Malachi O’Doherty And The Royal “We”

What exactly is the Good Friday Agreement and Parity of Esteem? We were told that nobody won and nobody lost. We are all entitled to our Identity….British, Irish and I understand those terms….and “Northern Irish” (no I dont know what it means either but in the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement, I have to accept some people identify with that concept)

We were told there would be an Irish Language Act. There isnt one. Unionists have scuppered it. Sinn Féin pay lip service to the notion but wont do anything principled like walk away from the duopoly with the DUP.

So the District Council down in Newry…nationalist obviously….would like signage in Irish and English ….seems reasonable enough. But Malachi O’Doherty, LetsgetAlongerist and journalist, writing in the Belfast Telegraph does not think this is good at all.

“Why are we encouraging people to amplify their sense of identity? We should be encouraging them to tone it down, to reconcile and interact rather than to draw boundaries between each other.”

To be honest, I dont get it. Malachi is a serial LetsGetAlongerist. But what is all this “we” business. “We” is obviously a plural so Malachi his referring to himself and at least one other person. Surely Malachi would not presume to speak for “Society”.

Clearly he doesnt speak for me. I am not part of his “we” in the sense of “you and I”.

This really is the problem with LetsGetAlongerists. They feel that the middle ground is the moral high ground. The Good Friday Agreement said that it is not. It is just another position of equal status with unionists and nationalists.

This is the problem with Conflict Resolution. Thankfully the Peace Process and the Good Friday Agreement ended bloodshed here. But it did so on the basis of Nobody Won, Nobody Lost. We are all Winners. Hooray! But this is not good enough for Conflict Resolutionists who need to go to the next level and impose Victory and Defeat on two tribes. Frankly, they have no right to do it because the Good Friday Agreement is unfinished business. Where is the Bill of Rights? What happened to Victims? What happened to the Irish Language Act?

Yet the use of the word “we” intrigues me. The “Royal We” where Mrs Windsor always apeaks in the plural? Is Malachi turning into Margaret Thatcher who announced to her subjects “we are a grandmother”?

Is it LetsGetAlongerist plural?

Is it merely the arrogance of the newspaper columnist?

Or is it The Lone Ranger use of the word “we”… in “Sioux to the North of us , Apache to the South of us Pawnee to the West of us and Cheyenne to the East of us…..Tonto we are in trouble”. As Tonto said “what do you mean WE are in trouble?”


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5 Responses to Malachi O’Doherty And The Royal “We”

  1. frank7778 says:

    Alex Kane (i think) once remarked that you rarely get “liberal nationalists” in the way you can get “liberal unionists”. The comment stuck in my mind. Do you think he is right?

    • I think you get fewer “letsgetalongerist” nationalists./republicans.
      I think theres an element in unionism….liberal….that says the best way to preserve the union is to ditch sectarianism and embrace a kinda multi cultural type of Britishness.
      After all a lot of British people…Guardian readers …are not necessarily monarchist and would be appalled at the DUP, Most UUP, Orange Order.
      DUP/UUP are closer to UKIP and right wing conservatism than most British people.

      Republicanism and Nationalism are in a sense philosophies that are more modern than monarchy, a key component in unionism in North of Ireland.
      By definition republicanism is “liberal”. We can generally equate liberalism with the Left and SF and SDLP are basically left leaning.
      As a general rule, most SDLP and all SF would have no great problem with same sex marriage, anti-war(SDLP consistently voting against war in British Commons) and of course both are pro-Palestine.
      I think what Alex Kane is getting at is that there is a recognisable group of unionists who want to reach out to nationalists and that this is not reciprocated.
      But I think republicanism is in itself “inclusive” but re-writing History (eg shared history in north) goes too far.
      It is not compromise. Its just sharing 50-50. We cant allow a mathematical solution to a historical or political problem.

  2. benmadigan says:

    Am beginning to see why everyone is stuggling with who “we” refers to,
    Malachi seems to use the same pronouns to refer to at least two different sets of people in a couple of consecutive sentences,
    A big No-No in any decent English composition

    “Why are we encouraging people to amplify their sense of identity?”
    who’s doing that?
    Who’s getting people’s knickers in a twist over the name of a playground and who a local bakery has the right to serve? Flegs up and down? Marching home? Currying yoghurt?

    “We should be encouraging them to tone it down, to reconcile and interact rather than to draw boundaries between each other.”

    Who should be doing that?
    ” local great and good”, you say

    Since “should” implies something that has not yet been done, who’s not doing that?
    Could they possibly be the previous “we” ?

    Furthermore, a bit of a mix-up with “people” and “them” ( who does “them” refer to ?) adds to the confusion

    creative ambiguity on a rolll!!!

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