Sir Jeff is “in the business of winning converts and growing support” for the Union…

Jeffrey Donaldson seems to be trying to win the hearts and minds of the ‘others’. I am not sure what brought about this turnaround; maybe he was visited by three ghosts.

From Suzanne Breen in the BelTel:

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said unionists must recognise they no longer live in a place where “70% of the population are red, white and blue British”.
The DUP leader said the choices unionists make today “will either grow support for Northern Ireland or will cede ground to the enemies of the Union”.

Addressing his party members in Newry and Armagh on Wednesday night, Sir Jeffrey said that Northern Ireland’s future did not lie with “a court or Parliament, it rests in the hands of our children and grandchildren: they will determine the Union’s longevity”.

Sir Jeffrey said that while some in unionism focussed on “seeking out heretics”, he was “in the business of winning converts and growing support” for the Union.

The DUP leader also accused Sinn Fein of engaging in “fantasy” on a border poll, with Gerry Adams’ previous prediction of Irish unity by 2016 now replaced with Michelle O’Neill’s aspiration of a border poll by 2034.

However, Sir Jeffrey recognised that Northern Ireland was a changing place.

As leaders of unionism, we must realise that a demographic and political shift is taking place,” he said

“Either we close our eyes and ignore it, or we recognise that we are no longer in a place where 70% of the population are red, white and blue British.”

The symbols I identify with include the harp and crown I wore with pride as my (UDR) cap badge,” he said.

“I value my Britishness as represented by the crown, but I also value the Irish element of my identity as represented by the harp.

“To be Northern Irish and British is not at all a mutually exclusive thing.

“The Northern Ireland of 2024 is made up of people who are British, Irish, Northern Irish and some emerging identities who don’t sit within any of the above.

“As unionists, our vision for a Northern Ireland that works for everyone is one that embraces all of these identities.

“These people live, work and raise their families here because it’s their home.

“They must be able to feel at home whether in their Britishness, their Irishness or something in between.”

All sounds very good Jeff, but actions speak louder than words. The DUP does not have a great reputation for reaching out the hand of friendship.

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