Now is Not the Time

Following from yesterday’s piece on how Britain is both stagnant and in flux. how suppressing constitutional change is inviting constitutional breakdown, this interview is an interesting insight into how Northern Ireland and Scotland are viewed very differently:

The interviewers are incredulous that the people of Northern Ireland could be treated with such disdain with the NI Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris unilaterally announcing that there will be no poll on a United Ireland for ten years. How could this possibly be okay when it directly contradicts the NI Agreement? Yet such a pronouncement is routinely made of Scotland’s right to hold a referendum on independence. It has become commonplace, we have become completely inured to being put down and told to shut up. The events across the Irish Sea are shining light onto these relations and the hypocrisy within them.

A tangent I know but a Biden election victory across the pond might also be a key to change and unification in Ireland that might in turn cause constitutional ripples in Britain.

Comments (10)

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  1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

    The interviewers did well. They actually did what interviewers and presenters are supposed to do by challenging the views expressed by the Secretary of State. I annoy envisage any BBC Scotland or STV interviewers adopting a similar line with Secretaries of State, Prime Ministers and Leaders of the Opposition.

    The Secretary of State, and, indeed, ‘human right’ lawyer Starmer, do not seem to understand or, more likely, are playing the jingoist card (we have taken back control), that this decision is under an international treaty with the Irish Republic and the US also signatories. The EU human rights legislation is a factor in this, too.

    Voting in a referendum would be in the Irish Republic and in Northern Ireland. To the best of my knowledge deciding on whether there is a referendum or not, is not within the power of the Secretary of State.

    If there is a referendum in Ireland on the border, it should not be assumed that we in Scotland would have the right to seek one. The argument, will, be the old canard, that ‘the two situations are not remotely (sic) comparable, and, in any case you had a referendum and voted to remain.’ This is the line ScotConLabLibDem and their media thugs will deploy.

    Personally, I think reunification of Ireland will have an influence in Scotland. I think we could see an upsurge of ‘loyalist action’ to ‘protect monuments’, but, potentially turning nasty.

    1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

      Apologies: at the end of line 2, the word should be ‘cannot’, not ‘annoy’. Autocorrect – grrrrrrrr!

    2. William Davison says:

      It is within the power of the NI Secretary to decide when there will be a border poll. The treaty arising from the GFA states that ” if at any time it appears to him (or her) that a majority of those voting would express a wish that NI should cease to part of the UK,” then a poll could be called. This is currently unlikely, as at the last Assembly election the 2 nationalist parties got 38.1 % of the first preference votes, the 3 unionist parties got 40.1%, and I would imagine the nationalist vote would have to reach well over 50% before the NISEC would call a poll. The nationalist vote has been stuck at the same level since 1998.

      1. John says:

        The electorate in NI and Scotland both have to rely on Westminster government which is effectively voted in by electorate outwith both these countries to decide whether they are allowed to vote on whether they should be independent from UK.
        This is fundamentally undemocratic although at present there is no majority in Stormont for reunification vote.

      2. Alasdair Angus Macdonald says:

        Thank you for amending my assertion. The point is vis a vis Scotland is that NI actually has a mechanism to get a referendum. Perfidious Albion will probably try to stymie this for as long as possible, but the option is there for the people of NI to decide where their future lies.

  2. Mary MacCallum Sullivan says:

    I think we can see that this will be the attitude any and calls for consideration, even of devolution itself, will be determinedly stonewalled. ‘You’ll have had your Section 30!’

    We have to explore other routes, namely the international, based on some form of UDI, some alternative form of ‘democratic event’. Convention off the Estates, anyone?

  3. Cathie Lloyd says:

    Did anyone else spot the freudian slip in the reference to the Good Friday Agrievement? The brits are awfully messed up over the union. How can the media take seriously the pronouncements by an MP who is likely to be out of office within the year – or certainly in opposition? I think the best thing we can do is to avoid making pointless predictions which are inflammatory. Or making comparisons between us in Scotland and N. Ireland. Self determination should be what it says on the tin.

  4. SleepingDog says:

    Perhaps it is not surprising that these Conservative Unionists have such trouble with basic concepts such as democracy, rule of law, keeping to promises etc. The patrician attempt to speak on behalf of an electorate (while talking up its divisions) is an oddly antagonistic angle to take, though. It seems quite reasonable to suppose that constitutional rottenness may be behind many of the everyday problems in the UK.

    Graeber and Wengow posit that force, control of information and charisma are three sources of social power. I confess that while I’m fairly conversant with the first two in terms of the British Empire, I struggle with perceiving charisma in any modern politician. If people act as if they are charmed, I have to concede the likelihood, but the standard appears to be as low as this Chris Heaton-Harris example. Certainly it doesn’t look like this government is trying very hard.

    This is actually extremely worrying, because none of the possible explanations for charisma-free governance that I can think of are less than catastrophic in our current polycrisis. Maybe something awful is working its way down the desecretisation pipeline, perhaps a declaration of martial law is days away, perhaps a geopolitical tipping point has been reached and the Ship of State is about to turn belly-up.

    But why are the Conservatives not governing? I’m thinking about this IICSA story for one.
    Apparently now is not the time to make mandatory reporting into law either. It’s as if we’re approaching a Jahr Null break where no previous contract will be remembered, let alone honoured, and the Conservatives are getting bored talking about them.

  5. John Wood says:

    ‘The hills are bare now …’ We have internalised defeat and colonialism, too cowed by the practised fearmongering, bullying, corruption and outright violence of the British Empire to stand up for ourselves. We have seen time and again the vicious fury of its entitled response when anyone tries to escape its clutches. Divide and rule in Ireland, in India, and across the Middle East. The casual endorsement of genocide in Palestine. The British (note: British, not ‘English’) establishment is utterly ruthless, and without any ethical compass at all.

    We have our Claim of Right. ‘King’ Charles swore to uphold it last year but only took the part of the coronation oath that refers to the Church of Scotland. He has no legitimacy here unless he takes the full version – and abides by it. In Scotland, the people are sovereign.

    The Westminster Parliament upheld the Claim in a vote and then ignored and denied it. However it doesn’t change the situation at all.

    But we need to remember that as the British Empire was officially dismantled, it was soon reassembled and taken over by the US through debt. In this new ‘unipolar’ world, the UK itself is now effectively a US colony. It might suit US internal politics to promote a united Ireland, and US geopolitics to break up the EU as a competitor, but I suspect that their North Sea oil interests might favour keeping the UK together and ‘stable’. Whichever party is in power in Westminster, it does as it’s told by Washington. Democracy is an Orwellian sham.

    Scotland was bought and sold for English (more likely Anglo-Dutch) gold in 1707. Today it seems that we are still ruled by a parcel of rogues; though the gold seems to be mainly American; though how much of that actually belongs to the British royal family is unclear. Who owns Blackrock? Who owns Vanguard? What is the ‘Great Reset’, Charles? And cui bono?

    We vote for MPs and MSPs to represent constituents and stand up for us. From now on, I will not vote for any candidate, at any level, who will not uphold Scotland’s absolute sovereign right to self determination. If none will do so, I will spoil my ballot. I hope you will do the same. The kind of Scotland that emerges will be for Scotland’s people to debate and decide. No-one else.

  6. Bill says:

    Does not your headline say it all!!! Now is not the time!!! There will never be a time. All resistance to change is predicated on it not being the time. Well any change for the better or for the improvement for the majority of the people.

    However, it was the time to destroy the health service, the railways, the water industry, the public sector generally. Truly a parcel o rogues in the nation. The Tories will never have the time for benefit of the people and sadly it looks as if Sir Keir and the Labour party are joining that camp.

    Send round the fiery cross and arise people and revolt!!

    Regards Bill

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