Monday, April 7, 2008

An "economical" definition of Civic Unionism

The Economist this week has a cliche-ridden analysis of both "the Peace Process" ten years on and our present "devolved" "government and coupled with an almost Feeneyesque level of sectarian stereotyping, it really is a shoddy piece of work, unworthy of such a respected and normally informative publication.

Nevertheless, it does indirectly help me to offer up for you a handy definition of what exactly constitutes "Civic" as opposed to "Cultural Unionism" (in a Northern Ireland context anyway); here's a few quotes from the piece:
In places they regard as part of their patrimony, ordinary Protestants now encounter Catholics in Gaelic football shirts.

In economic terms, the buoyant Catholic middle class has been the most obvious beneficiary of the past ten years: freed from discrimination, and aided by the tendency of ambitious young Protestants to leave, Catholics have leapt up the career ladder, colonising the posh villas of south Belfast.

The Civic Unionist reaction to both states of affairs?

"So what?
Like England, like Scotland, like Wales- the political not religious affiliation of the electorate is what will determine our future within the United Kingdom."
Now that Northern Ireland has become a meritocratic, livable place, unification with Ireland looks less urgent to some. Young middle-class Catholics, says one successful Catholic businessman, are now more likely to demonstrate against American imperialism than the British kind.

The Civic Unionist reaction?

A meritocracy which operates exclusively of religion,race and sex is good.
A more liveable, more economically prosperous Northern Ireland is good

Fighting for the Union on economic and social grounds is a much easier and ultimately winnable task than fighting for it on cultural (and religious) grounds- in 2008, that is a reality others further afield who wish to promote the Union would do well to remember."

Finally, as an unrelated side issue; I do wonder if ten years ago it had been known that our First Minister and his Deputy in 2008 would be an Ultra-Fundamentalist Preacher-Man and a Republican terrorist respectively, residing over a "government" largely made up of ethno-nationalists competing over who gets the biggest share of the sectarian carve-up, would the Belfast Agreement still then have received a vote of over 70% in favour?
I'd like to think the answer to that question would be "No".

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