NI needs civic leadership on #Brexit

The EU referendum in Northern Ireland thankfully did not fall completely along sectarian lines as most things do, but unfortunately the reaction to it is beginning to. Particularly, the Ulster Unionists have chosen a Leader and set of candidates who for the most part voted “Leave”; and the SDLP is now trying to use Brexit as an excuse for a Border Poll in a way which makes cross-community campaigning on the issue nigh impossible. Only the Alliance Party, suggesting avoiding further division and working together to negotiate a specific deal reflective of Northern Ireland’s particular circumstances (those being default EU citizenship, larger trade with EU, land border, etc), makes any practical sense on the issue now.

To be clear, raising the constitutional issue outwith the term of the 1998 Agreement gets us nowhere. Nearly 20% of Northern Ireland’s exports are cross-border, but on the other hand it does over twice as much trade with England alone than with the entire rest of the EU combined. Regardless of constitutional aspiration, the simple fact is Northern Ireland cannot afford hard borders in either direction.

That, unfortunately, brings us to the reality that it won’t be political leadership but civic leadership which brings the best outcome the people of Northern Ireland. In practical, the Health Sector, business and higher educational institutions will need to work out a common and deliverable platform.

There should be no doubt that such a platform will be heard – Northern Ireland may be small, but it is in everyone’s interests to hear it and it has a voice in effect on both sides of the table. One benefit of its relative size is that it will in many ways be easier for the UK Government and European Council to go along with sensible proposals than not.

Sadly, a political system typified by prioritising a sectarian carve-up cannot deliver on Brexit, in much the same way as it cannot deliver on much else. However, Northern Ireland has never had so much civic interaction – that will be the key to making the best of Brexit.


2 thoughts on “NI needs civic leadership on #Brexit

  1. says:

    Our market is all of the mainland. Scotland and wales as well as England walk into any food hall on gb and check the processing plant codes on packaging. I voted remain others indeed most others in rural Ulster voted out as the European dream to them had become a nightmare of red tape and they felt pro sf spending

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. says:

    Sent from my iPhone

    Begin forwarded message:

    > From: Tom Morrow > Date: 28 June 2017 at 09:10:10 BST > To: Rodney Magowan > Cc:

    Comments from a local economist on your excellent. Almost. Piece

    > analysis you buy on Conservative/DUP deal > > Rodney, thanks. > I think you should reply to IJP, asking him to expand on a couple of points he makes at point 3, i.e. the effects of maintaining the triple lock on State Pensions and on the winter fuel allowance which he describes as the biggest expense for the UK as a whole. > > On the pension triple lock, the plan to abandon the 2.5% increase when the average wage increase and CPI inflation come in below this figure, in order to save the Government money, has been and will continue to be overtaken by rises in CPI inflation. > > CPI inflation is currently at 2.9% in the year to May 2017 (and up from 2.7% in the year to April 2017), and I guess, likely to increase further. So CPI will be the yardstick for pension increases in the immediate future and the 2.5% figure is irrelevant. > > On the retention of the rules for the winter fuel payment, there was never any plan to abandon payments. The idea was restrict it only to people who needed it, (and to withdraw it from people like yourself, Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Mick Jagger and others of that rich ilk) and to achieve savings by way of a means test. In doing so, Government has to assess the cost of means testing and how these costs relate to the potential savings. I understand that the cost of means testing would make a considerable hole in the potential savings, although I have never seen any estimated figures, nor where they would draw the line between poor and rich, deserving and non-deserving. > > In general, the gist of IJP’s initial concern is about journalists who never let the facts, or even fake facts, stand in the way of a good headline. Two recent examples. > > Ref the possible coming soccer match between Linfield and Celtic, The Daily Record in Scotland published a report by a former footballer at Aberdeen saying when his team played at Linfield in the 1990’s, he was abused by Linfield fans, the players were targeted by lasers and hassled in the street after the match. Linfield responded with a detailed piece refuting that they had ever played Aberdeen at any time in the past. The Daily Record has published a retraction and the Aberdeen player has apologised to Linfield, saying that his memory let him down and he got his grounds mixed up. > > In the agricultural sphere, the IFJ, southern edition recently headlined that farmers and contractors in the RoI will have slurry spreading using a splash plate at the rear of the tanker made illegal. The IFJ took this from a consultation document published by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine which included questions relevant to the issue and asking for opinions on the matter. The Minister for Agriculture wrote to the IFJ, asking how posing a question in a consultation document could be construed as agreed policy to make the change from the existing arrangements for spreading slurry. > > Tom M > >>

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