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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A question for unionists

I have a question for anyone who considers themselves to be a Unionist. It's something I've always wondered about, so I'm putting it out there now.

What aspects that you, as Ulster Unionists, envisage about the prospect of a United Ireland make you opposed to it?

It seems to me that given the lack of any actual presentation of a vision for unifying Ireland by either Sinn Fein, the SDLP or the Southern parties, that there is no actual vision on the table. Rather, the idea of a United Ireland is a vacuum, an absence, a tabula rasa.

So since a unified island nation could potentially be anything you wish it to be, what is it that you, as Unionists are concerned about?

Rules of Engagement: Entitlement to British citizenship is already secured under the GFA, and the Republic isn't a Catholic theocracy.
Therefore arguments based on an attachment to a British (or to be accurate a Northern Irish or British-Irish) identity or opposition to the Catholic Church aren't valid for the purposes of this discussion.
Trolls posing as Unionists and those suspected of being such don't get to play, and non-Unionists don't get to second-guess or mindread what they think Unionist opinions on the issue really are.

What I'm really curious about here is what do Unionists believe a United Ireland might look like, what do they fear or oppose in that, is there a form of United Ireland acceptable to Unionists, and if not, why not?

I await your answers with eager interest. The floor is yours.


Rua said...

You don't seem to have many Unionist readers JC, or else they're just very quiet

Anonymous said...

I simply see the ROI as a foreign country. I don't identify with (or understand) the Irish language,and as such the institutions of the state whose names are in Irish. The flag, national anthem etc are forever identified with militant republicanisim. Neutrality is not in our nature. We want our country, our sons, our army, to play it's part on the world stage alongside our English, Scots, Welsh, American, Canadian, Australian and New Zeland allies. The English language and a common heritage holds us together. A united reland would need to be closer, physically and cultrally to our Scots neighbours. A bridge/ tunnel across the North channel would show good faith....

JC Skinner said...

I'd love a bridge from Ballycastle to Argyll.
Dunno how that might go down in Larne, though.
Interesting points, anon. I concur in relation to the kidnapping of the flag and anthem by Republicans. I'm on record as wanting to see both replaced anyway.
Can I ask what it is about the Republic you see as foreign, though? To me, that's the most interesting statement.
Clearly, superficial elements like currency and road signage apart, it's by a mile the most similar place to the North there is? Much more so than the Home Counties, for example.

caulfield said...

The main concern is fear. A fear that we'll be as badly treated by a United Ireland as catholics were by the NI and UK governments. The perception is that there will be a fair bit of payback and no brits for protection.
At a philosophical level then the flag, anthem etc would be real barriers to unification. For most unionists tricolour=IRA.
Finally on a practical level there would be concerns over public service jobs, education, the power of the catholic church and the loss of the NHS.
Mainly fear though.

JC Skinner said...

I think that the fear of a Stormont regime in reverse would be misplaced. While Protestants certainly have reason to take issue with the Southern state, most recently in the cutting of funding for their schools, they have in general been treated as an integral part of the nation, indivisible from the main.
The more the Catholic church takes a kicking for the clerical abuse scandals, the less influence it has in any aspect of life, including the political. It's in terminal decline.
The public jobs in the North issue is unsustainable anyway, it seems to me. It's not possible to maintain that level of public employment, and the London government is intent on addressing that.
Would a federalised state with a retained regional assembly in Stormont address some of these concerns, I wonder?
It would provide an additional level of regional autonomy, with concomitant public sector employment.
And it would undo a lot of concern about being administered by Dublin for Dublin, perhaps.
For me, a federalised UI is the only possible workable one. And, to address Anon earlier, while I can't see an Irish army engaging in wars like Iraq, I think rejoining the commonwealth would probably be a given.
There are Irish regiments in the British army taking in people from across the island already. I sort of like the idea of having an Irish army that does peacekeeping work, and permitting those who want to join the British army to do so as they choose.
I very much accept the NHS issue, though. That's a very real concern and a legitimate one. The Southern health system is a basket case.

Anonymous said...

No $9 billion acknowledged subvention.
No hidden subvention on groceries.
No cushy government jobs providing 63% of GDP
Test word ablest.

Sean said...

United Ireland! I hope I see the day!