The effects of any so-called "independence" for Scotland on the political status of Northern Ireland are extremely difficult to predict, which is why the Irish government and Irish nationalists in the North have refrained from officially commenting on the referendum.

The idea of an actual concrete United Ireland (as opposed to the idea of a fantasy United Ireland) is not very popular now anyway, even among about half of self-described "Irish Nationalists", mostly for economic reasons. If the British economy improves while Scotland's gets worse and Ireland's remains stagnant, then support for Union will only increase, and N.I.-England/Wales/Manx economic and cultural ties will increase.

Most Norn Irelanders are unpredictable, so it's hard to say if Loyalists or Nationalists will become more militant or adopt a wait-and-see attitude.

The new "respect-for-all-Irish-traditions" Dublin regime will be careful about antagonizing Ulster Loyalists by seeming to gloat over any dissolution of Union.

I think that overall any effects on the status of Northern Ireland will only be seen after a few years of seeing how Scotland develops (or declines) as a so-called "independent" nation, especially in relation to the currency question and negotiations with the EU.

If things go bad in Scotland, I can see a lot of Scots moving to Ireland, mostly Unionists -- perhaps enough to swing local elections.

Also, most Irish people (North and South, of all political opinions) have a higher opinion of the English than the average whiney, spoiled Scot does; though Ulster "Unionists" are much more canny in their dealings with the British government. One of the most important things to understand about Ulster Loyalists/Unionists is that they are, and have always been, extremely suspicious of the English, and have never been strong supporters of Union per se. What drives most of them is the knowledge that they have more independence within the UK than they would have had under Dublin rule (especially when Dublin was intensely anti-unionist). In other words, Ulster Unionist have always been more anti-Free-State/anti-ROI/anti-Dublin than they have been pro-British. Scottish "independence" doesn't seem likely to alter that widespread attitude.

The status of Northern Ireland within a Scotland-Free UK could very well be improved.

+ + +

Whatever the result of the referendum today (and I predict a “NO” vote), Scotland will still be part of the UK. Today's referendum is really just an opinion poll, though with great consequence. Even if it gets approval (which I doubt will happen), that would just be the first step. Then the Hollyrood/Edinburgh government would have to formulate a declaration of independence that would be approved by Scots and acceptable to the UK. There will be no unilateral declaration. The extent of the ties between Scotland and the rest of the UK are far too extensive to make any UDI work, and any attempt an un-negotiated separation would be an economic and political disaster. Scotland would likely become an independent nation in March 2016.

Post a comment

Private comment




Search form
Latest Journals
Latest comments
Monthly archive
Friend Request Form

Want to be friends with this user.