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.