"We have no eternal allies and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and these interests it is our duty to follow."
Translated into the struggle for the Union today; in Northern Ireland, these kind of antics of Sinn Fein are strengthening not weakening the link with the rest of the UK, whilst the two main Unionist parties at present seem content at best to consolidate their own electoral position; at worse, the DUP in particular are developing a separatist strand of Ulster nationalism which runs contrary to the true principles of British Unionism.
On the wider UK canvas, it’s the traditional party (or at least its leadership) of the Union which needs closest watching. The hunger for power within the upper echelons of the *English* Conservative Party will justify any betrayal of both principles and their natural allies in the other three parts of the United Kingdom.
I strongly suspect that if and when the crunch finally comes, those of a Unionist persuasion are going to have to leave traditional loyalities aside and make the fight for the Union a non-party based one- ultimately it will be that cause which it’s our duty to follow, not David Cameron’s, Gordon Brown’s or Peter Robinson’s.