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Unionists have been poisoning the re-unification well since the founding of N. Ireland in 1921-2.  What has changed in recent times is a demographic shift to an emergent Roman Catholic majority (close to but not quite the same as the nationalist vote) and the rise of English and Scottish nationalism.

Hence the suggestion in my letter that the defining moment in a move to a united Ireland could be a decision by an ultra-English government in economic difficulty to try and cut the current €12 Billion p.a. subvention to N. Ireland from central exchequer funds, or better still, to transfer that burden onto Ireland.

It will take time for any de-facto economic union to play out. After all N. Ireland had full access t the Irish ad EU markets when it was an EU member. What has changed is that British firms have lost that full access, and some may choose to relocate part of their operations to N. Ireland to retain their market share in the EU.

Again, I would expect that to be a long-term, incremental trend, and I wouldn't underestimate the ability of unionist parties to ignore the economic interests of their members even as they became increasingly tied to EU market access. It could be a bit like the end of Apartheid in South Africa, which ended when Afrikaner capital realised it couldn't grow without access to world markets.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 31st, 2021 at 11:55:08 PM EST
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