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October 09, 2014

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It was a reasonable deal, although I gather the details were the result of some weird internal compromises on the part of the then-ruling Liberal coalition. (I know the six-year thing on the Constabulary was an attempted sop to Ulster. Ulster wasn't taking any sops.)

In the alternate universe where WWI never happened, I *think* that eventually the British government would have stepped in and crushed the Ulster mutineers and enforced Home Rule -- though they would likely have waffled for a while, making things worse.

-- A thing that doesn't much get discussed: the conflicts of 1919-23 resulted in the cleansing of most of the South's Protestant population. There was a small but important Protestant Church of Ireland in the South -- basically, Irish Anglicans -- and they punched far above their weight in terms of economic, political and social influence. Most of them fled; many were (literally) burned out, as a wave of arson against them spread across the South. Their departure was one reason the Republic was able to indulge itself in half a century of reactionary Catholicism. Which in turn allowed postwar Ulster to say, see, /told you so/.

Anyway, the experience of contemporary Austria-Hungary with this sort of divided rule wasn't very encouraging. On the other hand, A-H was both structurally and culturally so different that it's not clear if that's all that relevant.


Doug M.


wait. Wasn't devo max v1.0 rolled out for Canada first after the ACW?

No.

Canada sent no representatives to the U.K. parliament. Nor did the U.K. collect any taxes in its Canadian dominion. In fact, there were no formal fiscal transfers in either direction.

Moreover, Canada controlled its borders. Ottawa set the rules on migration (even without a formally separate citizenship) and trade. The Canadians could sign treaties with foreign nations as well.

The only bits of sovereignty left in London involved the judiciary and defense. In the former, decisions could be appealed to the Privy Council. But that is true of a lot of states today that claim formal sovereignty. In the latter, Britain carried most of the heavy lifting in return for which Canada would be automatically at war if London issued a declaration.
There was, however, a small Canadian army called the Permanent Active Militia and a navy after 1910.

In short, Canada in 1867 received independence under a binding defense commitment, whereby Canada pledged to go to war when the U.K.called but in return the U.K. agreed to pay for the lion's share of Canada's peacetime defense. (And Canada needed a lot of peacetime defending, given their southern neighbor.)

Does that help, Will? Devo Max it wasn't. It was independence, pretty much the same deal as Scotland just rejected.

Home Rule was meant to be the final answer to the constitutional problem the Liberals had been arguing over for 50 years; around the same time, the People's Budget basically launched the welfare state (and the naval arms race kicked the size of the government up a notch too).

So the last big statement of old-school classical liberalism overlaps with the launch of New Liberalism; I get the impression the new welfare state was too new to get into the debate about Ireland. Home rule was autonomy from Victorian Britain, if you like, independence is marketed as autonomy from Thatcherism, but it might also be autonomy from social democracy.

Alex, I hate to ask this, but I gotta. Inquiring minds want to know. Whaddaya think about uniting the U.K. with Canada?

Your point about Home Rule and the People's Budget is something that I hadn't considered. As I understand it, the 1912 bill kept the new social insurance institutions under Union control unless the Irish parliament requested it. That brings up two questions. (1) Would Ireland have taken back control of unemployment insurance and pensions? Speaking as an American (or Canadian) that would have been batshit crazy ... but there are many occasions where people cut off the metaphorical nose to spite the face.

(2) Why do you think that so many Scots discount the argument that retaining a unified welfare state provides needed cross-insurance? I know why Americans reject that argument. (I have friends as close as it for friends to get who reject it, despite us serving in uniform and fighting enemies and all that, even though their great state is hella poorer than the great states and one district in which I have lived and voted). I also understand why Catalans would discount the argument that cross-insurance with the rest of Spain is good, being richer than the rest of the country and all. (Even if my friend Nidia Vela, among other Catalans, wants to remain in a polity with her poorer countrymen outside Catalonia.) So why wasn't the vote in Scotland more massively against independence?

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