Current Affairs Politics

Ireland’s British Apologists Become Brexit Sympathisers

One of the odder complaints emanating from those Irish writers and commentators who have devoted their professional careers to acting as apologists for British rule in Ireland, both past and present, is the claim that the country has been swept by a wave of anglophobic sentiment in response to the threatened and actual chaos created by the United Kingdom’s decision in 2016 to leave the European Union. In reality there is precious little evidence in the domestic press of any irrational animosity directed towards our crisis-prone neighbours to the east. On the contrary, the chief reaction in the news media has been one of dismay and confusion as many journalists have found themselves suddenly and uncomfortably aware of the historical weight of the Irish republican argument that we must “…break the connection with England, the never-failing source of all our political evils” in order for the nation to heal and prosper. The toxicity of Brexit has reinvigorated that principle even if no one in government or politics is ideologically – or psychologically – prepared to address the British Question just yet.

Even stranger than the above theatrics from Britain’s Irish defenders has been the howls of outrage at the supposed ill-treatment of the nation’s British and unionist minority. We have been told in recent days by the usual suspects that the fears and aspirations of the pro-union community in the north-east of the country have been unfairly made secondary to the national need to counter the many negative effects of the UK’s fumble-footed withdrawal from the EU. But how could it be otherwise when the main elected representatives of loyalism are almost wholly in favour of a hard Brexit, no matter that it would lead to some form of crash-and-burn retreat from Europe? And as we have seen over the last week, even the recent compromise draft agreement reached between Brussels and London has proven too much for the likes of the Democratic Unionist Party, the Ulster Unionist Party, the Traditional Unionist Voice and the Progressive Unionist Party.

In large part, the DUP and its allies supported the anti-European campaign in 2016 (and before) because they saw it as a means of undermining the Irish-British peace accords of the late 1990s. A mechanism to roll back nearly two decades of north-south cooperation and reintegration. A strategy to undermine demographic change in the UK-occupied Six Counties by effectively reviving and reinforcing the frontier around the contested region. If the Conservative Party’s europhobic wing and the fruitcakes in UKIP primarily sought an “Empire 2.0” from an exit from Europe, the hibernophobic DUP primarily sought a “Partition 2.0”. Arlene Foster’s party gambled with an anti-peace settlement Brexit and may have lost their wager. Arguing that we should give them a second play of the game or change the rules to make it more favourable for them seems not just foolish but potentially dangerous.

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12 comments on “Ireland’s British Apologists Become Brexit Sympathisers

  1. What Empire 2.0 could they realistically have at this point? What are they going to do? Reconquer India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh? No way that’s gonna happen.

    Hong Kong might want back “in”-if the PRC would let them go!!-but otherwise…….not sure they’d even want countries like Kenya or South Africa back if they were really given the offer.

    The British Empire is a thing of the past. And thinking it can come back in anything but a joke or shadow of its former self? If any Britons actually think it’s going to happen they would have to be 100X as deluded as they people who think Donald Trump can actually build that wall.

    • The Empire 2.0 idea is fixated on the old Commonwealth of Nations and the belief that Britain will become a mercantile superpower after Brexit. A possibility that Europe fears, which is why the Europeans are trying to punish, harm or tie down the British. Or so the obsession goes.

      • If anything a lot of Commonwealth nations might not want to remain, now that Commonwealth Membership is no longer a “gateway to Europe” via Britain’s EU membership.

        In the past a lot of countries consented to this Commonwealth thing much like Ireland ended up with the “Free State” for 15 years.

        Look at India now, versus 1947. Then they were willing to accept the terms of independence they were given-with Commonwealth membership. But now Britain can’t force them to do anything. And without Britain being able to “deliver the goods” in terms of trade ties to Europe anymore……they might start wondering why they continue to recognize the Queen.

        Any “Mercantile Superpower” they get is likely to be an utter joke. To talk of it as Empire 2.0 reminds me of some early post-Soviet jokes contrasting old Soviet Patriotic songs with imagery of how much things had gone downhill in recent years.

  2. The problem is that Brexit involves breaking the economic connexion with England as well. It won’t damage Ireland as much as it would have fifty years ago (when Ireland first applied to join the EEC its main justification was that if the UK joined, Ireland couldn’t afford not to), but it’s still disconcerting and the effect it will have on self-defined Irish people in the UK and their connexions with Ireland will be as unpleasant – even more so, perhaps – as the effect on self-defined Britons in Ireland.

  3. Jim Monaghan

    There are some E U sceptic groups down here which combine this with neutralism, Trump type ideas on the economy etc. Alas, some on t he “Left” such as Anthony Coughlan have joined forces with them. Britain is being kicked or worse type of bs. Dig a bit and you see elements of anti-semitism. (Every mention of Soros or a certain family).

    • Neutralism, great. Healthy euroscepticism, great. Irextism, madness.

      I hate the use of “Americanisms” in Irish politics or what passes for political discourse. All the talk of “snowflakes” and “libtards” is so ridiculous in an Irish context. Like, you have a culchie or Jackeen accent. Cop on! 😉

      • You don’t actually believe those terms are somehow less ridiculous in the US context do you? Do you honestly think there is a single thinking man, woman, or mature teenager in the whole country who doesn’t wish some of those terms were never invented?

        What I hope Ireland doesn’t end up learning from painful experience is that once those terms take a life of their own, they can become like zombies who refuse to die.

        “Libtards” is a term Rush Limbaugh invented. In fact a lot of them came from radio “shock jock” that you started to see in the 1990’s.

        “Snowflakes” was originally an Alcoholics Anonymous thing. Basically anyone who was critical of the 12-step program-and the view that it was the “honest” way to deal with problem drinking- was often labeled a “snowflake” or “special snowflake”.

        For a long time “snowflake” was used outside “The Friends of Bill” in much the way people might use terms like “drama queen”-it didn’t have the arguably malignant connotations it did in some AA groups. It’s use as a political slogan wasn’t really a thing until summer of 2015.

        The language creep isn’t even a one way street. I just heard some young men from rural Arizona using the term “lovely” without a hint of irony or sarcasm-that wouldn’t have happened in most of the 20th century. It must be British or Irish media (half kidding!!)

        • Dara O Rourke

          What’s wrong with the word ‘lovely ‘?

          • Nothing at all. I was joking about the last part!!!

            In most US English dialects, the word “lovely” is almost never used without at least some element of irony or sarcasm. “That’s a lovely house.” or “She’s a lovely person.” is rarely a compliment in most of the US. Of course, people who’ve traveled around Brits, Irish, Australians, etc may have learned to consider their audience.

            Most likely those young guys from rural Arizona were just speaking a dialect that was a bit different from the key ones in the larger towns or cities-their accents certainly suggested that. I actually doubt they picked it up from BBC or Father Ted!!

  4. Graham Ennis

    My chief concern, to be blunt, is that the crisis is very shortly going to impact directly on Ireland. The harsh reality is that recent British legislation makes the “Agreement” now roughed out in the last few days totally illegal. I quote:” It shall be unlawful for HMG to enter into arrangements under which Northern Ireland forms part of a separate customs territory to Great Britain.”. Unquote. Utterly clear. Unless the recent June bill in Westminister from which this is quoted, is repealed, then there can be no agreement. The consequences of this are going to be very severe. Those Anglophiles who weep such tears over poor suffering England should perhaps start crying for Ireland. The clock is now ticking, relentlessly. We are De-Facto without a valid peace treaty on April 1st 2019, and all that flows from that. We shall also see major problems with the border. The Irish Government has failed despicably, to prepare for what is coming. It is doing a fantastic imitation of an African Ostrich. It has utterly refused to make any emergency plans for Northern inter-community violence and cross-border disruption, etc etc. All this talk about the Irish/UK relationship is bullshit. It is a deliberate distraction. I notice that those who blabber about these issues are noticeably silent about Irelands looming major internal security problem, and the dangers of violence. Time we all faced reality, I think.

  5. Many lazy journos latched on the the Liar “Historian” Canadian Peter Hart , who created a wave of historical lies to suggest that Protestants were subjected to ethnic cleansing after 1922, an explade of this twadle:

    John M. Regan wrote:

    “Hart is neither a statist nor a southern nationalist, though the influence of both ideologies can be traced though his work. His research on localised and specialised topics subverts orthodoxy, but it is his willingness to embrace it when dealing with general explanations which surprises. His exploration of the plight of Protestants in the Free State illuminates the sectarian underbelly of the revolution that a nationalist historiography prefers to ignore. In escalating violence in Cork, Tipperary, or Dublin could Michael Collins, Harry Boland, or Ernie O’Malley be held accountable for raising sectarian tensions in Antrim, Down or Belfast? Was the cost of a southern state the institutionalisation of ethno-religious tensions in a compressed and reactionary northern state? Could revolutionary violence in 1922 and 1968 conceivably be part of one grotesque, protracted process? To accept this argument would, however, be to shatter nationalist icons important to a southern nationalist identity still rooted in its own glorious revolution.”[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Hart_(historian)

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