The Dissenter takes an interesting tack of his own, inspired (if that is the right word) by the News Letter’s Unionism 2010 series. And in the process he says things that should be of interest to all constitutional camps in Northern Ireland:
…the business sector is as much grounded in a dependency culture as the social sector. Nationalists cannot complain about a significant reduction in Northern Ireland’s public sector. If there is to be an all-Islands economy (one of the largest in the world of which we are already an integrated part) then the public sector engagement in the economy has to be reduced to the UK level (even at its current high of 50%) . Perhaps we should aim to be close to Irish Republic’s smaller public sector, otherwise a reduction in corporation tax is pointless and should not even be under consideration.
Those who are creating wealth in society must be encouraged at the expense of those who profit from public subsidy. Far from NI Water returning to the Department of Regional Development it must be prepared for the private sector.
It is not necessary for Unionist parties to unite structurally to agree common points on a future for good government. The Unionist electorate is not a single monolithic body. It does not lack choice in Party, rather in leadership and ideas on moving forward. No matter the number of parties, Unionism is currently failed by a lack of strategic and purposeful leadership. There would be a collective electorate groan at the thought of the present Unionist leaderships entering more talks on the future of Northern Ireland given their abject failure to date.
What is required to 2021 and beyond is coherent vision and a policy driven agenda that sets out what is necessary for a small, open, free and intelligence-led economy making a positive social, cultural and political contribution within the UK. This, far far more than (and probably in spite of) political manoeuvering or structural machinations, will build and strengthen the Union.
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