The biggest loser in the election was not unionism but the traditionalist forms of Christianity, that is all forms given to upholding a traditionalist view of marriage and attitudes towards abortion – a traditionalist view that, apart from the DUP, few if any party now clearly endorses, with most parties clearly opposing.
It is that traditionalist stance, not unionism, that has lost ground amongst the population at large. Unionism in some form or other has gained ground, although some may prefer that attention should not be drawn to this.
No party now, not even Sinn Fein, advocates a separatist, independent Ireland. It is either the EU or the UK – or if possible the best of both, to which latter (the common travel area and common labour market within these islands) Sinn Fein now seems to be committed.
In other words committed to a unionism that goes beyond the shores of the two Irelands and recognises the cultural, economic and social interconnectedness of these islands as well as the link with Europe.
Whether Brussels will agree to any such arrangement within and between the Britannic isles following on Brexit is, of course, another matter. For the moment it remains to be seen.
But that said, it is that committal to that unionism - a unionism beyond the shores of the two Irelands – that is the background to the Stormont talks, and to which, should tempers rise and sectarianism or Anglophobia threaten to take over, parties in the interest of good regional governance should be reminded and should be held.
W A Miller, Belfast BT13