The Rocky Road to Dublin for Northern Nationalists…

Back in March my article ‘Why Unionism Has a Problem’ seemed to strike a chord with the Slugger readership, so it is natural to follow the intrinsic problems of Unionism with another article that reflects the inherent problems facing Nationalism.

There is little doubt that recent elections have reinvigorated the idea of Irish unity that had been in the doldrums for a few years. There is a widespread feeling, particularly among young nationalists that a united Ireland is not only possible, but inevitable. In order for that to happen in the short-term a sufficient number of unionists must be persuaded to change their minds but if they do not, a Catholic demographic surge will decide the issue in the medium term. However, both these scenarios rest on the assumption that Catholics will overwhelmingly vote for a united Ireland and it is here that things begin to get complicated.

A BBC opinion poll conducted in September 2016 found that only 22% of people in Northern Ireland would vote for a united Ireland. If that stat is even remotely true then a large proportion of SDLP and even Sinn Féin must voters view a united Ireland as something they might desire but are frightened of implementing. This is scarcely surprising given Northern Ireland’s massive reliance on public sector employment. Local administrators will still be required in a post-unity scenario but will they required in such numbers? Not everyone feels strongly enough about the current political arrangements to risk their career, mortgage and prosperity in exchange for an uncertain future.

Everything of course also depends upon whether the Republic would want Northern Ireland to join it. This is often taken for granted but a joint BBC/RTE poll held in 2016 showed that only 32% of respondents in the Irish Republic wanted a united Ireland in the short to medium term compared with 66% who wished to see it happen in their lifetime, a figure that dropped to 31% if it meant paying more tax. It is clear therefore that for many, the aspiration for a united Ireland on both sides of the border is exactly that – an aspiration. People cool on the idea when confronted with the prospect of actually paying for it.

A united Ireland therefore only seems feasible only if it is at zero or modest cost to the Irish taxpayer, something that can only happen if there is massive financial subvention from an outside party such as the UK or EU, or, the Northern Ireland economy dramatically improves in terms of employment, wages and levels of economic inactivity to reduce the burden on an all-Ireland state.

So there’s the rub, a united Ireland might only be possible if Northern Ireland succeeds but if it succeeds too well, many Nationalists might decide no change is required and defer unity to ‘within their lifetime’, which could be forty or fifty years away.

Of course there are many more variables than the ones I have discussed and hopefully readers will comment on these. Unforeseen events such as the effects of Brexit will also shape people’s opinions. At present there are few transfers of allegiance across traditional lines but they do occur, and the younger generation seems less set in its ways than the old and middle-aged.

Politically there is everything to play for. The SDLP’s decline has side-lined it in the unity debate while Sinn Féin has become more pragmatic than in the past. The party is openly discussing continued devolution in the six-county area and how to accommodate a British identity in an all-Ireland set-up. These efforts have achieved minimal success so far and Unionism remains firmly in denial about the need to win over Catholics to offset the rising demographic tide. Mike Nesbitt’s attempt to build an alliance with the SDLP was rejected by elements of his own party and failed to make an electoral impact. The DUP, now clearly in the ascendant, while prepared to divide (a word I have chosen carefully) power with Sinn Féin, remain determined to resist any celebration or promotion of Irishness, a stance unlikely to gain many converts.

Crucially, what a United Ireland would actually look like remains foggy. Are Nationalists prepared to give up symbols that are precious to them, such as the Tricolour and Amhrán na bhFiann, to win over Unionists? Nobody knows and there lies the problem. To use a motoring analogy, who spends big money on a car without researching it first?  A United Ireland is within sight but is still covered with a tarpaulin and no one knows what’s beneath it. Republicans tend to think a gleaming new Ferrari sits there just waiting to be uncovered while Unionists fear they’ll be stuck with a clapped-out old banger they won’t even be allowed to drive. Others simply don’t want to risk the adequate but troublesome car they have at the minute for one that might be even worse.

  • Zeno3

    My advice to people who want a UI is to accept that they do not have the numbers and work to change that rather than prolonging the fantasy that there is a large enough demand for UI and it is coming any day now because all the Prods are going to die or some other nonsense.
    The Irish government realise the support isn’t there and SF and the DUP also know that otherwise a border poll would be a red line is all negotiations. It never has been.

  • Paddy Reilly

    That 10% of pro-British people in West Belfast might not vote in a General Election I can understand, there isn’t a snowball’s chance of them getting the M.P. of their choice, but why not in an Assembly election, when they could win a seat?

    Actually, the correct estimation of the Unionist vote is 13.4%, the same as Frank McCoubrey’s vote. This falls short of the 16.65% who called themselves Protestants, but we have to allow the possibility that the others contributed to the 1.8% Alliance vote. I think there are also a certain number of Protestants in West Belfast who are married to a Catholic and vote for the Nationalist side.

    The ‘British’ designation must include Nationalists who have a British passport, or were born in Glasgow or something. It is after all, a question about Nationality, not about voting preference.

    And of course, like the opinion polls, it is out of date. The census was in 2011. By now people may have wised up to what misuse may be put on their answers by the likes of you.

  • Paddy Reilly

    Yes, but wouldn’t they be more motivated if they had accurate data from an official, secret and universal opinion poll to enable them to see how erroneous their ideas are?

  • Paddy Reilly

    I didn’t produce a poll from 2001 In fact you just did. You complained of people saying every poll that says UI isn’t inevitable is wrong. Every poll includes ones from 2001.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    And will people from British backgrounds be welcome in your united Ireland or not? It sounds like you don’t think they belong.

  • Paul Dunne

    Yes they will be like the Irish travellers and have their own ethnic minority status and the Orange Order can still march up to the top of the hill and march back down again. As Sinn Féin say we have to accommodate the unionist British identity with an agreed Ireland.

  • Zeno3

    Every poll includes ones from 2001.

    What are you talking about? You seem a bit confused.

  • Zeno3

    Yeah THE Census is wrong The Polls are all wrong. Everything that says UI isn’t inevitable is wrong.
    Does it not occur to you that a lot people in West Belfast who identify as British might not bother voting. The DUP would not be everyone’s cup of tea.

  • Zeno3

    Seaan it’s hardly my fault that the DFM was part of funding and commissioning a poll that showed 19%. I only pointed it out to counter your argument that all polls give the result the people funding or commissioning them desire. If the DFM disagreed with it He really should have mentioned it at the time. If his successor disagrees she should mention it, otherwise it stands, no matter who you personally know.

  • Paddy Reilly

    I see, but are they going to spring into action for your referendum?
    Why? Because you want them to? As for the DUP, there have been plenty of elections in which the UUP and Alliance were also on offer, but again, insufficient takers.

    How you described your nationality, when asked in 2011, is a completely different thing to professing a life long commitment to keeping Ireland divided.

    The census is only wrong when your wishful thinking is applied to it. The question on nationality is not an accurate indicator on voting intention. And people are allowed to change.

    As for opinion polls: you complain that I left 20,000 people out in West Belfast. An opinion poll, by its very nature, leaves 99.999% of the electorate out, give or take a few 9s. What possible merit can that have?

  • Zeno3

    You left out the 20,000 non voters because your point doesn’t stand up if you include them. You said 21.5% in West Belfast stated they were British and you produce figures that didn’t include 35% of the electorate to support your idea that what people Identify has no bearing on how they might vote. Were you hoping no one would notice?
    So now you believe that peoples religion indicates how they will vote but that their stated nationality does not.
    Why? Because that works for your theory that all Catholics are Nationalists and will vote for UI.

  • Fick Mealty

    I get that with school over, you get a lot of time to troll around, but surely you have something better to be getting on with?

  • Fick Mealty

    Toye native
    I am not sure of the point you are making here – the fact is that the natures of the figures as above have been selected by super loyalist Zeno.
    Actually what we see west of the bann is generally a higher turnout among unionists, which helps drive the overall turnout up. FST is a prime example of an area with very few people describing themselves as other, so the link between religion brought up in is quite easy to match.
    Unionism may indeed get another 100k as you suggest, but this would require a massive increase in turnout (NI pop is 1.8m, voting register apx 1.2m, so overall turnout would need to increase by 8%, or 13-15% east of the Bann – I am not sure the DUP are popular enough among Protestants to get that).

  • Paddy Reilly

    You left out the 20,000 non voters because your point doesn’t stand up if you include them.

    I left out the non-voters because they did not express an opinion, so I had no way of determining what their opinion was, except to assume that it corresponded fairly closely to that of the voters.

    You on the other hand put forward the laughable hypothesis that you know what they think, and that it is contrary to what their neighbours and relations think, but coincidentally very close to the opinion of Zeno.

    You may be deceiving yourself, but I don’t think you’re taking in anyone else.

    Because that works for your theory that all Catholics are Nationalists and will vote for UI.

    I observe that there is an obvious correlation between religion and voting pattern, at least if you accept “Nationalist” and “Unionist” as the same entity. In some constituencies, such as Newry South Armagh, the Catholic = Nationalist hypothesis comes out spot on, in others, like Fermanagh/South Tyrone, the Nationalist vote is a few percentages short of the Catholic population. However in Foyle and West Belfast the Nationalist percentage of the vote is slightly higher than the percentage of Catholics in the population.

    So I do not have a theory that all Catholics are Nationalists. My observations of the electorate indicate to me that very nearly all are, and that exceptions to this rule seem to be balanced in numbers by exceptions from the other side.

    My theory is that people who vote for Nationalist parties, be they Catholic or Protestant, would also vote for a United Ireland. I have a similar theory that people who vote for Unionist parties would vote against a United Ireland. Obviously this theory needs to be tested. That is why I propose a universal non-binding opinion poll, Would you vote for a United Ireland if a referendum were held, YES/NO , to be given out at every election, Stormont or Westminster, and conducted under proper conditions of secrecy, etc.

    Will you aid me in campaigning for this obviously necessary measure to find out the popular will?

  • Zeno3

    “My theory is that people who vote for Nationalist parties, be they Catholic or Protestant, would also vote for a United Ireland.”

    If you mean all of them that is obviously a false theory.

    Your theory on Opinion Polls is they are all wrong.
    Your theory on Identity is that it does not indicate voting preferences.
    Is it not obvious that all of your theories are born out of what you want to believe rather that the actual facts.

    We don’t need a non binding opinion poll. It is common knowledge that there is nowhere near enough support to win a border poll. SF know, the Irish Government know, and the dogs in the street know.
    Why do you think that a Border Poll isn’t the first red line in the current negotiations? Is it because Gay Rights are more important or an Irish Language Act is more important to a political party that has a UI as their primary goal?
    You need to wake up. It’s because they know there is no chance of it winning and they fear an embarrassing defeat .But they continue to lie to you. Last week Gerry Adams said UI will be a few short years.
    They will tell you that every year for as long as you live.

  • Paddy Reilly

    Your theory on Opinion Polls is they are all wrong.

    My observations on Opinion polls is that, like a stopped clock, sometimes they are right. Exit polls are always the most accurate.

    Opinion polls from last year and before are quite irrelevant. The fact that all opinion polls favoured the Conservatives between 1952 and 1963 has no bearing on an election held in 1964, which can go the other way.

    But even the opinion polls are more accurate than the people who mis-quote them, trying to use them as a life-long contract.

    Your theory on Identity is that it does not indicate voting preferences.

    My observation is that there is little to no correspondence between identity percentages and voting. The “Northern Irish” choice can be chosen by Nationalists and Unionists. But the data is out there: why don’t you demonstrate how well it corresponds to voting patterns?

    We don’t need a non binding opinion poll. It is common knowledge that there is nowhere near enough support to win a border poll. SF know, the Irish Government know, and the dogs in the street know.

    Funny, I didn’t actually expect any enthusiasm from you. Asked for a universal poll, you instead propose confining the enquiries to the canine population.

    Why do you think that a Border Poll isn’t the first red line in the current negotiations?

    A referendum is not being talked of because the Unionists will demand a 7 year moratorium after it is held, if it misses, thus unnecessarily retarding Unification. But a universal opinion poll is something completely different. And it can be held at every election, which are very frequent these days.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    You really aren’t getting the subtleties here. What I’m pointing out is that a poll is something commissioned as a working tool and needs considerable contextualisation for any assessment of its worth. What it can never do is to describe a future which has not yet unfolded. It is not some magic window into what will happen. There are far to many imponderables at play, as any responsible user will know. By definition it must simplify very complex things, and the Holy Grail of polling is to poll in manner which removes as many such qualifying factors as may be removed consistently with permitting a meaningful answer. Simply asking 1200 or so people what they think on a few simplified and directive questions tells you what those people think on a few simplified and directive questions. The general trends issue requires a far, far more careful analysis of how the poll was conducted and on whom if it is of be of any use.

  • Zeno3

    “A referendum is not being talked of because the Unionists will demand a 7 year moratorium after it is held, if it misses, thus unnecessarily retarding Unification.”

    So there is a UI coming “any day now” and it’s inevitable, it’s obvious but they are afraid to demand one in case they lose.
    You couldn’t make it up.

  • Paddy Reilly

    But equally one needs to ask why, if a pro-UI majority is so unlikely, Unionists show no enthusiasm for the referendum in the first place, and demand a seven year moratorium afterwards?

    Nationalist strategy could be to hold the referendum at precisely the moment when a pro-UI majority emerges: Unionist to hold it just a month earlier, so that they get 7 extra years of life.

    But we should also bear in mind that a narrow win might provoke more Unionist violence, while a more comfortable majority would be more easily enforced.

  • Zeno3

    Unionists don’t want a UI. Why would they even want a referendum on it? Why should they have one? It’s not like if Nationalists lose they are just going to go away and forget about it.
    The union is the status quo, it is the default setting. If you want to change that don’t expect any help from people who oppose it.

  • Zeno3

    No one with any sense will base their opinion on one poll or even several polls. But when combined with other evidence we can reach a fairly safe conclusion. More than 70% of the Electorate don’t vote Nationalist, more than 70% don’t identify as Irish. More than 70% don’t identify as Nationalist and more than 70% have never shown any interest in a United Ireland in polls or surveys.
    I know this leads you to believe that a UI is inevitable, but for the rest of us it means something else.
    Now come back and say yeah but no but yeah but and give me the percentages of people who vote unionist, but that is unimportant because the Union is the default and to change that you need massive support, which isn’t arriving.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    You really, really are not getting what I’m saying. Forget for a moment this concern about who will or who will not vote for a United Ireland as seemingly “proven” by tiny samples of the population. Just look at what an opinion poll actually is.

    Any opinion poll is not a guarantee of what will happen, or even what is likely to happen, nor does it define who people are in any absolute sense. It employs a limited sample of people who are asked simple yes/no questions on some issue, and these quite significant limitations are what the information in any poll always needs to be evaluated against. If the person asking the question has, say, as “British” an accent as mine (I’m often asked even in Holywood shops “are you I enjoying your holidays?”) it may feel impolite or embarrassing to insist on answers which may offend them. Think about it.

    Back to the issue which is making you itch. Very few of us are on absolute ground about the Union or reunification. Every answer can be qualified or completely altered by additional information or alteration of terms. Even the most committed Unionist will sweat a little if he is offered a guaranteed income of half a million per annum with reunification. Even the most committed advocate of a reunited Ireland is going to have some trouble if reunification involves loosing point of delivery free medical care. The commitment to any political absolute, no matter how solid the support appears to be, will always be significantly conditional. Accordingly, the percentages you are quoting are simply baubles for political commentators to argue the eternal truth of their pet fantasy from, as even slight changes can ensure quite different results. My own belief is that the attractiveness of reunification will occur quite soon if we do not negotiate a Norwegian style deal with Europe, and there is an even greater drop in the economic situation here. I’ve mentioned the “nine out of ten” poorest areas of northern Europe which lie in the UK before. We are ourselves most certainly one of these regions, and if reunification offers a way out of economic decline, say, I expect that many people will find that their ideals are far more porous than they imagined.

  • Zeno3

    Ah Seaan. Forget opinion polls. I’m quoting you stats from the census and the election results. Your argument seems to have shifted from United Ireland ,it’s inevitable to it’s possible. If the UK is damaged by Brexit ,Ireland will also be damaged, so any idea that we will all be rich with unity will quickly vanish.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    My argument always was that you cannot infer figures into anything as subject to slight changes in zeitgeist as re-unification. An example: all of those half-million people signing the Ulster Covenant in 1912 were signing as Irishmen, with no thought for the political cobbling of partition which would unexpectedly follow. The Covenant is very precise and particular on this:

    “humbly relying on the God whom our fathers in days of stress and trial confidently trusted, do hereby pledge ourselves in solemn Covenant, throughout this our time of threatened calamity, to stand by one another in defending, for ourselves and our children, our cherished position of equal citizenship in the United Kingdom, and in using all means which may be found necessary to defeat the present conspiracy to set up a Home Rule Parliament in Ireland.”

    The vow was to defeat Home Rule in Ireland, not in six counties, and significantly to stand by Unionists throughout Ireland, not simply those standing in front of the then new city hall in Belfast. I’m sardonically amused to note that each and every signatory was forsworn with the setting up of the partitionist statelet and the abandonment of those they had pledged themselves before God to stand by.

    My point being? Over a few years Irish Unionists in the north acting on behalf of the whole of Ireland to sabotage the Home Rule Bill had closed borders and qualified solemn vows because of what they perceived as “necessity.” With England steadily reducing everywhere outside of the City of London to a creeping poverty (hosting “Nine out of ten of the poorest regions of northern Europe”), reunification with the remainder of an Ireland strongly supported by the European project can easily be seen as a coming necessity by anyone not drowning in ideology.

  • Zeno3

    As I said previously. Your argument has shifted from UI being not inevitable but not impossible.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I’m genuinely sorry you have not understood that I am making a complex argument, whose core is the unreliability of any figures as an indicator of a volatile and changeable future. Once it was geomancy, now its statistics, both fully require the final test of reality and can neither be used to confidently confirm a future open to change. The UI points are but one aspect of this.

  • Zeno3

    My apologies Seaan for being a bit thick. You did say UI was inevitable, to me that means certain, now you are coming up with all sorts of reasons why nothing can be predicted. I’m lost.
    By the way . None of the 20 poorest regions in Europe are in the UK.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “None of the 20 poorest regions in Europe are in the UK.”

    I’d referred to an assessment of northern Europe, which should represent the standard of wealth and income we are to be gauged against rather than the recent “new entries” to the EU, who have had a while to develop the kind of poverty we are aspiring to with our vote to pass the other way, out of the EU.

    https://www.exposingtruth.com/new-research-9-10-poorest-areas-northern-europe-located-uk/

    But please don’t worry, we may break out of simply being at the very bottom of the “northern Europe” league and perhaps hope to catch up with Riga, in Latvia, in the poverty stakes when the exit negotiations are concluded. While I’m never great fan of the Daily Mail, you may just find this helpful:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2617938/Revealed-How-parts-Britain-poorer-POLAND-families-Wales-Cornwall-Europes-worst-off.html

  • Zeno3

    “Therefore any prediction is just that, a prediction, it can never be a “proof” for something which has not yet occurred. I hope that helps.”

    Ah thanks Seaan. I’m working it out now. It’s ok for you to predict that a UI is inevitable, but it’s not ok for me to predict anything.
    Thanks for all your help. I don’t know what I would do without you.

  • Zeno3

    https://www.indy100.com/article/are-9-of-the-poorest-regions-in-northern-europe-really-in-the-uk–eJ0axHCqmx

    I’m sure you know what confirmation bias is Seaan.
    Maybe you should give it some thought before you offer up clearly biased evidence that is obviously contrived to make political points.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I’m stating an opinion about the inevitability of re-unification. I have a lot of historical material, including that quote from Craigavon I’ve posted recently, to support my impressions of how things may develop, but I’m painfully aware that I’m speculating from my analysis of a broad historical trajectory, not saying that figures or anything else must prove this must categorically be so (“it’s twew, it’s twew” like the girl in “Absolutely”). I believe it is inevitable, certainly, but I sincerely don’t know as you appear to know what you claim, for, after all, none of this has happened one way or another yet.

    I’m reasonably certain that the Unionist position is historically situated, and that the Union is withering, but again until it occurs I would not bet my life on the occurrence as a cert. As Socrates’ epiphany showed him, the realisation that we know that we do not know is the all important starting point. Glad to be of what help I may in bring some light onto our very murky political mess, even if it is only showing uncertainty.

  • Zeno3

    I reach my conclusions based on the current figures and trends. I see no increase in demand for UI and I see no one doing anything to bring it about. You dismiss polls but the Secretary of State rejected a border poll and quoted opinion polls and election results. Opinion Polls say there is next to no chance and the election results haven’t changed much in 20 years. In 1997 Westminster Election SF/SDLP got around 40% of the vote. 20 years later it was much the same. So there is nothing in the election results pointing at UI either.
    Inevitable is hardly the word.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Zeno, are you wilfully misunderstanding what I’m saying, or is it simply above your head?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Have you actually read your “refutation” Zeno?

    “The above image takes northern Europe to mean France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Austria, Ireland, Sweden, Finland and Denmark as northern European countries and our “near neighbours”. Looking at those countries, the statement is true.”

    Your link goes on to bring in southern European countries with very different economies to ours for comparison, or insists on a geographical usage which includes Latvia and Lithuania. All of this avoids the simple fact that the original I linked to offers the very real comparison of like with like economically, which including the others countries your link suggests would not achieve. If you read more carefully, you’ll see that the methodology of what I’d referred to is entirely sound, and the critique faulty. I’m really sorry, but Britain, compared to a group of similar northern European countries, is simply at the very bottom of the league, something anyone travelling in the north of England and in northern Europe would be able to tell you from direct experience. Just for the record, this link was originally sent to me by the aide to a high profile politician in the UK whose care in assessing such things I entirely trust.

  • Zeno3

    Of course I read it Seaan.

    The above image takes northern Europe to mean France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Austria, Ireland, Sweden, Finland and Denmark as northern European countries and our “near neighbours”. Looking at those countries, the statement is true. But those countries are not actually in northern Europe, nor are they typically used together as indicators. It also excludes other “near neighbours” such as Italy, Spain and Greece, all of which have regions that are poorer or just as poor as the UK according to the Eurostat data.

  • Zeno3

    There are a limited number of meanings to the word “inevitable” Seaan, and one of them is not “maybe” as in if all these things happen a UI will maybe happen.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    You are separating the word from how I’m using it Zeno. I “believe” re-unification to be inevitable because, as Craigavon himself claimed in the 1930s, Ireland is too small to continue disunited, and as the EU open borders have shown, our economic stability is primarily always going to be grounded in an all Ireland context. But I did not claim to be proving anything as your own employment of statistics appeared to be claiming. I believe something to be inevitable on rational grounds, but I cannot “prove” anything which not yet happened while alas, neither can you. My critique of your stance was on grounds of making excessive claims for the significance of figures which were if anything more speculative than my own logical deductions.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Zeno, it may come as a surprise, but the critique of the article which you are using was not authoritative in the manner in which the various Holy Texts of the world are believed to be. Anyone reading the article and the article i’d linked to would readily understand that the comparison of other states in northern Europe in my link was very much like for like.

    You may believe that the proper comparison of our economy would be Lativia and Lithuanian as your link suggests, or possibly Lisbon, Naples or Athens. And I’d fully agree that such comparison would clearly make the UK look good. But the comparators for British economic performance in past decades have always been successful advanced economies, not an evaluation against the “sick men of Europe” or against countries only recently out of the Communist economic system. I think most readers will understand this and recognise the significant point which the article I’ve linked to is making about that decline in our economy which has been its hallmark in recent decades. It is a truism that other than the financial strength of the City of London, the UK is and has been a poor economic performer by advanced European standards in recent years. Unlike many other countries in Europe, Ireland included, the UK also has a long record of neglecting its outer regions. The link I’d offered you eloquently reflected this unquestionable fact. The exit from Europe, which will close the very door which EU membership offered the City to act as the worlds principal finance market, can only ensure that the declining status of the UK increases in pace, with even greater neglect of the outlying regions as an inevitable consequence as the City itself withers. I’m perfectly willing to accept that after the exit the comparators you favour for our economy, the bottom rung of European economies, will be the comparators who naturally spring to mind over the coming decades. You are personally most welcome to the Spenglerian Götterdämmerung of ever increasing poverty with appears to be our coming lot in the Union, but I’d assume the hard common sense of most local people, no matter what their current politics, will ensure they will be looking for the exit from the UK long before we are reduced to begging red cross food parcels.

  • Deplorable Ulsterman

    More than 1 thousand – we’ve been going back and forth since the end if the ice age!

  • Toye native

    Very true

  • siouxchief

    Using this link again https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elections_in_Northern_Ireland which is good as it sums the unionist and nationalist vote for us.

    You can see in 1992 the total Nationalist vote was 34.2% and Unionist 56.3%.

    In 2017 that becomes 41.9% Nationalist and 49.2% Unionist.

    Therefore a 8% Nationalist increase and a 7% Unionist decrease in 25 years. If that was to happen again and given the accelerating numbers of young Catholics is a possibility it would be 50% Nationalist and 42% Unionist. Maybe I’ve missed something and the Nationalist turnout was at its lowest in ’92 but you can see that the 6 counties is definitely getting greener over time and needing every single Nationalist to be in favour of UI may not even be needed eventually if some of the middle 8% are for UI. That middle ground will eventually sway the vote I think which could predominantly be middle class Catholics.

  • Zeno

    siouxchief 4 hours ago
    Using sparrows link again https://disq.us/url?url=htt… which is good as it sums the unionist and nationalist vote for us.
    You can see in 1992 the total Nationalist vote was 34.2% and Unionist 56.3%.
    In 2017 that becomes 41.9% Nationalist and 49.2% Unionist.
    Therefore a 8% Nationalist increase and a 7% Unionist decrease in 25 years. If that was to happen again and given the accelerating numbers of young Catholics is a possibility it would be 50% Nationalist and 42% Unionist. Maybe I’ve missed something and the Nationalist turnout was at its lowest in ’92 but you can see that the 6 counties is definitely getting greener over time and needing every single Nationalist to be in favour of UI may not even be needed eventually if some of the middle 8% are for UI. That middle ground will eventually sway the vote I think which could predominantly be middle class Catholics.

  • Zeno

    3 Points First
    There is no accelerating numbers of young Catholics. In the 0-4 age group you can see a decline from the current numbers.
    1)
    15-19 year olds – 44.8 per cent
    10-14 year olds – 45.9 per cent
    5-9 year olds – 45.5 per cent
    0-4 year olds – 44.3 per cent
    See Midulstermans post further down.
    =====================
    2)
    Votes for Nationalist parties don’t convert to votes in a Border Poll.
    I believe the SNP held 56 of the 59 Seats and still lost the referendum.
    =====================
    3)
    The reason I looked at the figures since the GFA was because of Nationalist certainty that demographics would bring a UI. There has been virtually no change in the voting numbers taking the two highest Turnouts over the period. There has also been no change in the percentage of the electorate voting nationalist or unionist. Both are slightly down.