Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
The Bastid Queen: How I want to build a collaborative vision for unionism
I want to see a Northern Ireland where plans on the economy, education, health and other public services are the dividing lines for political debate and elections.

Unionist culture is important to me, as is my faith, and I disagree with Malachi that to be Protestant and support the monarchy and armed forces is 'backward-looking'.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Nov 1st, 2019 at 07:50:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After partition in 1922, the small Protestant minority in the South declined from c. 10% in the south to c. 3% through a combination of emigration - as "imperial jobs" moved elsewhere in the British Empire, lower relative birthrates, the notorious Roman Catholic ne temere decree which required the children of mixed marriages to be brought up as Catholics, an unwillingness to live in a "Roman Catholic state", and isolated cases of intimidation and violence such as the killings of Coolacrease which were witnessed by my late wife's grandmother.

However the remaining 3% accommodated themselves to living in the "Free State" and then the Republic of Ireland without too much difficulty and there were genuine attempts by the new state to be inclusive. Two Presidents and several cabinet ministers have been protestants, and the last bastion of Catholicism - the Gaelic Athletic Association -  elected my wife's protestant uncle as President in 1994 (despite the fact that he played rugby not GAA in his youth). By the 1990's the population of Protestants had risen to 5% in part due to converts from Catholicism disillusioned by the extreme conservatism of the Roman Catholic Church.

Nationalists point to this relatively benign history of inclusion as indicating there will be no problem incorporating almost a million Protestants in Northern Ireland into a future united Ireland, but there are a few issues with this over-simplification:

  1. Firstly, it is easier to incorporate a smaller and declining minority.
  2. Secondly, Northern Protestants are "a different Breed" being more predominantly hardline fundamentalist Presbyterian rather than more liberal Anglicans.
  3. Thirdly, southern protestants saw themselves as Irish, whereas Northern Protestants like to pretend they are British.
  4. Fourthly, it's not just about religion. Northern Protestants have been the majority ruling class in Northern Ireland, quite ruthless in their determination to maintain that position by fair means or foul, and will not give up a dominant political and economic position easily.

That said, the potential for post re-unification conflict may be over-stated provided the transition is managed well. Even most Northern Protestants accept that re-unification at some stage is inevitable and will be irreversible, if only for demographic reasons, and their main objective is to put off that evil day for as long as possible.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Nov 2nd, 2019 at 08:42:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]