When Oirish separatism makes so much propagandistic capital out of the opinions of a septuagenarian nobody, you know their constitutional agenda has hit the buffers. Republicanism’s own Imam, Bigoted Bri, had much to say about the hypothetical prognostications of Sir Kenneth Bloomfield and his address to an Irish summer school on the future direction of Northern Ireland.
For me, this speech contained nothing more than a few heavily-qualified hypotheses about the far distant future washed down with a dose of Vichy Unionism. Some Unionist representatives chose to give it more attention than it deserved; nationalists went into full Fenian ‘Chucky’ mode, of which Bigoted Bri’s arrogant analysis is but one poorly-conceived part.
‘Instead they concentrated on one sentence in which Bloomfield said: "I do not find the idea of some form of Irish unity or closer association in any way unthinkable in principle." Shock, horror.
For the doyen of the liberal unionist establishment, even though he is not associated with any political party, to come out with that line – however hedged around with qualifications – was too much for the political pygmies who populate the unionist landscape.’
‘Political pygmies’, eh? I suppose the label would not be applied to those leaders within his own community who have CVs in terror, murder, kidnapping, international arms deals and robbery. Does holding a ministerial position in a region whose official name is constantly denied not count as pygmyism? Of course not. For the IRA are sugar and spice and all things Semtex.
If Bloomfield’s summer school delivery (that it was made at a summer school and not in the corridors of power in London says everything about its lack of importance) indicates anything, it shows that Ulster and the Irish Republic may have a closer cooperative association in the future. I see nothing wrong with that. Sustained friendly neighbourliness with the Republic will go some way to convincing myself and thousands of other Unionists that the Republic should not be cut adrift, towed out into the Atlantic, and sunk.
‘"We have been made to feel peculiarly unloved by many of those to whom we have pledged our loyalty for generations."
Home truths unionists need to contemplate.’
The IRA lost one of its seats in the last Irish election on a platform of stability in Northern Ireland and the relative cessation of terrorist activity. Furthermore, not one of Bertie Ahern’s choices for the Senate had a Northern Ireland background. Leaving aside the increasingly rare outpourings of nationalist sentimentality, the Republic – where over 10% of its population is now foreign-born – is moving on.
Home truths separatists need to contemplate.
‘Again, because unionists did not read Bloomfield’s paper they were not aware that he posed serious and difficult questions for any Irish government, including what alterations they would make to Irish institutions to accommodate the Britishness and unionism of people in the north, and the costs of subsidising the north, which he compared with the impact on Germany of absorbing East Germany.’
Again, because of his nationalistic sclerosis, BB is incapable of analysing the huge and prohibitive financial costs involved in absorbing another territory where a huge percentage of the population would be in almost certain open revolt. Still, we’ll leave that to Vichy Unionists. Woe betide any separatist would want to face up to that elephant in the room.
‘Disraeli said, "change is constant".’
Yes, and only Bri is ruling out the possibility that some current separatists could become reconciled to the existence of the Union. Change may be constant, but is also works both ways.