Stephen Collins, who is the political editor of the Irish Times, has an article in the newspaper today (10 November) about the European Union.
He notes that during the week 'an opinion poll showed that 49 per cent of Britons would vote to leave the EU, with 28 per cent saying that they would vote to stay.' This shows the strength of opposition to the UK remaining in the European Union.
Collins also states that 'Public opinion in Britain has become increasingly hostile to the whole European project. The pressure to exit from the EU appears inexorable, with the bulk of the British media fanning the flames of isolationism and forces in the City of London determined to do all they can to undermine the euro.'
This is indeed a fair reflection of public opinion in the United Kingdom. However this is not about isolationism. An exit from the European Union and a new relationship with Europe would also facilitate the development of better relationships with other trading partners outside the EU.
Much of the opposition to the EU is based on resentment about such as things as Britain putting more money into the EU than it gets back, the way that money is squandered and wasted by the EU, and the way that the EU seems to delight in interfering in the internal affairs of the United Kingdom by imposing unnecessary and unwanted legislation. Indeed most unionists in Ulster will share that view.
My attention was also drawn to Stephen Collins' views on the impact this might have on the border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. He said that such 'political tremors have the capacity to widen the gulf between the two parts of the island and reinforce partition.'