No future without a shared future…

In the Belfast Telegraph, Duncan Morrow, chief executive of the Community Relations Council, reminds our negotiating politicians of the cost of continuing to do politics separately:

…in a changing world, the idea that only one sort can live in any area is unsustainable. We cannot talk on the one hand about getting rid of private armies and still want to be defended against our neighbours.

Financially, we cannot provide separate public facilities like libraries, swimming pools or recreation centres for Protestants and Catholics.

We cannot build a healthy society on the idea that somebody in the wrong football jersey was ‘asking for it’ when he walked around in the wrong area. We cannot attract investment into an unstable political setting consisting of hostile ‘bantustans’.

We cannot distribute resources properly when some people cannot get houses in areas where they are available because they are ‘the wrong sort’.

Without common commitment to a shared future in which people in Northern Ireland can live, work and play safely together, the peace process has no central purpose.

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  • Occasional Commentator

    I suppose he’s stating the obvious. But if the politicians won’t agree to wisely spend tax stolen from Britain, the British should and will just pull the plug anyway. The local politicians can choose to either manage the transition in the interests of local people or they choose to evade responsibility. The people will quickly elect politicians who will take responsibility.

  • Dec

    These two lines jumped out and told me all I need to know about the CRC:

    For nationalists, a shared future means committing to full engagement in a state with which they have never felt comfortable and some have dedicated their lives to replacing.

    For unionists, the hard part of sharing will be making political arrangements with previously violent enemies who have deeply traumatised friends and relations and coming to terms with the Irish dimension to the six counties.

    Settlers and Savages, anyone?

  • Greenflag

    Nice words by Mr Morrow. Some of his ‘conclusions’ are questionable .

    ‘We need a future based on sharing, not separation. ‘

    Why ? States have separated/divided when they no longer are seen to work or command the allegiance of the population or a large section of that population . Take the former Yugoslavia for example – A few weeks ago Montenegro emerged . Croatia , Slovenia , Serbia , Bosnia are all now separate States not to mention the Czech Republic , Slovakia and Ukraine and Lithuania , Latvia , Estonia . Why should Northern Ireland be any different ?

    ‘The alternative to sharing a space like Northern Ireland is that one side or the other is driven out. ‘

    Not necessarily . A fair and agreed Repartition could conceivably leave 96% of the people of Northern Ireland remaining where they are now .

    ‘It has already happened elsewhere in the world, and we have experienced it here on a miniature scale in the course of the Troubles.’

    Mr Morrow’s ‘miniature ‘ scale in terms of numbers comparison with the rest of the world is correct . However within NI itself the effect of people being driven out or moving ‘voluntarily’ to safer (code for all catholic or all protestant neighbourhoods) has made separate political futures more probable .

    ‘There is, thankfully, now a widespread consensus that violence in Northern Ireland should stop. ‘

    Indeed and not before time . However the end of World War 2 also brought an end to violence and a consensus that it should stop . So too did WW1 – the ‘war to end all wars ‘ ? However the fundamental inherent ‘contradictions ‘ within the Yugoslav State (which had lain dormant since 1919 ) came back to destroy that State once the totalitarian glue of ‘communism’ could no longer hold it together . In a less extreme way the same holds true for ‘unionism ‘ in NI . There is no glue holding NI together as a 6 county State other than the intravenous financial drip from HMG’s Exchequer .

    ‘There are few who would advocate a return to the mayhem and fear of the recent past, but we might secretly prefer it if we could carve up separate spaces rather than engage in permanent and open-ended partnership.’

    Well that explains why after almost 40 years of conflict and near conflict the leaders of both main NI parties have yet to talk directly face to face . Mr Morrow I’m sure is aware that for most people in NI the thought of having to ‘engage in permanent and open ended partnership’ is something they’d rather do after they’ve been to the Garden Centre , paid the mortgage , got the kids to school, mowed the lawn and fed the cat or not listened/listened to Talkback .

    ‘Apartheid, however, is not available here without a return to antagonism and hostility.’

    Seems to most people that that suits some of NI’s leading politicians . Some would even claim that without active hostility and continuous antagonism votes would be lost . Thus an already dysfunctional State will continue to feed on it’s ‘dysfunctional’ traits until it self consumes !

    ‘For many, the decisions we face will make us uncomfortable.’

    Only because they’ve been putting them off on the long finger for 40 years or some might say 80 or more .Procastination has a cost .

    ‘For nationalists, a shared future means committing to full engagement in a state with which they have never felt comfortable and some have dedicated their lives to replacing.’

    Engagement is a possibility -Full committment in the true meaning of the term – I can’t ever see .

    ‘For unionists, the hard part of sharing will be making political arrangements with previously violent enemies who have deeply traumatised friends and relations and coming to terms with the Irish dimension to the six counties. ‘

    Full marks for the obvious . But DUP ears are closed .

    ‘But, in a changing world, the idea that only one sort can live in any area is unsustainable. ‘

    Sounds reasonable . There are however places around the world where that idea was/is very sustainable for all sorts of reasons -geographical -cultural -political etc etc . Think North Korea , Nazi Germany , Mao Tse Tungs China , Pol Pot’s Cambodia . Human ‘nature ‘ is the same all over the world . It’s political expression is sometimes warped due to local /historical /political /economic /religiousconditions sometimes brought about or resulting from conflict or the the detritus of former colonialism or political ideology .

    Is the NI 6 county political entity ‘warped’ or just ‘dysfunctional’ ?

    ‘ We cannot talk on the one hand about getting rid of private armies and still want to be defended against our neighbours.’

    Catch 22 or should that be Catch 6 ?

  • Billy Ghoti

    “A fair and agreed Repartition could conceivably leave 96% of the people of Northern Ireland remaining where they are now .

    Posted by Greenflag on Sep 15, 2006 @ 01:54 PM”

    Still pushing repartition eh?

  • Greenflag

    Just commenting on Duncan Morrow’s ‘nice words’ . The dreaded R word was used to refute just ONE of Mr Morrow’s ‘conclusions’

  • spirit-level

    Here’s a whacky friday idea that proposes a solution.
    Republic of Eire cuts off historic ties with the Roman Catholic Church, and the Church of Ireland is re-established as the mainstream;
    services are reconstructed so you have a mix of catholic and protestant ecumenism.
    Presbyterians are invited to merge, as are former disillusioned catholics, and we have one Church for all people in Ireland.
    This being the biggest fear of Protestants ( Rome ) dealt with, the return gesture is the biggest bane for Irish people, so, we resolve so the Union disbanded, and the Union Jack lowered forever, and all Prods accept the raised Tri-colour in one united ireland with its own Church of Ireland.
    That way we both sides get what we want, and the prods just need reminding that its not being British that will get you “saved” and enter heaven.
    Howzat??
    answers on a e-card.
    Fuck the Pope and Fuck the Queen.~
    we’re all happy 🙂

  • Occasional Commentator

    Billy Ghoti,
    I think Greenflag knows repartition is totally unviable – and that’s exactly why he’s talking about it.

    A much smaller NI would be unviable. Unionists know this and know they must make the 6 counties work. Talk of ‘repartition’ is just to encourage unionists to be more constructive about a shared future.

  • Greenflag

    ‘we’re all happy 🙂 ‘

    Naw- Our Muslims and Jews and Atheists etc would’nt like the idea of one Church one State one Reich sorry Future . And I’d agree with them .

    After several centuries of sectarian warfare between Japanese Shintoists and Japanese Buddhists the sons of Nippon did find a one Church suits all solution . Baptismal rites had to be Buddhist and funereal rites Shintoist . Thus at both ends of life the Gods were mollified . As to how they managed the in between part well I guess they just got on with life .

    So by the time Christianity made it to Japan they apparently could do without it . Does not seem to have bothered them all that much from what I hear either?

  • lib2016

    It is truly wonderful how unionists are rediscovering O Neillism now that the end of the temporary little arrangement that is the Six Counties is in sight.

    Too little and far too late – giving Catholics a house and a job does NOT make them into Protestants and 6 into 32 DOES go!

  • Greenflag

    Lib’and 6 into 32 DOES go! ‘

    No it does’nt -Not evenly anyway . Theres two left over . A case of the Numbers /Mathematics justifying a Repartition solution .

    OC

    ‘A much smaller NI would be unviable.’

    Nonsense . Luxembourg is half the size of NI with one third of NI’s population and is spectacularly viable . The fact that it’s also 95% nominally Catholic is irrelevant just in case Unionists think that ‘protestanism ‘ would hold them back from a similar success.

  • Occasional Commentator

    I don’t care about appeasing and uniting Catholicism and Protestantism. That would be an ecumenical matter.

    If a unionist Catholic, a republican Protestant and a nationalist atheist discuss politics then it doesn’t make sense to treat it as a religiously divided debate.

  • Occasional Commentator

    Greenflag,
    I agree entirely. I think I was just projecting that opinion onto others (such as yourself).

    Basically, it appears I misrepresented not just your opinion, but my own!

  • lib2016

    Occasional Commentator,

    No unionist party has been able to attract a statistically significant percentage of Catholic voters, not even when atheists from a Catholic background like myself are included.

    It would be a little late in the day for them to succeed now.

  • Occasional Commentator

    lib2016,
    You’re probably right that Catholics rarely vote for unionist parties, but that doesn’t mean some are not unionists.

  • Greenflag

    OC ,

    ‘Basically, it appears I misrepresented not just your opinion, but my own!

    That’s OK OC . Everybody is entitled to my opinion too but not to misrepresent it 🙂

  • lib2016

    My point is that the Duncan Morrow piece can be read as a simple demand that nationalists become de facto unionists. It makes no similar demand on unionists to offer parity or respect for nationalists and is therefore pointless and onesided.

    It is also a fact that the people who have been most industrious in building the bantustans to which he refers are the loyalist henchmen of the two leading unionist parties which makes it even stranger that he addresses both communities equally on the subject.

    Parity in condemnation but never ever parity in respect – no wonder the North is finished when even a well intentioned soul like Morrow gets it so wrong.

  • IJP

    OC

    The people will quickly elect politicians who will take responsibility.

    What makes you think that, out of interest?

    Lib

    My point is that the Duncan Morrow piece can be read as a simple demand that nationalists become de facto unionists.

    On your terms, is not the alternative a demand for unionists to become de facto nationalists?

  • IJP

    On your terms, does that not make Duncan Morrow as ‘bad’ as lib2016?

  • Greenflag

    ‘On your terms, does that not make Duncan Morrow as ‘bad’ as lib2016? ‘

    Maybe they’re both as good as each other and as bad as each other ? I’m sure they both mean well .

    Looking for a solution within a 6 county NI set up has failed and will continue to fail. Almost 40 years of the local politicians farting around in ever diminishing circles should have made that much obvious by now !

    If you want to find a fish you don’t climb a tree. If you want to solve the NI problem you get rid of the NI State and replace it with a State or States that can work and which can get the support of 90% plus of their citizens .

  • Setanta

    The problem with this ‘shared future’ business is that it simply ignores the border issue and hopes that it will go away – much like integrated education, the Alliance party and so on. No matter how much we are told that this philosophy is better than Unionism or Nationalism the vast majority of people just don’t buy it.

    The simple truth is that you have two peoples facing in different directions – can there really be a solution to this or will it just be a question of keeping a lid on it for as long as possible.

    What other options are there :

    Joint Authority – two states in one?

    De Facto separation – Flemish / Belgian style?

  • Occasional Commentator

    I said: The people will quickly elect politicians who will take responsibility.

    IJP said: What makes you think that, out of interest?

    IJP, when we start having schools being closed arbitrarily by direct rule ministers, the parents in question will not care so much about the bargaining positions of the various parties and will move towards politicians who can get their school situation sorted out. Same with hospitals being closed or downgraded. Obviously not everyone can be satisfied, but people will want the transition managed in local interests. Also it will put pressure on the fix the economy too so that it can pay to keep the schools and hospitals open.

    Trying to get people interested in improving a static situation is difficult, but people will take an interest to prevent cuts.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The simple truth is that you have two peoples facing in different directions -‘

    JFE – Janus Faced Entity

    Can there really be a solution to this ?

    Yes -If it’s two faced . But people seem uncomfortable with that ? Wonder why ? Perhaps it’s just human nature .

    ‘will it just be a question of keeping a lid on it for as long as possible. ‘

    No question unless the lid handle becomes too hot to touch and/or the lid cracks in two .

    ‘Joint Authority – two states in one? ‘
    Has never been seen to work permanently anywhere . A temporary fix at best a fudge and a waste of time and taxpayer’s money at worst.

    ‘De Facto separation – Flemish / Belgian style? ‘

    Czech /Slovak would be more appropriate given the local historical animosities in NI .

  • Dave

    Greenflag, where you let yourself down everytime

    “NI six county state” if you are making statements about Northern Ireland my Country of birth, then please have the good manners to call Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland. Just an observation, that’s all.

  • barnshee

    “‘De Facto separation – Flemish / Belgian style?

    we are w2ll down the road already
    12000 out of newry, 17000 east from londonderry massive growth in protestant areaa Coleraine/east londonderry –a line north of loughbrickland and east of limavady is what 85% prod??
    Fuck the rest into the republic and stand back and smile

  • Billy

    Repartition is completely unviable and it’s proponents simply don’t want to face up to reality.

    Any UK govt could not and would not support such a policy.

    As much as some Unionists like to pretend otherwise, NI is a total economic failure – > 70% of income in NI is generated directly or indirectly by the UK govt.

    Any solution that does not entail financial support from the UK govt is a non starter. And no UK govt will get involved in a repartition solution.

  • Nic

    Re: “There is no glue holding NI together as a 6 county State other than the intravenous financial drip from HMG’s Exchequer”.
    A tacit admittance that the IRA has pursued a scorched earth approach to NornIron (if we can’t have it, no-one can), which is in direct contradicition to their noises about the future for all the children that have characterised their media presence in the last decade or so.

    It seems obvious to me that if the “intravenous financial drip” from Westminster was removed, the whine from the “disadvantged” (poor IRA-oppressed, sorry protected, Catholics in the main, would immediately demand that Dublin step into the breach.

    So that, in a future UI, the only glue holding NI to Ireland would be the intravenous financial drip from Leinster House.
    And your average Tiger Cub has absoultely no interest in taking responsibility for the neighbours delinquent kids.

    Paradoxically, therefore, the IRA must throw itself wholeheartedly into the Union, not just supporting but praising policing, turning over their own criminals, promoting NornIron abroad under the Union Flag and generally becoming good little subjects in order to make NornIron vibrant enough to join a UI.

    A problem for every solution, indeed.

  • Occasional Commentator

    There will be no financial support from either government. Now that there is relative peace, NI have no excuse for being a failed economy any more.

    Ulster has a long history of being economically efficient and the governments will soon quit rightly force it to pay its own way again.

    Too many in NI have been fooled into the idea that it is natural for NI to need massive subsidies.

  • Crataegus

    Without common commitment to a shared future in which people in Northern Ireland can live, work and play safely together, the peace process has no central purpose.

    This is obviously correct but I would go further; for those who want to remain in the United Kingdom or those who want a UNITED Ireland it is in all their common interests to build trust and stop the pathetic games. Stop trying to destabilise each other and score utterly trivial points. There is no stability until there is stability here. The solution is not elsewhere but here. It lies in our own hearts.

    All you have to do is look at many of the threads on Slugger to see that there is a chasm between the various communities. Different social contexts, different outlooks, different aspirations, different interpretations of common events, even everyday things have different nuances. Add to this an all pervasive desire to get one over on the other and while that sort of attitude prevails we are going nowhere constructive.

  • Greenflag

    Dave ,

    Apologies that was/is not my intent . Generally I use the term Northern Ireland and only add in the 6 county tag to clarify when I’m referring to future options such as repartition etc or the obvious difficulty facing the NI political entity as a 6 county unit from the point of view of establishing a truly democratic ‘constitutional’ legitimacy . By this I mean a Stat in which 95% plus are agreed on the fundamental constitution of the State and a large minority are not in favour of the ‘disappearance ‘ of the State.

    I recognise Northern Ireland as a separate State . I do not apologise for not recognising it as a separate ‘country’. Nothing personal it’s just that almost half the population of Northern Ireland see Ireland as their country .

    As you seem to be the overly sensitive type you should also note that I do not use the 6 county term by itself . This I know is offensive to Unionists and thus I don’t use it.

  • Greenflag

    Billy,
    I do not want to

    Repartition is completely viable and it’s opponents know it but simply don’t want to face up to reality.

    ‘Any UK govt could not and would not support such a policy. ‘

    The maps are updated every year by the Whitehall mandarins . Even in Dublin they have their ‘contingency’ scenarios . Of course it’s not PC to call them ‘repartition’.

    ‘As much as some Unionists like to pretend otherwise, NI is a total economic failure – > 70% of income in NI is generated directly or indirectly by the UK govt. ‘

    That may be but is insufficient in itself as an ‘argument’ against repartition or any other political solution. I agree that the long

    ‘Any solution that does not entail financial support from the UK govt is a non starter.’

    Why ? How much ‘financial ‘ support did the Free State get after the dependency bind was cut in 1922 ?

    O or nothing.

    ‘And no UK govt will get involved in a repartition solution.’

    Sorry Billy . They may not want to get involved or be seen to push such a solution. But the fait accompli they will accept . Can you guess why why SF is in favour of the 7 Council Redistricting plan.

  • kensei

    “A tacit admittance that the IRA has pursued a scorched earth approach to NornIron (if we can’t have it, no-one can), which is in direct contradicition to their noises about the future for all the children that have characterised their media presence in the last decade or so.”

    It was anything of the sort. It was a statement of rather depressing fact, and that figure has been increasing steadily AFTER the IRA ceasefire.

    “It seems obvious to me that if the “intravenous financial drip” from Westminster was removed, the whine from the “disadvantged” (poor IRA-oppressed, sorry protected, Catholics in the main, would immediately demand that Dublin step into the breach.”

    We would expect our government to provide essential service, yes. But more than that, we would expect some of the economic magic they have worked down South.

    “So that, in a future UI, the only glue holding NI to Ireland would be the intravenous financial drip from Leinster House.
    And your average Tiger Cub has absoultely no interest in taking responsibility for the neighbours delinquent kids.”

    Well, that, and half the population here would consider themselves Irish and within the state trhey should be. But the attraction of a United Ireland is having a full and proper say in government. We would make up something like 20+% oif the new population – our concerns and probelsm would matter a lot more than when they are 2%, and the government would have a full range of power to tackle it.

    The Republic’s economy is also still growing and needs workers, which is why it is sucking so manmy in. Now really would be a good time to join up.

    “Paradoxically, therefore, the IRA must throw itself wholeheartedly into the Union, not just supporting but praising policing, turning over their own criminals, promoting NornIron abroad under the Union Flag and generally becoming good little subjects in order to make NornIron vibrant enough to join a UI.”

    Nah. And I also don’t buy the fact that we are so terribly terribly shite and a UI would be all one way benefit. For a start, we have 2 good universities and a generally well educated population. It is simply that we would be better able to leverage our advantages and tackle ther weaknessesd within a UI.

  • Greenflag

    OC,

    ‘Ulster has a long history of being economically efficient ‘

    If you mean by efficient ‘paying it’s own’ way in terms of contributing the same or more to UK ‘tax’ income as it receives then Northern Ireland has never been efficient . It has in the past been however ‘more’ efficient particularly in the 1939 through 1965 period .

    The Belfast area and it’s surrounds was the only part of Ireland to experience the ‘Industrial Revolution’ and the prosperity it brought . Most of Ulster missed out on the Industrial Revolution .

    Professor Lee in his book Ireland 1912 to 1985 gives a good analysis of the Republic’s and Northern Ireland’s economic performance comparison wise . I’d recommend a read of it before making comments such as

    ‘Ulster has a long history of being economically efficient’

    As to the solution to getting NI’s economy to being less dependent on the public sector ? Now that would be a real challenge . Given the limited ‘powers’ of a non existent and probably already dead Assembly this looks like a challenge which will go a begging .

  • Greenflag

    Crataegus,

    ‘There is no stability until there is stability here. The solution is not elsewhere but here.’

    Sounds sensible but how do get political stability in a State where the leaders of the 2 main parties have not spoken directly to each other EVER ? Almost 40 years – not a word ? Bizarre is not a word I use often but it suits here . The word chasm comes to mind also the word abyss .

    ‘ It lies in our own hearts.’

    Well yes but after 40 years of farting around climbing trees looking for fish it’s perfectly understandable that ‘hearts’ have grown cold or perhaps more accurately ‘indifferent ‘ apart of course from those actively involved in NI’s ‘non politics’ . I’m sure there comes a time when a revolving door loses it’s appeal for children and likewise the ‘revolving NI political door’ is looking more and more like a tired old dinosaur facing an ice age .

    ‘All you have to do is look at many of the threads on Slugger to see that there is a chasm between the various communities.’

    Full marks for the obvious . I think however Fair Deal has made a decent stab at attempting to explain the Unionist view . There are many Unionists particularly those east of the Bann and on the Gold Coast to whom much of the UI debate is not heard , is irrelevant , and of little or no interest . Their view of life and their national identity lies with the UK as it always has . These are good people , law abiding , probably well educated and many used to be and some still are UUP supporters . It is the Unionists west of the Bann who see the ‘greening ‘ of NI . Also the not so well off Unionists in and around Belfast and the major towns who are dependent on HMG’s Exchequer for income support or employment who ‘fear’ (probably the wrong word) the future . These people are the backbone of DUP support along with the ‘religious’ faction .

    Good post Crataegus . The only way to leap across a chasm is to do it in one jump . stopping half way is not an option .

  • IJP

    TBT

    Those were not my terms.

    OC

    I’m not sure I follow your point.

    the parents in question will not care so much about the bargaining positions of the various parties and will move towards politicians who can get their school situation sorted out.

    How do they know which politicians would get their situation sorted out? What happens if these are the same politicians involved in irresponsible bargaining positions?

    Also it will put pressure on the fix the economy too so that it can pay to keep the schools and hospitals open.

    Last time I looked, house prices were booming, unemployment was plummeting, cranes were everywhere.

    For schools, we have tens of thousands of spare places. The simple fact is we do not need to spend money on maintaining dilapidated buildings. Is not closing schools, to enable education funds to be spent on pupils rather than buildings, responsible governance?

    For rates, NI plc is running at an annual loss of £5 bn plus, despite not being the poorest of the UK regions (by any measure) and the above figures. Is not making people pay their own way responsible governance?

    Throw in falling hospital waiting lists, rising immigration, and new infrastructural proposals (none of which was happening under the last Executive), and add in the fact that “the people aren’t stupid”, and you may find that people are happier with the status quo than risking letter the local ones back in to have a go (with their £18,000 travel expenses etc etc).

    Clearly I sincerely hope you’re right from my party’s point of view, because I think schools which should stay open are being closed and people who should not be paying triple rates will soon be doing so – but, overall, there are grounds above for not being as confident as you are!

    I’d be interested to know, though, if people you have been talking to give you reason to be so confident?

  • Crataegus

    I often feel that Politics in places like NI is like Newton’s third law of motion. People vote DUP because they feel threatened and SF because they consider themselves excluded and alienated. If I decided to erect a flag in my garden (won’t ever happen!!!) my neighbour may decide in retaliating with another flag net result both annoyed and relations poor. If however I give the matter a bit of thought first and thought the old grump next door may be offended and simply give it a miss in the interests of good neighbourliness, I feel pious and he doesn’t get offended. Until we collectively start to think like good neighbours and get on with common purpose we really are not moving forward. There really isn’t a fix for this. It is about how each of us conduct ourselves.

    Nationalists view NI as an imposition, a failed state and many Unionists really do view Ireland as an irrelevance which they have little in common with. To switch from a position of Unionist domination to one of Nationalist domination isn’t progress. The challenge for Nationalists is to make Ireland relevant and an attractive alternative and you just don’t do that by telling people they are failures and threatening them, quite the opposite. Depends what you prefer and agreed mirage, and arranged mirage or a shot gun wedding.

    I can find lots of things to gripe about but I as an individual have to act responsibly so I do my part with my own actions but if enough decide to be reasonable then perhaps there will be useful progress.

  • lib2016

    Greenflag

    There are many unionists particularly those east of the Bann and on the Gold Coast to whom much of the UI debate is not heard.

    The older generation simply do not count in this debate – they can go to their graves thinking that the Governor is still in Hillsborough and all is well with the Empire for all I care.

    The younger generation and their parents know that increasing numbers of their classmates are themmuns and still the schools are closing.

    The whiteflight (should that be Orangeflight?) will continue across the water (plenty of good jobs left in the Met, lads) and the urban areas are steadily greening, apart from Ahoghill and similar anomalies.

    Even though people still try it has become impossible to stabilise the situation by creating unionist bantustans. The owner occupiers will still sell their house to the highest bidder and though it hurts my socialist principles to admit it the market will decide.

  • Crataegus

    Lib 2016

    I think you have a life of disappointment ahead of you

  • lib2016

    Crataegus,

    I did indeed have a rough patch when the seventies did not become socialist but the last decade has redeemed it all. The reactionaries, from Thatcher to Bishop Philbin have been comprehensively defeated.

    That is not to say that things have worked out the way that I would have liked but in many cases all the better for that.

    Who could have foreseen that economic forces would be the engine which would drive the unionist middleclasses into acceptance of a peaceful slide into a future UI? Or that unionism would implode into the DUP of all parties?

    As for the liklihood of any future Conservative Government reversing the current trend in NI policies? Give us a break – they detest the DUPes more than anyone, and Washington has other uses for the BA.

  • Greenflag

    Crataegus ,

    ‘To switch from a position of Unionist domination to one of Nationalist domination isn’t progress.’

    Correct me if I’m wrong here but the present NI State is ‘dominated’ neither by Unionist nor Nationalist but by the political chasm between both . Can’t disagree with the content of your post . Here’s a thought.

    ‘When everybody’s a Unionist nobody is a Unionist ‘

    And when everybody ‘s a Nationalist nobody is a Nationalist ‘

    Insert the word ‘almost ‘ before everybody and you have a picture of a post repartition Ireland . Not a perfect one I admit but it could be worse .

    Lib2016,

    ‘and though it hurts my socialist principles to admit it the market will decide.’

    Indeed . It seems the market has already decided through the supply of family planning aids and their widespread use among NI nationalists . Declan IIRC pointed this out in earlier posts . We’ll have to wait another decade to see whether or not the ‘demographics’ will make any ‘constitutional’ difference . But to be honest I ‘d rather settle for a 30 county size Republic now than maybe the Holy Grail of a UI in another 10 ? 20 ? 30 or 50 or never ?years .

    In 10 years those areas within NI ceded to the Republic could be transformed in terms of economic performance and in terms of political and social advancement . The folks on the Gold Coast will do ok as they are -IMO .

  • lib2016

    Greenflag – We have had posters here who confirmed that the state schools in Bangor contained increasing numbers of Catholic children. It is a long established truism that a Methody rugby cap may well be possessed by a first generation Malone Road Catholic.

    The folks on the Gold Coast may not be who their neighbours think they are!

  • Nic

    Hi Kensei,

    To expand on the reasoning behind my opening paragraph.

    “The troubles” robbed NI of many of it’s talented young people, who upped sticks for university and highly-paid jobs in GB and further afield. This is directly attributable to the IRA’s scorched earth policies and their refusal to support UK law and order, preferring to try set up their own, competing, law and order structure and sub-culture thus destabilising NI and making it unattractive to invest in.

    The extent to which this policy had a detrimental effect on NI was made abundantly clear by the short-lived but siginificant boost in foreign investment that NI felt after the first IRA ceasefire.
    Of course, Canary Wharf threw all that out with the bath-water, and the international community will need a lot more convincing second time round. They have thus far showed little enthusiasm for making the same mistake twice. Ergo, it will get worse before it gets better.
    If I was a NI citizen, I would be demanding that the IRA put right what they put wrong.
    That means Adams, instead of prancing around the US looking for support for the “struggle”, should be convincing investors that the IRA are good citizens committed to UK law and order and the betterment of NI.
    What’re the odds?

    Regarding: “We would expect our government to provide essential service, yes. But more than that, we would expect some of the economic magic they have worked down South.”
    The “magic* consisted of a young population, well educated by the religous schools and promoted abroad relentlessy by a committed IDA and department of foreign affairs. There is no magic there, just commitment and hard work. Once again I say, the IRA could use its (allegedly) large resources to do the same for NI instead of trying to destabilise the Union at every turn. Again I ask: what’re the odds?

    And then, you walk right into it when you point out that NI would make up 20% of the vote in a UI… “our concerns and probelsm would matter a lot more than when they are 2%, and the government would have a full range of power to tackle it.”
    Allowing you this kind of influence is what scares the bejaysis out of Tiger Cubs barely keeping up with their mortgages and ESB bills.
    A new ethnic grouping with one fifth of the voting power would be, to say the least, destabilising to our democracy. Especially when that ethnic grouping is currently depending for 70% of it’s income on government handouts.

    Anybody with the smallest inkling what the costs of re-unification have been in Germany would run a mile from making that mistake again.
    NI must heal itself first before the UI agenda can be moved forward. And paradoxically, to do that, the IRA must first give up on a UI and throw itself into making sure the union works.

    ‘Tis a conundrm, no?

  • kensei

    ““The troubles” robbed NI of many of it’s talented young people, who upped sticks for university and highly-paid jobs in GB and further afield. This is directly attributable to the IRA’s scorched earth policies and their refusal to support UK law and order, preferring to try set up their own, competing, law and order structure and sub-culture thus destabilising NI and making it unattractive to invest in.”

    No, it really isn’t. It is down to a combination of factors, the IRA being one, but there is no guarentee that if the Troubles had never happened, we’d be much better off. Other “regions” in the UK bear testamanet to this.

    And once again, dependencve on the public sector has got WORSE since the ceasefire.

    “The extent to which this policy had a detrimental effect on NI was made abundantly clear by the short-lived but siginificant boost in foreign investment that NI felt after the first IRA ceasefire.
    Of course, Canary Wharf threw all that out with the bath-water, and the international community will need a lot more convincing second time round. They have thus far showed little enthusiasm for making the same mistake twice. Ergo, it will get worse before it gets better.”

    This is frankly balls. Chanary Warf, you may have noticed is in London, for a start. It is easy to get a boost of investment on the back of good news stories and some good PR. Seriosuly, anyone can do it. Maintaing that level of investemnt over a sustained period of time, and putting to good use the resources generated? Much, much harder.

    “If I was a NI citizen, I would be demanding that the IRA put right what they put wrong.
    That means Adams, instead of prancing around the US looking for support for the “struggle”, should be convincing investors that the IRA are good citizens committed to UK law and order and the betterment of NI.”

    Why? Sinn Fein and Nationalisms position hasn’t changed. We want a Unted Ireland. It is by far the best thing that could happy to this place, politiccally, socially and economically.

    “What’re the odds?”

    Zero. Republicans will undoubtedly try to imprtove this place if they get into government again, but the idea they won’t also be focused on Unity is Unionist fantasy. We are not going to stop wanting a United Ireland or stop wporking for it.

    “Regarding: “We would expect our government to provide essential service, yes. But more than that, we would expect some of the economic magic they have worked down South.”
    The “magic* consisted of a young population, well educated by the religous schools and promoted abroad relentlessy by a committed IDA and department of foreign affairs. There is no magic there, just commitment and hard work.”

    It is more than just that. It is smart economic management and targetting resources and tax breaks. You are right, there is nothing magical about it. I was merely using it as a short hand for the same measures, and interest in achieving success here.

    “Once again I say, the IRA could use its (allegedly) large resources to do the same for NI instead of trying to destabilise the Union at every turn. Again I ask: what’re the odds?”

    Bollocks it could. It is not, whatever it says, a government. Why shouldn’t it want to destabilise the Union? It’s goal is it’s destruction.

    “And then, you walk right into it when you point out that NI would make up 20% of the vote in a UI… “our concerns and probelsm would matter a lot more than when they are 2%, and the government would have a full range of power to tackle it.”
    Allowing you this kind of influence is what scares the bejaysis out of Tiger Cubs barely keeping up with their mortgages and ESB bills.
    A new ethnic grouping with one fifth of the voting power would be, to say the least, destabilising to our democracy. Especially when that ethnic grouping is currently depending for 70% of it’s income on government handouts.”

    A new ethnic grouping. Well, almost 50% of the population here is as Irish as anyone down South, and the rest keep telling me their Irish of varying degrees. We wouldn’t need to depend on handoutrs, because we’d make the place work.

    “Anybody with the smallest inkling what the costs of re-unification have been in Germany would run a mile from making that mistake again.”

    Were not quite a communist country, and the Irish economy is both growing and needs labour. It would be difficult but not comparable.

    “NI must heal itself first before the UI agenda can be moved forward. And paradoxically, to do that, the IRA must first give up on a UI and throw itself into making sure the union works.

    ‘Tis a conundrm, no? ”

    And then the Unionist line would be “This place is brilliant why woiuld you want to leave”. The best place to solve ouur problems is in a UI, not least because we’d have all the tools to do it. The conumdrum is that nowis probnably the best time, but happen for another few decades, by which time conditions may not be so good.

  • Occasional Commentator

    me: “Ulster has a long history of being economically efficient”

    Greenflag to me: “If you mean by efficient ‘paying it’s own’ way in terms of contributing the same or more to UK ‘tax’ income as it receives then Northern Ireland has never been efficient ”

    That’s why I deliberately chose the term “Ulster”. I was referring to pre-1921 and I was including all 9 counties. No matter where you draw the boundaries I’m pretty sure the North/Northeast of Ireland has in the past demonstrated (the unsurprising fact) that it can be very economically self sufficient. Whether it be the linen industry or shipbuilding or whatever. You said yourself that it experienced the industrial revolution more than any other part of Ireland.

    I’m not sure of the exact figures, but I’m assuming that NI is heavily subsidised now. I’m looking at the big picture – subtract all the money going to Westminster in tax from the money coming back in public sector wages and I’d be surprised if it wasn’t billions a year. This is going to stop, and it’s quite right it stops. I don’t care at this stage about the nitty gritty of which sectors should expand or not or whatever (education or whatever). NI has got to generate more wealth and tax and spend less. This is (I hope) going to be forced on us whether there’s a deal or not, or whether there’s repartition or not, whether there’s a UI or not.

    Like I said earlier, many people here have this twisted idea that it’s perfectly natural for NI to always be funded by London (or Dublin).