This blog has looked at the touchy issue (for unionists, at least) of the so-called 'Protestant Brain Drain'. Today a new report has been released that may add a little light to this dark corner - the 2009 World University Rankings.
In the top 200 universities in the world, although Britain is well represented, neither Queen's University nor the University of Ulster are present. In other words, neither QUB nor the UU offer an education that is better than, for instance, Universiti Malaya (UM) (place 180), Lancaster University (place 162) or Chulalongkorn University in Thailand (place 138).
For a decent education, therefore, the 'cream of Ulster' have to go elsewhere. Perhaps the DUP could suggest that they forsake the grey skies of 'Ulster' for the academically superior skies of Dublin - where Trinity College stands at number 43 worldwide, and UCD at number 89.
Of course many unionists have studied in Dublin, mostly in Trinity - including Carson himself of course. The advantage for the unionist community of its young studying in Dublin as opposed to London or Edinburgh is that they are likely to retain closer ties with home (only a short trip away) and are more likely to remain on the island after graduation. But for unionist politicians to promote such an option - better for their children's education, better for their own community - would be to admit that Dublin is not a 'foreign country' a million miles away, and that the south offers better educational opportunities than the north.
They would rather consign their children to either emigration or a sub-standard education.