That’s what Alex Kane thinks. Or at least:
…the ‘Irish question’ – which has bedevilled British/Irish relationships for centuries and has been the longest running political sore of the Queen’s reign – has now been resolved to the satisfaction of both governments, as well as the satisfaction of the majority of people in the Republic and Northern Ireland
And he also puts his finger on an increasingly obvious reality of the post Belfast Agreement post Peace Process”™” world, by quoting from a letter written in to the Irish Times last Thursday:
‘While her visit is seen as a coming-of-age for the State and in many respects this holds true, one cannot but feel that the events of the last few days have only further endorsed the partition of this island. The wedge between Southern and Northern nationalists has deepened.
As the Republic pursues its independence and rightly so, our Northern nationalist brethren are increasingly being cast adrift. There is a noticeable arrogance in many Republic of Ireland citizens towards their Northern Ireland counterparts. Events of the last few days would seem to only heighten this – and strengthen the Union.
And he comes up with a Unionist version of Gerry’s next page. Naturally it looks very different from what the Sinn Fein President has in mind:
I noted earlier that politics here will continue as usual if left alone. That would be a bad thing in its own right, but it would also represent another missed opportunity for unionism. If the case for Irish unity has diminished since 1998 (and I think it has) then it surely makes sense for unionism to display more courage and confidence? This is authentic mammon versus bogus god territory and the pro-Union family needs to understand the strength of its current position.
The peace process was always a five act opera: get everyone to acknowledge that a deal was possible; get the so-called political extremes to sign up to it; secure support from voters on both sides of the border; build a devolved system that would last; and, finally, create new era, post-conflict politics. Well, the fifth act has been reached and unionism has the advantage. Let’s not blow it this time!
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