Our new book tries to fill the gap in expression of unionist views
A letter from William Beattie Smith and John Wilson Foster:
Alex Kane reminds us how important it is for unionism to argue its case in the face of resurgent republican rhetoric (‘Unionism hopeless at getting its message across,’ July 26, see link below).
We agree that unionists’ wish to remain citizens of the UK is not being articulated clearly and forcefully.
Recent developments appear to dilute or endanger the Union: Sinn Féin’s collapsing of the executive in 2017, its electoral advance in the Republic, divisions within the DUP, and the Irish Sea border.
The campaign for a united Ireland has reinvigorated itself and is now active in electoral politics; in debates over rights, legacy and language issues; and in rewriting history to shift blame for violent atrocities from republican terrorists to the British state.
It has tried to foster the illusion that a united Ireland is progressive and inevitable, while the unionist cause is reactionary and hopeless.
Regrettably, that campaign enjoys international support, particularly in the US and Europe. Dublin energetically pursues Irish unification, while Westminster is at best neutral.
Inside Northern Ireland, enthusiasm for the Union is no longer evident amongst academics, in business, civil society or the mainstream media (except for the News Letter).
Rather than complaining, we as Northern Irish writers have decided to act.
In 1995, John Wilson Foster edited The Idea of the Union, a short practical handbook of arguments by distinguished experts in favour of the Union. We will shortly be publishing a successor entitled The Idea of the Union: Realities and Challenges.
It’s with the printers now. The contributors include politicians and officials with extensive practical experience, as well as experts in politics, history, economics, law, journalism, and cultural studies.
Amongst the important issues they explore are the importance of east/west relationships; the implications of Brexit for Anglo-Irish relations; the Scottish dimension; unionists’ perceptions of British betrayal; falsehoods in the republican narrative; the scandals of legacy; the case for ditching the EU protocol; living standards north and south; and the way forward for unionism in the devolved government.
The Idea of the Union: Realities and Challenges has been funded through generous donations from friends and supporters, for which we are very grateful. We have received no contributions from government agencies, international foundations, research institutes, political parties, or the taxpayer.
The Idea of the Union will be available for purchase shortly through Amazon at £9.99. Supplies will be limited.
To pre-order your copy, contact us by email at [email protected]
William Beattie Smith, John Wilson Foster
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