Demographic logic for a border poll is destined sink its own long term ambitions…

“The mountain is so formed that it is always wearisome when one begins the ascent, but becomes easier the higher one climbs.” – Dante, Divine Comedy, Purgatorio On Sunday I was part of a panel discussion at the Battle of Ideas entitled The Border Question: Can the Union Survive? It was lively, to say the least. The chair, Kevin Rooney, made sure there was plenty of time for audience questions. The venue, Church House, is integral to the grounds of Westminster …

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Unionism’s journey into the future should be based on evidence, conviviality and conviction

Not renowned for public discourse on internal thinking or admitting to failings, it is a positive development that both Peter Robinson, former First Minister and key strategist within the DUP and Reverend Mervyn Gibson, Leader of the Orange Order are hinting at a need for fresh thinking within Unionism on the part of Peter Robinson and Orangeism in the case of Reverend Gibson. Both however are tentative in their critique, especially so in the case of the Orange leader. He …

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SNP revolution means it’s now make or break time for the union

By Ben Wray, a journalist with CommonSpace, which is an online Scottish news, analysis and opinion website. They used to say if you pinned a red rosette to a monkey in Glasgow people would vote for it, such was the overwhelming dominance of the Labour party in Scotland’s biggest city. Labour is not just a political party in Scotland – it has been symbolic of Scotland’s political culture for decades, a way for people of identifying who they are, spanning generations of …

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Olympics fever shows that a soft sell is best for the Union cause

Now here’s a great campaigner for the Union, no?  With his keen nose for an impending win as sharp as ever Gorgeous George brazens out an embarrassing prediction of Olympic failure and turns to his advantage.  You can almost hear that stingingly precise articulation cutting through the print. I underestimated just how much we would all enjoy the London Olympics and how, from Land’s End to John O’Groats, we would all feel together again. As I say, a good time for a …

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Whilst Scotland moves towards its big national debate, we’ve already had our political ‘big bang’…

James Maxwell alludes to an interesting aspect of the burgeoning of the Scottish nationalist cause, and it’s likely runners off in Northern Ireland. Whilst Irish nationalism has become synonymous with Republicanism, the SNP is and remains a soft monarchist party. These difference are as much historical as geographical. Since James VI took up the English title of James I the British monarchy has been as much a possession of the Scottish estate as the English. The siting of the Scottish …

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Jubilee entices England to re-embrace the symbol (if not the fact) of the United Kingdom?

As little more than an after thought to Brian’s piece on the utility of a lightly borne monarchy (see also my earlier Audioboo on the same subject), one of the things that has struck me is the sudden emergence of the Union flag as the emblem of choice, particularly in England where the cross of St George has been the preferred public emblem for maybe the last 15-20 years. It’s not really a surprise that it’s the Union flag that’s …

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Unionists too distanced from the future of the Union debate?

One of the reasons I argued that making the proposed marriage between the Conservatives and the Ulster Unionists would work well for both parties was that it would shore up Cameron’s party colleague’s woeful lack of understanding of the constitution of their own country. Something at Reg Empey shows a residual grasp of: “I feel that there is a real danger of the UK sleepwalking itself into a major constitutional crisis unless there is a proper and open debate on …

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