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Scot Free?
Next Up: Independence for Northern Ireland?

The stakes of Scotland’s independence vote go well beyond Scotland. There’s also the Irish question to consider, according to Ireland’s former European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton:

“I think it would inevitably lead to demand for such a referendum (in the North). I don’t know what the outcome of such a referendum would be. We are all committed now to the principle of consent in Northern Ireland, respective of both communities and that’s something I would feel very strongly about,” she said.

She added the latest opinion poll was ‘a major wake-up call’ for Irish people and warned that calls for a referendum in the north could be damaging.

“My fear is that a referendum of that sort in the North at this juncture would actually threaten the peace process and would alienate the Protestant community and could actually be very dangerous,” she said.

As of writing, both PredictWise and BetFair have the likelihood of independence at around 28 percent. And with both Conservative and Labour bigwigs heading off to Scotland to vigorously campaign for a “No” vote, in part by offering to devolve more powers, the triumph of the secessionists is far from certain.

But make no mistake: this vote is a very big deal.

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  • wigwag

    And to think, it was only a few short years ago when Professor Mead was assuring us that David Cameron was a “man with a plan.” The plan was to put the “great” back in Great Britain. Mead was sure that the pencil-necked Cameron was up to the job. So sure was he in fact, that he compared Cameron to Churchill, Atlee, Thatcher and Blair.

    Instead, it looks like Cameron had a different plan; apparently that plan was to inspire everyone to rush to the exits. However the vote goes in Scotland, its pretty clear that either a small majority or a sizable minority don’t feel any affinity for the nation that they have been a part of for centuries; that can’t be good. If the Northern Irish head for the hills, can the Welsh be far behind? As a matter of fact, if England’s Muslim minority becomes any more rambunctious, before long, it may be the English looking for the exits.

    One wonders why Londoners don’t think about seceding from England; London produces all the wealth while the North gobbles up all the nation’s resources to feed the social welfare programs needed to keep its destitute citizens afloat. Why wouldn’t London decide to take the next train out of town?

    It’s interesting to reflect on whether secession movements would be popular in the United States if they were permissible. Could a vote to secede from the Union garner more than 30 percent of the vote in any American state? Texas maybe? Vermont?

    As a long-time resident of New York City, my guess is that residents of the City would be happy to secede from New York State; the City produces all the wealth that subsidizes the rest of the State. Would Austin residents gladly exit Texas if given half a chance? I wonder.

    The thing to remember about the Scottish situation is that it might set a precedent not just for the Northern Irish and Welsh but for the rest of Europe. My guess is that the various disgruntled citizens of Belgium are watching this vote very carefully. The Catalans and the Basques might be very interested. Macedonia’s Albanian minority might be paying very close attention. The Kosovars surely are, and so are partisans of Republika Srpska.

    Europe really is a mess. The biggest foreign policy challenge for the United States is not the Ukrainian imbroglio or ISIS, it’s figuring out how we continue to lead the world with our trilateral allies, Japan and Western Europe in extremis.

  • PKCasimir

    Northern Ireland is two countries – a Catholic and a Protestant one. The idea that the two “countries” can live peacefully in an independent nation is to be totally ignorant of Irish history, politics, and religion. There is an uneasy peace holding in Northern Ireland for the moment; however, it would not take much for it to explode into violence once again. The reason is the fact that the Easter agreement, brokered with significant influence by Bill Clinton, has not resulted in Catholics obtaining any meaningful participation in the government, police, or government institutions.
    The solution for Northern Ireland is to be incorporated back into the Irish Republic thus overcoming centuries of English butchery, oppression, and betrayal.
    To cite Lucinda Creighton, the oft scorned and now insignificant player in Northern Ireland, is to demonstrate a profound ignorance of the occupied province.

    • Monkish

      That’s fine on condition that the protestants be allowed to then secede from the Republic of Ireland to form their own, ethnically and religiously homogenous enclave in the north. Self-determination for all!

      • PKCasimir

        The problem is that you can’t divide the province along those lines. Anyway, Northern Ireland is a geographic and political artificiality that was severed from the rest of Ireland by an English government that has used the most vile, violent and illegal methods of oppression, torture and murder to keep it as part of a nation whose capitol is on another island.
        The most overlooked fact about Northern Ireland is that more Catholics have died from Protestant terrorism than Protestants from the IRA or any of its offshoots, legal or illegal.
        What hypocrisy, – self-determination for the Protestants in Northern Ireland, probably the most repressive and prejudiced religious minority in the Western world.

        • Tom

          Said Protestants, it should be pointed out, were largely forcibly exported from Scotland to Ulster in the early 1600s. So, it’s not like it was their idea to be there in the first place.

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