Nationalism riddled with hypocrisy

Ulster election: Republican joins old foe as assembly is burdened by the past and search for a home; Conor Cruise O'Brien explains why he is running as a UK Unionist

I was brought up in an Irish nationalist tradition but from the advent of the Provisional IRA offensive in 1971, I became increasingly aware that the position of constitutional nationalists, with regard to political violence, is riddled with unconscious hypocrisy.

Nationalists condemned political violence, but regularly used it to convince the British of the need for concessions. Thus, the Anglo-Irish Agreement was sold to Margaret Thatcher in 1985 as being about "to marginalise the men of violence" by reconciling the nationalists to the status quo. There was not a soul in Ireland who ever really believed that, but Mrs Thatcher bought the line, thus infuriating the unionists; and this was the object.

After 1985, things got worse. John Hume and Gerry Adams began the insidious alliance between constitutional nationalists and Sinn Fein. Hume-Adams was sold in the nationalist press as bringing about the conversion of Sinn Fein-IRA to the democratic process. What happened was to a contrary effect. Sinn-Fein-IRA succeeded in converting democratic process in the Republic to its own use.

Irish government statements, and those of senior government officials, are couched in language acquired from Sinn Fein. This is not just rhetoric. The relevant people are now imbued with the spirit of Sinn Fein: paranoid distrust of the British, hatred and contempt for the unionists. Senior public servants revealed this month that the Irish government's objective, in negotiating with the British, is to "drive David Trimble wild".

Nobody in the Republic, except myself, seemed to see any objection to this version of the Peace and Reconciliation at which all the nationalist parties profess to aim.

This account may give you an idea as to why I reject Irish nationalism - now dominated by Sinn-Fein-IRA - and have become a unionist. I believe the more gains there are for what Adams calls "the Irish peace process", the nearer Ireland will get to civil war. Adams's peace process is a pincer-movement on the unionists. One pincer is the IRA's cat-and-mouse violence and related blackmail. The other is Irish pressure on the British to move down the nationalist agenda. If there is any serious movement in that direction, the loyalist ceasefire will break down.

When Bob McCartney invited me to be a candidate for the United Kingdom Unionists, I accepted without hesitation. He is the ablest as well as the most amiable of the unionist leaders. His party not only has no links with sectarian groups but is explicitly committed to anti-sectarian policies. His party is offering the unionist community leadership of exceptional high quality. They will need that, under the pressure of those pan-nationalist pincers. I am proud to be able to give them a hand in resisting, by democratic and peaceful means, a version of Irish nationalism that has turned into something very like imperialism.

Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week