We could be entering an era of referendum politics. Will it be destructive or creative?

Sinn Fein’s very reason for existing requires that they will call for a border poll during the life time of the 2015-19 Assembly. The tactic is about more than bravado. SF can afford to lose one poll and yet do well enough for another to be called within the prescribed seven years. It might be thought that here is another example of a party refusing to accept the sectarian consequences of their politics.  But  do not doubt that Sinn Fein …

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Border Poll: On the one road, maybe the wrong road, on the road to god knows where?

The best bit from last night’s The View was undoubtedly Stephen Walker’s report on a future border poll. He usefully revisits the last one in 1973, which was about as bogus as they come. Just over 6000 people voted for taking Northern Ireland of the UK back then, because most nationalists boycotted it. The tenor of the criticism from both unionists and Fianna Fail on the matter is that this call is similarly bogus, in the sense it is after …

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That ol’ tune again

There’s talk of a triple-dip recession, unemployment is still scarily high, fiscal austerity is biting and we’re now talking about that again… Captions welcomed! Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ www.brianjohnspencer.com/

Aaron & Brian’s Sunday View: the Census

  The Irish Times led with, ‘There are just 54,000 more people from a Protestant background than from a Catholic one in Northern Ireland’. The headline figure, that most papers and the media noticed, was that the gap between Protestants and Catholics had narrowed to 3 per cent in the recent statistics released from the 2011 census. Bringing together the information on Religion and Religion Brought up in, 45 per cent of the population were either Catholic or brought up …

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“[The DUP] had come to terms with what it has done since 2003…”

So, why not. Let’s have another go at the Catholic Unionist trope that’s been doing the rounds. Gareth Gordon looks at the idea of Unionist Catholics, or unicorns as Alex Kane once put it. Of all the respondents in this piece, Steven McCaffrey of The Detail is the one that has it down pat. Robinson’s tactic is about switching nationalist voters off from voting for a united Ireland. Although according to one senior political source in the party that Slugger …

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Sinn Fein does not expect to win a border poll but would relish the opportunity for a public conversation…

listen to ‘Martina Anderson says republicans don’t believe a border poll now will bring about a united Ireland’ on Audioboo UUC Journalism student David Thompson interviewed Derry based Sinn Fein MLA Martina Anderson yesterday and got some very interesting and candid thoughts about the party’s position on the kind of border poll Gerry Adams called for at Gulladuff last weekend… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and …

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“We cannot impose; this has to come from within Northern Ireland.”

Nothing in politics, nor in life, is “inevitable” [except death and taxes! – Ed] Indeed.  That includes a “border poll” – despite the protestations of the former International Representative for West Belfast, then temporary Crown Steward, now Louth TD, and Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams.  The Irish Times reports his latest outburst “A border poll is inevitable. Mr Patterson knows this. It is only a matter of timing,” said the Sinn Fein leader. “By definition that will come when the people of …

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Case for unification: “I sense that republicans don’t actually know the answer themselves”

On the subject of polls, I’d blogged Owen Paterson’s thoughts before Alex Kane’s column came online: My own view is that this is the perfect time for a referendum. Bring it on, in fact! In 1973 we never got the chance to have a proper debate about the realities, consequences and ramifications of Irish unity. As is so often the case the nationalists ran away from it. In one sense, of course, you can’t blame them for not wanting a …

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Owen Paterson: No popular demand for a border poll…

Owen Paterson, it seems, is not exactly inundated with letters, phone calls and emails looking for a border poll of the type Martin McGuinness was musing on a few weeks back… Last year, 73 per cent of respondents to an opinion poll in Northern Ireland said they wanted the region to remain a part of the UK. The Life and Times survey published in June 2011 found 52 per cent of Catholics living in Northern Ireland wanted the union to …

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