I do not often buy the NewsLetter but I must confess that I did on Saturday to find out what Arlene Foster, the First Minister, was saying about Brexit. The front page headline drew my attention; “No Passport Controls After Brexit; Foster Vows”. Then inside there was an interview of sorts with her by Sam McBride which I am sure was meant to reassure the party faithful that Brexit would not disadvantage them in any way. In fact, according to Arlene, Brexit would mean a net benefit in economic terms. She also added, to keep everyone in her party happy, that there definitely would be no passport controls for travellers to Scotland or England.
She also ruled out a hard border with the south telling us it would be impossible in Fermanagh where there are so many minor roads leading to Monaghan and Cavan. I well remember when all of these roads were blocked and when only a few were left open and the British army spent millions building huge checkpoints. People and vehicles were checked every time crossing the border. I remember being held for hours many a time while vindictive British soldiers and the RUC searched my car. It was all about intimidation. Removing everything from the car and after searching around leaving me to replace everything. Could this happen again? Of course it could. The fact is that Arlene Foster has no control over that decision.
There was also an Editorial in the NewsLetter telling readers that ‘It’s time the will of the people was respected over Brexit vote.” I immediately thought that is an interesting headline for the NewsLetter. It is more likely to be a headline in An Phoblacht. But alas the ‘majority’ that the editor, Alistair Bush, was referring to was the UK majority which he informed us was 17,410,742 for Leave to 16,141,241 for Remain. That, he says, is 52% to 48% which, of course, it is – if you accept that we and the Scots should be lumped in with the UK.
Now the editor, Mr Bush, did not mention the 56% vote in the northern six counties of Ireland to Remain nor did he refer to the majority ‘Remain’ vote in Scotland. The Scots do not intend to accept the UK (England&Wales) vote to Leave nor should we in the north of Ireland. It does not make sense. In fact it makes non sense for both countries. Ireland’s economy depends on being tied into the EU and tied to the economy of the south. There is no real advantage in being tied to the UK economy. There are diehard unionist economists who would argue differently but I am not convinced. It would make much more sense if the north remained in the EU along with the southern 26 counties. Ireland would still trade with England, Scotland and Wales.
The United Kingdom is now a Disunited kingdom. It is disintegrating before our eyes and will continue to disintegrate. It is time for the unionists to seek a better deal for their own constituency and for all the people in the north, especially the farming and business community by looking to Dublin rather than to London as the place where their interests will be best protected.
A caller to a radio show the other day reminded us that the population of the north makes up 3 per cent of the total UK population which if my figures are correct would make the unionist population in the north less than 2% of the UK population. It is so small that it is no wonder Unionists carry so little weight in Westminster or in Downing St. It set me thinking that if Unionists were to opt instead for a parliament in Dublin they would make up almost 25 per cent of the population which would mean they would have much more say and much more power especially in a future coalition with either Fine Gael or Fianna Fail. I cannot see Arlene going into a voluntary coalition with Sinn Fein –but you never know. It would surely be a smart move if the Unionists were to make a move in that direction. Will it happen? Anything is possible after Dr Paisley’s change of heart.
|Click here to Reply or Forward|
Who does Arlene represent with her Brexit arguement?
The majority of her own constituency voted to remain.
The majority of the north voted to remain.
your car being emptied up will hardly happen,a simple look through the window to make sure no bearded children are on board will probably do and you will be on yer way.
The more I read this website the more I come to the conclusion that the good (and accurate) things which are said are lost due to unnecessary rhetoric.
I offer a few examples for consideration:
Accurate – “The fact is that Arlene Foster has no control over that decision.”
I read the same interview with incredulity.
Accurate – “The United Kingdom is now a Disunited kingdom.”
In my view this is unfortunate.
Accurate – “It is disintegrating before our eyes and will continue to disintegrate.”
And there are a number of reasons for that including cultural and moral change, a preoccupation with Brexit but no real direction, increased (small) nationalism which seeks independence only to be swallowed up by an unaccountable elite worse than anything we have yet seen.
Good – ” It is time for the unionists to seek a better deal…”
But I would add, that this better deal can be sought by looking to both Dublin and London. In my view it is possible to be both a Unionist and be in favour of a United Ireland.
Unnecessary rhetoric – “Alistair Bush, was referring to was the UK majority…”
Why wouldn’t he. At his point you lose me.
And best for last – this, surely, is a delicious irony in all its lustrous glory:
“I cannot see Arlene going into a voluntary coalition with Sinn Fein –but you never know.”
As Paisley almost said, “Never, Never, Never mind.”
Joe, you state that the Unionists population in the north is less than 2% of the UK population and that they carry so little weight in Westminster or Downing St. Any Unionist who agrees with your figures would probably feel very uncomfortable that they are so insignificant within the union. Even if you are wrong by a small margin it is still an uncomfortable position to be in.
That leaves me wondering what Unionists really believe is their importance and significance within the UK because the following quote by Arlene Foster from the DUP conference gives a completely different view….
Now I’m proud of the part our party played in the Brexit campaign, not just in Northern Ireland but throughout the United Kingdom. Our electoral success has made a difference at Stormont but at Westminster too we have a real and present influence. We stood shoulder to shoulder with those who wanted the British people to take back control of their futures.
You also say that if Unionists were to opt instead for a parliament in Dublin they would make up almost 25 per cent of the population, which would mean they would have much more say and much more power, especially in a future coalition with either Fine Gael or Fianna Fail. That would seem very obvious to most people but it makes me wonder how Foster and co can seriously try to peddle the message that the DUP have real and present influence in Westminster. What is it based on ?
Also, it’s been said (not very long ago) by DUP and UUP members that the union has never been so secure.
It would be interesting to hear some comments on how much influence the DUP really has in Westminster and how secure the union currently is.
Forgot the quotation marks.
“Now I’m proud of the part our party played in the Brexit campaign, not just in Northern Ireland but throughout the United Kingdom. Our electoral success has made a difference at Stormont but at Westminster too we have a real and present influence. We stood shoulder to shoulder with those who wanted the British people to take back control of their futures”
You had me wondering for a minute , ther Nuacht!!!!
Have no fear: Arlene has told us that the border can be controlled by cloud technology.
Methinks the only thing in the clouds is her head!
“The Scots do not intend to accept the UK (England&Wales) vote to Leave nor should we in the north of Ireland.”
How is it possible not to accept it?
PF, pray explain how one can be unionist and in favour of a united Ireland. Surely they are mutually exclusive unless you have sorcery in mind.
One only has to look beyond the narrow limits of a Sinn Fein Socialist Republic to see it (which is, apparently, the only kind of United Ireland anyone seems to think possible).
Use your imagination – all ideas are welcome.
Beyond that, there was much discussion between this Unionist and another Republican contributor to this site over the summer months.
No one seems to have noticed, though.
And remember, the Republic of Ireland is already in a Union – and (and perhaps due too the form of sorcery you are thinking of) doesn’t think of this as a contradiction of its independence.
I suppose, PF that a union of choice is always preferable to a union of imposition?
Who said anything about an imposed union?
None of that, however, does anything to ameliorate the current lack of Irish independence.
But an agreed and United Independent Ireland, with its own democratic Parliament, its own currency, its own sovereign and accountable government and its own judiciary cooperating with the other Anglo-Gaelic nations of these Isles in a free and equal (Federal) partnership (union) for each other’s benefit makes complete sense.
The small and often sectarian and religiously motivated insular states of the 18th and 19th Centuries have gone; but the good in nationhood can be adapted for the 21st C without loosing one’s identity to a faceless bureaucratic behemoth which is beyond the reach of the common man and woman.
I have a notion that this magical Brexit will never happen at all. It will be dragged out to such an extent that arguments will arise in Westminster about every little point . The realisation will gradually sink in that the final deal laid out clearly will tell its own tale .It will be very obvious even to the stupidest Little Englander that they would be voting for less than they had before and still there will be no real curb put on the movement of people. In other words the bete noire of the immigrant taking all their jobs away will still be there anyway. At that point there could possibly be another referendum called …this time with some hard truths attached instead of the bloody mad fantasy that the likes of Farage and co . ,peddled. At that point , Arlene and the gang ,who appear to have no clue anyway , and no ideas at all , will breathe a huge sigh of relief. Saved from thinking again!! Just in the nick of time too!!!!