Bits and pieces…

There is lots of small stories out there, so I thought I would shove them all into one post.

Are you unity curious? The big hunka hunka burning love that is Jamies Doran is. From the BelTel:

Jamie Dornan has revealed he would be “very intrigued” to know what a united Ireland would mean for health, education and the economy.

The Holywood-born actor said he was “very open-minded” to the idea of it.

In an interview with the Radio Times, Dornan said: “The wrong language has been used for too long and they need to tell people how it would look for health and education and economically, and the actual everyday things of life, rather than the sentimentality of it, the flag in it, and all that bulls**t that’s been wrecking the place for many, many years.”

He said of a united Ireland: “I’d be very intrigued to know what that looks like. There’s more of a willingness to talk about it than there has been in my lifetime and I’m very open-minded to the idea of it.”

Meanwhile, over in the FT, there is an article on What unionists could learn from Ireland’s nationalists. From the article:

There have been recent signs the DUP is reconsidering its boycott. That would be the wise choice. The unionist cause has nothing to gain from retreat. Unionist abstentionism scarcely makes the case that Northern Ireland’s prosperity rests with maintaining ties with the rest of the United Kingdom. What’s required now of defenders of the union is a leap of political imagination comparable to that of Irish nationalism’s admission that unionism cannot be coerced.

The contest, in other words, is one between persuaders. The outcome is not a foregone conclusion. The post-Brexit speculation about Irish unity has been overdone. The possibility that Sinn Féin may soon be the largest party in the Republic as well as in the north will doubtless heighten unionist anxieties further. But speculation about an inexorable march to a united Ireland ignores political realities on both sides of the border.

Just as many Catholics in the north say they would opt to remain part of the UK if a vote were held today, so many nationalists in the Republic are beginning to question whether their emotional commitment to ending partition is enough to make a success of reunification. Lord make me chaste, St Augustine is reputed to have said, but not quite yet.

The Good Friday Agreement put the choice about Northern Ireland’s constitutional future in the hands of voters on both sides of the border. For many, the issue is one of identity. But swing voters will make a hard-headed judgment as to whether nationalism or unionism promises a better future. If Northern Ireland remains in the UK it will be by consent. If they want to win the argument, unionists need to show Britishness works.

Back to the Beltel and Chris Heaton Harris points out the obvious. New role for Civil Service if no Stormont return, says NI Secretary:

The Government is preparing to take a bigger role in the running of Northern Ireland if an Executive is not formed, the Secretary of State has warned.
Chris Heaton-Harris also suggested he may not call an election on January 18, as set out in legislation.

He said that while there is a limit to how far the government would intervene in running Northern Ireland, preparations are under way to support civil servants “in stabilising public finances and services via a sustainable budget”.

That is the role the Stormont Executive would have played had it accepted the £3.3bn financial package from the government to restore power-sharing.

Writing in today’s Belfast Telegraph, the NI Secretary said the government “cannot and will not just stand by and allow public services and finances to decline further”.

“Which is why, just like last year, we are preparing a pragmatic and reasonable approach to support the Northern Ireland Civil Service in stabilising public finances and services via a sustainable budget, should the Executive not be back in place to do so itself,” he said.

Back in 1999, news presenter Jon Snow was looking £73k in today’s money to host some seminars at Stormont. Nice work if you can get it.

Irish Government ‘looked at taking up to 60% of NI territory during the Troubles

If you are on the market for a new gaff, this place is on the market in Hollywood for only £1 million. 

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