Robinson is the key thinker in Northern Irish Unionism, but guided by what ambition?

Alex Kane devotes his News Letter column to an assay of Peter Robinson and his bid for legacy:

What Peter Robinson is selling is the DUP at the helm of a confident, peaceful, stable Northern Ireland. The perception he offers is that success is ultimately dependent upon a confident, growing DUP. He sells the prospect of increasing numbers of Roman Catholics buying into this perception. He sells the prospect of a shared future and sharing society being the natural consequence of his long term strategy, with the unnamed believers in a united Ireland being dismissed as a minority within a minority.’

Yet, not everything stacks up perfectly for the DUP leader:

The other factors which can’t be ignored are that Robinson still seems content with an us-and-them carve-up with Sinn Fein (knowing that a sectarian headcount remains the basis for elections); he has been unable to agree a ‘shared future’ strategy with them or even the SDLP; he has been unable to agree a Programme for Government which has a unique Northern Ireland agenda and vision; and he seems reasonably comfortable with the Executive being more about management and administration than being a normal, accountable, fully democratic government.

And he concludes:

Maintaining the DUP’s position as the lead party of unionism and the largest party in Northern Ireland is, of course, important to him: and it is possible that his recent set-piece, thinking-aloud speeches are simply geared to that one end. But he is now, for better or worse, the key thinker and prime mover within mainstream unionism, so I really do hope that he is guided by an ambition greater than that of the DUP’s self-interest.

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