A very useful example of the manner in which the same question can have very different answers each of which are correct. The important point to note being correct for whom? Or, as we might put it, is Ireland worth freedom?
Certainly many of the people of Ireland thought freedom was worth it for themselves. We’d not have had those centuries of low intensity – at times flaring up – warfare over the point if they hadn’t. We now face certain decisions ourselves as Britons. We do have this clash between what we want to do in leaving the EU and what everyone would like to be doing over the Irish border. Our own solution is that we do that very English thing and just lie to foreigners. It’s worked for a millennium now so why not?
Nick Cohen thinks a little differently:
To take the most shocking instance, many of us warned that Brexit was, in George Orwell’s words, a “playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot”. In 2016 Daniel Hannan had the integrity to admit his one fear about Brexit was that it would “mess up” relations with Ireland. But rather than compromise, rather than say we must stay in the customs union for the sake of peace in Ireland and frictionless trade through Heathrow and Dover, he now forgets what integrity he possessed and joins the rest of the bulls**t right in saying it’s safe to sacrifice the “failed” Good Friday agreement for the greater good of protecting rightwing purity.
We can, if we wish, talk about right wing purity and all that but that’s not a productive line of thought. Instead, let us assume that Cohen’s set up is correct. We’ve this choice and there’s no getting around it. Either the Irish border and peace in that country while we don’t leave the EU in anything more than name or, we really do leave and we get the border again and presumably the violence that has generally accompanied its existence. OK, there’s a cost to deciding either way. And quite clearly someone living on that border and about to be subject to that violence can have a different correct answer than you or I living in suburban England might. They’re both the correct answer of course, all that’s changed is for whom.
Given that is us in aggregate who have to make the decision we thus end up having, in aggregate, to make the decision. And the real question to be answered is “Is Ireland worth freedom from the EU?”
Answer it as you wish of course. Paris was worth a mass but peace in Ireland is worth permanent rule by JC Juncker – at least ’till his liver gives out – or not?