So that being said I'm not going to waste time and text preaching to the converted. There is little democracy north or south of the border; just corruption and Mé Féinism among the political classes. Short of a popular uprising of the majority on both sides of the border this isn't going to change so it's unlikely to change any time soon.
Physical force has failed and should not be considered an option by anyone who can chew gum and walk in a straight line at the same time. Social engineering is much more sophisticated nowadays than in the 1970s when the Brits committed massacres of the innocents to steer the momentum from the dangerous populism of Civil Rights to the more-easily controlled, exclusive physical-force militancy.
It's ironic that in our information age society it would be much more difficult, if not impossible, to build the popular momentum achieved in the technologically primitive era of the late 60s early 70s.
So what can be done apart from retreating into the social media bubbles our loving overseers would prefer us to inhabit? During one of the many Stormont crises the SDLP, I believe, proposed a Plan B - joint authority and in that I think is an opportunity to make some significant advancement towards unity and equality. Stormont exists to prevent just that and I've never spoken privately to any active Sinn Féin member who believed the fantasy that Britain has no selfish, strategic interest in Ireland. Indeed an active Sinn Féin member recently described Stormont to me as a 'failed entity'.
In a joint authority scenario, where the 6 were jointly administered by London and Dublin, there would have to be 32 County Dáil elections and all-Ireland institutions. Surely there would be outrage and condemnation from Unionist politicians at the prospect but perhaps the reality described by Brian Lenihan as Tánaiste 30 odd years ago might ring true. The power of a Unionist bloc in a 32 County Dáil would be considerable and the minute FF and FG delegates crossed the border with the twin appeals of thwarting Sinn Féin and gaining access to the bounteous graft of 26 County politics Ian Óg would be contemplating new entry stamps in his Irish passport. The very corruption and Mé Féinism of Irish politics is just what could make the scenario described work.
While I welcome the prospect of a winnable border poll I don't think it's going to be a case of we vote yes, win the vote and all live happily ever after. Joint Authority, with meaningful 32 County institutions, would provide a framework for the Unionist people to become accustomed to the concept of Irish unity and; given that the presence of Dublin in the partnership would bring the 6 back into the EU, Unionists might see a quality of life demonstrably better than those with whom they claim kinship.
The main argument against a United Ireland I get from discussions with Unionists is always economic. If you do anything online today you are forced to select 'UK' if you live in the 6. A 32 County Postal Service would mean a choice. That might seem trivial to some but to me it's endemic of the inequalities faced by those of us in the 6 who don't consider ourselves British. Generations of children who are increasingly conducting transactions online are being conditioned by this UK 'normality'. Until we have the right of choice in such matters and the voting rights of Irish citizens we cannot be considered to have equal rights to those in the 6 who consider themselves British.
To me it's increasingly irrelevant who's making the administrative decisions of government as none are made in the interests of the people so it's all just more of the same. Spike Milligan said “Money can't buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.” If money in this case was substituted for equality the statement is equally true in my opinion.
Having the full rights of an Irish Citizen would at least make London's influence more palatable until their administrative presence is gone. At the same time Unionists would get to recognise their rights as Irish citizens in addition to those afforded by Britishness. It would be up to us to persuade them to cut the ties.
⏩Gavin Casey is an independent Republican from County Tyrone who has also lived in the USA and Asia.
The next few years will be very interesting for the island. If Brexit is a disaster for the north, as many predict, then joint authority and a return of Ireland to the Commonwealth may be an attractive option for a significant section of unionists, especially the young. However, if Brexit is a disaster for the south with corporations which trade in the UK but have their HQs in Dublin forced to relocate to London and the north having 'the best of both worlds'(free trade with the UK and the EU), which many others predict, then there many be no constitutional change for generations. Time will tell, sit back and enjoy the ride!ReplyDelete
the ride will not be enjoyable whatever way it plays out - gonna be a turbulent journey. Interesting piece in the Guardian by its economics editor - worth a read.Delete
Happy New Year Peter to you and your family circle.
One other thing, joint authority would likely secure the NHS for the north, which would be one of the major stumbling blocks for any UI.ReplyDelete
Happy New Year to you and yours too Mackers.
Gavin Casey CommentsReplyDelete
Peter, I see no need for any association with the British commonwealth. Why would you even consider that? Those who consider themselves British have all the rights and privileges implied and JA dilutes none of the same. Are you saying that we, who consider ourselves Irish and the Irish not under British administration, should enter into a 'post-imperialist' - subject-arrangement with Britain so that those who consider themselves Irish, living under British administration, have the same rights as those who consider themselves British in the same part of this island?
Gavin - thoughtful piece.ReplyDelete
I once said to a SF member that Joint Authority was what they should have got in order to claim a compromise or a draw rather than the failure/defeat the GFA was. His response was candid - that SF did not have the political strength to attain JA. Which reinforced the point I was making about the GFA being a failure. I think also the political careers that were being built did not need JA. An internal solution would do just fine for that.
Now we have a situation, no matter which way it plays out, the armed campaign of the IRA will have had no impact on the outcome
Rejoining the Commonwealth would be a grand gesture of reconciliation with unionists and would make any pill easier to swallow. Given the current popularity of the royals in the south it wouldn't be too controversial there. There are many republics in the Commonwealth and you would not be 'subjects' of anything British just citizens of the Commonwealth along with the Australians, Canadians, Jamaicans etc
Larry Hughes CommentsReplyDelete
there is neither a need nor a desire to have any dependency or obligation towards the likes of Thatcher or Boris Johnson types. That would be like victim dependency. There is a freedom of movement arrangement within the British isles which should be retained and that's more than sufficient. Protestant unionists traditions and culture should be respected and protected under Irish law. But not to the extent they can cordon off a small RC village in the North locking people indoors while they take over the place for the weekend. The RUC won't be there to facilitate that. People of all traditions, faiths and none should use common sense and look forward. The Union is toast. Hail king Boris long live the king. He has even handed the Spanish (under schengen agreement) the final decision on who can enter Gibraltar. Oh and that wee border down the Irish Sea went swimmingly! There should be mutual respect but no pandering. As I said, freedom of movement to or from UK should remain. Off on a tangent..45 people in a Derry park yesterday only 2 wearing a mask. Brexit and common sense is putting the FREE back into Free Derry.
UK heading towards ‘breakup’ says Financial Times
"The power of a Unionist bloc in a 32 County Dáil would be considerable and the minute FF and FG delegates crossed the border with the twin appeals of thwarting Sinn Féin and gaining access to the bounteous graft of 26 County politics Ian Óg would be contemplating new entry stamps in his Irish passport."ReplyDelete
Surely this has at last dawned on the Duppers and FF/FG? Even when I was back there I couldn't detect any animosity to the South from Unionists- their invective in the open and behind closed doors was almost exclusivly aimed at the Shinners. I could see the Duppers talking in an Island unit to stick another finger up to Sinn Fein and didn't even Paisley Junior squeak something similar recently?
Larry Hughes commentsDelete
Steve the irony is people who were shafted by the SF leadership and cynical ex activists who have watched Johnny come lately characters and Mary Lou waltz into little pocket lining careers at others expenses (pun unintended but I'm claiming it lol) would love to see unionists in the Dail and rattling the FG FF criminal jobs for life brigade. Unionism has nothing to fear in fact. I have a feeling they'd get a huge RC vote in Ulster mine included. Unionists will need to enter the political system post border poll same as the shinners did in UK and shoulders be encouraged to do so.
What is the general populations feeling in the Republic towards FF/FG? Or the Shinners?
Larry Hughes CommentsReplyDelete
Steve it's more obvious with the emergence of SF on the scene in the south that the civil war horse shit of FG FG was Tory labour UK and Dems Reps USA immitation. The coming together of FG FF to keep the shinners out exposed that forever. Apart from the usual suspects of parish pump free state poltics an awful lot of people are tired of the cute hoors, the nepotism and jobs for life politics. There's a fatigue globally that out of touch parasites are dug in to political office globally. Mehole Martin been around since Adam was a boy and look stateside, Biden something like 40 years at the pig trough in Washington. If the shinners can look clean enough they can be considered an acceptable alternative to the FF FG monopoly. Hence the never ending apologies when someone even mentions the north or any manifestation of an IRA. This covid19 horse shit after banking criminality and austerity may be a twist too far for people. Bankers changed the law before crashing the economy to have done nothing wrong in advance. Pfizer and Gates now got immunity from prosecution before unleashing vaccines on an exhausted desperate global population. Australia believe uk are rushing out untested vaccines. All in it together is a slogan that applies to political parasites globally not the electorates. Save the NHS slogan from Boris is incredulous.. mind blowing the audacity of it. Oh, the 8 pm applaud for NHS is back on in this 3rd lockdown. Only time MPs applauded NHS was in Westminster when they voted down a one percent pay rise for them. In short I think people want a break from the criminal parasites. The SF slogan give people a break hit the mark. As for northern Republican Politics I don't think too many give a fig for it. Reinstating the national territory peacefully may have more empathy. Time will tell. But I'm with Billy Hutchinson...either way, violence is a no-no.