Mark Twain always said there were two inevitabilities in life – death and taxes. I have two more: The guarantee of the sun setting every day and the ability of the Irish political class to resort to default Britophobia whenever they have their feathers ruffled.
It started on Tuesday evening, when Leo Varadkar gave an online address to the annual Fine Gael faithful. At first I thought it was an Irish republican version of ‘Freaky Friday’ (when Jodie Foster swaps bodies with her own mother), but this time Varadkar morphing into a slightly more polished version of Gerry Adams. Not for him any respect for the constitutional integrity of a neighbour. He was in full-on Anschluss mode, taking about his ‘passion for a united Ireland and how the party would energetically pursue such a course’. Yes just like the growth of Sinn Fein toxified politics in Northern Ireland, it looks set to do so in its southern counterpart.
Besides the, not trivial, issue I have with this whole concept of ‘Irish unity’ (something which has never existed, nor is likely to), I have to take issue with Varadkar’s framing of his comments as some sort of frequent political discourse. Not only is this palpably untrue, what is happening in the media and political classes in parts of the UK and certainly much of the Republic, isn’t a ‘conversation’. Instead, it’s a relentless propaganda exercise purposely intended to demoralise and destabilise an Ulster-British population already reeling from UK government capitulation to the idea on an internal trade barrier promoted (chiefly) at the behest of Varadkar himself! If Irish politicians cannot see how destabilising that is, what the hell do they even know about the very basics of Unionist psychology, let alone how such a vast and heterogeneous community could possibly be accommodated in this unicorn all-Ireland state they keep harping on about?!
The Republic of Ireland is the most institutionally Anglophobic country on the planet. It is not, and never could be, a friend to the United Kingdom. Politicians there have leveraged the outworkings of the Northern Ireland Protocol to reassert their primal irredentism, compounded by the need to try to prevent the rise of Sinn Fein in their own state. There are two responses to this:
1). The UK government must be as assertive in their rebuttals as Fine Gael et al are in their unabashed territorial enunciations.
2). UK consumers should use the benefits of food availability from the new Anglo-Australian trade deal to sting Irish farmers where it hurts the most. It is a hostile entity…and it looks like another centenary for Northern Ireland will come to pass before they learn their lesson.
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