Kevin Myers: The Hiberno-British dance through time goes on, but it obeys no rules of science or history
Published 18/01/2011 | 05:00
The echoes are uncanny. In Britain first and then Ireland, two finance ministers followed upon two "successful" prime ministers, both of whom retired as millionaires, and each new prime minister then leads his party to political disaster.
Both countries have run up intolerable debts in the past 15 years, both countries have a huge and unmanageable public service, and both countries have an underclass equally averse to self-advancement and sobriety. From Stockholm to Sicily you will not meet the like. The strange Hiberno-British dance through time continues, though it obeys no known rules of science or of history.
It is part of the Irish national psyche to chafe at England, which is no doubt why most English people living here will testify to a constant static of casual, low-level anti-Englishness. Yet it is part of the English psyche to be barely aware of Ireland, and comparable anti-Irishness in England would probably lead to legal action. Moreover, would the Rossport project have run into so many problems if Mayo had not been the land of Captain Boycott, and Shell had been French?