The year just passed will leave an indelible mark on Irish and British history with the certain passing of Brexit ensured.

The grand sweep of history will focus on this time as one of great turbulence but also opportunity.

For Irish America the passing of Brexit also has deep significance, placing the issue of a united Ireland higher on the agenda than it has ever been.

It will be the next great battle for Irish America, to argue the case for unification not in a hostile fashion but in a deliberative way with the emphasis on convincing unionism where its future lies, not threatening it.

There are many naysaying voices, a considerable amount in the Irish Republic who would seek to plant the thought that any attempt at a referendum on unity would be misguided because the “time is not right.”

It is a line that has been pushed by both Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and opposition leader Michael Martin both adamant that unionism is not ready and we should not frighten the horses.

Read more: Senator asks Irish government to start preparations for United Ireland, after British elections

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Was the time ever right to partition Ireland? Does democracy mean anything in Northern Ireland if there is a majority for unification and there is a refusal to move forward with a border poll?

Brexit has forced a rethink, even among the most dogged unionists, as to their fate in the new Britain. When it came down to it, the sight of the English abandoning the  Scots and Northern Irish to their own fate while they booted up their effort to leave Europe was a salutary lesson for those who lived by the fiction that all parts of the UK were equal.

Both Scotland and Ireland voted to stay in Europe but their voices were drowned out by the table thumpers in London demanding they leave the EU with as much speed as they could muster and to hell with the wishes of the colonies to the North and West.

For Ireland, the apparent resolution of the intractable issue of how Brexit would be achieved now means a deeply significant change in relations not just with the United Kingdom but with the constituent parts of the UK.

Read more: Simon Coveney says Boris Johnson is untruthful

English nationalism found its voice in the 2016 referendum on leaving Europe and the issue of how and when was finally decided by a remarkable victory for the Leave side in the recent British election.

2020 will be about the response to the little Englander move. There are many complicating factors, trade, transport, emigration, legal procedures, travel documents needed to name a few.

They will all be sorted out for better or worse, likely the latter as an entirely new set of rules and regulations will be very difficult to implement and seem certain to lead to mass confusion at the beginning.

The window for Irish unification in an agreed not coercive manner has been firmly opened up by the Brexit outcome but it will take leaders of courage and vision to realize how to bring it about.

What is clear is the lesson that has been learned that London puts its own interests first. It is high time the people of Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic followed suit.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section, below. 

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