Unionists should shun any citizens’ assembly on Irish unification

News Letter editorial on Thursday May 19 2022:

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

When Dr Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness were First and Deputy First Minister the Israeli Ambassador came to Belfast to meet them.

During his visit he was asked if the time would come soon when Israel would have to sit down and talk to Hamas.

The Ambassador gave a pithy and apposite reply, asking those who put forward the question: “What would we talk about? The colour of the flowers on our graves?”

Of course there can be no comparisons between the Islamist terror network that runs Gaza and those within Irish republicanism whose designs on Northern Ireland remain eliminationist, albeit these days through peaceful constitutional and political chicanery.

On top of various pressure groups urging unionists to engage in talks about Ireland’s future or to dream in 32 county colours, Sinn Fein are promoting a Dublin government all Ireland citizen’s assembly to ‘debate’ the shape of a new political entity on this island.

Of course there is no ‘debate’ in any such fora as republicanism’s goal here is not to preserve but to eliminate the Union. The only ‘debate’ is the colour of the flowers on the Union’s grave.

Unionists - whether they are of the liberal, traditional or progressive tendency - take note: there is nothing to be gained by turning up at such a ‘citizen’s assembly’ or participating in nationalist echo chambers.

Debate on the airwaves, yes, but sometimes, as the Israelis often point out, it is good not to talk. Israel exists in a tough neighbourhood in the eastern Mediterranean and it is from that same part of the world where unionists can draw a lesson from ancient history. It concerns a siege that ended not initially by the storming of battlements but a gift that the besieging army left the embattled inhabitants. It was called the Trojan Horse.