Media Please find attached latest press release on behalf of the Orange Order. Dr David Hume is guest speaker at an Ulster Covenant commemoration event in Glasgow Evangelical Church this evening.
Ulster Scots should have independence vote – Orangeman
THE Orange Order's Director of Services has called on the Scottish government to allow Ulster Scots to vote in the referendum on the future of Scotland.
Dr David Hume was speaking at an event organised in Glasgow by the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland to commemorate the centenary of the Ulster Covenant.
He said that Ulster Scots had provided the first unifying factor in Scottish history in the 6th century and helped develop Scottish interests in Ireland and elsewhere from the 17th century.
"We are stakeholders as well. Surely a decision such as this should not ignore our input?" he said.
The Director of Services recalled the strong support for Ulster Unionism a century ago in Scotland, where thousands of Ulster exiles signed at locations including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Troon, Ayrshire and elsewhere.
"A century on, the constitutional future is clearer now. The constitutional status of Northern Ireland will not change without the consent of the people. But the Union that was so dear to the hearts of 471,414 men and women in 1912 is under threat in other ways,” he said.
“In 1912 Scots unionists watched anxiously for Ulster and in 2014 Ulster will watch anxiously for you as nationalists seek to win a referendum which would alter totally the constitution of our nation. A union without Scotland would be a poorer place."
"It would be our hope that the Scottish people remain with us and remain within the Union. Victory is not assured. No one should believe that. But you can be assured that we are with those who stand by the Union and we will not forsake you as your forefathers did not forsake us.
“Many of them were not born in Ulster so they could not sign the Covenant. But they held it in their hearts. We will not forget you for that and the continuing support you give to us."
Dr Hume continued: "It is a great privilege to be Scottish. But we should not mix up patriotism with nationalism. In 2014 there will be attempts to sell the two as one product. But people should not be confused. It is natural to be Scottish and support the Union. Within the Union there is cultural difference, and other differences too; that is the great value of the Union. It is a value which binds us together under common structures and ethos."
He added: "When the referendum comes in 2014 the SNP want to extend the vote to those who are 16 years of age and, presumably, more likely to vote as directed by the SNP. I would call on them to extend the referendum to the Ulster Scots. After all, we provided the first unifying force in Scotland in the 6th century AD and we later extended Scottish influence to Ireland in the 17th century. We are stakeholders as well. Surely a decision such as this should not ignore our input?"
Kind Regards, Bryan
Bryan Gray Communications Officer
Grand Orange Lodge Of Ireland Schomberg House 368 Cregagh Road Belfast, BT6 9EY Tel: 028 9070 1122 Fax: 028 9040 3700 Mobile: 07815 849670 Web: www.grandorangelodge.co.uk
From the excellent Belfast News Letter 18/2/2012 Platform:
Proposals for an independent Scotland are poorly thought out, but unionism must offer a positive alternative, says PETER ROBINSON –
THE history of the relationship between Northern Ireland and Scotland is a never-ending story of interaction between the two countries.
The Union binds all its four constituent parts together but the relationship across the North Channel has always been a special one.
Now, as the Scots embark on a debate about whether they shall remain within our United Kingdom, it is of particularly keen interest to us.
We know enough about our Scottish friends to know that dire threats will not be the way to unionist success.
We also know that it will be their decision and not ours. However, what we can do is leave them in no shadow of doubt that we want them in our Union.
For the past and present show us the way to the best future – that we are better together.
As the story of the Union has unfolded, each part contributed much to its politics, its economy, its culture and to its defence.
Through the common project of the empire we gave our values and learning to the world – technical innovation, parliamentary democracy, belief in the rule of law and fundamental, freedoms, philosophy, literature and sport.
After securing democracy from the Nazi onslaught, we set about creating a new Union building national institutions like the NHS.
Our unity meant that as the empire faded the UK retained a place in the world politically and economically that schism would have frittered away.
This has never been truer than now. The UK is not immune from the global winds of recession but we can see from the experiences of Greece and the Republic of Ireland how much more vulnerable small nations are.
As to the future, our prime minister has made it clear the Union is happy to evolve.
With the Union, the Scots know what it has delivered, does deliver and will deliver. What of the alternative future?
Even in these early stages of the debate, it has become clear no one has a real vision for an independent Scotland.
On questions about basic issues like the economy, currency and defence the plans appear as if they have been drafted up on the back of a beaten bookies’ docket.
So let us not fear this debate but welcome it. For I believe it will not only secure Scotland’s place in the Union for years to come but re-energise the idea of the Union throughout our country.
Together, we have achieved so much. Together, we are stronger. Together, we will have the best future.
? Peter Robinson is First Minister of Northern Ireland and leader of the DUP
First Minister Peter Robinson on Twitter DUP Website DUP on Twitter DUP on Facebook DUP on YouTube Kilsally on Twitter – a Northern Irish perspective on Twitter
————– Scottish independence: Wales and Northern Ireland make unity plea http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/jan/13/scottish-independence-wales-northern-ireland
…….In his strong plea for Scotland to remain in the UK, Robinson made clear that Northern Ireland unionists would lose their closest relatives in the UK if Scotland left. The Northern Ireland first minister said: “If what we have seen over the last few days is a trailer of things to come then unless we like seeing the sight of our own blood we might want to stand back somewhat. While we recognise that clearly this must be a decision for the people of Scotland to take on their own it has clear implications for the rest of the UK.
“I speak as a unionist but also as an Ulster Scot.
Clearly I have a massive interest in what happens and what decision the people of Scotland will take. They do need to know that there are many people throughout the UK that feel they have a very valuable contribution to make to the UK as a whole who want to see them continue to do that.”
In a reference to the Scots who travelled across the Irish Sea during the Ulster Plantation, Robinson said: “We cherish the relationship that we have. Nowhere else in the UK would the bonds be more tightly drawn between any other part of the UK from NI’s point of view than with Scotland.
“Our peoples have moved from one side of that small stretch of water to the other and back again many times over the centuries. So we have a massive interest and I don’t think we can sit idly by and simply indicate that it is a matter for Scotland alone. It will have implications for us all. We hope that Scotland knows just how much we want them to remain within the UK.”……… ———–
12:48 GMT, Tuesday, 17 January 2012 Video at the link: British Irish Council http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/northern_ireland/newsid_9676000/9676822.stm
The first minister said he very much hoped Scotland would remain an “integral part of the United Kingdom”, on 17 January 2012. In his statement on the recent meeting of the British Irish Council (BIC), Peter Robinson said the subject of Scotland’s independence had gained media attention due to the presence of Scotland First Minister, Alex Salmond, even though it was not discussed. Delegates at the meeting included the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Owen Paterson. With the inclusion of members outside the UK, Mr Robinson said that Scotland could remain part of the council even if it gained independence. “Even if Scotland was to take the decision, which all, I’m sure, in this house would unanimously agree that we would not want them to take, it would not stop them being a member of the BIC,” he said. Mr Robinson also said it was ironic, “that the moment when there seems a real possibility of some form of break-up of the United Kingdom that Northern Ireland was not the cause of it”.
———- Unionists can use Salmond`s ideas, says businessman
A SCOTTISH business-man with strong links to Northern Ireland has urged the province’s politicians to work with Scotland for the benefit of both regions. Iain McGill, who runs an employment business between Scotland and Northern Ireland, said that unionists should em¬brace some of Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond’s ideas – but use them to strengthen the case for the Union. Mr McGill, whose father is Scottish and mother is from Larne, singled out Mr Salmond’s call for Scotland to lead the world in creating renewable energy from its rugged landscape. The businessman who was brought up in Scotland and has stood for the Conservatives in Edinburgh – told the News Letter: “The potential for Northern Ireland and Scotland to work to¬gether on tidal energy in the North Sea between Scotland and Northern Ireland is enormous; it could be a massive eneregy producer for the whole of Europe. “It’s not a Scottish North Sea, it’s not a Northern Irish North Sea it’s a big natural asset that we share.
“I see Alex Salmond running ahead on that and I think the guys in Northern Ireland – on both sides of the unionist- nationalist debate – are missing a trick with that. “They should be saying: Here’s an asset we have; Alex Salmond trumpets that Scotland’s going to be the renewables leader in the world; Scotland’s going to provide power for Europe. “He’s presenting a posi-tive vision for how he sees it running.
But actually we would be more powerful together because that sea is not entirely Scotland’s. “If that- vision is right then actually Scotland, Northern Ireland and UK PLC should be saying: ‘We’ve got this North Sea between us, let’s maximise that and make it the world leader in tidal power’. “I see his vision of an independent Scotland being a world leader in re-newable energy actually being stronger if we have both coasts of the North Sea, not just one coast of the North Sea.” Mr McGill, a strongly pro-Union voice in the Scottish independence debate, said that he did not believe Scots would vote for independence. “We’re in a better position to be taking risks together and sharing the rewards together. “From a Scottish side, when you look at the banks collapsing we would not, as a small nation, have been able to bail them out and help the economy by sustaining them.”