Unionist leaders must stop drip-feeding us paranoia
AS I write this, I am hoping in advance that the unionist leaders have used the unfortunate death of Prince Philip (just announced) to ask for all protests this weekend to be called off as a mark of respect to our mourning queen; this will give time for a political solution to the riots.
I suggest we start being honest with our communities.
The constant drip of paranoia from our unionist leaders might get people out to vote but it has also poisoned the minds of our young people and led to these riots which will harm working-class unionist areas.
The constant message to working-class unionists is that you have been betrayed; that the Irish government is out to destroy your identity, your
way of life; that any unionist (like me) who disagrees is a Lundy and of course that the PSNI operates unfairly and cannot be trusted to police our areas.
This is why we have rioting in working-class unionist areas at the moment.
Having elected the DUP to a position of almost absolute power a few years back, we are told that we are still being betrayed, what else can we do?
For a start, we need to stop selling false dreams deliver some honesty about what is possible.
The same point applies to those promoting Irish Unity.
The Good Friday Agreement was built on the foundations of our EU membership; it blurred the distinction between being British and being Irish to the point where it made little difference.
When the DUP among others pursued Brexit it took away that foundation, it sharpened the distinction between being British and Irish, it reopened battle over identity and this led to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Identity politics is always poisonous, even in relatively peaceful England an MP (Jo Cox) lost her life over this.
Unionist politicians need to prepare their supporters for the reality that Northern Ireland’s place within the UK depends on us persuading nationalists that it is possible to live happily as either Irish or British in this part of Ireland.
If you are a unionist (as opposed to an Ulster nationalist) this should be your focus, and it will mean helping people face up to uncomfortable choices.
Sceptics guilty of denying the obvious – the Christian message
“NOT a squeak out of him for 2,000 years!” A sceptic dismisses the tall tale of an invisible deity briefly appearing in human flesh.
Traditional wisdom is to profile the main truth claims by studying the Gospel of John and PTL (Pocket Testament League), which sent more than 100,000 copies to Irish groups at the end of 2020.
RTÉ recently ran an advert speaking of information overload – “infodemic” – and the concise Gospel of John is an antidote. PTL has an even more radical response, though, with a tiny booklet (Seek And You Will Find) containing only the last three chapters of Luke. It includes the Emmaus Road incident, which tells of Christ present but unrecognised.
Our law, government, culture, language and morals, have all emerged from the same pickling vinegar. Christianity has left a unique scent, as characteristic as the hot malt vinegar fumes from freshly wrapped fish and chips.
Some sceptics may be guilty of a very old sin – denying the obvious.
Let’s unite for the NHS before it’s too late
WAITING lists can be fully eradicated by using private hospitals, that is if you can afford it.
A stark choice is either the NHS, free at the point of use, or a private service, proof of payment before use. Remember this; that should insurance be employed, those with chronic conditions will have great difficulty getting cover, not a bother to the very wealthy. The heart and soul of the NHS is being ripped out by this government with their deliberate policy of underfunding, causing the present nursing staff to consider their futures, which would further decimate this service to the point of failure. The Conservative party has been against the NHS since its creation in 1948, with progressive governments, including New Labour, bringing it to its knees, a fact exposed by this pandemic. The only option open to us, especially here in these six counties, is to get together for once, as serious illness knows no sectarian boundaries, and to march as one for the benefit of our NHS, by withholding our labour, so forcing this government to finally supply the vital funds that this amazing service needs: Hopefully, this would include the rest of the UK.
The alternative? To worry about never becoming ill, as it may well be fatal to our future wellbeing – it just depends on how badly you want the NHS.
If we follow the science then normality can return to sport
THE Norther Ireland executive has said that from April 12 only 15 adults can train on one pitch at a time. Any opening is to be celebrated but this rule will disadvantage clubs with only one pitch or where the coach is not able to take successive sessions. Exactly why 15 per pitch was seen as the golden ratio remains a mystery.
A recent study from the Republic showed that only 0.1 per cent of covid transmission occurred in outdoor settings and only 0.05 per cent occurred in sport settings.
If “follow the science” is a sincere mantra then it is pointing quite clearly to a return to normality on the sports field. Sporting bodies such as Ulster GAA and Ulster Rugby need to stand up for their members and contest this policy.