Ireland’s superpower is independence

There’s a new and deeply unpleasant narrative developing amongst Brexits. Although to be honest this is scarcely unsurprising since Brexit was always a deeply unpleasant narrative in the first place. However now that the Brexit pigeons have come home to roost and have crapped all over Liam Fox and David Davis, someone has to be blamed. Admittedly Boris Johnson always looks like a bird has just crapped on him, and Ross Thomson looks like something a bird has just crapped, but still. The failure of Brexit is everyone’s fault except those who foisted it upon us all in the first place. It’s not because Brexit always involved wishing for contradictory things simultaneously. It’s not because Brexit always rested up a sense of English exceptionalism and the mistaken belief that the UK merits special treatment. It’s not because the Brexists never had a plan other than wishful thinking. It’s not because the UK’s negotiating strategy has made being woefully unprepared look like German efficiency. It’s all someone else’s fault.

All has been answered in an article this week in Freuzheur Neaulseun’s Spectator magazine. Or to give it its proper title, Irritable Vowel Syndrome Weekly. The piece identifies the villains who are responsible for the failure of Theresa May’s government to negotiate a deal that allows the UK to leave the EU and swan off into a magical land of favourable trade deals and bonfires of restrictive regulations – which is how Tories like to describe your employment and civil rights – while at the same time retaining all the benefits and advantages of EU membership with none of the associated costs and obligations. Naturally, none of it is the fault of the Brexists.

It’s the fault of the civil service. It’s the fault of anti-democratic mandarins. It’s the fault of Europhile politicians. It’s the fault of the Labour party. It’s the fault of corporate interests. It’s the fault of weak leadership and a remainer media. It’s the fault of everyone who isn’t prepared to click the heels of their ruby red white and blue slippers together and say there’s no place like the 1950s. But mostly, it’s the fault of the Irish government. That’s whose fault it is, “We’d have got away with it if it wasn’t for the uppity Irish.” According to the Spectator piece, the Taoiseach has an incentive to make the Brits sweat because he leads a minority government and needs the support of Irish nationalists. Irish nationalism bad, British nationalism good. That whole Irish border issue, it’s just exaggeration in order to do Britain down. Dublin has both danced to the EU’s tune, and wilfully egged on the EU not to give the UK what Britain needs.

I wish British nationalists would make their minds up about Ireland. Either the Dublin government is stirring up the Irish border issue, or it’s a tool of faceless anti-democratic bureaucracy and is doing what it’s told by France and Germany. Which is a bad thing, because really Dublin ought to be doing what it’s told by London. That’s the natural order of British things.

Deep down in the soul of a British nationalist there is the unshakeable belief that every other country on the planet ought to prioritise the interests of Britain over their own. Actually you don’t have to dig down that deep in order to find it. There’s not much in the way of depth in your average Daily Mail editorial. The Little England nationalism that dresses itself up in the Union fleg in order to tell itself that it’s better than anyone else’s nationalism because it’s not nationalist at all, everyone else owes the UK. To their way of thinking, the Irish government has no business protecting the interests of Ireland as a member of the EU. Doing so is just yet another example of Irish antipathy towards the Brits.

Ireland of course has every right to take whatever steps it deems necessary to mitigate the baleful effects of Brexit upon its economy. It’s not Ireland which harbours dreams of being a major player in world affairs. It’s not Ireland which imagines that it possesses the economic heft to strike favourable trade deals with countries around the world. It’s not Ireland which suffers from the delusion that the rest of the world owes us a favour because we won the war you know.

However British nationalists believe that Ireland must sacrifice its national interests on the altar of Brexit in order to make Brexit work for Britain, and Ireland’s refusal to do so is nothing more than ill-will and grudges born out of ancient history. Hence the article in the Spectator claiming that at a time when Britain needs Ireland’s help and goodwill, the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has offered neither. Instead, he’s prioritised Ireland’s interests. Imagine that eh? The UK takes a reckless and ill-considered decision based upon lies and a pauchled referendum, a decision that threatens to damage Ireland’s economy and the fragile Peace Process, and Brexists are annoyed that Ireland isn’t enthusiastically helping the UK to destroy itself.

British nationalists react with surprise and scorn because the sovereign government of an independent Irish state prioritises its own interests and does what it can to enlist the support of other EU member states to bolster its position. British nationalists regard this as a form of betrayal. What goes for Ireland, goes for Scotland in spades. British nationalists do not believe that Scotland has any right to any sort of input into the Brexit process at all.

British nationalism is the unshakeable belief that everything on this planet revolves around the needs and concerns of the British state. Or more exactly the Little England part of it. It’s a world view which cannot countenance how Ireland can dare to act in its own interests. It’s a world view which cannot countenance how Scotland can have any interests of its own at all.

Brexit has exposed the weakness of the British state, and the myths which underpin it. Ireland, as a member of the EU, is able to dictate to the British state. It reverses the position of hundreds of years when Ireland was told what to do by Britain, often at the point of a sword or the barrel of a gun. British nationalists cannot get their heads around the fact that the boot is now firmly on the other foot.

And all we can do in Scotland is to look on enviously as Dublin tells London how things are going to be. We continue to be ignored, sidelined and marginalised. We’re being treated the way that Westminster wants to treat Ireland, but can’t. The power of the Dublin government in the Brexit debate shows what you can do as an independent state. Ireland’s superpower is independence. As an independent state Scotland would be amongst those dictating the course of Brexit. As it is, all we have is a David Mundell who hasn’t resigned yet.


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23 comments on “Ireland’s superpower is independence

  1. Excellent as usual, Paul. It’s worth noting too that almost nobody in the Republic has any desire for their country to rejoin the UK.

    If Mundell did not exist, no one would feel any need to invent him, and if he were to resign, nobody would notice unless he told us, I suspect.

    I suggest that next time Mundell speaks in the Commons, our MPs should demand to know why he’s still Secretary of State for Scotland, why he hasn’t resigned if so, what he has done for Scotland recently, how many of his promises he has kept, who his successor is, and what the job description of the SoS for Scotland actually is, and if there is any need for one.

  2. benmadigan says:

    excellent Paul.

    From the 19th Century onwards Ireland’s motto from our Liberator was

    “England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity”

    And we played that card as we could and exploited each opportunity as we could
    And got to where we are today,

    A prosperous country. with fewer natural resources than Scotland,
    With our own place among the nations of Europe
    With “our gallant allies” standing beside us

    What’s Scotland’s motto?

    Where Stands Scotland today?

    Exploiting every opportunity to further Independence?


    Still playing Westminster’s game of parliamentary politics,
    Swaying with the wind,
    Being all things to all men and women in the country,
    Trying to show off by proposing ingenious solutions Westminster will never accept?
    And the EU will never take under their notice because Scotland is not an independent country?
    And the EU only negotiates with the UK Government?

  3. Iain Hunter says:

    Excellent, just the thing to brighten up a weekend. I look forward to reading more

  4. susan says:

    Excellent post Paul. English exceptionalism in a nutshell.

  5. Bill McDermott says:

    I was aghast listening to the BBC News Channel at tea-time, when they have foreign correspondents sitting around a table discussing the day’s news. Needless to say Brexit was the main topic and all were giving their views on how it was going.

    The BBC’s favourite right wing journalist apart from Fraser Nelson, Janet Bailey was on pontificating about the Irish Border. According to her Leo Varadkar is milking the problems of the border and there is really nothing to worry about. Because the Brexiteer fantasists say black is white everybody has to believe them. Britain won’t build a border and Ireland won’t build a border so there won’t be any need for a border. Pascal Lammy, past president of the WTO has a different take. Adjoining countries with different custom regimes must under WTO rules have a . system of border checks. Careful reading of the goings on of the WTO reveal that Britain has more than a few problems with WTO including problems from so called friendly countries like the USA, Australia and India as well as micro states like Moldova.

  6. Macart says:

    Hard to believe I know, but who knew that even a right wing exceptionalist party like the Conservative and (not so) onionists have an even more ruthless and empathy free right wing ideology within their own ranks? (sarc) In a party famed for personal, party, inter party, public betrayals and casual backstabbery, you’d think the populations of the UK might have seen the current crop coming a country mile off. Go figure. I’ve lost count of the people, institutions, parties, treaties and nationalities thrown under a bus at this point tbh.

    Just shows you what kind of boorach you can achieve, when you have a conflicted state, a broken system and practice of politics, a twisted set of narratives and unlimited access to a somewhat politically and corporately compromised mass media saturation at your finger tips.

    True enough that Ms May’s deal was always going to lead to a blind fudge and not because of Ms May, but because Brexit itself was always a disastrous idea.There was no ‘trade deal’ out there that could place the UK in a better economic position than it had prior to the vote in June of 2016. Better economically being relative of course. Fairly sure a teeny demographic of those and such as those would do quite well out of the situation. The rest of the populations? Not so much. But then, see above under the conditions of national boorach for that. (shrugs)

    The rest of the world doesn’t owe the UK a living and won’t sacrifice the well being of their own populations to ‘help out’ an ideologue cadre of greedy bastirts in UK politics. They have their own economies, politics, democratic accountability and treaties to honour. As many others have previously pointed out, the EU will NOT endanger the four freedoms to suit the wilful foot stamping of one spoilt wean in the playground. There can and could be NO scenario where an exiting state enjoys a more preferential and advantageous relationship with the EU by not being a member.

    You’d think that seems a fairly reasonable and logical conclusion to reach. Apparently not.

    Thing is. What do folk want to do about this shit show? What kind of country do you want to live in? I wouldn’t take too long about making your minds up on that at this stage. Worth a thought.

    • Andy Anderson says:

      Regarding your last paragraph the trouble is Sam that many of the 50% that could vote Yes have given little thought to Brexit, they hav’nt got a clue about its effects nor would they be able to make their minds up on Scotland’s future. I find trying to educate those that will listen to be a long game. You can win but it is at least a nine month careful effort. Let’s hope Indyref is delayed long enough for us to get the numbers up. It is going to be harder this time with a 60% Yes vote still far away.

  7. Interpolar says:

    This excellent post cuts to the heart of what is driving Brexit. Many countries have their own flavour of nationalism, but the English edition is imbued in a sense of entitlement, which is disgracefully and incomprehinsively not honoured by others. Just think of England’s embarrassing “football’s coming home” and the incredulous response when her perfidious opponents just wouldn’t roll over.

    But it is also a painful read, because it reminds me of the damaged Scottish soul and the result of our own inability. In 2014 we didn’t even need to fight for freedom, just walk to it, and then still didn’t. Scotland is again in danger of being engulfed in Stockholm Syndrome as Brexit Britain rescripts its staggering stupidity into a stance of heroic defiance.

    • Andy Anderson says:


    • Saor Alba says:

      That is an excellent, accurate and absolutely powerful phrase Interpolar – “the damaged Scottish Soul”. It is exactly where we stand just now after decades of subservience.

      The Scottish Soul needs liberated and awakened again, so the occupants of this land can live life to its fullness. The depression needs lifted so functionality is restored. Such a small phrase amongst the comments, but it made a large impression on me.

  8. Andy Anderson says:

    I have Irish friends who are totally dismayed at what we are doing in this ‘green and pleascent land’. They do not care about our self harm other than how it effects Irish business which is fair enough. They visited Yorkshire in the summer and for the first time ever felt they were unwanted, aliens. They are not going to visit England again, Scotland they will.

    I tell this yarn as it is a Brexit effect. Never before in the field of British politics has so much economic and social damage been done by so few on so many. They are now blowing it up as a great achievement in the media. Time will show the truth but it will be to late by then.

  9. Illy says:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

    England is a narcissist, which makes Scotland the abused partner.

    Go read up on this stuff, and you’ll see it loud and clear.

    And the only thing to do to save yourself from a narcissist is to walk away.

    If you need a popular demonstration of narcissistic abuse, go watch Mrs Bucket (“Keeping Up Appearances”).

  10. Jeannie says:

    Spot on as always. Thank you.

  11. Neil Anderson says:

    A thought which has just occurred (apologies to all, I’m a bit dim..). If the tories had really wanted to go for a clear and orderly Brexit (interesting how auto-correct always puts a capital b at the start of that word.. is it a word?), why did they elect a remainer to lead their shoddy party?

    • Interpolar says:

      Because (1) all the frontline Brexiteers either knifed one another in the back or slunked into the shadows and (2) anything May ever did or said before opportunistically coming out as a Remainer days before the vote suggests she is at heart a Leaver. (That very deed of course reflects her poor judgement and lack of principle.)

  12. robert harrison says:

    Oh ffs here we go again it’s not my fault typical always the same old shit give it rest.

  13. Excellent article Paul. Ireland, has much for Scotland to envy. They have had to endure the hardest of times since 1921. However, their membership of the EU was a game changer. They are now surging ahead of Scotland. In fact leaving us behind. As long as we are tied to the dead weight of England, this is not going to change, only get worse.
    The Irish have shown England to be totally incompetent and leaderless. England is like a once great champion boxer. But is now stumbling around, blindly swinging weak punches, at former allies and friends. These former friends, are easily dodging the punches and laughing at their ineffectiveness. Other former friends, are circling like a pack of drooling hyenas, slavering at the scent of blood.
    With all respect to her, but once that crazy, doddering and demented old nutjob Theresa May, signs the EU deal, the thing termed the UK is finished. What is especially ironic, is that an arch Unionist and Brit Nat has done the deed. England have been outwitted and outsmarted, right from the start of these ‘negotiations’. The EU now have an England, that has been emasculated. England will then be governed by the EU, without any say or influence over the rules and legislation the EU pass. If, England has any complaint, they will have to take it to the European Court. The Court has EU appointed judges from the EU 27. So good luck with that. The EU no longer, have to take any notice of the constant whines and moans, coming from the previous black sheep of the EU family.
    Also, and this is the real kick to the testicles, once they are in the inevitable backstop, they’re only allowed out if the EU agree. This means that any individual country, can veto England’s escape. Spain’s an obvious candidate for this honour. ‘Give us Gibraltar or else’. Fishing rights? Just imagine. Germany, eyeing up London’s service sector. Taking what they want. Poland, taking car manufacturing. One only, has to use one’s imagination.
    Scotland needs a piece of the action of this looting of England’s blue chip companies and resources. The EU could give us one car factory, which would more than make up for fishing. Fishing? Who wants to go fishing in the North Sea really? Standing in freezing cold conditions. A slippery, wet and heaving deck under one’s feet. Soaking wet, freezing fingers and stinking of fish, all of the time. A dangerous, unreliable, underpaid, low tech, unsafe, uncomfortable and low skilled source of employment. Also at the same time, filling the overflowing pockets of repulsive individuals such as Sir Ian Wood.
    On the other hand, having a safe, secure, high tech, high skilled, portable skills, comfortable, highly paid, reliable form of employment in car manufacturing.
    Not a difficult choice. Independence or becoming even more of a backwater, in a backwater Pariah failed state.

  14. Now that Gordon Brewer has set out the Brexit sticking point for Scotland to his audience of 5000 over 65 Faithful, the Common Fisheries Policy, and our stalwart Dirty Dozen Blue Tory MP’s are sticking up for us, or rather the Five Wealthy Fishing Families in the North East, we can all get behind Treeza May, for whom Brewer Paul Hutcheon and Rebecca McQuillan all expressed admiration as a leader who has despite everything, brokered a deal with the 26.

    What a waste of half an hour’s viewing time.
    Freedom of Movement, the Power Grab 26 devolved issues, and so much more, were not even mentioned.
    Nastily they included footage of Nicola Sturgeon hosting an early Chiristmas Party honouring young carers,with her singing along to the shark song with a balloon shark on her head; this was a deliberate , doubtless approved from the top, Donalda, I mean, with BBC Scotland laughing at the SNP and the FM, while Ross Thomson got front and centre from Brewer being interviewed for Mundell’s job.
    Nobody from the SNP was invited to comment.
    What a fucking nasty little station BBC Scotland is.
    Come Independence, even the 5000 who tune in now will give up on them.
    I challenge BBC Editors to refute my accusation that this was a deliberate attempt to insult Nicola Sturgeon.
    Parliament will chuck this Brexit nonsense out.
    Not long now.

  15. Macart says:

    I think we’re all aware of what the Britnat media and their chain tuggers think of us in the YES movement. Same goes for their support, only with less flowery luvs n’ kisses attached. We’ve been called all sorts over the years. Everything from separatists to blood and soil nats. We’re apparently tartan barbarians, sweaties, haggis munchers, deluded braveheart fans and much, much worse. That’s just those of us who voted YES to self determination in 2014.

    If, on top of that, you voted remain in 2016? Good God you’ve been painted by the Britnat meeja as the next worst thing to the anti wossiname. Your loyalty and patriotism have been questioned. Your name dragged through the dirt. If you have a significant other whose point of origin is outwith the UK? Their and your whole world is under threat of being torn apart and your citizenship revoked at the drop of a hat. Your ability and right to travel freely, ripped out of your hands and against your will.

    ALL of this? On the back of two of the most shameful winning campaigns in the UK’s political history. Two campaigns won on a torrent of lies, misinformation, intimidation and needless fear mongering. Two campaigns that because of their polarizing nature have fractured an already deeply divided society, probably beyond hope of repair.

    Ms May sent a letter to the nations of the United Kindom. It was a letter asking the populations of these islands to back Brexit, back her deal, back her and back the UK basically. On the back of everything that’s gone before.

    After decades of the political practices and the narratives that created all of the above carnage. She wants our backing. Uh huh.

    There’s a well worn phrase for telling people to go away in the rudest possible fashion. It’s on the tip of my tongue…

    You can get tae sumthin’ or other. Oh, and the horse you rode in on.

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