Repartition: Northern Ireland’s final solution?

Eric Waugh asks that given the starkly divergent electoral choices made by Nationalists to the West and Unionists to the East, why not plump for re-partition?

One avenue to a settlement could be formal re-partition or the creation of self-governing cantons, Swiss style, each run by the equivalent of one of the new councils. Local plebiscites would be a first step.

One study, by Liam Kennedy, the Queen’s University economic and social historian, concluded that 90% of the unionist population could be contained within the British part of the State, but would have to render it attractive to a minority of 20% of Catholics, most of them in Greater Belfast, some of whom would prefer to stay within the Union anyway.

Some 75,000 unionists would be left in the Irish part of the state, mostly in south and west Ulster. But generous resettlement grants could be offered to those of either side preferring to relocate.

A high degree of Anglo-Irish co-operation would be essential in the arrangements, which eventually would involve full integration of the British territory within the UK and the Irish within the Republic, with the Irish security forces extending their remit into the “Irish” part of the north.

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  • barnshee

    This one is STILL running!!!
    Must be a record by now -any stats MICK?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Dread,

    Would the annexation of NI by the RoI not be quite like the German annexation of Austria?

    “Borders are and probably always will be political and not ethnic constructs, preferably based upon some natural border”

    Generally, would you not agree that political borders are drawn on ethnic, or at least perceived ethnic grounds? Whilst a natural border would be preferable, forcing it is not a good idea for a longterm solution. Agree with your last paragraph.

    Hi Simon,

    I know what you mean. In 1918 unionist parties won the general election yet Nationalism took this as a mandate for violence to create the Republic. They refuse to recognise that it’s as natural to base a vote on a British Isles basis as it is to vote on a Ireland basis. Why? Because it suits a UI dream. Why the fixation on a UI?

  • Why the fixation on a UK?

    Ireland has never voted to be part of the UK. Hence, the ‘democratic mandate’ that English voters could out vote Irish Republicanism was one borne of force not democracy..guess what..it begets force

  • lib2016

    The British identity was a figment of the imperial imagination imposed from above to make it easier for the metropolitan elite from the South East corner of England to control the rest of us.

    It’s passed it’s sell by date and is breaking up. In any case joining two disparate islands at gunpoint is not the democratic way but then one keeps forgetting that unionists don’t ‘do’ democracy.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Congal: “Would the annexation of NI by the RoI not be quite like the German annexation of Austria? ”

    Wasn’t challenging the result, merely the alleged thought process used to reach it, which, farnkly, was just about exactly that used to rationalize the annexation of the Sudetenland.

    Congal: “Generally, would you not agree that political borders are drawn on ethnic, or at least perceived ethnic grounds? Whilst a natural border would be preferable, forcing it is not a good idea for a longterm solution. Agree with your last paragraph. ”

    I wouldn’t, since a great many borders, if not most, are the result of the various ages of imperialism. Most of Africa is arbitrary, with large swaths of the Mid-East. North America is wholly political, with the possible exception of Quebec’s provincial borders. Asia is a mixed bad. Haven’t the foggiest about how to categorize Australia. South America an’t be to normal, given the occasional incursion, burshfire skirmishes, et al. That leaves Europe… Europe’s borders have natural boundries in at least some cases and political ones in others, but they are the product of conflict — natural boundries such as rivers and mountains make excellent defensive positions. For example, prior to annexation, the border between Germany and the Sudetenland was a heavily fortified mountain range. Alas, European cowardice surrendered that defensive border and, instead of a brushfile war with an unready Germany, we got World War II.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Cowboy,

    “Why the fixation on a UK?”

    You’re not comparing like with like. My preference is for a united British Isles. However, I’m not fixated on it. For example, I wouldn’t consider a terrorist campaign to force the RoI into a UBI. I’m happy with the status quo. Nationalism isn’t. I’d also be happy with repartition. But that doesn’t seem to be what Nationalism wants either.

    2nd point you make I think is fair enough. All I would say is that 2 wrongs don’t make a right. Ie, early 20th century Irish terrorism. In the same manner I wouldn’t support further acts of aggression to bring the RoI back into the fold.

    Hi lib2016/Dub,

    British identity has been around for millenia, certainly longer than “Irishness”. Look at the works of Ptolemy and you’ll see this.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Dread,

    When I said ethnic I suppose I meant allegiance. So, if you went to the US I’d say the vast majority would see themselves as American or United States citizens. But I take your point. For instance, I suppose ethnically, Gerry Adams is of planter stock but his allegiance is with a UI, so he’s perceived of being of Irish stock. I’m not sure if I’m making myself any clearer here when I read this back. However, I’m off to the pub. Best idea I’ve had all day…

  • declan

    Congal

    “I’d also be happy with repartition. But that doesn’t seem to be what Nationalism wants either.”

    I think that is because up to now nationalists have assumed the demographics would carry them through. But since 2001 its now not clear. And by 2021 its possible that the demographics will be such that they clearly wont carry nationalists to 51%. In that case then I think the assertion in your second sentence would change, that is to say that nationalism could start thinking in terms of a FAIR repartition.

  • lib2016

    The idea of a ‘High King’ for Ireland has been recorded in a document dating back to the seventh century.

    If you truly believe that the British political identity predates that there was an excellent book ‘The Isles’ by Norman Davies which came out a few years ago.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Congal: “When I said ethnic I suppose I meant allegiance. So, if you went to the US I’d say the vast majority would see themselves as American or United States citizens.”

    And that is a political construction… but yes, I take your meaning that its not *just* a political construct.

    Congal: “But I take your point. For instance, I suppose ethnically, Gerry Adams is of planter stock but his allegiance is with a UI, so he’s perceived of being of Irish stock. I’m not sure if I’m making myself any clearer here when I read this back. However, I’m off to the pub. Best idea I’ve had all day… ”

    Capital idea! or, as the commercial goes: “Brilliant!!”

  • Dread Cthulhu

    declan: “blah blah blah FAIR repartition blah blah blah.”

    You’re starting to sound like a political scientist — relying upon the logic of “if only I repeat myself often enough, it will make it true.”

    You have no refutation for the pitfalls and pratfalls of what you recommend. When challenged, you simply repeat what you have said before, treating any and all challenges like unfortunate “Etch-a-Sketch” art — you simply shake your head and act as if its disappeared.

    The fact of the matter is, thus far, you have had no answer for the obvious hurdles to your thesis, which I will enumerate below:

    1) you ASSUME a sea-change in the Nationalists — that they will accept repartition instead of a 32 county republic.

    2) you ASSUME a sea-change in Unionist thought – that they will accept any surrender of Ulster’s territory.

    3) you ASSUME the UK and ROI will go along with this foolishness. Included in this is their willingness to fund this notion, including the seperation and replacement of infrastructure, etc.

    4) you ASSUME there will be no unfortunate fall-out, such as the threats already made by posters on this blog, to isolated enclaves that end up on the wrong side of the “new” line, any economic difficulties for the new Unionist rump statelette.

    This is at least three assumptions too many, declan. Whatever happens, its not going to be all blue skies and toy airplanes, no matter how hard the happy shiny theorists hope and bleat their positions over and over and over again. No one is prepared for this and I doubt you’ll shift ~85 years of Nationalist aspiriations and mythology enough to get the ball rolling, let alone the ~350 years of Unionist mythology you’d need to seriously get the glaciers moving… and still leaves you two assumptions short.

  • Simon

    Dread,
    (Good name by the way) On the Sudetenland point, it was wrong to annex it, but the mistake was probably in giving it to the Czechs in the first place, as it was majority German. If they had drawn the borders in 1919 without such legitimate grievances (Upper Silesia was another) it would have been better all round. There was no major fuss about Northern Schleswig because it voted fro Denmark and went to Denmark. The Sudetenland was an aberration from the generally fair and rational principles established after WW1 to redraw the map on more democratic lines.

    Also, a lot of borders are a bit arbitrary (The English Patient is a wonderful rumination on this), including the UK / Eire one, but the question is, what SHOULD they be like? What are the principles upon which we decide fair boundaries between nation states? I fear this is a debate Irish Nationalists have rarely seriously engaged in.

    The key thing on plebiscites is you only ask people IN THE AREA UNDER DISPUTE, not the area + the country claiming it. This is why the ‘1918 Election’ argument still trotted out is such patent nonsense. It would justify all of Hitler’s annexations on the basis that Germany + the area being taken over would always be bigger in population than just the dissenting population in the area being annexed. It’s the logic of big country bullying, rather unthinkingly used by Irish Nationalists. Exactly the same logic they rejected when asserting their own nationhood. None of the Republic, or the British mainland is in any sense under dispute; Northern Ireland is. Northern Ireland is therefore the self-determinative unit.

    Simon

  • Realist

    Stephen Copeland,

    After we cut through the rest of the baloney, your post espousing supposition about Eastern European’s voting potentials is left with only two factual and relevent statements, namely

    “Whether this would influence their eventual voting patterns is anyone’s guess”

    and

    “Who knows”

    Which, was exactly my point.

    Thanks for that.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Realist,

    Wrong. What I was politely trying to say was: No way are any of the new immigrants from traditionally Catholic countries going to vote unionist. Forget it, they’re lost votes as long as unionism is inextricably linked to sectarian (anti-Catholic) bigotry.

  • declan

    Stephen Copeland

    “No way are any of the new immigrants from traditionally Catholic countries going to vote unionist.”

    These Polish are helpful to the demographics, as those who stay will go into the catholic by community background category and I understand their numbers are fairly significant.

  • dub

    some confusion on posts earlier on, post no 16 was mine. also someone confused me with lib2016 at one point, tho i would take this as a compliment.

    simon,

    your last post is impossible to understand. the reason 1918 is important is that a large majority of irish citizzens voted for self determination. the annexation occurred after that when britain annexed and CREATED A NEW BANTUSTAN STATE from territory belonging to the kingdom of ireland. another point u unionists just dont get about pre 1921 kingdom of ireland and ni now is that neither has EVER been integrated by Britain into the UK state, kingdom of ireland having a viceroy and NI for many years being virtually a commonwealth dominion. the appropriate site for self d has therefore always been the island of ireland which for a great majoirty of its history has not been a part of uk and even when it was formally was in fact ruled as an off shore colony with no integration into 2 party british political system. if you want to talk about early 20th century irish “terrorism” then you should go back to machinations of the ulater unionist council and the uvf in the years 1912 – 1916. here there was no mandate and here a fascist coup was attempted against the mother of parliaments by supposedly loyal citizens. ni itself is basically a construct historically of the uvf and the a and b specials, ie it was founded precisely to PREVENT British style democracy. who was it who marched for british rights for british citizens in 1968?? who cried betrayal when the mother of parliaments abolished stormont?? work it out… the capacity for you unionists for self deception and utter ignorance of your own history never mind any one else’s is staggering… for the record irish unionists have spent the last 200 years fighting AGAINST the federalising and democratising tendencies (such as they were) of the british govt; you are not part of the uk state, the british political system does not operate in your province and in britain itself you are seen as an anachronism and an embarassment… much as i disagree with much of what ocnor cruise o’brien has said you unionists need your own version of him to hold up your history to critical examination…

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Simon: (Good name by the way) On the Sudetenland point, it was wrong to annex it, but the mistake was probably in giving it to the Czechs in the first place, as it was majority German. If they had drawn the borders in 1919 without such legitimate grievances (Upper Silesia was another) it would have been better all round.”

    Not arguing… but it furthers my point — borders are political and not ethnic / cultural constructs… As I recall, Wilson was roundly ignored on the matter of self-determination by the other Allied powers.

    and thanks! 🙂

    Simon: The key thing on plebiscites is you only ask people IN THE AREA UNDER DISPUTE, not the area + the country claiming it. This is why the ‘1918 Election’ argument still trotted out is such patent nonsense. It would justify all of Hitler’s annexations on the basis that Germany + the area being taken over would always be bigger in population than just the dissenting population in the area being annexed. It’s the logic of big country bullying, rather unthinkingly used by Irish Nationalists. Exactly the same logic they rejected when asserting their own nationhood. None of the Republic, or the British mainland is in any sense under dispute; Northern Ireland is. Northern Ireland is therefore the self-determinative unit. ”

    Not sure I wholly agree with you — the colonization effort by the British, culminating with the Ulster Plantation, skews matters, at least from an idealist’s perspective… Furthermore, Ireland was annexed through the use of a sectarian Parliment, meaning that a decent argument that IRELAND was the area of initial dispute and that the current issue is simply the result of a failure of political will the first time the matter was addressed. To wit, the creation of a minority group in a area through acts that in the current era would be referred to with such hyper-ventilating hyperboles as “cultural genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” and to then define that region up as a “disputed area” is a little too cute, although, by the time of Anglo-Irish Agreement, I’m not sure there was a better option. Arguably, N.I. was never formally defined — it was punted in the first agreement and the Border commission lack the political will to put things right subsequently.

    As I keep asking Declan, in comes down to who gets to define the terms. Historically, it usually comes down to the “big country bullying” the smaller one. Again, while I’m not agreeing with you, per se, in the case of Ulster / N. I., I am willing to agree that it was, by the time hard questions were asked, the least worst solution at the time.

  • Realist

    Stephen Copeland,

    “No way are any of the new immigrants from traditionally Catholic countries going to vote unionist”

    Righty ho.

    “Forget it, they’re lost votes as long as unionism is inextricably linked to sectarian (anti-Catholic) bigotry”

    Ok.

    Cutting edge insight.

    Thanks again.

  • declan

    Dread and dub I am sorry for not replying. I will come back to do a rebuttal of your comments however I am busy at the moment.

  • william

    Its the death rate and not the birth rate which will seal the Norths fate – its there where unionist voters are disproportionately represented – 3 to 1 or thereabouts in the 60+ age bands and upwards – look at big Ian himself for living proof.

  • declan

    william the death rate tells us the religion of the people of the past, the birth rate tells us the religion of the future. We know the past, we don’t know the future, that is why I am focusing on the birth rate.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Declan: “william the death rate tells us the religion of the people of the past, the birth rate tells us the religion of the future. We know the past, we don’t know the future, that is why I am focusing on the birth rate. ”

    Ah, but if, as William say, Unionists live longer than Nationalists, the demographic pressure would not be as great as the birth rates might indicate. Then again, if William *is* telling the truth, then a demographic “bubble” may be about to *POP* as the oldest segment of the Ulster popuation shuffles off this mortal coil and, presumably, cease to vote.

    Y’see, birth rates are only one aspect of demographics. Death rates, rates of immigration, voting trends, socio-economic traits — all are important. A disproportionately elderly Protestant population may indicate better medical care or an generally aging population. Assuming a generally older Protestant population and a higher Catholic birth rate, all other factors being equal, 50% + 1 vote is almost inevitable. However, if that larger elderly population is the result of some other factor, say, superior medical treatment or better attention to personal health, then its just an artifact in the data.

  • declan

    Dread

    “Assuming a generally older Protestant population and a higher Catholic birth rate, all other factors being equal, 50% + 1 vote is almost inevitable.”

    The Catholic share of those born has fallen from above 0.5 now to below 0.5, because of a declining birth rate, something which could well be continuing. The fact that older people are more likely to be protestant does not, in and of itself, tell us anything about the future %. That % is determined by the % of births that are catholic ( by community background) as well as in-migration.

  • willie

    Declan, focusing on the birth rate alone onlt tells part of the story and in this instance misses the point.
    The damage to unionism has been done during the past 50 years – every year now roughly 5000 more protestants than catholics die – it will take at least 20 years for this imbalence to even itself out(look 2001 census for the 60+ age groups and up)
    Just 20 years will see a net loss of around 100,000 people – this loss does not depend on the changing variable (as you say yourself ‘we don’t know the future’) of a birth rate which has been falling now (although last year saw a 1.5% rise) and is of of less significance.

  • slug

    Interesting fact not yet mentioned on this thread is that about the same number of people (about 20000/annum) migrate into NI each year as are born in NI each year. The 2001 census showed that the people migrating into NI are 38% catholic by community.

    Don’t know what that means for Declan’s theories.

    In recent years the numbers migrating from GB to NI have been on the rise and more than offset those leaving for GB.

  • slug

    Interesting fact not yet mentioned on this thread is that about the same number of people (about 20000/annum) migrate into NI each year as are born in NI each year. The 2001 census showed that the people migrating into NI are 38% catholic by community.

    Don’t know what that means for Declan’s theories.

    In recent years the numbers migrating from GB to NI have been on the rise and more than offset those leaving for GB.

  • Cahal

    Isn’t the single largest group migrating into NI from GB.

    And aren’t a large majority of people in GB in favour of a UI according to most polls.

    Just a thought.

    I wonder if this thread will be terminated in the event of a united Ireland.

  • slug

    “Isn’t the single largest group migrating into NI from GB.”

    Thats right, about 13000 per year, and (for Declan’s benefit) we know from the census these are 30% catholic by community.

  • declan

    Death is inevitable but births are not. The people being born today are the people having children tomorrow. If the people being born today are less than 50% catholic by community background and the birth rate is falling then the people being born tomorrow are not going to be more than 50% catholic by community background except possibly for the period when the people born between 1981 and 1991 have children as they were more than 50% catholic.

  • Doctor Who

    Dub

    The tone of your posts clearly show the contempt you have for anything British and Unionist.

    You claim Unionists are ignorant of their own history while quite clearly your little mind is clouded.

    How can you descibe the Ulster Covenant as an attempted Fascist coup. (lol,lol)

    You also suggest that Irish Unionists have fought against democracy for the last 200 years. Hmmm This is very puzzling. Perhaps because they refused to accept an Act Of Parliament in 1912, forcing them into a Church state without any say in the matter. But surely this is the defence of Democracy.

    Dub, the fact is that under the Good Friday Agreement, Unionists managed to obtain from Republican death squads for the first time, the democratic right of the citizens or subjects of Northern Ireland to self determination. Of course the genuine sentiment of Republicans is open to debate on this one.

    I would suggest to you that the next time you read a History book try to get one not written by P. O´Neill, you may find that your mind will broaden.

  • Brian Boru

    Doctor Who, I think its open to debate whether a Home Rule Ireland would have been like De Valera’s Ireland regarding the power of the Catholic Church. Many of the most secular elements of Irish Republicanism were wiped out in 1916 after all.

    I accept after independence we made a lot of mistakes regarding the Church, but certainly we are not making too many of them now. I support 32 county independence btw. But I would still say that the Unionists, by bringing in weapons to resist Home Rule and then the Brits caving in with partition, helped cause the 1916 rising by showing that the gun was mightier than the pen.

  • Irish Aussie

    I work in the market research/politcal polling field and in fact the 49% catholic count in the 0-4 cohort is quite a damming figure if you know what your looking at.The hardest cohort to identify as anything is the 0-4. If you can identify just under 50% as catholic at that age, it actually means that when the “don’t knows/can’t identify” are finally figured out the catholic/nationalist population will be decisively the larger

  • Brian Boru

    “”Isn’t the single largest group migrating into NI from GB.”

    Thats right, about 13000 per year, and (for Declan’s benefit) we know from the census these are 30% catholic by community.”

    What % are Protestant “by community”? Considering most Brits don’t want NI no more (2001 poll said 41% want UI only 25% want Union to continue with NI), it is possible that British Protestant immigrants could actually help the Green side?

  • declan

    “I work in the market research/politcal polling field and in fact the 49% catholic count in the 0-4 cohort is quite a damming figure if you know what your looking at.The hardest cohort to identify as anything is the 0-4. If you can identify just under 50% as catholic at that age, it actually means that when the “don’t knows/can’t identify” are finally figured out the catholic/nationalist population will be decisively the larger”

    Sorry but the figure I am using is that from the census after these children have been allocated to the stated religion of their parents or the community background of their parents. That is if the parents fail to put down a religion for the child then the census people allocate the child to the religion of the parents. If the parents don’t state a religion for themselves then they use the question “what religion were you brought up in” to allocate the children.

  • declan

    If you do it by religion, not religious background, you only get about 42% catholic in the 0-4 sge group.

  • Irish Aussie

    I doubt that any facts or figures would change your mind declan.Are you suggesting that there are no “Don’t Knows/can’t identify’s” in the 0-4 cohort,please look again there are plenty.You can post the figures if you like i don’t know how.
    If you wan’t to ignore standard statistical methodology thats your business but your only kidding yourself.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    declan: “The Catholic share of those born has fallen from above 0.5 now to below 0.5, because of a declining birth rate, something which could well be continuing. The fact that older people are more likely to be protestant does not, in and of itself, tell us anything about the future %. That % is determined by the % of births that are catholic ( by community background) as well as in-migration. ”

    And that is only one factor. A more useful measure would be a “rate of replacement” measure, which would factor in births, death, immigrations and emigration. But even then, the analysis is flawed, since religion is not a perfect indicator of political preference (although, admittedly, it works better in N. I. that in most the rest of the western world.)

    As for the percentage of old people being protestant, yes, it does tell us something. Given that they will die and, presumably, cease voting. When they die, how many folks are there to replace them “in the pipeline?” If this well of voters starts to drain away, then you analysis of birth rates may be all for naught. You are overly focused on a single variable in the multi-variable analysis. While birth rate is not incosequential, it is not the be all and end all. A disporportionately elderly population, immigration, emigration, aging, disparate natural life spans — all these factor could easily send your myopic analysis straight back to the bit-bucket.

    For example, to take a slightly more neutral example — Africa, for instance. Birth rate analysis would have to be balanced against, oh, infant mortality for starters, but a great many other factors to get a decent grasp on trends. To go with the child’s tale, you need to look at more parts of the elephant.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Declan: “Death is inevitable but births are not. The people being born today are the people having children tomorrow. If the people being born today are less than 50% catholic by community background and the birth rate is falling then the people being born tomorrow are not going to be more than 50% catholic by community background except possibly for the period when the people born between 1981 and 1991 have children as they were more than 50% catholic.”

    You forget, its a two horse race. If, as William suggests, there is a category of voters disporportionately Unionist and near death, then there may be window of opportunity.

    But, seriously, you analysis is mostly rubbish, declan. You present a plan of action based on the simplest and most superficial of analysis of a single statistic. Based upon that, you make a four assumption leap to a plan which will not work, since it ignores a whole host of political and social realities. Likewise, you do not know what it going to happen between now and the point, what, two censuses (censi?) down the road, when your “brilliant” plan to cut the Gordian knot is supposed to take place. You cannot reasonably analyze complex systems by examining one variable.

  • abucs

    Declan,

    is it not obvious that there are a growing number of mixed marriages and these people have chosen not to state a religion for their offspring. This is apparent especially in the environs of Belfast. Obviously with one parent of each persuasion the census people can’t allocate a religion to these children. It doesn’t mean that they won’t have one later on.

    The reality is that the place can’t be run NOW unless there is agreement from the two communities. 44%, 48%, 52% 56% the reality is much the same in any case. Whatever the politics, the people will have to agree for it to work.

  • declan

    Irish Aussie

    “I doubt that any facts or figures would change your mind declan.Are you suggesting that there are no “Don’t Knows/can’t identify’s” in the 0-4 cohort,please look again there are plenty.You can post the figures if you like i don’t know how. ”

    There are can’t identifies in the 42% figure but the 48-49% figure is after the government has allocated people to community background based on a range of indicators including the religion the parents of the child were brought up in.

  • John

    Immigration will be the major factor in defining the future government of N.I. within the UK.

    The eastern european immigrants who are coming to NI to work and live in the future are neither nationalists or unionists, instead they are coming to the UK to work and live.

    Therefore it is reasonable to assume, once we get the NI Assembly working for a better NI within the UK, for all the people, then any children born to these immigrants will probably apply to have British Passports, because they will see British citizenship of more value than Irish citizenship.

  • slug

    John you are right that migration is important. As I said above the number of people migrating into NI each year (about 20,000) is about the same as the number of people born in NI each year, so that is surely important.

  • dub

    doctor who,

    so its a defence of british democracy to import arms and forment sedition in the british army against an act of parliament?? there is no evidence that home rule would have meant a church state… the great majority of citizens of the kingdom of ireland wanted home rule, including a majority in the 9 counties of ulster, and a majority of the imperial parliament voted for this too… so where is the defence of democracy???.. the bulk of the orange order in 1801 were against the act of union… why? because like the whites in the southern us states in the 50’s and 60’s the were afraid of the federal metropolitan govt bringing in equality legaislation for the natives…sunningdale leaps to mind too… if you actually read my posts you will see i have consistently argued for equal respect and parity for both traditions in ni.. i am not contemptuous of british and unionist identity.. i am merely pointing out the peculiarly UNbritish nature of much ulster unionist politics…what i am really reacting to is your utterly one sided definition of irish terrorism and of irish sectarianism… irish nationalism has come a long way in last 20 years in analysing itself and adapting to realities… mainstream unionist politics (unlike pup et al) has not…

  • PaddyReilly

    Great. The thread is still running. I vote it continues until Ireland is united.

    Declan

    The first part of your argument is that census figures suggest that Catholics will never become a majority in the 6 cos. I have made my comment on this matter already and will not repeat myself, a practise I would recommend you to adopt also.

    The second part of the argument is that when this becomes apparent (in 2021 or whenever) Nationalists will start to consider repartition as an option. I do not buy this either, for the following reason. The Unionist percentage of the vote has experienced a sharp fall and the 1st preference Unionist vote, in the 2004 European Parliament Elections, fell below 50% for the first time (to 48.6%). At some time in the not too distant future (I make it 20 months from now) the Unionist vote of any preference will have fallen below 50%, and the balance of power will pass, not to Republicans, but to those persons who refuse to be classified as Unionist or Nationalist, known as centrists, mainly the Alliance Party.

    Thus the atmosphere will, by the beginning of the second decade of the third millennium, be more favourable for Nationalists than at any time in the history of the 6 county entity. Consequently pressure for repartition will be non-existent from this source. Belfast is already in the position of no-overall-control and I don’t remember hearing any Nationalist voices calling for the partition of Belfast.

    In both parts of this argument there seems to be the same lacuna in your thinking, which is that you fail to distinguish between a Unionist and a non-Nationalist, between a Protestant and a non-Catholic.

  • Doctor Who

    Dub

    I think you will find that mainstream Unionism has travelled quite a lot over the last few years. While Gerry and Martin et al in PIRA/Sinn Fein called and end to the extermination of Northern Ireland and British subjects of both traditions. It was mainstream Unionism that took a leap of faith to enter dialogue and look for solutions with the Provos.

    This leap of faith is even more extrodinary when you consider the deaths of many moderate Unionists at the hands of Sinn Fein / IRA.

    Can you tell me the last Republican or Catholic to be murdered by a member of the Ulster Unionist Party.

    The day the robberries stop, punishment beatings halt, revenge killings (a la Donaldson) come to an end is the day the Republican movement take a step forward. Simply deciding to no longer killing me for my Unionist identity is not enough.

  • Sceptic

    Doctor Who

    Don’t be silly, the UUP didn’t kill anybody. They didn’t need to. They had the RUC UDR RIR UPRG/UDA PUP/UVF/RHC Labour/British Army Conservatives/British Army to do it for them.

  • declan

    PaddyReilly there are severe flaws in your argument. You are basically just extrapolating the past-not a good way to predict the future. The best way is to look at the % community background of the people being born (which shows the people being born have fallen below 50% catholic community again after a period above 50%). The voting patterns will reflect that. As for the nationalist vote getting to 51% that is what is needed for a united Ireland, not the unionists felling to 49% because of the Alliance party, which is not a nationalist party as you know. Therefore your arguments simply are not valid arguments.

    Dub and Dread

    I will rebut your arguments later.

  • declan

    Dread

    “1) you ASSUME a sea-change in the Nationalists—that they will accept repartition instead of a 32 county republic.”

    That is if it becomes obvious the 32 county option becomes unattainable.

    “2) you ASSUME a sea-change in Unionist thought – that they will accept any surrender of Ulster’s territory.”

    I did not say anything about unionists. I said that if the 51% for nationalists looks unattainable, for certain, then nationalists will start to think in terms of a FAIR repartition.

    “3) you ASSUME the UK and ROI will go along with this foolishness. Included in this is their willingness to fund this notion, including the seperation and replacement of infrastructure, etc.”

    No I didn’t assume that.

    “4) you ASSUME there will be no unfortunate fall-out, such as the threats already made by posters on this blog, to isolated enclaves that end up on the wrong side of the “new” line, any economic difficulties for the new Unionist rump statelette.”

    I think people will generally be better off, because more people will be on the right side of the new line. I can’t see what negative fallout is realistic.

    “This is at least three assumptions too many, declan.”

    I have not made any but one of them.

    “No one is prepared for this and I doubt you’ll shift ~85 years of Nationalist aspiriations and mythology enough to get the ball rolling, let alone the ~350 years of Unionist mythology you’d need to seriously get the glaciers moving… and still leaves you two assumptions short.”

    Actually up to now things have not changed because nationalists believe that if they wait their numbers will come. But with the births being less than 50% in the catholic community then there is a possibility that this will not be the case in the future and by 2021 it may become obvious that the 51% is just not going to happen. Its in that scenario that I think a lot of nationalists would look again at the idea of a fair repartition.

  • PaddyReilly

    Declan

    < >

    But I was not talking about a United Ireland, I was talking about a Nationalist wish for repartition. The contention was that in a 6 county entity where the ultimate power resided with parties who were not markedly Unionist, Nationalists would prefer the status quo to repartition.

    Generally we vote against what we don’t want more often that we vote for what we do want. Nationalists do not want Unionist rule. Nor is there any evidence that they want any kind of partition. If they were spared the former, they would not be clamouring for the latter.

    The questions is, which comes first on the Nationalist wishlist? Is a 32 County Republic desired because it would put an end to Unionist rule, or is the overthrow of Unionism desired because it would enable a 32 County Republic?

    There is a lot on SO’T about identity politics, but I’m not impressed by any of it. Identity is a constant which remains whatever the political circumstances. Politics is about power, and who exercises it.

  • declan

    “But I was not talking about a United Ireland, I was talking about a Nationalist wish for repartition. The contention was that in a 6 county entity where the ultimate power resided with parties who were not markedly Unionist, Nationalists would prefer the status quo to repartition.”

    I would say that if the status quo looked like it would never have a pro-nationalist majority then repartition would become popular among many natioanlists.

    “Nationalists do not want Unionist rule. Nor is there any evidence that they want any kind of partition. If they were spared the former, they would not be clamouring for the latter.”

    There already is and would be partition, so repartition would not alter the fact of partition it would result in a fair(er) partition.

    “The questions is, which comes first on the Nationalist wishlist? Is a 32 County Republic desired because it would put an end to Unionist rule, or is the overthrow of Unionism desired because it would enable a 32 County Republic?”

    The second, in my opinion. However if a 32 county rule were not available – and looks impossible after two censuses – then for a lot of nationalists a fair repartition would be better than an unfair one.

  • declan

    dub

    “i would say you are proposing something which can only dreg up the worst elements in iriah nationalism and unionism, ie you are encouraging bigotry.. i am quite prepared to countenance that you yourself may not be a bigot…”

    Unionism wants to says with the UK while nationalism wants to join with the Irish state. I have not said whether these are good or bad elements just taking them as facts. Unfortunately the present situation leaves a lot of people on the wrong side of the border – another fact. Nationalists have enjoyed rising catholic % in the censuses but unfortunately in the last census had a falling % at the lowest age group now to less than 50%. If it turns out in subsequent censusus that nationalsts can’t get 51% then that is the scenario on which a fair repartition would potentially seem attractive as it would reduce the number of people stuck on the wrong side of the border. No bigotry in any of this argument.

  • Brian Boru

    “Can you tell me the last Republican or Catholic to be murdered by a member of the Ulster Unionist Party.

    The day the robberries stop, punishment beatings halt, revenge killings (a la Donaldson) come to an end is the day the Republican movement take a step forward. Simply deciding to no longer killing me for my Unionist identity is not enough.”

    But no-one can give an absolute guarantee that all of an organisations members will be on their best behaviour. The UUP cannot guarantee that of its members, nor can the DUP. An imperfect peace is better than nothing. We had a civil war in the South from 1922-3, and although it officially ended then, there were still occasionally acts of criminality and terrorism by the Anti-Treaty IRA, e.g. murder of Justice Minister Kevin O’Higgins in 1927. But you didn’t see us banning Anti-Treaty SF or Fianna Fail because of that or stopping them going into govt down here.

    No organisation can exercise control over what people do as individuals – especially without guns. Would you prefer the Provos to use violence or intimidation against people in their ranks who they think want to rob banks etc.? If they did that, then Unionism would no doubt cite such a disciplinary action as a “breach of ceasefire”. The Provos are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    “1) you ASSUME a sea-change in the Nationalists—that they will accept repartition instead of a 32 county republic.”

    Declan: “That is if it becomes obvious the 32 county option becomes unattainable. ”

    If, declan, eight decades and a bit have not made that its impossible without something of a sea-change, Winston Churchill’s offers notwithstanding, then its a lesson that will not be bought into.

    “2) you ASSUME a sea-change in Unionist thought – that they will accept any surrender of Ulster’s territory.”

    Declan: “I did not say anything about unionists. I said that if the 51% for nationalists looks unattainable, for certain, then nationalists will start to think in terms of a FAIR repartition.”

    Implicit of your tales of the toy airplanes and blue skies that follow thie “fair repartition” has to be Unionist acceptance. If Nationalists are to achieve this “fair repartition,” and Nationalists are not not will never be in the majority, then it stands to reason the Unionists will have to sign off on this repartition, or had you not considered this? Did you think they would just shrug and let this happen, out of the goodness of their hearts, the mythology of 350 + years of “civilization under siege” just melting away like snow in the summer?

    “3) you ASSUME the UK and ROI will go along with this foolishness. Included in this is their willingness to fund this notion, including the seperation and replacement of infrastructure, etc.”

    Declan: “No I didn’t assume that.”

    Then, how, pray tell, were you thinking it was going to come to pass and the costs supported? A telethon? A play in Uncle Paddy’s barn? Similarly, if the UK has been unwiling to abandon their unwanted territorial holdings, such as the Falklands and, yes, Northern Ireland, based on the will of the majority of the local population, why would they suddenly sign off on this foolishness? There is also the matter of infrastructure — powergrids, water, et al.

    “4) you ASSUME there will be no unfortunate fall-out, such as the threats already made by posters on this blog, to isolated enclaves that end up on the wrong side of the “new” line, any economic difficulties for the new Unionist rump statelette.”

    Declan: “I think people will generally be better off, because more people will be on the right side of the new line. I can’t see what negative fallout is realistic. ”

    Surely you’re not *that* short-sighted, although your lack of consideration of the political realities above might gainsay that notion. We have had some particularly unenlightened suggestions of the immediate fall-out on this board — this topic, even. Glossing over the reaction of the Neanderthals, there will be the inevitiable displaced persons — folks unwilling to live as explicit and powerless minorities on the other side of the new border. How will these expenses be covered, pray tell. Your “pie in the sky” attitude betrays that you have only given this the shallowest of consideration.

    “This is at least three assumptions too many, declan.”

    declan: “I have not made any but one of them. ”

    The other three are implicit in your assumption it would be successful.

  • Doctor Who

    septic

    Can you please indicate to me when the UUP condoned a single murder carried out by Ulster Loyalist Paramilitaries.

    You seem to indicate that sectarian murders where carried out with the blessing of the UUP. I abhor violence from any angle and the message from mainstream Unionism has always been the same.

    This includes any act of violence carried out by security forces. Security forces have often been infiltrated by terrorists, who wish to follow that agenda….so you will not be surprised to know that military inteligence has been compromised by republicans within the British armed services also.

    The PSNI have moved forward to be representative of the people of Northern Ireland. It is also worth noting that as the RUC they faced daily terror from all angles, just going about their job.

    Much has been made by Republicans of the so called threat from the legally held weapons in the Loyalist community. I.E Police weapons.

    Of course this is just propaganda, the weapons held in Loyalist communities are by the Paramiltaries. Not the Police force.

    I am not trying to say that the service did not need a complete overhaul, because it did and it has. I am saying there was not a single in justice that warranted the murder of a single RUC officer.

    Perhaps you disagree with this.

    Maybe you can provide a figure on how many people where killed with RUC weapons discharged by Police Officers.

  • dub

    declan,

    your proposals are creative of bigotry on the nationalist side because they go against the notion of incorporating all Irish people into one state which is a core value of Irish nationalism and republicanism enunciated most eloquently by nationalist Thomas Davis of Young Ireland and republican Wolfe Tone of the United Irishmen. Real republicans and nationalists do not accept the racist lie that unionists are not iriah people, nor do they accept that Belfast and the Glens of Antrim for example (2 places that would be left in a nightmare Unionist Laager State) are not in Ireland. Irish nationalism and republicanism have always wanted this island with all its cultures to be able to rule itself because the people here are those best suited to ruling themselves and becuase british govt here has always rested on exploitation, military force and the deliberate fostering of sectarian differences to preserve its rule. your proposal is a surrender to british colonialism and based on racist lie that only people living west of bann are entitled to join rest of irish people in ruling themselves. on the unionist side you are giving them an opportunity to create a catholic free protestant state.. there would be violence in belfast on a scale not seen since the 1920’s and republicans would be drawn ineluctably into the nightmare of sectarian war as they would have to defend nationalist areas by force against overwhelming force. a united ireland will come declan in the next 50 years because britain no longer wants partition and they are now showing themselves nore than capable of confronting the frankenstein they have created in extreme loyalism. crucially they are no longer prepared to bankroll the union – see hain’s comments about the ni economy being unsustainable. the penny is dropping with business elements in unionism and will drop for many more of them in next few years. after RPA (which you have ignored) a large part of ni territory will beome de facto part of rest of Ireland as all ireland economy gathers apace with no oppostion but complete support in the very large area goverened by the 3 nationalist/republican councils. these councils will be able to link up with their colleagues across border to make border itself irrelevant. at this stage many nationalists AND unionists will be living in a de facto united ireland and british security apparatus will be entirely absent from those areas by about 2020. because we will hold out for a united ireland of all 32 counties however a numerically large enough number of unionists will be happy to vote with nationalists for a united ireland producing a lot more than 51 percent. there will be a rump element of unionists against UI but they will be on wrong side of history. if you look across the world from south africa to algeria etc you will see that once confronted these forces retreat. more telling in irish context is fact that majority of northern cypriots recently voted for reunification with far more dynamic and properous south and it was southerners who voted against!! such a scenario needs to be avoided in this country.. that is why brits are pushing now for an integrated all ireland economy…

    regards,

    dub

  • Doctor Who

    Dub

    If the brits are doing so much to accomodate your pipe dream, why do you show so such contempt for them.

  • elfinto

    So, what do youse think about our agent provocateur?

    Brit from the ‘mainland’ having a bit of fun at our expense or a Norn Iron unionist spooked by the rising fenian tide?

    My two cents is on the latter.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Doctor Who: “If the brits are doing so much to accomodate your pipe dream, why do you show so such contempt for them. ”

    Perhaps it is because it is they who led us here in the first place. Should I laud their wisdom in unleashing the Black and Tans? Their timidity for home rule? Their feckless and sectarian response to the Great Hunger? Their tolerance with the Ulster Plantation?

    To try and repair the damage that one has wrought is only proper. While it is proper to respect their efforts in the present, it would be naive to ignore that which has gone before — the past is not truly past, it is prologue as well.

  • declan

    dub

    “your proposals are creative of bigotry on the nationalist side because they go against the notion of incorporating all Irish people into one state which is a core value of Irish nationalism and republicanism enunciated most eloquently by nationalist Thomas Davis of Young Ireland and republican Wolfe Tone of the United Irishmen. Real republicans and nationalists do not accept the racist lie that unionists are not iriah people, nor do they accept that Belfast and the Glens of Antrim for example (2 places that would be left in a nightmare Unionist Laager State) are not in Ireland. Irish nationalism and republicanism have always wanted this island with all its cultures to be able to rule itself because the people here are those best suited to ruling themselves and becuase british govt here has always rested on exploitation, military force and the deliberate fostering of sectarian differences to preserve its rule.”

    The unionists – I leave it to them to define themselves.

    “Well the unionists would see things differently and your proposal is a surrender to british colonialism and based on racist lie that only people living west of bann are entitled to join rest of irish people in ruling themselves.”

    It is not based on this. Most of the people on the East of the Bann do not want to join the rest of Ireland while the people west of the Bann do. Now that may change but I can’t see it changing.

    “on the unionist side you are giving them an opportunity to create a catholic free protestant state.. there would be violence in belfast on a scale not seen since the 1920’s and republicans would be drawn ineluctably into the nightmare of sectarian war as they would have to defend nationalist areas by force against overwhelming force.”

    I don’t think any of that would happen – just alarmist talk.

    “a united ireland will come declan in the next 50 years because britain no longer wants partition and they are now showing themselves nore than capable of confronting the frankenstein they have created in extreme loyalism. crucially they are no longer prepared to bankroll the union – see hain’s comments about the ni economy being unsustainable. the penny is dropping with business elements in unionism and will drop for many more of them in next few years.”

    Most of the rest of your post is along these lines saying that the unionists will be converted away from unionism. Well that may or may not be true and there really is no sign of it. If after the next two censuses by 2021 there is no sign of this happening – and if there is also no sign of the nationalist community reaching 51% – then many nationalists will think of a fair repartition as a realistic solution.

  • Doctor Who

    dread cthulhu

    When it comes down to it, can anyone in Iraland today truly claim they are of indigenous Irish stock.

    Ireland has never been governed as a single sovereign state, so why the hurry to start.

    How do you propose to reverse the Planration in Ulster.

    Migration between these Islands has existed for centuries, the palntation was only a greater concentration of that over a shorter period of time.

    I myself am of Polish Jewish stock, I also believe in the Union, am I like the majority in Northern Ireland, unjustified in that beleif.

    Nothing that has been said on these threads has convinced me one iota that my best interests lay within a 32 county republic.

    The campaign of slaughter didn´t subject Unionists to submission, Sinn Fein have also recognised the principle of consent, when they used to call it the Unioist veto, so Northern Irelad is here to stay, get used to it and when you finish the prologue start a new chapter.

  • declan

    “Northern Irelad is here to stay”

    This may or may not be true but will become clearer after the 2021 census. If at that stage it becomes crystal clear to all nationalists that a nationalist majority is not going to emerge, then I believe many nationalists will begin at that stage to think in terms of a fair repartition.

  • declan

    The above post is addressed to Dr Who

  • Doctor Who

    Declan

    I think you could be right, but nothing on these threads seem to indicate that.

    In fact the Republican angle seems to be along the lines of ¨repatriasation¨.

    What worries me the most is that very few folk here are intent on making Northern Ireland work. By siting failure and only looking to the narrow angle of irish soverignty, they are denying the rest of us the right to better housing, better education and so forth.

    Even if the Demography where to change to 50 + 1 percentage Catholic, there is still a long way to go before a clear majority of voters would vote for a United Ireland. This you hve backed up yourself.

    If Nationalists have a power sharing executive in a Northern Ireland government, then what do Unioinsts have in an all Ireland government and of course do they comply to the new order in the same way Republicans have embraced the order of the last 85 years.

    The very fact the two Political and Multi Cultural Irish and British identities in Northern Ireland are becoming numerically closer, should not be seen as a prelude to get ready to go up yours to the Brits. It should be seen as an opportunity to provide practical and accountable government by the people of Northern Ireland.

    Here lies the current problem, as when we vote we don´t see the bigger picture, we vote as to make sure no one side is likely to get one over on the other.

    And of course we get nowhere. The Unionists blame the Nationalists, the Nationalists blame the Unionists and the Republicans blame the ¨brits´.

  • dub

    elfinto,

    who are you accusing of being an agent provocateur?

    doctor who,

    your lsat post sums up exactly why ni is not here to stay. normal politics is impossible in it. in a ui with 20 percent of the vote in a unitary state the unionists would always hold balance of power in the dail. or ni are might retain power sharing exec under an irish federal structure. i am not contemptuous of the british now, they are trying to wriggle out of the dilemmas of the past. what you dont seem to understand doctor who is that they and not the people of ni are the exectutive legislative and judicial power in ni and they created the statelet in 1920 govt of ireland act along with “southern ireland” so that they would no longer have to deal directly with irish affairs. but keeping ireland within the empire. 2 home rule states. unionists got what they had spent the previous 50 years campaigning against. both southern ireland and northern ireland were meant to be self financing with a small CONTRIBUTION to imperial purse. it was also intended in time through a council of ireland that both home rule statelets would merge. since 1920 britain has never changed its policy of not wanting to get directly involved in irish affairs and have made it crystal clear to the irish govt on many occasions that full integration into UK state is not on the cards EVER. so the last 30 years or so of direct rule have been a nightmare aberration for them which they are determined to end. they are also determined to stop subsidising ni, ni will have to pay for itself. the only way it can do this is to link up with far more powereful economy to its aouth and this is also british policy. unionists however seem unwilling to form a power sharing exec with nationalists and republicans and operate all ireland bodies as per gfa. if they were willing to do this ni might well last a lot longer. the fact that they are not means it may not last much longer. most irish people realised a long time ago that british power in ireland is unaccountable. thats why southern ireland never happened, and the free state happened instead. unionists still dont seem to get it. and british govt policy is now directed AGAINST them.

    regards,

    dub.

  • Doctor Who

    Normal Politics is not impossible in Northern Ireland.

    Why should it be!

    Yes I agree that in an All Ireland parliament, unionists could well hold the balance of power, but if already forced into this what good would this power be.

    Presumably concessions of a seperate Northern Assembly would not be acceptable to the rest of an all Ireland Dail, and hence unionists would be forever withdrawing support from government.

    Again the soverignty issue would dominate the Political landscape, not to mention the armed resistance that would undoubtedly occur if such a scenario was forced upon Northern Unioinists.

    The notion that you have on Northern Ireland being solely reliant on the rest of the UK is a joke. Certainly the cost of running NI has been astronomical to the British Exchequer mainly due to the republican campaign of terror.

    How many more jobs, hospitals and schools have been lost to the troubles.

    Just what is it that Unionists don´t get and isn´t it perhaps you who dosn´t get it then.

    You also validate my previous point very well, by protraying the mistrust felt between iodeologies, as a barrier to progress and self government in Northern Ireland under the terms of the GFA (including North South bodies). You do this when you place the blame for the current stalemate, solely at the door of the Unionists.

    Simply ignoring Provo activity in Bank Raids, Punishment Beatings, Cloumbia 4, Donaldson??? as well as their dubious commitment to decomissioning, is selective amnesia.

    Finally I would say if the British have been guilty of economic failure in Northern Ireland, well haven´t the Provos done a great job in letting them off the hook.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Doctor Who: “Ireland has never been governed as a single sovereign state, so why the hurry to start. ”

    England has given up most of its Empire… why the reticence in disposing of the rest?

    Doctor Who: “How do you propose to reverse the Planration in Ulster. ”

    You misunderstand — the damage is irreversible. It cannot be repaired, only amerliorated. That said, the conflicts you complain of are a lingering symptom of the damage inflicted by the Plantation and its concurrent policies. The Protestant majority in Ulster (formerly the priviledged Protestant minority in Ireland) is an artificial construct rising from those policies.

    Doctor Who: “Migration between these Islands has existed for centuries, the palntation was only a greater concentration of that over a shorter period of time. ”

    That is a disengenous answer, at best and either dishonest or ignorant at the very worst. The Plantation was the confiscation of wealth, the disruption of the native culture and an effort at ethic / cultural cleansing, with Catholics moved into “strategic towns,” with English schools and Potestant churches, with the intention of eliminating the Irish culture.

    Doctor Who: “I myself am of Polish Jewish stock, I also believe in the Union, am I like the majority in Northern Ireland, unjustified in that beleif. ”

    What you believe is between you and your God. That said, your belief has no inherent value or worth. That said, if your level of understanding is indicated by your comment regarding the Plantation, it may be worth less.

    Doctor Who: “Nothing that has been said on these threads has convinced me one iota that my best interests lay within a 32 county republic.

    The campaign of slaughter didn´t subject Unionists to submission, Sinn Fein have also recognised the principle of consent, when they used to call it the Unioist veto, so Northern Irelad is here to stay, get used to it and when you finish the prologue start a new chapter. ”

    Nor did the campaigns of slaughter against the Irish Catholics bring them to heel. Northern Ireland is neither immutable or permanent. Black and Tans, B-Specials, not even Cromwell. Do not think that just because you hold the whip-hand for the nonce that this is a permanent state. I certain there were those who thought the Free State an impossibility before you.

  • declan

    Dread

    “If, declan, eight decades and a bit have not made that its impossible without something of a sea-change, Winston Churchill’s offers notwithstanding, then its a lesson that will not be bought into. ”

    But in all this time there was nationalist demographic growth and the expectation of further nationalist demographic growth. But now the % catholic for the youngest age groups actually fell in the last census. Suggesting the days of nationalist demographic growth could be coming to an end. In this hypothetical new situation – the days of nationalist demographic growth at an end before the 51% is attained – could comes a realisation that the 32 county Ireland is not going to happen. That context is a new one in the last 85 years and a context in which a fair repartition starts to emerge as a realistic option.

  • Declan,

    I think most Nationalists would rather see partition continue in their lifetimes with a good chance that it will end in the lifetimes of their kids or grandkids, rather than ensuring it for another two, three or five hundred years. Our descendents would curse our name forever if we did that.

  • declan

    PopeBuckfastXVI

    “I think most Nationalists would rather see partition continue in their lifetimes with a good chance that it will end in the lifetimes of their kids or grandkids”

    If the days of nationalist demographic growth came to an end, then those descendents, those on the wrong side of the border, might wonder why we settled for an unfair partition rather than a fair repartition, because by that time it could be too late.

  • Declan,

    You’re not talking about a situation of the days of nationalist growth coming to an end, you’re talking about a situation of the days of catholic growth coming to an end. Nationalists future is assured, in my own opinion, regardless of the growth of the church of Rome.

  • Simon

    Dub,
    Sorry to throw back to Friday but I’m only online again now. Much amused at your comment that “your last post is impossible to understand.” I’m not surprised, it’s a point most Nationalists I’ve heard and read and spoken to (I’m assuming you would call yourself one) tend not to grasp. But it is fundamental and decisive, I’m afraid.

    You’re right to point out that, prior to the early 20th Century, Ireland was regarded by most as a unit. The game for Irish Nationalists was lost though as soon as the idea was mooted that the North-Eastern part of the island be treated separately, on the basis of the wishes of the people there. Because the Northern Ireland solution could then not be beaten by the United Ireland solution on democratic grounds. United Irelanders were then reduced to having to argue that it was better to have (then) a million or so people with allegiance to the UK in the new Irish State than (then) 600,000 people with allegiance to the new Irish State in the UK. Hence the need to start moving the goalposts to spurious arguments about Irish Nationalists being a ‘special case’, or that British people, having ‘false consciousness’ did not count. Wrong: because everyone is entitled to be treated equally.

    On that point, it always amuses me when Nationalists talk about the ‘artificial majority’ created in 1921: the point of drawing the border (and indeed ANY border between countries) is to minimise the national minorities on either side. In fact, they would have been better advised to argue for a border in which the unionist majority was even bigger in percentage terms, like the one Mr. Waugh suggests.

    As for our utter ignorance of our own history, I’m sure there’s plenty of truth in that. But then judging by your comments, we’re not alone. Your conflation of the record of the Stormont governments (and indeed the likes of the UVF) with the democratic logic behind the border does not illuminate either subject. It is quite consistent to believe, as I do, the Northern Ireland was run rather badly for most of the 20th Century, while also believing that this happened within a more or less fair border. More fair, certainly, than the alternative border suggested by Irish Nationalists. I am truly sorry that people had to end up having their hopes of freedom from British rule dashed – genuinely, I can imagine how it must have felt and I sympathise – and I’m sorry that Northern Ireland didn’t work well for many people. But the Nationalist alternative suggested was to bring the same misfortune on a bigger number of people, which was and remains an absurdity.

    Burying one’s head in the sand and repeating that Ireland was a nation in 1918 doesn’t really meet the intellectual or moral challenge. It didn’t in 1921 and it doesn’t in 2006.

    Simon

  • declan

    If you look at nationalist electoral support over time or across constituencies, the variation is explained by variation in the % of voters that are catholic (by community background). Therefore the % of the population that is catholic (by community) is the best predictor for the future nationalist community. The % catholic in the youngest age groups fell at the last census, to below 50%. If this continues below 50% in the next two censuses, and the electoral records back this up, then nationalists at that point could well figure that the days of growth have come to an end, and many at that stage could recon that a fair repartition is the only realistic solution.

  • Declan,

    You keep repeating that point about “fair repartition”. I don’t believe that in the event of your demographic predictions being borne out, we will see a nationalist majority accepting any form of partition in Ireland. Not to mention Unionism accepting a repartition, especially if it looks like they are guarunteed a majority within the present north-eastern state.

    You can continue with your argumentum ad nauseum but I don’t think it’s getting you anywhere, and this particular thread would probably be shorter to the tune of about 100 posts if you hadn’t started it in the first place.

    Now if you answer me with the same “fair repartition” scenario based on the 2021 census, without any new information or point, I will have to assume you are some form of badly programmed chatterbot locked in an infinite loop…

  • Doctor Who

    Dread

    As usual your point of view of history has been supplied by the gospel acccording to P. O´Neill.

    Perhaps instead of accusing Ulster Unionists of utter ignorance, try something differnt and try to understand them.

    I recommend you read The Ulster Plantation by Phillip S. Robinson and Cromwell In Ireland by James Wheeler.

    Try to see past your own little narrow view of the history of this Island.

  • declan

    “I don’t believe that in the event of your demographic predictions being borne out, we will see a nationalist majority accepting any form of partition in Ireland.”

    Don’t forget that in this scenario the alternative to a fair repartition is the current partition. So that would amount to preferring the current partition relative to the fair repartition. In these circumstances, a numerical majority of nationalists may or may not come to support a fair repartition, but I believe that many would begin to see its merits. Those merits being that a fair repartition is better than the present unfair repartition because under the former fewer people are located on the wrong side of the border than under the latter.

  • william

    The Nationalist/Catholic community is much better placed today than ever it was.
    Its base is larger than ever before, its demographic ‘centre of gravity’ 0 to 24 years is bigger than the Unionist/ Protestant population -who are demographically disadvantaged with around 25% of its members over the age of 60/65 years (70% of the total in these age bands)
    Gone is the old two thirds to one third split – in the 2001 census. The catholic population is now about 44/ 45%.
    In future years (despite a falling birth rate all round) – the catholic populatons 0 -24 base will be bigger than ever before – if the birth rate does change again (slightly), its more likely to favour the catholic side of the equation.
    Either way, both communities are heading for even greater convergence – which may be the catalyst for power sharing and agreement and not repartition, which would only repeat the mistakes of the past!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Doctor Who: “As usual your point of view of history has been supplied by the gospel acccording to P. O´Neill. ”

    Ah, yes — unable to rebut, you settle for the retort… a trifle passive-aggressive as well, what with you coming to heel behind the Rt. Rev. Paisley whilst accusing me of towing the IRA line… Physician, heal thyself.

    Doctor Who: “I recommend you read The Ulster Plantation by Phillip S. Robinson and Cromwell In Ireland by James Wheeler.

    Try to see past your own little narrow view of the history of this Island.”

    Oh, so you read a book… makes you the expert, neh?

    The Plantation was an attempt to secure Ulster by dispacing the native population and moving Protestants onto the escheated lands. The land was confiscated, the English and Scots settled on lands that had been farmed by Irish Catholics. *ALL* the land was confiscated, with one quarter being returned to the Irish Catholics. Sale of land settled on Protestants back to Catholics was forbidden. Irish Catholics were further hemmed in by a series of laws meant to control them both politically and econoomically. Lands formerly held by the Catholic Church was confiscated and tranferred to Protestant sects. This is established history…

    … but, oh yeah — you read a book.

  • declan

    William

    “he Nationalist/Catholic community is much better placed today than ever it was.
    Its base is larger than ever before, its demographic ‘centre of gravity’ 0 to 24 years is bigger than the Unionist/ Protestant population -who are demographically disadvantaged with around 25% of its members over the age of 60/65 years (70% of the total in these age bands)
    Gone is the old two thirds to one third split – in the 2001 census. The catholic population is now about 44/ 45%.
    In future years (despite a falling birth rate all round) – the catholic populatons 0 -24 base will be bigger than ever before – if the birth rate does change again (slightly), its more likely to favour the catholic side of the equation.
    Either way, both communities are heading for even greater convergence – which may be the catalyst for power sharing and agreement and not repartition, which would only repeat the mistakes of the past!”

    I will give a rebuttal to these points a bit later, a lot of it lacks certain facts, but am busy right now.

  • dub

    SIMON,

    “You’re right to point out that, prior to the early 20th Century, Ireland was regarded by most as a unit. The game for Irish Nationalists was lost though as soon as the idea was mooted that the North-Eastern part of the island be treated separately, on the basis of the wishes of the people there. Because the Northern Ireland solution could then not be beaten by the United Ireland solution on democratic grounds.”

    Thanks for engaging with my arguments, Simon. Still dont understand you though. How could the UI solutiono NOT beat the NI solution on democratic grounds?? As you correctly say the country was always regarded and governed (both in and outside uk and when in the uk in an unique way, contrary to rest of UK) up to that point as a unit, and the overwhelming majority of people in the island wanted home rule for all ireland, as did repeated parliamentary majorities in the imperial parliament. the majority of people in ULSTER too wanted Home Rule for all Ireland. A minoirty of the Irish population and a minority of the Ulster population did indeed become an artificial majority in the partitioned and truncated Ulster that NI was to be. And this artificial majority then used the majority rule argument to trump the 33 percent nationalist minority in NI when the 80 percent home rule Majority in the previous Kingdom of Ireland was not allowed to trump a 20 percent unionist minority according to unionists. the whole point about partition is that it was apparently intolerable that a unionist minority should be trumped in the national unit which had been recognised as such since time immemorial but an artifically created and much bigger (PERCENTAGE wise)irish nationalist minority COULD and SHOULD be trumped in a totally artifical and brand new gerrymandered statelet. By the way to get around this unonists sometimes say that because ireland was in the uk then the unit for self d should have been area comprised of britain and ireland. well the imperial parliament which formally represented that area at the time voted consistently for all ireland home rule. unioniste were and are content to urge rights of self d on an area carved out of ireland (or carved out of Britain and Ireland if you are a consistent unionist) which has no historical or cultural justification (as was not even all of ulster) and deny then and now self d to both ireland as a whole and britain and ireland (now ni) as a whole (which is what a unionist logically should regard as unit of self d). people are indeed equal, simon, but unionists were treated and are treated as a special case not amenable to noraml rules of democracy. presumably simon in the event of a majority in the future voting for a ui in ni you would accept this, or would unionists again be entitled to special treatment and seek to truncated truncated ulster??

    GENUINELY confused DUB

  • declan

    William

    “The Nationalist/Catholic community is much better placed today than ever it was.
    Its base is larger than ever before, its demographic ‘centre of gravity’ 0 to 24 years is bigger than the Unionist/ Protestant population -who are demographically disadvantaged with around 25% of its members over the age of 60/65 years (70% of the total in these age bands)
    Gone is the old two thirds to one third split – in the 2001 census. The catholic population is now about 44/ 45%.
    In future years (despite a falling birth rate all round) – the catholic populatons 0 -24 base will be bigger than ever before – if the birth rate does change again (slightly), its more likely to favour the catholic side of the equation.
    Either way, both communities are heading for even greater convergence – which may be the catalyst for power sharing and agreement and not repartition, which would only repeat the mistakes of the past! ”

    But unfortunately the % catholic community at the youngest age groups is now falling and the number of old people is small relative to the number of young people. Only 14000 people die per year while 40000 enter the country half ot them (as someone pointed out above) through in-migration (38% catholic background in 2001 census as someone pointed out above) and the other half by birth (48% catholic background in 2001 census) while fewer people are now emigrating. Also you have bumped the catholic community share to 45% in the census it was 43.7%. So the days of nationalist demographic growth could be coming to an end, in which case, and only in which case, might a FAIR repartition seem an option to consider for nationalists. Lets hope that the demographic growth continues and I know you can’t extrapolate too far into the future but there is a possibility that by 2021 it will not look good.

  • abucs

    I get the feeling this thread might still be going in 2021.

  • declan

    dub

    “in the event of a majority in the future voting for a ui in ni you would accept this, or would unionists again be entitled to special treatment and seek to truncated truncated ulster??”

    Dub unfortunately the shoe could well be on the other foot. Come 2021 and if nationalists are still declining as a proportion of the youngest age cohorts then a fair repartition would reduce the number of people on the wrong side of the border. Many nationalists would favour that if the alternative is the present unfair partition.

  • Doctor Who

    Dread

    I think for your own sake you need to broaden your mind.

    And for the record your own posts come across as very agressive.

    As well as the books I can also recommend an anger councillor or Physcologist

  • declan

    dub?

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