1.There are not a million protestants in the north, there are approximately 900,000. There are approximately 800,000 nationalists. The difference in the vote between nationalists and unionists is much less, around 40,000-50,000 and narrowing.
OK, this, from a recent thread on Slugger is a good enough one to start with.
According to the last Census, there are 767,923 protestants in Northern Ireland and 678,462 Roman Catholics. The number of "nationalists" was not recorded on this census. In the last Assembly election, however, a total of 285,737 voted for pro-Irish Unity parties, 329,896 for the Unionist parties. 411,366 of the potential electorate did not vote, nor declare their constitutional preference for Northern Ireland’s future.
The difference in the vote between nationalists and unionists is much less, around 40,000-50,000 and narrowing
There was indeed a difference at the last election of 44,159 between those voting for unionist and nationalist parties.
However, if you check the statistics on Nicholas Whyte’s excellent site, you’ll see, with the exception of the last Assembly Election, the difference between the 2 groupings has for the last ten years remained constant and even occasionally moved in favour of the pro-Union parties. There is thus no empirical evidence of a "narrowing" occuring.
What’s next? How about this old chestnut?
2."Demographics" (a polite p.c. way of saying a change in the religious composition of Northern Ireland) will bring about a United Ireland.
No, a majority of people voting for that option at a Border Referendum will bring about a "United Ireland".
Much more important than the sectarian breakdown of the province's population will be such present imponderables as:
a) The future stability and economic prosperity of Northern Ireland
b) The level of immigration and emigration to and from Northern Ireland
c) And, most vital of all, if and how the 411,366 present non-voters mentioned in point 1) above will vote.
This next one has raised its head once again in the last few days...
3.There needs to be a united Unionist party to maximise the Unionist vote.
In all elections, except for Westminster, we work on a Proportional Representation system.
With this kind of mechanism in place, in the vast majority of cases, it doesn’t matter how many parties or candidates there are, actually having a wider range of options may persuade more people to vote.
Regarding the Westminster seats, in only two nationalist-held constituencies would a joint Unionist canditate possibly have won a seat at the last election- Fermanagh/South Tyrone and South Belfast. If they want to maximise Unionist representation, logically the two parties could reach some kind of compromise for these two constituencies, but even then, it wouldn’t guarantee a Unionist victory, as that really ultimately depends on how the nationalist vote divides.
In my opinion, much better, even in cases like this, to give the electorate as wide a choice as possible
4.The "British" are sick of subsidising the N.Irish and want "rid" of them.
In all the time I spent in England, I never heard anyone say this even once; people simply no longer care one way or the other now that the provos have given up blowing up their towns and murdering their children...but this is supposed to be a statistical-based deconstruction, so, here we go.
Northern Ireland needs five billion a year from the central Exchequer to stay afloat.*
The United Kingdom has 29 million taxpayers.
Each UK tax payer thus contributes 172.41 GBP annually towards the upkeep of Northern Ireland.
So, Irish Unity comes tomorrow....in the absence of any divine intervention, Northern Ireland will, at the beginning, still need five billion annually, but this time from the much smaller the Irish tax-base.
Including those in Northern Ireland, there are 2,072,000 taxpayers on the island of Ireland.
Irish taxpayers would need to pay the euro equivalent of 2413.12 GBP per head annually to keep Northern Ireland in the manner to which it has become accustomed....and it's only fair that somebody should really get round to telling them this unpalatable fact.
If anyone fancies any more separatist myths being debunked, please post them up in the comments and armed with the all-important stats, I’ll see what I can do for you.
* By the way, when I was doing the resarch on this, I found out that we (ie the UK taxpayers) are presently paying Eighty Billion GBP a year just to keep the various quangos up and running.....now, that is shocking !