Our opinion poll shows that almost two-thirds of people on this island believe that peace will be jeopardised by the prospect of a united Ireland. The third who disagree or are unsure are naive or foolish.
The rioting, petrol bombing, and torching of vehicles we witnessed last month over the protocol is but a dry run for what would happen in the event of a border poll that nationalists won or were on course to.
Loyalist paramilitaries would flex their muscles in the crudest way imaginable to prevent constitutional change. I have no doubt that lives would be lost, and it's disingenuous to pretend otherwise. But would we have a 30-year war by an 'IRA' in red, white and blue? Absolutely not.
Some 62 per cent of people in the south and 68pc in the north - rising to 90pc of unionists and loyalists - said the prospect of Irish unity would place peace at risk. Eighty pc of people in Belfast, where peace walls separate working-class communities, agreed.
It's easy to see how events would unfold. Opinion polls showing a majority for ending the Union, and the balaclavas and bullets would come out. Loyalist paramilitaries haven't gone away nor been defanged.
And even if the old men of violence caution against a new generation going down that route, there will always be young men who won't listen.
None of this means that a border poll should be taken off the table or, if a majority voted for Irish unity, should that mandate be thwarted. But it does mean that society needs to wake up to the realisation of what might one day transpire.
It means that politicians must not indulge or turn a blind eye to bullyboys now. It means that, if a threat arises, the police must act swiftly to protect lives. Failing to do so could lead paramilitaries on the other side to step in and then we would really be on our way back to somewhere we've left behind.
It's increasingly common to hear arguments that 50 per cent-plus-one wouldn't be enough in a border poll, that a weighted majority is needed. That strikes at the very core of democracy. It's like changing the rules of the game 15 minutes from the final whistle. If you've always argued that a majority is enough to maintain the Union, you can't suddenly say that it's inadequate to end it. Unionists clearly feel under pressure due to demographic and electoral shifts.
The challenge for them is to put together powerful arguments, and prepare to mount a cogent referendum campaign, not to seek to move the goalposts.
Doing that would dangerously undermine faith in constitutional politics. I can already hear the allegations from republicans that the IRA was right and there never was a peaceful path to Irish unity.
Let's not pretend that a discontented minority of loyalists wouldn't be a problem in a new state regardless of what flag or national anthem it adopts. A high impact violent insurgency is surely inevitable for a period, but would there be the support to sustain it over time? It was internment, Bloody Sunday, and the rest which helped the IRA.
Low-level loyalist unrest for years is probable. Irish unity would certainly cause major security issues, but the Troubles mark two still seems unlikely.