Unionism: “Like most liberalism, when directed at others it’s patronising”

Christopher Montgomery thinks the hand wringing liberal unionist set need to accept that nationalists are not going to convert to unionism, and move on accordingly:

There isn’t going to be a 32 county Irish republic in 2021, and there is still going to be an Ulster in the Union. And it’s still going to have lots of nationalists in it who don’t want to be there.

It speaks well of unionism that its conceit has been to turn the other side. Certainly it contrasts favourably with the ethno-chauvinism whose never too well hid attitude amounts to, ‘just you wait till we’ve outbred you’.

At some point, though, a chill inner voice is going to have to say, ‘fine: you don’t want pluralism, inclusivity, tolerance, compulsory-power sharing and equal rights for all?

‘You do want to continue, at all costs, myopic, communal ill-will politically projected as national revanche? Okay, go ahead. Your problem: wallow away.’

If nationalists won’t agree to any Northern Ireland, the task of political unionism is to admit this and accept that it’s their problem. Let’s apply no more fantasy.

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