Earlier today, an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar used the latest session of the All-Island Civic Dialogue forum to strongly refute the claim that the Irish government was pursuing an alleged “land grab” in relation to the United Kingdom’s legacy colony in the north-east of Ireland. Senior members of the region’s hibernophobic Democratic Unionist Party and its xenophobic backbench allies in the UK’s ruling Conservative Party have repeated the accusation for months. Both groups insist that officials from Dublin and Brussels are attempting to exploit London’s chaotic Brexit negotiations with the European Union to keep Britain within the international bloc or, failing that, to bring about the de facto reunification of the island of Ireland. However, the leader of Fine Gael made it clear this morning that such an objective was “…not on our agenda”.
Of course, Leo Varadkar’s formal rebuttal of the belligerent claims made by the extremist Brexiteers in the United Kingdom failed to address the central paradox of their allegation. How on earth can one “grab” part of one’s own country?
Putting that question to one side, given the possibility of a “hard Brexit” overturning two decades of good relations between both island-nations, it is clear that the DUP has decided to avoid any real dialogue with the representatives of the majority nationalist community on the island, however loosely defined, or with the European Union. As the New Europe reports:
Irish unionists claim Barnier does not understand their culture
The leader of the far-right Democratic Unionist Party, Arlene Foster, told the press that the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, does not understand their unionist culture.
“I don’t think he does understand the wider unionist culture of Northern Ireland,” Mrs Foster said.
Michel Barnier is visiting Ireland on Monday for talks over the border issue. Last week, Barnier told the German press that 75% of Brexit negotiations are on track, but the remaining 25% — Ireland – could derail the process.
At the kickoff of the negotiations, Mrs Foster accused Mr Barnier of not being “an honest broker” of negotiations.
Emboldened by the fact that Theresa May’s government is dependent on the DUP for its parliamentary majority, Arlene Foster has made clear that she will not accept Northern Ireland’s dismemberment from the rest of the UK economy.
Mrs Foster has accused Brussels of taking an aggressive position in Northern Ireland.
I’m not sure how the snowflakes of the Democratic Unionist Party will react to being described as “Irish unionists”, however apropos the description in many ways. It’s certainly how much of the international media sees the pro-union minority on the island. But the “wronged party” tone promulgated by the Eurosceptic right in the United Kingdom comes straight from the playbook of the alt-right movement in the United States, where victimiser pretends to be victim in order to deflect criticism and gain sympathy. It’s spurious, nonsensical rhetoric, albeit now characteristic of American (white) supremacists and their British equivalents. Including certain pro-British political leaders hiding behind the formerly militarised north-eastern partition line.