And as its web site puts it:
“Current Mission and Role:
Economic priorities and the needs of companies have changed radically over the past 17 years, and JBC in its strategy must reflect these changes and adjust its strategic priorities accordingly.
- Providing a single business voice for the island of Ireland in policy formulation
- Providing a challenge function to public sector policy, including Government and state agencies, where there is an all island dimension of interest to both business communities
- Providing a high level all island business network and acting as a bridge to greater mutual understanding and as a means of increasing North South business flows
- Providing strategic leadership around global business and competitiveness issues from an all island perspective
- Deepening the JBC remit beyond the east coast corridor and also building on JBC work to date on strengthening the East-West dimension
- Facilitating mutual understanding and development of partnerships between SME’s north and south.”
A more pan-nationalist manifesto could barely be written. And it goes further:
- “JBC focuses on developing all-island people issues including skills, training and education, employment, social cohesion and labour mobility.
- Developing all-island infrastructure is a key priority and includes logistics, supply chain, environment, energy and telecommunications.
- JBC works to deliver all-island innovation, technology, entrepreneurship/social entrepreneurship and R&D.
- JBC collaborates with a number of partners and organisations to strengthen its work and influence on all-island business issues.”
And they clearly see the border as a hindrance and increasingly as an irrelevance. Their statements are a million miles from the politically-inspired nonsense about Northern Ireland being better off in the UK. The JBC wants the economies north and south to be increasingly integrated and interwoven. And where economies go, there also goes governance.
The business world is not ‘unionist’ in the traditional sense – it does not seek to erect a barrier at the border and pretend that the south is ‘a foreign country’. Quite the opposite – it sees north and south as one logical unit, and its power and influence will ensure that this view becomes increasingly the norm. Unionist politicians, who depend upon business for contributions, will increasingly have to accept that reality or risk losing their financial support.
The task for nationalists is to facilitate this new reality, and to understand that the business world of today is radically different to that of the shipyards, the linen mills and Mackies. Business not longer means unionist, and so the default position of many nationalists, anti-business pseudo-socialism, needs to be revised and jettisoned. Ireland will be united by its people, of course, but not in a “32 County Socialist Republic” – that is a nonsense that needs to be dropped. The new Ireland will be a social-democratic republic in which business will play a vital role in ensuring high living standards. Nationalists need to recognise this and change their rhetoric to match the reality. Business is an ally not an enemy, and will help to accelerate and facilitate the reunification of our country.