Let’s vote on it

Back in the early days of the DUP’s electoral victories, they thought that it would be strong, positive leadership of Unionism, to run away from fundamental questions. O’Neill reckons that it might be a good idea to put separatist ideas down with the weight of public opinion.

  • fair_deal

    As the BBC article highlights the legislation for NI is different for Scotland and Wales.

    Under the terms of the GFA as negotiated by the UUP, the first referendum then triggers a referendum every 7 years, not a recipe for stability or assisting in the institutions bedding down.

  • smcgiff

    Didn’t D. Trimble & the UUP call for such a few years back.

    The reason Gordon won’t allow this has nothing to do with NI.

    If he does it will lead to Scottish & Welsh calls for the same. And then the English will cry for such a referendum. And whatever about the other three – there’d be a damn good chance the English would say sling yer hooks.

  • smcgiff

    FD,

    NI is also different in that (afaik) a referendum can only be called if there’s the likelyhood of a pro UI vote.

    Of course, in reality I imagine one could be called under other circumstances, but if it were, then there would be no need to have one every 7 years.

  • sam

    Yet another Michael Shilliday post trying to attack the DUP (no matter how weak the point). It’s never anything else. How long are you going to let this go on, Mick?

  • Cruimh

    “Under the terms of the GFA as negotiated by the UUP, the first referendum then triggers a referendum every 7 years,”

    Incorrect reading of the GFA – the seven year rule does NOT apply to all border referenda – only a very specific one called where the SOS thought there might be a chance of a vote for unification of Ireland. Referenda called for other reasons – in this case to quantify support for the continuance of the Union with GB – would not necessarily have even to be repeated, let aone automatically repeated every seven years.

  • Michael Shilliday

    But I thought the DUP smashed the GFA F_D? Speaking of which, did I hear Gregory Campbell defending the GFA with regard to Irish and Ulster Scots on Talkback today?

    All very confusing.

  • Cruimh

    “NI is also different in that (afaik) a referendum can only be called if there’s the likelyhood of a pro UI vote.”

    That is incorrect smcgiff. There are no restrictions of that nature in the GFA.

  • sam – there just isn’t enough criticism of the sell-out merchants and hypocritical free p’s in the DUP – come on shilliday – stick the boot in

  • kensei

    The problem is that Unionist doesn’t just have to win, it has to win well. Anything over 40% either here or Scotland (can’t see it in Wales, personally) indicates it’s viable possibility within a generation and shifts power towards the Nationalist position. Anything over 45% and the Union as it is now is toast.

  • “as negotiated by the UUP… not a recipe for stability or assisting in the institutions bedding down.”
    Spot the DUP voter;)

    “Under the terms of the GFA as negotiated by the UUP” and ever oh so slightly amended by the DUP.

  • fair_deal

    Cruimh

    Cheers for the clarification.

    MS

    Confusion seems to be your permanent state lately.

    I have never made the claim the GFA was smashed nor would I. IMO (which I explained at some length) it was changed and should have been changed more.

    I don’t know what gregory said neither am I his spokesperson.

    Hanson

    Hardly a revelation.

  • Michael Shilliday

    I didn’t say that you said that. But that’s what my DUP representatives have been telling me! Unless of course the voter on the doorstep expresses support for the UUP, then they’re told that the DUP improved on the GFA.

    So you think it’s a good idea for Unionism to run away from the fundamental question of it’s ideology?

  • FD,
    At least you have the sense or honesty to see that the deal is fundamentally unchanged. No party members would say publically that the bulk of the (cough) credit should go to the UUP.

  • fair_deal

    MS

    “So you think it’s a good idea for Unionism to run away from the fundamental question of it’s ideology?”

    1. I’d be less concerned about it considering Cruimh’s useful clarification.
    2. What fundamental question of its ideology?
    3. I had a thread on the idea of a referednum for Scotland following the Holyrood election. However, on reflection I don’t see it as being that useful a tool. The SNP is limited by its minority status, PC’s ambitions can be contained by the bigger partner in government in Labour, and SF and the SDLP by the checks and balances at Stormont.

    Hanson

    “At least you have the sense or honesty”

    Thank you. I wish others would see the value in not strictly adhering to the party line.

  • Michael Shilliday

    If you don’t know the answer to question two then you need to seriously think about whether you’re a Unionist or not.

    And you don’t actually answer my question. Do you think it’s a good idea for Unionism to run away from a referendum?

  • Ginfizz

    Michael

    There’s nothing strong or positive about having a poll on the status of Northern Irelands position within the Union every 7 years – we already do it every 2 years with elections here at the moment. As a more moderate Unionist, I would have thought you would have believed that if devolution beds down and Northern Ireland actually starts to work like a normal part of the UK, more people will become persuaded to the benefits of maintaing the link and will vote accordingly.

    Aside from anything else, we elect Members of Parliament every 4/5 years to write laws to govern us. Repeated referenda is not the way to proceed.

    This is a fairly lame attempt at a swipe at the DUP, and made even more lame by the fact that almost every post you put on this site could be described as such. Where’s the Unionist analysis? Where’s the the argument about why the UUP is better? In short, where’s the beef?

    No wonder you didn’t get elected to the officer team.

  • fair_deal

    MS

    “If you don’t know the answer to question two then you need to seriously think about whether you’re a Unionist or not”

    Since the foundation of NI there has been one formal referendum, the 1973 border poll.

    Unionist ideology has seemed to manage perfectly well without formal referendums, 52 and 24 years respectively. Election results were generally considered good enough by Unionism but then maybe the likes of Craig, Andrews, Brooke, O’Neill, Chichester-Clarke and Faulkner weren’t Unionistd either. All those closet Ulster nationalists running the country and the UUC, good grief.

    “Do you think it’s a good idea for Unionism to run away from a referendum?”

    Unionism isn’t running away from anything, nationalist parties aren’t even calling for one at the moment.

    A referendum will produce the predictable result and the SDLP and SF won’t care a fig for the result nor deflect them from where they want to go.

    I could do with the exercise of a campaign mind you.

  • Bigger Picture

    Yawn another day another attempt by Michael Shilliday to attck the DUP.

    Michael, if you are going to attck them at least come at it from a strong point of view and one that you have a chance of showing the UUP in a more credible light! Every time you attack it comes back to the point that the UUP were more than willing to do it first and foremost! Although that was topped by the thread attacking the DUP for deselecting women whenever the UU’s were the only party with 0 women MLA’s!

    Desperation to say the least but even worse because it’s not even well thought out at the best of times.

  • Gordon

    Couldn’t agree more- there are many contributors I don’t agree with but this stuff is so partisan and one-dimensional. Mick and the team need to look at whether these persistent blatant party political posts aimed at petty point scoring are doing anything for what is an excellent site otherwise.

  • DC

    Hear, Hear Gordon.

    Besides it’s so retrograde – I mean it isn’t Slugger’s fault that the UUP got outbid by the DUP over ethnic antics.

    The hardest thing to bring in within a conservative political landscape is change. Even in private business it is very difficult.

    The sad fact is the DUP snarled and shouted at the change only to sit back and let the UUP take the heat for them to move in on UUP territory once Trimble had reached his nervous breakdown point.

    The DUP are cowards and the UUP didn’t defend the ‘now proven to be’ nonsense put up by Paisley and his family and others during the implementation stages.

  • Gordon

    Can’t agree with your analysis on cowards- actually think DUP have been pretty gutsy on taking on their headbangers- but just feel that if people want to make political points, could at least try some degree of subtlety. And ideally such partisan agenda shouldn’t come from those posting initial stories. Would seem that in this case, just seems to be that thinks here’s a chance to have a go at the DUP and dives in at every opportunity, no matter whether an issue worth debating or not.

  • Truth & Justice

    Why are we debating this its not even on the radar and was agreed by the UUP in the first place.

  • inuit_g

    No harm in this coming to a referendum, it would get both sides to think more creatively about appealing to the centre-ground and for unionists especially it would be a needed shot in the arm – getting us away from MOPE-ishness navel-gazing on issues like the Irish Language and on to the serious business of winning the centre-ground in a referendum.

    Mind you if I was a nationalist which admittedly I’m certainly not, I would be strongly questioning the “50%+1” strategy which, even if it one day ‘succeeded’ in the sense of delivering a one-island state “on the map” would completely destroy any chance of achieving reconciliation between the traditions on the ground.

    A nationalist pursuing Irish unity on the basis of unifying the Unionist and Nationalist traditions – now that I can understand. But sure if “partition” is the problem, nationalists could end it almost immediately if the south were to rejoin the Union!

    But for any nationalist to pursue Irish unity on the basis of a “50%+1 then f**k you” strategy does rather baffle me – even Gerry Adams described the ‘outbreeding’ strategy as “a lot of fun but not a viable way forward” (or words to that effect)

    I mean what do such nationalists think we Unionists will be doing even if we do lose such a referendum?

    Even if we lost we would still have the Principle of Consent and NI would still have her right to Self-Determination – and I know the first thing I’d be doing the morning after, apart from slugging down hangover pills, would be working on the website for the next referendum 7 years hence whereby Northern Ireland could be gotten out from the south and back into the United Kingdom.

    So even if nationalists were to get the 50%+1 they wouldn’t be inheriting a ‘united Ireland’ at all, they would just have inherited a Quebec-situation with the Northeast always but a few percent of the vote away from secession.

  • slug

    “Under the terms of the GFA as negotiated by the UUP, the first referendum then triggers a referendum every 7 years, not a recipe for stability or assisting in the institutions bedding down.”

    This is in fact wrong, and I am surprised FD got it wrong, as he is usually fairly accurate. The GFA does not say that there would be referenda every seven years. The GFA merely says that if there IS a referendum then there cannot be another for at least the next 7 years. There is absolutely no requirement that there be a second referendum at all.

  • dub

    inuit g,

    if there were a ui, ni would no longer exist so it would not have the right to secede… what you are really saying here is as nationalists have always suspected is that many unionists would not accept the outcome of a majority of ni voting to leave uk. you really are shameless. btw have you accepted yet that you cannot vote for the party of govt in the uk state for the last x amount of years.. the labour party and that this IS a unique position for any region belonging to a a so called democratic state. still waiting on that one.

  • slug

    “f there were a ui, ni would no longer exist so it would not have the right to secede”

    So you think NI’s self determination rights would be taken away in a UI? Who says?

  • Cruimh

    ” The GFA does not say that there would be referenda every seven years. The GFA merely says that if there IS a referendum then there cannot be another for at least the next 7 years. There is absolutely no requirement that there be a second referendum at all. ”

    Even that interpretation is flawed. That limitation only applies if the referendum is triggered by the SOS having reason to believe that the referendum could end up supporting unification.

    So, if there is a referendum for a different reason it can be repeated if desired the following year, or in 2 years time or whenever wanted.

  • inuit_g

    So dub your sayin the first thing you’d do on winning a referendum would be to abolish the Principle of Consent and rip up the Good Friday Agreement?

    I’d like to seeya trying to win a referendum on that one!

    No nationalist in their right mind would make it their first action, on winning a consent referendum, to abolish the Principle of Consent!

    You think self-determination is a one-way street? Or course not! Even if you were idiotic enough to try to enforce abolition of the Principle of Consent in a ‘United’ Ireland you would run straight up against the Unionist people – how do you propose enforcing that?

    Irish troops on Sandy Row? You would never be able to stop a secession movement by the northeast if it was supported by the people. How many FCA or Irish Army friends of yours would ever fire upon their fellow Irishmen no matter what their feckin orders where?

    The Principle of Consent agreed in 1998 is the bedrock of future relations between the Unionist and Nationalist traditions in Ireland. It’s a two-way street – we would have just as much democratic right to seek secession from a ‘united’ Ireland as you have the democratic right to seek secession from the UK.

    For forward-looking Nationalists and Unionists the Principle of Consent should be to all of us in Ireland what the Treaty of Waitangi is to New Zealand, or the Charter of Rights & Freedoms is to Canada, or the post-apartheid multiracial constitution is to South Africans.

    I’m honestly flabbergasted that any true Nationalist’s model of what a United Ireland could look like would mean abolishing the Principle of Consent for Northern Ireland.

  • GavBelfast

    Inuit_g hasn’t said he (and other Unionists in his opinion) wouldn’t accept the outcome of a referendum to take NI out of the UK and into an Irish state, but that he (and other Unionists) would retain the right to campaign to rejoin the UK, should that happen.

    Done by force of argument alone, how could the right to such self-determination be denied?

    It’s certainly an interesting thought.

    In any case, though, the South – certainly the Government and main opposition parties – appear to regard what we have as the settlement. Sure, there’s going to be closer co-operation and good relations, and a united Ireland of some kind MIGHT happen in time, and there’s still a vague aspiration that an all-Ireland state would be nice, but it’s obviously not fundamental to Southern needs and wants. Hoopefully a successfully and reasonably stable Northern Ireland will serve to dilute obsession with sovereignty and symbolism generally in time, with attendant reduction in fear and suspicion to-boot.

  • slug

    inuit_g

    “So dub your sayin the first thing you’d do on winning a referendum would be to abolish the Principle of Consent and rip up the Good Friday Agreement?”

    i.e. we would lose rights we currently enjoy in a UI. Doubt if some of these people have updated their idea of a UI post the Agreement… By the way the only nationalist party to have specified what a UI might look like (the SDLP) say that they would agrue to keep all the components of the Agreement, in a UI.

  • Turgon

    inuit_g,

    I agree in principle with all you have said. I am, however, very dubious that we would end up getting another go at a referendum. Whilst most of the population of RoI probably would not have a huge problem with it the really committed republicans, the ones who really really cared would try everything to prevent it.

    “I’m honestly flabbergasted that any true Nationalist’s model of what a United Ireland could look like would mean abolishing the Principle of Consent for Northern Ireland. ”

    Come on there is a small but signficant cohort who are not true nationalists but are the same peole who supported or participitated in republican terrorism for 30+ years. They are essentially interested in beating the Prods and would oppose any attempt by unionists or the RoI government to allow what they would consider “snatching of defeat from the jaws of victory”.

    Also of course a significant number of unionists would probably leave, maybe not immediately but gradually.

    Fortunately I think there is little chance of a genunine majority in favour of a united Ireland in the foreseeable future, though I am sure we will now have various statistics counters on explaining that it will happen within 15 minutes. I guess you should come with me and make the last stand on Devenish.

  • inuit_g

    Yes indeed – and given that the Principle of Consent is the very bedrock of the Good Friday Agreement I can’t imagine that many genuine Irish nationalists would want to abolish such a core principle of the Agreement which has brought peace at long last between Ireland’s two old historical traditions.

    Nor, on the ground, would they practically be able to abolish the People of Northern Ireland’s right to Self-Determination.

    If ever the northeast wanted to leave a ‘united’ Ireland and had democratic support for secession, such a movement would be unstoppable short of military repression – so best not to abolish the Principle of Consent in the first place.

    Besides how you ever hope to convince NI voters of something on the Chinese Finger-Trap basis of “once in, you’ll never escape” is beyond me.

    But as someone who’ll be helping out the unionist cause in that referendum,

    Be my guest!

  • Turgon

    inuit_g,

    I mean this in no way condescendingly but may I ask where in Northern Ireland you are from and what age you are?

    Yes I know that is a bit condescending but I think you are being a bit naive about some (only some) nationalists and republicans

  • inuit_g

    Hi Turgon –

    See where your coming from but think mainstream nationalist opinion in the south would certainly not want to compel unionists where they didn’t want to go – nor, in the event of a UI, would they support repression against a northeast secession movement.

    That said attitudes towards Unionism among southern nationalists have certainly been progressing far faster over the past decade than among many northern nationalists and nationalism does seem to manifest itself in much harsher ways north of the border.

    I dont think Southern voters would vote for a 50+1 referendum anyways, I think Southerners are far more interested in peace between Ireland’s two traditions than they are in territorialism and colours on the map.

  • inuit_g

    Turgon I am not from NI at all, I’m a southern unionist from Galway, and I have very solid reasons for believing that my view of contemporary nationalism and republicanism is not remotely naive.

    Regards,

    David

  • George

    It’s really quite simple.

    The Good Friday Agreement enshrines Ireland’s right to self determination. It is for the people of Ireland and Ireland alone to decide their future.

    If the people of Ireland, north and south, decide they want to live in a unitary state, then that is what will happen.

    If the Irish people, north, south, east and west, subsequently decide they want to partition again, that is what will happen.

    If some people want to once again resort to violence and enforce a minority will on the majority of the Irish people, then that problem will be addressed if and when it arises.

  • Turgon

    inuit_g,
    “Southerners are far more interested in peace between Ireland’s two traditions than they are in territorialism and colours on the map.”. I have little actual evidence but I am inclined to agree.

    Would RoI voters get to vote on whether or not we have a vote if you see what I mean -“I dont think Southern voters would vote for a 50+1 referendum anyways”?

    I guess I am just paranoid but I still worry that if a vote were called and a 50+1 majority did I happen (I do not think it would) we would be in the situtation of “One man, one vote, once”, not that I have much time for the originator of that quote (except I believe he was a brave pilot during the war).

  • inuit_g

    George so if in any future UI, the people of Northern Ireland vote for rejoining the Union, you would respect that vote?

  • Turgon

    Sorry posts crossed. I apologise if sounding condescending but in South Londonderry where I was brought up there were some people who did and I still think do not adhere to contemporary republican by your definition. When I was at university (admittedly a while ago) there certainly were people who were pretty uncontemporary.

    Elenwe (the wife) was brought up in South Fermanagh where views were and still seem (according to their MP anyway) pretty uncontemporary.

    Sorry just a paranoid person approaching middle age. Hope you are right.

  • inuit_g

    Turgon, be more self-confident, imagine the power of 1 million Unionists engaged in mass Non-Violent Direct Action to secure their democratic rights.

    There would be no way any Dublin govt in a so-called ‘united’ ireland could force NI to stay under Dublin against the wishes of the Northern Ireland people. That would be simply unenforceable.

    The Principle of Consent is the bedrock of the Agreement and its a two-way street – Unionists have just as much democratic right to support secession from a ‘united’ Ireland as Nationalists currently have the democratic right to support secession from the United Kingdom.

    Surely none but the most irredentist hard-nationalists could argue otherwise???

  • kensei

    “You think self-determination is a one-way street? Or course not! Even if you were idiotic enough to try to enforce abolition of the Principle of Consent in a ‘United’ Ireland you would run straight up against the Unionist people – how do you propose enforcing that?”

    It’s irrelevant. In terms of practicalities, a United Ireland is a one way street. All the advantages of incumbency immediately go to the Unites state position. And neither British or Irish Government is going to accept the statelet bouncing between them. Violence won’t work either. It didn’t work for the IRA and it wouldn’t work for Unionism.

  • DC

    Unionism really amounts to a lot of shite talking these days.

  • inuit_g

    Turgon totally agree there are s**tloads of people up here who call themselves republicans but who are really exclusionary tribalist bigots of the old school, a plague on humankind since the oldest times

    (and of course we unionists have more than our share of such types too)

  • inuit_g

    “It’s irrelevant. In terms of practicalities, a United Ireland is a one way street. All the advantages of incumbency immediately go to the Unites state position. And neither British or Irish Government is going to accept the statelet bouncing between them. Violence won’t work either. It didn’t work for the IRA and it wouldn’t work for Unionism.”

    A peaceful, democratic movement for independence for the Northeastern counties certainly would work if it were backed by the NI people and I can’t imagine anything you could do to forcefully stop it.

    Afraid of your fellow Irishmen enjoying a little self-determination?

  • Cruimh

    “If the people of Ireland, north and south, decide they want to live in a unitary state, then that is what will happen.”

    Under the GFA – If the people of NI decide they want to live in a unitary state then it might happen.

    But no matter if 51% or 100% of the people of the ROI want a unitary state it CANNOT happen without the consent of a majority of the people of NI.

    Inside or outside the UK is, under the GFA, ENTIRELY down to the people of NI. The wishes of the people of the ROI only count after the people of NI have made their decision.

  • slug

    “If the people of Ireland, north and south, decide they want to live in a unitary state, then that is what will happen.”

    Separately. That’s the point!

  • inuit_g

    Yes Cruiumh – but its also true that even if there was a majority for a UI up here that couldn’t go ahead without a majority in the South – and there is an excellent case for unionists to take to southern voters – how can ireland’s Nationalist and Unionist traditions ever build peace if one tradition wants to subsume the other into a separate state outside the UK against their will?

  • kensei

    “A peaceful, democratic movement for independence for the Northeastern counties certainly would work if it were backed by the NI people and I can’t imagine anything you could do to forcefully stop it.

    Afraid of your fellow Irishmen enjoying a little self-determination? ”

    Not at all. I simply don’t believe it would make a blind bit of difference.

  • Cruimh

    “Yes Cruiumh – but its also true that even if there was a majority for a UI up here that couldn’t go ahead without a majority in the South”

    Seperate issues inuit.

    the Union – continue – yes/no

    only after the decision to leave the Union with GB is there any place for the ROI to participate in the decision making.

    it has to be made absolutely clear – under the GFA the ROI has NO SAY in whether the union with GB continues.

  • Billy

    Inuit_g

    “the power of 1 million Unionists”

    The number of Unionists would be closer to 800k.

    There haven’t been a million Unionists in NI for well over 20 years.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Billy

    You shouldn’t confuse ‘protestants ‘ with ‘unionists’ there are many Catholic unionists, probably 100+ and it is likely this with increase over time with the onset of normal government here thus making a referendum irrelevant.

  • FD

    Inuit goddess

    Do catch on, unionist turn out is getting steadily lower and lower at every election thus even if there are 1 million unionists which i doubt, prob about half will bother to come out and vote in a referendum…asides from the anoraks here people don’t really give a shit about politics.

  • Turgon et al.

    It’s interesting to hear your points of view on retaining the institutions of the GFA post unification. I would be inclined to agree. I would include in this the continued input of the British government, as guaruntor of Unionist rights (not that I personally think they need such, and will not be mistreated, but perception is everything). I would see the British government having an input into the affairs of the current Northern Ireland which is at least equal and probably greater than the input of the Irish government into said area.

    While I personally disagree that POC applies to anything but the entire Island as a whole (it being a single Nation) I understand the mentality behind applying it to Northern Ireland and reluctantly agree that it’s de facto, if not de jure neccessary.

    I would keep it on the following basis:
    1. It would apply to the six counties which currently make Northern Ireland, no subset of those counties/other Irish counties could be taken as a consent unit.
    2. The POC and GFA Institutions, as well as British involvement in Ireland would cease given an 75%+ vote in favour of such in the area currently known as Northern Ireland. This is to stop a situation where e.g. 500 years down the line there’s a couple of cranks left who decide to circumvent some laws by calling on the United Republic of England & Wales to intervene etc. etc. (and no the Unionists weren’t exterminated! they just weren’t bothered anymore, sure we’re all athiests by then anyway and no one can remember whos granddaddy was a prod and whos was a taig!)

    I’d be interested to know your reaction Turgon (you being from south Londonderry), to point 1 above. What if Antrim & Down decided to leave the UI (or indeed opt out in the event of 50%+1)? Would you rather be seperated from them, or should they hang on and stay in the UI until there was a majority in all 6 counties?

  • “I would see the British government having an input into the affairs of the current Northern Ireland which is at least equal and probably greater than the input of the Irish government into said area.”

    Is referring to current Irish government input, not future input.

  • Cruimh

    “if there are 1 million unionists which i doubt, prob about half will bother to come out and vote in a referendum”

    Turnout at the only referendum was high.

    yes, the unionist community are disillusioned with party politics. So what ? Because of the GFA we no longer have to regard each election as a mini-referendum.

  • dub

    Inuit-g,

    Seems to me, cutting throught the b/s, that the principle of consent is very much a one way street for you. Funny that the large nationalist minority in ni have never been given the right to secede… where is the principle of consent there. Denying self determination to your fellow irishmen… mmm that has been done to nationalists for years. GFA has changed that because nationalist ireland voted for its own inferior status to bring about peace in ni, and btw i think this was right. But don’t rub our noses in it and don’t think that if a majority in the gerrymandered statelet do ever vote for a ui that you can start re gerrymandering. Sorry to be so brutally frank but your disusting hypocrisy masquerading as liberalism needs slapped down.

  • dub

    inuit-g,

    i think you will also find in a ui that once the people of the six counties actually experience democracy.. ie that they can vote for parties of government who will then govern the sovereign state which administers their region, so that e.g. the td for east belfast will have a direct line to govt because party he is a member of is one of the parties in the central govt and also a situation where that td will have a real chance of being in the govt, then i think you will find that once they have tasted this fruit of western civilisation that has been denied them for the last 80 years in the communalised rump limbo british statelet, that they will be so gobsmacked by the experience that they will not be voting in any significant numbers to go back to their previous situation, and this would apply to protestants as well as catholics if not more so in fact due to the way that this simple fact has been so successfully hidden from them for so long.

  • dub

    the fact referred to being, in case you STILL don’t get it, that they don’t live in what anyone anywhere else in the democratic world would regard as a democracy.

  • Dub,

    I appreciate your point regarding, if you’ll allow me an indulgence, tasting steak and going back to spam. I think you’ll find that when you dress it up in such confrontational language the point gets lost.

    There’s no need to be a bully or a name caller. You’re addressing people you want to be your countrymen, try to remember that. Unionists are not misguided idiots either, they each have good (and sometimes not good) reasons for believing what they do. In the end they want whats best for them and theirs, and who could blame them?

    I happen to think that each of us throwing our lot in together in this place we call Ireland is the way to go. We each have something to bring to the party, we each have something to give.

    Personally I feel the once strong Unionist entrepenuerial spirit has been dampened since the 1900’s, whether or not that is due to partition I can’t say. I do feel that the average Joe Unionist would be better off away from the dependency on the UK in general and England in particular.

    We in the Republic could benefit immensely by helping to reawaken that stifled ingenuity, and providing a platform for economic success. This is easier to achieve in a country of 5 million with more ready access to the levers of national Government (corporation tax rates etc.).

    However the kind of bullying language you use will only serve to validate fears of repression and pushes the healing of the national rift further away.

    If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all!

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Anything over 45% and the Union as it is now is toast.

    Posted by kensei on Jul 26, 2007 @ 03:32 PM”

    ..er …why?

    You used to expect us to roll over at 50% plus one but now we don’t even have to lose a referendum now!!!

    Trouble is that for nationalists, even a 99% gubbing would be illegitimate. The only result that matters is the one you want. Every previous election defeat is ignored-so, for example, the only result that currently matters is a 9 year old referendum based on clear lies and spin from the government.

    Surely a more mature point of view would be to finally recognises that a United Ireland is a non starter while there are hundred of thousands opposed to- whatever percentage of whatever population they constitute.

  • Sean

    Inuit_g
    From what I can see you have 2 problems

    1 Northern Ireland is a fake made up statelet dreamed up in the board rooms of Whitehall and when you agree to UI it will completely cease to exist. So even if a majority of antrim decides they want to rejoin the UK the very most you could possibly hope for is re-partition. Or if you wanted to make it an “Ulster” referendum you would need to include the 3 counties that currently belong to the republic and therefore realistically you have no chance of succeeding

    2 you assume a fact not in evidence, namely would the UK want you back? Would they have a referendum accepting you back into the fold and would it succeed? Strictly speaking based on english poling numbers I do not believe they would have you back

  • Sean

    And strictly speaking the unionist bellow on about the principle of consent and how the GFA has cemented it into the constitution and you are absolutely right

    the principle of consent has been enshrined for BOTH sides of the political spectrum!

    You think it has trapped the republicans into accepting a ui in the uk but it has also trapped you into accepting that if a referendum succeeds then you have to accept the dissolution of ni

    Consent works both ways and what the principle of consent has really done is give the republicans a legitimate avenue of achieving an United Ireland something they never had before the unionists “succeeded” at getting the principle of consent approved

  • kensei

    “..er …why?

    You used to expect us to roll over at 50% plus one but now we don’t even have to lose a referendum now!!!”

    The consequences of Nationalism running the vote close would be to fundamental change the politics. I don’t suggest that there would be a “rolling over” or immediate Constitutional change, but even you have to admit that it would make the prospects in a future referendum a serious possibility.

    That fundamentally changes the political landscape, particularly in Scotland, and it would force a change in the Unionist side to adapt to deal with the new reality. I don’t see how the ultimate outworking is either eventual independence or fundamental changes to the powers and the balance in the Union. Attempting to ignore it and continuing as before would paly into Nationalist hands.

    “Trouble is that for nationalists, even a 99% gubbing would be illegitimate. The only result that matters is the one you want. Every previous election defeat is ignored-so, for example, the only result that currently matters is a 9 year old referendum based on clear lies and spin from the government.”

    The results from a referendum are legitimate until the next referendum on the same subject. I’m sorry, this is how democracy works. If you can garner enough support and political power for referendums, you can have them . If you win them, then you get change. If you don’t like it, I hear China and North Korea are nice.

    “Surely a more mature point of view would be to finally recognises that a United Ireland is a non starter while there are hundred of thousands opposed to- whatever percentage of whatever population they constitute.”

    The argument is symmetrical. The Union is not stable because the hundreds of thousands are opposed to it. The system remains stable only because the Principle of Consent has been agreed and offers the possibility of change. If that was removed then the system would again collapse.

    Sorry, you are going have to keep making your arguments, and keep winning them if you want to retain or change things. Just like a Conservative, or a Socialist or anyone else that wants to achieve a goal in a democracy.

  • lib2016

    The argument over the referendum, 50% + 1, and who loses or wins it is immaterial. Britain wants out and no longer wishes to enforce her will here, nor possesses the troops to do so.

    This is all redolent of the last century and it’s sectarian politics, and even more so of the 19th Century and the British Empire in all it’s frightfulness.

    Legally Britain may still claim rights over NI in 2116 just as it still claimed rights over the South right up to the repeal of the 1920 Act a few years ago.

    In fact unionists will be attending the Dail within a few years. More intelligent unionists now favour sitting down with Sinn Fein in order to show that a NI entity can work but it will remain dependent on a real government….which won’t be the rather Ruritanian one sitting at Westminster.

  • Cruimh

    “The argument over the referendum, 50% + 1, and who loses or wins it is immaterial.”

    Nationalists are only saying this now they have realised that won’t win one in the forseeable future 🙂

  • lib2016

    Cruimh,

    The referendum was a demand by unionists.

  • Reader

    lib2016: The referendum was a demand by unionists.
    Nationalists wanted a way to get a United Ireland – a referendum was the only option available. Unionists wanted a way to keep the Union – a referendum was the only option available.
    As for who wanted it most – well, I’m glad the GFA negotiations were complete before the results of the 2001 census came out. The results weren’t what the Shinners had been anticipating. Do *you* think that a referendum will deliver what you want by 2016, or are you pinning your hopes on the Brits bouncing NI into a UI?

  • inuit_g

    The argument is symmetrical. The Union is not stable because the hundreds of thousands are opposed to it. The system remains stable only because the Principle of Consent has been agreed and offers the possibility of change. If that was removed then the system would again collapse.

    Precisely my point in saying the Principle of Consent is a two-way street and even if nationalists after a victorious referendum on a UI wanted to abolish it, they would be unable to without collapsing the system upon which unionist-nationalist relations are based.

    Certainly my hope and expectation is that Northern Ireland wouldn’t lose a consent referendum in the first place.

    But even if they do lose one its important to point out that consent is a two-way street and they would have just as much democratic right to advocate secession from a ‘united’ Ireland as nationalists currently have to secede from the Union.

    I know I’m making some rather cheeky points on this thread, but its interesting to see how nationalists respond to debate as to what happens should their Lá ever tiocfaidh.

    I’m just sayin’ that should such a Lá ever tiocfaidh along, on the morning after i’m gonna be working on the NI secession campaign – whether thats back to the Union or for independence – as consent and self-determination is a two-way street.

  • Turgon

    inuit_g,

    I think you may not need to. Some of the republican posters here are working hard to ensure that no unionists ever vote for it and they may very well dissuade a fair number of “nationalists”.

    Unrepentant Fenian Bastard,
    (I find it quite hard to type that name as I was always brought up not to think let alone say (or type) such a thing). Currently I am living in Belfast though may well be moving back west soon. My mother still lives in South Londonderry so I do not know about repartition. I still think the last stand on Devenish would be the best option.

  • Sean

    Turgon you of course would have the right to re-recede the question is on what terms and what borders and if the UK would even want you back?

  • Turgon,

    I appreciate your response, despite the difficulty in typing my name 🙂

    Belfast is a beautiful city, I commend you on your choice of habitation! Personally I’ve never been to south Londonderry, but I imagine it’s like most rural Irish counties, so I would guess it’s not too bad, and there’d be a bit of fun to be had in the local pub!

    The physical border doesn’t mean as much to me as the mental border that exists between our two “tribes”.

    If we can eradicate that border then what does it matter what lines are drawn on a map?

    One thing I would hate to see is people leaving home because the topographic border was redrawn or removed. I would think it was a wasted exercise if that happened.

    As far as I’m concerned (without meaning to insult) you are my fellow countryman. I understand that you believe the best thing for our country is to intertwine our destinies with those of England, Scotland and Wales. I disagree, I think Ireland can stand on it’s own two feet, I think we can secure international treaties which benefit us, on the island of Ireland. I believe we can respond to any economic pressures as a dynamic country of some five million people. I think we can, together, become more than the sum of our wonderfully diverse parts.

    I think a lot, you may disagree, but in variety lies the spice of life.

    When it comes down to it, though we may disagree on what is the best course of action for our island to take, isn’t it a small part of our make up, and haven’t we so much more to join us than to seperate us?

    Let’s never go back to the artifical division that crept up between us.

  • Cruimh

    UFB – I’m assuming you are from the ROI – I think it’s a mistake to think in terms of only two tribes. Certainly two main tribes in NI – but as we saw recently when the good people of your country recoiled in horror from Grizzly and his travelling circus I don’t think it’s right to insult you by putting you in with them!

  • sportsman

    inuit; “a million unionists”. ? A nice round number but hasnt been the case for a long time , if ever in the 6 counties. 2001 census. Pop. 1.685 million. Protestant community background = 53.1%. Therefore Protestant component of population = 894,735. Catholic component of population = 738,030. Other or none = 52,235. I realise you said Unionist rather than Protestant so even if all Protestants were Unionist, which they are not, and all the Others or none were Unionist, which they most certainly are not, then you would need 53,030 Catholics to be Unionists to hit the million. Possible that there are a million Unionists in NI.? Yes. Are there a million Unionists in NI? No. Were I a betting man I would have a hefty bet on there being about 900,000. Of course I am taking no account here of the fact that a third of this figure would actually be under 18 but nor did you so lets keep things simple! I am interested in the idea of re-partition. Unionism has caved in twice before . Not an inch re. home rule and Ulster says No meaning bye-bye Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal. As 4 of the 6 counties now have Catholic majorities I am curious about where our Unionist friends would want the border next time its redrawn? I cant see beyond N Armagh, E Derry , all Antrim and northern half of Down.

  • sportsman

    Above should have been addressed to Frustrated Democrat as well. UFB; population of island now exactly 6 million not 5 million.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Sportsman

    The deal has been done and accepted by most – no UI in return for Republicans in Stormont. That was the compromise that Paisley and Adams agreed to.

    Some just haven’t seen/accepted it yet but it will become very apparent as time passes and the unionist (not protestant) majority grows.

    I feel sorry for committed UI’ers their dream is destined to be unfulfilled………..ever.

  • sportsman

    FD; How about repartition then?

  • Sean

    LOL
    Frustrated I hope you cling to that little delusion, maybe it will keep you warm on a cold Irish Night

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Sean

    You can have your dreams and live in a land of green swirling mists and fairies, just don’t expect to see Martin and Gerry & Co there, they have decided where the future is and it isn’t in your dream.

    It really is time however you realised what has happened to the two NI leaders…..and the rest of us…..we were either vindicated or sold down the river depending on your point of view, by Tony and Bertie.

    A UI is gone and Republicans are in Government that is the price we all have to pay.