Are the DUP losing their way?

The DUP appeared at sixes and sevens again today. First the party was accused by Alliance and Sinn Fein of having a ‘negative’ attitude regarding its refusal to agree the allocation of the post of Chairman of the new ‘committee’ at Stormont, then Ian Paisley saw his bizarre demand for a two-week extension for the Assembly dismissed out of hand by Peter Hain.

All of which follows the great misunderstanding between Peter Robinson and Ian Paisley over how the party would approach such a committee in the first place.

  • joeCanuck

    Bizarre

  • Pete Baker

    Yeah.. we already heard, Chris.

    But thanks for the reminder.. the new ‘committee’, eh? heh heh

    btw.. while the DUP did turn down Martin McGuinness’ suggestion.. the DUP’s proposal was also turned down.. as were several others.

  • fair_deal

    The DUP put forward two proposals for the Chairmanship. How is that negative?

  • Loyalist

    Now, now fd, don’t distract from the two lame attempts at attacking the DUP that Mr. Donnelly has gone to such lengths to contrive.

  • Peking

    Who were the DUP nominees to this committee?

  • DK

    It might just be me, but I have noticed that Chris Donnelly and Fair Deal seem to be blogging, not exclusively, but certainly a certain amount of articles that aren’t really for discussion but rather to make a political point. This is then encouraging the assorted republican/loyalists posters to then just attack the blogger rather than discuss the issue (e.g. the recent post on the Kilrea opinion poll).

    Is it just me? Am I too sensitive a soul? Or is it the increase in tension due to the marching season….

  • Loyalist

    DK

    It’s just you.

  • DK

    Bummer. Better take a break. Now where’s me flute?

  • Loyalist

    Quite right too. I’ll dust off me bowler and meet you for a parade.

  • DK,

    I hear what you say, but they are both clearly marked ‘politicos’. Both blog here on the understanding that it is their perrogative to use the opportunity as they see fit.

    Also I’d say as a blogger it it not always possible to couch an individual blog piece in terms that people will always go for it.

    Personally I think they both add something that would be sadly missing if we always sought the long or abstracted view on every story.

  • boshank

    DK, it ain’t just you…

    yesterday was a farce. In the previous Assembly the DUP took their ministries and sat round the Committee table with Sinn Fein. Now after substantial decommissioning and assurances that the committee was not a negotiating committee they can’t. It’s pure nonsense and they are playing directly into provo hands. I noticed the sycophantic newsletter said that negotiating with Sinn Fein would be a breach of their manifesto commitments but seeing as they have broken most of them already (does the agreement look like it’s in the bin?, anyone seen the fair deal?, a couple of new North South bodies anyone?)i don’t see why this presents them with any moral dilemna, particularly as it is not a negotiating committee…

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘The DUP put forward two proposals for the Chairmanship. How is that negative?’

    The DUP point was aptly stated by Willie (Billy Wright) Mc Crea, it was about excluding SF from the role of chairperson at any costs. To adopt a position of exclusion is quite patently negative.

  • Peking

    I’ll ask again as it seems to me to be important: who were the DUP nominees to this committee?

  • unionist

    The DUP haven’t a clue what they are doing. They are very inexperienced at all this negotiation.

    As they are now the largest unionist party, they can’t simply runaway as they normally do. Standing and facing the music isn’t all that easy!

    I will give it to the DUP, they are excellent manipulators of the media and hence public opinion (the recent Ervine crisis is a prime example). They went on the rampage over it for a week or so and then once they realised they were up to their necks in hypocrisy (UPRG) they decided to shut up about it.

    I do however think the way the DUP gets it’s members to sit and write in to newspapers slagging the UUP off is particularly disgusting though. Why not let members of the public get a word in.

    The fact is the DUP can’t deliver. All the fancy leaflets and newspaper articles won’t change that.

    It is also becoming apparent that there are dissagreements appearing within the party. For example the DUP councillors in Newtonabbey (I think) had a deal with the UUP to elect a UUP mayor. Iris Robinson didn’t like it, wrote to every councillor and told them not to do it due to the UVF link. She sent them a further letter stating she would withdraw her support for those DUP council members if they went ahead. They did.

  • Loyalist

    unionist

    Oh dear, Mr. Warke, what’s wrong the News Letter letters page too rich for your tastes?

  • darth rumsfeld

    “To adopt a position of exclusion is quite patently negative.

    Posted by Pat Mc Larnon on Jun 06, 2006 @ 10:43 AM”

    Indeed. You mean like trying to exclude criminals from my house- or my bank- or my government?

    Tsk tsk, how negative of me- and there was me thinking it was simply applying standards.

  • Greenflag

    This whole process is a complete waste of time and taxpayer’s money . The Irish parties both SDLP and SF should remove themselves from this the longest running farce in political comedy since ‘democracy’ was invented !

    Instead the Irish parties in Northern Ireland need to replace their aspiration fro a 32 county UI with the more practical objective of a 30 county Irish Republic following a fair Repartition of the NI State . The idea of a power sharing Government between SF and the DUP in the next 100 years is about as likely as a manned spaceflight to Uranus financed by Montenegro by July 12th 2006 .

    A 30 county Irish Republic can be as prosperous and as democratic as a 32 county UI . The Irish Republic does not need the DUP or it’s bigoted ilk. The best way forward for Ireland is to leave the DUP to themselves ‘alone’ . Irish Ireland needs to have nothing to do with them . A new fence for the aging decrepit and boorish neighbour to the North is all that’s needed !

  • English

    Greenflag,

    I agree with the idea of re-partition. The only thing I would add is that we could ringfence the remaining two or three Loyalist run counties into a seperate self sustaining state outside of the UK – then everyone in the Republic, England, Scotland and Wales will be happy!

  • Loyalist

    English/Greenflag

    Sure why not go the whole hog lads and drive the Unionist population into the sea? Grow up.

  • Greenflag

    After 40 years of running around in ever diminishing circles it seems to me that Repartition has to be looked at seriously as a way forward. What HMG would decide to do with a predominantly Loyalist State would be their business . As for self sustaining ? With an economy that’s 67% dependent on the public sector and with a third of the working population employed by the State the achievement of self sustainability for a Unionist State could be bridge too far . After all if they haven’t even the political nous to have come to some agreement with the political representatives of almost half the population of Northern Ireland in over 40 years, then from where will they get the political or economic skills or intelligence to become another Luxembourg ?

    Stranger things have happened of course . 20 years ago the Irish Republic was teetering on the brink of financial insolvency. Today the Exchequer surplus for the first 5 months of this year is already at 1.5 billion .

    ‘then everyone in the Republic, England, Scotland and Wales will be happy! ‘

    A side benefit no doubt 🙂 But not one to be discounted .

    England for the World Cup 🙂 Their long suffering taxpayers deserve it !

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘Indeed. You mean like trying to exclude criminals from my house- or my bank- or my government?’

    I am unaware of anything to do with your house etc being ingrained within the GFA.

    ‘Tsk tsk, how negative of me- and there was me thinking it was simply applying standards.’

    It is not within the gift of the DUP to dress their bigotry and sectarianism up as standards, especially from the lips of a character like Mc Crea.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Loyalist: “Sure why not go the whole hog lads and drive the Unionist population into the sea? ”

    Its against various and sundry evironmental treaties… something about an overabundance of gall and bile.

  • fair_deal

    DK

    “It might just be me, but I have noticed that Chris Donnelly and Fair Deal seem to be blogging, not exclusively, but certainly a certain amount of articles that aren’t really for discussion but rather to make a political point.”

    Both Chris and I are categorised as politicos among the slugger blogging team. Our respective allegiances are pretty well known too. Thus a political stance in some of our threads is therefore not off limits or surprising. Although I do try to ensure the links back up what I say rather than write the story then try to find the links.

    “This is then encouraging the assorted republican/loyalists posters to then just attack the blogger rather than discuss the issue (e.g. the recent post on the Kilrea opinion poll).”

    As for being attacked, I don’t mind but thank you for the concern.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Fair_Deal: “Although I do try to ensure the links back up what I say rather than write the story then try to find the links. ”

    Any word yet on the survey in Kilrea?

  • Greenflag

    ‘Sure why not go the whole hog lads and drive the Unionist population into the sea?’

    Not on old boy . First it’s immoral and unethical. Secondly the Irish nation as a whole could not be bothered . Thirdly the Unionist population of Northern Ireland has been in NE Ireland for several centuries and are ‘native’ to the part of Ireland they live in . The fact that they are a British minority with several centuries of ‘loyalty’ to the British Crown /half Crown .

    The main reason for a fair Repartition of NI results from the same reason a 9 county Northern Ireland was rejected by Carson in 1920 . In 1920 a 9 county NI would have resulted in an almost 50/50 sectarian split and thus Carson recognised that such a State would be politically unstable given the opposing aspirations of both halves of the population .

    Today in 2006 it’s basically 1920 come again . And just as Carson had to settle for a 6 county NI with a 35% Irish nationalist population and thus a ready made permanent Unionist majority so today no Unionist party in a 6 county NI can expect any 6 county NI State to have a Unionist majority government ever again . Thus a 2 county size State is the only recourse left for the British Unionists of NI to be able to exercise their ‘democratic’ right to majority rule .

  • BooBoo

    Peking: The DUP nominees for the committee are:

    Maurice Morrow, William McCrea,
    Ian Paisley Jnr/Diane Dodds (who will be rotating the third position between them).

    unionist: A bit rich for you to complain about the DUP sending letters to the News Letter and other papers. Quite a few of them come from the CunningPlan House typing pool, although, oddly enough, they seem to be finding it very hard to get anyone, made-up or otherwise, to support the Ervine pact.

    BooBoo

  • Brian Boru

    Will Peter Robinson do what Sharon did and form a Unionist ‘Kadima’?

  • fair_deal

    DC

    I got a one line reply email last night from Kilcranny House.

    Their initial answer is the survey is confidential and asking me for personal information and why I wanted it.

    I asked what personal information they wanted and outlined why I wanted it ie I blogged a story of local councillor saying survey shows X. Some contributors on the blogs asked wanted to see the full results for themselves and asked about the methodology. I said I knew the survey had been conducted on a confidential basis and asked did that stretch to its results and methodology.

    Hopefully I will have a reply tonight. As someone has commented on what it shows it would be foolish for it to remain confidential.

    There may be a Freedom of Information option with KCF if Kilcranny say no.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Fair_Deal: “I got a one line reply email last night from Kilcranny House.

    Their initial answer is the survey is confidential and asking me for personal information and why I wanted it. ”

    I am not exactly filled with enthusiasm by this response. Let’s face it — a survey produces a suprising result, someone asks a few questions and their first response is “whywould you want to know?” Makes me suspect that something here is not exactly on the straight and level.

  • fair_deal

    DC

    “I am not exactly filled with enthusiasm by this response.”

    I was taken aback a bit too. From their website Kilcranny House seem a nice bunch, although they may have taken the confidentiality undertaking to heart. Also they may have been unaware of mention of it appearing in the media so surprised by my email.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Fair_Deal: “I was taken aback a bit too. From their website Kilcranny House seem a nice bunch, although they may have taken the confidentiality undertaking to heart. ”

    Mayhaps, but we’re not interested in the “who,” but the “how.” Political history is rife with wrong-headed surveys — “Dewey defeats Truman!” is one (early telephone poll, performed prior to the telephone being a commonplace household item). How they obtained and processed the data should not be a secret, unless there is something hinky in their process.

  • fair_deal

    “Political history is rife with wrong-headed surveys—“Dewey defeats Truman!” is one”

    Multiple times more surveys have gotten it right. If they provide it we will see. Also in N I public attitude surveys tend to show greater diversity and flexibilty of opinion than political discourse.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Fair_Deal: “Multiple times more surveys have gotten it right. If they provide it we will see. Also in N I public attitude surveys tend to show greater diversity and flexibilty of opinion than political discourse.”

    Still, it stands that if the methodology is in a “black box”, there is probably a reason.

    Even then, they could have a valid methodology and suffered sampling error and ended up generating conclusions from a bent sample. They might be right and the locals don’t mind the parades. Then again, if the sample does not reasonably reflect the population (insufficient participation by Catholics, for example), the best of intentions won’t matter. The greatest danger of surveys is that participation is voluntary and different groups may volunteer at different rates.

  • English

    ’Sure why not go the whole hog lads and drive the Unionist population into the sea?’

    Loyalist,

    I don’t know where you get such opinions from! A self-governing three county Loyalist state seperate from the rest of the UK is surely preferable to a United Ireland for you. Things are not going to remain as they are, Northern Ireland’s boundaries are going to change one way or the other in future. Re-partition is the best way of keeping Nationalists happy because they can reunite with their natural country the Republic, and loyalists can also maintain a Protestant state for a Protestant people – all be it on their own. The Exchequer can then stop it’s ridiculous policy of having to fund a foreign country out of the English taxpayers pocket! It is bad enough that we have to subsidise Wales and Scotland.

    Greenflag – thanks for the World Cup good wishes, we will need them without Roonaldo!

  • lib2016

    English,

    Drive around any hardline unionist area or better still have a chat with any NI estate agent. There is nowhere for a ‘three county Loyalist state’ to operate, nor a two county one either. There are, however lots of areas where the unionist population is dropping and where house prices are only kept high by the influx of themmuns.

    Talk of “we’ll stop them on the Bann” has been abandoned since the 80’s. Nowadays it is more a question of keeping the local estate for the local dealer.

  • Brian Boru

    “Re-partition is the best way of keeping Nationalists happy because they can reunite with their natural country the Republic, and loyalists can also maintain a Protestant state for a Protestant people – all be it on their own. The Exchequer can then stop it’s ridiculous policy of having to fund a foreign country out of the English taxpayers pocket! It is bad enough that we have to subsidise Wales and Scotland.”

    As a Nationalist I might have accepted repartition in the 20’s bit not now. The Nationalist vote is 41%. I prefer to wait for it to become a sufficiently large majority to hopefully overturn the pro-Union majority in NI so it can all be handed back to us, English.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Things are not going to remain as they are.’

    Well said English . Of course for most Unionist politicians not only should things remain as they are constitutionnally but a return to pre 1969 is considered desirable . The latest ‘demographic’ forecasts for NI to 2041 show an aging population of approx 1.8 million . Presumably half of this population or slightly less will be either Unionist or Nationalist and most probably the latter will have a small voting ‘majority’ at that point . The Irish Republic will based on present trends will probably have approx 6.5 million . Thus island wide Unionists would number approx 800,000 in a population of 8.3 million or less than 10% .
    Economically the Irish Republic’s economy continues to grow at more than twice the rate of Northern Ireland and with GDP per person in the Republic almost twice that of GDP per person in Northern Ireland the economic gap between the Irish Republic and NI will widen still further in the latter’s favour .

    Of course no one can foretell the future and all we can do is make predictions based on present indicators and likely outcomes . But one thing should remain certain and that is that no NI Assembly and certainly not the power sharing ‘monster’ envisaged by Mr Hain will be able to turn back the tide of inevitable demographic and economic change presently sweeping across the island of Ireland .

    For Unionists the only way to maintain their cherished British political identity is through adopting a fair repartition of the present NI . This would leave Unionists with most of Antrim , North Down , and North Armagh . Surely preferable to being absorbed as an alienated and distrusted minority into a 32 county Irish Republic?

    Yes Sunningdale might have worked and so might the GFA but fundamentally both solutions were/are lacking in the sense that only a State which has the broadbased support of over 90% plus of it’s population can achieve the kind of democratic legitimacy that is acceptable in today’s world . By that measure Unionism in Northern Ireland can never achieve that numerical support in a 6 county NI State .

  • Greenflag

    ‘As a Nationalist I might have accepted repartition in the 20’s but not now. ‘

    Just as in the 1920’s the vast majority of Irish Nationalists would probably accept ‘repartition’ as the lesser of two evils .

    ‘The Nationalist vote is 41%. I prefer to wait for it to become a sufficiently large majority ‘

    This may never happen and most likely the demographics in the 6 counties of present day NI are likely to remain around 50/50 for the next century .

    There is no economic or political ‘advantage’ to be gained by Northern Irish Nationalists or Republicans by ‘impoverishing ‘ themselves relatively speaking for the sake of a UI possibly in 100 years time .

    Carpe Diem .

  • Greenflag

    ‘thanks for the World Cup good wishes, we will need them without Roonaldo! ‘

    My gut instinct tells me that Rooney will play in this World Cup 🙂

  • PHIL

    I want to get England out of the UK as soon as possible. That is the most important thing from my point of view but I do have an opinion on the situation in Ireland as both my mothers parents came from there and because England’s withdrawal from the union would obviously have an effect on the other countries of the UK, most notably the rump of Ireland that is heavily subsidised by English taxes. How you govern yourselves is obviously your call, but I can’t see how Northern Ireland as an independant state could exist either in its present form or in a re-partitioned version. I doub’t that Scotland and Wales would be too keen on retaining a union with NI as they too would have to come to terms with the loss of the English cash cow. That leaves the nightmare scenario for unionists of a united Ireland. My grandfather always said that Northern Ireland would eventually implode (and he was from a unionist background that ended up on the “wrong” side of the border) but how would unionists respond to this scenario. Would a UI suddenly become more attractive or would unionists look to the EU or UN to maintain a seperate state and who would they expect to pay for it?

  • English

    PHIL,

    This process is already starting, because the Northern Ireland economy is predominantly based on the public sector, and it has a weak private sector. Peter Hain has correctly planned to cut back the public sector (thus saving England money), but more importantly because the public sector is over administered. Peter Hain has indicated that Northern Ireland is going to have to learn from their neighbours in the South how to develop a thriving private sector – preferably through an all Ireland economic approach. Any moves towards an independent three county unionist state or for that matter a UI would be met by a very large golden handshake from the Exchequer to help them on their way.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Would a UI suddenly become more attractive or would unionists look to the EU or UN to maintain a seperate state and who would they expect to pay for it? ‘

    Well certainly not themselves to go by previous historical experience .But to be fair to Unionists it could be said that in 1912 Unionism made the most ‘economic ‘ sense at least in the foreseeable future as it then was . The Empire was at it’s height and there were sound economic advantages to maintaining the Union. The idea of small Ireland ever becoming an independent economic entity must have seemed ludicrous to all but a handful of idealists at the time .

    As to the future make up of the UK ?. This is a matter for the people of England, Scotland, Wales and the British Unionists in Northern Ireland .

    The people of the Irish Republic made their choice in 1918 and 1922 . I believe that most people in the Irish Republic today remain more convinced than ever that it was the right choice even if at that time there were not a few who had strong reservations .
    I don’t see any reason why a 30 County Irish Republic could not continue to have good relations with the present UK or any political entity or entities that would succeed the present set up .

    I have no objection to closer defence /educational/cultural ties with the UK or England. Given the long history of family connections between both islands it seems to me that it makes sense for both islands to cooperate to their mutual advantage . The days are gone when Ireland was an off shore island that could be milked for it’s agricultural produce , soldiery and and cheap emigrant labour . There is free movement of people across both islands and there is a very large number of people who share a British Irish heritage a number probably several times greater than the Unionists of NI .

  • Greenflag

    ‘Any moves towards an independent three county unionist state or for that matter a UI would be met by a very large golden handshake from the Exchequer to help them on their way. ‘

    I don’t think so English . They would get what the Irish Free State got in 1920 . Zero . And that would be that . Quite right too IMO . It would induce at the very least a sense of economic and political responsibility among Unionist politicians which sense has been noticeable by it’s absence since the NI State was founded in 1920 .

    As long as HMG pays the pipers they’ll continue to play the same outdated tune .

  • Brian Boru

    “For Unionists the only way to maintain their cherished British political identity is through adopting a fair repartition of the present NI . This would leave Unionists with most of Antrim , North Down , and North Armagh . Surely preferable to being absorbed as an alienated and distrusted minority into a 32 county Irish Republic?”

    I don’t think any repartition can be truly fair. It’s all or nothing. There has been an historic injustice that led to any part of Ireland being in the UK. Also in the absence of agreemenr to repartition from the Republican movement serious trouble could be expected that could imperil the security of the UK. It was hard enough reaching the GFA without tearing it up.

    Redrawing the border for me would be another surrender to the Unionists. What makes them so special that they have to constantly have borders redrawn for them, unlike the Nationalist majorities in Fermanagh and Tyrone in 1920? A UI achieved by consent would finally end any potential for constitutional quarrels between Ireland and the UK. Also consider that the partition of Ireland would not have been feasible without centuries of ethnic-cleansing and massacre by Cromwell that changed the demographics of that area so radically, repartition would seem all the more unjust and unacceptable to me.

    I do not want a Gibraltar on this island, with a 99% Unionist majority. The island is of no strategic consequence to Britain and the British people do not want any part of it. British rule on this island is a reminder of the darkest aspects of the British empire, the invasion of a small defenceless island, and the massacre and starvation of its people. It has to come to a complete end by consent at some stage in the future, and this time the govts must stand up to the would-be latter-day Rhodesians who try to use violence to resist democracy.

  • PHIL

    English,

    I would be in favour (grudgingly) of a pay off of sorts to get out of the union if it was a one off and then we all go our seperate ways.

    Greenflag,

    I certainly wouldn’t want to build a wall around England! I am all for close ties with our neighbours (and I include our neighbours on the continent) I just don’t want my nationality submereged in a multi-national state that doesn’t respect my right to call myself English. The cultural ties between the peoples of these islands are obviously there and will continue to be there long after the demise of the UK.

    Brian Boru,

    Totally agree, re-partition would just create more problems than it solved. I don’t think that the Republic of Ireland is perfect and there will probably have to be some compromises to accomodate those of a unionist persuasion to join it, but I think that the RoI in 2006 is a different place to the Free State of 1921 and I can’t understand why unionists wouldn’t be better off as a large minority in the Republic rather than the tiny, mostly ignored minority that they are in the UK today.

  • Greenflag

    ‘It’s all or nothing.’
    Why must it be all ? What’s the point in having 800,000 or 900,000 alienated British Unionists in a 32 county Republic? That makes even less sense than having 750,000 alienated Irish people in the 6 county NI State . And just look at the political mess that idiocy delivered 1920 to the present.

    ‘There has been an historic injustice that led to any part of Ireland being in the UK.’

    True enough but then the entire world is full of historic injustices and to put them all right would require the re transplantation of hundreds of millions of people . This is not going to happen.

    ‘Redrawing the border for me would be another surrender to the Unionists.’

    Why so ? It seems to me that both sides would be ‘surrendering’. And that would be a major improvement on the 1920 settlement when it was a Nationalist only surrender.

    ” What makes them so special that they have to constantly have borders redrawn for them, unlike the Nationalist majorities in Fermanagh and Tyrone in 1920?’

    The 1920 border was not redrawn for Unionists . It was redrawn BY Unionists . That is why it has been a failure politically and it’s the main reason why the 6 county State has never achieved the political stability it desired from day one.
    A new Border should be drawn up by a neutral international agency.

    ‘A UI achieved by consent ‘etc etc .

    Fine but the political reality is that such consent is no closer today than it was in 1920 . In fact it’s further away as can be seen from the total failure of the opposing political parties to even discuss the NI Constitutional issue never mind the fact that the leading politicians have never even had face to face negotiations in over 40 years of political hostility .

    ‘Also consider that the partition of Ireland would not have been feasible without centuries of ethnic-cleansing and massacre by Cromwell that changed the demographics of that area so radically, repartition would seem all the more unjust and unacceptable to me. ‘

    Okay but today’s Unionists are not 17th century Cromwellians . The world has moved on . Although I can largely agree with your description of the role of the British Empire in Ireland the fact is that today modern Britain is a western democracy as is the Irish Republic .

    ‘and this time the govts must stand up to ‘

    Sorry Brian Boru . If you wish to believe that Britain would ever stand up to the Unionists of NI by ‘forcing’ them into a UI against their will then you do not know your Irish history . The Irish Republic does not need to waste it’s resources by trying to incorporate 850,000 British Unionists into it’s State against their will . We have more than enough immigrants who are willing and able to become Irish citizens by their own consent . What have Unionists to offer a UI anyway ? I accept that we in the Irish Republic have a moral and political obligation to the Irish people of Northern Ireland but we have no obligation to the British Unionists other than to be good neighbours . And the best way for us to become good neighbours is to redraw the present out of date border and replace with it with a new one which reflects the modern day political and cultural reality of the divided 6 county State .

  • Dread Cthulhu

    The long and the short of it, Greenflag, is that repartition is a pipedream. There is not appetite on either side for such a notion, as it does not fit in either Unionist or Nationalist mythology. In time, the Unionists may come to accept this sort of plan, but the likeliest scenario this would happen under would be one in which the Nationalists were closing in on the magical “50% + 1 vote” majority. Why would Nationalists consider such a folly were this the case?

    Now, the best arguement *AGAINST* repartition was presented by one of the various loyalist posters on this blog, who suggested such a scenario would be an ideal time to “go to work” on those Roman Catholic enclaves remaining on the Unionist side of the presumed border.

    Likewise, who is going to fund this ridiculous boondoggle? Has anyone asked the ROI if they even *want* to absorb these areas? The Republic has been offered the North, free and clear, on at least one occasion and refused — why would they want this white elephant now?

  • Greenflag

    ‘re-partition would just create more problems than it solved. ‘

    Actually it would create less problems . Instead of having 850,000 alienated British Unionists in a 32 county Irish Republic or 750,000 alienated Irish people in the present 6 county NI State we would instead have 100,000 ‘alienated ‘ British Unionists in a 30 county Irish Republic and 100,000 alienated Irish people in a new 2 county sized Northern Ireland . Thats a reduction of at least 550,000 less alienated people than the present situation and a reduction of 650,000 on the numbers alienated by having a 32 county Irish Republic .

    ‘I don’t think that the Republic of Ireland is perfect and there will probably have to be some compromises to accomodate those of a unionist persuasion to join it,’

    I don’t think ROI is perfect either but what has that got to with the constitutional issue ?
    Why must there be any compromise ? The Irish Republic is not a Unionist State . It’s whole political ethos is based on anti Unionism going back to the Repeal of the Union movement in the early 19th century . The fact that the Irish Republic in 2006 is not the Irish Free State of 1922 is neither here nor there . Unionist opposition to a UI is the same today as it was then .

    ‘and I can’t understand why unionists wouldn’t be better off ‘ etc etc

    And that Phil is because you are English 🙂 No offence . The English have many admirable traits but when it comes to Ireland somehow they lose the plot . Understandable of course but nonetheless true . Witness the past 40 years of flailing about in the NI political morass and the previous two centuries of half hearted attempts to ‘pacify’ Ireland and turn us all into happy little Englishmen . Did’nt work then and won’t work now .

    A fair Repartition addresses the crude political home truths of the NI situation . More than that it can’t do . We can’t make the Unionists -Irish in political outlook any more than they succeeded in making the NI Irish people ‘British’ in pollitical outlook.

  • Greenflag

    The long and the short of it, Greenflag, is that repartition is a pipedream. ‘

    Mr Hain’s District Council reforms i.e the 7 super councils when implemented will be a de facto Repartition of NI if not de jure . After that time,economics and demographics will do the rest .

    ‘ Likewise, who is going to fund this ridiculous boondoggle? ‘

    The same question could have been asked in 1920 about the economic prospects for the Irish Free State . At the end of the day the political will of the people overode the ‘economics’ Just as it did in Germany in 1989 .

  • English

    Well said Greenflag! I would also add that what remains of Unionist Northern Ireland should be given the option of joining the Euro (which they would refuse) or inventing their own seperate currency, along with government, exchequer, health service, army etc..

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Greenflag: “The same question could have been asked in 1920 about the economic prospects for the Irish Free State . At the end of the day the political will of the people overode the ‘economics’ Just as it did in Germany in 1989 .”

    And why, pray tell, would the Republic want to inherit this state-sponsored mess? Ulster is an economic basketcase. Having seen the reunification of Germany and, presumably, learned something by it, why would the Republic accept such a repartition and, in essence, annex a bit of Ulster?

    Likewise, you have not answered why either party would accept this “fair repartition.” It suits neither the Unionists settler mentality nor the aspirations of the Nationalists. It has no natural audience. Any future changes that will make one party amenable with, in all liklihood, make the other less so.

  • Greenflag

    ‘I would also add that what remains of Unionist Northern Ireland should be given the options etc ‘
    I agree English. No skin off our nose. As long as the remaining Irish minority are given the same rights as the remaining Unionist minority in a 30 county Irish Republic I don’t see why there should be any further time wasting by either Government in Unionist internal affairs .

  • Greenflag

    ‘And why, pray tell, would the Republic want to inherit this state-sponsored mess? ‘

    It’s not a question of want but one of natural justice . The Irish people of Northern Ireland never wanted to be part of a 6 county NI State and even in the two counties of Fermanagh and Tyrone there was a majority for an all Ireland State . In 2006 at least 2 other counties Armagh and Derry would also vote by majority for a 32 county State .

    Ulster is not an economic basket case . Northern Ireland is not Ulster . It comprises 6 of the 9 Ulster counties . Seven of those Counties now have Irish nationalist majorities and the remaining 2 counties Antrim and Down are likely to remain Unionist majority counties . However South County Down is overwhelmingly Irish and North Armagh and East co Derry have large Unionist populations . Thus it makes sense to leave those areas within a smaller Unionist State.

    ‘why would the Republic accept such a repartition and, in essence, annex a bit of Ulster? ‘

    Why not . it would make better political sense than a 32 county Republic in which 850,000 Unionists would be alienated from the State. Why repeat the political idiocy of Ulster Unionists in 1920 in corralling a large minority against their wishes into a political state in which they have no interest in or loyalty to ? Unionists annexed too much of Ulster in 1920 . That was their mistake . We Irish should learn from the Unionist experience .

    BTW the unification of Germany went reasonably well and no German government could do otherwise than what Chancellor Kohl did at that time.

    ‘you have not answered why either party would accept this “fair repartition.” ‘

    Sorry . The why is fairly simple . it would mean that both sides will not spend the next 100 years chasing each other around in ever diminishing circles .
    If it does not suit the ‘settler’ mentality then a United Ireland will suit that settler mentality even less . The vast majority of Irish Nationalists will get used to a 30 county size Republic just as the vast majority got used to a 26 county Republic . Those who don’t or can’t get used to the idea will be free to contest their opposition to a new border through constitutional means . They would do well to remember how Dev eventually came around to recognising the Free State . We do not need another re run of the Irish Civil War over meaningless words .

  • Crataegus

    Greenflag

    West Belfast; West Belfast; West Belfast; (and large parts of North and South Belfast) Won’t work!

  • Southern Observer

    Greenflag (aka Greendub)
    We thrashed this out many times in Deb Cen.I still think repartition is an idea whose time has not yet come.It may come decades from now especially if unionists see the prospect of a nationalist majority.At the moment I think dual Anglo-Irish administration is the model that best reflects realities on the ground.
    BTW do you envisage a West Berlin solution for West Belfast?

  • elfinto

    Declan is back!!!

    Up the UDA!!!

  • elfinto

    The British spooks are at work again. You can tell by the way that they just don’t give a f**k about this country. TAL!

  • Tom The immigrent

    Dont you have to know where you are going before you lose your way .Glad to be away from it all

    Mr Paisley the saviour of N Ireland ,let us Pray

  • PHIL

    Greenflag,

    You may be right, all I know is that I wouldn’t want England to be partitioned in the same way (as much as I find northeners odd!!) but by the same token I wouldn’t want people to be duped into a situation that they are not comfortable with. I don’t think that Ireland should have been partitioned in the first place but it happened and most people alive today have lived with the border all their lives. Small states exist all over Europe and many are quite prosperous (Luxembourg, Monaco, Jersey) but to succeed as an independant state Northern Ireland (in original or revised form) must cease to be dependant on other nations.

  • WayneRooneysMetatarsel

    What most people here seem to be forgetting is that mere fact that it is not up to either the Republic of Ireland, London or even the local political parties here to decide the future of Northern Ireland. The principle of consent was enshrined in the Belfast Agreement so there will be no constitutional changes to Northern Ireland until a majority of the people want there to be. If the majority of people here continue to want to stay as we are then that is how we will stay.

    Now, I hope the usual, “but just wait til we outbreed you” arguments do not spring forth…for we all know the birth rates are decreased dramatically on both sides

    As for Cromwell being the only reason that the northern part of Ireland was different enough to partitioned off…which bubble did you come down the lagan in? The worst of Cromwells excesses occured south of the border in places like Drogheda and Balbriggan. NI is more protestant and distinctly more presbyterian than the rest of Ireland because the Scots came in their thousands fleeing war and famine in Scotland.

    *btw where are all the rampant DUPs now, loyalist carsonscat, fairdeal etc? Do they only come out to attack their fellow unionists in the UUP and not republicans who in reality are their political opponents?

  • Greenflag

    ‘BTW do you envisage a West Berlin solution for West Belfast? ;’

    Why would that be necessary ? People live in France and work across the border in Germany. People live in Newry and commute to Dublin . Any new border would be just a line on the map as the present one is . Both States would be members of the EU . Not a problem.

  • BooBoo

    waynerooneysmetatarsel

    “..there will be no constitutional changes to Northern Ireland until a majority of the people want there to be.”

    That’s not the message I took from the recent Joint Statement. It’s not the message I took from thirty years of British-Irish initiatives to weaken unionism and undermine the Union.

    I regard the Ulster Unionist Party as as big a threat to the Union and unionist wellbeing as republicans. They have got it comprehensively wrong on all of the big issues since 1974 onwards. I don’t pretend that the DUP is any better, but most of the blame cannot be laid at their door. The Belfast Agreement is bad for NI, which may explain why the UUP has distanced itself from it. I hope it collapses and that the DUP isn’t stupid enough to try and save it. Direct Rule, for all its faults, is preferable to the unionist numpties (hat tip to Karl Rove for that lovely word)who are gagging at the bit for ministerial office.

    The linkage with the UVF is just another indication of how far removed from reality the UUP now is. The boys in the Typing Pool bunker at CunningPlan House are as oblivious to the oncoming steamroller as they were before the general and local government elections last year. From what I hear, though, the Typing Pool will be getting a lot smaller very soon.

    BooBoo

  • Greenflag

    ‘all I know is that I wouldn’t want England to be partitioned in the same way ‘

    England has it’s North and South divisions but these have not been brought about by an ‘outside’ power . They are the result of economic and industrial history . Devolution is not being demanded by the various English regions as it was by the Scots and to a lesser extent the Welsh .

    ‘I don’t think that Ireland should have been partitioned in the first place ‘

    We forget that at the time of Partition the British Empire was the World Power and relatively speaking moving towards greater democracy both at home and abroad in the colonies . Gladstone made a brave attempt to hold all of Ireland in the Empire through his Home Rule Bill. But the Empire ‘jingoists’ won that battle only to subsequently lose most of Ireland a generation later to Republicanism. We can’t undo the past but we can at least try to avoid repeating it. Corralling 800,000 British Unionists into a UI would IMO be a ‘repetition’ of the past

    ‘but to succeed as an independant state Northern Ireland (in original or revised form) must cease to be dependant on other nations. ‘

    Yes and no . There is not a nation on the earth which is not dependant on other nations for something or other . The Irish Republic is totally dependant on the global market for it’s industires and products . We are now dependant on other countries for a supply of labour without which the Irish Economy could not continue to expand at the rate it has .

    The ‘dependency’ that Northern Ireland ‘suffers’ from is the same as that suffered by Scotland and Wales and some of the poorer regions of England namely that without a high percentage of Government expenditure the local private economy of these regions is not big enough for the region to maintain it’s standard of living . In the case of Northern Ireland the level of HMG expenditure is so high (67% of NI GDP) that it has had and continues to have negative effect on the private sector economy of NI. This is not just an NI phenomenon . The same effect is seen in Puerto Rico which was in the mid 1960’s had a fast growing and developing economy. Today that growth has been snuffed out by USA government expenditure which has made Puerto Rico ‘dependant’ on the public sector in much the same way as NI and indeed with many of the same social consequences .

    Could a smaller 2 county sized NI succeed as an independent State ? Probably not . Not because they could’nt if they really wanted to but the recent economic history (since 1920) of NI has made them utterly dependant on HMG. I see a 2 county NI State continuing to be part of the UK as any independent alternative would require such a drop in living standards and incomes that it would not be ‘bearable’ for most Unionists . Any move to a 2 county NI independence would spark off massive emigration to mainland UK most likely thus weakening any prospect of the new political entity ever getting established .

  • PHIL

    WRM,

    I know that NI’s constitutional position is secured by the GFA. My original post though related to Northern Ireland’s position if the break up of the UK was instigated by England (or Scotland or Wales). Would that not make any assurances given to Unionists in the GFA not worth the paper that they are written on?

  • Greenflag

    ‘The principle of consent was enshrined in the Belfast Agreement ‘

    Indeed and where is that other ‘consensual’ achievement of the GFA ? the NI Assembly ? A comical farce if ever there was one . The DUP are committed to destroying the GFA at least that would seem to be the only explanation which makes present DUP policy even barely intelligible .

  • WayneRooneysMetatarsel

    Thats the sort of attitude Jim Wells regularly comes out with and is the reason why unionism lost a council seat in armagh at the last election. I’m not saying the UUP are perfect, god knows they are not but as fellow unionists they are the natural allies of the DUP and all other unionist parties. I’m sick to death of all the sniping, I like much of the unionist community would far rather see all unionists working together or we will end up in a united Ireland. Direct Rule in my humble opinion is no sustainable, perhaps if that was the way things still were in Scotland and Wales it would be but the United Kingdom has changed, to my mind if Northern Ireland doesn’t keep up with this change and start governing itself instead of letting these patsies from Westminster prance over a couple of times a week leaving the decisions to unelected civil servants we are going to end up a long way up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

    Its time the unionists started working together, maxmised their representation and made Stormont work. Enough fucking around, time for some work and balls.

  • lib2016

    I’ve argued against the use of force in favour of political objectives all my life, whether by unionists or nationalists. That said no power on earth can stop the reunification of Ireland when the 50%+1 figure is reached, and that goes even more emphatically if either government repudiates the GFA.

    You think the last thirty years were bad but they were only the product of a few inadequately resourced extremists compared to what would emerge if anyone tries to turn the clock back now. There’s a new young educated Catholic middleclass and they’ll roll right over any opposition.

    In any case the next (Democratic) administration in the States wouldn’t permit Britain to renege on its committments for a moment.

    The DUP can force some changes in Strand 1 which will have to be agreed to by the other parties. That’s the sum total of unionist influence.

  • WayneRooneysMetatarsel

    lib2016

    I don’t know whether to be amused or mystified by that comment. All evidence shows that birth rates are slowing down – the 2001 census, fewer kids in schools etc. What makes you think that people are going to change their mind about the constitutional question?

  • PHIL

    Greenflag,

    In a scenario where England, Scotland and Wales leave the UK, your 2 county state couldn’t survive as a stand alone entity then?

  • lib2016

    Wayne,

    This subject has been done to death. Talk to any estate agent and find out which communities are expanding.

    On the other hand you can continue to believe whatever you want – it won’t change the numbers on the ground.

    We’re sinking under the weight of Brit propaganda trying to hide the fact that unionism is in crisis and the British Army in full retreat.

    The economies North and South will be merged and with them so will the peoples. It’s already happening.

  • WayneRooneysMetatarsel

    I honestly think you are floundering in Sinn Fein propanda. Wake up man people couldn’t give a stuff about politics, neither me nor my friends would ever join a political party. As for republicanism, i believe it is currently the 25th anniversary of the hunger strikers, if it wasn’t for reading slugger I would have had no idea. People just don’t care anymore, they are happy to maintain the status quo if it means minimal interference with their lives, and quite right too.

  • lib2016

    Wayne,

    Glad you feel the need to post about subjects in which you have no interest. If it keeps you happy….! 😉

  • Greenflag

    ‘and made Stormont work.’

    ??? So by paying people for several years to do nothing you now expect them to work ? Stormont cannot be made to work except as the ‘devolved’ Assembly for a 2 county size Northern Ireland. Irish Nationalists and Irish Republicans in NI have no long term interest in a ‘revival’ of the old Stormont

    ‘ Enough fucking around, time for some work and balls. ‘

    There seems to be a severe shortage of both among DUP/UUP Unionist political leaders . And expecting any positive political initiative from either at this point is about as likely as a mule giving birth .

    Irish Nationalist and Irish Republican politicians in NI need to say a final farewell to Stormont and instead focus their energies on Dail and Irish Senate representation. Leave the DUP to themselves alone . It’s what they want. Best give it to them .

  • Greenflag

    ‘That said no power on earth can stop the reunification of Ireland when the 50%+1 figure is reached, ‘

    Nonsense. The 1918 election showed that even winning 75% of the seats to Dail Eireann did not prevent the Unionist 25% from refusing to accept the election results. What makes you think that a 49.9999% Unionist vote to remain within the UK would be any different ? And anyway what’s the point in having 800,000 British Unionists in a State in which they do not belong. British Unionists have no affinity for an All Ireland Republic? They are British Loyalists/Monarchists/Unionists etc etc and not Irish except by geography . The Irish Republic is better off without them . We have enough to do to assimilate the 400,000 new immigrants to the Republic without having to fart around with 800,000 disgruntled and alienated Unionists!

  • Rubicon

    WRM – you are placing a great deal of faith in sectarian birth counts. You are correct in observing a decline in RC births – but this is only one component of population change – you also need to consider differential death and migration rates.

    The Protestant population is older and therefore has a higher death rate. Very little is known about differential migration rates.

    The general trend of increasing RC population is likely to continue for some time yet. It may be that a RC majority will not be achieved by the time both populations experience similar growth patterns. It is likely to be very close though – but perhaps not for 20 years or so yet.

    This kind of sectarian head-counting really only takes you on part of the road to sustaining (or changing) NI’s constitutional status. While there is no doubt that religion is a good predictor of constitutional preference, it remains far from perfect.

    Unionist in-fighting, its moves to the right, its association with loyalism and espousing views many consider offensive, partial and even sectarian have led to an increasingly disengaged ‘unionist’ electorate. Meanwhile the southern economy continues to grow, income disparities once visible between north and south have all but disappeared and politicians here are stuck in their own sectarian silos discussing issues (or not) that has many thinking we’re held back in Ulster’s very own ‘ground-hog day’.

    People are more interested in the issues that actually affect their lives. Nothing recently from unionism on that score and their erst-while supporters are staying home, avoiding local politics programmes, picking up increased tax bills, watching a declining manufacturing industry and employers moving south where tax rates are more favourable.

    In all of this it may not be too wise to take comfort in declining RC birth rates. Once born people have a tendency to use their minds and think; about their own interests and the future for their children. Nationalism seems to have a slight leading edge in that argument.

  • Greenflag

    ‘In a scenario where England, Scotland and Wales leave the UK, your 2 county state couldn’t survive as a stand alone entity then? ‘

    Phil, I don’t envisage your scenario ever taking place. In the unlikely event it did Unionists in NI would either be absorbed into the Irish Republic or following Repartition they would be ‘forced’ to make a 2 county State work . As to whether they have the political gumption and ability or not to make a 2 county State work in such circumstances is a question for Unionists to answer .

  • Brian Boru

    “As for Cromwell being the only reason that the northern part of Ireland was different enough to partitioned off…which bubble did you come down the lagan in? The worst of Cromwells excesses occured south of the border in places like Drogheda and Balbriggan. NI is more protestant and distinctly more presbyterian than the rest of Ireland because the Scots came in their thousands fleeing war and famine in Scotland.”

    Most of the planters are supposed to have arrived after 1641, and we know that Cromwell restarted the Ulster Plantation in the areas where the colonists had been expelled in that rebellion. He gave land in Ireland to pay his soldiers for their service in the English Civil War. Yes I know there was ethnic-cleansing generally, but in the South it did not change the ethnic-composition of the population to a huge extent unlike in Ulster. In the South it was more likely to take the form of massacres, deportations into slavery, or deportations to other parts of the island e.g. Connaught.

  • PHIL

    Greenflag,

    Whether or not that scenario occurs is purely speculation on my part but it can’t just be dismissed as unlikely, nationalism is growing fast here and will continue to do so.

  • WayneRooneysMetatarsel

    Brian Boru

    And what about the thousands of Scots who came? The majority of them were not planters – just as people left Ireland in their droves, other people came in. Most of the people who came into Ulster were poor presbyterians from whom most unionists are descended from. The richer anglicans who were planted are much fewer. Try reading an actual history book instead of Gerry Adams interpretations.

    As for nationalism growing, what evidence do you have for that?

  • Wayne Rooney writes:

    [i]”I don’t know whether to be amused or mystified by that comment. All evidence shows that birth rates are slowing down – the 2001 census, fewer kids in schools etc. What makes you think that people are going to change their mind about the constitutional question?[/i]

    Birth rates are not really the key factor here, Wayne. The camposition of the women in the child-birthing years (15-45) is. For example, if Protestant and Catholic birth rates are equal and if 55% pf the women giving birth are Catholic, and 45% Protestant, that means that 55% of those squalling future voters will probably be republican/nationalist and 45% probably inionist/loylist. And, if you check the 2001 census, you will note that some 55% of women in the lowest birthing age cohort are Catholic.

    Another point to remember is that the Catholic birth rate did not start really declining until about 1994. So, there’s a lot of young Catholics not yet eligible to vote and its the voting population that will determine the results of a border poll, not the total population.

    As Rubicon points out, the Protestant population is also contracting more quickly than the Catholic population, simply because it is older.

    If the future of the Union depends only on a sectarian head-count, the Union is dead and, probably within 10 years.

  • lib2016

    Bob & Rubicon,

    You have made the points much more fluently than I could have done. It’s also a fact that anticlericalism hasn’t really hit the unionist community yet.

    People are with holding support from the unionist parties but there is a slow growth in the numbers of cross-community votes for the SDLP, partly as an anti-Sinn Fein move.

    Unionists seem to believe that a border referendum would take place as the beginning of a process and would require a leap in the dark. It seems to me much more likely to happen after years of pulling the economies and the peoples, North and South, together.

  • WayneRooneysMetatarsel

    “People are with holding support from the unionist parties but there is a slow growth in the numbers of cross-community votes for the SDLP, partly as an anti-Sinn Fein move.”

    But there are signs that there are catholics voting for pro-union parties as well as the opposite being true. In fact a survey shows that cross tribal voting is more common in the catholic community. Lets face it, the number of people voting is decreasing rather than increasing, I would be very surprised to see Sinn Fein vote get much higher unless they start vote stealing again.

    Although in all fairness, until someone produces evidence or figures this is quite a useless argument.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Although in all fairness, until someone produces evidence or figures this is quite a useless argument.’

    The fact that the ‘political status quo’ of NI would appear to be dependent on the relative fecundity of the age cohort of both Catholic and Protestant women is testimony enough to the fundamental constitutional nonsense that is the NI State. A State needs to have some credibility as to it’s longer term future. Once HMG gave the people of NI the right to secede from the Union if that was their wish then HMG was effectively withdrawing from Northern Ireland. The people of East Anglia or Cornwall cannot ‘leave’ the UK by vote . The people of NI can or at least according to the GFA they can.

    Given the innate sectarianism of voting patterns in NI elections it would probably save the English taxpayer a lot of money if instead of elections representatives from both sides of the fence were picked from a list based on the latest Census figures for the numbers of Protestants and RC’s . The whole paraphernalia of voting over 80 years makes no real difference to the underlying crude facts as shown by the censuses. As the numbers of Green increase towards 50% and the numbers of Orange reduce towards 50% NI can expect to see increasing levels of sectarianism as each side tries to ‘outnumber’ the other in marginal areas.

    As I said earlier the NI State as it is is doomed . The real question is what will replace it . A fair Repartition of Northern Ireland seems to be the most practical , economical and honest way to put an end to 80 years of an experiment which has been a waste of time and money for all concerned .

  • WayneRooneysMetatarsel

    Yet still no evidence of what you are claiming, we could argue quite legitmately until the cows come home without changing each others minds, so thus I’m going to my work.

  • Greenflag

    ‘nationalism is growing fast here and will continue to do so. ‘

    I assume you are referring to English nationalism ? Perhaps you are reading too much of the Daily Mail complete with lurid stories of English ‘ladies’ burning Welsh flags etc etc etc ?

    ‘It was the only dragon I could find’ said she.

    English ‘nationalism’ is a subset of British nationalism . The English variant may be on the rise at present due to World Cup fever or perhaps due to an outbreak of Scotophobia as Chancellor Brown girds his lions for the number 10 job ?

    I can’t imagine English ‘nationalism’ ever reaching the point where they would ‘expell’ Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland to outer darkness to fend for themselves . I suspect that the English will continue to be nationalists with a small ‘n’ . Not unlike most Irish nationalists in truth. Most Irish Nationalists will settle for a repartitioned NI when it happens just as most English ‘nationalists’ will sit idly by if Scotland and /or Wales /Northern Ireland ever opt for full independence . When it comes to the bottom line neither the English nor the Irish Republic have anything to lose if any of the above were to follow their ‘yellow brick road’.

  • Greenflag

    Bob,

    ‘If the future of the Union depends only on a sectarian head-count, the Union is dead and, probably within 10 years. ‘

    The short answer to this Bob is it does’nt . Unionists are only too aware that the sectarian head count did not stop the formation of a 6 county State . Admittedly the world has moved on since 1920 but Unionists haven’t at least not as regards their political preference to remain part of the UK .

    BTW Bob- what happened to debatecentral ? Any idea ? Seems to have died a sudden death ?

  • Reader

    Greenflag: Once HMG gave the people of NI the right to secede from the Union if that was their wish then HMG was effectively withdrawing from Northern Ireland.
    There was a border poll in 1973 – could the IRA campaign have stopped then? (on the basis of an effective withdrawal by HMG – in spite of the actual result…)
    And, in your view, what parts of the UK do *not* have the right to secede? Scotland? Wales? I don’t think so.

  • PHIL

    Reader,

    “And, in your view, what parts of the UK do *not* have the right to secede? Scotland? Wales? I don’t think so.”

    Doesn’t England have that right too?

    Greenflag,

    No, we English would have nothing to loose if Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were to ‘follow their yellow brick roads’ as you say, but we’d have much to gain!

  • Greenflag

    ‘There was a border poll in 1973 -‘

    You mean there was a Unionist vote census . Irish Nationalists and Republicans boycotted the Unionist charade.

    ‘could the IRA campaign have stopped then? ‘

    The IRA campaign should never have started . Unionist political myopia and Paisleyite rabble rousing helped to fan the flames . In the post 1969 period Sunningdale was IMO the best opportunity for Unionists to ‘power share’ with the moderate SDLP . That opportunity won’t ever come again .

    There is no agreement that says the Scottish people can elect for full independence from the UK . The Scots could of course declare a UDI and then the elected representatives of Scotland would have to explain to the Scottish electorate how and where they will find the extra 8,000 pounds per person that they will need to raise from the Scottish economy to maintain Scotland’s present standard of living . Northern Ireland is the only region of the UK that is at this time allowed to vote it’s way out of the UK should it wish to do so. Even England itself cannot vote itself out of the UK although if it chose to break up the UK there’s nothing that the Scots , Welsh or British Unionists of NI could do as they are all financially in hock to HMG’s Exchequer to a greater or lesser degree.

    In time of course a fiscally independent Scotland or Wales could survive . Their sense of national self identity would pull them through a tough adjustment . Northern Ireland is a different case in that the population is divided into two diametrically opposed tribes whose leading representatives cannot even talk directly face to face never mind come to an agreed position for power sharing .

  • Greenflag writes:

    [i]”The fact that the ‘political status quo’ of NI would appear to be dependent on the relative fecundity of the age cohort of both Catholic and Protestant women is testimony enough to the fundamental constitutional nonsense that is the NI State.”[/i]

    Not quite the picture. The fecundity is all in the past. Current and future birth rates are irrelevant. The die is already cast.

    It’s not impossible that the Protestant birth rate may dramatically increase but I think that it’s already too late.

    Furthermore, there was a high level of non-response to the religious question on the census. The NIO people allocated these unknowns on the basis of the address, i.e. those who lived in Protestant areas were counted as Protestants and those who lived in Catholic areas were counted as Catholic.

    Dumb, sez I. In almost any survey that I’ve read of or heard of, the distribution of the
    unknowns has almost exactly paralleled the distribution of those who responded. I did the arithmetic to redistribute the unknowns that way and, lo and behold, the Protestant-Catholic split comes out about 53%-47%, a lot closer than the 57%/43% published.

    One last factor that would indicate that the split may be even closer is that I think that Catholics living in Protestant areas would be far more likely to not respond, given the record of thug attacks on Catholics living in Protestant estates and the seemingly unstoppable leaking of secure data to the death squads.

    There seem to be no reliable statistics on migration from the communities.` With all the hysterical unionist rhetoric about being “driven into the sea” and the increasing self-confidence of the Catholic youth, I am inlcined to think that migration will drain the Protestant community more so than the Catholic.

    Last but not least, I suspect that a number of Catholics will votye for the unionist parties since, in their area, unionists usually win and they do want a say in who holds the offices. No point in voting for the SDLP or SF if they can’t win. I rather think that a lot of those Catholics will reassess their choices in a border poll.

    Bottom line: I rather think that those unionists who have bought the conclusions from the authorites, NIO and the media, have bought a bill of goods. Can’t prove it now, of course, but I like to think it’s informed speculation.

  • Greenflag

    No, we English would have nothing to lose if Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were to ‘follow their yellow brick roads’ as you say, but we’d have much to gain!

    I don’t know the numbers but at 6 billion a year for NI then a rough guess at 14 billion for Scotland and 5 billion for Wales comes to a tidy 25 billion a year times 10 years would come to 250 billion or about 5,000 pounds for every English person over the same period . Probably about 750 pounds a year for every English wage earner . So although the sum of 250 billion pounds over 10 years seems large, when it’s broken down into an annual amount by wage/salary earner it’s not a huge sum . England will not get ‘rich’ based on it’s savings from hiving off the Celtic fringe . On the other side of the coin England has benefited from Scottish and Welsh labour over centuries not to mention the huge profits gleaned from Scots and Welsh mining and industry etc etc.

    There is an argument for full Scottish and indeed Welsh independence but it has little to do with present day English economic dominance in the UK. It has more to do with the degree of desire or need for Scots/Welsh to assert their sense of nationality. Although there is much talk of the Scots and Welsh being able to ‘replicate’ the Irish Republic’s relatively successful economic experience in recent decades there may be a lot less ‘stomach’ in Wales and Scotland for the inevitable ‘tough’ adjustment such a replication would require . And success is not guaranteed . Scots of course may remember how the Darien disaster resulted in the loss of their Parliament in 1700 . Some Scots still have reservations about Holyrood .

  • Greenflag

    ‘The die is already cast. ‘

    Perhaps but that is no guarantee that a UI will result from a 51% pro UI vote in any referendum .

    Anyway who and under what circumstances would any such ‘referendum’ be held ? Unionists could boycott such a referendum if they thought they were going to lose just as Nationalists did in 1973 .

    I think you underestimate Bob the possibilities that HMG has retained such that even a fair sounding ‘referendum’ in theory is likley to turn into a mess in practice .

  • All true, Flag, but, then why should we be surprised? HMG has a long and shmeful history of breaking its most solemn promises in Ireland.

    But, I have to wonder just why so many unionists continue to support a government that has done just that and more, like murdering its own citizens?

    Cumb, sez I. The unionists could well be the next victims of British dishonesty.

  • Greenflag

    ‘but, then why should we be surprised?’

    Not I Bob 🙂

    ‘ HMG has a long and shameful history of breaking its most solemn promises in Ireland’

    All part of imperial hubris Bob . Ireland was not alone in this regard .But we have to give the present British Government some credit for at least trying to give some redress to their past mistakes in Ireland both North and South.The fact that they continue to be unsuccessful is just further evidence of the fundamental flaw in the NI situation i.e the NI population is more or less equally divided as regards the constitutional future of the NI State . That’s not going to change .

    ‘But, I have to wonder just why so many unionists continue to support a government that has done just that and more, like murdering its own citizens? ‘

    Simple enough Bob . When the lemmings are herded into a mass and headed for the abyss you will not find any individual lemming willing to stick it’s head out to inquire just where it is exactly it’s being led ? All that matters is that the lemmings neighbour is just as intent as following in the footsteps of whoever is leader . DUP lemmings are no different . By the time any individual lemming reaches the edge of the abyss there is no going back . Momentum and the herd instinct sees to that .

    ‘The unionists could well be the next victims of British dishonesty. ‘

    I would not be surprised but then most Unionists already have an inherent distrust of this and indeed previous British Governments.After all it was the Tories who got rid of their beloved Stormont and signed the Anglo Irish Agreement .And Labour brought in the GFA etc etc etc .

    No news on debatecentral then ?

  • Greenflag

    ‘But, I have to wonder just why so many unionists continue to support a government ‘

    A better ‘wondering’ would be why so many Unionists continue to support Ian Paisley ? What has Paisley ever achieved for NI Unionists? In a political career that started off with rabble rousing and is now ending in a cul de sac of negativism I cannot think of a single instance in which Paisley’s politics have increased the well being or security of Northern Ireland’s Unionists one iota. Paisley’s contribution to the relative decline of the NI economy has been exactly what ? Mostly silence. His sole achievement has been to drag the largest section within Unionism back into past . Paisley has steadfastly refused to acknowledge or deal with the growing problem that an increasing Irish nationalist population poses for the future of the 6 county State . Paisley is a closed minded leader in part due to his fundamentalist religious background but also this can be seen from the ‘authoritarian’ nature of both his ‘organisations’ the DUP and the Free Presbyterian Church. There is no room for dissent , new ideas or new solutions in these organisations . Paisley’s narrow view of the past and the future of NI blinds not just himself but also his followers into how the present is changing . Leaders like Paisley and indeed many Unionist leaders before him tend to ignore growing problems until it’s too late to do anything about them . The influence that Paisley exerts as a leader has blinded most of his followers to ignore the ‘future’ also.

    It could be argued that Brian Faulkner was an exception to the general run of Unionist leaders . Somehow Faulkner managed to see the writing on the wall and took active steps to forge a common future for NI with the willing support of the SDLP at the time . Unfortunately for Unionists Faulkner had to compete not just with the rabble raising Paisley but with a history of Unionist leaders in Northern Ireland who were to say the least not noted for forward thinking.

    Political Unionism in Northern Ireland has nowhere to go except further into the narrow cul de sac which it prepared for itself in 1920. Nationalist & Republican Ireland has no real alternative except to watch Unionism implode sooner or later.