This is a good distillation of the lessons for Unionism from the NILT survey, and political reality as near as we can discern, from Alex Kane:
I think the surest thing we can assume in all of this is that there is a Catholic demographic which is content enough to remain within the United Kingdom. That doesn’t mean they are unionist and it doesn’t even mean that they are, in any active or intellectual sense, pro-Union. It just means that they don’t want all the hassle and potential risk which would accompany a newly united Ireland.
The task of unionism, therefore, is to ensure that it behaves in such a way that it doesn’t antagonise or unsettle that Catholic demographic. In other words, neither the DUP nor the UUP needs to attract the votes of that demographic (although that would be a happy bonus and should be aimed at): they just need to make sure that they do nothing which pushes them into the SDLP or Sinn Fein camp.
It puts me in mind of the defensive driving techniques they teach on advance driving courses, which “aim to reduce risk by anticipating dangerous situations, despite adverse conditions or the mistakes of others”.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty