‘Dilettante’ is rapidly becoming one of my favourite blogs. Written by a ‘half Irish’ Conservative, based in Manchester, it takes a keen interest in constitutional issues and is stout in its defence of the Union.
In his latest post Dilettante explains that ‘what we have we hold’ is not the limit of his unionist philosophy. He envisages a United Kingdom which could one day readmit the Republic of Ireland.
This aspiration, he notes, is usually filed under the bracket ’neo-unionism’, but it a deeply amenable concept to many secular unionists.
Although it is hardly a likelihood in the near to medium future, why not advocate such a possibility, in order to emphasise that ’Irishness’ is not necessarily the preserve of an independent Irish state?
The Republic of Ireland seceded from the United Kingdom. I’m proud to be an Irishman from the part of Ireland which did not secede and I’d enthusiastically welcome any popular movement in the south to rejoin.
Of course there are few signs that any such movement could develop, but the notion that the Republic might join the Commonwealth is frequently mooted. The Queen is likely to visit in the not so distant future.
The importance of the idea, which is as yet a pipe dream, is its desirability in theory. It helps frame the context of unionism which recognises, and aspires to overarch, all the cultures of the British Isles.