The DUP have forgotten that divided parties don’t inspire confidence and certainly don’t win elections…

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has experienced a rollercoaster journey since becoming the predominant force within Unionism. While they have enjoyed significant triumphs, such as holding the balance of power in Westminster and securing £1 billion in additional investment for Northern Ireland, these achievements have been overshadowed by scandals, poor decision-making, internal divisions, and general disarray. The repercussions of the DUP’s actions extend far beyond party lines, causing many Unionists to question whether the party can ever regain its stability …

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Should the UUP just quit rather than have the slow decline?

a yellow sign on a white tiled surface

The pathetic sight of a rain-drenched Prime Minister announcing a general election, drowned out by Labour’s 1997 election anthem “Things Can Only Get Better,” epitomised the ineptitude and incompetence of the Tory government. Closer to home, these same words—ineptitude and incompetence—have become synonymous with Unionism and it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that Unionism is destined for a fate similar to that of the Tories. Just a few short months ago, the future of Unionism seemed much brighter. The DUP …

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Unionism can offer so much more and it now has the chance…

person in black jacket and brown pants walking on road during daytime

This week was an extremely tumultuous one for Unionism as a whole which unexpectedly resulted in an agreement between the UK government and the DUP that paves the way for the restoration of Stormont. As someone who has been calling for pragmatic Unionism over the years, I welcome the moves by Jeffrey Donaldson and his team that have brokered an agreement that affords Northern Ireland the opportunity to be a success. It was a moment when Unionism decided to act …

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Examining the Online Trolling and Harassment Directed at Unionists. Part 2…

people using phone while standing

Unionists are notoriously divided on almost every issue under the sun and finding common ground is an extremely difficult task, however, online abuse directed towards Unionists is one rare example of almost unanimous Unionist unity. For my last article, I outlined an overview of the issues that Unionists faced online concerning abuse, harassment, and generally criminal behaviour, for this article, I wanted to explore further those who were targeted, the trends, trigger points, and the impacts of online abuse. I …

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Examining the Online Trolling and Harassment Directed at Unionists…

neon signage

I have been contemplating writing an article on Unionist experiences online and how there is a sense that it is disproportionately negative with Unionists plagued by trolling, abuse, and threats. It’s a topic that I have touched on before but it’s regularly dismissed as “self-pity” and at times it has resulted in accentuating the trolling and abusive messages that I have tried to call out and I suspect this article will result in more of the same from the usual …

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A few thoughts on the “inevitability of a United Ireland”…

My first memory of a political statement was that “a United Ireland was just around the corner”. It was said by an elderly Unionist with an air of resignation to a fate that was both dreaded and unavoidable. Throughout the years this is a statement I have heard innumerable times by Unionists and only as recently as last week an elderly relative made the statement to me. It’s very much a rite of passage for many Unionists to at some …

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A Tale of Two Twelfths…

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. This opening paragraph from Charles Dicken’s A Tale of Two Cities sums up many people’s views on the Twelfth with …

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Searching for the holy grail of Unionist Unity…

An often-discussed but little-understood aspect of Unionism is how divided it is on almost every topic. The divisions go far beyond competing visions and healthy debates and are frequently about power, control, and egos mixed with a generous dollop of Ulster thran. As a consequence of internal divisions and warring factions, Unionism has suffered, the bloc has shrunk, it’s continually on the back foot and there are endless fears about further splits. A movement whose core objective is to maintain …

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Is the UUP really in its end-of-life phase or is there a way back for it from the political doldrums?

The UUP for many years now has been drifting well below the radar, only periodically appearing within scope, usually as the result of a self-inflicted misadventure. Last week was another such example, the Belfast Telegraph ran a story citing how the UUP was on a “life support machine, waiting to be turned off”, such criticism of the UUP is nothing new but this time it came from a party member via a leaked document. Is the UUP really in its …

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Choyaa on Ireland’s Future…

Ireland’s Future held its latest conference at the 3Arena on Saturday, with the event being heralded by organisers as a significant step forward in the push for Irish Unity. Predictably following the conference, opinions were divided with some deeming the event as a defining moment in Irish history whilst others felt it was a misfire and many in between were unaware it even happened. Having watched the event online, I thought I would give a Unionist perspective on the proceedings. …

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Choyaa: Unionism left wandering between the winds…

Blue breath

The census results in Northern Ireland were as predictable as was much of the subsequent commentary and predictions. It can be easy to get drawn into this cycle of claim and counterclaim, but for Unionists to dismiss the results entirely would be foolish. The Union is not dead but there is a looming danger that some interpret as the inevitability of Unification; but what is beyond doubt is that Unionism’s current trajectory will not save the Union. Many of the …

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Choyaa: Unless the Orange Institution evolves to meet the needs of both its members and society at large, then it is finished…

The phrase “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” has been disproven on numerous occasions, but never was this phrase less apt than when it comes to the Orange Institution, an organisation that haphazardly plods from one publicity to disaster to the next. There has never been much in the way of self-reflection within the Orange Institution on its many gaffs, the leadership prefers instead to carry on regardless whilst blaming others for its problems, an approach that has caused …

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Choyaa: Unionism and the Unity Debates…

brown concrete bridge besides green plants during daytime

Irish Unity forums are not a new phenomenon, they have existed for many years but in recent times calls for Unionists to attend these events have started to amplify. These calls were made again this week at an “Ireland’s Future” future event held at Westminster; however, the calls came from an unusual source. Stephen Farry from the Alliance party used his platform at the event to outline how his party would help “shape the conversation” and warned Unionists that they …

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Choyaa: Unionism continues to decline and decay…

Close-up of dahlias using focus stacking. Ont their final days.

On February 28th, 2022, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was dominating the news and any segments left on the schedules were being devoted to the cost-of-living crisis that was gripping the world. At this time in Northern Ireland, the main item on Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show was a 60 minutes interview with UUP leader Doug Beattie about a failed attempt to get Jeffery Donaldson to re-join the party in May of 2021. The initial story broke on February 23rd when …

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Unionism cannot expect Sinn Féin to keep saving the Union…

giant's causeway, northern ireland, rocks

Phelim Grant and Charles McCann were members of the IRA who died when a bomb they were placing exploded prematurely. At the beginning of February, some Republicans, including members of Sinn Féin marked their death by holding a commemorative event. During the commemoration, Sinn Féin’s ‘Unionist Outreach Officer’, Declan Kearney, gave a speech talking about the inevitability of a United Ireland, part of the speech was aimed at “Protestants and Unionists”, Kearney’s message to them was that “we want you …

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The Untold Story of Ulster Protestantism…

As part of my unofficial English GCSE curriculum that was set by my teacher, there was a part that consisted of watching the movie “Michael Collins” (1996), studying its themes and some of the subsequent writings and poetry from that era, specifically focusing on the Easter Rising. In my naivety at the time, I asked if we would be studying any movies that would show the Unionist or indeed Protestant perspective? The response was that no such film or TV …

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Choyaa: The UUP – Is the Former Empire Striking Back?

The Centenary of Northern Ireland has presented political Unionism with some of its most significant challenges, from dealing with a declining base, the Northern Ireland Protocol, an unenthused electorate, and greater political isolation than ever before, adding to this are the huge internal problems within both the DUP and UUP. This has all made the centenary year memorable if for all the wrong reasons. The UUP, in recent months, have been going through a transformation and following their party conference …

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We Didn’t Start the Fire – The Ongoing Problems with Bonfires…

Inevitably as we enter July in Northern Ireland, there is much talk about the parading season. With that, I thought it would be a good time to discuss one of the most controversial elements that accompany the parading season, namely bonfires and, specifically, Eleventh-night bonfires. Bonfires are a difficult subject; even within the Unionist community, there is not widespread support for them, and many Unionists are dismayed by the negative trappings associated with some bonfires. Bonfires are legitimate expressions of …

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Orange Institution and Politics…

Much has been said in recent times about how Unionist voices are not being heard, however, when Reverend Mervyn Gibson appeared on ‘Talkback’ recently it was one of those times when I wished this sentiment was true. Reverend Gibson was interviewed in his capacity as the Grand Secretary of the Orange Institution; however, his appearance was at times a mix of poor representation, misrepresentation and it also added further confusion as to what the Orange Institution stands for. It also …

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Fragmented Unionism and Broad Churches…

It has long been the formula within political Unionism that if a Unionist party is both united and able to accommodate a broad church of Unionist opinion then it will be the dominant Unionist party. In many ways this formula has never been attained within political Unionism, however, in recent times it’s becoming more difficult to find a party that can solve this formula, and never has this been more apparent than now. However, is the formula relevant in 2021 …

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