This week, depending on when you read this, Scotland is about to vote in an independence referendum or has just done so. Let’s assume that Scotland does the decent thing and votes to leave the UK; here is my plan.
My recommendation is that in the event of independence, we, the good people of Northern Ireland, as yer man used to call us, should take the opportunity during the changeover, to invade Scotland.
Think about it for a minute.
George Islay MacNeill Robertson, Baron Robertson of Port Ellen, KT, GCMG, FRSA, FRSE, PC, the last British Secretary General of Nato, who held the post for four years til 2003, said on the news last week that the Scottish part of the British army was nothing better than Dad’s Army, and would only have a force of 3,000 men.
We have thousands of ex UDR and RUC men, many of whom could well be looking for a bit of action. On top of that we have loads of former unlicensed fighters who are hanging around the streets of Belfast and Derry with nothing to do.
Surely with all these men in reserve we could take on 3,000 men who don’t even wear trousers!
If the Scots didn’t forfeit their land quickly we could send in our stormtroopers, the myriad Rangers and Celtic fans who have to be kept apart and sail on different boats when they are travelling to a match.
They wouldn’t need paid; the promise of a season ticket to either ground would be enough to lure them to war: sure it would all be over by Christmas.
We already have a tunnel half built between us and Scotland, courtesy of the Irish Salt Mining and Exploration Company which has been digging salt out from under the Irish sea from 1965. They are based in Carrickfergus.
The mine stretches out to nearly half way across so with a little bit of overtime we could have a tunnel that comes up somewhere near Ayr racecourse.
Another few horses around there would never be noticed!
It could be the start of a new empire and would balance things up: the united kingdom of NI and Scotland against England and Wales.
As a concession to the Orangemen and in order to reward them for their support, we could allow them to march from John O’Groats to Belleek beginning early June and ending by entering Belleek in triumph on the 12th.
We could organise whiskey/whisky tasting events from Bushmills to the valleys of the Highlands. For the Ulster Scots it would be coming home; for us fenians it would be the start of a great adventure.
I say we go for it!
But on a serious note, what does the whole Scottish Independence vote have to say to us.
Our wee country is still ungovernable:
“Arrangements for devolved government at Stormont "are no longer fit for purpose", Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has said. The DUP leader said the ‘weight of the issues to be resolved is such that it must be tackled in a St Andrews 2 setting with government involvement.’
But Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness said the ‘difficult challenges facing the political process’ could be overcome. ‘Megaphone or media-based negotiations are counter-productive,’ he added.
The deputy first minister said: ‘We all have a responsibility to work together, but in the first place the first minister should talk to me and to his executive colleagues.’” (BBC News)
Later in the story Mr Robinson is quoted as saying,
"The breadth of the ideological spectrum represented in the executive does, at times, mean agreement cannot be reached on some initiatives and at other times, in order to secure agreement, unsatisfactory compromises are reached."
If we go back to the Good Friday agreement we all remember that there were a lot of checks and balances. On the BBC the other day I heard a presenter say that the checks and balances were there to stop a return to violence.
I disagree; the checks and balances were put in place because when they were not there and the unionists had control of Stormont they ran the north as a Protestant club. And most nationalists believe that if they could do so again they definitely would.
Admittedly, the proof of my assertion would be hard for an outsider to understand, but as proof all I feel I have to say is ‘look at the way the unionist politicians still jump at the Orange Order’s command and how many of the same politicians are to be seen, sashes hanging proudly, marching behind bands playing anti Catholic songs on the 12th.’
In effect, what Peter Robinson is saying, although he would be loath to admit it, is that in essence, Northern Ireland is ungovernable.
Not a man, woman, child has been shot or maimed in the dream of Scottish independence. There have been no bombs, no heartbroken mothers and no hunger strikers starving themselves to death in pursuit of their ideals.
What was all our killing about?
And there is another point that Tsar Peter would need to take heed off: whatever the outcome of the referendum next Thursday the people of Scotland shall accept the result and shall work to make the country a better place for all.
From the moment the Good Friday agreement was signed, Unionism has had to be pulled screaming and yelling at every turn. They have been belligerent about every aspect of the agreement, still unable to communicate with nationalists as equals.
That is the fatal flaw in Northern Ireland: we, both sides, simply cannot trust each other. The good of the country is secondary to the petty hatred we carry in our hearts.
Two reports about the same issue came up in the news this week and we should be thinking about them a bit more.
“On RTE we heard that Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health Kathleen Lynch has said the Government is very concerned about the high rate of suicide in Ireland. Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Ms Lynch said anyone dying by suicide was a serious issue.
The new National Framework for Suicide Prevention was being worked on at the moment, she added. Asked about the issue of under-reporting of suicide, Minister Lynch said she was not certain that suicide was under-reported, however, she said there were difficulties.” (RTE News)
Then from the UK we read:
“As many as three quarters of a million young people in the UK may feel that they have nothing to live for, a study for the Prince's Trust charity claims. The trust says almost a third of long-term unemployed young people have contemplated taking their own lives’
The report found 9% of all respondents agreed with the statement: ‘I have nothing to live for’ and said if 9% of all youngsters felt the same, it would equate to some 751,230 young people feeling they had nothing to live for.
Martina Milburn, chief executive of the Prince's Trust, said: Unemployment is proven to cause devastating, long-lasting mental health problems among young people. Thousands wake up every day believing that life isn't worth living, after struggling for years in the dole queue.” (BBC)
In the middle of all the richness that we see in this not so United Kingdom we have people living in absolute despair. And no one has an answer; we are all running around like headless chickens as the numbers of people dying at their own hands continues to increase.
Maybe if we tried to make society a little fairer instead of fighting over trivial things, then some of these desperate young people would have someone to turn too.
But there was one piece of good news came out of Stormont this week: the Education and Skills Authority (ESA) has been put on the long finger.
“The ESA was supposed to be the single authority for the administration of education in Northern Ireland, subsuming the functions of the five existing Education and Library Boards (ELBs), the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS), the Staff Commission and the Youth Council.
However, the plan ran into problems when political disagreements emerged at Stormont over who would represent the controlled school sector, attended mostly by Protestant pupils.
Voluntary grammar schools also objected to ESA, due to concerns they would lose some of their autonomy.”
Brilliant! As a Catholic I believe that Catholic education is one of the few great assets we have in this country. I have worked in the Free State in the state schools down there and there is no faith, religion or anything positive in any of the ones that I was in.
Our Catholic education system is one of the most treasured things we have, for without doubt, a Catholic conscience is among the best properties that can be instilled in any young person. Believe me, when you see some of the nonsense that they are being taught down south, you would treasure our Catholic education.
Mind you, what does all this teach us in the light of the death of the Big Man?
I was just finishing lunch on Friday when I took my fruit salad desert and went down to the TV room to watch the news. When the headline came up that Ian was no more I was surprised at my reaction.
It was truly a non-event. The poor man is dead, God have mercy on him, and I hope that his first meeting with the God he so proudly proclaimed, went well.
But the fact that for most Catholics the death of Ian Paisley was just another piece of news tells us a lot about the state of mind of the average Catholic in the New North: we no longer feel inadequate, ill at ease or an outsider in our own land.
This is a colossal change, the significance of which cannot be overstated. There was a time when Ian Paisley was seen as a figure of hate by most Catholics, now we simply take note of the fact that he has died and move on to the next part of our business.
The self-assuredness and comfort with which we Catholics now live in Northern Ireland should be seen as an opportunity by the Unionists. Indeed, it would be very arguable that Paisley knew that the Catholics would be prepared to live in a British Ulster if they were given equality and such equality would make the union relatively safe.
Everyone, including Sinn Fein, now accepts a British Ulster. What is it in the Unionist mind-set that can’t see the glorious opportunity in this reality?
Speaking of glorious opportunities, let’s return to the invasion of Scotland. As I have sat here writing this, the plan has been developing in my head:
We could send all those thousands of Campbell’s, MacDonald’s, and anyone else with Scottish cousins over on their ‘holidays’ to that fair land. Then as the ex UDR, RUC, IRA and UVF men set sail from Larne and Belfast harbours, these holiday makers could become our advance forces and make sure the roads were open for us.
Surely some of the Ulster Workers Council men who switched off the lights so quickly in 1974, at the then all Protestant Kilroot power station, are still about and they could go into the power stations in Scotland and do the same there. With no electric, the Scottish people would be totally confused and would probably blame the English, giving us the chance to sneak up unannounced.
But what is the real beauty of invading Scotland?
Well, first off, we could shift the whole shooting shebang from Stormont to Edinburgh. Secondly, the Orangemen would have many more routes to march along, and finally, Antrim could beat them all at shinty and hurling.
The new land shall be called ‘Scotster,’ and there shall be no unemployment.
Firstly we shall rebuild Hadrian’s Wall to its former glory. Every unemployed brickie in Northern Ireland shall be shipped across the sea, getting home one weekend in four, and we shall make the wall so high that England will never get in again.
Secondly we shall open hotels for all the Ulster Scots in America to come and visit us again. There are millions of them and we could become world leaders in looking up people’s ancestors.
Yes, I think Scotster could be a good idea. If nothing else it would take our minds off the Welfare Reform crisis which is going on here and bring all the newsmen back to our wee province.
I miss them.
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the editor but are the views of the writer.
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