Poll shows strong majority favour Union with Britain…

Well, maybe. The new Life and Times survey certainly marks a falling away in self definition as ‘Nationalist’ or ‘Unionist’. It also reports that the Union is currently “favoured by 54%, compared to 30% who want a united Ireland”. But, as Liam Clarke noted in yesterday’s Sunday Times, it is not good news for proponents of constitutional change. Though it also indicates that were such change were to come about, then 84% of Protestants would be prepared to live with it.By Liam Clarke:

IRISH unity is not likely to command majority support in Northern Ireland for the foreseeable future, a survey has found. Most people want the province to remain indefinitely as part of the United Kingdom. This is favoured by 54%, compared to 30% who want a united Ireland.

The annual Northern Ireland Life and Times survey, conducted by the province’s two universities, has found that traditional constitutional issues are concerning people less. Some 40% of those surveyed — including 30% of Protestants and 42% of Catholics — said they were neither nationalist nor unionist.

Support for remaining in the UK is nearly unanimous among Protestants (85%) and commands the support of 22% of Catholics, of whom just over half (56%) favour Irish unity. If a united Ireland never comes, some 86% of Catholics say they would accept the popular will. On the other hand, if there is a majority vote for Irish unity, 84% of Protestants would either happily accept it (31%) or could at least live with it (53%).

As the marching season approaches, there is evidence of strong opposition to its traditional activities: 76% of Protestants and 86% of Catholics oppose flags being flown, while 12% actively support the idea. Around nine in 10 in both communities would like their neighbourhoods and workplaces to be politically neutral.

There is hope that sectarianism is declining: only 4% of people think Catholic/Protestant relationships are likely to deteriorate over the next five years. Many expressed willingness to form friendships with people of other Christian denominations; only 15% said they would object strongly if a relative married someone of another religion. Large majorities in both communities say they would like to see more mixed neighborhoods, schools and workplaces.

Only a tiny minority (5%) think that either Catholics or Protestants are “generally treated unfairly when compared with other groups”. By contrast 39% thought ethnic minorities were treated unfairly and 31% felt that bisexuals, gays and lesbians were discriminated against.

This also came through when people expressed their attitudes to interracial marriage. Three out of four wouldn’t mind a close relative marrying someone of another religion but 87% said they wouldn’t readily accept a relative marrying a traveller, while 84% wouldn’t accept a marriage to a Muslim and 75% one to a person from an ethnic minority.

In the poll, 53% wouldn’t find travellers acceptable as Northern Ireland residents, and 82% would not accept them as friends.

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  • Yokel

    Nothing surprising in this at all especially the bit about those travellers……

  • Aaron S

    These surveys are meaningless as they do nothing to assess the reality of any serious unification debate. We don’t know what the conditions of unification would be, what political settlement there would be for people in the north, what sweeteners the Unionist community and apathetic Catholics would be offered, etc etc.

    You might well read this survey this way – “an astonishing 30% of people support a united Ireland without having been offered bucketloads of EU funds to seal the deal”.

  • BonarLaw

    Aaron

    politics since the foundation of the Northern Ireland state has been a “unification” debate.
    Perhaps you should start to deal with the fact it ain’t going to happen.

  • kensei

    The political party figures are STILL wrong. You’d think that doing this every year you might notice this is something that needs fixed.

    I should also note support for a United Ireland has went up 7% since last year. Either this represents an amazing surge in support, or the poll is shit. I know where I’m putting my money.

  • Dewi

    Yeah Kensei:

    41% age 18-24 in favour of UI
    25% age 25-34 in favour

    I really can’t see that huge disparity in a minor age group movement.

  • Mick Fealty

    ken,

    How do you propose to ‘fix’ it?

    Aaron,

    Absolutely. No one in their right mind would claim this is how an actual border poll would come out. But nevertheless there is some value in these polls, particularly as a counterbalance to the plentiful and mostly self interested political rhetoric on this issue.

  • Yokel

    The young always shoot for the stars and nothing else Dewi. As we get older we mellow..unless you are a DUP councillor in Ballymena……..

  • Crataegus

    No surprise here it is the inertia factor.

    For there to be a united Ireland NI has to be at ease with itself and political normality with both parts of this island cooperating in a mature self confident manner. There needs to be much better links and cooperation with the south and a lot less threats and implied territorial implications. About 50 years of good relations and we may be at a point where such considerations may cease to be contentious.

    Unionists do need to take a greater interest in the affairs of the neighbouring state and be open to cooperation for mutual benefit. They are missing political and economic opportunities. On the other side the endless Nationalist rantings about demographic shifts, the Elysian fields of Tip and open hatred of the English are all counterproductive and often defy any rational examination. All they do is alienate possible support. Quite seriously Britain of 2007 is very different from Britain in 1916. On a one to one basis the English are a decent lot and like people the world over are out to pay the mortgage and get through life, their government may be a bit twisted at times, but what government isn’t?

    Politically one has to question the strategy of political parties that organise solely on the basis of Ireland as they are clearly losing potential influence in Britain which is after all the unit in which we are governed. In a hung government the DUP and SF seats could give this place leverage.

    On a lower level it is actually denying not just reality but part of the shared heritage of NI. Much of the culture is British just as in the south much of the culture, the architecture, poetry, drama and literature is Anglo Irish. The British presence in Ireland did have its positive side and I often feel a more mature nationalist perspective is required as the current one seems to smack of insecurity and denial. For the life of me I can’t see why one cannot be British but prefer to live in a United Ireland or British and Irish?

  • Dewi

    Except, Kensei, it’s back up to 32% age 35 – 44 !!! – Early mid life identity crises ? !!!

  • kensei

    “How do you propose to ‘fix’ it?”

    I’m not a pollster. I am sure there are methodologies to ensure they are not so stupidly far off. I note the polls for the Assembly election were much closer to reality.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m sure your criticism will be listened to in the appropriate place(s).

  • There have been some peculiarly dodgy polls around recently: one almost suspects enemy action among the polled.

    Polls, of course, can be spectacularly wrong for all sorts of reasons: the way the question is asked, the basis of the poll (e.g. face-to-face, or telephone), the quota used … And there’s no way to check the accuracy: even when an election shows the polls to be way out of line, it’s always excused as a “late swing”.

    However, the poll that might hold useful interest is an all-Ireland and all-UK poll. Any bets that shows opinion of any complexion in NI is vastly different from the neighbours’?

    All of that is gratuitous simplification, as is the limp peroration as Crataegus (“Hawthorn”, if my botany serves me?) @ 10:19 AM, belying his preceding fine argument, on the shared heritage of NI. Much of the culture is British just as in the south much of the culture, the architecture, poetry, drama and literature is Anglo Irish.

  • Mick Fealty

    Crat,

    “For the life of me I can’t see why one cannot be British but prefer to live in a United Ireland or British and Irish?”

    Well, if Slugger is anything to go by then perhaps it’s the endless lecturing from their nationalist friends and neighbours that’s putting them off? 😉

  • I’ve just re-read the original article, and find myself thrown by its penultimate paragraph.

    This seems to confuse or conflate, deliberately, “marriage” (which is a fairly elastic term these days) across communities, across ethnic groups, across racial distinctions, across social bounds, and across denominations.

    If that’s typical of the whole survey, there can be little worth in anything therein. Typical of the Sunday Times, in fact: tawdry, gimcrack, tasteless and sensationalist.

  • Crataegus

    Mick

    There is a point beyond which having a point of view and opinion becomes an unreasoning obsession. We all know political anoraks who have their solution! They are the sort you learn to avoid. Once you go to the extreme you start to lose common ground with others who increasingly view you as detached from reality as they know it.

    You live in Dorset and I spend much of my time in London certainly the English I meet bear no resemblance to the perceptions that some Nationalists seem to have. I often wonder if a society can be traumatised and behave in an irrational manner (denial, hatred etc) in the same way as an individual can, and if so how many generations does it take before normal perceptions return?

    Anyway back to boring cash flow projections.

  • Yokel

    Er, Redfellow

    I’m not sure that survey was done by or for the Sunday Times at all was it?

  • “I note the polls for the Assembly election were much closer to reality”

    Actually Kensei they were’nt. The last main poll gave SF 22% and the SDLP 20%. In fact the actual result was 26.2 % for Sinn Fein and 15.2% SDLP. This represented a massive differential of 11% between the parties, as opposed to 2% forecast by the poll. This rendered the poll a complete and utter farce to be quite honest.

    As regards this poll I am most surprised that 84% of Protestants would be prepared to live with any constitutinal change. I think that mant people in the Protestant community have been exploited for years by the scare-mongering of both main Unionist parties and it just shows that many Protestants would not consider a potential United Ireland as being some sort of doomsday scenario…

  • [1] Yokel @ 11:16 AM:

    Can’t help you there: I get the London edition of the ST, and was going on the reference to as Liam Clarke noted in yesterday’s Sunday Times (and, of course, my ingrained and irrational prejudices against all things Murdoch).

    [2] macswiney @ 11:17 AM:

    Can you explain your computation? I make the discrepancy +4.2%, -4.8%: a “swing” of just 4.5%. As I recall, the polls were declaring a 2 or 3% margin of error. So the pollsters could claim they failed to detect a “last minute swing” of only one or two per cent. Ain’t it great to have an excuse? And why do we give credence to these bloody things anyway?

  • Just think of the benefits of unification. A million or so prods in a “new Ireland” would certainly boots the state’s equality industry!

    Lots of scope for new parity of esteem workshops, tribunals, commissions, legislation, and such like. Unless it’s a one-way street, I suppose.

  • kensei

    “Actually Kensei they were’nt. The last main poll gave SF 22% and the SDLP 20%. In fact the actual result was 26.2 % for Sinn Fein and 15.2% SDLP. This represented a massive differential of 11% between the parties, as opposed to 2% forecast by the poll. This rendered the poll a complete and utter farce to be quite honest.”

    Yeah, and still quite a bit closer to the above poll.

    They’ve also missed out whether people voted in the last election, will vote in future assembly elections and will vote in a border poll. All of which would be useful. Cack.

  • DK

    Interesting that the overwhelming majority in both communities are against flags being flown. Shows how a small number of people can be apparently perceived as being representitive of an entire community. Ruins the old stereotypes when you realise that 76% of protestants also don’t want the flags flying.

  • parcifal

    Be interesting to take a poll, after the scales fell from the unionists eyes, as to their true identity.
    So all you need is a very bright torch, to pierce the darkness and turn the polls around.
    perhaps a laser, which I’m happy to report I’m building the proto-type in my garden shed, just need to hook up with a satellite and we got bingo 😉

  • Yokel

    Parcifal

    Unionists know their identity. There isn’t a true identity that they are hiding from themselves in some kind of mass code of silence.

    Please see post 13 from Mr Fealty….

    Best regards

    Yokel

  • Frank Sinistra

    The one NILT statistic you can check against reality has SF support at 11%. The actual figure was 26.2%. That’s a 150% margin of error.

    It seems their data is highly suspect.

  • parcifal

    Yokel
    well if that’s the case my cosmic ray gun beaming down on you from the over-head satellite will have no effect; but I’d like to try all the same.
    Hope that’s ok? No harm implied, just an experiment.

  • Yokel

    You’ll be class action sued for causing cancers if you arent careful with that gun.

    I assume its the new Nokia model with inbuilt camera and MP3 player….

  • parcifal

    Yokel,
    hey that’s a year old that one.

    But you’re right its about getting the correct frequency and wave-length; and as the spectrum is full of gamma rays, perhaps X-ray with some modifications ( to see into the bare bones of the root identity)
    or Ultra Violet ( to see if any traces of Green come up in the Orange glow)

    Would you like to visit my laboratory ?

  • Yokel

    Old jokes are the best, they should be preserved and cherished.

    Ah jaysus, I can’t, I’m washing my hair. It goes all frizzy in the clean lab environment and its a pain in the arse. I tdink ist somethin to do with the temepratures and dry air.

    Those Nicky Clarke branded ceramic hair straigtheners just don’t work.

    Mind you a ray gun generates heat so there’s a niche market there for a rapid hair dryer if the cosmic ray for change plan don’t work out.

  • parcifal

    how kind yokel, maybe that’s my true forte and calling , might even call it the Yokel Ray, and give you a sales royalty .. oops did I say that last dreaded word Royalty 🙂

  • “Can you explain your computation? I make the discrepancy +4.2%, -4.8%: a “swing” of just 4.5%. As I recall, the polls were declaring a 2 or 3% margin of error. So the pollsters could claim they failed to detect a “last minute swing” of only one or two per cent. Ain’t it great to have an excuse? And why do we give credence to these bloody things anyway”?

    Malcolm,

    I think you have misinterpreted my post.I am not looking for excuses, because I was actually delighted that SF did better than the poll suggested. The poll was 4.2 % short in its prediction of SF support, so your quoted margin of a normal error rate of 1-2% still cannot even remotely excuse the innacuracy of this poll which, incidentally, was the subject of a lead story in The Belfast Telegraph and also the subject of hundreds of futile posts on Slugger…

    When a poll is that far out, it is, (in my opinion), efefctively worthless. At least on that point we seem to be agreed…

  • Oh come on, it must be born in mind that the NILT is a survey and will therefore approach people, unlike an election where people must make the effort to vote.

    Sinn Fein received 26.2% of the vote but only 63% of the electorate cast a valid vote. So SF received votes from 16.5% of the electorate.

    It’s still an underestimation but it’s a lot closer and I think it’s fairly reasonable to theorise that DUP and in particular SF sympathisers are more motivated to vote.

  • Beano,

    The poll question related to people who intended to vote and whom they would vote for. It’s accepted practice that ‘accurate’ polls should have an error margin of between 1 and 2%. This poll wasnt even close to those margins. Im not sure this is in anyway debatable actually, because the facts speak for themselves in terms of the poll predictions and the eventual voting figures.

  • Despite an amount of cross-purposes here (of which my mis-reading is one), there isn’t an essential point of disagreement.

    As for the polls before the Assembly elections, I distinctly recall noting that some quoted an error-margin of 2-3%, rather than something tighter. Which, of course, invites the chocolate teapot simile.

    Then there is the way questions are asked. There is a significant difference between:
    “If there were an election tomorrow …”
    and
    “How will you vote in some indefinite future …”
    One asks for an instant visceral response, the other invites something more considered. I believe the electorate are sufficiently sophisticated to sense the difference.

    Yet again, there is the “nasty” vote. I have been in and around elections since the 1960s, and believe the astute canvassers can detect the smoke on the wind. It’s not what people say, it can be how it is said, the indirect response, the edginess that gives a clue.

    Behind all this clap-trap lies a more significant issue: can the DUP and SF change their spots sufficiently for the “decent” middle-class voter to regard them as fully house-trained? Then, can either or both break out of their ghetto-politics, and widen their appeal? And that’s what the next months and years ought to all about. So far, so good.

    And then there’s the habit of voting (which traps me, for one, into an illogical Pavlovian/atavistic response every time a ballot paper is offered). Will the middle-class nationalist vote SF for Westminster, knowing the consequence of a non-attending member?

    Any chance we can move on?

  • kensei

    Beano

    “Sinn Fein received 26.2% of the vote but only 63% of the electorate cast a valid vote. So SF received votes from 16.5% of the electorate.

    It’s still an underestimation but it’s a lot closer and I think it’s fairly reasonable to theorise that DUP and in particular SF sympathisers are more motivated to vote. ”

    Still doesn’t stack up. There will be a lot of people that don’t vote unless the result in their constituency is tight. I would also doubt that the other 40% of the population is so different from the rest of us as to totally skew the results in that fashion. It’s a big, fuck off underestimation whatever way you cut it.

    There is also no indication of voting intentions on the survey, which is a stupefying oversight. It’s honestly worse than useless.

    Malcom

    “Behind all this clap-trap lies a more significant issue: can the DUP and SF change their spots sufficiently for the “decent” middle-class voter to regard them as fully house-trained?”

    I hate to be the one to tell you, but the middle class here vote SF, and particularly DUP, in large numbers. That argument is over, frankly.

  • Frank Sinistra

    As I’ve said before the chances of Republicans completing a huge Northern Ireland Life and Times survey are on a par with those taking a doorstep subscription to the Ulster Tatler.

    The recent discussions on Ministerial language should demonstrate that the NI stuff will get the door slammed in your face by the average Republican.

    The results will be skewed against the DUP and UUP for political and class reasons.

    It’s a wonderful survey of the predominant attitudes amongst the chattering classes but as an overview of society it is consistently shown to be useless when checked against a proper attitude check like an election.

  • Frank Sinistra

    Apologies.

    “The results will be skewed against the DUP and UUP for political and class reasons.”

    should be:

    “The results will be skewed against the DUP and SF for political and class reasons.

    btw: Mick, there’s one way to fix part of their sampling problem, change the name to one that doesn’t create hostility amongst an element of the population.

  • Dewi

    Slightly tangential but I wonder if anyone has ever changed their view on the constitutional issue after reading a debate on Slugger ? Now that would be worth a poll !

  • Sean

    Okay no one else seems to be saying it so I will

    If 54% is an overwhelming majority, what is the number you would consider an underwhelming majority?

  • pondersomething

    I think Unionism has good grounds for confidence in these figures, which have been more or less consistent over the last several NILT surveys – which have found Catholic support for the Union at around 20-25% and Protestant support for a UI at around 5% (though this survey has it at a high of 7%, and shows a reduction in Prots favoring an independent Ulster)

    There’s still no room to be complacent as a Unionist though – you could all too easily envisage a scenario where Unionism manages to screw things up completely by stirring up unnecessary confrontations or by failing to tackle the more divisive and sectarian elements within Unionism.

    Its why Unionists of all shades need to have a serious debate now about building the broadest consensus possible behind the Union for the decades ahead.

  • Good point Sean. Recently in a different thread I made a similar comment re a percentage of 56&#xth;at i was quoting. I got widely laqmbasted and had to accept that my definition was incorrect. If 54% in favour of The Union is deemed a strong majority, then things are going to get quite interesting over the next decade or so..

  • “If 54% is an overwhelming majority”

    I’m missing something… who said it was?

  • Oh, I suppose the “Strong majority” in the title you’re talking about?

    I wouldn’t say 54% was overwhelming, but if we remove the don’t knows and only count those with an opinion one way or the other (or the others, including independence and ‘other’) then we’re looking at 61% vs 34%.

  • Sean

    If you could remove the don’t knows there would be no point to elections now would there

  • Chris Donnelly

    “For the life of me I can’t see why one cannot be British but prefer to live in a United Ireland or British and Irish?”

    Well, if Slugger is anything to go by then perhaps it’s the endless lecturing from their nationalist friends and neighbours that’s putting them off? 😉

    Mick
    ‘endless lecturing’, Mick?

    Examples of this would be a good starting point, else that sort of comment would suggest a groundless tendency to identify unionists as the perpetual downtrodden victims.

    If Slugger shows anything it is that unionists are quite capable of standing up for themselves, though some recent threads indicate some may feel incapable of critical self-reflection- which, by the way, is not an exclusive reaction to unionists here (much in the same way that ‘lecturing’ isn’t the sole preserve of nationalists.)

    I for one would be quite happy to have unionists identify themselves as British and Irish, even more delighted if they also made the political choice to support Irish reunification.

    What I would not accept is attempts by anyone to define another’s identity- for instance, I’m Irish, not northern Irish nor British nor even Anglo-Irish; it is for others to determine their own identity.

    This neatly ties into the recent protestations by some unionist politicians and some civil servants at instructions by Departmental ministers regarding preferred vocabulary when identifying the state and second largest city here.

    Would that the same politicians and civil servants had actually spent even a second giving thought to how nationalists felt having to use ‘unionist’ vocabulary for God knows how long?

    These are indeed interesting times in the north, and it is actually a healthy sign that these issues are coming to the fore. As I said on an earlier thread discussing the BBC’s programme on children’s attitudes here, what we need is to develop a ‘shared future’ based on equal respect for the two communities here.

    That must involve respecting differences in our political and national allegiances in all its manifestations.

  • Irish Prod

    How strange that when these results are published everyone jumps at the results and creates wild fantasies about their meaning.

    Even though I’d like to, I’ve never been asked to take part in these polls, nor do I know anyone who has taken part in them, and I am a student at one of the universities supposedly involved in their conduct.

    I heard that they poll little more than a thousand people. What about the other million and a bit? The only way to know is to hold referendums, not tiny polls which don’t how anything.

  • Crataegus

    Chris

    instructions by Departmental ministers regarding preferred vocabulary when identifying the state and second largest city here.

    There are times when I wonder, whilst the finest brains in our political elite ponder the question as to the what to call the City, London-Derry (why not Oak Grove for that matter) people like myself are buying and selling bits of it. As a casual observation the city is unquestionably a fine example of a plantation town complete with street layout and walls. Fine historic city with poor transport links.

    Will this place ever move from ‘unionist’ or ‘Nationalist’ vocabulary to shared vocabulary. How much of this sort of debate is an attempt to rewrite history in our own terms. Toning down the unpalatable bits of history and if possible airbrush them out. If you prefer Derry fine with me but if someone else calls it Londonderry no problem, not worth the arguement.

  • Chris Donnelly

    If you prefer Derry fine with me but if someone else calls it Londonderry no problem, not worth the arguement.

    Crat
    Which is precisely my point.

  • Gréagóir O’ Fráinclín

    The Unionists should feel very relaxed and comfortable now after this very important poll. Perhaps they might begin to feel somewhat at home now in Northern Ireland rather than treating it as some colonial outpost that they believed to man for the now defunked empire. And with a sizeable proportion of their Catholic/Nationalist neighbours in favour of the UK why would there be any need for them to be ever on edge and on guard as such, as has always been the case!

  • Gréagóir O’ Fráinclín

    However, Crataegus makes very good points with Number 8 post.

  • So, the Union is favoured by 22% of Northern Ireland’s Catholics, while 18% don’t know, and a further four per cent favour the quixotic cause of Northern Irish independence.

    By contrast, only seven per cent of Protestants support a united Ireland, only six per cent don’t know, and only two per cent would give effect to the old Scots-Irish ambivalence (no doubt underlying Ian Paisley’s cosying up to the SNP) that saw them with the English (and thus with the Anglo-Irish) during the Plantation, against them during the Civil War, with them during the Glorious Revolution (as I do not hesitate to call it, given the Papal Blessing sent to William of Orange when he set out for Ireland), against them during the American Revolution, and half in and half out of the 1798 Rebellion (the Jacobin, and thus anti-Catholic, foundation of Irish Republicanism).

    In which case, and as part of a much wider movement (of which more anon, if you make contact…), is there anyone reading this in Northern Ireland who would be willing and able to contest the 2009 European Election as a voice for the broadly or soundly Unionist forty to forty-four per cent of Catholics there, as well as giving a voice to all Unionists who believe in the universal and comprehensive Welfare State (including, for example, farm subsidies), and in the strong statutory and other (including trade union) protection of workers, consumers, communities and the environment, the former delivered by the partnership between a strong Parliament and strong local government, the whole paid for by progressive taxation, and all these good things underwritten by full employment?

    If so, then do please get in touch as a matter of urgency: davidaslindsay@hotmail.com – with STV for three seats in Northern Ireland, then we really could get you in.

  • ciaran

    I am another one who has never been polled and I am no spring chicken.And I have yet to meet someone who has been polled. I wonder do they have their own secret club for those who have been. Then again how would they know each other if its secret.Do the pollsters have a secret handshake.And how do you recognise a secret handshake. I’m going back to bed, this is all too much to think about.

  • DK

    So some 86% of catholics don’t care if we remain in the UK and 84% of protestants don’t care if we end up in a united Ireland.

    Is this the impact of the EU, the troubles, or has it always been that way.

  • sammaguire

    So we are expected to believe that one third of nationalist voters in NI don’t actually want a united Ireland. Total bunkum!
    Reminds me of the following opinion poll before the Repuplic’s election:
    http://www.sluggerotoole.com/index.php/tomorrows-poll-results-today/
    FF were apparently only 3pc ahead of FG. In the end FF got approx 50% more votes than FG. So much for opinion polls.

  • Cruimh

    Sam – opinion polls are of the entire electorate.
    The percentages you are talking about compare votes actually cast. Big difference.

  • curious

    The [b]IRISH UNITY[/b] survey by social science departments at both NI Universities was carried out by [b]EMPIRICAL[/b] data that are produced by professional experiment or observation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empirical#_note-0

    PS: Empirical does not refer to empires (e.g. Roman Empire); it is sometimes used erroneously in this fashion.

  • Realist

    I love it when people highlight surveys that suit their propoganda, and reject them as “cack” when they don’t fit the agenda.

    I’m sure many Uber Chuckys look at the survey and are gutted.

    Where’s that guy that banged on and on about repartition? Maybe his day will come?

    Maybe the true “united” Irelanders will redouble their efforts to persuade?

    I’ve seen “within 10 years”, now being substituted with “in this century” on one republican orientated site. 🙂

    Nothing quite like good management of expectation.

  • George

    I’m rather shocked that, if this survey is true, that we have such a huge underrepresentation of Catholics in the unionist body politic.

    After all if over 20% of Catholics support the union, and have done for a substantial period of time, surely we would have some Catholic unionist MLAs or MPs.

    How many UUP or DUP MLAs are Catholic? More than zero?

    Either this survey doesn’t represent the reality or unionist parties aren’t representative of the reality.

  • DK

    George,

    I think that your opinion on the border and the party you vote for are quite different things. While many catholic voters are apparently ambivalent about the border, it would appear to be more a case that the unionist parties put them off due to their history of discrimination against catholics, and the nationalist parties are more representative of their needs – i.e. strong opposition to the unionists. So voting is more about tribal loyalty, but the actual border doesn’t affect the tribe.

    Put it this way – A hypothetical catholic civil servant may never vote for the DUP/UUP due to their constant banging on about the right to parade down his street and how he was never discriminated against. However, if it came to the union, his civil servant job may be directly at risk – so he is ambivalent or actively against unification. I know people like this, and I’m sure others do too.

    Essentially, for all the talk of Sinn Fein and their sectarian baggage, the unionist parties have their own sectarian baggage which is putting off a lot of catholic voters.

    The party that should be worried is Alliance – why haven’t they tapped into this group of voters? Maybe if Alliance was stronger on parades and collusion they might attract this group.

  • Cruimh

    “Either this survey doesn’t represent the reality or unionist parties aren’t representative of the reality.”

    george – our politicians are unrepresentative of the day to day reality – because they exist in such a poisonous orbit. That’s why the GFA places the Unification issue outside of party politics and in the hands of the electorate via a referendum.

  • Cruimh

    “84% of Protestants would be prepared to live with it.”

    Hardly a surprise – the vast majority of protestants believe in democracy and now that the Southern state has moved away from it’s terrible past unification is no longer seen as abandonment and betrayal akin to what happened behind the Irosn curtain post 1945.

  • DK

    Cruimh – I think that you’re right: there is no big opposition to unification among the protestant masses (politicians are another matter), but there is even less push for unification among the catholic masses. In essence, the prevailing attitude seems to be “things are OK as they are – why bother with the hassle”.

    I wonder what percentage of southerners wouldn’t mind becoming part of the union again….

  • scary_eire

    DK

    I assure u that wud be a very low percentage if there was even one person. There would be nothing to gain fromit. It would basically be handing the control of our own destiny, be it the economy etc…, to another country.

    It would not make any sense

  • Gréagóir O’ Fráinclín

    I wonder what percentage of southerners wouldn’t mind becoming part of the union again….

    I wouldn’t say there’d be too many, to tell you the truth. We have a much valued prize now, our independence and our own head of state plus a thriving economy, money in our pockets, roofs over our heads, swanky cars under our arses, numerous holidays a year, etc… etc… the famine days are long gone.

    But I suppose one could say that we are in a way a part of the UK regarding the economy, entertainment, sport, the everyday common use of the English language etc..
    But look at the amount of Irish folk over there in Britain who have Irish relatives and sure look at all the successful Irish people in the UK today in the business, entertainment and sports fields etc…Phenomenal!
    The ties are very close between Ireland and the UK , with UK visitors/tourists to the ROI being one of the highest. One should see the amount of English stag and hen parties in Dublin and around the rest of the country each weekend. Local folk join in the craic.

    According to the last ROI census there are about 250,000 UK residents living/working in the ROI today.

    But the US has taken top spot from the UK as our chief trader in goods ie (exports etc…)