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Unionism In Ireland Is Turning Brexit Into Its Political Death Warrant

The political humiliation of Theresa May, the inept prime minister of the United Kingdom, continues, with the news this morning that the belligerent leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, Arlene Foster, has finally deigned to take a phone call from the Tory premier. It is a truly bizarre spectacle to witness the head of a tiny, ultra-right grouping with a grotesque history of fostering religious and ethnic sectarianism and violence, dictating the future actions of not just the government of the UK but also twenty-seven other national governments in the European Union and the entire EU administration. Imagine the outrage, the protests there would be if Marine Le Pen and the Front National in France or Jörg Meuthen and the Alternative für Deutschland in Germany were holding Europe to hostage, issuing threats and demands to sovereign states via their respective governments. And doing so with a significant portion of their domestic press cheering them on, even at the risk of causing immense damage to the stability and prosperity of the region.

The DUP objective in the Brexit debate remains the defining objective of British unionism in this nation since its emergence as a definable political ideology in the 19th century: the maintenance and defence of Britain’s colonial-state on the island of Ireland. That was the aim in the late 1800s and early 1900s when unionist politicians and groupings repeatedly thwarted some degree of autonomy for the country, however insignificant. It was the motivation behind the violence and threats of violence against the conciliatory attempts to implement “home rule” between 1912 and 1914. Of course, this pro-union tactic ultimately resulted in the United Kingdom, and its overseas separatist minority, suffering the loss of four-fifths of its Medieval possession across the Irish Sea. The reduction of the UK colony to a besieged rump in the north-east of the country was a failure for London and its offshoots not a success. Partition was a desperate measure to stave off an even greater loss, leaving Britain hanging on to a turbulent frontier outpost forever on the edge of collapse.

Now Arlene Foster, Nigel Dodds and the Democratic Unionists as a whole are repeating the same tactics and mistakes of the past. They are turning the Brexit negotiations into a crisis, while the Conservative Party and minority government is split between those who are eager to play the “Orange Card” for their own selfish or partisan reasons, and those who are too incompetent or weak to do anything but follow along. In the end Ireland and its people – or peoples – will pay the price for the wilful intransigence of the DUP and the Tories, as both pursue some ersatz dream of an empire restored. But the ultimate cost will be laid at the door of the British pro-union and separatist minority on this island. For their political leaders are writing the death warrant of the legacy colony they have fought so desperately to maintain over the last two hundred years.

The British political and journalistic classes may be reaching for their stale and patronising metaphors of yore, expressing dismay as the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone emerge from the mists, but they fail to realise that the bells are tolling for them, not for us…

6 comments on “Unionism In Ireland Is Turning Brexit Into Its Political Death Warrant

  1. Some rather mixed metaphors at the end; the dreary steeples emerged as the deluge receded. But yes, Ask not for whom the bell tolls, lest you get the answer.


  2. Seán Mac Ḃloscaḋ

    …or this classic line from the NY Times article yesterday concerning the DUP rejection of terms.
    “But then the Irish question arose.”
    (…from the gloaming).

    Gotta hand it to the NY Tmes – they really are a wonderfully WASP establishment to this day, at least in attitude.


  3. Graham Ennis

    I, like many others, have been closely following the recent events in the mist shrouded, steeple crowded, religious superstitions riddled British controlled entity. Every time I hear a new development, or disaster, befalling the Boer statelet, a strange mood overtakes me, part horror, part incredulous, part hysterical laughter. In the place that built the Titanic, history is repeating itself. The outcome, it seems, will resemble the legendary ocean liner. So part of me says, “what to do, what to do?”. Another voice says to me: Do nothing. Do absolutely nothing. It is the voice of the legendary Chinese military strategist and General, Shun Tsu, whose advice in such situations was : “When an enemy is destroying themselves, a wise general does not interfere in the process whatsoever.” I think, very slightly, now, but gathering in strength, we shall see a tide of events that vindicate that. Ms Arlene is floundering about and getting panicked. She now knows the endgame has started, and will run to the end. There is no turning back now. How to tell her loyal Unionist followers, that it is now time to drink the Kool-Aide, that there is, ultimately, now no way out?. The remnant Orange statelet is now doomed. The peace treaty that ended the recent war essentially broke the back of Unionism, forced the Unionists into an assembly where they had to learn basic table manners, stop oppressing Taigs, and generally behave themselves. They hated it. Hopefully, the scenario, after the collapse of the assembly, is that it will go off to the embalmers, and that direct rule will be forced on the UK Government. That would force them into the hot seat, with some utterly inept and incompetent Secretary of state for Ireland in charge, who would be utterly ignorant of all things Irish. What could possibly go wrong?. As Lenin said: “The worse, the better”. The ongoing crisis in BREXIT, and the utter inability of the British elite to deal with a little upstart ex-colonial state, will do the rest. So we must wait, ensure that the assembly never revives, do everything that can be done by the Nationalist community to blocks and thwart direct rule, and run with the events. I give it about 5 years, perhaps a little longer, before pressures for a reunification referendum prevail. You might call all this a policy of Peaceful Intransigence. Plus mass action to simply wreck any type of imposed border, copying the tactics of the old Northern Ireland Civil Rights Movement. Any more suggestions? (Please send to your local Southern irish politician ).


    • “Peaceful Intransigence”, I like the sound of that, and overall I think your analysis may be correct. I certainly hope so. It will probably be messy, lets just hope not too messy. Pity there’s no one on the British side with the breadth of vision to see it all through relatively smoothly.


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