Unionism is now at a cross-roads

Fear of condemnation from the British government means unionists will not stand up to republicans
Fear of condemnation from the British government means unionists will not stand up to republicans

Unionism is decadent and divided and will fail altogether if it becomes more fragmented than it already is.

It does not have the backbone any longer to stand up to republicanism because of its division and fear of condemnation from the British government if it does not bow to republican concessions.

Republicanism has done a good job in dividing it and to its great cost, while leaving Northern Ireland in a great mess as unionism wrangles with itself, republicans, and the British government, and gets crushed in the process.

What is there to divide unionism?

The only reliable answer seems to be how much it should engage with Sinn Féin and how much it should condemn republican terrorism associated with it, where applicable.

Unionism should be unionism, but it is not.

A huge wedge has split it and now unionism all hangs on one party, the DUP, with a declining majority.

Unionist block-voting is getting less effective with the diminishment of parties such as the UUP and TUV.

So where is unionism’s future? It is very uncertain.

Hardline parties such as the TUV are sometimes frowned upon for their tough stance on republicanism, but why should unionism capitulate to republicanism or the British government in bending to endless republican concessions?

Unionism is now at the cross-roads of its history and has a decision to make. It either pulls together or gets tangled in a hopeless republican web of deceit and lies and dies in the process.

Northern Ireland can no longer depend on unionism anymore than republicanism to fight its battles for it and fulfil its people’s hopes and aspirations.

It is a open secret that republican voting strength has been growing because of waning unionism.

Unionism is in serious trouble and should admit it.

It needs to bury the hatchet, instead of leaving itself wide open to be crushed.

Unionism has an ethical responsibility to the Union as long as the people in Northern Ireland wish it to be part of the United Kingdom.

It may not be long at all before intransigent Sinn Féin get a majority from the electorate, which may seal Northern Ireland’s fate into a hopeless abyss of fractious and sterile politics.

Unionism is hanging on by a thread and trying to show a brave face, but remains weak and sloppy, while republicans take Northern Ireland back to the past with antiquated impossible demands such as joint authority and pipe-dream aspirations of a united Ireland with no blue print.

They will also take what is left of unionism with it, while it argues and in-fights among itself, while losing credence and support in the public eye.

Unionism better raise its game, because soon it will be sidelined to be replaced by pie-in-the-sky united islanders who are great at mouthing off and collecting their salaries, but deliver nothing only rhetoric and rancour.

With the intransigence of republicanism and the decadence of unionism, the people in Northern Ireland haven’t a prayer!

Maurice Fitzgerald, Shanbally, Co Cork