Saturday, September 13, 2014

Being voted off the island

Ian Paisley in the House of Commons, 2 July 1979; it reads especially interestingly in light of the Scottish referendum --

No one in Northern Ireland who takes the name of Unionist wants to jeopardise the Union or interfere with it, but let it also be said that the people of Northern Ireland are sick and sore at heart when it is suggested in this House and elsewhere that they are citizens of the kingdom only by a charitable act of this House. It would be far better for the House to grasp the nettle. I put again to the House what I have put on two previous occasions. If the people of Scotland, England and Wales have decided that Northern Ireland should no longer be part of the family, let the nation be tested on that issue. I see in this House a great connivance to run away from the ballot box—to say what is good for the people of Northern Ireland but never to test it. Let the United Kingdom, apart from Ulster, be tested on that issue. Let the people speak. Let us have a verdict from the nation. I say with Kipling that if we are driven forth we must seek our destiny elsewhere ... The idea that as long as the majority of people of Northern Ireland want to be part of the United Kingdom all is well is a farce. I voted against that in this House, as did others. What would happen if there were a vote on this question, and there was a majority of one for going into the Irish Republic? We all know what would happen. That is only an exercise to put off the real issue. The House, the Government and the Labour Opposition should be prepared to grasp 1040 the nettle. It they do not want the Ulster people as part of the United Kingdom they have no right to say so; they must let the people say it. 

[Previously in this series]