Analysis & opinion World

Brexit divides Britain and Ireland yet again


Anti-British sentiments in Ireland, which had never healed completely have resurfaced lately over Britain’s decision to ditch European Union without having to ask the Irish public.

Most of the Irish population view Britain as the erstwhile colonizer, quick to resort to bullying to get what it wants. It’s not a bit too odd to hear people in Ireland complain about the “audacity” of the British, in other words, “The cheek of them, who do they think they are?” when it comes to the unilateral call for exiting the EU.

On the same note many Britons consider the Ireland as a post-colonial rogue country that should know its place. In fact, as reported by BBC last year, an anonymous Tory commented the exact words, that Ireland should “know its place” raised a lot of hue and cry in Dublin.

Such anti-Irish feelings appear to be on the rise in Britain too since the Brexit dilemma, with which the Irish are inextricably entangled, have dominated the British and to a lesser extent, Irish national psyches for almost three years now.

When The Irish Times recently asked Irish expats living in Britain if they had noticed any rise in anti-Irish sentiments in Britain, some answered in the negative while most in the affirmative.

One woman, who has taken the decision to relocate back to Ireland, told the newspaper it felt like being “back in the late 1980s” when being abused for your Irishness was “commonplace” in Britain.

Although, there are statistical numbers that can be quoted to demonstrate this rising animosity, the emotions are tangible particularly considering what is reported by the pages of Britain’s right-wing media and what is being said by Brexit hardliners who have been spewing all sorts of ahistorical nonsense into the mainstream.