Guest writer Martin Dino McGarrigle shares his thoughts on the receding hopes for a united Ireland.
The Scottish referendum has brought into sharp focus the problems that we Irish will face down the road. Ask any member of SF how they still plan to gain the Republic and they’ll say “we’ll vote them out.” I’m sure any Scots man would’ve said the same 200 years ago.
The problem is that it’s been so long that they (the Scottish) are now assimilated into the United Kin...gdom. For anyone in any doubt of that fact, especially those from Strabane, three words - The Black Watch.
The passive acceptance of "Britishness" is already flourishing among the nationalists of the North. Our language is already permeated with “Britspeak” – I’ve been home and had former Republican prisoners ask me whereabouts “on the mainland” I live!
Most nationalists will tell you they're from "Northern Ireland." This is of course a result of decades of British controlled media constantly bombarding us with these terms to the point where everyone sees them as the norm.
The problem in the nationalist community now is that right from the Civil Rights Movement up to the Hunger Strikes the job of getting equal rights was done too well. Catholics wanted a fair share and now they’re content with their lot (in the most part.)
We now have a Catholic population in the North that is largely upper-working class/ middle class or aspiring to be so. And they will vote with their wallets.
Now that there’s no longer an aggressive nationalist/Republican agenda.The man on the street will surely look to his financial security before he looks at his country.
The H-Blocks were an ugly scar on the face of the world and the world eventually rose up in protest against them. Most importantly the nationalist communities both North and South came together in a way not seen for decades.
Yet there’s young (and some not so young) men languishing in Maghaberry tonight and you’ll never hear a word about them. Now that "peace" has broken out most Catholics are happy to put such uncomfortable thoughts to the back of their minds and will continue to do so while it has no impact on most of their lives or those of their neighbours or families.
And that’s just the North. Does anyone in their right mind really believe that Southerners will vote for a United Ireland? Why would they? From a sense of national pride? That hasn't existed since the hunger strikes.
The abandonment of the armed struggle was a double-edged sword. There’s nothing for southerners to get passionate about and the pragmatists among them will no doubt be in the majority.
What’s going to happen in Scotland is pretty inevitable and for all the bearded-one’s Machiavellian manoeuvring it’s what’ll happen in the North too.
“The ballot box and the bullet?”
Well they gave up the latter and because of that the former will come home and bite them in the arse.