A friend of unionism will soon whisper in their ears of denial that a prospect – a compelling prospect in the eyes of the world as well as nearer to home – demands their urgent attention. The choice is not whether they ought to resist or for how long; but whether they wish to co-author their future with dignity on the island, to seize the current moment with dignity, a sense of agency and purpose; to carve out a place that will free them (and all of us) from the deformation of subjection to an absent, indifferent and unreflexive England.
The EU and the nations of the UK have been little more than a purposeful blindspot for the English elite who never got to grips with their loss of regard after WWll…..who never overcame their Post Imperial Stress Disorder (P’isd). Unionism also faces a prospect of liberation; a moment to overcome their ‘fear of freedom’ born of their precarious and unsustainable bid to construct a contingent identity on hegemony, exclusion and inequality. The question for their leadership is: ‘Can your collective moral imagination countenance the prospect that those you sought to subject, to exclude might share a very different vision of life with you as neighbour? Can you imagine that others might not share your impossible dream of subjection?
The moment has come for agency, for deliberation; don’t wait for the poverty of calculus and head counts. Take the future into your hands now, Sir Jeffrey……and rescue your prospect of becoming a mere footnote in a history of fear.
Excellent Comment!! BUT will they LISTEN?
It’s inevitable that the political landscape ,not only in Britain, but Ireland also , is about to undergo massive change and it could be closer than imagined. Unionism ,in typical denial of reality ,is unprepared but other parties on this island are also twiddling their thumbs in a bout of self delusion. The two main right wing parties in the 26 , in King Canute fashion , have expended an unbelievable amount of energy and resources trying to stymie the growth of a resurgent nationalism/republicanism expressed through Sinn Féin and seem to be oblivious of the impending shift. Fine Gael ,have a natural ally in Unionism ,both right wing conservative parties with a propensity towards a class system ,but no overtures have been made ( overtly at least ) .Fianna Fail natural partner would of course be the SDLP but that horse has been put out to grass…it’s knackered …..so where do we go from here ? Will the republican element in F F merge with SF ? Will new all-Ireland parties form ? Intense discussions on the shape and structure of this New Ireland must commence shortly and it’s imperative that every shade of opinion is catered for….including the “not an inch” brigade.
Unionism will only change when England lets go:
Protestant fundamentalism, aka Bible thumping is dying out. The average unionist no longer believes the anti Catholic clap trap once a part of the northern state’s DNA. If the English would drop their anti Catholic succession rules the unionists would be forced to embrace the real world.
Good article, Peter.
Many within unionism will never listen. But some will. And some is enough.
Over on Slugger, Mick Fealty decries what he calls the “casual vilification of unionist politics that’s so commonplace amongst the NI commentatiat”.
In reality what’s happening is that even unionism’s zealously guarded echo chamber has been breached, and unionism simply has no answers to the criticisms it is, at long last, being made to face. This is not “vilification”. It is long-overdue accountability.
Few people from the unionist tradition will become nationalists. But increasing numbers, realising that the game is up, are simply drifting away, and making their peace with the changed reality.
This is the tide that Arlene, Jeffrey, Gregory, Nigel and Sammy are trying to beat back. But their fate is already sealed.
Billy,please don’t lower the tone of this site by quoting Mr Fawlty!