Friday, July 9, 2010

The Future shouldn't be Orange for Unionism

As we near "The Twelfth", I have a piece up on Open Unionism, arguing that NI Unionism's continuing Orange Connection ultimately damages it.

7 comments:

Chekov said...

Oddly I have something a bit related in the Irish News today arguing that the OO has generally been a malign influence on unionism.

thedissenter said...

Comments on OPenUnionism.

O'Neill said...

Chekov,

Any chance of posting at least an extract?

Stateless Person said...

hmmm. This things are interesting, but lets take a fictional character 'Séamus', young professional, plays hurling, plays the pipes, sends his kids to a Gaelic medium school, active in taditional dancing classes and community activities.

Could he be a unionist or even an active member of a unionist party?

I think yes, if Séamus lives in Skye or Lewis.

If he lives in Ballycastle the chances of his actually being a unionist are extremely slim.

Therefore, is there much point in unionism dropping orangism and the religous element?

Surely any unionist party going on ceaseful with regards to the 'culture war' would quickly simply go out of business?

Surely we could admitt that for at least some unionists the culture war and for others the religous war is more important than the union and 'Britishness' - the the UK sense.

Aren't you being a little unrealistic?

O'Neill said...

"If he lives in Ballycastle the chances of his actually being a unionist are extremely slim."

He could believe in the continuance of the Union for a number of socio-economic reasons, surely his geographical locatio wouldnt affect that fact?

"Therefore, is there much point in unionism dropping orangism and the religous element?"

I make the argument in my original argument that the predominance of orangeism in their parties damages the DUP and UUP in a number of ways; whether reducing that emphasis would persuade your hypothetical example to vote or even join either party is certainly open for debate, but do you not think it is worthwhile to at least try?

"Surely any unionist party going on ceaseful with regards to the 'culture war' would quickly simply go out of business?"

If you think the only reason people wish NI to continue as part of the Union is cultural, then "yes"

"Surely we could admitt that for at least some unionists the culture war and for others the religous war is more important than the union and 'Britishness' - the the UK sense."

I wouldn't deny that for a minute, but it doesn't include all and doesn't mean that we should at least examine the alternative options?

"Aren't you being a little unrealistic?"

Would you agree that a clear majority in NI wish the Union to continue? If so, that majority is not reflected in the numbers voting for pro-Union parties and it is in the interest of Unionists to at least consider why that's the case.

Stateless person said...

hmm, interesting.

But then again perhaps, leaving aside religon for a second, that it is the maintanence of Irish > Gaelic culture amongst the 'nationalist' population or at least strands of it amongst some of them that prevents full integration with the UK?

Perhaps by keeping up the 'culture war' as Nelson McCausland calls it nationalism can be defeated in the long term?

Or on the other hand, perhaps a complete ceasefire on the more 'Gaelic' questions and the adoption of a Scottish type solution could really undermine Irish separatism?

Who knows, I find it unlikely that it will ever be tried, I simply think that the unionist body politic as it is now hates Gaelic, GAA etc more than it values the union.

The thing is that most nationalists only speak English, dont listen to tradional music, many dont do traditional dancing, some dont play GAA - but every last one - even if they support the union - will vote Sinn féin to protect them.

I dont see confident modern British citizens, I see frointer settlers.

Then there is the religous question, even a marxist post catholic who has suffered at the hands of the church will still be really offended when that faith is attacked by unionist politicans - no matter how un mainstream they are.

I think you have your work cut out and are a little idealistic - but fair play for trying.

O'Neill said...

Perhaps by keeping up the 'culture war' as Nelson McCausland calls it nationalism can be defeated in the long term?

IMO, no, it removes the battlefield to one of nationalism's choosing.

Who knows, I find it unlikely that it will ever be tried, I simply think that the unionist body politic as it is now hates Gaelic, GAA etc more than it values the union.

The GAA isn't helped by the too close link on the part of some of their clubs to republican terrorism, the Irish language's development is hampered not helped by SF's support. Some Unionists will always hate both, undoubtedly, whatever the circumstances but there is a battle to develop a wider sense of what an Irish identity can mean, wider than the romanticised and occasionally sectarian one on offer in NI. Some Unionists are also playing apart in that development.

I dont see confident modern British citizens, I see frointer settlers.

There are a wide variety of BRitish citizens in NI, some probably would be proud to be described as fronteir settlers, but they would be by no means a majority.

I think you have your work cut out and are a little idealistic - but fair play for trying.

Anyone who follows a political party or ideal should be idealistic. But the basis of whatI'm arguing here is also rooted in pragmatism; Unionism needs change.