One thing that was not tested, or at least shown up in the negative result in last year’s Lisbon referendum was the extent to which anti immigration sentiment affected the overall decision. According to some anti Lisbon campaigners Slugger has spoken to, although it was barely a factor on the doorsteps it was something they had expected to encounter. But this year, in Northern Ireland, anti immigrant feeling is certainly present if not yet widely radicalised outside hotspots like Loyalist south Belfast. According to Reuters:
…nearly 50 percent of those polled in one survey believed migrant workers take jobs away from people born in Northern Ireland. Of the 1,215 adults interviewed between October 1, 2008 and February 27, 2009 for the Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster, only 38 percent disagreed with that assertion: 46 percent were in favor.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty