A “Big Conversation” for Unionists

In its presentation to the British Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body, the DUP delegation has outlined plans for detailed consultation with the Unionist community about the restoration of devolution.

  • Mick Fealty

    Stephen,

    “Stable devolution would clearly be a failure for nationalism”.

    Though that seems to be what pakman expects. But I’m not sure it will proved to be true. lib is more realistic with his argument.

    The consent principle is part of the DUP’s embryonic ‘Comprehensive Agreement’, and so far as I understand it, that’s what all other parties had signed up to with the Belfast Agreement.

    Your scenario of ‘rusting out the Union’, requires wilful damage to be done (if only of the passive aggressive type), but I don’t think that is part of Sinn Fein’s scenario planning.

    Within the emergent democracy (albeit one wearing caliper) there will be inescapable pressures from constituents to deliver real benefits locally. Nationalism can only win the longer argument if can convince the wider populace of the importance of cross border relationships.

    The converse, of course, is also the case for unionism. In the end neither will achieve their objectives by sullen back seat driving!

    To that extent, both Sinn Fein and the DUP are in the precisely the same position. No amount of spin is going to change that reality.

  • Stephen Copeland

    loyalist,

    In answer to your questions:

    … I assume that in your UI utopia, Unionists will simply have to shut up and accept their lot?

    Accept ‘their lot’ – yes, as democrats I hope they would. I hope that they would actually try to make the best of ‘their lot’ by building a country (or even a part of it) that is peaceful, prosperous, and pleasant to live in.

    “Shut up” … no, not at all. I hope they will join in the civic, economic and political life of the country, or even justyy the NE part of it, with gusto!

    How would you deal with my community in the Republic that you yearn for?

    As equals.

    How would a milion people who dont want to be a part of a United Ireland be accomodated?”

    There are not one million unionists. There are around 350,000, and many of these are not as vehement as you think. However, for aa UI to happen, there would already be more than that number of nationalists in NI, so it would be a simple issue for unionists of respecting democracy.

    I imagine, however, that as part of the post-border poll horse-trading we would come to all sorts of arrangements to placate unionists. The southern constitution is already a pretty liberal one, so no aspect of unionist culture is in any danger whatsoever. If the 7 super-councils remain in existence (and why wouldn’t they?) then most unionists would still live in areas run, for day-to-day purposes by unionists. There is also no reason not to keep the PSNI in existence, etc. After all, many countries have regionalised police forces (the UK, for example!).

    In general, I think unionists fear a UI too much. Little would change in real terms, while they might find that their actual power would increase, especially if they joined up with Fine Gael in coalition. On the other hand, they would gain massively in economic terms, and the final resolution of the ‘Irish question’ would lead to a heavy weight being lifted from their shoulders. Relations between Ireland and the UK, though already good, could only get better.

  • declan

    Loyalist

    “I personally believe a “United” Ireland is simply not possible given that a million people living on this island simply dont want one. How would the Republic re-act if a seperatist movement springs up, a la ETA within their borders? ”

    I think they would not go for a United Ireland unless a nationalist majority emerged and that nationalist majority basically needs a catholic majority. The % catholic of the youngest age group actually FELL in the last census and the % catholic of the in-migrants was well, well below 50%. If this continues then that majority isn’t going to emerge and many nationalists, north and south, may come by the year 2021 to see a fair repartition as the most realistic solution, permitting unionists the are in which they are concentrated and permitting the areas in which nationalists are concentrated to join the republic.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Declan: why must nearly every long-running topic be hijacked so you can go on about “fair repartition?”

    You know where this is going — no one wants it, no one needs it, its not like to happen, based on reasons repeated previously, yet, like a mushroom, here you are, ready to regale the various and sundry, like some fairway huckster, of the glorious attributes of this notion.

    You are unable to answer any real questions, devolving to simple repetition of the same paragraph, occasionally chivvying off questions you can’t or don’t wish to answer with an “I believe” or “I feel.”

    Solvng this problem is not going to be as simple as sitting down with census data, some demographic mapping software, bowl of pop-corn and a couple of magic-markers to redraw the border.

    Admire your tenacity, declan… but the idea is a non-starter.

  • J Kelly

    Sinn Fein will relish the opportunity to have power make change and influence across the entire island. No doubt power brings with the responsibility to deliver and SF will be in a position to develop on the all ireland agenda by pushing the barriers and constraints of the agreement to its limits. Its easier attacking than defending and unionist will find it very difficult to stand in the way of obviously benificial all ireland developments. So if people want to call it stable partition thats ok but republicans will ensure that partition and the union is anything but stable.

  • Mick Fealty

    Looks like we’ve been well and truly fillibustered off the topic again.

  • lib2016

    Just to vary the debate slightly does anyone else feel that we may be moving towards a ‘post-christian’ Northern Ireland?

    Footnote – sometime ago the then leader of the Irish Labour Party suggested rather too optimistically that the South had reached that happy state. (Puts head down and kisses ass goodbye)

  • kensei

    “A typically gracious comment from a nationalist poster. What you are saying therfore is that nationalism has no interest at all in establishing stable devolution but simply wants to shunt the Unionist community into a United Ireland.”

    I am interested in establishing stable devolution, not least because I have no desire to pay water charges. The limited power assembly we will have can exist forever, for all I care.
    The National question is another issue.

    “By the tone of your comments, I assume that in your UI utopia, Unionists will simply have to shut up and accept their lot? How would you deal with my community in the Republic that you yearn for? How would a milion people who dont want to be a part of a United Ireland be accomodated? ”

    If 50%+1 came about then I would expect their to be negotations with the leaders of Unionism to help that community adjust, and make Ireland more like their state. So my question is simply: what would you like done? Can’t promise evrything, but will try.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Kensei,

    So my question is simply: what would you like done? Can’t promise evrything, but will try.

    Faced with genuine attempts to address their fears and aspirations, the unionists remain taciturn. What can be done?

    If they refuse to engage, even anonymously in an inconsequential forum like this, how can they complain that ‘nationalism’ fails to take their interests into account? Dialogue doesn’t hurt,
    unionist fellow-citizens, so why do you avoid it? Practice on us, the ordinary common people of ‘the other tradition’, and when the time comes (as it surely will) you will be better rehearsed for the horse-trading.

  • TAFKABO

    Stephen.

    I have to be honest, I can understand only too well why unionists would avoid a forum like this.
    being constantly beaten around the head with the sins of your forefathers is not my idea of dialogue.
    And yes, it does hurt to be told over and over agin that you are a bigot, simply because of your background.

    I’m asking myself why I have spent so much time here and in other fora talking to nationalists and republicans, all I get is hate, no matter what I say or do.

  • slug

    TAF

    I agree.

  • slug

    TAF

    Though I have learnt on this forum a lot about the basic instincts driving nationalist attitudes, and that has been helpful in thinking about how best for unionists to move forward.

  • Stephen Copeland

    TAFKABO,

    … all I get is hate, no matter what I say or do.

    Not from me. And I have read many of your posts and their responses, and I think you are perceiving more hate than there actually is.

    I think if the discussion focussed more on the future than the past, the ‘sins of our fathers’ would be less relevant.

    I don’t think that unionists avoid this forum (ie Slugger) – on the contrary, they dominate some of the threads – but they avoid any discussions about the kind of shared future we could have. It is as if they don’t want to face that hurdle, despite its inevitability. Now as a non-unionist you’d think I would relish their unpreparedness when the day of decision comes, but I don’t. I want the new Ireland, in whatever format it takes, to reflect and include, as Peter Robinson puts it, the planter as well as the gael. As one of planter stock, I know we have a lot to offer, and a lot to bring to the table. It frustrates me that so many other of the same stock are hiding their heads in the sand, apparently believing that the day will not come. They are practicing De Gaulle’s empty chair tactic, and it didn’t do him much good either!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Stephen Copeland: “Faced with genuine attempts to address their fears and aspirations, the unionists remain taciturn. What can be done?”

    Be fair… the gauntlet was laid down but two hours ago… barely enough time to see a movie, let alone figure out the whole community’s fears, dreams and aspirations. Patience is a virtue.

    Stephen Copeland: “If they refuse to engage, even anonymously in an inconsequential forum like this, how can they complain that ‘nationalism’ fails to take their interests into account? ”

    Partly, their cultural baggage — their “mythology,” if you will, prevents them. The Ulster Scots have envisioned themselves as a community on the frontier, civilization under siege. In the Ulster variation of this myth, Roman Catholics, who make up the majority of the Nationalist community, were the “besieging savages” of this myth. Throw in the “Old Light” religious traditions that exacerbated the initial conflicts, a strain of which meanders through their community even to the present day, and you have a potent barrier to communication. Arguably, we have a conflict that is political with some religious overtones on one side with a religious conflict with some political overtones on the other — baggage from a time when religion was political and vice-versa. Admittedly, some (but not all) of the overt religiousity has worn away, but the reflexive antipathy, seen every time there has been an effort to normalize the status of Catholics in Ireland under British rule, still remains, albeit on a much reduced level.

    The catch is that unification with Ireland would be a far bitterer pill to swallow. Apprehension in this direction is evidenced by the ambivalence of Unionist politicians toward Loyalist disarmament. While a token decomissioning of arms was made by the LVF, the major groups have made only limited noise regarding disarmament, while little in the way of political pressure has been brought to bear. Oh the occasionally noise is made, couched in terms of “may” and “perhaps,” but little in the way of demonstrable effort, let alone progress, has been made.

  • slug

    “the gauntlet was laid down but two hours ago…”

    What gauntlet?

  • Stephen Copeland

    Dread Cthulhu,

    Be fair… the gauntlet was laid down but two hours ago …

    The same thing has happened many times over the last few years of Slugger. I have been here since the start (more or less) and I have tried on more than one occasion to get unionists to talk openly about what they would like to see in a UI, even anonymously. They always go silent!

    Now I’m not saying that they have to bow the knee to the pope or anything like that, I’m just asking that in the event of a 50%+1 vote at some stage in the next generation (a reasonable possibility), what kind of a settlement would they like to see? It would help us all to understand the hopes and fears of the others, and I think we are all fairly reasonable – we could hammer out solutions to issues that might seem intractable, but only if we know what these issues are.

  • TAFKABO

    Not from me. And I have read many of your posts and their responses, and I think you are perceiving more hate than there actually is.

    I didn’t make to make a direct accusation at you Stephen, I was just explaining what I percieve in this and other fora.
    and belive me, when one is on the recieving end of hate, there’s no mistaking it.

    I think if the discussion focussed more on the future than the past, the ‘sins of our fathers’ would be less relevant.

    The problem comes from people saying they are talking about the future, but allowing the past to inform their views.
    If I can try and be evenhanded, it comes in the form of Unionists demanding republicans prve their democratic credentials,and republicans telling me that I ought to look forward to a united ireland because at least then I can be assured that people like me will be in a minority on not in a position to run things anymore..

    I don’t think that unionists avoid this forum (ie Slugger) – on the contrary, they dominate some of the threads – but they avoid any discussions about the kind of shared future we could have.

    the problem is that nationalist don’t quite seem to grasp what unionism>/i> actually means.
    The day Uniist start discussing the sort of shared future you want to discuss is the day they might as well vote for a united Ireland.

    It is as if they don’t want to face that hurdle, despite its inevitability. See my above comments.

    Now as a non-unionist you’d think I would relish their unpreparedness when the day of decision comes, but I don’t. I want the new Ireland, in whatever format it takes, to reflect and include, as Peter Robinson puts it, the planter as well as the gael. As one of planter stock, I know we have a lot to offer, and a lot to bring to the table.

    To be honest, I think we should try and get a united Northern Ireland and take it from there.

    It frustrates me that so many other of the same stock are hiding their heads in the sand, apparently believing that the day will not come.

    As I’ve tried to explain, to buy into your vision would mean it becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    DC: “the gauntlet was laid down but two hours ago…”

    slug: “What gauntlet? ”

    I was marking the time between kensei’s question of “So my question is simply: what would you like done? Can’t promise evrything, but will try” to Stephen Copeland’s chiding regarding the silence of the “room.”

    Kensei posted at 5:46 and Stephen responded at 7:43. Of course, 35 minutes had past by the time I’d responded, so its already off.

  • Stephen Copeland

    TAFKABO,

    … to buy into your vision would mean it becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.

    That seems to be a common belief amongst unionists – that to even enter into the discussion is a concession of ‘defeat’.

    My point of view is that there is nothing conceded by discussion – only a border poll will actually change anything. We can discuss our ideal solution ad nauseam, and then you go and vote unionist same as before! However, if 50%+1 vote nationalist, then you are likely to be caught by surprise, and will have to play catch-up in a hurry.

    To play devil’s advocate for a moment: could it be that some unionists avoid the discussion because they know their prejudices would be exposed and challenged?

  • slug

    Dread

    It’s a bit like asking a vegetarian to go into great detail on their ideal meat dish.

  • TAFKABO

    To play devil’s advocate for a moment: could it be that some unionists avoid the discussion because they know their prejudices would be exposed and challenged?

    I’d imagine that this is almost certainly the case for some, but not the majority.
    You are in effect asking us to be our own persuaders for a united Ireland.
    And I don’t buy the caught on the hop argument.
    A 51% vote for reunification doesn’t mean reunification the next day.
    It’s at that precise point that Unionists would need to start talking about the kind of united Ireland they want to see, along with everyone else.
    I’m more than confident that in such an unlikely scenario, the unionist voting bloc would be able to negotiate a deal we could live with.
    Close on a million votes makes Unionists a group that the major parties would dismiss at their peril.

    Then we could really start talking about Kingmakers.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Slug: “It’s a bit like asking a vegetarian to go into great detail on their ideal meat dish. ”

    Don’t look at me — that wasn’t *MY* question…

    However, to ask a loaded question, since we’re what *SHOULD* happen, should the population of Ulster vote for unification with Ireland in a free and fair plebiscite? Since this solely for the sake of discussion, let us assume 51% to 49%, 80% turnout and no chicanery whatsoever.

    What *SHOULD* happen next?

  • slug

    Dread – well a win is a win.

  • TAFKABO

    Another point.

    We’re told on the one hand that a united Ireland is going to be this fenian utopia, where all the children of the nation will be cherished equally, and that in no way will it be like the living hell that is Northern Ireland, where those nasty Unionists held power.
    But we’re also told that we need to start negotiating and trying to cut a deal now, because if we leave it too late, we’ll be screwed.
    Why would we be screwed if it’s going to be this sectarian free zone where all children of the nation are equally cherished?
    Surely if it’s going to be the great place Y’all keep telling us it’s going to be, then we don’t even need to negotiate anything, all we would ever want shall be ours as an inalienable right, right?

    Over to you.

  • declan

    Tafkabo and Slug

    The demographics do not suggest there will be a referendum in the foreseeable future on a United Ireland. Brian Feeney said on the radio the other day that there is simply no sign of a majority for a United Ireland emerging as far as the eye can see. I have outlined some of the reasons for this. However unionists would still have to live with and work with a big minority of nationalists who are unhappy to stay in the UK. How would you guys feel about a fair repartition?

  • Stephen Copeland

    try this for size – would the island of Ireland becoming a Dominion (Queen as head of state, Govenor General in Phoenix Park) be a price worth paying for the return of your fourth green field?

  • Declan

    I’ve been for blowing the bridges across the Foyle for some time now …

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Slug: “Dread – well a win is a win. ”

    Neither here not there — the vote, ideally, isn’t going to be the problem, its the aftermatch / implementation / knee-jerk responses.

    TAFKABO: “But we’re also told that we need to start negotiating and trying to cut a deal now, because if we leave it too late, we’ll be screwed. ”

    I took Stephen’s comment to be more in the vein of a rhetorical question — as he says here, in his comment of 8:33pm: “Now I’m not saying that they have to bow the knee to the pope or anything like that, I’m just asking that in the event of a 50%+1 vote at some stage in the next generation (a reasonable possibility), what kind of a settlement would they like to see?”

    Last I checked, no one here, even the politicos and opinion makers on this board, have the power to hold anyone to their answer or seal any approach in stone, so how could *anyone* be screwed. It was brought up here in the spirit imagining the process — what would you like to see? Alternately, if you want something a little darker, would it not be better to have a contingency plan, rather than have to muddle through, making things up as the process unwinds?

    That said, your statement does cut to the underlying fear in the Unionist community — that in a United Ireland, the shoe would be firmly on the other foot and they would find themselves treated like, well, Roman Catholics were 40, 80 or 150 years ago.

  • TAFKABO

    Declan.

    I see repartition as a failure for all of us.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    We should have made book on when that ferret was going launch himself out of the woodpile…

  • kensei

    “The day Uniist start discussing the sort of shared future you want to discuss is the day they might as well vote for a united Ireland.”

    Look, I don’t expect most Unionists to be convinced. but I do believe that a United is going to ahppen within two generations. I would like that not to be a scary prospect for Unionism or at least a lkess scary one. We keep getting told we need to convince, but we understand fuck all about you. So I appreciate you may not ant to have the discussion, but if so then please stop beating us on the “You need to convince us” front.

    We can’t do everything, see below, but there are undoubtly practical proposals we could support. And as for telling you’ll get a better deal form a position of strength, that’s just a fact. However nice we are in the event is no subsitute for real bargaining power in getting what you want.

    “try this for size – would the island of Ireland becoming a Dominion (Queen as head of state, Govenor General in Phoenix Park) be a price worth paying for the return of your fourth green field?”

    I think that is too far. I am a Republican, and the idea of the Queen as Head of State I could not handle. Rejoining the Commonwealth, I’d absolutely hate, but I could live with it.

    Though if it was offered tomorrow, would certainly think abouti it.

  • kensei

    “Though if it was offered tomorrow, would certainly think abouti it”

    You would really think about having HM on your Euro coinage?

  • kensei

    “You would really think about having HM on your Euro coinage?”

    If the price of a Unted Ireland was a largely symbollic role of the Queen as Head of State, it is certainly worth considering. Let me be clear though, it would be an absolute torment, as my feelings on monarchy have been made abundently clear already on this site.

    The only thing is I couldn’t really see it lasting any length of time. It would annoy too many people. Sustainable solutions is what we need.

  • Stephen Copeland

    TAFKABO,

    But we’re also told that we need to start negotiating and trying to cut a deal now, because if we leave it too late, we’ll be screwed.
    Why would we be screwed if it’s going to be this sectarian free zone where all children of the nation are equally cherished?

    I think you misunderstand my point. Nobody will be ‘screwed’ in a UI, just as nobody is currently screwed in the south. But I have to say that as a non-unionist there are some things that I cannot understand within unionism, and I do not know whether they are ‘deal-breakers’ or simply tactical positions. An honest discussion (by both sides) about what they really want, what they really don’t want, and what kind of common ground we can find, would make the process of horse-trading post border poll much smoother and less fraught.

    For example, if we knew that the ‘nationalist’ side did not aspire to push the Irish language on unionists, and that the ‘unionist’ side really does value Ulster-Scots, we could already come up with a workable language policy. If we already knew that a range of powers would be ‘devolved’ to local authorities post-UI, and that the super-councils would stay in existence, unionists would know the areas that they would have total control of. If we knew that there would be agreement regarding the split of Supreme Court judges, state support for particular sports, for regional and economic development, a Bill of Rights, a new flag and anthem, etc, etc, etc, then we could cut to the chase, whatever that chase really is.

    Nobody would be seeking to screw unionists, but in the absence of any real understanding of what they really want (apart from to remain in the UK, which would, post border poll, be the one thing they cannot have!), things could be proposed, or assumed, that might not suit unionists. If I, as a unionist-educated Protestant, cannot really understand what most unionists want, then how can we expect people with little contact with unionism to understand?

    Pakman,

    … would the island of Ireland becoming a Dominion (Queen as head of state, Govenor General in Phoenix Park) be a price worth paying for the return of your fourth green field?

    We are not talking about ‘returning’ a field. We’re talking about an agreed re-unification following a border poll in which more than 50% voted for a UI. In that scenario you don’t have a veto, and so your ‘price’ is meaningless. If you are actually saying that, in a UI, you would prefer the British monarch to be the Head of State, then that would be considered. I strongly suspect that it would be rejected by the majority of the people for many many historical reasons, but the new constitution might give her (him?) a special role – that would be something that would have to be discussed.

    Does ‘dominion status’ still exist? If one looks at Canada, while QE2 is still head of state, the country has full political independence. Does it still think of itself as a ‘dominion’? I think not.

  • Stephen Copeland

    The Dominion of Canada certainly still exists although the contemporary term for a Commonwealth country where the Queen is soverign is a “Realm”.

    It’s not my price, it would be your offer – one which at least one republican seems ready to make.

  • kensei

    I wouldn’t go quite that far. It is not something that would be bandied about lightly, and it would probably have to be a deal breaker. I would also doubt that the Southern electorate could swallow it, and how would you stop a constitutional amendment in 15 years time? Re-entering the Commonwealth is probably more realistic.

    But if it meant a United Ireland by 2010, it would be certainly worth debating. There is little point in principle beyond reason.

  • Mick Fealty

    Stephen,

    You were one of the first commenters on Slugger. As uch it is always good to see you here – as an old friend so to speak.

    But this is not exactly true:

    “They [unionists] always go silent!” Or at least it hasn’t always been true.

    It seems to me that if you were arguing that there is a tendency not to listen to unionists, you would be closer to the mark. That tendency is much more pronounced now than it was three years ago.

    For instance, the very first Unionist interview in prep for A Long Peace? was with David Brewster. All I can find of it is this snippet. But if you look at the quality of the responses, it is very different from the routine slap downs we get today.

    What’s changed? Has nationalism become less curious and more dogmatic? Has Slugger changed, it’s undoubted rise in popularity a drag on open dialogue? Or is it the result of not have the democratic means of realising legitimate aspiration – unionist as well nationalist.

    I’m not sure it’s any one of the above. I would say though that the formula I think worked on early Slugger – perhaps borne out of lack of familiarity as anything else, is a combination of bluntness and civility that seems in shorter supply these days.

  • kensei

    “It seems to me that if you were arguing that there is a tendency not to listen to unionists, you would be closer to the mark. That tendency is much more pronounced now than it was three years ago.”

    I think you are being unfair. I am both curious and trying to listen, however badly, but I don’t seem to be getting a great deal of response.

    And you are also airbrushing the fact that one Unionist might berate you because you called them Irish, another might berate you because you said they are /not/ Irish, you get told you need to convince people and you get told it’s patronising to attempt to change their mind. Diversity of opinion is good, but hard to debate with.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Will the last person out of the UUP / Alliance Party Lite / Northern Ireland Wine & Cheese Enthusiasts please turn out the lights!”

    Better hope that it’s not you then, Peter. As the big muriel says on the wall in the Bogside, is it not “Time to go” for you? Surely there can’t be any fun left in watching the John White led Grey panthers crumble any more?

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Accept ‘their lot’ – yes, as democrats I hope they would. I hope that they would actually try to make the best of ‘their lot’ by building a country (or even a part of it) that is peaceful, prosperous, and pleasant to live in. ”

    Aah, but this is displaying double standards Stephen. We must accept the result of one election in Northern Ireland, and work as reborn Irish nationalists, but you (correctly) see present day nationalism as having as its raison d’etere the undermining of the status quo, and the right to ignore every single election in Northern Ireland until they get a result that suits them. Or is it Ok for them not to be democrats?

  • kensei

    “We must accept the result of one election in Northern Ireland, and work as reborn Irish nationalists, but you (correctly) see present day nationalism as having as its raison d’etere the undermining of the status quo, and the right to ignore every single election in Northern Ireland until they get a result that suits them. Or is it Ok for them not to be democrats?”

    ?
    The Conservatibe Party may be working towards replacing the current government but at the same time they must respect the current status quo until the next election.

    So, yes, Nationalism is working to undermine the status quo, but accepts the current position. We are asking for Unionism to reciprocate by accepting the current results while working for whatever outcome they desire.

    I honestly don’t understand your point.

  • Stephen Copeland

    darth rumsfeld,

    We must accept the result of one election in Northern Ireland, and work as reborn Irish nationalists …

    Yes and no. The ‘one election’ (ie the border poll) is set down in Irish and UK legislation, and as law-abiding democrats I expect that you respect that.

    However, nobody expects you to instantly become ‘Irish nationalists’. Political opinion, and even national affiliation, are a personal thing that you can chose for yourselves. The situation would be fairly analogous to that for naationalists in the north now – they are Irish, nationalist, sometimes even anti-UK, despite the current constitutional set-up. In a UI, unionists can remain unionist, and they can work towards (if they so wish) the reinsertion of Ireland into the UK. Whether the new constitution of Ireland (post-UI) will have any provision for secession is, as yet, unknown. That, amongst other things, is up for discussion … if there ever is any!

  • George

    “Whether the new constitution of Ireland (post-UI) will have any provision for secession is, as yet, unknown. That, amongst other things, is up for discussion … if there ever is any!”

    Stephen,
    even today “all” that would be needed for Ireland to rejoin the UK would be for both Houses of the Oireachtas to pass the relevant constitutional amendment (total removal of constitution and secession to UK) and for this to be passed by a majority of the Irish people.

    The constitution was put in place by “the people” and therefore can be removed in the same manner.

  • Stephen Copeland

    George,

    The constitution was put in place by “the people” and therefore can be removed in the same manner.

    Of course. However, I was referring to the possibility of a part of the country seceding from the future UI. This part would, of course, be a smaller part of the current NI. There is no provision for such an event in the current constitution, apart from a constitutional amendment in the way that you suggest – but this reserves the power to ‘grant’ the secession to the Oireachtas and the people of the whole country, not just to the seceding part. In all countries secession is a complex business, and sometimes even leads to civil war (US, Kosovo, etc)

    The other problem, of course, is whether the UK would actually be obliged (or even want) to take the little piece of NE Ireland back!

  • Stephen, do you believe in little people? I need to know, because if I have to yawn through one more post from you about the ‘inevitability’ of a [sic] united [sic] Ireland [sic], without knowing whether you’re typing under medication, well, I don’t know what I’ll do. Though, whatever I do, it probably won’t be to start living in a world of make-believe, where, happily for me, my personal political fantasies become the inescapable future, and the mysteriously just-about-to-be present.

    And although I feel pretty sure this has been said to you more than once, in this life, grow up. Just Because You Want Something To Happen Does Not Mean That It Will, Still Less That It Already Has.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Karl Rove on Apr 27, 2006 @ 01:41 PM,

    Can I refer you to Slugger O’Toole’s commenting policy.

  • May I refer you to Rove’s ineffable pomposity policy?

    1.) Pomposity? See Copelamd, Stephen.

    Then again, there is also the Latin Fudgepunching policy:

    Will give, won’t receive; see also posts of Copeland, Stephen, on “Slugger O’Toole” website.

    I’d swear if I didn’t know any better that someone is still unhappy about not being made a prefect all those long years ago.

  • Mick Fealty

    Karl,

    That’s enough. Punch clean and punch hard, but leave the personal stuff out, please!

  • declan

    Karl, as even Brian Feeney now points out, there is no sign of a majority for a United Ireland as far as the eye can see. If, come the 2021 census, it looks that there will never be a 51% catholic population (and note that the % catholic of the youngest age groups fell below 50 in the last census) then many nationalists will start to think again about a fair repartition

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Declan: “Karl, as even Brian Feeney now points out, there is no sign of a majority for a United Ireland as far as the eye can see. If, come the 2021 census, it looks that there will never be a 51% catholic population (and note that the % catholic of the youngest age groups fell below 50 in the last census) then many nationalists will start to think again about a fair repartition ”

    Again with the fair repartition, declan…

    Do you have any answers for my questions, or is it still all blue skies and toy airplanes?

  • Retsop niatrec a ot edo na.

    Eman-sih-ees-ot-enutrofsim-eht-sah-eno-revenehw-regguls-no-ffo-nrut-tseggib-eht-ylisae, gnirob, esra nwo sih pu ecnatsid gnol emos, gnirob, dednim worran, digir, suoruomuhnu ylrettu, devlovni-fles, gnirob, suoitnetnes. Esra nwo sih pu ecnatsid emos dna, ho.

    Naelc ecalp siht peek yeht sa, ereht yllufthgir era yeht dna, selur s’regguls tpecca I, dias taht lla tub. Naeporue-odni-xuaf eht ot semoc ti nehw, ma I sa gnirob sa si eno on epoh su tel.

    I say all those words because they are meaingless and certainly with no application to this thread, still less to anyone who posts therein. So help me CofI God.

    Re ‘fair partition’ etc etc – this clearly is God’s purpose for me this afternoon throughout Sluggerdom: Nationalist wish-fufillers: grow up, your political wet dreams aren’t going to happen. You ARE more likely to be meet Kate Moss on the Ryanair flight, say something she finds inexpressably amusing, and find yourself splashed all over Heat magazine a fortnight later. I promise you, it’s true.

  • kensei

    “Re ‘fair partition’ etc etc – this clearly is God’s purpose for me this afternoon throughout Sluggerdom: Nationalist wish-fufillers:”

    It’s no one’s wish. it’s Declan’s attempt to derail every thread, ever. There’s a huge one about where he argue for about 300 pages.

    Not stop talking shit, and pay more attention.