When any totemic figure in Irish nationalist ideology starts criticising a UK politician for their approach to Anglo-Irish issues in general, and Northern Ireland in particular, you know the UK politician concerned must be doing something right. Notwithstanding Boris Johnson’s short-sighted endorsement of the Northern Ireland Protocol in the EU’s Withdrawal Agreement, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern defames him as a somewhat ‘slippery’ character. To elicit this sort of response from a Dublin politico usually means London is unwilling to dance to every demand laid out by those whose ultimate aim is the removal of Northern Ireland from the UK and its absorption into a hostile and alien Republic.

Nationalist Ireland is on a love crusade at the moment; an exercise in faux kinship with Ulster’s Unionists. In reality, it’s nothing of the sort. Just another ruse to gain sufficient consent within a soft section of ideological ‘persuadables’ to abandon the Union and settle for all-Ireland rule. After which the Republic will revert to the same uncaring, ‘suck it up’ attitude it has to so many issues it has taken joint stewardship of in Northern Ireland hitherto – the dismissal of Unionists concerns over the aforesaid EU Protocol being a case in point.

But what really disturbs me, as a passionate English Unionist, is Ahern’s contention that should the keys of sovereignty ever be passed from London to Dublin, the remainder of the UK should be left picking up the tab for a ‘series of years’. Not only do they wish to covet a part of our Kingdom, they want us to continue its lavish financing thereafter. What sense of smug self-entitlement must someone possess to even believe such a proposition is in any way feasible? I would be devastated if any part of the UK decided to turn its back on the rest of the British people, but no way would I ever consent to having my taxes pay towards cosseting that constitutional betrayal. I suspect the vast majority of people here would agree with me. As Del Boy once said to Rodney in the episode of ‘Only Fools and Horses’ where the latter wishes to dissolve the partnership of Trotter’s Independent Traders: “Going on your own means exactly what it says. From now on you pay your own way in the world.”

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