SF ‘travel’ motion provides a clear example of their dying ‘harmonisation’ strategy 

Sinn Fein are currently moving a motion through the committees of Belfast City Hall that is, on the face of it, about travel. Duped into believing this is, naturally, the Alliance party; whose Councillor Michael Long has seconded the motion.

 The text of the motion seeks to walk Belfast City Council into a cross border and pro EU initiative, via the back door. Sinn Fein’s agenda behind this is clear. 

Firstly, they want to continue to promote the failed European Union, even through the democratic will of the people of the United Kingdom has voted to leave. 

And secondly, it is another transparent attempt at advancing the agenda of all-Ireland harmonisation via all means possible, including trade and commerce. The purpose behind these harmonisation attempts is not primarily economic, but rather as part of the core republican political strategy of wedding together all aspects of political, social, cultural and business life between Northern Ireland and the Republic. 

Unionism must grasp the opportunities Brexit provides to strengthen the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. 

The hysterical reaction from Nationalism following the Brexit vote demonstrates their fear that the process of harmonisation- that was one of the core tenets of the Belfast Agreement for Nationalism- could be severely damaged. 

Some say that a more clearly defined border would encourage and validate dissident republicanism. 

The parading issue at Twaddell avenue is a microcosm of the state of dissident republicanism. Isolated from the democratic process with zero political support, their strategy encompasses threatening elected MLA’s, their local priest and journalists. 

Dissident republicanism is a rudderless ship, both militarily and politically. They are isolated and repudiated even from within the communities they claim to represent. 

Aside from questioning what is the point of the diabolical and imploded debris that currently constitutes dissident republicanism, and therefore leaves them ripe for destruction, there is another core aspect that must be kept in mind. 

Democracy and the articulating of lawful political viewpoints should never be held hostage to the threats of those, such as the numerous factions of dissident republicanism, who would seek to use terrorism to subvert the democratic will of the people. So why should concerns that such terrorists could cause further damage factor in discussions. To allow such considerations to play a role is to provide leverage to those that seek to attack democracy and the rule of law.

The Brexit vote was a democratic vote by the majority of the United Kingdom, voting as a whole. Northern Ireland is not a member state of the EU as a single entity, but rather as part of the United Kingdom. Therefore the argument that Northern Ireland should stay in the EU is preposterous and fanciful, not least a repugnant attempt to override the democratic will of the majority of people within the United Kingdom. 

Northern Ireland’s integral place as part of the United Kingdom is guaranteed via the principle of consent, which was ironically enshrined within the Belfast Agreement that Nationalism clings to so valiantly. 

Nationalism recognises a key point, and this is why they are so infuriated. The Belfast Agreement provided the vehicle for North/South harmonisation, a gradual and practical eradication of the border by means of eventual joint policing, trade, commerce and a neutralised cultural identity. The EU of which Nationalism wishes to be part is not only an trade and economic union, but also a political one. 

A European political union was the senior project that hoovered, like a guarantor, above the North/South harmonisation project designed to harmonise practical relations and thus make the constitutional question eventually irrelevant. If North/South was harmonised in every practical sense, then what relevance would the border have? And if it had no relevance, then why keep it? 

The European Union project was an identical strategy on a larger scale. It was primarily about creating a fully functional political union by harmonising member states in a web of financial and economic institutions. From this would naturally flow a political union. 

Now that the United Kingdom has voted to leave the EU, one of the key aspects of Nationalism’s interpretation of the Belfast Agreement has been thrown into disarray. With a clearly defined land border between one state (Republic of Ireland) that is a EU member state and another (United Kingdom) that is an independent and sovereign state, the harmonisation project is greatly demoralised. 

It is for the interlocking reasons of promoting North/South harmonisation, and continuing to desperately attempt to cling to the European political union dream, that Sinn Fein propose such motions as that put forward by Mr McVeigh. 

Cloaked in the monotonous language plucked straight from the peace process dictionary and no doubt being underpinned by such manipulated themes as ‘parity of esteem’ and the Trojan horse of ‘equality’, the motion disguises their political objective under the veil of trade and commerce. 

A prime example of the republican strategy if ever one was needed. Unionism must be alert and aware of these manipulative actions from an increasingly desperate nationalist/republican play-book. 

The harmonisation strategy, ironically as a constitutional and security imperative, died the moment that Brexit became a living reality. 

When Nationalists and republicans repeat the line ‘what does Brexit mean’, it is really a rhetorical question, they know the answer full well. It means that their entire political strategy lies in tatters.


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