There are two serious secession movements in the UK. One is in Scotland the other is in Northern Ireland. In Wales secession is not a serious option and relatively few Welsh people support it. Covid changes the debate decisively.
All British people pay income tax if they work and other taxes such as VAT if they don’t. But not everyone pays the same amount of tax and not every business contributes the same amount in taxation. There are areas in Britain that spend more than they raise and areas that contribute more than they receive. This is one of the major benefits of being a single unitary nation state.
The European Union may in time become a unitary nation state, or else it may choose to become a federation like the United States, but at present it is neither. It may be a confederation such as the United States was for a few years after the War of Independence. In a confederation each state maintains its independence and sovereignty. It may be that the EU has not even reached even this stage. But the difference between the EU and Britain has never been clearer than just now.
In Britain not only do we distribute taxation according to where it is needed, our central bank the Bank of England (BOE) works to make sure that the supply of money flows freely throughout Britain and adjusts monetary policy for the good of everywhere. Likewise, in the present crisis each part of Britain receives money from the Treasury to cover the costs of the emergency. It is money from the Treasury that is paying the wages of secessionists in Scotland and Northern Ireland even as they continue to plan secession.
In the EU there is a debate about what to do to help those member states that are struggling because of Covid and decades of recession. The European Central Bank (ECB) wanted to extend the amount of money it could borrow and distribute to places like Italy. The German Federal Court of Justice recently said that the Bundesbank would no longer be allowed to take part, which practically means that the ECB cannot do the job that the BOE is doing in Britain.
The Bundesbank has no problem distributing money within Germany and is doing so almost without limit. The Federal Court has no objection. What this means is that the Federal Court is saying that the EU is not a federation let alone a unitary state. It is at best a confederation. Germany remains independent and sovereign and the German Federal Court supersedes EU treaty law.
But this has consequences both for the EU and Britain. If a German court need not follow EU treaty law and can overturn a ruling of the European Court of Justice and the European Commission, then every other member state can do this too. What guarantee does Britain have that an agreement we have made with the EU might not be overturned by a national court?
This arguably makes the Euro untenable as a currency, because monetary union without fiscal and political union cannot last indefinitely. It makes no sense for Italy to accept the discipline of monetary union whereby it accepts that interest rates and monetary policy are made outside Italy, if it doesn’t get the benefits of monetary union such that money is distributed freely throughout the union. If the Euro does not have a central bank that can act like the Fed or the BOE, then states like Italy which need such a central bank during this crisis have been cheated. If Germany doesn’t want to take part, it should leave monetary union, or else Italy must. But if either Germany or Italy were to leave, neither the Euro nor the EU would survive.
Secessionists in both Northern Ireland and Scotland view the United Kingdom as a confederation, which they intend to leave at the first available opportunity. But this is the equivalent of South Carolina and Massachusetts arguing during the confederation period of United States history that they wanted to leave the United States, the former to become independent, the latter to join the British in Canada.
Under those circumstances would United States federalists distribute money to their secessionist neighbours? It would be doing so under false pretences. Why then should the BOE distribute money to those who vote for the SNP or Sinn Féin, when they hate Britain and want to leave? It is pointless to invest in people and jobs that won’t benefit Britain if such people have their way. Why do it moreover when the German Federal court’s decision shows that membership of a mere confederation does not require German money to be sent foreigners. It would neither be sent to those who want to be foreigners.
This is the dilemma for secessionists in both Scotland and Northern Ireland. People who want Scotland to be independent should refuse the block grant and Covid bail-out. They should attempt to finance Scotland only with money raised in Scotland and should ask Holyrood to rescue their businesses and pay their wages. You cannot morally accept money raised by the whole of Britain while planning to leave. It’s a form of theft. A kind of fraud.
So too if Ireland wants Northern Ireland it should be paying Northern Ireland’s block grant, bailing out Northern Irish businesses and paying Northern Irish wages. It is dishonest to want something you are unwilling to pay for.
The Irish backstop and the Belfast Agreement that supposedly justifies it is not so much a Trojan horse as an Irish one. It establishes “ever closer union” between Ireland and Northern Ireland and puts Northern Ireland into a confederation with Ireland. This is the consequence of the economic border between Britain and Northern Ireland down the middle of the Irish Sea, which was demanded by Dublin.
But the German Federal Court has just shown that the sovereignty of the nation state is greater than the European Court of Justice, the European Commission and any number of EU treaties. If this is the case for EU members it is still more the case for non-EU members such as Britain.
We are going to leave the EU without a deal. They do not want a fair deal, so there will not be one. The price of the one-year transition period was the Irish backstop. Let fail to perform any checks. Let the Irish navy instead patrol the middle of the Irish sea, if indeed it has any ships. If a German court can disregard EU agreements, so can we. Let us create a British Supreme Court without spiders which will find a clever loophole that allows us to treat Northern Ireland exactly the same as every other part of Britain.
The task now is for Britain to reassert our legal, permanent sovereignty over Northern Ireland and indeed Scotland. Secessionists are no better than Putin in stealing what is not theirs. Ireland is trying to nab Northern Ireland like Russia nabbed Crimea, but strangely there is no international outrage merely collusion from an EU that has shown itself no friend to Britain.
Scotland is British territory. It belongs to all of us no matter where we live. It does not belong to the SNP and they too have no more right to steal it than do the inhabitants of Luhansk and Donetsk. To suppose that the SNP is justified is to suppose that the Donbas in Ukraine is justified in its secession. It puts you in the company of scoundrels, thieves and murderers. But then rather a lot of SNP supporters chant songs justifying decades of terrorism whether in Ireland or the Middle East.
Ukraine and every other country in the world is permitted indeed required to defend its territorial integrity against foes foreign and domestic. Why must Britain alone stand by idly and watch our country destroyed by those who hate us?
Those who prefer confederation and later independence have no right to British money. Let the SNP and Ireland pay for Covid if they intend to walk away.
The price of a second independence referendum in Scotland or a border poll in Northern Ireland should be that all Treasury money and Bank of England support instantly ceases from the moment the poll is announced until the moment the secessionists decide that they wish to stay. Let them try secession before they buy it and experience what it costs.
This post was originally published by the author on her personal blog: https://www.effiedeans.com/2020/06/sinn-feinsnp-are-thieves.html