A thought-provoking piece by Dr Crawford Gribben about the relationship between Unionism and Protestantism, something which has been on my mind recently.
Dr Gribben makes the assertion that, demographically, Unionists no longer represent a political majority in Northern Ireland and that they need to broaden their appeal in order to regain their strength.
As the population statistics of Northern Ireland no longer reflect a Unionist majority, so Unionist leaders must make the case for the Union to a population broader than the conservative Protestants whose votes they have traditionally taken for granted.
Surely the same argument applies to Nationalists and Republicans in that they need to somehow broaden their appeal to attract new voters, not existing ones? This harks back to what I blogged about earlier – can the political parties broaden their appeal by actually tackling issues that affect the public?
Similar questions were being asked after the Whiterock riots last September, with some citing social differences between Nationalist and Unionist areas of West Belfast as a potential starting point for Gerry Adams to prove that Sinn Fein really wants an Ireland Of Equals, and that it’s not hollow rhetoric.