A response to Susan McKay’s latest anti-Unionist diatribe
By Jamie Bryson
Writing for ‘Open Democracy’- a website which has never been very open to those of a democratically legitimate unionist viewpoint- nationalist activist Susan McKay fired another salvo, dripping in the usual hyperbolic contempt she holds for unionism.
Incredibly Ms McKay has been at times a go to person for ‘analysis’ of unionism. This purported ‘commentator credibility’ seems to derive from the assertion Ms McKay was born a Protestant, and then went on to write two books about how awful Protestants and more generally unionists are.
With all the zealousness of a convert, Ms McKay has buttressed her literary contributions with regular articles pouring scorn on all things unionist, accept of course those unionists who are endorsed by the nationalist elite, and thus meet with Ms McKay’s approval.
In equal terms, Ms McKay isn’t a great one for ‘open democracy’ or discussion, having regularly saddled up beside the nationalist elite network which seeks to control all public debate and discourse- particularly in the media- by essentially acting as a pressure group to campaign for the deplatforming of unionist/loyalist voices.
A friend remarked to me at the weekend, ‘why do unionists/loyalists even get wound up by McKay anymore. She’s basically just trolling for social media attention. Ignore her’.
There is undoubtedly merit in that suggestion, but in equal terms why should the vitriolic bile spewed about unionism/loyalism- as part of a clear political agenda- be allowed to go unchallenged?
And so, this brief riposte dismantles the latest effigy of unionism which has been constructed in literary form by Susan McKay, designed to act as the vocal point for this week’s Orwellian Two Minutes hate towards the unionist community.
At the outset, Ms McKay subtly seeks to link the collapse of power sharing to the fact that the largest party comes from the minority political designation and so by nature of the absurd Belfast Agreement, can nominate as joint-First Minister (or as Sinn Fein would say- Joint Head of Government).
This of course is designed to stimulate the prejudices about unionists that people like Ms McKay and the nationalist commentariate have consistently peddled; namely that really it is just that unionists are bitter, hate filled dinosaurs, unwilling to share power with the positive, progressive, sweet and wholesome nationalist community.
Of course, these prejudices have been carefully constructed and peddled, and Ms McKay wasn’t even content with the unionist-nationalist version, she had to go one better. In criticising me and Kate Hoey some months ago for outlining how a nationalist elite network exists, she somehow managed to make commentary about political activism into religion, and so she substituted ‘nationalism’ for ‘catholic’, and thus further developed her prejudice by accusing us of being ‘sectarian’.
You will not be surprised to find out that BBC TalkBack were falling over themselves to platform these contributions.
If by this stage already the agenda of Susan McKay isn’t crystal clear, then I am not sure what it would take to convince you.
The truth of course is that power sharing collapsed at the end of January over the Union-subjugating Protocol, and the DUP, TUV, PUP and Alex Easton ran on the basis of clear commitments there could be no power sharing until the Protocol was removed.
Over 265,000 people voted for those parties/Easton, with over 180,000 of those voters putting their trust in the DUP to deliver on those commitments. This is beyond the comprehensive of the likes of Susan McKay. Those pesky unionists not knowing their place at the back of the bus, do they not realise they only exist as an extra in the journey of the ‘process’, there to be seen and not heard and thus by silent acquiescence ensuring a smooth pathway to a ‘New Ireland’.
That over a quarter of a million people voted for the most constitutionally hardline manifesto commitments in decades could not even act as a sobering moment for the likes of Ms McKay and her fellow travellers. Rather, an evil spell had been cast- probably by Nolan who had disgracefully facilitated unionist voters hearing such diabolical viewpoints, which they are too stupid not to agree with- and now these irreverent unionists are getting in the way of ‘Ireland’s future’.
The article goes on to lambast as ‘charlatans’ anyone who believes the Protocol is a threat to the Union. I am not sure whether Lord Justice McCloskey is included in this definition, given his finding that the Act of Union (which as a matter of law is the Union) was “subjugated” by the Protocol and that NI is “more in the EU than the UK”.
Naturally, us unionists are too stupid to discern what is, or what is not, a constitutional threat. That calculation is for people like Susan McKay and other enlightened ‘New Irelanders’ who have responsibility for shaping unionists into the right kind of unionists; namely ones that will not act as an impediment to nationalism’s objective.
We then have the assertion that the Belfast Agreement is not affected by the Protocol. There is no risk to the Belfast Agreement, we are told. This is so despite the Belfast Agreement being the underpinning structure of power sharing, and the fact that power sharing requires cross community consent, which in turn has collapsed because of the Protocol.
Interestingly, for someone so in tune with the Belfast Agreement- and indeed Ms McKay and her fellow ‘New Irelanders’ have (for so long as it suited nationalism) held it up as a holy writ- there is a failure to recognise that Agreement enshrined a cross community veto, which is now quite legitimately being deployed by unionism.
Next up we have the description of anti-Protocol rallies as attracting ‘thuggish elements’. Put simply, that’s everyone who identifies as unionist who doesn’t agree with Susan McKay or the ‘New Ireland’ project.
The outrage at purported unionist threats is interesting. I am struggling to find a bile dripping article criticising the Irish Government’s threat of IRA bombs for political leverage over Brexit.
But Ms McKay is not finished. As the bile flows through her pen, which it would seem she finds therapeutic for the self-loathing of her apparent Protestant roots, we then find ourselves taken on a tour which starts by unionism’s resistance to ‘equality’.
This isn’t defined, but given ‘equality’ was a tool to ‘break the bastards (unionists)’ according to Gerry Adams, I can only presume Ms McKay is again getting herself worked up at unionists not sitting at the back of the bus.
And no Susan McKay rant would be complete without the customary denigration of the Orange Order.
Finally, we are told that unionism is against democracy. Strange; I thought 17.5 million voted for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to leave the European Union, but then we had a Protocol which denied that democratic wish and instead left Northern Ireland “more in the EU than UK”?
And I thought that unionism was then simply using their democratic mandate which empowers them to wield a cross community veto, based on the Belfast Agreement which Ms McKay holds up as a holy writ?
Anyway, I am sure Susan McKay will keep us right and remind us pesky Prods of what we should all aspire to be, which is presumably to be like Susan McKay herself.
The weird world of the nationalist elite.