By Jason Michael

An independent Scotland with Elizabeth Queen of Scots as its head of state sounds positively repulsive. For many of us Yes is as much about rejecting London rule as it is about rejecting the monarchy. But “republicanism” gives them nightmares.

“We’re not really enemies, you know,” I responded to Trevor Moore – one of the few unionists I follow on Twitter, “pretty sure in the real world we have plenty in common.” The polarisation of Scottish politics has created a false sense of deeper conflict, which to some degree most of us buy into. He and I have at least one thing in common; neither of us actually lives in Scotland. Presumably, as his online profile begins with the words “Wage slave,” he moved to Texas for the same reason I came to Ireland – work. No doubt had we to meet in a pub in Dublin or Houston we’d get on like a house on fire. He’s wearing Mardi Gras throws and a Stetson in his profile picture – what’s not to like?

On social media there has always been a level of hostility towards that faction of the “other side’s” belligerents who live abroad; the International Brigades – as I like to call us. Rev. Stuart Campbell, the controversial figure behind Wings Over Scotland, gets no end of grief for living in Bath in the south west of England. His “outsider” status is always used as a stick with which to beat him for his “interference.” While I have never asked him, the same must to true for the Union’s outside interferers like Trevor. It’s certainly true in my case. But I have the feeling the response to my own interference is different. My interference is Irish, and that is not the same as Bath or Houston.

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Unionists can’t think of Ireland without popping a haemorrhoid over “republicanism.”

Even though we are all Scots – I am presuming Trevor is, the criticism of our involvement hinges primarily on the fact that we don’t live in Scotland. It has nothing to do with us. Of course it does, of course. Scotland has always had an involved diaspora community, and no matter where we are in the world we will always be Scots. Yet Ireland has a special significance in unionist mythology. Ireland is an idea they fear and loathe in almost equal measure. Be it the old guard’s detestation of Irish Catholicism – the “Fenians” – or unionism’s more recent memories of imperial humiliation and the reluctance of the Provisional IRA to take British domination lying down, Ireland troubles their waters.

Where other Scots abroad get slapped down with the tort of not living here, those of us in Ireland are subjected to the “Oh, you’re living there?!” Britain spent so long dehumanising the Irish as subhuman apes in magazines like Punch it began to believe its own racist propaganda. The Irish of British imperial invention were drunken, lazy, stupid, and feckless. It came as a shock then when these “inferior” people decided they had had enough. At the apex of the British Empire its never setting sun was plucked from the sky and smothered on the streets of Dublin, Cork, and Galway. Before Gandhi liberated India the Irish women of Cumann na mBan and the boys in the ranks of the Óglaigh na hÉireann were busy showing British soldiers – hardened on the Western Front – how to discharge a rifle.

British imperialists have never forgiven Ireland for forcing them to strike the Union flag from Dublin Castle. Its establishment mindset that Ireland has a tenuous claim to independent statehood – à la Melonie Phillips inter alia – is testimony enough to the bitterness of this grudge. In the world of respectable diplomacy it is never stated outright, but it trickles down and seeps out whenever Britain is reminded of its vulnerability to the peoples it has likewise subjugated; the rebellious and restless Scots and Welsh. When we kick off the spectre of Ireland haunts them. It is Ireland’s republicanism they have in mind – and not that of France, Italy, or the United Stated – when they waspishly spit out this word as us. This republicanism is London’s primal fear. I can understand why a Scottish independentista living in the Republic of Ireland really whizzes on their cornflakes.

I am a republican. For this I make no apology. Before anyone gets over excited and before the British secret service come knocking on my door, this does not mean I condone violence. It means only that I believe – in the political sense – that hereditary monarchy is as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike. This said – it is also important to stress that I am not presently engaged in a plot on Mrs Saxe Coburg und Gotha or any member of her family’s life. As a Scottish nationalist and a republican all I want is Scottish independence and the dissolution of the monarchy in my country. I’d be quite happy to have any member of the by then former Royal Family as my neighbour and follow citizen.

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Discussion on Britain’s monarchy and Republicanism


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8 thoughts on “What the Union Loathes and Fears

  1. A couple of comments. The fact is that the diapers community is not as involved in Scotland as those who live there, and civic nationalism is based on where you live, not on who your parents were or where you come from i.e. Blood and Soil nationalism.
    The Provisional IRA was nothing to do with the domination of the Catholics – or anyone else by the British state, it was purely with an internal split between the Provisionals and the Officials coming from democracy vs armed struggle in December 1969. (That is an over simplification but certainly the demand for civil rights did not justify one death)
    The IRW were merely interested in forcing a United Ireland, by 1972 the demands of the Civil Rights marchers had been met.
    You are perfectly titles to hold whatever views you have, and to interpret history in whatever way you want. What you are not entitles to do is to try and draw parallels in any case between Scotland and Ireland. I suggest you you read the 1916 proclamation and try an insert Scotland instead of Ireland you will see that it doesn’t work.
    As far as the form the head of state is concerned. my tradition would go for independence and leave the form of the head of state to the people in a Referendum. When I lived in Ireland i found Eamon DeValera much more offensive than Elizabeth Windsor, and Mary Robinson at least as acceptable.

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    1. The demands of the Civil Rights marchers may or may not have been met, but it is clearly evident that the present day DUP is still resisting the Irish Language Rights act which the GFA signed them up to, and is still practising discrimination (as well as corruption) in NI as hard as they are able. As for the entitlement to draw parallels, I think in a democracy you are allowed to draw any parallels you wish, including that of the increasing resemblance of England to the Fascist states of the 30’s with increasing attacks on foreigners and proposed laws to track their employment.

      Finally, I applaud the authors willingness to have the RF as neighbours – I don’t share it – they would always be coming around borrowing your best cutlery and assuming that they were entitled to it.

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    2. I have no time for the DUP – but when you tie them in with the Good Friday agreement you are wrong, they were the only major political party in Northern Ireland which didn’t sign up to the GFA, it was the St Andrew’s agreement which brought them on board.
      If you had any contact in Northern Ireland you would know that both discrimination and corruption are endemic wth politicians of both sides. the 90/90 situation that 90% of the population live in communities which are 90% the same community means that there is no reason for the political leaders to do anything with the other community, and by and large they don’t. The fact is that in their behaviour on both sides is appalling. the only difference is that SF show a lot more savvy then the Unionists, though it will be a clever act to escape totally from burden of their murder campaign not least against the Unionists community in Co Fermanagh, which remember is where Arleen is from – a worse appointment for first minister couldn’t have been thought up by the devil himself.

      The Irish Language has become a convenient and sacred cow. I have been told (on what authority I don’t know) that the highest proportion of Gaelic learners in Ulster are among the working class in East Belfast. However both sets of politicians are using it as an excuse.

      It is actually quite important that we are very careful to decide which country we see as the most important. I have dealings with Unionists on the propaganda front, and their attempts to tie in the SNP and SF is a problem when you have people who are directly connected with the SNP being identifies as SF and IRA supporters. it does not help.

      I will continue to use my passport with a harp on it at EU frontiers until I get one with a Lion Rampant. Brexit will eventually solve the Ulster problem in some way. However until then I prefer to work for an independent Scotland as it is clear that there is actually little appetite for a United Ireland (I was recently having a discussion with some of them why not just have a border poll, as they would win it hands down and didn’t get really satisfactory explanation).

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    3. BigIrishMan – Thanks for this. I will try to address these points. You are right, civic nationalism is about where one lives, but – in reality – this will never negate the feeling migrants have for their home country. Admittedly, this does verge on the ‘blood and soil,’ but it remains very much part of our human nature.
      The Provisional IRA was nothing to do with the domination of Catholics, but that is not quite what I am saying. The point I had hoped to make was it it was the PIRA fought in an armed struggle against the UK government. I am not attempting to force a parallel between Scotland and Ireland, I am merely trying to explain why unionists have an automatic distaste of any association with Ireland. Thanks again.

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    4. Sorry. I don’t get what you are saying. Do you think that it is good that there was an armed struggle. Do you see the troubles as the 8th or is it the 9th time that the people of Ireland have have asserted it in arms their sovereignty? Do you mean that you support the continuation of the 2nd Dail?
      What do you think of the 2800 Irish men and women who died in the troubles? the 1425 who were killed by Republicans of some kind?
      You have to distinguish between the different flavours of Unionism. The ones who wish to maintain Ulster in the Union are not necessary the same people who wish to keep the Parliamentary Union aid 1707. Davis seemed to be saying that if the people f Ulster didn’t like what they were getting t go into the Republic, which is a strange point of view for a UK Unionists.

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  2. That’s the one thing I don’t like about salmond in the first independence referendum he was all for keeping the queen as head of state this I think was to keep the ulster unionists happy also I done a little digging into salmond he has link’s to freemasonry , and it’s well known about the royals links to freemasonry so even if we did vote to leave last time we would still have been under the rule of the royals and freemasonry.

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