What have you done for me lately?

I’ve just read Andy Pollak’s piece:

How are nationalists going to get unionist consent for unity if they don’t actively work for reconciliation with that community?

It’s a lengthy piece that heavily features excerpts from comments and gestures from Leo Varadker and an analysis of Ireland’s Future aims and objectives. The OP is one of a recent number that focuses on ‘unionist consent’ in the event of Irish unification as if consent by unionism is some sort of prerequisite for unification.

As an Irish reunificationist, I’ve argued that Irish nationalism shouldn’t waste time and resources on unionists who simply refuse to be persuaded and will simply use the issue of consent as an obstacle to impede the reunification campaign and should instead focus on the some 20% of undecideds who can be persuaded, (interestingly any suggestions I’ve seen regarding how any reunified Ireland should change seems to have come from unionists rather than this actual 20%)

I’ve also often stated that in the event of reunification, Irish nationalism should be as magnanimous, generous and accommodating as possible to unionists, some of the things I’ve proposed are:

  • Constitutional guarantees (in addition to International and European legislation), protecting unionist identity and traditions
  • The Twelfth of July becoming a national holiday
  • Orange marches to continue in existing ‘shared spaces’ and traditional areas where they’re welcomed.
  • Existing July bonfires to continue subject to environmental legislation

My preference is to retain the Irish National Flag and replace the National Anthem, but I would suggest that both issues could be up for debate.

What I’d like to do in response to Andy’s piece is to reverse the question;

What is unionism prepared to do to accommodate and reconcile nationalists within the Six Counties?

The flag –

Much like the unionist complaint that the Irish Tricolour is offensive because it’s associated with Republican armed groups the same charge can be levelled against the Union Flag and loyalist armed groups, (and or course those responsible for Ballymurphy, Bloody Sunday, Springhill, the MRF, Brian Nelson etc)

What concessions on the Union Flag is unionism prepared to make to make nationalism more comfortable?

The National Anthem –

‘God Save the King’ isn’t just non-representative of Irish nationalists, it’s also non-representative of wider republicanism

What concessions on the National Anthem is unionism prepared to make to make nationalism more comfortable?

The Irish Language –

What concessions on the public use of the Irish Language outside the Gaeltacht Quarter is unionism prepared to make nationalism more comfortable?

Nomenclature –

Royal Avenue, the Royal Victoria Hospital, Windsor Park, Queens University, Wellington Place, Victoria Sq, Fashoda Street, Magdala Street, Havelock House etc in the Belfast all reflect the British Monarchy and British military victories (I’m sure there are others wider afield but Belfast is what I’m familiar with).

What concessions on public nomenclature is unionism prepared to make to reflect Irish nationalism?

Casement Park-

‘Nuff said

So, there we have it; just exactly what is unionism prepared to do to accommodate Irish nationalism and make it more comfortable within the Six Counties? Or does the status quo have a perpetual entitlement to exist, and do concession and accommodation have to be a one-way street?

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