This comment was originally posted in response to a critical letter in the Belfast Newsletter of the Belfast peace rally held on 16th December 2012, which I attended, by an apologist for the #fleg protests that plagued Northern Ireland at the end of 2012, and at the time of writing, have resumed in 2013.
Unionist and Nationalist. Protestant and Catholic. Black and White.
As much as it suits the simple mental faculties of the letter author, N. Ireland is no longer drawn up on these petty, tribalistic lines.
The people at this event were of all faiths and none. Many are very well aware of the issues of N.Ireland, all are sick of the continuing pettiness of our politicians.
I was interviewed by a radio journalist from Berlin. I got across two points – that the yobs blocking traffic in the streets embarrassed us all, and that the economic damage of these protests will make N.Ireland’s financial plight that much more severe.
The 2011 census results show a growing sense of ‘Northern Irishness’, and the Belfast Agreement has made the union as secure as it has ever been – the chances of two referenda both favouring Irish unity is receding fast, for very sensible economic reasons. The only threat to the union is to make N.Ireland such an unappealing member of the UK that the rest of the UK cuts us loose.
A state that embarrasses the UK in the world media and costs them a fortune is a prime candidate. For that reason, these senseless protests do more to harm our place in the union than Sinn Fein ever can.