Máirtín and his meta plan for creating a small state United Ireland

Interesting piece in the Journal from our Minister of Finance, who’s hawking that ‘Plan for a Tory All Ireland Economy‘ his party were at such pains to keep their role and funding so secret again.

What’s remarkable about the piece is the sheer absence of any mention of the Minister’s own party policy designed to help bring about the key measures highlighted in the report, which is to bring down public sector expenditure to ROI levels.

It is hardly a stretch to suggest that as long as a United Ireland remains an abstraction – without a robust and practical policy roadmap – an abstraction is all it is likely to remain.  

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

  • “Mr” Cloud ←☮
  • Harry Meneely

    A lefty leprachaun…but he’ll never be as big as Darby O’Gill

  • Maximum Overdrive

    Forget about Higgins.
    He lost the plot a long time ago.
    Now he’s just biting at the latest scraps thrown from the MSM.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    I think the President’s proposition shows a very accurate appraisal of the ascendancy of ‘illusory rhetoric’ and may address its dangers. Has it not been necessitated by Indyref and the election of Trump in two other states? Philosophy may be anathema to the Anglo Saxon but Ireland has moved some way from sticking itself in its UK past.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Good riposte to SF’s empty rhetoric: illusory or delusional – take your pick!

  • Declan Doyle

    This piece nothing more than a swipe for the sake of having a swipe. MOM is making perfect sense in the context of how our economy functions at the moment. Shrinking the size of the public service is all very good so long as frontline services are protected, moreover it is absokutely essential that the private sector can provide the jobs and opportunities in order to soak up such shrinkage. The North has neither at the moment which is why removing the border and selling all of Ireland as one economically cohesive unit is perfectly logical.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    While not disagreeing with anything that Mr Madey-Uppy Name has written (it is a worthwhile analysis, if a little stale by now) he reverts to the same old presentation of the problem while not proffering any solution to it (Northern Irish bellyaching again?).
    Are SF so risk averse now that they dare not propose a concrete plan on how to achieve their ultimate goal? Does a theoretical aspiration for a UI alone still impel us in that direction? Does howling into the darkness continue to have some mileage among the electorate? Does he realise that this dying horse might be revived by measures other than flogging it back to its feet? Oh well, he can be seen to be doing something even if the rest of us see him as keeping himself pointlessly (pre)occupied.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Since The British Tory Government’s plan to deal with Brexit is to shrink the state anyway, is it not possible that North South parity in public sector provision could be reached without a single blemish on partition?

    Partition would no longer be about fiscal issues or substantial difference, but rather administrations of personalities and their egos.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    But far from compehensive or material.

  • Cináed mac Artri

    I think that most people understand by now that Sinn Féin have have no idea about a vision for a UI. The ‘plan’ is as well-formed as the UK’s is to Brexit.

    Howling as Gerry does a moon on Twitter (or whatever is his jape de jour) is all the Shinners have.

  • Katyusha

    Mick, is an opinion piece in The Journal expected to be a platform for publishing a White Paper on Irish Unity?
    Everything he states in the article is correct. It’s merely pointing out the costs that partition has levied on this island, and to Northern Ireland in particular. There’s nothing new in that for those who follow Slugger and similar channels, but to people just browsing the news, the idea that average wages in the south are €11.5k higher than those in the north is worth pointing out. When we are facing a prolonged period of economic uncertainty, followed by the inevitability of our exit from the EU, with the aftermath of the Brexit referendum going to have a serious impact on the NI economy, it seems like an opportune time to do so.

    It’s not even a “meta-plan for a small state United Ireland”. It cites, almost in passing, a report which posited that as a possible scenario, without reference to any of SF’s actual policies, if they even have any. Never mind begin to state policy, it’s starting from “time to have a serious discussion” – perhaps recognition that SF cannot deliver a United Ireland on their own, and certainly not while they remain out of government in the South. In that light, they need to rely on FF/FG to make the small state policy suggestions, because they’d be crucified electorally if they made such suggestions themselves.

    I don’t get it it. It’s a cheap propaganda piece. What were you expecting? SF to put out some comprehensive roadmap to a socialist republic, so that everyone can attack them for being irrelevant, economically illiterate (it doesn’t matter what the figures are or whether they add up, the mud will still stick), and the DUP to shout about “inflaming tensions” for good measure? Maybe a comprehensive plan to weld together the economies of two states, one of which they have zero control over and has been fashioned in the image of their political rivals, and the other which they have little control over and no-one knows what its trading arrangements are going to be. I mean, sure, a proposal would be nice to “get the discussion going”, but even if they make one, it would have to be trailled first.

    SF’s best bet, whisper it quietly, is let a hard Brexit take place, watch the NI economy tank, and then start serious discussion. But they will have to be seen to try and oppose Brexit with all their strength in the meantime, as the image of having betrayed their electorate would be fatal. Also, they need to be putting Fianna Fail under electoral pressure so that they can’t simply brush off NI as an irrelevance, to force them to play to a nationalist base in the next general election or two. Maybe they can force FF to initiate the process, either as an electoral threat or (less likely) as a coalition partner. I doubt anything they produce on their own will have any effect, other than as a point to get the conversation started, and for that to happen, there needs to be other people around the table.

  • mickfealty

    I may have been harsh, but I’m somewhat frustrated: one, at the pussy-footed inertia around the debate; and two, this is the third time this crypto internal paper has been given a shake by a party that shows no sign of being willing to take the risk with its own supporters to start implementing it, or indeed anything like it.

    I’m certainly not against the idea, more the (‘it wasn’t really us’) way of presenting it. That said, I’m keen for Slugger to put a bit of a fire under this territory just to speed up the process.

    As the ‘mericans say “Fail faster, learn quicker”.

  • Declan Doyle

    Absolutely bang on the money mate.

  • Declan Doyle

    Then you do not ubderstand strategy very much it would seem.

  • Declan Doyle

    Ya thats why they have quadrupled in size in just a decade. Try again.

  • Declan Doyle

    “Mr Madey-Uppy Name”

    Why on Earth is that comment necessarry? Try to cloak your hate when engaging if u wish people to take u serious; assuming you have a shred of integrity and self respect.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well they haven’t quite resorted to the Vote Leave, Leave the UK and there will be €350 billion to an all-Ireland Health service dodgy tricks, that other cause with only two papers ever compiled to bring together. Seriously, look up pro-Brexit policy papers and one of two will be refered to as a schoolboy report.


  • mickfealty

    See Declan’s comments below. I’ve banned people for less.

  • Old Mortality

    His real surname is not even an anglicisation of an Irish name which is why his pathetic direct translation is so utterly risible.
    Now tell me, have you ever come across anyone else called O Meuilloir or whatever it is? Perhaps I’m wrong and there are hundreds of them in Kerry and Connemara but I doubt it somehow.
    It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that he feels he needs to conceal that he is probably one leaf short of a shamrock.

  • Old Mortality

    ‘The North’s economic potential is held back by British government policies that are not designed with the interests of the North at heart.’
    Not a single instance offered, not even welfare reform which as even Signor Molinaro must know is the most unity-friendly policy that could possibly be implemented.

  • Katyusha

    You’ll be waiting a long time – SF have zero intention of implementing the economic policies proprosed in that paper, or anything like it. If they were able to endorse such a strategy, they’d have put their logo on the front of it. They simply aren’t going to do it – it flies against their entire economic policy.

    SF have powerful tactical ammunition in the south on economic fairness, over which they can hammer Fianna Fail for bankrupting the economy, Fine Gael for implementing a harsh austerity program, and Labour – if they are in any way relevant any longer – for being compliant accomplices. However the economic liberalism of FF from Lemass onwards in built the southern economy into the state it is in today. also, when we talk about the makeup of the state, Ireland is surely unique in Europe in that it has never had a left wing government, not once, and there is no indication of that changing in the near future. By far the most feasible route for a united Ireland is for NI to be subsumed, largely, into the current Irish state – which is inherently economically liberal. We’re a long way past the days of abolishing the southern state and Eire Nua. Also, the heavily pro-growth policies of FF and FG are the best way for the Irish economy to thrive, including the North. For NI to develop and function as an economic unit, one of the things it needs to do is wean itself off the state sector and chase foreign investment – in other words, become more like the South.

    This is a strategic dilemma for SF. They are in a great position being able to fight on the side of social justice and economic fairness – they are effectively the prominent left-wing movement in the RoI, and nationalism in the North has always leant towards the left as well. Mix this with impeccable republican credentials, an anti-establishment bent and a youthful following, and you have the makings of a strong political movement. However, when the question of the practicalities of a United Ireland comes into play, it raises a major strategic difficulty. Is a United Ireland economically feasible? Yes – but the best way to do it is to follow the economic plans of the other parties that we’ve mercilessly trashed over the past few years. SF can hardly adopt such policies; they’d drive away their supporters, sacrifice their left-wing, anti-establishment position, and u-turn on their entire economic outlook. They can’t endorse them either, as it means conceding that their opponents were right about economics and they were wrong.

    Having said that, I think we’ll see this study referenced again and again, albeit infrequently. They paid for the study, might as well milk it.

  • Declan Doyle

    What does it matter? If a person chooses to adopt a name and it is legally correct to do so, who are you or anyone else to slag them off on it. Its crass, pathetic and declassė. grow up.

  • Katyusha

    If you can have an Anglicisation of a Irish surname, then why can’t you have a Gaelicisation of an English surname?

  • Philip Herron

    Small government is something i am in favor of. But Tory’s as a party will never deliver such a thing. Our politics are depressing as no philosphical principles are laid out. Such as FreeMarket as a way to give people power. The reason people have lost faith in the Conservative movement over the last 30 years can be attributed to things like:

    Removal of Glass Stegal Act, Oil Depeltion Allowance, Bank Bail outs, etc. None of this is a conservative idea. This is corruption between the Sate and private interests and is entirely anti free-market.

    What has happen in today’s society is that we have basically no competition in Health Care or Insurance or Banking. Each of these insitutions rule alot of our day to day lives. Small state means state has little power to grant such anti free-market legislation and it also should stop any national debt growing too much which it already has.

    The reason competititon is important is that people don’t rely on single corporations to feed oursleves or single place for a doctor or a single place to do banking or anything really if there is comepetition this is the only way to keep big business honest and fighting for customer interests.

    When a government gets too big and regulates everything this is too slow and too open for more corruption in a single point.

    Is funny how things like FDA in america which saved the US from the Thalidamide problems has now made things such that no business other than gigantic corporations can afford to do drug research. To pass drug trails which are very strict and costly. Even if a drug was to help 50% of patients vs it passed all trails but went out and harmed a greater number of people because you can _never_ know the full implications of a drug in the long term. All that this in principle actually does is make creating new drugs more expensive and too difficult for investors to risk their money.

    Years ago investors used to fund small groups to go out traveling in the sea or jungles looking for new bacteria to find new antibiotics but now its too expensive and risky for anyone to afford this. Its hard to grasp this concept but if you research Milton Freidman the nobel price winer of economics you will find man compelling arguments to back this up.

    Free Market is the only reason that people are free. Look at North Korea, USSR.. where everything is state run with no competition. This is the defining difference in Capitalism/FreeMarket vs Communism/Marxism/Socialism.

    So basically when a Tory party memeber puts out any small government ideas most people glance over it and remember that its a Tory therefore they are bad therefore small government would just be a revolving door of crap. But things are much more complex than this and i think the world is mostly ignorant of it now a days.

    Voting to me has become almost like looking for a plumber or something someone you elect into power now has very little power to enact change. Since the insitutions are much too big and already moving in a paticular way making it hard to do anything but keep pushing the ball in the same direction even if it s bad idea in the long run.

  • Old Mortality

    It may be legal but it is still daft. It’s difficult to take someone who does it seriously.

  • Declan Doyle

    Difficult for you obviously. So rather than question MoM. Maybe you should question yourself.

  • mickfealty

    That last is what breaks the narrative thread for me. It doesn’t work without a vehicle there to drive it.

  • mickfealty

    Then do pray tell us, oh enlightened one?

  • John Collins

    Well at least he was elected as President because he got the most votes, not like Trump.

  • Declan Doyle

    Ya right ! On this forum? Nice try. You know fine well whats afoot, otherwise you wouldn’t be hellbent on pushing FF propaganda at every turn.

  • Skibo

    Mick would you say the reduction of at least 10% of the Civil Service in NI over the last year could be seen as an implementation of the start of the plan.
    The burgeoning Civil Service will always be seen as a stumbling block to reunification.

  • Skibo

    Looks more like a case of insult the messenger rather than read the message!