If it is true that history is written by the victors, then Irish republicans are looking like they must have been the winners of the Troubles, because their thoroughly dishonest version of the past is gaining the upper hand.
Whether it is Wikipedia entries into past sectarian atrocities, which are presented as necessary military actions, or pro-nationalist Black Taxi tours of west Belfast, which dominate the Troubles tourist trail, unionists have failed almost entirely to explain their reasonable and just position.
This is partly because unionists are not skilled at public relations, but may also be due to fatigue, caused by decades of resisting terrorism. This seems to have left people feeling relieved that they are only now fighting a propaganda war, but too drained to resist those who have boundless energy for distortion.
It seems now to be widely believed by nationalist Ireland that this Province was an apartheid state which murdered its foes, when in truth it was often far ahead of the Republic in protection of their everyday rights, and was a nation so dedicated to the rule of law that it responded with exceptional restraint and moderation in the face of paramilitary depravity.
Even Margaret Thatcher’s death has led to a wave of nonsense. Her attempt to stand up to terrorist blackmail has been depicted as the behaviour of a tyrant who was unbending in the face of brave, vulnerable, idealistic young men starving themselves to death.
This re-writing of history is approaching crisis proportions, because it is fuelling dissident violence. Moderate nationalists have much to answer for, with their repeated calls for the release of unrepentant republicans and their incessant questioning of the anti-terrorism operations.
Amid such a backdrop, there is growing anxiety at plans for a centre at the Maze. Even presenting the past neutrally, which is the best scenario for supporters of the British link, is problematic because it places terrorists and the state on an equal footing.
The DUP is adamant that it will not be party to anything that glorifies terrorism. This is important, because the IRA campaign, which sought to ethnically cleanse Protestants, has been sanitised enough as it is.