The partition of Scotland – and the new Greater England
So Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, has finally unveiled the long-promised date for the Scottish independence referendum: Thursday the 18th of September 2014. Good news for the broad Nationalist movement in Scotland which now has a target date to aim for (along with the encouraging – if slight – rise in the polls for the potential pro-independence vote seen recently).
However the political war over Scotland’s (and Britain’s) future is well and truly on and nothing seems to be excluded. I noted back in January of 2012 the calls emanating from leaders of the separatist British Unionist minority in the north-east of Ireland suggesting that their vital (as well as historic) links with Britain and Lowland Scotland should be secured by “partitioning” any future independent Scottish nation (essentially moving the border between Scotland and England up to a line between Kilmarnock on the west coast and Dunbar on the eastern coast, and taking in areas around or including Glasgow). Lord John Kilclooney, better known as the former UUP head-honcho John Taylor, was the first off the blocks with this:
“Northern Ireland is not only geographically close to Scotland but shares more with Scotland than with any other country. When the majority in Ireland voted for independence from the UK… Northern Ireland remained within the UK as was the desire of most people in that part of Ireland. Should there ever be a majority in Scotland for independence it should not be binding on all the people of Scotland.
If, say, Strathclyde or the Lowlands prefer to remain in the UK then that decision should be honoured by a partition of Scotland.”
Ah yes, because appeasing a small, violent and anti-democratic British separatist minority worked out so well in Ireland didn’t it?
But no matter, Taylor’s attitudes were reflected in those of other British Unionist leaders. Tom Elliot, the then worse leader of the UUP up to the present worse leader of the UUP, declared:
“…the constitutional approach of Alex Salmond appears to pose a greater threat to the union than the violence of the IRA.”
Ta-dah! But others remained focused on the idea of divide and conquer. Like Tory bigwig Malcolm Sinclair, the 20th Earl of Caithness (but of course):
“A former Conservative minister has said Orkney and Shetland should have the right to remain part of the UK if Scotland votes for independence.
The Earl of Caithness has tabled amendments to the Scotland Bill, which gives further powers to Holyrood.
He said a referendum vote favouring independence should not be binding on the Northern Isles, unless the majority of islanders voted “yes”.”
For a while the battle-drums fell silent but they are droning loud again. From the Telegraph:
“The Orkney and Shetland islands could remain part of the UK if the rest of Scotland votes to separate, according to a report submitted by their MSPs to the Government. The islands could even declare independence themselves, it adds.
Alternatively, they could agree to join a separate Scotland only if they are granted a much bigger portion of North Sea oil and gas revenues, around a quarter of which lies in Shetland’s waters alone.
Tavish Scott, the Liberal Democrat MSP for Shetland, agreed the threat was political “dynamite” but questioned why Mr Salmond was the only politician who could use oil wealth to argue for self-determination.
Their residents have traditionally been extremely hostile to Scottish independence and preferred Westminster government to that from Holyrood. The SNP has previously recognised the islands’ right to decide their own future but Nicola Sturgeon, the Deputy First Minister, recently angered residents by stating this was wrong because they are “not a nation”.”
Could it be that one of the Unionist tactics for the Scottish referendum campaign is a simple threat: if you break up our nation we will break up your’s! And of course, all those oil and maritime resources in the northern extremes of the North Sea do help.