There is much wrangling in Norneverland about the demise of local government and the reinstatement of Direct Rule from Westminster in London. That sounds like something that London isn’t looking forward to. There is no way that they want this to happen again but it really does seem an inevitability. We’ve been here before , of course, but not under these circumstances. I don’t really think Theresa Villiers would be very good at it , given her performance up until now. We’ve never really faced Direct Rule after a period of self-governance by such a fairly well-balanced representative cross-section of everyone in these counties who is willing and able to vote .Yes we’ve had a go at it but we appear to have failed ourselves.
There is still no sense of the compromises required .Those compromises might really be an impossibility , given our collective tribal psyches.There is talk that it might take yet another generation to bleed out the hatreds that unionism cannot shake off. …to disinfect their republican rivals after daring to confont their past sins with an armed response .Sinn Fein , obviously have the same kind of problems with their unionist partners but they are willing to let it go without any such further de-compressing or cleansing.
We seem to have proven to ourselves that we can’t actually make any of this “politics”work properly.There isn’t much to show for our efforts of these past few years….only acrimony. There has been much talk about lack of trust and all the rest but I think I established already in another piece that nobody trusts anybody in politics anyway and Norneverland is quite an extreme case of untrustworthiness.We have such a long and anguished history of distrust .Unionists don’t trust Nationalists and Nationalists don’t trust Unionists. You might say …so what …what else is new? That’s politics! That is exactly why we had the Good Friday Agreement.
We basically agreed to have a go at this government lark even though we didn’t really trust each other and in fact didn’t have a lot in common. It sounded a whole lot better than killing each other, somehow.In some cases we actively hated each other to that extent .It sounds like a great, abusive marriage doesn’t it ? Well… many marriages turn out like that . Many cultures embrace the idea of an arranged marriage and simply hope that it will work .
What’s happening here is that although both parties were and are reluctant partners , one of the partners never really wanted the union to work from the very start and would much rather have absconded with their dowry and fled the marriage- bed. They made no bones about it.
The problem is that there is nowhere else to run to. You can’t pretend that practically half of the population don’t really exist. You might try a few tricks, like our friend the ostrich and stick your head in the sand , but when you pop back up and look around, the landscape and all your fears will still be there looking right back at you.Unionism is that ostrich.The marriage party in its various formats may interchange its members and call themselves a variety of differing names, but their political beliefs will remain the same. Nationalism similarly has its own agenda and no matter what it calls itself, it adheres to its own political ideal.When the dust settles not much will have changed. We’ll still be here together.
Unionism’s real agenda has been to slow down politics to a point of stasis and in doing so stymie the republican plan to grow as a an all-Ireland party….to grow as a party at all . It matters not a whit whether or not they are armed or unarmed . In fact it seems they would prefer them to be armed because in that respect they could then demonise them all the better. It would make life a lot simpler if the devil had some nice pointy horns on show all of the time. If the devil hasn’t got those horns , it now appears they’d better invent some. That is the only plan in sight .They have able help-mates south of the border helping them in this.
So will Norneverland Nationalism simply roll over and allow itself to be governed solely by Westminster or even jointly with an uncaring conservative southern Irish Republic which would prefer to contain Sinn Fein in the same bed as those Northern Unionists? Neither of these benefactors really want much to do with the Norneverlanders of any stripe anyway and really wish they weren’t there at all. When the present Executive is pulled apart it might take many years before it can be re-built which will leave another generation of young voters on the outside ,looking in. That sounds very like history attempting to repeat its mistakes only a generation later.Memories are very short.
Maybe there’s the hope by unionism that given enough time to simmer and boil, another generation of youthful and impatient nationalists will decide to arm themselves in frustration and again fight a government which wants to take away their voting rights , dreams and futures ,in all but name . That would give them back an enemy they could really understand , just like that last time in the late 1960’s. They ‘ve already proven they’re not really cut out for real politics…the art of the possible… after all. Their preference is to stall, sit on their hands and hope that it all goes away ,or failing that, rile up their collective unionist friends ,set up yet another armed wing for themselves, paid -for ,out of our collective taxes and start all over again.
That was another great little earner , in the past , as Arthur Daly might say.
I’m sure Cameron , Villiers and Kenny have thrown their hands in the air in exasperation and behind closed doors are querying how best to deal with the messenger of all their ills …the Chief Constable who dropped them all into the shit without any evidence or even a trial.
“Who will rid us of this troublesome priest?”…… Indeed