It is hard to know where to find a definition of unionism. There are no unionist works of philosophy, no fount of literature, no deep well of social and economic theory.
From time to time I write posts about aspects of Ulster heritage and culture and one reason for doing that is that it so much of that culture has been ignored by both academia and media. As a result many Ulster folk know nothing about men such as Kelvin. As a schoolboy and then as a university student I studied physics and regularly talked about Kelvin's laws of thermodynamics and 'degrees Kelvin' but I knew nothing about Kelvin's Ulster ancestry, his deep Christian faith or his Liberal Unionist opposition to home rule.
Back in 2003 Belfast bid, albeit unsuccessfully, to become the European Capital of Culture. As a Belfast city councillor I was a member of the committee behind the bid and on one occasion we went on a bus up to the Ulster Museum. As we were leaving and passing the entrance to Botanic Gardens one of the leading figures behind the bid pointed to the statue of Lord Kelvin and asked 'who is that?' I was horrified that a well educated person, employed in the field of culture and seeking to promote the culture of Belfast did not even know who Lord Kelvin was!
The statue is still there in Botanic Gardens and there is an Ulster History Circle blue plaque at the site of his birthplace in Fisherwick Place but that is about as far as it goes.
Schoolchildren in Ulster still learn about the laws of thermodynamics, the absolute scale of temperature and degrees Kelvin, but does anyone actually mention that he was born in Belfast?
Thankfully, not everyone has forgotten Kelvin. He was a pioneer in the field of underwater trans-Atlantic telegraph cables and the promoters of the new telecommunications submarine cable connection between North America and Northern Ireland chose the appropriate name Project Kelvin.
Ulster is a very small place but it has a rich cultural heritage that should be recognised, not ridiculed.