phrase 'Ulster Britishism' first appeared in an
article in 'The Blanket' and it refers to
the myth that the unionist and loyalist people of
the six counties of British occupied Ireland i.e.
six of the ancient Ulster province of nine counties
share a common nationality with the inhabitants
of Great Britain. Now the concept of myth is here
taken to be something that may have some truth but
lacks the full truth. Which raises the question
is there such a thing as 'British Nationality' which
we will consider later on in this article?
the process of ethnic cleansing since the arrival
of the invader to our Irish shores over the centuries
an important part of the invaders strategy was to
bring the inhabitants of different parts of Britain
and settle them in the land and homes of those natives
murdered, transported or who fled to the hills and
barren wastelands in order to survive. This policy
was implemented over the centuries at times by dribs
and drabs and on other occasions like its occurrence
in the northern province a mighty movement of people
which history records as the Ulster Plantation.
From that process of ethnic cleansing we have the
phrase allegedly expressed by Oliver Cromwell- 'To
hell or Connaught'. Which really meant 'hell' for
to survive in the west of Ireland at that time meant
that the Irish really needed God on their side.
the Irish people, and here I define 'the Irish'
by the fact that they were born in Ireland or if
born elsewhere gave their allegiance to their adopted
country, were a proud independent people who as
confirmed by historical facts always opposed the
invader and in time assimilated many to the extent
that the Normans were said to 'become more Irish
than the Irish themselves'. Which fits into the
definition that the Irish as a people are a river
of many streams including Pre Gael, Gael, Anglo-Saxon,
Norman, Scottish, etc,. Thus birth and opting to
be by those born elsewhere for example the Irish
patriot and republican martyr Erskine Childers who
was English born is what defines an Irish man or
woman. And by this definition especially its first
part the northern unionist community are as Irish
as the heather on the mountains or the walls of
ancient Derry by the Foyle! As for the second part
of the definition Childers apparently had no connection
whatsoever with Ireland but through his love of
the fundamental right of personal and national freedom
he made his choice for freedom rather than tyranny.
And also there is the case of James Connolly who
was Scottish but died as a leader of the 1916 Easter
Rising in Dublin.
following the above line of thought with its definition
of Irishness the claim to be British by nationality
of the northern unionist community is based upon
falsehoods fed by the bigots of religious sectarianism.
The founders of the 'United Irishmen' were influenced
by the French Revolution especially the alleged
father founder Theobald Wolfe Tone and although
not as anti -religious as the French revolutionaries
Tone knew that for the benefit of the Irish people
Protestant, Catholic, and Dissenter had to come
together for the welfare of all. For since the Protestant
Reformation originated Tone was aware that the English
ruling classes and their supporters from which he
came was using religion as a means of fostering
division in order to strengthen their stranglehold
upon the inhabitants of Ireland.
flowering of this sectarianism was the establishment
of the Orange Order in the 18th century which then
and since has been used to divide the Irish people
along sectarian religious lines which has been used
by the Protestant monied classes as well as various
British governments to divide and conquer and or
to hold Ireland for their own political and strategic
benefit. The latter strategy is traditionally known
as the 'orange card'.
us now consider the concept of a 'British nationality'
a concept which is irrelevant for in truth there
is no such thing. Britain is as we all know a large
island between the mainland of the continent of
Europe and our island home whose name arises from
a Celtic tribe having origins in an area between
the north part of England and a part of southern
Scotland. On that island or in that political state
or kingdom there exists four nations England, Scotland,
Wales and Cornwall. Yes, Cornwall is the forgotten
nation with its own language and traditions with
a rich history of nationhood. But due to centuries
of war, commerce, subjugation and relationship what
has developed is a British culture from those four
nations. A culture that has influenced the writer
just as the American culture, etc., has done but
that does not mean that we are British by nationality
or that I am American. For just as there is no such
reality as a European nationality there is equally
no such thing as a British nationality. What we
have on the island of Britain are four nations however
subdued just as the wider European land mass is
composed of numerous nations, numerous nationalities.
And although acknowledging the reality of a British
culture the latter is not the same as a nationality.
The concept of a 'British Nationality' was the creation
of the English ruling classes initially after they
subdued the Welsh, the Scottish and the inhabitants
of Cornwall. Of course the Irish also was drawn
into the reality of an imposed unity in order to
serve the creation and expansion of an empire. An
Empire whose brutal tentacles reached out across
the globe from what was the western isles of Europe
to be changed by the myth makers into the so called
course in order to oppose Irish national unity in
which they would become minority citizens of an
all Ireland state the myth of separateness or other
has been nurtured by the leaders of a unionist minority
in order to prevent the unity of Ireland. The Orange
Order of today as of the past uses religion to prevent
national liberation and self determination. Even
the myth of a language- the so called 'Ulster Scots'
which is really a dialect of English although a
rich dialect worth preserving has been resurrected
in order to create a mythical divide.
never nor would he or could he deny his nationality.
Many other non Catholics over the centuries of various
classes acknowledged their Irishness and the latter
included Jews as well as other Christians plus Agnostics,
Atheists, etc,. In their acknowledgement they were
simply accepting the truth- what was and is reality.
In fact the contribution of Protestants to the revival
of Irish culture and the movement for national freedom
is immense and but for people like Tone and Hyde
we would never have had republicanism nor national
dignity nor the survival of the Irish language.
But unfortunately the myths created by religious
fanatical bigots who are also in essence racists
have been used and are still being used to prevent
the epitaph of Emmet to be written. If only the
Protestant people of the north could extricate themselves
from the influence of the Paisleyite mentality which
prevents the onward march of the nation which they
share then the justice arising would be the basis
of a lasting peace and prosperity for all. The key
of course which I have emphasized before is a decision
being made by the Westminster Government and Parliament
to withdraw once and for all from Ireland and our
national affairs. I believe it to be inevitable
but whether it be voluntary or enforced the coming
years of this century will tell.