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Sense on the North… January 21, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Didn’t expect this to come from former Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne – or at least not to be articulated quite so openly, but he’s not wrong when he says;

Writing in the London Evening Standard, where he is now editor-in-chief, Mr Osborne said the North was “slowly becoming part of a united Ireland” and most people in England “will not care”. The former Conservative MP wrote: “By unleashing English nationalism, Brexit has made the future of the UK the central political issue of the coming decade. Northern Ireland is already heading for the exit door. “By remaining in the EU single market, it is for all economic intents and purposes now slowly becoming part of a united Ireland. Its prosperity now depends on its relationship with Dublin (and Brussels), not London. The politics will follow,” he wrote on Tuesday.

And he points the finger of blame very clearly at one group for this state of affairs…

Mr Osborne said unionists in Northern Ireland had always feared Britain was not sufficiently committed to their cause. “Now their short-sighted support for Brexit (and unbelievably stupid decision to torpedo Theresa May’s deal that avoided separate Irish arrangements) has made those fears a reality. It pains me to report that most here and abroad will not care.” 

I await with bated breath the usual stuff about ‘Brit-bashing’ which is deployed by some both here and in the UK whenever Irish commentators discuss these political matters in these terms. Of course this isn’t ‘Brit-bashing’ but rather simple analysis which points up political dynamics. And notably – the blame is, as Osborne does here, placed on political elites (though he is – predictably, kinder to himself and Cameron with regard to the Brexit referendum, though do I recall correctly he was always against such a referendum being held?).

He also makes another very very interesting point:

The departure of Scotland from the UK would be a more serious matter, he implies, and it would represent the end of the United Kingdom “with no disrespect to the Welsh”.

I like that last, but he’s not wrong there either. A UK shorn of Scotland, even retaining (for a while) Northern Ireland and presumably Wales would be a most interesting political entity, but one that it has to be suspected would be considerably reduced both in physical terms but also – as importantly – in a broader conceptual context. Will it come to this?


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