Brexit Update: News of Two Unions

FionaIt is now less than a year before the UK exits the EU. Time for another update on Brexit.

The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has been in its present make up since 1922.

“The UK is a union of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.” The Commonwealth

brexit-imageThe United Kingdom Government held a consultative referendum on membership of the EU on June 23rd 2016. Gibraltar was also included.

For the UK as a whole the result was as follows:

  • Leave:51.89%
  • Remain: 48.11%

The UK is,however, a union itself of 4 countries and the 4 countries had a different voting pattern.

England: Leave:53.38% , Remain: 46.62%

Scotland Leave:38%, Remain: 62%

Wales: Leave:52.53%, Remain: 47.47%

Northern Ireland: Leave: 44.22%,  Remain:55.78%

This is important because on Thursday 29th March 2018 with one year to go the Prime Minister of the UK Government, at the time of writing Theresa May, made a fleeting visit to a factory in Scotland to reassure everyone that everything was fine.

So what has been finalised since the consultative referendum in June 2016 and with less than 1 year to go for a Brexit that 2 nations in the Union of Kingdoms did not vote for.

Well actually nothing.

There is a Draft Agreement which you can read about in more detail at: What’s in the Brexit Draft Agreement ? Usefully it is colour coded so that you can see all the parts where no agreement, draft or otherwise, has been reached.

On the 23rd of March 2018 the 27 EU leaders  discussed and “welcomed the  agreement  reached  by the negotiators on parts of the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement, and adopted guidelines on with a view to the opening of negotiations on the overall understanding of the framework for the future relationship.” European Commission

map of international boundaries

Map of international boundaries by Andmoreagain0815

In the Draft Agreement it is proposed that The  UK Fishing industry is to stay in the Common Fisheries Policy for the whole of the transition period (December 31st 2020). The UK will have no official say in it but may be invited to participate. This is not a problem for the Union of Kingdoms as a whole as fishing is of very little importance. For Scotland it’s a huge issue as demonstrated by the map showing the territorial waters of the constituent parts of the UK.

In one part of the UK, Northern Ireland,  it is proposed to have a different set up from all the other nations of the Union of Kingdoms. Northern Ireland will be sharing a land mass with an EU member.

It also has a negotiated Peace Agreement. The people of Northern Ireland and Ireland approved the Good Friday Agreement in a referendum in 1998.

The result to approve  the Good Friday Referendum was :

Northern Ireland Yes: 71.12%,  No: 28.88%

The result to approve the Nineteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland

Republic of Ireland Yes: 94.39%,  no: 5.61%

The Good Friday Agreement as well as being a Peace agreement also set in place the devolution settlement for Northern Ireland. Many formal links were established between Northern Ireland and the Republic as part of the agreement. The situation between Northern Ireland (voting Remain) and Ireland takes up much of the Brexit Draft Agreement. It is proposed that they have a special relationship and one which the Scottish Government was told it was impossible to have for Scotland.

The story so far then is that we still do not know what will happen when the UK Government takes the 4 Kingdoms (and Gibraltar) out of the European Union on March 29th 2019.

The Parliament of Scotland and the Assembly of Wales have passed Continuity Bills to protect the devolved powers they have. Continuity Bills Passed in Scottish and Welsh Parliaments Northern Ireland is unable to do this as its Assembly is not sitting. The DUP, however, is in a ‘Confidence and Supply’ arrangement with the Tory Government with a pay out of £1billion tax payers money. (A reminder that the DUP campaigned for a No vote in the Good Friday Agreement referendum. )

This is a very strange union of 4 countries. The UK is the member state of the EU but it is itself made up of 4 nations: 2 of which voted to Remain. Even taking the UK vote as a whole it was a very narrow win for Leave.

The UK as a union of 4 nations established in 1922 may be nearing an end and ironically its demise brought about by unionist political parties. Theresa May might try to convince the press pack in the confines of an Ayrshire factory that everything is fine but clearly it is not. The Orkney News will continue to bring its readers updates as the Brexit breaking point edges ever nearer.

Reporter: Fiona Grahame 





9 replies »

  1. I’m going to witter………………..
    Firstly – for some time, I have refused to refer to the UK, as it isn’t, a UK, it’s a DK – Divided Kingdom. To refer to it as the UK, is nonsense. Her-ummmmmph.
    Secondly – I saw Theresa May on the news last night, saying those things, and I was incandescent with rage – it’s simply not so – what she says, is simply not so – how can she have the nerve to sit there, with those shifty eyes, and say those things? She claimed that all the millions saved by leaving the EU, will go straight to the NHS, Education etc. – that spell which is supposed to soothe us and lull us all into a false sense of security, that Nanny May is taking care of it all, and we can all rest easy and get on with spending hours and hours watching boxed sets of escapism. HEEEEEERRRRRR- UUUUUMMMMMMPPPPHHHH!

  2. Thank you. I have continued to put the point across to ‘leavers’ that the UK DID NOT vote as a whole to leave. There is no such thing as ‘the UK’. It was FOUR EQUAL PARTNERS that voted It is a union of four equal partners and it was as four equal partners that we voted. Two voted leave and two voted remain. Now the biggest partner, one that voted leave, is bullying the Remain partners into leaving irrespective of the way the Remain partner citizens voted – as though those two Remain partners are of no account. That is unacceptable in a proper union. That is NOT how ‘equal partners’ work together.

    We don’t regard bullying in a school playground as acceptable – why should we accept it in a political union? BULLYING IS BULLYING, no matter how or where it takes place. And it’s NEVER ACCEPTABLE. And as May doesn’t seem to want to do anything about her bullying, it’s time for the bullied partners to step up, face the bully & tell them that it is NO LONGER HAPPENING. The bullying will NOT stop unless we do something about it. That’s how bullies work and that’s what they count on. Time to tell the Leavers, England and Wales, to move on without us. We formally dissolve the union – time for us to go do our own thing.

    • Hello Kate – I am a small person ( 5ft 1), and I’ve never let people bully me. It’s to do with attitude. The ‘little ones’ can stand up for themselves and not let the ‘big ones’ bully them.
      You’re right – bullying can never be allowed to succeed.

  3. The U.K. does consist of four countries, NI is not a country and at the time of the union did not exist, Wales at the time of the union was a principality and a recognized part of England. The act of union was between Scotland and England.

    • Are you referring to the Act of Union of 1707? The United Kingdom in its current form has only been in existence since 1922. That is where the Northern Ireland part comes in. The definition comes from the official site of the Commonwealth.

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