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In the same poll, and presented with only two options, what kind of Brexit would you prefer if Brexit has to happen?

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 12th, 2019 at 02:53:46 PM EST
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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 12th, 2019 at 02:56:12 PM EST
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This poll is significant because it shows quite a large swing to Irish re-unification/remaining in the EU compared to most other polls in the past. This may reflect current anxiety over Brexit, or a more lasting swing, or both.

However it is important to note it represents sentiment towards an abstract concept of a "united Ireland". No one has spelled out in detail what this would look like, or how the transition would be managed. Any such change would require a referendum both in N.I. and I.E. and we don't do abstract generalised referenda. The precise nature of the financial settlement, governance structures, and civil rights would have to spelled out - right down to the flags, emblems and anthems to be used. Nobody wants another Brexit style referendum where nobody knows what they are voting for - or against.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 12th, 2019 at 03:05:51 PM EST
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an abstract concept of a "united Ireland"

It also represents sentiment towards an abstract concept of the United Kingdom. Do these unionists hope to stay part of a revived UK that has a strong international presence, that has taken back control of its affairs, that deals one-on-one with the US and Russia and China and EU? Or do they hope to stay part of a reduced Little England, isolated from the EU, powerless against the great powers, economically blighted, and full of violent internal group-on-group retribution?

by asdf on Thu Sep 12th, 2019 at 03:32:22 PM EST
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Precisely, and one of my long held theories has been that a United Ireland, when it comes about, will have been caused as much by a divergence between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as by a convergence between North and South. In particular, what happens to the €10 Billion p.a. UK Exchequer subsidy to the North, roughly equivalent to the UK's net contribution to the EU?

If, as I expect, the UK economy implodes after a no-deal Brexit, and in particular UK government revenues crater, will the value for money the GB receives from its "investment" in N. Ireland not be re-examined? My fear has always been that England (and it is England that calls the financial shots) will rather hastily dump N. Ireland on the Republic, and expect us to pick up the tab, both financially and in terms of the social unrest almost certain to ensue.

Irish re-unification is a process which needs to proceed slowly, carefully, and with due regard for the civil rights and social identities of all the communities in Ireland, north and south. There have to be tangible benefits, in terms of economic development, and people have to be given time to come to terms with the changes that will inevitably be required.

National building is no longer a case of one army beating another, or one ethnic group lording it over the other, but old habits and attitudes die hard. Scottish independence could help or hinder the process, but ultimately people will have to make it work, or all communities will be net losers. Sadly the DUP have demonstrated exactly zero expertise in helping their supporters prepare for changes they know to be coming, and leadership more generally within both communities is at a low ebb.

German re-unification has also proved to be problematic, even after a generation and without the ethnic and historical divisions of the north. We do not want neo-fascist groups raising their ugly heads despoiling the political landscape of Ireland North or south. This is going to be a long, slow, and painful process, and the Brexit debacle has shown us many of the ways not to go.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 12th, 2019 at 04:21:20 PM EST
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I don't think anyone in Tory Westminster cares what the Unionists want.

They're not interested in what British voters want, so why should they bother their wise patrician heads with distracting footnotes like The Irish Question?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 12th, 2019 at 06:52:36 PM EST
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In the short term some are worried about getting a deal through, and the DUP votes may still have a bearing on that. In the longer term they may also worry about their €10 Billion p.a. subvention to the N. Ireland economy, especial if UK economy and tax revenues crater. Some, believe it or not, still have an emotional attachment to the idea of the UK, although few will have actually spent much time in N.I.  

But the hard reality is that the vast majority only think of N.I. when it causes them problems, as during the Troubles, or doing the backstop negotiations now. Polls of Tory Party members have shown they care about Brexit much more than about the Union, or even the future of the Conservative Party, and the only thing they care about more than Brexit is the prospect of Corbyn coming to power. Go figure...

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 12th, 2019 at 07:18:25 PM EST
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