Politics in the British Isles

The British Isles includes two sovereign states , the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom , and three dependencies of the British Crown ,  [1]  [2]  Guernsey , Jersey and the Isle of Man .

Ireland is a unitary state and a republic. Since 1998, it shares certain common institutions with Northern Ireland , in the United Kingdom, from which it was partitioned in 1921. The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy and unitary state  [3]  comprising England , Scotland , Wales , and Northern Ireland . Also since 1998, the United Kingdom has devolved significant domestic powers (though differing in extent) to administrations in Northern Ireland , Scotland and Wales . Jersey , theIsle of Man , and Guernsey (including its two semi-autonomous territories of Alderney and Sark ), are collectively known as the Crown Dependencies ; The UK is responsible for their defense and international relations on behalf of the British Crown .  [4]  [5]

In 1998, as part of the Good Friday Agreement , Ireland and the United Kingdom established a number of organizations, including the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference and the British-Irish Council , the latter being a multilateral body Devolved Administrations of the UK and the Crown Dependencies. In addition, there are numerous relations between the countries in the British Isles, including formal and informal bilateral and multilateral relations between Ireland, the devolved administrations of the UK, and the crown dependencies, as well as shared cultural and economic links.


Main article: History of the British Isles
See also: History of the formation of the United Kingdom


See also: Terminology of the British Isles

The British Islands contains two sovereign states :

  • Ireland , also known as the Republic of Ireland
  • the United Kingdom , where certain powers are devolved:
    • to the Scottish Government , Welsh Government , and the Northern Ireland Executive

The archipelago also contains three Crown dependencies :

  • Jersey , Isle of Man , and Guernsey , which contains the somewhat autonomous Alderney and Sark .

The Crown dependencies are constitutionally linked to the United Kingdom but independent of it.


Main article: Politics of the Republic of Ireland

Ireland is a parliamentary republic  [6]  of the five islands of Ireland in the west of the archipelago.

The island of Ireland was partitioned in 1920 with the Government of Ireland Act into the 26 counties of Southern Ireland and the six counties of Northern Ireland. In 1921 Southern Ireland was renamed the Irish Free State when it gained independence from the United Kingdom following the Irish War of Independence. Since the passage in 1949 of the Republic of Ireland Act , the Republic of Ireland is no longer part of the commonwealth.

United Kingdom

Main article: Politics of the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy That covers the whole of the island of Great Britain in the east of the archipelago, a north-eastern portion of the island of Ireland, and Many smaller surrounding islands Including Orkney and Shetland .

The United Kingdom includes four parts: the countries of England , Scotland and Wales and the province of Northern Ireland .  [7]  All but Northern Ireland have been independent states and their own history and sense of identity.


Main article: Devolution in the United Kingdom

Northern Ireland has had a degree of self-government for most of the time since 1921. In 1998, following referendums in Scotland, Wales, and both parts of Ireland, a range of powers were transferred to Scotland and Wales as well as restoring self-government. government in Northern Ireland Executive . England does not have self-government.

Crown dependencies

Main articles: Crown Dependencies , Politics of Guernsey , Politics of Jersey , and Politics of the Isle of Man

The Crown Dependencies of Guernsey and Jersey in the south of the archipelago and the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland are self-governing states but independent. The Bailiwick of Guernsey furthermore contains two smaller islands, which also have a certain degree of autonomy: Sark and Alderney .

The Crown dependencies are not part of the United Kingdom . They are independently governed by their own governments, legislatures and judiciaries, but are not sovereign. The United Kingdom, on behalf of the British Crown, is responsible for their international relations and defense, and the Crown is responsible for their good governance.  [8]  They can be legislated for the Parliament of the United Kingdom, but the UK rarely exercises this power.  [9]

Whereas the United Kingdom, residents of the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey are not. British citizens, and European Union citizens by extension (with some exceptions), and are given British passports (albeit with a special cover for each Crown dependency). Nevertheless, British citizens from outside of Each Crown dependency and Irish citoyens May allowded require work in order to work on the islands  [10]  ALTHOUGH usually this is Merely a formality. There have been discussions within the Crown, but they have not yet obtained strong support or governmental support.  [11]


Main article: Ireland-United Kingdom relations
This section can be used as a summary by the use of summary style . 
Summary style can involve the moving of large sections to sub-articles that are then summarized in the article.

Intergovernmental bodies

The following is a summary of the intergovernmental bodies and collaboration platforms in the British Isles (note: this list does not include bodies that exist in the United Kingdom as the Joint Ministerial Committee)

Organization / Platform Purpose Members
British-Irish Council multilateral cooperation on areas of joint interest Ireland, United Kingdom, Isle of Man, Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Wales, Northern Ireland
British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly Foster understanding between parliamentarians Ireland, United Kingdom, Isle of Man, Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Wales, Northern Ireland
North-South Ministerial Council All-island cooperation for Ireland Ireland, Northern Ireland
British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference bilateral cooperation Ireland, United Kingdom
Irish Sea Region [1] Joint planning for the Irish Sea Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man, various regional / local governments, NGOs, and universities
Ireland Wales Program [2] body that implements EU regional development projects Ireland, Wales
Cities of the Isles Collaboration platform among several large cities in Ireland and the UK Dublin, Liverpool, Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cardiff  [12]
Columba Project Partnership to promote use of Gaelic Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland (Isle of Man also participates to some extent)
Various municipal / local government linkages Trade, cultural exchange, tourism, environmental development, etc. Several municipal / local government collaborations between Ireland / Scotland / Northern Ireland are outlined in an Inquiry into the Possibility of a Program of Co-operation between Scotland and Ireland

Multilateral relations

The main body for multilateral international relations in the islands, since 1998, is the British-Irish Council . The British-Irish Council (  BIC  ) is an international organization  [13]  established under the Belfast Agreement in 1998. Its membership includes representatives from:

  • The two sovereign governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom
  • The three devolved administrations of Northern Ireland , Scotland and Wales
  • The crown dependencies of Guernsey , the Isle of Man and Jersey .

The Council formally came into being on December 2, 1999. The Council of Ministers of the United States. The BIC has a standing secretariat, located in Edinburgh , Scotland , and meets in bi-annual summit and regular ministerial meetings.  [14]  It has been suggested that the BIC provides a more equitable forum for the participation of the United Kingdom than the United Kingdom, and that it has created a „political novel and administrative space for intergovernmental co-operation.“  [15]

Some researchers have compared the British-Irish Nordic countries to the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers .  [16]

British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly

In addition to the council, there is also the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (  BIPA  ), a United Kingdom , Ireland , and the British crown dependencies . Its purpose is to foster common understanding between elected representatives from these jurisdictions.

The assembly consists of 25 members of the two sovereign parliaments: the Parliament of the United Kingdom and the Oireachtas (the Irish Parliament). It also includes five representatives from the Scottish Parliament , five from the National Assembly for Wales , five from the Northern Ireland Assembly , and one from the States of Jersey , the States of Guernsey, and the Tynwald of the Isle of Man .  [17]

Common travel area

Various arrangements over the years of the development of the Common Travel Area , a passport-free zone that includes the islands of Ireland , Great Britain , the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands . The area’s internal borders are subject to minimal or non-existent border controls and can be crossed by Normally Irish and British citizens with only minimal identity document , if any.  [18]

Inter-island relations

The three crown dependencies, while independent, share a relatively similar position with respect to the United Kingdom and with international bodies such as the EU or the OECD. As a result, the crown dependencies work together on areas of mutual interest. For example, in 2000, the three states cooperated on the development of common policies for offshore banking.  [19]  In 2003, they developed a joint approach to certain EU activities around tax information.  [20]  [21]  The heads of government of the crown dependencies, including Isle of Man, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, and Jersey, meet at an annual  inter-island  summit, to discuss matters of common concern, such as financial regulation and relations with the UK.  [22]  [23] [24]

On January 24, 2013 Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man signed double taxation agreements with each other (in the box of Jersey and Guernsey, updating the existing agreement).  [25]  This was the first time that the Crown has had such mutual trust, which also included provision for exchange of information ( TIEAs) .  [26]

Bilateral relations

This section needs expansion  : Needs a paragraph on Anglo-Irish relations here.  You can help byadding to it .  (June 2012)
See also: Ireland-United Kingdom relations and Ireland-Isle of Man relations

Besides the dominant strand of Anglo-Irish relations (also known as the East-West strand or the Dublin-London axis), other bilateral relations exist between the various countries in the archipelago. Indeed, fostering such bilateral and multilateral relations between the countries was an explicit goal of the British Irish Council.  [27]  [28]

An important body is the North / South Ministerial Council (NSMC)  [29]  and the British and Irish Governments under the Good Friday Agreement to co-ordinate activity and exercise certain powers over the entire island of Ireland . The Council takes the form of meetings between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and is responsible for twelve policy areas. Six of these areas are the responsibility of North / South Implementation Bodies.

The Republic of Ireland has also established bilateral relations with three Crown Dependencies : Isle of Man , Jersey and Guernsey , for example through the signing of various bilateral tax agreements.  [30]

The crown dependencies are also pursuing direct linkages with other countries in the Isles. For example, Scotland’s first minister was invited to the Isle of Man in 2008, the first such visit of a Scottish minister to the Island.  [31]  In 2010, the two governments had a dispute over the Irish Sea, which was seen as unfair to Scottish fishermen.  [32]  Since 2011 the government of Jersey has had representatives of the United Kingdom, its most significant economic partner, as part of a commitment to enhancing political engagement with the UK. In 2012 the Assistant Chief Minister attended the conference of the UK Liberal Democrats, the Chief Minister attendedUK Labor Party Conferenceand the Deputy Chief Minister of the Treasury and Resources Minister are invited to attend the UK Conservative Party conference.  [33]  The Deputy Chief Minister of Guernsey also attended the UK Liberal Democrats conference in 2012 to communicate the message that „Guernsey and the Channel Islands are good neighbors to the UK“.  [34]  The Chief Minister of Guernsey, accompanied by the Trade and Employment Minister, has been announced to attend the UK Conservative Party conference 2012.  [35] Guernsey’s Deputy Chief Minister and Jersey’s Assistant Chief Minister traveled to Dublin in September 2012 as a first step in a more coordinated approach to international relations. The purpose of the visit of the European Union presidency of the European Union presidency in 2013 for mutual discussions.  [36]

Ireland has also established bilateral relations with Wales and Scotland. In 1999, Ireland opened consulates in Edinburgh and Cardiff, while the Cardiff consulate was closed in 2009 in order to cut costs.  [37]  The Irish and Welsh governments are collaborating on various economic development projects through the auspices of the Ireland Wales Program, funded by the European Union.  [38]  Scotland and Ireland are also pursuing various forms of bilateral cooperation, by Scottish Parliament, and by Scottish leaders calling for closer bilateral relations between Ireland and Scotland.  [39]  [40]

With the creation of devolved administrations in the UK, there are also increasing bilateral and multilateral relations between the constituent countries of the UK, United Kingdom and United Kingdom .  [39]

Joint projects

Several joint projects among the various countries in the islands have been undertaken, often around infrastructure and energy. For example, the governments of Ireland, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are collaborating on the ISLES project, which will facilitate the development of offshore renewable energy sources , such as wind , wave and tidal energy, and renewable energy trade between Scotland , Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland .  [41]

Through the auspices of the British-Irish council, Ministers from the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, the alliance of the Islands of Alliances Approach (AIA), facilitating closer links between the energy markets of the various countries.  [42]

Isle of Man and Ireland are also planning the development of renewable energy sources, including sharing costs for the development of a wind farm off the coast of the Isle of Man.  [43]  A wider collaboration is also planned, with Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man, and Ireland, to leverage the strong tidal currents around the Channel Islands.  [44]

An intergovernmental collaboration platform called the Irish Sea Region has been set up, managed by the Dublin Regional Authority. The platform links the governments of Ireland, Isle of Man, the UK, and various local jurisdictions, in order to collaborate on planning for development of the Irish sea and bordering areas.  [45]

In 2004, a natural gas interconnection agreement was signed between Ireland and the UK, linking Ireland with Scotland via the Isle of Man.  [46]

There are three lighthouse authorities in the British Isles: Northern Lighthouse Board – responsible for Scotland and the Isle of Man; The Trinity House Lighthouse Service – responsible for England, Wales, Channel Islands and Gibraltar; Commissioners of Irish Lights – responsible for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. These three autorités, responsible for provision of navigational aids around the coasts of the British Isles, Collaborate étroitement, and all draw was single fund administered by the UK Department for Transport and funded through light due Levied it ships calling at UK and Irish ports.  [47] Although this will continue, from 2015-16 the work of the Commissioners of Irish Lights in the Republic of Ireland will be funded entirely from domestic sources.  [48]

Citizenship and citizens rights

See also: British nationality law , Irish nationality law , British nationality law and the Republic of Ireland

Historically, citizens of Ireland were British subjects . Currently, people born in Northern Ireland are deemed by the United Kingdom to be British or Irish citizens . They are also, with similar exceptions, entitled to be citizens of Ireland . This dual entitlement was reaffirmed in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement between the British and Irish governments, which provides that:

„… it is the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both, they can so choose, and accordingly [the two governments] confirm that their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship is accepted by both governments and would not be affected by any future changes in the status of Northern Ireland. „

Ireland and the United Kingdom provide reciprocal recognition to each other’s citizens. Irish citizens living in the UK can vote and stand in any UK elections. United Kingdom citizens resident in Ireland can vote or stand in European and local elections, and vote in parliamentary elections, but can not vote or stand in Presidential elections or referendums. British and Irish citizens may be of equal value in the field of social security, and are entitled to the right of abode, with deportation only in the most exceptional of circumstances.

Since the British Nationality Act 1981 came into force, the Crown has been treated as part of the United Kingdom for British nationality law purposes.  [49]  However, each of these depend on local residents and employment, with special rules applying to British citizens without dependencies (as well as to non-British citizens).

Political movements

This section needs expansion with:

  • Further research and references
  • also further expansion of the British / Irish / Scottish / Manx / Cornish issues / etc identities.  You can help by adding to it .  (May 2012)


Main articles: Unionism in Ireland and Unionism in the United Kingdom

An important political movement in several countries in the Isles is British unionism , an ideology favouring the continued union of the United Kingdom. It is most prevalent in Scotland , England , and Northern Ireland . British unionism has close ties to British nationalism . Another movement is Loyalism , which manifests itself as loyalty to the British Crown .  quote needed  ]


The converse of unionism, nationalism , is also an important factor for politics in the Isles. Nationalism can take the form of Welsh nationalism , Cornish nationalism , English nationalism , Irish nationalism , Scottish nationalism , Ulster nationalism or independence movements in the Isle of Man or Channel Islands.  [50]


Identity is intertwined with politics, especially in the case of nationalism and independence movements. Details on identity formation in British Isles can be found at Britishness , Scottish identity , Irish people .

Pan-Celticism is also a movement which is present in several of the countries which have a Celtic heritage.

Political parties

There are no major political party That are present in all of the countries, aim Several Irish parts Such As Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil -have won seats in Both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and Both of These parts-have Established offices in Britain in order to raise funds and win additional supporters.  [51]

Scholarship of identity and politics in the British Isles

Several academic perspectives are important in politics and relations in the British Isles. Important strands of scholarship include research on identity, especially Britishness and Irish identity , and studies of major political movements, such as separatism, unionism and nationalism . The concept of post-nationalism is also a contemporary trend in history studies, culture and politics in the isles.

The recent trend of using an  archipelago  perspective in scholarship of history, politics and identity was initiated by historian JGA Pocock in the 1970s. He is a member of the  Atlantic archipelago and  a replacement for  British Isles  , and he is working on his fellow historians to reconsider two issues related to the future of British history. First, he urged historians of the British Isles to move away from the histories of the Three Kingdoms (Scotland, Ireland, England) as separate entities,  [52]  and he called for studies implementing bringing together or conflation of these national narratives into truly integrated enterprises. Pocock proposed the term  Atlantic archipelago to avoid the contested  British isles  . It has since Become the commonplace preference of historians to treat British history in just this fashion (eg Hugh Kearney ’s  The British Isles: A History of Four Nations  gold Norman Davies  The Isles: A History  ).  [53]

In recent times, Richard Kearney has been an important scholar in this space, through his works for a Postnationalist Archipelago.  [54] While Kearney’s work has been noted by many as important for understanding of modern Irish politics and identity, some of his comments have been submitted to the archipelago as a whole: „Scholars and critics have noted the importance of Kearney’s work on post- Kearney’s writings in the context of nationalism and nationalism, and, in this context, Kearney’s writings possibly postnationalism are at the center of political and intellectual discussions in the Isles, I say the Isles here, rather than simply Britain, because re-imagining the component parts of Britain, or more precisely the United Kingdom,entails reconfiguring the relationships in the whole archipelago. “ [55]  Kearney’s ideas and thinking were important in the lead-up to the Good Friday Agreement , and he was an early proponent of what eventually became the British-Irish Council .  [56]  [57]  [58]

The University of Exeter in the UK and the Moore Institute at the National University of Ireland, Galway started in October 2010 at the Atlantic Archipelago Research Project, which purports to „take an interdisciplinary view of how Britain’s post-devolution state post-training training. split Welsh, Scottish and English identities in the context of Ireland’s own experience of partition and self-rule; Consider the significance of this island grouping to the understanding of a Europe of a range of configurations from large scale political union to provinces , dependencies, and micro-nationalist regions (such as Cornwall), with their contribution and presence, Reconsideration relations across our island grouping in light of issues regarding management and use of the environment.  [59]