Jude Collins

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Bluff, the border and Nigel

Just heard a very informative interview on Raidió Uladh/Radio Ulster. Or two, I suppose, since Karen Patterson was interviewing  Nigel Dodds and Mitchel McLaughlin along side each other. The subject, of course, was this poll the BBC has conducted, which shows, according to the BBC website, 65% of people here would vote to stay in the UK if a  border poll was held tomorrow. Pretty convincing total indeed.

But that wasn't the informative bit. That came when we heard Mitchel McLaughlin calling firmly for a real referendum poll, since BBC or  Belfast Telegraph  or other polls don't actually count when it comes to realpolitik. That's the point where the first interesting thing happened: Karen turned to Nigel and asked him why he didn't "call Sinn Féin's bluff" and have a poll. That's a phrase the media have conceived and which they use with regularity  - "Sinn Féin's bluff" on a border poll. In other words, the Shinners don't really want a poll. Give that a bit of thought and you might see a bit of wishful thinking. A border poll would force parties to lay out, with facts and figures as well as calls to adult political responsibility, maitre chez nous and who knows what other arguments for and against. In short, the Shinners would have the border issue on the agenda, which at present it's not. So Karen and all you other hacks, don't call something a  bluff except you've incontrovertible evidence to justify so doing. Otherwise people might think you were being a bit lop-sided.

The second informative bit came when Mitchel McLaughlin said that, were the border poll to be held, he and his party would abide by that decision, whatever it might be. Karen then asked Nigel if he would respect the outcome and Nigel said...Do you know, I do believe Nigel ducked the question? Instead we got a smokescreen about Catholics voting for the DUP and a very content six counties and an end to pie in the sky. Now why would Nigel want to duck a question like that? Aren't they a democratic party? It's the D in their name, after all. Well, it might go back to the unionist response to the democratic decision on flag-flying over Belfast City Hall, it might even go back to the signing of the Ulster Covenant. History shows that unionists have a track-record of strong advocacy for democratic politics until the decision goes against them. At that point, you tend to get violence or threats of violence if things aren't arranged according to their wishes. There's a word for that approach to politics. It's called fascism.


  1. Gerry has had four years of an international campaign for a United Ireland. And Sinn Fein are the only party that have had the time resources and treasure to construct and prosecute an intelligent argument for a UI.

    In any other party someone would swing for the through other nature of this 'campaign'. Last night another good SF performer wasted in the humiliation of the party and the cause of a UI.

    The only thing that's saving them from damage at the polls is the bumbling apolitical coat-trailing of the SDLP - who, BTW, ought to wake up to the figures in which party do you feel closest to.

    I think we may also have an answer to why there are not more commentators and journos who are not prepared to toe the SF party line on this and other policy matters.

    Policy wise, we keep getting offered a dog's dinner. Last night we saw the unflattering underskirts of NI pols. Across the board (not just SF) they showed themselves to be well out of touch with their voters sentiment.

    1. The current craic is a sham fight, a phoney war. Have you never been part of a football team? You don't want to peak too early in the season ...or in this case, pre-season - call the shit out of SFs bluff and let the real discussions commence!

      ...and stick a little post-it note somewhere regarding your criticism of SFs international efforts, just for future reference.

      In the long game, the final goal is ultimately all that matters, not the way something appears in the short term.

  2. Well, if we needed any further evidence that this lot aren't serious people in politics, we had it last night, with nigel's declining to answer the straight question, , set alongside kennedy's spoiling tactic og talking for two minutes through NT's repeated question about why no catholics would join his moribund party. Their collective defensiveness is an encouraging sign for the the future of unionism in the continued NI existence, [from a catholic/nationalist viewpoint].[madra55].

  3. Havent a clue what Mick Fealty was trying to say in his reply to your slowly awakening comprehension that the Unionist parties only do democracy when the outcome favors them.
    Why did you think with all your Irish history that this time they and their British political masters would act any differently to the loss of their six county fiefdom?
    Appeasement of loyalist mobs, rehiring of the discredited old RUC, internment without trial, recruitment of paid informants, setting up of unionist forums to counter cultural equality, media bias. Smell the coffee yet?
    I see even the 'moderate' Ed Curran in the Unionist Belfast Telegraph wrote yesterday that the constitutional issue should be sidelined for a time when there is more community confidence. In other words, don't talk about that thing that might start the war again.
    Because doggone it, that is the inevitable outcome if Unionists don't get the outcome they like, and is why everyone from Enda Kenny to Seamus Heaney is shying far away from any conversation about uniting Ireland.
    And probably why most Catholics are voting in these polls to keep the status quo as it.
    They know the British terror forces haven't gone away you know.
    And they also know there is no one to defend them this time.

  4. More media bias?!I trust Connolly House has made an official complaint to the B B C.Wouldnt it be great if all the media followed the Sinn Fein line!Thats the trouble with a free press!Surely all S F representatives on T V and radio are coached how to deal with awkward situations and interviewers.Maybe you should appear more often and show them how to do it properly!

  5. Dave Dexhheimer. Unionist politicians appear to have decided to take the convenient [for them] conclusion that the catholc percetagers for remaining in the union, as 'committed to NI, and neatly avoiding having to admit that this 'support' is in nearly all instances, purely tactical for now,and when the actual majority has flipped over to their side, will then change. As nationalist voters vote for nationalist parties almost exclusively, It's obvious the % of them voting in a referendum for the UK will not mirror the support seen in polls.[madraj55]

  6. what I would like to know is how polling was conducted. How was sample chosen? Was it a phone poll or personal interview? As other contributors have suggested it certainly doesn't tally with voting patterns in recent elections. Maybe its time to call the unionist bluff.

    1. don't you mean time for the unionists to "call the republican bluff"? ...what unuionist bluff is there to call exactly?

  7. madraj55 I dont think they will just swap over when there is a catholic majority but I do agree that most who vote to retain the union now would also vote for a united Ireland if it suited them financially and this is the key point lost on most unionist politicians who seem to think this catholic support is forever and wont change no matter what.

  8. anonymous[13.07.36] I don't expect the demographic flip over point revealed, will lead to a rush by catholics to a UI either, but there a distinct air of desperation in unionist politicians to rush to airwaves to say there won't be a UI just because catholics will be in a majority, when their real fear is the effect of this flip over in elections in a continued NI, and it's possible they would even prefer to drown a nationalist majority here in a simply catholic all island majority. Also, they would at least have some influence in the dail compared to the complete irrelevance of a handful ogff them in westminster where they are openly derided and ignored.[madraj55]