Don’t just sit there – get out and vote! Unionism needs you.

OK,  it’s rolling the eyes and sighing time again. What kind of people are we, anyway? Here we have local elections,  electing councilors who arrange bin collection and the like, and what do we do? We go all tribal. We vote for the two biggest parties and guarantee the continuing stalemate.

And if you think I believe a word of that guff,  maybe think again.

Talk about a sectarian headcount is so much over-grilled tripe.  People vote for nationalist or republican parties because they’re of the belief that these are the people who will best represent their interests.  And unionists? With unionists it’s sort of like loyalist paramilitaries, only without guns. You’ll recall that loyalist paramilitaries used justify their actions as reactions, necessary because of the existence of the IRA and the INLA.  Unionists don’t so much vote for something as vote against something, that something in this case being republican and nationalist representatives.  Listen and you’ll hear it: vote for us or themuns’ll get in.

Voting for nationalist or republican councilors makes sense not because they’re not themuns, but because if enough nationalist/republican councillors are elected, it’ll send a message, a message unionism badly needs to hear and, ideally, act upon. That message is, a new Ireland is coming. No ifs, buts, maybes: it’s on its way. The population count by now has tipped over into a Catholic majority and there’s a very good chance that in five years’ time, there will be a nationalist/republican voting majority.  We should all be aware of that, and the fact that Brexit and a border in any form will galvanise civic nationalism into pushing for a border poll. This awareness should energize us into planning NOW for a new Ireland , otherwise we’ll head for that border poll like Brexiteers,  not knowing what its consequences will be but voting for it anyway.

When, quite likely within five years, there is a border poll, we want everyone – nationalist, republican, unionist, loyalist – to have looked at the proposal of a new Ireland and what rights and safeguards it will, it must offer, to unionists and everyone else.  

If enough nationalist/republican councilors are elected today, the message may well waken unionism to the need to prepare. Yes, we all want our bins emptied and our dead buried. But we also want unionism to awaken from its self-induced slumber and sniff the air. Remove the Orange blindfold , see how you can help shape a new Ireland and a better tomorrow, with freedom to breathe and room for all. 

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