Norman, who had been touted as a potential unity candidate at the recent general election, said that heeding the calls for unionist unity could be the latest mistake made by unionist leaders since Northern Ireland’s creation.
He went on to say:
Pleas for unionist unity emerge and evaporate; almost in tandem with the rise and fall of the electoral fortunes of unionist political parties. This is political code for ‘we have no real policies so it is time to relapse into the constitutional quagmire’.
The principle is based on the premise that he who shouts the loudest for unity will garner additional votes. The Fermanagh and South Tyrone Westminster result is proof that this electoral strategy is extinct.
During my engagement with the leaders of all the parties (including the current secretary of state), I found it impossible to reconcile the competing narrow self interest of each party.
Political posturing and bartering to achieve an acceptable ‘unity’ candidate, crystallised in the anointing of a candidate constrained in a political straight jacket; with no policy platform.
‘Unity’ candidates chosen through the ‘lowest common denominator’ theory will not enhance unionism.
The pro Union electorate are no longer tribal.
This is extremely damning. Undoubtedly Norman Baxter would identify the same policy vacuum and relapse occurring right now in relation to debate over a Sinn Fein First Minister.
His view is well-presented and considered – but is he right?