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Old 4th September 2019, 09:57 AM   #1
Trebuchet
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Can someone explain "the backstop" to an American?

Making a new thread because I can't keep up with the general Bexit one, and I'm just looking for a simple explanation, not the merits. I did try to Google but am apparently to thick to understand the explanations. Something to do with the Ireland to NI border remaining open?
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Old 4th September 2019, 10:03 AM   #2
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Apparently it’s some way of having an open border between the UK and the RoI but a hard border between the UK and the EU, of which the RoI is a part. What could be simpler?
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Old 4th September 2019, 11:15 AM   #3
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Canadian explain Brexit stuff to an American so take it with a grain of salt

Post Brexit there will need to be checkpoints going between the EU and UK because the UK decided not to remain in either the EU common customs area or common market. This means you need to have checkpoints to apply customs, inspect goods, etc on goods shipped between the two. This is mostly at ports where there are already facilities there for handling this on goods shipped from outside the EU. There would also a land border with between the EU and UK between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Unless the UK remains in the common trade and customs area, after Brexit the land border between Ireland and NI would need to look something like the Canada US border. This type of border would violate the Good Friday Agreement that ended the persistent violence in Northern Ireland until the early 1990’s so both the UK and EU have said they won’t sign any agreement that closes the border in this way.

Brexit supporters have claimed they can implement “an electronic border” that would accomplish the same thing, but no one know how or even if that would work so the EU rejected the proposal. An alternative proposal, sometimes called “a North Sea border”, was to leave the border as is and do the customs and inspections when goods go though ports when shipped back and forth between NI and the rest of the UK. This would effectively leave NI in the EU as far as trade and customs go.

A third possibility would have been to have the border between Ireland and the rest of the EU, effectively taking it out of the EU and putting it in the UK for the purposes of customs and trade agreements. Ireland was not interested in this for obvious reasons.

The Backstop Agreement, was to leave the UK in the EU customs and trade area until a trade agreement could be worked out, and to use the North Sea border proposal until the details of the electronic border could be worked out.

Brexit supporters have repeatedly rejected this because the UK could not sign other trade agreements as long as it fell under EU rules (otherwise countries could bypass EU rules by signing an agreement with the UK and shipping everything that way). They also complained that NI would effectively remain in the EU indefinitely if the Electronic border didn’t work. They seem to be saying the North Sea border should have a time limit after which it defaults to simply being an open border where customs and trade rules could be bypassed, which doesn’t make much sense.
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Old 4th September 2019, 11:26 AM   #4
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Here's my understanding:

Right now there is free trade between the UK and other members of the EU, including Ireland. So the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland allows pretty free movement and trade, and of course free trade and travel between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.


After a hard Brexit, there would no longer be free trade between the UK and the EU. It would become a hard border. No more free trade or uncontrolled travel between Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

This makes people in both places unhappy, especially the Republican-leaning people in Northern Ireland. In Northern Ireland, this is seen by some as contrary to at least the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement. It is seen as increasing the separation between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, pushing Northern Ireland more into the UK side of things.



So a backstop would be a mechanism of ensuring relatively free trade and travel between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, but without that freedom extending to trade and travel between Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and the Republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland would be a sort of in-between place.

This also makes many people in Northern Ireland unhappy - but not the same ones unhappy with a hard border. The backstop would make the Unionists in Northern Ireland unhappy, as it would appear to tilt Northern Ireland towards the Irish Republic by allowing free trade and travel with Ireland but possibly placing regulation on travel between Northern Ireland and Great Britain as a means of regulating travel and trade between Irish Republic and the UK.


Maybe - the hard part is that they've never quite seemed to have worked out just what the backstop might actually be, or how it would work. So there are a number of different ideas to support or reject, depending on just which version of a backstop is being discussed.



ETA: Also, I got spanked by lomiller but his answer is probably more accurate than mine anyway.

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Old 4th September 2019, 11:29 AM   #5
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delete - duplicate post
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Old 4th September 2019, 01:01 PM   #6
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It should also be noted that before the vote no one on the side of Brexit seemed to think that taking control of borders would somehow apply to actual land borders and require actual border controls.
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Old 4th September 2019, 01:06 PM   #7
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With regards to the GFA, there appears to be a significant part of the Republican community that is still looking to reignite the Troubles under any circumstances and this is giving them an excuse. The murder of Lyra McKee was just the most public aspect of it:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-10866072

I tried googling 'Loyalist' attacks but my Google-fu failed. I'm pretty sure that there will be plenty there too.

That doesn't include the background 'noise' of punishment attacks in both communities. The problems are still there waiting for an excuse to explode even if that is deeply unpopular to the majority of both communities.
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Old 4th September 2019, 01:10 PM   #8
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So, the bottom line is that Brexit is even more screwed up than I thought?
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Old 4th September 2019, 01:17 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
So, the bottom line is that Brexit is even more screwed up than I thought?
Well did you think that the Irish border would be a problem or not? If you thought that it would be then you are far ahead of the people like Boris Johnson in understanding the process.
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Old 4th September 2019, 01:27 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Making a new thread because I can't keep up with the general Bexit one, and I'm just looking for a simple explanation, not the merits. I did try to Google but am apparently to thick to understand the explanations. Something to do with the Ireland to NI border remaining open?
A simple explanation of anything involving the UK and Ireland is almost impossible.
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Old 4th September 2019, 01:28 PM   #11
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It was a fallback position to keep the borders open and honour the GFA, just in case there were no agreements between the UK and EU after having a deal and going through the transition period that directly addressed it.

No deal? I don't know what happens then, but it might revert back to the troubles.

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Old 4th September 2019, 01:37 PM   #12
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The DUP (and everybody else to be fair) want a soft border between North and South. But they are upset about the idea of an construct that may leave them tied to the EU (by having the hard border betwen them and the rest of the UK. They would prefer some sort of 'high tech soft border' or a border between the ROI and rest of the EU. Obviously the ROI government and the Nationalists don't like that idea because it adds substantially higher costs for them. It's a hell of a problem!
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Old 4th September 2019, 01:43 PM   #13
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I'm sure most people know .... the Republic of Ireland–United Kingdom border, was fully active with armed guards well into the early 1990's ... It's still well marked today it's about 500 miles long.

Putting the border back up only requires re-installing the gates and arms and manning the booths ... there under 300 border crossing points now.

They were talking about remanning all the booths and crossing points, and some prep work was done just in 2007 ... but they decided to keep the new status quo
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Old 4th September 2019, 03:42 PM   #14
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lets put this in a bit of perspectective. Absolutely NO-ONE, even Farage, wants a hard border in Ireland. no one is suggesting if as a realistic idea. The idea of even re-instituting the old border crossings is ridiculously expensive (and given the history of charcters as Spud Murphy damned near uninforcable).

https://www.thejournal.ie/slab-murph...26039-Feb2016/
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Old 4th September 2019, 03:42 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
Canadian explain Brexit stuff to an American so take it with a grain of salt


Brexit supporters . . . . . doesn’t make much sense.
I think you nailed it.
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Old 4th September 2019, 03:58 PM   #16
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I've long thought that if the UK wanted to stab the Irish Republic in the back, they should just turn over Northern Ireland to them.
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Old 4th September 2019, 04:02 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
I've long thought that if the UK wanted to stab the Irish Republic in the back, they should just turn over Northern Ireland to them.
A great many people in the Irish Republic feel that way also.
Don't kid yourself, for all 32 Country Republic Rhetoric, all the singing of rebel songs, and all the shouting of "Four Green Fields!" the Irish of the Republic don't want to be saddled with the mess that is Ulster.
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Old 4th September 2019, 04:29 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
A great many people in the Irish Republic feel that way also.
Don't kid yourself, for all 32 Country Republic Rhetoric, all the singing of rebel songs, and all the shouting of "Four Green Fields!" the Irish of the Republic don't want to be saddled with the mess that is Ulster.
Long-term it is probably the only solution though. Brexit is just highlighting that again. One can hope that with religion declining in importance that perhaps the troubles will subside eventually, although I suspect at this point there is a significant cultural element to it beyond the Protestant/Catholic division.
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Old 4th September 2019, 06:32 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Long-term it is probably the only solution though. Brexit is just highlighting that again. One can hope that with religion declining in importance that perhaps the troubles will subside eventually, although I suspect at this point there is a significant cultural element to it beyond the Protestant/Catholic division.
The alternative is to properly devolve NI so it becomes an independent state, but has commitments from both Ireland and the UK in terms of economic help and support to ensure it doesn't descend into a complete pile of crap. Cut ties with the UK and let them decide their own destiny. What we don't want is all the right wing nut jobs coming over to live in the UK though.
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Old 4th September 2019, 08:08 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
So, the bottom line is that Brexit is even more screwed up than I thought?
It's not only more screwed up than you imagine, it's more screwed up than you can imagine.
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Old 5th September 2019, 12:50 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Making a new thread because I can't keep up with the general Bexit one, and I'm just looking for a simple explanation, not the merits. I did try to Google but am apparently to thick to understand the explanations. Something to do with the Ireland to NI border remaining open?
Exactly that.

When UK came up with Brexit, it set a few red lines it was unwilling to cross, as exemplified here:

UK red lines and the limits to the deal with the EU.

UK wouldn't have ECJ jurdistiction, free movement of trade and an independent trade policy, among others. EU too had a red line, the peace agreement that ended The Troubles in Northern Ireland was not to be threatned. An important aspect of the deal was the dismantlement of border controls between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. Ireland was unwilling to compromise, the border would not change, no matter how the new deal looked.

The negotiators then came up with an idea - the WA ensures a solution in the form of Irish backstop, that leaves the UK within the EU customs union, is sufficient. Once WA is ratified, whatever the new form of the deal is signed, the border remains as it was, open and free. Free travel is part of the GFA so the only thing needed is the checks on goods, but if UK is in the customs union the checks aren't needed.

The problem is this violates a UK red line, if UK is in EU customs union it doesn't have an independent trade policy. The initial proposal was to include just NI in the customs union, but the Democratic Unionist Party (that was necessary for the government to have a majority) threw a fit and rejected that outright, because it would mean NI would function as a part of ROI instead.

That's the short official version anyway. The unofficial version is that the powers that be behind Brexit want a no-deal Brexit because they stand to gain a lot by shorting the pound shortly before the crash and the backstop and the independent trade policy serve as a convenient excuse.

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Old 5th September 2019, 04:37 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Long-term it is probably the only solution though. Brexit is just highlighting that again. One can hope that with religion declining in importance that perhaps the troubles will subside eventually, although I suspect at this point there is a significant cultural element to it beyond the Protestant/Catholic division.
The Protestant/Catholic division is really a façade hiding the cultural elements. It goes back to a rebellion at the end of the 16th century and the "planation" period that followed.
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Old 5th September 2019, 05:58 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Mikemcc View Post
lets put this in a bit of perspectective. Absolutely NO-ONE, even Farage, wants a hard border in Ireland. no one is suggesting if as a realistic idea.
This is not true apparently.

You cannot on one hand say you don't want a hard border and then on the other hand pursue policies that make it a necessity.
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Old 5th September 2019, 06:22 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
The Protestant/Catholic division is really a façade hiding the cultural elements. It goes back to a rebellion at the end of the 16th century and the "planation" period that followed.
Rubbish. Use the way back archive on www.Ianpaisley.org.

The religious elements are still there in force.
ETA to save you some time the first entry on his site from 1998

Quote:
The Institute's purpose is to*expound the Bible,*expose the Papacy, and to*promote, defend and maintain*Bible Protestantism in Europe and further afield.
It will assist all who are engaged in the struggle against the Papacy in both the religious and the secular worlds; provide courses suitable to all ages in the controversy with Rome; and*supply information on all aspects of the Papacy*today.
It hopes to establish correspondents throughout the world so that it can give a global overview of the state of Protestantism. C.H. Spurgeon summed it up well in his article on*Our Constant War With The Papacy.
Click here*to read in Question/Answer format why the Roman Catholic Church is so clearly anti-Christian...*It is another gospel (which is not another)!
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Old 5th September 2019, 06:25 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Mikemcc View Post
lets put this in a bit of perspectective. Absolutely NO-ONE, even Farage, wants a hard border in Ireland. no one is suggesting if as a realistic idea. The idea of even re-instituting the old border crossings is ridiculously expensive (and given the history of charcters as Spud Murphy damned near uninforcable).

https://www.thejournal.ie/slab-murph...26039-Feb2016/
Except of course that is what the vote was about, taking back control of British borders. Really they just want to become a nation of smugglers violating all border controls of the EU. And if the EU prevents that it is all their fault.
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Old 5th September 2019, 06:28 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by McHrozni View Post
UK wouldn't have ECJ jurdistiction, free movement of trade and an independent trade policy, among others.
Exactly the UK demands conditions that require a hard border and simply refuses to accept that it is a direct consequence of its demands.
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Old 5th September 2019, 06:29 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Archie Gemmill Goal View Post
This is not true apparently.

You cannot on one hand say you don't want a hard border and then on the other hand pursue policies that make it a necessity.
Sure you can, you just need to be totally divorced from reality like all Brexiters.
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Old 5th September 2019, 11:16 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
Really they just want to become a nation of smugglers


Well, ****, if that's what they want, tell them to move to Canada. Every single one of us smuggles as much as we possibly can when travelling to the States.

I actually got pissed off when they increased the personal exemptions for imported goods, because now I usually can't afford to buy enough stuff such that I need to smuggle some of it. I suppose I could try smuggling in more beer than allowed, but then I'd have to drink several cases of American beer, which is probably worse than just not smuggling.....
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Old 5th September 2019, 03:46 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Rubbish. Use the way back archive on www.Ianpaisley.org.

The religious elements are still there in force.
ETA to save you some time the first entry on his site from 1998
I'll bet that if you did DNA testing on Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland you could find markers that would allow you to predict the religion of the person tested with an accuracy significantly better than chance.

It's hard to separate the religious and cultural aspects when talking about Northern Ireland. The fact is that James VI of Scotland took a whole bunch of English speaking Protestant loyalists from Scotland, and some from England, and plunked them down into the middle of Ulster, displacing a whole bunch of Irish speaking Catholics, and their descendants have been fighting ever since, or at least up until the 1990s. Now exactly what they're fighting about is hard to say, but the way you pronounce the letter "h" is significant in whose side you are on. I don't think the Pope has weighed in on that matter.

Perhaps the centuries have allowed enough intermarriage that you could no longer detect the ancestry differences, but it's not just a simple matter of people who happened to continue the Catholic faith versus people who happened to have adopted the Church of England or its relatives.

ETA: Also, over the centuries, because the religion has played such a huge role in the culture clash, some people will have "switched sides" on religion for purely philosophical reasons, unrelated to their ancestry, and that, too, may have watered down the DNA differences.

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Old 5th September 2019, 04:05 PM   #30
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That's nice, nowt to do with your previous claim.
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Old 5th September 2019, 08:32 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
That's nice, nowt to do with your previous claim.
Ahhh, great. Another chance to argue about whether or not someone said something. My favorite ISF sport.

I said the same thing in both posts. Maybe one was a little clearer.
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Old 5th September 2019, 11:09 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Rubbish. Use the way back archive on www.Ianpaisley.org.

The religious elements are still there in force.
ETA to save you some time the first entry on his site from 1998
I don't think anybody is denying that the religious aspect is important. The point I hinted at was that even if you set the religion aside--say everybody on the Emerald Isle decided to become secular humanists--there would still be cultural differences that make it difficult for the two groups to become one. See Quebec, Kosovo, etc.
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Old 5th September 2019, 11:13 PM   #33
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Old 5th September 2019, 11:20 PM   #34
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A recent episode of 99% Invisible covered the background and consequences of the Troubles quite well.
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Old 6th September 2019, 02:30 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Ahhh, great. Another chance to argue about whether or not someone said something. My favorite ISF sport.



I said the same thing in both posts. Maybe one was a little clearer.
Both were simply wrong, whether someone is wrong with a short sentence or a wall of text they remain wrong.
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Old 6th September 2019, 05:37 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
I don't think anybody is denying that the religious aspect is important. The point I hinted at was that even if you set the religion aside--say everybody on the Emerald Isle decided to become secular humanists--there would still be cultural differences that make it difficult for the two groups to become one. See Quebec, Kosovo, etc.
I'm interested to know what these cultural differences are that are not linked to religion.
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Old 6th September 2019, 06:56 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
It's hard to separate the religious and cultural aspects when talking about Northern Ireland. The fact is that James VI of Scotland took a whole bunch of English speaking Protestant loyalists from Scotland, and some from England forcibly removed a number of Anglo-Scottish border families who would not stop their long standing feuds and patterns of raiding people on the other side of the Border once he became King of both Scotland and England, and plunked them down into the middle of Ulster not because they were loyal to the Crown, but rather because they were good at fighting were being given the opportunity to either fight the Irish or be killed themselves, displacing a whole bunch of Irish speaking Catholics, and their descendants have been fighting ever since having been trapped in a pattern of violent behaviour that was initially beneficial to the Crown, but later became nearly impossible to break, or at least up until the 1990s. Now exactly what they're fighting about is hard to say, but the way you pronounce the letter "h" is significant in whose side you are on. I don't think the Pope has weighed in on that matter.
Corrected one issue and added some detail.

The families cleared off by Jimmy 6 and 1 included some of my ancestors and was not a case of using loyalists . This was a case of forcibly removing the smaller raiding families from the Borders (the larger clans being too powerful to do this to) on the pretext that they didn't stop their pattern of blood feuds and livestock rustling and transplanted them to Ireland as a military force to control the local Irish. They became the "loyalists" not because they were ostensibly loyal to the Crown, but because they were explicitly given privileges and rights that the local Irish weren't and were also told that their continued ability to exercise those rights (and to get protection from other Crown forces) was dependent on suppressing the locals.

Essentially, in the 500+ years of the Norman England/Scottish border, the families that lived there were "encouraged" by their respective governments to conduct cross border raids to disrupt the other nation. This created a society where family feuds were pretty much the only way you could get justice for wrongs done to you, since Scotland didn't necessarily punish their citizens for actions done in England and vice versa.

While England and Scotland were separate countries this was OK (from a national interest perspective), but when the Crowns merged not so much. The larger clans held large bits of territory and were able to keep a lot of their members in line with the new direction from Jimmy. The smaller clans were less able to control their members, and from a new national perspective, the situation could not be allowed to continue - blood feuds were not an acceptable way to resolve grievances, nor was lifting hundreds of sheep and cattle from your (now) fellow citizens, so the solution was to put the damned Border Reivers to useful work. Some individuals were "encouraged" to practice their considerable military skills as mercenary light cavalry, or with English forces abroad, but when the pattern of behaviour was persistent and spread across a clan or region, then someone at court had the "bright idea" to use these families to solve both the Border and the Irish problems..... So entire clan groups were rounded up and shipped to Ulster.

There these families were settled in "plantations" created by dispossessing the locals, who were quite naturally aggrieved. Being barred from getting redress in the courts, the locals took to violence to express their displeasure. And being culturally prepared to visit violence back with violence, the transplanted Border folk they responded in kind, starting a cycle of violence that wasn't really suppressed until the Famine, and then reignited with the Easter Rising. Part of making sure that you weren't going to be killed meant that you aligned yourself with your tribal grouping - the native Irish with the Roman Catholics and the transplanted Borderers and ruling elites with the Protestant denominations
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Old 6th September 2019, 03:42 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Both were simply wrong, whether someone is wrong with a short sentence or a wall of text they remain wrong.
Your keen insight never ceases to amaze.



For those of you who aren't Darat, if you have always wondered why Northern Ireland has a different religious makeup than the rest of the island, read the Wikipedia article about the plantation of Ulster. In some nations, religious divisions between geographic regions came about because some charismatic religious leader gained strong influence in some region of the country. (Example: Martin Luther and Germany.) In Ireland, it was more a case of conquest. The Irish lost a war. The English/Scottish took some land. They created a Protestant colony of sorts, with continued immigration in later years, and a couple of centuries later there was the partition and "the troubles".

As for what comes next, it's hard to say. The cultural differences between the Irish and the Northern Irish descendants of the Scots and English transplants have largely disappeared. The language died out, for all practical purposes, long ago. The religion is becoming less significant. Global media influence is making accents less pronounced, just as it is doing in the rest of the English speaking world. What's left? I suspect that the younger generation isn't as into the whole Orange/Green conflict, and are more likely to play guitars than either harps or flutes. Will anyone care about Irish versus British in a decade or two? It's hard to say. I would say if the border remains open, it won't be a big deal. If the border closes up, I think the Catholic/Gaelic faction in Northern Ireland will have greater reason to resent the British dominance and be more likely to support unification with the rest of Ireland. Unification isn't likely to happen, but support for it might lead to some squabbling and maybe even a resumption of violence in times to come.
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Old 6th September 2019, 03:46 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Border Reiver View Post
Corrected one issue and added some detail.
Interesting.

No, I never knew that. My ancestors were Irish Catholic. I probably read some biased sources, including my family.
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Old 6th September 2019, 03:52 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Your keen insight never ceases to amaze.



For those of you who aren't Darat, if you have always wondered why Northern Ireland has a different religious makeup than the rest of the island, read the Wikipedia article about the plantation of Ulster. In some nations, religious divisions between geographic regions came about because some charismatic religious leader gained strong influence in some region of the country. (Example: Martin Luther and Germany.) In Ireland, it was more a case of conquest. The Irish lost a war. The English/Scottish took some land. They created a Protestant colony of sorts, with continued immigration in later years, and a couple of centuries later there was the partition and "the troubles".

As for what comes next, it's hard to say. The cultural differences between the Irish and the Northern Irish descendants of the Scots and English transplants have largely disappeared. The language died out, for all practical purposes, long ago. The religion is becoming less significant. Global media influence is making accents less pronounced, just as it is doing in the rest of the English speaking world. What's left? I suspect that the younger generation isn't as into the whole Orange/Green conflict, and are more likely to play guitars than either harps or flutes. Will anyone care about Irish versus British in a decade or two? It's hard to say. I would say if the border remains open, it won't be a big deal. If the border closes up, I think the Catholic/Gaelic faction in Northern Ireland will have greater reason to resent the British dominance and be more likely to support unification with the rest of Ireland. Unification isn't likely to happen, but support for it might lead to some squabbling and maybe even a resumption of violence in times to come.
Do you have any particular reason to believe this or is it just pontificating on your part?
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