From the Guardian: “The Irish question may yet save Britain from Brexit”

28 Nov

Polly Toynbee:

It was always there for all to see, the great Celtic stone cross barring the way to Brexit. Finally, as crunch day nears, the government and its Brextremists have to confront what was always a roadblock to their fantasies. They pretended it was nothing. Reviving that deep-dyed, centuries-old contempt for the Irish, they have dismissed it with an imperial fly-whisk as a minor irritation. No longer.”

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And see:

“The DUP also insists on no hard border, rightly resisting any suggestion of moving customs posts to Irish ports: most of Northern Ireland’s trade moves across the sea to the rest of UK, not to the Republic. Above all, the symbolism of any special status for Northern Ireland that divides it from the mainland cuts to the marrow of its sense of identity [my emphasis], more deeply than all the identity and sovereignty emotions that plunged us into this Brexit morass in the first place.”

Yeah.  Well, that’s just tough shit.  Protestants’ presence in Northern Ireland was the result of a centuries-long brutal, murderous process of land appropriation and illegal settlement.  No one’s asking them to leave, and it’s ludicrous to think their cultural or religious rights won’t be respected in a united Irish Republic or that they will live segregated in any way except in one of their own making.  They can keep their marrow-deep identity.  Just not by continuing the injustice that it’s based on.

This, however, is an interesting possibility:

“Seeking flexibility among some of the most rigid of UK politicians might seem like tilting at windmills. But we should consider the obligations of Sinn Féin too. Isn’t it time it reviewed its age-old stance? Seven Sinn Féin MPs are elected to Westminster but refuse to take their seats as it involves taking an oath of allegiance. Since 1918, its abstentionism has been unshakable. But right now that stand sees them throw away power and influence while the DUP rides high at Westminster. Think how strong these Sinn Féin remainers would be if they took up their seats and helped to tip the Brexit balance.”


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