Engaging Grassroots Unionism: Room for the Churches & Working Class Loyalism?

I recently crossed paths with the moderator of the Presbyterian Church, Norman Hamilton, and he asked me if I had any insights on how the Protestant/unionist middle class might be encouraged to ‘care’ about working class Protestantism/unionism/loyalism. Last week when I attended the session on ‘engaging grassroots unionism’ at Slugger’s Political Innovation (Un)Conference, I had Hamilton’s question in the back of my mind. I don’t recall either the Protestant working class or ‘loyalism’ even being mentioned in that session, although …

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PI Camp: Engaging Grassroots Unionism?

There was much soul-searching at Slugger’s Political Innovation (Un)Conference session on ‘How can greater grassroots engagement be advanced in unionism? What is the best means to set the agenda?’ This session was led by Geoff McGimpsey of the Open Unionism blog. McGimpsey said he had hoped the blog would in itself encourage greater grassroots engagement, but now he wanted new ideas to ramp up this process. Among his suggestions was a fringe event to get people talking, perhaps on the …

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PI Camp: Dealing With the Past

One of the most heated discussions at Saturday’s Political Innovation (Un)Conference was on ‘What role does the truth about the past have in future political innovation?’ The session was proposed by Ciarán MacAirt, who is involved with the Families Campaign for Truth for the McGurk’s Bar Massacre. As ever in discussions about ‘dealing with the past’ in Northern Ireland, the conversation quickly became about particular events and the ‘truth’ of what happened in those particular events. And as ever, there …

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