The antics of some of the major parties in trying to distance themselves from their own past would be amusing if they weren’t so obvious.
For decades, Sinn Fein scorned any party which didn’t regard a united Ireland as more important than all other issues put together. The line was that nothing worthwhile would ever be achieved until the border was gone.
Now you could read through an SF election manifesto and end up none the wiser about what priority the party believes should be given to a fight for an all-Ireland republic.
At their election launch, party president Mary Lou McDonald said that Sinn Fein recognises people don’t wake up in the morning worrying about partition. She might have been shown the door by the boys of the old brigade if she’d said the like of that just a while ago when there wasn’t a lamppost in a Nationalist area without an SF placard demanding “A Border Poll Now!”
All changed, changed utterly, as party wonks work out how best to gather in the votes.
The way things are going, rallies will soon close not with the Soldiers’ Song but with a lusty rendition of Elvis’s classic 1956 number, “Any Way You Want Me, That’s How I Will Be.”
Meanwhile, it’s hard to disagree with Jim Allister that the DUP, too, is trimming its sails to match the prevailing winds. If the Tories who have betrayed them at every turn offer some cosmetic change to the Protocol, the DUP will scamper back up the Stormont steps like mountain goats in search of better grazing.
If he thought there were enough votes in it to make the DUP the largest party, Jeffrey Donaldson would be telling his colleagues to ponder whether, when you looked at him in a different light, maybe Lundy wasn’t such a bad fellow after all.
All this is a product of Orange-Green politics in which each community is implicitly invited to ignore all other issues and choose a champion to represent the one community vis-à-vis the other community.
We need a clean break from this way of doing things.
We are asking people to vote for a party which is neither Orange nor Green but is up for the fight for the working class, North and South.
When others bow down in obeisance to Britain or the EU, we say – “Neither London nor Brussels but the Irish working class.” This is the only way we’re ever going to win a new Ireland worthy of the working class and everything we’ve gone through.