Sir Reg Empey has been quick to pour cold water on the idea that the political demise of Ian Paisley may lead to a rapprochement between the two main unionist parties. Many will think this is a knee jerk reaction by Sir Reg because he is still smarting at the electoral damage inflicted on the UUP by the DUP.
The road to ‘unionist unity’ appears to appeal to a number of unionist commentators – not least the powers that be in Belfast Telegraph. Sir Reg realises, however, that unionism is so diverse that it cannot be encapsulated in the vision of one political party.
Moreover, Sir Reg is only too aware that a unionism that sets its boundaries at Northern Ireland borders runs the risk of playing into the hands of Irish nationalism. Sir Reg has yet to articulate a way forward but he recognises a cul de sac when he sees one.