Current Affairs Politics

UK Labour’s John McDonnell: I’m A Republican. I Long For A United Ireland

Yesterday’s claim by John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer for the British Labour Party, that he longs for a reunited Ireland has drawn the usual hyperbolic reaction from the right-wing press in Britain. Speaking at a lunch with journalists in London, the veteran MP and activist was asked for his solution to prevent the imposition of a hard border around the Six Counties as the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union.

“Oh, what a temptation. You know my background. I’m a republican. I long for a united Ireland, but I recognise democracy. Ireland will not be reunited on the basis of some contortion in the relationship with the EU. It will only be reunited on the basis of the popular support of the Irish people. That’s what I respect.

One of the concerns we have got through all this on all sides of the Republican debate is nothing in these discussions should cause any damage to the Good Friday Agreement which I think was a huge achievement.”

The hibernophobic media and Conservative Party backbenches in the UK are treating John McDonnell’s statement as an undying declaration of fealty to a Thirty-Two County Irish Republic when it is nothing of the sort. In fact, his words are rather ambiguous on the question of Labour supporting the so-called backstop. That is, the agreement between Brussels and London to maintain regulatory alignment on the island of Ireland, thus protecting the open frontier around the anomalous British territory in the north-east of the country and the peace accords which ended decades of conflict in the region. That said, I’ve always been of the opinion that in terms of British allies to the Irish cause, John McDonnell is the Labour man to watch, not the party leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

3 comments on “UK Labour’s John McDonnell: I’m A Republican. I Long For A United Ireland

  1. “Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.” – Pádraig Pearse


  2. Graham Ennis

    Here we go again. Dreary Ulster right-wing unionist headbangers are slowly being forced, relentlessly, to face reality, about what needs to be done in the North and so is the vicious, right-wing, anti-Irish press in the UK. The result is another outbreak of fascist hysteria, and anti-labour [propaganda. As the BREXIT crisis intensifies, this will also increase. But ultimately, reality and the BREXIT crisis are going to force the British Establishment to make compromises over the North. I cannot see, at the moment, any alternative to an Irish sea border, and a semi-detached status for the North, or otherwise the Irish Government is going to be forced out of office if they do not use their VETO on the BREXIT events. I think the Northern crisis, and the events it will spawn, are going eventually to force a coalition Government into power in Dublin. It will be a very odd looking creature, but it will do the job. We shall live in interesting times. The present Dublin Government is of course, doing a classic “Rabbit in the oncoming glare of headlights” ; performance. Totally useless. . They do not have even a basic contingency plan for a Northern emergency. That, I think, is unforgivable. A;ll this has to be seen in the context of 80% of UK BREXIT voters saying they could not care less about Ireland, and a breakdown in the north and the war resuming, as long as it did not spread to the “Mainland”. God help Ireland.


  3. A warning from Scotland: Do not trust these people. The Labour Party are and always will be British/English nationalist.

    This is the party of Kate Hoey after all.


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