Wednesday, November 06, 2019

History of Brexit, history of Ireland

Fintan O'Toole, the Irish writer who must be about the best political columnist writing these days, takes to task the odious British Brexiteers who blithely compare themselves to the IRA rebels who took the Irish Free State out of the United Kingdom in the 1920s.

They mostly advocate, he observes, that as soon as Britain leaves the European community, it should disavow any treaty commitments it may make with the EU
In all the pantomime dressing up of English Tories as Irish revolutionaries, it is easy to miss the point that what they really mean is that, once “the split” has been finalised, the withdrawal treaty will in time become unenforceable. Britain can walk away from it.
Then he really gets down to brass tacks
There are, however, two obvious problems. One is that the analogy itself is ludicrous: the EU is not an empire and it has not sent the Black and Tans to suppress demands for freedom. The other is with what Hannan, with such charming insouciance, calls “some difficulties along the way in the 1920s” in Ireland. These little local difficulties were partition, deadly pogroms in the North, a bitter civil war in the South, and the ghost of unfinished business that returned in the Troubles from 1968 to 1998. In the Brexiters’ blithe analogies, it seems that equivalent events in the decade that is to follow eventual approval of Johnson’s deal – the breakup of the union, civil disorder and violence and long-term tribal divisions – would be mere bumps on the road to English freedom.
It is all worth reading, down to the bitter ending:
Remember that if you botch the exit, the carnival of reaction may be coming to a town near you.
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