So, the regional justice minister in the north-east, David Ford, has disdained an invite to the official celebrations in the capital marking the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising. The leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI), which boasts of its supposed “cross community” credentials (by which it means it can attract some middle-class Catholic voters in the north who fancy themselves more British than Irish) has firmly placed itself once again in the unionist and separatist camp alongside the first minister and DUP boss, Arlene Foster, the UUP’s Mike Nesbitt and the TUV’s Jim Allister. The four main political parties of the unionist minority are offering an explicit “fuck you!” to peace, reconciliation and understanding on this island nation. Instead they are reverting to colonial type, a battening down of the cultural hatches in the Northern Pale, denying history they cannot face. See no truth, hear no truth speak no truth.
A pity that David Ford, with his studied air of superiority over even his own unionist peers, refuses to pay any heed to the opinions of his party’s assembly member for South Belfast and former candidate in the 2014 European elections, Anna Lo. The Chinese-Irish candidate, stating her “anti-colonial” beliefs, criticised the partition of the island of Ireland and the retention of the north-eastern six counties under UK authority following the Irish Revolution of 1916-23. Of course she was soon slapped down by her colleagues, and made to offer a half-apology, before going on to record her party’s best performance in an election to the European Parliament. While the “controversy” stuck in David Ford’s mind, obviously the success did not, which is why he found it so easy to insult and denigrate the traditions of those he and his faux-liberal cohorts shares this country with.