A bout of amnesia and the Tory leadership
Spare a thought for the two contestants in the Tory race to become the next leader and the UK’s Prime Minister. In the past six years, the UK has had four Prime Ministers. It is clear that the two candidates have an agreement in place to exclude contentious issues such as Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol.
This week, the two Tory contenders move to Belfast. It is a month away from the new Prime Minister being appointed, and they will then need to deal with serious Northern Ireland issues. The ongoing stalemate in Northern Ireland politics and the decay of its future plans is certainly holding Northern Ireland as a hostage to good fortune.
Unfortunately, it is generally felt that the Tory party has no interest in Northern Ireland and its future relations with both the UK and the Irish republic. It is hoped that this week in Belfast we will at last hear the two candidates talk about the future plans and the stinging impact of Brexit.
No doubt we will hear the usual platitudes about how much Northern Ireland means to them personally and to the union, Northern Ireland as a valued part of the UK and their commitment to one nation conservatism. I am equally sure that their lack of interest in or knowledge of one of the four parts of their own country will be exposed.
It is clear to see that a bout of amnesia appears to be induced upon the two candidates. Reading the book ‘In Praise of Forgetting’ by the US author, David Rieff, he presents a collection of memories, national history and argues about a shared past. Throughout his bestselling book, he argues that life will be better off if we forgot about the problems of the past and get on with our lives. He admires a Belfast writer who says ‘’the next memorial to Irish history should be to amnesia, and forget about where we should put it.’’ He feels collective memory in places around the world has ‘’led to war rather than peace.’’
Let us not forget the will of the people to secure lasting peace in Northern Ireland, from the Good Friday Agreement to today, and hopefully avoid a trade war with the EU, the frontline of which will be the Irish border.
As Seamus Heaney once said; ‘’anyone born in Northern Ireland can’t be too optimistic.’’