Searching for the Holy Grail
Brain Feeney on the Holy Grail in the north of Ireland:
More than 50 per cent of the nationalist population are under 30. Most are bored rigid by nationalist politicians' search for the Holy Grail.
Young people can't and don't compare today to how bad things were 10 years ago. They don't hanker after the political 'solution' devised by their grandparents over a quarter of a century ago: going back to the future.
They want to see change and improvement now. The paradox is that the search for the political Holy Grail is what prevents change and improvement.
We're stuck somewhere in 1999. There is this huge package just sitting there ready to be unwrapped. It's been there more or less complete since the meeting at Weston Park near Birmingham over two years ago: policing, 'on the runs', demilitarisation and all sorts of wee side deals and under-standings. Both governments added bells and whistles in their 'Joint Declaration' in spring 2003.
None of it is going to happen because it's all based on the requirement to get the Good Friday Agreement's institutions up and running again: the Holy Grail.
Not this year folks, any more than last year or the year before. Why not? Neither Dublin nor London can come to terms with the fact that unionists do not want to share power with nationalists.
The stark truth is that the majority of the unionist electorate voted DUP in November 2003 because they did not want to share power and believed that the DUP was the party which would ensure power-sharing didn't happen.