We need fresher thinking than this

Two New Year articles worth noting which struggle with the abiding theme. Given prime billing in the Irish Times, Robin Wilson laments the anti-democratic and physical force elements in both of our traditions as we move further into the decade of commemoration. His historical sweep of a century reinforces his determinist case against the GFA accommodation, leading to his usual bleak conclusion. For Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair, the Northern Ireland “peace process” was defined by a realpolitik where moral … Read more

The ‘Ambivalenters’: Who exactly are the Northern Irish people now?

Two main things to say after a great day of observations from Slugger readers and looking through some of the detail in the #Census2011. One is that the idea that Northern Ireland is a Protestant state, that can be held exclusively for a Protestant people now rests (in peace let’s hope) in the trash can of history. To be fair to Peter Robinson, he saw this coming a long time ago. Take his speech about the sons and daughters of … Read more

#Census2011: The first bare bones of NI’s changing story…

Ten years ago nothing was more eagerly awaited [than the collapse of Stormont? – Ed] than the announcement of the Census figures. Hyper optimism on the nationalist side suggested that the Protestant population might dip below 50% for the first time. The Census body saw that one coming and finessed the figures so that background became as important as any stated religion. I don’t think it’s putting too fine a point on it to say that many nationalist commentators were … Read more