Current Affairs History Irish Republican Politics

Echoes Of The Irish Revolution In Brexit Britain And The Scottish Independence Debate

These thoughts strike me in relation to the current post-referendum turmoil in Britain, and Scotland in particular.

Ireland’s failed Easter Rising of 1916 = Scotland’s failed independence referendum of 2014

Sinn Féin’s by-election victories of 1917 = The SNP’s general election victory of 2015 

Ireland’s hostility to the Conscription Crisis of 1918 = Scotland’s hostility to the EU referendum crisis of 2016

Ireland’s successful independence plebiscite-election of 1918 = Scotland’s successful independence plebiscite of 2016?

Ireland’s declaration of independence in 1919 =  Scotland’s declaration of independence in 2017?

Of course, there is no real pattern here, but still… One cannot help but feel that we are at a pivotal moment in the history of the neighbouring island to the east. One that has consequences – potentially good, potentially terrible – for our own.




24 comments on “Echoes Of The Irish Revolution In Brexit Britain And The Scottish Independence Debate

  1. have long thought history reverberates for as long as the underlying social/national issues are not dealt with. Even during the campaign for Indyref1, I was deafened by echoes of the irish parliamentary party. Both the IPP and indyref1 in their own ways laid the foundation stones for the next step forward.

    Anyway let’s see what happens as the implications of Brexit unfold – always supposing that Article 50 is eventually triggered by some British PM, which remains to be seen. In his resignation speech Mr Cameron kicked it into the long grass, where it may well stay.

    Let’s hope Mr Kenny remembers he has 26 allies in the EU, who realise that half a loaf within the EU (Scotland and NI and maybe even joint sovreignty over Gibraltar) is better than no bread (complete UK Brexit). He has no real need to go posturing about as England’s new best friend to safeguard irish interests

  2. Not wishing to raise false hopes, but I do feel Scotland has just had her ¨changed, changed utterly¨ moment.
    There may even be a knock-on effect in Wales, where apparently the vote was very close. Some are beginning to see it as their last chance to assert their nationality. This blogger has called for a last ditch push for full independence, no more messing with piecemeal devo, rather than be abandoned by Scotland and NI and left to the tender mercies of the Brit Nats. :

    And then there´s Gibraltar … somehow I don´t think they really planned for all this, oops!

    • It would be funny if after all this shitshow the UK decides to not leave the EU for some reason (a 2nd referendum, or the parliament ignoring the referendum result because it’s not legally binding), but Scotland leaves the UK anyway. 😀

      • Probably the most likely outcome. The UK establishment have got themselves in one hell of a mess, with more and more unintended consequences coming to light every day. Government is paralysed and indeed the best thing they can do, probably the only thing they can do, is to wait and hope for a change in public opinion. Meantime they´ll have their work cut out just containing the wave of xenophobia they´ve managed to unleash. Hopefully while they´re busy sorting all of this out, the Scots at least will be able to escape and become a ´normal´ small North European centre-left-ish country.

        It´s important to understand that in order to get a NO vote in the Scottish indy referendum, Westminster promised all sorts of extra powers, in additional to continued EU membership. Having got the result they wanted they then backtracked on all of their promises one by one. The SNP won almost every Scottish seat in the last UK general election, but were overruled time and time again on Scottish matters by English MPs. So the mood in Scotland was one of betrayal. The Brexit result was simply the last straw. Many, many former NO-voters are now saying they´re in favour of independence.

        Interesting times 🙂

        ASF : You views on how this will effect NI?

  3. It would be nice if both Britain and the EU broke up. Then these islands could form the Economic Council of the Celtic Isles or the ECCI, which would include, Cornwall, London, England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland. The Councils headquarters could be in the Isle of Man. First on the agenda would be the building of a host city for each of the minority indigenous Celtic languages.

    • Interesting idea, but if you include England or even London then they would dominate everything don´t you think? Didn´t the Celtic League use to advocate something like this, do they still exist? Where if anywhere would Brittany fit into all of this?
      What do you mean by ¨host city?¨ (chan eil mi ´ga thuigsinn).

      Perhaps Jānis can advise on how a group of small submerged nations managed to break free from a dying empire 🙂

  4. Interesting times indeed. Could we be following our sister nation out of the UK? Are the SNP Scotland’s Sinn Fein (Sinn Fhein)? I for one certainly hope so. A free Scotland and a United Ireland in time for the centenary of 1922.

    History is indeed repeating but in doing so it raises old fears in England too. For most of the period between the 13th century until 1707, England feared that a Scotland which looked outwards to Europe could be a “back door” to be used by a foreign invader, probably France. That fear will manifest itself in a way again if an independent Scotland stays in the EU. The “invaders” this time being migrants.

    English/British policy is basically controlling the whole of this island. As shown in 2014, they are not prepared to share this island with a peaceful northern neighbour. They consoled themselves with the loss of most of the island of Ireland, by telling themselves that his new “foreign” entity was still on the other side of a sea. (And of course holding on to their Northern Pale).

    • I think the heart of this is that the English haven´t quite yet woken up to the fact that the Dream of Empire is over, has been for decades. They´ve somehow managed to dream-on in this self-satisfying delusion, occasionally wondering why foreigners see them as arrogant if not outright racist. They are so used to being in control, to always having the whip-hand, that they find it almost impossible to treat mere Frogs and Krauts and Dagos as equals. Looking at some of the continental reaction to Brexit, it soon becomes clear just how unreasonable the UK has been, demanding this and that opt-out (cop-out?) and simply not playing fair. Whilst the English, despite all their talk of fair-play, seem oblivious to the reaction they´ve created.
      So now must come the Rude Awakening, and Scotland and the other Celtic nations could certainly be an important part of that reality check.

      • Racism and xenophobia unfortunately were one of the main selling points of the Leave campaign. Some people in the UK really hate eastern Europeans like me.

        • Funny you’re concerned about xenophobia when you’ve spouted der sturmer like propaganda on articles concerning the Irish language……….

          • Not a very helpful remark IMO. All Jānis does is to tell it as he sees it from his perspective. All the Celtic languages have to some extent ¨gone underground¨ in the sense that people don´t use them with strangers or in public outside of special events or circumstances. This was brought home to me yesterday. I bought a Gàidhlig book via Amazon and it happened to be supplied by a small shop in Glasgow. The delivery note carried a handwritten addition ¨Móran taing — Tha mi an dòchas gun cord e riut/ribh¨. Well it´s no big surprise since we read that there are many Gaels in Glasgow/Glaschu. But it made me realise that when I was working and studying in that city I never once heard Gaelic spoken informally, not once. You´d hear Italians speaking Italian at the pizza café, and various eastern languages and so on, ach cha robh a´ Ghàidhlig ri cluinntinn àite ´sam bith. So anyone coming there, unless they already had connections with the G.-speaking community or organisations, would be unaware of the existence of the language, other than as part of history, placenames etc.

            Sorry, I´ve rather gone off on one, but I´m sure this is exactly how Jānis feels, except that in addition the State is supposedly promoting Irish as the national language. When the Latvians got their country back they quickly established the status of their language, tore down all the Russians signs etc. Is it hard to understand why Ireland´s attitude to the First Official Language seems incomprehensible to him?

            Isn´t it useful to see things through an outsider´s eyes?

          • TurboFurbo


            You are absolutely correct.
            Moreover, he has a deep loathing for minorities in his own country – the one he left.

          • The Russians aren’t a minority. They already have their own country that’s largest in the world, they also have nukes and their language is one of the biggest languages in the world. The Latvian language can’t threaten the Russian language in any way.

        • They are unhappy because of lack of facilities, lack of government investment in health, education etc., unemployment, mostly because of UK government policies. The bizarre irony is that some of the poorest parts of England and Wales, places with very few immigrants (because there´s no jobs etc) and which benefit most from EU investment, have come out strongly in favour of LEAVE. All it proves is that given enough misinformation and a few emotive slogans, the turkeys really will vote for Christmas.
          It´s the old fascist trick of diverting the blame from those in power to some already fairly powerless and often vulnerable group, appealing to mob rule and the lowest aspects of human nature. ¨First the alien then the Jew …¨ Hopefully this will quickly generate its own backlash … hopefully …

  5. Plaid Cymru will be campaigning on an Independence for Wales platform from now on, as opposed to an “aspiration to independence”
    Gibraltar politicos are contacting Nicola Sturgeon to set up a united front to make sure they remain in the EU.

  6. “Are the S.N.P. Scotlands Sinn Fein?” For Scotland’s sake I hope not, as that could involve the S.N.P. acquiring a private army, murdering and maiming lots of people in pursuit of their dogma, before eventually giving up when they realised it wasn’t going to work.

    • TurboFurbo

      Ginger :

      “…..murdering and maiming lots of people in pursuit of their dogma…..”

      This thread is not about how the British Empire went off on a global rampage of terror, colonization and murder over centuries.

  7. Ginger

    I should have made it clearer that I was referring to the Sinn Fein of pre independence Ireland.

  8. Lord of Mirkwood

    New poll. Support is up! Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Parliament should set in motion a new referendum on independence while the Scottish public is still angry. I’m worried that their mood will die down before anything happens.

    • Yes, but to jump too soon and lose would finish us for good. Things have to progress a little further and so long as Westminster (both parties) continues in its present almighty clusterfuck then there is time to win friends and make preparations. I hear the Taoiseach put in a good word for Scotland in a meeting of EU heads, your president has just yesterday addressed the Scottish parliament, the first foreign head of state to do so, I believe. A Scottish MEP received an (unprecidented??) standing ovation in the EU parliament … and Nicola is at least getting a polite hearing as she does her best to educate Europe about the UK and Scotland´s place within it and relation to Europe.

      That´s probably how it has to go. Quietly gaining friends and winning recognition. A nation becomes independent when it acts independent and when others recognise it as such. The Scottish parliament gave the government a mandate to discuss Scotland´s position in Europe with the EU, foreign leaders, and anyone else. In effect this implies that Scotland has very quietly started to develop a foreign policy without regard to Westminster, a power it´s not supposed to have. Not as dramatic as marching into the GPO with flags and rifles, but everything has to have its beginning …

      • Lord of Mirkwood

        Good point. I took India a pretty long time to get independence, but they did. I guess having a foreign policy is a good start!

        • And yet they still don’t live better than the UK. So much for independence.

  9. Lord of Mirkwood

    The Scottish government is going to write a bill on a second independence referendum, for consultation next week.

  10. Lord of Mirkwood

    The bill is out. Consultation will go until January 11, 2017. The Scottish Parliament, which currently has a pro-independence majority of SNP and Greens, will then decide whether to hold a referendum or not.

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