I have written before about the discomfort caused to unionists on this island by the Scottish question.
It is ironic that the main threat to the polity they worship now comes from people who see as their ethnic kith and kin.
Culturally programmed to see the Catholic Irish as the enemy and people in Scotland as their natural allies this must be very confusing for “Ulster Scots”.
One of the more amusing products of the Good Friday Agreement talks was the scrabbling around by Loyalism for an ethnic identity to counter what the Taigs had.
On the Shankill Road (Bóthar na Seanchille) they saw the Irish language as being irredeemably Fenian.
In the Ikea age they sought a flat pack culture to prove they were different rather than just disorientated.
The term “Ulster Scot” started to appear. Apparently there was a language as well.
When the old Stormont was in its pomp in the 1950s there was no mention of any of this.
Edward Carson, the hero of the Ulster Covenant, considered himself Irish and played hurling at Trinity College in Dublin.
When Unionists had unfettered power in the Northern Statelet there was no mention of their separate ethnicity.
The Equality Agenda that was part of the Good Friday Talks established the status of the Irish language in a way that would have shocked the grandees of old Stormont.
This was a long way from the Flags and Emblems act of 1954.
Suddenly the people on the road of the old church didn’t feel so special.
They had to have a language too and it would be better than the one that the Taigs had!
Loyalists had tried to manufacture their own origin myth that gave them a claim to the part of this island their ancestors had been decanted to in the early 17th century.
In the 1980s the “Cruithin myth”, the notion that the ancient Picts of Scotland had originally been from the North East of Ireland and that the Planation was merely a homecoming, ticked all the boxes for the Shankhill butchers’ rather shaky sense of themselves.
Like everything else in loyalism it was historically illiterate.
The Gaelic hero Cú Chulainn became their ancient hero fighting to expel the Irish from Ulster.
Just for the record the name of this tragic warrior mean’s “Culann’s hound” and is in the Irish language, because that was the spoken on the entire island at the time.
The ancient history of the people of these islands is more fascinating and more complex than that which could be easily comprehended by the average denizen of a Shankhill drinking club.
The Ulster Scots “language” nonsense probably produced the most hilarious waste of public money in the UK in living memory.
There is now a generally accepted fiction that there is a separate linguistic group that has to be catered for by the state.
My favourite vignette was the provision of a helpline translation service that no one called.
Sorry, but this is beyond parody.
It is true that Scotland has always carried greater cultural weight in the Six Counties since partition than vice versa.
Now that which anchors them ethnically to the Union is being threatened.
All the more perplexing it is being done by people that they consider to be their own kind.
The Scotland of John Cormack and the Scottish Protestant League would get this.
Thankfully it no longer does.
The Ulster Covenant was signed to oppose the threat of Irish Home Rule (devolution).
Now the “Ulster Scots” face an existential threat that goes to the heart of their identity.
What if increasing numbers of Scots no longer think of themselves as British?
Well if they don’t then that is a matter for them.
In 2014 it will be for people residing in Scotland to decide on their future and no one else.
I believe that it is called the “consent principle”.
I don’t have a vote and neither should Sammy in Ballymena, unless, of course, he decides to go and live in his ancestral homeland.
I am sure he would be welcome.