A reminder that “nations and states can evolve as well as endure…”

Hat tip to Word By Storm, today’s Guardian editorial on Michael D Higgins state visit to the UK. In particular this last paragraph:

Some in Britain will be tempted to dismiss the Higgins visit as a sideshow. But this is not how it is seen in Ireland. That’s worth remembering, because the networks of connection between the different nations of these islands are currently being put to the test. The Scottish referendum, like the history of British-Irish relations, is a reminder that nations and states can evolve as well as endure. The British – the English, in particular – have paid too little attention to this, with the consequences that now loom in Scotland. This week’s pageantry and mutual self-congratulation should not mask the reality that political relationships in these islands have rarely been in such flux

WBS is wary of the superficiality of the rest of the piece. The Scottish problem perhaps has gone on unaddressed for so long because the whole British thing is in certain respects itself a superficial construct, bearable mostly because like its monarchy, outside Northern Ireland’s loyalist heartlands, it draws such little attention to itself. Indeed, such open displays of British belonging are considered elsewhere to be intrinsically unBritish.

In some respects this superficiality leads many of its opponents to underestimate its enduring appeal. Nevertheless, there is a struggle underway to make our democracies more relevant to the peoples they profess to govern.

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