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Would you support a federal UK?

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  • View Poll Results: Which of these would you support?
    Remove all devolution, back to direct control from Westminster
    24.14%
    Status Quo
    16.09%
    Your proposal is good (federalisation)
    27.59%
    Some other form of federalisation or further devolution
    18.39%
    Disband the union/Independence
    13.79%

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    (Original post by Azog 150)
    The ridiculousness of nationalism is being wonderfully illustrated in this thread.

    "Yeah lets go back 1000 years to define our modern day borders!!!"
    Humm, that's precisely what I'm not saying? The earlier suggestion to unite Wales and Cornwall by Sithiris wasn't nationalistic, he isn't even Welsh or Cornish. I explained why it doesn't make sense to do precisely what you say, "go back 1000 years to define our modern day borders".

    (Original post by Cyanohydrin)
    Nationalism is a farce and a divisive and dangerous one at that.
    Your opinion of course, I don't see how it is dangerous. Extremists will exist in all walks of life, you don't need nationalism for that. Besides, nationalist extremism has more causes than simply irrational nationalism and it's naive to suggest it doesn't.

    The identity of my people has continued uninterrupted for a rather long time. What's wrong with feeling an affinity with something like that?
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    (Original post by Cyanohydrin)
    Can you explain what the Celts actually are. This concept of Celtic nationhood only emerged after the act of union in the 19th century in the "Celtic revival" period.

    'Celtic' identity was born, like Britishness, in the 18th century.
    An ethno-linguistic group. The Celts used to cover much of Europe, until the expansion of the Roman Empire and Germanic tribes. The Celts had a common culture, and their culture was different to others. Germanic cultures have things in common. Scotland is fairly Celto-Germanic.
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    (Original post by Curzon)
    The identity of my people has continued uninterrupted for a rather long time. What's wrong with feeling an affinity with something like that?
    Your people? I don't know. I find dividing people up into small groups based on a load of nonsense is unpleasant. At the rate we're going, there will be more and more pressure for countries to split up on ethnic or territorial or religious lines, just to give groups autonomy if they ask for it. If you carry that to its logical extreme, we'd eventually have as many countries as we had citizens. I think it is immoral to consider people differently based on something as arbitrary as where they were born. There is definiely a rationale to communal identities, but nationalism is divisive and discriminatory and creates communities that dont have any real logic- you never know everyone else in your nation, so why put the borders of identity there?
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    (Original post by Calanon)
    An ethno-linguistic group. The Celts used to cover much of Europe, until the expansion of the Roman Empire and Germanic tribes. The Celts had a common culture, and their culture was different to others. Germanic cultures have things in common. Scotland is fairly Celto-Germanic.
    There was no cross-European Celtic people. There was no broad-based Celtic art, society or religion. No ancient author even ever referred to the inhabitants of Britain - the Britanni - as Celts. It was not until the sixteenth century that the term was applied to Britain, and then it was used mainly to denote a group of languages spoken in western Britain and Brittany
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    (Original post by Cyanohydrin)
    Your people? I don't know. I find dividing people up into small groups based on a load of nonsense is unpleasant. At the rate we're going, there will be more and more pressure for countries to split up on ethnic or territorial or religious lines, just to give groups autonomy if they ask for it. If you carry that to its logical extreme, we'd eventually have as many countries as we had citizens. I think it is immoral to consider people differently based on something as arbitrary as where they were born. There is definiely a rationale to communal identities, but nationalism is divisive and discriminatory and creates communities that dont have any real logic- you never know everyone else in your nation, so why put the borders of identity there?
    What you are describing is ethnic nationalism, not nationalism as a whole. Nationalism is a very broad term which applies to numerous political philosophies some of which are downright unpleasant and some of which are entirely compatible with the modern liberal tradition. My party has a foundation of civic nationalism - meaning nationalism that does not discriminate on the grounds of where you were born, that does not discriminate on the grounds of the colour of your skin, that does not discriminate on the grounds of what religion you follow. The only grounds upon which civic nationalism discriminates is in the membership of the voluntary nation. My party looks out for the people of Wales. The SNP looks out for the people of Scotland. Civic nationalism is, in that sense, an ideology that unites rather than divides - it says that anyone can be a member of the nation and be welcomed, regardless of where they're from or what they look like. This is contrasted by the ethnic nationalism of the BNP which is a different matter entirely.
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    (Original post by Cyanohydrin)
    There was no cross-European Celtic people. There was no broad-based Celtic art, society or religion. No ancient author even ever referred to the inhabitants of Britain - the Britanni - as Celts. It was not until the sixteenth century that the term was applied to Britain, and then it was used mainly to denote a group of languages spoken in western Britain and Brittany
    Eh? On the contrary there was a common distinctive art style that is found in archaeology across Iron Age Western Europe - La Tene. Classical writers make references to a dominant culture both sides of the channel, I've actually got Tacitus' Britannia on my bookshelf, hang on... he says, referring to Gaul and Britannia, "In both countries you will find the same ritual, the same religious beliefs. There is no great difference in language". Caesar also writes about religion (century before Tacitus), and how he even thought that the "druids" in Gaul received their training in Britannia.

    Irish and Welsh mythology share many characters and other similarities. Furthermore a distinct Christian culture emerged in Britain and Ireland after the introduction of Christianity. There was a distinctive culture certainly. It's my opinion also that the Picts in Scotland were simply Britons. It's the Romans who called them Picts, I think they were just northern Britons who developed a distinct language being totally out of Roman influence, however they became extremely influenced by the Gaels from Ireland when they colonised the west coast to the point that they were assimilated.

    It's true that the modern term "celt" (which comes from a term the Greeks used to refer to the Gauls) was not used in its familiar context until relatively recently, but the idea has always been there it seems. From ancient tales such as the Mab Darogan (son of prophecy) where a hero will rise up to kick out the Saxons and restore the Britons to their former glory, to Robert the Bruce's justifications for invading Ireland in that he wanted to unite it with Scotland into one big happy independent Gaelic kingdom (yes sorry, Scotland was quite Gaelic back then). The Bretons lending support to Owain Glyndwr during his War of Independence. It's not a modern invention.

    Now, stop making me procrastinate. As interesting as I find this subject, I don't have an exam on Iron Age Europe next week unfortunately...
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    (Original post by Curzon)
    Eh? On the contrary there was a common distinctive art style that is found in archaeology across Iron Age Western Europe - La Tene
    Those areas where Celtic is spoken today did not or very late participated to the La-Tene. A map from wiki is here quite helpful..



    The Hallstatt region is yellow, the oldest LaTene solid green and the area of la-Tene-culture light green. So we can see, that Iberia and Britain are excluded. Britain's links to the La Tene culture (and therefore being Celtic) are tentative at best. Migrations from Italy, Germany and Scandinavia have done little to change the genetic make-up of either Britain or Ireland. This whole 'Britain and Ireland were Celtic, until the Anglo-Saxons pushed the Celts out of England" stuff is a complete fallacy, as can be demonstrated with genetic testing. I don't understand the relevance of La Tene frankly, trade, gifts and emulation of art and so on has occurred since the start of human history?

    Classical writers make references to a dominant culture both sides of the channel, I've actually got Tacitus' Britannia on my bookshelf, hang on... he says, referring to Gaul and Britannia, "In both countries you will find the same ritual, the same religious beliefs. There is no great difference in language". Caesar also writes about religion (century before Tacitus), and how he even thought that the "druids" in Gaul received their training in Britannia.

    Irish and Welsh mythology share many characters and other similarities. Furthermore a distinct Christian culture emerged in Britain and Ireland after the introduction of Christianity. There was a distinctive culture certainly. It's my opinion also that the Picts in Scotland were simply Britons. It's the Romans who called them Picts, I think they were just northern Britons who developed a distinct language being totally out of Roman influence, however they became extremely influenced by the Gaels from Ireland when they colonised the west coast to the point that they were assimilated.
    Here's a quick run-down of the "Celtic" question:

    1- ancient Roman and Greek writers referred to a group of culturally-related peoples in Northern Europe as "Keltoi" or "Gauls" or some variation of those terms. This included the Gauls, Galatians, Celtiberians etc but not the Britons or Scots. However, Roman writers acknowledged that the Britons and Scots also had very similar cultures to the Gauls/Celts of the mainland.

    2- linguists in the 18th century figured out that Gaelic, Welsh, Breton etc were all closely related languages, and were also closely related to ancient Gaulish and Celtiberian. This language family was named the "Celtic" language family because it included all the languages spoken by the ancient Celts/Gauls.

    3-archeologists discovered the remains of a series of Iron Age societies in the ancient Celtic-speaking areas of Europe, such as the Halstatt and La Tene cultures, which they referred to as "Celtic" because they would have spoken Celtic languages and because they broadly overlapped with the geographical area of the ancient Celts/Gauls. There are La Tene artificts in Ireland, for instance, but that doesn't mean the ancient Irish called themselves "Celts" (or "Irish" for that matter). The term refers to the language-group they were part of, not to their own self-identity.

    4- unfortunately, the general public proceeded to get very confused about all these terms, treating "Celtic" as a racial term when it was never intended as such. Linguistically, it refers to a family of related Indo-European languages called the "Celtic" language family for convenience. Archeologically, it refers to the Halstatt and La Tene cultures. There is not and never has been such a thing as a "Celtic race." Even more recently, misguided geneticists have attempted to do studies on "Celtic DNA" (by which they mean Irish/British DNA), apparently unaware that these peoples were never called "Celts" in ancient times.

    5- it's not that the term "Celtic" is illegitimate. The Irish and Scottish Gaels are certainly Celts, as their languages are part of the Celtic language family (as well as many other family trees). And societies of Celtic origin did have a number of things in common. But you simply can't draw a straight line between Iron Age Gauls and 18th century Highlanders

    It's true that the modern term "celt" (which comes from a term the Greeks used to refer to the Gauls) was not used in its familiar context until relatively recently, but the idea has always been there it seems. From ancient tales such as the Mab Darogan (son of prophecy) where a hero will rise up to kick out the Saxons and restore the Britons to their former glory,
    Well yes. The Greek usage refers to all the peoples of Northern Europe except the Thracians, the Scythians, the (mythical) Hyperboreans, and the Mediterranean cultures. So basically this could equate to all the Europeans of non-Mediterranean, non Slavic origin.

    to Robert the Bruce's justifications for invading Ireland in that he wanted to unite it with Scotland into one big happy independent Gaelic kingdom
    Robert the Bruce was part of the Norman aristocracy of Scotland (indeed our modern day Queen is a direct descendent). Like almost every other noble in Scotland and England he's of Norman descent so I'm not sure what on earth this has to do with your claims of some sort of Celtic brotherhood with the Irish! Robert de Brus was from the Norman nobility, and though to have been brought up in the Scots-speaking southeast, or in the northeast of England where even now the everday speech is more like Scots than Standard English. His mother was a Gael whom Bruce's grandfather (after being denied the crown in favour of Baliol) realised that he needed to get the Gaelic clan chieftains on-side if one of his descendants was ever to be crowned king. So he married his son to a Gael.

    The Bruce invasion of Ireland was part of the first war of Scottish independence. It was used as a means of attacking England (or indeed Robert attacked his other Norman rulers in an attempt for more power and to safeguard his own position of power - national identity was very much secondary to any of this).

    (yes sorry, Scotland was quite Gaelic back then).
    Gaelic, beautiful language though it is, was not an indigenous language to the land in the accepted sense. It is the language of the Scots who arrived in the Dark Ages establishing the western kingdom of Dalriada, displacing and absorbing the indigenous Brythonic speaking tribes who inhabited Scotland originally but never replaced Welsh below the Highland line until itself was replaced by Scots (an early dialect the language of the Angles / Saxons).

    While Welsh and Irish can be reasonably said to be national languages in their respective countries (even if few speak Irish on a daily basis) the same is simply not true for Gaelic in Scotland. It was never spoken by the majority of people throughout Scotland.

    Scotland's linguistic history (Scotland's history come to that) is complex - the country is a grouping of many isolated enclaves from Shetland via Gairloch to Jedburgh and linguistic diversity was always inevitable. But as I said, Gaelic is not Scotland's native language. It was brought to western Scotland by people from northern Ireland about 1500 years ago, and it displaced the native ancient British language which was a precursor to modern Welsh. For most Scots, our ancestors spoke Scots which was a variant of Old English (or maybe you could say Old English was a variant of Scots).

    Not sure what Shetland and Sutherland attitudes to Gaelic are these days, but certainly a few years ago there were Shetland grumbles about unwanted incursions of Scottish culture into their distinct society. My friend who currently lives in Edinburgh is a Shetlander and she regarded herself as Shetland first , then British, and joint Scottish and Norwegian. The great majority of the Scottish people live in regions where Scots is spoken (a Northumbrian dialect akin to Geordie), often alongside English. Before these areas were Scots, they were Welsh kingdoms (Strathclyde and Gododdin, aka the Lothians). Much of the North East of Scotland, from Fife upwards, was Pictish before becoming part of the largely Scots speaking Kingdom of Scotland (although it is claimed that the 'Dee' in Dundee may derive from Gaelic, the fact that there is a River Dee between Chester and North Wales suggests the 'Dee' of Dundee and Aberdeen may not be Gaelic but share the derivation of their southern namesake).

    Gaelic has as much true relevance to the history and culture of Dumfries, Ayr, Edinburgh, Stirling, and the Central Belt as Spanish has to the English Midlands. However, as there is so much doubt about where Scots ends and Northumbrian English begins, and how separate Scots is anyway then you couldn't really promote Scots as the national language of the modern Scottish people, which is essentially what it is by default (such are the perils of dividing up a small island whose inhabitants have mostly been speaking various dialects of English or Welsh for the last thousand years).

    The Bretons lending support to Owain Glyndwr during his War of Independence.
    Yeah nice try. It was the French that supported this along with the Bretons. There is no evidence the Bretons did it out of some sort of solidarity with Wales on cultural grounds. The French were hoping to use Wales as a springboard to invade England (similar to what Wolftone tried centuries later I suppose).

    It's not a modern invention.
    Yes it is. This whole Celtic nationalism nonsense is a modern phenomena. You can call it an identity. That's fine, but you cannot go on and claim it is rooted in anything substantial. The speakers of Gaelic (Scots and Irish), the modern constructed Cornish, Manx and Welsh are better described as Celtic-speakers and the term "Celt" should be applied to the people of Western and Central Gaul who Greek historians like Pytheas and Poseidonius and Caeser himself recognised as the Celts. There is no indication that the peoples of the so called Celtic nations considered themselves as "celtic" - in fact - tribal affiliation was by far the most (and really only) sense of identity. A man of ancient Britain would not have said "I am a Celt" but rather "I am a Brigante" or "I am a Belgae" depending on his particular tribe. It is only natural that Brigante customs would not be 100% identical with Belgae customs, nor with the customs of the Volcae Tectosages in Gaul or the Galatians in Asia Minor. Regardless, they were all equally "Celts" in modern (linguistic) terms, and they all would have had many things in common in terms of customs, weapons, religion etc as well as many differences.

    Take Ireland for example. DNA studies showing that the basic genetic mix of Ireland (for example) is pretty much the same as it was in the Stone Age. In other words, the people living in Ireland today are for the most part descended from the people that settled there long before the Indo-Europeans. Yet Proto-Celtic (the precursor to all the Celtic languages) was an Indo-European language. The only logical conclusion is that Celtic language and culture spread to Ireland through some other means than a mass migration. And remember, even though the ancient writers recognized a similarity between the Irish and the Gauls, no one called the Irish "Celts" back then. It cannot be stressed enough that "Celtic" in modern usage is a linguistic term, not a racial or even cultural one.

    There are a variety of theories as to how Indo-European spread across Europe. According to one theory, Proto-Celtic developed out of Indo-European across a wide area of Western Europe more or less simultaneously, rather than spreading from one center. The more common theory is that Proto-Celtic developed in Central Europe first, in what is now Austria. From there it spread (one way or another) to much of Western Europe.

    It's possible that small groups of elite warriors brought La Tene Celtic culture to Ireland. The invasions mentioned in the Irish legends could have involved very small groups of warriors who displaced local power structures and imposed their own culture. However, even this is problematic, since there is no clear evidence of any non-Celtic substrate in Irish Gaelic. (If the earliest Gaelic-speakers in Ireland were a ruling minority, you'd expect to find a lot of loan-words or grammatical structures from a non-Celtic language in modern Gaelic, but there just aren't any.)

    The arrival of the Celtic language to Ireland is a confusing and unresolved issue, but we do know this much- it was not the result of any mass migration or invasion of "Celts" from elsewhere. Thus, modern Celtic culture cannot be a remnant of any once-unified group of Celts, because there is as much genetic variation between an Irishman and an ancient Gaul as betweeen any two random Europeans.
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    Going back to the original point, yes i think it sounds great, I just wish that we had the chance to vote on it!

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