The inevitable united Ireland??

A standard thesis of some of our nationalist and republican commentators is that a United Ireland is inevitable, that everyone (practically) knows it and that unionists need to negotiate as good a settlement as they can in the new dispensation.

Rather than indulge in the standard rebuttal of this position which is what unionists normally do and rest assured I still do not accept the accuracy of the premise; I thought it would be more interesting as an academic exercise to suppose for a moment it is true and ask what then unionists should do about it? This is not an exhaustive analysis but it struck me as an interesting thing to do. In a future article I will look at what might actually happen in such a united Ireland.
In a nut shell; I would submit that the idea of agreeing a deal early in such circumstances would not necessarily help unionists and indeed refusing to do a deal might be more profitable.

So to the options:

Firstly we could go to war. Most regular slugger readers will realise and I trust most will accept that I personally discount this as utterly immoral and wicked and as such I will make no further reference to it.

Secondly is the repartition argument repeatedly and quite eloquently argued by Greenflag here on slugger. I will not cover it in any detail. It would inevitably end up with large unionist enclaves in the new RoI and vice versa and I do not know how seriously it would be considered by anyone.

The standard position outlined by most nationalists/ republicans is that unionists should do a deal with nationalist Ireland. It is suggested that this deal would involve keeping the current Stormont parliament and trying to preserve at least some of the trappings of a separate Northern Ireland. This thesis is, however, somewhat flawed by the fact that if there was a majority in Northern Ireland for a united Ireland this majority would almost certainly be because there was a nationalist majority in Northern Ireland. I know some of the romantics on slugger will suggest that unionists can be persuaded into a united Ireland. I think that boat if it ever existed left a long time ago and it is not a realistic option at the moment. As such we would have a nationalist majority. Hence, if we had a local assembly it would have a nationalist / republican majority, first minister etc. This would in the current scenario be an SF first minister and many SF ministers. This would, I submit, be more unacceptable to many unionists such as myself than a Dublin parliament from whom we would expect somewhat more fairness and respect.

One need only look at the recent spate of SF’s “equality measures” with removing utterly trivial symbols of supposed unionism to see that a SF dominated Stormont would be very likely to be more unacceptable to unionists than a Dublin government which has made little in the way of recent attempts to remove the supposed trappings of unionism from Dublin see the Royal Dublin Society, the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and a number of others.

Having a separate Belfast assembly in such a united Ireland might well actually be a republican dominated mill stone around the unionist community’s neck rather than a bulwark against things we fear.

So instead I would suggest that if unionists did think that a united Ireland was inevitable their best option would be to be as obstructive and non violently difficult as possible. They would be wise to spurn every hand of friendship from the south, refuse to negotiate but instead offer the option of causing as much trouble as possible, in much the same way as the Irish Parliamentary Party managed to do in the nineteenth century. This would make southern politicians feel that a united Ireland would be even more bother than they no doubt already think it would be. Hence, if is was becoming more and more likely that there would be a united Ireland the Dublin government would be getting increasingly concerned about the political chaos a large group of malcontents in Northern Ireland would cause. That might well produce many more concessions than civil negotiations prior to that.

I am reminded of many years ago a number of Fine Gael youth coming to the Young Unionist conference. I made a less than liberal speech (not related to the guests) and at the end welcomed them. A rather earnest girl remonstrated with me, saying “Do you not understand we want to be your friends” to which I replied “No you do not understand, the more you hate us the less likely you are to want to take us over”. Petty and childish and I have grown a little more sensible over the last 15 years but there is a grain of truth in there.

Any comments?

  • Wilde Rover

    Turgon,

    Your parliament has ratified the Lisbon Treaty, as it seems the electorate of ROI seems set to do.

    The people of these islands will be bound by the European Constitution.

    Everything else is merely window dressing.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>It just means that there are some things we don’t need to hurry about. Presumably with two legal systems (not very different as legal systems go) each new law that was brought in would be applied to both, gradually canceling out the differences.< >you have not answered my question about ‘neutrality or equality’. If you support it now, will you continue to support it in a United Ireland?< >I get the strong impression that you (all) think that a deal that is barely good enough for you, would be far too good for us.<

  • Reader

    Prince Eoghan: It really goes without saying hence I’ve found no need to address it, unless you believe that neutrality or equality means something different to the rest of us.
    As defined by SF, and extended to a United Ireland, it means no Tricolours in the workplace, no Connolly, no team colours, no Papal mugs, or Presidential plates, no 1916 paperweights, or proclamations.
    SF haven’t achieved neutrality or equality here, yet – still trying
    Prince Eoghan: In a newly United Ireland there would hardly be the same political hangups now would there, not on the same scale at least. no political policing, no silly vetoes etc.
    I don’t see how political hangups would just disappear – do you think anyone is planning to stop being a Republican, for instance? Should SF set the example you seek by giving up their ‘silly’ veto now?

  • abucs

    So are we all agreed with a United Ireland then ?

    How does next Tuesday sound ?

  • Phil

    “Due to the AIA and the GFA I presume the UK would not have a nationwide referendum but would endorse the wishes of the majority in NI whatever those wishes may be. I understand there would be two referendii in Ireland, one north, one south and a majority would be needed in both.”

    …..and that is one of the fundamental flaws with the so called “united” kingdom. It is very much skewed towards the wants of 15% of the population and the other 85% (otherwise known as the English) get no say. Why shouldn’t the English people (along with the Scots and Welsh) get a say in whether WE would like to retain the union with Northern Ireland?

  • consul

    ‘Why shouldn’t the English people (along with the Scots and Welsh) get a say in whether WE would like to retain the union with Northern Ireland?’

    I guess it comes down to whether you believe membership of the UK should be voluntary or manditary. Certainly a century ago it was considered manditary. In hindsight it could be said this point of view caused a few problems. It is interesting that English nationalism has only found its voice when its quiet dominance of the union has been interrupted. If England did not possess 85% of the population do you think it would be fair for her to require permission from the other three members to leave. Perhaps the luxury of being significantly larger than the rest combined has led you to feel that only England has a right to act unilaterally.

  • Phil

    Consul,

    No I do not think it fair. Every nation has the right to self-determination. That is as true for England and Ireland as it is for Cornwall or Shetland.

  • Oilifear

    Paddy,

    “I seem to recall reading in the history books somewhere that there was a Civil war in Ireland over the issue of whether people would swear an oath to the British monarch. The party that opposed to the oath eventually prevailed electorally. The people voted for a President and a Republic.”

    I don’t recall anyone every voting for a republic south of the border, but in fact that the party that eventually prevailed did so by swearing an oath to the British monarch. The party that they split from, that would not swear the oath, scored less than 7% of first-preference votes in the last election in the south – although in fairness that is quite a good result for them south of the border. Ironically, it was the parties – or successors to groups of parties – that were quite happy to swear the oath that eventually declared the south to be republic … and were criticised for doing so by the party that would cross their fingers while taking the oath. Ugh, complicated stuff. (Oh, and people voted for a president before we were a republic.)

    In any case, are you really telling me that you would sacrifice a united Ireland than make what amounts to little more than a petty gesture of no consequence? Is your nationalism really that shallow? I think greater sacrifices will have to be made.

  • manichaeism

    If it would be a petty gesture of no consequence Oilifear why would you ask Nationalists to do it??

  • PaddyReilly

    In any case, are you really telling me that you would sacrifice a united Ireland than make what amounts to little more than a petty gesture of no consequence?

    Well I should point out

    1) that you don’t have a United Ireland to offer, or for me to sacrifice, the notion that Ulster Unionists would be persuaded by such a gesture lying solely within your addled brain;

    2) Ireland will not be uniteable until over 50% of NI’s population are Nationalists, and presumably not Monarchists;

    3) that, going on past performance, the people of Ireland would not be United, but at war with each other;

    4) that if it is a petty gesture of no consequence, we should not be bothered with it: perhaps we could give free balloons to all Unionists instead;

    5) you are going against the principle of democracy.

    Besides, this is a waste of time. One contributor made the point that ‘Britishness’, by which he meant his brand of Unionism, is a kind of covenant. The notion of covenant is something that is big in certain brands of Protestantism. (To Catholics it sounds a bit like making a compact with the devil).

    The idea is that you make a contract with the powers that be (in religion with God, but in this case with the British Empire) to serve them all your born days and they see you all right. Ulster Protestants typically feel that they have made a covenant with the Crown, which should properly reciprocate by showing partiality to Ulster Protestants, especially when Fenian rebels are about.

    Now in the context of a United Ireland, Loyal Ulster Protestants would be beyond the reach of the Crown: they could not hope to be rewarded for their loyalty or monarchism. In such circumstances the covenant would be void: and one should then expect that they will completely lose interest in the Crown and cast about for a more effective power to make a covenant with. So you are mistaking what is effectively self interest for undying monarchism.

  • Oilifear

    Paddy (and manichaeism),

    I only batted out the idea of bringing back the monarchy among a raft of things that Turgon et al. could negotiate for if they began negotiations for a united Ireland now – rather than waiting until one was imminent and thus losing their leverage.

    Of all the things I batted out, you picked up on the monarchy as being a kind of ‘no, no way, no way ever!’ deal breaker, and I was interested why. Posed with the possibility of a united Ireland in the morning, you’d prefer to pass it over rather than accept the monarchy?

    I personally, would accept three, four, five monarchs if it meant a united Ireland. What does it matter? German, Swedish, Spanish, Dutch – I’d swear an oath to them all! Two oaths! More, if they wanted! Pronounce the United Monarchies of Ireland, for all I care.

    I think I’ve touch a raw nerve. If I have, I’d suggest that your priorities be reassessed. Is your interest Irish nationalism, or anti-British nationalism? Or do you think that these are the same thing?

    “… you don’t have a United Ireland to offer, or for me to sacrifice, the notion that Ulster Unionists would be persuaded by such a gesture lying solely within your addled brain …”

    No, I don’t. I asked you to imagine that I had. If you read the blog, you’ll see that imagining hypothetical situations is an elemental premise of this discussion. Addled? Please!

  • manichaeism

    Perhaps our interest is democracy Oilifear. I wouldn’t be accepting any monarchy. If we suddenly had a Irish queen tomorrow I wouldn’t be accepting that!

  • PaddyReilly

    Posed with the possibility of a united Ireland in the morning, you’d prefer to pass it over rather than accept the monarchy?

    You don’t get it, do you? The aim is not just to achieve a United Ireland, as arguably it was under the British Empire, and could have been as part of the 3rd Reich, and could yet be under a Worldwide Califate, but a United Free Independent Sovereign Ireland. Which it would not be if it was obliged to function under the conditions you think you can impose on it.

    If you think you are a negotiator on this topic, consider yourself sacked. There is no use promising what you can’t deliver.

    I don’t see that this is anti-British. I’m sure Frau Glucksburg has her hands full with her existing civic duties. It would be cruel to deprive her present subjects of quality time with their monarch just to waste it visiting disloyal Paddies who don’t want to see her anyway.

  • Greenflag

    ‘I personally, would accept three, four, five monarchs if it meant a united Ireland.’

    I’d rather not have a monarch -any monarch British , Dutch , German or Thai !

    Although if the majority of people in the Republic voted to accept a ‘monarch’ as part of a costituional settlement I’d not go to ‘war’ to oppose the ‘new monarch’ . I’d be in the same position as most English/Scots and Welsh Republicans are nowadays . Just put up with until some day the population gets tired of the ‘dysfunctional family’ !

  • Greenflag

    Any future UI would have to give up it’s ‘neutrality’ . Ireland , Scotland and Wales were conquered in historical times so that England would not have to worry about a ‘rear’ entry by one of the larger continental powers . And despite the fact that Germany, France , Spain and Holland are all now allies of the UK no British Government is going to feel totally comfortable with an all Ireland ‘neutral’ State on it’s western flank.

  • manichaeism

    Circumstances have changed somewhat since then Greenflag. I think the chances of a land invasion of Ireland by a foreign power is rather remote.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Reader

    >>As defined by SF, and extended to a United Ireland, it means no Tricolours in the workplace, no Connolly, no team colours, no Papal mugs, or Presidential plates, no 1916 paperweights, or proclamations.< >Prince Eoghan: In a newly United Ireland there would hardly be the same political hangups now would there, not on the same scale at least. no political policing, no silly vetoes etc.

    Reader – I don’t see how political hangups would just disappear – do you think anyone is planning to stop being a Republican, for instance? Should SF set the example you seek by giving up their ‘silly’ veto now?<

  • Irish Aussie

    Re Monarchy, doesn’t the blood of kings flow through the veins of all Irishmen already?

  • agh

    http://www.ark.ac.uk/nilt/2006/Political_Attitudes/NIRELAND.html

    over 20% of catholics would option to stay in the Union?? Ye may breed faster lads – 2016 is almost upon us lol

  • Greenflag

    ‘Circumstances have changed somewhat since then Greenflag.’

    Of this I’m aware .

    ‘ I think the chances of a land invasion of Ireland by a foreign power is rather remote.’

    Yes . We now have a lucky ‘location’ between the USA and UK . Some might say with justification that our ‘location’ was marginally better than say Poland’s in the period 1169 to 1960?

    Now if you had a choice as to which power would defend you and your family in the event of a world war would you choose the UK or a neutral Irish Republic?

    Our ‘neutrality’ historically was always perceived as ‘conditional’ anyway . If that ‘conditonality’ were removed at some future time why should we be any less interested in defending common western interests than say the Czechs or Poles or Belgians ? If we want to be a Sweden or a Switzerland then we need to have an Army that can resist any invasion for possibly more than a week . I suspect we’d rather spend the money elsewhere and rely on ‘others’ to defend us?

  • agh

    I suspect we’d rather spend the money elsewhere and rely on ‘others’ to defend us?

    like the UK lol

  • PaddyReilly

    over 20% of catholics would option to stay in the Union??

    Yes but 7% of Protestants, according to this, would opt for a United Ireland, which brings it down a bit. But this is the result of a survey on attitudes, not intended voting behaviour: we don’t need surveys on voting behaviour, except immediately before elections: we have election results, which are the full truth.

  • Mark Fartlighter

    “over 20% of catholics would option to stay in the Union??

    Yes but 7% of Protestants”

    Perhaps true, but in the event of a referendum, concepts like hype, emotion, historic etc etc would come into play, i therefore dont think it would be as high as 20%.

    I know some of these people but they often literally find themselves in no mans land, not somewhere we all like to be.

    For example, I know of one pro-UK Catholic family who have suffered newromous loyalist attacks, their Britishness counted for nothing.

    They are as anglicised as it is possible to be this side of Surrey but their allegience to the church of Rome precludes any meaningful participation in unionism.

    Even with almost local anglicisation there may also be traits remaining which are unacceptable to unionism, again precluding total membership of unionism.

    When it comes down to it but, voting for continuation in the UK would represent a final breaking of all links with the nationalist community, without a welcoming unionism, I dont think these alliance northern Irish nationalists can really be counted on the save the union.

  • manichaeism

    I am not a convinced neutral Greenflag. On the whole
    I think we should side with our European and American friends.

    Having a big expensive army dosen’t guarantee that you can defend yourself though. Didn’t do the French much good in World War II did it!

  • PaddyReilly

    I dont think these alliance northern Irish nationalists can really be counted on the save the union.

    I think you mean Alliance Northern Irish Catholics rather than nationalists. Though in the context of multi-choice voting, I suppose you can be both. Some voters though give 1st pref to Alliance, second to SDLP, third to UUP: which I think would make them Nationalist Unionists, would it not?

    Generally with opinion polls, they become more accurate the closer to the day of the election, and the most accurate are the exit polls. This poll only asks people for their idea of what the long term policy should be, at the current moment in time.

    While Unionists remained in the majority, that was probably to remain in the UK. As a matter of fact, Unionists are no longer the majority community, as the 2007 elections showed: this poll dates from 2006. When Nationalists are known to constitute the majority, then the long term policy of remaining in the UK becomes unworkable: so presumably many of those 22% will change their mind: or possibly not: the poll only asks what is the best long term policy, it does not establish that the person polled intends to vote for the best long term policy.

  • Greenflag

    Agh ,

    ‘I suspect we’d rather spend the money elsewhere and rely on ‘others’ to defend us?

    like the UK lol,

    A country has to do what a country has to do and first and foremost is to defend it’s interests . The UK is no different and has a long history of successfully defending those interests .Sometimes the perception of these ‘interests’ is skewed and the lack of crystal ball foresight means that mistakes are made .

  • Greenflag

    manicheasm’

    ‘Having a big expensive army dosen’t guarantee that you can defend yourself though. Didn’t do the French much good in World War II did it! ‘

    True but had the French used their Army to invade Germany and depose Hitler in 1936 they’d have been able to do so , it without British or Russian support . But France during the mid 1930’s was a country politically divided between left and right and the British still believed that Hitler was only interested in recovering German honour from the Versailles humiliation .

  • Greenflag

    ‘over 20% of catholics would option to stay in the Union?’

    I tend to agree with paddy reilly and mark on this one . If a UI looked at all a possibility which it could given the trend of demographics then the RC percentage who would favour the present status quo would drop dramatically prior to any vote IMO. I suspect that the protestant percentage in favour would increase a little. Nobody in particular RC’s more so than Protestants would want to be seen being formerly pro Union.

    Another possibility is of that the status quo would be preferred if people from all communities preferred a peaceful uncertain political future and uneasy stability ,to a radical new departure and permanent politcal settlement . As it would be nationalist /republicans primarily driving such a radical agenda there would also be the consideration that if the referendum were narrowly defeated the uneasy stability might disintegrate. The next ‘census’ should give a better indication of a likely vote than any number of opinion polls -IMO.

    For those who believe a UI is inevitable I would say never underestimate inertia as a political force and for those who favour the Union I’d say never underestimate the power of an idea whose time appears to have come .

  • Oilifear

    “You don’t get it, do you? The aim is not just to achieve a United Ireland … but a United Free Independent Sovereign Ireland. Which it would not be if it was obliged to function under the conditions you think you can impose on it.”

    I must not get it. There I am post-1931. There you are in 1916.

    “If you think you are a negotiator on this topic, consider yourself sacked.”

    Just like the last guy. Meet you at Béal na mBláth all over a woman who main function is to smell fresh paint?

    “It would be cruel to deprive her present subjects of quality time with their monarch just to waste it visiting disloyal Paddies who don’t want to see her anyway.”

    But not so in a (future, sovereign) united Ireland?

  • Sam

    The above would cause a reversal of sides from the last 40 years.
    Belfast is surrounded by loyalist strongholds.
    Lisburn, Newtownabbey, Castlereagh, Bangor and Carrickfergus as well as East Belfast.
    City sealed off. ‘other sort’ cornered and used as leverage.

    Well it worked for other countries.

  • Hlafweard

    There’s one issue that’s not being considered: what the UK does.

    This isn’t an abstract question. The present government at Westminister seems to treat N.I. as less and less a part of the UK with each succeeding day. Hizzoner the Prime Minister himself wrote a piece in today’s Telegraph about the need to preserve the union. He waxes eloquent about how important the UK is, how strong the ties are that bind Scotland, England and Wales, and so on. But there’s not one single mention of NI there – it’s almost as if it’s not part of the union. And this sort of thing is only becoming more frequent.

    If the UK withdraws completely from N.I., what then? How is any of what’s being suggested here workable?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Greenflag

    I think a United Ireland, if there ever is one will not happen in the next 20 years.

    During that time the leaders who were ‘involved’ in the the last 40 years will all have disappeared from politics and the new leaders, who are probably now in their 20/30’s, will not be able to remember much about the troubles.

    In this context the viewpoints of many, on both sides, will change. Stormont may be working and the living standards in NI may well match those in GB and the RoI, the border may have become a line on a map with politicians on both sides working together to achieve the best outcome for the whole island. The RoI will have become even more Anglicised as their High Streets are taken over by the major UK chains, their television dominated by BBC, UTV and Sky, sport dominated by Soccer (English and Scottish)and Rugby and their accents becoming mid Atlantic and the RC church becoming less relevant in day to day life and influence.

    It is probable that as the sectarian element of the troubles slowly recedes we may well see a realignment of the parties in NI, FF moving in from the Dail, Conservatives, LD’s (Alliance) and Labour gaining ground from Westminster. This will mean that the UUP, SDLP and DUP will fracture along normal political lines into the other parties without the sectarian cement that currently binds them together. It is difficult to forecast what SF will become as they seem to have little if any future in the RoI and it is possible they will be come a much smaller revolutionary compaigning party in the North with much of their vote transferring to FF.

    A UI may come but not if people try to push for it, it may evolve as being natural and best for everyone, but it may not. People still think of polictics mainly in ‘what is in it for me’ terms – jobs, health and education will always remain when the rest of the agenda fades away….the sooner the better, whether in the UK or a UI will probably not matter as it will be more like a United Isles in reality.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Hlafweard

    Remember the Labour party has no votes in NI and therefore in an electioneering piece( maybe a little early)is of no importance to them.

    The Conservatives on the other hand seem to be showing a keen interest in what is happening here and are putting people on the ground, maybe a long term project but they may be the next party in power.

  • Minx Maginn

    Instead of unionist “enclaves” why not unionist “cantons”? Switzerland, after all, has its “Catholic” cantons in which Catholic principles are to the fore etc. but where any citizen is free to avail of services to which the Catholic Church is opposed in the country’s capital or in other cantons. This strikes me as a perfect compromise template for a new Ireland, particularly since it would accomodate those southern Irish whose beliefs set them apart from cosmopolitan Dubliners and who could thus have their own principles and beliefs protected within their “canton”. The solution, therefore, would be, not the cantonisation of Northern Ireland but the total cantonisation of the whole island.

  • Greenflag

    Hlafweard,

    ‘The present government at Westminister seems to treat N.I. as less and less a part of the UK with each succeeding day.’

    That would appear to be true .

    ‘If the UK withdraws completely from N.I., what then?’

    The UK will not withdraw from NI without the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland . If that majority ever voted for to be included in a UI then the new political minority have two options.
    a) accept the result
    b) reject it and declare a UDI i.e a smaller Unionist State in the north east of NI . They’ve done it before in 1920 when they ‘sold’ southern unionists down the drain – they can do the same for unionists west of the Bann.

  • Steve

    ) reject it and declare a UDI i.e a smaller Unionist State in the north east of NI . They’ve done it before in 1920 when they ‘sold’ southern unionists down the drain – they can do the same for unionists west of the Bann.

    Posted by Greenflag on Mar 25, 2008 @ 12:32 PM

    They did it with the tacit approval of London last time, do you believe London would back them again?

    Personally I think if they tried it again they really would be going it alone. They might achieve the same status as the Isle of Man has but they would not be part of the union which is in theory their raison d’etre

  • Greenflag

    Frustrated Democrat,

    ‘I think a United Ireland, if there ever is one will not happen in the next 20 years.’

    You are probably correct but I would not rule it out either nor would I rule out repartition following either agreement or a bloody return to violence which from here may now seem unlikely .

    ‘During that time the leaders who were ‘involved’ in the the last 40 years will all have disappeared from politics and the new leaders, who are probably now in their 20/30’s, will not be able to remember much about the troubles.’

    You are an optimist:) I’m not . Have you considered that both main parties indeed all parties bar probably Alliance are based on political differences going back to 1690, 1798, 1912, 1916, 1918, 1920 , 1922 , 1974.? One thing you should never forget about NI is the capacity of both sides to drag out the ‘history’ Republicans at Easter and Unionists for the summer marching season.

    ‘ Stormont may be working and the living standards in NI may well match those in GB and the RoI’

    Not without a radical departure in economic policies they won’t and politically the NI Executive is too financially dependent on HMG to do anything much other than hand out the bowl for ‘more’.

    ‘The RoI will have become even more Anglicised etc etc ‘

    To which one can reply

    ‘The UK will have become even more Americanised as their businesses are taken over by the major American chains, their television dominated by USA programs and their accents becoming mid Atlantic etc etc .’

    The above trends either in the Uk or in the Republic will have no effect on the desire of the Republic to remain a Republic nor on the UK to oppose becoming the 52nd State of the Union .

    I don’t see the Conservatives nor Labour nor the LD’s ever making any serious inroads into NI politics even in the longer term . I see a possible future for SF in the Republic probably in forming a political alliance with Irish labour as part of a centre left alternative to FF.

    ‘A UI may evolve as being natural and best for everyone, but it may not.’

    Evolution of animal life has progressed from life forms finding niches in which they can survive and flourish . The same is true of political entities , parties and movements . Then environmental change comes along in the form of war, radical economic or social upheaval , natural disasters , technological revolution, changing demographic profiles etc etc etc . The lesson for ‘life’ is adapt or go under . Sometimes ‘life forms’ become so specialised in their particular niche that they lose the capability of adapting to new circumstances. Looking at political movements in Ireland over the past several centuries which political life form has increased , flourished and diversified and which has stagnated and looks very much like a koala bear clinging to a the last remaining eucalyptus tree in the forest ?

  • Greenflag

    Frustrated Democrat

    ”The solution, therefore, would be, not the cantonisation of Northern Ireland but the total cantonisation of the whole island.”

    Ireland is not Switzerland nor is it Belgium and I doubt if anybody on this island has any aspiration to adopt the political culture of either of the above .

    Please understand that although people in the Republic may aspire or hope someday that there may be a UI they are absolutely opposed to importing any of Northern Ireland’s political culture or it’s politicised sectarian divisions or any attempt to impose a Swiss or Belgian solution on the entire island simply to facilitate NI. Not within the realm of possibility. If that means no UI then we can live with that too.

  • Greenflag

    Steve,

    ‘Personally I think if they tried it again they really would be going it alone.’

    Perhaps . It would’nt matter to some .

    ‘They might achieve the same status as the Isle of Man has but they would not be part of the union which is in theory their raison d’etre ‘

    They could handle IOM status as long as Queenie is on the coins .

    Steve,

    ‘but they would not be part of the union which is in theory their raison d’etre ‘

    You might think that re theory but I would’nt necessarily agree . Unionists are loyal to the half crown and more to the idea of being a ‘local majority’ in their ‘own’ country . This can be seen from the 40 year long unionist opposition to power sharing with any nationalist/republican group be they SDLP or SF . The fact that they now have ‘accepted’ power sharing is perhaps just a temporary ‘change’ in strategy until they can become a majority again . It may be dawning on some that this can only happen in a smaller Unionist State .

  • Greenflag

    minx maginn & Frustrated democrat

    My apologies -reply 13 above was to minx not FD.

  • PaddyReilly

    It may be dawning on some that this can only happen in a smaller Unionist State

    But Turgon doesn’t want to leave his nice big house near Maghera to live in some sectarian sh*tehole. And thousands like him. Think again, Greenflag.

  • Eoin O’Donnell

    Greenflag, that idea of an even smaller unionist state is an interesting one. Maybe that is the future of NI; individual counties seceding from the Union. [If it was legally possible or allowed]

    What would happen if a county tried to do copy what occurred in Kosovo?

  • Greenflag

    ‘But Turgon doesn’t want to leave his nice big house near Maghera to live in some sectarian sh*tehole. And thousands like him.’

    ‘ Think again, Greenflag.’

    I did -think again that is and Turgon would not have to leave nor would anybody else . A fair repartition of Northern Ireland is possible without anybody having to move from where they now live. It would mean just changing a line on the map. The Republic would gain a 3% Unionist minority and a smaller NI Unionist State would have a 10% Nationalist minority . But almost 96% of the people on this island would be living in the State of their first preference . There would be approx 250,000 people of the total of 6.2 million on the island not in the happy poition of first state preference but they would represent about 4% of the total island population and they would be divided between both States . Better than a 15% disgruntled Unionist minority in a 32 county Republic and better yet again than a disgruntled 45% nationalist minority in Northern Ireland .

  • Greenflag

    ‘Maybe that is the future of NI; individual counties seceding from the Union.’

    Would’nt make sense for some counties e.g County Down is overwhelmingly Unionist in the North and nationalist in the South . Armagh is majority Unionist in the North and overwhemingly Nationalist in the South . Perhaps the new District Councils could form a basis for ‘repartition’ if and when the present power sharing experiment implodes.

  • jaffa

    Paddy,

    Nice idea re Hillsborough and using the British Embassy (High Commission surely!) as a holding company for British Interests.

    What’ll we do with Stormont?

    The Queen’s romp round East Belfast shows her importance to happy relations in a future UI. Rather like Bertie getting over to the states to visit Irish exiles for Paddy’s day, Her Majesty will have responsibility for maintaining filial feeling those of her British-Irish subjects susceptible to such sentimentality.

    This might be useful as I imagine that (coming to Greenflags point) the British Army will continue to maintain at least two Battalions of Irish recruited infantry as well as using us in other corps.

    Regarding comments on Ireland’s military capacity, quick perusal of wikipedia and the Defence Force web-site tells me Britain’s Army is c. 106K people for c. 60M citizens. The Republics is 8.5K for c. 4.3M. That 1 soldier for 566 citizens (UK) and 1 soldier for 505 people (Ireland). So Ireland’s not under-represented. Ireland on the other hand appears to have no air force as it’s not really in the cold-war patrolling, fixed wing air-strike business. It does however have 9 full time infantry battalions, whereas the UK has just 37 – ie Ireland has a disproportionately larger number of foot soldiers (less mechanics and logistics as less tanks and Apaches and such).

    So Ireland is poorly equiiped for expeditionary assault but that’s not to say it’s poorly suited for “Home Guard” type behaviour, being the second biggest contributor to UN missions and support to civil authority (the last two being the only two roles it’s likely to need to do).

    Irish Citizens who like tanks and helicopters and loud noises can continue to join the tooled-up British Forces if they wish. If they prefer the occaisional fist-fight with Israeli’s (or was that the French) and school building they can join the Irish Defence Forces.

    “see UN Peacekeeping in Lebanon, Somalia and Kosovo: Operational and Legal Issues ..by Ray Murphy”

    Which suggests another “British enclave” for West-Brits Paddy.

    It’s be nice if we had an accepted Irish version of the British Legion for ex-British/Commonwealth Forces servicemen in Ireland. How about a rebrand of the BL in Ireland and it’s all-Ireland launch as the “The Royal Irish Legion” Canada style?