While last month’s Dail General Election has left Sinn Fein, the Provisional IRA’s political apologist, as the second largest party in Leinster House, as yet none of the main parties - Fianna Fail or Fine Gael - wants to form a coalition with the ‘Shinners’.
The two principal reasons are because of Sinn Fein’s relations with the IRA’s ruling Army Council as part of the wider republican movement, and secondly because of the Hard Left Jeremy Corbyn-style economic policy of Sinn Fein.
Mary Lou McDonald, the president of Sinn Fein, is still trying to form a Broad Left ‘rainbow’ coalition of parties - she may even try to form a minority government of the Left.
If she does, would this Broad Left coalition wreck the Irish economy? Even as a leader of the opposition, could Sinn Fein’s own Hard Left agenda cause considerable damage to the Southern economy with Marxist policies which simply are too expensive to implement?
While many Unionists north of the Irish border are gnashing their political teeth at the thought of Sinn Fein in government in Leinster House, the reality is that the current Sinn Fein economic strategy is more akin to the ‘Looney Left’ agenda of parties such as the Socialist Workers Party, the Workers Revolutionary Party, and even the Communist Party of Ireland, and not to mention the ruling North Korean Workers Party.
Even in forming such a Broad Left ‘rainbow’ alliance in the Dail, how will Sinn Fein take account of the Hard Left Trotskyite agenda of Solidarity People Before Profit? How do you reach a compromise ideologically and practically between the ideals of Karl Marx and Leon Trotsky?
Southern Ireland may have given the political ‘two fingers’ to the establishment parties of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, and may be classified as a progressive, secular society, but is Holy Mother Ireland really ready for a large dose of theoretical Marxism?
Sinn Fein has always been a party of opposition in Southern politics, but if it actually made its way into a coalition government, would Sinn Fein know the true meaning of ‘democratic compromise’ and ‘workable economic policies’?
Or would a Sinn Fein-led government in Leinster House attempt to convert the Republic of Ireland into the old German Democratic Republic (East Germany), or the Republic of North Korea in terms of an economic agenda?
Such a move by Sinn Fein will strengthen Boris Johnston’s strategy of using his Brexit deal to form a Federation of the British Isles as an economic alternative to the European Union in terms of a trade agreement.
His Withdrawal Agreement is the perfect foundation for this. Boris has already informed the Scottish National Party there will be no second independence referendum, so Scotland remains as part of the Union.
What his Withdrawal Agreement can do throughout 2020 in the negotiations is to bring the current Irish Republic into a closer working and economic relationship with the UK as part of this Federation.
2021 sees the centenary of the implementation of the original Anglo-Irish Treaty which partitioned Ireland.
This transition year can be used as a basis for the signing of a second Anglo-Irish Treaty which would link the South of Ireland into this Federation of the British Isles with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (representing more than 50 national and regional parliaments globally) as added economic muscle to the Federation.
Fine Gael has already said it is going into opposition in the new Dail, and given the complex nature of Southern Irish coalition politics, it could even be late April before a stable government is formed in the Dail.
The current Withdrawal Agreement gives Boris the political manoeuvring power to bring about the Federation solution. There is the real danger for Sinn Fein, that Sinn Fein in government in the Dail could actually backfire on its campaign for a border poll and ultimate united Ireland as envisaged in the 1916 Proclamation.
What happens if a Sinn Fein-led government cripples the Southern Irish economy leaving the Republic with no other financial way forward but to form an even closer alliance with the United Kingdom?
Unionists may fear a united Ireland, but could Sinn Fein actually bring about a united island within the British Isles, and all ultimately run from Westminster? Should Sinn Fein remember the maxim - be careful what you wish for?
BoJo’s massive Commons majority, plus his ability to wield the Cabinet axe in terms of chopping MPs who will not be staunchly loyal to his Withdrawal Agreement, has clearly demonstrated that Johnston is in a powerful position to negotiate the trade agreement with the EU that he wants; not an agreement which will be driven by the EU.
This will equally clearly create massive political headaches for the EU because if BoJo can get a super divorce deal from the EU as a result of the transition year, will other euro-skeptic EU member states start to at least demand the same political and economic independence.
Sinn Fein may yell ‘never, never, never’ at the suggestion of the ‘Butcher’s Apron’ fluttering once more over Dublin, but maybe, just maybe, a Sinn Fein-led government could so screw up the Republic’s economy that the only workable way for Southern citizens to enjoy a reasonable standard of living is to rejoin the Union.
‘It’ll never happen’ is a phrase I’ve often heard quoted at me during my 42 years in journalism in Ireland. Likewise, I’ve witnessed this phrase thrown in the dustbin of history - examples include; Paisley senior sitting in a power-sharing Stormont Executive with Sinn Fein; Sinn Fein winning a Southern General Election; Alliance snatching the UUP’s safe European seat; the New IRA threatening Sinn Fein. Need I go on?
And yes, Unionism needs to have a strategy in place in the event of the need to have a closer working relationship between the Six Counties and the Twenty-Six Counties, not as a result of Brexit, but as a result of Sinn Fein wrecking the Southern Irish economy.
I wonder what Sinn Fein founder Arthur Griffith would say if he knew that Sinn Fein actually brought about the Canadian-style Dominion Status for Ireland which he envisaged when he set up Sinn Fein in 1905.