I wonder if LetsGetAlongerism is changing. Well……everything is changing.
Back in the 1960s there were so-called liberal unionists who thought that sectarianism was outdated and we could all just get along if Catholics just became unionist and…conservative. Give a Catholic a house and a job and he is happy with the Union. So thought Terence O’Neill. After the Crossroads Election of 1969, some well-meaning unionists joined with some self-loathing Catholics formed the Alliance Party.
In the Alliance Party, letsgetalongerism became institutionalised.
A central feature of letsgetalongerism is self-loathing.
“My father was an Orangeman in Ballymena but….I met a nice Catholic girl and we live in Bangor and our kids went to an integrated school and we vote Alliance. Now just sign me up to a well paid quango”.
“My daddy was a militant republican and I went to a school where I was taught by nuns but I met a nice Englishman and I live in Carryduff and we vote Alliance and Id like to be on a quango please”.
Fur coat…no knickers.
You know them as well as I do.
One of the platforms of the Alliance Party is that we are partly British and partly Irish. If we all thought like Alliance Party members then there would be no Troubles. There is a core belief that we are all (except the Alliance Party of course) responsible for the Troubles.
We must rid ourselves of the baggage of our personal baggage. It is a seductive thought. But it is wrong. We should all challenge our background. I challenged mine but came thru it. My family was an amazing blessing. School was brutal and brutalising. Catholicism was kinda neutral.
I have a lot of sympathy for people who have good reason to resent and eventually reject their background. But I do not believe that ALL of us were oppressed, depressed, repressed and suppressed. If I had a lousy childhood, I would write a book and it would win the Booker Prize and be turned into an Oscar-winning movie. I might call it “Angela’s……” oh wait that book and movie is already out there.
But there is a streak in LetsGetAlongerism that seems to believe that rejection of our personal history is a pre-requisite to a better way. The fault is 50-50 but that’s not Politics or History. It is just Mathematics. No…in the 800 years of Anglo-Irish History, the Irish are basically the good guys. We are on the right side of History. The Alliance Party sits on the fence between the right and wrong side of History.
History does not stand still.
There is maybe a new generation of LetsGetAlongerism that is going to replace the Alliance Party’s version.
In fairness, I should mock it.
“I was brought up Catholic/Protestant but I identify as young, straight/gay male/femaletransgendered….European climate change activist and vegetarian and progressive and I vote Green…oh and by the way as Ireland is more progressive than Norn Iron, then I have an Irish passport”.
Getting along is never enough. Standing still is never enough and the Alliance Party will never get past doing nothing.