“I was at a talk the other week by the Orange Order Historian Dr David Hume. It is a measure of how far we have come as a society that there was a talk about the Orange Order in the James Connolly Centre on the Falls Road.
“For the last few years, the British state has at least been able to pretend that a Labour government might come over the horizon, and solve some of the problems created by the Tories and their austerity. If and when that cavalry does arrive, it will likely come in the flaccid form of Keir Starmer, triangulating towards a far-right Tory opposition. A Sinn Féin-run Ireland may not have to work too hard to convince voters that they are better off under its wings.”
David Torrance looks back on the first UK constitutional referendum – the 1973 N Irish border poll. “As Prof James Mitchell has observed, the 1973 referendum ‘suggested that sovereignty rested with the people of Northern Ireland and not Parliament at Westminster’, a suggestion arguably reinforced with respect to Scotland more than 40 years later.”
“Scotland should also develop its own niche areas of expertise, starting with the gamut of environmental issues related to climate change. Indeed, the aim for the coming years should be: ‘Scotland – the Green Capital of Europe.’”
‘There comes a time, as with (Taioseach John) Costello, that leaving the UK is easier and less risky than staying with all its current and prospective dangers. How ironic will it be if, as with our Celtic cousins, a Scottish Republic is delivered by former No voters rather than ardent nationalists?’
‘This created the space Sinn Féin needed for an election on its terms – in many respects the party had precisely the kind of election the UK Labour Party wanted and failed to get in 2019.’ Why SF won…
As Northern Ireland’s political plates shift, ‘of course, Johnson may not want to concede another independence referendum. But it seems certain that, one way or another, Scotland will not be able to tolerate indefinite Tories. And neither can we.’
‘Given that an independence referendum is very unlikely to happen before the latter half of 2021 at the earliest, Scotland would not become an independent country any earlier than the middle years of the next decade.’
‘Should Johnson stumble in any one of these minefields he will quickly find that his upbeat tone and soundbites about the ‘awesome foursome’ are far from enough to keep the union together’.
‘An early poll, particularly if it takes place in a political atmosphere that is strained following a hard Brexit, could seriously destabilise both parts of Ireland, and put at risk the political gains and civil order of recent decades.’