BREXIT IN IRELAND AND OTHER CONTORTIONS

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As with Ulster-Scots before the Good Friday Agreement, I’d never heard of a soft border or a hard border before the Brexit vote. Now everybody’s talking about it and not everybody is in agreement with everybody else.

Why is that? Well, it’s a bit like believing in democracy for Northern Ireland. When the Brexit vote showed that we in the north (and Scotland) had voted Remain but the UK as a whole had voted for Brexit, it raised some uncomfortable questions. Martin McGuinness and others tried to object to having the north pulled out of the EU in the teeth of its obvious opposition to that happening’  Arlene Foster said rubbish, the vote was a UK-wide vote, not one where sections like N Ireland or Scotland determined the outcome. Which is exactly what Carson and his henchmen demanded in 1912: the UK as a whole might want to give Ireland Home Rule, but Ulster (later two-thirds of Ulster) insisted that this was undemocratic, given that Ulster (later two-thirds of Ulster) clearly wanted to stay in.

There are two ways of getting out of this contradiction. One is to somehow twist the argument so that for Brexit, the north’s views are irrelevant, but with Home Rule the north’s views are crucial. The other is to ignore the glaring contrast and keep repeating that this was a UK-wide vote.

The hard border-soft border is a bit like the UK’s claims, now that it has committed to leaving the EU. Being in the EU meant access to shared markets; the price for that was the free movement of people throughout the EU area. Now, the UK claims that somehow, although it’ll no longer be a member of the EU, the UK will be able to have access to the markets of the EU and still be able to decide who comes in and who stays out of the UK. Various major voices in the EU have assured Britain that no such thing is going to happen, yet the claims go on being made. Shades of 1984.

 But back again to the hard border/soft border. James Brokenshire was on Good Morning Ulster (or two-thirds of it anyway) this morning, reassuring Chris Buckler that there’d be a soft border, no impediments in the way of the ‘common travel’ arrangements between the UK and the south of Ireland, which have existed since long before either Britain or Ireland joined the EU. When Buckler pressed him on how this would work, Brokenshire lapsed into generalities. He’s not alone. People have risen from the political grave to explain how the soft border will work.

People like former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. People might be asked to produce their passport, but there’ll be no question of searches or questioning of individuals, the  Fianna Fail man insists. How you’ll keep people out of the UK without questioning or searching, Bertie hadn’t time to explain.

In the end, the UK has two alternatives. One is to establish a hard border here in Ireland, with check-points and passports and questioning and searching. Not good news for business but one way of keeping unwanted immigrants out of the UK. The second is to say you’re guarding the UK from illegals, but in practice to abandon the north of Ireland. Well, no, not abandon. The UK will get the south of Ireland to do all sorts of checks to see that no illegals are getting out of Ireland into the UK.

Still with me? Don’t worry, Virginia, my head hurts too. In essence it’s either Britain in Ireland, making sure the border is high-walled and well-manned, or it’s Britain leaving Ireland to do the heavy who-are-you-empty-your-pockets stuff – to do the doorman work so Britons can sleep easier in their beds, confident that they won’t be wakened by a tsunami of immigrants bursting into their bedrooms.

 

 

 

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31 Responses to BREXIT IN IRELAND AND OTHER CONTORTIONS

  1. Mark October 19, 2016 at 8:36 am #

    http://www.courts.ie/judgments.nsf/6681dee4565ecf2c80256e7e0052005b/d52e538177f9f42e802579a400538785?OpenDocument
    Above the judgement of my fellow Penn. Graduate, albeit in different subject area, outlining the rational and limitations of the CTA between Ireland and Britain.
    My reading is that, and I have, successfully argued this with GNIB officers, I, as a citizen, with colour and accent showing I am a Paddy, have no requirement to afford GNIB my Passport in travel between home and work, in the alternative, ‘non national citizens’ the new variety, can, reasonably be required to produce such documentation presently.
    On the other hand, Brits can be required to produce ID to ensure they have the necessary permission to avail of CTA, but you and I Jude, can continue onwards to Croke for nect years semi final, see you, Passport free, in Quinns.

  2. Cal October 19, 2016 at 8:39 am #

    The tories are driving a horse and cart through both the terms and the spirit of the GFA in their plans to abandon the European court of human rights and ignoring the principle of consent.

    The Irish government need to be especially strong in standing up for us and that fills me with dread. Relying on Enda to fight our corner does not inspire confidence.

  3. billy October 19, 2016 at 9:31 am #

    good to see you now recognise the immigrants as unwanted.as cal says abandoning the european court of human rights will pave the way for new laws to be drafted so migrants will have no reason to come.so no reasons for hard borders once they have control of this problem.

    • Mark October 19, 2016 at 11:59 am #

      Billy, I should not go so far as to call Unionists ‘immigrants’, though, there again!

  4. Donal Kennedy October 19, 2016 at 10:02 am #

    I like the pictures of Farage and Boris Bonkers.
    Talking of photogenic oddballs reminds me of the Naval Battle of Billingsgate between Bob Geldof and Farage. It should be re-enacted annually for the tourists, like the Battle of the Flowers in Jersey.
    Never have I seen two warriors each with all the gravitas of a used condom salesman.

    • Sherdy October 19, 2016 at 5:44 pm #

      I have never had much love for the English, but not even I would impose that doughty duo on their population.
      A little mercy wouldn’t go amiss, Donal!

  5. billy October 19, 2016 at 11:12 am #

    the (bearded)children refugees will be on talkback.
    lucky they werent on the titanic women n childer last.

  6. Antaine de Brún October 19, 2016 at 11:12 am #

    There is talk of soft borders, hard borders and even long borders, for example the 350km long border between Iraq and Turkey. There are 18,000 Iraqi army troops and 10,000 Kurdish Peshmerga, against an estimated 5,000 Isis fighters thought to be inside Mosul city.

    Turkey’s president, has invoked a century-old Ottoman manifesto, the Misak-ı Millî (National Oath), to bolster his country’s claims on Mosul while Aid agencies believe a mass exodus of about 1.3 million from the city and its surroundings could take place as soon as forces enter the city.

    This at a time when migrants have been told they only have one day left in the Calais camp before being forced out of the area. The French government announced that they will bulldoze the camp. Millions are being displaced and the response from western powers remains fixated on military intervention in the Middle East. Most of us will remember the oft reported eve of battle speech in 2008 with references to:

    “…the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham…don’t treat them as refugees for they are in their own country…let’s bring everyone home and leave Iraq a better place for us having been there.”

    Back home at the ranch, the rate of inflation is rising and all the indications are that there will be no need to empty pockets that are already empty.

  7. MT October 19, 2016 at 4:50 pm #

    “When the Brexit vote showed that we in the north (and Scotland) had voted Remain but the UK as a whole had voted for Brexit, it raised some uncomfortable questions. Martin McGuinness and others tried to object to having the north pulled out of the EU in the teeth of its obvious opposition to that happening’ Arlene Foster said rubbish, the vote was a UK-wide vote, not one where sections like N Ireland or Scotland determined the outcome. Which is exactly what Carson and his henchmen demanded in 1912: the UK as a whole might want to give Ireland Home Rule, but Ulster (later two-thirds of Ulster) insisted that this was undemocratic, given that Ulster (later two-thirds of Ulster) clearly wanted to stay in.”

    A majority in NI voting for the UK as a whole to remain in the EU is not the same as a majority voting for NI to be given some kind of separate and special status in the EU in the event of a Brexit vote.

    • Ryan October 20, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

      “A majority in NI voting for the UK as a whole to remain in the EU is not the same as a majority voting for NI to be given some kind of separate and special status in the EU in the event of a Brexit vote.”

      Nice way to twist it MT, Arlene and Lord Carson would be proud but unfortunately the people of the North only speak for themselves, as do the English, Welsh, etc The majority voted for the North to remain in the EU, the same happened in Scotland where a majority wants Scotland to remain in the EU. There’s no getting around that fact.

      • MT October 20, 2016 at 4:17 pm #

        “Nice way to twist it MT,”

        I’m not twisting anything.

        “Arlene and Lord Carson would be proud but unfortunately the people of the North only speak for themselves, as do the English, Welsh, etc ”

        Nobody has said otherwise.

        “The majority voted for the North to remain in the EU, the same happened in Scotland where a majority wants Scotland to remain in the EU. There’s no getting around that fact.”

        Wrong. The majority voted for the UK to remain in the UK.

        Many, including myself, voted for the UK as a whole to remain in the EU but would be opposed to NI remaining on its own if the rest of the UK was leaving, even if that were possible (which it isn’t).

        They are two different questions.

        • MT October 20, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

          That should, of course, say stay in the EU.

  8. MT October 19, 2016 at 4:53 pm #

    “The second is to say you’re guarding the UK from illegals, but in practice to abandon the north of Ireland. Well, no, not abandon. The UK will get the south of Ireland to do all sorts of checks to see that no illegals are getting out of Ireland into the UK.”

    How would this work? What would the Southern authorities do if they detected someone entering Cork who did not require a visa to enter Southern Ireland but did require one to enter the UK?

    • Sherdy October 19, 2016 at 5:49 pm #

      Hopefully not even Enda Kenny would be such a pro-Brit groveller to do their dirty border work for them, and I’m sure there would be some EU regulation to prevent Ireland controlling migration to the UK!

      • Ryan October 20, 2016 at 2:25 am #

        ” and I’m sure there would be some EU regulation to prevent Ireland controlling migration to the UK!”

        Yeah, the very basic one: Freedom of Movement lol the Republic may be able to question EU citizens (expect a torrent of complaints, and rightly so) but they cant stop EU citizens coming here and intending to cross into the North and then onto Britain itself. The only way to stop illegal migration to the UK through the North is for a hard border or Britain having its borders drawn around the island of Britain, excluding the North. That would mean checking the passports of everyone, including people from the North/South, who want to go into Britain. So even legal British citizens from the North (Unionists) will have to show their passports.

    • Ryan2 October 19, 2016 at 6:18 pm #

      If anyone seriously thinks that a German or Dutch person coming into Ireland is going to questioned by the Irish authorities in an Irish airport is seriously delusional.

      Another brain fart from a British politican. Second nature to them now.

      • Ryan October 20, 2016 at 2:17 am #

        “If anyone seriously thinks that a German or Dutch person coming into Ireland is going to questioned by the Irish authorities in an Irish airport is seriously delusional”

        Well said Mr Ryan2.

    • Ryan October 20, 2016 at 2:35 am #

      “How would this work? What would the Southern authorities do if they detected someone entering Cork who did not require a visa to enter Southern Ireland but did require one to enter the UK?”

      That’s the point MT, it makes no sense. What could the Southern authorities do? Nothing, that person could enter the South and easily cross over into the North and then onto Britain itself. For example, a Romanian EU citizen could walk into the South (or any part of EU) and stay for as long as they like and then cross the border, there’s nothing the South could do because they would be violating basic EU rules (freedom of movement) if they did stop that Romanian Citizen. The Romanian citizen obviously wouldn’t be telling anyone of their plan to cross the border into the North. But even if they did, what is the Irish government expected to do? keep tabs on all EU immigrants? How many tens of millions would that cost? If it could even be done, which it cant.

      In order to stop the Romanian crossing into Britain there would have to be a Hard Border (expect political/economic chaos in the North) or Britain drawing its border and checkpoints around the island of Britain itself, via airports, shipping ports, etc thus demanding everyone, including UK citizens from the North, to show their passports when crossing into Britain.

      • MT October 20, 2016 at 7:22 am #

        I guess the answer is one of policy. If the UK doesn’t require visas for EU citizens to enter the UK then the situation isn’t much different from currently.

        Immigration control becomes a matter for detection within the UK. Deport them when detected.

        • Ryan October 20, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

          “. If the UK doesn’t require visas for EU citizens to enter the UK then the situation isn’t much different from currently”

          Then that’s Freedom of Movement, exactly the thing most people voted to get rid off.

          “Immigration control becomes a matter for detection within the UK. Deport them when detected”

          Easier said than done. There’s tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from outside the EU already living (and working) in the UK and they haven’t been detected or deported yet despite it being in the UK’s power

          • MT October 20, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

            “Then that’s Freedom of Movement, exactly the thing most people voted to get rid off.”

            Nobody voted to get rid of free movement of people. The vote was about membership of the EU.

            Some people reckoned they were voting against free movement of labour but ending that doesn’t mean denying entry.

            “Immigration control becomes a matter for detection within the UK. Deport them when detected”

            “Easier said than done. There’s tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from outside the EU already living (and working) in the UK and they haven’t been detected or deported yet despite it being in the UK’s power”

            None of it us easy.

  9. Perkin Warbeck October 19, 2016 at 5:18 pm #

    GB has now spoken, Esteemed Blogmeister, and directed his daemonically devoted disciples to follow GB on the Brighton (to London) Line, the fashionable line. So, the topic of Brexit, qua topic, is set to grind to an abrupt halt in the Free Southern Stateen.

    Gay Byrne (for it is he !), a near nonagenarian, is one who, having spent most of his adult (alleged) life in the limelight, is clearly missing the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd. Thus, unlike Hamlet, he has been too little in The Sun of late.

    This has led The Professor Emeritus of Donnybrook Detritus Studies in Royal RTE (for it is also he !) to emerge from the confines of Camp Oblivion.

    Bravely, with talking stick in one hand and in the other (the one he held behind his sainted back while ‘greeting’ a tainted guest on a famous hames of an occasion on his legendary Late, Late Show Off) his geriatric urinary incontinence pad, he subjected himself to a harrowing interrogation in the full glare of The Sun.

    Opined the politically savvy savant:

    -Irexit would, could and should be the most sensible thing to do.

    OLD FAITHFUL IS LOYAL TO THE NEAR END

    ‘Sir’ Oracle has now spoken: let no dog bark
    Born was he with a poppy-shaped birthmark
    Will it win him a knighthood?
    And rid us of this blighthood
    The geyser of the Green, White ‘n Yellowstone Park.

  10. Sherdy October 19, 2016 at 5:39 pm #

    Just wondering:
    The UK intends activating Article 50 around St Patrick’s Day next year, so they can enter two years of exit negotiations.
    On St Patrick’s Day 2019 when negotiations conclude, if ‘our’ team find they only have a bad deal which will be worse than we have pre-Brexit, will they be in a position to say: ‘Hold on, we’d be better staying in the EU – we’ve changed our minds’, will they be able to keep the UK in the EU, or will they have to re-apply for membership?
    You mention our SOS, James Brokenshire – am I getting old, or does he seem to anyone else to be just a little message boy who will say anything to get himself out of any uncomfortable spot?
    I seem to remember, some time after Bertie Ahern’s retirement, when there was talk about him being investigated about brown envelopes and some such, poor Bertie was in poor health, bad memory, maybe Alzheimers, couldn’t withstand rugged cross questioning, but now those days are past, Bertie seems to have made a miraculous recovery, and is lucid as the best of us.
    On the English problem of immigration, the value of Sterling has collapsed something like 20%, and there is talk of thousands of job losses.
    Would any self-respecting would-be immigrant even think of setting up home in England? No, they will go anywhere but that land of the collapsing economy.
    Immigration problem solved!

  11. Ryan October 20, 2016 at 2:03 am #

    “Arlene Foster said rubbish, the vote was a UK-wide vote, not one where sections like N Ireland or Scotland determined the outcome. Which is exactly what Carson and his henchmen demanded in 1912: the UK as a whole might want to give Ireland Home Rule, but Ulster (later two-thirds of Ulster) insisted that this was undemocratic”

    Political Unionism is only democratic when the result is one they favour. If it isn’t (like most recently in Belfast City Hall) then its time to work the loyalist mob up, threaten havoc and then cry how they deplore the violence but blame it on others in the process.

    “Now, the UK claims that somehow, although it’ll no longer be a member of the EU, the UK will be able to have access to the markets of the EU and still be able to decide who comes in and who stays out of the UK”

    This is the reason why the UK was generally disliked by most other EU nations. The arrogance is outstanding. If the UK were to get such a deal, all the other EU nations would be hammering down the door in Brussels demanding a similar deal, that’s why such a deal will never happen. The EU said before and after Brexit that the essential requirement to access the Single Market was Freedom of Movement of people, there’s no one without the other.

    I did read an article the other day about how the UK Government is planning to offer the EU BILLIONS a year in order for London Financial Firms to get access to the Single Market after Brexit (the Brits looking after their buddies in high finance as usual). It didn’t divulge whether this was for all businesses or just Financial firms in London but it did only mention Financial firms. The fear is that Financial companies are going to flee London, most likely for Dublin, in order to remain in the EU. I think the article was in the Irish Times.

    “One is to establish a hard border here in Ireland, with check-points and passports and questioning and searching. Not good news for business but one way of keeping unwanted immigrants out of the UK”

    Its also another way of ripping up the Good Friday Agreement, crashing the peace process and potentially reigniting the troubles.

    “The second is to say you’re guarding the UK from illegals, but in practice to abandon the north of Ireland”

    UUP Leader Mike Nesbitt said in the Belfast Telegraph that its almost inevitable that the UK is going check peoples passports at the ports of Britain. That will mean people from the North will have to have their passports at the ready when crossing over to Britain or get turned back. That seems the logical thing to do.

    “The UK will get the south of Ireland to do all sorts of checks to see that no illegals are getting out of Ireland into the UK”

    Well we know that’s just a silly suggestion, its like the UK employing the Republic as some sort of Door Security Guard. I think Bertie Ahern himself said that’s not going to happen because the Irish Government has no right to question any EU citizen coming to Ireland. He said we wouldn’t tolerate any Irish person being questioned when going to another part of the EU, so we shouldn’t do it to other EU citizens at our airports.

    • MT October 20, 2016 at 6:41 am #

      “olitical Unionism is only democratic when the result is one they favour. If it isn’t (like most recently in Belfast City Hall) then its time to work the loyalist mob up, threaten havoc and then cry how they deplore the violence but blame it on others in the process.”

      A bit rich coming from a supporter of anti-democratic nationalist terror.

      • Ryan October 20, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

        “A bit rich coming from a supporter of anti-democratic nationalist terror”

        Yes because the British State, British Army, Unionist politicians (they were/are very cosy with the UDA/UVF, aren’t they?) and Ulster Resistance were all pacifists weren’t they?

        Stop being a hypocrite MT, it isn’t a good look.

        • MT October 20, 2016 at 4:28 pm #

          “Yes because the British State, British Army, Unionist politicians (they were/are very cosy with the UDA/UVF, aren’t they?) and Ulster Resistance were all pacifists weren’t they?”

          Other people’s pacifism I’d irrelevant. The point was your hypocrisy in alleging others are undemocratic while being anti-democratic yourself.

          “Stop being a hypocrite MT, it isn’t a good look.”

          I never started being a hypocrite therefore it’s not possible for me to stop. My position in support of democracy is consistent. You are the hypocrite.

    • MT October 20, 2016 at 6:43 am #

      “Its also another way of ripping up the Good Friday Agreement, crashing the peace process and potentially reigniting the troubles.”

      How would it “rip up” the GFA?

      How would it “crash” the “peace process”?

      How would it “potentially reignite the Troubles ‘?

      • Ryan October 20, 2016 at 1:47 pm #

        “How would it “rip up” the GFA?”

        because it violates many articles within the GFA.

        “How would it “crash” the “peace process”?”

        Because it violates the GFA, that is the peace process, there is no peace process without it. Tony Blair and John Major all said the same thing, Brexit puts the peace process at great risk. Do you expect Nationalists to just sit by and accept things they were promised to be took away? Its 2016 MT, not 1716.

        “How would it “potentially reignite the Troubles ‘?”

        Because it violates the GFA and most Nationalists can see that the British Government isn’t playing fair and are clearly taking sides when it comes to politics here.

        MT, this isn’t rocket science mate.

        • MT October 20, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

          “because it violates many articles within the GFA.”

          What articles does it violate?

          “Because it violates the GFA, that is the peace process, there is no peace process without it. Tony Blair and John Major all said the same thing, Brexit puts the peace process at great risk. Do you expect Nationalists to just sit by and accept things they were promised to be took away? Its 2016 MT, not 1716.”

          But it doesn’t violate the GFA. The peace process is over. We have peace. Who’s going back to “war”? What are you suggesting nationalists will do? Is SF or the SDLP threatening terror?

          “Because it violates the GFA and most Nationalists can see that the British Government isn’t playing fair and are clearly taking sides when it comes to politics here.”

          But it doesn’t violate the GFA. Are you saying the Provos are going back to ‘war’? Their ceasefire isn’t permanent?

  12. M Moore October 20, 2016 at 8:15 am #

    Arlene Foster is forever saying that Brexit was a UK wide vote and the result should be respected on that basis.

    If that’s the case then I’m assuming that herself and the DUP along with other Unionists would have no problem with an Irish referendum being run as a UK wide vote?