50 years on from nationalists weaponizing fifty years of unionist misrule and surrendering to extreme republicans, Unionists are celebrating with or without republican gratification Northern Ireland’s Centenary.
Despite the continued volatile attempts by menacing trouble-makers the Union stays safe. A sop from the South to Sinn Fein to secure a border poll is not even a perceived threat. In fact the double celebration is that the Northern Irish are winning the community identity battle.
Tokenism is an offensive affront to citizenship. Unionists are outraged with the incessant ugliness of nationalists exploiting the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, as in their ownership only, and ratified by their consent exclusively. Such behaviour debases the Agreement and will destroy it. So stop!
It’s reasonable to ask – what kind of people would endanger the Agreement designed to end community division? What kind of people would tell the world that they grew up as the off-spring of second class citizens, yet shun their first class equality because the politics of bitterness makes them intolerant of unionism?
Do they not understand that unionists do not appreciate their support for policies which prevent them from being Northern Irish, Irish and unionist, being Northern Irish and British?
What unionists see clearly is the irony that irrespective of their legitimate demands for inclusiveness genuine nationalists are trapped willingly in the snare of extreme republican dogma frustrating all efforts for all Northern Irish to embrace a shared future and a common community identity.
It is very difficult to know just what unionists can offer to help nationalists and find an equitable equivalence to satisfy their needs in Northern Ireland.
So, what more can unionists contribute to ending the whole edifice of uncontrolled Irish acerbity? Realistically, not a lot when under the direct action of Simon Coveney the Irish, north and south are ganging up, aided by Brussels and the Biden White House to weaponize the N.I. Protocol to engage in anti-British, anti-unionist, anti-Northern Irish persecution and not a lot when the number one protagonist, the Irish Foreign Minister leaves unionists aghast at thinking there is an intent to turn them into Ireland’s version of Chinese Uyghurs. Besides this, it appears that Taoiseach Martin supports using his Foreign Affairs Minister as the battering ram to bludgeon unionists over the protocol. No more nice guy Michael, when push came to shove, he was right behind the not so simple Simon.
The alarming intention to antagonise unionists by the concerted combined effort of the pan-nationalist/republican front is disturbing the stability of community relationships. The Northern Irish have I believe suffered too often from brazen personalities akin to Mr. Coveney, who are over zealous in his utterances. This apparent trend must end for everybody’s sake.
Speaking as someone from a staunchly Unionist family who has come to believe that a unitary Ireland with Dominion status (and an agreed written Constitution negotiated between nationalist and unionist representatives) would have been the likeliest best option for this island a century ago, nonetheless let me offer a few opinions to Unionism on how to dig themselves out of their current predicament;
1) Retrieve their testicles that have evidently been sitting in a glass jar on a shelf somewhere since March 24th, 1972.
2) Stop apologizing for your history! Many even in the unionist community have swallowed the pan-nationalist propaganda that the 1921-72 era in NI was somewhere between Apartheid-era South Africa and Hitler’s Germany on the moral scale, when it was nothing of the sort. Unionism did make mistakes during their single-party rule, but instances of actual overt state discrimination against Catholics were relatively few (and almost all was at local government level), and if anything, Catholics had a much better standard of living here than their brethren across the border. The Stormont Parliament worked surprisingly effectively and could have been successfully reformed. And as for the hard border, it was the Republic that declared an end to all goods coming from ‘the North’ being custom-free, necessitating the setting up of border posts. Unionism needs to read up on history, embrace their heritage unapologetically, and champion it against the republican propaganda industry.
3) Either merge all three Unionist parties into a single party OR create a pan-unionist alliance… strength in numbers.
4) Collapse Stormont and trigger a new Assembly election. With either a single Unionist Party or a pan-unionist alliance, contest the election on one single issue; ending the Protocol.
5) When Unionism regains it’s majority after said election – which I bet it would – look HM Government square in the eye and tell them that either the Protocol goes or the Good Friday Agreement does… no ifs, buts, or maybes.
6) If perfidious Albion does not end the Protocol, then Unionism needs to seriously consider the nuclear option… declaring the Good Friday Agreement null and void for the Unionist community, setting up a provisional government, and daring Westminster to ‘have a go’ if they think they’re hard enough!
For anyone who thinks this approach is utter madness, I’m sure some people told Carson and Craig the same thing, but THEY had the courage of their convictions, stood firm under relentless pressure, and won… does Unionism still have either that same courage or those same convictions today?
Time will tell, but the clock is already ticking…
It’s a constant source of amazement.
As a family from a unionist background, with battle honours in every major conflict from the Boer War onwards, I’m still incredulous in relation to the loyalty and unwavering emotional attachment that our community has to the Union.
Why, because they don’t want us….may I suggest that any poll of the English populace would display an eagerness to have us, as an island, towed into the Irish Sea and sunk without trace.
Ask any “Unionist,” if they, as a general rule, like Englishmen, they’ll take and a furtive glance around and reply, “can’t stand them!”
It’s a puzzle.
This kind of strident, ill considered written piece epitomises that blinkered approach.