“No one party or leader will unite this country…”

David McCann with a republican view on why Sinn Fein’s calls for a border poll in the near future are undermining any long game chances of achieving a unified island:

The old republican strategy of ‘It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose but how you’ve played the game’ is precisely why we have achieved next to no success in ending partition. Instead of coming up with common sense proposals and some new thinking on what a united Ireland would look like, we hark back to events that happened over a century ago.

It is all too easy to look backwards. What will determine my decision and thousands of others’ are basic questions such as ‘Will I get the NHS or the HSE in a United Ireland?’,  ’How will the education system be different?’. These are just some of the basic questions that people on both sides of the border will ask themselves before they cast their ballots. So far, I haven’t heard any answers.

There is a case for a United Ireland but it does not lie in voodoo economic plans that involve spending the same money twice and deluding yourself that billions of pounds exist when they don’t. We need to get away from the notion that reunification would be a one way bet. There would be hardship for some people and a dramatic change in lifestyle for others. The real approach should be convincing people that, in the longer term, it would be worth it.

And he concludes..

Support for reunification is falling in Northern Ireland. People who should be naturally supportive of a United Ireland are turning away because those advocating for a change are not speaking to them.  No one party or leader will unite this country. The only way to win a referendum is to form a broad-based coalition between political parties and other sections of society.

So instead of a gimmick, let’s develop a game plan. Instead of cooking the books to make the figures fit the facts, let’s develop a new economic vision for this island.

Like most things in life, you get one chance to make a good first impression. We need to drop the voodoo economics and embrace some realistic solutions for the economic future of our country. Otherwise we are on the road to defeat and, if it’s all the same to you, I’d quite like to win this vote.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty