I mentioned on this blog last August that when the Census results were released if, and I thought at the time it was a big if, the protestant vote fell below 50% that the effects upon political unionism would be interesting to observe. I think it may be fair to say that is exactly the scenario which is unfolding now.
In November, Peter Robinson read the jungle drums from within his own constituency (with thanks to Kalista63). His response was an ill conceived attack on the Alliance party. This has developed into the whole flag debacle. Working class unionism is now openly challenging the concept of democracy. The mainstream unionist parties spent the first few weeks in open panic without a clue what to do next. The result was the unionist forum? I think. The UUP are now a party in open internal warfare with Basil McCrea voting against the leadership tonight on a DUP amendment in the assembly. This is largely the work of Peter Robinson who has played the hapless Mike Nesbitt like the proverbial fiddle. Basil has considerable support within unionism in my opinion and I am sure there are voices urging him to make the break. He may not have to, such is the state of that party they may sack him by the weekend. I have no doubt that he is capable of harnessing a considerable personal vote as just about the only unionist politician to emerge with any credibility whatsoever.
The next round of elections in 2014 will be very very interesting.