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Home rule

The story of over a century of Home Rule debates in Scotland

I VERY rarely plan months in advance and often start this column on a Monday morning without a clue of what I’m about to write – no doubt many of you will have noticed. So the other day, when a piece of Facebook comedy was brought to my attention by a reader, I felt that there was more than just a kernel of story there.

I first saw “A Warning from Ireland” on Facebook in the run-up to the 2014 referendum, but it was re-posted the other day. He states: “Between 1889 and 1914 Irish Home Rule was debated 15 times in Westminster and there were four Home Rule bills. Nothing has changed.”

How many Scots know that between 1886 and 1900 Scottish Home Rule was debated seven times in Westminster? How many Scots know that in 1894 and 1895 the Commons voted for a Home Rule resolution but ran out of parliamentary time? How many knows that in 1913 the Scottish Federal Government Bill was introduced in the House of Commons and the proposal was supported by 204 votes to 159? Only the outbreak of World War I stopped its implementation or we could have had a decentralized Scottish legislature a century ago.

Almost a mythology developed about how Scotland always adhered to the Incorporated Union that was inflicted on us in 1707. Yes, there was a long time, say after the Jacobite Uprising of 1745 until ‘in the 1850s, when Scotland took the building of the British Empire to heart and is doing quite well, but as I have shown in recent chronicles, the Union has not been a great success in the start.

During the first half of the 19th century, Westminster was very happy to be decentralized in many of its functions, and the councils and boards of directors largely dealt with matters of governance, so the Scots were content to take care of business.

With Sir Walter Scott in the foreground, however, as the turn of the 19th century wore on, many people began to worry about the loss of Scottish citizenship – and this was also not based on the class, because the workers and the middle classes worried about this cultural and political creep. intimidation.

The National Association for the Defense of Scottish Rights was formed in 1853, but was short-lived and had little political impact. But her main complaints – that Scotland was under-represented in Parliament and that Scotland did not receive sufficient income for the huge sums it contributed to the Treasury – sparked heated debate, but it fizzled out in 1856.

The Liberals controlled Scotland for decades, but by the 1880s the party was struggling with its Home Rule policy for Ireland, and as a result of this question a Scottish Home Rule Association was started in 1886, the same year that Keir Hardie and others started their labor movement and the following year the Scottish office was founded in support of the Home Rulers.

It is extraordinary to remember the great debate on Scottish Home Rule in the House of Commons that took place in 1889 – the first time it was fully debated in parliament, and a rather astonishing event, frankly, which almost been forgotten.

MP Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham said on this historic day, April 9, 1889: “In view of the great pressure that will soon be brought to bear on this House by social causes on the part of the Scottish electorate, we have not come. here with a frivolous or stupid proposition as we, for the first time, tried to lobby the Scottish Home Rule cause in the House of Commons. ”

Dr Gavin Clark, Member of Parliament for Caithness, proposed to the House of Commons the resolution ‘that, in the opinion of this House, it is desirable that arrangements be made for the provision of the Scottish people, through their representatives in a parliament national, management and control of Scottish affairs.

He said: “I have no desire to abrogate the Union between England and Scotland, and I think the Union has been mutually beneficial – a good thing for Scotland, but a better thing. for England.

“I frankly admit that while my motion is primarily based on practical considerations, there is a sentimental basis for the growing Home Rule movement in Scotland. We Scots are all proud of our country and its history.

“An attempt is made here to ignore Scottish nationality. We hear about the English government, and the minister is not called to order for expression. Well, just the other day the Secretary of War talked about the British troops he was sending to Egypt, the Scottish Borderers. ”

So far so familiar even nowadays.

Clark continued: ‘We have confusion, lawlessness and chaos in mixed jurisdictions in Scotland, due to the outrageous state of our Public Health Act, but the House never had time. to deal with this subject, and therefore anarchy continues. There are thousands of preventable deaths every year in Scotland due to our shameful Public Health Act.

“Everyone, even the old Tories across the way, has to admit that change is needed. So what is the cure to be? It must, I think, take the form of a devolution.

The word had been spoken… and it wasn’t until 1889.

William Hunter, Liberal MP for Aberdeen North, seconded the motion, correcting the record:; but it is remarkable that since then there has been no sustained agitation in its support by public meetings or in the press.

“Sir, having decided that Home Rule for Scotland would be good for the country, I then decided to explain my point of view to my constituency in Aberdeen. I had no idea how they would receive it, but I found out very quickly that the constituency was ahead of me, and that the mass of the people had strived for Home Rule to a point that I did not. would not have thought possible. Indeed, I think we won’t have 10 members returning to Scotland in the next general election unless they are committed to Home Rule for Scotland. ”

Sir Hugh Shaw-Stewart, Old Etonian Conservative MP for East Renfrewshire, rose to oppose the motion:. It would be centralization in its worst form.

He added: “I think the spirit which animates my honorable friends is embodied in the advice given by an old Scottish radical to a young man about to enter Parliament: ‘Be asking, and when you get something, be complaining that you can’t have May ‘.

The National:

UP raised the Grand Old Man himself, William Ewart Gladstone (above), former and future prime minister and Liberal leader: question on his merits.

“The principles applicable to the solution of this question are, however, by no means obscure or difficult to understand. I believe that Scotland and Ireland are precisely equal before England as regards their moral and political right to assert before the Imperial Parliament any claims which they may regard as arising out of the interests and demands of these respective countries. They are precisely equal in this right, so that if I am to assume a case in which Scotland, unanimously, or by a clearly casting vote, asks the United Parliament to be treated, not only on the same principle , but like Ireland, I couldn’t deny Scotland’s title to make such a claim. Further, I am obliged to say that I have a perfectly firm belief that if such a claim were made in the manner which I have described as the clear and deliberate statement of Scottish opinion, Parliament would accede to it. ”

What a principled debate, but the vote wasn’t close – 79 yeas, 200 nays, and that seemed like it. But as the Labor movement grew and young Liberal Scots arose, the question of Home Rule for Scotland did not go away, and it preoccupied many minds at the turn of the 20th century.

In 1913, parliament was ready for another Scottish Home Rule debate and William Cowan, Liberal MP for Aberdeenshire Eastern, put it in place with his Scottish Government Bill.

He said: ‘You cannot take a Scottish newspaper today with a good chance of not finding any reference to this burning issue.

“I don’t care who is going to Scotland today, if he talks to someone, if he goes somewhere, if he consults the people, he will find out that it is the most absorbing political subject by Scotland.”

The SNP contingent at Westminster will acknowledge their forthcoming statement: “The English members will be conspicuous by their absence, or be represented by gentlemen who, having shootouts, fisheries or deer forests in Scotland, imagine themselves to be experts in business. and insist on wasting our time and theirs by interfering in the Scottish debates.

He concluded: “Is it any wonder that Scotland is tired and demands its own parliament? That it requires its own legislation for land, for the alcohol trade, for education, for housing, for fishing, for ecclesiastical affairs, for 101 matters of purely local interest?

You can read both debates in Hansard. You will find many sadly familiar points.

In the very unlikely event that Boris Johnson reads this column, I would like to end with a few words from his great hero, Sir Winston Spencer Churchill. Speaking in his then constituency of Dundee on October 9, 1913, Churchill said: “You will recall how last year I spoke at a meeting in Dundee on this subject (rule of the House). I made it clear that I was speaking for myself. I made it clear that I was not talking about the immediate future, but … raising an issue for reflection and discussion rather than quick action. I have spoken of the establishment of a federal system in the United Kingdom, in which Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and, if necessary, parts of England, could have institutions legislative and parliamentary, allowing them to develop, in their own way, their own lives according to their own ideas and needs in the same way as the great and prosperous States of the American Union and the great kingdoms and principalities and states of the Empire German.

“I will take the risk of prophecy and tell you that the day will most certainly come – many of you will live to see it – when a federal system will be established in these islands which will give Wales and Scotland control. within the proper limits of their own Welsh and Scottish affairs.

Of course, the real reason there will never be a Federal United Kingdom of Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland is that Scotland will first go its own way and will regain its full independence.

Let’s face it, the majority of the British want independence from us, Wales and Northern Ireland. The lesson of history is that federalism will never be enough and that we must all go our separate ways.

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Home rule

Home Rule, and the Protestants who took up arms against it

‘MY husband Peter is English; he thought he had come to Queens University, Belfast, to go fishing; instead, he grabbed me. Northern Irish writer Ruth Kirby-Smith watches me through a zoom lens from her home in Leeds. We are talking about his recent publication ‘The Settlement’, a book that at that time I had not fully read. Little did I know that two days later I would swallow the final chapters, with the book’s heroine Sarah remaining indelibly etched in my mind.

Flipping through the velvety pages (the author tells me she didn’t personally choose the lavish paper), the reader finds himself immersed in a turbulent period in Ulster’s history, albeit less so. mentioned. The year is 1914 and Ulster Unionists are reeling from a 1912 Home Rule Bill proposing to grant self-government to Ireland. Fiercely opposed to measures that would place them under the authority of a Dublin Parliament, they formed a paramilitary force – the Ulster Volunteers – to resist the movement by force of arms. A world of political turmoil unfolds, with Nationalists installing the Irish Volunteers in direct response.

With a focus on the Protestant community and the “big house” of Lindara, the characters in “The Settlements” are all wrapped up in the Protestant political movement of the time. Ruth says that although she used names, people and places from her childhood home in the countryside south of Belfast, it’s not all based on family experiences.

‘Protestant but not Orange is the best way to describe my family. We loved the South, going to the ‘Free State’ – Rathmines in Dublin – on vacation; I knew more about the Easter Rising than what happened in the North. (The book contains a superb account of the Shelbourne Hotel in the aftermath of the rising.) “It was only after my father’s death that I began to research this period of history by North Ireland.”

Now 72, Ruth is no stranger to the most recent ‘Troubles’ stating that she nearly blew herself up twice on Belfast’s Bloody Friday in 1973.

Ruth admits that “Chapters 3 and 4 are the real story of my father; I grew up with stories of him being kidnapped and his parents coming to take him back; the letters in the book are real – I actually have them in my possession The book is peppered with a lot of characters from my past, including my grandmother who was quite stern and proper I remember the big house and afternoon tea on the horsehair dining room seats , the colonel leaning on his gardener.

Previously working as an urban planner and entrepreneur running a successful baby bag business, Ruth wanted to be a writer. “I’ve always told stories; I knew I had to learn to write with that voice, but I could never find a story that grabbed me. I went to a creative writing course in Leeds. It wasn’t until Dad’s death that I started looking into his time. The whole anti-home rule movement got me; I knew then that I had a story to tell.

The story grew out of a process of asking and answering questions about his ancestry. ‘My father was placed in foster care when he was 3 days old; the obvious question was why? A wealthy family, I began to ask what was going on in their lives. Dad was born in 1919, so I watched that period ten years beforehand. It was while reading about this particular period in Ulster history by Jonathan Bardon that I thought – what an incredible story! I didn’t know half of this stuff. People I knew who had studied history hadn’t even found out.

Originally Ruth Brown, to her knowledge, her family was not present at Carson’s mass meetings or directly involved in the Larne gun-running incident so clearly described in the book, but that was the times in which they lived. Importing arms from Germany, central Ulster The Volunteers were averted by the outbreak of the First World War she so poignantly describes, the Southern Irish Volunteers fighting the same war under Redmond (and incidentally, importing weapons from similar sources into Germany).

The 1916 Battle of the Somme, disastrous for the Ulster Volunteers, took place on July 1, at the start of the marching season. The tragedy, born in the battlefields “was mourned in the fields of Ulster during this long and sad summer. Through it all, the harvest had to be brought in and the animals fed and cared for. There was no respite for sorrow in the round of daily toil.

As an author from a Protestant background, was it difficult to be objective? ‘No, I loved it. That’s what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to write with one voice so I chose a heroine who didn’t take sides; a free-thinking anti-homeruler. To some extent, there’s a bit of me in there. I question things and I’m very open to Ireland. I was in politics in Queens during the civil rights era; almost everyone I knew in the student body was for civil rights. I didn’t want good guys and bad guys; I wanted the main character to question everything. I did not want to promote the Protestant cause. I had to balance it.

When Sarah’s character becomes involved in the arms trade in Larne, she only felt drawn in because everyone she loved was involved. “When they needed me, my loyalty to them was greater than my own managers. In doing so, I had betrayed myself a little. The writer uses overtly simple language, somewhat unusual for a novel; no one “shivers” or “shivers” or any of that nonsense; instead there are descriptions of a “face as long as a Lurgan spade” or, during an unwanted pregnancy, of “finding yourself in a real pucker”.

The author credits his simple writing style to years of compiling reports, however, he realizes in this writer that perhaps his simple writing skills boil down to his “no frills” Presbyterian background. Alliteration pledge is fine to describe something like outfits at a Venetian masquerade ball, but certainly not for hard-working Protestants in Northern Ireland.

Stating that Belfast was the industrial center of Ireland at this time with both shipbuilding and an extensive flax trade, Ruth reiterates that the main concerns of the anti-House rulers were trade; the focus of his book, Samuels’ Flax Mills, supplies the British war machine with everything from tents to bags of kit. “Now with Brexit 100 years later, it just resonates; the ‘settlement’ referred to throughout the book is about money, not religion or politics.

“My vision for the book is that readers will learn more about Northern Ireland. An English friend who read it recently said he was intrigued, researching the story, previously unknown to them, as he read’ adding ‘Having grown up in Northern Ireland, although I kept some basics, I don’t have time for religion.’ In terms of personal exploration, the author says two major themes emerged, the first being a realization that it was probably the Protestants who armed themselves first.

“The arms trade happened on April 24, 1914 when the UVF raised money to drop arms at Larne, the moment of real violence in the South came later during the Rising of Easter 1916; I found that surprising. My next surprise was the resonance today with all the trade issues. These were also at the forefront of the minds of most Protestants at the turn of the last century, apart from their fears of being subsumed by a dominant Catholic culture.

The settlement is a good torn thread woven around family, love and hardship, with business, madness, murder and debt thrown into the political quagmire. “I want people to like the book; not only because of the good characters and the story, but also because of the fun of learning about a time or place they knew nothing about. I want the reader to write it down and say “it was a great story, but I also learned something”.

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Home rule

Why Scottish Home Rule is no longer a viable alternative to independence

The expression Home Rule is loaded with historical connotations. One instantly thinks of Ireland and Gladstone, of Charles Stewart Parnell and Kitty O’Shea, of union intransigence and the Easter Rising and everything that followed, down to the Good Friday Agreement and today’s miserable Zugzwang Brexit.

Home Rule also plays an important role in the Scottish political imagination. While it lacks association with revolutionary violence and doomed lovers, it still holds a romantic place in the history of the nation’s struggle for self-determination.

This is elegantly captured in a new book, Scottish Home Rule – The Answer to Scotland’s Constitutional Question, by Ben Thomson, businessman and activist (Thomson also founded Reform Scotland, the think tank I run). Thomson’s argument, as is clear from his caption, is that there is a third path between the status quo and full independence that could allow for a lasting settlement.

Home Rule has long been the dominant preference among constitutional activists and academics. The Scottish Home Rule Association was founded in 1886 and involved both Keir Hardie and Ramsay MacDonald, as well as Robert Cunninghame Graham, who in 1934 would become the first chairman of the Scottish National Party.

The demands and language of the association were of their time: “to maintain the integrity of the empire, to secure a Scottish legislature for purely Scottish matters, to maintain Scotland’s position in the Imperial Parliament and to foster sentiment. national ”. But its main objective, clearly stated, could easily come from the mouth of Nicola Sturgeon or perhaps even Gordon Brown: “the right of the Scottish people to manage their own affairs”, because “the Scottish people know their affairs best” . The growing momentum behind the proposal was hit in the head by World War I and the collapse of the Liberal Party.

Over the years, the meaning of Home Rule has become rather vague, and vague and ill-defined phrases such as “devo max” and “devo plus” have done little to help. All parties have advocated some form of decentralization at some point. John Buchan, Scottish Unionist MP and author, declared in 1932 that “every Scotsman should be a Scottish nationalist”, and in 1968 Edward Heath’s Perth Declaration committed the Conservatives to a Scottish assembly. The work dominated the Constitutional Convention which ultimately led Tony Blair to create the Scottish Parliament. The SNP has its origins in the Home Rule movement and in 2014 Alex Salmond urged David Cameron to come up with this prospect as a third option on the independence referendum ballot because he doubted the separatists could win directly.

But today, Home Rule is the Cinderella policy of the constitutional debate. Scots are faced with a binary choice between devolved parliament, perhaps with some additional powers, and independence. With polls showing Support for independence above 50 percent, Sturgeon is unlikely to emulate his predecessor by calling for a third option in a second referendum – the odds of success have shifted in favor of the SNP.

Thomson insists, however, that we think again. An important difference between Home Rule and devolution, he argues, is that under the old sovereignty, sovereignty would be shared between London and Edinburgh. At present, Holyrood is an instrument of Westminster and sovereignty legally rests in the south. This would shift to a federal arrangement, backed by a written constitution, and “mutual respect” between parliaments. Scotland would take control of all national powers, leaving Westminster only those necessary to maintain the Union, such as monetary policy, foreign policy and defense.

Home Rule is preferable to full independence, says Thomson, because it retains access to the UK market, where Scotland does 60% of its trade, and avoids difficult and possibly damaging decisions regarding currency, debt and the euro. This allows the Scots to retain the international influence that comes with joining the UK.

Holyrood would be tasked with increasing whatever he spends, bringing greater budgetary discipline and seriousness, and the Barnett Formula would be replaced by a UK-wide social cohesion fund, which would redistribute resources into as needed. All of this could be a precursor to a fully federal UK.

If this all sounds too good to be true, it probably is because it is. Thomson’s proposals pose a number of problems, one of which is that none of the major parties appear to want to adopt them. But beyond that, the cause of independence moved to territory Home Rule would not deal with.

For example, Home Rule would not have stopped Brexit. England’s scale compared to other UK nations meant that although Scotland voted globally to stay in the EU, a slim majority south of the border for leave was sufficient for the ‘to take with. The Scottish economy and international associations would always be subject to the consequences of English decisions, whether tax policy was fully devolved or not.

Foreign policy is another issue. The 2003 Iraq War prompted a number of Scottish leftists to support independence. Here again, Home Rule would not prevent Scotland from having to take part in unpopular conflicts.

Further, the feeling that Boris Johnson’s government has an exaggerated view of the UK’s global importance, that its values ​​are not shared by a majority of Scots, while Northern Ireland is treated as a well movable, and that the ministers pay only lip service. consultation service, is the driving force behind the current rise in support for independence. It goes beyond domestic politics, into areas of identity, integrity and self-respect that are more difficult to capture in public policy.

Thomson’s book is worth reading, both as a lesson in history and as a comprehensive, well-argued argument for modern Scotland to take an alternate path. But it’s ultimately difficult to avoid concluding that we are now on another track, and that Home Rule, like Parnell and Hardie, has had its day.

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Home rule

Clement Attlee broke the 1945 Labor Party promise of Scottish home rule

MARTIN Hannan’s profile of Attlee painted a fair picture of a good politician (How Far Labor Has Fallen, July 27). However, it should be remembered that Attlee did two notable disservices to the people of Scotland, in one case intentionally.

The 1945 Labor Party manifesto included a promise of ‘Home Rule for Scotland’ – something which had passed its second reading in 1914 and was lost without trace after the First World War. When Labor won its huge victory, Attlee decided that “as we have won, Scotland does not need self-government”.

READ MORE: 75 years since Clement Attlee as Prime Minister shows how far labor has fallen

Since then, the Scottish people have suffered from this lack of action on ‘home rule’: the sabotage of the Scottish Assembly vote of 1979 when the people voted Yes; the distortion of the 1999 vote, for a parliament with fiscal powers; the theft by deception of 6,000 square miles of Scottish waters – complete with six oil wells and all the fishing, in a successful attempt to further deceive the Scottish people of any oil advantage – was secretly transferred to English jurisdiction. All of these, which have allowed the oppression of the Scottish people to continue and worsen to this day, could perhaps have been avoided if Attlee had honored his manifest commitment.

Attlee’s government nationalized most major industries – coal, steel, railroads, power, etc. – of Scotland and England, for the benefit of all citizens. But when Mrs Thatcher’s government sold these things – which belonged to everyone and were paid for by everyone – she did not return Scotland’s to benefit the Scottish people, but sold them at a low price to his friends with only a loss for the most part. people (including people from England, Wales and possibly Northern Ireland).

Attlee forgot, or ignored, that the Parliament of Westminster operates under English law and the undemocratic English version of sovereignty (it resides with “the Crown in Parliament” rather than as in Scottish law “with the people”). This means that no parliament can bind another parliament, and therefore all laws can be changed at will – even by canceling the clauses of the Treaty of Union, breaches of which should render the whole treaty invalid.

Susan Forde

I would urge Alyn Smith MP to consider a second career as a folklorist because he can pass off platitudes as certainties like no other national columnist can (Indy will be won on center ground with sound policies, 29 July).

Of course, independence will only be won by bringing a broad swath of Scottish society into the center of the pitch, but any political ship must be anchored in the economic waters of either left or right analysis. Otherwise it will flounder considerably, as the SNP did in the disastrous Westminster election in 1979, as Scots were unsure what they were voting for beyond independence.

READ MORE: Alyn Smith: Independence will be won on center ground with the right policies

The political spin has certainly evolved over the past 40 years, but I can see a situation where, despite very optimistic polls for the SNP at the moment, its ship will run aground on the ambiguity of its policies, which Mr. Smith has the right to argue are “sane” but clearly aren’t.

For example, he obviously sees the Social Justice Commission working in partnership with the Regressive Growth Commission, but anything the Social Justice Commission does, such as the very laudable project to look at a universal basic income, will be like trying to build a granite house on a sand foundation.

Smith, the folklorist, would have us believe that it will take up to a decade for an independent Scotland to create its own currency. This fiscal reliance on a Tory-dominated Westminster would allow them to run wild promoting austerity, which would kill “sound” policies like a basic universal income.

I have no doubt that he is trying to genuinely enthuse SNP members in shaping their policies, but Smith really needs to ask if his colleagues at Westminster and Holyrood will listen. In recent years, the SNP has abandoned its traditional social-democratic ethos in favor of a centre/right economics menu and a pro-NATO centre/right defense policy, with a distinct seasoning of authoritarianism. as seen in both the Gender Recognition Act and the Hate Crimes Bill. It is certainly not a political program that will appeal to the ‘middle of central Scotland’.

Councilor Andy Doig (Independent)
Renfrewshire Council

YET another beautiful eagle killed on grouse moorland in Scotland. How many more will die on a grouse moor in the next five years as we wait for a ‘licensing’ system to start? Close the grouse moors now and encourage them to do something more profitable with the land, like planting trees.

C Tainch

IS it just me who thinks it’s ironic that the Prime Minister who has led the UK through more than 56,000 Covid deaths, many of which could have been prevented, now thinks a diet is best for our health, at the same time as it kicks out our food safety standards and importing toxic waste for the masses?

Murray Forbes

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Independence activist

Taiwan mourns the death of independence activist and academic Su Beng | Taiwan News

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On Friday, September 20, Su Beng, a longtime Taiwanese independence activist, whose first name was Shih Chao-hui (施朝暉), died at the age of 100, just over one month of what would have been his 101st birthday on November 9 by Western calculations. He was pronounced dead at 11:09 p.m. at Taipei University Medical Hospital.

Known as Shi-Ming (史 明) in Taiwan, Su Beng was an iconic figure in the history of the Taiwanese independence movement. historian and political advisor. Su Beng’s name was chosen as the pen name for the book “Taiwan’s 400 Year History”, which he wrote during a period of exile living in Tokyo, Japan.

He was born in the Shilin district of Taipei when Taiwan was still a colony of the Japanese Empire in 1918. Su, who graduated from Waseda University in 1942 with a degree in politics and economics, developed a strong anti-colonial sentiment during the Japanese colonial period. Before the end of World War II, Su Beng would have worked in China with the Communist Party, but he was never an official member of it according to most accounts.

Su Beng at Waseda University in Japan in 1937 (Wikimedia Commons)

After the Kuomintang (KMT) withdrew from Taiwan during the Chinese Civil War, Su also returned to Taipei as a Taiwan independence activist. Su was unhappy with the treatment Taiwanese received from the Chinese Communist Party and the nationalist government led by the KMT.

In 1950, Su created the Taiwan Independence Armed Corps which plotted the assassination of Chiang Kai-shek. This resulted in him being identified as an enemy of the state by the KMT government.

After several months on the run, Su snuck onto a ship bound for Japan and ended up in Tokyo, where he was jailed for a brief period, but was ultimately granted political asylum. Su then opened a noodle shop in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district, where he will remain for decades. During this time, Su returned to scholarship and wrote his book “Taiwan’s 400 Year History”, which was first published in Japanese, then in Mandarin and English.

In 1993, he finally returned to Taipei, where he launched the Taiwan Independence Action Motorcade, which roams the streets of Taipei with loudspeakers, banners and gongs advocating Taiwan independence. As a leading scholar and activist, Su Beng was an influential figure who helped develop a historiography centered on Taiwan as a means of promoting national consciousness among Taiwanese.

For the past few years, Su has served as a senior advisor in the president’s office. Su celebrated her 100th birthday in November 2017 (the traditional Asian method of calculating age includes time spent in the womb) with a large crowd of supporters, including President Tsai and prominent figures from the Progressive Democratic Party (DPP). .

Su was a staunch supporter of the Tsai administration. As he celebrates his centenary, he urged the country to support Tsai’s candidacy for a second term “because it can provide the leadership needed to carry out the reforms Taiwan needs and move towards a free society. and democratic, ”Su said.

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Home rule

Kilkenny unique Home Rule Club faces challenges on 125th anniversary

“People have this preconceived idea that this is a closed club – a political group. That, like my youngest son says, the IRA wants you in there and it’s that terrorist thing.

Darina O’Byrne explains the dilemma facing the Home Rule Club. She and other members of her organizing committee are seated at her front bar, a comfortable, low-ceilinged room adorned with depictions of John Redmond, the former congressman and leader of the movement.

From distaste for politics to anhistoric assumptions, the club, which is owned by its non-profit members, faces challenges as it celebrates its 125th anniversary.

It was created by Catholic businessmen in the city in July 1894, with the aim of “advancing Catholic and national interests”.

One of them is that the movement that gave the club its name lost much of its power a century ago. The title of Home Rule continues to seem like a drawback to some members.

“A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that the Home Rule Club is a political club,” says Roger O’Reilly, “but it’s not political at all”.


Nonetheless, President John Kelly says that because of his role it is “a duty” to focus on the club’s original political goals.

He prepared a detailed timeline tracing the incidents and legislative movements in preparation for the approval of Home Rule, before the outbreak of World War I delayed its implementation, then its overrun by the Easter Rising and independence.

Its origins date back to the 1890s, when a bill introducing Home Rule for Ireland was introduced in the House of Commons in Westminster. It was the second time he had appeared before MPs, and the result was the same: defeat.

This served to further intensify efforts in Ireland to achieve a parliament in Dublin. Many local organizations have been formed across the country to provide spaces for organization and networking.

One of them was the Home Rule Club of Kilkenny. It was established by Catholic businessmen in the city in July 1894, with the aim, under the club’s original rules, to “advance Catholic and national interests and provide rational entertainment to its members.”

The latter objective was mainly provided by a pool table.

“Obviously at the time of independence it started to become more of a social club and that is what it is today, without any affiliation,” says O’Reilly.

But he may have been inclined to become a social club long before that. Darina O’Byrne, who reviewed the minutes of the first meetings of 1894, says: “Even when it had a political purpose, it was only a fraction of their topic. If you look at their activities, the first meeting was devoted to billiards. [They were wondering] how they were going to light up the pool table. Would they light it on gas? That sort of thing.”

Darina says the minutes show the focus was on education for the club, through its library and reading rooms. Excursions to parts of the country were also part of the club’s activities.

Now located on John’s Quay on the banks of the River Nore, its remit goes far beyond Home Rule. In addition to functioning as a pub, it hosts community groups from all over the city, covering movie clubs, dance classes, and tai chi groups. It is a full-fledged community center, say members.

For the coming year, a series of political and historic talks are underway. This July provided a glimpse of a violent confrontation in the 1830s south of Kilkenny, known locally as the Battle of Carrickshock, which saw 14 members of the Irish Police force killed by sharecroppers as they attempted to collect the tithe.

The front bar of the Home Rule Club in Kilkenny, which is adorned with old political campaign material from the early 1900s. Today the club is not political at all, according to one of its members. Photography: Alan Betson

Home Rule’s best-known modern supporter, former taoiseach John Bruton, surrendered last month. He became a member following his speech on John Redmond, the movement’s leading figure, who was an MP for neighboring Waterford.

It doesn’t take much to become a member, explains Kelly: “It’s € 10 membership for the year. It basically operates on a shoestring budget.

A bar manager is employed full-time alongside several part-time bar workers. Three years ago the bar and beer garden were renovated.

In the generations that followed the collapse of the political movement, the building had a reputation as a “dingy” workers’ club and was a favorite haunt for snooker players.

The premises were to be sold at the beginning of this decade, in order to cover an invoice of € 30,000. There were concerns that the club would disappear altogether.

But, says Kelly, “word got out that he was going to disappear from the face of the earth and that led to an increase in the number of members to keep the club.”

While many of these new members have since “melted away”, there are still around 130 people paying their annual membership fee.

Roger O’Reilly believes the brief swell in membership was a “vote of confidence in the club” and its plans for the future.

An artist, best known for last year’s illustrated look at Ireland’s lighthouses, O’Reilly opened the doors a decade ago to ask if they had any space he could rent as a studio.

It’s the kind of place you walk around on your own. The minute I walked in and walked through that door someone said, ‘sit there and sing a song’

“They had just set up the upstairs room at the club, so I ended up painting there for 10 years. Eventually, they managed to twist my arm and get me on the committee earlier this year – after only nine years.

It has managed to be more accessible than the building’s previous function, an elite school for young women. The residents were to bring three items with them to the entrance, says O’Reilly: a pair of sheets, a change of clothes and a silver spoon.

Other people found it more difficult to join. Nuala Culleton was introduced to the club by her husband Paddy when they were teenagers, but only Paddy was allowed to become a member.

Culleton sought to change this when she was older: “There was a campaign for women to become members. I think it was in 1989 when they agreed to let us join them, then I was secretary five years later.

“It wasn’t until we campaigned for us to become members that we found out that nowhere was it written that women could not become members,” she laughs.

There was another excluded group: the Parnellites. The personal life of Irish parliamentary party leader Charles Stewart Parnell, especially his adultery and divorce proceedings, sparked a split within the party in the 1800s.

“There were Catholic priests on the board for the early years,” says Clare Griffin, who has researched the club’s formative period.

“Many of the members were Catholics and given that the split occurred only a few years before the club was founded, it would make sense for them to be anti-Parnellites.”

Indeed, according to O’Byrne, the minutes of one of the first meetings showed that a man’s loyalty to the Parnellite faction was being used as a factor against his membership.

“Ironically, even though the [pressure group] The Home Rule Government Association was formed by a Protestant lawyer, this club was a Catholic club. I think there were really all kinds of disparate groups that were looking for self-determination and scrambling to take control of their lives, ”she says.

The next challenge for the club, she says, is to continue to attract and retain members so that they can “regenerate from the bottom up.”

The club’s combination of hikes, meditation, and regular music nights has attracted her, and she hopes its wide offering will be more popular.

“It’s the kind of place you walk around alone. The minute I walked in and walked through that door, someone said, ‘sit there and sing a song’.

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Home rule

Scotland is not so courageous in the push for autonomy

Schemes for Scottish autonomy date back to just after Gladstone’s introduction of his Irish Home Rule Bill. Indeed, they were then part of what was called the “home rule all round”, leaving the Parliament of Westminster to deal with imperial affairs. On several occasions, Scottish Home Rule bills have almost been passed by parliament. One of them did so in 1978, but was rejected by referendum in March 1979, on condition that 40% of the electorate voted in favor.

This story suggests that while the demand has been constant, or at least recurring, it has not been very deep or sustained very strongly. If this had been the case, it is inconceivable that home rule has not been achieved to date.

This shows the significant difference between Scottish and Irish history. Scotland has never been conquered or colonized. He entered into a union with England by a vote of his own parliament. The Scots saw themselves as equal partners in the British Empire. In the 19th century, the Scots were not a submerged people like the Irish, Poles or Czechs. On the contrary, they felt dominant.

This feeling faded in the 20th century. Early industrialization made Victorian Scotland confident and vibrant. As confidence faded as the old heavy industries struggled between the two world wars, the nationalism that had manifested by then was entrenched, romantic and backward-looking.

The response to industrial decline was to hold on even more to the British state, which had the resources to alleviate its effects and facilitate the transformation into a new economy – or, indeed, as many hoped, to support declining industries.

In addition, the experience of World War II reinforced the sense of British patriotism. It was Great Britain, not England or Scotland, that stood contra mundum. Significantly, the major air battles of 1941, although primarily fought in southern England, were unanimously referred to as the “Battle of Britain”.

For 20 years after the war, Britishness reigned almost unchallenged, despite the apparent success of the Covenant movement of the

1940s, which called for a vague measure of autonomy. The Labor Party was committed to socialism in one country and forgot its historic, albeit nominal, attachment to self-government.

It was not until the Wilson years of the 1960s that the decline of British power, and the apparent failure of British governments to stem the economic decline of Scotland from the more advantaged areas of the United Kingdom, gave a new impetus to nationalism.

It was the rise of the Scottish National Party in the feverish atmosphere of the 1970s that persuaded Labor to introduce a decentralization plan.

From the start, this was hampered by its internal contradiction. Devolution appealed to nationalist sentiment, but its apparent aim was to strengthen the Union by creating a better government of Scotland within the framework of the United Kingdom.

Decentralization could therefore only work if it stifled the nationalist sentiment which it also nourished, and because of which Labor had been brought back to its roots as national government.

The condition for decentralization was that there should be a strong SNP seeking independence; the condition for the proper functioning of any deconcentration project was for the SNP to lose its support.

Undoubtedly, the unpopularity of the Thatcher-Major government in Scotland made devolution more attractive. Although general policy was made by the Scots and administered by the Scots, it was nonetheless referred to as a ‘democratic deficit’.

There were claims that the very real and considerable administrative devolution that had taken place should be matched by political devolution in the form of a Scottish parliament.

After 1987, the Labor Party became involved, in part because of the natural frustration resulting from its inability to translate electoral support in Scotland into political power, and in part out of fears that in the absence of decentralization its support does seep into the SNP.

We are therefore now on the verge of voting for a Scottish Parliament along the lines proposed in the British Government’s White Paper.

Its areas of competence will be the parts of government already administratively devolved to the Scottish Office. If we approve it, it will also have modest taxing power and, because of its control over local governments, the power to change local government taxation.

The modesty of the project could, one might think, recommend it. Yet although the result is likely to be a nice majority in favor, there are still some trade unionists who view the project with suspicion and dismay.

They do this for four reasons. The first is simple. As the government presents its proposals as, in the words of Secretary of State Mr Donald Dewar, ‘a fair and just settlement for Scotland within the framework of the UK’, Labor has hailed nationalist support who see what is proposed not as a “settlement” but as a step in the process towards independence.

Clearly the two cannot be right. Therefore, many who are happy to identify as both Scottish and British are inevitably devoskeptics.

Second, the powers of tax variation, while modest, worry many businessmen. They fear that if Scotland becomes the most heavily taxed part of the UK, as seems likely, they will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. Their doubts are shared by those who think this is all an expensive extravaganza that will only benefit professional politicians and create more jobs for the boys.

Third, some of us fear that one of the consequences is the diminishing Scottish influence, which is now considerable, within the UK. A semi-detached country is unlikely to play a full role in governing the whole. Scotland may become more withdrawn and parochial, as was Northern Ireland during Stormont’s time.

The government’s refusal to attempt any response to the West Lothian question, formulated 20 years ago by now veteran Labor MP for Linlithgow, Mr Tam Dalyell (then MP for West Lothian), who asks why Scottish MPs for Westminster should be able to vote on a range of English affairs, but English MPs should not vote on comparable Scottish affairs, is worrying. Ultimately, the only answer to this problem would be some form of federalism.

Finally, the proposed regime will create a fundamentally irresponsible parliament because, despite the modest power of tax variation, its income will depend on Westminster. He will have the pleasure of spending money as long as he does not incur the odiousness of snatching it from the people.

Writing recently on the problems of local government in the west of Scotland, Iain McWhiter (who favors decentralization) suggested that it was important to “restore the local tax base”.

Part of the problem, he said, was that local councils no longer collected the money they spent. “Nothing could be better designed to undermine civic responsibility. The balance should be restored, with more taxes levied locally and less levied centrally. Councils would then be accountable to their local electorate.”

He is absolutely right and yet we are being offered a so-called national parliament that will collect an even lower proportion of its income than the meanest and poorest local authorities currently do. Nothing, in its own words, could be better designed to undermine civic responsibility.

And that, even if one did not see in the proposals an institutionalization of the friction between London and Edinburgh, to the probable benefit of the SNP, this would be a sufficient reason to vote “no” on September 11th.

Allan Massie is a journalist and novelist who lives on the Scottish borders. He writes regularly for several publications, including the Scotsman and the Daily Telegraph. Her most recent novel, published last month, is Shadows of Empire.

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Home rule

Autonomy could have led peacefully to independence

Home Rule, already law, could have led this part of Ireland peacefully to the same totally independent position that Canada enjoys today, if it had not been derailed by the rebellion of 1916, its consequences and the result. of the 1918 elections.

Peaceful methods had already proved their worth. The landlord system had been overthrown. A national university had been created. The Irish language was increasingly recognized.

More importantly, the principle of Irish legislative independence had already won the Imperial Parliament, in September 1914, with the passage and signature by the King of the Home Rule Bill.

The point of principle was therefore already won, without striking a blow.

It is therefore difficult to say that the outbreak of a rebellion in 1916 and a war of independence from 1919 to 1921 were – one or the other – a “last resort”, which is a essential condition for a just war.

The only question open in 1914 was whether, or for how long, Antrim, Down, Armagh and Derry (and possibly up to Fermanagh and Tyrone who had narrow nationalist majorities) could have been excluded from autonomy. . The violence of 1916 made this problem more difficult to solve.

I believe that the self-government would not have ended up having jurisdiction over most of these counties. But, after all the murders and deaths of the 1916-1923 period and the 1921 Treaty, the Free State did not get jurisdiction over them anyway.

Under the autonomy formula, the excluded counties would have been under direct administration (not Stormont), which would have been better for the nationalist minority.

The Irish parliamentary party tried unsuccessfully to solve the Ulster problem during the period 1910-1918. The men of 1916 simply ignored it.


John Redmond Brian Murphy

The autonomous House of Commons, which would have emerged at the end of the Great War in 1919, would have been elected with a much larger electoral list than that applied in the general election of 1910. All adult men, and all women over 30 for the first time, would have had the right to vote. It would probably have favored those who seek a greater degree of independence.

I don’t think the UK would have denied an autonomous Ireland the powers it freely bestowed on dominions such as Canada and Australia under the Statute of Westminster of 1931. If so, the sufferings of the War of Independence were unnecessary. The proof is there.

In the British elections of 1918, Ireland’s dominion status was not only the policy of the Irish Party, led by John Dillon, but also the policies of the Asquith Liberals and, above all, of the British Labor Party. The policy of the Liberal / Conservative coalition government of Lloyd George was autonomy.

During the 1920s the British Labor Party came to power in Westminster and this would have been a first opportunity for the Irish Self-Government Administration in Dublin to push for, or beyond, dominion status.

Separation policy

Autonomy is said to have left the British forces on Irish territory. But the 1921 treaty did the same. He left the ports of Cork and Donegal to the British Army. But these ports were returned in 1938, thanks to peaceful negotiations on the eve of the Second World War. This suggests that unwanted limitations on local self-government could also have been negotiated peacefully.

If a nation is to learn anything from history, it must consider what might have happened if different historical choices had been made.

As a rule, compromise is good, killing is bad. Bargaining is better than coercion. The uncompromising Proclamation of 1916, with its emphasis on “dead generations” and “irrevocable rights,” took us down an unproductive path.

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Home rule

Today, in 1913, the third autonomy bill was passed by the House of Commons

On January 16, 1913, the Third Reading of the Government of Ireland Bill, more commonly known as the Third Irish Home Rule Bill, was passed by the House of Commons in London.

Two weeks later, he was to be rejected again – for the third time – by the House of Lords which aligned with the Unionists – living mainly in Ulster – and feared that the introduction of Home Rule would mean a break for the union of Ireland. and England.

For once, this rejection in the House of Lords did not mark a return to square one for supporters of Home Rule in Ireland. Thanks to the Parliament Act of 1911, the House of Lords no longer had the power to reject a bill, but simply to delay it, which meant that Home Rule had yet to be implemented but with a little waiting.

The Home Rule Bill was a law that would remove the governance of Ireland from England and return it to Ireland. Following the failure of a rebellion involving French assistance in 1798, the Act of Union of 1800 was implemented, essentially meaning that the Irish no longer entered into a personal union with England with the ‘Protestant ancestry ruling over the country from Dublin, they were now ruled directly from London.

READ MORE: Irish Home Rule political cartoons acquired by Great Hunger Institute (PHOTOS).

Attempts to abrogate this union began immediately with “The Emancipator”, Daniel O’Connell struggling to end throughout the 1840s.

Earlier this week, we saw the anniversary of his first public speech against the Act of Union to a group of Catholics in Dublin, in which he said he would be better off going back to the days of criminal law than to spend more time in such a union with England.

“Let every man who feels with me proclaim that if the alternative of the Union were offered to him, or of the reconstitution of the Penal Code in all its primitive horrors, he would unhesitatingly prefer the latter, as less and more than sympathizers proclaimed to the Catholic assembly of January 13, 1800, “that he would rather confide in the justice of his brothers, the Protestants of Ireland, who had already freed him, than to put his country at the feet of foreigners”.

READ MORE: Today, in 1800, Daniel O’Connell gave his first speech opposing Union with England.

The concept of Home Rule, however, did not gain public attention in Ireland until the 1870s, following further failed uprisings in 1803, 1848, and 1867.

In 1870 Isaac Butt, a lawyer and former Conservative MP, founded the Irish Home Government Association. Using a cross section of progressive landowners, tenant rights activists, supporters and sympathizers of the failed Fenian uprising of 1867, Butt and the association evolved into the Home Rule League that won the alliance of many Irish MPs.

The movement would be revitalized once again with the introduction of master organizer Charles Stewart Parnell as a leader, turning the Home Rule effort into a powerful political force from the parish level to parliament.

By the time it was finally passed in 1913, it was the third time that a self-government bill had come before the English Parliament. The first came in 1886 under the Liberal government of Prime Minister William Gladstone with the support of Parnell and the Irish Parliamentary Party. The bill was not even passed by the House of Commons.

The second attempt took place in 1893 with the recently deceased Parnell and although it was passed by the House of Commons, it was rejected by the House of Lords.

It was not until 19 years later under the Liberal government of Herbert Asquith that the bill returned. During two general elections, Asquith and his party had held on to power by allying with the Irish Nationalist Party and its leader John Redmond. A condition of this alliance was to finally respect Home Rule for Ireland.

The bill was successfully passed by both houses in early 1913 due to the reduced powers of the House of Lords.

Unfortunately for the Home Rule party, the outbreak of World War I in 1914 sent the British government into emergency mode and the Home Rule Bill was once again put on the spot.

With the promise of its immediate implementation at the end of the war, John Redmond gave a rousing speech to the Irish volunteers in which he encouraged them to support the British cause against Germany.

As a largely Protestant country trying to assert its power over smaller Catholic countries, many were happy to force a fight against Germany and many even enlisted in the British Army to fight in the trenches.

There was a minority, however, who were unhappy that the British did not respond to a request once again and felt Redmond was weak in complying with another excuse instead of implementing Home Rule in time. Among that minority were the leaders of the 1916 Uprising who were not prepared to wait any longer to regain power from Britain.

Seeing World War I as a hardship for England and an opportunity for Ireland, they staged the Easter Rising of 1916, a failed uprising that nonetheless rekindled the flames of rebellion among the people. Irish and which is celebrated this year as one of the most important events on the road in Ireland. independence.

The autonomy bill was never to exist.

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Home rule

Archive: Irish Home Rule and the Ulster Pact | North Ireland

On September 28, 1912, 237,368 men and 234,046 women in northern Ireland and beyond signed the Covenant and the Ulster Declaration, pledging to oppose Home Rule, then debated by the British government.

the third autonomy bill – which did not achieve full independence but transferred power from London – was fought by the Unionists, who wanted to maintain Ulster’s position within the United Kingdom.

A document based on the 17th century Scottish National Pact was written to serve as a solemn oath.

Manchester Guardian, September 20, 1912: click to read full article.

He bound those who had signed it to

supporting each other to defend, for ourselves and for our children, our cherished position of equal citizenship in the UK, and using whatever means may be deemed necessary to defeat the current plot to create an autonomous Parliament in Ireland.

A separate statement was drafted by the Ulster Women Unionist’s Council in which women are committed to “Let us join the men of Ulster in their uncompromising opposition to the autonomy bill. “

Ulster Declaration for Women, Manchester Guardian September 11, 1912
Manchester Guardian, September 11, 1912: click to read full.

September 28 was declared Ulster Day, and meetings were held across the region to mobilize support. On the same day, many Protestant churches organized special services and many factories in Belfast closed to allow workers to join the crowds at Town Hall; Sir Edward Carson was the first to sign. The women signed the Declaration near Ulster Hall.

Copies of the document were signed at over 500 locations across Ulster and further afield in England and Manchester over the following weeks.

Ulster Pact in Manchester, Guardian October 7, 1912
Manchester Guardian, October 7, 1912: click to read full article.

Some saw in the Home Rule bill the ignorance of English politicians and party politics. A letter to the Guardian claimed that “to the average Englishman Ireland means a troublesome island somewhere in the Atlantic, where the natives run half-naked over blossoming shillelagh bogs while behind them hides a mysterious known conspirator under the name of “the priest” … ”

The author suggested that a bill should be drafted by businessmen of all stripes, making it “satisfactory to everyone in Ireland except a few Orangemen and Molly Maguires. ‘

Letter on the Ulster Alliance, Manchester Guardian October 26, 1912
Manchester Guardian, October 26, 1912: click to read full.

The legality of the Covenant has also been called into question and criminal proceedings have been brought against several signatories.

Ulster Covenant criminal case, Manchester GUardian October 4, 1912
Manchester Guardian, October 4, 1912

The Autonomy Bill was adopted by the Commons, but was defeat in the Lords in January 1913. It would have been adopted, but when World War I broke out, the matter was put on hold.

In October 1912, while the bill was still hotly debated in parliament, the Guardian correspondent in Belfast suggested that, faced with lower than expected turnout, Unionist leaders were forcing “non-voters” to sign.

He also wrote that “those who put their names on the Covenant on ‘Ulster-day’ are the culmination of militant unionism.” In this he was prophetic; the unionists selected 100,000 men from among those who signed the pact to be trained in the use of firearms as the first force of ulster volunteers.

Ulster Pact, Manchester Guardian October 18, 1912
Manchester Guardian, October 18, 1912: click to read full articles.

Learn more about the Ulster Covenant, search for documents and view original signatures on the Northern Ireland Public Archives Office website, which digitized both the Covenant and the Declaration.

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Home rule

Irish Home Rule and the Scottish Referendum 1914-2014

This is the centenary year of the enactment of the Third Self-Government Bill, as well (of course) as the year of the Scottish Independence Referendum. Yet the centenary conversation in Ireland and the somewhat more vigorous debate over Scottish independence have been conducted – for the most part – quite separately.

While it would be wrong to push the analogies too far, there are some striking similarities – and some differences – between the Home Rule debate of 1912-14 and the current Scottish independence debate. These similarities (and even distinctions) might well give the protagonists of Scotland’s ‘Yes’ and ‘Better Together’ camps food for thought – and indeed, there is evidence that Gordon Brown and Alex Salmond ruminated as a result.

A critical difference between Ireland in 1914 and Scotland in 2014 is that of militancy – Ireland on the eve of World War I being an armed camp comprising the Ulster movements and Irish volunteers, opponents and supporters of Home Rule, as well as the British Army. . The Scottish political debate has not been militarized and there is no indication that it will become so (the Scottish National Liberation Army, for example, has never posed a significant threat). Modern Scottish nationalism has developed as an entirely constitutional and peaceful phenomenon.

Of course, mainstream Scottish nationalism only recently emerged, through the successive Holyrood elections, as a majority phenomenon. But he never had to rise to the challenge (taken up by Irish nationalism a century ago) of dismissing a majority of elected officials, while encountering long resistance in London.

One aspect of the Irish experience in 1914 was that a heavy constitutional debate, heightened political expectations, and the delay or disappointment of those expectations (with Unionist resistance and the onset of the war), combined to create a chemistry very volatile policy. The hardening of expectations for change across Scotland in 2014 means that national aspirations (as well as social and economic) may need to be addressed swiftly and sensitively, regardless of the outcome of the referendum.

Sir Edward Carson, leader of the Irish Unionist Party, inspecting members of the Ulster Volunteer Force. The UVF was founded in 1913 by the Ulster Unionist Council to resist the implementation of Home Rule. Q 81759 Imperial War Museums. IWM Non-Commercial License via Wikimedia Commons.

A critical dimension of this activism in 1914 was the uncompromising support given to the Unionist paramilitary Ulster by the British Conservative leaders – this in part a symptom of the deep divisions in British and Irish politics and society precipitated by the Home Rule debate. . Strikingly, both the Home Rule issue in 1914 and the referendum in 2014 each attracted an unusually wide range of declarations of allegiance from a complex array of interest groups and individuals. In 1914 there was a high level of ‘celebrity’ endorsement and intervention against Home Rule: by taking only literary figures, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle became a Home Ruler, while Rudyard Kipling was a strong unionist. In 2014, Irvine Welsh declared himself in favor of independence, while JK Rowling is against. Ian Rankin provides a case study of the complexity (and depth) of the division: He’s agnostic on the matter, but it’s clear his characters would have strong opinions. Thus, Inspector Rebus joins the trade unionists of 2014 (although actor Ken Stott, the most recent of TV Rebuses, would be in the “yes” camp).

The analogies between Home Rule and the Scottish independence debate, however, go far beyond the “A” list. The substantial strength and defiance of Home Rule sentiment produced a striking intellectual movement both before and in 1914, just as the strength of the Scottish independence movement produced a similar movement a century later.

In 1912-1914, the constitutional deadlock on Home Rule actually helped spur support for (then called) “federalism” among part of the Unionist elite, including even Edward Carson. In terms of the (almost) equal forces fighting for Scottish independence, Gordon Brown has now embraced the idea of ​​a federal UK; and he was joined or preceded by others, including (for example) the Scottish Conservative journalist, David Torrance. The discussion of a possible English parliament was featured prominently in 1911-1914 and again in 2014. Both in 1914 and 2014, it appears that the still-malleable UK constitutional form is once again in transition – but because trade unionists now don’t change less than nationalists.

And indeed, some Scottish nationalists have adopted at least some of the symbols of the British connection. John Redmond, the leader of Home Rule, emphasized the monarchy and empire in his view of Irish autonomy during the Home Rule era, partly out of personal conviction and partly in terms of subversion of the unionist arguments. In the same vein, Alex Salmond (despite a strong tradition of Republican sentiment within the SNP), adopted “the union of crowns” as the SNP’s strategy and has referred in recent years with deference to the queen (“d ‘Scotland’), and its central place in an independent nation.

Here, as elsewhere, Ireland’s century-old Home Rule debate evokes the current situation in Scotland. Indeed, here as elsewhere, Ireland’s broader experience of the Union coincides with that of the Scots.

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Home rule

what Home Rule could not have achieved

It is true that the Easter Rising should have been unnecessary, but that the Easter Rising was the only way for the Irish people to gain independence is sadly also true. The reason is that the British had no intention at the time or for the foreseeable future to grant Ireland full independence.

John Bruton is touting the passage of the Home Rule Bill this week as if it would have granted Ireland some form of Dominion status. The real facts are that the Autonomy Bill would have given Ireland the kind of status Wales now enjoys and far less than Scotland already achieved 100 years later.

Home Rule would have left all the central powers of any state under the control of Westminster, including foreign affairs and the right to have our own army.

The British establishment’s entrenched resistance to democracy, self-determination and the rights of small nations to determine their own destiny became evident after the end of World War I, which we are told was fought for this same right.

His reaction to the 1918 general election in Ireland, when the majority of the people elected by the people democratically established their own parliament, the Dáil Éireann, was to immediately ban the Dáil.

That 1916 was fought to establish the right of this country to choose its own democratic form of government, without external control, is clear from the proclamation of 1916, which speaks of “the establishment of a permanent, representative national government. of the whole people. of Ireland and elected by the votes of all its men and women ”.

One-off event

It is also important to place the Uprising in the context of its time, when war was rampant across Europe and beyond and where many Irish people were said to face fighting for Ireland at home. or on the slaughter fields of mainland Europe.

Bruton refers to the “successful path of nonviolent parliamentary Home Rule” as opposed to the “path of physical violence, initiated by the IRB and the Citizen Army during Easter week 1916”.

The price to pay for following the limited option of Home Rule was that the Irish would have been forced to wage all subsequent Imperial wars on behalf of Britain. The fact that John Redmond believed this is clear from his call to Woodenbridge for Volunteers to enlist and the involvement of his family members and supporters in WWI.

That many more Irish died in this Imperial War than in 1916 and the War of Independence combined is a fact. That recruiting for the British Army in Ireland dried up after the uprising is also a fact, saving many lives. Without the Uprising’s success in awakening the Irish people, it is likely that Britain would have succeeded in enforcing conscription in 1918, causing many more needless Irish deaths.

Full independence has enabled Ireland, in the meantime, to engage in international affairs and to lend its efforts at the international level to the maintenance of peace under the banner of the United Nations. It has kept us away from the wars of power in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, to name a few. In addition, the countless lives saved in WWII by Irish independence should not be overlooked.

Politicians often use historical events for current purposes. For this reason, I think it is important that all Irish people understand the ideals and motivations of the 1916 uprising and its leaders so that we continue to preserve the sovereign independence of this state in its relations with other nations. More importantly, we must jealously guard ourselves against anything that would engage us in the geopolitical conflicts of the great powers in circumstances where such engagement is beyond our control. Ireland’s role should be that of a beacon of peace and reconciliation in the world.

Different view

We have seen this happen gradually over the past few years. I wonder if those like John Bruton really think this is the best fate for this nation.

Éamon Ó Cuív is a Fianna Fáil TD

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Home rule

1912: Home rule and resistance in Ulster

When the Third Home Rule Bill was introduced in the Commons 100 years ago, in April 1912, it seemed a triumphant vindication of the tradition of parliamentary constitutional nationalism. Parliamentary arithmetic gave Home Rulers the whiplash on Asquith’s Liberal government – ​​the prize, Home Rule.

“If I may say it respectfully, I personally thank God for having lived to this day,” John Redmond, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, told fellow MPs. Within reach, the dream. . .

But on the streets of Belfast and Dublin, another story was being written that would overshadow democratic politics at its moment of supposed triumph. Carson joined Ulster; he marched, protested, took solemn oaths of defiance and finally armed himself to the teeth.

And in the founding of the Ulster Volunteers, nationalists would see an excuse and legitimization – though little doubt they would have done so anyway – for their own army, the Irish Volunteers.

In the Commons, the debate would become mere numbers, an echo, of the new forces on the ground in Ireland. The king got confused. The army mutinies. The bill would eventually pass, but its implementation would be suspended due to the World War and an uprising that would change the whole picture. Home Rule would come, but, ironically, only in part of Ulster; independence, to the rest of the country.

The drama of the Home Rule Bill was to be an extraordinary curtain raiser for a decade that changed the face of modern Ireland, ushering in new forces on the stage of Irish history, a new caste of characters, villains and hero, while eclipsing the former with all the tragic finality of the Greek drama.

This supplement, with recent coverage in The Irish Times of the Titanic centenary, is an attempt to capture the context and magnitude of this drama, and its many conflicting tales, a pivotal moment in our collective history. These are the first of many decade-long reports to be collated on a planned website, “Century”, with contributions from many other groups, official and unofficial, North and South, to the national commemorations.

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Home rule

The Third Home Rule Bill is 100 years old today. What did it do?

A SMALL NUMBER of events are being held across Ireland today to mark the centenary of the Third Home Rule Bill – legislation considered by many to be essentially the first piece of legislation that ultimately created the Irish state that we know today.

But what was this bill – and why is it considered so important? Let’s try to explain the story behind it all.

We should start with the basics.

In 1800 the Parliament of Ireland (as it was then called) and the Parliament of Great Britain passed the Act of Union, legislation which merged the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland into the UK.

The countries had (partially) shared a head of state since 1541 – when Henry VIII quashed Silken Thomas’ rebellion and elevated Ireland from a lordship to a kingdom, and proclaimed himself King of Ireland.

If at first you don’t succeed…

The Act of Union, which came into force in 1801, remained in force throughout the 19th century, despite a number of Irish nationalist movements – Charles Stewart Parnell having succeeded in convincing the Prime Minister of the time, William Gladstone of the Liberal Party, to introduce a bill. which would have undone most of the Act of Union, recreating a Kingdom of Ireland with its own parliament (albeit with limited power) – a concept called “Home Rule”.

Despite Gladstone’s pleas – culminating in a now famous three-hour speech in the House of Commons – this Home Rule Bill was defeated by 341 votes to 311 in June 1886, largely thanks to the rebellion of 93 backbench liberals who opposed the bill because Gladstone had drafted it in secret and without their input.

Wounded by rebellion by his MPs, Gladstone called a general election later that month and lost power. He returned in 1892 and gave it another chance – but again decided to draft his bill in secret, even excluding his own ministerial cabinet and cabinet from any input.

Despite this, the bill was approved by the House of Commons in September 1893, but it was already considered damaged goods. Gladstone’s secret redaction had led to a catastrophic financial mistake, massively underestimating the amount of money Ireland should contribute to the UK budget, while tensions between the Tories and the Parnellite nationalist wing of the Irish Parliamentary Party led to regular fights on the benches of the opposition.

When the Bill was then sent to the House of Lords, the Conservative majority – being staunch supporters of Unionism – were in no mood to be open-minded. The Lords overruled the bill by a vote of 419 to 41 and the motion was again defeated.

Changing at home…

In the meantime, although nationalist sentiments remained high in Ireland, British politics underwent greater changes. A dispute arose in 1909 when the Liberals – back in power – pushed a budget through the House of Commons but blocked by the House of Lords (which, due to its composition, had a firm Tory majority), a move seen as a break with precedent.

Two general elections were held in 1910 in an effort to allow the public to decide whether the Liberals or Conservatives should win, each with inconclusive results. In the end, the only way for the Liberals to retain power was to strike a deal with the Irish Parliamentary Party, trading the support of the 74 IPP MPs for another attempt to introduce Home Rule.

What followed was a fundamental change in the British political system: knowing that the only way to break the Conservative majority in the Lords was to flood it with new Liberal life members, the Liberals secured the support of King George V to appoint hundreds of new peers. and secure their majority.

The Tories backed down – happier to retain their majority in a weakened House of Lords than to relinquish their stranglehold on power – and the Liberals pushed through new laws that meant the House of Lords could no longer veto legislation, but only to delay it. The Lords could now only vote against legislation twice: if the Commons approved it three times, it would be sent directly to the King for enactment.

This done, Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith introduced the Third Home Rule Bill in the House of Commons on April 11, 1912 (100 years ago today). This Bill created a bicameral Parliament, with a 164-member House of Commons and a 40-member Senate, and also allowed Ireland to continue to elect MPs for Westminster (although the size of Irish constituencies would become much larger, which means fewer deputies).

Although the Lords continued to oppose it – and with significant opposition from Ulster-based Unionists, who feared becoming a powerless minority in a country ruled by Dublin and not the more industrial Belfast – the Commons successfully passed the bill three times.

…and abroad

There was only one problem: by the time he was adopted a third time and could be sent to the king, a bigger problem loomed on the horizon: the United Kingdom was now part of the Great War.

Assuming the war would be brief, Asquith rushed through a new suspensive law which put the provisions of the Home Rule Bill and another law, giving Wales an independent church, on hold until the end of the war. .

The legislation was then overtaken by events. The Great War continued and nationalism was instead expressed through the Easter Rising of 1916. Britain then chose to try to implement Home Rule immediately, but agreed not to. do so unless an agreement is reached on Ulster’s status within the new jurisdiction.

As World War I continued in 1917 and 1918, Britain found itself short of manpower and attempted to tie Home Rule to compulsory conscription – something rejected by all parties nationalists – and when the United States joined the war, avoiding the crisis, the conflict quickly ended. .

A blank page

But with the Liberals now in power for more than eight years and having delayed the election until the end of the war, a general election was called. The Irish Parliamentary Party lost nearly all of its seats to Éamon de Valera’s young Sinn Féin, whose members boycotted Westminster and formed their own revolutionary assembly. This assembly became the first Dáil and declared an independent country called the Republic of Ireland, a decision which led to the Irish War of Independence.

In 1920 the Third Home Rule Bill (now known as the Government of Ireland Act 1914) was replaced by a Fourth Home Rule Act which divided Ireland into two jurisdictions, the Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland.

Elections were held to the parliaments of both countries, but Sinn Féín de De Valera rejected Britain’s right to pass laws for the Republic of Ireland. Sinn Féin fielded candidates for the new elections, but these candidates instead formed the Second Dáil.

Eventually a truce was reached during the War of Independence and the second Dáil sent a team led by Michael Collins to negotiate what became known as the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which the Dáil ratified by 64 votes to 57.

The result was the creation of an Irish Free State of 26 counties – which slowly ruled out the king’s role and eventually became the modern Republic of Ireland we know today – and the Irish Civil War, fought between supporters and opponents of the treaty.

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