‘Can we agree the rules of how we are getting along? Freedom of religion is the absolute fundamental right of British society, as is the freedom not to believe.
And so having your own rights is about respecting the rights of others. What we fall out about are the boundaries. In many way it is the ability to stay in the room, negotiate and find a compromise. There are always more moderate people on two sides of a fence who0 can fine an agreement than there are hotheads on either side who say “well, we don’t want to live together”.
It’s another one of these borrowings from a Britain that does not resemble the Britishness (or indeed the Irishness) of Northern Ireland. Katawala is right to point out that in almost any society, those who carry their politics lightly are far more numerous than those who take it far more seriously (like thee and me, dear reader)…
The question of whether there is a will to stay in the room comes back to the deeply political question of how committed to diversity in society are our political leaders, or indeed are we as a wider community. As Brian notes here, “absolutely everybody is now spouting the language of a shared future without feeling under pressure to say what it might mean”.
But at the heel of the hunt, is also useful to note that we are not the only ones experiencing some of these tensions. The interview is well worth watching all the way through…
It’s well worth tracking (you can register for updates here), not simply out of direct interest, but it strikes me this may be a project well worth replicating elsewhere too. For more information contact the director of Calling PK Anwar Ahktar: firstname.lastname@example.org/
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