Sinn Fein Calls for Border Poll

On 19 January Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD gave a keynote speech at a party conference in Dublin, arguing for a border poll to be held under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement in the next term of the Assembly and Oireachtas. The speech provoked wide debate.

In his wide ranging speech, the Sinn Féin leader pointed out that the Good Friday Agreement states, “that it is for the people of the island of Ireland alone, by agreement between the two parts respectively and without external impediment, to exercise their right of self-determination on the basis of consent, freely and concurrently given, North and South, to bring about a united Ireland, if that is their wish, accepting that this right must be achieved and exercised with and subject to the agreement and consent of a majority of the people” in the north of Ireland.

The Good Friday Agreement also, Mr Adams argued, `commits the British government to holding a border poll and London has undertaken to legislate for a united Ireland if a majority of those voting express a wish that the north should cease to be part of the British union.’, adding `it is time for the governments to set a date’.

On the issue of the political geography of the north, Mr Adams said that the northern state was `gerrymandered to allow for a permanent unionist two thirds majority’, but pointed out that recent census figures reveal that only 40% of citizens there `stated that they had a British only identity’, and a quarter stated that they had an Irish only identity. Just over a fifth (21%) had a Northern Irish only identity: `some 46% of citizens consciously opting for some form of Irish only identity’. This, he said was evidence that `the political and demographic landscape in the north is changing’.

Commenting on the issue of identities and traditions Gerry Adams said that Sinn Fein wanted to `hear what unionists have to say’ and would `use every opportunity to engage in dialogue at a personal level as well as in more formal ways’. He said it was important to `protect all citizens, including rigorously and unequivocally seeking to protect all identities and traditions’ and added, `like the Good Friday Agreement we are for the “principles of full respect for, and equality of, civil, political, social and cultural rights, of freedom from discrimination for all citizens, and of parity of esteem and of just and equal treatment for the identity, ethos, and aspirations of both communities …”’. He said the Agreement `also guarantees in the event of a united Ireland that the right of those who define themselves as British will not be affected’.

On the economy and challenging the notion of a British subvention, Gerry Adams said that while the actual amount the British Government allocated to the north of Ireland is £17.5 billion, this was but part of the picture. Revenue generated in the North has been estimated by the Department of Finance and Personnel to be £12.7bn, he said, so `the real gap, therefore, between what the British actually allocate and what is raised in the north is £4.8 billion’. But, he added, the British government will not disclose how much revenue it takes out of the north’. He said there were `significant gaps – for example, the amount raised by the British from corporation tax from stores and businesses which operate in the north, but which have their headquarters in England, or the amount of VAT generated through purchases in these stores’, and so `the actual gap between what is raised and what is spent is likely to be significantly less than the £4.8 billion that we have identified’.

Concluding Mr. Adams said that a `planned single island economy would be good for prosperity; good for jobs; good for investment’ and that greater co-operation and harmonisation and unity would transform the economic and political landscape on this island’. He said there were immense `financial and efficiency benefits if there was one education system, one health service, one energy network and all island investment practices’.

He said that Sinn Fein wanted a new Ireland, `to build a modern, dynamic new Ireland – in which there is genuine reconciliation, and out of which a more equitable society can emerge’.
The changing economic and demographic dynamics `make Irish unity a realisable, achievable, doable objective’ he said, and that `many of those who dismiss our vision also said there would be no peace process, no cessations, no deal on policing or arms, and that Ian Paisley and the DUP would never share power with nationalists and republicans’.

48 comments on “Sinn Fein Calls for Border Poll

  1. jock mctrousers on said:

    He’s having a laugh, right? I thought that Southern Ireland was still in Cash Converters(or some such), figuratively speaking.

    `planned single island economy would be good for prosperity; good for jobs; good for investment’ ? Not if it’s planned by Sinn Fein from what we’ve seen of their ‘plans’ so far – corporate tax cuts and austerity for the mugs, the ones that are rioting in the streets of late. That’s what all the killing, and dying, and hunger-striking was for?

  2. jock mctrousers: Not if it’s planned by Sinn Fein from what we’ve seen of their ‘plans’ so far

    Jock are you telling us that in fact you have not read SF’s economic policy?

    I can certainly post a link here if you would like to read them and offer a critique.

    It is perfecty reasonable for SF to want and campaign for a border poll in line with the international treaty that is the GFA. I notice it has generated panic among the usual suspects but that’s unsuprising.

  3. Paul McLean on said:

    Adams says he wants Irish Unity by consent. Working class Unionists in Belfast are fearful and rioting over the flag not flying every day over Belfast city hall. The flag issue is a democratic victory in the process of Irish unity by consent.Adams is wrong on so many issues and to demand a border poll now with the flag controversy likely to mesh with the cuts to public services which the Republican and Unionist elites both support, serves to divide Protestant and Roman Catholic workers.- The better for SF and its Unionist partners to divide workers and impliment the Tory cuts. Adams panders to English liberal opinion and to socialist opinion outside of Ireland. The latter at least, should look at the facts on the working class ground and not be taken in by him.

  4. Paul McLean: Adams says he wants Irish Unity by consent.

    Yes he does.

    Paul McLean: Working class Unionists in Belfast are fearful and rioting over the flag not flying every day over Belfast city hall.

    Yes they are rioting and attacking taigs. Are they fearful that they might not be allowed to riot and attack taigs?

    Paul McLean: The flag issue is a democratic victory in the process of Irish unity by consent.

    How so the union flag flies on exactly the same number of days as it does at Buckingham Palace.

    Paul McLean: Adams is wrong on so many issues and to demand a border poll now with the flag controversy likely to mesh with the cuts to public services

    But you have said the flag rioters are rioting about a flag, and that’s what they say too, its not about, or likely to be about cuts.

    Paul McLean: which the Republican and Unionist elites both support, serves to divide Protestant and Roman Catholic worker

    But Republicans do not support cuts and the flags rioters will still hate taigs whether there is a border poll or not. Are you suggesting they should have a veto on the democratic process?

    Paul McLean: The better for SF and its Unionist partners to divide workers and impliment the Tory cuts.

    You think SF are in business because they want to implement Tory cuts?

  5. Paul McLean: The better for SF and its Unionist partners to divide workers and impliment the Tory cuts.

    *really* You serisously think SF are involved in a conspiracy with the unionists in order to divide the wrking class so that they can carry out cuts from London’s Tory government.

    Do multi-dimensional shape shifting lizards also feature in your analysis?

  6. Andy Newman: *really* You serisously think SF are involved in a conspiracy with the unionists in order to divide the wrking class so that they can carry out cuts from London’s Tory government.

    Do multi-dimensional shape shifting lizards also feature in your analysis?

    I do enjoy how you parade your total ignorance of the realities of sectarian politics in Northern Ireland in the mistaken belief you are being a hard headed realist. More please!

  7. Neil,

    Neil, your comrade’s assertion is that the motive behind the call by SF for a border poll is to deliberately serve the interests of London’s Tory government.

    That is the stuff of conspiracy theorists

  8. Paul McLean on said:

    The Lizards reference is simply foolish and cheap. What else does calling for a border poll at this moment, in these circumstances do than divide Protestant and Roman Catholic workers? At the very least such calls exacerbate divisions and give an additional legitimacy to those Protestant workers prepared to attack Roman Catholic workers because of the issue of the flag. Is it not better to have the union flag flying on just some days rather than every, day? SF is now committed to the step by step unification of Ireland on the basis of consent. As part of that process, there is no reason why the flag cannot be flown on fewer still days as the power of Unionism declines in Belfast.
    Protestant and Roman Catholics have come together in their class interests before. – As much was one of the constant fears of the UUP during the Stormont years. The cuts, long anticipated, will still be the basis of class based action by some Protestants and some Roman Catholics….That could increase from some to many more. If as you suggest, the riots can never become about the cuts, then Protestant and Roman Catholics will be continue to be divided against themselves and against each other.

  9. Jellytot on said:

    @8What else does calling for a border poll at this moment, in these circumstances do than divide Protestant and Roman Catholic workers?

    ….And there’s me thinking that the presence of the Border was the thing that truly divided communities in the North East of Ireland.

    Sad to see the ultra-Left positions that certain groups had towards the issue back in the 70’s and 80’s still existent today.

  10. Paul McLean: Working class Unionists in Belfast are fearful and rioting over the flag not flying every day over Belfast city hall.

    The impression I get is that only a very small and unrepresentative minority of disenfranchised people are rioting, egged on by bigots.

    The majority of working class unionists I suspect are bemused and not connected in any way.

    Why people should be “fearful” of having the union flag flying the same number of days as public buildings in England I don’t know. Perhaps they are only fearful of losing sectarian privilige? In which case shouldn’t the left seek to isolate that impulse, not indulge it.

  11. Paul McLean: What else does calling for a border poll at this moment, in these circumstances do than divide Protestant and Roman Catholic workers?

    It signals that the peace process is ongoing and that an inclusive UI is an achievable and desirable objective for the greater good. It challenges loyalist violence and promotes democracy.

    Paul McLean: At the very least such calls exacerbate divisions and give an additional legitimacy to those Protestant workers prepared to attack Roman Catholic workers because of the issue of the flag.

    History shows that the croppies lying down does little to abate loyalist bigotry, a bigotry you seem to think has ‘legitimacy’ and can enjoy more legitimacy if said croppies stand up. Its nonsense.

    Paul McLean: Protestant and Roman Catholics have come together in their class interests before.

    And those infrequent occasions faltered one and all once the orange card was played. Hardly a ‘constant fear’ for the unionist monolith of the time.

    Paul McLean: The cuts, long anticipated, will still be the basis of class based action by some Protestants and some Roman Catholics….

    You will get nowhere wilfully ignoring the basis of the statelet and those who tried to will tell you that.

    Paul McLean: If as you suggest, the riots can never become about the cuts,

    Those riots cannot and the fact you think they could is a bizzare delusion.

    Paul McLean: then Protestant and Roman Catholics will be continue to be divided against themselves and against each other.

    Surely you don’t think the sides are drawn on the basis of transubstantion or the literal truth of the bible?

  12. Paul McLean: If as you suggest, the riots can never become about the cuts

    Do you seriously suggest people from a Catholic or Nationalist background are likely to join the current riots on the basis that the nature of the riots might change, and their focus might change to be against cuts imposed by London?

  13. When unionists and loyalists insist on keeping the border, is that divisive, or is it only a problem when republicans and nationalists want to get rid of it?

  14. saothar on said:

    Much ado about nothing, really. In agreeing to the GFA, GA and his cohorts managed to railroad through a republican acceptance of the unionist veto, which of course was something that republicans had always objected to since the creation of the northern state. He calls NI a gerrymandered state, which of course it is, but accepts that a majority of that population will decide its constitutional position–if nothing else that shows that GA hasn’t lost the ability to speak out of both sides of his mouth at the same time.

    His comments on the northern economy are laughable–is he really suggesting that NI is economically viable? And as for a planned, all island economy–pie in the sky, Gerry–the more likely scenario is that you and your colleagues will engineer involvement in a coalition in the south at some point in the near future, and will offer hand-wringing speeches as that government–like every other one the 26 county state has ever had–upholds the interests of a tiny elite at the expense of everyone else.

  15. jim mclean on said:

    Maybe we cannot see the woods for the trees, could this be the external face of an internal SF dispute. A direct challenge to the Northern SF membership and their support of Martin McGuiness and the long term approach being took. An approach legitimised by the rise of Catholic opposition in the North to a United Ireland over concerns relating to the economic problems in the south. A poll at this time, not wise.

  16. Paul McLean on said:

    Well at least you have moved to something more connstructive than the ‘Lizzards’ jibe.

  17. saothar: His comments on the northern economy are laughable–is he really suggesting that NI is economically viable?

    Really? Would you not expect a party seeking fiscal autonomy in the 6 to want all the economic data? It seems reasonable to me and not at all ‘laughable’.

    The proper question is surely why the British Government refuses to release the information.

  18. saothar on said:

    Of course the British should provide fiscal data to SF. My point was that NI is not economically viable. It never has been at any point in its history and certainly isn’t now. British money has always kept NI afloat, from day 1 to today. It was always a crisis-ridden and expensive entity and a drain on the Brit exchequer.

    In any case, it’s incredible that GA now sounds like a UDA spokesman from the 1970s, with his desire to show that NI is a sustainable ecomomic entity.

    And of course it all has absolutely zilch relevance, in terms of moving towards a united Ireland

  19. Paul McLean on said:

    That Northern Ireland was never viable was one of the few things giving Westminster influence over the Stormont Gvt…Though not to the point that Westminster stopped the RUC battering Roman Catholics and Protestants who marched together in Belfast in 1931 against the cuts of that era. The lack of economic viability is not quite zilch. One of the unspoken assumptions of the Good Friday Agreement was that EU funding and the economic boom would last for a very long time and make re-unification with the republic appealing to the North in the long term.

  20. saothar: In any case, it’s incredible that GA now sounds like a UDA spokesman from the 1970s, with his desire to show that NI is a sustainable ecomomic entity.

    I remember how those lads sounded and can’t hear the similarity myself.

    But we agree that the British Government should supply the economic data and once its supplied, as it will be, the picture becomes clearer and the arguements become focussed beyond platitudes. These are good things in terms of a UI.

  21. saothar on said:

    John McMichael, who was their only half-articulate spokesperson back then, used to spend a lot of time making the argument that an independent ‘Ulster’ could succeed etc

    In any case, it would be good if we could move beyond platitudes, so I agree with you on that.

    Maybe then we won’t have the pantomime of Gerry Adams pretending that greater fiscal autonomy in the 6 counties would allow SF to emerge as a radical force for social justice, while at the same time Declan Kearney makes speeches at Westminster in which he asks the Brits for lower corporation tax rates for big business.

  22. redhand on said:

    “…(a) quarter (of people in NI) stated that they had an Irish only identity…”

    Is that all? Wow.

  23. Karl Stewart on said:

    Interesting article Andy (a refreshing change from the recent subject as well!)

    I recall reading that at the DUP conference, their leader Peter Robinson seemed to be making the case that the undeniable demographic trends in the North need not necessarily lead in the direction of an all-Ireland state.

    He appeared to be starting to sketch out a perspective based on appealing to northern catholics who are sceptical about unification.

    Whatever one thinks about Robinson and the politics of the DUP, I think there is a point to be made here that one shouldn’t necessarily assume that all Northern catholics will automatically be pro-unification.

    And also, one shouldn’t assume everyone in the South is necessarily for a merger either.

  24. Karl Stewart: Whatever one thinks about Robinson and the politics of the DUP, I think there is a point to be made here that one shouldn’t necessarily assume that all Northern catholics will automatically be pro-unification.

    Following your logic you might think the unionists and the British Government would be eager for the border poll and yet they fear it. Why might that be?

    Karl Stewart: And also, one shouldn’t assume everyone in the South is necessarily for a merger either.

    In every poll carried out in the 26 counties on a UI there has been a decisive Yes vote. The majority want it.

    saothar: Maybe then we won’t have the pantomime of Gerry Adams pretending that greater fiscal autonomy in the 6 counties would allow SF to emerge as a radical force for social justice, while at the same time Declan Kearney makes speeches at Westminster in which he asks the Brits for lower corporation tax rates for big business.

    Hold on though in the current set up Stormont is fiscally powerless in terms of economic policy yet with fiscal autonomy other options come into play.

    Surely other options is a good thing and allows politicians to be judged by the electorate on what they do albeit in this context within the limits of power sharing.

    Currently none of the politicians in the 6 have the means of doing, in economic terms, any structured work because that power lies in Westminister. So fiscal autonomy is a good thing and those seeking it should be supported.

    In terms of corporation task is it better, assuming inward investment, to have corporation tax collected or to have a Starbucks situation like Britain?

    In seeking a harmonisation with corporation tax in the 26 does SF advance or retard the achievement of a UI?

    Would it increase or diminish the number of jobs available?

  25. redhand on said:

    #24

    “Following your logic you might think the unionists and the British Government would be eager for the border poll and yet they fear it. Why might that be?

    Yet we hear from the BBC:

    “The Democratic Unionist Party may support Sinn Fein’s campaign for a referendum on Irish unity, the enterprise minister has said.”

    Arlene Foster told BBC Radio Ulster’s Stephen Nolan Show she had held discussions with senior colleagues, including party leader Peter Robinson.

    She said the feeling was a pro-union vote would consolidate Northern Ireland’s position within the UK”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-21140469

  26. Karl Stewart on said:

    Fair points SA, as a non-Irish resident I don’t have a strong “pro” or “anti” view on the creation of a new, single state on the island of Ireland and I’m neither opposing Adams’s position nor endorsing Robinson’s.

    I’m mainly saying I think people need to be cautious about making automatic assumptions based on religious demographics.

    It’s interesting in this respect that both Adams and Robinson appear to be starting to look outside of their respective traditional constituencies.

  27. Saothar on said:

    Adams seems to be suggesting that full fiscal autonomy would allow for a more robust attitude on taxation, but at the same time his key strategist is in London asking for lower corporation tax for the six counties. Deeply cynical stuff, but in keeping with the general SF approach over the past few years.

    Does low corporation tax create jobs? Well, I suppose if you’re on the political Right, you might argue that it does. But then again,you’d probably also believe that lower taxes for the wealthy, weaker trade unions and an end to those pesky employment laws and rights for workers would also create jobs, so not sure how far you’d want to take that argument.

    But it is a nonsense anyway. The 26 Counties has had extremely low rates of corporation tax for many years–much lower than the UK. What is the situation for workers there? Austerity and a savaging of their living standards is the answer to that question–far worse than anything we’ve seen in Britain. Successive Irish governments used the economic growth of the 1990s-2000s to fund massive tax cuts and subsidies for the rich, including low corporation tax. That is why the Irish working class now has absolutely nothing to show for that period of supposed propserity. They might have had an NHS in Ireland by now, but instead things are much worse than they have ever been before.

    Conor McCabe’s excellent book ‘Sins of Our fathers’ shows how the fiscal policy of the Irish state since its formation, including its remarkably low corporation tax, has always been in the interests of a very low number of very wealthy people and has effectively turned the state into a tax haven for international capital. That is why Irish workers are being brutalised at this point in time. If you buy the view that low corporate tax is in the interests of the workers, then you buy into the view that the current austerity measures are necessary. Capitalism demands that low corporate taxes are introduced to lure investment, just as it demands that Ireland pays its debts through a massive fiscal retrenchment programme. Its all part of the same system, and different aspects of the same ideology

    Low corporation tax means less resources for the State and a weakening of its re-distributive power, and ability to intervene in the economy. Socialists know that capitalism exploits workers and is an inefficient wasteful system. We know that the State needs resources to fund both a welfare state to protect workers, and also to enable it to play a greater role in the organisation and planning of production and distribution. These are just some of the reasons we call for high taxes on the rich and high taxes on the profits of big business.

    And as for imitating the 26 counties to make a united Ireland more likely. No, I don’t think so. You harmonise up, not down. As I said, the 26 counties doesn’t have free health care, does that mean we should harmonise the 2 systems by abolishing the NHS in the North? I wouldn’t want to live in a United Ireland that had its entire fiscal and economic structures shaped by the interests of capital, but if the argument is that you need to harmonise the North with the 26 county state, in order to achieve unity, that is what would happen.

  28. Nick Fredman on said:

    Paul McLean: If as you suggest, the riots can never become about the cuts, then Protestant and Roman Catholics will be continue to be divided against themselves and against each other.

    Economism on acid.

  29. The call for a border poll is a key part of the GFA, which was adopted by democratic referendum both sides of the border and is underwritten in international Treaty.

    The Republicans call for a border poll is an excerise in democracy. DUP spokespersons indicate they will not oppose it. It is probable other parties such as the SDLP, Alliance and the UU will fall into line.

    Whoever attempts to deny that right reveals their fundamentally anti-democratic nature. It is a simlar right that is being granted to the Scottish population.

    The reactionary attacks and riots that form the current ‘flags’ protest are an attempt by the most reactionary wing of Unionism, the loyalist UVF and its supporters, to defend the symbols of Orange supremacy when the material benefits of anti-Catholic discrimination are being eroded, primarily in the area of public sector employment.

    The idea that it is somehow irresponsible of Republicans to raise their aspiration of a united Ireland, to be put to a popular vote, is a deeply reactionary one. Supporting it is to ally with loyalism, and, perhaps a majority of the Tory Cabinet. We shall see. But it has got nothing to do with democracy, still less socialism.

  30. Saothar: Does low corporation tax create jobs? Well, I suppose if you’re on the political Right, you might argue that it does.

    Surely its a simple matter of measuring inward investment and the amount of jobs generated by the same. It either creates jobs or it does not. Its not the only way of creating jobs but without fiscal autonomy those other ways are blocked.

    Saothar: But then again,you’d probably also believe that lower taxes for the wealthy, weaker trade unions and an end to those pesky employment laws and rights for workers would also create jobs

    That is a non sequiter you might advocate trade unions, proportionate taxation and employement protection and still seek inward investment.

    Saothar: The 26 Counties has had extremely low rates of corporation tax for many years–much lower than the UK. What is the situation for workers there? Austerity and a savaging of their living standards is the answer to that question–far worse than anything we’ve seen in Britain.

    The 26 co’s economy is not fucked because of low corporation tax its fucked because of the gombeen pols and the bankers. No serious economic comentator thinks otherwise. I also think you might be a bit over optimistic about the British economy.

    Saothar: Adams seems to be suggesting that full fiscal autonomy would allow for a more robust attitude on taxation

    That would surely be a good thing rather than the Starbucks situation.

  31. saothar on said:

    I think the argument that you could have low corporation tax but higher taxes for the wealthy etc is at best disingenuous and at worst shallow and incoherent–but then again I suppose those are 3 adjectives that could sum up the policies of SF and their supporters.

    Attitudes to corporation tax don’t exist in isolation from other fiscal and economic policies. The assumption behind low corporation tax is the same as the assumption behind low taxation for the wealthy and weaker trade unions etc, namely that capitalism is the only system that can create wealth and economic progress, and that in order to do so, the interests of capital must come first. The wealthy mustn’t be taxed too much because if they are, their capacity to provide investment will be retarded. Business should have low corporate tax because if they are charged too much, they will be unable to remain competitive, and will probably take their money and investment elsewhere.

    Re the 26 counties, it was the State’s role as a conduit for international capital and a tax haven for both domestic and foreign capital, its promotion of construction and land speculation as entrepreneurship and the development of services to exporters as opposed to developing exports that was the root of the problem. Low corporate tax wasn’t the only part of the Irish fiscal architecture but it was an important aspect nonetheless and highlighted clearly the priorities and assumptions that lay behind state economic policy. Or do you think it was just a co-incidence that such a state, with such an economic approach, also had extremely low rates of tax on the profits of big business

  32. As usual, the British sects focus on a second rate issue, the level of corporation tax, in order to cloak the fact that on the primary questions, the nature of the state and British imperialism, they side with reaction.

    There is no socialist corporate tax rate. There is a socialist attitude to democracy and to imperialism.

  33. saothar: I think the argument that you could have low corporation tax but higher taxes for the wealthy etc is at best disingenuous and at worst shallow and incoherent

    And yet with all that bluster you cannot say why its impossible combine low corporation tax with good working conditions, ample employment and a benevolent state. The point is to ensure the state has ample resources to provide for the well being of its citizens. The means are always open to informed debate.

    Frank has it right

    frank: There is no socialist corporate tax rate. There is a socialist attitude to democracy and to imperialism.

  34. saothar on said:

    SA: you cannot say why its impossible combine low corporation tax with good working conditions, ample employment and a benevolent state.

    Ok, you show me an example of a state where that happens; it certainly wasn’t the case in relation to the 26 counties, even when the Celtic Tiger was at its zenith.

    As for Frank’s comment on no socialist corporate state–you’re having a laugh quoting that at me aren’t you?; you’re the one who has prattled on about how it is right and proper for SF to advocate low corporation tax. There may be no such thing as a socialist corporate tax rate–absolutely right–but there is such a thing as neo-liberalism and low corporate tax rates are its favoured policy approach

    And please spare me the nonsense having the right attitude to imperialism; you support a movement whose leaders lied through their teeth to its members, ditched all its principles, and betrayed everything it stood for in its desire to collaborate with an imperialist settlement in the 6 counties.

  35. saothar: As for Frank’s comment on no socialist corporate state–you’re having a laugh quoting that at me aren’t you?; you’re the one who has prattled on about how it is right and proper for SF to advocate low corporation tax.

    This is pure invention. I haven’t made any comment on SF’s advocacy of low tax policy.

    This is for 2 reasons. 1. This is a second-order question compared to the contiued existence of an imperlaist enclave in Ireland and, 2.SF’s actual policy is for the repatriation of fiscal powers to Ireland, which should be supported by all democrats.

    http://www.sinnfein.ie/ard-fheis-2012-motions

  36. saothar on said:

    frank: I haven’t made any comment on SF’s advocacy of low tax policy.

    I meant that comment for SA, after SA quoted you during his reply to me in comment 34.

    As for the rest of your comments, Frank

    frank: This [Sinn Fein’s advocacy of low corporation tax] is a second-order question

    It actually tells us a lot about the assumptions that underly SF’s economic approach and the role that party sees Ireland playing in the world economy. If you use the core, semi-periphery and periphery framework as a rough guide in understanding how global capitalism works, low corporate tax tends to be seen in both the semi-periphery and periphery economies–the economies that are dominated by western Multi-nationals and whose governments are too weak/corrupt/right-wing to offer any political resistance to the diktats of the IMF, and World Bank etc. It has long been evident that SF has no understanding of how capitalism works, or of the need to replace it with socialism, but to see it advocating this kind of approach shows just how far to the right the party would be drawn if it ever had any real fiscal power throughout Ireland as a whole.

    frank: the contiued existence of an imperlaist enclave in Ireland

    Whose continued existence was agreed to by the SF leaders in 1998, along with the Unionist veto–all of which was against the expressed policy of the party at that point in time

    frank: SF’s actual policy is for the repatriation of fiscal powers to Ireland

    That’s the pie-in-the-sky position, delivered for the benefit of the rank-and-file but as believable and informative to actual Republican politics as Clause 4 was to the pre-1995 Labour Party leadership in Britain.

    The real policy, as has been pointed out on this thread, is of course greater fiscal autonomy for the 6 county state of Northern Ireland

  37. saothar: That’s the pie-in-the-sky position, delivered for the benefit of the rank-and-file but as believable and informative to actual Republican politics as Clause 4 was to the pre-1995 Labour Party leadership in Britain.

    Hardly, its clearly achievable and an active subject of negotiation. I would think that SF’s economic policies demonstrate a more sophisticated understanding of capitalism than is evident among its opponents.

    You also seem to think that the GFA represents an end point but there is nothing to support that.

    And 38 posts in to this debate its fair to ask you whether you support a border poll or not?

  38. Karl Stewart: Whatever one thinks about Robinson and the politics of the DUP, I think there is a point to be made here that one shouldn’t necessarily assume that all Northern catholics will automatically be pro-unification.

    I can tell you a bit about Peter Robinson and the DUP politics, they where the only party that didn’t sign up to the GTA, in fact they where proactive in trying to destabilise the agreement from the start, and they done this by using sectarian right wing propaganda whipping up tensions and fear within the loyalist community telling the people that the UUP was selling them out and paving the way for a united Ireland, which in the long run benefited them as they are the largest unionist party in the north now, which is regretful because David Trimble from the UUP took the lead by recognising that the unionists could no longer hold onto the power they once had and abused, the DUP seized this opportunity to benefit themselves, now look at them, the DUP is a extremely religious, right wing, homophobic, pro-Tory ignorant party that offers nothing to “Normal” voters unless you are also a white protestant with ignorant views, and I do agree that there maybe some nationalists that want to remain with the UK but I assure they are a small group, GA and SF are adhering to the mandate which they have laid out which includes a vote on an united Ireland which the people are entitled to have.

  39. saothar: It has long been evident that SF has no understanding of how capitalism works, or of the need to replace it with socialism,

    What does that even mean? Serious question, how would you see a “socialist” Ireland being economically independent?

  40. saothar on said:

    SA: its fair to ask you whether you support a border poll or not?

    I find it an irrelevance. It is a stunt by SF, as a result of the recent census findings, but one that might backfire on the party if the result goes against them by a margin that is wider than expected. I’m sure SF know they will lose the poll, but will be operating on the basis that it might be close and might undermine unionism, but the opposite could happen, depending on the result.

    It should be interesting, though. I mean on what basis is Irish unity being sold? Joining-up with a reactionary, bankrupt state, currently administered by the Troika of the IMF, European Central Bank and the European Commission, where public sector workers have had their pay cut by over 20% in the last 4 years, where the minimum wage has been reduced, where you still can’t buy a house if you’re on an average wage, where you can expect to pay through the nose for the privilege of living in run-down privately-rented hovels, where the quality of the transport infrastructure is such that it takes 2 hours to travel by train the 40 miles between the 2 biggest cities in the West–Limerick and Galway, where you have to pay 100 Euro to see a doctor–hardly enticing is it?

    Be very interesting to see how Gerry copes with all of that.

    And just on health, he’ll be hoping no-one asks him how SF intend to fund an all-Ireland NHS, and what people should do if they are stuck on long waiting lists for medical procedures, but don’t have the money to fly to America to avail themselves of top quality private health care–as he recently did.

    Andy, on your question, I don’t see a socialist Ireland being economically independent. It will need to be part of a wider socialist transformation. But the beginning of that is to make the argument that captalism is a failed system and needs to be replaced–the opposite of the SF approach.

  41. Sinn Feins campaign for a Border Poll under the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement deserves the full support of socialists and trade unionist across Ireland and in england scotland and wales… with a bit of pushing this could become a reality by the Centenary of the Easter Rising in 1916… Let the Irish People Decide!

  42. saothar on said:

    Andy Newman: How is that working out for you?

    I would have thought anyone who claims to be a socialist would see it as part of an international transformation.

    Unless of course you still believe that Socialism in One Country is the way to do it.

    As for your question, presumably it will make you happy if I say that the movement is weak in Ireland, so here goes:

    Like most places in the world, the socialist movement in Ireland is weak–but not helped when supposed socialists devote all of their energies to the building of a pro-capitalist political party that has absolutely no interest in pursuing socialist policies.

  43. saothar: I find it an irrelevance. It is a stunt by SF, as a result of the recent census findings, but one that might backfire on the party if the result goes against them by a margin that is wider than expected. I’m sure SF know they will lose the poll, but will be operating on the basis that it might be close and might undermine unionism, but the opposite could happen, depending on the result.

    So really you are arguing from the stand point of an irrelevant and disconnected political current with micro support. I’m reminded of John Throne’s comment 30 years and 30 members. Its too sad for words.

  44. saothar on said:

    SA: So really you are arguing from the stand point of an irrelevant and disconnected political current with micro support.I’m reminded of John Throne’s comment 30 years and 30 members. Its too sad for words.

    Save your sympathy–all of my arguments on this thread have been from a socialist republican standpoint, not a reformist nationalist one

  45. saothar: all of my arguments on this thread have been from a socialist republican standpoint, not a reformist nationalist one

    So you admit to being an irrelevent sad-sack, you just wish to dispute what flavour of irrelevent sad-sack you are?

  46. saothar on said:

    Andy Newman: So you admit to being an irrelevent sad-sack, you just wish to dispute what flavour of irrelevent sad-sack you are?

    Come on now Andy–just because you can’t make a decent argument against any of my posts here, there’s no need to get puerile.