Principle no. 1: The National Party believes that the territory of Ireland consists of the whole island of Ireland, its islands and the territorial seas.
Unity is not an endpoint. It is the starting point. Unity is not something theoretical. It exists now. It must do, or it is not worth talking about. The only rationale for political unity is an underlying and pre-existing unity. That unity is nationality itself, and it cannot be abrogated by artificial borders or by artificial governments. Why is political unity desirable, necessary and inevitable? It can only be because the people on either side of the British-imposed border are the same people. Ireland is united by blood and by sacrifice, by history and by struggle, by culture and by conviction. Either one accepts this, or one relegates one’s right of homeland to paper claims and to empty promises.
There is no starker example in world history of how demographics affect politics than the north-east of this country. It is a lesson hard learned, and a lesson that should be well heeded. Once you start to play with borders, numbers, demographics, anyone can become part of a minority or a majority. You can become a minority on the street where your grandparents lived. You can become a minority in a class-room or in a work-place. You can be gerrymandered by political sleight of hand from one status to another, one jurisdiction to another, one rule of law to another. Policies of economic expediency can haemorrhage a region’s population or flood it with outsiders. The ground under your feet is not security enough from the tides of history.
What the Irish have learned through our travails is that the only borders that matter are people. The territory of Ireland and the people of Ireland are the same thing. Irish nationality flows from the Irish people. They keep it with them and they bring it with them. It does not stop for border patrols. And nor is it necessarily protected by them. Foreigners who come to this country are no holier than us in that respect. When they come in great numbers, they come with the borders of their nationality. And those borders are human. Those borders are demographic. Those borders are political. Neither the landscape nor the sea that surrounds us, nor the bodies that govern our affairs, are protection enough from us losing our foothold on this island. The winds will blow just the same way over an Ireland that has no plausible relation to an Irish people.
It is perfectly possibly to conceive of a political entity on this island, with a territory constituting the entire island, which nonetheless has no raison d’être, no moral, spiritual or philosophical justification beyond political expediency, because absent is nationality.
The End of History
It has sometimes been said, perhaps cynically, that as long as partition exists, nationalism will remain relevant in Irish political life. This is a rather discomforting way of looking at things, because it suggests nationalism is a clock ticking towards some End of History. We can take modern Germany as an example. With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the years following, the German Democratic Republic was assimilated into the Federal Republic of Germany. What we now know as modern Germany. This project was the centrepiece of a historical moment in which Western liberalism was perceived to have triumphed over Soviet communism. It was remarked upon as the End of History. The end of the war of ideas.
While broadly speaking an economic triumph, it was a Pyrrhic victory. The new Germany became the centrepiece of a supra-national empire, in which German nationality itself would be abrogated. Germany became the economic engine of a new continental superstate. Historically, it has often been the case that empires destroy what is at their centre. Today, Germany has become the largest brothel in Europe, with one of the lowest birthrates in the world. Its political class look to young Turkish and African migrants, who they expect to pay the taxes to prop up German pensions and have the children that German people no longer have. The rationale for unity, that being the underlying fact of German nationality, was actually eclipsed by unification.
Can we conceive of an Irish unity in which the power brokers of liberalism preside over a false dawn, and in one momentary triumph, nationalism itself evaporates? It is a frightening thought, but brings us to the key question. What kind of unity would constitute Irish unity? And what kind of unity are the forces of globalism likely to sign off on? Who will live in this country? Anyone? Who will feel at home in this country? No-one? Shorn of both the underlying substance of nationality, and the political rocket fuel that is partition, what would be left? Just another dying Western country. Just a thirty-two county brothel? United by what? Social and economic liberalism? Wage slavery and abortion? Student debt and consumer drugs? Homelessness and rainbow flag parades? Childlessness and mass-immigration?
All Ireland is an occupied country, with a tradition of fighting back against that occupation. But there have long been attempts to denationalise even the physical force nationalist tradition, by characterising it as internationalist, socialist or primarily a fight for civil rights. Nowadays you hear wishy-washy statements like, “The Irish didn’t fight against foreigners but against foreign rule.” Well, in that case why even say “foreign” rule? If you are merely fighting against bad rule, then whether it is “foreign” or not doesn’t come into it. And if “foreign rule” is necessarily a bad thing, then it can only be on account of its foreignness. At the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bogside, Bernadette McAliskey said we need to “get out of the nationalist conversation.” And that attitude is not rare among her generation of radicals. Some go so far as to drop the issue of political unification altogether. But for most legacy republicans, political unification remains front and centre, even as their commitment to Irish nationality in general weakens.
We know that a country can be occupied in body and in spirit. On most of this island, the sight of British troops is non-existent. But it is occupied nonetheless, by forces foreign and hostile. By British forms of governance, by American forms of commerce, by EU federalism, etc. And worse still, the threat to Irish nationality comes from within ourselves. Psychologically we are under occupation by a cultural paradigm in which nationalism is more or less obsolete. Machine guns aren’t required to control the Irish anymore. They police themselves.
The morality of our age is sometimes characterised as hedonistic utilitarianism, and this as the moral foundation of Irish unity would be the abrogation of Irish nationality. Why? Because it is not a morality that believes in nationality to begin with. One cannot start from first principles that exclude Irish nationality and arrive at a conclusion where Ireland exists.
We already have two dying political entities. Six counties chained in limbo to a defunct political union called the United Kingdom. Twenty-six counties in a race to the bottom to become the most “progressive” State in the world. For “Progressive” read “Spiritually dead.” In these superficial wayward polities, unity looms in the distance, as a future endpoint. A political fatalism. Even some Ulster unionists may envision it as something tragically inevitable. But it is a political fatalism with less and less spiritual foundation.
It is difficult to say if this is more apparent in the North or in the South, because it pertains in different ways. In both jurisdictions, the true flame of nationalism is apparently waning. In the South this is because of extreme economic and social destabilisation. The level of immigration alone, the most significant of which occurred during the “Celtic Tiger”, followed by ten years of native emigration, has done untold damage to Irish identity. People quite literally look around them and see a present that is already post-national. An Ireland that is already dissolving.
In the North, though not as affected by immigration, the same soft liberalism pervades a society which lives in the shadow of titanic tribal struggle. Certainly a hardness and bloody-mindedness survives, which is found nowhere in the South. Wounds still open, still being opened. But liberalism offers itself as the release from that conflict. The soft release. What British troops could not do, liberalism accomplishes all too easily. Assimilating the specific into the whole. The jackboot of Orwell, substituted for the drug stupor of Huxley.
Even the race memory of ethnic tribalism is not enough to educate legacy republicans in the validity of rooted nationalism. The killing and dying has not imbued their policies with a realistic account of human nature. The demographic war has even been called off now with the introduction of abortion by Westminster, facilitated by so-called nationalists. The long promised Catholic majority is on its way, we’re told. But with it comes a certain complacency. They hold their breath for the “inevitable” vote for unity, in which their materialist definition of nationality will be flogged to a deracinated public. The bedtime story of a “Thirty-Two County Socialist Republic”, allows them to sleep at night. Long after they have surrendered to an economic and social paradigm that they do not seem to understand.
The great unknown has always been, “How would tension between nationalist and unionist finally resolve itself?” When we watch Sinn Féin cheer on Westminster-imposed abortion laws in the six counties, when we watch them step aside to endorse a pro-remain unionist, we see that the answer to that has already been decided upon. At least, by the powers that be. The communities are to be reconciled over liberalism. The die-hard believers on either side will be ground down and isolated, their influence restricted to pockets. There will in the end be no unionist values or nationalist values. All will be swept aside.
At the level of values there is less and less difference anymore between London, Dublin or Belfast. All is subsumed into sameness. For a larger proportion of the youth, the idea of tribal struggle begins to look archaic. Liberation comes in the form of abortion, drugs, money, suicide. Liberation is liberation from the past, liberation from the present, liberation from the future.
This is only extenuated by the fact that loss of rooted identity actually makes political unity more likely under the current paradigm, if only because it means less. Everything means less. Both the nationalist and unionist positions have been considerably devalued by the trajectory of modern life. While the obstacles to political unification remain substantial, and sectarian politics remains profitable, the conceptual boundaries have changed. On a long enough timeline, the weakening of tribalism, the softening of nationalism, the atrophy of unionism, the triumph of sameness, all make unity more palatable to the apathetic and safer to the powers that be. The less it means, the more likely they will support it. After all, what is the removal of one border to a world-era that seeks the elimination of all borders?
What Is Rooted Is Real
What we must finally understand is that Irish political unity is worthless unless it is underpinned by a plausible Irish nationality. One physically and spiritually intact. One that is not constantly questioned or dismantled. One that is living. And the fact is that such an Irish nationality will not survive the current era unless a necessary corrective occurs, and occurs quickly. The legacy republican groups are already post-nationalist. They have already conceded the ground of nationalism. They are materialists, and they see only limited political goals. They see only political unity. And political unity is limited by definition, just as political sovereignty is limited by definition. But Ireland, allowing that we do not murder her, is eternal. It is this spiritual underpinning that must precede political life. You cannot dress up a corpse and call it a living man. You cannot unite a dead country and call it Ireland.
These are the facts. Unity exists. And that is the starting point to everything political. It is the precondition to political unity. Spiritually we are one. The Irish people exist. They inhabit a territory, which is politically divided, and all thirty-two counties of which are occupied by enemies of the Irish nation. No political system exists to represent or protect that nation. But that nation exists in one piece. It will fight or die.
The ability of a people to see themselves as a people is perishable. Nations can be killed. They can be killed by genocide, by exhaustion, by subversion, by displacement, by forgetfulness, by treachery, by war and by peace. And no political necromancy can revive a dead nation. Nationalism is indeed a process often of rebirth, but not from nothing. There could have been no Gaelic revival without a living nation to validate it. As long as there is an Irish people, confident in asserting their own claim to belonging, then such a rebirth is possible. But if the ability to see ourselves as a people is lost, the prospect and the hope of revival will have been quenched forever. Irish nationality is a spiritual fact. A candle still alight. But there is a gust of wind.
The issue of nationality itself must once again form the bedrock of the national question. It must form the bedrock of any discussion regarding political unity on this island. We are not out to create another bland, bloodless liberal democracy. We are out to create an Ireland united, Gaelic and free.
This article was submitted by a National Party member. If you would like to submit an article for publication on the National Party website, follow this link.