What is the greatest obstacle to a united Ireland?
A United Ireland in the near future as espoused by Kevin Meagher on IrishCentral a few days ago is a pipedream and a dangerous one at that.
Unionists won't allow it. They will threaten violence and the British government of the day will cave.
In 1914, when Home Rule for Ireland was passed, the UVF began running guns and senior British military swore allegiance to them.
The British Cabinet contemplated some kind of military action against the Ulster Volunteers who were blatantly defying the law. Many officers, especially those with Irish Protestant connections, of whom the most prominent was Hubert Gough, threatened to resign rather than obey, privately encouraged from London by senior officers Home Rule was buried.
Think history would not repeat itself?
Read one of the greatest books on the topic “The Strange Death of Liberal England by George Dangerfield, named as one of the top 100 books of the 20th Century by the Modern Library. Of the four reasons why the British Liberal Party completely destroyed itself forever, Dangerfield lists the Ulster and united Ireland question as most critical in their downfall.
His conclusion is clear when he deals with the Irish question. Ulster will always fight, they have always done so and won, and ultimately they have no allegiance even to Britain, only to themselves. Backing them into a corner will only inspire their siege mentality of being surrounded and forced to fight. They will do so with relish.
British political parties who will deal with this issue in the future will recall how the threat of civil war in Ireland by the Ulster Unionists under Sir Edward Carson with the encouragement of Conservative leader Bonar Law forced the Liberals to back down and destroyed arguably the greatest political party anywhere on earth at the time. The same thing will happen whatever party in the future tries to bring about a united Ireland. Ulster will fight and have no qualms about it
But there will be a referendum vote I hear you say. It will prove as impactful as the 1918 general election which elected almost 75 percent Irish nationalists Under threat from unionists and perhaps their own military (see collusion during The Troubles) the government of the day will back down.
The Irish government will likely stand idly by as they did in 1969 when the Northern pogroms erupted. There is previous form there in that respect. Irish leader Jack Lynch could have ended the border forever by occupying Derry or Newry Town during the worst of the sectarian savagery. He refused to do so.
Even with a Sinn Fein-led government North and South, the best possible scenario for nationalists, unionism will be undaunted. No surrender would never sound so loud or so chilling. We shouldn’t even try and test them.
They will fight.