Coulter's (tongue in cheek?) identification of
Paisley with Wolfe Tone raises a number of
interesting questions. Opposition to 'Plan B'
has indeed some parallels with Tone's rallying
of the Northern Presbyterians against bad government
from England imposed via a corrupt Protestant
Ascendancy land-owning government in Dublin. There
is now in Dublin a government which is in the
pocket of a (mostly by now Catholic) land-owning
ascendancy, thanks to the (quite unnecessary)
toleration of private ownership of added-value
of land due to rezoning. This of course is the
main source of political corruption, as currently
being exposed by the Tribunals. Plan B would have
been bad government by a corrupt London-Dublin
cabal. Would this not be simply a repeat of the
18th century scene?
have an interesting Paisley McGuinness combination,
pledged to deliver some sort of improved government,
with a modest all-Ireland dimension, and freedom
to work politically for an all-Ireland Republic,
for those who claim to be in the Tone tradition.
Yet most of the latter seem still to be stuck
in a Catholic-nationalist mind-set, seeing the
future in terms of out-breeding, and Protestant
emigration. It seldom seems to occur to them that
constructive all-Ireland economic development
is an environment in which Protestants could thrive,
as suggested by my father Joe Johnston in his
1913 book 'Civil War in Ulster', in which he attacked
the processes that led to the Larn gun-running
in 1914, and supported all-Ireland Home Rule.
way forward is for democratic Protestants to abandon
Unionism, and develop the Labour and Green movements,
in the context of the wider European Union, rather
than clinging to the narrow anachronistic English
identification of Paisley with Tone may, perhaps,
start some people thinking. Coulter also predicts
the emergence of a Protestant fascist Right, seeking
to re-assert the 'Croppies lie down' principle,
with British hard-line ultra-Tory support, seeking
perhaps to re-enact the 1914 Larne gun-running.
This time it will, we hope, by its rampant lunacy,
alienate the majority of Protestants, and point
them in the direction of all-Ireland democratic
politics. Any genuine Republicans, who actually
understand Wolfe Tone (and what the Wolfe Tone
Societies tried to do in the 1960s for political
republicanism via the Civil Rights process), should
welcome this process.
I urge people interested in exploring these issues
further to consider my book 'Century of Endeavour'
published last April by Tyndall/Lilliput, and
in The Blanket.