I'm going to do something that I have never done before on Balrog; I'm going to agree with something Mark Durkan has said.
Mark has called for a new forum on Irish Unity to be made up of all Irish Nationalist parties.
“We must reassure Unionists that our vision of unity is not one connived out of threat or defiance.
“That our 21st century vision for unity is not just about righting wrongs or addressing grievances, it is about our sense of destiny and purpose.
“Therefore, I repeat my call to all parties to return if not to the forum for peace and reconciliation then to a similar forum that addresses this business."
I have always argued that Unity is not the sole preserve of Sinn Féin but the responsibility of all Irish Republicans.
I would go a step further though; I would make this into a national conversation and I would invite all the political parties of the nation, Unionists included.
Now I'm sure that many will call me naive.
I just don't understand how we can talk about the future of our country and leave out at least 15-20% of it.
Now many would argue that Unionism would not participate, and that may be true but perhaps we can help by how we frame the debate.
If we keep the heading of Irish Unity then that covers a multitude of areas, not just political/geographical.
There is no reason why this forum should not discuss areas of co-operation between North and South as well as the ultimate solution.
None of them might participate but that doesn't mean that they should not be asked.
Our National Flag is made up of Green, White and Orange; designed to show the peace between Catholics and Protestants under the common name of Irishmen.
Even with such a simple design many do not understand it.
Many Unionists on this site have argued that I do a disservice to my National Flag by attacking the Orange order as they represent one third of my National Flag.
The Orange part of the flag does not equate to the Orange Order anymore than the AOH represent the Green part.
The Orange part represents Protestantism, not Unionism.
John Mitchel is represented by the Orange part of the flag yet his paper the United Irishmen had this line
"That the Irish people had a distinct and indefeasible right to their country, and to all the moral and material wealth and resources thereof, to possess, to govern the same, for their own use, maintenance, comfort and honour, as a distinct Sovereign State; that it was within their power and their manifest duty to make good and exercise that right; that the life of one peasant was as precious as the life of one nobleman or gentleman; that the property of the farmers and labourers of Ireland was as sacred as the property of all the noblemen and gentlemen in Ireland, and also immeasurably more valuable; that the Tenant Right custom should be extended to all Ulster, and adopted and enforced by common consent in the other three provinces; that every man who paid taxes should have an equal voice with every other man in the government of the State and the outlay of those taxes; that no man at present had any "legal" rights or claim to the protection of any law and that all "legal" and constitutional agitation "in Ireland was a delusion; that every freeman, and every man who desired to become free, ought to have arms, and to practise the use of them; that no "combination of classes" in Ireland was desirable, just, or possible save on the terms of the rights of the industrious classes being acknowledged and secured; and that no good thing could come from the English Parliament or the English Government".
Even all these years later it's a philosophy that I hold dear. Like Irish Republicanism itself, it was founded by our Protestant brethren.
On the other hand Sir Denis Henry is represented by the Green part of the flag
A Catholic who gave total support to the British Empire and who became the first Lord Chief Justice in the newly created Northern state.
We are stronger united than divided and despite what many would like to believe we share more common ground than we do with our British neighbours.
I would like to ask our Protestant friends this
For those of you who oppose the murder of the unborn, which Nation shares your belief?
When it comes to humour, food, social custom and heritage we are one.