Jude Collins

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Polls and a play:outlook sunny

Opinion polls are a bit like the weather. One minute they have you  feeling that life is going the wrong way entirely and what’s the point of it all? Other days the sun glistens on  trees and grass and you feel glad to be alive amid all this beauty and bliss.

The famous ‘Northern Irish’ poll a while back had the wise heads scratching their skulls and declaring that more and more people had no time for changing the state’s constitutional position but thought of themselves as ‘Northern Irish’ before either Irish or British. Now we have a new Life and Times Survey that tells us  something a bit different.

  • There’s been a drop of 11% in the number of people who see the north as remaining within Britain. Between 2010 and 2012,  it went from 78% of people wanting to remain within Britain to 62%. 
  • Among young people -18-24 -  just 42% think the north will remain within Britain 
  • Of those who believed the north would remain within Britain, 77% said they would accept a united Ireland. 
  • On identity, 38% of respondents felt more Irish than British, 39% felt more British than Irish, and 17% felt equally British and Irish. 

What you make of all this is very much dependent on the weather, which politician you were last listening to and the state of your digestion. But if you look at the figures carefully,  you may find yourself in the situation I more and more find myself in: identifying with the words of Mr B Dylan,  who famously wrote that “Something’s happened/But you don’t know what it is/Do you, Mr Jones?’

We are privileged to live in exciting political times.

But not by opinion polls alone does man or woman live. So if you’re looking for theatrical excitement instead, you could do worse than get down to the Strule Arts Centre in Omagh. A play called ‘Raisins Aren’t Sexy’ is running there (two more nights - tonight and tomorrow).  It’s written by local man Adrian Mullan and it’s about a man who’s fed up being taken for granted and sets about privatising his mind and charging advertisers.  The result is a court case stuffed with advertising language and nerve-jangling jingles and gasping-for-breath laughs. And yes, the timing is deliberate: the play has one eye cocked at the imminent arrival of our all-powerful betters at the G8 conference in Fermanagh.

Sometimes, as the Reader’s Digest used to remind us, laughter is the best medicine. 


  1. There be the usual suspects who'll cling to the LTS survey they prefer to believe and reject this one, but the evidence is that they really do know what'#s happening despite Dylan's assertion but prefer to keep quiet on that publicly. The screaming headline in todays news lewtter will be an unwelcome visitor at DUP/UUP breakfast tables as it tells them what they'd prefer not to be reminded of, that unionist numbers are at a record low. They will not get repartition and Stormont won't be able to vote through a permanent powersharing in councils as the nationalist parties are just waiting to pounce on that. With a catholic majority coming up on the rails the DUP in particular will just have to lump it.[Madraj55]

  2. Within the UK Jude, not the (island of) Britain or... WITH Britain! ;)

  3. Have to laugh at the Panglossian spin you put on this. 62% in favour of the Union, eh? In 2010, the number sharing your desire for the all-Ireland Valhalla was a pathetic 16%. In 2012 it was still a pathetic 16%! So, 16% share the same constitutional objective as the scum of the republican movement who butchers thousands to try to achieve it. I don't think any amount of nationalist delusion can escape the 4:1 majority.

  4. I see the Belfast Telegraph has issued a correction.

    An online article (‘Protestant-Catholic gap narrows as census results revealed’, posted December 11, 2012) reported on the publication of data from the 2011 Census by the Northern Ireland Statistics Agency and stated that the percentage of Protestants and Catholics in the Northern Ireland population stood at 48% and 45% respectively.
    Protestant-Catholic gap narrows as census results revealed

    We are happy to make clear that this figure in fact referred to the number of respondents raised in the two faith communities, while the figure for practising Protestants and Catholics currently stands at 41% and 40% respectively. Ten per cent of those questioned indicated that they had ‘No religion’. We are happy to clarify the matter.