Bertie Ahern the voice of sanity on a border poll and Brexit

It’s the prerogative of elder statesman  to tell it as it is without looking over their shoulder at the opposition inside and outside their own party.  Bertie Ahern gave a reminder of just how good he could be.  He spoke the language of stability in the fevered atmosphere of Leinster House. Micheal Martin please note. Speaking in the Seanad:

The last thing I want out of Brexit, the last thing, the very last thing, is anyone on about border polls. The only time we should have a border poll, in my view, and I’ll argue this for the rest of my life, is when the nationalists and republicans and a respectable, sizeable amount of unionists and loyalists are in favour, and on the basis of consent,” said the former Taoiseach.

“Having a sectarian headcount or political headcount is the last thing we should do,” he added.

Since Britain voted to leave the EU, he said people had been using the issue to say that now is the time for a border poll. While he said there are provisions in the Good Friday Agreement for such a poll, he said the timing must be right.

“This is not the time for that. There is a time for it, there will be a time for it. I think we should all do our best to get to that time by convincing people and winning people over – but don’t put it into this debate,” he told the Seanad this morning.

Sinn Féin’s Niall Ó Donnghaile said he took offence to Ahern’s use of the word “sectarian head count”.

“I don’t think that would be a sectarian head count, it would be a referendum like any other,” said  Ó Donnghaile.

He  agreed that talks on Brexit should not be hijacked by discussions of a border poll, but said there has been a “societal shift” in Northern Ireland.

“I’m not saying utilise it in cynical way, but I don’t think we should long or wish for unity – we should work for it,” he concluded.

On talks with the British on “non-trade issues” ( citizenship, the CTA  and free movement), Bertie went on:

Under the Good Friday Agreement Ireland had the right to hold bilateral talks with the British on non-trade issues.

“The reality is it’s an international agreement and we have every right, every right, to bilaterally negotiate, not the trade issues, but on the other issues to be able to negotiate with the British. I don’t accept the argument that we’re precluded on those issues,” Mr Ahern said.

“I know Guy Verhofstadt, I know Michel Barnier, I know Jean Claude Juncker,  I’ve dealt with these guys for 20 years, they don’t have a different view. The strength of our argument on the non trade issues is that the Good Friday Agreement allows it.”

Mr Ahern said he believed the British were “deluding themselves” that they’re going to be able to strike great trade deals with the rest of the world post Brexit.

Mr Ahern explained that the border issue with Northern Ireland will pose enormous difficulties if Britain leaves the Customs Union.

He said the only two options open if that happens were if the British government and EU negotiated some kind of special arrangement to ensure borders remained open.

He said that a second option would be placing the border between Northern Ireland and England, rather than between north and south.

Mr Ahern also said that without a trade deal there would be no Brexit agreement. Forty-four per cent of all British goods were sold into the EU at this time, with 16 per cent of all EU products exported into the British market place.

He said Britons were “deluding themselves that they’re going to make great deals” by sending out delegations to India and Australia. The UK needs to stay as close to the EU as possible, he said, because of loss of 5 per cent of trade from the EU would need a 25 per cent increase in other areas just to remain at status quo levels.

“It is undoubtedly the case that if a trade deal is reached then a transitional period of a number of years will have to be put in place post-March 2019 so as to allow any new trading arrangements to take effect between the EU and Britain,’’ he added.

 

 

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  • Mark Petticrew

    I’ve toyed with the idea of cantonisation myself. An old school unitary state would fuel unionist alienation and so I wouldn’t advocate that, but I’m no rush to continue with the 6 county jurisdiction either in a united Ireland; my confidence in the Stormont institutions after the last few years being at a particular low.

    Through the creation of Swiss-style cantons in say Bangor, Carrickfergus, Lisburn etc, unionists will at least be able to feel like masters of their own house in their respective unionist strongholds, plus I just generally warm towards democracy operating on a more local level.

    That said, the nuances of such cantonisation do need to be explored in greater depth; it being very much an abstract idea at the moment.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Bertie Ahern. Unable to manage his personal finances without looking for handouts.

    Give me a moment. It’ll come to me………

  • T.E.Lawrence

    That was a great video you put up Mark the young boys at the bonfire is exactly the same background that I come from. It is and always will be an identity issue

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Aka Balkanisation … Switzerland sounds great, post-Dayton Bosnia maybe less so. Not sure I’m comfortable with a Republika Srpska anywhere in NI, whether of a unionist or nationalist variety.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Equally one could imagine a U.K. container for the same thing. No particular reason to Irishify it.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Ignatieff got a lot of stuff about NI right, for a newcomer. The book of Blood and Belonging is worth a read. He gets it in part through having experienced the Quebec situation in Canada and through family the Ukraine/Russia territorial disputes and through the Jewish experience – as well as obviously being rather bright too. Thanks for posting.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    As my old boss used to say, people with get up and go, get up and go. (I eventually left the firm). A bit harsh I think but it’s true surely that the more enterprising you are the more likely you are to up sticks. Not just NI though, it’s a global thing.

  • Devil Éire

    this started with an assertion that there was some special bond between the two main peoples in Ireland that did not apply to other peoples in these islands.

    This was an assertion by Obelisk, not by me.

    My argument was to refute that. And I hate to gloat but I succeeded in that, unless you have a new counter-argument?

    When the roaring from the crowds at your personal awards ceremony has subsided, you might note that I never presented an argument in this discussion between yourself and Obelisk. I simply asked a question about your claim that the inhabitants of the British Isles share ‘the same lineage’. Let me repeat the question:

    Do you make that claim because of the presence of the term ‘British’ in the term ‘British Isles’?

    I asked, because the way you framed your statement: ‘of the same lineage like we all are in the British Isles‘ suggested that you erroneously believe the term ‘British Isles’ means the inhabitants of these islands are all somehow ‘British’. Later, you clarified your statement to be no more than a woolly, meaningless, we’re all loosely related at some level, so I had no further interest in the matter.

  • john millar

    “Sectarian, or what?”

    Please indicate what other way a single state will occur in Ireland

  • john millar

    “The debate must go on. There are too many fabrications being reported at truth to detract from the cause of reunification and they must be challenged”

    Repeats

    “If /when the Roman catholic Community reproduces in sufficient numbers and votes the protestant in NI out of the UK then an entity with a dissident minority will arise.
    There is no need for further “debate”

    Attempted dialogue/campaigns are with the wilful deaf.

    The idea that the prod will convert to support for a UI is risible with people who respond with a litany of republican actions over the last (take your pick.50,100 400 ) years.

    The fundamental flaw (or or blind stupidity) in “republicanism” is in focusing on “England” as the problem
    disregarding the clear intentions that the preferred solution was a single parliament on the Island of Ireland.

    George V speech June 1921

    “I appeal to all Irishmen to pause, to stretch out the hand of forbearance and conciliation, to forgive and to forget, and to join in making for the land which they love a new era of peace, contentment, and goodwill”

    Republican Ireland is slowly limping towards the conclusion that the roadblock is not the UK but the intransigent Prod
    How have the efforts to remove the roadblock gone so far?

  • john millar

    “What you have said honestly makes no sense at all”

    Then I suggest you provide an alternative “route” to a single entity on the island of Ireland

  • john millar

    “You are correct, go to NY and you’ll meet many people from Belfast who own successful pubs, restaurants, etc.”

    All funded by the British taxpayer

  • john millar

    “PS: Every time I mention NI is a basket case (economically) my unionist friends go very silent.”

    Only because of the high social costs Those are being eroded excellent news

  • john millar

    Check where the handouts are going then come back to me

  • Skibo

    John Your first point on the Catholic community out breeding the Protestant community is an ignorant explanation of the multi layered society that we all live in.
    It assumes firstly that all Catholics are republicans at best and Nationalists at worst. I come from that community and they are much more rational than that. We believe in doing what is best financially.
    Previously it was always thought that the preservation of the Union was the safeguard of NI society and that a reunited Ireland would lead to calamity.
    When we look more completely into the economies of the two sides of the border, we see that the South has gone from strength to strength while NI is progressively on a downward trajectory.
    As for convincing “Prods” over the last 400,100,50 or now that a reunited Ireland is worth striving to, I would suggest you examine the history of revolution in Ireland. It is abundant with Protestants and particularly Presbyterians.
    The issue is not just the intransigent Protestant, it is the fact that the British Government have backed them to the hilt in believing that they did not have to compromise. The British Government sat back all through the old Stormont days fully aware of what was going on in the North but not prepared to do anything about it.
    Britain put themselves on a pedestal as the first great democracy and the protector of the democratic way of life in the world yet here on their back door, they allowed the democratic process of Ireland demanding independence as a nation to be curtailed by a minority in the North East. Now that the majority is slipping into minority, watch how the direction of negotiations will move to re partition to reestablish the once thought, never to be overtaken Protestant majority.
    Britain should stop pandering to the whims of the Unionist politicians and start acting as a neutral benefactor for the whole of the North.
    if they truly believe in the GFA then they should have allowed the position of reunification to be fully explained to the people and stop all this crud about the discussion of reunification being sectarian.

  • john millar

    ” convincing “Prods” over the last 400,100,50 or now that a reunited Ireland is worth striving to, I would suggest you examine the history of revolution in Ireland. It is abundant with Protestants and particularly Presbyterians.”

    I am fully aware of the “history of revolution in Ireland” you would be better examining the reasons for its loss of the abundance of “Protestants and particularly Presbyterians.”

    “The issue is not just the intransigent Protestant, ”

    “they allowed the democratic process of Ireland demanding independence as a nation to be curtailed by a minority in the North East.”

    “The Minority in the North East” expressed (and continue to express) their wish for separation from the rest of the Island of Ireland -a not dissimilar position of Republican Ireland to the UK.

    “If they truly believe in the GFA then they should have allowed the position of reunification to be fully explained to the people and stop all this crud about the discussion of reunification being sectarian.”

    There are none so blind as those who will not see.
    The opportunity to “allowed the position of reunification to be fully explained ” is already fully open. Who is opposing it ? Who is “explaining” it ? What barriers are their to their “explanations”.

    The more important questions are is who is or is not listening.

  • Skibo

    The loss of so many from other religions on the demand for independence resulted from Big House Unionism who were concerned at loosing control of the highly industrialised area of the North East and promoted the issue of Home Rule being Rome Rule. The fact that the Protestant region of Ireland were not confident enough to hold their own resulted in a more powerful position for the Catholic Church within Ireland.
    The pandering to the minority in the North East allowed a Nation to be divided. It seems ” democracy means democracy can be bent to suit your own view point. Ireland is a nation and an Island had voted on mass for a Republican party in 1918 and to appease a minority, the British divided a nation.
    As for the position of reunification, if it is already fully open to discussion, why do Unionist politicians keep raising the Sectarian flag every time anyone try to bring reunification to the table?
    Unionism say they cannot have SF raising it as that would be a continuation of their war of independence by another means, is that not what the democratic system is all about?
    If not SF then who will they listen to? They say Southern politicians should not be allowed a part of internal discussions!

  • MainlandUlsterman

    This is getting really silly. You lost the argument, move on. I have already explained fully how and there is no need to repeat it. Just read the thread please.

  • Skibo

    As for the issue of the lack of Protestants and Presbyterians within the republican camp now, as I stated previously, that had more to do with the shout of Home Rule being Rome rule than any forcing of non Catholics from the republican fold, rather they were embraced and were normally found in leading positions.
    You have not addressed the right of a Unionist minority in Ireland being allowed to form their own region within the Ireland. How is this democratic?
    Areas of Northern Ireland have always voted Nationalist or Republican, why are they not allowed to set up their own independent region?

  • john millar

    ” if it is already fully open to discussion, why do Unionist politicians keep raising the Sectarian flag every time anyone try to bring reunification to the table?
    Unionism say they cannot have SF raising it as that would be a continuation of their war of independence by another means, is that not what the democratic system is all about?
    If not SF then who will they listen to? They say Southern politicians should not be allowed a part of internal discussions!”

    I return to my basic point The GFA sets out the premise that if/when and ONLY if/when majority in NI and the ROI vote for a single parliament solution for the island of Ireland then such event will take place. Such even whilst providing a single parliament- is unlikely -in present circumstances -to provide “unity”

    “Discussion” is thus pointless –I do not believe that it is sectarian to point out that NI is seriously divided on sectarian grounds and that this division is reflected in its politics.

    Republican Ireland can attempt to “sell” a UI to its hearts content I can see no barriers to the sales pitch- what it has to accept is a no sale. To continue the analogy they may have to consider changing the sales pitch -including the sales team and try again

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    But that’s a ‘falling star’.

  • john millar

    “As for the position of reunification, if it is already fully open to discussion, why do Unionist politicians keep raising the Sectarian flag every time anyone try to bring reunification to the table?”

    Who (or what) is preventing the promotion of a UI ? The market appears to be open
    It appeas at present is a “no sale” in NI. Failure in sales usually requires changes in “products” and changes in sales teams .

    Who is selling a UI Who has to buy?

    Don`t confuse not hearing with not listening

  • Fear Éireannach

    Very well said, JTO. An economically illiterate SF cannot lead us forward, and we need some Salmond type leaders who can and I do not see those. We need a party with a clear objective of promoting enterprise, although the small state aspect could be over done as people still want public services. While your comments about the IRA campaign are valid, this was 20 years ago and does not explain the present lethargy in the NI economy, any more than the West German economy in 1965 was mainly determined by the war. Blaming the troubles at this stage is a too easy a way out for some people.

  • john millar

    “They were desparate to get out you mean, even though yes, you are technically speaking correct to say that the Republic only left the Commonwealth formally in 1949.”

    Not so desperate that they continued to claim “Commonwealth Preference” on their exports to the UK right up to accession to the EU

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    ‘Anti-Britishness’ (by which you mean anti-UK) is an absolutely reasonable and respectable viewpoint. You seem to be implying that there is something disreputable about being for the dissolution of the last remnants of the British Empire. On the contrary it has a long and respectable history. Ask the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, India, Ireland, Kenya etc.

  • john millar

    “As for the position of reunification, if it is already fully open to discussion, why do Unionist politicians keep raising the Sectarian flag every time anyone try to bring reunification to the table?”

    It is not sectarian to point out that NI is divided on sectarian lines

    Anyone interested can try to sell a UI– currently its NO SALE Consider changing the product mix and the sales team if necessary -NO results guaranteed .
    Don`t confuse (as my partner does) deafness with not listening

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    You had better tell Nigel Farage and his large band of English supporters that nationalism is fading in power, then. One of the drivers of Brexit was the upsurge of English nationalism. And not before time. England needs to ditch the last strains of “British-ism” as a cover for it’s nationalism, be honest about the demise of Empire, and be it’s own nation without Scotland and NI.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    And are you really telling us it is current DUP strategy?

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    You may, but we don’t hear much evidence from you.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    try reading the threads

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I think they’ve been lacking too. I dare say it is their strategy to make the institutions work – it certainly ought to be – but I think they could have handled SF’s trouble-making a lot better. That said, God help anyone having to deal with those sharks.

  • john millar

    “Areas of Northern Ireland have always voted Nationalist or Republican, why are they not allowed to set up their own independent region?”

    Post code by post code polls and secession to the ROI ?

  • Skibo

    John that NO SALE could be OPEN TO OFFERS after Brexit!
    As for the sectarian divide, that was done in 1921!
    What I refer to is the constant haranguing by Unionist politicians when people try to put forward reasons for reunification, referring to is as being sectarian. The odd thing is they do not refer to the birth or the continuation of NI as sectarian.

  • Skibo

    Well it is as arguable an argument as your’s is for the partition of Ireland.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Lots of people around the country think there is something to British identity which is worth having alongside our other identities – including many Brexit voters. I know there are a lot of little Englanders in there too, but actually English nationalism as such is still seen as a bit weird, at the time of writing. Maybe that will change but I’m not sure that change will be driven by people in England. Most people rather like their British identity and don’t see it as clashing with being English. There are also lots of people in England, especially in BME groups, who don’t self-identify as English but who are proudly British.

    Some in England have a rather Anglocentric view of Britishness perhaps; but then we all have our own versions of Britishness around the country, that’s totally fine and normal – it could hardly be otherwise. We have a very Ulster-centric form of Britishness in NI – as you would expect. It’s all good.

    What I think we really have going on with Brexit is not English nationalism so much as a divide within the whole UK. I’ll borrow from David Goodhart here because I like his dichotomy – he talks about the division between Somewheres and Anywheres (http://www.hurstpublishers.com/book/the-road-to-somewhere/). This same phenomenon may apply in many Western countries, we can posit. In the UK, because of our composite nature, issues of national cohesiveness may have consequences for the holding together of the country’s constituent parts; in France it will play out differently, in the US differently again – but it’s the same basic phenomenon and it’s not primarily about whether we work better together or separately as political units. Rather, regional nationalist parties are seizing on the opportunity of a divided and weakened UK to pursue their traditional missions. They may gain some ground. But I don’t think the internal contradictions of those nationalisms have magically been cured. They are just surfing a wave of hope driven by political flux over our exit from the EU. It can only take them so far, and there won’t necessarily be bigger waves to catch if they come tumbling off the board on this one.

    Really, all this stuff about English nationalism etc, it’s there but the focus on it is a skew that comes from a very non-English nationalist point of view. It’s not what’s going on in England itself. Yes there is a strain of English nationalism in evidence, but only really as a response to the rise of separatism in Scotland and quite reactive in nature. No one except on the real fringes talks of England being better off alone, which is something of a give-away. If Scotland votes to stay in the UK, the English will not be pushing to eject it. However, many do get hacked off by constant anti-English whingeing from Scotland and say “well f*** you then”. But it’s not much more than that.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Frankly, not in Northern Ireland it isn’t – it is sectarian, because a good chunk of the population is British.

    When I say anti-Britishness I don’t mean just anti-UK as an identity, I mean anti-British people. In Irish Republicanism in Northern Ireland, a place they share with British people, you see two forms of anti-Britishness – against the UK state and against British people indigenous to Northern Ireland, who are made to feel alien, routinely negatively stereotyped and ethnically scapegoated.

  • Devil Éire

    Displaying remarkably low reading comprehension skills, you appear to persist in believing that I have a stake in your argument with Obelisk. Since I can’t put it any more plainly than my previous post, I have nothing further to add.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    It seems to me that you are deliberately closing your eyes to the situation, because it’s one that does not suit you. “It’s all good” you say. Well it’s not all good when one country (touted by the other as an ‘equal partner’ in the union has 50 odd MP’s whose proposals on behalf of their country are always (that’s always) voted down by the other larger country. It is not a sustainable situation.

    Your playing down of English nationalism won’t do either. Of course you want it to go away as it will lead to England getting shot of a barely-wanted-even-now NI in the nearish future. But it is a rising force. It will rise in the same way and for similar but less authentic reasons as the Scottish variety.

    What do you think Brexit was but the first stirrings of English nationalism? These forces do not just go away – once started, they will have their expression, whether you like it or not.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I think the forces behind English nationalism are quite different. It’s quite different from nationalist traditions in say Scotland or Ireland. In particular, a lot of the patriotic strain of people in England is invested in British identity and pan-British symbols and institutions, albeit with a heavy English accent.

    You can barrack me all you want on this but I’m actually not naive about identities and the nature of Britishness, indeed have spoken at research conferences and worked on it myself. I completely agree we are in a state of flux but I’d also point out things don’t always get turned quite as upside down as all that. There are many reasons why Britishness and the UK could well endure, as well as reasons it may change. The Scotland secession is really a close one and could go either way. But it’s far from certain to go the way you’d wish. It’s 7/4 against Scotland leaving the UK before 2020 with Paddy Power at the moment; but who knows. I’m just very wary of people thinking there are historical inevitabilities about any of this. But if you have an inside track, go place some bets. It sounds like you can make a killing by knowing stuff the bookies don’t 🙂

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Ad hominem again – thank you for that, always the cherry on top.

  • Mark Petticrew

    I couldn’t see the Bosniak-Serb two entity approach being a viable option here anyway, for whilst there may be a Bann divide between the ‘greening’ west and the unionist east, it’s far from a clear cut one; as this image demonstrates.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d7ee0d131ca5832fc6c1e9184b114093418be09396ee3c40d68c2a2f4c6de2d4.png

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I think Bosnia is/was a similar patchwork.

  • Mark Petticrew

    It did at one time have a more mish-mashed character, but the Bosnian War changed that quite significantly; making the Bosnian subdivision of today a neater demographic fit than it would’ve been pre-1992.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6c422e2ab5cc203045ff7249495036849830721c82daf1b2e9b5d2e0b8af0bcf.jpg

  • John Collins

    Did Dev actually ‘withdraw from the Commonwealth’ or was it John A Costelloe?

  • John Collins

    And it was Fine Gael, with John A Costelloe as leader, the natural successors to Cuman na nGaedhael, the once great Commonwealth Party, that actually left the Commonwealth

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    You may have ‘spoken at research conferences and worked on it myself’ but that does not insulate you from a large degree of wishful thinking. You identify with British (and English) nationalism, but if you found yourself on the other end of the stick you would pretty soon change your tune. And this may well happen to you quite soon. I don’t promise not to say ‘I told you so.’

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    It is ‘an entity with a dissident minority’ (- soon to be a majority) right now, so what are you anticipating the difference to be?

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    Perhaps by the unionists finally facing the fact that nobody wants them, but that they might be able to make a case for uniting with the rest of Ireland? Just for the sake of economic survival, like, eh?

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    Here’s a little snippet from the New Statesman for you MU

    The great gender philosopher and theorist Judith Butler posited that all gender is performance. She suggested that there is no fixed state of gender, but rather a continual process of gendering which occurs. She argued that this happens in every day life in a continual basis, but is encapsulated in drag queen performances, which pivot on gender being played out in parodic and playful proportions to achieve in high camp. In Gibraltar, we might see a similar performativity of identity, where Britishness is substituted for gender. Here, Britishness is played out in high camp, to almost farcical effect.

    This performativity of Britishness can also be seen among Protestant communities in Northern Ireland, another part of the UK where British identity is not stabilised or guaranteed but which is only achieved through daily performance. From Ballymena to the Shankill, Northern Irish Protestant communities engage in an elaborate performance of Britishness, from hanging portraits of the queen above family fireplaces, to decking homes in Unionist Jack bunting and ending community events with rousing renditions of God Save The Queen.

    Such heightened performed Britishness however, inherently undermines itself. In seeking to prove their similarities to mainland Britain, they only achieve in making a drag performance of constitutional politics. In engaging in flamboyant acts, they seek to be more British than the British themselves but in so doing they create a culture which few in Britain would recognise.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    That we all have common ancestry

  • MainlandUlsterman

    And how do you square that kind of attack with the status of British identity in Ireland agreed in the GFA almost 20 years ago?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Sorry, what exactly is going to happen to me?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    They’d be wrong then!

  • Hugh Davison

    MU and Skibo, who mentioned Collins? You made a statement about displaced population numbers. I offered another pov. You didn’t answer my question.
    But please don’t bother. I’m no longer interested. Cheers

  • Hugh Davison

    What kind of bun is ‘ein Enniskillener’? I kind of know what a ‘Berliner’ is, with all that custardy stuff in the middle.

  • Hugh Davison

    You mean; those crocodiles.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    No, sharks. Crocodiles are too cuddly.

  • john millar

    “John that NO SALE could be OPEN TO OFFERS after Brexit!

    1 All “offers ” (including the accept and we will stop bombing/murder) remain declined I do not think that brexit will shift that mindset

    2 ” the constant haranguing by Unionist politicians when people try to put forward reasons for reunification, ” are akin to the householder who has declined the salesman`s offer and finds the persistent salesman has his/her foot in the door.

    Marketing the pitch

    Instead of conducting a SWOT analysis- plus identifying the “stars” and “dogs” involved in the sales pitch and revising strategy the salesman keeps his foot in. Refusing to accept “no sale “the salesman has to be told to foxtrot oscar. This is not “haranguing”

    (Bear in mind that some people due to past experience of your “product” will not buy at any price)

  • Skibo

    John, that’s grand. I think you have made your views loud and clear.
    Do not however expect us to stop selling a perfectly good product. Superior to the present product you are using and with significant dividends to be paid in the future.
    You remind me of someone who has worked in the same job for 20 years. Your salary has not progressed as you do not know what your current wage band should be. Your employer has convinced you that is all you would get. You can get by but will have nothing left for retirement. Could you look for a new job with better prospects, you could, will you, no, too set in your ways. Not realising that you have not fulfilled your potential and will not do it in your present placement but don’t worry, others are not so afraid of change and prepared to look to better days.
    The interesting thing is, the very reason for not giving reunification a chance is the same reason that you are prepared to give Brexit a chance!

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    It’s not an attack – it’s a (proposed) description of reality which you are welcome to disagree with if you choose. But it is also a chance to consider ‘Britishness’ and perhaps see that there is a grain of truth in it – or maybe a few grains, and if so, a chance to change your alignment with reality.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    I have no idea what is going to happen to you. All I am saying is that placing your trust in a tory government to support your culture when there is no longer an interest from them is bound to lead to disappointment – unless you are of the rather rich shareholder class (- in which case you will have no trouble with your people being shafted).

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    (Great) Britain is the island which is comprised of Scotland, Wales and England. The other (large) island is called Ireland. If you live in Ireland you are Irish. If you live in Britain you are British. You can’t logically have a state of Britain in Ireland. People indigenous to Northern Ireland are Irish, not British.

    As for the negative stereotyping, I can see where it comes from. You only have to look at the Orange Lodge and the DUP. They seem to be the main drivers of ‘alienation’ themselves. And it’s a bit rich saying they are ‘ethnically scapegoated’ when they’ve spent the last couple of hundred years scapegoating the Catholics.

  • john millar

    “Could you look for a new job with better prospects, ”

    There is the rub.

    The ” jobs” on offer contain no better “conditions” or detailed starting “salaries” ,have some potentially violent “colleagues” and on past experience “job security” can be poor.

    It will be all right on the night is a poor recruitment slogan

    “Superior to the present product you are using and with significant dividends to be paid in the future.”

    As we used to say in the trade past performance is no guide to future performance, (Except possibly in the case of murder gangs who don`t get their own way)

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Hohoho! You’ve not read the Good Friday Agreement have you?! Even SF accepts us as British, officially at least. What are you then, a Republican dissident?! Ante-Diluvian stuff.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    We are aware we can rely only on ourselves. If you missed that no wonder you don’t get us 🙂

  • MainlandUlsterman

    It’s pretty horrible sectarianism though, had you not spotted

  • Skibo

    John, Brexit campaigned on the very same ideal, “it will be all right on the night” and yet you espouse the wonders of Brexit any chance you get.
    In the trade, all you have to go on is previous performance, what other guide can you use?
    As for the comment on murder gangs, are you missing the plot? There has been 18 years since the GFA. We have decommissioning and the IRA have gone away. Are you going to live in the present or keep referring to the past?
    The north has been on a downward trajectory since 1921. It has been subsidised since 1938. When are you going to accept that this project called partition has not worked.

  • john millar

    “John, Brexit campaigned on the very same ideal, “it will be all right on the night” and yet you espouse the wonders of Brexit any chance you get.”

    Not a huge “brexit fan” but have accepted that it was voted for and passed and am stuck with the decision

    “In the trade, all you have to go on is previous performance, what other guide can you use?”

    Not a good analogy- past performance includes

    http://www.wesleyjohnston.com/users/ireland/past/protestants_1861_1991.html

    https://sites.google.com/site/protestantcork191136/protestant-civilians-killed-in-cork-1921-1923

    “he north has been on a downward trajectory since 1921. It has been subsidised since 1938. When are you going to accept that this project called partition has not worked.”!

    Where has the “subsidy” gone who or what has been subsidised? As far as I can establish the only result produced by the “subsidy” is increased population with the subsequent demands on society in health housing and education. The complaints from a generation or more ago remain today.

    As a first step the subsidy should be removed , Tax should be devolved and NI required to live within its budget including any additional tax it chose to raise. The UK could remain as a LENDER of last resort for emergency funds. .

    A period of clarity would follow which would inform the population as to the appropriate course of action in relation to its relationship with the UK and the ROI

  • Skibo

    If you were supplied with an analysis of how a reunited Ireland would work would you be prepared to give it a fair wind?

  • john millar

    “If you were supplied with an analysis of how a reunited Ireland would work would you be prepared to give it a fair wind?”

    Provide me with

    ! Detailed profit and loss account
    2 Balance sheet
    3 Independent Audit and
    4 Enforceable “Penalty clauses” for failure
    and I will give the project full consideration.

    (once a bean counter always a bean counter)

  • john millar

    Just for the sake of economic survival, like, eh?
    In what way is their current economic survival at risk?

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    Hohoho yersel MU. Political agreements are one thing. Logical geographic definitions are another, and are more permanent – you should look them up. But you can say I am a Republican, and I certainly dissent from lots of things.

  • john millar

    “It is ‘an entity with a dissident minority’ (- soon to be a majority) right now, so what are you anticipating the difference to be?”

    In worst case a PIRA styled campaign with possibly more participation amongst the prods A 30/40 year campaign The ruin of a small country like Ireland

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    But you don’t rely only on yourselves. NI is financially supported by the UK state. Your culture is (as you might have seen from another post where I quoted a New Statesman article) a parody of Englishness.

    And I get yis ok. Brought up to be reactionary, fearful of any change, filled with superiority, inferiority and insecurity all at the same time. Not a pretty sight.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    If you are brought up with sectarianism, you’ll see it everywhere.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    Amazing how unionists have an endless appetite for violence, even when the other side has given it up.

  • john millar

    “Amazing how unionists have an endless appetite for violence, even when the other side has given it up.”

    Looking forward to that given up bit

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-10866072

    seems a future event

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    There will always be a minority of idiots – no need to add to their ranks.

  • Skibo

    Have you had a look at the economic paper produced in Canada http://prcg.com/modeling-irish-unification/report.pdf?
    Could you supply a similar analysis for NI continuing within the UK?
    (being a bean counter, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem)

  • Skibo

    Have you considered the views of Michael Burke on the subvention?
    http://politicaleconomy.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/MB-unity.pdf

  • john millar

    “Have you had a look at the economic paper produced in Canada
    Hardly funded and produced by independents

    Can be summemd up as really not too sure what would happen

    Quote

    “These building blocks are then combined to into three unification scenarios.
    The first scenario is the most conservative, indeed almost implausibly so. The unified Ireland
    finances the entire NI budget deficit; the harmonization of government functions reduces NI
    public expenditure by 2 percent; and NI’s adoption of the ROI tax system has no impact on
    attracting FDI or boosting productivity.
    In the second scenario, ROI finances the NI fiscal deficit; NI reduces public expenditure by 2
    percent. However in this scenario, the adoption the ROI tax system and approach to FDI
    catalyzes FDI inflows that drive a convergence of NI productivity to the level of ROI over a 15
    year period.
    The third scenario embodies the assumptions of the second scenario with the added twist that
    government savings are reinvested in the form of public investment.”

    More a speculation than a road map.
    No audited accounts and no penalty clauses

  • john millar

    I a big fan of ending the subvention and devolving tax totally to NI .
    This will focus minds north and south of the border inform the “unity “process and rationalise NI into a more realistic appraisal of its future.

  • Skibo

    John it is very interesting that you and I are actually on the same page on so many issues. The only place we differ is who we should be paying our taxes to.
    From what I can read between the lines, I believe you would actually be more interested in NI going for independence completely, perhaps in a similar way the IOM or the channel islands.
    Out of interest, in what ballpark do you believe the subvention actually lays?
    SF suggest that the figure supplied by the Treasury for running NI of in around 17.7B is a more realistic figure that the one Sammy Wilson (I was going to say fabricated) calculated while he was Finance Minister of around £23B.
    Sammy seems to have included quite a lot of percentages of monies that the Westminster Government pays for items very specific to Westminster and the overall defence budget.

  • Skibo

    I believe what they have done is provide three scenarios and follow them through using proven economic formulae. Would that not be the same if a business was going to consider a programme of growth or a take-over or merger?
    At lease we have some kind of indication.
    As for audited accounts, where do you think you will get them? What penalty clause? If there is an issue with covering costs, either taxes will have to be raised or there would have to austerity cuts. That is what we are dealing with, with the Tory Government.

  • john millar

    The last time I looked at it I made the “subvention” about 9/10 Billion.( If the “overheads” included in the compare were excluded (Parliament Transport etc) it reduced to 6/7)

    http://www.nicva.org/sites/default/files/d7content/attachments-articles/calculating_public_spending_and_revenue_in_northern_ireland_0.pdf

    Is not a bad cut at the item

  • Skibo

    John, the cost of running NI according to the information on the attached post is £17,745 million. Everything else is for the running of the UK and Westminster departments, some of which have definite links with NI and most that do not. The office of the SOS is a substantial cost.
    When I think of costs for running NI, I consider the £17.8B. This figure is 2011-12 figure and there has been substantial cuts in our budget since then.
    The North supply in taxation somewhere in the region of £14B in direct and indirect taxation but this does not include taxation on head office of national companies based in GB. It has been estimated that there could be in the region of a further £1B from these sources.
    That reduces the subvention for running NI down to £2.8B. To bear in mind all politicians tell us our budget has been reduced by around £1B since then, that leaves it in the region of £1.8B.
    The reason that NI taxation lags so far behind the UK average is due to our lower wage structure. Over approximately 5 years, I would expect the wage structures over Ireland to merge. Even if they did not meet completely, the subvention would disappear and we would start paying our way.
    Is that not what you want? No more begging bowl, a productive society and a far greater input into the direction of the government of the country.

  • john millar

    ” Even if they did not meet completely, the subvention would disappear and we would start paying our way.
    Is that not what you want?”

    Indeed. The first step is devolution of taxation
    Then- budgets set based on local tax takes without any subvention with associated revisions and reconstructions of publicly funded services.

    The myths( or otherwise) of “subventions” will be demonstrated and clarified for all to see (and feel)

    “this does not include taxation on head office of national companies based in GB. It has been estimated that there could be in the region of a further £1B from these sources.

    Given its low population levels (UK 2.7%) dependency culture and low wages NI cannot contribute more than 2.7% of “taxation on head office of national companies based in GB” ( In my day– admittedly a long time ago it was around 1-1.5%)

    “The reason that NI taxation lags so far behind the UK average is due to our lower wage structure.”

    There are no pressures on employers

    We have surplus labour provision particularly in some sectors ( in teaching, the unskilled we have a glut of graduates as Government short ” termism” encouraged students into Further education to blunt the dole queues)
    We have a general population level partially created and supported by a welfare state. I cannot see an improvement in wage levels in the future with out some “rebalancing” of the NI economy.

    The present situation whereby the public sector has largely wage levels- and working conditions– far beyond that available in the private sector is unsustainable and has to be addressed by alignment or shrinkage.

    Continuing reduction in “the subvention” are to be welcomed as a method of bringing reality

  • john millar

    “We’ve been over this. Repartition is impossible.”

    Strictly no– It has already occurred ib Derry -smalish scale where 17000 odd prods have repartitioned themselves out of the city side

  • Obelisk

    Irrelevant to the discussion and apparent mopery. The question was about physical repartition of the north, not internal migrations for whatever reasons.