So do you think we are mature enough for a Border Poll Gerry? Do you really?

So…

Well, yes. But hey, there’s the sense of humour problem. And then there’s Gerry’s own wee problem in his own back yard which he either cannot or will not fix.

And how likely is it that any UK government will be lulled quite so easily as Mr Cameron was into giving all the goods away at the drop of a public referendum? Scotland for the most part handled itself with dignity, but as a peaceful society it has not come without trouble:

And bitterness:

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  • runepig

    Loyalists tonight in George Square – Fascist salutes next to a war memorial, burning Saltires, throwing flares at police, singing ‘Ain’t no black in the Union Jack’, attacks on Yes supporters and apparently some Irish bystanders, knocking a young woman to the ground and snatching a Saltire from her.

  • Michael Henry

    ” And then there is Gerry’s wee problem in his own back yard in which he either cannot or will not fix “-

    That orange parade in Ardoyne that you made a remark about in some way to try to damage Gerry Kelly is a law and order issue when Loyalists want to take part in illegal marches- The PSNI handled it themselves for the first time this year and there were no major problems- If Dodds is looking a NO referendum vote not to happen are you going to drag his suggestion through the mud because of illegal orange marches in Dodds area-

    Paisley was removed by his own party-and the DUP went back to saying NO-
    Paisley has just been buried and the DUP are back to saying NO-

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    No we are not mature enough.

    Our politicians revert to a toxic cocktail of MOPEry and fear mongering as well as constantly pulling context-free histories out of the hat to further ram home their ‘points’.

    In Scotland people (by and large) listened to arguments and made up their minds from that, in NI we (generally) inherit our points of view regardless of the facts and figures and indeed if said facts and figures aren’t palatable then they’re ignored/discarded.

    Having said that, I duly note that things have changed a tad in that there are now people of a Catholic background who vote for the ‘status quo’ (as opposed to being strictly pro-union) and of course there are a few potential Lundies like me who could be talked into a UI if the appropriate cards were laid on the table by the appropriate peeps.

    With regards to maturity of NI, a border poll could (perhaps, maybe) cause some rapid growing up for NI political thinking.

    For example (hypothetically) IF a border poll came to pass and showed a significant portion of Catholics were voting pro-union/status quo and that a sectarian head count is no longer reliable then that could have the following consequences:

    1/ The unionist parties maintain their belligerent ‘ain’t broke don’t fix’ attitude and drop the long term ball and discard with ridiculous notions such as making NI a more appealing place to people of a nationalist background (forsooth!)

    2/ Nationalists might reconsider the value of ‘nationalism’ and lean towards a more progressive and pragmatic path to unification rather than the one that SF currently espouses

    (Think about it, one of the main obstacles to many Protestants even considering a UI is that they believe that the pikes are being sharpened and should the day come then they’ll be forced out quickly and violently, like a sort of Ulster-Serbian-Krajina –
    ask yourselves what does SF actually do to counter this notion bearing in mind that little episodes like the McCreesh park, defending or not condemning deaths like those of Joanne Mathers or 86 year old Sir Norman Stronge only serve to galvanise this perception)

    I for one would be more amenable to a pragmatic MOPE-free, tri-colour-free non-nationalistic approach and I know I’m not the only would be Lundy from my side of the fence.

    So, whilst I don’t think we’re mature enough to properly deal with a border referendum just yet, some of us might just do some growing up as a result of it.

    Possibly.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Politically I wouldn’t trust our lot to boil an egg. Scotland had the leadership of Alex Salmond, arguably the most capable political operator in the UK, as was. Our First Minister is a long running joke of an individual, at best. A border poll would descend into sectarianism, or worse.

  • A Wilson

    About Ellis McCloskeys tweet — George square fighting really had nothing to do with the Referendum, it was just another episode of the age old battle between the Blue and the Green, I wonder why She and the BEEB decided to miss commenting on the IRA songs and F.. the Queen chants that greeted the Unionists who arrived to take part in an organised celebration of the NO win, social media then exploded on Loyalist/Rangers sites and Celtic/Nationalist/Republican sites calling their ‘troops’ to arms . It soon descended into the usual ‘tribal violence’. Blaming one campaign or the other is just wrong. BTW the Unionists, had after all stayed off the streets all during the campaign ( apart from one Large peaceful 15k march in Edinburgh, 3 x times anything else held during Campaign also ignored by BBC Scotland) while the YES camp filled city and town centres for weeks with their supporters. – – – Is Northern Ireland mature enough – how could you find out – The Unionists gatherings would likely be banned by the Parades commission – Don’t do it, Scottish Society has been split asunder, no matter how much the media and politicians are putting a brave face on things. There are very wide divisions now between loads of families, friends and workmates etc etc , It could open up the Divisions across NI that HAVE healed in the last 10 years or so.

  • Morpheus

    Northern Ireland is so far off a border poll it almost doesn’t warrant saying.

    From the PM’s speech yesterday:

    “But I am also a democrat. And it was right that we respected the SNP’s majority in Holyrood and gave the Scottish people their right to have their say”

    …so I think it is safe to assume that a nationalist majority in Stormont will ‘give the nationalist people the right to have their say’. We are waaaaaaaaay off that at the minute. 108 seats, 43 ‘Nationalist’, 9 ‘Other’ and 56 ‘Unionist’ – it’s not even close, especially considering nationalist seats have increased by a grand total of 1 since 1998.

    I can’t help but think it’s a bit of “Yeah there are 45% in Scotland but there is a load over here too.”

    Starting the debate, now that’s a different matter. I think we are mature enough to start the proper debate – the main stumbling blocks over the Scottish referendum are not in play here – currency and EU membership for starters – but there are just soooo many unanswered questions.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Morph – I’d agree we are a way off a border poll, but a “proper debate” in this neck of the woods. Do me a favour!

  • Morpheus

    The debates, as in Scotland, will be mostly held in kitchens, bars, coffee shops, seminars, village halls, doorsteps, chat rooms etc. Some have already made their minds up either way but 30% are still in the ‘Don’t know’ camp and again, from Scotland, this is where the balance of power lies. These are the people who need to be convinced into either of the 2 camps – nationalism and/or unionism can ignore them or put forward a crap case but on their own heads be it.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    I didn’t see too many kitchens, bars, coffee shops etc being interviewed on the news during the campaign. Invariably politicians and the usual talking heads on BBC, C4 etc. Also the Scotland debate was non sectarian. I don’t know what pubs you go to, but free and open orange/green political debate in the pubs I frequent would, let’s say, be frowned upon…..Our idiot politicians would be straight onto the airways stoking the flames of hatred and “debate” be damned. We don’t do “debate” here, we do “shouty shouty”, “unionist flounce outs”, “Robinson resignation threats” and all the usual crap tactics.

  • Jag

    There WILL be a Border Poll in Northern Ireland, the demographic trajectory demands it. When, though? 2016 when Catholics should equal or outnumber Protestants? For all those who point to present political rankings, remember, people like stability and if reunification is a matter of when, not if, then you should find unionists supporting the stability of a reunified Ireland today. Don’t agree with that? Then, have a Border Poll!

    I think any talk of the Border Poll will be overshadowed in the short term by the devolution that Scotland wins. When a country controls its purse strings, then politics and sovereignty tend to follow in the wake of that . Controlling the purse strings (that is, taxation and spending) is like docking a dogs tail, most of the external authority eventually falls away even if a vestige (Commonwealth status, Queen Elizabeth 2 as titular head of state] remains, the country is de facto independent.

  • Jofrad

    Will a United Ireland retain the Euro or adopt the Pound ??
    Will a United Ireland join The Commonwealth ??
    But before these questions are answered how about integrated education in NI ??

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Sufferin’ succotash Jo’ – the level of the political debate…..

  • Jofrad

    Took the wordth right out of my mouth thucker.

  • mark7694

    The division that the Scottish referendum debate brought about in Scottish society makes the thought of even trying to comprehend what it would do to northern Ireland a very worrying one.
    The currently unlikely verdict of a vote for Irish unification makes me wonder why Sinn Fein are so eager to have a referendum now. I suspect that they are just trying to appease part of the their voter base that they are still prioritising Irish unification.
    I suppose they need to show that they are doing something towards the ultimate goal.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Colum Eastwood of the SDLP has called for that debate to begin. The balls is in nationalisms court. They need to go away and workout what they want and then try to sell to the population. In fairness to the SNP they did that. Apart from the currency of course. I’m not sure that entering the Euro zone is going to sell it to a lot of people in unionism.
    There is of course another fundamental difference between here and Scotland and that is that the Yes and NO sides were in agreement about the flag in Scotland. And you know what we are like here about flags..

  • Micko

    I always thought that Northern Ireland would have a much greater say in Ireland than Britain. There are over 1.8M people (irregardless of religion – which is an imperialist crock) Ireland has about 4.6M people. England has about 55M people. Northern Ireland has a much greater nfluence in Ireland than England just because of population equalities. They can call the shots. At Westminster, it is just luck that there is fairness applied – and that can change. Ireland is now growing at over 7.7% – amazing after what they went through. Northern Ireland has no say in how England/Britain is run – a suburb of London has more people. Again, they would have a huge say in Ireland. My thoughts.

  • Comrade Stalin

    As things stand right now, the legal framework provides for Northern Ireland ceasing to be part of the UK and joining a united Ireland. So the currency will be that of Ireland, and there will be no membership of the Commonwealth.

    Integrated education is nothing to do with the border question.

  • Comrade Stalin

    There WILL be a Border Poll in Northern Ireland, the demographic trajectory demands it.

    Well, no. There cannot be a poll until the British government (in the form of the Secretary of State) believes that a majority are likely to be in favour of a united Ireland.

    The understanding is that the first such poll will occur if/when nationalists obtain 50%+1 of the vote. But it’s only an understanding and is not enshrined in law.

    As for the trajectory .. well, between 1982 and 2003 the nationalist vote jumped from about 30% to a peak of ~40.5%. However since then, the most optimistic suggestion is that it has been flat. In the 2011 local government elections, SF+SDLP won 39.8% of the vote and this dropped to 37.93% (SDLP+SF+Eirigi) in the 2014 local government elections.

    It looks to me as if the arse has fallen very much out of your trajectory.

  • Jofrad

    Dear Comrade, you are aptly named.
    I assume you’re in favour of a united Ireland ? The views you express are hardly likely to encourage the northern Unionists to agree to such a desirable conclusion to the interminable problem. Compromise is needed on both sides. Integrated education is an excellent way to ensure the kids don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.
    Only my opinion of course and I’m only a cat not a murderous dictator.

  • Jag

    Interesting point about religious correlation with politics.

    Demographics show that there are 40 extra Catholics in NI today and three less Protestants, compared with yesterday. Same tomorrow, and day after and so on.

    Whom are Catholics voting for? DUP/UUP/TUV/UKIP/PUP? I can’t see significant votes going that way. That nice Anna Lo might pick up some votes, but it is overall a headscratcher. Why isn’t the underlying change to the religious makeup of NI being reflected in polling numbers. Is turnout amongst Catholics declining, is there a space for a more right wing nationalist party (FFNI?).

    But regardless about turnout, when Catholics outnumber Protestants in 2016, there should be a Border Poll. There WILL be a poll, just a question of when.

  • Davros64

    Agreed but most unionists are too paranoid to engage. And FF/FG too dominated by corruption/gombeen men/self-interest (Delete as appropriate) to say anything meaningful either.