Nuances of a re-united Ireland

sean1

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Give or take a couple of per cent, the Nationalist population in Northern Ireland is about 41%.

If it were to go up to 45% within a few years, for example, then we would obviously have to start planning on a practical basis how a re-united Ireland could be implemented in the distant future.

Should we leave it until that late? What are the practical issues, so that we can start to deal with them now?
 


smiffy

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sean1 said:
Give or take a couple of per cent, the Nationalist population in Northern Ireland is about 41%.

If it were to go up to 45% within a few years, for example, then we would obviously have to start planning on a practical basis how a re-united Ireland could be implemented in the distant future.
How do you know that everyone who votes for a nationalist/republican party (I assume that's where you're getting the 41% from, as it would be very foolish to base this simply on numbers of Catholics in the six counties) would also vote for a United Ireland?
 

sean1

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smiffy said:
How do you know that everyone who votes for a nationalist/republican party (I assume that's where you're getting the 41% from, as it would be very foolish to base this simply on numbers of Catholics in the six counties) would also vote for a United Ireland?
I am surprised that you asked this question. Given that they are Nationalist parties, I would presume that they would vote for a re-united Ireland.

Granted there maybe some that wouldn't, but there would also be some Unionist Party(ies) supporters that would conversly vote for one. A survey carried out a few years ago said that between 20-30% of Alliance Party supporters, for example, would vote for a re-united Ireland.
 

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sean1 said:
I am surprised that you asked this question. Given that they are Nationalist parties, I would presume that they would vote for a re-united Ireland.
Yes, I thought you might presume that.

Would they vote for a 're-united Ireland' (as you put it) if it meant, for example, losing access to the UK National Health Service and its benefits? You see where I might be going with this?
 

sean1

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smiffy said:
Would they vote for a 're-united Ireland' (as you put it) if it meant, for example, losing access to the UK National Health Service and its benefits? You see where I might be going with this?
In case you haven't been following the debate about the Public Health Service in the North, I will inform you that they are having debates to its problems
similar to ours in the South.

Any other examples as to where you "might be going with this"?
 

hiding behind a poster

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This is a huge issue, and its one that lots of people haven't even looked at.

The fact is that lots of people have simply assumed that a united, 32-county Ireland, will be exactly the same as the current 26, with 6 counties added on - but that's not the case. We in the Republic are gonna have to face the fact that there will be changes - and not all of them will be attractive. For starters, I think we're looking at Commonwealth membership (dealt with on another thread). I also think there'll be guaranteed minimum parliamentary representation for the constituencies of the 6 counties for an initial period. There'll also be cultural changes - to be simplistic about it, July 12th will be a national holiday, but there'll also be changes to the anthem, flag, etc. And then there's the taxation issue. Many people in the Republic pay lip-service to the idea of a United Ireland - but if, given how much of a loss-making entity Northern Ireland is, if people in the Republic were faced with a tax hike to pay for unity, support would ebb away pretty fast. So there's a lot more to the issue than meets the eye.
 

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sean1 said:
In case you haven't been following the debate about the Public Health Service in the North, I will inform you that they are having similar debates to its problems that we are having in the South.
:roll:

What's the price of a visit to the dentist in NI, compared to here?

Any other examples of to where you "might be going with this"?
Where I'm going is that, when it comes down to an actual question being put to the electorate (which is very unlikely anyway), you shouldn't underestimate the extent to which people will vote on the basis of practical, day-to-day-issues as opposed to 'Ireland long a province be a nation once again' kind of nationalism.

It's pointless talking about a 're-united Ireland' without explaining what the exact consequences of such a change will be, when guessing how people will vote. What will change for the people of NI (and the people of the Republic) following 're-unification'.
 

sean1

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I'm glad hiding behind a poster that you have thought about some of the issues.

hiding behind a poster said:
This is a huge issue, and its one that lots of people haven't even looked at.

The fact is that lots of people have simply assumed that a united, 32-county Ireland, will be exactly the same as the current 26, with 6 counties added on - but that's not the case.We in the Republic are gonna have to face the fact that there will be changes - and not all of them will be attractive.
I agree.

hiding behind a poster said:
For starters, I think we're looking at Commonwealth membership (dealt with on another thread).
I disagree.

hiding behind a poster said:
I also think there'll be guaranteed minimum parliamentary repres
entation for the constituencies of the 6 counties for an initial period.
What do you mean?

hiding behind a poster said:
There'll also be cultural changes - to be simplistic about it, July 12th will be a national holiday,
I'd have no problem with that, I don't think.

hiding behind a poster said:
but there'll also be changes to the anthem, flag, etc.
These would be big issues for me.

hiding behind a poster said:
And then there's the taxation issue. Many people in the Republic pay lip-service to the idea of a United Ireland
Agreed.

hiding behind a poster said:
but if, given how much of a loss-making entity Northern Ireland is, if people in the Republic were faced with a tax hike to pay for unity, support would ebb away pretty fast. So there's a lot more to the issue than meets the eye.
I agree that a proportion of the South would be reluctant if the taxation issue was there, but I don't think that it would be.

The biggest issue would be the one of violence. This issue (which is related to the economy e.g how are loyalist working class areas fairing?) can be dealt with if it is not left too late. Bertie Ahern spoke about Loyalist working class areas in Washington yesterday. I think that both Loyalist and Republican areas in the North need a lot of money, yesterday.
 

sean1

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smiffy said:
sean1 said:
In case you haven't been following the debate about the Public Health Service in the North, I will inform you that they are having similar debates to its problems that we are having in the South.
:roll:

What's the price of a visit to the dentist in NI, compared to here?
Do you have any other examples? Overall, our economy fairs better than theres, including when you take the Health Service into account in the overall context.

Any other examples of to where you "might be going with this"?
smiffy said:
Where I'm going is that, when it comes down to an actual question being put to the electorate (which is very unlikely anyway), you shouldn't underestimate the extent to which people will vote on the basis of practical, day-to-day-issues as opposed to 'Ireland long a province be a nation once again' kind of nationalism.

It's pointless talking about a 're-united Ireland' without explaining what the exact consequences of such a change will be, when guessing how people will vote.
Obviously. The fact that the mostly Unionist dominated Trade Union for medium sized businesses (whatever its called) is in favour of 7 County Councils (3-perhaps 4- of which would be Nationalist dominated), despite the outrage of the two main Unionist parties, says that many people of the Unionist tradition will vote with their pockets for cooperation with the South, as much as many Nationalist voters would vote to stay within the UK.

I think the economic argument is pretty sown up. It was the case that people in the North were better off economically within the UK. The oppossite is the case now.
 

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sean1 said:
I think the economic argument is pretty sown up. It was the case that people in the North were better off economically within the UK. The oppossite is the case now.
Really? I wouldn't be so sure. You're making exactly the mistake hbap was talking about - assuming that a united, 32-county Ireland, will be exactly the same as the current 26, with 6 counties added on. You're assuming that the current economic situation in the Republic will (a) continue in a United Ireland and (b) be unaffected by unification. You also seem to be looking at things in terms of per capita income, which isn't really sufficient if you want to understand how NI will cope if it loses the significant net transfers it receives from the UK Exchequer.

Without knowing what practical choices people will be faced with - i.e. what they will lose and what they will gain - it's impossible to even guess which way they are likely to vote, without engaging in romantic, wishful thinking.
 

sean1

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smiffy said:
Okay sean, if you've given such thought to the 'nuances', what do you think the main practical changes will be in the lives of the people of Ireland, North and South, resulting from this 're-unification'?
I don't know why you refer to the re-unification of Ireland in terms of "this 're-unification'. Can you not just refer to it simply?


Let me see... why would Irish people in the North and in the South possibly want to be re-united? Could it be that they are Irish?


Hold on, we are not talking practically here...


Some of the practical changes of a re-united Ireland:


1) We could market Ireland cohesively as a united Ireland, without any borders, for tourists if we were re-united.

2) Harmonisation across the economy, and the other sectors of the the island, would make it simpler to attract investment into the country.

3) Residents in certain areas along the border would not have to deal with British helicopters and troops crossing their land.

4) The British would love us even more for ridding them of the problem that is most of the political representatives of Unionism, thereby boosting our image abroad.
 

smiffy

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sean1 said:
Hold on, we are not talking practically here...

1) We could market Ireland cohesively as a united Ireland, without any borders, for tourists if we were re-united.

2) Harmonisation across the economy, and the other sectors of the the island, would make it simpler to attract investment into the country.

3) Residents in certain areas along the border would not have to deal with British helicopters and troops crossing their land.

4) The British would love us even more for ridding them of the problem that is theof most of the political representatives of Unionism, therby boosting our image abroad.
You're missing the point of the question. I'm talking about the immediate impact on people's lives, like the dentist example I gave above. Only one of your four examples comes close, and that currently impacts only on a decreasing few.
 

hiding behind a poster

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sean1 said:
hiding behind a poster said:
I also think there'll be guaranteed minimum parliamentary repres
entation for the constituencies of the 6 counties for an initial period.
What do you mean?

I think there'll be certain nuances to the electoral laws, which will guarantee a certain level of representation for the six counties in the new All-Ireland parliament - possibly a different electoral system for the early years for those areas, which guarantees a certain minimum level of representation for minority parties.



[quote:5vngd6lx]
hiding behind a poster said:
but there'll also be changes to the anthem, flag, etc.
These would be big issues for me.

The problem is that flags, anthems, symbols, etc have become such huge issues in Northern Ireland, that whatever is accepted by one side is complete anathema to the other. So Unionists can never give allegiance to the Tricolour, and Nationalists can never give allegiance to a flag containing the Union Jack. Hence a completely neutral flag will have to be designed from scratch, and likewise an anthem.



I agree that a proportion of the South would be reluctant if the taxation issue was there, but I don't think that it would be.
The only way this can be got around is if unity is funded by the UN, or the EU - how likely that is is open to discussion.

The biggest issue would be the one of violence. This issue (which is related to the economy e.g how are loyalist working class areas fairing?) can be dealt with if it is not left too late. Bertie Ahern spoke about Loyalist working class areas in Washington yesterday. I think that both Loyalist and Republican areas in the North need a lot of money, yesterday.
[/quote:5vngd6lx]

Correct - they need a lot of money - however they need a stick as well as a carrot - they need to be told that the whole world is not in thrall to the problems that they have with each other, and that at some point they're gonna have to just grow up and get along.
 

sean1

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smiffy said:
sean1 said:
Hold on, we are not talking practically here...

1) We could market Ireland cohesively as a united Ireland, without any borders, for tourists if we were re-united.

2) Harmonisation across the economy, and the other sectors of the the island, would make it simpler to attract investment into the country.

3) Residents in certain areas along the border would not have to deal with British helicopters and troops crossing their land.

4) The British would love us even more for ridding them of the problem that is theof most of the political representatives of Unionism, therby boosting our image abroad.
You're missing the point of the question. I'm talking about the immediate impact on people's lives, like the dentist example I gave above. Only one of your four examples comes close, and that currently impacts only on a decreasing few.
Your missing the context of the debate. The whole debate about economics has been turned on its head. It is accepted now by many that the North would be better off re-unified with the South.

There may be some current instances in which people in the North may be getting a better deal than they would in a re-united Ireland now, but overall a re-united Ireland would be in best interests of the island, and for Britain.
 

smiffy

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sean1 said:
Your missing the context of the debate. The whole debate about economics has been turned on its head. It is accepted now by many that the North would be better off re-unified with the South.
See the point I made above (2.20) on this.

There may be some current instances in which people in the North may be getting a better deal than they would in a re-united Ireland now, but overall a re-united Ireland would be in best interests of the island, and for Britain.
Well if it doesn't directly and practically benefit those living in the North, you might have a longer wait for 're-unification' than you anticipate.
 

sean1

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hiding behind a poster said:
I think there'll be certain nuances to the electoral laws, which will guarantee a certain level of representation for the six counties in the new All-Ireland parliament - possibly a different electoral system for the early years for those areas, which guarantees a certain minimum level of representation for minority parties.
I would go with four different Assemblies (or big county councils), one for each province of Ireland. Then Unionists would be well represented in Ulster. With FG around, they would not have to worry about getting voted down all the time.

hiding behind a poster said:
The problem is that flags, anthems, symbols, etc have become such huge issues in Northern Ireland, that whatever is accepted by one side is complete anathema to the other. So Unionists can never give allegiance to the Tricolour, and Nationalists can never give allegiance to a flag containing the Union Jack. Hence a completely neutral will have to be designed from scratch, and likewise an anthem.
I do think its childish (and I dont use this word much in politics) that the Unionists- or many of them- have a problem with the Irish flag. Sure, we could reach an arrangment that the British flag could fly in public buildings in Unionist areas, but I wouldnt stand for getting rid of the Irish flag.

Similar to the anthem. The Unionists could still have their British anthem for functions within their areas.

I would say that they should have their own police force-or (mostly) sub-police force within their own areas as well.


hiding behind a poster said:
Correct - they need a lot of money - however they need a stick as well as a carrot - they need to be told that the whole world is not in thrall to the problems that they have with each other, and that at some point they're gonna have to just grow up and get along.
I say give them the money now. Let the North develop. Then in the future, at least the two govts. can say that they put the money into their areas.
 

sean1

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smiffy said:
Without knowing what practical choices people will be faced with - i.e. what they will lose and what they will gain - it's impossible to even guess which way they are likely to vote, without engaging in romantic, wishful thinking.
I am confident that most people who vote for Nationalist parties in the North would vote for a re-united Ireland, even if it wasn't in their economic interest- which is not the case anyway.
 

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sean1 said:
I am confident that most people who vote for Nationalist parties in the North would vote for a re-united Ireland, even if it wasn't in their economic interest- which is not the case anyway.
Yes, I know you are.

However, for someone who started a thread on 'nuances' you seem surprisingly unwilling to actually speculate on or discuss them.

Well, maybe not that surprising.
 

hiding behind a poster

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sean1 said:
[
I do think its childish (and I dont use this word much in politics) that the Unionists- or many of them- have a problem with the Irish flag. Sure, we could reach an arrangment that the British flag could fly in public buildings in Unionist areas, but I wouldnt stand for getting rid of the Irish flag.

Similar to the anthem. The Unionists could still have their British anthem for functions within their areas.

Of course its childish. But if we want a genuinely united nation, we have to move to a situation that doesn't upset either side. So if the Unionists have a problem with the Tricolour, we have to accept that. And if the Nationalists have a problem with the Union Jack, we have to accept that too. Hence, after much talk, we can come up with a flag that respects both traditions, but offends neither - there'll be no sign of either the Union Jack or the Tricolour in it. Ultimately, that'll be the road we go down.
 


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