A new equilibrium in the North July 27, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Michael McDowell in his SBP column at the weekend makes some good, some not so good, points as regards the prospect for post-Brexit reunification of this island. I think he’s right that a lot of the rhetoric, as noted previously, is based on very little. To interpret the result in the North as indicating a shift towards independence is to misunderstand the dynamic on the ground.
That said, that said, straws in the wind such as these point to – in a way – a more interesting potential opening up, a sort of partnership between North and South to protect joint interests in a way that hasn’t been evident in the past and which might, just might, rework relationships in fascinating ways.
McDowell takes Adams to task for raising the issue of a border poll, but I think that is somewhat unreasonable. Even if the prospect of such a poll is close to zero at the moment at least by making the case he was able to put the North’s interests (and those of the island) front and centre in discussions where only the SNP initially appeared to have any handle on what was going on. The subsequent meeting of minds between Wales, Scotland, NI and to an extent Dublin last week may well have been assisted by that.
McDowell, is, in fairness, clear about his preference for reunification. And he argues that ‘confessional equality’ between Nationalists and Unionists may emerge, and ‘welcome as such a new equilibrium would be, int terms of creating a climate for equal partnership among the people in NI and ending the dynamic of religious majoritarianism there, it does not foretell a sudden see-saw movement towards unification in the short medium or long term’. I think he’s right to be cautious.
If Brexit demonstrates anything it is that in Scotland, Ireland, North and South, and to a degree Wales there’s a strong sentiment that seeks continuity rather than rupture. But working that continuity may well, simply because England is detaching itself from others whether explicitly or implicitly, lead to some very interesting places.