Ulster’s Problem (2022.01)

It’s obvious that Ulster has a problem, but it wasn’t the majority there caused it. It showed in people there, but that’s not where it started. At the start of it all, an outsider sent loyalists to supplant natives a long time ago, and through their descendants over generations the problem arrived. That’s common knowledge. But while it’s easy to blame the pro-Brexit DUP, it might be better for us to remember that ultimately they’re victims too. Like us and the EU, they’re victims of the Conservatives and their ancestors and predecessors; of the ones who dispossessed the Scots of land originally.

There’s certainly more than one problem from Brexit. Not least of which is that of being gentle when telling the DUP, “we told you so”. Part of that problem being that they won’t believe the ones who warned them originally. They themselves are responsible for any resulting negative outcomes, but people generally don’t admit their own failings.

This has happened here before. In the 1960’s the ascendant Unionists were warned their policies of discrimination against nationalists, and against those not of an officially favoured religion would lead to trouble. They continued, against that common sense advice. Those Troubles didn’t end until thousands were dead, and people came from outside to ensure fairness among the groups during peace talks. A conclusion with which Brexit is incompatible.

While Clinton, Mitchell, and others did an excellent job, surely we can solve the problem today ourselves. Must we wait for Clinton and Mitchell, or their present equivalents to be available, or can the people of this island sort the matter of the ‘border’ out for themselves?

The border is the most of the problem, though inevitable unity is now closer than ever.

The greatest advantage the Americans had was that they were outsiders, independent of each group. The people of this island are fortunate at this disputatious time that there are outsiders here always. Because the border was the implementation of an apartheid of Protestant from Roman Catholic, and history showing the effect of that on both sides, anyone claiming impartiality should be separate from those religions.

Wolfe Tone stated his aim to be, “to substitute the common name of Irishmen in place of the denomination of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter”. Which reminds us that those who may validly call themselves dissenters may have a duty to step forward. After a century, no-one is happy with how things are now.

In the North is a Protestant state that threatens always to slip back to 1690; in the South a Roman Catholic state still deriving it’s legitimacy from a Constitution which itself derives it’s legitimacy from a prayer, in which ‘republic’ every atheist and humanist is a second-class citizen. Non-believers are the “dissenters” in both parts of the island, and of growing number.

Do we not have a responsibility? Inevitable unity draws even closer, but who else could steer such a ship peacefully into harbour? There’s an absence of a bill of rights, though such was expected following the Belfast Agreement of 1998, and that’s the potential cargo of Brexit for the whole island.

There’s a clear need for a bill of rights while Conservatives steer the UK. Here, admitting our imperfections, can the people of Humanism Ireland – as the dissenters mentioned by that famed Ulster Protestant – find a solution? We’re the outsiders who are always here.

The price for such a service, should be an all-island Secular Republic, established with EU assistance. And all we’re really asking the Unionist people to be is unionist with us, their neighbours with whom they already share the island.

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