On Yes, Flegs and Little England
First up the world from Dublin via the Irish Times, where Judith Crosbie writes giving some insight into how Ireland annd Wales see the EU referendum debate (‘Corrosive English nationalism’ driving EU debate):
“Corrosive English nationalism” is driving the debate on Britain exiting the EU and such a move would be a “disaster” for the Welsh economy, Wales’s first minister Carwyn Jones has said.
Scotland was also worried about the uncertainty the issue caused as it “threatened tens of thousands of jobs”, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s deputy first minister, told a conference of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce in Dublin yesterday.
“The question is why it is taking five years to resolve this question,” Mr Jones said, referring to British prime minister David Cameron’s announcement this week that a referendum on the issue would be held before 2018.
He said 500 firms in Wales exported to the EU with 150,000 jobs dependent on that trade.
There were 50 Irish firms based in Wales which generated 2,600 jobs with some of the major firms including Glanbia, Kingspan and Smurfit Kappa, he added.
Ms Sturgeon said the UK could be on a “collision course” over its EU membership but “that is not a journey Scotland’s government wants Scotland to take”. An independent Scotland was vital to avoid “leaving these decisions in the hands of the Westminster government”, she added. Scotland could then use taxes to encourage research and development and tackle inequality. Independence would also boost economic links and trade with Ireland.
Ireland ‘wrote the manual’
An independent Scotland in the EU would enable the country to protect its national interests. Ireland “wrote the manual” on how small nations could advance in the EU while protecting their interests and the author of that manual was Garret FitzGerald, she said. Read the full article here.
Secondly, and still in Ireland, Emer O Toole challenges media coverage of the Flegs ‘protest’ and asks: Why Can’t Britain Look Northern Ireland in the Eye?’
If 100 police officers were injured in clashes with civilians in any other part of the UK, headlines would be screaming it. As Kevin Meagher points out in the New Statesman, using baton rounds and water cannon in any other British city would be unthinkable (water cannon was discussed as a tactical option during the London riots, but never used).
Finally, a highly critical Jamie Maxwell writes in the New Statesman on how the Yes campaign should re-take the initiative (‘To recover the Scottish Yes campaign needs to go attack’) :
How might Yes Scotland regain the initiative? A more effective Yes campaign would balance its aspirational account of Scotland’s ‘journey’ from devolution to independence with a critique of the British state, highlighting the democratic and international costs Scotland pays for remaining part of the UK. In particular, it would make clear the link between Scotland’s abysmal social record (one of the worst in western Europe) and the concentration of political and economic power in London and the south east. It would also aim to systematically undermine the Scottish public’s confidence in the desire and capacity of Westminster to act in Scotland’s interests, even if this means abandoning its much vaunted commitment to positive campaigning.
How do these random snippets elate to each other? They are about how the intertwined destinies and debates of nations collide and the situation is much more fluid and uncertain than the bold and glib statements of the MSM would suggest as they celebrate polls taken months ago. With Ruth Davidson now spinning like a turbo-charged Red Wendy, the Unionist parties desperate re-positioning belies a deep-seated insecurity not revealed through the prism of their scribes in the media.