Since the Brexit referendum of 2016, extraordinary uncertainty has hung over the future of the Union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, creating a crisis for the unionist community. A referendum that began on the question of sovereignty quickly degenerated into cries of betrayal over a redrawn border in the Irish Sea, and has led to unionists becoming more insular again, resurrecting ethnic and nationalist notions of what constitutes the Union.
In A People Under Siege, historian Aaron Edwards, a native of Belfast, explores the profound challenges facing the community and, in the process, articulates what is really meant by unionism. He explains key developments within unionism over the past turbulent century and examines how a people who believe themselves to be once again under siege are viewed by others beyond their community. In doing so he confronts the narrow, sectional beliefs and prejudices of unionists and loyalists, as well as outlining their more positive and forward-thinking aspects. By embracing these, Edwards explains how divisions could be healed and a position reached of mutual acceptance, tolerance and understanding that will benefit the entire population.