As a mainly SF voter, though mainly on green and social issues rather then economic, I wonder where they have actually gone on this issue. I know among some in the party, there is a thought that to stand back and let the Brits make a hames of it on their own is best policy. But it’s not. Sure, strategically it is best sometimes to stay quiet, but they can hardly leave the last line of defence to FG and the EU. FF are just shameless on it, they don’t have a position, except to be anti everyone else position.
Someone needs to be articulating the Nationalist position. The end game here is that there could well be no deal and a border needs to be erected to stop low cost British goods coming into the EU - at which point it will be claimed by Brits and Unionists that the EU and Ire are erecting the border. But the people who create the need for a border, which they have done, are the ones creating the border.
The whole discussion about the hard border or soft border etc. is being talked about as if it is just an issue of passing a check point or not. It isn’t, it is about people right to travel in Ireland without being stopped as if they are crossing a foreign border. The GFA, for all it’s many flaws, agreed that the north is a shared space. The reality is now that we have no Irish language act, British flags flying most days of the year on official buildings and no power-sharing. So we are back further then we were before the GFA was signed.
Soon we are about to get totally different systems for everything that will separate things even more. As an example of the difference this makes, look at the tiny amount of students that cross the border in either direction to go to college. This is just because they have to fill in a different form for (for example) Queens or UCD. When this is spread over every aspect of society it is going to differentiate the two parts of Ireland even more.
Unionists are smarter then we think they are, because we try to be too clever. All that waffle we were told at the time of the GFA that borders weren’t important anymore because of the EU, has been shown up for what it was. In terms if nationalism we are only in the ha’penny place against the British (it’s tempting to say the English, but to be honest I don’t really care about their own set up - if the Welsh or the Scots don’t want to be associated with them they should vote to leave). Unionists know what is at stake here and how to achieve. It is because of this that even though the six counties has four majority nationalist counties, Unionists no longer have an outright majority and the demographics are totally against them Unionists still have an iron grip on the cultural identity of the north and control totally how discourse around the whole subject happens.
There will be a hard Brexit, and Ireland / EU are going to get the blame for putting up the border and the north and south will drift ever further apart. SF seem to have a different analysis, or they have a whole group think going on informing their decisions. Bless my soul, but Varadker and Coveney are the only two with a pair of balls in all of this, and I can’t believe I have just praised FG. I need to lie down…