Choyaa on Ireland’s Future…

Ireland’s Future held its latest conference at the 3Arena on Saturday, with the event being heralded by organisers as a significant step forward in the push for Irish Unity. Predictably following the conference, opinions were divided with some deeming the event as a defining moment in Irish history whilst others felt it was a misfire and many in between were unaware it even happened. Having watched the event online, I thought I would give a Unionist perspective on the proceedings. …

Read more…

DUP Conference 2022: Where unionism is and where it might go…

red and blue arrow sign surrounded by brown trees

The Three Kingdoms of Unionism The DUP will be holding its annual conference this weekend. I can remember in August 2021, the DUP was at its lowest point in LucidTalk’s opinion poll at 13% with its rivals the UUP and TUV at 16% and 14% respectively. Now, one year on, as of August 2022, the DUP sits at 24%; the UUP at 11%; and TUV at 6% according to LucidTalk’s opinion poll. This time last year, it was believed the …

Read more…

Should Unionists engage with Ireland’s Future?

Arnold Carton is a retired schoolteacher from Belfast. I was one of the minority of unionists who ignored the advice and abuse from Sammy Wilson and attended Ireland’s Future in Dublin on 1st October, so was the €10 ticket, money well spent? What was the event for, and what did I or anyone else gain from going? We must accept that the perception of a unionist attending this event will probably be different from that of a nationalist, but Ireland’s …

Read more…

Houses of sand: Unionism has a problem with younger voters. A huge one.

Whither the union. I find myself becoming weary as I write this. Articles about the demise of the union, about unionist malaise and mistakes, are so common these days that they all sound the same. I stopped writing them at one point because I had nothing new to add. Even now, people write these pieces with a weird air of arrogance. They want you to know that they and they alone have figured out that unionism is in a difficult …

Read more…

Choyaa: Unionism left wandering between the winds…

Blue breath

The census results in Northern Ireland were as predictable as was much of the subsequent commentary and predictions. It can be easy to get drawn into this cycle of claim and counterclaim, but for Unionists to dismiss the results entirely would be foolish. The Union is not dead but there is a looming danger that some interpret as the inevitability of Unification; but what is beyond doubt is that Unionism’s current trajectory will not save the Union. Many of the …

Read more…

The Unheard Third, or the Non-Voting Prod…

Don't just take, give.

An Annex to ‘Voter Turnout Trends around the World’, a study published in 2016 by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, tabulates the turnouts in the most recent parliamentary elections for 196 countries. The top 50 includes 14 democracies where voting is compulsory. These include Australia, 7th with a 93% voter turnout, and Belgium, 18th with 89%. There are also six South American countries where voting is compulsory, not all in the top 50. Three Scandinavian countries that …

Read more…

Unionism needs to reclaim its Irishness…

scrabble, scrabble pieces, lettering, letters, wood, scrabble tiles, white background, words, quote, letters, type, typography, design, layout, focus, bokeh, blur, photography, images, image, self-image, self-awareness, mediate, identity, identity crisis, self help, find yourself, finding yourself, understanding, therapy, mindfulness, roots, personality, authenticity, honesty, principles, id, ego, psychiatry, philosophy,

Irish language legislation is coming. This is despite the protest of some unionist activists and politicians, who have objected due to the politicised nature of the language. That the Irish language has been politicised obscenely is hard to object to, however the response to simply shut any language legislation down is not proving to be an effective one. Nor, in my opinion, is it an appropriate response. However, what else is possible after the wholesale retreat from Irishness by most …

Read more…

Recognising Ulster-British Identity in a United Ireland: a Federation of Ulster-British Communities (FUBC).

The Belfast Good Friday Agreement recognises that: “… it is for the people of the island of Ireland alone, by agreement between the two parts respectively and without external impediment, to exercise their right of self-determination on the basis of consent, freely and concurrently given, North and South, to bring about a united Ireland, if that is their wish, accepting that this right must be achieved and exercised with and subject to the agreement and consent of a majority of …

Read more…

Choyaa: Unionism and the Unity Debates…

brown concrete bridge besides green plants during daytime

Irish Unity forums are not a new phenomenon, they have existed for many years but in recent times calls for Unionists to attend these events have started to amplify. These calls were made again this week at an “Ireland’s Future” future event held at Westminster; however, the calls came from an unusual source. Stephen Farry from the Alliance party used his platform at the event to outline how his party would help “shape the conversation” and warned Unionists that they …

Read more…

Choyaa: Unionism continues to decline and decay…

Close-up of dahlias using focus stacking. Ont their final days.

On February 28th, 2022, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was dominating the news and any segments left on the schedules were being devoted to the cost-of-living crisis that was gripping the world. At this time in Northern Ireland, the main item on Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show was a 60 minutes interview with UUP leader Doug Beattie about a failed attempt to get Jeffery Donaldson to re-join the party in May of 2021. The initial story broke on February 23rd when …

Read more…

Why A Single Unionist Party May Not Be A Panacea…

The Northern Ireland Assembly Election 2022 has fundamentally changed Northern Ireland politics: Sinn Fein has emerged as the largest party, allowing it the right to nominate a republican First Minister for the first time; the Alliance Party has more than doubled its representation in seats to become the third-largest party representing the Other bloc; the SDLP has lost a third of its seats, dropping to fifth place; and the Green Party lost its only two seats. As for unionism: the …

Read more…

The Misidentification of Loyalism: ideologies that harm working class Protestants…

europe, northern ireland, belfast

Lost in translation I was born in 1993, into an area called Kells in County Antrim. I would be told as I grew up that Kells was a ‘loyalist area’. What ‘loyalism’ means as opposed to ‘unionism’ has become more and more confusing for me in recent years, and I think it lies at the heart of issues resurfacing now. While studying at Cambridge nearly a decade ago, I found myself having to explain Northern Ireland a lot. My first …

Read more…

The time is long overdue for taking to heart the lessons of the fall of the old Stormont

We thought we had learned them in 1998 but we hadn’t really, or not enough.  To find out why, we have to go back in time.  Just over 50 years ago, Brian Faulkner the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland rang WD Flackes BBC NI’s political correspondent from an outer office in 10 Downing Street to inform him that the game was up for the Stormont Parliament.  Billy’s scoop led the national 9 O’clock News.  Ted Heath had made Faulkner an …

Read more…

Unionism and a Leap of Faith…

achieve, woman, girl

For this article to work we all need to suspend disbelief and all work on the assumption that in real terms Stormont is ineffective, worthless and has no real positive day to day impact on our lives. That whoever is First Minister has no significance other than symbolism and bragging rights, and that we can all get through the intense period of gloating and recrimination if Sinn Fein emerge the biggest party in May. Do you think we can do …

Read more…

In Response to Jamie Bryson: What a Union of People Means…

uk, united kingdom, 3d

I read Jamie Bryson’s article entitled: ‘The UUP’s Union of the People argument is loose ground upon which nothing permanent can be built’, published on Slugger O’Toole on 21 March 2022. Jamie and I hold different views on various political issues, though I cannot help but notice we do share some similarities, being that we are both unionists from Ards and North Down around the same age with probably a similar experience of growing up within our predominantly unionist borough. …

Read more…

Unionism cannot expect Sinn Féin to keep saving the Union…

giant's causeway, northern ireland, rocks

Phelim Grant and Charles McCann were members of the IRA who died when a bomb they were placing exploded prematurely. At the beginning of February, some Republicans, including members of Sinn Féin marked their death by holding a commemorative event. During the commemoration, Sinn Féin’s ‘Unionist Outreach Officer’, Declan Kearney, gave a speech talking about the inevitability of a United Ireland, part of the speech was aimed at “Protestants and Unionists”, Kearney’s message to them was that “we want you …

Read more…

John Kyle has reminded us all that there is zero appetite for a DUP Lite…

In my post last week I stated my view that “of course there’s not a great depth of understanding of the protocol among those most vocally opposing it (just as there’s no great depth of understanding of it among those most vocally endorsing it).” It was encouraging that there was no real effort in the comments section to refute that view. That’s why I was heartened by Dr John Kyle’s contribution to The View on Thursday last. Discussion on the …

Read more…

Historical determinism is holding Nationalism back and needs to be ditched.

“A United Ireland is inevitable” For anyone who comes from a Nationalist family you will have heard an older relative say this statement over and over again. Like an article of faith, you believe that with just a few simple demographic changes and a patient waiting game that the promised land will be ours. After all, Northern Ireland was only going to be a temporary stop gap solution, right? The British government would be shot of us tomorrow,  because we …

Read more…

Legacy: Who are we moving on for?

Northern Ireland, it seems, has a problem with moving on. Decades (centuries) of strife and conflict. The pain, the trauma, all of it passed down from generation to generation. In the year of our lord 2021, we’re still angry about it all. Still hurt, still frustrated and in pain. Step forward the Prime Minister and his Secretary of State, Brandon Lewis.  They have seen the light and taken a bold, brave step to help us move forward. The government has …

Read more…

An open letter to Jeffrey and Doug

Now the dust has settled on the turmoil at the top of the two main unionist parties for the foreseeable future, we’ve had a wide range of commentators telling us what challenges they face and what is likely to define their tenure of office.  Many of them were from various hues of non or anti-unionist opinion advising unionists on the way forward. But the two leaders (initially at least) would do better to focus on the thoughts and feelings of …

Read more…