Tuesday 27 June 2017

All things being equal we have a club to join

It's in our interest to join the Commonwealth not just in terms of trade but to allay unionist fears.

COLOURFUL PAST: Prince Andrew shows President Michael D Higgins, accompanied by his wife Sabina, the colours of the disbanded Irish regiments in the Grand Stairs at Windsor Castle
COLOURFUL PAST: Prince Andrew shows President Michael D Higgins, accompanied by his wife Sabina, the colours of the disbanded Irish regiments in the Grand Stairs at Windsor Castle
Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien

'States have no eternal friends, only eternal interests." So said Lord Palmerston, a leading 19th-Century European statesman, prime minister of Britain and Ireland on two occasions and landlord of a 12,000-acre estate in Sligo. Palmerston's view is the ultimate realpolitik view on relations between states.

While it goes too far – countries whose peoples share values and many personal connections can and do have important bonds of friendship – it is mostly correct. Interests are always the main determinant in how states behave.

Last week provided further evidence of the normalisation of how the Irish and British states behave towards each other with President Michael D Higgins's state visit to the UK.

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