“The Union is safe”

How many times have you heard that particular mantra recently?

A few years ago I had a very interesting conversation with a colleague who was the number 1 in our large multinational company on the health and safety front. He was, and still is, a sound Man. His words, over a few pints away from the office were very prophetic. I, being me, had a rant about the increased restrictions being imposed upon employees due to the fears imposed by H&S dictats. He agreed. He also predicted something and bear in mind that this was a few years ago.

He predicted that risk aversion would lead to inertia. People would simply not take risks. He actually predicted that the safe option would become the norm and as a result companies would suffer. He also predicted that it would become normal for people to lie purely to protect themselves. In essence they would deny principle to enhance personal protection. Does the “Cover your ass” e-mail ring any bells?

Think about that.

“The Union is safe”

It is usually uttered by unionist politicians or journalists prior to a speech about how nationalists are converting en mass to a pro union position on the “constitutionalist question”. Apparently, according to unionists, the future of the north eastern six counties will, after all, be decided by those of a nationalist background according to Peter Robinson today. Well blow me down with a big feather duster. Perhaps the point of this little blog has some relevance after all.

Of course Peter has known for some time that the premise of this blog and others is important. Hence the pathetic outreach nonsense. Today we had the entirely predictable nonsense where loyalists totally ignored the parades commission determination not to play provocative songs outside a place of catholic worship. Again. Is anyone here surprised?

As usual unionism is still fighting the battles of years past. Things have moved on and bypassed them yet again. I have thought about blogging on the glorification of the UVF and comparing that with the insistence upon conceptions such as “surrender” and their definition of the term “terrorism”. The comparisons with their horror at the thought of an IRA shrine at Long Kesh.  That would be too simple to be honest. I have simply given up on mainstream unionism being capable of entering or engaging in a grown up conversation about our future. I emphasise the word “our”. (I absolutely do not include individual unionist people in that, particularly my friends who read and sometimes comment here)

I think it is time to move on beyond this and there have been some very interesting blogs on other sites along these lines recently. Sinn Fein have being making noises about an All Ireland referendum. Hmmm. My opinion is that the mechanics need to be fleshed out first. That is starting to happen and it is very interesting

I’m well on for that and I propose to blog tomorrow on details. Not my details but those proposed  by others who, like me, are not party political, but concerned for what will become of us all in coming days.

My friend, and he is still a friend, was right. The difference is I and others have nothing to fear. Unlike professional politicians we are free to say what we think and explore the possibilities.

The Union as unionists understand it is no more. It is time for their politicians to stop lying to them and it is time for engagement. That is why the BCC flag issue was such a shock to their system. I have been accused on occasion of being a bit of a lecturer. If I am I apologise but am I wrong?

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