Dick Geary responds in today’s Irish Times to several respondents to his original letter calling on Nationalists to lift the siege on Unionists. This time he takes the tack that Nationalists have a very prejudicial view of what the consent principle means:
While agreeing with my general thesis, Dermot Meleady (October 3rd) still hankers after a “united Ireland” based on genuine consent. Few could argue with this, except that we nationalists don’t seem to know the meaning of the word “consent”. Usually it means the unconditional right to say Yes or No. Nationalists simply don’t accept unionists’ unconditional right to say No to a “united Ireland”.
Whether you’re after consensual sex or “united Ireland” the dynamics are much the same. If the other party says no and you persist in banging on about it, it then becomes harassment and the other party gets more and more alienated, angry and infuriated. In fact the more you bang on about it the more certainty there is that it will never happen. If you use or threaten to use force to get your way, then you are into a whole new rape game.