Interesting line from Roy Garland, an Ulster Unionist with a long running column in the nationalist Irish News. He detects a softening in the rhetoric of the DUP, he reckons the governments must not let up on their pressure to return to a power sharing executive deal. Working together in close proximity, he argues, is the only way to break down the anachronistic monoliths of NI politics.
The UUP helped foster circumstances in which republicans could change. In contrast, recalcitrant unionism was in danger of locking us into further generations of conflict making Northern Ireland increasingly ungovernable. But Peter Robinson is now more restrained in his opportunistic digs at the UUP. Many have also noticed the changing language of Ian Paisley and hope that hypocritical calls for sackcloth and ashes are now a thing of the past.
Nevertheless, Garland supports a hard rather than a soft attitude to a deadline for the establishment of an Executive government:
As for Robinson’s words about peace between “the Planter and the Gael”, this will surely be welcomed by all. The terms are shorthand for “two communities” and, as with all shorthand, they are inadequate and obscure complexity. For example, many are neither Planter nor Gael nor Ulster Scots although they may have elements of all three. It is time to break down monoliths throughout this island and to welcome and acknowledge diversity as something in which we can take pride. The copper-fastening of the November deadline focuses minds and may enable the DUP and Sinn Féin to take courage and face final realities.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty