Who speaks for the north?

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So here – who speaks for the north? Or Northern Ireland, if you’d prefer that terminology? On the face of it, that seems simple: the people voted into the Assembly  speak for us. But it’s at that point things get tricky.

Martin McGuinness told reporters the other day that he spoke for the majority of people in the north who had voted to remain in the EU –  56%.  A clear majority, then.

But First Minister Arlene Foster reminded Martin and the rest of us that she  spoke for the people of NI/the north; and to ram the point home, she reminded all that her party in the recent election had picked up 38 seats whereas Martin’s party had secured just 28.

So who’s right – who speaks for the north? Well if we go by MLA seats, there’s no doubt: Arlene speaks for the north. Mind you, her ten-seat advantage comes in part from those very lazy and very stupid nationalist/republican people who sat on their fat asses on polling day, whereas the DUP got its supporters down to the voting centre and made sure they placed their X where it should be. Regardless of that, Arlene does indeed speak for the largest party by far and therefore is entitled to say she’s talking for the majority.

Except in this case it’s not a question of people speaking for the people in the north – it’s a case of people speaking for those in the north who abhor Brexit. And that’s 56%. A clear majority. As a Brexiteer leading a Brexiteer party, Arlene does not speak for the majority who want to remain in the EU.

And this is serious stuff. We’re not talking here about what flag goes up and how long or how often it should go up for. We’re not even talking about swaggering bandsmen and people pissing against the walls of Catholic churches. We’re talking about the economic future of everyone here, especially the young.  Theresa May, who was a remain woman, tells us that she’ll get in there and get the best possible deal for the UK.  That’s like someone hoking around with a teaspoon after your lovely big ice-cream  has been upended onto the germ-ridden footpath.

If we’re forced out of the EU – and at the moment it very much looks like we will be – do you think we’ll be better off? A moment’s thought about cutting yourself off from a 500-million-people market gives you the answer: of course we won’t, and it’ll take us ages to get any kind of alternative, let alone a superior alternative, to that 500-million mark.  For maybe the first time, the majority of people here in the north realise that an action by Britain will be totally contrary to our interests.

It’s hard to think of a time, except maybe during WW2, when the existence of the UK was so much at risk – and this time it’s from self-inflicted wounds. Like it or loathe it, the consequences of Brexit are what we’re all waking up to and will go on waking up to for the foreseeable future. And 56% of us think that these self-inflicted wounds are really wounds inflicted by Britain  – or Britain’s Tory party, to be exact.

This isn’t games or oneupmanship.  These are matters that will affect our lives and those of our children for decades.  No wonder Martin McGuinness claims to speak for the 56%. Because he does. And if this is ignored, and if Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership of Scotland is ignored,  the UK is going to creak  like some ancient giant framework that resembles a cage, before disintegrating and filling the air with its shattered fragments.

These are truly interesting times. Maybe Nigel and Boris should be thanked for giving us this reality check.




54 Responses to Who speaks for the north?

  1. Robert July 26, 2016 at 8:46 am #

    Clearly Martin doesnt speak for the majority community in Northern Ireland who will remain Unionists even after Brexit.

    Arlene has the same problem she doesnt really represent the Nationalist community who will remain Nationalists after brexit as well.

    If you look at the turnout or the lack of turnout a big chunk of the population dont wish to be represented by any politician be that a good thing or bad thing.

    • Ryan July 26, 2016 at 7:34 pm #

      “Clearly Martin doesnt speak for the majority community in Northern Ireland who will remain Unionists even after Brexit”

      But are Unionists still the majority community Robert? According to 2011 Census Protestants were 48% of the Population and Catholics were 45%, and we all know the vast majority of Catholics are Nationalist and the vast majority of Protestants are Unionist. We’re now in 2016 and it was reported just last month that Catholics are now, for the first time, a slight but growing majority in Full Time Work here.

      • Robert July 27, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

        Which no doubt clearly excites you sadly I suspect reading yours and Jessicas epistles one suspects a united Ireland would be very inclusive for the Unionists left behind.

        I suspect a United Ireland would be easier if there was no Northern Nationalists simply because Unionists don’t have a problem with the Government of Ireland.

        • jessica July 27, 2016 at 6:08 pm #

          How and in what way would you feel anyone would be excluded in a united Ireland Robert?

          Do you mean you feel northern nationalists would make it difficult to agree on how a united Ireland would be acceptable to unionists and if so, on what are you basing this assertion Robert?

          From what I see, Sinn Fein are making the greater towards peace building and reconciliation. I assume you disagree.

          • MT July 27, 2016 at 7:45 pm #

            “How and in what way would you feel anyone would be excluded in a united Ireland Robert?”

            How and in what way would you feel anyone is excluded in the United Kingdom?

          • jessica July 27, 2016 at 8:04 pm #

            “How and in what way would you feel anyone is excluded in the United Kingdom?”

            My main concern is the exclusion the UK imposes on me from my own country which is Ireland.
            I would prefer to pay my taxes into the republic, to give up all benefits from the UK, to be able to vote and fully implement my rights as an Irish citizen which I am and to help develop and be a contributor towards a more prosperous and confident Ireland on the worlds stage.

            We are a young nation and have a long way to go to fulfil our potential.

            If you are asking how northern Ireland is excluded or considered less important in the United Kingdom then brexit was a good example

            England is the dominant partner, it controls all the laws, it makes all of the decisions, it decides the interest rates, controls the currency, refuses to accept northern Ireland notes and even treats Irish lives lost through collusion with contempt by denying existing evidence on the false pretence of national security.

          • MT July 27, 2016 at 10:13 pm #

            “My main concern is the exclusion the UK imposes on me from my own country which is Ireland.
            I would prefer to pay my taxes into the republic, to give up all benefits from the UK, to be able to vote and fully implement my rights as an Irish citizen which I am and to help develop and be a contributor towards a more prosperous and confident Ireland on the worlds stage.”

            Well, that’s your answer in reverse. Robert’s main concern would be the exclusion a ‘united Ireland’ would impose on him from his own country, which is the UK. He would prefer to pay his taxes into the UK, not to accept all benefits from an all-Ireland state, be able to vote and fully implement his rights as a British citizen which he is and yo help contribute towards a more prosperous and confidence UK on the world’s stage.

          • jessica July 28, 2016 at 8:54 am #

            The other way of looking at it I suppose, while the cap is restrictive to individual nation growth if the nation was planning to invest it wisely and get a return, it could also be a lifesaver to prevent countries getting out of their depth by over indulging public services beyond a reasonable % revenue in cap.

            Ireland % spend on public services is far too high but it is down to a period of bad management by Fianna Fail more than a generous welfare system.

            Reunification will be the best opportunity to reform this.

          • jessica July 28, 2016 at 8:57 am #

            The difference is the UK has no legal right to impose anything in Ireland MT.
            Ireland has been a country long before the UK existed and it will be a country long after the UK is no more.

            Have you any arguments of your own by the way or is parody your one trick pony?

          • MT July 28, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

            “The difference is the UK has no legal right to impose anything in Ireland MT.”

            Eh? Of course it does. Northern Ireland is part of the UK.

            “Ireland has been a country long before the UK existed and it will be a country long after the UK is no more.”

            And? That doesn’t alter the fact that Northern Ireland is part of the UK.

          • jessica July 28, 2016 at 7:58 pm #

            “And? That doesn’t alter the fact that Northern Ireland is part of the UK.”

            And that doesn’t alter the fact England has no legitimacy to make us remain part of the UK?

          • MT July 29, 2016 at 12:24 am #

            “And that doesn’t alter the fact England has no legitimacy to make us remain part of the UK?”

            That’s entirely irrelevant, but nobody said England did.

          • jessica July 29, 2016 at 8:20 am #

            “That’s entirely irrelevant, but nobody said England did.”

            You may not have noticed, but every part of the UK is controlled and dominated by England.
            Why do you think Scotland want out?

            The UK has past is sell by date MT.

          • MT July 29, 2016 at 2:32 pm #

            “You may not have noticed, but every part of the UK is controlled and dominated by England.”

            It isn’t, but even if it were it’s completely irrelevant to your claim that the UK has no right to govern NI.

          • jessica July 29, 2016 at 2:46 pm #

            I think the brexit debacle suggests otherwise MT

          • Scott July 28, 2016 at 2:17 pm #

            “Ireland has been a country long before the UK existed and it will be a country long after the UK is no more.”

            No quite right there Jessica, Ireland pre Norman/English conquest was never United or a country. Pre Norman invasion Ireland was split into various kingdoms and fiefdoms, the most famous of these are the provinces we know today as Uster, Munster, Connaught and Leinster. From time to time there was a high king but he was largely ceremonial and never had complete control of the island.

            Ironically the only time Ireland has ever in its history acted as a united country or political unit, was under English or British rule.

            Perhaps we should change the name of that great song by the Wolfe Tones from “a nation once again” to “a nation for the first time ever”?

  2. jessica July 26, 2016 at 8:55 am #

    I actually got off my very lazy and very stupid fat ass and made it to the polling booth, before following my gut to not bother voting and put my card in the bin at the door to the polling room and walking home.


    Not because I want unionism to have a majority, nor do I care while they do, but because I don’t feel there is anyone is worth voting for or that Stormont is capable of delivering.

    Do I think we will be better off outside of the EU. Well yes. Or should I say in my usual more arrogant fashion, no I know we will.

    And if Sinn Fein cannot do the basic sums to see this and why, then they are not the party to trust with the economic requirements of a reunited Ireland such as they will be.

    How so you say?

    Well, lets explore this cutting ourselves off from a 500-million-people market.

    Ireland does 180 Billion pounds of trade each year with Britain. That is over 50% of our total trade. And they are no longer going to be in the EU but pursue an alternative and much larger global free trade zone. Yes it will take time to get up and running but will industry collapse in the mean time?

    Why would it? Sterling has dropped and can be dropped further thanks to England having control over its own currency, acting like a pillow for a soft landing in times of emergency. This will cost corporates big time but will protect small business and industry in the mean time. This is not a luxury Ireland has I should add. We are tied to the Euro and should Greece, Spain and Italy default then we would be screwed.

    So how much of this 500-million-people market do we sell to? Enough to make sure we don’t want to lose it that is for sure.

    So would we be better off out of the EU, guaranteeing the security of the bulk of our trade, our bread and butter while accepting the WTO rates which will not impact the goods we sell out as much as the goods coming in?

    A huge portion of that EU people market is in poverty and can sell agriculture goods cheaper than we can make them at home.

    Hardly going to hurt our largest industry that we have an advantage over the EU to our closest market.

    Now let me get to the point where I agree with you.

    The people in the north I certainly do hope will realise that this action by Britain is totally contrary to our interests, just not exactly for the reasons you outline.

    The EU is no friend of Ireland. It serves corporate greed and has a rotten undemocratic agenda.

    Brexit will mean northern Ireland alone will be even more dependant on England than we were before. I have no doubt they are not going to let us starve, but I want my nation to stand on its own two feet and to wash our own faces.

    It will change things more acutely in the south, where the vast majority of Irish trade and business exists.

    The border impact is an after thought for the English, who care nothing about the fate of Northern Ireland. Leaving the UK and uniting Ireland will be the obvious solution to them.

    In fact, I don’t see any better way of resolving the situation that brexit has put us in, but fighting to remain in Europe will create complications and harden existing divisions which have caused so much hurt already.

    It is no good pointing to access to markets if the core political solution will be to drive an even greater wedge between our communities.

    You have another thing right, Nigel and Boris should be thanked for giving us this reality check.

  3. Ryan July 26, 2016 at 9:18 am #

    They certainly are interesting times Jude. Whilst SF and the SNP were publically backing staying in the EU, I’m sure behind closed doors they were celebrating at Brexit because it has reawakened the desire for Scottish Independence and just this week a Belfast Telegraph poll, which nearly 50,000 people voted in (maybe the biggest poll ever done here), showed 70% backing a United Ireland. There really is a very serious possibility of the UK falling apart. Even Westminster has set up a group to find ways of keeping the Scottish Nationalists at bay and keeping the UK in tact. One of their ideas is to turn the UK into a Federation. Such an idea would drive the UK to the edge and the like of Scotland and the North would be practically Independent in all but Foreign Policy and Defence. The House of Commons in such an event would be reduced down to just 100 members according to the report.

    Who speaks for the North? Well given that maybe 50% of all people from both communities don’t even vote, that’s a pretty hard question to answer. When it comes to the EU question then Martin McGuinness obviously speaks for the majority here. Arlene’s comments are flawed. Yes she has 10 seats more in Stormont than Sinn Fein but that’s due to location and how demographics are spread out here, not voters. The DUP got 29% of the vote in the Assembly Election (a good result for them) but that’s very far from a majority. Sinn Fein got 24% of the vote (on a bad turnout). All of the vote SF/SDLP lost wasn’t lost to Unionism, it was lost to the like of People Before Profit, who support Irish Unity, and obviously due to a low Nationalist turnout. Overall according to my sources Unionism as a whole, all the Unionist parties combined, don’t get over 47% of the vote here.

    I think voting should be compulsory here. I use to be against it but not after seeing such high turn out’s in Australia where voting is compulsory, turnout’s such as 97% and it clearly works well for the Aussies.

    When it comes to the EU referendum, the DUP lost the vote here but now they are determined to ignore the wishes of the majority in the North (not for the first time….). As David McWilliams said: “The DUP could be signing their death warrant with Brexit”. I would extend that, I think the UK has signed its own death warrant…..

    • Ryan2 July 28, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

      70% backing an UI, is this a case of vote early and vote often?

      Voting to remain in the EU doesn’t necessarily translate to a vote for an UI, though I think Brexit, if it ever happens, could be a game changer.

      The only problem though is that the Rep doesn’t have the politicians to handle what’s coming down the line.

  4. Sherdy July 26, 2016 at 9:49 am #

    We have a first minister who insists on us having a border bisecting our country, but now that she’s got her way on the Brexit vote she does’t want it to actually be a border.
    Apart from the unionist interpretation of a border she wants it to be invisible as far as trade and movement of people are concerned.
    In the last election we may have had lazy nationalists/republicans sitting on their fat asses, but we had a disorganised, dysfunctional SDLP and a Sinn Fein who have become too fat and lazy and content with the political status quo.
    They have lost their former electioneering fervour and have been content that their people know to come out and vote for Marty shaking hands with the British queen, and their leaders wearing poppies while attending British military commemorations.
    So its not just the fault of the lazy voters!

  5. billy July 26, 2016 at 10:12 am #

    mcguinness speaks for sf voters.foster speaks for dup voters here thats all.may speaks for the majority over 17million people who voted leave.your anti democracy rant calling people stupid,lazy,fat arsed because they used their democratic right not to vote doesnt help the lost cause you seem to support.our grandchildren and their children will benefit in the not to distant future once things are put in place.surely putting up with a few checks at ports and borders for a couple of yrs until they get the laws in place so theres no reason migrants would want to come isnt that high of a price to pay.

  6. MT July 26, 2016 at 11:30 am #

    “Except in this case it’s not a question of people speaking for the people in the north – it’s a case of people speaking for those in the north who abhor Brexit. And that’s 56%. A clear majority. As a Brexiteer leading a Brexiteer party, Arlene does not speak for the majority who want to remain in the EU.”

    You’re assuming that all those who opposed Brexit in NI now support some kind of separate EU status for NI.

    • Ryan July 26, 2016 at 7:52 pm #

      “You’re assuming that all those who opposed Brexit in NI now support some kind of separate EU status for NI”

      Why shouldn’t we assume that MT? They clearly voted to remain in the EU and they are a majority here. They got off their backsides, went out and voted to remain in the EU. We seen 2/3 of Scots voting to remain in the EU and polls showed a sudden spike in support for Scottish Independence after the result. One newspaper who was anti-Independence in 2014 has now declared its support for Independence. In one poll 80% of people supported Scottish Independence after Brexit. In the Belfast Telegraph poll here 50,000 people voted and 70% back Irish Unity after Brexit. I don’t put too much faith in polls but I think such results warrant a referendum both here and in Scotland. Its important to remember, far more Scots voted to stay in the EU than those that voted to stay in the UK in 2014.

      Are you assuming that the people of Scotland/The North are just going to meekly accept a Brexit against their will?….

      • MT July 26, 2016 at 10:22 pm #

        “Why shouldn’t we assume that MT?”

        Because there’s not evidence to support it, obviously.

        “Are you assuming that the people of Scotland/The North are just going to meekly accept a Brexit against their will?…”

        I’m not assuming anything.

        • jessica July 27, 2016 at 7:54 am #

          “Because there’s not evidence to support it, obviously. ”

          It is evidence that Scotland and Ireland have different aspirations than England and that the UK presently is ruled purely by England who hold a monopoly which has led sufficient disaffection that parts of the UK now have a preference to be part of Europe over being in the UK.

          I would go further and say the UK is no longer a valid democracy which could result in the UK now being dissolved.

      • Ryan2 July 28, 2016 at 1:57 pm #

        I agree there should be a border poll in Ireland but with one proviso, that it is a full and final settlement on the north. I do not want Irish and British politics soured by NI in the 21st century as it was in the 20th century.

        If the NI rejects an UI, then passports and citizenship should be withdrawn immediately. If that means withdrawing the grandparent rule for all those of Irish desent, then so be it.

        If that means repartition, then so be it.

        If that means a return to violence in NI, then so be it. The Rep should just build a Berlin style wall and forget about the north.

        One hundred years of this nonsense has to end and it must end within the following decade.

        It’s time the NI question is settled once and for all and the sooner the better for this island.

        I don’t like having a British Sectary of State deciding the constitutional question for all of Ireland at some time in the future and at his/her leisure. Some spotty kid whose most probably still in school, deciding on the constitutional future of Ireland. It’s an absolute nonsense.

        Time the Rep grabbed this issue and decide for itself once and for all.

        • jessica July 28, 2016 at 8:14 pm #

          I would accept a referendum on those terms Ryan.
          There has never been a referendum on partition, not ever.
          The GFA was the closest and that was a peace settlement, not a referendum.

          It should be an island referendum for reunification or not. If a majority votes no on either side, north or south then yes I agree it should be a permanent division between north and south and binding. Only if both sides vote for unity should it happen

          • Ryan2 July 29, 2016 at 9:21 am #

            You know that if it is an island wide referendum only, then it will be unification as voters in the republic would vote Yes by a huge majority and would surely out vote the No vote in NI. In fact, a majority Yes vote in the Rep could out vote NI even if everyone in NI voted no.

            That’s where the GFA made its biggest mistake by insisting that a vote is held separately in both jurisdictions.

            The Irish outsmarted by the British again.

          • jessica July 29, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

            I actually said I would support the terms that if either side voted against it was game over, tear up passports. So a majority in the south could not unify the country.

            Reason being, I think it should be a choice of one or the other, the option to be both is a problem I have with the GFA.
            It is basically a sop to nationalists which offered no real dividend in return for keeping us under British rule.

            I want a hard choice, one way or the other, all in and I would take it any time.

  7. Jack Black July 26, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

    Interesting times indeed Jude and I wholeheartedly agree with your comments re the lazy CRN community sitting on their asses even allowing the power sharing executive at Stormont looking like the old Stormont one party domination, nowadays when I hear certain Nationalists complain about this that and the other I simply dismiss it by asking…….”Did you vote”

    I rest my case before anger consumes me any further.

  8. Perkin Warbeck July 26, 2016 at 2:31 pm #

    The golden rule about spelling in Leprechaun, Esteemed Blogmeister, is ‘caol le caol, leathan le leathan’ /’ slender with slender, broad with broad’. (Though not, of course, in the Franics Albert sense).

    Essentially, this means that the vowels on either side of a consonant should agree: they should both be broad or both be slender.

    One was reminded of this golden rule this morning, EB, on turning from your blog-oak monolith (C. C. O Brien) to the snow-capped summit of Carraunotoole in the moral high ground of The Unionist Times.

    That is where the atmosphere is thin and the temperature is cool for that is where the air is sufficiently rarefied for Fintan Albert to think without blinkers.

    Whereas you opted, EB, to concentrate on FAT LAD the Mouthpiece of the Southpiece was simiultaneously thinking thin with this heading:

    -Welcome to SCINI.

    And the subheading, for which the author donned a sporran, a sash and a splash of the Wild Atlantic Way, was:

    -A Three State Union might be the answer to Brexit.

    One supercilious sentence from this urging all of us to think SCINI (Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, for the benefit of Fat-headed Lad) will reassure those who might be alarmed that Fintan Albert is losing his inner Imperialist imperative:

    -It disturbs the nationalist idea that states are ‘natural’ expressions of ancient nationhood.

    So, petals, If one wants to keep one’s mind slim, trim and slender, regardless of gender, and finally rid oneself of that intellectual jellyroll, enroll now in the Fantastic Fintan O’Toole School of Mental Gymnastics.

    Meanwhile, a Mhaistir Ionuin Blog, back to where one started, with the Leprechaun and the question posed by today’s blog:

    -Who speaks for the North?

    If would certainly be an easier question to answer if it were framed:

    – Who augher speak, whether the North stays in, or stays out of the EU ?.

    For there is only one all too obvious answer: the pure and utter consonant himself, the one consonaant who is as constant as the Norn Star iself:


    The heaven sent spokesman for Norn Ire
    Who can fix the Six to look like Devonshire
    Greg of old can surely beg
    Any goose with golden egg
    Only a crooked mouth for a broken shire.

  9. RJC July 26, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

    Haven’t been around these parts for a while (life gets in the way sometimes…) but have been dipping in and out from time to time to get my fix.

    Just read this article which I thought might be of interest to readers here –


    – not directly related to your post above, Dr Collins but an interesting read nonetheless. And sure, isn’t everything related in some way or another? We’re living through interesting times, for sure – I remain positive & full of hope and love. Peace out x

  10. Antaine de Brún July 26, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

    Perhaps it is not a question of who speaks for the people in this part of the world but rather who is listening to the people? The majority of the people in Ireland wish to remain part of the EC but what a state we are in. What will it be? A hard border? A soft border? An electronic border? The congestion at Dover recently was reminiscent of congestion at border crossings here in the not too distant past and most people wish to turn the clock forward not back. It remains a fact that we are already one hour behind Central European Time. A sign of the times was the fact that Ms May spent 90 minutes in Belfast yesterday and only had the time to take one question. As Chaucer stated:

    “Time and tide wait for no man”

    not even a British Prime Minister.

  11. paddykool July 26, 2016 at 5:59 pm #

    I tried to ask this question before, Jude. How to go about it exactly ?
    Let’s start with the idea that a majority of people who voted ,specifically said they didn’t want to leave the EU. Never mind all the 50 per cent of non- citizens/subjects /lazy buggers who don’t bother to vote for anything at any time … right across the board… for whatever reason .By their own hand they can’t be bothered …don’t much care or are simply lazy and leave the thinking and decision-making to the rest of us who do bother ,or they don’t much understand any of this in the first place.Some might just have been away on holidays, were ill, or forgot. Or maybe they didn’t bother as a matter of principle or simple sheer bloodymindedness. Whatever! They opted out. It has to be one of those , doesn’t it?
    Okay, say we forget about them as they don’t much care to use the very little power they have to make a tiny difference…..and concentrate on the people who do and did actually vote. As you point out …in this referendum , we here locally , like Scotland voted by a majority to stay. Scotland, with taht majority, is fighting by every means to stay and is making a good case for breaking away to do so.To them , it seems to make a lot of sense. The idea that they are Ulster’s Kissing Cousins has been booted to touch.They may be Scots but they’re probably willing to leave the Scots/ Irish to their own devices when the penny finally drops. Jessica has made some very interesting comments on the economics but we’ll not really know if she is accurate or not for many years yet …. but If a majority of people voted here ,to stay, it means that it cuts across the usual divides that usually separate us . A majority of voters have finally found something to agree on.How interesting is that in this squabbling little pickle -jar? A lot of nationalists (possibly a big majority) and a lot of unionists want to stay in the EU.They have their own reasons …possibly another economic slant on it , or maybe because they feel in their bones to be European as well as Irish and part of something bigger and more diverse than the tight little poisoned statelet we’ve been also born into. That probably takes in many Alliance, SDLP, UUP, Greens, Sinn Fein and quite possibly some DUP voters too. If it doesn’t include some DUP voters , I’d really like to know why. It seems that Nationalists and some unionists are more natural Europeans than the majority of their unionist counterparts .That’s worth thinking about .
    The question that is still sticking in my craw is that if the DUP voted to leave the EU …”en masse”…as one monolithic block, what are their actual reasons for voting that way. Surely they can’t all have the very same opinion about this one same issue …and if so…. why exactly? Do they all think exactly the same about the economics of it? I mean does every DUP household all think exactly the same or are there the usual arguments that we’ve had across England and Wales where maybe a husband voted one way and his wife or children voted another way and divisions were thrown up that might never settle for a generation or two .Family feuds have started that may never settle down..I know of some personally ….
    Surely some of these DUP voters feared the economic and social upheaval that would brew up very quickly….it’s unknown territory after all …why were they all so confident about an unknown future …not to mention the very possible breakup of the UK should Scotland decide to break away. Would it not have been more cautious and conservative to stay with the devil you knew if you really valued the union? What will we, and they, have actually gained for the next , five , ten, twenty years? The border is obviously a problem that will have to be solved and nobody seems to know what to do about it and nobody seems to want a hard border back. They are deliberately not really thinking about that one .Mrs Mayday has mixed feelings about it but that’s because she’s only getting up to speed on the subtleties of Norneverland and its odd version of politics. She’s not as bullish, in interview, when she’s over here and not back in front of Number 10, because she doesn’t want this little applecart overturned anytime soon . Her southern Irish counterpart is of the same mind.Will the border have to become an irrelevance and Ireland as an island become some kind of special case that transcends normal politics and normal economic laws because it suits both the UK and the republic’s purse?. I know nobody in England even considered the problems any of this would bring to us over here because they were too busy thinking about themselves .They didn’t much care about the effect on their immigrant population , for example and they certainly didn’t think about the effect it would have with us paddies. After all…..We’re basically irrelevant to them.
    That’s a question, surely .It’s why I ‘d ask myself what Arlene Foster is actually talking about when she says she represents the people of “Northern Ireland”… on this issue. Yes ..she seems to have a monolithic party of supporters of a particular mindset and she won votes in the last election but that wasn’t this huge thing we are all now dealing with. Those elections were just the usual Micky Mouse nonsense that is supposed to be politics for the Paddies…to keep us quiet and stop us killing each other ,but her supporters weren’t enough to sway this referendum here locally , in favour of her demands. That came courtesy of Wales and England and they really don’t care what happens to us. I dare say that if we make too much noise about it or offer up any further complications , they might just have another referendum to dump those fractious NornIrish too.

    • jessica July 26, 2016 at 7:13 pm #

      I can only guess, but I imagine the motivation behind the DUP voting leave would be the same as my own, one of soverignty.

      It is a fact that the EU was ebbing towards a single sovereign super nation and diluting the british identity through control of legislation, borders and gradually taking fiscal control also.

      Voting leave is an opportunity for England to reclaim control of its own destiny..

      I want the exact same thing for Ireland.

      Scotland seems to be conflicted over whether or not to go it alone.

      As you say, no one knows for sure what will happen but things are more complicated in Ireland.

      I done see how paying the EU and accepting open borders in return for a free trade relationship when you have a 3 to 1 trade deficit makes any sense and goes about face of the brexit vote which will lead to the government guaranteeing it will be ousted.

      That means no money to the EU and WTO trade arrangements which would suit britain with 2 major exceptions, Ireland and the Netherlands of which the majority of the trade deficit is with.

      Both Ireland and Netherlands would be economically better off leaving the EU and making a new trade deal with England.

      This would guarantee an additional gas link to Russis which could feed britain which in turn feeds Ireland.

      Otherwise 100% of Irelands energy import would be from the EU but would pass through a non EU state to reach us.

      I am sure that will help our electricity costs.

      Of course, unionism will see it as we are ok in the north as we are part of the UK already, and maintain their intolerant view towards nationalism who see Ireland as one country and will not want to see the republic suffer economically although at times they make it difficult, but it is still my country whereas northern ireland is only a part of it.

      Then again England cares more about its economic well being and compare 6bn trade with the north to 180bn with the south and perhaps england will decide soverignty for Ireland and Scotland is the best for all.

      You are right though, more information will be needed before they can make a decision but it will be a decision that will be made for us.

    • billy July 26, 2016 at 7:45 pm #

      so by your reckoning the 50 % who bothered to vote didnt know what they were voting for and just voted anyway.it was explained in the clearest of terms for months it was a uk vote why try and put a spin on it and just admit defeat and move on…they didnt much care for the effect on their immigrant population..they most certainly cared that why most of them voted to have the effect reversed.scotland and stormont are only minor details in all of this may showed this the other day paying an hours visit just to show her face.

      • paddykool July 27, 2016 at 9:03 am #

        I agree that as far as the UK is concerned that Ireland is economically of greater importance to the UK than Norneverland is . The difference is huge in money terms . We’re are at the back of the queue here in comparison. They don’t want to lose Scotland but I don’t see how they will avoid that if they leave the EU . Scotland simply see themselves as Europeans and voted by a large majority to stay in the EU. That’s where they want to be so unless the UK can figure out a fudge for them …again with a soft border between Scotland and England and Wales they’ll soon be gone .
        You’ll have noticed already billy, that the Westminster government under Mrs Mayday, is in no real hurry to move on to Brexit.That’s simply because she, personally , never wanted it and many of her ministers are of similar mind.They’ll be in no rush because they haven’t any real clue how to proceed at the moment and the huge amount of paperwork to do it is daunting .This isn’t just about re-issuing passports and changing all the signeage at the airports to stream the EU and Non-EU members….it’s about re-writing forty years of ingrained laws too… which will cost a large fortune , employ a lot of very pricey lawyers and battalions of office-workers …just to get back to where we are now…and we’ll be paying for it all..
        Something tells me there will be a fudge coming up which will keep the UK inside the EU for another five to ten years at least … under some new and novel arrangement that will be specifically crafted for the UK alone, to slightly tighten their borders…. maybe as a sop to theleavers to see if it satisfies them. Something just a little bit stronger than what Cameron was proposing at a time when no one believed that the UK would actually really vote to leave . Mrs Mayday is in the very same place where Cameron was, of course and if the Brexiteers get the feeling that she is not moving quickly enough they might attempt another coup which will bring another group of more militantly right-wing politicians into power.The fact is that the EU is in as much shock about that as anyone and will probably be inclined to bend a little more initially. Even those who voted for an exit didn’t actually believe that they’d win and had no real idea what to do when they did .
        The immigration issue could very well be be fudged in some respects because the UK won’t be able to enter any kind of open market without accepting immigration on some scale and their economy will not work without it. They’ll have to pay for that too. The £350 million that was talked about that was supposed to be be ploughed back into the Health Service has been proven to be nonsense and a lie . Nothing is free.There are millions of people from across Europe making it work at this moment in time. They are working away in front of us , raising their families, running car-washes seven days a week, opening businesses and barber shops , working in the hospitals…working as hard and harder than their neighbours. So if it was immigration that was driving the “leavers” and not simply economics, they might be due for some disappointment when they discover that the movement of peoples from other countries will continue basically unabated anyway.
        Remember that the referendum is not a law, yet . It is only a recommendation given to the government by a vote. They might never invoke the wishes of half of the people who wanted it .. or may drag their feet for a very long time before even beginning the process.It has to be triggered before that starts. We’re into some new territory here and no one is really sure how to go about any of this. The EU might actually provide some excuse for the UK to stay …because at bottom , they want them to.

        • billy July 27, 2016 at 8:48 pm #

          .they are working away in front of us,raising their families ,running car washes seven days a week,opening businesses and barber shops ct,ect,…sounds idyllic when you spin it like that.now tell us about over nine thousand of them in jails up and down the country for murder,rape,fraud,grooming kids ect,and thats only the ones have been caught.school places being taken up,housing taken up,jobs taken up,millions of pounds on benefits taken up weekly thats what farrage exposed.thats why labour wont be in power again all ukip have to do is stand candidates and their beat before they start.labours enriching our lives policy has failed the people.

          • paddykool July 28, 2016 at 8:23 am #

            Are you serious billy?

            There are over 95,000 people in prison in the UK. It has one of the highest prison populations anywhere in Europe.

            There are fewer foreign nationals incarcerated in Britain than in other major western European countries. There were 10,834 foreign prisoners in England and Wales, compared with 14,688 in France, 19,562 in Germany, 17,457 in Italy and 20,125 in Spain.

            In other words we’ve got , percentage -wise, more “home-grown” criminals than anywhere….all our very own…so you can rest assured that criminals are no respecters of nationality .Of course you will get criminals coming in with any movement of people . We’ve exported enough of our own to Spain ,in the past , for one example.The gaols up and down the country are filled with our own home-grown criminals with a small percentage of incomers by comparison .

            Take America , for an example…if you want to compare a country that has been built up by immigration.. Where do you think Al Capone came from? It doesn’t follow that all his countrymen were gangsters. Bugsy Moran’s people were from France …that doesn’t follow that every French immigrant to America was a criminal.Okay ….I’ll grant you that President John F Kennedy’s dad , Joe was involved in some bootlegging criminality back during Prohibition, but then again politics is not really a wholly honest profession…is it ?(!).
            What I’m saying is that you can’t tar everyone with the same brush. If you carried that idea any further you’d believe that everyone in Ireland was a drunken , fighting fool who sang songs very loudly , said “Top o’ the mornin'”….and danced like an extra from Riverdance. It’s simply not true. Have you ever had a conversation with any of these working men and women , billy…? They’re not all criminal demons . …just ordinary folk with the usual percentage of wrong uns.

        • billy July 28, 2016 at 7:51 pm #

          al.capone was near a hundred yrs ago we are talking here and now.all this pc nonsense, shouting racist,ect isnt working mekel n co had no mandate to bring these people in.why not put it to a referendum let the people decide if the shipping out should begin.viktor orban in hungary is starting to make the right noises now more will follow hopefully.

  12. PF July 26, 2016 at 7:02 pm #

    I think the answer is probably: ‘Who speaks for whom?’ as long as both the who and the whom are plural.

  13. Freddie mallins July 27, 2016 at 8:40 am #

    Thank you RJC for a most illuminating article. I do recall Sir Nick on Andrew Marr that particular Sunday and remember feeling queezy at his threatening demeanour. It might have been expected in some banana republic, not Britain ( some might argue). The mask really slipped I think.

  14. Páid July 27, 2016 at 11:37 am #

    “the UK is going to creak like some ancient giant framework that resembles a cage, before disintegrating and filling the air with its shattered fragments”.

    Let’s hope you’re right.

  15. John T July 27, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

    The interesting thing for me was how the media reported the spat between Foster and McGuiness. McGuinness clearly said, that on Brexit he speaks for the North, which is undeniable fact as the majority agreed with him and not Foster. Foster, in the usual Unionist way of trying to frame all arguments only in a context that suits them, said she represents the majority as she has more seats. It is akin to countering the argument that ‘I have more apples then you’ with ‘my Daddy is bigger then yours’. Yet this went uncommented on in any media outlet I came across.

  16. Gearoid July 28, 2016 at 7:01 pm #

    I must take issue with you, Scott, when you write “No quite right there Jessica, Ireland pre Norman/English conquest was never United or a country”. King Brian Boru (c. 941–23 April 1014 managed to unite the whole of the country,albeit briefly, during his kingship and it demonstrated that even then there was an proto-nationalism present in the Island nation of Ireland during the Medieval period.

    • jessica July 28, 2016 at 7:55 pm #

      Does it really matter if the country was ruled by different clans, so was Scotland but Ireland was always one country by its geography.

      It is just a lame excuse to justify partition

      • MT July 29, 2016 at 12:25 am #

        “Does it really matter if the country was ruled by different clans, so was Scotland but Ireland was always one country by its geography.”

        So geography is more important than people’s wishes?

        Should Portugal and Spain be forcibly united as geographically they are the same landmass?

        • jessica July 29, 2016 at 8:18 am #

          “So geography is more important than people’s wishes?”

          That’s a laugh MT, a majority voted for independence and Ireland was partitioned undemocratically against those wishes anyway.

          We than had 50 years of discrimination and then conflict over having to accept other peoples wishes, unionism still has no interest in nationalist peoples interests.

          You are a funny guy MT.

          • MT July 29, 2016 at 2:40 pm #

            “Ireland was always one country by its geography.”

            “So geography is more important than people’s wishes?”

            “That’s a laugh MT, a majority voted for independence and Ireland was partitioned undemocratically against those wishes anyway.”

            So you *are* saying that geography is more important than people’s wishes?

          • jessica July 29, 2016 at 6:24 pm #

            Ireland will remain one country no matter how hard you wish it to be otherwise MT

            Facts are facts

            Ireland is as much my country as it is anyone in the 26 counties. They can deny me the vote but they cannot take away my country of birth

    • Scott July 29, 2016 at 11:35 am #

      I take your point Gearoid and while Brian Boru did manage to hold Ireland together for a grand total of 12 years, it’s hardly a example of how Ireland was united before the Norman/English invasion.

      • jessica July 29, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

        Ireland is one country now but not united, in fact we remain considerably divided – but we are still one country.

  17. PF July 28, 2016 at 10:54 pm #


    Whatever else your reasoning, you do realise that there are limits to the geographical argument?

    • jessica July 29, 2016 at 8:27 am #

      “Whatever else your reasoning, you do realise that there are limits to the geographical argument?”

      Ireland is a small island PF, it will always be one country.
      Our people live together. work together, love together and occasionally die together.

      Nationalism will soon be in a majority on both parts of this island, unionism is really doing the opposite of persuading us that we having anything in common with unionism or the union with Britain.

      Ireland still is one country, it is time it was one independent self governing jurisdiction for the first time in our history as you rightly say.