Owen Paterson: No popular demand for a border poll…

Owen Paterson, it seems, is not exactly inundated with letters, phone calls and emails looking for a border poll of the type Martin McGuinness was musing on a few weeks back…

Last year, 73 per cent of respondents to an opinion poll in Northern Ireland said they wanted the region to remain a part of the UK. The Life and Times survey published in June 2011 found 52 per cent of Catholics living in Northern Ireland wanted the union to continue, compared with a third who favoured a united Ireland.

Yeah, well, maybe Martin, contra his own advice, was getting carried away with all the talk of referenda in Scotland, and was looking to add a handy piece of psychological pressure to Micheal Martin in the south with talk of bigger, more meaningful subjects than giving constitutional effect to a fiscal compact the govt has largely already signed up to?

  • Nothing really surprising here. SF are turning a blind eye to reality in the hope of justifying their embracement of joining with the DUP in administration of what they once considered an illegal entity.

  • FuturePhysicist

    In the eyes of many in the South the issue of having a referendum on an EU intervention such as the compact is at at least partity with the issue of uniting Ireland.

    Also I don’t think any party feels pressure from Sinn Féin anymore, south or north or east. It’ll be a long time before any election that’s meaningful and opinion polls rarely change in a day over something such as trivial as what parties “talk” about.

  • Mick Fealty

    I think that’s missing the importance of the daily grind at Leinster House… The party is definitely smarting up down there… and Gerry’s getting more effective (though trning to Mary Lou every time he has to ask a question or respond at leaders questions doesn’t exactly sent the right message…

    Not sure phantom announcements like this one build on that… but it will be forgotten as soon as it has done what it’s supposed to…

  • john

    I think anyone with any sense realises there is no need for a referendum at the moment. I do object to people constantly using the NILT survey as some sort of gospel on the matter. It is quite obvious that the figures are misleading. First of all one should remember that the survey was carried out when the Republic really was at its lowest point and even the most hardened Republicans probably didnt like the idea of joining the basket case economy – however the crisis will go and the economy will recover. The other problem is the survey has the SDLP well ahead of SF so alarm bells should be ringing regarding its accuracy. A better marker for a referendum is when Nationalists have more seats in Stormont than Unionists. This still does not guarantee that a yes vote for unity will be passed but it is a sensible place to start. Maybe McGuinness agrees and thinks such a scenario will happen within 10 years. I personally disagree and think it will take another 4 or 5 elections before we reach this junction probably around 2030 so alot can happen between now and then!. The real reason for McGuinness to talk about it is probably just to keep some of the more hardcore in the party happy – thats all.
    As for lack of phone calls and emails etc the truth is the public rarely bother. The highly controversial and emotive westminster boundary changes caused quite a stir on this very site but when it actually came to people turning up at the meetings to discuss it or even send in some proposals hardly anyone bothered their head. I even posted some limks recently and got zero replys – apathy rules.

  • “No popular demand for a border poll”

    The northern Martin will perhaps be more mindful of 1916/2016 than the southern one and the related threat from those who carried on from where the PRM left off.

    I’m not the only one who has noted the significance of 2016 in this decade of anniversaries and the need for a co-ordinated approach by London, Dublin and Belfast. The FT webpage reports the formation of an academic committee to ‘educate’ the public using primary sources. We can expect to see more ‘inclusive performances’ by Peter and Martin this time in tandem with significant dignatories from London and Dublin.

    This is the first time I’ve seen a reference to such a committee. Have there been any government press releases?

  • “Owen Paterson, it seems, is not exactly inundated with letters, phone calls and emails looking for a border poll”

    Perhaps SF’s Lord Mayor put in a request when they took tea at the City Hall on Friday past.

  • “This is the first time I’ve seen a reference to such a committee.”

    There’s no mention of the committee in Friday’s OFMDFM answer to Trevor Lunn:

    The ‘decade of centenaries’ will provide an opportunity for everyone to achieve a greater understanding of our shared past and how it shapes identities and relationships today.

    It is important that these historic events are commemorated in a respectful manner and within the context of our efforts to build a peaceful, stable and shared future here.

    In recognition of the international significance of the coming events and their potential economic and cultural benefits, we have raised the issue of commemorations with Executive colleagues as well as the UK and Irish governments.

    The subject was discussed at our recent meeting with the Secretary of State, and Irish Tanaiste, where we agreed that our administrations would work closely throughout this period to develop and maintain consistent approaches for the mutual benefit of all our people.

  • FuturePhysicist

    I think that’s missing the importance of the daily grind at Leinster House… The party is definitely smarting up down there… and Gerry’s getting more effective (though trning to Mary Lou every time he has to ask a question or respond at leaders questions doesn’t exactly sent the right message…

    Well the reason why Gerry Adams is making more intelligent/effective contributions is that he’s showing up more than he did in the Assembly and the simple law of averages would dictate that the number of intelligent/effective answers would increase with answers, not to sound anyway of an intellectual snob.

    Journos measure these things on a bit by bit basis and frankly there’s more bits this time.

    Seeing past the usual discrimination that many put towards Sinn Féin is difficult for many in the media I have to appreciate. Quite a few middle to upper class, degree holding professionals breaking through the ranks … not that that should be a judge of intelligence par se either way towards those without degrees or with them, but perhaps a more accurate measure of “perception of intelligence” and usually the media fauns over someone with a degree than without one, even if the one without knows what he needs to know better than than the degree holder.

    Personally I think Sinn Féin sent their best political brain off to the European Parliment.