David McNarry: Any new settlement must have British dimension

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In tackling talks with the purpose to advance and secure the future of Northern Ireland it is imperative that unionism copper-fastens that all future agreements, be they on devolution and/or Brexit, are solidified legally on a ‘British dimension‘.

From Trimble through to Foster, republicans and nationalists have treated ‘power sharing’ as the by–product of an Irish dimension. Not true!

Unionists are a proud and passionate people. Unionism bought into devolution because it was designed to be all-inclusive and imaginative. In doing so unionism said to the opposition ‘please’ make this work for the good of all in Northern Ireland.

Lamentably it has taken over a decade of falsehoods and false dawns to realise that the republican and nationalist response has been to throw ‘please’ back in our faces.

A calculated decision to raise tensions by pitting Irishness against Britishness, initiating a dangerous revival of anti-British all-island political activity particularly over Brexit and the border. It sounds and looks threatening!

A collective Irish political caucus is saying ‘no to the union’, ‘no to Brexit’ ‘no to direct rule’, ‘no to the respect and rights of unionism’ and ‘no to a British dimension’. These people have consciously turned to disrespecting unionism and our Britishness.

The evidence of this shift is witnessed by the cosy castle nationalist establishment proclaiming Leo Varadkar as their ‘all Ireland godfather’. Unionism has seen it all before when John Hume played the Irish card with some effect.

Since when too many wilting unionists were suckered into agreeing that dual nationality meant Irish first.

2018 will be a test of the people’s resolve and a defining period for corporate unionism . The country is crying out for a lasting agreement. Unionism requires a ‘settlement’ removing all conflicts of identity. A settlement based on a ‘British dimension’ will provide the Assembly with an identity to govern with authority and integrity. ”That in fact is what devolution is all about”.

In a nutshell unionism reserves the right as is the majority choice to remain British and be governed as any other constituent part of the United Kingdom. However it remains to be seen how far those demanding hybrid Irish/EU dual citizenship are willing and prepared to sign up to a settlement within a ‘British dimension’.