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The Unloved, Unwanted Garrison -
The Unionist Community in Northern Ireland

In a last message to his constituents as he lay dying of cancer in February 1990, Harold McCusker, Ulster Unionist MP for Upper Bann repeated what he had said in the House of Commons at the time of the ratification of the Anglo-Irish Agreement:

    I shall carry to my grave with ignominy the sense of injustice that I have shown to my constituents down the years when in their darkest hours I exhorted them to put their trust in this House of Commons, which one day would honour its fundamental obligation to treat them as equal British citizens.

These bitter words convey all the bafflement and frustration of a community which sees its history as one of defending Britain and British interests, yet has felt utterly rejected by the nation that created it. What is so sad is that whereas for the last seventy-five years, but particularly for the last twenty-five years Unionists have had doubts cast on their identity, have been vilified in the British media and academic worlds, have been ignored, have been isolated, have been told that Britain has no interest in Northern Ireland, have been treated politically different from the rest of the country, and have been subjected to fearsome terror and economic sabotage, they are still loyal and carry on political discussion to try and obtain equality of conditions with their co-nationals as if this was actually possible, that common sense would, in the end, prevail.

What has puzzled many Unionists is that often a new secretary of state for Northern Ireland is appointed who immediately makes enthusiastically pro-Unionist comments. Then suddenly, after a few weeks, it is as if the unfortunate man has been taken aside, to a small room, and been shown something or had something said to him which had the effect of altering his attitude.

[Source: Understanding Ulster
by Antony Alcock (1994)]

by Oui on Mon Nov 23rd, 2020 at 04:03:43 PM EST
Like many settler communities, northern unionists suffer from perpetual insecurity and identity anxiety, unsure as to whether their future lies with the motherland or with the country they have settled, which they claim to own.

This insecurity is manifested in extravagant displays of loyalism, a stubborn refusal to consider all olive branches from their co-inhabitants, a messianic fundamentalism and delusions of being "a chosen people", and ruthless displays of self interest masquerading as the defence of freedom.

Continually demanding that their "loyalty" be reciprocated by their mother country, attention seeking behaviour at every opportunity for fear of being forgotten, and a quaint refusal to recognise that their mother country has actually moved on and is no longer the country their forebears left, are other symptoms of this anxiety.

Loyalists will celebrate their victories over their nationalist foes many centuries ago, their losses at the Somme and other imperial adventures, the contributions of their alumni to the imperial efforts of long ago.

But it is all in vain. Their leaders doth protest too much. They have become an almighty pain and embarrassment to the leaders of their mother country and are chiefly indulged as useful idiots, if at all.

In the meantime their future is staring them in the face, but few have the courage to acknowledge it, and those that do are quickly ostracised.  They will fight for the Union to the last drop of somebody else's blood, declare that they will leave, and take their business with them if the unthinkable happens an a united Ireland happens, and then stick around as uncomfortable guests, not knowing which way to look.

They will whinge and whine, as UK expats are wont to do, at the inadequacies of their new country and its leadership, regardless of whether all there needs and concerns have been catered to. In the end no one will much care, as every caring gesture will have been treated with condescension and contempt.

For some people there is no future. They are the living dead. Important only in their own minds. Central only in their own universe. Embittered, betrayed, lost.  An embarrassment to their own children, who are getting on with their lives and wondering what all the fuss is about.

They are the passengers of history who imagine they are its drivers. Best to just let them go on their own journey to nowhere. They have no  destination, no promised land. They are not the Israelites of their own fond imagination. God has not left them They just didn't recognise him when he came.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 23rd, 2020 at 04:48:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't be too somber Frank ... a few millennia perhaps?
by Oui on Mon Nov 23rd, 2020 at 05:59:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That was the cheerful end of the spectrum!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 23rd, 2020 at 07:07:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They still have allies and supporters in the UK military and intelligence agencies capable of supplying their logistic needs and could also give them intelligence and counter-intelligence directly and indirectly from Interpol & etc.

The US has millions of these kind of people and they are vicious fucks - think KKK - when provoked.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Nov 24th, 2020 at 02:54:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For that reason it is important that any UK Ireland transfer of sovereignty deal ensures that the UK co-owns the problem of making it work for both parties at least for a 10 year transitionary period. The UK will also need to ensure that UK EU relations remain as positive as possible even if elements within the UK want to f*ck with Ireland.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 24th, 2020 at 09:39:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What has been remarkable in the US (to an outside observer) is the degree to which the far right has lost the support of "deep state" intelligence and policing agencies who have done little to support Trump. Imagine the US progressive left trumpeting the probity of the electoral process 4 or 20 years ago!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 24th, 2020 at 09:42:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Deep State has its own progressive/regressive split. Trump, Bannon and the rest are tentacles of the regressive faction.

The visible TLAs aren't wholly part of the Deep State at all, although factions working within them may be.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2020 at 03:19:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Tue Nov 24th, 2020 at 03:29:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My experience is that the political views of the members of the various  US government agencies is comparable to that of the population overall. Even the military is not as conservative as some people would like to think.

There's a lot of "I'm not saying anything because I don't want to get into an argument."

by asdf on Tue Nov 24th, 2020 at 11:17:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can see at least two reasons: the "far right" in US is now overlapping with the fringe that thinks government is The Enemy - especially the government spooks, and on the other hand many people from the conservative working class having lost family members in the useless, never-ending wars they want to stop, which is completely opposite of the "deep state" agenda.
by pelgus on Wed Nov 25th, 2020 at 08:41:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wasn't there always some a strong current of performative anti-intellectualism on the far right, while the intelligence agencies almost entirely recruit from elite universities? And the biggest far right organization in the country is still the Fraternal Order of Police, which was all in on Trump. I'm also not that surprised that Democratic loyalists would taut the integrity of the election process. After all, one side committing high treason to land the October surprise while the other side pretends everything is fine describes about every second US election in the last 50 years.
by generic on Wed Nov 25th, 2020 at 01:03:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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