The Trump Effect, Vol. II: A Call for Unity

The unexpected election of Donald Trump into the highest office in American politics last week caused quite a stir amongst conspiracy theorists. By all metrics, Hillary Clinton was the clear New World Order candidate: she comes from a dynastic, deeply establishment family; she is a seasoned hawk; she is a committed progressive; she advocated mandatory vaccination; and she was committed to disarming the American population. Absolutely nothing Clinton stood could be interpreted as anti-establishment.

If you compare this to the campaign rhetoric of her victorious opponent, the enigmatic Donald Trump, much of which was highly controversial, directly challenging leftist establishment orthodoxy and proposing real, viable, workable solutions, then it seems pretty obvious whom it would benefit the establishment more to have residing in the White House. That having someone entirely in-line with what the NWO strives to achieve installed as the Chief Executive is expedient, self-evidently makes logical sense – a willing, devoted slave is far more desirable than one who has to be cajoled, bribed, or threatened into obedience, because his/her loyalty is far less conditional, and thus much easier to maintain.

Over the last week, I’ve been following very keenly the reactions of conspiracy theorists; there is much that I, as a fellow conspiracy theorist, find to disagree with. I find the alt-right position that Trump is embarking on a one-man crusade to liberate America from the hidden cabal, against seemingly insurmountable adversity and all the odds, completely unrealistic. Even if Trump were willing to do all of this, he is unable – he has not been appointed the supreme dictator of the USA; he has to work within the democratic political framework of that nation-state, with its emphasis on the separation of powers (and that is without mentioning the power of lobbyists and advisers, or the clout of the financial sector). I think that expecting Trump to be the glorious saviour of mankind that many people seem to be hoping for is extremely optimistic, and likely to lead to serious disappointment.

However, I also strongly disagree with the opposite opinion: that Trump winning is completely meaningless, that it is as desirable to the establishment as Clinton winning, that there is no ‘lesser of two evils’. I think that this viewpoint (which, judging from my experiences browsing various conspiracy forums, appears to be held mainly by left-wingers, as well as anarchists who believe evil begins and ends with the state) is not only despairingly pessimistic, but quite illogical – it relies upon the supposition that anyone who has even the tiniest amount of power or influence is with the Illuminati programme; something I just cannot agree with, because I do not believe the interwoven global networks of political and social control, and the various disputes and disagreements within, are all choreographed like some awful dance group on Britain’s Got Talent. One simple piece of logic that I like to remember is that if our hidden overlords were omnipotent and omniscient, they wouldn’t need to be hidden, would they? It’s easy to despair as a conspiracy theorist and think “we’re all doomed, they control 100% of everything”, but this is NOT true – we can still fight; and ‘they’ are not infallible gods – their schemes are not flawless, and their reach is not yet universal.

I said in the previous volume of my analysis of Trump’s victory that I believe Trump represents the fabled ‘lesser of two evils’ – a position I still wholeheartedly take. A Donald Trump presidency clearly represents different things than a Hillary Clinton presidency. Party political niceties dictate that Donald Trump cannot push anywhere near as aggressively to further the destructive liberal social policies that characterise our era; not only would the Republican Party savage him, but more crucially, it would completely shatter the already-fragile illusion of democracy, which is something the elite need to do, for the time being at least. What would it look like if a Republican president legalised partial-birth abortion, for instance, or repealed the Second Amendment? It would be obvious to even a blind fool that both political parties sing from exactly the same hymn sheet, and that would spell the end for the two-party system – something that at this point is not in the script.

I will go into this in depth in my final post on the election (due to be published within the next week), but it is important for other conspiracy theorists to understand also that, like myself, many conspiracy theorists are also social conservatives and Christians – we are a minority, for sure, but a significant one. Other issues may be more important to you, and that is fine – we are all entitled to our own opinion on which issues are the most urgent. But to us, the most important issues are the social issues: we are most deeply concerned with the proliferation of abortion, the aggressive LGBT persecution of religious people, with the destruction of the family unit, with the deregulation of sex, and with the malignant tumour that is pornography. Most of us believe that even if Trump does not substantially ameliorate these social evils, that he will not make them worse – or at least, he will not make them worse to the extent that Hillary Clinton would have. If you are concerned chiefly with economics, or with foreign policy, or the political structure, that is fine; but these are secondary interests for us, and as far as we religious conservatives can see, we have just won ourselves a temporary reprieve from the vicious, coordinated assault on our beloved traditional culture.

For me, the important thing to remember is that whatever we as conspiracy theorists say, we are outsiders, we are not party to any plans that may exist for Trump’s presidency, and so it is all speculation. We conspiracy theorists, of all stripes, are very opinionated people. Though we are (usually) more civilised and polite in our modes of expression than our mainstream friends, a resolute, determined fire burns within us all: we wouldn’t be conspiracy theorists if we couldn’t stand our ground in the face of verbal hammerings! I think that sometimes – myself included – we can become almost single-minded, even to the point of self-important arrogance. Genuine conviction in one’s beliefs is always a positive thing, but I do not think it is at all helpful to (as one conspiracy theorist I debated online repeatedly did) deride people, either tacitly calling them stupid, or explicitly calling them “sheep” (a term I loathe), simply for not subscribing to our individual positions. All this furious screaming at Trump voters and supporters to “wake up, you stupid sheep, Trump is just as bad!” is only likely to alienate them; in fact, it is simply a variation of the angry, demented howling of the wounded mainstream left that we’re all quite sick of. You might be convinced of the veracity of your opinions, but that never confers the right to silence others who hold theirs.

So please, conspiracy theorists – let’s discuss our differences of opinion on Donald Trump. Let’s openly and honestly disagree with each other – but let’s not get angry or contemptuous with each other. Some of us do not believe that Trump and Clinton are indistinguishable, and it is not because we are half-asleep sheep; it is because we have used our God-given intellects to examine the situation, with our personal values and beliefs in mind, and we have arrived at a different conclusion than those who believe Trump is either a saviour or, effectively, a Clinton clone; a conclusion that is no less valid than anyone else’s.

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The Trump Effect, Vol. I: Left Behind

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This entry will be the first in a three-part analysis of the recent elections in the United States of America, from which the enigmatic Donald Trump emerged victorious. In the latter two pieces which will be published in the coming days,  I will explore what Trump’s election means from the perspectives of a conspiracy theorist and of a conservative. But first, I want to first explore why Clinton specifically lost; and more broadly, how the left have lost yet another election.

Firstly, I’ve got to begin by extending my congratulations to the next POTUS, Mr. Trump, a man who – despite his imperfections – I believe to be by far the superior candidate (or, if you want to phrase it pessimistically, the lesser of two evils, which even the most anti-Trump conspiracy theorist would have to concede that he is). Even if you believe Trump to be a complete puppet, I urge you to enjoy the aftermath of the election, if for no other reason than to enjoy the hysterical circus that the left has devolved into. No matter who has been elected, whether it be David Cameron or Donald Trump, it is always most entertaining when the candidate the left have been programmed into supporting falls flat on their face.

Now onto the serious stuff. It’s becoming such a regular occurrence that watching the left trying to fathom how they’ve lost another vote is in danger of becoming like Groundhog Day. My own personal customary ritual on these wonderful public holidays (they aren’t officially, but should be) is to go and browse on a few select left-wing internet forums I know of, and see what kind of conclusions they are coming to. Browsing my favourite Marxist forum, I was unsurprised by what they had deduced. Had they realised that Clinton is hated by tens of millions of Americans? Are they finally cognisant of the reality that working-class White America – the majority of the electorate – just aren’t really that interested in the trendy liberal pet causes and identity politics that Clinton had based her campaign on? Has the penny dropped that the Democrats were shockingly inept at addressing the concerns of these people? Has it got through their skulls that bullying, name-calling, and intimidation are not the most effective ways of winning people over to your cause?

No, no, and thrice no.

The reason Clinton flopped so pathetically, according to these great sages, has nothing to do with her or her policies. Clinton holds the ‘right’ views: those progressive, socially liberal views that were implanted into every liberal by the media and academia, and which these edgy young rebels uncritically downloaded into their circuits, to be parroted ad nauseum. No one could possibly rationally or logically analyse and then reject the positions the left have decreed to be indisputably morally correct; unless they are either completely stupid and brainwashed, or irrationally prejudiced against some precious minority group in some way. Our wise liberal friends have unanimously concluded that Trump didn’t vanquish Clinton because his policies and stated aims were more appealing to the average American than the alternative candidate, but because he played up to base prejudices and fears of the white, working-class masses, who are too stupid, ignorantand racist to be able to resist his seductive charms.

This contemptuous, elitist attitude was, of course, of no surprise to me. It’s the usual sanctuary for the wounded left-wing animal; their refuge for when things don’t go their way. We Brexiteers here in Britain were forced to endure similar patronising sneering from the Guardian-reading snobs. We only voted to leave the European Union because we’re idiotic bigots incapable of rational thought, too stupid to see the wonderful, all-encompassing benefits of left-wing social extremism, and thus were easy prey to self-serving liars and xenophobes like Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson. This is the exact same pompous attitude held by the tolerant, caring liberals towards Trump’s voters; they only voted for Trump because they hate women (I suppose Trump’s legions of female supporters are also misogynistic) and Mexicans (even though almost a third of Latino voters voted Republican), and were won over by his slick, snake oil salesman chicanery – the stupid, gullible, malleable fools.

These aspiring leftist sophocrats derive a (very) false sense of superiority from this ideologically supremacist mindset; which quite literally dehumanises anyone who isn’t a left-wing extremist. We’re idiots. We don’t have the capacity for having real thoughts, opinions, and feelings of our own; we’re just robots, capable only of reacting to stimuli. This leads them to sanctimoniously bestow upon themselves the right to treat us however awfully as they wish to: they call us names, they threaten us, they ostracise us, and they try and censor us – all because we don’t subscribe to what they have deemed to be the ‘correct’ assortment of political views.

Shockingly, treating ordinary people with the same disgust one would treat a rapist or paedophile with doesn’t ever seem to convince them to agree with you – all it does is alienate them (but please, carry on doing it, leftists – all you’re doing is pushing the masses over to our conservative side). Dehumanising those people who form the majority of the electorate you need to win over to your side in that way will certainly not win you an election. The left, in Britain and in America, has now lost three major votes in quick succession: the UK election in 2015, the UK EU membership referendum in June 2016, and now the US election in November 2016. The left failed so miserably in these votes for the same two reasons: 1) thuggish and dishonest campaign tactics; and 2) a fundamental detachment from the major concerns of ordinary, working-class people.

For all the intellectual struggles of the left over the previous few days, doing well in elections isn’t rocket science – to succeed, you properly and convincingly address key issues that concern the core of the electorate (which in America, is still white people with low incomes). Most people are interested in things such as law and order, immigration, security, defence, quality of life, the economy, and so on. In this current climate, many millions of Americans feel disaffected and marginalised by the political establishment that has destroyed their communities, devastated their prospects of succeeding economically, and enforced insane levels of immigration upon local communities; a phenomenon which, – like it or not, leftists – many people find invasive, threatening, and demoralising (and no amount of calling them racists is going to change that, so go back to the drawing board if you ever want to see the insides of the halls of power again).

Well, knock me down with a feather, Clever Trevor – Trump tackled these issues in a decisive way during his campaign (whether he is sincere or will follow through on his promises or not is irrelevant in the context of discussing how he won), and thus, he won. Trump spoke about real-world issues that concerned ordinary voters, and he promised emphatic solutions to these problems: the much-derided Mexican wall is a common-sense solution to the HUGE problem of illegal Mexican immigration – 6 million Mexicans live in the USA illegally. Whether YOU, leftist, have a problem with illegal Mexican immigrants or not is immaterial; the electorate DO. Trump has pledged to provide sensible solutions to various issues of national import. Deporting foreign criminals, disallowing terrorists from entering the country, and stemming the flow of cheap Chinese goods into America causing an enormous amount of job losses all sound like good, common-sense policies to me. UKIP has had a lot of success in the past few years here in Britain, for the same reason as Trump – they reach out to the common people and proffer sensible solutions to the serious dilemmas which trouble them.

It’s ironic given that this is the accusation levelled at Trump, but Clinton’s campaign was based on division and identity politics. She hates non-liberal white people, she hates white men, she hates Christians, she hates conservatives, and she hates women who aren’t radical feminists. She made absolutely no effort whatsoever to convince these people – the majority of the electorate – that she had the solutions to the problems affecting them, the problems they cared about. Instead, she – and her armies of privileged, well-heeled metropolitan leftists – uttered empty slogans about “progress”, obsessively focusing on bludgeoning people into accepting ever more ‘progressive’ extremes such as gender-neutral toilets (how out of touch do you have to be to think things of that nature are the chief concerns of ordinary people?).

Here’s the bottom line, leftists: Trump won because he actually addressed the concerns of every day Americans, and because his party didn’t condescend to the largest demographic group – working-class whites. You lost because you’re out-of-touch bullies. It is that simple, and it is exactly why the Remain campaign lost the Brexit referendum. If you ignore and alienate people, they tend not to like you very much. The left will never win another vote in the West until it re-establishes contact with reality, and abandons its thuggish, bullying tactics; and I, for one, will not be shedding any tears at the funeral of the Red beast.

Stay tuned!

 

 

The Ulster Question

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God’s own province

Preface: I thought that I should add a brief glossary at the start, for people who may be reading from different parts of the world and may not be familiar with Irish political terminology, to ensure there is no misunderstanding, as many terms – such as Ulster and Northern Ireland – are commonly used interchangeably and often incorrectly.

Gaelic: indigenous Irish people; typically Catholic.

Nationalists: people who believe in an all-Ireland republic, free from British control; typically Gaelic and Catholic.

Northern Ireland: a six-county statelet in the northeast of Ireland, belonging to the UK.

The Plantation: the colonisation of Ulster by British settlers, beginning in 1606.

Ulster: a nine-county province in the north of Ireland, with six counties in the UK (Northern Ireland), and the remaining three in the Republic of Ireland.

Unionists: descendants of British settlers in Ulster who believe Northern Ireland should remain in the UK; typically Protestant. Sometimes called loyalists, though that term has paramilitary connotations.

Since the independence of the Irish Free State in the south, and particularly in the context of the Troubles in the north, there has been a trend to – erroneously – conflate Irishness with Gaelicness and Catholicism. It is an understandable mistake to make (indeed, it’s one I used to make myself, when exploring the various aspects of my Irish identity), because the vast majority of the population of the island of Ireland is, indeed, Gaelic and Roman Catholic (at least nominally), and many of the most stereotypical, quintessential aspects of Irish culture are of Gaelic origin; but it is still a mistake. Gaelic and Irish, though closely intertwined terms, are not synonymous. Other flavours of Irishness exist, even though politics leads to them being mislabeled as other than Irish.

We cannot really discuss unionism in Ireland without the speaker clarifying his stance, so I shall provide a bit of personal context. I am an English-born Irishman whose paternal family hails from Munster, and whose maternal family’s roots lay in Ulster. Genetically, I am overwhelmingly Gaelic; however, my mother’s family has a history of mixed-denominational marriages, and so I have a significant amount of relatively recent Protestant, unionist ancestry. I used to identify solely as Gaelic, to the exclusion of my unionist heritage. I, like many Gaelic Irishmen, used to reject Irish / Ulster unionism in all of its forms, viewing it as an un-Irish, anti-Irish expression of foreign triumphalism; a hangover from British colonialism in Ireland. I considered the unionist Ulstermen as foreigners who should accept a united, all-Ireland republic and forsake their culture, or else leave for Britain.

As I’ve matured, I’ve learned to see things from a more balanced, realistic perspective. Please don’t mistake me: I still condemn historical British actions in Ireland in the strongest possible terms, and I still believe wholeheartedly that a unified Ireland is both just and desirable; but we, as nationalists, have to be realistic here. In Ulster dwell 900,000 unionists who strongly identify as British. Rightly or wrongly, these people fear being subsumed in an Irish republic, as they feel that this would lead consequently to the loss of their British unionist identity and their Protestant faith in a numerically Roman Catholic-dominated all-Irish state. These people have been in Ulster for 400 years – they are not going to just go back to Britain, and nor should they be expected to. As someone born and raised in England, I can state that, ironically, Northern Irish unionists come across to the English as very Irish in their speech and mannerisms; I have seen an Englishman innocently refer to a staunch unionist from Belfast as Irish, completely unaware of the offence he’d inadvertently caused. English people generally see no distinction between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and view the political conflict in Northern Ireland as two groups of Paddies fighting each other over religion. The Plantation was centuries ago, and the descendants of the settlers are inextricably interwoven into the fabric of Irish history. Like it or not, since their arrival, the Ulster unionists have left an indelible mark on Ireland; and Ireland has also left an indelible mark on them.

So clearly any radical solution to the ‘Ulster Question’ proposed by either side that involves any form of mass population expulsion or “like it or lump it” intransigence is not going to work, nor is it morally right. The nationalist people in Northern Ireland for years were told to “like it or lump it” despite massive systematic bias and discrimination in housing, jobs, and liberties, with the Royal Ulster Constabulary free to get away with all sorts of hideous abuses against innocent nationalist people, and this is not fair; but two rights don’t make a wrong, and it would not be fair to impose these conditions on the unionist people in a form of collective revenge. If Gaelic nationalists are entitled to keep their cultural identity intact, then so are the unionist people.

I am no huge proponent of democracy, but I think direct democracy is the only fair way in which the issue can be resolved. The constitutional status of Northern Ireland should be changed with the consent of the people by plebiscite, not by politicians. I think where territory is concerned, this is the only way to deal with border disputes in any country: the will of the majority has to be adhered to.

I would like to see a united, independent Ireland, but I do not think it is feasible without the consent of the unionist people. For this to happen, there has to be some readjustment and compromise on both sides. The nationalist people will have to accept that the unionists are devoted to their culture, whatever we may think of it (and I am no fan of the royal family or the Orange Order, believe me!), and that it is their right to wish to secure its place in the world going forward. It is not reasonable for us to expect the unionists to just abandon their culture and embrace all things Gaelic. There has to be some political framework within an all-Ireland republic that the unionist people – who would constitute about 15% of the population in such a republic – can accept. What this is, I do not know, but I think some form of federalism is probably the way forward – perhaps a regional parliament for Ulster, based in Belfast; this would help the unionists to feel as though they have a stake in the government, and a vehicle to preserve their culture with.

On the unionist side, a more honest reappraisal of their very nature is required, for their own sense of collective cultural well-being. There is an unfortunate trend dominant in contemporary Ulster unionism that seeks to distance itself from all things Irish; to treat Ireland as a foreign country, and Irishness as a foreign phenomenon. It is easy to understand how this came to be: in the Troubles, when the enemy were nationalists waving the Irish tricolour, using Irish language slogans, and fighting in Ireland’s name, it would have been very easy to come to see ‘Ireland’ as the enemy. The Troubles was marked by widespread violence on both sides, and this, of course, was traumatic for both communities; and the natural reaction to conflict is to try and dissociate our group from the ‘enemy’.

This is a relatively new phenomenon (post-1950s), and a very regrettable one, because it is completely untrue to say that Northern Ireland’s Protestant, unionist community are not Irish. For a start, look at the name of “our wee country” – it is not Northern Britain, but Northern Ireland! The emblems of many high-profile Northern Irish institutions contain shamrocks (seamróg), harps, and Celtic crosses – imagery associated in the minds of billions of people worldwide with Ireland. Furthermore, the Northern Irish accent has a lot more in common with the accents found in the Republic than it does with English or even Scottish accents; and virtually every single place-name in Northern Ireland is an Anglicisation of an older Gaelic name (Belfast is Béal Feirste, Derry is Doire, Armagh is Ard Mhacha, and so on). It’s a perfectly valid opinion, to believe that Northern Ireland should stay in the UK and not amalgamate with the Republic – but to deny that Northern Ireland is part of Ireland is absolutely absurd. Unfortunately, many of the more blinkered unionists do just that. 

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The logos for the Northern Ireland Football Association, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and the Royal Irish Regiment. All based in Northern Ireland, all institutions treasured by the unionist community, all using quintessentially Irish imagery. And they say Northern Ireland is not Irish?

The problem that has led to this unfortunate case of collective cognitive dissonance is the idea that Irish = Gaelic and Catholic, when in actual fact, Gaelicness and Catholicism are only part (albeit an enormous part) of the rich tapestry of Irishness, not its entirety. The Gaels are the indigenous people of Ireland, and are also the vast majority, so it is not surprising that this misconception has arisen, particularly against the backdrop of ethnic conflict that has characterised the last half-century of Northern Ireland’s history. But being Gaelic and Catholic is not the only way to experience Irishness. Ireland has a long history of British settlers integrating into the Irish social fabric – some Norman colonists loved Ireland so much that they were said to be “more Irish than the Irish themselves”. Many of Ireland’s most celebrated figures were Protestants of British descent – Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, and C.S. Lewis, to name but a few (and, err, Graham Norton is one as well, but we don’t go around shouting about that…). Hell, even Guinness, Bushmills, and Dracula himself were the babies of Irish Protestants! We would never describe any of these people or things as not being Irish (indeed, Guinness and Bushmills market themselves on being Irish; Dracula not so much), because they patently are.

Irishness does not just mean Gaelic and Catholic; Protestants and unionists have exactly the same right to call themselves Irish as those communities do, and once upon a time, they would proudly exercise this right. This identity crisis is a very modern issue. The forefather of Ulster unionism, Edward Carson, was in absolutely no doubt about his national identity, saying on separate occasions:

“I am very proud as an Irishman to be a member of the British Empire.”

“I was born and bred an Irishman and I’ll always be one. The happiest days of my life were in Trinity College, Dublin and at the Irish Bar.”

“We’re both [Tom Kettle] Irishmen, and that is what matters.”

(A selection of quotes about Carson’s Irishness, from Carson himself and from others, can be found here: http://brianjohnspencer.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/edward-carson-was-life-long-irish-man.html)

Mr. Carson was a staunch unionist: he was absolutely against Ireland – then a part of the United Kingdom – being granted Home Rule; indeed, he was so strongly opposed to this that he was prepared to violently resist any attempt by Britain to install a devolved government in Ireland. And yet, Carson knew that he was an Irishman, and he embraced it; he would have laughed at anyone who suggested that his unionist beliefs somehow nullified his Irishness. Fellow unionist, Brian Faulkner, stated in 1949 about the Republic of Ireland that “they [the south] have no right to the title Ireland, a name of which we [northern unionists] are just as proud as they“. Even unionist firebrand who spent decades of his life campaigning against the Republic of Ireland, the late Ian Paisley, remarked that “I am proud to be an Ulsterman but I am also proud of my Irish roots.”

These men were not labouring under the delusion that unfortunately many modern unionists do, that somehow the designation ‘Irish’ does not apply to them, because they are ‘British’. By denying his Irishness, an Ulster unionist does not only fly in the face of established facts and common sense, but he also denies himself access to his own heritage and his full identity. He may be proud of being British, and he may wish for Northern Ireland to remain in the UK, and both of these things are absolutely valid sentiments – but they should not preclude him from fully acknowledging and embracing his Irishness. It is possible to be both British and Irish, you know? You can feel Irish and British, and yet be opposed to Irish reunification and total independence. Millions of people in Scotland feel Scottish and British, but oppose Scottish independence. There are cultural differences between both communities in Northern Ireland, but the ethnic differences are tiny. The main schism between the two communities is divergent beliefs as to which country – UK or the Republic – should govern what is now Northern Ireland, and sadly this manifests in one community throwing out the Irish baby with the bathwater and shutting themselves off from their Irish heritage. In reality, one can be Irish as well as British: these two identities are not mutually exclusive, and acknowledging one’s Irishness does not diminish one’s Britishness. I am not asking for unionists to hand in their British passports, rip down the Union Jacks from the walls of their homes, and to start singing rebel songs.

It is only the conflict of the last five or six decades that has muddied these Irish waters, polarised opinion, and sundered people from what is rightfully theirs as well.Thankfully, from observing the situation in Northern Ireland, I can see green (no pun intended!) shoots of recovery, with small but increasing numbers of unionists taking an interest in their Irish heritage; schoolchildren from the unionist enclave Shankill in West Belfast play the quintessentially Irish sport of hurling now, and there are even Irish-language classes in the unionist epicentre, East Belfast. Both of these things would have been absolutely unthinkable even 10 years ago, so progress is clearly being made in encouraging Ulster unionists to think of Irishness not as something foreign and threatening, but as something that belongs to them as well as to the nationalists.

Now, I’m not some liberal luvvie who thinks the past 60 years of conflict is just going to melt away in a frenzy of flower-waving, tree-hugging, hands across the barricades. Ethnic conflicts leave painful scars that endure for many years afterwards, and sometimes, like in many areas of life, there is no perfect solution. Lots of families on both sides of the divide have been devastated by paramilitary violence, and who am I – sat here, safe and sound in Old England – to tell them that they should forget that? But, for Irish nationalists, I do think it is important to remember what the Irish tricolour represents: green for the Gaelic Catholic majority; orange for the British-descended, Protestant minority; and white, symbolising peace between the two communities. This sentiment is perfectly encapsulated in the words of Ma from the legendary Northern Irish satirical comedy, Give My Head Peace – “we are all Irishmen together: Catholic, Protestant, and Dissenter. We wish to embrace our fellow Irishmen of the unionist tradition.

There can be no 32-county Irish republic until we nationalists do exactly that.