Monday, 13 March 2017

RIP the UK of GB & NI (1922-2019)

So it has been a historic day. The 13th March 2017. The day everything changed. Forever.

The day when the House of Lords caved in and allowed Theresa May to trigger Article 50 within days and also the day when Nicola Sturgeon called for a 2nd Scottish independence referendum within 24 months.

Of course, the two are inextricably linked. Had England and Wales not voted for Brexit in as much number as they did to overturn the Remain majority in Scotland and Northern Ireland, Sturgeon wouldn't have been handed the 'game-changer' that gave her the moral right to call a 2nd referendum so soon after the first. I have to say it, she's right to do so.

So Theresa May and those who wanted 'their country back' will get it. That country however won't be 'Great Britain', it will be 'Little England with Wales on the side'.

Good luck to Scotland as it moves inexorably towards independence. As for Northern Ireland? I think it's time that they seriously look to unite with our fellow Celtic cousins south of the border - as difficult as that will understandably be for so many in the communities of the north.

So yes, 13th March 2017 is a historic day.

I don't say this with any pleasure. As a Federalist, I have believed in the strength of the Union of nations that has made up the United Kingdom. But the loss of our place at the heart of the European Union, for those of us who are internationalist to our bones, is a monumental blow. For those who live in Northern Ireland and Scotland who will see their country ripped out of the EU against the collective will of their own nations, it is a critical moment from which there is no turning back.

A Historian's Perspective
As I say, it is with great sorrow that I accept that these coming truths to be self-evident. I do so as a historian, with an eye to the past as a lesson for the future.

Many who voted for Brexit will not have realised the consequences of their actions. They will not have voted Brexit because they wanted to see the break-up of the Union. But their decision will result directly in that final destruction of the Union as we know it today and have known it for the past century. To not accept this fact is to be wholly condescending to the individual cultural and national identities that make up the Union. It is also to be deluded.

The decision made on the 23rd June 2016 changed everything. But dependant on the Government's precise response to that narrow 'Leave' victory, the Union could've been salvaged. But by pursuing a 'Harsh Brexit' that will see us leave the single market, a Tory Government, that bastion of Unionist sentiment, has set in train a domino-effect that has gathered momentum to destroy all that it cherishes. It if wasn't so sad, it would be amusing.

Efforts to put a brake on the process by at least giving the people who voted for the departure to have the final say on the destination once the full picture is known, failed today in Parliament.

So Theresa May will now invoke Article 50 and Scotland will seek to wriggle out of the ensuing mess that will follow.

So yes, 13th March 2017 is a historic day. It's the day that marks the beginning of the end of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

May the last one to leave the UK, please turn out the lights.

RIP the UK (1922-2019)