Melanie Phillips, right wing British journalist and commentator, nationalist and agent provocateur, has finally called it. The British colonial misadventure in Ireland is all but over. From her column in that arbiter of all things English British, the Daily Mail:
“As Team GB is cheered into the record books at the Olympics, I have been puzzling over whatever happened to Northern Ireland. The province, after all, is not part of Great Britain, which is composed of England, Scotland and Wales, but belongs to the UK – the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. So if Northern Irish Olympians are competing as part of Team GB, shouldn’t it have been called Team UK?
It appears that Northern Irish Olympians have been given the choice to be in Team GB or Team Ireland — seven are competing for GB, and thirteen for Ireland. So as far are the Olympics are concerned, therefore, the United Kingdom appears to have been abolished.
The great triumph of the Northern Ireland Peace Process, or so we were told ad infinitum, was that it preserved Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom and thus defended the integrity of the nation. But at the Olympics, there is no Team UK and thus no truly national team.
So if its competitors want to belong to Great Britain, fine; if they want to belong to Ireland, fine. Who cares?
As with sport, so with politics? Might this be an indication that the future lies not with the UK but with the Kingdom of Team GB?”
First Peter Hitchens, now Melanie Phillips. The slow learners are catching up!