Tuesday 13 October 2009

Oorsels Alane

The DUP may as well rename themselves 'Oorsels alane' (the Scots for Sinn Féin), as they are doing a wonderful job in alienating everyone else. And that really means everyone!
  • We already know that they have alienated their own hardcoreit went off to form the TUV,
  • They clearly do not like Catholics,
  • They were intent on 'smashing Sinn Féin',
  • They largely ignore the SDLP!,
  • They boast of their dislike of the Irish language and the GAA, and their opposition to both,
  • They criticise the Alliance Party,
  • They alienated believers in civil liberties and thus a large proportion of liberals,
  • They alienate gays and liberals (again) and thus a large proportion of labour supporters in Britain,
  • They are no friends of the Conservatives,
  • They compete directly against the UUP for unionist votes,
  • They make no real attempt to get on with the Dublin government – and constantly try to minimise north-south cooperation,
  • They have set themselves against the European Project, and thus have no friends there either,
  • And now they have added the US administration – in the guise of Hilary Clinton – to their list of insultees.
Who is left? Who will play with Peter Robinson in the playground? The Evangelical Protestants?

The DUP has successfully avoided forming any alliances or even serious modi operandi with any other political actors or external groups. It seems to relish its complete isolation and contrarianism – but this is a very negative and counterproductive way of representing its voters' best interests.

Why does a plurality of the unionist electorate give its support to a party that is so universally unpopular? Do unionists actually like the feeling of being unloved?

How much better it would be for unionism, for the north, and for Ireland as a whole if unionist voters came out of their self-imposed isolation and actually interacted positively with the rest of the world. If unionism actually sought common ground with like-minded people, groups and parties in Belfast, Dublin, London, Strasbourg and Brussels, and stopped treating everyone and everything as a threat, their future would be a little brighter. Modern politics and governance is increasingly based upon cooperation, consensus and internationalism – the failure of the DUP in all of these areas bodes ill for the place of unionism in the modern world.

It is extremely ironic that a political philosophy that calls itself 'unionism' is, in fact, more concerned to avoid union – with its fellow Northern Irish citizens, its fellow Irishmen, its fellow British citizens, and its fellow Europeans. Divisionism may be a better term, or separateness. But in view of the DUP's preference for its sub-divisional micro-identity, it would be appropriate to rename themselves Oorsels Alane.

Unionism in the old sense – Protestant majoritarian dominance in a marginal part of a detached country – is obsolete. The UK of today is not the Britain of the Empire. The Ireland of today is not the Free State of the past. The border is an irrelevance. Europe today is not a collection of rival great powers. The world today is not made up of 'The Empire' and 'the colonies'. Unionism is ill-equipped to face any of these changes, and the DUP – despite its recent rise in prominence – is no better equipped than the old UUP. Unionism, like nationalism, needs to wake up and embrace a different world to the one it idolises – oorsels alane is a very poor strategy.


Nordie Northsider said...

Sinn Féin doesn't mean 'Ourselves Alone'. It simply means 'ourselves' - a reflection of the ideas of self-suffciency adhered to by Griffiths and other founders. If you want 'Ourselves Alone' it would have to be 'Sinn Féin Amháin'.

Watcher said...

Interesting Nordie:

I had always thought it meant "we ourselves"?

Same with "An Phoblacht", a lot of people think this means "Republican News", but I thought it meant "The Republic"?

Both these names turn up regularly in TV quizzes.

Horseman said...

Nordie Northsider,

I agree about the meaning of sinn féin, of course, but the incorrect translation works better (in a poetic licence sort of way) than the real one.

On the other hand, I probably could have worked in some kind of oblique reference to the OO if I'd settled for the simpler "Oorsels".


Nordie Northsider said...

Actually Horseman, you could be stirring up dialect wars among Ulster-Scots speakers who would perfer 'Jist Wurseles'.

Horseman said...

Nordie Northsider,

I hadn't a notion what it was in pure Ulster-Scots (that hamely tongue died out in my family a few generations back), and I have no U-S dictionary, so I cheated and used a 'scots' dictionary, hoping that it wouldn't be too wrong. That why I said "the Scots for Sinn Féin" rather than the U-S for Sinn Féin.

Since virtually no-one speaks U-S, and there are no standardisations AFAIK, I can claim that 'my' version is correct in my parish!

bangordub said...

They seem to be unable to align themselves even with UNCUNF or the TUV (Trenchant Unyielding Viciousness) given your earlier blog on Fermanagh ST.
And I thought it was only republicans for whom the 1st item on the agenda was the split.......
Perhaps they should have a chat with Martin and Gerry on how to lead a party (Witness the petulance of Gregory and Wee Willie at the end of Hilarys speech yesterday)

Anonymous said...

In this part of Antrim it is oorsels - wursels shows to much gaelic influences frae uppity taigs.