Our society is deadlocked by the past; more specifically by political parties wanting to prove their mettle by dwelling in the past and pushing it in front of us. It seems that every week that goes by there is a new transgression, a new legacy of the past that will thwart the development of our deserved future.
Meanwhile we are seeing the equivalent of cultural hand grenades as both sides work to provoke each other. The outgoing PSNI chief claimed that on on night, his officers had to police 84 different flag protests all because of a cultural sensitivity regarding the removal of a flag. We can blame the loyalist community for a severe over-reaction that has cost our society millions but we cannot ignore those who lit the fuse – the Republican councillors in Belfast who proposed it (which included the popular uber-Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir). The end result was a great cost to our society which is precisely what Republican extremists wish to create – the legend that Northern Ireland is a failed state. This serves their purpose in portraying a highly fictional account of a new Ireland; one which miraculously is a utopia for all and wouldn’t just relegate Belfast to being a second-city to Dublin. That said, in the face of the potential disintegration of the Union by the Scottish Nationalists, is it any wonder that the Unionist and Loyalist communities are extremely defensive. Is it any wonder that parades and “shows of strength” are on the up?
We are being played, my fellow citizens, by petty Machiavellians. We are being subjected to endless distractions of outrage as our welfare state crumbles, as our national health service is disintegrated and, as many will find in the coming months, our public sector enters the most harsh stage of our austerity. If you think the last five years have been tough, just wait.