Is independence the way forward for Northern Ireland?

Eric Waugh has excited some debate on Slugger and with some interesting ruminations on how the break up of the UK might affect Northern Ireland:

months before the UK’s 300th anniversary, the four old mates continue to jog along, uncomfortably in harness, lacking great conviction and saturated with inertia, but unsure of taking a lone path into the unknown. Last weekend, though, a poll for the first time recorded a majority in both England and Scotland in favour of independence for each…

…The attraction of independence lies in the mutual surrender it would represent: union with the British and union with the Republic would be sacrificed. Instead a new state would arise to which all would be invited to give allegiance. (Belfast Telegraph)

I’m not personally opposed in principle to an independent Northern Ireland, as it would put an end to the kind of patronage politics which characterises British rule, but I think its extremely unlikely to be viable, as it would not have any support in the nationalist community, especially as Waugh implies that cross-community power-sharing of the Good Friday Agreement would not be required.

In a sense, an independent Northern Ireland is an eminently republican solution that is emphatically not in the interests of northern nationalists.  Nevertheless, it is interesting that even a Northern Ireland unionist commentator is prepared to consider a future beyond the UK.






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