Jeffrey and the hare from his hat

Jeffrey Donaldson certainly knows how to create a diversion.  He popped up on a panel at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis a few days back, and you would have thought the audience and fellow-panellists would have been confronted him with some muscular questions, like why the hell had his party ensured that Britain and the north of Ireland and the south of Ireland and the EU will all suffer massive wounds in the wake of the Brexit economy-killing machine? A machine which has been fired up with the DUP happily stoking its engine.  But did any such interrogation happen? Nope. Jeffrey instead produced a hare from his hat and the media went scampering after it, all thought of Brexit forgotten.  The name of this distracting hare? The Commonwealth. Jeffrey’s suggestion? That the south of Ireland come back into the e Commonwealth.

Did Jeffrey believe that the people of the twenty-six counties will look seriously at his proposal? Of course he didn’t. There are four letters in the Irish Times  this morning on Jeffrey’s Commonwealth wheeze and all four are firmly negative. One of the letters speaks of 98-99% of FGers harbouring “a fiercely negative sentiment towards any such proposal”. Another letter rejects it while describing it as “a rather harmless and toothless old boys’ club”.  Since Fine Gael are probably the most pro-British party – excluding northern unionists – in Ireland, it’s a fair bet the rest of the south see rejoining the Commonwealth as being beyond mention, let alone agreement with.

You’re probably noticed the irony involved in all this.  The southern electorate won’t have anything at all to do with a “rather harmless and toothless old boys’ club”,  yet they are totally relaxed that hundreds of thousands of fellow-countrymen and women in the north not  only are locked in the toothless old boys’ club, they’re locked (for the present) in the British state itself.  It really is time some tough questions were asked of Fine Gael and its Siamese twin Fianna Fail:

  • Do you  consider the people living north of the border Irish?
  • Do you accept that successive Irish governments have been high on rhetoric and hopeless in practice on the matter of Irish reunification?
  • Leo Varadkar, the Fine Gael leader, has promised that nationalists in the north will never be left behind again. Nationalists by definition seek a new unitary Ireland. What plans do Fine Gael have to support that defining desire?

Didn’t I tell you Jeffrey was great at raising diversionary hares?

Comments are closed.