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By Jason Michael

The exception that the north of Ireland is about to be given shows that the UK has now begun the process of disintegration. Now is the time for Scotland to get cracking with another referendum.

“Because we voted in the referendum as one United Kingdom,” said Theresa May to the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, “we will negotiate as one United Kingdom, and we will leave the European Union as one United Kingdom. There is no opt-out from Brexit.” Shortly after her disastrous general election in June Mrs May dipped deep into the public coffers to buy support from Northern Ireland’s extremist Democratic Unionist Party, presumably to deliver her “one United Kingdom” Brexit. Two months on from that conference and she has sold the DUP down the river and offered the first exception to her rule.

At long last the unionists in the north of Ireland have experienced first-hand what the rest of Ireland has known for well over a century; if England doesn’t buy you, it will sell you. Theresa May’s present inconsistency is entirely consistent with how London operates. The British government is the political head of the English state and it will always act in its own interests regardless of the thoughts and requirements of any other nation of the “United Kingdom.”

London’s Brexiteer blowhards thought in their arrogance they would simply rock on up to Brussels and dictate terms. Britain has never been used to the idea of having to negotiate anything. In the past – the past in which it is still living – Britain was in a position of power and could impose terms, but that has changed. The United Kingdom is now the world’s fastest declining economy, politically very fragile, and on the brink of disintegration. London’s days of dictating anything to Europe are over, and now Arlene Foster is about to pay the price for her naivety.

London will now shift the effective border between the UK and the European Union into the Irish Sea, thus shafting Belfast’s unionists and saving its own skin. In Scotland we must both welcome this move and exploit it. Now that there is indeed an exception to May’s “no opt-out from Brexit,” Scotland too must press its case for an opt-out.

What we have learnt from this move is that the British government’s bluster about Brexit being some hard and unbreakable set of rules for the whole of the UK is just that, hot air and bluster. As we have known from the start, Brexit – which has no precedent in the history of the EU – will be the result of a process of compromises. There is no reason why Scotland, which like the six counties also voted to remain, cannot also be a negotiated exception to the Brexit demanded south of the border.

In response to this proposal and yet another round of broken-down talks in Brussels between the UK and the EU the Irish Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, has voiced his disappointment in Britain’s ability to deal with this matter. He remains open, however, to working with the British government – a government he clearly sees as incompetent – to safeguard the rights of the people of Northern Ireland; many of whom are, by the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, Irish and therefore European citizens.

The problem Scotland now has is that under the current constitutional arrangement we have no power to protect our place in the EU. Only the London government, which has assumed to itself all the negotiating powers, can speak on our behalf, and it has no intention of seeking the same exceptional status for us as Northern Ireland. The only avenue now open to us is another independence referendum and time – given the likelihood of the complete failure of the Article 50 talks – is running out fast.

We have seen this evening the power Ireland has been able to exert over its former colonial master, a power only possible due to its independence. Scotland will not be in a position comparable to this until we make the decision to leave the United Kingdom.

Nicola Sturgeon has said that she will work with the Irish government to ensure the protection of Irish people, and she is to be commended for this. Yet it is now down to her and the Scottish government to start putting real pressure on the British government to deliver what Scotland voted for, or – when this is denied – to begin the process of gaining a Section 30 order for another referendum.

What is most apparent from this willingness on the part of London to create an Irish exception by adjusting the border [back to where it should be], is that the UK has now begun the process of physical deterioration. Regulatory divergence between the north of Ireland and the rest of the UK is and can only be the thin end of the wedge that will see Northern Ireland leave the UK and join a united Ireland. Regulatory cohesion and economic unity have always had political ramifications, and as the EU continues towards political unity both parts of Ireland will be pulled closet together.

This effective departure of the six counties of the north of Ireland from political and economic unity with the rest of the UK undermines all of Britain’s arguments for a “one United Kingdom.” It demonstrates quite clearly that this exists only in the imagination of the British government, and that it is time for the Scottish government to take the same exit route.

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Tusk​: EU will reject Brexit deal if not accepted by Ireland


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One thought on “Brexit: “One United Kingdom” Except for Northern Ireland

  1. If religion is really important to these people,bury the hatchet,religion is a private thing between man,woman and their maker, and should not be enforced by thuggery.People can not be blamed for falling in love with others. This planet is just so big and precious.

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