It’s when, not if, there’s a Border poll

Posted By: August 15, 2018

Distributed to the U.S. Congress by Irish National Caucus
“Once again, Belfast columnist Brian Feeney speaks truth to power regarding the Brexit mess. The irony, he observes, is striking: ‘A no deal Brexit is a guarantee of an early [Border] poll. The most delicious irony of all is that the DUPs stupidity in blindly supporting a British government policy  which is a direct danger to their own voters’ welfare has become a direct danger to the DUP’s raison d’être, defense of the union.’ Members of Congress and Staff will be struck by the irony.
—Fr. Sean McManus

The enthusiasm of figures such as Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg for a no deal Brexit is one of the factors making a border poll more likely

Brian Feeney.Irish News. Belfast. Wednesday, August 15, 2018
We know now there’s going to be a border poll. Everyone knows even those Unionists who maintain a public posture of denial.

Irish unity has become the major political talking point after Brexit. It’s no coincidence because the two are inextricably linked.

As a result of the looming catastrophe of Brexit for the island of Ireland, and The North, in particular, it’s no longer a matter of whether there’ll be a poll but when.

As negotiations between the UK and the EU began to get serious in the run-up to the Joint Report last December, the dire consequences began to dawn on people here.

The DUP, misrepresenting the majority of people here, had been talking in 2017 about the ‘opportunities’ Brexit offered. They stopped when they couldn’t name one.

It’s now apparent even to the eccentric Jacob Rees-Mogg there are none. Mogg thinks benefits might appear in 50 years. What a twit. And it’s wingnuts like him the DUP have bolted themselves onto.

The DUP’s self-appointed ‘expert’ on border controls, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, stopped talking about electronic tracking of lorries when real experts pointed out it didn’t exist anywhere in the world, not because you couldn’t track lorries but because you couldn’t tell what or who or how much was in them.

A Border poll began to assume urgency in direct proportion to the volume of gaseous emissions emanating from the ranting right of the Conservative party driving Britain out of the Customs Union and the Single Market.

It wasn’t the attraction of Irish unity which made a poll a certainty. It is the fact that a Border poll in favor of Irish unity is a parachute which enables people in The North to float gently but securely back into the EU. The EU had agreed that provision in Enda Kenny’s time shortly after the 2016 vote.

The wonderful attraction of a successful unity referendum is its ability to undo Brexit at a stroke.

All problems about a backstop, tariff barriers and non-tariff barriers, EHIC cards, working in EU countries, farm subsidies, and so on and so on, vanish.

To continue the direct correlation between Brexit and a border Poll, the fact is the worse and more chaotic Britain’s Brexit becomes, the more likely an early Border poll.

A no deal Brexit is a guarantee of an early poll. The most delicious irony of all is that the DUP’s stupidity in blindly supporting a British government policy which is a direct danger to their own voters’ welfare has become a direct danger to the DUP’s raison d’être, defense of the union.

Truly, as Hamlet said, they are hoist with their own petard.

It’s not only the attraction for The North of keeping the island in the EU. Most people don’t realize that the Good Friday Agreement requires concurrent referendums North and South, so a border poll can’t happen without the Irish government’s participation.

Dublin is distinctly unwilling to muddy the waters of Brexit negotiations by introducing another contentious matter into the mix.

They say ‘the time is not right.’ True, but that’s because they don’t know yet how bad Brexit will be.

Once again, the worse it is,  the more likely the Irish government will see a Border poll as a sure fire way to mitigate the impact on its Border regions and cross-border trade, like the 390,000 lambs from The North sent to the south annually. The worse the impact on The South, the quicker there’ll be a Border poll.

Last year Gerry Adams and Michelle O’Neill campaigned in the British general election for a Border poll ‘within five years.’

Now Sinn Féin says if there’s a no deal Brexit or Britain ‘crashes out’ of the EU – a 60 percent chance according to one of the more bewildered Cabinet ministers – then there should be a Border poll as soon as possible.

You notice again the crucial connection between Brexit and referendums on Irish unity. The timing of the poll depends on how bad Brexit is.

Republicans never thought they would see the day when they would owe so much to the bunch of aging backwoodsmen Peter Robinson sidelined to retirement polishing Westminster backbenches.

He thought they were out of harm’s way. Hah.