Guest writer, Nick Sinnott
The British may insist Northern Ireland is part of the UK but the Brexit confusion has made it clear that many of them haven’t a clue about Ireland, its borders or its history.
The former UK Brexit secretary David Davis walked into a storm of protest when he seemed to suggest that Ireland was part of the UK.
Brexit campaigner Daniel Hannan MEP scoffed at their being any trade difficulties between Northern Ireland and the Republic by saying on Twitter that no one wanted to create a border in Ireland after a hundred years without one… seemingly ignorant of the fact there had been a border since the British partitioned Ireland in 1921 – a border that was the scene of bombings and murders throughout the Troubles.
British Prime Minister Theresa May showed recently that she too could be ignorant and insensitive when she criticised an EU proposal that any trade border between the UK and the EU should be in the Irish Sea rather than along the current Northern Ireland border.
This proposal is unacceptable to Ulster Unionists and Mrs May was quick to show how tough she wanted to be in protecting the integrity of the UK by saying that she would never agree to anything “which effectively divides our country in two”.
Fine words, perhaps, but somewhat insensitive in the circumstances seeing that Britain had divided Ireland in two against the wishes of the majority of its people.
It seems this woeful display of ignorance got too much for Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell when he appeared on the BBC satirical show, The News Quiz. The host asked him if he had a solution for the Irish border problem.
Maxwell’s reply was brief but cutting and was met with enthusiastic applause: “Number one, it’s not the Irish border, it’s the British border in Ireland. The Irish border is the beach.”
He added: “We’re getting a little bit tired in Ireland of all this getting passed onto us. We – along with everyone in the EU – did our homework two years ago, you’re (UK) still on the bus on the way to school.”
The comments went down well both in Ireland and Brexit opponents in the UK.
Andrew Maxwell on The News Quiz: “It’s not the Irish border, it’s the British border in Ireland. The Irish border is the beach.” @TheNewsQuiz
— Eve Hester-Wyne (@amhester) September 24, 2018
"There isn't an #Irish border – there's a British border in Ireland. The Irish border is the beach." Comedian Andrew Maxwell on #TheNewsQuiz on @BBCRadio4 tonight. Wonderful. Repeated at 12.30 tomorrow and 12" extended dance version on 4 Extra 11pm Monday night.
— Laura Marcus🇬🇧🇪🇺 (@MissLauraMarcus) September 21, 2018
You can listen to the episode of The News Quiz on the BBC iPlayer.