There’s something that’s been bugging me for a while. It’s Irish people. Not that Irish people bug me, far from it. It’s the total absence of discussion of Ireland and the Irish in the context of this debate Scotland is currently having about who is furren and who isn’t.
Speaking personally, and I’m quite sure my sentiments are shared by the overwhelming majority of Scots, Irish people are no more nor less foreign than English people or Welsh people. Which is to say, not very foreign at all then. People who know what tottie scones and sodie breid are can’t possibly be foreign, even if they do call them potato farls and soda bread.
So the question I keep coming back to, when I hear Unionists warn in the direst terms about the awfulness of us becoming foreigners to the rest of the UK and breaking those shared bonds we have, is what exactly is it we share in terms of culture, identity and history with the Welsh and the English, but not with the Irish as well? Because all those shared things are shared quite independently of the bonds of the Westminster Parliament, which seems to be the only bond in the equation – we’re bound by their decisions and don’t have much in the way of remedy. More a shackle than a bond.
The bad news for the Better Together mob is that the only single answer is “the Royal family”. It’s dubious whether the Windsors could be considered “culture”, though they are a parasitic growth which could be grown in a petri dish, so I suppose that’s culture of a sort.
However Irish people tend to have quite strong opinions about the British monarchy, especially those in the northern bits, but it’s also far from foreign amongst those in the Republic. This is not something you often find amongst people in properly foreign parts. Properly foreign foreigners have no more interest in the Windsors than the average Scottish person has in the King of Thailand. Can you name the King of Thailand without Googling it? No. Neither can I.
In any event we’d still have that particular circus after independence, what with Liz already being Queen of Scots quite separately from her claim to the throne of England – or to give her her more accurate title north of the border, “Queen of Those Scots Who Give a Shit About the Monarchy”. There’s more than a few Scots who fully intend to press for us to go down the Irish route with respect to the Windsors just as soon as we get independence, so republican sentiments are not really something we can be told we don’t share with Ireland.
This can only mean that citizens of the Irish Republic are foreigners who have cunningly disguised themselves not to seem foreign at all. So even if we do end up as foreigners to the rest of the UK if we vote for independence, we can just borrow the cloaking technology from Dublin. Sorted.
However some clown in the Telegraph was opining the other day that since the UK is a constitutional monarchy where the sovereign is bound to act on the advice of the Prime Minister, Davie could have a wee word in Liz’s shell-like and advise her not to become Queen of Scots after independence. Bash. Kapowie. Blam. Take that Scottish separatists. You’ll be proper foreigners without the Queen.
“Cameron has already denied Scotland the pound sterling. He is entitled to deny the Scots the House of Windsor, especially since the Scots had their own separate monarch before James the VI and I unified the crowns of England and Scotland in 1603.”
He then goes on to suggest Scotland invites this mad auld Spanish bat to become Queen, the conveniently titled Duquesa de Alba, because she’s a direct descendant of the Stuarts and has an unfortunate resemblance to Phil Spector in drag. At first I thought he might be making a witty play on the wummin’s title and the Gaelic name for Scotland, but that would require some actual knowledge of the country Oborne is so ready to denigrate.
His staggering lack of understanding was already illustrated in his first sentence, when he said Cameron had “denied Scotland the pound”, so I should have realised. Scotland can’t be denied the pound, we can use it without Westminster’s permission – and we can leave the debt behind too. This might not be the preferred option of the Scottish Government, which proposes to be studiously reasonable and helpful to the UK Treasury post-independence, but it sure as hell is mine.
The only reason Oborne mentioned la Duquesa is because she’s stinking rich. Obscenely rich. This allows him to make a Metropolitan sneer about how she’d be able to bail Scotland out. Oborne, like the rest of the London commentariat, suffers from the quaint delusion that Scotland is the Big Issue Seller of Europe, dependent upon the charity of good people like him. And we jolly well ought to be grateful. Someone’s in for an unpleasant shock after Scottish independence, and it’s not going to be Scottish people.
Nevertheless, I’d like to add my wee voice to Oborne’s plea to Cameron to tell Liz she can’t come over all queeny in Scotland. It would save Scottish republicans the bother of having to campaign for a republic post-independence, and it would piss off Scottish monarchists no end and drive them into the yes camp. So it’s a win win.
We’ll have our Dublin made not-foreign cloaking devices, a Scottish republic, we’ll still use the pound and have no national debt. Thank you Westminster for giving us the hat-trick. Can we have more of these fearbombs please? They’re really pretty tasty.