Author Topic: A United Ireland - The Nationalist Paradox  (Read 2443 times)

Evil Genius

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A United Ireland - The Nationalist Paradox
« on: April 07, 2021, 03:23:10 PM »
Reading through some of the other threads on here (SF gone away, Voting in Border Poll, SDLP, Leo V etc), I am reminded of the witty aphorism usually attributed to Brendan Behan, that whenever Nationalists meet, the first item on the Agenda is always "The Split"  :D

But for all the amusement to be derived from seeing 40 Shades of Green cutting stripes out of each other, what is more pertinent is that not one of you seem to get the point, which is this.

Frankly, it doesn't matter one jot how many times eg SF demand a Border Poll; or some Southern politician announces a 'road map' to Unification; or how detached Westminster is from NI; or how much pressure comes from Washington or Brussels (or anywhere else, for that matter).

For since the GFA, the Constitutional future of NI is solely in the hands of the people of NI and no-one else. Further, it is only a majority who will ever decide, whether to stay within the UK, or join a UI. All else is bluster and flannel.

And for the people to be entitled to a Referendum, then it will require the SoS for NI to be of the opinion that there may exist a majority for Unity amongst the electorate.

Which means he/she has to look first to how that electorate might vote. Basically speaking, there are two pointers.

The first is to look at voting patterns in recent elections. And as eminent psephologist Prof. Brendan O'Leary pointed out at a SF Fund Raising event in NYC no less(!) a while back, ever since the turn of the century, the "Nationalist" vote in NI, as measured by SF, SDLP and various minor parties, has plateaued at around 42-43%. Moreover, O'Leary opined that he couldn't see that changing in the foreseeable future.

Now it is fair to say that the "Unionist" vote (DUP, UUP, TUV etc) is not any higher. But if Nationalism is to get over the line, it has to muster the bulk of the "Others" (Alliance, Greens, Independents etc) to their cause. Yet if you look at their votes, they are overwhelmingly drawn from Unionist-leaning areas (East Belfast, North Down etc). Therefore in the event of a Referendum, one might expect those of them who did bother to vote, to be Unionist.

Of course, that whole  vote-counting exercise is arguably a misleading one, for a number of reasons. First, people vote in elections (esp local) for individual candidates for a variety of reasons - the candidate may have a personal following; there may be a local issue which skews the vote; custom and habit; or tactical considerations ("keep Themmuns out"). Consequently a vote for a given party may not exactly reflect an individual's preference in a border poll.

And that's only those who actually bother to vote! Many, of course, never go near the voting booth, either because they're disaffected by the political process; or feel they have better things to do; or because they realise that in a heavy Unionist or Nationalist area, their individual vote won't make the slightest bit of difference.

However, as eg Brexit or the last Scottish Referendum showed, in a binary poll like we're talking about, individual votes do make a difference, meaning that many "non-voters" may be tempted to turn out this time.

So if we should be very suspicious of past elections as a guide to which way a Border Poll might go, where do we look? The answer has to be Opinion Polls. Now I know that how the question is asked can often determine the answer which is received etc, and that not all such opinion polls are entirely consistent. Nonetheless, the clear consensus basically since the GFA is that a clear majority (i.e. well over 50% +1) would vote to remain.

Why should this be? Basically because Referenda are at least as much about Identity as they are about the usual political and socio-economic factors which determine elections. And the whole point is Brexit notwithstanding, many in the Nationalist community are broadly satisfied that their Irish identity is now tolerably well recognised and protected, meaning that they are more likely to be concerned about Pensions, NHS, government jobs, DLA etc in such a vote, meaning that many will abstain, or even vote to remain - who needs the disruption, uncertainty, even chaos which might ensue from a UI vote?

Whereas Unionists look at this very differently. Namely, the only way they can preserve their own Identity is by voting to remain in the UK. For at its simplest, if there is no Union, there can be no Unionists, and if they're no longer in the UK, they can no longer be British.

And no amount of assurances of a post-UI state being a "warm house for Unionists" will persuade them to take a chance on it, why should they? It is still remembered that in 1921, the Unionist/Protestant population of the Free State was just over 10%, half a century later it was what demographers deem "statistically insignificant" i.e. under 2 1/2 per cent. (At the same time, the Nationalist/Catholic population in NI was going the other way).

Therefore even if Nationalism can maximise its own traditional vote (highly unlikely imo), it still has no hope of achieving a 50%+ majority, so long as the broader Unionist vote holds up and turns out (highly likely imo).

Which is where the paradox comes in. For every time Nationalism (esp SF) stokes up the temperature* on this issue in order to maximise their own vote, it only causes the Unionist vote to stiffen round the flag.

Which ultimately means that if Nationalism is to woo the persuadeable Unionist voters whom they need, it won't be by castigating them or telling them where they're wrong, mere honeyed words won't be enough. They will also need to demonstrate good faith behind their words, by contributing to good government at Stormont etc, at least while NI is in the UK.

Yet if they do contribute sincerely  and consistently to making NI work to demonstrate their bona fides, that will only make Nationalist waverers less likely to vote for change, while Unionists will conclude that with NI now working better, why should they vote against it?

Above all, the more successful SF is in the Republic, the more determined Unionists will be to vote to remain in the UK, since there is no way on earth that they (including me!) will ever trust our future to a UI political system which could ultimately be dominated by Shinners like the Gerrys Adams and Kelly, none whatever.





* - You know, Barry McElduff and Kingsmills, the Bobby Storey funeral, or Martina Anderson's latest "Brits Out!" outburst etc.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2021, 03:40:29 PM by Evil Genius »
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Milltown Row2

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Re: A United Ireland - The Nationalist Paradox
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2021, 03:34:29 PM »
I wonder who'll be up first to tackle that  ::)
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Rossfan

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Re: A United Ireland - The Nationalist Paradox
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2021, 03:34:40 PM »
How come people from England, Scotland*, Wales can be British wherever they live in the World but 6 Cos. Unionists can only be British if the 6 Cos. is ruled by Westminster?

* Hopefully not for too long more.
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Re: A United Ireland - The Nationalist Paradox
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2021, 03:49:04 PM »
Reading through some of the other threads on here (SF gone away, Voting in Border Poll, SDLP, Leo V etc), I am reminded of the witty aphorism usually attributed to Brendan Behan, that whenever Nationalists meet, the first item on the Agenda is always "The Split"  :D

But for all the amusement to be derived from seeing 40 Shades of Green cutting stripes out of each other, what is more pertinent is that not one of you seem to get the point, which is this.

Frankly, it doesn't matter one jot how many times eg SF demand a Border Poll; or some Southern politician announces a 'road map' to Unification; or how detached Westminster is from NI; or how much pressure comes from Washington or Brussels (or anywhere else, for that matter).

For since the GFA, the Constitutional future of NI is solely in the hands of the people of NI and no-one else. Further, it is only a majority who will ever decide, whether to stay within the UK, or join a UI. All else is bluster and flannel.

And for the people to be entitled to a Referendum, then it will require the SoS for NI to be of the opinion that there may exist a majority for Unity amongst the electorate.

Which means you have to look first to how that electorate might vote. Basically speaking, there are two pointers.

The first is to look at voting patterns in recent elections. And as eminent psephologist Prof. Brendan O'Leary pointed out at a SF Fund Raising event in NYC no less(!) a while back, ever since the turn of the century, the "Nationalist" vote in NI, as measured by SF, SDLP and various minor parties, has plateaued at around 42-43%. Moreover, O'Leary opined that he couldn't see that changing in the foreseeable future.

Now it is fair to say that the "Unionist" vote (DUP, UUP, TUV etc) is not any higher. But if Nationalism is to get over the line, it has to muster the bulk of the "Others" (Alliance, Greens, Independents etc) to their cause. Yet if you look at their votes, they are overwhelmingly drawn from Unionist-leaning areas (East Belfast, North Down etc). Therefore in the event of a Referendum, one might expect those of them who did bother to vote, to be Unionist.

Of course, that whole  vote-counting exercise is arguably a misleading one, for a number of reasons. First, people vote in elections (esp local) for individual candidates for a variety of reasons - the candidate may have a personal following; there may be a local issue which skews the vote; custom and habit; or tactical considerations ("keep Themmuns out"). Consequently a vote for a given party may not exactly reflect an individual's preference in a border poll.

And that's only those who actually bother to vote! Many, of course, never go near the voting booth, either because they're disaffected by the political process; or feel they have better things to do; or because they realise that in a heavy Unionist or Nationalist area, their individual vote won't make the slightest bit of difference.

However, as eg Brexit or the last Scottish Referendum showed, in a binary poll like we're talking about, individual votes do make a difference, meaning that many "non-voters" may be tempted to turn out this time.

So if we should be very suspicious of past elections as a guide to which way a Border Poll might go, where do we look? The answer has to be Opinion Polls. Now I know that how the question is asked can often determine the answer which is received etc, and that not all such opinion polls are entirely consistent. Nonetheless, the clear consensus basically since the GFA is that a clear majority (i.e. well over 50% +1) would vote to remain.

Why should this be? Basically because Referenda are at least as much about Identity as they are about the usual political and socio-economic factors which determine elections. And the whole point is Brexit notwithstanding, many in the Nationalist community are broadly satisfied that their Irish identity is now tolerably well recognised and protected, meaning that they are more likely to be concerned about Pensions, NHS, government jobs, DLA etc in such a vote, meaning that many will abstain, or even vote to remain - who needs the disruption, uncertainty, even chaos which might ensue from a UI vote?

Whereas Unionists look at this very differently. Namely, the only way they can preserve their own Identity is by voting to remain in the UK. For at its simplest, if there is no Union, there can be no Unionists, and if they're no longer in the UK, they can no longer be British.

And no amount of assurances of a post-UI state being a "warm house for Unionists" will persuade them to take a chance on it, why should they? It is still remembered that in 1921, the Unionist/Protestant population of the Free State was just over 10%, half a century later it was what demographers deem "statistically insignificant" i.e. under 2 1/2 per cent. (At the same time, the Nationalist/Catholic population in NI was going the other way).

Therefore even if Nationalism can maximise its own traditional vote (highly unlikely imo), it still has no hope of achieving a 50%+ majority, so long as the broader Unionist vote holds up and turns out (highly likely imo).

Which is where the paradox comes in. For every time Nationalism (esp SF) stokes up the temperature* on this issue in order to maximise their own vote, it only causes the Unionist vote to stiffen round the flag.

Which ultimately means that if Nationalism is to woo the persuadeable Unionist voters whom they need, it won't be by castigating them or telling them where they're wrong, in fact mere honeyed words be enough. They will also need to demonstrate their good faith behind the words, by contributing to good government at Stormont etc, at least while NI is in the UK.

Yet if they do contribute sincerely  and consistently to making NI work to demonstrate their bona fides, that will only make Nationalist waverers less likely to vote for change, while Unionists will conclude that with NI now working better, why should they vote it?

Above all, the more successful SF is in the Republic, the more determined Unionists will be to vote to remain in the UK, since there is no way on earth that they (including me!) will ever trust our future to a UI political system which could ultimately be dominated by Shinners like the Gerrys Adams and Kelly, none whatever.





* - You know, Barry McElduff and Kingsmills, the Bobby Storey funeral, or Martina Anderson's latest "Brits Out!" outburst etc.

Some interesting points. A few things to note. There was a time when the ordinary 5/8ths Nationalist had about as much interest in a UI as they had about flying to the Moon, but a few key things changed that. The crocodile remark and Unionist intransigence around all things Irish, Brexit and it's pretty clear that the DUP are trying to run NI on their own and there is little cross party co-operation in the Executive. Many Nationalists who were happy with the status quo, like myself, see no long term future in NI. The ROI is a far more open and progressive society than the North. Young people will want to be part of that, part of the EU. Young people see nothing to fear in the ROI. Indeed they see nothing only upside. If jobs and opportunities dry up, then so will love for NI.

The numbers are changing and while they certainly aren't there yet it would be foolish, especially for Unionism not to be thinking about the what if. Burying your head in the sand and hoping something won't happen is a pretty terrible idea. But I understand that for a Unionist there is no potential upside. You're a Unionist and if NI stops being part of the Union then Unionism dies.

Some things to watch out for.
SF will be the largest party in the next Dail, there is no doubt about that.
Scotland will vote to leave the UK.

Unionism and Unionist leaders need to wake up.

Evil Genius

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Re: A United Ireland - The Nationalist Paradox
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2021, 03:52:10 PM »
How come people from England, Scotland*, Wales can be British wherever they live in the World but 6 Cos. Unionists can only be British if the 6 Cos. is ruled by Westminster?
It is not Brits from Eng/Scot/Wales who choose (emphasise) to live outside the UK who count, since they can always go back to their home in the UK anytime they choose.

Whereas those Briti from NI would not have a UK home to revert to (i.e. "home" being in the 6 counties) in the event of a UI.

Neither should they have to travel to England, Scotland or Wales in order to do so.

In any case, your question is entirely irrelevant, since those people would not get to vote, just the same as Eng/Wales/NI didn't get to vote eg in the Scottish referendum.

So try sticking to the point of my post if you please - it took me long enough to compose it!
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armaghniac

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Re: A United Ireland - The Nationalist Paradox
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2021, 03:54:46 PM »
Whereas those Briti from NI would not have a UK home to revert to (i.e. "home" being in the 6 counties) in the event of a UI.

Britain is still there, and if someone is British and has problems integrating elsewhere then going there seems a good plan.
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general_lee

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Re: A United Ireland - The Nationalist Paradox
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2021, 04:00:37 PM »
I wonder who'll be up first to tackle that  ::)
Always a good sign when Unionists go to such lengths to tell us how unlikely reunification is! Despite a compelling argument, the post canít be properly addressed until the 2021 census results are published and after the next election.

One thing for sure is that Unionism is in complete disarray. The future of the union is far from certain.

Milltown Row2

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Re: A United Ireland - The Nationalist Paradox
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2021, 04:03:02 PM »
Whereas those Briti from NI would not have a UK home to revert to (i.e. "home" being in the 6 counties) in the event of a UI.

Britain is still there, and if someone is British and has problems integrating elsewhere then going there seems a good plan.

Well Arlene is going to do that, and I'm sure some southern protestants moved up north from the border counties at the time
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Evil Genius

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Re: A United Ireland - The Nationalist Paradox
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2021, 04:04:50 PM »
Some interesting points. A few things to note. There was a time when the ordinary 5/8ths Nationalist had about as much interest in a UI as they had about flying to the Moon, but a few key things changed that. The crocodile remark and Unionist intransigence around all things Irish, Brexit and it's pretty clear that the DUP are trying to run NI on their own and there is little cross party co-operation in the Executive. Many Nationalists who were happy with the status quo, like myself, see no long term future in NI. The ROI is a far more open and progressive society than the North. Young people will want to be part of that, part of the EU. Young people see nothing to fear in the ROI. Indeed they see nothing only upside. If jobs and opportunities dry up, then so will love for NI.
You may be correct in  your analysis of Nationalist voting trends in NI, but you still miss my point that even if maximised, 43% or thereabouts is not enough i.e. Nationalism needs to persuade a section of the Unionist vote to change their mind (identity).

And I see no sign of their being caqpable of doing that - quite the reverse, in fact.

The numbers are changing and while they certainly aren't there yet it would be foolish, especially for Unionism not to be thinking about the what if. Burying your head in the sand and hoping something won't happen is a pretty terrible idea. But I understand that for a Unionist there is no potential upside. You're a Unionist and if NI stops being part of the Union then Unionism dies.
Where is your evidence that "the numbers [in NI] are changing"?

Some things to watch out for.
SF will be the largest party in the next Dail, there is no doubt about that.
Scotland will vote to leave the UK.
Should SF be the biggest party in the Dail next time, then that will only stiffen Unionist resolve, not weaken it.

And should Scotland vote to leave (still not certain), that might encourage Nationalists in NI, but it isn't likely to persuade NI's Unionists to change, why should it?

Unionism and Unionist leaders need to wake up.
That may well be true.

But if your complete failure to address my point is anything to go by, so do Nationalists!
« Last Edit: April 07, 2021, 04:06:46 PM by Evil Genius »
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Evil Genius

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Re: A United Ireland - The Nationalist Paradox
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2021, 04:14:49 PM »
Whereas those Briti from NI would not have a UK home to revert to (i.e. "home" being in the 6 counties) in the event of a UI.

Britain is still there, and if someone is British and has problems integrating elsewhere then going there seems a good plan.
So "Brits Out!" it is then!
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/unionists-slam-anderson-for-her-brits-out-message-at-sinn-fein-rally-38377482.html

Anyhow, if you don't like living in the UK, why don't you clear off south of the border, too?

I mean, "If someone is Irish and has problems integrating elsewhere then going there seems a good plan" as some sage once said...  ::)
« Last Edit: April 07, 2021, 04:20:29 PM by Evil Genius »
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Evil Genius

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Re: A United Ireland - The Nationalist Paradox
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2021, 04:19:12 PM »
I wonder who'll be up first to tackle that  ::)
Always a good sign when Unionists go to such lengths to tell us how unlikely reunification is! Despite a compelling argument, the post canít be properly addressed until the 2021 census results are published and after the next election.
How will the 2021 Census predict how, or even whether, people will vote in a Referendum that isn't even certain to be called?

One thing for sure is that Unionism is in complete disarray. The future of the union is far from certain.
With the only other sure thing being that the greater the threat to the Union, the more Unionists will unite.

Especially if it should be SF who are being seen to threaten us (literally).

Oops, there goes that Paradox again!  ;D
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Re: A United Ireland - The Nationalist Paradox
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2021, 04:25:47 PM »
Some interesting points. A few things to note. There was a time when the ordinary 5/8ths Nationalist had about as much interest in a UI as they had about flying to the Moon, but a few key things changed that. The crocodile remark and Unionist intransigence around all things Irish, Brexit and it's pretty clear that the DUP are trying to run NI on their own and there is little cross party co-operation in the Executive. Many Nationalists who were happy with the status quo, like myself, see no long term future in NI. The ROI is a far more open and progressive society than the North. Young people will want to be part of that, part of the EU. Young people see nothing to fear in the ROI. Indeed they see nothing only upside. If jobs and opportunities dry up, then so will love for NI.
You may be correct in  your analysis of Nationalist voting trends in NI, but you still miss my point that even if maximised, 43% or thereabouts is not enough i.e. Nationalism needs to persuade a section of the Unionist vote to change their mind (identity).

And I see no sign of their being caqpable of doing that - quite the reverse, in fact.

The numbers are changing and while they certainly aren't there yet it would be foolish, especially for Unionism not to be thinking about the what if. Burying your head in the sand and hoping something won't happen is a pretty terrible idea. But I understand that for a Unionist there is no potential upside. You're a Unionist and if NI stops being part of the Union then Unionism dies.
Where is your evidence that "the numbers [in NI] are changing"?

Some things to watch out for.
SF will be the largest party in the next Dail, there is no doubt about that.
Scotland will vote to leave the UK.
Should SF be the biggest party in the Dail next time, then that will only stiffen Unionist resolve, not weaken it.

And should Scotland vote to leave (still not certain), that might encourage Nationalists in NI, but it isn't likely to persuade NI's Unionists to change, why should it?

Unionism and Unionist leaders need to wake up.
That may well be true.

But if your complete failure to address my point is anything to go by, so do Nationalists!

Scotland leaving might not convince NI unionists the UK isn't worth it anymore but you are living in dreamland if you don't think it changes the dynamic. England is the fulcrum of the UK, Scotland is the secondary unit, Scotland has always been of intrinsic value as it always protected the English Northern flank in days of yore (& North Sea oil & gas in more recent times). NI unionism's major problem if Scotland leaves the UK is that England might decide the UK is no longer worth the bother and then the NI SOS's attitude changes overnight - it's not as tho a UK Government would throw Unionism to wolves or anything (lol).




armaghniac

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Re: A United Ireland - The Nationalist Paradox
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2021, 04:29:21 PM »
Quote
It is still remembered that in 1921, the Unionist/Protestant population of the Free State was just over 10%, half a century later it was what demographers deem "statistically insignificant" i.e. under 2 1/2 per cent. (At the same time, the Nationalist/Catholic population in NI was going the other way).

I've just seen this. EG you are going to make up facts then you will not get very far.
The Protestant proportion of the 26 counties was last over 10% in 1901. Of course it fell after 1921 as a large garrison of troops, black and tans, colonial administrators and colonial types left, their colonial project having failed. The Protestant proportion of the population never fell below 3%, and of course this has now increased so that there are now as many Protestants now as in the 1920s.
As you point out, the proportion of Catholics in NI also increased, so this has to with factors like family size more than the nature of the state.

Anyhow, if you don't like living in the UK, why don't you clear off south of the border, too?

I mean, "If someone is Irish and has problems integrating elsewhere then going there seems a good plan" as some sage once said...  ::)

We have lived in our own country all along, it is incumbent on the occupier to leave not the occupied.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2021, 04:40:08 PM by armaghniac »
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Evil Genius

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Re: A United Ireland - The Nationalist Paradox
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2021, 04:32:51 PM »
Scotland leaving might not convince NI unionists the UK isn't worth it anymore but you are living in dreamland if you don't think it changes the dynamic. England is the fulcrum of the UK, Scotland is the secondary unit, Scotland has always been of intrinsic value as it always protected the English Northern flank in days of yore (& North Sea oil & gas in more recent times).
An independent Scotland might certainly have an effect on thinking in NI, but not in the same way for everyone.

In fact, I'd imagine that the sight of Wee Nicola begging the EU for membership, having to swallow the Euro, missing out on the Barnett Formula subsidy from Westminster, while desperately trying to sell the last of the North Sea's oil to a world which is abandoning fossil fuels etc, would certainly colour NI Unionist thinking, that's for sure!

NI unionism's major problem if Scotland leaves the UK is that England might decide the UK is no longer worth the bother and then the NI SOS's attitude changes overnight - it's not as tho a UK Government would throw Unionism to wolves or anything (lol).
How many times does it have to be said? It isn't within the gift of England to determine whether NI says in the UK or leaves, it is solely for the people of NI to decide.

Or didn't you get the memo?  :D

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-belfast-agreement
« Last Edit: April 07, 2021, 04:35:31 PM by Evil Genius »
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Re: A United Ireland - The Nationalist Paradox
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2021, 04:33:30 PM »
Some interesting points. A few things to note. There was a time when the ordinary 5/8ths Nationalist had about as much interest in a UI as they had about flying to the Moon, but a few key things changed that. The crocodile remark and Unionist intransigence around all things Irish, Brexit and it's pretty clear that the DUP are trying to run NI on their own and there is little cross party co-operation in the Executive. Many Nationalists who were happy with the status quo, like myself, see no long term future in NI. The ROI is a far more open and progressive society than the North. Young people will want to be part of that, part of the EU. Young people see nothing to fear in the ROI. Indeed they see nothing only upside. If jobs and opportunities dry up, then so will love for NI.
You may be correct in  your analysis of Nationalist voting trends in NI, but you still miss my point that even if maximised, 43% or thereabouts is not enough i.e. Nationalism needs to persuade a section of the Unionist vote to change their mind (identity).

And I see no sign of their being caqpable of doing that - quite the reverse, in fact.

The numbers are changing and while they certainly aren't there yet it would be foolish, especially for Unionism not to be thinking about the what if. Burying your head in the sand and hoping something won't happen is a pretty terrible idea. But I understand that for a Unionist there is no potential upside. You're a Unionist and if NI stops being part of the Union then Unionism dies.
Where is your evidence that "the numbers [in NI] are changing"?

Some things to watch out for.
SF will be the largest party in the next Dail, there is no doubt about that.
Scotland will vote to leave the UK.
Should SF be the biggest party in the Dail next time, then that will only stiffen Unionist resolve, not weaken it.

And should Scotland vote to leave (still not certain), that might encourage Nationalists in NI, but it isn't likely to persuade NI's Unionists to change, why should it?

Unionism and Unionist leaders need to wake up.
That may well be true.

But if your complete failure to address my point is anything to go by, so do Nationalists!

Sorry is you point that today Nats don't have the numbers? Then yes I agree with you 100% they don't. Hence only sensible parties are suggesting that the unity referendum should called way in the future when it is winnable.
Nats do have to convince not so much unionists but undecideds. Green and Alliance voters. At this moment in time we're only talking about getting that conversation off an running. It hasn't started in earnest. But it will.
Scotland is key. If it goes then what is the point of the England trying to hold onto NI? English and Welsh people look at NI unionists and they see nothing in common. Their Britishness is so far removed from what NI Unionists' Britishness is.