Kevin Toolis provides a fascinating take (h/t John at Nuzhound) on the quiet unionist syndrome noted here yesterday when he looks to Northern Ireland for lessons to draw for Scotland which will in the Autumn time begin to pick up speed in the run to an election… For its adherents Nationalism, he notes, “possesses an intrinsic moral good” which “trumped all personal sacrifice..”
…Whatever the polls say, the Yes believers are likely to turn out in far greater numbers to vote as they have an unequivocal belief in their cause. This nationalist base is far more united and no amount of negative arguments, economic or otherwise, will deter them.
Inevitably, the No camp has a far harder task. How do you get your electorate to get up in the morning and go to the polling station to positively vote No? The No camp can appeal either by dangerously sophisticated complex constitutional or economic arguments. Or they can drive their voters to the polls negatively by blind fear.
The lessons of Ireland are however of little comfort for Unionism. Regardless of who picks up the bill, the political prizes usually go to those with the sharpest nationalist defined goals rather than a luke-warm marriage bed of compromise. If the nationalists can set the clock, the agenda, for everything to be measured up against the “N” of nationalism then all countervailing arguments, and the cause of Unionism, are doomed because all those political positions will always fail the SNP nationalist bar test. There is no positive ground for the Unionist camp to occupy, just a slow defeatist retreat towards the nationalist position.
That ascendant nationalist party will in time strangle and destroy the half-hearted, equivocating political rivals. “Compromise” is indeed a dirty word in nationalist politics.
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