Monday, February 6, 2017

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Kane and Unable

Sean Mallory doesn't think much of the political views of Alex Kane.

As a guest speaker at the recent Sinn Féin organised conference on ‘Irish Unity’ in Dublin, Alex Kane writing in the Belfast Telegraph, 31/01/2017, gives an account of his heartfelt Unionist speech in response to the question, "Is an agreed united Ireland possible?" 

Kane, a journalist and political commentator and greatly deserving of those appellations, unlike many who usurp those professional titles for self-gain, is a person who's political opinion and writings would tend to be of a higher value and greatly respected than those of most his colleagues in his profession. 

He begins by informing the reader not to be in doubt of his ‘Unionism’ or to hold false expectations that his presence at the conference is a sign of a potential greening of a Unionist heart, that he is "an unashamed, unambiguous, unembarrassed unionist". Thus setting the tone for what was to come. 

He immediately and logically answers the question with a yes, by referencing the ‘agreed Ireland’ that exists today through the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) and points out that it would be absurd to deny that it would ever happen and likewise just as absurd to claim it as inevitable.

He goes on to point out that an agreed united Ireland:

...is predicated on a majority of voters in Northern Ireland voting to end the Union with the United Kingdom; ..... and, I suspect, it would also require majority support from voters in the Republic.

He then elaborates on the possible border poll voting pattern that will entail which unsurprisingly will follow long well established lines of tribal demarcation. He proceeds to outline that there needs to be a series of talks and discussions by all governments and parties involved to determine, if a positive in favour of unity result is returned, how would NI leave the UK and what type of Ireland will be created.

Kane goes on:

.....But Irish unity kills off unionism, reducing it to a mere cultural, political, electoral, constitutional curiosity ... The concept of joint citizenship - one way in which nationalists here can now retain and promote their Irish identity - is going to be enormously difficult to sustain if the UK is no longer in the European Union.....

Skipping aside the economic aspects of Irish Unity Kane goes on to highlight that for him personally it is all about identity and how that identity can be protected and promoted outside the United Kingdom.

I am a British citizen. I am content to be a British citizen. I want to remain a British citizen. My identity disappears in a united Ireland. I have yet to hear a persuasive argument for swapping my British citizenship and identity for an Irish one....

Kane finishes off with:

I still don't believe a united Ireland will emerge anytime soon. That said - and, unlike key figures within party political unionism, I am not complacent - there is a coherent, convincing case to be made for the Union. It's about time that the leaders of unionism here - indeed, across the UK - rose to the challenge and made that case.

When he set the tone by his strong declaration of his Unionism, Kane whether inadvertently or not, reduced the potency of his speech down to that of a leader of Unionism at an annual party conference who declares to those of similar mind, not so much as an inch. All the usual objections of the Unionist siege mentality were repetitively resurrected and fired at the audience to remind them that basically, never, never, never, was and still is very much the Unionist order of the day. No offer of quid pro quo for the croppy.

Calling upon the listener to understand his Unionist identity and how that was determined by where he were born, where he grew up and where he now resides, Kane passionately catalogues his identity with a Northern Ireland that according to him operated along normal societal lines. Implying a British Unionist Ulster that was/is equally shared through mutual respect by both Nationalist and Unionist. An identity swap that the majority on this Island were never properly consulted on.

That is, the conditioning of the public perception to accept a British defined and ‘sanitised’ account of how Ireland was partitioned and why. The true historical account is a far cry from this. And likewise the ‘Agreed Ireland’ that Kane refers to under the GFA, more a halcyon notion than reality, failed to materialise in concrete form. Once again a sanitised version of events was fed to the public and the application of continuing layers of cosmetic politics kept the deceit afloat.....that is until there were too many holes and not enough corks.

What Kane has achieved with his speech is to highlight the undemocratic position of Unionism with regards to Ireland.

Its total reliance on Britain for its existence, its astigmatic view of current political developments, its obstinate demands and refusal to accept parity of esteem, its arrogance of never the two shall meet, and their genetically inherited frontier fear of reprisal that comes from a conscious understanding of their own racial, sectarian, and bigoted position of authority towards and over all things Irish.

The call by Kane for Unionist leaders to step up to the plate and make a convincing case for the continued Union with Britain is a call that is made every 12th of July on the Orange fields of the North. Steeped in religious bigotry and racial hatred, the call is enthusiastically applauded by those brethren sober enough to listen! Unfortunately for Kane those Orange fields don’t welcome green shoots. His call is doomed to failure as Britain has less to offer now with Brexit than it did before.

The problem of answering the question, is that the question has been answered that many times before that it now becomes a moot point. Whether for an agreed unity or unity itself, its inevitability will only come about when the Irish people realise that they don’t actually require a predicated Unionist majority of agreement nor Britain's approval. They don’t actually need to concern themselves with how Unionism and its British identity will fare in a United Ireland– for Unionism, equality is a bitch!

18 comments :

Steve R said...

Obviously I wasn't at the conference, was there anybody there who tried to sway Kane's opinions Sean?

larry hughes said...

SF laughing off DUP bigotry and insults today would have been encouraging if not for the fact they have been cowed and toothless in the seemingly endless scandals of DUP fraud and scams at Stormont. It certainly will get to the stage unionism will be marginal and their consent no longer required. That is coming closer by the day. No longer a majority in their contrived six county state things are only getting worse for them. The DUP don't have a plan B. It seems all or nothing for them. So be it.

Wolfsbane said...

' They don’t actually need to concern themselves with how Unionism and its British identity will fare in a United Ireland'

IOW, Irish batons, bayonets or bullets will persuade the Unionists to be quiet or leave.

Yes, traditional republicanism is alive, if not well.

Wolfsbane said...

larry said:
' It certainly will get to the stage unionism will be marginal and their consent no longer required. That is coming closer by the day. No longer a majority in their contrived six county state things are only getting worse for them.'

Maybe. But at what stage would their consent be no longer required? 50%+ for a UI? Seems to me a risky business to expect Unionists to desert their cause with so little a margin. A certain receipt for a very disgruntled minority, doing its best to subvert the economy of the new state.

60% would be a safer margin, and 75% would mean a definite majority of Unionists consenting.

Maybe the case will go the other way - a re-uniting of the British Isles in a federal arrangement after Brexit and Irexit?

Or it will all be moot when we get the Caliphate. History looks so simple in hindsight!

larry hughes said...

wolfsbane

Small majority in wee 6 will suffice. On a 32 county basis that will be huge. The ties between UK/IRL are significant already. People from the 26 can go to UK and sign on and even vote in elections from what I know. Not to mention the trade and family connections. For too long the unionists have manipulated the religious issue for personal advantage. As for the 6 county economy being destabilised, what like as now with Stormont you mean? lol

Arlene thinks she still has a Presbyterian caliphate. She shall discover different.

Steve R said...

Hypothetical speaking,

Say a UI was voted for by a majority in the wee 6, would there ever be an Ulster Article 50?

You'd be sorted in Donegal then Larry!!

AM said...

Alex Kane is one of the keenest minds in Northern political commentary. I always feel I have learned something after reading him.

What was so startling (maybe naiveté on my part) is just how authentic the sheer bigotry on the part of Foster is. Others, I felt, played to the gallery a lot. Here, it seems the real thing.

larry hughes said...

Steve R

I think in a UI you would find Unionism/Protestant culture defended to the death by all and sundry. I certainly see less than zero chance of the types of comments from Foster Campbell etc being dished out re Ulster Scots or the Scottish connection. Tho I still expect two separate ferries would be required on Old Firm days. They don't transport Millwall and Hammers fans together now do they? No Article 50 any more than Scotland Wales or the wee 6 are getting preferential treatment on decisions of national importance for the Tory party. Or more accurately, no Article 50 for Lincolnshire or Yorkshire, so none for the Ards peninsula.

Wolfsbane said...

larry said:

'I think in a UI you would find Unionism/Protestant culture defended to the death by all and sundry.'

Like it was in the Free State/Irish Republic?


'For too long the unionists have manipulated the religious issue for personal advantage'

It has been a very big part of their argument to the electorate. That's because it has or at least had a factual basis. Your vision of a tolerant Republic was voiced by Republicans before Partition - but when they got the chance to show it...

I am more open to the possibility in the future - but as late as the 1980s a friend from a CNR background in the Republic warned me not to trust the resolve of the Irish people to ensure freedom for our Unionist/Protestant culture in a UI.



James Quigley said...

Why should Unionists or whatever religion dictate? If you want to bow to the queen or pope fire away but leave me out of it.

larry hughes said...

Wolfsbane

The Paisley rant about declining protestant numbers in the 26 counties is erroneous. Large numbers up and left to relocate North or to the UK or Empire nations for personal advantage. The RIC was gone along with the ascendancy and so were swathes of Protestants. COI churches in the 26 counties are full of plaques in honour/tribute to former parishioners doing well abroad. Usually military people. Personally I don't blame them for that any more than the famine Irish heading to wherever they could afford to get to. Or the Ulster Scots planters upping sticks and heading for better pickings in Virginia.

Considering the unionists are a minority just about everywhere outside of the Ards Peninsula and East Antrim and N. Armagh, how do you think Arlene's strategy has enhanced moderate RCs confidence in their 'place' within the union? Putting the border issue aside, is there not now a case for nationalist controlled councils to teach the DUP a lesson and freeze them out. Work with OU and other parties amicably but exclude DUP councilors from any position of office as policy. They should relate to that, it is their notion of 'doing-business'.

Lets face it, if unionists re-elect Arlene Stormont is dead and Direct Rule is back.

Steve R said...

Larry,

The problem is a large majority of the Unionist population still view the Shinners as something akin to the Gestapo, and that the Provisionals are still there ready to strike back at any time. The blind eye being turned to the Provo's buying 500 new Russian AKM rifles AFTER 'decommissioning' may not be highlighted in the media, but believe me most in the PUL community are aware of it, not to mention the taking out of Jock Davidson among others..

Which is why, regretfully, most of my community I fear will re-elect Foster and her group of clampits. I sincerely hope I am wrong though.

larry hughes said...

Steve R

I have never seen anything about 500 AKMs being bought. Seems like a small amount. I can envisage no need for them. A re-run of the the Larne gun running and UVF formation is hardly a prospect in 2021 or later after a future border poll. Were the AKMs being bought while McGuinness was holding the Chief Constables hand on the steps of Stormont and calling for informers? Fake news or alternative facts? I think you will find loyalist paramilitaries have been rather busy too and I don't just mean receiving government millions.

Regardless, once again 'the plank in thy own eye' is ignored by that law abiding decent unionist community. Oh yes that RUC law enforcing body of men and women, beyond blemish. Not to mention the UDR. The poor wee unionist community never put a foot wrong nor even insulted anyone. The fenian hordes endlessly scheming the down-fall of Stormont. Heard a guy on Radio Ulster today, wanting to talk about the UDR reserve. YES!! you guessed it.... they are wanting a pension... Aagh I can feel their pain, all those easy cozy little numbers gone forever. None existent, real jobs, will have to be competed for now with the better educated taigs. How utterly unbearable must that be. WATP never induced such merriment. Just listening to them wanting a wee pension was pathetic. Back dated from 27 years ago no less. PRICELESS... such loyalty!

I think the SF/DUP slogan should be SMASH STORMONT votail for US BOTH. If people don't vote SDLP/OU this time out I fear it could be the beginning of the end. The battle will go to the local councils after Direct Rule is returned and the DUP may see themselves excluded from all posts in Nationalist controlled councils. If not unionists altogether. Seems parity of exclusion may be the reality rather than parity of esteem ... the dream is dead.

larry hughes said...

Steve R

Here's the best election broadcast to date. I think it is class.

https://youtu.be/Pm8JzSVaB1c

Steve R said...

Larry,

"I have never seen anything about 500 AKMs being bought. Seems like a small amount. I can envisage no need for them. A re-run of the the Larne gun running and UVF formation is hardly a prospect in 2021 or later after a future border poll. Were the AKMs being bought while McGuinness was holding the Chief Constables hand on the steps of Stormont and calling for informers? Fake news or alternative facts? I think you will find loyalist paramilitaries have been rather busy too and I don't just mean receiving government millions. "

No doubt you are correct, I am sure I remember a cache of brand new handguns being found somewhere near Belfast awhile back, belong to Loyalists. And I got the numbers wrong drastically! It was 20 allegedly, not to say there were not more, but anyway, here's one link.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/1391654/IRA-rearms-with-Russian-special-forces-super-rifle.html

"Regardless, once again 'the plank in thy own eye' is ignored by that law abiding decent unionist community. Oh yes that RUC law enforcing body of men and women, beyond blemish. Not to mention the UDR. The poor wee unionist community never put a foot wrong nor even insulted anyone. The fenian hordes endlessly scheming the down-fall of Stormont. Heard a guy on Radio Ulster today, wanting to talk about the UDR reserve. YES!! you guessed it.... they are wanting a pension... Aagh I can feel their pain, all those easy cozy little numbers gone forever. None existent, real jobs, will have to be competed for now with the better educated taigs. How utterly unbearable must that be. WATP never induced such merriment. Just listening to them wanting a wee pension was pathetic. Back dated from 27 years ago no less. PRICELESS... such loyalty!"

Take a wee Valium there Mr Hughes! lol, I am only making the point of how they feel behind closed doors. Pension for the UDR? Sure the Northern Bank was the Provo Pension Plan until they got too greedy! lol

"I think the SF/DUP slogan should be SMASH STORMONT votail for US BOTH. If people don't vote SDLP/OU this time out I fear it could be the beginning of the end. The battle will go to the local councils after Direct Rule is returned and the DUP may see themselves excluded from all posts in Nationalist controlled councils. If not unionists altogether. Seems parity of exclusion may be the reality rather than parity of esteem ... the dream is dead."

Voting for SDLP/OU would be like voting for Father Ted and Father Dougal though! Careful now!

Will have a wee look at the clip a bit later cheers.








larry hughes said...

Stev R

That wee6 WMD fake news page you posted is unavailable. Mistaking 20 fake news guns for 500 is easily done I'm sure. In for a penny and all that. But I think it is appropriate you make the connection between a bank robbery and those part time, now unemployable, former UDR people wanting a pension for 'service' ending in 1990. Maybe that connection being made is some kind of progress on your part. Who knows, that massive plank may get dislodged yet. lol

As for the wee 6. Personally I think the likes of the DUP and their security sector hangers-on have fleeced the life clean out of the place for long enough. About 5 years of Direct Rule and Tory savagery minus EU funding for farmers should have us nicely placed for a border poll.

I heard a farmer from Armagh on the radio who had won his court appeal for effluent polluting a river there. His muck was inadvertently going into the river system and on appeal it was agreed it was accidental. The interesting thing is that the EU had suspended 50% of his annual grant amounting to £100,000. He stated this was not savings but necessary for running his farm. He also stated that the EU grant provided 85% of farmers income per year. Those DUP shower must hate the wee RCs an awful lot if they took that funding from their own voters over Brexit.

The future is bright, it's green and white. lol

DaithiD said...

Where are the progressives to point out that minorities cannot be racist against a majority ?

Steve R said...

Larry,

Maths was never my strong point, maybe I should be in the DUP instead!!! lol