Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
October 20, 2017, 02:50:20 pm
HomePredMockPollEVCalcAFEWIKIHelpLogin Register
News: Be sure to enable your "Ultimate Profile" for even more goodies on your profile page!

+  Atlas Forum
|-+  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion
| |-+  International Elections (Moderator: Hash)
| | |-+  Hypothetical Referendum on the status of Northern Ireland
« previous next »
Pages: [1] Print
Author Topic: Hypothetical Referendum on the status of Northern Ireland  (Read 1512 times)
Tetro Kornbluth
Gully Foyle
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 12738
Ireland, Republic of


View Profile
« on: July 19, 2016, 01:00:40 pm »
Ignore

While this is still an unlikely possibility it has moved in recent weeks from the purely hypothetical to the plausible. A day after the referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union, Martin McGuinness (Deputy First Minister and Leader of Sinn Fein in the NI assembly) called for a 'border poll'. A 'border poll' is the term used in Ireland to describe a referendum on NI's political status: either status quo (member of the UK) or as part of a united Irish republic. Now the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), after initially rubbishing the idea, has suggested, with some hedging of words, that such a poll might be take place in the future. The right of Northern Ireland is hold such a referendum is guaranteed under the Good Friday Agreement. Needless to say though, the entire Unionist establishment is against such a poll, most of which campaigned for a Leave vote in the referendum three weeks ago.

I, for one, can't imagine such a poll taking place until around 2020 and then only in the event of Scottish Independence, as that would make the situation of NI within the UK even more anomalous than it is already and put into huge question the status of NI in the UK. In any future trade negotiation with any other country (assuming the UK leaves the single market and does not join the EEA), NI's priorities (mostly agriculture and engineering, especially aeronautics) are going to be way down the list, and would conflict with the primary interests of the rest of the UK. As it is, Northern Ireland is basically a state dependent economy surviving on UK government grants. How generous will these be in the future, especially now that they've lost EU funding?





However, if I were *shudder* a hardline Unionist I would want such a poll sooner rather than later, for reasons that this chart (from 2014) will demonstrate



As for the result of any poll, that is clear. Unless things go completely wrong, Northern Ireland will vote to stay in the UK. The amount of Protestants who would vote for a United Ireland is negligible and many Catholics, despite everything, will vote to stay although polling regularly disputes on how many. Unification might mean giving up UK public services like the NHS to their inferior Irish equivalents (and in the long run, I'm highly dubious as to whether Northern Catholics would like being run from Dublin). However, such a result would still leave constitutional ambiguities about Northern Ireland's status, especially if it is close. As for how the results map would look like, something extremely close to this:



Although not precisely as the councils shown in this 2011 census religious demographics map (Red Protestant, Blue Catholics) have since been abolished and replaced by larger 'supercouncils'.

I might dwell this more on another post but unification would mean big changes to the Republic as much as to the North. Adding the North to the Republic would increase the population by 40% and as I noted earlier would add very different public sector infrastructure - the creatures of the post-war welfare state - to the Republic. Laws and social attitudes have diverged significantly since partition was established under the Government of Ireland Act in 1920. The Republic, despite its prohibition on Abortion, is the more liberal of the two states, less religious, and the more prosperous - a complete reverse of the situation in times past. Unification would inevitably lead to mass constitutional change in the Republic, possibly leading to a new constitution all together and possibly some kind of federalism. All these issues would have to be addressed by the government of the Republic before any border poll was held. Note that in all probability the Republic itself would have to hold a referendum on the North joining, although I can't imagine in any scenario that if the North were somehow vote to join that such a referendum were rejected despite mumblings on the cost of reunification and having to put up with bloody loyalists, who would not just shut up in a United Ireland.

In recent years, Northern Ireland's economy strategy has been based in hope that Westminster would devolve tax powers to the Stormont Assembly so to compete with the Republic for Foreign Direct Investment (with the Republic low rate of Corporation Tax - 12.5% - compared to the much higher UK wide rate being a source of contention). However, outside of the single market, it is hard to see how Northern Ireland can make itself more attractive to FDI by simply mimicking the Republic. Either it would have to cut taxes much harder and thus undercut what it is left of its fiscal independence and become a tax haven (NI at the moment has only a minimal financial services sector, purely for domestic use). Similarly outside of the CAP NI Agriculture will have to seek protection from the Stormont Assembly (which has the power to do so) but surely could not unless Stormont's fiscal powers were expanded significantly, otherwise it could face open global competition while Southern agriculture remains under the CAP's barriers. These are major issues for the North's macroeconomy that will need to be resolved under any Brexit deal, and would certainly influence the nature of any vote should it come after such a deal.

There are also a few questions to add:
1) How many people will die in such a campaign? (Very good chance the answer is not 'zero')
2) What positions will the various parties in the Republic take? Would they publish very different 'unification' deals?
3) Mostly importantly, how would such a poll be called, and would sort of agreement would have to take place for it happen? Again, if I were a Unionist, I'd want this sooner than later.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2016, 01:02:54 pm by Tetro Kornbluth »Logged



Quote
Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'
ObserverIE
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1584
Ireland, Republic of


Political Matrix
E: -3.87, S: -1.04

View Profile
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2016, 08:13:14 am »
Ignore

The most immediate effect of Brexit is that it makes "soft" nationalists, who might previously have voted SDLP or Alliance if they voted at all, less comfortable within Northern Ireland. The more cack-handed that future British policy will be (and the new cabinet and tone of announcements doesn't fill me with much confidence) the more likely it is that those people's consent for living within the UK gets strained and then withdrawn.

Things could survive the Norway option with minimal disruption and grumbling. But if future British policy is for WTO terms only or at best a very loose arrangement, and the noises emanating from Westminster from the likes of Davis imply that, then not only does that imply a severe shock for the Northern economy, but it increases the likelihood of a "hard" border which hasn't been there before, even during the Troubles, and increases the likelihood of violence starting up again.
Logged

rbk
CrabCake
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 12942
Kiribati


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2016, 08:27:44 am »
Ignore

If Ni were to join ROI, would it cease to exist and join the unitary government of the Republic, or would Ireland become a federal nation (of either the four provinces, or less radically Ulster and RestOfIreland)? If it is a federation, it could keep various British public services, and it would solve the "rule from Dublin" issue.

But yeah, I think it would be quite irresponsible to hold a border poll while sectarian violence is still quite likely to flare up. I don't think it would be impossible to see a United Ireland in my lifetime, but I think any scenario involving a 50%+1 vote would not be wise. Better to try and build a case for a United Ireland that prots (by which I don't mean flag activists, but ordinary prots) can accept.
Logged

Personally, I think he should only get one testicle removed (moderate hero)
Such a solution would certainly be completely unacceptable for me. However, for the sake of moderate herosim, I might very well be willing to keep my scrotum. Smiley Indeed, does that sound fair? Smiley
Filuwaúrdjan
Realpolitik
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 61500
United Kingdom


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2016, 08:32:54 am »
Ignore

Gully is right that all of this is conditional to a massive extent on whatever happens in Scotland.
Logged



Jacinda won! (Finally)
Fubart Solman
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 3298
United States


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2016, 10:54:22 am »
Ignore

If Ni were to join ROI, would it cease to exist and join the unitary government of the Republic, or would Ireland become a federal nation (of either the four provinces, or less radically Ulster and RestOfIreland)? If it is a federation, it could keep various British public services, and it would solve the "rule from Dublin" issue.

But yeah, I think it would be quite irresponsible to hold a border poll while sectarian violence is still quite likely to flare up. I don't think it would be impossible to see a United Ireland in my lifetime, but I think any scenario involving a 50%+1 vote would not be wise. Better to try and build a case for a United Ireland that prots (by which I don't mean flag activists, but ordinary prots) can accept.

Perhaps 50%+1 in all regions of NI?
Logged

John Chiang for CA Gov 2018; E: -3.48 S: -7.48
Kevin de Len for US Senate from CA 2018

NZ endorsements
Preferred PM: ❤️ Jacinda Ardern ❤️
afleitch
Moderators
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 24381


Political Matrix
E: 2.45, S: -8.17

View Profile
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2016, 11:29:55 am »
Ignore

I think in order for this plan to be tenable 'Northern Ireland' would have to be allowed to exist in some form, perhaps effectively transferring it's non devolved powers from the UK to Ireland. Unionism would eventually move from political to merely cultural but it would never fully dissipate so you have to have NI as a 'thing' within a Greater Ireland.

'Ireland', the Republic/South and the North would effectively have to be the guarantor of such an arrangement, almost a rehashed Anglo-Irish Treaty but with 'Ireland' overseeing it. Effectively the Republic of Ireland would have to make very significant changes to it's constitution and national consciousness in order for this to work. The Republic isn't a 'victor' taking over the North from the UK. It would have to be a formal union which might see 'South' giving up responsibilities to an all Ireland body. Would this even be favourable to voters in the Republic?

Though should the UK fragment, Ireland would probably move closer, even politically, to whatever arrangement of states emerges from this.
Logged

ObserverIE
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1584
Ireland, Republic of


Political Matrix
E: -3.87, S: -1.04

View Profile
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2016, 05:14:12 pm »
Ignore

If Ni were to join ROI, would it cease to exist and join the unitary government of the Republic, or would Ireland become a federal nation (of either the four provinces, or less radically Ulster and RestOfIreland)? If it is a federation, it could keep various British public services, and it would solve the "rule from Dublin" issue.

But yeah, I think it would be quite irresponsible to hold a border poll while sectarian violence is still quite likely to flare up. I don't think it would be impossible to see a United Ireland in my lifetime, but I think any scenario involving a 50%+1 vote would not be wise. Better to try and build a case for a United Ireland that prots (by which I don't mean flag activists, but ordinary prots) can accept.

There's provision within the existing Irish constitution for allowing local legislatures which was apparently designed by de Valera to allow Stormont to be "switched" over to being part of an Irish state:

Quote
15.2.1 The sole and exclusive power of making laws for the State is hereby vested in the Oireachtas: no other legislative authority has power to make laws for the State.
      
15.2.2 Provision may however be made by law for the creation or recognition of subordinate legislatures and for the powers and functions of these legislatures.

The idea has been floated recently by a SF MEP.
Logged

ObserverIE
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1584
Ireland, Republic of


Political Matrix
E: -3.87, S: -1.04

View Profile
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2016, 05:16:57 pm »
Ignore

Gully is right that all of this is conditional to a massive extent on whatever happens in Scotland.

That and the post-Brexit situation completely f***ing up large parts of the NI economy (although of course, such a f***-up would inflict considerable collateral damage on the parts of the RoI economy that actually do things other than play around with tax leverage).
Logged

Tetro Kornbluth
Gully Foyle
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 12738
Ireland, Republic of


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2016, 06:05:23 pm »
Ignore

Gully is right that all of this is conditional to a massive extent on whatever happens in Scotland.

That and the post-Brexit situation completely f***ing up large parts of the NI economy (although of course, such a f***-up would inflict considerable collateral damage on the parts of the RoI economy that actually do things other than play around with tax leverage).

Those are connected, as if there is a Norway-style deal little will change from the perspective of the RoI and little for Scotland either and a good portion of the Scottish leave vote would accept that (fishing and farming communities seem to be a big element behind it) and perhaps Scotland would stay in the UK, oh God knows how the kippers would react - it would be such an obvious stitch-up (I say 'little' would change as I believe there are still some EFTA-EU compliance issues for certain goods even within the EEA). 'Brexit Max' otoh with full barriers and tariffs though would be extremely bad and it is hard to see how NI would cope or how Scotland could handle it. The nightmare scenario is an Independent Scotland in the single market and England and Wales outside it, meaning trade barriers on the border of England and Scotland and between Northern Ireland and Scotland. Presumably to connect with their own country ferries from NI would to arrive in Liverpool as opposed to Stranraer or Troon (or is there any ports further north in England than that, could Barrow play this role?)

Regardless of the post-Brexit deal, sectors of the two economies are now going to be less integrated and in more competition with each other than before. Unless the NI assembly funds agriculture to at least the levels of the CAP, NI agriculture is going lose significant competitiveness to the RoI in a patch where at least in this area they were equal. At the very least, there will be demands made - even more so than before - to expand the fiscal powers of the NI assembly (although in a way that doesn't mean effective independence, or else they will bankrupt themselves).
Logged



Quote
Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'
Filuwaúrdjan
Realpolitik
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 61500
United Kingdom


View Profile
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2016, 06:57:33 pm »
Ignore

Presumably to connect with their own country ferries from NI would to arrive in Liverpool as opposed to Stranraer or Troon (or is there any ports further north in England than that, could Barrow play this role?)

Barrow is the biggest port between Liverpool and Clydeside, though there are also small ports along the West Cumberland coast (e.g. Whitehaven) that could presumably be used as ferry ports if there was suddenly demand. Would assume that at first you'd just see a huge increase in ferries to Heysham (which already has a link to Belfast) though. Or maybe finally prosperity will return to Fleetwood!
Logged



YL
YorkshireLiberal
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1879
United Kingdom


View Profile
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2016, 01:28:03 am »
Ignore

That and the post-Brexit situation completely f***ing up large parts of the NI economy (although of course, such a f***-up would inflict considerable collateral damage on the parts of the RoI economy that actually do things other than play around with tax leverage).

Those are connected, as if there is a Norway-style deal little will change from the perspective of the RoI and little for Scotland either and a good portion of the Scottish leave vote would accept that (fishing and farming communities seem to be a big element behind it) and perhaps Scotland would stay in the UK, oh God knows how the kippers would react - it would be such an obvious stitch-up (I say 'little' would change as I believe there are still some EFTA-EU compliance issues for certain goods even within the EEA). 'Brexit Max' otoh with full barriers and tariffs though would be extremely bad and it is hard to see how NI would cope or how Scotland could handle it. The nightmare scenario is an Independent Scotland in the single market and England and Wales outside it, meaning trade barriers on the border of England and Scotland and between Northern Ireland and Scotland. Presumably to connect with their own country ferries from NI would to arrive in Liverpool as opposed to Stranraer or Troon (or is there any ports further north in England than that, could Barrow play this role?)

"Brexit Max" just seems a very bad idea in very many ways.  Unfortunately the lunatics are in control of the asylum.
Logged

Anybody But Conservative
Tetro Kornbluth
Gully Foyle
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 12738
Ireland, Republic of


View Profile
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2016, 05:09:03 pm »
Ignore

Relevant

« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 10:18:51 am by Tetro Kornbluth »Logged



Quote
Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'
Tetro Kornbluth
Gully Foyle
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 12738
Ireland, Republic of


View Profile
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2016, 10:18:02 am »
Ignore

Also important - attitudes to a United Ireland in the south

Logged



Quote
Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'
Pages: [1] Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  


Login with username, password and session length

Logout

Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines