As a unionist this piece is not hard to express however I recognise that for some it may be difficult to digest. A united Ireland resulting from Brexit is not inevitable. A united Ireland is not inevitable at all! Through concessions and compromises Northern Ireland has moved onto a transition road from which it cannot fail to cross over and emerge without a new and sincere unionist commitment to the Union. To say that unionist expectations arising from the Belfast Good Friday Agreement are deflated is an understatement. As we approach 2020 unionists are underwhelmed by the nationalist commitment toward making the Agreement work.
My understanding is that unionism is preparing to follow its own exclusive agenda. You may well ask what has stirred people? The answer is, a perception of real threats to the Union coupled with emboldened talk of a border poll within an atmosphere where unionists are split over maximising winnable seats at Westminster. These concerns have incensed solid unionist people, salt of the earth good people who wish to live in peace, be comfortable with their families, enjoy a decent quality of life and have uncertainty removed.
The message is not that, that unionism has thrown in the towel on securing political accommodation with agreeable nationalists and inbetweeners. The truth is that unionism is exasperated and reaching a ‘what is the point conclusion’ in encouraging engagement with a nationalist community which infuses division, absenteeism, and is not to be trusted.
Emerging from a unionist think in, the slumbering Bear of united unionism has awakened. Bring forward the resurgence of a majority and it is not difficult to see what serious determining factors are under review within the unionist family.
The bear cubs are looking at Sinn Fein and its patsy parties the SDLP, Greens and Alliance and their inquiring voices are interrogating ‘what is the point?’ These people have no vested interest in Northern Ireland, they do not want success here and sharing nor do they want a community at peace. “Why then should we sit back and watch the prevention of new opportunities for unionism stymied “ is a typical comment? To anyone uncomfortable with ‘the what’s the point attitude’ – understand it is indicative of the challenging conversations going on but which should not be confused with anyone pursuing unionist wrath through street politics.
From all walks of life and all ages notably 25 to 45 year old men and women – they are focussed and motivated to hurdle over the difficulties they know unionism faces. Project teams recognise that the tone and expression of unionism need to be nuanced to be understood. People expect tolerance and understanding and expect this to be reciprocated. People keen to represent an amicable and attentive unionism acknowledge the importance of being agreeably received and respected at home, in the rest of the U.K. and in the South.
Unionists place the blame on Sinn Féin’s shoulders. Wham, Bang ,Wallop, the game is over. Who in the circumstances can blame unionists for pulling the shutters on aggressive arrogant republicans? Unionists have audited the peace balance sheet. It shows no dividend resulting from compromise. Unionism has been taken for a republican ride ……and is giving notice “never again.”
The new dynamic impacting across unionism involves many previously not bothered about politics. That has changed. People have watched the Good Friday Belfast Agreement torn to shreds by Sinn Fein and their confederates and are staring down the point of a barrel of betrayal by the Prime Minister through his ‘border in the Irish sea’ E.U. treaty. This grass roots operation is flowing from the bottom up. No pecking order, no class distinction only a vibrancy which is destined to succeed.