Open Unionism


A forum to discuss new ideas and perspectives on Unionism…

Quiet confidence…

The GPO in Dublin (image via infomatique's flickrstream)

If you were an Irish Nationalist how would you feeling as of, 1st of January 2011, at the beginning of yet another decade “under British Rule”?

How far away do you think your nirvana of the 32 County Republic is at this point?

Well, if I were a nationalist at this juncture, two things in particular would be disturbing me:

  1. the confidence of not just the Unionist elite, chattering classes and bloggerati
  2. the maturity of the pro-Union electorate (defined as only those who presently or previously voted for Unionist parties).

For the first point, check out the News Letter’s Union 2021 series. Ignore the obvious troll (aka the prospective Right Dishonourable Member for Louth), what was the overall feel, the overall atmosphere of the series?

If I had to sum it up in a phrase, I’d say “Quiet Confidence”.

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Filed under: civic unionism, Union 2021, ,

Peace in our time…

In his speech to the party faithful on Saturday last, First Minister Peter Robinson talked about Unionism living in ‘peace time’. This phrase got me thinking for I felt that it was very relevant but needs explained further.

Unionism has the habit of continually placing itself in a war-torn society; which is fair comment after thirty-years of violence during which police men were killed, soldiers murdered and civilians butchered at the hands of the enemies of the state. However this is thankfully no longer the case. We have moved on and live in relative peace. Psychologically and politically this environment created a safe haven for Unionism to hide whilst the bullets flew and bombs went off, which not only created destruction to buildings and infrastructure but to society itself.

At present this attitude is changing and has changed. Unionism has overwhelmingly backed Stormont and devolution as the way forward. Things may not be perfect, but we do not live in a perfect world. During the years of direct rule Unionism had easy choices to make politically, mirroring a protest movement to the naked eye. This offered Unionism a safe foundation to base itself. It did of course come naturally as this was the territory in which it was born in the late 1880s.

In Government now, Unionism, as overwhelmingly represented by the DUP, has tough and real choices to make with regards to domestic policy as seen in education, health, and the economy to name but a few. The generation born during the troubles are emerging looking houses, jobs and a safe and secure environment in which to raise a family. This is the cycle of life; the basis upon which man and woman operate.

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Filed under: civic unionism, devolution, DUP, Shared future, Union 2021

Map first, then the route?

Both Chekov and Arthur Aughey have been ruminating lately on the future role of progressive / civic / liberal / UK / new / non-cultural* Unionism post the collapse of the Conservative-UUP project and the election of Tom Elliott as the latter party’s leader.

I deliberately included all the various descriptions because I think it illustrates one of the fundamental initial problems with trying to deal with the topic: whilst there may be overlapping between the categories, beliefs and policies may not always be common or shared between the different groups and individuals, e.g. it would seem that my thoughts on the economy (and probably following on from that attitude towards the Conservatives) would vary widely from others who might describe themselves as Progressives. Civic Unionists would not necessarily adopt the same social liberal positions as I would on such subjects as women’s reproduction rights.

Continuing on from that observation, I think before we can consider how the various brands of Unionism listed can now advance their arguments (or indeed whether there is any point in them even attempting to do so) a set of basic targets needs to be agreed upon.

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Filed under: civic unionism, liberals, unionist unity?, ,

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