EU Referendum: Is this a chance to break Nationalist malaise?

It was one of the main developments that people took away from the General Election and that was the decline in the Nationalist vote. It is true that no matter how much Sinn Fein and the SDLP attempt to kid themselves to the contrary, Unionism has it seems stemmed the tide of apathy and now it is Nationalist politicians who are now feeling the pinch of a shrinking voter base.

Is there an issue that Nationalists could possibly attach themselves to, in order to become re-engaged in the political process?

Well, funny enough David Cameron might just have handed one in the in/out referendum on the European Union.

Now is every Nationalist in favour of staying in the European Union? Of course, not.

But what can unite Nationalists is the following;

  1. The chance of a pan-Nationalist coalition across the UK as the SNP and Plaid Cymru demand seperate referenda for each region of the United Kingdom.
  2. The notion that a government which recieved a paltry 9,055 votes in Northern Ireland at the recent election can legislate for such an important constitutional change with next to no mandate from our community.
  3. Linked to this is the chance to highlight the political weakness of our position within the United Kingdom as England’s more than 38 million voters have much greater strength than our electorate of just 1.2 million.
  4. The chance to stress the all island aspects of our economy as businesses North and South engage in the referendum process.

All of these issues should engage the wider Nationalist community in a political process that has for many become alien to them. Big debates about our constitutional and economic direction must speak to that core franchise and that cross section of our community in order to get them engaged in the political process.

An in/out referendum will be a real test for parties to be able to come together and argue with one coherent voice in a referendum campaign. Likewise, it should be an opportunity for those who are opposed to the European Union within the Nationalist base to become engaged with debates about Northern Ireland’s strength within the UK.

Nationalism has suffered two poor election results and with little competition, direction or debate at the moment I don’t see the decline in turout ending anytime soon. An issue as big as our place in Europe might be an issue that re-engages those who have stopped voting.

David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

  • willie drennan

    “The notion that a government which recieved a paltry 9,055 votes in Northern Ireland at the recent election can legislate for such an important constitutional change with next to no mandate from our community.”

    I understood that all the Unionist parties were in favour of a referendum on the EU. Could that not be considered a ‘mandate’?

  • In the event of such a debate, it’d be interesting to see just how pro-EU the Irish nationalist electorate actually is. Beyond the Europhile rhetoric of Sinn Féin and the SDLP, I find it hard to believe that there isn’t an undercurrent of Euroscepticism somewhere amongst Irish nationalists.

  • Ernekid

    The prospect of Northern Ireland leaving the EU is quite a worrying one. As a region totally dependent on foreign investment and agriculture. Losing the resources of the EU could be disastrous for Northern Ireland even before you consider the impact of the border.

    I’d say a lot of the attendees of the Balmoral Show this week are reliant on European farm payments through the CAP. Will the Farmers Unions mount a serious campaign for continued EU membership? and how will the parties who all need the vote of farmers react to this?

    then you have to consider the damage that an EU exit could have to local businesses. It could have a devastating effect for businesses reliant on the markets of the Republic and the Continent. I hope there will be a broad campaign for continued EU membership in Northern Ireland that will be cross party and cross community as people realise the true costs of the UK leaving the EU.

  • David

    A few quick points.

    If there is a referendum, then David Cameron will be campaigning for a ‘Yes’ vote – as in ‘Yes’ to EU membership.

    The UK is the member state, of which we are a part. So it will be for the UK, as a whole, to decide. Why should our paltry 1.2million voters dictate to the 38+million in the rest of the UK? That’s what separate referenda would mean.

    But it’s progress, of sorts, from the Sinn Féin manifesto position. As I mentioned at the time..

    There’s more magical thinking from the party in the Irish Times report

    Mr Adams called for a “dedicated” Northern Ireland plebiscite on the EU in the event of the Conservatives winning the Westminster general election and David Cameron honouring his pledge to hold an “in-out” vote on Europe.

    “If there is to be a referendum – and there is no certainty about this – then Sinn Féin believes there must be a separate and binding one here in the North,” he said.

    Mr Adams said that if Britain were to vote to quit Europe and Northern Ireland voted to remain then the North should be allowed continue as a member of the European Union.

    Well, we can. After Northern Ireland declares independence and applies in our own right, and if we meet the Copenhagen criteria, we can join the other member states of the EU. [And don’t fiddle the books! – Ed] Until then, it’s all of the UK out, or none of the UK out.

  • Robin Keogh

    If the UK votes to leave the EU and NI votesin favour of staying put, a UI referndum could solve the problem

  • Zeno

    We won’t get a separate vote unless Finchley gets one.

  • Ernekid

    I think I’d be outrageous if the overwhelming majority of the electorate in Northern Ireland voted to stay in the EU but we were forced to leave due to the English electorate voting to leave. The EU referendum has massive implications for Northern Ireland.

    The EU referendum could cause all sorts of constitutional headaches. For instance what happens to Gibraltar if the UK leaves the EU? It’s technically independent but one of the UK overseas territories and is a member of the EU with the UK. If the UK left the EU would Spain put up barriers on the Gibraltaran border?

  • Robin
    It just needs a turnip involved to qualify as a cunning plan…

  • Robin Keogh

    You might be a lot of things but I never saw you as a turnip

  • “I think I’d be outrageous…”

    I think you are outrageous, Ernekid.

  • Robin Keogh

    Wow thats a good one Pete ! Erne will never get over that intelligent and well thought out response

  • Andrew Gallagher

    Gibraltar is not “technically independent” and nor is it a crown dependency (there are only three of these: Man, Jersey and Guernsey).

  • Zeno

    If the UK left the EU would Spain put up barriers on the Gibraltaran border?

    I think they already have them.
    “Border controls are in operation between Spain and Gibraltar – Gibraltar is outside the Schengen passport-free travel area. Even though it is a British overseas territory, passports are needed for travel to/from the UK. Visas for travel to Gibraltar are required by some non-EU citizens – they should be obtained from a British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate”

  • Zeno


  • Zeno

    Seriously Robin? What problem would it solve?

  • barnshee

    “As a region totally dependent on foreign investment and agriculture.

    Hardly—– dependent on the British taxpayer really

  • Robin Keogh

    The North would join the Reublic as one independent country in the EU

  • Robin Keogh

    YOU ARE KIDDING RIGHT? You are seriously taking a swipe at David given the ani nationalists rants we have to put up on here, good lord !

  • Robin Keogh

    Of course it can’t but why completly ditch the idea of United Ireland should such an event occur? Can u not even consider it?

  • David McCann

    Sorry but that is nonsense. Mick is the Editor and he regularly argues his view, Pete is moderator on here and he argues his view, Brian posts on issues he cares about and long may it continue.

    I have interviewed members of the DUP/UUP and TUV and all of them have been treated by me with fairness and given an honest hearing. I have brilliant relationships with members in all of the above named parties and regularly encourage their contributions.

    This is a site for debate and conversation for anybody. I edit pieces from all perspectives and have not once turned down a bid from a Unionist writer.

  • Gopher

    I’m wondering how many brothers and sisters from the EU have taken up the option on British Citizenship after working here for five years as an insurance against an exit vote. Perhaps it explains some of the the big increase in the electorate here since the last general election

  • Zeno

    I don’t even know where to start answering that. I’ll add it to the list of reasons there is going to be a United Ireland.

  • Trtretr Etretert

    N Ireland is subsidised to the tune of around 11bn a year. When you consider the UK have to make 14bn of cuts to welfare I think you should watch your tone of language.

  • Robin Keogh

    Finchley wont get one because it is part of England

  • Robin Keogh

    I am sorry but that is just nonsense, paranoid nonsense too,

  • Croiteir

    But there again – if Britain can break the GFA by abandoning the ECHR why not everyone else?

  • Roy White

    Is Irish Nationalism an ethnic identity that you are born into and are stuck with, or is it a way of looking at things that you can choose to drop or adopt? This article seems to suggest the former. Its all about getting the Nationalist community engaged, to do what Nationalists do, ie vote for Nationalist parties. Theres nothing about using the EU Referendum as a way of attracting people who consider themselves Non-Nationalists to the Nationalist viewpoint. Let the best arguments come out in the debate. Lets discuss out how much leaving the EU, or UK, would cost or benefit us. But I hope the EU debate isnt used as a way of mobilising groups of people along ethnic lines.

  • Kevin Breslin

    It’s not about nationalism, it’s about internationalism.

    Yes, I do welcome SDLP, Sinn Féin, Alliance, NI21, Greens and anyone else from the Nationalist, Unionist or Other corner of the debate.

  • james

    It’s been considered, and rejected. There comes a point where you have to accept that and move on.

  • Robin Keogh

    Actually it hasnt as there has been no poll on it

  • james

    No more outrageous than if voters in, say, the North East of England were not congruent with the rest of the country. That isn’t how democracy works. The Native Americans had a system where each man was free to act autonomously. We don’t.

  • james

    Great. Solve one medium problem by creating a gigantic one. Potential civil war. Come, Robin, surely a UI cannot solve all the world’s problems. What was that rule about whenever someone mentions the NAZIs he loses the argument by default? Substitute NAZI for border poll….

  • Pasty2012

    The Irish Tiger is starting to roar again and the British Lion is starting to yawn as investors look elsewhere to locate their business Within the EU, No If’s or buts. Ireland already has Microsoft and Amazon and is well placed for other currently London based institutions to relocate to Ireland to ensure that they don’t have to pay the import tax that other countries outside the EU have to pay. The lower companies tax on top of the certainty of location within the EU and English speaking workers clearly makes Ireland the place for those service industries to relocate to. Irelands rising fortunes will also make the unification more probable in the coming decade.

  • james

    Haha Sinn Fein new election slogan “You are free to do what we tell you”.

  • Robin Keogh

    Ah but ni has relative autonomous status as a constituent nation which by default seperates itself from regions like the ne of england

  • Robin Keogh

    u are the one talking about Unionism …….ooops sorry i mean nazi so i guess u lost the argument

  • Kevin Breslin

    Actually, we have a local poll, and if that does highlight a local result, should allow some sense of reaction. If assuming that Gibraltar are included they are incorporated into the GB part of the equation too.

    There are 3 scenarios with 2 sub scenarios or
    A. Convergence: (vote in NI same as GB)
    1. UK in=GB in+NI in ; 2. UK out = GB in + NI out
    B. GB loaded divergence (i.e. vote in NI different but not critical) :
    3. UK in = GB in + NI out; 4. UK out = GB out + NI in
    C. NI loaded divergence (i.e. vote in NI different and critical):
    5. UK in = GB out + NI in ; 6. UK out = GB in + NI out

    A. would highlight a unity between GB and NI
    C. would highlight a difference between GB and NI
    B. would single NI out as the reason why GB vote wasn’t passed the way GB wanted.

  • james

    Don’t think you quite get it, but keep coming back 😉

  • james

    Well, as SF is essentially a one issue protest party on that selfsame issue, we can take their failure to secure sufficient mandate for it over the decades as reasonable proof that the will just isn’t there.

  • Kevin Breslin

    James, why would a democratic referendum spark a war?
    It passes or fails by the will of the people under a process the mainstream of nationalism and unionism signed up to.
    Are you inferring one side or the other would use violence to stop it?

    We keep hearing the majority of the people in NI don’t want to join Republic … so it will vote against it, no Nazis involved except maybe those who don’t believe in democracy and don’t want a referendum to take place.

    A referendum or a border poll does not determine the result. Ugh.

  • Kevin Breslin
  • Kevin Breslin

    I don’t think you can use the EU Referendum as a way to attract people who consider themselves Non-nationalist to the Nationalist viewpoint, or the reverse with regards to Unionism. Consequences might change the economic arguments that people use. If a BritExit meant less of a farming subsidy and significant chunks of London’s financial sector moving to Dublin, and British jobs being lost because the trade deals negotiated were lopsided to retail purchasers not manufacturing supply lines then the benefits to some of being within the United Kingdom for some could plummet, others it may increase.

    We could also see a more “British Ireland” emerging as a result.

  • Kevin Breslin

    There is some Euroscepticism: Brian Crowley, Luke “Ming” Flanagan, Dana Rosemary Scallion etc. Sinn Féin quite often but ultimately none so far gone as to support UKIP-esque withdrawl.

  • james

    Am I inferring one side of the other might use violence? Uhmm…….have you been around NI much over the last 4 or 5 decades? History certainly suggests that it might happen. I believe that would be very wrong. Do you?

  • Kevin Breslin

    And what border poll caused that violence? None.

  • A question on this topic in polling of members at the party conferences would be helpful.

    Sinn Féin’s leadership talk about a different Europe, a reformed EU, but surely mere so-called ‘Eurocriticalism’ isn’t where anti-EU sentiment ends amongst Sinn Féin’s membership.

    On a wider point regarding Ireland and its EU membership, I find it odd how Euroscepticism appears to be a dirty word amongst Irish politicians, and in political discourse north and south.

  • james

    I believe the contemporary name was partitition. Though I’m not sure you could fairly say it ’caused’ the violence per se. A lot of the violence was caused by hapless (if malignant) Citizen Smyth types who wanted to get their hands on personal political power and wealth without bothering with the public service bit. And, to be fair, seems like they now have.

  • terence patrick hewett

    The EU is hitting all the foreign high-technology companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Sony and Intel with anti-trust legislation because they are making great inroads into EU publishing, industry and manufacturing thro data systems.

    Why don’t Europeans build competitive systems that they like rather than using regulation to hamstring the competition to solve a problem that millions of Europeans are unconcerned about?

    All this activity carries consequences: it reduces European competitiveness. Companies are leaving: BASF Plant Science have decamped to the US. Ford, GM, Renault, PSA-Peugeot-Citroën are pulling out of European manufacture because bureaucracy and regulation is hampering their attempts to deal with technology change. The French government has learnt nothing from the British experience: it is increasing its stake in Renault in an attempt to derail this trend: much to the concern of Carlos Ghosn the CEO. It is not unlikely that it will destroy the successful partnership with Nissan (and Nissan is where all the money is made)

    The EU is a patient whose arteries are slowly clogging up with corruption.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Partition wasn’t democratic in the slightest on either an Irish or a future Northern Irish framework.
    I’m sorry but your comment is ridiculous, Northern Ireland should be in no polls that cause constitutional change, because loyalists some of whom signed up to the Good Friday Agreement are going to kill people if the people of Northern Ireland want Irish unity. What a great Union that is, held together by gunpoint.
    European referenda shouldn’t even happen here either, nor Scottish referendums nor even general elections because “Why change anything?” It will just upset people.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I think one of the main reasons why Euroscepticism is a dirty word is down to UKIP, the BNP and a lesser extent the Conservatives who have made it quite dirty to be an Irish Eurosceptic, as UKIP and the BNP epitomizes fully the sort of 19th Century Britain that Ireland fought to withdraw from, and to which these parties want to withdraw the UK back into, where Malthusian pressures were worse than they were in the 20th Century.

    There is also an admittance that many of Ireland’s economic problems are of Ireland’s making, of the democratically elected Irish government’s own making, and that scapegoating the EU is no solution to our failures to select intelligent leaders within. The advantages of being within the EU in terms of jobs, investment and globalization mitigate a lot of the Eurozone difficulties that the Republic of Ireland faces, and indeed the Eurozone problems would not go away simply by exiting the EU or the Euro.

    Thirdly, there is really little opportunities outside of the EU; Atlantean and Commonwealth ones have been mentioned, but realistically Ireland is very culturally, politically and socially European, Irish Catholicism, Irish nationalism, Irish republicanism, Irish socialism, Irish liberalism even Irish conservationism all have very strong continental roots, the global Irish identity such as to America and Australia etc. is pretty much down to one-way diaspora movement rather than a multinational back and forth network.

    Forthly, there is the border issue …. security of the Common Travel Zone, closed border, cross-border trade and commerce, the security of jobs, the divergence of a UK away from the Republic of Ireland and Europe towards British protectionism. In terms of Northern Nationalism a BritExit is often seen as a means of a British elite imposing British rule and taking away Irish freedoms, in terms of steering economic circumstances towards what is suitable to the English economy which may in terms of several areas such as farming, manufacturing, scientific research etc. be suitable to the vast majority of people in the North, never mind the nationalist lot.

    Let’s remember Irish nationalism was driven by the withdrawl of British support for Ireland’s more agrarian lifestyle, forcing Ireland or even part of Ireland out of CAP something the UK has been squeezing the budget about to help cheaper imports from outside Europe is simply the repeat of the 19th Century issue.

  • Cavignac

    Disgusting anti-Irish racism.

  • Kevin Breslin

    My recommendation is that the EU in camp should be lead by someone neutral in terms of party politics though he didn’t get my party’s endorsement in standing – John Gilliland of the UFU would be my ideal choice.

    I will also see UUP join the pro-EU side if the Tories get reforms, PUP will be swinging on the matter of EU structural funds.

    DUP will stick to the better off out line through thick and thin, UKIP and TUV will be the most vocal antagonists though, DUP would be more likely than them to split over this.

  • kensei

    Why should our paltry 1.2million voters dictate to the 38+million in the rest of the UK? That’s what separate referenda would mean.

    Well I keep hearing that (i) the UK is a Union of 4 separate countries (ii) we are an integral part of that Union. Why should we be treated simply as greater England? It’s not like federal or devolved governments are unknown elsewhere in the world and don’t have ways of dealing with asymmetry issues.

    Anyway, no one really gives a hoot about us. But if Scotland votes in and England votes out, there’ll be major constitutional crisis. That remains true even if Scottish votes tip the balance between out and in.

    And by the by, Cameron is only committed to a Yes vote in the event of getting a number of items he may or may not get. Very sloppy from you, Sheldon.

  • kensei

    It solves the problem of the North not being in EU despite voting in favour of the proposition? I thought that was self explanatory.

    And if you think a Brexit wouldn’t crush our already crap economy, you are nuts.

  • Zeno

    If you think the UK is going to exit the EU then it’s you who are nuts.

  • Zeno

    A referendum can only damage NI. If as expected there is a crushing defeat for a Yes Vote the hand of the Dissidents is immediately strengthened and that of SF is weakened. The possible consequences are obvious.
    On the loyalist side the paramilitaries will use it to strengthen their own hands. Basically people will probably die.

  • Kevin Breslin

    A referendum won’t damage Northern Ireland, dissidents don’t need a referendum as an excuse to be violent. The Good Friday Agreement Page One, says “It’s Your Decision” now thanks to the DUP who opposed the Agreement “It’s Not Our Decision” and we have to surrender to despotism.

    We are being told by you Zeno, that any opposition to DUP lead Unionism by peaceful and democratic means should be refrained from under every and all circumstances.

    Yet you are using the possibility of the threat of violence to oppose a referendum you disagree with.

    I’m sorry, but this attack on even the freedom to think is a large reason as to why there is a Brain Drain in Northern Ireland. Doesn’t matter how many Life and Times Surveys say otherwise, we are in denial about morale around the current state of Northern Ireland, it is a far more unhappier place than the Republic of Ireland is, otherwise it would be having the economic output of its Southern Rival.

    And that morale will only be made worse if the people of Northern Ireland have to surrender their self-determination simply because Unionism lead by the DUP, and people like you who want to milk the threat of dissident republican violence as the only alternative to the status quo.

    I’m sorry I’m not going to make a choice between dissident violence or the status quo, I want the people not to be slaves to either mentality.

  • kensei

    I think it is possible not likely.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I would be quite insecure if I had to feel that Slugger O’Toole was necessary for vindicating my personal choice to be a nationalist, or criticizing those who opposed my personal choice on that matter.

    As Mick would point out, once you start drawn out explanations you’ve already lost the argument.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Gibraltar can join Schengen.

  • Kevin Breslin

    It is an EU territory though.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Looks like Cameron is moving for an early vote, 2016 not 2017. I think this decreases the chances of an “out” vote considerably. It will be interesting to see how far Conservatives are willing to go to tear each other apart over this – my guess is quite far, it really is their Achilles heel (though I sometimes think they have more heels than Timpsons and still survive – kind of incredible).

    But I’m a bit sceptical that being pro-EU is really going to be such a re-invigorator for Irish nationalism. Yes, the issue reminds us how odd the current English Tories are and how most of the country can’t relate to their little Englander worldview; but we’re all used to battening down the hatches and living our lives in spite of the vicissitudes and whims of others, whether it’s in mainland Britain or in the Irish Republic. I’m not sure there is a single Northern Ireland pro-EU feeling that will be strongly galvanised by this referendum. I suspect the place will divide in a not dissimilar way than the rest of the country, i.e. there will be mix of views even within parties. But ultimately it’s a national decision, we’re only a small part of that and I think most people accept that.

    Most people don’t really care that much about the EU one way or another. They may start to care more in the coming months, but I think if it wasn’t for the weird Eurosceptic right being so obsessed with it and having a hold over Cameron, this referendum would not be happening at all. But that’s not to say they won’t win. Their advantage is, they are highly motivated on the issue, the pro-EU side less so. As we saw with Labour and Conservative voters in the election, how fired up your side is can make a big difference on polling day, even when you lose all the arguments intellectually as the Tories did.

  • Zeno

    A referendum won’t damage Northern Ireland

    The flag debacle at City Hall damaged Northern Ireland. How can you possibly believe that such a move will not lead to division , sectarianism and both sides being stirred up by their “leaders”?

  • NMS

    Ernie, Maybe the Spaniards would invade and sort out all the tax free betting!

  • NMS

    Gibraltar, that is!

  • NMS

    But Robin, that presumes those on this side of the Border, a) want the North, which I don’t think they do, & b) could afford it, which they couldn’t!

  • Kevin Breslin

    Division always happens, that’s part of what a democracy should allow for flux. I could say that similar divisions happen in Orange Order parades in Ardoyne.

    I’d have no problem watching an Orange Order Parade in Donegal with an ice cream, or an Appentice Boys Parade near the Walls but what point is there in Orange Order Parades to members of the Catholic faith, going through extremely Catholic areas commemorating something that has no positive meaning towards any denizen of those areas?

    Let’s not pretend that sitting on our arses talking about the security of the union is somehow creating partnerships. It’s bare faced narcissism, by egotistical politicans and their supporters who think “they are the Union” and any vocal attack on the Union by a contributor to their society is disestablishing the union. Even though they do absolutely nothing to encourage any actual unity.

    Look at the Unionist Forum, trying to impose their values on the unionist working class. I actually have far more empathy for a flag protester as an Irish nationalist than I do for these unionist elites and their attempts to have parochial and patriarchal control over them.

    Vast majority of flag protestors are non-violent, and I respect that.

    The DUP had their way with the Good Friday Agreement, I would be unemployed, I would never have the cross-border bodies I needed to get experience. I don’t think I owe the DUP anything or the union they want to defend anything, I owe the work of those who supported the Good Friday Agreement everything.

    I have no problem working for British people, I have no problem with a flag or with Protestants, but the DUP big family approach might be good for a little chunk of their own support, it cannot govern alone without flexibility or flux.

    I’ve worked hard to get Science degrees and the only route the DUP are offering me is getting killed in the British Armed Forces … sorry, working for even for a few months in a Dublin based Technology firm seems so much better to be honest.

    Northern Ireland is not any more Scottish, Welsh or English for the presence or the strength of the DUP-UUP mandate. That’s not to suggest there isn’t 5 or 6 in either party I would not admire their political ability or humanity, there is.

    Party-wise there is very real practical social unity these parties are trying to achieve, and yes, equal hubris to the SDLP, Sinn Féin and Alliance.

    And you are somehow suggesting that I have to vote in support of the DUP-UUP mandate or else there will be violence is sickening, the DUP in particular are pushing a lot of individuals in our society to self-harm, they are causing division.

    Zeno, Inertia doesn’t stop Division, and that’s what you are really supporting here Inertia in a world where Entropy exists.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I’m not sure there is a single Northern Ireland pro-EU feeling that will be strongly galvanised by this referendum. I suspect the place will divide in a not dissimilar way than the rest of the country, i.e. there will be mix of views even within parties. But ultimately it’s a national decision, we’re only a small part of that and I think most people accept that.

    I think there will be a galvanizing of opinion as a result of this referendum, the small NI result might be the thing that is critical. Northern Irish affairs are not going to be detached from some English, Scottish and Welsh voters either.

    Most importantly leaving the EU will have more economic consequences than Tom Elliot winning Fermanagh-South Tyrone, it means more than uniting against the common enemy, it means giving this region the networks it needs to grow.

    People will be militantly worried about their supply lines coming from Europe or the European funding for their studies, or the sustainability of a post-CAP agriculture sector, to be apathetic when it comes to people who make their money through fundraising events and from advertising within an exclusively domestic market place saying they’ll be better off out simply because of jingoistic nationalist rhetoric.

    The Tories have the balance of power on a GB level, and the Unionists at an NI level with a few non-partisans in between.

  • barnshee

    “Going through extremely Catholic areas commemorating something that has no positive meaning towards any denizen of those areas?

    What extremely catholic areas do they go THROUGH?

  • Kevin Breslin

    You are lying through your teeth here with Daily Mail based propaganda, none of these companies are pulling out of plants in the EU to outsource the off continent. The French car manufacturers are very much French based, but it is in jeopardy because their business model of mass producing car components in both the UK and France is under threat due to the volatility of a BritExit, potential tariffs and most likely the virtual tariffs of additional layer of separate British beaurocracy, regulation and legislated added to European one’s.

    This isn’t anti-competitiveness because the UK and France don’t make cars as seperate nations, they do so in multinationals , car making is done on a continental level in Europe, the U.S., China, India and Russia don’t work on the same basis because all four are virtual continents anyway.

    To compare software and Internet companies and the intellectual property laws violations with car manufacturers who need multinational plants is ridiculous.

    Germany is an industrial powerhouse with all the EU so called beaurocracy and an open border with Poland. Their great strength is they don’t give the likes of the Daily Mail the time of day.

    The ones who want to add beaurcracy are UKIP and the Daily Mail, who apart from having some gnosis that Europeans make nothing but regulations. These people themselves want to regulate freedom of movement, regulate employment, regulate higher education, regulate what people learn in science class, regulate what people want to believe politically, regulate people’s rights etc. Meddling in the way they don’t want to be meddled with.

    And with regards to knowledge transfer, scientific knowledge transfer is very free across Europe however access might be restricted as Little UKers want to undermine the regulations that protect the practice,

    These are people obsessed with the British Empire and the modern American Empire they have completely forgot the fine details of how things are made, and how technology develops. The U.S. is a manufacturing outsourcer, the EU is keeping manufacturing in.

    UKIP a party so much in belief of individual competition and Adam Smith’s invisible hand they had to unresign their leader because neither Adam Smith’s invisible hand nor any UKIP personal ambition provide one.

    So obsessed with lassiez-faire and letting American multinationals to run riot over every European enterprise big and small, they really believe sucess comes from doing nothing.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Is there anything positive that the Orange men and women could say about their marches to the Ardoyne Residents who use the neighbouring shops that their culture means a lot more than victory over those who shared their religion?

    Understanding begins with tackling prejudices so why should these residents give up any prejudice that the Orange Order marches are not a sectarian parade?

  • terence patrick hewett

    Don’t read the Mail: my sources are from my work as an engineer. All engineers know that these companies (Google et al) are penetrating traditional manufacturing through big data. Far from being ridiculous, possibly you don’t understand the implications of new technology. The Deutsche Welle article sums it up.

    German firms fall behind the digital curve

    If you don’t believe me try another German source:

    Stefan Heumann of Berlin think-tank Stiftung Neue Verantwortung:

    “Initially this was publishers against platforms. Now it is about Google expanding its reach into areas of traditional manufacturing [like] cars and home appliances. This has German industry worried.”

    They pulled the same stunt with Intel in 2007: the last organisation that will ever be investigated is the un-representative and repulsively corrupt EU.

    Renault has begun to move much of its operation not just out of France, but out of Europe entirely, to a new plant in Morocco. The French news corporation Actu-Eco claims that Renault will continue to increase production at the factory in hopes of eventually producing 400,000 vehicles a year.

    Renault cars are sold around the world under makes like Nissan, Samsung, and the Russian Avtovaz, making Renault the fourth largest car manufacturer in the world. Perhaps encouraged by the success of its Tangier site, Renault is considering building another large factory in Algeria. The French government is increasing its stake in Renault in an attempt to derail this trend: much to the concern of Carlos Ghosn the CEO.

    According to agencies some of the production is intended for EU markets. Neither Algeria nor Morocco is a member of the EU.

    PSA-Peugeot-Citroën is following suit: it is opening an engineering centre in Morocco creating 1500 jobs dealing with research and design as a possible prelude to low-cost vehicle assembly. PSA is negotiating the closure of its Aulnay-sous-Bois plant near Paris as well as laying-off employees at its other plants in France, and focusing its activities on producing low-cost models outside France and possibly the EU altogether.

    Ford has continued its withdrawal from the EU by closing its factory of 4000 workers in Genk, Belgium on 21st Dec. 2014:

    In November 2014 Opel (GM) closed its factory in Bochum, Germany.

    Opel closed its Antwerp plant in 2010

    Auto-makers chase economies: they go where it’s cheap. No regulations. End of story.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I think you are being extremely naive if you are saying but for the EU, Europe would be a lot like America. Europe would be a lot like America if it were federalised. The EU has no capacity to steer global markets only produce the strongest networks to develop their strengths.

    I am an engineer, a scientist and a computer scientist to boot and if research and technology in Europe in Big Data is going to develop then we have to get the sort of research clusters together to do so rather than rely on America to make them happen. This is how Quantum Mechanics was pioneered in Europe, it was not done by Stark’s Deutche Physiks but by cross national peer reviewed advances in physics, chemistry, engineering and mathematics,

    What deregulation is going to make that happen? What cost cutting measure is going to free up costs over Big Data knowledge transfer. That’s a matter of skills and wills.

    Just because the Yanks beat the Germans to the punch on driverless cars or whatever doesn’t mean the removal of the EU is going to make these German companies computer science experts. There is a cost of production issue around developing appropriate original algorithms to extract features from a mush but scapegoating the EU and waving a white flag isn’t going to improve the engineering abilities that natural persistence and pain should be doing. Even if the EU banned driverless cars, Germans should not be so unimaginative to develop something else.

    What would be anti competive is to reduce human rights in order to break the will of researchers that the natural pain and persistence of development gets sacrificed for personal survival and people are driven out of the industry.

    On the matter of Renault locating in North Africa, well thanks to the EU’s involvement the Euro-Medeterrean free trade zone such networks can be made and would not be made so easily without the EU. In terms of locating off continent you are technically being true but the EU driven by the right has freed markets in this region which mean Renault can spread manufacturing costs across Romania, Italy, France, UK, Germany, Algeria and Morrocco.

    Precision engineering components in lone factories and assembling them in others in different nations without tariff or questioning what sort of trade deal the right wing demagogues in a country want to come up with next.

    And if the Americans competive advantage over an over beaurocratised high cost EU was as dramatic as you claim then why is there a Trans-Atlantic trade partnership that would drag the U.S. Into accepting some European regulation, market, production and consumer culture for itself?

    Waving white flags about not getting skills or wills appropriate to big data use is no solution.
    Engineers have to make do with difficult and challenging circumstances, that’s pretty much what engineering is all about.

  • willie drennan

    There can be little doubt that a pan-Nationalist coalition across the UK, in opposition to an EU referendum, could work well for Irish Nationalist politicians. It would of course then also work well for Unionist politicians. That is the nature of the politics of division. Problem is that that scenario will just cause more bother for the rest of us non-politicians.

    The upheavals that are unfolding in the rest of the UK and in the rest of the EU will have massive impact on Northern Ireland. The best way for us to approach the upcoming debate on EU membership, is to have rational debate in consideration of the economy and social cohesion. Turning into a Nationalist versus Unionist battle will deliver nothing but grief.

  • barnshee

    So not–through ? In what way does the “parade”- which I understand takes minutes * -do correct me where I am wrong) stop the “Ardoyne Residents using the neighbouring shops”

  • barnshee

    In the case of a strongly dissident protestant population— How would irish “unity” be secured other than ” held together by gunpoint.”?

  • Zeno

    There was a poll in 1973. Nationalists wisely boycotted it because they couldn’t win.

  • Zeno

    It’s not all about you or me. It is the greater good that is important. Division comes from eye poke politics and they both engage in it. When SF stop poking and the DUP stop poking is the time when we will have a chance.
    Don’t fall into the trap of thinking the flag debacle or the parades protests are about real equality. They are point scoring in a Trojan Horse. Remember that’s how they are “going to break the bastards” as Gerry Adams said.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Divisions are going to happen, it’s as organic as each generation arguing with the previous. I happily live with that. If the DUP and SF came together and had little Tiofaidh Ár La No Surrender babies it still wouldn’t cause people to have the inner peace to deal with society as it is now. Wouldn’t stop people feeling British, Irish or Ulster Scots or asking political questions as O’Neill once asked “What Northern Ireland do you want?” … What Ireland do you want? What Britian do you want? What Britian and Ireland do you want? What can you do as an individual to change it?

    To me the thought of leaving the EU might disturb me, but I wouldn’t say such a poll would cause violence because it’d change the constitutional framework.

    Scotland had a referendum … no one died
    Good Friday Agreement referendum … No one died.
    All those European treaties Sinn Féin opposed down in the Republic but were passed anyway … No one died.

    The unionist parties themselves had a border poll during the Troubles, are we going to hold them responsible for the violence? No.

    Last week, normal day in Belfast … Former IRA man shot dead. Absence of a poll didn’t stop it.

  • Kevin Breslin

    If there’s understanding there’s no suspicion.

  • Kevin Breslin

    What if hypothetical the island of Britain just doesn’t care and is deterred from maintaining the union… They’d just have to make a dissident Protestant Ireland.

  • Robin Keogh

    Oh ya forgot that dam !

  • Zeno

    You really think a United Ireland Poll would pass of peacefully? I’m an optimist, but it’s not how I would envisage it playing out.

  • Kevin Breslin

    If you can’t have a democratic referendum because of the fear of terrorism then the terrorists win.

  • Zeno

    One of the possible consequences of a poll is that you may create terrorists.
    A Yes vote victory is impossible on all known information. So why bother? To call Sinn Fein’s bluff, and it is a bluff?
    A heavy defeat for Yes bolsters the dissidents and damages SF. We could end up with the “armed struggle” resumed. Any increase in republican activity will be matched by loyalist paramilitaries. Do you really want to force well over half a million people into a United Ireland anyway if Yes did win?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Oh this a complete false dichotomy, one either has to be a defensive unionist who doesn’t want a referendum on anything or a terrorist supporter … Not to mention in 1979 the defensive unionists HAD a border poll referendum.

    Northern Ireland was created by the threat of “armed struggle” look at your history, and there wasn’t a single referendum about the place. Using the threat of “armed struggle” to guard off any form of constitutional reform is exactly the sort of thing that could bring the Union down … as was the case with the Home Rule impasse.

  • Zeno

    I’m not threatening anything. I’m just pointing out the risks. What you have to decide is whether it’s worth the risk.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I have no intelligence as to the motives of dissident republicans or dissident loyalists, but even under your logic … Having a border poll could be seen as a win for dissident republicans, and a defeat for dissident loyalists, but then Refusing a border poll could be seen as a win for dissident loyalists and a defeat for dissident republicans … so either way either side could excuse themselves defending their victory or attacking their defeat but they are fooling themselves that they have the circumstances for doing so.

    Denying society choices under democratic and constitutional means is effectively the thing that those who glorify anti-democratic and anti-constitutional means use to justify their causes.

  • Zeno

    “Denying society choices under democratic and constitutional means is effectively the thing that those who glorify anti-democratic and anti-constitutional means use to justify their causes.”

    I’m not denying anyone anything. If you want to blame someone because there is no sign of a border poll then blame Sinn Fein.
    If you really wanted a United Ireland would you leave it up to the Secretary of State to decide when you can even have a vote on it.
    Why do you want a border poll anyway? The Yes Vote can’t possibly win. It will cause fear and division and serve no purpose.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The arguement was if there was a material change in Northern Ireland through a BritExit would a border poll be a possible way to stay in. I merely stated it would be perfectly acceptable to provide that alternative.

    What I don’t understand is this assertion that hope and unity is going to come from fearing using democratic tools, fearing political debate or discussion even fearing the self determination and fearing the will of the people.

    We’ve used a democratic deficit against violence through the direct rule of the NIO, we’ve had them try to impose a unity, and a pro-union parliament in the North impose a unity. It didn’t stop fear, it didn’t stop division, it stopped full involvement and it stopped compromise.