Look out for the (un?) intended consequences

Daniel Hannan, Daily Telegraph blogger, staunch Eurosceptic  MEP and romantic unionist warms to his theme.

Like most British people, I love Ireland. It’s a separate country, but it’s not really foreign. The Irish talk as we talk, dress as we dress, eat as we eat (and, tragically, drink as we drink). We watch the same television programmes, follow the same football teams, shop at the same chains. We share that half-humorous, half-cynical mode of conversation that sets us apart even from other Anglosphere nations.In fact, Britain and Ireland are joined by pretty much everything except politics: history and geography, habit and outlook, commerce and settlement, blood and speech.


But mightn’t this same welcome trend make it easier to bring about a united Ireland one day? And isn’t his euroscepticism stretched too far?  Such an acute observer of political behaviour  should also concede that however penetrating  the complaints about bureaucratic strangleholds and affronts to national democracy, the great EU project is carrying on, bloodied but unbowed, towards some as yet unknown destination,  with all of us on board.

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  • OneNI

    Indeed a united Ireland within the UK would be viable as a economic entity

  • Brian Walker

    A wilful misunderstanding there, OneNI

  • Henry94

    There is a great deal of historical ignorance in the article in relation to DeValera in particular and culturally it is extremely insular. But his core point is true enough and it’s a pity he din’t put it across in way that didn’t remind us why first Ireland and now Scotland wanted to dilute the relationship.

    The problem is that England is too big and now political union in these islands can work. German dominance of the EU is becoming a problem and the English domination of the UK is far greater. Despite what we had in common the union was not a comfortable fit.

    What we need to ask is can all the things we have in common be expressed in a healthy political relationship and what would it look like.

  • constitutional publican

    Having spoken to many Constitutional Republicans in the South, its very suprising that many of them see an Independent Scotland as a future close partner, and indeed an independent Wales. The stumbling block seems to have always been the dominance of England within the UK. A future ‘Celtic Council’ between these 3 countries would work well, akin to the Nordic Council, and Its entirely possible that an independent Scotland and Ireland would work very closely indeed. Centuries of England’s (perfidious Albion) expansionist, ruthless behaviour in the past is what destroyed the political relationships on these isles, and a 15 million strong alliance of Irish, Scots and Welsh on their doorstep would offer a very interesting counterbalance.

  • Alias

    Hannan is easily charmed by Irish eurosceptics.

  • Alias

    Also, Sterling will collapse if the euro collapses (it is a 14% underwriter of the ECB’s debt and its banks are interlinked), so Ireland’s difficulty won’t be England’s opportunity on that occasion.

    By the way, what is it with the ‘We have so much in common, let’s form a political union’ mentality of some posters? Odd.

  • GoldenFleece

    constitutional publican, that just sounds like a xenophobic diatribe towards the English. English people are not a “threat” to be countered.

    But then we get down to the nitty gritty of Celtic nationalism – “everything will be great – once we get rid of the English”.

  • Ive no doubt that many English people do indeed love Ireland……but they dont like the Irish very much.
    Likewise many Irish people hate England……..but find English people rather pleasant.
    It was always thus.

  • andnowwhat

    The problem for the UK is so basic. If every Scot went out and voted Labour or SNP, it still does not affect who will govern the UK, it’s a totally anti democratic position.

    NI rejected to tories in the form of UNCUF and yet we ended up with the tories in power.

  • HeinzGuderian

    That’s why they all have their own Parliaments. Scots,Welsh and Northern irish.

    The English have to put up with the other Three,voting on their affairs.

    It’s 2012 folks. All this aull bollox about ‘we’ hate the Welsh,or they hate ‘us’,is sooooooooo 2011.

    We all live in the British Isles don’t we ?
    Well,don’t we ?
    Well then,what’s the problem ? 😉

  • weidm7

    These ‘we’re all so similar’ posts ignore the fact that we’re ‘so similar’ because of English political domination, i.e. invasion and conquest and the, in many instances, enforced, cultural domination which came as a result of that. The Irish/Scots/Welsh weren’t very similar to the English until centuries of domination began to feel it’s effect over the years. Unfortunately, this trend has not reversed since southern Irish independence or the UK being more accepting of its minority Celtic cultures in the last 10 or so years.

  • Brian Walker

    weidm7 ( eh?).. maybe we’ve got over the domination at last?

  • lover not a fighter

    The English are a perfectly fine lot but probably better not to let them make too many decisions in Ireland or about Ireland. Their track record ain’t anything to write home about !

  • FuturePhysicist

    Well then,what’s the problem ?

    Something to do with West Lothian.

    In more serious matters how many Scots, Welsh ad Northern Irish are in the Coalition , particularly the cabinent.

    Labour could in the last 10 years claim a senior Northern Irish cabinent minister in Ruth Kelly I suppose, added to a Scottish Prime Minister (or two) and a Welsh deputy Prime Minister in John Prescott.

    Who have the Con-Libs got? Do they even have a Cornish Cabinent minister?

  • FuturePhysicist

    Cabinet I mean.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Anyone else but Danny Alexander?

  • tuatha

    Rough figures only but surely it is 6M Scots, 4M Welsh, approx 3M NI. The rest of the 60M (excluding illegals, EU cleaners/plumbers & sundry undocumenteds) are… errr.. English (no credible numbers exist for those of Irish birth, descent or allegiance).
    One of my abiding memories, whenever forced onto the ferry to the “mainland”, was the coach journey in the wee small hours down the spine (M1) to the Great Wen.
    Nowhere, for the 4-6 hours, was there NOT the glimmer of village/town lights, millions of lives (whether ‘souls’ I reck not) off to the side, living, loving, breeding and getting on with their lives despite vicissitudes.
    We should be so lucky.

  • A muddled bit of labelling by Dan – sort of Ahernesque:

    Britain and Ireland should forge a closer relationship within the Anglosphere .. 21st century

    Whenever I read the history of Britain’s relations with Ireland .. 20th century

    The first Ireland is Ireland-26, the second Ireland-32 – and the UK has variable geography too.

  • “during the Second World War, many Irish citizens felt differently, and rushed to enlist in the British Army, winning 780 decorations including seven Victoria Crosses” … DH in Mick’s link

    The roots of the Hannan name are mainly in the south-west of the island of Ireland – Ó hAnnáin and Ó hAinchin – but Dan’s father served with the North Irish Horse in Italy during WW II:

    Hannan’s father served in Italy during the Second World War with the North Irish Horse. Hannan has indicated that his father’s Irish Catholic origins made him more sensitive to issues related to Northern Ireland and The Troubles.

    So Dan’s ‘like most British people, I love Ireland’ is a bit short on his Irish, possibly Ulster, dimension.

  • Correction: ‘Mick’s link’ should be ‘Brian’s link’ – apologies to both.