Jeffrey, Doug, Jim: if you can’t stand the heat of democracy…

I’ve been wondering: how should nationalists and republicans react to the anti-democratic stance being taken by the DUP and the UUP? Both parties refuse to say they would be prepared to serve as Deputy First Minister, should the electorate indicate that should be their role. Loud and clear and repeatedly they have made it clear that they are democratic, but not if it means the verdict of the electorate is that their political opponents should be given the title ‘First Minister’.

 The first thing nationalists should make clear is that titles, whether First Minister or Deputy First Minister, are just that – titles. They don’t change anything in terms of power or responsibility. Sinn Féin, expected to be the largest party, should make it clear that if they are elected as the largest party that (i) They will ask for a change in both titles to Joint First Minister, so kicking away the prop of pretend superiority; and (ii) They will be working for, to use a weary old cliché, the bread-and-butter issues that affect everyday life, while at the same time taking those steps necessary for the holding of a border poll.

 Both these initiatives are crucial. The first, to make it clear that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and First Minister/Deputy First Minister/Joint Minister are simply monickers and should not be obsessed over. The second, to make clear that it is possible to work for people in their everyday needs and to take the necessary steps so that the will of the people of Ireland is given a voice on national unity.

 Doug’s notion that it is an either/or is patently absurd. Because the West is transfixed by deeds occurring in the Ukraine at present , that doesn’t mean that Johnson’s flouting of Covid rules in No 10 should be ignored. Or that the unwillingness of two unionist parties to commit to proper response to the democratic will of the people should be ignored because we are in the grip of an economic crisis.

 Jeffrey, Doug, Jim : we’ve had enough of this high-handedness. Either you make clear that you are a 100% participant in the democratic process, or you should take your twisted principles off the stage and bury them and your view of yourself as a politician in the nearest dung-heap.


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