We are hearing a lot about independence these days. Britain seeking independence from the EU, Scotland seeking another try at independence from the United Kingdom, and a lot of people in Northern Ireland seeking to join the republic of Ireland, and gain independence from Westminster.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Scottish people had their chance to leave the United Kingdom. They had a referendum in 2014, but chose to stay in, by a majority of 55% to 45%. We didn’t hear any rumblings from Northern Ireland either, not until the decision to leave the EU last year. Now the republican Sinn Fein party has had surprising success in local elections there, with its stated objectives of becoming part of Ireland, and remaining in the EU. They are calling for their own referendum to leave, just as the Scottish Nationalists are also demanding to be allowed a ‘second go’ themselves.
It is no secret that both these regions benefit greatly from being part of the EU. Huge grants and subsidies keep them going, and these are unlikely to be matched once Britain formally leaves the EU, in a few years from now. Pundits cry about the break-up of the United Kingdom, and the end of the Britain we have known for centuries. But I have a suggestion.
Just give them independence. Don’t waste money on elections and referenda, pick a date, and tell them from that moment that they are independent. If they want, they can try to become members of the EU in their own right. In Northern Ireland this will be easy, as Ireland is already a member. But let’s see how Scotland manages with the Euro as their currency, and a foreign country (England) along their southern border. Let’s see if Ireland is happy to pay the benefits for the 5.5% of unemployed people in the six northern counties, and to police the sectarian troubles that will flare up once all this happens. Let’s see if Scotland can get the EU to fund its own 5.3% unemployed, and manage to pay a membership contribution at the same time.
They would do well to look at some modern examples of ‘Independence’. All those Balkan countries who sought independence from Yugoslavia. The Baltic States who wanted to regain sovereignty from the Soviet Union, and so many more. Their people are now picking crops for less than minimum wage in Britain and other European countries. Living four to a room, and being exploited by gang-masters. Their young women are being trafficked into prostitution in Europe, to cater for the sexual appetites of Germans and Britons, as well as others. Talk to them about the wonders of independence.
It would not bother me if Northern Ireland became part of Ireland, or Scotland became an independent country. England may no longer be that ‘green and pleasant land’ immortalised in the hymn. It has its own problems to sort out, but I am pretty sure we can manage to do that without Scotland, or Ulster.