UUP leader Reg Empey has said that a united unionist party was "a generation away".
Why Empey thinks that there should even be such a thing as a ‘unionist’ party in 25 years is hard to comprehend. He clearly thinks that the constitutional question will still remain the dominating issue in Northern Irish politics. He obviously lacks confidence in the basic ‘civic unionist’ premise – that politics should move away from disagreement about the constitutional future, and should be based upon issues. If, in a generation, there is still a party with ‘unionist’ in its title then civic unionism will clearly have failed.
This blog certainly understands why Empey would see the need for such a united unionist party in a generation. By then (say, roughly, 2035) unionists will be in a clear minority in the six counties, and will probably be looking to maximise their influence in Dáil Eireann, so a single party would make sense.
However, this blog would prefer if Mr Empey and his party lost their obsession with symbolism over rationality, and adopted political positions based upon socio-economic preferences, so that, in the new Ireland of 2035, citizens – Protestant, Catholic, Dissenter and atheist – would combine and debate on the basis of philosophy rather than prejudice.