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What if Corbyn offered Sinn Féin a Border poll?  

"Corbyn is effectively a Sinn Féin fellow traveller. During the 1980s and 1990s he was the closest thing the party had to a sitting MP".

The question is obvious and voters in Northern Ireland have a right to an answer before they go to the polls on December 12th. What will Sinn Féin do if the election results in a hung parliament? More specifically, what will it do if its votes could make Jeremy Corbyn prime minister and he makes the party an offer it surely can't refuse?

The offer is this: take your seats to vote me into office and support me on any confidence motions, and in return I will give you a Border poll. Does Sinn Féin really rule out such a deal? And if not, it surely needs to be honest with voters and prepare them in advance for the possibility that the policy of abstentionism is not as absolute as party dogma has always claimed it to be.

I know, of course, what Sinn Féin's immediate answer to the question will be: we don't do hypotheticals. But everything about UK politics is hypothetical right now. Every objective observer accepts that the electorate is more volatile than it has been for generations.

In 2017 the Conservatives and Labour got 83 per cent of the vote between them - the highest combined total since 1970. In this year's European Parliament election, they got 23 per cent between them - the lowest total in the era of mass democracy. A binary first-past-the-post system now has four major parties squeezing into it. Small shifts could produce momentous results. Nobody knows how many voters will decide to vote tactically. Nobody knows anything.

The problem with this scenario is there is no way Corbyn could make a deal with Sinn Fein prior to a general election as he would be crucified by the hard right as a terrorist fellow traveller - not that they don't do this anyway, but a Sinn Fein deal would add credibility and immediacy to the charge.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 12th, 2019 at 08:33:29 AM EST

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