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ireland, irish, ulster, ireland, irish, ulster, Sinn Féin, Irish America

Celts can't rely on Brit politics: A pact is the way forward

(John Coulter, Irish Daily Star)

Create the Celtic Corridor because no one can trust the English establishment!

This Celtic Corridor would be an economic pact between the North, the Republic and Scotland, irrespective of September's independence referendum.

The bitter reality which both republicans and Unionists can take away from the Haass talks debacle is that the English political establishment will stab you in the back at every turn.

In the 1970s, when the IRA was blowing the crap out of Ireland, former Northern Secretary Willie Whitelaw was flying leading Provos to England for secret negotiations.

The so-called Iron Lady Maggie Thatcher's 'Out, Out, Out' speech detailing how the South should butt out of the North was quickly replaced with the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement guaranteeing the Republic a say in the North.

It was English Prime Minister Ted Heath who, in 1970, axed the B Specials, which had been a lynch pin in combating republican terror, and then scrapped the original Stormont Parliament in 1972.

How are Unionists expected to trust the English establishment if they give amnesties to more than 180 republican suspects?

How can republicans trust them if the cross-border bodies set up under the Good Friday Agreement are more about giving London a greater say in the running of the South with the long-term aim of bringing the Republic back into the Commonwealth?

Instead of moaning about typical English colonialism, imperialism, or back-stabbers, Unionists and nationalists need to take the initiative and shift the economic balance of power throughout the British Isles to the new Celtic Corridor.

The best result for the expansion of the Celtic Corridor concept would be a narrow victory for the No camp in the Scottish independence debate.

That will force Brit PM Dandy Dave Cameron to trigger the Maximum Devolution, or Devo Max, solution giving even more powers to the parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Stormont.

Devo Max in Ireland will mean clear tax raising powers for the Northern Assembly, especially bringing equality to corporation tax rates in the North and South.

Likewise, Devo Max will also give additional powers to the cross-border bodies, leading to closer relations between the Dáil and Stormont.

In future years, the Celtic Corridor could be joined by the Welsh Assembly, Manx parliament and the various parliaments comprising the Channel Islands.

In the meantime, Hollywood legend Mel Gibson's iconic Braveheart shout – Freedom! – could become a whole new battle-cry for the Celtic Corridor.

March 25, 2014
________________

This article appeared in the March 24, 2014 edition of the Irish Daily Star.

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