Alan Whysall, a member of the Working Group on Unification Referendums on the Island of Ireland, discusses the potential longer term constitutional destinies of Northern Ireland. He also analyses how we can ensure a more satisfactory debate, an ultimately more constructive politics, and the possible renewal of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. The first part of this blog, which prefigures a discussion paper from the Constitution Unit, was published earlier today.
Since the Brexit referendum, the debate on the Union versus Irish unity has stepped up.
Some suggest we are at a tipping point, where change might come quickly, because of Brexit, lack of faith in London, fractures in politics, disappointed expectations of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement – in Irish terms, perhaps, a period like the second decade of the twentieth century.
These developments may well have changed the political climate so far that reverting to the politics of five or 10 years ago is impossible.
But what we are heading towards is unclear. Fatalism would be a particularly misguided approach: there are no predestined outcomes, and certainly no panaceas.
The chances of things going well are much improved by informed debate, and by making every effort to sustain a constructive political process.
Without those conditions, we may well be on the road to nowhere, or a destination increasingly unwanted either in Britain or the South.Continue reading