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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Henry Hill: Labor should rethink their sorry attitude towards Northern Ireland

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Louise Haigh’s comments that the Labor Party would be neutral in any future border survey on the state of Northern Ireland are not surprising. In fact, they reflect some improvement over the historical position of your party.

Before the negotiation of the Belfast Accord, there was a considerable body of opinion in Labor banks actively supporting the claim of Irish nationalism on British soil, and Harold Wilson once considered an ‘Algerian solution’ of complete and unilateral withdrawal from the province. . His parliamentary alliance with the Social Democratic Labor Party (SDLP), the constitutional nationalists, is an artifact of this historic stance.

However, it is the nature of progressive politics that a position that was a big step forward a generation ago becomes retrograde over time, and that is certainly true here.

Take that link with the SDLP. Work uses it to justify refuse to nominate candidates in Northern Ireland. This deprives voters there of the opportunity to pass judgment on one of the two parties likely to form a national government in Westminster, as well as depriving them of a moderate, center-left pro-UK option at the polls.

In fact, Labor for a long time refused to even allow Ulster residents to join as members, even when depositing the political tax cash paid by unionists there. Eventually it took a court defeat to end the ban, before which the Labor headquarters had ordered prospective members, many of whom were in favor of Northern Ireland’s link with Great Britain, to join the SDLP separatist.

Even if Sir Keir Starmer refuses to do this, he should be much more careful about Haigh’s apparent attempt to combine the Labor Party’s political preference for neutrality with a Belfast Accord obligation. It is no such thing.

Under the terms of that treaty, in the case of a border survey, the Government must, of course, supervise the plebiscite in an impartial manner. That is not the same as a requirement that British political parties and activists on the continent be prohibited from supporting their compatriots across the water during the campaign.

As for Sir John Major’s famous statements that the UK “has no selfish or strategic interest” in Northern Ireland, it goes without saying that this does not preclude having a disinterested, fraternal and patriotic interest in the place of Ulster in the Union, which is the duty of all trade unionists.

Welsh Labor forms an alliance with Plaid Cymru

When pro-UK commentators and analysts are willing to defend Welsh Labor’s dismal record on the national issue, it is usually with the claim that Mark Drakeford is simply denying Plaid Cymru political space.

This argument has never been particularly compelling. The electoral strength of the formally separatist party is not the only measure of the fate of Welsh nationalism. One must be quite gullible, or simply not paying attention, to regard Mark Drakeford as a trade unionist of any kind but a mercenary.

But he suffered a fatal blow this week when the Prime Minister concluded a formal agreement to bring the Nationalists back to government in Cardiff Bay.

Although the agreement falls short of a real coalition, more akin to the ‘Lib-Lab Pact’ of the late 1970s, it will see Labor and Plaid collaborate to deliver an agreed political program that will undoubtedly reflect both parties’ fixation on find north. – “Welsh” solutions from the south instead of establishing links with the rest of the country.

Sturgeon insists that he will stay

Nicola Sturgeon has tried to end speculation about his political future by insisting that he will serve the term he won in this year’s Scottish elections.

This would make the Prime Minister, who has been in office since 2014, remain in office until 2026.

Following the painful experience of the Alex Salmond scandal, the failure to obtain an absolute majority in Holyrood, the resounding support for independence and the growing fractures within the Scottish National Party, press reports have increasingly focused on the question of if she could be looking at ‘a life after politics’.

Without a doubt, his retirement would be a severe blow to the SNP. There is no obvious candidate among the lower ranks of the nationalists who possesses Sturgeon’s political prowess or his connection to the voters, which remains an important element of the party’s electoral success.

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