The outflow of Protestant students from Northern Ireland has been noted before by this blog (here and here and here), as well as by unionists including Reg Empey, Minister of Employment and Learning. Now the Minister, in a rather pathetic attempt to stem the hemorrhage of young educated Protestants, is trying to organize a reverse flow by persuading graduates from Britain to move to Northern Ireland. He is, of course, particularly interested in Scottish graduates, who can be relied on to reinforce the stagnant unionist population.
The Minister, through his department, has launched a campaign called C'mon over, aimed at encouraging "suitably skilled people to consider Northern Ireland as a place to live and work". What the campaign is really aimed at, of course, is encouraging British Protestants to move to Northern Ireland, in order to bolster the numbers of pro-British voters.
The Minister's department – Employment and Learning – attended the Edinburgh Graduate Fair on 22 May 2008 and the Glasgow University Graduate Fair on 28 and 29 May 2008 to promote their campaign.
One wonders, if his aim is simply to encourage skilled graduates to move to Northern Ireland, why his department is not organising a parallel campaign, called C'mon up, in universities in the south? If, as he has claimed, he is trying to encourage Northern Irish graduates to return to Northern Ireland, then why is the campaign not called C'mon back?
This is clearly a sectarian and politically motivated attempt by a unionist minister to abuse his office to try to reinforce the unionist population of Northern Ireland. It is a sign of his, and his party's recognition that the numerical battle is being won by nationalism.