With Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, the bitterly opposed contenders for the leadership of the Conservative Party and the premiership of the United Kingdom, both declaring their opposition to any withdrawal treaty with the European Union that features the previously agreed backstop protocol, the chances of a no-deal Brexit in the UK are increasing by the day. Indeed this seems to be the growing consensus in London, Dublin and Brussels with previous hopes that a Johnson-led government would be willing to compromise on the peace-protecting clause once all the electoral grandstanding among Tory voters was out of the way now looking pretty forlorn. While the ex-Mayor of London and favourite to succeed Theresa May, the current incumbent of Number 10 Downing Street, is notoriously unscrupulous when it comes to politics – and much more than politics – there is every likelihood that he will stick to his public vows and march the British off the edge of a WTO-cliff.
This has led several leading figures in Britain to predict not just a looming economic catastrophe for the country but a constitutional one too, as highlighted by Nick Clegg, the former Deputy Prime Minister, in a magazine interview reported by PoliticsHome:
The ex-Liberal Democrat leader said “aggressive and regressive” English nationalism had taken over the Tories as they are forced to compete with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.
When asked how he expected the next few years to unfold, Mr Clegg told the New Statesman: “It seems to me that the clock is now ticking for the end of the union of the United Kingdom.”
“I am afraid I’ve sort of come to the view I think that is now more likely than not. I think the Brexit demon has unleashed such an aggressive and regressive right-wing English nationalism.
“And that the Conservative Party is converting itself into an English nationalist party.”
Arguably the Conservatives have always been an English nationalist party, even during the heyday of their regional branches in Wales and Scotland (and many people forget that at one time the Tories had a sizeable representation north of the English border). The UK remains a cohesive and well-functioning nation-state with a strong sense of institutional legitimacy but the passing of the age of empire and the growth of devolution on the island of Britain has challenged the political, social and cultural architecture of a country that for three centuries was more of a “Greater England” than a “United Kingdom”. The question now is, can the British – and the majority English above all – muddle on through for another century or two?
Scotland will be free by 2023.
can the English muddle on through dominating Scotland, Ireland and Wales for another decade or two?
Fixed that question for you Seamas!
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One friend of mine is writing a science fiction novel in which “The Republic of England” is trying to join the EU and William Arthur Phillip Louis Winsor being interviewed as an old man about his childhood, mother’s death, his father having been the last King of England or the UK.
Back in the real world, I’m hoping that the UK manages to break up and all the nations manage to write up a new Constitution (even if England stays a Constitutional
Monarchy-bleach!) without facing outcomes like Civil War or regional mass starvation.
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Not just the break-up of the UK. The end of the CTA is likely and forced population transfers as well are possible.
The end of the UK does not necessarily mean a united Ireland – even if it does, the unionists/loyalists are likely to make it drastically plain that they will have to be treated very carefully indeed.
Would everyone not deserve to be treated very carefully or do you think loyalists would be more deserving?. Anyone who wished to be part of a united ireland would be treated equally. Those like Arlene have always got her preferred option.
It could turn into a situation where they want some degree of local representation.
If they keep pushing, and pushing for that it might be more fair to everyone to simply federalize Ireland-possibly along lines of Ulster, Leinster, Munster, Connacht-rather than give them a devolved unmatched unit within the country like they have in the UK.
Loyalists would be better able to enforce careful treatment. They do not wish to be part of a united ireland, but they can make terms for becoming part of one. Think of the united Bosnia-Herzevogina as an example of what they would.consider an acceptable united Ireland.
Jim,Loyalists would not be in a position to enforce anything. Everyone would be treated equally as in any civilised country. The behaviour of the loyalist government in stormont for over fifty years is not a blueprint for any future ireland. When the “mainland” cuts them loose as they most certainly will they would be ill advised to start dictating terms. Their historical backers will be gone never to return. All these false fears being thrown up are mearly vote searching antics of a dying loyalist superiority. Ireland is ready to move on and as Blair said the train is leaving the station,get on or be left behind.
Everyone would be treated equally as in any civilised country, but some may be more equal than others.
The unionist/loyalists would be in a very strong position politically and economically to…persuade, shall we say?…any government to tread very delicately where they are concerned. The mantra is for “Unity by consent.” which requires getting their consent.
We’re getting closer Jim. A little bit more logical thinking instead of tribal trash and I think this country would survive to show the world that the Irish nation is ready to take them on. The Irish,and don’t forget when you step of that boat or plane that’s what you are, built the biggest part of England and America. It could be done again.
Boris, the Great White Dope for all the bigots and racists and deluded Brexiters
What Unionists fear most in a United Ireland
1. Loss of Identity and the place of unionism within a
3. Retribution on former members of the RUC, British
Army and Prison Officers
4. Land would be taken off unionist farmers
5. Return to Violence
6. European Union
7. Health, Welfare and the Economy
They can always go home to the mother country they pine for if they do not like it
You are Donald Trump and I claim my night of passion with Stormy Daniels!
The problem is “the mother country” for most of them would be Scotland, and England might well regard it as an excellent opportunity to dispose of the unwanted Irish.
De Valera proposed population exchanges in the 1920s, but they’ve gone out of fashion lately.
Wee Jim, have a look at the BBC Documentary on youtube, with Arleen and Co about a United Ireland, they said they would all go back to ENGLAND, no mention of Scotland
It isn’t “Arleen and Co” who’d make problems, or the consulantrs and lecturers of Bangor, but the Shankhill Road boys…
It’s funny though 20 or 30 years ago it would have been the Roman Catholic Church as the main reason against unity. I can’t see land being taken off Unionist farmers. No retribution on former members of the British Army unless they take up arms against the new State. As for Triumphalism Catholics are not the Orange Order. As for loss of Identity well they will be citizens of a new state. Return to Violence well it won’t be the new state starting it but they will crush any attempts at violence from whatever source it comes.
To be fair asking people to change citizenship was never a minor request. People who were raised British and unlike most of the Irish largely accepted that national affiliation? You don’t necessarily have to be a fanatic, a bigot, have a low opinion of The New Country, nor fear anything in particular to be reluctant as it’s nothing to take lightly.
What percentage of Ulstermen would be reluctant solely on the desire to both remain British citizens and continue to live in their communities I don’t really know-even experts on the subject aren’t willing to place rough estimates, it seems.
One thing you are going to get in a United Ireland should it happen soon is, a population with significant culture clashes with The Irish Republic.
For one thing is the Ulsterman love the NHS half as much as the English obviously do, and a significant percentage of the existing ROI favor a different model (More Canadian or German for example) it could end up as a bone of contention for quite a long time.
The NHS is not what it used to be or indeed what it should be. If there is a Hard Brexit there may be a shortage of drugs. The waiting lists already are long for some treatments and operations. Yes the NHS is the jewel in the crown of the Unionist argument which is ironic as they opposed it being set up in the first place.
Yes. That’s one obvious hazard of Brexit. Not to mention supplies, personnel, money, and more.
The English people I have met at least? Boy do they love the NHS! They complain about it, and it’s fall from the “glory days”, but they love the fundamental concept.
Haven’t talked to nearly as many Ulstermen about it, and the few I have seemed reluctant to share more than a more than a sarcastic smart alek remark, where it was hard to know what they really think.
Looking at the Irish system, I’m sure the average Englishman at least would howl at being made to switch. However, despite it’s Byzantine nature, the fact is that The Irish Republic does better than the UK on a number of metrics from waiting times to outcomes with a number of illnesses.
I tend to be a fan of the “sweet spot theory” of medical policy. Basically the theory runs that if you make healthcare too much of an individual responsibility you often end up inequity, barely controlled chaos, dysfunctional use of resources and people who simply get left out due to being low income or having particular tough illnesses. If you make it too much of a collective responsibility, you risk the sorts of shortages with the barely controlled chaos, and dysfunctional use of resources. ‘That’s one reason why I like the German model or at least a hybrid/tribrid with a similar model for universal insurance.
The NHS is being systematically dismantled by the very government that the Dup are bolstering up. It is being sold off bit by bit. They have run a great organisation into the ground over a number of years and it is now a mere shadow of what it was. This is more obvious here in the north. I have had personal experience of the whole shanagans where I had to go across the water to England for treatment. The hospitals are leagues ahead in facilities and services. No doubt if any of our blessed politicians needed urgent essential treatment they would not need to rely on the NHS. The Private sector is their port of call. The free state is worse if anything with a health service in a shambles. Why anyone with a functioning brain votes these bastards in is beyond me.
One question about British government that I’ve hunted and hunted and hunted for but can’t find an answer.
How does one become a member of the Labour or Conservative Party in The UK? I’ve been told by many sources plus several Brits that “We just vote for our local MP and the Party chooses the PM.” I’d assumed they meant that the MPs of that particular Party choose the Prime Minister by voting or reaching a consensus among themselves.
Now apparently they are going to mail out ballots for PM to 120,000 Britons, who obviously aren’t all in Parliament and they aren’t making it clear if these folks are leaders of any kind of local party precinct or committee. Supposedly there are closer to a million members of Labour party.
So are these “party members” locally elected? Is it like joining some old fashioned electrician’s union where if you have a family member or connection you can get in? Hopefully it’s not like becoming a “Party Member” in the USSR. Why does Labour have so many more members?
I’ve been scouring the internet and encyclopedias for this, but haven’t been able to get a good answer.
If you get to vote for several parties in Ireland, does Party Membership play a role in anything for people who aren’t elected officials? Do British people often tell Irish citizens, “You all vote for personalities not political parties. We tend to put the party over the person.”?
The parties have local branches/associations that anyone can join, usually with a small annual fee to maintain membership. Some parties are happy to have a general membership, others tie it to a local branch.
Technically the UK Labour Party is two parties. The Labour Party proper and the Cooperative Party. So some Labour MPs are Coop members but stand under the Labour banner and answer to the Labour whip. Really the difference between both organisations is more or less nominal theses days.
The Tories are more tightly organised but local association branches have considerable influence over local MPs and candidates. They are the backbone of the Conservative Party.
Hence Johnson and Hunt seeking to appeal to both. The associations have grown more small “c” conservative in recent years with an aging demographic so the party MPs tend to tack behind this.
Kinda like the temporary Tea Party influence on the GOP a few years back, now transferred to Trumpists.
I’m wondering how in the world these people ever managed to have the largest Empire in human history!!
To me it’s very strange that so few Britons opt to join their political party if there are scenarios where only members of the ruling party get to vote for The Prime Minister. Is the fee a big deterrent? Or just apathy?
When I’ve talked to Brits about it they talked as if there was no option for them to vote for Prime Minister.
Since there is, why so few takers?
Are you required to declare a party membership in order to register to vote in Ireland? Or is membership offered as an “invitation not obligation” when you register?
I’m wondering how party membership would work where people can vote for several parties and even more than one candiate from the same party. Do Irish citizens gain anything from being party members? Obviously not in a Soviet sense, but being able to vote in some races unaffiliated cannot.
Nope, all citizens have the right to vote. Electoral rolls are maintained by local government bodies, city and county councils, most people are automatically added for the constituency you are in, though you can check this and register if you’re not added. Voting cards are issued at election or referendum time to your address, you turn up at the voting station, usually present your card though this is not strictly necessary to get the voting ballot or slip that you vote with and away you go. It’s very rare that you’ll be asked for any other id.
The only thing that a formal party membership gets you is a say in that party, maybe, or a bit of network influence within it.
In the US the almost everybody joins a political party when they register to vote. All you have to do indicate which party you want to join on the registration form and you are a member-no fee. In some states you are actually required to make a choice in order to register, but “Independent” is an option. In more states than not you can only participate in the primary or caucus if you are a member of that party. In some jurisdictions you can only be a poll worker or even work for the County Elections department if you are registered as Republican or Democrat-no independents, unregistered, unaffiliated, or members of the myriad other parties are hired.