SUBJECT TO CHANGE

crown tilted

It is that bit about a First Minister representing everyone in Norneverland where the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Ireland , constantly falls down and it’s where Arlene Foster , its current new leader,has already stumbled. If you represent every one of the people of the state , you have to do just that little thing.

You have to actually represent each and every single beating heart in a magnanimous way. No pettiness should intrude and you should behave in a presidential sort of way. It’s one of the reasons why the place (Norneverland)will never really work properly. If you cannot get your head around that simple concept, the place will never have stability or begin to grow up and become mature.There have been many gaffes in the past and this one about refusing to acknowlege the part that the 1916 Rising , about to be commemorated, had to play in what is our present state , is only the latest short-sighted blunder. Many will argue that the DUP can do nothing else for fear of losing their vote, but this has more to do with fair representation of everyone and not just those who vote for you. It is part and parcel of the poisonous chalice of leadership. Leaders have to be braver than anyone else.

It’s their job.

We all know that there are basically two tribes living here with differing viewpoints and I suppose it is also why we have a joint leadership position, although because of certain sensitivities we have a nominal “First Minister” as opposed to a unique leadership status for an obviously divided community.Many argue that the whole leadership role should be retitled as “Joint First Minister” but that will probably not happen until a nationalist party has a slightly greater percentage of the vote . When that happens ,and it appears to be moving in that general direction at a fairly steady pace, I would imagine that unionism would then enjoy that sense of equality in leadership. They’d be the first out to promote a “Joint Leadership” role in those circumstances.

Of course it’s not just unionism who find it difficult to look reality in the eye, the current Republic of Ireland government would rather forget just exactly how we got to this position anyway ; that very messy bit between 1912 and the 1920’s which included a rebellion against British rule in Ireland and the slaughterfest of the first real no-holds barred industrial war in Europe which left millions of ordinary men and women dead. They want to forget their very own origin story too and the naty bit about the Civil War.

I have said it before …. For a United Ireland to really work , it has to mean that everyone feels comfortable being Irish “citizens”, together . There can be no notion of anyone finally winning the game triumphantly and by doing so , knocking our neighbours noses out of joint .That is a recipe for more squabbles in future times. After all unionism were not slow to rebel at the British Crown in the past. What we have already essentially agreed ,is that a united Ireland will not come by force of arms, which has left the dissident republicans still carping for some sort of “victory”. They want to “win” on quite different terms.They seem to want the puffery of a final kill. It leaves unionism variously scratching its collective heads, some believing that things will now never change forevermore within their “country” and that they’ve “won”…. or believing that a great trick has somehow been played on them which means they too can never take up arms, should a decision be made Ireland -wide , to unite the entire country again. Some even believe that the unstable state of Norneverland is in fact a uniquely new country within the Irish landmass.They still don’t appear to realise that it will always, at best ,be an artificial construct, a state, carved as it is, out of the nine county ancient Province of Ulster as a bulwark against the green tinge of the south.

That means it is up to others who think differently and in an entirely new way , such as republicans, nationalists ,rationalists or whoever and whatever , to persuade everyone who votes ,that a “unified” Ireland is a better state of affairs for everyone …unionists included. …better than the present situation. They will all {and that includes many “nationalists” such as SDLP voters who are essentially happy with the current status quo} have to be persuaded that they will gain something economically, emotionally and culturally that they hadn’t got before. They need to be convinced that it will be a better life .That also means convincing all our southern counterparts who have essentially abandoned us up here in the mythical Norneverland this past hundred years. …

Yes we’ve been unthought of and abandoned except when bombs were exploding and bullets were flying….the general public in the Republic of Ireland could hardly care less.Will they care any more when we are not making the same kind of noise?

“Unionism” is a strange affair essentially. It is built on many fears.It used to be constructed around the fear that its inherent protestanism would be compromised by Catholicism in a green hued Ireland, but in reality, that world no longer exists….just as protestants are protesting about all the wrong things.That world hardly even exists for many, many nationalists who were equally turned-off by religious power and censorship. In 1969, on one all- but- forgotten Civil Rights march which I attended, we walked from Belfast to Dublin. At the border customs post, two books were presented which had been condemned by the Roman Catholic Church, “The Ginger Man” by J.P. Dunleavy and Edna O’Brien’s “The Girl With Green Eyes”, the first of which was then banned in the Republic of Ireland at the time .This stunt was seen as a humorous challenge to that state’s arcane and religiously hidebound censorship laws. Not everyone was on the same page , even then, you see. It may not have been appreciated by some on the more conservative rump of the Civil Rights movement, either.

For some in Norneverland there is also an attachment to the idea of a Royal Family and a monarchy , but surely that must also be old hat for many , even of of a “unionist” mindset, hiding in the shadows . Surely all “unionists” cannot feel a subservience to such an outmoded tradition or even an adherence to what amounts to a very average and bland and somewhat gawky family ,who live in artificially elevated circumstances, better-off than 99% of the world’s population…and certainly in better circumstances than the population of the UK, themselves.

This family is really only extraordinary in that very respect.Not one of the royal family, although they maintain a social tradition which encompassed a thousand years of much murder ,brutality thievery and historical chicanery { and that was only amongst themselves}, has added to the sum total of our human knowledge and yet many are prepared to bow their knee and accept trinkets and awards from them ,as if complicit in a murderous historical lie.. That ,in itself ,defies all current logical thought and wisdom. It makes people appear foolish and uneducated…and possibly , many are. All I can imagine is that hiding among the 50% of non -voters must be all of those who have more open -minded beliefs and come to that … a greater belief in themselves and their own worth.It has to be said that the Royal Family are finally making some concessions to the the modern world and are belatedly attempting to be seen as more “ordinary” than their huge aquired wealth has dictated they should be . Members of the family are now marrying into the common gene -pool as opposed to seeking out other princes and princesses to wed. The Queen has alsoattempted to apologise for past wrongs throughout the world and specifically in Ireland.This is much more than many of her ardent followers in Norneverland have yet managed.

Among those are surely some future “citizens” of a “New Irish Republic” rather than “subjects ” of an outmoded monarchy. These are the people we need to encourage to think for themselves …and ourselves…., but we also need to present more logical and thoughful arguments to explain our aspirations more fully..