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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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