"Brexit challenges the identity of Ulster unionism"Brexit challenges the identity of Ulster unionism
In today's Irish Times, the Northern Irish Unionist Alex Kane writes what is essentially a "come and get us" letter to Irish nationalism. It of the highest significance, in my opinion, and shows how Brexit has shattered the pre-existing constitutional certainties. It is most illuminative of the thinking taking place at present within the highest ranks of Unionism.
In the article Kane more than hints that moderate Unionists post-Brexit could be persuaded to join a United Ireland, if a broad non-Sinn-Féin-led coalition of nationalists could present a convincing case.
Have we the politicians of the required calibre to seize this opportunity, however? I am doubtful. It is clear that, contrary to what they might wish, Sinn Féin are an impediment to unity, carrying (still) too much baggage from the recent past. Fine Gael, Labour et al are 26 County nationalists at best (Leo Varadkar anyone?). Fianna Fáil, amazingly, did not even have a policy on unity and now (in response to Sinn Féin's lead on this) are hastily cobbling one together.
Where then does the lead on this come from? What baggage-free group/groups can take up the banner and seize an historical opportunity to achieve what should be a national objective? What pro-national forces are capable of countering the anti-national forces and agendas in the establishment and media? Will we see this opportunity lost due to the lack of imagination and small-town thinking of our pygmy political class?
I hope not, but I am not hopeful.