Sadly, for those voices, the Windsor Framework is done and dusted and as Steve Baker reiterated during the past week is closed and no longer open for negotiation. You see, even the British government is sick and tired of the DUP and Brexit. Even they know it was an unmitigated disaster that needs to be moved on from as quickly as possible. What Steve Baker also said in the past week, and it seems to have been lost in the furore over Leo Varadkar’s “unity in my lifetime” comments, is that if Unionism wants NEI to stay within the Union, it needs to get back into Stormont.
NEI, the 6 Counties, Northern Ireland is becoming ungovernable and it’s all because of the very people within Unionism who claim to love it so much. Even Ian Paisley Jnr’s usual calm but stern tones seemed to change this past week when he said – “Unionists can’t have everything they want and nationalists can’t have everything they want”, possibly a sign of a subtle change in language from the DUP in a bid to prepare their base for what’s coming down the track regarding going back into Stormont. But I suppose we’ll never know until it happens.
What I do know is there have been a few deals set before the DUP by the British government in a bid to steer it back into the Executive, all of which have been rejected, which must lead the people of this statelet to the conclusion that once again, it’s the DUP holding everything back. No doubt the ‘stakeholders’ aren’t happy about the deals laid on the table and with the DUP in no real position at this stage to accept or reject deals by itself without the go-ahead from the LCC, Jamie Bryson, and Jim Allister, one can see why the “snail’s pace” progress Varadkar talked about is very real.
There are even people calling for a split in the DUP as it is. Calling for those who want to go back into Stormont to split away from the current iteration of the DUP to set up their own party in a bid to get this place up and running again. That will never happen, it would be suicidal to all those involved but that is an example of how desperate Unionism is at this point.
With Micheal Martin, Leo Varadkar, and Northern parties all singing from the same hymn book on unity now and young ‘unionists’ looking seriously at Irish unity because of the state of NEI, is it any wonder Northern Irish Unionism is looking over its shoulder? Time will inevitably tell, but the winds of change are not simply blowing but howling at this point and the winds will inevitably grow stronger if Unionism continues to dig its heels in. At some point, Unionist leaders will have to do the responsible thing and engage on an all-island basis on the subject of Irish unity…At this point, it can’t be stopped.