“we will achieve independence only when we persuade the majority of our citizens that it is the best future for our country”.
This is also the task of Irish Nationalists/Republicans if they want to achieve a Re-United Ireland.
Remember: The UK set the task and has done its utmost in recent years to frame it only in economic/financial terms.
Winning over the hearts and minds of Unionists is a lot more complex than simply convincing them that an Independent Scotland or a Re-United Ireland would give us all more money to jingle in our pockets
It’s is a strategic political allegiance to a community that Ulster and Scottish British people share a psychological and cultural affinity with. Family and military connections bind Scotland and Britain, Ulster and Britain, contributing to cultural identification with England. The Union is seen as the best political vehicle for their development in social, economic and political terms. It is perceived to be a guarantor of Protestant religious-cultural hegemony. Unionists believe no secure cultural identity is available to them outside of its confines.
Warning: Do not underestimate the force of Unionism. The central force of unionism is its group solidarity and political strength when faced by enemies, whether external or internal like the SNP, SF and to a lesser extent by smaller separatist parties.
What type of people support the Union?
1) A middle/ upper-middle class who go into the Armed Forces or to English universities. They see themselves as progressive, liberal and democratic. They celebrate and are committed to state structures such as Westminster, the monarchy, the NHS and the Welfare State. They feel integrated into the ‘British Family’ through the emphasis on Britain’s imperial history as taught in the state school system, industrial connections, technological progress, trade union organisations and British social welfare policies, which encourage them to view life from a British perspective.
Sub-group: Reactionaries who want to be an integral part of Greater Britain. Scotland and Northern Ireland are simply regions of Britain which should be governed in precisely the same manner as the rest of the country. They advocate no regional devolution and going back to full integration with the United Kingdom
Comment: One could point out the industrial decline of Scotland and Northern Ireland over the past 50+ years, emigration and poverty, as indicators that neither area has been well-governed under Westminster.
The rational argument might find some purchase but not with the “No-Devolution” sub-group.
Converting emotional attachment to Britain to neutrality, distaste of Union or support of Independence is likely to fail because these Unionists would have to admit a) they had made a mistake, b) they supported the Union for selfish personal interests in terms of economic and political power or c) they were hankering for a past that will never return.
2) Lower socio-economic groups who have not prospered to the same degree are attached to a ‘supremacist aspect of British identity‘, a glorification of the history of Empire and British military adventures, and display a tendency to be more British than the British themselves.
They proclaim the merits of being part of a great imperial power as opposed to a small independent neutral nation. They assume British culture is the height of civilisation and the centre of liberty, democracy and justice .
They support majority rule politics so as to maintain socio-cultural hegemony and “religious liberty” for them but no one else. Political success is seen in terms of what worked in the past. Anything else dilutes their distinctive cultural identity and endangers free exercise of their religion, imperilling their chances of eternal salvation.
Comment: Pointing out the Empire has declined over the past 60 years and is no more, is refuted by talking about the Commonwealth.
Discussing the crimes of the British Imperial past is refuted by arguments about the “White Man’s Burden” and civilizing the colonies, bringing our judicial, and educational systems, railways etc to benefit the colonized.
Rational arguments find little purchase. Converting emotional attachment to Britain to neutrality, distaste of Union or support of Independence is likely to fail because these Unionists would have to admit a) they had been hoodwinked by Imperial propaganda, b) they were hankering for a past that will never return and c) were “spiritually” bankrupt.
Query: So what’s our
Paul Kavanagh over on Wee Ginger Dug has started the ball rolling
“We need to be more explicit and forceful about the downsides of remaining a part of the UK, about the continuing and widening gulf between rich and poor, the certainty of more foreign wars, the waste of public money and the risk to our safety of nuclear weapons”.
“There also needs to be greater certainty about the constitutional shape of an independent Scotland”.
You can read all his proposals over here: