Advancing Irish unity…. can that happen? January 26, 2017Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Kevin Maher, a writer and commentator, told the conference in Dublin that others besides Sinn Féin needed to begin to develop positions and raise their voices, otherwise the debate would remain marginalised.
“The debate needs to be deShinerised. The whole of Irish politics needs to buy into this debate,” said Mr Maher, a former special adviser to a Labour northern secretary Shaun Woodward.
I’ve long suggested that SF’s attitude to unity has been broadly positive – certainly vastly more proactive politically and analytically in the last decade or so than other self-described republican parties of whatever stripe. Perhaps this is because it has always seemed, and this may simply be a perception, or it may reflect a reality, to want to address the issue. It is striking to me how other parties and formations who are claim both a republican and all-island approach seem in practice largely disinterested in what that all-Ireland might actually look like, let alone the steps to bring it about. Simply bringing more voices into the process has been useful and important in itself. Not least..
The unionist commentator Alex Kane told the conference the notion of “deshinnerisation” was apposite. He said any such debate was not possible between Sinn Féin and the DUP.
“The two key main parties are not be able to exchange simple civic courtesies,” he said.
Mr Kane argued a border poll would be very divisive as 90 per cent of unionists would “under no circumstances be persuadable to a United Ireland.
“They don’t care, they do not want a united Ireland (under any circumstances),” he said.
He said that only 15 to 20 per cent of unionists would be persuadable. He also said that nobody was worse at making the argument for the union than unionists themselves. He said if such an argument could be made, a percentage of Catholics and nationalists could also be “persuadable” to the view that retaining the union was preferable.
Engaging with that reality, a unionism that does not want to not be unionist is a massive challenge in and of itself. How to progress matters in light and with that.
Mary Lou McDonald touched on that:
That would necessitate imagination she added, where equality and citizenship were the core values, where religions were given esteem but not allowed to dominate, where equal esteem was given to the orange and green traditions.
But orange and green aren’t just cultural traditions. If only they were some might say. Both are political traditions and it is, fundamentally, the political that will determine matters in future.
A work in progress.