The Newsletter is continuing its series of Articles about the Union in 2021.
Unfortunately, in terms of their contribution to the wider debate about changing politics in Northern Ireland, very little of substance has yet been written. Perhaps I am expecting too much. In the opening article – ‘What’s your vision for Ulster’, they write this:
“We will be asking contributors to our Union 2021 series each to write an article which addresses three main questions:
– What do you think the Union with Great Britain will look like in 2021?
– What would you like it to look like?
– Is unionist unity essential for the achievement of your vision?
– If so, what does that mean?
– Could you accept a Sinn Fein First Minister?”
There are, of course, 5 questions and the last question, in particular, looks like an afterthought.
I am disappointed with these questions because they enable the writers to write articles which are too “broad brush” regarding the position of the Union in 2021. To engage the writers in more vigorous and revealing debate, some of these questions could have been more defined.
Asking contributors for their vision on the Union in 2021 looks like asking them for a forecast on whether it will still exist at the time. It would have been more challenging and taxing if questions had been about how contributors saw the functioning of Stormont and the state of the political parties in 2021, as compared to now, and how this might come about.
I am continuing to monitor these articles and will provide more commentary on them in due course.