Another election. Here we go again. Well, eh, no. This is different. 

The election called in the new year was Irish people taking Irish destiny into their hands, ending the unionist veto and majoritarian approach of non-reciprocation in a peace process, and demanding a truly shared future.
What happened in London this week was an English prime minister solidifying her English position in English politics for English interests.

Scottish first minister asking for a referendum on Scottish independence? Oh no, not at all, this is the wrong time.

Crisis talks in the North of Ireland where the future of the institutions on which the peace agreement is based, hang by a thread? Sorry, what peace agreement, where?

If anyone doubted the old statement by Peter Brook that Britain (sic) has no selfish or strategic interest in the north of Ireland they can rest easy now. Not only have they no selfish or strategic interest in the North, they have no interest whatsoever. 

For a fleeting second I felt a little for little Jimmy Brokenshire at 11.15am on Tuesday. There he was being all assertive and authoritative, telling the parties they needed to get themselves into Stormont or else… Or else he would… He would go to London’s parliament and set the rates. That’ll show ‘em he said. And then what does his boss do? She calls an election that makes any political agreement even more remote. It was almost like she didn’t know just how delicate his negotiations were! Poor Jimmy.

And while I felt that fleeting emotion I had a little pang for little Robbie Swann. Well actually upon reflection it may have been that hot cross bun coming back on me. Anyway. What is a newly elected leader of Unionism to do? Mrs May had barely hopped back in through the black door of No10 Downing Street and the dreaded words were being spoke. Electoral pact. And then the next dreaded words. Fermanagh South Tyrone. Poor Robbie must have needed a lie down. Sure the RHI public inquiry hasn’t even had a public hearing yet. That inquiry was his only hope of clear red white and blue water between him and his DUP colleagues, rivals! How can he do a pact with clouds of RHI environmentally clean smoke still in the political air? How can he not?

And the DUP must feel so hurt. There they were being loyal sandbags for Britain’s sidestepping of co-guarantee of the Good Friday Agreement and Theresa only wants to rely on her MPs from the Shires, rather than any reliance on her loyal subjects from somewhere which might end up with a pretty hard border after all. Oh the ignominy.

So what about Irish people sitting today thinking about the implications of all this? Well really and truly you can’t get away from the conclusion that the past 12 months have been the beginning of a new phase in Irish history. Unionist majoritarianism is over. No one will settle for anything other than a new politics which has equality and robust fulfilment of human rights at its heart. And a hard Brexit, hard border or direct rule from London have no role in any of that. This phase will ultimately end in Irish unification. And I honestly don’t think English Tories could care less.

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