Scottish Independence referendum vs putative NI Independence referendum : how would Westminster act?

GrimReefer

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It's clear from the reaction of Westminster to the Scottish independence referendum that such a schism should be considered unwelcome to the Union. Were a "border poll" or other such euphemism for secession of NI from the UK to join the ROI to happen, what would be the likely response from the UK body politic?

This topic is rooted in determining what the interest in Westminster would be to maintaining NI as a part of the UK. We know that Britain has no "selfish, strategic or economic interest in Northern Ireland". This is certainly not the position of Westminster vis a via Scotland or Wales, for example, and we may presume that this is infinitely less so in the case of England.

So, if there were a "border poll", would Westminster sit this one out?
 


statsman

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It's clear from the reaction of Westminster to the Scottish independence referendum that such a schism should be considered unwelcome to the Union. Were a "border poll" or other such euphemism for secession of NI from the UK to join the ROI to happen, what would be the likely response from the UK body politic?

This topic is rooted in determining what the interest in Westminster would be to maintaining NI as a part of the UK. We know that Britain has no "selfish, strategic or economic interest in Northern Ireland". This is certainly not the position of Westminster vis a via Scotland or Wales, for example, and we may presume that this is infinitely less so in the case of England.

So, if there were a "border poll", would Westminster sit this one out?
Given that Brexit was about 'taking back control', it's hard to see Westminster giving up control of part of the Union any time soon, at least not without a fight. Brexit could well turn into the biggest existential crisis the Union has ever faced, and the centre will want to avoid any possibility of a domino effect, if at all possible.
 

Cruimh

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It's clear from the reaction of Westminster to the Scottish independence referendum that such a schism should be considered unwelcome to the Union. Were a "border poll" or other such euphemism for secession of NI from the UK to join the ROI to happen, what would be the likely response from the UK body politic?

This topic is rooted in determining what the interest in Westminster would be to maintaining NI as a part of the UK. We know that Britain has no "selfish, strategic or economic interest in Northern Ireland". This is certainly not the position of Westminster vis a via Scotland or Wales, for example, and we may presume that this is infinitely less so in the case of England.

So, if there were a "border poll", would Westminster sit this one out?
Assuming the Border Poll was called under the GFA, by International Treaty the UK would have to facilitate the Unification. However, being realistic, the hurdle to leap would be getting the people of the ROI to accept Unification.
 

statsman

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Assuming the Border Poll was called under the GFA, by International Treaty the UK would have to facilitate the Unification. However, being realistic, the hurdle to leap would be getting the people of the ROI to accept Unification.
But don't you think that the Tories, at least, would campaign for a 'No' vote in the North?
 

rainmaker

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It's clear from the reaction of Westminster to the Scottish independence referendum that such a schism should be considered unwelcome to the Union. Were a "border poll" or other such euphemism for secession of NI from the UK to join the ROI to happen, what would be the likely response from the UK body politic?

This topic is rooted in determining what the interest in Westminster would be to maintaining NI as a part of the UK. We know that Britain has no "selfish, strategic or economic interest in Northern Ireland". This is certainly not the position of Westminster vis a via Scotland or Wales, for example, and we may presume that this is infinitely less so in the case of England.

So, if there were a "border poll", would Westminster sit this one out?
Minor point - but surely NI would be voting on reunification rather than independence?
 

Cai

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But don't you think that the Tories, at least, would campaign for a 'No' vote in the North?
The Tories are one thing - but unlike in the case of Scotland Labour would probably be pro re unification.
 

statsman

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The Tories are one thing - but unlike in the case of Scotland Labour would probably be pro re unification.
And Labour would want to lose the DUP from Westminster. Nevertheless, assuming a Tory government, the answer is that the government would campaign against the referendum. Assuming a Labour government, the Tories would still campaign against, this time accusing the government of the day of treason to the Union. One way or another, it's impossible to imagine no interference.
 

Henry94.

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I don't think British or southern campaigning would make much difference. The best bet for a referendum to pass in the foreseeable future is for Brexit to be a disaster for the north and even then it would be more about voting themselves back into the EU rather than a united Ireland.
 
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Sync

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I think they punt. Don't take a side, say it's up to the people of NI.

Losing NI means
Saving money that can be used to bribe Scotland if needed
Solves a headache of entry to the EU
Not having to deal with the DUP/SF goons any more
No more arguments about the Olympics name.

The logistical pain in the arse that NI represents outweighs losing face.
 

former wesleyan

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I imagine Google would collapse under the pressure of " who " and " what ".
 

Cai

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And Labour would want to lose the DUP from Westminster. Nevertheless, assuming a Tory government, the answer is that the government would campaign against the referendum. Assuming a Labour government, the Tories would still campaign against, this time accusing the government of the day of treason to the Union. One way or another, it's impossible to imagine no interference.
Does not the GFA state that the SoS must call a referendum if it seems to him that there might be a majority for re unification?
 

statsman

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Does not the GFA state that the SoS must call a referendum if it seems to him that there might be a majority for re unification?
Of course, but we're talking about what happens once it's called. That's why I keep using the word 'campaign'.
 

Roll_On

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Given that Brexit was about 'taking back control', it's hard to see Westminster giving up control of part of the Union any time soon, at least not without a fight. Brexit could well turn into the biggest existential crisis the Union has ever faced, and the centre will want to avoid any possibility of a domino effect, if at all possible.
The Tory Party will probably campaign for a No vote to save face in the same way that FF campaigned for a Yess vote in the SSM referendum. i.e. it'd be a lackluster campaign, thin on the ground and ultimately insincere. Your average little Englander isn't even aware of NI's current constitutional status so it'd be a pointless campaign.

It is in their interest to loose NI, it means less money wastage and more seats for them.
 

statsman

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The Tory Party will probably campaign for a No vote to save face in the same way that FF campaigned for a Yess vote in the SSM referendum. i.e. it'd be a lackluster campaign, thin on the ground and ultimately insincere. Your average little Englander isn't even aware of NI's current constitutional status so it'd be a pointless campaign.

It is in their interest to loose NI, it means less money wastage and more seats for them.
I think you underestimate the role of emotion in how politics works.
 

statsman

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Perhaps. In your experience do you think the Tory party have a big emotional/cultural connection to NI and orangism?
I think their electorate has an emotional relationship with the Union that transcends any intellectual understanding of what the Union actually is. And when Farage starts telling them that Brokenshire is taking away their Union Jack, let's see what might happen.
 


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