Matryoshka Dolls And Unionism

Wearing my other hat as Conspiracy Theorist, I have decided to explain Unionism by reference to Matryoshka/Babushka Dolls…and your spelling is probably better than mine because I am too lazy to look up Wikipedia. This set was bought by me in Moscow in 1980….and to be honest I was expecting more.001

Nesting dolls. Open one and another is revealed and …another.

Which is a bit like Unionism.

The nicest doll is Let’sGetAlongerism. a Golden Halo of Do Gooders in quangos, universities, discussion boards and lobbying companies. Seductively appealing, they do have a bottom line that parity of esteem is limited by the institutional supremacy of the Union…and they are a bit too “in your face” about that and think we maybe should all join British political parties and put all the unpleasantness behind us. Far too intelligent to be monarchists, they are likely to get surprisingly worked up if a young nationalist decides to play football for the Republic of Ireland.

Inside that doll is Liberal Unionism…always a risible concept going back to the days of Terence O ‘Neill and politically split along the fault line of the nastier elements in the Alliance Party and the nicer people in the UUP. Most likely to believe in the best of British such as the Jubilee and Olympics and saddened rather than angry that nationalists don’t see it that way.

Inside this doll is Traditional Unionism, angered rather than saddened by nationalism and ever ready to go into defensive mode. Some of their best friends are Catholics but Traditional Unionists are now to be found in the worst parts of the UUP and the more “enlightened” parts of the DUP.

Inside that doll is Religious Unionism….the worst elements of the DUP and the apolitical God botherers in Protestant gospel halls. Nutters who believe in the lost tribe of Israel and religious and ethnic supremacy. Mainstream Orange Order types.

Inside that doll is unapologetic Paramilitary Unionism. UVF, UDA…often critical of unionist politicians and not overtly religious but when Push comes to Shove, they row in behind political unionism. They know their place. It is a 1912 kinda thing.

And inside that doll is Scumbag Unionism…the culture of the Kick the Pope bands, the underclass and the fascism of the football hooligan. Not the sort to be brought home to tea by the better class of Unionist.

The curious thing about the last seven weeks is that all these dolls have been opened up and every aspect of unionism has been laid bare.The entire case is based on the Mob….always the bottom line in Unionism. yes there is a case to be made that we have laughed too long at Willie Fraser, we have photo-shopped too many images of Flegs and rioters and uploaded too many rap videos to You Tube.

We are being encouraged to give them a break….and in some ways all those Dolls from Let’s GetbAlongerist to Scumbag is calling for nationalists/republicans to cut them some slack. This would of course get the mob off the streets but it merely facilitates all these forms of Unionism to get their act together and pursue their anti-nationalist agenda.

Not on my watch.

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26 Responses to Matryoshka Dolls And Unionism

  1. factual says:

    A classic us and them style post that attempts to put all outside of the person’s own side into a single pigeon-hole, and then aims to blacken all in that pigeon hole by referring to the worst of those in that pigeonhole?

  2. I’ve been thinking about more modern parallels to unionism.

    Firstly, the plantations. Well, Tibet jumps right out. Right now China is flooding Tibet with Chinese citizens to create an artificial presence and shipping in businesses, whilst closing indigenous traders.

    Then, there’s the formation of the statelet. Was it not so close to how oul friend of unionism, Eugene Terreblanche wanted to have his own wee white dominated sub state. How well did that idea go down? That’s right, a non starter.

    There is a massive issue that affects all but a very few of even liberal unionism and that’s the willingness to address the past. The true liberal is one that can criticise even that they benefit from, the white man who benifitted from slavery, the white S Africans that stood agains apartheid, the Israelis that stand against expansionism and the endless war crimes of their state.

    Such a stretch of genuine honesty does this require that these people were/are looked on as lefties and loons by the masses. Presently, the South is looking back at its wrongs with honesty, treatment of Protestants, child rape, treatment of returning WWII men ( oddly, the insane cruelty against the anti treaty men has yet to get the proper attention but that’s more a measure of the Fublin 4 media) whilst in Britain, the state resists every analysis Of its past eg. The Mau Mau case or Malay. Similarity we have the objection to enquiries and the HET from unionism as if truth is a delicate house of cards.

    Unionism is a sick bird in a guided cage of lies, paranoia, bereft of self analysis and thus weak

    • I think that unionism identifies with Zionism, South African whites particularly the religious zealots in the Dutch Reformed Church, American bible belters in the old South but even more so in the west.
      The key is not just imperialism as with the Chinese in Tibet or Nazis in Eastern Europe….there is a Plantation Dimension in all these cases. we were given the land…by GOD….took it from lesser people and made it better.
      I suspect many dont really believe the GOD dimension….but they need it as a fig leaf to cover awkward questions about just grabbing land…..likewise the Israelis on the West Bank. there is a connexion.
      I don’t think it’s a specifically Christian or Jewish thing.
      When American Republicans accuse Democrats of being weak on Israel….they get votes in Wyoming (where there are hardly any Jewish people) but democrats don’t lose New York. Obviously that’s a bit simplistic.

      But Liberal Unionists and letsgetalongerists do have a dilemma. They note the past, regret it but never actually repudiate it.
      But that is a classic dilemma for liberals in all imperialist nations. People might read the Guardian and regret British imperialism but when the chips are down will revert to type.
      Take Scottish Independence….why is it that English liberals are so opposed?

  3. bangordub says:

    Really enjoyed that post Mr Fitz.
    You have captured the many faces of Unionism quite succinctly with a good metaphor. I would argue that sometimes more than one of the above can be captured in the same unionist however.

  4. bangordub says:

    What intruiges me is how so many revert to type when confronted. Unionism has a certain mob/ supremacist mentality when challenged. It is the colonialist mindset in a way but it has never developed or been thought through. When the occasional more enlightened, intelligent mind comes along, such as O’Neill or Basil, they are ostracised, shouted down, called a “Lundy” and cast out from the mob. Bit like a certain TV show last week

  5. bangordub says:

    Could you check your mails?
    I’m starting a series on a guide to Irish Wildlife….

  6. I like the idea FJH above and the comments so far.

    i) It is a Matroshka, yes, not a Babushka as the latter is Russian for a granny, the joys of learning the language whilst living with a Siberian lady in London 🙂

    ii) I couldn’t agree more with the BD’s assertion of unionism reverting to type when confronted. I noticed this when I was having an argument with a letsgetalongerist on Enda’s page (http://endgameinulster.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/fianna-fail-republican-party.html) who would normally be considered a fairly ‘liberal’ guy. If you can untangle the nonsense double-speak and obvious contradictions in his postings on the creation of the North and reconcile this with his very loud and often stated opinions on anti-sectarianism here in the North then you must be a fisherman.

    iii) Not happening on your watch FJH? Ditto mine and others. It is all too easy to merely pick massive holes in their arguments and the mass of contradictions in their positions. My problem is more with letsgetalongerists than unionists, at least I know where I stand with the latter. The former though is a somewhat sneaky bunch (trojan horse) who are unwilling to detail what they believe in in any kind of meaningful or detailed manner and use management speak and shy away from confrontation. They essentially say ‘I will not think about how this place was created or the mechanics of its creation, I just want everyone to get along’. And I can understand this perspective, many can. However, when we actually highlight all of these inconsistencies in their beliefs such as my saying to many how I believe that challenging sectarianism in the North is a thankless task and one we will never fully overcome due to the very nature of the North’s creation (a sectarian statelet), I get nothing but waffle and platitudes back.

    • That would be brilliant. I now only have two full weeks and one of the things I have to do is sort out photographs.
      Certainly it’s a place I’d like to see again because although I didn’t know then it was really the death throes of the old system.

      • Sent you the links, others are more than welcome to view them too, just PM me via the email address.

        It is a country that I have always found fascinating and having gone there I still am riveted by all things Russian, I have even looked into working there which I think tells you all you need to know. SoS has an interesting piece on the Chechen wars on his own page worth reading (http://ansionnachfionn.com/2013/01/17/lessons-from-the-first-chechen-war/) too, but for me, tired a cliche as it is, it is a country of massive contrasts and challenges but one I feel (I am a Russophile tho!) that will see a lot of change for the better over the coming years, or at least I hope so.

        If you do think about revisiting Russia let me know, I could send you some (hopefully) useful links for places to see, where to stay and also where to go as my friends nicely steered me away from most of the tourist traps and to the places I consider interesting. Also, the flights are not too expensive nowadays!

      • Hopefully I will put some pics up here.
        our hotel was the Hotel. might post some souvenirs as well.

    • Letsgetalongerists who strangely think they are more decent and more moral than the rest of us….would like to give unionism time to recover.
      coincidently this would give the Alliance Party the time and space it needs to recover.
      Choosing my words as carefully as I can at almost midnight on a Saturday night…is that despite protestations the letsgetalongerists and the fascist protestors share the same objective…the preservation of the so called United Kingdom.
      They don’t of course share the same methods.
      The mob are of course outside the political system…it’s the letsgetalongerists who will have the big jobs in government, media, lobbying and quangos…and their frustration is that the mobs are undermining them.
      The point here is that with the unionists lying either on the ground or in the gutter, I see no point in helping them back to their feet.

      • Of course they would, they are after all unionist with the well acknowledged small ‘u’. As you have noted previously, if you are not working towards a UI or if you want to improve the status quo you are a unionist, no two ways about it. Therefore, APNI is a unionist party, but we know this already.

        When our common enemy is down, it is not in our best interests to help them up, instead, we should be putting our foot on their collective throats (I know, very harsh words). APNI is small outside of Greater Belfast and especially in Nat areas. Whilst it is all well and good having rather long, polemic pieces in the MSM or on letsgetalongerist sites about the ‘new dispensation’ and how their is a ‘growing, agnostic middle ground’ in the North, short of any kind of actual analysis from people and change at the polling stations it is all merely hot air and trying to put a narrative that doesn’t exist onto events on the ground. I think it is very clever but nonsense and over egging it tbh

      • It’s a bit like the old joke….
        “I’m an atheist”
        “but are you a Catholic atheist or a Protestant atheist”

        Inevitably lets GetAlongerists are unionist.
        Well almost inevitably.
        Which is why Gerry Lynch’s piece on Slugger attracted so much hostility from letsgetalongerists.
        Creating an atmosphere where people are content with the constitutional status quo IS unionist….merely a more subtle and seductive kind than the Flegs protestors.
        Rhetorically and figuratively speaking letsgetalongerism and unionist mobs have screwed up and are “down”. I see no problem with ridiculing the mob…there is a certain irony that letsgetalongerists find ridiculing the mob elitist and not funny. A certain LetsGetAlongerist website seems to take an immature delight in ridiculing republicans who resign from Westminster with being paid employees under the British Crown.
        what is sauce for the Republican Goose should be sauce for the unionist mob…and letsgetalongerists poultry as well.

        Of course putting the boot in may appear distasteful….but of course….this is figuratively speaking.
        Lets be frank …letsgetalongerists would kick just as hard…

      • Dem de rules of the game FJH. If they don’t want to fight using Marques of Queensbury rules so be it I suppose, and I do like fighting down there, we get to show up our enemy for what they are.

  7. BTW FJH, I have some photos from my time in Moscow if you would like to view and contrast with what you seen back at the Moscow Olympics to see what changes (or none) have occurred since?

    • Would those among us who are not exuberant over-users cast the first stone. I think it’s normal blogging practice…certainly for me…to see something happen which fits our view of the world and then get exuberant about it.
      while obviously condemning violence, there is lot for me to get exuberant about lately….the mask falling off the Alliance Party (metaphorically) and being put literally on the unionist mob.
      But surely Mick will be aware that on Slugger O’Toole some exuberant over users appear every time a Sinn Fein MP resigns from Westminster. Is the title “steward of the barony of Northstead” or whatever over-used by Micks exuberant friends? I think so.
      Ultimately no harm done.
      Had occasion to make a tongue in cheek to Mick today that a commenter was perhaps “playing the man” viz…me!!!
      And to his credit Mick has rebuked the offender “funny but off topic” . That’ll learn him (sic).
      Was musing and perhaps quietly seething…in a tongue in cheek way….about my last yellow card.
      In relation to the assassination of a Quebec nationalist by a Canadian unionist.
      I suggested that sadly this is how reactionaries behave.

      Had I said that about the murder of a prison officer by a dissident republican, then I don’t think it would have been a yellow card offence.
      Perhaps if I said it about the loyalist mob who throw stones at the homes of Alliance Party councillors then I’m sure there would be no yellow card.
      The key thing when noting that reactionaries react in a violent way is to not attack good reactionaries such as Canadian unionists.
      Obviously today is Martin Luther King Day.
      I’m not sure how that will go down on Slugger.
      The temptation is to say that his assassination is how reactionaries react….I think that’s safe ground as Martin Luther Kings murderer is probably regarded as the wrong kind of reactionary.

  8. FJH, if you get a chance perhaps you might leave a reply to Jenny Muir’s views on the SDLP?

  9. Harry says:

    Great. I agree.

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