Repartition – a viable option?

It seems there are some strong advocates of this option to permanently solve this island’s problems so it seems only fair they have their very own thread to discuss it at length.

  • kensei

    “It is very alarming that repartition is even remotely considered by anyone.

    It is evidence that people would rather live ‘with their own kind’ than try to get on with their fellow islanders.”

    It is bugger all to do with that. It is simply a rather misguided attempt to try and please everyone – “mutual respect” surely?

    And as ever, IJP, your solution and discussion defaults to maintenance of Union, but we should all just get on.

  • cladycowboy

    ‘It’s not a different border we need, it’s different political leaders – ones who recognize fundamentally that we should be trying to get on ‘with the other side’, not pretending they don’t exist’

    There is a border across this land drawn at the behest of ‘one side’ that is there precisely to pretend that the other side doesn’t exist.

    Any true outworking of this island’s people ‘getting on’ will be done together as a whole, not in a divided camp within a divided camp.

  • PHIL

    Keith M

    “My proposal is to have a federal republic with national assemblies for Scotland, Wales, Ireland London and three other regional assemblies for England. A Federal Parliament would decided things like foreign policy etc, with an elected head of State, chosen by STV.”

    Whilst I’m not completely against some sort of federation between the nations of these islands, England’s national integrity should not be compromised. Only the English self-loathers and foreigners like Blair, Brown, Prescott, Ming and Cameron would support such a move, the English public would never be in favour of it. If England cannot be treated as a single entity then it must leave the union.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Phil.

    “If England cannot be treated as a single entity then it must leave the union.”

    Come on now Phil, who would pay for the little frankenstien creation? Not Scotland I assure you, we have had our fill of carrying England these past 300 years. I tell you what Phil, it is going to be funny, watching the organisation for the 1707 anniversary. Apart from right-wing loons/tories, labourites on the gravy-train and the OO, everyone in Scotland would either boycott or pickett such events. Can’t wait.

    On the subject of repartition. The whole raison d’etre of the subject is the inbuilt unionist hostility to sharing power with those that they share the island and have ties of blood with. Thrown in is the fear of some blood-letting when the inevitable happens, and a united Ireland beckons. This inevitability may occur for a variety of reasons, not withstanding the break-up of the union, spurred on by my own gallant Scottish countrymen.

    Now if 5 million have reason to fear blood-letting in a united Ireland. What chance have 100,000 got in some new little frankenstien creation?

    The moral of the story is the whole topic stinks even more than Sinn Fein’s cosying up to Unionist/Loyalist/OO haters for crumbs. Stand up to the bully’s, zero tolerance/accomodation to the b1gotry. There is no other way

  • Greenflag

    paddyreilly,

    ‘A United Ireland will not happen until Northern Protestants become the minority in that region’

    That’s right in theory PR, but making a UI happen in the event of the union losing a referendum by 1% or even 5% would be another story. But why would we want a UI with 850,000 Unionists in it who would prefer to be part of the UK . Why would I want a mother in law in my house if she would rather be elsewhere ? Not worth the hassle PR.

  • Richard Dowling

    Did anyone else catch the recent programme on Sky about the Celts? It seems our ties with Ancient Europe are not blood ties so much as linguistic and cultural ones … DNA profiling certainly seems to back that claim.

    There was no mass migration of a Celtic race from Eastern and Central Europe into pristine Ireland… only the absorbion of a critical mass of linguistic and cultural ideas by a race of people (call them Irish if you like)who had been here from time immemorial. If that’s the case, then ‘Celtism’ and ‘Celticism’ is more akin to ‘Islam’ and ‘Islamism’ in its imposition of a transnational ideology (religious and military, latterly) which overrides race and blood ties. Being Irish, of course, we like our myths too much to let the facts get in the way of our tribal notions of pure, inadulterated gombeen nationalism. What say you, a chara?

  • Greenflag

    Henry 94,

    ‘but where I differ with you is that I consider re-partition a possible consequence of the failure of the Agreement not as a better option. ‘

    Well yes to a point but I also see repartition as a logical follow on from the first partition . If you look at the politico sectarian demographics in the 9 counties of Ulster in 1920, which preempted the Unionist decision to establish the 6 county NI State , you can se in 2006 the very same politico sectarian demographics in the 6 county NI State .

    I was initially pro Agreement but as the years have passed since 1998 and as mistrust has grown between the NI politicians I now look at the Agreement as part of the problem and not a part of the solution .

    The Agreement is a ‘mockery’ of democracy. It forces people/parties into ‘power sharing’ Government based on a convoluted system of voting majorities etc etc . These are parties/people that would prefer to cross the road to spit at their power sharing partner than sit at the same table with him/her.

    In a last ditch attempt to undo the ‘tyranny’ of the majority in the Old Stormont 1920-1972 , NI now has foisted on it , an expensive , powerless, non sitting , in suspension for 4 years , Assembly which is the laughing stock of the political world.

    ‘If the institutions are up and running, and working well there will be no political demand for re-partition. ”

    That’s a big if. I can’t disagree with your conclusion if your ‘IF ‘ came to pass . Even so regardless of the ‘institutions’ working or not working, the continuing faster economic growth in the Republic and changing demographic ratios within NI particularly in the southern and western areas of NI will inevitably have political consequences for the survival of Union in it’s present format.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Richard Dowling,

    I lost contact with your post at this point:

    …we like our myths too much to let the facts get in the way of our tribal notions of pure, inadulterated gombeen nationalism.

    I am not sure what that sentence was supposed to mean. Were you replying to someone? In which case who?

    You appear anyway to be mixing up the concepts of race and nation. You wouldn’t be the first to do that, unfortunately. Luckily Irish nationalism tends not to – the people of Ireland, irrespective of ‘race’, form the Irish nation.

  • Greenflag

    IJP,

    ‘It is evidence that people would rather live ‘with their own kind’ than try to get on with their fellow islanders. ‘

    Untrue . Repartition is about fixing what’s broke . Northern Ireland is ‘broke’ financially, and politically in it’s present 6 county format . It needs fixing and sooner rather than later IMO.

  • Greenflag

    Declan,

    ‘If the nationalist vote creeps over 50% I can’t see the unionists holding their hands up,muttering ‘fair cop’, and walking sheepishly into a UI.They will most likely treat a pro-UI majority in NI with the same respect as their forefathers treated a pro-Home Rule majority in the whole of Ireland and push for repartition.’

    So why would anyone want to wait around for 15 years to be told

    ‘When you (nationalists) were in the minority you would’nt accept the Union with the UK so now we Unionists who are now the minority won;t accept the Union with the Republic ‘

    The better option is for Northern Irish nationalists not to wait for the non arrival of Godot in 2021 but instead to pursue a fair repartition now as the best means of elevating their economic and political situation in Ireland and the wider world outside NI.

  • PHIL

    Absolutely Prince,

    If England secedes it is for the rest to decide how to govern themselves and whether that is in a rump UK, a “Celtic” federation or as independant states it is entirely up to the people of those countries to decide. I hope that Blair and “Union Jock” Brown do try to get us all to celebrate the 300th birthday of the union next year as it will go down like a lead balloon here too. There is a demonstration planned for 26th March as close to the former English parlaiment as we can get to demand its re-instatement and I would welcome any nationalists from Scotland who would like to join in.

  • Greenflag

    Richard Dowling,

    I would rely on SKY TV for hard information on the history of the Irish /English race/races in the same way as I would rely on the Sun for an intelligent analysis of the problems in the Middle East .

    BTW there is only one human race . There are thousands of slightly different ethnic groups across the world who differ in skin, eye and hair colours and other physical traits .

    The Irish have always been a mix of various ‘ethnic’ groups just like the English . Scots and indeed every other nation in Europe today.

  • Greenflag

    pid,

    ‘I asked for maps….I got maps
    Still not persuaded , ‘

    Keep waiting for Godot then but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t turn up in 2021 or 2061 or ever .An unreliable fellow at the best of times, and even more unreliable at the worst of times .

  • Stephen Copeland

    Greenflag,

    You’re clearly not a fan of my ‘assimilation’ theory, then?

    It goes like this:

    The number of mixed marriaages is rising fast, and fewer young people have any interest in religion. The children of mixed marriages are (a) ineligible for OO membership, and (b) unlikely to be attracted to the DUP. Hence both of those organisations will wither.

    So after one, maybe two, generations, the argument ceases to be one based upon religion or ‘ethnicity’ (since a large proportion will be of mixed ‘ethnicity’). Increasingly the discussion of the border will turn on pragmatism, on whether it is necessary or useful.

    Since we all know that it is an abomination in pragmatic terms, and since the south is increasingly a better place to live, simple logic, combined with economic rationality, will see the border falling into irrelevance. As it does so, family, friendship, economic and cultural links will mushroom. Political reality will, as ever, follow along behind.

    And all without a shot being fired or a census counted.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Phil.

    Best of British. oops English;¬)

  • Rubicon

    Little has been said about the feasibility of repartition.

    What political pressure would push for a re-visitation to Ireland’s ground-hog-day?

    From nationalists – who? SF? The southern government? Can’r EVER see that happening.

    From unionists perhaps? In what context? As an alternative to a plebiscite demand for a UI? Perhaps – but who would be listening?

    Apart from the unlikely event of finding political protagonists for repartition, is there any point in considering it? Perhaps there is – but only if the concepts change and probably not even then.

    The basis of NI’s instability hinges on a conflict about nationality that demands territorial expression. None of this goes away by repartition – indeed, making a international frontier reflect population movements (geographical and in-situ) will cause a fear of diversity and amplify it to even higher levels that it already is.

    Sectarian pogroms followed the last attempt – and I’ve heard nothing argued by the repartitionists that convinces me that we’d not return to the same. Better cartography, more involvement of supposed independent external agencies conceives the problem to be one of detail. It is not.

    Even if the a-historical believe repeating the problems of the past will have different consequences – and even if the a-political fail to identify a popular movement, territorial repartitionists remain incurable optimists (at best).

    If repartition has merit at all it is in considering non-territorial revisions. If power-sharing fails again then perhaps that 2nd chamber in Stormont (the old senate) could find a use through establishing a house of Irish and British representatives.

    It’s difficult conceive how 2 houses could work – and it’s perhaps impossible – but not politically impossible and unrealistic and a repeat of a strategy that could only find legs by; accepting the last partition failed, concluding that failure to be a matter of detail and failing to identify a political bloc willing to make such a nonsensical argument!

  • Greenflag

    Stephen.

    Your ‘assimilation’ theory sounds plausible but it’s just another form of the ‘waiting for godot’ syndrome .

    As I see the NI problem as political and constitutional and not religious/ethnic/race based , despite the attempts of some to portray it as such , I see the solution as requiring a political and constitutional fix – now(next week Ok? ) and not in 60 years .

    So I look for a pragmatic political solution in the here and now and not ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ .

    Just because someone is as you put it is of ‘mixed’ ethnicity and little or no religion does not mean that he or she will ‘favour’ a UI over a UK .

    ‘Since we all know that it (the border) is an abomination in pragmatic terms’

    Who is ‘we’ ? It seems that not only are Unionists assumed/reputed to rate low on the ‘intellectual ‘ scale (separate thread) but they are now to be considered deficient in ‘pragmatism’ ? For Unionists the border is ‘pragmatic’ . Without it there is no union.

  • Greenflag

    ‘territorial repartitionists remain incurable optimists ‘

    So what term do you have for those who continue to see a ‘devolved power sharing DUP/SF NI Government as being the only solution ?

    Eternal optimists ? Cock eyed optimists ?

    As for your ‘two Houses’ ? With respect I think you may have lost your way a bit when you crossed that rubicon .

    In one respect repartition would be crossing the Rubicon and perhaps that’s why people would rather not consider it as a solution .

    I however would hold that there are times in history when it’s better to cross the Rubicon and settle the issue rather than sit on the north bank and twiddle your thumbs and navel gaze for another generation or longer.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Greenflag,

    … For Unionists the border is ‘pragmatic’

    There I respectfully disagree.

    They may have used various pragmatic-sounding reasons in the past to justify their border, but as those reasons get progressively stripped away, and yet the refusal to interact meaningfully with their fellow Irishpeople does not, we can see more clearly that their real reasons for wanting a border are not economic, infrastructural, health, or educational. They appear to prefer to be poor and marginal in a UK that richer and more powerful in a UI. It is a choice based on something, but that something is not pragmatism!

  • PHIL

    Prince,

    LOL!

  • Greenflag

    ‘They appear to prefer to be poor and marginal in a UK that richer and more powerful in a UI. It is a choice based on something, but that something is not pragmatism!

    Right Stephen. More or less following the steps of the Irish people in 1922 when we opted to be poor and marginal instead of being direcly ruled by the world super power at that time . Unionists could claim that their decision in 1920 was the more pragmatic . And I would’nt disagree .

    Times have changed but then who could have foretold in 1920 what Ireland would become by 2006 . Or for that matter which experts would have predicted a United Germany and the fall of Communism around the world in 1988 ?

    History oftentimes meanders along in a slow stream of incremental change (your assimilation model) and then sometimes from apparently nowhere it rushes past like a tornado leaving behind a United Germany or a post communist Russia or dare I say it a post repartition Ireland or even a UI.

  • Nathan

    Keith Mills,

    What you are suggesting is basically a return to the days of the dual monarchy (before 1800) with a President replacing a sovreign.

    Yes, privately I support a Republican version of the Dual Monarchy similar to that which operated in Ireland in the 18th century. I have no sectarian objections to a British Muslim or a Scottish Catholic as President of Britain and Ireland, if the collective peoples of the isles vote for this. We must cherish all children of the Irish nation equally, even on the occasions when our First Citizen would happen to be non-Irish!

    My proposal is to have a federal republic with national assemblies for Scotland, Wales, Ireland London and three other regional assemblies for England. A Federal Parliament would decided things like foreign policy etc, with an elected head of State, chosen by STV.

    Ireland is now an internationally recognised independent State…a federal arrangement between the two countries would mark the end to Irish legislative autonomy on the scale that we enjoy currently. And naturally enough, the Dail would have to be dismembered.

    So no thanks is the answer. I fully agree with Edmund Burke when he said that “A state without the means of change is without the means of its conservation”. But I would only favour a change to our institutions on the basis that it does not, of itself, threaten our national identity.

    Your suggestion, unfortunately, achieves just that. Plus, it wouldn’t be well received among Dubliners, or anywhere else for that matter.

    Nevertheless, radical Unionism is a legitimate and strong-minded tradition so I hope that where-ever you go in the country with such views, that you are given the common courtesy that you richly deserve.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Or global warming wiping us all off the map.

    The whole unionist/nationalist thing will look pretty silly in 50 years if the Gulfstream stops. Then they* can have the frozen wastes of the north!

    [* ‘they’ being whichever side you prefer … it won’t bloody matter!]

  • Greenflag

    … it won’t bloody matter!]

    I’m disappointed by this defeatist remark . Of course it will matter. The important question to answer then will be is it a Unionist Ice Age or a Nationalist Ice Age :)?

    IIRC the last Ice Age avoided Kerry and the South West with the mile high ice sheet . Still I can imagine the Kerry folk surviving anywhere but even they will draw the line at feasting on tundra bred lichen .

    ‘The whole unionist/nationalist thing will look pretty silly in 50 years ‘

    It looks silly already I’d have thought .

  • Stephen Copeland

    It looks silly already I’d have thought

    Very true.

    Still, the possibilities are endless. How about Orange Order marches in snow shoes? Demanding the right to fish in the ‘Queen’s hole in the ice’?

    Maybe the white in the Tricolour might seem very appropriate. And Snow Patrol very prescient.

    Meanwhile the smart ones (including myself, natch) will have decamped to the med. Actually, the smart ones probably already have.

  • Tochais Siorai

    ……Still, the possibilities are endless. How about Orange Order marches in snow shoes? Demanding the right to fish in the ‘Queen’s hole in the ice’?……

    No doubt you imagined them marching up to police lines with a prepared statement along the lines of
    ‘We demand the right to put our rods in the Queen’s hole’

  • Richard Dowling

    The whole point of my blog-bite was that we (the Irish) are not a Celtic race. In fact, the term Celtic was probably originally used as loosely as the term British today, to denote people of quite varied backgrounds (different ethnic groups)who may or may not share many cultural, linguistic or even ideological characteristics, but who are living in a political alliance or nationhood, with a shared history or heritage and common bonds of mutual interdependence. It implies more than commonwealth, and should far transcend the whole notion of ethnicity or, certainly, race.

    Nationalism, on the other hand, has been debased
    through its association with fascism and ethnic and religious bigotry to mean something far more sinister than merely ‘the nation state’. And in the North, Republicanism has often come to mean little more than violent nationalism with a sectarian face — as of course has Loyalism.

    Republicanism has gone further too, ideologically committed (at least until recently) to terror and the export of terrorist tactics worldwide. In that sense, you are right. The IRA were not racists. But they were certainly transnational terrorists, and sly (oh, how very sly) sectarian deceivers.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The whole point of my blog-bite was that we (the Irish) are not a Celtic race.’

    The subject of this ‘thread’ is Repartition a viable option ?

    Repartition has nothing to do with race . Any new border will not be based on DNA profiling or whether your name is Murphy , Churchill or Blair. If you trace your direct lineage back to the time of Christ you will like those who find ‘pride’ in descent from ancient Milesians /Ulidians /Cruthin/Scots /Angles / Balubas etc etc discover that your existence today is the result of the fortuitous and timely coupling of some 16 billion people in your direct line of descent since the time of Christ . If just one of those ‘ancestors’ decided to mate with someone else your name might be Dobrazhensky or Rottweiler or Cascarino instead of Dowling .

    Stick to the politics .

  • Richard Dowling

    Poor guy. Don’t be so tetchy. It’s green nationalism which has muddied the waters about who has a right to be in this land of ours. Talk of Repartition is just another way of browbeating people who don’t measure up to the tribal shibboleths set down by generations of mad republicans — the village idiots of nationalism fed on generations of mythological narcissism. Besides, I don’t have to hide behind a pseudonym. Why do you? Why WOULD you?

  • Greenflag

    ‘It’s green nationalism which has muddied the waters about who has a right to be in this land of ours’

    So the clear water of British Nationalism in Ireland as expressed through English conquest and unionist rule never muddied Ireland , or determined who should live or die or be sent to Hell or Connaught or into slavery in the West Indies . The Penal Laws were a myth and the confiscation of 80% or more of Irish land by English conquerors and their adventures never happened ? The Irish always and everywhere welcomed English rule with open arms and could’nt wait to kiss the ground on which John Bull trod .

    In your muddied dreams Dick and nowhere else .

    Simply put – Irish nationalism was the response of the people of Ireland to the imposition by conquest of British nationalism in Ireland .

    So how fare the village idiots of Unionism and Loyalism fed on generations of mythological narcissism?

  • Greenflag

    Richard Dowling ‘

    ‘Talk of Repartition is just another way of browbeating people who don’t measure up to the tribal shibboleths set down by generations of mad republicans’

    So you would agree that Partition was a way of browbeating people who don’t measure up to the tribal shibboleths set down by generations of mad unionists? Or are unionist ‘shibboleths ‘ somehow sacrosanct because the Monarch is also Head of the Church ?

    There’s a village out there this evening missing it’s idiot . I trust you’ll find your way home Dick .

    Back to the thread subject.

    A fair Repartition is a reasonable solution which would ensure that approx 96% of all the people on this island get to live in the State of their first preference .

    It’s not a perfect solution but then that does’nt exist as we can see from the present political farce that is NI sectarian politics.

  • Travis

    Greenflag: “A fair Repartition is a reasonable solution which would ensure that approx 96% of all the people on this island get to live in the State of their first preference .”

    That is a vast improvement –some 500,000 people– over the present situation. Northern Ireland in its current six county makeup will continue to remain a bleak world most people would be better off moving beyond. IMHO.

  • Southern Observer

    [i]Declan,

    ‘If the nationalist vote creeps over 50% I can’t see the unionists holding their hands up,muttering ‘fair cop’, and walking sheepishly into a UI.They will most likely treat a pro-UI majority in NI with the same respect as their forefathers treated a pro-Home Rule majority in the whole of Ireland and push for repartition.’ [/i]
    That wasn’t declan.It was me.

  • Endgame

    When there is a nationalist majority in the 6 counties, Unionists will push for repartition.
    Partition has clearly failed and the mistake will not be made again. NI is a basket case economically. The British want out. Unionists haven’t copped it yet. Its in their interests to seek reconciliation with Nationalists. They will have far more power when Ireland is reunified than they ever had in the UK.

  • declan

    Endgame

    The 2021 scenario is the scenario in which nationalist demograhiphic increase comes to an end SHORT of the critical mass needed to secure a United Ireland. To this end, note that in the last census the % Catholic, by community background, of the 0-10 age group, fell below 50% from bein above 50% in the 1991 census. The 2021 scenario will follow if the 2021 census contiues with less than 50% in the 0-10 age bracket being Catholic by community background. In that scenario it will be nationlaists starting to think afresh about a fair repartition.

  • Greenflag

    ‘That is a vast improvement –some 500,000 people– over the present situation. ‘

    And an improvemnt of 750,000 over the situation in a 32 county UI in which the Republic would have the burden of dealing with 850,000 alienated disgruntled Unionists forever whining for the ‘good old days’

    Basic mathematics of repartition

    100,000 Irish minority in a smaller NI is less than a 780,000 Irish minority in the present NI .

    100,000 < 780,000 Similarly a 100,000 Unionist minority in a larger Irish Republic is less than an 850,000 Unionist minority in a UI. 100,000 < 850,000

  • Greenflag

    Endgame ,

    ‘When there is a nationalist majority in the 6 counties, Unionists will push for repartition. ‘

    True but more accurate to have qualified your comment with ‘if’ nationalists ever become a majority .

    But for the sake of argument assume there is a nationalist majority and unionists do push for repartition who do you think will oppose their push and precisely how ?

    The British Government ?

    The Irish Government ? Sorry mate we’re all too fat and happy and well off . We’d rather drive our BMW’s around the new motorways than drive ‘Unionists ‘ into the sea .

    The IRA ? With what ?

    The outcome of the above assumption woud be a short sharp civil war and would probably end with a repartitioned NI anyway .

    Thus it makes better economic and political sense for Northern nationalists and republicans to move to a policy of getting a fair repartition by peaceful means now rather than have it forced on them in the future.

  • Greenflag

    Declan,

    Is there any good reason -economic or political why Northern Ireland nationalists should ‘wait’ until your 2021 scenario arrives before pursuing a peaceful Repartition policy?

    Why keep using a plaster for 15 years when it’s obvious that a surgical operation will result in a much better future for the patient ?

  • Endgame

    Partition is transient. It has existed for 85 years. I doubt it will last another 20. The Belfast agreement is the solution. When the people of Ireland North & South vote for Reunification it will occur and the British will be glad to see the back of NI.

  • Greenflag

    Endgame?

    ‘Partition is transient’

    Not when your compare it to the the following

    Soviet Union and it’s 20 or so Socialist Soviet Republics (SSR’s) East Germany , South Vietnam , North Vietnam , Yugoslavia , Czechoslovakia , or the minority regimes of Northern & Southern Rhodesia, South Africa , South West Africa, British India pre 1949, etc etc etc etc

    Northern Ireland has outlasted all the above. Not bad for a transient ?

    ‘I doubt it will last another 20. ‘

    So because you doubt it it won’t last ? You’ll have to do better than that to be convincing.

    ‘The Belfast agreement is the solution.’

    For what ?

    ‘When the people of Ireland North & South vote for Reunification it will occur ‘

    And when and how might this vote take place ?

    ‘the British will be glad to see the back of NI.’

    Perhaps -perhaps not but when has that ever made a difference ?

  • dantheman

    I doubt there is anyone, not even a unionist who believes that the british government and the majority of people in Britain/UK would not be glad to get rid of NI. The only people who ever really pushed for the partition of Ireland (and achieved it via the threat of violence) were the orange masses in the north. In fact I dare say most Brits would prefer a reunification with the republic and cast the 6 counties adrift as a preferred option. And its difficult to blame them.

    Dare I say it but these “unionists” do not care about most of their fellow “UK” citizens and have consistently failed to state even one clear reason why the status quo benefits the citizens of GB. Not one ever.
    Its all ME,ME,ME with this rabble!

    However even though they are unwanted and a cancer on britains side, they seem unfazed and even unaware of the harm they do to themselves and others. It is time to accept the fact that this community is suffering from paranoid schizoprenia. Best to repartition the 6 counties till they come to their senses. I recommend the following council areas would form the new statelet in the NE:

    Moyle
    Fermanagh
    Cookstown
    Limavady
    Armagh
    Belfast (EAST)
    Craigavon
    Antrim
    Lisburn
    Ballymoney
    Banbridge
    Coleraine
    Larne
    Ballymena
    Newtownabbey
    Castlereagh
    Ards
    North Down
    Carrickfergus

    Belfast would be partitioned and Moyle and Armagh (despite a net loss of catholics) would be interswappped to maintain territorial integrity. However, if population trends continue to 2021 there could be a case for retaining Moyle, Armagh, Craigavon. I would still divide Belfast city depsite demographic changes, due to the bulk of population.

    The Protestant work ethic myth has been exposed by the Celtic Tiger, fuelled only by their delusions and ‘undeclared’ pocket money from HM treasury, £8,000 per year for every unionist voter. This new state in the NE (whatever they would call it and whatever version of history they would invent to give it some “always separate from the rest of ireland” status) would be regarded with the contempt it deserved from all sides. My only fear would be that if London were to stop the pocket money, that Loyalists would react in the only manner they know, by blaming catholics for their problems and killing women and children.

    However in this unfortunate scenario, its worth remembering that orangeism no longer has the clout it once had. In this new arrangement the irish army would never be more than 20 minutes from any significant nationalist territory, and would have a lot less and more concentrated areas to defend. I beliieve that under these arrangement the scorched earth policy so preferred many of the “law abiding community” would not come to fruition.
    I also believe that Moyle and West Belfast, despite their distance separation from the rest of the territory would not be kept isolated.

  • declan

    Endgame

    “Partition is transient. It has existed for 85 years. I doubt it will last another 20. The Belfast agreement is the solution.”

    One thing the Agreement meant was that partition woudn’t go away unless the majority of people in the six counties vote for it. It may look to you NOW that partition won’t last another 20 years. People were saying that many years ago by the way. But the source of nationalist demographic increase, a nationalist share of births in excess of 50%, has gone. By 2021 is is possible that nationalists will have “scenario 2021”, a realisation that the critical mass needed for a 51% vote is just not going to happen. In that context many nationalists will start to think again in terms of fair repartition.

    Greenflag

    “Is there any good reason -economic or political why Northern Ireland nationalists should ‘wait’ until your 2021 scenario arrives before pursuing a peaceful Repartition policy?”

    I think many will reason that it is not clear right now what way the demographics will go, but at some point it will settle one way or another, and by 2021 lots of things will have been cleared up. In particular, whether the slowdown in the Catholic borth rate came too soon to result in a chance of a 51% vote happening.

    By 2021 it should be clear if the slowdown in the Catholic birth rate came too soon in the six counties, resulting in the days of nationalist demographic increase coming to an end short of the critical mass needed for a United Ireland.

  • lib2016

    declan,

    Any predictions I have seen about demographics have also mentioned the fact that Unionists are dying at about twice the rate of nationalists, due to the different age makeup of the two communities.

    In order for your posts to be taken seriously not only do you have to prove that nationalists aren’t attending state schools in ever increasing numbers but also that unionists have learned the secret of eternal life.

    Despite the evident age of one unionist leader there is no evidence that unionists generally live forever.

    In the meantime I will continue to believe that the people who will vote us into the Republic are already attending second level education.

  • declan

    lib2016

    “Any predictions I have seen about demographics have also mentioned the fact that Unionists are dying at about twice the rate of nationalists, due to the different age makeup of the two communities.”

    Remember that the total number of people dying per year is currently running at only 14000, far fewer than the number of peole entering the six counties, by either birth (20000 per year) or by immigration (20000+ per year). And the people entering the six counties by birth (0-10) are less than 50% Catholic (by community background). This is determined in the Census not by school attended, but by the religion or stated “religion brought up in” of the parents. While the people entering by immigration were only 38% Catholic (by community background).

    That is why scenario 2021 is such a key concept. The demographics suggest that the days of nationalist increase could be coming to an end. If that increase clearly settles at a point short of the 51% critical mass needed for a vote in the six counties for a United Ireland to be won, then nationalists could well start to think again about a fair repartition.

  • lib2016

    declan,

    The Protestant proportion of the population has been decreasing for two centuries. Even the census was five years ago since which the number of incomers has soared.

    Your figures are worthless. Ask any estate agent where to buy a cheap house if you want to know where population numbers are sinking.

    The UDA came up against the wrath of the Protestant mortage repayer. Guess who lost?

  • declan

    Lib2016 – In the same paragraph you complan first that my stats are out of date, then you talk about 200 year trends (as though that means somehow they must go on forever); then you complain my Census data are not reliable enough, then you resort to anecdoes from Estate Agents. :).

    For what its worth the data out last week on migration by parliamentary constituency shows that the top three constituencies showing net outmigration are: West Belfast (-1100), Belfast North (-700), and Foyle (-300) with the biggest inmigration in Lagan Valley (+1500) and Upper Bann (+1400).

    Estate agents are an imperfect substitute for proper evidence, since house prices are local, people move from one place within the six counties to another. So a low house price on a run down loyalist street does not tell us the net effects at six county level, since people move within the six counties. Houe prices have been increasing rapidly across the six counties for a number of years now, without any real differentials depending on whether the town is mainly protestant or mainly Catholic.

    Migration into the six counties has been increasing from Britain in recent years, with more moving from Britain to the six counties than leaving and the 2001 census found this group (the people moving from Britain to the six counties) was only 38% Catholic (by community background).

    And as I say, the Catholic share (by community background) of the 0-10 group has now fallen to less than 50%. So the days when nationalists could count on a demographic increase could be coming to an end. In that context, it is where scenario 2021 comes in. If by 2021 it looks like the nationalist demographic increase has come to a halt at a point short of the critical mass of 51% needed to secure a vote for a United Ireland, then nationalists in the six counties could start to think in terms of a fair repartition.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Greenflag

    Interesting the bits you mention as staying within the UK without the burden of the other bits would be very viable.

    Who exactly would want the other bit?

    Anyway it ain’t going to happen, nor is a United Ireland except in the minds of misty eyed nationalists and republcans in their wildest dreams.

  • declan

    Correction, I should have said in the second last paragraph: “Migration into the six counties has been increasing from Britain in recent years, with more moving from Britain to the six counties than leaving and the 2001 census found this group (the people moving from Britain to the six counties) was only 30% Catholic (by community background).”

    That is replace “38%” with “30%”. The 38% figure is for all in-migrants from outside the six counties, while the 30% figure is for the inmigrants from Britain.

  • declan

    Greenflag

    “Is there any good reason -economic or political why Northern Ireland nationalists should ‘wait’ until your 2021 scenario arrives before pursuing a peaceful Repartition policy?

    Why keep using a plaster for 15 years when it’s obvious that a surgical operation will result in a much better future for the patient ? ”

    This high-profile Derry nationalist paper has already come out in favour of repartition:

    “In the absence of any political deal in November and the demise of the Good Friday Agreement it might do no harm for the business community to consider lobbying for a new political solution based upon each of the northern counties being free to opt out of the United Kingdom and join the Republic.” Derry Journal this week.

    link

    Others may take longer to come around to a fair repartition:(

  • endgame

    Nobody predicted German Reunification in the 1980’s. Northern Ireland, North Korea, Northern Cyrpus are all transient states. They were created artificially and will not last.
    When the Unionist leadership once again fails to come to an agreement in November, the 2 governments will implement plan B. The government of Ireland’s role in the North will move from a consultative role to joint management with Britain of Northern Ireland. Reunification will occur when there is a majority in both juristinctions who vote for it.
    The Belfast ageement facilitates this.
    Repartition will just delay the inevitable.

  • declan

    “Reunification will occur when there is a majority in both juristinctions who vote for it.
    The Belfast ageement facilitates this. ”

    However come 2021 it may become clear that the days of nationalist demographic increase have come to an end short of the critical mass of 51% needed in the Agreement. In that scenario – the 2021 secnario – many nationalists may come to think of fair repartition as the best option for nationalists.

    The Derry Journal is already advocating fair repartition.

  • Greenflag

    Frustrated Democrat,

    ‘Interesting the bits you mention as staying within the UK without the burden of the other bits would be very viable. ‘

    That depends on what you mean by viable . Initially they would not be stand alone ‘viable’ as a fully independent State unless Unionists were prepared to accept a 40% drop in living standards and similar cuts in welfare benefits and state pensions . Longer term a smaller Unionist State could be more viable given a couple of decades of peace and high levels of inward investment . As against that having a stagnant population would be a negative for small local businesses in the new State.

    ‘Who exactly would want the other bit?’

    Like it or not the Irish Republic has a moral and political responsibility for the Irish people of Northern Ireland so the question of ‘wanting’ does not apply . These western and southern areas of NI were badly served by successive generations of Unionist governments and their ‘geographical’ location has also been an extra impediment to economic growth .

    ‘ Anyway it ain’t going to happen’

    I would’nt say that .At one time people said there would never be an Irish Free State . It will happen in my view when Northern Ireland nationalists take off their blinkers re a UI and focus instead on a 30 county sized Irish Republic as being in their best economic, and political interest . They need to stop ‘reaching out to ‘deaf ‘ Unionism and instead wave Unionists a cheerful and peaceful ‘goodbye’ .

  • Greenflag

    Endgame,

    Northern Ireland is not North Korea . People In Northern Ireland have a choice when they vote . In every election since 1920 a majority has voted for NI to remain within the UK .

    From Declan’s numbers you should be able to deduce that a UI is not inevitable and unless a large number of Unionists change their constitutional preferenc unachievable . And this is apart altogether from considering whether a UI which includes 850,000 alienated and disgruntled Unionists is even desirable ?

    ‘Repartition will just delay the inevitable.’

    Actually Repartition deals with the inevitable .

  • Greenflag

    Declan,

    ‘I think many will reason that it is not clear right now what way the demographics will go, but at some point it will settle one way or another, and by 2021 lots of things will have been cleared up’

    What do you mean by ‘settle’ one way or the other ? It would seem to me that even by 2021 the most extreme demographic that could occur either way would be a 40/60 split either way . So you would still be left with a very large minority either Unionist or Nationalist in a 6 county NI.

    Wee Ulsterman commented on an aspect of NI demographics that was overlooked . He looked at the ‘map’ and made the point that a new border could easily be drawn which would leave the vast majority of nationalists in a larger republic, and also noted the increased number of areas which are now predominantly 75% plus one side or the other .

    One of the consequences of the internal repartitioning that has gone on in NI over the past generation is that whereas 40 years ago there would have been many more towns and villages and communities in the range of 40/60 divide either way , the trend in the last three decades seems to be that when one community gets to around 65% then it very soon becomes 80% or more one way or the other . The reasons for this are complex . Many people when faced with becoming a small minority i.e 30% or less in a community opt to move to areas where they are once again the majority . When you add on to this social phenomenon Northern Ireland’s East West divide economic and political then it can be seen that there is an irreversible trend towards repartition . The new 7 Super councils will probably speed up that trend .

    Given the above trend why bother with scenario 2021 ? Northern Ireland nationalists should’nt waste any more time IMO.

  • Greenflag

    Declan,

    ‘However come 2021 it may become clear that the days of nationalist demographic increase have come to an end short of the critical mass of 51% needed in the Agreement.

    As we are getting near to the useful life of this ‘thread’ I think it should be said that
    regardless whether in 2021 it becomes clear or not as regards what you call the ‘critical ‘ mass (no pun intended on your part I’m sure) is’nt there another side to all of this putative outbreeding/50% plus 1 / critical mass etc that everybody is overlooking .

    By which I mean the whole idea/prospect of a UI being achieved through ‘outbreeding’ is at base sordid . In a way it is just the reverse side of the Unionist ‘gerrymander’ in 1920 . It makes a mockery of the ‘traditional republican ‘ tenet of Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter ?

    Surely Irish Republicans can see that ?

    A fair Repartition at this time would put an end to all putative 15 year demographic scenarios and allow people to deal with the here and now and for Northern Irish nationalists to take immediate advantage from being part of a fast growing economy ?

    Just a final thought .

    In light of continuing endless politcal and constitutioanl differences between the parties a fair repartition is the honest solution for all sides . Not perfect but good enough and honest.

  • Southern Observer

    [i]However come 2021 it may become clear that the days of nationalist demographic increase have come to an end short of the critical mass of 51% needed in the Agreement. In that scenario – the 2021 secnario – many nationalists may come to think of fair repartition as the best option for nationalists.[/i]
    Declan,
    If an extra Catholic child was born for every time you made that comment they would be well on the way to a majority by now.

  • PaddyReilly

    Yes Declan, you have made your point and it’s a very interesting point, but it’s not something that needs our immediate attention, because it isn’t going to come to fruition before 2021. So what I propose is that you drop the matter now, and come back in 2021 with the message “I told you so.”

    The alternative, that you are going to be repeating yourself from now till then, is too horrible to contemplate.

  • endgame

    Declan,

    Not all nationalists are catholic. Stop doing sectarian headcounting!! ROI and the UK have more in common than NI. They are close allies now. UK does not want to subsidise NI any longer. ROI is vastly more wealthy and will have to subsidise NI when the UK exits… Expect a border poll in the coming years…

  • German-American

    Pardon my for coming late to the game; I know the last thing some want to see is yet another comment on the repartition question, so I’ll try to go beyond repeating previous points.

    First, following on from Wee Ulsterman’s comment (“over 2/3rd of the province is already over 80% one way or the other”), regardless of whether Northern Ireland at a political level settles down into a sort-of-working entity, it’s very possible that patterns of residential segregration will not only persist but extend even further than they do today. See for example Schelling’s work on residential segregation, in which he argues that even relatively mild preferences regarding one’s desired neighbors can lead to highly segregated areas. It would be an interesting project to try to predict possible future patterns of residential segregation within Northern Ireland based on historical trends, present survey data about religious and political affiliations and related preferences, and a more sophisticated version of Schelling’s model — any mathematical sociologists out there looking for a thesis subject?

    (By the way, Wee Ulsterman didn’t give a link, but by his reference to the CAIN site I presume he was referring to this map for NI as a whole and this map for Belfast. Compare to the results of the Schelling model linked to above as well as those prodeuced by higher-resolution versions, of which many exist on the net — google for “schelling segregation model”.)

    However, regardless of whether Northern Ireland gets self-sorted into distinct “enclaves” dominated by one “community” or other, I agree with Mick Fealty’s comment that the political pressures for formal repartition will likely not be strong enough to make it happen in practice, especially if the two governments are cool on the idea. In a separate comment Wee Ulsterman mentioned the example of Belgium: “I’d imagine it might turn out a bit like Belgium where each council area has a very obvious ‘Irish’ or ‘British’ identity.” Belgium also has the additional factor of a regional split based on different native languages, and would seem an obvious candidate for a repartition into two separate countries, yet it still exists as a single unified state, albeit with internal community-aligned governmental subdivisions. Why should Northern Ireland be any different?

    So, my prediction for the future of Northern Ireland is no true repartition, but a de facto internal repartition corresponding to future “super-council” areas whose powers will be gradually increased under “Plan B”, with a relatively weak NI-wide assembly emerging only after several years of stalemate. As I’ve argued on another thread, it might make sense in future for matters of justice and policing to be devolved directly to the super-councils instead of the assembly. Policing seems to be the issue where each of the two sides is least willing to trust the other, and thus it would seem better for each to control justice and policing arrangements within their own “territories”. Super-councils could also be given some flexibility in varying tax rates, for example in the form of a supplemental per-council rate imposed on top of a NI-wide rate, with the supplemental rate being comparable to the base rate. (Income tax works this way in some US states, with counties having a supplemental tax rate on the order of half to two-thirds that of the state rate.)

  • Greenflag

    German-American,

    Thanks for your reply and thought provoking post . I’ll try to answer some of your points although time is short today.

    ‘Why should Northern Ireland be any different?

    Very simply Northern Ireland’s political and economic and ‘religious history is very different from Belgium’s. The people of Northern Ireland are not Belgian. Another major difference is that neither the French speaking Walloons nor the Dutch/Flemish speaking Flemings have been demanding ‘unification’ with either Holland or France. Also the Flemings though Dutch/Flemish speaking are predominantly Catholic as are the Walloons.

    The reason Belgium has not split into two countries is because both groups are ‘comfortable’ with the status quo and they have enough other ‘commonality’ despite the linguistic difference . Being part of the EU is more important to Belgians than being a part of a greater Holland or France. Being part of the UK or the Irish Republic is probably more important to the people of NI than being part of the EU .

    Your prediction sounds plausible enough in theory and it may yet work out like that in practice . I would make the point however that the effect of internal self repartitioning in NI may not lead to a ‘New Belgium’ for two main reasons. One reason being the economic and political dynamic of the ROI next door to NI coupled with the contentious history of NI since 1920. The other being the localised strength of Unonists in the east of NI and their attachment to Westminster/Crown.

    The suggestions you make re tax rates seem overly complicated . Given the economic reality of NI as an already public sector (70%) dependent regional economy, it’s difficult to see where the new Super Councils will get any extra taxes from ?

    As to a relatively weak NI-wide assembly emerging only after several years of stalemate?

    Better in my view then to have no Assembly . NI is already over governed as it is .

    A repartition settlement would allow both parts to participate in real politics north and south of any new border without the need for the ‘contortions and complications ‘ of the three tiers of ‘government’ Super Councils + NI Assembly + Westminster as per your suggestion.

    Finally I would make the point that the people of NI both Irish and British have a strong sense of their ‘nationality’ and due to the local history an even stronger sense than the rest of the Irish or the British /English/Scots/Welsh.

    The Belgians on the other hand ? What is a Belgian ? Ask yourself what is an Englishman/German/Frenchman /Russian/Italian etc and we all have some idea of what to ‘expect’ . But a Belgian ? Now I’m sure the Belgians of both ‘sorts’ are a hard working and sensible people and all the better off for the sensible solution they have ‘evolved’ in Belgium.

    But however I look at the people of NI either Unionist/Loyalist or Nationalist/Republican I don’t see any Belgians or even would be Belgians or for that matter any Swiss or would be Swiss either .

  • Greenflag

    Endgame,

    ‘and will have to subsidise NI when the UK exits’

    Sorry chief this will not be a winner with the Republic’s voters . We may be ‘wealthier’ on an individual per capita GDP and GNP than the UK but in relation to population NI would make up about 30% of a UI whereas in the UK , NI makes up about 2% of the total . The message to NI in any UI would be ‘get your finger out’ and pull yerselves up by your bootstraps just like the rest of us had to .

    Not quite the English way but then HMG can afford (perhaps less so today ) to indulge the ‘economics of the madhouse’ that is the NI State and it’s unaccountable politicians and bloated public sector .

  • Greenflag

    PR,

    ‘The alternative that you are going to be repeating yourself from now till then,is too horrible to contemplate.’

    Unlike a continuation of the present status quo in NI for another 40? 100 yrs? Talks about no talks , agreements which don’t agree, politicians who don’t politic , farcical musical chairs in suspended Assemblies etc etc etc .

    I’m sure you’re looking forward 🙂

  • German-American

    Greenflag: Thanks in turn for your response. My comments in response to yours:

    I do realize that Northern Ireland is not Belgium; to add to your list, unlike NI the Belgians haven’t just gone through 30 years or so of violent conflict. However my overall point is this: For whatever reason, the boundaries of states don’t get changed just because it would be a good idea in principle. (For example, think of any number of states in Africa or the Middle East with problematic borders left over from the colonial period, including Iraq.) There are significant countervailing forces, including in particular the desire of politicians and political parties to maintain their power and retain the maximum amount of territory over which they can exercise it.

    Thus repartition in Northern Ireland will require both that political parties advocate for the idea and that people be willing to vote for those parties. Right now the main parties are committed to the proposition that all of Northern Ireland is “up for grabs”, either as part of a united Ireland or as a devolved region within the UK. They will abandon this proposition only very reluctantly, in the face of clear and compelling evidence that it is false. This is why I think declan is correct that any significant support for repartition will not occur (if it occurs at all) until 10-20 years from now.

    As to my comments on tax rates, multiple levels of government, and so on: I am not proposing higher tax rates in Northern Ireland (God forbid!); I am simply pointing out that if the assembly is weak, more power is devolved to super-councils, and less government activity goes on on a NI-wide basis, then base tax rates (i.e., applicable across all of NI) could be cut substantially and rates at the council level could be increased to compensate.

    As for the claimed “‘contortions and complications’ of the three tiers of ‘government’ Super Councils + NI Assembly + Westminster”), in the US we have at least three levels of government (national, state, and city and/or county), and it hasn’t proved unworkable at all. In fact, it has proved quite useful to accomodate the marked differences that exist between the various regions of the country (compare New York state to Mississippi or Alabama) or between urban and rural areas within a single state (compare New York City to the rest of the state). This allows each area to exercise its preferences in terms of its level of public spending, its positions on controversial social issues (e.g., abortion, gay marriage), and so on.

    As I understand it, the proposed super-councils would be on the order of a couple of hundred thousand people each. This compares to a mid-sized US city or county, and based on US experience is perfectly large enough for a super-council to run its own justice and police system, educational system, and so on in a reasonably competent manner. (There could of course be higher level systems and oversight as well, just as there are in the US.) These sort of arrangements seem to be somewhat alien to the UK, where there’s a strong tradition of control from the center. However whether this is done in the UK at large is in my opinion irrelevant, since regardless of whether it stays in the UK officially I think NI is and will continue to be treated as a special case.

  • Greenflag

    German-American ,

    ‘For whatever reason, the boundaries of states don’t get changed just because it would be a good idea in principle.

    ‘think of any number of states in Africa or the Middle East with problematic borders ‘

    True enough . But think also of the Czech and Slovak Republics ‘velvet separation’ or the recent Serbia -Montenegro separation . Kosovo will probably soon be a part of Albania

    I’ll concede there is at this time no great drive for a fair repartition of NI mainly because of what you term ‘countervailing forces’
    But this can change quickly and there is evidence that Northern ‘nationalists and republicans ‘ are turning away from ‘devolution’ as a practical way forward for achieving their ‘constitutional ‘aspirations.

    The USA experience although practical and workable in the USA is not IMO transferable to the NI situation. Whether county/state /or federal district etc no government authority /council /legislature is in favour of the break up of the Union (USA) . Americans despite their disparate regional differences are content to be ‘just’ Americans . This is not the case in NI.

    ‘I think NI is and will continue to be treated as a special case.’

    And perhaps that itself is part of the problem .

    Although NI can continue to be treated as a special case it’s economy can not be isolated from that of it’s neighbour ROI . This will also IMO increasingly push those western and southern areas of NI towards a repartition solution and I see that happening sooner than 15 years . The topic is no longer ‘taboo’ and elements within the SDLP and among NI’s nationalist media are even now looking at the potential of repartition . As the local politicians in NI are perceived to have no ‘real’ power anyway apart from their votes and as the Assembly is now practically history then the Irish nationalist community in NI will be looking for ‘real’ solutions . And that in my view can only lead to an increased move towards a repartition solution .

    Thanks for your considered and thoughtful response . As we are both ‘conjecturing’ we’ll have to agree to differ on the likley outcome of another several years of stasis .

  • Travis

    Repartition is a win-win solution for both communities and will provide closure to the constitutional issue; it will be a real settlement.

    Greenflag: “The topic is no longer ‘taboo’ and elements within the SDLP and among NI’s nationalist media are even now looking at the potential of repartition .”

    Indeed. Rock on, Greenflag 🙂 Here is what business editor of the Derry Journal had to say: “…. In the absence of any political deal in November and the demise of the Good Friday Agreement it might do no harm for the business community to consider lobbying for a new political solution based upon each of the northern counties being free to opt out of the United Kingdom and join the Republic. I can see massive and immediate economic benefits for county Derry…..”

    Repartition is the only practical and indeed viable solution in the long term.

    Thank you for a very useful and thought-provoking discussion.

  • PaddyReilly

    Greenflag: you’re not Declan as well are you? You seem to be replying for him.

    Have you seen the film Bedazzled , in which a man sells his soul to the devil in return for 7 wishes? With each wish he makes he imagines he has found the formula for perfect happiness, but every time the devil intervenes and makes sure his life becomes a misery. Well, from the point of view of Northern Nationalists, that is what life is like. You make a contract, imagining that everything is going to be hunky dory, and the devil intervenes to make sure that the contract is effectively voided.

    One such contract was the Treaty, with its provision for a border commission. They signed up, foolishly imagining that Tyrone and Fermanagh and Derry and South Armagh and Down would soon be enjoying majority rule. No such luck: the Unionist Police Force it made clear that they weren’t having it, and the commissioner decided he should be talking about fields, not counties.

    Another such contract was the Good Friday Agreement, which provided for power sharing. Obviously you know what happened.

    So it follows that when another such contract is made, you will need a top-class constitutional lawyer who is as cute as a cartload of foxes. You are not that person: rather you are the reverse. You want to make exactly the same mistake that was made with the Treaty. You also have that ready and thoughtless generosity that characterises people who are giving away things which aren’t actually theirs.

    You want to hand over the decision to a “neutral international agency”, and at the same time you state that the outcome is going to be 30 counties for the green faction and 2 for Orange. In other words, you think the agency is somehow controlled by your thought processes. It is not. To have any idea of the outcome, you have to state what the principles are that need to be followed. This you decline to do.

    So don’t be surprised if you don’t achieve any converts.

  • Greenflag

    Travis -Don’t just thank me 🙂

    There were over 30 contributors to the thread . I’d thank also Stephen Copeland, Southern Obeserver, Wee Ulsterman, Declan, Lib 2016, Nathan, KM, Kensei, Henry 94, Endgame, Dantheman, German-Ameican, Resolve, Mick, Smilin Jim , Billy Pilgrim, Seabach Siulach, Paddyreilly, Phil, PID, and others for ‘stretching’ the subject as far as it could be 🙂

    Not forgetting of course George who donated the thread:)

    I’ve raised this subject on other boards but I have to admit that all credit to Slugger . For a few threads or so there some of the contributors Mick himself, Wee Ulsterman, Stephen , Resolve and German American , rattled my faith a little in a repartition solution .

    Maybe post November some of the non converts will look again ?:)

    Unless anybody raises any new insight into the the subject I’ll consider the topic closed at least from my end for now. Apart from a closing reply to the indomitable paddyreilly 🙂

  • Greenflag

    Greenflag:

    ‘you’re not Declan as well are you? You seem to be replying for him.’

    Paddyreilly,

    There is only one Greenflag and there cannot be more than one . It’s his first commandment 🙂
    Declan is a patient lad it would seem . He’ll wait 15 years . Greenflag won’t stand in any queue with more than 2 people in it 🙂

    ‘Have you seen the film Bedazzled ‘

    No and I don’t want to. I’m an undazzable kind of person. At the first mention of devils, souls , and voodoo witchcraft/religion , Greenflag’s attention span reduces to nano seconds.

    I’m not claiming a repartition settlement is a formula for perfect happiness just as I’m sure you would never claim a UI is either . It’s a good enough and practical solution for I would think the vast majority of people in NI. The y may not recognise that yet but that time is soon coming IMO.

    ‘So it follows that when another such contract is made, you will need a top-class constitutional lawyer who is as cute as a cartload of foxes.’

    Well you’ve had 40 years of the latter both Irish ,British and American and so far the best they have come up with is an Agreement that can’t be agreed upon and a form of devolution which has become a synomyn for political pantomime.

    ‘ You are not that person’

    And proud of the fact:) 40 years of continuous unremitting failure is not a career enhancing record for anybody .

    ‘You want to make exactly the same mistake that was made with the Treaty.’

    You have not been reading my posts . I’d prefer to undo the mistake that was made with the 1920 Treaty .

    ‘You want to hand over the decision to a “neutral international agency”,’

    The Governments have done the best they can for 40 years or more. and neither has anything left to offer in terms of a permanent political settlement of the NI constitutional issue. At this stage there are no ‘neutrals’ in NI so I think that you would have to go outside NI, the UK and the Irish Republic by definition.

    ‘and at the same time you state that the outcome is going to be 30 counties for the green faction and 2 for Orange.’

    No, I’ve stated that a purely county by county solution would not work . By District Council would be better, but the detail would be up to any neutral agency. I’ve use the terms 30 county sized and 2 county sized areas as a rough guesstimate of what the result of a fair repartition would be .

    ‘You also have that ready and thoughtless generosity that characterises people who are giving away things which aren’t actually theirs. ‘

    Sorry Paddy I did’nt realise you owned Northern Ireland ? Can you not find any buyer’s then ?

    ‘To have any idea of the outcome, you have to state what the principles are that need to be followed.’

    Sorry to disagree . A look at any census or electoral map of NI will give anybody with an IQ of 25 + at least a rough outline for any new border . The detail can be left to the professionals. As for ‘principles ‘ There is only one .Include as many Irish people as is possible in an enlarged Republic and as many Unionists as is possible within a new Unionist State . Obviously a 100% cut is not possible. But 90% is as I say good enough for all practical purposes.

    ‘So don’t be surprised if you don’t achieve any converts. ‘

    Actually I’ve been surprised that people are not writing off ‘repartition ‘ as much they used to . Post November it will look even more of an option for northern nationalists IMO.

    Finally I’d just like to say PR that I respect your adherence to the ideal of a UI and if it’s ever achieved peacefully and with unionist willing consent I would not be opposed to it . It’s just that I don’t share your faith in it’s inevitability . And I don’t think it makes sense to hold back the economic and political well being of another generation or two of Northern Irish nationalists , while everybody waits to see which side win’s the ‘NI Breeder’s Cup’.

  • PaddyReilly

    And I don’t think it makes sense to hold back the economic and political well being of another generation or two of Northern Irish nationalists , while everybody waits to see which side wins the ‘NI Breeder’s Cup’

    My feelings entirely. In 1975 I was dead in favour of repartition. But in 2004 the combined Unionist 1st preference vote was down to 48.6%. I can’t see that it’s going to take two generations to bring this down to the point where Unionists can no longer command a majority. My calculations are that the balance of power will pass to the Alliance party in something like 18 months. This has already happened in Belfast, so it is hardly impossible that the rest of the province should follow suit.

    Partition and repartition are like buying an expensive suit for your eleven year old son. In a couple of years he will have outgrown it. As regards the optimum line for separating Catholic from Protestant, or Nationalist from Unionist, the fact is that it is changing from year to year. If you happen to live in an area that appears to be on the point of changing over: Antrim, say, or Ballymoney, you will obviously prefer that any carve up should wait till later, and get very emotional when you hear that some person without your interests at heart is proposing it now. I believe we have a contributor from the North Belfast constituency who thinks that way: I’m surprised he hasn’t made himself known to you yet.

    You portray yourself as being concerned for the economic and political well being of Northern Irish nationalists . Partition can never be in the interests of such people, even if they’re on the right side of the border. Look at Donegal. The economic boost will come when partition is abolished: just having it in a different place won’t make any difference.

    In South Africa, there was plenty of land that could have been carved up to make a homeland for white people. That just never happened: the fact is white and black people are so economically interdependent that giving them separate countries would only impoverish both of them.

    Unionists are not interested in living in a 100% Unionist laager. Their way of life has always depended on living in a mixed area, and taking the positions of power, particularly the jobs which pertain to national security. Orange marches are the same: given endless freedom to march through the sort of area where they would be welcome, they only really enjoy going where they are not wanted. For this reason, Unionist uptake of the concept has been surprisingly low, given that they would be the major beneficiaries, if the alternative were a United Ireland.

  • German-American

    (I know Greenflag is at least trying to close the thread, and I really shouldn’t keep posting on this topic; I can only plead that I had composed most of this well earlier, but due to other business intervening didn’t get a chance to actually post it until now. So consider this to come in sequence after Greenflag’s response to my prior post.)

    If formal repartition happens at all then I think it will be only after de facto internal repartition of the type I’ve described. In particular, I think the idea of an international agency redrawing the boundary is a total non-starter, as PaddyReilly and others have pointed out. Instead formal repartition would in my opinion require that Northern Ireland already be internally divided into distinct political jurisdictions with each having a relatively homogeneous population, a significant degree of self-government, and robust governmental institutions; the lines of formal repartition would then simply follow the existing jurisdictional boundaries.

    As a practical matter, how might repartition be promoted? I think right now it’s past phase one of Gandhi’s four phases (“first they ignore you”) and solidly in phase two (“then they laugh at you”), with at least some chance of moving on from there. Given that unionists seem content to just sit on their electoral majority until the heat death of the universe, and SF is still beholden to the dream of a 32-county socialist republic, presumably the SDLP is the only major party within Northern Ireland that could take up this cause (assuming no new parties form around it). Whether it has the will and the talent to do this is an open question, but here’s some unsolicited free advice in case it does (like all free advice, worth exactly what it costs):

    For the SDLP to come out publicly for repartition at this time, or even just to float a trial ballon, would in my opinion be politically stupid, basically just a rerun of the whole “post-nationalist” fiasco, as SF would leap to brand SDLP as having raised the white flag of surrender, turned its back on the ideals of the Rising, etc., etc. I think a better approach would be two pronged: First, try to take SDLP activists and voters through the five stages of grief over the death of the GFA, and mount a vigorous public prosecution of SF and the DUP as its alleged murderers. Combine this with a campaign to cast Stormont (at least in its present form) as an SF/DUP conspiracy to do nothing and get paid for it, and push strongly for devolving more governmental responsibilities directly to the super-councils under Plan B. In particular, move beyond harping on SF’s refusal to participate in the DPPs, and lobby for direct control of policing by local authorities, including budgetary authority, the ability to hire and fire local police officials, and authority to implement Patten-style reforms as appropriate. This would supplement the emerging SDLP campaign against CRJ schemes and offer a positive alternative that actually has some chance of democratic legitimacy.

    If de facto internal repartition proceeds apace then at some point the time may be ripe to introduce the idea of formal repartition if it makes sense. (For example, if a particular jurisdiction reaches a nationalist supermajority, say two thirds or three fourths, then one could justify a 50% + 1 border poll just for that jurisdiction.) It would seem that the SDLP would have little to lose at that point: either they retain whatever power they have in those jurisdictions within the UK, or they end up in the ROI and can angle for a place as a junior partners in a FF-led coalition.

    On the other hand SF I think would be on the horns of a dilemma in this scenario: Much of their perceived power and influence rests on their dominance in the north, so despite their stated goal of a UI they have a vested interest in the status quo continuing, playing second fiddle to the DUP in Northern Ireland and perhaps having a shot at the first violin chair if the SDLP implodes and the UUP revives. So what would SF do in the event of a real possibility of splitting off one or more NI jurisdictions into the ROI? Argue that it must be all or nothing, and fight to keep tens or hundreds of thousands of nationalists in the union? I’d pay good money to see Gerry Adams or his successors make that case.

  • declan

    German-American

    Thanks for that. It gives a ‘stages’ of development basis for how we get to the 2021 scenario.

  • abucs

    Do you not think German-American that repartition if advocated by the SDLP could be quite dangerous for the survival of that party ?

    I agree that repartition needs the support of political parties before it gets off the ground but in the present setup i don’t think the SDLP can be ‘too loud’ in advocating it.

    They would lose support in the east (South Belfast and Antrim) and if repartition was successful they would only be a minor party even within a relatively small periphial area of the ROI.

    They would get swallowed up by the big Irish parties very quickly. Unionist parties ‘on the wrong side’ would also face similar problems without the great majority of fellow unionists who would be ‘left behind’. Although their demise would be slower than that of the SDLP.

    Only Sinn Fein on the nationalist side would survive in any purposeful form with their current presence in the Dial.

    It is possible that the super councils might come to resemble the more autonomous US counties in the future which ‘might’ lead closer to repartition.

    I think the super council politics will have to run for many years first and politics will enivitably have to change. This change ‘might’ then lead on to a party who will agitate for repartition.

    For example, on a practical level it doesn’t pay minortity nationalists, or minority unionists to have two separate parties in a council area.

    They will be able to lobby much more effectively, and take advantage of any splits on the majority side if they are themselves united.

    They will be parties of opposition and persuasion. In majority areas those same parties will be completely different and will be parties of government, decision making and responsibility. So that after a while their politics, issues, potential and reality will differ markedly.

    This could lead to more proper local politics and a re-alignment from the current NI wide political setup. All this of course assumes there will be no local NI wide assembly.

    Might, may, perhaps, could………

    Repartiton ? Who knows ?

    Not for many years yet, if at all IMHO.

    I think your Belgium scenario is probably ‘right on the money’.

  • German-American

    abucs: Do you not think German-American that repartition if advocated by the SDLP could be quite dangerous for the survival of that party ?

    In the short term, absolutely, as I noted: “For the SDLP to come out publicly for repartition at this time, or even just to float a trial balloon, would in my opinion be politically stupid…” Instead what I proposed is that the SDLP advocate for devolving increased powers to local governments, including authority over local policing, as a more effective approach to getting rid of direct rule than beating the dead horse of a stalemated DUP/DF-dominated assembly.

    Assuming this comes to pass, such local governments may become autonomous enough that in combination with increased segregation of the population a formal partitioning along local government boundary lines may be seen as within the bounds of possibility. If demographic trends confirm that unionists will retain a slim majority, and if political trends point to continued stalemate, pressure may build to make that possibility a reality. As to whether the SDLP can ride that to some sort of political power, who knows? But in terms of long-range strategy it would seem to be better be prepared for and position itself to take advantage of such an eventuality, as opposed to descending into irrelevance muttering “if they’d only implemented the GFA like we told them to…”

    In the end I agree that the possibility of formal repartition is uncertain at best. However I think it would be foolish for anyone to rule out the possibility entirely; a lot can happen over a 10-20 year timeframe.

    As for your other points about the political implications of several years of super-council politics, they seem reasonable and I don’t have much to add to them.

  • DK

    Declan,

    Forget the catholic percentage of people migrating into Nothern Ireland. If they want to move here, they must like it’s present status and would likely be a very high percentage unionist. Yet another nail in the coffin of the nationalist majority vote for UI. And mixed marriages (more common) are also less likely to want to rock the boat and also therefore more unionist.

    One point overlooked in the repartition discussion is the attitude of the Republic. Would the government really want the poorest parts of NI and a massive load of Sinn Fein votes? They might refuse to play ball.

  • IJP

    Kensei

    It’s interesting you choose to read into what I wrote a ‘default position’.

    The reality is that your default position is a United Ireland or else. It is up to you to consider how that fixes the problem.

    Clady

    Again we have the mopery – ‘those nasty people drew a line across our island’.

    You’ll support a united British Isles then, I take it?

    Greenflag

    The Republic of Ireland was broke until the mid-80s.

    They didn’t fix it by re-drawing the borders!

    Northern Nationalists are so caught up in their ethnic struggle, they haven’t even learned from the rest of the island.

    If we want NI to work, it’ll work – for their own selfish reasons, however, too many people have decided it shouldn’t work. What they don’t realize is that failing to make it work is precisely the reason it can’t unite with the Republic – it can live quite happily without our sectarian poison, thank you very much.

    The big fault in the Nationalist analysis is the view that NI caused sectarianism. It is the other way around – sectarianism caused NI.

    So we’d better get to grips with sectarianism. Assumptions about people’s ‘default position’ based on their ‘perceived religious background’ are a very good example of that sectarianism.

    If that means living with the UK for a while, well, lads, that’s what you voted for in 1998… there’s nothing in the Agreement that guarantees a United Ireland, you know.

    It’s a pity so few people seem to want to match their anti-sectarian talk with anti-sectarian action, preferring to shround their bigotry in apparently reasonable talk about preferred constitutional settlements. We’re not all going to get it our own way, people – time we learned that lesson, too.

  • IJP

    Declan

    You’ve summed up why this ‘repartition’ lark is such a load of nonsense.

    Nationalists want a United Ireland. Not a Republic of Ireland plus West of the Bann, a United Ireland.

    If, in 2021, they are a majority in NI, they’ll get it.

    Any compromise will be to do with the institutions of the new all-Ireland state, not the boundaries. We’ll have agreed to the boundaries already – referendum ’98 plus referendum ’21 (as per the hypothesis) means the boundaries are the whole island.

    Rocket science, it ain’t!

    It is quite incredible, frankly, that intelligent people have let this daft thread run on so long. It seems our brightest people are intent on daft discussions in theory, while the boneheads actually get to run the place in practice…

    … I’ll just get me coat…

  • Ian

    How about re-partition in the other direction? i.e. Re-create the 9 (or 10 including Louth?) county Ulster, thus creating a more even Unionist-Nationalist balance to allow equitable power-sharing.

    If Unionists think living in the Republic is so bad then this gives them an opportunity to correct a historic act of Lundyism which they committed when they abandoned the Protestant people of Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan to precisely such a fate, in order to secure their Protestant Parliament for a Protestant People.

    In order to prevent the new province from instantly joining/rejoining the Republic, there should be a moratorium on a border poll for say, 30-50 years (exact timescale subject to negotiation). After this period has passed, a United Ireland would be pretty much a certainty.

    So Nationalists, whilst they might initially baulk at the idea (especially those living currently in the Republic!) should at least consider the idea, as they could live safe in the knowledge that:

    (a) the state of affairs would only last for a finite period, and

    (b) during the transitional period there would be zero prospect of a return the bad old days of Unionist domination, since even with the Protestant minorities in Donegal etc, Unionists don’t have the numbers within the boundaries of historic Ulster.

    Something for everyone!

    [ducks and awaits barrage from both sides of the divide]

  • barnshee

    Is this thread lenght a record?

  • declan

    IJP

    “If, in 2021, [nationalists] are a majority in NI, they’ll get it.”

    My point is the situation “if not”.

    Thats the 2021 scenario, in which many nationalists could start to think in terms of a fair repartition

  • Fraggle

    this thread is no-where near a record.

    Ian, you’re not getting the point of this repartition at all.

    The point is to have as many people living in their state of choice. Your suggestion would result in even less people living in their state of choice.

  • IJP

    Declan

    If Nationalists don’t have a majority in 2021, then the ‘fair’ way forward is to make NI work for everyone. Just as it is in 2006, just as we agreed in 1998.

    That’s the deal. If people don’t stick to the deal, then don’t be surprised when instability reigns. And that’s in no one’s interests.

    Forcing me into a different state from my Catholic friends and neighbours is something I – and I suspect even my great-grandchildren – would resent. It really would be better if we learned the lesson of history.

  • Fraggle

    “Forcing me into a different state from my Catholic friends and neighbours is something I – and I suspect even my great-grandchildren – would resent.”

    A bit like the way I resent being in a different state from family members in the republic Ian?

    Repartition would allow nationalists to partake in a representative democracy with a say in their own destiny. The unionists are holding us back.

  • Ian

    Fraggle,

    Your last post seems to suggest you want partition to enable some northern nationalists, in particular yourself, to live in the Irish Republic.

    But you’re displaying precisely the same “I’m alright Jack” attitude that Unionists revealed when they jettisoned their brethren in three of the Ulster counties in the 1920’s.

    When you’re happily reunited with the 26 counties, what about nationalists stuck in the Glems of Antrim, for instance? They currently have the prospect of a United Ireland to aspire to – you would be leaving them with no hope whatsoever of reuniting with their “family in the Republic”.

    If you think again about my proposition of Aug 03, 2006 @ 12:46 PM, it virtually guarantees that all nationalists can share the benefit of a United Ireland, whilst safeguarding the rights of the Unionist minority currently in the Republic as they would be bolstered by their cousins in the 6 counties joining them and together making up about 20% of the population.

  • Greenflag

    Fraggle ,

    ‘Repartition would allow nationalists to partake in a representative democracy with a say in their own destiny. The unionists are holding us back. ‘

    And that situation will continue until if/maybe/perhaps/sometime/never unionists become a minority of the electorate in a 6 county Northern Irelandf State . Even then there is no guarantee that Unionists would accept a UI.

    Economically Northern Ireland’s nationalists have even more to lose .

    Based on the present Northern Ireland GDP of 29,000 US dollars per person (67% of which is oublic sector dependent ) and a growth rate of 2.5% for NI for the next 15 years then NI GDP in 2021 would be approx 42,000 US dollars per person or 10,000 US dollars per person less than the Irish Republic’s GDP per person in 2005 . At a 4.5 % economic growth rate the Irish Republic’s GDP would be approx 100,000 US dollars per capita in 2021.

    I can see no good reason why Northern Ireland’s ‘Irish people ‘ should put up with another 15 years of ‘ navel gazing ‘ in the failed political and economic entity of the 6 county NI State . They would be far better off economically and politically in a larger Irish Republic now rather than in 15 years time as some of the more ‘naive’ republican minded posters seem to think. Not having to deal directly with political ‘Unionism’ will be just an added benefit for Irish nationalists.