Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Can't they see there is no threat to the Union?

We are like a family in the early part of the twentieth century. We've just been given a new-fangled motor car. It's shiny, it can go fast, it is progress. But we are insisting on using our horses to pull the car along, as if it were just another old-fashioned carriage.

The new car is what's on offer to us in Northern Ireland. We have the chance to go places, to progress. We apparently produce some of the best-educated young people in the UK. So we have brains.

But for some reason, we are clinging to yesterday's views of how the world works. We would rather crawl along, at a horse pace, than start up the new engine and go for an exciting ride.

Why?

Partly, it seems to me, because generations of people here have been reared on a diet of fear and mistrust. Anything new is, by definition, to be feared and mistrusted.

The idea of sharing seems to strike huge fear into the hearts of many. Like children in a sand pit, they only seem to think in terms of "If Johnny gets a toy that means I get less of a toy."

Kindergarten thinking is what is behind today's unrest. Seeing the world as a threatening place where the only way to be happy is to see others miserable.

That doesn't make you happy by the way, but you comfort yourself with the knowledge that others are unhappy too so that's alright then.

Such a paucity of aspiration or imagination. Such an inability to grow up and take control of our own lives. The peak of this attitude has to be a call for a return to Direct Rule. What?!?!?!? Have you ever heard the likes of it before? This must be the only place in the world where people have actually asked to be treated like morons. "D'uh... my brain hurts... it's too hard... can you please look after us again, please..."

How embarrassing.

It can be hard to call a spade a spade in this place because you're inevitably accused of being on one side or the other. Well, I'm happy to be on one side in this argument. I'm on the side of wanting people here to see that we have to share and the sooner we accept that, the better.

It's "class" that divides people here more than orange and green. But it suits those in power not to admit to that. So they keep feeding them on a diet of mistrust. It's all "their" fault, they tell their people.

"There's nothing you can do to help yourselves. Trust us. Fear them. Attack them. We'll keep you safe. You won't have any power but don't worry you won't have to take any responsibility either. There, there, little babbies..."

I wish the Protestant working- class would wake up and see the ride they've been taken for and see that there is no threat to their union. They have so much of what they want. Why don't they realise that? Stop sitting cursing the dark. Turn the light on!

The days of jobs for life are gone. You need to find pride in new places. Get the leeches off your backs. Educate your young people. Embrace the modern world. See yourselves as smart achievers instead of victims.

You have so much potential if only you'd realise it.

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