Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Paying for Irish Unity

by Frank Schnittger Fri Dec 10th, 2021 at 01:06:23 PM EST

Newton Emerson writes "The truly decisive outcome of this decade will be whether voters in the Republic see through a Sinn Féin government's unity posturing, or whether their frustration is directed towards unionists." (Nationalist timeframe for unity does not stack up, Opinion & Analysis, 9th. December).  


For decades, the more extreme unionist parties have managed to shore up their voter base by scaring their voters into supporting them as otherwise "the other side" might win leading to a united Ireland. Now the boot is on the other foot and Sinn Fein are trying the same gambit, claiming a united Ireland is just around the corner if only voters would rally behind them.  

Both the DUP and SF need inter-communal tensions to remain high, as otherwise the more moderate centrist parties might grow in support. It's all a game as "those in the know" know there is no majority for a change in the status quo right now, and even in the south, voters might think twice if asked to stump up the €12 Billion p.a. subvention the North currently receives from Westminster.

The confidence that a united Ireland might be closer, post Brexit, is not based on anything that is happening in Ireland right now, but on what has happened with the rise of English and Scottish nationalisms.  If the UK government were to suffer a post Brexit economic collapse, they might think twice about paying the €12 Billion subsidy. It is, after all, greater than their erstwhile much-hated net contribution to the EU.

So, what would "soft unionist" voters do if the €12 Billion subsidy were to be substantially reduced? Would they accept an offer of €6 Billion from the south if the alternative was no subsidy at all?  Coincidentally, the NHS budget for N. Ireland is currently about €7 Billion. Would unionists vote for a united Ireland if that was the only way they could retain the NHS?

Perhaps N. Ireland voters might also ponder whether the North's economy could grow as fast as the south and become independently viable if under similar governance? Either way, for the foreseeable future, a United Ireland will only come about when soft unionists realise they have no other option, and that depends on how long Britain can, and is willing to continue the subsidy.


Large majority of voters favour a united Ireland

A large majority of voters favour a united Ireland in the long term, but are opposed to a new national flag, a new national anthem, paying higher taxes or curtailing public spending to facilitate it, the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll has found.

Voters also say a united Ireland should be a long-term project, with only 15 per cent saying they want to see a referendum now and just 20 per cent describing it as “very important” and a “priority” for them. By contrast, 52 per cent of people say it is “not very important” to them, but they “would like to see it someday”.

The poll examined not just voting intention in a referendum on Irish unity, but also sought to probe the depth of commitment to the idea, the urgency voters attach to it and the attitude to steps which might be taken as part of a unity project.

The results suggest that support for Irish unity is broad – 62 per cent say they would vote in favour, with just 16 per cent opposed and 13 per cent saying they don’t know. Eight per cent say they would not vote.

As you might expect, a united Ireland is a most important issue for older and Sinn Fein voters, but only small minorities would accept a new flag, anthem, higher taxes, lower public services or rejoining the Commonwealth to facilitate this. Small majorities would accept closer ties with the UK and having Unionist politicians as part of the Dublin Government.

In short, Irish voters are overwhelmingly in favour of a united Ireland, but not necessarily now, and not if they have to pay for it or make concessions to accommodate unionists' British identity. By small margins, they are prepared to accept unionist politicians in the Dublin government and closer ties to the UK.

In even shorter terms, Irish people are prepared to allow Northern Ireland become part of Ireland, but not the other way around.

Display:
become independently viable if under similar governance
Translate this, please.
by Cat on Fri Dec 10th, 2021 at 04:09:04 PM EST
Northern Ireland currently needs a €12 Billion p.a. subvention from the UK exchequer to function, and is still the poorest region in the UK despite that. It has lost its industrial base and is becoming an economic backwater.

The Irish economy, on the other hand, is booming, with 15% growth predicted for this year on top of 3% last year achieved despite the pandemic.  Because of distortions in our GDP figures, real disposable income is way below what you would expect from our GDP figures, but are now at least on a par with N. Ireland and rising rapidly.

The main difference is Ireland's success at attracting FDI and London's neglect of the regions. Sooner or later N. Ireland unionists may come to realise that being aligned to Dublin (in the EU) will be better for their economic interests than being an outpost of London.  Being part to the Single Market could be the start of that realignment.

If Ireland can be a net contributor too the EU and independently prosperous, why not N. Ireland? It just needs government policies more aligned to the needs of N. Ireland rather than the English elite.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 10th, 2021 at 05:18:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NI's economic trajectory is obvious even to me by now. The bit I don't understand is the veiled allusion to "similar governance."
by Cat on Fri Dec 10th, 2021 at 05:36:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It means realignment with Dublin, either directly as part of a united Ireland or as part of some federal structure. Integration into the EU Single market is the first step...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 10th, 2021 at 05:59:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
soooo wouldn't Stormont's divorce from BoE be a prerequisite to application to one of the ahh EU harmonisation scheme?the
by Cat on Tue Dec 14th, 2021 at 01:47:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In practice I could see two currencies in circulation - Sterling in unionist areas and the Euro in nationalist areas!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 14th, 2021 at 03:07:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Three, actually, because the die-hard Brexit crew also wants to revert to L-s-d system.
by asdf on Tue Dec 14th, 2021 at 06:58:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
< wipes tears >
leaving constituent-merchants in NI (possibly Scotland) to shop for the most favorably FX rates, eh.

I reckon, for unity sake, BoI might think about an offer letter sooner rather than later, yanno, before the cryptocurrencies run away with all those stateless depositors.

by Cat on Wed Dec 15th, 2021 at 04:46:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
kind of Cuba or El Salvador? You be the judge.
by Cat on Wed Dec 15th, 2021 at 04:48:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought that the main difference was that Northern Ireland was Protestant.. Didn't Max Weber write a book on The Catholic Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Dec 11th, 2021 at 07:24:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh - Protestant ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism - but I'm sure you know that.  There used to be exclusively Protestant firms and Catholic firms, some even in Dublin, but that distinction has kind of ebbed away...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 11th, 2021 at 08:06:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Britain drops demand for removal of ECJ role from NI protocol
Britain has dropped its demand that the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) must be removed from the Northern Ireland protocol in its negotiations with the European Commission. A senior British government official said London still believed the protocol's governance arrangements were unsustainable in the long term but acknowledged that the commission had no mandate to renegotiate the protocol.

The official said British negotiators had made an important shift in their position recently so they were no longer insisting on solving the governance issues now and were content to focus on the practical problems that have manifested themselves so far.

The official acknowledged that the European Commission had no mandate to renegotiate the protocol and was not going to get a green light to do so from European Union leaders. Britain has now agreed to limit the negotiations to the issues both sides agree are creating difficulties, such as access to medicines and the burden of customs and regulatory checks on goods.

This has been another lesson in negotiating with the EU for slow learners.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 10th, 2021 at 08:59:03 PM EST
by Oui on Fri Dec 10th, 2021 at 10:17:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Large majority of voters favour a united Ireland
A large majority of voters favour a united Ireland in the long term, but are opposed to a new national flag, a new national anthem, paying higher taxes or curtailing public spending to facilitate it, the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll has found.

Voters also say a united Ireland should be a long-term project, with only 15 per cent saying they want to see a referendum now and just 20 per cent describing it as "very important" and a "priority" for them. By contrast, 52 per cent of people say it is "not very important" to them, but they "would like to see it someday".

The poll examined not just voting intention in a referendum on Irish unity, but also sought to probe the depth of commitment to the idea, the urgency voters attach to it and the attitude to steps which might be taken as part of a unity project.

The results suggest that support for Irish unity is broad - 62 per cent say they would vote in favour, with just 16 per cent opposed and 13 per cent saying they don't know. Eight per cent say they would not vote.

As you might expect, a united Ireland is a most important issue for older and Sinn Fein voters, but only small minorities would accept a new flag, anthem, higher taxes, lower public services or rejoining the Commonwealth to facilitate this. Small majorities would accept closer ties with the UK and having Unionist politicians as part of the Dublin Government.

In short, Irish voters are overwhelmingly in favour of a united Ireland, but not necessarily now, and not if they have to pay for it or make concessions to accommodate unionists' British identity. By small margins, they are prepared to accept unionist politicians in the Dublin government and closer ties to the UK.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 11th, 2021 at 10:21:16 AM EST
Drawing the bridge comes natural ...

After Brexit and merits of a new found sovereignty, wouldn't the same emotions follow through on Irexit?

After Brexit, Could There be a (Northern) Irexit?

Along Came Brexit

So, what is the connection between the 2016 referendum and a 1998 Agreement? Much attention has been focused on Annex A in Section II of the Good Friday Agreement. The first clause says,  "It is hereby declared that Northern Ireland in its entirety remains part of the United Kingdom and shall not cease to be so without the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland voting in a poll" (emphasis added).[9] In other words, if the majority of the Northern Irish vote to leave the UK, then the UK must respect that vote.

An comhchoiste um Fhorfheidhmiú Chomhaontú Aoine an Chéasta
Na hImpleachtaí atá ag Brexit do Chomhaontú Aoine an Chéasta: Príomhchinntí
Lúnasa 2017

by Oui on Sat Dec 11th, 2021 at 12:40:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You appear to be making the mistake of applying logic
by asdf on Sat Dec 11th, 2021 at 05:26:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Irexit is normally taken to mean Irish exit from the EU, something supported by less than 2% of the population, whereas the inked author uses it to refer to Northern Ireland exit from the UK. They argue that Brexit itself is sufficient reason for calling a re-unification poll under the Good Friday Agreement, but the Good Friday Agreement refers only to the Secretary of State forming a view that a majority might want to leave the UK. Hence my view that a unuted Ireland will only hove into view if and when the UK (AKA England) decides it wants to off-load N. Ireland.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 11th, 2021 at 08:19:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there a reason why the FG voters are least keen on NI joining Ireland?
by fjallstrom on Sun Dec 12th, 2021 at 03:32:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes - FG are the most conservative and least nationalist party in Ireland and are descended from the civil war faction which supported the 1922 Treaty, which lead to partition in the first place. They are supported mainly by the professional middle classes and larger farmers.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 12th, 2021 at 05:52:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Majority of people in North would vote to remain in UK in referendum
The majority of people in Northern Ireland would vote to remain in the United Kingdom in a referendum on the issue, according to the latest survey on the topic.

However a majority of those who took part in the survey said they thought a referendum in Northern Ireland 10 years from now would see a vote in favour of a united Ireland.

Interviews with focus groups found that a majority feared that a referendum on the border could provoke a return to violence.

The Lord Ashcroft Polls survey involved 3,301 adults in Northern Ireland being interviewed online and the results being weighted to be representative of all adults in Northern Ireland, as well as interviews with eight focus groups.

It found that one in ten voters were undecided on the issue of a united Ireland, and that support for a united Ireland declined sharply with increasing age.

The survey comes in the wake of one for The Irish Times which showed that a large majority in the Republic are in favour of a united Ireland in the long term, but are opposed to a new national flag, a new national anthem, paying higher taxes, or curtailing public expenditure, to facilitate it.

The Ashcroft poll found that, among those who expressed a view on how they would vote in a referendum, 54 per cent were in favour of remaining in the United Kingdom, while 46 per cent were against [My bold].

Only 33 per cent of those polled, and just 56 per cent of Unionists, said they thought the London government would prefer if Northern Ireland remained in the UK.

Only 52 per cent of all voters in Northern Ireland thought the Dublin government would like to see the unification of Northern Ireland and the Republic, the poll showed.

Oh to be unloved by almost everyone...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 12th, 2021 at 11:15:39 PM EST
by Oui on Sat Dec 25th, 2021 at 09:13:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dutch Poorly Informed NI Protocol Issues

Northern Ireland trade undergoes profound transformation | NOS News |

More trade between Northern Ireland and Ireland: is that bad? It depends on who you ask. The new situation has raised concerns among the pro-British unionist community. Riots broke out in unionist neighborhoods of several Northern Ireland cities earlier this year. Unionists see the Northern Ireland Protocol as a prelude to their nightmare scenario: a reunited Ireland.

Jim Allister is the leader of the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) and has become the political face of the anger and frustration within the unionist community. For years, Allister has been on the fringe of Northern Ireland politics, but this year the TUV is one of the largest unionist parties in the polls.

"The Northern Ireland Protocol has turned Northern Irish people into foreigners in their own country. If you import goods from Northern Ireland in the UK, it is now the same as importing goods from Brazil or Bolivia. That is not only absurd, it undermines also the integrity of the United Kingdom."

Frustrated

According to Allister, this had always been the intention of Brussels. "They are now creating one Irish economy. If you can do that, a political union will follow. This is a deliberate attempt to dismantle the UK through economic disruption. it dared to break away from the European Union."

Ulster Loyalism after the Good Friday Agreement: History, Identity and Change

Dutch media just loves to highlight division in the Union ... who needs Putin?

by Oui on Mon Dec 13th, 2021 at 09:58:01 AM EST
by Oui on Mon Dec 13th, 2021 at 09:58:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard on Fri Dec 17th, 2021 at 10:06:32 PM EST
United Ireland will come about when `soft unionists' have no other option
For much of the last century, the more extreme unionist parties have managed to shore up their voter base by scaring their voters into supporting them as otherwise `the other side' might win leading to a united Ireland. Now the boot is on the other foot and Sinn Féin are trying the same gambit, claiming a united Ireland is just around the corner if only voters would rally behind them.

Both the DUP and Sinn Féin  need inter-communal tensions to remain high, as otherwise the more moderate centrist parties might grow in support. It's all a game as `those in the know' know there is no majority for a change in the status quo right now, and even in the south, voters might think twice if asked to stump up the €12 billion per annum subvention the north currently receives from Westminster.

The confidence that a united Ireland might be closer, post-Brexit, is not based on anything that is happening in Ireland right now, but on what has happened with the rise of English and Scottish nationalisms. If the UK government were to suffer a post-Brexit economic collapse, they might think twice about paying the €12bn subsidy. It is, after all, greater than their erstwhile much-hated net contribution to the EU.

So, what would `soft unionist" voters do if the €12bn subsidy were to be substantially reduced?

Would they accept an offer of €6bn from the south if the alternative was no subsidy at all? Coincidentally, the NHS budget for Northern Ireland is currently about €7bn. Would unionists vote for a united Ireland if that was the only way they could retain the NHS? Perhaps Northern Ireland voters might also ponder whether the north's economy could grow as fast as the south and become independently viable if under similar governance?

Either way, for the foreseeable future, a united Ireland will only come about when soft unionists realise they have no other option, and that depends on how long Britain can, and is willing to continue the subsidy.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 24th, 2021 at 06:08:04 PM EST
What if NI decided (making an unrealistic assumption about politicians) to declare independence from the UK, but then instead of joining the EU, positioned itself in one of the other "semi-EU" trade situations? Would that enable them to get the best of both worlds?
by asdf on Sat Dec 25th, 2021 at 12:35:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are those who would prefer an independent N. Ireland to re-uniting with Ireland, but they have to figure out how to make up the €12 Billion subvention from the British exchequer they would lose. Also, while the Irish government got EU agreement to N. Ireland becoming part of the EU if it re-united with Ireland, all bets are off if they decided to go it alone.

Not even most unionists regard N. Ireland as a country in its own right. It's not even a province of Ireland (containing only 6 out of Ulsters 9 counties) and is a tiny region of the UK.

There are, however, some stirrings of a distinct N. Ireland identity which might lead them to demand  a continuance of internal N. Ireland governance arrangements even within a united Ireland. Essentially this would mean the Stormont administration remaining in place while sovereignty over defence, foreign policy and Finance was transferred from London to Dublin.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 25th, 2021 at 01:45:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]