The perils of polls

I doubt if Bel Tel’s latest snapshot poll will stimulate much more than ritual pressure for a referendum on Unity. The parties have got enough to do just hanging in there for a long time to come. Naturally people will take what they like out of it. What stands out for David McKittrick is the finding that 69% of all Catholics would still vote for Unity, despite the developments of equality and powersharing. I find that less surprising. These are achievements of direct rule the parties have yet to live up to on their own. By contrast, the supporter of the Conservative fraction Owen Polley sneers at Gerry Adams for daring to talk up Unity at the Paddyfest, because 85% of Prods and 26% of Taigs would split in favour of the Union. However the overall figure of 55% for remaining in the UK is a far from permanently decisive margin, so hopes of Unity remain very much alive. On the question of political will to hold a referendum however, there’s a paradox. Unless public opinion or the demographics shift dramatically, the more strident the politics and the wider the gap, the less likely the two governments are to call a border poll. Althiugh they are derided by partisans, the wide tolerances in political attitudes consistently recorded in the Life and Times surveys make a referendum scenario even cloudier.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    A sensible approach would be to ignore Belfast Telegraph polls. If punters backed horses at Cheltenham on the basis of these polls….theyd be even more broke than they are.

  • Drumlins Rock

    “However the overall figure of 55% for remaining in the UK is a far from permanently decisive margin”

    its alot more decisive than the mere 36% who aspire to a United Ireland.

  • Michaelhenry

    is this the conservatives who have no m.p.s in ireland its us who sneer at them

  • LabourNIman

    Cannot believe we are still flogging this poll to death….

  • FitzjamesHorse

    There will be another poll along in a minute.

  • Drumlins Rock

    think there is one due at the start of May.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    ah but the “Overclass” dont like REAL elections.

  • Then again there is the view from the Independent http://bit.ly/aehLQQ, sister paper of the BelTel.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave
    When we first survey to deceive’

    Or some such . I’ve noticed too that some of the more headlining catching revelatory findings ‘discovered’ by some bright spark at the University of Hull or Chipping Sodbury when read turns out to have been ‘interpreted’ by some newspaper hack or youtube blogger in ways that are totally arse backwards from the actual study .

    Hey if ‘sex ‘ sells why can’t science or politics ? or elections around the corner or even cloudy referendums in 10 years time ???

  • Cormac mac Art

    None of which matters unless there is a huge majority for unification in the Republic.

  • Comments don’t count on a Brian Walker thread as he doesn’t answer any questions raised by his bigoted blogging. Best to just ignore his posts.

  • Procrasnow

    Now tell those who would vote for unity that every trip to a doctor will cost them at least €60

    the first question after ‘what’s wrong with you’ at the A & E at the hospital will be ‘Do you have medical insurance’ What’s that? ‘You pay national Insurance (PRSI)’ ‘Every one does, but that only covers the unemployed, the long term sick and some elderly’

    Now ask them if they are in favour of unity again.

    I dont know how Sinn féin can sell that fiasco of a service to the public as an incentive for unity

    The Republic of Ireland a great place to live as long as you don’t get sick or injured

  • alan56

    If a referendum was called then I suspect opinion would harden on both sides and status quo would be confirmed. Its a double edged sword for all sides

  • slug

    McKittrick – statistical issues are not his strong point.

  • slug

    Does anyone remember McKittrick’s quoting of “anonymous statisticians” in 2002. LOL. Big reputation killer, that article.

  • Munsterview

    Posted by Procrasnow on Mar 18, 2010 @ 08:12 PM
    “…….. Now tell those who would vote for unity that every trip to a doctor will cost them at least €60……. ”

    Invalid; based on things remaining the same, which they certainly bloody well will not. Greed over need days will be by then long gone, done and dusted !

    Reading Cormac are we? Please let him know that he still has not listed ten positive points about the Twenty-Six counties in the Bet.Tel. poll page.

  • joeCanuck

    hopes of Unity remain very much alive

    In the near term, only for the seriously deluded. I actually thought 10 years ago that it was (remotely) possible within a generation, say 30 years. Now I don’t see it happening in a 100 years. That’s especially true in the context of a certain sect still seeming to have extraordinary powers over Ministers of State. Whatever happened to the MoJ’s vow a while back to pursue certain offenders regardless of their age. Anyone heard of a single arrest yet?

  • Alias

    Munsterview, would you not be better saving up for a little island in the Caribbean and building your little Utopia there? By the way, do you have any qualifications in nation-building? I only ask in case you turn out to be a Jim Jones type…

  • Cormac mac Art

    “Reading Cormac are we? Please let him know that he still has not listed ten positive points about the Twenty-Six counties in the Bet.Tel. poll page.”

    I don’t have to do so. Ireland exists. Its a fact.

    A united NI and ROI does not, so its the one that needs positive points.

  • Munsterview

    Posted by Alias on Mar 18, 2010 @ 09:33 PM

    In this post you have distilled the essence and attitude of the British Establishment media and mouthpieces to the assertions of the I.R.B. regarding Irish Independence right up to 1922. According to the realists the British Empire could not be challenged.

    However even the the great Churchill had his name and pedigree count for nothing when he had to sit down opposite Mick Collins, an ex postal clerk and small farmer’s son from a West Cork Hillside Farm to negotiate what he must have known was the beginning of the end of Empire..

    It is indeed a safe assumption that this not what Loyal George had in mind when he informed the world, through parliament a short time before that in Ireland he had murder by the throat!

    As to the Jim Jones reference, when a proposal can only be countered by attempted sarcasm, it but denotes a poverty of response and absence of a valid rational counter argument. Are the Swiss an object of international ridicule for having a devolved their democracy to the extent they have or is the United States a flawed democracy for having a Federal System?

    The present system of Governance North and South is designed to serve the needs of a small ruling elites, who through their puppets, raise the same mock horror/ sarcasm at any possibility of devolution of that power as Punch Magazine did to Home Rule and the threat to Empire Unity. The actuality of this is, in some respects the elected Mayor in a hamlet of one hundred odd people in any part France, has more actual power in detailed aspects that effect local life than than our average Councillor or even County Manager has.

    As to the your posting immediately prior to to the one responded to, nothing like a selective quote from the Bible or The Shorter Oxford to draw fire and expose position. Thanks for the illumination!

  • Mack

    Procrasnow –

    Now tell those who would vote for unity that every trip to a doctor will cost them at least €60

    Not quite. My Doctor charges a basic rate of €50, €25 for students, part-time workers & pensioners without a medical card. The unemployed and over 70’s don’t pay anything per visit (medical card).

    GP expenses are tax deductable & incidentally so is health insurance.

    I’ve never had to queue at a GPs in the south for more than 10-15 minutes.

    the first question after ‘what’s wrong with you’ at the A & E at the hospital will be ‘Do you have medical insurance’ What’s that?

    You are confusing Ireland with the USA.

    You can chose at many hospitals between Public, Semi-Private or Private health care. Health insurers will often cover the cost of private or semi-private treatment. Workers with an income may have to pay relative small fixed fees for public treatment.

    And in terms of queuing, if you suffer an accident, Swift Clinics will have you seen in less than 1 hour.

    Incidentally – did you know that infant mortality in Ireland (Republic) is significantly lower than in the north?

    Or that maternal fatalities during child birth are the lowest in the world?

  • lamhdearg

    Mack
    Recently a child (stillborn i think) died in donegal it parents had to travel to Dublin on a bus with the child in it’s coffin on their knee to see the state pathologist then back on the bus to Donegal with their child for burial.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Lamhdearg,
    In December 2004, the body of a stillborn child was taken from a large provincial hospital to RVH on her fathers knee. The mother was still in Maternity at the hospital The same journey would have been made from Newry, Armagh, Ballymena, Downpatrick, Portadown
    Dont know if Altnagelvin has the facility but it might be the case in Enniskillen or Omagh as well that the child be brought to Belfast.
    The trauma is almost unbearable.
    Clearly Donegal to Dublin is longer the journey from that provincial hospital to Belfast. Sadly its not unique.

  • lamhdearg

    Fitz
    The precision of the date supplied on your post corrects me in my thinking,The (it would not happen here) implication in my post was based on the meida report’s i had heard/read on the case,I stand corrected

  • the first question after ‘what’s wrong with you’ at the A & E at the hospital will be ‘Do you have medical insurance’

    You are only asked for your insurance details on admission to a ward. A&E treatment takes place regardless, and you are billed €100 after the fact unless you are subsequently admitted, or were referred by a GP.

  • Alias

    Munsterview, you appear to have mistaken the GFA for a socialist manifesto. Have you even read it? Insofar as it even touches on socio-economic rights it is simply a proposition for a Bill of Rights (if any special rights are so required in that part of the United Kingdom). The Utopian wish-list that giddy folks have added to it is simply designed to make people state-dependent, thereby ensuring that they will never exit the state that pampers them so mightily. But your contempt for the Irish state is duly noted and somewhat explains why you are so keen to undermine its sovereignty.

  • Mack

    Lamhderg & FitzjamesHorse

    That’s very sad & disgraceful really that parents would be put through that additional trauma, whether here or in the north. You’ll generally find many horror stories on health no matter which country you look at (as long as their is a free press anyway)..

    The stats & our own experience suggest that in terms of maternity services the south generally (& Dublin in particular) is in a different class (in a good way). I’m sure in other areas the NHS is ahead and Ireland is still catching up. I’m not convinced that the UK system is neccessarily the best – a strong element of publicly funded services are essential, but there are also advantages in properly aligning incentives of health care professionals with those their patients (a heavily regulated profit motive) – there does seem to have been more innovation in the south in recent years (Swift Clinic, Nurse Line etc).

    Here are the maternal mortality stats by country (Ireland, best in the world) –

    http://www.globalhealthfacts.org/topic.jsp?i=97#notes

    Infant mortality rates – World (highest), Cuba, USA, UK, France, Ireland (Lowest)

    http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&ctype=l&met_y=sh_dyn_mort&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=country&idim=country:IRL:GBR:USA:CUB:FRA&tdim=true&tstart;=-315619200000&tunit=Y&tlen=47&hl=en_US&dl=en_US

  • Cormac mac Art

    A united Ireland won’t improve such issues. Only ongoing efforts in a stable state.