I was privileged to be invited along to the first ever Unionist Forum last night. All of the heads of the various unionist families were there and a detailed and united discussion took place, covering many of the issues that concern all unionists.
Unlike many meetings, that I have attended over the years, this meeting ended on a very positive note, by all, and it also left a feeling of hope for many.
It did not and could not address all the issues or find a cure for them at one meeting but a very good chairman kept the pace going and allowed many people to talk and discuss the issues.
I must admit I was expecting fireworks but saw none and I found myself growing more and more hopeful as the meeting progressed.
Not that there were not some very hard questions asked by the participants, as there were many tough questions. But all were answered, some answered better than others.
I saw no bigotry, no hatred, no triumphalism, no aggression, no bad language…. I saw nothing but intelligent and passionate people working together to try to find a united path. This did not surprise me but it may surprise some and disappoint others, especially ‘some’ of the the press.
The future for these meetings must be strong and the leaders of the main political parties know this and must pay attention as the light has been switched on for many unionists and I doubt it will be switched off easily.
I look forward to more of these meetings and meetings that will get down to shaping a unionist agenda and I would recommend that if you receive an invitation that, you accept it as it is a real eyeopener.
May I point out that I write this post openly and honestly. Had I thought that the meeting was a waste of time or a bad idea I would say…. as most of you know. I could also have ignored the meeting….. but I see it as an important start and something that needs to be continued.