O’Leary’s Dalriada proposal keeps Northern Ireland and Scotland in the UK and the EU

The political scientist Professor Brendan O’Leary is one of the strongest supporters of power sharing in Northern Ireland and an deviser of political solutions to ethnic conflict throughout the world. On leave from Pennsylvania University and an old boy of St Macnissi’s Garron Tower, he has produced the Dalriada Document – inspired by the ancient North Antrim- west of Scotland kingdom. The Dalriada document is an ingenious attempt to square the circle of keeping Scotland and Northern Ireland in both …

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Brexit will strengthen the Union

Brexit will strengthen the Union, not weaken it. The vast majority of Scottish & Ulster trade is far and away with the rest of the UK. Scottish trade with the EU is down 20% in the last year with the USA being Scotland’s single biggest export country. The Republic of Ireland accounts for only just over 4% of Northern Ireland sales (which is more than Northern Ireland sales to the rest of the EU put together) A report from Barclays …

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Kenny tells EU to prepare for prospect of a Border Poll

Just in from the Irish Independent; #BREAKING Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said the Government and the EU must prepare seriously for the prospect of a border poll. More to follow — Independent.ie (@Independent_ie) July 18, 2016 Quotes from Enda; The discussion and negotiations that take place over the next period should take into account the possibility, however far out it might be, that the clause in the Good Friday Agreement might be triggered and that if there is a clear …

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The Nolan/Prime Time survey should be a wake up call for Nationalists

If you missed it last night both Patricia MacBride and Chris Donnelly featured on the joint RTE/BBC broadcast looking at issues such as a United Ireland, abortion rights and same-sex marriage. United Ireland To start with Irish unity and just who wants it, the survey found support for devolution strong on both sides of the border. For republicanism, it highlights the need to make devolution work and ensure that this place functions, before you contemplate any new ventures with a United Ireland. …

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The Queens University Border Poll – semantics, sectarianism or substance?

As many of you may be aware, the Sinn Féin students at Queens University in Belfast have succeeded in gaining sufficient votes to trigger a “united Ireland Poll” among the student body. This matter seems to have energised parts of the mainstream media to an inordinate degree, particularly the Belfast Telegraph. Personally I am all for for radical student politics, there is a long, proud tradition of rebellious students being at the forefront of political change and anger at the …

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Who needs a Border Poll? – Five Potential Futures for NI

We’ve all seen the articles over the last while which offer an exhaustive picture of the political ramifications that an independent Scotland would have on Northern Ireland’s fate. Though interesting, when I read them I have this nagging feeling that the authors are being all too short sighted. Through the science of climatology we know that the earth’s crust is probably just a few harsh words away from crumbling to bits like so much wet cake. How can you even …

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Talks on the past, no talks on the welfare deadlock, a border poll? No prizes for guessing what they amount to.

 Government by tweet is a curse as it fends off searching inquiry. Twitter is a blessing for the non-information strategies of government by politburo. I’ve never known a time when it’s been more difficult for political correspondents to do their jobs.  Is Liam Clarke of the Belfast Telegraph right when he fears a slow slide to a snap election? What would that change?  What about a border poll? Yet another ridiculous distraction. At best it’s a sign that  the public would …

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So, if there is a border poll, what might a Yes Ireland campaign look like?

On this morning’s Sunday Politics, the Bel Tel Political Editor, Liam Clarke said that a poll will appear in tomorrow’s newspaper stating that a majority of those surveyed would like to see a border poll. Clarke did not go into who would win such a poll if it is held, but I thought I would pen some thoughts I have been developing over the past few months. Last week I was in Scotland to live blog the referendum as the …

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Murphy: Does continued Partition or Irish unity offer better future

In the aftermath of the Scottish referendum, Sinn Fein have renewed their push for a border poll here. The party’s MP for Newry and Armagh, Conor Muprhy writes for Slugger making the case for holding a poll and Irish unity. On the 18th of September the people of Scotland exercised their democratic voice on the future of the Scottish Nation.  Throughout the referendum the people of Scotland engaged in an informed and respectful debate and they have now made their …

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Why Sinn Fein would actually want to call a ‘friendly’ Border Poll now…

listen to ‘@AlexKane221b and @chrisadonnelly discuss the possibility of a border poll following the Scottish referendum.’ on audioBoom This is from Good Morning Ulster with a great take from our own Chris Donnelly on Sinn Fein’s motives for calling a border poll the day after the Independence referendum result in Scotland was announced.. to keep the issue of a united Ireland at the centre of political discourse in Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein fear a normalisation of politics at Stormont. with …

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After IndyRef #3: Why Northern Ireland may be the very last bit to exit the United Kingdom…

Alex Kane thinks it’s all over in Scotland for another generation. Well, maybe. The problem with that argument is that the political system may already be re-wiring itself in Scotland around the battle lines of the campaign and the result. Next time out the British Prime Minister may not be able to count Scottish Labour as a bulwark to keep the Scots and Picts from rebelling more completely next time. Britishness is in serious decline amongst those who came of …

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Right then, let’s think hard about a border poll

The political conditions for the Scottish referendum were simple compared to anything likely to apply in Ireland.  With the dominance of the proportionality principle in the institutions, the weight of the GFA is against it and a new political chapter would have to be turned before it is conceivable. It would become a potential result of a good long time of stability not a way out of the present near- deadlock. So sorry to disappoint, but there won’t be a referendum anytime …

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So do you think we are mature enough for a Border Poll Gerry? Do you really?

So… Gerry Kelly reckons there's the maturity here for border poll – is he right? – http://t.co/7QNUuyDX3V — Jonny Bell (@JB_utv) September 19, 2014 Well, yes. But hey, there’s the sense of humour problem. And then there’s Gerry’s own wee problem in his own back yard which he either cannot or will not fix. And how likely is it that any UK government will be lulled quite so easily as Mr Cameron was into giving all the goods away at …

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Irish Republicanism needs to be more Levesque and a little less Salmond on a border poll

À la prochaine fois!, (until next time) declared the separatist premier, Rene Levesque as he conceded defeat on the night the 1980 Quebec sovereignty referendum failed. Standing like a proud general with his supporters weeping as their dream of an independent francophone Quebec went up in smoke, Levesque knew that while his objective of achieving sovereignty was over, he had run a respectable campaign and had garnered enough support (40%) to leave the movement an opportunity have another go at …

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“No one party or leader will unite this country…”

David McCann with a republican view on why Sinn Fein’s calls for a border poll in the near future are undermining any long game chances of achieving a unified island: The old republican strategy of ‘It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose but how you’ve played the game’ is precisely why we have achieved next to no success in ending partition. Instead of coming up with common sense proposals and some new thinking on what a united Ireland would …

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Ignoring the small issue of a border poll, what might a new united Ireland be like?

MLA Conall McDevitt

(This should have appeared early on Friday morning – until the gremlins got in the way.)

Last week, before the release of the BBC NI Spotlight poll, I talked to a local MLA about the concept of a new Ireland. Over the last few months there has been an increasing level of chatter analysing the mechanics of calling a border poll and interpreting census results.

Curiosity got the better of me and I decided to delve under the instinctive longing and loathing that is so often associated with the notion of a united Ireland to explore what the new state might look like if the conditions could ever be met to have a poll.

Much – though not all – of the commentary comes back to promoting a nationalist ideal of an El Dorado paradise or declaring the unionist nightmare of forcibly cutting ties to the British monarch.

Intellectually it’s a lot more interesting to get beyond the emotion and wonder … What if? What might be the shape of this potential state? How might the population in the north east corner relate to those in the south west? What governance arrangements might be put in place, or indeed left in place? What parts of Northern Ireland’s public sector and civil society would survive, or even thrive? How would the six counties integrate with the twenty six?

And while a poll may be a distant prospect, grasping the Presbyterian principle of ‘not refusing light from any quarter’ I wondered whether a Northern Ireland that is still settled in the Union had anything to learn from new Ireland thinking.

I’d heard Conall McDevitt, SDLP MLA for South Belfast, talking about the importance of region at an election event a couple of years ago, so I met up with him last week to pick his brains. We talked about identity, economy and his opinion of Sinn Féin’s “flag-waving” activity around the border poll. But first I asked about his vision of a united Ireland.

I think one of the great issues with the debate around the a border poll and in fact one of the great issues within both Irish unionism and Irish nationalism is that we have an awful habit of wanting to either remain in the union or to be in a united Ireland. But if we’re honest with ourselves we haven’t done a huge amount of work in trying to work through what that would look like (if you’re thinking about a united Ireland) or to consider the practical issues around it. How would you pay for it? What system of government might be best? Would it be a unitary state? Or would you have a federal Ireland?

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Spotlight Poll: A ‘crisis’ of widespread political mislabelling?

It says something about how little parties in Northern Ireland spend talking to their voters that last night’s findings (full data here) seem to have knocked all of the parties back on their heels last night. It was a bit like an old fashioned Dimbleby election night show only one where every single party had to spin some form of bad news as good. There were two facts that demonstrate that what we’ve been witnessing since early December is non …

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“a 65% to 17% majority for Northern Ireland remaining in the UK suggests little room for doubt.”

From the conversation on BBC NI Spotlight tonight there are challenges for all the political parties in the results of the polling by Ipsos Mori.  But here are the reported results on the constitutional question. Not surprisingly, more than 90% of those who identify themselves as Protestants told the pollsters they wanted to stay in the UK. But on the other side of the religious divide, a substantial 38% of Catholics also favoured remaining within the UK – three percentage …

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Exclusive: Ian Paisley’s belated acknowledgment of David Trimble’s legacy: the principle of Consent…

Now, this is interesting. No really, it is. And for a couple reasons. One is what it says. And two, though I am not sure whether it made the print edition of today’s Belfast News Letter, that it was only on the site for about a hour last night before it disappeared. It’s Doctor Paisley’s weekly column. And (thanks to an eagled-eyed reader) it makes for fascinating reading, especially for those of you who are historians of the peace process. …

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Sinn Fein’s ‘creative accountancy’ over funding the gap for a United Ireland

So, briefly, Newton Emerson gives us confirmation of what you probably already knew from listening to Gerry Adams talking to Tara Mills in last week’s big interview on Sinn Fein’s #BorderPoll. That is that the party’s figures simply do not add up. In yesterday’s Irish News he noted: It is true that DFP’s last report showed revenue rising to 12.7bn but the same report showed public spending rising to £23.2bn, so the £10bn gap remains. Mr Adams tried to muddy …

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