John Harris

Journalist & Author

Northern Ireland’s young people know their history. If only the rest of Britain did too | John Harris

England’s casual indifference to the border question has betrayed the post-Troubles generation

Touts are a three-piece rock band from Derry. The name is a reference to the Northern Irish colloquialism for a police informer, which is scrawled and sprayed around their home city; the music they make is full of a sense of Derry’s violent past and its uneasy present. It harks back to the distant days of punk rock, but its sheer velocity also speaks of an urge to get on with the future, whatever that might be. The band are part of a lineage of music interwoven with Northern Ireland’s difficult politics and history: as the Belfast-based music writer Stuart Bailie’s brilliant book Trouble Songs puts it, raw art that has “challenged given stories” and provided “succour and a sense of collective worth”.

Related: The backstop isn’t just about trade. Is that so hard to understand, Britain? | Dearbhail McDonald

Related: Think the backstop issue is insoluble? My Brexit plan will please everyone | Roland Alter

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