The ongoing situation in Northern Ireland is complex – and must be treated so

The ongoing situation in Northern Ireland is complex – and must be treated so

AS the British play loose with the Good Friday Agreement it might sound strange but the blame lies somewhere between Donald Trump and Love Island.

That is not to make light of how the British government is behaving in the northern corner of this small place.

The wilful amnesia that seems to exist about how terrible the situation in the North was prior to peace.

The given fact that the North is no trivial matter but a potentially lethal one.

The devastation and the carnage. That long roll call of the dead.

The British government is not playing with treaties and trade arrangements. It is playing with lives.

But in Eton educated, Latin quoting, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, we have the ultimate in style over substance.

We have the epitome of the shallow man.

The House of Commons is Johnson’s Love Island. It is where he gets to parade his naked ambition. Where he gets to fulfil his childhood dream to be king of the world.

He is not an MP for his beliefs or his principles or his ideology. He has none of those.

He is a candidate only because modern Britain, the modern world perhaps, is obsessed with the surface pose of photographs instead of the depth of character.

Only in a society where adults spend their summers watching other adults in swimwear and talking about nothing, could Johnson become Prime Minister.

He untidies his shirt, ruffles his dyed hair, and off he goes.

He sounds a certain way and throws in the name of a Roman General and the Love Island society marks him down as an intellectual. Boris in his swimsuit is the clever one because he makes noises like one.

But politics is a serious matter. It’s grown up stuff and because it’s grown up stuff a childish society will dismiss it as boring and go back to Love Island.

But boring in this country can mean men with guns and bombs and actual children growing up again in a society at war.

The North of Ireland matters and it is not a plaything to be idly trifled with.

The British have made a lot of tragic mistakes on this island and could well be said to have used it as a training ground for Empire.

They’ve never until now, though, used it as a playground.

Donald Trump, to whom Johnson is often compared, did not say ‘I love stupid people’ by accident. For Trump’s wild mishmash of conspiracy theory and science denying and blatant lying an ignorant populace is and was necessary.

Trump and Johnson and their ilk don’t want us thinking or knowing about serious matters of State, about finance and power and privilege.

They want us watching Love Island. They want us talking about Love Island. They want us debating Love Island.

Because if we were to ask even the simplest of questions we could unsettle them.

Even if we asked how someone, such as Johnson, such as Trump, someone who has never lived one second of an ordinary life, has never lived one second that wasn’t soaked in wealth and luxury, could hope to represent ordinary people. Even that.

The north of this island, in its complexity and myriad histories, asks far more complex questions than that.

It is far from straightforward and is not even a puzzle to be necessarily solved but managed. Something grown-ups would have to deal with over long, detail rich, laborious, possibly tedious, hours.

Not something you would hand over to children to deal with.

It is not for us in this country to decide how the British conduct themselves but if, like children, all of your neighbours are deciding you can’t be trusted, particularly in matters of life and death, surely you’d take a look at yourselves.

Surely the British don’t want to be run like this.

Surely they don’t want to be seen as children.

Because what actual children have in their defence is innocence.

But the British government doesn’t have that, does it?