Unionists and nationalists must more bravely address what we’re becoming (not just what we’ve been)…

Good back and forth on Nolan with Alex Kane over atmosphere around talks which I reckon will eventually prove fruitful. Notwithstanding Peter’s useful warning against reading too much into the Alliance party’s recent success: the DUP and SF do have a shared problem.


The collective over playing of the constitutional card has seen a rebound which, as Matt O’Toole observes in today’s Irish Times simply resumes an established long term pattern:

…unionist parties have not won an overall majority of votes since 2005.

The dominant – though often unspoken – view in northern nationalism has been structural shifts in demography will create a majority for Irish unification. But despite the Catholic population rising, the nationalist vote has plateaued – if not slightly declined.

Sinn Féin and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) collectively won 35 per cent of the vote in the European elections, down from 42 per cent in the same elections a decade ago.

Some will say this is because lots of nationalists “lent” their preferences to Alliance in this election, but until the provocations of Brexit and the renewable heat incentive scandal, the same trend was visible in Stormont and Westminster elections.

Those provocations are not over, but nor have they proven to be the hoped for political Jackpot. We are in a long transition and in the process tracing new critical paths towards becoming human again after a period of great mutual cruelty.

In the very length of this process, if we are lucky, we may learn to forget about those things that kept us apart and bring to mind more bravely what we are actually becoming through the affordance both of the Belfast Agreement and this long peace…

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge is licensed under CC0