Let’s count some sectarian heads, shall we?

Well, it’s nice to have something to smile at for a change. All the people who go ‘Tut-tut!’, shake their heads and mutter about the neanderthal thinking of those who go in for sectarian head-counts are now…um, well, busy licking their little pencils and doing a sectarian head-count of the freshly-released census figures. 
OK.  What’s the core point that jumps out? Right – Protestant population down by 5% to 48%, Catholic population up by 1%  to 45%. Replicate that trend next census in 2021 and you’ll have a 43% Protestant population and a 46% Catholic population. Eeeeeeek.
But hold. While 45% of population here are Catholics, only 25% describe themselves as Irish only. Double eeeeek. So Peter Robinson was right all along. Loads and loads of Catholics are really happy as they are and only need a friendly invitation to join the DUP.
Right. That’s the Democratic Unionist Party, which was the Protestant Unionist Party until 1971, when its leader Ian Paisley figured that ‘Democratic’ sounded nicer than ‘Protestant’ in the title. That’s the same Ian Paisley, of course, who believes that Catholics are on the high road to eternal damnation and are being led there by the Pope who is of course the Anti-Christ. 
Mmm. Maybe better not to assume that all those union-loving Catholics will put their tick beside the DUP name in an election. You say they’ll vote for the UUP instead? Pu-lease. The UUP is busy fracturing itself at a rate of knots without tossing the taig-issue into their particular mess. Anyone giving me good odds on Basil McCrea and John McAllister being in the UUP in a year’s time? So that leaves Alliance. Mmm. No, I’m afraid the union-loving Catholics will all have to get together and invent their own union-loving party. ULP has a nice sound for a new party. Like swallowing something you can’t digest.
But of course not joining a unionist party doesn’t mean you wouldn’t vote to stay in the union with Britain, come a referendum.  I imagine quite a few Catholics who see the southern economy sinking even faster than the one north of the border are not going to take any political step that might mean the drowning southern economy pulls them down with it. And then there are those northern Catholics who plain don’t like southerners. So yes, there are a fair number of Catholics who would probably vote to stay in the union with Britain. 
The question is, how many? As the Catholic population continues to grow, and the Protestant population continues to sink, who knows? The south’s economy may revive. The north’s economy may accelerate its descent. Iris Robinson may re-run for Westminster. Events, dear boy, events. There’s no telling. Like, even as I write, I see William Hill has shortened its odds on Britain losing its triple-A rating by next June – was 5/4, now is 4/7.  Talk about eeeeek.
In all this wild swirl of events and figures, one thing is clear: this is Peter Robinson’s moment. He must join with Gerry Adams and call a border referendum quickly, while the Catholic population, or a sizeable part of it, is committed to the Union. 
And if he doesn’t? Well, then he’ll clearly believe a census form is one thing but a polling booth is another.  And on that, if nothing else, I agree with Peter.

3 Responses to Let’s count some sectarian heads, shall we?

  1. Otto December 12, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    “Sink” Jude? Is that really the word you think of when you consider changes in the relative size of community populations here?

    You haven't eve said whether it's an absolute change. The population is growing. There may be just as many prods here as there always were. Eeeek as you might say. Using a word like “sink” sounds horribly like wishful thinking.

    Re community background. I was at a mini-rugby festival in greater Bangor recently. You don't like rugby fans from Bangor. I read in one of your articles that you think they sing sectarian songs at rugby games. A couple of the kids' little brothers on the touchline had brought their hurls with them for a bit of practice while they were watching. Are they quislings or confused? Or will they, (as Satchmo might say), learn much more than you'll ever know?

    You didn't mention above that 29.44% of respondents said they were “Northern Irish” in some context rather than “28.35” who said they were Irish in some context. They don't reject Irishness. They just reject any Irishness that rejects an integrated sense of “northern” Irishness.

    If you don't live in one of our self-made ghettos it is possible to be quite oblivious to the fact the some people are actually so weak brained that they need to define themselves entirely as one thing or another.

    I fill out the employment monitoring forms my business. I'm seeing more people refuse designation each year. If you have a catholic parent and a protestant parent, you've been brought up in a mixed suburb, and you don't attend church, being told what “community” you belong to by bureaucrats and bigots just on the basis of the school you attended begins to grate.

  2. Anonymous December 13, 2012 at 1:18 am #

    Otto

    Could it be that the respondents were telling the truth when they described themselves as “Northern Irish” because they are northern Irish

    Regards Comet

  3. Anonymous December 13, 2012 at 2:37 am #

    Jude

    I agree with you on “events”,the United Kingdom is on a collision course with reality.This year in order to buy time, the British Government will need to borrow £170,000,000,000 just to pay the bills, they are borrowing at a rate of 2%(never before in their history has any London administration had to borrow that much in a single year[by a long long way]). When the true balance sheet of the United Kingdom becomes known the interest rates will automatically rise, the lenders will obviously demand more for their risk.Currently when Government debt including commitments i.e. the raiding of pension-funds by successive governments and private debt are totalled it comes to around £9,000,000,000,000.That is not adding in municipal debts which will add even more.
    Take out the banking and the service sector then the British G.D.P. is around £1,200,000,000 000.No country has ever managed to pay off that debt to G.D.P. ratio, I mean none, all have defaulted.It speaks volumes when Ireland(26) is Britain`s largest trading partner in the E.U.
    Now that the demographic trend is clear to everyone,the British knew this 20 or so years ago,then things could move rapidly.All they have to do is give an agreement to pay civil service/public sector wages for 20 years or so and route that payment through Dublin,a nod from Lizzy or Big-Ears and it`s all done over sherry in Buck House.So if unionists reading this think that their vote counts, sorry you currently live in the United Kingdom, it is not nor was it ever a democracy.

    Regards

    Comet