Fintan O’Toole: Northern Ireland is being detached from the UK. Get ready for it

English nationalism is changing the political architecture of these islands

A border in the Irish sea has long been a red-line for the DUP but it seems to be one crossed in the Brexit agreement between Boris Johnson's government and the EU.

If you pass through Heathrow or any other large British airport, you will be assailed by large photographic posters declaring British greatness: Innovation is GREAT; Sport is GREAT; Design is GREAT, and so on. The tagline, of course, is Britain – all of these wonderful things are GREAT Britain.

Except that the whole concept is ruined by an awkward interloper. The copywriters had to add “& Northern Ireland” and that turbulent province wrecks the pun and deflates the slogan. “Music is GREAT Britain & Northern Ireland” doesn’t work. It creates a decidedly downbeat anticlimax.

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