Hope and history twenty years on

I had slept late and herself was out at mass with the cubs.
A Derry comrade had crashed that night and he was my alarm call.
“It’s done. They’ve signed up for it”.
That was twenty years ago today.
I was ten at the battle of the Bogside and an enraged 14-year-old when the slaughter of Bloody Sunday happened.
Between that my late mother and I said in a Doig’s Tour bus weaving through the streets of Belfast, on Monday, August 9th, 1971.
Born in the late 1950s the Northern conflict would be the backdrop to my growing up.
It seemed interminable.
It took courage to reach out.
In the darkness of 1988, after Gibraltar, Milltown and the funeral killings it needed people of vision to search for another way.
By any objective criteria IRA was not defeated.
They were not short of weaponry or people willing to use them.
What the good Friday Agreement represented was a triumph of Jaw-Jaw over War-War.
I use those terms deliberately because it was the machinations of Churchill and his contemporaries that created the Orange State.
Twenty Years on the equality agenda is still to work through.
The DUP’s stonewalling on Acht na Gaeilge is indicative of a lack of parity of esteem.
That term was coined during the Stormont talks two decades ago.

In a sense, it encapsulated what the Orange State was for the nationalist minority.

Of course, that minority status will soon be a thing of the past.


Another item that is yet to be fully dealt with is the legacy of the conflict.
The relatives of the two massacres in Ballymurphy, either side of Bloody Sunday, are still waiting for justice.
On the unionist side, they could point to the face the transformation in the lives of many nationalist had made the union more secure than at any time since Partition.
Ah, events dear boy, events…
Brexit is a game changer on this island.
It was put the issue of Partition on the agenda again for many Northern Nationalists.
It has also, for the first time, got many unionists question the efficacy of remaining in the UK.
It would appear that history on my little island is starting to quicken.
My recent piece on my hopes for a United Arlene was well received.
Go raibh míle maith agaibh.
Now, this was passed to me yesterday.

I was advised to be cautious by a veteran Republican who thought that it had to be a spoof.
Well, apparently it wasn’t.

Here is the piece in an Australian publication that contains the Nesbitt quote.

For the avoidance of doubt, Mike Nesbitt was a leader of “Ulster Unionism” (sic).
He is still influential.
When a leader of unionism can state the following then you know that, once more, hope and history can rhyme.
For him to state, as an assertion, that people would not be worse off in a United Ireland takes one of the major planks away from the unionist argument against reunification.
Of course, in the sink estates of the self-defined Protestant Unionist Loyalist community (PUL) community the objections are pitifully threadbare.
It’s about their desperate need to be The People.
There still be flegs there…
However, Nesbitt represents the worldview of the middle-class unionist.
The term was coined some years ago “the Prod in the garden centre”.
Economics means much to people who have something to lose.
The economy of the 26 counties is motoring away from what passes for a private sector in Narne Arne.
Soon the Republic of Ireland will be within the biggest trading block in the world and the UK will not be.
Unlike Scotland, which would need to apply for EU membership the Six Counties has the East Germany solution.
When Die Mauer fell the DDR was immediately part of a unified Germany and ipso facto part of the EU.
The stated aim of the Sinn Féin leaders as they entered ditto the Stormont talks two decades ago was to “take the gun out of Irish politics”.
Only the ballot box matters now.
The day of the ArmaLite has mercifully passed.
Now our gallant allies in Europe are in Brussels and the Republic of Ireland, as part of the largest trading block in the world offers the people of the Six Counties a way out of Blue Passport isolation.
All of these events are possible because the conflict in the North was demilitarised.
That process took a huge step forward twenty years ago.
It is worth pausing to celebrate that and all of those who had the courage to believe.

27 thoughts on “Hope and history twenty years on”

  1. Wonder if Phil would be equally as happy to be part of the EU, if he realised what the EU really is, and that is a vassal of American Imperialism. We do what the American rulers say in return for trade deals and subsidies . Step out of line see what happens.

    As we see the usual lies & propaganda being rolled out against Putin & Syria all the EU countries kowtow to the American imperialist rhetoric. Any country that stands in the way or goes against the grain is a target.

    The creation of the EU was a US idea to make it easier to control the whole block rather than many individual countries. To the point of on the verge of nuclear war, the insanity of the EU siding against Russia is incomprehensible. But that exactly highlights what the EU is, a collection of countries whose leaders are traitors, liars, cowards that have took us to the brink of nuclear annihilation.

    You happy your country is a part of this Phil?

    1. I voted against Lisbon (twice) and I do think that the EU needs reform.
      However, on balance, I’m for staying in and pushing for that reform.

  2. Is defining a child (0-9) by their religion really the way you want to go here? Children have no concept of religion, they are not old enough to make a choice about what they believe in – heck around 95% of 0-9 year old kids believe in Santa. Children of Catholic/Protestant parents, sure, but not Catholic/Protestant children.

    I am also exceedingly dubious that over 50% of the 20-39 demographic are Catholic. After the truth came out about what the Catholic Church had been covering up a lot of people left the faith. Many people brought up ostensibly Catholic are not believers.

  3. Thanks Phil ,I will do that. I have uncovered a wee bit of history myself ,but not much. One thing he did tell me was that most of the rank and file if captured would say they couldn’t read or write. The Brits only to readily accepted this ,as it fell in with their concept of the “illiterate Irish”, however the reason was ,they then couldn’t give a written statement. You couldn’t move for books in my Grandas house. The telly came on once a week for the wrestling,quality. Thanks again be lucky.

  4. I agree with most of buff bill’s post,as this government along with all previous,find it natural to divide and conquer.The simple rule of the constitution will come into play re “the commonwealth “as another wedge if all else fails.And as we hope and pray,take our eye aff the ball,that the unification comes around very soon,we are being hoodwinked over brexit

  5. A question to Phil. Have you ever wondered what was the point of Irish Independence, when Ireland has given away the freedom that our grand fathers fought for to the New World Order European Union project? Are you aware that the European Union’s goal is to rid all of it’s member countries of it’s culture and nationality? The EU Globalists will do to Ireland what it has already done to Germany and Sweden. Mass Islamic migration on a scale that will make even the left wing idealists alarmed. What is the point of taking control of the Northern Counties, only to hand that control over to the Globalists? It’s no coincidence, on many levels, that Europe is being flooded by immigrants. The Globalist war makers could not have expected anything else when they overran Syria by funneling weapons to the terrorist groups (ISIS, Al Nusra, FSA, etc.). There are now at least 10 foreign nations fighting in Syria, (US, US, France, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Russia and China) elevating the chances of WW3 breaking out. Migrants are being labelled as “Syrian Refugees”, when the reality is the migrants are mostly young men from North Africa and Pakistan. Ultimately, the mass migration of these Islamic people into Ireland will cause “ordo ab chao” the motto of the NWO “order out of chaos” – create confusion and disorder so you can more easily mold your ideal order (worldwide dictatorial fascist / communism). If I were living in Ireland I would prefer to be British than a Globalist European, not a great choice any way you look at it. A United Ireland outwith the EU is by far the best goal. Giving up the nations soul by accepting a United Ireland by making pacts with the E.U. devil is not the best way forward by any stretch of the imagination!

    1. You make good points John.
      On balance I am in favour of the European Union project.
      It cannot be compared to what Ireland endured for centuries under British rule.
      The clout that the Irish government has in Brussels over Brexit and the Border is a testament to that.
      I voted (twice) against the Lisbon Treaty.
      However, if the vote was held tomorrow I would change my decision.
      The EU needs reform that’s a given-however it is worth saving.

    2. well said. Phil’s not the most informed when it comes to geopolitics. Still gets his info from usual mainstream media liars by the looks of it. The EU always was & will always remain a product of US imperialism. Its easier to control one block than several individual countries. And of course is the reason why the EU countries go along with whatever wars they cook up.

  6. I’ve always advocated a break up of the (Dis)United Kingdom and the uniting of Ireland but it is clear to me that Scotland must gain it’s independence first, lest the Unionists who cannot and will not abide living in Ireland move en masse to Scotland.

    1. That last sentence,if it came to pass,would put Scotland back at least another hundred years rather than ‘progres’sing a 100 years.
      What a truly horrifying thought🤮

  7. Good piece phil people must remember 20 years on not a lot has changed on the equality front especially within the Republican movement some people are living like kings alot of people have been hung out to dry and during the marching season woodenpallets are more important to the DUP than housing social welfare ect . the DUP man said The bonfires where there before The houses where built that really sums it up in my opinion keep her Lit ,The fools The fools The fools ,PP

  8. So Unionists should have an eternal veto over the vast majority of the country ?

    Let them kick off as you put it

    They have no friends internationally and those they regard as their kin would be rid of them in the morning

  9. Phil I have ran out of superlatives for your work.
    My Granda Vincent Fitzpatrick who fought in the Easter Rebellion and after ,together with his brother Frank , spoke to me for the first and only time in December 1970 on the situation in Ireland.
    I was 13 and knew he was dying ,my heart was broken in that knowledge , but he was my hero and I put as brave a face on it as I could .
    I bombarded him with questions, he recounted for me the actual Easter Rebellion together with the aftermath.
    The civil war (which lay heavy with him some fifty years later)
    His escape from Dundalk prison ,when they blew their way out ,and the subsequent escape to Scotland via the continent , together with Frank , made all the more remarkable because Frank was blind from birth. (He acted as a courier , and it was said he could strip a weapon down and reassemble it faster than any sighted person)
    There are two things that stick out in my memory ,firstly ,his total conviction that Ireland would one day be reunited, ” I wont see it ” and”you might not even see it, but it WILL happen “.
    The other thing was that it wouldn’t happen , couldn’t happen, until the bomb and the bullet was set aside.
    A month later came Bloody Sunday. He could be right about me not seeing it, but to roughly quote that warmongering bstrd Churchill, it mind not be the end , or the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning.
    And the peepul know it.
    The writing is on the wall ,right next to the graffiti ,and we all know what that says. be lucky. John

    1. John
      If you have not already done so you should consult with the military acrivies at cathal Brugha barracks in Dublin.
      The staff there are very helpful.
      They might have some additonal information on the war service of grandfather and his brother.
      Maith thú.

  10. Brilliant line that Phil, “its worth pausing to celebrate that and all of those who had the courage to believe”

    Indeed it is sir

  11. Could hardly believe the provocative nonsense that Paisley Jnr. was spouting on the radio today – that the Unionists were the victors 20 years ago…

  12. Well said Phil, it took true vision and courage to take the gun out of Irish politics for the greater good of the people and future generations of the north east, I salute them all.

    1. I’m all for a united Ireland’s,as a matter of fact I’m against ANY nation being divided aka Cyprus,Korea, and not long ago Vietnam. But answer me this. If you force the unionist community into a United Ireland’s,and they God forbid decided to “kick off”. How would that go down with good people of the Republic?

      1. I’m in favour of a United Ireland too. But I don’t think it will happen any time soon. I hope I am wrong.
        If I was Irish, though, I’d be highly tempted to argue for building a Trump-like wall between north and south. I can see why those in the north want access to the south, basically for economic reasons, but I can’t see what’s in it for the south.
        Brexit will make Irish unification much less likely — not more likely as some on here have argued. Why? Because it will precede a another ‘rally around the Union Jack’ chapter in NI and elsewhere. Rule Britannia and the Dunkirk spirit ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz.
        There’s nothing rational about any of this. But there never was. Why anyone expects certain people to behave rationally now is perplexing to me.

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