By Joe Mathews (Yes for Unity)
The recent attempt by an unelected member of the House of Lords to pass through a ‘Referendums Criteria Bill”, that will gerrymander any future referenda must serve as a strong reminder to all that the unstated Border Poll voting threshold for a referendum on Irish Unity needs addressed now.
While this bill in its current format has very little chance of succeeding, it’s a worrying reminder of the undemocratic nature of the British Democratic system and the extreme democratic weakness that lies at the heart of Good Friday Agreement with regards to constitutional future of Ireland via a Border Poll.
The Good Friday Agreement provides a path to Unity via the Border Poll mechanism; how exactly we democratically trigger that mechanism is not stated. The ‘majority’ that is needed is entirely up to the decision of the unelected British Secretary of State and Houses of Parliament as per the GFA.
Nationalist political parties missed a major opportunity in the recent Stormont Agreement to ensure that threshold is set. Pressure must be heavily applied on those political parties that built part of its mandate on the promise of putting Irish Unity at the top of the agenda.
There was not one mention of a Border Poll or Irish Unity on the 62 page Stormont document, a sad indictment that the concept of Irish Unity was not even considered at the negotiating table by Nationalist political parties, failing the ever growing Irish Unity Community.
Yes For Unity, the socialist broad front campaign for Irish Unity will be making efforts to ensure that 2020 is a year that we focus on getting this threshold clearly set and protected to ensure the British and/or Irish Tory governments arent allowed to shift the goalposts whenever and wherever they want.