Well, the DUP has had close connections with bus companies for some time.
The tactics which got under way at the Ramada Hotel have won the day and Edwin Poot’s brief term as leader is over. It would appear his on the surface clumsy leadership played no little part in throwing wide the exit door as he managed to unite friends and foes against him
Unfortunately for the DUP the ‘proverbial elephant remains in the room.’
It is still a party a containing a sizeable number of Protestant Unionists with an over-developed sense of original sin. Add into the mix; the fallout of Brexit, the NI Protocol and resistance to equality, social change and Human Rights rooted in unbending conservatism and viewed through the prism of being a threat to the Union.
It has not got the message of the Good Friday Agreement that the Union is dependent on the ‘principle of consent’ and this in turn will be dependent on success in delivering quality public services, prosperity and the implementation of the 3 strands of the Good Friday Agreement
On the basis of the seeming reaction yesterday by MLAs to talk of an Irish Language Act, it would appear it is a party that does not pay attention to what it has signed up to.
The horses seem to have been spooked either by what was seen as high-risk electoral decision-making or cultural bigotry.
Neither is commendable
When Stormont was restored it was on the basis of New Decade, New Approach. There is no stand-alone Acht na Gaeilige and to present it as such is to misrepresent the package of 3 Acts designed to promote and celebrate the cultural hybridity of Northern Ireland. You begin to wonder if the MLAs in the DUP had actually read it.
Large swathes of pro-Union opinion do not fear or feel threatened by the Gaelic language and view it as an element of the blended culture of the home we share.
This is another sign of change within unionism where there is a growing demography of non-party affiliation and lack of identification with a narrow culture identity.
Pro-union voters are not un-Unionised but tired of grandstanding, posturing and petty point-scoring, they are de-Unionised in party political terms and wish for a principled and ethical way for lived-out politics.
Political unionism needs to re-group; re-invent to flourish and survive.
On the basis of yesterday, it seems that any roadmap to the future has significant barriers already in the way of any new driver of the bus
Terry Wright is a former member of the UUP who, in addition to inter- and intra-community activities works independently to promote Civic Unionism.