Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"Basically, we said we have plenty of water – if you need it, you can have it."

Cool thing to say... Alex Salmond has always been one of my favourite politicians;)
“There is no country on earth that we have more family connections with than Northern Ireland,” said Salmond. “They are the blood of our blood, bone of our bone. I would have done it for anybody in that position. The feasibility of delivering water in that quantity across longer distances is much more difficult, but there is no problem getting it to NI.”
He, of course, went on to make an obligatory anti-Westminster political point but we'll let him away with that one this time.

Hearing of the Scottish Administration's reaction to the water crisis should have reminded us that no matter how often (and how bizarrely sometimes) Irish nationalists may stress the "all-island" solution to everything from postal services (causing an inevitable increase in the charges we would have to pay, hmmm... sign me up for that one then) to snow, they are ignoring the unpalatable fact thatmore often than not  there is an "all-islands" solution which will do the job just as nicely.

Just as the more myopic Unionist can't magic away the fact that we live on and have a connection with the rest of the island of Ireland, the more myopic Nationalist can't magic away our relationship with our those that share "our blood" and "our bone" a very short distance across the sea. We should be mature enough to be able to take political, economic and cultural advantage of both facts.


Bored person said...

"the more myopic Nationalist can't magic away our relationship with our those that share "our blood" and "our bone" a very short distance across the sea."

Dont think they ever do actually - the opposite I think.

PanGaelicism is actually quite a widely held view amongst nationalists, it contradiction to the Ulster-Scots view.

The problem for unionists in stressing the shared links with Scotland is that Gaelic culture is treated completely differently in Scotland.

You can have you cake, but then surely you must eat it?

O'Neill said...

"Pan-Gaelicism is actually quite a widely held view amongst nationalists, it contradiction to the Ulster-Scots view."

Despite the very big Irish diaspora in Scotland, I rarely, if ever hear, Irish nationalists speaking about their "blood" or "bone". Ok, there's the obvious connection with Celtic and there are a few Irish Republican bands round Glasgow and West Coast but a "pan-gaelicism"? There are connections between the different language groups but not as much as you'd expect.

"The problem for unionists in stressing the shared links with Scotland is that Gaelic culture is treated completely differently in Scotland."

It is,I agree. It's taken right out of the sectarian box it finds itself in NI, so you get a lot of the gaelic speakers in the islands actually being Free Ps for example! But the reason it's treated differently in NI, that's solely down to Unionists?

The Aberdonian said...

To go of course to the old Habsburg state or to be precise its steaming post 1918 remanants, of course the Czechoslovakian leaders Masaryk and Benes could and did sort of say the same thing about the peoples of what was later named Yugoslavia.

During the Treaty of Trianon negotiations the two countries tried to have a "Slavic corridor" designed to cut Hungary in two to connect Czechoslovakia and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. It was rejected by the Allied powers.

However there was and remains close links between those countries' successor states. Northern (formerly Habsburg) Serbia has long links with Slovak migration to the area during the Habsburg era. Today the region recognises Slovak as an official language. Also the present Slovak President is half-Croat.

There are a large amount of Croats of Czech extraction, particularly in western Slavonia and Czech is taught as a medium in some high schools in the region.

Movement by the Slovaks and Czechs was motivated by opportunity and offers of cheap land by Vienna vacated by the Turks when they were thrown out in the late 17th century. It started a trend of migration over the next few centuries.

One positive benefit were Czech brewers. In Western Slavonia the local tipple is called Starocesko (Old Czech).


Blood, bone and beer indeed!

O'Neill said...

Hi Aberdonian,

I knew you'd work in a reference to the AH Empire somehow;)

You'll have seen the developments in one part of that empire over the last few days? "Beserk" is the best description I can come up with!

sm753 said...

"Blood of our blood, bone of our bone" - "Cool thing to say"?

No it is not. It is revolting.

Or to be machiavellian, it is welcome because it shows up Salmond and his for the nasty ethno-nationalists they really are.

What has "blood" or "bone" got to with a humanitarian gesture? Who is this "us" he is referring to?

Would he have done the same if it were Northumbrian or Northwest Water which had run into trouble? How about Severn Trent, Wessex or (whisper it) Thames?

The strong suspicion has to be "no".

"Blood and bone". Richard Walther Darre would have been proud.

The Aberdonian said...

Yeah, the situation in Hungary is not good.

Maybe they should send in Otto "Rocky*" Habsburg in to sort them out:)

* Ask Lord Bannside about Otto's "fist of numbness" - who is for some geriatric boxing anyone?

O'Neill said...


It's not often we would disagree on the merits of Mr Salmond but...

There are obviously very strong family and blood connections between Scotland and N.Ireland (actually the island as a whole). Stating that fact is not ethno-nationalism in my book.

Now, excusing the obligatory Salmond hyperbole, if that is the sole reason he helped us, then it becomes a much more suspect gesture. But he also mentions the shortness of the distance involved to NI in comparison to elsewhere with the same humanitarian need, ie the practicality was more important than the ethnic ties in this case.

Would he have also helped out England if requested? Yes, undoubtedly; despite probably incurring the wrath of the more anglophobic barmpots on his own side... think of the propaganda value if nothing else. Would he have mentioned "blood and bone"? Maybe not, but then are the "blood and bone" (ie family) connections as strong between even the N of England and Scotland, as they are between Ulster and W Scotland?

O'Neill said...

"Yeah, the situation in Hungary is not good."

Indeed. There would be more than a few of us UK political bloggers (never mind journalists) coughing up fines of 10,000 euros plus if we were forced to operate under their new media laws. looks like the Eucracy is running away from its duty and responsibilities once again

sm753 said...


Sorry, don't agree.

First, I don't believe a word he says about proximity being important, and I do NOT have your faith that an English water company would have been similarly helped (particularly not a private one).

It would have been marginally better if he'd said "there are strong historic ties between Scotland and NI" or "there are family ties between Scotland and NI" or even "we are both parts of the Union" (!)

But no. With his guard down, in a mood of bonhomie, he unconsciously referred to "OUR" "blood and bone".

So deep down for Salmond, the definition of the Scottish "us" is defined by "blood and bone". Ugh. Nasty.

It's like a Nick Ridley moment - an accidental glimpse into his true subconscious feelings.

O'Neill said...


Well, you know the man better than me but still I disagree on the two main points here.

The image of the Bould Alex riding to the rescue (and in full media spotlight) at the head of a convoy of Scottish trucks delivering water to grateful grannies in Durham, Carlisle or wherever is easier for me to imagine than the PR disaster of him saying "No, you can't have any of our water because you're English".

The second point re the ethno-nationalism. He has admitted a connection between the peoples in two different parts of the UK, ethnically and historically that connection undoubtedly exists. My ancestors come from the NE of England, we still have family connections there. They are my "blood" and "bone", they are also like me British but it's not that "blood" and "bone" which defines their or my British identity or more importantly exclude those who do not have that connection from also having a British identity.

When he uses it then, he isn't using it primarily to define our unique "Scottishness" (which would be a nonsense anyway considering the various mixes in the Ulster identity), merely to say there are the very close connections between these two parts of the UK.

I know you won't agree with either point but I'll live with that for this one occasion;)