Tuesday 19 January 2010

Does Peace matter?

The Institute for Economics and Peace is 'an independent non-partisan not-for-profit research institute dedicated to developing the inter-relationships between business, peace and economic development'.


One of its 'core assets' is The Global Peace Index (GPI). This is a 'ground-breaking milestone in the study of peace, and is the first time that an Index has been created that ranks the nations of the world by their peacefulness'.


As the GPI says about itself:

"140 countries have been ranked by their 'absence of violence', using metrics that combine both internal and external factors. Most people understand the absence of violence as an indicator of peace. This definition also allows for the measuring of peacefulness within, as well as between, nations.

The Institute for Economics and Peace, in conjunction with the Economist Intelligence Unit and with the guidance of an international team of academics and peace experts, has compiled the Global Peace Index (GPI). The Index is composed of 24 indicators, ranging from a nation's level of military expenditure to its relations with neighbouring countries and the level of respect for human rights. The index has been tested against a range of potential "drivers" or determinants of peace—including levels of democracy and transparency, education and material wellbeing. The team has used the latest available figures from a wide range of respected sources, including the International Institute of Strategic Studies, The World Bank, various UN offices and Peace Institutes and the Economist Intelligence Unit. The Global Peace Index is intended to contribute significantly to the public debate on peace."

The GPI has existed only for three years – 2007, 2008 and 2009. The 2009 GPI was released last August, but is worth mentioning nonetheless.

Unsurprisingly, the Nordic-New Zealand Axis of Goodness dominated the rankings for 2009, but just below them, at 12th place worldwide stands Ireland (i.e. the south) – above even Switzerland and the Netherlands!


As for the UK, well, its 35th place put it slightly ahead of Vietnam, Bhutan and the United Arab Emirates – but it was a pretty poor ranking (and fourth-worst in Western Europe). In fairness, its ranking has improved since the two previous years, when it was in 49th place.

Ireland has slipped in the three years of the GPI from 4th place in 2007 and 6th place in 2008. But it remains comfortably a more peaceful place than the UK.

Does peace matter? Well, in the view of Helen Clark, Administrator of the UN Development Program and former Prime Minister of New Zealand:

"It is notable that the countries ranked in the top ten of the Global Peace Index are also ranked as having ‘very high human development’ in the Human Development Index produced by UNDP. That composite index measures average achievement in countries according to three basic dimensions of human development – a long and healthy life; access to knowledge; and a decent standard of living.

Conversely, those societies not at peace, or those affected by violent conflict, are ranked low on the Human Development Index. As the Managing Director of the IMF has said so accurately – war can justifiably be called “development in reverse.”

There is also significant evidence that conflict has long lasting negative impacts on human development; causing not only death and injury, but also destroying physical and human capital, and leading to increases in malnutrition. Conflict has a profound psycho-social impact too as it rips societies apart.

All these consequences underscore the importance of promoting peace and stability if we are also to promote development."
This Index, like so many others, demonstrates that the position of unionism is illogical. It claims to have rational reasons for wanting to remain in the UK, but yet again it can be seen that these reasons are false. For the good of the people of Northern Ireland – all of the people, unionist, nationalist and others – Northern Ireland needs to leave the UK and reunify with the rest of the country.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Try forcing Unionists into a United Ireland and see what Ireland's position moves to.

Horseman said...

Anonymous at 19 January 2010 11:30,

Three points:

Firstly, why do you refer to the result of a democratic decision as 'forcing'? Are you trying to imply that unionists (only some, I hope) would use force to try to block the outworking of democracy?

Secondly, have you tried to calculate the number of unionists who might do so? Given the strength of christianity amongst unionists I cannot believe that many would do something that was undemocratic, inhuman and unchristian.

Finally, are you at all aware that your attitude provides post-facto justification for the IRA violence that (I presume) you deplored? If unionists can try to overcome the popular will, how was it wrong when republicans did it?

Anonymous said...

> I cannot believe that many would do something that was undemocratic, inhuman and unchristian.

Oh? They had no problem carving out as much of Ulster as they thought they could hold onto in perpetuity and in oppressing their fellow citizens in a very unchristian manner for a very long time.

What will bring about change:

1. A realization that their bigoted view of the south as having an inferior culture and society is simply wrong.

When the ROI recovers from the recession it will further widen the economic performance gap with the UK, which has not diminished with the recession (UK debt/GDP and other ratios are worse than the ROI's).

2. A realization that the UK is not willing to foot the bill and to preserve the status quo indefinitely and would cheerfully be rid of N.I.

Anonymous said...

Horseman said:

"Three points:

Firstly, why do you refer to the result of a democratic decision as 'forcing'? Are you trying to imply that unionists (only some, I hope) would use force to try to block the outworking of democracy?"

If Unionists were in a minority then yes, they would be 'forced' into a United Ireland (if that actually happened). And yes, I suspect there would be some Loyalists who would engage in violence in order to frustrate a United Ireland. I'm not saying I would support violence, merely making an educated observation.

"Secondly, have you tried to calculate the number of unionists who might do so? Given the strength of christianity amongst unionists I cannot believe that many would do something that was undemocratic, inhuman and unchristian."

Well, in the early seventies it was estimated that there was over 50 000 Loyalists involved in paramilitary organisations such as The UDA and many more involved in The UDR and RUC (not making any comparison here) and they only feared a UI, it wasn't just about to happen - so you can draw your own conclusions regarding numbers. The UDA was primarily responsible for smashing Sunningdale in the teeth of UK and ROI political pressure. I had to smile at your comments on Unionism and Christianity. A lot of Loyalists aren't that religious and those Unionists that really are might see a fight for self determination as a just cause. In any case, I don't see every single Unionist pulling on a balaclava if the time came, but thousands would.

"Finally, are you at all aware that your attitude provides post-facto justification for the IRA violence that (I presume) you deplored? If unionists can try to overcome the popular will, how was it wrong when republicans did it?"

Well, that's the million dollar question mate. You see, I can square that circle by saying that any independent 'Ulster' would not need to be the current six counties (or indeed anything near it), most Nationalist areas in The South and West could transfer to The ROI. If I'm absolutely honest, I could live with The West side of The Foyle, Strabane and Newry/South Armagh going today (with the right financial measures put in place). Others won't agree, of course.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

"> I cannot believe that many would do something that was undemocratic, inhuman and unchristian.

Oh? They had no problem carving out as much of Ulster as they thought they could hold onto in perpetuity and in oppressing their fellow citizens in a very unchristian manner for a very long time."

That's not quite true, is it? Unionists actually had a small majority in all 9 Ulster counties, but they gave up three. As for oppressing people, well those were the times weren't they? You only have to look at what happened in The Irish Free State/ROI.

"What will bring about change:

1. A realization that their bigoted view of the south as having an inferior culture and society is simply wrong."

Most of them don't care what happens in The ROI, they're just intent on staying part of The UK - their own country.

"When the ROI recovers from the recession it will further widen the economic performance gap with the UK, which has not diminished with the recession (UK debt/GDP and other ratios are worse than the ROI's)."

Again, Unionists won't care. Perhaps all The Nationalists who currently live in NI will follow the 'gold rush' south at that point - end of problem.

"2. A realization that the UK is not willing to foot the bill and to preserve the status quo indefinitely and would cheerfully be rid of N.I."

I'm afraid this really is dream world material. NI only costs each mainland family £250/year and never figures in any poll on what issues mainland folk care about. The UK State will, of course, have it's own strategic reasons for holding onto NI, as well as supporting those people who see themselves as British (as in The Falklands).

Anonymous said...

> That's not quite true, is it? Unionists actually had a small majority in all 9 Ulster counties, but they gave up three.

read again: "as much of Ulster as they thought they could hold onto in perpetuity" -- that's the reason the 3 counties were let go.

So, yes, it's entirely true.

> The UK State will, of course, have it's own strategic reasons for holding onto NI, as well as supporting those people who see themselves as British (as in The Falklands).

The operating principle is the wishes of the majority. When a majority of the population of N.I. votes for re-unification then it will happen. That is the strategic position of the British govt.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

"> That's not quite true, is it? Unionists actually had a small majority in all 9 Ulster counties, but they gave up three.

read again: "as much of Ulster as they thought they could hold onto in perpetuity" -- that's the reason the 3 counties were let go."

What makes you think that they couldn't have held 9 counties 'in perpetuity'? In any case, I'd have thought it to Unionist credit that they didn't try.

"> The UK State will, of course, have it's own strategic reasons for holding onto NI, as well as supporting those people who see themselves as British (as in The Falklands).

The operating principle is the wishes of the majority. When a majority of the population of N.I. votes for re-unification then it will happen. That is the strategic position of the British govt."

Well, if you want to believe that, then I have no problems. Crack on mate with your hopes for Irish Unity. LOL

I love the firm way The Irish speak about these matters, as if they had any sort of power to shape these events. LOL

Anonymous said...

"If Unionists were in a minority then yes, they would be 'forced' into a United Ireland (if that actually happened)."

How will they be forced if it was the democratic will of the people? The minority vote always lose out in democracies. And that fact will never change.

Anonymous said...

> What makes you think that they couldn't have held 9 counties 'in perpetuity'? In any case, I'd have thought it to Unionist credit that they didn't try.

Same reasoning that explains why the 6 counties will not remain British in perpetuity. The flawed assumption was that the nationalists would never outnumber the loyalists within the 6 counties (or haven't you read any history?).

That is proving to be a mistaken assumption, as this blog has documented, and it would have been proven incorrect all the sooner in 9 counties. If your question is meant to mean that the British will hold onto whatever they please, this is not how democracy works. Gerry Mander is deceased.

> I love the way The Irish speak about these matters

We are shaping events all the time and the trends documented in this blog shows that we'll continue to do so.

> Well, if you want to believe that, then I have no problems.

Good, then we are agreed with the declared positions of the governments concerned.

Anonymous said...

"I love the firm way The Irish speak about these matters, as if they had any sort of power to shape these events. LOL"

Irish men and women have been shaping these events in their marital bed for generations, and bigots like GB will have as much control over the outcome as it had over the fortnight of cold weather we've had this month.

But, that was in the past! RCs don't listen to the Vatican any more about contraception.

CIA world factbook, fertility rates 2009:
RoI: 14.23
UK: 10.65.

Anonymous said...

"bigots like GB"

Whoops, I meant bigots like AMcC. A slip there.

As it happens, despite their army's record here, I think the vast majority of British people have good will to the Irish. I certainly don't have a problem with them, either.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

"> Well, if you want to believe that, then I have no problems.

Good, then we are agreed with the declared positions of the governments concerned."

Nooooooooooooo. What I meant was, I have no problems with you thinking what you like, even if it is diseased Irish fantasies.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

""I love the firm way The Irish speak about these matters, as if they had any sort of power to shape these events. LOL"

Irish men and women have been shaping these events in their marital bed for generations,"

I'm surprised they found the time, given how busy most of them have been raping children.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

""bigots like GB"

Whoops, I meant bigots like AMcC. A slip there.

As it happens, despite their army's record here, I think the vast majority of British people have good will to the Irish. I certainly don't have a problem with them, either."

I doubt anyone on the mainland cares what you think mate.

hoboroad said...

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&gid=258076502057

Anonymous said...

I see that andys head is still stuck up you know where the sun dont shine.

paul said...

""I love the firm way The Irish speak about these matters, as if they had any sort of power to shape these events. LOL".........


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4EoXH1ju_0

we can always try...

Anonymous said...

Probably the greatest gain for the Irish people from independence from Britain in the early 1920's was that it allowed them to "Switzerlandize" their foreign policy. Ireland has avoided war ever since. That in and of itself is a tremendous good (jusk ask Poland, Yugoslavia, USSR, Japan, Germany, Vietnam or the Korea(s)). Had the act occurred just ten years earlier the Irish might also have avoided the horrors of WW1.

Anonymous said...

Just out of idle curiousity, does anyone know what the demographic breakdown between the two communities would be today IF all nine counties had been put into N.I.? Would Unionists already be a minority? I have argued in the past that the Protestants made a major mistake in taking too much land with "just" six counties and am genuinely curious.....

Anonymous said...

The link above is to a bomb going off in Manchester.

This is a contemptible interjection and the implied threat of violence has no place here.

The Good Friday Agreement is a done deal. N.I.'s constitutional position is that it is part of the UK until a majority wishes it otherwise and votes for reunification. Violence before that happens will be repaid with interest afterwards, so it's best avoided.

Anonymous said...

Ireland didn't gain independence from Britain in the 1920s, not entirely. Irish ports were occupied by the British military right up to 1939 and Ireland only just escaped being forcibly dragged into the war -- when it would have agreed to join in return for reunification. Churchill and co. had plans to invade the south and conscript soldiers but fortunately was persuaded that this was not a good idea.

After all, the south was, as the euphemism had it, "neutral on the side of the allies".

More Irishmen from the south died in British uniforms than from the north.

Anonymous said...

Not proportionally.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I doubt anyone on the mainland cares what you think mate.


You've just broken my irony meter there. My post only got two responses, both from a person in England.

To start a sentence and prove it wrong before you've even finished typing is some achievement.

Anonymous said...

Eh?

Anonymous said...

But Ireland DID manage to avoid the war sir. That WAS MY WHOLE POINT. You say Churchill had plans to invade the south and introduce conscription? Can you please cite your sources on this. You also say more Irishmen from the south died then from the north? I don't know if you are including the Unionists here or not but what you say could be so. I would mention though that at least they had a CHOICE. They didn't HAVE to do so. And they HAD that choice because Ireland removed itself from British control.

Anonymous said...

Churchill War Papers Vol. 2
and most books on Ireland during WW2 with the word "emergency" in the title. Robert Fisk's book is good.

No, I was not including unionists from the south.

See Kevin Myers' Dublin Remembers Too in The Spectator 18 Sept 1995 pp13-14 for some reasons why Irish participation in British forces has been greenbrushed out.