Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Unionism is nationalism NOT Nationalism

This may come as a big shock to everyone, but I am, in fact, a nationalist.

There are two forms of nationalism in Northern Ireland, Republicanism and Loyalism. Both are different forms of nationalism; while Republicanism is nationalistic towards Ireland, Loyalism is nationalistic towards the United Kingdom.

These two phrases 'Nationalist' and 'Unionist' in my opinion are very out-dated. They no longer mean what they used to and it could be argued that they are used the wrong way round. A Nationalist is actually a Unionist and Unionist is actually a Nationalist. This brings me back to me first stating that I was a nationalist. In today's society 'Nationalists' are fighting for a union once again between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland while 'Unionists' are fighting to stay part of the nation which is United Kingdom. Yes during the early part of the twentieth century these terms where used to a different effect and worked back then, but now I feel as if they are no longer terms which are useful in the twenty first century. People fail to see the difference in Nationalism and nationalism and this is where the confusion lies.

Of course what I just wrote could be debated in a completely different arguing that 'Unionists' are fighting for the continuing union of the United Kingdom, however I feel it is interesting to think that both phrases actually work for both parties.

Benedict Anderson argues that 'the nation' is this 'imagined community'. I feel that I have to disagree with him as if a nation is imagined, then it does not exist and then therefore there is nothing to be proud of. I am British. If my nationality is towards this 'imagined community' then where does that leave me? Can I be part of more than one community? Can I imagine my own community?

I suppose though this is true in Sinn Fein's form of Nationalism. They believe in an imagined 'United Ireland' This imagined community is more of a geographical rather than political doctrine as it not official due to Northern Ireland officially being a part of the United Kingdom. It is also imagined in the sense that we do not know all of those in our community and will never meet them. No matter this community does exist whether imagined or not. This community is due to an official Nation pre 1921.

It is hard to not be biased in this blog but I know I am being it. Personally I dislike the fact that the people of Northern Ireland can have dual-nationality and have both a British and Irish passport. People constantly try to claim that I have this opinion because I am a 'Unionist' however this is not the case. In my mind you cannot have two nationalities. If nationalists believe that the nation is the central principle of political organisation, then you cannot have two nationalities. It would be impossible to carry out the laws of both political establishments and there would always have to be one, which in your mind, carried more political sovereignty. The problem with having an Irish Passport and a British Passport is that you can now be conscripted by either army, but what happens if the two countries went to war, which side would you pick? I just feel that too many complications arise from having dual-nationality.

An opinion that I have, even if it is rather harsh, is if you don't like it then pack up and move. If people in Northern Ireland want to be part of Ireland why don't they just move there? To me it makes more sense than having this tension between the two communities. It all comes down to the fact that, Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom whether they like it or not. But do not get me wrong, if a referendum was held and the people voted for a United Ireland, there is nothing I could do about it as the majority of the people would have voted for it. But today, a majority of the people do not want it.

If a United Ireland happened, I would have two options. Take pride in my new Irish Nationality, or pack up and move to the United Kingdom. To be perfectly honest right now I am not sure what I would do. I am not a 'Unionist' because of my family, or my religion, but because of my great pride of being part of the United Kingdom but mainly because that is what is FACT. But if this fact changed and I now did live in Ireland, I may just embrace my Irish-ness and become Irish. However I am possibly swayed more towards moving to the United Kingdom, simply because it means I would be able to vote for Jedward in 2012 Eurovision as it is possible they will be representing them again.

No comments:

Post a Comment