Slugger at the BIPA: McElduff calls for a Border question for the 2011 Census?

An interview with Barry McElduff at the BIPA, in which he talks about the value of non legislating Assembly… And calls for a question to be inserted in the next Census asking people to state their preference for the future constitutional status of Northern Ireland… As Paul Bew notes in a follow up interview that is a risky strategy in the sense that any party calling for that could hardly resist an answering call for an actual referendum…

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  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Drawing conclusions about constitutional preferences on the basis of community background in the census is not ideal – may as well pop the actual question – though not sure how the issue of those too young to vote not to mention those too young to talk would be dealt with.

    A good interview, Baz came across well, but how come we dont get to hear you ask the questions – a technical glitch or a style choice?

  • Garza

    I think Barry might get an awful shock! There is a sizeable chunk of catholics who don’t mind living in the Union. These are the pragmatic catholics, the catholics who only wanted civil equality with protestants and couldn’t really give a damn about the border. There is ALOT of them in the SDLP

    Unionists would weld more influence and power in an UI than the Union, Barry?

    Probably we would, but we are not in the union for the power game, if unionists were moticated by power a UI might have happened a long time ago.

    The question is do unionists want to be a big fish in a small pond like they would inevitably be in a UI?

  • question mark question mark

    The DUP is keeping the pressure on republicans so we will make the right decision as to whether or not such a question shall be posed

  • Sean

    Garza The question is do unionists want to be a big fish in a small pond like they would inevitably be in a UI?

    As opposed to being fish food in an aquarium?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    question mark question mark

    re. “keeping the pressure on republicans”

    Would that be via the cunning technique of shredding its own electoral base and legislatively facilitating SF becoming the largest party in the assembly?

    p.s. I dont want to alarm – but at that jobs announcement yesterday the chuckling started up again.

  • Mick Fealty

    Sammy,

    Style choice… and to keep the clips as short possible…

  • RepublicanStones

    You didn’t ask him about Peter Canavan’s favourite goal then Mick.

    Interesting idea of ‘northsouthery’ through the east-west.

    Gotta love the ‘Maybe Sammy might be more courageous”, reminds one of Biff McTannen calling McFly a chicken, except i don’t think Sammy’ll take the bait.

  • RepublicanStones

    Biff Tannen*

  • DaithiO

    “There is ALOT of them in the SDLP”

    Yes that’s why the SDLP are where they are!

    I liked Barry’s final point. Unionists will have a bigger say in a UI than a UK. Sure isn’t that why Willie Frazer took Love Ulster to Dublin, because nobody in London could give a fcUK!

    As always Barry McElduff get’s valid points accross with a smile on his face. If only there was more of that in the north.

  • Buratino

    I never quite understood the argument put forward by nouveau Provos and, strangely enough, the aging Conor Cruise O’Brien that unionists would wield more power in a united Ireland. If there was a united Ireland would it not be right to say that the unionist label would automatically become redundant as there wouldn’t be any union to maintain any more? I imagine that in the case of unification we would see various Protestants/former unionists going their own separate ways. Many may side with Labour. Some may go Green. Some Harvey Bicker types may see their interests best served by siding with one of the big two parties. I would be of the opinion that there would probably be a particularly strong attraction in an Italian-style regional party that advocated a strong degree of autonomy for the north.

    But all of this is a pointless discussion to be having as clearly there is no demand from the majority of people in Northern Ireland for a united Ireland at the present time! Maybe Barry still hasn’t recovered from that hiding his lads received from Cork.

  • I think it would be very entertaining if this happened. FWIW I agree with garza that the % favouring a united Ireland would be a lot lower than the % of practicing Catholics, let alone “perceived” Catholics.

    It won’t happen, of course; the census is not a suitable mechanism for that sort of opinion polling. McElduff is not stupid and must be aware of both of these facts, and presumably expects that the political gains from raising the question are greater than the risks from it actually being answered!

  • Mark McGregor

    Mick,

    I like the interview technique. The question is highlighted. The time is given to address it.

    Good stuff.

    I think Barry’s big answer on the census was just pure crap as his party agreed Irish unity was only permitted to be put to the people when a British secretary of state decided.

    If he wants to rewrite the Agreement he should first admit with others what a load of crap it was.

    Great interview, god camera and uploading work – best I’ve seen from you. Did you do a course?

  • Ulick

    “Great interview, god camera and uploading work – best I’ve seen from you. Did you do a course?”

    Yes Ted.

  • Garza

    Exactly nicholas whyte.

    Lest we forget, the IRA had to suspend their campaign in the late 40’s and 50’s due to low support in Northern Ireland simply because the UK had the only national healthcare service at the time.

    There is a sizeable percentage of catholics in NI that will go with the flow if life is good.

  • fair_deal

    He first raised this suggestion back in January

  • slug

    The census is not a survey of political opinion so this suggestion will not be appropriate.

  • Jonathan McCullough

    Why not just have a referendum at the next general election and put all the bullshit about “2016” etc to bed once and for all? The sooner republicans realise that there will never, eve, be a united ireland, the better.

  • barnshee

    “McElduff is not stupid and must be aware of both of these facts, and presumably expects that the political gains from raising the question are greater than the risks from it actually being answered”

    No indeed he is not stupid– stupidity falis to recognise the egregious nature of his suggestion
    Census formws are filled in (usually) by one individual per houshold. One speaks for all??

    Carlberg don`t do idiots but if they did….

  • Dewi

    Mick

    Paul Flynn gives you a plug

  • KieranJ

    Life is too easy for Unionists and Loyalists in the six counties. So long as it remains that way, things will never change.

    A stark message needs to be sent to these folks in no uncertain terms.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I thought it was now way too late to add questions to the census. If I’m wrong, I can think of at least one worth adding.

  • KieranJ,

    “Life is too easy for Unionists and Loyalists in the six counties. So long as it remains that way, things will never change.

    A stark message needs to be sent to these folks in no uncertain terms.”

    Are you suggesting another 30 years of bloodshed? Is that the stark message you’d like to send? That’s an excellent way of making sure that nationalists like me will never support a UI delivered by violence. i.e. 99.9% of nationalists.

    A stark message needs to be sent but it’s not to the the unionists/loyalists. It needs to be sent to the cowardly thugs who want to drag us back into violence and who will achieve absolutely nothing in their dream of bombing their way into a 32 county state.

    The stark message they need to hear is that every bullet, every bomb puts a UI further and further back, and rightfully so.

  • Joe

    Garza wrote

    [i]There is a sizeable chunk of catholics who don’t mind living in the Union. [/i]

    [i]There is a sizeable percentage of catholics in NI that will go with the flow if life is good.[/i]

    Majorities are funny things. If you expect that a Catholic Majority won’t change all these things, you are incredibly naive.

  • Garza

    No Jow I’m not. History shows that people will put peace, security and wealth over idealistic ideas and nationialistic tendicies.

    There are catholics who as long as they can indulge in their own culture and go to dublin for a nice weekend don’t give a toss about the border. There is more to being Irish than having a TD in the Dial or putting an X beside a Presidental candidate you know.
    Its not like the Irish in NI are alienated from their Southern brothers.

    Its ironic, the more happy catholics their are in NI the more secure the union with Britain is.

  • Drumlins Rock

    There is the point that more Catholics are happy to say they are “British and Irish” and even if the money question was to swing in the UI favour they still would stick with the UK, In some ways the 2011 census will cover the issue in that it asks do you identify yourself as English, Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish, British, Irish, or state other, and you can pick several, so number of catholics that pick British could be a good indicator, as would the number of protestants who dont pick British.

  • Joe

    Garza,

    You may be right, but all that hyperbole is dependent on whether Unionism can reach out to, win, and keep a significant % of catholic voters, all in the face of a catholic majority.

    Thats one giant IF for unionism, to rely on its historical adversary to help prolong its life. Especially when the hardcore of nationalism is right there chipping away at every election.

    Time will tell.

  • joe

    I love the fact that unionists percieve to call the fact that a sizeable portion of nationalists ( Catholics as they point out) will when the referendum cones round vote to stay in the union, your kidding lads, believe me when the form drops through the door and it comes to crunch time national pride and sense will kick in, the sooner you grasp this the better, or maybe its better that you just keep the blinkers on eh ? never, never , never lolol….

  • Garza

    First Joe.

    Unionists need to do more to promote the Union to nationalists. Some unionists have it still in there head that nationalism is something to be attacked or defeated and thats the wrong attitude. Unionism would benefit more if they respected nationalism a little more and used the art of persuasion and debate for the union.

    Second Joe.

    National Pride? Is that the same national pride that has the southerners flocking to the North to spend money to contribute to the UK economy rather than the Irish economy?

    National pride doesn’t lower rates, pay the bills, get good efficient schools and keep the buses running on time.

    Like I said being Irish is FAR more than putting an X beside a name on a ballot. The Irish of NI are still Irish and nothing can take that away from them.