Thursday, February 06, 2014

Tell it to the Tories

In the FT, Tony Blair's former chief of staff and chief negotiator on the Good Friday Agreement, Jonathan Powell, runs through the bizarre border scenarios that could result from Scottish independence and the UK leaving the EU -- travel controls whether leaving Newry or Larne! -- and concludes:

Of course, this may be academic. It still looks highly probable that the people of Scotland will vote to remain in the union and Scots will accept the solution on identity found in the Good Friday agreement: nationalists and republicans can be Irish and still part of the UK. Trying to be Sinn Féin, or “Ourselves Alone”, in Scotland, and raising new borders makes very little sense in the modern world.

That's fine, but too much of his analysis and that conclusion is pegged to what happens in Scotland. The real damage is in the UK EU referendum vote, given the significant risk that a timid David Cameron will allow the process to be colonized by nutters. And that prospect -- not the doomed Scottish referendum -- is where Ireland and Scotland will have to take another look at their options as European nations.