Nobody wants Northern Ireland

To The Times
The elephant in the room is that no one really wants Northern Ireland. Ireland can’t afford its engorged public sector costs, while British taxpayers have no option but to feed that expensive fly in the political ointment, and keep a stiff upper lip about it. Ironically, the EU has understood the Good Friday Agreement better than Theresa May and most of the Tory party, not to mention the hard Brexiteers.

The reality is that the EU also doesn’t want Northern Ireland (unless it comes with Ireland), an Ireland to which the EU remains wedded and loyal since 1973. Thus the backstop. Sorry Theresa, it won’t go away. (Alison Hackett, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin)

Years ago I worked as a consultant in Northern Ireland and had the opportunity of talking to several well-informed locals. I remember one person commenting, ”The Republic doesn’t want to inherit the violent people of both faiths, and the British don’t want them either. They have had to effectively buy peace here and are having to subsidise us at considerable taxpayer expense. This place used to be prosperous and contributed a lot to the economy. But shipbuilding has gone, and this economy hasn’t much going for it”. Now, it is only important because the right-wing, Protestant DUP is propping up Prime Minister May in Parliament. What can be done about it? Nothing much. The people of Northern Ireland will be living off the subsidies from Westminster, possibly indefinitely. Blame Cromwell, who started it all by importing Scots radical, Protestant “settlers” into Northern Ireland in the first place.

What has this to do with Epicureanism? The answer is that it illustrates the knots the human race can get into over religion and cultural identity. Epicureanism focuses on getting on together as individual human beings, without priests and confessions and priests telling you what to believe (and then abusing their authority).

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