The cost of partition: let’s talk

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 10.28.55

Picture by Deckab


For many people, the attractiveness or unattractiveness of a re-united Ireland would come down to a question of money. That sounds a bit grubby, and there are other reasons than the financial for wanting to live in a united Ireland or in one that maintains the link with Britain. But it’s fair to say that for a lot of people, the key thing is the financial equation.

So what is that equation? Unionist politicians speak of the £10 billion annual subvention: that is, when you put what Britain gives us alongside what we in the north give Britain, we come out beneficiaries to the tune of £10 billion. No small sum. If it’s accurate.

The fact is, it’s hard to see how it is accurate. For the year 2011-2012, for example, public spending  – what came to us from Britain – was somewhere between £17.7 billion and £18.9 billion. Why the vagueness? Because figures produced locally and those produced by the British Treasury don’t match up. Odd, that.

Likewise, there’s no accurate statement of revenue available for the north – that is, what we pass Londonwards  is vague. But in 2011-2012 we know we generated at least £14 billion.  That doesn’t include income tax, corporation tax and VAT which is generated here by British and international companies but paid in Britain.

So vague though the figures are, thanks to the secrecy and vagueness of the British Treasury, when the figures going out are taken from the figures coming in, we look to be getting something closer to £5 billion annually from Britain, not the £10 billion which is often quoted. No one is saying that £5 billion is small potatoes. But it’s just half the potato that we’ve been led to believe we’re getting.

Then we come to the potential financial benefits of a re-united Ireland. Even a financial illiterate can see that two competing, fractured economies in Ireland block economic recovery in both parts. Two separate systems of health care, of education, of transport, of agriculture, of inward investment make no financial sense on an island with a population of some 6 million people. Ask any successful business or employer, north or south,  if the border with its different fiscal policies and tariffs helps or hinders business development. They’ll  give you a quick answer. It hinders.

The EU, with all its flaws, was established so that trade and investment could have access to a single, massive market.  Ask anyone conducting business in a border area here whether cross-border credit card transaction fees, telecommunication cross-border charges, and two tax and pay-roll systems make trade easier or more difficult. The response may contain language that would make a sailor blush.

So the subvention from Britain to here is considerably less than is claimed and the existence of partition is wasteful in terms of public services and a source of frustration for cross-border business.  How come we don’t hear more about these matters, not to mention more transparency from the British Treasury?

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37 Responses to The cost of partition: let’s talk

  1. neill July 27, 2015 at 9:56 am #

    How many years have you owned a business Jude to make some of these comments the real hurdle in doing business with the south is their marked reluctance to pay on time!

    The EU, with all its flaws, was established so that trade and investment could have access to a single, massive market. Ask anyone conducting business in a border area here whether cross-border credit card transaction fees, telecommunication cross-border charges, and two tax and pay-roll systems make trade easier or more difficult. The response may contain language that would make a sailor blush.

    Sorry that is the case for all Europe Jude at least try to understand export businesses before you start making comments

    Then we come to the potential financial benefits of a re-united Ireland. Even a financial illiterate can see that two competing, fractured economies in Ireland block economic recovery in both parts. Two separate systems of health care of education, of transport, of agriculture, of inward investment make no financial sense on an island with a population of some 6 million people. Ask any successful business or employer, north or south, if the border with its different fiscal policies and tariffs helps or hinders business development. They’ll give you a quick answer. It hinders.

    Complete piffle Jude so we would be stronger if we left the UK which is the 5th largest economy in the world to join a society that is in debt up to its neck Good Lord Jude have you any notion of economics?

    • Jude Collins July 27, 2015 at 10:24 am #

      Not a lot, Neill, but rather more than you, obviously. Calling something ‘piffle’ is indeed a powerful argument but not necessarily fool-proof. ‘Sorry that is the case for all Europe Jude at least try to understand export businesses before you start making comments’ – a brief comment followed by insult. Well done, neill. And you’re wrong about the same-all-over-Europe bit. All over Europe they have a single currency. On this tormented island we have two. And that helps? Less invective, neill, more substance please.

    • Ryan July 27, 2015 at 7:51 pm #

      Neill, I don’t know Jude’s background in economics but I myself have an A-Level in it and have read many (I think all) of economist David McWilliams books (I highly recommend them, I’ve chatted with him a few times over twitter, he’s a nice guy).

      Instead of going on rants and snide insults against Jude (who allows you to comment here and air your views, try being a nationalist on a Unionist blog site, 9 times out of 10 you’d be kicked out faster than a Catholic Priest at an Orange Order meeting) maybe you can share your education in economics without bias, if that’s even possible?…..

      You mention Irelands debts. Tell us about the UK’s debt Neill? Oh, I will. The UK’s debt is well over £12.5 Trillion and growing, that’s the information I got from a channel 4 documentary called “Britains Debt Time Bomb” which was broadcast, I believe, in 2012. One economist put it like this: “If you got all of Britain’s debt in £50 notes and stacked them, one by one, on top of each other, the tower built would be so high it would reach into space, go way past the orbit of the moon….”.

      Is that the economy you want to keep us attached to Neill?…

      Or maybe I’ll let Max Keiser have his say: “The UK is screwed….”

  2. Jim Neeson July 27, 2015 at 10:42 am #

    Jude,your alleged “piffle” makes more sense than Neill`s rant!!!

  3. neill July 27, 2015 at 10:47 am #

    Switzerland Denmark Norway don’t have the Euro and certainly seem to be thriving?

  4. Joe McVeigh July 27, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    I have always found in public discourse here in the six counties that when you ask questions about partition or when you put forward a rational argument in favour of ending partition you can expect invective and insults from the die-hard defenders of the union. These diehards with their closed minds are unable to debate. All they can do is use insults and slogans. It is impossible to have a rational debate with diehards like these. Perhaps that is why we do not see this issue debated too often.

    • paddykool July 27, 2015 at 11:37 am #

      Yes ..I always wonder why neill gets so hooting- out -loud, steam -issuing , vituperative! There’s no need for it. Calm down , please….we’re only have a bit of a chat here….

  5. neill July 27, 2015 at 11:11 am #

    Interesting to see you didn’t answer my question about leaving the 5th biggest economy in the world to join the Irish Republic.

    You talk about Europe what about the rest of the world Asia Africa America its strange how the UK is able to sell and trade with the regional countries there to a larger degree than the rest of Europe.

    The United Kingdoms economy is flourishing how many Euro countries can say that presently?

    Oh and if you want to see real economic solidarity the Greek German relationship is a good one to study for you!

    ‘Sorry that is the case for all Europe Jude at least try to understand export businesses before you start making comments’ – a brief comment followed by insult.
    Well do you understand the exporting trade?

    • Jude Collins July 27, 2015 at 11:15 am #

      And I notice you didn’t engage with the figures I quote. I also note you don’t quote any figures yourself. “The United Kingdoms economy is flourishing” – stop, neill, please stop.

      • neill July 27, 2015 at 11:28 am #

        Is the below good enough for you Jude? (UK trading statistics)

        The British economy expanded 0.4 percent in the first three months of 2015, better than an initial estimate of 0.3 percent and boosted by household consumption and investment. Still, it is the lowest growth rate since the last quarter of 2013.

        The revision is mainly due to the introduction of the interim solution for the Construction and Cost Price Indices which have impacted on both the construction industry and gross fixed capital formation estimates.

        Gross fixed capital formation surged 2.0 percent in Quarter 1 2015, revised up 0.5 percentage points from the previously published estimate and following a meager 0.1 percent growth in Quarter 4 2014.

        Household expenditure rose by 0.9 percent, revised up 0.4 percentage points from the previously published estimate, and better than a 0.7 percent increase in the last three months of 2014.

        Government consumption went up 0.9 percent, revised up 0.3 percentage points, and following a 0.1 percent increase in Quarter 4 2014.

        Non-profit institutions serving households’ expenditure rose by 2.6 percent, unchanged from the previously published estimate and rebounding from a 3.2 percent fall in Quarter 4 2014.

        The trade balance deficit widened from £10.6 billion in Quarter 4 2014 to £13.4 billion in Quarter 1 2015 Exports increased 0.4 percent, compared with a 0.3 percent fall in the previous estimates, but slowing from a 4.5 percent increase in Quarter 4 2014. Imports increased by 2.3 percent, unchanged from the previous estimates and following a 1.6 percent increase in Quarter 4 2014.

        2014 figures were also revised upwards to show the economy expanded 0.8 percent in the last quarter from a 0.6 percent increase earlier reported. The GDP advanced 3.0 percent in 2014, revised up 0.2 percentage points from the previously published estimate.

        • Jude Collins July 27, 2015 at 11:43 am #

          Nice cut and paste, I’ll hand you that. So all those people on zero hours are OK, then?

          • neill July 27, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

            You wanted facts I gave you facts anything else I can do for you? 😉

          • Ryan July 27, 2015 at 8:05 pm #

            Ahh now Jude, you should know Neill by now! all those people at the bottom of Neill’s Capitalist pyramid are expendable! (as long as Neill himself isn’t there, of course….)

        • RJC July 27, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

          ‘Now, what I want is, Facts . . . Facts alone are wanted in life’ as old Mr Gradgrind was so fond of saying. Here are some facts for you, Neill –

          Does the enormous disparity in the UK’s wealth distribution not bother you at all? It certainly bothers me. And it certainly doesn’t seem to be doing these six counties much good at all, wouldn’t you agree?

      • neill July 27, 2015 at 11:30 am #

        BTW Jude SF are looking for an economist perhaps you should apply with your recent uptake in knowledge in the field?

        • Jude Collins July 27, 2015 at 11:41 am #

          That’s very witty, neill. As you know, I’ve never pretended to be an economist. How about you? I am though very interested in some aspects of economics as they operate here and I’d like people to address them rather than run off into name-calling. I do hope you can contribute under those terms.

          • neill July 27, 2015 at 3:16 pm #


          • Jude Collins July 27, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

            I prefer my facts to come in literate sentences, not economic smoke and mirrors, neill. So for those of us that aren’t, like yourself, experienced mountebanks, could you please translate your cut n paste?

    • Wolfe tone July 27, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

      Neill, ‘The United kingdoms economy is flourishing’…..? Tee hee. I don’t know about that but its overall debt is definitely surging. Well over a trillion squids. In fact since austerity was introduced the debt has more than doubled. Perhaps all the debt is helping the economy flourish? And maybe perhaps cocaine head Gideon Osborne is cooking the books and keeping certain unemployment figures off the statistics for example. There is no depths these sociopaths would go to in duping the public to protect their realm. Be it the libor scandal,expenses farce,chilcott enquiry, jimmy savile, heck even the horse meat scandal was tidied up nicely to protect the friends of theses crooks. Does anybody seriously think this shower would not cook the books if they could? These gangsters would add the illegal drug,prostitution and child trafficking income figures to the books if they thought it could help show ‘growth’. Maybe they already have? Ban frankie Boyle and replace him with Neil!

    • Endgame July 27, 2015 at 3:41 pm #

      “Leaving the 5th biggest economy in the world to join the Irish Republic”

      The euro zone is a much larger economy than Britain.

      Have a look at the main economic indicators. Compare Ireland to Britain rembering Ireland is finished austerity. Britain is only getting started.

      Economic growth
      Economic growth forecasts
      PMI manufacturing index
      Exchequer Returns
      Employment and unemployment trends
      PMI purchasing managers index (services sector)
      Construction sector index
      Consumer Sentiment Index
      CSO – GDP GNP Balance of payments
      Retail sales
      Consumer confidence
      CSO – Value of exports

  6. Iolar July 27, 2015 at 11:26 am #

    It is a sad reflection on the state of our political institutions that opinion from a source in Stormont couched in crude terms appears to constitute legitimate comment about the nature of the current crisis. It is refreshing to examine an analysis which looks at England’s role as a colonising power in Ireland in the context of imperialism. Colonial practices are part of a systematic attempt to deny Irish people the ability to exercise self-determination, eg royal assent is required to use the name Derry on official documents and there are ongoing problems with the names on just some parks and bridges. A lot of people wish to draw a line on the past as long as contested Orange Order marches continue into the future.

    Economic issues associated with the partition of Ireland cannot be addressed in isolation from the need for a debate about the legality of partition given, Ireland was partitioned after Churchill threatened Irish delegates with, “terrible and immediate war.” This is not just a matter of the interpretation of static laws by trained legal minds as there were and are different levels of economic military and economic strength involved in 1921 and 2015. There is no time like the present for a paradigm shift which would question the dubious legality and economic rationale for a dual system developed in order to sustain two societies in the north of Ireland. Trips to and letters from America are past their sell-by date.

  7. Emmet July 27, 2015 at 11:26 am #

    How much of of the figure going to the north is spent on the upkeep of the TA and RIR? Or does that come out out a central defence fund? Does surveillance and MI5/Special security operations funding account for some of the money listed as coming to N. Ireland? Do they count things such as road tax and VAT on consumer spending? I don’t believe anything the British Treasury say after the lies that pedalled during the Scottish independence debate.

  8. BaldyBapTheBarber July 27, 2015 at 12:00 pm #


    Just a thought concerning the vagueness of our finances; would it not be possible to clarify all this via a freedom of information request? Seems to me that this is a pretty important starting point for the whole discussion!

    Maybe you or one of the other contributors can enlighten me as to why this wouldn’t be possible?


  9. Colmán July 27, 2015 at 5:09 pm #

    I think it is an undeniable fact that Ireland would be better off economically if it was united. The problem is that the United Kingdom would be worse off. It would no longer have free and easy access to the Irish economy and it would lose its only land border. The British would like to pretend that the 6 counties are a burden when really they are an asset. Name one other country in the world that wants to get rid of territory! This is what some people in this country would have us believe the British would like to do here.

    • RJC July 27, 2015 at 8:22 pm #

      Got it in one, Colman. If these six counties were indeed a burden on Britain, they would hand them back tomorrow.

  10. Ryan July 27, 2015 at 11:52 pm #

    I would be for a United Ireland despite whatever the immediate financial benefits/draw backs would be. I’m no economist but my reckoning would be that there would be overall benefits to Irish unity economically, socially, etc in the long term. As mentioned in this blog already, two currencies, two administrations, two health systems, two education systems, two economies competing against each other, etc are all serious draw backs to economic growth. If both of all those things I’ve mentioned were merged into one, single all Ireland entity, that could save billions and could easily make up for what we get from Westminster (though, as already mentioned, Westminster seems reluctant for some reason to release the proper figures, which is strange, maybe Norn Iron is worth more to Westminster economically than we first thought…)

    Lets just say economists got together and did a study on what Irish Unity would be like economically and the findings were negative on the immediate scenario of Irish Unity, I would still back Irish Unity because we can always work to grow the economy, whether its through Foreign Direct Investment, tourism, entrepreneurs, etc The 26 counties is already the fastest growing economy in the European Union, its very educated and young workforce is one of the drivers behind that, not to mention a low corporation tax rate (which is over hyped, in my opinion, in terms of drawing investment), its location in the world (between Europe and North America) and the fact its the only English speaking nation in the Eurozone (since English is the official language of Business).

    Northern Ireland on the other hand has constant, permanent social and political problems that seriously hinders long term economic growth. The Loyalist fleg protests alone is estimated to have scared off over £500 million pounds worth of investment, according to the Nolan TV show. The 1980’s saw around 20-25% unemployment here, not only due to The Troubles but to Thatcher’s own policies too. And that’s not accounting for potential investment lost or companies already based here picking up and leaving to somewhere else.

    These social/political problems here, in my opinion, wont be going away, they are here permanently whilst the state of Northern Ireland exists. Its failed yet Unionism cant accept this fact. Irish Unity wouldn’t make these social/political problems vanish over night but they would vanish in the long term. Maybe then this corner of Ireland would see a decent standard of living and quality of life that all the people of this island coming together and working towards a better future would bring.

  11. Morpheus July 28, 2015 at 10:09 am #

    I think you are right Jude, finances will play a key role in the decision making process when it comes to a united Ireland – who in their right mind would gamble with their future, and that of their families, by jumping into the dark without knowing where they will land?

    But the figures are murky at best. At what stage in the process do the taxes raised on goods and services sold in Northern Ireland from say Asda, go under the Northern Ireland column? Do they send in separate cheques for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland or so they get their bill and send it from their head office in England and the figure tallied under England? What about Tesco and all the other businesses who trade in NI?

    This is why I advocate commissioning an independent organisation who will work hand in hand with the British and Irish governments to see if a UI is even feasible. They will work with the tax authorities to address the issues you raised above plus give an idea what the health system would look like, what they education system would look like, social security, judiciary etc. Armed with independent information an informed electorate can make an informed decision about what is best for them and their families – on both sides of the border…an often overlooked part of the process. As we know, to get reunification there will be 2 referenda (referendums?) – one north of the border and one south of the border. We ALL need information so we can make an informed decision.

    Otherwise it’s like Coke asking people to give an opinion on their latest brand of soft drink without giving them any information on it whatsoever…and then asking them to drink it for the rest of their lives.

    As I have commented before, the subvention back in 2010/2011 was indeed over £10b:


    Income tax – £2,575m
    Corporation tax (excluding North Sea revenues) – £775m
    Capital gains tax – £79m
    Inheritance tax – £39m
    Stamp duties – £135m
    National Insurance Contributions (NICs) -£1,946m
    VAT – $2,898m
    Fuel duties – £928m
    Tobacco duty – £485m
    Alcohol Duties – £274m
    Betting & Gaming duties – £29m
    Air Passenger duty – £63
    Insurance Premium tax – £73m
    Land fill tax £46m
    Climate Change Levy £13m
    Aggregates levy £6m
    Customs Duties & levies – £87m
    VED – £167m
    Business rates (non-domestic rates) – £524m
    Council Tax (domestic rates) – £504m
    Other taxes & royalties – £187m
    Interest & dividends £86m
    Gross operating surplus & rent – £785m
    North Sea revenues (per capita basis) – £254m
    Current Receipts – £12.9b


    Public and common services – £611m
    EU transactions – £73m
    International services – £257m
    Debt interest – £1,276m
    Defence – £1,127m
    Public order and safety – £1,626m
    Enterprise and economic development – £302m
    Science and technology – £103m
    Employment policies – £214m
    Agriculture, fisheries and forestry – £517m
    Transport – £655m
    Environment protection – £262m
    Housing and community amenities – £973m
    Health – £3,831m
    Recreation, culture and religion – £554m
    Education – £2,714m
    Social protection – £7,319m
    Accounting Adjustments – £800m
    Expenditure – £23.2b

    But this is all down the line. The first thing the nationalist parties need to establish – and this should have been established a long time ago, a clear indicator to me that they have been incredibly lazy on this issue – is what does a SoS need to see in order for a border poll to happen? According to the GFA they need to be confident that it could succeed but what makes a SoS confident that it would succeed? Election results? If so, what elections? What results are needed? Would a BelTel poll make them confident? NILT survey? I would have thought that setting out clear milestones that need to happen would be a priority…but that’s just me.

    Regardless, 2 referenda need to happen and let’s face it, those south of the border would not vote to take on an economic basketcase so it is in everyone’s best interests to make NI the best it can be if they want any chance of reunification.

    • Jude Collins July 28, 2015 at 11:44 am #

      Maith thú, Morpheus – that is indeed a valuable contribution to the debate. And I think you’re right. We would need some independent body to produce the real figures. Your detailed list seems most convincing – but then I’ve seen figures that brings it nearer to £5 billion. Ultimately, it would need a body of people capable of getting the true and indisputable figures. Then we could proceed to argue an economic (and/or non-economic) case for UI. I take your point re who calls a referendum and on what grounds, but I’d see it as very important we first have information on the economic front. People need that before making up their minds.

      • Morpheus July 28, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

        The figures are from the NORTHERN IRELAND NET FISCAL BALANCE REPORT 2010-11 which can be found here:

        In terms of the report I am talking about then independence is key – anything which has the hands of our political parties on it will be thrown in the bin as propaganda by at least half the population before it is even read. It has to be an independent organisation who can work with the guarantors to get to the root of the issues and present independently verified information to the electorate so they, north and south of the border, can make an informed decision.

        The cost of this report would be born by both the guarantors of the GFA – after all a UI is recognized as a legitimate aspiration therefore it’s feasibility should be investigated. If say, £10m was invested and it was found that the whole thing isn’t even feasible then it would be a great investment as it would put the issue to bed for a while and we can all get on with making NI the best it can for the sakes of the people who live there. We need to be in a position that when reunification pops up again – and it will – NI would be fighting both the UK and RoI off with a big stick instead of crawling on our hands on knees begging for someone to take us.

        But this sort of thing, although essential as you say, would be years in the planning.

        What political nationalism could do tomorrow if they weren’t so lazy is ask the SoS what someone in that position needs to see in order for them to be confident that a border poll would succeed in accordance with the GFA – the only show in town. At least then nationalism would be able to take stock and see where they are, where they need to be and come up with a plan on how to get there. At the minute “headless chicken” springs to mind and the electorate are showing their dissatisfaction and apathy…

        “Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: first, an ideal, with takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice.”
        Arnold J. Toynbee

  12. RJC July 29, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    A couple of excellent posts there, Morpheus. Your assertion that ‘we can all get on with making NI the best it can for the sakes of the people who live there’ rings very true. The line that ‘Republicans’ wish to make this place unworkable in order to bring about a UI really gets my goat whenever it gets trotted out.

    Just because I find the very existence of this artificial statelet an affront to democracy, does not mean that I wish it to be a place of soaring unemployment, closed down factories and boarded up shops. Blaming Northern Ireland’s social and economic problems on the armed struggle is simply another instance of Unionism’s myopia.

    • Wolfe tone July 31, 2015 at 10:45 am #

      The very real danger for republicans in making the six counties ‘work’ is obvious if you look at the Scottish independence campaign ie people were frightened into accepting the status quo in place of change. They were told they would turn scotland in to a economic turmoil. I can just imagine a scenario in the future were people will baulk at the idea of unification because Northern Ireland is doing alright and we don’t need the south cos we will lose this and lose that etc.
      This notion that the north has to be vibrant entity before the south would accept unity has to be challenged. Albeit Germany wasn’t partitioned as long as ireland is, but when the chance for unification of their country arose they did the right thing for their fellow country folk and embraced reunion. That’s in spite of East Germany being an economic basket case.
      The problem we have north and south is opponents of unification use economics as a hurdle. Irish republicans can still expose and oblige people and institutions to champion irish reunification in spite of the economic situation eg the church,GAA,irish media etc as well as the boner Hewson ilk. After all these people and groups like to exploit and show off how irish they are around the world especially in the USA. They continue to mouth their ambition of unification but are allowed to blame the pesky Brits for preventing it. The yanks etc nod in agreement that the English tyrant is the problem. Now picture the scenario were a referendum is called. All those irish people who constantly milk it by blaming the Brits will have to put up or shut up. They will have to be leading the charge for unification after all they are all irish. If they don’t they will be exposed as frauds.
      I can just picture the jaw dropping moment when the explain to those Irish Americans that they do want unification but not at the minute as we can’t afford
      Personally I believe northerners have a mentality that if the Brits want to run the six counties then we will make sure it costs them. It isn’t laziness or a scrounger mentality. I also believe in the event of unity northerners will step up to the plate and make sure this region is given every opportunity to thrive. There would be an injection of pride in all aspects of society in the knowledge that we are doing this for ourselves rather than for Cameron,villiers and whatever shower is in Westminster or Whitehall.
      Economics shouldn’t be used as an excuse by certain institutions to absolve themselves from doing the right thing for their country folk.

      • Morpheus July 31, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

        I completely disagree WT, Republicans have absolutely nothing to fear from a successful, functioning Northern Ireland which pulls its own weight – in fact I would go one further and say that it is absolutely crucial for any plans for reunification to be successful. As I said before, when a ballot paper is put before the RoI electorate and the option is to take on a dysfunctional, economic wasteland then few will opt for it – why would they? Even if by chance 50%+1 did say yes then there would be a very real danger to Ireland’s very survival – something which should be vehemently opposed by any republican.

        An example I often use is docking Discovery to the international space station – you just can’t latch on and open the door otherwise both would be destroyed. Instead mechanisms are in place to ensure that the pressure on both sides of the door is normalized so the door can be opened safely. Same applies here – pressure on both sides of the border must be normalized otherwise it will be a disaster for everyone concerned. When everything is normal on both sides of the border the the door can be safely opened.

        You talk about the Germans doing the right thing by their fellow countrymen – does that exist after 100 years of partition? I’m not so sure. From what I read on numerous forums and blogs those north of the border are seen as lazy, spongers who will riot at the drop of a hat. As is so often the case the tiny minority is seen as representative of the majority when in reality it couldn’t be further from the truth. Our northern brothers and sisters need to get reacquainted with their southern brothers and sisters and together decide what a new Ireland would look like – what kinds of health system do we want, what kind of education system, social security, judiciary, political representation – they all need to be looked at. We need an agreed, costed picture of what a new Ireland would look like and present that to an informed electorate so they can make an informed decision.

        While I am on the subject I would also like to mention another that gets right on my goat. We agreed in 1998 that the GFA was the only show in town – it legally binds the British and Irish Governments to implement the will of the people whatever that may be. Schedule 1 of that agreement states:

        “the Secretary of State shall exercise the power under paragraph 1 if at any time it appears likely to him that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland”

        We agreed to that.

        Although we don’t know what would make an SoS confident a border poll would succeed – something I covered in a previous post on this thread – what we can be sure of is that election results will be part of it. So when I hear people saying that they don’t take part in the electoral process like it is something to be proud of then they are doing the chances of getting a border poll – and by extension, reunification – significant damage. Imagine if the majority/plurality of the seats at Stormont and at Council level were for nationalist parties – based on that could it appear likely to a SoS that “a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland”?

        Bottom line, if you want it then bloody well do something about it

        • Wolfe tone August 2, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

          Nobody is suggesting we shouldn’t pull our own weight but if for example we turned ‘northern Ireland’ into a thriving wee entity it would negate any arguments eg that there shouldn’t be two health services, education systems etc on this island would it not? After all that is a constant claim from certain people who want a united Ireland.
          The German people took on an economic basket case because they wanted to unite their country and people despite the difficulties it would entail. They believed they could all work together to help their fellow country people. They didn’t say that they would wait til East Germany got on its feet before unity. It doesn’t matter if it’s 100 years of partition or 40 years, they did the right thing.
          To simply allow economics to be the excuse certain groups and people hold up as an excuse for not promoting irish unification is cowardly. Heck even the scots, despite most economists arguing they’d be better off being independent, baulked at the idea of seeking to cut their ties from Westminster. The pro independence scots should realise as should the irish that potent institutions wield influence among the masses when it comes to such matters as independence etc.
          Institutions such as the Catholic Church,GAA,free state political parties and businesses hide their cowardice by allowing the economic argument to trump what should be a natural demand for unification no matter what. If you want a bottom line, if nobody speaks of why there should be unity then it won’t even get off the ground. Conditioning people to think economically selfishly about the pros of irish unification is a serious gamble, after all most selfish people only think of themselves. Ask not what Irish unification can do for you but what you can do for Irish unification.

    • Jude Collins July 30, 2015 at 11:22 am #

      It is indeed, Patrick. Thank you for the link. It might be educational for all of us to have a look at it.

  13. Patrick July 30, 2015 at 10:49 am #

    Mccarthy puts the gap between income and expenditure closer to 3.6 billion.

    • Morpheus July 30, 2015 at 11:50 am #

      If the figures from DFP are to be believed then the gap is 3 times that amount Patrick. But that’s the problem, this information should be easily accessible – especially in this digital age of big data – but as always, it’s nothing of the sort.

      I see from your link that the Shinners have released an opposing editorial to Aaron McKenna’s saying many of the things I have been saying for years: “These figures are incomplete because they fail to take account of the level of corporation tax and VAT generated within the north by companies with British headquarters.” – see my Asda example above which can be extrapolated to many of the largest companies in NI:

      I say again, if a UI is indeed a ‘legitimate aspiration’ then it needs to be independently investigated and cold hard facts should be presented to the electorate, north and south of the border, so they can make an informed decision about what is best for them and their families. Unionists have nothing to fear from it – hell, selling the benefits of NI remaining part of the UK should be the easiest job in the world – and it could put the issue to bed. One way or they other we could all move the feck on as part of the UK or a new RoI instead of stewing in our own proverbials.

      In this instance ignorance is not bliss, it is downright dangerous.