The Union is an idea but Northern Ireland is a working reality says PETE SHIRLOW
The issue concerning the Union with Great Britain is not so much a matter of what Northern Ireland will be in 2021 but more about how identity is shifting and adapting to the consequences of devolution and
our ability to shape and fashion shared future
Undoubtedly, identity is being shaped and fashioned by forces, ideas and lifestyles that are beyond the control of the political classes.
The internet, globalisation and changes in the labour market are now the sites in which the present and future are being shaped.
Identity is less likely to be framed by religion, history or 'values' that shaped the island of Ireland in the 20th century.
The once conservative grip on the people of this island changed with the onset of new labour markets, changing consumption practices and the
decline in the relevance of nationalism, whether Irish or British, as articles of complete faith and uncomplicated devotion.
The problem being, many pretend these identities are more important to them than they really are.
evident shifts are to be found in two ways: The Life and Times Survey of 2009 indicated that 47 per cent of Catholic respondents supported the link with the UK, mostly via the option of devolution.
In the recent Westminster elections it could be estimated that some 45 per cent of those from unionist backgrounds did not vote.