A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble – Mahatma Gandhi.
The current unrest on the streets of Northern Ireland is understandable to any knowledgeable student of NI politics.
In 1998, the Belfast Agreement institutionalised sectarianism, rewarding the men of terror by appeasing their every demand, in return for a bomb-free mainland.
The decimation of the RUC, at the behest of the very people responsible for hundreds of murders of its courageous members, was nothing short of appalling, and twinned with the early release of murderers was an abomination in not just UK politics, but unprecedented in any developed country.
Presently we are witnessing what myself and others warned of back then as a consequence of appeasing terrorism.
The unionist community are slowly but surely beginning to wake up to the fact that they have been used, abused and conned.
The very fact that a majority of Catholics persist in voting for Sinn Fein/IRA is ample evidence to my community that there is no chance whatsoever of any ‘shared future’.
The intolerance of the nationalist community and the organised protests against remembering our fallen heroes of the Great War is but one example of the war of attrition currently being manufactured by SF/IRA, and willingly entertained and supported both at the ballot box and on the streets of NI.
The removal of the Union Flag shows exactly what the future holds, and it is anything but shared, which only adds to the sense of isolation in the unionist community.
After decades of the IRA bombing the guts out of Belfast we even have the ridiculous spectacle of SF/IRA having the audacity to complain about the cost of policing the disturbances.
The many loyalists at interfaces are at their wits’ end and openly express they feel they have nothing more to lose after the humiliation foisted upon them by the pan-nationalist front.
The so-called peace process has eventually been recognised for what it is; blatant appeasement of republican terrorism.
The IRA reaped enormous concessions from a weak and shamefully unworthy government; and now the PUL (Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist) community have seen that violence pays.
The resonance of that potent fact is rippling through the swathes of normally placid and morally upright citizens of NI.
When you have nothing left to lose, you have everything to gain.
Stephen Cooper is a writer and former senior member of the UK Unionist Party