Colette Browne: 'Brexiteers are learning their stereotype of the Irish as drunken, idiotic apes is somewhat off the mark'
The press conference between Leo Varadkar and Boris Johnson in Dublin on Monday underscored an interesting development. The stereotype, long prevalent in England, of the Irish as being
His trousers, ill-fitting with his shirt billowing out from behind, could have done with some twine to hold them up.
The juxtaposition between the two men's demeanours prompted many British commentators to lament the embarrassing spectacle of their prime minister.
One even suggested starting a petition on the parliament website, seeking to compel Mr Johnson"to apologise to Ireland for having to deal with him".
Newspapers like the right-wing 'Daily Mail' and 'Daily Express' have routinely featured cartoons in which the Irish were invariably passed-out drunk, brawling or gormlessly drooling at the mouth.
A separate cartoon in the 'Daily Express' depicted those on either side of the divide during the Troubles as apes, hurling bricks at a noble British soldier.
The paradox of Brexit is that it was supposed to release the UK from the shackles of the EU so that its true, and unlimited, potential could be realised.
Boris Johnson won't support Northern Ireland-only backstop, says DUP after meeting with UK Prime Minister
The Irish, by contrast, have never held these kinds of delusions about our own exalted place in the world.
Still, Ireland today is unrecognisable from the country it was a mere two or three decades ago. And, unlike the British who yearn for a bygone era that can ever exist only in history books, most of us are pleased at the changes that have taken place.
This quiet confidence, and assuredness, of the Irish has clearly come as a surprise to many in England, whose view of us was informed by hundreds of years of racist cartoons featuring drunks, papists, apes and idiots.
The inconvenient and unexpected truth is that the Irish have not been afraid to stand up to the might of the UK, knowing we can rely on other EU member states to bolster our small size.
What has actually happened is it has helped to rebrand Ireland to an international audience as a dynamic and modern republic that has proven more than a match for the decaying constitutional monarchy across the water - which now appears to be, like Mr Johnson, unravelling before our eyes.Read more: Independent.ie
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