Even if there is no UI in the medium term… what of an UK without Scotland but with NI? March 20, 2017Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Independence would represent a seismic tear in the fabric of the United Kingdom.
Overnight, Northern Ireland would become a rump state, psychologically and politically unmoored from its closest relatives.
Would the UK survive without Scotland? Almost certainly, at least for a while.
But as English nationalism becomes ever more the centripetal force of British politics, Irish interests are likely to become even more marginal.
What sort of life would this United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland have? It’s worth keeping in mind that on the most basic logistical level the connections, other than flight, are most directly through Scotland. That wouldn’t end in the context of Scottish independence but one has to imagine that they would change. Perhaps, and this is a big perhaps, if the UK is able to strike a deal with the EU/ROI in relation to this island and the border it is possible that a fairly permeable frontier will exist. Indeed it may be that this island serves as the dry run for future Scottish independence and the technical and logistical aspects of same.
What a strange patchwork quilt the islands would be too. With the south of Ireland the north of the island of Britain most likely both in the EU. The psychological effect of all this cannot be understated. And there would be other implications. Much has been made of the centrifugal dynamics of Brexit to the EU. But what of the same dynamics in relation to the Union. If a member can leave in the 21st century suddenly that union looks shaky, fragile. The irony of Northern Ireland still being in the Union after a Scottish exit is fascinating. But perhaps that is to misread the dynamics there. For Irish independence, even the truncated version currently in play, has obviously had a long term effect on attitudes in Scotland.
And more than passing strange that the EU should provide a sort of glue which would cement the UK together into the modern era. I’ve always been dubious about those who talk about single nationalisms or national identities (my own direct experience suggests that it is a lot more complex than that), but in an odd way despite there being no real European identity I wonder if on some level the linkages to a Europe (not, by the way, necessarily an EU Europe) has had interesting effects too in terms of smoothing away some of the harder edges of more local national identities on these islands – at least for some.