Brexit has nearly turned me into an Irish republican - and might yet. For now, I am a British republican. That is to say, I live in the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom. I participate fully in my citizenship, paying my taxes and obeying the laws and voting in elections to parliaments and councils.
I am a republican in the sense that I have no regard for the royal family, other than as an occasionally intriguing soap opera, and would vote, if occasion arose, for the abolition of the monarchy.
But I'm not taking to the streets, or the barricades, on the issue, because it is an unwinnable cause. And, not being as British by identity as some other people, it matters less to me than to them. Let them have their Queen.
But Brexit has exposed a feature of the Union that is hard to stomach, which is that it isn't really a union at all. There is one senior partner within it who can overrule the wishes of all other partners.
England has a bigger population than the rest of us put together and, therefore, gets its way.
England suffers two drawbacks from this seniority within the Union. One is that it is always held in wary regard by the others. No one fully trusts a bulldog. And it is unable to vote itself out, the way we can.
Until now, English nationalism has never expressed itself as a desire to get out of the Union. It does occasionally express itself as a wish that others would simply go away. England can, wilfully or negligently, push the other partners out and prompt them to start thinking about how to get out of the Union. The bulldog that once represented strength and protection, now bristles, snarls occasionally.
A border poll will come some day in Ireland and I will cast my vote according to where I think we would be better off. If England has made a hash of Brexit, then I will vote for a united Ireland inside the EU.
If, by some miracle, Brexit brings glorious wealth to our shores, I may think it makes more sense to stay within the Union, but to campaign for a change in terms. Or, if the economy of the Republic has collapsed, I may wish to leave things as they are.
If I was a unionist in Northern Ireland, or Scotland, today, trying to secure the Union, I would be making the case that a Union ought to be a partnership. But no unionist will force change, because to win that argument you need to be able to threaten to withdraw from the Union if it is not reshaped to your liking.
By definition, they don't regard leaving the Union as a fallback position, so they can't fix the Union.
The only people who can present a case for reform in those terms are the waverers, the ones who might be as happy out as in.
What is interesting is that the people who will determine the future of the Union are not the passionate nationalists, or the stolid unionists, they are the "wait-and-sees". Polls in Scotland and Northern Ireland show the real prospect of both voting themselves out of the Union. So opinions change on this.
Tragic as this may appear to someone who has risked decades in jail and eternity in hell for the republican, or loyalist, cause, the final delivery of an outcome so brutally pursued will be decided by those who would never have skipped lunch for the cause, let alone starved themselves to death; who would never have thrown a punch, let alone a petrol bomb.
Something happened last week that tempered my thinking a little.
There was Andy Burnham, Mayor of Manchester, standing up for the rights of English northerners against a cynical Conservative Government in Westminster, and it was easy to imagine that he was in common cause with the disaffected nations of the Union. So, defining the problem as rivalry between nations doesn't now cover the whole story.
Of course, if the breaking point is Brexit, then the only solution is one that secures nations against it, through Irish unity and Scottish independence.
But Burnham - and our obvious shared interest with his stand against the Tory south - perhaps frames the problem in a different way. But for old national boundaries would Burnham and Nicola Sturgeon be on the same side? And, but for nationalist preoccupations, wouldn't many of our local politicians be comfortable beside Burnham against the Conservatives?
Isn't there a natural affinity between the north of England and the north of Ireland and Scotland that has the potential to make the Union more acceptable? Who would you rather have to tea: Andy Burnham or Boris Johnson, Nicola Sturgeon or Priti Patel? Who's more likely to understand your jokes: Nicola Sturgeon or Michael Martin?
One of the problems with anti-unionism, in whatever form, is that it ignores the organic connections between Ireland and Britain. There are currently more than half-a-million Irish-born people living in England.
Our links to England are natural and historic. Someone like Eamonn Holmes, who went to St Malachy's, can receive an OBE and express particular pride in having been presented with it by the Queen, "the sovereign". Anti-English republicanism fails because it doesn't present the remotest prospect of breaking that cultural link.
Whatever way we draw borders in the future, this intermingling of the Scottish, Irish and English on a small archipelago that shares the same language and watches the same television programmes will remain.
Of course, the cultural boundaries are more fluid than national ones. It was the north that bounced London out of the EU and yet now looks like the natural ally against the Tories.
One of the diplomats who negotiated the Good Friday Agreement, Ray Bassett, takes the argument so far as to say that Ireland should now also come out of the European Union.
In his book, Ireland and the EU Post-Brexit, he accuses Irish ministers and diplomats of "putting on the green jersey", allowing themselves to be blinded to their own self-interest by a traditional animosity towards England. He says we will never be as much at home in France or Germany as in England - and that's true.
Sometimes, the rancour between the regions and nations of this archipelago feels like an old family quarrel, more sullen for our familiarity with each other. There is another way of saying this. We should all just forget about nationalism and vote Labour. Some chance.