Survey shows 66% of young in north neither unionist nor nationalist


The latest survey from Northern Ireland Life and Times highlights that just over half of those questioned are dissatisfied with the devolved government with most respondents believing more should be done to tackle unemployment and poverty.  Social issues appear to be of more concern to those 1205 adults questioned across all walks of life in the North than 'the national question', and 45% of those polled do not consider themselves nationalist or unionist.  This deviation from expectations is very strong with the young, 66% of those aged 18-24 considered themselves neither nationalist nor unionist.

In a further significant blow to Sinn Fein's dream of a United Ireland by 2016,  only 4% of protestants want a United Ireland while a third of Catholics are happy to remain part of Britain.  Sinn Fein's strategy of selling labelled water bottles with 'Only our rivers run free' outside their office on the Falls Road  and painting post boxes green is clearly delivering the goods!

Joking aside who would want to live in a republic whose economy is in shreds, and with mass unemployment, emigration and poverty not witnessed in a generation. Besides, in a globalised world dominated by capital and imperialism sovereignty and independence is increasingly a cosmetic aspiration for those who still like to wrap themselve in a tri-colour and leave class issues at the door. 

The fact that increasingly catholics are happy to keep the status quo is in stark contrast to the views of those at the bottom of the heap, the foot soldiers of the republican struggle who have yet to receive the fruits from their new masters at Stormont.  Their disillusionment is compounded by increasing deprivation and unemployment, as state repression and sectarianism continues to burn. The issue is class which cuts across what colour of the flag you like and refuses to distinguish the Falls from the Shankill although in the survey the numbers who see the class divide as being key rather than the national divide are broadly similar.  

In an optimistic assessment for future years, most respondents want mixed neighbourhoods and workplaces, free of flags and emblems with 62% believing that relations between catholics and protestants have improved in the last five years. Most also don’t mind living beside or working with someone from a different ethnic background, although nearly half think that prejudice towards migrant workers generally increased in the last 5 years.

Those who ignore or dismiss this survey do so at their own peril. We need to utilise these results as ammunition to build a better society for all. 

See the full survey