Ulster Nationalism    
    John Tyndall replies to a supporter    

Last month, space was granted [to Mr David Kerr in Spearhead magazine] to argue the case for Ulster Nationalism - a movement aimed at the secession of Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom but opposing its incorporation into a United Ireland, in other words a movement for an independent Ulster State. Here our editor replies.

I can respect and sympathise with David Kerr's reasons for feeling bitter against successive United Kingdom governments for their inept, not to say treasonable, handling of the Northern Ireland question. He must surely know that there are many people this side of the Irish Sea who feel no differently. The failure of politicians in London to stand by our loyal people in Ulster is one of the most shameful episodes in the British history of this and the previous century.

By the very same token, I can respect and sympathise with Australians and other peoples of the White Commonwealth who feel betrayed by Britain's decision to join the EEC (later the European Union) in 1973, and who as a reaction have forsaken their loyalty to the Mother Country and opted to go their own way in the world without regarding themselves any longer in a special relationship with us.

But to respect and sympathise with such viewpoints is not to endorse them. It is at stages like these that we have to stand back a little and look at ourselves, and our ethnic brethren elsewhere, in the context of a big, wide and often wicked world in which we have to compete, and sometimes struggle, for our survival. In that world, national groupings which possess resources and power commensurate to the times in which they live succeed in surviving, while others often do not. When we look at the really strong and successful states of today, the first thing we recognise is that they were built up by a series of rational and clear-headed acts of statesmanship in which emotional reactions to perceived wrongs had no place. Indeed, the moment that any nations or governments decide to formulate national policy on the basis of pure feeling - perhaps of moral outrage at the way someone else is behaving - they are on the slippery slope to self-immolation. The 20th century provides examples enough of this.

In the case of Northern Ireland, we are fortunate in the fact that people in the non-republican camp who, like Mr. Kerr, feel betrayed by governments in London, have not, in the majority, allowed this to diminish their underlying sense of British nationality and their retention of the Union Flag in their public demonstrations and as part of their deeper national tradition. This is because their leaders mostly think rationally about such matters and recognise that the people of their province are bound indissolubly to their kinfolk on the Mainland in a way that overrides all ephemeral considerations of anger and frustration at the doings of politicians.

Indeed, if we are to take our cue from what politicians do in the matter of assessing our loyalties, many, many millions of us would have given up on Britain a long time ago and would be waving someone else's flag, if any flag at all. In the case of those who for many years have been engaged in the nationalist struggle in Britain, we would long ago have surrendered and opted for the quiet life.

But that is not how great nations - indeed nations of any true mettle - survive to live again. They endure and survive bad and humiliating times because of a faith in what they are, a pride in their history and a belief in what they can in future achieve, which transcends disgust in the doings of contemporary ‘leaders’ and their lick-spittle followers, officials, paid mercenary servants and hangers on.

Outliving communism

In a kind of way, the Russian Nation offers us an admirable example. Their people survived over seventy years of Communism under political crooks and gangsters, during which unspeakable evils were committed in their name, to recover again their national spirit - which today grows stronger under the impress of various patriotic movements which pick up the symbols and traditions of a great past in the drive to national renewal and reconstruction. And mark this - that nation remains intact over the enormous distances that disperse its people from its window in St. Petersburg right across Europe and Asia to the Pacific Ocean!

Mr. Kerr says that Unionists in Ulster are not British Nationalists. That may well not be the way they perceive themselves by name; it would hardly be surprising, considering that the word ‘nationalist’ in that province is synonymous with republicanism, Fenianism and everything else that is anathema to the Ulster loyalist. This does not alter the fact that these people are British Nationalists in ideology and sentiment, whatever words they may choose to describe themselves. Indeed they constitute the closest thing to British Nationalism, in real terms, that can be found anywhere among ordinary people in this Kingdom. I speak of course of the majority, and do not attempt to speak for Mr. Kerr himself nor those who share his outlook.

And even were the continued betrayals of British governments to lead to more people in Ulster adopting this outlook to the point at which they became a majority, that would not alter the fact that there is, in reality, no such thing as an Ulster ‘nation’. A group of people who have a grievance, however strong and justified, does not by that token become a ‘nation’. It may well become a political movement which cannot be ignored, but a nation is something different. Real nations, as distinct from momentary and artificial political constructs - are things that mature over a long period of time, having simultaneously some special factor that binds their people together while setting them apart from others. No such factor exists in the case of the people of Northern Ireland. They are not an ‘ethnic’ entity in themselves. In their narrower ethnicity they comprise two distinct communities neither of which considers itself to belong together with the other but exist merely on a common piece of territory; in the much broader sense of ethnicity - the sense in which all the people of Northern Ireland (indeed all Ireland), of whatever religion belong to the same British Isles ethnic group, they are bound together equally to the people of Scotland, England and Wales. Indeed the vast majority of the people comprising the Ulster Protestant community are descended from the sometimes contemptuously named ‘Planters’ who crossed the sea from Scotland in what many regard as an act of colonisation.

Ripe for the picking

A separate Ulster would be a tiny state ripe for the picking by the Irish Republic as soon as an opportune moment arrived for this to happen. In fact, Ulster separatism just has to be an ally of the IRA, whatever the contrary intentions of its no doubt well-meaning adherents. I have no doubt that Ulster separatists genuinely hate the likes of Gerry Adams, but I seriously doubt that he hates them!

Mr. Kerr cites, as if partly in justification of his political aim, the fact that a motion in support of it was proposed by Nick Griffin and passed at a National Front AGM in 1985. Most nationalists on the Mainland will draw the very opposite conclusion. By that time the Front had become an incoherent shambles by comparison with the strength and respect it enjoyed in the 1970s, and was then best known for its experiments in nutty ideology of which the dismemberment of the United Kingdom formed a prominent part - one of the numerous political ‘hats’ worn by its leaders, later to be discarded as the quest for novelty led them elsewhere.

Limitations of space prevent me saying more on this issue, but I would like to end by recalling words spoken to me by A. K. Chesterton, the post-war father of British Nationalism, not long before he died. The dismemberment of the British World, he said, has been the foremost objective of the globalist élite since 1945.

Let us never lose sight of that truth, and let us never play our enemies' game!

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