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  • Northern Ireland’s young people know their history. If only the rest of Britain did too | John Harris | Opinion

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See the news Northern Ireland’s young people know their history. If only the rest of Britain did too | John Harris | Opinion from Source GSM Arena on 12/02/2019 has been updated to day with the theme on feedixo.

Northern Ireland’s young people know their history. If only the rest of Britain did too | John Harris | Opinion

Touts are a three-piece rock band from Derry. The name is a reference to the Northern Irish colloquialism for a police informer, which is scrawled and sprayed around their home city; the music they make is full of a sense of Derry’s violent past and its uneasy present. It harks back to the distant days of punk rock, but its sheer velocity also speaks of an urge to get on with the future, whatever that might be. The band are part of a lineage of music interwoven with Northern Ireland’s difficult politics and history: as the Belfast-based music writer Stuart Bailie’s brilliant book Trouble Songs puts it, raw art that has “challenged given stories” and provided “succour and a sense of collective worth”.The backstop isn’t just about trade. Is that so hard to understand, Britain? | Dearbhail McDonald Read more All three Touts members were born at a time when the Troubles were receding into history; two of them were too young to vote in the 2016 EU referendum. Last week, I watched them rehearse, in a freezing room on an edge-of-town industrial estate. They talked about Northern Ireland’s political predicament with the kind of incisive eloquence that most English musicians seem to have lost. “Politics is just inescapable, coming from here,” said 21-year-old bassist and co-vocalist, Luke McLaughlin. “If you have a platform, you may as well say something.”The band’s drummer, Jason Feenan, 19, mentioned a video he had seen online of the then-Brexit secretary Dominic Raab being questioned by the Northern Irish MP Sylvia Hermon, and awkwardly admitting that he had never made time to read the Good Friday agreement. “Every household in the North has a copy of it,” Feenan marvelled. “You could read it in a day. And someone supposedly negotiating on our behalf couldn’t even be bothered.”He looked pained. “It’s kind of Irish history repeating itself,” he said. “A decision’s made in England, and we’re just dragged along with it.”Over four very sobering days, this was a sentiment I heard time and again. After I left Derry, with ringing ears, I drove along the often labyrinthine border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, stopping to talk to people for whom that largely invisible line had been a complete irrelevance until the great convulsion of June 2016 put it back on the political agenda. Just about everyone I met knew perfectly well that Theresa May’s travails over the so-called backstop are the product of politicians and voters elsewhere forgetting about the island of Ireland, only to be reminded that for the people who live there, Brexit represents a profound set of dangers. No one was that surprised about this amnesia, but many were very angry about it.The boredom with Brexit that I have endlessly encountered in England was nowhere to be seen. Eighty-eight miles from Derry in the old port city of Newry, people talked about a place that had lived in the shadow of the old border for more than 60 years and suffered dire economic consequences, only to undergo an amazing recovery that suddenly feels fragile. Here and elsewhere, there was exasperation at the historical accident that had made Theresa May dependent on the Democratic Unionist party, whose original opposition to the Good Friday agreement still rankles and whose hostility to the backstop is a central part of Northern Ireland’s current pain. On the other side of the sectarian divide, in even the sleepiest places, I spotted newly printed posters and hoardings demanding a united Ireland, their strident tone betraying the fact that setting out on that road would inevitably trigger no end of strife.FacebookTwitterPinterest Touts, from left: Luke McLaughlin, Matthew Crossan and Jason Feenan Across the sea, Brexit has triggered a certain obstinacy and aggressive nostalgia among older people, and here, you can pick...

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See the news Northern Ireland’s young people know their history. If only the rest of Britain did too | John Harris | Opinion from Source GSM Arena on 12/02/2019 has been updated to day with the theme on feedixo.