We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below. This from Isle of Wight Green Party leader, Vix Lowthion. Ed
The sheer impracticality of a positive Brexit deal over the Irish border issue seems increasingly difficult to achieve.
I teach British History to some really brilliant Isle of Wight A-Level students, and this week’s classroom topic was William of Orange’s Glorious Revolution and the 1690 Battle of the Boyne.
Ireland as part of our British Isles
We looked at how during historical periods of revolution, it is our dominions which suffer the most; that the ruling elite who looked to overthrow the establishment over 300 years ago failed to acknowledge the devastating impact on the British Isles as a whole.
It is more fundamental than ever to discuss the history of Ireland as part of our British Isles, and our class debate led on to the Troubles, the IRA, the bombings and terrorism: all events which happened well before they were born.
The fragility of peace in Ireland
To my Island students, all of this was history. Whereas for me it was my past. When I was a sixth former in the 1990s I enjoyed my Christmas shopping in both Warrington and Manchester – months before the utter devastation of the IRA bombs in these centres.
It is too easy for us to forget the fragility of peace in Ireland. It is too simple to underestimate how home-grown terrorism is never far away.
We can’t just ‘get on with it and leave’
The execution of Brexit, with the complex, various and highly sensitive needs of our strong and diverse kingdom of nations, is far from as simple as ‘just get on with it and leave’.
Peace in Ireland; union with Scotland; prosperity in London: all of these we take for granted and yet are at risk due to Brexit.
Very existence of United Kingdom under threat
History teaches us that we can act in haste; we can cut off the king’s head in 1649, then fail to establish a feasible alternative, with little option but to welcome back a different king within eleven years.
It’s looking increasingly possible that the Brexit experiment is leading us down a path towards an Interregnum where – with weak leadership – the very existence of our United Kingdom is under threat.
One chance to get it right
We have only one chance to get these negotiations right. With the troubles in Ireland – alongside the damage being done to our economy, our environment and our human rights – a successful Brexit looks increasingly unlikely.
“We spent 300 years working towards peace: let’s split the UK up instead” – we never saw that on the side of any bus.