I think it would be fair to say that Britain has not always dealt with Ireland fairly or squarely. Think famine and the Troubles. But I have always wondered why the Protestant Sect in the north has been allowed to create endless mayhem when it has been obvious that the best solution would have been a united, independent Ireland. There are enough precedents around the world that would support the idea.
Of course it won’t happen but I’ve had anough of the tail wagging the dog over there. And now the Republic wants to impede progress with Brexit. Typical.
44 thoughts on “The simple truth”
The latest is that the UK has conceded no hard border with Eire – so now we await the DUP’s hysterical reaction.
And what did the Catholic ‘Sect; do in the North in terms of ‘endless mayhem’ that entitled them to your approval of their ruthless determination to force a United Ireland against the expressed, democratic will of the majority of the inhabitants of Northern Ireland at the time of partition.?
I suppose, JM, I am questioning the validity of defining the North as a separate political entity.
But it’s not a separate political entity. It’s part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern ireland and has consistently voted, in the majority, to maintain that status. Who are you to tell them they are wrong?
Partition was the root cause.
So what’s your point? Eire would never have happened if most sides had not accepted the realpolitik involved at the time. They did and a relatively painless partition happened.
Had we gone down your road and kicked the majority in Ulster out of our country, there would have been a civil war in Ireland which would have been far bloodier than the one they had to endure. I believe that it could well have spread to other parts of our country.
I think that what I am trying to say, Janus, is that, in my opinion, it was not ‘obvious that the best solution would have been a united, independent Ireland’ at the time and that anybody who advances such an argument knows nothing of the history, practical politics or realities of the period or place and would be better to keep what I believe to be their facile and ill-informed opinions to themselves.
I could, of course, be wrong.
Using Ireland as an expimple, I suppose one might argue that in the case of South Africa, the Western Cape should have been given to the whites and the rest of the country to the blecks. Seems logical. At least some of the country would have experienced democracy and prosperity.
JM, I don’t think it is facile or ill-informed to question the decisions made in the light of their fall-out. I think you are wrong this time. 🙂
If we don’t try to learn from history…….
There is no majority in Northern Ireland for a united Ireland. Even the majority of Catholics in Northern Ireland oppose unification. After nearly 100 years Northern Ireland and the Republic have diverged profoundly. That, and Dublin couldn’t support Northern Ireland — even as an autonomous province. It would break the country financially. There is no way that Irish security forces could keep the peace there, either. It’s a strain on London with it’s infinitely greater resources. One of the most toxic aspects of Ireland is just how insidious the nationalist school has been on the understanding of Irish history. It’s incredibly one-sided and Anglophobe.
PS: Ireland sold its soul to the EU. Norway and Switzerland are not EU states but they have open borders with their neighbours.
CT, yes, we are where we are after a century of conflict and mistrust.
A century, Janus? A century?!?! My good man — and Backside — Ireland’s the way it is after thousands of years of conflict and mistrust. The Irish were killing each other with grim style before the Normans arrived. The Irish continued to oppress, destroy and stymie themselves and each other after they gained their blessed independence. Like Zimbabwe, they did much to confirm their critics’s worst prejudices. It took them 70-something years to finally go somewhere. That can’t be blamed on Britain entirely. The DUP’s position makes sense in the context of Irish politics. If Northern Ireland was somehow different, if it had an internal border with the UK its position within the UK would be questionable. It’s the thin edge of the knife and in a political climate that sectarian, that can’t be understated. The failing Irish government knows that as much as Foster.
CT, I think Britain should be blamed for the oppression of a starving populace and its uncompromising determination to oppose/spoil independence on sectarian grounds. The DUP are worthy successors.
That is a most interesting interpretation, Janus. You do not, however, acknowledge that the DUP actually have a point and that their hard-headedness might actually be for the best. After all, thin-edge-of-the-knife arguments aside, if Ulster were to be given a special status then the wee harpy in Jockistan would immediately start bouncing up and down like a deranged terrier demanding the same status to be followed by Carwyn Jones and Genghis Khan. I simply find it strange that some of the most faithful and loyal Britons are so readily maligned because they didn’t — and don’t — rush to renounce their identity and submit to Dublin.
I prefer most interesting to facile. Ulster (how dare you say that!) is different from the GB ‘provinces’ by dint of its separation from the mainland and its contiguity with a foreign state, differences which even the Scotch and Welsh terriers should be able to grasp,
(And I am unlikely to keep my opinions to myself, even if our ex-legal beagle insists I should.)
That there are — and need to be — special provisions for Ulster is patently obvious. There are different laws pertaining to driving licences and number plates, for example. Ireland’s power grid covers the entire island and some trade laws are different. That in and of itself is not a concern. The concern is that a hard border would arise between Ulster and Great Britain. If Ulster were to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union it would no longer have unimpeded access to the rest of the UK and be, de facto, a nominally British satellite of darkest Baile Athe Cliath. The likes of Sinn Féin in both Belfast and Dublin would waste no time in making much of that. Many have also observed that the current Taoiseach and foreign minister are rather less inclined to be agreeable to London than governments past. Their position is incredibly weak and they know that the EU is giving them the chance to hold London to ransom.
Eire and Ulster are almost totally dependent on the UK economy, something that Dublin and Brussels prefer to forget.
The UK should simply declare that it is not going to enforce a hard border. Eire and the EU can do as they wish and take full responsibility for any outcome.
The problem with the DUP is that they are Protestant, Christian, Conservative and they stick to their principles. If the Tory party were more like the DUP they’d be in far better shape.
Jazz: That is the point that was lost in the media brouhaha. The DUP were behaving responsibly and defending the interests of their voters in Northern Ireland. Irish politics are unusually vicious and sectarian. The PM acted like a typical damp squib from the Home Counties and would have agreed to something that could well have destabilised Northern Ireland and, for that matter, all of Ireland.
If I may throw my tuppence worth into the fray, it seems to me that the issue is nothing to do with Brexit, but more with the Republic of Eire taking the opportunity to further their ’cause’ of ‘unifying’ the Oirland of Oirland.. Good God, Janus, what next? Will the negotiations be hindered by Spain refusing to ratify our ‘divorce’ unless Gibraltar is ceded to Madrid or even the Argies (to whom certain EU members (France, cough!) were more than amenable during the unpleasantness in ’82) demanding the return of the Falklands? As an aside on the latter point, let nothing be said of the French ’empire’ which still exists in the South Pacific against the overwhelming wishes of the culturally oppressed and financially subjugated occupants of those sorry islands..
The Teasock should be told in no uncertain terms that he had better shape up and behave, because if he carries on like he is, it is a bloody long ferry ride from Dublin to his continental friends. Of course, given the UK gobmunt’s craven approach to these negotiations I do not expect this to happen, despite the democratic vote of the electorate of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.
Harrumph and where’s my coffee?
OZ: Lil’ Leo of Dublin is leading a zombie government. It survived solely at the sufferance of the opposition party. Enda Kenny, hardly the most humble of men, had the sense to step down, handing the poison chalice to him. They’re playing the Ulster card because they have precious little else to going for them. Lil’ Leo will be pressured to back down by Brussels, London and Belfast and he will, of course, but not before standing up on his hind legs and screeching for as long as he possibly can.
G’day Christopher. It seems Lil’ Leo is not the only one leading a zombie government these days. Theresa appears also to be one of the walking dead, as is your very own ‘Mutti’, and Emmanuel doesn’t appear particularly comfortable either if you read between the lines.
I just wish our gobmunt had the same dedication to our national interest as France habitually shows for her own. If so, we would soon send Barmier, Drunker, that speccy Belgian type and the Maltese prime minister (FFS!) scuttling. It seems at the moment that the UK is under siege as never before (well, at least since the Vikings took a liking to the place) from unaccountable nonentities demanding this and that ever more outrageous concession without so much as a squeak of protest from Westminster. All of these clowns who are punching way beyond their capabilities might be better engaged in first securing electoral mandates in their own countries before trying to interfere in UK national affairs. Which is the whole point why we voted to leave in the first place, innit.
and an admittedly puerile updated version, but this is what it’s coming to.
My fur frizzeth over.
Oh, dear, what have I done? 😦
OZ: I’ll have you know that I’m very much subject to Mrs May’s tender mercies. It would feel grimmer, but western Dorset is too far removed to really matter. Reality begins — or ends — at Southampton! The UK isn’t doing any worse than most other European states at the moment politically. The only difference is that the media are highlighting every single one of the UK’s foibles at the moment while ignoring the fact that Belgium is ungovernable, Ireland’s politics have imploded, Sweden’s government is surviving only because no one wants to imagine how difficult the next parliament will be and Austria has gone well to the right. Macron makes Trump look ragingly popular and his party are utterly useless in parliament. Harrumph. I’d better get back to crocheting a scarf.
We’re all doomed!
Maybe as a younger chap I see NI differently. Anyone from there in my eyes is Irish, just as anyone from Scotland is Scottish and anyone from Wales is good at singing.
They’re an expensive liability, an embarrassment and quite frankly I don’t want their ‘loyalty’. Sod off the lot of you.
Meanwhile, this Brexit talk is so boring. I’m sick of it and would be willing to take any deal just to stop every bloody radio, tv, website, newspaper and pub conversation being all about Brexit. Get on with it.
Then rejoin the EU in 5 years when we realize what stupid mistake we’ve made……. (taking cover for the chariot vitriol……,)
Touching faith, cuprum, that you think the EU will still be around to be joined in five years. How many countries will fancy being under Gauleiter Schulz’s boot?
btw I agree with you about the attractions of Ronda. We were there for the Feria in September.
I think after Germany falls into disarray and France, Spain and Italy become utterly ungovernable — not to speak of Greece — we’ll be perfectly content to keep the lot on that side of the Channel, thank you very much. Media balderdash aside, the negotiations aren’t actually going that badly and this sort of pseudo-drama is par for the course for the sodded EU. We’ll get out of it with some sort of Swiss-style arrangement which will disappoint most of us, but not unbearably, and life will go on — just with more and better trade agreements and without whatever passes as leadership in Brussels breathing down our necks.
CT, I applaud your sub-optimistic view – UK-wise.
Later – the ritual dance seems to have borne fruit this morning. How’s that for a mixed metaphor?
Afterthought: can you imagine Corbyn’s mob could ever have achieved this?
And why does Farage consider this a humiliation? The man is seriously deranged.
Janus: the devil is always in the details. If the UK will leave the EU with customs arrangements, etc, in general alignment without being part of the common market or customs union then it will be a Swiss-style agreement. That is, certain areas are largely aligned.
Cur-bin’s lost would have thrown in the towel months ago and entered into a Norwegian-style agreement.
Farage lives in a fantasy world — one in which he never held true power and was never anywhere near it, either. He could — and continues to — discuss matters in the absolute because he never had to reach a negotiated settlement.
PS: Schulz is talking the piss. He’s the worst failure the SPD have ever had as a leader and he’ll be out before long.
Dear Cuprum – alas I think you have never lived under the freedom of a sovereign country! I think you might well enjoy it when finally (and hopefully) the laws that are being enforced are those appropriate to the peoples of Britain…
Referring to the title of this debate, I like what I see happening now. Blair and the Bremainers will fail. Yes!
Janus, I am so utterly fed up with the constant attempts of those who seem to think that ‘democracy’ should only be allowed if it is accordance with what they think – that I have given up reading about all the wheeling, dealing, threats, insults, etc.
When and if, the UK ever manages to return to a sovereign nation I will exchange my EU travel document for a real and genuine British Passport. Alas, I think I might just be too old to travel on it – but I’ll get one anyway…
Boa, yes, me too. I am pleased that Ms May has received credit from some of the Europrats for reaching this milestone, in the face of crossfire from all sides. Criticism that the deal has taken two months too long is churlish, given the uncharted territory.
Boadicea/Janus: It would be two years. By the time the next passport design is released, it will be blue and the offending “European Union” will be removed. Britain will be what it always has — tied to Europe, of Europe — but not Europe. Even if the UK’s regulations, etc, broadly align with the EEA’s it will still be easier for the UK to sign trade deals with others and pursue its interests more easily. The problem isn’t so much with the rules per se, but having to satisfy so many disparate countries and sub-national regions. We’ll not have to endure the odious prattling on of the Eurocracy for much longer, either. Arrangements will have to be made, but we’ll not just be another cog in the machine. We can also tweak things as we go along. That might be for the best — especially as the EU informally disintegrates with many states leaving in all but name. When the time comes, I’ll exchange my Hunnish passport for a British.
I see that Martin Schulz wants a United States of Europe by 2025 – and has suggested that any country that doesn’t want that should follow Britain – and get out.
Just how he expects to create that in a mere seven years I don’t know. The EU, as it is now, seems to me to be such a cumbersome, lumbering entity that I would think he would be lucky to even get a proposal up for debate in that time.
I also wonder how many European Governments will have the courage to ask their citizens whether they want to join a United States of Europe. Very few, I suspect.
I just love Mikhail Gorbachev’s comment:
But, what really puzzles me is how so many people fail to learn the lessons of history.
Boa, MS’s distance from reality is mirrored by Macron’s claim last week in Africa that French will become the lingua franca worldwide.
Poor thing – did I read somewhere that he has spent some €26,000 of taxpayer’s money for makeup?
Quite clearly, he has not caught up with the fact that ‘lingua franca’ no longer means the French Language…
How on earth do these people get into positions of power?
Meanwhile, back in the madhouse, Gove has made the least helpful, if not most opaque, statement so far.
Janus: In response, the Chinese said: “哈哈，笨蛋” — otherwise, ha ha, bollocks.
Maybe JM could elaborate on behalf of his fave Tory headliner?
Aye weel, Janus.
The boy Gove is quite right, in my opinion. All he has said is that whatever is agreed Brexit-wise is potentially reversible.
Probably not going to happen, however. As you may remember, I was a Remainer. I lost and I accept the majority opinion of my countrymen. I believe there are a lot of Remainers like me out there.
So, once we agree the terms for Out, I will vote for them if the occasion happens to arise. If we don’t agree said terms, I’m still happy with Out.
JM, I’m surprised your opinion is that the Brexit terms will be reversible. Not the payments to the EU surely? Not the Irish open border? Not the promises to EU nationals? Perhaps you mean some other terms yet to be decided. Customs union, single market?
Janus – I’m sure JM will correct me if I am wrong.
But (if and) when the UK reverts to a Sovereign State the highest authority will be the UK Parliament. It can then do whatever it wants, tear up treaties, make new alliances, etc, etc. *
So should some later UK Government decide that the terms of Brexit are too onerous it will have the power to change them – without reference to the EU, its legislation or its pretensions to ‘authority’ in the UK.
Of course, the UK would have to face the consequences of those actions! But that is what being a Sovereign State is all about.
However, the only ‘power’ the EU would have under those circumstances would be to impose trade sanctions, which, surely, even the dimmest EU bureaucrat would realise would hurt the EU just as much as it hurt the UK.
I’m sure the EU negotiators realise this – and that is why they are trying their very best to tie up a deal which the UK will find hard to renege on. But, at the end of the day, they really are fighting a losing battle – and they might do well to negotiate a reasonable deal – rather than one that leaves the UK thinking that Europe is the enemy. The EU truly is, in my opinion, foolish to push what it wants so very hard.
*The only reason that I would have voted “Out” (if I’d had a vote) would have been to return power to the UK to choose its own way to heaven or hell and not leave it to an anonymous mob of foreigners who neither know nor care about the peculiar nature of the people of Britain.
OK, if that was Gove’s meaning, fine. I questioned his statement because I cannot imagine that once out of the toxic EU the UK electorate would vote to get back in!
Boadicea: There are three main competing strands of thought in the EU vis-a-vis Brexit negotiations. The first is that of self-interest. The EU has often been described as a man on a bicycle. If he ever stops peddling, he’ll fall off. The EU was intended to be indivisible, to be an insoluble entity. With Britain leaving, this illusion has been shattered. Much like Europe’s image after the First World War in its colonial empires, it will never recover. It might hold together — somewhat — but it has lost much of its prestige and sense of invulnerability. By making negotiations difficult, it forces the political establishments of the remaining 27 states to stay united and also make it clear that any departure from the EU would be truly difficult and unpleasant. After all, if the second largest economy had years of bruising spats what could, say, Denmark or Sweden expect? What about Czechia or Hungary? The intention isn’t necessarily to preclude any deal — far from it. It’s a bit of psychological warfare.
The second strand is that of the remaining true believers. There aren’t actually that many left. Drunky Junky had to scrape the barrel to find Barnier and that grotesque Belgian sock poppet, Guy de What’s-it. It’s hard to consider the leaders of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Czechia, Denmark, Sweden or even Finland, Austria and the Netherlands to be terribly keen on a federal Europe. Their time has passed, but they’re trying to keep the dream alive and they want to punish Britain. They’ve despised Britain for decades, including some British euro-federalists, and they see this as their last chance to get their revenge and reclaim the narrative. By making a nightmare out of Brexit and hoping to force Britain into a miserable compromise, one in which Britain gains nothing and comes out the worse for it while, hopefully, still effectively tied to the EU they can show what happens to heretics.
The third is national self-interest. By spooking business, a number of companies might start shifting jobs to the Continent and choosing to invest there instead. Amsterdam is keen on gaining more financial sector jobs — as is Frankfurt-am-Main. The Netherlands’s cap on bonus pay has been a deterrent, but a well-connected, modern country with a business-friendly and reliable legal system that’s safely ensconced in “Europe” is appealing. The Dutch are almost universally Anglophone which is an added bonus. Berlin wants to attract start-ups from Britain and attract more entrepreneurs to the Stasireich capital. Berlin is chic, Bohemian, cosmopolitan and relatively affordable. Frankfurt-am-Main is well-connected and has a business-friendly climate. Huns, especially the younger sort, are more likely than others to speak something that passes as English. The French pretend to be competitive, but like the Spaniards, their lack of English skills provides a formidable challenge. Still, there’s hope that some — especially those who are multilingual — will be attracted if they’re spooked enough by difficult negotiations. As always, some sort of deal will be reached but in the meantime, scalping and opportunism are the order of the day.
As the man said, “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best”
― Otto von Bismarck
Ms May is moving forward now – whatever the gainsayers and the Bremainers do. Well done, Theresa!