“a shared future/shared society will require a natural, evolutionary breaking down of barriers – be they psychological or physical.”

In the News Letter Alex Kane revisits the topic of his last column, the shared future section of Peter Robinson’s speech at the DUP’s annual conference, and takes on Chris’ criticism of that speech.  From the News Letter article.

What struck me most about the comment is that the writer seems to object to the fact that unionism should try and reach out to Roman Catholics at all. Indeed, he seems to believe that the only purpose of such an outreach is the “pitting of Catholics against their fellow co-religionists.” So, does he believe that all Roman Catholics should support republicanism, or does he just believe that those who don’t shouldn’t allow themselves to be used as voting ammunition against those who do? Either way, it’s an absurd argument.

But there is a wider point to all of this. How do you share a future or a society if there is no agreement on the constitutional future? Unionists believe in the Union and the United Kingdom. Republicans believe in the disintegration of that Kingdom and its replacement with a united Ireland. So someone who believes in eventual Irish unity is not going to encourage anything which seems to diminish or dilute their hopes. And that applies to unionists, too. Which means that all you can expect in those circumstances is precisely what we have at the moment – ongoing stalemate and mutual veto.

Yet what do we do if there is a pro-Union majority which is bigger than just unionists? What do you do if the pro-Union majority represents 60%+ of the electorate? Do you continue with structures and mechanisms which keep the power blocs polarised and stalemated? Or do the pro-Union believers – irrespective of background, religion etc – start to build their own version of the shared society?

Read the whole thing.