“Five to 10 years down the road, we’re looking at Irish unification because the economic forces at work just aren’t going to be reconcilable with the political situation.”

Some Unionists may have choked on their Rice Crispies this morning reading Margaret Canning’s story in the Belfast Telegraph – Reunification of Ireland is close, says top economist Posen. From the article:

The reunification of Ireland will take place “within five to 10 years” because the conflict between politics and the economy under the NI Protocol is not sustainable, an economist has said.

Dr Adam S Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said he believed there was “no good option” for the future of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Dr Posen, a former external member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, said he had been engaged with UK and Irish public policy for nearly two decades and had forecast complications from Brexit.

He said he believed Brexit had gone badly for the UK, and that was partly because it infringed the economic principle that “gravity matters” and you shouldn’t jeopardise trade with the people closest to you geographically.

Dr Posen said the border was where all the problems came to a head.

“There is no good option for what’s going to happen at the border.

“You either create a much stiffer economic border, rather than political border, which is only way to avoid smuggling disruption or other issues from an economic point of view.

“Or you do as you do now and have NI on the other side of an economic border that has enormous economic benefits to NI.

“Regrettably from an economic point of view, it’s very difficult to see it being sustained. Either the UK has to live with the fact that NI becomes much more attractive… and instead of levelling up, the particular zone with access to EU does better than rest of the country.

“Or you do huge amount of economic pain on the people of NI with a spillover to Irish people to maintain an economic border.”

He added: “Five to 10 years down the road, we’re looking at Irish unification because the economic forces at work just aren’t going to be reconcilable with the political situation.” He said for NI to have the “best of both worlds” under the NI Protocol required “political maturity”.

Political maturity eh? Not something we are renowned for.