A Belfast/Edinburgh/Cardiff axis in a federal UK?

Newly elected Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, is to visit Northern Ireland in the coming weeks. First Minister, Ian Paisley, praised Salmond’s political skills and believes that the devolved administrations need to work together:

“There are things Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have in common that if we go to the British Government in harness, we will get more out of them.”

When the dust settles in Cardiff, will the Welsh first minister buy-in? How will Gordon ‘clunking fist’ Brown take to such an axis at the oft ignored but important Joint Ministerial Council meetings (pdf file)? ADDITION: Also Paisley argues the establishment of the three bodies is de facto federalism for the UK. (Hat tip WR)

  • Oranges for Sale

    I neither like Alex Salmond nor trust him, and the sooner the good folk of Scotland see sense the better. This is a man whose life long ambition is to break up the UK and he’s not welcome here in Ulster. End of.

    As for asking the (former) ‘Iron Chancellor’ for more money, well I’m afraid that would be like squeezing blood from a stone. Whether Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland jointly apply pressure or not. Naïve.

  • Dewi

    “This is a man whose life long ambition is to break up the UK and he’s not welcome here in Ulster. End of.”

    Except by Ian Paisley.

  • Oranges for Sale

    Dewi,

    Exactly, and I neither like nor trust Paisley either! Its simply a Scottish nationalist meeting an Ulster nationalist, both of whom just want nothing more that to secure a page in the history books for their egos.

  • Wilde Rover

    “He has made it clear that he wants the Queen to remain as Queen of Scotland,” the Northern Ireland First Minister said.

    “That shows the difference between their type of nationalism in Scotland and our type of nationalism in Ireland.”

    It certainly does.

    The First Minister’s alteration of language seems to indicate that he is gradually outing himself as a Northern Irish Nationalist.

    Queen of Scotland.

    Is she not also Queen of Australia? One could infer that Queen of Northern Ireland is also a perfectly reasonable title, in his estimation. He mentions dealing with the British government, but no mention of the Union at all.

    And while Irish Nationalism fixates Gollum-like on the Precious that is a UI, what is that old man saying?

    “So the British Government are beginning to recognise they brought this in (devolution) but it is really federalism, and the States, if we may call them that, are going to have some punch when it comes to these issues.”

    It makes one think where all this alteration of language will end up.

    Of course, one may well think that, he couldn’t possibly comment.

  • fair_deal

    WR

    I missed the reference to federalism. I will adapt the thread to reflect this.

  • Oranges for Sale

    What exactly are the SNP’s views with regards to monarchy? I cant seem to find this on Wikipedia, or their own website. In fact what are Alex Salmonds personal views regarding the Royals and their role in his vision for Scotland? Would an independent Scotland still retain dominion status in the same way that Canada does?

  • páid

    Oranges for sale

    “he’s not welcome here in Ulster. End of”

    No one appointed you spokesman for Northern Ireland welcomes, pal, never mind Ulster.

  • kensei

    “”He has made it clear that he wants the Queen to remain as Queen of Scotland,” the Northern Ireland First Minister said.

    “That shows the difference between their type of nationalism in Scotland and our type of nationalism in Ireland.” ”

    Actually what was promised was kicking it to one side by offering a referendum on it at a later date.

    But yes. Almost all Irish Nationalists are Republicans. I’m not entirely sure how much that says about different nationalisms?

  • Dewi

    Canada still a dominion ??? Is that really true ?? – I’m flabbergasted !!!

  • Dewi

    OfS – you are right about Canada – although phrase not used much these days. Doesn’t “dominion” sound so patronising.

  • Oranges for Sale

    Dewi

    Yes, it still has dominion status, and I agree it sounds a little patronising especially in the 21st century. Its not a term I use when I’m in Toronto anyway.

    Paid

    Firstly, I’m not your ‘pal’. Secondly I think there are enough political opportunists in Northern Ireland/Ulster/the Occupied Six Counties without having to import more, don’t you?

  • Re: Dominion status — The modern PC term used for the 16 states of which Elizabeth II is head of state is “Commonwealth Realm.” The term comes from “and her other Realms and Territories” which is at the end of her title in most of her realms. Theoretically even the UK is a Commonwealth Realm, though I don’t think the terms is very often applied to it.

  • overhere

    I must admit I nearly fell off the chair when I say the headline on the BBC site

    Paisley’s praise for nationalist

    Should have guessed it would not be for any of his colleagues but someone over the water !!

  • C-X

    Alex Salmond wants Scottish independence because he believes it will instigate an economic surge, like Ireland. However Scotland will not be eligible for billions of Euros of EU funding like Ireland was and will have less opportunity to manipulate corporation tax because of the cost of public services (unless he abolishes the NHS).
    Its not so much a question of Britishness.
    Paisley likes his style because he is taking action, not just pleading to Brown for more money like us.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Its simply a Scottish nationalist meeting an Ulster nationalist, both of whom just want nothing more that to secure a page in the history books for their egos.

    Posted by Oranges for Sale on May 17, 2007 @ 01:39 PM

    You know this about Salmond how?

    The issue of the English Queen is tricky. Most Scots, regardless of hue are proud of the martial tradition of Scotland. Since the in-breeds are colonels-in-chief or such baloney of regiments, then this presents a potential conflict of interests of an avowed Scottish Republican Nationalist party. Many took their oaths to the English Queen under protest at the swearing in process at Holyrood.

    As far as the future goes, i believe I am on record here for believing a federal Celtic nation would be a good way to go in the future. I’m glad to see that I might have a convert in big Ian. It could be successful in so many ways and panders to any lingering doubts some may have about a united Ireland. Let the Scots govern!

    Sure haven’t we enough experience with lording it over the English all these years.

  • Spongers Utd

    “There are things Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have in common that if we go to the British Government in harness, we will get more out of them.”

    And with that, the English said, ‘F@#k off you spongers’, and verily left the Union….

  • Dewi

    Prince:
    A federal Celtic nation would of course include Brittany, Wales and Cornwall with parliament at Tynwald…. thanks for offer to share oil revenues !!

  • Dec

    “There are things Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have in common that if we go to the British Government in harness, we will get more out of them.”

    That logic is certainly debatable. In any case it’ll almost certainly mean NI will get less than if it went, cap in hand to the colonial overseers, alone. How much is £1 Billion divided by 3?

  • splitter

    Isn’t Dr Paisley an Ulster-Scots Nationalist? Perhaps we’ll just agree one day that the border between Scotland and Ireland is the Bann and let the UK shrink back down to England and Wales.

  • páid

    Oranges,

    if you think Salmond is a political opportunist, fair enough.

    But don’t say he’s not welcome end of.

    Because you’re not in a position to say it unless he’s at your front door.

    And you might think Northern Ireland are Ulster are the same thing, but I don’t.

    And as for the ‘occupied six counties’, where are you going with that one?

  • observer

    in Northern Ireland/Ulster/the Occupied Six Counties ……
    Posted by Oranges for Sale

    arent all the counties occupied?

  • Diluted Orange

    Oranges For Sale

    [i]”As for asking the (former) ‘Iron Chancellor’ for more money, well I’m afraid that would be like squeezing blood from a stone. Whether Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland jointly apply pressure or not. Naïve.”[/i]

    I don’t necessarily think that this is the case. I think that, for instance, a DUP/SNP/Plaid Cymru block in Westminster after the next General Election could be very influential.

    The emergence of the SNP in Scotland spells big trouble for Labour. Their stranglehold on Scottish politics coupled with the Tories’ vanishing act anywhere north of Birmingham in the last 10 years has secured No 10 for them. If the recent local elections results are an indication of the general election results in 2 years time then we could well be in for a hung-Parliament or minority government. A Scots/Welsh/Ulster Nationalist Alliance in such a scenario could be quite influential.

    People should cast their minds back to the early 1990s when John Major’s small majority was supplemented on a regular basis by the Ulster Unionist Party. In return the UUP got quite a bit of concessions from the Tories – the Downing Street Declaration amongst them.

    Personally, I think it’s quite refreshing to hear Paisley talking about getting more out of the UK than we do already. Unionists have tended to accept that being part of the UK is all that matters; the continuation of the status quo represents success for them. Jobs, education, hospitals – nothing else mattered so long as the Union Jack kept flying over Stormont. It’s about time both sides here got past the point of being transfixed by either the Union or a United Ireland – the reality is that Northern Ireland exists and will be around for the forseeable future so our politicians may as well start fighting to make this place better instead of bickering with each other.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>A Scots/Welsh/Ulster Nationalist Alliance<< Interesting idea! Is Paisley as forward thinking as all that though?, that auld bastard really has been hiding his light all this time. Don't count on the SNP cosying up to Paisley or the DUP though. They are in the middle of a thus far successful campaign to woo the Catholic vote in Scotland. Dewi. And I thought I was being a fantacist ;¬)

  • C-X

    Some interesting points from Diluted Orange but i think its that same level of frustration over getting empty promises and underfunding from Westminster that has prompted Salmond to express his views in this way. He constitutionally believes in Britishness, and the Queen for example, but believes that the UK as a government is failing Scotland macroeconomically and i agree that in Ulster we too should be addressing these issues (or rather our politicians should) instead of concentrating on constitution.

    And to plaid, although no, Northern Ireland and Ulster are not exactly the same thing, we live in Ulster too and are fully entitled to use it to describe where we reside just as you are in Donegal, Cavan or Monaghan.

  • runciter

    So our “Unionist” First Minister says:

    – that the UK is now a de facto “federation” of “states”

    – that he admires the (anti-union) Scottish Nationalists

    – that Northern Ireland should join an alliance of the celtic states

    Staggering!

  • páid

    c-x,

    I know the 6 counties are in Ulster: indeed they form the major part of it. And you are fully entitled to say you live there, as you do.

    But the thread caption states that Salmond is visiting Northern Ireland.

    So oranges for sale is not entitled to say he has no welcome in Ulster, end of.

    And you are right to say that Ulster and NI are not exactly the same thing. One of them contains too many Catholics for a democracy.

  • Diluted Orange

    páid

    I imagine by your standards then that you would never dream of referring to the Republic of Ireland, simply as Ireland, seeing as it doesn’t encompass the whole island.

  • IJP

    Of course Paisley’s an Ulster Nationalist.

    Watch the ongoing references to “the Ulster People”. Watch how he opposed the imposition of MI5 intelligence services in NI on the basis that “our own people” were quite capable of doing such things.

    His stance has always been conditional – conditional loyalty to the British State on the basis that it provides him a basis for political authority (and as much Protestant hegemony as he can get away with).

    Hence, now, his references to what he can “get out of” the British State – but no reference to what he might “put in” in return.

    Nationalists often accuse Unionists of not really being British. Sometimes they’re right, you know.

  • Ziznivy

    Insanity reigns in Northern Ireland at the moment. It’s enough to make you pack your bags and leave on the next plane.

  • Phil

    For all this talk of a federation by Paisley and others, are you not ignoring the fact that a significant part of the UK has no devolved administration to deal with a federal government. A federal UK is a non-starter without an English parliament.

  • delta omega

    Paisley’s love-in with scottish nationalists is only the next misplaced “logical” extension of the current love-in. All it shows is how far the big liar has turned his heel on the principles we once thought he stood for. Never, never, never, vere, vere, ever, ever….

  • Wilde Rover

    “But yes. Almost all Irish Nationalists are Republicans. I’m not entirely sure how much that says about different nationalisms?”

    It’s clear that those from the orange side no longer believe that being in a UI would mean they would be forced to stare at a statue of Mary for hours on end on the off chance that it might cry.

    It’s also clear that when the green side has traditionally thought about the idea of an independent NI images of sneering tradesmen standing on the walls of Derry counting their wages in front of groups of unemployed natives sprang to mind.

    What isn’t clear is the green side’s attitude to a Northern Ireland state, 21st century. As more people move to NI the dream of the “natural veto” will evaporate on both sides. The question is do northern nationalists still fear an independent NI?

    The future argument could be between republican nationalists and monarchist nationalists, i.e. whether or not the head of state of NI should be a president or a monarch.

    Which brings me back to your point, kensei.

    If that debate ever happens, and republican nationalists won the day and NI opted for a president, would that not be the realization of all republican goals?

    And after this event, would those who continued to pursue a UI not be properly labeled nationalists, and nationalists alone, since all the ideals of true republicans would have been achieved?

  • Dewi

    …..we just might get a second Nationalist First Minister in Britain.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/6668233.stm

    Things could get mighty interesting. Paisley learnt to preach in Barry I believe – he’d be welcome back !!

  • jaffa

    “The future argument could be between republican nationalists and monarchist nationalists, i.e. whether or not the head of state of NI should be a president or a monarch.”

    Or both. On an earlier post I proposed the Commonwealth Province of Ulster (modelled after Ontario or perhaps Queensland), a 9 county British-Irish Dependency with legislation jointly approved by the president of the Commonwealth of Ireland (elected by the whole Island) and the Lieutenant Governor (representing the head of the Commonwealth of Nations) to rapturous international acclaim and Nobel peace prize recommendations.

    “pocketa-pocketa-queep-pocketa-queep…went Jaffa’s political machine”

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>He constitutionally believes in Britishness, and the Queen for example, but believes that the UK as a government is failing Scotland macroeconomically<< Apart from the macro economic bit this is nonsense c-x. Salmond took his oath to the Queen under protest, and if he believed in Britishness constitutionally why would his stated aim be to break up britain? Back to the drawing board. Dewi. Pardon my French, but that is fuckin great news! fingers crossed that they come to an arrangement. Looks like jaffa has just joined our fantasy club ;¬)

  • Dewi

    Yeah Prince – Jaffa – do you know anything about 6th century linguistic patterns in Strathclyde ?
    It’s an entry requirement !!!

  • jaffa

    “Jaffa – do you know anything about 6th century linguistic patterns in Strathclyde ?”

    Boasting one of those “is he a taig, is he a prod?” surnames I believe my genes may well have washed back and forth across the North Channel for millenia, having started out on the little Island, crossed to the Highlands & Islands, embraced the reformed faith, gone off to defend the reformation against the Spaniard and perhaps rowed back across to the Island in triumph with the planters (or maybe at around the same time as they’re mostly lowland reivers and I’m a dignified clansman).

    But the answer to your question is no.

  • Dewi

    you can’t join then jaffa sorry……….it’s only geeks in our club !

  • Cahal

    “And you are right to say that Ulster and NI are not exactly the same thing. One of them contains too many Catholics for a democracy. ”

    Nice one Paid! Might be a keeper.

  • The Pict

    if he believed in Britishness constitutionally why would his stated aim be to break up britain?

    Why would a Scotsman want to break up England and Wales?

  • Wilde Rover

    “Or both. On an earlier post I proposed the Commonwealth Province of Ulster (modelled after Ontario or perhaps Queensland), a 9 county British-Irish Dependency with legislation jointly approved by the president of the Commonwealth of Ireland (elected by the whole Island) and the Lieutenant Governor (representing the head of the Commonwealth of Nations) to rapturous international acclaim and Nobel peace prize recommendations.”

    Interesting.

    This might be very interesting for anyone in Sinn Fein who wants to get back to the party’s roots. After all, it’s the 90th anniversary of the 1917 Ard Fheis, the year Sinn Fein ceased to be a monarchist party.

    Any Old Skool Sinners out there?