There are deceitful people who ask the population if they’d vote for a reunited Ireland or staying the UK tomorrow. Yes, we know how it is to be in the UK (you get your wishes on remaining in the EU cast aside, for starters); but we don’t what work is required to get a border poll in place so people can vote in a rational fashion. There is a LOT of work needs attended before we set up UI polling booths, but here are just three to be going on with
So, who would be allowed to vote. Well, all Irish (or British) people in the North and South. But do they have to be Irish or British citizens?What about the thousands of people from other countries that now live here – do they have to find a way to citizenship before they get voting? How long do they have to be living in Ireland? Oh, and what age should voters be – 18 or more? 16 or more? Fifteen?
What should be asked exactly, and in what form? Should staying in the UK come first? Or wishing to live in a new Ireland? Would that matter? Should there be little add-ons in the Question, like ‘Do you think the new Ireland flag should be the tricolour?’ Or ‘Should the national anthem of a new Ireland be Amhrån na bhFiann? Or should those be matters left to discuss after people have voted. (Thinks: that might be a bit dumb.)
Should there be discussion between all political parties about what they’d like included in a new Ireland? What if some parties refuse to discuss – would the border poll still go ahead? Would the conclusion of such discussions be handed over to a Citizens’ Assembly? (Right – would you say a Citizens’ Assembly should be at the heart of all this? Made up of how many people and how representative?
It’s when you start committing stuff to paper (or screen, indeed, Virginia) that you realise how much hard thinking and even decision-making is necessary before they open the poll-booths. Preparation will require serious exercise of the brain. As to the outcome, one can only hope that it will cater to the hearts of Irish people of all stripes.