“It isn't so much the repetition of these inanities that is so profoundly depressing, so much as the deep intellectual and emotional vacuity that lies at the heart of the non-analysis here.”
McCarthy unpicks the latest buzzwords to discover an ideology which has changed little since 1920. It is worth reading the piece in its entirety, if only to enjoy its author’s Sopranos inspired flourish. But perhaps its most telling passage examines the tangential role which Adams’ fantasies accord the pro-Union majority.
“The article once again emphasises "British policy" as the "key to unlocking the potential for this change to occur", and his references to Britain's "colonial past" are simply a coded way of denying the democratic basis of the unionist desire to go their own way in 1920, however imprecise the constitutional line-drawing was at that point.
So, having waded through the conciliatory references to dialogues with 'ethnic minorities' and Professor Brendan O'Leary's ecstatic theories of future Irish federalisation, we are left as ever with an argument that would have cheered Slab Murphy and Brian Keenan: Get the Brits to force the Prods into line; talk for a bit with them, then start pushing.”
It is a neat encapsulation of the notion that Ulster unionism is simply a misapprehension suffered by poor dupes who have been manipulated by colonialists into the communal delusion that they are British. It fails entirely to grasp the pertinent fact that it is the pro-Union majority in Northern Ireland who provide its connection to the rest of the United Kingdom.