May I propose that unionism be referred to from now on as loyalism, a means of distinguishing it from the liberal brand of pro-Union politics in Great Britain. My unionism is Great Britain unionism, not Northern Ireland ‘last Mohican’ unionism.
I find this necessary as the gap in values and vision between Ulster and the mainland ever widens.
Example: The DUP and UUP through the Unionist Forum and other joint exercises are indistinguishable from the Loyal Orders and loyalism, protesters and bandsmen. Better Together forcefully and strenuously distanced itself from the Loyal Orders and bands during the independence referendum.
Another example: Northern Ireland unionism is coterminous with protestantism, and in particular an evangelical branch of protestantism. The Free Presbyterian Church and the Caleban Foundation are locomotives of “Ulster-style” Unionist policy. Whereas Great Britain style unionism is universal, Catholic, Protestant, agnostic and atheist.
Another example: Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron said in 2013 he wants to export gay marriage around the world, yet Northern Ireland cannot have it because of Unionist veto. The driving principle of unionism, American or British or even European, is to build affection and drive allegiance among the people, crafting a commonality that holds the many around one while respecting diversity.
Where GB unionism is universal, NI unionism is uniform. If Northern Ireland unionism alienates pale Orange prods, how can it ever reach out and ally itself to Catholics and the pale green?
My brand of unionism, of Hewitt and McCreary is still considered that of a Lundy. My unionism is Great Britain unionism, not Northern Ireland unionism. It’s for that reason that Northern Ireland unionism should be called Ulster Loyalism. My unionism is the unionism of modern Great Britain, and I can’t see any of that in Northern Ireland.
Brian John Spencer, By e-mail