Tuesday, December 18, 2012

North South Collide

There's an interesting discussion over at Slugger O'Toole about the prospects for a referendum on Irish unity following the recent 2011 census results for Northern Ireland. I speculated about this scenario a few years ago - and I didn't expect it to happen following the census results. I still don't.

For starts, a referendum would have to happen on both sides of the border, and I don't see much appetite for it on the southern side right now. Besides, there are a few other referenda ahead of it in the pipeline - I suspect we'll have referendum fatigue long before there's a referendum on the border.

Then there's the economy: as Brian Groom reminds us in today's FT ('ten cheerful things to say about Northern Ireland'), the unemployment rate in the South is twice that in the North. The gap isn't going to close any time soon.

One final thought - again as noted in my previous speculation - if a referendum does go ahead then another can't be held for seven years. Those in support of a referendum might bear this in mind - in case they get what they wish for...

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