Unionism 2021: Unity could bring a more strategic, confident and professional unionism

By my reckoning the News Letter’s series on the future of Unionism has been something of a resounding success. Perhaps on reflection the questions posed each of the writers might have been more challenging, but it has drawn in folk from across the unionist world, and beyond. Today, it is Arlene Foster’s turn. She could almost be thinking of what’s left of her support in the UUP:

The mistake civic/liberal unionists make is that they believe they can build a new city upon exclusion of those who come to Unionism on the basis of identity. They are wrong.

They wrongly present people’s political choices as one dimensional. Unionism will be its most successful when all its gateways are open and it has a message that aims to attract the greatest number to the cause of the greater good.

Unionism can have a breadth and depth to it that can make it relevant to more people than the narrowness and restrictiveness of Irish nationalism.

Unionist unity could help deliver such a vision. The idea of the new city is an inclusive one. It is an idea that a credible and sustainable broad church could be built around.

It can create space for Unionism to adopt new approaches. The human and financial resources of Unionism can be focused on delivering a positive vision for Unionism and Northern Ireland rather than back-biting and sniping.

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