Below is a quote from 64 years ago. 3 years after the greatest genocide in Europe for centuries if not of all time. I have typed in bold the word that struck me the most:
“The Nationalist majority in the county, i.e., Fermanagh, notwithstanding a reduction of 336 in the year, stands at 3,684. We must ultimately reduce and liquidate that majority. This county, I think it can be safely said, is a Unionist county. The atmosphere is Unionist. The Boards and properties are nearly all controlled by Unionists. But there is still this millstone (the Nationalist majority) around our necks.”
E.C. Ferguson, Unionist Party, then Stormont MP, April 1948.
The 2011 Census gives us the following Percentages for Fermanagh.
The most recent Westminster Election for the Constituency (FST. Not quite the same geographical area) saw a Unionist unity candidate defeated narrowly by a split nationalist vote. 53.1% Nationalist, 45.5% Unionist.
The current LGD makeup is Nationalist 12, Unionist 10 and 1 Independent. That’s a delicate balance so why is Fermanagh so evenly balanced electorally?
The answer is simple. The age profile.
E.C Ferguson would despair at the current demographic balance, not just in Fermanagh but across the North. He understood the importance of demographics as does what currently passes for Unionist Leadership. Hence the noises about converting Catholics to the Unionist cause. As we have seen during the past Summer and over the last few days however, the true face of Unionism reveals itself when it perceives challenge. Over the past few days we have seen the likes of the BNP supporting the “fleg” protests. Catholics would do well to remember the lessons of history. Unionists would do well to learn from those lessons.