privileges those who wish to
refashion or deconstruct that identity.

This view of Northern Ireland is shared by Gove’s colleagues in the European Reform Group. They may have accepted it was politically not possible to roll back the Good Friday Agreement in the last couple of decades, but Brexit and a hard border fundamentally undermines the Anglo-Irish Agreement and changes their whole calculation.

It is not possible to understand the current state of play in Brexit negotiations, without understanding that those effectively driving the Tory Party position do not view a hard border with Ireland as undesirable. They view it as a vital achievement en route to rolling back power sharing and all the affirmative measures which brought peace to Northern Ireland, in an affirmation of the glory and power of unionism.

It is no accident that Northern Ireland is the rock on which Brexit has foundered. It is considered Tory strategy about which, by that psychological mechanism I will never understand, the mainstream media has chosen not to tell you.


531 thoughts on “The Price of Peace

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  • Bert.

    Tory concern for the majority always seems to be rather a matter of political convenience.

    During the 1980s, according to many polls and surveys conducted at the time, a majority (usually and typically about 65%) did not want privatisation. Since then the figures have generally remained the same with the notable exception of the Railways which – while varying substantially) have gone as high as 92% favouring renationalisation. Nonetheless, there has constantly been a sizeable majority in favour of renationalisation. In spite of these numbers the tories had no regard whatsoever for the majority and went ahead time after time after time with their privatisation policy. But when it comes to Northern Ireland it is a convenience to the scum of the tory party to suddenly take on a new-found belief in democracy.

    In Northern Ireland, I understand, the key problem is having about 1/3rd Catholic with 2/3rds Protestant. But the tories – when it suits them – will become avid and unswerving democrats when it comes to Brexit means Brexit on a highly questionable majority of only about 2%.

    Is the judgement of the media psychological or political?

    In my mind it has been obvious for a long time that it is both political and political. It is political in that the the media know which side their bread is buttered and it is best to keep on the right side of the political powers of the day. (This has been BBC policy since John Reith declared it in the mid-1920s).

    It is also political from the point of view that significant decision-making figures in the media are paid so much that it is in their own best interest to generally support a right-wing point of view. When Laura Kuensberg was accused of being a tory shill during a by-election report some while ago it was reported (though I do not know how true it is) that she was on about £150,000 per year. That would put her in the top 5% of earners. According to Wikipedia her husband is a Management Consultant and we may guess that his income is similar or even much greater. Between them they may be in or bordering on the top 1%.

    It serves her purposes – and their purposes – collectively to espouse right wing positions. She and they probably quite honestly – and in enlightened self-interest – genuinely hold those views. At this point it might be suggested that it is the responsibility of the editorial staff to curb any characteristic bias that might arise. PROBLEM: the editorial staff are also on rather fabulous salaries.

    Bert.

    • Paul Greenwood

      on a highly questionable majority of only about 2%.

      Oh you mean the 2017 General Election where the Conservatives got 2.4% more votes than Labour ?

      So you do favour a Dictatorship with One Party To Bind Them All with say 97% Votes instead ?

      • Bert.

        Not at all.

        I find the referendum to questionable because the campaigning was seriously problematic; and the decision is perhaps impossible to reverse (or at least very difficult). I think it might be fair to say that the cornucopia of intractable problems that have arisen in the attempt to extricate ourselves from the EU has demonstrated what a bad decision it was.

        To me the silliness of the leave advocates is that, all too often, they want freedom of movement of goods; freedom of movement of services; freedom of movement of capital but not freedom of movement of people. Everything else in the EU is up for grabs; it is only the Four Basic Freedoms that are fairly well fixed in aspic. The leavers have no case beyond their objection to the freedom of movement of people and that amounts to a very disagreeable bunch who want it ALL their own way. It is said that politics is the art of compromise but the Right so often does like any degree of compromise and has long been resistant to compromise in Europe. Witness all the special conditions that the tories have forever wanted in EU negotiations.

        As for he 2.4% advantage of the tories at the last election; many elections are close, but at least we have the opportunity to change it in a few years if a sufficient number wish it. There may well be no opportunity to re-enter the EU when people finally realise what a catastrophe leaving will be. People are just now beginning to realise that we will be much weaker outside the EU than inside. Something I think the tories wanted; they like the idea of a country that is at the mercy of corporate power… rather than having an economy of 450,000,000 people and the largest single economic block in the world.

        And no, a Dictatorship of 97% wont help either. Nobody ‘really’ gets 97% in an election.

        Bert.

        • Paul Greenwood

          I find General elections problematic. The Parties get together to agree NOT to discuss certain issues in the campaign such as Student Tuition Fees (agreed between Blair and Major); Immigration (every time); EU (most elections until 2017). The Cartellisation of Politics was exposed by the BreXit Referendum. BTW the 1975 Referendum was rigged by the Government using BBC …….

          “Britain in Europe campaign declared spending of £1,481,583 (roughly £11.2 million in today’s money) while the National Referendum Campaign, the Out side, spent £133,630 (just over £1 million today). The NRC managed to raise only £8,610, apart from its government grant of £125,000.”

          Vote Leave 2016 was authorised to spent £7 million plus £600,000 Government grant. Cameron spent £9.3 million on a leaflet in favour of Remain and faced NO limits on spending before May 27.

          I don’t frankly believe political advertising has any effect for the same reason I rarely buy products advertising on TV. Since I was not allowed to vote in either 1975 or 2016 or 2017 I am wholly unswayed by these half-baked arguments

          • Bert.

            I agree that there are distinct problems with all electoral processes.

            I don’t know of a system that is guaranteed to work reasonably well.

            That they agree not to debate certainly subjects is obvious.

            Bert.

          • Muscleguy

            You obviously do not live here in Scotland. Both during and ever since the indyref the unionist parties have been in lockstep cahoots. In the last GE Kezia Dugdale then leader of Labour in Scotland openly urged Labour supporters in unwinnable (for Labour) seats to vote Tory to try and unseat the SNP. In Perth Labour canvassers abandoned their own candidate and canvassed for the Tory.

            From up here the differences which might be perceived as mattering between them look like you couldn’t slide a fag paper between them. Post the referendum Alistair now Lord Darling was feted at the Scottish Tory conference and obviously enjoyed it.

            There are very, very good reasons why the SNP do not nominate peers and will expel any member who accepts one. We have seen too many corrupted by the promise and expectation of ermine. It started of course with the ennobling of our Clan Chiefs which started the Clearances. Then came the Liberals, followed by the working class firebrands of the Labour Party.

    • Tarla

      The nationalists and Unionists are split very close to 50/50 now. That is why some in the Tory party are panicking over Brexit that may lead to a border poll being in favour of a united Ireland.

      • Bert.

        Okay. Perhaps some of my data is out of date. But there us a difference between the political position ‘Nationalist’ or ‘Unionist’, on the one hand, and religious position ‘Catholic’ or ‘Protestant’ on the other; even if there is a high correlation.

        Bert.

      • Paul Greenwood

        Well that would be fun with Ireland facing a 40% tariff on meat exports to UK to put them in same relationship as Argentina. It would also leave the Irish Republic with a huge legitimacy problem with so many British passport-holders unable to vote in their elections and who knows what might happen with such a large disenfranchised block ?

        anyway since it looks like Merkel could bite the dust by year-end and fresh elections in Germany, who knows what will happen.

    • Molloy

      .
      Great post.
      And. The brainwashed wannabe ‘elite status worthies virtue signallers’ frequently more toxic than fxascist shills. imho.

      Pure greed.

      .

  • SA

    Is it a coincidence that Power Sharing has also collapsed and that since January 2017 there has not been a government in Stormont? This is also due to the intransigence of Arlene Foster who is now propping (and holding to ransom) the current minority Government?
    It is incredible to behold how those who cry out that the will of the majority has to be respected when this does not seem to apply to parliamentary democracy.
    On a related matter I often wondered why Sinn Fein do not swallow thier pride and decide to join the Westminster Parliament and therefor effectively abolishing the government’s slim working majority that is leading this country to the rocks.

    • Paul Greenwood

      I often wondered why Sinn Fein do not swallow thier pride and decide to join the Westminster Parliament

      WELL, perhaps you should look at the 1918 General Election results and what happened. HISTORY LIVES. It would appear the sad state of education in the United Kingdom has people repeatedly tripping over their shoe-laces wondering why Other People tend to act in accordance with historical precedent

      • SA

        OK I concede ignorance of Irish history and thanks for that. It is interesting in this context that maybe Sein Féin is hoping to repeat this in NI were a majority may declare UDI and decide to join the republic. It also explains the current impasse with regards to Stormont. Maybe also a lesson for the SNP?

        • fredrik

          SA – ”OK I concede ignorance of Irish history”

          Let me help you out – WW1 ‘veterans’/criminals who the poppy celebrates to this day –

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_and_Tans

          ”The Black and Tans were not subject to strict discipline in their first months and, as a result, their deaths at the hands of the IRA in 1920 were often repaid with arbitrary reprisals against the civilian population. In the summer of 1920, the Black and Tans burned and sacked many small towns and villages in Ireland, beginning with Tuam in County Galway in July 1920 and also including Trim, Balbriggan, Knockcroghery, Thurles and Templemore amongst many others. In November 1920, the Tans “besieged” Tralee in revenge for the IRA abduction and killing of two local RIC men. They closed all the businesses in the town, let no food in for a week and shot dead three local civilians. On 14 November, the Tans were suspected of abducting and murdering a Roman Catholic priest, Father Michael Griffin, in Galway. His body was found in a bog in Barna a week later. From October 1920 to July 1921, the Galway region was “remarkable in many ways”, most notably the level of police brutality towards suspected IRA members, which was far above the norm in the rest of Ireland.[12] On the night of 11 December 1920, they sacked Cork, destroying a large part of the city centre.”

          Keep in mind a few things SA – this is the sanitized and sugar coated wikipedia version of events (ie the tans acts were ”revenge”, the locals deserved what they got), is a small window of British terrorism on the island (a couple of years), and these guys were far from the worst at the time. Rape, pillage and murder on a systematic scale.

          No wonder the para’s who shot dead civil rights marchers, men, women (one pregnant) and children and a Priest on Bloody Sunday are to this day laughing the heads off as they collect their pensions, free as birds. Its no worse than fox hunting in their minds. Sport.

          But remember this SA, Irish people, Catholic and Protestant, who protected their community from this level of British terrorism and responded to it are bad, bad people………..

          • IrishU

            Fredrik,

            ‘No wonder the para’s who shot dead civil rights marchers, men, women (one pregnant) and children and a Priest on Bloody Sunday…’

            All those shot dead on Bloody Sunday were men. No women were shot dead, pregnant or otherwise, and no Priest was shot dead.

          • N_

            I don’t think the paras shot dead any priests during the Bloody Sunday massacre.

            The recent British investigations have all been taking the piss. Strangely this is not true of the original inquest, where the Derry coroner Hubert O’Neill rightly described the killings as “sheer unadulterated murder”.

            Agreed it was like a foxhunt or duckshoot in that the victims were unarmed and the murders were preplanned. But it wasn’t a case of soldiers breaking discipline. The British government had an aim. They wanted to boost the IRA and put an end to ideas such as “alternative Ulster” which only a few years before had flourished in the epoch of 1968. If they’d wanted to they could have raided the entire IRA leadership and shot the lot of them which is close to what the Dublin government did, in 1923 if I recall.

            Prime Minister Ted Heath appears to have had a great time washing his feet in the blood of the Bloody Sunday victims. After the Tienanmen square massacre in Beijing (and massacres elsewhere in China at the same time), he scorned those who criticised the Chinese government, explaining that a good leader shouldn’t baulk at ordering people to be shot dead in the street, and comparing Tienanmen Square to Bloody Sunday, saying there are those who can only carp.

            I doubt that even Tony Blair would have talked like that.

          • fredrik

            Thank you IrishU for correcting my ignorance. I must have been confusing that event with another British atrocity.

            Did any of the soldiers end up in prison for murdering the men marching for their civil rights? or a court room do you know?

          • Paul Greenwood

            WW1 ‘veterans’/criminals who the poppy celebrates to this day –

            Thank you for your manifest hostility to those who fought, died, were maimed or left impoverished survivors of the Great War 1914-18.

            With attitudes like the one you just expressed no wonder the war was re-run in 1939

          • fredrik

            Hi Paul –
            ————–
            ”WW1 ‘veterans’/criminals who the poppy celebrates to this day –

            Thank you for your manifest hostility to those who fought, died, were maimed or left impoverished survivors of the Great War 1914-18.

            With attitudes like the one you just expressed no wonder the war was re-run in 1939”
            ————

            The ‘Great War’ was nothing more than a family feud between ‘Royal’ cousins, the Saxo Coburg Gotha clan (now some go by Windsor). If you want to white wash the needless slaughter of the poor working class across Europe (and some of your own unfortunate family members) with a poppy and a label ”Great War” for the privileged lifestyle of the ”born to rule” brigade that’s up to you. I won’t. I think it time better spent making sure my kids and grand-kids don’t end up cannon fodder for absolutely nothing. Who and what left them impoverished is the question you should be asking?

            And as you maybe completely unaware/uninterested, as there seems no regard for British crimes committed in Ireland against Irish folk, please spend a few minuted educating yourself as to what some of those WW1 veterans went on to do in Ireland –
            ————-
            Black and Tans – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_and_Tans
            The force was the brainchild of Winston Churchill, then British Secretary of State for War.[5] Recruitment began in Great Britain in late 1919. Thousands, many of them British Army veterans of World War I, answered the British government’s call for recruits.
            The Black and Tans became known for their attacks on civilians and civilian property.
            ————
            From the website you link to below yourself ‘Irishhistory’ it stated veterans with criminal records were recruited.
            ————
            See also – The Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auxiliary_Division
            It was set up in July 1920 and made up of former British Army officers, most of whom came from Great Britain. Its role was to conduct counter-insurgency operations against the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The Auxiliaries became infamous for their reprisals on civilians and civilian property in revenge for IRA actions, the best known example of which was the burning of Cork city in December 1920
            ———-
            (Note its the white wash wikipedia version so ever action by these British soldiers IN Ireland is framed as ”revenge” similar to the IDF taking its ‘revenge’ against 5 year old children. Would the IRA exist if not for occupation? No.)
            ———

            Irish people have every right to be hostile to a celebration of people/veterans who went on to murder, rape and rob their parents and grandparents. No ‘heroic’ actions that came before from those veterans you celebrate will ever legitimize the crimes they went on to commit in Ireland you seem so desperate to ignore or white wash.

            WW2 was not a re-run of WW1.

            @IrishU – it was the Ballymurphy Massacre a few weeks before Bloody Sunday were the Priest was murdered by the para’s. Shot in the back. Hopefully those days are long gone, even if the soldiers spend the rest of their days collecting a state pension. But arresting one ‘terrorist’ today (an IRA man) for crimes in ’70s while rewarding other ‘terrorists’ like these soldiers does not bode well for the future. Injustice breeds hate. Maybe this is the plan?

          • Deb O'Nair

            “Thank you IrishU for correcting my ignorance. I must have been confusing that event with another British atrocity. ”

            Ballymurphy, several months before Bloody Sunday, included women victims.

      • IrishU

        @Paul G,

        What aspect of the 1918 General Election are you referring to?

        Note that the Sinn Fein of 1918 is not the same party as those who currently use the name.

        • Paul Greenwood

          Did you see if Sinn Fein won any seats in 1918 or do you want to lie back and be spoon-fed ?

          • IrishU

            Ha – Sinn Fein won 73 seats under Éamon de Valera and refused to take their seats at Westminster.

            De Valera also refused to take his seats in the Dáil Éireann after the Civil War until 1927 but then changed his mind prompting a split. Provisional Sinn Fein also declined to take seats in Dáil Éireann until 1986 prompting a split. Provisional Sinn Fein abstained from taking their seats in the 1982 NI Assembly and the NI Forum before taking their seats in the new Assembly after 1998, prompting a split.

            So I ask again, what aspect of the 1918 General Election are you referring to and what relevance to the point raised by SA? As you say, history lives…

          • Andyoldlabour

            @IrishU,
            It seems as though the electoral system was as messed up then as it is now.
            Sinn Fein – 73 seats – 476K votes
            Irish Parliamentary Party – 7 seats – 226K votes
            Labour – 57 seats – 2,171K votes

            How does the UK manage to mess up politics totally?

          • IrishU

            @Andyoldlabour,

            It was messed up then for the same reaosn it is messed up now – First Past the Post voting!

          • Andyoldlabour

            @IrishU,
            Yep, I totally agree with you, and it staggers me that a lot of folks still insist that we were given a vote to have proportional representation – which we were not.

          • Muscleguy

            @Andyoldlabour
            And don’t forget gerrymandered constituencies. Note the current Scottish ‘PR’ electoral system almost uniquely I think has regional Party Lists. Pretty much everywhere else (except for federal entities). New Zealand for eg (4.5millions) has a national list system.

            That was gerrymandering because back when it was designed the SNP vote was pretty much concentrated in the SW and NE only. The earthquake still working its way through the Scottish system was the SNP breaking out of the regions and becoming a national party. The FibDems may still hold the Northern Isles but only just from the SNP in strong second place. The Western Isles are now solidly SNP territory. Labour’s heartland and birthplace, Glasgow is now SNP territory. Nicola Sturgeon takes Govan in Holyrood elections and the SNP now have more affiliated Trades Unionist members than Labour in Scotland do.

    • IrishU

      In a way, it is a coincidence. Ostensibly, the power sharing Executive collapsed over spiralling costs of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Scheme and allegations of corruption on the part of DUP Special Advisers and ministerial incompetence. However, as always with NI / Ireland, the story is more complicated. The Assembly fell for several reasons including, failure to agree an Irish Language Act, DUP intransigence over social issues such as abortion and equal marriage and of course the possible out workings of Brexit. Also, the ill-health of Martin McGuinness cannot be ruled out as a significant factor in the fall of devolved government. Despite his past Martin McGuinness was committed to devolution and the Good Friday Agreement and often acted to rein in the more intemperate members of his own party in a bid to keep the show on the road.

      There is intransigence on the part of both the DUP and Sinn Fein which is why NI has been without a government for almost two years. The DUP are enjoying their bit of power at Westminster and Sinn Fein, under a new leadership, are able to blame the Brits for everything while talking up a United Ireland. It suits both of them, for the minute.

      Sinn Fein will never take up their seats at Westminster, not while there is an oath of allegiance to the Monarch.

      • fredrik

        ”Sinn Fein will never take up their seats at Westminster”. You should have stopped there IrishU.

        The ‘oath’ is irrelevant. They rightly do not see Westminster as a legitimate seat of government in relation to the island. Why would they when it was never throughout history came close to being supported by the majority of the island? Ever. It was forced on them until it wasn’t.

        Irish people don’t care one way or another about British ”Monarchy”. Its up to English, Scottish and Welsh folk if they want to end or perpetuate the concept of ‘born to rule’, ‘master and servant’, ‘privilege v cannon fodder’ supremacist ideology in the 21st century. Maybe sometime in this century the great unwashed will get a chance to have a say on the matter. Maybe not. But it will be for them to decide, not the Irish. They moved on from that self degrading, servile. medieval concept long ago. They now degrade themselves in many other modern ways 😉

        • IrishU

          @Fredrik,

          There are more statements than I care to count from Sinn Fein MPs who state that the Oath to a foreign Monarch is a key reason for the policy of abstentionism.

          Also, quite a lot of Irish people care about the Monarchy in one way or the other. For a starter, there are the thousands of your Protestant brothers and sisters in the North. Then you must consider the thousands of Irish people who turned out to welcome Queen Elizabeth in 2011 and Prince Charles a few months ago. Sure even Mary Lou and Gerry have turned up for a handshake and a cup of tea when Charles is in town 😉

        • JOML

          As an aside, the ‘divine right of kings’ did not apply historically in Scotland. The Scottish kings and queens’ power came from the people… allegedly!

          • Muscleguy

            Hence King or Queen of Scots, not King or Queen of Scotland. The distinction is important and not just an historical curiosity around Queen Mary. It comes of course from the regular disputes over who would be king into which the English King would insist on sticking his oar in. Which resulted in the Declaration of Arbroath where the right of Scots to choose our own monarch and to choose another if one fails to protect the realm is asserted in surprisingly modern rights language.

            That ‘the people’ choosing were of course the aristocracy and the higher clerics and not the mass of the great unwashed gets ignored these days though I expect viewing modern Scotland with an educated and articulate populace the drafters of the Declaration would not cavil much.

        • Susan Smith

          The Scottish idea of monarchy as conditional contract between the monarch and the people was stated by George Buchanan and re-enforced by the Claim of Rights of 1689 which offered William and Mary the crown of Scotland because James VII had broken that contract. Whilst a monarch may be “born to rule” whether it is for life is another thing,

    • imagine

      SA argues: “Is it a coincidence that Power Sharing has also collapsed and that since January 2017 there has not been a government in Stormont? This is also due to the intransigence of Arlene Foster who is now propping (and holding to ransom) the current minority Government?”
      ——————————-

      On the contrary, it was Sinn Fein that collapsed the Stormont power-sharing government. And they repeatedly refuse to return. But don’t let the facts get in your way.

      Rather than always attack unionism (and what you describe as it ‘propping’ up of the Westminster regime), why not take a balanced approach, and address the unhealthy influence that Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA, have in the corridors of power in Dublin?

      • SA

        I am non-partisan outsider in this. But one must remember that NI is part of an Island where the Irish majority was colonised. I think following the elections Sinn Fein won many seats and the DUP are no longer a majority. The request was that Arlene who was perceived to be part of a mismanagement of certain deals refused to step aside as one should as one cannot investigate oneself.

        • imagine

          SA, I would have preferred partition never to have happened.

          But if we get into the whole colonisation discussion, where does it end.

          The Scots-Irish are in Ulster over 400 years. That is a couple of centuries longer than the Europeans who went into the USA. So what about the native American.

          The simple reality is that violence is not the answer. The IRA campaign, i.e. it’s most recent campaign lasting some three decades, did not achieve a damn thing…..apart from causing misery and suffering.

          • SA

            I tend to agree that violence is not the answer although when cool discussions fail sometimes it leads to violence. It is always difficult to determine when history should be the guide to a future of a nation in the modern world and there does not seem to be a statute of limitation as we have seen the claim that led to colonisation of Palestine. In addition some of the changes, such as those that happened in North America are irreversible in that the indigenous population has more or less been wiped out, but even today nobody in the international community is fighting wars to reinstitute the Red Indian ‘nation’ although a recent war in the Balkans created Kosovo.

          • Paul Greenwood

            I would have preferred partition never to have happened.

            Kim Il-sung
            Le Duc Tho
            Yasser Arafat
            Sherif Hussein bin Ali
            Robert E Lee
            Antonio López de Santa Anna Pérez de Lebrón
            Boris Yeltsin
            Hapsburgs
            Konrad Adenauer
            Konrad Henlein
            etc etc

      • fredrik

        You’re a liar imagine.

        ”Power sharing” has ceased because of one issue and one issue alone. The ‘Irish language act’ set out in the GFA being blocked by the DUP. Nothing else. No heated sheds, no parades. The denying of people to learn the native language of the island in school. You know, equality.

        You can teach Welsh in Wales, English in England, Gaelic in Scotland but not Gaeilge in the north of Ireland. Shameful.

        And the DUP are perfectly fine with the shut down as they now do not have to represent the remain vote returned by the people during the Brexit referendum. As I said, a liar.

        • imagine

          fredrik, Sinn fein collapsed the government at Stormont.

          And they have refused to return. Deal with reality.

          BTW what percentage of people speak gaelic in Ireland, and what funding was Sinn Fein wanting for an Irish language act?

          I am all for Irish being taught in schools. But if there is limited demand, then the budget should indicate that.

          • fredrik

            ”BTW what percentage of people speak gaelic in Ireland, and what funding was Sinn Fein wanting for an Irish language act?”

            After the attempted cultural genocide of everything Irish over centuries on the island, a minority. But its growing every day.

            Do you think prison or a death sentence an appropriate punishment for not speaking English in Ireland a fair and just law?

        • IrishU

          @fredrik

          There was no mention of, or provision, for an Irish Language Act in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

          Furthermore, no one is denied the oportunity to learn Irish – there is zero prohbition on the learning or the speaking of the language.

          If people can not speak Gaeilge in the North / Northern Ireland, how come there are currently 29 Irish-medium schools in Northern Ireland and a further 10 Irish-medium units attached to English-medium host schools? Of the 29 schools, 28 are primary and one is post primary, Colaiste Feirste. These are funded by the Northern Ireland Department for Education? (source: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/articles/irish-medium-schools ).

          Additionally, if people can not speak Gaeilge in the North / Northern Ireland why does BBC NI have both a Gaeilge collection ( https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/categories/northern-ireland/featured ) and a landing page for Gaeilge programming ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/2zY5c5g4LRgSP0s7cltV2Vl/bbc-gaeilge )?

        • imagine

          @fredrik

          fredrik said: “After the attempted cultural genocide of everything Irish over centuries on the island, a minority. But its growing every day. Do you think prison or a death sentence an appropriate punishment for not speaking English in Ireland a fair and just law?”
          ————————–

          I just don’t understand where you are coming from.

          If anyone wanted to (or wants to) learn Irish, they can do so in the schools. IrishU has already pointed this out to you.

          But if you want to take a balanced look at cleansing/genocidal issues, why not address why there are only small numbers of protestants now left in the south, since partition some hundred years ago……or why border areas in the north, along with places like Derry, have seen the decimation of protestants. Clue: intimidation, murder of protestants. You might care to address why the catholic church renounced mixed religion marriages, and forced any offspring to be raised as catholic.

          I despise religion. It, and it’s fans, have a helluva lot to answer for (and not just in Ireland). Thankfully people have started to see through our rich elite powerful rulers.

      • Muscleguy

        Because of the intransigence of Arlene Foster who still refuses to take the responsibility for the cash for energy scandal which she presided over the minister responsible. The intransigence started with the DUP but don’t let the facts get in behind your obvious blinkers.

  • Paul Greenwood

    To be fair the GFA “Fudge” was very similar to the Dec 2017 “Fudge” with the EU since you cannot erect a hard fact in the midst of Fudge. You fail to mention that with Stormont suspended Civil Servants are gaining an ever greater remit to”legislate” in N Ireland and make facts on the ground.

    It is tiresome – as one who could not vote but faces serious problems from a change of status – that may did not simply keep her mouth shut at Lancaster House and sidle into EFTA/EEA since the Euro Market is a large domestic market and the UK does not want to be part of a Political Union with these proposed EU Unemployment Insurance, Treasury, and Immigration Control. It was perfect as a solution.

    As it is I doubt Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Italy or Ireland can survive in the long term without access to UK Market and Fishing Grounds. Had Heath not given away fishing in his negotiations – given there was no CFP prior to the UK offering up such huge fishing grounds – half the issues would not have been so antagonising

  • kashmiri

    Brilliant one.

    The mainstream media prefer to go by quotes and stick with he-said-she-said reporting. Yours is much more of speculation – actually, pure speculation indeed as you offered no contemporary sources – even as it is clearly based on excellent understanding of the matter.

    • Molloy

      .

      Applying common sense and discourse analysis. What this blog does brilliantly.

      To suggest speculation is merely gaslighting and lack of awareness. Wouldn’t you agree?

      What is your point?

      .

      .

  • Ex Pat

    DOOMED TO FAILURE ! (*)

    Cynics in Ireland – anyone with a brain old enough to watch the war in the north for forty years – have long suspected thath elements of the British deep state would try to restart the war in the north of Ireland once ‘other commitments’ were out of the way. Commitments like murdering millions of civilians in illegal wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, and rendering prisoners for extermination in Uzbekistan “none of whom have ever been seen again” – Craig Murray.

    Here’s why the attempt to re-fight the war in the north of Ireland won’t work –

    1. Ireland is wise to Perfidious Albion and has worked extremely hard to line up 27 EU against little Britain.

    2. Japanese bankers in the City no longer have their Samurai British-prisoner decapitating and murderous torture spirit. They will not stick around to be blown up if Britain – soon to be just ‘England’ – reruns its spat with its former colonial doormat.

    – See comments 25 ‘Bandit Country’ and 38 by BlottoBonVismarck | April 27th, 2011 at 1:28 pm and 3:01 pm, Comments to ‘IRA vs Al Qaeda: I was wrong’, by Gary Brecher The War Nerd, 27th April 2011 – Exiledonline.com –

    http://exiledonline.com/wn-38-ira-vs-al-qaeda-i-was-wrong/

    (*) It is certainly ironic, but is it also just that the border in Ireland will be the detonator that initiates a Hard Brexit for Britain and the start of Break-up of Britain, forecast by Tom Nairn of Scotland in his book of that title in 1977. The same border that the British imposed on Ireland as a spoiler when Ireland initiated the anti-colonial movement with its rebellion in 1916 and won its independence in 1922.

    Mao Tse Tung studied the hit-and-run tactics of Michael Collins – the war of the flea – as part of China’s anti-colonial struggle. Ireland’s gift to the world and to their former colonial master. No change there, then! Brexit – You’re Welcome! ; )

    http://geekchicpro.com/2018/06/chain-vector-reef/photostock-vector-teamwork-concept-illustration-with-big-fish-chasing-small-fish-and-fish-group-chasing-big-fish/

    • lysias

      The border was drawn in the wrong place. At the time of partition, Fermanagh and Tyrone had Catholic and Nationalist majorities. Narrow majoriies, but real majorities. Those majorities are now substantial. They were included in Northern Ireland because the English held the unjust view that it was worse to include a Protestant in a Catholic state than a Catholic in a Protestant state. Also, they wanted Northern Ireland tobe a viable enterprise. So they made it as big as they could while maintaining a 2/3 Protestant majority overall.

      • IrishU

        I have never seen a record of any English Minister claiming that it was worse to include a Protestant in a Catholic state than a Catholic in a Protestant state, could you provide a source for that?

        The segregationist Unionists like James Craig wanted a state which was as large as possible to ensure its viability but without jeopardising a unionist majority, hence the abandonment of their peers in Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan.

          • IrishU

            To create a viable state as opposed to the four counties where unionism had an outright majority. Sir James Craig, his brother Charles and Sir Fred Crawford are all on record as having stated the necessity of including as much land as possible provided a unionist majority was maintained within the overall state to be called Northern Ireland.

            If you have a source for any English Minister during the talks in 1920 or 1921 claiming that it was worse to include a Protestant in a Catholic state than a Catholic in a Protestant state then I will happily consider it. If not then it would appear to be idle conjecture to lay the blame at the feet of the English as opposed to partitionist Ulster unionist MPs seeking to carve out their own fiefdom.

          • lysias

            And that meant disregarding the wishes of Ulster Catholics and giving sole weight to the wishes of Ulster Protestants.

          • lysias

            It was the English ministers who acceded to the demand of the Ulster Protestants. They obviously didn’t care about what Ulster Catholics wanted, and in so doing they cared nothing about majority rule.

          • IrishU

            Michael Collins also acceded to the six county proposal, pending the outcome of a Border Commission. Therefore according to your logic of attributing views without evidence, did Collins and the rest of the Irish negotiators share the same view as the English?

          • lysias

            When Collins, Griffith, and the others accepted the terms the British offered, it was under duress. Lloyd George threatened “immediate and terrible war” if they did not accept them.

            Rather different from the British ministers exerting duress by making the threat.

        • lysias

          If you look at Ronan Fanning’s 2013 book “Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution,” you will find plenty of evidence for what I say.

  • Sarge

    Why are Gove and these other English Tories so heavily invested in Northern Ireland? Is it not a massive net drain on the State they’re otherwise desperate to shrink?

    • Paul Greenwood

      Do you ever think in terms of Territorial Waters ? Is the population of Keyboard Britain so addled in complacency it cannot understand national territorial rights ? It is incredible just how other-worldly people are nowadays that they think the world is wrapped in cotton wool

      • Sarge

        Please link to where Gove etc have extolled the importance of NI’s territorial waters. Thx.

        • Paul Greenwood

          http://qub.ac.uk/sites/irishhistorylive/IrishHistoryResources/Shortarticlesandencyclopaediaentries/Encyclopaedia/LengthyEntries/1916LlyodGeorgeNegotiations/

          Is worth reading in itself. As for Gove, I have no insight into his private thoughts. I merely look at the objective facts and consider a war over The Falklands in 1983 to ensure a maritime limit in a sea with oil deposits.

          Without N Ireland is is almost certain the Irish Republic would have been invaded in WW2 and Occupied like Iceland especially given de Valera’s pro-Hitler sympathies and assistance.

          http://data.gov.ie/dataset/maritime-limits-irish-continental-shelf

          • Paul Greenwood

            A terse paragraph in the Irish national dailies on 3 May 1945 started the avalanche of international protest. Under the heading ‘People and Places’, the Fianna Fáil-backed Irish Press reported laconically that the Taoiseach and Minister for External Affairs, Éamon de Valera, accompanied by the Secretary of External Affairs, Joseph Walshe, ‘called on Dr Hempel, the German minister, last evening, to express his condolences’. The condolences were for Hitler who had committed suicide on 30 April.

            http://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/de-valera-hitler-the-visit-of-condolence-may-1945/

          • fredrik

            The Irish Times is/was a Pro Unionist smear machine.

            de Valera, having secured arms from Germany to facilitate the 1916 rising that he took part in and resulted in Irish Independence followed diplomatic protocol and was not the only one.

            Are there any video’s of de Valera running around the garden doing Nazi salutes like the Queen and her family as a child? Churchill like the British Royals supported Germany’s initial aggression west.

          • Andrew Ingram

            Expressing his condolences was a formality in order to retain diplomatic relationships with Germany. Any sympathy for Hitler resided with the opposition (which is now in Government). Ireland was neutral in favour of the Allies, RAF personel were allowed back to the UK while Axis pilots were interned. Ireland cracked German codes used by the diplomatic mission and the go for D-Day came from the Mayo coast. More than 3,000 Irish died and possibly 30,000 enlisted. All this happened on the watch of a Nazi sypathizer?

          • giyane

            “As for Gove, I have no insight into his private thoughts.”

            One clue is his contribution to agriculture after Brexit. The rich farmers will pay PR companies in the city to produce lavish brochures about their contributions to nature, while the poor ones will find themselves ensnared in barbed red tape for widening a gate half a metre or pollarding a willow tree that richer farmers long ago pulled out by their roots.

            He is a liar, he is a Tory and he is only interested in benefitting the 1%. Apart from that his head is empty as a blank page of finest Three candlesticks writing paper on the bureau of the varstly rich

        • Andrew Mellon

          he will not dare to mention it…as that lets the cat out of the bag.
          They know they will lose Scotland…they need to hold onto any waters they can.. The oil off the West Coast is as abundant as that of the East…just being held in reserve.
          Look how separately they are trying to push through Fracking without necessary planning.

        • Muscleguy

          And consider for similar reason why the fought so hard to keep Scotland in the Union despite continuing the fiction of us being subsidy junkies? We have the biggest, most productive fishery left in the EU. That a large chunk of it also sits over oil and gas is a sideline.

          Losing Scotland is more than just territorial integrity, history and international prestige. It is cold hard monetary realpolitik.

          It also means iScotland is very, very much a going concern economically.

    • Dungroanin

      Don’t ask Sarge. You’ll end up covered in crap if you go digging into that history.
      E.g. https://www.hiainquiry.org/ (Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995)
      “In the absence of a functioning Executive and without the necessary political authority, the report’s recommendations in Sir Anthony Hart’s report cannot be implemented.”

      That is just the tip of the Ulster iceberg.

      “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown”

  • Derek J. Smith

    Anyone fancy scripting a slightly darker “Drop the Dead Donkey”?

    I study the arrival of the notes, and I hear a coherent tune, but I cannot see the conductor anywhere.

  • Mist001

    Has the DUP asked Westminster for any more money? I would. A billion pounds is beginning to look a bit paltry.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Maybe they should ask for £39 billion ? I hear that s the going sum ! The billion was to be squandered on the inhabitants of N Ireland whereas the £39 billion was for lofty aims like building new roads in Poland and funding their logistics companies with new trucks and equipping their fishing fleet

    • Sharp Ears

      Described as ‘ransom money’ in this piece.

      This shoddy DUP deal will ultimately cost Theresa May far more than £1bn
      Martin Kettle
      The prime minister has just given every single voter in Britain a genuine grievance. If ever there was proof of her ineptitude, this is surely it https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/26/shoddy-dup-deal-cost-theresa-may-more-1bn

      See Damian Green there in the photo. ‘E’s gorn (sex pest allegations) and so have Owen Paterson, Theresa Villiers and James Brokenshire since 2010. Karen Bradley is the current holder of the poisoned chalice.

      ‘In September 2018 she was criticised for admitting in an interview for House magazine, a weekly publication for the Houses of Parliament, that she had not understood Northern Irish politics before being appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. “I didn’t understand things like when elections are fought, for example, in Northern Ireland – people who are nationalists don’t vote for unionist parties and vice versa,” she said.’

      Duh! Says it all.

      • Sharp Ears

        Who or what are Randox Laboratories?

        I noticed this on Owen Paterson’s Register of Interests –

        ‘From 1 August 2015 until further notice, Consultant to Randox Laboratories Ltd, a clinical diagnostics company, of 55 Diamond Road, Crumlin BT29 4QY. I consulted the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments about this role. From 20 April 2017, I expect to receive £8,333 a month for a monthly commitment of 16 hours. (Registered 07 October 2015; updated 26 April 2017)’
        https://www.theyworkforyou.com/regmem/?p=10473

        On Brokenshire’s TWFY

        ‘Name of donor: Randox Laboratories Ltd
        Address of donor: 55 Diamond Road, Crumlin BT29 4QY
        Amount of donation, or nature and value if donation in kind: Tickets and hospitality for the Randox Grand National for myself and my wife, to an estimated value of £2,000
        Date received: 14 April 2018’
        https://www.theyworkforyou.com/regmem/?p=11640

        Incidentally Brokenshire and Villiers (both ex NI Secretaries of State) are members of Conservative Friends of Israel.

        • IrishU

          Google: Randox Laboratories is a company in the in vitro diagnostics industry, developing diagnostic solutions for hospitals, clinical, research and molecular labs, food testing, forensic toxicology, veterinary labs and life sciences.

          A very successful company here in NI that has grown its business significantly in recent years.

  • jacobrichsnob

    Northern Ireland was created by the Brits in 1920 without any legitimacy, it was useful as it contained 80% of all Irish industrial output. Catholics and Nationalists were excluded for all jobs of any value, Gerrymandering of elections was the norm and many had no vote as it was based on property rights, The paramilitary police the RUC was 97% Protestant and Loyalist, they had a backup of the B Specials who were 100% hardcore Loyalist , many with links to the UDA and UVF involved in sectarian murders. The Stormont Government had their own Prime Minister with a free hand to rule as they saw fit without hindrance from London. The utter arrogance and criminality of this undemocratic setup came to a head in 1969 with he Civil Rights marches and British stupidity lead to the reactivation of the IRA and 35 years of war. Despite claims to the contrary the Tories do not want to give up their Colony in the North, as it would lead to renewed demands for Scottish Independence.

    • Andrew Mellon

      yep…make you wonder….who where the real terrorists….
      the misuse of that word in general language is constant.

    • IrishU

      @jacobrichsnob,

      NI came into being on 3 May 1921 – the Act which gave power the creation of the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland was the Government of Ireland Act 1920.

      Gerrymandering was certainly widespread, especially in the West of NI to ensure unionist majorities in nationalist council areas such as Derry / Londonderry and Omagh. However, the impact of voting restrictions were also felt by Protestants. Under the Government of Ireland Act, single transferrable vote (STV) was to be the method of election, North and South. After the 1925 Stormont election, unionists changed the system to First Past the Post, as Lord Craigavon, NI’s first Prime Minister, was worried by the increase in support for Labour and Independent Unionists who were outside the control of the upper-middle classes. He was expecially worried that Catholics and Protestants would vote on the baisis of class and not religion. Additionally the granting of votes to large companies also affected the Protestant working class. While there was an engrained sectarianism to the early NI state there was also a determination to ensure rule by the ‘correct’ type of Protestants – rural landowners or the professional upper middle classes.

      Without dates it is hard to credit the percentages you quote for the RUC. For example on establishment, many members of the Royal Irish Constabulary transferred to the RUC. This resulted in an RUC force that was twenty-one percent Roman Catholic at its inception in 1922. As the former RIC members retired over the subsequent years this proportion steadily fell, for obvious reasons of discrimination and withdrawal of Catholic support for the police / institutions of the NI state. However, I don’t believe that the RUC ever reached the point where 97% were Protestant, happy to be corrected if you have a source. (The figure of 97% comes from Seamus Mallon, SDLP MP and former Deputy First Minster). It is hard to overlook the fact that the RUC had a Catholic Chief Constable in the early 1970s and several Assistant Chief Constables of the same faith. Of course by then the old Stormont was on its way out to be replaced by Direct Rule.

      • Iain Stewart

        “He was expecially worried that Catholics and Protestants would vote on the baisis of class and not religion. Additionally the granting of votes to large companies also affected the Protestant working class.”

        My father taught at Queen’s University in the sixties and had two votes, one as a citizen and one as an academic.

        • IrishU

          How interesting!

          I forgot to mention the University seats. Until the electoral reforms carried out by Prime Minster Terence O’Neill in 1969, the graduates of Queen’s elected four seats in the NI House of Commons but did so under STV which enabled a few non-unionists to be elected.

          Queen’s was also a University constituency in the UK House of Commons until the abolition of such seats in 1950.

          • Republicofscotland

            Speaking of Queens, Queens Island, was constructed by William Dargan, using dredged up material.

            A shipyard was built, and Mr Edward Harland became the manager, which he went on to buy the yard in 1858, it wasn’t long before he teamed up with Mr Gustav Wolfe.

            Harland and Wolfe became the biggest shipbuilding company in the world. Building leviathans of the day such as, the Majestic, the Oceanic, and the Celtic. All for the White Star Line.

          • glenn_nl

            RoS: I’m curious: Did you just happen to know all this about Mr Gustav Wolfe and so on off the top of your head, together with the tens of thousands of snippets of information you’ve posted here over the years?

            Because I’m wondering if you really are one of the most well informed persons ever to walk the Earth, or if you consider it a duty (or perhaps think it impressive!) to do a quick search for odd facts on every last subject at hand, them dump them down dozens of times a day, as if you knew it all along.

          • Republicofscotland

            Actually Glenn, I read a lot, and sometimes I find the info I read quite fascinating, so I write it down. Then forget about it, until a comment is made that brings the item back to mind, in this instance it was the word Queens, and I recalled the island.

            So no I’m not the greatest of informed persons, nor am I out prove anything.

    • Sharp Ears

      Jacobrichsnob
      I like your handle! 🙂

      and never forgetting the evil of the Black and Tans in Eire.

  • Clive p

    This has been the Tory position since 1886 when they became the Unionist party to stop a mild form of Home Rule. As Lord Randolph Churchill said “Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right”. Again in 1914 when Home Rule became possible with the abolition of the Lord’s veto the Tory’s supported mutiny in the army and civil war to keep Ulster part of the UK and then gerrymandered the boundary in 1922 to make Ulster viable. Then a period of total neglect of the discrimination until the ‘troubles’. So most of the Tories will be quite happy with a hard border. Their real worry is that any special status for NI will make a similar demand from Scotland almost unstoppable.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Unionists defected from the Liberals under Joseph Chamberlain setting in motion the intergenerational Chamberlain-Churchill Rivalry which lasted until Nov 1940 when Neville died of stomach cancer.

      Just as the EU has no constitutional mechanism to allow countries to leave its “Union”, the United Kingdom has no mechanism for “Home Rule” under a Sovereign Parliament which is why the Dominion Status for India failed 1930s when a certain Winston Spencer-Churchill ran his own candidates against the Conservatives. Funny Chamberlain hated the name Conservative and wanted to rename it Unionist Party but was defeated

    • Mochyn69

      @ Clive p

      It is unavoidable that Norn Ireland will continue to have special status by virtue not least of all of the right to dual citizenship where the entire population will have the right to remain Citizens of the EU, rather than reverting to merely being humble subjects of HMQ.

      For we remaining Brits in the UK, unable to find an Irish granny in our pedigree, we will be deprived of our EU Citizen rights without our consent. I’m a little cross about this and am really disappointed there’s virtually no discussion of this issue in the MSM.

      PS Kudos for your whistle blowing coup and sacrifice. It was much appreciated.

      >

  • Komodo

    As a Brexiter (pause for sustained booing from the gallery) I’m an advocate of national sovereignty, national identity and national quirks and foibles freely expressed. The solution to NI, from the UK point of view, is to give it its independence and let the buggers fight it out among themselves, with the unrestricted option of becoming Orangia or part of Eire. This precedent would admirably suit the Scottish nationalists too.

    What Craig seems to be skating over is the fact that May’s very weak government is 100% dependent on the compliance of the DUP. That is, whatever contentious issue is put to parliament, the DUP has the casting vote. A little unfair to frame it as a Tory plot – and I am not a Tory supporter – when it is more a case of the NI Unionists having the whip hand.

    • Geoffrey

      I would agree with you and from what I understand Northern Ireland is heavily subsidised by the rest of the UK. I have also read read that Ireland, would not at the moment be interested in taking on the North with it’s bloated, subsidised bureaucracy, and Belfast would become it’s second largest city,seriously changing Ireland,the Protestant North would be a powerful influence. It might well be in the interests of the Uk to let the North decide what is best for them, even if that means uniting with the rest of Ireland.
      Moreover, I really find it hard to believe that any Tories really want to go back to a hard border, despite what Gove wrote when he was about 20 for who knows what reason.
      My mother’s side is Protestant from the North.

      • IrishU

        Geoffrey,

        You are working off some serious outdated asusmptions concerning the demographics of Northern Ireland with regards to the powerful Protestant North.

        Despite the suggestion of Komodo to fight it out. The majority of people here are quite content to operate under the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement – British until a majority at a referendum decide otherwise.

    • S

      “The solution to NI, from the UK point of view, is to give it its independence and let the buggers fight it out among themselves”.
      Seriously?

    • Iain Stewart

      “let the buggers fight it out among themselves”

      It’s just going to be loveable John Wayne in a balsawood pub brawl, freely expressing those quaint national quirks and foibles again!
      God Bless England…

    • imagine

      @Komodo

      I agree with a lot of what you say in your post.

      But why do you (and many) choose only to focus on the leverage of the unionists in westminster?

      Don’t you realise, the republican movement also holds major political leverage in the corridors of power in Dublin. If Gerry doesn’t like it, it doesn’t happen. And if Gerry is unhappy, we all know what can happen. They haven’t gone away you know, is the inference that all protestants can clearly detect from these people.

      • Komodo

        Good point, thank you.
        @ some others – I am not seriously advocating a return to fighting on the streets: I simply prefer to express myself pungently, and I despise PC-speak. I know very well that most Irishmen, N and S, desire nothing more than a quiet life and preferably a peaceful and prosperous one. Just like anyone else sane, and if that’s a stereotype there’s something wrong with your dictionary.

        It’s with that in mind that I suggest getting the fuck out of NI’s affairs would be in the interests of both Eire and the UK, while permitting NI to come to a working conclusion itself. It needs full autonomy to do this, even if only for the duration of the resolution process. The UK and Eire would meanwhile agree to accept and abide by NI’s decision, whatever it turned out to be. Three choices on the final referendum:
        UK?
        Eire?
        Remain independent?

        • Iain Stewart

          “But what sane man can deny that an Englishman’s first duty is his duty to Ireland?” George Bernard Shaw (John Bull’s Other Island)

          But isn’t it still the United Kingdom of Great Britain *and* Northern Ireland? If so, how does the UK get out of Northern Irish affairs? Would you explain (as pungently as you prefer) your (undoubtedly sane) Anglo-British reasoning?

          • Komodo

            With a considerable effort, should you accept the challenge, you may understand that by UK, in my context, I mean the UK without NI. How that is achieved, and especially by politicians, is an interesting problem, and I am delighted that you are seeking the solution from me. (Shaw, the rackrent Dublin landlord, is hardly going to be my exemplar). The first step would perhaps be to bang the NI politicians’ heads together while denying them access to the Commons: if Sinn Feinn don’t want to be represented there, it’s distinctly undemocratic to allow the DUP in. IOW, rescind the provision of Commons seats for NI representatives, while as a sweetener agreeing to fund or otherwise underwrite the resolutions democratically agreed in a revived Stormont. Much as, in effect, we do for Scotland. And we could then transition to an arrangement in which NI became self-sustaining (pause for hilarity) and developed a separate sense of national identity.
            I admit, I haven’t considered the problem in depth, but then, neither have you. That’s the joy of posting comments rather than Green Papers.

          • Iain Stewart

            Thank you, Komodo, for challenging my limited powers of comprehension. With my feeble means, which you identify accurately thus, I now understand that the preferred Anglo-British (admittedly shallow) solution resembles closely the Belgian overnight decolonisation of the Congo. Lower the flag (1) and leave the Natives to sort their tribal rivalries out amongst themselves.
            (I do like the bit about what “we” do for Scotland, which suggests that GB is a synonym for somewhere else.)

            (1) “There ain’t no green in the Union Jack,” as your chums might put it.

  • oah

    Latest census figures I saw for NI showed 40 per cent RC 41 per cent Prot and 19 per cent none or other. Couple that with the fact that Ian Paisley’s son is telling his followers to get Irish passports and you get a drift os change in the north.

    • imagine

      @oah

      yes, demographics are changing big time. Though it would be dangerous to just rely on a sectarian headcount re predicting an Irish reunification referendum.

      but as for the Irish passport thing – I travel extensively and have had an Irish passport for many years…..many Protestants do. Nothing new in that. I refer to myself as Irish….always have…..just like my parents did too.

      Any increase in the issue of Irish passports will, I imagine, be primarily linked to Brexit related issues….and folk wanting to be able to travel across Europe without needing travel visas.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      When / why did the DUP cease as the junior partner in Ulster unionism? Save their one MP what became of the Ulster Unionists? Foster is Church of Ireland but one third of elected DUP officials are Free Presbyterian. The DUP have held a steady and esoteric position on Europe from day one.

      https://goo.gl/images/1QoJ1u

      • N_

        Yes indeed. DUP support for Brexit is wrapped up in and motivated by precisely such an attitude.

      • IrishU

        @Vivian

        The decline started at the 2001 General Election when the UUP lost three seats to the DUP. This was compounded four years later when the UUP lost three further seats to the DUP. Unfortunately, at the minute the UUP don’t have any representation in the House of Commons. Simply put, the UUP paid the price for supporting the Good Friday Agreement. However, the crucial issue was the decommissioning of IRA weapons. 86% of those asked in the 1999 Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey said that either there should be “total” or “some” decommissioning before the establishment of the Assembly’s Executive. David Trimble forged ahead on the promise of decommissioning but Republicans and the British Government reneged on their assurances of decommissioning leading to a massive backlash form the unionist electorate and eventually the replacement of the Trimble and the UUP with Ian Paisley and the DUP.

        • imagine

          “IrishU

          balanced and spot on analysis.

          The great sadness for me, is that those who brought about the long debated and hard won Good Friday Agreement, i.e. decent fair minded catholics and protestants, in the moderate parties (UUP and SDLP), have been obliterated at the polls in the twenty subsequent years.

          The extremists have won the peace. Terribly depressing.

        • Vivian O'Blivion

          Many thanks for that.
          Yes I now have a vague recollection of the never ending arguments about who makes the first move and who loses face.
          So, availing themselves of the luxury of opposition, the DUP stoked the tribal fears and took votes from the UUP. Only for Dr No! to volte face and end up heading the legislative body he so vociferously opposed. I guess Papa Doc couldn’t resist a 2nd (or 3rd) salary. And we think the politicians on the East side of the Celtic sea are a corrupt bunch.
          Any skuttlebutt on the name of the nominee Snarlene put up for the HoL along with Boxcar Willie? The one the nomination committee rejected!

    • Molloy

      .

      Is there a risk here of reinforcing the estabxxlishment’s 1,000 year modus operandi , brainwashing intimidation bribery fake demoxxcracy and all the rest of it?

      Songs are part of the brainwashing are they not?

      p.s. I know it’s not intentional.

      .

      .

  • Terence callachan

    Well said ,Englands Westminster is devious ,extremely, it will cause war in any part of the world to strengthen England including Ireland Scotland gibralter ,I lived through the troubles in Lisburn County Antrim I was there in the mid to late sixties when my school was evacuated every week because of bomb threats and my local shops and swimming pool were blown up, when car bombs happened weekly and people were tarred and feathered .I have seen the British army in action firing what they called plastic bullets at people saying on the news that they couldn’t kill people but they did kill people, I seen the RUC behaving like the local gang with limitless powers.
    All this can return to Ireland ,easily, if Englands Westminster is given space and time to do it and make no mistake if it returns to Ireland it will return to England as well but the bombs will be bigger and harder to detect the expertise has grown, the Internet was born in its absence.
    Police on the streets of Glasgow the army on the streets of Scottish cities its possible Englands Westminster knows no limits it is controlled by money not by justice.
    If a Scottish independence referendum gave the YES vote 50.1% you can guarantee that Englands Westminster will send in the troops to stop independence and it will be rough ,very rough.

    • N_

      Well said ,Englands Westminster is devious ,extremely, it will cause war in any part of the world to strengthen England including Ireland Scotland gibralter

      Then you mention the RUC. I am quite sure you know that the RUC were never the lapdogs of England. Perhaps a few of them might enjoy the Lewes bonfire night celebrations if they were to attend, but for the Billy boys in a sense every night is bonfire night.

      Meanwhile, how they must laugh in the City of London (where the real power is) when they hear Scottish nationalists focus their criticism of the British regime on the wrong city, the City of Westminster!

    • N_

      If a Scottish independence referendum gave the YES vote 50.1% you can guarantee that Englands Westminster will send in the troops to stop independence and it will be rough ,very rough

      Take your head out of your bum.

      BTW are you referring to the British legislature or the executive?

    • IrishU

      @Terence

      ‘I lived through the troubles in Lisburn County Antrim I was there in the mid to late sixties…’

      If you are correct on the dates that you lived in Lisburn then I very much doubt the following:

      “my school was evacuated every week because of bomb threats and my local shops and swimming pool were blown up, when car bombs happened weekly and people were tarred and feathered .I have seen the British army in action firing what they called plastic bullets at people saying on the news that they couldn’t kill people but they did kill people…”

      The dates do not match the events described.

      • Republicofscotland

        Antrim, Ballymoney, where King James II fathered the lost princess named Dorothea. She’s buried near Portrush, by her half sister Queen Anne, who knows what might have happened if she’d outlive Anne and William III.

    • N_

      Two more things. Let’s take a typical English Tory deca-millionaire bracket inherited-wealth Clarendon school and Oxford or Cambridge alumnus and member of one of the St James’s clubs, with a braying Home Counties accent and a demeanour that’s practically asking for an act of viciously unpleasant violence to be committed against them by anyone who has some decent humanitarian values.

      First, the person may or may not be in favour of Brexit. Some of them aren’t.

      Second, we all know they will have utter contempt for anybody who speaks with a Scottish accent. But they have SIMILAR contempt for anyone who speaks with a Tyneside or Merseyside or Bristolian accent. I don’t just mean for members of the “servant” class, who in Bristol or even Oxford or Surrey or London itself will speak with “local” accents. I mean even for other rich bastards – even Tory ones – who happen to come from Manchester or wherever, who have got some nice little earners they oil at the Rotary, the masonic lodge, the local Tory party or the golf club, and who to the ears of most working class people living in the same area probably sound as if they are “southerners”. The ears of the said Tory of the kind I described above will be on the lookout for a local burr or a local vowel or perhaps an aspirated consonant that the other person probably doesn’t even realise they have got when they themselves lord it over their own peasants. This kind of Tory doesn’t drop its knuckles to the ground and favouring Tyneside or Merseyside against Clydeside! From their point of view, all of those places are zoos.

        • Molloy

          .

          Why not you tell us how many you would imagine (in the reality of) in a fasxxsh*t State?

          All off shore, naturally.

          Just asking.

          .

          .

      • Paul Greenwood

        This needs illustrating with cartoons. It is getting increasingly histrionic on this thread as the fetid foibles of the paranoid are paraded in print. What is “Clarendon School” ??????

        Which Clubs in St James ? You mean Oxford & Cambridge Club ? RAC Club ? Reform Club ? Carlton Club ? Having been in them all I find your “nose pressed against the glass window” routine ridiculous. As for your condemnation of the Scottish accent it probably did not affect James VI and certainly not Bonar Law or Ramsay MacDonald. It is far worse to have a Northern English accent than a Scottish one in the UK and certainly Northerners get screwed over much worse than Scots especially when public spending is doled out.

        Scotland has the population of Yorkshire.
        N Ireland has the population of West Yorkshire
        Wales has the population of Greater Manchester plus Liverpool

      • MaryPau!

        I like a conspiracy theory as much as anyone (why am I here otherwise?) but this is crazy talk. Still I am I intrigued by the frothing rant. What exactly is a deca- millionaire and what and where is Clarendon school, which is apparently turning out alumni who hang around West End clubs and get thrown into paroxysms of rage by the Scottish accent and indeed all regional accents?

        I should point out that Mr Paul has to visit these clubs for work ( he is NOT a member ) and I have occasionally tagged slong. I have no desire to join, I am probably the least clubbable person you could meet, but from my experience you seem to have a very strange idea of who the members are. If you really want to vent some spleen on the establishment. I suggest you take a look at the vested interests who form BBC Board and its predecessor the BBC Trust.

  • Tom

    I don’t think there is that much mystery about it. The Conservative Party and the media work together to divide the UK in any way they can, as both are controlled by the same billionaires and the military establishment on both sides of the Atlantic. Not only do they not baulk at causing division – that is actually one of their aims so that the public do not unite and turn against them.
    I believe the Conservative Party’s main objection to the EU is that it promotes nations and peoples living together in peace and security, which poses a huge threat to the modus operandi of their bosses.
    The Conservative Party are not so much a political party as a front which mutates to con people into voting for them while pursuing the same divisive objectives behind the scenes.

    • N_

      The Tory party was split down the middle over Brexit. It’s not an anti-EU party. But they are and always have been as xenophobic as f***. They hate everyone who’s not like themselves, starting with working class people in Britain. And I mean hate, not patronise or dislike.

  • Hatuey

    I learned many decades ago to supplant the word “peace” with the word “surrender” wherever I found it in the history books. If we were to be honest about that sort of thing, we’d admit that studying British history is really an exercise in learning when to supplant words words like that, and no more so than in Ireland.

  • DiggerUK

    Craig may claim to “have never managed fully to understand the mechanism by which the media and political class decide when to leave a fact, a glaringly obvious and vital fact, completely excluded from public debate” But after a career in the belly of the beast I don’t buy this ‘butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth’ routine.
    Patronage and peerage works a treat, nice fat cheques do just as nicely.

    Why he only questions the twisted news coverage of Ireland, but raises not one comment as to why Gibraltar and Cyprus don’t even receive a column inch in the UK media is astounding.
    Have any of you the slightest clue what the implications are with negotiations to brexit? Leaving the EU is easy peazy, sorting out the triumvirate of Gibraltar, Cyprus and the North of Ireland is worse than having legions troublesome priests to deal with…_

  • imagine

    Wow, Craig is quoting an obscure 18 year old think-tank paper. Any port in a harbour.

    You’ve got the cart before the horse. Your analysis is totally back to front. You believe (surprise surprise) the nationalist/republican propaganda coming out of the usual quarters in Dublin and the North.

    The Good Friday Agreement is not under threat from unionists. Instead it has been under attack, since the Brexit vote, by nationalists and their violent political bed-fellows, the republican movement. They take any opportunity to bypass the agreements we all signed up to in 1998.

    Indeed, as per usual, if they do not get what they want, there is the inference in the background, that the republicans will return to violence. Nothing new there, if we look at history.

    The Good Friday Agreement acknowledged that N. Ireland was a part of the UK, until a majority of it’s population said otherwise (via a future referendum).

    Craig, for once, try and put forward a balanced and fair assessment of the issue.

    • DiggerUK

      An 18 year old think-tank paper merely reminds us that if leopards change their spots, they don’t change their diet…_

      • imagine

        across history, the republican movement has used violence to pursue it’s political agenda.

        And the background threat, since the Brexit vote, has been that, if they do not get what they want, the republican movement will return to violence.

        A leopard does not change it’s spots.

        • Greg Park

          Would you feel equal disgust at English republicans violently resisting England’s occupation by a foreign power? Imagine……

        • IrishU

          To attribute violence in the pursuit of a political agenda only to those in the Republican movement is either a severe distortion of history or a display of complete ignorance.

          No one with an ounce of understanding of Northern Ireland takes seriously the threats of violence which emanate from either the fringes of the Republican movement or Unionism.

          • imagine

            I had friends, neighbours and relatives, murdered by the republican movement.

            Ordinary decent human beings targetted because of their religion, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

            My family were threatened, and had shots fired over our remote farmhouse, several times. We were protestants in a catholic area. They wanted us out. But this was typical across the North of Ireland – especially in border areas….but very evident too in Derry.

            The IRA (and it’s sister splinter organisations) were probably the most vicious terrorist organisations in western europe.

            Without the IRA’s violence, thousands of people would still be alive. There would have been no ‘troubles’

            You need to lay down the pot of republican white-wash for a minute, and get with reality.

          • IrishU

            @Imagine,

            The point of disagreement is not that Republicans used violence it is the implication that they are the only ones to have used violence in pursuit of political aims in Ireland.

            Plenty of people from Northern Ireland would have similar stories to yourself except that friends, neighbours and relatives were murdered by Loyalists or the state.

            So the correct statement is that without the violence of the Trobules, thousands of people would still be alive.

          • imagine

            @IrishU

            I think, truth be told, if we sat down for a few beers, we would find that we have a helluva lot in common.

            I have always endevoured to occasionally buy the Irish News, Sunday World, or some of the Dublin papers, to try and get a better understanding of the motivations of nationalists/republicans on specific issues.

            Most of my best friends are catholic. My family were always very close to all our neighours and helped each other when possible (dad farmed, mum was a nurse).

            Anyways, I raise a glass to your good health.

          • IrishU

            @ Imagine

            I am sure you are right – the sad thing about NI is when people actually talk through things rationally they usually find they have more in common than what divides them.

            Anyway, thanks for the response and the debate.

            Will raise a pint to your health later (shuttling south on the train so it will be a decent pint!).

          • imagine

            @IrishU

            for some reason, thesse past two times, the system won’t let me reply to your latest post. I have to go up to a higher tiered post, to find a REPLY button. Anyways.

            you had said: “the sad thing about NI is when people actually talk through things rationally they usually find they have more in common than what divides them. Anyway, thanks for the response and the debate. Will raise a pint to your health later (shuttling south on the train so it will be a decent pint!).”

            Absolutely agree. My best friend these past 30 plus years (we met at uni in Jordanstown in the 80s) is a catholic/nationalist. He has been saying the same as you just said i.e. the more he has seen of protestants, the more he has become aware that we have so much in common. The same day to day issues and worries……family, work, etc. I just wish the republican/nationalist movement had not demonised protestants. Their campaign has worked so well.

            The polarisation and demonisation of the troubles, disunited Ireland. I would have preferred partition never to have happened.

            If republicans had reached out to protestants, rather than murder them, a united Ireland would probably have happened before now. Decency, knindness and respect, goes a long way……whether that be from nationalist or unionist.

            Thanks for the chat. I enjoyed it. Enjoy your train ride. All my best regards.

        • SA

          “across history, the republican movement has used violence to pursue it’s political agenda.”

          But isn’t that what liberation movements generally do when they sought independence from a foreign power?

        • Molloy

          .

          Correction.
          For ‘republican’ read British**t Empire/monxxarchy and various coat-tailers (self-styled).

          .

  • Tarla

    The problem the Tory right have with their undermining of the Good Friday Agreement is the Irish government. Not for a long time, Charles Haughey nearly paid the price, have the Irish government stood steadfast in their resolve to stand up for the rights of nationalists in the north. Normally, the Irish government would roll over and have its belly tickled and allow the UK to do its damnedest. But with Sinn Fein entering the Irish political arena this has forced the Irish government to stand up to the UK.
    Ireland is the Achilles heel to Brexit in more ways than one. Northern Ireland leaving the EU fundamentally changes the GFA which was negotiated and signed whilst the UK was in the EU. With all the EU trimmings e.g Northern Ireland Act 1989 says no laws can be passed by Stormont that contravenes EU law, with the ECJ having the right to intervene and adjudicate. Leaving the EU means leaving the ECJ which will be against the Good Friday Agreement/ Stormont legislative operations and agreement.
    As this undermining of the GFA unfolds there has to be a vote due to the altered state of the agreement. A border poll. Trimble talked the other day about how a border in the Irish Sea was against the GFA but he didn’t go far enough in his explanation. He was deliberately trying to advocate that Northern Ireland shouldn’t have special status but by raising the issue he opened a can of worms. Because a vote for Northern Ireland to leave the EU is against the GFA, because it alters Northern Ireland’s status, and as such is null and void. Northern Ireland’s/UK court have been very reluctant to hear any challenges to the Brexit vote and the implications for the GFA.
    The upshot is a border poll is inevitable once the UK finally leaves the EU. That is why May is trying to kick it down the road and into the long grass bu agreeing to the whole of the UK staying in the EU for a time limited foreseeable future. But that has angered Dublin who have realised that the UK has not only reneged on their December ‘promise’ but will renege on any agreement.
    Not long now for Ireland to fully break free of the British yoke.

  • IrishU

    “Ulster’s future lies, ultimately, either as a Province of the United Kingdom or a united Ireland. Attempts to fudge or finesse that truth only create an ambiguity which those who profit by violence will seek to exploit.”

    In his first sentence Gove is correct. Unfortunately, the following sentence is undermined by the perspective offered by history. NI has been at its most peaceful since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, with all of its creative ambiguity. The men of violence have largely been convinced by the futility of armed conflict and bought off by government positions, in the case of Sinn Fein, or state funded non-jobs in the case of Loyalists.

    Republicans and Nationalists can see that they are riding the crest of a demographic wave. Soon, on the basis of religion, and associated implied political persuasion, they will soon be in the majority. That is not to say that a United Ireland is closer by default but given the implications of Brexit and the fact unionism is fragmented with the ‘leadership’ position given to the DUP, it is hard not to argue that unification is a more likely prospect now, than at any time since partition.

    • N_

      The men of violence have largely been convinced by the futility of armed conflict and bought off by government positions, in the case of Sinn Fein, or state funded non-jobs in the case of Loyalists.

      And others in the paramilitary gang structures made a lot of “tiger” money in the debt-funded building industry, in which the lowest level found steady work while the middle and upper levels raked it in in the 1990s and noughties.

    • fredrik

      ”In his first sentence Gove is correct.”

      No, he is not. He shows his ignorance of Ireland. Ulster is an Irish province. Full stop. The end.

      • IrishU

        I believe Gove’s statement to be correct. Northern Ireland will only change its constitutional status when the people of Northern Ireland vote to do so. Armed force failed in the 1940s, 1950s and from 1969 to alter that reality.

        Your statement is only true if one rejects the Good Friday Agreement, which is a curious stance for any forward-thinking Nationalist or Republican given the progress that Republicanism and the cause for unification has made since 1998.

        • IrishU

          Ok I accept your point but as we both know Ulster is an interchangeable term for many when discussing Northern Ireland, it is in that sense that I imagine Gove used it. I prefer to debate the substance rather than meaning behind the terms ‘Ulster’, the North’, ‘Northern Ireland’, ‘Eire’, ‘Derry or Londonderry, etc but in this instance you are perfectly correct that the six counties of Northern Ireland do not equate with the nine county province of Ulster.

          However, Fredrik, you should be careful when discussing ignorance. You were the one who claimed a pregnant women was shot on Bloody Sunday and that the Good Friday Agreement made reference to an Irish Language Act.

        • imagine

          @fredrik

          why are you being deceitful here? Or are you just being mischievous?

          The term ‘Ulster’, in modern times, is commonly used to refer to Northern Ireland. Of course, at provincial level, that is a different matter. But you know that, right?

          It’s ironic that you refer to others, such as me, as ‘liars’……when the reality is that your posts are full of non-truths, or major stretching of the facts. I see a lot of bigotry (and ignorance) in your posts.

          Thankfully you have Irish people in this forum, both nationalist and unionist, to keep you right. I have to imagine that you appreciate the corrections by people who live on the island of Ireland. 🙂

  • John2o2o

    “I have never managed fully to understand the mechanism by which the media and political class decide when to leave a fact, a glaringly obvious and vital fact, completely excluded from public debate.”

    … News International HQ (phone rings) “Good morning Rupert. Giles from MI5 here. You see this business about Northern Ireland … you wouldn’t mind just keeping shum about it would you? There’s a good chap. You know it makes sense.”

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    There is no chance for peace as long as the UK plays the game of being a serious imperial power.

    • IrishU

      Nice soundbite but I would enjoy reading your thoughts on how the UK playing ‘the game of being a serious imperial power’ has anything to do with modern-day Northern Ireland or the current issues around the Border post-Brext.

  • Sharp Ears

    The Michelin tyre factory in Dundee is to close with the loss of 850 jobs. The timing is dreadful, apart from anything else.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-46109213

    I see that they closed their Ballymena factory last year with the loss of 860 jobs,
    https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/northern-ireland/end-of-road-at-michelin-as-giant-tyre-exits-ballymena-factory-37264489.html

    Under that link there are ads for current vacancies at M&S for 300 Christmas jobs, 120 at KFC and 20 at Tribal Burger. Wonderful low paid jobs there for wage slaves. There is also news of a precast construction firm in Tyrone going into administration – Acheson & Glover – with the loss of 100 jobs.

    I am sure that everything is A OK in Tory UK.
    .

    • imagine

      Factories have been closing across Britain and Ireland for many decades. Why are you only noticing it now?

      Big corporations are flocking to low-wage, low-benefits, low-regulation and low-tax economies.

      It’s depressing seeing the poverty across Britain, and the west, in modern times. The so-called ‘progressives’ (make that ‘globalists’) have taken us back 200 years. Endless war, greed, and corruption….and manipulation of the media. There is no democracy or free press now.

      I was reading economic data a few weeks ago, and in all of recorded history, we have never had such inequality (as we see today). The rich are now super-rich…..and the rest of us are left with scraps. The middle class across the west have been wiped out.

      Thirty plus years ago, as I walked around city centers in Britain, I rarely ever saw homeless people living out 24/7. Now when I walk in every city center – be it Belfast, Edinburgh, Dublin – I see it.

      The elite have ruined the world.

      • Sharp Ears

        Of course I am not only noticing factory closures that are happening now. Just pointing out some recent ones.

      • Andyoldlabour

        @imagine,

        Great post!
        There are so many people on NMW (forget the mythical living wage), zero hours contracts, part time jobs, and it is totally down to the greed of employers coupled with the lack of protection for workers rights, particularly the rights of workers born in the UK.
        The big corporations/employers have access to an almost limitless resource pool – workers, which in turn drives wages down in many sectors – except media and politics.

    • MaryPau!

      Yet another victim of globalization. Being in the EU does not appear to prevent The Far East from dumping cheap tyres onto the EU market.

  • Sharp Ears

    The Times just now.

    Brussels to offer border compromise in Brexit boost for Theresa May
    updated
    Bruno Waterfield, Brussels | Oliver Wright | Francis Elliott
    November 6 2018, 12:00pm,

    Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, said that he was open to the idea of a “review mechanism” for the backstop Photo

    Brussels is preparing to back a compromise proposal on Ireland to resolve the last big sticking point in the Brexit negotiations.
    Senior EU figures have indicated that they are prepared to offer Theresa May an “independent mechanism” by which Britain could end a temporary customs arrangement with the bloc.

    The move comes before a cabinet meeting today at which Mrs May was to attempt to assuage fears among Brexiteers that the so-called Northern Irish backstop will be used to trap Britain into being a “never ending” rule-taker from Brussels.

    She was also set to, however, warn that a deal must be sealed by the end of this month if it is to be passed by parliament in time for Brexit day.

    paywall….
    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/brussels-to-offer-border-compromise-in-brexit-boost-for-theresa-may-jxfrcxfbt?

    • laguerre

      The EU wouldn’t have an objection to a mutually agreed review of the backstop, so nothing new there. It is unilateral withdrawal that they won’t accept, or a sunset clause.

  • MJ

    “the Northern Ireland border issue remains at the centre of current negotiations, forced there by the London government’s reneging on the agreement it signed almost a year ago”

    What agreement and with whom?

      • nevermind

        Our words and commitments mean nothing when we decide to run away more likely. Millions of Eu citizens democratic rights knackered, Irelands hardwon 20
        year peace reduced to a football, what a great achievement.

  • Molloy

    .

    Magnificent.

    Article shared with friends via email headed “faxxscist psyxops lies money, simply ignorance/empathy bypass”.

    .

  • Mark Rowantre

    An excellent article which exposes, as no article I’ve come across be fore that the GFA far from being the collateral damage of Brexit. Is in fact an intrinsic part of Brexiteer thought which welds two long running Tory themes in one. One is good old fashioned ‘Orange Toryism’ which is part of the menstrual fluid of Scottish Conservatism and is definitely a phenomenon which Gove would have encountered at an early age in his political trajectory and of which he is one of the loudest proponents. As you identify in your article Craig: opposition to govern regulation of human relations forms one of the most important shibboleths of RW free market philosophy and the GFA can easily be portrayed as the dead hand of government weighing down on the necks of free people e.g. the DUP and chums.
    Difficult to be categorical about this, but given the balance of probabilities the Brexiteers certainly on the right appear at the very least not only prepared to sacrifice the GFA on the alter of laissez-faire economics, but positively welcome it as a return to the ‘good old days’ and the devil take the hindmost.

  • Skye Mull

    There’s a general theme in these responses that seems to distinguish the Irish and ‘The British’. Since independence the Irish have made a point of this distinction. If Scotland achieves independence, who will be the British? The English and Welsh? Ireland is an island within the British Isles. The Irish May need to distinguish themselves from the Monarchy and the United Kingdom, but the reality is that they are as British as the rest of us.

    • fredrik

      ”Ireland is an island within the British Isles. The Irish May need to distinguish themselves from the Monarchy and the United Kingdom, but the reality is that they are as British as the rest of us.”

      Come on Skye, be more transparent. Next time just post ‘ Hey everybody, I’m here to troll too.”

      • Skye Mull

        That’s the first time I have ever been accused of trolling. Maybe you just don’t understand the logical point I’ve made. Or do you believe that only the English are British?

    • Paul Greenwood

      Britain is England + Scotland as an 18th Century Concept. Wales is part of England and the Tudors intended to merge it completely. Wales is not a nation but a Principality

      • Skye Mull

        Very old maps label these isles as The British Isles, as do modern atlases (and Wikipedia, for whatever that might be worth!)

      • Bayard

        You are a century out. The term “Great Britain” for England + Scotland was first used by King James 1 (of England) in 1604.

        • Susan Smith

          He was jumping the gun by pushing for the Union of the two independent countries a century before it was achieved in 1707. The idea was unpopular on both sides of the border in 1604.

      • Susan Smith

        I beg to differ – Britain is England + Wales. When Scotland is added ( 1707) it becomes Great Britain. When it included the whole of Ireland ( 1801) it turned into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and once Northern Ireland and Ireland went their separate ways ( 1922) was reduced to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

        • Iain Stewart

          The plural “United Kingdoms” was used by Walter Scott amongst others in the early nineteenth century.

      • Moine

        Wales is a country not a principality – The International Standards Organisation changed the status in December 2011, (ISO 3166-2 Newsletter II-3 (2011-12-13 corrected 2011-12-15 Page 27). If the UK government or the royal family had a reasonable objection to this, then I expect the status would have changed back by now.

    • Iain Stewart

      “If Scotland achieves independence, who will be the British?”

      Anglo-Irish always sounded like an oxymoron and I don’t think Anglo-Scottish ever meant anything, but the term Anglo-British has a nice tautological ring to it and shouldn’t offend the Welsh too much (being Brythonic). Our old friend Komodo seems to be a fine specimen of the best of Anglo-British, so it’s always interesting to hear his (too rare) comments once in a while just to keep in touch with his type of cerebral activity.

  • Jon Rueth

    Maybe Ireland should invite Russia to both join the EU and set up a naval and military base in county Donegal?

    • imagine

      @Jon Rueth

      there’s a thought! A big Russian base at Inishowen.

      Maybe the Dublin government could play the two sides off against each other – and sell the Americans early warning radars, elsewhere in Donegal.

      But truth be told, the Chinese have the money. I’d put the Inishowen naval base out to auction. Let the Russians and Chinese bid for it.

      • Bayard

        Sadly, the Chinese don’t appear to have much interest in establishing military bases abroad, having only one.

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