Remember the Referendum Party which campaigned for the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU? It’s gone!
Remember the United Kingdom Independence Party - UKIP - which led the ‘Leave’ charge which won that referendum? It has all but vanished politically.
Remember the Brexit Party which campaigned to ensure the UK actually got out of the EU and there would be no political back door to sneak back into the EU?
The Brexit Party now has a new identity and presumably is trying to make sure the BoJo-run Tory Party does not find itself at the centre of a ‘Remain’ coup for the UK to rejoin some kind of rehashed original European Economic Community (EEC).
In spite of a new era of Unionist unity against the Protocol not witnessed since the Ulster Says No campaign opposing the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement, Unionism as a political ideology is now in the electoral minority in Northern Ireland.
While Sinn Fein seems cock-a-hoop at the prospect of a border poll and the potential for a unity vote, the republican movement has not taken into consideration the future of Sinn Fein if there is a united Ireland.
Put bluntly, why do we still need a republican movement and even a Sinn Fein party if Ireland is politically united?
The same question could also be posed to moderate nationalism in the form of the SDLP? A united Ireland would surely force the SDLP to formally merge with either Fine Gael or Fianna Fail, with the ‘old style Gerry Fitt’ socialist wing of the SDLP throwing their lot in with the Irish Labour Party.
While that’s the nationalist problem solved, Irish unity still leaves a massive political migraine for the republican movement. What exactly would Sinn Fein campaign for in a united Ireland given that both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael will copy Sinn Fein and organise their parties on an all-island basis.
What instructions would the IRA’s ruling Army Council give its political wing on a way forward, or would Sinn Fein lapse back into its main role before the 1980 and 1981 republican hunger strikes - a glorified social club to commemorate the rebels of the 1916 Easter Rising, organising celebrations to mark the anniversaries of dead IRA members, or indulging in historical revisionism on how the IRA drove the British and Unionists out of Ireland.
Sinn Fein would do well to remember the aftermath of its massive election victories in the 1918 Westminster General Election when the party clinched over 70 of the 105 Commons seats when the island was entirely under British rule.
And when the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1920 gave 26 counties dominion status, what did Sinn Fein do? It split and sparked a bloody Irish Civil War between pro and anti-Treaty elements which resulted in more IRA men being executed by the fledgling Free State forces than were killed fighting the Black and Tans during the earlier War of Independence.
Indeed, during the Second World War when millions were being butchered in Hitler’s death camps across Europe, some IRA folk wanted to climb into bed terrorism-wise with the Nazis.
But then that’s typical of the hypocrisy of the republican movement. In the Second World War, while tens of thousands of Irish nationalists signed up to the various Allied forces and were fighting the evils of the Third Reich, the IRA decided to bomb Britain!
Just as in 1916 when tens of thousands of Irish nationalists rallied to the Allied cause against the tyrannical Kaiser Bill of Germany, Irish rebels decided to stage their doomed Easter Rising in Dublin.
Even in the years after the end of World War Two, many Sinn Fein and Republican elected TDs refused to take their seats in Dail Eireann.
It was only the historic vote in 1986 when Sinn Fein delegates supported the end of abstentionism in Leinster House that this outdated policy was finished - but not before hardliners walked out to form the dissident Republican Sinn Fein party.
Sinn Fein now portrays itself as the main party fighting austerity in Southern Ireland, mainly targeting a young vote or first time voters for whom the terrorist atrocities of Bloody Friday, Enniskillen, Kingsmill, La Mon and the thousands of people slaughtered by the IRA are merely names and dates in history books.
Ironically, in spite of the huge mandate which Sinn Fein notched up in the 2019 Dail General Election, no one still wants to share power with Sinn Fein in a Leinster House coalition government.
In the event of Irish unity, all that’s left for Sinn Fein to do is to come clean about its political agenda and admit that it is nothing more than a communist party wrapped in shamrocks.
Sinn Fein boasts its heritage to and celebrates James Connolly - executed by the British in the aftermath of the failed Easter Rising - a devout communist who had founded his own hard-Left Irish Socialist Republican Party in the years prior to the Rising.
Perhaps the electoral fate which awaits Sinn Fein in the ‘new Ireland’ is the same result which saw the SDLP ‘wipe the floor vote wise’ with Sinn Fein in Foyle in the last Westminster General Election.
No doubt Sinn Fein spin doctors will be burning the midnight oil to devise a new role and image for the Provisional IRA’s apologist party in the ‘new Ireland’.
But with the hard-Left People Before Profit movement sweeping up the extreme Left voters in Southern Ireland, will people still buy in to Sinn Fein’s Marxist-Leninist clap-trap?
In 1985, the then DUP leader Rev Ian Paisley launched his local government election campaign with the slogan ‘Smash Sinn Fein’, with photos of Paisley brandishing a sledge hammer.
Perhaps the best way to ‘smash Sinn Fein’ as a significant political party is to create the very agenda it seeks - all-island unity. Maybe, like the comedy show Blackadder, so-called Civic Unionism has a cunning plan to do just that!
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Listen to Dr John Coulter’s religious show, Call In Coulter, every Saturday morning around 10.15 am on Belfast’s Christian radio station, Sunshine 1049 FM, or listen online at www.thisissunshine.com