What’s in it for me?

I’ve been sitting on the following post for a week or two and wasn’t going to bother posting it at all until I read Gerry’s post on ‘Identity Crisis‘. He raises a very important point that (re)unification would be as painful for nationalists as it would for unionists (by “nationalists” I presume he means all uz green coloured Irish, personally I wouldn’t describe myself as a nationalist). The NI constitutional question always follows the same line with nationalists trying to persuade unionists of the merits of a UI and the arguments always take into account concessions which the Irish State would need to make. Ok, of course certain changes would be needed down South but just how far do they expect us to go? As far as redefining our identity to “to create an all-Ireland state which is in some way British”? How big a price are people down South willing to pay for a United Ireland? Do we actually want a UI that badly?

There’s only so much I’m willing to pay and this is where I twist the question around. What’s in it for me?
The delectable Jo recently asked the question Unity – why? and I’d also like to know why. Like most of us down South (I assume) my reasons for wanting a United Ireland would have been based simply on emotion but this emotional desire has been slowly eroded over the years, especially during this time that I have been living abroad and have had the chance to visit many countries around the world. The addition of a family to my responsibilities has also affected my position obviously. So for me it’s no longer a question of what price I would pay for a UI, I’m now in a position where I’d be asking what can Northern Ireland bring to the table? Why should I vote for a United Ireland? My support is not a given, as much as I’d be delighted to share a country with anyone from any community North of the border (with notable exceptions) there’s only so much I’d be willing to give and I would certainly be expecting something in return.
I like to think of myself as a reasonable buachaill, our flag, anthem, constitution – we can change those. It’s when we get onto issues such as the Irish language, national identity or economic issues that’s where we’d hit some stumbling blocks.

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  1. I used the term ‘nationalist’ reluctantly, as like yourself, I wouldn’t describe myself as a nationalist. However it is recognised as a shorthand term for those of us who advocate a united Ireland by peaceful means.

    The Irish use of the terms ‘Republican’ and ‘Nationalist’ is arseways, imo. Sinn Féin is a classic example of an ethnic nationalist movement. Republicanism in its most definitive sense is an inclusive ideology, something SF manifestly is not.

    I would much prefer to describe myself as a republican, but I don’t want to be mistaken for a SF supporter.

  2. I’m very reluctant to use any such terms Gerry. I’m most certainly very different from your average NI nationalist and even Southern nationalists like Utd.Irelander for example. As for ‘republican’, we just can’t go there.

  3. I applaud your views, Maca. Peace must always come before Unity. It is the extremists that are stalling the peace process, not the border.

  4. Hi JL. Well, the only unity i’m interested in (I probably didn’t explain it above) is unity of the people, I don’t really care what happens the border.

  5. Would you feel the same if the county you lived in and 5 others were left behind by a treacherous Dev and his maFFia???
    I thinknot. Don’t be so inconsiderate! Greed is one of the seven deadly sins. Only worrying about you and yours is a form of Greed! Shame on you!

  6. I would probably feel different Redbhoy, but i’m not from one of those counties.

    As for greed, putting my family’s future first is hardly greed. It’s up to me to look after my own and provide a decent future for them. It’s up to you to look after your own future.

  7. maca

    Our Union wouldn’t work. Let’s just be friemds ;)

  8. Aileen
    Your own Union hasn’t worked either apparently :)

    (welcome to the site btw)

  9. He’s just having his 80 yr itch! ;)

    thanks for the welcome I may pop in again!

  10. While the responses to my question were plentiful, they also were all wistful and sentimental, “aw go on, Jo, puhleeese” rather than “here are 3 very good and persuasive reasons”

    I empathise with nationalist aspirations but I cant be convinced by them – Is it because I am programmed differently or am not romantic (I definitely am the latter!)

    More than many other unionist bloggers, I believe I have an understanding of wherenationalists are coming from and I have studied the relevant parts of history where I can see where it is belived that wrong doing was done. I have turned the mirror back on Unionism to the horror of some, and the abuse and accusations of “self-loathing” from others. Such a response deepens my empathy with nationalism but doesnt persuade me of a UI – because there has been no history of such persuasion, anymore than there was a history of Unionists persuading the northern nationalist of the benefit of the Union.