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Ah… Brexit. Bringing (Irish) people together. October 20, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Unintended consequence, but according to this piece – based on relatively anecdotal evidence it has to be noted, there’s some shift in attitudes amongst those in the North who otherwise might be small ‘u’ unionist. A sense, perhaps, of where the focus of British politics actually is (clue: not on NI). That others aren’t convinced about a border poll, or shifted from their unionism doesn’t actually contradict that. What is clear is a sense of an attachment to the status quo ante of EU membership, GFA/BA structures and steady as it goes. Indeed I think there’s a little bit of jumping ahead in relation to UI tied to the Brexit result. That’s not a tenable future just yet.

Mind you, I’m not sure the most recent calls for a special status within the EU but also within the UK for NI is going to fly either. It strikes me that whatever about other British governments this one isn’t going to accept any diminution of its sovereignty in that regard.

Just on that the report from the House of Lords EU committee dealing with British Irish relations is sobering. Speaker after speaker from various backgrounds spoke of the negative impacts of Brexit on the North. That tells us something.

As does the fact that polling in the RoI and in NI points to pretty much overwhelming support for the EU outside of a tranche of unionists, and even amongst unionism in general some strong pro-EU sentiment, it does provide a signpost, and perhaps some cautionary data as regards those who would think a different path might be profitable.

None of which is to argue for unthinking and uncritical approaches to the EU, but… as has long been argued here, it’s one thing to argue for the replacement of an absolutely flawed EU by something better, a laudable aim and one which would merit serious effort, including the establishment of parallel shadow structures even in outline form – another thing entirely to argue that it should be exited with no alternative vehicle or structures in place.

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1. Michael Carley - October 20, 2016

John Taylor has something to say

Living in the UK a few miles from the Irish border, I am very relaxed about Brexit. I note the concerns in your report (Irish leaders fear Brexit will bring disaster, 17 October) by nationalists such as John Bruton and Charlie Flanagan in Dublin and Martin McGuinness of Sinn Féin – they all want a united Ireland – but there was no comment from anyone representing the unionist majority in Northern Ireland.

In fact, so far the EU referendum has been good news for Northern Ireland. The depreciation of sterling has meant a substantial increase in CAP payments to the large agriculture industry and each day thousands of southern Irish are queueing to enter Northern Ireland to shop. Northern Irish border towns are booming – not with IRA bombs – but with euros from southern shoppers. It is the Republic that is suffering from Brexit and I foresee this problem remaining for the next three years until the UK finally exits the EU. Irish exports of beef, mushrooms etc to the UK are collapsing; hundreds have already become redundant; and tourism from the UK will be in decline due to the sterling depreciation.

There are two possible solutions for the Republic: (1) rejoin sterling, but it cannot as it is no longer a sovereign independent country in this respect, or (2) exit the EU. After all, Ireland joined the EEC on the same day as the UK and it would be logical for it to exit the same day.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/18/ireland-post-brexit-options-and-ties-to-uk

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CL - October 20, 2016

So far the impact is because of two separate currencies in Ireland. There is no visible border because of two currencies but the differential economic impact is obvious.

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2. FergusD - October 20, 2016

So for Tories and the likes of Taylor a run on the pound is GOOD! Wow, they have chnaged their tune since the 70s when if it happened on Labour’s watch is was treason.

Initially a low pound presumably does help exports due to a fall in prices of the exported UK goods. But does this last? Eventually the increased cost of imported raw materials will hit, will they not? And teh lower productivity in the UK versus many countries. Anyway the UK relays on transfers in of foreign funds to cover its huge trade deficit. Will such funds continue to flow in (to sterling) if that currency declines? Many will make squillions speculating on the pound of course (“the gomes of Zurich”!), but would a volatile currency be a good thing?

Anway, depreciation of the pound will raise prices of food and fuel etc, so the masses will suffer (“the pound in your pocket”).

The hypocrisy of the Tories is stunning really. Before the Brexit vote we were told the value of the pound (versus the Euro) was a great benefit of being outside the eurozone, now we are told it is the low value of the pound that is great! So confusing. Apparently some currency exchange shops in Heathrow etc were offering 0.88 euros to teh pound. Ouch!

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WorldbyStorm - October 20, 2016

It is absurd how their line changes – well I guess they’ll learn, though being Tories perhaps not!

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3. Joe - October 20, 2016

Yeah, I guess we all read what we want to read into stuff like that first article you linked to. What’s that called? Reaffirming our prejudices?
So you read it and say ” there’s some shift in attitudes amongst those in the North who otherwise might be small ‘u’ unionist” and I read it and say there’s no shift in attitudes among those in the south who probably don’t call themselves anything but who aren’t in favour of a united Ireland.
All anecdotal and speculative of course.

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WorldbyStorm - October 20, 2016

But fundamentally the issue is one that will be decided by the sentiment in the North. I think that were the majority there to agree to an ui that would make it very And for the south to refuse or at the least go for a confederal arrangement – that said as I noted in the OP I think talk of a ui is far far too premature. I can’t see it in my lifetime. One other straw in the wind, I’ll post up a link to a BBC analysis podcast which covers some of this ground and hears some intriguing comments from unionists who are aghast at what has happened.

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WorldbyStorm - October 20, 2016

BTW redc polled on this very topic over the summer post Brexit and support in the RoI was up to 65% from 57% in 2010 for a ui. Of course various intermediate positions might command greater support but that’s pretty solid sentiment.

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Joe - October 20, 2016

Ok. I surrender.

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WorldbyStorm - October 20, 2016

Ah no, I mean the above in the sense that there may be a sentiment for a common shared ground. That may not be like a traditional UI at all.

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Joe - October 20, 2016

Janey, WBS. You’re handed victory on a plate and now you’re backtracking🙂. There’ll never be a UI with the likes of you ‘leading’ the charge🙂🙂.

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WorldbyStorm - October 20, 2016

🙂

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4. sonofstan - October 20, 2016

Joint sovereignty with more or less autonomy for the NI govt, twin heads of state a la Andorra, but unlike Andorra, within the EU. Might serve london quite nicely as an entrepôt.

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Joe - October 20, 2016

What’s an entrepot? Is that French for a dog’s dinner?
But seriously, interesting idea. Is there an appetite though for that kind of leap? Reality is that the unionist leadership will hold onto the current status quo – “NI is part of the UK and the same as any other part” – rather than contemplate anything that, in their view, would dilute that.

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sonofstan - October 20, 2016

I think unionist have largely given up the ‘british as Finchley’ idea. Sinn Fein in permanent government has to make that a little hard to maintain. Seriously, historically there have been all sorts of arrangements, some involving places as big as NI that have blurred the boundaries – literally – between sovereign state and protectorate.

A Northern Ireland that was ‘in’ both the UK and the EU could be a North Atlantic Hong Kong with more democracy and an even better little country to do business. (I’m not saying this would necessarily be a good thing)

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WorldbyStorm - October 20, 2016

Just thinking the mention at the weekend the fact GNR was run as a state company by north and south in the 1950s for about 5 years underlines your point.

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Peter James - October 20, 2016

Doesn’t the UK already have entrepots, Isle of Mann, Channel Islands ?

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RosencrantzisDead - October 20, 2016

One more can’t hurt. Can you really have enough tax havens?

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5. gendjinn - October 20, 2016

The NI September poll by The View has some good data.

The electorate for Brexit in NI was more Unionist than usual, even taking the recent Nationalist disengagement and yet Remain got 56%. The View poll says that 10% are willing to flip their position on the border post-Brexit. If it is currently 55%/45% Union/Reunify but 10% of Unionists prefer EU to UK and all of them flip to Reunify then you have a tiny majority. Plug in your assumptions.

Personally I think it is more like 52%/48% and 2% to 4% of the total electorate will flip from Union to Reunify to remain in the EU, that would be sufficient to give a tiny majority. I’ve always been skeptical of the Catholic unicorns the NILT survey always finds and discount them from my models assuming that voting for a Nationalist party maps to border poll intentions. Not living in NI it’s hard to get a sense of how right/wrong that assumption is. Need a border poll to clear it up, not to win, just for the geeks.

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