There are capricious unionists too willing to enter government accepting a border in the Irish Sea and a vociferous majority who will not.
With regard to approaching the restoration of a coalition executive, the bare knuckle fact that most unionists grasp is that the price to pay for a government ‘is Sinn Fein turning the screw tighter for Irish unity by using the implementation of the Windsor Framework’.
Unionists hold strong negotiating cards to play at a time of choosing. But there are wild cards in the pack preventing a comprehensive flaying of the framework.
Those who have experienced first hand the duplicity in the NIO are at risk of exploiting divisions. Recently it was ill disciplined personality clashes inside the DUP fermenting differences, which must stop. Followed by a former UUP leader's negative remark that ‘the fundamentals of the framework will not change’!
Then Doug Beattie (‘Paisley ‘protest mode’ on Stormont return’) lost his way when failing to comprehend that in reality the mood of unionism projects a ‘protest mode’.
Is it any wonder people see the UUP being sucked under sinking sands?
Unionism should avoid NIO slaps on the back and the raised glass of the chattering class. It is colleagues battling for principles of purpose who will feel the thrust of the piercing stab in the back.
The issue which leaders must tackle is clear - will the government take unionists at their word and facilitate a stable executive, free of the framework? Or is Downing St preparing to hand over the keys to NI to the EU and Irish republicans?
It is the only worthwhile discussion to have with the prime minister, adding in the trenchant question...’ how much longer does your government intend to insult unionists here with threats of exclusion and installing a government without unionist consent’?
David McNarry, Comber