Change must be fundamental
There is no doubt that there have been people at a high level in
both the British and Dublin governments who have always believed
that minimal changes to the Six County state would bring what
they most desire - political stability in which business could
operate and expand.
Theirs is an outlook which knows nothing about life on the ground
in the Six Counties. They are content to consider the main
institutions of the state - the RUC, civil service and judiciary
- as having been adequate in maintaining a functional society.
But the truth is that the Six County state is not and never has
been a normal functioning society. It is this reality which led
to the last 30 years of armed conflict.
Minimal change in the context of the Six Counties will not
suffice and will not secure the peace. What is required is
far-reaching and fundamental change.
The reaction of unionists to newspaper suggestions that RUC
disbandment would be a recommendation of the Patten Commission is
indicative of the resistance which this necesary change will
But the reactions of Unionist Party spokespersons cannot be used
as the yardstick for measuring how far change can go. The failure
of the Six Counties as a political entity is evidence enough of
the requirement for change to be as complete as possible.
That is why the Equality agenda and the provisions in the Good
Friday Agreement around equality is likely to be the next target
for unionists who wish to overturn the Good Friday Agreement.
What must be remembered is that without change there will be no
progress and without political progress there will be no real