Useful corrective by Aaron Edwards to those thinking that Jeremy Corbyn’s election to the leadership of the Labour means he has a free hand to deal with Northern Ireland to use at his (or his Shadow Chancellor’s) discretion:
In many respects Corbyn’s appointment of other members of the party’s left-wing, anti-partitionist members, to key positions in his shadow Cabinet shows how difficult the road ahead may be for those in Northern Ireland who share a vision of Labour Party organising on a more inclusive UK-wide basis.
Regardless of the Corbyn shadow Cabinet’s personal preferences for a united Ireland, it would be a strategic error for the Labour Party and its supporters to assume that everyone shares this outlook.
If Corbyn is serious about making Labour truly electable, then there is a need for him to engage all Northern Irish, Welsh and Scottish Labour members and supporters in a dialogue about how best to rebuild and re-energise their party across the entire UK.
Even though the English political class (of whatever party political complexion) have wished to keep Ireland at arm’s-length, the deep ethnic divisions and continuing political instability demonstrates that an Irish problem has always harboured the potential to become an English problem.
Tired, cliched rhetoric of giving “Ireland to the Irish”, which has traditionally emanated from the British Left, is devoid of an understanding of its own party’s history, or of realistic political ideas aimed at resolving the “Irish question”.
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