The contradiction of the Irish Orange Order opposing Scottish independence

by Michael Nugent on September 8, 2014

The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and the Apprentice Boys of Derry will soon take part in a march in Edinburgh to oppose Scottish independence. The march is organised by the Scottish Orange Order.

At face value it is what you would expect from a pro-British, pro-Union organisation. But in a significant way, this march contradicts the underlying political position of the Orange Order in Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Unionist position is based on the principle that the island of Ireland is not automatically one political unit. They have argued, successfully, that it does not matter that they are a minority on the island.

What matters is that they are a majority in Northern Ireland, which is the part of the island of Ireland in which they live, and that gives them the right to be politically separate from the rest of the island of Ireland.

But that is the underlying principle of the Scottish independence campaign that the Orange Order is opposing.

The Scottish Independence campaign is based on the principle that the island of Britain is not automatically one political unit. They are arguing that it does not matter that the Scottish people are a minority on the island of Britain.

What matters is that they are a majority in Scotland, which is the part of the island of Britain in which they live, and that gives them the right to stay separate from the rest of the island of Britain.

And Scotland has been globally recognised as a political entity for centuries longer than Northern Ireland has.

So why is the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland not supporting the right of the people of Scotland to determine their own political future, like the people of Northern Ireland, rather than being subsumed into the politics of the geography of an island?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Seán Hennessy September 8, 2014 at 10:34 pm

“So why is the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland not supporting the right of the people of Scotland to determine their own political future…?”

They do support that right, but they’re making the case for the union. Entering the debate is not the same as denying the people of Scotland their right to self-determination.

2 Paddy Crean September 9, 2014 at 11:35 am

Point well made; but why are they opposing the choice of separation when that is what they want for themselves?

3 Seán Hennessy September 9, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Well they don’t see it that way. From their point of view it was the nationalists who insisted on separation – they stuck with the union. Two sides to the biscuit. It’s not the way I’d look at it, but you have to recognise that it’s a legitimate view – otherwise the whole peace process is a sham.

4 Paddy Crean September 10, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Got it!

5 Sean September 10, 2014 at 9:40 pm

funnily enough this contradiction may well be the very reason Sinn Fein are staying out of the whole Scottish independence debate.

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