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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Protestantism and the Republic


Roy Johnston • 2 May 2007

John Coulter's (tongue in cheek?) identification of Paisley with Wolfe Tone raises a number of interesting questions. Opposition to 'Plan B' has indeed some parallels with Tone's rallying of the Northern Presbyterians against bad government from England imposed via a corrupt Protestant Ascendancy land-owning government in Dublin. There is now in Dublin a government which is in the pocket of a (mostly by now Catholic) land-owning ascendancy, thanks to the (quite unnecessary) toleration of private ownership of added-value of land due to rezoning. This of course is the main source of political corruption, as currently being exposed by the Tribunals. Plan B would have been bad government by a corrupt London-Dublin cabal. Would this not be simply a repeat of the 18th century scene?

We have an interesting Paisley McGuinness combination, pledged to deliver some sort of improved government, with a modest all-Ireland dimension, and freedom to work politically for an all-Ireland Republic, for those who claim to be in the Tone tradition. Yet most of the latter seem still to be stuck in a Catholic-nationalist mind-set, seeing the future in terms of out-breeding, and Protestant emigration. It seldom seems to occur to them that constructive all-Ireland economic development is an environment in which Protestants could thrive, as suggested by my father Joe Johnston in his 1913 book 'Civil War in Ulster', in which he attacked the processes that led to the Larn gun-running in 1914, and supported all-Ireland Home Rule.

The way forward is for democratic Protestants to abandon Unionism, and develop the Labour and Green movements, in the context of the wider European Union, rather than clinging to the narrow anachronistic English monarchical Union.

Coulter's identification of Paisley with Tone may, perhaps, start some people thinking. Coulter also predicts the emergence of a Protestant fascist Right, seeking to re-assert the 'Croppies lie down' principle, with British hard-line ultra-Tory support, seeking perhaps to re-enact the 1914 Larne gun-running. This time it will, we hope, by its rampant lunacy, alienate the majority of Protestants, and point them in the direction of all-Ireland democratic politics. Any genuine Republicans, who actually understand Wolfe Tone (and what the Wolfe Tone Societies tried to do in the 1960s for political republicanism via the Civil Rights process), should welcome this process.

May I urge people interested in exploring these issues further to consider my book 'Century of Endeavour' published last April by Tyndall/Lilliput, and reviewed in The Blanket.






































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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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6 May 2007

Other Articles From This Issue:

Colluding in Silence
Mick Hall

Censorship Complementing Cover Up
Anthony McIntyre

John Kennedy

Antaine Uas O'Labhradha

Protestantism and the Republic
Roy Johnston

UVF Statement: Unionists Welcome in Nine-County Ulster Parliament
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh

Hidden Hand
John Kennedy

Selection at Eleven
Michael Gillespie

Stormont Christian Coalition?
Dr John Coulter

Ken Bruen's 'The Priest': Galway's Heart of Moral Darkness
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Scottish Left Must Reunite in New Socialist Party!
Mick Hall

Return of the Wild Geese
Dr John Coulter

Calling All de Gaulles!
Eoghan O'Suilleabhain

Blair's Irish Decade
Dr John Coulter

24 April 2007

Tús Nua - Céim chun tosaigh
A new beginning - a step forward

W. Harbinson

Which Way We Are Facing
Mick Hall

Whither Traditional Republicanism?
Michael Gillespie

The Drumcree Conspiracy
John Kennedy

We Must Deal Openly With The Past
David Adams

What Was It All For?
Antaine Uas O'Labhradha

The New Wolfe Tone?
Dr John Coulter

Felon Setting
Martin Galvin

UVF Threats Further Proof of Political Policing
Press Release: 32 County Sovereignty Movement

Widgery II
John Kennedy

Easter Statement
Republican Socialist Youth Movement

Commemoration Report
Cathleen O'Brien

The Road Ahead for the UUP
Dr John Coulter

What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander!
Patrick Hurley

David Ervine
Anthony McIntyre



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