Full acknowledgements to Peter Brookes, illustrator of the image above
I'm part of a long tradition in Northern Ireland. Of a people who have got on with life and put up and shut up with mindless violence.
For the past 12 months moderate Northern Ireland has capitulated and surrendered to a vocal and violent minority of loyalists. This Saturday 30 November 2013 10,000 loyalists will walk through Belfast City Centre. Loyalists who have set a firm precedent for violence. Loyalists who have subverted democracy and inverted what it is to be British. They say they're loyal to the Queen yet they attack the Crown's officers. They've so spectacularly missed the point of what it is to be British - that loyalism has gone beyond the absurd and into the realm of insanity. They're descending into madness.
Here's the critical issue. They're taking all of Northern Ireland with them. They've done untold damage to the economy. Untold damage to inward investment. Untold damage to Northern Ireland's reputation.
Here's the problem. Not only is there is no political opposition against dysfunction in the Northern Ireland Assembly. There's also no civic opposition against dysfunction on the streets of Northern Ireland. The best and the moderates lack all conviction. The worst are full of riotous passion.
As long as the worst have a monopoly on activism. As long as there is no opposition, there is no door through which reason can the debate. There is no window through which you can present constructive alternatives. No answers. No door to a better world. No proposals to the big issues. Heating. Eating. Education. Healthcare.
Loyalism and other extremists like Republicans, must be opposed. They wield arbitrary power over a majority. They make grand Enoch Powell type claims. No alternatives and answers to the problems that really Mather. Power must be checked. Grand claims must be countered with good argument and reason. A complete absence of alternatives must be countered with leadership and vision.
Things needs to change. As long as the best stay silent and capitulate to primitive backwardness, the worst will continue to racketeer, extort and enruin the silent majority.
Moderates need to break the censorship of political correctness. They need to smash the idea that you can't criticise loyalists, lest you be called snobbish or elitist. They're not irreproachable and beyond criticism. They have carried out unpardonable behaviour. This is the exploitation of pluralism and multiculturalism for use against these very concepts. Ensuring self-censorship, self-neutering of opinions and prior-restraint as the default position for civil society at large. This is a victory for bigotry and the anti-plural, anti-multicultural.
As Peter Tatchell said, hard, abrasive, controversial language is required to break hidebound orthodoxy.
We need to do as the Heroine of Hackney, Pauline Pearce did. Speak up and out.
That is our challenge in the coming days. To challenge these people. Not to put with or out-last these economic vandals, but to repudiate and vanquish them. Vanquish their arbitrary power, their tinfoil-hatted claims and lack of alternatives. Shine a light on them, investigate, expose and discredit their naked racism and pathetic excuse for a movement.
Northern ireland moderates must wake up. Barbarians never take a city until someone holds open the gates. By their apathy and inaction, moderates are holding open the gates. This must change. They need to be steady, resolute and unforgiving. They must contest the circus of driveling lamentation.