Regular readers of the Irish media can’t fail to have noticed the continual use of the words ‘democracy’ and ‘undemocratic’, and such phrases as ‘the democratic will of the people’, in the political arena here. But, when set within the context of the northern Irish statelet, how justified is such usage?
The Occupied Six Counties (OSC) region of Ireland was, as we all know, established upon the basis of a sectarian headcount that ensured a continuing Unionist majority given the close correlation between Unionism and the various protestant faiths.
Against this indisputable fact, I ask, how then can any elections that encompass this region be justifiably termed ‘democratic’?
As it is, the OSC was created in clear contravention of the wishes of the majority of the population on this island, as evidenced by the unequivocal results of the 1918 general election (see map shown). Yet, today, we find that the blatantly sectarian, ethically unsound principles upon which the OSC was founded are conveniently ignored.
Whilst it is understandable, though not acceptable, that Unionists would be content to embrace a statelet that has given them great benefits within their self-appointed supremacist position, what is less understandable is how nationalists, particularly those who would yet claim to be Republican, have allowed themselves to lend ever greater credence to the inherent injustice extant in what is truly a sectarian gerrymander.
Regardless of whether or not one agrees with the current political process (and its failures), it must be realized that any institutions formed or maintained, on the basis of results from OSC regional elections are not, and never can be, ‘democratic’.
The passage of time will not change this.
Therefore, any use of the word ‘democracy’ on this basis, must be taken with a large enough pinch of salt as would stop the heart of this elephant in the room.