I'd suggest you start here
this is a well respected site (by both sides) and has a host of links and articles; in short an excellent resource.
As for what stance you take on NI?
I'd suggest you consider that there is 'justice' to be found on each side there.
Horrible wrongs have been suffered by each 'community' and each 'community' has inflicted great hurt on the other.
It is a complex and very long running 'problem' (some say 800yrs in the making) and trite easy answers are IMO no good to anyone.
Neither 'community' is going anywhere so any 'solution' must work on a basis ultimately acceptable to a workable majority.
My own view (for what it is worth) is that a united Ireland is inevitable.
I think it will come about (in a practical and workable manner of any use to anyone) when enough concerned are ready for it to happen; which they are
probably not right now and may not be for several years yet.
We've just had around 30yrs of brutal and barbaric 'war', it may take a while yet for the people (on all sides) to believe they can really trust
and deal properly with each other.
God knows there are enough who hate the idea of that and who are helping to put obstacles in the way of that.
It may take a while.
Having said that I know that people are working together and links are forming (and in truth some have always been there and never were destroyed and
some are merely years old).
Sections of the previously 'Unionist' middle classes work in the RoI and find the idea of a UI not in the least bit scary and in fact that it could
well benefit them.
Thanks links - centuries old but especially since the post WW2 reconstruction - our familial links (and to things like the EU and ECHR), British and
Irish civil rights, legal and business practices and our general culture are all so familiar, recognisable and not in the least bit 'alien'.
British (outside of the north) antagonism to Ireland and the Irish is rare and something most British people would look on as simply a dumb prejuduce
(and, given the numbers now with Irish relations, an offensive one).
It would also be worth bearing in mind the sectarian nature of the politics here in the north.
This produces a quirk which may be significant when it comes to it.
There may be significant numbers of people who usually vote for a 'Nationalist' party but who in a future border poll would in fact prefer the
'Union' to remain (just as there are people within the supposedly 'Unionist' community who see a UI as the best outcome).
It has been formally accepted and agreed (in referendum across the whole island) in the 'Good Friday Agreement' that unification will come when a
majority in the north consent for it to happen.
The British gov have already publicly stated that they 'have no selfish or strategic reason to hold on to NI' and that NI's continued membership of
the UK is, uniquely in the UK, solely dependant on the consent of the majority there.
The Irish Republic's gov have repealed Articles 2 & 3 of their constitution (where they claimed a right to the north) and agreed to the principle of
It is my view that economics will finally achieve what politics has so far failed to do. The north's dependence on the 'subvention' on the British
exchequer is unsustainable (the public sector accounts for almost 70%(!) of economic activity in the north) and the south's economy is booming and
taking over more and more of the private businesses in the north.
Going by the electoral numbers a border poll will be very interesting; 'Unionists' are no longer in the outright majority and 'Nationalists' and
'Republicans' are not very far behind them. In between are those who describe themselves as 'Others' and who refuse to subscribe to either
IIRC the numbers are somewhere around 45 - 48% Unionist, around 42% Nat/Rep and about 10 - 13% Other.
But that is all from an attempt at extrapolating from recent electoral figures, not an actual border poll.
It will be very interesting to see what the actual position would be in a proper border poll (and one where everyone took part and did not boycott as
happened with nationalists and republicans in the last one held in the 1970s).
[edit on 9-1-2006 by sminkeypinkey]