Demographics and the Assembly Election

Chris Thornton had a piece in the Belfast Telegraph last week assessing the likely impact of demographic change on the 2007 Assembly election and future elections to come. He noted that the overall unionist number of MLAs dropped from 59 to 55 in this election, with two seats going directly to Sinn Fein- the others to Alliance and the Greens.

  • The Dubliner

    Greenflag, the devil always lurks in the detail… not least harmonisation of the law and legal system itself, e.g. is an amnesty to be given to those who committed offences under that are no longer applicable in a state that no longer exists? If not, how do we deal with outstanding offences or court cases? They can’t be tried under the laws of the Republic since they weren’t applicable. What of corporate law and the structures of companies? And that’s just the legal system… wait until people start asking about their pensions!

    So, you can see that the process of integration will take years. All of the details to be carefully worked out before a referendum is called in earnest, as people won’t buy a pig in a poke. Unless their concerns are fully resolved and their questions fully answered, they’ll go with the safe option and vote to preserve the status quo.

    A referendum can not be called at less than 7-year intervals under the present act. The decision is entirely at the discretion of the SoS for NI.

    Crataegus, I’d be happy with an opinion poll to be carried out by a number of different commercial pollsters all of whom are using the same question and methods that is agreed with whoever commissions the poll and it open to public scrutiny. Perhaps the Irish department of foreign affairs – or perhaps a joint venture between the political parties. If this is going to take a few decades then let’s get down to business as fellow nationalists/republicans with a shared goal, free from redundant ‘greener than thou’ recriminations.

    However, I still hold out hopes that Devolution will go arseways and the process will default to some form of JA!

  • The Dubliner

    Correction: …committed offences under *laws* that are no longer applicable…

  • Crataegus

    Dubliner

    However, I still hold out hopes that Devolution will go arseways and the process will default to some form of JA!

    You may well be right I am not over optimistic on it myself. I think it will eventually get off the ground but as for the stability 50-50.

    An opinion poll would be interesting. I think we need to see if there is any possibility of movement to common ground and encourage it. It is a battle for the middle ground. Better funding organisations that would promote such positions than buying off the UDA.

  • Greenflag

    Dubliner

    ‘the devil always lurks in the detail’

    Of course . None of the issues you mention are insurmountable in themselves .

    ‘as people won’t buy a pig in a poke.

    Now that people in NI are getting used to electing Assemblies that never sit a pig in a poke could well sound like an attractive offer 🙂

    ‘A referendum can not be called at less than 7-year intervals under the present act. ‘

    So ? Change the present Act – If it’s broke -fix it .

    ‘I still hold out hopes that Devolution will go arseways and the process will default to some form of JA! ‘

    It’s probably odds on that it will go arseways given the stated positions of both parties . The present ill will being fostered by the DUP’s reluctance will not make it any easier . The behaviour of the DUP towards individual SF members over the past few years will not be forgotten by the latter and you can rest assured it will be a ‘battle a day’ and no doubt some issue will arise which will be a ‘matter of principle’ and this will prompt the usual threats counterthreats and the inevitable walk .

    JA could work for a period but I can’t think of anywhere in the world where it has been a longer term success . One man one boss is usually the best method for management organisation as is one people one government . IMO

  • Greenflag

    Crataegus

    ‘I think it will eventually get off the ground but as for the stability 50-50.’

    Probably the wrong analogy . Consider the bird any bird as it takes off . First one wing flaps and then the other and very quickly both wings are flapping together as it gathers momentum for the lift off . To fly requires incredible coordination and timing with all parts working in unison .

    Now consider this NI albatross with one DUP wing and one SF wing . It is getting ready for take off but the DUP wing does not trust the SF wing one iota and moreover doesn’t want to flap at the same time as the SF one . An interval of 8 weeks has been suggested by which time the SF wing will be flapping elsewhere and the 80 year old bird with one wing will have to take off by itself .

    On second thoughts instead of take off a better analogy would be of a one winged bird suffering from severe religious dementia and delusions of former grandeur being hypnotised into casting itself off from the edge of a cliff over a bottomless abyss with a scorpion on it’s neck . It may well fly for a brief period but sooner or later it’s weight will be unsupportable by the one wing . At which point the scorpion will obey the law of nature and both will plummet into the abyss.

  • audley

    “On second thoughts instead of take off a better analogy would be of a one winged bird suffering from severe religious dementia and delusions of former grandeur being hypnotised into casting itself off from the edge of a cliff over a bottomless abyss with a scorpion on it’s neck . It may well fly for a brief period but sooner or later it’s weight will be unsupportable by the one wing . At which point the scorpion will obey the law of nature and both will plummet into the abyss.”

    So you’re not optimistic then?

  • Greenflag

    Murphy was an optimist and I’m not Murphy 🙂

    The good news is that you can still get DUP/SF powersharing .
    The bad news is that you can still get DUP/SF power sharing

  • George

    Dubliner,
    the devil always lurks in the detail… not least harmonisation of the law and legal system itself, e.g. is an amnesty to be given to those who committed offences under that are no longer applicable in a state that no longer exists? If not, how do we deal with outstanding offences or court cases?

    We have done it before without a problem. May I suggest a new Article 50.3 along the following lines:

    “Subject to this Constitution and to the extent to which they are not inconsistent therewith, the laws in force in Northern Ireland immediately prior to the date of the coming into operation of this United Ireland Constitution shall continue to be of full force and effect until the same or any of them shall have been repealed or amended by enactment of the Oireachtas.”

    There you go. That took all of 30 seconds.

  • John East Belfast

    stathead

    “What I dont get about some unionist posters is their inability , indeed refusal to defend a point of view that they may have posted here. John East Belfast is probably the worst for bottling out . I destroyed him re. church and state etc and he wont play anymore
    With time to idle I ahve just stumbled across the above.”

    I have to say it is the most cowardly and self deluding thing I have read on Slugger.

    To tuck away an attack on another poster on a 300 + thread he is not reading.

    Is shouldnt entertain you but any reading of the thread you are talking – greatest threat – would say that you made a fool of yourself – indeed another poster called your posts juvenile.

    Anyhow I will give £10 to the Slugger tip jar for ever regular and known Slugger Poster who says that I have a tendency to

    1. Not defend my point of view
    2. Bottle out

    IF YOU ARE PREPARED TO GIVE £10 FOR EVERY POSTER WHO SAYS THEIR EXPERIENCE OF ME IS THE OPPOSITE.

    Are you on ??

  • To be fair to John EB, he does respond to criticism. But I can’t blame him for not wanting to wade through all 300 odd posts on a thread that is full of tiresomely repetitive republican drooling, all based on tenuous hypothesising.

    As for myself, I am well capable of defending a point of view but often people have better thing to do with their lives to respond to the torrent of dreary republican pettiness that occasionally overwhelms some Slugger threads. Forget the steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone, reading stuff from Stathead or Green Flag would drive anyone to Prozac.

    Many of the problems that face Northern Ireland are the same as in the rest of the developed world: competitiveness in the global economy, healthcare, welfare, pensions, education. But no thread on any of these topics would attract 300 odd entries. No, what really floats the boats of nationalist and republican posters is the prospect of a united Ireland.

    It’s all pretty dismal and pathetic, but the likes of Green Flag lack the self-awareness to see it.

  • John East Belfast

    Watchman

    “But I can’t blame him for not wanting to wade through all 300 odd posts”

    Thanks but he wasnt criticising me for this thread. He instead buried an ad hominem attack on me in a thread I hadnt got into – I just came across it by accident.

    It is the blogger akin to slandering someone behind their back.
    I have no problem people having a pop at me I just expect it to be to my face and based on some kind of fact or truth.

    I also think you are being hard on Greenflag.

    Stathead

    If you havent got the guts to stand by what you said and put your money where your mouth is then I expect you to withdraw that personal attack on me.

  • John EB

    This is what Green Flag said on the Robinson thread yesterday:

    “I would like at this point because it’s Friday halt all further conjecture and instead offer a heartfelt thanks to our Northern Unionist neighbours for being the natural born stubborn backward bastards they always have been”

    Charming, eh? I think I’ve been very charitable in the circumstances with his/her tribal bigotry.

  • John East Belfast

    The Watchman

    At the time I thought that was just tongue in cheek poetic licence etc ?

  • Greenflag

    Watchman ,

    Lighten up 🙂 The World is not going to end on Monday – I have it on good authority that the Sun will rise on Tuesday .

    JEB, It would have been culturally more correct to include Northern Nationalist along with Northern Unionist but in the political context it did not fit 🙂

    Thanks for the ‘poetic license ‘ . For what it’s worth I don’t doubt your bottle 🙂

  • John East Belfast

    Greenflag

    “For what it’s worth..”

    It could be worth £10 to Slugger Tip Jar if Shathead has the balls to take the challenge.

    His silence on the matter is telling and if he had any honour he would withdraw what he said about me and apologise for the manner in which he said it.