Outside much seems the same. The first sharp green shoots 41of goldenrod have poked through the clatter of their still, dead, rusting predecessors ;those exotically cultured tulip bulbs I’d brought back from Amsterdam last summer, seem to have found life in the heavy clayey soil of Ireland and are now opening their mad petals to the rain of the soft ,damp March air .My honeybees appear to have accepted that as Spring goes, this buttermilk sky and the slight chill in the air is about as good as it gets and are busy shaking off the drowse of Winter.;they have taken to those skies.There’s work to be done.
Yes ,it seems a typical Norneverland St Patrick’s Day; the mizzle drove us inside to sup a pint of the black stout in the merry fug of damp green noisy children and screeling , hairy musicians.It’s surely time to move this celebratory day to a more clement time in mid-summer.
Headlines in the local press proclaim exclamatorily that the “CATHOLIC POPULATION IS DUE TO DWARF PROTESTANTS” in Norneverland , anytime soon.Pie charts have been designed to educate the readership of the inexorable rise of nationalism.It seems that somewhat late in the day there is the realisation that if unionism, which is largely supported by those of the protestant faith , is to grow at all, then this can only be a possibility if that idea is sold to Catholics who would usually vote for nationalist parties.
Many would say that it’s a little late in the process to attempt something like this, given that nationalism has spent some ninety years fighting for their own place in the sun, opposed at every step by unionism to the point of street violence .When they finally got a government that professed to have an equality agenda , unionism, in the shape of its largest party, the Democratic Unionist Party(DUP) threw up so many barriers to nationalism and its ethos as they could find in their command.Given that nationalism comprises virtually half of the population already , that kind of behaviour might be seen as short-sighted. The DUP have spent this past twenty years presenting their brand of unionism as the most backward kind of society it would be possible to conceive of, in the process ,detaching themselves from , nationalists , Muslims ,the gay community and anything to do with the arts .
Everyone tried to prepare unionism for the inevitability of nationalism’s growth but the lessons have always been ignored. It is only now in the wake of a disasterous election for unionism that the penny has finally dropped.They will very soon be a minority voice and they have not prepared the ground for any future growth. The seed lies rotten in the ground.The simple fact is that there are more children being born to those who vote for nationalist parties and very soon they will all be of voting age.If the unionist parties do not attempt to sell their concept of unionism with the UK outside the EU as opposed to unionism with the rest of Ireland inside the EU , they are heading for extinction.
Talk like this may not yet have filtered into the ghettos or to those who never read, but the facts do not lie.Even the unionist newspaper “The Newsletter” has awakened to the drift and appear to be in panic -mode.
In places where Protestants ,or those from within the unionist culture, outnumbered their Catholic counterparts even slightly, unionist MPs were returned and the very same was true of Catholic/nationalists , in every case except two of the 18 political constituencies being latterly fought.This clearly means that the evidence is there that those raised either Catholic or Protestant vote for nationalist or unionist parties by rote and there will inevitably be more Catholics than Protestants….therefore more nationalists than unionists. It’s simple fact.
This decline of the protestant / unionist population began as far back as the 1920’s and has been falling consistently ever since.When the first census was taken, declarations would have been either RC or Protestant, with very few declaring “no religion”. By the 1991 census that “no religion” figure had grown to nearly 4%. That was something like 59,234 people across the land . In the last census that figure had grown to over 10% at a figure of 183,164. Some 122,252 did not state a faith of any kind. These are the odd-men -out in the grand scheme of things, of course.
None of this can alter the fact that unionism is on a decline that can only be stopped if they are prepared to sell their vision of a future to the nationalist community .To date ,their salesmanship in the shape of “Team DUP” ,has been of the very worst calibre.