The Good Friday Agreement cost a lot of blood, sweat and tears. John Hume had the intelligence and generosity to recognise the endurance and sincerity of republicans, and indeed of Unionists, whose policies he disagreed with. So he engaged in dialogue with them. In the adult world that’s known as politics.
Seamus Mallon never forgave Hume. He preferred that the war against the republicans should be continued by those who were willing to get their hands dirty. He asked Tony Blair why he spoke with republicans and was scandalised when Blair told him it was because republicans had guns.
Mr Mallon is today shocked that republicans, having dumped arms and had their destruction inspected and verified by reliable witnesses, now have votes and have long since outstripped the SDLP.
So he wants to bin the Good Friday Agreement. He is reported tos believe that so long as a majority of Unionists want to maintain partition, things should remain as they are. Thus if 20%, or 10% or 5% or 1% of the voters in the Six Counties are Unionists, they can veto the wishes of everybody else.
It is an interesting idea but not a new one. An editorial in Dublin’s (now defunct) Sunday Tribune trumpeted the same “Principle” about 30 years ago.
The Principle may be magnificent, as the Frenchman said of the Charge of the Light Brigade, but it is not democratic.
At least as undemocratic as the New Balaclava aficionados