I’ve been very quiet for a long time I know.
My reasons for that are many but I suppose the reason that underpins it is the uncertainties of these days we are all living through. The virus issues are complex and game-changing for us in the north eastern part of this island as we are now seeing.
Overlaid with the Brexit situation, I think it is fair to say that the days ahead will be unpredictable to say the least. Shifting borders, shifting political allegiences, shifting sands of certainty and demographic change will define our future.
Next year we will have another census. The results will be, shall we say, interesting. There will be two demographic uncertainties that I will be most interested in.
The first will be the numbers who declare as neither nationalist nor loyalist inclined Irish (or British) citizens.
Many of this group will be post GFA born and will have a natural antipathy to being defined by their percieved alleigience to one side or the other. That is their right in a republic and I fully respect it.
The only, and obvious problem, is that they don’t yet live in a republic. They are subjects of an unelected monarch rather than full citizens of a country that elects its head of state.
The historical reasons for this are well documented and discussed. For any readers that wish to research this I’d suggest the 1918 election in Ireland (pre- partition) as a good starting point.
The second point of interest will be the volume of formerly pro unionist people who will engage in reunification consideration and conversations.
Living, as I do, in North Down, it is striking how many people actually consider reunification as a matter of when, not if. They regard the prospect not with horror or fear but with an interest in serious political practicalities. The NHS/HSE, Housing, Welfare, the Homeless, the Economy. These are serious questions and deserving of serious discussions involving all of us.
For some time, i’ve had an ongoing discussion with a serious journalist regarding the question of a Border poll and when to hold it. I think it would be fair to say we disagree on certain points. This journalist believes holding on for a decisive vote is preferable to pushing for a vote tomorrow which may pass with a narrow majority. A valid view.
Naturally, I want a vote tomorrow.
The tide of demographic change is irreversable at this stage and the demographic defecit in the north east of Ireland that is now so obvious to an international as well as a national audience, means that the changes are being exercised by external means.
Our days of being victims are over.
Our days of rejoining the Irish nation are close.
That will require bravery and serious thinking about our path ahead.