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The absurdity of this protracted chaos only highlights that the battle for Northern Ireland has apparently been lost over the last generation - in the bedroom! The undeniable demographic trend is towards a Nationalist voting majority in the coming years. Do they vote for status quo or choose to go with “the Indian”as John Taylor, who is self-declared as neither a racist or a bigot, has so eloquently called it.
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What did the country vote for in the recent 'consultative' referendum, now hallowed in holy writ? They had a choice, remain in Cameron's feebly and incompetently negotiated 'new EU deal', or vote for a pig in a poke, surrounded by false promises made in bad faith by clowns and demagogues.
Well, in due course we will have a choice of one kind or another. This time the Brexit pig, lipstick and all, will be in full view, while the alternative - to remain and fight (properly this time) the UK's corner in the EU, will be the pig in the poke. Surely this very different choice needs to be put to the people?
The question now is what the Brexit pig will really be like as, although some particularly warty bits have appeared, it is by no means in full view yet. If the NI border issue isn't sorted it's going to default to the hardest of hard Brexits, just as the more irresponsible and unrealistic of our political leaders would desire, however secretly. Bad faith is something which hasn't exactly been in short supply here. If we have, as seems to be the only realistic alternative, to remain in the customs union then so be it. We won't need to negotiate lots and lots of bilateral agreements because they mostly already exist (but will disappear with a hard Brexit). If, as seems likely, that becomes part of the Brexit deal then what's the point of leaving at all?
We need that second referendum. It is *not* like forcing the same vote until you get the answer you want. The EU might have done that in days of yore, but it isn't happening here. Both what is on the table and the electorate (and its attitudes) will be different. So, not the same at all. I want the choice, don't we all?
The night of the Brexit vote, I said to myself, 'This is is the end of the 'United Kingdom'. And I fear that it will be. How many little Englanders gave one second's thought to Ireland and the consequences there of their vote? The relative peace and the start of healing in Ireland is perhaps the most important political development of my lifetime. And now it is endangered... There were so many and such subtle ambiguities in the peace process, that allowed all sides to feel they'd won, or at least not lost!
There is another solution that begs to be discussed. It would as TE points out inflame English Nationalist tempers but the break-up of the union is one way to go. It appears that since the Scottish Independence referendum of 2014 this topic has been swept under the carpet. Understandable on one level. There has been an election followed by the EU referendum, Cameron's resignation, the new PM and another election in between.
A discussion on the future of the Union is needed in any event. From the creaking constitutional machinery to hard problems such as the NI border there are a variety of issues that need more than a "It'll be alright on the night" approach. It would appear that current polls show a drop in favour of Scottish Independence which really ought to give the political debate some breathing room to discuss things. I understand that the politics of coalition is delicate and that there is a loaded plate full of spicy political fare already. This is why an independent commission should be set up to look into a future for the nations of the Union either continuing as they are, changing things or deciding calmly to end the current agreement.