Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Peace in Ulster - The Hand Of History Over Belfast's Future

Northern Ireland, Ulster Troubles, Belfast

So just as the bonfire of Savilegate re-ignites after a Christmas lull to spew more foul putrescence into British society and national memory alike we now witness across the Irish Sea the outplay of our hammy and extremely dodgy ex-Prime Minister's finest hour as global playmaker of Christian peace and security.

As catalysed by a Belfast City Council political decision over the flying of the Union flag that was as ill-conceived and ill-timed as Italy's invasion of Greece in October 1940, the past few weeks have witnessed both appalling civil disorder and blanket political directionless amongst Unionist parties. The current Secretary of State Theresa Villiers' insistence recently that such undermining of the civil power and the local economic base warrants the deliverance of severely worded editorial pieces to the mass media thus underscoring the comparative JFK-like qualities of her illustrious predecessors of the ilk of Merlyn Rees and Humphrey Atkins.

The failure of the Sunningdale Agreement in 1974 was indeed both the metaphorical and literal Point of No Return for any rational end to the Ulster Troubles that would not entail the inclusion of political extremes and political toxins. Selective blindness over such realities being a fond leitmotif of 20th Century Irish history as stretching back in turn to the true geopolitical dynamics behind the creation of the Northern Ireland state and the acceptance of partition in the early Twenties by two devolved governments on the island of Ireland.

The search for black and white political stratifications in a fog of greyness will produce every bit as much insecurity as the greying of issues surrounding communal guilt engenders within the framework of black and white moral polarities.

And thus Ulster's fragile peace is now under threat by way of the most inflammatory issue in modern British life - emotional connectivity to British cultural identity itself - and as fundamentally hamstrung in turn by ancient loyalty to a Britain which in its mainland cityscapes, sense of place and broad socio-economic purpose no longer even exists.

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