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Re-unionists May 13, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Was thinking about the situation in Scotland post a successful Independence referendum. Where would that leave unionists? Would they seek re-union or would they move to a position of neutrality – or would much depend upon the numbers? And take the British Labour Party. How would a Labour Party that was in Scotland function in this context?

In Northern Ireland the constitutional position is clearer – even if arriving at a position were unification took place is less so (given a poll remains in the gift of the Secretary of State). There is no mechanism by which the North would leave a United Ireland once it positioned within it.

But then perhaps one independence had been achieved in Scotland that would be so definitive a rupture that there would be no means of reversing the process.

What do people think?

Comments»

1. banjoagbeanjoe - May 13, 2021

In Northern Ireland the constitutional position is clearer – even if arriving at a position were unification took place is less so (given a poll remains in the gift of the Secretary of State). There is no mechanism by which the North would leave a United Ireland once it positioned within it.

I’ve seen you make this point before and I need to debate it. So here goes.

You are correct. There is no such mechanism – currently. That is, there’s nothing in the GFA or anywhere else that suggests or sets out any such mechanism.
But… there seemed to be a bit of a consensus on here that, in the event of a vote for a UI, a reverse GFA would be a sensible approach. I’m pretty sure there’d be differences on here on what provisions would be in such a reverse GFA … and negotiating and agreeing a reverse GFA among the parties in the north especially, but among all other parties too, would be no small matter. But can I suggest to nationalists that an easy give for them in such a negotiation would be the provision for a referendum re the north going back into the UK. Such a referendum to take place say 10 or 20 years after the UI (with structures as agreed in the reverse GFA) comes into being.
Such a provision would keep some unionists slightly happier.
And the big challenge in any UI will be keeping the unionists some bit happy.

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WorldbyStorm - May 13, 2021

That’s a really interesting idea. I wonder would it fly politically, but it is something to think about. I’ve always felt that keeping some north/east political links – seats in the HOL etc would be no harm. Possibly the north retaining certain other links.

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EWI - May 13, 2021

But can I suggest to nationalists that an easy give for them in such a negotiation would be the provision for a referendum re the north going back into the UK

Nope. Let’s not put poisoned pill provisions in. The entire artificial existence of NI was predicated on a constructed ‘majority’; if that goes away, then it should be gone forever.

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2. Colm B - May 13, 2021

I can’t think of any country which achieved independence in modern times which voluntarily reversed it’s stance. In any case with Scotland (and maybe NI) gone there will be no UK to reunify with.

Of course with that achieved how all the parts of these islands relate to each other in structures based on equality and cooperation is a different matter.

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WorldbyStorm - May 13, 2021

I would hope it would be on a very deep level, something analogous to the EU where possible, but in a meeting of equals.

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Fergal - May 13, 2021

What about joint-authority?…for the next x number of years… at the end of which is a border poll?
In the meantime… both sides and the others get to promote their solutions?
Integrated, secular education a must… and we can begin in the south…

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WorldbyStorm - May 13, 2021

I’d live with that. On the other hand a democratic element at the local level is useful. But agreed, secular integrated education a must. And one that leaves national identity at the door (no BA recruiting stuff there, etc, etc).

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3. EWI - May 13, 2021

There’s no actual sub-polity along the Scottish border with England which can really claim rights in itself (and if they try this, the counter-side is that they should therefore be excluded from any Scottish independence vote).

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Paul Culloty - May 13, 2021

Dumfries and Galloway, and Borders, have consistently voted Tory in recent decades, but I suspect both would balk at partition and subsuming themselves into England.

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4. rockroots - May 13, 2021

I’d imagine Scottish unionists would not disappear into the mist overnight. Maybe repurpose themselves as ‘British federalists’ or something, but with any inevitable bump on the road, post-independence, I expect they would pop back up. Depends also on how close a referendum vote was – if there was potential to overturn it or alter it down the line. Ukraine might be an unfortunate precedent for having a large minority hostile to independence. In a way, it would seem an easier proposition to reverse Scottish independence than to reverse Northern Ireland’s secession. Joe’s suggestion might actually be a useful device for placating our unionists while making the obvious assumption that unity would be bedded-in after 20 years or so. Short of a major demographic reversal, that is.

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WorldbyStorm - May 13, 2021

Yeah, in which case it would be back and forth, but agreed, that seems unlikely.

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Colm B - May 13, 2021

Yes it is possible that the British state or elements the security apparatus would try to disrupt independence if they lost a referendum by encouraging mini-seperatism in the Borders or Northern Isles or violence and sectarianism amongst the loyalists of West of Scotland. But it wouldn’t be quite the same as Putin and his little green men in the Ukraine. Whatever your view of that conflict, the fact is that there were significant populations in parts of Ukraine whose ethnic identity made the conflict and how it developed more likely.

The elements that I mentioned in Scotland are not based on a separate ethnic identity, except perhaps for Shetland. Even there the situation is not as clear as unionist commentators claim: this article by a Shetlander illustrates the complexity of the interaction between various forms of identity, politics and social factors in Shetland:

https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2021/05/11/being-a-shetlander-and-a-scot-some-reflections-on-the-election/

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Bagatelle's Unkicked Thimble - May 13, 2021

The fellas that lost India, then lost Aden and then lost East Africa ended up in NI as the next or final stop on their career.

o Frank Kitson: Gangs an Counter-gangs (1960)
o Britain’s Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya (2005)
o Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya (2005)
o Cruel Britannia: A Secret History of Torture (2013)
o Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India (2017)
o Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent (2019)

Listening to the aunts & uncles talk growing up, the consensus was that Ballymurphy & Bloody Sunday were Kitson operations designed to fork the IRA. It would force the IRA to engage in firefights with the British army and lose. Or not engage and lose the support of the community. There was always some, err, lively, debates and pointed disagreements at times, but with hindsight the olds’ assessment of NI current affairs and UK govt lies in the 70s/80s were spot on. Competent feckers.

After everything I’ve read of UK 19th & 20th century history, alongside Kitson’s own words, I’m more inclined to believe its true than not.

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EWI - May 14, 2021

Listening to the aunts & uncles talk growing up, the consensus was that Ballymurphy & Bloody Sunday were Kitson operations designed to fork the IRA. It would force the IRA to engage in firefights with the British army and lose. Or not engage and lose the support of the community.

This isn’t a new dilemma, either. Plenty of analogue in the WoI.

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gypsybhoy69 - May 16, 2021

4. rockroots – May 13, 2021
I’d imagine Scottish unionists would not disappear into the mist overnight.

Judging by scenes in and around George Square, Glasgow earlier, there’s a cohort who want to make it clear they won’t be disappearing into the mist overnight.

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