The way ahead

Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister

“The Stormont shambles speaks for itself, and in consequence I have not over laboured the obvious. It is time, however, for Unionism  – indeed all who acknowledge the constitutional reality of the place they call home – to develop a strategic vision for the future.

“To do so certain realities must be faced: mandatory coalition is a busted flush, as many now agree. There is nothing to be gained by expending time and energy on trying to patch up the unworkable – when only one half of a mandatory coalition even wants the country it governs to exist, never mind succeed, then, failure is inevitable. It is time to move on, but to where?

“If devolution, though tarnished, is still the goal, then, only a voluntary coalition of those willing to make Northern Ireland work is viable. Such would require the SDLP to step out of the shadow of Sinn Fein – while they still can.

“If voluntary coalition is not doable, then, legislative devolution – as I have previously articulated – is about the only remaining option to keep a Stormont open. Though, perhaps, a Westminster Grand Committee could do as good a job?

“Traditional Unionism does not baulk at a one parliament, one people approach – indeed, at one level it is the natural outworking of being a Unionist. Being better integrated within the UK, while respecting regional preferences, should not deter anyone of a unionist disposition. And, if it jars with others, then, maybe the prospect makes voluntary coalition more palatable. There is a choice there for us all to make.

“One thing is clear. We can’t go on as we are.”

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