How will Intradependence Benefit each of the Political Groups?
Intradependence offers a solution based not on smoke and mirrors or as a ruse for getting a Free Trade Deal but on satisfying the competing aspirations of Irish politics, north and south. Indeed, Intradependence holds the key to resolving not just Brexit but the Irish Question itself.
Why will Unionists back this?
Because Intradependence will significantly strengthen NI ties with GB and put them on a more mature and solid foundation. Because it will bring 50-100,000 pro Union voters, and a property boom. Because it will bring unparalleled prosperity and jobs for generations to come. Because it will make NI a member of the EU but not part of a united Ireland. Because it will stop the political nightmare of border poll after border poll, which would eventually wear down the Unionist majority until only a dismal and violent capitulation remains. Because it will generate huge goodwill for NI within the UK for helping GB out economically in its hour of need – transforming our relationship from NI dependency to GB indebtedness.
Why will Nationalists/Republicans back this?
Because NI will leave the UK (though not the Commonwealth) and join the EU. Because Intradependence will create ever stronger co-operation between north and south without upsetting Unionists. Because it is the only route that can produce the unity across NI that is required if a united Ireland is ever to come into existence. Because Nationalists/Republicans will be empowered to express their Ulster-Irishness freely and without offence.
Why will Dublin back this?
Because Intradependence peacefully resolves the Irish border question. Because it will encourage global investment in Ireland as well as in NI. Because it will provide for a peaceful path to unity should that become the wish of future generations, north and south. And it will create an ever-stronger co-operation between north and south, east and west.
Why will London back this?
Because Intradependence resolves the Irish border question for all time. Because it offers relief for GB business seeking to stay in the Single Market and Customs Union. Because it will circle the wagons against Scottish demands for independence and preserve the Union as GB alone – a more acceptable outcome for the UK than the loss of Scotland, especially as it will deliver peace and prosperity to NI at the same time as sweetening the pill for GB business. Because it offers long term savings of c£12bn+ per annum to the UK exchequer. And because it clearly offers a long term harmonious path to future Anglo-Irish relations.
Why will the EU back it?
Why not? Unlike Catalonia or Scotland, Intradependence will not destabilise any EU member. It overcomes the border issue. It has the potential to create a continuous land connection with Ireland – its western-most member – and strengthen the EU, despite Brexit. It will keep the whole island, North and South, attractive to US and global investment as the remaining English-speaking EU members.
Does this mean NI will leave the UK?
Yes, but not the Commonwealth. We must face up to our reality. The price for ending this tug of war is that we put democracy first and nationalism – British and Irish – second. That means redefining our relationships with both the UK and with Ireland so that, as individuals, we are fully able to enact our allegiances without causing the slightest offence or injustice to our neighbours and friends. Nor will we be out of pocket.
Uniquely, Consumer Choice Democracy neutralises our conflict and lets us focus on our common interest. Unlike Ireland, NI will be a member of the Commonwealth and so we will continue to have the Queen as Head of State. And we will be able to call on the UK for security if needed.
Everyone choosing to be Ulster British will continue to enjoy full British citizenship rights. Everyone choosing to be Ulster Irish will enjoy full Irish citizenship rights. Everyone changing their designation will enjoy the full rights of their chosen citizenship.
In this way we can begin to build together a united Northern Ireland – a unity that will then be the key to building lasting friendships East and West, South and North. So we achieve that unity peacefully, not by imposition but by collaboration.
To many Unionists the mere expression ‘leave the UK’ will trigger a ‘no, no, no’ reaction because they assume it means ‘a United Ireland’. But an intradependent NI, co-guaranteed by London and Dublin, is a uniquely separate entity that is no slippery slope to a United Ireland.
On the contrary, because it will make NI a secure place to invest, it will enable both communities to unite in the same cause – free from the fear of the one being marginalised by the other – which will strengthen that unity. Intradependence will make NI successful economically - less and less dependent on London and Dublin and more valuable to both.
Should the Prime Minister respond positively to the Intradependence proposal for incentivising the transfer of GB-based, EU-orientated businesses, across the Irish Sea the scale of this success for NI and Ireland will be transformational within the next 5 years.
Does Intradependence mean NI will become part of a United Ireland?
No. An economically successful intradependent Northern Ireland will undermine the argument by Sinn Fein of NI being a statelet incapable of making its own way. It no longer holds that anything that helps NI succeed is a blow to progress towards a United Ireland.
However, it will be hard for Sinn Fein to sustain credibility if they deny their supporters the chance of a more prosperous life in NI. For should they succeed in denying that success they will be hard put to persuade those same supporters in a border poll that a more prosperous future awaits them in a disunited Ireland.
Nobody wants to join a race to the bottom. And an Ireland that could not afford to replace the full weight of the Barnett Formula on its own would be unable to deliver sustainability, let alone prosperity, to an acrimoniously enlarged population. Without help it will even struggle to do so on the proportional basis that will come with Intradependence.
So what has Intradependence to offer Nationalists and Republicans? The continued financial support of the UK plus the chance to become allies with Unionists and Loyalists in forging a future together that so serves the interests of our neighbours down South and due East that we relate to them on equal terms, collaboratively. In this way we will build the unity between us that is required if our children want to bring us even closer together.
Why is it so desirable to avoid a border poll now?
Having gone through 40 years of terror and tragedy we are no different to a patient coming out of life changing surgery. We need time to recover before we get out of bed and are able to start exercising - we know that starting too soon will risk opening the stitches binding our wounds. If we allow ourselves to slip into a border poll at this time, the only possible outcome will be a disunited Ireland for which we will all pay a devastating price. That is where we are now.
The healing process is barely underway - look at the woeful 'progress' of peace and reconciliation across our society. These wounds must not be opened again or jeopardised before we have come to terms with living together harmoniously.
A border poll, urged on by parties fuelled by blind and careless opportunism, and offering only 2 options – both of which are anathema to almost 50% of the electorate - will wipe out the chance of this generation recovering and eliminate the chances of a united Ireland for generations to come.
Our only way forward is to find unity among ourselves by building a prosperous NI together - taking advantage of Brexit by bringing to NI the cream of the GB economy needing to stay in the single market.
This way we can build prosperity together - prosperity that will allow our grandchildren to unite in peace if that is what they want to do. By working together we will find ourselves starting to trust one another. And we will shake off the horrible image we present to our neighbours down south and across the water of being unable to live together and impossible to come to terms with.
Both the British and the Irish governments have this proposal. Let us hope they let everyone in on it very soon. Then let us put on our best face and set out on our new journey together.
What is The Barnett Formula?
The Barnett Formula is the name given to the system for working out how Govt monies are divvied out to NI, Wales and Scotland to pay for public services. NI currently gets £12-14bn a year. Under Intradependence that sum would no longer be 100% liable to the UK but would be ‘shared’ with Dublin, proportional to those opting for an Ulster Irish tax code.
So Dublin would have to accept a burden it may struggle to pay for – which will usefully illustrate the difficulty it would have in taking on NI in a United Ireland. But ways will be found in defraying the burden initially. And if we succeed in attracting the crown jewels of GB business to relocate here we will be able to start making our way to being economically viable and not need the subsidy at all.