“a 65% to 17% majority for Northern Ireland remaining in the UK suggests little room for doubt.”

From the conversation on BBC NI Spotlight tonight there are challenges for all the political parties in the results of the polling by Ipsos Mori.  But here are the reported results on the constitutional question.

Not surprisingly, more than 90% of those who identify themselves as Protestants told the pollsters they wanted to stay in the UK.

But on the other side of the religious divide, a substantial 38% of Catholics also favoured remaining within the UK – three percentage points more than the number who backed a united Ireland.

While only 5% of Protestants don’t intend to vote or haven’t decided which option they would pick, more than a quarter of Catholics are either undecided or not planning on voting.

As avowed believers in a united Ireland and the party running a border poll campaign, Sinn Fein might be surprised to learn that nearly a quarter of those who identified themselves as Sinn Fein voters – 23% – told the pollsters they would back the status quo in a border poll.

More than half of SDLP supporters – 56% – also said they would opt to stay in the UK if a poll was held tomorrow.

The results of the 2011 census, released in December last year, revealed that just over a fifth of the population considers itself “Northern Irish”.

That posed a political puzzle – in a border poll would these people tick a British or an Irish box? Well, those who identified themselves as “Northern Irish” for the BBC Spotlight poll back staying in the UK by a significant margin – 72% to just 7%.

For the details of the poll.

The poll was carried out for the BBC Spotlight programme by Ipsos Mori, whose researchers interviewed more than 1000 adults at 64 locations across Northern Ireland between 17 and 26 January.

The full details are available as a pdf, 897kb in size.

But will we now see “political leaders here concentrate on working together on pressing economic and social issues…“?

Because, there’s some governing administrating to be done.

And, as I’ve mentioned before, there’s a journey to be undertaken…

Not that a border poll is likely, or even inevitable.

In the meantime, Gerry, “let’s go on a journey…”  Before more people realise start “thinking that you are slightly bonkers“.  [Look into my eyes, the eyes, the eyes, not around the eyes... - Ed]

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  • sectarianheadcount

    65% of one-fifth of the island want partition yet we got hysteria and ‘constitutional question settled’ drivel on Spotlight. No wonder Loyalists regard themselves as ‘The People’. The Irish Times survey in 2010 found that 79% of the Republic’s population want a united Ireland ‘even if they had to pay more tax’. Yet they count for nothing.

    Meanwhile the intellectual garbage of ‘Shared Future’continues. If the divisions between the two traditions are so slight and malleable as to be readily overcome, why do they concurrently need a border so as to be maintained?

  • 6crealist

    Given the economic troubles down south, it might have been instructive to have also asked a question based on how people would vote in 10 years’ time: assuming that there had been an economic recovery, and along the lines of the Irish Times’ poll last autumn.

    The figures on ‘unionist’ attitudes towards the flag protests seem a bit off: given that, based on their findings, they would have had to include around one-third of the Catholic population in that figure, I find it hard to believe that nearly half of ‘unionists’ want the protests to continue, while the level of animosity towards Robinson and Long also seems incredible. But I could be wrong.

    On a sidenote, Danny Kennedy behaved despicably in the studio “debate”. No wonder they didn’t find a single Catholic willing to vote for Nesbitt’s UUP.

  • Lionel Hutz

    That means that 17% of people would vote for it tomorrow. This is the group of people who would vote with their hearts every time.

    I would suggest it would be the same with the Unionist people. I would suggest that if you could concretely prove that economically we would be much better off in a United Ireland that a similar size of the population would vote against it, on the pure emotional attachment to Britain.

    The conditions for a United Ireland have not been as bad as this in 20-30 years. There is a general belief that NI would be better off in the UK. Sinn Fein’s nonsense that partition is the cause of our economic problems will never work. Nontheless, unless there is sea change in UK economic policy, the only argument that being UK is good for us will be that they continue to subsidize us. The economic policy is geared towards growing the SE of England who then subsidize the rest of us. An Independent Ireland can prosper. It can also screw it up but the only way Northern Ireland can punch above its weight economically is in a United Ireland. But even Nationalists do not have confidence in that at the moment. The argument has not even been made.

    It sort of shows how Sinn Fein’s politics in the South are counterproductive to a United Ireland.

  • Lionel Hutz

    6crealist,

    I think that for the questions on support for the flag protest, it was based on those who would vote for unionist parties not the union itself. That was my impression.

  • Obelisk

    Not another infernal poll on a potential border poll. Can’t we just go into the Archives and link to the Life and Times survey and pull out all the responses to that to save ourselves the effort.

    People who like the poll will use it to support their arguments.

    People who don’t like the poll will attack the methodology used to generate responses and whenever this poll is brought up in future, to attack it.

    Both sides will have very good points that can’t be disproved because the only way,if you really want to find out what the results of a border poll would look like would be to hold one.

    Are Unionists going to take solace from this poll? Their leaders will say yes, their people will say no. Why? Because, and this point cannot be hammered home enough, even though ‘the Union’ is safe it’s not the Union they want, one where the Union Flag flies 365 days a year over civic buildings and the twelfth of July is known the world as Orangefest.

  • http://www.wordpress.ianjamesparsley.com IJP

    I keep hearing “a fifth” identified as “Northern Irish”. Actually, it was nearly a third.

    A fifth ticked Northern Irish only. Quite a few more, like me, ticked it and something else.

    Nationalists keep ignoring the point that anyone will stick with the status quo in preference to an uncertain future. They need to come up with a specific proposal – otherwise the question is indeed settled.

  • SK

    The only news here is that this is considered news.

    Take one look at the economy down south and it’s mystery solved- turkeys don’t want to vote for Christmas.

    Is that it then? Has the fat lady sung? Nope. Asking someone if they’d vote for unity tomorrow is very different to asking them if they’d vote for unity if the conditions were right.

    There is no guarantee that a Catholic majority equates to a majority vote for unity. That’s how it is. But it is reasonable to argue that individuals who hail from the ‘green’ tradition may be more amenable to the idea of removing the border, thus making the job of persuasion far easier than it might otherwise have been. The challenge for nationalists now lies in ensuring that the economic conditions in the Republic are such that pragmatic nationalists don’t feel that they’re voting for financial suicide when they vote for a united Ireland.

    Referendums notwithstanding, a Northern Irish state with a Catholic majority will be one in which the border essentially means nothing anyway. The overlap in identity with the people of the south would be such that the border would have all the status of a council boundary in everyday terms. Interesting times ahead.

  • 6crealist

    “The overlap in identity with the people of the south would be such that the border would have all the status of a council boundary in everyday terms. Interesting times ahead.”

    Precisely. A lot of northern Catholics will have their cake and eat it too: free healthcare, public sector employment, Catholic grammar schools on the one hand, and an Irish identity and passport with an invisible border on the other hand.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Interesting that the Northern Irish only category are more likely to be nationalist than unionist. The party they are most likely to vote for are the SDLP, with 21%. Alliance are second with 13%.

    The majority of SDLP voters would stay in the UK if asked tomorrow.

    Also, a majority of the people want a poll within the next 7 years.

  • SK

    Interesting that the Northern Irish only category are more likely to be nationalist than unionist.

    ____

    I think I read on this blog of a writer who described his identity as the centre of a venn diagram, where “Irish” and “British” coalesce.

    Maybe that’s what’s happening. It could be that the north will become a kind of bridge between a bloke like me sitting here in Dublin, and the folks of Finchley.

    Might make a nice change to the usual zero-sum crap that has us eye-balling survey results like they’re football scores.

  • Ulster Press Centre

    6crealist: Precisely. A lot of northern Catholics will have their cake and eat it too: free healthcare, public sector employment, Catholic grammar schools on the one hand, and an Irish identity and passport with an invisible border on the other hand.

    Well, how about you make do with that now and leave the rest of us Ulster British people in peace then?

    Your endless UI drivel (against the wishes of the vast majority of NI’s population) is getting tiresome and annoying.

  • 6crealist

    UPC,

    Calm down dear. Don’t be getting all stroppy because you can’t read a map.

    And if you’d like to substantiate your point, for once in your life, and show just one example of where I have propagandised for a reunited Ireland, then you’re welcome to show your evidence.

    Regards to your comrades in Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan ;)

  • MacTomas

    Assuming the methodology is acceptable, and looking at these figures from a Scottish perspective, The Nationalist hesitancy to opt for UI is perhaps due in part to a feeling of attachment to Stormont. Northern Nationalists have evolved a significant left of centre political identit,, which in all probability not be satisfactorily reflected in the Dublin parleament.
    One of the main factors in the push for Scottish political autonomy is that Scotland’s left leanings are often an irrelevance within Westminster. If Sinn Fein ever make significant inroads in the ROI the Nationalist focus may start to stray towards Dublin, economic , and certain social factors allowing. I’ve always wondered can Northern Nationalist bring themselves to leave the NHS behind?
    However I feel the UI & Scottish Independence debates are cheapened by the pound in your pocket being the premier consideration. Being Scottish the principle of being “Independent” as opposed to dependent is the more morally and politically satisfying option for me..

  • SK

    “Well, how about you make do with that now and leave the rest of us Ulster British people in peace then?”

    ___

    Just a few more unionist symbols to come down and a few more Irish signs to go up and you might just get your wish

  • BluesJazz

    It’s the economy.

    I’ve no care if we have a united Ireland in the near future. The British link and common travel area are guaranteed.
    I’m guessing the NHS is also factored as with the BBC.

    We have the common travel policy so it’s really just flags and emblems.
    UK and Irish ‘culture’ are now mainly American.

    The ‘debate’ on Spotlight tonight was sterile. Agree with above poster that Danny Kennedy was awful.

    But , if you leave the Euro aside, where the difference between Britain and Ireland resides.

    Arriva stadium next week and Cheltenham next month. That’s about it really.

  • Mick Fealty

    There are no guarantees, where there are no politics to back them up.

  • between the bridges

    So does this mean that unicorns do exist…

  • Progressive Unionist

    When you dig into the nitty-gritty of the PDF (page 180 onwards) – the UUP are now down to 9% support across the province, and only 3% support in Belfast city…

  • stewart1

    Interesting that of the 38% Catholics who want to stay within the UK, less than 1% would vote for the DUP & 0% would vote Ulster Unionist.

  • Lionel Hutz

    PU,

    That includes non-voters to be fair.

  • Lionel Hutz

    “Interesting that of the 38% Catholics who want to stay within the UK, less than 1% would vote for the DUP & 0% would vote Ulster Unionist.”

    Its not really correct to think to say they want to stay. I am definite nationalist. I would like to see a United Ireland within the next 10-20 years. I would probably vote for it tomorrow though. I just couldn’t vote to stay in the Union. But I would have real mixed feelings about it at the current time. There is a decent chance that I would abstain from such a referendum because of the sheer stupidity of it.

    What right-thinking Nationalist demand a United Ireland tomorrow? Only those who were put in a position were they had to make a choice tomorrow and whose loyalty wouldn’t let them say no, no matter what the consequences.

  • RG Cuan

    The obvious shortcoming with the referendum question in this poll is that it asked would you vote for ‘NI joining the Republic of Ireland’.

    In the future any debate on a reunited island will be focused on creating a new political entity for all and not just the simplistic sticking of NI onto the ROI. Politicians advocating reunification need to stress this fact.

    The results therefore aren’t that surprising given the wording and timing. As mentioned above, a clear vision for a reunited Ireland at a more suitable period in the future would be a different story.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    RG Cuan,

    That’s a very good point. If there was to be unification it would need to be a very different “entity” from what exists either north or south right now.

  • Starviking

    This ‘emergence’ of a Northern Irish identity is certainly interesting, though not new for me, as I designated as it back in 87. However, more interestingly I noted recently that some of my older relatives were also self-designating as Northern Irish too. This despite coming from a Nationalist background. It would be interesting to see the stats on self-designation by age.

  • Dec

    ‘Nationalists keep ignoring the point that anyone will stick with the status quo in preference to an uncertain future. They need to come up with a specific proposal – otherwise the question is indeed settled.’

    IJP’s correct, the question might as well be framed as ‘Do you want a certain future (as awful as that may be) or an uncertain future? Currently, it’s no-brainer.

  • Harry Flashman

    Once again we can see with our two eye-balls in poll after poll what I have been consistently asserting here, despite the twisted logic of nationalist die-hards who bend themselves over backwards saying black is actually white.

    An overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland, including a very substantial minority of Catholics, you know the ones who have been just about to outbreed the Prods for the last seven decades, wish to remain in the United Kingdom, I have been saying this for years and being pooh-poohed at every turn.

    There is precisely zero chance of Northern Ireland leaving the Union in my lifetime and I intend to chalk up at least another forty years, unless of course England splits first.

    As the Global Warmists would put it, the science is settled, the prods won.

    Terence O’Neill was right, treat the Catholics like prods and they’ll behave (and vote) like prods. As their religion went out the window so went their nationalism.

  • Henry94

    At the time of independence a large section of people in the south would probably have voted to remain in the UK but now hardly anyone would opt to re-join. There is a strong status quo bias at this point in history and it makes a border poll an ill-advised venture.

    Nationalists are well on their way to removing the reason for the NI state existing in the first place. True equality and a possible nationalist majority makes NI a completely different proposition to what it was intended to be. We need to let that play out and see where it takes us. There will be a logic to and a mood for unity at some stage I’m sure but raising the issue at the wrong time in the wrong way is not helpful at all.

  • OneNI

    ‘Interesting that of the 38% Catholics who want to stay within the UK, less than 1% would vote for the DUP & 0% would vote Ulster Unionist.’
    Basically Unionism is successful but the Six county regionalist Protestant parties aka the DUP and UUP are very unsuccessful in broadening their appeal
    Indeed the greatest threat to the Union is from these parties – witness Danny Kennedy

  • http://www.wordpress.ianjamesparsley.com IJP

    Henry

    Spot on. I agree even on the last line, but that mood will come about because of external pressures

  • mjh

    Although the normal caveats apply, the figures for voting intention are interesting.

    After removing those who will not vote/did not say the breakdown is:

    DUP 25.1% Down from 30.0% at the last Assembly Election
    UUP 13.2% No change
    Alliance 10.4% Up from 7.7%
    SDLP 18.6% Up from 14.2%
    SF 21.7% Down from 26.9%
    TUV 2.5% Marginally up from 2.4%
    PUP 2.5% Up from 0.2%
    Conservative 2.5% Did not stand in 2011

    Peter Robinson will not be happy. Although he might reasonably expect to regain a large proportion of the PUP votes as transfers, on these figures it is likely that the DUP would lose a seat in East Belfast to the PUP.

    Mike Nesbitt will be more than satisfied. Previous opinion polls had shown the UUP dropping thousands of votes. For once he has a poll he can use within his party to suggest that his strategy of sticking close to the DUP is working.

    Alistair McDonnell will be cock-a-hoop, and Sinn Fein concerned. The drop in the Sinn Fein support is close to the upper end of the margin of error. So, while it could just be a sampling issue, it would not be wise to ignore it. Possibly the disruption and violence is awaking memories of the past which have concerned some of the softer SF voters.

    David Ford will heave a sigh of relief. No sign here of the collapse in Alliance votes predicted by many opponents (and feared by some supporters). Quite the contrary. The one thing that has been consistent in all three polls over the last year has been significant growth in Alliance support.

    I have not had time to look at the potential impact on Assembly seats other than in the four Belfast constituencies. There we seem to be looking at:

    East Belfast: PUP gain 1 from DUP
    North Belfast: UUP gain 1 from DUP
    South Belfast: Alliance gain 1 from SF
    West Belfast: SDLP gain 1 from SF.

  • DC

    There have been a number of books written over the last 5 years or so about the death of loyalism and what next for loyalism etc, there have been many questions posed as to the future viability of unionism and nationalism as well especially after the Good Friday Agreement.

    But isn’t this really the death of Irish Republicanism?

  • ayeYerMa

    Interesting also that poll shows 29% “Irish only” vs. 25% in the census, so even with the wind behind them the death of Irish Republicanism is clear across each and every of the 6 counties.

  • Mick Fealty

    Dec sadi soemthing after the Adams interview that’s been proven absolutely spot on in these figures. Convert Nationalists first before you go lecturing Unionists.

    I think this exposes the poor quality of our public discourse than the most successful political party in Nationalism has apparently not got a clue about how its voters think and feel on such a crucial question.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Reality Check time for Republican Commentators.

    The BBC / Ipsos / Mori poll cannot be dismissed as unreliable, they are probably the best in the game. Therefore unless strong evidence can be be produced to contridict it, and within the margins of error, a border poll tomorrow would give a result of 79% in UK 21% in UI.

    PURE SIMPLE FACT, almost FOUR to ONE majority for the Union.

    ohhh but its the ecomony…. as these figure back up the Life & Times survey we can look back at their figures and even at the height of the Celtic Tiger boom it was 65% to 35% or TWO to ONE in favour of the Union.

  • Drumlins Rock

    btw. I don’t get the identity thing, I’m British, Northern Irish, and Irish, 100% all of them, why should I have to choose to be more one than another? Too much weight is put on a question that depends on “feelings” which could be swayed by sometihng as simple as Irelands Score in the 6 Nations or Britain winning the Eurovision.

  • Antain Mac Lochlainn

    Ah, the death of Republicanism or the fall of Unionism or whatever. It reminds me rather of sporting punditry. Man United or Man City lose three games on the trot and it’s all about decline and fall. Then they start winning again and it’s all about unstoppable force. If SF and the SDLP do well at the next round of elections, winning the North Belfast Westminster or picking up Assembly seats in the East, Slugger and other forums will be full of ‘the Death of Unionism’ again. It’s all very well decrying the poverty of public discourse – it seems to me that Unionism and Republicanism, far from being dead, are the only show in town.

  • Henry94

    Drumlins Rock

    I wouldn’t dispute the result but there is a distinction between a vote today and a long term aspiration. The poll should have asked as a supplementary question to find people would like to see Irish unity at some future point. The idea that nationalist parties should confine their ambitions to internal matters would need to be based on more than a snapshot in time.

  • Otto

    Not having a referendum seems as disruptive as having one. Certainly generates enough talk. Just include it in every second or third assembly election so we can park it if it’s really not the majority preference. There was something about “once in a generation” suggested on Spotlight last night.

    Maybe we need a US style “propositions” set-up where a sufficient minority of the assembly or a petition can add questions to the ballot.

    We could decide on flags and language acts and all sorts of other stuff people are afraid to compromise on.

  • Blue Hammer

    SK, 6crealist

    “The overlap in identity with the people of the south would be such that the border would have all the status of a council boundary in everyday terms. Interesting times ahead.”

    Precisely. A lot of northern Catholics will have their cake and eat it too: free healthcare, public sector employment, Catholic grammar schools on the one hand, and an Irish identity and passport with an invisible border on the other hand.

    Perhaps the ideal “solution”. However, the UK’s potential referendum on leaving the EU could, if it goes for exit, dramatically change the dynamic. The border would suddenly once again be a real one, possibly with customs posts and passport controls. How do you see that working out for your vision above?

  • iluvni

    Did I really hear Gerry Kelly telling Malachi O’Doherty to ‘shut up’ a few times on Radio Ulster this morning?
    Seems this latest poll has Sinn Fein a tad rattled.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    6realost[12.06] It’s not an accident that the question of the Republic’s parlous, in immediate future]economic state was left out, as that would spoil the party when the result woul;d show the real picture of future catholic intentions in a border poll, and that would n’t suit the suits at the BBC[or UTV].
    Danny Kennedy had to be told by Noel to shut up more than once, i can imagine a few sharp exchanges off air. It was obvious DK didn’t want viewers to hear NT’s follow up question as he talked through it as Jim Allister always does when awkward questions are asked. Also, we were told in advance the poll would include current party standings, but no mention was made of this. a curious omission.

  • JR

    I wouldn’t see this as the death of Irish Nationalism. While many Catholics according to this poll would vote to maintain the Union tomorrow, or not vote at all in a border poll tomorrow it is wishful thinking for the Unionists here to claim them as converted. The rest of the polls published show that there are still stark differences between the political aspirations of Catholics and Protestants in these counties. The fact that so few Catholics would vote for a unionist political party is the first fault line between the populations. They might rule out a bullet to the head tomorrow for this state but are not ruling out death by a thousand cuts. The nest major fault line is the obviously differing attitudes to symbols. Very few Catholics want the union flag flying 365 days a year and a lot of Protestants do. These are fault lines that could re-open at any time, especially in the wake of a British exit from the EU, a cut in the subvention, Scottish independence, decreased British Symols here or increased Irish ones, an erosion of the Border etc. I was also very surprised at the level of support these protests have from Unionists. If I were a protester I would take this as a huge boost.

    A final point is 65% would vote for the Union Tomorrow. That is down from 73% support for the union in the famous NILT survey. I don’t think that anywhere else in the world if only 65% of it’s people wouldn’t vote to wipe their country from the map tomorrow it could be hailed as a good result.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Henry, supply the 1.2 million crystal balls and you can add that question. In the right circumstances I would support a United Ireland (ie. possibly the Republic rejoining the UK ) It is fine for a survey but not a referendum.

    But as you mention it, that is the question the Life & Times survey have been asking since 1998, look up the answers, even back then it was only 22% with an ASPIRATION for a UI. Now that Ipsos / Mori have back up the NILTS we can accept the results as accurate.

  • SK

    “But as you mention it, that is the question the Life & Times survey have been asking since 1998, look up the answers, even back then it was only 22% with an ASPIRATION for a UI. Now that Ipsos / Mori have back up the NILTS we can accept the results as accurate.”

    ____

    You’re in danger of over-egging the pudding now. The heart doesn’t over-rule the head for many nationalists and that’s what this survey reflects.

  • Red Lion

    Thoughts on last nights TV

    Why did the BBC not have Basil McCrea on the show, as just about the only unionist who went against the grain on the flags dispute, his contribution would have been invaluable.

    The biggest threat to the union is the ongoing tribal viewpoints of DUP and UUP. Even in light of such favourable eveidence for the union, they couldn’t help tie thenselves up in such petty knots about the flags. They are as thick as 2 short planks, especially Kennedy.

    Catholics preferring the union is in spite of DUP/UUP not because of them. Catholic intelligence and ability to rise above petty tribalism is a major dynamic in maintaining the union. Apart from a few individuals, there is virtually no-one from political unionism trying to encourage Catholics into the union. The need for Liberal Unionism to organise and give non-tribal representation to a non-tribal and reformed pro-union stance remains greater than ever.

    Gerry Kelly couldnt believe his luck last night. All the available evidence made for uncomfortable evening and yet Arlene and Kennedy’s behaviour provide him with a saving grace as to why Catholics should consider a UI. Unbelievable. Political Unionism is bankrupt and needs to be put out of its misery.

    Unionist does not equal pro-union. DUP/UUP will never get to grips with this expansion – their warped tribal worldviews somehow see this as defeat.

    Stephen Farry from Alliance spoke excellently and I found myself agreeing with virtually all he said.

    The time has never been riper for the SDLP to stop trying to outgreen and mimick SF. Rather they should aim for the moderate middle ground. They should become a little bit more explicit in NI’s current position, and this would be more reflective of their natural target audience, not ‘United Ireland this, United Ireland that’ – tired and doesnt ring true. They could really attack SF from this platform, and could get more of a non-tribal vote. A United Ireland is old hat, an Ulster Protestant Union is old hat, can the parties not wake up and smell the coffe??

  • Drumlins Rock

    grasping at straws JR, most catholics are still happy with the Union Flag flying, even if for 18 days. That is a surprising result. Britian won’t exit the EU, Camerons chances of a majority are slipping so even a vote is unlikely. Polls have Scot’s roughly 2:1 in favour of the Union, the subvention is tied with Scotland & Wales so they would have to be cut too, highly unlikely, British Symbols are more prevelant than ever, mainly to do with the new media and supermarkets! which is why the border is is fading as the south edges back towards UK influence.

    As for the NILT survey, good to see you accept it now. Although it has shown a steady increase in Pro Union support over the years. Boom and recession. The actual vote of course would be nearly 80 – 20.

    Lets put it this way, why are you looking a United Ireland when only 17% of the people of Northern Ireland want it?

  • BarneyT

    There is a lot to be said for a poll or referendum. It could end much of the speculation providing the right questions are asked.

    Sadly a poll with produce a victory or a loss for those that have an “end of story” mentality to NI i.e. Irish or British. If there is an emerging NI identity, then a solution needs to examine the creation of a NI state which cannot be labelled as British or Irish and is therefore immune from the GREEN and ORANGE pageantry.

    Clearly many Catholics would vote to remain in the UK however that would and should not be regarded as a whole-hearted endorsement of the UK, its flag and culture. There are economic and social motivations at work here, which is a fair consideration in the here and now.

    I look at the Free State and latterly the Republic and wonder would the inhumanity brought about by the dominant Church and the State itself have been lessoned had Irish remained united, with the inevitable checks and balances that the Protestants of the north could have helped provide. The Magdalene Laundries and other tragedies spring to mind. To borrow from Miriam Lord in today’s Irish Times, “The stage was set for Ireland’s humanity to shine. It didn’t happen”

  • JH

    Woah woah woah.

    So if they sprung a poll tomorrow morning;

    With no discussion about what would replace what we have now,

    No time to think about the consequences,

    Only 65% of people would vote to keep things ticking over as they are.

    Huh.

  • Mick Fealty

    JR,

    “I wouldn’t see this as the death of Irish Nationalism”

    Definitely not, but it is an indication that under the current leadership the supposed ‘ladder to freedom’ is currently set up against an internal prison wall.

  • http://www.openunionism.com oneill

    The day SF drop “Trust us, awk sure wouldn’t it be grand?” as their only economic vision for a “United” Ireland is the day that republicans can stand back and formulate a realistic analysis and maybe deliver alternative.

    But for it to be believable then they have to get an independent analysis. If it says we’d all be a grand a year worse off, then that’s what you work on and in the worst case it’s not going to diminish the present low figures in favour of a UI or indeed SF’s internal electoral strength within NI.

  • tacapall

    The poll results showed what we all already knew, most Nationalists like their Unionist counterparts are loyal to the half crown, the grass is not yet greener on the other side. The disagreement over the constitutional issue in Ireland has been going on for hundreds of years and another 100 will hardly make a difference. Maybe the SDLP should re access their goals on what can and what cant be achieved, maybe even take a leaf out of Michael Collins book and go for the stepping stones policy of banking whats possible, like joint authority before you attempt a united or unified Ireland. Who cares what way you get it peacefully and politically as long as you get there and I believe if the question of joint authority was in the latest polls we would have an entirely different result.

  • http://www.secondnature.ie Michael

    Why why why do people who consider themselves as keen observers continually miss the issues that are right in front of their eyes? Is it myopia, misplaced assumptions, wishful thinking, group think? There is very little black and white in this new world we live in. It’s exasperating to continually see this debate dragged into a two option game. It isn’t and probably never will be.

    Obelisk for weeks has been saying it clear – whatever the future for this place is, it isn’t what the extremes of either camp want it to be. It will be a negotiated, agreed, protected little place until we all see it and call it as that. There will be less Union flags and more Irish symbolism in a British NI along with more Catholic police officers, and more Catholic graduates (demographics). There will be a Stormont-based devolved parliament in a united Ireland with many many changes to the Irish constitution.

    We would be far better talking to each other about the values we want to live by – who’s up for same sex marriage? who’s up for abortion in medical emergencies and abuse related situations? Who’s up for climate change policy decisions? who’s up for a Bill of Rights? These issues will define our real aspirations. The Ireland of Pearse and Connolly doesn’t exist and never will.

    Sometimes I actually fear these conversations starting because on both sides people will see they have way more in common with each other than with the liberal democracy in the UK (Notwithstanding some current right wing stuff), or with the increasing liberalness of the Republic.

    I have a feeling (unsubstantiated) that the catholics and ex-Catholics of the North are more social democratically minded and are split between very conservative and slightly progressive, while the protestants (ex-protestants) are split between very conservative and quite liberal.

    Basically the “very socially conservatives” are the collective majority and therefore the status quo huggers (just for different reasons).

    Get liberalism and social progressiveness here now and then have a debate about what nation we want to be part of!!

  • SK

    The day SF drop “Trust us, awk sure wouldn’t it be grand?” as their only economic vision for a “United” Ireland is the day that republicans can stand back and formulate a realistic analysis and maybe deliver alternative.

    ___________

    That’s the most sensible thing I’ve read thus far on this thread. If you want people to vote for massive constitutional change, then you better start coming up with some pretty good reasons for them to do so. Kinship with the south simply isn’t enough if it doesn’t put food on the table.

    The North deserves better than that collection of prats on spotlight last night. None of them make their vision of the future particularly palatable.

  • Otto

    @Red Lion

    “Why did the BBC not have Basil McCrea on the show, as just about the only unionist who went against the grain on the flags dispute, his contribution would have been invaluable.”

    Good question. He would have brought a worthwhile 5th viewpoint. As it was there were four fairly coherent positions and one undead political Zombie barking out rubbish and then proclaiming other people dead as if he was looking for company. Perhaps the leader picks the attendees or they only wanted people on the executive.

    “Stephen Farry from Alliance spoke excellently and I found myself agreeing with virtually all he said.”

    He did. Assertive even. None of the usual humming and hahing and “on the other hand”. Stephen seems to be doing a Queen’s Speech type thing where he almost (for Stephen) shouts but happily everyone else is yelling over each other so he sounds fairly normal.

    You feel sorry for Noel though.

  • JR

    DR,

    If I am clutching at straws you are building your castle on quicksand.

    Even if I was the only person in the north to be of the opinion that our long term interests are best served in a 32 county Irish republic I would still be entitled to my point of view.

    Also, on the flag, I don’t want the union flag at all but I do see designated days as a fair compromise in shared city. There is a difference.

    On the NILT, to be honest, no i still don’t accept it. I think this poll is closer to reality. There is a big difference in 73% and 65%. Do you accept both and if so do you think there has been an 8% swing away from support for the union?

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    Otto. Maybe Farry could replace Ford soon and likely increase alliance ambit. The rest of the ‘debate’ was depressingly familiar. These are not serious people so it’s apt that they’ve been elected to stormont.

  • http://www.secondnature.ie Michael

    Sinn Fein’s objective in the past was to make UI more likely by proving that NI was an unviable state – economically speaking. I think this hasn’t worked because people up here don’t give much care to the economics of it because they are shielded from that conversation – our economics are not based on reality. People cannot be entrepreneurs here because of the size of the state – it is night on impossible to be a small business in NI, competing against the state in so many sectors (incl tourism and other stuff like business services where there are hundreds of public sector “initiatives”) or against the big hitters – e.g. PWC and Deloitte for business services. It leaves people as micro-buinesses – survivalist rather than growth oriented.

    The solution – work for the Government or Voluntary Sector.

    What is the economic vision for here and how does it tally with UK or ROI economic visions? When will it be based on reality rather than an export fetish from sectors that don’t exist.

    Why not build indigenous businesses properly – based on residing capacity and aspiration matched to economic opportunity – starting by supplying the massive Government estate or applying some positive discrimination to big external companies supplying services into NI like the South Africans did in kick-starting a black economic empowerment movement?

    I still don’t know if Sinn fein still want NI to work economically or not.

  • Kensei

    Thoughts for National question for another day.
    But there is some strange stuff in there. 22% of SF voters thought the protesters were right to do so? Either people are confusing it with having the right to protest or they are being cheeky.

    Other stuff: Nationalist very strong believe the process does not favour them. Unionists do at about 50/50.

    I’d also query how much people are simply reflecting their leadership. 64% of SF voters want designated days? Really? You reckon theyd have said that before the crisis?

  • Antain Mac Lochlainn

    The debate was bad but it had it’s moments of humour. I loved the way Alex Attwood claimed the designated days compromise for Nationalism (‘Nationalism worked it through’.) All things spring from the SDLP, it seems.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    On the NILT, to be honest, no i still don’t accept it. I think this poll is closer to reality. There is a big difference in 73% and 65%. Do you accept both and if so do you think there has been an 8% swing away from support for the union?

    But JR, according to this most recent poll, 79% of those likely to vote would vote to maintain the status quo.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    Red Lion[11.49] As you pointed out, the tenor of unionists on the panel showed that their constant gloating at nats party panellists that catholics will vote for NI, betrays their own lack of a future in ‘their wee country ‘ The party in 2021 will be a picture of depression. and couldn’t happen to a more deserving group.

  • JR

    Scáth,
    That is the percentage of commited vote. In the NILT survey nearly 90% commited one way or the other. Eliminating the dont knows and others we get 82% status quo 18% UI in NILT.

    In this Poll only 82% commited one way or the other. Again splitting 21% 79%.

    My point is that if the NILT survey is accurate as Unionists claim, then in the last two years nearly 8% less people are willing to comit one way or the other and of those that are there has been a 3% swing towards a UI.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    JR,
    A 3 per cent swing towards a UI – clutching at straws there … which you will find in the long grass, if you’re looking.

  • ayeYerMa

    JR, polls of this size normally have a margin of error of wihin 5%. Therefore, you can’t really make anything of a 3% swing.

    Unfortunately for Republicans, the margins on all the big issues are so huge and consistent that there can’t be any doubt. It’s about time that our media copped on and stopped giving this extrmely vocal minority the same levels of disproportionate attention that they crave.

  • ForkHandles

    Every poll currently says about 2/3rds to 3/4s or more of people in NI prefer to be part of the UK. Ok, now move on to a new discussion on the subject FFS ! What I see being discussed on slugger is the same type of arguing about what people reeeeeeaaally think…. Or what people will think in the future. It’s a silly unknowable type of conversation. The single biggest piece of information from all the polls is that the preference to remain in the UK crosses the old tribal groups. It would be much more interesting to look into the views of the people who prefer the UK but are not from the traditional tribal pro UK group. They are likely people who are/have moved beyond that limited tribal thinking, and after many centuries, have caught up with the rest of the western world in being able to think for themselves. This detribalizing flow goes across all groups in society. Normal people have for a long time laughed at the extremes and often take the piss out of them. This means that they think the tribal mentalities are a bit on the stupid side. Go back a generation or two and I don’t think this would be so common.

    I would be more interested in what pro UK people from outside the traditional pro UK tribal group currently like and don’t like about NI. What they would like to change and what they would change it to. What they currently identify with, to what degree, and their range of views on a variety of specific NI problem issues. The ol flags ‘n emblems malarkey has been in the news recently. What would these pro UK people like to see as acceptable flag flying days? What flags? New flags? If they prefer the UK then that would mean they identify with it in some way. Could they put that into words?

    As far as voting for parties goes, I would be from the traditional pro UK tribe, but I haven’t voted for 20 years. I find the current parties to be like ridiculous cavemen in their sectarian mentality. I await the coming of the Normal Party. The best way to achieve the Normal Party is to require it and its membership to reflect the religious balance of NI. Roughly half Protestants, roughly half Catholics and a few people that believe they are monkeys… This can only be achieved with a PSNI type quota system which would be part of the party’s rules. Harsh and undemocratic, but that is what is needed to succeed. To take the step from tribal society to non tribal requires several in between steps. The reality is that it is very hard for people to join something that is almost all people from another tribe. If it is an entity that is guaranteed to be roughly half and half then it will work and people will take the step.

  • tacapall

    The majority of Catholics support Sinn Fein or the SDLP and both parties made it clear before elections that they would be working towards a United Ireland and they were duly voted in on that premise. The recent polls although showing a majority of that electorate wish to keep the status quo nevertheless, stated they would not vote or support the UUP, and very few the DUP, therefore they do not support pro union parties. Unionism can certainly claim a victory of sorts but they have a bigger problem convincing their own electorate to accept that their preconceived version of what it means to be a citizen of this state is as flawed and unstable as that vision of a United Ireland.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    ‘unionism can certainly claim a victory of sorts’ and therein lies the rub, which they prefer to keep quiet about, ie that what they claim they want , isn’t really all they want, and their silence on that is due to them not wanting to be exposed as bigots. They really want Belfast, especially re-gerrymandered to get back their citadel, but they know this conflicts with their claim to be democrats, and NI repartitioned, but they know the British wouldn’t wear that.
    It’s all downhill from here for them.

  • Red Lion

    Forkhandles, I agree with your 2nd para

    Liberal union people need to know what it is about the union that Catholic Comm background people like, and what they would like to improve and change.

    Equally, such people in this pro-union Cath. Comm Background cohort have to be encouraged to join a liberal union party, to form policy as a central dynamic as to how the new and improved non-tribal union would look.It can’t be done without them.

  • HammerTime

    Desperation by JR and Daniels. It’s not going to happen lads, get over it.

  • belfastboyo

    This is juat a poll of a random 1000 people and of course the elephant in the room is the current state of the ROI economy.
    Come the next election it will be back to normal with the gap between unionism and nationalism further narrowing as the two main religious head for parity in numbers.

    SF don’t really want a poll tomorrow, they want one several years down the line.
    This is just start of a long debate.

  • ForkHandles

    Time for another poll I think Red Lion! Only this time it is only open to Catholics or people of Catholic parents or grandparents. The first question would establish that. The next question would establish their preference for the UK or the ROI. Assuming its UK then all the other questions could proceed.
    A simple way to do it would be to ask people to list what they like / identify with and dislike / feel is alien to them. Maybe give a 1-5 rating of feeling. Then maybe provide their solution to what they don’t like. What would they like to see as an agreed flag policy across NI? What do they want to see happen with the Grammar schools, integrated schools and Catholic schools? This is the sort of information that would be useful to a sensible party that wants to attract people from all parts of society. We already know that most people value the health service and the BBC and also increasing integrated schools. But sticky problems still remain regarding flags and emblems and also parades. What does a pro UK Catholic feel about Protestants having a parade in a town or village or area where they are the minority? I suspect that most people would feel that the morally right thing to do is to support the rights of the minority to practice their religion and cultural events as long as it is done in a respectable way. No sectarian antics and paramilitary nonsense.

    A Pro UK Cs views on the difficult NI issues would be invaluable for a forward thinking party in NI. I wonder if we will ever see that sort of survey.

    Heres my tips for a new pro UK party

    1 Don’t include the word unionist in your title. Its much too associated with the past and its problems. No need for it anyway.

    2 Don’t go on about ‘the union’. By that I mean don’t use that phrase. I cringe when I hear local politicians talk about ‘the union’. I’m always waiting for them to get to the issue that they are concerned about that must be on a UK wide basis, but they never do. They have nothing to say other than ‘the union’. Its absurd.

    3 When a subject is being discussed, don’t talk about “Protestants this….” And “Catholics that….” I’m amazed to see and hear NI people suddenly go into this weird prism way of seeing any issue at all. Only talk about “people this… or many people that…”

    4 Support all sports and cultural interests in NI. Sure some things are currently associated with nationalist identity, but there is no need for it to stay that way. Support means attend, promote, and facilitate events, not just some sound bite quote for the news. Actions not words. Get in there and be part of these things and soon they will be considered ‘for all’

    5 Don’t make a dick out of yourself on TV panel debates by just bickering with people. Make a reasoned argument for a positive solution to an issue. Don’t seek to score points with whataboutery, its really childish looking to watch. Everyone is sick of that and you will be seen as a dick guaranteed.
    6 Facilitate social links with groups in other parts of the UK. Im thinking of ethnic minorities and foreign nationals, I remember hearing someone on TV mentioning they were a bit disconnected from others in the rest of the UK. That means someone in the party goes to visit these groups, talks with them and finds out what they need. Then finds the relevant groups around the UK to link them too. Again its actions and not sound bite quotes for the local papers. These people have decided to live in this part of the UK, help them make the most of the UKs services and society. Be the party of choice for immigrants by being the party that looks after their interests and gets things done for them.

    Probably a lot more points that could be added to the list, time for bed for me though…
    In summary “Be constructive and active in everything and don’t get on like dicks…”

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    Can I add my we bit. The paradox for the shinners and the stoops as I see it is this. The more they make Northern Ireland work, make Northern Ireland successful and prosperous. And McGuinness and the shinners back the PSNI and the courts, I would suggest it makes it even less likely that a majority will vote to remove themselves from that prosperity and relative peace???

    I personally don’t see any contradiction in people voting for the shinners and then voting for the Union. This I feel is more to do with being centre left and centre right than being pro united Ireland. For instance people might vote for the shinners because of no water charges or no 11+. However when it comes to a border poll they wish to stay within the UK???

    As a Unionist I don’t support every DUP or UUP policy. If the shinner or stoop policy is one I agree with I will let the DUP and UUP know. However when it comes to the border issue I’m a committed Unionist.

    If I may would like to make a prediction, notwithstanding the flag issue, I feel the shinners will be going all out to agitate on the parades issue over the coming months and years. In an attempt to counter the progress being made here on many levels, and that is the second part of the paradox.

  • Red Lion

    Interesting stuff FH and AU.

    FH in my opinion its the word ‘unionist’ not ‘union’ that has become loaded and somewhat embarrassing, not ‘union’. To me the former denotes Ulster Protestant nationalism and does not give a non-tribal potential.

    I think the important thing will be to actually attract a diverse range of people into a pro-union party, and let such people help define and shape their vision for the union, from the inside. I think the term ‘union’ is something to be championed – so long as it is reformed and pluralist.

    Relating to AU’s last para, political unionism now really has to avoid street violence at all costs. They have to be wary of republican button pushing and think of the bigger picture. Whats more important? parading by a certain area even though it means bad worldwide press, injured police, expensive policing bill, a wrecked area and a stoking up of ill feeling a few more young people drawn toward sinister dissident elements, or walking away turning the other cheek, enjoying your day and a few more Catholic people being happy enough with their lot and potentially pro-union??

    That said, it would seem that whaterver goes on with parades, flags etc does not stop a good chunk of catholic people being pro-union.

    Follow a liberal at-ease non-tribal course and yield when necessary.

  • tacapall

    Republican button pushing ! No-one can make anyone do what they dont want to do, unionism/loyalism reacts the way they do because thats the way they have been taught to react to any perceived injustice, its got nothing to do with republicans pushing some imaginary button. This reactionary philosophy is unique to unionism in that, they somehow are able to justify violence or murder because someone else made them do it, someone else took control of their brains and forced them to do what they otherwise would never do as they are law abiding human beings, absolute rubbish, they live in their own Truman show like existence.

    The reality is you have others who share this piece of land we live on whos views differ on who should govern the piece of land we share. Unionists have had their own way for almost a 100 years and for almost a hundred years they have forced their own narrow view of what it is to be a citizen of this state on those who do not share that view, the reality has now dawned on some that that can no longer happen because the others can at anytime change how we are governed and who governs us.

    Regardless of what cosmetic changes are made I and im sure anyone with sense will always be opposed to being classed as a subject rather than a citizen. How could any modern society be associated with a system who’s head of religion is also commander in chief of the army also enacts all laws and feeds of the people like a parasite.

    So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key. The Eagles.

  • Red Lion

    Tac, the shinners have long been able to push political unionism’s buttons and send them into a fury and with it any chance of a reasoned pro-union cross community strategy. Sometimes it is understandable-Gadams has based his career on needling..

    The para above I was thinking of the possibilty of disorder over the summer. I’d much prefer political unionism to persuade the OO to walk away from flashpoints and see that society as a whole in NI benefits, as does the union and this is in keeping with a vision for a different union, but a better union. This includes exercising positive influence over hardliner members of their own organisation and hangers on, but also taking away the chance for any republicans on the ground spoiling for a fight to get one.

    They might have to yield on their perceived right to walk somehwere, but in so doing they are taking the oxygen away from hardline republicans too. I won’t hold my breath

  • buckfasthero

    Polls before a referendum has even been called are useless. While people don’t like to admit it, campaigns by political parties really do make a big difference – otherwisde they wouldn’t have them.

    Anyway, the objective for Sinn Fein and the SDLP should be to make the North as Irish as Scotland is Scottish and Wales is Welsh. Once we actually have a shared national identity we might both have a stake in our own society rather than fighting over who gets to control it for us. From that point we can decide which constitutional arrangement is better for both of us.

    If we ever manage to get ourselves into that position, I genuinely wouldn’t care what way a referendum went.

  • http://www.wordpress.ianjamesparsley.com IJP

    Red Lion

    The poll shows conclusively that the number of “Catholics” identifying as “Unionist” is very close to zero.

    One commentator mistakenly claimed middle-class Catholics “are content in their Britishness”. They are no such thing. They are perhaps “content to live in the UK” – one of the great advantages of which, as clarified on another thread, is that you don’t have to be of feel “British” to live in the UK.

    Many Catholics are pro-status quo, even pro-UK, but they’re not “Unionist”.

    Likewise, they may well be willing to vote for a McCrea or a McCallister, but not if they label themselves “Unionist”.

  • Red Lion

    IJP thats where i was trying o draw a subtle difference between ‘unionist’ and’pro-union’. Maybe even the latter puts them off, more research needed!

  • tacapall

    Red Lion before everyone gets carried away with themselves it was only the results of an opinion poll of 1000 selected people based on an event happening the next day. No-one knows how the future population would vote, all we have is that at this point in time the majority wish to keep the status quo, assuming that will always be or creating new British parties to entice traditional Sinn Fein or SDLP voters is although honourable, but fanciful thinking.

  • Red Lion

    im not getting carried away tac, the pattern of NILT surveys, census results, and now this mori poll substantially favour the union, and to cement and reflect this and provide a better society for all a much changed political landscape is required. It has never been a better time to seek to diminish tribal identity carveup politics and the real potential is there for a non-tribal pro-union movement to become a player.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “the pattern of NILT surveys, census results, and now this mori poll substantially favour the union”

    Red Lion, perhaps these bear the same or similar in-built flaws. Recent elections show 48% support for parties that promote a UK agenda; 44% a UI agenda and 8% neither of these two. I suspect a non-tribal pro-UK party would be fishing in a very small pool; ditto a non-tribal pro-UI party.

  • Red Lion

    Its possible Nevin, ive said before i thought the nilt was exaggerated but carries a degree of truth.
    I think a non-tribal pro-union party would do alright, not saying it would take over, but its voice would at least serve to challenge moderate and educate political unionism-not a bad goal in the first instance.

  • http://www.secondnature.ie Michael

    How about a party that is shamelessly pragmatic – being pro Uk when that benefits and pro irish when that suits – e.g. getting infrastructure spendng from both countries, having laws passed in both that help develop business here (special economic zones), education and health sharing with the ROI, special arrangements for those working or doing business in ROI to reduce bureaucracy. It would’t have to label itself as anything except as operating in the publics interest. When someone asks it “what is your stance on the constitution?” they would reply: “whatever you’re having yourself sir”.

    Who can’t see the opportunities in a single tourism market, single energy market, shared public services, anti-smuggling legislation and cooperation (horses, diesel, sheep), similar policies on energy – esp wind infrastructure. basically make the border invisible (except for the map) but still draw the benefits of being part of the UK. I’m ok living with the ambiguity of Ireland – UK. Perhaps we should teach that ability in schools – how to live with ambivalence and existential tension!

  • tacapall

    If you support that Michael then why not build a party that promotes Joint Authority

  • Otto

    That’s a great idea Michael.

    Now if only there was a party which had something like “partnership” or “co-operation” or “engagement” in its name that could champion something like that. :)

  • fionar

    as a new member on site, the political intelligence on display is of a high order.
    The reliance on 1 opinion poll, however seems lazy and i would state that the divisions in the electorate in NI ARE REMARKABLY CONSISTENT DOWN THE YEARS.IFULLY EXPECT THIS TO BE THE CASE AFTER 2 YEARS OF CAMPAIGNING PRIOR TO A BORDER POLL.. IT WILL BE A CLOSE RUN THING. AN X ON PAPER TRUMPS A RUSHED TELEPHONE CALL, PETER ROBINSON BEWARE!!

  • fionar

    once a poll is held, regardless of its outcome, the union is,at best,on a stay of execution till the next one(GFA stipulates further polls to be held thereafter) provided the following conditions are met-:
    1/roi economy recovers strongly ( debateable)

    2roi guarantees public sector employment, salaries, pensions, NHS as fully resourced as in UK
    ( impossible unless 1/ is achieved)
    I agree with Peter Htchens it won’t be until 2022-2029

  • fionar

    To those unionists who take comfort in the opinion polls

    catholic unionist support would quickly dissipate/ burn off in the heat of a 2-3-year border poll campaign.
    The opinion polls are the same as by-elections in the UK.
    What is more reliable, stopping someone in the street, or the consistent electoral patterns of the last 5 general and every assembly election since the GFA ?
    would very much welcome unionist feedback’
    In meantime it really is going to happen by 2030

  • Morpheus

    Couple of things there fionar:

    1. “GFA stipulates further polls to be held thereafter” The GFA says that border polls are to be called at the discretion of the Secretary of State and there must be a minimum of 7 years between each poll. What the criteria is for the SoS to agree to a border poll is anyone’s guess – we have no idea if the SoS needs to see statistics from the census, assembly elections, polls or surveys. That would be first on my list of priorities of I were pro-UI party.

    2. “The opinion polls are the same as by-elections in the UK.” I think that the opinion polls can be totally ignored until such times as those who are taking part in the surveys have the first clue about what it is they being asked to give their opinions on. How can anyone give an opinion on a UI if they have absolutely no idea what a UI would look like in terms of the important issues to every family – economy, jobs, housing, social security, political representation, policing, judiciary etc?

    People are smart. Few will vote to swap the UK for a united Ireland unless they know exactly what it is they are voting for. Would you swap your car for my car without knowing anything about it? This is where all pro-UI parties are letting down those whom they represent, they are allowing fear of the unknown and ignorance of the facts to become barriers to a UI. Mock border polls in highly partisan areas are a joke.

    Until the electorate, north and south of the border, know what a UI entails and can make an informed decision then your 2030 deadline looks out of reach to me

  • Son of Strongbow

    If I was in the market for a new ‘car’ I’d expect the seller to provide the specs, road tax band etc. I’d then take the info away and check it out.

    Those wishing for a UI have every opportunity to lay out the options for consideration.

    Unfortunately for united Irelanders it appears that no one is about to do so (even given a UI’s ‘imminent’ arrival ;) ).

    Despite the rhetoric the South looks decidedly uninterested. In NI SF’s silly games are all that’s on offer.

  • fionar

    If I were coming to pension age, had 35 y’s service in Lisburn water board, and was a catholic, i’d vote for the union, that’s where my livelihood/pension was coming from. There are thousands of RC’s in some way beneficiaries of the union. In some cases whole extended families are in the public sector(employed and unemployed)and council housing.
    Whether ROI can meet these obligations, and replicate the UK NHS, may well be a deal maker or breaker for moderate catholics.
    As you say, more detail needed

  • Morpheus

    I would guess (because that is all we can do) that as long as the unemployed kept their council house and the same levels of social security then they could be swayed towards a UI.

    Health is a different issue.

    So so many unanswered questions and lazy pro-U politicians.

  • fionar

    My guess for poll is 2017,result-closer than expected but to keep border

    .Catholics will be deluged during campaign with material reminding them they’re Irish and won’t be worse off.

    2024 (7 Y’S after) poll result close, but to reunite.

  • Morpheus

    You are thinking too much like SF fionar.

    As I said, only the SoS has the authority to call a border poll and as yet no one knows what criteria the SoS needs to see in order to do so. And shock horror, none of the pro-UI parties have taken any steps to fund out.

    We can rule out the census – it is gone and we are not due another one until 2021 so a poll would’ve been called after the last set of results. Therefore, if you are going for a 2017 border poll, I assume that you think the SoS will see something in the election results which convinces him/her to call one. What do you think that is? What could the SoS see in the local elections which would persuade him/her to call a border poll?

    SF the biggest party? Big deal, they were only 3.2% away from that last time.

    A reunified Ireland is an all-Ireland decision so before the electorate are asked to vote on it they deserve to know all the facts about what a united Ireland will look like to see if it is in the best interests of them and their families – and not SFs version of the facts because quite frankly their grasp of macroeconomics is laughable.

    We ALL need verification of what the health system would look like in a united Ireland, what the tax system would look like, what the education system would look like, what the political system would look like etc. so we can ALL make an informed decision.

    (BTW. I don’t think Catholics need to be reminded that they are Irish)

  • fionar

    speaking as an alliance supporter I can discern SF’S strategy, (as does Basil Mcrea in his recent speech) it is as clear as a pikestaff.
    Unsure what Peter Robinson can do- call their bluff & go for a poll??He’d win an early one.
    He will be depending on Catholics. An uncomfortable position!!
    Of course a Tory secof state would be inclined to favour his reading of whether to hold a poll at all, as you say, the criteria used would be selective We live in interesting times!!
    I’m off to Madeira for a fortnight, thanks for pointing out the nuts and bolts, I tend to read the headlines at the expense of the very necessary political mechanics,
    look forward to speaking to you later this month!!!