Northern Ireland May Get Marriage Referendum

The Belfast Telegraph reports:

Three senior unionists who were involved in establishing power-sharing at Stormont 20 years ago have called for a referendum on issues currently causing deadlock in the talks.

These include whether there should be a stand-alone Irish Language Act for Northern Ireland, same-sex marriage laws and our abortion laws.

Former Ukip MLA David McNarry, ex-Ulster Unionist chairman David Campbell and former UUP MLA Michael McGimpsey launched their Breaking The Deadlock document at the Stormont Hotel yesterday.

Mr Campbell said they had shared their documents with each of the party leaders before releasing it to the media, and hoped it could help smooth the swift return of devolution.

A very related story from Sky News:

Northern Ireland is gaining ground on Belgium’s record of 589 days without an elected government in a democracy. It is 367 days since the devolved administration at Stormont collapsed, leaving one corner of the UK without a ruling executive in place.

With no ministers in office, senior civil servants have had to step in to keep the various departments of government – health, education, etc – ticking over. Unelected officials are making decisions daily on how hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money should be spent.

This spring Britain’s Supreme Court will hear Northern Ireland’s own anti-gay baker case.

  • shellback

    Abortion, abortion, abortion. For krist sakes, jeezis isn’t coming back so stop worrying that he’ll be aborted. Ain’t gonna happen.

    • Leo

      Wrong thread, I think. You’re right tho đŸ˜‰

      • shellback

        See story above. It’s one of the topics.

        • Leo

          Bit on abortion in last thread. I’m losing my mind. Sorry. Oh, those Catholics. Yeah.

          • shellback

            In these times, anyone who isn’t losing their mind is probably a Dump supporter.
            [edit] But they didn’t have minds to begin with.

          • ChrisMorley

            It’s NOT catholics in Northern Ireland opposing abortion reform.
            It is the hardline protestants in the Unionist parties who also keep vetoing Equal Marriage.

          • JackFknTwist

            I completely agree.
            Your comment also applies to marriage equality.

    • The_Wretched

      Abortion is a christian snow job about their real aims – controlling access of women to sex. The men most interested in controlling women’s sexuality are not particularly desirable. So rather than compete or be decent, they seek control. Everything else flows from there.

      • another_steve

        I agree it’s all about controlling women’s bodies. About eliminating their body autonomy.

        About making women physically/sexually subservient to men, thereby helping to ensure 24/7 access to women’s bodies for male sexual reasons.

      • (((GC)))

        This also rings true: opposing abortion is (also) an attempt to reclaim the moral high ground white evangelicals lost when they spectacularly failed the moral test of the civil rights movement. Instead of being seen as reprehensible racists, they’ve successfully changed the subject by strong emotional appeals referring to so-called “unborn babies” as if they were full, actual (not potential) human persons.

        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2016/03/11/this-is-what-abortion-politics-is-for/

    • Treant

      Actually, if you want to get hyper-technical about it, Jesus is supposed to return as a god, not in any human form, when he returns. There’s no rigmarole with a star and virgin birth, just pop! and there’s your deity.

      Therefore, since their Bible also says that there’s no soul without breath, abortion is not a problem. You won’t take out Jesus (and it’s technically a Manichean argument to say that one even could), and those fetuses were never ensouled.

  • bkmn

    Rights should not be subject to a vote, ever.

    • JackFknTwist

      What about the situation when the govt. is denying you rights and a referendum is the only possible way of achieving them ?

      • ChrisMorley

        The referendum these UU pols propose isn’t the ‘only possible way’.

        The UU members proposing it are former politicians of a small also ran party significantly outnumbered by their more extreme rivals the DUP, who have several times vetoed Marriage Equality.
        They (DUP) are not completely stupid as well as being bigoted fundamentalist homophobes. They know there is majority public support for Marriage Equality and they’d likely lose such a referendum. They won’t call a referendum.
        There isn’t an obvious route to deliver marriage equality in the short term. Dublin and London have a Good Friday Agreement duty to sort out a way forward. But that is on the backburner because Brexit, and an open border solution in Ireland, are both governments’ first order priorities.

        • JackFknTwist

          That’s what I think. The DUP will never agree marriage equality. And probably never agree a refendum on the subject but other that that I know no way of getting equal rights in NI. unless equality is imposed by the Supreme Court.

          Do you know any other way ?

          • ChrisMorley

            I thought we were headed to the UK Supreme Court (which I would be quite optimistic about under its equality-minded President, Lady Hale) because two couples applied to the High Court in Belfast about two years ago. That case was dismissed late last summer. http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/08/17/high-court-rejects-legal-challenge-for-equal-marriage-in-northern-ireland/
            I have heard nothing about them appealing that to the Appeal Court in Belfast, which is the next step before the UK Supreme Court. I suspect it is now too late to lodge an appeal.
            The judge dismissed the case because the European Court of Human Rights hasn’t ruled EU citizens have a definitive right to marriage equality in all member states. That’s true, but if it got to the UK Supreme Court I think the real legal issue would instead be equality within the different parts of the UK, under the UK Human Rights Act. I’m disappointed organisations in N Ireland aren’t pursuing an Appeal.

          • JackFknTwist

            Yes, I cannot see a disparity of rights within the UK getting much of a hearing in the UK Supreme Court.

  • Leo

    Why do I feel like Brexit’s gonna be involved in this

    • ChrisMorley

      Because PM Theresa May has bribed the Northern Ireland Democratic (sic) Unionists with £1Billion of our money for their Westminster votes to keep her minority Tory administration clinging to power for Brexit.

      • JackFknTwist

        Yes !

        And when the terms of a Brexit deal [if there is one] are published Scotland will bail from the UK…..followed closely by Northern Ireland……which will reunify with the rest of Ireland.

        It’s a win-win as Trump/turd might say.

        • William

          The Irish don’t want to build a wall?

          • JackFknTwist

            Hahaha.
            We will have no wall on our island; whether the Brits want a border or the EU wants a border the Irish will not have one.

            “The IRA has not gone away you know”…per Gerry Adams.

            The implication is clear….war will follow any attempt to redivide our island.

          • William

            I don’t see how the Common Travel Area will work in a post-Brexit time.

          • JackFknTwist

            Good point……neither do I.
            But they are all relying on the fact that the Common Travel area between the two islands predated the EU.

            And of course, per Secion 2 of the Ireland Act 1949, Ireland is not a foreign country.

          • William

            The Irish might disagree about that last point.

          • Dazzer

            Brexit is an utter fucking nightmare for the Irish. It’s a major threat to the Irish agricultural sector.

            The Brexiteers don’t care that not only are they fucking up their own country, they’re also fucking up the economies of other countries.

          • William

            People will have to do some reassessing once Putin’s meddling in the west is blown wide open.

          • JackFknTwist

            Hahaha ……you are right……but it suits us in travelling back and forth.

          • William

            What happens if the UK refuses to allow entry to a person and Ireland disagrees?

          • ChrisMorley

            The principles agreed seem to require Ireland to regulate entry on behalf of the UK.
            Britain has a similar arrangement with France for travellers using the cross-Channel tunnel. French border guards check passports of all passengers headed to Britain.

          • JackFknTwist

            EU and non-EU,( non Irish) citizens coming into Dublin will have to have the documentation to enter the UK. They will effectively be entering both the Eu and the UK at the same time.

            Go figure !

          • William

            How long will the Irish put up with big sister looking over their shoulder?

          • ChrisMorley

            Retaining the Common Travel Area (UK+Ireland travel passport-free) is an absolute commitment for the UK, Northern Ireland, the Irish republic and the EU.

            There is now an intergovernmental agreement on the principles of how the open Northern Irish border will operate, endorsed by the EU.

            The devil will be in the practical details. These will cause serious disputes with Tory Brexit hardliners because it will require arrangements for a Customs Union, which is like remaining in the EU.
            HA HA HA.

          • Craig Howell

            It was good enough for Hadrian, and it’s good enough for me!

          • JackFknTwist

            Hahahaha…..but it didn’t keep the Scots out.

          • William

            My Scottish ancestors lived on both sides of the wall.

          • JackFknTwist

            The Scottish border has moved over and back many times over centuries.

            I guess it will have to be fixed on the current boundaries when Scotland vote independence and applies to rejoin the EU as an independent country.

  • Leo
    • bkmn

      Translation – House members thought it would be a good idea until someone with brains told them there could be consequences.

      • Judas Peckerwood

        BRAINS!!!

        • JWC

          BRAINS..TRAINS…PLANES sound all the same

  • Tawreos

    Trump should be glad to hear about this mess because it makes sure his administration is not the most fucked up one in a democracy. It won’t last though

  • Leo

    OT2. I got affirmation in earlier thread to semi-spam OT’s in threads and everything seems to be happening today, so yeah…
    https://twitter.com/chrisgeidner/status/954426738381115394

    • gaycuckhubby

      Fingers crossed!
      Luckily it doesn’t sound too serious

    • William

      Sotomayor should do the Ginsburg workout.

  • Leo
    • Judas Peckerwood

      Hope he was getting hazardous duty pay for those 90 minutes.

  • gaycuckhubby

    If it comes to a vote, I predict it will pass by an even larger margin than Irelands referendum

  • Lazycrockett

    According to Schumer just now nothing has been reached. Government shut down still happening.

    • Leo

      Welp, there you go. Everyone saw it coming here. Now question is what comes next and how long this lasts.

      • The_Wretched

        Mulvaney was going on about a ‘kinder, gentler’ shut down earlier. That doesn’t suggest a short time horizon.

    • JackFknTwist

      Fire Miller before anything can happen.

  • Phillip in L.A.

    Very interesting, Joe! Thanks for posting.

    It turns out the British Supreme Court (when did it change its name?) will sit in Belfast to hear the case, and will publicly live-stream the proceedings (unlike our own secretive U.S. Supreme Court that will not even allow cameras inside)

    • ChrisMorley

      Sorry, but you have misread Joe’s post.
      The UK Supreme Court will only hear “Northern Ireland’s own anti-gay baker case.”
      I have every confidence that the Supreme Court will dismiss that case with polite British disdain. The Court’s new President, Lady Hale, is sound on equality.

      No marriage equality case has reached the Appeal Court in Belfast, which is required before the UK Supreme Court can hear any Equal Marriage case.

      • JackFknTwist

        All correct ….excellent.

        • ChrisMorley

          Thanks. I do try to inform and educate on things Brit.

      • Phillip in L.A.

        I don’t understand your comment, ChrisMorley. My comment does not refer to ‘any Equal Marriage case’; it refers to the bakery case.

        “This spring Britain’s Supreme Court will hear Northern Ireland’s own anti-gay baker case.” If you click on the link Joe provided, Lady Hale discusses the Court’s plan to sit in Belfast, on that occasion.

        • ChrisMorley

          My apologies for misunderstanding your intention.

          You didn’t specify the bakery case and I assumed you meant marriage equality, which is the main outstanding issue in NI.
          I didn’t click Joe’s link to the NYT, because I already knew the Supreme Court was due to hear the bakery case.

          The Supreme Court is misnamed by Joe as the ‘British’ SC, when it is the UK Supreme Court.

          • Phillip in L.A.

            np–that misnomer confused me, too, and that is why I clicked on the link!

  • JackFknTwist

    My reaction here is , Why ?

    “Marriage equality” is the law in the rest of the UK…..Scotland England Wales.

    But there is a logic to having a Referendum on the issue in NI.
    The Unionists/evangelicals will never agree it on their own……they are spiteful and homophobic.

    The rest of Ireland did have a Referendum on Marriage Equality……so having a Referendum in NI brings it into line with the rest of the island.

    The alignment of NI and Ireland is coming closer on all issues.
    I want to see the reunification of Ireland in my lifetime.

    • Halou

      It’s funny in a tragic kind of way, the Unionists are determined to not fall in line with the rest of the United Kingdom on this and many other policy areas, meanwhile Sinn Fein who are the ones who want to join the Republic of Ireland, they are the ones who are more aligned with the British mainland.

      • JackFknTwist

        The Unionists are wannabe Little Englanders in everything….except abortion + gay rights.

        Their contradictions are quite pathetic.

        Unionists are supporting the May Government on Brexit against the expressed wishes of the majority of Northern Ireland.
        The Unionists are so bitter, so short sighted it’s pathetic and undemocratic.

        Yet, the certainty of a united Ireland is coming……they need to grow up and see the writing on the wall and accommdate themselves accordingly.

        • Hank

          The Unionists sound like OUR Rethuglicans!!!

          • JackFknTwist

            They are the wing nut side !

          • ChrisMorley

            They also do corruption for their cronies, like the Cash for Ash green energy scam, which led to the collapse of the Power-Sharing Executive.

          • Hank

            I never heard of it, so I jut googled it: Renewable Heat Incentive scandal

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_Heat_Incentive_scandal

          • JackFknTwist

            That was another Unionist incompetent scam and they have not yet apologized for it.

        • JCF

          The Unionists are Christianists, compared to the rest of the UK.

      • Robert Pierce

        Although the DUP under Arlene Foster are even prepared to scrap the abusive Petitions of Concern which it has used to block SSM, while Sinn Fein isn’t.

  • Tawreos

    OT: The Defense Department removed Global Warming as a national security threat.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/pentagon-strategy-drops-climate-change-security-threat-172013005.html

    • Lazycrockett

      That is fucking stupid.

      • Lazycrockett

        Climate change is one of the most immediate threats to this country and the world. Syria happened because of Climate change.

        • JackFknTwist

          Yes, and it is being ignored by this Russian junta.

        • William

          That and having a lunatic for president.

      • JCF

        That is criminally tragic.

    • William

      I’m so glad we don’t have to worry about climate change anymore.

      • (((GC)))

        Except if it threatens a tRump golf course. Then and only then is it real.

  • Lazycrockett

    Im betting 10 dollars that Drumpf still high tails it to Florida before 6 pm.

    • Treant

      No bet. “Dems refuse to talk! Sad! Leaving for Florida against my will! Awful! Party tonight! Send $100K to join me!”

  • Leo
    • JackFknTwist

      How can Trump/turd reach a ‘deal’ if that Nazi Stephen Miller is whispering his white supremacist bile in his ear?

      • KnownDonorDad

        When will Miller realize the white supremacists really aren’t all that into him?

  • Leo
    • JackFknTwist

      Where’s Stephen Miller ?
      In Trump/turd’s ample nickers ?

  • Ben in Oakland

    This is what I wrote in my Irish travelogue last summer. Maybe you’ll enjoy it.

    Mention of the Scottish Protestant influence on Ireland means it’s time for a small diversion to politics and history. That fornication of faith, politics, and conquest produced a lot of bastards in every sense of the word, resulting eventually in the Easter Rebellion, the Irish Civil War, the partition of Ireland, the loss of influence (read: dominion and control) of the Catholic Church over the life and culture of Ireland, and the ongoing Troubles. The latter were eventually somewhat laid to rest about 20 years ago by a peace accord, at least officially. But they still exist as an undercurrent of contemporary politics, because although the issues were framed as religious– Catholic Ireland versus Protestant Ulster– and are certainly relevant, the real issues, the intractable issues, were actually economic. Of course. The Protestant controlled the power and the money, the Irish Catholics did not. The Catholic/Protestant veneer energized the ruthlessness of the divide– nothing like God to justify what cannot be justified by any other means– but the divide itself was about power and money.

    The whole mess is an ancient one– literally. Sometimes it was internecine. The struggle between Celtic Prydain, the ancient Welsh name of what is now Britain, and the Celtic Gael, the ancient name of the Irish, over who controls Ireland goes back literally thousand of years, and is detailed in the mythology and history of both countries. The Mabinogion, the Welsh national epic, tells the story of an invasion of Ireland by Bran the Blessed, a god/man of the usual sort, whose severed head maintained a banquet for his followers that lasted for years. (Am I being mythologically obscure yet again? I can’t help it. I actually read all of this stuff, several times over). If it wasn’t the Celts fighting each other, the Irish were fighting the Sassenach, whom we know today as the Saxons, invading from England, which they had already invaded along with the Angles (England=Angle-land) and the Jutes, from Germany. That’s why English isn’t really English at all, but German. And French, Greek, and Latin.

    The religious wars of the Reformation found Catholic Spain, among others, using the Irish as their proxies (read: tools, dupes, or patsies) in their hopes of distracting the British. Again, the veneer was all about holiness, but the reality was about what it’s always about: power and money. Empire, for short, because it sounds so much more grand and less venal when it’s dressed to the nines in its Sunday-go-to-meetin’ drag.

    Two post-Armada invasions found a landing point in Kinsale, which I visited. And let us not forget– the Irish certainly won’t– the Battle of the Boyne, in which Catholic James II lost his struggle with Protestant William of Orange, leading to the Protestant Ascendancy (yes, it is capitalized) in Ireland over the Irish Catholics, and a handy vacant throne in England. William, a mere prince, was only too happy to solve that problem for his own benefit, and incidentally, for the English AND the Scottish. James fled to Catholic France, and the whole sorry mess continued on for another 100 years or so, leading to the forced Act of Union in 1797, which in turn led to the Easter Rebellion and the Irish Civil War, in turn leading to the partition of Ireland and the joy of Bloody Sunday and the IRA bombings.

    Isn’t history fun? It’s almost as if the sins of the fathers continue on for seven generations. Or eternity. Whichever happens later.

    It even affects politics today, in some odd ways. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that does not have marriage equality, primarily because of opposition from the Protestant Democratic Unionist Party. They wish to keep Ireland partitioned, and gay people second class citizens. (Marry in England, cross the Irish Sea, and suddenly, you’re in a civil union). A power-sharing agreement between them and the Irish Catholic Sinn Fein, which supports marriage equality, has kept relative peace in Ulster for nearly 20 years. Sinn Fein wants political union with Ireland, though they have renounced violence as a means to that end.

    The Conservatives in England supported marriage equality there. Because of the Brexit mess which they created, in the recent election they did not gain the hoped-for-but-unlikely outright majority necessary to form a government, and have had to make a coalition with the DUP. I don’t really understand all of the ins and outs of the matter, but the stability of the government of Northern Ireland is now in question, and marriage equality is a part of it. The people support it. Sinn Fein supports it. The DUP does not, and has prevented the matter from coming to a vote by some Congressional, errr, umm, Parliamentary chicanery. I have been told that if the power sharing agreement collapses, The Troubles might return, though no one will win if that happens.

    Just imagine! If The Troubles once again dominate life in Ulster, then the right wing can blame gay people and our completely unreasonable demands to end legalized discrimination for it, just as their fellow travelers blame us for the fall of Rome, the decline of the family, the decreasing influence of religion, and quite possibly, The Donald’s hemorrhoids! Yowza! Who knew we had such power?!?!?!

    • Dazzer

      A lot of good writing there. Thanks for that!

      • Ben in Oakland

        Thanks for the compliment.

    • JackFknTwist

      I’m genuinely and seriously impressed !

      I can find nothing to disagree with….and that’s unusual for me !

      And you actually visited Ireland !

      PS : Northern Ireland is part of the UK, not part of Britain, which is its own island !
      hahaha.

      • Ben in Oakland

        Thank you. When I travel, which is fairly often, I write these rather lengthy travelogues, wherein I explore the sights, language, music, culture, history, food, and politics. Most of my friends don’t actually read them, though they humor me and tell me they do.

        You’re quite correct. NI is part of the UK, not part of great Britain. I knew that, but somehow, I missed it. I have corrected it. Thanks.

        • JackFknTwist

          I don’t blame you !

          There is a minefield of geopolitical and geographic nomenclature which is lethal for anyone trying to tease-out the complexities of the Irish/British issue.
          Not to mention the historical complexities !

          i love your approach to travel.

          My approach to travel is to always get lost, to take a turn off the road; usually I find quiet silent villages, say in France, or, once, some taped off mined field in Bosnia……..but the excitement of turning off the main road and getting lost in the back roads of the vineyards of the Dordogne or Lot with their cows ,bells around their necks, clanging in the silence just feels what heaven must be !

          But I digress…and I get too lyrical.

          • Ben in Oakland

            Thanks for the kind words. What I write, I write for me. As I get older, I can see where all of the byways I have traveled often come together, so my travelogues literally are all over the map, sometimes. My Norwegian travelogue began with rhapsodizing over the beauties of the men of Andalusia, because there was one sitting next to me, wandered over to the poetry of Houseman, and finally arrived on the plane in Norway. I like writing them. I wish more of my friends liked reading them.

          • JackFknTwist

            From memory :
            “Smart lad to slip betimes away,
            From fields where honor does not stay,
            For early though the laurel grows,
            It withers faster than the rose.”

            Hahaha,……i remember these words from a very long time ago.
            My travels have included summers penniless on Naxos and Samos, drinking Retsina in small village squares with back backers or watching gangs of pilgrims arriving in the square outside the cathedral in Santiago de Compostlla……and getting a very cheap room above a bar on a side street in Santiago de Copostella because the landlord declared himself a fellow Celt and lectured me agreeably on the affinity of the Celts of Galicia and Ireland.

            Travel for me, which started with a solo run through Franco’s Spain in 1994, ( with a copy of Hugh Thomas’ Book on The Spanish Civil War in my pocket !)has not only broadened my knowledge, it has been a vast window on what it means to live on this very planet……it all has such incredible diversity……..
            I will continue to find new places every single year….

          • Ben in Oakland

            “landlord declared himself a fellow Celt and lectured me agreeably on the affinity of the Celts of Galicia and Ireland.”

            When I went their three years ago, I wrote about listening to the bagpipes play from somewhere near the cathedral. I do love my travelogues.

            “So, I’m sitting here in the Praza da PescaderĂ­a Vella (Plaza of the Old Fish Shop) in the middle of the old town of the very old Santiago de Compostela, enjoying a very good, cold beer– Estrella Galicia, Star of Galicia. Galicia, as in Gaul, as in Gaelic, is the only part of Spain I’ve not been to before. In the distance, someone is playing the bagpipes, probably for a few coins from the people who find bagpipe playing a novelty and not a nnoying. The bagpipes show that The Gael is not confined to the Olde Sod of green Ireland, or the spare, dreary heaths of Scotland. Rather, the pipes mark a culture that was old when the Romans planted warfare and reaped an empire, from Portugal, up to England and Ireland, across Europe, to the Danube and Galatia, in what we now call Turkey. The Gaelic peoples, that we also call the Celts, were in all of these places.

            I’m enjoying as well the pleasure of a warm Spanish night, surrounded by Spaniards doing what they do best– which is being with their friends and doing exactly what I am doing, eating and drinking late into the night. I am also in sight of the other thing the Spanish do best– two or three men of heart-stopping handsomeness. The jet black hair, the pale-to-olive complexion, the smoldering, dark green eyes: it’s only here, in Spain, that you find this particular combination, which I believe to be the genetic crossroads of the Moors and the Celts. There are not so many of them here in Galicia. Go to Madrid, and they are more common.

            The only time I’ve ever regretted whatever of my youth I might have misspent was when I’ve been in Spain, especially Andalusia, al-Andalus, where the Moors were, and where such men are common. I’m not claiming I wouldn’t have misspent it in Spain, either– only that I would have had better reasons for it.…

          • JackFknTwist

            You were beside where I stayed long ago. I have been back a few times.

            The Scottish bagpipes do my head in ! They are a stripped down version of the “Uilleann Pipes”…the elbow pipes, an Irish instrument of beautiful sound and massive complexity, ( worth Googling seen here : https://youtu.be/dq3m_R3Lnu4 )The bellows from the elbow.

            I have been studying the latest research on the Celts in the volumes, “Celtic from the West” by Professor Cunlffe….three volumes about where the Celts ( a conjured appelation) come from and the affinities of the Celtic languages Tartassian, Galician/Gallago/Brittany. Cornwall/Welch/Gaelic Ireland and Gallic in Scotland, which I understand, because I can speak the Gaelic language of Ireland !
            It is fascinating stuff. They are probably better called The Atlantians.

            Writing like this , I feel the need to go back.

            But I have to agree with you about the deep handsomeness of the Spanish combinations…..the people of Asturias and Galicia, my favourite places and the southern Moors……….

          • Ben in Oakland

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/81b861e7c51d2efdfb1f784e0d8fd6fb70aa94fbd4f29cb6d53998f28332a158.jpg Funny, I wrote about the Uileann pipes as well in my Irish travelogue, a-good portion of which was devoted to Irish traditional music and how it changed the further west I went from Dublin. I was explaining it all to my devoted readers, not that they rad it, understood it, or cared. Being a professionalPhotographer is my old life, I always included pictures.

            It sounds like we share a lot of affinities. If you are ever in the Bay Area, let,s connect.

          • JackFknTwist

            Hahaha, ….later.

          • JackFknTwist

            Sounds like you have had quite the adventurous times in yory travels,….and informative ones too !

          • Ben in Oakland

            I’ve almost always had a good time, and the writing of my travelogues tends to integrate my life experiences. As I said, the start of my Norwegian travelogue was all about Spanish men and English poetry, before I veered off into Celtic, Greek, and Norse mythology!

          • JackFknTwist

            Your “veering off” reminds me of one of my favourite phrases :
            “I digress !”

          • Ben in Oakland

            I’ve used it a few times myself.

          • Ben in Oakland

            If young hearts were not so clever,
            Oh! They would be young forever!

    • ChrisMorley

      A minor correction only, to your otherwise very impressive account for someone not treading these Islands.

      There is no government now in Northern Ireland, and there hasn’t been one for over a year, since the NI Power-Sharing Executive collapsed, when Sinn Fein walked out because their partner, the DUP, refused to set up an independent Inquiry into the notorious ‘Cash for Ash’ green energy scam set up by the now leader of the DUP.
      Because there is no governing Power-Sharing Executive, the NI Assembly cannot meet, either.

      At the moment we have a messy arrangement where the UK Northern Ireland Secretary attempts to steer things from Westminster including setting an interim budget, Northern Irish civil servants try to keep the administration on the road, and everyone avoids talking about the return of Direct Rule.
      The Troubles are kept at bay as long as the Westminster government can manage to keep the internal Irish border seamless after Brexit.
      If you go to Belfast, catholic/protestant chunks of the city are still divided by intimidating Peace Walls to prevent intercommunal conflict. Tensions are much reduced. The annual Unionist tribal marching down catholic streets is held at bay.

      • Ben in Oakland

        Thanks for the explanation. It’s why I said that I don’t really understand all of the ins-and-outs of what’s going on. I do understand it now, thanks to you, but in the more general sense, I really don’t get it. All that the current arrangement seems to be saying ultimately is that government doesn’t matter.
        Thanks again.

  • GanymedeRenard

    C’mon, NI, you got this! Don’t embarrass the rest of the UK.

    • JackFknTwist

      They have embarrassed the UK, Ireland, themselves by supporting Brexit against the majority of the electorate in NI .
      And by homophobia and anti=abortion evangelism.

      • GanymedeRenard

        *Sigh* I should have added “anymore”.

        • JackFknTwist

          This is kinda turgid stuff to any non-Irish or Brit !
          Hahaha

  • ChrisMorley

    The Ulster Unionists proposing this multi-question referendum are only the 4th largest party in Northern Ireland, behind the Democatic Unionists, the nationalist (culturally catholic but socially liberal) Sinn Fein, and the middlegroundish Social Democratic party.

    Referendums are unlikely to appeal to their unionist rivals the DUP, nor to Sinn FĂ©in.

    In reality the UK and Irish governments need to break the political deadlock, but both governments are preoccupied with Brexit, which requires an open border solution in Ireland.
    Sorting out the restoration of the legally required Power-Sharing Executive for Northern Ireland is not their main priority, and this is made super-complex because PM Theresa May requires the DUP’s 10 votes (which she has bought for £1Billion) to achieve Brexit.

    • JackFknTwist

      Well said !
      I think that one of the only ways forward on all these complex cross-thread issues is to have a new General Election in the UK.

      Brexit and other issues, Boris and his Merry Men, would be sorted.

      Would you agree ?

      • ChrisMorley

        We had a general election only in June last year, which helps explain why we are in this mess. Theresa May threw away her workable majority in a risky gamble to trounce Labour and the public said fuck off.
        It is now difficult to engineer a general election (there’s a law saying they should be 5 years apart) and I think the Tories could expect to lose even more seats and quelle horreur let Jeremy Corbyn’s leftish Labour take over.

        Practically there is too much law-making time required to deal with Brexit within the short rigid EU timetable to make an election possible. If we had one, it would lead to us crashing out of the EU on no terms at all, which would be an absolute disaster.
        Labour isn’t opposing Brexit outright as you might expect.
        Sadly I think we are stuck with this mess.

        Boris Johnson has just had another of his mad bonkers extravagant infrastructure ideas – a 22 mile cross English-channel bridge.
        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/19/boris-johnson-channel-bridge-churchill-brexit

        • JackFknTwist

          I agree with all you have written.
          But the Parliament Act about 5 years terms is a disaster…..but it is keeping the Tories from facing a certain guillotine in the Election.

          But sooner or later the Little Etonians, Boris, Gove, John Redwood, Davis and that arrogant b astard, Ian Duncan Smith, et al are going to face a raging electorate.

          I really hope they don’t destroy the UK, Ireland’s closest friend, in the process.

          I would have thought the last thing the UK wanted was a bridge across the channel……..as you say Boris is bonkers……but thats part of his Bullingdon Club/Eton song/dance routine

          • Dazzer

            Boris has a thing about fucking bridges. Look up the Garden Bridge some time.

            The blond fuckwit wasted millions on that when he was mayor of London.

          • ChrisMorley

            He’s wasted almost £1Billion on his various fuckwit schemes. His twice-the-cost replacement of the classic Routemaster bus with a back door that’s kept locked because restoring bus conductors is unaffordable, a cable skyline route over the Thames from Greenwich no one uses, the weird twirly pointless steel tower at the Olympic site, …..

          • William

            I rode the skyline over the Thames. It was a windy day and not so enjoyable.

          • JackFknTwist

            He’s just another dumb a ss little kid.
            remind you of anyone ?

  • Publius

    So we’re just voting on rights now. This is the new standard that takes the place of political willpower.

    • JackFknTwist

      Yep, when the Unionists don’t want to pass laws of equality with the rest of the UK and Ireland, that’s the only resort that people have…..a vote of the people to force equality.

      • Publius

        It’s just fucking bullshit. Why serve as a legislator if you don’t have the political will to make decisions?

        Preaching to the choir, I know. It’s just so frustrating.

        • JackFknTwist

          It amuses me to watch Jeffrey Donaldson, Unionist, strut with his little evangelist fish badge on the lapel of his jacket.

          These people long for the days of the British Empire when Britannia ruled the waves.
          Sadly, their evangelism and extreme right wing nut ism is depriving gays and women of their rights.
          There must be a reckoning; their time is up.

  • JackFknTwist

    A note :
    look at that picture above. Such a grandiose building for such a pretentious little six counties.

    They wanted ” a Protestant Parliament for a Protestant people”

    What they got was a bigoted little enclave dependent on handouts and welfare from their London puppet masters.

    It’s time for the pretensions of that little self gerrymandered few acres to be brought to account for the havoc and fraud they have created.

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    Oh this could be fun and not in a good way. If it’s one thing Northern Ireland is it’s disingenuous and I’m being very kind with that description. Sigh…

    • JackFknTwist

      The Unionists have yet to realize that they would have more power and influence in a United Ireland.

      But they are as dumb as a bag of rocks.

  • Kieran Hickey

    It’s interesting that in 85% of Ireland (the Republic of Ireland) they currently have marriage equality for gays because the Irish voters(overwhelmingly Catholic) approved it in referendum. It is only in the UK controlled 6 counties of Northern Ireland that gays still cannot legally marry. And the reason for that is the pro-British Protestant parties are opposed to it.

    • JackFknTwist

      Yep, you got it.

      • You gotta realise that the Orangemen are literally the cultural antecedents of the Ku Klux Klan.

        • JackFknTwist

          Correct.

  • Great. All the Republicans will vote Yes and all the Orangemen will vote NO as usual.

    • JackFknTwist

      Hmmmm……on issues like gay rights , not necessarily.
      On an Irish language Act, probably,

      Remember they did not vote on sectarian lines when they voted to remain in the EU.

      • Yes but the government at Stormont voted straight down the line the last two times gay rights came up. Sinn Fein’s manifesto is expressly pro-gay-marriage and has been for over a decade.

        • Dazzer

          The first time, the anti-Equal Marriage nutters won a tiny majority. The second time, the pro-Equal Marriage supporters won a somewhat bigger majority.

          The DUP then ignored Stormont’s wishes by issuing something called a Petition of Concern.

  • UK Canuck

    Generally, I loathe the thought of putting human rights into the gift of the general public on principle. A goodly percentage want to bring back hanging and life-means-life (without parole) prison tariffs. It often takes lawmakers who see a bigger, international picture to introduce and apply human rights that would be withheld by a populace which tends to think on a more parochial basis. Tribal, even.

    Unlike the US, where many would have liked to see one-man-one-woman marriage codified in the constitution, in the Republic of Ireland, it actually was. Ireland’s parliament would have legalised marriage for same-sex couples but for the fact that their constitution requires a full plebiscite for constitutional change.

    The Irish marriage equality referendum may well have gone the other way, had they not allowed ex-patriot Irish citizens (including those born abroad) with no Irish address to vote. The majority of those living abroad who returned to Ireland to vote were young adults. Without them, the result would have been much closer. That won’t be an option for a referendum in the Northern Provinces. It’s a similar situation to the Scottish independence referendum of a few years ago. As they’re British citizens, Northern Irish who live elsewhere in the UK or abroad won’t have any way to prove a right to vote if they don’t actually live there. That could leave the projected result very much in the air.

    • JackFknTwist

      Expatriots were not allowed to vote in the Marriage Equality referendum.
      But it is true that 50,000 Irish young people actually returned frm abroad to vote.
      I saw it.

      I saw lines of young people checking that they were registered on the Voting Register in the weeks before the Referendum

      I was first in line to vote at 7.00 am…..and catch a flight to the USA at 11.00 am.

      • UK Canuck

        I iz confuzzled. Those 50,000 who returned from abroad were technically domiciled in Ireland the whole time? I surely misunderstood that and apologise for abusing the trust of our dear fellow-readers by disseminatin’ falsehoods ‘n rumours.

        https://youtu.be/trlu4Yai1M8

        • JackFknTwist

          Yes, legally domiciled and retain their residence registration on the Voters’ Register in Ireland. Most returned from the UK. It lifted my heart to see it after what I grew up through.

          there’s nothing illegal about that.
          But the big point is , as you say, that 50,000 young people returned to vote.
          I would say that 100 % voted for equality and wanted to smash the conservative orthodoxy.I attended many meetings on the Referendum and I can tell you that young people were triggered on the issue.
          they were not going to have their gay friends, brothers, sisters disrespected by the conservative old bunch.
          My own mephew, proud of his gay uncle, organized one medical college !

        • JackFknTwist

          Second Reply : (first one missing ?)
          Those who returned were all on the Voters’ Register.
          They were legally domiciled in Ireland……but that doesn’t matter once they had their names and addresses registered in Ireland.

          They were of course able to check that on-line, and if not registered, they could late register in person, hence the lines of young people.

          You are right about the 50, 000, in fact it was more than that, I haven’t the exact number…..I saw one report of 85, 000.

          But for me , I almost cried.
          Growing up in a time when I was despised, to a time where my very proud gay/straight nephew was out organizing his medical college on the issue, was overwhelming.

          The crowds of supporters were overwhelming.
          I attended one meeting of about 100 law students.
          A straw poll at the end showed only one person voting against the Marriage Equality issue.
          The young generation were solidly in support……no evangelicals were allowed to live !