Just writing to call out some of the more ridiculous claims I've seen on Twitter today regarding the violence in Belfast. (1) The Good Friday Agreement is not over nor is it about to implode because of the last few nights. Such statements are facile and lazy.
(2) The 'Troubles' are not about to restart. Go read a book, please, and take note of the fundamental changes that have happened since '98. If -and I mean IF - violence were to spiral into something more significant, this would NOT BE THE TROUBLES.
(3) Can we please ditch the really tired 'two communities' binary in so-called 'analyses' of these events? There are several moderate Unionists really annoyed by what is happening within loyalist gangs.
(4) These events cannot be explained by the 'endless cycles of violence' thesis, implying that the same wheels have been in motion for decades if not hundreds of years. Contingency and context are important.
(5) The riots are not simply down to Brexit. They are due to lots of factors (e.g. recreational rioting, the historic connection between anti-establishment demonstrations and political loyalism, the PSNI's success in clamping down on criminality within loyalist gangs who are...
using the pretext of Brexit to have a go at the police. Often wrapped in a Union Flag of course.)
(6) This is not to say that Brexit isn't important. It is absolutely the context that has fuelled the current circumstances. This is not an organic NI 'problem' but intimately connected to decisions made in England.
(7) The British government has no clue what is happening. Boris tweets about 'resolving differences' implying that it is an organic 'NI' problem, diverting attention from his government's role in creating the maelstrom. Very annoying when the media repeats it.
(8) The answer is NOT to 'renege the Protocol'. Have you forgotten how many tortuous months of negotiations happened between Ireland-UK-EU to result in the Protocol as the least worst option that would honour the Agreement? Longer attention spans are needed, please.
(9) Some Unionist ministers really need to stop stirring. In the spirit of war analogies, you are the generals telling your officers what to do, who get their foot soldiers to do the dirty work, and then you condemn it. You are not working for the people of NI; only yourselves.
(10) NI is back in the news and people are paying attention today. But if the rioting continues - as loyalists plan - into the summer, I guarantee that you will all lose attention and the communities who have to put up with this will be left on their own...
as they were on countless occasions before. If you are really concerned, WRITE TO YOUR MP and stop pontificating on Twitter.
And I should have added (11) These riots raise a fundamental problem of the state's failure (as a whole) to deliver for some of its most vulnerable people. Poverty, deprivation & lack of educational attainment in loyalist communities are high. Both long &short-term problems here.

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