What does Team GB, not UK, say to you?

Since Brian’s mentioned Paddy Barnes’ magnificent efforts in Bejing (Kenny Egan looking good at the moment too), it’s as well to mention in passing that Christine Ohuruogu has bagged an impressive Gold in the women’s 400m, and Germaine Mason has a Silver for the High Jump. (See 10 ways Britain changed over the weekend). But Suilven points us to an interesting piece from Kevin Myers on the subject of the GB designation (something Michael Shilladay should be speaking about on the IPM programme on Radio 4 this Saturday). Kevin Myers has this to say on the subject of Team GB:

A straw in the wind. Unintended, as straws in the wind usually are, but a reminder nonetheless that the people in Britain (and even that term might itself soon become obsolete) have reverted to pre-Troubles default mode. Ireland (or any part thereof ) is something they know nothing of, and care less about. Now that their various intelligence agencies have finished playing ducks and drakes with democracy in Northern Ireland, and foisted two sets of tribal bigots into power, they can once again pretend that those six north-eastern Irish counties are no longer their business, as they did for 50 ruinous years after 1922.

Another straw in the wind draws near this autumn, though this time, being intended, it is more of a haystack in a hurricane: the probable ending of the Common Travel Area between the islands of Ireland and of Britain, including Northern Ireland. Travellers from the North to Britain will need special documents to gain admission. This is undoing the Good Friday Agreement, Sunningdale, the 1948 Ireland Act, the 1922 Treaty, the 1920 Government of Ireland Act, 1801 Act of Union, the creation of the crown of Ireland in 1541 for Henry VIII, and Poynings’ Laws: moreover, it is the first paninsular annulment of English authority over any part of Ireland whatever since the submission of the Irish kings before Henry II on November 11, 1171.

There is more to this than airborne hay: tectonic plates are moving. Britain looks as if it is breaking up anyway, but even if it’s not, it is clear that there is no genuine British regard for the Ulster unionists. If in the creation of a team for one great international sporting global contest, the British do not even remember that Northern Ireland shares their kingdom, then clearly there is not a surfeit of natural affection there.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty