Unionists fall into Sinn Fein’s trap on parades/past

Nelson McCausland said violence after Friday’s “Republican” parades in Belfast was inevitable. Mike Nesbitt opposed the Castlederg IRA parade with constant reference to, and I quote exactly, “our own PUL community“.

They have fallen – hook, line and sinker – into Sinn Fein’s trap through which history will be re-written to the benefit of the IRA. They may both be Oxbridge-educated, but when it comes to parades and the past their innate sectarianism makes them fools.

Here are a few facts which it doesn’t suit populist, sectarian Unionists (or “Republicans” for that matter) to point out:

  • as a result of the “Troubles”, more Catholics were killed than Protestants;
  • during the “Troubles”, more Catholics were killed by the IRA than by anyone else; and
  • at the end of the “Troubles”, more Catholics were unemployed, in poor health and on low incomes than Protestants.

In other words, a terror campaign for which the IRA was primarily responsible resulted in hell for all of Northern Ireland – but particularly for Catholics.

Thus, Sinn Fein is engaged in a long-standing campaign to make all Catholics believe that the IRA’s terror campaign was not only justified but even glorious. It accepts that Protestants will never believe this, but by pushing this view among Catholics it can then include acceptance of the justification of IRA terror as part of an “equality agenda”, whereby Protestants are generously “entitled” to believe the IRA campaign was unjustified for as long as Catholics are entitled to believe it was justified. Mike Nesbitt is one of many foolish Unionists who fall into this trap by suggesting that the only people opposed to IRA terror, and indeed implicitly that the only victims of it, were Protestants (or members of “our own PUL community“) – thus reinforcing the very dichotomy Sinn Fein is attempting to pursue! This is where buying in wholly to the blinkered sectarian approach gets you.

At the same time, Sinn Fein is also engaged in an attempt to reduce the number of parades and bonfires – an outcome which will gain it kudos in its “own community” with the added benefit, for some at least, that this will predominantly annoy Protestants. After all, Protestants do over 80% of the parading in Northern Ireland and nearly all the bonfires, so any blanket restriction to either will particularly affect Protestants. It just so happens, this summer, that “Republicans” have started pushing the limits on both, particularly parades, causing Unionist politicians both to call for the parades to be banned and to blame the parades for subsequent violence. Thus “Republicans” can very neatly tie parading to violence and move gradually towards a position where there is growing public support, particularly outside the inner cities (among all communities), for parades to be banned altogether or at least severely restricted; a useful by-product of this is they can attempt to tie the Orange Order to Loyalist paramilitaries to the extent that this becomes part of the accepted narrative, even though it is no less ludicrous than tying the GAA to the IRA. By coming out and presenting (presumably paramilitary-inspired) violence as an inevitable consequence of parades, Unionist politicians foolishly enhance Sinn Fein’s narrative. Indeed, we now have a precedent for a parade being diverted from its route by the PSNI due to a violent protest – such a precedent will now be expected to be matched by future parades organisers, very few of whom will be “Republican”.

All of this is beneficial to Sinn Fein because it serves to make it the natural follow-on of the Civil Rights Movement rather than of a needless terror campaign which cost thousands of lives; it has the additional benefit of making professional Protestants, essentially aware of what is going on, give up on Unionist leaders as the fools they are for falling into all these traps, with the consequence that suburban Unionists increasingly stop voting.

This is indeed a calamitous failure of Unionist leadership. Why? Mainly because good leaders listen, but Unionist politicians don’t.

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21 thoughts on “Unionists fall into Sinn Fein’s trap on parades/past

  1. Jonathan says:

    I’ve read your blogs many times before and not often agreed with you.
    However that was concise, clear and simply factual.

    I could still never vote alliance though on principle.

    • Thanks for reading!

      I certainly do not speak for the Alliance Party, and am not aware that the party has said anything like the above.

      Indeed, those who pursue a “Shared Future” need to realise, and quickly, that the actors in this particular play haven’t the slightest interest in one!

  2. Tatty says:

    Ian you forget to tell us that Sinn Fein got over 178,000 first preference votes for NI Assembly, only 20,000 less than DUP. This does not equate to your diatribe of Sinn Fein desperately orchestrating events to win Catholic support. Sinn Fein is working to fulfil a longstanding and clear agenda, “to remove all things British” from Northern Ireland. If Catholics don’t support them, then as your comment shows, they are prepared to kill them. You are also correct to indirectly suggest if Unionists don’t awaken from their pseudo peace induced slumber, they will sleep walk into political oblivion.

    • It is important to note that SF got nothing like that number when its IRA chums were waging “war”. The increase in it’d vote directly correlates to its pursuing a “peace” strategy.

      However, it is one thing to endorse SF’s present. We must maximise the coalition against its re-writing of the past.

    • Manny says:

      Ian. You forget that even before the troubles that for most Catholics in Northern Ireland life was often a living hell. Especially if you had to engage with the State in any form.

      The Republican side need to accept that Unionists will always be hurt by the violence that went on for 30 years and angry over it.

      Unionists have to accept that prior to 15-20 years ago that the state was a hostile and aggressive force to most nationalists and that the state was inherently corrupt, aggressive and discriminatory. That it was a sectarian hell hole.

      Your post is quiet interesting all the same but falls in to the trap that it is all the Shinners fault that the world does not smell of roses.

      There were wrongs done on all sides.

      • I think over the course of my 1200 posts on here I have made it completely clear, many times over, that the government of Northern Ireland (by Unionists) was both grossly unfair and also disgracefully incompetent in general.

        The point of this post, however, is that the peaceful Civil Rights Movement was the correct and justified response to this; whereas wreaking decades or terror, mayhem and violence was not.

        The IRA campaign was a disaster no matter how you look at it, bound to fail at great cost from its inception. It is worth noting that in fact, physically and economically, Catholics bore the brunt of that cost. That needs to be remembered and constantly repeated, not least to ensure no one is foolish enough to try it again.

  3. Harry says:

    Good post. I don’t know who is responsible for the terms PUL and CNR but I wish they had not coined them in the first place. I see us as one community: NI. (PS Though I know what you are getting at, I should point out that people who are Catholic by religion are “entitled” to “believe” anything they want. )

  4. Kieran says:

    I’m not sure where the term PUL came from but i don’t recall Mike Nesbitt using it before the flag protests. It was during the flag protests that i saw a deliberate change in Mike Nesbitt, from liberal small ‘u’ Unionist, to leaning a bit more into the PUP/Jim Allister camp.
    It was almost as if he had realised an opportunity to cast his net and gain a section of the electorate that was claiming they had no one representing them. He was of course quickly followed by his colleagues in the DUP who were still desperate to keep a foot in everyones camp, including Sinn Fein.

    The term PUL Community suggests that the Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist community are a single entity when in actual fact they are not. Neither is there a single political group that speaks for it and this is to be welcomed, for if Political Christianity is to be compared with Political Islam we could very well end up with a version of the Taliban in Government. Politics and religion need to be kept apart for the simple reason that far too many murders have been carried out using God as a legitimising force. If you believe that shooting a postman or a taxi driver is sanctioned because you are doing it for God and Ulster/Ireland, it makes it a great deal easier to pull the trigger.

    Another post from Ian that hits the nail right on the head.

    • harryaswell says:

      Such total nonsense from Parsley, and also the usual rubbish from Kieran. The IRA are quaified murderers for goodness sake! Any wonder the PSNI is confused! Why? Because that idiot Patton should never have allowed the RUC to be split up! The whole affair was a shoddy decision and so, lamentatbly, so is the much vaunted Peace Process! We would have been far better off without it. We are recording of murderers belonging to Sinn Fein who are supposed to be Governing us all. The British and Irish Governments have been cheated and swindled by the Sinn Fein/IRA, and as Gerry Adams said, “They haven’t gone away you know! I fear that Parsley, Alliance and all sofs bleeding harts neet to harden up. There is the ongoing problem!

      • Kieran says:

        Thank you Harry for my customary insult and i trust all is well with you? At least you didn’t accuse me of wanting a United Ireland this evening.

      • He’s also “not listening”.

      • Manny says:

        The problem for some with the PSNI is that it is acting as an impartial police force rather than as a Militia for Unionism, like the RUC.

        They are doing their job rather than the bidding of a select few and that is why some people are unhappy.

  5. Sean says:

    I don’t know where you’re getting your figures from.

    CAIN states that loyalist paramilitaries murdered over 1,000 Catholics.

    That is substantially more than the IRA, who were responsible the deaths of over 600 civilians (not all of whom were Catholic)

    I suppose if you tell a lie often enough, it will become the truth.

    • Try reading again: more Catholics were killed by the IRA than by anyone else; more Catholic (civilians) were killed than Protestants.

      Perhaps you are proud the IRA ‘only’ killed 600 Catholics? Looks like a pretty ruthless campaign of outrageous and needless terror against a group of people already discriminated against to me, and to any objective observer. There was absolutely nothing glorious about it.

  6. Mark says:

    We don’t always agree Ian, but not a bad analysis. For me the wiser course of action in relation to parades would have been for unionism to support all legal parades. I still believe that only where it can be proved that a parade is illegal or designed to be deliberately provocative should it be restricted. So ligoniel lodges returning home the most direct route on the 12th not an issue, Friday night’s parade a direct hit for restrictions, I even believe SF suggested it was provocative. In relation to castlederg, unionism should have focused on a campaign to have all “volunteer” glorification parades banned rather than being selective plus building a case that the parade was deliberately designed to insult. and thereby only supporting restrictions on the basis of the parade was designed to offend. I think it was, but interestingly a reason given by Martin McGuiness for restriction not being applied was apparently SF did not intend to offend anyone, curious I’m sure the Ligoniel lodges would say the same thing.

    Sadly though, with no leadership, no direction no vision unionism is going round in ever decreasing circles!

    • Good to hear from you Mark.

      Goodness, if anyone confessed to always agreeing with me I’d be worried about them! 🙂

    • Harry says:

      I am likewise of the view that a relatively tolerant approach to parades (and indeed counter protests) is sensible, but that there should be penalties for bands or band members who violate basic standards of behavior. Also some reasonable upper limit to the number of parades on a given stretch of road.

      On the plus side, I understand that the protest in Castlederg was very dignified and made the point well.

  7. Sean says:

    “I think over the course of my 1200 posts on here I have made it completely clear, many times over, that the government of Northern Ireland (by Unionists) was both grossly unfair and also disgracefully incompetent in general.

    The point of this post, however, is that the peaceful Civil Rights Movement was the correct and justified response to this; whereas wreaking decades or terror, mayhem and violence was not.”

    Hope I’m not going on too much of a tangent here, but let’s not forget what Civil Rights protesters faced from unionist/British forces. Protestors generally faced violent forces, which eventually fueled the PIRA. My point is that the most saw no viable alternative in the late 60s and early 70s other than violence.

    • Harryaswell says:

      You conveniently forget, Sean, that the Civil Rights Movement in Londonderry had been completely taken over, infiltrated, by the Republican Movement, and would not behave in a sensible fashion. Prior to that, it was the Republican Movement who decided to take up arms against virtually everyone, and the reasons the RUC hit back in the way they did was to try to protect inniocent citizens of all persuasions and also businesses in general. Nobodyis suggesting that the politicians of the day were pretty useless, but that included Republican politicians also. They were all ordinary people. The reasons for the British Forces was that the RUC could not compete so that the armed forces had to be ordered in by Westminster.So, the IRA were the orchestrators of their own downfall. The troubles were the direct results of violence, murder, and mayhem directly pressed upon us all by the Republican Movement and Sinn Fein/IRA. The position remains the same today. Is it any wonder that Republicans cannot and willnot be trusted? Just scumbags as they always were. YOU are trying very hard to twist history away from the truth and to whitewash IRA and Sinn Fein actions. It will not work, sorry.

  8. Sean says:

    Thanks for the reply Harry, the initial comment was meant more for Ian.

    I disagree on principle with your comment as I do not believe the evidence supports your comment.

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