The talented Irish footballer, the wise Danny Blanchflower, during a BBC interview in the 1960s referred to his fellow citizens as ‘natives’.
It caused outrage. It was a more innocent time and whilst he read books, others formed their world view from the telly and what was on at the Pictures.
They understood ‘natives’ to be primitive, unquestioning tribal people who on ritual occasions demonstrated their loyalty to the tribe and to the chief regardless of all considerations except the need to ensure tribal dominance.
Blanchflower’s misunderstood description of his fellow citizens comes to mind when one thinks of the many who will leave their homes on May 2 with the conviction that they are about to act as independent, sovereign, individuals who rationally and objectively will cast their vote for the candidate of their choice.
Except, invariably, they’re mistaken!
All the voting evidence indicates that, in the main, perceived Protestants will vote unionist and perceived Catholics will vote nationalist.
That undoubtedly suggests an absence of serious reflection on the complexity of the issues and one expects , as ever, most of the electorate will be voting as ‘natives’.
Wes Holmes, Belfast BT14