Submission to Unionism
An Irish Democratic Framework,
Its Unionist Construction
A Submission by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement to the Broad Unionist Community
The purpose of this submission is to seek positive political engagement amongst different sections of the Irish people concerning the probability of the ending of the British claim to sovereignty over the six north eastern counties of Ireland. The outcome of such a probability, let alone the veracity of such probability, will incur profound change in the political and social landscape on the island. The 32 County Sovereignty Movement submit, that in light of this potential alteration, it would be politically prudent for political representatives to address all contingencies regarding this matter and to construct proposals as to how such a future state should be formatted and developed.
The probability of change to the sovereign status of the six county region is not an idle reference. In this submission the 32CSM will outline its analysis as to why such change is probable, and hence its need to be addressed, in tandem with our view as to the necessity of such change if a lasting and stable peace is to be achieved amongst our people and between Ireland and our neighbouring island. In particular we will focus on the following;
· British commitment to its sovereign claim in Ireland
· Unionists in a British Democratic Framework
· Unionists in an Irish Democratic Framework
By any definition, against any international standard, the six county region has failed. It has resisted, consistently, each and all attempts at conformity to political normality. It has witnessed a destructive cycle of political ‘initiatives’, scuppered by resistance and suspicion from its people, resulting in bloodshed and deepening divisions. The litany of failed changes in its political administration throughout its history only serves to underline the need for radical change effecting the very existence of the state-let itself. The issue of sovereignty needs to be addressed. In consequence of this empirical view the 32CSM petition the broad unionist community to address the following questions with urgency;
1. Is the ending of the Union inevitable?
2. Is the ending of the Union probable?
Most, if not all, unionists have contemplated these scenarios but invariably addressed them as to their avoidance which has merely added to the destructive cycle alluded to earlier. We submit that they cannot be avoided indefinitely and should be addressed positively as they are central to the longterm interests and future of unionists and their fellow Irish people.
British Commitment To Sovereignty
From our analysis of the political discourse which culminated in the signing of the Good Friday Accord the 32CSM noted that the issue of sovereignty was to be dealt with outside of the negotiations. British sovereignty was to be accepted by all parties to the negotiations as a precondition for entry into same. From our perspective the cause of conflict was not to be addressed. In response to this deliberate omission the 32CSM sought to defend Irish sovereignty as it relates to the national territory of Ireland by lodging a legal challenge in the United Nations against British claims of sovereignty over part of Ireland. (See Document Appendix).
The submission to the UN challenged the British sovereign claim under various precepts of international law. Following on from the signing of the GFA the submission was complimented by an addendum outlining the basic flaws and violations of the GFA as it related to Irish sovereignty. (See Document Appendix) To date the British government has made no formal response to this legal challenge against its claim of sovereignty in an international forum. Why is this?
Sovereignty is of fundamental importance, as is its defence. Claims of sovereignty carry onerous responsibilities as to its administration and its defence is reflective of the claimants commitment to it. In consequence the 32CSM petition the broad unionist community to;
A. Address the UN challenge to British sovereign authority in Ireland
B. Urge the British government to respond to the UN challenge.
In December 2004, under the thirty year rule, British State papers relating to the six county region in 1974 were released for public scrutiny. Within these documents was found a proposal from the then British Prime Minister Harold Wilson for the disengagement of the six counties from the United Kingdom. It was a proposal irrespective of repeated assurances from the British establishment that no change in the constitutional status of the six counties could come about except by the express wishes of a majority of its inhabitants. In short it rendered these repeated assurances as meaningless.
Although the proposal foundered it underlined the fact that British interests, as they pertain to territories outside of their island, are not predicated on any semblance of democratic expression within the territories involved. The 1974 proposal was not an isolated incident. Similar overtures were made during the Second World War as an enticement for the Irish Free State’s entry into that conflict. The overtures were not realised but are indicative of a pattern of Britain prioritising British interests regardless of public pronouncements to the opposite. What equally must be considered is the possibility of similar proposals which will never enter the public domain or have yet to do so.
The relationship between the unionist people and the British establishment it professes loyalty to is grounded in profound mistrust and reciprocated mistrust. It is a grotesque scenario with deep political implications for the unionist people. For our part it renders our original contention concerning the probability of the Union’s end as an active reality and further renders unionist attention to it as imperative. The 32CSM, as an incentive for unionist engagement with this reality, would seek their consideration on the following observations;
A. How can constitutional and sovereign stability, and by default political stability, be secured under such deceptive and volatile conditions?
B. In light of this constitutional and sovereign volatility surely prudent political planning is warranted?
C. What future does such constitutional and sovereign volatility hold for the people under its auspices?
D. Can such constitutional and sovereign volatility be resolved without fundamental change in either of these areas?
Unionists in a British Democratic Framework
There exists at the heart of unionist affiliation to a British Democratic Framework a fundamental contradiction which runs contrary to the very basic tenets of democracy itself. The ‘Unionist Veto’, long held and promoted as a ‘democratic’ bulwark against Irish unity, is actually a mechanism by which unionists insulate themselves against decisions which could be taken by the very democratic framework it claims allegiance to. And, as has been demonstrated, the probability of such unilateral British decision making, regardless of perceived powers of veto over them, remains a political fact. The ‘Unionist Veto’ secures neither veto nor democratic inclusion for the unionist people within a British Democratic Framework.
The broader ethos of the unionist people deserves a more secure and substantive democratic expression than such an arrangement is offering. A superficial democratic analysis, as it pertains to the unionist affiliation within a British Democratic Framework in areas of accountability and inclusiveness, would demand an immediate end to the affiliation itself. A more thorough democratic scrutiny would expose causes of conflict.
The 32CSM would now ask the broad unionist community to address this democratic deficiency.
Does the ‘Unionist Veto’, a cause of conflict, guarantee the constitutional position of unionists within the UK? Democratic inclusion is not solely concerned with membership of a democratic framework but with influence upon, and accountability from, such a framework itself. The fundamental necessity of this inclusion and accountability, in realising a truly democratic framework, cannot be reduced to mere numerics or flawed mechanisms of veto and exclusion. Democracy and inclusiveness are inseparable. ‘Ulster’ is not as British as Finchley.
1. Do the unionist people exercise inclusive influence in, and on, a British Democratic Framework?
2. Does a British Democratic Framework exercise inclusive accountability to the unionist people?
3. Can such a framework offer unionists a democratic future?
Unionists in an Irish Democratic Framework
The unionist people are Irish people. Unionism is a political reality in Ireland since the Plantations of the seventeenth century. Unionists have sought to dominate the economic and political landscape in Ireland both as a minority on the island and as a majority within part of it.
Notwithstanding the inherent injustice of this domination the inescapable conclusion to be drawn is that unionism, as a political entity, gauged itself against an Irish political backdrop and not a British one. The political centre of gravity of the unionist people is in Ireland. The 32CSM submit that the centre of gravity of its true democratic expression is to be found in Ireland also.
In consequence the 32CSM now invites the broad unionist community to formulate proposals on how an Irish Democratic Framework, given the reality of its probability, should be constructed to reflect the diversity of all the people on the island. Most notably it should address;
1. Distribution and makeup of Central Government
2. Electoral Format
3. Economic Ethos
4. Church and State
5. Cultural Diversity
6. International Relations
7. Education and Academia
8. Social and Health Policy
Unionist inclusiveness and influence within an Irish Democratic Framework is both real and permanent. It offers unionists a unique opportunity to formulate a truly democratic society with its broad ethos at its heart. The drafting of such proposals is an exercise in political prudence and opens new chapters for other parties in the conflict to prudently address their real political probabilities also. The 32CSM look forward to your engagement.
In tandem with this submission from the 32CSM to the broad unionist community we have submitted a similar submission to the British government on the central theme of,
British Longterm Intentions Toward Ireland.
In brief, the submission addresses British responsibility to its claim of sovereignty over the six county region and seeks its political projections as to its role in administering that sovereign claim in the future. As the claimant of sovereignty over the region the longterm political intentions of the British government are of immense relevance and importance to the unionist people also. With this in mind the 32 County Sovereignty Movement would urge the representatives of the broad unionist community to encourage an active engagement on behalf of the British government with the submission concerned. A full copy of the submission to the British government is contained in the Document Appendix.