Continued membership of the EU is the only way that Unionism can survive

Dr. David Shiels is College Research Associate in History at Wolfson College, Cambridge and author of a forthcoming biography of Enoch Powell. He argues that if Unionists insist on peeling away the post war constitutional frame by leaving the EU, you risk the unraveling of the British Union too.

The Democratic Unionist Party has, at last, come out in favour of Brexit.  The party which proudly wears the badge of Euroscepticism in Northern Ireland has until now refused to take a formal position in the referendum debate, even though many of its MPs and MLAs declared themselves as Outers some time ago. 

At the weekend, the First Minister, Arlene Foster, confirmed that her party would ‘on balance’ recommend a Leave Vote. 

In many respects, this is the only credible position that the party could have taken.  The DUP has long campaigned for a referendum on Europe: as Nigel Dodds pointed out in the House of Commons debate on the Referendum Bill last year, the DUP is ‘the only party that has consistently called for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, dating all the way back to troubles over Maastricht’. 

Going back even further, Ian Paisley was one of the most prominent supporters of the ‘Out’ side in the 1975 referendum debate – alongside Enoch Powell in the Ulster Unionist Party – a fact that did not necessarily have a beneficial effect on the Out campaign in the rest of the UK.

The First Minister’s announcement followed on from the Secretary of State’s revelation that she would be one of the Cabinet Ministers who would be campaigning for Brexit.  Her intervention may well have little impact on the debate in Northern Ireland, but it is significant that the Secretary of State and the First Minister, both women, will be taking campaigning on the same side. 

Theresa Villiers claims that hers is a personal decision based on long-held beliefs about the European Union, and there is no doubt that this is the case.  As a former Member of the European Parliament, she has spent time in Brussels and Strasbourg and her views on the EU were probably shaped in light of this experience, rather than her experience as a Minister over the last 6 years. 

Some have accused Ms Villiers of overlooking the interests of Northern Ireland in this debate – the argument being that Brexit would be destabilising for the province.  This is not necessarily the case, but it would be interesting to know how the Secretary of State sees the future of Northern Ireland outside the EU.

From a Unionist perspective, there are certainly grounds for being a Eurosceptic or even an Outer.  There is an argument to be made that the European Union is a rival to the United Kingdom: this is something apparent in the SNP’s support for the European Union as an alternative to the UK during the Scottish referendum campaign. 

It is hardly reassuring to Unionists when they see a combination of Nicola Sturgeon, Gerry Adams and Enda Kenny – politicians who, in theory at least, want to see the break-up of the United Kingdom – campaigning in favour of the EU (although Mr Kenny’s rhetoric about the essential common interest between Britain and Ireland suggests he would make a plausible Unionist himself).

On the other hand, there would be an opportunity for Unionists to welcome Sinn Fein and the SDLP into the pro-Union fold, and to question them on the logic of their nationalism.  It is a paradox that the SNP, which seeks independence from London, supports membership of the EU while Unionist voices from Northern Ireland endorse ‘independence’ from Brussels.

Party political issues aside, Brexit would open up lots of difficult questions for the UK and Ireland.  The question of Britain’s renegotiation with Europe has been seen as one of the top foreign policy priorities of the Irish Government for some time.  The relationship between the UK and Republic of Ireland is intimate and complicated. 

The two countries have a Common Travel Area there are reciprocal voting rights for British and Irish citizens living in each country, and everyone born in Northern Ireland is entitled to Irish (and, therefore, European) citizenship. 

In the middle of this debate Northern Ireland occupies an uncomfortable position, and in a post-Brexit world Nationalists and Unionists would face an even greater conflict of loyalties.  There are therefore legitimate questions about the future of the province, even if the DUP is also right that there is an element of scaremongering on the part of the Irish Government and the pro-EU parties in Northern Ireland. 

The Unionist parties should also pause and think about how they present their arguments when they join the ‘Out’ campaign.  They must remember that their main audience during the referendum campaign will be in Northern Ireland itself, where Nationalists will be alienated by jingoistic UKIP-style rhetoric about independence from Europe.  

If they are going to campaign for ‘Brexit’, they must find a way of doing so that does not undermine the logic of their own case that we are ‘better together’.  This referendum has the potential to expose the tensions that exist between Ulster Unionism and European Unionism.

Unless they come up with convincing arguments to the contrary, it may well be that, far from being a rival to the United Kingdom, continued membership of the EU is the only way that Ulster Unionism – and indeed British Unionism – can survive. 

This is a guest slot to give a platform for new writers either as a one off, or a prelude to becoming part of the regular Slugger team.

  • Anglo-Irish

    You don’t agree with what suggestion?

    You don’t agree that nationalist supporters of a United Ireland are now in positions of political influence where they can further their wishes over a period of time, something which would have been unthinkable in the 60s?

    Or you don’t agree that the PR voting system provides a democratic voice to the people meaning that the majority will dictate what happens?

    Or you don’t agree that the demographics will ensure that the majority will in the very near future be those in the CN community who regard themselves as Irish?

    Or don’t you believe that the agreed provision for a referendum on a UI with a clear British declared position of accepting the outcome constitutes a totally different situation to that which existed before the Troubles?

    Perhaps you don’t accept the input into NI affairs that the Republic now have?

    As I said in my previous post that would not be anything like what I would consider to be a victory for the PUL community.

    A complete loss of PUL hegemony over the province, a forthcoming switch in majorities, coupled with a voting system which will reflect that and an agreed exit into a UI if wanted is a long way from ‘No Surrender’ isn’t it?

    Not only does it not look like victory for the PUL community, it looks very much like a slow motion long term defeat to me.

  • Tochais Siorai

    I take it you didn’t live along the border in the 70s and 80s then?

  • Roger

    Here I quote your earlier post, with emphasis added…'[m]y idea of victory would not include giving ‘ themuns’ EQUAL POWER”.

    Those of an Irish persuasion most certainly don’t have equal power over the UK region in question. It is firmly under UK control.

    Incidentally, PR-STV was slated for UKNI all along. It had PR-STV in the early 20s. Going back to it is hardly a big defeat for Unionists.

    I don’t agree that the constitutional options have materially changed either. Even the Ireland Act of 1949 contemplated that UKNI could leave the UK if its people (through the UKNI houses of parliament) opted to do so. The only difference now is that there would be a referendum rather than a parliamentary decision. Hardly a big change. Moreover, there’d now need to be two referendums as Ireland’s constitution has enshrined a partitionist requirement for a referendum in Ireland too.

    IRL has fairly minimal input on UKNI affairs….They do manage some lakes together with UKNI if that counts for much?

    I don’t think future demographics related to anything we exchanged views on before. But you haven’t responded to my point that does concern demographics: But for the ‘Cold House’, there would be far, far more people of an Irish persuasion, shall we say, in the 6 county area, than there are today. Where would that have left UKNI and its PUL people (my preference would be British persuasion people, but I use your term there)?

  • Anglo-Irish

    ‘ It is firmly under UK control ‘ really?

    What kind of control is it that states that you must do as I say until you decide to do differently, in which case I agree not to stand in your way?

    You don’t think the constitutional options have materially changed?

    You see no difference between a parliamentary decision decided by politicians, vested interests and the kind of biased morally defunct no marks that refused to recognise the result of the 1918 Irish 32 county election, in which Sinn Fein won 73 out of 105 seats and a referendum decided by the electorate?

    People of Irish persuasion?

    Someone emigrates to America, Canada, Australia or England and by the second or third generation they regard themselves as belonging to that country.

    They may well have a sentimental attachment to and a pride in their country of origin, but they wouldn’t favour it over where they live.

    The PUL community in NI have made themselves unique from the other inhabitants of these two islands, but not in a good way.

    As far as most of the English, Scots and Welsh are concerned they are Paddy’s, pure and simple.

    To have been born in a land where their ancestors have also been born for centuries and yet still cling on to the notion that they are British is quite simply ridiculous.and a bit pathetic.

    A British passport proves beyond doubt that they are not British, they are British citizens.

    Britain wishes to divest itself of Northern Ireland, if it didn’t there is no way that a country which once ruled 25% of the world would agree to a situation whereby .the decision to stay or go can be decided by the majority when they knew full well that eventually that majority would consider themselves Irish and may very well vote to leave.

    It may well be long and protracted, but never the less it is a defeat for the PUL community who once ruled the roost but conducted themselves so disgracefully that they deserve nothing less.

  • Roger

    – firmly under UK control, yes.
    – I don’t see a big difference between a referendum and an indirect vote of the people through their parliament.
    – I don’t agree with PUL terminology; much too narrow and does not reflect modern UKNI where fewer and fewer people are religious and more and more people from a non P background support the Union.
    – I don’t agree that Britain wishes to divest itself of Northern Ireland; that doesn’t stack up with what they said in the 1920s or at any time since or the nationalistic sentiment in the UK generally (why are they only country considering an EU exit etc.?);
    – I do think the UK generally espouses democratic values, at least when it suits the UK;
    – I do think that significant segments of what you call the PUL acted disgracefully during certain decades, although I also think that’s true of the other major community.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Once again your definition of words isn’t in agreement with mine.

    To me being ‘firmly under control’ means that I can dictate what happens.

    Allowing a free and democratic vote in which the majority may disagree is no control whatsoever.

    When the referendum comes it will be decided on economic grounds, plus fear of change worries only, just like the forthcoming EU referendum.

    I believe that the first NI/ROI referendum will result in a no vote, but unlike the EU referendum further votes will happen.

    At some point in the future the situation with regard to economics coupled with the knowledge that the CN community have as to the PUL communities attitude will result in a yes vote.

    30ish years in my opinion, but it will happen.

    The facts are simple, Britain wants rid, why would it not? Demographics ensure that the people that regard themselves as Irish will be in the majority.

    Referendums will continue until the result that the British want and the ROI will, slightly reluctantly, with reservations, accept happens.

    The PUL community lost, everything has changed, but they are not bright enough to understand.

    I spent all my childhood summers on my mothers family farm in Ireland. My aunt who lived there used to occasionally kill a chicken for the pot.

    Sometimes the chicken that had had its head chopped off would run around the farm yard for quite some time.

    That chicken is an analogy for Northern Ireland unionism.
    Dead, but doesn’t know it yet.

  • NotNowJohnny

    My fear is that many people (including influential people) in Northern Ireland are strongly advocating a leave vote without appearing to be able to articulate why leaving the eu would be beneficial for Northern Ireland. One would hope/expect that the benefits for Northern Ireland would play some part in their decision and, if they do, to be able to articulate them. I have listened to Sammy Wilson and both the UKIP and DUP speakers at the QUB event over the last week and none have been able to articulate a single coherent benefit for the people of NI. Indeed, after listening to the DUP speaker one could be forgiven for thinking that the referendum was about David Cameron’s deal rather than whether the UK should remain in the EU. I think this is remarkable given the potential impacts for Northern Ireland.

    Of course I’ve heard people bandy about terms such as ‘retain national sovereignty, and ‘Northern Ireland will get the same benefits as the rest of the U.K.’ but no one seems able to explain these in the context of benefits for the people of Northern Ireland. It is worth noting that even in the event if a vote to leave the EU, the UK’s sovereignty in respect of Northern Ireland will still be subject to the terms of the British Irish Agreement and the European Convention on Human Rights while, depending on the trade agreements which the UK enters into, it is likely that NI will still be subject to a substantial number of EU rules and regulations which neither the UK Parliament nor the NI Assembly will be able to influence. In view of this, is the sovereignty issue really such a major benefit for the people of Northern Ireland? Similarly those who claim that the people in NI will gain the same benefits through leaving the EU as others in the UK, often fail to point out that GB is a net contributor to the EU while NI is a net beneficiary which makes the claim that NI will benefit in the same way as GB just plain wrong.

    In the absence of any clear articulation of the benefits for Northern Ireland, I would caution people to be wary of such claims. Instead I would ask them to ask about the real and tangible benefits for particular groups such as farmers in Northern Ireland, employees in Northern Ireland, businesses operating in border areas of Northern Ireland and minority groups in Northern Ireland. I would ask them to ask for clarification on things such as how the benefits of the change to the rate of corporation tax here will be affected through leaving the EU and what the impact of leaving will have on our ability to continue to fund major road, rail and other infrastructure projects here which historically have been part funded through various EU schemes. Over to you then.

  • Roger

    I’m not a clairvoyant so won’t here make any prediction on whether there will be a referendum or what the outcome will be. Right now that all looks very remote. You’ve said the referendum versus vote of elected members is a big change. I ought to have pointed out that there was a referendum 25 years before the GFA was signed.

    On that front, correction: the first UKNI/IRL referendum already took place in the ’73. The next one, if there is one, will be the second.

  • Chingford Man

    “how important it was for a small country on the periphery of Europe to be part of the EU”

    Er, NI is a region of the UK, one of the EU’s largest countries.

    “there was no guarantee that what we in NI lost in EU funding would be replaced by the same amount of funding from UK treasury”

    If EU funding really is necessary to economic growth, why wouldn’t it be maintained?

    Your neighbour does indeed seem to be better informed than you.

  • Chingford Man

    In your opinion.

  • Anglo-Irish

    So what? I referred to a referendum and don’t recall making any reference to it being the first or the thirty third.

    The GFA makes allowance for the reunification of the country if it is the will of the people.

    There was no agreed mechanism for that previously, there is now.

    The only thing you can be certain of in politics is that things change, and events bring about those changes.

    In the event of continued austerity in the UK and maintained economic growth in the ROI the sensible decision in the future would be to join a UI.

    If the UK votes to leave the EU and it turns out to be a disaster the sensible decision would be a UI.

    Obviously if either of those were to go the other way then the sensible decision would be to remain in the UK.

    The point is that given the demographics that decision will be made by people who consider themselves to be Irish, unionist hegemony is a thing of the past, and any reference to the PUL community achieving victory is nonsense.

  • Roger

    Fair point, you didn’t refer to first referendum. Apologies for my muddle there. But the bigger point I was making is that referendum is nothing new. There has even been one 25 years before the GFA. Before the GFA there was indeed no ‘agreed mechanic’. UKNI, at the time was, as a matter of Irish law, part of Ireland’s territory. That is no longer the case, so naturally the two sides have been able to finally agree a mechanic which is the basically same mechanic as the UK always insisted upon: the will of UKNI’s electorate. Before that, agreeing a mechanic was not possible in the formal sense as UKNI’s formal position was not accepted by both sides.

    Beyond that, you’ve never engaged in any way with my original and main point: that the ‘Cold House’ worked and that, but for it, there would be no UKNI. I’m talking about the position today, not some hypothetical future you envisage where UKNI might be no more.

  • Angry Mob

    Your first question, I have already responded to. Why does Northern Ireland need any specific benefits over the rest of the UK in order to be persuaded to leave? I can’t list every benefit of leaving the EU as they are so numerous or is this what you wish me to do. After all this is a vote about the UK relationship with the EU, not Northern Ireland’s specifically.

    Aren’t you worried about those people who are advocating to remain without offering a positive vision, able to extol any benefits of remaining in the EU or even tell you what a remain vote would actually mean in terms of ever closer union, is your only reason to remain fear?

    Regarding the ECHR, there is grounds that they can be with a British Bill Of Rights, so long as it contains adequate protections, but here’s an interesting article:

    Northern Ireland will still benefit from increased sovereignty that the UK regains, why wouldn’t it, again why does NI need a specific benefit? If someone was to offer you and your family members £1000 each would you refuse it because you wanted more than them, thus denying everybody?

    There may be rules and regulations for accessing the single market however that would not negate the fact that anything concerning the UK could be decided upon by it.

    The leave method that I am advocating is to join Norway and Iceland etc in the EFTA/EAA so EU rules would have no direct requirement upon us, no we wouldn’t be able to decide EU rules but again we don’t partake in law making for the USA. Instead we would take our seat at the top table in various international law making organisations along side the EU which gives us powers of veto and the chance to change the rules long before they are passed down to the EU member states to implement.

    Regarding the claims that NI is a net contributor I have seen counter-claims which say otherwise, we may be the biggest recipient per head in the UK but on the whole we still pay out more than we get back. Not sure who to believe regarding this however.

    Another thing to note is that all these things that the EU have funded were significantly less than what the UK taxpayer put in, so you could quite simply cut out the middle man who takes his cut and still be much better off.

  • Anglo-Irish

    I never engaged with your original point?

    You claimed that the ‘ cold house’ reaped victory, I replied by totally refuting that statement and by pointing out that not only had unionism not been the victor it had in fact suffered a slow motion lingering inevitable defeat.

    Neither side could win the shooting war, that fact has been recognised by both sides and is a matter of record.

    The nationalists were persuaded to stop the violence by being offered another less dramatic but more certain way to achieve their ends.

    The fact that Britain has stated that it has no objection to NI joining with the ROI to form a UI ( and there is a voting system in place which reflects the majorities wishes ) and that demographics will make unionists a minority in NI means that the debate and decision will be made on economic as well as emotional grounds, as it should be.

    Members of the CN community can be persuaded to vote for the status quo if it is seen as being to their advantage.

    On the other hand at present the ROI has a better standard of living than NI and a faster growing economy which if it were to continue over a number of years would make a UI very attractive.

    Prior to the Troubles if anyone had suggested that in forty years time a situation would exist in Northern Ireland whereby there was an agreed political method of achieving a United Ireland and that the ‘Taigs’ would be the ones in a position to make it happen they would have been thought to be a lunatic.

    But here we are, and that is why claiming a victory for the ‘ cold house’ is nonsense.

    Incidentally, how would you feel if when the Catholic population becomes a clear majority it decides to remain within the UK but make NI a ‘cold house’ for Protestants?

    Bearing in mind that not only are they becoming a majority they are also, generally speaking, a better educated community.

    This will enable many more of them to obtain positions of influence which will allow them to favour people from their own community.

    After all, the unionist community had little problem with that arrangement, and there is a certain amusing irony about the boot being on the other foot don’t you think?

  • Roger

    No point in us going around in circles, so I will be short. You point to demographics as being the factor what will secure a UI. Who knows. For present purposes, let’s assume you are right. Yet in evaluating the ‘Cold House’, you don’t engage with the fact that had it not been for the ‘Cold House’, demographics would have brought about a UI long ago. It’s in no small part due to the ‘Cold House’ that there is a UKNI today.

    As to this supposed breakthrough in having an agreed mechanic for a UI, we are on different wavelengths. My reading of history is that the UK since at least the Ireland Act of 1949 said that UKNI could opt out if its people so chose. Are you saying otherwise? Are you saying the UK held that UKNI could never leave the UK regardless of the views of its population?

  • Anglo-Irish

    Are you saying that the ‘cold house’ was a morally correct and proper course of action taken by the unionists in NI?

    If so, would you then agree that it would be perfectly acceptable and correct for the Catholic population of NI to adopt the same course of action when they become the majority in power?

    Demographics would not have ‘ Brought about a UI long ago ‘ for the simple reason that under the previous voting arrangement – or stitch up as it actually was – gerrymandering prevented democracy.

    There was Unionist control in Derry despite there being over 14,000 Catholics and only just over 8.000 Protestants in the city.

    Are you saying that Britain was on record as stating that it would be prepared to hold a referendum on the future of Northern Ireland and accept the outcome prior to the 1998 GFA?

    If so could you please provide me with a link to confirm it?

    Not saying your wrong, simply unaware of any official statement to that effect.

  • Roger

    Are you saying that the ‘cold house’ was a morally correct and proper course of action taken by the unionists in NI? No, obviously. Morality does not enter into it.

    Are you saying that Britain was on record as stating that it would be prepared to hold a referendum on the future of Northern Ireland and accept the outcome prior to the 1998 GFA? Yes. Absolutely. It even did so in 1973! Just google the referendum held in UKNI that year.

    As to:

    “Demographics would not have ‘ Brought about a UI long ago ‘ for the simple reason that under the previous voting arrangement – or stitch up as it actually was – gerrymandering prevented democracy”.

    Do you think the ‘Cold House’ had no affect on demographics? Yes or No.

    If you think it had an affect, percentage wise, what percentage of the population do you think would be from the CN (as you call it) tradition today if there had been no ‘Cold House”?

  • Anglo-Irish

    The 1973 referendum was that the one where the SDLP organized a boycott and 41.31 percent of the electorate didn’t vote?

    The one where there was continual sectarian violence and the ‘loyalists’ were mainly targeting Catholic civilians, that one?

    The thing about referendums is that unless it is agreed to be carved into stone in the way that the forthcoming Brexit one is – apparently – you get to have another one.

    The GFA provides for another referendum to take place as and when asked for by NI.

    Do I think the ‘cold house’ had an effect on demographics by persuading Catholics to look elsewhere if they wished to be regarded as equals?

    Of course I do, tell me, do you believe that treating people in their own land in a sectarian manner is a correct , proper and Christian thing to do?

    Additionally, do you not agree that such behaviour by those in authority against a section of the community will inevitably play into the hands of the hard men and lead to violence?

    But the ‘cold house ‘ tactic proved to just be a delaying tactic didn’t it?

    And very shortly the boot is going to be on the other foot.

    So if your answer to my question as to whether it was a correct and proper thing to have done is Yes then presumably you will have no objection to the same tactic being employed against the new minority?

  • Roger

    “Do I think the ‘cold house’ had an effect on demographics by persuading Catholics to look elsewhere if they wished to be regarded as equals? Of course I do[.]”

    I’m glad that I think we are agreed. The ‘cold house’ is a major reason why there is a UKNI today. You think the ‘cold house’ merely delayed the demise of UKNI. Well, I don’t have a crystal ball and can’t know the future. In the here and now, it saved UKNI. You seem to finally accept that. It’s been a long process, but we’ve got there!

    I don’t know how the morality or correctness of anything comes into it. The plantation of Ulster may not have been moral or correct, but it is a major reason why there is UKNI today! I’ve never said anything about the morality or correctness of anything. All along, I simply made the point that thanks to the ‘cold house’ there is a UKNI today, and you finally seem to accept the point.

    Glad you are aware of the prior referendum. You can hardly blame the UK if some decide to boycott a referendum whose outcome was never in doubt. As for the violence surrounding the vote, the 70s were a rough time in UKNI. I don’t think that was put on for the vote.

  • Anglo-Irish

    The difference being that you think ‘saving UKNI ‘ is a good thing, and I, and the majority of Ireland and the majority of English people that I have spoken to about it, don’t.

    Most English people – who are the majority in Britain – regard people in NI as a bunch of mad Paddy’s and have little if any sympathy for them.
    If there was a referendum held in Britain only on the subject NI would be gone.

    NI should never have existed in the first place and has been nothing but a pain in the arse to Britain since its inception.

    Not only has it been the cause of loss of life and treasure it has damaged Britain’s reputation internationally.

    Ever there with the begging bowl unionists only have concern for themselves.

    All the ‘cold house’ did was aggravate the situation and prove to everyone that unionists shouldn’t be left in control of anything as their sectarian bigotry can not be held in check.

    The inevitable end game was delayed at the cost of life and billions of waste.

    Soon Catholics will outnumber Protestants in Northern Ireland and when you take into consideration that the Protestant population is significantly older than the Catholic population there is only one way this is going.

    As to whether when there is a clear majority of residents who regard themselves as Irish they will vote for a UI, I would imagine that that will depend upon the circumstances at the time.

    In my opinion there will be more than one referendum until the desired political result is returned and then there will be no more.

    There will however come a time when those members of the population who regard themselves as Irish will have political control.

    Who knows, they may get to like being a big fish in a small subsidised pond and decide to implement their own agenda in the place.

    So, for the third time of asking, do you think that when the inevitable happens it will be perfectly in order for the PUL community to be moved into a ‘ cold house ‘?

    And if not, why not?

  • Roger

    I’ve never said or even suggested that saving UKNI was a good thing. I’ve expressed no views on the topic one way or the other. I never suggested the ‘cold house’ was morally right or correct. In answer to your question, which given what I’ve said and haven’t said, hardly need be answered: Obviously I don’t think a ‘cold house’ for any community is “perfectly in order”.

    This is all so notwithstanding that the ‘cold house’ did save UKNI, which you have finally accepted. It was effective. Why it took so long, I don’t know.

    I am not comparing the ‘cold house’ to the Holocaust. However, your persistent suggestion that I am somehow saying the ‘cold house’ was ok because I say it was effective in saving UKNI is a bit like saying some one supports the Holocaust because that person says it was effective in its aim of eliminating most of Europe’s jews.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    Hmm. .’the driving opportunities’ as a reason to vote for a UI. That’s a new one for me ????

  • aquifer

    The free DUP bus passes only take you so far, and certainly not back to GB.

  • Anglo-Irish

    But on a much smaller and less terrible way that is in fact exactly what you’re saying isn’t it?

    A community that had power over another community used that power in an effort to rid themselves of what they percieved to be a problem.

    There was also an ethnic and religious element to both and the difference is only one of size and obscenity.

    You never suggested the ‘ cold house’ was morally right?

    No what you did was disingenuous in an effort to avoid bringing right and wrong into the debate.

    What you said was ‘ Morality doesn’t enter into it. ‘

    Which is arrant nonsense, when actions are taken with the deliberate intention of causing harm to a community for no other reason than they have differing beliefs to the perpetrators then it is obviously morally wrong, except to someone who has sympathy for the perpetrators.

    The ‘cold house’ saved UKNI?

    No it didn’t, it brought about a delay in proceedings and cost Billions in British taxpayers money and thousands of lives from all sides.

  • Sharpie

    Or by trade tariffs.

  • Roger

    In earlier posts you accepted that, but for the impact the ‘cold house’ had on demographics in UKNI, there would likely already be a UI. In other words, in the here and now the ‘cold house’ saved UKNI. You think it only delayed UKNI’s demise. I don’t have the same certainty about the future as you do. You repeatedly tried to bring morality into the topic but it wasn’t relevant. We were discussing objective facts, i.e. the effect of the ‘cold house’. I think we’ve brought this exploration of the topic to a natural end.

  • Anglo-Irish

    You believe that the border is a good thing?

    You are in a very small minority of like minded people on these islands that think the same way, virtually all of whom have a vested interest.

    The only way that the Irish ‘Problem’ will ever be brought to a final conclusion is for the border to disappear and a UI be achieved.

    Whilst ever partition exists there will be a cause to fight for ( hopefully using only political methods from now on ) once it has gone it’s game over, there would be nothing whatsoever left to fight for would there?

    No doubt that won’t stop a few knuckledraggers ‘having a go’ but they will be dealt with.

    My views on the future are not arrived at by using a crystal ball they are obtained by looking at the facts.

    The facts are clear, those people in NI that regard themselves as Irish in the first instance will very shortly be in a majority of the electorate.

    As to whether they will then vote for a UI is, as I’ve already said up to them, but make no mistake the Irish will be in control of Ireland both sides of the border.

    As for your refusal to ‘bring morality’ into the debate it shows a remarkable lack of empathy on your part.

    Maybe you are simply attempting to show off your objectivity which no doubt you consider remarkable in which case, fair enough.

    However, if those are your true feelings on the matter I can only assume that you have certain character flaws, which are not particularly admirable.