It is the birth, they are saying (the newspapers in Ireland, that is) of a New Ireland. In a single day the old, baby-burying Ireland of repression, paedophile priests and sadistic nuns has been done away, and a rainbow Ireland of love, peace and equality has been born. Its new patron saint is the Holy Oscar, and Stephen Fry is his representative on earth.
But pay heed. Ardent Tweeters will be aware of the role which social media played in securing a Yes vote in the referendum. When the dust has been allowed to settle, analysis of the tweets will probably show a degree of intolerance and intransigence more like the old Ireland than the new: No voters characterised as mindless bigots and (as one tweeter put it) having ‘no place in a modern society’.
So how soon will peace and equality give way to persecution and obloquy – the New Ireland paying Old Ireland the compliment of imitation? The Index Librium Prohibitorum, I suspect, will be as nothing beside the catena of thoughts which an open, liberal society can find it in its heart to forbid.
Enda Kenny (borrowing from Barack Obama it is true) says that Ireland has ‘evolved’ into a nation of gay-friendliness and political correctness. Better not dwell on the appropriateness of the Darwinian allusion to natural selection in the matter of gay marriage, however… for fear the thought police might get you!