Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Gratuitously controversial nonsense with a nasty ethno-nationalist flavour

“Radical unionist” Dr John Coulter is certainly an unusual creature. Indeed to ascribe to him his own label, his “revolutionary unionism” consists mainly of advocating a united Ireland. As you can imagine his take on unionism tends to go down best with nationalists, if they are prepared to overlook the rather unpleasant supremacist stuff which provides the seasoning for Coulter’s singular dish of commentary.

Thus Coulter is a regular in the Blanket and his latest musings take as a jumping off point, the death of IRA hunger striker Brendan Hughes. One of the aspects of Coulter’s take on unionism, with which nationalists will find themselves most comfortable, is the manner in which he uses this term, not primarily as a label of political belief, but rather as ethnic or communal shorthand.

And it is through this prism of ethnic or communal group interests that Coulter’s arguments are filtered. The reason he advocates a united Ireland is because that polity might “permanently unite Unionism, Loyalism, Protestantism and Orangeism”. When he argues that unionists should foster an all-Ireland identity, he is not espousing the type of flexible, multi-faceted understanding of identity discussed on this blog and others. Rather he wishes to see unionists coalesce in a religiously defined monolithic identity and fight their corner under the auspices of this identity in a smaller pond (i.e. united Ireland rather than United Kingdom).

“As a Revolutionary Unionist, I want to see Unionism represented by a single party - the Unionist Party; by a single faith - the Salvationist position as underlined by the New Testament text of St John Chapt 3, verse 16.”

To leave aside the patently absurd notion of a single unionist party coalescing around the notion of a united Ireland, what a depressing and regressive aspiration to want to return to a unionism prescribed by a religious core!

There is an element of the irritant to Coulter. He self-consciously throws out his absurd notions partially I think to see what reaction they get. But in many ways he gives radicalism and singularity in political commentary a bad name. Give me someone like Alex Kane whose analysis is sober and sensible as opposed to this garbage!

1 comment:

O'Neill said...

His best stuff was probably two or three years ago, he's now a "revolutionary" from a unionist background as opposed to a "unionist revolutionary".

His dream of a monocultural, monoetheistic (spelling?) United Ulster Prod bloc emerging in a United Ireland verges on the sectarian and will appeal to no one. the uber-prods would rather jump off Belfast Harbour a la the Zealots rather than have anything to do with a "Romanist" UI, the garden-centre brigade will recoil in horror at having anything to do with the working-class loyalists and genuine British unionists have moved on from this kind of mid 1970s view of their identity.