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Another scenario I haven't fleshed out is that, following agreement between the Irish government and some N. Ireland parties to a federal post re-unification governance structure retaining the N. Ireland Assembly and Executive at least for a lengthy transition period, N. Ireland actually votes for re-unification. Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, that requires just a simple 50%+1 vote.

However in order assuage unionist fears and reduce the risk of violence, the Irish government also agrees other concessions, e.g. Ireland becomes a member of the Commonwealth, changes its flag and anthem, and guarantees a minimum level of subvention to the N. I. Executive which results in an increased tax burden in the south.

A recent opinion poll in the south revealed these to be unpopular concessions, although there was majority support for unionist participation in the Dublin government and increased British Irish links. But what happens if the south rejects re-unification on this basis? N. Ireland could be left in limbo wanted by neither Ireland or Britain on the terms available.

There is some support for an independent N. Ireland as a Plan B scenario, mainly among unionists determined to avoid a united Ireland at all costs. It is difficult to see N. Ireland surviving without subvention from somewhere however. €12 Billion P.a. for less than 2 Million people is over  €6,000 p.a.for every man, woman, and child. The entire health service budget for N. Ireland is c. €7 Billion, to put the scale of the subvention into perspective.

Unionists might then have to go cap in hand to someone, anyone, to bail them out. Not a very strong bargaining position especially as N. Ireland has only been guaranteed EU membership as part of a united Ireland. That scenario might concentrate a few minds in due course, but as usual, unionists tend not to think more than one step ahead, and even that very badly. They have poisoned the well with just about everybody, and any outbreaks of loyalist violence will only make matters worse.

It would of course be a huge burden for Ireland to take on as well, but Ireland doesn't support a large armed forces with nuclear deterrent, NATO, and all the accoutrements of post imperial Britain. Long term, there is no reason why N. Ireland couldn't become as successful and self-sustaining as the south, if under similar governance.

The real question is how the northern deficit will be funded in the interim, and without a transitionary agreement with Britain, some funding from the EU, and a  lot of economic growth in the interim, it is difficult to see how that could work. Even Germany struggled with the costs of German re-unification for many years. Answers on a post card, please.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jan 1st, 2022 at 12:32:10 AM EST
In any arranged marriage someone has to be paid off. Germany spent a lot on the dowry - with the hundreds of billions to the Soviets being the smallest part overall. Would for example Ireland want to relinquish its status as a corporate tax haven a bit to finance reunification? Hmm. There are some faint parallels to Korea as well. NI isn't such a basket case as North Korea, but over a number of decades the reunification debate in South Korea has turned from the conservative "Northern collapse (+war) = Reunification now!" to gradualism to the current state where for most younger people it's not a priority at all. Among other things because of the financial burden. "We have it bad enough why do we have to take on that weird place up North? We are separate countries. Deal with it!"

Much more than the South Koreans, the ROI can afford to be less compromising. Commonwealth? Come on! If they want dual citizenship then maybe there should be double state financing. Time, economics, demographics is playing in their favor - NI may fall into their hands like a ripe apple. Furthermore, if the border is open, peace is maintained, economic ties are ever closer, then why even bother? We may see the day where even Sinn Fein doesn't make reunification (at all cost) a priority anymore. Assuming they will be in charge for a longer period.

(As an aside, my own idea for a North Korea 'policy' involves the South getting its own nuclear(-equivalent) strategic deterrent and then sitting down for peace talks where both sides recognize each other as legitimate Korean states and change their constitutions accordingly. And then the door is open for eventual reunification if someday both sides find it in their interest. Perhaps that's the lesson of Germany: no proper reunification without proper separation.)

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sat Jan 1st, 2022 at 07:00:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the West Germans actually got to vote on reunification, with all the costs involved, and Saxony was already full of AfD Querdenker, would they have voted for it?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Jan 1st, 2022 at 07:04:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's say the majority wouldn't have been overwhelming.

Vagueness helps to propel things along. It's a political catalyst. The hump you have to get over is smaller. Brexit, reunifications, etc. Buy now pay later. Which is why I wouldn't want to be too specific if I were a nationalist gunning for a border poll.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sat Jan 1st, 2022 at 07:13:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whille I have no doubt North Ireland is poorer then England or Ireland, given its political roots as a colony I would be surprised if the colonial overlords doesn't extract tribute in a number of less obvious ways.

If I remember correctly form Late Victorian Holocausts, India was on paper an economic basket case during the colonial era. The real wealth was extracted trough economic regulations that made sure englishmen and English companies made bank, and very little stayed in India.

So short term, North Ireland probably needs those €12 Billion P.a. to clear the budget, but even in the middle term this might shift if less money is then extracted to England (or any of its many banking islands), but stays in the community and can be taxed. And in the longer term, well the republic seems to being much better now then under English rule.

by fjallstrom on Mon Jan 3rd, 2022 at 12:57:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The main differences between Ireland north and south are:
  1. the south doesn't support a large nuclear military industrial complex or NATO levels of military spending.
  2. The UK is basically about financial services in London having largely deindustrialised everywhere else
  3. The UK doesn't have an effective industrial or regional development policy
  4. The north's linen, ship, aircraft and bus building industries have largely declined
  5. The south has pursued economic policies in line with is own interests attracting most of the world's leading ICT and Pharma multi-nationals to build their EU headquarters here and providing good jobs, training and tax revenues.
  6. The Troubles made the north a very unattractive place for investment, and continuing community tensions and political instability have meant there hasn't been much of a peace dividend since.
  7. The north has suffered a continuing "brain drain" where the brightest go to university in Britain or Ireland and don't return.
  8. At one level, the north can be seen as an oversized sink estate where all tensions are refracted onto a sectarian plane, when they should have been with a London centric government.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 3rd, 2022 at 01:46:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
India was one of the worlds richest countries pre-colonisation and one of the poorest afterwards. It has since recovered substantially, a fact which seems to have escaped empire nostalgics.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 3rd, 2022 at 01:50:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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