The erstwhile bastion of Protestant Unionism in Dublin had a visitor last night from Scotland, none other than its First Minister, Alex Salmond; you can read his full speech here.
Four brief points:
1.The Republic is quite clearly Mr Salmond’s third favourite country (after Scotland and Norway). The ROI has got to where it is today by making quite a lot of difficult economic and social sacrifices- are these the sacrifices which Salmond envisages an independent Scotland having to make? If so, it would be nice to have a few more details.And what happens, as is predicted, the ROI suffers an economic downturn over the next few years- will it be quietly forgotten as his shining example?
2.“Celtic Lion economy to match the Celtic Tiger"
Could he not have chosen something a bit more original to describe his "vision" of a future Scotland (and no, you can’t have "Pussy-Cat", that’s been copyrighted for Ulster).
3."The road to Irish independence was long, steep and far from straight. But having made this momentous journey, you would certainly not go back. Scotland has a different history and a different constitution. But our aspirations for our nation are no different from those that inspired generations of Irish people to independence and prosperity that you enjoy today."
Who is that “our” you’re speaking about? The percentage of Scots wanting independence remains stubbornly below 30%, so that particular comparison is being a bit presumptious there Alex.
4."And looking across Europe, even to nations emerging from Communism such as Slovakia and Estonia, we can see that a rapid transition to independence even from the most unpromising of circumstances can succeed"
Slovakia is not the example I’d have used. Since breaking away from the old Czechslovakia,it was firstly "governed' by a fascist, corrupt megalomaniac (Mecier) and now contains two outright racist and xenophobic parties in its ruling coalition. The two main ethnic minorities (the Roma and the Magyar) continue to suffer institutional discrimination, its economy after a couple of promising years is in a downward spiral....is that really the kind of nation Salmond wishes Scotland to become?