SNP Independence Surge Spells Danger for the North of Ireland

An outright majority of votes/seats for the SNP will be interpreted as an unambiguous mandate for independence 

AS IT STANDS  – and there is, of course, a long way to go – the Scottish National Party looks like taking around 55 per cent of the vote in the election to the Scottish National Party next May.

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That could give Nicola Sturgeon a fairly comfortable overall majority and strengthen her demand for a second referendum on independence (which a number of polls indicate she would win). Boris Johnson has said he will “return to sender” any request for a referendum but I’m not sure anyone believes him anymore; particularly those who saw the clip of him telling people at a reception in the North of Ireland last November that they could “put in the bin” any letters they received about border posts on land or in the Irish Sea. The trouble with Johnson is that he adopts the TikTok approach to policy and promises; treating different audiences to a lip-synced charade intended to distract rather than commit to resolving their problems. He isn’t his own man, though. Indeed, I’m pretty sure he needs to extract Dominic Cummings hand before he can stand up and move about. He’s also in the increasingly tight grip of a rebooted English nationalism which cares as much about the needs of the Celtic fringe as I do about garden slugs.

If the UK economy goes into a very deep recession, with huge demands on the taxpayer and massive cuts required, then I suspect that Johnson would come under huge pressure to let Scotland and the North of Ireland swing. Why, some will ask, are we expected to pay for those two places when they seem so keen to break away from us? If the SNP does as well as expected next May, Surgeon’s referendum case will be built on a number of points. An outright majority of votes/seats for the SNP will be interpreted as an unambiguous mandate for independence. A fall in the vote for the Conservatives and Labour will be interpreted as reduced support for the pro-UK position. Johnson is despised in many parts of Scotland: being seen to reject the right of the majority to have a referendum on their own future will simply increase the pro-independence sentiment. The UK exchequer may not, in fact, have enough money available to ‘kill home rule with kindness’ against the background of a crippling recession.

So, the debate would come down to this question: Would Scotland be stronger as an independent state within the parameters of the EU; or better to rely on a continuing union with the rest of the UK and a potentially ugly relationship with an English nationalism that Johnson – or another Conservative leader – will be afraid to offend? In 2014 Gordon Brown’s last-minute intervention is reckoned to have swung votes away from the SNP (votes which David Cameron had failed to reach). I’m not sure Brown would be prepared to intervene a second time; and I can’t think of a significant player within Scottish unionism with the same clout and influence as Brown. Johnson, Cummings, the European reform Group (the Conservative thorn-in-the-flesh once led by Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg) and the entire Conservative parliamentary party were prepared to undermine unionism in the North of Ireland (‘betray’ is the word I heard key players across unionism use) to ‘get Brexit done’. 

Does anyone really believe that those same people – along with urgings from English nationalism – wouldn’t let Scotland go its own way (and the North of Ireland too) and keep the billions presently being spent on them by ‘the English taxpayer’? I know that Brexit pushed the independence debates up the agenda (although the 2014 Scottish referendum had nothing to do with EU membership) but my view then was that the debates were always going to be unavoidable.

A mixture of challenges were pushing the various nationalisms within the UK into conflict with each other, while success governments – and I think it can be traced back to the end of the Second World War – failed to establish the concept and vision of a broader UK nationalism; a specific UK identity, if you like. So it wouldn’t have mattered if a comfortable majority had voted to remain in the EU, the competing nationalisms across the UK would still be pushing their case as vigorously as they are right now. Unionists in Scotland and the North of Ireland seem to think that the conditions required for a referendum or border poll are nowhere close to being met. They are dangerously sanguine in my opinion.

With many thanks to: The Irish News and Alex Kane’s OPINION piece for the original story.

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Author: seachranaidhe1

About Me I studied for six months training and became certified in Exam 070-271 in May 2010 and shortly after that became certifed in Exam 070-272. I scored highly in both Exams and hope to upgrade my path to M.C.S.A. ( Server Administrator ) in the near future.I also hold Level 2 Qualifications in three subjects Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint and Microsoft Spreedsheets. I have also expereance with Web Design using Microsoft Front-Page.

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