Benefits of the Belfast agreement

On the subscription only Irish News site, Jude Collins publishes his list of 5 things he believes Unionism has gained from the Belfast Agreement:

1. Articles 2 and 3. Remember when we used to chafe at the Republic’s claim to the North in its constitution? It’s gone now. That’s nice.

2. The principle of consent. Remember when we used to rail at the way nationalists and republicans refused to accept that the majority of people in this state want to maintain the link with Britain? Now they’ve accepted it. The SDLP, the Irish government and (astonishingly) Sinn Fein. That’s nice.

3. The IRA campaign. Remember when we used to claim the IRA were trying to bomb a million Protestants into a united Ireland? Well, they’ve stopped. There’s really no need for them to say what we all know: the war is over. That’s nice.

4. Commitment to politics. Remember when we used call on republicans to work through the democratic system for what they believe in? They’ve bought our advice – and unfortunately they’ve proved terribly good at it. That’s not so nice but at least it’s politics. Plus we’re running our own show instead of being dictated to by London. That’s really nice.

5. Peace dividend. Remember when we were afraid to go out after dark, when towns were scarred and police stations fortresses? Now in Belfast, in towns and villages everywhere, people move around, shop, work, enjoy life. That’s wonderful.