Geography of Europe Blog Assignment #3

These images all deal with nationalism across the British Isles. Although nationalist movements have existed to some degree within Great Britain since the integration of Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland into the English/British government, they became much more prominent beginning in the 19th century. Today, the Scottish nationalist movement is by far the most visible and well known across the world. Although Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland all have devolved parliaments and powers, the Scots have been particularly vocal in their desire for more. In 2014, this culminated in an independence referendum in Scotland.

Many Scots view the British government in a particularly negative light. Even with the devolved Scottish Parliament, Westminster still wields many powers over the country. For example, the British nuclear arsenal is located in Scotland, against the wishes of numerous Scots. Additionally, Scotland has natural resources such as oil, but most of the money does not stay in Scotland. Therefore, some see the British government as almost oppressive, and they want freedom, as shown in the top left image.

The middle left image shows the Scottish and British flags, both of which were used frequently in the run-up to the Scottish independence referendum in 2014. A “yes” vote meant an independent Scotland, while a “no” vote meant remaining a part of the United Kingdom. In the weeks leading up to the referendum, opinion polls began shifting toward the “yes” vote, and Westminster politicians went into panic mode. They promised Scotland “devomax” or full devolution to Scotland. This would grant the Scottish Government much greater powers than it held at the time. This promise helped ensure that the “no” vote won the referendum. However, since the referendum, Westminster has seemed to get cold feet about granting Scotland devomax. Scottish nationalist sentiment has only increased since the defeat of the referendum, as has support for the SNP, which looks like it may have record-breaking results in the next general election in May. Furthermore, David Cameron has promised a UK-wide referendum on exiting the EU if the Tories stay in power after the general election. If he keeps his promise, and the UK votes to leave the EU, the Scots will probably be more pissed off than they have ever been. Scotland is completely committed to the EU, and would likely separate from the UK if the UK chose to leave.

Wales has been joined to England longer than Scotland has, which has given it more time to integrate with England. Nationalist sentiment in Wales, therefore, is much weaker than in Scotland. Wales also does not have significant natural resources like Scotland does. Plaid Cymru is the Welsh nationalist party that promotes Welsh independence, but it does not enjoy as much support as the SNP does in Scotland. Wales seems to be content with the current amount of devolution it has in the Welsh Government.

English nationalism also exists within the United Kingdom, but it is quite limited, probably since England holds the majority of the power within the British government. There simply is not a need for an English government, since the British Government is essentially an English government. English nationalism does exist, however, and is promoted by the English Democrats, who have 1 seat on the Boston Borough Council, and no seats in any other government body.

All the bairns o' Adam

Same as usual…500 words by Sunday night (March 15th midnight),…

Europe Blog #3

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