The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Solving the Irish Problem

Solving the Irish Problem peacefully and democratically, using only the force of reason

An ongoing series of articles

Michael Gillespie • 9 May 2006

The author of this article belongs to no political party or political grouping and is independent of such. The author is not a politician but is a teacher and writer and as such is interested only in ideas. The author dissents totally from traditional Unionism, traditional Nationalism, and traditional Republicanism, seeing all of these as failed entities in Ireland which are well past their use by dates and should now be thrown out and the shelves restocked with new fresh attractive improved political goods. The nature of these new goods is indicated in the previous article to the The Blanket, The Way Ireland Ought to Be, and is Federal Unionism Early Sinn Fein.

The approach made in this article to solving the Irish Problem is the method used by engineers in solving a problem. To solve a problem an engineer first of all draws up a solution on paper and then implements the paper solution on the ground. These articles in The Blanket are the solution to the Irish Problem on paper. It is the conviction of the author, a conviction sincerely held, that the Irish Problem is solvable in the 21st century in the National Government Of Ireland Act and is solvable in no other way. The reader is reminded that the solution to problems using only the force of reason, and not brute force, is the civilized way of doing things.

It is noted that Ireland has been a problem for centuries and down the centuries there have been vain attempts to solve the Irish Problem by brute force. There was the attempt made by Elisabethan English armies to solve the problem by brute force. The English armies came and went but the Irish Problem remained. An attempt was made to solve the problem in the plantation of Ulster. Ulster was planted by brute force but the Irish Problem remained but in a worsened state. A brute force attempt was made to solve the problem in the 1641 rebellion. The rebellion achieved nothing and the Irish Problem remained. King William came to Ireland and victory went to him at the Boyne but even so the Irish Problem remained unsolved. The Penal Laws came and went but they solved nothing. Cromwell came and applied brute force to the problem on a massive scale. Cromwell went and the Irish Problem remained. A brute force attempt to solve the problem was made by the United Irishmen but this brute force attempt and worsened the problem. In this debacle in Irish history what has never been evaluated or measured has been the nature of Wolfe Tone's I.Q. There was a scarcity of intellectual capital among the United Irishmen and this scarcity remains among Republicans to the present day. All that is extant is the 18th century sentimental idea of Catholic, Protestant, and Dissenter being united in the name of Irishman. Wolfe Tone saw this happening in a Republic but only in a Republic but to unite Catholic, Protestant, Dissenter in a Republic was as impossible in the time of Tone as it is now because a Republic wounds the cultural psyche of Protestant Ireland which is loyalty to the Crown. It is the contention of these articles that Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter can be united in the name of Irishman in The National Government Of Ireland Act within the United Kingdom under the Crown. Republicans have been banging their heads against a brick wall in looking for a United Ireland in a Republic. It is the contention of these articles that the Republician ideal can only be realized under the banner of Federal Unionism Early Sinn Fein.

The United Irishmen and the 98 rebellion were a divisive disaster in Ireland. In the parish I come from, Protestants and Catholics were buried in the same graveyard, Protestants to the left and Catholics to the right. In the18th century, n the parish there was a Protestant United Irishman called Caldwell. When this man came to be buried the Protestant community wouldn't allow him to be buried in the Protestant side of the graveyard so he had to be buried on the Catholic side. So much for unity. The parish was divided along sectarian lines then as it remains to the present day.

But the disaster for the country in 98 lay in the fact that the United Irishmen had no picture in their minds of a governed nation except that there would be no Crown and Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter would unite but what the nature of the nation would be and what its constitution would be, acceptable to all is an historic mystery. The Patriots on the other hand had a concept of nationhood which gives a picture in the mind of a governed nation but this was swept aside and trampled underfoot by brute force Republicanism and then airbrushed out of Irish history. But a concept of a nation which should be acceptable to all can now be given in the National Government Of Ireland Act derived from the thinking of the Patriots who saw a government in Ireland separate from but co-equal to Westminster under the Crown.

Following the United Irishmen there came the tragic 1801 Act of Union in which another brute force attempt was made to solve the Irish Problem by ramming a Right Wing Union Jack Unionist unwritten and undemocratic constitution down the throats of the Irish. Ireland was now ruled by a Protestant elite which was anti-Irish, anti-Catholic, and oppressive and undemocratic. The Irish Problem worsened.

In 1916 another attempt was made to solve the Irish Problem by Republicans, using once again, brute force. This was an attempt to overthrow the Right Wing Union Jack Unionist Constitution by violence in a Catholic uprising and the uprising was sectarian in nature being Catholic There wasn't a Protestant to be found among the leadership or in the ranks. The uprising ended in failure and solved nothing but the brute force execution of the 1916 leadership by the Right Wing as a salutary warning to the British Empire compounded and worsened the Irish Problem. It is noted that 1916 was sectarian in nature and being also Republican the uprising wounded the cultural psyche of Protestant Ireland which is loyalty to the Crown.

Pearse's Proclamation is much vaunted in Republican circles but in no sense is it a constitution for a new nation. It is in reality a concoction of ideas thrown together to morally justify an armed uprising against the existing Constitution. The Proclamation gives no picture in the mind of the nature and style of the new state as could be found in the concept of the Patriots or as can be put forward in the National Government Of Ireland Act by Federal Unionism Early Sinn Fein following on from Griffiths. What Pearse had in mind in reality for a new state is anyone's guess other than the new state should be a Republic in a vague sort of way.

Following on from 1916 there was a further attempt to solve the Irish Problem by brute force in a feud between Michael Collins and the I.R.A., and the Right Wing Union Jack Unionists the Black and Tans. Again this ended in failure and the island was partitioned into two unacceptable statelets a Catholic statelet in the 26 counties with a Catholic government for a Catholic people and into a 6 county statelet with a Protestant government for a Protestant people.

This outcome was fought over in a brute force civil war which again solved nothing and contributed nothing to Ireland except that there emerged in Ireland a tweedledum and tweedledee political parties that have no meaning or currency outside the 26 counties and have no currency of any kind in Europe. What emerged in Ireland out of all of this was a sectarian nondescript pseudo-English illiberal sratelet in the 26 counties and a Right Wing Union Jack Unionist statlet in the 6 counties which was anti-Irish anti- Catholic and oppressive.

In the period under consideration Late Sinn Fein claimed a moral victory and the moral support of the people for the use of brute force in Ireland in the 1918 election. Not everyone in the country shared this rose tinted view of Late Sinn Fein W.B.Yeats didn't share this outlook. In The Second Coming written in early 1919 the poet has a jaundiced view of the 1918 election.

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches to wards Bethlehem to be born?

In this poem Yeats is casting a cold eye on Ireland in January 1919, an Ireland in the aftermath of the 1918 general election. The poem begins with an image of instability and of something being out of control in the image of the falcon and the falconer. Yeats is also conscious of the collapse of the centre in Ireland this collapse of a constitutional centre is looked at in the article The Way Ireland Ought to Be and is traceable back to the 18th century. In this poem Yeats has a vision of a monster emerging in the country and the monster was born in 1921 with a collapse of the centre and the polarization of the country into two constitutional extremes. So not everyone saw Ireland through rose tinted Republican spectacles after 1918.

In the late 1960ties the civil rights came into existence in N. Ireland to challenge the excesses of Right Wing Union Jack Unionism. The C.R.A. was peaceful led by the moderate John Hume, but was heavily infiltrated by brute force Republicans. The civil rights movement was put down by brute force Union Jack unionism and from this the Provisional I.R.A. emerged who made an attempt to overthrow the constitution of N. Ireland by force. In this brute force attempt which ended in failure and in the defeat of Republicanism the I.R.A. committed crimes against humanity and crimes that are an affront to high heaven. In a brute force attempt to defend the constitution of N. Ireland, Right Wing Union Jack Unionism in turn committed crimes against humanity and crimes that are an affront to high heaven. Crimes that are an affront to high heaven are wilful murder.

So far this article contains jottings on attempts to solve the Irish Problem by brute force all of which have ended in failure but there have been a few attempts to solve the problem peacefully and by the force of reason. The first of these was an attempt to solve the problem peacefully and in a reasonably way by the Patriots in the 18th century. This grouping pressed for an Irish parliament that was separate from but co-equal to Westminster under the Crown. It is the view of this article that that is the first and best concept of Irish Nationhood but this concept was swept away in the brute force rebellion of 98.

O' Connell Butt and Parnell made efforts to solve the problem in a reasonable and peaceful way but these efforts were defeated by Right Wing Union Jack Unionism in the 19th century.

In the early 20th century Arthur Griffiths made another attempt to come up with peaceful and reasonable solution to the problem. Arthur Griffiths was a monarchist and he saw a solution being effected in the notion of a dual monarchy. It doesn't seem that Griffiths thought this notion through, but when it is, as it can be in the National Government Of Ireland Act, it leads to a Sovereign Nation Of Ireland in a Federal United Kingdom. Arthur Griffiths concept was swept aside by the brute force Republican, De Valera, and he made Sinn Fein Republican and violent. This is late Sinn Fein. In doing this De Valera set Sinn Fein on a wrong course in Ireland and this ended with the defeat of violent Republicanism in N. Ireland.

There is now a new approach to the problem in N. Ireland by Republicans in the Belfast Agreement and the Peace Process. But is this the solution to the Irish Problem? Surely not. Late Sinn Fein in N. Ireland has abandoned all pretext of solving the problem. Instead they are now eager to prop up a Right Wing Union Jack Unionist statelet in N. Ireland. Late Sinn Fein now accept without protest the presence of a garrison of 5000 English troops et al to impose, and ram down the throats of those who don't accept it, a Right Wing Union Jack Unionist undemocratic unwritten Constitution. That is the function of a garrison of English troops et al in N. Ireland as it was throughout the British Empire in its heyday.

What N. Ireland now needs is a written democratically acceptable U.K.constitution. This can be put in place by Early Sinn Fein in the National Government Of Ireland Act. Late Sinn Fein are now straining at the bit to set up shop at Stormont and pocket there a largess of English bounty. In the same way Late Sinn Fein, while refusing to recognise the Crown, press for and pocket a largess of English bounty at Westminster. Late Sinn Fein are now the arch hypocrites of current politics and are now lost in the jungle of Irish history and lash around there like a pack of brain damaged gorillas.

As this article is being written there is a celebration of 1916 and a glorification of a brute force solution to the Irish Problem in Dublin. It is high time the Irish began to celebrate and glorify sweet reason as the solution to problems. Pearse is associated in the public mind with violence and the blood sacrifice but Pearse was a more complex character than Republican historians make him out to be. In this passage taken from the writings of Pearse he is considering a reasonable peaceful and non-violent approach to the Irish Problem.

"Negotiations with the Orangemen might be opened up on these lines. You are creating a P rovisional Government Of Ulster - make it a Provisional Government Of Ireland and we will recognise it and obey it.
Hitherto England has governed Ireland through the Orange Lodges: Now she proposes to govern Ireland through the A.O.H. You object; so do we. Why not unite and get rid of the English? They are the real difficulty; their presence here the real incongruity." Irish Freedom 1914

If this overture to Ulster Unionism had been reciprocated it could have been that Pearse would have been satisfied with a government for Ireland under the Crown but in this passage Pearce makes clear what his bottom line was. It was: English Out. Late Sinn Fein put their feet in it by calling for Brits Out in N. Ireland and in so doing outraged the Protestant community. Federal Unionism-Early Sinn Fein, like Pearse in this quotation, envisages an Ireland based on a synthesis of Unionism and Nationalism and these can be synthesised in the National Government Of Ireland Act, and for Federal Unionism-Early Sinn Fein the bottom line is Pearce's bottom line which is English Out. Federal Unionism-Early Sinn Fein should not rest at ease until the last English soldier leaves N.Ireland.

Late Sinn Fein are at sea and are directionless living as they do in an acceptance of partition and sectarianism. In doing so partition has been copperfastened and sectarianism institutionalised. For as long as these two remain for so long the Irish Problem remains unsolved. Federal Unionism-Early Sinn Fein is a return to the fundamentals and first principles of Arthur Griffith's Sinn Fein and to Pearse's bottom line, English Out, and is a rejection of De Valera's Late Sinn Fein.

There remains two outstanding issues in the solution to the problem

  1. The presence of a garrison of English soldiers et al in N.Ireland
  2. The presence of a Protestant community in Ireland whose long standing tradition has been, and remains, loyalty to the Crown.

If the National Government Of Ireland Act were in place, ideally in the whole of Ireland, or else in N. Ireland, then it would be a constitutional imperative that Peter Hain and his English colleagues leave Ireland and take the English garrison and the Union Jack with them. In this Pearse's bottom line would have been met.

The issue of the Crown in Ireland is more complex. To have the Crown as Head of State ideally in an all Ireland context, is historically speaking a tall order but not impossible. In Great Britain the Crown is constitutionally central and neutral and while Britain's constitution is unwritten and undemocratic nevertheless it carries with it the overwhelming of the British people. The Crown in Ireland has been a different kettle of fish. With the Act Of Union 1801 the Crown in Ireland was hijacked by Union Jack Unionism and the Crown in Ireland was seen as a Protestant Crown for Protestants and became associated with right wing oppression.

"Another martyr for old Ireland, another murder for the Crown."
Kevin Barry

This constitutional set up continued in N. Ireland and there the Crown was seen as a Protestant Crown for the Protestant community and was seen as an oppressive figure by the Catholic community, This constitutional anomaly of the Crown in Ireland can be corrected in the National Government of Ireland Act by defining the Crown as constitutionally central and neutral and by defining the Crown as Christian in Ireland.

But loyalty to the Crown bears further scrutiny. Loyalty is a praiseworthy human attribute, be it loyalty to friend, family, organization, institution or country. As a human attribute loyalty should be free to be expressed and not suppressed as loyalty to the Crown would be in a Republic. There is no inconsistency in being loyal to the Crown and in being Irish. Those Irishmen who fell in Flanders bear testimony to that. These Irishmen were the true heroes of Ireland and in their loyalty to the Crown were not diminished as Irishmen in any way and should be held up as models for Irish youth. In contrast to those Irishmen those men who blew up buildings and people in N.Ireland and shot their neighbours in the back and in the head in the pursuit of a perverted political philosophy, these men have besmirched the name of Irishman and in no sense can be thought of as role models for Irish youth.

In Ireland the minds of generations of the communities have been poisoned by the twin propagandist lies put around by Right Wing Union Jack Unionism and Republicanism, these lies asserting on the one hand that to be loyal to the Crown one must be Protestant, wave a Union Jack, carry a British passport and sing God Save The Queen. The Canadian people are loyal to the Crown and do none of these things. In Ireland on the other hand there is the counter propagandist lie that to be Irish one must be Catholic, wave an Irish tricolour, sing a Soldier's Song and carry a Republican passport but one can be Irish and do none of these. Under the National Government Of Ireland Act Irishness would be given full recognition and full freedom of expression just as loyalty to the Crown would be accorded the same freedoms.

But another fear might linger in the minds of some in the idea of the Crown becoming head of state for an all Ireland. Ireland, it might be feared, would become a neo-colonialist state. Such a fear would be ill founded. In the Act the United Kingdom would be defined as the United Kingdom of the Sovereign Nation of Ireland and Great Britain or vice versa. Also in the Act the parliament in Ireland, following on from the 18th century Patriots, would be defined as being separate from, but co-equal to Westminster under the Crown. In Canada the Crown is Head of State but Canada is not a neo-colonialist state but is a sovereign nation recognised as such by the United Nations. Canada has its own distinctive national identity with its own government, its own flag, its own passport and an anthem of its own; in the Act all of that could be set down for Ireland.. But Ireland doesn't have to be an imitation of Canada. In the Act there could be designed for Ireland a unique national identity in Ireland being created as An Irish Christian Liberal Democracy. An Irish Nation thus designed in the Act would be unique and distinctive in the U.K., in Europe and in the world. In an Ireland with the Act as its written constitution there could come about a nation fulfilling the wishes and the desires of all of the Irish people and the island could become a land of hearts desire.

There could also be those in Republican circles who might see the Crown as English and foreign. While that might hold among extremists, the ordinary man and woman in the street knows differently. Jack Charlton in Ireland was English but was seen by the Irish people as being one of us. The English don't regard the Irish as foreign. Terry Wogan in England is Irish but is thought of as being one of us. By the same token the Crown in Ireland while being English could be thought of as one of us.

This article outlines the historic nature of the Irish Problem and details the author's conviction that the problem is solvable in the National Government Of Ireland Act and in no other way. The approach to solving the problem is the approach of an engineer to problem solving. What is contained in these articles to The Blanket is the solution on paper. If the paper solution were to be implemented on the ground that would have to be done in N. Ireland under the banner of Federal Unionism Early Sinn Fein. The flag of that party is the Royal Flag Of Ireland and is the existing tricolour with the Cross Of St Patrick and a simple crown, harp, and shamrock, imposed on the white central panel. This flag should be defined in the Act as the National Flag of Ireland and a symbol of the United Kingdom of the Sovereign Nation Of Ireland and Great Britain. The author contends that a deal struck in Belfast between constitutional irreconcilables, Late Sinn Fein and Right Wing Union Jack Unionism, is no solution to the Irish problem and will never be. The reader is reminded that the solution to problems using only the force of reason is the civilized way of doing things.

Federal Unionist-Early Sinn Fein.





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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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- Frank Zappa

Index: Current Articles

11 May 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

The Incorruptible
Anthony McIntyre

Ruarí Ó Brádaigh: Robert White's biography of a Republican idealist
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Can of Worms
John Kennedy

The Wrong Man
Martin Ingram

Gotta Be Cruel to be Kind
Dr John Coulter

Revising the Rising?
Forum Magazine Editorial

Solving the Irish Problem
Michael Gillespie

Geoffrey Cooling

Thank You, Bobby Sands
Fred A. Wilcox

Welcome Back, David. Now, Go Away Again!
Eamon Sweeney

Give Them That Auld Tyme Religion
Dr John Coulter

Meal Ticket
John Kennedy

Examples of Dialogue
Conn Corrigan

Two-State Solution
Mick Hall

Peter King - Still Irish America's Champion
Patrick Hurley

Statements on the Murder of Michael McIlveen
RSF; 32 County Sovereignty Movement

Profile: Chahla Chafiq
Anthony McIntyre

Freedom of Speech index

18 April 2006

Grave Secrets
Anthony McIntyre

Spoiled Rotten
David Adams

Let Bygones be Bygones
Mick Hall

Urgent Memo — Judas Was One of the Bad Guys!
Dr John Coulter

Cluedo in Donegal
Anthony McIntyre

Easter Message
John Kennedy

Óglaigh na hÉireann Easter Statement
The Sovereign Nation

IFC Easter Statement, 2006
Joe Dillon

Lincoln's Despair
John Kennedy

Fred A. Wilcox

Hamas Being Forced to Collapse
Sam Bahour

Profile: Philippe Val
Anthony McIntyre

Freedom of Speech index



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