Ooh Aah, Up the Ra!

Uproar over a chorus of “Ooh Aah, Up the Ra!” in the Belfast Feile
Cue the latest in Unionist/DUP/Do-Gooder attempts at censoring what bands play and what 10,000 people sing along to.
For those of you who missed it, here is what they objected to – the chorus of the Celtic Symphony that was written by Wolfe Tone’s lead singer and songwriter, historian Brian Warfield, in 1987 for the centennial of Celtic Football Club

The chorus of one song in a concert that lasted for hours and featured other bands. Doors opened at 3pm and the Wolfe Tones didn’t get on stage until 10pm

If Unionists/Loyalists and Do-Gooders get their way in their calls to “End all funding for the Feile”unless the content is approved by them, Nationalist/Republican freedom of expression will be censored this year and the next, one song after the other.

NI will be back in the 1920s-1970s when you could be jailed or interned for waving a tricolour, meeting in groups of more than 3, singing Amhrán na bhFiann or any other “rebel” song.

The Wolfe Tones called the uproar right in designating it as Unionist “crankiness”.
Synonyms of cranky are:disagreeable, irritable, malevolent, ill-natured,captious,peevish,cantankerous,

Comment: Not one admirable trait in there!

Unionist/Loyalist crankiness is wearying, day in, day out.

Their nit-picking amounts to permanent objections to whatever Nationalists/Republicans do in NI
If it isn’t a funeral, it’s a song.
If it isn’t a song, it’s a mural.
if it isn’t a mural, it’s something somebody said
If it isn’t something somebody said, it’s something somebody might have thought!

Time to stop putting up with it!

Once and for all

Comment: There are no Croppies to lie down any more.There are no chocolates in Unionist boxes anymore
And there are no Diamonds in their Minds

UPDATE 18/8/2022: Potential Job Loss

Girl, understood to be from the Lurgan area, who sang ‘ooh ah up the ‘Ra’ at Feile na Phobail was suspended from her job at top NI car dealer the Agnew Group, pending further investigation. She was identified on a video from among 10,000 concert-goers.

Query: Are all 10,000 threatened with job losses?

Inquiring minds need to know!

Update 23/8/2022

Footballer John Herron has lost his job

Larne FC suspended Herron, formerly from Celtic FC, after photos appeared online that appeared to show him wearing a T-shirt with pro-IRA slogan when he was attending the concert at Feile. The T-shirt design referred to his old club and to the Celtic Symphony which was written to celebrate its centennial.

John Herron’s contract with Larne FC has now been terminated.

Lord Trimble amongst The Dead

Lord Trimble,  arch Unionist, intellectual Loyalist and convinced  Brexiteer, was laid to rest.

An Orangeman, a man of fascist-type Vanguard rallies, whose leaders worked with Loyalist paramilitaries and called for Catholics to be exterminated. A man who supported the reactionary Loyalist Workers Strike. A man who participated in  the Orange Order Siege of Drumcree and the  Garvaghy Road stand-off which was linked to the death of 3 children.

British, Unionist, anti-Catholic, anti-Irish  to his finger-tips.

An unpleasant character, by all reports. Rude, cold, arrogant, easy to anger.

Ostensibly, a man of peace, authority and caution, far-seeing, percipient, worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

In the run-up to the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement Lord Trimble insisted his  people must not linger on in the past but embrace the present.

Yet he did exactly the opposite.

Lately he supported Brexit,  hindering any move forward on the Northern Irish Protocol (NIP), contradicting judicial  findings  that the NIP breached the 1801 Act of Union  and supporting Unionist refusal to accept a SF First Minister in Northern Ireland.

He ultimately encouraged a tribute to the past, the supremacist  past of Unionism that lives on in present Unionist  parties.

Comment: RIP Let the dead bury the dead

Lord Trimble acquiesced to  the 1998 (Belfast/Good Friday) Agreement because

 a) he had no other choice. The British, Irish  and USA governments offered no alternatives to Sunningdale Mark 2, except Joint Sovreignty with the Irish Republic. A fate worse than death for Unionists/Loyalists.

 b) the IRA/SF were already on board pursuing peace. Being off-side and left out, was not a good look for the Unionist/Loyalist image and

c) the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement secured another 25 and counting years of Unionist hegemony in Northern Ireland.

Queries: What was there  not to like?

A mere quibble about power-sharing for slow learners?

 Lord Trimble knew Unionist/Loyalist  hard-liners were not slow learners.

A long, long time ago they had learnt  how to wield slogans in their favour.

   “No Surrender” and “Never, Never, Never”  guaranteed their place in Northern Ireland and  Westminster, particularly when  the Conservative Party needed to be make up numbers  to form a government.

NB: The Conservative party in England were comparatively slow learners in this regard.

“Brexit is Brexit” and “Take Back Control” came much later.

Unionists/Loyalists had no intention of, nor are they ever  going to, share power with the IRA/SF.

Parity of esteem is a foreign (EU?)  concept to them.

Since 1998, the Stormont Assembly has staggered from one debacle and collapse to to the next.

Unionists  forever walk in smaller “No No No” circles, a minority in the “wee pravince”  they once dominated.

After the latest elections the DUP refuse to participate in the Stormont Assembly, thus blocking everything.

Ostensibly because they do not like the NIP which the British government they supported negotiatiated, ratified and attempted to implement to a certain extent.

Ostensibly because they will not play “bridesmaid” to a SF First Minister.

Comment: Unionists/Loyalists and Westminster are not yet sick of Ireland, not yet sick of being where their supremacism is  unwanted.

Remember: Unionist/Loyalist  attraction to Northern Ireland  is not rooted in love of place and people but in their desire to control the people and impose their will upon everybody living there

Today Unionism/Loyalism/The Loyal Orders are shadows of a past, flickering in a world in which the living and the dead meet, haunted in these summer months by the legacy of 10 dead IRA Hunger Strikers.  

The Stormont Assembly  music has stopped.

Unionists/Loyalists will not permit the Assembly to function unless they get what they demand.

The rest of the parties and MLAs gather at the door, coats on, ready to leave if the DUP gets what it wants. 

If not, what are all the conversations about a “New /Shared Ireland about?

Payback time for the DUP

 Today, hardline Brexiteers in the ERG (a Conservative party group who will use anything and anyone, no matter what ensues, to fulfil their Britannia Unchained fantasies and ideology) and their henchmen and women in the DUP  had  their demands satisfied. They warmly welcomed the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill to Westminster parliament.

It shows that:

  • the European court of justice will not have a role in Northern Ireland
  • a green/red lane  set-up i.e. no checks on goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland; checks for those going to the Republic of Ireland

Query:  What does a lorry with a mixed load do? Which lane does it use? British? Irish? Both?

  • the NIP has no effect in the UK
  • UK ministers reserve powers to override other parts of the NIP (and presumably any other International Treaty) if they deem it necessary.

Remember: 1) domestic legislation cannot overrule an international treaty – it if could, no government in its right mind would ever sign one.

2) Any attempt to vary the provisions NI Protocol by use of UK law is illegal as it violates  Article 27 of the Vienna Treaty governing Treaties. A party may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty. This rule is without prejudice to article 46.

Back in 2017 the DUP negotiated a £1 billion“Confidence and Supply” agreement, as brokered by Jacob Rees-Mogg of the ERG, to prop up PM May’s minority government.Mutual interests converged and the deal was done.

True to their supremacist instincts and desire to wield power, the DUP and NI Unionism in general have carried on pushing with the ERG for the hardest of hard Brexits ever since.

The NIP blocked Unionism’s drive to conserve power and hegemony i.e.  Unionist /Orange Order leadership or dominance over all others, in NI.  The border shifted to the Irish Sea, thus subverting their place in the UK. NI remained in the Single market and Customs Union, thus  potentially subverting their unfettered power in NI.

Add in the SF victory in the May 2022 Local Assembly  elections, coming top in the number of seats, flanked by the constitutionally neutral Alliance Party of Northern Ireland. The only surprise was how long it took for the UK Government to prepare its long-announced NIP Bill to redress Unionism’s “manufactured grievances”.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and the EU, Liz Truss said the government is basing its move on the “doctrine of necessity,” saying it has no choice but to act.

The UK government’s “doctrine of necessity”  means the necessity of Johnson keeping his job by placating the ERG and DUP.

It means the necessity  for the ERG and DUP to lie,  cheat,  break the law, anything, to gain power and keep hold of it.

Remember: Legally, necessity rarely excuses a breach, and only when (inter alia) the State’s act is the only way to safeguard an essential interest against a grave and imminent peril, and when no other essential interest is seriously impaired by the breach

Well Unionism would say their essential interest in NI was in grave and imminent peril, wouldn’t they? Because it is, isn’t it?

 If the UK Govt  hadn’t acted to prop up Unionism in NI, they were facing a SF administration in Northern Ireland, further loss of Unionist supremacy and a probable SF administration in Dublin within a couple of years.

Which certainly wouldn’t suit the Minister for the Union, PM Boris Johnson himself.

Or the DUP which has no intention of ever playing “bridesmaid” to Sinn Fein in Stormont

Brexit, the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP) and the Conservative Party

The Conservatives have paid, and look as if they are going to keep on paying, a heavy price for  their 30 years of anti-EU madness.  It has destroyed one Conservative PM  after another. The total stands at present at 4 and counting: Margaret Thatcher, John Major, David Cameron, Theresa May  – all   wiped out politically  by the party’s divisions over the EU.

The Conservatives have  managed to get Brexit done and  expel most of the “soft” Brexit supporters and Remainers  from the party. Yet now it’s the turn of  their latest  leader  PM Boris Johnson  to  ride for a fall over the NIP, spurred on by the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) and the European research group (ERG) of Brexiteer Tories  who are convinced Brexit cannot fail and the harder the Brexit, the better.  

As well as Tory Brexiteers, senior government figures are reported to have extensively consulted the DUP on the substance of the new  Brexit law. People in Northern Ireland are not altogether pleased that only the DUP is being ‘consulted’ on such a sensitive bill. They don’t like the DUP’s opinion having preferential status over other Northern Ireland Assembly parties like Sinn Fein, Alliance or the Social Democratic and Labour Party. Or that the DUP minority opinion is allowed to override the expressed will of the majority (SF, SDLP, Alliance) who are happy enough with the NIP.

Remember: The majority of people in NI and the Stormont Assembly they elected a few short weeks ago want the NIP and they want it to work .

Comment: Widespread dissatisfaction with PM Johnson’s policy over the NIP sends out very negative signals for the future of NI and its place within the UK. Power-sharing would be impossible with 1) a hard border on the island of Ireland and 2) DUP rule strong-armed into place via Westminster against the democratically expressed wishes of more than half the population in Northern Ireland.

Query: What happens if SF, SDLP and Alliance then withdraw from the Stormont Assembly?

On the other hand, PM Johnson’s  Brexit bill probably won’t get through the Houses of Commons and Lords.  The more extreme it is,  the less chance it has of becoming law as PM Johnson lacks the numbers to push it through due to the 148 Conservative MPs who Voted No Confidence in him Monday last.  Should it get through, its passage through the Houses of Parliament could take up to one year. It will be challenged on legal grounds. Apart from the DUP and TUV, it isn’t wanted in Northern Ireland and would be unworkable in practise.

PM Johnson argues it is needed to persuade the DUP to join the power-sharing executive in the Stormont Assembly.

Comment: It will fail in this purpose because the DUP have no intention and no incentive to get Stormont  Assembly up and running.  Once they are in, PM Johnson won’t be “consulting” them any more. The Stormont Assembly  will have a SF First Minister and the DUP will be relegated to Deputy First Minister status.And the DUP will have no other leverage.

Effects: Unilateral legislation riding rough-shod over the NIP to please the ERG and the DUP  will infuriate the EU and the USA, trigger trade retaliations and block the UK’s participation in the €95bn Horizon research scheme.  It would recklessly jeopardise the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and future Trade Agreement with the USA . Brussels will implement sanctions and has even threatened a trade war  – but is likely to wait until the Bill passes – if it does.

PM Johnson  was told that any breach of the Northern Irish protocol would be “economically very damaging, politically foolhardy and almost certainly illegal”.

Yet he appears hell-bent on pressing on with it even though he knows, and his Cabinet knows, and the Conservative Party knows they  either accept the NIP or embark on a trade war with the EU, a war they cannot win;they  either accept the NIP or abandon all hopes of a Trade Agreement with the USA, an agreement they will not get; they  either accept the NIP or trigger Irish Re-Unification, a process they cannot stop.





Sectarianism in Northern ireland

A video, filmed in a room bedecked with union flags and Orange Order paintings, shows a group of people singing a song about the death of Michaela McAreavey, a young Northern Irish Catholic bride who was murdered on her honeymoon.

It has been described as “vile”  “utterly abhorrent” “absolutely sick”  “beyond reprehensible” and the singers as “vermin”.

Here’s what they sang:

She went to her room to get a wee treat

Something **** strangers she did meet

They hammered & they hammered & they bate her about

John McArevey never gave her a shout.

Round &round&up&down

Through the streets of Ballygawley town”

Comment: The murder of an innocent Catholic woman becomes a source of entertainment.

Involved in broadcasting and singing, John Bell and Andrew McDade, said it was a matter of “deep shame and regret”. They described it as an “offensive, vile and wholly abhorrent chant”.

Remember:  That song had a tune and lyrics that people in the room knew well enough to sing along to.

It had most probably been sung on other occasions and places, when openly racist, sectarian or misogynistic behaviour appeared normal.

Queries: Do similar things  happen in other Orange Halls? Regularly? Is this what goes on behind those doors?

Are anti-Catholic chants used to bond men and women together in an implacable mindset?

How many of singers believe the offence was the song ?

Or was the leak the offence?  

Things that would typically have stayed within their  Orange Order walls were filmed and put out on social media.

And seen by everyone.

Wonder how Westminster Orange Lodge will react to this abuse of Her Majesty’s Catholic subjects during her Jubilee celebrations?

Michaella McAreavey was targeted because she was a Catholic. She wasn’t  a political activist or member of a paramilitary organisation. Just an innocent Catholic. The chant and the setting are associated with  violent anti-Catholic, anti-Irish hatred.

Yet nobody mentioned the S word!

Sectarianism is a sub-set of racism.

So apart from the fact that the Police Service should be investigating a hate crime, why wasn’t sectarianism mentioned as the Orange Order condemned the video and offered to investigate?

Because sectarian acts don’t exist in an all-PUL (Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist) environment such as an Orange Hall.

Let’s look at sectarianism from the PUL point of view

All-PUL spaces are untainted by sectarianism  because sectarianism  operates only when CNR (Catholic, Nationalist, Republican) people are present

 Comment: According to Unionists/Loyalists, the CNR are the root cause of sectarianism. If there were no CNR people about there would be no sectarianism

Query: How  is sectarianism used in Northern Ireland?

Sectarianism is the weapon that maintains our Unionist/loyalist power in Northern Ireland

Comment: Sectarianism is a problem of Unionism/Loyalism and of Unionist privilege

But since we have the power to enact sectarianism, then it becomes a problem for the CNR community. As it has been for over 200 years.

Q:What is  sectarianism?

Our anti-Catholic, anti-nationalist, anti-Republican, anti-Irish sectarianism is central to the means for achieving our Unionist/Loyalist goals  of supremacy in power and  British identity

Sectarianism  confers structural advantage,  privilege.

It’s a belief system that perpetuates our right to  the unequal distribution of privileges, resources and power   that has kept us in the dominant position for over 100 years

It’s a set of cultural practices that are usually unmarked and unnamed

 It is a ‘standpoint,’ the place from which we look at ourselves,  others, and  society. 

Remember: The people who benefit from any ideology always deny the harm of that ideology and even its existence

Query: What annoys you about the others,  the CNR

NI would be fine if only the CNR would  vote  the “right “way for the “right” people. Take for example when Brexit was being voted for.  Few or none of us  thought about how it would effect the parity of esteem of nationalists. We ‘dismissed’ CNR feelings about the EU, their actually being European, their high regard for the openness of the Irish border. And we don’t care that a majority in NI support the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP) which  we fiercely oppose.

Query: Why do you, the PUL, object to the NIP?

It sets up a trade barrier with Great Britain. It weakens our link with Britain because it’s a new form of Partition. It threatens our identity and tradition. It opens up space for Republicanism to flourish and makes it easier to call for a Border Poll. And we could lose it.

Remember: Brexit Referendum voting pattern: 56% in NI voted to Remain in the EU

Comment: By any calculation 56% is a majority. The PUL do not speak for this 56% majority.

Yet our voice predominates. Unionist/Loyalist DUP backed Brexit and as a majority in GB voted Leave – out of the EU Northern Ireland should go!And away with the NIP!

Comment: The British Government signed, sealed, ratified and delivered the NIP

We have vehemently opposed legislation for women’s reproductive choice, single-sex marriage and  an Irish  language act, rights that were all available in Britain

Comment: All of which Westminster is finally delivering

But since we are boycotting the Stormont Assembly, abortion clinics and the Irish Language Act will never be implemented

Query: What about CNR not voting for the “right” people?

 By voting for SF rather than the SDLP Northern nationalism has sacrificed our friendship, goodwill and alliances 

 If they would only have voted for the ‘right‘ party, they would have everything they want by now  . . .

Query: What’s the link between Sectarianism and  Britishness?

We’re British. We enjoy a deeply internalized, largely unconscious sense of belonging in U.K. society

 Consequently,  we can represent the whole of the people in Great Britain, preferably the English.

Comment: Irish people in NI can only represent their own sectarianised experiences. They cannot represent  the PUL in NI, or  citizens in the  ROI.But they can represent citizens  world-wide who have suffered at the hands of racists.

Britishness/Englishness is assumed as a universal reference point for NI people.NI people should want to emulate the British values and virtues in order to be accepted into Unionist culture. In offering an education space that was  explicitly British/Unionist/Loyalist we offered the ideal  way of life which we want to impose on  everyone .

Comment: NI is a closed entity with no tolerance or place for anyone who does not fit the Unionist/Loyalist concept of British. CNR are not welcome in NI society unless conforming to other people’s prejudices.

The fact the CNR need to emulate British culture,  or refuse to do so, makes them inferior, not as good as us, “disloyal” in a word. That’s what disloyal means. They are not as good as us,  inferior. And they are never trusted no matter how Unionist they say they’ve become.

 Comment: To be “not pseudo-English” is ipso facto to be inferior and marginalised.

Right. The CNR are tolerated but unless they behave (no SF first minister) we close down Stormont. As we have.We do not acknowledge nationalists’ right to have their vote recognised

Query: Why?

Because since Partition and the founding of NI, we  have developed unchallenged expectations to remain in the leadership position

Comment: since the Belfast/GF Agreement, a major problem within Unionism seems to be  the belief that Republican violence had effect but no cause and Unionist violence had cause but no effect.