Sinn Fein’s new rules of engagement…

MARTINA Anderson’s rules for engaging ‘Brits’ used to be something along the lines of ‘check target, light fuse, run’. But in these enlightened times, the Sinn Fein director of unionist engagement will be travelling to Messines to remember the Irish who fought at the famous battle in World War I, including her mother’s uncle. “It’s about “trying to build up a better understanding of people,” the former bomber said. In addition, Sinn Fein will launch its ‘Charter for Unionist Engagement’ next Tuesday in Stormont.

  • kensei

    “Good point Kensei—let’s have a border poll and sort it out shall we?”

    Actually, I’d have it. No chance of winning it, of course, but that gives it’s own advantages. If a really strong campaign was run and a pro-UI vote got the 40%(+), it would be as serious blow to NI as a long term entity. The regional variations would throw up some interesting questions too.

    Besides, good to know the extent of the task ahead.

  • kensei

    “If there was a referendum tomorrow, would all of those who voted for those parties vote for a UI? I doubt it. 2/3 of all wanting to remain in the UK may be a conservative figure.”

    I believe with a decent campaign the vast majority would and there are plenty of non voters and undecided up for grabs.

    It might a conservative figure, but then again you might be wrong. There are no hard facts on the issues, just speculation.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘No chance of winning it, of course’

    Agreed there Kensei, but curiously SF don’t appear to accept your logic.
    Their recent efforts have been concentrated on such mature matters as not saying Northern Ireland and the border poll issue seems to have got stuck in somebody’s in-tray.

    Let’s say you’re right and SF can put on enough buses to manage the 40% — a repeat poll every 10 years just might see an increase of two percentage points each time. That’s 50 years to acheive the magic 50 + 1. I’d personally settle for that.

    Out-breeding hasn’t worked, bombing hasn’t worked, even a booming southern economy hasn’t worked. Could it really be that Northern Ireland actually has a right to exist after all?

  • Cahal

    Well lets say the 43ish percent of the electorate who vote SF or SDLP vote YES.

    Remember only about half of the electorate actually vote. Perhaps more of the non-voters could be motivated to vote for change than to actively vote for the status quo.

    Who knows. Could be a lot closer than even some republicans think.

  • jaffa

    In the absence of some sort or prior accomodation of unionism a simple yes / no option in any referendum proposing a united ireland will be nothing more than a vote for re-partition or the status quo with an even more unsettled and alienated unionist community.

    The Irish Labour Forum have proposed that any referendum includes a third “part of both option”. Republicans should start actively debating an acceptable (and I suppose to them temporary) compromise rather than waste their capital on an all or nothing gamble.

    Unless of course they’re secretly quite happy with a republic that stops at the Bann.

  • Cahal

    “In the absence of some sort or prior accomodation of unionism a simple yes / no option in any referendum proposing a united ireland will be nothing more than a vote for re-partition or the status quo with an even more unsettled and alienated unionist community. ”

    You’ll have to explain that to me. A yes vote would get deliver a UI, unless the GFA is wrong. Why would a NO vote lead to more unsettled unionism? Oh, and why is that important?

  • Cahal

    A third option will only split the nationalist vote as virtually no unionist will vote for it. As you well know.

  • jaffa

    “Oh, and why is that important?”

    Interesting question on a thread that started with the Unionist outreach position. I take it you’re not a fan of Ms Anderson’s role?

  • jaffa

    “virtually no unionist will vote for it. As you well know”

    Actually I don’t. Do you mean unionists or protestants in that question?

    Use 1st and 2nd preferences. That’s usually how compromises are made.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    GLC

    ‘The rest of your post I found depressing’

    “I’m assuming you’re referring to the border poll statement.”

    Nah man, it was your mindset I found depressing.

    Darth

    “that’s me too, but my Irishness is ridiculed, demonised, and denounced by those who dare to presume they have the sole copyright of the term.”

    Then fight for it, and stop whinging about the fact that you’ve been whipped for generations on this particular battlefield. Time to adopt an “I’m Irish and I’m proud, and ye can stick yer XXXX up yer jaxie” attitiude,

    As I’ve said many times, the Irish are the people who live on this island. Everything else is up for grabs. Don’t cry about it if you’ve been outplayed for years. Man up, and get back in the game!

  • New Yorker

    Kensei,

    You’re right that there are no hard facts on how a referendum would work out and that it is speculation. Based on discussions with Northern Irish catholics over here and in Ireland, I find the issue is either not very important to them or for practical reasons they want things to remain the way they are. That is purely ancedotal but there does not seem to be anything else to base speculation on. Catholics mostly vote for SF or SDLP, a few for AP or the Greens, and they do not agree with all the positions held by the party they vote for. So, I don’t think your 40% figure means much on this issue.

    In my view there are “capital N” nationalists who want political unity. And there are “small N’ nationalists who identify with being Irish but may or may not be in favor of a UI at present.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Then fight for it, and stop whinging about the fact that you’ve been whipped for generations on this particular battlefield. Time to adopt an “I’m Irish and I’m proud, and ye can stick yer XXXX up yer jaxie” attitiude,”

    Er….have you EVER read any of my posts? I only waste time on this blog to stick it up the smug, condescending, sometimes-pitying-sometimes-despising-sometimes-fearing-Unionism nationalists who are only able to convince themselves of their own superiority by adopting the most bizarre pseudo-historical and cultural bunch of fairy stories imaginable.
    Sorry to say you’re one of the worst, given that I think you have the intelligence not to be a Shinner cybertroop unlike most of the rest.

    Is that bolshie enough for you?

    And actually I don’t think we have been outplayed-or at least if we have, we’re still undefeated. Happy memories of the cup final two years ago, when Man Ure played Arsenal off the park, but they couldn’t beat them.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Billy

    ‘Nah man, it was your mindset I found depressing.’

    My mindset Billy is that a UI will come about when more than 50% of the electorate vote for it.

    Even Kensei admits that 40% pro-UI would be a great result — I’d personally plump for closer to 35%. However you slice it, that’s a huge gap to bridge.
    Catholics aren’t producing ten kids any more, Prods aren’t emigrating in large numbers and most immigrants aren’t interested. Where is this magic figure going to come from?

    If you find reality depressing I can only apologise.

  • BogExile

    ‘A third option will only split the nationalist vote as virtually no unionist will vote for it. As you well know.’

    Could there be any more depressingly stupid articulation of the monolithic Republican mind-set than this statement?

    Loosely translated as: ‘Don’t give the fuckers any option beyond a sectarian headcount.’

    You really don’t want a moderate about the place do you?

  • barnshee

    Billy just a few word changes really -see how easy it is

    Then fight for it, and stop whinging about the fact that you’ve been whipped for generations on this particular battlefield. Time to adopt an “I’m BRIRISH and I’m proud, and ye can stick yer XXXX up yer jaxie” IN SPADES attitiude,

    As I’ve said many times, we BRITISH are the people who live on OUR part of this island. Everything else is up for grabs. Don’t cry about it if you’ve been outplayed for years. Man up, and get back in the game!

    As for Martina

    Turns up in my street and its likely that the the dogs will be set on her—-where exactly can she go in protestant areas and be sure of a welcome? (Answers on the edge of a stamp to SF headquarters)

  • Cahal

    BogExile
    “Could there be any more depressingly stupid articulation of the monolithic Republican mind-set than this statement? ”

    Calm down big lad and try to understand my point before you shit yourself.

    The options would be something like:

    (a) UI
    (b) Wishy washy joint authority
    (c) Status Quo

    Republicans would vote for (a)

    Many nationalists would vote for (b) because the loyalists have been allowed to keep their guns by the British.

    Virtually all unionists would vote for (c). They aren’t well known for compromise in case you hadn’t noticed.

    And so as 50%+1 approaches I’m sure we’ll hear this sort of bollocks more often.

  • jaffa

    The options might be

    1) SF UI – abolition of Stormont, abolition of GFA, county government as second tier

    2) SDLP UI – retention of NI under UI administration, retention of GFA for NI “special case”

    3) “Part of both” joint authority – devolution to NI or Ulster British-Irish dependency (equal partners JV), retention of Stormont as Commonwealth parliament, abolition of GFA, president of Ireland and lieutenant governor as joint heads of state, british & irish passports issued automatically to all residents on application for either (no picking or choosing – you’re British & Irish until Ulster, Britain and Ireland says you’re not), currency union within Ireland, devolved tax raising powers to Ulster, NI/Ulster defence minister controlling single brigade (3 battalion) defence forces serving in Nato capacity with UK forces and UN capacity with Irish, all-Ireland police college, all-Ireland university admissions system, all-Ireland coastguard, all-Ireland EPA, all legislation approved by Stormont. Constitutional change requires 75% of Stormont to ensure at least 50% of both communities.

    4) DUP devolution – we’ll call London when we want more money but in the meantime they can keep their nose out while we squabble with the Shinners

    5) UUP devolution – we’ll call London every morning to make sure they think we’re being good boys and girls and they still love us

    Option 3 might not be most popular but I can’t see how it’s wishy-washy. It requires compromise but so do all the alternatives.

  • Cahal

    Jaffa.
    I still think zero unionists will vote for joint authority.

    The common theme of the last 85 years is Unionists don’t compromise unless they are cornered.

    So a third option will only be introduced if a UI looks like it may happen.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Darth

    “Er….have you EVER read any of my posts?”

    I have indeed. My point was aimed more generally. I’ve often heard unionists say things like: “Well, I would be happy to describe myself as Irish if it wasn’t for Sinn Fein and their conception of what it means to be Irish.”

    I’ve always found it a frustrating and self-defeating stance. After all, everyone is entitled to their own conception of what it means to be Irish, and to walk away from that debate just because you profoundly disagree with what someone else is saying is crazy. The debate will always be with us, and “Irishness” at any given time will always mean what those of us who live here decide it should mean. Play ball!

    Sorry that you happened to be the one I specifically aimed a general point at – as you say, you aren’t one of those unionists who have vacated this particular pitch.

    Read and reread the rest of your post, and I have to admit that aside from recognising a slap on the wrist when I see one, I’m confused as to what you’re on about. But certainly it was bolshie. Fair play!

    GLC

    “My mindset Billy is that a UI will come about when more than 50% of the electorate vote for it.”

    Really? That’s your mindset? I agree with the point you’re making, but I wouldn’t say it’s my mindset.

    Barnshee

    But I’m not British. I mean no disrespect to anyone when I say that, it’s simply a fact. For one thing, I’m not from Britain.

  • Flinnstone

    If SF was serious about reaching out to Unionists, it would not have chosen someone like Martina Anderson. The woman has too much bagage. SF has fallen at the first hurdle on this one. SF needs to ditch Martina and try again with someone who does not carry the Provo bagage!