|Cartoon of Alex Massie by Morten Morland|
"For a long time now, the case for the United Kingdom has been made in a tiresomely negative sense... Practical difficulties are the things politicians are elected to solve. Or at least ameliorate. The case for the Union needs to be about something bigger and better than that. Unionists don’t simply need a plan, they need a story."
Massie wants a rational and intelligent case for the union. He wants to build and promote a positive, confident unionism. He said in a later post here:
"Better Together needs a story about the future as well as the past and that narrative needs to be based on something good, not on gloomy predictions of mass unemployment after independence."As someone wrote on Slugger O'Toole here:
"Unionism should stop the tactics from decades ago of triumphant victories and ramming symbols,signs & traditions down peoples throats. It should start a complete overhaul of its long term strategy.
Sell Unionism to the entire population.
Sell the centre right political policies (an easier sell than the Marxist SF ones).
Sell the benefits of remaining within the UK.
Sell the culture and history.
Sell the story of NI to the rest of the world.
The world has moved on from ramming things down throats. Its a hearts and minds job now and Unionism is off to an awful start."Alex Kane wrote in a piece, 'Unionism can learn from Sinn Fein':
"Never stop. Never give up. Never give the impression that you are doing anything other than moving forward and exceeding expectations. Whether I like it or not –and I don’t – the fact is that Sinn Fein is brilliant at propaganda.
Unionism used to be brilliant at propaganda and organisation. If you don’t believe me then read Alan Parkinson’s ‘Friends in High Places,’ a superb account of how we resisted Irish Home Rule. There’ll you’ll see how all the strands of the pro-Union family agreed on a strategy and then promoted that strategy. You’ll be astonished by the sophistication and depth of the campaign, particularly at a time when there weren’t computers and mobile phones, let alone Facebook and Twitter."He critiqued current events:
"I really don’t see the point of a strategy which is built around a weekly application for a parade past Ardoyne. Either the whole thing will just fizzle out (like Drumcree) or it will just turn very nasty one Saturday. Both of those outcomes are bad for unionism/Orangeism and represent an ultimately pointless campaign."He concluded with a recommendation:
"Unionism/Orangeism needs to become more sophisticated in its thinking and more subtle in its strategies. Almost everything we do is a reaction rather than a first step. We are obsessed with looking weak in the eyes of family members, so spend too much time in macho showdowns with each other. Even NI21 sets out its stall in terms of its contrasts with mainstream unionism rather than how it will counter Sinn Fein’s strategies."He also made a note for Peter Robinson:
"And Robinson, as leader of the largest unionist party must, like Trimble before him, set out the political and electoral realities for unionism and promote a confident, persuasive, comfortable agenda."