David McNarry: The NI Protocol and an Irish language act are a bridge too far for unionists

The unionist public do not yet have the confidence to place their full trust in one unionist party.

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 12:06 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 2:13 pm
David McNarry is a former UUP and Ukip MLA

Who can blame them when none appear willing to seek a unity of purpose?

Unionists demand all parties work in tandem to restore unionism as a majority political force in Northern Ireland.

Primacy for unionism can, if tackled with integrity, guile and tenacity, be achieved.

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Ben Lowry in his thought- provoking Saturday column (‘Amid unionist confusion, some suggested key pro Union principles,’ May 29, see link below) showed that unionism “can be open minded on many issues while standing firm on its principles”.

His 16 suggested key pro Union principles are a worthwhile template for all unionists to follow.

Unionists understand principles and pragmatism. Power belongs to people and unionists know that power comes at a price. Let no unionist leader, prime minister or opposition agitator be mistaken, the NI Protocol and an Irish language act are a bridge too far for unionists to cross.

Edwin Poots and Doug Beattie need time to demonstrate their leadership qualities and prepare unionists for an election. Between now and the autumn both men need to shine.

A beaten up but far from counted out unionist community deserve better than unionist infighting, which does damage to Northern Ireland.

Too often we have come dangerously close to allowing internal blood letting break the back of the Union. Splits and friction about personalities, when few people are free from blame, must cease.

Unionism is built on the survival instincts of ‘what we have we hold, we build on and we share with others’.

Choosing between a conservative Edwin Poots and a liberal Doug Beattie is not what the public want. One has to assume the mantle of leadership with the other being his honourable trusted partner, not an opponent.

• David McNarry is a former UUP and Ukip MLA

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