Good evening. This article could be in the NI section, although it's really about a United Ireland. It's about NI attitudes to us and ROI attitudes to them. Hence, us and them. I'd like to put it in the NI forum, but it would appear that NI threads are banned from general viewing, locked up in a cabinet, no doubt in some downstairs WC with a 'beware of the leopard' sign to provide further protection.
I find this slightly disheartening. I recall there have been many issues in the past where the site was inundated with hate threads based in the NI forum, something the site doesn't need. Nonetheless, is there not a possibility that we could try to return the forum to the front page on a trial basis?
Perhaps this thread may be a template for things to come. In a previous thread on much the same subject I did ask the posters to treat the thread with just a little bit of respect, and you know what, that's exactly what happened. The advantage I have is that I can happily be an idiot on these kinds of threads, asking naive questions (being naive) and not get trolled to death.
Eh? Oh yeah, the actual thread. My thesis is that we have had three ages in relationships in the modern era, as outlines below.
In the first age that comprises the 70's, 80's and early 90's we had abject negativity on both sides of the border. I would suggest that the majority of residents in ROI wanted nothing to do with NI on the basis of the threat of violence coming down south. Which reminds me, with very notable exceptions, why was there no loyalist campaign down south? Maybe for another thread....
Similarly, for NI, the vast majority wanted nothing to do with ROI. This also include a sizeable minority of Catholics whose attitude was based not only that ROI was an economic backwater, but that all the joys of free sex, contraception and other niceties were banned in the south.
In the second age in the late 90's and 00's we had a bit of a sea change. This was in the middle of house-flipping boom. NI looked upon ROI as being some sort of weird dream where the ugly bastard love child becomes a prince, and we looked upon NI with some sort of happy benevolence now that the Troubles appeared to over. Will we ever see the likes of those times again?
Now we are in the third age. Interestingly enough, the smug grins north of the border as our economy imploded, have been replaced with frowns as the moron developers who led our property bubble were as active north of the border as they were south. In short, both countries appear to be in the you-know-what only being kept afloat by massive capital injections by our supposed benefactors.
So in 2013 where is the relationship now? Leaving aside the political and religious differences, a big ask I know, we find that economically, we are as welded to hip more than ever. I'm up in Belfast every week and find NI a great place to do business in. My opinion is that the economic connections are far and above the most important element in our relationships. But as of now, culturally, it suits the politicians to allow things to continue as they are with no great plan for any further integration.