Five reasons why Britain's election matters here
Can't contain your indifference about Cameron or Ed Miliband ? Not bothered if the Scottish National Party are “kingmakers?” John Downing brings you five quick reasons why today’s British general election matters to all Irish people.
1. If David Cameron and the Conservatives lead the next British government there will definitely be an EU membership referendum. A British EU exit would have huge consequences for Ireland, disrupting the bulk of Irish trade and raising prospects of a return of the border with the North abandoned in 1992 under the EU Single Market.
2. A win for Cameron and the Tories could influence the outcome of Ireland’s general election within the next year. Both pursued identical hairshirt budgetary policies for their past government terms and both claim credit for fixing the economy.
3. If Labour and Miliband are to take power they will very likely need the support of the Scottish National Party. That could raise all kinds of constitutional issues for the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This could pose risks of instability in the North.
4. Watch Peter Robinson and the Democratic Unionist Party. Expect them to have eight MPs and in tight parliamentary arithmetic they could sell their support dearly. A Stg£1bn price tag has been put on DUP support for either Cameron or Miliband. The bigger worry would be DUP demands on Orange parades and flags which could definitely make the upcoming “marching season” very volatile.
5. There are up to 400,000 Irish-born people voting across Britain today. Furthermore the links of history, common language and shared culture mean most things happening in Britain influence events in Ireland. For better or worse, it’s hard to ignore the consequences of today’s vote.