Thursday, March 16, 2006


Gerrymandering and unionist misrule

Nationalists were treated like animals I'd like to take a moment to talk about one of the biggest dirty little secrets of the Northern Ireland state's history: gerrymandering. From reading Michael Laffan's book, The Partition of Ireland, 1911-1925, one really gets a sense of how sick and depraved the NI state really was.

It's shocking to think that unionists were willing to allow people who were their compariots be treated as essentially sub-human. Check out these facts from Laffan on gerrymandering below:

"This trend was accentuated by the alteration of constituency boundaries, gerrymandered so as to restore Derry City, Fermanagh and Tyrone to unionist rule despite their catholic and nationalist majorities. Out-numbered two to one the nationalists were doomed to the role of perpetual opposition within Northern Ireland, and even in those areas where they formed a majority they were denied power at the level of corporation or county council. Unionist rule was restored to Derry City with the help of the direct vote and a readjustment of boundaries, but the catholic percentage of the city's population continued to increase and in 1934 the minister for home affairs wrote anxiously to Craig warning that unless something were done:

it is only a matter of time until Derry passes into the hands of the Nationalist and Sinn Féin parties for all time. On the other hand, if proper steps are taken now, I believe Derry can be saved for years to come.

"Proper steps were taken and the city wards were re-structured two years later so that 9,961 nationalist voters might return eight councillors and 7,444 unionists might return twelve. Catholics were indignant, and so were Derry unionists who saw the measure as half-hearted and inadequate. These attitudes and practices remained unchanged until catholic pressure and British intervention forced unwelcome reforms on the Belfast government during Stormont's final years. (p.108/109)

Now when I read about this I can't help thinking to myself, how the hell can any unionist seriously question those of us who plan on commemorating the 1916 Rising, as if it were something to be ashamed of, and yet fail to acknowledge the DISGRACEFUL treatment of Catholics/nationalists by the Northern Ireland state's leaders? If you want something to be ashamed of, look no further than unionist gerrymandering!

Is the Northern Ireland state really worth hanging on to when this is the legacy that it has left? I don't think so.

It also makes you you think the reason why the DUP don't want to share power isn't so much to do with the threat of the Provisionals, but rather because - like the unionist leaders of old - they simply don't want a Catholic/nationalist about the place?


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