August 13, 2016

The Unionist Gap

In a previous post I wrote about 'The political orphaning of moderate unionism'. And here I wrote about Catholic Unionists.

I also wrote about the Unionist Gap here.

Eamonn McCann wrote:
"If Orangemen marching along the Garvaghy Road is an expression of the culture of the Protestant people, what was Van Morrison at the Botanic Gardens? If the essence of the Protestant people is expressed through marching in a bowler hat behind a band past people who find the spectacle unpleasant, what is expressed in the plays of Sam Thompson and Gary Mitchell, the poetry of John Hewitt and Louis MacNeice, the accomplishments of George Best and Margaret Johnston, the music of Ash and Derek Bell?"
John O'Dowd said on Sunday Politics, May 8 2016:
"There has been a shift and change I think across the electorate. Across upper bann i canvassed many areas where there would be a unionist voice and a unionist vote, and I would have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the reception I received on the doors. Often in the past you would have been chased or people would have taken great exception to you calling at their door. People were willing to, the unionist electorate were willing to engage with me on the doorstep. Now they were putting across their pony of view across as unionists, but it was been done in a way that was amicable, we were able to share ideas with each other, we were able to challenge each other, and I don’t think this fear of Sinn Fein that the DUP are promoting will work for them in the future… 
I don’t think Gregory Campbell represents the the majority within the DUP. I think the man is a lose cannon within the DUP. I believe, and it is my experience over the last 5 years and the last number of weeks, the unionist community want to work with republicans, and republicans want to work with unionists."
Joe Brolly said at ‘West Belfast Talks Back’ in August 2016:
"Gregory talks about the GAA for example, he talks about Kevin Lynch, I’ve heard these guys, Nelson McCausland and all, and they create those impression obviously with working-class Protestants, and it doesn’t wash with the middle-class Protestant who don’t listen to any of that stuff. 
And like you have great Gaelic football teams now like Ballymena where half the team is Protestant, they’re U14 all-Ireland champions last year. I went up to the prize giving, half the boys from the All Saints team are playing rugby at the Ballymena Academy. 
The middle-classes, they don’t wash any of this. But for the working-class kids, I have absolutely no doubt that there are working-class kids in and around the Diamond and who think in Dungiven that it’s like North Korea, that children are lining up in squadrons and marching up and down on the Kevin Lynch pitch being trained in small arms. 
And this image that must be created, “these fenian bastards, you don’t know what the fuck they’re at. That what the message is Gregory, you know that’s the message. "You fucking couldn’t watch these Fenians.” 
“Fucking Kevin Lynch’s club, they’re fucking terrorist sympathisers.” I just get that image of North Korea when I hear him [Gregory Campbell] talk about that, and it’s really not."
Peter Shirlow and Mark McGovern wrote in ‘Who Are The People? - Unionism, Protestantism and Loyalism in Northern Ireland’ (1997):
"For many Protestants there has been a desire to distance themselves from events and actions, such as the Drumcree stand-off and the besiegement of Harryville Catholic church. Many people believe these actions are inappropriate and out-moded forms of political representation. Similarly, many Catholics find little or no pleasure in the boycotting of Protestant businesses or the re-mobilisation of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). Regrettably, such distancing tactics, which in many instances are attained through a process of apoliticisation, are more commonplace than a forceful condemnation of community representatives and politicians who thrive upon sectarian asperity."
Brian Feeney wrote:
"Liberal unionists, of whom there are many, see no prospect of joining the 21st Century with the DUP in the ascendant. They regard the DUP with its bible-thumpers, holy-rollers, creationists and temperance fanatics as an indefensible embarrassment yet see no point in voting UUP which is now DUP-lite."
Brian Feeney also wrote:
"The threat of violence such as inflicted inflicted on the Alliance party since 2012 is sufficient warning to prevent any middle-class liberal unionists from becoming involving in politics."
He also wrote in the Irish News:
"Every single action of the DUP and many of Robinson’s own actions in recent years have alienated the few Catholics who might have held unionist sympathies… Given the vulgarity of Robinson’s attacks on Sinn Fein there is as much likelihood of converting nationalists to unionists as there would have been of blacks turning into whites in the 1970s."
Brian Feeney wrote in the Irish News:
"None of these internal émigrés participates in or endorses the antics of the yahoos waving flags or hammering big drums outside Catholic Churches… Yesterday’s [Haass talks] failure will simply reinforce the majority of unionists in their opinion that, in the words of Alex Kane, they prefer to go to the garden centre that bother voting."
Feeney also wrote in the Irish News, ‘DUP Swivel Eyed Loons are Afraid of Equality’:
"The DUP leadership is at one with its members in being old - and disconnected from the modern world. Neither the leadership nor the party is representative of unionists as a whole."

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