Daniel Hannan: I'm a UK Tory with a special place in my heart for Ireland. Isn't it great how we're finally getting on?
Published 01/02/2012 | 17:38
Daniel Hannan is a writer and journalist, and has been a Conservative MEP since 1999. A lover of Ireland, he rejoices in how old antagonisms are finally being wiped clean.
LIKE most British people, I love Ireland. It’s a separate country, but it’s not really foreign. The Irish talk as we talk, dress as we dress, eat as we eat (and, tragically, drink as we drink). We watch the same television programmes, follow the same football teams, shop at the same chains. We share that half-humorous, half-cynical mode of conversation that sets us apart even from other Anglosphere nations.
In fact, Britain and Ireland are joined by pretty much everything except politics: history and geography, habit and outlook, commerce and settlement, blood and speech. It’s significant that you usually hear Irish words in the context of some state office or government function: while our people have carried on their custom of intermarriage and intermixture, the two governments have remained stubbornly apart.