Nature compensates, they say. The gorgeous young woman may prove as dumb as she is beautiful, and Stephen Hawkings was no beauty but he was really smart. We probably should keep that in mind when reading what David Davis has done and says. He was a member of the SAS in his younger days, and his fitness still shows when you see him walk. On the other hand, his contribution as Brexit secretary would have gained him a C- , and now he’s started to talk about the British border in Ireland.
The border, he explains, is “heavily misunderstood”.
“The point that people forget is that there is a border there already. There’s a VAT border, there’s an excise border, there’s a legal border, and it’s managed perfectly well as it stands by the Irish and British customs and police authorities together. With a decent amount of interaction between our agencies, it’s manageable.”
You’d think that with the SAS’s activities in border regions during the Troubles, he would know better than to talk such twaddle.
The subject of discussion here, David old sausage, is a hard border. Take for example immigrants. They don’t come with number-plates, so that awfy clever number recognition technology will be useless. And there are people who need to cross the border several times a day. And there is a train that runs from Belfast to Dublin multiple times a day. And there are a lot of people whose homes are in Donegal but who work in Derry. And if violent dissident republicans are prepared to attack the homes of Gerry Adams and Bobby Storey, what do you think will be their response when faced with physical border customs’ posts?
As Niall O’Dowd, the founder of the Irish Voice newspaper recently pointed out, “when it comes to Ireland’s past the biggest fiction for the future could be that it will never happen again.” A former leading member of the Ulster Unionist Party expressed similar concerns to me about six months ago, noting that in every generation there had been violent conflict here, and that he feared there were signs that this generation was getting ready to launch another round of blood-letting.
Add to that the fact that a hard border will inflame not just violent dissident republicans but even non-violent middle-of-the-road nationalists. With an increasingly edgy unionism watching its numbers decline, you have more dangerous things north and south than were ever dreamt of in David Davis’s skull.
You have been warned, Mr Davis.