No question of unseating parity of esteem…

Dennis Bradley with an interesting line on policing, unionism and ‘the new deal’…

Unionist politics has been accused of great deficiencies throughout its history. It has been accused of narrowness, bigotry, negativity and fearfulness. Some or all of those are possibly true and indeed are often acknowledged by unionists themselves.

A more correct critique, however, has been its failure to understand the need to deliver safety to its own people. Perhaps it might be more accurate to say that the options it chose to secure that safety were inadequate, inept, even downright wrong. Safety is not an inspiring word. It is not the stuff of poetry or song. It does not stir the imagination or excite the passions.

Remove it, however, and its very absence reveals its importance.

Quite so. And Bradley himself has direct experience of the absence of such safety. He goes on to argue that ‘high security’ and safety are not synonymous, and that it time that Unionism learned that the time for a ‘fortress Ulster’ has passed. He notes however that:

…there is still the threat, sometimes implied, sometimes spoken, that too great a speed or too great a desire to impose Joint Authority or Joint Stewardship between the two governments would result in a backlash from loyalist paramilitaries.

If that kind of threat were emanating from any nationalist quarter there would be justifiable anger within unionism and questions as to the suitability of that party for government. I think loyalist paramilitaries have been used and abused too often to fall into that trap again.

Despite this, he reckons the British (unquestionably, in his view, the drivers of this process) have weighed up “the deal that will opt for the position that provides the most safety to the greatest number of people” – ie one that brings the Republican movement along with it.

  • lib2016

    The most telling point IMHO is that the link with Britain has not delivered peace or security. The economics of the situation are beginning to favour reunification now rather than than as part of a nationalist aspiration for the future.

    A Conservative government is even less likely than a future Labour government to continue pouring money into the bottomless pit that is NI. There are no votes here for either party.

  • Mick Fealty


    Can we see mpore of your ‘working out’ of that equation?

  • lib2016


    I’m not going to get bogged down in statistics – too many experts here ready to prove that NI is entering a thousand year era of peace and plenty at the centre of the British Empire Mark 2.

    The rates dispute is just one straw in the wind. NI is going to become a very cold place for anyone who believes they can sponge on Britain forever.

  • IJP

    Agree with Mick.

    There’s more to making things happen that just kidding yourself about the “facts”.

  • IJP

    NI is going to become a very cold place for anyone who believes they can sponge on Britain forever.

    So I say we should stop spongeing on Britain.

    What relevance has that to your earlier point about “reunification” (whatever that is)?

  • fair_deal

    I usually find DB’s stuff interesting me but this comes close to advocating a Danegeld approach by Unionism that delivers neither safety nor a sense of stability.

  • Nevin

    [i]They are experienced and astute enough to weigh up and opt for the position that provides the most safety to the greatest number of people.

    That will not just include those of us who live in the north or indeed on this island. It will also take into account those who live in the British Isles.[/i]

    And, of course, the greatest number don’t live in Northern Ireland. Why can’t Denis just admit that the governments will continue to appease the paramilitary godfathers in the hope that their fascism and mafiaism can be contained to here?

    Curiously enough the greatest resistance to this appeasement is coming from the SDLP. The Unionists seem not to have noted the significance of the Finaghy Crossroads Group project.

  • Cynic

    Perhaps one of the reasons that noone is getting too excited about a Loyalist backlash is that the Loyalist paramilitaries are so disorganised, drunk, coked-up, inflitrated and incompetent that noone believes the represent any real, sustained threat to anything, except perhaps their own livers

    Shroud waving based on this lot will just further expose unionist politicians’ weakness. They are history but just havent realised it yet.