The Week The United Kingdom Started To Die
The seven days that ended with St Patricks day 2017 is probably the week the United Kingdom of Great Britain And Northern Ireland became doomed to become the Kingdom Of England, surrounded by Wales, Scotland and perhaps even Cornwall. And this is solely because of political incompetence by the people who say they most want to keep it, but have not realised they do not want it to survive.
The week started with a started with a masterstroke from Scotland’s First Minister who declared the Scottish Parliament will call for a second Independence Referendum, something almost certain to pass if the Greens support the motion. It ended with a response by the Prime Minister that resembled Schrödinger’s cat in neither blocking nor allowing a referendum. Like a mother talking to a child asking for a new toy in January she basically said “Wait for Christmas” in the hope the child would forget about it.
At the end of the week Mrs May faced the real prospect of Northern Ireland leaving the UK. The paper thin unionist majority in Stormont and changing demographics suggest that the six counties are less and less protestant and thus more and more likely to become republican. It is only matter of time till they leave but Mrs May and Brexit have shortened the time by at least a generation. Brexit already threatens the Good Friday agreement and direct rule from Westminster could break it completely as well as leaving insufficient forces if Scottish UDI happens and they want to impose direct rule on Scotland. Logic implies there will have to be a hard border between North and South. Eire has said it will veto any deal that includes a hard border but there is nothing to stop Westminster imposing a hard border after Brexit. It should be said that Westminster have no need or desire to keep Northern Ireland and would happily dump it on Eire.
When Northern Ireland goes goes the Conservative and Unionist party will become the Conservative party.
Every concession granted to Northern Ireland that is denied to Scotland will fuel the demand for independence.
A Daily Telegraph poll showed that 60% of the population of the UK felt Brexit more important than preserving the Union, and implied that meant that 60% would accept Scotland leaving if its continued membership of the UK would endanger smooth Brexit. This could embolden May into letting Scotland go if she feels her party would support this.
From the porcelain throne of Westminster, delaying a referendum till after Brexit prevent the 200,000 EU nationals in Scotland from voting, thus increasing the chances of keeping Scotland. However there may well be a large number of irate pensioners returning from Europe to face Arthritis and the Scottish weather. Many will be determined to last long enough to vote for anyone but the Tories and UKIP and also vote for Independence which might mean they could go back to Spain. Since these expatriates include newspaper magnates using pseudo non-domiciled status to avoid tax the Tories will have lost the support of the press, except possibly the Sun, and being seen as in Rupert Murdoch’s pocket will not help them electorally.
From Scotland May’s response, hailed as showing “leadership” by the right wing press in England looks much like Tories pushing Scotland around and treating it with contempt. It looks like an attempt to block a second referendum which will undoubtedly boost support for independence. The delay will give the Independence campaign time to win the hearts and minds of soft unionists and the farmers and fishermen looking bankruptcy in the face with the loss of EU subsidies, and tell pensioners of Westminster plans to abandon the triple lock on pensions by 2020. It is not hard to imagine that Westminster’s next step will be to stop paying pensions to expatriate pensioners worldwide and the Independence movement should be telling those over 55 of this possibility.
The threat of a referendum makes bribing the EU with Scottish fishing and farming rights. To name just two industries, in return for single market access, much less feasible as they may turn to fairy gold after Scotland becomes independent. Delaying a referendum would let May sell out Scotland’s Farming and Fishing, to name but two industries in return for single market access. It would allow legislation to ensure powers currently devolved to Scotland by the EU returned to Westminster thus emasculating Holyrood which could be abolished by statutory instrument on a Friday. Abolishing Holyrood would mean Westminster loses their scapegoat but they may think that is a price worth paying.
May has chosen Brexit over the United Kingdom. If most of the population consider Brexit more important than preserving the UK she might have a better understanding of what the English want than most of her party. At the same time, without strong media and public pressure she cannot just wave Scotland goodbye: an amicable parting would be too expensive. Abolishing Holyrood thus provoking Scotland into UDI would let England keep Scottish Assets while demanding English Assets in Scotland and confiscate the property of all Scots living in England. And put the Tories into power for ever. If blocking a second referendum does not result in Scottish UDI she might call an England wide referendum to have Scotland expelled from the UK.
Wales is beginning to stir as well. If the Principality decides it no longer needs the Prince of Wales. the Wails of the Prince will be heard from Siberia. If Cornwall decided it did not need a duke he would be writing letters to MPs as if it were going out of fashion.
It looks like the Tory establishment and most Brexiteers have unconsciously decided they want Scotland to be Independent but have not realised this. It is hard to imagine other motivations for the stupid and arrogant way they have treated Scotland since 2014.
The Establishment will however fight tooth and nail to keep Scotland and may still achieve a NO vote even if that is not what they really want. We need to help them on their journey to self understanding by any means possible. Unfortunately exorcism and psychiatric help is unlikely to do any good. Instead read what Robin McAlpine says we need to do. To all this I would add help the British Establishment to come to the decision Scotland is more trouble than it is worth.
https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/10560/robin-mcalpine-7-things-yessers-need-know-scotref-gets-underway Robin McAlpine: 7 things Yessers need to know as #ScotRef gets underway | CommonSpace
https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-03-17/irish-will-block-brexit-deal-that-involves-hard-border-pm-says Irish to block Brexit Deal Involving a Hard Border.