Interesting ‘poll’ of final year students at Queens University which show that the highest number of those who declared a political interest in the mainstream political parties (just 41% of those asked) would back Sinn Fein (22%), then SDLP (11%), then the DUP (5%) and finally the UUP (3%). Hmmm… the Newsletter resorts to that old story of non Catholic grammar students heading for the boat. That could be a contributing factor, but the numbers are sooo low that other more culturally based reasons must be at the bottom of the phenomenon… Seven years ago this May we published our report on the future of Unionism, I quote the last lines below the fold:
1066 and All That tells us that the English Civil War was an extremely memorable struggle between the Cavaliers (Wrong but Romantic) and the Roundheads (Right but Repulsive).106 In future struggles, unionists need to be both right and attractive. For that, a firmer, bolder, more far-sighted unionism will be needed. In a long peace, after all, people must want the Union for it to survive.
As for the SDLP and Sinn Fein, it probably demonstrates the generational shift in loyalities amongst what is likely to become the Catholic middle classes…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty