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After the Union? March 28, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

A genuinely intriguing nugget of information in the IT from Paul Goodman of – bear with me – ConservativeHome on a survey they did with the University of Winchester. It appears that Tories are not really very unionist.

Twenty-nine per cent said that the break-up of the union would “finally end the unreasonable demands on England to provide ever-greater financial and political concessions to Scotland”.
If one added those who believe that this development would “have no real significance for the remaining parts of the UK” and those who think that “any problems could be managed”, that total rises to 66 per cent. Only 33 per cent of respondents said that it “would inflict serious damage on the power, influence and well-being of the remaining parts of the UK”.


In other words, two in three of those Conservative Party members are sanguine about the end of the union. And more than one in four seem happy for it to happen.

It’s not a huge surprise but it is useful to see it outlined in such detail. Goodman offers some potential scenarios as to the future – and for a Tory is open about the problems that lie ahead, one might even say realistically pessimistic, which is refreshing.

And he makes one incontrovertible point:

It is deeply unfashionable to suggest that politicians should take the lead about anything, anywhere. But the fact remains that the mechanisms of Anglo-Irish relations are in the hands of the politicians – the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference, which links the two governments; the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly, which brings together politicians from throughout the islands; and, above all perhaps, the British-Irish Council, at which the heads of Britain’s devolved administrations sit on the same basis as the prime minister and the Taoiseach. In the wake of article 50 being implemented and the Brexit talks beginning, the British government needs to start giving the conference and the council some real priority.

And there’s something in the following too:

Perhaps the latter’s heads of government should meet more frequently, to probe the economic and political unknowns that are consequences of Brexit, and to try to chart a way forward. The strains on this co-operative structure will become even more testing if Scotland moves towards a second referendum on independence. But its survival and development are now an imperative. We are moving from a world in which the relationship between Britain and Ireland was contained within a common Europe-wide structure. Both countries and all parts of these islands urgently need a replacement.

The problem is that three parts of these islands want to retain the EU link and two do not. So even in the context of the islands that is a fissure that runs through everything. Indeed it is striking how Brexit has functioned in such a divisive way, and in a way that has brought into play dynamics that were thought near extinct. After all, a year and a half ago who could have predicted that Scottish independence would be back on the table once more so recently after a lost referendum or that a range of entities on this island would be talking seriously about Irish unity. And what of England (and Wales to an extent)? The centripetal forces at work there are such as to isolate it even more so than one might have expected Brexit to do, not just from Europe, but from Scotland. And Northern Ireland, what of it?


1. Aengus Millen - March 28, 2017

Not totally surprising, english nationalism has been the driving force behind conservative politics in the UK in recent years. The grievance which led to EVEL and Brexit means that there is little fellow feeling in England even though their grievance about subsidizing Scotland is wrong. In terms of consequences for the north and Scotland it could be very interesting. In Scotland it will already be impossible to put together a better together campaign with labour and conservative activists may be less willing to go over the border. For the north those who say that a United Ireland is still a ways off may be right but English political indifference is one of the reasons why it may not take a dramatic demographic shift to see a United Ireland.

Liked by 1 person

1729torus - March 28, 2017

London is retreating from its “internal periphery”, like Moscow and the North Caucasus.


bjg - March 28, 2017
2. Dermot O Connor - March 28, 2017

Ironic, given that their official name is the “Conservative and Unionist Party”, no?


Liked by 1 person

3. deiseach - March 28, 2017

I’m sceptical about this, in much the same way that I’m sceptical about surveys which reveal ambivalence south of the (Irish) border about a united Ireland. My wife has a long-standing disdain for the Jocks and spent the first decade or so of our relationship telling anyone who would listen that she wished they would sod off and ‘finally end the unreasonable demands on England to provide ever-greater financial and political concessions to Scotland’. But when the first survey in the lead-up to the independence referendum came along to suggest a Yes majority, she gummed up. The thought of lopping off a part of HRH’s realm, even a rebellious part that she yearned to crush, was too much to contemplate. You can view that as a colonial impulse if you wish. There would be some truth in that. But I think it’s more akin to the attitude expressed by Alex Massie, one of a reluctance to truly see Scotland and England as foreign countries. I wonder how many of the people mentioned in the survey would, in the privacy of a voting booth, be able to follow through on such a dramatic notion.


sonofstan - March 28, 2017

Is it necessarily a binary choice though? Same country/ foreign country?
the relationship, on a practical level, between Ireland and the constituent nations of the UK works on a sort of ‘third way’ principle; nobody really thinks of the other as truly foreign, but it doesn’t compromise the political independence of Ireland.

Equally, I wonder if the various bit of ex-Yugoslavia feel that they are each foreign to the others? Czech republic and Slovakia?


Joe - March 28, 2017

It is complicated isn’t it? I wouldn’t think of a lot of English, Scottish, Welsh or northern Irish people as truly foreign. But then there was an English bloke with a very plummy accent on a train with me and my ma in England in the 1980s. When he heard where we were from he thought it was very funny to ask whether we’d be going from Dún Laoghaire harbour to Dublin city by donkey and cart. He was/is a foreigner to me.
Ex-Yugoslavia – I’d say the foreigness of the other might be quite high after all the blood spilled in recent and not-so-recent years.

If the Scots do go for another referendum though, they’ll be potentially making a more definitive decision this time. Last time, they were probably looking at a ‘third way’ scenario -Scotland and the Rest of Britain (RoB) as two members of the EU, so enabling ‘third way’ no borders, common travel area etc etc. This time, if they vote for independence, they’re voting probably for a hard border between Scotland and RoB. A big leap I would have thought.


sonofstan - March 28, 2017

“Ex-Yugoslavia – I’d say the foreigness of the other might be quite high after all the blood spilled in recent and not-so-recent years”
Enemies maybe, but still not ‘foreign’?


4. roddy - March 28, 2017

My oh My, is’nt it great altogether that I’m not “truly foreign”.Thank you for your massive generosity!


sonofstan - March 28, 2017

Brits constantly tell me that here and I’m expected to be grateful!


Joe - March 28, 2017

Roddy, I said “a lot of … northern Irish people”. I’d say you are as Irish as me and vice versa. Sad, isn’t it?
SoS, yes foreign or enemy, interesting distinction.


5. irishelectionliterature - March 28, 2017

Pretty sure the “Scottish ingrates” sentiment will grow in little England over the next year or two.
One of the risks too is that the Scottish Independence movement will get the blame for a crap Brexit deal for the UK….. Undermining us at every step etc etc
Wait til you see the headlines in six months about “Sturgeon in back channel negotiations to join the EU” ,banner headlines about the Scots being “The enemy within” and so on.


6. shea - March 28, 2017

if thats how the uk ends then that is brilliant, little to no scenario for shots to be fired.

Liked by 1 person

7. sonofstan - March 28, 2017

This from a Guardian piece as to why Brexit is somehow Europe’s fault:

“Yet, as the borders of central Europe have ceaselessly changed, the British Isles remained constant”

Don’t all rush at once…

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - March 28, 2017

You don’t have a link or headline to that article, would like to read it…


sonofstan - March 28, 2017
WorldbyStorm - March 28, 2017

Thanks SoS


WorldbyStorm - March 28, 2017

Phew. That’s a read and a half. It’s not just the British isles stuff… but the complete indifference to pre-existing British opt-outs. Wow.


8. benmadigan - March 28, 2017

Some random pieces of the jigsaw:

This evening Scotland moved towards a second referendum on independence. Which Westminster appears to have refused on timing grounds. FM Sturgeon will reply to the objections after Easter recess.

NI has no local government. There are no signs that Stormont will ever return

The UK is opening brexit negotiations tomorrow with 27 EU states minus two of its peripheral territories and with Wales wanting to muscle in on the break-up.
Talk about spanners in the works!

Furthermore some councillor to the EU parliament?/Council? (can’t find ref) suggested Scotland and NI be kept in the EU until they can have their respective Border Poll/IndyRef2

Remember the EU has a duty of care etc for EU citizens. That doesn’t mean only the Polish plumbers .
It also means people in Scotland and NI who majority voted to Remain in the EU.


WorldbyStorm - March 29, 2017



shea - March 29, 2017

its a bit of devilment though, people in the eu saying stuff like that about the north and scotland.

though that tends to be how the north stays in political unions.


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