Research released today has shown the shift in opinion in Northern Ireland since the Brexit referendum. Since the vote when 56% of the people voted to remain in the EU that figure has risen to 69%.
However, the research by Queen's University also shows that 61% of the population of Northern Ireland also favour the whole of the UK staying in the Customs Union and Single Market. The population of Northern Ireland who voted to remain in the EU see that as part of the Brexit that helps keep NI economically active, viable and progressing.
While 59% of people in Scotland feel that Brexit make the break up of the UK more likely this is only beaten by the 60% of Northern Ireland who think the same thing. This is worrying as this would be based on two different scenarios in these two locations both of which voted to remain. Here in Northern Ireland while 63% believe the union will exist in 10 years time only 28% believe it will survive 50 years.
Despite this research and that the people of Northern Ireland clearly favour a Customs Union and Single Market, today Karen Bradley the Secretary of State has said emphatically that Northern Ireland will leave the Customs Union. Ireland and the UK entered the EEC on the same day and before that had trade agreements in common. Leaving is breaking a long history, even though there was a border for security reasons that was economically open. Closing that to come to some new agreement affects businesses, workers, families, health and so much more.
The people of Northern Ireland do not forget how Northern Ireland's economy struggled most under the Tories in the 80s and 90s. The same party now is taking advise from the DUP who are short sighted about how Brexit will affect Northern Ireland. The failed to win the argument here but are using the same argument to convince the Conservatives in Westminster that the people of Northern Ireland will not suffer.
Sammy Wilson may as a substitute teacher have taken me for one term of A'Level economics but since then my degree looked at the EU and the costs and benefits of being in and out at the time with the newly economically emerging Eastern European Economies. Back then I said that by size Russia, Ukraine and possibly Belarus could survive outside of the EU on an economies of scale level but the others would probably over time all look to align with the EU. The same in reverse applies to the UK today, we don't have the economy of scale in much industry to be a world player that people will give favourable terms to.
Today was a day of warning to the Tories and DUP but they are ignoring those warnings. In light of this today my personal vote on any Irish border poll will be for unification.