Policy Exchange and Ireland
 
The London-based think-tank Policy Exchange this week published a paper by Ray Bassett,the former Irish ambassador to Canada, arguing that Ireland should follow the UK out of the European Union. 

This is a marginal viewpoint in Ireland and the intervention was widely criticised as a diversion from the real issues that Brexit poses for Anglo-Irish relations. It also prompted questions about Policy Exchange's agenda and opaque funding.

The latter issue is something that I and my Spinwatch colleagues Tom Mills and David Miller, examined in our 2011 pamphlet, The Cold War on British Muslims.

In relation to Ireland, I argued in a 2009 openDemocracy piece that key Policy Exchange figures such as  director Dean Godson were central to a distinctive neoconservative critique of the peace process which saw the Good Friday Agreement as a diminution of British greatness and a dangerous precedent for other conflicts around the world.

Others who shared this critique included Douglas Murray and Melanie Phillips, the latter of whom has been a notable defender of the Bassett paper.

The notion of a distinctively neoconservative analysis of Northern Ireland has been a controversial one in recent academic literature, but the fact that the most active promoters of Irexit have a record as strong critics of the Good Friday Agreement speaks volumes about their appreciation of the Irish national interest.