Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Random News Generator- Northern Ireland

On September 18, Scotland will be holding a referendum on independence. As of right now, while there is a sizable contingent favoring it, there has yet to be a poll from any source showing the independence group in the lead. Roughly half of the electorate, maybe more, maybe less, is currently set to vote no, with the yeses ranging somewhere in the 35% range. And the numbers haven't really moved much. So, just to give you an idea of the odds here. Maybe there's still something that could push Scotland into independence territory over the next month, but I wouldn't think it likely.

That having been said, the other components of the British Isles are watching with great interest, just in case. Wales and Northern Ireland have their fair share of secessionists as well, and in the event that Scotland does declare independence, they're both very likely to launch campaigns of their own. In the event of Northern Ireland, such a campaign would involve Northern Ireland shifting over to join Regular Ireland. I believe you recall The Troubles, the period ranging from the 1960's up until 1998 when Ireland and Northern Ireland were constantly and violently at odds for both nationalistic and religious reasons.

But such a bid, according to polls, would go down in flames by spectacular margins if it were held right now. And there is plenty of the Northern Irish populace that dreads the unrest that might result from such a referendum's mere existence. Whatever Scotland does, there's no way Northern Ireland follows them out the door. So absent that, everyone is considering just what Scottish independence would mean to them: the ease or difficulty in opening up separate trade agreements (which they already have some experience with given Ireland's presence); the matter of subsidies from England to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that would be altered by Scotland's absence; whether business opportunities would favor a newly-independent Scotland that might otherwise have opted for Northern Ireland. And there's the question of how much British Parliament would include Wales and Northern Ireland if they felt they were at risk of leaving as well.

But of course, all this only applies if Scotland votes that way. Or if they vote no, but the percentages are close enough to where the supporters are galvanized to try again, which is also being watched. There is no provision for a second attempt, but if the yeses happen to get into the mid-40's or something, they're probably going to push for a second vote, putting the entire UK on alert all over again. We'll have to wait and see what the number is.

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