Enough is Enough


They love some of the ministries, most of the ministries, want all of the ministries. They love their chauffeur-driven cars, want all of the cars. They love their offices and staff, and want more offices and staff; all of the offices, all their own staff. They love dispensing their taxes, your taxes, everyone's taxes. They love their Assembly seats, their salaries and expenses and would love more expenses, all of the expenses, more seats, all of the seats. They want to be governing their own, on their own, with their own - but ruling what you own. They want their own police force and third force and brute force. They want to beat their drums down their road, your road, someone else's road, everybody's road.

They want to have some guns, everyone's guns, all the guns, the only guns.

They want to have some votes, most of the votes, your votes, all of the votes.

They despise some of us, most of us, all of us. They despise some whom we elect, most of whom we elect, all of whom we elect.

They despise our representatives in the car park, in the hall, in the restaurant, in the corridor, in the lift, in the rooms, in the Assembly, in the Executive - breathing their air.

They love the microphone, the camera, the limelight; most of the microphone, the camera, the limelight; all of the microphone, the camera, the limelight.

They love having the floor, most of the floor, all of the floor.

They love one flag, their flag, the only flag. They hate the way I talk, you talk, we talk.

They said Articles Two and Three were the problem. They said IRA arms dumps were the problem. They said the lack of local power and decision-making was the problem. They said not recognising their Britishness was the problem.

I know who they are but I don't know, cannot be sure, how many of them there are. Are all in the DUP anti-Catholic, loyalist bigots? How many Ulster Unionists? A third? A half? More than half?

Do such MLAs and MPs represent more than half of the unionist people or are there a fair number of disillusioned, silenced unionists who see through the bullshit of their whingeing leadership and the threat they pose to peace and stability? If a majority really feel that way about republicans and nationalists then they represent the unionist orthodoxy and the Assembly and the Executive are doomed.

I wasn't sure what to think of David Trimble. Was he a reformer, a bit of a leader, a flawed leader, but a leader nonetheless? He had been a member of the fascist Vanguard. He met with killer Billy Wright. He danced the Paisley jig on Garvaghy Road. He went into negotiations with representatives of paramilitaries by his side. But he went on to acknowledge in his Nobel Speech that the North had been 'a cold house for Catholics'. Does he forget those remarks? Were they for the cameras, the microphones, because he was in the limelight? Does he forget the compromises that republicans have made, the hoops they have jumped through, in order to help him, and show that they are serious?

All of us are products of our history and change takes time. The unionist God was Carson who in 1913 described their defiance of the British legislature and the illegal arming of the Ulster Volunteer Force in these terms: 'I am told it will be illegal and the government know they are illegal, and the government dare not interfere with them… Don't be afraid of illegalities.'

Ninety years later and I doubt if Carson's opinions, his example and his actions in regard to illegal activities are repudiated by unionist leaders.

I don't remember the Ulster Unionists having to change their constitution the way Sinn Fein did in order to make the institutions work - the Assembly side of which only unionists wanted. I can't remember Ulster Unionism having the same robust and consistent attitude to loyalist violence as it has towards the Republican Movement at a time in our history when republicanism, and supposedly, unionism, go through a transition together.

David Trimble has talked up a crisis and hopes that Tony Blair will come to his rescue by making more demands of republicans. But Trimble can't have it, and Blair - who has already reneged on promises he made a year ago - needn't think he can try that one again. Unionists have convinced themselves that republicans and nationalists are getting everything and they're getting nothing. The hard truth is that it is the challenge of equality which alienates unionists, not alleged IRA involvement in Columbia or Castlereagh. It is Unionist leaders who have failed to convince the nationalist community of their sincerity. And they appear not to care about the political vacuum they shall create, or of the consequences of bringing down the Belfast Agreement.

If the majority of unionists do not want to share power with the majority of nationalists then let's say goodbye to the Assembly, the Executive, and everything that goes with it. But they cannot have all the power, all the offices, all the floor, all the streets, and they needn't think that nationalists are going to acquiesce in a dilution of the principles behind the Belfast Agreement.

Talk to people in West Belfast and they will tell you: Irish republicans cannot and should not give anymore. There is nothing more to give.

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© 2007 Irish Author and Journalist - Danny Morrison