Despite a degree of ‘ham’ rhetoric, Eoghan Harris hits several nails squarely on the head in an ‘open letter‘ to David Trimble. He offer three points for Trimble (and all unionists) to consider:
Firstly, get out and sell the agreement. “…people respond badly to pessimistic politicians. Unionist leaders do not seem to understand that if a political leader wants to be bleak, he should be bleak in a positive way. That means Unionist moderates should be selling the Good Friday Agreement on its merits.”
Secondly, do not underestimate Sinn Fein’s intention to do right by the agreement. “The second mistake is for Unionists to conflate Sinn Fein’s moral cowardice with Sinn Fein’s moral intent. The Good Friday Agreement represented a revolutionary advance in republican thinking, was an attempt to redeem the armed struggle and reinvent Irish republicanism.”
Finally, the Shinners are not, by and large, covertly sectarian. “These things matter. It means that when dealing with Adams and McGuinness, Unionists are not dealing with sectarian monsters, but with men who went down a dark bloody road, made an epic effort to turn back, but lacked the moral courage to complete the journey by dumping the IRA baggage which continues to hold them back from creating a cultural unity of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter.”
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