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Connected Citizens - from a Northern Protestant Irishman

Emily Davison

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Many of you will know the fine actor James Nesbitt. He’s given an interview on what it feels like to be a NI Protestant who discovered his Irishness when he went to England. But more importantly he has started a project to end sectarianism and bring about Connections instead for all who love where they are from.

Instead of divisions, love and responsibility should be the emphasis.

And politicians, divided, are a major part of the problem.
 
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Emily Davison

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That’s not what Nesbitt said. Rather its about looking at language, and having a discussion about a border poll. Being able to talk about A New Union of Ireland. About what that could mean.
 

McSlaggart

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That’s not what Nesbitt said. Rather its about looking at language, and having a discussion about a border poll. Being able to talk about A New Union of Ireland. About what that could mean.
It would mean that the government would be in Dublin and we would have the normal local governments in all the normal places. Its not complex or difficult.
 

Emily Davison

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It’s exceedingly complicated given the history. You can’t just say it is not. Look what it took to get to the Good Friday Agreement. Look at the mess that is politicians so divided they can’t sit down to govern. All made worse by the Brexit fiasco.
 

livingstone

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It would mean that the government would be in Dublin and we would have the normal local governments in all the normal places. Its not complex or difficult.
It is actually very complex. For one thing the GFA would remain. Including its institutions. For another there are real questions about whether and how various services become integrated. For example does the NHS adopt the HSE model and do people in NI accept/know that. Or does the HSE accept the NHS model and how much money and time does that take.

That’s not an argument against unification but it’s an argument against the Farage-style insistence that something really complex is simple.
 

raetsel

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Within this, “people from the North, of my tradition, would feel that they have their identity, that it is in no way threatened, that they have an equal voice, that they are part of a society that is progressive, inclusive, diverse. That they have prosperity, that they’re not marginalised, and that they can be proud to be from the north of Ireland in a new union of Ireland.”

He believes Northern Protestants are open to this. “Among my friends, who are all boys who are Protestants – well, men, we’re all 54 – they would really consider now what the notion of a new union of Ireland might look like, and I think there’s a lot of people that think that.”
James Nesbitt comes across as decent and likeable.
In my experience, people like him are at least as representative of of Ulster Protestantism than most of the barking gobdaws who post on this site and claim that origin.
 

raetsel

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It is actually very complex. For one thing the GFA would remain. Including its institutions. For another there are real questions about whether and how various services become integrated. For example does the NHS adopt the HSE model and do people in NI accept/know that. Or does the HSE accept the NHS model and how much money and time does that take.

That’s not an argument against unification but it’s an argument against the Farage-style insistence that something really complex is simple.
The superiority of the NHS to the HSE model is becoming increasingly open to question. My wife has been on a waiting list since 2015, for treatment for what was initially a minor irritant which has now become more troublesome. We also have private medical insurance but she hesitated to rely on it for her current condition, concerned that it might push up the premium if she did. Due to the discomfort the condition is now causing, she has finally decided to go private.
I also know a GP who recently transferred to a Dublin practice from London. One of the advantages of the HSE, she says is that she sees a lot less time-wasters in Dublin. That is the big problem with the NHS, and it puts a major drain on resources. Make any service free and inevitably there will be a collection of clowns who want to avail of it, because it is their 'right', regardless of need.
 

Levellers

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I worked with an Alex from Larne in England. He hated being called 'Paddy' by the English.

Softened his sectarian cough it did!
 

livingstone

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The superiority of the NHS to the HSE model is becoming increasingly open to question. My wife has been on a waiting list since 2015, for treatment for what was initially a minor irritant which has now become more troublesome. We also have private medical insurance but she hesitated to rely on it for her current condition, concerned that it might push up the premium if she did. Due to the discomfort the condition is now causing, she has finally decided to go private.
I also know a GP who recently transferred to a Dublin practice from London. One of the advantages of the HSE, she says is that she sees a lot less time-wasters in Dublin. That is the big problem with the NHS, and it puts a major drain on resources. Make any service free and inevitably there will be a collection of clowns who want to avail of it, because it is their 'right', regardless of need.
My point is not that one is superior than the other. My point is that someone needs to decide the approach and have a plan to implement it. If you think the HSE model is preferable that’s fine - but working out how to transform the NHS model into a HSE model is complex. And crucially people should know ahead of any border poll what it means for services like health. They may agree with you that the HSE model is preferable. They may prefer NHS but think unification is worth the price. Or they may decide to vote to stay in the UK based on free access to healthcare.

I’m not making a policy argument about healthcare. I am simply pointing out just one example of complex policy choices that would have to be made and implemented in the event of a border poll.
 

raetsel

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My point is not that one is superior than the other. My point is that someone needs to decide the approach and have a plan to implement it. If you think the HSE model is preferable that’s fine - but working out how to transform the NHS model into a HSE model is complex. And crucially people should know ahead of any border poll what it means for services like health. They may agree with you that the HSE model is preferable. They may prefer NHS but think unification is worth the price. Or they may decide to vote to stay in the UK based on free access to healthcare.

I’m not making a policy argument about healthcare. I am simply pointing out just one example of complex policy choices that would have to be made and implemented in the event of a border poll.
Realistically, unity cannot take place overnight, once the referenda needed to bring it about are passed. I've always argued that the transition should take at least 5 years, maybe longer. As the tail obviously cannot wag the dog, it would seem most probable that NI would simply have to conform with existing arrangements in the Republic, unless the southern government wished to adapt their system to look more like the NHS.
There would of course be greater priorities, e.g. security. If necessary contingency arrangements should be agreed with the UN to have a peace keeping force ready to move in, in the event of trouble.
But I agree. Lots of planning would need to be considered, and it should happen now.
Brexit has changed everything, and many of us in the north who were content to remain in the UK following the GFA, are now determined to leave.
 

livingstone

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Realistically, unity cannot take place overnight, once the referenda needed to bring it about are passed. I've always argued that the transition should take at least 5 years, maybe longer. As the tail obviously cannot wag the dog, it would seem most probable that NI would simply have to conform with existing arrangements in the Republic, unless the southern government wished to adapt their system to look more like the NHS.
There would of course be greater priorities, e.g. security. If necessary contingency arrangements should be agreed with the UN to have a peace keeping force ready to move in, in the event of trouble.
But I agree. Lots of planning would need to be considered, and it should happen now.
Brexit has changed everything, and many of us in the north who were content to remain in the UK following the GFA, are now determined to leave.
You're right that a lengthy transition would be needed. But most of those policy questions would need to be answered before a border poll so people can vote on an informed basis.

The more fundamental complexity is how the GFA institutions work within a united Ireland. The working assumption from many on here seems to be - incorrect in my view - that they simply fall away. But of course as a matter of international law, the GFA would remain even in the event of a vote for Irish unity in a border poll. The NI Assembly and Executive would continue to exist.

And of course that would make sense. The GFA was needed to resolve a situation where a majority identified as British and wanted to remain part of the UK, but a large minority identified as Irish and wanted to be part of Ireland. A unity vote in a border poll would flip the majority/minority position, but the basic premise remains the same: a large minority would not want the constitutional arrangements that the majority wanted, and so governance arrangements, including devolved governance, would need to reflect that.

So as we talk about healthcare, the basic presumption is that it's a matter for an Irish Government. But of course following the GFA model, it wouldn't be. It would be for the Northern Ireland Executive within a united Ireland.
 

silverharp

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I worked with an Alex from Larne in England. He hated being called 'Paddy' by the English.

Softened his sectarian cough it did!
but im british
sure paddy sure....... lol
 

raetsel

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You're right that a lengthy transition would be needed. But most of those policy questions would need to be answered before a border poll so people can vote on an informed basis.

The more fundamental complexity is how the GFA institutions work within a united Ireland. The working assumption from many on here seems to be - incorrect in my view - that they simply fall away. But of course as a matter of international law, the GFA would remain even in the event of a vote for Irish unity in a border poll. The NI Assembly and Executive would continue to exist.

And of course that would make sense. The GFA was needed to resolve a situation where a majority identified as British and wanted to remain part of the UK, but a large minority identified as Irish and wanted to be part of Ireland. A unity vote in a border poll would flip the majority/minority position, but the basic premise remains the same: a large minority would not want the constitutional arrangements that the majority wanted, and so governance arrangements, including devolved governance, would need to reflect that.

So as we talk about healthcare, the basic presumption is that it's a matter for an Irish Government. But of course following the GFA model, it wouldn't be. It would be for the Northern Ireland Executive within a united Ireland.
The GFA, or most of it, would remain, but there would be one psychological blow to its credibility which, understandably, many outsiders fail to comprehend, mainly because they don't see the world from the same perspective as northern nationalists. That is that the freedom from being intercepted by officialdom for customs checks would disappear. Those checks delineate the division on the island which many people bitterly object to. Conversely it seems to be one of the main attractions to Brexit, for some unionists.
 

livingstone

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The GFA, or most of it, would remain, but there would be one psychological blow to its credibility which, understandably, many outsiders fail to comprehend, mainly because they don't see the world from the same perspective as northern nationalists. That is that the freedom from being intercepted by officialdom for customs checks would disappear. Those checks delineate the division on the island which many people bitterly object to. Conversely it seems to be one of the main attractions to Brexit, for some unionists.
I don't quite know what you mean by 'psychological blow to its credibility'.

The GFA remains as a legally binding international agreement unless and until both parties (Ireland and the UK) agree to replace it or repudiate it.

Unless that happens, then the institutions remain. Which means it becomes incumbent on those claiming that Irish unity is not at all complex to explain how devolution works in an Irish context. What issues are devolved? Does the Irish Government create the equivalent of the Northern Ireland Office? Does the Dail mainatin something that looks like the Sewel convention? Etc etc.

Again, none of which is to say that unity shouldn't happen. It is simply that those arguing it is a simple and non-complex process are wrong.
 

Talk Back

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Many of you will know the fine actor James Nesbitt. He’s given an interview on what it feels like to be a NI Protestant who discovered his Irishness when he went to England. But more importantly he has started a project to end sectarianism and bring about Connections instead for all who love where they are from.

Instead of divisions, love and responsibility should be the emphasis.

And politicians, divided, are a major part of the problem.
What's northern Irish? There is no such nationality.

Unionists refuse to assimilate into Irish society and obey the democratic will of the Irish people.

If they think they are Irish, they need to obey the democratic wishes of the Irish people as a whole - their artificial veto on democracy has to go.

Unless and until they obey the democratic will of the people of Ireland, they are still foreigners in Ireland - still occupying part of our country in another country's name - still holding Ireland back in the same way they always have, since they first stole Irish land from us Irish people.

Brexit being a prime example of point.
 

Talk Back

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You're right that a lengthy transition would be needed. But most of those policy questions would need to be answered before a border poll so people can vote on an informed basis.

The more fundamental complexity is how the GFA institutions work within a united Ireland. The working assumption from many on here seems to be - incorrect in my view - that they simply fall away. But of course as a matter of international law, the GFA would remain even in the event of a vote for Irish unity in a border poll. The NI Assembly and Executive would continue to exist.

And of course that would make sense. The GFA was needed to resolve a situation where a majority identified as British and wanted to remain part of the UK, but a large minority identified as Irish and wanted to be part of Ireland. A unity vote in a border poll would flip the majority/minority position, but the basic premise remains the same: a large minority would not want the constitutional arrangements that the majority wanted, and so governance arrangements, including devolved governance, would need to reflect that.

So as we talk about healthcare, the basic presumption is that it's a matter for an Irish Government. But of course following the GFA model, it wouldn't be. It would be for the Northern Ireland Executive within a united Ireland.
Wrong.

A majority do not identify as British. In the 2011 census, only 48 percent identified as British - and this percentage is dropping sharply.

Unionists are older and dying out, whereas Irish people are younger and growing.

In the new census in 2 years time, the percentage identifying as British is expected to be in the mid to low 40 percent.

Unionism in Ireland is finished.
 


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