Brexit and the art of Deflection

A few days ago The European Union provided an “absolute deadline” in ten days, for Britain to improve progress on outstanding issues, before turning to trade negotiations, which the British need to begin in December if the proposed deadline for the UK to leave the EU by March, 2019 is realistically to be met. Among these key outstanding issues are the EU ‘divorce bill’, in which the British are said to be increasing their offer to £40Bn, and the Irish-NI border, on which no progress has been made (phase one).

The Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, meanwhile has issued a scarcely veiled warning that Ireland may use its EU veto to stop any attempt by Britain to move forward to the trade negotiations (phase two), unless the UK first undertakes to remove the prospect of a ‘hard border’ between Ireland and NI, from the table. Varadkar was reported as saying:

“We’ve been given assurances that there will be no hard border in Ireland, that there won’t be any physical infrastructure, that we won’t go back to the borders of the past …. We want that written down in practical terms in the conclusions of phase one.”

It would seem quite obvious, given the importance of this matter to Ireland, an EU member that is not leaving the EU, and given the delicate and fraught matter of the Good Friday Peace Agreement, that Ireland would consider the matter of borders serious enough to issue such a warning. The question is, why does this action by Ireland seem to be a surprise, an unexpected, or even an unreasonable priority to the Brexiteers, and the British government? It shouldn’t be.

We may suppose that Ireland has been moving toward this public position only because private diplomacy has been falling on deaf ears in Britain. Varadkar reminded the British that they have had 18 months since the referendum, and a little pointedly also made this comment: “Britain, having unilaterally taken the customs union and single market off the table, before we move to phase two talks on trade we want taken off the table any suggestion that there will be a physical border, a hard border, new barriers to trade on the island of Ireland.” The Customs Union and Single Market, we may surmise, were facilities in the Brexit ‘borders’ toolbox that may have allowed an easier compromise with Ireland to be negotiated. They were unilaterally dismissed by Britain (the British people did not actually vote on leaving either the Customs Union or the Single Market in the referendum).

Suddenly faced with a public statement of Ireland’s policy (albeit an understandable one, if there is no satisfactory border agreement with Ireland first), how has Britain reacted? International Trade Secretary Liam Fox provided a television interview in which he made clear that there can be no solution to the Irish border issue until a trade deal between Britain and the EU has been agreed (in effect phase two pre-empts phase one, including the Ireland-NI border). Fox said: “We think we should begin discussions on the final settlement because that’s good for business, and it’s good for the prosperity both of the British people and of the rest of the people of the European Union.” The Daily Mirror provided a rather harsh quotation of Fox’s undiplomatic words: “We can’t be blackmailed into paying a price on the first part” (phase one). The ex-Permanent Secretary to HM Treasury, Nick Macpherson tweeted his robust reply to Fox: “‘Blackmail’ is the perpetual cry of the smaller negotiator with the weaker hand. #getagrip”. The Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness also responded to Fox in a quote to the Guardian: “I hope that the UK is not holding the Irish situation to ransom in these negotiations. It is far too serious and far too critical.”

Blackmail, ransom ….. what on earth is the purpose of this sudden non-diplomacy, faced with a quite predictable Irish response to an 18-month British policy vacuum? Folly? Incompetence? Arrogance? Bullying? The eighteen month hiatus speaks to policy chaos, but all this may also not be quite the full story. There is, perhaps a method buried in there.

Fox’s intervention, I suggest as a working alternative hypothesis, is not about Ireland at all (at least directly). The “chaos” that everybody sees in the British negotiations is, at least in part – deliberate. The logic of Fox’s position is nothing to do with Ireland, but it is essentially very simple, has a clear objective, and it fits with the current, broader, but ragged, unstructured sweep of events that we can all see; what is it? – to achieve a “no deal” Brexit.

In the Daily Telegraph website (which we may reasonably think a Tory Brexit Biblical Text – Authorised Version), Juliet Samuel has drawn precisely the same conclusion, just in case nobody figured out where all this is really going:

“If Dublin follows through on a threat to veto Brexit progress in December, all it will achieve is to increase the risk that Britain leaves the EU with no deal whatsoever.” Now that is a threat.

I may nit-pick with only one word in this Telegraph argument; “risk”: for I think we could more appropriately discard it, and insert the word “purpose” here. Now we can see better where this is going: “If Dublin follows through on a threat to veto Brexit progress in December, all it will achieve is [the purpose] that Britain leaves the EU with no deal whatsoever.” The British Government is moving closer and closer, not to the media’s cliche of a “cliff-edge” in December, but with purpose to the Brexiteer Conservatives idea of Utopia: a “no deal” Brexit; and to a Dystopian nightmare for the rest of us.

How many “Leave” voters would care to reconsider what they have done? Perhaps we should begin counting now.

Comments (57)

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  1. Alex M says:

    Clearly the optimum situation for Scotland is to be in the Free Trade Area and the Customs Union. From there we can trade with England and be the intermediary between Ireland and England. English arrogance means they will sacrifice NI if that’s what it takes to get a ‘clean’ Brexit.

    Perhaps we only have a few weeks to convince Scots that there are no Britnats in Scotland, only deluded anglophiles.

  2. J Galt says:

    The cotton mills of Lancashire in the 1820s will seem like a worker’s paradise compared to what these bastards have in store for us.

  3. w.b.robertson says:

    The UK has no interest in creating a “border” between the north and south. And, despite the brave words and fighting talk, the folks in Dublin don`t want one either. So this whole issue is EC shadow boxing… Theresa may have party problems. But it is interesting that the Irish govt, at the moment, is suffering its own internal political crisis.

  4. William Ross says:

    John

    The answer to your final question regarding Leave voters changing their mind is “few if any”. The EU`s bullying tactics are merely making Brexit more certain.

    It is worthwhile pointing out that Juliet Samuel was a Remain voter.

    John and the other Remoaners should listen to the wise counsel of Bertie Ahern. The UK will leave the Single Market and the Customs Union, but there will be no hard border between the UK and ROI. However, the inevitable technological solution will not be totally perfect.

    William

    1. Jamsie says:

      Absolutely spot on William!
      Brexit will go ahead on schedule.
      As you say the UK will leave the single market and the customs union.
      There will be an accommodation by the EU to ensure there is no hard border to try to keep Ireland on side with special dispensation for the ROI to import from and export to the UK.
      Germany and France will “persuade” the other twenty five that they need to play ball as a hard Brexit benefits no one especially the EU.
      Phil McGobbledigook and the great JSW cant see the wood for the trees.
      Ireland would be expendable to the EU if it meant that the German and French Car Industries and other exporters in the EU were constrained.
      Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas after all!
      I suspect Tusk, Junker and Barnier will all be looking for jobs quite soon.
      Interesting though to see an acceptance that because it is in the Telegraph that it must be true.

      1. Al says:

        You may be the servile type, but I can tell you that the Irish government has the full backing of myself and the rest of my fellow citizens to slap some sense into the Tory halfwits and throw a whopping spanner in the works. The EU is entirely behind the Irish position as the EU is taking its lead directly from Ireland in relation to the issue. This has been said ad nauseam, and just like we in Ireland pointed out the obvious issue re the border before Brexit,the dumb brexitieers had their collective fingers in their ears and elsewhere, while fantasizing of the farce of empire 2.0.
        Giving the level of conversation in Britain to date in relation to Ireland, I have to raise some serious doubts about the quality of the education system therein and the parallel universe in which their alternative history actually exists. Hard Brexit it will be, if needs be, we`ve have been thru a hell of a lot worse in our history in Ireland and if its needed to bring reality to the brexit loons, then drive on.

        1. Jamsie says:

          A1
          You may well be right behind your government and it may also be behind the EU in the negotiations but I fear neither the ROI government nor the EU have any commonality in dealing with the issue of the border.
          Dublin would like the UK to remain in the customs union which it sees as the best solution.
          That will not happen.
          The EU stated position is that a special post Brexit deal will have to be made paving the way for special status for the province after the UK has left.
          However they have also stated that the British proposal for a customs waiver at the border was a non-starter as it meant that the EU would need to change or suspend EU law which requires goods entering any member state form any non-member state would need to be checked and verified as being compliant with the relevant EU law.
          You see the position that leaves the ROI in surely.
          Why would the UK submit to satisfying EU law whilst allowing the ROI or indeed any EU member free unrestricted access to trade in the UK.
          The ROI has much to lose and maybe they will vote down any EU agreement on trade but that will leave a no deal situation.
          Germany and France will not tolerate this.
          The ROI needs the UK markets and to a certain extent the province benefits from the ROI markets but neither Dublin nor the EU can have their cake and eat it.
          ROI will show it’s servility to it’s European masters and financiers and bow to the inevitable deal concocted to save face by the EU.
          And it will be a concoction.
          Take for example the latest speculation on the divorce bill.
          The EU started at £90bn, the UK at £20bn.
          If rumours are true the EU will get depending on deals yet to come £40bn.
          Who do you think came off best in this negotiation.

          1. Al says:

            Sorry, that`s 18-44 yr olds, its been a long day. Bella could do with a way to edit comments.

      2. John S Warren says:

        Not quite right. I can always rely on the Telegraph to be well informed about (only) the Conservative Party; that is not the same as “an acceptance that because it is in the Telegraph that it must be true” (with the suppressed [false] premiss ‘in all things’). Rather like the Telegraph, you do not do Logic very well. As for “truth”, that is a philosophical concept, and I would not read the Telegraph for philosophical insight either.

        1. Jamsie says:

          JSW
          Only in your flawed logic would a false premise be obvious.
          I offered none and intended none.
          Read what was writ.
          You have quoted Juliet Samuel as having reached “precisely the same conclusion” as you, ergo in your eyes this must be correct and also true……or is yours an opinion based on guesswork and false premise i.e. that all roads lead to a no deal Brexit, but you don’t actually believe this?
          Flip or flop ….what will you do next?

    2. John S Warren says:

      “the inevitable technological solution will not be totally perfect”

      At least you have a sense of humour Mr Ross. You do make me laugh.

      I am always happy to rely on the Bella Caledonia readership to draw their own conclusions of any article I write …. …. and the quality of the comments.

    3. Josef Ó Luain says:

      “Wise” and “Bertie Ahearn” in the same sentence? Wow! an all-time-first there, William.

  5. MBC says:

    What will happen on the island of Ireland if there is a no deal Brexit?

    If the Republic wants to continue to be able to impose EU regulations it is going to have to set up a hard border on its own side.

    Sorry, I am no way in favour of this, but that would be the logic of the situation wouldn’t it?

    1. Vlad says:

      “impose” ?

  6. William Ross says:

    Dear All

    The only reference that I made to the Telegraph article which was referenced by John was that Juliet Samuel was a Remainer. That, I trust, is not in doubt. It is funny how a “Telegraph” chorus seems to grow from nothing.

    I would not vouch for the views of Bella’s readership but I do have great respect for the views of Bertie Ahern, but maybe he is just another know-nothing Brexit clone with no clue about Ireland?

    So far John’s predictive abilities have not been impressive but lets wait to see what happens on the Irish border.

    William

    1. John S Warren says:

      Mr Ross, my remarks on theTelegraph were in reply to your little acolyte “Jamsie”, and since I quoted him directly, that was fairly obvious, even to the naturally obtuse; which just reminds us all that your reading is clearly at times careless.

      As for your improbable desire to appear some sort of authority, so that you may make sweeping assertions with impunity; if you are going to drag Bertie Ahern into this, I suggest that you provide a direct reference to his statements (a specific and precisely identified source that can carefully be checked, that he gave on the current border issue, as it is now understood), and not simply wave his name around like a magic wand.

  7. Charles L. Gallagher says:

    If I was a Tory I wouldn’t be worried about trade and border crossings etc I would be more concerned about the dare I say delicate political situation in N.Ireland.

    As for Fox remember he was the Tory clown that scrapped our maritime reconnaissance aircraft without a replacement in place. Fox and his extreme right wing buddies were so determined to get us out of Europe they pushed Brexit so hard without any sort of plan and all based on lies, £350M to the NHS – remember at the time we all said, “Aye Right”, as we had already encountered that type of lying during the Indy Ref.

    Ireland should stick to its guns, for they can, for like Scotland they don’t want hormone fed beef, chlorine washed chicken, GM modified foods and much more getting into the Irish food chain from a deregulated UK (at the insistence of the USA).

  8. William Ross says:

    John

    Come come, a man of your style and erudition should not be referring to commentators as “little acolytes”. I thought Jamsie was being a bit tongue -in-cheek, but Jamsie, if you are a Brexiteer, more power to you Sir! Tusk, Barnier and Juncker will certainly get good jobs soon, maybe even with Goldmans, that home for ex-Marxists.

    I actually don`t have any desire to be an “authority”, I am just an ordinary guy who works in the oil business and negotiates deals. But I recognise nonsense when I read it.

    Bertie Ahern is reported in the electronic Telegraph of yesterday. The report does not appear in the hard copy from what I can see.

    Another article in the Telegraph of yesterday caught my eye on page ten. In it Carlos Puigdemont ( remember him) has called for a Catalan vote on whether to leave the EU ( Cataxit?) Puigdemont said that the EU” are a club of decadent obsolete countries” which are “insensitive to the abuse of human rights”. So much for the rights of EU citizens?

    William

    1. John S Warren says:

      Mr Ross,

      Let me deal with your “little acolyte” remark first. It is a convention of social media to post anonymously. I have never approved of it. In rare cases there may be an excuse, but anonymity is wholesale, and is typically used simply to hide the source of opinions. I accept the convention but I do not approve of it and I do not like it at all. I respect more those who post under their name (and I recognise I am obliged to trust in the truth of the nomenclature). Let me put this simply: for all I know “Jamsie” is you; and for all you know, “Jamsie” is me (okay, improbable). Faced with anonymity I am entitled to a degree of scepticism.

      Let me turn to the rest of your defence.

      “The only reference that I made to the Telegraph article which was referenced by John was that Juliet Samuel was a Remainer.” It was the only direct reference, but it was not the only influence of the Telegraph on your opinion; because you did not provide the source of your use of Bertie Ahern as an authority; it turns out that this is sourced in the Telegraph, but I had to probe to make the discovery. Did you think I would forget to join up the dots? You offer Ahern as an “authority”, from something written in the Telegraph, which is the broadsheet house journal of the Conservative Party. Your defence is sophistry Mr Ross.

      As it happens I read the Telegraph website regularly (but not the Premium product because I am disinclined to fund their ideology). I cannot find the Ahern article. I repeat, if you are going to use a source, you have to supply the detailed argument, or provide a source readers can actually check.

      You really are not very good at this; and I think I have given you a great deal more of my time and effort, diligently over several threads, than you deserve. You do not engage genuinely; you wish to make assertions and sweeping declamations, that do not appear to have sufficient substance to be defended. For example, and it is so typical of your style “I recognise nonsense when I read it” is not an argument. An argument is a demonstration of the grounds for it being nonsense. You never do take that step. Mr Ross, you are a time waster.

  9. William Ross says:

    John

    Maybe everyone who posts on here is a single person but I hope not.

    The Ahern piece does indeed come from the Telegraph but that is just co-incidental. I read many different sources of news. I also do not subscribe to the Premier Content but I was able to access the news article by clicking on http://www.brexit.central.com which features daily articles and news relating to Brexit. You may be able to do the same. There is no costed subscription to Brexit Central. Bertie Ahern is the former Irish leader who negotiated the Good Friday Agreement but maybe you would not consider him an authority on the ROI/UK border. His view, and mine, is that the only possible solution to the issue of cross-border trade without physical controls is technological but it will “not be perfect”. I think that Ahern`s view is very reasonable and balanced.

    If I make broad assertions in argument I must be learning from you. What else can you make of the sweeping assertion that Liam Fox`s recent pronouncement is made solely to achieve a no-deal Brexit when he is speaking for a Government which is ( wrongly in my view) offering billions in Danegeld for a Brexit deal?

    1. John S Warren says:

      Mr Ross,

      At last and at least you present what passes for an argument, after three attempts. It does not amount to much, and it is scarcely authoritative. Your source is the Telegraph (which you insisted was not relevant to your case); and reported by “brexit.central” (!) – a fast and lazy source for glib Brexiteer commenters. I presume you consider these founts of information to be unbiased and authoritative sources. You seem to have taken the quotations of Ahern as provided by brexit.central, so not from Ahern directly. We do not even seem to know whether this is an Ahern article, or an interview. You really do not bother much with research; pick an easy source that looks credible, and off you go.

      Here is what brexit.central wrote:

      “Ireland should take Theresa May ‘at her word’ when she says the UK Government does not want a post-Brexit hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, a former Taoiseach has said. Bertie Ahern, who served as Irish prime minister for more than a decade before leaving office in 2008, said Mrs May had ‘constantly said she doesn’t want a physical border’ between the two countries… Mr Ahern said he believed technology could be used to keep track of the majority of goods and therefore the creation of a hard border could be avoided.” That is it, with invitations to read paywall pieces in the Telegraph or Times. (Incidentally Mr Ross, if you sincerely wanted to engage in debate you could have presented this statement first time round; it is called providing sources. It is fundamental; but once this is seen, it isn’t much).

      No reason is given why “her word” should be sufficient for a completely independent sovereign country as a GUARANTEE. Frankly, without some context, it is bizarre. As for the “technology tracking”; well, that will work. Why did nobody realise it was all so easy? Eureka! Trust the Brexiteers without any reservation whatsoever, and rely on technology. Problem solved.

      I have no idea whether Ahern actually believes precisely what is claimed in this terse summary, but I would hazard a guess that most informed opinion, inside or outside Ireland would disagree with him if he does. This is why it is always dangerous to grab hold of a name, and claim that its authority decides an issue, whether or not it makes any sense.

      On Liam Fox, I very deliberately presented a hypothesis, indeed that is what I declared in my article. Unlike Newton, I form hypotheses; I am testing whether it fits the evidence, and I invite debate. My hypothesis of course may be false; but at the same time it was not an “assertion”, as you will know, since I assume you understand the nature and meaning of a ‘hypothesis’. In fact I believe my hypothesis fits the facts rather better than what I may term the ‘null’ hypothesis (that the Brexiteers actually want a deal with the EU over Brexit). I have seen nothing to change my mind. I remain sceptical of Mr Fox’s purpose, and have little confidence in the Government.

      Mr Ross, you only produced anything approaching an “argument” under pressure, and frankly it was not worth the effort. I suspect Mr Ahern is not an authority on technology (or would even claim to be), and I do not know why he should treat a remark by the PM as providing a cashable, 100% guarantee on a matter of such complexity. It isn’t even an offer, because nobody knows (or can know currently) what precisely the PM means; not even her. I can, however all too readily believe that one short paragraph from the Telegraph and brexit.central is sufficient to persuade you the problem is forever solved, and to begin pontificating on it to anyone who will listen. I rest my case. Mr Ross, you read carelessly and you argue perfunctorily and trivially. You are wasting my time; for the final time.

  10. William Ross says:

    John

    I am sorry to disappoint you but I am not under any pressure. But since you are so good at joining up dots you should join up some more. If you google “Bertie Ahern” you will come across various recent reports in which he supports the theory that a technological solution is the only workable one. You will find Sky and BBC reports among others. Ahern, I may add, is no friend of Brexit.

    Incidentally, there has recently been quite a bit of interesting coverage of the ROI/UK border issue from balanced Remainers like Hague, Samuel ( and Ahern off course) and Leavers like Paterson, Lilico and Hannan. They all converge on the same truth. The ROI/UK solution will be technology driven but it will not be perfect.

    Maybe you know more about the possibilities for the ROI/UK border than the Irish premier who signed the Good Friday Agreement but I have my doubts.

    Lets wait to see what actually happens.

    William

    1. Al says:

      My guess is you`ve never been to the border in Ireland, nevermind crossed it when it was militarised. Its was always nice to have the company of a British military heli shadowing you on a dark winters night as you drove along one of those dark little roads that crossed into the north. It was always a lot safer for the British in the air in the border areas, but not totally.

      Nothing has changed

      1. florian albert says:

        The reason the border was ‘militarized’ was because the IRA was engaged in a military campaign to bring about a united Ireland by force. (Personally, I would like to see a united Ireland.) The fact that both sides of the border were in the Common Market/EEC did not alter this.
        Once this military campaign ended, the border was demilitarized. In fact, it had been largely demilitarized before the PIRA campaign started in 1969. Between 1962 – when the previous IRA campaign ended – and 1969, the border was fairly open. There were a large number of ‘unapproved’ roads, as they were called, where there were no barriers or customs posts. Only the better quality of the road surface in the Six Counties let you know you had crossed a border at all.

  11. Willie says:

    John S Warren. Forget any eloquent argument.

    Folks like William Ross want a wall. Physical or electronic however, the net result is exactly the same. A wall is a wall.

    And how do you enforce a wall, physical or electronic.

    Maybe our William will be telling us next that this non existent wall will be run and enforced as a fairy ring of sorts.

    Run by the leprechauns, no doubt l William believes Paddy will be paying.

  12. Al says:

    Hey Jamsie,

    I think if you picked up a history book and informed yourself, it was that fact that Irish were never servile that England and later Britain could never fully subdue the Irish. They failed to do so despite fielding tactics and warfare equal to the worlds most notorious regimes, often genocidal in their manner. It didn`t work and they were defeated by young inexperienced lads, including some of my own family at the time, who often were chronically short of weapons and ammunition. If well equipped it would have been much, much worse for the British.

    Who`s asking the UK to submit to anything, they are the ones leaving and on their knees begging for a deal. Davis boasted that he would dictate to the EU, what happened?
    The Brits buckled on the 3 preconditions, now they have buckled on a ~60 billion or more payout. They have more or less calved (as we say) or buckled on the ECJ. They`ll also buckle on the border or else there will be no deal. We`ll be fine in Ireland, we export more to Belgium than the UK.
    https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/irl/.

    Irish Agri is already redeploying away from the UK with exports of beef/dairy to the US, ME, North Africa, Asia, inc. China, Japan. Ireland is one of the biggest baby formula suppliers to the Chinese market etc.https://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.irishtimes.com%2Fbusiness%2Fagribusiness-and-food%2Fireland-now-second-biggest-exporter-of-infant-formula-to-china-1.2360659&event=comments&redir_token=Wi61H-RZ1eVK9yDHyHuDt2FmC6V8MTUxMjA3NDQzOUAxNTExOTg4MDM5
    That`s before you consider that agri exports to the UK are only a small part of Irish total exports.

    Ireland is one of the only countries that the UK has a trade surplus with in the billions. Your balance of payments is horrendous, very large budget deficit and one of the worst productivity levels in Europe. The UK is fast returning to its pre EEC/EU state as the sick man of Europe with the next stop the IMF, we may even lend you a few bob to return the favour which we are well on the way of repaying. We are running a balanced budget atm and will likely be in surplus next year, so we will be good for it.

    The EU have a far better knowledge and understanding of Irish issues and history, Barnier has visited the border regions and spoke with the locals, so has Guy Verhofstadt. The British, and lets face it its England as the Tories and their cohorts only see Scotland and Wales as appendages of greater England, and to be ignored at will, these guys are completely clueless. The arrogance and ignorance of their own history is breath taking and you`d wonder what their expensive school fees bought with such ignorance. All the Tories would have to do is listen to Irish radio and watch an RTE news bulletin on the issue and they`d see what the issue was, instead we had the loon Ian D Smith waffling about a no existent Irish Presidential election and Sinn Féin wining it. If that`s what passes for smarts in Westminster then ye are truly screwed. The flights of fantasy I seen from these guys and the comments from such brexit loons really is a sight to behold.

    As for the border in the north of Ireland, its in its end days. A majority of people in NI want a border in the Irish sea, https://sluggerotoole.com/2017/11/26/exclusive-poll-unionist-supporters-content-with-east-west-post-brexit-border-controls/. The demographics in the north is changing to a majority nationalist/republican population. The unionist have lost their majority and dying out in a recent poll 62% of 188-44 yr olds supported a United Ireland, https://sluggerotoole.com/2017/10/25/lucidtalk-poll-on-a-border-poll-irish-unity/. If the DUP pull the pin on the Tories they are left with my friends Corbyn and Mcdonald who know Irish history and how to right a wrong and facilitating a United Ireland in the next few years. Its a lose lose for the bigoted Christian fundies of the DUP.

    I predicted Brexit & Corbyn and I see the May & Co. on her knees buckling to the EU scared sideways to go w/o a deal.

    So Brexiteer get off yer knees and stop begging for a deal, go if ye are going and when it goes to the dogs the North will return to it right and natural place as part of Ireland.

  13. Al says:

    I think if you picked up a history book and informed yourself, it was that fact that Irish were never servile that England and later Britain could never fully subdue the Irish. They failed to do so despite fielding tactics and warfare equal to the worlds most notorious regimes, often genocidal in their manner. It didn`t work and they were defeated by young inexperienced lads, including some of my own family at the time, who often were chronically short of weapons and ammunition. If well equipped it would have been much, much worse for the British.

    Who`s asking the UK to submit to anything, they are the ones leaving and on their knees begging for a deal. Davis boasted that he would dictate to the EU, what happened?
    The Brits buckled on the 3 preconditions, now they have buckled on a ~60 billion or more payout. They have more or less calved (as we say) or buckled on the ECJ. They`ll also buckle on the border or else there will be no deal. We`ll be fine in Ireland, we export more to Belgium than the UK.
    https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/irl/.

    Irish Agri is already redeploying away from the UK with exports of beef/dairy to the US, ME, North Africa, Asia, inc. China, Japan. Ireland is one of the biggest baby formula suppliers to the Chinese market etc.https://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.irishtimes.com%2Fbusiness%2Fagribusiness-and-food%2Fireland-now-second-biggest-exporter-of-infant-formula-to-china-1.2360659&event=comments&redir_token=Wi61H-RZ1eVK9yDHyHuDt2FmC6V8MTUxMjA3NDQzOUAxNTExOTg4MDM5
    That`s before you consider that agri exports to the UK are only a small part of Irish total exports.

    Ireland is one of the only countries that the UK has a trade surplus with in the billions. Your balance of payments is horrendous, very large budget deficit and one of the worst productivity levels in Europe. The UK is fast returning to its pre EEC/EU state as the sick man of Europe with the next stop the IMF, we may even lend you a few bob to return the favour which we are well on the way of repaying. We are running a balanced budget atm and will likely be in surplus next year, so we will be good for it.

    The EU have a far better knowledge and understanding of Irish issues and history, Barnier has visited the border regions and spoke with the locals, so has Guy Verhofstadt. The British, and lets face it its England as the Tories and their cohorts only see Scotland and Wales as appendages of greater England, and to be ignored at will, these guys are completely clueless. The arrogance and ignorance of their own history is breath taking and you`d wonder what their expensive school fees bought with such ignorance. All the Tories would have to do is listen to Irish radio and watch an RTE news bulletin on the issue and they`d see what the issue was, instead we had the loon Ian D Smith waffling about a non existent Irish Presidential election and Sinn Féin winning it. If that`s what passes for smarts in Westminster then ye are truly screwed. The flights of fantasy I seen from these guys and the comments from such brexit loons really is a sight to behold.

    As for the border in the north of Ireland, its in its end days. A majority of people in NI want a border in the Irish sea, https://sluggerotoole.com/2017/11/26/exclusive-poll-unionist-supporters-content-with-east-west-post-brexit-border-controls/. The demographics in the north is changing to a majority nationalist/republican population. The unionist have lost their majority and dying out in a recent poll 62% of 18-44 yr olds supported a United Ireland, https://sluggerotoole.com/2017/10/25/lucidtalk-poll-on-a-border-poll-irish-unity/. If the DUP pull the pin on the Tories they are left with my friends Corbyn and Mcdonald who know Irish history and how to right a wrong and facilitating a United Ireland in the next few years. Its a lose lose for the bigoted Christian fundies of the DUP.

    So Brexiteer get off yer knees and stop begging for a deal, go if ye are going and when it goes to the dogs the North will return to it right and natural place as part of Ireland.

    1. Jamsie says:

      Really?
      Och well the border wont be an issue then.
      Except it is Dublin squealing about it.
      Sorry but your desperation to win a debate is clouding your perspective on reality.
      When do you think the UK will be paid back?
      Suggest you go check.
      Utter fantasy.
      And as for never being servile surely as subsidy junkies you realise how stupid that sounds.

  14. Al says:

    Edit
    Chinese export link for the previous post.
    https://www.irishtimes.com/business/agribusiness-and-food/ireland-now-second-biggest-exporter-of-infant-formula-to-china-1.2360659

    Hey Jamsie,

    When you can construct a cohesive argument with some facts, come back to us. Until then you can continue to hide under your bed. Who knows, the next time you just have to tick a box to become independent, you may have to courage get up off your knees and join the rest of us adults.

    1. Jamsie says:

      Exactly.
      Does that make feel servile?
      Having to come to the Brits to keep the country afloat – again!
      Just as well the Irish have us to look up to eh?

      1. Al says:

        Again just flailing incoherently, incapable of composing a rational fact based argument. Brexiteer logic, no wonder the EU has the UK spreadeagled.

        Enjoy the ride.

  15. Al says:

    Ireland – UK bilateral loan of 3.2 billion sterling, final payment in March 2021, 430m sterling in interest paid to the UK as of April 2107, an good investment and business transaction for the UK treasury.

    No freebie`s, just a cold hard business.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/ireland-pays-more-than-400m-in-interest-on-uk-bailout-loan-1.3053791.

    1. Charles L. Gallagher says:

      Well done Al I knew that loan was in process of being repaid but couldn’t find info to spike a certain contributors guns

  16. Al says:

    Surprise, surprise the people of Ireland north and south don`t want a hard border for social and family reasons, but if it comes to protecting the integrity of Ireland’s and the EU`s internal market it will have to be. Its impossible to have two regulatory regimes coexisting in Ireland w/o a border, hence why the north will have to remain in the SM & CU or the UK will have to remain as a whole. If not, then the Brits or really the English (as the Scots and Welsh are virtual eunuchs in such matters) will get no deal and a hard brexit with WTO regs which necessitate them putting up a border in the north and dodging hot metal for the foreseeable future.
    We`ll let the UK wither on the vine in splendid isolation, where they will be the new play thing for their “bestest” buddy, the orange menace and his far right pals. In the meantime we will wait for the right time to incorporate the north when its good and ripe and majority of the populace have seen the light. Its called the long game.

    1. Jamsie says:

      Dearie me.
      You really do have a problem with comprehension don’t you.
      Any border will be erected by the ROI on the orders of the EU which you Irish will dutifully follow because yer subsidised way of life will be cut if you don’t.
      Independent Ireland my arse.
      You have always been servile and always will be as you are incapable of running a country which stands on its own two feet.
      And as for a united Ireland my guess is it will never happen.
      As you ably demonstrate there are inherent structural issues to be overcome.
      Apart from the fact that Dublin can’t afford the North they don’t really want it either.
      Irishmen hating Irishmen is the way you choose to live.
      It will never change and the worst thing is Irishmen don’t want it to change.
      You enjoy yer subsidies now – while they last.
      Germany will soon be saying enough is enough.
      And then you will have to pay your fair share to keep the Eurocrats in the luxury they have become accustomed to.
      Be happy don’t worry!
      We won’t!

      1. Al says:

        Again you insist on displaying your limited intellect via your usual bigotry, just watch and learn how a real nation handles its interests.

        The DUP to be shafted and the UK buckled, again.

        Slán go fóill

        1. Jamsie says:

          As I said Irishmen hating Irishmen!
          The begging bowl is your reality.
          And you are clearly the bigot here.
          Funny thing is you think you are not.
          A wee bit introspection might do you the world of good.
          When Irishmen stop hating Irishmen there may be a seed to start but until then you will remain as the world sees you.
          Subsidy junkies and supporters of terrorisism against your own countrymen.

          1. This is becoming too abusive. Yellow card warning.

  17. Willie says:

    To change the subject, what do we think of the Prime Minister May starting a spat with President Trump.

    Trump as we all know has some strange views and his uncomfortableness with Muslims, if that be the term is legend.

    But he mines a rich vein with this because the public perception of atrocity after attrocity across Europe and beyond is well etched in people’s minds.

    So why then did the muppet Mrs May raise the issue of Trump’s tweet of some Britain First videos.

    All she has done is raise the publicity way way way beyond audience who would otherwise have received the tweet and very possibly just ignored it.

    Did she intend this in some Machavelian way to reinforce the need for Brexit, since Brexit is essentially about foreigners, and foreigners equal Islamic terrorists, ergo Brexit.

    Or was the able Lady just giving off a bit of British belligerence whereby the Britannia can take on the world and win.

    I mean we were going to take on the EU and win because they will do what we say, we are going to take on the Irish and decide that they will get a a border.

    And now we are going to tell the President of the world’s most powerful country what he should and shouldn’t say, and by the way tell him he’s not welcome for a visit…..

    Meanwhile, economic growth flat lines, businesses head for the (br) exit door, the collapsed pound fuels inflation, the downturn in economic living standards continues to the point where families now earn less than ten years ago, whilst cut backs in social provision are savaged.

    And now it seems we have to give dirty Johnny’s Foreigner £45,000,000,000 for the pleasure of leaving.

    Yeah, Mrs May and her band of Brexiteers certainly know how to kick ass.

    She’ll no doubt be telling the USA what trade deal they are to give us next.

    Meanwhile the urchins at home roar and clap at the resurgence of Great Britannia – led on by our very own cartoon Boadecia and her Flying Circus.
    .

    1. Al says:

      The arrogance and ignorance displayed by the Tories and the brexitieers towards the democratic will of Scotland and NI is of Kim Jung proportions. The fallacy of Britnat superiority in the 21rst century, is to global eye’s, a delusion of epic proportions. The UK is in his death throes and the final nail in the coffin is Brexit. Just like the scorpion and the frog, the ignorance and hubris of these has-beens has been their undoing.

  18. J S Warren says:

    It appears that Ireland will indeed have a veto on whether the UK has made sufficient progress in negotiations over the weekend to move to Phase Two of the Brexit discussions, according to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk; as reported in the Guardian website today. Tusk’s statement follows a meeting with the Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin today, in which Tusk is quoted as follows:

    “Let me say very clearly. If the UK offer is unacceptable for Ireland, it will also be unacceptable for the EU. I realise that for some British politicians this may be hard to understand. But such is the logic behind the fact that Ireland is the EU member while the UK is leaving. This is why the key to the UK’s future lies, in some ways, in Dublin, at least as long as Brexit negotiations continue”.

    1. Al says:

      Just confirms that the Brexiteers crystal ball, was really their own reflection staring back at the them from bottom of their toilet bowl. The Irish have just flushed the handle and shocked them back to reality.

    2. florian albert says:

      An Irish veto on a possible Brexit deal might be a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’
      As Professor Brendan Simms wrote in the New Statesman on November 27th, the EU will itself pay a ‘hefty price’ for the UK leaving the EU and Ireland will suffer ‘disproportionately’. (Simms is a supporter of a United State of Europe.)
      If this happens, Ireland can call to mind how helpful the EU has been to Greece in her economic distress.
      My own guess is that there is no real appetite in Dublin for such confrontation. Between 1932 and 1932 the Irish Free State got involved in a ‘trade war’ with the
      UK. It did huge damage to the Free State economy, particularly farmers, and was barely noticed in the UK. On that occasion, the Irish rallied behind de Valera.
      I can’t see today’s leaders in Dublin putting sovereignty above material comfort.

      1. John S Warren says:

        The economist Professor John Fitzgerald (Trinity College, Dublin) suggested considerable work has been done in Ireland on the economic consequences of Brexit (Irish Times, 26th June). He estimated that the consequences of a ‘hard Brexit’ was of between -7% to +1% change in Irish GDP, a wide range because of the uncertainties, but the greater likelihood of a negative outcome, possibly a very negative one. In particular he made much of the customs problems that would ensue with a hard Brexit and was clear that: “The downside risk would be significantly lower if the UK opted to remain in the Customs Union”.

        There is an extraordinary inability of critics promoting British intransigence on the border issue to see or understand the problem Britain’s decision to undertake Brexit, and promote a ‘hard Brexit’ on matters like the border, has gratuitously presented to Ireland. At the same time the same critics myopically and obtusely inflate the importance of British interests to the point that not only do they believe British interests should prevail for the British (fair enough), but British interests should prevail for both the EU and for Ireland. It is an extraordinary case of delusional self-importance. The proof is found in the fact that Donald Tusk feels obliged to point out that “for some British politicians this may be hard to understand”. It is becoming embarrassing to be British.

        “Be careful what you wish for”? I think that is an observation that every single voter in Britain who voted for Brexit should reflect on. 48% of the British electorate voted against Brexit, and if we add those who did not vote in the Referendum (27.8%), only 37% of the electorate actually voted FOR Brexit. The political representatives of the 37% may find that in the years ahead – they will be dealing with a very unforgiving electorate.

        1. Al says:

          The proof is found in the fact that Donald Tusk feels obliged to point out that “for some British politicians this may be hard to understand”. It is becoming embarrassing to be British.

          “for some British politicians this may be hard to understand” correct me if I`m wrong, but on the BBC news tonight they actually cut out that bit of Tusk`s speech, maybe its too disturbing a thought for plebs to handle. Bombard them with BS about the Harry & co instead.

          Yes we get the UK channels here in Ireland, free gratis. The news and commentariat can be good for a laugh at times.

      2. Al says:

        1930`s Ireland was an newly independent country clawing itself out of its impoverished state, a result of Britain’s parasitical and exploitative relationship with the country and it populace for centuries. Despite Britain presiding over the worst slums in Europe in there second city of “empire” Dublin, with one of the worst infant mortality rates in the world pre 1922. The newly independent Irish state managed to invest 20% (5.2 million pounds) of its 25 million state budget in a state of the art hydroelectric scheme which provided all the new states electrical supply needs and more. This was built and designed by Irish engineers in conjunction with Siemens of Germany. Completed within 7yrs of independence, the “feckless” and “thick” paddies had built the largest and most advanced hydroelectric scheme in the world, not surpassed till the completion of the Hoover Dam, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shannon_hydroelectric_scheme. All this while the industrialised northern 6 counties was hived off to create a sectarian apartheid statlet, which even now is a basket case appendage to England and did not get full electrification for decades after it was achieved in Ireland.

        Ireland`s exports at the time were focused on Britain and totally agri. On joining the EEC in 1973 Ireland’s exports to Britain were ~55-60% of total. Today as I said previously we export 13% to the UK, the same as Belgium. We export twice that to the USA, https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/irl/.

        Ireland, despite what the dimwittery of the Brexiteers, BBC and a certain wing of the media in Britain may tell you, is a high tech economy and not just milk churns. I`d be fairly certain there is a Irish manufactured processor in the pc/laptop you are using atm, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_Republic_of_Ireland.

        Ireland also has a large commercial mining industry, being on of the largest zinc/lead producers in the world with one of the largest deposits on the globe. It also has incredible potential for other precious metals and rare earths exploitation. You`ve got to make the best of what you have and at least its ours to utilise and best manage rather than be exploited by a foreign government. We will protect our interests and if we have to shaft Britain in a no deal scenario, then we`ll do it. The arrogance shown by the halfwits across the water along with there proxies in the north has only served to remind us why we kicked the dim pompous fools out in the first place. I can only have sympathy for the Scots that are still shackled to them, the Welsh I fear are too far gone to extract themselves. The Irish state has the backing of its fellow EU members to take the air out of the Brexiteer windbags. If the North is kept in the same regulatory environment for customs and trade etc as Ireland the EU with no divergence, then Britain will be allowed to move to phase 2. If not, Britain will be stuck facing a no deal scenario with the ticking clock.

        The Brits have always underestimated the Irish and that`s fine, it makes the job of getting the better of them that much easier. The Irish have always proved themselves more adept, intelligent and resourceful than their larger neighbour, this time its been proven no different. Just compare Dublin and London, and the level of IQ being displayed by the governments and commentariat on either side. The British or I should say English, to be fair to out “celtic” relations, are showing us here in Ireland, a whole new level of stupidity and ignorance that we believed impossible by any person that could tie their own shoelaces. At this stage of the game we are nearly starting to feel sorry for anyone subject to such an incompetent and petulant outfit, nearly.

        1. Thanks AI – didn’t know that about Irish hydro systems

          1. Charles L. Gallagher says:

            I’ve tried to avoid this debate but as I read through some of the comments and they brought to mind a comment made by an old relative who had fought in the ‘War for Independence’, he said, “We should be grateful to the English aristocracy who used Ireland as their private playground for they ensured that while Ireland’s countryside was not industrialised like the English Midlands, today we have clean, pure water and ideal for new 20th century environmentally friendly industry like pharmaceuticals etc.” I would also add that the Republic has made massive strides forward, compared to certain 17th century people in N.Ireland.

      3. Al says:

        Boy o boy, pick up a history book and enlighten yourself about the Irish.

    3. Jamsie says:

      Looks like JSW called it right…….well almost……naw?
      Well it wis Nor’n Oirland!
      Looks like Dublin will just have to wait and see what comes out of the talks now.
      If they were worried about no deal before they should be even more worried now.
      It’s all about the history you know.

  19. David Allan says:

    I fear that the whole brexit debacle will hasten the prospect of an untidy Irish re-unification. (something I believed would eventually occur by a smooth process of gradualism much like the road to Scottish Independence).

    Brexit and it’s implications for Ireland has awakened and re-focused the unionist side whose alarm bells are ringing that the whole debate on the issue could possibly result in a prospect of future vote on re-unification. A vote which they realise may not deliver their sort of desired outcome.

    My nightmare – that were such a vote to succeed in uniting Ireland. The outcome would result in a flood of British Unionist Sectarian Bigots re-locating to Scotland.

    All determined to defend their Britishness and DUP politics and support Scotland’s answer to Arlene Foster in the cause against Scottish Independence.

    I of course sincerely hope for a variety of reasons that these fears are not realised.

    (no doubt Jaimsie will wish to impart some perceived wisdom on the subject)

  20. David Allan says:

    I fear that the whole brexit debacle will hasten the prospect of an untidy Irish re-unification. (something I believed would eventually occur by a smooth process of gradualism much like the road to Scottish Independence).

    Brexit and it’s implications for Ireland has awakened and re-focused the unionist side whose alarm bells are ringing that the whole debate on the issue could possibly result in a prospect of future vote on re-unification. A vote which they realise may not deliver their sort of desired outcome.

    My nightmare – that were such a vote to succeed in uniting Ireland. The outcome would result in a flood of British Unionist Sectarian Bigots re-locating to Scotland.

    All determined to defend their Britishness and DUP politics and support Scotland’s answer to Arlene Foster in the cause against Scottish Independence.

    I of course sincerely hope for a variety of reasons that these fears are not realised.

    (no doubt Jaimsie will wish to impart some perceived wisdom on the subject)

    1. Jamsie says:

      David
      Disnae matter how many times you say it it’s no gonnae happen.
      When Brexit comes as it surely will there will be some stark choices facing ROI and the EU.
      And the biggest will be to compromise on the border situation to enable goods to flow freely.
      Movement of people is ideological and I personally think irrelevant when compared with the dangers of trade being stifled.
      That would hurt the north but would hurt the ROI more as the effect of trade across the Irish Sea undergoing customs checks will in all probability lead to ROI exporting to the north and then on to the UK.
      As well as this given the ROI will also be receiving less from the EU as they won’t have it to give when the UK leaves it would be economic suicide to turn away from a separate unique agreement.
      If a hard Brexit is forced on the UK solely because of the border issue then ROI will lose exports to the UK which they can ill afford to lose so obviously the EU will need to allow the ROI to strike a deal which is differently from mainland Europe’s deal.
      The EU know this hence the willingness to work with the UK Govt following Monday’s debacle.

  21. John S Warren says:

    From The Telegraph website around 12.30pm on Monday, 4th December:

    “Britain and the European Union are understood to have agreed there will be regulatory alignment on the island of Ireland to ensure there is no hard border between Northern and Southern Ireland.

    Philippe Lamberts, a Belgian MEP, said that the draft text he had seen on Ireland agrees to “full alignment”.

    He said: “What we saw was an outline of the withdrawal agreement. If you were to ask Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson or Jacob Rees-Mogg got what they wanted – not a lot. Brexit is a lose-lose.”

  22. John S Warren says:

    The British Government draft proposal to the EU yesterday, which would have allowed Northern Ireland to maintain “regulatory alignment” with the EU, met the clear requirements of the Irish Government as stated by the Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin, the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, and all the other key EU officials yesterday (in an attempt also to accommodate official British Government policy); and which prevented a “hard border” with the Irish Republic, has been rejected by the DUP. Arlene Foster, the DUP leader has now refused to meet the PM today.

    This situation tends to reduce the British Government’s Brexit options towards a single solution that increasingly seems to have been the implicit purpose that few outside the DUP, and the hard-right Tory Brexiteers would ever wish for: a hard Brexit. If this was not the purpose of Conservative Government scheming (I will not dignify the current chaos with the word “strategy”), why give the DUP the power they now have, over the Conservative Government? The only other explanation would be that the real purpose of the DUP deal was simply for the Conservatives somehow to hang on to power in Westminster, no matter what; even if, they were in office but not in power, and for no stated purpose or expectations? I am struggling to find a third viable interpretation of current Conservative Brexit politics.

    Alternatively, we could decide that Brexit does not mean Brexit. That could work.

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