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It's the part of the union that I know least about - I'm English, my partner's Welsh and part of my family's Scottish but I have no NI connections.
I suppose my main view is that it's a kind of a mix of Ireland and the UK. For example, abortion is legal here, but not in NI as it isn't in the Republic. Do you feel that the country has a dual identity?
Can't say I have ever stopped to think of any group as not/being valued members. I guess I feel that if you want to be in the group, then that's just fine. Kind of like the Falkland Islanders - they want to be British, so let them.
Do you feel 'different' from the inhabitants of Eire? How about the Welsh/English/Scots?
I'll be interested in your response to charbutton's question too.
Speaking personally, I feel a strong affinity for North Wales, as that is where I spent my teens and twenties; now I live in East Anglia, which is a bit different. I wouldn't want either of them to devolve, and I do rather think devolution is not the best idea in today's world of huge federal zones (EU, USA) and vast corporations. For me, its more of a 'my local area' interest - I like to hear the news from Mold (my hometown) and its always lovely to see mountains and hear Welsh accents when I visit.
Just my 2p.
In response to Sarahemmm: In my opinion Northern Irelands problem is that we have struggled to develop our own identity. Instead the Nationalists have tried to be Irish and the Unionists have tried to be british. I feel different from the people of the Republic of Ireland, whilst feeling similar to those of Scotland and England. This however is most likely just a refelction of my background and upbringing. Wales is different, I have only ever passed through it on my way to England. I really cant say I feel any similarities with the people of wales.
It was only within the last couple of years that I have been to the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
I visited Belfast on a day trip and was impressed with the City which seems to have a great deal going for it. My initial feeling was that Belfast appears similar to Bristol. Travelling around the City on the open top bus tour it's obvious that there are still the big sectarian divides in the community and I have since read some of the vile messages on the internet that shows the continuing hatred that festers there. Yet while in Belfast I got a sense that the majority of people want to move on and learn to live together. With more peaceful times of co-operation comes financial investment and hopefully prosperity.
Geographically I think it would make sense if NI were part of a united Ireland but understand the views of Unionists. While I haven't had the opportunity to explore the countryside of Ireland I would very much like to return to the Island which seems a wonderful place.
Frankly I think we are all Europeans anyway, and the sooner we move back to the 18 hundreds when there were no border guards or passports the better. The latest financial crisis has shown us all that we're in it together, lets start cooperating.
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