I disagree with Anna Lo on United Ireland

Anna Lo’s comments two weeks ago on the long-term future of Northern Ireland caused a furore when she said, in a personal capacity, that she thought it should unite with the Republic of Ireland.

Since I share Anna Lo’s social liberal stance on most issues, I will have no difficulty giving her my first preference vote, and campaigning for her. But I have to say I take issue with her explicit view that Northern Ireland would economically, politically and socially be better off uniting with the rest of the island.

So I guess I should come off the fence and state clearly an unequivocally where I stand. It is quite clear that, economically politically and socially, Northern Ireland should become the seventeenth state of Germany.

Economically, the case is quite simple. Over the past decade, German economic growth has been by far the fastest in Europe. German unemployment is also low at 5% (even youth unemployment is only around 7%), so you can take that map of unemployment in Ireland and shove it! Of all the parts of Germany, living standards have risen fastest in the five Eastern States, newly added to the Federal Republic in 1990. That is the type of growth which would also await Northern Ireland – except better, because DeLoreans are better than Trabants.

Politically, the case is even more compelling. Far from having to merge laws with the Republic or make up some new, unprecedented “Federal Ireland”, Northern Ireland would be joining what is already a Federal Republic – its domestic laws, legal system and education arrangements could remain unchanged, managed from the existing Northern Ireland Assembly (Nordirischer Landestag) in Belfast.

Even socially, in terms of identity, it makes sense too. Unionists will know what the Duke of Schomberg came from what is now Schaumburg, which is already in Germany. To seal the deal, Nationalists effectively get a United Ireland anyway – after all, the Republic has effectively been governed from Berlin and Frankfurt since 2008.

Northern Ireland would be one of the smaller States of Germany, of course, but far from the smallest – Hamburg is about the same size; Bremen and Saarland (itself transferred from France in the late ’50s – so a clear precedent, just in case anyone was thinking this proposal odd) are considerably smaller.

By the way, when it comes to sport, never mind a united Ireland football team – what about joining with Germany? In fact, it’s only right given that the penalty kick, which they have since perfected, was invented in County Armagh in 1891. “Wir sind nicht Brasilien, wir sind tatsaechlich besser” (“We’re not Brazil, we’re actually better”) would no doubt soon become a fans’ favourite.

Would the Germans want us? Well, probably not. But we should at least try, making the point that dealing with us would at least give them a break from having to deal with the Greeks once in a while.

The case is clear. Vorsprung durch Wheaten Bannock, as they whisper in Lurgan…


22 thoughts on “I disagree with Anna Lo on United Ireland

  1. Sense of humour bypass Mr Roche?

  2. Seymour Major says:

    I understand the German connection now. During the troubles, Ulster would always say “no” “no” “no” and the emergency services were always overstretched.
    nein nein nein!

  3. paul says:

    ian its time alliance did come off the fence it showed leadership on same sex marriages came to a collective backed policy that a lot in alliance dont support alliance showed leadership on the belfast city council flag issue.a far more important issue if u want to be ever to be taken seriously it has to make clear what its stance is to regard NIs consittisal position.the present position of alliance is a farce until u make clear on this u will never get potntial voters to vote for you.I think if you had had a clear position david mclarty mla would of joined alliance as would of basil mccrea and john mccallister its time to wise up the alliance policy committee must met and thrash out a clear position

    • Good to hear from you again!

      David McClarty doesn’t favour gay marriage and was never going to join Alliance. Basil McCrea is not a party man at all, as people who put their faith in his new brand are finding out. John McCallister abstained on the original gay marriage vote.

      So I don’t think it made any difference in that regard.

      Nevertheless, I do agree that party representatives should abide by party policy. As this is not a life or death issue, it is not a conscience issue. My own fierce support for freedom of marriage is a matter of clear record.

      • paul says:

        ian i didnt ask you about same sex marriage i asked you about alliance and showing leadeship on NIs constitstional position you didnt answer my question.now can i please ask you too answer..????

  4. Finally someone who agrees that the European Union is only Anschluß light. Germany has invented everything we live by, the cars we own, the food we eat, the electronics we use, even our dogs are German. It’s time to stop living in denial that they don’t own us and we don’t owe them. From the Harland and Wolff Cranes in Belfast to the works of Hugo Hamilton in Dublin.

    We already have a very loose federalism here in Greater Germany, even some regions can have their own monarchies like Sweden, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, or their own currency like Sweden, the United Kingdom and Denmark, some regions can avoid the military alliance like Sweden, the Republic of Ireland and the Osterreich.

    (Seriously Sweden what’s with the non-conformity?)

    Germany is no longer the Fatterland it’s now the Spaßtanteland, the home of everything that is socially, politically and economically liberal, but will still have an aura of positive discipline, and forgiving guidance to the children who get themselves into trouble. Even those who want to leave Greater Germany want to cosy up to the likes of Norway and Switzerland.

    Remember Germany went from four-way partition and fourway colonialism and economic failure to G8 membership and Security Council presence in less than half a century, only Japan can probably compare. When the world needs energy, greater resourcefulness and economic management, who is there to bail us out with renewables, and fiscal responsibility, it’s the Germans we look too.

    Even our proud multinational heritage, Anglo-Saxon, Orange, Norman, Norse, Viking, Celtic … it’s all came through Germany one way or another hasn’t it? British Culture, Irish Culture, without the ancient Germans we wouldn’t even have either? Language is not an issue as English is only a dialect of German anyway, and they love the Celtic traditions of Ireland, all the folk music, the Irish dancing, the La Tene artwork, it’s as much their tradition as it is ours!

    I mean even beyond the EU and the Ryder Cup, look at love everyone in these isles has for the likes of Michael Schumacher, let’s face it he’s done some questionable moves in his career but we like him more than even our own Eddie Ervine. Same with Franz Beckhambauer, and all the other great German athletes.

    I mean would you rather have the inflation lovers of Russia and the US in charge of your economy?

  5. I also think the connections between the Province of Munster and the German region of Münster are not a coincidence. You don’t have to be a linguist to realize that they come from the same word.

  6. Michael says:

    Seems bizarre that when you consider voting Alliance you get a different approach on something so important from different people.
    It’s a good thing for Alliance that they aren’t in Scotland for the referendum!!!

    • It’s not bizarre at all.

      Our preference, frankly, is flavoured by our upbringing. Not many come out of Campbell College feeling predominantly Irish and favouring a UI; not many come out of De La Salle feeling predominantly British and favouring the UK.

      Frankly, Northern Ireland is divided by nationality. If you have a party seeking to represent *all* of Northern Ireland, it will also be divided by nationality (and by religion). In fact, no party could represent all of Northern Ireland *without* so being.

      • paul says:

        it is bizzare ian if alliance were in scotland they wou;dnt know and how to tell folks to vote u wouldnt and dont have a position.its a joke and farce alliance peddles. until you make your position clear folks will laugh at you with regards NIs position.You as i have said have a position on same sex marriages and the flying of flags surely for gods sake you can make your miinds up to NIs consistional position..??? please answer my question ian instead of doing the classic alliance ignore

  7. If British and Irish politicians “made up their mind” on the constitutional question we would not have Constitutional reform. Take Europe, the Tories were pro-EU to get the UK in, and Labour were anti-EU, now things have reversed. How can I believe unionists that say the constitutional questions for Northern Ireland is settled when unionist politicians want to change the current constitutional arrangements on everything from power-sharing, mandatory coalition, opposition, European Union membership, devolution of fiscal powers, civic governance etc. etc. etc. as is their right.

    Unionists also want constitutional reform, it’s not just Nationalists and Neutrals. You can’t say they’ve been consistently anti-Home Rule, pro-Devolution when time and circumstances change. And because time and circumstances change, so do constitutions.

  8. paul says:

    i call on the alliance party policy committee to announce a clear policy

    • It has a clear policy. Power-sharing devolution within the UK with cross-border bodies.

      If you actually read what she said, you’ll see Anna articulated that.

      She happens to believe in the long run unity with the Irish Republic makes sense. I’ve argued unity with Germany makes sense.

      None of it will make any difference. Power-sharing devolution within the UK with cross-border bodies and choice of nationality/citizenship is where we are and where we’re staying for the foreseeable future.

      • paul says:

        so if there is a refreredum on nothern irelands future weather it was to stay in the united kingdom or to enter a united ireland wat is the alliance party position. ARE YOU SAYING IAN ALLIANCE WOULD CAMPAIGN TO STAY AND SUPPORTS NOTHERN IRLANDS POSITION IN THE UN ITED KINGDOM IN THE UK…??? AND ADVICE FOLKS THATS THERE POLICY AND POSITION BECAUSE IF YOU ARE THEN THE PARTY HAS CHANGED ITS POLICY PLEASE CLAIFY.???

      • paul says:

        oh she says in the long run unity with the irish republic makes sense does it ian …..?? is that your own personal opinion or is that alliances position..just proves even you are all over the place just like alliance is

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