Sectarianism is a reflection of the historical, social, and political tensions of Scotland, dating back – of course – to the Reformation. Even then however, from the mid-sixteenth century, the struggle between Catholicism and the various Protestantisms of the Reformation period was always, in essence – as it was in England and on the continent, a power struggle. With the Peace of Westphalia – ending the Wars of Religion in 1648 – where states recognised the principle of cuius regio eius religio, which granted the monarch the right to determine the religion of the state.
Brexit was always making this more likely, and it makes perfect sense for dissidents to strike first. They have the most to lose from the collapse of the GFA. So, this was exactly what happened. Former Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams called for resistance to Brexit – political resistance, but the interpretation of that call by dissidents, keen to usurp the position of Sinn Féin and get the ball rolling on a fresh Intifada that can be escalated with the right encouragement from the British security forces, was of course going to be armed resistance.
In practical terms this divergence means that British rule on the island of Ireland will come to an end, ultimately bringing about the conditions in which a border poll on the constitutional future of the six counties will be reduced to little more than a legal formality. Given the population demographics of the province and the mutual economic interdependence of Ireland and the six counties, the long-term consequence of this deal – if agreed – will be the eventual unification of Ireland.
Trust? Kinship? Not likely. Britain is the same old heart-scald it has always been to Ireland. Nothing has changed. This should be a lesson to Scotland and Wales. If people think the English state is the geopolitical equivalent of a bout of haemorrhoids while they’re trying to free themselves from it, they should consider how those who have already beaten it are treated.
By voting to leave the EU and by insisting that the people of Northern Ireland leave with “Britain” regardless of their needs and interests, London has shown its true contempt for its loyal citizens in Belfast.
When the Union has run out of arguments, and it looks like Scotland is about to take the high road, it throws the dice for the last time: The Ulsterisation of Scotland. “Leave this empire,” it says, “and we’ll treat you like we treated the Irish.”
Flags – as a signifier of identity – are important to a certain segment of the northern population, and have become increasing so the more the gun has been removed from northern politics. By ‘a certain segment of the northern population’ I do not mean Loyalists or Nationalists.
Follow @UrFhasaidh South-western Scotland; Ayrshire, Galloway, Carrick, and Dumfriesshire, are seldom afforded the ink spillage they deserve in the Mediaeval history of Scotland. It is true that in the aftermath of the constitutional crisis precipitated by the untimely demise of the Maid of Norway and the subsequent Plantagenet pressing of its claim to suzerainty over … Continue reading Travels through the Scottish Bruce Heartlands