Those making trouble in Ardoyne really just looked like tanked-up teenagers on a summer’s evening. At most, the whole thing was a cry of impotent rage by those whose party has given up, and joined the Establishment with bells on.
But they might consider that the overall control of the British State is their safeguard against rule by people whose own history on the matter is thoroughly ambivalent, and who think that it is normal British behaviour to march through the streets behind a Union Flag while wearing a bowler hat. In the heads below those bowler hats still simmers the idea of an Orange Free State, of “a Protestant Parliament for a Protestant People”, of Scots-Irish self-government approaching or even actually constituting Dominion status.
It was to protect the Catholics against something very much in that vein that the troops were first sent into Northern Ireland, where they were initially welcomed accordingly. More to keep the Americans sweet than anything else, any future exercise of overall British sovereignty would have to be made to look like a joint enterprise with Dublin. But no Dublin politician really cares tuppence about Northern Ireland, and they have not the resources to do anything even if they had the will.
It was always Stormont, and the accompanying failure of the mainland parties to organise (all of them, or there is no point in any of them), that was the aberration. Bloody Sunday, or any other grievance you care to mention on either side, could never have happened in any city where the inhabitants had a say in choosing or changing the Government.
As Sinn Féin struggles to survive as an all-Ireland party once the Adams-Maguiness generation steps aside (what do its contingents in the two states really have in common?), as the Republic secularises and casts off her Gaelic heritage even more starkly and rapidly than she has already done, and as the reality dawns that the Good Friday Agreement really means a permanent First Minister in the sash his father wore, Catholics might finally wake up to the fact that, at least if dressed up as a London-Dublin joint effort, a thoroughly activist role for the Government of the United Kingdom is exactly what they need, and is in fact their last hope.