On last week’s Sunday Politics, Peter Osborne of the Community Relations Council twice described the North as being ‘less than halfway through a fifty year plus peace process’, the second time around arguing we were still only ‘twenty years into a fifty year plus peace strategy’.
The introduction of this theme at this time is no accident, for here we see the British state, through the subtle employ of NGOs, attempting to manage political ‘outworkings’ should the unionist majority in the Six Counties be lost, this by introducing that Irish Unity has long and only ever been understood as a possibility fifty years forward from ‘Good Friday’ minimum — if at all.
Alongside the emerging notion of an agreed new Ireland — a notion advanced by various shades of the constitutional establishment, from Fine Gael through New Sinn Féin — it is apparent where this narrative is set toward. Like the ‘agreed Ireland’ construct of Varadkar and co, it is not towards full Irish Unity.
Instead, we see a renegotiation of Good Friday here mooted — leading onto further compromise with the British state post-a nationalist majority in the North, under the requirements of this supposed peace process. This negotiation is intended to mount a forward bulwark between Britain’s claims to Ireland and an independent 32-county Irish Republic.
Those set on a border poll as the road to Irish Freedom, who argue the merit of mechanisms established under the Good Friday Agreement attendant to Irish Unity — that dictate how it will be arrived upon, by whom and in what form — might do well to take on board the implications.