Watching BBC World (or was it SKY?) as the polls closed I saw Peter Kellner pooh-poohing the exit poll predictions which soon proved accurate. I was reminded of a piece written by him after a holiday in West Cork where he pontificated on the future of Ireland, where Southern Catholics were socially so conservative and Northern Protestants socially so liberal that unification would forever be out of the question. That was in the 1980s. In 1971, just before I was married (and before the IRA was outlawed this side of the water) I heard some 20 year olds on a London tube who had seen an IRA march near Hyde Park. They were horrified by the IRA “Fascists who were against abortion.” Abortion, under certain limited conditions, had been decriminalised in Britain only 4 years earlier, but abortion on demand was already enshrined in their imaginations with Magna Carta. When Habeas Corpus was suspended in “Northern Ireland” shortly afterwards, and corpses piled up of those extra-judicially executed by Crown Forces, the idea of extending the benefits of Magna Carta west of the Irish Sea never gained much of a foothold in Britain.
It seems that Northern Protestants, whose differences with Southern Catholics on the right to life of the child in the womb were virtually non-existent in the 1970s and 1980s have kept to their principles, whilst the political parties and movements supported by Catholics cherish children in the womb about as much as cysts and ulcers. It’s a sad, mad, and bad, bad, bad situation.