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A new equilibrium in the North July 27, 2016

Posted 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.


1. sonofstan - July 27, 2016

“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”

That’s it. We, in the so-called fringe, are acutely aware of England, they are all but oblivious to us. And, perhaps paradoxically, this is most noticeable among BME english, who, although they will generally identify as ‘british’ will have no experience or awareness of other parts of the Union, and even more so, of Ireland.


WorldbyStorm - July 27, 2016

Thanks. I find the irony oddly sad though. And it says something curious and perhaps telling when leftish nationalists like the snp get the implications from the off when others don’t.


2. sonofstan - July 27, 2016

So….. If there were to be a United ireland tomorrow, a 32 county Dail – I’d say there’d be a name change – would, if we were to keep the same level of representation, have somewhere between 215-220 seats. The current assembly in the north is absurdly large.

If everyone were to vote exactly as they did in the 2016 elections in each jurisdiction, we’d get something like this:
FG 50
FF 43
SF 40 ( their current Dail figure plus 17, representing their 28 in the assembly by .6)
DUP 21
Greens 3
Alliance 3
SD 3
Labour 7

So, build a government outta that…..


gendjinn - July 27, 2016


What if SF romps home on the back of a successful border poll, wiping out SDLP/FF in the border and Labour? 60/65+ TDs and they are still at risk of being the opposition.

DUP are odd, they’d rather be in government with SF within the UK than be in government without SF within a reunited Ireland.


3. gendjinn - July 27, 2016

Does look like MMD is pushing Joint Authority.


benmadigan - July 27, 2016

post- brexit may be too late for joint authority as such – unless it’s of the type “brits/Unionists/Loyalists facilitated to gradually fade away”


gendjinn - July 28, 2016

I’d say it’s more a case of needing at least a Labour govt to get anything going.


4. benmadigan - July 27, 2016

“Even if the prospect of such a poll is close to zero at the moment ”

This statement may well be true as the chance of having a poll depends entirely on the NI Secretary of State’s impression and decision.
There are no objective criteria, benchmarks, indicators – zilch, nada, niente, nothing to guide decision-making.

On the other hand, the pro-Unionist Belfast Telegraph, well-known rabid republican broadsheet rivalling An Poblacht in its propaganda, has been running a couple of polls in the past few days

Over 70% of respondents say they want a border poll and would vote for a re-united ireland


Who was it said something about repeating a lie/ distorted truth often enough and people will believe you?


WorldbyStorm - July 27, 2016

That point about no real criteria is very true and remarkably underconsidered in the media in relation to it.

Liked by 1 person

Liberius - July 28, 2016

That’s a voodoo poll, not demographically balanced as it will stuffer from a self-selection bias with those most animated, and young (it is the Internet), likely to vote. You also see this with SF in those journal.ie polls, overshooting reality.


Liberius - July 28, 2016



gendjinn - July 28, 2016

At this point internet polls aren’t total shite, they’re essentially a straw poll. It’s not the 90s.


Liberius - July 28, 2016

I suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree, if you want to delude yourself into thinking that a UI is just around the corner then I’m not going to stop you, but others reading this have a right to know that the statistical reliability of these kinds of ‘polls’ are considerably worse than the real ones whose own reliability isn’t exactly perfect.


gendjinn - July 28, 2016

Not what I said.

Do you know what a straw poll is?


Liberius - July 28, 2016

Both internet and straw polls suffer from being uncontrolled in their demographic and political composition and thus are not even vaguely reliable considering the potential for extra territorial voters from the south and further afield not being excluded (and ‘ballot stuffing’ as I’ve been known to do myself with The Journals polls). My view is that they are total shite, and shouldn’t be given any credence whatsoever.


gendjinn - July 28, 2016

That’s what a straw poll is, and while they have many caveats, you can still compare like to like over time.

As I said, it’s not the 90s and straw polls are not “entirely shite”.


FergusD - July 28, 2016

Re-united under what auspices? Maybe nationalists and unioinists voted for it but with a different united Ireland in mind?


5. shea - July 28, 2016

what was said between the day of the briexit result and the day last week to martin and kenny in donegal when they came out in favour of a border poll?

while all constitutional nationalists parties 20 years ago came around to the principle of consent, bar the provos they have tended to take ‘a let them do the chasing when they are ready’ approach. Sorry but this is noticeably different. odd for mcdowell to be talking it down, may seem rationalist but could also be about calming nerves of people down here who were spooked by kenny and martin.

won’t get a head of myself and say it will lead to a united ireland, it could be in uncertin times the future can look fluid but it was clearly a joint move by the two largest parties in the south, of government bringing up an issue that was side lined over 20 years ago.

Could be the brits giving them the nod, needing the GFA to be a sacred area that negotiations with europe can’t touch.

it could be the europeans giving them the nod, ahead of negotiations basicly saying to britain we will take your western flank of you and you will be surrounded by this trading bloke (most likely reason why it will never happen now)

Could be the staters smelling blood, englands difficulty and all that.

Could be based on intelligence/diplomatic information gathered from with it the unionist community not parties or representations made to this state by people in that community not parties.

its to big a change for them both to have spontaneously pull it out of the air.


6. Joe - July 28, 2016

“and to a degree Wales…”
I thought Wales was as strong as most of England in voting for Brexit?

More worryingly, this isn’t the first thread you’ve started with some praise for Michael McDowell’s column, WBS. What’s gotten into you?


sonofstan - July 28, 2016

Wales was, to an extent divided; N and W – and Welsh speaking – in or narrowly out, south Wales heavily out.


WorldbyStorm - July 28, 2016



7. Roger Cole - July 28, 2016

The European Union, already a military strategic partner of NATO, at the NATO Warsaw Conference made those links even stronger. Lt. General Frederick Hodges, Head of the US Army in Europe said that Brexit could threaten the NATO alliance. Now, of course the UK & NI remain in NATO and virtual all the Tories and the majority of the Blairite PLP also voted to ensure massive cuts in health, etc, to spend £billions on renewing Trident, so no immediate change, but there is a good case to be made of Hodges is right, especially if Corbyn becomes PM. If so, all those that opposed Brexit in this country might reconsider their position. The growing links between the EU and NATO are clearly laid out in the the current edition of Phoenix. As far as PANA is concerned our objective remains the creation of a United Independent Irish Republic with its own Independent Foreign Policy with positive neutrality at its core. In regard to the GFA it was supported by those who wanted such a Republic and well as those that wanted Ireland integrated into the EU/US/NATO axis, and in historic terms it is little more than a temporary little arrangement until either the Republic or the European Empire/US Empire wins. Our struggle for the Republic has lasted since the 18th century and is not over yet.


8. gendjinn - July 28, 2016

Newton confirms the true Unionist target of Brexit.

As if we didn’t already know.


Ed - July 28, 2016

Oh dear:

‘After some further chuntering about “austerity”, which the UK has entirely avoided, plus “economic and social rights”, which are merely a left-wing notion …’

The first claim I think can be left to stand or fall on its own merits. The second, alas:

“Article 22.

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.

(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”


It’s ironic that Newton Emerson, who likes to present himself as a no-nonsense, straight-talking right-winger who has no time for handouts and expects everyone to stand on their own feet, owes his career in journalism entirely to an unstated policy of affirmative action. The fact that the Irish News and the Irish Times publish his articles is based entirely on vague feelings of ‘nice to have one of them around the place though, isn’t it, good for diversity?’ and ‘God love him, he does TRY very hard, doesn’t he?’

Liked by 2 people

9. fergal - July 28, 2016

What would happen if Britain had a vote on any border poll, as well as all of Ireland? Would unionists still cling to their sectarian statelet if 70% of people in Britain voted to end that particular union?
How would this play itself out? Unrequited love writ large!
I reckon something is happening in relation to the union- the sands are shifting- but anything else is pure speculation until we know what Brexit really means…..


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