It is one of the key and surprising features of the No campaign that their claim of Better Together only applies to Scotland. I have written about this previously, here, when I looked at how well Germany and Austria appeared to met all the criteria for Better Together. Of course the No campaign never make the case that other small countries would benefit from becoming part of a larger and stronger neighbour. The most obvious example for Better Together to cite would be Ireland. A close neighbour, sharing the same language, customs and history, surely Ireland needs the support of the UK just as much as Scotland apparently does. Especially when Ireland was an integral part of the UK before it became independent. Why is there no Better Together with Ireland campaign from our Unionist friends?
This attempt to erase Ireland from the UK’s history is particularly strange on the part of the Tories. This after all is the party that is still officially called the Conservative and Unionist party. The Unionist bit, by the way, refers to the Union with Ireland, not Scotland. This is a useful reminder that the Tories have consistently opposed any and every proposal to devolve power within the UK. We should remember this when considering their latest offer for Scotland. The old saying beware Greeks baring gifts springs to mind. The present Tory party was created to stop devolution to Ireland way back in 1912. Though the other parties supported Irish devolution, none of them supported independence for Ireland. Not even a majority of Irish people were campaigning for independence in 1912. However the failure of Westminster to deliver any kind of Irish devolution is what tragically led to the events of 1916 and war with the UK. This is not an essay in Irish history, but even a brief recollection of the recent past is enough to confirm just how important Ireland was to the UK.
So why does nobody at Westminster, not even the Conservative and Unionist party, seek to bring Ireland back into the strength, security and warmth of the UK? Perhaps the Irish no longer count. Now they have gone, the great British public can safely ignore them. Calls for solidarity among working people no longer extend to Dublin, Cork or anywhere else in the Republic. What kind of solidarity is that? On the other hand the relations between Ireland and the UK have never been warmer or closer. Witness the recent official visits of the Queen to Dublin and the Irish President to London. Joint ministerial statements confirm this commitment to strengthened co-operation between the UK and Ireland.
Clearly Ireland, as an independent country is doing very well. So, if Ireland can successfully thrive as an independent country without the benefits of union with her larger neighbour, why can Scotland not do so? Why is it that Scotland and apparently Scotland alone, needs to be in a political union with its larger neighbour? Back to the beginning and the question of why is there no Better Together with Ireland campaign? Is it because Ireland has access to a greater reserve of natural resources? Clearly not so. Perhaps the Irish are just so much brighter, more intelligent and more capable than Scots? This would seem unlikely and if it were true to any extent, then surely we should not be allowed to vote or stand in UK elections? If we are so incompetent that we could not run our own country, why are we allowed a share in running the UK? Not much mileage in this line of argument.
There is no Better Together with Ireland campaign for the simple reason that no-one either in Ireland or the UK is interested in one. Nor does anyone think that Ireland rejoining the UK would be of benefit to anyone. Which once again brings us back to why does Scotland need to remain in the UK? All the disasters that apparently await Scotland if we vote for independence, have somehow not happened to Ireland. It is truly amazing that with all the scare stories we get from the No campaign, no-one in our media seems to have the wit or the gumption to ask why did these disasters not befall Ireland? But then challenging Unionists and Britnats does not seem to be part of the job remit of our media just now. Ireland is a reminder that a relatively small part of the UK can break free and prosper as an independent country. Ireland is a success story and it is no wonder that the No campaign do not want to be reminded of it.