UK news Malachi O’Doherty: No end to sectarianism while we turn every issue into ‘us versus them’ last news
PremierLeague-News.Com - I personally couldn’t care a hoot about unionist unity or nationalist unity. Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has blamed the Ulster Unionists for splitting the unionist electorate and losing seats. This would be a serious concern if the loss of those seats jeopardised the one common concern that all unionists have — the Union. It doesn’t.
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! "I personally couldn’t care a hoot about unionist unity or nationalist unity. Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has blamed the Ulster Unionists for splitting the unionist electorate and losing seats. This would be a serious concern if the loss of those seats jeopardised the one common concern that all unionists have — the Union. It doesn’t. One potential of the Good Friday Agreement was to remove all fretting about a united Ireland and the security of the Union from political parties and hand responsibility for any future decision on changing the present constitutional arrangement to the people.That being the case, it should have been possible for parties to concentrate on other things.But both Sinn Fein and the DUP concentrate on consolidating votes for or against the Union.The DUP agonises more over this than Sinn Fein does, but the simple fact is neither of them has a hope of determining the outcome of a border poll and both would be better directing their energies elsewhere.Instead, we get the politics of culture warfare as each side seeks to shore up the traditional identity it seeks to represent. Even that strategy is calamitous for both.If you present the primary concerns of unionism as being cultural or symbolic you exclude those who might be quite content in the Union but wouldn’t get out of bed to see the Queen if she was walking down the street.If you pile all your republican energies into securing statutory endorsement of the Irish language, then you fail to appeal to those who think they can get through life without knowing the difference between ‘Is’ and ‘Ta’.The unionist concern for the protocol has the semblance of a pragmatic exception to the usual concerns, but the fact that positions on it divide along the old sectarian lines, and that it has become a unionist issue rather than a broadly popular one, does the same job of cutting off support that might otherwise be available.When Donaldson lined up with the Orange Order and loyalists to oppose the protocol and pulled his party out of Stormont in protest against it, he made it plain, as far as he was concerned, this had nothing to do with the likes of me and my Auntie Betty.Uniting people within their separate camps is just old fashioned sectarianism. It tells all unionists they have a prime responsibility to pull together against nationalism.Are their nuances to the argument over the protocol? It doesn’t matter if there are, says the DUP leader, we need to hold the line together.At the same time Donaldson is blind to how the actual argument for the Union fails to win converts.The very fact he blames the UUP for losing seats for the unionists demonstrates he has no idea where other support might have been found. Yet about 40% of those entitled to vote don’t bother.
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.And apparently about 20% of those who are assumed to be nationalists aren’t really nationalists at all. So there is a pool of possible support for causes the DUP is concerned about which it never dips into.The campaign against the protocol is the starkest example of an issue that doesn’t have to be a unionist cause, but which has been framed as such.Ultimately, the solution will be pragmatic. If the problems are real then they don’t discriminate between Protestants and Catholics.When Sinn Fein chose to rally round the demand for an Irish Language Act it campaigned on the argument there was nothing sectarian about the language and was careful not to alienate Protestant interest in it by coupling it with republican tradition.There was little reason to doubt that at the heart of Sinn Fein’s concern was the old republican desire to amplify a Gaelic tradition and accentuate the distinction nationalists want from Britishness.However, there was no need for it to declare that.But the DUP howls about how the protocol guts the Act of Union and makes out that its main offence is to compromise unionist identity.Yet we can be sure whatever resolution is found — the green and red channel idea or something like it — this will not be a Protestant solution or a unionist solution; it will have no bearing on culture or identity, but will simply ease the flow of ready made sandwiches and potted plants into Larne harbour.Some nationalists will be as happy as some unionists, and many of both will be entirely indifferent.Then the flag wavers will look for something else to get upset about.Of course, the ordinary unionist voter like the ordinary nationalist one says there is nothing sectarian about taking up a position on the Union or the Irish language or the protocol.Reasonable people will hold these opinions honestly without any concern to offend.And that’s true. But collectively their concerns clearly bundle together into sectarian camps.If we can accuse, say, the Metropolitan Police of being institutionally racist, we can much more easily accuse political parties, newspapers, parading organisations and cultural societies of being institutionally sectarian if they direct their appeal at just one side of the community.Politicians who deserve respect are the ones who are trying to help us out of division and communal rivalry, not the ones who are seeking to consolidate them."
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