O’Leary’s Dalriada proposal keeps Northern Ireland and Scotland in the UK and the EU

The political scientist Professor Brendan O’Leary is one of the strongest supporters of power sharing in Northern Ireland and an deviser of political solutions to ethnic conflict throughout the world. On leave from Pennsylvania University and an old boy of St Macnissi’s Garron Tower, he has produced the Dalriada Document – inspired by the ancient North Antrim- west of Scotland kingdom. The Dalriada document is an ingenious attempt to square the circle of keeping Scotland and Northern Ireland in both the UK and the EU. I also link to a dialogue Brendan initiated with among many others, myself.

In my view his solution stretches to breaking point any existing concept of the UK  as a “ union state” that  Westminster politicians will recognise whether or not they are on the side of Leave or Remain. For one thing it envisages basically different trading relationships for England and Scotland and Northern Ireland and different laws governing them. I cannot imagine it on the table in front of Theresa May and Enda Kenny today.  Behind these ideas lies an obvious truth: that it is no more in the interests of Ireland – and even of long term unity –  to have a hard breakup of the UK, than it is to have  hard Brexit

But hey, who has any better ideas and who knows where this tortuous Brexit pilgrimage may lead?    The Dalriada document  is a contribution to flexible thinking about a new issue that could divided us for another generation. There may be something in Brendan’s ideas of associated status that politicians may eventually consider.

Here is a shortened version of his argument in an LSE blog  (The Dalriada Document significantly revises the LSE blog-post with more detailed institutional proposals, which  are fully EU-compliant, which Brendan O’Leary says was not the case with his first thoughts).”

Extracts

  I suggest that the now vacated UK Commissioner’s role could be kept, but the appointment could be rotated between Scotland and Northern Ireland, in a 3: 1 ratio over time, reflecting Scotland’s greater population. The Commissioner would be nominated by the relevant government and appointed by the UK government. (A judge to serve in the European Court of Justice could be nominated in the same way.) The retention of one Commissioner and their MEPs would give Scotland and Northern Ireland a say in agenda-setting and in law-making. And it would remove any UK ministerial veto over EU decision-making.

The future role of the Westminster parliament would be to process EU law that applies to Northern Ireland and Scotland—strictly as an input-output machine—thereby ensuring that Scotland and Northern Ireland have the same EU law,  and that the Union is retained.  It would be up to Westminster to decide which components  of EU law they applied to England and Wales—a convenience that may be helpful in dealing with the repercussions of what has just occurred.

All of Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales would be an internal passport free-zone. However, one negative consequence of this compromise would be a hard customs border in the Irish Sea. But that, I think, would be better than one across the land-mass of Ireland.

Another effect would be a hard customs border between Scotland and England. If all of Ireland and Scotland remain in the EU there cannot be a single market in the UK, as defined by the EU, and therefore a customs barrier will have to exist. But note that a hard customs border will materialise in any case if a Scottish referendum led to independence.

Ireland, North and South, and Scotland could not join the Schengen agreement because that would mean that England and Wales would lose the control over immigration which was emphasised by the leave side in the referendum. But then, they are not part of Schengen at present, and there is no evidence that a majority in any of the three countries wants to be.

 

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  • terence patrick hewett

    It is all to play for especially if Le Pen kicks Le EU into touch: and don’t say that can’t happen: don’t ever say that.

  • Kevin Breslin

    There is a irony that North Antrim (they of the highest leave vote in Northern Ireland) was largely boosted by Interreg funding it shared to make networks in Scotland which will be scrapped upon Brexit, while in theory the Republic of Ireland might be able to still acquire EU funding for cross border projects.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Yup. Like all those former steel towns in South Wales which voted leave despite millions coming from the EU.

    Not to worry. Ballymoney, along with Ebbw Vale will now be top of the Tories priority list…..

  • Lex.Butler

    Maybe he could explain how N.Ireland is going to find its contribution to the EU, since England & Wales will not be paying up, or why the EU wants another basket case economy to fund? Or maybe he expects the Scots to sub us? Gove, in his short-lived challenge, suggested the Barnett formula should be reviewed and this idea would give an English centric Government the excuse to cut costs. One for discussion after the fourth pint and before the chaser.

  • hgreen

    Sounds like you are looking forward to the far right taking power in France.

  • Jarl Ulfreksfjordr

    How refreshing to read some innovative and honestly progressive thinking. Especially so st this time as the worn out baleful tropes are being given an airing on other threads.

    Of course only to be expected from a Garron Tower old boy. 🙂

  • terence patrick hewett

    No desires either way: everything is in flux: look out for the unexpected.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Actually there would be a lot less to play for if nations like France simply resort to the type of protectionism that Marine Le Pen wants. Pretty much a case of proud nations taking their ball home because they are losing the game.

  • hgreen

    So you don’t care if one of our neighbours elects a bunch of racists. Interesting but not surprising.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Not being a partisan I try not to make subjective and questionable moral judgements.

  • terence patrick hewett

    depends what game you are playing!!!

  • dcomplex

    Le Pen is right to want to leave the Eurozone. The anchor-state of the currency union is beggaring all of its neighbours. Ireland would also do well to leave. A good way to reunite Ireland would be a British-Irish confederation with common currency, travel area, foreign policy, and defence policy, but no overriding parliament or monarchy. Much more natural than a German-dominated Ireland.

  • dcomplex

    It would be better for Europe if Le Pen brought the whole EU edifice tumbling down

  • hgreen

    No it wouldn’t be better for France to elect a bunch of racists.

  • Kevin Breslin

    What a load of xenophobic rubbish.

    You can look at Germany, Wiemar Germany as a prime example of how simply changing currency does not get you out of a debt situation.

  • hgreen

    Doh! You just made one at the start of this thread.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Nope, no one wants to play football against a mafia team with a mafia referee, and mafia hitmen in the stadium. No one would want to trade in a state that gives protections to the home team and exploits the outsider.

    There are reasons why WTO rules are an unpleasant one size fits all.

  • terence patrick hewett

    don’t see any moral judgements just observations.

  • dcomplex

    Umm. Historical note: Weimar Germany did get out of lots of debt due to hyperinflation, much to the anger of Britain and France.

    However, I am simply stating the facts here. How do you think Germany maintains such a large trade surplus?

    Moreover, France does not have a debt problem, it has a competitiveness problem due to sharing a currency with Germany.

  • dcomplex

    It sort of would bc they would probably kick out all of the muslims too =X!!!

  • Kevin Breslin

    Actually Wiemar Germany’s hyperinflation period was limited and it resorted in intense poverty and austerity for its people.

    Many Greek people don’t want to give up the Euro, effectively a reevaluating of domestic currency simply because it means all their savings and earnings go worthless.

    As for France’s competitive problem for using the Euro, it still has stronger productivity than an equally sized UK economy that uses the pound.

    Take your Zimbabwean economics elsewhere.

  • terence patrick hewett

    there are other forces involved in south wales with which money has little to do.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Like what 1% of the population being from Continental Europe or the Republic of Ireland?

  • hgreen

    Hey folks we’ve got ourselves a little ole racist.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Even the French far right are not that dumb.

  • terence patrick hewett

    I have to work there and have many friends so i have to decline on that one

  • hgreen

    How does Germany maintain a huge trade surplus? Pretty simple really they value engineering and actually making things that people want to buy. Unlike the UK, a former great engineering nation as well, which now values gambling with other people’s money in the city of London.

    Germany had a huge trade surplus before the Euro as well.

  • The_Eternal_Dalek

    Look at it this way, in Scotland Sturgeon will keep pushing until she’s got independence or devo max, so more devolution won’t change the final outcome there (at which point there’s little else she could demand and the population could make a purely political decision). Additionally if the UK leaves the single market, there will be a hard border with Ireland, you would think a border one third of that size would be much more manageable, especially as it is entirely internal.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I largely agree with that, Germany beats the UK at applied sciences, UK beats the Germans at the theoretical…No disrespect to British engineers or German theoreticians.

    Co-operation between the two has boosted both.

  • Thomas Barber

    The Irish people will never accept a hard border in Ireland, it goes against the spirit of the GFA and interferes with the freedom of movement of Irish citizens.

  • Thomas Barber

    That wouldn’t be a bad idea dc if we lost the foreign and defence policy bits as not much has changed in the mindsets of the Irish people regarding the relationship needed between the two islands.

    Independence not Separation

    John Bull – “I swear by the Eternal Jingo, much as I hate you, I will never consent to our ‘Separation’.”

    Pat. – “Look here, Bull, you’re only making an ass of yourself; don’t you see that unfortunately we can never be separated, our premises are built too close for that, but
    that’s no reason you should meddle in my domestic affairs, and for the future, myself and Biddy here, will manage our own little house, and you and Sawney [Scotland] can
    look after look your own place”

    Biddy – “O! Pat, jewel, will you try to keep that noisy, nasty man quiet – he quite upsets me.”

  • mac tire

    All the Muslims, you say?

    Why?

  • Scots Anorak

    If you want to sell this to the Scots, don’t call it “Dalriada”, as they are acutely aware of their own, recessive problem with sectarianism and will run the other way big time if they think they are signing up to joint sovereignty over Northern Ireland :-).

    What these extracts don’t address is the parallel level of devolution / Home Rule / federalism that would probably have to accompany a set-up of this kind. That may be less of an issue in Northern Ireland, since it would presuppose a famously elusive common Executive line, but a Scotland with its own EU Commissioner (and seat on the Council of Ministers?) would hardly want to have Westminster setting its minimum wage or corporation tax, or laying down the framework for broadcasting, or in fact doing anything much in Scotland domestically. And what would happen if another EU Treaty came along? Who would have the final say on that?

    Nor, presumably, would Scotland and Northern Ireland have the boost to representation in the EU Parliament enjoyed by small nation-states such as Malta and RoI.

    All in all, I think that Scotland would actually be likely to vote for such a deal, but it would only delay independence slightly, since Westminster would remain responsible only for defence and foreign policy, and the latter only in part. Even if it were all possible, independence would be a lot neater, and, by that stage, a far less fundamental change.

    In the case of Northern Ireland, one assumes that many of the more liberal Unionists who voted against Brexit would view it as a step too far, which would make a referendum on this sort of deal a close-run thing.

  • Skibo

    Lex the days of the Barnett Formula are numbered so it is difficult to use that as any kind of big stick.
    How would NI pay its levy to the EU? That is simple, there wouldn’t be one. We would be a beneficiary and if on our own, would be for a long long time.
    Should we reunite with ROI, I still see the united Ireland as a beneficiary even though the ROI pay in. After approximately five to seven years, we should return as a country to paying a levy to the EU but we would have a much stronger economy.

  • The_Eternal_Dalek

    Which is why relocating the EU border to Scotland would help greatly. While not ideal, it’s certainly better than creating a split in Ireland.

  • On the fence!

    Or maybe just a good indication of how many (few!) actually benefit from it!

  • Thomas Barber

    Northern Ireland and Scotland are not the only places where a Brexit is going to have a destablizing effect, Gibralter is also on the table and Spain has already called for Joint Authority, obviously they believe Gibralter could remain in the EU in such a scenario.

  • The_Eternal_Dalek

    Gibraltar is probably the clearest cut of the three. While they were the first to openly support the two union option (even before the five Scottish political parties) they stand by the UK before the EU. Spain won’t be an option, on account of the Spanish attitude towards them.

    Northern Ireland is going to be key to getting any proposal like this through, it’s unlikely Scotland alone could get anything, providing Scotland as a solution to an Irish border gets round some of the political issues but leaves behind the various practicalities of setting up a reverse Greenland deal.

  • Thomas Barber

    Obviously there would have to be a referendum on any such proposal.

  • eireanne3

    @ Thomas barber

    hope you enjoy this little fable – one of a series recounting the saga of Mr UK Britain’s dysfunctional family of nations!! retired empire builder, divorced from lovely wife Eire Ireland, coping with miss GFA northern ireland, wild child of the Union, and dispotic brother -in-law to Alba Scotia, Eire Ireland’s sister https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/the-uk-dysfunctional-family-3/

  • eireanne3

    doubt very much if it could be sold to anyone! Whether it’s called dalriada or not!

  • Thomas Barber

    Fantastically weird but gets to the heart of the matter in a modern sense the link I posted was from a cartoon in the (WeeklyFreeman, 10 Oct. 1885). A nationalist newspaper published in Dublin from 1871 to 1924

  • The_Eternal_Dalek

    It’s likely. Probably more so because of Northern Ireland. Scotland and Gibraltar would have almost unanimous political support (there’s a UKIP MEP, but within the Scottish parliament all five parties back it, four officially and the Scottish Conservatives unofficially as they don’t want to be associated with any independence discussions alongside two unions discussions), things aren’t so simple in Northern Ireland though where there is a split in the parliament.

    Would be a mess in certain circumstances, a referendum like that follows exactly what Nicola Sturgeon wanted the EU referendum to be in the first place. Having another vote isn’t popular in some parts of the government though, then again neither is this proposal. We shall see how it works out, hopefully with a resolution that works for all.

  • Thomas Barber

    Yes hopefully it does work out for everyone TED.

    It would be a bit arrogant and offensive though if the British government were to agree to hold a referendum on any political settlement that would change the constitutional status of Northern Ireland yet also keeping it within the union whilst denying calls for a referendum on Irish unity.

  • eireanne3

    thanks for the info about weekly freeman

  • The_Eternal_Dalek

    I definitely agree, sadly though with the way things are going time may be a factor regarding EU membership.

    It may very well be the case that the previous referendum’s result gets taken as Northern Ireland’s opinion on EU membership, Scotland have taken that position but with universal backing from its parliament, which is not the case in Northern Ireland. In slightly different circumstances an easier solution would have been to just have England and Wales depart, but England isn’t devolved.

    We need cooperation and discussions. It will be good practice for when they’ve got a couple of dozen countries after them.

  • dcomplex

    Ehh.. Don’t be so sure.

  • dcomplex

    It also has higher levels of unemployment, which is corrosive.

  • dcomplex

    Bc that’s the undertone of their whole political movement.

  • dcomplex

    I don’t know where you got the idea that John Bull hates the Irish.

  • dcomplex

    Germany maintained a large trade surplus due to monetary and foreign-exchange antics going back to the era of Bretton-Woods. Countries do not naturally maintain high trade surpluses because what generally happens is that their currencies are bid up, which increases the power of their people to import more goods and services and enjoy a higher standard of living.

    There are a number of German strategic trade and industrial policies that have led to its massive trade surplus.

    It’s annoying arguing with Germanophiles who don’t understand economics.

  • dcomplex

    It does not mean their savings would become worthless, lol. It means they would be able to import less. Currency devaluations often occur without large increases in inflation (Britain exiting the ERM for instance, or the USA exiting the gold standard, for another).

    Moreover, German hyperinflation, once it was over, dramatically lowered the reparations burden on the Weimar republic. To deny this is insanity. The hyperinflation and its effect on the value of the Mark was not reversed with a corresponding deflation, the currency was replaced and the debt denominated in the old currency was paid in that currency.

    Germany used the hyperinflation to get write-downs of its reparations debts (and write off its war debts almost entirely). Greece could do something similar but avoid actual hyperinflation, similar to Iceland a few years ago.

  • hgreen

    Would “antics” be an economic term then?

    Your second last para confirmed what I said. Thanks.

  • Thomas Barber

    Dont shoot the messenger dc im simply posting the caption from a cartoon in a weekly newspaper printed in Dublin during 1885. If you need some evidence of John Bulls hatred of the Irish people im sure if you read up a little on Irish history im sure you will find lots of evidence that would reinforce that observation.

  • Kevin Breslin

    And UK lowers its one with zero hours contracts.

    Want to complain about Greek debt? Explain what isso enviable about Ukraine’s!

  • Reader

    Ciaran – the Irish Defence Forces sent troops to Afghanistan. Didn’t you know?

  • That was my first thought. Not only that but the courage to have an imaginative debate with the hard-line within their support.

    The type of thinking behind the idea is very welcome, though. I genuinely believe something along the lines of this type of idea will, sooner or later, gain traction to a degree that we will see a major change to NI despite the limitations you have referred to.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    Maybe you are on the moon and haven’t seen the news. Muslims are going around Europe killing non Muslims because parts of their religion tell them to do this. Other Muslims are gang raping women around Europewhich is also ok in their religion and culture. Perhaps you are too brain washed to want to defend your own people from this?

  • Teddybear

    Good old lefty trick that. Call someone a racist to close the debate down. The Front Nationale is not racist, just pro France and anti terrorist. Some of its candidates never mind supporters are non white but don’t let facts get night way of facile student left wing sloganeering

  • Teddybear

    Only 1/48 workers in UK have zero hour contracts.

  • Teddybear

    Oh that’s ok then. The blessed Irish army are not combatants but instead help peaceably administer British ‘butchery’ in Afganistan.

    Such hypocrisy. You’re one of those dreary nationalists who are slavishly anti Britain no matter what

    Good old Ireland, the country that was ‘neutral’ instead of fighting Nazism. De Valera was a coward

  • dcomplex

    Ukraine is two orders of magnitude more corrupt and less developed than Greece, you know, the whole communist thing.

  • dcomplex

    It’s not true Paddy old boy. John Bull loves the Irish. Some of the UK’s greatest and most important figures were Irish, not least of which was her greatest prime minister, Lord Palmerston, and although not Irish, her greatest composer Edward Elgar was a Catholic all his life.

  • dcomplex

    It was only such a botched job because you weren’t there with us. The old imperial expeditionary forces would have eaten these guys for breakfast.

  • dcomplex

    Yes, depressing standard of living in order to gain a trade advantage would qualify as antics.

  • Thomas Barber

    Really and did you just skip the facts about invading Ireland, disposing the native Irish off their ancestral lands and giving that land to planters from England, Scotland and Wales, starving millions of its people to death, murdering hundreds of thousands of them, shipping hundreds of thousands of Irish men women and children to far off countries as slaves to build the Empire. They even created a new race of people called Mulatto by forcing white women and black men to mate creating designer slaves in the process. Yeah the evidence of Britains anti Irish sentiment is pretty clear but we’re obviously not the only race in the world who feels Britain is the cause of all its problems.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/palestinians-preparing-to-sue-uk-over-balfour-declaration/

    “Palestinians gear up to sue the UK – over 1917 Balfour Declaration. PA top diplomat tells Arab League that Britain is responsible for all ‘Israeli crimes’ committed since the end of the mandate in 1948”

  • Kevin Breslin

    Ukraine is a Capitalist country last time I checked?

    And wow is me, not being in the EU didn’t stop corruption … I mean to think there couldn’t be corruption in say …

    Iceland -http://grapevine.is/news/2016/01/27/iceland-most-corrupt-nordic-country-again/
    Norway – http://blog.transparency.org/2015/02/04/northern-shadows-norway-doesnt-always-practice-what-it-preaches/
    Switzerland – http://www.thelocal.ch/20160127/switzerland-slips-in-global-corruption-ranking
    Liechtenstein – http://www.coe.int/en/web/human-rights-rule-of-law/-/council-of-europe-calls-on-liechtenstein-to-ratify-the-criminal-law-convention-on-corruption-and-to-make-political-funding-transparent
    Turkey – http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/01/06/why-turkeys-mother-of-all-corruption-scandals-refuses-to-go-away/
    Northern Cyprus- https://venitism.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/corrupt-erdogan-terrorizes-media-of-northern-cyprus/
    Russia – https://www.rt.com/politics/330183-russia-to-overcome-corruption-slowly/
    Belarus -https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/03/belarus-mythbuster-what-like-live-europe-last-dictatorship
    Moldova – http://www.ibtimes.com/moldova-economic-crisis-how-banking-scandal-political-corruption-led-protests-europes-2295822
    Georgia – http://investigations.blog.ajc.com/2015/11/09/report-gives-georgia-a-d-in-ethics/
    Azerbaijan – http://www.irishtimes.com/business/panama-papers-how-family-that-runs-azerbaijan-built-an-empire-of-hidden-wealth-1.2597762
    Armenia – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/12/armenia-corruption-lavish-spending
    Israel – http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israel-ranks-among-western-world-s-most-corrupt-countries-1.321251
    Kazakhstan – http://www.silkroadreporters.com/2015/08/26/kazakhstans-anti-corruption-effort-falls-short/
    Andorra – http://europe.newsweek.com/andorra-secretive-conduit-international-money-laundering-313722
    Monaco – http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2016-04-01/ap-interview-corruption-probe-holds-lessons-for-monaco
    San Marino- http://www.reuters.com/article/sanmarino-cenbank-idUSL8N1532TJ
    Bosnia-Herzegovina – http://www.rferl.org/content/us-senator-worsening-corruption-bosnia/27532851.html
    Serbia – http://www.reuters.com/article/us-serbia-corruption-idUSKBN0U907020151226
    Montenegro – http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/montenegro-s-anti-corruption-efforts-face-scepticism-04-25-2016
    FYR Macedonia – https://theconversation.com/politics-in-macedonia-has-descended-into-a-corrupt-soap-opera-52826
    Albania – https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/strange-invincibility-corruption-albania
    Kosovo -https://news.vice.com/video/corruption-hate-and-violence-kosovo-in-crisis
    Greenland – http://arcticjournal.com/oil-minerals/2450/corruption-watchdog-worried-about-mining-law-changes
    Vatican City – https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/faith-and-justice/vatileaks-foolish-and-embarrassing-case
    Jersey – http://treasureislands.org/top-ex-cop-blasts-jersey-corruption/
    Isle of Man – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-isle-of-man-36255023
    Guernsey – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-guernsey-34190427

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    What’s the general mood at the moment in Alba? Are the nationalists (in the Scots sense of the word, not Irish sense) elated with the brexit from a catalytic point of view?
    Do they smell blood?

  • mac tire

    You sound wired to the moon. All Muslims? All?

    So tell me, what proportion of Muslims in Europe have killed and gang raped? Your figures will be interesting.

    Now, contrast that to your figures of those who have not killed or gang raped. You do have those figures also?

    You are afraid, I get that. Don’t let your fear cloud your judgement.

  • dcomplex

    What a bizarre and decontextualised reading of history. The invasions of Ireland were either undertaken by Normans or by English forces at war not with Ireland but with the (Scotch-Welsh-English-Irish-Norman) Stuart monarchs, on whose side the Irish fought.

  • Jams O’Donnell

    Similarly, half the point of Scottish independence is to get rid of Trident and stop involvement in foreign wars.

  • Jams O’Donnell

    Well, here in Argyll, Dalriada has a positive connotation. I think the name is OK. But the prospect of leaving foreign policy with Westminster is a no-go area. We want to get rid of Trident, and stop involvement in illegal foreign adventures. Leaving NATO, while not current SNP policy, will also be something to be proposed in a free Scotland.

  • dcomplex

    Also, it is pretty pathetic to cite the Palestine Arabs, a bunch of sore losers if I ever saw them

  • John Collins

    Dig out a few copies of Punch Magazine and you will see how much the British ‘looooooved’ the Irish, at least in the nineteenth century.

  • John Collins

    And you would not be sore if you were in their position.

  • dcomplex

    Oh yes all of those Greek terrorists attacking Turkey over Constantinople…

  • dcomplex

    Took a look, shows they are mostly hostile to Irish republicans, not Irish ethnics.

  • John Collins

    I do not think you looked very far and anyway the concept of Irish Republicanism was not widely discussed in the Nineteenth Century. There was much emphasis on things like RC Emancipation, the Famine, the Land Question. O’Connell who was never a Republican was referred as ‘scum condensed of Irish Bog’. Have you ever a passing glance at how John Redmond , a Royalist to his fingertips, was depicted

  • John Collins

    I said the Nineteenth Century. Check out how they depicted O’Connell, Parnell and John Redmond. They were certainly no Republicans

  • John Collins

    Well one third of Wellington’s army were Irish, when we had less than one fifth of the then UK population. We had fought GBs wars long enough.