“Join the conversation”? I don’t think so.

I have become increasingly suspicious of people asking me to “join the conversation”

There’s a lot of it going on. In almost all cases I get the distinct impression that, by the time the “invitation” is extended, the real discussion has already taken place and that the conclusions have already been reached. It seems like the “invitation” is only being extended to help make up the numbers. Or, more cynically it’s an attempt to take the bad look off an already suspect project.

This is certainly true of the “conversation” around calls for a Border Poll.

The ‘civic nationalists’, ‘concerned democrats’ and ‘Ireland’s Futurists’ promoting this particular ‘conversation’ are a diverse group from all classes but with a single objective: redrawing the geography and declaring a ‘united’ Ireland.

There is no conversation

The stark reality is that there is no conversation and there never has been, at least not one that those outside of Sinn Fein and civic nationalism have been involved in. No. In their minds the deal has been done and everyone else now needs to get on board or get lost. So, actually there is no need for discussions or ‘conversations’. It seems that we are way past that stage already.

Interestingly there seems to be a number of other ‘certainties’ submerged just beneath the surface of their ‘unity’ argument, not least of which is the implied assumption that, not only is everyone – except unionists – in favour of an immediate Border Poll and geographical unity but that any new united Ireland would also be a member of the European Union.

Real intentions

Try as they might to disguise the fact, the real intentions of the Border Poll campaigners are too frequently exposed by their own use of language. The Ireland’s Future group talks of – ‘Our Rights – Our Future’. You can’t get much more inclusive than that! We are also told that nationalists will not be told that their “fundamental aspiration is divisive”. Really?

Anyone naïve enough to join in this group’s ‘conversation’ will be sucked up, consumed and paraded around in a demonstration of the inclusive and accommodating nature of the nationalist agenda. They may as well be the fairy on the Christmas tree – for decoration only.

No matter how it’s dressed up or explained away, the clamour by nationalists to hold a border poll is nothing short of an attempt to secure a deliberately divisive sectarian head count.

That’s one of the reasons that I was pleased to see the recent statement by Cllr Ted Tynan from Cork and Hugh Scullion from Bellaghy in which they said  – “…what the border poll campaigners don’t want to consider, and don’t want raised, is the necessary discussion on the fundamental restructuring of Irish society to ensure that working people control their own destinies”.

It’s not as if Border Poll campaigners are unaware of the nature of class and how it dictates the character of our society. In fact, they are very conscious and acutely aware of it. That’s why they are so keen to deliberately avoid discussing it. Their ‘united’ Ireland would be a world of exploitation, division, systemic poverty, triumphalism gombeenism and capitalism.

However, one benefit this clamour for a border poll has produced is that it has flushed out the pseudo socialists, the trendy lefties and the weekend revolutionaries. The indecent haste which many of those claiming to be on the Left have shown in jumping on the Sinn Fein / Civic Nationalism bandwagon should be repulsive to many.

All it takes is someone waving a green flag in their general direction and the fundamental, non-negotiable principles of working-class unity, anti-sectarianism and class politics are all ditched, dumped and discarded.

The same fate awaits anyone foolish enough to join their Border Poll conversation.

Austin Kelly

Border Poll calls divisive and unnecessary

In a joint statement, Councillor Ted Tynan of the Party’s Cork Region and Hugh Scullion from the Northern Ireland Region have set out the divisive and potentially dangerous consequences risked by calls for a border poll.

“Increasingly, almost every issue in this country is viewed myopically through sectarian glasses with orange and green lenses”, they say

“So it is with the growing clamour for a Border Poll on a united Ireland, driven largely by Sinn Fein, and now supported by a number of new organisations, some academics, a variety of media commentators and other nationalist parties, north and south, desperate not to be left behind this wave of manufactured urgency” the statement says.

The Border Poll argument is cynically presented as a ‘done deal’ based on a simple and dangerous concept of territorial realignment. It is, we are being told, only a matter of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.

Setting out the Party’s position the pair say, “…[we have] always pursued and remain committed to the objective of a unitary socialist state on this island. We have long recognised that is a long term and onerous project and it can only be built on working class unity rather than the territorial unity of a united capitalist Ireland which offers no solution to the urgent problems facing working people, north and south.

“When the rhetoric is stripped away, when the concrete realities are exposed, then the border poll campaign becomes an undisguised all-class alliance designed to promote the policies of Sinn Fein and benefit the aspirations of some sections of the professional middle-classes, north and south”.

What the border poll campaigners don’t want to consider, and don’t want raised, is the necessary discussion on the fundamental restructuring of Irish society to ensure that working people control their own destinies.

“There is a real risk and potential for sectarian violence in the aftermath of a border poll – irrespective of the outcome. The people on this island, and particularly in Northern Ireland, have witnessed more than enough bloodshed, intimidation and death – but that has been the outcome of belligerent nationalism, British and Irish, for decades”.

These are real and ominous possibilities which border poll campaigners seem content to ignore or disregard.

The unity of the working class and a fundamental transformation of our social, political and economic system remain an absolute and non-negotiable prelude to the creation of a single unitary state”.

It is incumbent upon all progressive forces in this country, on all socialists, trade unionists, democrats and anti-sectarian forces to challenge and oppose the ill-conceived clamour for a Border Poll, expose it for the shallow, sectarian scam that it is, and to continue to build the basis of working-class unity as the only secure foundation for the people of this island and beyond.

Read the statement in full here: