If Scotland leaves, what then for Northern Ireland?

Scottish independence may not be a likely outcome of this election, not least since, as Fair Deal has noted, the Scottish Nats seem to be soft pedalling that option this time out so as not to frighten the Scotland’s majority unionist horses. But Mark Devenport asks: what if Scotland were to leave the Union? Where would that leave Northern Ireland?

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  • Prince Eoghan

    I think the excellent Green Ribbon covered this on the day. What’s kept you? ;¬)

    So Gregory really isn’t a Unionist then, he’s really an Ulster Nationalist. Great, all the Nationalists, Scots Irish and Ulster can sing from the same hymm sheet. Ready

    ‘Oh the empire is finished no foreign lands to…’

  • Prince Eoghan

    Also to be fair Alex Salmond was not soft pedalling about independence. He merely answered a hypothetical question with a sensible answer.

    Q. Could Scotland rejoin the Union.

    A. Aye if the people voted for it.

    Hypothetical nonsense!

  • páid

    Well, it’s obvious isn’t it. If Scotland votes for independence, the Union is destroyed, and NI unionists realise the game is up, drive to Dublin and say ‘where do we sign up?’

    Or maybe not.

  • kensei

    “Well, it’s obvious isn’t it. If Scotland votes for independence, the Union is destroyed, and NI unionists realise the game is up, drive to Dublin and say ‘where do we sign up?’

    Or maybe not. ”

    Obviously not. I think the initial reaction would be “Go on, then ,we don’t care” but I think thereafter it would have an effect on the Unionist psyche that would open up more discussion; whether that would be remain as is, Independent Ulster, federal UK, trying to join with Scotland in some way or indeed United Ireland. After all, isn’t a lot of the talk of “Ulster-Scots” these days? Perhaps many would discover their English heritage instead 😛

    It certainly opens the question of what the Union means anyway. But I’m a Nationalist, so maybe I know nothing.

  • A Scot in yer midst

    Well it was free by 93 now it is try before you buy – I think they have finally got the strategy right – if they win on thursday it makes sense to set out to demonstrate the capability of a holyrood adminisration and bust a few establishment myths… so come 2010 or so the other 60+% will be more receptive to a poll….and with 3 yrs of a admin here and even closer working with south the unionist will see that their game is in the dying minutes and unification looms… marry all that with a rightly creeping english sense of identity/naitonalism and you’ve got the portents for a dissolution of the union in all forms by 2015…maybe what odds would I get….lots of if, but we are closer than we were in 2000, in 1994 etc…

  • slug

    I think that many would want to incorporate Scotland more fully into a vamped-up council of the Isles, which would take on extra importance with three major sovereign entities spanning the islands.

  • Munster Republic

    The cracks were there long ago, now it’s last pieces are crumbling from the jigsaw puzzle that never fitted together.

  • Imagine the problems Scottish Border patrols would have checking the passports of Belfast’s Celtic and Rangers fans….independence per se would be a protracted arrangement to establish (not least because of the football issue) which on a realistic timescale could not be financially arranged within 5 years, despite what Alex may claim….therefore his statement about voting for it again is a valid argument, i.e. I may not be in power then…
    To avoid political “counting the angels dancing on pinheads” meandering the ‘Real Politik’ must be exploration of fiscal and legislative requirements, not least in a European context

  • George

    Jonny,
    they would just extend the current common travel area that already exists between the UK and the Irish Republic, meaning no passports are required. There would be no border patrols but like Ireland, Scotland wouldn’t be joining Schengen.

  • A Scot in yer midst

    Well if it stopped Belfast’s celtic and rangers fans coming over, all the better….

    protracted disentanglement would be in neither country’s interest…problem will be for england to find somewhere to house 4 x trident subs and assorted paraphenalia.

    and can somebody point me in a direction that would quote just where the lobby of stroppy uncooperative EC countries is that would make life dificult for an independent scotland. All this is the clasic gang mentality foisted on us; leave the gang and you’ll have no friends, we will even get others to make life difficult. Thing is england’s gang just isn’t that tough or fashionable anymore….

  • willowfield

    There won’t be an independent Scotland. Most Scots aren’t in favour of same. Check out opinion polls on the subject as well as election results.

  • “they would just extend the current common travel area” – would you want that lot arriving on a ferry each and every Saturday…nah, the border patrols will be in place…on the watch for smuggled illicitly produced haggis and cheap south Armagh bagpipe knock-offs…
    “just where the lobby of stroppy uncooperative EC countries is that would make life dificult for an independent scotland” well there would have to be a re-negotiation of all subventions and we in NI have all that market cornered…hey we’ve even on occassion conned Treasury into match-funding, even if they got their own back with the rates debacle!

  • USA

    SIYM,
    Why should “Engeerland” get all the Trident submarines etc. Surely the Scots paid taxes for them also? Did your oil not finance the cost of these military programs? Surely you are not just going to give it all away.
    Scotland is actually positioned to become the next nation with nuclear capabilities.
    Has anyone told George W Bush yet?
    On that topic, I would also like to take this opportunity to apologise to everyone for the fact that America elected that nut job G. W. Bush. (I didn’t vote for him so don’t blame me).
    Sorry.
    USA.

  • Wilde Rover

    So the DUP are thinking about seceding from the UK too.

    Why is Daithi McKay so jubilant?

    If pushed to it, what’s to stop the Democratic Unionist Party becoming the Democratic Ulster Party and expressing solidarity with the SNP?

    And if a Democratic Ulster Party/Scottish Nationalist Party alliance were to select the 100th anniversary of the creation of Northern Ireland as a date for both countries to secede from the UK where would that leave United Irelanders?

  • DK

    Wilde Rover – yep, you gotta watch this nationalism stuff – it’s infectious and the joy that Irish nationalists express at the possible break-up of the UK might stick a bit when they realise that it applies to Ireland too.

  • Come on now: factor in the David Davis argument for an English Parliament (and the lingering Tory hope of endless hegemony in a “celtic-fringe-free” Little England).

    Some of the greatest enthusiasts for dumping the Union are Surrey stockbrokers and golfers, looking for their tax cuts.

    And beyond that, devolution to the English regions? Bring back the Icenian federation, say I.

    Or possibly wee chickies are being enumerated ahead of the proper time.

  • And there is that eternal question:

    Are the English ready yet for Home Rule?

  • Irish Aussie

    And if a Democratic Ulster Party/Scottish Nationalist Party alliance were to select the 100th anniversary of the creation of Northern Ireland as a date for both countries to secede from the UK where would that leave United Irelanders?

    Posted by Wilde Rover on May 01, 2007 @ 07:41 AM

    I think the Scots are a little bit more sensible than that.
    I doubt they are going to want to look after West Belfast, Sth Armagh, Derry ect ect.

  • Irish Aussie

    Or the Shankill for that matter

  • Yokel

    Wise up, the Scottish are not going to vote for independence in a hurry.

    The Scots Nationalists know it.

  • Wilde Rover

    Irish Aussie.

    I meant two separate republics: a Republic of Northern Ireland and a Republic of Scotland.

    Yokel.

    “Wise up, the Scottish are not going to vote for independence in a hurry.
    The Scots Nationalists know it.”
    Yes. They seem content to play the long game. But then again, a week is a long time in politics.

  • kensei

    “Wilde Rover – yep, you gotta watch this nationalism stuff – it’s infectious and the joy that Irish nationalists express at the possible break-up of the UK might stick a bit when they realise that it applies to Ireland too.”

    If there is one thing guaranteed to unite Nationalism, it would be the prospect of a Unionist dominated independent state. I don’t think you have the figures for it anyway any more – The DUP vote is only 30%, and you’d need the entire support of the UUP vote and probably Alliance. Unlikely. Even if you get it, you have 40% of the population dead set against it, and no support from Britain.

    Greenflag’s repartition is a possibility if people started pushiung that route, but I’ve yet to talk to anyone that wants that scenario.

  • Munsterman

    If the majority of the Scottish nation votes for Independence from the UK, good luck to them.
    If the majority does vote for Independence, then hopefully, the Scottish minority will respect this – and not raise a paramilitary militia, illegally import tens of thousands of guns and threaten war in order to Partition Scotland and keep a part of Scotland in the UK.

    And hopefully, the leader of the British Conservative Party would not encourage and support such actions.

  • Jocky

    When the SNP gets a majority on Thursday surely it must prompt some reassessment within both camps in N.I.

    For the republicans, there’s the SNP sneaked up from nowhere to be several steps further down the road towards freedom from England than N.I. Alex Salmond having cause no end of political hurt to Blair. By comparison what have republican politicians delivered? Feck all since 1998.

    And for unionist, they’ve got to finally realise the game has changed, the rest of GB and Ireland has moved on, when will they catch up?

  • mnob

    Munsterman – if they form a majority in that part of Scotland then they should be free to opt in with the remainder of the UK. Who are you to decide borders ?

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>#There won’t be an independent Scotland. Most Scots aren’t in favour of same. Check out opinion polls on the subject as well as election results.
    Posted by willowfield on May 01, 2007 @ 12:35 AM<< You are probably right at present re-Independence. However the possibility of an successful SNP led government in Holyrood for three years prior to the proposed referendum in 2010 might be a factor. Also we have at present the disgraceful situation at present whereby three out of the four main Scottish news papers are running what amounts to a propaganda campaign against the SNP. Only one (the Herald) is even trying to report the campaign in an even handed manner. They ran an editorial on sunday that showed disgust for what amounts to a situation akin to a one party state. So the question must be asked. If support for pro-independence parties is just over the 40% mark at the moment. Just what could it be if it had a newspaper feeding through all these subliminal messages to the great unwashed;¬) My point is that many will be swayed by patently false headlines, especially the type that don't read the content. By 2010 all could be different, let's hope so!

  • scary_eire

    Can any of the unionists here answer this question

    If Scotland secedes from the union will your attitude towards a united Ireland change i.e. softer attitude towards the idea of a UI?

    Or will you just accept anything else except a UI?

    I’m just curious and would appreciate any answers

  • Wilde Rover

    kensei

    “If there is one thing guaranteed to unite Nationalism, it would be the prospect of a Unionist dominated independent state.”

    An independent state dominated by Unionists? Surely that’s a contradiction in terms.

    Wouldn’t the following rewording be more accurate?

    “If there is one thing guaranteed to unite Irish Nationalism, it would be the prospect of a Northern Irish Nationalist dominated independent state.”

    “Even if you get it, you have 40% of the population dead set against it, and no support from Britain.”

    40% of the population, or Irish Nationalism, voting to maintain the Union and direct rule in order to prevent the creation of a Republic of Northern Ireland.

    The irony is delicious.

    “Greenflag’s repartition is a possibility if people started pushiung that route, but I’ve yet to talk to anyone that wants that scenario.”

    Greenflag’s repartition plan would only work if the ground opened up and swallowed Belfast first.

  • Unionist

    Scary_Eire,

    No and yes are the respective answers. The rationale for this probably stems from a number of reasons – mainly to do with the fact that we view ourselves as a distinctive people. Irish nationalism defines itself in opposition to all of the culture that we value – i.e. pro-gaelic, anti-British. Given that context, how could we ever be true patriots in a United Ireland – to do so we would have to despise our ancestors. Related to this is the legacy of violent republicanism, which has helped achieve the reverse of what it intended – we’re not going to give in now after so many have been killed.

    I have talked to my unionist friends about the “Scottish Question” issue (unlike the charicature, some of us have foresight). Of course, this is probably not a representative sample, though as there was unanimity on the issue, I would expect that it has some validity. Basically, they were all in favour of maintaining the union with England & Wales in the event of Scottish secession. Some even wondering why the question needed to be asked.

    An independent Northern Ireland would probably have come second. I suspect that this option would be limited in popularity due to economic worries and concerns over the lack of nationalist community consent.

    No one felt any particular wish to join with Scotland. If tested, I expect that this notion would quickly collapse, as it is likely to be limited in appeal to a small section of working class unionism and some in the Orange Order. The fact that an independent Scotland would be rejecting British identity and adopting a distinctly Scottish identity would result in this option being rapidly viewed as non-starter.

    However, any of the above would be acceptable to unionists before a united Ireland. In the event of Scottish independence (still not very likely), expect unionists to rapidly coalesce around maintaining the union with E&W, though with an independent Ulster sitting out there as an alternative if that state does not live up to our expectations (i.e. articulate a strong British identity inclusive of E,W and NI, keep us out of the Euro fedarlist programme etc).

  • scary_eire

    Unionist

    Thanks for the reply

  • Unionist (@12.42 PM) seems to me to cover most of the bases (and I’m definitely not subscribing as a Unionist).

    It is a constant curiosity to me how the Ulster Protestants suddenly became “British” in the mid-19th century. My personal explanation is the success of Macaulay’s Whiggite History, which gave the Siege of ‘Derry and the Boyne central significance in the story. Hence the Protestant Unionist felt accorded a due place in the scheme of things. Since then there has been little to shake that conviction (nor will there, as long as Westminster subventions come through, and right-wing politicos pay court).

    However, the last line of Unionist’s declaration is interesting, and (as I see it) arsy-versy. The “Euro federalist programme”, if implemented, would enhance the status and likelihood of an independent NI “region”. [Care needed here to differentiate the “Euroregion”, which can be trans-national, and the EU “Regions in Europe” — I am using the latter term.] The EU consults (and could well subsequently delegate authority to) the Council of the Regions on
    * Education and Training
    * Culture
    * Public Health
    * Anti-drug support
    * Trans-European Networks
    * Social and Economic Cohesion
    * Structural Funds.

    Now that is not a million miles adrift from the present competency of Stormont.

    So, at one level, and in NI, the “Euro federalist programme” is already up and running.

  • John East Belfast

    It is funny to watch nationalism get excited as the % move closer together – whether it be NI or now even Scotland – as if some kind of momentum has been gathered that will just crash on through.

    It is a bit like my new SUV where I have been watching the Instantaneous and Average Miles per gallon readings on the dash board.
    When I first got it the first couple of weeks it was used by the wife around town and was frightenly getting me around 18 mpg.

    Then when I started taking it country bound to work everyday I happily watched its average notch up by about 0.2 per day. Now I have become aware the Average has stubbornly stuck itself around 24.5 to 25 where I think this is my true combined rate.

    The same will go for both Irish and Scottish separatism.

    All they are doing is watching the % converge around the middle and neither will be enough to cause major constitutional change.

    Scotland especially where the unionist movement is asleep but if it felt there was any real threat it would substantially re-awaken. Certain Scots might flirt occasionally with Independence but in the cold light of day there will be no appetite for it.

    Add to that any collapse in oil price over next 5 years and even the SNPs figures are out the window.

    Indeed the SNPs fortunes are only due to disillusionment with Labour and thE Iraq War and under written with the Rise in Oil prices to over $70.

    Lets face it if Oil was still around $10 to $20 a barrel the SNP would be third Party in Scotland and we wouldnt be having this discussion.

  • kensei

    “Wouldn’t the following rewording be more accurate?

    “If there is one thing guaranteed to unite Irish Nationalism, it would be the prospect of a Northern Irish Nationalist dominated independent state.””

    Yes. If you are a pedant.

    “40% of the population, or Irish Nationalism, voting to maintain the Union and direct rule in order to prevent the creation of a Republic of Northern Ireland.

    The irony is delicious.”

    Who said we’d vote for that? It is unlikely the referendum wouldn’t include a UI option.

  • George

    JEB,
    “Lets face it if Oil was still around $10 to $20 a barrel the SNP would be third Party in Scotland and we wouldnt be having this discussion.”

    That was its price when Thatcher was pumping at full throttle, a most shameful waste of national resources as you are ever likely to see.

    Thatcher’s policies destroyed the Conservatives in Scotland. What’s to say that a combination of Blair, Devolution and a general desire for greater self-determination amongst the Scottish people doesn’t lead to a situation where the SNP continues to grow and the idea of full independence gains greater traction.

    Are the Scottish unionists in the garden centres with their Northern Irish counterparts. Sometimes people are silent, not because they are part of some “silent majority” but simply because they don’t care either way.

  • Wilde Rover

    “If you are a pedant.”

    Was I being pedantic? Am I being pedantic if I refer to the United States of America instead of the American Colonies?

    My point was that an independent state would only result from them ceasing to be unionists.

    “It is unlikely the referendum wouldn’t include a UI option.”

    Then it changes from a simple yes or no to seceding from the UK to a referendum that would reflect the range of views on the subject.

    Now that would be an interesting referendum.

    Tick any one of the below boxes:

    1. Republic of Northern Ireland.
    2. Republic of Ireland (32)
    3. A parallel Republic of Ireland (in case the existing one vetoes a UI)
    4. 32-County Socialist Republic.
    5. The People’s Republic of Northern Ireland.
    6. Federation of the Provinces.
    7. United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
    8. United Kingdom of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland (in case Scotland secedes)
    9. United Kingdom of Wales and Northern Ireland (in case England secedes)
    10. Kingdom of Northern Ireland (With Big Ian installed as Emperor Ian I)
    11. Greenflag’s repartition.
    12. Ulster/Scotland Confederation.
    13. The Norn Iron Anarcho-Collective.

    I’m sure others can add to the list in case I’ve forgotten any viewpoint.

  • Munsterman

    George :

    “Are the Scottish unionists in the garden centres with their Northern Irish counterparts. Sometimes people are silent, not because they are part of some “silent majority” but simply because they don’t care either way. ”

    Why should they care ? Scottish unionists permanent position within the UK is 100% guaranteed, even if unionists lose the vote on Scottish independence.

    At least, that’s according to one unionist’s views : check mnob’s earlier post for details as follows –

    mnob’s quote :

    “if they (unionists) form a majority in that part of Scotland then they should be free to opt in with the remainder of the UK.
    Who are you to decide borders ? “

  • Winder

    The result for Northern Ireland would probably be similar to that of Bosnia / Herzegovina, possibly after violence if enough people on either side want an ethnic state and to hell with others who have to live with it, or possibly without violence if enough people are wise enough to realise that violence will just lead to the same end game anyway.

    If the entire island of Great Britian sank into the sea tommorrow it would not resolve the Northern Ireland problem, ditto if the Republic of Ireland sank into the sea.

  • Winder

    mnob

    “Munsterman – if they form a majority in that part of Scotland then they should be free to opt in with the remainder of the UK. Who are you to decide borders ?”

    I agree. This issue has been discussed to death in Canada in relation to the Native peoples in northern Quebec who would wish to remain in Canada should Quebec secede. I believe they have that right. Such rights cannot be measured just by the fact that someone stuck some lines on a map 200 years ago and gave it a name. This would be all the more so if that named entity was never an independent state in the first place but just some sub national unit chosen for geographical or other reasons.

    In any case the border between Scotland and England has moved on several occassions. I see nothing sacred about the present one if it didn’t reflect the will of the people living around it. Did we learn nothing from the Treaty of Versaille?

  • Prince Eoghan

    Munsterman

    I’m afraid they don’t get your irony ;¬)

    JEB.

    George stole, aye stole (bugger) ;¬) the substance of my reposte.

    >>Add to that any collapse in oil price over next 5 years and even the SNPs figures are out the window.<< John I think it is obvious that you write more in hope than anything. Anyway shouldn't the Ulster-Scots be cheering us on? We'll do it with or without you, surely it would be better to be on the winning side. ;¬)

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “Scottish independence may not be a likely outcome of this election”

    You can safely change that to “Scottish independence will not be the outcome of this election”. I know most middle-class unionist and nationalist/republican contributors will be surprised to hear this, but I’m actually interested in politics in the mainland too and not just in politics related to Ulster’s constitutional position. I heard Sir Menzies Campbell speak on The Politics Show on Sunday and he dismissed any suggestion that the Lib Dems would form a coalition with the Sinister Nationalist Party to go into government,if they insisted on calling a referendum on Scottish nationalism – he described the SNP’s desire for a referendum as “disruptive” and a distraction from the core issues that voters want addressed such as the NHS and crime. He did say that the Lib Dems have political devoliution as well as the institutional devolution there is in the U.K. so Scottish Lim Dem representatives would be the decision-makers on the issue, but from his general tone you could tell it would be a deal-breaker and the SNP are desperate to get into government so they’ll have to water-down or scrap completely their obsession with a referendum…

  • scary_eire

    Why are people so concerned over a referendum. I think it would be good to finally find out how much support there is for indepenance. If its a total white wash in favour of retaining the union then we can all forget about it. If not – interesting times ahead

  • Prince Eoghan

    CL

    Two sides to every story. the SNP have offered an extra question on the referendum paper for more devolved power as a compromise. Also public opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of a referendum regardless. This might explain that whilst everyman and his dog is picking up the haemorrhaging Labour vote, the Lib-Dem’s are pretty stagnant.

    I would suggest they are playing with fire, and the SNP cannot afford to blink first as they would be fucked if they did.

  • Unionist

    Mr Redfellow,

    I apologise for the sloppy verse. I should have said “Euro integration programme” etc. By this I meant that one of the conditions for Northern Ireland remaining in the UK, most particularly after hyptothetical Scottish independence, would be that that state would be resistant to further dilution of Sovereignty to Brussels / Strasbourg.

    If that state was not, then we might as well go for an independent Ulster if monetary policy, foreign affairs and defence, fiscal rules are taken out of the hands of the UK government – it would have damn all left.

    John East Belfast,

    I agree with you that Scottish independence is unlikely to happen. However, it is a matter on the agenda and cannot be dismissed lightly. Many unionists had similar thoughts about nationalism in southern Ireland.

    I believe that economics is only one the factors involved here. More important is the anti-patriotism that has been common amongst British mainland politicians since the 1960s. 1960s liberals believed that patriotism – especially of the British variety – was outdated, reactionary, mawkish, embarrassing and kitsch. It was to be associated with imperialism and, by supposed implication, slavery and suppression of other peoples. These bird-brain idealists preferred to believe that we needed no nationhood. This is why Blair etc who, whether they know it or not, are pupils of this patent rubbish, can find no other argument against Scottish independence than – to paraphrase – subsidies from England. They have no conception of patriotism of the heart rather than the wallet.

    But, of course, the people of GB couldn’t do without nationalism, no matter what the 1960s liberals thought. So, deprived of Britishness for fear of being labelled a racist / BNP supporter, they hoked around and found something else … Scottish / Welsh / English nationalism …

    The corollary of this is that unless the political class in the UK realise that they must identify and articulate a strong sense of British nationhood (and please, no nausating horse manure about ‘a sense of fair play’ being a national characteristic – my ears can no longer stand that vacuous nonsenses etc), it won’t be long before Mr Salmond has his day … if not 2010 then soon after.

  • Unionist

    Mr Concerned Loyalist,

    Yes, you are correct in what you report. But will the LibDems, satirically known as the FibDems in some quarters, really hold fast to this after the election? I suspect that they will concede a multi-option referendum at the very least if the SNP emerge as the largest party.

    In any case, it will also be interesting to note the total number of pro-independence representatives at Holyrood, which comprises more than just the SNP. Before dissolution, this number stood at 41 out of 129 (26 SNP, 7 Green, 4 SSP, 2 Solidarity, 2 Independents).

    The SNP are touted to make 45-47 seats, it’s hard to see the Greens having fewer seats and they may make a gain or two – let’s say 8, the two hard left parties will probably go down to 2 or so (due to the Tommy Sheridan affair) and then say we again have 2 pro-independence others. This could mean up to 59 out of 129 pro-independence MSPs. Alex Salmond would only need to get 6 defections from one or more of the unionist parties to put through a Referendum Bill in that case – though I accept that this is very hypothetical.

    Anyway, it will be interesting to see whether the number of pro-secession MSPs exceeds 52, as there will then be proportionately more secessionists in the Scottish Parliament than in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Interesting scenario Unionist. It is believed (although in trying to find it no independent source was available) that upto 40% of Labour voters would support independence. I know some personally and there is a Glasgow MSP who will skoosh it in his constituency, who is also a supporter of independence. I doubt if his loyalty to his country will outweigh his ambitions to be a Labour first minister some day.

  • Cahal
  • Munsterman

    Prince Eoghan :

    “Munsterman

    I’m afraid they don’t get your irony ;¬)”.

    Yep……..but at least one person did.:-)

  • darth rumsfeld

    Gregory may not be too distant from the SNP. It was founded from 2 earlier parties, one being ( I think) the Scottish party- which wanted a Stormont style parliament within the Empire, and appealed to the Orange vote not attracted to the Tories ( or Unionists as they called themselves). So it was a sort of DUP-devolutionist and pro-British.
    The SNP has occasionally been accused of sectarianism more recently- as it fought the Irish Catholic dominated Glasgow Labour party. And at the Monklands by -election after John Smith’s death, complaints were made ( and refuted) about vans of SNP canvassers ..er playing “the Sash” or similar music over loudspeakers in staunchly Orange parts of Airdrie, though not in nearby Coatbridge for the opposite reason.Gregory would never do that :0)

  • PaddyReilly

    In politics, all things are inconstant except the power of self-interest, which changes all things and fills their inconstancy with light.

    The miracle of Orange Order dominated Unionism with accompanying segregated housing is that it has succeeded, by and large, in preventing young people from knobbing each other in multiple directions, in the interests of stabilising the sectarian headcount which underpins the existence of the state.

    In Scotland there is no such agenda, and no such headcount. Scotland exists for historical and geographical reasons, not by virtue of a demographic swindle. A Scotsman is someone who is (predominantly) born and brought up in Scotland. As such, there is no bar on intermarrying with folk whose parents came from Donegal, Italy or Poland and none has been observed.

    As a result there has been a gradual spread of Nationalist ideas and Scottish identity to the Catholic population and of Catholicism, or tolerance of Catholicism, to the formerly Presbyterian.

    The Orangey crew are still there, and adequately served by the Scottish Unionist Party:-

    http://www.scottishunionistparty.co.uk/

    which comes out with much the same stuff as the UUP/DUP, and, to some extent the Scottish Christian Party:-

    http://www.christianparty.org.uk/cmsparty/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=69&Itemid=65

    which stands for Sabbatarianism and intolerance of homosexuals, but as for gaining votes, you can forget it. The SUP failed to retain its deposit even in the supposed heartland of Orange bigotry.

    The maintenance of religious/political apartheid (among white people!) is a complete non-starter in 21st century Western Europe, which is why, as I said, the 6 county entity is such a miracle.

    Scotland, for some considerable time, put up with the Union because it gave access to the British Empire. As there is now no such entity, and access to English markets is guaranteed by membership of the EU, it is now a marriage of convenience that is no longer convenient.

    Recently The Sunday Times, in an article on new countries about to emerge in Europe, gave prominent place to Scotland and (a United) Ireland. This is about right.

    In Scotland there is widespread agreement (apart from the above) on the issue of nationhood, the only debate is on the degree of independence needed. In NI the prospect of the inevitable break-up of the UK and re-emergence of the 3 Kingdoms is, in certain quarters, as popular as a death sentence, and it is not surprising that people will result to all sorts of implausible scenarios to convince themselves that it is anything but.

    Thus we have Sammy Morse, who thinks the Union will be saved by single transferable votes from Quebec, and John East Belfast, who thinks that if you own a Sports Utility Vehicle, it won’t happen.

  • Prince Eoghan

    PaddyReilly

    You have hit the nail right on the head on so many issues, although you forgot that the small bigots vote still has to be split with the BNP.

    Darth is onto something though regarding how the SNP used to be percieved. And for this reason many older Catholics will stick with the devil they know (labour) whilst the younger generation increasingly have no such hang-ups about voting for one of the few parties that genuinely has our countries interests at heart. I live in one of those orangy heartlands, where you now see Chinese passing by Africans and Eastern Europeans. There is a God after all!

    Cahal.

    Thanks for the link!

  • Phil

    “Some of the greatest enthusiasts for dumping the Union are Surrey stockbrokers and golfers, looking for their tax cuts.”

    Indeed, so are the nurses, bus drivers, builders, bank workers, students and most other people in England who don’t live in the Westminster bubble. If the British government were inclined to actually ask the English people what they wanted for a change and there was a referendum on independence tomorrow, England would be out of the UK and the EU by saturday.

  • Errm, actually there was a referendum on membership of the (then) EEC. 64.5% of the UK, 61.7% of Scots, and even 52.1% of NI voters said “Yes”. Why should we keep doing it again and again “tomorrow” as Phil (May 02, 2007 @ 06:05 PM) and his ilk demand?

    Perhaps Phil will now point to a couple of reputable polls (i.e. not sponsored by partial pressure groups) which

    [1] show such a mass wish to sacrifice jobs and investment?

    Should he throw in the Sunday Excess poll last weekend, he should note that yes/no issue was: “a looser relationship with Europe, maintaining free trade and cooperation on common policies, but opting out of political and economic integration”. So:

    [2] How does such a semi-detached, all-gain, no-pay arrangement achieve gleeful assent from the other 26 members of the Union?

    When the EU is offering to cough mega-Euros to NI, I doubt he will find too many turkeys clamoring for early Christmas in the “Stormont bubble” either.

  • Phil

    Malcolm,

    You didn’t mention the percentage of English people who voted for continued EEC membership in 1973, besides the “common market” that was sold to us back then is a very different beast to todays EU as you well know.If you genuinely believe that if a referendum were to be held in England tomorrow with the question “Should England remain a member of the UK and the EU or declare independence from one or both” then bring it on! I am quite confident that there would be a huge vote in favour of independence from both in spite of pro-UK and pro-EU spin from the ConLabLibDem establishment.

  • Thank you, Phil (on May 02, 2007 @ 08:28 PM).

    You make one of my repeated points eloquently:

    Should England remain a member of the UK?
    Resounding (phonetic) response from the ignoramuses who make up the hoi polloi of Sun readership: “If it means screwing those Scots, Welsh and Irish grasping bastards, Norfolk enchants!”

    The second one is the difference between us:
    Should England remain a member of … EU?
    Now the response is: “Well, actually, my firm has been bought out by the Spanish /Germans /Transylvanians /whatever, and I’ve got a mortgage [with a Spanish /German /Transylvanian /whatever owned bank], so ….”

    Put that up as a referendum question, with all major political parties shrieking “Aaaargh!”, and expect the inevitable. Even UKIP dare not put it in those definite terms (see my previous point about the Sunday Excess poll).