Futile Border Poll campaign to launch

What is presumably a Sinn Fein border poll initiative is to launch on Friday with mock polls planned for Crossmaglen and Creggan Upper (in County Louth)

Presumably taking a leaf out of the People`s Pledge EU Referendum Campaign who held their own polls in certain constituencies last year. Of course the credibility of holding such a border poll in an avowedly Republican area won`t stand for much. But is it a sign of Sinn Fein desperation and will we have to put up with more such futile gesture politics in the run up to the 1916 centenary?

Personally I would opt to call their bluff (backed up by election, polls and census data).

Indeed Sinn Fein have admitted that such a poll would fail if held today. And why do Sinn Fein continue with their disproven line of argument on identity? Gerry Adams, Martina Anderson and others have all trotted out census data to show a British minority by lumping Irish and Northern Irish identities together).

Anderson recently delivered a speech:

“The political geography of the North is changing. Recent census figures reveal a shift with 40% of people stating they had a British only identity. A quarter stated they had an Irish only identity and just over a fifth had a Northern Irish only identity. That’s 46% with some form of Irish only identity.”

Nip it in the bud. Hold the border poll at the same time as the Scottish independence referendum and tie the Unionist campaigns together  under the Better Together banner.

  • GavBelfast

    Let’s get a campaign to have this thing and get it over and done with for a while, whatever the outcome.

  • Morpheus

    So you suggest holding a referendum on a topic that the electorate know little or nothing about? How can the electorate make an informed decision when they have no idea what a UI would look like in terms of the law, housing, education, health, economics, social security, taxation, political representation etc.

    If there is a border referendum next year it will miserably fail, and rightly so, because absolutely no legwork whatsoever has been done to educate the electorate.

    If the GFA states “that a substantial section of the people of Northern Ireland, and the majority of the people of the island of Ireland, wished to bring about a united Ireland” then the very least we can do it look into the possibility to see if it is even feasible.

    I would suggest an independent report, created in partnership with the British and Irish governments to see if it is even feasible.

    SF, SDLP and any other pro-UI parties should educate the electorate on both sides of the border before a border poll.

  • David Crookes

    What an achievement. Something sillier than green beer.

  • Sinn Féin have been studying the campaign staged in Catalonia between 2009 and 2011 when a series of independence referendums were held in a number of local municipalities which helped raise the profile of the pro-independence parties and the concept of an sovereign Catalonia. Those referenda are acknowledged for their contribution to the recent Nationalist upsurge witnessed in the Catalan nation. Notably they were carried out without the official backing of the Catalan political establishment and have dragged that elite kicking and screaming down the path of a more pro-active autonomy campaign.

    If the envisioned SF campaign goes well it is presumed that the next step would be the tabling of motions in favour a Reunited Ireland in Nationalist-dominated local government councils in the north-east, probably over the period of a few weeks in order to have maximum impact. However that is a long way off yet.

    This is merely a tester to see how things work out.

  • tacapall

    “I would suggest an independent report, created in partnership with the British and Irish governments to see if it is even feasible”

    I have often wondered why Nationalist parties or indeed Unionists never insisted on a similar clause being included in the GFA, its the obvious missing piece of the puzzle, without that report happening movement towards a unified Ireland will be almost impossible. The financial stability of the status quo is the only barrier on the road to a unified Ireland for the majority of those who do not identify themselves as British. I can understand Sinn Fein conducting mock border polls in various counties, I mean if the SOS can react and clarify his/her position on a border poll based on the results of a Belfast telegraph opinion poll then surely he/she can react on the results of an opinion poll being carried out in nationalist areas on the question of why we should be allowed to have a border poll.

  • Morpheus

    @tacapall

    “I have often wondered why Nationalist parties or indeed Unionists never insisted on a similar clause being included in the GFA, its the obvious missing piece of the puzzle, without that report happening movement towards a unified Ireland will be almost impossible. The financial stability of the status quo is the only barrier on the road to a unified Ireland for the majority of those who do not identify themselves as British”

    The report to me is blindingly obvious but the key is it’s independence. If SF draw it up, no matter how many steps they take to ensure impartiality, it will be rejected offhand.

    The financial argument will always be the biggest hurdle to overcome because at the end of the day the English tax-payer subsidizes Northern Ireland to the tune of £10,500m a year. However, in my head the feasibility report would look into the impact of all taxes on all products/services sold in Northern Ireland going to Dublin rather than London before redistribution and the likely hood of further inward investment in the six counties from major employers.

    Who knows, maybe a UI is a completely unfeasible option? But at least we would know, a UI could be rejected by the majority and then everyone can focus on making NI the best it can be. Maybe it is feasible?

    Regardless the report would educate the electorate, north and south of the border, on all key issues before they are asked to vote on anything.

  • Old Mortality

    Morpheus
    ‘Regardless the report would educate the electorate, north and south of the border, on all key issues before they are asked to vote on anything.’

    I think most Irish politicians won’t need an independent report in order to acquaint their electors with the unpleasant consequences of unification.

  • Morpheus

    “I think most Irish politicians won’t need an independent report in order to acquaint their electors with the unpleasant consequences of unification.”

    The report wouldn’t be for the politicians, it would be to educate the electorate so they can make an informed decision when it comes to a border referendum.

  • Barnshee

    Like the Cross poll -can we make it binding?

  • Morpheus

    “Like the Cross poll -can we make it binding?”

    No idea what The Cross Poll is. I tried Google but with no success. Any links?

    In terms of binding then that would be at the discretion of the electorate. If they vote ‘No’ now but change their minds in 50 years then they should commission it again in 50 years. If they feel that there is no point then why bother?

    I wouldn’t take anything off the table when it comes to this report, everything is up for grabs – NI remaining in the Union, NI becoming an independent country and a Unified Ireland. All options need investigated at the very least

  • Tochais Síoraí

    It’s a very angry measure of public opinion.

    Or it could be a survey confined to a town in south Armagh.

  • Old Mortality

    There’s not much doubt about the outcome of the fantasy polls in South Armagh as no ‘business opportunities’ will be lost as a result. However, it might be less overwhelmong come the real thing.

  • Old Mortality

    Morpheus
    You surely don’t think politicans will sit on their hands on an issue as big as this?

  • Morpheus

    No, I don’t expect them to sit back because they are our elected political representatives at the end of the day but they cannot influence the impartiality of the report.

    I would envisage the raw facts publicized in a document, much like the GFA and then the electorate makes their own mind up. The legal system would look like this, the education system would look like this, the health system would look like this, our political system would look like this etc.

    I don’t have all the answers, I am just an average Joe putting my tu-pence worth in and there are wiser people than me on here.

  • Barnshee

    No idea what The Cross Poll is. I tried Google but with no success. Any links?

    Cross =Crossmaglen

  • Morpheus

    OK, thanks.

    Would you agree with the principle behind a fact finding report to see if a UI is a feasible option or not so the electorate knows what they are voting on when a referendum does come?

  • FDM

    I love the “futile” bit in the title of the article.

    I can’t get where all this “unionist” angst comes from?

    I mean sure don’t we all want MMcG as First Minister here for at least 20 years before we take any radical steps like a plebiscite.

    However how many radical steps will be left to be taken after 20 years of MMcG and co. in charge?

    What will be left of ‘our wee country’ by then? Maybe just the fence at the border…

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I don’t think it’s all that ‘futile’.

    The end-game has to begin somewhere.

    Why not just test the water now and learn a few things?

    Then they could do it again around easter 2016 and capitalise on the Easter Rising commemorations.

    And keep adding pressure and repeat process ad nauseam.

    Plus, maybe, the Republic’s economy might be a bit better by then, there are definite signs of a few green shoots sprouting (14 000 new business start-ups last year and a similar number the year before).

    Though, I can’t even spell ekonomix so I’ll bow to anyone in that regard who has other numbers and big words to offer.

    I think I’d rather live in a UI than live under the incompetent rule of our own small time councillors headed potentially by Sinn Fein et al.

    @ Morpheus

    If there was an option on slugger I’d have to flag you for ‘too much common sense’.

    Reports? Facts? Informed choice? Opinions? We are talking about the same place right?

  • Jimmy Sands

    What arrangements have they made to deter voter fraud?

  • Morpheus

    @Am Ghobsmacht

    To me it seems like an obvious solution to a lot of problems. The election and census statistics can be twisted every which way from Sunday to prove both pro-Union and pro-UI arguements:

    Census:
    Pro-Union = 25% said they were Irish only.
    Pro-UI = The majority of the people in NI said they were’t British.

    Elections:
    Pro-Union = Only 22.5% of the electorate voted for pro-UI parties (SF/SDLP)
    Pro-UI = Only 25% of the electorate voted for pro-Union parties (DUP/UUP/TUV).

    Elections:
    Pro-Union = Only 41.1% of those who voted did so for pro-UI parties (SF/SDLP).
    Pro-UI – Only 45.7% of those who voted did so for pro-Union parties (DUP/UUP/TUV). A difference of just 4.6% of the people who really matter, those who actually voted.

    My point is that there is sufficient evidence which can be twisted to support both positions. Plus how a person votes in elections or how they fill in a census form is not an indicator of how they will vote in a UI referendum so we need to get confirmation of the current appetite for it by referendum otherwise we will remain in stasis and will not move forward.

    If there is only a 20% support for a UI, like some commentators say, then at least we will know. We can all move on.

    That said it would be highly undemocratic to have that referendum without an exercise to educate the electorate so they know what they are voting on.

    It seems so blindingly obvious.

    @Jimmy Sands
    I have no idea how they will deter voter fraud. That’s something which is key to any democracy so I am sure it will be investigated very rigorously.

  • Zig70

    The flegs was maybe one of the first moves by Unionists from denial to anger on the change curve. Looking at combining the Scottish poll dips a toe in the bargaining phase. Too soon, bit more to swing out of denial. Anyway unionists don’t have the balls to tackle it head on and would have to recognise nationalist identity to do it.

  • RG Cuan

    This is a very interesting initiative which allows normal people on the ground to play an active role in deciding the future of our island.

    When similar referendums began in Catalunya back in 2009 many commentators said they were ‘futile’ and ‘served little purpose’. Four years later and hundreds of towns have now held their own local referendums on independence with over 200,000 people taking part.

    These ‘popular referendums’ added an extra impetus to the independence debate and informed Catalans about the benefits independence would bring to their country. The pressure came from the people and now all main Catalan parties are in favour of holding a referendum and independence is very much on the political agenda.

    People’s Referendums like this first one in South Armagh will help to kickstart a much-needed needed debate about what a reunited island could look like.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    @ Zig70

    “Looking at combining the Scottish poll dips a toe in the bargaining phase. ”

    In fairness (being the ‘Lundy’ type of fella that I am), I’d cautiously welcome some sort of ‘bargaining’ e.g. something that guarantees the preservation of War memorials or replacing the tri-colour or whatever will help assuage Protestant paranoia.

    Better something to ‘cushion the fall’ rather than being plonked straight into it ass-naked with no concessions.

    Fairy chat I know, as the ‘No surrenders’ won’t even hear of such ‘treachery’.

    Maybe I am part of a popish plot to destroy Ulster but I don’t know it…

    “and would have to recognise nationalist identity to do it”

    Could you expand on that? Other than not flying the tri-colour, how do they not recognise nationalist identity?

    Could you give examples (although please try to keep it free of Orange Order examples, they don’t represent most Unionists)

  • FDM

    @Am Ghobsmacht

    “In fairness (being the ‘Lundy’ type of fella that I am), I’d cautiously welcome some sort of ‘bargaining’ e.g. something that guarantees the preservation of War memorials or replacing the tri-colour or whatever will help assuage Protestant paranoia.”

    NO-ONE is going to touch the war memorials. No-one. I can’t believe you would even suggest that. Brave men and women are still brave men and women.

    “”“and would have to recognise nationalist identity to do it””

    “Could you expand on that? Other than not flying the tri-colour, how do they not recognise nationalist identity?”

    I think this part of the denial defence. I can provide some examples from football for instance. Like it or not many young fellas from this region want to play for the Republic of Ireland. They identify with that team and believe that is where their allegiances lie because they consider themselves to be Irish. Note the full stop. However many people from Gods country would deny them the right to play for the Republic of Ireland. Sure they throw up technicalities and whinge about development monies but at the heart of it is this. The whingers tell such players that they are British/Northern Irish and have no right to play for the Irish team. They in fact refuse to recognise their identity, even when it is ratified by international treaties and the football authorities themselves.

    The insistence of the IFA on continuing to play GSTQ at every international game and playing under the Ulster Banner fails to recognise the identity of half the population here and goes a long way to ensuring that the NI team is supported by only half the population.

    Even the use of the term “Ulster” is riven with another facet of the same theme when clearly for many in the PUL community Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal simply don’t exist. Evidence? How many times have we seen a television or radio programme as “Ulster this” or “Ulster that” and they only ever visit/talk about the wee six.

    Denial of the “thing” causing offence is the least sophisticated of the ego defences and one that continues to grip the PUL community. They will have to make it out of the woods soon for all our sakes. Then again that will take courage from effective leaders.

  • GavBelfast

    Who could / would actually oppose the holding of such a referendum, the sooner the better?

    Cleat the air, bring it on!

  • Barnshee

    If the dupers had any brains they would support these local referendums. Were they to go the way SF Expect(?)
    Dublin should be approached immediately to assume responsibility for the area involved.

    (Then stand back and watch the associations concerned shit themselves)

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    @ FDM

    Jesus man, calm down.

    I only mentioned the war memorials cos I know the warped view that many on ‘this side of the fence’ (bluuuch) have about such things, many (not just OO types lest I be seen to contradict my statement) are inclined to believe that the JCBs will be out in force to remove them all the day the border goes ( despite the lack of evidence) .

    So that’s why I lazily threw it in there and added “or whatever will help assuage Protestant paranoia”. I was throwing out a few examples that might help calm down the ‘no no no’s ‘ and if they think that something like that is a big ‘victory’ then judging by your brave men statement then it’s no skin off the collective Republican or nationalist noses, is it?

    And when I asked
    “Could you expand on that? Other than not flying the tri-colour, how do they not recognise nationalist identity?”

    It was a genuine question, not a snooty “have at you Sir!”.

    Anyway, regarding Norn Iron’s lack of appeal to 1/2 the country,the ‘whingers’ are the makers of their own demise on that one.

    I’ve long held the position that if they want nationalists (or whatever term you want to use to make the sentence work) to play for Northern Ireland instead of the Republic then they had better make it more appealing (or indeed less galling for a start).

    I almost agree with you entirely about GSTQ and the Ulster banner, I’ve written to the IFA and indeed The Newsletter (the Titan of NI journalism….) about those very points as well as tormenting some of the semi-literates who dwell in it’s online letters’ pages.

    I’d only disagree with you about the Ulster banner representing half the country.

    It doesn’t represent me nor lots of other moderates neither. It’s been officially disbanded and the sight of it at Norn Iron games agitates me somewhat. Hence my unimaginative avatar.

    Like those chaps whom you referred to immediately before the splendidly highlighted full stop, I too am Irish and have an Irish identity.

    It doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with nationalism.

    Are those who want to (or settle for) playing for NI less Irish than those who play for the Republic?

    As for the denial defence routine and why you applied it to me I have no idea, could expand on that too please? What am I denying?

    As for the misuse of the word ‘Ulster’ well, saw-ree, old habits die hard in NI as you well know.

    If they are denying a nationalist identity by using that word then it just ties in nicely with the term ‘the north of Ireland’ that many Nationalists use which is denial of Unionist identity if one applies the same logic

    The word is indeed outdated and misleading but it also provides a wonderful platform from which to torment hard line ‘uber Britischer’ unionists about their supposed non-Irish identity.

    Sorry if it causes you so much grief, as it causes me so much fun.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Also

    “Denial of the “thing” causing offence is the least sophisticated of the ego defences and one that continues to grip the PUL community”

    Yes, the stuff they try to brand ‘none offensive’ at Orange parades and band parades is mind boggling.

    That rant too has made it’s way to the editor’s waste paper basket at the Newsletter….

  • FDM

    @Am Ghobsmacht

    Don’t be alarmed. Not angry at all.

    “Like those chaps whom you referred to immediately before the splendidly highlighted full stop, I too am Irish and have an Irish identity”

    You are what you consider yourself to be. Ultimately you have to be happy in your bones and no doubt when you look in the mirror you have to come to a sense of what you are. How can I objectively tell you what you are and what you are not? How conceited would I have to be to tell you what you are? Therefore…

    “Are those who want to (or settle for) playing for NI less Irish than those who play for the Republic?”

    To me no. However I would also defend the conviction held by many of the fans and the team that they don’t feel Irish/Northern Irish at all and that they consider themselves to be [and therefore in my opinion ] are in fact British.

    You have to take people for what they are not what you would want them to be.

    The same respect river which runs through my comments about maintaining and protecting the memorials.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “How conceited would I have to be to tell you what you are?”

    Apologies, an unwanted reflex from too much time spent on the Newsletter’s page where everyone will happily tell some one what they are. Including ‘Ullish’? (have you ever heard of that?)

    The whole British vs Irish thing vexes me, I think I’ve spent too much time abroad with other ex-pats and many of us feel Irish AND British.

    However I fully understand why people may want to have no British identity whatsoever.
    I just find it difficult to accept that the Uber Britischers have no Irish identity whatsoever.
    Ali G hit it on the head “you is here on holiday?”…

    On that note, this isn’t really relevant to the topic, but it illustrates the mentality of some of ‘the loyal’. When I was younger and even more stupid I was standing “near, not in” a road block for Drumcree.
    The army land rovers drove through the roadblock and one of the Bass drummers, in his Ranger’s shirt and loyalist band trousers shouted “go home you British b*****ds!!!”

    I think I left my band about a month later…

  • Morpheus

    @RG Cuan

    I read up on your comments regarding the Catalan independence referendum and it makes for some interesting reading but I fail to see how SF could implement that here.

    If they held their non-binding and unoffical poll in Armagh then what chances do they have of getting Unionist voters to take part? Same in any of the 32 counties. The mini-referendum would in no way be representative of the population,same as the last one in 197-blah.

    Do SF seriously expect the electorate to come out to vote to blindly follow them into a UI when they know jack about what a UI looks like? They are being extremely lazy.

    Most people wouldn’t go to any SF event so in the days of voter apathy what chance what they got of getting peope to come to a pointless non-binding referendum?

  • Barnshee

    “what chance what they got of getting people to come to a pointless non-binding referendum?”

    make it binding or at least provide a policy to action the result

  • FDM

    @Am Ghobsmacht

    “How conceited would I have to be to tell you what you are?”

    ‘Ullish’?

    New one to me. Maybe someone can help there with the background to that.

    “The whole British vs Irish thing vexes me, I think I’ve spent too much time abroad with other ex-pats and many of us feel Irish AND British.”

    I have lived in four of the six nations, barring Scotland and Italy. I agree that in my experience that the ex-pats do seem to congregate when overseas. One of my favourite memories of England is watching Robbie Keane scoring for Ireland against Germany in the world cup. We were in very much an Anglo-Irish bar in the midlands and being amongst the throng of Irish and English who went daft when Ireland equalised.

    I think there will be a positive future of close personal relationships between England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. A looser national fraternal affiliation in the future will bring us closer together than any act of union would or could possibly do.

    “However I fully understand why people may want to have no British identity whatsoever.”

    “I just find it difficult to accept that the Uber Britischers have no Irish identity whatsoever.
    Ali G hit it on the head “you is here on holiday?”…”

    When Cortez got to the new world he scuttled their ships to emphasise to his expedition that they were there to stay. I think there has to be a point when surely the PUL community decide that they are here to stay? However here we are back in the roundabout to leadership again…

  • tacapall

    ‘Ullish’?

    “New one to me. Maybe someone can help there with the background to that”

    Maybe they are all called Ultan.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    FDM

    Tragic/brilliant timing regarding your point about GSTQ at NI matches:
    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/regional/no-threat-to-anthem-at-ni-international-matches-dup-1-5048541

    Do you think Poots is aware that he’s standing beside a Celtic Cross with 4 shamrocks and the word ‘Irish’ contained therein?

    @Morpheus

    “Do SF seriously expect the electorate to come out to vote to blindly follow them into a UI when they know jack about what a UI looks like?”

    Well, maybe you hold the voting population in higher regard than me, but, I’d place my money on ‘yes, they would’.

    From a logical perspective you are absolutely impeccable with your point, but, this is Norn Iron…

  • Morpheus

    “you are absolutely impeccable with your point”

    Aw shucks…..thanks.

    I honestly think that the Shinners are in for a massive shock if they try this because I think they electorate have only borrowed their vote to SF while the SDLP get their act together, they haven’t had an effective leader in a vert long time. SF have come in from the extremes, granted, but they keep making stupid mistakes (like the Newry playpark, trying to get UK taken out of the UK City of Culture, complaining about the Red Arrows etc.) which all help to turn off the moderate voters who will go back to SDLP in a flash.

    SF will get hugely embarrassed if they attempt to push this through without doing the legwork..

    They need to educate the people and do this whole reunification process slowly, methodically and properly other wise they will put people off it for good. Nationalists have been waiting a nearly a hundred years, what’s a few more gonna hurt eh?

    Nationalists will be in the majority in NI soon enough and should use that position, not abuse that position as has been done in the past, to make NI the best it can be so that when the referendum does come everyone, unionist and nationalist, are ready for it.

    They should work with the British government to get NI off this £10,500m per year begging bowl , improve North-South business and transport links for a start. They should lower the Corporation Tax and compete with ROI to attract big business to get more people in work increasing the take from income tax. Finally they should push for all taxes that are generated on goods/service sold in NI to be collected in NI with any surplus going to London. Rather than asking for pocket-money we give London any surplus.

    Just my rambles though

  • ayeYerMa

    I always have to laugh at the irony of likes of “Am Ghobsmacht” getting upset going hysterical insisting that the definition of Ulster (of which there have been many) must correspond to the one defined by the military strategists for the Tudor conquest!

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    @ayeYerMa

    “…insisting that the definition of Ulster (of which there have been many) must correspond to the one defined by the military strategists for the Tudor conquest!”

    Me specifically? I made no such insistence or indeed any mention of it’s boundaries, in fact, if anything I made noise about how I like to lampoon those who do adhere such ‘Tudor’ notions.

    “As for the misuse of the word ‘Ulster’ well, saw-ree, old habits die hard in NI as you well know.”

    and

    “The word is indeed outdated and misleading but it also provides a wonderful platform from which to torment hard line ‘uber Britischer’ unionists about their supposed non-Irish identity.”

  • News_Meister

    I stated ‘N Irish’ in the census as it describes my birth place and my accent, and declined to tick the ‘British’ box as I feel no allegiance to the UK.

    Let’s have a serious national debate about what a future united Ireland would look like.

    When – as expected, the RoI economy has eventually improved and a border poll is held I will almost certainly vote for a united Ireland. That said, I first want to ensure we fully agree and properly plan it in a way that ensures we’re all singing from the same song sheet.

  • tacapall

    “I always have to laugh at the irony of likes of “Am Ghobsmacht” getting upset going hysterical insisting that the definition of Ulster (of which there have been many) must correspond to the one defined by the military strategists for the Tudor conquest”

    Maybe you can tell us all where the name Ultan comes from then Ayeyerma.

  • ayeYerMa

    Am Ghobsmacht, meant to say “FDM” and not you (though you’re close). Whatever, so much boring Republican drivel to ignore in the posts above (as any sane person should do) that the only way to find the quote was to skim-read.

    Same old same old zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….. Republicans moaning about the Northern Ireland football team flying, SHOCK HORROR!!, the Northern Ireland flag. Don’t blame the IFA if you want a new flag, as that isn’t their responsibility. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    tacapall, maybe you can stop speaking in riddles and spit out what you are actually trying to say. Here’s a map that might help you: http://www.wesleyjohnston.com/users/ireland/maps/historical/map650.gif

  • JH

    Good input News_Meister.

    Will be interesting to see how this plays out. I see absolutely nothing wrong with it in principle, there’s a precedent for this in many places, not least Catalunya. Whether it’s a good move or not and how it (re)frames the argument will be interesting to see.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    @ayeYerMa

    “Republicans moaning about the Northern Ireland football team flying, SHOCK HORROR!!, the Northern Ireland flag”

    1/ It’s NOT the Northern Ireland flag any longer (officially), hasn’t been for a long time

    2/ Whilst FDM may be a Republican (?) I’m certainly not, rather I moan about the poor performance of the Northern Ireland football team partly because we use inappropriate flegs and anthems to repel some of our badly needed talent.

    If it’s not our flag and not our regional anthem and half of the country doesn’t like it (the half that will supply most of the footballing talent) then surely in the name of common sense it is only logical to change it for the sake of Northern Irish football or indeed the chance to (finally) go to some decent football finals in Europe?

    Not asking for a lot.

    Granted, the likes of yer man McLean from Stroke City are hardly likely to be knocking down the doors of the IFA, but it’ll be a start and a long term investment.

    Any wonder there’s very few captains of Industry left in the unionist leadership (if any):

    “Sir, we have just received all this market research data which will certainly boost the performance of the company!”

    “Great! Now, throw it into the bin and carry on as before…”

    “but Sir….?”

    “DO AS I SAY! We’ll not have any of that modernising commie nonsense round here lad!”

    ————————————–

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Morpheus and Meister

    Interesting points.

    So, for sake of argument, any thoughts as to whom would be best placed to compile a report into ‘the pros and cons’ of a UI or indeed the mechanics of such a transition?

    Obviously SF shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near it…

    And Morpheus, I fully agree about the North South transport links, any idea whatever happened to the idea of the L’Derry – Sligo train line?

    That was an opportunity lost methinks…

  • JH

    “So, for sake of argument, any thoughts as to whom would be best placed to compile a report into ‘the pros and cons’ of a UI or indeed the mechanics of such a transition?”

    Form a small steering group made up of pro-UI economists, strategists, business and cultural people, consulting with all pro-UI parties and members of the Orange tradition that would be open to a UI under certain circumstances. Task the group with producing, firstly, a set of hard data and, secondly, a short, digestable document on the data as applied to the most aspirational & achievable shapes of a future UI. The document should cover precedence in other nations as well as projections for our own situation.

    Then hold a bloody poll.

  • Morpheus

    The key to the report is it’s independence so our politicians can’t touch it with a barge poll when it is being created. I would envisage a completely independent body which will look at everything, every single issue, impartially. I ideally I would say a team of UN academics – the best and brightest who would come in with a blank slate and would be designing a new United Ireland from the bottom up which takes into consideration the needs of all the citizens. They would get the answers they need from the Governments in terms of finances, budgets, taxation etc.

    The report would highlight the finances of the country after reunification, what the best health-care model would be for the size of population, what the best political model would be, what the best education system would be, what the best child care policy would be etc. Total blank slate and an exciting opportunity for all.

    One thing is for certain, if I thought that my Protestant family, friends and colleagues felt the need to form a Civil Rights Movement in this new Ireland then I would not vote for it – hence the reason why this process has to be done slowly and done right.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Yup. Sidelining the pols at the beginning of the process, (especially SF) would be a good start. Tús maith, leath na hoibre as my ol buddy Pete Robinson would say. If this current effort is a SF front, then its doomed already.

  • Barnshee

    “Finally they should push for all taxes that are generated on goods/service sold in NI to be collected in NI with any surplus going to London. Rather than asking for pocket-money we give London any surplus.

    Just my rambles though”

    1 In what way are existing taxes not collected in N Ireland ?
    2 Since current NI govt. expenditure has to be “subvented” where would this mysterious surplus come from?

  • RG Cuan

    Some solid proposals from Morpheus and JH above about how we could begin a worthwhile discussion about what a reunited Ireland would look like. This data and debate is clearly needed and the wider its scope the better.

    As for Tochais Síoraí’s point that the people’s referendum are ‘doomed’ if they are organised by a single party, such as Sinn Féin, the evidence from Catalunya says otherwise. They were almost exclusively organised by the Esquerra Independentista (Independentist Left) but everybody was encouraged to take part and in turn the project had a significant impact on the Catalan political landscape. There’s nothing to say the same couldn’t happen here.

  • Benjamin

    Even if you won a border poll what becomes of the protestant people here, do we cease to exist? , become invisible ? NO

  • JH

    Benjamin:

    Certainly not. In fact I’d look forward to how the protestant people would help shape the new nation we’d build! That Presbyterian spirit of revolution might just live in Belfast again 🙂

  • Yellowford

    There was a programme set in QUB a few years ago in which economists looked at how a united Ireland might look. They also analysed what an independent Northern Ireland might be like economically and what the future may hold if Northern Ireland remains within the UK. They all said by far that this island was two small to have two competing states with two separate governmental systems work separately in competition with each other. It’s really a no brainier they concluded.

    If a proper study were to be undertaken and a proper report was drafted by independent international academics, then I think the likes of Hillary Clinton would jump at it. Uniting a country? Irish America would be all over it in what would be a much needed PR boon for US international relations. From this, who knows what might be able to negotiated. I also believe that the British Government would have to make some kind of contribution to make reunification as seamless as possible. A parachute payment I’m sure they’d be only to happy to bestow in what is really, no more than a thorn in their side.

    This is all very uncomfortable subject matter for unionism. If the promise of economic prosperity is there, supported by international players and investors, how does unionism deal with this?

  • JH

    “A parachute payment I’m sure they’d be only to happy to bestow in what is really, no more than a thorn in their side.”

    Well assuming the subvention continues at £10.5bn, and there’s no reason to believe it shouldn’t looking at the last 5-10 year trend, a staggered economic withdrawl by Britain over, say, 10 years, starts to look pretty pricey at around £50bn. But frame the question differently and consider it a 30 year withdrawl where the subvention ends at year 10 and suddenly it becomes a huge saving for the Treasury. Assuming a linear decline ending at year 10, it’s a saving of £260bn+ before the project needs to be appraised. And the turn around time is still nearly half that of Hong Kong.

    It’s cigarette box economics aye. But it’s a good bit better than Michael McGimpsey adding a Euro deficit to a Sterling subvention and concluding that the project would be unworkable by the total. Which was presumably in Bitcoins or something. Still can’t believe he got away with that on national television without being widely ridiculed.

  • Morpheus

    @Barnshee

    “1 In what way are existing taxes not collected in N Ireland ?
    2 Since current NI govt. expenditure has to be “subvented” where would this mysterious surplus come from?”

    1. When companies like Tesco, Asda, BT etc pay their Corporation tax and VAT bills they write a cheque playable to HMRC in London:
    http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/payinghmrc/vat.htm

    My theory – and this is just a theory so I would welcome any evidence to the contrary – is that maybe, just maybe NI is more self sufficient that we thought and we can hold our heads up instead of our begging bowls out..

    Tesco, as an example, one of the largest employers in Northern Ireland paid UK taxes of £864m in 2010/2011. How much of that was attributed to the £12.7b Northern Ireland raised in taxes due to the products/services they sold in Northern Ireland?
    Tesco is registered in England, doesn’t have a NI company number and pays their CT, VAT etc directly to HMRC in London – where and how is a portion of that £864m attributed to our figures?

    I would like to see how much better off NI would be if we collected ALL the taxes here on products/services that were sold here. I do not envisage any surplus, that’s why I used in the biggest word in the dictionary ‘if’ – hopefully that answers your 2nd point – but I would also envisage that the subvention would not be £10.5b per year. If it’s not I would like to know why we are portrayed as scroungers living of Southern English handouts.

    Again, just a theory. I have been searching for evidence for months can’t find a shred that backs up or refutes it.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Benjamin

    “Even if you won a border poll what becomes of the protestant people here, do we cease to exist? , become invisible ? NO”

    No. We don’t

    I don’t think WE know what we’d do.

    I personally dabble with the idea of a UI so that finally the nay-sayers and doom mongers who expect ‘popish hordes’ to sweep over the border in an orgy of Central European Counter-reformation-esque destruction might actually believe their own propaganda and f*ck off to where they think they are actually from.

    It means I could afford a holiday home on the coast if nothing else.

    Bearing in mind that we (Protestant community) are so highly strung now that we could argue that a parking ticket is an attack on our ‘Britishness’, I really fail to see how the Dublin Government could afford to treat us with anything other than kid gloves.

    There might also be a great levelling effect:
    As the great territorial battle will be lost then PERHAPS the OO would retreat into religious territory.

    I regret that I’ve never been to the Rosnowlagh Orange 12th parade but I’m led to believe that it is one of the best if not the best Orange demonstration about.

    The Donegal Presbyterians have very few hang-ups about their ‘Britishness’ due to their very obvious ‘Irishness’ (although Basil McCrea is as close as it gets to a happy middle ground).

    A Sons of William band can still be a sons of William band, it would just be a bit daft to carry now hypothetically defunct Union flags.

    Having said that, at present one can see defunct Ulster flags, Independence flags and Union flags on display at a parade which gives the following impression:

    “We’re so loyal to our British ‘partners’ that we reserve the right to fly a defunct Ulster flag despite their over-ruling of it’s status as well as having a soft spot for an economically unsustainable independent quarrelsome state. Other than that we’re like totally loyal…”

    The whole Irish vs British Question will be settled too:

    We’ll still sound different from the Southerners, have an ironic penchant for the Monarchy, volunteer for Britain’s army, go to our own churches, look to Scotland for inspiration and common ground and be in a much better position to sqwak when things aren’t going our way.

    Plus, Sinn Fein will be distracted by having to play hard ball with experienced Southern politicians.

    So, before this gets even more tedious, I don’t think a UI will be THAT bad, especially as the DUP are seemingly hell bent on making a Norn Iron a divided state.

    Sorry to say this, but the DUP are my main reason for considering a united Ireland.

    This is a unionist party that can’t (practically, not theoretically) accept the value of Catholic Unionists and make proper progress to this mythical shared society either through facilitating integrated education, integrated sports, a Northern Irish anthem at Football games or a Northern Irish flag.

    If they don’t want Northern Ireland to work then just take her out to the back yard on a rainy day and put a couple of rounds into her pathetic emphysemic body.

    Unlike ‘Old Yellow’ no one will miss her.

    ” ah son, back in my day you weren’t even allowed to walk down certain streets on account of what church you went to….ah, them were the days….”

  • JH

    Good post Ghobsmacht! Especially on the day there’s a post going around Facebook of a page called ‘PUL Views’ taking issue with Coke issuing bottles with Orla and Ciaran printed on them. Highly strung is right.

    On Morpheus’ post, it’s worth remembering that pretty much every state runs some deficit. Some people even think it’s a good thing and contributes to the ideal of low, steady inflation.

    The northern state’s subvention wouldn’t necessarily map directly to a deficit in the case of independence. Its subvention is around half that of the south’s entire deficit, the problem is that as a function of GDP it’s massive, though we only have estimated GDP figures for the north as far as I can see. But that would be the purpose of independence anyway, to devolve tax powers and grow the economy.

  • sonofstrongbow

    As a unionist I suppose I should be releived that at least some nationalists are making work for idle hands that does not see ‘armed struggle’ [sic] as one of the options. Everyone needs a hobby, and it’s not the first time that nationalists have gone for the ‘let’s ignore the inconvenient truth of Northern Ireland unionists’ option.

    I say go for it. Get as many “pro UI” whatevers sitting round stroking their chins and producing a blizzard of reports on the future Irish Shangri La. Unionists in the main will leave you to it. Indeed you might get the most problems from the myriad of 32 This and Real That who might take exception to the ‘Ireland’ you come up with.

    After all Irish nationalists have form in this regard. Now I don’t mind a good nationalist ‘civil war’ or feud; so long as you keep it in-house mind.

    And best not be fooled by the odd ‘liberal unionist’ who’s so ‘liberal’ as not to really be a unionist at all. Probably suffering from a version of Stockholm Syndrome or simply a nationalist at heart who baulks at using that appellation for themselves. They won’t be bringing many similar ‘unionists’ to your table.

    So enjoy. Oh by the way I know it’s none of my business, but, when are you going to tell the Germans?

  • JH

    “Get as many “pro UI” whatevers sitting round stroking their chins and producing a blizzard of reports on the future Irish Shangri La. Unionists in the main will leave you to it.”

    How do you know?

    A good friend of mine comes from an old Scottish OO/military family and is the most passionate supporter of Scottish independence.

    You might be surprised who gets involved.

  • Morpheus

    @SoS

    No one has ever said that the reunified Ireland will be Shangri La, Utopia, Paradise, Heaven, Valhalla, Jannah or any other name you want to put on it. It will be extremely hard work but it has the potential to be a blank slate where those from Northern Ireland can play a massive role.

    I think you know, I know and the dogs on the street know that the reunified Ireland wheels are already in motion. Unionism can either get involved and lead the process or they can sit back and be just as shocked as they were at the Anglo-Irish Agreement, Sunningdale, the GFA , the 2012 Census results and when the Union flag policy was brought into line with the rest of the UK.

    So sit on the sidelines and bitch or get in the game

  • sonofstrongbow

    Morph,

    If only nationalists believed their own hype then perhaps, just perhaps, they’d sit back and watch their dream unfold. However it all looks like so much wishful thinking and trying really really hard to convince themselves.

    Wishing for something over, and over and over again (and broadcasting it ad nauseum to all and sundry) doesn’t make it any more plausible; but you know I’m happy for you if your ‘assured’ UI future gives you that warm fuzzy feeling.

    Perhaps you could spare the time to mention it’s all going to be ‘ok’ to the nationalist ‘dissidents’ and have them bide their time as well?

    Meanwhile back on Planet Reality unionists aren’t going anywhere. All those fevered dreams of boatloads leaving Larne will have to be left on the moist bedclothes. Unionists continued presence will not depend on playing your “game” either.

    Oh by the way say ‘bow wow’ to your canine pals.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Well, I suppose I am an odd liberal unionist.

    Odd in that I cherish the thought of a united Northern Ireland more than I do for either a United Ireland or a United Kingdom.

    Our inept leaders bleat about the Catholic Unionist vote yet do very little to make the idea of Northern Ireland any more appealing to them.

    Is it really too much to ask to have our own anthem and own flag for sporting events?

    Unlikely to have hordes stampeding towards Windsor park, but, when the dust has settled and the inevitable protests have died down and the doom-saying rhetoric has petered out, then eventually it’ll help to make Northern Ireland easier to support for some people in the Nationalist community.

    My oddly open mind to a notion of a united Ireland is entirely down to the hash Unionist politicians make of everything.

    Their approach to everything is the same old formula of fear mongering, protests and “not an inch”.

    I’m happy to be a unionist but not a British nationalist.

    With regards to Planet Reality, everyone knows Unionists aren’t going anywhere, but it’s very difficult to articulate that point to Newsletter reading camp.

    They’re regularly going on about an exodus of various forms, whether it be in the shape of some sort of Republican ousting or some sort of post-colonial abandonment with the British government picking up the tab for “the British to return home”.

    Quite simply, a United Ireland (if the report and the numbers add up, Morpheus) would almost be worth it to get rid of blinkered idiots like that not to mention the trash who were ‘protesting’ with a bucket of KFC and a sign which read “Bobby Sands”.

    You’re right about not bringing many similar thinking unionists to that table, for the simple reason that if there were a decent number of pragmatically minded Unionists then Unionism wouldn’t be in such a mess hence I wouldn’t have this feeling of despair about how badly they are running the Northern Ireland project.

    “More flags! More protests! No Surrender! Catholic votes (somehow)! No Northern Ireland flag! No Northern Ireland anthem!….”

  • Morpheus

    “Meanwhile back on Planet Reality unionists aren’t going anywhere. All those fevered dreams of boatloads leaving Larne will have to be left on the moist bedclothes. Unionists continued presence will not depend on playing your “game” either.”

    Where that crock of old, old, old, old crap came out of I’ll never know. I do not want Unionists to go anywhere – they are my family, friends and colleagues and I want them to stay exactly where they are. This is all our homes and I don’t want a single person to leave because of reunification. I have already stated that if I thought the Protestant community felt the need to form a Civil Rights Movement in a UI then I would not vote for it.

    The UI national debt and the mainland GB-ers will play a big role in the reunification process. I see no reason why the opinions expressed in this survey will have changed any since it was compiled:
    http://www.4ni.co.uk/northern_ireland_news.asp?id=13422

    Add this to the £1,347.4 billion national debt (which is increasing by £2.5 billion per week) and things they are a-changing SoS. But you sit back and watch, see how far that gets you

    “Oh by the way say ‘bow wow’ to your canine pals.”
    Absolutely no idea what this means.

  • sonofstrongbow

    “”Oh by the way say ‘bow wow’ to your canine pals.”
    Absolutely no idea what this means.”

    A simple reference to those knowledgeable dogs you cited as ‘evidence’ in your 5:16 post yesterday. I just wanted to say ‘hi’ from me. Obviously way too subtle for you.

    As to me opting to “sit back and watch”. You betcha! I’ve even got the popcorn to hand.

  • Morpheus

    If it was any more ‘subtle’ it would be none existent. Good to see the level you are at though

  • JH

    “You betcha! I’ve even got the popcorn to hand.”

    Excellent! You don’t sound like you might ever be convinced. That’s OK though, so long as you’re sitting back with your popcorn we’ll go after the remaining 45%.

    https://twitter.com/GrahamScobie/status/331025037853331456/photo/1

  • Alan N/Ards

    FDM
    As someone who is a NI supporter fof over 40 years I want the IFA to stop playing GSTQ at international games. I’ve said it before on this site. GSTQ should only be played for teams representing the UK. Likewise I believe that the SS should only be used for teams representing the Republic. It should not be used for a team like the All Ireland rugger team. The same goes for the tricolour. I hope the IFA don’t copy the stupid two anthems idea of the IRFU. One anthem everyone can sing is enough. No GSTQ and no SS and the ordinary fan will be happy. The not an inch bigot will of course hate it.

  • ayeYerMa

    Am Gobschmact, “1/ It’s NOT the Northern Ireland flag any longer (officially), hasn’t been for a long time”

    The UK doesn’t do “officaldom” when it comes to things like flags etc. The Union Jack isn’t even the “official” flag of the UK, St. George’s isn’t the “official” flag of England etc. etc.

    Sounds to me like you’ve been reading too much of the Republican propaganda twisting reality on sites such as Wikipedia etc.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “Sounds to me like you’ve been reading too much of the Republican propaganda twisting reality on sites such as Wikipedia etc.”

    Or the insidious, republican, anorak-wearing goblins at the British flag institute:

    http://www.flaginstitute.org/index.php?location=7.1.2#index23

    Or that famed agent of the popish plot to overthrow loyal Ulster, better known as Jim Allister, he indavertently admitted that the Ulster flag wasn’t Northern Ireland’s flag (per se) in one of his proposed legal stunts to have the Union Flag flown 365 at city hall.

    F*ck it, even Dr Who (Tom Baker) said it on a flag documentary….

    So, then, what is THE FLEG?
    The Ulster Banner?
    The one that half of Northern Ireland hates, the one that is flown by almost every loyalist band in the country?

    Brilliant idea. *SLOW. CLAP*

    I’m afraid that too many of us in the Protestant or Unionist communities believe our own hype and propaganda.

    For examle, just try and tell your ordinary ‘loyal citizen’ that Governer Walker wanted to surrender Derry to James II too, and watch their flace implode with confusion. Cos they believe all our own hype.

    I’m more worried about loyalist propaganda as it’s used to hysterically round up the unionist cattle and cause them to stampede into the relevent cattle stall at voting time:

    “This way for organic paranoia unionist beef raised on logic and reason, this aisle for PUL branded-beef pumped full of propaganda, fear mongering and whataboutery growth hormones”

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    NOTE: Should have read “This way for organic paranoia-‘FREE’ unionist beef ….”

  • sonofstrongbow

    Well I am gobsmacked! How did the lumpen bovine unionist masses survive so long having had such enlightened cattle nuts of wisdom denied to them?

    Surely we slow-witted creatures should have been herded to the foot of some lofty tower to allow The One Who Understands to preach to us on our shortcomings and thus lead us into The Golden Future Time?

    Can The Way to the Holy Green Grail be opened to the cloven hoofed who have only supped on the cud of “hype” and “paranoia”?

    Conversely perhaps the ‘Prophet’ should seek therapy for what looks like a classic case of a condescending oikophobia. Manifesting in this instance as a pronounced cultural cringe when close to a keyboard.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Well, from a cattle-man perspective, I’d venture a guess that the faithful herd were guided by loyal cowboy-in-chief Edward ‘Hank’ Carson into pastures plenty with the promise of an orange Eden with khaki clad guardians on the other side of the river.

    The Mexicans were thought to be low in number and therefore no threat to the herd and as such all safety implorations were discarded.

    In due course the faithful herd did indeed come across a lofty tower with it’s foundations in a pulpit on the ‘Hill of Ravens’ and did listen to the preachings of ‘The One Who Understands’ who speechified against papist-loving shortcomings (such as one-man-one-vote) and thus did indeed promise to lead the herd into ‘The Golden Future Time’ of a planter upper class propped up by their underclass of bog-wog Hellots.

    As for the Holy Green Grail I cannot answer for I am consumed with the idea of a holy green & white army whose wrath, loveable rogueishness and journeyman-esque footballing skills would be a football team worthy of representing it’s (hypothetically) mixed fanbase.

    Alas, the heretical followers (like myself) of such a Golden Cow are despised as traitors and Lundies and cursed with the Cassandra Complex of foresight of disaster and the subsequent inability to make their pleadings heard for an ammendment to the present course of doomed action.

    The prophet needs no such assistance with his condescention for he will be punished by having to witness the vestige of his beloved team and country burn in flames whilst the righteous fire-fighters of the Red, White and Blue Watch pour spirits onto it’s burning cadaver in an attempt to exercise the demons of the prophet’s popish plot.

    Cultural cringe? Well let’s see: A culture that depends on out of date flags, red, white and blue paint and a contempt for it’s own pre-1880’s culture “cos it’s too similar to the f*nians’ culture”? Yes.
    For as long as Scotland has a mirror image culture that does not necessarily rely on religion nor political persuasion then I shall be truely appalled by the cultural hot-dogs that now pass for a culture that supposedly descends from Scotland; “yes we can sometimes use bodrans and penny whistles and some dancing BUT ONLY IF THEY’RE ACCOMPANIED BY LOADSA FLEGS!”

  • sonofstrongbow

    Well there you have it. If that riff on things bovine represents your knowledge of the community you allegedly spring from it explains some of your self-hating predilections.

    Edward Carson was a very reluctant partitionist. He compromised on the split having been forced onto that ground by nationalists’ intransigence and their choice of the violent suppression of Irish unionists as their first option. (nationalists having always been more comfortable romanticising their ‘war’ with the British whilst ignoring the political realities in Ireland and defining unionists as merely misguided nationalists who needed to have their true nature ‘explained’ to them).

    Suggesting Carson was interested in an “orange Eden” is straight out of Nationalist Mopespeak 101. However I’m familiar with the imperative to portray all unionists as vile sectarian bigots. I expect it adds some frisson to the whole perpetual victims thing so beloved of nationalists and nationalist wannabes.

    I’ll leave the last few paragraphs of your insights alone. Much too redolent of wide-eyed frothy-mouth syndrome for me I’m afraid.

  • JR

    I live in the area in which this mock border poll will take place. I think it is a good start. It is sparking some debate and is getting people thinking about the realities of how the Island of Ireland could be united into a single nation state. It can be used as a tool to figure out a road map and proposals which can be put to the electorate here in the future.

  • Morpheus

    @JR

    What kind of debate? Who is organizing this debate? Are we talking village/town halls? Local Newspapers? What steps have been taken to include the Unionist perspective?

    If there is no unionist perspective then it is nothing better than the Unionist Forum – one sided, non-inclusive and doomed to fail.

    This needs to be done slowly and done right otherwise a UI will be lost for a very, very long time. Rushing into it and doing a half-assed job will be disasterous but a start is a start at least

  • JR

    I’m talking about conversations I have had in work at lunchtime, I am talking about people looking at the posters in the street and chatting about them not organized debates.

    I totally agree with you on the Unionist prospective. This process should aim to have significant numbers of Ulster Protestants on board in some shape or form. In that sense it is good to see no tricolors on the branding, logos or posters, I also notice there is no Irish language versions of the posters or on the branding.

    It is a pity that this initative had to come from Sinn Fein and not some other organisation but at least it has come. One of the benifits of a UI is it would consign Sinn Fein, (and the DUP and the UUP for that matter) to the political Dust bin and alow normal left right politics to evolve here.

  • Reader

    JH: That’s OK though, so long as you’re sitting back with your popcorn we’ll go after the remaining 45%.
    You like the diagram you linked? It’s telling you that you need to nearly double the number of people who think of themselves as nationalists just to catch up with unionists. Then you can think about what you need to do to overturn the status quo.
    Very well then – do you plan to stick with the old methods (Faith and Fatherland), or to try something new?

  • JH

    Ah sure, if it was easy it wouldn’t need a campaign Reader 🙂

    But I disagree anyway. That’s only true if you subscribe to a narrative that most people under 30, in my estimation, have largely deviated from. You don’t have to self-identify as `nationalist` to prefer a UI or to be prepared to vote for it on merit.

    I sure as hell don’t but I’d vote for it on economic and what I consider common-sense reasons.

  • RG Cuan

    JR

    Tá frásaí agus abairt amháin i nGaeilge sa bhileog faoi ‘Reifreann na nDaoine’ a chonaic mé féin inniu.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    SoS

    “Well there you have it. If that riff on things bovine represents your knowledge of the community you allegedly spring from it explains some of your self-hating predilections.”

    “allegedly” and “self-hating”.

    Doesn’t take much for one to be processed through the ‘Great Unionist Flow Chart” and be spat out of the other end with the conclusion that one is either completely ignorant or indeed not a unionist/Protestant at all.

    “He’s not with us, so he must surely be against us…”

    I am well aware that Carson was a reluctant partitionist. Thank you.

    I am also aware that the herd he lead believed in an Orange Eden, as they swallowed the bullsh*t about a green Eden that they would be stuck in, summarised by the fantasy of ‘Home Rule is Rome Rule’ (A Home Rule agreed upon by Unionists with Unionist involvement would be utterly different from a post-Easter-Uprising, post-Black & Tan War embittered Republic with a zeal for a confessional state, so spare me).

    One of many examples of using fear, paranoia and hysteria to whip the voters into shape.
    A tradition that carries onto this very day much to the detriment of Unionism.

    Carson may not have been interested in an Orange Eden but by the time the propaganda wheels had stopped turning many of his followers were.

    “I’ll leave the last few paragraphs of your insights alone. Much too redolent of wide-eyed frothy-mouth syndrome for me I’m afraid.”

    I am starting to worry about my sanity slightly, perhaps my relationship with reality is warped after all, perhaps you could straighten this out for me then and tell me why ‘the voices’ are so wrong?

    In my fantasy dream world that I retreat into I see a ‘Northern Ireland flag for Northern Ireland’ – My Unionist psychiatrist says this is just my crazy chat.

    When I follow the white Rabbit down the rabbit hole, I hear a ‘Northern Ireland anthem for Northern Ireland’ – The nice porters at Holywell tell me it’s OK and that everything will be fine.

    When sometimes having a cup of tea with the Mad hatter, we often talk about a ‘culture that isn’t so obsessed with flags’ – The nice doctor that applies the voltage in my electro shock therapy sessions tells me that it’s just a side effect of the treatment

    When being beckoned by one of Dr Parnassus’ colleagues in the imaginarium I see population statistics, demographic shifts and voting trends that portend a rough time for unionism as it currently stands (although, there is a nice green unicorn there that tells me that he and some of his friends might vote Unionist too if we would stop defending bands that sing songs about killing unicorns, that call themselves ‘ The K.A.U’ or that fly banners of groups that used to kill the unicorns) – My faeces-eating cellmate tells me that he sees unicorns too…..

  • sonofstrongbow

    AG

    Trading nonsense = nonsensical is I agree a simple “flow chart”.

    As to the baulk of your latest stream-of-consciousness posting it’s really too dense for me to unpick. I’ll just put it in my scrapbook as an art installation to look up when I need a surrealism fix.

    I will mention two points. ‘Home Rule’ was indeed ‘Rome Rule’. A theocracy ruled for a considerable time by John Charles McQuaid. Suggesting that unionists would have forced a very different outcome is simply wishful thinking.

    When nationalists denied the minority’s Britishness before independence why do you suppose they would have supported its cultural sensitivities post independence?

    And that brings me round to a point you keep making in various forms. “A Home Rule agreed by unionists …….” or its contemporary version will not fly. Unionists wish to remain as part of the UK. It is, ahem, what makes them unionists. Should unionists start to advocate or negotiate a united Ireland they will cease to be unionists.

  • Morpheus

    “Should unionists start to advocate or negotiate a united Ireland they will cease to be unionists.”

    So the future of the Union is reliant on the Unicorn vote, Catholic Unionists. Who exactly do/will these guys vote for? DUP? UUP? TUV? Protestant Coalition?

    If the Unicorns won’t vote for any of these parties then can we conclude that the future of the Union is reliant on the Unicorns not voting for any of the UI parties either?

    I would love to see a poll of the Unicorns before and after marching season to see the impact it has.

  • JR

    RG,

    Ceart go leor, char dtug mé sinn faoi deara.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    SoS

    I figured you’d take the path of least resistance, as in fighting over history as opposed to touching upon any of my points.

    Logical enough I suppose.

    Especially as I did say “…so spare me”

    So, in the hope of extracting a response from you regarding these topics that I have flagged repeatedly, I’ll state them again, you can simply scowl and tell me why each one is wrong:

    “so, spare me an answer of the following 5 points…”

    1/ I believe that the Northern Ireland football team uses GSTQ incorrectly (in that is NOT the UK but a part of it) and should follow the lead of Scotland and Wales.

    2/ I believe that because Northern Ireland doesn’t have a flag of IT’S OWN it needs or at the very least is entitled to one.

    3/ I believe that the alarming dependence that we have on flags to prop our culture is to our detriment and therefore we need to find something else or demote their importance.

    4/ A combination of the of the above measures will make Norn Iron more palatable to some people of a Catholic and Nationalist background and by default more amenable to staying in the UK

    5/ The point that the green unicorn was trying to make was that apparently some Catholics don’t like it when unionists defend bands that play songs about killing Catholics or carry banners of gangs that used to kill Catholics. His point was ( I understand) that maybe if this perceived link between those who wish to maintain the union and killing Catholics is removed then maybe it would slightly easier for them to think slightly more pro-union

    Please highlight the parts that you think are incorrect and indeed why.

    Also, just to untangle any crossed wires, the ‘Home Rule’ I referred to was a hypothetical 32 county Ireland with around 1/4 of the population Protestant.

    I was not referring to the 26 county Ireland that came to pass and was indeed under a form of ‘Rome Rule’.

    I’ll gladly listen to any theories as to how a 32 county ‘Home Ruled’ Ireland could have asserted Catholic bias upon 1/4 of the population, many of whom were tied into the upper echelons of the British Empire and the British army, had a large amount of control over industry, banking and commerce as well as large number of paranoid ‘boots on the ground’ in North East.

    I’ll gladly listen to your theory as it may offset some of the influence of Joseph Johnston’s ‘Civil War in Ulster’ .

    First things first, hammer through those first 5 points as if I am missing something, then surely as one unionist to another, you could throw me a bone and let me know what I’m missing?

  • Reader

    JH: You don’t have to self-identify as `nationalist` to prefer a UI or to be prepared to vote for it on merit.
    True enough. So, it’s Unionists + half-Crown + status quo vs. Nationalists + Celtic Tiger.
    The union will be here for a long time yet.

  • sonofstrongbow

    AG,

    As you wish. My only caveat being that I have no interest whatsoever in local football. However:

    1/ technically correct. NI is a constituent part of the UK and not the UK entire. I’m not sure what rules, if any, FIFA and/or the IFA have regarding the selection of anthems. If such rules do exist and the NI team is in contravention of them why has it no be challenged.

    Again I’m unaware of all the rules pertaining to the playing of one’s National Anthem, especially any that forbids its allegedly promiscuous playing, but if there are then challenge.

    I expect that NI football playing GSTQ is mere tradition that, much like my old school song saying little to children of the late 20th century, survives because there has been no groundswell of opinion to make a change.

    Again lobby and lead the charge. You have my (disinterested) blessing.

    2/ much of the above argument can be used with regard to an official flag for NI. The Ulster Banner is used by default but I’m sure something could be designed. After all didn’t the Assembly come up with flax stalks or something, and there’s always the PSNI’s hotchpotch.

    However don’t be thinking that it will unite the Planter and the Gael. Many nationalists can’t even bring themselves to say ‘Northern’ and ‘Ireland’ in the same sentence let alone consider a flag for the “statelet”.

    3/ flags do excite, and they excite a small minority extremely. It is a natural response to having the flag, and more importantly what it represents – our place within the UK, attacked and continued attempts made to undermine that significance. I expect back in the fifties and sixties the current plethora of flags would have been unknown.

    4/ a moot point. I believe that a “resurgent, confident nationalism” seemingly minutes away from a ‘united’ Ireland would look upon it as a rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic moment. Even those Unicorns would be disinterested as they, quite properly, are realistic enough to be concentrating on making and eating hay with their families.

    5/ Personally I’ve never ‘marched’ a day in my life and the whole OO thing leaves me cold. Isn’t the Order very much a minority thing within unionism? Perhaps its reduced numbers represents another out working of the recent violence. As the organisation becomes more extreme in response to attacks on it and its property the more liberal and fraternally interested membership ebbs away.

    Do I think the playing of offensive tunes and the carrying of the type of banners you allude to are reprehensible. Most certainly. However I leave the police to investigate, and deal, with crime when it is alleged to have taken place.

    As to the unicorns perceptions. Perhaps they could adopt my approach. I find elements of the GAA and the flying of the Irish Tricolour as the emblem of the ‘Ra’,as one gable wall would have it, in a village near to me offensive.

    However I recognise that in life we are in the midst of rubbish. That the rubbish has some sort of tenuous community link with me, or not as the case may be, is of no consequence to me whatsoever.

  • Morpheus

    “So, it’s Unionists + half-Crown + status quo vs. Nationalists + Celtic Tiger.”

    Or to use real world data…

    22% of the electorate voted for Pro-UI Parties (SF/SDLP)
    25% of the electorate voted for Pro-Union Parties (DUP/UUP/TUV)

    So…

    53% of the electorate = up for grabs

  • JH

    Reader: “So, it’s Unionists + half-Crown + status quo vs. Nationalists + Celtic Tiger.”

    No harm, but I find the idea of mooching off someone else, whether it’s a half-crown or half-punt, abhorrent. As I think most people do. Still more frustrating that major policies we all agree could change that, such as devolution of Corporation Tax, are put on the long finger by the British Government. It’s pretty clear what has to be done if there’s going to be any growth here.

    As for the status-quo, well I hardly need to go into that do I? Celebrating 117 new jobs at an Administrator the day a local company supporting 600 goes into administration?

    And then there are that growing number of panel show audience members and radio phone-ins simply showing an open mindedness to the idea. I remember one guy saying, “Show me how it’ll make me £1000 better off and I’ll vote for it.”

    Well, regardless of your position in the social strata you’d almost always be substantially better off even than that. Whether it’s the increase in your dole or the high threshold for income tax.

    Pound for pound, “The union will be here for a long time yet” seems like a bit of a bold prediction in the face of all this. Larger gaps have been turned around quicker in Scotland and Catalunya. And the former might just call your bluff before this campaign even really gets off the ground.

  • Reader

    JH: No harm, but I find the idea of mooching off someone else, whether it’s a half-crown or half-punt, abhorrent. As I think most people do.
    JH: Well, regardless of your position in the social strata you’d almost always be substantially better off even than that. Whether it’s the increase in your dole or the high threshold for income tax.
    Of course, you don’t *like* the idea that might make a difference, but you hope it would. I can’t decide whether you think people should look at the money or not!
    Most people would be influenced by a number of factors – emotional and economic. Anyone who actually does a calculation is going to look at the needs and hopes of their children too – and into the long term. The Celtic tiger is operating in a low corporation tax bubble as an anglophone beachhead in the EU. I don’t know where it will be in ten years time. That’s something I need to know before I commit the life chances of my children to someone else’s idea of Nirvana.
    And just imagine how I would feel if I was in the Civil Service?

  • Reader

    Morpheus: So…53% of the electorate = up for grabs
    Any idea why they aren’t voting? All these people so sure that there is everything still to play for but still don’t know how to make non-voters vote for change.
    And look at the whose basis of this discussion – a nationalist campaign aimed at building enthusiasm in the nationalist community. Can’t these guys deal with anyone else?

  • JH

    Reader: “I don’t know where it will be in ten years time. That’s something I need to know before I commit the life chances of my children to someone else’s idea of Nirvana.”

    I hear what you’re saying but to be honest I think the long-term economics are an easy win for the Yes camp. I see the short-term (what’s-in-it-for-me) debate being the one to win. You have to convince people why they should take a hit, if indeed they will need to, to provide a better future for their kids.

    After all, none of the concerns you’ve raised are specific to a UI, they apply here anyway. Do you know where this place will be in ten years if we stay with Britain? Looking at the trends I could have a rough guess. And if you’re a civil servant in an economy with as huge a deficit as this place has your fears would be justified. At least with independence there’s a chance to use fiscal policy to grow the private sector, so you might have other options.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    SoS

    Well answered.

    You’re one of the first, if not the first Unionist I’ve come across that has answered those questions, the wheels normally come off at the ‘fleg’ point or descend into a pointless ‘chicken-egg’ argument regardling Catholic unionists or potential football supporters…

    Most unionists I know have an ‘ain’t broke – don’t fix’ attitde despite suspecting that something is very much broken, hence my despair and willingness to explore all political options.

    I think you downplay the importance of the fleg & anthem, but, if you’ve no interest in football then that’s fair enough.

    As for the unicorns, you may regard it as moot where as I think at the very least it’s worth a shot.

    It’s not like Unionism is bursting with dynamic ideas at the moment.

    As for your elements of the GAA point, I agree entirely.

    But, if they want to exclude half of NI from joining up (a few exceptions are noted) then that’s their beeswax, my priority would be to see a Norn Iron team for Norn Iron people.

    Something that many Unionists are seemingly opposed to.

    (Yourself evidently not included)

  • JR

    The results are in, over 1000 people voted, 92% in favor of a UI. Seem the people who are affected by the border most do not want it there.