Northern Ireland votes narrowly for Remain, but what does it mean?

Well, what a night. The final Leave vote will be much narrower than the Yes Vote was in Scotland, and the result much more profound. Although getting out of a long-standing contract with the EU will be a little more complicated.

Much of the rapid movement in the money markets have already been exaggerated because they underestimated the likelihood of Britain (we can now legitimately say that) leaving the EU. But it is not going to go away any time soon.

Every initiative that has shaped Europe has originated with the British Eurosceptics. The EU is quite as big as it is because the Eurosceptics of an earlier era wanted to weaken its institutions and prevent them from going too deep.

They failed. And they may well fail another time again.

Northern Ireland has voted Remain, but by a much smaller margin than many people had forecasted. Polls began at about 70/30 but they settled at the upper end of the range at 55/45.

Predictably Sinn Fein has responded by calling for a border poll. That’s a plebiscite that they are almost certain to not to get (such is the weakness of northern nationalism at this time). This time, at least. As my oul da used to say no one remembers second place.

More significant will be how the medium term negotiations between the Irish government and the UK go. Don’t count on Scotland leaving either. There’ll be no Labour party in the short term, but even if Brexit is successful the EU will then be drifting out of sight.

Though the truth is I suspect that something important has snapped today. Talk to Brexiteers in England and it is only England they care or even think about. Scotland barely figures, much less tiny little Northern Ireland.

It’s England’s borders that the vast majority of pro-Brexit voters care about. That’s how it was pitched to them and that is exactly how it was heard, loud and clear. And that it is likely how it will be implemented going forward.

There will be enhanced opportunities for smuggling along the border. And the City will pay a heavy price for such a major default on its prior commitments. In the short term at least, Dublin will profit from London’s difficulty. Then climate will kick in.

But that border is as likely to run down the channel as it is across the land tracts between the senior northern and southern jurisdictions. As the song says, “it’s only a fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colder”.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • grumpy oul man

    bet there are not that many historians who would agree with you.
    While the EU can be described as a club a empire the result of military conquest against the will of the subjected people is not really a club.

  • grumpy oul man

    sure about that?

  • grumpy oul man

    they could try growing up and behaving like good citizens instead of flag waving symbol burning knuckle daggers.
    it would be nice if there were no camp at Twaddle costing a fortune in police funds, it would be nice if all the UDA/UVF linked bands disappeared and the loyalist groups closed down their criminal activities.
    Now would we not all be better off if that all happened!

  • grumpy oul man

    Shame on them selling their British Heritage for a mess of visa’s.

  • grumpy oul man

    please explain!

  • grumpy oul man

    for a little while until the Petrol station starts to run out of petrol, then they will have to buy some fuel which will cost a lot more because the pound has fallen and will cost more to transport because the pound has fallen and because the pound has fallen the euros received for the fuel they sell to European customers will be less.

  • Jarl Ulfreksfjordr

    We would be immeasurably better off if many things happened. That however is some way from wishing fellow humans “cease to exist”.

  • grumpy oul man

    well loyalism as a thing would make the world a better place if it ceased to exist.

    it being little more than a excuse for sectarianism, and a cover for criminals, i don’t think anybody was advocating opening gas chambers but expressing the wish that the whole hate filled sub culture would maybe grow up or go away is not unreasonable.

  • Robert ian Wiliams

    And they are buying Irish tricolour flags on the Shankhill..wonder why?

  • grumpy oul man

    Oh dear, now that is a bit silly, and doesn’t really contribute anything to the discussion.
    Are you claiming that there has been a steep rise in applications for irish passports and we have seen on this very site Unionists who are or have applied for Irish passports,