Some politicians state that a majority of 50+1 for Irish unity would cause instability.
Undermining the 50 +1 rule basically undermines any current definition of democracy.
However I believe the size of the majority will determine the type of united Ireland that is put in place.
To learn from the Brexit vote, we know that a straight forward yes or no question, only leads to more questions such as a hard or soft Brexit.
I believe that a united Ireland referendum should have two questions, first being, do you want to join a united Ireland? The second question would be, if there is a united Ireland, what type would you select and three options should be given.
It would be up to the UK and Irish governments to provide the framework for the three options ie a soft UI, medium UI, or hard UI.
A soft UI probably would mean that Stormont would still exist as an autonomous regional assembly; the Irish foreign minister would probably move into Hillsborough Castle and assume a governance role and act as pay master general. The 18 current MP would transfer directly to the Dail. Stormont would have fiscal autonomy, tax raising powers and could decide if it remains tied to the sterling or not.
People’s rights, benefits, pensions would be copper fastened, and any unification would probably be as frictionless as possible.
Harder forms of unification would probably have greater divergence from the status quo, and probably have closer links to the Dail and EU systems.
Each deal would have to backed up with a large financial package sponsored by our US, EU and UK partners, basically Northern Ireland would have it all its debts removed and would be transferred across as a going concern and have a solid 10-15 year financial buffer to ensure any change would be as smooth as possible.
Some people argue that the Republic could not afford to unite with the north and are happy to be in a subservient situation where the begging bowl is always out to London. Some revel in the fact that there is currently a large deficit.
With the north currently having the lowest level of unemployment in the UK, a modernisation of the current health system, a reduction of the civil service, a vast reduction of defence spending and a lucrative financial package would mean any change would be financially possible.
The referendum should be held in 2023, 25 years after the Good Friday Agreement, which gives enough time for the governments to formulate and specify the frameworks for a hard, soft or medium UI and plenty of time for the people North and South to discuss.
That way will help reduce any instability in the case of 50+1.
John McSorley, Belfast BT5