The British claim that the North of Ireland is British. A sovereign and integrated part of the territory of the so-called United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. This claim is supported by the British Unionist minority in the north-east of Ireland who base their nationality in part on continued British rule. Yet the truth, of course, is that no part of the island of Ireland is British or ever was British. A fact that the British have acknowledged, implicitly or explicitly, for centuries.
And they still do so.
From Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper comes this statement by the British Left-wing writer and Labour Party member Dan Hodges in relation to Israel’s attacks on Palestinian targets in the Gaza Strip:
“… Twitter hardly needs much encouragement where Israel and the Palestinians are concerned. Watching this centuries old conflict played out in 140 characters isn’t the most edifying experience. But a couple of interventions did catch my eye yesterday, primarily because they were advancing a case that is gaining wide currency. I didn’t save any copies, but the gist was essentially: “If the IRA were firing a few rockets or mortars at us, would we start bombing the Falls Road?”
It’s one I’ve heard before, and provides quite a compelling frame for the proposition that Israel’s response is wholly – some would say murderously – disproportionate. Except there’s one small flaw in the argument. If London and mainland Britain were facing the sort of assault Tel Aviv and Israel are currently facing then we would be bombing the Falls Road, and several other parts of Northern, and southern, Ireland as well.
Some may debate the wisdom of Israel’s response; others the legality. But please, let’s not get all self-righteous and pretend that if it was British cities currently under rocket bombardment our own response would be a virtuous turn of the other cheek.
“If the IRA were firing a few rockets or mortars at us, would we start bombing the Falls Road?” Yes. We would.”
Of course you would. Because to Britain and the British people the island nation of Ireland is, and always has been, a foreign country. And who in Britain cares if the British state bombs some foreigners?
But then, bombing Irish foreigners is exactly what the British did do.