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Northern Ireland Vote Jolts Already Disunited Kingdom

Discussion in 'The Americas' started by Hellfire, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. Hellfire

    Hellfire Mod Staff Member MODERATOR

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    Wed Mar 15, 2017

    [​IMG]
    FILE PHOTO - Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon (R), greets Britain's new Prime Minister, Theresa May, as she arrives at Bute House in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne/File Photo


    By Ian Graham | BELFAST


    A nationalist surge at elections in Northern Ireland and a Scottish demand for a second independence referendum have raised doubts over whether the United Kingdom can hold together after it leaves the European Union.

    Last year's referendum on EU membership saw England and Wales vote to leave while Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain, straining the ties that bind the UK together.

    Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon dealt a blow to British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday by demanding a new vote on independence in late 2018 or early 2019, making her move much sooner than expected.

    But while the Scottish issue had been well flagged since the Brexit vote, a snap provincial assembly election in Northern Ireland produced a genuine shock: for the first time since the partition of Ireland in 1921, unionists lost their majority.

    Nationalist party Sinn Fein, backed by many of Northern Ireland's Catholics, narrowed the gap with the Democratic Unionist Party, whose support base is among pro-British Protestants, to just one seat.

    This has revived the slow-burning question of whether Northern Ireland will stay in the United Kingdom over the long term or become part of the Republic of Ireland. This could be achieved by a referendum, often referred to as a border poll.

    "A border poll might be 10 years away and it might still be lost, but clearly this election has shown a different dynamic in Northern Ireland politics," said Peter Shirlow, Director of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool.

    "This opens the door for a different scenario."

    Nationalist leader Gerry Adams, who is 68 and still hopes to see a united Ireland in his lifetime, told Reuters Sinn Fein had sensed new interest in Irish unity from voters.

    But May, whose party is officially called Conservative and Unionist, has stated a deep personal commitment to keeping the 300-year-old UK together and is determined not to go down in history as the prime minister who allowed it to fall apart.

    Opinion polls in the past have shown only limited support for Irish unity, including among Catholics. That is partly because of high awareness of the province's dependence on public sector jobs, welfare benefits and other flows of UK cash.



    "BREXIT CHANGES EVERYTHING"

    Senia Paseta, a professor of modern Irish history at the University of Oxford, said the economic context was a key part of the picture south of the border as well.

    "I don’t think reunification is likely in the short to medium term, not least because the Irish Republic is rightly wary of taking on Northern Ireland," she said.

    But while Irish unity may not be on the cards anytime soon, the balance of opinion could change over time under the combined impact of Brexit and of demographic shifts that could favor Irish nationalism.

    In Belfast's mainly Catholic Ardoyne area, a frequent flashpoint of communal tensions, no one was getting carried away just yet.

    "I really hope what happened will make a border poll more likely, the sooner the better. But there are more of them than us still, so it would need some Protestants to vote for unity," said resident Sean Doherty.

    Northern Ireland's population of 1.8 million is still majority Protestant, although demographic trends point to Catholics becoming the majority within a generation -- as they are in the Republic, which has a population of 4.8 million.

    The northern province suffered three decades of sectarian violence, known as the Troubles, which cost 3,600 lives until the Good Friday peace agreement was signed in 1998.

    Since then, Northern Ireland had mostly faded into the background of British politics, until the collapse in January of a provincial government that shared power between the DUP and Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein used to be the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, though it has long been committed to constitutional politics and the IRA has laid down its arms.

    Renewed momentum towards a united Ireland and an independent Scotland is the last thing May needs as she begins the mammoth task of negotiating the terms of the UK's exit from the EU and of its future trading relationship with the bloc.

    Brexit is particularly disruptive for Northern Ireland because its border with the Republic is the UK's only land border with the EU, raising the prospect of tougher border controls when the UK leaves the European single market.

    "On this issue, as on so many others, Brexit changes everything," wrote political columnist Noel Whelan in the Irish Times last week.

    "Northern nationalists have cause now to fear being marooned economically and politically behind a hard border and living in a polity where greater sovereignty over their lives is restored to British institutions."



    "IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN"

    May has said she wants the border to remain open, but has given no details as to how this can be achieved post-Brexit.

    "No border, hard of soft, will be accepted by the people of Ireland. What British armored cars and tanks and guns couldn't do in Ireland, 27 member states will not be able to do," said Martina Anderson, a Sinn Fein member of the European Parliament, speaking in the chamber this week.


    But on the other side of Northern Ireland's political divide, opposition to Irish unity remains strong.

    "A united Ireland, no way, it will never happen," said Trevor Herron, a pensioner in Belfast's staunchly unionist Woodvale Road area.

    "They don't have the same benefits system down south. You have to pay to go to the doctor, pay for prescriptions. The politicians can play politics as much as they want but when it comes to money, economics, they (Catholics in Northern Ireland) know they are better off up here."

    Oxford University's Paseta has argued that there was little appetite for unity south of the border because the status quo offered the Republic peaceful co-existence with the North and some involvement in its affairs while the British Treasury provided economic support.

    Nevertheless, the issue of Irish unity has been slowly inching its way into policymakers' minds in Dublin.

    Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has called for the Brexit treaty, when it happens, to specify that Northern Ireland would join the EU immediately if it united with Ireland.

    Opposition party Fianna Fail, the favorite to win the next Irish elections, is preparing a plan on how a united Ireland would work in practice.

    As well as the disruptive effect of Brexit itself, a huge uncertainty hanging over Northern Ireland is what will unfold in Scotland and what impact it will have on the province.

    Scotland voted against independence by 55 to 45 percent in a 2014 referendum, but that was before the Brexit referendum.

    Sturgeon and her Scottish National Party have argued that Scotland should not be dragged out of the EU against its will, and hence should have the option of a new independence vote.

    A Scottish exit would be a huge psychological blow to Northern Ireland's unionists, many of whom are descended from 17th century Scottish settlers and feel strongly about their historic ties to Scotland and the wider UK.

    Sinn Fein's Adams said nationalists had to win over unionists to the idea of a unified Ireland and give them confidence they would have a prosperous future within it. He did not expect this to happen overnight.



    (Writing and additional reporting by Padraic Halpin in Dublin and Estelle Shirbon in London; editing by Giles Elgood)

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-nireland-analysis-idUSKBN16M27O



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  2. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Here's the difference. Britain gives the EU £10bn/net per year and employs or pays benefits to millions of their citizens. On the other hand, Scotland runs a 10% deficit off the back of English and Welsh taxpayers, whilst the rest of the UK runs a <4% deficit.

    It's also important to note that in the calculation of their deficit, the share of debt interest payments has been split by population share, rather than their share of actual deficit spending which is 2.5 times higher. It also includes a geographical share of oil revenue, whereas 70% of Shetland Isles voted to remain in the UK, which would take a big chunk of that oil.

    http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/08/2132

    Total expenditure for the benefit of Scotland by the Scottish Government, UK Government, and all other parts of the public sector was£68.6 billion. This is equivalent to 9.1 per cent of total UK public sector expenditure, and £12,800 per person, which is £1,200 per person greater than the UK average.

    http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0050/00504649.pdf

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    http://www.shetlandtimes.co.uk/2012...n-in-uk-if-they-reject-independence-tory-lord

    Isles should be allowed to remain in UK if they reject independence

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/mar/24/ifs-scotland-debts-three-times-greater-uk

    Scotland facing deficit three times greater than UK
    Forecast from the Institute for Fiscal Studies says a collapse in oil prices has left a growing gap between Scottish spending and tax income

    https://www.theguardian.com/society...inances-worsen-fall-oil-revenues-15bn-deficit

    The data put Scotland’s net fiscal deficit last year at £14.8bn, including North Sea receipts, £522m higher than the previous year. That was equivalent to 9.5% of Scotland’s GDP. The UK’s estimated deficit for the same period was 4% of GDP.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euro_convergence_criteria

    1. Government budget deficit: The ratio of the annual general government deficit relative to gross domestic product (GDP) at market prices, must not exceed 3% at the end of the preceding fiscal year (based on notified measured data) and neither for any of the two subsequent years (based on the European Commission's published forecast data). Deficits being "slightly above the limit" (previously outlined by the evaluation practice to mean deficits in the range from 3.0–3.5%[9]), will as a standard rule not be accepted, unless it can be established that either: "1) The deficit ratio has declined substantially and continuously before reaching the level close to the 3% limit" or "2) The small deficit ratio excess above the 3% limit has been caused by exceptional circumstances and has a temporary nature (i.e. expenditure one-offs triggered by a significant economic downturn, or expenditure one-offs triggered by the implementation of economic reforms with a positive mid/long-term effect)".[5][6][10] If a state is found by the Commission to have breached the deficit criteria, they will recommend the Council of the European Union to open up a deficit-breached EDP against the state in accordance with Article 126(6), which only will be abrogated again when the state simultaneously comply with both the deficit and debt criteria.
    2. Government debt-to-GDP ratio: The ratio of gross government debt (measured at its nominal value outstanding at the end of the year, and consolidated between and within the sectors of general government) relative to GDP at market prices, must not exceed 60% at the end of the preceding fiscal year. Or if the debt-to-GDP ratio exceeds the 60% limit, the ratio shall at least be found to have "sufficiently diminished and must be approaching the reference value at a satisfactory pace".[6] This "satisfactory pace" was defined and operationalized by a specific calculation formula, with the entry into force of the new debt reduction benchmark rule in December 2011, requiring the states in breach of the 60% limit to deliver – either for the backward- or forward-looking 3-year period – an annual debt-to-GDP ratio reduction of at least 5% of the part of the benchmark value being in excess of the 60% limit. If both the 60% limit and "debt reduction benchmark rule" is breached, the Commission will finally check if the breach has been caused only by certain special exempted causes (i.e. capital payments to establishment of common financial stability mechanisms, like the ESM) – because if this is the case they will then rule an "exempted compliance". If a state is found by the Commission to have breached the debt criteria (without this breach solely being due to "exempted causes"), they will recommend the Council of the European Union to open up a debt-breached EDP against the state in accordance with Article 126(6), which only will be abrogated again when the state simultaneously comply with both the deficit and debt criteria.[10]

    http://www.politico.eu/article/spai...d&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication

    Spain says independent Scotland would be at back of the EU queue
     
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  3. Hellfire

    Hellfire Mod Staff Member MODERATOR

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    But we are indeed looking at a (dis)United Kingdom post Brexit, are we not? @BMD
     
  4. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    We're looking at some people chucking the teddy really. I think Sturgeon is really just trying to interfere with Brexit because Scottish independence would be the nail in the SNP's coffin. Once she actually has to take responsibility for that huge deficit, she'll have to make tough choices on spending cuts and tax hikes, which will be very unpopular. She'll also find the EU membership fee much higher with Britain negotiating on her behalf.
     
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  5. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Someone hasn't got the message.

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/778...n-indyref2-snp


    Earlier this year, it was widely reported the current SNP leader favours adopting a new currency as the key to securing victory in any new referendum.
    However, a new poll has found that 68 per cent of voters agreed with the statement that “Scotland should continue using the pound, rather than creating a new Scottish currency”.
    Only seven per cent of people disagree, with 25 per cent uncertain. Once this group is removed, a whopping 91 per cent of Scots want to keep sterling rather than adopt a Scottish pound.http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politic...rgeon-10056608


    Nicola Sturgeon faced attacks from her Tory rival today as she said she does not yet know if an independent Scotland would keep the pound.

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/283504...says-eu-chief/

    Independent Scotland would have to ditch pound and use the euro, says EU chief

    http://news.sky.com/story/sturgeon-s...rship-10807681

    Sturgeon: Scotland will keep the pound and apply for full EU membership

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...itics-26166794

    Scottish independence: 'Yes' vote means leaving pound, says Osborne

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/politi...h-Independence

    Independent Scotland WON'T be able to keep the pound, warns Bank of England

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    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017 at 1:34 AM
  6. IndiranChandiran

    IndiranChandiran 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    Well , the way I see it there were plenty of old timers in my childhood days who said India would have been better off under the British .That didn't prevent independence then .Nor will ir now .It's like the forbidden fruit.The allure is irresistible .

    On the bright side , GB would be one of the few empires in the history of mankind to have the sun set on it .
    So many other just perished in wars of conquest and /or withered away .
     
  7. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    The five charts that show how economically risky Scottish independence would be
    80 Comments
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    17 MARCH 2017 • 10:32AM


    Nicola Sturgeon has announced that she intends to ask for a second referendum on Scottish independence because Brexit will result in Scotland being withdrawn from the European Union against its will.

    The SNP was widely believed to have lost the economic argumentduring their first stab at independence in 2014, and it is difficult to see how they could win a re-run this argument in the current climate.

    Falls in the price of oil have taken a hefty toll on Scotland's economy since 2014 and, coupled with the country's huge deficit and sluggish rate of growth, independence is an even riskier prospect now than it was two and a half years ago.

    Scotland's oil revenue is running dry
    Back in 2014, the SNP made a big noise about just how well an independent Scotland could perform on the world stage. Central to this thesis was the amount of money the country could make from North Sea oil.

    Estimates as to just how much revenue could be produced from North Sea oil varied significantly depending on who you asked - but the price of oil itself seemed to be relatively stable at between $90 and $110 per barrel.

    In September 2014 - the month of the referendum - crude oil prices were ticking along at $91 per barrel.

    Four months later it had nearly halved to $48 per barrel. The price continuing to fall over the course of the subsequent 12 months. It reached a low of $33.6 in January 2016.

    Although the price of oil has recovered somewhat - back up to $48 dollars on average so far this month - the huge reduction in the value of Scotland's prize asset hit the economy.

    [Scotland's North Sea oil reserves] cannot be regarded as anything other than a substantial asset.Alex Salmon (2014)
    The North Sea is an extremely expensive place to produce oil, with recent estimates putting the cost at $44 per barrel.


    This leaves little room for profit and makes it almost impossible to compete with countries like Saudi Arabia who can produce oil for less than $10 per barrel.

    This led to Scotland's share of North Sea oil revenue falling to just £60m in 2015-16, down from £1.8bn the previous year.

    Scotland's deficit is larger than that of Greece
    Nicola Sturgeon's pitch for independence looks set to centre on a desire for Scotland to remain in the European Union and the single market.

    However, the terms by which an independent Scotland could enter the EU are extremely uncertain. Countries face a lengthy application process in order to become members and Scotland may well be forced to adopt the euro as the price of membership.

    One of the target metrics the EU enforces on its members is for each state to aim for a budget deficit of no more than 3pc of GDP.

    Show more
    Scotland is a terrible performer in this regard, spending £1,200 a head more than the rest of the UK and receiving £400 per head less.

    The Scottish government's latest annual estimate puts the country's deficit at £15bn or 9.5pc of GDP. This would be comfortably the worst score for any EU member state.

    Scotland may have to prove it can reduce this deficit before EU membership becomes a possibility and this would take time.

    Could Scotland go it alone?
    While it could be argued that, with greater fiscal autonomy, Scotland might be able to reduce its deficit were it to become independent, its general economic performance is less that impressive.


    In the first quarter of 2015 Scotland outperformed the rest of the UK, achieving 0.75pc quarterly growth. Since then, growth has been slow with the UK as a whole outperforming Scotland in every quarter.

    Scotland's economy only narrowly avoided contracting in the first quarter of 2016 with growth of 0.01pc based on the previous quarter.

    Scotland is successfully closing it's productivity gap compared to the UK as a whole, but given how poor the UK's productivity is in comparison with other nations, this doesn't inspire confidence.

    Similarly, employment levels and wage growth in Scotland are slightly lower than the UK average.

    Scotland's economy isn't exactly ailing but nor is it excelling to the extent where independence is anything other than an extremely risky proposition. The SNP have a lot of questions to answer if they want to turn some optimistic polling numbers into a viable plan for going it alone.
     
  8. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Yeah, well, India became independent in 1947 and Hong Kong remained with Britain until 1997 and now has a GDP per capita two dozen times higher than that of India.
     
  9. IndiranChandiran

    IndiranChandiran 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    Why did you let go of it then ? It'd have been 5 dozen times of India by now .
     
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  10. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Given back in exchange for China's help in opposing the spread of Soviet-backed communism in South East Asia post Vietnam War.

    Yeah, things are not as simple as you thought, huh?
     
  11. IndiranChandiran

    IndiranChandiran 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    The latter happened in the late 1990's , the former in the 1970's.And Chris Patten tried his best to stick it up for the CCP before the final handing over .
    You expect us to believe your version .
    Why don't you simply say that the lease was up , the Chinese wouldn't renew it & you couldn't do scat about it ?That all you could manage was a grin & bear it face .
     
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  12. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    The handing back of Hong Kong happened in 1997 but was agreed in 1984. The Chinese, US and UK co-backed anti-Vietnamese forces in Cambodia (1977-1991), probably even including the Khmer Rouge. Very dirty affair.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambodian–Vietnamese_War

    There was no lease, it had been under British possession since 1841.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong
     
  13. IndiranChandiran

    IndiranChandiran 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    "After the First Opium War (1839–42), Hong Kong became a British colony with the perpetual cession of Hong Kong Island, followed by the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 and a 99-year lease of the New Territories from 1898."

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong

    If only you read the source whose link you promptly pasted here.

    The rest of your argument is redundant .


     
  14. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    New Territories (Green), not Hong Kong Island itself (Purple) or Kowloon (Yellow) or Lantau (Orange) or Outlying islands (Pink).

    http://wikitravel.org/en/Hong_Kong

    [​IMG]

    They'd all be speaking Japanese by now if it wasn't for us irrelevant of any lease anyway.
     
  15. IndiranChandiran

    IndiranChandiran 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    They could be speaking Inuit for all I care.You still didn't answer my question .

    Allow me to answer on your behalf .Were the lease due in the 1930's the British would have squeezed the Chinese , were it due in the 1990's and the British were half the power they were in the 1930's they would still try to Force the issue .

    Alas! In the 1990's the British were a 3rd rate power &the Chinese were a rising power.

    So what do the Brits do? They make a virtue out of a necessity and a promise to abide by the letter & spirit of all the agreements .

    Otherwise you would be carried out of Hong Kong feet first.

    Moving on , that day is rightly marked as the day the British Empire ended .It's only a matter or time that the Scots followed by the Irish move out of the United Kingdom .The Welsh would then shed their taciturnity too and opt out.Soon the UK or what remains of it would be unable to support the other colonies it possesses like Gibraltar , the Falklands , etc and would offer them independence .

    Thus ,The sun would gradually set on the British Empire with the future Europe basking in the glory of the Brits considering themselves as spiritual inheritors of everything quintessentialy Brit like how you do now with Greek History , culture , philosophy ,etc.

    Enjoy the little of the last of your golden days .
     

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