Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Spotlight Poll: A ‘crisis’ of widespread political mislabelling?

Wed 6 February 2013, 5:06pm

Screen Shot 2013-02-06 at 16.00.31It says something about how little parties in Northern Ireland spend talking to their voters that last night’s findings (full data here) seem to have knocked all of the parties back on their heels last night. It was a bit like an old fashioned Dimbleby election night show only one where every single party had to spin some form of bad news as good.

There were two facts that demonstrate that what we’ve been witnessing since early December is non political light show put on for the dazzlement of the good burghers of Belfast. One, there is NO THREAT to the Union from Catholics. Nor, I venture to guess, has there been since the establishment of the state. A point eloquently laid out by Malachi O’Doherty this morning on Nolan:

His pointed observation of both Gerry Kelly‘s and Alex Maskey‘s body language is well made. Like some latter day General Haig, party president Gerry Adams is sending some of his best troops out to get shot to ribbons in the no man’s land of public opinion (this poll shreds most of the logic deployed by the party in the last two weeks, including the idea that North Irish means not British).

The other is that at the end of the flags crisis, the Alliance Party’s policy is the one that probably most accurately reflects the broadest single opinion on the a proportionate solution.

Danny Kennedy for instance refused to accept that despite all the Catholic good will towards the Union his party was unable to garner the support of even one Catholic respondent… Alex Attwood got caught on the ropes when Noel Thompson points out that if the SDLP (56% in favour of the Union) gets its way in Belfast there will be no Union flag flying over City Hall.

Arlene Foster of the DUP (97% self identifying as Protestant) starts on the whole business of consensual politics, but it all comes to an abrupt halt when she makes a sudden discovery of an already long and well established Alliance party policy (51% Protestant backing and 36% Catholic support) is to have designated days for the Union flag across Northern Ireland.

Gerry Kelly of Sinn Fein (23% in favour of the Union) tried to argue that it is the party mandate that is more ‘scientific’, which is in effect the same thing as stating that ‘this is not happening’…

The SDLP, it should also be noted can hardly be designated mix, but it is the most mixed in its support of the parties inside the two main designations, with an 8% . But there is a little curio buried in the tail of the poll that defies common sense/common knowledge:

Most are where you would expect them to be, except Sinn Fein and the DUP. This may tell us nothing more that a face to face poll brings about a pronounced ‘shy Tory effect’. I suspect it is also something to do with the question which asked which “political party [are you] inclined to support”. That’s not who you DO, or HAVE supported, but inclined.

That to me suggests that there’s a little softness in the gap between the SDLP and SF that ought to give downward-looking stoops something to cheer themselves up with. Like the Alliance party, it’s of little or no use to them without the politics to go with it.

And lest I leave them out, the flags issue has not played well for Naomi Long, who may have won favour with the wider public at the expense of votes in her Unionist home…

Share 'Spotlight Poll: A ‘crisis’ of widespread political mislabelling?' on Delicious Share 'Spotlight Poll: A ‘crisis’ of widespread political mislabelling?' on Digg Share 'Spotlight Poll: A ‘crisis’ of widespread political mislabelling?' on Facebook Share 'Spotlight Poll: A ‘crisis’ of widespread political mislabelling?' on Google+ Share 'Spotlight Poll: A ‘crisis’ of widespread political mislabelling?' on LinkedIn Share 'Spotlight Poll: A ‘crisis’ of widespread political mislabelling?' on Pinterest Share 'Spotlight Poll: A ‘crisis’ of widespread political mislabelling?' on reddit Share 'Spotlight Poll: A ‘crisis’ of widespread political mislabelling?' on StumbleUpon Share 'Spotlight Poll: A ‘crisis’ of widespread political mislabelling?' on Twitter Share 'Spotlight Poll: A ‘crisis’ of widespread political mislabelling?' on Add to Bookmarks Share 'Spotlight Poll: A ‘crisis’ of widespread political mislabelling?' on Email Share 'Spotlight Poll: A ‘crisis’ of widespread political mislabelling?' on Print Friendly

Comments (62)

  1. Antain Mac Lochlainn (profile) says:

    A shocking performance by Gerry Kelly on that radio clip – more or less saying that Malachi O’Doherty has no right to an opinion.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  2. ayeYerMa (profile) says:

    Mick, the first video doesn’t work. An error of “This video is private”.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  3. sherdy (profile) says:

    I was always told that Catholics’ loyalty was not to the crown, but to the half-crown – maybe that’s what we’re seeing in this poll.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  4. keano10 (profile) says:

    It’s quite obvious from the party voting preferences that Republicans have been underestimated in this poll. They bear absolutely no comparison to all other recent polls which have Sinn Fein on 28-29% of the vote. Therefore the polling sample is quite (ahem) obviously flawed from the outset. To suggest otherwise (based on these figures) is simply ludicrous…

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  5. oneill (profile) says:

    “this poll shreds most of the logic deployed by the party in the last two weeks, including the idea that North Irish means not British”

    As James McClean, once pointed out-

    “Colin murray get it right will you its #irish” not “Northern Irish” as poor Murray had declared on MOTD.

    It is only since the Census results that the two “Irish”es have apparently become one and the same in Shinnerland.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 2
  6. redhugh78 (profile) says:

    Quelle surprise, Malachi declares himself a unionist.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  7. changeisneeded (profile) black spot says:

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc1/793645_163295290485620_982826832_o.jpg

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  8. John Ó Néill (profile) says:

    Since the poll asked about a referendum tomorrow, given the current political status quo (last election, albeit for Westminister, was pro-Union 50.6%, Nationalist 42%), the reported responses seem to indicate an unusual amount of pragmatism. Last election with full ticket of candidates was Assembly 2007 which ended up with pro-U 47.7%, Nat 42.6%.

    The issue isn’t tomorrow, though. Given the political trends, it is a few years away. It is votes that will count in the end, though, not opinion polls.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  9. NOT NOW JOHN (profile) says:

    “A shocking performance by Gerry Kelly on that radio clip – more or less saying that Malachi O’Doherty has no right to an opinion.”

    Indeed. And worse than that, having used the term anti-republican he seemed completely incapable of explaining what it meant, finally being reduced to equating it to being anti-Sinn Fein.

    A history lesson for Gerry might help; Irish republicanism was around long before Sinn Fein was in any form. Sinn Fein do not own the keys to Irish Republicanism. Being pro-republican does not mean being pro-Sinn Fein. Voting for Sinn Fein does not mean supporting all the policies of Sinn Fein. Voting for Sinn Feing does not automatically mean supporting Sinn Fein’s vision for the future of Ireland. Voting for Sinn Fein does not necessarily mean supporting their particular brand of republicanism.

    Gerry’s response was as unsophisticated as it gets and his rather desperate descent into public rudeness indicates just how small the political cave in which he exists really is.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  10. DC (profile) says:

    Given the damage to both Peter Robinson and Naomi Long can it really be that it was just about the east Belfast seat?

    Maybe this was a bit of principled Unionism that just didn’t want to see the flag go, just like SF would fight for the tricolour?

    I mean you don’t need to be a political genius to know that if you issue a leaflet telling your electorate you are going to lose a vote on the flag and then you do actually lose that vote afterall that this will be seen as poor leadership because you are in effect a loser.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  11. Red Lion (profile) says:

    The union (whatever shape it takes) is only political unionism’s to lose. Political unionism continues to do a damn good job of this, you couldn’t make it up.

    Put Basil McCrea and John McC in charge of a party and Catholic support for a union will increase further. How can the Dup and UUP continue to be so utterly incredibly thick on this point?????/

    They have 1% of Catholics voting for them – how can they be so incapable of asking themselves what do they need to do to increase this??? Bloody idiots (the dup, not Catholics!)

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  12. DC (profile) says:

    just to add, i never signed up to it just being about the seat, because the flag captures the imagination of all those that imagine themselves as british, the spill over out into carrick and beyond is proof that it was always going to be more than just about a certain someone’s seat after all.

    It is the national flag that in terms of impact burst out beyond narrow party lines and into beliefs and world views and outlooks etc.

    I think the Union flag was viewed – wrongly – as more sectarian than the tricolour by some political parties and as a result those certain parties viewed it as expendable on the road to better relations, or so they thought!

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  13. Ruarai (profile) says:

    Nationalists’ concerns shouldn’t be with a lack of numbers. Their concerns should be the lack of arguments.

    Make the arguments and the numbers will emerge.

    So, what’s the argument?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  14. Ulster Press Centre (profile) black spot says:

    The SDLP could have became the culturally Irish (GAA, language, education) but pro-status quo party in NI. There are literally tens of thousands of votes out there for a party in that mould.

    Instead they think their future lies in trying to out-bigot the Shinners by calling for protestant children to be jailed for playing flutes, campaigning for the release of self-confessed catholic fundamentalist attempted murderers and naming kiddies playparks after IRA serial killers.

    Who’s leading these fools?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 2
  15. belfastboyo (profile) says:

    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.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  16. Ruarai (profile) says:

    belfastboyo –

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

    Not sure they want at poll at all. Rather, we’re at the start of a long PR exercise not for UI but simply for SF, one where they’re constantly in the news and on TV (making the case for a UI).

    This is the politics of publicity and nothing to do with the politics of persuasion.

    Here’s the thing though, surely even the most die-hard SF supporters can see just how badly they’re performing under the media attention they’re gaining.

    If their opponents north and south ‘get it together’ what would have appeared as a SF publicity threat should be turned into a publicity opportunity: The opportunity to make a coherent case for the future.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  17. ayeYerMa (profile) says:

    It really doesn’t make sense for Malachi O’Doherty to claim support for the Union, but then state that if he were to join the DUP or UUP he might have to be in a party where he might have to tolerate something as horrific as the symbol of the Union on the wall!!

    Unionists parties should of course be trying to gain as much Catholic support as possible, but it seems that some commentators want them to follow some extremely absurd and twisted forms of distorted logic to do so. Unionist parties should, therefore, continue ignoring these commentators and simply concentrate on the same path of trying to make Northern Ireland a prosperous economic success and ignore everything else. It may take time, but eventually honest beliefs and logic will prevail over the dishonesty and fudge favoured by Alliance-types. Maybe by then the Unicorns will have came out in to the open enough so that they no longer need the contorted logic.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  18. DC (profile) says:

    I guess Alliance has paid the price for going ‘across community’ than being cross-community.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  19. Red Lion (profile) says:

    Aye yer ma

    There is now (and possibly always was) a distinct difference between ‘unionist’ and ‘pro-union’.

    Hard for unionist parties to make NI an economic success, or any type of success, if they rake up civil disobedience every time something doesn’t slightly go their way.

    The day unionism learns the meaing of the word pragmatic is the day the union is safe and our economics and everything else prospers. Until then we will be held to ransom by the thick as champ DUP/UUP leadership.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  20. GEF (profile) says:

    “I was always told that Catholics’ loyalty was not to the crown, but to the half-crown – maybe that’s what we’re seeing in this poll.”

    sherdy,you have hit the nail on the head. In fact Gerry couldn’t have picked the worst time to propose a NI/UI referendum just a few years the financial crash suffered by the ROI in recent years. Without going into judging the comparisons of living standards of the 1.8 million citizens in NI to the 4.4 million in the ROI many supporters of SF & SDLP in NI know which side their bread is buttered on.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  21. BelfastBoyo[7.54] Unionists want this poll set in concrete and defining and seem to have convinced themselves that as they want to see it, it will turn out to be and they are helped in this delusion by the tame broadcast and print media here[Irish News excepted]. You had a full hour on the subject last night in which the Republic’s economic woes didn’t get even a passing mention lest the balloon of complacency be burst and horses scared. and that would never do, would it?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  22. Dixie Elliott (profile) says:

    Anti-Republican, anti-Sinn Fein and the anti-social, Shut up!

    Are examples of what SF have been reduced to in terms of argument….I’m surprised Gerry left out the oft used ‘anti-peace process’.

    Gerry should pay a visit to Marty’s UK City of Culture if he wants to see the growth of Castle Catholicism, some of his own party colleagues included. I’m surprised that Unionists have yet to let the cat out of the bag; in that the whole UK City of Culture thingy is actually about the fact that 2013 is the 400th anniversary of the town receiving the Royal Charter and Derry’s name changed to Londonderry.

    The clue being that those promoting the UK City of Culture are tasked with pushing the silly Derry~Londonderry when referring to it.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  23. 6crealist (profile) says:

    Ulster (sic) Press Centre (sic)

    You made this exact point on your little Twitter account yesterday: word for word. And then you have the chutzpah to incorrectly accuse me of spouting repetitive “drivel”! Good for you.
    ____

    Reunification, never mind a border poll, is not in Sinn Féin’s interests. Its raison d’etre is to administer power and uphold sectarian divisions in the north.

    In the unlikely event of a reunited Ireland in the next generation or so, and as someone else has pointed out on this site, northern Protestants would very likely form a formidable block vote of c. 15%: thus invariably holding the balance of power in Dáil Eireann. SF, and SDLP too, would be irrelevant in a reunited Ireland and be subsumed within FF and Labour, maybe even FG too.

    In any case, forwarding bombers and economically illiterate spoofers (Pearse Doherting being a possible honourable exception) to make your case is suicide – and at a time when the Republic is facing an economic emergency.

    To give IJP his due, he’s right re. the DUP: they called SF’s bluff on this and found them with their pants down. As a constitutional republican who aspires towards reunification, it’s pretty depressing all round.

    And if there’s a new trendy liberal unionist party in gestation, I can see the likes of Arlene Foster and Mayor Robinson fitting in too.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  24. ayeYerMa (profile) says:

    Red Lion, when exactly did Unionist parties “rake up civil disobedience” at all recently? Those spouting this nonsense about legitimate leafleting, such as Liam Clarke, only show how incredibly out of touch they are with people on the ground if they think that would have made one iota of difference to such a provocative and obnoxious decision by the Alliance Party insinuating that British nationality is somehow “offensive”. People aren’t going to idly stand by and allow Provided aggression to be delivered by stealth.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  25. ayeYerMa (profile) says:

    *Provided = Provo

    (stupid auto-correction on phone)

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  26. 6crealist (profile) says:

    P.S. How are SF going to sell this poll to the lads in east Tyrone and south Armagh?

    They spun the Good Friday Agreement as a vehicle towards 2016 reunification. Their political strategy however is failing. While 65% (or 79%) must be the high watermark for unionism, it’s not going to drop below 50% any time soon.

    That could spell trouble ahead.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  27. Granni Trixie (profile) says:

    As an “Alliance type” (and a Catholic born and bred in WB,for the record) can I say that I feel cheered by this poll as I have always,like Rory McIlroy,felt “Northern Irish” (yes, my father,granny etc was in the old IRA,so what). I also fill in forms that I am British-Irish.

    I am also proud (yes I know it’s an old fashioned concept) of Naomi Long and Other public reps in Alliance whatever the poll shows,they have been consistent with trying to move the whole community on,not just what has been called “the unionist” or indeed nationalist/republican “families”.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  28. DC (profile) says:

    Well sure you tried your best.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  29. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    AYM, it isn’t “British Nationality” that is regarded as offensive. It is the years of misuse of the Union Flag as an instrument of intimidation by a segment of Northern Irish people, flaunting their favored status in the face of those who don’t share their enthusiasm for the Union. Thus is the respect for the flag of the Union diminished. The Union will continue, but not the sort of Union that caused the trouble in the first place. Dealing with change has never been a loyalist strong suit.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  30. Ulster Press Centre (profile) black spot says:

    6crealist: You made this exact point on your little Twitter account yesterday: word for word. And then you have the chutzpah to incorrectly accuse me of spouting repetitive “drivel”! Good for you.

    It may surprise you that not all Slugger readers avidly follow my twitter account.

    Shocking I know.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  31. DC (profile) says:

    As a constitutional republican who aspires towards reunification, it’s pretty depressing all round.

    You do realise we are in the EU with free movement of people and all, don’t wait about here in NI if you want to play your part in the way the republic is governed and indulge in the Irish way of life there’s always the Enterprise.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  32. It seems like there is an awful lot of denial about, on all sides. There is obviously no correlation between those “Catholics” who are happy to vote for either SF or SDLP and those who would vote for a U.I. On the other side, I think a lot of those people who seem happy to stay in the UK would actually vote for unity in a border poll, simply to give unionists one in the eye or just plain thranness.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  33. Reader (profile) says:

    DC: You do realise we are in the EU with free movement of people and all, don’t wait about here in NI if you want to play your part in the way the republic is governed and indulge in the Irish way of life there’s always the Enterprise.
    That’s an ugly sentiment. There’s nothing wrong with someone having a strong sense of place and a strong sense of identity, even if they are on the other side.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  34. 6crealist (profile) says:

    UPC

    drivel is drivel regardless of the forum in which it’s spouted. Anyway, you aspire (EU grant-pending) to be a 9-county “press centre”: do you not have an extensive mailing list, Derry Journal, Donegal Democrat etc?

    DC

    thanks for your comment: its tone being further proof that political unionism may yet snatch utter defeat from the jaws of victory.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  35. DC (profile) says:

    I was being smart not sincere.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  36. Red Lion (profile) says:

    Aye yer ma

    It was a pure democratic vote. Alliance have the right to form whatever policy they want, their policy (designated days) was different from SF and SDLP (take it down completely). Thanks to Alliance we now have a flag policy similar to many mainland UK councils and majority unionist councils Lisburn and Craigavon. I’m British in my heart and i’m happy with designated days. It means that when the union flag is flown it actually means something, like today the Queen’s accession to the throne.

    Did people riot in Lisburn when they formed their flag policy? They seemed content enough. Perhaps they weren’t misfed information

    If unionist leaders had the brains to take a strategic long term vision which includes the need to make Catholic people comfortable in the union, they’d have realised designated days fits in very well with that vision. They could have not made a deal of the issue, and explained as strategically strengthening the union, and people would not have felt as angry.

    But unionist leaders are thick and wouldn’t know pragmatic politics if it hit them in the bake. Sometimes you have to yield here and there for a gain to be made long term.

    But the real issue is political unionism attacking alliance to get East Belfast back. I got a leaflet through my door and it miseducated people and whipped them up. DUP Party before country every time.

    Belfast is in line with other UK cities, we dont need the flag 365. Loads of Catholics and others are pro-union.
    Needing the flag 365 is a sign of insecurity, and given last night poll pro-union people should have a little bit of confidence and look outwards. I look forward to this

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  37. DC (profile) says:

    But if you were being serious are you saying that because that person hasn’t got their desired constitutional preference their place and identity is denied to them?

    If it is about governance then there’s Enterprise if it is about hanging around to claim territory for territory’s sake then that’s more akin to the animal kingdom than the human race.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  38. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    From a nationalist perspective what’s needed is somewhere between John and Ruarai’s perspective: ie, this is the wrong time; but there is also a need to develop some or even any arguments. If I was to be optimistic from a SF pov, I would say that at least they got the Beeb to splash out on a nice poll which if it brings bad news, it is at least some news (which they clearly didn’t have before).

    On the unionist side, they seriously need to chill. The focus on East Belfast has brought them some poor results, but despite Robo’s high disapproval rating (esp high amongst his own party rating, he is second only to Naomi in positive ratings.

    It’s a shame Mori put Gerry A in (who’s rating is negliable these days as he has all but disappeared on the public radar. Martin I think might still have come out on top (or at least it would have been informative to see where he’d come).

    Unionism does not have to take Malachi’s observation as read, but he is telling you something important about why even quite loyal Catholics won’t vote for Unionist parties. Your proffered identity is not as broad and pluralist as that in England, or increasingly Scotland.

    That broadening of the brand is what both have to, and to do competitively requires a commitment to a much different game plan to the one currently in evidence.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  39. Lionel Hutz (profile) says:

    I fairly convinced that hats going on in Frankfurt this evening is more important for Irish Unity than this poll

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  40. Ulster Press Centre (profile) black spot says:

    Red Lion: But the real issue is political unionism attacking alliance to get East Belfast back. I got a leaflet through my door and it miseducated people and whipped them up.

    Why haven’t you been out protesting then? If the leaflet is to blame…

    On the other hand, I didn’t receive the leaflet but have attended numerous protests. How do you work that one out? Perhaps some of us protesters can think for ourselves??

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  41. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    but then state that if he were to join the DUP or UUP he might have to be in a party where he might have to tolerate something as horrific as the symbol of the Union on the wall!!

    There is a very long list of reasons not to join the UUP or DUP and the type of flag on the wall isn’t on it.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  42. Zig70 (profile) says:

    Basic 101 change management. Broadcast your intentions then pareto the objections and deal with them. SF must be loving the amount of print they have generated. I love the way that the more staunch the unionist commentator, the more likely they are to give an insight into nationalist thinking. SF haven’t got a negative return for UI bleating after all, what else would you expect but I think they have an eye on SF first minister as the next game changer. It’s all about keeping the pilot light on until the conditions are right.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  43. Lionel Hutz (profile) says:

    Sinn Fein’s electoral performance in the south is pretty much critical to the development of the issue. Because we are not like Scotland, where the SNP could get their majority and then agitate. We need to collaborate with the Government in the Republic. We need the stars to align

    It is much more difficult to make when the largest nationalist party is in opposition to the Government of the day. A United Ireland would become a political football. You only have to look at Fianna Fail’s resent approach to Northern Ireland affairs to see that.

    However, if Sinn Fein ever manage to get into government, its a game changer

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  44. New Yorker (profile) says:

    There is a big opportunity for the major UK parties to seriously move into the wee province if they can learn from their past failures. It would be good for the major UK parties and good for the voters now that the UI issue is history.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  45. Reader (profile) says:

    DC: But if you were being serious are you saying that because that person hasn’t got their desired constitutional preference their place and identity is denied to them?
    I was being serious, and I don’t think their place or identity should be denied. They have the right to campaign for the change they wish to see without having to up-sticks. Your comment was the mirror image of Brits-Out, and just as unappealing.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  46. New Yorker (profile) says:

    Collaborate is a loaded work. Cooperate is better, as in the UK cooperates with Germany.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  47. DC (profile) says:

    Reader, you still haven’t really explained; for instance i have my constitutional preference but could argue it out that my identity and sense of place is being denied regardless. For instance the union flag going and my local council which is a town and actually an older settlement than the city of belfast is going but in contrast Belfast is being kept in shape and largely untouched.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  48. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Even an accurate photograph of a public-opinion moment may provide a poor basis for historical forecasting. The Weimar Republic might have scored a high approval rating around 1927: but two years later, the end was nigh.

    Some equation-changing terms may be in the pipeline: a big push for Scottish independence, an in-out referendum on the EU in the UK, and a substantial improvement in the RoI’s economy. If to those terms you add a SF First Minister, old tectonic-plate certainties may begin to move.

    Politically engaged persons who comment on a poll often tell us not what the poll means, but what they themselves want. Such persons find it easy to represent a clear defeat for their own position as a moral victory for that position. Other commentators sniff the wind, and wait for the tide that they believe is coming.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  49. Red Lion (profile) says:

    Actually i put it straight in the recycling bin without realising and saw the same leaflet round my friends house.

    UPC – they got the message out, it contributed and acted as catalyst.

    Though round where i live, in shops, sitting in the barbers, talking to some people i know, it was clear to me that a lot of people did not know the background to what happened but generally believed alliance had voted with sf and sdlp policy as peddled by unionism when this wasn’t the case. Instead, to stop SF and SDLP getting rid of the flag it was alliance who proposed the very British custom of designated days.

    I know a few people who were appalled by the riots in East and laid the blame with dup. I thought Alliance might have had a little more support in last night poll but there you go.

    UPC, why do you need the union flag flying 365 over city hall, and why do you feel this so strongly as to protest?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  50. NOT NOW JOHN (profile) says:

    “On the other hand, I didn’t receive the leaflet but have attended numerous protests. How do you work that one out? Perhaps some of us protesters can think for ourselves??”

    UPC, as a thinking protester can you advise as to what tangible outcomes you think your protesting will achieve?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  51. Red Lion (profile) says:

    UPC, its the general lack of foresight and incoherent numbskull leadership from political unionism that also gets me. Could they not have seen in advance that SF/SDLP might attempt to take the flag down and form a proper pragmatic strategy to deal with it??

    Political unionism’s leadership couldn’t lead a dog round the park.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  52. NOT NOW JOHN (profile) says:

    “The Union will continue, but not the sort of Union that caused the trouble in the first place. Dealing with change has never been a loyalist strong suit.”

    Indeed. Which is why we need a pro-union party who will drive forward change for the better for all citizens here irrespective of race, gender, poltical opinon, sexual orientation or religion. I listened to Nigel Dodds this morning calling for all who support the Union to vote for Unionist parties which I suspect was really a desperate call for Catholics to vote DUP. The poor man seemed unable to get his head around why Catholics hadn’t previously been voting DUP whilst the irony of his party’s response to the fleg issue seemed to pass him by.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  53. NOT NOW JOHN (profile) says:

    “I think the Union flag was viewed – wrongly – as more sectarian than the tricolour by some political parties and as a result those certain parties viewed it as expendable on the road to better relations, or so they thought!”

    DC, which parties are you referring to and which of the definitions of ‘expendable’ below are you using?

    1.(of an object) Designed to be used only once and then abandoned or destroyed.

    2.Of little significance when compared to an overall purpose, and therefore able to be abandoned.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  54. Knucklehead Smiff (profile) says:

    Gerry Kelly’s reaction to Malachi O’Doherty’s comments suggests to me that his objection is less about the fact that MO’D is ‘anti-SF’ and more reflective of the fact that he’s telling truths that Kelly finds fairly profoundly uncomfortable acknowledging, still less addressing. Surely it’s now obvious that:

    - had political unionism enabled a more pluralist and fair state of affairs within which non-unionists could have felt at ease and feel able to be themselves and enjoy equality (or, at a minimum, to have felt uncontroversial in the place where they lived) then the 30+ year conflict wouldn’t have happened to begin with; and

    - that the actual panning out of events with the close of the campaign on such terms as were agreeable to its political representatives proved that the extent of actual traditional republican values and principles within the Provisional movement wasn’t that deep or sincere to begin with; and

    - the more (mainly superficially) ‘green’ the North, fair and equal becomes the stronger the union gets (but why isn’t that obvious to political unionism ?); and

    - among the reasons northern nationalist can live without unity tomorrow is the complete absence of challenge SF has been able to make to the status quo in the south – no real alternative, no actual vision of an Ireland that’s relevant, no clue on economic matters, just empty nationalist rhetoric. No inspiration, no change, it’s business-as-usual pork barrel flag-waving emptiness.

    Someone else above has made the point well about political unionism’s inability to discern the difference between those who are Unionist and those who are neutral/positive on the continuation of the union. At this rate, the 100th anniversary of the statelet’s existence appears not unlikely to come and go without that penny actually dropping.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  55. PaddyReilly (profile) says:

    In the unlikely event of a reunited Ireland in the next generation or so, and as someone else has pointed out on this site, northern Protestants would very likely form a formidable block vote of c. 15%

    No, you are quite wrong. Unionists were only 11% of the voters in the two General Elections held in Ireland (North and South) in 2011, and a United Ireland will not occur until that number has fallen to 10%. After a UI, it is highly unlikely that Unionists will form a single block: some will exit the country, some refuse to recognise the new state, some go for Fine Gael, some for Labour, some for Fianna Fáil, some remain Unionists.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  56. Progressive Unionist (profile) says:

    It’s remarkable how nationalists in this poll viewed the flag issue: 64% for designated days, just 20% said ‘never’.

    Surely there’s space for a compromise whereby the Union Flag would fly only on designated days across all the councils in NI regardless of how nationalist or unionist they are – its the most logical way out of this whole flags mess.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  57. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Paddy,

    IJP this morning:

    “we saw Nationalists’ complete inability to deal with the reality that most of their assumed constituency don’t actually share their constitutional objective – hardly surprisingly, as they have never outlined this “United Ireland” they dream of and sensible people will always choose certainty over uncertainty.”
    http://ianjamesparsley.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/we-have-to-deal-with-ni-as-it-is/

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  58. Antain Mac Lochlainn (profile) says:

    Re. Lionel’s statement that ‘if Sinn Fein ever manage to get into government, its a game changer’, I would have agreed, once. But there’s very little a Dublin Government could do to advance unification within the framework of the Good Friday Agreement. Further all-Ireland institutions, for example, need approval by all sides and it’s not clear how any Dublin administration could breathe new life into the existing ones.

    Plus, the experience of coalition Government has not been kind to smaller, radical parties. The Southern political system is remarkably rigid – even after disgracing themselves, Fianna Fáil appear to be on the mend. It is just possible that this generation of SF could get to Cabinet only to find the party meet the same fate as Clann na Poblachta and their old mates in Democratic Left.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  59. JoeBryce (profile) says:

    You are all assuming there will go on being a Union! It won’t be anyone anywhere in Ireland who will decide that. That decision will be made in 18 months’ time in Scotland.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  60. Framer (profile) says:

    Time for that British/Northern Irish/No Name Party to fill the gap that Alliance (not pro-union) and the Tories (only a half part of the UK party system) can’t.
    It could stand just for Westminster seats to avoid the taint of Stormont.
    If no one steps up to that plate, move on and concentrate on what London say we must – that which divides us – the insoluble border conflict (and dividing up the money they provide from England).

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  61. PaddyReilly (profile) says:

    we saw Nationalists’ complete inability to deal with the reality

    Reality! A strange word to be using about the assertions of an opinion poll which has never been confirmed by the results of an election. How strange to find that the person most attuned to the wishes of the majority of the Nationalist community is first Peter Robinson and now David Cameron. It’s almost as if it wasn’t true.

    Pull the other one. Unionists have discovered that the most efficient way of advancing their cause is the dishonest use of Opinion Polls.

    But the answer is simple: if Unionists have nothing to fear from Nationalists and Polls, why not give out a non-binding opinion poll on reunification at every election so we can confirm that the public mood has not changed? Followed by a binding referendum if it appears that it has? The reason is of course that Unionists do not like elections where the result has not been fixed in advance. Nor are they keen on the idea that Nationalists are allowed to change their mind or express their opinion through any other medium than an approved opinion poll.

    they have never outlined this “United Ireland” they dream of

    An assertion that will continue to be made even if the relevant parties come up with a 600 page policy document on the subject.

    Of course one cannot outline a United Ireland, except to say that it will, one hopes, be democratic, and thus subject to the will of the demos of the future, and not bound by the promises of current day politicians and pundits who are not qualified to give such assurances.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  62. cynosure (profile) says:

    I think there is no denying that this poll result is a set back Irish nationalism. Of course polls can be wrong and questions can be badly framed and skew results. But this must be seen as a blow to the aspiration of a United Ireland.

    I think as has been said before, that this is a time for SF to take pause. Look again at their strategy and produce a convincing case for a UI. I’m thinking of a form of sunshine policy direct at the PUL community. Real orange sky thinking such as Facilitatiing/encouraging Orange marches. Being flexible on flags etc. it would not go down well with the foot soldiers but a new approach is called for if Nationalism is to get traction

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Copyright © 2003 - 2014 Slugger O'Toole Ltd. All rights reserved.
Powered by WordPress; produced by Puffbox.
280 queries. 1.413 seconds.