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Alex Kane

I don't remember a time when distrust between unionism and the UK Government was as high as it is now

Alex Kane


A perfect storm of discontent lies ahead... everyone needs to remain measured and calm, writes Alex Kane

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Anger: Loyalist protesters during unrest on Lanark Way in Belfast

Anger: Loyalist protesters during unrest on Lanark Way in Belfast

Anger: Loyalist protesters during unrest on Lanark Way in Belfast

I was particularly struck by three responses in the latest polling. Asked to consider the statement, "Northern Ireland has put its violent past behind it and any future political decisions will be made peacefully and democratically", almost half of the respondents on both sides of the border disagreed. Think about that. A quarter-of-a-century after the peace process began in earnest and almost 50% believe it's unlikely political decisions can be made within peaceful, political parameters.

If you think that's depressing, consider the response to this statement: "The dispute over Northern Ireland's status remains unresolved and there is still a potential for violence in the future." Over three-quarters of the respondents, again on both sides of the border, agreed with it. But how, given the time, cash and effort poured into the peace process over 25 years, are we at a point where a hefty majority believe the use of violence is more likely than not when it comes to resolving the constitutional impasse? And people accuse me of pessimism. Let's consider the third response: "To what extent do you trust the following when it comes to managing the interests of Northern Ireland with respect to the Protocol." 63% distrust or distrust a lot the Executive (15% trusting or trusting a lot). 60% distrust or distrust a lot the Assembly (16% trusting or trusting a lot).


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