YOUR editorial (September 24) rightly points out that the Covenant was a defining development in constitutional and political affairs on this island.
As Enoch Powell once remarked the essence of unionism is that people in Northern Ireland identify with the United Kingdom as a whole and not with the rest of Ireland.
This perception was the motivating force behind the profound and highly organized opposition to Home Rule.
Unionism and the continued existence of Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom has been a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Ulstermen possessed of outstanding military talents such as Alan Brooke, Alexander, Montgomery and Dill were entrusted with supreme command of the nation’s armies during World War Two.
By common consent, for example, it was largely due to Alan Brooke`s skill and resolution that the British Expeditionary Force escaped total destruction on the retreat to Dunkirk in May 1940.
The British liberal elite - the kind of people George Orwell once remarked would rather be caught stealing from a Church collection plate than standing to attention for the National Anthem - have generally been hostile to unionism and sympathetic towards Irish nationalism even in its most virulent guises.
Suffice it to say, however, that no-one got up in the House of Commons in June 1940 to argue the case for a “British withdrawal” from Northern Ireland.
In the dark, sombre world of the early 1940s Irish nationalism was, at best, a total irrelevance, at worst an enemy of western civilisation -the IRA were wartime allies of the Nazis.
One historian has memorably referred to the “stern sanity” of Ulster in a crisis.
It was the stern sanity of Carson, Craig and the men of 1912 that deterred the British Liberal Party from its foolishness over Home Rule.
Nowhere is this truism better illustrated than in the attitude of that 20th century titan Winston Churchill.
In 1912 the firebrand home secretary, still in his 30s, was a fervent Home Ruler threatening unionists with “bloodshed on an extended scale” if they did not back down over the measure.
By 1945 the mature statesman, having led Britain through a terrible world conflict, was praising the same unionists for their crucial role in saving the nation from slavery and death.
Yes, the Ulster covenant of 1912 is well worth celebrating, for it is one of those rare historic events which has had a lasting and benign impact on the nation’s fortunes over the last 100 years.