Letter: Ireland in a United British Isles

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Sir: I must take issue with Andrew Marr ('Slithering towards a salt-water Sarajevo', 31 August) who scornfully dismisses the Unionists/loyalists as if they were an inconvenience locked in some kind of time-warp. If his nationality were to be negotiated away above his head, would he not feel aggrieved? The Unionists/loyalists in Northern Ireland not only think of themselves as British but are British.

Perhaps we should not be flirting with narrow ideas of a United Ireland at all but moving towards, say, a United British Isles, of which both parts of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England are part. After all, all the peoples of these islands already belong to all parts of these islands in varying degrees, even if the different nationalities are scattered widely across the notional national boundaries.

We could be exploring a union of all our countries, headed by both an elected figurehead president (following the Irish Republic's example) and the present monarchy. Under such a constitutional umbrella each country would have its own parliament with clearly defined powers, while a federal assembly would deal with supranational matters of finance, defence and foreign policy.

Surely all such possibilities should be explored, because it is certain that moves towards a united Ireland are bound to fail.

Yours faithfully,


London, SE24

31 August