In the Central Lobby with the Palace of Westminster are four large mosaic panels depicting the patron saints of the United Kingdom’s four constituent nations – David (Wales), George (England), Andrew (Scotland) and Patrick (Ireland). Their installation was controversial, mainly on grounds of expense, also it took before early 1920s – where time nearly all of Ireland seceded through the U.K. – for the quartet for being completed.
But if your mosaics first started to use shape (St George came first in 1870) the union between England and Scotland, which dates back to 1707, was unthreatened because of the style of Home Rule movement then active in Ireland. The nationalism that swept almost all the European Continent from the mid-19th century could not reach Westminster, and definitely not as far north as Hadrian’s Wall.
Today, Central Lobby plus the other U.K. Parliament building is either under repair or perhaps dire will need a costly and time-consuming refurbishment. The symbolism is inescapable, particularly considering that Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced she’s going to seek parliamentary approval for yet another independence referendum, just 2 . 5 years following your last one happened.
During the long campaign of 2012-14, the British government and Scottish advocates of remaining in the U.K. chosen a carrot-and-stick approach. The carrot was a (largely honored) commitment of more powers for that devolved Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh as well as the stick was obviously a threat an independent Scotland couldn’t use the British pound or expect an ample independence settlement.
That approach toiled enough. The pro-U.K. camp won 55 percent with the vote and opinion polls indicate it still commands most. But you will find serious question marks above the likely organization, arguments and personnel of another “save the union” campaign.
A caricatured picture of Britain painted by many people nationalists – it’s mainly run by right-wing Tories that don’t like immigrants – now looks much better reality.
Strengthening unionist hands second time round is definitely the economic backdrop. In the first referendum, nationalists painted an over-optimistic picture of likely North Sea oil revenue, but that – good U.K. Office of Budget Responsibility – has trickled to just about nothing. Furthermore, the Scottish Government’s own figures show once a year gap of