Politics Of Pain: Ireland, Britain And Brexit

Dec 2, 2019
Originally published on December 2, 2019 1:14 pm

In America, our electoral process takes years. But in the U.K. it takes just a few weeks. Right now, its political parties are campaigning hard ahead of a snap election this month.

Brexit is both the backdrop for the vote and the reason for it being called so unexpectedly.

Perhaps no country is watching the British elections more closely and has more at stake in the outcome than Ireland.

Here’s how columnist Fintan O’Toole wrote about Brexit’s implications for the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic:

But along came Brexit. Its effects, if implemented in their pure form, would be not just to restore a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic but also to make it much more extreme than it ever was before. It would now be a major E.U. land border, a boundary between Britain on the one side and a 27-member bloc on the other. This would be profoundly unsettling for a peace process that has made huge progress but is still fragile.

We hear from O’Toole about why he thinks that Brexit has done more to unite the island of Ireland than the Irish Republican Army managed to over 30 years and beyond.

Produced by Rupert Allman.

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