Northern Ireland - The British Connection?

IrishGuard

Old-Salt
The article claims that a recent poll revealed that the majority of British voters feel little or no connection with Northern Ireland.

It has a paywall but the heading covers the topic.


It's been a long time since I was in the UK or Ireland but my thinking is that the poll is correct?
 

skeetstar

War Hero
I'd say that is just a statement of how it's been for the last 50 years.. 'connection's' to the province would be limited to those who've served there, have family there, support ulster rugby, or have business interests there.
 
Not sure why that's news - I reckon you'd have got that result at any time since Irish independence, and before that it would have been Ireland in general rather than just the north.

Northern Ireland has always really been Ireland's problem* - enough people there didn't want to be part of the republic, and were well enough armed and organised for it to be less trouble to allow them not to be than to force them to be.

But outside parts of West Scotland no one gives a monkey's - it's not like people in Kettering go all misty eyed about the Union Jack flying over Belfast.

*and Britain's insofar as Britain has got this bit where the locals have wanted to be British for a long time, but Britain doesn't really want it per se. Northern Ireland is two things - a war memorial thankyou to the Ulster Division in the Great War, and a pragmatic statelet which was designed to make the Irish civil war a bit less all-consuming in the 1920s.
 

Yokel

LE
Was it always like this, or is this another symptom of our sense of national identity and understanding of our history being dumbed down and diluted over recent decades? Honest question - Would you have got similar responses in say the 1950s?

Were the memories of the war years, and of the contribution of Harland and Wolff and Shorts to the war effort an influence?
 
Was it always like this, or is this another symptom of our sense of national identity and understanding of our history being dumbed down and diluted over recent decades? Honest question - Would you have got similar responses in say the 1950s?

Were the memories of the war years, and of the contribution of Harland and Wolff and Shorts to the war effort an influence?
when the signs said 'No Irish' in the 1950s they didn't discriminate from which side of the border.
 
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Just as to the point, the "Loyalists" are not "loyal" to any sense of GB I know or recognise - and I live in a deeply conservative (and Conservative), Leave Voting, rural part of the country.
 
The article claims that a recent poll revealed that the majority of British voters feel little or no connection with Northern Ireland.

It has a paywall but the heading covers the topic.


It's been a long time since I was in the UK or Ireland but my thinking is that the poll is correct?
I think that the premise, on the whole, is true. Although there is, to be fair, more awareness nowadays of the difference between the Six Counties and the RoI, particularly since the Good Friday Agreement.

I joined the British Army at the beginning of 1966 and, because there was no internet and such at the time, we Irish from both sides of the border were kept abreast of events by letters regularly sent to us by our relatives. Therefore, it was no real surprise to us when it finally kicked off in 1969, since it was clear from about the middle of 1967 that things were coming to a head.

However, apart from the Indian and Pakistani comrades who'd had their own experiences with the "British Empire,, the English among us were totally confused and bewildered as to what was actually going on, for a not insignificant number of them were entirely unaware that Ireland was partitioned and also genuinely thought that Ireland, as a whole, was still part of the United Kingdom. We, both from the North and the South, had a mammoth task explaining the issue to them.

MsG
 
Was it always like this, or is this another symptom of our sense of national identity and understanding of our history being dumbed down and diluted over recent decades? Honest question - Would you have got similar responses in say the 1950s?

Were the memories of the war years, and of the contribution of Harland and Wolff and Shorts to the war effort an influence?
Short answer yes, after the war when Eire declared itself a republic the Labour government (Labour!) passed the 1949 Ireland Act, which explicitly guaranteed Northern Ireland's position within the UK. It was seen as a reward for loyal Ulster against neutral Eire. The Queen made occasional visits to NI in the 50s and always enjoyed a good display of Lambeg drumming by Orangemen as part of an evening's entertainment.

That explains why the Unionists in Stormont got complacent and never made much effort to reform, they assumed they were safely ensconced forever but by the time the late 1960s had rolled around, with student demos, civil rights and the anti-Vietnam War movement sentiment had changed.

The Unionists had become an embarrassing anachronism in swinging sixties Britain and a once indulgent media and political establishment was no longer sympathetic to odd-looking blokes in bowlers and rolled-up umbrellas marching where they weren't wanted and expecting the British Army to bail them out when things went pear-shaped.
 
Prior to joining the army in 1971 as a boy soldier, I had an affinity with the South because my fathers side of the family were originally from County Kerry.

I’d visited Castleisland several times as a youngish child from the age of seven years onwards and remembered the place clearly and some of the friends I’d made there. My grandparents both had broad southern Irish accents so I was always reminded of that side of my families origins.

Northern Ireland didn’t register with me at all until the troubles started in 1969 and the news broadcasts started showing the riots etc.

Then of course, when I joined the army as a 15 year old boy soldier in 1971, nobody’s crystal ball was predicting that things would escalate and continue for so long as they did. And then in 1973, I was walking (or often running) around the Divis Flats and the Falls Road followed by two further tours over the next couple of years.

So Northern Ireland wasn’t really on my radar until during my time in the army and since the peace process was concluded, it pretty much has dropped back off of my radar.

In terms of the future of Northern Ireland, it makes little difference to me whether it remains as part of the UK or integrates into the South.

My only concern would be that it makes that decision based on a democratic process defined and voted on by the majority of the inhabitants of the province. I’d be very much opposed to giving in to terrorism and letting the bullet and the bomb decide the day!

Of course, all that does rely on the South deciding that they do actually want it. If it does go, they will have to find the money for it. I don’t see any reason for the UK to continue subsidising the province if it’s not part of the UK anymore.
 
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I remember being pulled up by a Company car fleet representative relating to my use of vehicle whilst on holidayin Belfast region stating that NI was not part of the United Kingdom. I refused to discuss with this persons director stating that it was not my job to give their staff basic education on governmental constitutions so fortunately for them they did not pursue things that would have made them look totally brain dead. The Company after all was based in a mining village called Batley and it was back in 1999. Your judgement on the reasoning.
 

Yokel

LE
Just as to the point, the "Loyalists" are not "loyal" to any sense of GB I know or recognise - and I live in a deeply conservative (and Conservative), Leave Voting, rural part of the country.

Are the ones who make a song and dance about it representative of the wider Unionist community? I mean the non sash wearing and non sectarian majority.

Identity politics is such an ugly sport.
 
when the signs said 'No Irish' in the 1950s they didn't discriminate from which side of the border.
But any self respecting protestant orangeman would have ignored the signs as not pertaining to him. He would have pointed out loudly and strongly that he was a 'Ulsterman, not an Irishman.'

As I found out after telling Irish jokes to a large WW2 ex Royal Marine from East Belfast on the Belfast to Liverpool Ferry. He was roaring with laughter and saying "Dead on wee man, its the way you tell em." When I looked a bit perplexed and wondered why he wasn't annoyed he explained that he was an Ulsterman, not an Irishman. I hadn't been in Ulster all that long then but I soon found out it was an important difference as far as they were concerned.
 
NI has been, consistently, a fiscal anchor on the British Isles, proving that whilst Ireland did not win the war of independence, it certainly wasn't the biggest loser.
 
How connected to say Lincolnshire or Perthshire does the average voter feel?
I was thinking exactly the same. I feel some connection to Wales because I have spent a lot of time there. Same for other parts of the country. But there are swathes of the UK I have never been to.
I probably feel more connection to Ulster than I do to, say, Nottinghamshire.
 
Short answer yes, after the war when Eire declared itself a republic the Labour government (Labour!) passed the 1949 Ireland Act, which explicitly guaranteed Northern Ireland's position within the UK. It was seen as a reward for loyal Ulster against neutral Eire. The Queen made occasional visits to NI in the 50s and always enjoyed a good display of Lambeg drumming by Orangemen as part of an evening's entertainment.

That explains why the Unionists in Stormont got complacent and never made much effort to reform, they assumed they were safely ensconced forever but by the time the late 1960s had rolled around, with student demos, civil rights and the anti-Vietnam War movement sentiment had changed.

The Unionists had become an embarrassing anachronism in swinging sixties Britain and a once indulgent media and political establishment was no longer sympathetic to odd-looking blokes in bowlers and rolled-up umbrellas marching where they weren't wanted and expecting the British Army to bail them out when things went pear-shaped.

Her Majesty has had to sit through many dull and tedious performances in her long and noble reign, but an exhibition of lambegs (I grew up adjacent to an Orange Hall, and my bedroom window was on the ‘wrong‘ side of the house) would surely be pretty high on her list of “thank you, but I’d rather not“ options if ever offered a second time.
 
Are the ones who make a song and dance about it representative of the wider Unionist community? I mean the non sash wearing and non sectarian majority.

Identity politics is such an ugly sport.
The non-marching/non-sash wearing ones would, in the main, still feel a strong connection to the Crown.

Ironically, those who make the most noise are those who have thought it through the least – they’re not really sure what they are ‘loyal‘ to.
 
Prior to joining the army in 1971 as a boy soldier, I had an affinity with the South because my fathers side of the family were originally from County Kerry.

I’d visited Castleisland several times as a youngish child from the age of seven years onwards and remembered the place clearly and some of the friends I’d made there. My grandparents both had broad southern Irish accents so I was always reminded of that side of my families origins.

Northern Ireland didn’t register with me at all until the troubles started in 1969 and the news broadcasts started showing the riots etc.

Then of course, when I joined the army as a 15 year old boy soldier in 1971, nobody’s crystal ball was predicting that things would escalate and continue for so long as they did. And then in 1973, I was walking (or often running) around the Divis Flats and the Falls Road followed by two further tours over the next couple of years.

So Northern Ireland wasn’t really on my radar until during my time in the army and since the peace process was concluded, it pretty much has dropped back off of my radar.

In terms of the future of Northern Ireland, it makes little difference to me whether it remains as part of the UK or integrates into the South.

My only concern would be that it makes that decision based on a democratic process defined and voted on by the majority of the inhabitants of the province. I’d be very much opposed to giving in to terrorism and letting the bullet and the bomb decide the day!

Of course, all that does rely on the South deciding that they do actually want it. If it does go, they will have to find the money for it. I don’t see any reason for the UK to continue subsidising the province if it’s not part of the UK anymore.
Because our family home was adjacent to the church, we were the collection point for all the Ulster mummy stuff done for the troops back then – home-baked bread, cakes, home-made jams and so on.

Green Jackets always seem to be coming through our house on a Sunday afternoon – even allowing for the fact there were a few battalions back then.

The Officer would drink tea, the men would be allowed a can of McEwans or Tennents !
 

Yokel

LE
The non-marching/non-sash wearing ones would, in the main, still feel a strong connection to the Crown.

Ironically, those who make the most noise are those who have thought it through the least – they’re not really sure what they are ‘loyal‘ to.

Yeah that was sort of the point I was trying to make. Politics is one of those things that is best practised in private or with consenting partners.

Have a 'like'.
 

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