Who needs a Border Poll? – Five Potential Futures for NI

We’ve all seen the articles over the last while which offer an exhaustive picture of the political ramifications that an independent Scotland would have on Northern Ireland’s fate. Though interesting, when I read them I have this nagging feeling that the authors are being all too short sighted.

Through the science of climatology we know that the earth’s crust is probably just a few harsh words away from crumbling to bits like so much wet cake. How can you even begin to discuss the stability of the UK, or general politics at all, when the isolated speck we call a planet is so profoundly vulnerable?

Who cares who the First Minister is if an immense asteroid is hurtling towards Limavady? What difference does a few parades really make if we’re all inevitably spiralling into the terrible jaws of some monstrous cosmic wolf?

With this rather bracing view of a doomed NI teetering over a yawning abyss in mind, we take a look at our potential future in the extremely long term…

Any Day Now – The Day after Tomorrow – The Deep Freeze

This film sees a ‘major climate shift’ cause catastrophic weather conditions around the world. A huge wave hits Manhattan while gigantic snow storms cover Canada and most of Northern Europe and Asia.

Shackin' weather altogether
Shackin’ weather altogether

When the film catches up to a team of Scottish scientists, there’s a news report playing in the background which tells us that NI is getting hit badly by the storms, with residents in Belfast and Banbridge being urged to evacuate to Dublin!

While that might result in frosty relations for some, it would be short lived as a new Ice Age quickly consumes Ireland, during which you would freeze instantly to death if you peeped your head out the door to check on the cat.

2024 – Star Trek – ‘Our Day Has Come’

The following clip could well be why Sinn Fein are pushing for a border poll in the near future. According to the character Data, a ‘Soong Type Android,’ a United Ireland is a mere 10 years away.

This scene was considered to be so insensitive that it was edited out of the Sky One broadcast and never shown on terrestrial TV in the UK or Ireland. The first chance you had to see it was a screening at the 2007 Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, 17 years after the episode first aired.

2241 – City of Ember – Subterranean Belfast Blues

This films sees a community retreat under the ground following a disaster, where they are supposed to remain until they receive further instructions that are sealed in a box which will open after 200 years.

The Paint Hall in the Titanic Quarter was converted into an underground city to make this film, so when you watch it you are literally seeing Belfast on the screen.

It’s not too much of a stretch of an imagination then to picture Belfast residents retreating underground after an ‘unspecified catastrophe,’ perhaps it’s the nuclear bomb which destroyed the ‘Protestant half’ of Belfast in the infamous Captain Planet episode.There’s even a Belfast builder working on the project, Ian McElhinney from Game of Thrones.

“Were ye lookin' a wee en-suite in that there bio-dome?"
“Were ye lookin’ a wee en-suite in that there bio-dome?”

This might even be what they’re really up to with that Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan.

2259 – Babylon 5 – It is old but it is beautiful, and it’s colours they are fine…

The most pessimistic of our potential futures sees the next 250 years evolve both sectarian squabbles and our physical appearance as the people of NI take to the stars as an alien race known as the Drazi, or if you are of a different persuasion, the Londondrazi.

It may come as some comfort to the Orange Order to know that ‘The Sash My Father Wore’ will endure despite their current worries about the erosion of their culture.

3295 – Doctor Who – Together Forever?

Sometime in the 29th century, solar flares scorch the Earth forcing humanity to retreat to ‘star ships’ until the planet becomes inhabitable again. Starship UK, as the Doctor tells us, is ‘the United Kingdom of Britain and Northern Ireland bolted together and floating in the sky.’

There you have it, 1280 years on and NI is part of the UK. There isn’t even an island of Ireland to have a border on but the distinction still exists.

Unionism must weather a few Scottish referendums too, as the Scots keep it up until they get a star ship all to themselves. Alex Salmond might appreciate a look at this clip right about now…