Given how Brexit might increase support for Irish unity, unionists should work all-out to stop it
The whole Brexit process is getting more and more ridiculous.
But my main concern goes beyond this. It lies in the damage Brexit is already doing to the Northern Ireland unionist cause.
Very few people want a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, but most Irish republicans (and, it has to be said, their academic fellow-travellers) would be delighted with a hard border down the Irish Sea.
Moreover, membership of the European Union gives both British unionists and Irish nationalists a place of shared comfort.
Remove this and a significant number of Irish nationalists who might vote ‘no’ to a so-called united Ireland in a referendum might instead incline to a ‘yes’.
With the Catholic/Protestant demographic balance in Northern Ireland moving to a knife-edge unionists should be doing everything possible to secure ‘Catholic’ votes for maintaining the union of Northern Ireland with the rest of the UK.
My conclusion, then, is that both the Democratic Unionist Party and the Ulster Unionist Party should rapidly start to face reality and, in consequence, work all-out to stop Brexit in its tracks.
Failing this, one can only hope that Brexit itself will self-implode, crumbling under the weight of its own contradictions and thereby contributing hugely to the maintenance of the integrity of the United Kingdom – and I am thinking of Scotland here as well as Northern Ireland.
Fred Boal (Professor), Ballyclare