Disunited Kingdom: Is The Union Cracking Up?
|10 March, 2021||Filled under Previous Events||
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Thursday 25 March, 7pm – 8.30pm
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Is the United Kingdom in crisis? Recent polls suggest a small, but growing majority of voters in Scotland and Northern Ireland want referendums to decide the future of the UK. For some, the sense of British identity that once bound the country together is disintegrating. Even Unionists are willing to concede that many young voters just don’t feel British and less than half of English voters care if Scotland broke away. Others point to a growing disenchantment with Nicola Sturgeon’s increasingly accident prone SNP administration, under which Scotland, rather than the UK, is starting to look like a failed state. In his new book – “How Britain Ends: English Nationalism and the Rebirth of Four Nations” – former BBC correspondent, Gavin Esler, asserts that Britishness is dead and ‘Brexit is both a symptom and now a cause of the widening cracks in the Union.’
For some, Brexit was merely the catalyst for long standing political, demographic, economic and constitutional changes. As Kevin Meagher argues in ‘A United Ireland: Why Unification is Inevitable’, Irish re-unification is not a question of if, but when and how. If so, should democrats welcome the break-up of the Union as democracy in action? A legitimate exercise of self-determination by the peoples of Scotland and Northern Ireland? The logical conclusion of the yearning for self-determination expressed in the popular vote for Brexit? Or does the break up of the Union represent the further fragmentation of a political community of citizens that is potentially stronger together? Paradoxically, might one support the right of either Scotland or Northern Ireland to break from the Union but not the other? ‘There will always be an England, but not a UK’, argues historian Max Hastings, warning that ‘a breakup of Britain would be a boon for Northern Ireland, bad for Scotland and Wales and devastating for England’s place in the world.’
Join a diverse panel of speakers with different perspectives to debate the future of the Union and the outlook for Indyref2 and a possible future Border Poll in Northern Ireland.
Co-hosted with IrishBorderpoll.com
Kevin Meagher is the author of ‘A United Ireland: Why Unification is Inevitable and How it Will Come About’ and a regular commentator and broadcaster on Irish and British politics. He is a former special adviser to Labour Northern Ireland Secretary, Shaun Woodward, and associate editor of the political blog, Labour Uncut. His forthcoming book ‘What A Bloody Awful Country: Northern Ireland’s Century of Division,’ is published next month.
Pauline Hadaway is co-founder of The Liverpool Salon and completed her doctoral research at the University of Manchester, examining the cultural economy and the politics of peace building in Northern Ireland after the Good Friday Agreement. She works as a researcher and writer, most recently, ‘Callaghan in Northern Ireland’ in ‘James Callaghan: an underrated Prime Minister’ (eds. Kevin Hickson and Jaspar Miles) co-authored with Kevin Bean (2020).
Brian Monteith is editor of ThinkScotland.org and served in the Scottish and European Parliaments for the Conservative and Brexit Parties respectively. Brian has been a weekly columnist in The Scotsman for twelve years and founded the unsuccessful Think Twice campaign for a No-No vote in the 1997 devolution referendum.
Kevin Rooney is a teacher in London and co-author of ‘Who Is Afraid Of The Easter Rising?’ and recently founded IrishBorderPoll.com, a website promoting open debate and dialogue on the need for a border poll in Ireland. He speaks regularly in panel debates and has contributed articles to a wide range of publications on Irish politics. His second book, ‘The Blood Stained Poppy’, was published in January 2019. Conforming to every conceivable stereotype of a West Belfastman Kevin’s other great passion in life is Celtic Football Club, of which he is a season-ticket holder and shareholder.