Tag Archives: paranoia

Power is about to shift…

3 Mar

As I write this, 70 of the 90 seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly Election for 2017 have been announced. And it makes for an interesting glimpse into a changing country. Sinn Féin hold the largest number of seats with 24, and the SDLP have 9. The DUP have 18 and UUP 9. Taking Aliance out of the proceedings that gives a nationalists a five seat lead.

Photo © 2016 Robert JE Simpson. All Rights Reserved.

Photo © 2016 Robert JE Simpson. All Rights Reserved.

Disappointingly the country appears to have shunned the opportunity to usher in a change in our country’s leadership – the embittered, stubborn, starkly green and orange parties Sinn Féin and Democratic Unionist Party are still on top. And its hard to see how anything is going to change while that remains the case. Northern Ireland is a shared country whether you like it or not. And the only way to move forward is through mediation and negotiation and compromise.

But then I’m a broadly liberal leftist long lapsed from a background of unionism, so its easy for me to say. I don’t hate my fellow citizens because of their religion or their politics or what language they wish to converse in or what way they define their national identity. But it matters to many others out there.

Without a change, I can’t help but wonder if the assembly will not just be brought down again? And if it does, then surely direct rule from Westminster is inevitable? And to do that would be foolhardy, because that will give many militant republicans the excuse they need to reactivate a campaign of violence against the perceived British threat in the country, and take us all back to pre-1997 times. Its not as if the leaders of the two biggest parties actually give a toss about the Northern Irish people anyway, and our democratic views. The DUP backed Brexit in spite of the majority of Northern Ireland voting to stay IN Europe, and Sinn Féin still refuse to sit in Westminster for ideological reasons, which means they aren’t actually helping to represent the people either. A right golden shower the lot of them.

And I’m sitting here thinking about something that I haven’t actually heard voiced yet. But what happens if Sinn Féin come away from this election as the largest political party in Northern Ireland? Ignoring their catalogue of cover-ups (notably with regards sex abuse cases) and their power-hungry control of republican ideology in Northern Ireland (there’s as many kinds of republicans as their are unionists), we’ve never had a republican party as the largest in NI. The balance has always (by design more often than democracy) lain in the hands of the unionist parties, and for decades the unionists and loyalists have been happy because they’ve benefitted in things like employment, funding, rights etc. The republican voice has been silenced (once upon a time, literally), oppressed, which in turn has only helped to stir up support.

Right now we’re at loggerheads, with both sides bashing each other where possible, positioning themselves as ‘us’ and ‘them’. They put down propositions made by the others because of the potential for small victories. They turn simple things into massive issues. They allow prejudice to dictate policy and propaganda does the rest.

Whats scares unionists is what will happen when the power finally switches. It seems rather improbable that a republican dominated political arena is going to sit back and allow loyalism to continue its triumphant marches and shouting and brow-busting. That call for a referendum on a united Ireland can’t be far away now, and that scares the unionists because it might actually go through. Most of us don’t want to leave the EU, and joining up with Ireland is a sure way to ensure we don’t. Britain doesn’t actually care about Northern Ireland. We’re a population of 1.8million out of some 64 million across the islands. We’re a massive drain on resources, particularly bearing in mind our habit of fighting on a regular basis, incurring vast policing costs etc, every time we have a “celebration”. Will the republican brothers and sisters treat the unionists with open arms, and remind them that Ireland has already embraced Protestant culture as symbolised in the orange on the Tricolour? Sadly, probably not. Instead, the sort of hostility that has been shown to many of them is likely to be returned. Its the way of the wild. Captive turns captor. Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you, not actually how you were treated…

I’m slightly scared for people like me. Those of us who sit somewhere between the ideologies. Not necessarily undecided, but who are aware of our backgrounds, and the complex web that we were born into without say. Northern Ireland is occupied – the politicians decided to remain as part of the UK, not the people themselves, and so a border poll would be interesting, to finally give all of us a say. We aren’t all going to get our way though, and as Brexit has most recently reminded us (and indeed the US elections), when voting is split, things can get nasty. I don’t want to return to violence. I don’t want to be scared of visiting friends across sectarian divides, or to be picked out because I don’t see eye to eye with official lines of whatever persuasion.

Its time to stop being complacent. Time to learn to moderate, to co-operate, and to stop wallowing in the past. Think about the people.

You done my brain in

28 Aug

Tick tock tick tock, no matter what you do, no matter where you turn, once the fuse has been lit, it really is only a matter of time before you explode. Tick.. tick… tick… BOOM!

Try to explain to someone where your head is at or why you look like you are about to murder someone (that’s a figure of speech folks) and you may end up with blank looks and more questions than you ever bargained for.

For me it was constant questions about my past that really helped to seal the deal. I never had any problem answering questions, why would I, I believe in being open and transparent. But my answers were never quite good enough. There was a point when I had given all, been completely honest, laid all my cards on the table, and yet my audience believed that there was another story to be told and sought it out.

In a fling, or a work relationship (ie. professional, non-sexual), or maybe even a friendship, you can skip over details, leave things out. But if you’ve made promises to be honest, then that’s exactly how you have to be. And there needs to exist between you an implicit trust. We all have pasts, particularly as we get older. Statistically in our 30s and 40s we are more like to have had multiple sexual partners, been married, had kids, than in our 20s. And some of that information – even though we’ve always been kinda aware of it – might be a little upsetting or uncomfortable. But there has to come a time when you stop picking at the scars of the past, or you risk opening up a new wound that never heals, and in time become part of that wound.

Then you ruin all trust completely, and the basis of whatever relationship you have.

I have always hated being second guessed, especially when I’m being honest. You’re wrong, you don’t know me like you think you do. How can I say that? Well, because the theories you spout are full of B.S.

I’ve seen perfectly happy relationships ruined by paranoia and low self-esteem. And I’ve seen people ruined by those failings, fall into even worse relationships because they think they don’t deserve any better. So just stop it now.

Aside from destroying a relationship and your own chance at future happiness as whatever form of relationship you have, the pressure can destroy your target too. Oh the guilt I have been made to feel restrospectively, that really I should never have felt at all. And the things that I’d dealt with that I’m having to deal with a second and third time. Surely I am not alone in this suffering?!

I got tipped too far too often. And my self-esteem, already low, was further wrecked. I can’t be specific but I can say that it will ruin everything that is good if you allow paranoia to take over. Talk about things, and be prepared to listen and accept people at face value. And if that doesn’t work, go talk to a friend or a counsellor before its too late. These options can help – if done in time.