Back in the “olden days” when my children were very young, I perfected the art of diverting  their attention on occasion. This usually occurred when an uncomfortable topic came up for discussion or money was required for whatever particular item couldn’t be lived without. In current parlance it’s called “spotting a Squirrel” as in “Oh look, there’s a Squirrel over there!”

Machiavelli wrote on the subject as well. “No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution.” The Prince.

As did Shakespeare: “Be it thy course to busy giddy minds
With foreign quarrels.”
William Shakespeare: Henry IV Part II, Sc. IV

I have deliberately avoided commenting on the Jamie Bryson antics as I don’t want to discourage him but given that, apparently, The DUP have been briefing the MachiavelliLoyalist lunatic fringe recently, this came to mind, Machiavelli again: “There are three kinds of intelligence: one kind understands things for itself, the other appreciates what others can understand, the third understands neither for itself nor through others. This first kind is excellent, the second good, and the third kind useless.”

There has been a noticable shift in recent days, out in the Bloggersphere, away from the Haass debacle and towards the realisation that it is a numbers game here in the “Wee North” after all.

Over at The Detail, Steven McCaffery has the following to say:

“Arguably the more far-reaching story was the Northern Ireland census results

Political Unionism reacts to the 2011 Census

Political Unionism reacts to the 2011 Census

released in December 2012, the same month that the row erupted over restricting the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall. The census marked an historic shift, unprecedented in Northern Ireland’s history – but it has barely registered in the public mind.” He goes onto explore arguments around Joint Sovereignty and concludes with the following: “But the original Christmas story reminds us how birth-rates can have a bigger impact on events than politicians.” Quite.

Naturally Slugger got in on the act with Brian Walker coming up with the startling fact that “A new numbers game is almost  upon us. How will it play out will become  an increasingly bigger part of our obsessive wee agenda” Really Brian? That’s news to regular readers of this wee blog, ahem.

My favourite grump, FJH had something to say on the matter as well. He mentions Letsgetalongarists only six times but his point is, as usual, sharp.

Am Gobsmacht came up with a typically hilarious take on unionist negotiating prowess over at LAD. His points are very well made as usual, in summary he gives us an historical tour of unionist strategies and what resulted since 1690.

So, what have we got?

In essence, it’s still all about the numbers and this is being recognised by a wider Squirrelnumber of commentators. A recurring theme of this blog is the fact that whatever the demographics it’s only the votes that actually count. There is a clear correllation between the demographic percentages and those voting for nationalist parties. In 2011, all ages below 38 were majority catholic. That age is now 41 as noted here by Enda. We have upcoming elections this year which will be interesting to say the least.

Political unionism is in it’s usual state of confusion and has learned nothing from previous negotiations. It is still obsessed with flegs and fleggers. Most nationalists couldn’t give a “Monkeys” about their fleg and are looking on with amusement. Most nationalists also know a Squirrel when they see one.