Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Robinson takes "Them and Us" on Tour

Oh dear! What can the matter be?
Peter Robinson might be starting a calamity.

At the weekend Peter Robinson called for an end of "them and us" in Northern Ireland politics only it didn't seem present from his party in the chamber of Education Training Colleges yesterday. Now it seems he wants to step into Scottish Politics, or does he?

Of course the big question for Northern Irish Unionists over the SNP's call for separation is that once the Union starts to break up in one part what is to stop it happening elsewhere. Look at recent history.

The USSR  in 1990 the Russian Federation started to pass laws that superseded the USSR declaring sovereignty over its territory the largest of the Soviet Republics. In March of 1991 a referendum on the preservation of the Union only carried a majority in 9 of the 15 Republics though passed overwhlemingly as a whole. The seeds of separatism were watered as a result. The coup d'état against the USSR President Gorbachev that August further strengthened the position of the Russian President Yeltsin. On 8 December the three largest republics Russia, Ukraine and Belarus had signed Belavezha Accords which declared the Soviet Union dissolved and the Commonwealth in Independent States in its place. On 21st all the Republics but Georgia had signed the Alma-Ata Protocol confirming the accords. It led to the Christmas Day announcement that Gorbachev was declaring his position extinct and the following day the Supreme Soviet followed suit.
Yugoslavia coming out of the first world war the Kingdom of Serbia, and the States of Croatia and Slovenes were united. They became known as Yugoslavia in 1928. The ethnic tension of the various groups started to grow after the death of Tito in 1980. In 1986 Slobodan Milošević tried to restored the sovereignty of the Serb majority, the Croatians and Slovenes objected. In January 1990 an extraordinary congress of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia was convened. Milošević insisted on one person, one vote to ensure the plurality of the Serb voice was dominant. The Slovenes backed by the Croats wanted more power devolved to the republics, they were voted down. Their delegations then left the congress effectively dissolving the all-Yugoslavia Communist Party. In 1990 the Republics decided to hold multi-party elections following the collapse of communism elsewhere. However, there was ethnic unrest in a number of the republics throughout 1990 and eventually on 25 June 1991 to the declaration of Independence of Slovenia and Croatia  but due to communication in Slovenia the transition of power from the Yugoslav led to some light skirmishes. Of course that wasn't the case with Croatia or later with Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In both the above cases there was a domino effect as each of the constitute parts wanted independence from the Union. Is what Peter Robinson fears that a Scottish secession going to lead to a Welsh pursuit of the same and then a why are we united to just England from Northern Ireland leading either to independence or a united Ireland?

Is he saying there is an end of them and us, but  we don't want us to become them by stealth `because the United Kingdom ends up breaking up. There are many good federalist arguments to be put forward for a high level of devolution across the UK as reasons to safe the Union but give power to the local people (not just disproportionately to Scotland). Having Peter Robinson using such overtly Northern Ireland needs this without addressing issues across the UK as a whole is not the way to do it. Peter really needs to get out the us mentality himself on this one, realise that his small world's eye outlook needs to see what can be of a benefit to all in the UK if he wants to keep the Union not just what he can keep for himself.

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