Thursday 23 July 2009

The twilight of the unionist plurality

Observant readers of the recent blog The 2008 balance sheet will have noticed two things:

Firstly, the rate of change due to deaths may be slightly slowing down. In 2007 the proportion of the deaths that were probably (statistically) Protestant was 65%, whereas in 2008 the proportion was 63% - slightly less. This is, of course, entirely natural –in each younger cohort the proportion that is Catholic increases, so over time as these cohorts reach the end of the road the proportion of deaths that will be Catholic will increase. The 'tipping point' in the 2001 census was around age 24 (thus at age 32 today). This means that at ages older than that a majority (or more correctly, a 'plurality') is Protestant, but at all ages below it the majority is Catholic. However, since the 'tipping point' is so far below the average life expectancy, a majority of deaths will be Protestant for at least another 40 years – though as the tipping point gets closer to average life expectancy, the deaths will converge.

Secondly, although the blog presented a snapshot for one year – 2008 – there is no statistical reason for it not to be extended another half-generation into the future. We have the statistics necessary to calculate the natural changes in the electorate for several years to come, because the entrants and exiters are already known to us. The entrants are the children currently below 18 years old, and thanks to the 2001 census we have a reasonable idea of the breakdown of those now aged 8 to 18 (those below 8 were not yet born in 2001). We know even more about the exiters, because they were more likely to express a religious affiliation than the children. If we assume that the death rate will continue more or less unchanged for another generation, then we can work out, on a year-by-year basis, how many Catholics and Protestants will die – and thus how many potential voters the unionist and nationalist blocks will lose.

The result of this (repeat: purely statistical) exercise is as follows:

In the period up to 2019 (as far as we can see with the results of the 2001 census), the 'Catholic cultural community' will gain 143,424 new voters, as the children reach 18. The 'Protestant cultural community' will gain 128,651 new voters. But, over the same period of time, if current death rates hold, the 'Catholic cultural community' will lose 63,909 voters through death, while the 'Protestant cultural community' will lose 110,251.

This gives a net gain of 79,515 to the 'Catholic cultural community', and a net gain of 18,400 to the 'Protestant cultural community'.


Not all potential voters actually vote, of course, as we know. But the older ones are more likely to vote than the young, which exacerbates unionism's difficulty. Because the 110,251 Protestant deaths probably represent 88,201 actual voters (assuming an 80% turnout rate for the elderly)! Factoring in the 50% turnout rate of the young, and the 80% turnout rate of the elderly, we see that unionism is likely to lose 23,875 actual votes by 2019, while nationalism may gain 20,585 actual votes – a net gain by nationalism of over 44,000 actual votes.


But in the 2007 Assembly election unionism's lead over nationalism was a mere 42,121 votes. So, some time before 2019 unionism is going to lose its plurality of the vote. No wonder some of its more foresightful members are trying to find a way to recruit Catholics.

This analysis does not include migration, which may play a role as well. We have seen (as has unionism!) that young Protestants are more likely to go to university in Britain than young Catholics, and once there they are more likely to stay there. So this would have the effect of removing a small additional number of potential unionist voters. Whether non-university migration might counteract (or reinforce) this trend we cannot yet see, but clearly unionism is worried, and with very good reason.

Another unfactored element is the increasing propensity of young voters to vote as they get older. An 18 year old may have only a 50% likelihood of voting, but that same individual a few years later is more likely to vote. As the younger cohort is majority-Catholic this factor may add slightly to the nationalist vote as time goes on.

We are living through the twilight of the unionist plurality. What follows it will be a period of double-minority, when neither unionism nor nationalism has a majority of either votes or seats, and the 'centre parties' will come into their own. But beyond that time should come a 'dawn', when nationalism finally achieves a majority in Northern Ireland. Of course, a week is a long time in politics, and this dawn will be almost a generation away, so all manner of things could change. Except, of course, the inexorable demographic decline of Northern Ireland's Protestant population – unionism's historic constituency.

83 comments:

Scamallach said...

The situation with Protestants going away to Britain for university and not coming back is heightened by the fact that teachers at Protestant or state run schools actively encourage kids to go away to what they term "the mainland". The UCAS system is actively promoted and CAO is barely mentioned. There is a certain snobbery in this, in that it is often done because Queen's and UU don't rank highly enough on the Times top 100.

Anonymous said...

'This analysis does not include migration.'

Nor any sources from academics to back up your rather bizarre graphs and prognostications. In fact the only recent academic reference to Ulster's demography came from John-Paul McCarthy, who teaches Irish history at Exeter College, Oxford. He said:

'For all the constitutional pyrotechnics here about future confederations and pooling of sovereignty, there are the usual malevolent mutterings about "demographic transformations" which must strike self-respecting unionists as a Tim Pat Coogan-style threat. If the "political process" doesn't get you, then the breeding sexed-up Catholic minority will, so you better start making a deal.'

Needless to say he sees such ridiculous predictions as the inanities they undoubtedly are. Between an anonymous blogger with no demographic background and an Oxford lecturer, I'll take the latter, thanks.

menaiblog said...

Regardless of whether or not you agree with horseman, he does lay out his sources & methodology in considerablr detail.

I've tried to find fault with his argument - but I honestly can't find any.

Mack said...

Andrew -

Between an anonymous blogger with no demographic background and an Oxford lecturer, I'll take the latter, thanks.

Who also has no demographic background, hasn't laid out any facts, or presented any references. Chances are he hasn't actually investigated the topic in any depth at all..

Scallamach -

More Catholics than Protestants go to University (40% versus 34%), in 2005-2006 the difference in numbers going to college outside NI was less than 100 more Protestants than Catholics. Proportionally more Protestants leave, but proportionally more Catholics go to third level.

http://www.equalityni.org/archive/pdf/RKM06073EducMigratResearchUpdateFINAL010508.pdf

Anonymous said...

'Chances are he hasn't actually investigated the topic in any depth at all.'

Show me a university lecturer who has never investigated every sinew of his chosen study and I'll show you a Zambian dentist with a sense of humour.

'I've tried to find fault with his argument - but I honestly can't find any.'

How about his omission of the fact that no academic survey or opinion poll conducted since 1968 has ever shown support for an all-Ireland state above 30%.

Look at it this way, if HM Government automatically took a nationalist MLA majority in Stormont (unlikely in itself) as proof that the end of the Union was nigh, why spend millions on a border referendum - especially when, in UK law, all referenda are purely consultative? Why no go ahead with the first stages of a cession Act?

Separatist parties have held a majoirty of seats in Quebec's regional parliament on at least two occasions (possibly more if I look into it in depth) and Quebec is still part of Canada.

Can you see the flaws in Horseman's argument yet?

Dazzler said...

No

Anonymous said...

'No'

Of course not. Irish nationalism is nothing if not deluded.

Dazzler said...

"Irish nationalism is nothing if not deluded"

Hmmm. Unionism:

Siege mentality and the inabilty to compromise.
Everyone and everything is their enemy and they have to remain angry to keep their mandate and their electorate happy.

Anonymous said...

'Siege mentality..'

Well, it's up to nationalism to lift the siege.

'inabilty to compromise'

Mmm, powersharing, north-southery, police reform.....

'Everyone and everything is their enemy...'

No, just Irish nationalism.

'they have to remain angry to keep their mandate and their electorate happy.'

Angry about unrepentant terrorists in government thanks to a nationalist electorate with no conscience or scruples? Well I never (LOL)!

Horseman said...

Anonymous Andrew McCann,

You complain that my blogs do not quote ... any sources from academics .... However my statistics are taken entirely from NISRA - maybe that's good enough for you?

You can do exactly the same analysis that I've done, by manipulating census table s306, and the tables on the deaths in various years (2008 is the most recent), all available on the NISRA website. If you come to a different conclusion, I'd be interested to hear it.

Anonymous said...

From Niall Gormley:

Horeseman: I'm afraid your opponent is right. A catholic majority wouldn't necessarily translate into a united Ireland. It is inconceivable that the broad mass of nationalism in Ireland would go for a simple majority decision. Any such decision would simply start negotiations with unionists which would end in some form of compromise.

The stability of Northern Ireland is the biggest interest of the Governments and of many catholics in NI. Negotiation and not referendum will determine the status of NI.

Your blog should really be called 'British Ulster's Doomed' because the outcome of the demographic changes is that Northern Ireland as a unionist homeland is gone for ever. NI's future won't be in a UI or the UK, it will be some muddle in between. Although NI is in the UK now, it's well on the path to the muddle.

Mack said...

Niall -

Horeseman: I'm afraid your opponent is right. A catholic majority wouldn't necessarily translate into a united Ireland. It is inconceivable that the broad mass of nationalism in Ireland would go for a simple majority decision. Any such decision would simply start negotiations with unionists which would end in some form of compromise.

I'm pretty sure Andrew believes no compromise is necessary and that Ulster is British.

Truth be told, a compromise (or a strong stomach for oppression / suppression) was always needed.

Anonymous said...

"Separatist parties have held a majoirty of seats in Quebec's regional parliament on at least two occasions (possibly more if I look into it in depth) and Quebec is still part of Canada."

You obviously have never been to Quebec. The reason the people of Quebec have never voted for independence is because the Canadian government has given them every thing they want. They can have their own culture, flag, and language. Not only that but if you ever hear any Canadian politician speak they switch back & forth during the speech in English & French just to satisfy the people in Quebec.

Canada already as an inferior complex due to their neighbors to the south and for an independent Quebec it would even be worse. So they have what they want (their culture) and they also have all the rest of the perks that come along with being part of Canada.

How exactly does that compare to NI?

Anonymous said...

'You complain that my blogs do not quote ... any sources from academics .... However my statistics are taken entirely from NISRA - maybe that's good enough for you?'

No, because NISRA merely provides statistics without sectarian labels. The spin on those statistics is entirely your own - unreferenced.

'If you come to a different conclusion, I'd be interested to hear it.'

OK, hear it! My conclusion has always been that Northern Ireland - even in the doubtful event of a Catholic majority - would not change its constitutional position as that position has never solely relied upon support from the Protestant community. Thus, the difference between you and I is that you have to stay awake at night drawing graphs to satisfy your bouts of delusion based on a sectarian triumphalism that wouldn't look out of place on either the Falls or the Shankill. I don't.

'How exactly does that compare to NI?'

I doesn't. Quebec has a clear French-speaking majority and an absence of the most rigorous equality legislation anywhere in the developed world. That's the difference.

'..and that Ulster is British.'

Constitutionally that's exactly what it is. And that's good enough for me.

Dewi Harries said...

"especially when, in UK law, all referenda are purely consultative?"

Except thr border poll one.

Anonymous said...

'Except thr border poll one.'

EVERY referendum in British law is purely consultative. No exceptions.

Mack said...

Andrew, Dewi -

Look at it this way, if HM Government automatically took a nationalist MLA majority in Stormont (unlikely in itself) as proof that the end of the Union was nigh, why spend millions on a border referendum - especially when, in UK law, all referenda are purely consultative? Why no go ahead with the first stages of a cession Act?

Because that was what was agreed, and as you well know a nationalist majority at stormont wouldn't guarantee success in a referendum (neither, btw, would the lack of such a majority in a plurality guarantee failure.).

Andrew, the best and most likely outcome is that as the demographic situation in NI moves towards and beyond parity the constitutional status of NI will evolve one way or another. For the last 10 or 15 years politics there has been about inclusivity and agreement. I can't see that changing. Niall Gormley above is right, but I can't see those who would resist change being able to veto it indefinetely...

Anonymous said...

'Andrew, the best and most likely outcome is that as the demographic situation in NI moves towards and beyond parity the constitutional status of NI...'

Ah, the 'inevitable' fecund Catholics outbreeding the Protestants again. It's what passes as a constitutional strategy for an ideology otherwise bereft of legitimacy or direction.

'but I can't see those who would resist change being able to veto it indefinetely...'

You really don't have an understanding of the Unionist psyche, do you?

Mack, why bother to keep arguing with me? You'll never change your nationalism or your belief in sectarian supremacy and, by Christ, I'll never, ever change my Unionism or belief in the unity of the UK to satisfy you or any other separatist.

The difference is that I believe the Union is greater than mere sectarian demographics. You obviously don't.

Anonymous said...

A slightly different question, but when do you think Northern Ireland will join the UK and the rest of Europe in slowly giving up religion? I would have thought in the long term both Protestant and Catholic percentages will decline.

Mack said...

Ah, the 'inevitable' fecund Catholics outbreeding the Protestants again. It's what passes as a constitutional strategy for an ideology otherwise bereft of legitimacy or direction

It's not a strategy, it's a dynamic that's in place. It may reverse or stall, nothing is inevitable. But that is still where it is going right now. Northern Ireland remains part of the United Kingdom until a majority of her citizens vote otherwise. That is my constitutional position - do you disagree?


The difference is that I believe the Union is greater than mere sectarian demographics. You obviously don't.

It may or may not be. I certainly do believe Northern Ireland was created as a result of sectarian demographics - changes therein open up the possibility of constituitional change (whether or not that means a United Ireland).

Mack, why bother to keep arguing with me?

I wonder that sometimes too.

Anonymous said...

'I certainly do believe Northern Ireland was created as a result of sectarian demographics..'

And Australia was created as a penal colony. So, by your measure, everyone who keeps to the straight and narrow in Oz is driving the country towards inevitable doom.

'may reverse or stall,'. It certainly headed towards the latter between 1991 and 2001 and my understanding speaking to demographers at the NIO is that it will slow even further by 2011.

Dazzler said...

Any facts or figures to back up this "understanding". No because you are talking through your hole.

Anonymous said...

'Any facts or figures to back up this "understanding".'

My NIO contacts don't publish their figures. They provide but one source of information.

The only thing that 'dazzles' on you is yor stupidity.

Dazzler said...

"The only thing that 'dazzles' on you is yor stupidity."

So anyone who disagrees with you is stupid?

The clock is ticking Andrew. Hit the link to demographics on this blog. The arguments are sound and based on statistics and facts.

Your argument is based on what your buddies in the NIO "told you". They dont publish their figures though. Very convenient.

If you have nothing to back up your argument other than what your buddies tell you down the pub I suggest your arguement is'nt worth very much.

And you call me stupid. How many counties in ulster?

Anonymous said...

'Hit the link to demographics on this blog. The arguments are sound and based on statistics and facts.'

Straight from Pinocchio's 'When you wish upon a star'. (LOL) No, the arguments are based on Horseman's spin on the statistics and facts.

'They dont publish their figures though. Very convenient.'

Around 80% of government research never reaches the public domain.

'And you call me stupid.'

Indeed. There was no question mark after the word 'stupid'.

'How many counties in ulster?'

Six in British Ulster, and that's the only Ulster I'm concerned with.

Must go. Toodles.

Dazzler said...

"Straight from Pinocchio's 'When you wish upon a star'. (LOL) No, the arguments are based on Horseman's spin on the statistics and facts".

You believe that if you want to. All I know is that when 6/32 were stolen by the english, "NI" had a 33% catholic minority. The minority is now 44% and growing (fact). Does'nt take a genius to figure out which way this is going.

Deny it all you want, its blatently obvious to those not living in denial.

"Six in British Ulster, and that's the only Ulster I'm concerned with".

Nine actually if you can count. There's a fake country called Northern Ireland alright but no such place as "British Ulster". You are not very intelligent are you. (notice there is no question mark ;))

Anonymous said...

Dazzler,
Hear, hear.
He`s probably intelligent enough to type but his knowledge of the emerald isle is scant because he is english and I would say, from previous exchanges, only knows Ireland from behind the parachute (murder) regiment. Perhaps he lost a good few digits doing their dirty work in Ireland and only has six left.

MPG .....

Mack said...

Andrew

'may reverse or stall,'. It certainly headed towards the latter between 1991 and 2001 and my understanding speaking to demographers at the NIO is that it will slow even further by 2011.

That is actually a possibility. The birth rate in Northern Ireland did bottom out around 2001 and began rising thereafter (both raw birth rates per thousand and Total Period Fertility Rate - est. of average number of children a woman has in her lifetime). The birth rates have been rising faster in majority Catholic districts, but the TPFR rates have been rising faster in majority Protestant districts. I did dig deeper into the wards with the highest TPFR growth in the council area where TPFR growth was highest (Newtonabbey). The wards with the largest increase in births had rapidly shot up to 50-50 in the under 5's in the 2001 census (Mallusk and another one, can't remember off hand). So some of the increase in TPFR in the council could be as a result of in-migration by young Catholic couples - but it's impossible to tell conclusively. You can say with a much larger degree of certainty that the Catholic birth rate is still higher and we are approaching an inflection point where Catholic women will make up a majority in the child bearing cohort.

If it did slow in the last decade it will be for entirely different reasons than those postulated by the NIO when they analysed the last census. (I.e. both birth rates have increased, but the Protestant birth rate may increased slightly faster). However, based on NISRA stats it's impossible to tell whether or not this is the case - I would actually regard it as more likely that the Catholic birth rate increased slightly faster than the Protestant birth rate. But you never know..

Anonymous said...

"The difference is that I believe the Union is greater than mere sectarian demographics."

Ha Ha, the North was created on sectarian demographics. I suppose that is OK though.

hoboroad said...

How many State Schools are converting to Intergrated Schools? The Catholic sector seems stronger than the State Sector.

Anonymous said...

For the Quebec analogy to wash there would have to be a larger, ethnically French, state stradddling its borders with which it could theoretically coelesce.

hoboroad said...

The British Government has admitted it made mistakes in the past regarding Ireland. The American Government has admitted to it's mistakes in the past. I have yet to hear one Unionist politican say sorry for the way they ran this place from 1922-1972. If given half the chance they would go back to the Golden days of Unionism.

Anonymous said...

Hoboroad, Trimble TBF made a-half-hearted attempt: 'cold house for Catholics' etc.

hoboroad said...

David Trimble who admits being puzzled by the emergence of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association! Maybe he wondered why Catholics would want Equality in housing and jobs and a fair crack of the whip when it came to elections. See Unionism is all about control if they cannot control they seek to wreck it.

hoboroad said...

And if Tony Blair can say sorry for the Irish Famine then anything else is possible.

Anonymous said...

I still think N.I. should be partitioned.

Anonymous said...

"I still think N.I. should be partitioned."

We know you do Andy, but your opinion might actually hold some sway if you actually lived there.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that is Andy. He is on record as being anti- repartition. Unless he has recently revised his opinion.

Anonymous said...

Ah your right, I read that wrong....

hoboroad said...

There are at least 4 people who post as Anonymous on here! There is Andrew McCann and MPG and a guy from Boston and another guy who believes in Repartition of Northern Ireland it can all get a bit confusing at times!

Anonymous said...

Northern Ireland is not fake, it is an internationally recognised integral part of the United Kingdom - a position consistently supported by a majority of the population - Protestant, Catholic and non-aligned.

That's fact. Most of the rest on here (with the notable exception of Mack) just pure Fenian navel-gazing.

Pedro said...

''Northern Ireland is not fake, it is an internationally recognised integral part of the United Kingdom''
so was the whole of Ireland up to 1921. McCann, I don't post in,or even visit, ATW. I just don't see the point as its central philosophy
is so diametrically opposed to mine. A bit of reciprocal courtesy would be in order.
I'm looking forward to watching AmC slowly and excruciatingly roasting on the spit of his own propaganda in years to come.
Your use of the term 'Fenian' shows you up as the twisted and self-deceiving bigot that you are.

Anonymous said...

'I'm looking forward to watching AmC slowly and excruciatingly roasting on the spit of his own propaganda in years to come.'

Your own sexual voyeuristic preferences have nothing to do with me.

'A bit of reciprocal courtesy would be in order.'

I don't follow the wishes of Irish republicans.

'Your use of the term 'Fenian' shows you up as the twisted and self-deceiving bigot that you are.'

No, my use of the word 'Fenian' is an expresson I use to articulte my loathing of a violent, terrorist-supporting, Irish republican minority that, in my opinion, should get the hell across the border pronto.

Hope this clarifies my position, Fenian.

Pedro said...

Pedro,
Blogmaster, I think there is a need for censorship/decontamination.

Anonymous said...

'I think there is a need for censorship/decontamination.'

That's exactly what I once said to a member of the Parachute Regiment about to be deployed in Londonderry:

'I think there is a need for some decontamination. The Bogside might be a good place to start'.

Wiz said...

'The Bogside might be a good place to start'.

Have you not another tattoo to get and some steroids to take. Loyalist culture eh! Drugs, tattoos, iron pumping, bowler hats and bigotry.

The difference between Republicans and Loyalists in Peter Taylor's documentaries was revealing.

Anonymous said...

'The difference between Republicans and Loyalists in Peter Taylor's documentaries was revealing.'

The difference between republicans and loyalists is that the latter don't give thousands of votes to apologists for terrorism.

Wiz said...

Considering the Sinn Fein vote only went up after the IRA ceasefire that comment doesn't hold. The DUP get thousands of votes from people who must be creationists ffs. The DUP's links with Loyalists is well documented (McCrea and the evil Billy Wright), so don't come lecturing Nationalists for voting Sinn Fein considering they were a fringe party until well after the IRA ceasefire.

hoboroad said...

There was a DUP councillor who was arrested for extortion another one done time for arson and another did time for firearms offences.Ian Paisley has done time so has Willie McCrea.

Anonymous said...

'...so don't come lecturing Nationalists for voting Sinn Fein considering they were a fringe party until well after the IRA ceasefire.'

They were a party with 10% of the vote when the IRA were murdering RUC officers, civilians and Army personnel, so don't come all self-righteous and say nationalism doesn't vote for terrorists.

Many nationalists are up to their little Fenian ball bags in terrorist idolisation.

Wiz said...

The majority didn't you retard. Say what you like but the fact of the matter is that the SDLP were the main Nationalist party.

Unionists voted for parties that systematically discriminated against the Nationalist community and supported parties that implemented gerrymandering. They generally voted for the old Unionist party that ran a tyrannical system of Government pre troubles. I suppose that was fine though in your drugged fuelled tattooed existence.

You still selling young Protestant children drugs so you can pay for your new British Bulldog tattoo?

Anonymous said...

'Unionists voted for parties that systematically discriminated against the Nationalist community.'

The only act ever passed in relation to Northern Ireland that discriminated against a community was the 50/50 rule for recruitment into the PSNI - and it wasn't Catholics on the receiving end, either.

'They generally voted for the old Unionist party that ran a tyrannical system of Government pre troubles.'

Tyrannical? (LOL) I'm sure the Tutsis of Rwanda had a breeze compared to the tyranny on Stormont. I'm still laughing.

'I suppose that was fine though in your drugged fuelled..'

I neither drink nor smoke.

'British Bulldog tattoo.'

Yes, I have one of those. So at least one line in your last rampage has some bearing on reality.

Wiz said...

No mention of Gerrymandering then which of course you failed to address in your post. Come on, try and justify it.

Unionists voted for a party that treated Nationalists and those of the Catholic faith as second class citizens.

The old Stormont regime abused the civil and human rights of the Nationalist community. The British government recognised this and suspended the old regime in favour of direct rule. Sir Oliver Wright, a government represntative said that the old Stormont parliament led to a minor form of state tyranny. And of course he was right.

Anonymous said...

Horseman

Is there any chance of a thread comparing the 1991 and 2001 census at ward level?

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

'No mention of Gerrymandering then which of course you failed to address in your post.'

Gerrymandering took place in both Unionist and nationalist councils (see Richard Rose's book 'Ulster: Governing Without Consent').

Oliver Wright served as Deputy Home Office representative for a period of 7 months I think the key word there is 'minor' and the way it directly contradicts the term 'tyranny'. You either have tyranny or you don't. Whatever failings there were within the old Stormont it certainly did not have apologists for IRA terrorism within its ranks.

The Unionists of 1912 didn't want a separate parliament. They wanted to be equals within the United Kingdom. Had Westminster acted to grant this it might have undercut the sedition practised by a sizeable minority within the Catholic community.

There, I think I've covered pretty much every one of those desperate straws you've been grabbing for the past few hours. On that note I'm off to bed.

Wiz said...

The Ulster Unionist Party government created electoral boundaries for local councils which, coupled with restrictions on voting rights based on economic status, ensured the election of unionist candidates in electoral areas where nationalists were in the overwhelming majority. That is indefensible.

The old Stormont regime was undemocratic and supported by the Unionist electorate to ensure their privileged position. I'm sure you would love to get back to majority Unionist rule but those days are gone forever.

Wiz said...

'The Unionists of 1912 didn't want a separate parliament.'

Yet the majority of the people of Ireland did. But of course Unionists were prepared to go to war with King and country to protect their privileged in Ireland. Democracy and Unionism were never really compatible, were they?

It's very hard to defend isn't it, and you're not doing a good job are you?

Anonymous said...

'The Ulster Unionist Party government created electoral boundaries for local councils which, coupled with restrictions on voting rights based on economic status, ensured the election of unionist candidates in electoral areas where nationalists were in the overwhelming majority. That is indefensible.'

As was similar discrimination in housing against Protestants in nationalist-controlled councils.


'The old Stormont regime was undemocratic and supported by the Unionist electorate to ensure their privileged position.'

The working class Protestants of the Shankill Road must have missed their privileged position (LOL).

I'm sure you would love to get back to majority Unionist rule but those days are gone forever.

No, I would like to see those who were in, or made excuses for, IRA and loyalist terrorism behind bars for the rest of their lives.

'Yet the majority of the people of Ireland did. But of course Unionists were prepared to go to war with King and country to protect their privileged in Ireland. Democracy and Unionism were never really compatible, were they?'

But the majority of people in the whole United Kingdom, of which Ireland was a part, didn't. That's the difference between nationalists and Unionists. You see everything an an island basis, we see everything on a pan-UK basis. Nationalists wanted an independent Ireland and didn't care what either the Unionists of the rest of the British people thought.

'Unionists were prepared to go to war with King and country to protect their privileged in Ireland.'

Wrong. Unionists were prepared to go to war with those who were attempting, by hook or crook, to tear them away from the rest of the UK. Britain didn't partition the island of Ireland, Irish nationalists partitioned the UK in pursuit of a Catholic and Gaelic domain.

'Democracy and Unionism were never really compatible, were they?'

Which is why Northern Ireland's existence as part of the UK was recognised by every country in the world bar the RoI (until the latter saw the light in 1999). Democracy and Unionism not compatible? Terrorism and Irish nationalism certainly are.

Anonymous said...

I suppose the Holocaust did not happen either!



Why would an Englishman, living in England, be an apologist for Unionism in Ireland?

MPG .....

Mack said...

Andrew -

But the majority of people in the whole United Kingdom, of which Ireland was a part, didn't

Not sure about that one. There were Home Rule majorities in the commons on several occasions, back in the day when the (unelected) Tory dominated House of Lords could block any legislation they didn't like.

By the way, the whole point of the Union is that it is a Union. Do you think the UK's continued European Union membership is a matter for the EU as a whole or for the people of the UK , to decide?

Anonymous said...

'Why would an Englishman, living in England, be an apologist for Unionism in Ireland.'

I am a British person in the UK defending fellow British people in the UK. Sorry if that confuses you.

'Do you think the UK's continued European Union membership is a matter for the EU as a whole or for the people of the UK , to decide?'

Two points:

1. THe EU is not, and never has been, a sovereign state.

2. The UK existed as a political and sovereign entity prior to the establishment of the EU. Ireland didn't.

Anonymous said...

'Why would an Englishman, living in England, be an apologist for Unionism in Ireland.'

I am a British person in the UK defending fellow British people in the UK. Sorry if that confuses you.

'Do you think the UK's continued European Union membership is a matter for the EU as a whole or for the people of the UK , to decide?'

Two points:

1. THe EU is not, and never has been, a sovereign state.

2. The UK existed as a political and sovereign entity prior to the establishment of the EU. Ireland didn't.

Mack said...

Andrew -

2. The UK existed as a political and sovereign entity prior to the establishment of the EU. Ireland didn't.

It did you know. It was Henry Grattan's Dublin parliament that voted to join the United Kingdom..

Wiz said...

'But the majority of people in the whole United Kingdom, of which Ireland was a part, didn't.'

It is a union of Nations, therefore perfectly legitimate for one Nation to seek independence. The Act of Union was undemocratic, Anglicans were only allowed to become members of the Irish Parliament, and only through bribery and peerages the Act was ratified. Therefore, it was perfectly legitimate and morally right for the people of Ireland as a whole to seek independence.

Wiz said...

'Wrong. Unionists were prepared to go to war with those who were attempting, by hook or crook, to tear them away from the rest of the UK.'

No, the UVF were prepared to rebel against the British government who were prepared to introduce Home rule.

Wiz said...

"As was similar discrimination in housing against Protestants in nationalist-controlled councils."

Show an example, like what happened in Derry, where the council was divided into 3 wards by the Unionist government to ensure Unionists returned a majority to the council in a City that had an overwhelming Nationalist majority. You're nothing but an apologist for Unionist misrule.

Anonymous said...

"I am a British person in the UK defending fellow British people in the UK. Sorry if that confuses you."

Not confusing Andy, it is more pathetic than anything. A person spending hours every day debating something they have absolutely nothing to do with.

Anonymous said...

I have already explained much of above to Andy, but to no avail. He is so bigoted and entrenched in Unionism that he is not open to even to dialog without reverting to abuse. He is English and does not live on our Island.

You are all wasting your time.

MPG .....

Anonymous said...

'It did you know.'

No it didn't. Ireland was only ever united under the Crown. Something for separatists to think about.

'It is a union of Nations, therefore perfectly legitimate for one Nation to seek independence.'

Yes and no. No part of the UK has the unilateral right to secession - and that includes NI under the Belfast Agreement. Before you go quoting the agreement itself, read the legal texts that interpret it.

'Show an example, like what happened in Derry, where the council was divided into 3 wards by the Unionist government to ensure Unionists returned a majority to the council in a City that had an overwhelming Nationalist majority.'

How about Newry? Whre council employment was disproportionately in favour of Catholics over Protestants - even way out of proportion to their respective relative sizes.

'No, the UVF were prepared to rebel against the British government who were prepared to introduce Home rule.'

No, they were prepared to take the war to Irish nationalism until the UK government realised that a sensible territorial compromise was necessary.

'A person spending hours every day debating something they have absolutely nothing to do with.'

Best relay that point to the audiences on Gerry Adams's intergalactic tour for 'Irish' 'unity'.

Wiz said...

'You are all wasting your time.'

I think I've just come to the same conclusion.

Anonymous said...

'I think I've just come to the same conclusion.'

I came to that conclusion about Irish republicans years ago. They're a complete waste of time.

Anonymous said...

"I came to that conclusion about Irish republicans years ago. They're a complete waste of time."

At least Republicans actually have some personal interest in Ireland. Unlike you who must have such an exciting life that you have dedicated your life to surfing & blogging on the web about a place you have nothing to do with.

You are either in a sham of a marriage or else you can't get a girl to say that you have so much time on your hands.

Mack said...

Andrew

No it didn't. Ireland was only ever united under the Crown. Something for separatists to think about.

You are in danger of believing your own propaganda!

In 1800 there was a state called the Kingdom of Ireland, it had it's own parliament and was not part of the United Kingdom and it's elected representatives voted to join the UK.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grattan's_Parliament

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Ireland

Ever heard of Brian Boru by the way?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Boru


The System of High Kingship dates as a historical fact from around the 8th Century (although 8 Century scholars invented a much older legendary history to build historical legitimacy).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_King_of_Ireland


Incidentally, after the arrival of the British, Ireland was united several times except for the parts that remaind under British rule (i.e. the British presence is the cause of the divide among the Irish).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederate_Ireland

Anonymous said...

Hello. I am the person who suggested Northern Ireland be partitioned. I think it might be the best solution (for now). I do not know who 'Andy' is. It is true I do not live in Northern Ireland but I do not feel that means my views should not at least be considered. Peace.

Anonymous said...

Munsterman says :

1. Keep up the excellent work Horseman.

2. Re-partition is a non-runner.
When the inevitable "Catholic" majority kicks in the dynamic will change dramatically. At that point, the MINORITY in the 6 counties will be the Ulster Prod.
From the outset, the 6 counties was created as an Ulster Prod Orange laager and therein lied the Achilles Heel that eventually destroyed it. Jimmy "the Gun-runner" Craig, the first PM of NI himself declared
" I have always said that I am an Orangeman first and a politician and a member of this parliament afterwards’. Edward Carson realised how the unionists had been conned declaring in 1921 :
" What a fool I was ! I was only a puppet and so was Ulster, and so was Ireland, in the political game that was to get the Conservative party into office."
An Irish nationalst could not possibly have put it any more bluntly.


This time around, there is little or no support in Britain for Ulster Prod terrorism in order to create an even smaller Orange Fascist statelet, funded by the English taxpayer.



As has been pointed out previously
a "Catholic" majority may not immediately mean a United Ireland
- but it will begin the discussions and terms under which that inevitable event will take place.

The Ulster Prod unionist community has nothing to fear in a re-United Ireland. Many young Ulster Prods see that Ireland is a vibrant democratic republic. The Catholic Church has been put firmly in it's place. Pretty much everything which safeguards communities rights has already been laid out in the GFA - and if there are additional issues then I am confident these can be negotiated.

For example, a Federal Ireland,
whereby the North had it's own regional powers, would not be a problem for nationalist Ireland in a re-United Ireland.
(no separate Northern international soccer team though -
but we'll be happy to continue to
take up the seat at FIFA's top table under the IFA name :-)

PS. no offence meant by using the term "Ulster Prod" -

- Munsterman

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 09.59.

Peace be with you, also, my friend.

Andy is an Englishman living in England attempting to lecture Irish people about democracy while at the same dishing out occasional sectarian abuse and taking an ostrich like stance in relation to the possible (more likely very probable) emergence of a nationalist majority in the north of Ireland.

Repartition, creating a smaller Unionist enclave under British rule is a non runner. Even east of the Bann, there are significant Nationalist majority areas including a large part of Belfast.
What is to be done with these people?

Read up on the Link to Partition at the top of the page!

MPG .....

Anonymous said...

Horseman, what do you think of the new national ID card being different for people who identify as Irish?

Anonymous said...

Whats this ID card?

hoboroad said...

The Tories say they will abolish the ID card when they win the General Election.

Anonymous said...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/8176699.stm

Mack said...

Irish citizens do not have to carry a British identity card, they can (if they are stupid) voluntarily sign up for a 'personal' card.

picador said...

Horseman,

What are the vital statistics on females under 40?

Henry94 said...

On the question of a nationalist electoral majority not supporting a united Ireland in a border poll I don't see how that can be good news for Unionists except in the narrow constitutional sense.

They will be living with a Sinn Fein dominated nationalist majority in the government of the north. The historical irony of partition keeping Sinn Fein in power is interesting but in the long term Unionists would need to consider an alternative.

In a united Ireland they could join with the southern establishment parties and exclude Sinn Fein completely.