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Paying the price for centuries of contempt March 27, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, European Politics, Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, Scottish Politics, The Left, Wales.

It’s not necessarily coming, as they say, from a place of love. More like a place of snark, but this is a great line from Simon Jenkins in the Guardian when discussing the shape of the next British Parliament.

British politics is paying the price for centuries of English contempt for the political aspirations of the Irish, Scots and Welsh.

Ain’t that the truth.

Throughout the 19th century Tory (and some Liberal) opposition to even moderate home rule for the “other British empire” ensured a more drastic separatism would eventually triumph.

Actually his line is intriguing because he argues that with SNP support a Labour government is more or less inevitable. Well, we’ll see.

He makes another point, one which given the way in which unionism looms large in the political consciousness is perhaps sometimes forgotten on this part of the island

The lesson of separatism across Europe is the same. For restless Ukrainians, Slovenians, Kosovans, Slovakians, Basques and Catalans, regional autonomy is not a passing fad, to be bought off with a few powers and subsidies. It is a visceral response to the arrogance of centralised power. It is the response that many Britons profess towards the overbearing power of Brussels; yet few in Westminster see themselves as the EU of Great Britain.


1. benmadigan - March 27, 2015

totally agree . was thinking along those lines myself as i read the article


WorldbyStorm - March 29, 2015

Jenkins is a funny character, isn’t he?


2. CL - March 27, 2015

“the broad Yes campaign became a genuine people’s movement which saw independence not just as an objective in itself but as a key to unlocking a country to run it on radically different priorities than the austerity and war underpinning Britain….
Rising support for greater self-determination up to full independence has boosted the fortunes of the SNP, which has also astutely moved to occupy much of the social democratic territory abandoned by Labour and is now positioned well to the Left of Labour….


3. Phil - March 27, 2015

A movement for regional autonomy would be a great place for Unionism to end up, but I’m not sure they’re there yet – and it certainly isn’t where they started. (See a recent – and still smouldering – Crooked Timber thread for more, much more.)


shea - March 27, 2015

isac butt an irish tory and early home rule leader often forgotten believed that the best way to preserve the union which was his hope was to decentralise it.

There is possibly more justification to the what if history of unionists blowing the opportunity of home rule to preserve the union than the what if history of nationalists blowing the pacifist route to an independent state by the rising and imminent implementation of the home rule bill.

If the island of britain is catching up with ireland and going through similar senarios should scotland expect a clatter across the head.


shea - March 27, 2015

not that this southern state has anything to be smug about in terms of its regions. it still continues to centralise administration around dublin just like the british with the same effects.

Would not blame people west of the shannon if they drew a border, if people are assets to a community then the level of emigration over the last century from the west of ireland could be viewed as a form of asset stripping. You can not continue the same system and expect different results.


que - March 27, 2015

The word regions used ib rhw context of the UK is mainly used to represent countries while naturally in Ireland any regions aren’t such but who can disagree about the degree of centralisation round Dublin.

The UK like most western states exists to serve an economy. Within that economic space areas with strong but subsimed national identities will be the first to start complaining and putting the head above the parapet. The English themselves will do so eventually but are in the invidious position of thinking the UK is England.


4. Michael Carley - March 27, 2015

Nice to read somebody who knows that the UK is a multinational multilingual federation which has been breaking up for nearly a century.


que - March 28, 2015

Yes but he resents any people who recognize that the UK is composed of 3 nations each with their own languages.

You’d think the guardian would be tripping over itself to support a left leaning Scotland but only if you bought the Guardian as left leaning and not left wing in an Irish Labour or Bacik sense ie all well in good but confined to a few things and for the rest as fully behind the system as you could get.

For real left wing action you should read this piece in the guardian about the wonderful anarchic energy that is passover. Well done the guardian. If you have a single view point the guardian will elevate it into to be followed by all wisdom but if you want your country to split from the UK to express its national identity and to at least try reverse the inequalities then that’s not accepted. Labour and Bacik as I said.



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