The Methodist Synod of Belfast has apologised for its denomination's role in supporting the 1912 Ulster Covenant.
In effect, the Synod members are apologising that the region known since 1921 as Northern Ireland has remained in the United Kingdom for the last century.
One hopes the Methodists understand that they are, therefore, also apologising for Northern Ireland's contribution to the war against Nazism; that they are apologising for the extension of the welfare state to Northern Ireland; that they are apologising for Northern Ireland's participation in the NHS.
Perhaps, on reflection, they may wish to apologise for their apology. It should also be observed that the Methodist Synod's curious apology suggests that the document's anonymous drafters are in want of historical instruction.
The Covenant did not necessarily imply the use of violence. As Lord Bew has observed, the phrase 'all means which may be found necessary' was understood at the time to mean withholding of taxes.
C D C ARMSTRONG