When you leave all the bluster and sectarian needling to one side, the principal message to have emerged from the latest census seems to be that most people simply want to get on with their lives. Issues pertaining to flags and culture and all the other tribal minutia that will remain of overarching concern on websites like this, seem to have little relevance out there in the real world. Increasingly, it seems the man on the street is happy to acknowledge the amalgamation of identities that is Northern Ireland. He is happy to move on.
I'm a republican, but I am one in the original sense of the word, meaning that I respect the principle of listening to what the people have to say, regardless of whether it's what I personally want to hear or not. We have to be honest with ourselves in terms of how the the wind is blowing in Northern Ireland. We have to accept that people simply no longer want to play a part in the "us versus them" nonsense that has defined the place since the troubles first broke out. The growing obsolescence of zero-sum politics in the province is embodied in the amalgamation of identities that last year's census has served to highlight. It should be respected.
What does 'respect' mean in this context? It means accepting that, while a journey remains ahead for nationalists, the destination is no longer so clear.
I'd be interested in hearing people's opinion on what that destination should be.