Unity by another name
My last piece on Sinn Fein was timely as this week on TV, two flagship programs from either side of the border, linked up to discuss the findings of a 32-county poll on possible Irish unity.
Eilis O'Hanlon in today's Irish Independent writes a balanced article on it and what struck me and her was the direct question to Southerners on their aspiration to unity in their own lifetime. Two-thirds said they would like to see a United Ireland and that is down from what it once was. But when the proviso was added concerning "Paying" for that unity, the number feel further to one-third in favour.
In Dublin a politician was on the panel and posed with the direct question as to whether the Republic could afford the cost of unity with Northern Ireland he eventually admitted that no, we certainly couldn't. I found myself grinning wryly at this because all the nationalist bullshit aside, ordinary Southerners wouldn't pay a penny for unity if it were offered tomorrow. A separate Northern State suits us, with its British and Irish identity as does the the UK with its sole British identity and our own little country with its sole Irish identity. The similarities between the two islands are greater than any real or perceived differences. Maybe if Northern Ireland were Italian or something else we might just feel stronger about it.
In real terms, both parts of this island are closer to the UK than anywhere else in the world. Falling into conversation with any British visitors over here is effortless, (except perhaps for the Muslim lads of course), and our tastes, perceptions, understanding and even our world views have so much in common. When the guns fell silent north of the border the actual border itself became irrelevant. Sure, there are cultural differences when you go north but they exist too between Dublin and Kerry as well and try making sense of Donegal no matter where you are from.
The one issue that was skirted but centrally important is Brexit or a possible exit by the UK from the EU. Our own spineless leaders in the South of Ireland are scared shitless of that happening and Enda is in the UK today urging decision makers there not to do it. What was missing though was any mention or question of whether the Republic should consider re-joining the Commonwealth. That's a wobbler that would really put the cat among the pigeons on both parts of the island but I for one, would like to hear it explored as another possible option.
What do you think?