As I live and was born in Northern Ireland I have the right under the Northern Ireland Act to identify as British, Irish or both. On legal form for the last 19 years (including the last 2 Census forms) I have identified as British and Irish, sometimes having to fill in other when the option was not open to me in the non-Northern Irish forms to choose that option.
Well last night the assistant editor of Conservative Home Henry Hill took exception to this.
As you see from my first response I took exception to this. But it soon escalated.
Mr Hill soon declared that I had disowned Britain, ironically he had claimed it was an over-the-top smear. Strange when all I had done what chosen how to identify as was my Westminster given right as a subject/citizen in Northern Ireland.
He then went on to claim that I was trying to break up the United Kingdom. Claiming I was anti-Lib Dem in not being pro-UK. I responded by referring him to part of the preamble to the Liberal Democratic constitution.
We therefore acknowledge their right to determine the form of government best suited to their needs and commit ourselves to the promotion of a democratic federal framework within which as much power as feasible is exercised by the nations and regions of the United Kingdom. We similarly commit ourselves to the promotion of a flourishing system of democratic local government in which decisions are taken and services delivered at the most local level which is viable.But he insisted that I should ignore the fact that in the debate James Brokenshire the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has promised there would be no special status for Northern Ireland. Or that he and Theresa May have ignored evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee that their fiction of a frictionless, custom free border with Republic of Ireland cannot exist as out side the EU and any part of it there are things like outside EU taxes and duty that have to be considered. Trust me the fall in the price of Sterling affected my monthly underwear delivery yesterday from Australia add £11.58 to a £17.60 order!!
The ones who are breaking up the UK are the ones who have ignored the reasons that many voted to Remain in Scotland and Northern Ireland. In Scotland many voted to remain in the UK only because of uncertainty over whether an independent Scotland would be able to benefit from EU membership, with that gone they may now vote for Independence, The majority in Northern Ireland probably along with London are two of the most entwined areas of the UK with the EU. They knew the complexities that faced them personally and those around them. They knew how enmeshed a lot of what happened in their areas is with the EU and to untangle it would be a never ending puzzle and certainly not something that can be done successfully within 2 years.
To be clear I've never wanted to see the UK break up. But I'm living in the reality of the situation. My UK passport has lapsed and I'm not minded to renew it at this point anyway as it will need to be renewed again after Brexit, so I am down to one passport my Irish one. This also allows be greater freedom to travel within Europe and in a few years time I'll be one getting the coffees in at the other side of customs while I wait for my fellow Brits to join me.
Of course Mr. Hill can spout his alternative facts about me. But those who have known me, know I'm proud of all aspects of my heritage and have done all I can to keep them all together. But yesterday as Jacob Rees-Mogg said it was a turning point in British history, sadly I don't see it in the glorious terms in which he wants to frame it.