It used to be said that you cannot eat a flag. Nonetheless, that does not mean that flags do not have real monetary value for some people.
A report from the annual survey of hours and earnings in Northern Ireland (ASHE), quoted in today's Irish Times highlights the fact that on average workers in the north earn considerably less than those in the south:
"THE EXTENT of low wages in the North may raise a few southern eyebrows.
According to figures published by ASHE - the annual survey of hours and earnings in Northern Ireland - the current median wage of all Northern employees is just £346 (€393) per week.
The median manufacturing weekly wage is £411, the equivalent rate for those in education is £628, and for those in health and social services the figure is £412."
Median wages in the south are considerably higher than those quoted above – a median wage for all employees of scarcely €20,000 a year – in the south it is almost double that figure.
These figures are for the period before the inevitable cuts to come – but since both north and south will suffer from severe cuts it is unlikely that the relative difference will change much.
So unionists, with their obsession with remaining in the UK, are actually voting for a lower standard of living, just for the pleasure of watching the British flag flying!
A factory worker in the north earns a median wage of £411 a week, or €460 at today's rate of exchange. His cousin in the south probably earns around about €200 a week more than that (the data only goes up to 2006, after which southern salaries continued to climb). Thus for each week that the northern unionist factory worker enjoys the sight of the British flag, he loses €200, or £180 – a loss of around £4.50 per working hour!
The same is true in most (all?) other sectors – in education the northern worker on £628 per week (€704) can only look enviously southwards where her sister earns €946 per week on average.
They say turkeys don't vote for Christmas, but oddly enough unionists seem to be happy to vote to be poor.