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POLL DANCING…

By ATWadmin On November 9th, 2006

The Northern Ireland Office – the propaganda wing of the UK Government here in Northern Ireland – just loves polls. Over the years it has been responsible for an endless series of polls that show..whatever it wishes to be shown. During the run-up to the Belfast Agreement – polls in rags such as the Belfast Telegraph were regularly used to try and influence public opinion.


So guess what – out comes a NEW poll today telling us that …more than half of the people in a BBC survey for Hearts and Minds (natch) support the so-called St Andrew’s Agreement.


And the detail? Well, 46% of DUP members support it, 32% don’t. (Has someone told Bertie Ahern – he’s been boasting around 90% of the DUP rank and file endorse it?) Of the UUP, 51% support – 49% don’t.


So, Unionism is massively fractured over the plan to put into place the Belfast Agreement Part Two. Good.


With around a third of it’s own members opposing the plan, and that’s according to the strictly pro-Agreement BBC,  I wonder will Peter Robinson and his henchmen continue to push for its implementation? 


When is the right time to sit in power with terrorists?


I would say NEVER – I wonder will the DUP say March 2007.

35 Responses to “POLL DANCING…”

  1. ‘Has someone told Bertie Ahern – he’s been boasting around 90%’

    I thought that the DUP were his source on this one.

    Polls…Smolls.. there all rubbish really.

  2. Bertie said that he believed it was around 90%, and a DUP "source" claimed 80%. All nonsense – all propaganda, but reported as fact by a biased media.

  3. Aye… media does play a role, always has and always will. The only poll that counts is the peoples one anyway

    Media reports seem to hint that they are backing off plans for a referendum on the agreement. A bad decision in my view if this is the case. Its not good enough to say that peoples voting habits will indicate their acceptance or not of the agreement.

    On a little side track here. But is there any talk of electronic voting being introduced in NI. Any views on it considering the farce its been in the ROI

  4. >> Bertie said that he believed it was around 90%, and a DUP "source" claimed 80%<<

    At a recent meeting in Lurgan, Paisley himself reported how the results of a survey of party members showed 92% support. This was obviously Bertie’s source.

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=713473

    By the way, you didnt factor in that a huge majority of Nationalist opinion would be for this agreement, which would mean an overwhelming majority of the people of NI as a whole support it. (BTW dont believe that mere 51% support among UUP members. They’d gladly go for much less if they were in teh driving seat)

    I hope the irony isn’t lost on you that your idealistic clinging to a principled position despite what the people of NI say or do is exactly the same blanket that kept Republicans comforted for generations.

  5. Cunningham

    I don’t recall David killing and maiming others in the name of that ‘comfort blanket’.

  6. "The Northern Ireland Office – the propaganda wing of the UK Government here in Northern Ireland"

    david, as an advocate of the status quo you just have no other choice but to swallow NIO dictat.

  7. >>I don’t recall David killing and maiming others in the name of that ‘comfort blanket'<<

    Of course not, Andrew. Nevertheless, a persistent refusal to face democratic facts is elitist and dangerous. All of Nationalist Ireland was also kept warm by a similar, ‘tho opposite, idealism for a long time, and you saw the excesses that that led to (one anniversary yesterday). Although I very much understand Unionists’ reluctance to have in government those responsible for much of these excesses, in the end a pragmatic and future-oriented approach to running the place is the only hope for NI. To soften their pain, Unionists should remind themselves that these men and women have a political mandate and that that mandate was generated not least by several decades of Unionist misrule and discrimination.

  8. >>The Northern Ireland Office – the propaganda wing of the UK Government here in Northern Ireland"<<

    Again, this is pure traditional Republicanism.

  9. I haven’t a baldy what this agreement is supposed to be about.

    Maybe it’s about agreeing to have an agreement. If it is, then I too support the pro-agreement parties in working to reach an agreement upon which they can all agree. And I reach out to those parties who do not agree to this agreement to agree to agree on another agreement upon which all parties can agree to agree.

    After a while, it all dissolves into nonsense.

  10. hugh, you should write scripts for a remake of yes minister.

  11. What it is all about is to lure the DUP into power sharing with terrorists. Plain and simple. Those who are dangerous are those useful fools who pretend otherwise. (Not you Hugh!)

  12. <<What it is all about is to lure the DUP into power sharing with terrorists. Plain and simple.>>

    We could argue over whether or not they are reformed terrorists, but that wouldnt get us any where.

    That aside, the basic premise of your statement is true, but we have always known this, everyone knows this.

    Its been the basis of a solution to the NI problem for every mainland UK political party for decades.

    Why ? well, because there is no accepted workable alternative. A security solution was never going to be the final solution, security was always about containment.

  13. David,

    Say the major NI parties got together and said ok, lets leave Sinn Fein out of this agreement because of their past. Its not going to happen, but just lets pretend it did meaning that former terrorists now cant be in government (again, were speculating here )

    Now, in this setting, how does the St andrews agreement sit with you now.

    Do you agree with

    1) Forced Power Sharing
    2) North-South cooperation
    3) Police reform
    4) NI parliament having security powers
    5) Financial input from the ROI

    Is it your belief that majority government is the only solution.

    In the scenario outlined about, there is every possibility that the SDLP could emerge as the single largest party in NI, as the Sinn Fein voters would possibly transfer support to the SDLP

    If i remember correctly, it very nearly came to being the biggest party in the elections following the Belfast Agreement, due to the fissions in unionism.

    Would you accept a government where the SDLP was the ruling party due to an election bringing about a result which put it in government ?

    Would unionism accept this ? Or is it a case of majority community rules as opposed to an election result majority?

  14. Of course the UUP and DUP could, through numbers, form a coalition government of their own, but with the insults that these two parties seem to trade between each other these days, I wonder if party politics might prevent this

  15. "Of course the UUP and DUP could, through numbers, form a coalition government of their own, but with the insults that these two parties seem to trade between each other these days, I wonder if party politics might prevent this "

    more than a fair share of centre/left leaning protestants would likely vote SDLP. me included.

  16. That’s actually a very interesting hypothetical scenario!

    However I imagine that there would still be howls of protest from many Unionist quarters, particularly the DUP supporters, because at the end of the day it’s not terrorists they want to avoid sharing power with, it’s Catholics/Nationalists/’TaigFenianBastards’ as we all know well.

  17. In that scenario, in a perverse way, Unionism would need Sinn Fein to exist and even to be in government. Its the only way to prevent a single strong nationalist party from forming. A strong nationalist party, up against fractured support in the major unionist parties, could have achieve major electoral success. And without some sort of pan unionist front, it would be entitled to single party government. Interesting

    To be honest though, neither side in NI would act responsibly in a single party government.

  18. Kloot,

    You asked me do I agree with

    1) Forced Power Sharing.NO.
    2) North-South cooperation. YES
    3) Police reform. NO – not sure what "reform means"
    4) NI parliament having security powers – NO.
    5) Financial input from the ROI – No.

    I also oppose a majority Government for the simple reason you outline. That’s why I end up supporting benign "Direct Rule" with NI MP’s agreeing or not on final decisions at Westminster. That would be the democratic safeguard and would stop swine like Labour hurting us all.

  19. -le sigh- Yet another split in the unionist fold coming?

    You combine this news with the article on DUP men phoning up Bob McCartney and you start to wonder if we have actually lost the plot.

  20. David, why on one hand do you support North South cooperation but on the other hand disagree with financial input from the ROI?

  21. Cheers for the reply David. I was beginning to think I was having a discussion with myself 🙂

    >>benign "Direct Rule"<<

    This would be where all power is exercised from London but with consent from NI MPs.

    Its purely a safeguard so.

    It seems like an extremely inefficient system. Would policy decisions for NI be debated in the UK parliament or merely enacted by it. Theres hardly time in the Westminster schedule for the proper level of debate to take place on NI issues. Decisions taken would not be as transparent as they would in a NI assembly.

    It also allows for undue influence to be placed on the UK minister calling the shots due to the political security of the governing party. Would MPs from the rest of the UK have any input on NI decisions?

    I duno, overall it doesn’t seem very democratic to be honest. NI people surely deserve more control over their affairs then that.

    On the North – South issue. Surely cooperation on trade, law, environment and transport, where appropriate, is not a bad thing, in fact its perfectly normal. Would you really have a problem with it if it was done in an environment of mutual respect ?

  22. ">>benign "Direct Rule"<<

    This would be where all power is exercised from London but with consent from NI MPs."

    Yes…

    I have to say, I feel the solution to the problem of rule in Northern Ireland, and more generally, the whole of the UK, is not to centralise power, but to devolve it further.

    I don’t understand how any Unionist can support the Northern Ireland assembly, or for that matter, the Welsh assembly and Scottish parliament. All three institutions and the constitutional context in which they where set up are unbalanced, unfair and threaten the existance of the United Kingdom.

    I say we look at the range of powers the devolved institutions have and settle on a set of them, get rid of the devolved institutions and take the powers down to local councils.

    See

    http://a-young-conservative.blogspot.com/2006/06/new-deal-for-devolution.html

    for a bit more on this.

    "On the North – South issue. Surely cooperation on trade, law, environment and transport, where appropriate, is not a bad thing, in fact its perfectly normal. Would you really have a problem with it if it was done in an environment of mutual respect ?"

    It is a bad thing. It signals that the ROI should have some sort of say in how N.I. is run. It of course should never, as a foreign power, have any say in the running of a part of the United Kingdom.

  23. <i>It is a bad thing. It signals that the ROI should have some sort of say in how N.I. is run. It of course should never, as a foreign power, have any say in the running of a part of the United Kingdom.</i>

    Actually thats a complete miss reading of the situation and is a very unfair assesment.

    It doesnt at all say that the ROI has an input in the affairs of NI. What it does do is acknowledge that NI has a border with the ROI. This means that there are issues of common concern in certain areas such as trade, transport, health, crime. To deny this is, well strange to be honest. What would happen is that 2 independent entities AGREE on issues of common concern. ROI doesnt dictate to NI that it has to implement anything, it has no right to and vice versa.

    A few examples,

    A guy knocks down an old lady in newry in his car and then fleas across the border. Simple question ? Would you expect the PSNI to cooperate with the Gardai in having this guy apprehended ? Is that the ROI having a saying in the affairs of NI

    Another, a pensioner on the border with the ROI suffers a heart attack, if the nearest hospital was in the ROI, should the pensioner still go to a NI hospital or would you think a mutual support agreement should be in place to allow for either option to be available.

    Foot and mouth breaks out in say Cork. Would you be happy if the UK government set in place a blockade of Irish beef but the ROI didnt bother patrolling the border, and instead let cattle from the ROI pass over freely

    I could go on all day with these examples. Thats Cooperation!! and nothing else and its something that happens every day of the week across the world between countries with and without shared borders.

    It is very wrong to portray it as anything else. Is unionism so insecure about its status that it cant engage in this kind of cooperation with its nearest neighbour.

  24. >>See

    http://a-young-conservative.blogspot.com/2006/06/new-deal-for-devolution.html
    <<

    Will, Ive had a read of this, but its major fault is that it only works on the premise that all of the member nations of the Union are of the mind of preserving the Union, and the problem is that this is not the case.

    I can see how if you were an English, Irish, Welsh or Scottish Unionist how this all makes sense. But it would be anathema to those in favour of, well, leaving the union. I dont think you can deny that there are large proportions of the Scottish and NI public who dont want to be part of the Union and who will always strive to leave the union. The union can only survive if the people support it and want it. If a majority of people in any of the constituent parts dont want to be part of the union, well then you have no choice but to let them leave.

  25. It is a misreading of what you meant on my part and for that i’m sorry. When people talk of ‘cooperation’ most times it ends up in giving the ROI a bigger hand in how things are done in Northern Ireland. (Take the all Ireland tourist board for example…)

    What you are talking about should not be happening between ROI and Northern Ireland, it should happen between the United Kingdom and the ROI as these are the nation states. the border is the border not between the ROI and Northern Ireland, but the ROI and the United Kingdom.

    Let’s look at your examples…

    "A guy knocks down an old lady in newry in his car and then fleas across the border. Simple question ? Would you expect the PSNI to cooperate with the Gardai in having this guy apprehended ?"

    An extradition treaty should be in place to deal with situations like this.

    "Another, a pensioner on the border with the ROI suffers a heart attack, if the nearest hospital was in the ROI, should the pensioner still go to a NI hospital or would you think a mutual support agreement should be in place to allow for either option to be available."

    No, she is our responsiblity and our responsiblity alone. We should not expect foreign nations to deal with our sick and vice versa.

    "Foot and mouth breaks out in say Cork. Would you be happy if the UK government set in place a blockade of Irish beef but the ROI didnt bother patrolling the border, and instead let cattle from the ROI pass over freely"

    Ah, but it is our responsiblity to patrol our border, if the republic failed to deal with their side there is always our side.

    See the problem is sovereignty and whether you are a unionist or not, you should be looking to protect national sovereignty in this age of globalization.
    Ok, fine, let’s cooperate, but not in a way that will compromise our sovereignty and undermine the democratic process.

  26. Will,

    Sorry I didn’t get a chance to answer your question from earlier but whilst I am all for good neigbours co-operating, I don’t quite know see why we need ROI money. Investment is a different matter – but business does that all the time.

  27. "Will, Ive had a read of this, but its major fault is that it only works on the premise that all of the member nations of the Union are of the mind of preserving the Union, and the problem is that this is not the case. "

    It’s not a fault at all and all the regions of the UK are in favour of retaining the Union. There is a unionist majority in the three devolved institutions and there is a unionist majority in Westminster so what are you talking about?

    "I can see how if you were an English, Irish, Welsh or Scottish Unionist how this all makes sense. But it would be anathema to those in favour of, well, leaving the union. I dont think you can deny that there are large proportions of the Scottish and NI public who dont want to be part of the Union and who will always strive to leave the union. The union can only survive if the people support it and want it. If a majority of people in any of the constituent parts dont want to be part of the union, well then you have no choice but to let them leave. "

    There are large portions of the Scottish (mainly the highland folk) and the N.I. public who want out of the union, however they are not the majority.

    I’m not about to go all partisan on constitutional balance and preservation of the Union. They are vital issues which need to be dealt with in a constructive, not destructive way. The current constitutional set up is deliberatly unbalanced to bring about a break up of the Union. I seek to preserve the Union, i’ll make no secret of this fact.

    Anti Unionists have played a dirty game for quite some time in their attempts to undermine the Union and end it. I’m not about to be naive and ignore that and I’m not about to underestimate the lengths they’ll go to achieve their goal.

    Just as the speaker will always vote for no change if there is a tie in the vote in Parliament, we should have a constitutional set up which favours no change and preserves the current set up.

  28. "Sorry I didn’t get a chance to answer your question from earlier but whilst I am all for good neigbours co-operating, I don’t quite know see why we need ROI money. Investment is a different matter – but business does that all the time."

    I’d argue that we shouldn’t have either. Any and all cooperaation that may take place between our country and the ROI should not be between ‘North South’ bodies or the Northern Ireland assembly, but between the Dail and the Commons.

  29. >>No, she is our responsiblity and our responsiblity alone. We should not expect foreign nations to deal with our sick and vice versa.<<

    Look Will, tell that to the person dying of a heart attack. Seriously! We dont have people lined up at the bedsides to convert the northern folk catholicism you know!

    I can hear the conversation now

    "Sorry love, the nearest hospital is 30 miles down the road in the ROI, but in the interest in preserving your britishness, il be driving you 80 miles in the opposite direction". Thats just plain illogical.

    I presume that you would also deplore the way that the Irish and British navy work together in their attempts to save lives at sea. The Irish navy and vice versa are often called out to save lives off the coast of wales or NI.

    >>What you are talking about should not be happening between ROI and Northern Ireland, it should happen between the United Kingdom and the ROI as these are the nation states. the border is the border not between the ROI and Northern Ireland, but the ROI and the United Kingdom.<<

    Eh, no. The realty is that NI has and again will be a devolved government. Any issues that need to be dealt with on an island level will and should be handled between the elected representatives of the Dail and the NI assembly. Thats an accepted reality by all politicians. Any issues between the Dail and the Scottish/Welsh assemblies are also done at that level. Any UK level issues are dealt with between civil servants at the Dail/Westminster level.

    >>See the problem is sovereignty and whether you are a unionist or not, you should be looking to protect national sovereignty in this age of globalization.<<

    You still have failed to explain how cooperation takes from sovereignty. You only loose sovereignty when you loose control over something. What seems to worry you is that westminster looses control, and the NI assembly gains control, and even though the people want this control, you feel that they are not entitled to it as all sovereignty lies in London not Belfast.

    Im not sure if you know NI politicians as well as you think. They want power and control as much as any other politician. The majority of NI politicians will tell you that devolved government is necessary for proper government of NI. Ask a NI politician or member of the public how they feel about the rates issue being imposed on them at the moment.

    >>See the problem is sovereignty and whether you are a unionist or not<<

    You see, this is one thing that unionists both on the island of Ireland and in Britain fail to understand. If your are a Unionist, you have a loyality to something you feel part of, ie the Union. Its something that you feel strong about and wish to protect. Fair enough. However, you fail to look at it from the other prospect. If your not a unionist then what are you. You still expect a non unionist to have the same loyalities to the Union as you do, you expect them to uphold it and to swear an aligance to it. But the whole point of, for the lack of a better word, anti-unionism is that you dont feel part of the Union, you dont have a loyality to it. This seems to be a hard point for Unionists to grasp.

    People call the Nationalists in NI traitors or sediotionists. If no one ever asked you opinion as to whether or not you wanted to be part of the Union, then why does it deserve your allegience.

    Now dont get me wrong. Im not one of your raving mad republicans. I actually think scotland should think twice before leaving the union, all break ups can be painful, but I can still understand why they might want to control their own affairs. Its about national pride and identity.

  30. "Look Will, tell that to the person dying of a heart attack. Seriously! We dont have people lined up at the bedsides to convert the northern folk catholicism you know!"

    I object to foriegners coming and using our health service, I won’t be hypocritcal and expect a foriegn nation to do the same for our citizens. In fact it is agreements like the one you have suggested that has turned the UK into one of ‘the’ destinations for ‘health tourists’.

    "Eh, no. The realty is that NI has and again will be a devolved government. Any issues that need to be dealt with on an island level will and should be handled between the elected representatives of the Dail and the NI assembly. Thats an accepted reality by all politicians. Any issues between the Dail and the Scottish/Welsh assemblies are also done at that level. Any UK level issues are dealt with between civil servants at the Dail/Westminster level."

    IF, and only IF things work out with the St andrew’s agreement. As things stand we have direct rule. Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom, correct? Now, who has a higher authority? Wesminster or the NI Assembly? That would be Westminster. Who has a national authorty over the United Kingdom and it’s borders? NI Assembly or Westminster? Again it is Westminster. I assert that it is Westminser, and Westminster along that has the authority and the operational capability to deal with international issues, because that is what cooperation across the border is, it is international cooperation. We shouldn’t forget that, even if you would have us do so.

    "Im not sure if you know NI politicians as well as you think. They want power and control as much as any other politician. The majority of NI politicians will tell you that devolved government is necessary for proper government of NI. Ask a NI politician or member of the public how they feel about the rates issue being imposed on them at the moment."

    I’m well aware of the fact that every politican in N.I. is simply looking for more power. A perfect example is Ian Pasiley who created his own political party and, in fact his own church in the pursuit of power.

    Now, this is an interesting thing. You confuse international issues with local government funding issues (perhaps deliberately). Northern Ireland says it wants an assembly to fix the issue of rates however what it wants, what it really needs is strong local councils who are financially responsible and also indepenent of Whitehall to set their rates.

    "You see, this is one thing that unionists both on the island of Ireland and in Britain fail to understand. If your are a Unionist, you have a loyality to something you feel part of, ie the Union. Its something that you feel strong about and wish to protect. Fair enough. However, you fail to look at it from the other prospect."

    I don’t care and have no need to look at ‘the other side of the coin’. We’ve all seen what has driven republicans in Northern Ireland over the last 30 years. violence, hate, semi-geneocial tendancies is what has driven Irish republicanism. And on the mainland we have seen dirty tactics from anti unionists in the form of deliberalty unfair constitutional set ups. Those who shot and murdered people from the Roman Catholic Church on the Newtownards Road on the 28th of September 1970 didn’t consider why those people they killed where unionist, they just murdered them because of it; those who pushed for the constitutional cock up we now see in the United Kingdom didn’t care about the Unionist perspective when they brought it in; those who murdered all those UDR and RUC men on and off duty didn’t think about why they joined those defence forces. Now, I ask you, why should I give a damn about what some IRA man from the Short Strand thinks when it comes to my country, a country he wants to destroy?

    "If your not a unionist then what are you. You still expect a non unionist to have the same loyalities to the Union as you do, you expect them to uphold it and to swear an aligance to it."

    In the case of republicans in Northern Ireland don’t expect them to have any loyalities to the country at all,
    But the whole point of, for the lack of a better word, anti-unionism is that you dont feel part of the Union, you dont have a loyality to it. This seems to be a hard point for Unionists to grasp.

    People call the Nationalists in NI traitors or sediotionists. If no one ever asked you opinion as to whether or not you wanted to be part of the Union, then why does it deserve your allegience.

    Now dont get me wrong. Im not one of your raving mad republicans. I actually think scotland should think twice before leaving the union, all break ups can be painful, but I can still understand why they might want to control their own affairs. Its about national pride and identity.

  31. (PLEASE IGNORE THE ABOVE. I made a wee bit of a cock up, I hit enter before I was done! XD)

    "Look Will, tell that to the person dying of a heart attack. Seriously! We dont have people lined up at the bedsides to convert the northern folk catholicism you know!"

    I object to foreigners coming and using our health service, I won’t be hypocritical and expect a foreign nation to do the same for our citizens. In fact it is agreements like the one you have suggested that has turned the UK into one of ‘the’ destinations for ‘health tourists’.

    "Eh, no. The realty is that NI has and again will be a devolved government. Any issues that need to be dealt with on an island level will and should be handled between the elected representatives of the Dail and the NI assembly. Thats an accepted reality by all politicians. Any issues between the Dail and the Scottish/Welsh assemblies are also done at that level. Any UK level issues are dealt with between civil servants at the Dail/Westminster level."

    IF, and only IF things work out with the St Andrew’s agreement. As things stand we have direct rule. Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom, correct? Now, who has a higher authority? Westminster or the NI Assembly? That would be Westminster. Who has a national authority over the United Kingdom and it’s borders? NI Assembly or Westminster? Again it is Westminster. I assert that it is Westminster, and Westminster along that has the authority and the operational capability to deal with international issues, because that is what cooperation across the border is, it is international cooperation. We shouldn’t forget that, even if you would have us do so.

    "Im not sure if you know NI politicians as well as you think. They want power and control as much as any other politician. The majority of NI politicians will tell you that devolved government is necessary for proper government of NI. Ask a NI politician or member of the public how they feel about the rates issue being imposed on them at the moment."

    I’m well aware of the fact that every politician in N.I. is simply looking for more power. A perfect example is Ian Paisley who created his own political party and, in fact his own church in the pursuit of power.

    Now, this is an interesting thing. You confuse international issues with local government funding issues (perhaps deliberately). Northern Ireland says it wants an assembly to fix the issue of rates however what it wants, what it really needs is strong local councils who are financially responsible and also independent of Whitehall to set their rates.

    "You see, this is one thing that unionists both on the island of Ireland and in Britain fail to understand. If your are a Unionist, you have a loyality to something you feel part of, ie the Union. Its something that you feel strong about and wish to protect. Fair enough. However, you fail to look at it from the other prospect."

    I don’t care and have no need to look at ‘the other side of the coin’. We’ve all seen what has driven republicans in Northern Ireland over the last 30 years. violence, hate, semi-genocial tendencies is what has driven Irish republicanism. And on the mainland we have seen dirty tactics from anti unionists in the form of deliberately unfair constitutional set ups. Those who shot and murdered people from the Roman Catholic Church on the Newtownards Road on the 28th of September 1970 didn’t consider why those people they killed where unionist, they just murdered them because of it; those who pushed for the constitutional cock up we now see in the United Kingdom didn’t care about the Unionist perspective when they brought it in; those who murdered all those UDR and RUC men on and off duty didn’t think about why they joined those defence forces. Now, I ask you, why should I give a damn about what some IRA man from the Short Strand thinks when it comes to my country, a country he wants to destroy?

    I’m not looking to accommodate republicans or anti unionists, they’ve never accommodated me.

    "If your not a unionist then what are you. You still expect a non unionist to have the same loyalities to the Union as you do, you expect them to uphold it and to swear an aligance to it."

    In the case of republicans in Northern Ireland don’t expect them to have any loyalities to the country at all, I expect them to go to the British free paradise that already exists some 50 miles south of Belfast.

    "People call the Nationalists in NI traitors or sediotionists."

    Well they are, you are born in a country or you go to live in a country you are expected to show loyalty to it, not undermine it. Only those who don’t actually believe in the nation state would argue against that.

    Just to finish, I don’t like how you portray Unionists to be fools who don’t have the intelligence to be able to understand things slightly alien to them. We are just as open or closed minded as any republican, we just don’t like it when a minority of the people within our country try and destroy it and it’s people with the aid a foreign power.

  32. Just watched "Hearts and Minds". What’s remarkable is that the views of the Saint Andrews agreement are very similar between Unionists and Nationalists, i.e there’s no great support for it on either side.

    See the full poll at
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/09_11_06_nireland_poll2.pdf

  33. Just saw it too Peter – will blog it tomorrow!

  34. Interesting discussion Will,

    Some comments id have

    >>I object to foreigners coming and using our health service, I won’t be hypocritical and expect a foreign nation to do the same for our citizens. In fact it is agreements like the one you have suggested that has turned the UK into one of ‘the’ destinations for ‘health tourists’.<<

    There is a european wide scheme such that allows any one to travel to any health system across Europe to get the treatement they deserve, if their home nation is not able to provide it. Its called cooperation. It means that you can travel to Poland and get your teeth looked after for 1/4 of what you would pay in the UK or Ireland. You have a very niave view that when it comes to public services, be it health or otherwise, that a person will put their nationality before the service they expect. This is just not a reality. Self preservation is the order of the day and it knows no borders.

    >>IF, and only IF things work out with the St Andrew’s agreement. As things stand we have direct rule. Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom, correct? Now, who has a higher authority? Westminster or the NI Assembly? That would be Westminster. Who has a national authority over the United Kingdom and it’s borders? NI Assembly or Westminster? Again it is Westminster. <<

    NI is a part of the UK, nobodies denying that. You say that Westminster has the higher authority. Fair enough, but your forgetting who gives it this higher authority. Its the people, and you shouldnt forget that.

    >>I assert that it is Westminster, and Westminster along that has the authority and the operational capability to deal with international issues, because that is what cooperation across the border is, it is international cooperation. We shouldn’t forget that, even if you would have us do so.<<

    Ok, Will, when it comes to european and world affairs, it is natural and correct to say that these are dealt with at Westminster. But if you cant see the difference between the UK or NI assembly dealing with the ROI and the same entities dealing with the rest of the world, well, then you are looking at things through too narrow a focus.

    To deny the past history between the ROI and the rest of these islands is stupid and unwise.

    As a side note, NI has spent more time in its history with an Assembly then without one. NI unionists insisted on their own assembly from day one in NI. Very few politicians will argue otherwise

    >>You confuse international issues with local government funding issues (perhaps deliberately). Northern Ireland says it wants an assembly to fix the issue of rates however what it wants, what it really needs is strong local councils who are financially responsible and also independent of Whitehall to set their rates.<<

    No, I dont think I have. I think you maybe jumping to conclusions about my intentions because im a citizen of the ROI. What have rates got to do with International affairs. Nothing. That wasnt my point. Read my point again. I said that NI politicians and the public will tell you that unless they themselves control their affairs, they will not be able to have an influence over things like rates and such. It makes no sense at all that local councillors have control over such affairs. Local councils will be crippled because of the fact that any negative decision they make, that brings pain to the locals, ie rates, will immediately result in them losing the next election.

    >>I don’t care and have no need to look at ‘the other side of the coin’. We’ve all seen what has driven republicans in Northern Ireland over the last 30 years. violence, hate, semi-geneocial tendancies is what has driven Irish republicanism. And on the mainland we have seen dirty tactics from anti unionists in the form of deliberalty unfair constitutional set ups. Those who shot and murdered people from the Roman Catholic Church on the Newtownards Road on the 28th of September 1970 didn’t consider why those people they killed where unionist, they just murdered them because of it; those who pushed for the constitutional cock up we now see in the United Kingdom didn’t care about the Unionist perspective when they brought it in; those who murdered all those UDR and RUC men on and off duty didn’t think about why they joined those defence forces. Now, I ask you, why should I give a damn about what some IRA man from the Short Strand thinks when it comes to my country, a country he wants to destroy?<<

    I dont understand your point here. The IRA/UVF/INLA/UDA all committed indefensible acts of violence. I hope your not implying that im a supporter of these acts. You cant blame all nationalists for the acts of an extreme minority. Like wise unionists. The majority in both communitys objected to this terrorism. There is no terroism in Scotland. Are scottish nationalists equally disloyal ?

    >>In the case of republicans in Northern Ireland don’t expect them to have any loyalities to the country at all, I expect them to go to the British free paradise that already exists some 50 miles south of Belfast.<<

    Have you ever even been to the ROI!. British free paradise. what are you on about. Tell you what. Come over to dublin on a weekend. Walk into any pub around 3pm, walk down through temple bar at night. Head to any of the museums. Look up at the flags on any hotel. What you will see is Irish men and women watching English soccer. You will see english, scots and welsh enjoying themselves, hassle free in dublin. You will see the british flag flying out of the hotels. You views of the ROI are ill informed.

    >>Well they are, you are born in a country or you go to live in a country you are expected to show loyalty to it, not undermine it.<<

    Way too basic an understanding of reality. Loyality is not automatic. A simple question for you. The UK government feels that the St Andrews agreement is the way forward and that Unionist politicians should share power with Sinn Fein. Are they being disloyal when the say no to this ? By your logic they are.

    >>Just to finish, I don’t like how you portray Unionists to be fools who don’t have the intelligence to be able to understand things slightly alien to them. We are just as open or closed minded as any republican, we just don’t like it when a minority of the people within our country try and destroy it and it’s people with the aid a foreign power.<<

    Do not assume to make assumptions about my opinons of Unionism. Never once did I ever claim that Unionists were fools. Far from it. You are automatically assuming that because I debate the Union, that I am against it, or that the ROI is some foreign nation just waiting to jump on NI. This is an ill informed and outdated view of people from the ROI. While the ROI would like to see a day when nationalism and unionism could come together on this island, it has no intention of forcing this on the people. This has been a fact since the foundation of the state. Dev accepted in the 1920s that NI could not be forced into a UI and he again rejected Winston Churchils offer of a UI in return for Free State joining the war, because he knew it was pointless without consent

    If you havent visited the Island of Ireland, I urge you to do so before forming you opinons. Have a read of "Carson: the man who divided Ireland". A history of NI and Ireland from the Unionist perspective. Its a fascinating book, and it hopefully would give you more of an insight to the reason why NI has the problems its does. It also gives an insight to unionism across the UK.

    Wow but this has been a long post. Apologies.

  35. "Just watched "Hearts and Minds". What’s remarkable is that the views of the Saint Andrews agreement are very similar between Unionists and Nationalists, i.e there’s no great support for it on either side."

    Was it not once said that compromise is the art of leaving both sides disappointed?

    At one time during this long drawn out peice by peice process compromise once meant leaving unionists disappointed, disgruntled and betrayed. (that being the exception that proved the rule…)

    Now with the DUP in the driving seat for unionism it seems that they have some how managed not to alleviate the betrayal of Unionists, but have left both sides annoyed with the settlement in place.

    Was this their plan along? Was it to simply get to this stage and tell the people ‘oh look, we have annoyed the nationalists, we must have held true to our commitments’? I doubt we’ll know with Robinson where he is.