Horseman had an interesting analysis of the 2009 Young life and times survey on his site posted in June 2010. This is based on the “Young Life and times survey” a favourite of the Slugger O’Toole website. The sample is taken from 16 year old’s across Northern Ireland and therefore is not necessarily indicative of actual voting intentions.

We have since had two subsequent surveys as can be seen below. Again the general thrust of Horsemans opinions are reinforced although there are some caveats.

“Which of these best describes the way you think of yourself?”
2009 2010 2011
% % %
British 28 26 26
Irish 36 38 35
Ulster 3 2 2
Northern Irish 30 29 34
Other (Please write in) 2 3 3
Don’t know 1 1 1

In 2009, Horseman’s point was that 2/3 (or 66%)of 16 year olds viewed themselves as either Irish or Northern Irish, rather than British. This view has hardened marginally by 2011 (69%)

The split between different backgrounds is also worth examining:

Catholic Protestant No religion
British 5 47 30
Irish 73 2 16
Ulster 0 5 1
Northern irish 20 43 46
Other (please write in) 2 2 6
Don’t know 1 0 1

In 2009 the point is made that, amongst Protestants, “Only a bare majority- 51% saw themselves first and foremost as British” By 2011 this has dropped by 4%. Astounding in only two years. There seems to be a correlation with the increase of 3% who now view themselves as primarily Northern Irish.

Interestingly this movement is evident among Catholic 16 year olds also, where the “Irish” identification has dropped by 3% to 73% and the “Northern Irish” increased by 4%.

The movements in general are small but unquestionably heading in the direction as indicated by Horseman. On another note, the nakedly sectarian actions of certain District Councils over the last few days are likely to only harden attitudes amongst Nationalists and increase turnouts in future elections.

Are these people completely mad?