Poor old Ireland

:frowning:

Well, the Irish results are coming in now, and it’s looking bad.

The polarisation between left-wing and right-wing is significant in Ireland, as it is everywhere, but it’s far less significant than the other polarisation.

The Republican/Catholics on one hand, and the Unionist/Protestants on the other.

And sadly, it’s the extremist, terrorist backed parties on both sides who are winning.

The two moderate parties on each side of the divide who advocate discussion instead of bombs are being ignored by the voters.

'Tis sad.

Ali

Sad indeed. Reminds me of one of my favorite sayings; “Human beings are not half bad… but people suck!” :(

TG – Yes unfortunately, a “people” too…

Well, I’m not the only one despairing at the fact that the two extremist parties are taking control of Northern Ireland.

Here’s a couple of quotes copied from the BBC Web site:

I know it’s a cliché, but will the last person to leave NI please turn the lights out? I am very depressed that a supposedly civilised people can vote these Neanderthal parties into power. I think we have forgotten what the troubles were like, and therefore the true value of the current “peace” however fragile, seems less. Never mind, when the irresistible force of Sinn Fein bangs off the immovable object of the DUP for a while, we’ll go back to the gun and the bullet; that’s what you all want, it seems.
David, Newry, Co Down

What a sad day for peace, what a sad day for the agreement. I am a nationalist voter, heart-broken about the departure of David Trimble and the UUP, you fought the good fight David. I despair for the future of the North with SF and the DUP - God be with us.
Mike, Omagh, Co. Tyrone



Ever seen a country so ripe for civil war? One can almost see where the battle-lines will be drawn.

Dark Green: Sinn Fein. A republican/Catholic party who are controlled and sponsored by the IRA. Their aim is separation from the UK; and to achieve that the IRA have been running a campaign of bombings and murder for 40 years.They want re-unification with Southern Ireland,(and why not?), but Southern Ireland has made it quite clear they don’t want the IRA. (Most of the IRA finance comes from the USA incidentally).

Pale Green: SDLP. A left of centre moderate party. They’d like to see re-unification with Southern Ireland if that’s what the people want, but only if Southern Ireland severs its ties to the Vatican. They believe that a solution can be found by political and democratic means. (Poor fools).

Red: DUP. A right-wing Unionist/protestant party who are sponsored and controlled by the protestant terror groups. Their aim is to remain part of the UK, (see the above note re 40 years of murder, etc.). Their stated reason for this is that Southern Ireland is a Catholic country, and they don’t want to be ruled by the pope. The DUP are sort of the Irish equivalent of the KKK, except, they don’t care about the colour of your skin, but if you’re a catholic, you will be burned alive.

Orange: UUP. The original Unionist party. Right-wing and protestant, but they decided to sit down and talk to the IRA instead of trying to kill them. The DUP broke away from them and formed a new party, and you can see the result.

White: That’s not a Party for Peace sadly. In fact, it’s not even Ireland, or people. Northern Ireland has a hole in it (strangely enough), and that’s the hole. (Sort of like a doughnut, but with less sugar, and even less cops).

Anyway, that’s the declared battle-map the people have voted for, so, sit down comfortably and watch the bloodbath commence, (once again).

Tis a sad day truely. Not proud of Irish roots at the moment. :(

Thanks for explaining the politics of NI Ali, I had next to no idea what was involved over there as far as the politics went. I knew about the IRA and Sinn Fein, but not much more than their names really.

What do you think the chances are of the US taking their war on terror to NI are rollseyes ?

Willy, I really don’t know.

American involvement in Ireland has been twofold so far: Their financing of the IRA via Noraid, and some American diplomat (can’t recall his name), who got the two sides together in the 70’s smiling as they shook hands for the press.

Anyway, that respite only gave them time to import more weaponry and to polish up their bayonets.

But I don’t have much confidence re American overseas policy I’m afraid, they don’t really understand the people nor cultures they’re dealing with.

Anyway, the history of Ireland and the “troubles” goes back a thousand years, and lots of info is available on the Internet, but if anyone wants a brief but cynical outlook on it, I’d be happy to oblige.

See, the trouble is, both sides have very valid arguments.

The republican argument:

We are physically and culturally part of Ireland. We’re all Gaelic people, not Anglo-Saxons like the English. We’ve only been politically separated for 80 years, and that’s an artificial separation, so we should once again be part of Ireland.

The Catholic people of the north have been repressed. They live in squalid housing, they have the poorest jobs, and for a long time, they couldn’t even vote.

Killing and terror gained independence for Southern Ireland, so why can’t it do the same for the North?

The Unionist argument:

We are a democracy, and the majority of people in Northern Ireland have voted, and still vote, for continued union with the UK.

Our ancestors fought and died for the right to be independent of the pope and his priests. Why should we surrender our freedom to a country that, for example, when the pope declared contraception to be a sin, made contraception illegal?

Anyway, as you can see, both sides have valid points.

Of course the “will of the majority” is also subject to debate. The IRA say that the North is part of Ireland, and the majority of Ireland as a whole wants the North to join again with the South.

Whereas the Unionists say that not only does the majority of the North want to stay part of the UK, but as the North is part of the UK, then the majority of the UK is what counts. (If they only knew!)

The trouble is, when the recent “troubles” started in the mid-sixties, it began as a very justified civil rights movement.

The Catholics did have the poorest standard of living. They were excluded from many jobs and places of work. And not being land-owners, they did not have the vote. Not only that, but the police force were a purely Protestant organization, and their main job was to suppress the working class Catholic “serfs”.

Those issues are no longer an issue. The wrongs have been mainly fixed and redressed. But, a lot of people have died since then. There’s probably very few Northern Irish who don’t have a father or son or husband or friend, who haven’t been murdered by sectarian violence. So, there’s a lot of hate and revenge left in many people’s hearts.

And the English don’t understand this. They never have done. The UK consists of 3 Celtic peoples; the Welsh, the Scots, and the Irish, plus the Anglo-Saxon English. And the English have never understood the Celtic attitude of; "Die? Yeah, no problem. As long as I can take some of you bastards to #### with me."

We’re a stubborn bunch of people, and logic will never take the place of emotion. We can be trying to slaughter our enemy one minute, and share a drink and swear external brotherhood with him the next.

In WWII, Southern Ireland declared neutrality, and refused British ships the right to shelter in Irish ports. They did however, grant shelter to German Ships and U-boats; such was the hatred of the Irish for the British.

But at the same time, hundreds of thousands of Irish crossed the sea to Britain to join the British army, and to fight and die for Britain.

So, don’t expect logic from the Irish.

So, can America’s War on Terror solve the troubles in NI? I doubt it. The US understands the Irish even less than the English do.

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So, can America’s War on Terror solve the troubles in NI? I doubt it. The US understands the Irish even less than the English do.


I was actually being fairly sarcastic in regard to the US policy on terror. But anyway. Made myself look foolish.

Thanks for the brief, really appriecate it, keep it coming.

I know you were being sarcastic Willy. :p

But I was the one who made myself look foolish by giving a serious answer to a non-serious question.

But, I do feel serious about the whole situation. I’ve heard the bombs go off in London myself. A very close friend’s brother was killed in NI by sectarian assassination.

And the worst thing about it, is it’s all so fucking pointless.

Ali

Hi Ali_T:
I’ve been following your posts… I presume, your comments are on… how the Irish people, are voting and voted, in the elections…

Is every Irish citizen on the Voter’s List? Did all of the UK get to vote? … England… Scotland… Wales… Ireland?? NI? SI? Our News brodcasts over here, reported that the Labour Party is going to make up the government… but with a smaller majority… But, if there were more detail, I just don’t understand the system, of government… or how it works for the UK…

I read between the lines, here… But I sense that you are not a believer of the the Labour Party and it’s way of Governing… That’s O.K. and To-Each-His-Own… However, the outcome of this election is gonna affect how the rest of the world sees the people of the British Isles… for the next term of Government…

A report from you and others, how Great Briton and The British Isles is politically served, might help everyone, including me, understand how it works, or supposed to work would help us, on this side of the Pond, see how the democratic system works or doesn’t work…

That would be a great idea… Ali_T…

Bill…

Well Bill, I’ve tried not to state my own political POV in this thread, but as it happens, I am a fully paid-up member of the Labour Party, and almost invariably vote that way. Although on occasion, I have voted Liberal.

Anyway, a simple description of UK politics.

Four nations, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (Ulster) make up the UK.

Southern Ireland (Eire) is a completely separate nation which gained Independence from the UK back in 1921.

So no, citizens of Eire have not been involved in the UK general election. (My mistake for using the word “Irish” when I should have said “Ulsterman” I’m afraid.)

So each country has its own government, sort of like each American state has its own government, but the main UK government (like your federal government) is in Westminster, and it’s that UK government we’ve been voting for.

Our voting system is much simpler than yours, all we do is vote for 1 person who will become the Member of Parliament (MP) for our constituency, and the one with the most votes wins.

A constituency averages between 20,000 - 40,000 voting adults, (age 18 and over), so you have a chance to get to know your MP. I know ours and have worked with him several times.

Now, that MP may or may not belong to one of the major political parties. (And he/she usually does.)

So, the leader of the party which has the greatest number of MPs is invited by the Queen to form a government, and he/she then becomes Prime Minister (PM).

If the party has a clear majority, (over 50% of the seats) then there’s no problem, they just go ahead and govern. If not, wheeling and dealing is carried out until a coalition is formed.

Note, the leader of the party is not directly chosen by the people. Each political party has its own method of choosing its leader. And, that leader can be deselected by his party at any time, even if he/she is PM at the time.

It happened to Margret Thatcher back 15 years ago, the people controlling the Tory party (the ones with big bucks) decided they didn’t want her as PM any more, so when she was at an EU head’s of government meeting in Europe, she received a telegram telling her she was fired.

Britain has 3 main parties:

Conservative (AKA Tory): Right-wing, big business, landed aristocracy and very “establishment”. Very strong in the south east of England. Virtually ignored in Scotland and Wales.

Labour: Used to be a very left-wing socialist party, but has now moved more into the central area. Strong in Scotland, Wales, northern England, and inner cities.

Liberal: The party which the Labour Party broke away from in the early 20th century. What they stand for, no bugger knows! They more or less stand in the middle, but they really are a wide and diverse group. They often support the Tories, but a wee while back they had legalisation of Marijuana as part of their manifesto, (which is one of times I voted for them :D). Anyway, they tend to attract the votes of dissatisfied supporters of the other two main groups usually, but are fairly strong in Scotland and south-west England.

Scotland has those 3, plus the SNP, who’s main objective is Independence from the UK.

Wales has the Welsh Independence party who fill the same role in Wales.

I’ve already discussed the parties in Ulster where the big 3 of Britain don’t really play a part. But the SDLP are loosely affiliated to the Labour Party, and the two Unionist parties are strongly affiliated to the Tory Party.

Plus those main ones, there’s a whole bunch of minor parties and independents all over the place, who generally take a handful of seats.

Anyway, all those members of Parliament, about 650 of them, make up the House of Commons.

Which is the supreme governing body, and I mean supreme.

No court, no police, not anything, has any authority over the House of Commons. An MP in the House could commit murder, and the police and courts have no jurisdiction over the event.

The Commons can change the constitution and there is no body higher than them to nay say that.

Something that is fairly common, is that an MP uses the House to vilify someone, knowing that he is safe from any charges of slander.

But the House has its own rules, presided over by the Speaker of the House.

There’s also a second house, the House of Lords. That was originally hereditary peers, but most of those hereditary peers have been removed by Tony Blair and the Labour Party these last 8 years.

They’ve been replaced by appointed peers. Theoretically “people of wisdom”; retired PM’s, people significant in the British society, etc. But the future of the House of Lords is still unclear, and subject to much debate.

But its role is clear; to act as a moderating influence on the House of Commons, and it’s always been pretty good at that,
Any Bill passed by the Commons must be approved by the Lords before it can become Law.

But ultimately, if the Lords prove to much of an obstacle for the Commons, the Commons could theoretically dissolve the House of Lords.

And there’s the Queen, who is Head of State of the UK.

She has no political power, and she can’t vote or belong to any political party.

But powerless she ain’t.

The armed forces of the UK all swear allegiance to her, not to parliament. So, she speaks softly, but carries a big stick. :)

Mind you, no monarch since Charles I has gone against the will of Parliament, and that resulted in the Civil War and the subsequent beheading of Charles I.

But, there again, in the 1970’s she fired the Australian PM and his government, so, you never know. :D

Anyway, the big change that this last election has wrought is the reduction in Tony Blair’s majority. (He is leader of the Labour Party and PM).

His majority is still large enough that he can ignore the opposition parties, but he can no longer ignore his own party.

Most MPs are yes-men, who will vote the way they are told to vote by the party whip, but there’s always a large amount of rebels, especially in the Labour party who’s membership ranges from radical Trotskyite Communist, through soggy socialist to social democrat. (I personally, am a sort of soggy Trotskyite with delusions of grandeur, a fascist streak, and as often as not, a terrible hangover. :D)

Many Labour MPs rebelled over the Iraq war, but Tony Blair’s majority was so large that he could ignore them. But that is no longer true, so watch out for a change in British policy re Iraq.

And along the same lines, the Labour party has always been very suspicious of the American Republican Party. (for “suspicious” read “hostile”), and have always had more in common with the Democrats.

It was only Tony Blair’s strong personal support for President Bush that kept Britain as a US ally, (Tony Blair is often referred to as “Bush’s Bitch” in the UK), so if Tony Blair resigns as PM (which is quite probable), then the new Labour PM is very unlikely to support a Republican led USA.

Anyway Bill, that’s a brief description of some aspects of British politics. If you’ve any questions, just ask, I can bore for hours on the subject! :laugh:

Ali

Hi Ali_T:
What a great Report…and Insight, into the British Isles, Politics… I can see how FootBall, got it’s name… Well…

For a land area, the size of Great Breton, there’s a lot of people living there… The more people are jammed together, the more the people look for a space to call their own…

We, North Americans, are very influenced by what goes on in Politics in your parts, weather we know it or not…

I describe myself as somewhat of a political Passevist. Until the decissions of our elected governments begins to hurt me, by their not so down to earth minds, start Screwing me around… By then it’s way too late to try to do anything about their policies they make… 99.9% of the time, their decissions are not for the good of the people… Corruption, seperates from their Good Intentions, very quickly… Well… Elected people, forget, all-to-soon, who and how they got there… and so do the voteing public… ??? :O

Anyway, I’ll stop there before I shoot myself in the foot… :laugh:

I think I missed, this time… I think it was close, though… ???

At times, we think the Grass is Greener, on the other side of the fence…

Bill…

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In WWII, Southern Ireland declared neutrality, and refused British ships the right to shelter in Irish ports. They did however, grant shelter to German Ships and U-boats; such was the hatred of the Irish for the British.

But at the same time, hundreds of thousands of Irish crossed the sea to Britain to join the British army, and to fight and die for Britain.


Well, they say all humor is based on some sort of fact, so I guess I can see where all the Irish inventions came from (helicopter with ejection seats, submarine with flywire doors)…

Willy, the jokes about “thick Irishmen” are totally untrue.

You’ll meet more philosophers, and more thought-provoking philosophy, in an Irish pub than you will in any university.

But, the Irish thinking process is based upon poetry, not logic.

Mind you, they’re a people who have a lot of fun, so who can argue with that! :D

Ali

But, if you do want some “Irish” jokes… :D

“Seamus, dat’s a terrible black eye you’ve got there an’ all”.

“Aye it is Pat, but that bastard Murphy hit me with a half a brick”.

“Jeez Seamus, why didn’t you hit him with something else first?”

“Well Pat, the only thing I had in my hand at the time was Mrs Murphy’s right tit, and a fine and wonderful thing it is too, but bloody useless in a fight”. :(

ROFL

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And the worst thing about it, is it’s all so fucking pointless


That’s a fact.
:(

No winners in a war/battle.
The guy who calls himself that is just the one who didn’t lose as much as the other side…

Ali,thanks for the informative posts.
It really is nice of you to take the effort to post about it.

I have a soft spot for the turmoil that’s in Ireland, and it is good to get some more info about it from someone closer to it.

Thank you !

Wihan

Btw - i just HAVE to chime in with one Irish joke … sorry

’New Irish navy has glass bottom boats so that they can see the old Irish navy’…

Quote (Ali_T @ May 07 2005,18:35)
The armed forces of the UK all swear allegiance to her, not to parliament. So, she speaks softly, but carries a big stick. :)

Nicely explained Ali! :slight_smile:

A couple of additional points I’d like to mention. Every elected member of UK parliament must also swear allegiance to the Queen before they can take their seat in Parliament.

This causes a small problem, since the Sinn Fein MPs refuse to swear allegiance to the Queen - For obvious reasons. In fact, Gerry Adams calls her ‘Mrs Windsor’.

This means that any republican Northern Ireland MPs, although they are elected to Parliament, never actually show their faces in the house in Westminster.

On the point of the voting system. One only has to look at the way the Northern Ireland constituency lines have been drawn up to tell there’s something not quite right… :)

In the Republic of Ireland we use a system of voting called proportional representation, which is more complex than ‘first past the post’, but it means that all parties have a fairer chance. However, this system was not adopted in the North, so they use first past the post. (They actually use proportional representation for their local government elections… how confusing is that!)

Now, the more I’m typing, the more complicated I’m making it sound. Perhaps tomorrow we’ll get started on devolution. lol!

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Nicely explained Ali! :slight_smile:

A couple of additional points I’d like to mention. Every elected member of UK parliament must also swear allegiance to the Queen before they can take their seat in Parliament.


Thank you John, although, I do apologise for trying, as a non-Irishman, to explain the Irish situation, (especially as I do it in my own very slanted and idiosyncratic way! :D )

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This causes a small problem, since the Sinn Fein MPs refuse to swear allegiance to the Queen - For obvious reasons. In fact, Gerry Adams calls her ‘Mrs Windsor’.


Ah now, there Gerry Adams is wrong! Had Liz remained unmarried, she would certainly be Ms Windsor, but as she’s married, there’s a strong argument that she’s now actually Mrs Battenburg-Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg-oppolopolis. :D (Which if nothing else, would look good over a doner-kebab place!)

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Now, the more I’m typing, the more complicated I’m making it sound. Perhaps tomorrow we’ll get started on devolution. lol!


God! Not devolution! :( I’m not sure I want to be a monkey again. There again, lying in a tree playing with your nuts all day does have a certain appeal. :laugh:

Ali