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Great Britain and Northern Ireland: A Depressed Place in the Kingdom

Great Britain and Northern Ireland: A Depressed Place in the Kingdom

Great Britain has had problems with Northern Ireland for 102 years. But after the London bombings in 2004 – people prefer to keep quiet about it in public.

One side of the protest against the Good Friday Agreement in Londonderry in April Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

In 2004, a large explosion occurred in prime residential areas of London. No one was hurt, but the neighborhood was in turmoil. A prominent politician involved in peace talks in Northern Ireland may have been the target of the attack. The next day, not a word appeared in the press about the incident.

The government issued a Safety and Security Media Advisory Notice (DSMA) to the media, a “recommendation” not to report on the matter for national security reasons. DSMAs are a British specialty. It is not known how often they are ordered and how often they are followed by the press.

In the past, there have been repeated scandals when their misuse became known: in the WikiLeaks case or in 2008 when attempts were made to cover up incompetence (a top official left a laptop containing classified information on a train).

In the 2004 House implosion, DSMA had a good reason: Prime Minister Tony Blair had negotiated the Good Friday Agreement for Northern Ireland six years earlier. However, new IRA members do not have the option to retire; They competed for attention. An announcement of an explosion in the middle of London would have fulfilled their wish and set back the peace process. For this reason, it was concluded that the explosion simply did not occur.

Documentaries about the Troubles of the 1970s

Northern Ireland has been a boiling point for 102 years. If you ask the average Briton how they feel about Northern Ireland, the first thing they’ll say is that they’ve never been there (“depressing place”) and that they’ve had enough documentaries about the Troubles of the 1970s. Some worry that Northern Ireland will have no government from February 2022. The 1.8 million people are anyway managed from London, where the entire ministry is responsible for them.

All this would cost a lot of money, but no British party wants to annex Ireland to Northern Ireland: for the Tories, that would be a concession to Ireland and the EU. Labor fears that if Northern Ireland leaves, Wales and Scotland will want to follow. In Scotland in particular, Labor scored a narrow electoral victory against the Scottish Nationalists this month. This could be crucial in the 2024 general elections.

Being a journalist or a police officer has traditionally been a risky career choice here

So the problems in Northern Ireland are being ignored by everyone. The Protestant Orangemen march fearlessly, and their Catholic opponents do not sleep. In 2019, journalist Lyra McGee was “accidentally” shot dead by the New IRA. The detective investigating his case is shot in 2023.

Northern Ireland police data leaked in 2023

In August there was a huge data leak at the Northern Irish police – the names and titles of 10,000 police officers were suddenly online for three hours. Some of them did not tell their acquaintances that they worked in the police for fear of social ostracism. Being a journalist or police officer in Northern Ireland has traditionally been a risky career choice.

From a purely demographic point of view, it will be clear if Northern Ireland and Ireland are finally united: there are now more Catholics than Protestants living in Northern Ireland. But the Crown did not want to lose Northern Ireland under any circumstances. King Charles III shares his ancestor Queen Victoria’s strong sense of entitlement. He thought little of the Irish and strongly opposed Irish self-government in the 19th century. Her motto for all kinds of possessions was always: “Don’t give up what you have.”