Tuesday, 19 June 2018

John Bull's Other Island?

Of course most people in Great Britain, across the political spectrum, would rather let the Union with Northern Ireland go than lose Brexit. Who, exactly, in Great Britain has ever looked at the DUP or the Orange Order and seen the face, or heard the voice, of their own culture? 

But I for one warmly welcome the additional billion pound investment in jobs and services in Northern Ireland, and I call for Scotland, Wales, and each of the nine English regions to receive the same per capita. 

The Government's deal with the DUP, like yesterday's announcement about NHS funding, has been a frank declaration that austerity was only ever a political choice rather than any kind of economic necessity. So there is that. 

Still, the Conservative Party's right wing, perhaps 20 mostly rather eccentric MPs but certainly not 30, can be asked whether they wanted to add the dissolution of the Union with Northern Ireland to their already stated aim of the abolition of the House of Lords. Not that that question is now rhetorical. How very, very far Brexit has moved them. 

The idea that the United Kingdom has a land border at all, never mind one that is more than 300 miles long and which has more than 200 crossing points, has shaken the Right's own sense of national identity to its core. 

But there are more crossing points on the Irish Border than there are on the entire eastern border of the EU. Some of them are streams so small that they have no names, and so shallow that they have no bridges; you just have to wade. 

Yet such is the land frontier of the United Kingdom, a frontier the very existence of which entirely blows the minds of the Our Island Story brigade.

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