Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Donaldson's insular politics damages the Union

Jeffrey Donaldson seems confused. Friday's paper (News, March 22) carries his quote, "We have to accept unionists are just over half the population now." Yet, just 10 days before (March 12), he said that, "Northern Ireland's position in the UK has never been more secure."

Jeffrey was right the first time. The recent BBC poll confirmed supporters of the Union outnumber supporters of a 32 county Irish republic by at least three-to-one.

So what does Mr Donaldson mean when he says that unionists are "just over half the population"? He isn't basing his contention on actual support for our place within the UK, so we can only surmise that he's looking at census figures showing that about half the population call themselves Protestants.

His comments about 'unionist unity' strengthen this suspicion. If the Union is safe, we should be changing our politics to reflect other issues.

Persisting with a model of six-county Protestant unionism does the United Kingdom damage. The NI Conservatives offer pro-Union politics which are centre-Right and take a common sense approach to day-to-day issues.

That approach offers a way forward, while the greatest threat to the Union could be the insular politics which the DUP and some other parties favour.

Northern Ireland belongs to all the people who live here and we need politics which bring out the best in all of us.

TREVOR RINGLAND

NI Conservatives

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